Trying something new.

Recently a friend of mine encouraged me to do some creative writing.

I’ve thought about it before, but I never knew what I might possibly write about. I enjoy writing. I have a degree in journalism, and although I have very little interest in being a journalist, I wholeheartedly appreciate the foundation all those journalism classes helped develop. I believe I benefited more from being a journalism major than if I’d been an English or creative writing major.

That said, I’m not some sort of literary genius. I often receive unsolicited praise for my writing, which is always flattering, but I know I could benefit greatly from the discerning eye of an editor.

Anyway, I decided to follow my friend’s advice and start writing something original. I typically write from a place of personal experience or just as a way to express my thoughts on an issue weighing heavily on my mind, so I’m new to the practice of developing something from scratch.

I’ve only been at it a few days, mostly in the time after I get home from work, but I’ve written six-ish pages. And I can tell that my heart is in it, because tonight, when 10:00 PM rolled around, I’d forgotten all about the new episode of Better Call Saul (thank God for DVR).

Anyway, I’m interested to see what I can do with this new endeavor. Best-case scenario: I become a better writer.

At some point, I might share some of what I’ve written, so if you’re interested, keep an eye out.

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At least one Ninja Turtle is paying attention.

Jeremy-Howard-Donatello-Ninja-Turtles-Movie

I never did get around to detailing my thoughts on the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I did discuss it a fair amount with my friends, and the single biggest complaint I had was that it never slowed down. It was a frenetic and frenzied blitz from start to finish, never really allowing itself to breathe or let its best assets (its characters) marinate in your mind.

That’s actually a big reason why I feel the original Turtles movie (1990) was – and remains – so great. It wasn’t a movie with nonstop action, worried that dialog might bore the audience. It has a strong sense of deliberate pacing, which allowed the four brothers to appropriately display their differing personalities and show off the ways in which they interacted with one another.

So I was delightfully surprised by a comment from Jeremy Howard, who plays the role of Donatello in the newest Turtles flick, that indicated he felt the same way. In an interview with Comic Book Resources, Howard said, “I’d love to see more interaction with the Turtles, more quiet moments where we get to see how they think and what makes them tick.”

Considering I wasn’t really a fan of much of anything in 2014’s TMNT, this is a promising thought from someone directly involved. It doesn’t mean that’s what we’ll get, but at least someone’s acknowledged it.

Imagination and reading between the pixels.

With talk of Majora’s Mask getting an overhaul as it heads to Nintendo 3DS in February, I started thinking about Ocarina of Time and its debut on the handheld.

Ocarina of Time 3D was a beautiful remaster of a classic, but there was always something special about its original incarnation. I’d venture to say kids today don’t quite understand the imagination conjured by our games back in the ’90s and before, but with the ridiculous popularity of Minecraft and its exceptionally rudimentary aesthetics, maybe they do. Maybe kids today do understand where I’m coming from.

When I was five, I got my first Game Boy, which came bundled with Link’s Awakening. It was my first experience with a Zelda game, and it thoroughly confounded me.

It was the first game that really required me to think, because it wasn’t a linear game set in two dimensions, based on jumping around and going from left to right. Continue reading

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

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.

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

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