Posts Tagged ‘heisenberg


Fun With Beards

crazy_facial_hair_01Not every man can grow a beard, which is precisely why not every man should. You don’t ever want to be that guy who is very obviously trying to grow a beard that just isn’t there. Nobody likes that guy.

For most of my life, I put myself squarely in the category of “Men who should never try to grow a beard” and I was happy there. I shaved weekly and life carried on.

Then at the end of 2012 I decided to stop shaving two weeks before holidays began and just see what happened. Much to my surprise, 6 weeks later I was sporting a beard that made me look like a legit woodsman.

Problem was, it was starting to get a little wild and sticky-outy, so I tried to trim it down using these cheap clippers I have. Disaster ensued.

Here is a pic of that clearly shows that. I went to work like this for two days and even ventured out into public.

It was awesome.



I went back to being clean-shaven after that and put all aspirations of growing a badass soup-catcher aside until I was at least in my late-50s.

Problem was, I’d tasted the incredible, exhilarating power that comes with growing a beard. It’s hard to explain to someone who’s never grown one, but when you have a beard you feel like no one, no one, can fuck with you.

It’s like you’re reconnecting with your cave-dwelling forefathers, those hunter / gatherer motherfuckers who took no shit from no one and rarely lived past their mid-thirties.

They were the original rockstars of this world – dirty, hairy men who ran around in Mammoth-fur clothes, killing shit with sharpened sticks and dying in spectacularly stupid ways.

Once you know you have that power lying dormant within you, how the hell are you ever supposed to live a normal, beardless life ever again?

So naturally, when The Cub was born, I took it as an excuse to grow a “Dad Beard” and stopped shaving for three months. The growth I achieved in that time was phenomenal. Here is a pic of me looking back fondly on the times I shared with my beard on the day I decided to finally shave again.



Having already ticked the “Lord Fauntelroy” off my list of “Beards to grow one day”, I decided to see whether or not I could rock a “Heisenberg”.

I’ll let the results speak for themselves.



I sorely regret I didn’t rock that one in public for at least another month. I mean Jesus. The respect I coulda gotten with that thing in a boardroom, I’d be closing deals quicker than you could say, “H-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-have an A1 day!”

It was scaring The Cub though, so I decided to go full retard with a classic “Gay 70s Biker”.



However! This next one I’m proud to say I DID wear in public for a good day or two… or one… yeah, it was probably just the one because J-Rab told me straight up, there would be no sex for me for as long as I looked like this:



After I shaved that epic snor and was finally clean shaven after 3 months of enviable growth, I looked at myself in the mirror and was pretty surprised to be happy to have my old face back.

It will be awhile before I grow my next beard and this time I’ll invest in proper clippers because without them you start to look like a full-on bergie (see above) which can work if, say, you play in a folk band or are a creative director at an ad agency, but for the rest of us regular humans it gets a bit siff.

So now that I’m done with what is by far one of the most self-indulgent posts I think I’ve ever written, I’ll let you go back to your life safe in the knowledge that you’ll sleep better tonight knowing what your Tiger pal looks like with facial hair.

The. End.



My Thoughts On The End Of Breaking Bad

HeisenbergIt was with a mixture of anticipation, excitement and sadness that I watched the finale of Breaking Bad a few weeks back.

I loved that show because it was impossible to predict what was going to happen next. The writers of the show are unbelievable story-tellers and their grasp of character development and dialogue is equal to none.

Except maybe The Wire. In fact, I’d say that The Wire and Breaking Bad are probably my two best TV series of all time, so you better believe watching the final episode play out the other night was emotional.

But did it work? Did it manage to do the impossible and end one of TVs most popular series in a satisfying way that was true to the characters and the show?

That’s a tough question to answer. As a general rule, there is no good way to end a TV series as tight as Breaking Bad for the simple reason that everyone watching is going to be bummed that it’s over.

I definitely felt that after the final episode ended. This feeling of “Huh… so that’s that…” And while I think they tied up the series neatly at the end and did manage to provide a satisfying ending a part of me still wanted to see more.



It was only after two days spent reflecting on the show’s ending that I picked up on the subtle nuances of that final episode, all of which were deliberately underplayed to heighten their impact.

What follows are a whole bunch of SPOILERS! that you probably shouldn’t read if you haven’t seen the final episode yet. You have been warned.

The central theme of Breaking Bad was just that, Walter White’s decline from being a normal, repressed, law-abiding cog in the machine to becoming a ruthless drug lord in charge of a multi-million dollar meth ring.

It’s the zero to hero story turned on its head because in this instance, Walt’s “hero” status is won at the expense of everyone he supposedly loves. His family is made to suffer directly as a result of his growing lust for power and don’t even get me started on the multitude of fucked up things he puts Jesse through.

Over the course of the show, he grows to become a master manipulator and uses his vastly superior intellect (“Science bitch!”) and his growing ruthlessness to murder the fuck out of anyone who stands between him and his ultimate goal, “looking after his family”.



We realise early on in the series (pretty much around the time he is given a clean bill of health following his chemo) that his motivations have gone far beyond just looking after his family and he’s starting to get into some pretty fucked up shit purely for the thrill of it.

Eventually, Walt becomes a monster. His humanity hangs by a thread that frays more with each episode and good people start getting killed all around him as a result.

Then we get to the second last episode where things get so out of control that Walt opts to disappear completely and contacts the “vacuum cleaner salesman” who sets him up with a new identity and a cabin in the woods 8 miles from civilisation where Walt lays low for awhile.

One month later the change in Walt is immediately noticeable. The boiling rage that used to drive him has simmered down and, left with nothing but time to reflect on the damage he’s caused, he’s become a shell of the person he used to be.



The combination of isolation and his fading health leaves him completely ravaged. For the first time in god knows how many episodes, I actually felt a distant twinge of sympathy for him.

This was amplified when he breaks the golden rule of not leaving the cabin and heads to the nearest bar to call his son. He tries to convince Walt Jnr to accept some money from him, but Walt Jnr basically tells Walt to get fucked. Walt calls the police shortly thereafter and turns himself in.

Of course, this sympathy disappeared completely in the final minutes of the episode when Walt watches an interview on the bar’s TV with his former partners from Grey Matter, Elliot and Gretchen. In the interview they publicly state that they are donating millions of dollars to meth relief programs in order to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were not involved with Walt’s criminal dealings in any way.

That boiling rage that consumed Walt instantly returns, as does our lack of sympathy with him. It’s clear that nothing has changed. “Heisenberg”, the monster that Walt has become, is still alive and kicking and itching for some kind of revenge.



He flees the bar before the cops can get there to presumably track Elliot and Gretchen down and enact some kind of brutal revenge on them.

In light of this, the final episode is a master stroke of storytelling because it overthrows expectations completely.

Walt does track Elliot and Gretchen down, but it isn’t to do something terrible to them. He asks for them to put all his meth money in a trust fund for Walt Jnr. He knows that they will be beyond scrutiny and that that’s the only way he’ll be able to ensure that his family is looked after.

Sure, he threatens their lives if they don’t carry out his wishes, saying he’s hired two of the best hitmen money can buy to make sure they keep their word (at which point, two laser sights are shone on Gretchen and Elliot. But his intentions are still pure and the laser “sights” are just laser pointers he’s paid Skinny Pete and Badger to shine when he gives the signal, the “hitmen” he’s hired is just a bluff.



The part of the episode that really saved Walt for me though was when he confronts Skyler, now living in a shit-hole house, and confesses to the location of Hank’s body so that Skyler can use that information to negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor and DEA.

The dialogue that follows, for me, was some of the best in the series.

“Skyler,” Walt says, “all those things I did, you need to understand…”

“If I have to hear one more time,” Skyler replies, furious, “that you did this for the family…”

“I did it for me,” Walt replies. “I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really… I was alive…”



A kind of acceptance washes over Skyler, a kind of resignation. Instead of losing it completely at Walt’s confession, she nods, smiles sadly at him and, after agreeing to let him see his baby daughter one last time, watches him shuffle out of her life forever.

The other highlight of the final episode was undoubtedly the brilliantly executed and brutally satisfying revenge Walt takes on Jack and the members of his piece-of-shit gang. Watching the remote controlled M60 that Walt jury rigs from the parts of a garage door opener mow all those fuckers down was a “Fuck yeah!” moment equal to none.

Walt achieves his final redemption in that moment when he not only saves Jesse but also executes Jack (who, despite getting shot to shit, is somehow still alive when the M60 runs out of bullets). It’s a great scene – Jack picks up his still-lit cigarette, puts it back in his mouth calm-as-can-be and starts trying to bribe Walt with all the money they stole from him.



Walt doesn’t even let him finish his sentence before putting a bullet in his head.

And so it was not without a large degree of satisfaction that I watched the final scene play out when Walt limps nostalgically around the meth lab Jack’s gang had set up while he slowly bleeds out from a stray bullet he caught in the ribs.

The cops arrive moments after Walt collapses dead, with the ghost of a smile on his weathered face.



It was a great show, possibly one of the best I’ve ever seen, and though there was no easy way to end it, they managed to accomplish the impossible and have Walt die a good and honourable death.

To everyone who made the show possible, every one of you did an excellent job.

Now if anyone needs me, I’ll be tracking down my old highschool chemistry teacher… Winking smile