Premiere Week – Boredwalk Empire

As an avid television junkie, this last week has been akin to Moses bringing the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai – not because it gave me the basic rules for life, but because it is a monumental time that does change the shape of things to come in my day-to-day.  I love television and I don’t apologize.  At the end of the U2 video for The Fly, the words WATCH MORE TV burn into the screen, and I responded with the question, “How?”  I already had two VCRs, but there were also less channels back then.  Now I’ve got PVR/DVR, so to paraphrase Pink Floyd, I now have far more than 13 channels of shit on the TV to choose from.

In the interest of time, I was going to put all my thoughts into this one blog, but as I’m running out of that luxury and have something else to do, I will post my thoughts on the shows one at a time.  This will also serve in allowing more of an opportunity to critique them with a little more thought than I was going to give them.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE
I’ll go with this one first because it was on earliest (Sunday nights), and also because I was looking forward to this one more than any other new show of the season.  It seems I’m going against the popular grain on this one in that I didn’t ravingly LOOOVE it like so many other people seemed to.  Don’t get me wrong – Steve Buchemi is as amazing as ever, the cast is fantastic, and the costume design honest and real, helping to set the scene very well. 

Speaking of setting the scene, however, my biggest problem was was the sets.  I know it was the 1920’s and things were a lot less polluted back then, but the pristine cleanliness with which Scorsese chose to depict Atlantic City rang out as false to me.  The entire city looked like it had just been built about a week ago.  It was perfect – no paint peeling anywhere, every window streaklessly clear, not a hint of litter in sight (or public garbage cans, either, unless they suddenly were needed for part of the story).  The thing that bothered me about this is that I’ve lived by the ocean, and I don’t care if you get the entire city to somehow miraculously agree to not litter and to keep their windows washed three times a day.  When you live by the ocean there is, as with everything in life, unintended consequences, in this case: Salt water.  A light wind blows off the ocean and, you don’t realize it right away, but it carried with it salt particles that get into anything and everything, and will rust your car faster than you can say Lucky Lucciano.  The town just looked too perfect, not lived in at all, and that bothered me.  It took all the realism of the show and turned it onto its ear.  Am I nit-picking?  Yes, but as the viewer, that’s my job.

It was also inexorably slow to watch.  I get the whole point of character development – I’m a writer and I know that characters are the life-blood of the art – but not at the sake of muddling the story.  There was a bit too much of showing people acting tough (we get it – you’re mobsters!), and a bit too much more of building towards sympathy with that Irish lady who is obviously going to become Buscemi’s lover/wife, but I honestly would have spent more time building up the roaring nightlife they were all so happy to celebrate abandoning.  Nobody seemed to care.  I’m sorry, but if you put a prohibition on liquor nowadays, you’d have a revolution on your hands.  I don’t even drink, yet I know this to be true.

On the whole, the show felt more like a fantastic mobster fantasy than a gritty show about going beyond the law to get people what they want.  I’m hoping they focus more on the human aspect, because I already know the story of Al Capone and don’t really need to see it again. 

Also, we already had the Sopranos, and to me, it feels like this show was invented for the sole purpose of bringing those viewers back to HBO.  Much like Californication, good show, but I liked it more the first time I saw it when it was called Dream On.  That said, if anybody can prove me wrong, Scorsese and Buchemi are probably the guys to do so.


Pages and Pages

So, once again last night I found myself seriously lacking the ability to sleep, so I tucked the loving wife into bed, cuddled up and tickled her for a few minutes, and then kissed and told her I’d be to bed after I cleared my spinning mind out on this new bloggy-thing I’ve started doing.  Sounds like a great plan, right? 

The problem was, that once I sat down I couldn’t write. 

It wasn’t writer’s block; I don’t believe in writer’s block.  Rather, it was writer’s flood.  I had too much to say.  So much so that I couldn’t focus on any one thing at all.  Writer’s avalanche.  Just as bad as writer’s block, probably more dangerous.

First, I wanted to talk about TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival), and how it has been ruining watching the nightly news for over a week already.  Fifteen minutes of celebrity spotting on a red carpet is not news.  The shoplifters who opened fire on a security guard in Fairview Mall, now that’s news.  Also, and I think I’m in the minority on this, but who freakin’ cares if Keanu Reeves went to stupid Starbucks this morning?  That is not news!  That’s not even gossip!  That’s just being a stalker, and apparently something to be celebrated?  I appreciate what TIFF does for Toronto, but come on!  Let’s keep the entertainment reporting to Entertainment Tonight and E-Talk Daily, and let’s allow the news to report on things that actually effect our lives.

Then, I also wanted to talk about how much I enjoy helping people, but how uncool of them it is to get upset and angry when they ask you to help them out on a moment’s notice and you can’t.  It makes me not want to help them again next time they need it, even if I’m free as a bird at the time.  What’s that old saying?  Give them an inch and they’ll take a foot?  Trite expressions become trite for a reason…

I also had on my mind an issue that my sister brought up to me.  I had posted on my Facebook status yesterday that I had a cold.  Lo and behold, two of my sister’s friends called her up and asked her how I was, reporting to her that I seemed really sick on Facebook.  This led my sister to tell me that I share too much personal information on the internet and that she’s worried about what people will think.  First of all, I didn’t realize having a cold was personal information.  If I had detailed the particulars about my bank-account, I could see that as being a call to worry about my sharing too much.  If I talked about my bowel movements in my status updates like one friend of mine, that would be sharing too much.  If I rant and rave about my baby’s daddy being a no-good low-down dirty cheater who gave me herpes while I was pregnant with his best friend’s baby like another friend of mine does, that would be sharing too much.  I said I had a cold.  Not the same ballpark.  Not even the same game.

I had in my mind to talk about how excited I am that Fall TV is starting up again.  I wanted to talk about how much I’m looking forward to Roger Waters doing The Wall tomorrow night.  I wanted to share my thoughts on how much I’m loving reading Roots, about how I hated not being able to sleep, about why the dictionary is the best book I’ve ever owned, about, about, about, and so on and so on and so on…

I had too much on my mind.  So much so that I couldn’t pick a single topic to write about.  So, what I did instead was I sat down with a notepad and started jotting down all of the things I wanted to talk about, topics for a later date.  Within half an hour I had filled four pages, each line containing something else for me to blog about, each line giving me something to focus on the next time I feel like writing.

So, of course I chose to write about none of those things today, but rather I decided to write about deciding what to write about.

Because that’s what blogs do, and that’s what blogs are for.

Writer’s avalanche.


The Theme’s the Thing

Since I only started blogging a couple of days ago, I decided I should look around at some of the other blogs and see what other people are doing or writing about, just to get an idea of what my neighbours are up to out here in the blogosphere.  That’s the first and probably only time I’m ever going to use that word.  I don’t like it.  It seems made up to make someone sound cool. 

Rule #1: If you’re trying to be cool then you’re automatically not cool.

So, yeah.  I started looking at some of the other blogs around here, and what I quickly came to realize is that everybody seems to have a theme.  Their blogs have a purpose, with an abundance of people talking about the trials and tribulations of motherhood, thoughts on fashion, religion, more on parenting advice, and an inordinate amount dedicated to beads and home-made jewelry, and when I say ‘inordinate’ I mean WAY more than I would ever would have expected.  In fact, the majority of random blogs that came up every time I pushed “Next Blog” were from home-made jewelry designers hawking their wares.  (That said, my friend’s wife has a business called “Hand to Heart Jewelry” and her stuff is pretty great and she’s actually finding some success with it, so I figure since there are so many of you design freaks out there I should give her a free plug.)

Here’s my problem: I don’t have a theme.  What’s more, I don’t want one.  Why should I constrain myself with a theme?  I’m here to blab, blather, spleen vent, consider, wonder, work through, or do whatever else my sweet little mind feels like doing at the given moment.  Does that mean I won’t get readers, or in blog terms, Followers?  Maybe.  And that’s too bad.  I mean, nobody writes on a public forum with the thought of being patently ignored.  But, then again, if I cared that much I would probably come up with a theme.  I’ve got a plethora of interests.  I just don’t know which ones I’m going to want to talk about at any given moment.

So, no theme here.  If people happen to chance upon my blog looking for a unifying theory, I guess I’m going to stay stuck at zero followers.  And that’s okay, too.

However, if you happen to come across this page and want to know what a random thinker is going to think next, then maybe you’ll throw me a bone and come back and visit again.  So far out of three blogs, I’ve talked a little bit about myself, postulated on the impossibilities of time-travel, and come to the conclusion that I won’t be constrained by theme-ing my thoughts for mass-consumption.

Who knows what I’m going to write about next?


Three Reasons Why Terrestrial Time-Travel is Completely Impossible

This is something I came up with a few months ago after watching Back to the Future for the fifty-millionth time, but as I wasn’t currently blogging then I never thought to write it down until now.  I did discuss it a few times, but it has stuck with me so I figured why not expunge it from my brain onto a nice (virtual) sheet of paper and make room for something else. 

Time-Travel is something I’ve been interested in for pretty much as long as I could read on my own, and I cut my literary teeth on my cousin’s back issues of Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes back when I was only three years old, so that’s a pretty long time to be pondering a subject, indeed.  I’ve always found the concept fascinating and even have the idea for a time-travel story to put down at a later date when I’ve found both the time and inspiration to actually do so.

But, having thought on the subject so often and for so long, I have come to finally realize that fiction is the only place terrestrial time-travel will ever be possible.  I say ‘terrestrial’ because I do believe in worm-holes and I believe in the possibility that they can potentially move an object through not just space, but time as well.  Why not?  The universe is large enough to hold all kinds of inconceivable possibilities, and remember, we ourselves used to think that the Earth was flat.  I guess Columbus showed us, didn’t he?  So, although I do concede that time-travel in space is possible, I do not believe it is so for as long as we are bound to this planet, our beloved Earth.

First, we all know that old story from the movies that if we do go back in time, any actions or interactions that we have could and would rupture the space-time continuum, as whatever we have changed in that time-line would never have happened in the time-line we came from, thereby negating our own future, or more specifically, the original present-time from which we departed on our time-traveling journey in the first place.  There was a story I read in high-school, I can’t remember who wrote it, about a group of time-tourists who travel to the pre-historic past and one of them accidentally steps on a butterfly and kills it, and somehow that action stopped the dinosaurs from ever going extinct, thereby destroying mankind’s chance at evolving into the dominant species on the planet.  One small butterfly did all that.  Anything we do in the past that wasn’t originally done, any single action, destroys our entire present.  This is better illustrated through Back to the Future Part II, where Biff takes back the sports almanac from the future with statistics of who won every single sporting event of the last fifty years of the 20th Century, and then when Marty goes back to his home in 1985, everything is different.  His father is dead, Doc Brown has been locked up, and his mother is married to his own worst enemy through time himself, the aforementioned Biff.

There is also the problem of materializing somewhere safe, which is why traveling to the future is entirely too dangerous.  What if you did figure out a way to bodily move through space-time to a point in the future?  How would you know where to land?  You’re here right now in good old 2010, sitting in your science lab, when you decide to go into the future to see what it’s all about.  First of all, you’d have to go far enough to make sure that you didn’t run into yourself, that old theory of the space-time continuum exploding again because of the potential changes that may come from your interactions (possibly warning yourself not to do something, etc.).  You destroy him just by his seeing you since, as you only just invented time-travel, he would have no memory of you doing so, and therefore every memory you built from that point would not be a shared memory with your future counter-part.  That alone is problem enough, but then you have to consider, would your little science lab even still be there only 100 years into the future, and even if it was, who’s to say that someone wouldn’t have redecorated by that point, and you end up materializing inside of a table, as in, with the molecules of a solid table sharing the same space with the molecules of your chest.  Do you know what happens to two solid molecules suddenly fuse together at the atomic level?  Ka-boom, game over, you’re dead.  And potentially so is every single living thing around you.  Who knows how large an explosion that would cause?  Not me, but I’d imagine it would be pretty darned big.

But, then you ask yourself, what if you could guarantee a spot on Earth what will remain empty, as it has for thousands of years before now.  Stonehenge comes to mind, and I actually used to think that it was the perfect spot, created in fact for time-travelers, until I realized this third and most troubling of all the problems concerning time-travel on Earth, and that is the actual thought of space and time themselves as separate entities.  Even if we could come up with some working concept of moving ourselves forward or backward trough time, what we have to remember is that if we leave from a certain spot with the thought of returning at the same spot but in a different point of time, that spot will not be where we left it.  You see, something we constantly neglect to consider is that the Earth itself is moving through space at an astronomical speed (pun intended).  They believe Earth is hurling through space at a rate of 67,000 miles per hour.  So, if you even want to move only a month into the past or future, you’re going to end up being over two-million miles away from where you want to be, and we all know how well humans do in the freezing vacuum depths of outer-space without any oxygen.  But say you’re an amazing physicist, and you’ve taken the movement of the Earth through space into account, what you also have to remember is that the solar-system itself is moving at an even faster rate, and more than that, the whole Milky Way galaxy is moving, and more likely than not, the entire universe is moving, and we are nowhere near figuring out how quickly those things are moving or even in which directions.  There is no way to plot your course so that you will materialize back on Earth because there is no way to know where the Earth will even be when you get there.  There is no gravity to hold you to the planet if you’ve moved your atoms through both space and time.  Time is made up of neither weight or substance; time is beyond gravity’s constraints.

It’s kind of sad, actually.  Ever since I was a little kid I’ve dreamed of being the one who goes back and kills Hitler, or saves JFK, or sneaks his signature onto the Declaration of Independence.  And slowly over time, I’ve come up with reasons why it’s a truly impossible dream.  My Uncle Joe once told me that I could achieve anything I dream of.  I’d like to go back in time now and let him know how wrong he was, but I can’t.  If I could, he’d have been right.  I also dream that I can fly.  I haven’t given up on that one just yet. 


The Thoroughly Uniquely Titled: "First Post"

Can’t sleep, so I decided to start a blog.  That’s as good a reason as any, right?  I’m a writer, but lately I’ve been finding it difficult to get going when I should be writing so I decided to start doing this blog, hopefully every day, in order to shake those loose thoughts free from my head so that I can get down to business with fewer distractions.  What’s it going to be about?  I don’t know.  Whatever’s on my mind at the moment, I guess.

As you’ll note, I’ve called my blog The Daily Page.  Does that mean I’ll update it daily?  Probably not.  I try to write daily, but I don’t always get the chance.  For example, I don’t bring my computer to the cottage, I don’t get computer time when we go stay with my in-laws, and sometimes I’m just too busy running around town like a chicken with its head cut off to actually sit down and write.  And, sometimes I just don’t want to.  So, why call it The Daily Page then?  Well, is the Daily Show on daily?  No, it’s on four times a week, and also plagues us with re-runs probably 20 weeks out of the year.  What’s so daily about that?  But, as they don’t call it the Four Times a Week Show for Thirty-Two Weeks of the Year, so do I not call my blog The Occasionally Updated Page of Nonsense.  I hope to use the title as an inspiration.  I hope to write daily.  I try to write daily.  I definitely think that the contents of my head justify a daily visit to my blog, but sometimes life and apathy get in the way. 

I freely admit this. 

I am the King of the nation of Procrasta.  Why put off for tomorrow something you can put off for the next day, right? 

Wrong.

Life is short.  I’m realizing that more and more every single day, so hopefully I can take that lesson and actually apply it to my life, my work, and my art.

Or, maybe I can sit on the couch, indulge in too much chocolate, and keep on keeping all these thoughts to myself.  Other than the chocolate, that actually doesn’t sound very attractive when I put it in writing, but that tends to be how I spend a lot of my time.  I don’t dislike that about myself, and I don’t regret that at all.  TV raised me well (I consider Bert and Ernie to be my two dads, and Grover my uncle), TV taught me a lot, and TV has shown me things that I would have never imagined.

I just think there’s more.  I sit there and watch television, eat my chocolate, and opining in my head about the happenings around the world, so I just figured it was time to share my thoughts and opinions on those happenings, or whatever else might be running through my warped mind at any given moment, even if no one reads this and I’m really only sharing them with myself, it’s still a good exercise, because, like I said, it will help me focus when I sit down to work on my book.  It’s the second one I’ve written, or, it will be once I’m done.  The first one is called Gusty Winds May Exist.  You’ve never heard of it because I’ve never tried to publish it.  It was fun to write, but it’s wildly self-indulgent and I’m just not ready for the world to read it yet.  I think it will make a better second novel.  The one I’m working on now will be a great first novel, I believe.  It’s called Algonquin.  I’m not going to say what it’s about because I don’t talk about my writing while I’m working on it, but I’m sure you can give a few guesses based on the title.

Still not tired and it’s a quarter to three.  I’m also out of cigarettes and don’t feel like driving to the store.  I think I’ll go read on the couch now until I pass out.  I’m reading Roots.  It’s pretty freakin’ awesome, so far.  Kunta hasn’t been stolen yet, but getting to know him growing up has been great.  I’ve seen the mini-series a few times, but as usual, the book is better than the movie.  And my dreams are better than the book, so I’d like to go get on with them now.

Thanks for reading my first post.

By the way, if you couldn’t tell?  I talk too much.