Screw Money Time is Knowledge

April 15, 2014

You were only killing time and it’ll kill you right back / Come on! come on! / It’s time to burn up the fuse / You’ve got nothing to do and even less to lose
– Meatloaf “Out Of The Frying Pan”

Wasting Time

Have you ever thought about a project, game, tv show, series of movies, or book and thought, “Dang! That was a large chunk of my life.”

I read an average of 15 hours a week (Fiction, articles, news, facebook). I read much more fiction in grade school and high school and almost finished an English degree in university. If you stretch that over my entire life (24 years of which I read regularly) that’s 18,720 hours or just over 2 years of my life (It’s probably a little higher than that). Some would say I’ve been slacking that’s only 1/18th of my life.

I’m sure if you looked into my other hobbies (Writing, TV, Movies, Tabletop games, Video games, Tabletop role playing games, acting, and talking) you’d find that it’s a huge part of my life.

Is all that a waste of time? Does my deep seeded love and obsession with stories “Wasting Time”?

If you know me you’ll already know that I don’t think it was but I hear so many people accusing activities of being a waste of time.

I’ve seen every Star Trek episode ever aired (Yes including the Animated Series) does that mean I’ve wasted over 600 hours not counting the movies? I don’t think so, I think it made me think throughout the 6 series. It challenged my idea of humanity, morals, and various other concepts.

“Well that’s Star Trek,” I hear you thinking. It’s not. Any story has something in it to make you think and challenge your preconceptions about the world. Even if all you have to think is how bad this story is and how you could fix it.

I think for something to be worth your time, it needs to have two things:

1. An idea or lesson (Something to make you think)

2. Fun (Something that you enjoy)

If you read my book or movie reviews you know I’ll talk about “important” stories that I didn’t enjoy but that I believe are wonderful. It means I didn’t enjoy it but it made me think. These are often great works that are too painful for me to re-watch but I feel that I’ve grown while watching/reading them.

So my imaginary friends, next time someone tells you to get your nose out of a book, your ass off the couch, your head from a game, or your hand off the polyhedral dice, and stop wasting time. Ask them what is more important than learning about your world and yourself through its best, worst, and average stories. (I’d also apply this to Sports, Travelling, and Creating.)

Until later, remember to see your world through a critical eye.

Analyze, Understand, and Grow!

John Lennon

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Lately I’m easily… *SQUIRREL!*

December 20, 2013

I’ve been having trouble concentrating lately. Not during important things like reading, writing, or talking to my wife. It’s while watching TV.

I’m an avid fan of television and consume a lot more than I should. Especially while multitasking. My first writing project was a fanfiction staring a post Star Trek: The Next Generation Scotty. I think both television and video games have been greatly underestimated as art and educational. That’s a completely other post however.

Full disclosure, between television, movies, and youtube, I probably watch 30-40 hours a week, most of it while working. I’m a layout artist for the government and can easily multitask without affecting the speed or quality of my work.

All that being said, a lot of shows are having trouble keeping my interest. Most of them are new shows. The particular culprits are Arrow, Sleepy Hollow, Atlantis, Haven, and Grimm. I’d watch them and suddenly find myself looking at my phone or thinking about something else.

I thought it was me until I watched Nightmare on Elmstreet 3. I assumed I would have the same problem but I didn’t. Then I started re-watching Gilmore Girls and again didn’t get distracted.

So what was my problem? Was I bored? No. Were the shows boring? Not really.

I think I’ve come up with a reason. “Pacing” any good action, cop, adventure, or genre show has high levels of tension and action followed by cool-down periods. It’s a structure that’s shared between most of them. It helps to calm the audience or build tension depending on how it’s used.

I think the problem is simply that their cool-down periods are boring me. You know the part where they get ready, or the part where they explain, or the part where they chat about the secondary storyline. It’s just not keeping my interest.

This is an essential part of the story but it doesn’t have to be boring. Look at Castle, it has more witty banter and flirting during these scenes to compensate. Or look at Doctor Who or
Buffy, they do these scenes during running, or flying or while they move to the next thing.

Some shows, like Gilmore Girls, don’t need the ups and downs and keeps to a middle ground tension.

All the shows that keep my interest are seasoned with humour. I think the combination of strong character relationships and humour is what keeps me focused during the slower bits.

In writing, I always try to write something that it interesting and funny, to me, in the cool-downs or build-ups. The hope is that the reader won’t get bored or distracted.

These aren’t bad shows, most of them are still struggling to get their balance or get their balance back. If they were bad, I’d stop watching them.

What about you? Are there shows that just can’t keep your interest? If so what would you like to see them change?


Heat Rises– Book Review

July 27, 2012

I love the television show, Castle. When I heard they were going to release a book that was “written” by the main character, I pre-ordered it months in advance.

The first book was good. It was an ok police procedural and it felt like it could have been written by Richard Castle. I pre-ordered the second and it was barely passable. The writing was clumsy, filled with angst, and felt like it was written by someone who didn’t know the series.

I was so disappointed by the second that I didn’t pick up Heat Rises, the third, until it was in stores. Even then it took me nine months to work up the courage to read it.

Was I ever surprised! This is by far the best written, most authentic, and most entertaining of the series.

If you don’t like the show, or haven’t seen it, this book isn’t for you.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my post here.

Characters

This is a strange concept. For this book to succeed it has to not only create interesting and well rounded characters. It also has to mimic the voice of Richard Castle. Who is also a character. It’s Meta in many ways.

In the other books, I could believe that maybe Castle wrote them. This book felt like it was written by Castle. Each of the characters that are based off of other characters in the show, acted the way they should. The voices were perfect.

The only problem I have with the characters, relates to how perfect they are. It makes it very difficult to separate them from their TV counterparts. A real author wouldn’t make the comparisons so blatant and I felt like the writer was pandering to the audience at times.

For characters, I give it 4 out of 5

Writing Style

The writing style was exactly what you’d expect from Richard Castle. It was witty, quick, and interesting. The writer even took time to add a few jokes that Richard Castle wouldn’t understand. For example, at one point someone tells Heat that she could be a Bond girl. Stana Katic was a bond girl in Quantum of Solace.

For what it was, it was good. I give it a 3 out of 5.

Story

Wow was this story stretched. It took way to long for it to build up and then twice as long to finally get somewhere. I’m not a big reader of police procedurals, I can’t judge if this was normal.

Don’t get me wrong, it was an interesting story and I’d say it was even better than some of Castle’s season endings. It was just a little slow at times.

I give the story a 2 out of 5

Fun

Despite all it’s faults, I love the television show and I had a lot of fun with this book. I felt like I was connected to the show. I didn’t find it hard to read and I enjoyed most of it.

I give it a 4 out of 5 for fun

Overall

This is a great book for fans of the TV series. Read the first one, skip the second, and definitely read this one.

If you don’t like the series, move along. This isn’t the book you are looking for.

Final score is 70%


Thoughts Nov 10, 2008

November 10, 2008

There are few things that make Mondays seem exciting, The Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack is certainly one of them.

Dollhouse, the new Joss Whedon show, and Terminator The Sarah Connor Chronicles are going to be back to back on Fridays in Winter. The only show that’s managed to thrive in that timeslot on Fox was X-Files. This is the timeslot that killed Firefly. Sigh.