The Past

As I write, I find myself thinking of something that’s been on my mind for weeks now: backstory. Or more specifically, what should I include and not include.

Let me explain it to you this way: You know the Star Wars prequels? A series of movies that I consider the most hated things on the Internet from what I’ve seen? I think that the reason that they’re hated is, among other reasons, they gave an explanation to The Force and gave Darth Vader a backstory. The Midichlorians destroyed any mysticism The Force had to some people, and Darth Vader wasn’t the mysterious badass people had come to love for decades. Personally, I haven’t seen the prequels, but I know enough Star Wars to understand where the anger was coming from. George Lucas messed with perfection according to some people, and two of the greatest things in science fiction lost their luster to them.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to the point where I’m that big, but I hope to get something resembling a following. When that happens, I may get questions about my inspirations or something resembling sequels…or prequels. I’ve thought of this when thinking about my screenplay Wrath and while writing my book Welcome to Life in California (a writing process I can say is going pretty well at the moment), and I think that the idea of a backstory could make me think that too much stuff explained could ruin anything. I’m a guy that likes to read fanfiction and look at good fan art on occasion, and I think for some fans, the fun is creating their own lore. I’m not good enough to create headcanons as intricate like that (such as explaining why one character is actually another character’s father), and I think that destroying that possibility could hurt my work in the long run.

I guess the main point of what I’m trying to say is that the idea of explaining and giving a backstory is a tool for a writer, just like whatever a writer writes on, be it a laptop or a typewriter. And while the questions and fan community may not come anytime soon, I’m just thinking that maybe a sense of mystery could help my characters and my worlds (that’ll probably be set in something resembling reality) resonate and make people think “hey, this story by this Martin White II guy is pretty awesome.” Let’s hope there are people that think the same.

State of my Short Stories

So, this past Sunday I put another one of my short stories up here. And while I haven’t heard much reception, I’ve heard people close to me say that I need to be careful when it comes to putting my material up here basically letting people read it for free. Going through this blog, I have published just about five short stories, and altogether I’ve written less than ten. If you ask me, that’s not enough short stories to do anything with.

That being said, I guess that if I have any short stories that anyone with something resembling professional clout could consider “good”, I could go down the route of selling my stories to magazines and the like, and then put them here once it’s painfully clear that publishing them on my blog is the only way I can hope to have my short stories exist somewhere other than my hard drive. Even then, my blog is currently in a state where the only audience I have to speak of is mostly family and friends.

So, where do I go? If I have an idea for a novel or a feature screenplay, that’s not going up here because of just how much effort I have to put into it. Exceptions are:

  • If I write a short story and I post it here to gauge interest in the prospect of the concept being expanded further.
  • If I start a long work based on a short story I write, and the long work differs drastically from the short story. The amount of difference is at my discretion.

This isn’t me saying that I’m stopping the posting of short stories here. I’d say it’s me saying that short stories are probably going to appear here probably less frequently.

Thoughts?

 

I think we’ve gone off the deep end with the anger toward Vince

(Note: I also submitted this as a fampost on CageSide seats as a fanpost. Check it out there if you want. There’s great debate and banter over there.

 

So, Talking Smack was canceled (technically, now it’s just after PPVS, but going by the reactions, you’d think it was gone forever). And the two hosts weren’t told in advance of the news dropping  And Vince is the reason why. Apparently, he didn’t like the unscripted nature of it all. And once again, the chairman of WWE takes away something the fans love. The FUCK THIS COMPANY GIF is in the comments section of this site. CM Punk’s pipebomb seems to make him be pro wrestling’s version of Nostradamus.

In the short time I’ve followed WWE (just before Money In The Bank 2016), and in reading about the superstars of past and present, I don’t think I’ve heard anything positive impact Vince have had on the product, and any good things he may have done in the past have been acknowledged in a “that was good, but he’s outlived his usefulness and he needs to let some new blood take over” way. And that’s not even touching the feelings people have toward his perceived right-hand man Kevin Dunn. Reading these opinions article after article, have made me realize something. Something that I haven’t fully realized until these past few days and this cancellation:

There are people waiting for Vincent Kennedy McMahon to die.

It’s morbid, it’s probably an extreme, and it’s probably not suited for this site. Sue me. I really think that there’s a section of fans that are waiting for Vince to croak. And if we aren’t at that point already, I think we’re getting dangerously close to that point with every little thing that comes out regarding Vince. He’s 71, he’s made it pretty damn clear he’s not going to retire or sell, so it makes sense that one would wait for Father Time to come and kick Vince’s ass until he moves on. It seems to some that Father Time got the better of The Undertaker with some hoping he’d just retire and enjoy his legacy before he does something in the ring that’ll severely affect his life.

What comes from Vince dying? I can think of two things:

1. HHH takes over.

It’ll be like this long coup (or boardroom takeover) culminating in The Game taking control of the whole company he’s dedicated the better part of his life toward. Think about it: become one of the biggest names in the company’s history, marry the boss’s daughter, get your own little project that gets beloved by the masses BECAUSE it’s something different and not unlike what your hated boss is doing, and when the boss croaks, you take your rightful place at the summit. I don’t care what the field is, that is a takeover plan that George R. R. Martin would be proud of. Also, if HHH is in charge, that means that the NXT stars that people have come to love like Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and The Four Horsewomen would be treated properly on the main roster and all the work HHH has done won’t go to waste in things like whatever Bayley’s doing. I wonder if that’s why the monster known as Asuka hasn’t been called up yet.

2. WWE is sold to someone outside of the McMahon family.

This one is simple: Either Stephanie or Shane inherits the company, and they get an offer they can’t refuse and they sell out of the family and they write their memoirs or do a podcast or do shoot interviews on the backstage politics and operations of WWE like so many wrestlers before them. What good can come from selling out of the family? There’s a chance that you get someone that actually listens to the fans. The prospective new owner may not give them their fantasy booking, but at least there’s a better chance there’s a Roman Reigns heel turn and the monster push will come to an end with said owner in charge instead of Vince. Why do you think there was that massive pop when Shane came back and why do you think so many were behind Shane when he feuded with his father going into WrestleMania 32? Because he represented the potential that things can be different. That there can be someone that can actually challenge Vince McMahon and his decisions on how things should be in WWE.

And that points out to another thing I feel when it comes to Vince and WWE in general: when someone gets beloved or over, it’s probably because of meta reasons. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wondered if the reason Braun Strowman gets so many chants and pops is because he’s feuding with Roman Reigns and some of his bigger moments come from beating the tar out of him. Those chants of “You deserve it” and “Thank you, Strowman”? Those are the fans thanking The Monster Among Men for sending the message that the Roman push is a failure to them and Vince needs to end it and start pushing people like Finn Balor and Sasha Banks, those with the potential to be superstars if they weren’t handled by someone that’s been out of touch with what’s popular among wrestling fans for the better part of a decade, if not longer. Why is Daniel Bryan’s win at WrestleMania 30 so beloved? To me, it’s probably because Daniel Bryan, the fan’s choice for a star, defeated those handpicked by The Authority, the most despised higher ups that have been on WWE programming in years. And the CM Punk chants? That guy is still beloved, people think he wasn’t made to be the star he was meant to be in WWE, and to many, every word of his pipebomb is equal parts sermon and rallying cry to wage a never ending war against the McMahon establishment. A war they are sure to win someday.

Am I wishing that Vince McMahon will die someday? No. Am I upset that the booking I want to see hasn’t happened and future fantasy booking will probably not come to pass? A little. I guess the reason is that in the last few days, I think I’ve stared into the abyss and  I’ve seen the end result of the fans and their anger toward Vince McMahon. I’m kind of worried.

Best Ever Seen

So, I posted recently about my plan to revamp the things that’ll go into the review section of this little blog I have. And I talked about how in order to get at least a 9/10, what I talk about has to be super special, enough to call it “the best I’ve ever seen. But I think I may have been too vague. What do I compare it to? So I think the idea is to compare it to the rest of its field. So, I’d compare an anime to an anime, a film to a film, and a TV show to a TV show.

As for animated vs. live action? I don’t think animation is lesser than live action. In fact, I think that animation is capable of doing great things. That’s one of the reasons I like DEATH BATTLE!  However, I think I have to because if it’s just film, it’d be too much of a big pond. And then there’s genre. Clearly, a comedy is worlds away from a crime drama, so what do I do there? I’m not sure yet. I think I may just go with the idea of “movies in general” mainly because I don’t watch enough movies nor do I watch movies on a regular enough basis to get into conversations about a genre.

As for anime/manga, I think I’m comfortable enough in that field to give definitive rankings. I mean, I don’t have a YouTube where I talk about the bigger themes of particular titles, but I think I’m comfortable in my skills to talk about titles and get my opinions across.

What do you think of my methodology?

What WWE can learn from Nathan’s

So, this past 4th of July, I went to Coney Island for the 4th of July tradition my mom and I have had for the 4th of July: watching the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Miki Sudo won the women’s contest with 41 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, and in the men’s contest, Joey Chestnut won his 10th contest with 72 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.

As I watched the proceedings and enjoyed the live entertainment, a thought came to my mind: this is what WWE could be if it could be just plain fun and didn’t even try to take itself seriously. It’s kind of hard to explain in a blog because this contest is something you have to see and experience live and in person.

Let me explain: throughout the day you’ll have music and entertainment beforehand, but what really sets this at another level is George Shea, the MC of the whole thing. He is what you would call a “large ham”,  ESPECIALLY when it comes to introducing the participants. When you hear him talk about how competitive eating is the ultimate battle of good and evil and going on about how Joey Chestnut is an American hero by eating a lot of hot dogs, you can’t help but laugh with him. It’s like one big joke, and everyone on the corner of Surf and Stillwell is in on it. It’s amazing.

The reason is why I say that this hot dog eating contest is like WWE is if it didn’t take itself seriously is because it’s kind of in the same boat as WWE. They’re nowhere near the level of popularity that the NFL or NBA have, and it’s a safe bet to say that they may never will. However, the people at Nathan’s know this and they just have fun with the contest being its own little thing. WWE, on the other hand, tries to tell stories through promos and put on great feats of athleticism that may be less appreciated by the fact that the result was organized beforehand. And while the results are unpredictable in hot dog eating, when you hear George Shea make things epic, such as banging a gong ten times for each time Joey beat his competition like the bear beating Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant (George’s words, not mine), you know it’s all tongue in cheek and in good fun. And even then, the results can make for shocking moments, like when Matt Stonie beat Joey Chestnut in 2015 to end Joey’s streak of 8 straight wins. Being there, it was like seeing Brock Lesnar beat The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30. It was a shocking sight to behold. The MegaToad had beaten the mighty Joey. And that result would go on to be referred to in future contests.

I can’t imagine what the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest would be like if they began to take themselves seriously. You may read an article online about how competitive eaters train or how many calories worth of hot dogs Joey Chestnut has eaten, but that’s about it. Never do you hear a serious attempt about the supposed artistry of eating as many hot dogs as you can in 10 minutes, mainly because there’s probably no way you can get someone to appreciate that feat without them being disgusted first. If this contest were to start trying to be bigger than what it is, such as trying to sell tickets, I don’t think that it would be as magical as it is now. WWE is trying to tell compelling stories on a weekly basis, and whether or not that endeavor is a success is up to debate. It’s also up to debate if they should just loosen the tie, let their hair down, and just go all out and make things out to be the closest thing we can have to a live action game of Marvel vs. Capcom (preferably Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes or Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes). I’m also not sure if the fun Nathan’s brings is something that can translate well to WWE, or if the seriousness WWE has right now is something like a safety harness.

Okay, this may have sounded like unconnected rambling, but I honestly think that I may be onto something. At the corner of Surf and Stillwell on Coney Island, there is a hot dog stand. and on the 4th of July, there’s a hot dog eating contest at that stand. And it is the site of what I think is some of the most fun you could possibly have in your entire life. And you should go there and experience that at least once in your life. And when you leave, ask yourself if WWE could benefit from their shows and in ring product being its own unique brand of hammy, tongue in cheek, uniquely entertaining spectacle.

So, your town is on TV…

I grew up in a small town called La Quinta, California. It’s right outside of Palm Springs and it’s part of what’s called the Coachella Valley. I went to school at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Remember these cities because they’re going to be the crux of this post.

So, I was watching some episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on demand, and guess where Guy Fieri goes. He goes to restuarants in Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and Cathedral City. This is kind of unreal to me. The only time people have ever really cared about the Coachella Valley when I was there was when the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals rolled around, and no other time. And now to have my favorite show on Food Network go there is pretty crazy. I’ll let you know what all the restaurants there once I see that this wave stops.

This reminds me of the time in Philadelphia was seemingly the center of the world. The first time was when Pope Francis came to visit for something called The World Meeting of Families Congress. It’s a Catholic gathering that according to Wikipedia “promotes the pastoral care of families, protects their rights and dignity in the Church and in civil society, so that they may ever be more able to fulfill their duties.” I’m not Catholic so I can’t tell you what any of that means. But the big thing is that Philadelphia was the city in America that got virtually shut down (at least Center City and the surrounding areas).  Philadelphia. Is it glamorous? I don’t think so. Washington D.C. and New York City were also stops on that trip from 2015 but Philly? That was where Pope Francis made his big speech and where people from all over the world flocked. It was weird. Classes were rescheduled. But it was an event and I was there, man. It was one of the most fun times I had.

Another time was when the show College Gameday came to Philly for Temple’s game against Notre Dame at Lincoln Financial Field. That one was more rational. Temple’s football team was undefeated at the time, on their best start for a season in their school’s history, and after years of sucking, are on the national stage after turning things around in a big way. That was pretty crazy. Temple students were trying to get College Gameday to come to Philly, there was a debate if it was going to be at Temple or at Washington State, and that whole weekend was like waiting for the white smoke that signaled the election of a new Pope. Granted, that was because ESPN had to wait for the right offices to open so they could be allowed to shoot outside Independence Hall, but it was freaking amazing. And when Temple was announced, it went into overdrive. people were making signs, people were guessing who would be the celebrity guest who would join the host in making predictions (it turned out to be the Phillie Phanatic), and Temple students went down to Independence Hall to get a good spot at as early as 4:00 in the morning. And I joined them. I am dead serious. And though Temple lost the game, it is one of the best days I had at Drexel, a day that will never be repeated.

And that’s what happens when the city that you live in is on TV. Assuming that particular city is a small town or a big city that isn’t seen as glamorous or isn’t a prominent setting for books, film, and television.