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An Experiment . . .

August 14, 2012 Leave a comment

After coming home from work today, I noticed a few things were “off” in the house.  The clock on the microwave flashed it’s green LEDs telling me to input the time.  So did the oven display.  At that point, it seemed pretty obvious to me.

Power outage.

No big deal, I thought.  Luckily I was at work all day and didn’t have to sit at home when this happened.  Everything seemed to be in working order.

Then I tried to turn on my television.

*     *     *

So . . . long story short, my beautiful 47″ LED television didn’t work.  I unplugged it.  Then re-plugged it. Nothing.  I was about to take the back panel off when I thought to see if my warranty still applied.  Again, nothing.

At that point, I thought that this would happen to me:

Luckily, I still had some beer.

Anyway, instead of really diving into some frustration over this event, I thought to myself “Hey Self!  Why don’ t you use this time away from the television to do some other things.  Like helping a friend out with some writing.  Maybe do more writing yourself?  Pick up the guitar again?  Go running?  Drawing?  Painting?  Underwater Basket Weaving?”

Yes, one of those things I made up.

Anyway, so this is my experiment.  I’m going to continue trying to repair my television, but I’m not going to get a new one, or transfer my bedroom television downstairs.  I’m going to leave it off.  At least until school starts.  I’m going to see what I can do during the day without the distraction of the television.  The Olympics are over and I definitely sat around a few more “hours” than I had intended.  So let’s see what I can do.  I’m sure I’ll be online more, especially now that I’m addicted to that silly Simcity Social Game, but I’m hoping I won’t increase my “online” time just because I can’t find another media avenue to explore.

Anyway, I’m going to do my best to keep writing about this experiment as it continues.  It’s been done before, but not by me.  So it’ll be interesting to see the results in a few week’s time.

Wish me luck and focus people.  The experiment begins now.

Reboots, Sequels, Remakes, and Whatever!

August 4, 2012 Leave a comment

I started this blog with the idea of writing a little about everything I could think of in terms of interests, hence the “A blog in progress” tagline!  Truth be told, I just wanted to write again.

Of course, when I took this up again, I thought I’d focus primarily on education, education practices, suggestions, questions (must keep improving!) and ideas for reform (which comes with the territory).  Now occasionally, as I already have, I’ll definitely write on other topics I think are . . . important.

Like movies that shouldn’t be rebooted.

I have my reasons of course, mostly due to nostalgia or inside jokes that would lose it’s luster if a “classic” is remade.  I never thought Tron would be rebooted (though technically it was sequel I suppose) and now that Josh Hutcherson and Chris Hemsworth are very popular due to a few “indie” films this summer, I hear the Red Dawn reboot is now back on (WOLVERINES!!!).  Footloose was already redone along with the Karate Kid.  And if you follow any sort of movie news, you also know the latest Ghostbusters movie is struggling mightily to make its way back to the silver screen.

Honestly, I really don’t have too much of a problem with movie reboots or remakes.  After all, I am a consumer of this industry and more often than not, my curiosity gets the better of me and I’ll end up watching these movies anyway.  Kind of a “can’t dislike if you didn’t try” sort of philosophy.  Anyway, here are some movies I hope they don’t remake.

These are not in any particular order:

  •  Sword and sorcery.   A nerd’s dream.  With “In-his-prime” Val Kilmer, who’s prime extended for quite some time between the 80s and 90s.  However, I’m not sure if this has enough pull to remake, though it’d be interesting if George Lucas wanted to give this the ole “extended edition” treatment and actually have it work.

  • Fact:  I am being Jack Burton this Halloween, thus checking off something from my bucket list (Another character I’d like to try for Halloween . . . Samurai Jack).   This could be a possibility for a remake, though I’m not sure how the newer interpretations of these characters could top the originals.  The only thing I would be interested in seeing  are the special effects, which could something incredible.  However, that’s definitely not enough reason just to remake it.

  • I don’t need to say anything here do I?


  • Like Willow, I’m not sure this has enough going for it, but this was another movie on re-run during the summers of my childhood.  Yes, I wanted to find my own, decrepit boat on a beach, fix it up with a few of my friends and one subtly beautiful singer, destroy a Ferrari in order to utilize its engine, and win some sort of regatta against a stereotypical jock who had a young Jeremy Piven as a friend acting like a d-bag.  You know, normal 10 year old stuff.

Anyway, if you are reading this, any movies you’d like to see left untouched?  Oh, Untouchables!  That’s another one!

Categories: Bucket List, Movies, The 80's

Defeat

August 1, 2012 Leave a comment

“Defeated misery is what all sport is about, eventually, if you follow the story for long enough; all sportsmen know this.”

– Nick Hornby

Anyone who follows sports often fall prey to becoming myth-makers, especially after watching any athlete, man or woman, demonstrate incredible feats of athleticism.  We take their exploits and turn them into hyperbole, retell their experiences as legend.  Sports writing boils down to this very purpose and honestly, I’m a sucker for reading those types of article (my favorite sports writer, Ralph Wiley, was very good at doing this in his very distinctive voice, while also weaving in a number of pop-culture references along the way).

It’s hard not to take these athletes and turn them into tall-tales, especially after watching the Olympics for the past few days.  Watching athletes deliver under pressure, knowing they have so many people believing in what they can do, and actually delivering, is inspiring.

Of course, there is a flip-side.  Having your beliefs betrayed by those you believe in, often leads to some drastic and horrible behaviors.

With information readily available and easily shared throughout the world, it’s easy to tear down these athletes, voice your displeasure as a fan, especially if these athletes let you down in terms of your expectations.  Talk to any sports obsessed fans and you’ll hear what they truly think about their teams when they fail.  I definitely don’t fault the passion, though it definitely gets carried away.  During the Olympics, you’ll hear a lot about patriotism and representing the United States though anyone participating in the Olympics are definitely under a tremendous amount of pressure from their country.  For example, Tom Daley, the diver from the United Kingdom, who fell just short of the podium, was subject to a tweet that addressed his deceased father (though the person responsible, a 17 year old, claimed he didn’t realize Daley’s father had passed).  The person responsible for the tweet was arrested for his post and later released (another subject entirely!).

Anyway, what I truly want to write about tonight is the individual gymnastics competition, especially what happened to John Orozco.

As I said above, I’m often guilty of using hyperbole to describe certain athletes.  Watching someone like LeBron James in the open court is sometimes transcendent.  He was essentially built to be a basketball player.  And likewise, he was revered and then torn down quite violently, only to find some redemption this year with his first championship.

John Orozco is also an amazing athlete.  Watching any of those gymnasts, you could almost argue it’s transcendent if they manage to get through a routine with a relatively strong score.  However, watching John Orozco come up short was disappointing to see.

Watching him walk off to the side, however, was absolutely heartbreaking.

Watching the pre-packaged segments about these Olympians, the amount of dedication, sacrifice and hard-work that these people go through along with their families, it’s easy to get swayed into their legend.  Watching the segment on John Orozco, you can tell he’s an extraordinary person, like most of the Olympians.  Not only do they train for an incredible amount of hours, they also contribute quite a bit to their communities.  Yes, it’s easy to get swayed into their legend.

Then came the pommel horse.  John was definitely nervous, as pointed out by the announcers.  He started improvising.  You could sense a bit of desperation as he moved through his routine.  He snagged a piece of his uniform during his dismount.  Once he landed, it was easy enough to see his body language.  And with the “intimate access” that NBC is allowed, a camera was there to capture the anguish he felt, the frustration and sadness that was building within.  As I said above, it was absolutely heart-breaking.

I can relate on a certain level (in fact, the level I can relate to is so far below his, but I can empathize I believe) the type of emotion Orozco was feeling.  Honestly, I don’t think I truly want to.  Thinking about being in his shoes at that moment, I would have been beyond distraught.  To say I felt sadness for him isn’t remotely close to an adequate description.  To not come through on that stage is nearly unimaginable for me.  But athletes at this stage, at this level, know how to handle defeat. They don’t get there without understanding the depth of that frustration, knowing that you’ve failed. I’m curious to see how athletes actually see it.  I’m sure some of them see it as a monster or a beast to be tamed.  Other, I’m sure, see it as something to dominate or even destroy.  And when defeat comes, when it wins out in the end, as it did with John Orozco, I’m even more curious to see how they react to it.

As I read another blog about the Olympics, there was a quote from John Orozco about his performance.

“I wish I would’ve done better so I can go back and have them be proud of me,” he said of family and friends in New York. “But what are you going to do? I guess this was just meant to happen.”

*     *     *

When I played basketball in high school, there were plenty of times when I’ve lost, and yes, I’m a definite sore loser.  I’ve cussed out friends and family, but at the same time, I still felt that I’d let them down.  Yet one refrain I always heard from my friends or family (yes, even after I cussed them out) was that they were still proud of what I had done.  Back then, I never understood why they said that or I just elected not to hear it.  Yes, it was a bit stubborn, but that’s who I was (still am to a certain extent).  But now, as I watched John Orozco fail, the only thing I could think of to say was “I’m still pretty damn proud to have someone like him represent our country.”

The quote above just confirmed my thoughts.  Instead of really feeling sorry for himself or even lashing out at those around him, the only thing he thought about (or at least said first) was about everyone else “back home,” how he let down his friends and family.

I’m almost absolutely sure, John Orozco’s friends and family don’t feel that way.

I’m not going to say that he shouldn’t feel ashamed about what happened.  It’s up to him to handle that and I have some confidence he’ll move past that.  I just hope he knows that there’s a least one person out there who is now a fan of his because of what he did in defeat.  I am extremely proud to have someone like John Orozco to represent the U.S. as an Olympian.

In victory or defeat.

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