Archive for June, 2016

Media Update 6/30/2016

June 30, 2016

The IT Crowd

I had no idea what to expect when I started to watch this but it came recommended by Harmontown and I wanted to check out an English sitcom. I have not seen too many British sitcoms and it seemed like a neat way to round out this week’s theme. I knew I was in the right place when one of the first lines was “Hello, IT Department. Have you tried turning it off and on?” in a brash English accent. There is a lot of absurdist humor in it and everything is exaggerated and both confusing and hilarious. This should not have been a surprise as there are plenty of people in it who were in The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi. Katherine Parkinson plays the new manager to two IT guys (Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade) in the basement of a big company. Everybody in the company dumps all over them but they manage to send enough trouble back upstairs. Most of the humor comes from Roy trying to avoid work, Moss being clueless and Jen trying to get ahead. The show feels like what you would get if you tossed Community, Absolutely Fabulous and Garth Marenghi into a meat grinder. This was definitely the most enjoyable sitcom that I watched this week. It certainly helps that I love the particular accents and absurd characters on parade. Definitely, check this out if you have the time because I had a lot of fun and I will watch every episode.


Arrested Development

So I had heard a lot about this show but I hesitated to watch it because I felt that sitcoms were pretty much dead to me after I realized that a lot of the ones I had seen were bad. I figured I was pretty much done with the genre. Besides, there is still a part of me that was born in my teen years that hates anything that is super popular unless it’s part of my fandom. As part of this week’s theme, I decided to just get over myself and watch some sitcoms to see what I was missing. After all, I enjoyed Parks and Recreation and that was a super popular sitcom (sort of). Sitcoms have kind of evolved lately anyway. Anyway, I watched seven episodes to check out what all the fuss was about. First off, the show is packed full to the brim with some of the biggest names in comedy. David Cross, Jeffrey Tambor, Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Jennifer Walters just to name a few. I really only have one problem with this show so far and that is Michael Cera. He’s an ok actor but he was a lot younger here and his whininess is in full effect and he’s not playing to his strengths. The show took a little while to grow on me as the cast of characters are not likable people. Eventually, this was more like Always Sunny than Seinfeld but it’s a little annoying at first. Once you get into the rhythm, the show is a lot funnier and the main cast just gets better as the show keeps going. The guest stars are ridiculous too as I was astonished how many they got just in their first year. I recommend checking it out but I do not know how long I’ll stick with it.


Modern Family

I have seen this show more times by accident than on purpose. Because I watch Monday Night Raw (and sometimes Smackdown), I watch the USA channel a lot. I also watch a lot of Law and Order SVU while studying but that’s neither here nor there. So I have ended up watching a startling amount of episodes of this show just while waiting for something else to start or because I was too lazy to change the channel. At first, I was curious because the show was enormously popular at one point. After that, I was a little bit drawn into the character arcs and some of the actors themselves. However, let’s get something out of the way. I am definitely not a fan of Sofia Vergara. I think of her as the new Fran Drescher. She has an annoying voice and her character is one note both literally and figuratively. That being said, the show works despite her. Like most sitcoms, some characters are smart and some are really stupid and sometimes people switch roles. Most of the characters are fun and interesting but they often drift into being caricatures of themselves instead of more complex characters. It’s not a bad way to pass the time and it does depict the kind of family that you might not always like but you have to stick with regardless.

Music of the Week:
The Church – The Unguarded Moment
Alice Cooper – The Ballad of Dwight Fry
Iko, Iko – the Dixie Cups
Ra Ra Riot – Absolutely
M.O.P. – Ante Up

Weekly Updates:
– I started watching Person of Interest Season 3. It’s still great.
– I watched yet more Seven Deadly Sins and it just gets better
– Battening down the hatches for family visiting next week
– I have added so many things to my Netflix queue
– I am trying to organize my mom’s DVD collection. So many!
– I may be borrowing some of them…
– I want to see Finding Dory! (and also Zootopia)
– This week’s theme is “Modern Sitcoms”


100 Questions to Ask Each Other #5

June 27, 2016

And so we reach the end of the 100 questions that Half a 1000 Miles posted a while ago now.  It was a difficult process and I imagine this would have been shorter if I kept it to yes or no answers or I was asked on the spot.  However, I like a good writing challenge.  Anyway, you can check out previous questions and answers here. 1, 2, 3 and 4.

82. Is silence OR a confrontation more uncomfortable?

Both are pretty uncomfortable. Silence means never dealing with the problem and just pushing it away. . Silence is so difficult when you see somebody all the time especially if you love or like them. Silence is the most uncomfortable because I suppose the person you are being silent with does not even know what they did wrong. Confrontation is scary but at least you air your grievance and maybe even see how silly you are being. Best case scenario is they apologize. Best case scenario for silence is that they confront you out of frustration.

83. What is the difference in “remembering” and “not being able to forget”?

When you remember something, a spark goes off in your brain and you are flooded with a memory. It can happen without warning and at the worst times or the best times. One of my favorite positive examples of this in fiction is near the end of Creed. One of the negative examples is the PTSD-like example here. When you can’t forget something, it never really leaves your brain and the emotional and mental weight of it stays with you. Both can be involuntary but not being able to forget is definitely against your will and sounds negative since you would not try to forget positive things.

84. What do you think when you see someone at the grocery store with a lot of coupons?

I usually feel good for them. They had a lot of time on their hands and they are saving money on stuff they actually want. When I get coupons, they usually expire before I run out of whatever they are for or they are for things I don’t want. If you can game the system and use a ton of coupons then that’s great for you and it makes me feel a little envious. Now, I have a feeling that some people might say that they get annoyed at the delay coupons cause but that’s not the case with me. I get annoyed when arguing delays the purchase but not coupons since they are part of the process.

85. Studies have shown that the more creative someone is, the more drama and chaos they will accept as normal in their life. Does that sound right to you?

That does sound right to me. I have had a lot of drama and chaos in parts of my life and especially in friendships. As a writer, I tend to view reality through the lens of fiction and vice versa. I compare my situation with characters in my favorite fiction or my own characters. If they can fight dragons, hunt werewolves and deal with extra-dimensional threats then I can handle a little drama. Of course, sometimes that means I fight when I should run or make peace when I should fight. So it may not always be a good thing but I do take inspiration from my crazy brain and I think of a lot of weird stuff as normal.

86. Do you think positive OR negative consequences would more likely motivate someone to lose 50 pounds?

I think negative consequences would more likely motivate someone to lose 50 pounds. Death or bad health are more of a motivator to me than the vague promise of a relationship or “happiness”. Negative consequences are just more likely and clearly delineated while positive consequences depend on psychological and emotional factors as well. If somebody loses 50 pounds, I cannot promise them it will net them a girlfriend because that is not how it works. I can promise them that if they do not they will continue to wheeze on steps and hills.

87. Would they be more determined to do so if they were given $50,000 if they succeeded OR if there would be a large nude billboard of them all over their hometown if they didn’t?

I honestly do not know. I would be motivated by the 50K just because I could always put that money to good use. The idea of the billboard is chilling but I have to believe it would be torn down or covered up pretty quickly so it would not be a lasting punishment. I might just not lose weight in defiance of somebody threatening me with that to call their bluff. Losing out on a positive thing like all of that money is more likely to crush me than public humiliation. I am used to public humiliation because my broken brain tricks me into experiencing it needlessly a lot anyway.

88. Name something you always do. Name something you never do.

I always write a little every day no matter what it is. I always watch YouTube every day because it is the least stressful content consumption I can think of. I never sing in public. I never go to church.

89. Studies show that contrary to what you might automatically think, when one partner in a marriage travels a lot, it is the partner that stays at home who is more likely to cheat. Do you agree?

Yeah, I would agree with that at least when I think of my experience. A person who is traveling is seeing new sights and meeting people and having a lot of stimuli thrown their way. In the midst of all the interesting things I am doing, I always have home in my thoughts and what I am going to do when I get there. It is easy to think of home romantically when you are away. When you are home and your loved one is abroad, you are seeing the same sights you see every day normally. You make your way through the same experiences and it is easy to get bored. On top of that, the one you love is out in the world having new experiences without you. It makes you long for new experiences.

90. Describe a situation where taking action could cause great potential harm, and not taking action could cause great potential harm.

If I decided to pick a fight with the local bully and I picked up an iron bar when I gave them the impression that it would be a fistfight. I would take them off guard and injure them brutally in an unfair fight and would cause death or massive hospital bills. (Just an example, I don’t fight except in self-defense). If I decided not tell a friend that their back tire was flat and they pulled off without noticing. Their wheel got damaged and they ended up forced to stop and ended up getting hit by another car.

91. Do you think it is more your assigned role to bring excitement OR stability into your relationship?

In my relationships, I think I provide the stability. I am a creature of habit and I tend to schedule things and I work at being dependable. I learn something new every day and I work to better my mind by absorbing news, fiction and general knowledge but it is usually in a set pattern in set locations. I am a nerd and proud of it and I will never be a thrillseeker or a hellraiser and I love that about me. When or if I am in a relationship again, I will always be there when they get home.

92. If you had 6 toes on each foot, would you consider yourself unique OR freaky? Would you hide it OR not hide it?

I would consider having six toes on each foot as a possible evolutionary advantage or at least as a neat and unique oddity. Having six toes is not like having one growing out of the back of your head or having a second face on your stomach. It is more likely to intrigue people than gross them out and I think I would like it. I like being different from everybody else because that is how I feel whether it’s true or not. Confirmation is always a godsend and eagerly anticipated. I would not hide my extra toes and I would proudly go barefoot and explain it to whoever wanted to know about it.

93. Did OJ do it?

I believe he did. First, OJ was on the record as being a serial domestic abuser. Domestic abuse is a personal, emotional crime that turns a relationship of love into one about power. When OJ felt he was losing that power over Nicole, he decided to take the power back forever. Second, there was a ton of DNA evidence and as corrupt as LA cops had been prior to the case, I do not believe they could have planted it all. It was a high profile case and the risk of planting evidence or purposefully contaminating it was too high. There was nothing to be gained from OJ being guilty as the public was initially on his side because he was a celebrity. Third, the defense was not based on reality but instead they focused on wild stories and fiction to cause doubt. Yes, I think he did it.

94. What do you spend too much time perfecting, when it doesn’t require perfection?

E-mail or text correspondence with somebody. Sometimes I will go through three drafts of a text so that I say just the perfect things. What was that text going to say, basically? “Do you want to go to the Orioles game this Friday?” Was that so hard? Yes. Yes it was because sometimes I have trouble connecting with people on a personal level because it makes me nervous sometimes. When it is work, I have the authority to call somebody up and ask them questions but I never want to intrude on a personal level.

95. If she has a habit of not taking a jacket, should he be expected to give her his when it gets cold?

Should he be expected to give her his when it gets cold? No, I believe that if she wanted a jacket she would have remembered to grab one and that is on her. However, I would offer my jacket because it is the nice thing to do. Doing something nice without personal sacrifice is a win-win scenario and a no-brainer when it comes time for a decision. However, nobody should go through life expecting this behavior because they will only get burned. If somebody falls short of your unrealistic expectations, it is only your fault.

96. Do you think you would enjoy jury duty?

I have enjoyed jury duty. In fact, I look forward to jury duty each time it comes around for me. I get to sit in one place and write while I wait and I get to see the inner workings of a trial if I get assigned to a case. It is our civic duty to attend jury duty so why not try and enjoy it instead of fretting about how to get out of it? Sadly, I may soon not be able to get on a jury once I officially become a paralegal as I have heard that is par for the course. One of my most exciting adventures was being on the jury for the Schurick political fraud case. However, every case is a series of stories and insight into other people’s lives.

97. Do you think a job interview simply shows who is good at interviewing OR does it show who is best for the job?

I think it shows the interviewer how quick somebody is on their feet which can qualify them or disqualify them for the job. It is your chance to show that you can answer questions truthfully and show that you are honest. It is your chance to crack a joke and show that you are a positive person. Most importantly, it is a time to show confidence and that is a great intangible that shows you would be good at a job. I think most people can spot those who are just good at interviewing and those people often crash and burn eventually or they run for political office.

98. Why are only storms/tornadoes/floods, etc. referred to as an “Act of God”? Isn’t a beautiful sunny day an Act of God too?

They are all acts of nature rather than acts of a god. However, even legally we use the term “Act of God” so I guess we will keep doing that into the future. Yes, a beautiful day is the other side of the coin of a tornado. You get good days and you get very bad days and you have to learn to not focus on the bad ones more than you have to. Unfortunately, the things we usually call “Acts of God” are horrible and calling them that puts the fault in some invisible man’s hands instead of our own. It helps to not feel guilty during a crisis so you can jut focus on being better.

99. Would you find it much harder to tell someone they hurt your feelings, than that they made you mad?

I would find it harder to tell somebody that they hurt my feelings. I find anger easy although coming down off of it hurts really bad. However, really hurting my feelings is something that would be told through misty eyes and there would be no heat behind it. It is so much easier to be angry.

100. Do you think teachers OR police officers should make more money?

I think teachers should make more money. In a polite, educated society we would not even need police officers but I know that is a more idealized point of view. In reality, teachers put up with a lot of crap dealing with the most emotional and most irrational type of people. Children. They are also tasked with shaping the minds of future citizens. Their efforts are more likely to save lives in the long run. A good teacher is like a proper diet and health care. They can make it less likely for you to get sick or hurt. Police officers are the pills and bandages of our society, scrambling to fix things and lately they hurt things just as much. I think teachers are a more important piece of the puzzle.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: January 4 1999

June 25, 2016


I want to talk about two events that are so important to me as part of the sports entertainment world. They have been talked about elsewhere but I wanted to put them on the record here because I am fascinated by them and one of them is burned into my memory forever. On January 4, 1999, the Monday Night Wars were going strong between the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. The WWF was now deep into the Attitude Era while WCW was in the middle of their New World Order Era. As I’ve stated before, I was a huge fan of the WWF and rarely watched WCW even if either was preempted. It was the days of brand loyalty before the existence of DVR or internet streaming. Still, I was kind of aware of what was going on over there.

The Attitude Era of the World Wrestling Federation was when I became a big fan of professional wrestling. I had been a fairly big fan during the mid-nineties but I mainly remember watching over at a friend’s house on Saturday mornings. When Raw premiered my interest heightened but I was still a bit young at age eleven to stay up and watch the show. When I got to middle school and high school, sports entertainment had become
extremely popular and fewer people sneered at it. It was during this period that I would stay up on Monday to make sure I watched Raw all the way through. It was worth it to be a little sleepier on Tuesday mornings in order to watch the twists and turns every Monday night.

Mick Foley had been one of my favorites since he popped up on my radar when he debuted on Raw. I heard about Mankind second hand but as I watched his career, I definitely got more and more interested. I was unaware of his earlier career but I knew how devoted he was when he was thrown twice off of the Hell in a Cell structure. Later that year, his character started to become more comedic and I loved him even more. Somehow it was easier to see the amount of thought he put into the character and I loved his feud with The Rock and the McMahons. In a lot of ways it complemented the story they were telling with Stone Cold and told it in a more humorous way.

Prior to the night in question, Mick Foley (as Mankind) had fought hard to face The Rock for the title and had knocked his opponent out. The title was not awarded to him because The Rock had never submitted and had simply passed out. On the January 4, Mankind used a real wrestling move to incapacitate Shane McMahon and ransomed the younger McMahon so that Vince would let Mankind have a rematch. They had their impromptu rematch and all Hell broke loose. While Rock and Mankind clashed in the ring, Degeneration X and The Corporation fought outside of it. The match was back and forth with The Rock doing everything in his power to keep his title belt and Foley refusing to give up. Finally, with an assist from Stone Cold, Mick Foley covered The Rock for the win. I had been laying on my belly as I watched by I jumped to my feet in quiet celebration since everybody else was asleep.

Meanwhile, things on WCW Nitro were busy failing completely as the company did its best impression of the RMS Titanic. I have since read about and watched some of the footage from this era so I am more aware of what was going on. The New World Order was initially a fresh idea but it had become diluted and WCW was having trouble getting anything to catch fire. Hogan, Nash and their cronies put out progressively worse main events and killed off any promising talent as fast as it could be generated. While the ship sank, the cruiserweight division were the musicians playing on the deck and kept their ratings from becoming a mass exodus. One of their remaining draws was Bill Goldberg who was a decent performer who the crowd loved because he looked unstoppable and had a huge win streak. Of course, WCW’s job near the end was to make chicken shit out of chicken salad.

Hulk Hogan had seen the writing on the wall which said “Fans Are Sick of You” and left active duty. Eventually, he went on live television and, with a straight face, announced that he was running for President of the United States. This was a much more laughable prospect than it is today but Hogan had to get his spotlight from somewhere. Meanwhile, Kevin Nash (formerly Diesel) held the heavyweight title and destroyed all challengers by hook or by crook. Enter Goldberg who showed up as a legitimate and believable threat to Nash’s title reign. The match was set for January 4 and I am sure that a buzz went through the WCW fandom that perhaps a new era was on its way.

On January 4, Goldberg made it to the arena but there was a problem. A ring valet by the name of Miss Elizabeth made an accusation against Goldberg. She said that Goldberg had made inappropriate advances toward her and Goldberg was arrested for “aggravated stalking”. Keep in mind that this was the nineties so having Goldberg get fake arrested by fake cops on a fake almost rape charge was not viewed as politically incorrect. It did not stop it from being a bad storyline even back then. So would Goldberg be able to beat the charges and make it back in time for his title match? Well, Elizabeth changed her story and then eventually admitted she made the whole thing up. Somehow, Goldberg still did not make it back to the arena in time. I mean, an establishing shot showed that the police station was across the street but whatever.

Hulk Hogan, who had come to Nitro to talk about his totally for serious campaign, came out to the ring and accused Nash of orchestrating the whole thing. Nash came out and refuted the claim with extreme indignance. Hogan pushed the issue and somehow Nash agreed to a match for the title to settle the issue and prove something or other. The match began and after a moment, Hogan poked Nash in the chest and Nash sold it like he had been shot with a cannon. Hogan pinned Nash easily and then the two of them got up and celebrated together revealing that they had pulled the wool over our eyes the whole time. Hogan was back and was once again king of the mountain, solving nothing from a business or creative standpoint.

These two events aired the same night and they are like night and day to me. Foley winning his first Heavyweight Championship was an award for his long service in the business and his loyalty to the WWF and the fans. It was an extremely positive moment and not only because a babyface won a championship. Hogan winning his umpteenth title belt was more of the same stuff we had seen before. It was a negative moment because fans had been cheated out of a good, bad or mediocre title match in favor for stupid shenanigans. For better or worse, both companies have the word “Wrestling” in their name and that should be the first order of business. I have not even mentioned that the Raw that night was pre-recorded and WCW announcer Tony Schiavone spoiled the Foley moment for WCW viewers. He sarcastically said that it “should put butts in seats” and it ended up causing a huge amount of viewers to switch over to Raw to watch Foley win.

Why is this night personal to me? Well, I mentioned that Monday Night Raw was pre-recorded. It actually took place on my birthday December 29th. The memory of a guy who would become my hero achieving his dream on my birthday is a strong and positive thing for me. Not only that but there were a lot of great performers attached to that moment who worked together to make everything work. It was chaotic, it was messy but it ended up beautiful. On the other side of things, WCW was taking shots at their former employee (Foley) while putting out some of the worst written and performed non-wrestling in the history of the business. The juxtaposition of the events has burned them both into my brain and yet it is the Finger Poke of Doom that has become industry shorthand. Hell, I am wearing a Finger Poke of Doom t-shirt right now. It just shows how interesting Pro-Wrestling is and why I love it.

Media Update 6/23/2016

June 23, 2016

Evil Dead: The Musical

I first heard of this musical during my tenure working in professional theater up in the boonies of New Jersey. There were five years up there but I think it was during A Streetcar Named Desire when a friend of mine named Jason played it for me. It’s probably a rare Venn diagram where Musical lovers meet Horror fans. I got a kick out of it when he played the soundtrack but I kind of forgot about it because I did not have a chance to go see the show. I am a huge Evil Dead fan and when I stumbled across a performance on YouTube, I just had to jump on it. The show is adapted from the first two movies which makes sense as Evil Dead 2 was mostly just an extended remake of the first film. First, if you’re wondering, the music is really good. The music is catchy as hell and extremely campy. In fact, a lot of the show is really, really campy in all the best ways. The show is pretty self-aware and there are plenty of allusions to the movies, Bruce and Sam. I think I watched the original Just for Laughs performance and it was really good. There’s plenty of gore to satisfy fans of the series but also enough comedy to keep you laughing. As I said, it basically shows the story of Evil Dead 2 but there are references to all three movies. The guy who played Ash is particularly good at doing Ash without doing Bruce Campbell. Check this out if you can before the lawyers take it down.

Cannibal: The Musical

So I had heard about this a long time ago but I never was able to check it out. People were so overjoyed and surprised when Trey Parker and Matt Stone succeeded on Broadway with the Book of Mormon. I was not really surprised since it was the third full musical they had written together. They had written, produced and directed Cannibal: The Musical and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut a good while before the Book of Mormon opened. The South Park movie is actually a musical with a lot of heart but it is definitely heavily South Park flavored. Cannibal started life as a short student film but evolved into a feature length film. It was distributed by Troma and it definitely has a lot of the Troma trademarks. Mostly it’s just the cheap but gory practical effects that are done with such glee. Parker and Stone’s comedy definitely clicks with the usual wackiness of Troma and you can see a lot of their future in this first project together. At one point, you can even hear somebody doing Cartman’s voice. The movie is a dark comedy about several men trying to travel into the Colorado Territory in 1883. Several flashforwards show one of them (Trey Parker) on trial for cannibalism. The musical numbers are all incredibly bouncy considering how gory some of the scenes are. The musical is a fun time and it was obvious that everybody had a lot of fun putting it together. It led to great things in the future and I definitely recommend it for those who do not have weak stomachs.

Young Frankenstein: The Musical

Mel Brooks is a great comic mind. He was always a legend at mixing very stupid comedy with very smart comedy and making it all work. A lot of his stuff was parody and Young Frankenstein was no different. It was a great little story of the heir to Victor Frankenstein coming to check out his birthright. It had some of the best comedians of the day including Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman who knocked it right out of the park. Feldman  was particularly at the top of his game and most of the memorable quotes come from him. The movie still rates in my top fifty movies at a minimum. Mel Brooks struck gold with The Producers on Broadway and it made sense to also put another great movie up there in musical form. Like The Producers, I probably never could have gotten tickets to Young Frankenstein. The musical has a lot of the tongue-in-cheek humor of the original and, of course, has a lot of the same jokes. The music is more in the style of classic broadway which makes sense for a black and white movie made in the seventies. The show comes off even more vaudeville-esque and is pretty fun to watch. Like the other musicals on this list, they hit a lot of the feel of the original characters without getting stuck too much in doing impressions. If you have a chance to check this musical out, I definitely recommend it, especially if you are a fan of the original.

Music of the Week:
Madness – Night Boat to Cairo
The Mystic Knights – You Got Your Baby Back
Zedd – I Want You To Know ft. Selena Gomez
Kool Moe Dee – I Go To Work
Dio – Holy Diver

Weekly Updates:
– The theme of the week is “Morbidly Funny Musicals”
– I am catching up on Agents of Shield and it’s great
– Still watching Seven Deadly Sins and it is badass
– I watched a lot of YouTube this week
– I need to write about that soon
– I’m in the mood to watch some old cinema
– Happy Birthday to my Mom!

Last Tuesday

June 20, 2016

On Tuesday the fourteenth of June (nearly a week ago), I got up early in the morning and made my way toward the car, rubbing the sleep from my eyes as I went. The thing is, I was happy to do it because I was driving toward something that was a long time in the making. You see, my mother and I had to drive from WV to Baltimore Washington International airport in order to get up to Boston. Specifically, we had to get to Cambridge before 2:30 when my youngest brother would defend his dissertation as one of the final steps to getting his PhD . So it was no problem to travel in order to make sure my mom got to see that.

My mom and I have pretty different philosophies when it comes to travel. I am almost always annoyingly early to everything. If there is an event, I am probably waiting in my car long before the doors open. I am terrified of being late. My mom does not seem to worry about these things. She does everything she can to be on time but she is definitely not an early person. We drove along the way and made two stops. We stopped for breakfast, we stopped for gas and then we kept driving. We listened to Serial which my mom had not heard yet. We ended up getting lost because I had never driven to the airport that way and my mother fell asleep sometime during the drive. We finally made it to the gate right as they called for the plane to start boarding. My heart stopped hammering in my chest and I settled in to watch MST3K on my phone during the flight.

We arrived in Boston and I had only been there once before. We hopped a cab and ended up having lunch in the MIT Student Center. They had Mexican, Japanese and Indian but we ate Subway because we were playing it safe. We walked around the MIT campus and enjoyed the sights. College campuses are all great but MIT was really beautiful. The building under the dome seems to go on forever inside and we walked and talked and enjoyed our time.

We headed to the Stata building and we were confused and amused by its wacky architecture. It was an interesting building but we eventually found the room we were looking for. We sat down in the back row and waved to my brother who looked ready for business. When it came time for his committee’s questions, he had an answer for everything and his confidence shown through.

He was. He delivered an awesome speech and although he lost me a bit on the math and some of the science, I could really appreciate how great his research had been at MIT. Afterward, the committee gave him the thumbs up and we headed down to see the lab he had spent nearly seven years working out of. It was really cool to see where he had been and meet some of the people he hung out with and learned alongside. We sipped sparkling cider out of a bottle opened with a Macbook Air. However, we had to bid him farewell because we had a plane to catch.

When we got back to the airport, we found out our plane was a little late so we sat down and had dinner. Mom and I talked about my brother’s journey. We talked about the obstacles he overcame, the times Mom and I had driven him to a lab during high school and we talked about a lot of things. We were both so proud of him. The flight back felt way easier and as I made the drive alone after landing, I could not be anything but glad that I made the trip.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dr. Abe Davis.


The Hackette Family

June 18, 2016

Patrick’s family had walked these woods in western Maryland for generations. They had defended them during the War for American Independence and every opportunity since then. Patrick’s sister, Dawn, had once paid for a genealogist to come in and shake the family tree to see what fell out. The guy had joked that the family must have been cursed to die in battle. There was more than enough evidence for that theory. Men and women up and down the family line had died of unnatural causes. Most of those unnatural causes had been brutal and bloody. The truth was, the family was constantly in battle but they had never left the United States since the late eighteenth century.

Since arriving in the new world, the family had been blessed and cursed with sight beyond sight. The things most people dismissed as myths, legends and optical illusions were the things Patrick’s ancestors had killed with sword and musket. Through the years, they had kept the fight a secret. So the family had fallen to bears, wolves, gators, snakes and once a pack of rabid gophers. Anything but the actual creatures that killed them. It was not something you discussed in polite company and definitely not with some insensitive genealogist making bad jokes.

“What do we have, Al?” Patrick asked his cousin. She stood hall with a wide-brimmed hat, a thick canvas coat and a big sniper rifle.

“We’ve got three Beauregards holed up in Roscoe Hollow,” Allison said. She spat on the ground after which was sometimes her take on punctuation. Beaus were the family code for the wolfman creatures that showed up periodically. They were among the most intelligent of the creatures they faced on a regular basis.

“We’re the only ones available right now?” Patrick asked. He was not really worried, just curious. He climbed into the driver’s seat of the side by side that was parked in front of the cabin. Alison climbed onto the back and hooked her rifle onto the roof so it would not bounce around so much.

“Furble infestation in the southwest,” Alison answered. She banged on the roof to let Patrick know that she was braced and ready for him to drive.

“Damn,” Patrick said, “We got the lucky assignment then. Those things are annoying and deadly. We just got the deadly ones.” He gunned the engine and they were off toward the Hollow in the northeast of the forest. Patrick trusted Alison more than just about everybody else. One day he would be in charge of the family and he wanted Al as his right hand. She was a keen mind and a crack shot.

The drive was short but before they got there, they had to get out and walk. There were too many roots and it was darker under the thick foliage. Patrick went first after clipping a machete and a pistol to his belt. Al followed with her rifle swinging back and forth and a hard look in her eyes. The Hackette family was nothing to mess with. They did not raise any pushovers.

The two of them crept through the brush, trying to be as quiet as possible. The Hackette clan could just feel these creatures when they were near and Patrick could definitely feel them in that moment. He unfocused his eyes and tried to scan the terrain like a normal person scanned a word search. If he looked too hard he would miss these cunning beasts and they would devour him and Al before they could utter a sound. It was a dangerous job fighting these things but nobody else was going to do it. If they did not thin their numbers, the beasts might spread to other areas and make their presence known. They could murder untold amounts of people without anybody being the wiser.

Suddenly, one of the beasts used itself as a furry missile and tackled Al. She and the beast flew together for a few yards but she was able to roll free and clear of the thing’s terrible claws. Patrick drew his machete and met another one coming from the opposite direction. The machete sank into its side and the thing yelped with inhuman pain. Patrick tried to draw the machete against the wound but the thing pulled away.

Another lunged at Patrick but a shot rang out from Al’s rifle and the thing’s skull exploded into a fine mist and a jigsaw puzzle of skull fragments. That made the other two think twice about their aggressive behavior. They did not think long about their pacifism before they were after the cousins again. Patrick swung his machete and dueled with one of them while the other had Al scrambling for higher ground. Patrick was having a hell of a time with his opponent dodging and weaving but finally, the machete struck gold. In this case, gold was a fountain of blood as the Beau gave up the fight.

The final beast tried to run and Patrick almost felt sorry for it as Al lined up her shot. That shot echoed through the woods as the bullet hit the Beau right in the center of its spine. It slumped against a tree and then hit the ground. Patrick reached for a canteen to celebrate.

Media Update 6/16/2016

June 16, 2016

Seven Deadly Sins

I saw this pop on my Netflix feed and I thought that it sounded kind of interesting. “A princess finds a former knight at a pub and joins a quest to reunite his group of cavaliers in order to overthrow tyrants and restore the kingdom.” I immediately imagined a sort of animated fantasy Magnificent Seven and that sounded awesome. So I loaded it up and I was pleasantly surprised because it was immediately so much more than that. I love the colorful art style that sometimes clashes with the dark parts of the show. The show alternates between the wackiness of a One Piece and the drama of a Full Metal Alchemist and it does it really smoothly. The fight scenes have all been awesome and I have really fallen in love with just about every character. There are a lot of mysteries that are slowly unfolding and providing interesting twists and turns but in a very casual, natural way. The show manages to be legitimately funny which is quite a feat as most animes have a culture gap that makes them less funny to me. This might be my new favorite anime and Diane might be my new favorite anime character.

Yo-kai Watch

When I was in high school, Level 5 released a little thing called Pokemon and my video game life was changed forever. Those little pocket monsters were fun to catch and battle and the franchise continues to be pretty awesome. The video game and card game exploded in popularity in Japan and then the rest of the world. The anime premiered in the United States and I was hooked on that too. It gave me the perfect visual reference points to think about while I played the game since the game did not have the best graphics. Now, Level 5 has apparently hit gold again and released the Yo-Kai Watch series of games in Japan and those games and the new anime are just now hitting our shores. This show is different from Pokemon in a lot of ways but also strangely familiar. First, the “monsters” in the show are Yokai which are actual creatures from Japanese folklore. These creatures do not do battle with each other. At least they don’t usually do battle with each other. In the five episodes I have seen so far, there is only one yokai that likes to do battle and it sucks at it. Instead, the yokai often have psychological effects on people or other yokai. Yokai are friends, not slaves and help the protagonist out willingly and continuing their daily routine while not by his side. It makes for a little more common sense problem solving than actual combat and is kind of refreshing. The show is wonderfully weird and if you are a Pokemon fan, it’s definitely worth a shot.

Gurren Lagann

I wanted to check out Gurren Lagann because a couple of the Game Grumps announced that it was their favorite anime. I had no earthly idea what it was about but it was on Netflix and the character models looked pretty fun. They have kind of a fluid style that is very cartoony but still oddly real. I would say that Gurren Lagann is one part One Piece and one part G Gundam and maybe add a pinch of Dragonball. Go figure, all three of those shows are among my favorite anime series. The show follows two guys from an underground city who find things even crazier when they reach the surface. All of the characters are really interesting even though half of them are really wacky. Kamina is especially loveably wacky with his iconic line “Believe in the Kamina who believes in you!”. The show so far is ultimately about the power of positive thinking and how even the craziest plans can work if you just work together. I have not seen yet why somebody would call it their favorite but I can see why people would like it. I definitely recommend checking it out as it has awesome, epic moments.

Music of the Week:

Beartooth – Aggressive
Underworld – If Rah
The Kills – Doing It To Death
East Coast Avengers – Avengers Assemble
Voodoo Glow Skulls- Insubordination

Weekly Updates:
– I am almost done with season 2 of Person of Interest and it so much better than the pilot
– I started to watch Turn season 2 and there is Ksenia Solo in it!!
– Yet more of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries watched and it’s great
– I watched Ant-Man again and it was just as good the second time
– Finding Dory comes out and I’m interested
– I watched TNA again. What a dumpster fire.
– This week’s theme is “Anime”

100 Questions to Ask Each Other #4

June 13, 2016

I have worked on this lovely list of questions from Half a 1000 Miles three times before.  You can find parts one, two and three on this blog or at the links to the left of these words.  There will be one more after this one for a total of five.

62. If your friends described you, would they be more likely to talk about things you did OR things that happened to you?

I would think that they would be more likely to talk about things that I have done. Friends at work know me for the kind of work that I put in and the kind of guy I am. Friends outside of work are right beside me usually when I am doing awesome stuff. I have had a lot of great times with friends and I hope that they would remember that. I know that as an introvert, I kind of float into the background but I have still done plenty of things in my life. College, Theater, the Circus, the Campaign, this Blog and so many other adventures. Though, a few of my friends tend to live forever on the story about me being chased by an evil dog. I’ll have to tell that on this blog at some point.

63. If you got mad at your partner and went to sleep on the couch, would you be doing so because you wanted to get away from them OR to deprive them of your company?

I have a problem with anger sometimes and I tend to retreat instead of confronting people. The only time I come close to confrontation is if it is forced as I hate the way that situation feels. When I get angry, I definitely want to get away and either be by myself or at least away from the target of my anger. As for depriving people of my company, I do not think that highly of myself. When I walk away angry, I do not think that person misses me at all. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s honestly more about reaching a safe distance to vent my anger than some delusion of grandeur.

64. Is there any circumstance where you would speak up at a wedding when they asked if anyone knows why the couple should not get married?

The last thing I ever want to do is interfere in anyone’s love life. If couples keep secrets from each other, I do not want to be the one to get involved because people get hurt. It is not my place to reveal things or interfere with people unless I somehow knew that one of them was using a false identity. The only other reason I might interfere with a marriage is if I had strong feelings for one of the participants. If I honestly could not bear the thought of them getting married I would have to tell them or somebody. However, all of this does not matter as there is no way I would interrupt a marriage ceremony. The stage fright issues would be off the charts.

65. If the mail carrier accidentally left your neighbor’s mail in your box and it didn’t look important, would you just throw it away?

No, I would not just throw away my neighbor’s mail. My neighbors are all pretty much all less than a block away as I live in a very small area. Returning their mail to them is extremely easy since I don’t really know them or want to know them, I would just place it on their porch or in their mail box. I know what it’s like to not get a piece of mail or for a missing piece of mail to cause a lot of trouble. Who am I to judge what is and isn’t important? Of course, I do sometimes get mail from people who used to live in the house and I have absolutely thrown that away because I have no idea where they are. Apparently the United States Postal Service does not know where they are either so into the trash it goes. Sorry, whatever your name is, I don’t know what else to do.

66. How do you feel about the fact that you will get a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt when there are no seatbelts on school buses?

They are separate issues to me. Wearing your seatbelt is an incredibly important thing that you have to do because it is the law. If it were not the law, it is still something you have to do in order to make sure that you make it out of a crash alive. If anybody rides in my car, they have to wear their seatbelt or they do not ride with me. I have never lost anybody in my life to a car crash but that is not going to change on my watch. As for school buses, I am always astonished that they and charter buses do not have seatbelts. As somebody who has been in a bus crash, I get really nervous when I notice that there are no seatbelts. I don’t want to imagine the kind of pinball that goes on when a school bus gets into a crash. Either somebody needs to explain this to me or they need to attach some seat belts to buses.

67. Would you speak up if all your friends kept telling you how incredibly lucky you were to have something, and you had sacrificed huge amounts of time, money, and energy acquiring that thing?

Yes.  I would definitely speak up. I definitely do not have an arrogance problem. I am very humble about my accomplishments and I am the last person to brag about anything that I have done. However, if my friends were to crap all over the hard work I did to get something done the humility would be set aside. Luck is one thing and it is a great thing to have. You get things for nothing and then you work hard to deserve them after the fact. However, if I work hard to get something that is more important than whatever I acquired. However, I am more than ready to let others have all of the credit for getting something if it helps them out.

68. Which of these phrases do you prefer? a) The Lord helps those who help themselves, OR b) God gives every bird its food, but he does not throw it into their nest?

Neither, really. I believe that God does nothing and is nothing but people are free to believe what they want. So let’s address the concepts by themselves. I do believe that people who work are more likely to get ahead in life. If you work, people respect that and they are more willing to help you. If you cannot find a job and you try, people are more willing to help you. We should still work to help those who cannot help themselves, though. And by that, I mean those who are unable to help themselves through no fault of their own.

69. Do you think most genuine apologies should be followed by a promise never to do it again?

Now that depends on whether or not you are apologizing for something that was wrong to do. If I dented your car and I apologized, I would also sincerely promise to never do it again. Would I do it again? Maybe, but it would not be for lack of trying. If you wrong somebody, you should promise never to do it again and mean it. Part of being sorry for something is trying to redress the emotional damage you did as well as the physical damage. However, if the promise is not sincere then you shouldn’t even bother. On the other hand, if you asked me to keep a precious secret and that secret was dangerous? I would tell and I would apologize but I would never promise to never do it again.

70. Have you ever asked for someone’s help as a favor to them?

Yes. There have been several times where somebody really wanted to help me out and would not take no as answer. I have asked for temporary work in order to make them feel better and it ended up benefitting me as well. Even to this day I will ask somebody to help me in order for them to feel better about themselves.

71. Have you ever been a failure when you tried your hardest, and a success when you did nothing at all?

Yes. I have to admit I failed as a government employee. I tried my hardest but they still let me go and that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I worked hard to get that job, worked myself crazy trying to be the guy and it just was not enough. Even now I wake up sometimes and sweat about having to go back there and I am happy that chapter of my life ended. As for the second part, sometimes I feel that way when family helps me out with something. I gain things and victories and I feel like I am


somebody else’s benefits. Still, if they are offering, I will accept. I will try hard to make the most of it and try not to make them sorry for helping me.

72. Do you undervalue what you are, and overvalue what you are not?

Yes but I think everybody is guilty of that. I am my own worst critic so unless there is empirical evidence that I am good at something, I honestly cannot tell whether I am good at something or not. I definitely routinely undervalue what I am and overvalue what I am not. I am working on it, though. As I get older and prove myself I am gaining more and more confidence. That confidence gives me the power to be a better person in all parts of my life. I am not perfect but I will never be perfect. I can only be perfect.

73. On a show such as American Idol, would you vote for someone simply because they were from your hometown when you didn’t feel they were actually the best singer?

Yes, I have to say I would. For me, talent in singing is one thing but there is another deeper element called heart which is way more important to me. If somebody is singing their heart out, that’s more important to me than technical mastery. That being said, I am a diehard supporter of Baltimore. It is where I was born and raised and pretty much the only place I want to be if I have my way. In the past, I have supported people like Ed Norton, Stacy Keibler, Detective Munch (he’s real to me, damn it!) and (to a point) Anna Faris. I have incredible hometown pride. Besides, anybody of worth finds their footing in the industry whether they win or lose.

74. If you owned the restaurant, who would eat for free?

My mother would always eat free regardless of her protests. Family and my close friends could eat free but within reason. However, I don’t think my family or friends would abuse the power of a free meal and they always have my back anyway. Beyond that, I guess I would give a free meal to anybody it was advantageous to comp. If I could wow somebody and the returns were worth it, dinner would be on me.

75. Have you ever been mad at someone for something they did in a dream?

No, I have not. Most people I know are not in my dreams and when they are, they are usually their kind selves. The people I do not care for often do not make it into my dreams or nightmares. I have woken up from a dream, swearing that I heard somebody I know call out to me. I have run to the window, checked the front door and they were not there. Then I get mad at myself because I was so silly to believe a voice from my dream.

76. Would you rather have someone very smart extremely mad at you OR someone very stupid extremely mad at you?

I would rather have somebody very stupid extremely mad at me. Stupid people are predictable and their revenge can often be seen a million miles away and I can mitigate the damage before it happens. Back in Middle School I got into a few fights that I am not proud of but some of them were against bullies and although they got their licks in, I was too small and scrappy to really put down. Smart people tend to know just how to really make it hurt. They attack you physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. They can even attack your reputation and cut you off from people who could have helped you. They can make it so you never know it was them. The slow pain is the worst of all.

77. Can reputations be built on what you say you are going to do?

Sure, people do it all the time. I am not completely familiar but that seems to be how stocks work. The initial Facebook stock price was built on false promises, dreams and duct tape. Of course, if you keep promising and never deliver then you will build a reputation. It will be a bad reputation but some people are fine with that as long as you get them talking.

78. Name three things worth waiting in line for.

Anything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe
In fact, I stood in the rain to see Captain America: Civil War at 9:30 am so that I would get half price on a 3D IMAX viewing. It’s so fun to see all the heroes who I spent my allowance on gracing the silver screen with all of the action, drama and comedy.

Ninja Sex Party
I stood in one spot for two hours in order to get ten rows back from the stage at the MAGFest 2016 performance of TWRP/NSP. By the end of the night, my legs were more tired than they ever were in the opera days or coming home from the gym. The next day I stood in line for five hours to get an autograph from them but the line was cut off before I could get in. I told the whole story earlier this year.

Meeting one of my personal heroes
While I have not had the chance yet, I have many guys that I would wait a whole day to meet if possible. Kevin Smith, Mick Foley, Neil Gaiman, Adam Savage, Kate Leth, Guillermo Del Toro and the list goes on. I hope someday to meet one of my heroes.

79. If character is what one is, and reputation is what others think one is, do you know both people with a good reputation and a bad character AND people with a good character and a bad reputation?

Yes, I really do. There are plenty of political examples and personal examples but I really do not wish to call people out and get myself in trouble. Both are definitely extremely possible.

80. If you had an unexpected day off, would you look forward more to relaxing OR getting shit done?

I would look forward to relaxing. I would kick back and watch some stuff, take a nap and probably get a little stuff done for the blog since I don’t lump that in with work. The last part of my Meyers-Briggs is J and that means I tend to schedule things and I do not respond well to changes. Sure, I can pull it together and respond to unexpected obstacles and threats but I would rather not if given the choice. A little decompression can go a long way toward mental health and future productivity. You need to take care of yourself when the opportunities arise. I am a strong believer in taking care of myself.

81. Have you ever Googled yourself?

Yes, I have googled myself. It’s how I know how deep my blog is in the results and what others will see when they google me as part of a vetting process. I have never seen anything negative but I have not done it in a while. Honestly, I am getting the itch to do it again right now.

Shield of the Ishim Pt. 8

June 11, 2016

Ishim Shield

The three of them walked into the cave slowly and carefully. China Gray was first, Maya came second and then Ivy took up the rear. Ivy had her guitar at the ready, down off of her shoulder. As much as Maya was curious to see the guitar’s magic, she did not want any trouble in the cave. Maya pulled a ball of dirt and hay out of her bag. She held it in her palm and blew on it. It floated into the air and ignited and started to float above them as they walked.

“That’s a neat trick, Maya,” Ivy said. She plucked one string on her guitar and an impossibly deep note sounded into the darkness ahead. Ivy paused and listened but eventually started walking behind China and Maya.

“It’s the first trick I ever learned. You need fire out there in the wild if you’re going to survive.” Maya said. It was simple to hold the burning flame high above their heads. Maya could do it almost without a thought which was good because she was nervous about keeping her footing.

“Fire is your specialty, huh?” China asked. She was walking almost at the front edge of the pool of light they were in.

“Fire makes me feel alive. Flame and light have always been easier for me to control. So yes, I guess I would call it my specialty.” Maya said with a smile. The stone beneath their feet was so smooth. It was as if millions of people had walked the path they were walking over years and years. However, it was so dark that Maya felt that most people would turn back almost immediately. Still, the three of them plodded onward for what felt like an hour.

“Are we ever going to get there, do you think?” China asked.

“This is unknown territory, Sis. Your guess is as good as mine.” Ivy said.

“Well, what did your guitar say?” China asked.

“Your guitar?” Maya asked. “Does your guitar talk now?” She looked over her shoulder at Ivy for half a moment.

“Magical sonar,” Ivy said. It was obviously a quick explanation but it felt sufficient to Maya. “My guitar didn’t say much which means it could be miles and miles.”

“How far do you think we’ve gone already?” China asked, almost groaning the words out in her impatience.

“About two miles already,” Maya said. She had gotten good at estimating distances out in the wild since Coyote had sent her here and there on errands. “So, just the beginning of our little hike.” Maya smiled but she could almost feel China frown ahead of her.

“I just wish they would stop jerking us around. Ow!” They all stopped, surprised at China’s startled and pained cry. Ivy grabbed her sister and quickly made sure she was alright as China try to push her away, promising she was alright. Maya pushed the flame forward and illuminated a set of polished silver doors. As the light touched the doors, they opened and a strong wind extinguished Maya’s little flame. That was alright because light poured out from the doorway, lighting the three astonished young women.

Beyond the doors was a stylish lobby all done up in black marble with silver accents everywhere. They walked into the lobby and the doors shut firmly behind them. All three were completely out of their element. The council was always shrouded in so much mystery. Maya supposed she had always thought they would preside over something a bit more mysterious. Perhaps it would have some torches and rough-hewn stone.

“Wait, what’s going on? Is this it?” China asked.

“I don’t know. It’s not what I expected.” Maya said.

“Frankly, the feeling is mutual,” Ivy said.

A marble wall opened, revealing a woman standing behind a marble counter. She was wearing a vaguely Italian-style masquerade mask and her green hair was pulled back severely.

“Welcome, my name is Enigma. The Council is waiting for you in chambers.” The woman said with a polite, professional smile.

“Well, I guess that answers that,” Ivy said. “Thank you, Miss Enigma. Just point us in the right direction and we are at your service.” She continued, shouldering her guitar again so it was safely behind her back. China and Maya nodded in the affirmative.

“Please follow the path. There is a bathroom along the way to refresh yourself. I suggest you drink some water. The Council can get long-winded and they encourage you to join in.” Enigma said.

“Wait, what path?” China asked.

Enigma thrust her palm dramatically at the wall to their left and it slowly opened to reveal a hallway. “Good luck,” Enigma said and this time, the smile was a little more genuine.

“Thank you,” Maya said and bowed her head slightly.

“Yes, Thank you,” Ivy said. “Come along, ladies. We’re expected and there isn’t time to dawdle.”

The three of them down the hallway. The entrance slid closed behind them with an eerily soft but ominous thud. They were in the headquarters of their order. It was home to some of the most cunning and powerful beings on Earth. Intimidating did not even begin to cover it.

Maya definitely had to go to the bathroom. Between all of the travel and her nerves being on edge, she really had to go. As she sat on the toilet, she went over the story in her head. She knew she could not leave all of the talking to the Council and China. She had to do Coyote proud. She had worked hard to join the Ishim and she would never back down now that she was part of it all. She splashed some water on her face and stepped back into the hall to meet her new friends. It was time to get down to business.

Media Update 6/9/2016

June 9, 2016

Legally Blonde: The Musical

It has been a while since I watched Legally Blonde or its sequel. They’re both great movies and I consider them to be well-written movies about a main character (and some minor characters) finding their inner strength and exceeding everyone’s expectations. I consider the movie to be one of the first feminist movies that I watched and was conscious of. I think a lot of people consider Legally Blonde to be kind of a girly movie and I can see where they would get that. However, this is way more intelligent than your average chick flick or dick flick for that matter. The main character is Elle Woods who goes to law school for all the wrong reasons but proves to herself that she’s stronger and smarter than anybody thought including herself. She also changes the lives of several people around her who are able to find their voices as well and better their lives. On a side note, in no way am I belittling somebody who chooses to be a fashion major or women who go out for their MRS degree. The musical does an excellent job of adapting the movie and the recording I watched had a very dynamic and talented cast. The show is high energy and the music is incredibly infectious. The musical numbers also play around a lot with conventional musical structure. There are a lot of interesting things done for the sake of comedy or storytelling. For the most part, the musical stays faithful to the movie as an inspirational tale of law students banding together under the command of one plucky young lady. There are a lot of interesting, thrilling moments that work just as well or better in musical form. Check the whole thing out on YouTube while it lasts or catch a stage version.

State Fair

When I was in high school, our drama department always did a certain kind of musical. We didn’t do anything that would need an electric guitar but plenty of piano-driven, cute musicals. We did old time musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, Anything Goes and Once Upon a Mattress. When it comes to that type of musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein are probably the most well-known team. They created musicals like The King and I, Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music. They specialize in some of the catchiest tunes around and lyrics that are pretty easy to remember because they flow well. I had heard of State Fair but I never had a chance to see it before now. As you’d expect the music is really good and very much like many of the musicals of its time. The first thing that struck me is that one of the main characters depicts the specific ennui and restlessness of being young perfectly. The story follows two young siblings who are both having trouble with their love lives back in their small time. Things start to change when they travel with their parents to the state fair and they each meet somebody who represents something completely new. The subplots have to do with the fair activities of livestock and cooking competitions which allow for more comic relief. The story is actually really interesting because I could not tell exactly where things were going and I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Long time readers know that I have a soft spot for upbeat classic movies and this was definitely one of them. I definitely recommend this for musical lovers.

Shrek: The Musical

I remember when Shrek came out. At the time, it was an innovative look at fairy tales at the time with a slightly new take on The Tiger’s Bride. It basically added some heart and pop culture references to the classic transformation tale but the performances and heart pulled it off. It would end up being one of the last good movies for both Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. I saw an ad for the musical when I was up in New Jersey and I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw. When the musical popped up on Netflix recently I had had time to let the idea percolate and I thought why not? So, the modern music like Smash Mouth is obviously replaced with show tunes which actually fits the story better. The visual design and script hit a lot of the same points as the original. I thought it felt more mature for a little bit but instead, I decided that it’s simply less juvenile and yes there’s a difference. Some of the songs are catchy but the lyrics are actually really fun and creative. The main difference from the original is that there seems to be a lot more exposition. We get more of Shrek’s, Fiona’s and Farquad’s backstories and the dragon talks now. In general, characters felt more developed and motivations were clearer. Both are refreshing and add to the story. The new jokes land a little better than some of the ones they replaced. There are also some really innovative special effects that were cool to watch. The actors are unknown to me but it felt like they put their own spin on things and didn’t just copy the movie too much. Check it out if you’re interested.


Music of the Week:

Slaughter – Spend My Life
The Jesus And Mary Chain – Head On
Creature – Pop Culture
May May- When I Enter Your Mind… (RIP Muhammad Ali)
Madeon – Pop Culture

Weekly Updates:

– I am loving season 2 of Person of Interest
– I finished watching season 1 of Better Call Saul and it destroyed me
– I got back into Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries this week
– So many movies in theaters I want to check out
– So many things on the docket in coming weeks to talk about
– Youtube will definitely make another appearance soon
– Muhammad Ali meant a lot to me. But still we move on.
– Check out I Am Ali on Netflix. It’s great.

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