Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Media Update 4/9/20

April 9, 2020

This week is a special book review edition because I have been engrossed in these books lately. All three books were available in audio form from my local library.

She Said
by Meghan Twohey and Jodi Kantor

When the Me Too movement began to flourish like a genie’s bottle suddenly and finally uncorked, I was really happy. Sexual violence and sexual harassment are things that took me a long time to understand. I always believed they happened but, for some reason, I never understood why. It finally clicked with me over a decade ago when it was described as less of a sexual thrill and more of a dominance thing. Anyway, this book is written by the two New York Times reporters who broke the story on Harvey Weinstein’s mistreatment and abuse of so many women who passed through his life. However, it is not only about that. It is also about their story on his misappropriation of AIDS charity money. It is about Non-Disclosure Agreements in general and how many attorneys make a living on silencing victims for profit. It touches on the many cases of abuse perpetrated by Donald Trump. It is about the mistreatment of Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford during the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh. It is about how Trump’s own history colored his handling of the situation. It is about the Me Too movement’s evolution. I definitely recommend it.

Catch and Kill
by Ronan Farrow

This is Ronan Farrow’s book on his own efforts to report on Harvey Weinstein, efforts that were a lot rockier than the journey at the New York Times. At the time, Farrow worked as an investigative reporter for NBC, mostly working on the Today Show. After getting a lead on the Weinstein scandal, he was assigned the story. As soon as he started to gain some traction, his bosses tried to kill it. Eventually, the story was published through New Yorker Magazine. Farrow reads his own book in this version and he does a lot of voices and imitations but I think it comes off as endearing, not silly. Farrow is a consummate performer and it shows that he gets great joy out of it just like his mother. He is also a former attorney and the combination of journalistic and legal insight is very useful in telling his story. His story is less about the Weinstein story and more about the extraordinary lengths that Harvey, NBC, the National Enquirer, and so many others went to ‘catch and kill’ the story and many like it. It goes into detail about the actual spy agencies hired to intimidate, investigate, and surveil those trying to get the story out. It also goes into great detail about the inner workings of NBC. It chronicles the fall of Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw and how NBC tried to hide their culpability and complicity in the whole thing. I definitely recommend it as well.

Permanent Record
by Edward Snowden

During the Obama Administration, there were a great number of whistleblowers who sought to reveal the sins being committed by the US government. Many, if not all, of these people were severely punished and their lives continue to be absolutely ruined by the government. Edward Snowden is one of those people. Through journalists, Snowden revealed a secret spy program that was constantly monitoring all US citizens. No longer were they just surveilling suspected criminals, they were watching everybody and saving it all as a permanent record for each citizen. This is Snowden’s account of how he came to the decision to release this information and why he ultimately did. It is also a reflection on his life, a memoir that helps frame why he did what he did. It is a really charming tale of a young, curious kid from North Carolina who eventually got swept up into a terrifying bio-mechanical organism that never had the People’s best interest at heart. I also recommend this book.

Music of the Week:
ORESAMA – 流星ダンスフロア

The Ratler Brothers – Flowers On The Wall

IGORRR – VERY NOISE

Badflower – The Jester

Megan Thee Stallion – Savage

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Surveillance”
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more Slasher Season2
– I watched more Bojack Horseman Season 6
– I watched more Black Lightning Season 3
– I watched more Penn and Teller’s Bullshit!
– I watched more Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath Season 2
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 2
– I watched more Dirty Money Season 2

Media Update 4/2/20

April 2, 2020


The Hunt

This was obviously a very controversial movie even before it came out because its release was delayed due to one of the summer mass shootings. Probably because it is another take on that old chestnut, The Most Dangerous Game. Also, there is a crapload of guns in it. The premise, as far as the trailer is concerned, is liberal elites hunting MAGA folks. However, there is more to it than that. Here is a story where everybody kind of sucks and we get to see how all of these viewpoints get twisted by rhetoric and the noise in the signal. I have to give a shout out to Reed Birney (and not just because I’ve talked to him and he’s friends with my mother) who joins <> as the best stereotypical annoying liberals. Hillary Swank plays a very good self-important neoliberal. The rest of the speaking parts are mostly given to the conservatives. I really liked Ethan Suplee as a vlogger who is constantly trying to “takedown” the libs through conspiracy theories. Wayne Duvall is a great older ex-military guy, far far from his fit days. Of course, as you may hear elsewhere, Betty Gilpin is the real star here as she gets most of the lines and is a no-nonsense special forces type. There is a twist and I do not want to spoil it. I definitely recommend this as there is a lot of good fun with violence and funny dialogue.


Tiger King

A lot of people have heard of this one. This is a short docuseries only on Netflix which chronicles the crazy battles between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. The two are both keepers of tigers in the United States. They go about it in different ways but they are both equally crazy. The documentary also covers Antle, a weird leader of a tiger and sex cult (the tigers and sex stay separate, barely). There’s also Joe <>, a wealthy and eccentric millionaire who comes in to try and take control of the whole thing. Also, there’s a reality television director who is apparently a crack addict. Joe Exotic is a gay redneck with five husbands who he has a weird power dynamic with. The story has so many layers and so many threads that every episode just explodes with new scandals and weirdness. It is great schadenfreude. I recommend it.


Dirty Money

Another docuseries, this one focuses on finance-based crimes. Each episode centers around a group of perpetrators or a type of perpetrator. The only episode I have watched so far is The Kushners. This was of interest to me because I already knew that Jared Kushner was and still is one of the biggest slumlords in Maryland. The episode zeroes in on his father being investigated in New York, the Kushner’s dealings in New York, their dealings in the Baltimore area, and the foreign countries that Jared tried to get involved in bailing them out. I will have to watch more episodes but what I have seen so far was put together really well. I recommend it.

CHEPANG – Kyacha Pyakha

Lordi – Devil is a Loser

Ed Sheeran – Beautiful People

Mars Argo – Mrs. Stadler

Sofia Carson – Ins and Outs

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Assholes”
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 10
– I watched more GDQ VODs
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more Slasher Season2
– I watched more Ducktales Season 2
– I watched more Slasher Season 2
– I watched more Bojack Horseman Season 6
– I watched more She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 3
– I watched more Black Lightning Season 3
– I watched more Penn and Teller’s Bullshit!
– I watched more Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath Season 2
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 2

A Little Entertainment During Hard Times

March 30, 2020

The world is scary right now. Well, it has always been pretty scary but it is definitely more apparent right now. I know that we are all learning a lot about ourselves and the world around us while we’re trapped inside. For me, I have already learned that I am apparently “essential”. I am a paralegal and I am still going in to work so that we can continue to fight for our clients. I get anxiety each time I leave the house and relief every time I throw the lock on my front door in the evening. With all that’s been going on in the world lately, I thought I would offer up a bit more content. I thought I would point out a few shows and movies that you might not have been aware of.


The Frisco Kid
(Streaming on Amazon)

Do you like Harrison Ford? Do you like Gene Wilder? Of course, you do. They’re both brilliant actors who never really got a big head about their celebrity. Here, Harrison Ford was young as it was two years after the release of A New Hope. Gene Wilder was older and more experienced. He had just directed and starred in The World’s Greatest Lover. Their experiences really lend to their characters. Ford plays a young and roguish bank robber traveling west. Wilder plays a Polish rabbi who is journeying to set up a new congregation in San Francisco. Wilder’s dry wit plays well with Ford’s aw shucks nature. Wilder is no doubt the star here but a lot of the movie relies on the chemistry between both men (much like many of Wilder’s other movies).


The Unicorn Store
(Streaming on Netflix)

A movie I keep going back to, this might not have seen the light of day had it not been for the success of Captain Marvel. This movie was directed by and also stars Brie Larson. It has an all-star cast of Bradley Whitford, Joan Cusack, and Samuel L. Jackson. The movie is about a young woman who fails out of art school and must retreat to live with her parents. She struggles to connect to the normal world while dealing with the criticism of the world and her own inner critic. Also there are unicorns. The movie is such an uplifting look at finding your way in life and regaining your self-confidence and self-worth after a bad fall.


Wait Until Dark
(Streaming on Hulu)

For my fellow horror and suspense fans, you cannot do much better than this classic. I actually first saw this performed on stage but it is still pretty visceral on the screen. Audrey Hepburn plays a young blind woman who gets caught up with a couple criminals. Hepburn is really good at playing fragile yet tough. She is a master in the old style of movie acting which was more similar to live theater. The tension is maintained throughout and the plot still holds up as clever even after this formula has been used subsequently.


Journey to the West
(Streaming on Tubi)

The combination of comedy and martial arts has long been a great combination. This movie is an update of the Buddhist fairytale which has formed the basis of so many tales told out of Asia (Dragonball, The Monkey King, etc.) This story follows a non-violent monk who uses stories to quell demons. He is sent by the Buddha to obtain a set of scriptures in the West. There is a lot of good slapstick and wonderful martial arts wirefighting. The story kind of breaks down into three parts but maintains a great through-line.


Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
(Streaming on Tubi)

The original Dead Snow is about a bunch of Swedish medical students who get terrorized by Nazi Zombies out in the snow. That movie is incredibly tense and really smart and serious horror movie (with a little bit of comedy). However, you do not really need to watch that to get the gist of the sequel. The sequel is more of an action-adventure film where the protagonist of the first film tries to stop the oncoming Nazi Zombie invasion. It is schlocky, silly, and a whole lot of fun. It is nothing like the first movie but still a great way for the franchise to go.

Media Update 3/26/20

March 26, 2020


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I remember watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood when I was very small but the man has become more fascinating to me as I got older. The news that this movie was being made after the dynamite documentary released two years ago was exciting to me. Hanks is the perfect person to play the seemingly perfect Fred Rogers. I say seemingly because nobody’s perfect but Rogers was probably closest. The movie is about a reporter trying to do a story on Mr. Rogers while navigating his own rough life. Matthew Rhys is great as the struggling writer, just trying to figure it all out. Tom Hanks is great, of course, as the even-keeled dreamer Fred Rogers. The movie plays a lot on the chemistry between Rhys and Hanks and there is a lot of it. The whole concept plays off Fred Rogers’ real-life tendency to basically interview anybody who tried to interview him. The movie is not about Mr. Rogers but instead about the effect he had on people. The movie also really nails the aesthetic of the show. The puppets, models, sets, and costumes really take you right back to the show. This movie was such a sweet, beautiful respite after a darker week. I wholeheartedly recommend this movie.


The Banana Splits Movie

I find it hilarious that over a decade since the last Banana Splits content was released, they decide to make a horror movie based on the intellectual property. Then they actually got permission and cooperation. This movie was definitely written by a fan of The Banana Splits although there is a rumor that this was a discarded Five Nights at Freddy’s script. The premise is that it’s the last performance of The Banana Splits Show but the robot characters have other plans. Deadly plans. This is a fairly low budget horror movie but it has a lot of heart. Also, having children be present throughout the story made it far tenser than it could have been. The movie also gets really dark and bloody (although they cut away from a lot of the violence while lingering on the resulting gore). I got a similar sinking feeling that I got from watching Terrifier but more upbeat and less gory. The practical effects are really good and the suit acting is also really good. There are plenty of good people you want to survive and awful people who you’d rather see die which is a great mix for a horror movie to have. You will get the Banana Splits theme stuck in your head. I definitely recommend this.


Kidding

I had heard really good things about this show, a return to form for Jim Carrey. It is about a children’s puppet television show host whose son dies and his family starts to fall apart. He also starts to suffer from repressed depression and the division between real life and the unreality of his tv show persona. Basically, screw Jim Carrey because he’s an anti-vaxxer so we’ll move on. Frank Langella plays the host’s father and boss in a great, no-nonsense way. Judy Greer plays his ex-wife who is moving on without him. Catherine Keener is great as the sardonic sister who works as the puppet designer and builder on the show. The show is understandably dark and very adult. However, I felt that it was too dark. There is offbeat gallows humor but it is not enough. The show just feels incredibly flat and throws in nudity and fairly explicit sex for little reason. Carrey is super flat and not an interesting character because he just does not emote much. I could not make it past the first three episodes before I pulled the plug. I do not recommend this show.

Music of the Week:
CHIKA – No Squares

Kelly Clarkson – Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

SOFI TUKKER – Purple Hat

Liz Phair w/ Material Issue – The Tra La La Song

Slipknot – Unsainted

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Children’s Television”
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 10
– I watched more GDQ VODs
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more Slasher Season2
– I watched more Ducktales Season 2
– I started Black Lightning Season 3
– I started Season 2 of Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
– I started Rizzoli and Isles Season 2
– I started watching Dirty Money Season 2
– I started watching Bojack Horseman Season 6

Blood Pressure

March 23, 2020

I have refrained from writing about the following because of anxiety and embarrassment. However, I realize that I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I have been struggling with my mental health and my physical health for a long time. I do not like to talk about it but, now that things are getting better, I feel strong enough to talk about it. I have long suffered from anxiety which often overlapped with depression. This led me to me binging on bad food and hiding in my room when I lived in New Jersey. I did not really take care of myself but anytime that I got a little sick, I panicked. Homesick and depressed, my mental state deteriorated. I gained weight. When I got bronchitis, I panicked and thought that the problems from when I was 12 had returned and I was dying.

When I returned back to Baltimore from New Jersey, my mood lightened and I worked at a job that was very physically demanding so I lost weight and got stronger. After that was over, I got a desk job where I was once again not getting exercise. This job started out alright and I was happy to have found work. However, it was social work for the government and my generalized anxiety and social anxiety made it very difficult. I did not know how to deal with the phone and piles of work. I felt stressed all the time and I had migraines all the time. One day, I had a full-on panic attack and I rushed from the office to the urgent care center half a block away. I could barely breathe and my blood pressure was so high that they called an ambulance.

After a hospital visit and during a period of time away from work, I visited a doctor and was told that I had high blood pressure and anxiety. Something got stuck in my head and I was afraid that I had developed diabetes and that I would be blamed. Worse, I would have to deal with needles every day of my life. I started going to the gym but stopped going to the doctor. I did not want to know what was wrong with me. The medications my doctor gave me ran out but I did not go back to renew. I did no further tests.

I lived more or less normally, my weight fluctuating as I gave up on the gym and then went back. After my family went through a particularly rough encounter with alcoholism, my brother pushed me to get therapy. I went but got little out of it. My therapist left town to attend to her granddaughter and I did not find another. However, eventually, my brother suggested I visit a psychiatric nurse practitioner. He pushed the issue and I eventually gave in. This was the first time in my life that I was diagnosed with generalized and social anxiety. She took me seriously and I took her seriously.

She prescribed me Xanax and, once I adjusted to it, it was like night and day. The fear and anxiety I felt every day lifted. I felt more confident and I felt happier. I went back to the gym, realizing that I would stop going because I was anxious in public places. I would go back because I had heard that you could work off diabetes. I was told by my new nurse that I had troublingly high blood pressure and that, although I felt fine, I was definitely not. I found another doctor and they started to do tests on me. They could not figure things out so they ordered bigger scarier tests. I quit and walked away.

Recently, I switched my insurance to Kaiser Permanente and went in for a visit again. I was finally ready to accept whatever was coming to me. I immediately fell in love with the new set up. I was not visiting with a doctor who was a resident in med school who cared but did not seem to have time for me. Instead, I now have a doctor who speaks plainly with me and is super approachable. I can message him through an app with questions and he answers the same day. The big thing is that the laboratory is inhouse so I can just walk over and do bloodwork or whatever. It makes it harder to make excuses and avoid things.

I am now also on blood pressure and cholesterol medications and I am working with my doctor and the nurses to get my numbers down. I am starting to see improvement and I am sticking to the gym. (Historical note: My gym was closed due to Covid-19 last week). I have a blood pressure monitor at home which automatically sends my numbers to the nurses. I am doing a lot better and I am feeling a lot better and clearer. Best of all, my doctor finally shot down my old fear that I had developed or was developing diabetes. No diabetes. I’m doing pretty great, actually. I am also doing a job that I love and that leaves me with a lot more energy at the end of most days. So that’s how I’m doing.

Media Update 3/19/20

March 19, 2020


Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath

After watching Going Clear, I knew that I had to watch this documentary season as I had heard it was really good. Scientology is a pretty frightening organization and having a really in-depth look at it is really important. The series follows former Scientology members, Leah Remini and Mike Rinder. Leah Remini was a celebrity member and an evangelist for the organization. Mike Rinder was all the way near the top as an Executive Director on the Board of the Church of Scientology International. They travel around the country and interview former members of Scientology about the horrible experiences they endured. They explore the structure of Scientology and the psychology of those still inside. Leah has a really good interview style. She is really warm but cuts to the heart of the matter. Mike usually hangs back and provides insight as a former man at the top. They interview two or three people an episode, slowly putting together a pattern of abuse. Their stated goal is to prevent Scientology from wrecking any more families. They also detail a lot of the history and structure of Scientology. I definitely recommend this fascinating and heartbreaking docuseries.


The Most Dangerous Animal of All

This four-part documentary series follows a man named Gary Stewart who was adopted who decides to look for his birth parents. After finding his birth mother, he starts to obsessively seek out his birth father. His mother warns Gary to drop it and everybody else connected tells him to drop it. Gary finds out that his father was an infamous pedophile who repeatedly kidnapped and married Gary’s birth mother. It was a famous child bride scandal called “The Ice Cream Romance”. It was a real tragedy and it showed how evil Gary’s father (Earl Van Best Jr.) was and how out of touch with reality he was. Gary fixated on this and one day he saw a sketch of The Zodiac Killer and decided that his father might be the Zodiac Killer. He took years to explore and research this idea, ruining all of his relationships through his obsession. He published a book with what looked like compelling evidence but much of it was debunked or partially debunked. It is a fascinating story of one man’s obsession, how buried history can hurt us whether it is unearthed or not, and the lies we tell to get to our goals. I definitely recommend it.


The Amazing Jonathan Documentary

I have been a fan of The Amazing Jonathan since I first saw him do a special on Comedy Central in the nineties. He felt a little like Penn and Teller but without the socially responsible messages. He was outrageous and hilarious and I instantly loved him. After seeing a few specials, he dropped off of my radar. He was pretty much exclusive to Las Vegas so of course I was not really going to see what he was up to. It turns out that he had some heart problems but was able to mitigate some of them based on exercise and diet. This documentary is about him returning to the stage for a handful of shows. However, suddenly things are not quite as they seem and things start to get weird. It is hard to know what is real and what is fiction. It should be expected, the director of the documentary used to work on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! which excelled at unreality and weird situations. This is not a traditional documentary but I think it really illustrates who The Amazing Jonathan is and the spirit of his career. I recommend it as well.

 

Music of the Week:
Otoboke Beaver – datsu, hikage no onna

Charlotte Lawrence – Joke’s On You

Orville Peck – Queen of the Rodeo

Avatar – King’s Harvest

Avril Lavigne – I Fell In Love With The Devil

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Misinformation”
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 10
– I watched more VODs of AGDQ and SDGQ events
– I started watching Frost Fatales VODs
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more The Good Doctor Season 1
– I watched more She-Ra Season 2
– I watched more Fosse/Verdon

Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2020 Theme Reveal

March 16, 2020

Theme Reveal #AtoZChallenge 2020 badge

This is my sixth A to Z Blogging Challenge since I was convinced by a friend to start in 2015. It challenged me and caused me to get more serious about my blog and it eventually led to a steadier schedule and the ability to churn out a post less than two hours before my deadline. I was not sure if I was going to continue this year but I thought of a really fun theme. I started without a theme and moved onto loose themes. This year I am going full fiction. Not just any fiction, though. I am doing

Fanfiction

Fanfiction, for the few who may not know, is taking somebody else’s created work and molding and changing it to write your own stories with their tools. Fanfiction has been around for a long time but has gotten more mainstream press lately. Last year, the most prominent online community for fanfiction (Ao3) was awarded a Hugo, an important speculative fiction award. Like it or not but 50 Shades of Grey started as fanfiction of Twilight. More and more people are starting to figure out that fanfiction is legitimate in its own right even though marketing and selling it is tough.

Within fanfiction there are many categories and erotic fanfiction seems to be the most popular. This is not what I will be doing. This blog is fairly family-friendly and I want to keep it that way. I also have no interest in writing smut. I have nothing against it and I have many friends who read and write it. Good for them. So if you were worried about that, don’t. If you are disappointed about that then I apologize.

A bunch of the story ideas that I will be using were born from suggestions made on Twitter. I already have plans for playing in the worlds of Star Trek, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, The Witcher, Breaking Bad, and more. There are going to be some surprises. I am open to more suggestions. I have not remotely written everything and I need 26 different worlds to play in. Feel free.

So get ready for some fanfiction. Starting in April. Get Ready.

Media Update 3/12/20

March 12, 2020


Knives Out

Rian Johnson really impressed me when I saw his breakout film Looper, a science fiction movie that was really innovative. He remained innovative when he delivered his take on Star Wars in the Last Jedi. When I heard that he was given a movie far away from toxic fandoms and it was a fun take on the mystery genre. When I saw the first trailers, I was all in. It has Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, and Christopher Plummer all acting like they really enjoyed themselves and really put their heart into it. They are all hilarious and believable characters. Daniel Craig gets to really stretch his comedy and acting chops with a southern gentleman private detective. He is having so much fun in this role that it makes me wish he had stopped being James Bond years ago. The real star of the movie is Ana de Armas who plays the family nurse. She is so funny, sympathetic, and should be considered the absolute star of this movie. The movie was absolutely delightful. It had so many twists and turns that I was constantly surprised and overjoyed. I definitely recommend this movie.


Fosse/Verdon

I remember when I first saw the movie version of Cabaret and I was blown away. The music, atmosphere, choreography, and acting were all so good. It was an absolute game-changer for me as a young kid and the musical remains a favorite of mine. Bob Fosse was a legendary director and choreographer of musicals. He famously directed/choreographed famous musicals such as Sweet Charity, Chicago, and Pippin among others. He started in live theater and then eventually moved to feature films. He had a particular style. He did a lot of work on shows that were dirty, edgy, and sexual and he kind of became known for that. His third wife was Gwen Verdon, a legend in her own right that I was unaware of. She was an actress and dancer who was part of a lot of Fosse’s success. She had her own tumultuous and successful career including the lead roles in Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity, and Chicago and then onto film. The show captures the darkness that wrapped around the lives of the two leads which constantly fought with the creativity they both definitely had. Sam Rockwell is great as the world-weary yet almost charmingly sinister Bob Fosse. Michelle Williams is superb as the successful yet emotionally floundering Vernon. Obviously, the strength of the show comes from their chemistry. I definitely recommend the show.


You’re Next

I had been hearing good things about this movie since it came out. I thought it looked a bit too snarky but I put it on my list. Since then, I have only heard more good things so I decided it was the perfect movie for this week. The movie is about a wealthy family getting together at their old estate when they suffer a deadly home invasion, actually more of a home siege. It is a little like the original The Purge but actually interesting. They really captured the terror of suddenly being exposed to death and violence. The star of the movie is Sharni Vinson who plays the heroine who seizes the moment and goes toe to toe with the deadly gang. Her arc throughout the movie is just so good starting as an anti-fascist college student and ending as a fierce warrior. The action was all really good. I am so glad that we are mostly past the days of torture porn and its excessive gore. Instead, we get the tension and suspense of a really good action movie mixed a bit with the horror genre. Every minute of the movie was so fun and I was drawn deeper and deeper as the movie went along. I definitely recommend it.

Weekly Music:
Caravan Palace – Miracle

Meg Myers – Running Up That Hill

虎落ブエ – Lordless Mimetown

Caravan Palace – Black Betty

Migos, Young Thug, Travis Scott – Give No Fxk

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Family Drama”
– I started Bojack Horseman Season 6
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 10
– I watched more VODs of AGDQ 2019/2020 and SGDQ 2019
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more The Chilling Tales of Sabrina Season 2
– I watched more The Good Doctor Season 1
– I watched more She-Ra Season 2
– I finished The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 2

Media Update 3/5/20

March 5, 2020


The Panama Papers

When I heard about this documentary, I really wanted to see it. The thing that attracted me first was that Alex Winters was attached as director. I know he has put in the work to become a talented director since he ended his brief acting career. This documentary covers the leaking of data from a prominent Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca. An anonymous source released evidence of crimes and shady dealings committed by the wealthy people of the world. It was all done through loopholes established by using offshore bank accounts, tax havens, and other legal yet unethical methods. The situation was insane when it came out but not that surprising in retrospect. As somebody who works in the legal profession for the good of honest people, it was interesting. The documentary is very well done and there are a lot of insightful interviews with the journalists all over the world who helped to break the story. They had to work in absolute secrecy to protect the story and then they unleashed it on an unsuspecting world. I definitely recommend this movie.


The Laundromat

This movie is also about the Panama Papers but is more a dramatized version that tells stories about the effects of Mossack Fonseca’s services and the actions of their customers. Although the movie’s subject is obviously very dark, the movie tackles it in a comedic almost satiric way. The movie is narrated by Mossack and Fonseca themselves (Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas). They help the viewer understand what is going on and plead their case as mere facilitators rather than collaborators, a claim that falls apart fairly quickly. The movie follows three stories and an epilogue. The first story stars Meryl Streep and David Schwimmer as two people caught up in the aftermath of a pleasure cruise accident and how shell companies absconded with the insurance money. The second story follows an African billionaire who has moved his family to the United States and tries to use his money to dig out of a bad situation that he created. It stars Nonso Anozie, Jessica Allain, and Larry Wilmore among others. The third story is a dramatization of an actual event wherein a British businessman was murdered by the wife of a prominent Chinese politician due to blackmail over Mossack Fonseca shell games. The epilogue shows the media fallout of the Panama Papers release, the raiding and fall of Mossack Fonseca, and the arrest of Mossack and Fonseca. The movie continuously points out that much of what the law firm did was legal yet highly unethical and that plenty of other people have done the same (namely Delaware). I definitely recommend this movie.


The Post

This movie is about the release of the Pentagon Papers, an event from which The Panama Papers derives its name. Until the Panama Papers, the Pentagon Papers was the biggest data leak in world history. Basically, a Department of Defense study was released showing that the government knew that the Vietnam War was hopeless long before the US withdrew. It was proof of a massive betrayal of the American people in light of the many deaths that resulted in sticking with a pointless and hopeless war. The movie centers on the offices of the Washington Post which was the second publication to publish parts of the Pentagon Papers. They faced possible fallout from an injunction and risked the ire of Nixon’s White House, a grudge that Nixon carried to the end of his presidency. Meryl Streep plays Katharine Graham, the owner of the paper which is on the verge of becoming a publically traded company. Tom Hanks plays the paper’s editor, Ben Bradlee, who is looking for some sort of edge in competition against the New York Times. When the Times releases part of the Pentagon Papers and is hit by an injunction, the Post must decide if they will publish the papers or back down. The movie covers the leak of the papers, the anxiety of the decision, and the subsequent court case that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The movie is good but I feel like you could have made several movies from the story. When it ended, I felt like it ended too quickly. Still, it is a great look at a moment when the Press did not back down and acted as a check and balance to our government’s power. I recommend this one too.

Music of the Week:
Motörhead – Eat The Rich

Tamas – Eat the Rich

The Coup – The Guillotine

Pretty Girls Make Graves – This Is Our Emergency

Dead Kennedys – Kill the Poor

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Data Leak”
– I started Bob’s Burgers Season 10
– I started The Good Doctor Season 1
– I watched more VODs of AGDQ 2019/2020 and SGDQ 2019
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 1
– I watched more Elementary Season 1
– I watched more The Chilling Tales of Sabrina Season 2
– I finished The Witcher Season 1
– I finished Locke and Key Season 1
– I finished more Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 3

Top 11 Cities I Want to Visit

March 2, 2020

11. Amsterdam

Firstly, I do not smoke pot but I am open to the idea in a place where it is safe and legal. With that out of the way, I am mostly focused on my love of the artist Vincent Van Gogh. I identify with Van Gogh because of his history of mental illness. I also really love the style of his paintings. Beyond that, Amsterdam is just supposed to a neat place with architecture, art, and culture worth seeing.

10. Cape Town

From my research, Cape Town seems to be the best bang for your buck when it comes to museums dedicated to African art and culture. This is an area that is not explored as much in my country so I would love to go there and see it without it being filtered through the American lens. It also seems like a great city to visit and I would love to experience South Africa firsthand. I do not have a lot of familiarity with African culture except the bits and pieces that flow to our country. I know people who have visited Africa so I know that it is safe and that they have a lot to offer.

9. Moscow

There is so much history tied into this city that it would have been hard not to put it on this list. People are so scared of Russia lately and have been for many decades. Still, it is a country with a unique and interesting history. Russian architecture and art is different from a lot of stuff that I have seen. Mostly, I am interested in exploring the history of the relationship between the USA and Russia (formerly the USSR). The Cold War is such a crazy time in history that I have been fascinated with. I read a book by CIA Agent Antiono Mendez about his time in Moscow both during and after the cold war (among other stories). It is always portrayed as almost another planet so I would want to see what it is actually like.

8. Luxor

I am really talking about one thing above all others and that is the Valley of Kings. The carvings have fascinated me since I first saw photos and drawings. I would love to be in the famous valley and just take it in. There are plenty of other landmarks and plenty of interesting ruins and repositories of history. Egyptian history and mythology have been of interest to me since I was a kid.

7. Las Vegas

The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas is something I have really only seen on television or in movies. The town is legendary for entertainment and I feel like just the atmosphere and design is something that I would love to take in. Each casino is themed like they were created in a weird adult Disney park. I do not really drink or gamble so I would just love to explore. It is also a very distracting city so it would be great to be in a place that I could feel like nobody was paying attention to me. Specifically, I would love to see Penn and Teller operate at the Rio which is where they try out new acts for the first time in front of a crowd.

6. Edinburgh

I definitely have Scottish blood in me and I would love to travel to connect to that. Like many cities on this list, Scotland has structures that are ancient especially compared to what is in the United States. I would love to just stroll around and look at all of the buildings. There are also so many museums in the city. Of particular interest is the Writer’s Museum dedicated to the writers of Scotland but there are so many there. Also, I would go during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which is a legendary event to watch new comedy and obscure acts.

5. Dublin

I have been enamored of Ireland since I embraced my role as a writer. I love writing and Ireland was home to so many soulful writers. I would love to explore that history as much as I could. I also would love to explore Irish and Gaelic mythology. A lot of folklore about fairies comes from Ireland so exploring that firsthand would be great. Dublin seems to be the heart of it all and that is where I want to be. Walk the streets of Dublin and see all of the architecture and poke into museums to see history and art. A lot of people visit Dublin to drink but, as I have said, I don’t really do that.

4. Rome

Again, the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to Roman art and history. There are so many museums and landmarks in Rome that I could spend months there and not be finished exploring. The whole city is just chock full of history that I have been into since I was a preteen. The legendary pantheon of Rome and Greece is something that always comes back into my mind and imagination. I would love to see artifacts in person and in the intended context. I am somewhat interested in structures of the Catholic Church as a lot of it is quite beautiful. However, I would not go to Vatican City because I disagree with their authority and their hold on the world.

3. New Orleans

The Big Easy is the closest thing that the US has to a mythical city, a legendary place where the legends are true. I just want to soak up the culture and history and just be there. Also, I am a fan of the hotter jazz that comes out of New Orleans and I would love to sit and write at some clubs and listen to music. I do not like parties but I would kind of be interested in attending the greatest party in the USA and perhaps the world.

2. Los Angeles

One word: Hollywood. Since I saw my first movie, I was obsessed with visiting Hollywood and seeing as much as I can. I would take every backlot tour that I could. I would visit filming locations and get into as much as possible. Hollywood is just somewhere I want to be. Also, just outside is Disneyland. While I have been to Disney World, I have never been to the original and that is something I would love to experience. So much history started at Disneyland and Disney Studios. It is not possible but I would also love to visit the Magic Castle which is open only to those who are invited and really only to magicians.

1. Tokyo

Japan is just so different from the country that I have grown up in that I want to explore the culture and atmosphere. I consume anime, manga, martial arts films, pro-wrestling, and so much of Japanese culture that I would love to see it for myself. Tokyo is supposed to be an absolutely amazing place. I would love to visit Korakuen Hall, where so many great matches have occurred. The ancient temples and castles are there to be explored. Finally, there are two Disney parks there (Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea). Both of them were created in conjunction with local creative teams to make something that works for tourists and Japanese citizens. Tokyo DisneySea is supposed to be the greatest Disney park in the world.


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