Whether it be social, recreational, or professional, some of what represents me is here. Post a comment, or contact me at should you so desire.

The posts are in reverse chronological order, and are pegged by topic on the links to the left. For more of an introduction, please see the About this site page listed above.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Billy Bishop Goes to War by John Gray and Eric Peterson

Some of my best experiences with film or theatre involve me knowing nothing of the production other than the title. This was one of those times, and boy did it pay off!

First, I'll give a little background information. Billy Bishop Goes to War was written by the aforementioned Gray and Peterson, with Eric Peterson being currently, possibly, better known as Oscar from Corner Gas. I had heard a little about Peterson's acting expertise outside of the realm of Corner Gas, but I had no idea. The two co-wrote the musical and it premiered in Vancouver in 1978. Since then, they have toured all across Canada, the United States, including Broadway, and even gone to the Edinburgh festival. It remains, according to Wikipedia as, "one of the most famous and widely-produced plays in Canadian theatre".

So, I got my ticket, grabbed my seat and waited for the show to start. Playing at the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre in the Distillery District, the venue was quite small, but classy and comfortable. Old war-time music was playing and the stage was full of what looked like the remnants of a man's den, as well as a piano. The lights dim, and Gray and Peterson walk out, shake hands and the show begins.

Quite simply, it was a two-man show, with Gray on piano, and Peterson playing the lead and every character. Peterson narrates the journey as Billy Bishop and Gray supplements with mood music, playful banter, and at one point, a "truly fearsome tiger" impression!

The musical was flawless. Gray's skill on vocals and the piano boosted Peterson's narration. Peterson was a master of storytelling, not only thoroughly engaging the audience, but mastering several accents, incorporating the idiosyncrasies of each character, and describing the action with a glorious combination of ease and expertise. At one point, while several audience members were late in coming in, Peterson even paused the scripted production, engaged the audience and danced a little while Gray played some well-timed music, allowing the late comers to get their seats.

All in all, the musical was hilarious, quite unlike any musical I'd ever previously seen, and well worth any and all accolades it receives. It's a shame that it's their last show for awhile, I feel bad that you might not get a chance to see it, but if you do, I obviously recommend it.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to the Dickson family for taking me along! 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


You've heard it before, and I will say it again, life is all about balance. The more I learn about myself, the world, and the interaction of the two, the more I come to appreciate a balanced approach. I have spent a lot of time thinking, yes, probably too much, but with those thoughts has come a greater understanding of my capabilities.

So, let's look at this whole balance idea. A balanced diet is said to be good for you. As much as I hate to admit it sometimes, that's more than fair. We are omnivores, we evolved to include meat in an already varied diet of fruits, vegetables and leguuumes, as I like to pronounce them. Our bodies and minds, while not liking change, also hate the lack of it. To stay fit, we need to not only expose ourselves to various types of foods, in order to get all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutriments (as seen from Clone High), but our bodies need to be exposed to a varied regimen of exercise. Too much of something is bad for you, (as seen here at ~2 minutes into: A Bit of Fry and Laurie) not enough is bad for you, somewhere in the middle, as tailored to your needs is just right, of course. And that's just the body!

The mind is similar in this respect. We need solid, dependable things, like relationships, a steady household, and perhaps even a bit of routine to keep our lives in order. But, work in a cubicle for a little while, and you'll realize that you need more; you need stimulation, and not always of the predictable kind. To get work done...well, you need to work. But, too much work and your brain turns to mush and your entire system rebels against it. So, you need to relax, but too much of that affects your body, and too much procrastination doesn't help you get your work done. So, you need balance.

Obviously, what I am telling you makes sense. It's kind of vague and enveloping and doesn't give you anything new. Or does it? More often than not, I see people who are hard-pressed to keep balance in their lives. They spend too much time avoiding that which needs to be done and they live from one excess to another. Time management seems to be lacking. People running behind because they cannot balance everything that is going on in their lives.

I am perhaps entirely too logical with everything that I do. Almost everything that I say or do has some clear purpose or reason, even if it's only known to me. I do my very best to balance the forces in my life so that I can give as much of myself to everything I desire. It isn't always easy, but it's almost always successful. Funny enough, and perhaps even contrarily enough, I even schedule/plan for spontaneity and outside influences. I am an engineer, in training, and have always lived my life with the expectation that life will give you a plus/minus on your expectations. You can plan very carefully and then life will throw you a curveball. However, if you plan for this, trust yourself, and work at it, you can be ready for the craziest of scenarios.

The first thing you need to do is watch this: Scene from the Matrix, and that secret is that this phrase is so important that without learning it, your life will be a myriad of seemingly random, uncontrollable events. You have to know and respect yourself. Again, this is difficult; it's taken me almost 16 years of doubt before I could respect and appreciate myself. But, once I did, everything else fell into place. With that trust and confidence, I can now plan for any conceivable contingency and fall back on my own innate skills in case the inconceivable happens.

I am beginning to ramble here. I apologize for all this which might be too obvious, even boring to read. But, honestly, if it's so obvious why does everyone struggle with it? I'm not going to say that I've got everything together, but most of the time I feel like I'm the only one standing on solid ground. I will leave you all now with a synopsized list of the above, as well as a well-wish:
  • Know yourself
  • Trust, hell, even love, yourself
  • Carefully examine everything in your life, and then strike a balance
  • Stick to the plan
Finally, you can do it, I know you can. you may feel like you're a small presence in a much larger world, but the truth is, It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most, so remember that, and good luck!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #1

Last week, I went to Paradise Comics, in Toronto, and I was impressed. Recommended and lead there by a close friend of mine, I was lucky enough to have shown up at the 20th anniversary party, where they served, and I received, free cake! The store itself was pretty nice and was a lot better than some of the other places in Toronto to which I have been. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good places for all sorts of nerd and geek chic items, but it had been in awhile since I had been in a store dedicated to one craft. At Paradise Comics, the shelves, from floor to ceiling, were piled with comics. I didn't get a chance to investigate the entire collection, but it looked to contain a lot, even though the store itself is quite small.

Now, I went there in the first place because DC, or Detective Comics for those unfamiliar, is releasing new strains of their beloved characters. Basically, they are restarting a lot of comic series, including Batman and Superman, and many more, 52 to be exact. I was not too happy about the idea; I mean, there are way too many stories and comics, over 70 years from some of the characters I know and love, but whenever you claim to start over, it can be hard to pull off.

So, I picked up Action Comics #1, and Detective Comics #1, to see how they fared. Detective Comics #1 was not bad. It wasn't the greatest, not really sporting anything new, but nice to see Batman again, and to see him running the rooftops of Gotham chasing and "owning the night". But, it was nothing new. It was Batman, being a little too intense, I know that sounds funny, but for a single comic to have Batman say that he "owns the night" twice, and that he "is Gotham" and finally for him to actually say "I'm Batman", well, it's a little annoying. I mean, the greatest times to verbally introduce Batman, in my opinion are: just after the opening description (perhaps an overused style, especially in Batman comics); from the mouths of others, especially criminals; and finally, from Batman himself but only when it's really necessary/rare/awesome. It is far more effective for the legend to continue and propagate from others, as that gives us a sense of proportion as well as it doesn't make us think the hero is entirely megalomaniacal. Additionally, the Joker sequences push the gross boundary which didn't really bother me, but I can see how it might bother others. All in all, it was a good read, and I hope the story gets more in-depth as the series continues.

Action Comics #1 was quite fascinating. Featuring a reboot of Superman, we start the comic in the early years of Clark Kent living in Metropolis. Featuring a young, cocky, rough and tough Superman, it was interesting to note that he could not/did not fly. Aged within the demographic which most reads this type of work, Superman seems to be a reluctant hero, telling the people of Metropolis that if they kept their business in order, then he wouldn't need to be involved. It also featured a younger looking Lex Luthor setting up elaborate traps to test and ensnare "the alien". A good friend of mine actually came up with a screenplay of this very concept a few months ago, so hopefully it's with pride and not chagrin that he reads this issue. Additionally, Clark Kent, while being Jimmy Olsen's "best friend for 6 months now" also seems to work for the Daily Planet's opposing paper. I thought this was an interesting twist on the Lois Lane angle; instead of stealing her story and working alongside her, Clark works against her, stealing her stories (and maybe later her heart?). Finally, they seem to have really humanized Superman. Instead of being the paragon of lawful goodness, spouting dogma and being seemingly blind to the actual inhabitants of the world, Superman seems to be trying to help, but realizing that he shouldn't be doing it alone. Also, and this was a small part, Superman/Clark actually shows the effects of fighting crime. When his landlady seems Clark after a day of saving people and fighting crime, she asks him what's wrong with his face, saying he looks quite beat up. Clark quickly, and quite adeptly says that he got tossed around while writing a story on waterfront crime by the docks. Some may like the Superman that never lies, but it wouldn't really work that way, and the most powerful person on the planet should not buckle and sweat over a cover story. All in all, the art style was good, the story was a great start to a series, and the stance of Superman was superb. I really look forward to reading more and might even get a subscription!

Keep on the lookout, if you're interested, in the new works being released in the next coming weeks, and I'll be there to review the ones I choose to read.

Back to school!

Leaves have started falling on the ground; the only type of litter by which I will abide. The colours of dying leaves oddly apposed to the vibrant colours of Fall fashion. My schedule is set, my goals have been made, and I am ready to go back to school. This is a very exciting year for me. It's my last year in university and I'm hoping it will be my most successful one yet. Many exciting projects coming up, some of which I will inform you of here, but needless to say, it will be a lot of work, and by the end, I want to feel more like an engineer than ever before!

So much movement. Two of my closest friends moved out last week and the week before. Two new roommates, and close friends, moved in with me. It has been a time of reorganization, stress, getting used to new things, and putting the weight of being awesome on my shoulders. A close friend of mine will be moving overseas soon, there to get her Masters in Environmental Archeology, a degree that sounds just awesome enough to be suited for her. I miss her already, but this year is all about the final stages of metamorphosis; of growing wings, and getting used to them. I will see you again soon, Spice Weasel, and I wish you well. Not to say that you need not keep in touch, because well, you should.

Life moves ever onward and upward, and right now, I am in the calm before the storm. I have all the energy and motivation and time to get things done, and yet, I have nothing crucial to do. I vow to remain steadfast, and I look forward to looking back.