Tuesday, January 28, 2020

My NAME....is not Oliver Queen. But I wish it was.

I kinda get a post-funeral/memorial-at the restaurant/bar kinda vibe from all this right now. Like we're at that stage of trying to get over the grieving/lets enjoy life and remember the good times, all while planning for the future kinda feel.

I'll address what I alluded to in the comments below before i forget my thought, and so ya don't have to scroll down as much, then i'll get on with the rest.

I think the reason they haven't announced any cast really about the Green Lantern HBO show is...they knew they were gonna cast David, but didn't want to spoil the surprise for us, though most everyone at least speculated. If this is the case, thats another bit of amazing cooperation of keeping a secret, almost, if not better than the >!Ezra!< cameo in Crisis.

The episode scared me at first with the documentary thing, because as neat as it was the first time, i didn't want to go through it again. I'm happy it was dealt with quickly.

The cameos, oh my, they were all perfect, they didn't feel forced or jammed in, they fit in exactly where they should have.

Mia is still....shes....shes got potential, but she needs to be written better, Kat is a great actress and wasting her on being a spoiled brat is an insult to her ability.

Katie Cassidy(how many fucking Kates are we gonna get in the Arrowverse? haha),admittedly grated me at first, but she eventually grew on me, and I was sad when she initially left. To see her transform completely as an actress in front of my eyes shows how skilled she is. I rooted for Sirens redemption to the point of which I didn't want old Laurel back. So to that Screenrant writer who thinks shes gonna be the baddie in 2040, I hope you watched KC knock it out of the park with that scene with Blackthorne tonight.

Colton Haynes, my word did he go through a lot, both off and on screen, and he drove through it like a damn champion. He should be proud of what hes accomplished, and who he is.

David Ramsey. He's got that stoic resonance that....when he enters a room, he doesn't have to say anything, he doesn't really need to even move, and you can just tell the man deserves not only your attention, but your respect. He, in some ways, was more important to this show than Stephen. They called David "Little John." That'd make him almost Stephen's sidekick. No, no, he was more than that. He was his brother, his partner, his friend. If I could have a man just a fraction as loyal and good by my side, i'd be happy. He had problems, sure, but he pushed through them, and the only way he did that, is through David's acting. When they stupidly decide to reboot this show in 30 years, I feel sorry for whoever they try and cast as the new Dig, because honestly, you can't replace greatness.

Caity Lotz, I was introduced to the force of nature she is. And i'm all here for it. Yeah, i'll look at her as damn attractive, but what impresses me more so is the sheer determination she has to making Sara a complete character, physically and emotionally. Her workout routine is something I couldn't even begin to accomplish, and continuously leaves me awestruck. Aside from that, lets look at the fact she went from washed away side love-interest to the captain of a time-ship and crew of characters none of us were sure we're gonna work. Was it the doing of the writers? maybe a lil, yeah, but you need an actress to put those words into action, and she has done it in spades.

Paul Blackthore, a fellow photographer, absolutely killed it as Quinten. He went through a tapestry of emotions over his course on the show, and never once made them feel tropey or overdone. He did an arc the way an arc should be done.

And then we have Stephen Amell.

 My word sir. What you have done, what you have had a hand in creating...you may never truly understand. Anyone can throw on a costume and pretend to be a superhero. Keaton did it. Cavil tried. Maguire and others tried. He lived it, for years. More so than any expected, probably even him.

He put his body and mind and soul on the line for the entertainment of others. He didn't need to. He could have used stunt doubles a lot more, but he committed to his craft, to the character and to his fans. That says a lot about a person. I could wax philosophical for hours about the salmon ladder and the fight scenes, which I may at some point. But for me the real juicy scenes are the ones where he showcases emotion. The Lance scene, you know the one. The torture with Chase where he was for all intents....broken. Almost all of the prison scenes. Things like that are often tried and tired. Stephen just kept me wanting more.

In a day and age where some of us, even me, a lifelong geek of 35+ years - is at times suffering from, "Superhero fatigue", Amell just kept me friggin riveted. Even at the slow points, he managed to shoulder the burden of what, at times were some bad episodes. He never wavered.

The man deserves all accolades. He also deserves a rest. I can't even begin to imagine how much his body and mind have gone through these past few years. The constant conventions, the long, cold nights shooting, jumping, sliding, swinging, shooting damn arrows. It takes a toll. And for those who say, "he's an actor, he can deal with it," that's no excuse. You haven't done it. Sure you expect a show or a film to do well, but you never think it'll become a global phenomenon. The man still had to earn a paycheck, still has a family, and still is - human. Yes, I know it comes as a shock, but he still drinks the same water and breathes the same air, so for those who criticize him...go through a week of his life and see how you do.   The man is a hero in many other ways.

This show came at a weird point in my life. As it began, I was in the middle of a very odd college career, prepping for a hopeful career as a firefighter/photographer, now i'm pretty much just a photographer who runs and shakes a lot. Meh, thats Parkinson's. I've...had a lot of bad happen in my life, but this show brought an hour of respite in my life. It made feel good to be a geek again.

Arrow will always help inspire me to make myself physically, mentally and emotionally better, not because I want to be a superhero, I know that isn't real. I want those things, because I simply, like Oliver...want to do good.

So, to the cast and crew of Arrow, and their families, well done. You haven't failed this fan.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Knocking The Meatball Off The Tree

   Christmas for me wasn't always a year-round thing like it is now. I know, shocking, right? There was actually a time when Christmas was only a few weeks out of the year. Now it seems like next Christmas begins at roughly 9:45am on Jan. 2nd of every year.

Oddly, I can't think of many early Christmas memories off the top of my head. When It really started pumping was around 1986ish. At least that's when I start being able to pick out specific memories and experiences.

We'd just moved into our new apartment that year, and I distinctly remember cookies being made & presents being opened. Family from both sides would come over, my fathers here on Staten Island, & my mothers from various points in jersey. For a few years we switched it up and went to various relatives houses, but for the mainly it seemed like everyone came to our place most years. Maybe this was because I was the youngest out of the grouping until cousins on my mothers side came along.

Back to the cookies, we ran an operation that could have put most bakeries to shame. We baked upwards of 15 different types of cookie, and at least 4 batches of 25 cookies (at least.), All told the baking alone took the better part of 6 days, one for just shopping. Sometime around the late 90's, maybe as late as 1998, we stopped for a few years due to just....massive amounts of other things demanding our time. But in 2003, to help honor the passing of my mother, we restarted the cookie bake, trimming down the variety to about 10, but increasing the quantity. This was due in part to a new twist. We would hand deliver boxes of cookies to firehouses here on Staten Island. This tradition would actually last until 2016. Now we've streamlined things a bit more, opting to ship cookies to friends & family out of state, and we've lowered the batch count to a more manageable 10 or so.

If you thought the cookies were impressive, just wait till I get into decorating. Most people, from what i've gathered through informal polling have 5 or 6 boxes of decorations. We have about 11 totes, 15 boxes, and a few bags for soft stuff, pillows & stuffed Santa's . The bathroom alone has multiple boxes, though this may change with our upcoming remodel. The decorations range from your usual stockings(personalized of course)and wooden signs, to more eccentric items, such as the Yoda figurine, wherein the diminutive Jedi master has donned Santa's hat and coat with a sack full of toys.

We used to take photos to guide us each year as to what went where, trying to keep to form each year, but over the years kinda decided to change things up every so often. This has led to a bit of confusion when it comes to packing it all away and finding what goes where next year, but we manage.

Until we moved in 2001, we never really had the chance to decorate outside. Since then however, we've gone outside. 2001 was also around the time "icicle lights" became the rage, in fact, they were so hard to find at one point, we resorted to using blue lights until we could find the traditional white ones, a fact bemoaned by my mother, who loved the white lights(Personally I like the more colorful ones). With about a week to go before the big day that year, we finally found enough to fill the roof, leaving us with a sudden excess of blue lights. Making the basement more of my own sort of pool/game room, I had them hung down there for a few years leading to quite a weird effect.

Recently, due to my fathers advancing age, and my arms being essentially made out of tissue paper, the notion of going up on the roof is simply not plausible, so we've opted for an easier lawn setup, complete with a T-rex carrying a gift. "Denver the Dinosaur", is as I call it, the most accurate Christmas decoration you can find. Dinosaurs are fossils, which is what plastic is after all. My idiot logic is solid on this.

Shopping for the big day has always been...interesting. What really changed things for starters, for me at least was when we started taking our summer vacations, usually in late summer, in Cape Cod. It was here where we discovered, "Christmas Tree Shops." For those of you who are unfamiliar with the chain, they're kinda like a bargain version of Bed Bath and Beyond, with a focus on holiday knick-knacks, 4th of July, Halloween, and of course Christmas. Being the crafty person she was, my mother loved the store, and we'd often have the car filled with Christmas gifts purchased from there for various family and friends. Keep in mind this was often late August.

Once I got a sizable income, I could finally contribute to the gifting en-masse. And wow did I. I'd often come home with bags full of gits from the mall, making a detailed shopping list, denoting the giftee, date of purchase, time, location and price. I made, and still do, a vow to never give out a gift card or money. Honestly, and maybe this is just me, I find it impersonal and lazy. If you're even giving the mental space to get someone a gift, put a bit of effort into trying to get to know them. A little effort shows that person you're thinking of them.

The advent of online shopping has made things a bit easier in terms of finding hard to locate items, and I do purchase things online, but I try my hardest to use brick and mortar stores. I worked retail, during the holidays, and I know how difficult it can be to survive in that industry so I try to give back. Though I do enjoy sitting in the food court of the mall on Black Friday, sipping a hot chocolate, watching the chaos unfold.

When it comes to the tree, I, as I am with many things(Asperger's makes me a lil weird), very specific. This also comes in part to just the way the tradition has gone, how we've done things since I can remember. For starters, its a real tree, ok? Don't give me that fake abomination. That is a flat out insult to me. I take this very seriously. Well, sort of. I understand if someone is elderly or allergic  or disabled, but if not....there's no reason you should have a fake tree. The tree is usually purchased about 12 days before the 25th. Next, the tree has to have a booty. I want it thick. Just like my s'mores. It's gotta be at least a foot taller than me too. Those are the guidelines that are to be followed.

When we get the tree home, we cut off lil branches and make room on the bottom...which is where one of the...more interesting stories comes from.

I don't remember the exact year, but it was the early 90s. The tree was up and in the stand and we'd  begun putting the lights up. Noticing a few branches he missed, my father, scholar that he is, got the clippers out and began cutting....right into the wire. The tree instantly went dark. Reacting without thinking, as kids often do, I screamed, distraught, "You ruined it! You ruined Christmas!", as I ran, crying into my room. Thankfully, it was a simple fix. Ever since, we joke about making sure we get all the cuts done before putting on the lights to avoid another, "Ruined Christmas."

The way it goes is this; Lights, garland, and then the ornaments. There are about 3 boxes of those, and the tradition there is, the oldest goes first, and when I say oldest, I mean oldest. A paper/carboard Santa covered in glitter that belonged to my great grandmother. It's easily over a century old and how its lasted this long I don't know. We flip a coin to decide who gets to do it, then go about the rest of the tree with every variety of ornament you can think of, from photos to LEGO to traditional glass. Christmas music is obviously setting the tone, and it takes anywhere from 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

Something that was told to me a few years ago, was that as a baby, for my first few Christmases, i'd do nothing but stare at the tree for hours on end, which oddly enough, I've found myself doing in recent years.

Under the tree is our Christmas village, much of it consisting of Department 56's, "Snow Village" series. Some of the figurines have seen better days, and i'm slowly starting to replace them in an effort to make the town more...lively...?

Throughout the month, i watched, and still do, many of the specials, from "A Charlie Brown Christmas", to "Rudolph", but one of my favorites would actually be David Letterman's annual Christmas episode, where Paul Shaffer would impersonate Cher, focusing especially on the fact she wore a muff, Jay Thomas would tell undoubtedly the best  talk show story of all time, and Darlene Love would wrap it up with an epic version of, "Christmas, Baby Please Come Home."

As tradition heavy as I am, I don't have a particular script I stick to on Christmas eve. Not anymore anyway. It used to be cookie delivery, but in recent years has mainly been about either tidying up or gift wrapping. I think I need a new Christmas eve tradition.

Christmas day. The big one, my Super Bowl. It used to start like this...

I'd wake up, make it approximately 2 feet out of my room before my mother intercepted me like a cop about to take down a criminal, and drag me into the bathroom to stylize my hair for photos. She was hilariously oblivious to the fact that -no one looks that good when they first wake up- This would fall on deaf ears however, as the hairspray turned my head into a helmet. Finally me and my father would get this point across and I made my way to the tree obstacle free.

I used to go first, always starting with the stocking, which has always been filled with snacks, batteries and socks, which, lemme tell you, become a much better gift as you get older. We'd then open one gift at a time, alternating person to person as we had, and continue to have, a glass of Martinelli's apple cider.

Over the years, this has stayed pretty much the same, with small variations here and there. I won't go deep into gifts because that's not what the day is about for me, but I will say that one of the best I ever got is a scrapbook my father made me a few years ago, featuring sort of a, "best of photo series" chronicling my life. There's also been the yearly Hess truck.

The rest of the day has varied throughout the years, but up till a few years ago, i'd spent the majority of the day with a friend a few blocks away. It's been difficult recently, due to the fact I simply don't have much family left and many friends have honestly moved on.

As I look back, I always fondly remember Christmas 2001. It was the first in our new house, and following September 11th, there was a real sense of togetherness and want for a good day. All told, we had over 75 people at the house, with some even having to park on the front lawn due to lack of parking on the block. It was kinda warm from what I recall, which resulted in opening the garage to accommodate more people. It would also be one of the last times the core four of me and my childhood friends would all be together. It would be my mothers last healthy Christmas, though we didn't know that at the time. It was simply put, the best Christmas I ever had. I was surrounded by people I wanted to be around, everyone had a good time and it was just so....ugh I know its lame to use this word, magical.

Remembering it...it seems like just yesterday and not nearly 20 years ago. So much has transpired. I've lost not just family and friends, I've been hit with Parkinson's, Asperger's, bum elbows, depression. I've lost so much and tried desperately to hang on to any facet of previous holidays that I am often disappointed in the end result as of late. No one is around, no one seems willing to interact with others due to the current climate of vitriol it seems. People are less tolerant, less patient and more distracted. It's sad what the holiday has become. It's also become so commercial that even the commercials are commercialized.

Still, I have small vestiges of goodness. I still bawl like a baby at the end of, "It's A Wonderful Life", my mothers favorite Christmas movie. I still name the Christmas tree, and I still have hope for that happy moment under the mistletoe.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

I am a softy. I love Santa. I love Christmas. Thanks for joining in. Come back again as I'll be posting more. Now go eat Turkey 
Im getting Daria a sock candle. 
Disney plus and thrust? 
If your Christmas tree sings, consult your doctor. Side effects may include eggnog,tinsel,holly,snowballs&tidings of good joy.
Indina Minzel has A Superman style jawline. She could cut metal with that thing. 
Fake trees suck. 
What even is cardi b? Alien? Malfunctioning robot?
Of course Al Roker is introducing the dough boy balloon. 
Chicago?Guess they couldn't afford Rockapella this year huh? 
Coke is a dick to birds. 
"How can we make people hate Jimmy Fallon even more? "
Jimmy Fallon has about as much talent as a school bus fire
Holy shit that trolls balloon is out of control
The weather outside is frightful...? Is Jim Cantore nearby?!?! Run!! We're all gonna die! 
Dinosaur balloon... Jeff Goldblum must be nearby. Must go faster. 
Oh wow Tony Stark can talk to animals now?
Cracker Barrel float? What would Brad's wife think about this? 
Only South Dakota gets a float? That's state-ist.