16 April 2014

How I Met Your Adequate Finale

A couple of weeks ago, the television show 'How I Met Your Mother' ended.  For nine seasons, this was one of the best shows on television as far as comedies go.  It has brought plenty of phrases and actions into everyday life.  It was well written, well acted, and heartfelt on many levels.  Most people that watched, I'm sure, see at least a little bit of themselves in one or two of the characters.  I refuse to watch the episodes that deal with Marshall's dad dying.  Mainly because I'm a softy, but who wants to see that especially in a sitcom?  They mixed everyday events and life changing events with great running gags to keep the show interesting.  I think with the start of those episodes, 'HIMYM' took a turn.  Instead of being a straight up comedy, it delved into a bit of drama as well.  Which was fine because it did not forget what it was all the time.  There were funny episodes along with serious ones.  Which brings me to the series finale.  Oh, and if for some reason it's sitting in your DVR cache, first off shame on you for waiting this long, and secondly, spoilers ahead.

I always said that the last line in the show should have been, 'And that, kids, is how I met your mother.'  It would have been perfect.  I mean, it's the title of the show.  It would have ended on a happy little note all wrapped up with a bow.  I don't think anyone would have cared if they didn't dig into what happened after they met.  They got married, they had a couple of kids, they still lived in New York.  A happy sitcom ending.  But then again, life doesn't always happen that way, does it?  There were rumors going around before the series finale that the creators were going to kill off the mother in the last episode.  And they did.  She died of a disease that they never specified in the show.  But whatever.  Afterwards, the main character, Ted, ends up going after Robin whom he has pined after on and off throughout the series run.  It was a meh ending.  I wasn't fully impressed with it.

One reason that killing off the mother didn't bother me was because there was no connection to the character.  If they had introduced her the season before, I may feel differently about it.  There was no connection or growth of the character.  They give you a handful of episodes to get to know the character before offing her in the series finale.  If they had introduced the character in the previous season, the viewers of the show would have been more invested and would have felt more.  That's my opinion anyway.

Another dramatic factor that they brought, especially in the series finale, was the drifting apart of the five main characters.  I absolutely loved this aspect of the episode.  While it's tough to think about, you aren't going to be close with your friends your entire life.  As life happens, people come in and come out.  Yes, you will still kind of keep in touch with your friends from your late 20s to early 30s, but what happens when one or two move to a different part of the country.  You aren't going to have that same bond you once did. 

Overall, I enjoyed the final season and the finale.  It was funny and real at the same time.  Television shows that have a set time for the series to run, I'm sure, have a tough time writing how the show will end.  Look at shows like 'Lost', 'The Sopranos', and 'Dexter'.  They ended and were ripped for how they finished the show.  It's got to be tough and you are not going to make everyone happy.  On some level, the story writers have to be doing it for themselves.  I can hear them sitting around the table saying 'yeah, fuck the fans, let's do this for us.'  The only question I have for them is:  'Where did the pineapple come from?'


14 April 2014

Transitional Seasons

Mid way through the NHL season, the Detroit Red Wings were in dire straits.  Their superstar players were injured.  Their off season acquisitions which were suppose to support the superstars were injured or nowhere near where the team or fans thought that they would be.  Their roster was full of kids from the AHL affiliate.  Yet, through it all, they find themselves in another Stanley Cup playoff.  Twenty three years and counting.  So how has this happened?  When you hear about the big name players going down with injuries, no matter what sport, the team's season (and post season) is in jeopardy.  I don't expect great things from the team once the playoffs start.  In fact, they could be done in the first round.  But that is okay.  Because they made it to the playoffs.  And that's what matters...and not the Stanley Cup....riiiiiiight.

The Red Wings are reaping the benefits of having great teams in the late 90s and early 2000s.  When they were winning their Stanley Cups and getting late round draft picks, they were finding the talent.  They did not have to try and find the next great player to step up right away and play at a level they were not ready for.  You do have your exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, it seems that the eighteen and nineteen year old players that are getting drafted at the beginning of the first round are never ready.  And unfortunately, they are sent to the NHL to learn as they go.  Look at Edmonton.  They have been bad for so long, and have had top draft picks, but they have faltered because they do not have time to mature.  They are thrown to the wolves and eaten alive. 

The talent has had time to mature in Grand Rapids for the Wings.  The scouting team has done an excellent job finding the skilled players that will fit the organizations style of play and the coaching staff has done an excellent job working with them and making them NHL ready.  They have benefited from playing on the same line in Grand Rapids as they do in Detroit, so they know each other and their tendencies.  The younger players bring a new kind of energy to the team.  You have the veteran players that have been on the team for seven or eight year, so making the playoffs and scoring goals is nothing new.  To the younger players, this is an exciting time.

I do not expect a deep run into the playoffs especially with their first round being against Boston.  But you never know.  In a few years, if all these players are still around, deep playoff runs and Stanley Cup contention will be the expectation.  Until then, I hope they enjoy the ride.

Fun fact:  Reily Sheahan, who scored the game tying goal that gave the Red Wings a playoff berth, was not born when the streak of twenty three straight years of making the playoffs started.


11 April 2014

A Photo To Remember You By

Throwback Thursday has become all the rage on social media recently.  People posting older photos of themselves or others.  It's good for a laugh or to remember an event. 
What's your favorite photo of your partner?
I have two.  One is from our college days so it was taken before digital cameras and camera phones were easily accessible.  We were home for Christmas break and we were at her parents' house.  I don't remember if it was Christmas day or the day after (her birthday), but we took a picture of the two of us standing in front of the tree.  Your typical Christmas time photo.  But that isn't the best picture.  The one that was taken after it is.  As I walked away, she hoped on my back.  I held her there and another photo was taken.  It is a great photo because we are both cracking up and I am trying not to drop her.  It is frame worthy.  I just don't know where it is.  It's around in a photo album or in a cardboard box somewhere. I wish like hell I could find it. 

My other favorite photo of her I took after two of our closest friends got married.  It was the post ceremony, hang out in the church basement to decompress while waiting to go to the reception time.  Anyway, we were just killing time.  Goofing around.  The bride was switching from her formal wedding shoes to her Chuck Taylors for the reception.  You know, the usual stuff.  I took this photo: 
Everyone is always happy at weddings and receptions.  It was a fun night.

BONUS PHOTO!  And this one is for my wife's grandpa, who apparently taught them a great phrase when they were younger.  Take note, don't let kids into the garage when their grandpa is working.


09 April 2014

Dream Move

If it's one thing that everyone should do, it's dream big.  Dream job.  Dream vacation.  Dream date.  No matter what.  Because it allows you to escape, even if it is just for a few minutes or hours.  Don't mistake dreaming for something that cannot be achieved.  Another thing to dream about is dream home and town.  Some people might dream about living in downtown New York because of the culture and the city is always moving.  They see themselves as an elite socialite rubbing elbows with celebrities.  Some people might dream about living in a cabin in Montana or Idaho away from it all.  Living a quite and simple life, seeing themselves as the next Henry David Thoreau living in a cabin on a pond.  Every time they step outside, an eagle calls out.  And it's all majestic.  This question is another hypothetical one.
If you had to move where would you like to live?
There's a part of me that wants to live in a bigger area.  I have enjoyed living in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area over the past few years because of all the access we have to things.  Granted, we live on the edge of the metro so to get into the cities to see a game or go to a play it takes twenty to thirty minutes, but the option is always there.  Living in a bigger area, you have access to almost everything you would be looking for.  Shopping, sports, museums, culture.  Growing up in a smaller area, you don't have that.  When I worked for Target, I would tell coworkers that I didn't know what Target was until I was in college and lived right next to one.  The closest one was three hours away.  I grew up not having access to big city amenities, so having them now, I covet them.  You also have the anonymity of the big city.  Unless you know a bunch of people around the area, you are almost out there all on your own.  Not quite so different than living in a cabin out in the woods, but with tall buildings instead of tall trees.

There's also a part of me that wants to live in a smaller area.  You know, leave behind all the hustle and bustle and congestion of the big city for a simpler life style.  Every time we go home for vacation, it's nice knowing that getting across town takes five minutes and rush hour traffic is more closely equated to rush fifteen minutes.  That's nice to have little to no congestion, but you also live far away from practically everything we enjoy living in a larger area.  It also a terrifying idea to live back home and have to rely on Wal-Mart for your everyday grocery needs.  We all know how terrible Wal-Mart is.  To go to a professional sporting event, it's a weekend affair to get somewhere.  Two days of travel and one day for the event.  It is very isolated.  The isolation is nice though.  Other than the metro isolation, you have actual isolation.  Plenty of outdoor life is to be had.  Lots of hunting, fishing, camping, etc. to help let you forget about everything that is city life.  I always feel re-energized when I come back from vacation.  Not because I don't work for a week, but because the time goes by slowly back home.  Everything moves at a much more relaxed pace.  I love that about home.  So it would be nice to move back home.

If I had to pick one of the two, it would be difficult to choose just because both offer so much.  The city appeals to me because it offers the commercial aspects of life.  The small town appeals to me because there are close to no worries.  If I HAD to choose, I think I would go with the small town.  It will always be close to my heart.  The lifestyle is something that we grew up with and is engrained.  You give up everything that big cities have to offer, but if you are happier living away from it all, isn't it worth it?  Of course, in order for this to happen, we would need jobs and stability, which our hometown really doesn't offer quite like a bigger area does.  But that wasn't the question, was it?


02 April 2014

Money Buys Happiness and Discontent

Everyone has it in the back of their mind what they would do if they won the lottery.  Quit their job, buy their dream car, go on vacation.  You hear about the people that win hundreds of millions of dollars in the lottery and think that they are just set for life.  My wife and I always have that conversation of what would we do if we won that kind of money when they show on the news the people that win those multimillion dollar jackpots.  Think of what you could do with that kind of money.  The possibilities are endless.  There is also the bad side to winning the lottery I assume.  
What would you fear most if you won the lottery?
 Every once in a while, we stop and watch the show 'The Lottery Changed My Life' (or whatever it is called).  We talk about what we could and would do when they highlight the people that win the multimillion dollar jackpots.  It starts out with good intentions.  Paying of credit cards, student loans, investing for the future.  Donate to organizations we care about.  Then the question comes up as to what would happen after that.  Because we don't have enough debt to cover as much as some of these people win.  Would we continue to work?  I think so.  I couldn't handle not doing anything for the rest of my life.  Granted, some vacation time would happen first.  And we sure as hell wouldn't work full time.  You know, work twenty hours a week at a low stress job.  Maybe volunteer some time at a museum.  Then the question comes up as to where would we live?  Would we stay in Minnesota?  Move back home to Michigan?  I suggest living out in the middle of nowhere, but that idea gets shot down every time. 

That is all well and good, and actual things to consider, but what about the downside to coming into a lot shit ton of money?  I would fear moving to a small area, like our hometown, because news like that spreads faster than the clap in a frat house.  You don't want to think about this, but crime happens in small towns.  And when news that a multimillionaire moves into town, what do you think would happen?  You also have to be aware of 'friends' that you are making.  You would have the friends that you have had since forever ago and I don't think you would have to worry about them, but when people that wouldn't give you the time of day back in high school wants to hang out all the time, you might want to take time to think about that.  These sound like dire thoughts, but they have to be considered.  You don't want to be taken advantage of.  The obvious answer to this situation is not to publicize the fortune that has fallen upon you.  In order to do that, I would think that you would have to keep up appearances.  Like having a job, not driving around in a flashy new car, not buying the biggest house on the block. 

Being robbed is obviously something to fear if you ever to win the lottery.  But something more so is people wanting to take advantage of you.  Winning the lottery isn't something that happens every day.  People would take notice.  You can only control so much.  Don't throw out many flags and you might possibly avoid some of these situations.  But most likely you won't in which case you can deal with them.  No one forced you to play the lottery.  You have to deal with the consequences.