How I Feel Most of the Time

Authors note: This was orginally published under a different blog title on April 22, 2010. The only edits made are to remove defunct website links from former endeavours. These old blogs will be rerun as part of a Throwback Thursday to unify all my work in one place.  I hope you enjoy these.

I wasn’t going to post this today. I had another topic picked out, written and waiting for a peak traffic time to post. I changed my mind after a phone call, the subject matter isn’t relevant to this time and place, suffice to say it set my train of thought on a different path.

image

That picture is a good representation of how I feel most of the time, chained, wounded, and ready to fight. I identify that with the comic icon of Wolverine, some may know him from the X-Men films. You see he is a character that heals rapidly from wounds and has an aggressive demeanor when attacked. The thing about writing a character with a the ability to heal wounds quickly is that you get to have the shit kicked out of him all the time, more so than any other character. The world at large gets to beat the guy to a pulp everyday and he then can either take it or rage back against the world…you may have guessed by the picture his usual choice.

Now I won’t claim that my life is a horrible thing and I should be pitied or anything. In fact aside from a few regular struggles I live a good life, good friends, family, neighbors, my health kids health, not rolling in cash but I am not worried much about the finances. However life does have a tendency to toss in those fun little curve balls to upset the balance. Sometimes it is an extra ball to juggle, others it is a running chainsaw to add to the balls already in the air.

So life wounds us, chains us and beats us down. Then we all react differently. Some will roll with it and find a way to deal, some will give up, give in and accept it, others will fight back to get what they want, deserve or protect what they have…again by the picture you can guess my stance.

Why give up, there are too many people I would let down and hurt. There are too many things I have left to do. Life has an obstacle for me designed to crush me and my spirit, extinguish my will to live, try and improve…bring it. I will go through that like a Juggernaut.

Why roll with it and let it dictate my life course. It is my life and I control it. Life doesn’t get a say in how I (or you for that matter loyal reader) live. I could flow around the obstacle and like a stream finding a new path after a boulder lands in it’s old comfortable stream bed, but then it is not my choice to be there and go on with this undesired foreign path. Who the hell does this boulder think it is? I am not interested in that new path it doesn’t lead to where I want to go and gives me nothing but hardship anymore than I am interested in getting beat up. It’s just not worth starting from scratch and being miserable for it.

Now that gives us the last option, fight back. In this case to protect something I hold dear. There is no reason to not see the things life puts in our way as anything but a puzzle to be figured out. Thank of the obstacle no so much as a problem but a path to success. Imagine instead it is a giant paper banner across a stadium entrance. Behind it is a football team ready to hit the field. If they stop because it is there and accept it as impassable they have quit before they started. If they walk up to it and figure a way around it they may succeed and get to the field, but they have allowed such a simple thing to derail there first few steps to glory and victory, what happens when the other team makes a point to actively do that instead of just sit passively in their way? That team does what every team does, they walk around the corner, see the banner, let out a primal scream and run strait for it, bursting through to the applause and adulation of the crowd. They may not win every time but they considered that obstacle something to go through to get the chance to win…something they HAD to go through. That is where I sit.

Like Wolverine in the image I may be chained and wounded but my claws are out. I am not going to lay down or walk around, if you want to try further come closer and see how that works for you. I am going to get out, get up and go through what ever life has got. The real question you have to ask yourself now, loyal reader, what do you do? Then ask how you feel about it and if it has worked out the way you want?

You can deal with things in a lot of ways but if you feel chained, beat and low, why not suck it up and attack the problem claws out eyes afire. THAT is how I feel most of the time, beat up, chained, low and ready to go to war with the obstacle. Don’t just sing it, bring it.

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Get Over It

Get Over It

Three little words, four sylables, nine letters and if you mean a wall a very simple concept.  I really don’t though, at least not a physical one. Mentally, emotionally a wall is a good metaphor though.  I know such an original concept has rocked you to your core already and completely changed your outlook on life…well thaks for coming and have a great day.  Now if we can be done being jackasses let’s move on.  There are thousands of books authored by people with expensive lettters after their names to get into the mechanics of moving past hurt feelings and broken egos, I’ve read a few but I don’t have the credientials to get one out there and go on a five figure a day speaking tour (Hmmm that should be on the to do list). What I do have is what we all have, most of us at least, the life experience of having to get past our own issues and enough friends to know some one in need of getting over some thing before they make themselves and everyone around them bat shit crazy. As always I am not holding myself above being “that guy” oh I have been him, repeatedly, built me some nice big walls over the years, a few were, fine ARE, so big they had a string of castles and their own army in black standing guard.

It seems to me that the easiest issues to acquire are the ones in our love life.  It is a super shitty reality we all face that to be in a relationship of substance we must open ourselves to getting hurt, can’t be helped but like a bee sting it will happen to us all many times in our lives. The degree of the hurt will vary and we react with either a lesson learned or a hard and fast list of things never to do again. I have yet to meet anyone that doesn’t have a blend of those two and not only have I run head long into someone’s hard and fast list but I have had my own list beat up an ego or two. That’s not a unique thing either. What I had to learn is that at some point if you don’t get over your shit and make an exception to that list once in a while you are never going to move forward in life. Let me be clear, I do not mean “Well you only smoke a little meth.” or “Just 2 felonies isn’t THAT bad.” I mean things like “I don’t want to live with anyone.” or “Red heads are lunatics, no more.” there is the difference between a terrible decision making paradygm and taking a bad experience to an unhealthy level. Knowing the difference between the scenarios that are life threateningly bad choices and over reacting to a small sample of situations that just didn’t work out is key to figuring out a life as a decently adjusted human being. I was at a point several years ago where my best friend was telling me on a daily basis “Get over your shit.” and it is a good thing she did because I was boardering on allienating the woman I am currently engaged to. Those bad experiences had put me in a position to dimiss the possibility that there is only a bad out come to certain relationship steps. I was very wrong and had I just gotten past a few of those things earlier perhaps there would not have been a breif period where we were not together.

It isn’t always a romantic relationship that causes issues, friends can quickly become unwelcome and unwanted for a comment. Social media has provided us the opportunity to be both offended and offensive at any moment without the hassle of being near anyone else. That’s just plain efficeint for the more socially undesirable or undesired. If you have spent enough time with me you know there is a point where I start busting balls, it is not meant to be offensive but more of a game, granted I have been known to run up the score, that’s not to say I havent taken my lumps, I used to get way down on the score sheet and I can understand that there is a certain time and place for it and that it can get offensive depending on mood of the bustee. I have been caught on the wrong day and taken it too seriously and if I find myself dishing out more than someone is willing to take then I do legitimately feel bad. I had one birthday party where I in my elegantly inbreiated state took it too far and had to make several appology phone calls, this caused the term ‘Birthday drunk’ to be applied to me at certain points. Here’s the rub, if you are busting balls you should have a genuine affection for the others involved and be willing to take your fair share but know when you cross the line to being an asshole and be willing to appologize, legitimately and sincerely. Let’s face it this is a lesson we should be teaching our kids because at some point it is going to happen, your friends will bust your balls and if the instictive reaction is to be hurt at everything a rough life awaits, so a few years ago I told my kids and my friends daughter the same thing “Every one gets a turn, if it’s yours take it with a chuckle and know that you will get yours later because it happens to all of us.” If I had figured that out before 2000 it would have been great, may as well teach the youth. Let’s not get off on the rant of promoting bullying I’m not saying that, at all, I’m saying there is good natured ball busting that escalates too quickly when all that is needed is an appology or getting past the fact that you got burned. For a solid example watch That 70’s Show for a while, the ball busting there is great and pay back comes up, once in a while when it goes too far there is the heart felt moment of appology. If you aren’t willing to take a few shots with a giggles and some humility your shouldn’t dish any out either.

Appologizies aren’t always easy, as I dialed the phone that year hung over and chastised like a dog that soiled the carpet I was dreading the reactions. To my surprise not only was my behaviour, which I thought was jovial and light hearted at the time, revealed to be well over the line of good natured fun but I found it was easier forgiven than I feared, I am still living it down to this day but I earned that and it isn’t often that it comes up. Too many times people ‘ghost’ from these situations, just vanish and keep the embarassment of appologizing at bay. That means that the embarassment potential outweighs the value of the friendship, pretty simple math really. Then again I have had some discussions where that wasn’t the case and the regret of lost time starts building up, the embarassment gets worse and worse and now there is regret keeping pace with it, the lucky ones will break under the regret and get over whatever the root issue was and accept any embarassment or consequences in hopes of restoring some semblance of the friendship. Much of the time it is the offender that seems to vanish, especially if the offended make it known that there is cause for appology. There is something to admitting fault or perhaps accepting some embarassment themselves that they can’t get over, I have seen it ruin friendships and have been involved on both sides of it, not always where the friendship could be salvaged.

The last three years of my life I have had to accept that there are many things I had to get over in order to get to where I want to be in life. Many of them with the women around me and my fiancee in particular because I simply didn’t get past my relationship issues. I can honestly say it has been worth it so far. This week in particular I have had to get over a large issue I have had for several years, honestly it was the root of a lot of misery in my life. As excited at the dawn of a new opportunity as I am I am not entirely over this issue. There is a lot of fear and anxiety surrounding my choice but as my fiancee has pointed out I have a chance to be happier and do something I enjoy for a short time at least. I got over things with romance, family, friends, I better do it with career too before it’s too late and opportunity ghosts on me.

The Missing Piece of the Puzzle

Authors note: This was orginally published under a different blog title on April 19, 2010. The only edits made are to remove defunct website links from former endeavours. These old blogs will be rerun as part of a Throwback Thursday to unify all my work in one place.  I hope you enjoy these.

What is it that raises your eyebrow? What gets your complete attention, sparks your curiosity, turns your head? Money? Women? Men? Power? Respect? Recognition? Fame? Love? Happiness? Everyone has something that makes them want to listen or achieve. The question is; What is it that trigger in an individual?

For me; a pretty woman will turn my head, a bigger pay cheque will get me out of bed, respect will compensate for a lack in other areas, a good time will get me moving, recognition will get my effort. Really though, the key is a chance to combine as many of those things in to making a better life, that will put my heart and soul in to anything. The problem is so many things promise results like that but never deliver or circumstances change and you just aren’t getting what you want anymore.

Case in point, I worked in the projection booth of a megaplex (18 35mm theatres and an IMAX) for many years, I loved the job but the pay was lower than it should have been. The GM was good to me, treated me with respect, rewarded my efforts, was strait up with me and never made me jump through hoops for anything as long as I did the work. He had enough faith in me that he told his replacement I was a “Booth God” very kind. Every so often a free beer would find it’s way to my table in the bar (right in the theatre) or the tab would end up voided out. You see there was only so much that could be done so a bit of slack and a pint or two showed a lot of respect and recognition. Very few people ever got that treatment, a few good friends sited that as reasons they became dissatisfied with the job, I recall one posting a note reading “Has Jamie ever bought you a beer?” When I replied he had I got a few dark looks from co-workers and realized that I was the only one left that had that honour, the others had moved along. I felt bad for a while then I realized that it wasn’t that they hadn’t gotten one, they never earned one.

The next GM I worked for was a complete opposite, never gave a shit about anyone’s work let alone those that went above and beyond. One evening I was having a post work beer and the power went out in the building. I had worked late the night before and early that day and as soon as the lights went out I new there would be problems. A friend of mine came racing out of the projection booth and took one look at me, before he could ask me for help I told him to go shut off the power to the machines so they wouldn’t fail catastrophically should the power be restored and I would be along shortly. My immediate boss wasn’t at work that day and I did what I always did in those cases and took over. Once we found out the power was staying down for a while I requested and trained help from the kids normally used to scooping popcorn and tearing tickets so the management could deal with the guests in the auditoriums. We began the arduous project of passing film through the system by hand, I’ll spare you the details there but for 18 movies the prospect was not good. A couple hours later we had 14 of 18 theatres ready to run again, the only thing we were missing was power, then we got it. I radioed the management and GM specifically calling them by name and told them that all but 4 were ready to roll, however they would not get the other 4 back until the final show time as it was quicker to run them through the machines with power and there was simply not enough time to get that done before the next advertised show. I went down stairs and interrupted a conference of managers and repeated myself. When asked to clarify repeatedly over the radio I did, I went back and told them all again. Once everything was as in order as I could make it I went home, satisfied that I had done my portion to save the day. It was the second week or Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and thousands of people were lined up in stormy weather waiting for power to come on, we couldn’t even let them in the building with out power due to insurance and liability reasons. I didn’t even try to get paid for my time, I was doing it for those I thought would need my skills to get the out of a jam and for those that would be paying to see movies again that night. I LOVED that part of the job, be directly responsible for a few hours of relaxation for dozens, hundreds or thousands of people a night or afternoon.

The next day I was radioed by the GM and chastised for not communicating with him well enough and I had cost them another 4 theatres worth of passes. I was stunned and offended. So much so that I had dropped my radio grabbed my gear and was only one foot left in the fire escape to the projection booth when the door closed on it and I remembered my fiancé, new born daughter and step son at home, we needed that money as piddly as it was. I thought for a minute and decided I was done but I was not going to run out on the people that did appreciate my efforts, I was just going to find a new job.

A few hours later I told my Projection Manager the story. She had walked in an instantly recognised I was pissed off and fuming. She went and asked around about the night before and then lodged a complaint with the GM over it. Over the next few days several others expressed concern to me over my state and also lodged complaints on my behalf, I was simply done, wasn’t worth the fight, my thought was “Screw this clown, I am not high enough up the food chain to do anything but tell him off and not calm enough thinking about it to do it with out giving cause for dismissal. I was however extremely touched by the way others had my back. It was soon common knowledge in the building that the Management team had gone to bat for me and the GM tried to smooth things over with me with some Keg gift certificates and a “You are doing a good job.” Not a “sorry” or “I was a dick” but clearly he knew which side of the problem he was on and where the loyalty in the building was. Not for his sake did I change my mind and go back to work with out looking for a new job, but because those that I would have left to flounder with out me a few days before not once but twice. These people remained loyal to me in the face of the GM that was not known for his level head, having just proved it. They couldn’t give me a raise or a vacation or the love of a family, they gave me the respect and recognition I found valuable.

I out lasted that GM, had another that showed me the same respect, recognition and loyalty I sought, then had another that drove a wedge between all the team members and demoralise the management(which I was a part of at the time) and staff. I can’t say it was totally on purpose but he was a meat puppet doing what ever his boss said and had no grasp on how to create an environment of team work and lead a team, instead he brought more stress and fewer co-operation than ever before. Soon no one cared to be there and the two hardest working people on staff were consistently told they were failing at their jobs. Over 950,000 tickets sold, 93% rating with a massive staff turn over thanks directly to the GM and I failed at MY job (leading to my current motto of “You never hear about the other 93%”). Wasn’t long after that review I fired Cineplex as an employer. My next boss sealed his fate by saying “It’s not what you do right that counts, it is what you do wrong.” Instant fail, that is bullshit and it showed in his staff turn over.

Now I work for my bank account. It recognises that I out money in it. My kids respect me and love me for taking care of them as best I can and know that Daddy is working hard to make things better. I work WITH a great group of people. I often miss out on a morale boost I need simply because I don’t feel productive enough to waste their time that they could be spending with others. When ever I do talk to them they are nothing but praise, motivation, education and helping me grow into what I can be, what I desire to be. The failures don’t make a difference to them, how to make successes do. I get the respect and recognition I enjoy. I get the money I earn. I get new friends all the time, seriously watch what happens every third Saturday I add a few more friends the Facebook file. I feel nothing but love for and from the people I work with.

If you are genuinely unhappy then some motivating factor in your life is missing. Some means to your success and enjoyment of life just isn’t there. You have to figure out what it is. Maybe this story will help, maybe it won’t but the fact remains, when the things I was looking for where coming to me in that low paying low fame job I was happy there and content to ride it out. The second they weren’t I was miserable and no longer wanted to be there. The same remains in your life, whether work life, home life or love life, When it isn’t working you are missing something. So do something about it.

Swing and a…Lesson

Swing and a…Lesson

Spring is here, OK I admit that since I live on the south coast of BC Spring sort of starts in October and takes the odd day off and returns before Winter gets a firm hold but now the temperatures are going up and the lawn mower is getting a consistent work out.  Aside from my seasonal issues with pollen this year has brought something new to my little world, baseball, not for me, my kids.  My younger daughter and step-son have us out in the  crisp weather cheering on the efforts and improvements of the little league team. Reread that last half sentence, let it sink in for a minute.

You good? Absorb the true meaning of that? Let me break it down a bit for those that may have missed the point. I am not there to demand and push for a no hitter, home run or a win, that is not the purpose of ANY youth sport, the purpose of youth sports is to teach the game and cultivate a love of it. There is a natural filter that kids will fall into that will lead to great things for a very small percentage but the odds are so stacked against the kids it is absolute lunacy to expect more than small improvements at any level. My daughter has never played a team sport at any level, she is excited and happy just to be out there, her form and technique and general understand of the game is rudimentary at best. I love watching her because every at bat, inning and drill she gets a little better, that is the win there. I use her as an example because she doesn’t care about her weaknesses and is working hard to not just improve but feel comfortable on the team with a few kids that are not first year players and she knows she is in the group that needs more practice and time to improve. I am grateful that there is no ultra competitive parent near by to crush the spirits of her and kids in the same learning curve, kids are hard enough on themselves, it’s a parents job to build on the improvements as they come.

The only thing I can ask of my daughter and step-son is that they put their best effort in to the process.  That means paying attention to the coaches and mentors while remaining coachable.  No kid should be expected to be perfect on any team, not even the ones several years in to the sport, the only reasonable expectation is that they put all the focus and effort they can muster in to it. That in and of itself can be a huge hurdle these days, too many activities and external stimulation in our Internet era and the rise in various degrees of attention disorders can turn a group of kids into a flock of drunk chickens no matter what they are doing.

The win/loss record of any youth sport is less relevant than the win/loss record in professional wrestling, at least to me, it simply does not account for the enjoyment, effort and improvement of the athletes. That being said it is a lot more fun to notch a win than a loss as a player but every little improvement should be encouraged no matter the score. What I have told my kids is that they are not to focus on the score just their next task, be ready to catch the ball, swing the bat or cheer on the team from the bench. The worst boss I ever had actually said to me one day “You aren’t judged on what you do right, you are judged on what you do wrong.” not only is that a completely ignorant and destructive statement in business but if it is applied to sports the enjoyment and passion are crushed, this happens far too often in youth sports.  I have seen it at parks and ice rinks nearly all my life and it sickens me, adults living vicariously through their kids and pushing too hard for a win rather than accepting the reality of the learning process involved. 

Years ago while doing research for a business venture I did some math that really opened my eyes on the funnel between youth sports and professional leagues.  Pick your favourite professional league (NHL, NBA, MLB, MLS, NFL) multiply the number of players on a team by the number of teams in the league, depending on the league add a few dozen to that for injury call ups etc. Then google the number of kids playing that sport on a youth level in your country.  When I did that math based on the NHL vs Canadian minor hockey enrolement the difference was astounding to me because if every NHL team replaced their roster with only Canadian players the chance of making it to the grand stage was far less than 1%, I would bet that holds true for every big money sport.  The ones that do get there do it beause they had so much fun they dedicated all their time towards it, not because they were pushed into it.  The flaw with pushing a kid into it is that at some point they will be able to stop of their own free will or they get weeded out because the kids having more fun simply perform better.

I am blessed to have the supportive environment for the two kids to develope in, no matter how successful they are with the task at hand in any game or practice there is proper correction and coaching and not a harsh repremand or parents in the bleachers yelling other instructions. Between the enjoyment and effort of the kids and the understanding of the coaching staff and team parents I am looking forward to a great year where the only one being hard on any of the kids will that kid themselves, I’ve already seen a few of those incidents and both the team and parents were very supportive and made it clear to those kids they were doing great. Win, lose or draw it is doesnt matter to me as long as they still love going.

Fear Is Your Only God

Authors note: This was orginally published under a different blog title on April 5, 2010. The only edits made are to remove defunct website links from former endeavours. These old blogs will be rerun as part of a Throwback Thursday to unify all my work in one place.  I hope you enjoy these.

Fear is one of the most commonly discussed, diagnosed, quoted and analysed of all human emotions. It is an emotion shared by every organism on the planet. It is a survival and safety guide; it produces a reaction every time it is felt. From the mildest decline to participate to intense physical and psychological reaction, some even cause death.

What is fear though? In the simplest terms I have heard to date “Fear is the absolute faith in the abilities of your adversary.” You are so sure that the person, thing, creature or activity will harm you in some way your belief in it demands you avoid it. Afraid of heights or flying; you know that should something fail gravity will cause you harm. Afraid of snakes; you know they have the ability to squeeze or poison you, should you mistreat or anger them. Are you one of the billions of people that fear public speaking; you know that should you slip up you will feel the humiliation and damaged ego of people laughing and berating you. You name the fear and there is a corresponding faith in the ability of the object of that fear, we all have it.

In 2001 almost exactly 9 years ago to the day I type this, I was in San Antonio Texas in the Mall in the famed River Walk. As my friends and I walked around a heard of children went running by us chattering about a celebrity in the record store. My friends immediately turned around and followed, I was not so keen on bothering any celebrity let alone this particular one. As my friends joined the crowd of people I strolled around the store checking out the CD’s and DVD’s I was unable to get through my work back home in Surrey BC. At one point I glanced over as I could see a person vaguely in my peripheral vision, a reflexive action we all have. I found myself less than 6 inches away from ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson. He smiled and politely told me he was just there to shop. I smiled back and told him of course, commented it was a good selection, wished him well in his training and walked away to find my friends and get some dinner. When I tell people that story, even nine years later the first reaction I get is “Wow, were you scared he was going to bite your ear off?” Absolutely not, I did nothing to provoke him and he, in fact, entered my area as I was browsing, I was not after his attention or seeking to bother the man, his reputation is what it is and at that time he was still a bit of a media attraction for it, if Mr. Tyson had taken a disliking to me for some slight, I would prefer to have my ear bitten off. I was and would be scared, deeply, justifiably scared that the man would hit me. That was my fear. His volatile reputation was indeed in the back of my mind and I was fearful that if I hung around or tried to engage him in too much chatter he would act on that reputation and I would be stuck so hard as to render me retarded. This man made a, very, good living knocking large durable men unconscious. What would happen if he punched 165lbs of Canadian tourist? I have such belief in his ability to do permanent irreversible damage to me that I very politely extricated myself from the situation. I was polite because I was scared that screaming and running would not only be unbecoming and juvenile but anger the man and get myself maimed.

People fear different things, those that don’t fear heights or flying have a firmer believe in safety equipment and the abilities of the pilots and crew. No fear of snakes; either you know how to handle them or how to avoid them. I can get up on a stage in front of people and run my mouth because I am aware that those I will see afterwards on a regular basis will either help me improve or be appreciative those I don’t see don’t bother me. I have enjoyed many minor successes and some graphic failures but I get a wicked grin with a live mic in my hand, much like the Grinch, because I know that I will get something positive out of it, might be a laugh might be a sound piece of advice given out, might be a lesson to build on for next time.

There is one fear that baffles me though, deep down I know I have it, I may not often show it or speak on it but I will now. Success, I am sure it has a greater following in the fears of people than failure. Often it will disguise itself as fear of failure, it gives people something easier to explain. “I am scared to lose it all so I will keep what I have.” Is easier to say than “I am scared I don’t deserve this even if I work my ass of for it.” I will admit to a very low self esteem, I have a good friend that has accused me several times of arrogance. I will tell you now that the arrogance I have been known to whip out is a self defence mechanism, not only is it bullshit but normally it is a tool I use to turn people back form getting too close and seeing what an inept, unworthy person I feel I am. The last several months I have not only been dealing with it but growing a belief in myself, hell I just admitted it to any one with a computer and ten minutes to read. So the belief level of that fear must have shifted.

So ask yourself “What am I afraid of?” Is it the fear of something or the faith in it? Once you get to that point you may be able to get past it or at least understand it. It’s shouldn’t be “face your fear” it should be “understand your faith”

“Fear is your only God” – Rage Against the Machine, from the song Revolver on the album Evil Empire

Tell Me Again…

Tell Me Again…

It’s no secret that I am a huge super hero fan.  I maintain sizable comic collection, love the movies, mostly.  Despite some incredibly off model character casting decisions that drive me nuts, whether or not the performance is on point, my biggest pet peeve lies in the constant retelling of same same story.  I am not talking about the rehashing of the hero vs arch nemesis what I mean is that there is a philosophy of retelling the origins of the hero every movie.

There are origins we all know, they are ingrained in pop culture to the point where a vast majority of us are familiar.  It seems like a waste of screen time to take forty five minutes of a feature film to show new actors in the role as if they had to go through the same experience.  Eddie Redmayne did not have to live with ALS to portray Stephen Hawking, how many actors are shot into space as the last survivor of a planet? I really don’t get the mentallity of retelling the same story over and over and over, the reason for telling origin stories is establishing character, if done right once is all it takes. While the time frames may change since we are dealling with a very expansive gap between the first time we learned the story of characters like Superman (1938), Batman (1939), Spider-Man (1962) and The Hulk (1962).  The world has changed dramatically in those decades, but the not so much that drastic changes need to be made. Look at the current Marvel Films line up there is lots of cause for telling origins, the pop culture masses have not been as exposed to many of the characters, Iron Man, for example, was a virtual unknown in 2008 despite being a lynch pin character in the comics, his origin needed to be told and got a suitable time period adjustment.  Spider-Man on the other hand has had his origin retold in feature films twice inside of a decade, because they changed the actor and felt the previous trilogy ended on a low point.  Spider-man has had EIGHT cartoon series on North American TV, we don’t need the story retold anymore we grew up with it! One, just ONE FILM would be acceptable and then move along.  

There is also a case for the mystery of “Why are they like that?”.  Show us a character and then explain it later, let the mystery surround them and attract us, as far as comics go it is done all the time, the long term story goes on while a backstory is revealed over years or even decades. This is very hard in film because creators seem disposable in the feature film industry, one writers idea may be changed drastically by another writer or others in the creative in the process as the film series rolls along.  The James Bond series managed to over come the hazards of changing creative teams and actors without delving too far into the origin of Bond himself.  Throw away lines and sparse hints gave us just enough to get by for decades, there have been a few glimses into the origin of James but never has there been a full film dedicated to the pre-007 years, let alone six. The lesson in this is that it doesn’t really matter if the movie didn’t perform as expected, if the plot had a hole, the cast changed or some aspect was too far fetched even for a more lenient universe, just take a step back and make corrections for the next one.  The Amazing Spider-Man could easily have been a forth movie in the series but creators decided to reboot and recast. The reboot was unnecessary, more than anything else that is what killed the movie for me, 50 years of stories and they chose the first one in a far less faithfull outting no less. 

In all fairness these retelling of the beginnings of our heroes is not limited to film or TV, there is a certain obsession these characters have written in to them and they seem to dwell on the pivotal events from their beginnings.  Yadda yadda yadda, my parents yadda yadda yadda with great power comes yadda yadda yadda last of my planet yadda yadda yadda blew myself up. There may be the arguement that each issue has a new reader so things should be touched on to bring them up to speed but honestly in this day and age, the sum total of humankinds knowledge and history is available at our fingertips from any where the curious can easily find the information they seek.  It is a pet peeve of mine to constantly see a creative team go back and put their own spin on the events, it seems lazy to me and adds a version of psychosis to the character that makes them seem less heroic do gooder and more like an UnSub in a Criminal Minds episode. Sure there is a core motivation in these stories that are integral to the characters but know when to back off.  Superman Returns, as maligned as it has become, knew it was unnecessary to start at square one, that was the best thing about that movie, even if they pushed a little to far in other areas of the script and plot they got many things right simply by skipping a prolonged origin.

A short time ago I was sitting in a movie and I said to a friend of mine “They better not show that thing with the parents again.” I won’t get in to spoilers but sure as shit it happened, I admit it was short and the plot did need a certain nudge to work out a few details later on but there is a simpler way to do it and cut out several surplys minutes of the film.  Before anyone puts words in my mouth I loved the movie on the whole, I just thought certain rehashings were foolish wastes of time and money we didnt need as an audience. The very near future has me concerned that once again we will see the retelling of Spider-Man’s early days. Yes, it is a new actor in the suit. Yes he is being added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe where he once was all on his own.  Marvel Films cut a deal with Sony Pictures to return the web slinger to the fold but we get it, please don’t waste our time on a whole rebooting when a few lines of dialog can give us a new story.  These films cost a fortune and a unique story can only help attract us to it.  We are the (over) privileged generation, if we want to see the origins of our heroes we don’t need a new movie we need NetFlix.

It’s no secret that I am a huge super hero fan.  I maintain sizable comic collection, love the movies, mostly.  Despite some incredibly off model character casting decisions that drive me nuts whether or not the performance is on point, my biggest pet peeve lies in the constant retelling of same same story.  I am not talking about the rehashing of the hero vs arch nemesis what I mean is that there is a philosophy of retelling the origins of the hero every movie.

Allow me to clarify this, there are origins we all know, they are ingrained in pop culture to the point where a vast majority of us already know.  It seems like a waste of screen time to take forty five minutes of a feature film to show new actors in these recaps.  I really don’t get the mentallity of retelling the same story over and over and over. Reason for telling origin stories is establishing character, while the time frames may change since we are dealling with a very expansive gap between the first time we learned the story of characters like Superman (1938), Batman (1939), Spider-Man (1962) and The Hulk (1962).  The world has changed dramatically in those decades, I highlight those four because they are all very old characters and the worst offenders of retellings.  If you look at the current Marvel Films line up there is cause for telling origins, the pop culture masses have not been as exposed to them, Iron Man, for example, was a virtual unknown in 2008 despite being a lynch pin character in the comics, his origin needed to be told and got a suitable time period adjustment.  Spider-Man on the other hand has had his origin retold in feature films twice inside of a decade, because they changed the actor and felt the previous trilogy ended on a low point.  Spider-man has had EIGHT cartoon series on North American TV, we don’t need the story retold anymore we grew up with it! One, just ONE FILM would be acceptable and then move along.  

There is also a case for the mystery of “Why are they like that?”.  Show us a character and then explain it later, let the mystery surround them and attract us.  As far as comics go it is done all the time, the long term story goes on while a backstory is revealed over years or even decades. This is very hard in film because creators seem disposable in the feature film industry, one writers idea may be changed drastically by another writer or others in the creative in the process as the film series rolls along.  The James Bond series managed to over come the hazards of changing creative teams and actors without delving too far into the origin of Bond himself.  Throw away lines and sparse hints gave us just enough to get by for decades, there have been a few glimses into the origin of James but never has there been a full film dedicated to the pre-007 years, let alone six. The lesson in this is that it doesn’t really matter if the movie didn’t perform as expected, if the plot had a hole, the cast changed or some aspect was too far fetched even for a more lenient universe, just take a step back and make corrections for the next one.  The Amazing Spider-Man could easily have been a forth movie in the series but creators decided to reboot and recast. The reboot was unnecessary, more than anything else that is what killed the movie for me, 50 years of stories and they chose the first one in a far less faithfull outting no less. 

In all fairness these retelling of the beginnings of our heroes is not limited to film or TV, there is a certain obsession these characters have written in to them and they seem to dwell on the pivotal events from their beginnings.  Yadda yadda yadda, my parents yadda yadda yadda with great power comes yadda yadda yadda last of my planet yadda yadda yadda blew myself up. There may be the arguement that each issue has a new reader so things should be touched on to bring them up to speed but honestly in this day and age, the sum total of humankinds knowledge and history is available at our fingertips from any where the curious can easily find the information they seek.  It is a pet peeve of mine to constantly see a creative team go back and put their own spin on the events, it seems lazy to me and adds a version of psychosis to the character that makes them seem less heroic do gooder and more like an UnSub in a Criminal Minds episode. Sure there is a core motivation in these stories that are integral to the characters but know when to back off.  Superman Returns, as maligned as it has become, knew it was unnecessary to start at square one, that was the best thing about that movie, even if they pushed a little to far in other areas of the script and plot they got many things right simply by skipping a prolonged origin.

A short time ago I was sitting in a movie and I said to a friend of mine “They better not show that thing with the parents again.” I won’t get in to spoilers but sure as shit it happened, I admit it was short and the plot did need a certain nudge to work out a few details later on but there is a simpler way to do it and cut out several surplys minutes of the film.  Before anyone puts words in my mouth I loved the movie on the whole, I just thought certain rehashings were foolish wastes of time and money we didnt need as an audience. The very near future has me concerned that once again we will see the retelling of Spider-Man’s early days. Yes, it is a new actor in the suit. Yes he is being added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe where he once was all on his own.  Marvel Films cut a deal with Sony Pictures to return the web slinger to the fold but we get it, please don’t waste our time on a whole rebooting when a few lines of dialog can give us a new story.  These films cost a fortune and a unique story can only help attract us to it.  We are the (over) privileged generation, if we want to see the origins of our heroes we don’t need a new movie we need NetFlix.