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The One Night We Should All Raise a Glass

The final day of 2013 has arrived, which is when we collectively reflect on what this year has meant to us, as well as the people we care about. We will think about the good and the bad scratch that: only the good!

It’s New Year’s Eve: the special, global celebratory moment (depending on the time zone) when the lens through which we see the world shows us that anything is possible in the upcoming new year. The sky is the limit. And let’s be honest, there’s really only one thing you can and should be doing tonight.

And it goes a little something like this…

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Forever Yours

I’m quite flashy on the outside and at your disposal with a permanent knowledge of information you’ll need to know for the future. I am dressed top to bottom in the exact right colors. In fact, I’m a very sharp dresser. Although, to be completely honest, I did not dress myself. Still, I look good!

Summer has been very relaxing for me, though ultimately uneventful. However, when Fall rolls around, that is when my world will get really exciting. From this point on, everything will happen at a blistering pace. I’ll know where I’m sitting just minutes before kickoff. There are countless variables in the air and once the flow of the day starts, it’s anyone’s guess as to what could transpire next. I hear the band playing, see the sun shining and feel the warmth of a late September afternoon. Though I’m still felling chilly.

Life is good. In fact, OH-

It’s a long hike to the seats, but what a view! C-Deck is high up, but I can literally see everything on the field below. Without a doubt, this will be a glorious event. Today is what I’ve been waiting for all Summer. Luckily, this is just the beginning.

While I was hopeful I’d see the whole game, I suppose that was me being far too optimistic. Once the small popcorn ran out, my view was severely impaired. The time came when I had to go “below deck.” That’s my code for under the seat. I’ll likely remain here only until the game is over. Then, hopefully, my shelf life will soon begin.

Oh, I’m a souvenir cup from an Ohio State football game…and this is my story.

There is not always a guarantee that I’ll be picked up and taken home, but like my countless plastic brothers and sisters, I prayed before the game that my new friend would see me as more than just a medium Pepsi. I have so much more to offer!

The game ends and the Buckeyes dominated, which is what I gathered from all the cheering. Another great start to the season.

Will she pick me up? Please, please, please! There’s nothing I can do at this point but to sit here with my Scarlet and Grey shield, my trusty 2013 Schedule perfectly labeled and pray. This is the moment of truth. This is it. The next few seconds will change my life forever for better or worse…

She takes a quick “selfie” with the field in the background and a couple other pictures with her friends she met for the game. They were all in a celebratory mood. One step, two steps, three steps. She started her descent down C-Deck. A drip of leftover condensation rolled down my face. A few steps down the stairs, she turned her head and peered over her right shoulder. Thinking to herself, she debates whether or not she needs another cup. After all, last weekend she went to Target and bought lots of colored plastic cups for the school year. Technically, she was all set. After she took an exhaling breath, she gingerly made her way back towards her seat, reached down in the aisle and…

Yes! Yes! Yes! I successfully pulled off one of the most unthinkable things at the end of an OSU football game: a girl picked me up!

The rest of the day was a blur, a magical, life-altering blur.

Throughout the next several years, she and I were together during thick and thin, like that 10-page essay that was written in one evening and one really long night/early morning and when she spent a couple weeks on her couch after she sprained her ankle while she watched movies and television shows of past and present. Through everything, we were together. Despite sitting on a shelf most of the time, I somehow managed to stay on the shelf year after year. Even after slightly fading from those water and soap-soaked adventures in the dish washer, I survived. Every time.

The most special moments for me happened after she got married and had a child. Incredibly, during the need vs. want throwing away fest with her husband early on in her marriage, I stayed. Other precious items were thrown out, but I kept my spot on her shelf.

Back to her son. When she mixed some orange Tang for him in her trusty souvenir cup (me) one Tuesday after picking him up from school, she paused with a nostalgic smile. Turning the cup, it brought back memories of that day when she told all her friends she had gotten engaged the night before on a lake underneath the starry night in her hometown.

She nearly cried.

She then handed the cup to her son, now 5. As he drank it, she continued to¬†reminisce about that weekend and how special it was for her. That game was one of those moments in life she’ll never forget. She’ll remember and cherish everything that was part of it…everything.

Then, as her son was was raising me higher and higher, some song lyrics popped into her head.

Summer’s heat or winter’s cold
The seasons pass the years will roll
Time and change will surely (truly) show
How firm thy friendship…OHIO!

She hugged her son and said “I love you.”

Talk about a Buckeye win for the ages.

Reality Check

The influx of Emmy nominations for shows featured on Netflix was no anomaly. Fellow dramas on cable networks that were nominated for Emmy’s were also no fluke. Even PBS has a stellar hour-long journey that takes us back to the sensationally proper early 20th century England. Shows like, “House of Cards,” “Mad Men,” “Game of Thrones,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Homeland” and the remarkably addictive “Downton Abbey” have projected themselves as thoroughly entertaining with great settings, engaging storytelling and, above all, superb acting and originality.

The shows listed above, along with some shows on the major networks (“The Big Bang Theory,” “Person of Interest” and “How I Met Your Mother” as a few examples) have gone to painstaking lengths to present a story and set of characters that an audience will enjoy and care about. Relationships have been formed and they are long-term.

The specific revelation about Netflix’s evolution as a leading entertainment provider of new content is indicative of the ever-changing face of the modern television viewer and his/her expectations and preferences.

Contemplate this: Five years ago, Paul Giamatti became John Adams for the HBO series, “John Adams,” Steven Spielberg co-executive produced, “The Pacific” on HBO with Tom Hanks in 2010, Kevin Spacey stars in “House of Cards,” Maggie Smith dominates, “Downton Abbey,” Michael Shannon and Steve Buscemi light up “Boardwalk Empire” and January Jones realistically portrays the wife/divorcee of an advertising giant in the 1960s on, “Mad Men.”

If only I recognized just one of those names?

Within the last decade, the word “epic” has been a common adjective to describe some major motion pictures. Writers and directors made a cogent decision to create entire worlds filled with exciting action, seductive drama, story lines the size of the Empire State Building and plot twists that, figuratively speaking, “blow our minds.” And don’t forget about those omnipresent soundtracks that alone gives us goosebumps, swing our emotions and get our hearts racing in just a matter of seconds. While the movies of recent memory are not the first to project an “epic” story on the silver screen, they have nonetheless set the standard for movies, television and all relative media alike today.

Interestingly, many people will refrain from watching the newest episodes of the aforementioned shows listed above and instead sit down and watch an entire season during the weekend. Thus, it feels more like a movie with multiple sequels than it does a routine television show. “24” sure was great…

And there are many things said about the reality television shows that dominate the major networks (sans “The Amazing Race”), but superb acting, rich characters and original storytelling are not among them.

Among the convoluted world of modern television that is overcrowded with reality shows about anything and everything (literally), one certainty is shining a hopeful bright light through this overcast cloud of reality noise: more and more fans are investing their time and imaginations in shows that portray grand stories with compelling characters woven together with clever writing. For Heaven’s sake, The History Channel produced a blockbuster hit with, “The Bible” (sadly, I think NBC only saw dollar signs and not the great story when it bought the rights to the series sequel). National Geographic struck presidential gold with, “Killing Lincoln” (narrated by Tom Hanks).

The dynamic of watching television is continuing to change on a seemingly monthly basis.

In fact, it’s quite epic.

That’s the reality.