Archive for June, 2017

Media Update 6/29/17

June 29, 2017


Moonlight

I can see now why people were so high on this movie around the time of the Academy Awards. However, it does not mean the movie was not painful to watch. It was a really good movie but ninety-five percent of the movie is very sad. This is not necessarily a bad thing but I did need to watch something happy right after. The movie is told in three chapters, following a boy/teen/man who lives in a bad part of Miami and he is dealing with surviving school and dealing with his drug addicted mother. On top of that, he is gay. We watch portions of his difficult life where even the people who are nice to him are problematic. All of the performances are fantastic and I really felt for the main character. I also felt for his friend and I even sympathized a bit with some of the ‘villains’. The writing and the acting were that good. Everybody was just so human, flawed but trying their best. The look of the movie is well-shot with most of it looking more like a work of art than just a movie. I can see why it won for Best Picture but like most Oscar movies, I never want to see it again. I do recommend it to you, though. Check it out.


To Wong Foo, Thank You for Everything, Julie Newmar

This was actually the most enjoyable movie I watched this week partly because it was also the only light-hearted movie of the bunch. When I was looking for movies to honor Pride Month this week, I saw both straight people and gay people praising it. The movie is about three drag queens who decide to drive across the country to compete in a beauty pageant but their car breaks down in a small town along the way. That sounds kind of like the plot of a horror movie but this was a quirky comedy about empowerment and gender issues. Patrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, and John Leguiziamo play the lead roles. They pretty much disappear into their characters. They embrace the hyper-femininity as most drag queens do and each is a funny yet complete character. The movie ends up being a kind of touching portrayal of drag queens leading a rebellion in a small town, trying to get the women to feel better about themselves while making the men treat the women better. Homophobes are the villains as is anybody who would use a power dynamic to mistreat a woman. I definitely recommend it.


Bound (1996)

When I was younger, I did not want to hear what other people thought. I would make my own decisions on what to watch. Now, I love to hear recommendations on what to watch. I heard that this movie was pretty good even though it looked like something I might have just walked right by. There are a couple interesting things about this movie. First, it was written and directed by Lana and Lily Wachowski back when they were known as the Wachowski brothers. They made it before The Matrix but it is sans CGI special effects and sci-fi/fantasy elements. The story does have twists and turns but at its core, it is simple. A woman tries to escape the mob with the help of a newly released ex-con who is renovating the apartment next door. Jennifer Tilly is the main character and she is under the thumb of a mobster played by Joe Pantoliano. Gina Gershon plays Tilly’s new lover who concocts a plan to get away clean with a lot of money. The movie is part drama, part thriller and there is some great acting even if at times it is melodramatic. If you like tense action where characters are trying to outwit each other, then I recommend this one.

Music of the Week:

Sandra de SáBye Bye Tristeza

Panic! At The DiscoI Write Sins Not Tragedies

Dusty Springfield – I Only Want To Be With You

Wild FlagRomance

Alan CummingShine

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Pride”
– Happy Pride Month! You know, for the two days left of it…
– All three movies have been screened at Pride festivals
– I watched some Agents of Shield Season 4
– I watched more of Season 1 of House of Cards
– I watched more of Season 3 of The Flash
– I watched more of Season 2 of Supergirl
– I watched more of Season 5 of Arrow
– I watched more Glitter Force
– I watched more Fairy Tail

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Bron Music Video

June 26, 2017

Not much writing today, I thought I would share something I have spent quite a bit of time on while I learn some new video editing software.  I missed this kind of thing.  I used to do a lot of audio editing back in college but I have been out of practice.  I had the idea for this video after humming the song (after hearing it in Sing!) and thinking about the character.  It was really fun so I expect I may be doing a little more editing in the future.  Anyway, it is not the finest video in the land but it is a rough idea of what I wanted to do.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

See You On the Other Side

June 24, 2017

I stood on the threshold of the portal. The surface of it was shiny like a mirror dusted with glitter. I could see strange neon-bright circuitry creeping over the walls next to the portal. Pretty soon, the invading technology would be advanced enough to grow a defense of the portal from that strange circuitry moss. Laser grids, grenade launchers, machine guns, sonic pulse emitters and anything else the stuff could think of. It was only a matter of when not if. We had to hurry.

I touched the communications button under my ear gingerly. I was a little wary of being watched in that hallway. “Marianne,” I said into the implanted microphone. “Timing is crucial. Are you going to get here in time?” There was a three-second pause that lasted an eternity.

“Yeah,” Marianne said as she rounded the corner a few feet away. “Hold your horses. It took a bit longer to get through security. This is getting even crazier than I thought.” She spotted the portal and her eyes went wide. “Much crazier.”

Marianne had been my client for the past month. She was the Chief Operating Officer of DOT Industries when the company started to act strangely. Strange orders started coming in and paperwork was getting fudged. When Marianne started to look into it, she had been reprimanded. When she persisted in investigating, she had been removed from her position with a healthy severance payment. She had used part of that severance to hire me. We had been digging for a month and now we had snuck into one of the buildings belonging to her former employers.

“That’s why you hired me,” I said. “I was right, by the way. We have an invasion in progress or at least that’s what it looks like.”

“So do I owe you twenty bucks?” She asked.

“I’m not really happy about it but yes,” I said. I gestured toward the portal. “Shall we?”

“We’re not going in there are we?” She asked. She had obviously been a tough executive but there was a difference between that and jumping into a strange portal. Adventuring took a different kind of guts and maybe a little stupidity.

“We have to know what is on the other side,” I said. “What did you think we were going to do?”

She pulled out a camera. “Well, take some pictures and get the word out.” She aimed the camera at the portal.

“No flash,” I said. “You might startle the moss.”

“Of course not,” Marianne replied. She snapped the picture and then two more to be safe.

“That thing doesn’t have any scanning technology, does it?” I asked. I was no scientist. I could pretty much tell the portal was stable but beyond that, I was out of my element. I would have loved a little more data.

“No,” She said. “However, it did upload to three different servers and it was sent to a friend of mine.”

I had to admire her drive and attention detail. “Well, if you’re done with the photography, we may never get another chance to see the other side of this thing.”

“How do we know we can get back?” She asked.

“I have a transponder on me that I can activate,” I said. “It will provide coordinates for our own portal. I have friends on standby too.”

“You think that will work?” She asked.

“It hasn’t failed me yet,” I said. “By the way, if that techno-organic moss is what I think it is, we should try and keep electronics close. They might be able to absorb our tech.”

“What about you?” She asked.

“What about me?” I asked, watching her watching me.

“Well, I don’t want to pry,” She said. “But don’t you have a lot of cybernetic parts?” I must have shown surprise on my face because she added. “I do my research before hiring anybody.”

“And you still hired me,” I said softly. Cybernetics and old school surgical corrections had fallen out of favor when genetic recombination and nanotechnology had advanced.

“I don’t judge,” She said. “You’re not less human to me. Just somebody who got broken and repaired the best way they knew how.”

I was surprised by the acceptance. “Um, thank you,” I said. “We really should be going, though. Anything could set off the alarms at any minute.”

“Um, can we breathe on the other side?” She asked.

“If it was dangerous over there, we would have already passed out,” I said.

“Comforting,” She said.

I nodded and drew my pistol from where it was shielded from scans, hidden in a cavity in my right hip. I ran through the portal. It felt like stepping through a curtain of falling mercury except for that right afterward you feel like you are falling. Except, you are still stepping forward in the same moment. It is incredibly disorienting which is probably why portal travel never caught on commercially. After a swirl of light and color, I came out on the other side. I stepped aside so that Marianne would not bump into me when she came through. Then I turned to look at what we had stumbled onto.

The place was absolutely covered in eye-searingly neon circuitry. The stuff had formed itself into structures either for purposes of form or function or both. It was hard to take in but it strikingly beautiful. I heard a soft rippling noise from the left of me. Then Marianne let out a soft and breathy ‘Wow’. I nodded, that was the word for it.

Media Update 6/22/2017

June 22, 2017


House of Cards

I have heard over and over how good this show was but the longer I did not watch it, the more there was to watch and I felt overwhelmed. I always said ‘I’ll watch it next week’. This is the week that I finally decided to watch it, disregarding that there are multiple seasons out and just focusing on watching it from the beginning. Kevin Spacey is a great actor and he pours everything into every performance I have seen from him. This may be his greatest role yet. This show is exactly how I imagine politics normally operates. People have goals to accomplish but they also want to amass power to accomplish those goals. They do horrible things to amass that power and to achieve those goals. Frank Underwood is a very charismatic character and is a lot of fun to watch. He is also a lot of fun to hate. In fact, I have yet to see a “good guy” character on the show and I think I never will. This show is about living by the laws of the jungle and who cares who gets run over. I definitely recommend it. It is also partially filmed in my hometown.


Ms. Sloane

This movie kind of had its box office killed by the gun lobby which is actually a pretty good illustration of why this movie needed to be made. The movie covers how corrupt the political lobbying industry is in America. The issue that they choose to use to illustrate this is a gun control law heading towards a vote in the Senate. The movie actually tackles the gun control issue from multiple sides, providing a pretty balanced argument for both sides. However, it is a useful tool in the main drive of the film in covering the lobbying industry. Jessica Chastain plays a hired gun lobbyist who decides to back the gun control bill instead of following the money and fighting for the NRA. Her performance as a workaholic Machiavellian strategist is fascinating to watch. The twists and turns in the story were at first predictable and then the movie started to surprise me. The movie gets more and more powerful as it goes on. It goes from scrappy political movie to thriller to courtroom drama. It is a shame that this one did not get the attention it deserved because it really should have gotten a bigger audience. It still can so I definitely recommend it.


In the Loop

This movie is insane. It is about the communication between the English and American governments during the events leading up to the Second American War in Iraq. Obviously, the main consensus now is that launching that war was a titanic mistake caused by ineptitude, outright conniving malice, and greed. That is what this movie is about. We follow a minor British PM who is a weak-willed politician who gets caught up in everything because he makes a gaffe in an interview. He and his staff stumble through relations with their own government and the American government. Meanwhile, the Americans are pushing hard to start a war. There is a lot of political jockeying and bullying as the people involved are more interested in ending up in a dominant position rather than doing what is right. The two main stars I recognized were James Gandolfini and Peter Capaldi but the whole cast is awesome. Capaldi, in particular, might set a record for f-bombs dropped by a single character but somebody might need to check that. This movie is a spiritual successor to Dr. Strangelove as it is driven by a lot of absurdity and chains of events that rational thought should have stopped. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Junior – ‘A House That’s Not Quite Home’

Electric Six – Synthesizer

Of Mice & Men – Never Giving Up

NF – Real

Alyson Stoner – Dragon

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Politics as Usual”
– I finished Supernatural Season 12
– I watched more Arrow Season 5
– I watched more The Flash Season 3
– I watched more Supergirl Season 2
– I watched an episode of Bones I had not seen
– I still have not seen Wonder Woman and now I want to
– Happy Birthday, Mom!

Interview Questions 9

June 19, 2017


If you could live in any TV home, what would it be?

This is a hard question because is it asking about a house or a household? I guess I will approach both questions to cover my bases. Which television house is easily answered since I have just been binging a certain show about a pair of brothers who kill monsters. I am talking, of course, about The Bunker from the later seasons of Supernatural. The Bunker is a protected underground lair created by the United States chapter of the Men of Letters, a group of people who researched monsters and magic for centuries. With the American chapter all dead, the Bunker just sits idle. I would love to have an underground lair hidden away from people with Internet access and a library of books about magic and monsters to read into to. Household means that I would be sharing a house with the fictional characters that usually live there. That question is a lot more difficult because those fictional characters already have an established organization. I would probably love to rent a room at the Dietz home after the end of Beetlejuice. Lydia is pretty cool, there are cool ghosts, and the Dietz parents are starting to mellow out. Magic and mystery without the danger.


What fictional character do you wish you could meet?

This one is also difficult. Most of the really cool fictional characters are often surrounded by danger. I would love to meet The Doctor or The Winchesters but they are constantly surrounded by world-ending danger. I do not need that in my life, I have enough drama. Likewise, I would love to meet Deadpool but he is himself dangerously erratic and I would not want to even be in the same city as him. The same goes for a lot of other unstable yet interesting people such as the Gorillaz, Fergus Crowley, and Frank Underwood. I do not want to go into such an unstable situation that my life or well-being might be at risk. I think I would most like to meet somebody nice, interesting, and who has done and seen amazing things. That would be Doreen Green aka Squirrel Girl. Sure she’s surrounded by crazy things all the time but she tends to unfailingly protect those around her and she has an enormously positive attitude. She has met (and beaten) Galactus and Dr. Doom (twice). She knows the Avengers. She hangs out with heroes and normal people. She has a habit of turning villains into heroes (or normal people). That would be my choice hands down.


Which Disney universe would you most like to live in?

While the main characters in Disney worlds are often put in danger and life-altering situations, the background characters are usually pretty safe. Of course, there are always exceptions like Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and Finding Nemo/Dory. It is not like I wanted to live in those universes anyway since they are low-technology with the denizens just trying to survive under political systems that are mostly gone now. Aladdin is one of my favorite movies but there is still poverty, disease, and danger from corrupt politicians or overzealous guards. That leaves out potentially fun places like Atlantica, Motunui, Corona, and Arendelle. Of course, I am trading away one of my dreams of magic being real which is hard to give up but all of the worlds with magic tend to be pretty unpredictable. I am including The World Without Magic (which later gets magic) from Once Upon a Time (an ABC/Disney joint so it counts) because bad things happen every five minutes there. My choice would have to be San Fransokyo from Big Hero 6. A city where American and Asian cultures have fused and technology has advanced to awesome but mostly stable levels. The higher technology would feel a lot like magic (thanks, Mr. Clarke) and I would not have to answer to a feudal system, just the usual stupid American politics.

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 5

June 17, 2017

The Star and the Shadow

Daff was so hyped to be heading to auditions for the Spring Musical. She had been in every school show since she was old enough to try out. However, this was the first year that she felt that she could actually get the lead. She enjoyed being in the ensemble. She enjoyed the costumes, the energy, and the camaraderie. However, she felt like she had paid her dues and it was her time to shine. She really wanted to shine.

She had wanted to be a star since she was old enough to walk. She wanted to be the one out in front in the lights and maybe even that white hot spotlight. She wanted people to look up to her like she had looked up to the stars before her. It was the cycle that show business was built on. She wanted to be part of that business for real so badly. Experience here might serve her well in the future or she might even get seen by the right people and secure her future. The possibilities were thrilling and they fed her excitement and confidence that she would pour into her audition.

Suddenly, she tripped over something. She recovered her balance at the last moment and looked around. A thing that was not a cat had been in her path.

“Hey!” Daff yelled. “You almost made me fall! I could have been hurt, you need to watch where you’re going. Oh God, I’m yelling at a cat.”

The thing looked up at her. “Daffney Sinclair, there is little time but I do apologize. We need to meet with the others. Time is short.”

“What?” Daff said. “You have to explain.”

“There is no time, Daffney. Take this charm and follow me!” The thing yelled. A charm flew through the air toward Daffney. She caught the charm in midair. It was some sort of metal with an orange crystal in the center of it. She tried to argue but it was pretty and the cat thing was gone. She needed to find it and fast.

* * *

Maya ran as fast as she could through the city streets. She knew her appearance startled all of the people she passed. Runes from various cultures decorated much of her skin in inky black. However, it was not ink. It was concentrated dark energy. It had been the only way to hide and protect herself from the strange invaders that were chasing her. It was the only way to fight back. The use of dark magic had turned her hair oily black and her skin chalky white. She looked like something out of a Japanese horror movie. She had been on the run for so long but now they were finally catching up.

She had only a little idea who they were. She knew they were called the Dark Covenant and that they controlled terrible magicks but that was about it. They had killed Maya’s parents right before her eyes. An old witch had come from nowhere and rescued Maya and took her on as an apprentice. She learned spells and runes but Maya fled when she learned of the dark nature of the spells she was learning. She did not want to fall into the darkness, even if it meant saving her life and avenging her parents.

She was on her own for the first time in her life. She drifted from place to place. When there was danger, she ran. A few days ago, she had felt the pull to come here to Drake City. She had gone immediately. She had never been there before and it was a long way from her homeland but something about it felt right. Maybe her journey could finally be over. Somehow, the creatures had made it there first and that dream was in danger again.

Maya rounded the corner and ran right into a girl her age. As they both fell to the ground, Maya saw a glittering orange charm clatter to the pavement. All around them, the brick walls and blacktop formed humanoid shapes. These newly formed monsters surrounded the two young girls. Maya was instantly back on her feet, her runes pulsing with power.

“Get behind me!” Maya yelled out.

Before the other girl could move, one of the brick monsters held up its hand. What could only be described as pink flame shot out and hit the other girl. With an unearthly shriek, the girl fell back to the pavement. She was not moving but she was still burning with those strange pink flames.

“No!” Maya cried out. The brick monster turned to her but she poured will into a collection of runes on her wrist and she teleported before the pink flame could touch her. Unfortunately, the spell did not work for long distance so she was only just outside the circle of monsters. A thing that was not a cat came running from the alley. It stopped cold when it saw the burning body.

“Daffney! No, I was too late,” The thing said with a yowl. Maya reached down and picked up the charm that Daffney had dropped. She held it in her hand and watched the crystal turn black. The cat thing yowled again. “No! That’s not for you! Drop it!”

“What the hell are you?” Maya yelled. Everything was happening so fast. It was hard to concentrate on the danger when confronted with a talking animal.

“It’s too late! Bring the charm with us! Run!” The thing yelled. Maya chased after it, out of the alleyway. She needed answers. For the first time since this whole thing had begun, there was somebody besides that awful witch who might know about these monsters. The two of them sprinted down the street. Thankfully, the monsters seemed to be as slow as you would expect brick and blacktop monsters would be. Pink flame shot out of the alleyway behind them but it came just short, missing them both. Maya heard the screams of bystanders on the street. She started to turn back.

“No!” The cat thing yelled. “We can’t help them like this. I want to help them too but we need assistance first.”

“Like this? Like what?” Maya yelled back. Everything made less sense than usual.

“Run!” The cat thing commanded and Maya shut up and ran harder, feeling her own darkness pushing her forward faster. She scooped up the cat thing and kept running. “Turn right ahead!” It yelled out.

Maya hung a right and nearly ran into four startled girls, one of them in a wheelchair. The thing called something out into the gathering twilight that Maya did not hear clearly. There was a flash of light and then all of them were gone from the streets of Drake City.

Media Update 6/15/17

June 15, 2017


John Wick 2

One of my favorite parts of John Wick was the occasional glimpse at the life John had left behind. There was this whole soldier of fortune/assassin culture that was brutal but also dignified on its surface. There were rules and there was structure in a mysterious world just beyond our own. I wanted more. I got it in the sequel. In John Wick 2, John is forced to go back into that world he retired from and he must go deep. The fight scenes are just a good as the first movie and just as relentlessly pulse-pounding. Keanu Reeves’ quiet intensity is so much fun to watch. The world building was everything I wanted it to be. Even after all the new information is revealed, there are so much more mysteries and corners of that world to explore. I hope there will be a third movie in the series. I definitely recommend this.


Hercules (2014)

Live-action, hard-hitting Greek legend adaptations have been a big thing lately probably since Zack Snyder put out the pretty OK movie 300. This movie is also action-packed but I felt that it is a more nuanced take on the legends than the testosterone-driven 300 or the Clash of Titans remake. Greek legends are not just about what the characters did but also the personalities involved. I have been a huge fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for almost twenty years now so I will pretty much see anything that he is in. This was a neat adaptation of Greek legends. It feels much more down to Earth mostly because not a single god shows up in the story. Instead, we get Hercules (who is unsure of his parentage) leading a squad of mercenaries in the years after the Trojan War. The combat is excellent with great combat strategy and beautifully filmed. Where the movie really shines is the charisma of The Rock mixed with the awesome supporting cast. It is exciting, funny, and a great popcorn flick. I recommend it.


Manhunter

I have read Red Dragon (and all of the Hannibal Lecter books) and I watched all of the movies with Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. I have also watched the first season of Hannibal, the deeply disturbing television show. This was really the only part of the franchise that I had not seen. When I learned about it, I dismissed it because I was afraid that Lecter without Hopkins would not be any good. This week, I was suddenly curious what the movie was like. I was right, the movie is very different without Anthony Hopkins’ magnetic performance. That is not actually a bad thing. By the time Red Dragon rolled around, Lecter was drawing too much attention in a story that is not really about him. This version is allowed to focus more on Will Graham, the deeply troubled hero. I loved William Petersen’s performance and the muted but powerful way he interacted with the world. Graham as the deeply troubled detective who is just barely keeping on the rails is so interesting to watch. Cox as Lecter is more driven and direct. It’s not better or worse, just different. Dino De Laurentiss shot the movie beautifully but I can definitely see the effect that David Lynch left behind when he quit the project. I recommend it if you can sit through a slow-paced murder mystery/thriller.

Music of the Week:
Katy Perry – Bon Appétit

The Afghan Whigs – Oriole

Anthrax & Public Enemy – Bring The Noise

Knower – Time Traveler

Teamheadkick – Deadpool Rap

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “A Name With Instant Recognition”
– I continued Season 3 of The Flash
– I continued Season 5 of The Arrow
– I continued Season 12 of Supernatural
– I continued Season 2 of Supergirl
– Lucha Underground is back
– I might see Wonder Woman this weekend. Maybe.

Only 18

June 12, 2017

At the end of last week, I journeyed with my family up to Boston. My youngest brother was receiving his hood from MIT. I think I might have mentioned it before but my brother just received his Ph.D. in Computer Science. We are all really proud of him. I cannot fathom the passion and dedication that my brother has poured into over two decades of school. He has an amazing intellect which is paired with a creative soul. We watched him actually get his hood on Thursday and then we watched him walk on Friday before rushing off to catch our plane. It is super impressive and our whole family is delighted that he has achieved this titanic milestone.


I would have walked right this place if I had not heard of the legend of the 18.

We were not in Cambridge long but we did get to hang out a bit and do some cool stuff. The main thing we did was we went to a weird little restaurant called Craigie on Main. On Wednesday, my mother told me that she had made reservations for 5:30 to get hamburgers at this place. Now, I usually eat dinner at six but I was thrown because the rest of my family does not eat until eight at least. Then my mother lets me know that my little brother really wanted a burger from this place. The catch was that the place only serves eighteen burgers a night and if you are number nineteen, you are out of luck. If you do not get a burger, the cheapest item costs about fifty bucks. So my mother and I traveled to stand in line outside of the restaurant before it opened at 5:30.


Did I mention there was really good rap music playing in the bar?

We ended up being numbers 3, 4, 5 and 6. One of our party opted out of one of the coveted hamburgers which astonished and amused the rest of us. The place probably had the most attentive service I have ever witnessed, especially since we were sitting in the bar area and not the restaurant area. En route to getting my burger, I had raw oysters for the first time. Except the things were doused in some sort of lemon juice which I did not like. Most people are turned off by the texture but I did not mind it. I minded the stinging fruitiness of that particular dish. Still, it was nice to cross that off of my list.


I want another one.

Finally, the burgers arrived and I could not be more pleased. They looked amazing. They had big fluffy buns, dark greens, and thoroughly melted cheese. Best of all, when I bit into it, I realized that the burger was cooked rare. I was blown away. It is a struggle to get places to cook things actually rare these days so I was glad to taste that burger. It was delicious. I am 99 percent sure that it is the best burger I ever tasted. The burger offered no resistance, each bite was as delicious as the first. There was no need for ketchup or any other condiments, the blood and grease of the burger was already soaking the top half of the bun. It was so good.


The Funky Bunch would be proud, I guess.

The weird addendum to this story is that as we walked through the airport around lunch time, I saw something I should have expected but I did not. It was a Wahlburgers restaurant. As my stomach grumbled, I knew I had to try one of their infamous burgers. It seemed almost profane to seek out a burger indirectly made by Mark and Donnie’s brother. But I had to. I had to check it out because if I ate at some faceless sandwich place instead, I would always wonder. As it is, I am still wondering what “Wahl sauce” is. This was the kind of burger that needs to be doused in condiments and the mysterious Wahl sauce did a great job of that. The burger was somewhere between medium and well done but I was so tired after getting through the endless names of a college commencement that I did not care. Besides, the burger scale goes from OK to excellent. There is no such thing as a bad burger.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Extreme Rules 2017

June 10, 2017

WILPW

I arrived at the Royal Farms Arena around 5 pm. I had never been to a WWE show before, this was the first one after over 20 years of being a fan. Because of my inexperience, I was unaware of when the doors would actually open. I drastically overestimated how early that would be. Still, a line had already formed when I arrived and I walked to the end and leaned against the wall. Pretty soon, I was engaged in conversation with the band of misfits behind me in line. We made our predictions, talked about the state of the business, the past, and played entrance music on our phones. It is extremely rare that I get to talk to people who are knowledgeable about wrestling in person. Usually, it is only through Twitter.

20170604_182643

I was one of the first hundred people inside since I had gotten there so early. I snapped the above picture of the setup and then settled in with Twitter while I waited for the show to start.


Apollo Crews vs. Kallisto

We started with the one pre-show match. I have to admit that I have been bored by these two performers in the past because neither has received good pushes in a while. This new Titus Brand storyline has actually drawn more personality out of Crews and given Kallisto more purpose. Also, Titus O’Neill is really fun to watch live because he is so expressive. The match itself was a lot of fun. Both guys are fast and technically proficient and they have good chemistry. These two (former?) friends put on a great show with Titus getting embarrassed as usual. The crowd woke the crowd up pretty well.


The Miz w/ Maryse vs. Dean Ambrose

Then the main show started and right off the bat, the pyro scared the hell out of me but I recovered. We started with Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz. I really appreciate Mike Mizanin as a performer but I love hating The Miz even more. He has evolved as a wrestler and once again it showed in this match. Dean Ambrose is a perfect opponent for him as well. Miz was being a weasel the entire match and Ambrose was responding in just the right ways. I audibly cried out “No!” when Maryse slapped Miz. I didn’t want the match to end yet and not that way. The two false finishes were a great way to hide the real finale which kind of came out of nowhere but it was great.


Rich Swann and Sasha Banks vs. Noam Dar and Alicia Fox

Next, we had a match with my hometown hero, Rich Swann partnering with “The Boss” Sasha Banks against the insane pairing of Noam Dara and Alicia Fox. The match was a lot of fun and there were a lot of great moves and good laughs. I am not a huge fan of mixed tag matches in WWE because the flow is weird because the genders cannot mix. (Talk to Joey Ryan about intergender matches, please). This match actually went really well as they used those weird rules to their advantage. Watching Sasha Banks hit the double knees on Noam Dar on the outside was great. One of the highlights of the night for me was watching Swann beat the hometown curse and danced with Sasha after a fantastic win. Watching a happy Rich Swann jut makes me smile.


Bailey vs. Alexa Bliss

Bailey deserved better. I was so excited to see her entrance live and I was not disappointed. I got that warm, fuzzy feeling I usually get seeing her entrance. Unfortunately, the disappointment was not far behind. Bailey got in a flurry of offense and then it felt like a squash match in favor of Alexa Bliss after that. I love Alexa Bliss but I thought they would give the match more than they did. It was criminally short. After Bailey talked in a pre-match interview about studying the progenitors of extreme, I thought she would get to swing the kendo stick at least once. I thought she would have a brutal battle with Alexa ending with Alexa getting the victory. What they did fell flat for me and was not fair to Bailey (or Alexa for that matter).


The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus and Cesaro

I had never seen a steel cage match in person so I was excited to watch the Hardy Boyz face off against Sheamus and Cesaro. Their entrances were even more awesome live (though it was kind of funny to see Cesaro miss his mark during the blackout). These are two of my favorite tag teams in the WWE. Cesaro and Sheamus did not really work for me at first but now I really enjoy the team up. Cesaro has a way of melding well with whoever he is thrown together with. The action was back and forth with plenty of great chemistry. I shouted “Delete!” and chanted “Brother Nero” loudly along with the crowd so I hope WWE and the Hardys work together to move away from the stale Hardy Boyz gimmick. I stood up when Jeff jumped from the top of the cage. I was happy to see Sheamus and Cesaro win because that felt like the more interesting option.


Neville vs. Austin Aries

I was excited to watch the next match but I seemed to be in the minority. All of the energy seemed to be sucked out of the building. Maybe it was how long they took switching the ropes out unnecessarily. I thought it was a great match. There were so many great false finishes and they continued the story of Neville protesting too much while Aries never backed down. I really thought that A Double would pull out a victory but the finish was brutal and interesting.


Bray Wyatt vs. Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns

Finally, we got to the main event. Once again, the entrances were so much more amazing live (even without some of the camera tricks). I held up my cell phone to be one of Bray Wyatt’s fireflies and I got chills. I held up my arms in time with Finn Balor’s music. I even got to boo Roman Reigns even though I appreciate him as a performer. I felt like the match lived up to its potential. I was intrigued by the continued team up of Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt. I was also glad to see Bray shine as bright as he did after continued mistreatment of his character. In the end, I hoped to get my wish to see Finn win but I am not mad at Samoa Joe being the one to face Lesnar next.

Media Update 6/8/17

June 8, 2017


The Book of Life

While it should be obvious by now how much I love Halloween, I have also long been enamored of Mexico’s Day of the Dead. It is not just Mexican Halloween, it is so much different (but also a little different). Day of the Dead is a celebration of remembrance for all dead loved ones. It has a festival atmosphere as candy and good food are shared with the living and with the dead. The Day of the Dead evolved an artistic motif which is well-known even here in the United States. Chief among the symbols is the sugar skull which I am sure you have seen. This movie takes a trip through the customs and legends of the Day of the Dead (with a few tweaks, of course). The movie is so pleasant to look at. The animation is CGI but it reminded me so much of movies like Kubo and The Boxtrolls. The art style just made me smile over and over. It is a tale of a love triangle threatened by supernatural forces from the realms of the dead. It is such an interesting story in the style of a folk tale of gods and mortals. It was exciting, touching, and so incredibly funny. Not surprising since it was directed by Jorge Guttierez (a man deep in the Mexican animation game) and produced by the legendary Guillermo Del Toro. I cannot recommend this one enough.


Wanted 18

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict has been going on since before I was born. The clash of cultures is one that is incredibly hard to untangle and nobody is completely innocent. This is the true story of a Palestinian town that bought eighteen cows so that they did not have to buy Israeli milk. Their town was Israeli-occupied and they had had enough. The movie is a mixed media documentary with reenactments, interviews, and animation. The animation is mostly about what the cows must have thought of being the focal point of a rebellious act. The talking cows add some humor to a pretty tense story about the Intifada/Israeli conflict. There are also some comic book-style drawings to help illustrate the story. It is a story about a town banding together as a symbol to a people who felt that they got a raw deal. It is an intensely interesting story. Now, I do not know how much is true. I also cannot tell you who is ‘right’ in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As I said, it is a difficult knot to untangle. This movie is worth a watch, though. So often, the United States is only told the story from Israel’s side. It is easy to vilify Palestinians but the conflict is not so black and white. This was a non-violent civil disobedience that is so much more powerful than any fighting. I definitely recommend this.


A Monster in Paris

This was a strange little movie. Set in 1910, a flea is exposed to a chemical mix that makes it into a human-sized monster with a beautiful singing voice. From there, it gets mixed up with a colorful cast of characters in a Paris cabaret. The premise is strange but the characters and the music really make it work. The movie is also alive with Parisian and 1910 culture in general. References to people like Melies are always welcome. There is a lot of action, music, and a ton of great comedy. The second half is non-stop zany action which I really enjoyed after the heavier subject matter in the above movies. As I look down the list of voice actors, I do not recognize anyone (except Catherine O’Hara) but everyone was just as good as any Hollywood star. The animation was really expressive and the art style was just different enough to really set it apart from the multitudes. It was light fare but entirely enjoyable from start to finish. I definitely recommend this one as well.

Music of the Week:
-M- Matthieu Chedid – Je dis aime

Tytan – The Watcher

Bad Seed Rising – Wolves At The Door

Lil Dicky – White Crime

Diamanda Galás & John Paul Jones – Skótoseme

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Animation from Foreign Lands”
– I started watching Arrow Season 5
– I started watching The Flash Season 3
– I started watching Supergirl Season 2
– I watched more Season 12 Supernatural
– I watched more Fairy Tail


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