The Oscars made a zombie of me

Today is a good day. Yesterday was a horrible day, and tomorrow may be even worse, but today is good. This past weekend I sat in front of my laptop unable to do anything else expect read, research and write with the occasional snack, nap an excretion. If this writing and research were of my own wishes, I wouldn’t have minded. No, it was for a research assignment that was due 11;59pm on Sunday. Which I guess isn’t too bad because it prohibited me from sitting in front of a television screen like a zombie for hours.

For the MythBusters Zombie Special, airing Thursday, Oct. 17 at ...

Courtesy of DCL

Sitting in front of laptop screen as an active zombie is much better than sitting in front of a television screen like a dead one, hoping for something interesting to happen. Or at least that’s how I justify my sad weekend. And no, I didn’t learn that procrastination is bad, far from it. I’ve been putting off these two assignments for weeks, I knew the pain, frustration and sleepiness were coming.

I disagree. The longer you wait, the easier it is to accept ridiculous excuses for not doing your work. It was so easy to suppress my anxiety.

Stock photo: Handing out candy is a central aspect of American Halloween celebrations, but one woman from Fargo, N.D. has decided to give out much more. (Shutterstock)

Congrats to the winners! The Academy seemed to acknowledge each group somehow. One for you, and for you, and one for you. Oh did I miss you over there? Here you go. You were naughty this year, you don’t get one. Everybody have a sparkly piece of metal, except for Leo? Good. Lovely.

Sherlock Season Three, Episode 1: A hooker in training

Network: BBC One

Air date: Britain: January 1st, 2014,

PBS: January 19th, 2014

Creator: Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss

Mrs. Hudson: What’s his name?

John: It’s a woman.

Mrs. Hudson: A woman?

John: Yes, of course it’s a woman.

Mrs. Hudson: You really have moved on, haven’t you?

John: Mrs. Hudson, how many times… Sherlock was not my boyfriend.

Mrs. Hudson: Live and let live, that’s my motto.

John: Listen to me: I am not gay!

Overview: This is most definitely a spoiler post. But wait, don’t click off! If you’re looking for a general, friendly overview of “The Empty Hearse” you can check out my spoiler free post on Sherlock Season 3: What’s all the hype for?

So now that everyone has legally been able to watch the season premiere of Sherlock, let’s have a look.

Background: “Sherlock” is based on the mystery stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The BBC One crime drama is set in a modern London, though it incorporates some of Conan’s most notable characters: Moriarty and Irene Adler (I love saying her name) to name a few. In the modern adaptation Sherlock Holmes is still a detective with an abnormal sense of observation and deduction. The show teases with the relationship between Sherlock and his sidekick John Watson, hinting at something more than their professional partnership.

What’s New?: The editing for this episode was painfully amazing. The scenes between Sherlock with his clients and John with his patients were so well written, as if they were speaking from a single script. The transitions between as they worked was flawless, merging the two men into one fluid person.

Multiple theories are proposed by various characters as to how Sherlock was able to fake his death. The theories were creative, seeming quite feasible with Sherlock’s reaches and homeless network. When I saw Sherlock sitting beside Moriarty on the roof I was confused. Then the two leaned in towards each other and I was very confused.

Moriarty is alive? Moriarty and Sherlock are kissing? Sherlock betrayed John?

The bullet through Moriarty’s head was final, yet I couldn’t help hoping the villain lived.

Other than that, there really wasn’t anything significantly different about “The Empty Hearse,” though Sherlock and Watson do get physical (the swings and head butts were well deserved), and Watson becomes engaged.

Final Thoughts: I enjoyed the episode, it was like being reunited with an old friend after a two year separation. Both sides are eagerly waiting, trying to anticipate how they’ll be received. However, like in any relationship, after the hugs and kisses have finished and the smiles have faded, you realize just how much the other person has changed. Some changes you smile at, and others you cringe and pull away from.

Please, do not expect me to believe that a major terrorist organization planning to blow up an iconic building in London, who goes through the trouble of meeting in an unused tube, is going to put an off switch on their unattended bomb. It would have made more sense and been more believable if Sherlock had found a way to unwire the bomb.

After the initial bewilderment fades, you recognize the traits, mannerisms and quirks that hold unchanged. Sherlock is still quirky, touching, enraging, and visually dazzling, and for that the last two episodes deserve a watch.

Was this a successful return for Sherlock? How do you think Sherlock pulled off faking his death? Will you be watching the last two episodes? Or have you already watched them because you are British or have illegal connections we won’t probe?

Tyranny of the Minority: A look at Rob Ford and Government

How do we understand government and its relationship to its people?

What the hell does this have to do with Rob Ford?

As many of you know – thanks to the wonderful nature of late night television – the mayor of Toronto went through some… scrutiny for smoking crack. Now. Let’s get this out there; I am in no way justifying, validating or condemning the mayor’s actions. There are dozens of shows, news reports and comedians already doing this (with varying success), so if you want to know whether he is good or bad I can gladly point you to some articles and comedians. I’m interested in knowing whether we should even criticize politicians for their actions, so what better segue than a politician smoking crack?

Why do we expect politicians to be better than us?

It’s a poor reflection of us as people when we decide to assign “intelligence”, “responsibility” and “maturity” to certain groups of people, making it their “job” to deal with such things.

Saying that “it’s the government’s job to look out for the well-being of its people” is scary. What have we progressed to that we think self-preservation isn’t actually the duty of the self?

Why do we expect our governments to be smarter than us? Why are we disappointed when it’s not?

It is true that there needs to be a level of competence in any government system for it to run. But do you really want to be entirely subjected to the will of your government? I thought that people wanted their government to work for them, submit to their needs, and not prescribe correct methods of conduct. By giving the government such responsibilities we risk elevating them above citizenship, and thus above the law. If the government is above its people then who does it answer to? I can’t help but feel that by suggesting a government needs to be run in this or that manner by this person with these specific characteristics, we set up a government in which those running it can’t answer for their actions, or that they can only answer to themselves because of their “maturity”, “responsibility” and “intelligence”. When the government makes mistakes, as it often does, who then is responsible for criticizing it? It can’t be us, the people, since we obviously do not possess the required intelligence. Obviously.

A government’s relationship with its people is a little contradictory. We shouldn’t say the government has to exclusively uphold ideals because it may allow tyranny, so we should expect politicians to be for, by, and of the people. Yet the government has to be held accountable to the people when it doesn’t fulfill the needs of the people. The politician is the people, a representative made of, for and by them, so would it not be accurate for her to be held accountable to herself? But we don’t allow politicians to be held accountable to solely themselves, which necessarily means that they can’t be of, for or by the people. They are either above or below us. Whether or not the government is above or below us is irrelevant, for whether they serve us or govern over us we still assign certain functions to it. These functions are things we don’t take care of ourselves, such as healthcare, daycare services, criminal enforcement, and other such things under the jurisdiction of government. With these exclusive responsibilities come certain characteristics. You wouldn’t want a healthcare system that favoured the healthy, or a justice system that convicted without evidence. The government needs to be impartial, just and benevolent, among other things, and because of this we’re back at the beginning.

Final Thoughts: After reading this you may be wondering: what the hell does this have to do with Rob Ford? I am too. I decided to split this post into two, because who wants to sit through a thousand word post? Not me.

What are your thoughts on government and its relationship to people? Do you agree with my interpretation of government? Is government inevitably placed above or below its people?

Sherlock Season 3: What’s all the hype for?

Sherlocked: Season 3, The Empty Hearse

Network: BBC One

Air date: Britain: January 1st, 2014,

PBS: January 19th, 2014

Creator: Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss

John Watson: There were times that I didn’t even think you were human. But let me tell you this, you were the best man and the most human…. human being that I have ever known, and no one will ever convince me that you told me a lie. And so … there. I was so alone and I owe you so much. Please, there’s just one more thing. One more thing. One more miracle, Sherlock, for me. Don’t be… dead. Would you do that, just for me? Just stop it, stop this…

This is not a spoiler post. You can tread safely into this blog without fear of being exposed to any major plot point. I promise. Now that we have some trust established, let’s have an overlook of Sherlock’s Season 3 premiere, episode 1.

I haven’t longed for the return of any show more so than that of Sherlock. Besides the cleverly constructed plot, and the undeniable bromance between Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman), I think many people love the show simply because it is shot so well. The show is visually delightful to watch. The shots, the editing, the scene transitions, the software needed – so much goes into filming this stylish mystery drama, and we really see this in a three second scene of a train pulling in and out of a station in London.

Can we forgive BBC for making us wait so long for another season? Some of us have been waiting as long as two years for the addictive drama, but that seems like nothing compared to John’s two year wait. Grief disfigures its host, twisting, tormenting and morphing (that moustache ages you John) its captor.

There are so many more things I would like to talk about – Sherlock’s faking his own death, the theories surrounding Sherlock’s death, John and Sherlock’s relationship (if there even is one) – but alas, I made a promise, so we will wait until January 19th, 2014.

In the meantime, all I have to say, or show, is this:

Final Thoughts: In anticipation of the January 19th PBS premier, expect my following posts to be Sherlocked in some way.

What are your theories on how Sherlock faked his own death? Was he right not to tell John, letting him grieve for two years?

Peaky Blinders: Yup, this is definitely a hooker

Network: BBC Two

Originally Aired: September 12th, 2013

Creator: Steven Knight

Grace: You think I am a whore?

Tommy: Everyone’s a whore, Grace. We just sell different parts of ourselves.

Background: Peaky Blinders? Yes, that’s right, but don’t rule it out for its quirky title. This historic crime drama set in 1919 Birmingham gets its unique title from an actual gang that sewed razors blades on the fringes of their caps. Whether or not the original Peaky Blinders were a single gang or a title for rowdy, violent youth is debatable. The show, however, settles on shadowing the lives of a single gang family: the Shelby Family.

Overview: Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy), the bookie and brains behind the Peaky Blinders, is a cool, clever man with eyes as chilling and morbid as death. After returning from the war, like many men, he is changed. Tommy takes up the business that his aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) ran for four years while he was away at war. Despite the past that dogs him and the enemies that swarm him, Tommy slaves to bring power and legitimacy to his family name. His plans are tested by Inspector Campbell (Sam Neill), a ruthless man sent from Belfast by Winston Churchill to retrieve stolen weapons.

What’s New?: While watching the show I had to rewind at many places; the shots and settings amazed me (though admittedly I also rewound a lot to catch the words of the characters, one probably led to the other). The shots are stunning, and the scene transitions are seamless, effortlessly merging different plots into dynamic montages.

It is hard to define something because the moment that we do we limit what it can be. Peaky Blinders is more than its drama, dazzling shots, striking characters and dynamic plot. It offers a new take on period dramas by changing the dialogue. The conversations in this show are fresh and new, not relying on the typical quick exchanges of overused clichés found in most gangster-cop dramas. The writers and editors put time into crafting the utterances of every character. For this, the characters seem authentic, so many of Tommy and Campbell’s lines can stand alone as iconic quotes. We can believe that Tommy is cold, fragmented, sincere, conflicted and intelligent and not feel conflicted by this knowledge. Inspector Campbell is creepy, terrifying, and menacing all at once, with his overbearing stalk. Campbell cannot be summed up as good, nor Tommy as bad; these characters and their motives are too complex to be described in a single word.

Aunt Pol is a provocative female character, but not in the expected sense. She is neither the hard-ass woman nor the needy woman, she is simply herself. Strong female characters are sometimes defined by their ability to be like men and shake off “female tendencies”, but in her actions, Aunt Pol works against this convention. She cunningly uses her sex to advantage herself (her scene with Campbell is brilliant). Those who demand respect from others, often receive fear instead; Aunt Pol doesn’t demand it yet is respected and feared nonetheless.

And then there is Grace (Annabelle Wallis), not to be ignored with her angelic, sad voice. She is beautiful, and seemingly out of place in the dirty, rough slums of Birmingham. But there is more to her than her controlled, calculated actions let on (that’s all I will say).

Final Thoughts: There is no doubt in my mind that period dramas will continue to be conceived, developed and birthed by major networks; bastard drama offspring produced from a single mother plot. But Peaky Blinders varies from the main stream current, daring to give audiences a new take on historic dramas, conventional characters and character dialogue.

What makes you hooked on Peaky Blinders? Why do you think modern audiences have such a preoccupation with historic dramas?

For the Addicts: The first step to recovery is admiting you have a problem – or not

I am Bernice and I have a problem. I love music, books, writing, art, TV shows and films; they occupy an ungodly amount of my fulltime-university-student-schedule. I, however, feel no need to correct this problem. I rather like spending whole days engrossed in novels or immersed in shows. In fact, I don’t feel like going down the road to recovery, indulging faults is sometimes better than suppressing desires.

To all those out there with similar problems, I propose we start a cyber-support group. We won’t have check-ins or chastisements of relapses – the worse your addiction, the better suited you are to my cause. Meetings will be held every Monday and Thursday, or whenever else we feel the need to do so. No need to feel pressured to commit to weekly sessions, for drop-ins are always welcomed. We won’t ask why you love the books and music you do. All the crazies, normals, eccentrics and problematic are welcome. We’ll be there for each other, when for whatever reason we relapse and decide that the arts aren’t worth it, and that our “problem” is actually a problem.

Here, we will discuss without fears our favourite authors, musicians and directors. Here, we will ensure that after every post, comment, and discussion our chances of successful rehabilitation are diminished. Here, we shall remain hooked on the things that compel us, regardless of however “backwords” they seem.