Today, May 25th, marks the 45th anniversary of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope…or as it was called then, Star Wars! When I started this blog I wrote about Star Wars all the time. Now it’s been years (literally!) since I wrote anything about the galaxy far, far away. My last Star Wars piece was in December of 2019, my reaction to and reflection on The Rise of Skywalker. I just haven’t had much to say about Star Wars as we go further into the Disney Canon. However, I wanted to write something to mark this occasion. Kiri wrote a beautiful (and super fun!) piece over on Star Wars Anonymous a year ago about her favorite Star Wars memories. I loved her post and told her I was excited to nick her idea and compile my own list of Star Wars memories. The wheels began turning as memories and moments came to mind…I just never wrote it. But the 45th anniversary of A New Hope’s original theatrical release feels like the perfect time to get nostalgic!
And Lo, Jodie Whittaker Begat Ncuti Gatwa: Feelings on the Thirteenth Doctor’s Impending Regeneration
This fall, in a 90 minute special airing in October as part of the BBC’s Centenary Celebration, the Thirteenth Doctor will regenerate as the Fourteenth Doctor comes into being. After all the speculation as to who would follow Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor in the TARDIS, the BBC announced Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa was cast as the Doctor’s fourteenth regeneration (well, you know, fourteenth not counting the Fugitive Doctor, the War Doctor, the Morbius Doctors, and every incarnation of the Doctor we’ve met and/or seen alluded to with the Timeless Child). Naturally, there’ve been many pieces reporting the announcement and compiling quotes from Ncuti Gatwa, returning showrunner Russell T Davies, Jodie Whittaker, Chris Chibnall, and everyone else in the orbit of Doctor Who willing to comment on the news. This piece isn’t that. Others have written it (and have done a better job than I could (that’s not my strength as a writer)). Instead, I want to talk about feelings (much more my forte!) about this impending regeneration when our ever-changing Doctor will change once again.
A Life in Love – My Tribute to Grandma
This piece is my eulogy for Grandma, delivered at her funeral on 8 August 2020. The pictures throughout are family photos and the featured image, as with many of the pictures within, came from one of our many Friday night dinners at Grandma’s.
Grandma first asked me to write her eulogy ten or fifteen years ago. Every year or two she’d circle back around to the request, double checking I remembered I said I’d do this and making sure I was still planning on it. I always assured her I did and I would. But even for me, someone who writes a lot for fun and is kinda paid to talk for a living, this is intimidating. How do I begin to pay tribute to Grandma? How do I begin to capture all she means to me? Continue reading
F.N.V. – Growing Up With and Within John Mellencamp Songs
A few years ago, Rob – of My Side Of The Laundry Room – began a series called “F.N.V.,” taking its name and inspiration from NBC’s Friday Night Videos (1983-2002). Anyway, I liked it so I totally stole it from him. Kalie liked it and she stole it too, proving far more prolific with her sharing of music videos and stories than I ever am. Today I’m going to do something I haven’t done before – focus exclusively on one artist. Why John Mellencamp? Well, ever since I was a kid, John Mellencamp’s music has led me down surprisingly contemplative roads. So I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the musings he’s led me to over the years. Continue reading
My Life in Spider-Man Movies
The brilliant new podcast Pods & Ends – “the junk drawer of pop culture” – asked me to write a piece for them about Spider-Man movies. Hot dog! I excitedly agreed and I think you should excitedly read this. In the post, I reflect nostaligically on everything from this Spidey movie whose name I cannot find no matter how hard I try from the ’80s up to and including the MIND-BLOWINGLY AMAZING Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I was honored to write for this great show and would love you to check it out.
You can listen to Pods & Ends here and you should also follow them on Twitter @pne_pod because they are way awesome people. Continue reading
Doctor Who – Getting to Know the Thirteenth Doctor Once a Week
Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the Doctor was special for me. I’ve only recently come into the world of Doctor Who, watching all ten (modern) seasons of the show last year. I began in the fall of 2017 with Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor (well, technically I started with David Tennant but my friend Theresa kept making sad sighs when she heard I didn’t start at the beginning so I went back and did) and finished Peter Capaldi’s run in the spring of 2018. So Jodie Whittaker became the first Doctor I got to watch as the season aired. It was so exciting! As this eleventh season (or series if I’m being English about it) of Doctor Who unfolded, I kept thinking of a post I wrote awhile back about being exhausted by binging and streaming TV shows. Jodie Whittaker and company have consistently delivered everything I’ve come to love about a Doctor Who episode! But I think part of the magic of this season came from watching it on a weekly basis. Continue reading
Mission: Impossible or James Bond? – Why I’m an M:I Kinda Guy
Growing up as an adolescent of the ‘90s the discussion of whether you preferred Mission: Impossible or James Bond for your spy-faring feature films was a resurrected area of pop culture discourse. In 1995 Pierce Brosnan would debut as James Bond in GoldenEye, the first Bond film in six years, the longest gap ever between films in the franchise (at least as of this writing). In 1996, Tom Cruise would star as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible, the first film adaptation of the TV series that ran from 1966-1973. I’ve always gotten the sense that James Bond is the more beloved pop culture figure. He obviously has the wider reach, with a film series spanning fifty-three years and twenty-six films. But for my money (metaphorically speaking as well as literal money in the form of movie tickets and first VHS (!) then DVD purchases), 007 has nothing on the Impossible Missions Force. Continue reading
First Impressions: The Fantastic Four
This is a post I’ve been thinking about writing for ages. I originally envisioned it shortly following the “First Impressions: The X-Men” post I wrote last year. But, for one reason or another, I always stopped short of finishing it. Now, on the eve of the Fantastic Four’s return, shepherded by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli, the time is right. So let’s take another trip down memory lane and revisit the very first Fantastic Four comic I ever read! It was 1993 and the cover leapt out at me from the spinning rack in a local grocery store (the now long-gone Loblaws on W 12th St, if I remember correctly). It was Fantastic Four #374 and, while I didn’t know it at the time, I was about to meet the characters who’d become my all-time favorite comic book team. To this day, they still hold this place in my heart! Continue reading
From “Cowabunga!” to “Booyakasha!”: My Life in Ninja Turtle Memories
The unexpected emotional mix of finally sitting down to watch some of Nickelodeon’s 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series coupled with warm feelings of post-birthday nostalgia gave birth to this post. You see, there are a lot of characters I’ve loved through my whole life but few I’ve experienced in as many different iterations as I have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. So I’m taking a walk down Memory Lane, looking at every incarnation of the Turtles I’ve met and exploring what they meant to me. To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list of every single version of the Turtles. There’s plenty of entries, sure, but the Turtles are prolific characters with parts of their mythology I’ve missed/yet to experience. Still, this is a fairly impressive list if I do say so myself :). With that being said, onward to an exploration of my life with the heroes in a half shell…TURTLE POWER. Continue reading
F.N.V. – Guilty Pleasures
Last week I kicked off my summer DJing Rob’s Friday Night Video series as he does his YouTube thing over at My Side Of The Laundry Room. For my first outing, I looked at some summer/summer vacation songs. It was my last day of school and my mind was on vacation (all I ever wanted…)! This week I’m rocking out to some of my favorite guilty pleasure songs. However, the name “guilty pleasure” implies I feel some guilt over liking these songs and, honestly, for the most part I don’t. I should probably call these “Should Be Embarrassed By Them But I’m Not” songs. But that’s a mouthful and everyone knows what a “guilty pleasure” song is so I’ll stick with it. So let’s look at some of my awkward favorites shall we?? Continue reading