Too much of a good thing?

TV exec on Arrow: “Y’know what, kids really like this archery thing. Let’s add more archers to the show.”
TV exec on Flash: “Y’know what, kids really like this speedster thing. Lets add more speedsters to the show.”
TV exec on Supergirl: “Y’know what, kids really like this Super thing. Let’s add more Supers to the show.”
Can someone please fire this guy already?

Horrific dreams that scare on a new level

Okay, what is with the collective unconscious last night? I have now ready four friends post that they had horrible dreams. I did too, but in a very weird way.

It wasn’t blatant horror but rather a subtle, depressing horror that persisted on waking. I can only remember one scene, but it stick with me. I was on the c-train and it was riding out into a undeveloped section of the city. The train rolled past my stop without even slowing and the driver came on the loudspeaker apologizing that she had already received one “P5” today and wasn’t taking any chances. My dream version immediately understood that it meant she had already received a reprimand for being late to a “primary” stop and was going to be docked pay for it, and so she was skipping the “lesser” stops to make up time. And my dream self could sense everyone else on the train kind of nodding in tired acceptance that they’re just going to have walk further because “what can you do?”. And this was an all pervading sense of how the world was working with everyone accepting less because those in power were demanding more while using punitive measures to force the common man to do more with less.

And my heart was gripped with certainty and fear that clung well into waking. I know the scene was incredibly minor, but the FEELING was deeply disturbing. We are headed into that as a reality. We’ll be walking further, eating less, and working harder… and we’ll still be better off than the majority of the rest of the world.

I look forward to the days when we finally decide to eat the rich.

CCEE day three, sort of … well, mostly a tangent

Well, fifty-six days in a row of daily journal entries. Not bad, honestly. I finally caved in to brain fatigue yesterday and just didn’t bother. I could have written about the last day of CCEE, and I probably will, but last night I just need to stare at a screen and not think.

And phone Dianne. I definitely needed to do that too. We ended up talking for an hour and a half, me about the con and her about their ongoing renovations. I definitely had the better weekend.

I don’t have any personal stories to tell about the convention. I think maybe next year I’d like to go as an attendee, if I can afford it. The problem with that thought is that I fear disappointing the friends who look forward to my volunteering each year.

I struggle with both sides of the equation, really. Mentally I scoff at the idea of paying someone for their autograph and feel terribly awkward at expressing any excitement at getting to spend a fleeting few seconds with a celebrity because I paid for the time. Feels an awful lot like friend-level prostitution. That being said, I’m also envious of my friends and their photos.

And on the third hand I have some photos of my own from last year, back when I still had the money to afford such things, and I haven’t even looked at them since. It’s nice to know that I got to within a few feet of some people I admire, but… it also feels rather plastic and forced.

I like to meet people as themselves, not as their professional selves.

It also felt very, very awkward to see and meet some actors who don’t have thousands of fans lining up to breathe their air. Last year, while waiting in line to get autographs from The Guild I briefly left my place in line to get an autograph from Matt Frewer. I chatted with him briefly about a show he had done way back in the very late eighties called “Doctor Doctor”. Back then it cracked me up like nothing I had ever seen before. Unfortunately it was decades ahead of it’s time for prime time and it didn’t last long.

I chatted with him about it and he explained how the network executives couldn’t find a mate to pair the show with and how they have always relied on the formula of two shows back to back that keep an audience watching. I’m guessing they try really hard to get people to stick around for the whirlwind of commercials between shows.

It was tough to talk to him, though. I’m sure a lot of the awkwardness was just my own mind making assumptions about how someone in his position isn’t actually interested in talking with me but is, instead, only putting up with talking with me because of where he is and what he’s required to do. I think if I could have let that insecurity go I might have had a better conversation with him.

Because I really do admire him. Matt Frewer, in my opinion, has a good grasp of comedic timing. In Doctor Doctor he was fantastic and had my mother almost peeing with every show. His comedy was a brilliant combination of physical and cerebral. His character wasn’t in any way stupid and used his wit constantly, but he also used slapstick and character voices to delivery the wit with additional impact. I looked forward to every show.

I’ve held onto the theory for years that good comedic actors (and I’m stressing “good” here) are so adept at dropping into their role that other, serious roles come remarkably easy to them. Robin Williams and Jim Carrey and prime examples of this. As much as I enjoy their comedy their dramatic roles have always been much more impressive. Even bad comedic actors can do good work in dramatic roles, like Will Ferrel in “Stranger than Fiction”, the only live action role I’ve ever enjoyed him in. His comedy is almost always incredibly stupid, almost to the point of being insulting, often to the sinful extreme of being boring. But his one serious role produced a movie that I’d sit down and re-watch any day.

Matt Frewer, I suspect, is equally capable. His brief role in “50/50” as an aged cancer patient going through chemo-therapy was touching and painful.

These are the topics I want to discuss with these stars, but in a situation where I’m not paying them to be nice to me. If I were to meet one and happen into a casual conversation, that would be great. But I feel all kinds of awkward about imposing my presence on them after the agreed upon price for the few seconds.

It gets ten times as awkward when I hear other people complaining about poor experiences with these people, when they paid money and the star was aloof or even hostile. At that point I know the situation was awkward all around as the fan is the only person who actually wanted to be there at all, and the only thing keep the celebrity in their presence was an agreed upon amount of money.

With this tangent swirling about my mind I now realize I should definitely have lined up for one of the autographs that a certain entertainer and writer whom I admire was offering to volunteers for free. At least then I would have known he was offering his time on his own terms, simply because he wanted to.

A page a day, day fifty-three: Let’s talk about gaming… Squirrel!

I’m at a loss as to what to write today and inspiration has fled me so I’m afraid you’re going to get another post about games.

I tried to attend a table top game group tonight but very few people showed up. It was awkward. Two guys were playing some wizardly battle game that was a fairly blatant rip of Magic but “not a collectible game” they claimed. Whatever, they still had folders of cards in protective sleeves, they were still marshaling mana and attacking monster to monster. The rules, from what I overheard, were vastly over-complicated. They had rule books like an RPG, they had a playing field, and they had a tackle box of sorted tokens. The board, as nears as I could tell, added nothing to the game beyond a colorful background. They did move cards around to face off against each other, so there was an element of miniature play, but the board did not have any delineating marks or anything to specify differing areas or distance. They might as well have had the cards out on a plain table. I confess I may have been missing something, but the game just looked like a game of M:tG with excessive complexity designed to sell playing pieces.

Not that M:tG isn’t a cash grab anyway, but at least the game is still fun to play.

I had a brief chat with the owners about the upcoming expo. The store owners were packing up their wares to sell in the dealers’ room. They’ll probably do really well.

As I was getting up to leave one of the duo made some comment that I found incredibly puzzling. He felt it was unfair of the media guests to charge money for their photos and signatures. While I do confess to thinking that the prices they charge are insane, I don’t agree with his philosophy that they shouldn’t be allowed to charge at all. He felt that him paying his entry fee should be enough, and that he should just be allowed to walk up and ask for an autograph.

Well… in an ideal world, perhaps, but when you get the level of popularity that some of these performers have attained the logistics of setting up free autographs would be a nightmare for everyone involved. Hell, they’re charging hundreds of dollars for photos and autographs and the organizers still face a nightmare of crowd control.

All that aside, the ultimate point is this: These people have something of value and they’re selling it at prices people are willing to buy.

That’s it.

If their photo opportunities and signatures weren’t considered of value by those paying for them, they wouldn’t be able to sell them. It’s really that simple. If Shatner came up and demanded $50,000 per photo, he’d be sitting in an empty hall by himself. Alternatively, if he were giving it all away, he’d either be working 72 hours straight or there would be a riot as we tried turning people away after his standard two hours.

And, ultimately, nobody is entitled to anybody’s time. You’re paying to attend the convention because it costs the organizers to host it. They’re not getting the space for free, and given what the Stampede is charging for things (their fee for internet access for three days would get me high speed internet for over a year at home) they need every penny they get.

That ticket does not entitle you to anything more than the right to attend. Period.

The stars are their own business, and their product is their time and their fame. They’re allowed to set whatever price the market will bear. There is no reason anybody should EXPECT to gain time with them for free. The only way that works is if they feel your time is at least as valuable to them as theirs is to you, and that’s just not going to happen.

Now, that being said, most of these actors do their best to be as gracious and open as they can. After all, the value of their fame depends on people actually liking them in the first place. If people get turned off then suddenly that hundred bucks they placed down for their chunk of time feels like a rip off. The stars know this, and until they get bitter and jaded they do their best to maintain their popularity.

Some of them… well, okay, they’re actors, so they all thrive on attention, but some of them absolutely adore their fans and are geeking out about the whole experience as the audience is. Those are the best ones to sit and listen to, because they’re often just as excited as anyone to be there and will happily engage the audience of as long as they’re allowed.

Wow, okay, look at that… started with one line and totally dove into a tangent. Cool.

A page a day, day eight

It was a gorgeous Sunday today, gorgeous enough that not only did I get the blinds open today but a couple of windows as well. I also managed to force myself out of the condo. It wasn’t difficult since I had to get my groceries anyway. I also got my car cleaned and spent a couple of hours in the coffee shop getting some writing done.

A table, a book, a coffee, and a piece of banana loaf.

Getting some writing done on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

I’ve already met my goal of 300 words today but I don’t really have the time to transpose it all. Plus… while it was a great writing exercise it definitely wasn’t worth keeping.

At least not online.

Now I’m getting my laundry done and re-watching some Warehouse 13, first season. The show was awesome from the beginning. Claudia was awesome from the beginning.

I gotta say, though, the show was darker at the start. It would be nice if they could edge back to that. Still, I also love the silliness of the characters. It’s a tough call.

Okay, this daylight savings thing really sucks. My day is almost over and I feel like I barely got half of it. When are governments going to admit there’s not functional reason for keeping it other than “we’ve always done it this way.”

It doesn’t help that I grew up in Saskatchewan where we didn’t bother with it. The only way daylight savings ever actually impacted us was when we had to call someone in one of our neighboring provinces and had to remember if they were an hour behind, ahead, or on par with us. And every time we did we shook our heads in dibelief that people would actually willingly submit to the farce.

Why do we bother? So far the only reasons I’ve heard are that it gives us an extra hour of daylight during the work day. Except that isn’t true. In this modern age our work day can start at 7am, 8am, 9am, or 3 in the afternoon. Nobody is getting an “extra” hour because there is not consistent “work day”.

All that’s going to happen is I’m going to spend the next week miserably trying to adjust to a new schedule.

At least the weather has been getting warmer. Finally.

Things I wish I could say

Customer: “Where is my package!? Why haven’t you delivered it yet!?”

Yes, people actually ask this, as if we were personally responsible for the delivery of their order and simply haven’t been walking quite fast enough. We also get customers who, I kid you not, assume “next day delivery” actually means “this afternoon”.

I often daydream of the responses I would like to give:

“Well, sir, despite my best efforts I have yet to establish control of the postal system. I did try, though, just for you. I closed my eyes and thought really hard. Unfortunately all I managed was a fart and, while personally satisfying, it didn’t do much to speed up your package. Sorry about the smell.”