The Needle and the Damage Done

Philip-Seymour-Hoffman-

In my last post, I promised to get back to writing happier, more irreverent posts like I had been on this blog. However, as it sometimes goes, life got in the way. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead today at the age of 46. I’m going to try to not make a habit out of writing eulogies, but today I have so many thoughts and so many feelings that I need to get them out somehow.

I was 15 years old when I first watched Capote. I’m a pretty easy-going, good-humoured guy on a day to day basis, even more so when I was 15. If I am remembering correctly, Capote was the first ‘grown-up’ movie I’d ever really understood. I was just starting to get into acting, and to see a performance of the sheer transcendent quality of Hoffman’s Truman Capote really solidified the idea that being someone else professionally might be something I’d like to do. To see someone completely disappear into a character was so hugely formative on burgeoning sensibilities as an actor, that I’m not really sure what I’d be doing if I hadn’t seen the film.

In subsequent films I’d watch him in, I was so surprised at how much he could change between characters, and how easily the change seemed to come to him. Charlie Wilson’s War, for example, he played a schlubby CIA agent; nowhere near Truman Capote’s effete superiority. I hadn’t been lucky enough to see some of his most acclaimed performances like The Master or Doubt, but from what I have seen in those trailers, he kept up an amazing quality without even batting an eye. Before The Dark Knight Rises started filming, there was a rumour that he would be playing the Penguin, and it saddens me greatly that as slim as the odds were of that ever happening, they are now completely impossible.

John Donne wrote, “do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” this quotation can be taken to mean that when one person dies, humanity as a whole suffers. Anyone who dies in the prime of their lives is a huge loss and a tragedy, but there is something inside of me that believes the loss that the world has suffered today from a creative standpoint is hugely tragic. In the era of popular culture where there is nothing new under the sun, Philip Seymour Hoffman gave us all something original to aspire to. The fact that his death was preventable and so sad is just more insult to the injury of losing such a bright, engaging talent. Rest in Peace, Philip Seymour Hoffman. You will be missed.

 

 

The Thread Has Snapped

Too appropriate.

Too appropriate.

“It is my belief that the best things happen right before the thread snaps.” – Geoffrey Tennant in “Oliver’s Dream,” Slings and Arrows Season 1

I’ve always tried to lead my life by the above quotation, in some way or another, since I heard it. In its original context, it more or less means that people can do incredible things when they are hanging on by a thread; in other words, when they’re facing adversity. In every way, my life experience has taught me that this is true. However over the last week, these words have shown me another meaning that is just as powerful and has just as much influence over my life.

If you’ve read this blog much (or at all), then you and I are probably friends. If we are friends, then you know what’s happened in my life over the past five days. Usually this blog is a place of whimsy, whether it’s Wrestling Fanfiction, lists about animated characters, or musings on Buffy‘s weirdest episode. And it will continue to offer that periodically (probably more now that I’m not doing much), but for right now all I want to do is say goodbye to an institution and a group of people who meant the world to me.

On January 8th 2014, the Ottawa Theatre School (OTS) shut down its Conservatory program – the very program I was attending – due to financial difficulties. I have not reacted to this news in any fashion other than immediately packing up my entire life (DVDs and books mostly) and calling my parents to make arrangements to come back to the East Coast. Hopefully this post helps me come to terms with what’s happened, because so far it’s been such a big, unapproachable subject.

Like the quotation says, the best things happen before the thread snaps. If the school’s closure is the snapping of the thread, then what came before it is definitely the best thing that’s ever happened to me.  I came from a small school in a small town, so the setting of a large city and the theatre community within it were a major positive influence on my development as an actor and as a human being. The friends I have made aren’t even really friends, they are family. That sounds cliche and tired, but its the truth. In practical terms, I spent AT LEAST 28 hours per week with these people (it always ended up to be more because we would hang out all the time outside of class, given the chance) and the thought that I won’t see any of them again in that setting is absolutely breaking my heart. I’m going to miss everyone terribly.

Luckily, when a door closes, windows open. The theatre community in Ottawa has proven to be absolutely, thrillingly supportive. I feel terrible that I’m leaving and won’t be able to take advantage of their amazing hospitality and goodwill, but I know that with their help, everyone is going to land on their feet as best they can. Because when you’re a family, a community, that’s what you do for each other, you pick each other up when they fall down.

The teachers we had at OTS were some of the best, most talented people I have ever met. I learned how to be tall (I actually GREW, how crazy is that?), I learned how to warm up my voice, I learned how to sing like a champ, and most important of all, I learned how to wave goodbye.

Keep your heads up guys, we’re gonna be fine.

RIP OTS 2003-2013

Rejected WWE Storyline #0815

This is my theory for how Wrestlemania 30 will play out.

 

To compliment Wrestlemania 30, WWE is going to need some major press for their 2014 Hall of Fame ceremony. To get attention, controversial methods will be required.

 

Weeks leading up to the ceremony, a lot of buzz is established to promote the new, mysterious member of the 2014 class. The word is that the entry comes from a troubled past, is tough as nails, and is widely regarded as the best in-ring technician of our generation. The WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014 is proud to welcome …

 

Red Foreman.

 

Red Foreman has been a delightful character on FOX’s That 70’s Show, and won viewer’s affections by being a tough, but quick-witted father for a family living in 1970’s America. What better way to honour this man’s legacy than to induct him into the WWE’s Hall of Fame?

 

As Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train provides his entrance music, Red Foreman appears on Monday Night Raw to celebrate before an appreciative audience. He then goes on to provide an inspiration speech about how Vietnam was one hell of a war, and that that foreign kid Eric hangs out with makes him uneasy. About 75 minutes into his speech, some of the members of the WWE roaster decided that enough was enough.

 

CM Punk entered the arena, and captured Red Foreman’s attention. As Living Color’s Cult of Personality played while Punk glared a glarey glare, Red Foreman began to roll up the cuffs. Just then, from out of nowhere, Daniel Bryan attacked Red Foreman from behind, and began to beat him senseless with a banjo. Why? Because there’s nothing quite more painful than getting your ass-kicked by a banjo. CM Punk rang to the ring and joined in on the attack, until the local law-enforcement intervened. The police attempted to arrest the attackers, but the team of Punk and Bryan was just to strong. Realizing there was no matching these masters of the mat, the police decided to arrest Red Foreman instead so that he would be safe in prison.

 

The next week on Raw, Punk and Bryan came to the ring to explain their actions. Punk said that Red Foreman being inducted into the Hall of Fame was an insult to everything he stood for, because ‘Nam was a war that the US had no business being a part of. Bryan concurred, and added that foreign exchange students are an important part of education, because they allow students to have the opportunity to embrace other cultures, and broaden their horizons. Naturally, these remarks resulted in loud ‘boos’ from the WWE audience.

 

Just then, the lights black out. The audience is on the edge of their seats. The lights come back on, and the stadium enters a complete uproar when they see Eric Foreman and Michael Kelso standing in the ring across from Bryan and Punk. The sassy teenagers are armed with a shovel and hammer, respectively. As soon as Bryan and Punk spot their adversaries, Eric and Kelso attacked relentlessly. Once Bryan and Punk were out cold, Eric made an important announcement.

 

Seeing as the Royal Rumble ended in a 30-person tie leaving no clear winner, there was no match booked for Wrestlemania’s main event. Eric challenged Punk and Bryan to face him and Kelso in a “70s rules match” where the only holds and submissions allowed were moves that were popular in the 1970s. Without waiting for a response, Kelso declared the match official. The crowd went wild.

 

Since the audiences’ anticipation for this single match resulted in an assassination attempt against Vince McMahon, the WWE board agreed to move the date for the biggest show of the year to the following Sunday. In fact, they even removed all other matches originally booked for the card. Audiences would be treated to a three hour-bout featuring Punk, Bryan, and the teens from That 70’s Show. They paid for a seat, but they’ll only need the edge.

 

Wrestlemania came the following Sunday, and the two teams made their way to the ring. The match was about to begin, but then Bryan realized that there was no referee. In fact, there was no other WWE official in the entire stadium. Bryan then got the entire audience to chant “Where’s the referee?” over and over. Even Eric and Kelso joined in on the chant. That’s part of the magic of Wrestlemania – it can bring people together.

 

The chant went on for about six minutes until a familiar entrance music began to play over the loudspeakers. As Goldust made his way to the ring, the Wrestlemania audience soon realized they were in for a very special referee.

 

Goldust never once removed his fur coat as he stood at ringside watching the four men in the ring wail on each other repeatedly. Eventually, Punk needed to think of a 70’s style move in order to get the upper hand, so he left the ring to go back stage and look for his history book. Unable to find it, he leaves the arena to go to the all-night library. He soon finds a book called “70s kids, and how to beat ’em” and found a chapter called “Bull-Ropes.” Punk got an idea. He then catches a bus to go to Home Depot to get some supplies.

 

Meanwhile, Bryan is getting the beating of his life from Eric and Kelso. The two boys would go in for the pinfall over Bryan, but Goldust refused to budge. Eric and Kelso grew very frustrated, and continued to beat up Bryan in the ring. Just before Bryan was about to utter the words “fuck this, I quit,” Punk returned to the area, running down the ramp with a wheelbarrow full of rope. He then dragged it into the ring, and began swinging it at the two teens. Once knocked to the ground, Punk went for the pinfall. Goldust still refused to budge. As Bryan and Punk shouted at Goldust from the edge of the ring, Eric and Kelso got up, and began to beat Punk and Bryan. With their own rope. The ultimate humiliation.

 

It looked as though the match would be over when Eric and Kelso went for the double-pinfall. Goldust entered the ring, and it looked as though he was actually about to do end the match. And end the match he did. But not under normal circumstances. Sneaking up behind Eric and Kelso, Goldust grabbed the rope, and tied all four men together. He then grabbed a microphone and stated “I am not a referee. I never said I was. You all assumed I was. In reality, I am a man. A man with needs.”

 

After this statement, Jackie and Donna from That 70’s Show entered the ring, and enjoyed a thirty-minute sex-romp around the ring, as the tied-up men could only watch in horror. Bryan soon passed out because it was too much for him to handle. As the sexy dancing continued, Cody Rhodes and Leo the Hippy entered the ring holding a present. Goldust opened it, and revealed the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Wrapping the gold around his waist as the cast and crew of That 70s Show cheered in approval, Goldust took the mic once again and said “finally.”

My Gold Fish Ran Away

My Goldfish Ran Away

by Justin Shaw

 

My goldfish ran away today

Gotta say, it caught me by surprise

The bowl was freakin’ empty

I couldn’t believe my eyes!

 

Dad says we could buy a new one,

they’re dirt cheap at the shop.

I couldn’t believe my Dad’s advice,

I was gonna hunt, and would never stop.

 

I ran to the butcher shop

two blocks down the street.

I wondered if Mr. Bobswood

was looking for a new source of meat.

 

I asked if he saw my fishy pal,

and here’s what he had to say:

“fishes don’t survive on land!

So he likely passed away!”

 

“Mr. Bobswood, that’s a dumb idea.”

My sassy tongue did speak.

“I’ll keep hunting for my aquatic chum

in this game of hide and seek.”

 

I ran to visit the baker,

that was on the local turf,

to see if any of his baked goods

contained a hint of surf.

 

“Good afternoon, Mr. Ratfunk”

I said, as I entered his store,

“My goldfish pal has scooted away,

and I can’t figure out what for.”

 

Ratfunk turned and looked at me,

across the shop he did pace,

“son, you might be outta luck,

for he’s in a better place.”

 

I laughed a bit and shook my head,

and decided to console.

“A better place for my fish

is at home inside my bowl!”

 

I kept hunting along down the street

to find the candle-stick maker

I hoped that he’d be better help

than the unobliging baker.

 

Mr. Razzlebooger was in his shop,

wrist deep-covered in wax.

I strolled right in, full of pomp

because I wanted the facts.

 

“I need some help, if you don’t mind!”

My wee voice did cry.

“My goldfish up and ran away!

And I really don’t know why.”

 

Razzlebooger took a breath

and stopped tending to his store.

“Little friend,” he said gently

“he’s not with us any more.”

 

“I know, you coot!” I shouted

as my anger began to burst.

“Why d’ya think I’m searching!?

This really is the worst!”

 

I left the shop fully enraged

and then suddenly grew weak.

“I should go home and get a drink,

because now I can hardly speak.”

 

I went back home and grabbed a cup

and filled it from the tap,

when in walked my mother,

and said “come sit upon my lap.”

 

“I heard you were out today,

hunting around the town.

I’m afraid I have some news, my son.
I think you should sit down.”

 

“I heard from the butcher, the baker, and the candle-stick maker

that your goldfish ran away.

That’s not completely true my son,

There’s more to it, I must say.”

 

“This morning when I checked the bowl,

I must admit I cried

when I noticed that your little friend

and floated up and died.”

 

I bit my lip, my cheeks they burned.

Oh, how did I wail.

I could not believe my mum

for telling this horrific tale.

 

I ran to my room and shut the door

and cried and I did screech

as I sunk into my pillow,

until I remember her speech

 

She said my friend had died.

She said it clearly without a hush.

Other townsfolk couldn’t say it straight,

they could only beat around the bush.

 

It must have taken courage,

for my mum to tell me that.

Yet I screamed at her and ran away

like a selfish little brat.

 

I got up and went back to her

my voice a little wheazy.

I told her what she said to me

could not have been that easy.

 

I told her that I loved her

and that I still miss my chum.

But I’ll always respect the honesty

that came for my dear old mum.

 

 

 

“Will Riker’s Adorkable Beard” or “How I have spent my time since graduating University”

It’s been a while since we last spoke, and since that time I’ve done a bit of what the man calls “growing up.” Basically, I graduated (convocated?) from University. Since that dull, cloudy day in mid-May, I haven’t really been up to much different from what I usually do: I ate too much, slept too little and watch enough TV to make a lesser (see also: more socially well-adjusted) man’s eyes bleed. Society’s loss, however, is our gain.

I sometimes describe my relationships to television shows as though I’m describing relationships with actual people (ladies, stay back, I’m taken). With this in mind, I fell hard for Fox’s Zooey Deschanel vehicle New Girl, watching both available seasons in the span of a week. My review is simple: the show is fantastic, and shame on all of you out there  –  you know who you are – that hate Zooey just for being adorkable.

Speaking of, here’s Zooey Deschanel being adorkable:

After I binged myself on all that twee-ness, it was time to rekindle an old love affair that I had not thought of in… quite some time…

Sir Alec is the King of “Smell the Fart Acting”

Now, I apologize if the Ben Kenobi picture was misleading, because Star Wars is a love affair that is constant in my life, as it should be with everyone’s. No, I’m talking of course about the excellent Beard-delivery system that is Star Trek The Next Generation. I was a trekkie long before I was a Star Wars fan, but something happened to me as a got older that made me forget all about Trek in favour of George Lucas’ magnum opus.

“File Footage”

But over the last few weeks, my forgotten love of Star Trek has been reignited (much like a WWE pressboard table) thanks to Netflix. Soon, memories came flooding back: Picard’s baldness, Troi’s refusal to wear a uniform, Gates McFadden’s ridiculous name, and most importantly, The Beard. The Beard displays itself heroically on Johnathan Frakes’ chin, and is singlehandedly responsible for the upturn in series quality between season 1 and season 2.

I don’t really know what else to say other than Star Trek The Next Generation rules, but it might not have if Riker didn’t have a beard.

This is getting out of hand. NOW THERE ARE TWO OF THEM (More SW/ST cross-pollination, I know)

Rejected WWE Storyline #3598

2014 is going to need a big Royal Rumble winner. The winner of the match goes on for a title shot at Wrestlemania 30, which is going to be a major milestone for the company. So who is big enough to take on the challenge? Cena? Punk?

No. The company needs to use this opportunity to give a wrestler a major push. It needs to be someone unthinkable. As unthinkable as The Rock’s return to the bizz. But who? WHO?

Answer: Scotty 2 Hotty.

Who in their right mind would see this coming? He is 5 feet 8 inches tall, 200 pounds of pure energy.

But how could he pull it off?

Hotty is entry number 30, and enters the ring with about 15 other competitors remaining. He promptly eliminates Fandango, who is dumbfounded by WWE Creative’s decision to book Hotty in the match. From there, the other wrestlers begin to wisen up and realize Hotty might win just by using his sheer out-of-the-blue appearance to his advantage. Hotty becomes a target, but – being as fast as lightening – he dodges every other competitor. I assume so many people are shocked by his agility that they just fly out of the ring for some reason. Hotty kicks Ryback in the face, and he is lying in the centre of the ring.

We know what’s coming.

Hotty does the worm! As he dances, and then collapses on Ryback, the impact sends Ryback flying out of the ring somehow. Luckily, the other wrestlers have to stand and watch Hotty do the move. Because, you know, that’s just what you do.

The match resumes as normal, and eventually Hotty is in the final three. Daniel Bryan has just eliminated Chyna (to be later addressed in Storyline #6721) and he begins to lean on the rope and scratch his beard and think “man, she’s pretty gross. Or is she hot?” As Bryan ponders about his feelings towards Chyna, Hotty sneaks up behind him and flips him out of the ring! Ka-blamo! Winner!

Okay, so In Your House: No Way Out comes around (by the way, we’re bringing that back too) and we need a set-up to Wrestlemania 30. What could possibly knock Hotty off of his amazing Cloud 9?

Weeeelllllllllllllll Issssum Big Shoooooooooo

That’s right! The Big Show is none too pleased about the small-man winning the Rumble, so he challenges him at IYH:NWO for his Number 1 Contenders spot.

In a two-man elimination chamber-ladder match. This innovation of manslaughter will blow the audiences away. They’ll pay for their seat, but they’ll only need the edge..

In this match, the competitor must escape the cage (by any means necessary!) and then climb to the top of the cage exterior, and grab the brief case filled with $800,000 cash.

Both men have an advantage in this match. Hotty is quick, but Show can take him down so that he STAYS down. The match proceeds with both guys wasting each other with steel chair shots mostly (also, there are 30 chairs in each of the chambers). Eventually, Hotty and Show are at the top of the awkward curved roof of the chamber. Show is holding Hotty in position for a painful chest slap, but then Hotty knocks him down.

In the centre of the top of the cage.

We know what’s going to happen.

THE WORM! On top of the cage! At this point, JR is flipping is his ever loving shit! (Possible scripted text for JR – “Oh my GAWD! I’ve never seen anything so electrifying and dangerous as a dance on top of a cage! DAMNIT ALL TO HELL THESE MEN ARE ONLY HUMAN! PUT AN END TO THIS MASSACRE NOW!”

After the worm strikes his flabby body, Big Show rolls off the cage and plops on the ground. Leaving Hotty all alone with the victory. Match length: 2hrs and 13 min.

Now all that’s left for Hotty to do is WIN THE TITLE AT WRESTLEMANIA 30!

At this point, Brock Lesnar has crushed just about every skull in the locker room. After killing Vince MacMahon in a career vs life match at the Rumble, Lesnar stripped Ziggler of the WWE title. And then he told Ziggler that he looked like a beady-eyed walnut. Seriously guys, give Lesnar an acting class. He needs to work on his mic skills. Just saying.

So the match is set up. Hotty already made the match personal by cutting off Paul Heyman’s pony tail and wearing it to the ring on every episode of RAW.

A match this personal, needs a special guest referee.

*gong*

*gong*

*gong*

…..

*gong*

“Aint no grave… can hold my… body down.”

For the first time in his illustrious career, The Undertaker will be a referee. That’ll but some asses in seats.

Wrestlemania 30 arrives, and the main event is in place. The Undertaker made his 27 minute entrance to the ring. Before the match began, Taker took the mic –

“These men are in my yard. No one plays in my yard except for me. If someone other than me is going to play in my yard, they are going to adhere by my strict rules and guidelines. Rules are important in my yard. Also, if other people are on my yard, I won’t be in my yard. Because it won’t be my yard if other people are in my yard. And you know why that is? Because I am the deadman.”

Undertaker stayed outside during the entire match standing perfectly still and not making any calls. Eventually, Hotty starts to get the upper hand. Lesnar is in the centre of the ring.

YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS

Hotty begins to dance, and get the crowd worked up. But then – he goes to the top rope? That’s not the worm… that’s a… MOONSAULT! Hotty hits Lesnar with the moonsault! (JR – “Good GOD ALMIGHTY! WHAT A MOVE! NEVER UNDERESTIMATE HOTTY’S PSYCHOLOGICAL ATTACKS!”)

Hotty goes for the pin.

Taker enters the ring as Hotty has Lesnar covered.

Taker puts his boot on top of Hotty on top of Lesnar.

The deadman shouts “ONE! TWO! THREE!” and then declares himself the winner and goes home.

22-0

Rejected WWE Storyline #3248

Okay, so we’ve got Fandango. He’s a wrestler. Plus he dances. Right now, he’s a heel (which is nerd lingo for ‘bad guy’) and the crowd doesn’t like him. But he’s got silly amounts of potential, and has a bright future ahead of him in his career. He’s already had some benefiting (albeit somewhat oddly booked) story-lines. 

Image

 

So where does he go from here? 

Answer: Tag Team.

With The Boogeyman.

Image

 

The Boogeyman was a wrestler from 2004-05 in the WWE. He was a pretty odd cat, to say the least. He didn’t have much of a background, apart from being the thing that goes bump in the night. He was known for breaking clocks on his head, eating worms, and telling people he was coming to get them. He was a pretty stand-up guy. But WWE went in a different direction and removed him. I guess he wasn’t a good role model for the kids.

Image

 

But – get this… the dude could dance.

Who else is a dancer? That’s right! Fandango! He needs a partner that can keep up with his moves – and Boogeyman likes to boogie! It sells itself!

They will be Team BoogieDango! What do you think guys?

 

… Guys?