Reviews

MacGyver 2.0

I felt a stir of excitement when I saw the new MacGyver advertised on a poster in a bus shelter the other day. Like anything that catches your attention, I saw it again…and again…and again, until I googled to find out when it was on. Thursday night. Good.

Thursday night came. First impressions: MacGyver (played by Lucas Till) is veritably a young buck. Like maybe early-twenties? Almost positively baby-faced. He still has his almost iconic leather jacket and some evidence of a mullet, but he doesn’t present as the hardened maverick that Richard Dean Anderson gave us.

What’s more, he now works as part of a team. I always remembered the original MacGyver as a bit of a solitary character – preferring his own company to cooperative group work.  But the new Mac is almost always accompanied by Jack Dalton – a more intermittent character in the original series – but now Mac’s regular sidekick. There’s also Riley Davis – a gifted and improbably attractive computer hacker who has been given parole on conditions that allow her to pitch in at the Phoenix Foundation. And Patricia Thornton – the tough but caring Director of the Phoenix Foundation – a female reincarnation of Pete Thornton from the original series.

In the first episode, ‘The Rising’, Mac and the team are sent off to some foreign locale to recover a lethal bioweapon. The weapon is recovered but Mac’s girlfriend Nikki (Girlfriend? MacGyver?) is shot and supposedly dead. Later, it turns out Nikki is not only alive, but has sold the bioweapon into the hands of the enemy…

MacGyver’s ever ready resourcefulness is a steady drawcard throughout the episode and it’s fun to watch. As in the original show, whenever he’s about to employ his scientific knowhow, he narrates the audience through the process. The screen also divides up into neat little sections and labels each component of his assuredly game-changing scheme.

The action scenes are also well put together although they do seem to be shot at a slightly higher camera speed than the rest of the episode which I a little disorienting. The dialogue is a little less convincing and can sometimes be a little corny. But I guess most viewing are here for the action.

To sum up, this is not old-time MacGyver. It’s a new take, seems a bit more lightweight, and constant comparisons with the old will leave you disappointed. But if you take it at face value, you can go along for the ride and still enjoy it.

See Lucas Till in action as Angus MacGyver here.

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If My Dog Were President…

If my dog were President…

He would require mandatory naps between 10am and 5pm.

He would require his chief of staff to put a blanket in every room in the Oval Office.

He would tax the American people in the form of socks.

He would conduct press conferences from under the bed.

He would growl at journalists and refuse to let his aides get the brown gunk out of his eye.

If my dog were President he would improve trade relations with Cuba and import twice as many cigars. Dogs everywhere would be required to learn fingerpicking on guitar.

If my dog were President he would bark at new visitors to the White House and sometimes need to be put in time out.

If my dog were president he would not build a wall on the Mexican border because he would know that cats would jump over the wall anyway.

He would dress up in a little green commander-in-chief jacket and lie on the tarmac at the airport to welcome the troops back from Iraq.

He would lie on his back and wriggle around to scratch it during decisive diplomatic meetings. He would also spend some of these meetings sleeping next to diplomats, enjoying their body warmth.

He would procure professional dog services in Washington to come in and shampoo him and clip his claws. This, too, would sometimes happen during diplomatic meetings.

He would set up kibble dispensing stations throughout the White House, and wander under the table during state banquets to sniff for food.

He would have a cat flap installed in the Oval Office and periodically nip outside to mark the grounds.

He would dictate press releases and make executive orders from on top of the couch, looking out over the White House grounds.

Meetings with staff would pause when a cat entered the room to allow the President to perform sniffing rituals.

The President would often need to be reminded about protocol regarding other people’s food. And other dogs’ food. And other cats’ good.

As President my dog would decline to drink or smoke.

As President my dog would not decline an offer of sausages or cheese at any conceivable time.

He would reform the electoral college voting system to swing heavily in favour of states with blankets.

He would microchip all members of his cabinet and pass legislation to restrict cats’ rights, beginning with cat curfews. Gaudy cat scarves to scare away native birds would be mandatory.

If my dog were President he would authorize covert missions to cat-heavy populaces where cats would be interrogated firmly but with fair treatment.

If my dog were President he would require poetry readings during the half time at the Super Bowl – favouring the romantic poets.

He would organize street mime conventions for dogs and appoint cats as judges.

He would put owls out in charge of government administration and authorize rats to reform the postal system.

Pet food company executives would be required to retrain as florists.

Cronyism would be in.

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Trust

team_building_exercise_building_trust

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

Chinese Proverb

I love this quote from that famous quotester Chinese Proverb. He certainly thought of some clever things to say!

This week I have been mostly eating weet-bix for breakfast and mostly thinking about – or at least giving some thought to – the idea of trust. Those with keener eyes will note that the word ‘trust’ isn’t even in Chinese Proverb’s quote, but it’s really a quote all about trust. The more I thought about it, the more I decided that if you are trusting someone or something then you are in a state of relaxation. It’s like that cheesy trust exercise you do at team building activities. The one where you let yourself fall back into the arms of your work-colleague-turned-bestest-friend. But you have to actually relax and let go of your built-in need to balance and allow yourself to let go! And this is exactly what trust is like on so many levels!

Let’s return to the quote above for a sec. Relaxation is who you are. In other words, when you are trusting yourself and those around you, the best and truest version of yourself comes out. You’re not trying to please people or perform for them (which produces internal tension and stress ), but you’re trusting that who you really are is good enough for you and for them and you don’t have to pretend.

Let’s think about what happens when you hug someone. Ever hugged someone you don’t really trust? I didn’t think so. If you really distrust them, you probably aren’t going to go near them let alone hug them. But a good hug needs two physically relaxed people who are willing to trust each other with their personal space for a few seconds and have a squeeze! Hugging some who is as stiff as cardboard isn’t very satisfying and doesn’t even feel that good!

Let me finish by saying this. I think practicing our trust muscle will open some worlds for us. One way we can exercise this muscle is by trusting the significant people in our lives with our true selves. But what else? After reading this, can you think of other ways you can increase trust in your life?

‘A trusting heart is a beautiful heart.’

Anonyme blogueur

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National Significance Day

So today is National Significance day. According to me. So I want to remind you and myself of how significant we are.

Sometimes in our lives we’re dogged by a feeling of insignificance: Do I matter? Do my thoughts matter? Does what I do matter? 

Here are some more specific examples: Does it matter if I stay in my marriage? Does it matter if I cheat the government? Does it really matter if I work at a job that I enjoy and feel good about?

Most of us want to believe the answer is yes – wherever we get that answer from. Mine is from a Creator who made me to be significant. Yours might be that too or something else.

But even if we believe this, how do we feel more significant? How do we rid ourselves of those feelings of insignificance that follow us around and try to sabotage our lives?

I suggest we go thought hunting. If  you can become aware of the ‘it doesn’t really matter what I do’ thought or the ‘I’m not that important’ thought, we can think something else intentionally when it pops up. Something like ‘my actions really matter’ or ‘my life really influences others’.

Why don’t we take these thoughts and others like them out for a spin and see where they take us. Let’s see how these thoughts make us feel! It might even be fun!

I’d love to hear how this goes for you if you’d like to comment below.

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The dragonpig

I didn’t see the dragonpig when I went for a walk with my son to the school. But maybe he was in the barber shop getting his bristles trimmed and his scales polished. 

Or maybe he was at the dairy, getting an ice cream from the nice Indian man. 

Or he could have been hiring a rental car from that place on the corner:

“Yes, I’ll have a car with a sunroof please. I’m a dragonpig. I will not fit in the car entirely.”

Or was that him munching on tan slice at the bakery?

No, I don’t think we did see him on the way or at the school grounds. But my son was sure – with a certain four year-old matter of factness – that he was around somewhere. 

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Free range thoughts 

Here are some uncaged barn laid thoughts on the whole free range eggs issue. It does not contain many factual accuracies because I haven’t actually done any research, except inside my own brain. 

So we have two scenarios. Scenario one involves caged hens. It goes something like this. 

‘Welcome to the world, hen. You must now go to prison in this cage.’

I don’t know if that’s how it  happens: remember, there are not necessarily any factual accuracies in this article. But essentially, the hen is put in prison. What’s more, it’s a women’s prison – because I believe she is female – and it’s also solitary confinement. 

Where is the rooster who landed her in this naughty position, you may ask. Well, he’s gone to the pub, or the races, or skipped town, or whatever. He doesn’t really feature – except as another absentee husband. 

So our woman hen is all caged up. And she’s in a big barn type thing (maybe) with lots of other caged up hens. And the chicken owner guy wants all their eggs. So he comes and takes them every day when she lays. But being in prison, she’s not that happy. She has no TV, no library, no friends, she just has her little cage – and small dreams. So when she lays eggs – which are loosely metaphorical of her dreams – they are not that great in quality, because they were not made in an expansive, happy chicken. They were made in a bored, lonely chicken. 

These are the unhappy facts of scenario one. Scenario two is far more cheery.

There are a whole bunch of hens – again the roosters have probably gone. But these hens each have their own self-contained air-conditioned centrally heated units from which they are free to come and go. 

There are plenty of activities for them to get involved in – arts, crafts, oratory, sports, extreme sports etc. 

They are free to socialise, take dust baths, flap their flappy wings, watch TV, and scratch at the lovely dirt. 

Each younger hen has a buddy system with older hens to unlock their inner potential. 

The chicken owner is now more of a father figure, or a friendly uncle, and when he comes to take their eggs he finds that they are much bigger, have thicker shells, darker yokes and taste of pure happiness and freedom.

This, I believe, is the happy environment we support when we buy free range eggs. What are your thoughts?

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Mowing Lawns

lawn.jpgEveryone should know by now that grass does keep growing consistently, as boring as we humans like to think that is.

The ‘I-really-must-mow-the-lawns’ thought is an undisputed joy-killer for me. It can take the shine off the most promising of days. It lurks in the cellar of my mind and threatens to emerge every now and then into my conscious thought like a dull but persistent telemarketer, persuaded of its own urgency. At this point, I pacify the thought with a vague commitment to do it ‘tomorrow’ or better yet ‘over the weekend’, and I often find I can continue to think about less lawn-related subjects for the remainder of the week.

More recently though, my three year old son has taken it upon himself to become a sort of motivational lawn-mowing coach. One offhand statement regarding the state of the lawns from my wife, and an entirely insincere ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ from me, and I have been committed – body, soul, and spirit – to their imminent manicure, as far as my son is concerned.

The ‘tomorrow afternoon’ in question has come. I pick up my son from his day care and we arrive home.

‘Are you going to mow the lawns Daddy?’

I’m frantically trying to conjure up  some other equally worthy and urgent endeavour, but the little taskmaster is not to be deterred.

‘Do it now then, Daddy. Do it now!’

In the face of such persistence and urgency, and with some regret, I find myself caving in to his demands.

‘Ok, yup, I’ll get the lawn mower’.

And the job does get done, but I can’t take a whole lot of credit for having done it.

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