About averagejosh

I write. I eat pizza. I drink Fresca. I sleep. I also do other things.

Some thoughts on same-sex marriage and the “philosophical journey” that got me there.

asheville city courthouse gay flagThe outside of Asheville City Hall on October 9, 2014.

This is a post I made on my Facebook page a little over a week ago. I figured I might as well put it on here to share with anyone who might be interested.


 

I’ve been debating whether or not to comment on our state’s ruling to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage, but finally decided I would. I wrote most of this simply to coordinate my own thoughts, so it’s a little long-winded, and a bit self-centered, I worry. But stick with me.

I usually avoid sharing my thoughts on political and social issues, mostly because I don’t feel comfortable making statements about how other people should or shouldn’t live their lives. It’s not my place to tell anyone what or how to think. And it would be awfully presumptuous on my part to assume anyone even cares what I think. Continue reading

Family Guy and The Simpsons collide at last.

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It’s trendy to hate on Family Guy and lambaste newer episodes of The Simpsons, but I’m truly a fan of both shows, and this week’s crossover episode really hit the spot. It wasn’t the best of either show, but it was still entertaining. And of course, it was neat to see the two clans finally interact.

Even with an hour (about 44 minutes without commercials) to fill, the episode admittedly felt a bit cramped. But when you consider just how many iconic characters are in each series, and how many different interactions and scenarios are possible, it quickly becomes apparent that a lot is going to get cut. There just isn’t enough time.

So it’s less about missed opportunities and more about time constraints. I suppose they could’ve made it into multiple hour-long episodes, but then it would’ve started to lose what made it so special in the first place – the fact this likely won’t ever happen again (something the episode is quick to point out).

But for all that didn’t make it in, the episode was full of meta jokes that broke down the fourth wall, poking fun at both shows and the audience alike. And it did that while mostly staying true to each series. Some jokes were a bit crude and more puerile than what you’d expect from The Simpsons, but of course, that’s in-line with Family Guy. There was a balance, though, and plenty of references for fans of both shows to take in.

That said, I think you really have to be a Simpsons fan to fully appreciate this episode, and I get the feeling that some people – primarily those who only watch Family Guy, or haven’t watched The Simpsons in a long time – may not really “get” all the allusions to the quirks and idiosyncrasies of The Simpsons. There were some good ones, though.

I was a tiny bit skeptical about this crossover when it was first announced, but upon reading the interview with Matt Groening and Seth MacFarlane in Entertainment Weekly a few weeks ago, my apprehension was put to rest. And rightly so, it seems.

How We Value Art

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the way we value art. We watch movies and play games, and then assess their value by assigning a number. It’s like saying, “Your work, effort, time and creative vision are worth this number. Next.”

Too often, we outright dismiss something without even taking the time to consider everything that went into making it. We’re all guilty of it – I know I certainly am.

Can you imagine pouring your heart, soul and mind into something, only to have some snot-nosed twerp or pretentious neckbeard on the internet blow it off – without even reading the actual criticism – because some reviewer gave it a less-than-stellar score?

Something just feels inherently unfair about judging creativity in this way.

I realize that a numerical score is what the lowest common denominator will best understand, but as a general standard, creators, artists and content producers deserve better than that. They deserve a real, honest critique.

Now, I understand that not everything – be it a book, song, movie, game, poem or whatever else – is truly created with expression/experience in mind. There are many, many works that are vapid and made only with the intent to cash in on a fad in the most lucrative way possible.

But that doesn’t mean our criticism has to be just as flat and one-dimensional.

I’d rather giggle.

The word “giggle” is one of my all-time favorites. It’s not an onomatopoeia, but it still carries a rhythm that makes me grin just for saying it. It’s juvenile in the best way possible. I’d rather giggle than just simply laugh. Giggling is sillier and more joyous. It’s genuine, pure and entirely visceral.

Adults laugh, guffaw, chuckle, chortle, snicker, smirk and sneer.

Kids giggle.

I’d rather giggle.

Pete van Wieren, a Braves broadcasting legend

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He’d been on my mind a lot lately, and now, I guess I know why.

Pete van Wieren, a stalwart of Braves broadcasting for 33 years, passed away this morning at the age of 69. His long-fought battle with cancer had come to an end.

But it was never just Pete. It was Skip and Pete. That’s Skip Caray, of course — the son of longtime Cubs announcer, Harry Caray. Continue reading

TRAILER – The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

Ladies and gentlemen, WE HAVE A TRAILER!

I have no idea if this’ll work out. Whenever one of these “Let’s Take a Cartoon and Turn It Into a Live-Action Movie Even Though It Makes No Sense” movies comes along, I always groan. Continue reading

An example of why Miyamoto and Nintendo are so great

Here’s a portion of an LA Times interview with Miyamoto:

“It’s not that I don’t like serious stories or that I couldn’t make one, but currently in the video game industry you see a lot of game designers who are working really hard to make their games seem really cool,” Miyamoto said. “For a lot of us at Nintendo, it’s difficult to decide what cool is. In fact, it’s a lot easier for us to laugh at ourselves. It’s almost as if we’re performers. Our way of performing is by creating these fun, odd and goofy things.”

This is a wonderful example of why I love Nintendo so much, and so much more than any other developer. Their games are focused on fun and not on the trendy and superfluous.

Thank You for Being Awesome

This is kind of out-of-the-blue, but I just want to thank everyone for being awesome. Throughout the past week or so, I’ve been reminded of how great all my friends and family are, and just how many wonderful people I have in my life.

This wasn’t brought on by any traumatic experience. I wasn’t faced with “trying times” or anything like that. I was just repeatedly reminded of how many awesome people are not only willing to associate with me, but actually want to spend their valuable free time hanging out, laughing, goofing off and having fun with me.

It’s a good feeling knowing other people not only care about you, but think you matter. But it’s not because anyone ever says it. They don’t need to. It’s in the way they talk to and interact with you. Continue reading

Concerning Turtles

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So, understanding that I’m nearly 26 years old, and that I’m probably the only one among my friends (as geeky as some of you are) who watches Nickelodeon’s ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, it’s probably safe to assume few of you saw the most recent episode.

But if you did, you might have caught a pretty cool little nod to the fans who are old enough and cognizant enough to get the reference.

The Turtles were gearing up to do some LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) and Mikey is trying to convince Raph to play along with them. Sean Astin, who most of you will recognize as Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings, does the voice of Raphael.

The conversation went like this:

Donatello: “Cool! Sounds like fun!”

Raphael: “Sounds like stupid… Count me out.”

Michelangelo: “C’mon, Raph, if you play with us, I’ll let you wear my +1 Ring of Awesome.”

Raphael: “Forget it. I don’t do rings.”

So, considering what we know about Samwise’s experience with rings, I think it’s safe to assume this was an intentional wink at TMNT fans who are also fans of the LOTR movies.

Nintendoes What The Rest Don’t

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Yesterday, Nintendo put out a hilarious video in collaboration with the guys at Mega64, officially detailing some of the company’s E3 plans. It featured fan favorite and president of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime. I’ll include the video at the bottom.

This morning, I woke up to another video from Nintendo, this time, in the form of a special Nintendo Direct, featuring details about the upcoming Wii U title, Mario Kart 8. It, too, was a very whimsical presentation. Continue reading