Three Things I Have Almost Blogged About…

Broken PencilSo when I started this blog, I had nothing but the best intentions. I made lists and lists of different things to write about.

… Then I sat down and did way too much about Disneyland and Game of Thrones (two things that should never be in the same sentence again).

Let’s have a brief tangent- I’m one of the few book readers that is thrilled that Game of Thrones is passing the books. The script writers for the show certainly have their problems (for example, they go darker than the books, amazingly), but one skill they do have is the ability to edit. They cut, cut, cut the books down to something a little easier to consume and that is no small feat. I’ll never be totally happy with the calls they make (poor Sansa) or even the calls Martin makes (poor Ned), but at least we’ll be getting an ending to the tale in the new few years.

Okay, where was I? Recently, I found my list of original ideas for blog entries, focused on only one current theme- what interests the guy writing this.

Hey, it’s my blog, what can I say?

Below are three items I always wanted to dive into and never got around to. Not to say they aren’t interesting, it’s just… I’m a very important and busy man (no, I’m not). I have a lot of writing responsibilities (ha!). These short essays are the best  I can do (that is probably true). Continue reading

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Watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

It's The Great PumpkinThere are two things I love the most about October.

It’s not carving pumpkins. To be honest, I am lousy at them and even my faces with simple shapes are barely adequate. Soon my children are just going to revolt on me and attempt to do them by themselves.

It’s not the costumes. Yes, they are fun when you are a kid but I always feel creepy by adults wearing them (except when my local city counsel member dressed up as Sarah Palin and went around the neighborhood threatening us with death panels, that was hilarious!).

No, the two things I love are candy corn and It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. And because it doesn’t rot my teeth I love The Great Pumpkin more. Whenever this month rolls along and the leaves change, the show appears on my television and usually is on there until the holiday has passed. Before I was married and had kids, I was known to let it run continuously, just enjoying the ambiance of having it on. And once I had an iPod and an IPhone both immediately had a digital file  of it (so my family doesn’t have to deal with my love of it). I have even been known to have it play while walking the dog, just listening to it like an audiobook.

This may all seem crazy, but everyone has their things, their quirks. This strange little tale of delusional faith, mean children, and a dog that thinks he is a pilot is one of my mine and I don’t see that changing anytime soon… And I’m going to watch it right now with you. Get the candy corn! Continue reading

Dealing With Children Television…

Daniel Tiger's NeighborhoodThere are times I wish I could really turn my critiquing mind off. Put it aside until later or when I am reading a book or watching something more sophisticated.

I can’t.

It’s a curse, and I feel it as a curse each time I sit down to watch TV or a movie with my kids. And while I may have no problem sitting with my kids on the couch, pretending to laugh at the obvious joke, a part of me is screaming to nitpick… nitpick everything!

And many times they deserve it! Come on, The Care Bears: Welcome to Care-A-Lot is just asking for it! It’s like those blasted bears are just teasing me!

Which makes this blog a godsend in many way. For here, without my kids knowing, I can take on the things that they love with abandonment. Here I am free.

I’ve written a few times on this site about different kid shows. Many times my focus is on PBS Kids or shows that attempt to educate. While I’m all for education on TV, sometimes odd choices are made under the guise of education, sneaking in what I consider lazy writing under the idea of a lesson. (Yes, I am talking to you the makers of Sid The Science Kid).

Here are six links (and new thoughts) to some of my old (and fun) kid entertainment television articles that you may have missed. Continue reading

Thank you, Arrested Development, Thank You…

Arrested DevelopmentDear Arrested Development,

I don’t usually write letters to TV shows. It is not in my nature to fawn over things (especially TV shows). I mean, come on!, do you see the stuff on TV these days???

It is a part-time job to find something that isn’t mind-numbing painful. It could almost be said in today’s culture- you go to school to be educated, you go to TV to lose it.

Okay, a lot of people who have blogs or write on entertainment like to focus on the negative. It’s not surprising really, it is easier to write negative than positive. I mean, how many different ways can you say good? Seriously, I’m sure if you were to weigh the word options between good and bad, good would be this little pile and bad would be this giant memorial to insults.

Where was I?

Okay, I am rambling. I am nervous. I’m like a teenager on a first date trying to make the person in the passenger seat of the car laugh. But the fact is, honestly, I am fawning, because the fourth season of your show is a piece of genius. Continue reading

The Joy and Inspiration of Scooby-Doo

Our heroMy new book MAXIMILIAN STANDFORTH AND THE CASE OF THE DANGEROUS DARE has been released via amazon.com in eBook and print.

 I thought it would be fun to write on some of the influences for the novel.  This week I will discuss my obsession with the kids who drive The Mystery Machine.

It has always amazed me how few people get Scooby-Doo, Where are You. I’m not talking the kids or the parents or simply those who find it while flipping through the stations. No, I mean the producers, the directors, and the actual writers of the characters. Yes, Hollywood never got the friends of Mystery, Inc.

One of the first articles I ever wrote for the internet, back in 2001, was related to the genius of Scooby-Doo (I was venting in the article about my dismay around the casting and scripting around the first Scooby-Doo live action movie; that was even before I saw the disaster of a movie), and how surprised I was then (and still am), how wrong they were being. Honestly, who could blame those producers? When the actual cartoonists, after the original series’ run, rarely gave the property any respect; turning it into a device to showcase B-level stars or worse having Scooby chase 13 real ghosts.

Real ghosts? Seriously?

That idea right there is almost more damaging to the fictional reality created for Scooby-Doo and his friends than the introduction of Scrappy and Scooby’s other relatives. Even as a young kid that questionable variation to our hero’s adventures, in I am certain an attempt to steal some thunder from Ghostbusters, made me groan (and don’t get me started on the character of Flim-Flam).

When I was studying film writing, I once said in a class that I would love to adapt Scooby-Doo someday for the big screen. Some thought I was joking and laughed, others looked at me as if I was crazy, but one got where I was coming from and we both shared a nod. See, in the right hands, Scooby-Doo is awesome in its simplistic horror madcap comedy spree.

Jinkies! Pass the Scooby Snacks. Continue reading

My Favorite Writing Posts

Even Superman writes!We writers love to write about writing. Do other artforms love discussing their own art like we do in our neck of the woods? Do painters paint about paintings? Or singers sing about singing? Okay, this is a silly notion and the answer is sometimes, but nothing like us writers. We own this.

Yes, we writers love to discuss our artform (read and write) and I even have the personal proof to back the magnitude of this.

See, I like to think I write on a lot of interesting topics from movies to life experience to  TV to parenting, etc. (Heck, even last week I wrote 1300 words on Winnie-The-Pooh!), but nothing beats the numbers of visits I get when I put up a new writing post. And luckily for me I love writing about writing.

Books, and the creation around them are a passion of mine. I love throwing a thought out there and watching the responses come in via twitter and comments.  Sometimes I agree with the responses, sometimes I don’t, but it is always fun (not when they get mean, of course, which sometimes does happen).

I thought today I would link back to four of my personal favorite writing posts with updates and new thoughts from me on them below their link.  Consider it the equivalent of a reunion special… of my mind. Continue reading

Easter? Nah. This nerd is watching TV!

A piece of heavenI get why Easter is a big deal.

The change of the season from Winter to Spring (don’t we all feel a little more sane with more sunlight?), and there is the whole religious aspect for many (I was raised Catholic; of course Lent for me growing up was usually giving up something I didn’t care about, like vegetables)… But for me… honestly… this time of the year is all about Cadbury Eggs.

Man, I love Cadbury Eggs!

A piece of heaven trapped in a shell of chocolate.

Does anyone else remember when they had the orange ones out a few years ago? They had an orange filling (as compared to the caramel one that is too sticky for me and the chocolate one that is a little gross) and it was wonderful! This year I can’t find them anywhere. Bring back the orange! So I am stuck with the normal eggs. Now that doesn’t mean I am complaining, it’s just that a little variation in my favorite chocolate egg delicacies is not a bad thing. Like I said, I love Cadbury eggs.

Am I rambling?

Anyway, this year for me the holiday has been pushed aside by the priority of television.

Yes, for you this weekend may mean bunny rabbits, chocolate, and brightly-colored clothes on Sunday morning, for me it means a time-traveling police box and a long sword possibly with a white wolf’s head on the end of it.

Bring on the fantasy! Continue reading

The Posts of an Anglophile

Guarding the QueenCheerio!

What inspired me to write my editorial this week, “The Happy Anglophile,” is that I am in the process of editing two different books- A Jane Austen Daydream (to be published in April by Madison Street Publishing) and Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare (which I am self-publishing and sharing the experience via posts, like this one where I discuss my great new cover artist). They are both very British books; one putting the spotlight on Miss Austen, the other trying to capture the world and vibe of Sherlock Holmes.

Not bad for a kid from Michigan, eh?

And it doesn’t stop there! I’ve been thinking about writing a post on a controversial belief I have on Shakespeare next week, and I have been debating myself for months on writing on my love of PG Wodehouse and Douglas Adams (I should have done the Douglas Adams one nearer his Birthday… damn).

Anyway, looking back over the blog, my anglophile-tendencies have been on display ever since I started writing, from books to movies to television to music. For your reading pleasure this weekend here are links to some of my more popular posts on my favorite second home.

Pip pip!

Battlestar Galactica: Humanity’s Show

Battlestar GalacticaI’ve been doing this blog for over a year now, but this is the very first time I’ve taken a request.

See, last week I did two pieces about being a nerd, humourously claiming the title another blogger decided to put on me. And in one of those pieces I made a comment about SyFy’s new Battlestar Galactica (the most recent version, not the old one I will reference below), even hinting at the idea of writing a blog entry about the show.

It was supposed to be a joke, nothing I was really planning to do; yet, I received numerous requests in comments and over twitter to do it. As @Safireblade commented:

“Well, get to work on the Battlestar Galactica post… Chop chop!”

Chop chop?

How could I say no to that? But I have to admit this is a tricky thing for me to do. Just ask a film critic and they will understand- is it easier to write a bad review or a good review? See, as a lover of storytelling, the idea of breaking down what I consider almost a perfect show feels a little… well… sacrilegious. Continue reading

I Want a TARDIS! My New Obsession With Doctor Who

I would sell my soul to come up with an idea like Doctor Who.

Yes, I would take an eternity in damnation, away from loved ones, baking in flames, to create a character like the man with the Sonic Screwdriver. And as I roasted, I would smile. Oh, how I would smile if that was on my resume

To think only three-months ago, I could not tell you the difference between a TARDIS and a Dalek (a TARDIS is bigger on the inside and a Dalek has a weird slimy octopus-like monster in it that likes to “ex-term-in-ate”). As a science-fiction geek, Doctor Who was already in the background for me. I knew who he was, had the basic gist of what it was about, but I never really considered giving it the time of day. I had enough sci-fi geek stuff with Tolkien, Star Trek, Joss Whedon, DC Comics, Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica (the new one, not the old one), Red Dwarf, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars, thank you very much. My cup was full, please try peddling your fantasy wares and monster costumes with zippers elsewhere.

I can even say I tried one or two episodes a few years ago. I am a fan of the TV writing of Steven Moffat (Coupling is hilarious and I love Sherlock) and when I heard he took over the running of the show (and it was one of his favorites), I decided to give it a shot; but I stopped after the episode of Daleks in WWII and when they emerged in different colors and bigger. I just didn’t understand the threat. They looked (dare  I type it) silly… and in different colors? So what? They are white and red now? Whatever.

Oh how naive I was then… Continue reading