Updated Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Canadiana

My wife and I are heading out to Washington D.C. for a few days.

And, yeah, I'm pretty psyched.

I've always wanted to see the Smithsonian, wander around and get lost in its massive halls, discover some secret passage and find myself miles below the Earth in a mad curator's hidden vault.

Or something...

That said, all kidding aside, it's a bit of a weird feeling for me to be visiting the Capitol of the USA.

I spent so much time thinking I WAS American when I was growing up (I always wanted to go to Rochester to ride the monorail I'd see in the commercials between my Saturday morning cartoons) -- hell, I knew the pledge of allegiance long before I had 'Oh Canada' memorized.

It wasn't until years later that I'd discover that I was, in fact, Canadian -- and it would take me another decade or so to actually figure out what that meant.

Even now I know far more about American History, politics, etc. than I do Canadian -- and I actually consider myself a patriot and fan of Canadian History.

I guess it's just part of the cost of growing up when you're sleeping with the elephant.

TV-wise, I didn't have a whole lot of choice when I was a kid, I watched whatever was on -- and even though I had my fair share of You Can't Do That On Television and The Edison Twins and Littlest Hobo, my strongest childhood memories are for The Thundercats and Fraggle Rock and GI Joe -- and wanting to ride that damned Midtown Plaza Monorail.

Now that I think about it, that's one of the reasons I'm actually getting involved in this fight -- no, not the monorail, I mean the fight for Canadian content and to protect our airwaves.

Tho' I'm loathe to use the 'think of the Children' argument -- 'cause I think it's trite and stupid -- now that I'm married and we're talking about kids... well, I am actually finding myself thinking about 'my' children.

Them and the country I want them to grow up in.

See, not only do I want to be, like, the best dad ever (exclamation point times infinity), I want to provide for them the ability to be intelligent and active citizens of the world... without having to waste their time on stupid identity crises like 'what's the difference between a Canadian and an American?'.

Now, to be clear, I don't want to rant and I'm not saying 'America is bad' or any of that sort. I'm genuinely excited to have the opportunity to check out the Smithsonian -- and yes, I'll be checking out the museum of American History.

But I am saying that Canadian pride is something we learn from our parents and our friends and our media (certainly, more from 'media' as we age).

If we can't be proud of ourselves; Our stories and our accomplishments -- let alone those Canadians who do accomplish -- then how the hell can we expect our kids to care?

In an age where we're being bombarded from all sides by the World, why not work to establish a solid foundation at home, first?

Cheers,
Brandon

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Big Day, Tomorrow

Well, what can I say?

That news that I had... well, it's time to let it all out:

I've been asked to be guest editor for Denis McGrath's blog - Dead Things On Sticks - for this coming week.

Pretty damn cool, eh?

Yeah... I've got a whole thing - a plan, if you will.

Pop on by and see what's shakin'.

Cheers!
Brandon

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Beat Goes On

We're 3 days into 2 weeks worth of CRTC hearings and already my ears are starting to bleed.

Trying to make sense of it all is, well, a challenge -- especially if you're someone new to the game who's only checking things out in a semi-nationalistic 'what's all this then' situation.

That said, if you want to see 60-year-old men stomp their feet and roll their eyes like spoiled little children... well, you should pull yourself up a seat 'cause this is the new 'Best show on Earth'.

Words fly, tempers flare - it's a borderline kerfuffle...

And then they break for lunch or Nap Time... or whatever.

And then the next guy's up at bat. (By 'guy' I generally mean 'well-paid-legal-team' and/or 'well-heeled-exec board'.)

At least that's been my experience thus far.

Today was an extra special helping of dumbass-ery. That special kind that would've lead to my Grandpa taking me over his knee if I ever talked to him like that.

But since most of them are grandpa's... I'm not really sure how you're supposed to punish them for bad behavior.

Today's display was, well... disturbing.

And there's a whole hell of a lot I could write here -- involving buckets of venom and vitriol.

But today can be summed up in 140 characters:

"Too bad the industry sees investment in Canadian content as punishment" - @gregobr

Le sigh.

The WGC is up this Monday, at the end of the day no less -- a fact which I personally think is a load of crap -- 'cause, let's face it: our commissioners seem genuinely ready to pull a 'coyote ugly' by 4pm.

That said, I want to take some time and thank the WGC for putting together this swanky Decoder Ring for those of us who're watching the events unfold and wondering what the hell is coming our of their mouths.

'Cause after what went on in that room today... well, I'm kind of ashamed to even be giving it airtime.

On another note, there's also a bit of news (yes, news!) coming down the pipe for yours truly. More on that to come shortly, but it's pretty cool.

Anyways, that's it for now. Sleep tight... 'cause something tells me it ain't getting any prettier out there.

Cheers,
Brandon

Monday, November 16, 2009

Let's Give Konrad a Hand

I'll admit it: I'm not always a big fan of the CRTC.

As an outsider looking in, I'm often left cold by the attitudes and rituals involved as people line themselves up in front of the commission.

Let alone the actual back and forth (and eye-rolling, and blustering, and...) that often occurs.

That said, I think today went a small way toward lighting the fire back into my jaded lil' Canadian heart.

In his opening speech, Konrad Von Finckenstein (the Chairman of the CRTC) said this:

"This hearing is about the future – a future where the old distinctions between over-the-air and discretionary television services will be irrelevant to most Canadians. It is about ensuring that Canadians continue to receive high-quality Canadian programming regardless of where they live or how they receive their television programming. It is also about ensuring that Canadian broadcasters and distributors have the flexibility to respond to changing audience demands, revenue opportunities and new paradigm-changing technologies, while using the most effective platforms.

This hearing is not about the past. It is not about enshrining or protecting old business models. And it is not about taxing consumers."

I want to give kudos to him for at least setting the bar.

Unfortunately, well, the presenters today at the CRTC hearing (aka 'Fee For Carriage Round 3') didn't quite get the memo.

And the Chairman was having none of it.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the day's events (and the twitters that followed):

"I'd rather deal with the Rogers I know than the one I encountered today, think about it" - Konrad Von Finckenstein (Chairman of the CRTC)

"My bedtime reading is the Broadcasting Act" - CRTC Commissioner Suzanne Lamarre (*I tend to use it as a sleep-aid, myself*)

"I don't understand why you don't realize it's in your long-term interest to come to an agreement" - Konrad Von Finckenstein to Rogers presenters

"Why is it anytime some1 says, "I'm not trying to avoid the question," the very next thing out of their mouths is attempt to avoid Q?" - @heywriterboy

"@DecencyLegion: Isn't this interesting. Nobody in Canada can figure out how to make money and USA net spins off a new channel http://j.mp/nJ8EU" - @DecencyLegion

And quite possibly the... well... the most honest exchange I've ever heard at a CRTC meeting:

"Why is this so difficult?" - Konrad Von Finckenstein
"We don't have our hand out. They do." - Rogers

(wow!)

Annnd one more:
"You're making this sound like a religious crusade" - Konrad Von Finckenstein to some nigh-evangelical Rogers Execs.

In closing... I'm not sure I've processed everything just yet... but I gotta give solid props to Chairman Von Finckenstein, who was definitely in fine 'Grow-the-F*ck-up' form today.

Hopefully we'll have more of this whole 'cut through the b.s.' attitude... 'cause I - as, you know, a tax-paying Canadian citizen - think it's about damn time.

Cheers,
Brandon

P.S: The Star has a summary of the day's events here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You


I have never known the call of conscription, or felt the terror of bombs exploding around me.

I have never smelled the acrid stench of a battlefield, or heard the screams of dying friends.

I have never killed a man, or survived a bullet wound, or lived my life in fear.

I have never known war.

For this, and for the sacrifices that have allowed me these things.

For your sacrifices.

I thank you.

Please, Rest in Peace.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Side Effects

I've noticed that there's been an interesting side-effect to my eternal quest to drop my weight into the realm of 'not-obese' (thank you, Wii Fit).

My wedding ring keeps wanting to fly south for the winter.

Yep, every once and a while -- while gesticulating or generally 'talking' -- my ring will make a break for it.

Bags packed and ready to go, it lies in wait for that perfect moment, crouched at the brink, hardly breathing, ready to pounce.

Today it made a full-tilt run at the edge and lept for freedom; a bold, brash 'hey-I-can-see-my-house-from-here' break for the door.

And I didn't suspect a thing until I noticed its gleaming halo flying through the air.

Needless to say, the image of me chasing a rolling wedding band down the hall at work was quite sight to behold.

I've seriously considered crazy-glue at this point, but I may just go with a resizing.

That said, the idea of paying someone to take gold out of my ring seems a bit ridiculous... :S -- I wonder if they hand the glittering remnants back to me in a little CSI-style forensics baggy or something afterward?

In other news, I've managed to get my Chuck spec back on track. Turns out that the general feedback was positive tho' the major complaint was that it felt like a season 1 spec.

Which, yeah, is problematic.

So I decided to throw caution to the wind and say 'screw season 2'... I've remastered my baby (with a heaping re-imagining of dialogue) into a Season 3 spec. This, of course, has lead to me sneaking far into spoiler territory for one of my favourite shows -- an excursion I fear has wounded my soul (while breaking my own sacred 'no spoiler' self-pact) yet has yielded vast riches in the way of relevant story points.

Points that have been judiciously (deliciously?) extrapolated upon to solidify it's stature in the 3rd season -- though I must admit to a somewhat maternal fear that I might be a bit too far ahead of the curve on this one.

That said, I'm liking how this has turned out so far, yes, there's probably another draft awaiting after this -- aaaalways another draft -- but for now I shall begin the final wrap-up touches before sending it out to be beaten about the head and neck.

After that, well, then I get to dust off my spec pilot all proper-like. More on that shortly.

Cheers!
Brandon