Tag: television

FANX18 Report

The last few years I have been able to attend Salt Lake City Comicon and have had a blast. This year because of a moronic legal decision it is called FANX18 and like most years I also had a blast. Unfortunately this report is late because I also got a classic case of Comicon cold where I was sick for a week after but it was still a ton of fun.

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One thing I have learned from going to a number of these conventions is I like panels. I don’t like photo ops or getting autographs (they are so expensive, poorly organized and just overall unpleasant). I also don’t love being on the vendor floor. I venture out a few times during a con but the crowds and lines are overwhelming.

Nope I like going to panels! I like hearing what the actors or panelists have to say about the property or their career. Even if they are somebody I don’t know much about or don’t follow their work I think it is interesting to hear about their experience. I am sure that some of it is showmanship for a very zealous crowd but even that can be fun.

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With that in mind this year I went to 21 panels over 3 days and they were amazing! The particular standout was in Friday where I got a perfect seat in the Grand Ballroom and stayed there all day through 10 panels! The highlight was a Smallville panel with Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum who were hilarious. I want a Welling/Rosenbaum road trip comedy movie!

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It was also really neat on Thursday I got to hear from Paige O’hara and Robby Benson who of course voice Belle and the Beast in the animated Beauty and the Beast. I loved hearing about their story and experiences working on one of my favorite movies. It was cool because Paige said she had aged out of voicing Belle (which shocked me!) but she was brought back for Wreck-it Ralph 2. This made me more excited for the princess scene in Wreck-it Ralph 2 because it meant so much to her. Also it was kind of funny because you could tell they weren’t too high on the 2017 remake. LOL

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The other panels I attended were Luna Lovegood panel, Star Wars fan film, Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary panel. Superman 78 tribute, Lucy Lawless/Renee O’Connor, Evangeline Lily, Rainn Wilson, David Tennant, Jeff Goldblum, Manut Bennet (who I was unfamiliar with but was very sweet with a very compelling and sad story), Karl Urban, Gaten Matarazzo, Chuck Norris, Jennifer Morrison, Star Wars Rebels panel including James Arnold Taylor and Freddie Prinze Jr, Ian McDiarmid (yes the emperor and he was great!), Brandon Routh, Brent Spiner and the Twisted Toonz which are always a highlight of the con.

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I also got to meet up with my friend AJ which was a ton of fun. I didn’t do cosplay this year and I regret that a little bit but it was great to see all of the other cosplay participants. It’s amazing how creative and original people are with their costumes.

I know some people who did photo ops were very frustrated with FANX18, but I had a great time! It was informative, fascinating and just a ton of fun. I also won a free multipass to next years event so that’s just awesome!

Have any of you been to comicons? I know there is the big one in San Diego but it’s hard to imagine it is much better as far as guests than SLC and the lines are certainly more manageable. But let me know your experience at cons.

Take care and happy nerding out!

I did updates on my youtube channel after each day. Here is the recap of day 2:

Survivor 30 Being Annoyed and Abuse

Hey guys I thought I would share something I’ve been thinking about with the latest season of Survivor dubbed Survivor Worlds Apart.  In most ways this has been my least favorite season I’ve ever watched.  It’s just been so unpleasant with people behaving more like bitter real housewives or jilted love interests on The Bachelor than people playing a game. The one plus is it has gotten me thinking about human nature and the age old question- are we innately good or bad?

shirinMost of the drama has centered around a woman named Shirin Oskool who I met in NYC (or her cousin…) and was a delight. She is a an executive over at Yahoo and was put on the white collar tribe (castmates were divided based on their jobs this season).

Well, evidently Shirin is a little bit annoying.  It was never explained what exactly she did that was so annoying except she is a huge fangirl of the show and was always talking about it and she got naked at the beginning of the season so that her clothes could get cleaned.

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I’m sure the cast would list off a bunch of things she did which are annoying.  But I don’t think that actually matters.  Being annoying is a human trait and is the fault of the person being annoyed.  Yes we can reign it in but it’s not like lying or stealing.  It’s being annoying.  It’s not a human weakness or sin.

what about bob

Think about the movie What About Bob.  The whole point of that movie is that Bob is so annoying to the Richard Dryfus character but he is completely oblivious.  He has no idea he is being annoying.  Dryfus’ reaction is human but it is his problem not Bob’s that he is allowing another human being to get under his skin to such a degree.

Unfortunately human nature does not always exhibit self control.  It is perhaps when we are around someone who we find annoying that the worst of human nature comes out just like it did with the Dr and Bob.  I love how it is described by good old Joe Fox in one of my favorite movies You’ve Got Mail.

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If you can’t read it here’s what he says ‘Have you ever become the worst version of yourself?  That a Pandora’s box of all the secret, hateful parts- your arrogance, your spite, your condescension – has sprung open?  Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and moving on you zing them. ‘ Hello, it’s Mr Nasty’…”

But the problem with this season’s Joe Fox characters is they used the fact they were annoyed to go beyond a zinger to a systematic belittlement of another human being.  The Pandora’s Box was opened and it apparently was never closed as their apologies have been weak at best.  They have and will claim villain edit but the scenes have been long and repeated so many times it is tough for me to feel they were overly manipulated.  The show no matter the edit cannot actually put words in your mouth.  They don’t change you saying another person has no soul or all women just want to be nodded too and some should be slapped.

survivor dan

Here’s some of the things that happened in the last few weeks.  Shirin was told by Dan that she deserved to be slapped.  That she was an idiot.  Another time he was completely demeaning to another female on the tribe Sierra saying “there are 2 ways to listen in the world.  You can listen like a guy or like a girl.  When you listen like a girl you empathize. You just nod your head and agree..”

Yes because all women want to be treated like dogs who are nodded at without any thought or consideration.

But if only it ended there.

Dan continued to be an extremely judgmental and insufferable character. Like I said he said Shirin should be slapped hard, which in my book is never ok ever even if you are joking. Dont make that joke especially on national tv.

S30_Will_503112_640x360But then we get to Will and boy did the Pandora’s Box spring open for him.  Evidently he had been concerned that Shirin is not religious and would frequently tell her she has ‘no soul’.  This is said by enough of the exit interviews to make me believe it.

On the show we hadn’t heard that much from Will and then there was a moment where at the auction he did not get his letter from home but he did get a supply of food only he would know about.  He stupidly decides to share the food with the camp.  3 of the tribe wonder if that’s all the food there was and Will starts out rightfully upset at people questioning his gift (even though it was a stupid move to make in the game).

But despite it being 3 people who questioned his gift he begins to rail on Shirin.  He says she has no soul and that nobody will ever love her and that she’s a terrible human being.

Now there have been blowups on Survivor.  Pandora’s Box has been opened many times you might say.  After all the most iconic moment of the first season was a woman comparing another woman to a rat and saying she would not help her if she was dying on the side of the road.

But this was one of the longest tirades we’ve had since Brandon Hantz flipped out at Phillip but even Brandon was upset about things in the game not accusing Phillip of being a terrible human being outside the game.

He really crossed a line for me when he said that Shirin brought the abuse of her past on herself and that she played the victim.  How do you play the victim when you are an actual victim? Her father is or was in jail for the domestic abuse.  It was that bad. A victim of domestic abuse is usually manipulated into believing they are responsible for how they are being treated. That’s why they often stay with the abuser.

And what was the excuse behind this kind of belittlement?  Well, the only thing I’ve heard is that she was annoying.  Again, being annoying is not a character failing.  If that was the case than we would all be terrible people.  Every one of us is annoying to another person.

Just the other day I was with a new group of people and this woman rubbed me the wrong way.  She wasn’t doing anything wrong but was just loud and fairly dominating in her opinions. The more I listened to her the more annoyed I got till I wanted to zing her but I didn’t. The thing is…

I WAS THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM. 

She was just talking the ways she talks and I found it annoying.

The especially disturbing part of Will’s behavior is evidently he justified his behavior because Shirin is agnostic and ‘has no soul’.  That flies in the face of everything I know about Christianity.  Jesus after all spent time with gentiles, sinners and tax collectors.  People were shocked because ‘the whole have no need of a physician’.

The whole thing has been kind of upsetting but it has also caused me to think about my own life and when do I rationalize the poor treatment of others because I find them annoying.  I know it happens more than I would like to admit.  We all do it but hopefully we don’t lose control the way Will did.

I realize they are under extreme conditions on the show.  I can only relate it to my mission where I was surrounded by strangers and couldn’t contact home except for weekly letters.  I had one time where I was with a companion who I did not get along with.  Instead of getting angry like Will or patronizing like Dan I cried a lot and was so emotionally wrung out by the end of transfers one of the sisters pulled me aside and said ‘you look like you need a hug’.  I’m pretty sure I would be that way on Survivor.  I would be a lot like Dawn Mehan in Survivor Caramoan who cried a lot but played the best game she could.

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The good thing in all of this is there was one person who stepped in and came to her defense.  Who didn’t let her being ‘annoying’ stand in the way of stopping bullying and attacks- Survivor Mike Holloway.

Shirin said “Shoutout to Jenn, Sierra, Hali — and Michael Anthony Loving Holloway, who showed me that real men and real human beings step in and help each other out when someone’s being attacked. Real people are loving and say, “Forget this game for a million dollars. I’m a human being. These people are human beings. We need to do the human thing in this situation.”

If you think back to What About Bob everyone else is completely charmed by Bob and I suppose that’s an important thing to remember.  For every Pandora’s Box that is opened with all the “hate spite and greed’ that is unleashed there are those like Mike who will do the right thing even to a person they find annoying.

It’s really made me think about how I use the ‘she’s annoying’ excuse in my own life and how I can do a better job at focusing on my spirit instead of how iritiating another person may or may not be. I don’t know if that makes sense but it is just something I’ve been thinking about.

In the end

IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY AND ABUSE ANNOYING WOMEN (or men or children or anybody else).

So this is why I love Survivor because even in a season that I hate with 2 terrible people and some who did nothing there is still something about human nature and behavior I can take from it and we’ll see who comes out on top.  It won’t be Shirin but crossing fingers for Mike.

Wouldn’t that be a happy ending.

Here’s Shirin’s thoughts on the game

And here she is talking about the blow up.

Urban Tribes, Big Brother and Survivor

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Spoiler alert- if you don’t know the winner of big brother do not read this blog!!!

So if you guys didn’t know I really love strategic game shows like Survivor (well especially Survivor and watched Big Brother for the first time this year).  I find it fascinating to see how people work together and what rationale they use for different moves.  It’s a gimmicky social experiment but still a social experiment and I find it very entertaining and occasionally enlightening.

Well Big Brother just ended last night and Derrick had been dominant the entire game.  He had aligned himself closely with Victoria who was sweet but had done little strategically, and with Cody who had been more cutthroat throughout the game.

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Derrick and Cody

In the final HOH Cody had the choice whether to take Victoria who had almost no chance to win or Derrick who hadn’t been nominated once out of 55 times for the block and had been allied with almost everyone.  And he chose Derrick?

Why?  Cody could have won the 500k almost certainly but he chose his ally, his best friend in the game over a sure win.  Many in my RHAP patron group couldn’t believe it.  What a stupid move we all said!

The interesting thing is earlier this year in the fantastic Survivor Cagayan season we had almost the same situation unfold.  Kass had been an angry version of Victoria.  She had burned bridges with everyone and just been very unpleasant all season (I would go nuts with someone like her!). Then there was Woo who was a taikwondo instructor and his ally Tony who had played like a maniac all season building spy shacks, cutting alliance members and speaking in llama (probably my personal favorite survivor player ever).

Just like with Big Brother Woo, the calm, team player, won the final immunity challenge and had the chance to take Kass to the end and win a million dollars, and he chose Tony out of loyalty and respect.

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Tony and Woo

Both Cody and Woo said they felt their partners had ‘earned his spot in the finale’ and they’d rather lose to their friend than win to a nothing person. Seeing these two scenarios play out so close together had me thinking.

Is this just random or is there some kind of cultural reason that we value loyalty and friendship so much, even over money.  Or we value them when we are young and unmarried even over money.  Is there a connection?I could be overthinking it but here’s a thought.  I love the book Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters.  urban tribesWatters wrote an article for the New York Times that he then turned into a book about an experience he had at Burning Man.  He was there with his closest friends and as he headed towards the fireside he saw his friends and realized they were his whole life:

“It looked like home, that little encampment in the dust-home because these particular people were there waiting for me. And then I could see the scene in a different way- as an anthropologist might who was studying a group of great apes . It was almost dark now and I stopped 20 years away…

Certainly each of these people had a relationship with me, but they all had distinct relationships with each others.  There was a web of love affairs, friendships, rivalries, work partnerships, and shared homes.  Connect any 2 of these 25 people and you would find a history of hundreds of hours of conversation, secrets, gossip and all manner of insights into the world”

He goes on:”Maybe I had not been delaying growing up, my real life, but had been living it fully- sailing through my 20s and early 30s as a member of a functional urban tribe”

Now you might be thinking how can an urban tribe exist in a game show where people are voting people off the tribe?  Isn’t that counter-intuitive?  Yes, and no.

First of all, not everyone playing the game is used to living in an urban tribe environment but the young single (especially men) are, so they are perhaps most vulnerable to this type of attachment.  But aside from the votes,  which some like Woo and Cody are basically kept safe from, the dynamics of alliances and a tribe/house are near-perfect urban tribes.  They satisfy family roles, traditions, gossip, work (challenges), insight etc.

So if you are a young person who is used to living in an urban tribe environment like frat boy Cody or martial arts instructor Woo perhaps their choices at final 3 aren’t that surprising?  Both Tony and Derrick were very confident they would be picked so it didn’t seem to be a tough decision. It was that much a part of who they are to make the choice easy.

I am less an urban tribe dweller now I am 33 but there was a time when I fit the description and I ate up Watters book.  I felt like someone was finally telling me my life wasn’t a total waste of time because I was unmarried.  You should see my copy it is underlined and highlighted.  So, there is a time when I would have absolutely made the same choices as Cody and Woo.  In fact, I’m still a very loyal and friend-oriented single person so I might still do it today.

And people say ‘it’s only 39 days or 3 months’?  How can you get that kind of urban tribe bond in such a short period of time.  I actually find that completely believable.  On my mission I was isolated from my family and friends and there were people I would have cut off my arm for if they had asked me.  I would have done anything for them.  And most of the time I had only known them for a few weeks. My companions I had for 6-12 weeks and I was incredibly loyal to them (some I wanted to rip their head off but most I liked!).

In fact, when you are in that kind of intense experience the bonds form even faster, and I know if I was on an island somewhere you can bet I would form an urban tribe real quick that would be tough to severe for money.

I realize it is a game but I just think the culture of urban tribes has created a loyalty-over-all-else culture and I’m actually glad to see it.  It’s kind of refreshing in a way. Especially as a single girl, it is nice to know there are guys out there who put loyalty and friendship over money and success.  As a married woman I might want it differently but I don’t know?

Watters quotes a woman named Leah and she pretty much describes my life “I’ve grown a lot through my tribe.  I’ve found out more about myself, developed in areas I would not have if I weren’t involved with these people.  I now know what I want out of life or at least what I don’t want.  I know I will not settle for the wrong man or the wrong job. I have a strong source of support…I guess you could say I have found myself”

Now that I am in my 30s, some friends are gone and this type of close-knit bond is harder to find for daily support.  But fortunately I have my roommate and great friends who are there when I need them.  They are honestly more important to me than family as far as this type of support goes.

I could be completely wrong and an urban tribe mentality may have nothing to do with Cody or Woo’s choices but it seems probable.  I can at least imagine it influencing them.

What do you think of urban tribes?  Do you watch Survivor or Big Brother?  Did you watch these seasons?  What do you think?

In the end, friendship is everything to some of us (and seriously Urban Tribes by Ethan Watters is a great book!).

Amazing Race Around the World

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So I’ve had a lot of down time lately…literally.  Fortunately my knee is healing right on schedule and I feel confident it will continue to do so.  Still only so much a girl can do when confined to 2 rooms for most of the day.

Of course I have been doing my Disney challenge which if you haven’t followed the blog it has turned out great!  I’m in the slog of the package films from the 40s but I bet you don’t know much about them so it will be fun for you (probably more fun to read my reviews than for me to watch them…)

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Another thing I’ve enjoyed is finally watching the Amazing Race Canada and Amazing Race Australia vs New Zealand.  They are completely awesome!  So much better than the last 4 or five seasons of Amazing Race US.  Especially the last season where the challenges were too backyard carnival, no travel drama, too few cities and thoroughly whiny winners. (If I had to hear ‘we are so old’ or ‘Wa wa, they U-turned us’ I think I would have screamed).

Honestly the premiere of Amazing Race Canada was better than the finale of Amazing Race US.  I hope TAR US you are taking notes!  The host is great for Amazing Race Canada and they have an eclectic group.  On both the Ausie and the Canada cast I don’t feel the casting was as gimmicky as the US casting has gotten.

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Now there is always the bickering couple, blonde girls, child/father, alpha-males, reality tv couple, newlyweds.  It’s become so predictable but in these international versions they have blondes but they are smart and actually good at the game.  In Canada they are hockey players and they have oddly been very good at every challenge except playing hockey…They are more than the color of their hair.

I particularly like the cast for the Australia vs New Zealand because the country loyalty adds a layer of strategy which is interesting.  Suddenly a team you might U-turn because they are strong you don’t because they are for your country.  We will see how long that lasts but so far been great.

australia vs new zealand

For both casts they do some challenges at home but it doesn’t matter a bit.  You are still getting to know a culture and doing fun challenges.  I guess for me it is foreign where they are showing but I still think they are good challenges that have been very physical but fun.

Anyway, there are lots of ways to watch both shows.  Look on youtube or watch on the shows websites.

These international versions are reminding me why I liked the show to begin with.  It’s pretty amazing!

 

Boy Meets World

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I’ve told you about a lot of entertainment over the years.  Well, let me tell you about another show that I know isn’t exactly great entertainment but I have a nostalgia and affection for.  I kind of grew up with ABC’s family friendly TGIF lineup and the great Disney Afternoon.  In particular there was  a little show called Boy Meets World.

I’m not going to try and defend this show as original or groundbreaking.  In fact, I will say out front it is predictable, sentimental and syrupy but it also has real heart and actors with charisma and chemistry together.

The characters on the show were the same age as me.  They started high school when I did, they graduated from high school when I did, went to college when I did etc.  I guess you could say I grew up with these characters as friends of mine along with Lisa and Bart from the  Simpsons.

So, the show centers around Cory Mathews a kid in Philadelphia, his brother Eric, best friend Shawn and crush Topanga.  Cory is played by the brother to Wonder Years star Fred Savage, Ben Savage.  Shawn, Cory, Topanga are all taught by their hard nosed but dedicated teacher Mr Feeny played by William Daniels (who’s participation takes the show up a huge level in acting and storytelling)

Mr Feeny manages to follow the boys from middle, high and even to college in a series of convoluted reasons but it doesn’t really matter.  You can poke plot holes a  mile wide in this show but it isn’t really about that.  It is a show about growing up, learning and loving.  I’ll say it again.  It had real heart.

It also had the courage to tackle a lot of tough topics such as drug use, biracial dating, alcoholism, divorce and rejection.  I love when entertainment takes children seriously and doesn’t assume they are stupid.  This has all the trappings of a silly show like Saved by the Bell but it had a lot more guts and the performers had great chemistry.

Some of my favorite episodes are:

I love this episode where young Cory switch places with Mr Feeny and does all can to convince the kids that Anne Frank is worth reading:

Sorry, it just makes me tear up every time…

Cory is taken with the free spirited Topanga and in season 2 he starts to notice her as more than a friend:

Like it or not Topanga’s definition of relationships is basically true these days.  Things seem to always be about the great love and not the building friendship we get with Cory and Topanga.

In season 3 Cory is forced to admit he is in love with Topanga.  Tell me this isn’t as good of writing as any rom com:

or this

Shawn is also a key figure in the show, which was a true ensemble piece.  Unlike Cory who comes from loving and kind traditional family Shawn is forgotten by his father and abandoned by his mother.

Shawn and Cory come into conflict some times because of their differing backgrounds

Eventually a teacher introduced in season 2 named Mr Turner becomes Shawn’s guardian.

Shawn meets his brother Jack in season 4 and has a reconciling with his father that is all too brief

Topanga eventually asks Shawn to give the graduation address and it is oddly perfect:

I’m afraid I’m making it sound too serious because the majority of the show is funny.  Eric, Cory’s brother, provides a lot of the goofball moments.

This still makes me laugh

Shawn also starts dating a black girl named Angela in season 4 and what I love is the race wasn’t really played up as an issue that much.  They were kind of treated just like Cory and Topanga which may not be realistic but a good lesson for kids that a biracial couple can be just like any other with the same problems as anyone else.

Spoiler I guess but Cory and Topanga get married in season 6

It also had one of the best finales ever

Now that my friends is how you end a show.

I know that’s a lot of clips but I hope it gives you a feel for the heart in this little show.  I really love it and all it’s wholesomeness and cheese.

Next week a spin off is coming out called Girl Meets World about Cory and Topanga’s little girl.  I’m cautiously optimistic.  The pilot looked pretty good and they have certainly spent a lot of time in development which usually means it’s not a total nostalgia cash grab.  I will let you know what I think.

What about you guys?  Do you like Boy Meets World?  If not, what show do you have nostalgia for?  Maybe you know it isn’t the greatest writing or acting or stories but you grew up with it and have an affection for it?  I know some people feel this way about the Brady Bunch of the Waltons.  What about you?

Survivor Dream Cast

So you guys know I love me some Survivor.  I don’t know if any of you are fans but I couldn’t sleep so I decided to work on my editing skills and put together this little video of my Survivor Dream Cast.   These are not necessarily the best players, just the people I like.

Do you watch the show?  There are a lot of old seasons on hulu plus and amazon on demand so go back and watch them.  It is fascinating and a lot of fun.  It’s the kind of TV you want to talk about, so if you are a fan let me know.

 

1. Cirie
2. Tyson
3. Boston Rob
4. Rob Cesternino
5. Cochran
6. Parvati
7. Sophie
8. Stephen F
9. Kim Spradlin
10. Richard Hatch
11. Todd H
12. Ethan
13. Ozzy
14. Coach
15. Jerri
16. Corinne
17. Aras
18. Rupert
19. Tony
20. Sandra