Lost….and the woods

Call this the Whitman’s Sampler edition of Nason’s blog. I am all over the board this week.

-I spent two days this week in the Northern New Hampshire wilderness as part of a kickoff for the local Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership training program. Myself and 29 others from various companies and industries around the city got accepted into this nine-month affair after an application/interview process. At first, I had the normal apprehensions about spending time in the woods with a group of complete strangers, especially after traveling down a road named after Jason Vorhees’ favorite summer camp.

But after 36 hours at a Scout Camp with Ropes courses and a fun night at the Gunstock Inn, all that went away. We were given various tasks that forced us to work together, put our trust in others and reaffirm our trust in ourselves. Literally having someone’s life be put in your hands as they dangle on a rope 50 feet above you is quite an experience and makes you realize a lot about yourself. The overall docket is one day per month spending time on different aspects of what makes the city tick and how we can affect as future leaders of it. There are Leadership programs like this around the country, even in Maine which seems to get disrespected a bit for its business environment. I can tell already that it’s going to be something that will make a difference in the rest of my life. More details on this as we move through ’06 to ’07.

-I started watching Season 2 of Lost over the weekend. I’m still hooked after watching 12 episodes in just over 24 hours. In watching it, though, it made me think of how far out creatively this show can go and for that matter, others like it that rely on a central and eventually finite theme. Most of these shows I like: Lost, 24, Prison Break, but the premise can only go for so far. How many twists and turns can one find on an island? At what point does the chase from the cops end? When will Jack Bauer realize that he might want to do something else after five pretty shitty 24-hour periods in his life?

It’s a balancing act for everyone involved: creators, fans, networks and advertisers. For creators, is it about the money or the body of work? For networks, when does putting on a show that isn’t at its peak become a bad thing and subsequently, a poor draw for advertisers? And for fans, when does the pleasure of spending an hour getting away from the world become a lackluster experience?

(And for me, it’s assessing how many questions I can ask in two paragraphs. I think I’m up to about 32.)

I’m inclined to think that in this era of 2 billion networks, most really good dramatic shows have a five-year shelf life and really great dramatic shows have about seven seasons before they turn into that infected spinach that’s floating around. Two recent examples being The Shield and The Sopranos, both coming to an end in 2007 after seven strong seasons. Anything longer just tends to wear out the characters and really thin out what I referred to as ‘the body of work.’ I think the entertainment industry tends to ignore historically how the content will be seen in favor of more content. Ask a Rocky fan about the history of that franchise. The conversation will probably go something like, “Yeah, they’re pretty awesome…other than Number 5” as opposed to ‘Those movies are great!’ A comedic example would be (unfortunately) The Simpsons, which I think has lost about 10 mph on its fastball in the last five seasons.

-It is cemented that Chuck Klosterman is my favorite author. I’m currently plowing through his fourth book on pop culture, A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas. If we hit the rewind button three years ago in July, his book ‘Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs,’ was the igniter switch to get my Char-Broil writing grille going again. Someday, I hope to get the chance to thank him for that without fear of a restraining order, completing the circle that was started by last winter’s encounter with Bill Simmons.

-I love those ‘real men’ moments, especially this one from a few weeks ago. Myself and three friends were grabbing lunch and I heard a Norah Jones song come over the speakers, the same one that was the wedding song of uber-couple King and Donna. I told one of English language’s best friends and blog reader Clyde, “Hey, this was King and Donna’s wedding song.” The Cartoon, not missing a beat, turned to me and proceeded to call me a few unmentionable names before asking why I remembered that. I answered that the song wasn’t originally played at the right time which almost threw Donna into a rage enough to stop her first dance with her husband and strangle the D.J. Clyde’s reply: “Oh. You’re still a fag.” Ahhhhh, friends.

thanks for reading,
nason

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