Saturday, August 4, 2012

Golden Egg #1

I was lucky enough to acquire a few pre-release editions that are sure to wet any readers appetite this fall.  I don't know if I'd go so far as to say it's "the next Harry Potter smash hit",  but I would certainly categorize Shannon Messenger's debut novel "Keeper of the Lost Cities" with the hugely successful Percy Jackson, Artemis Fowl, and Keys to the Kingdom series.

I can't be bothered with re-typing the back of the novel... to keep it short, it follows the general formula of any children's literature hit:

An attractive, talented, orphaned, twelve-fourteen year old child, thrown into a strange magical universe, forced to attend a military/private school structure as the world crumbles around them.

Does this mean it's not worth the read?  Nope, it's like crack for kids and before you know it, kids will babbling about brown-eyed elves rather than wizards.

Poirot is Back!

According to BBC News the remaining five books of Agatha's Christie's famous Belgian detective will be adapted to the small screen. The Labours of Hercules, The Big Four, Dead Man's Folly, Elephants Can Remember, and the last novel, Curtain.

Shooting begins this October until July 2013...

What a challenging final five to adapt. The Big Four is a James Bond-esque caper during Hercule Poirot's prime, and Curtain features the elderly detective during his last great mystery.  If they decide to stay true to the novels, we shall see some of our favourite characters return, including Miss Lemon, Hastings, Inspector Japp, and Ariadne Oliver.  I can't wait.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Treasure Hunting

A seventy hour work week is far from ideal, and instead of going out, or doing what normal people do.. I just want to unwind.  Unfortunately I've stumbled upon a few amazing gems, and rather than falling asleep like an sane individual, I stay glued to either the television or flipping pages into the wee hours.

Here is my newest recommendation.  LUTHER.  

Luckily it's been green lit for season 3 but what is up with the Brits only producing a handful of episodes??? Sherlock is three, Luther for season 2 broadcast four?? 

I've now turned my attention back to light-weight teen fiction.  If you loved Ender's Game, try this one out.  Insignia by S.J. Kincaid has to be the next Hunger Games/Divergent to hit bookstores.  Written with less angst (so far) with the same fast pacing, Insignia will likely be optioned by studios in the near future. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Special Generation

Am I Generation Y, or X, or a Millennial?  What is the divide?  Recently David McCollough Jr. gave an exceptional commencement speech at Wellesley High now entitled, "You're not special".  Sparking a startling backlash by disgruntled bloggers and readers, a number of  angry articles such as Open Letter from a Millennial: Quit Telling Us We're Not Special have gained traction.

Honesty has never been easy to swallow and in the present climate, the aftertaste is particularly unpleasant. A great deal of articles have sprung up about those born after 1983... also nicknamed "Generation F**ked). Are they? Hardly.  We aren't going through a war, it isn't The Great Depression.. and heck, if you're living in United States, Sweden, England, France, Germany, Canada, Japan.. etc.. you've won the lottery in terms of human rights.

As a student who graduated when my industry crashed and burned, I often wish our teachers prepared us for the painful reality rather than coddle our egos.  I was one of the lucky ones of my class.  My parents have never been easy on me, and they made sure I tasted both the bitter and sweet.  If I was the best, they would purposely pull me out of a class and toss me into a group with better, stronger students.  If I lagged behind, they would find someone to assist me, quitting was NEVER an option.  Failure has always been the best path to success.

If you are younger than 25.. 35.. heck even 40, you may never satisfy your unending craving for consumerism... and who is to blame? Parents? Baby Boomers? Wall Street? The Government? Our teachers? Probably everyone had a hand in it, just like the next generation, will have a hand in the royal f**k-ups of the future.

It's an endless vicious cycle and frankly... whining won't solve anything.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Reads

There seems to be a new trend of self published books turning into huge best sellers.  Take the new Scott Free (Ridley Scott/Gladiator/Prometheus) purchased rights/option of the run away hit "Wool" by Hugh Howley.  Amazon has opened the door to a great deal of hidden talents and er.. a few that should have stayed under the rug.  I'll give most books a try (Wool one of the few on my list), but Fifty Shades of Grey has to be one of the few that I bluntly refuse to waste my precious life on.  After reading the first excerpt from a magazine, a slow blanket of depression enveloped me... because this piece of tripe has slithered its way into millions of ebook readers and nightstands.

Many people have touted Amazon as the new haven for novice writers to become noticed, but lately I've become an advocate for elitism.  As a mediocre, subpar writer, I blog for free, without ads, without anything but nerdy-love of great culture and stupid silly shit.  But like any person, when I fork out a twenty bucks, I want a well-edited, piece of literature with a nice fancy cover on top. My paid daily job took me fifteen years of intensive training to accomplish, so dammit, I want a writer who has been painstakingly working on their craft for a decade.  Whether it's an epic work of fiction, graphic novel, or textbook, we all deserve a bit of effort, not to mention a great editor.

Good reads:

Stephen King: On Writing

The 80 hour week

Remember medical care, holidays, retirement, and all the other benefits that were expected from employment?  That has not been part of my life since graduation more than a decade ago.  Over the years I've seen a lot of my colleagues slowly become bitter and jaded as the stretches of unemployment between contracts stretch into uncertainty.

Will next generation have to sharpen their claws? Contract work has become the norm, and even the once "cushy-government" positions are downsizing.  With RIM's 5000 employee pink-slip handout, and shrinking job opportunities, more of us have to "double" or "triple" our abilities, return to school, or work overtime.. all to beat out the next guy.

Does management even care?  Do they realize they are squeezing the middle class dry?

Last year, a gem.. Margin Call, loosely based on the modelled on the Lehman Brothers actions before the financial crisis of 2008 showcased the divide between the boardroom and the common bee-hive worker.  Similar to the Boiler Room and Glengary Glenross, Margin Call keeps the audience engaged and perhaps enraged, as we watch their greed warp their actions.

If you loved Wallstreet and are salivating for Scorcese's upcoming Wolf on Wallstreet,
try this brutal but honest documentary.. Wall Street Warriors Season 1

Monday, June 4, 2012


I haven't watched television for a few months now.  Unplugged, without a pulse on the news, the media, gossip ads, magazines, or even common everyday conversation with others.  I can't complain, work is far better than unemployment, but there's a breaking point.  When you feel entrapped in your own projects, when small problems become over inflated, exaggerated calamities.  

All around me I can feel "the hustle", those people who are salivating for the new project even before they've finished the last one. And that attitude is contagious.  Your heart rate starts to beat a bit quicker, and part of your brain begins to filter insecurities that slowly weigh down your fleeting sanity. 

A new solution?  I walk.  I walk for at least an hour a day, not the best remedy, and certainly not "forest bathing" like the Japanese tout as the best cure for stress... but it helps.  Sort of.  Perhaps it's best to stop thinking... to always know that things will work out and not worry about tomorrow... until then.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coming soon...

Everyone has been buzzing about Prometheus, The Hobbit, Batman 3, and Hunger Games this year but there a few that will likely be late bloomers.

Ang Lee's Life of Pi has the potential to be the next "Slumdog Millionaire" or even "Usual Suspects". Small, devoid of over-exposed movie stars, and a feel-good life changing story.

Bully. Never underestimate the Weinstein Brothers, this timely documentary is something that everyone can relate too.

Lincoln. Daniel Day Lewis, Spielberg, he's got my vote.

The Master. After Paul Haggis' explosive article in the New Yorker, imagine the aftershock this film will cause in Hollywood. Visuals are always a thousand times more damaging.


Japan's sudden wave. Recent news has hit that Justin Lin (Fast Five) will be spinning the popular Manga The Lone Wolf and Cub into an epic drama-fest. It's only a matter of time before 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami follows suit, or Scorcese's adaptation of Shusaku Endo's historical drama, Chinmoku (Silence). After all, isn't Hunger Games simply an adaptation of Battle Royale by Koushun Takami?

Cowboy Bebop may be gathering dust, but I wonder if they would ever consider the popular and lesser known anime Darker than Black or brilliant, Fullmetal Alchemist anime? Two untapped goldmines, and unlike Akira, an adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist wouldn't piss off fanboys, and yet please executives who want to appeal to a North American market... since the main duo are blond and ... golden eyed. Time will tell...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fresh and Free


Well oddly enough if you like to draw, Adobe with be releasing free beta version of Adobe Photoshop CS6! Click here to learn more.

Many cities host free, or cheap tickets for Shakespeare in the Park.
NYC: Central Park (arrive early! Best time to get tickets at 8-10 a.m.) hosted by The Public Theatre, Toronto's High Park Theatre is pay what you can, San Francisco has a number of venues featuring Henry V this year.

NYC: Met, Frick... on Sundays usually between 10am-1pm is pay what you can.
Toronto: AGO Wednesdays after 6pm or Doors Open featuring a number of venues for two days.
Washington D.C.: Smithsonian... free.. everything is free!

Audiobooks are free with a library card, for a limited amount of time... many are hosting new e-catalogues

A shot of prozac for the masses

George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones series on HBO Season 2 deputes on April 1, 2012... Fandom has reached a fever pitch just as many of my friends have decided to drop the book series.

Unfortunately.. so have I. Were the gaps too long? Partially, but to be frank, the series has become too convoluted, with too many characters (many of them who I don't care about), and just plain... dull. Do I care about Arya, Jon, Tyrion, or Jamie? I can't really remember, and by page one hundred, scratching my head, trying to remember book four, I gave up.

To my surprise, I've slowly become tired of sex, violence, gore, and zombies? HBO's True Blood and Game of Thrones, Showtime's Borgias and AMC's Walking Dead... all trying to make each new season more shocking, more violent, more risqué. Even Mad Men, with such overly flawed characters, I've become jaded.

There isn't anyone to root for.

If they get shot, or perhaps... choke on a olive in a martini, do I care? If I knew them in real life, perhaps I would help them off the cliff. Perhaps that's why America has fallen in love with these shows, to run away from the mundane realities of life (or reality television).

A colleague of mine hated War Horse, hated The Artist, hated any film that wasn't rooted in reality, thought they were too optimistic, too saccharine, too romantic, too ridiculous. And that is what we are feeding the general population. Maybe it's a fine line, Hunger Games was a diluted version of Battle Royale, appealing to the masses, Snow White and the Huntsman looks to be injected with a shot of video game madness... and the Hobbit? Well Tolkien doesn't need much editing.

What we all really need? Get outside, leave your phone at home, and get a bit of fresh air.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wisteria Sisters

It may be getting warmer, with longer days and nice evenings on the beach, but for some of us that don't want to roast in the sun... we will escape indoors. Pilot season has officially begun and America has a huge roster starting production. Some of them look like possible gems, some are disasters waiting to happen.

Let's start with the Americanised version of Sherlock, starring Johnny lee Miller as Sherlock and Lucy Liu as Watson.

Some people love this idea, with a feminine spin injected into a predominately male series... some want Sherlock and Watson to fall in love. Others... such as me... hate this idea.
I'm not British, but this attempt is similar to changing Harry Potter to an American in a magical boarding school, swapping Mulan to a young Brit during World War I, James Bond to an Indian secret agent, or Aladdin to a Celtic fairytale. Yes it can be done, but why bother?

Sometimes, it can work, but in most cases, only if the series isn't widely known. AMC's "The Killing" based on the Danish Series for one, however Prime Suspect starring Maria Bello didn't make the cut. With the huge success of Walking Dead, Mad Men, Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, and True Blood, original novel adaptations will always rule the airwaves.

I think it's only a matter of time that the smash hit "Downton Abbey" is revised for American audiences. This idea is completely unnecessary, considering the wealth of excellent American writers such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. With the female audience beckoning for more period dramas, (how many more Jane Austen versions can one make?) the time is perfect to launch a series based on three or four sisters in old Boston itching to make their mark on society. After all, history loves ambitious, feuding sisters. Think the Bouvier sisters, the Mitford Sisters, the Cushing Sisters, and now... the Middleton Sisters.

The question is, who will do it first?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Now or never

And we wonder why the world is going to the dogs. With the new iPad 3 release, not to mention new phones, toys, cars, and other "wants" rather than needs, it's no surprise that we're all cash poor. Articles have sprung up on how to rid yourself of your iPad 2 and get a bit of your money back.

A relative of mine was lamenting of how old my phone was. Why not get the iPhone 4s? I said I wanted to wait... and her reply? Buy the new one and just sell it when the new one is released... after all, why wait a few months. With idiotic logic like that, it's little wonder where all her paycheques go.

When did it become a sign of weakness to be patient? Anticipation, is not longer sexy, it's all about instant satisfaction and I'm finding... I can't keep up... and I no longer want to.

Ignorance isn't always bliss, but sometimes it can be a blessing.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Diamond in the rough

Although I'm certainly not a recruiter, this book was a fascinating read about what to look for when building a team, company, or star. Exceptional talent has to be cultivated, and in many cases great potential is overlooked because of a few rough edges and narrow qualifications.

It's an unstable time, when uncertainty and flux is the only thing you can be sure of. But it's also a time when a few people will use this time of turmoil to launch a new career, world, or maybe just a simple idea. A fantastic site 99% is a gold mine of information about what happens after the first one percent of inspiration.

The ninety-nine percent of perspiration that leads to great accomplishment.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


With America's present obsession with fairy tales (Grimm, Once Upon a Time, medical dramas (Bones, Greys etc...), Musicals (Smash) and Mad Men knock offs (Bomb girls, Pan Am), Hollywood has been scratching their heads at the sudden obsession with Brit exports such as Downton Abbey and Sherlock.

Coming into their own, Sherlock's sophomore season returned with a strong start. For those of you who are beginning to rash from all the waiting, the two stars will soon become household names after 2012 and be hard to miss. Benedict Cumberbatch (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse & the untitled Star Trek sequel) and Martin Freeman (Hobbit 1 & 2), can they go any bigger than that?

Similar to James McAvoy's launch from the excellent six part series State of Play, BBC has launched many careers into the Hollywood mainstream. Unlike most Hollywood folks, many thespians aren't afraid to occasionally play smaller, or roles on the small screen.

Helen Mirren (who has voiced interest to play the next Doctor Who)
Jonathan Rhys-Meyer (returned for the Tudors)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Cillian Murphy (The Silent City)
Kate Winslet & Guy Pierce (Mildred Pierce)
Alan Rickman (The boy in the Bubble/Seminar)

Just to name a few...

Not only does it showcase a level creative risk and humility, it proves that some actors.. no matter how high they rise... are willing to steer clear of Hollywood bullshit and keep their feet on the ground.

Cross your fingers that Sherlock will return for season 3...