Tuesday, May 29, 2012

London Knights: near-miss champions and real winners for London

For the most part, I agree with Noam Chomsky about how sports is largely a bunch of irrelevant trivia designed to distract people from more important things. 

However, like how Chomsky does occasionally take in a baseball game, I do make an exception with the London Knights, but not for the usual reasons.  Ever since they moved their games from the London Ice House Arena to the John Labatt Centre, that team became part of the heart of London, Ontario and a economic boost to the area it sorely needs. So, that's a good enough reason for me to pay some attention; their success is part of what the London Downtown Core needs to survive and prosper.

That's what really annoys me about any negative tone to the stories of the Knights returning to London after losing the Memorial Cup Tournament final in Shawinigan like Metro's headline " Knights begin healing process following devastating defeat."

The team lost by the most honourable of situations, 2 to 1 in overtime. That means that the Knights made the Shawinigan Cataractes fight for every opportunity to score and they won by the barest margins in sudden death overtime. While it is still a loss, it is still a fine showing for a team that surpassed all expectations this season to at least become OHL Champions for only the second time in its history.

So the team definitely deserve the warm welcome and the parade yesterday, they have much to be proud of with a goal to do even better next year.  After all, the fans are happy and Downtown London will benefit with the next season.

As for me, the next really big thing at the JLC will be the How to Train Your Dragon Arena Spectacular and I'll be weighing how much I really want to see a visually impressive, but really expensive live giant puppet show.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

A Change of Blogging Focus

I've been having trouble thinking up things to write about this blog and it seems my rigidity about it is proving part of the problem. 

Namely, my pattern of writing about politics on Tuesdays and generally what I like on Thursdays is getting in the way.  It's inhibiting my writing by pigeonholing my habits into a pattern that I don't feel comfortable and making it more a chore and that's certain to kill this blog again.

There's also the matter that I get really depressed with Harper's antics and I'd rather not dwell on them. As it is I'm already a member of both the  Federal and Provincial NDP and support the Council of Canadians, The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, Fair Vote Canada and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.  Besides, with the number of people who read visit this thing, simply posting particular news stories I like on Facebook is a much more efficient way of sharing them. 

So, I'm changing my style and following the example of Mark Evanier's blog and just confine myself to more concise statements concerning politics before presenting links to writers more experienced and adept to say something really insightful whether it be Gwynne Dyer or the staff of The Toronto Star. Instead, I'll be focusing more on writing things that are actually enjoyable to write about like film, animation and comics.

I guess it's just a matter of dropping some pretensions and relaxing a bit and maybe this blog will actually be fun for a change.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Thoughts of putting my pen where my mouth is.

Given my statement in my previous blog, sometimes I wonder if I should be challenged of by the idea of "Let's See YOU Do Better."

The fact is that I have a call center job that works most weekday evenings and the weekends. As such, I can't join any stage production without requesting a week's time off and given the job's vagaries, that is a luxury I simply can't afford.  The funny thing was I was invited to participate by the owner of the old Maverick's store, but I was in no mood to play an extra in yet another copy of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead.  Now, if that guy had the ambition to try his hand at something similar to Jeff Smith's Clerks, I would love to try my hand at that.

As for play writing, I have always been intimidated by the idea of writing dialogue.  I don't know how good writers can do it creating the words of people and make them sound human and real in some emotional sense. I can formulate plots and general characters to some degree, but I don't feel capable of pulling all the elements together for a real story.  

On other hand, I find George Lucas very inspirational for me as a narrative writer; if only that his dialogue, unassisted by Laurence Kasdan's rewrites, is so inept that I know I could do better. In fact, I've pondered how I could have rework Amidala and Anakin's dialogue in their final exchange in Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith so much, I might post my musings later as a exercise. To that end, Plotbot is a real help.

As it is, the closest I have gotten to fiction writing is the hundreds of plot summaries I have written for the Internet Movie Database (You can see my newer ones here if you wish), but I don't if I can match up to Jason Rip or Jayson McDonald in that kind of talent.

Still, my netbook bag has 2-3 books on writing along with the hardware and I may just get the gumption to finally try to something more consistently worthwhile with my writing.


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A statement of critical purpose.

I've heard there have been a few comments about my theatrical reviewing style and I thought I'd like to give what you could call a statement of purpose.

First, I have always endeavoured to be frank and fair in my reviews, whether or not the companies have been soon generous to provide comp tickets, where I attempt to explain my opinions with hopefully a comprehensive amount of detail.  If it seems I'm resting my eyes at times as I focus on the dialogue or seem fidgety in the audience during performances, that is why I prefer to be seated in the back rows of live performances where I can relax without being obtrusive or disruptive by some definitions to the best of my ability.

Second, I have always tried to gear my expectations and criticisms accordingly to the type of performance offered.  For one thing, I steer clear of reviewing children's performances and shows put on by most educational based organizations like Original Kids. Taking my cue from OK's management's request I have understood that reviews of individual performances would be counterproductive since singling out performances would be harmful for higher purpose of the show.

To a lesser degree, I try to give some consideration for amateur productions like the London Community Players shows, since the expectations for professionalism should taken with the some degree of understanding.  However, the players are adults and I feel I can speak my mind to a reasonable degree.

However, I am given to understand most of the shows performed at other venues like The Arts Project and the McManus Theatre are put on by local companies that are semi-professional in nature like Passionfool and Theatre Soup. To me, that makes them fair game for me to comment about their quality as I see fit as much as the full professional productions.

For instance, I understand one actor whose performance was I wholly dissatisfied recently with is a card carrying member of Canadian Equity, or some similar professional actors organization. If that is correct, then my commentary should be expected as part of the territory.  If anything, as much I have rarely been satisfied with that particular company's more recent productions, I was truly impressed by the quality of their latest show that it is all the more disappointing that such an apparent pillar of the local theatrical scene did not live up to the high standard displayed.

I have tried to be part of this artist community in the only way I think I can at present.  I have tried to be fair and insightful, but you have a comment with my methods and opinions, more of you should contact to me directly instead of my publishers.  I have made my commentary public, and I don't think expecting the same consideration from more others is too much to ask.