Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bad Reputation

I do NOT know why the people in charge of Television hate the world so much or why they, ironically, hate good television.

Some of the best shows ever have had the plug pulled WAY too early. Consequently, they've become the James Dean and Marilyn Monroes of the medium; My So-Called Life, Arrested Development, Firefly just to name a few.

I've just finished watching another series that will sit in good company with these DVD sets on my shelf. Ladies and Gents - I give you "Freaks and Geeks".

Yes - that's James Franco (soon to have an Academy Award). Yes - that's Jason Segel from "How I Met your Mother". Yes that's Seth Rogan from everything. Yes that's a very young Jonathan Francis Daley from "Bones". Yes that's Linda Cardellini and Busy Phillips from "ER". Yes - that's also a very young Samm Levine from "Inglorious Bastards". Pretty much everyone that's awesome was involved in this show. Even the supporting cast - Biff from "Back to the Future" is the gym teacher! Ivanova from "Babylon 5" is one of the Geek's mothers! It was this never-ending parade of "oh my gosh" and real honest talent. Ben Stiller even pops in for a second.

All this wonderful was the brain child of Judd Apatow who has been involved in everything that's really mattered, TV, webseries and movie alike since 1999 (when this show started). All praise the Apatow.

I know I'm super late to the "Freaks and Geeks" bandwagon but that's not the point. The point is, this kind of entertainment/television is excellent and should be talked about and celebrated.

All precious 18 episodes are available via YouTube and I encourage you to watch them, buy the DVDs and then write a few scathing letters to the jerk-faces who canceled the show.

I don't want to spoil anything for those who have yet to have the viewing pleasure. I'll just give you my list of Things I Learned from "Freaks and Geeks" to whet your pallet.

Say your peace but not through crank phone calls.

When you get kicked in the head at a club, it's time to leave. Period.

When it comes to drum kits, less is more.

Know the rules of the game before you celebrate.

Practicing ventriloquism is something that should only be done at home.

Listen to you parents when they talk to you about sex. It's harder for them and it's probably stuff you need to know.

Smashed guitars and dead dogs are some of the best things that could happen to you.

There are some people you'll never truly understand until you meet their parents.

Jazz wins - every time.

Make time for "Dallas".

Don't give up on people and when you need to say sorry, do it fast.

When you're happy or grateful for something, say it outloud and often.

Dance as often as possible.

We all need a pair of Starwars pjs.

Real friends know when and when not to ask questions.

Do your homework - being smart rocks.

Stick up for people that need it.

Kindness needs to be just as loud as meanness.

Being OK with yourself is an on-going process.


Listen to guidance counselors that know their Alice Cooper.

RIP "Freaks and Geeks" - thanks for existing. If only for a blip. You will be remembered.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hi Again!

Twice in two months! I know! Things are changing around here :)

I finished an AMAZING book last week and I have to write about it. It's one of the best books I picked up since Harry Potter. No joke.

It's called The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

It's been a long time since I've read book this good. Sometime I've found one that engaged me as well as this one but it's over just as I'm starting. This one was a week's worth of delight.

I loved a lot of things about this book:

One - the writing. It's been a while since I've come across such patient writing. It's not writing that's trying to convince you or charm you or condescend to you or shock you. It's just telling you a glorious story patiently, effectively, and brilliantly.

Two - I love how this is a grown up book. As in, this was written by a self-respecting adult for other self-respecting adults. It nobly steered away from any inappropriate sexuality. It was still there of course, this a story about how a boy became a man. But it's never abused, it's treated with the dignity it deserves. I appreciated that down to my bones. By so you can sense what a real hero the protagonist, Kvothe, is. This is a book I'd read to my kids but discuss with my professors as well. That's a RARE thing to me and I appreciated it more than anything.

Three - this book is laced together with love. It's a love letter to Stories. It's a love letter to Music and the Theater. It's a love letter to Family. It's a thank you note to Struggle. It's letter of recommendation for Nobility and Humility. It comes from such positive places it's impossible not to feel like a better person after reading it.

Four - I love how brave this book is. It directly addresses Religion and History and Faith and Spirituality. It's honest about the veracity of each. It's unapologetic about the good and bad each one has and what a vital roll each one has with our day-to-days. It was refreshing to be able to engage that part of my person and heart with this story because it's not usually not addressed like this in modern Fantasy works. Usually it's much more glib.

Fifth - I love how I didn't feel lied to by this book. Sometimes when you're picking up a "Fantasy" book it's good but it feels a bit plasticy. Almost like a show at Chuck E Cheese. You're entertained by the painfully stiff audio-animotronic 6' mice and beavers but well, much like the pizza there, they leave you feeling unsatisfied. This book feels like a walk through a museum. You feel nourished as well as entertained, you feel spoken to, not spoken at and I deeply value that.

So all that quality combined with a story about the Fae and magic and battling the demon forces of a world and commanding the elements makes for a VERY good read. The next one can't get here soon enough.