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Daydreaming

When I was a kid in high school and while sitting in the amphitheater for school assembly, I use to imagine the school was getting attacked by terrorists and it was up to me to save the day.

I remember how I would do it and the small spaces I would climb through and the ledges I would jump off to get to my position of advantage to take out the bad guys, one by one.

I can’t recall whether these daydreams started before or after I had seen Die Hard for the first time.  Most likely before as Die Hard came out when I was in year 11 and I am sure I had rescued the school and all of the teachers and students a hundred times before then.

It was definitely before Sean Astin saved his school from terrorists in 1991’s Toy Soldiers, which is well before he became a hobbit.  I still think that the producers of that movie tapped into my daydreams and stole my idea, though I didn’t have Louis Gossett Jr. in my daydreams which is a shame because he was so cool back in the ’80s and ’90s.

So back to reality and fortunately or unfortunately, depending on which side of the fence you’re on, I have never had to face off against terrorists and save the day.  I did once chase down a bag snatcher which you can read about here, but other than that, my heroic days have been few and far between.

I wonder though what I would do in such circumstances.  Have I seen too many movies where the good guys win and save the day? Does this really happen in real life?  How many reports do we see on the news where the day hasn’t been saved?

The attacks on 9/11 and Bali prove that sometimes terrorists get what they want and even if John McClane or Casey Ryback or Jack Bauer were real and available they probably would have been able to do bugger all about it.

Yet we do hear of good news stories where terrorists do get stopped but it is generally by the agencies responsible for keeping us safe.  The Mosman Bomb Threat is one recent example even though it was only an act of terrorism against one person.

I would like to think that if there was no one else specialised to do it, that I would stand up and fight against anyone trying to cause harm against my fellow man.  Perhaps if more people stood up and said no to crime, the world might be a little better place to live in.

Luckily terrorism in my neck of the woods is rare and we live in relative peace in Australia.  We have criminals, as does every society, but I think the major crime saving days will still be on the big screen with the score conducted by James Horner or Hans Zimmer and the credits roll at the end.

I’m not ready to prove that what I think is a reality of me saving the day in my mind is actually a one-way ticket to that giant big fluffy cloud in the sky with my last thought being, “you dickhead, did you really think you could make a difference, did you?!”

But if that day comes though, I will try and make that difference.  For now, I’m quite content to daydream about it.

What about you.  Did you ever daydream of battling terrorists at school or have you had these daydreams as an adult?  Would love to hear from you.

In Their Footsteps

Tonight on Channel 9 Australia, a new Australian series will commence called, “In Their Footsteps”.

Here is the blurb from the Channel 9 Web Page:

In Their Footsteps is a 10-part series about Australian families rising to the challenges, enduring the deprivations and dealing with the lasting scars of war.

In Their Footsteps will shine a bright new light on Australia’s wartime history, bridging the past to the present for a modern generation of viewers.

And here is the Sneak Peek

Everytime I have seen this show promoted I have had chills running up and down my spine. I am so proud of every single person who has ever fought on our behalf and with ANZAC Day just recently behind us again and having attended the Dawn Service and the Brisbane CBD March, this series comes just at the right time to remind us of the sacrifices made by hundreds and thousands of brave men and women who have and still do, defend our country.

What this series is going to do however is take select relatives to the scene of some of the world’s greatest, yet horrific battles and give them a glimpse of just what conditions their relatives fought in.

Perhaps the defining moment in Australia’s history and one which forged our character as a nation occurred on the morning of April 25, 1915 on the day we now call ANZAC Day.  On this solemn day, brave soldiers from Australia and New Zealand stormed the beaches of Gallipoli Cove in Turkey and were slaughtered on the beach and trying to get up the cliffs to face the Turkish army.

On that day the Aussie spirit of never giving up and being there for your mates was born and it is a fine tradition that lives on in us all almost 100 years later.

I didn’t have any relatives fight in the wars yet I feel so proud of everyone who ever did and I take my hat off to the relatives left behind when their loved ones went to war.

Thousands never returned.

There are thousands of people walking around the world today who lost loved ones in war and dealing with the struggles this would have caused them.  Especially in the early 1900’s when men who were the bread winners in most families went to war and never came back.  Many children grew up without mothers and fathers and didn’t have the privilege of growing up with both parents like most children do now.

It is important that all Australian’s remember these sacrifices of not only the people who went away to fight but also for those families who sent their fathers and sons and mothers and daughters off to war and were left behind to pick up the pieces.

In Their Footsteps will help tell their story and I for one, can’t wait to see it.

In Their Footsteps airs Sunday nights at 6.30pm on Channel 9. (ignore the time on the picture above)

Did you have a relative who fought for you and your country? Have you ever retraced their footsteps? I’d love to hear your story.  Will you be watching this series?  What do you think of it?

The Amazing Race Australia – Audition Video

My mate Dave and I applied for the Amazing Race Australia and sent off this audition video.  It’s pretty obvious that we didn’t make it as it is now late October and they wanted to start shooting in October/November/December.

One of the conditions of the application was not to put your audition on line but seeing as how we weren’t successful, I thought you might like to see it.

Plenty of others have broadcasted theirs on YouTube, especially since the beginning so I doubt they read the T&C’s carefully!

I can’t wait to see the Aussie version though I might be spewing when I see some of the exciting places they went to!

Anyway, enjoy.  We had fun making it.

AFL Grand Final – In 3D

Earlier this year, I watched the Rugby League State Of Origin – Game 3 in 3D at the cinema.  You can read about that here.

For the first time, the AFL (Australian Football League) got in on the act and telecast the 2010 AFL Grand Final in 3D.  Yesterday’s game between the highly fancied Collingwood Magpies and last year’s Runners Up, the St Kilda Saints was attended by over 100,000 people at a sold out MCG but by millions across Australia and around the world.  It is the biggest day on the Australian sporting calendar and I wanted to experience it for the first time in 3D on the big screen.

As with the State of Origin match it was difficult to get use to the new angles.  As 3D images are gathered using different cameras to 2D, it meant that the usual angles you are use to when watching the standard 2D games are no longer available so it takes some time to get used to it.

While the images are sharp and in your face and 20 feet tall on the cinemas big screen, and while the surround sound makes it sound like you are actually at the stadium, there is something missing.

The commentators commentate not only by what they are seeing live, but they are also commentating on what they are seeing on their monitors, and their monitors are using the 2D feed, not the 3D feed.  So at times during the commentary they will be making mention of something which we just aren’t seeing.

With fewer cameras in the 3D broadcast we missed images all game of the coaches who add a lot of theatre to the game through their emotions when things don’t quite go right.  The throwing down of headphones, the curse words that any good lip reader can pick up, the angry faces getting redder and redder as the game progresses.  In the case of Collingwood and their famous president, Eddie Maguire who, from his seat in the stands, shows so much emotion when his team does not do well as was evidenced in the 2002 and 2003 Grand Finals when his team lost both years to the then mighty Brisbane Lions.  I missed these images in the 3D broadcast.

As this was Channel 7’s first 3D AFL broadcast the guys who control what we watch in the broadcast centre, ie the game day directors, are different as well.  You know the guy who says “switch to camera 1, now 3, go to camera 12, switch back to 3, now the coaches box camera……”  Well they are two different directors and therefore 2 different perspectives.  I also think that as 3D broadcasting is new in Australia and this was the first ever 3D broadcast of AFL, that the 3D director is not actually an Aussie who doesn’t understand the game.   I could be wrong on this one.

The atmosphere is good though.  It is great to watch the game on a massive screen with other people clapping and showing their respective support for their team.  Add in popcorn, chips and drinks and it rivals any Grand Final party at home which are held all across Australia.

So today I watched the replay which I had recorded in high definition on my 50” Panasonic Viera Plasma.  I saw the reactions from the coaches.  I saw Eddie Maguire blowing a gasket.   I heard the commentators comments match what was being shown on the screen.  I saw the game from a different angle.  I watched the game with far more cameras capturing a lot more images and emotions from the crowd.  I also saw that there were cameras at outside broadcast spots in and around Melbourne and it was great to see the fans who didn’t make it to the ground, enjoying the game in their thousands.

What makes AFL great is not just the game itself but the raw emotion that this great sport generates through its fans.  AFL in the southern states of Australia is a religion.  From March to September each year it is most peoples main talking point.  They worship the players and they can’t wait for each week when their team plays.  I live in northern Australia where AFL is popular but doesn’t have the same religious feel that it does in Victoria, and I get caught up in it each week when my beloved Brisbane Lions play.  I want to see the emotion from the crowds and while 3D has a little bit of this, it doesn’t show enough.  Although there was one exception.  During some of the 3D angles there was this one St Kilda supporter in the crowd who was wearing a red T-Shirt and he always seemed to react to the big St Kilda moments before the rest of the supporters near him.  He was good theatre!

For those who have been living under a rock and don’t know the result.  Well it was an epic game of Aussie Rules.  Collingwood started the game strong and by half time led the Saints by 24 points.  St Kilda came back in the second half and finally hit the lead with about 7 minutes remaining, leading by 5 points after a Brendon Goddard high flying mark and goal.  The final 7 minutes was an arm wrestle with both teams trying to gain an edge.   Collingwood fought back again to take a one point lead through a goal to Cloke and then with about 90 seconds remaining, St Kilda scored a crucial point to level up the scores.  The last 90 seconds seemed like a year and at the end of it and with the scores tied at 68 all the first draw since 1977 and only the third in VFL/AFL history meant that we would be back again next Saturday to try and crown the premiers. Draws in AFL are rare with only 2 or 3 a year at the most.

When the final siren sounded there was a feeling around the cinema and at the ground that there should be extra time.  There isn’t and we reset for next weekend.  There will be extra time next week should the game end up as a draw again.  I don’t think the nation could take another tied result especially considering our federal election also ended up as draw in August.

I’ll be watching this one from home.  In high definition 2D with the camera angles I am used to which in all honesty is still pretty good compared to the grainy black and white images from a few decades ago.  It works for me.

What did you think of the game?  Happy with a rematch next week or do you think extra time should have played?  Did anyone watch it in 3D?  What were your thoughts?

Emmy’s 2010 – Glee Themed Opening

Most of my avid readers know that I am a huge fan of Glee.  I’m a Gleek and proud of it!  So I was pleasantly surprised to see the opening of the 2010 Emmy’s start with my favourite Gleeks plus Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey and Hugo from Lost!  What a bonus.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Lost Finale

Wow – What a finale.  But before I go on, if you haven’t yet seen the Lost Finale and intend on doing so, please stop reading and go and watch it as there are plenty of spoilers coming.

I will admit that while I loved the finale, I was a little confused at the end.  After reading a couple of very good blogs which you can find here and here, the darkness lifted and it all now makes sense.

Essentially the plot of Lost is this: A group of people crash land on an island and it is a story about how they will get rescued.  Ever since the pilot episode aired, there has been rumour and speculation about whether or not they all died in the crash and the island was some form of purgatory.  I think most people assumed that this is how the show would finish when the survivors or Losties – as I’ll call them from now on – realised they were in fact dead.  This is akin to how Bruce Willis finds out he is really dead in The Sixth Sense – sorry if you haven’t seen that movie!

The Sideways World

Lost has been very brilliant in telling back stories of each of the characters.  Morphing into current happenings on the Island the back stories told us more about the characters we were watching.  Then later in the series we saw a new back story, or what we thought was a new back story, with Jack sporting a bushy beard.  That is until Jack meets up with Kate and tells her; “We have to go back”, referring to the Island. This ended up being a forward story.  Then in the final season we are shown Oceanic Flight 815 landing in L.A. as scheduled after Juliet had detonated the bomb thus destroying the ‘hatch’ thus sending the 1970’s Losties back to the future.  This alternate reality is now referred to as the Sideways World being played out in conjunction with the Losties still on the Island.  Lost?  Yep, it is rather confusing.

In the Sideway World there are differences however.  Jack is still a spinal surgeon, Locke is still a paraplegic, Kate is still on the run but Sawyer is now a detective working with Miles. Benjamin Linus is a school teacher.  Desmond works for Charles Widmore and Hurley is very successful in everything he does.  On Oceanic Flight 815 is also Desmond who was originally stuck in the ‘hatch’ when the Losties first crashed onto the Island.  So what is this alternate reality?  At first, I thought that this is what would have happened if the plane never crashed.  I assumed that Sawyer was always a police officer but his back stories just showed non police stuff! If that makes sense.  After all Jack was still a surgeon and Kate was still on the run.  Claire was still pregnant with Aaron.  Charlie was still a musician.  It made sense to me at the time.  But as time went on the peculiarities of the Sideways World started to mount up.

Charles Widmore hated Desmond in the previous back stories because of the relationship Desmond had with Widmore’s daughter, Penny.  In the sideways world however, Desmond didn’t even know who Penny was and therefore with no relationship, Widmore had no reason to hate Desmond.

Juliet was a doctor on the Island with the Dharma Initiative at the time of the plane crash, who was hired to determine why children couldn’t be born there.  In the Sideways World, she was a doctor at a hospital in L.A. and was previously married to Jack and was the mother of their son, David.

I could go on.  There were a tonne of differences.  So what was the Sideways World?  In the end the Sideways World was purgatory.  I think that is easy enough to understand.  But for it to be purgatory then that means everyone is dead.  But at the end we saw Kate and Sawyer fly off of the Island and we saw Jack dying (presumably) in the bamboo.  Hurley and Ben were still alive on the Island with Hurley now the Islands ‘protector’ having taken over the role from Jack who held that position briefly after taking over the role from Jacob, and Ben was Hurley’s number 2.

Everyone was dead.  Not from the crash.  That happened.  Everything that happened on the Island happened.  The Losties did not die in the crash – well the ones that survived the crash anyway.  Boon and Shannon really died on the Island.  Aaron was really born on the Island.  Charlie really drowned in the sunken hatch.  Claire really was kidnapped.  Michael and Walt really did leave the Island in Ben’s boat and Michael really did kill Ana Lucia and Libby.  The Island was not purgatory.  Purgatory was the Sideways World.

During the finale most of the main characters did not recognise each other as they had no previous history with each other. Then for some reason, after Desmond has been sent to pick up Charlie who will be performing at the Widmore estate, Charlie has a recollection or a memory and has to take drastic actions to steer Desmond into remembering.  He forces their car into the sea and as the car is sinking, Desmond has a flashback of the incident on the Island when Charlie dies.  Of course as we all remember, Charlie has written a message on his hand “Not Penny’s Boat” and this is what Desmond sees in his flashback.  This triggers slight memories but more importantly, sets Desmond on the path to reconnect all of the Losties in the Sideways World.

It’s not as simple as going up to each of the Losties and telling them who they are.  He has to connect each of the Losties to their Island ‘soul mate’ for lack of a better word.  This is a beautiful piece of TV as each Lostie reconnects and remembers their soul mate and what had happened on the Island.  None more so than the reconnection of Sun and Jin.  Even though they were together in the Sideways World, they were not aware of their life on the Island, which is where I feel they really fell in love with each other. Prior to their crashing on the Island, they existed as a couple but were not deeply in love as evidenced by Sun’s back story where she was having an affair.  One of the saddest scenes in the series was when Sun and Jin die on the submarine and with the eternal image of them holding hands after they had drowned. It was powerful and captivating television.  In the Sideways World they are in hospital when they finally reconnect.  It was awesome.

So Desmond does his work and slowly starts to reconnect the Losties.  The two keys figures though are Jack and Locke.  As the two most powerful characters throughout the series, Desmond must reconnect these two people and does so in spectacular style when he drives his car at full speed at Locke who is in his wheelchair rolling across a carpark.  At the time, I presumed that Desmond was trying to kill Locke, but it was his attempt for Jack, as a spinal surgeon, to reconnect with Locke who needed him to save his life.  It is after the surgery that Locke begins to remember but it takes Jack a lot longer to reconnect even though he is having some images of the Island flash before him.

Jack meets up with Kate by accident and once again has a flashback to the Island.  Kate convinces Jack to go with her and they arrive at a church. The church where Jack is due to bury his father who died in Sydney and was the reason Jack was on Oceanic Flight 815 in the first place.  Jack enters the church at the rear and sees his father’s coffin.  When Jack opens the coffin, it is empty and Jack’s father, apparently alive and well, appears behind him.  This is where Jack learns the truth.  He is dead as is his father and all of the people in the church, and as it turns out, everybody in the Sideways World.  Jack was the key to all of these people waiting for him in the church to be able to move on.  Due to the crash, these people had a bond, a connection and only once they were all dead and together would they have the chance to move on.  Where do they move on to?  Who knows?  It’s irrelevant anyway.  Depending on your religious point of view they could have been going to heaven or to paradise or somewhere totally different.  It doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that they were doing it together.

That doesn’t explain why Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley were in the church and Ben was sitting outside of the church.  Back on the Island, they weren’t dead.  I kept waiting for the plane that Lapidus was flying to crash and kill them all but that didn’t happen.  So why are they all there in purgatory if they didn’t die?  Simple.  I think that time does not exist in purgatory.  The Losties just waited until the ones who were still alive, died.  For Jack, that may have been a few minutes after we saw him lying injured in the bamboo.  For Kate and Sawyer it may have been 40 years later.  For Hurley who was now the Islands protector and presumably, immortal, it may have been 200 years later after he has found someone else to become the Islands protector, much the same way Jacob found Jack.  For Ben, it could have happened anytime from that point on.

The fact is that they all died eventually and they were not prepared to move on past purgatory until they were all together.  Jack was the last to recognise that he was dead.  Sun and Jin knew it as soon as they reconnected in the hospital as they saw the flashback of them dying in the submarine.  Juliet knew it as she saw the flashback of her detonating the bomb.  It took Jacks father to tell him for him to acknowledge it.  Inside the church it was an emotional reunion.

The other question that has been speculated is why was Ben sitting outside the church and did not go in when invited.  I think that Ben wasn’t worthy.  He was not really liked by the Losties and had at one stage or another tried to kill them all.  No, I think the reason why Ben was outside the church, still in purgatory mind you, was that he had unfinished business.  He had to make amends with people like his daughter, Alex who he saw murdered before his eyes as he wouldn’t intervene.  Alex’s mother, Danielle who was on the Island for many years.  His father who he murdered with Richard’s assistance.  It is fair to say that Ben still had a lot of work to do for redemption and before he could too, move on.

Lost was a Sci-Fi show.  It had black smoke monsters and polar bears in tropical surroundings.  It had hatches and experiments and countdown clocks. It had immortals and it had magic healing waters. Of course it was Sci-Fi.  I loved it and I loved the finale.  I get why some people feel cheated.  The whole purgatory thing was too easy to explain it.  That’s what I love about it.  The writers and producers supposedly wrote the final episode immediately after writing the pilot episode.  They then had to fill the gaps.  It was always their intention that it was purgatory but whether they all died on the flight or all died after the crash I suppose they had some creative licence with.

I adored how the Losties reconnected in the last episode.  The moment they remembered their special circumstances.  Sawyer and Juliet.  Charlie and Claire and Aaron.  Jack and Kate.  It couldn’t have ended on a better note for me.

I will miss it.

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So what do you think?  Did you see it differently to me?  Did you enjoy the finale?  What did you want to see happen?

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Glee – Promo Ads

While Australia waits for an announcement from Channel 10 as to when the hit new show of 2009 will be returning to our screens, here are a couple of promo’s from the US for the upcoming final 9 episodes of Season 1, airing from mid April.
C’mon Channel 10, tell us when Glee is coming back.  The Gleeks of Australia wanna know!