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.