Up Schitt’s Creek

All this time at home meant binge watching tv shows. I’m sure that it’s what everyone else is doing. Being told to not go out and socialize is a great excuse to stay in and watch Netflix! So here’s a couple that my family has enjoyed.

My kids have been watching Schitt’s Creek and have grown to love it. My wife and I have already seen the show and have deemed it appropriate enough for our teens to enjoy. It’s some good old fashioned Canadiana humor.

My wife and I have now watched the train wreck which is “Tiger King”. Holy smokes is this show bonkers. Just when you think it’s over, something new emerges. All of these people are levels of crazy that I did not think was possible. And it’s a DOCUMENTARY! Not like a “Flat Earthers” type of crazy or “Jackass” type of buffoonery. This is batshit insane what you see happening over the course of five years between these people.

Both shows contain mature content and languages. So not for the prudish or young. But both are entertaining in their own ways.

Have you seen either of these shows? What shows are you enjoying during isolation?

Mandalorian

Ok Disney. I have bought into your Disney+ and so far am really happy with it. At first I wasn’t thrilled that the new series, “The Mandalorian”, didn’t have all the episodes readily available to marathon through. But then I realized that what you’ve done is sparked “water cooler talk” amongst everyone.

It took until last weekend for me to really notice. I hadn’t seen the third episode yet, but numerous coworkers, friends, and the Internet in general were discussing it. Not too shabby for a new streaming service. The buzz generated for this series is quite strong.

After finally watching the third episode, I can see why. “The Mandalorian” is far exceeding my expectations. It is not like any other Star Wars film or show. It is written, directed, and filmed in its own way that the pace of each episode is rhythmic and flows precisely. With Disney+ only releasing one episode per week- my anticipation level of each one grows. It has caused me to discuss the show far more than simply mentioning it in conversation.

In a time of instant gratification and marathon watching, going back to waiting for weekly episodes has made me appreciate the show more. As I wait and scroll through the available movies and shows, my kids have got me enjoying another series with guilty pleasure:

Don’t tell anyone…

Disney Plus Equals Life

Yesterday Disney+ was released. And if you watch any form of entertainment on a screen of some sort, you must’ve heard about it. So I’m not going to go into great detail about what it all includes, because that information is everywhere on the interwebs! Instead I’m just going to share what my family and I watched as our first few shows.

I paid for a full year up front for $89.99. It was an obvious choice because there is so much content that The Mouse owns that we won’t be able to watch it all in 365 days. After installing the app on our PS4, the first thing we did was set up individual profiles. Then we went searching.

We settled on a couple of Pixar Shorts called “Bao” followed by “La Luna” -which we hadn’t all seen before. So far so good, but we didn’t want to begin marathoning through any new series of shows. We did stop next on “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” and were pleasantly surprised and dumbfounded by it. Consider it a sort of documentary on stuff. In this case- sneakers.

Naturally we watched the cartoon that started the journey of the Disney Franchise back in 1928- “Steamboat Willie“. It’s a neat reminder to see how far that little black and white mouse has come. Not only that, but it also shows how far animation has come and how it was pioneered almost a century ago.

We have our sets of future shows already searched out. The Sneaker Who Wore Tennis Shoes from 1969 is top on my wife’s list. While High School Musical is our daughter’s choice. My son and I are stoked to begin The Mandalorian in a few days. But there is so much content, we don’t really know where to start.

What are you planning on watching on Disney+?

The Good Place Memes

My family and I enjoy watching “The Good Place” together. The discussions about moral dilemmas, being good or bad, and philosophy are great. It’s all brought together with humor and some of the best anecdotes ever. Here are some of my favorites.

The term “food holes” is great.

Everyone knows it’s worse than someone being mad at you.

HOLY MOTHER-FORKING SHIRTBALLS!

Ah, the elusive double rainbow of our society.

That last one is just deep.

The newest and final season has begun. I hope you take the time to enjoy the show as much as I have.

Saying Farewell To A Coworker

It’s bittersweet when a coworker leaves. You’re happy for them to be making a change, but upset that they are leaving. Especially if you’ve worked side by side for years.

This week at the railroad is the last for a close friend of mine. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye, so the sarcasm and jokes are already coming out. I wrote a note of “encouragement” on a picture that I had hanging in our office for almost a year.

KC,

Good luck @ KM. You’re only gonna last 3 weeks!

#sixseasonsandamovie

-Joe

He and I had very similar tastes in entertainment. We often had discussions about movies and tv shows. My farewell to him is in reference to the show “Community”. A show we both enjoyed.

In a couple of days, he shall be off to a new adventure. We will still be in contact periodically because our railroad services the company he is moving to. The dynamic will change, but out jokes shall remain the same. I wish him all the best in his new adventure.

Theory and Toy Traders

For the second time in two days, old friends have popped out of the woodwork and sent me texts. It’s pretty cool to know that you are randomly thought of. Anyhow, on with today’s blog.

Back in September of 2015, our son took part in a short video about a local toy store. It was made by a former coworker friend of mine from back in my Movie Theater days. Late Friday night my friend shot me a text linking to the YouTube video. I had completely forgotten that they made this.

2015 at age nine

It was a great experience for my son. He was literally a kid in a toy store. All he did was talk about the toys while a camera followed him around. They did this for hours and my son enjoyed every minute of it. My friend had a ton of footage to go through.

Check out the short pilot video here: Toy Traders – Trade Fever.

My friend Dan loves films. He was a collector of many movies and watches almost everything. This was his foray into making his own. I like the premise of what he made. It was in a style similar to Comic Book Men. Which by the way is made by Kevin Smith who also loves visiting Toy Traders as seen here: Kevin Smith Live at Toy Traders.

I hope Dan keeps creating films and shows. He is extremely passionate about the medium.

Lost

Recently we have been enjoying the tv series “Lost” on Amazon Prime. The first time I saw the series was on Netflix a few years back. Now I can’t stop watching it.

We are about halfway through the show again. Only this time, our kids are watching with us. And they have so many questions.

So should I spoil the show for them and offer answers when they ask? That wouldn’t be very nice. In fact a few times the show has caught me second guessing what I thought I knew about it. There are so many twists and turns that I forgot about some of the aspects.

In the end, the show is re-watchable for exactly that. I know what is coming up. But I don’t remember the details. I still get a moment of surprise when something happens.

It’s like watching the show all over again for the first time. Only this time I know how it will end. I just don’t remember how we get there.

Late Night Blackhole

Last night I fell into a vortex of mind numbing uselessness. I finally recovered at around 2:30am, but the damage was done. I had slipped into a hellscape I was worried I would not be able to escape.

I blame ALF.

You see, the other night I downloaded TUBI on our PS4. Free movies and tv shows? Why not? Unfortunately most of the shows are B movie style. The type of show that is more filler than anything. But I did find some cartoons that I am going to watch with my kids. The original “GIJoe” and “Sailor Moon”. So that’s cool.

I also found “ALF”. So I began watching it. The show is awful. Like train wreck that the network had invested too much money into to stop. Watching the show, I went onto IMDB and fell into a rabbit hole. Searching out tidbits about the show, the actors, and anything else.

It got me to searching for “Garbage Pail Kids”. One of the actors collected the . I remember these stickers from my childhood. Sharing these on the playground when I was in grade 2. It was a way of expressing potty humor and not getting caught. It also created new insults and name calling if your name happened to be close to one of the characters.

Not only were “Garbage Pail Kids” highly sought after. So were “Wacky Packages”. Taking all the name brands and putting a gross or silly spin on them. By grade 6, I had the entire collection. I wonder where they are now…?…

But I digress. ALF is not a good show. Please Hollywood- do not Reboot it.

More Astro Boy

The place- Edmonton.

The year- 1983.

The time- 6am.

Everyday before elementary school, I would watch a cartoon called Astro Boy. I had to wake up super early in order to catch the show because it started at 6am every morning. Except on weekends, when I would catch reruns of The Mighty Hercules on Sunday mornings. Two very different styles of animation and story lines.

My daily viewing of Astro Boy started my day off on the right foot. At the end of every episode, Astro would do a recap with mistakes. The Astro voiceover would then ask if you caught his mistakes. It meant the show required undivided attention. Everyday at school, I blathered on about this cartoon constantly. This evolved into other kids also watching it. Eventually the show became the talk of the playground. We would argue over the “mistakes” and talk about that day’s villain or battle.

As I grew up, I took the lessons that Astro- aka Atom– taught and instilled them into my life. Pure kindness and compassion shown from a robot. Who’d of thunk that an anime machine would forge my pathway through life?

As I got older, I received the collection of 1983 Astro Boy on DVD many years ago. I also received the 2003 series. On a few road trips, my children have marathoned through both series.

Because of my children knowing that it was a childhood favorite of mine, they bought me a couple of characters they found. These were discovered in a gas station toy aisle during one of our road trips. The toys may not hold any real value to anyone else but me. I love my family for always thinking of me.

When I was about 18, I really wanted a t-shirt that I had discovered that depicted Astro Boy in a hologram image that would change depending on the view of him. You could see the inside workings or his outer body depending on the angle. The down side was twofold. First, this was the early 1990’s and the shirt cost $80 (approx. $150 in today’s market). Secondly it was one size too small for me.

During our trip to Tokyo last year, I found the shirt again. My wife told me not to buy it because there is no easy way to care for the decal. Turns out she had also found the shirt and knew it would be perfect for me. This past Christmas, I received the shirt. My inner child bounced with joy.

The original Astro Boy that came out January 1,1963 was the first cartoon to introduce Anime to the world. I have loved anime ever since I first saw Astro on tv in my living room when I was 7. I also wrote about Astro Boy last year. I’ve even expressed sadness over the end of an era for a t-shirt that I loved based on another favorite anime- Akira.

What was you first anime show?

Do you have fond memories of cartoons from you childhood?

Good First Day Of 2019

I had a good start to 2019. I woke up. Always a great way to begin any day.

Then I went to work. Which means I have a job that helps keep my family clothed and fed.

I finished reading a book. I love Felicia Day. She’s like my celebrity crush- sort of. More like a really cool friend crush. The kind where we could hang out and play Munchkin and then not talk for months. Anyways, I digress. I finished her autobiography. I also miss reading. Time to pick up more books.

I also played some old school video games. On a system I wasn’t going to buy. But it was a total impulse purchase just before Christmas. And I had fun playing the Super Nintendo games again.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a cheese fondue dinner as a family. We try and have it every New Year’s Day.

To end the day- I watched some tv with the family before bed. We watched some “Community” and “Parks and Rec” pointing out other shows that we recognize the actors from.

It was a good start to the year. I hope to have many more days like this.

G.L.O.W.

G.L.O.W. Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was a wrestling show from the late 80’s (1986-1989). I used to watch it every Saturday night in my bedroom. Hey, I was about to hit puberty- what better way to get myself aquatinted with the female form than to watch them fight? Plus a tv in my room meant my parents had no idea what I was watching.

Women wrestling each other with big 80’s hair and spandex. These were active, hair pulling, smack talking, strong women. I think I developed a type that I began to like in those formative years. Most women I dated (and even married) have been very confident and strong females with a sexy side. And hair! But the show itself was laughable for the most part.

Fast forward my life to earlier this week. I completely forgot about G.L.O.W. until surfing on Netflix brought up the show. Season One was released a year ago and I never heard much about it. I saw it advertised on Netflix but pre-teen me didn’t think the show would be that good. Now this wasn’t reruns or a remake- it was a storyline style show.

I figured what the heck- for a quick show to fill the void of some other sitcoms, I’d give it a try. I was not disappointed. Even my wife got into the show. We watched 2-3 episodes each night this week- loving it. Then last night something odd happened.

We were watching the last two episodes of Season 1. We finished just after midnight. Season 2 began streaming at exactly midnight. What luck! We had managed to enjoy the first season and it rolled over into the next season all ready for our binge-watching enjoyment. In a way I’m glad I missed out on the show last year when it released. Now I am able to enjoy a second dose immediately! Check out G.L.O.W. this weekend, it is a lot of fun.

It makes me wonder though, will Netflix create a series based on “American Gladiators” or “Rollergames” in the future? My inner teen sure hopes so.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Anyone who grew up in the 80’s/90’s remembers the tv show “Cheers”. It was a perfectly written sitcom. But could it be written today and still have the same following? I think it could, if they expanded the theme song to include the original lyrics.

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.

Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn’t you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,

and they’re always glad you came.

You wanna be where you can see,

our troubles are all the same

You wanna be where everybody knows

Your name.

You wanna go where people know,

people are all the same,

You wanna go where everybody knows

your name.

The original theme song brings out fantastic feelings associated with the knowledge that you can share misery with likeminded folks.

The other lyrics from the rest of the song could’ve made for a different show:

All those night when you’ve got no lights, 

The check is in the mail; 

And your little angel 

Hung the cat up by it’s tail; 

And your third fiance didn’t show; 

That’s a bit strange, but adds to the possibility of a good sitcom. A little closer to more recent events are the end of this section of the song:

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee’s dead; 

The morning’s looking bright; 

And your shrink ran off to Europe, 

And didn’t even write; 

And your husband wants to be a girl; 

 I could get behind a Reboot of “Cheers”. But it would really need an upgrade into today’s tv market. I don’t think it could star all of the old cast.  However, viewers would probably tune in to see cameos from the classic show. I think it’d be fun.

Be glad there’s one place in the world 

Where everybody knows your name, 

And they’re always glad you came; 

You want to go where people know, 

People are all the same; 

You want to go where everybody knows your name.

Lacking Television

We haven't had cable tv for years. It came to a point where there were too many channels and not enough quality programming. The cost was getting higher and the frustration of trying to enjoy it was too. So we cut the cord.

At first it was tough. But it became easier to just download shows and binge watch. Then came Netflix! (Love that service.) Binge through five seasons of Star Trek:TNG in one sitting? Why not?! Then I discovered Kodi and streaming anything we could find. Of course there are drawbacks to it. But it only costs the price of internet service. Which really is the way to go.


Tonight I used an app called "Modbro". I was hoping to stream Sharknado 5. Because, why not? Alas, I was late in turning it on because I don't adhere to the set norms! So I decided to catch the end of last week's episode of Rick and Morty before this week's episode started. After the episode was done, I tried to channel surf like a normal person. And it sucked.

Usually we watch tv when we are out on vacation. The tv in the hotel room goes on as a way to zone out at the end of a long road trip. Some bad tv is watched. But tonight, even the kids told me to just turn it off so they could watch Netflix instead.


We have been a household of tv show watchers without watching network television. It seems strange. But it works for us. Not glued to the tube. A bit of freedom and the urge to watch tv isn't always there. I don't need to set an alarm to switch on a channel. Even getting schwifty can be done when I want.

Batman

Adam West passed away yesterday evening. He was the first Batman I saw when I was a child.  The show was already in reruns in the mid-eighties. Batman was my summer time weekday programming. I’ve seen every episode a few times over.  Even the movie is in my collection of DVDs.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. West at Fan Expo Vancouver.  He was at his autograph table right next to his former co-star Burt Ward.  There was no line up to meet them on the Sunday, so my son and I decided to go say hello.  My son was only six at the time and a couple of days before we had watched the old Batman movie.


Adam West was the nicest man to my son.  They talked for a while about the movie.  My son told him that his favorite part was the scene where he was running around with the big bomb.  It was great to just hear them interact.  Adam West was like an uncle sharing a good laugh with his nephew. After about ten minutes of laughs and conversation, my son said thank you and they shook hands.

Immediately after our meeting, we wandered over to meet the actor who played Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch).  My son was so excited- he told Boba Fett that he had just met Batman.

Adam West made an impression on me as a child.  He also made an impression on my son but in a more direct manner.  My son and I have bonded over your version of Batman. Thank you for the years of laughs.  

Set It and Forget It

I used to watch infomercials all the time.  They were the best.  A half hour devoted to try and get people to buy their product “In three easy payments“.

Ron Popeil was one of the greats.  Pieces of crap that he could convince everyone that they needed in their lives.  I mean this guy created  “GLH” for Christ sake!  Spray on hair in a can!  Winnning!


The best part was people’s reactions.  An entire audience of overactors behaving with such amazement that this product never existed before for a problem they never knew they had.  What?!!


But wait! There’s more!” Now we get to the meat and potatoes of the infomercial: Some freebie that comes with the piece of garbage.  Or better yet- you get two for the price of one!  And free shipping!  Just pay a processing fee and set up easy 4 payments of only $19.95! Sign up now and we’ll even take off one of those payments.  Only three easy payments!


I never fell for the ads.  In fact- I often analyzed the way it was laid out before the viewer.  It was like a group of teens from drama class sat around and decided to try and write a screenplay or bad sitcom and the product company stole it from the trash. Even the dialogue was childish. “You’re gonna love my nuts!” Still so much fun to quote.

No more late night infomercials for me since we cancelled cable.  I think Netflix should have the option to watch classic infomercials and leave the phone numbers still there! I’d watch them- maybe even call and place an order.

Before The Interwebs…

A little over twenty years ago, the Internet did not exist the way it does now.  It was a set of BBS dial ups that would disconnect if you had call alert. So the best times to go online was after midnight and before six am.  I had many a late night sharing useless info and code.  But that’s not my point today.


Nowadays we have YouTube and Facebook to share stupid videos and the strangest things that people do. But years ago, Friday night was spent gathered around my television watching a show titled “Weird TV”.  A collection of psychedelic imagery and the strange people of America.  Something that was hidden from view only to show up on late Friday night.  As I said, nowadays everything is shared instantly.  When I first began watching Weird TV, people attending The Burning Man festival were merely a few thousand. That was a good place for the strange and unusual to converge. Now it’s more like a frat party.


The other show I would watch with friends was Mystery Science Theater 3000. Which by the way, I swear was originally called Mystery Science Theater 2000- but I seem to be wrong.  I even owned a t-shirt with Crow on it. He’s my favorite of the robots.  When I worked at the movie theater, we would do private advanced screenings of films. Some friends and I would sit in the very back row and MST3K the films.  We had a blast, and most of the staff also enjoyed our humorous banter.  Recently, Netflix started up a re-boot of MST3K with Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt.  My two favorite celebrity nerds, only one of whom I’ve met and she beat me… at Munchkin.

Here we are on a Friday night, nearly a quarter century later: My plans include watching some Netflix with my wife and children. Probably going to finish another episode of MST3K. I don’t know where the time has gone, but I’m glad I still spend it with people I like.

Blood suckers

As I may have mentioned previously, ok numerous times, summer is nearing the end.  Thank goodness.  Spending extra time with my family and friends these past few weeks had me thinking- I’m sure glad those blood suckers will be gone soon.  

I’m talking about mosquitos.


Seeing the opening of Dexter a few years back, reminded me of those days back in my childhood, minus the murder stuff.  

When I was younger and lived in Edmonton, I swear the mosquitos were twice the size they are now.  But I was half the size I am now also, so it’s all relative.  We lived near some pretty marshy land where we went hunting for frogs.  The perfect location for mosquitos to be.  As we got “bitten”, my friends and I used to wait for the mosquitos to get a good amount of blood in them, then squash the buggers.  The splat smear was the best part.  The itching sucked.  No matter how much OFF! my parents sprayed on us, we still got bit.


Living in Edmonton in the early 80’s, I recall a fantastically bad Canadian children’s educational show called “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein“.  It was already in re-runs by the time I began watching it.  But there was a mosquito character that came down onto a foot, told a bad joke, followed by a boing noise.  Added bonus, bad costumes, crappy puppets, silly jokes, plus Vincent Price was the star.  It was filled with hippy psychedelic imagery.  Perfect for the 70’s.  I don’t remember much more than that, but I think I shall search out the show and see it in all of it’s glory once more.

Anyways, back to this summer: I’ve only been “bitten” about three times.  I hardly used repellent, so I think the mosquitos just don’t like the taste of me.  I hope this keeps up for years to come.

Adam Ruins Everything

I discovered a show last fall when traveling in California.  Late night in the hotel, there it was, being marathoned on the tv like a Netflix series.  So, I binge watched it.  I learned so much about things I never knew I needed to know.  The truth behind diamond rings?  How about tipping at a restaurant?  Speaking of tips- there’s an episode about circumcision.  

The humor and education behind the show makes it worth watching.  It’s not like going on Facebook and posting opinions without facts.  This show cites all the facts and legitimate sources.  LEGITIMATE SOURCES.  Yes, the facts are real and sometimes shocking, that’s what makes it great.  Adam has great hair and glasses as well.  The guy is like an encyclopedia (those are books btw) of knowledge.  

There were only 12 episodes for season one.  I’m excited about season two that should be starting up soon.  If you haven’t seen it, click on this fantastic picture of Adam and check out some of the clips and educate your friends!

Adam Ruins Everything

TV Watching

Like most people my age, TV has been a regular part of life since being born.  However, how we watch TV has evolved and is still evolving.

 

Program your own TV.

Picking up the remote and flipping channels has become a thing of the past.  Everything is “On Demand”.  Netflix paved the way for people to marathon through TV shows.  Watching 4-5 episodes (or more) of a show in one sitting is becoming the norm.

Back when I could barely afford cable TV, I enjoyed downloading TV shows on my computer.  YouTube had just started, so I found myself spending hours on my computer watching two minute clips at a time, wasting away the wee hours of the night. I discovered many channels that created a “one hit wonder” (can we say Numa Numa– holy crap that’s ten years ago!)  Now, you get only a few seconds to become an Internet Celebrity. (Damn Daniel).

I still stay up way past my bedtime, watching a screen or two until 3am.  I am often watching some sort of streaming video service.  I enjoy being able to watch TV shows on my time, not the time slot that we used to have to wait for.  I’ve also started to cut out shows that don’t grab my interest.  I don’t see the point of watching a series just because everyone else is.  Or, if a series has suddenly “Jumped The Shark”, I quit watching.

About a month ago, I had an opportunity to try out different Virtual Reality devices.  On one of the devices I watched a short film that was created by some former Pixar animators.  Wearing the goggles, the viewer is immersed in a new environment.  There was full 360° viewing capability.  When you focused on the main character, the story moved forward.  If you looked around to check out the environment you were in, the story would suspend and wait until your focus returned.  If you followed the main sequence of events, the movie went fairly quickly.  I love technological advances and this blew me away.  Something unique has been created and could be the future of video watching.

Stay tuned…

Reality TV

I love traveling because I get to watch bad television.  I usually watch the shows about houses and home makeovers.  House Hunters, Love it or List it, Property Virgins, Flip or Flop, and pretty much anything of that style.  I watch it for the inspiration of what I could make my home one day.  But after viewing all of these shows on a regular basis, I came to realize that the term “Reality TV” is a lie.

 

I got the blackout Bingo!

 
Not only are the houses staged, but the majority of the problems and situations are as well.  Here’s our $8000 kitchen upgrade with all new everything.  What?  You found that our plumbing isn’t to code?  After the $4000 repairs, we better just paint the cabinets instead of replacing them. As well, how many times are these regular people (actors really) coached behind the scenes about how to react or what to say?  I really like the open floor plan, but the vaulted ceilings are about three inches too high. Most of the shows have the same premise every episode and the same dialogue.  I’m not so sure about house number 2.  We are going to be over budget if we still do what you want, here’s plan B.

 

Did not expect squirrels.

 
Unfortunately these shows are labeled as “Reality” because I bet there are a few takes made for the scenes.  It also seems like the conflicts are set up or known about ahead of time.  All of this is so that the people on the shows can have their 15 minutes of fame to share with their families and the rest of the world.  For me, it’s a guilty pleasure to watch while away from home.

  
Heck, maybe one day I’ll do a show and you’ll see me “act surprised” about the added expense of something I had no idea about…

Pee-Wee Herman

My childhood was filled with strange and wonderful television shows. Most memorable was the character “Pee-Wee Herman”.

I first saw him on Superchannel when I lived in Edmonton.  It was 1981 or 1982, I was around five or six at the time.  It was Paul Reubens’ first TV special devoted to his character, Pee-Wee Herman.  Most of the adult jokes went over my head, but it was so much fun for me to see a grown man in a suit acting as a child.  All the adults at that time in my life appeared super serious and well in control of reality.  Then Pee-Wee showed up on my television.  Quirky, strange, and wishing to fly.  My little mind was shaken up:  Adults have dreams?

Years later, “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” came out.  I was ten years old when I saw it on video.  I rented the film numerous times from our local video store.  I could probably quote to you nearly every scene. I also became a huge Tim Burton fan.  Later in my life, I even dressed up as Mr. Herman for Halloween.

 

“Exhibit A: A photograph of the victims…”

 
 

“Exhibit B: Another photograph. What’s missing from this picture? It’s just me. WITHOUT MY BIKE!”

 
“Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” became my regular Saturday morning routine from ’85-’90.  I watched and sang along to the theme song every week.  After watching each show, my friends and I would try and make each other say the secret word of the day.   

The secret word of the day is “Cool”.

 

Fast forward from the early 90’s to 2011.  “Pee-Wee Herman Show on Broadway” was released.  My memories came rushing back.  I showed this gem to my children (It allowed me to explain the safe way to use our deep-fat fryer through visual effects).  Paul Reubens was back.  I started following him on Facebook and Twitter.  A fun and crazy world opened up in the virtual world. My childish humor came back; I can joke with my children, and they joke back.  Then Netflix did something crazy.  They announced a new Pee-Wee Herman film. I was excited.  Soon after, a release date was announced.  The perfect gift for my 40th birthday.  Unfortunately, I was going to be in a hotel when it was released, hoping for a strong enough wi-fi.  A few days on the open road is worth a lifetime…  I waited up until 00:01 March 18, 2016 to be one of the first to watch “Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday”.   

 

Best 40th Birthday Gift Ever! How’d they know my name was Joe?


Something strange and special about the film resonated with me.  It was quirky, unrealistic, laughable, and fun.  I could never expect anything less.  Father Time has been exceptionally kind to Paul Reubens: he still looks and acts like an oversized, naïve child stuck in an adult body. Thank you Pee-Wee Herman.  You haven’t changed a bit.

“You look really busy. Let me let you let me run.” ~Pee-Wee Herman

Don’t Dream It. Be It.

Ah, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  

A musical experience I saw at the start of my pubescent life.  There it sat on the shelf of my local video store in the rent one, get one free section.  My mother had given me her video rental card long before I chose to rent this film.  I had seen numerous horrors, comedies, ‘B’ movies, & cult classics prior to renting this film.  None of these films left a lasting impression the way “Rocky Horror” did in my young life.  Sure, I’d seen films with sex and violence before, all without my parents knowledge, but never one this good.

 

Oh Andy…

 

I sometimes referred to TV as my third parent- much to the chagrin of my mother.  I was about eight years old when I was given a TV in my bedroom back in the early eighties.  It was originally for my Colecovision.  I even had a set of rabbit ears and would manipulate them in order to watch four different channels.  It was an art to figure out the right angles to get the best reception.  But for my tenth birthday, my father ran cable to my bedroom.  I now had 12 channels and no need for the rabbit ears anymore!  An entirely new universe of late night tv watching with the sound turned down low, (so my parents wouldn’t hear it) had now begun.

A couple of years later, my father had gotten a new VCR that could record more channels, so I was given the old one that they had since ’81.  It still worked great, like most things that were made in the 80’s, and I started to rent movies every weekend from our local store.  Back then, everywhere was renting out movies.  Gas stations, grocery stores, and these shitty little dingy shops (before Blockbuster came around in the 1990’s sometime) all carried videocassettes of the latest films.

The summer following my grade nine year, we moved into a new house in a newly built subdivision.  There was a video store that had just opened up a few blocks away from our house as well.  There was something different about it compared to all the other places I’d ever gotten a movie from.  This one had older films.  Stranger films.  And they constantly brought in new ones.  Not just new releases, but new to the store.  Because we had moved at the end of the school year, I didn’t have any friends living nearby, so I walked or rode my bike to the video store nearly everyday.  I’m guessing my parents felt guilty or something, because my mother must have given me a few hundred dollars that summer to rent movies or videogames (I had upgraded to a Sega Genesis that previous Christmas) any time I wanted.

 

The lips that haunt my dreams.

 
Then I found it- “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.  (Originally I rented the film because I knew of Tim Curry from the movie “Clue” that I had rented earlier that summer.) It was magnificent.  There were jokes, violence, boobs, singing, & men in drag.  Everything  a 14 year old boy could want in the privacy of his bedroom.  There’s no good way to dissect what this film was about.  Was it about discovering sexuality?  Was it about the constantly changing music scene in the 70’s?  Or was it really about finding oneself in this crazy universe?  

I can’t answer any of it.  The one thing I walk away with from the film that really means something to me is:

Don’t just dream it.  Be it.

 

Don’t judge me.