Monday, June 16, 2014

Dear Dad (A Letter To My Father)

Dear Dad,

I know you speak very little English, and can perhaps barely read it. I wouldn't normally knock someone for that, but let's be honest: you've been in this country for over 38 years -- the fact that you cannot communicate with your sons is your fault, not ours. Perhaps someone will translate this letter for you someday.

I'm writing to let you know where you went wrong. Apparently it might be some mystery to you, and perhaps you have some misconceptions surrounding the current state of our relationship. Or rather, the lack thereof. So let me set some things straight. If it's okay with you, I'll like to start from the beginning.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting!

So, I basically have 3 television shows that have completely and utterly shaped who I am as a man today. I alluded to this fact once in a poignant post I wrote in 2008 early on in this blog's existence called: "My Three Dads." I reposted it 2 years ago on Father's Day here. Perhaps some of you might recall that.

As that article pointed out, my three all-time favorite tv shows from childhood are, in no particular order: Star Trek: The Next Generation; Kung Fu: The Legend Continues; and Highlander: The Series. With the latter receiving top billing in both my estimation and impact on who I am as both an adult and as a writer.

However, while two of these shows have been readily available on DVD and Blu-ray formats for some time, for years now I have been maligning the fact that the remaining series has never seen the light of day in North American home video release -- not even VHS tapes! I mean, ever since I first got a DVD player in 1998 I've been scouring the 'net and retail stores alike for this series to release, and to no avail. Back in 2001 I even joined online petitions and Amazon's own mail notification service in the hopes of having my dream fulfilled, and still -- bupkis!

That is, until now:

Behold, the day has finally come. The day that my beloved television show, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues has at last arrived in a professional, officially sanctioned video release. Sure, it's only a DVD release in an age where everything is inevitably switching over to the Higher Definition format afforded by Blu-ray disc, but it's better than nothing. And since HD tvs were not in existence when this show first aired way back in 1993, I can't say that I mind too much watching these episodes in Standard Definition. That's the only format I've ever seen them in!

Kung Fu: The Legend Continues was one of the flagship shows to air on the new and untested independent station, The Prime Time Entertainment Network in early 1993. It told the tale of one Kwai Chang Caine, an elderly Shaolin Buddhist monk and gong-fu master who, after 15 years of wondering the world, is reunited with his Westernized son-turned-police detective, Peter. The show was a spinoff of the original Kung Fu, which aired from 1972-75, and whose's protagonist was also named Kwai Chang Caine. Since that show took place in the American Wild West of the late 19th century, it was explained early on in the new show that this other Kwai Chang Caine was in fact the grandson of that now legendary figure. Both characters were portrayed by the late, great David Carradine.

Press play up there to watch the show's very memorable opening sequence.

The series was a wonderful attempt to blend your typical cop procedural with martial arts know-how and even some tinges of Eastern philosophy here and there, albeit sometimes in a heavy-handed, kitschy sort of way. Okay, not sometimes. Try ALL of the time! I was 16 at the time this show aired, though, and too young to know any better. But the young, unsophisticated teenage me ATE IT ALL UP! I loved it so much. For me, although it looks quite dated now, nothing like this had ever been done on television before. The themes were very adult back then, and the father-son dynamic at work really spoke to me, a kid from the Bronx who never had a father figure to look up to, let alone bond with.

In just a few short episodes, I was hooked and a die-hard fanatic of this series. It not only sparked my interest in learning gong-fu as not just a martial art, but a way of life -- it also put me firmly on the path of my lifelong love affair with all things Chinese. This interest in that far East culture always existed within me, to be sure; but Kung Fu fanned the flames into a full-blown passion! And Kwai Chang Caine was my role model.

For years the parent company which owned the rights to this show, Warner Brothers, sat on it and would not budge. No matter how many fans clamored for some sort of home video release, we were never appeased. Not even a hint that we might someday get what we wanted. Until suddenly, just a little under a month ago, word came out that the company would be releasing the entire 1st season on DVD via their manufactured on demand (MOD) endeavor exclusively from their online site. I found out about it just a few days after the series became available on the Warner Archive Collection website for just under $50. I received the set in the mail earlier this week, and I swear tears of joy nearly streamed down my face as I began watching the 90-minute pilot episode again after more than 2 decades. All the memories were back in a flash!

What a way to start off the month of June! I know it's silly, but despite my cynicism over nostalgic home video releases, I actually find myself these days with a spring in my step, humming the opening theme, and waiting to get home so that I can sit down to dinner and watch another episode of this classic action show from my youth.

That's the magic of television, folks. That right there! And if you would like to own your own copy of the show, click on that link just above. I believe this was a first-run service straight from Warner's website, with plans to allow Amazon and other online retailers a chance to sell their own stock sometime later in the month. This particular fanatic just HAD to get his hands on it as early as possible, though, so . . . NYAH!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Well, Glad That's Over With

I'm so happy May has come and gone! Or, more specifically, that June is here.

I don't quite know why, but for some reason this year I was highly annoyed at the month of May. I have no specific reason to be. Aside from barely blogging, I had a pretty decent 31 days of it. Work was okay. Personal life was okay. Even got to go to the movies once or twice, a rare return to form from back in the day when I used to go every weekend. No, all things considered, my life has been quite normal this past month.

So what gives?

I still can't figure it out. The only thing that might be the culprit as I see it, is that May 15th marked the anniversary of when I officially moved into my current apartment. Therefore, it marks the beginning of a new and (sometimes) scary chapter in my life. I remember back then wishing that I would make it to the 1-year mark and be able to look back and be proud of all I've done in that time. Mainly, to stay happy and not fall into despair. And lo and behold, I accomplished all that -- and more! I had a very good year, and am way healthier, mentally and emotionally, than I was back in May 2013.

So, then, why should I be annoyed with the month? I guess because I hate milestones, and just couldn't wait to get this particular one out of the way so that I can continue to live my life. Done. May is over and June is here to stay. For now.

But yeah, May outstayed its welcome for me. June is no peach, either, because as most of you know I hate the warmer months and, as the anti-Ned Stark would probably say: "Summer Is Coming." But as I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, I'm actually looking forward to the warmer weather this time around. Winter was exceptionally brutal here in the Northeast this year, and even I have to admit the changeover from that is feeling quite good. By the gods, I almost feel like wearing SHORTS!!!

You know I've gone off the deep end if I'm advocating wearing shorts now. Will the real David Batista please stand up?

As for other things going on in my neck of the woods . . .

I know I've been lax updating this here blog. I never seem to have the time anymore. That sucks. Or maybe I just need a new computer. Aside from writing my short stories--for which it serves just fine--using an 11-inch Dell netbook for anything else is seriously demoralizing. I come home after work and simply have no desire at all to hop on that tiny machine for anything fun anymore. Considering, too, that my iPad can pretty much cover any and all of my recreational computing just dandy (except for blogging, which is too cumbersome on it) and at a much faster pace, and it's no wonder I never even think to blog anymore.

I want to change that.

In addition to writing more regular content here on The Bimillennial Man, I'm toying with the idea of starting a series of fictional entries of the SF'nal nature on these pages as well. I don't want to go into details, but it would be an ongoing prose project written in a sort of epistle or journal format detailing the observations of a certain ... something ... on the daily lives and tribulations of humans on this planet.

Could be fun. I have to think some more on whether I have the time and energy to pull this off, though. Keep an eye on this space to see if I do!

Panama Trip - Day 1: Here There Be Balboas!

In late May, 2017 I embarked on a trip of a lifetime. A trip to Panama's steamy tropical province, Bocas del Toro. Now, before 2017 ...