Tuesday, June 4, 2019

I Said That Too!: Twitter Comedy, Joke Repetition, and Me

Every so often Twitter does this thing where it offers to show you "who you know" on Twitter, presumably by culling your contacts in a way to which you have doubtfully consented. Since most people don't run their Twitters like their Facebooks, this is an offer no sane person would ever accept.

A few days ago someone retweeted a very amusing tweet into my timeline to that effect:

Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Missing Part of the Map: Thoughts on Game of Thrones Season 8 at Halftime

Warning: While I try to be tactful about discussing plot info, if you're sensitive about spoilers, you might as well skip this one.

Now what?

I first experienced HBO's Game of Thrones around New Year's Day 2013, a few months ahead of the beginning of Season 3. My brothers and I had gotten Season 1 for our dad as a Christmas gift. My brother Eric was the only one of us who had watched it and figured, correctly, that it was exactly the sort of thing our medieval-fantasy-loving father would enjoy. He watched all ten episodes within a week. The next time we saw him they were discussing it animatedly. Their energy made me want to check it out when I had previously thought it just wasn't my thing.

By the end of the first episode, I had the unmistakeable feeling that this was definitely my thing. I had had the same feeling after watching "The Wedding of River Song" episode of Doctor Who, the "Walkabout" episode of LOST, and the "Pineapple Incident" episode of How I Met Your Mother. I had the whole thing watched in under 48 hours.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait: On Half-Past Eight PM (Part Three)

A few years after the video version of Half-Past was made, I was in a different place in life. I had finished the two-year Journalism course I took after high school and, after deciding I didn't want to be a journalist, enrolled at University of Toronto for a highly useful, very worthwhile Bachelors program in English Lit. I was growing out of my self-imposed outcast ways, nearly as likely to go out for drinks or board game nights with friends as I was to be sitting in front of my computer on a Friday night.

Early in my second year there, I was standing in line for a Metropass when I saw a flyer advertising open submissions to the Victoria College Drama Festival, encouraging student-writers to get in on it. A lightbulb went on over my head. I had, after all, written the greatest, funniest, most original one-act play in history, Half-Past Eight PM. Surely the people in charge of this festival will be salivating for my inclusion once I submit my 20-pages of genius.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

With a Lot of Help From My Friends: On Half-Past Eight PM (Part Two)

Are you ready for more self-mythologizing? Here's what happened next in the saga of Half-Past Eight PM...

A lot happened in the next school year after my success with Half-Past. My friend Ana, who had transferred to Catholic School for personal reasons, transferred back and asked me to write a movie script for her to direct, but was sadly never produced. Josh and I collaborated on a 30-minute film for CommTech where we played hired killers. And I appeared onstage for the first time outside the drama room in the cast of the Grade 12 production of The Importance of Being Earnest... as the main character's butler.

Over the course of that year I became closer with those drama kids I had been orbiting. Only my paralyzing shyness kept me from auditioning for that year's Sears Festival production of Twelve Angry Men, one of my bigger regrets in a high school career comprised mostly of regrettable moments. But I did become part of that group anyway, making friends without having to be a joiner, just as I always wanted. In the final months of high school it kind of finally felt like I belonged somewhere. My personality had taken three and a half years to bake, and I was very close to shedding the pervasive feeling that they didn't really actually like me. I just wished I had more time to enjoy it.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

A Strange Form of Revenge: On Half-Past Eight PM (Part One)

As someone who is prone to nostalgia but optimistically suspects his best years still lie ahead I have a tricky relationship with successes of the past, even as moderate as they may be. While putting on a reasonably successful local theatre theater production is a pretty low bar for greatness it remains the thing I have done in life that was seen and enjoyed by the most people. So since this is the blog about me, please indulge the part of me that is a legend in my own mind. Here's a little reflection on the 15th - and 10th and 13th - anniversary of Half-Past Eight PM.

It began as revenge. A very specific, strange form of revenge. The kind where the people you're getting revenge on aren't even there to know it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Storytelling Layer: Thoughts on This New York Times Article About The Best 20 TV Dramas

Yesterday, the New York Times promoted a tweet from January into my timeline that, for whatever reason, prompted a thought:

I love TV.  It got me through some really rough years and continues to be a primary bonding method for me and my significant other. I was always more a comedy guy than an hourlong drama guy so my experience with The Sopranos actually mostly boils down to the constant discourse on it from other people who love TV, and happening to be in the room when my brother watched the last episode, lo those many years ago. Ditto The Wire, The Shield, and many other canonized TV dramas. I did watch, and enjoy, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men, after they had finished.

Monday, February 25, 2019

There Really Aren't Any Rules: Learning to Drive in Your Twenties

Southern Ontario is connected by a series of highways/freeways called the 400 series, which intersect at various points and link all the major and medium sized destinations in our small, densely populated corner of the world. The ability to drive on one is what separates the introductory level drivers (G1, the equivalent of a learner's permit elsewhere) from the intermediate level (G2.) And confidence in your ability to drive on them is what separates those drivers from the permanent class (simply called G.)

The first time I ever drove on the 400, it was a pitch black freezing rainstorm in February. I had been out with my co-workers from the bookstore, holding our long-delayed Holiday bowling party. One of the girls, Sam, had recently moved back home with her mom and wasn't ready for the party to end, so two of our coworkers and I were persuaded to keep it going by hitting a pool hall and drinking away the winter blues.