Great Idea, Poor Execution

I think I’ve pretty much always had the big ideas; just never the talent to make them a reality, let alone a successful one.

In fact, that’s my autobiography title: Great Idea, Poor Execution. With the tag-line of “How I Scraped The Bottom Of The Barrel To Discover I’m It”.

Or maybe that last part was about my former dating life.

At any rate, even as a kid, I was always coming up with these amazing ideas, starting to work on them, and then give up early on because my imagination has always been far too big for my reality. I would, however, drag my little brother along for the ride. Of course. I mean, someone had to lead the way to creative play, right? That was one of my jobs as an older sibling. Another was to annoy him and occasionally try to get him blamed for things, but that rarely worked. He was cuter than me.

Once I convinced him to help me dig a tunnel, starting in our backyard, and going to several places around town so that we could travel underground via our very own secret railroad! I knew that we probably couldn’t have an actual train down there, but we had our bikes, and those would work. We could even bike to school in winter if we wanted! It was going to be epic, just like the TV show, but not!

We started digging, encountered a billion rocks (or, like, 5 or 6), and gave up.

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Then I had a plan to build a log cabin fort-like structure (not fort as in olden war times, but as in our own place to play that no one else could use unless they were invited) around the hole we’d dug, because then it would be out of sight and therefore out of mom’s mind. We dragged some large wood beam-like things and started setting them up in an alternating over/under pattern. After we’d piled them about waist-high in a square around our hole, we realized that we had no idea how to fill in the spaces between the “logs”.

So we gave up. Totally left that things standing, though.

Another amazing idea I had as a kid that would have made literally everyone so jealous that I’d be famous was to build our own Godzilla. Out of what, I’m not sure. As far as I ever got on it was a design drawn in a pad of scrapbook paper. There would be ladders inside, so we could climb up to where the eyes were and look out at all the little people, and the beast would move on wheels…that I believe were also our bikes, actually. We actually rode our bikes a ton, so I’m not sure why I thought I could or would ever build them into my designs, but whatever. Maybe I figured we could have more bikes once we’d build this huge Godzilla to ride around in!

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Finally, there was the circus. Ah, our circus, starring us. And our swing-set. Basically us climbing around on a swing-set and passing it off as stunts. I felt we should sell tickets, and perhaps later take our amazing show on the road.

It didn’t pan out. At all. And so we gave up. Same with performing plays with costumes we’d made ourselves, and once with a script one of our friends had “touched up”. Those had the potential to be better, but I am pretty sure they were still painful to sit through. Though sit our parents did. And tolerate my wild imagination my brother did. I’d had a recurring nightmare for a while and once asked my brother if he would ever just run out the door with me, no questions asked, if I ever told him to, based on nothing but my panic mode if I thought my nightmare was coming true.  If he would just trust me and do it. 

He said he would.

“Is Teri Died?”

24

When I first found out about the TV show 24, I was excited by getting to see Kiefer Sutherland in something on television, and also was intrigued by the show’s real-time concept. I was on-board from the get-go, and that feeling only increased by the end of the first episode. I remember being completely absorbed and engaged – totally along for the ride. I started looking forward to it each week, and being tense while watching the episode, mixed with trying to figure everything out during the long wait in between each hour. The sound of the clock ticking away the time (and OMG the silent clock), in addition to the sound of a CTU phone ringing, burrowed into my heart right along with the characters on my screen.

That first season was epic. I was involved. I was a part of it all. I was devastated by what happened in the final few episodes – the twist revelation, those final scenes – all of it shaped how I would watch the series from then on out. Which is fitting, really, since all of it shaped how Jack Bauer would live his life from then on out, too.

I know many fans were disappointed by various seasons, but while I’ll admit that none of them would ever capture me the way that first one did, I still loved all of them. The whole journey. Even as ridiculous as some of them got, and even though they seemed to – at least in part – ditch (or pay less attention to) the real-time concept, I never stopped looking forward to each and every episode. I found coworkers who were as obsessed as I was, and we would meet every Monday to talk about what we thought would happen in that night’s episode, then again every Tuesday to talk about what had happened, and predict what we thought was coming next. We’d log onto the official show forums and see what other viewers were saying, and what other wacky theories were out there. There was a sense of community, and I was a part of it.

Then came the Fan Phone. The way I understand it, a crew member’s actual cell number was shown on-screen during an episode. Apparently someone forgot to replace it with the usual ‘555’ fake number. Some keen-eyed viewers caught it, and called it. It was posted on the boards, too, so more people called. And more. Eventually, an automated response was left, telling callers that they had reached the 24 set, and that the mailbox was full. But then, something kind of spectacular happened. Members of the cast and crew started answering the calls – while they were shooting! It was amazing! Suddenly there was an entire thread devoted to the newly-named 24 Fan Phone, and people would post details of their calls – whether someone answered, who it was, what time they called, what was discussed, and so on. I spoke with Jon Cassar for a moment (he was happy to hear I was calling from Canada, and held the phone up so everyone else could yell hello to Canada, as they had about as many Canadians working on the show as anything else, so automatically he became my new favourite director in the world), and then he passed the phone to Script Supervisor Annie, who waited quietly with me while they shot part of a scene. I heard “Action”, and “Cut”…and nothing in between. Could have had a spoiler, but got nothing!

Well, nothing but amazing memories from one of my most favourite shows.

Fan Phone stories became as talked about as anything that happened on the show, and the cast and crew seemed to have as much fun with it as the fans were. They were getting immediate feedback for the episodes that had just aired, and every so often, the phone number would appear on screen again, sending the fans who caught it into another frenzy of theories and excitement. It was an accident that turned into the coolest little gimmick ever, really, and everyone just ran with it. It bonded the community in a way that nothing else could.

Things went awry after a season or two, though, because People magazine published a story about it, but included the number to call. So suddenly, it wasn’t just fans of the show getting through on the already busy phone. People who’d never watched an episode were calling just to call, trolls were calling to troll, and those who so desperately wanted to get through were getting busy signals, instead. So eventually it got shut down, because it just wasn’t fun for anyone anymore.

But that didn’t stop them from posting the number on-screen once in awhile again, as a kind of hello and thank you to the fans who were watching, and who knew the significance of that number. I even kept it in my phone after, just in case.

And every time there is a cell phone number on a display in any TV show now, I check. Even though I know nothing like that will ever happen again, I check. Just in case.

Before Facebook, before Twitter, there were message boards, and forums, and while built for fans to discuss things amongst themselves, for a brief shining moment, they served to connect us in an unprecedented way with the people making the show we were discussing. And because it was a show like 24, steeped in conspiracy and secrets and clues, it became this incredible extra thing we could all share. An added hidden level to the experiece. One that I loved, and dearly miss, but that I’m so grateful to have experienced at all.

Even if it kind of ruined every other TV show interaction for me for, like, ever, because nothing will ever be that secretly cool again. It was the secret that made it cool, really. The surprise of it, just like that first incomparable season. Nothing will ever be quite that pure again.

Least of all me. 😉

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What I CAN Say Is This

So many exciting things going on in my world right now…and I can’t talk about any of them here yet!

Haha

Ah well…I’ll find something else to babble about…let’s see…

Got through another March, and am finally into April. And payday. So that’s good.

I’ve managed to have a pretty quiet week so far, which is good. I’ve been spending more time at home, in part because I’m exhausted, and in part because I like it there. The animals all seem to appreciate it, too, especially after I spent the majority of the long weekend with them, and after I’d spent the rest of the month of March only home to sleep, for the most part. So we’ve been able to spend more time together this past week, and it’s been more relaxing for all of us, I think.

I think I’m going to a movie tonight, and then a beer or two. Possibly the zoo tomorrow, because I’m really starting to suffer withdrawal now. I mean, I haven’t even met the rhino baby yet! What kind of person am I?! And all of the babies are growing fast without me being there to witness it very much, which is just unacceptable. Even if I just go check in on everyone for a bit and then go back home to get things done, that would be good for my soul. It’ll probably happen, depending on how much sleep I get tonight and how whiny I feel in the morning.

I am beyond excited that I get to meet Lil Bub and her dude in person in a couple of weeks! The work they do to raise money and awareness for animals with special needs is unparalleled, and they helped Tim and I break our Guinness World Record back in 2014, so the fact that I get to meet them in person finally is ridiculously thrilling for me. Plus, I have nothing but admiration and awe for Bub’s fierce determination and incredible adaptability – along with her dude Mike’s unending love and perseverance – in getting her to the place she is at now, health-wise alone! It’s insane! They said she wouldn’t be able to walk, and yet now she can run, and climb and jump! What?! Science and magic, indeed. I love that little critter. Bub’s a beast at life.

New TV shows on my watch list are The Catch (of which I’ve seen and enjoyed the first episode), and possibly The Path (of which I have recorded but not yet watched). Because, you know, I don’t have enough on my watch list as it is. Constantly freaking behind. Blah.

AND what is up with everything I watch ending after this season?! I mean, not everything everything, but still a lot! Already gone are Haven, Continuum, Lost Girl…Defiance? I think Defiance is done. Motive is ending. Rizzoli and Isles is ending. I can’t even remember what else.

Maybe I am just tired of saying goodbye.

Same with celebrity deaths, though I have been less affected by most of them this year than many people. Alan Rickman was a pretty big one for me. And Patty Duke – I think I am still processing that one. When I was younger, I dreamed of marrying Sean Astin – in part because GOONIES, and in part because I wanted Patty Duke to be my mother-in-law. She and my mom would have gotten along great, and my mom would have been thrilled to have a friend who was even shorter than she is! As I got older and Sean married someone else (no hard feelings – he wouldn’t even meet me until a few years ago), I decided there should just be a way to adopt more parents for ourselves. There’s no limit on the number of children people can have or adopt, so there shouldn’t be a limit on the number of parents one can have, either. At least as far as paternal-like friends go.

I don’t know. I just really adored everything I learned about that woman. I wanted to know her. I wanted to be her. I wanted to learn from her. I wanted to just be around her and hang out and try to make her laugh. She just seemed like such a true and complete person, even when she was struggling to feel that way herself. Maybe especially then, because no matter what, she never gave up. She always fought for something better. She always fought to be better. I want that kind of energy in my life; that kind of inspiration.

Which, I know, can really only be provided by me.

But I’ll sure miss having her there, off in the distance, to look to when I feel like I’m losing my way.

I’ll miss having the dream of knowing the real Patty Duke to hold on to. Guess I’ll hold the memory of the dream instead.