Sunday, August 29, 2010

Emmy Predictions

Here are the 2010 Emmy predictions I promised.  Who I think will win is in CAPS.   Who should with is in bold.  Possible upsets are in italics.  Commentary may also be included.

Outstanding Comedy Series
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"Nurse Jackie"
"The Office"
"30 Rock"
                Modern Family was bar none the funniest show on this list of shows.  I will argue that the funniest on television isn’t even on this list.  “Parks and Recreation”  was by far the best comedy on tv this season (DJ Roomba anyone?)  Glee is great and all, but it is just in this category because it doesn’t fit into drama.

Outstanding Drama Series
"Breaking Bad"
"The Good Wife"
"True Blood"
                The Emmys often give awards to shows making their final run, which is why Lost could pull off an upset here.  Otherwise, Mad Men has it all locked up.  Just a solid third season for the AMC show.  They balance history, drama, and humor like no other show on TV.   The only thing in its way is a very good Lost finale episode, which was the one submitted for the award.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
ALEC BALDWIN for "30 Rock"
Steve Carell for "The Office"
Larry David for "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Matthew Morrison for "Glee"
Jim Parsons for "The Big Bang Theory"
Tony Shalhoub for "Monk"
                30 Rock isn’t going to take a shutout tonight.   Baldwin is going to walk away with another Emmy.  Does he deserve it?  Not necessarily, but his competition isn’t that stiff.   Jim Parsons is the one guy who even deserves the awards.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Kyle Chandler for "Friday Night Lights" (2006)
Bryan Cranston for "Breaking Bad" (2008)
Matthew Fox for "Lost" (2004)
Michael C. Hall for "Dexter" (2006)
JON HAMM for "Mad Men" (2007)
Hugh Laurie for "House M.D." (2004)
                Emmy is gonna be in love with Mad Men tonight.   The show is that fucking good.   Why is it that good?   Because Jon Hamm brings his best stuff week after week as Don Draper, a man whose life is slowly crumbling around him.  However, there is long overdue recognition that needs to go to Kyle Chandler for his work on FNL.   Every year I hear about how awesome he was, so I think he should get credit where credit it due.  Also, it took six seasons for Matthew Fox to even get nominated for an Emmy award.  He deserved one for the first season of LOST, but didn’t get it.   He submitted the finale episode to represent his work on season six and it was the type of work that brings up tears and gives goose bumps.   The final shot of the series alone could be enough to get him the surprise win.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Toni Collette for "United States of Tara" (2009)
Edie Falco for "Nurse Jackie" (2009)
Tina Fey for "30 Rock" (2006)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus for "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2006)
Lea Michele for "Glee" (2009)
AMY POEHLER for "Parks and Recreation" (2009)
                Lea Michele may have won the Golden Globe award in this category, but that was half way through the season.  Poehler was better for the year as a whole and was funnier.  It is a comedy category so the ability to be funny should be taken into consideration along with acting ability.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Connie Britton for "Friday Night Lights" (2006)
Glenn Close for "Damages" (2007)
Mariska Hargitay for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999)
January Jones for "Mad Men" (2007)
JULIANNA MARGULIES for "The Good Wife" (2009)
Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer" (2005)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell for "Modern Family" (2009)
CHRIS COLFER for "Glee" (2009)
Jon Cryer for "Two and a Half Men" (2003)
Jesse Tyler Ferguson for "Modern Family" (2009)
Neil Patrick Harris for "How I Met Your Mother" (2005)
Eric Stonestreet for "Modern Family" (2009)
                Wow, how does one show get three people into this category?   One has to wonder if the votes could cancel one another out and allow another one of the individuals sneak in and take the gold.  In fact, I think that is what is going to happen.  However, it isn’t like Chris Colfer doesn’t deserve it.  He out acted a lot of people at certain points during Glee’s freshmen run.   He also managed to be humorous on top of that.   However, if anyone else deserves the award, it would be Eric Stonestreet who played Cam on Modern Family.  He is by far the best character on the series.  NPH already won an award for Best Guest Star in a comedy series for his one episode appearance on Glee, so he won’t win here.  By the way, he shouldn’t have even won that award.  The best guest appearance on Glee all season was from Mike O’Malley (yes, the guy from “Guts”)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Andre Braugher for "Men of a Certain Age" (2009)
Michael Emerson for "Lost" (2004)
Terry O'Quinn for "Lost" (2004)
AARON PAUL for "Breaking Bad" (2008)
Martin Short for "Damages" (2007)
John Slattery for "Mad Men" (2007)
                Slattery performed with swagger and class every time he was on screen as Roger Sterling on Mad Men.  He is one of my favorite characters on tv.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen for "Modern Family" (2009)
Jane Krakowski for "30 Rock" (2006)
JANE LYNCH for "Glee" (2009)
Holland Taylor for "Two and a Half Men" (2003)
SofĂ­a Vergara for "Modern Family" (2009)
Kristen Wiig for "Saturday Night Live" (1975)
                It is unfortunate that both Jane Krakowski and Kristen Wiig have to be up against Jane Lynch here.  There is no argument against Wiig, but the other two were awesome as well.  I especially am fond of Wiig who is often the only funny part of SNL.  However, Jane Lynch created an iconic character as Sue Sylvester, the brash and bold cheerleading coach on Glee.  If there was a category to have a pick be guarantee, this is the one.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Christine Baranski for "The Good Wife" (2009)
Rose Byrne for "Damages" (2007)
Sharon Gless for "Burn Notice" (2007)
Christina Hendricks for "Mad Men" (2007)
ELIZABETH MOSS for "Mad Men" (2007)
Archie Panjabi for "The Good Wife" (2009)
                All I can say here is that Sharon Gless is the best actress of this entire group.   She makes the most of all the limited scenes she has on Burn Notice.

Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series
"The Colbert Report" (2005)
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" (1996)
"Real Time with Bill Maher" (2003)
"Saturday Night Live" (1975)
"The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" (2009)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Who doesn't want a little Snooki now and then?

“Nick Wallander, why haven’t you blogged about anything worthwhile in the past month or so?” – one of my adoring fans.

Wow, looks like somebody needed to hear some thought provoking comments from a cynical asshole really badly.  I hope they really wanted this.  As Eminem would say, “be careful what you wish for…”

Okay, so let’s point out that nobody ever requested that I get back to blogging.   I just made that up to hook you all in and make you believe I have a solid fan base.  In reality, only about seven people have ever bothered to read my blog.   And of those seven, most of them just look at the pictures or links I attach.  Nobody really wants to read anymore.  That is why Youtube was invented.  Then people can post videos where they bitch about the world rather than write about it.  Oh, and they can do so while half naked, so it isn’t anything to complain about.

The summer is winding down.  It was a fantastic summer, wasn’t it?  From the sound of it, you all did some real fun and crazy shit.  I did my share of it too.  I also did my share of sitting around and watching the television and movies.  There is little to complain about.  It was relaxing and a good time for all.  In addition to the lazy days I did manage to make a few trips to the southern part of Wisconsin, see Packers training camp, run a 5K, and realign my life’s priorities. 

As I stated earlier, I did my fair share of watching movies and TV.  That is kind of ironic since the summertime is traditionally a wasteland on TV.  However, the USA Network, AMC, and MTV managed to present me with a lot of options for my DVR.  The USA Network had their simply amazing summer line-up.  The way they break up their seasons into two halves spaced out by a few months is nothing short of brilliant.  When network TV fails me, USA manages to bring the goods.  Not only do they have original programming on, but it is quality.  Shows like “White Collar”, “Psych”, “Burn Notice”, and “Royal Pains” are smart and well written shows that might not get a chance on network TV.  There is a good mix of comedy and drama on the USA shows.  The best part is that Tuesday through Wednesday always has something for me to watch for a few months.  I couldn’t ask for more.

It being summertime also meant the return of two vastly different shows.  One is critically acclaimed and possibly the best show on television.  The other is a guilty pleasure.  The first of these shows is “Mad Men”.  I have gushed about it before.  I could go on and on some more, but I will spare you the time.  Do yourself a favor and rent the DVDs or stream the seasons of “Mad Men” online.  It will blow your fucking mind.  If it doesn’t, well then you are just stupid and shouldn’t be allowed on a computer to read this blog anyway.  Yeah, I am serious.  If you are groaning at the mere mention of a show like “Mad Men”, you can go fuck yourself.  Oh, what is that?  You think I am coming off as a bit pretentious.  Well, I hope I am because you probably don’t even know what that word means.

That guilty pleasure show I was talking about?  Yeah, you probably guessed right.  It is in fact “Jersey Shore”.  I can’t help but be amused by a show that gives me one hour a week with the worst people humanity has to offer.  If we ever wanted to give aliens a reason to come down to Earth and blow our shit away, we should send up a DVD of “Jersey Shore”.  The aliens would watch ten minutes and think Earth was full of vapid over-tanned creatures with boob jobs and drinking problems.  And yes, that is a fair and accurate assessment of those people as a whole.  Now I understand that they are fairly attractive and some people actually think the cast of the show is a group of good people.  Well, those who think that are probably as vapid as the eight cast members.  They aren’t good people at all. 

Let’s just take a step back and look at what they do for a living.  They get millions of dollars to get filmed working out, getting tans, doing laundry, drinking, clubbing, fighting, and puking.   This is not over the course of a season either.  This would be the standard outline of every given day for those people.   They literally just do those things.   Apparently they have a job at a gelato shop, but we only see a minute of that every few episodes.  MTV would rather show them getting hammered and slutting it up at clubs.  They know that the trashy girls of the Midwest want to be like the girls and get with the men of Jersey Shore.  This crowd of women is their base demographic.  They get them watching the show and then advertise for that stupid “Twilight” shit and for god knows what else.  Basically, MTV has two types of viewers for “Jersey Shore”.  There are the dumbest of humanity who think that the cast is the greatest thing since sliced bread and want to be just like them.  And then there are the smart people who watch the show to mock the shit out of the idiots on screen.  

Don’t believe me that they are horrible people on “Jersey Shore”?   Well, let me give you an example.   First off, they are all self centered people who are walking contradictions.  They all openly admit that they are on the show to get hammered and hook up with as many people as possible.  The infamous Snooki started the season with a boyfriend back home who she claimed to be happy with.  However, she subtlety mentions that if something were to happen with another man while on location in Miami that it would be more or less no big deal.  She brushed it off before it even happened.  Well, we get a few episodes in and Snooks gets a call from her boyfriend Emilio who tells her he hooked up with another girl and feels bad about it.  Snooki is enraged.  She throws shit around the house and cries up a storm.  My guess is that the dumb viewers were on her side and failed to remember that in the prior week’s episode Snooki got so wasted and crawled into bed with Vinny.  They both were so drunk neither of them knew what happened.  Oh well, she is a TV star so it must have been okay.   The worst part is that MTV did nothing to remind us of such indiscretions.   

Basically, my point is that “Jersey Shore” is great train wreck style TV.  It is horrible, but you have to watch anyway.  If it were on during the fall or winter I wouldn’t even stop to watch.  However, they are on when I am bored, so they get my critical attention.   And hey, maybe I also have a little crush on that Amazonian J-Woww.  Gosh darn I bet she could throw me around a bedroom like a rag doll.  I would take every minute of that punishment like a rag doll.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Time to shake things up like a shake weight..

I was recently struck head on by a train.  It was not a standard choo-choo train or even a locomotive.  In fact, the train I speak of wasn’t even corporeal.  It wasn’t tangible in the slightest, but left an impact as wide as blood splattered on the tracks.  This train that hit me was a train full of reality.  You see, it has come to by attention that I had become way to complacent with life.

It could have been a hard pill to swallow for most people who came to such a realization.  For me, however, I understand that such a realization provides more of an opportunity for change rather than a burden.  Ultimately I have become way to accepting of the mundane existence which I lead.  Do I have things going for me?  Sure, but they are nothing to phone home about.  In a nutshell, my life is rather boring on a day to day basis.  Sitting through my day is often like sitting through a marathon of Water World followed by The Happening on a continuous loop for 8 hours.  There are very few redeeming qualities other than a steady paycheck.  It is bland, repetitive, and mind numbing.  That is not what I ever intended when I left for college back in 2000.

I wish I could place blame on an external force for this conundrum of complacency that I find myself in.  There isn’t anyone or anything to blame other than myself.  I created the life path that lead to this point in my existence.  Destiny presented several options and I kept choosing the wrong ones.  If my life was a Choose Your Own Adventure book, it would just be a continuous loop without a real fun ending.  I’d wake up, go to work, come home, watch tv, and then sleep.  Rinse.  Wash.  Repeat.  Exciting eh?

My job really isn’t fulfilling in the slightest.  I have been with the company for essentially three years and have accomplished just about as much as I possibly could within my position.  There may be a few more responsibilities that I could pick up, but they wouldn’t lead to more pay or even a title change, so that would be a moot point if you ask me.  Some may think that’s a great way to establish your name within the ranks, but they are probably delusional and drinking the Kool-Aid.  The honest and skeptical person understands that corporate America loves nothing more than to get you to do more work without having to reward you in any means.  My current philosophy is to just kick ass at what I do.

Kicking ass is what I feel I do on a daily basis.  My numbers are good and I’ve never been on any kind of improvement program.  I have established my niche and expertise in things that others chose not to or are incapable of understanding.  The problem with this is that I think I ran out of ass to kick.  Nothing seems new anymore.  When there isn’t anything new then there isn’t a chance for excitement.   I’ve said it about four different ways already, but let me reiterate it one more time.  I am bored out of my fucking mind with what I do. 

I feel like a mindless robot.  My brain is not being used to its full potential.  The critical thinking and problem solving skills that I developed over five years at UW-Whitewater are going to waste.  There are no opportunities for my creativity and ability to think outside the box.  Instead I live through a week of scripted responses, answers on an online database, and redundant tasks.  The work assigned to me might seem like life altering shit for some of the people in the company, but I would wager to say that those are the same people who feel as if they’ve made it big because they didn’t expect much from life with a high school education.  Yeah, I know that sounds harsh, but it is a rational observation of the world around me.   Being a claims processor and customer care specialist was never on my list of ideal jobs when I decided to get an education.  The work I do everyday is nothing more than mindless bullshit meant for drones.  I want to be intellectually engaged in my work again.

I suppose that is what I miss the most about my last job, at UW-Whitewater as a “Compliance Manager” in the office of Research and Sponsored Programs.  I was at least challenged to think every now and then.  Granted the pay was about 30% less than I make now and it was technically a limited term job, it was engaging and offered new opportunities to grow every day.  When I moved to Green Bay was the moment I came complacent.  I just needed to find a job to pay the bills and give me a little padding to live comfortably.  I settled.  There is no other way to say it.  As stated earlier, this whole mess of nonsense is all my fault.

So, what the hell is this rant all about?  Well, as I stated earlier, it has become crystal clear that I have become complacent.  Well, as I have straightened out some details of my life, I was able to see that changes need to be made.  These changes are both professionally and personally.   Settling is something I can no longer do.  There are other options for me in every facet of my life.  There are new career paths to be explored.  There are new people to meet.  There are other women to woo.   There are adventures to be had.  All of these ideas were not realistic to me in the past three years because I needed to do what I was doing to get by.  At the time it was the only way to do things.  It is time to stop needing and to start wanting.

A new day is dawning for me.  I’ve been online scoping out new jobs with every extra minute I have.  New cities are being researched as potential places to live.  Different people are becoming more regular components of my social life.  I am slowly breaking the shackles of redundancy.  I feel as if I am being liberated a bit more every day.

Oddly enough it all started when I decided to sign up to run that Packers 5K that just took place.  I had never done anything like it before.  There needed to be a first time for everything.  My new philosophy lately has been that I can’t make something a reality unless I have set a concrete plan in place.  Something had to be official somewhere for it to be a real goal.  By investing my money into that run, I had no excuse not to do it.  There was a real endgame that I was unable to avoid.  I had to get my ass running or else I was going to be an embarrassment and out $25.

Running was something I had attempted to get into several times previous.  In most cases I did so for just a couple weeks and then interest fizzled away.  Sometimes I just lost all motivation or made excuses not to do so.  That shit stopped when I decided to run the 5K.  To further encourage myself, I bought new shoes to go with my Nike Plus device as well as new shorts and a gym bag.  The more I invested into the task, the more I was motivated to accomplish it.  I did something new and scary.  It was something I never thought I would get into.  But I did it.  I ran that 5K.  I finished it.  Most of all, I enjoyed doing it.  That is why it was such an awesome experience.  It isn’t every day that you get to invest yourself into something you enjoy doing.

For now I will go through the daily motions.  I will probably be fairly bored to fucking death doing so.   However, I am going to explore whatever else is out there.  Will I find a new job?   Possibly.  Maybe I will end up going back to school.  I have seen a lot of people do that lately.  What is stopping me from doing that?  Absolutely nothing.   I used to think there was some invisible force out there discouraging me from doing so.  Well, that was me making up bullshit excuses.  Something big is on the horizon and I am going to find that shit if it is the last thing I do.

It better not be the last thing I do, though.   I could think of a million better ways to die.  Like being hit by a meteorite.  That would at least be a great story to tell all the other dead people.