First Time Watching: Groundhog Day

I am taking a break from science fiction films. I would say it was an amicable split, but they’ve been haunting my dreams. There was one where a crocodile was chasing me, so I jumped a fence, but then it turned into a dinosaur and knocked over the fence like a domino.

It was a Gatorsaurus. I woke up and didn’t even know if it was a real thing, so I Googled it.

Well lo and behold, it was a monster in the 1960 film, The Lost World. The fact that I subconsciously created a Gatorsaurus, somehow combines two of the movies I’ve already seen for this series – Jurassic Park and Back to the Future.

I’m sure if I tried hard enough, I could make a connection to The Matrix, but the less I think about that movie, the better off I’ll be.

A few days ago, I watched Groundhog Day for the first time in my life. I now present to you my scattered thoughts, as they pertain to the film.

For some reason, I always thought Tom Hanks was the main character. Even when I saved the movie to my list on Netflix, I thought it was his face on the graphic.

Nope!

It was Bill Murray. You may remember him from such places as Chicago Cubs baseball games, or Space Jam. He was the guy who subbed himself into the game for the Tune Squad, even though he wasn’t on the official roster.

Yes, only I would associate Bill Murray with those two things and fail to mention his roles in other movies. You could probably guess why.

The opening credits reminded me of The Simpsons, as clouds filled the screen and names appeared on top of them.

I know Springfield is supposed to be a fictional town on The Simpsons, but in real life, it’s in Pennsylvania, which is also the setting for this movie.

Coincidence? I think so, but I also think not!

Bill Murray is a weatherman named, Phil (Coincidence? I think not!) who doesn’t seem to care about others. I guess that’s why he’s a weatherman – he doesn’t have to talk to people.

He just yells at the clouds, like Abe Simpson.

COINCIDENCE? I THINK…I’ll stop doing this now…NOT!

Phil, cameraman Larry, and new producer Rita, are all off to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to report on the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Nope, check that – they are going there to cover Groundhog Day. Silly me.

It is clear – to me, at least – that Phil likes Rita, but in an, “I don’t want her to know I like her, so I’ll do nothing to tip her off” sorta way. And since that is the starting point of their “relationship”, you just knew they’d get together by the end of the movie.

So there they are, in Punxsutawney. The most impossible 12-letter word to spell correctly on the first try.

Before we go any further, I must tell you that the concept of groundhog day has always confused me.

If the groundhog sees its shadow, that means it’s a sunny day, so shouldn’t that be a sign that spring is coming soon? That makes logical sense. But no, it’s a sign that we’re getting six more weeks of winter and grey skies. Huh?

I think we have this backwards, y’all. No wonder the prognostications are always wrong.

Also, can we define “sees its shadow”? Does that mean the groundhog actually looks down and makes some sort of affirmative signal to the official Groundhoggers holding clipboards (I don’t know what they’re called, or that they’re even holding clipboards, but it sounds right) that it, indeed, saw its shadow with its own two eyes?

Or, are we – humans – the ones who observe that there is a shadow and proclaim the groundhog saw it?

What if there was a shadow, but the groundhog was too distracted by something else and didn’t look down at the shadow? Then what? A false positive? A positive false?

Groundhog Day was the original “Fake News” but no one wants to accept it because it gets a bunch of people out of the office, and allows reporters to smile on camera and actually mean it.

I said what I said.

So, I was looking forward to how this movie portrayed the moment where the groundhog was rudely awoken from its slumber, to act as a prop for a yearly lighting experiment.

One of the official Groundhoggers held Punxsutawney Phil up to their ear and acted as if the groundhog whispered to them.

“Six more weeks of winter!”

Are you kidding me?

Did the production crew forget a background light and improvised on the fly, or are we just supposed to accept the fact that a groundhog shares bad news, via a whisper? You would think they’d send an email.

Anyway, the whole point of the film is that Weatherman Phil keeps reliving the same day, over and over again, starting at 6AM.

I’ve always heard the phrase, “It’s like groundhog day” and I knew that it meant something kept happening, but I didn’t know what it had to do with Groundhog Day – the tradition.

Turns out, it has nothing to do with it. It has to do with the movie called, Groundhog Day.

Oh.

STOP ASSUMING EVERYONE HAS SEEN EVERY MOVIE.

I feel like I shout that in each of these posts.

The concept was cool and was explored exactly how I’d hoped it would be. Phil slowly tries to get away with more and more stuff, knowing he won’t be held responsible, and no one will remember.

One of my new favourite movie quotes emerged, when he was talking to Mrs. Lancaster at the hotel.

“Do you ever have déjà vu, Mrs. Lancaster?”

“I don’t think so, but I could check with the kitchen.”

That is so good! I am still laughing about it.

As Phil keeps reliving the same day, he turns into a terrible human being who treats Rita like crumbs at the bottom of a chip bag.

After his many attempts to win her over end with a slap to the face, he turns suicidal, and we watch him kill himself multiple times. I know the movie is a comedy and it’s from 1993, but I could’ve done without the whole suicide montage.

Once Phil realizes he has no chance with Rita, and that he can’t kill himself, he turns into a good person and uses his knowledge of how the day will unfold to save others from their misfortunes.

Through this, he is able to win Rita over and she agrees to stay with him all night.

Phil’s radio goes off at 6AM and Rita is still in bed with him. It is no longer Groundhog Day. Phil is not stuck in an endless loop. Life is back to normal.

Yay!

So, what caused him to keep reliving the same day? I don’t know. They didn’t tell us.

You would think they’d tell us! Surely, there must have been a hint in the early scenes of the movie? Don’t think so.

That was disappointing.

I looked it up and apparently they were going to reveal that Phil’s scorned ex-girlfriend put a curse on him, but they cut it out. Thank goodness.

I also read that one idea was to reveal that Rita was living inside her own loop. I would’ve loved that. I even wondered if that’s what was going on, when Rita kept rejecting Phil. There was a look she gave in one scene that I thought hinted at her being in her own loop.

Alas, no.

I’m sitting here trying to figure out why Groundhog Day was the annual tradition they decided to associate with the plot of repeating the same day. You’d think they’d go for Daylight Saving Time, or February 29th.

Maybe I’m missing something in terms of symbolism.

All things considered, I liked the movie! It was fun, it was 90s based, and I knew what was going on the whole time.

I do wish there was some explanation for the main plot point, but anything they presented would’ve been hokey, so I’m fine that they didn’t.

On a random note, Bill Murray had very good posture in this movie. Just thought I’d throw that in.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on Groundhog Day. I hope you enjoyed it.

See you next week, as this series continues!

Have you seen Groundhog Day? What did you think of it?

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Spread Your Smart

The last four months have really highlighted the fact that people do not listen. Why should they? They know everything. Read their social media accounts. Listen to them at the store. Watch them sneak on the nightly news, when they are interviewed in a parking lot.

The level of arrogance and incompetence that has risen amid this pandemic is embarrassing.

Frankly, I am tired of it.

There is a severe lack of respect for anyone tasked with ensuring our safety right now. You want to second guess medical professionals because, somehow, you and your non-existent medical degree know what’s best?

Fine, go ahead. I am done fighting it. Let the ignorance reign supreme. We are here now.

No one likes to be told what to do – I get it – but life is a team sport, and we cannot all be the Captain of the team. Sometimes, you have to be a good teammate. You have to be someone who cheers for the success of others and helps them along the way.

And if you do not know how to be a good teammate after being involved in dozens and dozens of group projects in school, then you were probably the one who relied on someone else to do your part.

Humanity is constantly in a tug of war contest with itself. The funny thing is, we all want the same thing. I am not talking about the extravagant things. I am talking about the core of our very essence.

We want to be happy. Right? That is at the root of everything.

You can create a flow chart from here to Timbuktu, branching off of the word, “Happy”. I think this is why people do not listen. When they hear something that takes away from their comfort, or detracts from their temporary state of happiness, they push back.

“How dare you be happy, at the expense of me?”

Grow up, man. People talk about how millennials were coddled with participation trophies, well what excuse does every other generation have for behaving the same way?

I remember in high school, we learned about “globalization” and how the world felt like it was getting closer together because of the internet, and our ability to reach people far away, in seconds.

On paper, it sounded magnificent.

But in a lot of ways, I feel like we have squandered the opportunity. It just feels like there is constant yelling going on. People forgetting to think before they speak, or choosing not to change their words, before pressing, “Send”.

As I said before, there is a lot of arrogance and incompetence out there, and most of it is a result of an unwillingness to listen and understand.

No one ever changes their mind on an issue because someone replies to them on social media with the opposing view. I do not know why people waste their time trying to convince others of something they will never believe.

To that end, it feels like negativity will win the day and those of us seeking an alternative must do so by either looking away, or scrolling faster.

With all of that in mind, an idea came to me. It may not be original, but it is conveniently packaged in a three-word phrase that you can tuck away in your wallet.

Spread Your Smart.

What do I mean by “Smart”?

1. The things about which we are knowledgeable. They could be books, video games, the thing we went to school for, cooking, art, sports, history, the bus schedule, animals, or even something as simple as tying your shoe. You get the point.

2. Our passions and interests, most of which will be things we are knowledgable about.

3. How we treat others. Do we say “thank you”? Do we hold doors open for people? Do we help the elderly down a snow bank? Are we nice? Are we welcoming?

Your “Smart” is, essentially, the things that make you, you. Except, we’re leaving the negativity at home.

Spread your smart, like butter on toast. Make sure it reaches every corner.

Think of this as a version of, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Share your knowledge, share your passions, and share your kindness.

This is not about all of us staying in our own lane, although it kind of is. We are all experts in our own way. Where we get in trouble is when we try and be experts on things we know nothing about, and then disguise it as an opinion under “freedom of speech.”

Those long answer questions on exams in school, worth 15 marks, only turned us into terrific bull-poopers, who could make stuff up on the spot and try and pass them off as factual, or relevant. In actuality, we were just trying to fill up the empty lines because we felt like we had to.

I read in a book once, something along the lines of, “The world is full of opportunities just begging you to be quiet. Seize every single one of those opportunities.”

In other words, we won’t learn anything, if we’re always the one talking.

So, give yourself a friendly reminder to zip it, every now and then.

They say that we are who we surround ourselves with. Social media has given us the opportunity to surround ourselves with people we will never physically stand next to.

By spreading your smart, you could be adding puzzle pieces to those around you. Because aren’t we all just a giant puzzle, taking pieces from others?

I should note that “Spread Your Smart” does not just entail sharing pieces of yourself. It means you are growing your knowledge base, by listening, or doing your own research. I hear the internet has everything.

Or maybe you are spreading your smart by finally opening your eyes to hobbies you stubbornly ignored in the past, just because they were easier to scoff at, or joke about.

I may not be a perfect representative for this “Spread Your Smart” idea. Until recently, I felt uncomfortable sharing all of my blog posts on Twitter.

Sounds silly, right?

I felt like I was bothering people by filling their news feed with a link to a post about stuff they probably wouldn’t read. The whole, “no one cares, though” phrase echoed in my head and still does with some things.

Somehow, I got over it because – I care, though.

Still, I feel stifled when it comes to other interests. I wish I could just tweet about wrestling – of all things – but, “no one cares, though.” It is tough when you have an interest and there is no one with whom to talk about it.

Maybe you can relate.

The thing I have learned from WordPress is that if someone writes about something they are passionate about, then maybe one of their readers will develop an interest in it, too.

This community can be a bit peer-pressurey in a very subtle, but good way.

Heck, I did not think about running, until a few bloggers wrote about it. All of a sudden, there I was running down the sidewalk, breathing in freshly cut grass, and thinking about how dumb I was to keep running further and further away from the place I would ultimately be returning to.

Why?

Because someone else “spread their smart” and it had an impact on me.

That is the point I am trying to make with this post, which is coming off as a bit preachy, but ignore that. I SAID IGNORE IT.

In a world of influencers and marketers, who never try to hide their desire to sell us something, I think we are most influenced by those who are not trying to sell us anything.

We are influenced by personal stories, or at least, I am.

This whole, “yelling at people until they change their mind and see things your way” is a waste of time.

Sure, that technique may work on large corporations, or anyone who has a Public Relations department. But on an individual person, whose customer service representative is themselves – with a louder voice – it is not worth it.

All these online profiles, and instead of sharing the things that make them happy, a lot of people go out of their way to upset others.

Will that ever stop, or have we given up hope?

The idea that one person can change the world is a daunting one. Do any of us actually believe we are that “one”. Probably not. There are millions of dominos to knock over.

But what if we were all one domino, on the outer edges, and fell at the same time?

And maybe we do it by focusing on what makes us happy and sharing the things we know, the things we like, and the way in which we treat others.

Imagine how that could spread.

Spread Your Smart.

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First Time Watching: The Matrix

Oh look, another movie from the science fiction genre that I’m watching for the first time. It’s almost as if I’ve been intentionally avoiding them, my whole life.

Key word: “intentionally”.

The Matrix came out in 1999 and for the last 21 years, I’ve only known one thing about the movie. Sorta.

When I was about 10, or 11-years-old – this would’ve been the summer of 2002 or 2003 – I was regularly called upon to pitch a few innings, for my softball team.

In one game, there was a line drive right back at me. I leaned back a little and caught the ball right before it took off my head. My teammates came over and were like, “Woah! You did The Matrix!”

And I was like, “Haha yeah, The Matrix.”

“Haha yeah, (repeat what the other person said)” is a reply format that will get you through most situations in life.

The same play happened to me during an intramural game in university. A line drive right back to the pitcher, except I don’t think I “did The Matrix“. I caught the ball in front of my face and quickly turned to pick off the runner at first base.

I overheard the players on the other team say, “How’d he do that?”

And I thought, “Matrix“.

That was the extent of my knowledge of the movie. I didn’t even know what it meant. I just thought that leaning back and doing something cool(?) was called, “Matrix”.

NOPE!

Bless my innocence.

Now that I’ve seen the movie, I know it comes from the scene where the main character, Neo, is leaning backwards to avoid the slow-motion bullets coming at him.

Ohhh, so my teammates took a 12-second scene in the movie, The Matrix, and said I basically did the same thing on a baseball field, and called it, “The Matrix.”

It took me almost 20 years to figure this out. This is what happens when you assume everyone has seen the same movies as you.

Anyway, on to the rest of the movie.

Most of the time I was watching, I felt like an idiot. What is this movie about? Is it actually simple? Why are there no normal scenes?

I’ll be honest, I had to open up its Wikipedia page for some guidance.

The description was: “It depicts a dystopian future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside the Matrix, a simulated reality created by intelligent machines to distract humans while using their bodies as an energy source.”

I read that about four times before I gave up.

So, basically, humans and robots got into a war and the robots won, but there’s this rebellious group living in a place called Zion (not Williamson; this is a basketball joke), lead by someone named, Morpheus, trying to get the planet back to normal.

Morpheus really likes wearing sunglasses, everywhere he goes. Someone should’ve told him that “Less is More-pheus” but they didn’t have the guts, I assume.

Morpheus and his group track down this hacker who goes by the name, Neo, because Morpheus believes he is “The One” who can defeat the evil machines.

It took me half the movie to figure that out. At many points, I found myself wondering how anyone came up with the premise for this movie.

Was there a memo sent out to every Hollywood writer in 1997 and 1998, telling them to start putting together unrealistic scripts that play into Y2K paranoia, and the idea that computers will one day be our leaders?

Personally, I don’t know why people are so concerned about robots taking over and controlling us. I mean, WE COULD STOP MAKING THEM AT ANY POINT.

Also, people already don’t listen to people. We’re not going to listen to robots. Pour some water on them and watch Netflix.

Back to Neo, for a second. Every time they said his name, I thought of the singer, Ne-Yo. I was annoyed at myself.

The movie didn’t captivate me until about 80 minutes in, when one of Morpheus’ people – Cypher – turned on him and the crew, by shooting Tank, but failing to make sure he was dead, which ultimately meant he came back and killed Cypher.

Is this what names are going to be like in the future? Is this why celebrities can’t name their children anything normal? What do they know that we don’t?

“Hi, I’d like you to meet my son, Compass, and my daughter, Vinyl. This is our dog, Drops of Jupiter.” 

That is when everything started to click for me and I became invested in the plot.

When Neo and Trinity went back into the Matrix to save Morpheus from the machines aka evil white men, who kidnapped him, they entered their headquarters(?) wearing black trench coats, while heavily armed.

I’ll be honest, that scene made me uncomfortable. It was too similar to Columbine for me. I looked it up to see if anyone felt the same way, and apparently, a lot of people did.

In fact, The Matrix came out three weeks before the Columbine shooting, and people were blaming this movie – among other things – as possible inspirations.

I am not here to guess what made those two individuals do what they did. However, I can see why people immediately pointed to this movie and tried to make the connection.

I made the link in two seconds, 21 years after the fact. Whether the link actually exists, that’s not up to me to decide.

There were a lot – A LOT – of bullets fired in this movie. It was amazing how many of them missed the intended target. And by “amazing” I mean it was borderline unbelievable.

Anyway, the Agents/Machine/Evil White Men with Superiority Complexes kill Neo, but because love conquers all and Trinity kissed Neo’s corpse on the lips, he came back to life with more powers than ever before, and defeats Agent Smith, before exiting the matrix.

Got all that?

We have a Neo, Trinity, Morpheus, Tank, Cypher…and an Agent Smith. Did they just give up on coming up with abnormal names? Or are robots just really simple?

The movie ended and I’m not sure what happened, even after reading Wikipedia.

So, yeah, I am not smarter than a 5th Grader, or at least not as smart as I thought I was, after watching this movie.

The Matrix is rated 8.7/10 on IMDB. I would probably give it half of that, just because I didn’t know what was going on, or care, until the last 40 minutes. The movie was 2 hours and 16 minutes long.

The things I do for a blog post…

I forgot to mention that some scenes randomly ended by the screen fading to black, and I half-expected to see commercials, or a video game cutscene.

Very 1999, if you ask me.

I think I need a break from the science fiction genre for a bit. Too much thinking involved.

Stay tuned to see which genre I land in next week.

If you’ve seen The Matrix, what did you think of it?

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Regis

Television icon, Regis Philbin, has passed away at the age of 88. No one spent more hours on American television; no one was more welcome inside our home, via a television.

I had known about the morning show, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, but my first real introduction to the brilliance that was Regis Philbin, was when he hosted the brand new game show, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, in the summer of 1999.

He was so perfect in that role, elevating every moment. He was the best.

You have this premise where an everyday person has a chance to win a life-changing amount of money, and seated across from them is Regis, who never failed to accentuate the serious moments, while filling the gaps with humour.

My favourite TV personalities – and this is a blog post for another day – are the ones who can seamlessly transition between serious topics, and humour, without ever making it feel uncomfortable or contrived.

As I’m writing this, I realize that Regis was probably the first one to introduce me to that style. He made it okay to be both funny, and sincere, in the same breath.

I like to think I’ve adopted a similar style, both on this blog and in real life. Subconsciously, he probably played a part in that.

My favourite comedian is the late, great Don Rickles, with whom Regis was good friends. Don Rickles was effortlessly hilarious. He would make a joke, and even if it was an insult, you’d feel loved. That’s a real gift.

Don and Regis, together, were magic, whether it was Don as a guest on Regis’s show, or both of them as guests on late night talk shows. I’ve been going through YouTube clips of them and it is pure joy, every time.

The two of them were in a class of their own and I can only imagine the laughs they’re catching up on right now.

Regis Philbin was, basically, the first shift babysitter whenever I was sick and stayed home from school, as a kid. Bob Barker was the second shift babysitter.

I would tune into Live! with Regis and Kelly at 9AM, while under a blanket on the couch.

I read that when Kelly Ripa became his co-host, the young-audience demographics increased by 80%. While that may be true, and Kelly was a fine co-host, I was watching for Regis.

Then again, I was 10, so I probably didn’t even qualify for that demographic.

He made being on TV look so easy. He was in midday form, at 9AM. I especially enjoyed the Travel Trivia segment, where he would get to talk to that day’s contestant, over the phone. And then when he would reach over to spin the wheel, to see what they were playing for, I’d always worry he’d fall out of his chair because the wheel looked far away.

Why couldn’t Kelly spin the wheel? Or, get Gelman  – the producer – to do it. At least put the wheel a bit closer to Regis!

These were the thoughts going through my little brain, as all I wanted was for Regis to be safe.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was at home, sick. When 9AM rolled around, I turned on the TV to watch Live! with Regis and Kelly, but they weren’t there. Breaking News coverage had already begun.

That is how I found out what was happening.

In the weeks and months that followed, Regis felt like a reassuring presence and a pillar of strength, during a time of uncertainty. I always thought about that, even years later, whenever I tuned in and saw the American flag sitting on the desk in front of him and Kelly.

It can be a weird feeling when a celebrity passes away. People, like me, only knew Regis Philbin through a television screen. I only saw what the camera showed. Sometimes, that can be deceiving.

I’ve been in the audience of a television show before, some hosts can flip a switch and turn into someone else when the camera is off.

And yet, I never thought that Regis was trying to be anyone, but himself. All of the messages online, from the people who knew him, have made it abundantly clear that he was universally loved and the person we welcomed into our home, via a television, was the same person who would’ve walked through our front door.

Even if it was a small one, Regis Philbin had an impact on my life. I can promise you I am not the only one who can say that.

Thanks for being you, Regis.

There will never be another.

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Where In The World Are The Toronto Blue Jays Playing?

The Major League Baseball season opens up on Thursday and the Toronto Blue Jays do not have a home. While the Canadian government allowed the team to hold summer camp in Toronto at Rogers Centre – while staying at the hotel attached to the stadium – they denied the team an exemption that would allow them, and their opponents, to cross the border without being required to quarantine for 14 days.

It was the right decision.

It also begs the question: why are 29 U.S. markets okay with their local baseball team travelling around the country and possibly bringing the coronavirus back home with them?

Is Canada the only adult in the room right now? Should they bring more juice boxes to the meetings?

Currently, MLB players are tested fro COVID-19 every other day. Between July 9 – July 16, 10,548 samples were taken, which resulted in 6 positives – 5 players, 1 staff member.

Dare I say those numbers are good? Yes, we all want it to be zero, but to have only six, is a good sign. What happens when teams start travelling from city to city and players leave their hotels? I don’t know. We’ll find out.

As for the Blue Jays, where do they go now?

General Manager, Ross Atkins, claimed yesterday that the team had “well over five solid contingency plans.”

WELL OVER FIVE SOLID CONTINGENCY PLANS.

I love those six words. You can analyze each one, as if they’re frames in the Zapruder film.

That tells me the Blue Jays have options. It also tells me they’re trying to figure out which bad situation is the best one.

Their Spring Training home, and newly-renovated training facility, is in Dunedin, Florida. That would be nice, except for the fact that it’s in Florida. Enough said.

Buffalo is another possibility, as it is the home of their Triple-A affiliate, Buffalo Bisons. However, it is a minor league stadium, complete with lighting that isn’t up to MLB standards – both for the players and the television audience.

There is also the issue of, “This place is small, how are we expected to adhere to social distancing protocols?”

What about television production? The Blue Jays aren’t going to have their usual television crew cross the border to produce the games. Are there reliable camera operators who know how to film, and present baseball games on TV?

Edit: The production teams for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres would be more than capable.

Will Instant Replay capabilities be available?

I am probably missing a bunch of other issues that would need resolving, but as you can see, there are so many variables that factor into this and make it a lot more complicated than just, “there’s a baseball field in Buffalo, they can play a nine-inning game on it.”

Oh, one more thing – the Jays’ players have informed the front office that it is their preference to play home games at a major league ballpark.

Sure, it makes them sound like a bunch of prima donnas who are being picky, but they should be picky. I mean, if I were in their position and playing in someone else’s major league stadium was an option, I would push for that option.

A minor league stadium is not going to have the amenities these players are used to. Not only that, the feel of the stadium is going to hit them right in the face the moment they get off the bus every day.

They’re going to think, “Aw man, back to our minor league stadium. What a joke.” Or something along those lines.

Heck, when I was a kid playing softball, we played at different ballparks. Just looking at the schedule, I knew when we were going to have a game at one of the better locations. The whole aura is different and it excites you.

When you show up to a rinky-dink field, you know it, and you think about it, if only briefly.

Yes, these are professionals, who get paid very well to play baseball, but if their preference is a major league field, I can understand that.

Also, I’m not a fan of the bullpens being in foul territory in Buffalo. We can’t afford an outfielder to trip over a mound, especially in a shortened season like this one.

Yes, I looked at a satellite map of the stadium.

So, where else could they go? I’ve seen Baltimore and Washington as possibilities.

PNC Park in Pittsburgh seemed to emerge as a front-runner yesterday. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ team President, Travis Williams, even put out a press release saying it would be a “monumental challenge for our staff, but leaning in to help others is what Pittsburghers do.”

If there isn’t a restaurant called Pitts Burgers in Pittsburgh, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Teams don’t put out press releases just for fun. And, oh yeah, the new General Manager of the Pirates is Ben Cherington, who just spent three years with the Blue Jays as VP of Baseball Operations.

I don’t think “cahoots” is the right word in this situation but, needless to say, the Blue Jays “know a guy”.

Is this viable? Are we really going to have two teams sharing a stadium? Sure, they won’t be there at the same time, but cleaning and sanitizing that stadium is going to be essential, if this is going to work.

Also, is there space? Can the Blue Jays put all of their stuff somewhere and not move it?

I don’t know what the Blue Jays plan on doing to uphold their end of sponsorship agreements that include signage in the outfield and/or around the stadium. Companies pay good money to have their logo featured in places the camera will catch it.

Will the team be rolling into town with signage? Will they be in the form of tarps, that cover the seats? Will they somehow take down the Pirates’ sponsorship signage on the outfield wall and put up their own? I’m not even sure that’s physically possible.

Will all advertisements be done digitally, via the television broadcast?

So many questions and I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the team hasn’t announced who is filling the last three spots in the starting rotation.

The Blue Jays first home game is July 31, so whatever they do, has to be done fast.

Would playing all of their games on the road be an option? As in, if they have a home game against Baltimore, they’d just go to Baltimore and play at Camden Yards, while batting second.

I don’t know if that’s a last resort, or if it’s the simplest solution.

It would require a lot of extra travel and strip the team of any benefit to a homestand that lasts more than one series. Instead of staying “home” for a week, they’d have to hop on a plane every three days.

It’s not like they’re leaving the Eastern time zone at all, but all those extra trips are another layer of annoyance they don’t need. It would also hinder the players’ ability to properly rehab and recover from games.

My only hope is that the team held a meeting before they left Toronto (they play exhibition games in Boston on Tuesday and Wednesday), where everyone in the room realized that they can either embrace this situation and accept it for what it is, or they can look at it as an inconvenience that they’ll never overcome.

In all sports that are about to resume play, I firmly believe the teams that are going to be successful are the ones that are able to embrace the weirdness and not harp on the fact that everything is a nuisance.

The Blue Jays face a unique opportunity where this situation can bring the team closer together because all they have are each other.

This season will either turn into a touching 30 for 30 documentary, chronicling a team’s determination to push on and play for a country, after being left without a home.

Or, they’ll win 25 games and we’ll never speak of this summer again.

Either way, baseball games will be played and we’ll all be reminded of how abnormal this whole thing is as soon as we see the fake fans in the stands. That will get old very quickly, I’m sure, especially if they stand up for the 7th inning stretch.

“There is no place like home” and “Home is where the heart is” are two phrases that don’t really apply to the Blue Jays right now. Perhaps I can offer up a different one.

Round third and go home.

Here’s hoping the Blue Jays are currently getting the wave.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

First Time Watching: Jurassic Park

I have this memory from when I was really young – maybe four-years-old. It was nighttime and I was sitting at the kitchen table with construction paper, scissors, and a glue stick. Before I knew it, I had created a dinosaur. The body was green and the head was blue, if I remember correctly.

I credit that as my first piece of art, ever. It was also my best.

We kept it for a long time; it might still be around somewhere. I don’t know what inspired me to make a dinosaur. Come to think of it, maybe I was trying to make Dudley The Dragon. Nah, it was a dinosaur.

Anyway, what I am getting at is this: the first dinosaur shown in Jurassic Park was a brachiosaurus, which looked exactly like my first piece of art, but without the green body and blue head.

So, that was trippy.

If you look up a picture of a brachiosaurus and compare it to Dudley The Dragon, they are quite similar, except Dudley has better posture.

As a fan of the Toronto Raptors, I’ve heard their origin story a million times, and how the name of the team came about because of the popularity of Jurassic Park.

“It was all the rage”, as they said in the nineties. So, based on that, I knew at a young age that Jurassic Park was a cultural phenomenon.

Jurassic Park had been on my radar for this series, and then Becky randomly mentioned it to me, so I decided I’d watched it next. A few days ago, I did just that.

This is how it went.

Imagine you bring in a box of a dozen donuts to work and keep them on your desk, for people to pass by and take what they want. You know which donuts are there at the start and you know who takes what. You witness that box go from full to empty.

Some movies start like that.

Now imagine you receive a text from your co-worker that says, “Donuts at my desk.” You get up and walk over to grab one. When you get there, there are five and a half donuts left. Who leaves half a donut behind? You don’t know. You weren’t there. You have to put the pieces together yourself and maybe look around the office for clues.

That is how Jurassic Park started.

The movie dropped me into the lives of people I could only assume were main characters and forced me to figure out who they were, where they were from, what they did, and how my line of internal questioning turned into a Backstreet Boys song.

There was too much backstory, for my liking. I felt like I was in the dark a lot. Not to be disrespectful, but if they had cut out the first 20-30 minutes, I wouldn’t have missed it.

It could’ve been a movie that brought in the donuts – explains everything from the start – but no, they wanted us to figure out who left half a donut behind, before getting to the meat and potatoes.

So much food.

Okay, was Newman (from Seinfeld) obligated to be in everything in the nineties? Good for him. Wayne Knight plays the role of cunning nemesis very well.

Jeff Goldblum was also in the movie. I thought his character looked familiar, but I didn’t realize it was him until I read Wikipedia.

Apparently, Samuel L. Jackson was in the movie? T pointed this out to me. I had no clue the character with the cigarette in his mouth was him. I liked that guy. He said, “Hold onto your butts” a few times, which reminded me I once used that phrase on my blog.

Between that and my dinosaur craft, I basically created this movie without knowing it.

I had a hard time following along with character names. I felt like I was an hour into it and only knew three names: Dr. Grant, Dr. Malcolm, and Timmy. Don’t ask me what Dr. Grant’s first name is – I thought it was three different names at one point.

Wait, it’s Alan? Since when? Wasn’t it Jeff? Or Grant? No…that’s his last name.

See my problem?

Dr. Hammond reminded me of Dale and Herschel from The Walking Dead, so that’s who I saw whenever he was on the screen.

During the Dino DNA cartoon portion, when they explained how they were making dinosaurs, I Googled: “Are dinosaurs making a comeback?”

And wouldn’t you know, there was an article that said they want to REVERSE EVOLUTION and turn chickens into dinosaurs. The article was from 2018 and said this could happen in five years.

So, if a pandemic, robots, and global warming aren’t your cup of apocalyptic tea, don’t worry, the dinosaurs will be here in 2023. Please form an orderly queue at Home Depot, and start building your underground bunkers now.

HAVE WE GONE MAD?

People need to stop. Go home. Stay home. Be home. Home. HOME.

Quote me on that. It fits any and all contexts. 

The only thing you need to reverse evolution on are Oreos. Take it apart and eat half at a time. BAM, science. Leave the chickens alone.

Long may they cluck.

More than a handful of times, I found myself opening new tabs and quickly looking at other websites, while the movie played on the left side of the screen. It didn’t hold my attention, or make me think I was missing anything.

I’m sure I missed a lot, but it didn’t feel that way.

I did enjoy the technological tropes of the power being out, and the phone being dead, and discussions of “unplugging it and plugging it back in”. That was fun.

And leave it to a kid, at a computer, to be the hero of the moment and get the security systems back online. I laughed when the camera zoomed in on her clicking the mouse. Oh, 1993, you were so funny.

Overall, though, I found the movie to be boring.

I walked away from it thinking, “People were so excited about that? That is what inspired the Toronto Raptors?”

As I sit here typing this, I don’t understand what was so great about it. I am sorry to say that. I’m sure this says more about me, than it does the movie.

I expected more destruction. I was lead to believe that dinosaurs took over a theme park and wrecked havoc. They did, sorta, but…meh.

Little Timmy should’ve died at least four times, probably five. Don’t tell me kids are resilient. He didn’t fail a math test. He was attacked by a dinosaur, and an electric fence!

And the whole, “If you don’t move, they can’t see you” thing felt like it was only convenient in sparing the lives of the main characters. That guy who was sitting on the toilet wasn’t moving, and he was chewed to bits.

Also, did only two people die in this movie? Really? That’s it? That was my unofficial body count. Someone, correct me if I’m wrong.

By the time we reached the final sequence, I was pretty convinced the main characters were going to get out unscathed. There was no suspense in it for me.

What I would’ve liked to see, was this: 

Start the movie inside Jurassic Park. Maybe have a cheerful ticket-taker at the front gate, telling people where they can find the gift shop. Build it up as this happy-go-lucky place that has been fully operational for six months and hasn’t had any issues.

Then, one day, a group of teenagers (or a kid) harasses and taunts a dinosaur by throwing things at it – sticks, bottles, food wrappers, dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, etc.

There would be some symbolism (maybe imagery?) with the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. The keen viewer would be like, “Look! They want us to connect the dots of evolution from dinosaur to chicken vis-a-vis, those nuggets!”

It would be a talking point in the movie theatre lobby, for sure.

And then the dinosaur just snaps. The other dinosaurs join her because “Dinos Dine Together”. It’s their take on, “Ducks Fly Together”. Animals like mottos.

This happens on a sunny day because the juxtaposition of a dinosaur rampage with great weather, would be a great literary device for teachers to use in classrooms.

If there is a Tiny Tom Donuts stand in the theme park – it gets toppled. Maybe the dinosaur picks up a minivan (the passengers have gotten out) and hurls it into the side of a mountain. Stray bags of Lays chips are trampled.

“Bet you can’t eat just one, now!” is the message the dinosaurs will be sending.

This takeover goes on for 34 days, or however long they want the movie to be, and it becomes a stand-off between dinosaurs and humans. On Day 6, they eat a helicopter.

You get the point. I wanted carnage and psychological warfare.

I didn’t want a bunch of dinosaurs playing hide-n-seek in the dark, only attacking the characters we didn’t care about. Where was the fun in that?

I wanted to like Jurassic Park – the concept seemed cool, but I just couldn’t get into it.

I’m sorry.

The logo was really good. Did I mention the logo? I love the logo. In my version of the movie, that logo would be pressed on every hamburger bun, frisbee, button, hat, pencil, bumper sticker, Q-Tip – you name it.

If there is open real estate, the logo is going there.

I think what we’ve learned here today is that I should write my own movie, or open my own theme park. Maybe both.

Look at that, I got through this whole post without even mentioning the fact that I fell asleep halfway through the movie and had to continue the next day. It was the very rare, night-day doubleheader.

How do you feel about the things I just said? What are your thoughts on Jurassic Park

What should I watch next?

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Return To Sports Fandom

Are sports an escape from the world, or is the world an escape from sports? Silly question, right? I have thought about this a lot over the last few days and I think my answer is the latter.

I cannot remember a time when I didn’t like sports. They quickly became my world. The world, as the rest of you know it, is what I go to in the moments I want to get away from sports. It is my escape from sports.

It has been 128 days since the NBA put their league on pause, which created a domino effect around the world.

That is when most people started taking COVID-19 seriously.

Sports were on pause. Life was on pause. Even the calendar stopped moving. Days didn’t exist anymore. Time did not pass.

It was like we all entered Narnia and kept coming back through the wardrobe to look at the clock, only to see that five seconds had gone by.

We’re all going to tell our grandkids about how the last three weeks of March 2020 felt like they took four months/six months/a year to complete. And they’ll laugh and think we’re using hyperbole (if they even know what that means), while we shudder at the memory. 

I did not know what I would do without sports. Who am I without them? I have never gone more than a couple of days without consuming sports in some way. And now I couldn’t.

It was like a Dementor stopped by and sucked out my soul.

I remember somewhere around Day 13 without sports – I was struggling. What do I do at night? What do I look forward to during the day? There were just too many empty hours.

Sports television networks quickly caught on that they can show old games at night. You would think I’d find that appeasing. To an extent, I did. It just depended on the game.

Any game from the early 2000s, I was in. The Raptors playoff run from last year? Let’s go. The Blue Jays playoff games from 2015 and 2016? Giddy up.

But the random regular season baseball games from 2015? I couldn’t do it. I swear, they were showing the same regular season games over and over.

All they had to do was dig up any Blue Jays game from 2002 and I would’ve been hooked.

I found that if I wasn’t emotionally connected to the game, I didn’t care.

You know the quote about how people may forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel? The same can be applied to sports.

I remember when the Librarian at my elementary school taught us how to take notes from an overhead projector. We were to read a paragraph and only write down the important parts.

When we look back, we aren’t going to remember every at-bat of a baseball game. We aren’t going to remember every goal in a hockey game. We aren’t going to remember every basket of a basketball game. We aren’t going to remember every touchdown in a football game.

Instead, we remember the moments and associate a feeling to them. At least, I do.

I was reminded of this last night, when a Blue Jays playoff game from October 9, 2016 was on TV.

I was at that game. It was Game 3 of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers. With a win, the Blue Jays would sweep the series. Last night was the first time I had seen the game on TV.

I didn’t remember anything that happened between the national anthems and the last at-bat. A game full of highlights, yet none of them looked familiar to me. There was even a player on the Rangers – Jared Hoying – who I had never seen, or heard of, before.

That is rare of me to not recognize a player’s name.

When I think of that game, I think of it as being one of the best sporting events I’ve ever attended because of how I felt, leaving the stadium.

The game went to the bottom of the 10th inning, tied at 6. The Blue Jays had runners at first (Encarnacion) and second (Donaldson), with one out and Russell Martin at the plate.

This is where my memory of that game finally kicks in.

Martin hit a ground ball to the shortstop, who threw it to second, to start the double play. The second basemen, and most hated person in Canada, at the time, Rougned Odor, then threw the ball to first basemen, Mitch Moreland.

But it was a bad throw! It bounced away from Moreland. Martin was safe at first and Donaldson was heading home.

I remember Donaldson was almost halfway down the third base line, before the crowd collectively realized what he was doing. Then he slid head first into home plate and the party was on.

I hugged and jumped around with my friends and the strangers next to me. It was wild.

My memory has erased 99% of the game and yet I’ll never forget that night at Rogers Centre.

There are more important things in the world than sports. I realize this. However, if sports leagues are going to attempt to come back during the middle of a pandemic, who am I to tell them that it might be a bad idea?

Soccer has been back for awhile now, but I’ve never really cared much for soccer, so that did nothing to quench my thirst.

Formula 1 returned a few weeks ago in Austria. Leading up to the Friday Practice, I was nervous. Who gets nervous about watching sports? Especially me?

Oh, but I was.

What if I tuned in and didn’t enjoy it? What if I was bored? What if I forgot how to watch sports? Do I need to build my attention span back up?

I was worried for nothing. Everything about the Austrian Grand Prix reminded me why I love sports. The drama. The unpredictability. The chaos. It was wonderful.

Now, a new baseball season starts next Thursday. Basketball resumes on July 30th. Hockey comes back on the first day of August, and there will be games all day, every day.

How in the world is it already August?

My favourite sport is whichever one is currently in-season. And now they are all in-season!

As Taylor Swift once said, this is a nightmare dressed as a daydream.

I’m excited that I’m finally going to have sports to watch. I am worried about games in different sports overlapping and forcing me to switch channels, though.

But I guess that’s a good problem to have right now.

August has always been the worst month to be a sports fan, and now it’s going to be the best month.

I am well-aware that all of this can go sideways, any minute, because these leagues, and their plans, are at the mercy of the virus.

I think the NHL and NBA could be okay, if their bubbles are bulletproof. I am not a health and safety expert, though.

The MLB plan freaks me out (Again, not a health and safety expert) because every team is going to be travelling to a new place every three days, or so. It also doesn’t help that the Blue Jays are a Canadian team. I think the league forgot.

At this point, the Blue Jays don’t have clearance from the federal government to play their home games in Toronto.

Something about the whole, LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE COMING FROM THE U.S. AND POSSIBLY BRINGING THE VIRUS WITH THEM, doesn’t sit well with them.

That being said, it sounds like it could happen, which would require both the Blue Jays, and their opponents, to quarantine at the hotel attached to the stadium.

Sure, the players won’t get to go outside and roam around the city, but if they want to play baseball this season, it’s what they have to do.

Insert rant about how baffled I am that it’s so hard for people to stay inside. The sun will be there next summer. Let’s make sure you are, too.

We live in a bizarre world right now.

Everyone is frustrated. Everything is cake. Everywhere is not like it was six months ago.

But sports are coming back, whether we think they should, or not. And if they can provide us with some much-needed joy and happiness, then sign me up.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned enough about myself over the last 128 days.

And one of the things I have learned is that I am ready to be a sports fan again.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

First Time Watching: Back to the Future

It is no secret that I am not much of a movie-watcher. Movies don’t entice me the way television shows, or sports, do. Also, where am I supposed to watch movies? I’m talking about the “classics” that everyone raves about.

Watch this, watch that, watch the other! Okay, but how? Where?

A lot of the movies I have seen, I saw at school. Movies like: Remember The Titans, V for Vendetta, Rear Window, Rudy, and a whole slew of horror films in a Grade 12 Horror Fiction class.

I grew up on Toy StoryHome Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and a bunch of sports movies. Oh, and whatever movies the Family channel was pumping out in the early 2000s.

I did watch movies at the theatre, sometimes, but I wouldn’t say I was there more than two or three times a year.

It’s been over ten years and I’m still mad they got rid of the Pizza Hut from the concessions. Do you know how perfect a personal pan pizza is in a movie theatre? It’s like water in a fish tank. It was meant to be. And they got rid of it.

I will always be mad about it.

In the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered what I’ve been missing out on when it comes to popular movies. So, in an effort to squash my stubbornness and expand my knowledge in the world of theatre (pronounced in a pretentious manner), I figured I’d watch well-known movies for the first time and turn it into a blog series.

Because let’s be honest, I wasn’t going to put in the effort to watch these movies and not make some sort of show out of it.

Movie Zero in this “First Time Watching” series is Back to the Future because I am constantly hearing about how great it is, mainly from Aaron.

The other night, I watched it. I am not going to recap the movie; I am just going to share my thoughts on it, while referencing various plot points. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, stay for the humour.

Back to the Future is from 1985 and I love the way movies were filmed back then. Even movies from the 90s – there’s just a certain simplicity to them. Whether it’s the camerawork, scene sequence, dialogue, or images of a simpler time, filling the screen, I love it.

So, when this movie started out with the camera panning across a bunch of clocks, and a television set with a news report, on top of other things, I was hooked. I was in. It gave me a very, Honey I Shrunk The Kids vibe.

And then Marty McFly walks through the door and the camera doesn’t immediately pan up to show his face. They build the anticipation like, “Who is this person? Do these legs have a torso?”

I like when movies take their time and ease into things. Set the scene – don’t ambush me with characters right away.

It stunned me a bit when I found out that Marty was in high school, but I guess that just goes to show that even in 1985, Hollywood was casting twenty-somethings to play high school students.

Easiest way to avoid dealing with child labour laws.

There is a lot of signage in this movie, especially around town, which immediately told me that this was probably a movie I would have to watch many times, in order to catch all the little Easter eggs.

I appreciate that from a movie. It’s like a recurring revenue business model, but for films. Put a bunch of small details in every scene and people will be forced to go back and watch, over and over, to catch everything. It’s brilliant.

Marty’s dad reminded me of Mikey Day from Saturday Night Live. That nerdy and/or dorky outfit with big glasses and a nasally voice is definitely something I’ve seen him do on SNL.

Oh, and how 1985 of them to have a character named, Biff. Is Biff short for anything? Bifocals? The name sounds like the noise you make when the wind blows your hat off your head. I think that is cool.

2020 needs more Biffs. There’s an eyeglasses joke in here somewhere.

When I saw Doc Emmett Brown, I thought, “Hey! That’s Al from Angels in the Outfield!”

Angels in the Outfield is one of my favourite movies. I have it on VHS. The character, Al, was The Boss Angel. He showed up and wore an umpire’s hat that said, AL, on it. AL stood for American League, but he said, “You can call me, Al.”

If you don’t know baseball, that last paragraph sailed right over your head. It’s such a great movie moment and it makes me wish MLB umpires still wore hats that said AL on them.

Anyway, that’s how I knew who Doc was.

Doc and Marty are playing with their time machine Delorean in the mall parking lot and then, all of a sudden, THE LIBYANS roll up and start shooting at them.

WHAT?

This felt like a very bad wrestling stereotype from the 90s, or a Mad Lib gone wrong.

Libyans? Did someone misspell, “Librarians”, in the script? I was confused.

I found it funny that when Marty went back in time to 1955, the only thing they did to make Doc look thirty years younger was comb his hair and not rub it with a balloon.

Now, they obviously weren’t going to cast someone else to play the younger version of Doc, since he was a main character. And it’s not like it’s easy to make someone look thirty years younger, but I found it comical that they barely tried.

It was very, “I’m wearing a sports jersey for Halloween and calling myself a fan” of them. That level of effort gets a thumbs up from me, every time.

One thing that bothered me about Marty travelling back to 1955 was all the coincidences built into it. He was only there one week, but in that week, the clocktower was struck by lightning and his parents met for the first time.

What a week in history. What are the odds he’d return to that exact week?

Marty walked into a cafe and the high school version of his dad was sitting right next to him – come on.

Earlier in the movie, his mom said she and her husband met when her grandfather hit him with his car. Now we go back thirty years to that exact moment. Only this time, Mrs. McFly has the hots (can’t believe I typed this) for her future son, Marty, but doesn’t know it, because he is a high school student just like her.

It felt like an under the table incestuous storyline and the whole thing had a soggy cereal vibe to it.

There were multiple times where I found myself saying, “How convenient”. It felt unrealistic. The plot felt contrived. This bothered me for at least twenty minutes.

Then I realized this was a “me issue” and not a “them issue”.

The whole premise of travelling back in time was unrealistic, yet I didn’t question it. The whole part where Marty and his siblings were being erased from a photograph – limb by limb – did not bother me.

And yet I was hung up on the whole, “Marty goes back in time and just so happens to witness some really important events, all within a few days of each other?”

I was wrong to be hung up on that. As someone who watches wrestling, I have to suspend my level of disbelief a lot, in order for things to make sense. And that is exactly what movies demand of us, especially ones of the science-fiction genre.

So, I was wrong. And I realized I was wrong because I found myself having fun.

These convenient coincidences that Marty was facing – big deal. They were great. I was entertained by his efforts to get his mom to notice his dorky dad.

Sometimes, you just have to watch the movie and not ask questions.

Some other random things:

I liked the pacing of the movie – it was a very quick one hour and fifty-six minutes. I also liked how the movie seemed to be divided into sections. It made it easy to remember the sequence of events, as well as gauge how far into the story we were.

When Marty entered the cafe and asked to use the phone, they told him it was in the back. Cut to him holding the phone and flipping through a phonebook. All of that was great. I loved every second of it. Hook up phonebook scenes to my veins.

“Phonebook scenes in movies” might be the most random thing I like. They are the best.

The school dance scene where Marty is on stage and the people on the dance floor are like, “Yeah…I kinda like this…let me rock my head up and down…and start dancing like everyone else in the room.” I laughed. That scene is in every movie that has a school dance.

When Marty returns to 1985, he witnesses himself take off back to 1955 in the Delorean. Does this mean that this moment is constantly being played over and over? Are there two Marty McFlys now?

Does that make him a McDouble?

In the beginning, we see Doc shot to death by The Libyans (Librarians?). When Marty returns to the future, having warned Doc about such a possibility while in 1955, we see Doc reveal he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Because I am me, I went back and looked at his clothing in the scene where he got shot and he is definitely not wearing a vest underneath his shirt.

Is that just a continuity error as it pertains to wardrobe, or was Doc not wearing a vest because he hadn’t been warned yet?

Was the scene Marty saw play out in the parking lot, when he returned from the past, a different variation of events BECAUSE Marty had gone back in time?

I think I know the answer, but I also think I’ve confused myself.

All in all, I liked the movie. Am I prepared to say it is one of the greatest of all-time? No. I would have to see it a few more times. However, I can see why it is so highly regarded.

I could also see it as a movie that raised a generation. If I were a kid in 1985, and I saw this movie, I would probably say it was one of my favourites.

Heck, that’s exactly what I’ve done with Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire. Those movies we grow up with always hold a special place in the nostalgia quadrant of our heart.

Don’t try looking for the nostalgia quadrant of your heart on a diagram.

This was fun! I already have a good idea what movie I’m going to watch next. So, stay tuned for that, whenever I get around to it!

If you would like to recommend a relatively well-known movie for me to watch, let me know in the comments below! Make sure it’s on Netflix, though.

Have you seen Back to the Future? What are your thoughts on it? What do you think of my new blog series, “First Time Watching”?

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Adults Are Children and Life is Professional Wrestling

When I was in elementary school, I viewed the Grade 7 and Grade 8 students as revered members of the student body. Their classrooms were in the air-conditioned wing of the school. They had their own field for recess. Their desks were stuffed with textbooks. They looked so wise in their graduation photos. They got to go on overnight field trips. They were tall. They were, basically, adults.

I had created this mystique in my head about them.

And then I got to those grades and my classroom was in the air-conditioned wing of the school. We had our own field for recess. Our desks were stuffed with textbooks. We looked wise in our graduation photos. We went on overnight field trips. We were tall.

Something felt off.

We were not the people I thought we would be. We were definitely not adults. We were just a year older than the previous year, sitting in a different classroom.

Surely, though, high school would be the land of serious and studious individuals, carrying around textbooks and worrying about the next test. Right?

In some ways, it was. In many ways, it was not.

They referred to us as “young adults”. The “young” shone through a lot. It felt like childish antics were on display every day.

University – I do not know what my expectations were. By this point, we were all adults. We all knew how to buckle down when we needed to.

And yet, I had so much fun. I felt like a kid, on most days.

From as young as five-years-old, I had this notion that, “By a certain age, I will be like this“. I am sure I am not alone in that. Call it the early days of us comparing ourselves to others, or using age as a guideline for where we should be in life.

One level of education after another, that notion was shattered.

I have come to realize that, in many respects, adulthood is childhood on a grander stage and the world is our audience.

Welcome to: Adults Are Children and Life is Professional Wrestling

What I ask of you, the reader, is to not take the title of this post literally, but take it seriously. I ask that you go along with me, as I lay out some scenarios and analogies, while bouncing back and forth between these interconnected concepts. So, pack a snack and join me on this journey of words.

Professional wrestling is all about getting a reaction from the audience. Whether they are cheering for you, or booing you out of the building, it does not matter. As long as there is noise, you are okay. Silence is death.

The bad guy (heel) wants to be booed. They will: insult your local sports team, refer to members of the audience as overweight, tell people to “Shut up and listen to what I have to say”, and then beat up the hometown hero.

The good guy (face) wants to be cheered. They will: give high-fives to fans as they walk to the ring, come to the aid of their friends, and challenge the heel to a fight.

It is crowd manipulation at its finest.

Take this general concept and apply it to life. Where is it prevalent?

Correct – social media. On social media, we play the role of professional wrestler and audience member.

One minute, we are showing off our muscles, the next minute we are yelling things with popcorn in our mouth. That was meant to be a comical statement, before I got to my actual comparison, but it is kind of true, is it not?

We say it all the time – Instagram is a highlight reel. We want to be liked. Literally and figuratively. We want to be cheered on. We want a crowd reaction. Our caption begs for it, sometimes. Even the struggles are twisted into a story of perseverance.

Classic, professional wrestling.

Then there are influencers. Hey, kudos to them for being paid to advertise products, or lifestyle. I am not hating. Make your money. I am just here to put in words what everyone is already thinking.

At its core, is “influencing” not a form of peer pressure? “Do this, buy this, be like this – everyone else already is.”

It is the adult-version of peer pressure, but because we are adults, we call them influencers, or salespeople, so it is okay.

Pfft, adults do not need to be protected; they are not children. Right?

And then there is Twitter.

Twitter, itself, is like a child that has been walking through mud all week at recess, but has never stopped to clean their shoes. The layers keep mounting, until the shows become unrecognizable.

In that forum, many adults take on the role of heckler. By doing so, the person they are heckling becomes the heel. It can turn into a mob mentality. People get so angry at a small collection of words and feel the need to yell back into the abyss.

he audience will support the people who support their opinion.

Classic, professional wresting.

Twitter can be used as Exhibit A for my claim that adults are children.

What do children do when they do not get their way? They whine. They complain. They argue. They yell. They cry. They want someone to feel sorry for them. They tell other people – or the other parent – their side of the story to try and win them over. They need an ally.

It is the ol’, “If I explain my side of the story, someone will agree with me” way of thinking.

Life is all about finding people that agree with you and sticking with them.

Sound familiar? It is Twitter. That is where adults reside – many of whom, express their daily disgruntlement toward anything, everything, and nothing at all.

Mad at a company? Tweet them. Tag them in the tweet. Let them know you are unsatisfied with their service. Shame them into telling you to send them a DM. And along the way, you let your followers know what you think of that company. You are swaying their opinion, if only a little bit.

Bam, we are back to professional wrestling.

Instead of sitting on the floor and crying until someone responds to them, adults go to Twitter. We like to complain, especially when we can make it mildly funny. That gets the “likes” and “retweets”.

Heck, we may even go viral! Oh, joy.

So much of Twitter is just the words we would say after, “Oh yeah, well…” during a battle of words with a foe.

Picture a schoolyard squabble between children.

“Your shirt is ugly.”

“Oh yeah, well your hat looks like it was in a puddle.”

“Oh yeah, well you are a puddle!”

Clearly, I need to brush up on modern-day schoolyard squabbles, but you get the point. There is a constant one-upmanship playing out.

On Twitter, the same thing is going on. No one ever admits they are wrong. No one ever changes their mind. There is too much pride at stake. There are too many old tweets that will become screenshots, should anyone dare to evolve their views.

Adults are children. Their actions may be different, but their behaviour is the same. It is, merely, manifested via an age-appropriate avenue.

Outside of social media, we see more examples to support my claim that life is professional wresting.

In wrestling, there is a saying that, “The title does not make the man/woman, the man/woman makes the title.”

Which is to say that it is the actions of the individual, that makes the championship important and prestigious.

Just because someone holds a championship belt, does not mean they automatically acquire attributes befitting of a champion. The powers are not transferred via osmosis. It is who they are, that makes the title mean something.

Are there world leaders who think that because they are the elected leader of a country, they can ignore the advice of their colleagues, and say anything they want?

I will let you answer that.

What about on a smaller scale? Do people give themselves a title, yet fail to put in the work that would make them worthy of it? Yes, all the time.

“Oh, I am a blogger!”

No, sorry, you post once and then go on hiatus for a year, before repeating the cycle. Do you really think you deserve that title?

Heck, I feel uncomfortable calling myself a blogger, or writer, at times. I do not feel like I am doing anything special. I am just writing words.

I went running about a dozen times (give or take) last summer and have not gone since. Does that mean I can call myself a runner? Or can I only call myself a runner if I exclude that last part about not running since last year?

Why are we so concerned with titles? To fill a resume? To stroke our ego? To make it look like we are busy? To tell the relatives something about ourselves during Christmas?

Deep down, we just want to be important. Is that it? Dig deep in your soul. Look in your subconscious if you need to.

Titles give us self-importance. They are things we can point to and associate with our identity. Professional wrestlers also have titles – nicknames, if you will – that are associated with their identity.

The Man – Becky Lynch.

The Legit Boss – Sasha Banks.

The Big Dog – Roman Reigns.

The Viper, The Apex Predator, The Legend Killer – Randy Orton.

The Reigning, Defending, Undisputed, Universal Champion – Brock Lesnar.

Brock Lesnar’s mouthpiece – advocate – Paul Heyman, would announce him to the ring like that every single time during his championship run.

The more titles you put in front of your name, the more important you look.

Life is professional wrestling.

The global pandemic we currently find ourselves in has offered many examples that prove adults are children.

Remember when adults were hoarding toilet paper? Children do the same thing with crayons in the classroom.

Yes, the situations are vastly different. However, at the root of it is the mindset of, “I need this. Everyone else made need this too, but I am not sharing.”

Again – different actions, same behaviour.

Then there is this whole thing about adults refusing to wear a mask. The sheer defiance is Case 0 for “Adults Are Children”. No matter how many times you tell them the benefits of wearing a mask, they will not listen.

I feel like I do not even have to give a specific example of a child refusing to listen to instructions because this comparison is so transparent.

Insert an, “Oh yeah, well children are wearing masks while many adults refuse to” here.

What about quarantine? For a little while, people did really well at staying in one spot. Now, in some places, we see people acting like the pandemic is over just because they got tired of staying home.

They are out and about, frolicking in the sun, and mingling with strangers, acting as if the rules do not apply to them because they have chosen to live their life.

This is like a child in kindergarten who wanders away from the reading circle on the carpet because they cannot sit still. They want to do something else.

I may even be underestimating children a little bit. Perhaps, none of them wander away from the carpet because staying in that one spot is the best thing they could do at the moment.

Especially since it is probably a picture book. Even if one kid wanders off, they will turn around when the page flips, just to see the next picture.

A few days ago, a woman in Toronto entered a hospital and started filming, when she was told she would be turned away, if she did not put on a mask. She refused to wear a mask and was escorted out by security.

What are we doing here?

The hospital requires everyone to wear a mask because, let me just check my notes, oh yeah – we are in the middle of a pandemic.

Why do the rules not apply to you? What is it about putting a mask on your face, and protecting those around you, that makes you so mad? Why do you not understand?

The defiance is baffling to me.

And then to pull out your phone and film the staff – the heroes – thinking it will garner sympathy online. Talk about a power move without any batteries.

You would think an adult would be able to have a level of understanding and put aside their own beliefs. No. Could not do it.

We always hear that children do not know any better. Well, adults know better, and they still find a way to act like children.

If you are wondering why I wrote this post, then allow me to wonder with you.

At times, while reading this, you probably thought, “Not all adults!”, or “Not all children!”, or “Not all situations in life are akin to professional wrestling!” Or maybe you thought that adults acting like children could be a good thing times.

Yes, to all of that.

If any of you used the word “akin” in your inner-dialogue, I applaud you.

I think the point of this was to show that we are all the same – on some level – no matter the age, and that life is something we make up on the fly. Therefore, it is useless to set expectations or guidelines for ourselves based off of what someone else has achieved at the same point in their life.

Now, more than ever, it is so easy to look over into the next lane, and figure out where we measure up in the marathon of life.

That is a mouse trap.

Getting caught up in it, only plants a seed in our head and provides a false representation of what we can expect.

We do not know what it is like to be 20-years-old, until we are 20-years-old. We do not know 25, until we are 25. We do not know 30, until we are 30. We do not know 40, or 50, 0r 65, or 80, until we are those ages.

It is like buying a couch – you may have an idea what it feels like, but you have no clue until you sit on it.

The Smashing Pumpkins sang, “Time is never time at all, you can never ever leave, without leaving a piece of youth.”

Maybe the point of this is realizing that adults hold onto pieces of their youth – the good and the bad – and life is something we cannot easily predict for ourselves.

Thus, adults are children and life is professional wrestling.

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Get To Know Canada

Happy Canada Day, to those who celebrate. Canada turns 153-years-old today, so we’re going to need a cake that can hold that many candles. I don’t make the rules.

If any of you are confused, Canada Day is basically the Canadian version of America’s Independence Day.

Today, I figured I’d take it upon myself to teach all of you a few things about Canada. Consider this a crash course. I won’t cover everything, just the things that I think of off the top of my head.

I will be consulting Google to ensure I get things as accurate as possible. If I get anything wrong, I’m sorry.

Let’s get the dreaded political stuff out of the way first, so we can have some uninterrupted fun the rest of the way.

Politics
The leader of Canada is called the Prime Minister. The current PM is Justin Trudeau. He lives in a house that actually looks like a house.

Parliament Hill, located in Ottawa, is like a huge Hogwarts-looking building. That is where the federal government does its thing (for lack of a more appropriate phrase).

The main political parties are: Liberals, Conservatives, New Democratic Party, Bloc Quebecois, and Green Party. Each party elects their own leader.

On federal election day, there are 338 seats up for grabs. Each seat represents an electoral district.

So, on election day, the ballot we receive lists the candidates running in our local district. The ballot does not list the candidates running for Prime Minister.

Whichever party wins the most seats/electoral districts – their party leader is named Prime Minister.

It may sound confusing, but it’s quite simple.

Geography
Canada is made up of 10 Provinces and 3 Territories. The Capital of Canada is Ottawa.

The 10 Provinces and their Capital Cities:
British Columbia (Victoria)
Alberta (Edmonton)
Saskatchewan (Regina)
Manitoba (Winnipeg)
Ontario (Toronto)
Quebec (Quebec City)
New Brunswick (Fredericton)
Nova Scotia (Halifax)
Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown)
Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John’s)

The 3 Territories and their Capital Cities:
Yukon (Whitehorse)
Northwest Territories (Yellowknife)
Nunavut (Iqaluit)

Language
Canada has two official languages – English and French.

Canadian English seems to be a combination of British English and American English.

We like to throw a “u” in words, like: Favourite, Humour, Colour, and Honour.

We spell Centre and Fibre, not Center and Fiber.

I promise you, we don’t say “Eh” as much as you think. Every stereotypical parody of a Canadian has us saying “Eh” at the end of every sentence. We don’t. We hardly ever do.

“Eh” is a sound that means we are asking for something to be repeated or explained, or we’re looking for someone to agree with us. It can also be used as a substitute for, “Huh”.

Example: “Nice weather, eh?” “Yup.”

In school, we call it Grade 1, Grade 2, etc.

In university, it’s First Year, Second Year, etc. I never referred to myself as a Freshman, or Sophomore. I’m sure some Canadians do, but I never did, and I never heard others use that terminology, either.

I call it a Washroom, sometimes a Bathroom, but mainly, Washroom.

We call it a Postal Code, not a ZIP Code.

Knapsack, not backpack. (Many say backpack, but I prefer knapsack).

Pop, not soda.

I found this one while doing research – do Americans know what an eavestrough is? It’s a gutter, but we call it an eavestrough. I didn’t know this was a (potential) difference.

Money
We no longer have a penny because they cost 1.6 cents to make. We save $11 million a year, as a result. They stopped being produced in 2012 and were no longer distributed as of 2013.

Loonie: A gold-coloured, one dollar coin.

Toonie: A two dollar coin. The outside ring is silver, and there’s a gold circle in the middle.

I’m convinced these coins are an ode to the Looney Tunes, but I only thought of that connection right now, so who knows.

Yes, we also have nickels, dimes, and quarters. Queen Elizabeth II is on the face of each coin. She is Canada’s Head of State. You can Google this to learn more because it’s still confusing to me.

Our bills are plastic, colourful, and see-through in one section! We get wild up here. I also think the material of them (synthetic polymer) makes it impossible (near impossible?) to rip. I haven’t tried it, but they definitely don’t tear.

Five-dollar bills are blue.

Ten-dollar bills are purple.

Twenty-dollar bills are green.

Fifty-dollar bills are red.

One-hundred-dollar bills are brown.

Sports
Lacrosse is the national summer sport of Canada, while Hockey is the national winter sport. Those are official things.

Soccer is a popular youth sport. So is baseball, softball, basketball, and tennis. I’m probably missing a bunch. There is also football, though I’ve personally never seen a youth football game or practice, or anyone hanging around a field in football pads, for that matter.

Hockey is big, obviously. Learning how to skate when you’re a kid is like getting a haircut for the first time. It’s just something you do.

Backyard rinks are a thing in the winter.

Road Hockey was popular when I was growing up. I don’t really see kids playing in the street anymore.

Canadian Football 
We have our own football league – Canadian Football League – made up of nine teams. They are: BC Lions, Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Ottawa RedBlacks, and Montreal Alouettes.

The field is 110 yards, goal line to goal line. Each end zone is 20 yards deep. The field is 65 yards wide.

By comparison, the NFL is 100 yards, goal line to goal line. End zones are 10 yards deep. And the field is 53 yards wide.

There are only three downs in the CFL, as opposed to four in the NFL.

Each team must have a certain number of Canadians on the roster – I believe the minimum is 21.

College Athletics
Our version of the NCAA is called, U SPORTS.

That’s its newest name, as of 2016. Before that it was Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). Before that, it was the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union (CIAU).

Any way you twist it, it sounds a bit clunky.

My university didn’t have a football team, neither did my high school. Other schools do have a football team.

Money is not poured into college athletics in Canada the way it is in America. Our post-secondary “stadiums” are probably what Americans are used to in high school.

Outside of championship games, they aren’t televised, and don’t receive much media attention.

The Canadian version of March Madness (for the non-North American reader, this is basketball) is called, Men’s Final 8/Women’s Final 8. As you can guess, it’s an 8-team single-elimination tournament.

On the men’s side, one school – Carleton Ravens – has won 15 of the last 18 National Championships. You would never see that happen in the NCAA.

Food
Tim Hortons is a popular coffee chain. Tim Horton was a hockey player.

You may know them as donut holes, or munchkins, but we call them Timbits because THAT IS THE LOGICAL NAME FOR THEM.

All-Dressed Chips are a Canadian delicacy. Their flavour is a combination of all the chip flavours. Hence, “All-Dressed”. I only figured this out a few years ago.

We also have Ketchup Chips, which I find disgusting.

We are known for our poutine – fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Again, I find it disgusting.

There are Beaver Tails, which is just fried dough in the shape of a beaver’s tail. Creative, eh?

In Ontario, our milk comes in a plastic bag. It also comes in cartons, don’t worry, but predominately bags. It’s not a big deal. You put the bag in a specially-made milk pitcher, cut the corner off the top, and pour.

What are known as Smarties in America, we call Rockets.

In Canada, Smarties are just a wider, and chocolatey-er (?) version of M&M’s.

We like maple syrup, but doesn’t everyone? Why is this a Canadian thing?

Sports Television
The Canadian version of ESPN is called, TSN – The Sports Network. You have SportsCenter, we have SportsCentre. TSN is owned by Bell Media.

Throughout the day, we’ll receive ESPN programming on TSN, like First Take, Highly Questionable, Around The Horn, and Pardon The Interruption.

We also have another sports network called, Sportsnet. We’re just oozing in creativity up here. Sportsnet is owned by Rogers Sports & Media (they just changed their named from Rogers Communications).

So, it’s TSN (Bell) vs. Sportsnet (Rogers).

Rogers owns the Toronto Blue Jays and keep all the games on Sportsnet.

Rogers also owns the broadcast rights to the NHL and is currently in the middle of a 12-year deal that expires in 2025-26. They purchased the rights for $5.2 billion. It has not been worth it.

This has left TSN with (about) half of Toronto Raptors games, a few regional NHL broadcasts, and some weekly NFL games as sources of major league programming.

TSN has exclusive rights to the CFL, and the marquee events in Curling, but still. Hockey is king.

I mentioned NFL games. Of course, we get Thursday and Monday Night Football.

Every Sunday, we can watch games on CBS, FOX, CTV, and TSN. CTV is a Canadian station that falls under the Bell Media umbrella with TSN.

One of the games on CBS always features the Buffalo Bills because they think we care. A lot of people do, but come on, Buffalo? The New York Jets are also shown a lot.

Sometimes, CTV will also decide to show the Buffalo game, and I hate it. The last thing I need is two channels showing the exact same thing.

I feel like FOX always shows the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, or another big market team.

CTV and TSN are normally pretty good at showing marquee teams, if CBS and FOX don’t. As a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, I got to see almost all of their games last year.

Of course, outside of this, we can order the NFL Sunday Ticket package and watch every game.

Other TV
We don’t have a Canadian channel akin to CNN, that talks about politics and devastating news stories all day. We just have CNN.

In Southern Ontario, we have CP24 (City Pulse 24), which is an all-day news station, that always has the weather on the right side of the screen, news stories cycling through at the bottom, and an anchor in the upper left quadrant reading stories off a teleprompter, as footage is shown.

It’s not a debate platform with people on a panel. Opinionated people are not sitting there, critiquing political figures all day.

If you were to ask me, I’d say I probably know more about American politics than Canadian politics, just because I’ve seen and listened to more of it on TV.

We get America’s news stations. We watch their Late Night talk shows. We watch their election process, which is way too long.

We are well-versed in American culture. I don’t think the opposite is necessarily true.

“When America sneezes, Canada catches a cold” is a phrase most Canadians have probably heard, if not all.

Weather
Yeah, it gets cold here.

From the perspective of Ontario – January, February, March, November, and December are cold. April and October are fringe months, where you have no idea what season you’re going to get each day. May can also be like that.

June, July, and August are hot. September has comfortable, warm weather.

Up north, in Nunavut, the temperature can get to -30C in the winter, and sometimes worse. That’s -22F.

In Toronto, it’ll get to -20C. Personally, I don’t know if it’s that much different from winter in New York, Boston, Chicago, or Detroit, but I’ve only experienced Detroit and it was the same as here.

In the summer, it gets up past 30C. That’s 87F.

Drinking Age
The legal drinking age is 19 across Canada, except in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, where it is 18.

Other Things
Moose and beavers are not house pets. They are family members.

We say “sorry” a lot, especially when we do nothing wrong, or someone tells us to stop apologizing.

Going to university and college is a lot cheaper than in the US.

We use the metric system, which means we measure distance in kilometres and not miles.

Why do Americans call it a 5K race? Shouldn’t the distance be listed in miles? Do you guys secretly want the metric system, but are too lazy to adopt it? You can tell me.

I like to think that Canadians are friendly and polite, but that definitely doesn’t apply to everyone. We’re not a perfect a country.

We still have Toys R Us stores.

END

I feel like I covered a lot, but this only scratches the surface. Hopefully, you found this post educational, entertaining, and enlightening.

If you have any questions, or would like to add some things that I missed, leave a comment down below!

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