Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Being Human Being Gone

With this song on January 17, 2011, a new tv show premiered that soon became one of my and my wife's favorite shows. BEING HUMAN. Then on April 7, 2014, after 4 seasons the run is over, at the creators request. It has been a long time since a show has affected me like this one and I am going to try to write out why that is.

I guess it was one of the first shows that had a very big social media prescence, I tweeted episodes and met new people who have since become friends as we shared in this great series. Also the main cast members used Social Media to their advantage as well by detailing behind the scenes events, pictures, and live tweeting the shows. So it seems like you got a really good glimpse into what made this show special.

Sammy Huntington, Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath, and Kristin Hager always tweeted and even tweeted at each other. You could tell from these tweets that they loved working on the show, that they loved working with each other, and that they were truly sad when this adventure was over. These 4 were one of the main reasons that this show ruled. They appeared to be friends and real life which added to their TV friendship as well.

It all started with the Brits. The British seem to have some of the greatest ideas ever and this one was no different, and idea that seemed so obvious that you smack your head and say why didnt I think of this? They created a show called Being Human, the basic premise was a vampire and a werewolf are friends and they move into a house that is haunted by a ghost. Just like that 3 of the biggest horror creatures are joined together as they try to find a way to live a normal life while being extraordinary. It took off in Britain so much so that the Syfy network decided they needed their own American Version as well. Now usually that pisses me off we always try to do our version of certain shows, and the British are the same way they try to do British versions of our shows. But history goes to Britain as they have more shows that get americanized then vice versa. But in this case the creators of the show were going to produce and develop the American Version which is so much better when the creators take over to make sure that it is done right. They soon were not as hands on after the first season was a huge success and then they let their American Counterparts take over while they still produced from afar.

Now the show is more about the characters then the stories. It is how these characters deal with trying to be normal when they cannot be, but they do not give up. It is unfortunate though that life has other plans for them and their extraordinary lives continue to mess them up. This is not a happy show. Yes there is a lot of humor, and fun to be had, but there is alot of darkness and despair, some romance blossoms as well but the dark pervades and makes it hard for our heroes to have a happy ending.

We have Josh (Sammy Huntington) the Jewish Neurotic Werewolf, brillant but underutilized due to his constant fear of losing control of the wolf. He feels he cannot have a normal life because when the wolf comes out it can kill you, or turn you into a werewolf and he does not want the guilt. And guilt he has. Guilt about the loss of his friend who was savaged by the werewolf that turned Josh, guilt in leaving his fiancee Julia at the altar because he did not want to harm her when he wolfed out. Guilt at the murders he causes when in the wolf form, even if it is protecting himself or his loved ones. Guilt at turning Nora (Kristin Hager) a brillant doctor whom he loves into a werewolf and even taking the guilt of what she does in the wolf onto himself. More on Nora in a bit.

We have Aidan (Sam Witwer) the brooding guilt ridden vampire who has lived for 200 plus years and has gone from mean son of a bitch, to a mere shadow of his usual self. He now just wants to live a normal life without causing anymore death and destruction. He no longer feeds on people but bags of blood he gets from the hospital where he works as a nurse. That is also where he befriended Josh and though Werewolves and Vampires are mortal enemies the two of them became best friends and they both have the same desire to be free of their horror and just live normal lives without guilt. So the two decide to move in together as roomates so that they can try to have a normal life. Of course nothing goes as planned as the house they move into is haunted by a ghost.

Sally (Meaghan Rath) was killed in the house the boys moved into by her abusive fiancee Danny and she is stuck there. But when these two extraordinary guys move in, who due to their afflictions, can see and interact with Sally. So now we have three people all trying to live as normal a life as they can. They have fun, they try to encourage each other, they help each other and it's all good. But the horror is still around them.

Nora (Kristin Hager) was turned into a werewolf by Josh, and impregnanted as well while in mid change. She had a miscarriage and does not take well to her new life as a werewolf. Josh feels guilt because it was an accident. And Nora is kind of unlikable in the first two seasons, but when you look at what is happening to her your hatred of her vanishes and then in the last two seasons Nora comes around and becomes an important of the story and another friend for the trio. This gives Sally a gal pal that they can talk girly stuff about as well. And Nora loves Josh, but sometimes his neurosis gets to her and she is also fighting off an abusive ex boyfriend who burned her.

Their lives go through so much upheval in the four seasons that it is crazy that they still remain true to their goal of Being Human. The first season set up the friendships and we discover the evil that his danny, and also the fact that Aidan still slips and kills people, Josh's neurosis is on full bore here and the crew takes on the head of the vampire crew in Boston who also happens to be Aidan's "father" Bishop. Bishop turned Aidan and has tried to keep him within the family despite many ups and downs.

Second season has Nora not taking her change to well and ends up disappearing from Josh's life for ahwile and hanging with a purebred werewolf brother and sister. Josh feels guilt about Nora and is trying to discover a cure for the werewolf problem soon gets re-involved with his ex-fiancee only to see her get killed when he turns during an eclipse. Aidan is now grooming the new head of the Boston Vampires an old flame of his who he gets involved with again. As well as the reemergence of his "son" Henry whom he turned. Sally discovers the ability to shread which is the power to kill other ghosts. She also learns she can enter bodies and feel their feels. She is being stalked by something known as the Reaper.

The Third season was the wish fulfillment season whereas at the end of the 2nd season Josh is no longer a Werewolf and he and Nora are back together. After two years of searching for Aidan and Sally who have disappeared, we get the return of Aidan who returns to a world where a virus is decimating the Vampire population, and Aidan appears to be immune to it. The virus culls the vampire horde who cannot feed on humans in case they get infected. So Aidan now lives and reigns in a world where all the vampires are like him. And Sally discovers a way back into her body and is reanimated.  However we learn that especially with this crew things dont stay good for long, as we learn that Aidan is facing a shortage of good blood and he may die soon, but finds a new human who is not infected, Kenny who declares that the only way he will feed Aidan is if he becomes a vampire. Aidan eventually turns Kenny, but all does not go well. Josh after being free of the wolf for two years gets attacked by a pureblood and rebitten and turns into a pureblood, and Sally starts to degenerate into a zombie like life form.

Finally the 4th season wraps it all up as Josh tries to come to terms with his new form, Nora is pregnant again, Aidan has to deal with the return of his wife who was also turned into a vampire by Bishop unknown to Aidan, and Sally learns magic but while trying to be helpful actually causes more troubles. We also learn that she has fallen in love with Aidan.

Those are just brief nuggets of the 4 seasons, a lot more goes on in there then I wrote and I highly suggest you look them up and watch them. All are 13 episode seasons which is another reason why it is so good since you have a tight taut storyline, and also these characters are wonderfully portrayed, I cannot go on about how good the acting is. The storyline's are also intriguing but it's the characters that sell the show. These are people I would like to hang out with myself. The finale is a good example of this, after all the darkness and horrific scenes they have lived through that they SPOILER WARNING!! Get their Happy Endings. Aidan is free of Vampire form and dies and goes to the afterlife where Sally is waiting, and Nora and Josh live happily together with their twin children living a regular human life. In the end they all get what they want and it is good.

The last episode was picture perfect, tying up loose ends and giving everyone what I longed for these wonderful people a happy ending. Again the characters make the story, the actors bring them to life and Being Human was a perfect blend of actor and character. You will be missed my friends. I will be picking up all 4 seasons so I can watch them anytime I want. You should too.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Old Man Winter

I am officially old. I am officially that guy. That guy who complains about how things were different when he was a child. I have become that guy. Only took 40 years but there we go. I live in Maryland, one of the most unusual states when it comes to weather, we are at the exact center of the Eastern Seaboard, so we get weather from both the north and south, meaning we could get a snowstorm and have temperatures at 20 some degrees, then the next day it is in the 50s. It happens, I am not making it up. I have lived through it.

Normally I like the winter, I have no problem with it. I like the snow, always have, but getting older I have begun to hate the snow for a few reasons. One the shoveling takes a toll on you, driving in it is dangerous, along with the fact that others do not know how to drive in it.  And nowadays even the hint of snow has school systems shut down and have snowdays or 2 hr delayed openings, for minor things, things that when I was going to school they never shut down for. I don't know where the disconnect comes from, but somewhere between when I was going to school and now having kids going to school the Board of education has gotten skittish, and honestly I do not even recall any bad accidents that may have caused the change in attitude and that is where my hatred is coming from.

A good example, last week we got a dusting of snow, a DUSTING half an inch or less. The roads were fine where I was, maybe a little slick but if you pay attention you will be fine. Schools were on a 2 hour delay. Why? There was no reason for my daughter's school to open at 11am. The roads were fine. So I had to go into work late while I watched my daughter since both me and my wife work full time and we do not have any babysitters near by to watch the kids and make sure they get to school on time. We pay for before and after care since our working schedules do not work. My daughter loves it, but when you open late, the before school care is closed, or as happened earlier this week, we had an inch of snow on the ground, but Baltimore County was one of a few counties that stayed open all day, yet after the storm had hit and things settled down, they cancelled after school events including after school care, so now I had to leave my job early to pick her up. There was no more snow coming, it had all ready fallen, and they had been open ALL DAY all ready. Makes no sense. This past Wednesday they closed schools due to the ice storm that hit, that's fine, but what you should have done was open 2 hours late because all the ice had melted by that time and the roads were much better and certainly could handle cars, and it was going to get warmer in the day so the ground would be fine no ice. Nope closed schools.

When I was a kid we only closed schools when we had REALLY heavy snowfall, or heavy ice.A few inches of snow on the ground, may have gone in late but usually we went to school, it started snowing heavy during the school day, they may have released us early some, but majority of it we stayed the whole day. I remember walking home in the snow or walking to school in the snow. We never shut down for a couple of inches. I don't understand where that panic comes from.

I do realize that the counties we live in our big and cover lots of area, and due to the storms being unpredictable some areas may get hit worse than us and should not be punished because we hardly got anything. That is why you should create zones in each county and if the storm hits hard in one zone but not in the other we can close that one zone down and open the other. We have something similar all ready called the Hereford Zone and area that always got hit hard with storms and always seemed to be closed when the rest of the county was open. Why can't we just do that on a bigger scale??

I still like watching the snow, I like to play in it with my kids, and sometimes I don't mind shovelling, it's just really tiresome, and then you may have some jerks who may park in your cleared spot because they are too lazy to clear their own. I've dealt with this as well. So nowadays I clear at least three of four spots around my car in case some jerk takes over my spot, I wont feel bad about taking another that I cleared out myself. Being in Maryland I have noticed a pattern, one bad winter followed by two quiet winters. We had two quiet winters, so I should have predicted this. But the truth is we have not been hit to hard with snow, just hit hard with the bureaucrats. Needless to say we are stuck in this situation and do not see it clearing up anytime soon. So they call for snow, be aware, regardless of what falls, we will be closed. Well at least I am getting pretty good at Mario Kart.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ice Bus

So today for some truly odd reason Baltimore County schools were on a 2 hour delay. We had a dusting of snow and it was cold, but other than that I see no reason for it. My wife Dawn and I alternate who takes our daughter Noelle to school on these delays. Today it was my turn. Now there are a few ways we can do this, we can do carpool where we drive over to the school adn wait in line until the school allows students in, or we can walk over since we are only 5 minutes away from it. But seeing as how it is 7 degrees out we usually do carpool. Dawn called the school last week and inquired about the bus. Now we have a bus stop at the entrance of our neighborhood. We never use the bus because it does not come on a normal school day til about 850am, Dawn needs to be in at work by 830am, I have to be in my job between 730-800am. So we have Noelle in before school care. However on these days of delays they are shut down. So we never have used the bus though Noelle always said she wanted to. Well Dawn found out on Delays she can use the bus. So we decided to try that today.

The bus starts it's trek at 1040am on a 2 hour delay and gets to our stop last at 1050-1055am. Seeing as how we never have done this I said I would head out early just in case. We told Noelle she was taking the bus today and she said I was the best daddy ever, So win for me. So 1030am comes and we get in my car and trek the 30 second trip to the bus stop. I park the car and she says she wants to go out and wait at the stop. At 1030am, 20 minutes before it comes surrounded by ice and snow and temperatures of 7 degrees with a wind chill of negative degrees. She said please. So I acquiessed.

We were the first ones there and we stood in the sun but we were freezing our butts off. Soon other cars started to roll up, but the kids were staying in the car with their parents. I asked Noelle if she wanted to go back into the car and she said no. More kids started to arrive and some of them stood out with us. Noelle's friend Alex from Playkeepers the before care place showed up and the two of them talked. Now it is 1050 and it is bitter cold out. Noelle tells me she is cold and I tell her well it's a little late since by the time we get in the car the bus will arrive. So she tells me she wishes we did carpool. I would slap my head but i am frozen. The bus shows up at 1055am and she gets excited again! I kiss her goodbye, tell her I love her, watch her get on the bus and take some pics. They will posted on my twitter feed @holidill for those who want to hear more about my ramblings. She sits in the front row and I watch her drive off. Now I hightail it to my car, walking on two blocks of ice which were at one time my feet and get in my car. I start the car. crank the heat up. And it's cold. FML

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tragedy Strikes and Space Becomes Scary again

You don't always need an anniversary date to remember a tragedy. And 28 years ago was a tragedy for the United States Space Program that still has not recovered from it. Their Space Program has gone backwards. And then just as we thought it was starting to right itself, another Space Shuttle explosion and again we are relegated to sitting back and waiting.

Space appears no longer to be sexy, it appears to be boring, meaningless, and a waste of money. NASA no longer has any shuttles at all goimg up, the program has been scrubbed. They are now working on a new ship supposedly, but the fact remains that the US Government has it's own financial woes and it is barely giving NASA any money though it is a government program. And I get it. There are bigger things in the world to worry about but it still sucks. I am a space nut, I find space fascinating, and apparently there are plenty of people that still do. Space Telescopes are continuing to photograph gorgeous sights, land based telescopes are discovering millions of new planets, the Mars rover missions are still going strong. Next year 2015 we will get our first ever close up look of Pluto formerly known as the 9th planet, which in itself is a travesty, to me it is still a planet. We are sending probes to Comets, asteroids, we are continuing to discover things about Mars, and Mercury, and Ceres, and Saturn. We are planning tons of missions to planets. Just none that are going to be manned by humans. And that's fine. Because now a seperate entity is creating a media event about sending people to Mars, there is a competition that millions of people entered to be the first people on Mars, though they will never come back. The interest is still out there, it's just we are in a holding pattern, and it all goes back to January 28, 1986.

I was in 7th grade at Dumbarton Middle School. I remember it was lunch and me and a couple of buddies were eating and joking around when someone told us what had happened. I found out later that one of the teachers in the school was showing it to his class since Krista MaCalliff (sp) was going to be the first teacher sent into space. It was a big deal. She was not an astronaut, she was a teacher and she was chosen from a wide-ranging competition. So of course teachers wanted to watch it one of their own was going up into space, living her dream. But tragedy struck, Challenger exploded after take off did not even make it into space. All on board were killed. Later it was discovered to be a defective O-Ring that NASA had been warned about. So they shut down the program for what seemed like years. Now my friends and I did not believe it, this was before the internet, before everyone had cell phones so we had no way of checking to see if it was true. So we started joking about it, and kept saying it could never happen. And I still not believe it through the rest of my day. But i wanted to be sure so when I got home i turned on CNN and sure enough BOOM there it was. I was shocked. I could not look away from it.

It was a rough time for the space program, and shortly afterwards the jokes started coming. Tasteless jokes about the astronauts. And I will admit i laughed at some of them. But on retrospect from a 40 year old perspective, I probably would've smacked myself upside my head and told me to shut up. This was a tragedy, not something to joke about. To my credit, I stopped laughing at the jokes a few months later.

So now it is 28 years later. I see no mention of it on social media. Granted I have not been on Social media all that much today, but I assume we will see very little about it. Maybe more may pick up later this year when one of the cable channels premieres a docu-drama on the explosion. And of course in 2 years we will probably get the huge anniversary stories about it. 30 years. But it is still a tragedy, it is still something we should mention. It almost killed Space Exploration, it did however make everyone very cautious, overly cautious in some cases. I guarantee you. This does not happen, we are on Mars now. BUT it did happen and now NASA is saying we should have people on Mars by the 2030s, maybe by 2036 which would be the 50h anniversary of the explosion. 50 years it took us to get over it. But there is no guarantee on that. Never forget. Hopefully this will keep the story in everyone's mind and hopefully a bigger deal will be made of it in 2 years. By then we should have great pictures of Pluto, and maybe more info about other planets as well, maybe a new class of space vehicle will be created by then as well. Why not name the first one Challenger? It's an homage that would be nice. RIP guys, I know your families are thinking of you today. Just be aware that I am as well.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Who's Batman?

So Ben Affleck has been named as the next Movie Batman in the 2015 Superman/Batman movie and the internet loses it's shit. Sigh. It's great that so many people care about a fictional character, but come on people let's give him the benefit of the doubt. So while I was reading all of the twitter hate, love, indifference, I began to think about all the other actors who played Batman. Each one had an upside and a downside. So I thought again. Hey maybe I should put my two cents in well because I can. Then my friend Gary suggested I also talk about the villains and secondary characters in the films as well. And I think I will but in a different Blog. For now I am going to put down my thoughts on all the Batman's in the Modern era, yes hearkening back to the TV show Batman. These are only the live action ones, since the animated one is the best representation of Batman, but it is animated and not live. So away we go. If you disagree, agree, or are indifferent let me kow in the comments section.

ADAM WEST: BATMAN 1960S TV SHOW: I grew up watching the reruns of Adam West as Batman, and as a kid I loved them. But now has a grownup and a bit more jaded it is exactly what it was trying to be. Campy fun for kids. This was not a serious take on Batman, it was a cleaned up family friendly version, which to be fair was what the comics were at the time. It was in the 70s when Batman started getting gritty. Adam West was fine as Batman. His upside is he loved playing the character, you could just tell. He is also an iconic figure for people my age and older. He was Batman, and it was fun. The villains were great, everyone appeared to be having fun, and that is where the downside is. This Batman was a goofball, someone who easily figured out things and took out the bad guys easily and escaped from the perilous deathtraps easily using his gadgets. He was not the dark knight. But again let me preface that was not Batman at the time. The thing that really bought out the camp was stuff like the Bat-Tusi, or walking up the side of the building and stopping to talk to people, and the old chums. But in the end he is a product of the times and Adam West adored playing Batman. And that is cool.

MICHAEL KEATON: BATMAN 1989, 1992 BATMAN, BATMAN RETURNS: When they announced that Michael Keaton was going to play Batman, I flipped out, but that was before the internet so I could not vent my frustrations. He was a comedic actor, what did he know about comics and playing Batman, we were going to get the campy Batman back. But then I started thinking. He was good in Clean and Sober, he could do Drama. Let's see what happens. I loved Tim Burton, and they had cast Jack Nicholson as the Joker which was pretty cool (at the time) so let's see what happens. What we got was a great beginning to the modern era of Comic Films. The Superman series had fallen into parody, so this was almost a new beginning. And Keaton was good. The film was darker then the campy tv series, and got a lot of stuff right. The music by Danny Elfman was spot on, and it was cool to see a comic book film which became a huge hit. Keaton's upside was that he had a great Batman voice, he looked cool in the outfit, and you could almost believe he was crazy enough to be a guy who dresses like a bat. He was not as good looking as Bruce Wayne is usually envisioned but he was good. The downside, He was a little small to play the role, did not have the physical build to be Batman who in the comics had worked for 10 years to refine every aspect of his life to fight crime, I didn't get that from Keaton. His Bruce Wayne was a little too much like Chris Reeve's Clark Kent being a little spacy and absentminded, But I get why they did it. To blow the scent off of the fact that this guy could be Batman. I liked the fact that he had some time to show off his brooding self in the films and that helped the cause as well. in retrospect I liked Keaton as Batman, and am happy to see that he is embracing superheroes again. He is in a film out next year about an actor who played a Superhero in some successful films but is now down and out and they are rebooting the character and he wants back in. Looks good.

VAL KILMER: BATMAN 1995 : BATMAN FOREVER: Val Kilmer is an interesting actor, he has lost it recently, but in the early 80s he was having fun acting in films like Real Genius and Top Secret! and even Top Gun and Willow some what, but when the 90s hit he was in a broody attitude taking roles in dark and conplex films and not showcasing his fun side. He was becoming like the anti-actor and that is why he could have been a great Batman. He had the broody angry look down, was still handsome, but in Batman Forever he just did not look like he was having fun. It could be that Joel Schumaucher reverted the series back to the campy side which was a major blow for the film series and the character. Just think what Kilmer could have done has the more broody angry Batman. The upside was he was broody and angry, he was handsome, he gave off the vibe that he was also pretty smart, but he just seemed like he was angry at taking on the role and was not exploring the depths that Batman has. And that was kind of the downside. He was a downer all the time, yes Batman usually is, but he does have his moments of humor and hapiness and none of it showed here. Plus he was acting in a terrible film directed by someone who really didn't get what audiences wanted to see in a Batman film, and reverted it back to the cheesy campy film. Val could've been a great Batman, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

GEORGE CLOONEY: BATMAN 1997: BATMAN & ROBIN: UG. Is all I have to say. One of the absolute wort films of all time, however it was only partially Clooney's fault. He was miscast, but his upside is that he tried really hard to be a good Batman, he did a good job with what he had, but he just wasn't Batman. He was handsome like Bruce Wayne is supposed to be, he had a bit too much humor, there was no sign of any real intensity or complexities that Batman has. But the movie was just a total trainwreck from start to finish. He was miscast and to be honest I really did not see him as Batman at all so even if he had another director and script, I'm not sure he could've pulled it off. But at least he gave 110% and tried his best to live up to the character and to that I have to give him credit.

CHRISTIAN BALE: BATMAN 2005, 2008, 2012: BATMAN BEGINS, THE DARK KNIGHT, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Bale was an excellent Batman. He had all the pieces, the intensity, the complexity, the slight humor, but it was in a very limited way. Nolan and Goyer had a specific story they wanted to tell. They had a beginning, a middle, and end. They were never going to deviate from this story and therein lies a bit of my problem with Bale. He only had eyes for this story. He did not want to anchor a bunch of one off films, he wanted to create a fully formed character and character arc, that in Dark Knight Rises comes to it's intended end. They did not want to dig any deeper, they had a story to tell and they told it. And that's fine but it's very limited. And that is my biggest issue with him. That and his Batman voice was terrible. I was not a big fan of the end of Batman's story and did not like the finality of it. But as it's own story it is pretty good. I would've liked to see Bale go up against some of Batman's other baddies, especially would've loved to see Nolan's Riddler, but alas that is that.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Dad

June 5th is my dad's 66th birthday and he has finally decided that after 44 years that he has decided to call it a career and has decided to retire from his job as a math department chairman. At the end of May my dad had a retirement dinner and I was so proud of him. Proud of the amount of love his staff had for him. He had been a Math Department Chairman at Hereford High School for 13 years and these were the people who were throwing him the dinner. Up to that point he had been a Middle School Math Department Chairman at about 3 to 4 other schools in his huge career. His staff had created a powerpoint of his 40 plus year career filled with music, pictures, and humor. Then his staff came up and everyone talked a little about what my dad meant to them. And this was interesting to me, because I never saw him as a school teacher. He never taught me, I never saw him interact with the kids in his class. But this outpouring of love was overwhelming and it was another side of my dad I have never seen. And then he did his speech. I never really expected him to be as eloquent a speech reader he was, but it should not have surprised me since he wrote a wonderful eulogy for his mother, my grandmother. But his speech was amazing. But after his dinner I was driving home and I started thinking about my dad. All the stuff he has gone through, all the stuff he has done for me and his family. He's made some mistakes, he's had some rough times and he had some good times. He's done some great travelling and has always stuck to a schedule. Goes to bed at 8pm. Gets up at 3am and runs for awhile, then goes into work, works all day, then gets home has dinner, does work, goes to bed. That seems to be his routine. The weekends he works, reads, runs, spends time with the family, or does whatever. And that is my dad in a nutshell. Very schedule oriented. Which is fine. I find myself sometimes dipping into that well and finding myself schedule oriented every once in awhile which I get from my dad. it's not often but sometimes it creeps out. Most of the time I am laid back as well.

So on this, his 66th birthday, and a few weeks before his retirement, I started to think up some of my memories of him and just wrote them down. I had so much written down that it surprised me how much I remembered when I have trouble remembering other bits of my life. Just goes to show you how important someone can be for you. So I thought I would just write a few rememberances for my dad. Not in any real order just off the cuff.

My Dad lost his father, my grandfather, at the age of 13. Being the oldest of 6 kids he had to take on the role of father figure for his siblings. It was rough but he was able to handle it while maintaining his schooling.

My Dad and Mom got seperated when I was about 14 or 15 and divorced after I turned 18, but it was an easy seperation on me and my sister. Meaning that my mother and father never fought in front of us, never moved us from one house to another, and were very cordial to each other in front of us. My Dad paid his alimony on time and never fought it. When my Mom's mother died, my Dad came down to the funeral and the wake and paid his respects to my grandfather, and when he passed my dad was down for that. It was both ways, my mom was there when my dad's mother died. They get along very well now and can be in the same place for family parties.  So if you ever need to get seperated the way my parents did it was perfect.

My Dad was the coach of my Little League baseball team for close to 5 years. That is not so unusual since lots of dads coach their children's teams, but since my dad is a math teacher and he loves his statistics. So he made statistics for us after every game and we loved it.

One year for my birthday, My Dad and I took a road trip to Chicago to go to Chicago Comic-Con. We got a room in the same hotel as the con, and while I was at the con my dad would lounge at the pool, or read, or whatever. Then in the evening we would explore Chicago. It was a long 12 hour drive to Chicago, and along 12 hour drive back, but at this age I could not drive so Dad took the wheel the whole time and we did not stop. While we were there we went to a Chicago White Sox baseball game, since the Cubs were away that week. We did not go into the Sears Tower, but did go into the John Hancock building which is just as tall. Ate some Chicago Style Pizza which is good. All in all a great time.

My Dad is a runner. He did races often and I would go to some of them. One father's day when I had grown up and was working for WLIF the radio station. We hosted a race and my dad ran it, so I got to see him and introduce him to the people I worked with and that was cool.

When I was younger during the last week of summer before school started for both Dad and I, I would go with my Dad a day or two to his work where he would be prepping for the school year. I would stamp school books, draw on his chalkboard, and generally just help my dad for a few hours. He would get me a soda which for me was huge.

My Dad loves Stevie Nicks, and when it came time that my sister and I thought we were ready for a real pet, we had to try and convince him to get a cat for us. We all wanted one, but he was kind of on the fence about it. But what is really great is that My sister and I came up with the perfect name. We told my Dad that we wanted to name our cat Gypsy, named after the song from Stevie Nicks. That convinced him and we got a cat. However, 5 years or so later my dad unfortunately was the one who found her lifeless body. She had been hit by a car, since she was an outdoor cat. Her lifeless body was right in front of my dad's car. And when he turned on his car and he turned on his headlights, he saw the body. And it crushed him.

My Dad always liked to travel and he has been all over. Europe multiple times, Canada multiple times, and has visited a lot of states in the United States as well. And when I was younger my family would go to Ocean City NJ where my mom's sister lived for our vacations. One year we all went to New York and Boston as well. After my parents seperated my dad more travelling and sometimes my sister and I would go along. We went to Boston again, flew to California and did LA, San Diego, and San Francisco. We flew to Seattle and did that and Vancouver, then back to San Francisco. And the last major trip I remember taking with my dad was flying to Denver, spending time there, driving to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, then driving back to Denver with a stopover in Boulder. All nice trips, all fun trips. My Dad takes my nephews on week's vacations as well nowadays. And he and my stepmom still do some travelling. In fact he will be going to Belgium this summer. So pretty cool.

Every year My Dad and I go to a Ravens football game together, with the exception of last year when he got me and my wife and sister and brother in law tickets to Ravens Vs. Redskins. But every year since the Ravens have been in existence we have gone to a game together. We went to the first ever Ravens Playoff game in their history on New Year's eve 2000. We also used to go to Orioles games together, but now not so much. In fact we went to the very last game at Memorial Stadium for the Orioles, before they moved to Camden Yards. We used to go see the Bullets/Wizards when they would sometimes play a game in Baltimore, which they haven't done in years. So it is always a lot of fun when my dad and I do these things together.

My Dad started my Comic Book collection and got me interested in comics. We've watched movies together just the two of us. We saw Midnight Run, Every Which Way but Loose, The Maltese Falcon, and probably more that I can't remember. He loves his grandkids and is looking forward to spending time with them now that he is retired.

I love my Dad. I am lucky that I feel that he loves me too. I am lucky for all the time I have spent with him and will spend with him for many years. We may not talk everyday, but I know my dad is concerned for me and my family and I am lucky that I have this relationship with my Dad. I hear horror stories about people having strained relations with their father, and am so happy that I do not have this problem. Dad I love you and I hope I did not embarass you too much. As proof of how great my dad is. I am posting the last three minutes of his Retirement Speech. in my opinion they were the best part of the speech.   Happy Birthday Dad! Happy Retirement! And I will definitly talk to you soon. Love Dylan.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What 20 Summer films I want to see this year, but probably will only see 3 of them

Ah, Summertime. The time when the movie theaters get busy, and the sequels, Superhero films, action films, animated films, go crazy and everyone excpects a 30 million dollar plus opening weekend. I love the summer film season because I love those kinds of films. If you look at my theater going behavior, Summer is when I see the most films. Because I enjoy big crazy spectacles. I eagerly await Entertainment Weekly's Summer Movie Preview, because I discover that there are a ton more movies that I did not know about that are coming out during that time. This is just a generic list with a few off kilter comments. You will not find a lot of information but just a quick blurb. I don't have all the info in fromt of me so I can't tell you for sure when some of these are coming out. Plus it may be different all over the country when things come out. so here are my top 20 films that I want to see this summer, but will probably only see 3 of them since I have kids and a job and not a lot of money.

20. 2 GUNS: Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg playing enemies who have to work together? Action packed? Based on a comic book? I'm there. 2 Guns is based on the comic by Boom Studios, where one of my friends Filip Sablik is a higher up in the company. So see this picture for him. Comes out August.

19. WORLD WAR Z: Brad Pitt vs. Zombies in an adaptation of the book by Max Brooks. What I've seen of it has not really got my blood flowing, and zombies are starting to get a little overblown like vampires were not too long ago. However it is an excellent book, it is a scary action horror story set all over the world, so it may be pretty good. Comes out the day after my birthday. June 21st.

18. NOW YOU SEE ME: Magician thieves. Thieves who use magic tricks to rob others. Morgan Freeman leads a big cast including Jesse Eisenberg. And yet it's supposed to come out in May and I have not seen a lick of advertising for it anywhere. Never a good sign. But the premise alone intrigues me. Comes out in May.

17. THE GREAT GATSBY: A good novel. A visionary director: Baz Luhrmann (Moulan Rouge, Romeo and Juliet) two actors named Leonardo and Tobey, who also happen to be best friends in real life and you get what appears to be a unique movie. Then in 3D kills it for me. Gatsby is not a huge action pic, there is no real reason for 3D except just to see if you can make a drama in 3D. May 11th.

16. EPIC: From the director of the original Ice Age, you get this computer animated family fantasy film about a group of fairy type of beings who do battle against their enemies, and they are the size of insects. Saw the trailer, looked amazing and fun fantasy and may be a good pic for me to take my kids to. Though there are two better ones and another one Planes (based in the Cars world from Pixar)that did not make the list that the kids may want to see before this one. But who knows. Comes out late May I think.

15. ELYSIUM: From the director of District 9 Neil Blomkomp comes is second film that stars Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. Hard to describe what is going on, but Damon puts on a suit of armor and battles people in a bleak future. Looks like amazing sci-fi for grownups. Coming out in August.

14. PERCY JACKSON AND THE SEA OF MONSTERS: I was disappointed when Chris Columbus made the original Percy Jackson film, based on the YA novel series which I have read and love about a boy who discovers he is a demigod, his father is Poesidan the God of the Sea and he learns of a camp with other demigods. The film had potential to be the American Harry Potter, but if fell apart, changing aspects of the book and casting a too old actor Logan Lerman to play Percy. However it made enough money for the film companies to go, hmm let's see what happens. So here is the sequel. What I have heard is that it is closer to the book then the original Percy jackson, though Logan Lerman is still in the role. He is still to old, but it is enough to pique my interest. Coming in August.

13. RIPD: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, based on a comic book about Ghost police officers. Has the interesting premise of a Men in Black type of film, with two amazing actors who appear to be having a blast making the film. I think this is coming in July. Not sure. Maybe June.

12. AFTER EARTH: When I first saw this, it didn't overwhelm me to much. Then I saw some of the trailers and have started seeing tv commercials for it, and the more I look at it, the more amazing it looks. Will Smith re-teams with his real life son Jaden Smith, who play father and son space rangers who crash on a wild and wooly planet, called Earth where the animals have taken over and evolved. Jaden has to traverse the land to try and find help for his injured dad. This looks to be more of a Jaden film with Will in a support role which is fine. And hopefully M. Night Shaymalan who was great but has slowly fallen off is making a return and it looks good. May 31st. Moved up from June 7th.

11.THE WOLVERINE: I like Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Wish he was a little shorter but I digress. However I never have seen his original solo film yet. I own it but have not watched it yet. I had heard it really wasn't all that great anyway. But We'll see. However from what I have been hearing, this one sounds awesome. One of the aspects of Wolverine I always liked was his belief in the Samurai code. And this movie set in Japan and may have connections to the classic Wolverine miniseries by Frank Miller has piqued my interest. July.

10. PACIFIC RIM: A lot of secreacy from Guillermo Del Toro on this one. What we know is a live action giant monster movie taking on Giant Robots controlled by human pilots. Idris Elba who is insanely cool stars. Giant Robots fighting Giant Monsters sounds awesome. July I think.

9. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY: Pixar's summer film of choice. They do have Planes coming out also, but that was supposed to be a direct to dvd sequel to Cars but they thought they could make some money releasing it. However this one is the true Pixar summer film. A sequel to the excellent Monsters Inc. plays more like a prequel as we meet Sulley and Mike, who meet for the first time. It throws every college movie cliche in the book and you have monsters doing the acting. Pure comedy gold. John Goodman and Billy Crystal return as the voices.

8. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: What do you do after you just directed a true blockbuster superhero film in the Avengers? Well Joss Whedon films a black and white adaptation of a Shakespearean comedy in his house. Yes. HIS HOUSE. Pulls in some of his regulars like Nathan Fillion, Tom Lenk, Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, and Clark Gregg and release it wide after a very successful run at film festivals. Looks like a great break from Summer Films, with some great acting and directing.

7. THIS IS THE END: This film was originally near the end of my list. I had no desire to see it. Then I remembered the original concept trailer that Seth Rogen and Jay Barachel did called Seth and Jay vs. the Apocalypse. ANd I remembered I laughed my ass off. Now they have finally made the film. And made it bigger. I watched both the redband trailer and regular one and laughed my ass off. Concept is awesome. A group of actors who portray crazy versions of themselves are having a party at James Franco's house when the end of the world occurs and this small group of guys are stuck in the house trying to survive. Seth Rogen, Jay Barachel, Craig Robinson, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, David Krumholz, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, and Emma Watson to name a few of the stars who portray the worst parts of themselves. Looks hilarious.

6. DESPICABLE ME 2: I never really thought about this film until I had kids. They aired the original on Disney junior I think edited of course and we only watched a little of it but the kids loved it, and I actually enjoyed it to. So I went out and bought it and showed the kids and it soon became one of their faves. And I really liked it as well. So when I learned this was coming out July 4th weekend this year, well I asked the kids if they wanted to see it in the theaters and they said yes. So we will be seeing this. Being released July 3rd.

5. MAN OF STEEL: You'd think I would be more excited to see this since it is a Superman movie. But for some reason I do not have the excitement for this movie. I still want to see it since it could very well be DC's Iron Man. I.E the first film to kick off a self contained DC comic hero movie world. I'm still hesitant because it appears they are going the Nolan Batman route (Nolan is a producer on it) and making it dark. Superman should not be a dark film. It should be fun. That is why I am having some issues with it. June 14th

4. IRON MAN 3: Again you'd think this would be higher, but from what I have seen and heard. This film is not exciting me all that much. I guess I expected something a little more Avengers esqe, but we get a different type of Iron Man film, which is fine. I just wish it had more of a connection with the Avengers, and also I have heard it does not tease any other up-coming Marvel Movies which is kind of a shame as well. I'll still see it because I like Iron Man. But it is not as anticipated as Iron man 2 was for me. In theaters now.

3. THE LONE RANGER: Believe it or not this looks like a perfect Summer film that I am actually looking forward to seeing. It appears to be in a similar vein as the Pirates films (same director, star) with humor and awesome action sequences. The trailers I have seen look amazing. Looks exciting and really want to see it. July 3rd.

2. BEFORE MIDNIGHT: Yep, my 2nd most anticipated film is a sequel, but to a romantic series of films that I adore and do not have any crazy summer movie style action, just talking and gorgeous locations. Plus two cast members in Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy who are great together. Looking forward to what happens next to their characters. May 24th.

1. STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS: Loved the reboot of the Star Trek film series with the great new actors. Found the story fun and exciting and now 4 years later get to see the same cast all together again and I am stoked. I really hope this is as good as the reboot was. The trailers and clips I have seen make this look operatic. I hope it works. May 16th. (just moved from the 17th)