Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Media Update 19.6.13

June 13, 2019


Good Omens

I am a big Neil Gaiman fan but unfortunately, I have only read one Terry Pratchett book so far and it was the first Discworld book. I have not read Good Omens yet but I figured I would watch the show first to get a feel for it. I love the world-building of both authors. Gaiman also has a knack for taking mythical figures and making them very accessible (I was going to say human but no). This is the tale of an angel and a demon who are trying to stop Armageddon. David Tennant plays Crowley, the fallen angel who never really meant to fall. Michael Sheen plays Aziraphale, a pleasant but subversive angel. Both of them have been stuck on Earth since Adam and Eve’s expulsion from Eden and they have adjusted to human life. They have struggled to work as agents of their respective sides while trying to maintain a friendship as well. The strength of the show is the chemistry between these two and it is so great. I really also like the performances by John Hamm, Michael McKean, and Adria Arjona. Adria Arjona, in particular, is funny and gorgeous. This show almost qualifies for Pride if the shippers got their way. I definitely recommend it.


Siempre Brujo

This is an interesting show. It is a Spanish-language show produced in Colombia. It is set in Cartagena, Colombia during two different eras. One era is during the late 1600s and the other is in our present. A young slave (who is also a pureblood witch) is sent on a mission to the future and must navigate 2019 without knowledge of all of our technology but with magic powers. Thankfully, she can speak Spanish well enough to adjust to modern society. The show is incredibly interesting in that it shows the inherent difficulties of time travel that I did not even think about. For example, to accomplish her mission in 2019, she has to find somebody within a geographic region. The travel alone would have taken weeks in her time but could take her hours if she could figure it out. The show seems really smart to me so far in how it deals with Fantasy but also race relations and class warfare. We get to see Carmen (the lead) on her mission in the present but we also see many flashbacks which inform us about who she is. It is a similar structure to Once Upon a Time. Angely Gavira plays the lead and she has such a great innocence to her but also a quiet strength that will be fun to watch. I definitely recommend it in the original Spanish and not the dub.


Season of the Witch

I am a fan of Nicolas Cage movies because even when they are bad, his performance is memorable and either interesting or insane. He puts his all into every movie role he has ever had and it shows. In addition, this movie has Ron Perlman in it. I will just about watch anything he is in after loving him in Blade 2 and the Hellboy franchise. In this movie, they are even best friends and comrades in arms so a lot of the movie is basically a medieval buddy cop film starring those two. Except it is also about a group of men transporting an accused witch to lift a curse. It allows both men to interact with a lot of people and really, that was all I wanted. It is a simple story told in a simple way and that is perfectly fine. Its main purpose is to explore the relationship between those who worship God and the Church and the conflict between the two. It is nothing special but I recommend it as a good movie to watch in the background.

Music of the Week:
The Marías – Baby One More Time

Oliver Tree – Miracle Man

Avril Lavigne feat. Nicki Minaj – Dumb Blonde

Young M.A “Bake Freestyle”

Wind Rose – Diggy Diggy Hole

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Witches”
– Yes, this post is late but it is still Thursday.
– I finished Tuca and Bertie Season 1
– I started Game of Thrones Season 3
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I watched more Supergirl Season 4
– I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3

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Pride 2019

June 10, 2019

A lot of cities had their pride parades this past weekend but my hometown and current home Baltimore is having Pride this coming weekend. I have always been an ally to everyone under the banner of “Other” and this includes everybody under the banner of LGBTQ+. That was how I was raised, to be kind and think well of other people especially if they are not trying to hurt anybody. My mother came from a tolerant family in the American South that shunned racism. I went to school for twelve years at a Quaker school which taught love and acceptance for all. In high school, I entered the world of theater which was generally more open-minded than the rest of the world. I met the first gay people I knew of here. Of course, I may have met many gay people previously but it was the nineties and people were heavily closeted.

When I went to college, I met even more people from the beautiful spectrum of humanity. I was introduced to gay culture and my mind was opened even more. I worked professionally in theater for five more years and I met more gay people. I met so many different people over the years. I also read a lot of books and watched a lot of content. It all helped form my feelings on the whole LGBTQ+ community. It just goes to my further my constant argument that exposure helps breed love and peace. Ignorance breeds hate. If you listen to the message that Pride sends out, it is a message of equality, happiness, fun, and fighting back against the darkness. How anybody could interpret it as anything else is a mystery to me.

A long while ago I sort of came out as aromantic. I have never once felt a romantic feeling. I have never longed for the companionship of another human being regardless of gender, sex, or orientation. A lot of people need that sort of thing to make their lives complete but I am happy to have my friends and family. Obviously, over the years the makeup of the LGBTQ+ banner has had some changes. There is too much bickering over who should and should not be at Pride and this year I am seeing a lot of people being fed up with it. This is the first year that I have seen clear statements accepting aromantics at Pride. When I saw it, I felt something break free inside of me and I smiled. We are a small subsection so specific support was not something I was expecting. So, this year will be the first year I attend Pride as an aromantic and not just an ally.

Oh, and the only people who should not be at Pride are cops and hatemongers. Hatemongers are obviously not welcome at Pride. These include the Christian Right, the Nazis, the Klansmen, and all of the raving lunatics who would rather burn it all down than let people be free to be different. However, it also includes silent partners. The corporations who sell rainbow flags but turn their backs on actual gay people, the forces of Capitalism who decided that gay people don’t make them enough money, the well-meaning ‘middle of the road’ types who do not want to make waves even when it means defending people’s rights to be happy. This also brings us to the cops. Yes, the cops. The cops who protect armed nazis in Detroit who chose to march through Pride, sending people who were celebrating indoors and fearing for their lives. The cops who have a history of breaking up gatherings of gay people and almost never side with ‘the Other’ over ‘good’ white men and women. The same cops who have a history of beating the crap out of minorities when they feel like it. No cops at pride, only love and true allies. Please.

Media Update 19.6.6

June 6, 2019


Aladdin (2019)

If you have paid attention to this blog, you will know that I have an intensely personal relationship with the original animated Aladdin. I watched it once on heavy drugs in an ICU and it was one of the main reasons that I became a Robin Williams fan before I was old enough to listen to his standup. I love that movie and because of that, I was intrigued and not dismayed when the live action adaptation was announced. When Will Smith was announced as the Genie, I actually thought it was pretty perfect casting. Nobody was ever going to out-Robin Williams the original so they had to go a different direction. Like the original Genie evolved from Williams’ stand up, this new Genie is very much an extension of Will Smith’s acting. In that regard, he created a likable and different character with the same heart. Mena Massoud’s Aladdin had all the charm of the original and, if possible, was even more animated in my eyes. My favorite part of the new version is Naomi Scott’s Jasmine who was given way more to do in this version and comes out as a better character. The rest of the cast is really good as well. Overall, the movie was definitely not bad and was just a bit different from the original. There were some things added and some things taken away. I definitely recommend it but only if you have an open mind.


The Greatest Showman

When I found out that there was a movie musical coming out starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Effron, and Zendaya, I was immediately interested. On top of that, it was a musical about the genesis of PT Barnum’s Circus. While that story is not actually all sunshine and roses, I was on board for a sanitized version. I love the circus aesthetic (even after working for one) and the poppy music in the trailer sounded good. Hugh Jackman was so, so likable as Barnum and he has such a good singing voice and a smile that is hard to resist. Zendaya had a smaller role than I wanted her to have but she was really good. Effron had a darker role than I expected but he was also really great in his role. Michelle Williams was kind of a surprise with how prominent and good her character was. There was also an ensemble of literal ‘freaks’ many of whom were given great supporting roles. I would say that the movie went on a little long for me but they had to jam a lot of songs into it so I understand. This led to me not really knowing where the movie was going next as the storyline I thought it had was accomplished very early in the movie. Overall, it was a good movie but not as good as I expected it to be. I definitely recommend it, though.


The Accountant

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it looked pretty good. I am a Ben Affleck fan and it looked like a thoughtful action movie. What it turned out to be is part mystery, part crime film, and part action film. It was way more thoughtful than I thought it would be. I should have realized that a movie called The Accountant would have some thought behind it. The movie is about a criminal tracking criminals while also being tracked himself so the movie has layers. Affleck is interesting since he is playing a man on the autistic spectrum who uses savant skills to accomplish all of his goals. JK Simmons plays a hardened Department of the Treasury investigator and is always great. Anna Kendrick plays a dorky normal accountant who balances out Affleck’s flat delivery. Jon Bernthal plays a very charismatic and charming hitman and was kind of my favorite character. Jeffrey Tambor plays Affleck’s mentor briefly. John Lithgow plays a somewhat hardened CEO. I definitely recommend the movie as it was really interesting.

Music of the Week:
Blackbriar – Snow White and Rose Red

Lil Pump – “Be Like Me” ft. Lil Wayne

PUP – Kids

Carly Rae Jepsen – Too Much

Psychedelic Horseshit – We’re Pink Floyd, Bitch

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Lying”
– I watched more Star Trek: Voyager Season 2
– I watched more Tuca and Bertie Season 1
– I watched more Game of Thrones Season 2
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more Riverdale Season 3
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I watched more Charmed Season 1
– I started watching Supergirl Season 4
– I started watching Legends of Tomorrow Season 4

Landmarks

June 3, 2019

After my post this last Monday and a subsequent Home Owner’s Association meeting, I have been thinking a lot about what constitutes a landmark. I have come to the opinion that, like many things, it is a completely subjective nomenclature. I have been thinking about this because declaring something as a landmark can be a way to protect buildings from being knocked down. Still, I do not think that it should be a panacea to protect all buildings. If everything is a landmark then nothing ever gets torn down. Tearing buildings down is the prelude to building new things and that is how cities and towns evolve and grow. If buildings that are not being used are left up instead of building a new property that will be used, then the city or town begins to rot.

This is also important because decisions in development can impact the environment in ways that people sometimes cannot foresee. Here in Maryland there was proposed legislation for something called the “Rain Tax”. The proposed tax would impact developers who decided to build new projects. It would tax them based on the area of the concrete and blacktop that they covered the Earth with. Paving prevents water from seeping into the Earth and too much loose water can be very destructive. Some politicians scoffed at the new tax and belittled it and the new Governor effectively shut it down for good. The next rainy season, the town of Ellicott City was destroyed because it was downhill from new development. A year later and it was destroyed again by an even worse flood.

So what makes a landmark? For me, it is anywhere where something significant happened or a place where some famous person did something impressive. Independence Hall is a landmark because so many important events to the founding of the United States happened there. In Baltimore, the cemetery where Edgar Allen Poe is revered as a landmark because of the author’s importance and the long history of mysterious events that followed his death. Oriole Park at Camden Yards has become one of the defining landmarks of Baltimore City. Fort McHenry was where the flag hung that inspired the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner. So many historic events that may have been more important locally but are felt nationally and sometimes globally.

And yet we also have a history of tearing down landmarks. The biggest one I can think of is Memorial Stadium, the original home of the Orioles that was torn down in my lifetime. I remember people being sad but the project went ahead. People talked about the civilization of rats that were unearthed when the stadium was torn down still. There had been a stadium there since 1922 and it was torn down in 2001. In the end, this was done for the betterment of the city. The site is now home to senior housing and recreational sports fields mostly used for children. That is way more useful than an old stadium especially since two new ones were built in the south part of the city in a much more accessible spot.

I do sympathize with people who want to save old buildings but I think we have to think it through and ask some tough questions. Is the existing structure being used? If it is not being used then why are we preserving it? That property could be revitalized so it can be used for a new purpose. Is the historical significance enough to prevent the property from being useful? This is difficult because the answers to some of these questions are different depending on who you ask. Also, people fear change but often appreciate positive change once it has been completed. I just hope people will not be close-minded and will do their best for the good of modern society.

Media Update 5/30/19

May 30, 2019


John Wick 3: Parabellum

The John Wick series caught me off guard when it first came out and I was instantly enamored of it. I have been a Keanu Reeves fan since Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and he has only gotten better with age. The John Wick franchise is the best of both worlds when it comes to action movies. If you want to tune out and watch awesomely spectacular action scenes then this movie accommodates you. If you want a whole world and tons of lore that you can explore and read deeply into, this movie is also for you. I have seen both reactions based on what that person chose to see in the movie. I am a huge fan of both sides of the coin. The fight scenes in this movie continue to be innovative and surprising. The movie is full of them. There are excellent martial arts scenes and there are gunplay scenes that are absolutely insane. Also, the movie dives into a hidden world behind our own. Each movie continues to peel away layers and there are still new layers underneath. Keanu Reeves is so good. This feels like the role that he has evolved to fit in perfectly. The movie also has an all-star cast each at the top of their game including Ian McShane, Halle Berry, Lawrence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, and Anjelica Huston. I am looking forward to what further sequels will yield as the next movie is already scheduled. I definitely recommend it.


Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile

A few months ago, I watched the latest documentary on Ted Bundy and I was fascinated since it was not something I lived through. At the time, Netflix was advertising a controversial movie (this movie) which would dramatize parts of the Ted Bundy story. The main complaint was that they cast Zac Effron as Ted Bundy and Effron is a well known hunky and adorable actor. I felt like people were missing the point. The insidious part of the Bundy story was that he was so handsome and charismatic that people dismissed red flags and let him kill way longer than a less attractive person would have gotten away with. This movie focused on Ted Bundy and the woman who fell in love with him. As women were turning up dead, Ted Bundy was dating and then became engaged to a woman who already had a daughter. Elizabeth Kloepfer (in the movie they used her pseudonym of Liz Kendall) stuck by Bundy even after he was accused (and after she reported him the police as a possible suspect several times). In the movie, they play all the big moments of the story and it is hard not sympathize with Liz as she tries to navigate a relationship as her world keeps crashing down. Part of that is how well Lily Collins portrays a fragile and complex character based on a real complex person. Zac Effron is amazing and unnerving as Bundy, acting like a smiling shark. The movie also follows him trying to use his time in law school to work on his own cases and appeals. It is a fascinating movie that encapsulates the weird position that Elizabeth found herself in during an entirely weird and terrifying case.


Highlander: The Raven

The Highlander series is so strange. It has a long history of disjointed sequels to a pretty good fantasy movie. At some point, they sort of rebooted everything by creating a television series that I remember watching a bit of. In the late nineties, this show was created as a spinoff. The premise of the show is that an immortal thief named Amanda has led a long life of crime and adventure. Now she is bored with it all and seeks atonement by helping to solve crimes. Coincidentally enough, most of the crimes involve immortals somehow. Still, I found the concepts interesting. At least they did not introduce the concept of immortality and then forget it. Each immortal has spent their infinite life differently but each seems stuck in a loop, a sort of limbo. It is an interesting contrast to Amanda’s search for change and meaning. Still, Elizabeth Gracen does a great job with the character. Paul Johannson plays an ex-cop that works with Amanda to solve crimes. He is alright but, as you might see in the trailer, he is kind of bland. The show is late nineties as heck and feels kind of like the production values of shows like the original Charmed. I liked it well enough but I do not really recommend it. It also only went one season because the stars hated each other and nobody watched.

Music of the Week:
Interpol – Evil

Czarface X Ghostface Killah – Mongolian Beef

Lord Of The Lost – Loreley

Ava Max – Sweet but Psycho

Don Broco – Greatness

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Killers”
– I watched more Supernatural Season 14
– I watched more Star Trek: Voyager Season 2
– I watched more Ash vs. The Evil Dead Season 3
– I watched more Tuca and Bertie Season 1
– I started watching Game of Thrones Season 2
– I started watching Arrow Season 7
– I started watching Riverdale Season 3
– I started watching The Flash Season 5

Developments in Development

May 27, 2019

So, while I have been off at work, a lot has been happening in my neighborhood. It is interesting to me because nothing much happens in my neighborhood because it is so out of the way. Nestled between Hampden and Druid Park, my little world is often overlooked by just about everybody. However, I have lately dealt with the neighboring Woodberry Community Association. Community Associations are double-edged swords because they can provide a sense of community but they are also rather exclusionary. I feel like the ones I have dealt with are unfairly prejudiced against renters, seeing them as subhuman and more people to be watched and feared than cared for. At least, that is what they say about their tone.

The big hoopla around here is that a lot of land in the area got new owners and they had development on their minds. This caused a lot of conflicts right away because people fear change and renters. New apartment buildings were the plan and there was a lot of pearl-clutching over the possibility that they could be low-income housing. The thought that less fortunate people might have a place to go to convenient to the Light Rail was unthinkable. But I’m probably being unfair to some of these people. Some objected to the destruction of buildings that had been there for centuries. I am all for historical preservation but that only extends to places where things of note happened or particularly pleasing architecture. The buildings they were trying to protect ranged from dilapidated to downright ugly.

I went to several meetings to observe people (and a lawyer) try and figure out how to halt or alter the development plans. To be fair, they had a solid legal footing for holding the developers and owners to a limited amount of construction. They remained deadlocked for months and months as both sides attended committee meetings and tried to sway the government to their side. This kind of bureaucracy is kind of fun when you are on the inside but watching from the outside is mind-numbingly boring. Especially when you can see the benefit to both sides. It is like watching horse racing when you do not have a bet in. I even attended a somewhat secret anti-developer meeting to see what was up.

The latest event changed everything. There are two stone houses that I used to walk by when I took daily walks before I returned to the gym. They are on the way to my polling place down the street. They always looked ancient and were probably there since at least the 1800s. However, they also looked like crap. They were overgrown with plants and neither had been in use for anything for quite some time. They were just houses to me.  They were probably used before the mill burned down as housing or storage for something. Just after I left for work the other day, bulldozers came and plowed them both to rubble. This was way before anything had been agreed to. Cue the pitchforks and torches.

The local residents leaped into action and contacted our local city council member. By the time the council member got there, the buildings were completely destroyed. Still, he got a stop work order put on the site and the resident’s ire turned toward the developers. The first to falter were the architects of the new development. They disavowed the action, claimed ignorance of the plan, and announced that they had resigned from the project. The developers, feeling the heat, did the same and announced that they were done with the project leaving the owners standing alone. Now, the owners will probably sell the property and the whole process will start again. And they wonder why nothing ever gets built in Baltimore.

Media Update 5/23/19

May 23, 2019


Tuca and Bertie

I was a big fan of Bojack Horseman when it came out but it did take a little while to get into. Bojack is definitely darker and usually takes a more depressing turn. This show is from one of the creative forces behind Bojack, Lisa Hanawalt, but now she gets to get her own show. This show is similar to Bojack but it has more of a joyful energy. It stars Tiffany Haddish as courageous, loud, yet unfocused Toucan Tuca. The other star is Ali Wong as the intelligent, creative, yet anxious Songthrush Bertie. Bertie lives with her boyfriend, the nerdy Speckle the Robin played by Steven Yeun. They all live in the same apartment building in a world where anthropomorphic birds live. It is a much cartoonier world than Bojack’s satire of Hollywood and often kind of feels like an acid trip. But it also approaches real-life anxieties and situations but this time with a more feminine message. Haddish and Wong work so well together, their chemistry is on another level. The characters are such perfect foils for each other. Tuca needs Bertie to rein her in and Bertie needs Tuca to coax her out of her shell. The show is so funny and so real that I am definitely hooked on it. I look forward to each episode, where with Bojack I kind of dreaded it even though it was so good. It has such happier energy. I definitely recommend it.


Wine Country

This movie was born out of a friend group to Wine Country out in Napa. Normally, that would be uneventful but the friend group was made up of ex-Saturday Night Live castmembers and writers. Amy Poehler plays a Type A personality who has planned the weekend down to the last second. Rachel Dratch plays the friend who is turning 50 on the trip and is rethinking a lot of things. Ana Gasteyer plays a woman who is a food company executive who is stuck in work mode too much. Maya Rudolph is a woman who just wants to have fun because she is avoiding thinking about something. Paula Pell (a writer on SNL) is a woman who thinks of others more than herself. Emily Spivey (a writer on SNL, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, and also this movie) is a writer who is just miserable in life. All of them come together on a disastrous weekend that threatens to destroy their friendship. They are all joined by characters played by Tina Fey and Jason Schwartzman. The movie gets fairly dark but it has a lot of great comedic writing and the stars are all seasoned comedians. By the end, I was really happy that I had watched it and there were definitely some good laughs to be had. I recommend it.


Dead to Me

This one is dark. This is a show about a two women who meet at a grief group and form an unlikely friendship, bonding over what they have lost. Christina Applegate plays a realtor who is righteously angry and depressed after her husband was killed by a hit and run driver. Linda Cardellini plays a goofy woman who works at an assisted living center and is dealing with her own stuff. The friendship blossoming between both women is really fun to watch and the chemistry between them is really great. Their dialogue is sharply written and feels like people I have known during hard times. There is a lot of gallows humor that helps carry the show forward while things are very dark. The show is a lot about grief so it is a pretty sad show as one might expect. The show also stars James Marsden as Cardellini’s ex-husband in a very tricky situation. Under it all there is a mystery that I think I have solved but I am interested to see if I am right. I will probably continue watching this in small doses as it is pretty heavy. I recommend it as well.

Music of the Week:
Iggy Azalea – Sally Walker

The Browning – Optophobia

Ezra Collective – What Am I To Do?

Jade Bird – I Get No Joy

Ariel Posen – Angeline

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Gal Pals”
– I watched more Supernatural Season 14
– I watched more Star Trek: Voyager Season 2
– I watched more Ash vs. The Evil Dead Season 3
– I watched more Losers
– I watched more Santa Clarita Diet Season 3

 

 

The Confidence of a Child

May 20, 2019

I almost completely forgot to talk about this story because Mother’s Day was a long (but good day). For Mother’s Day, I went with my mom to the Orioles game because we are both diehard fans. We are also not fairweather fans as it was pouring rain when we went down there. This was actually the second Sunday in a row that we tried to go to an Orioles game. The Sunday before, we tried to go to the game and it was also pouring down rain. Spring in Baltimore where it only rains when you want to be outside (and all the time). We waited under cover for an hour eating barbecue sandwiches from Boog’s and then they announced that the game was canceled and we were ushered out. We ended up eating nachos at Dempsey’s and just had a chill and chilly day.

The next weekend, on Mother’s Day, my mother only asked for one thing and that was to try again. I was definitely game for it and neither of us got our hopes up. This time there was a two and a half game delay but we were happy to just sit and talk while the rain came down. We ate chicken tenders from Boardwalk Fries, a place that I had not been to in years and years. (Mostly because I have not been to a mall in forever). Mom gets cold easily so we moved around a lot, going from our seats to go browse stores. It was just a really chill time in one of the coolest places in Baltimore. Finally, the game started and we got to watch a game that the Orioles actually won. It felt like the kind of day that was meant to be. We ended the game back in Dempsey’s having some good food (with a really distracted server but we were in too good a mood to care).

But that was not the story I wanted to tell. While that in itself was a pleasant story, I had another one in mind when I started this. I tend to ramble sometimes. That was all backstory for one of the weirdest stories that has happened to me and luckily my mom was there to witness it. At one point in our day, we went to the Team Shop somewhere around home plate. The store is a little alcove where you can step in and buy Orioles merch. It feels like a Hudson News but all orange. They had run out of the largest size of the big orange blanket because it was cold and wet and everybody had the same idea except they had it before my mom. While we were waiting for them to restock, my mom and I were standing next to the wall of hats and chatting.

Out of the blue, I felt something hit me square in the back and then drag down my spine. It was a soft something. I turned around to see a little kid with a giant orange foam set of talons. A foam finger that actually looked cool. I was not mad since the little guy had not hurt me but when I turned around I expected his eyes to bug out as if he had mistaken me for his older brother or dad or something. Instead, he just stared at me like “What? Yeah, I scratched you with my claws.” Before Xanax, I would have been more weirded out and would probably have gotten angry as my anxiety levels raised. Instead, I was like “Whoa, little dude.” The kid just peered at me and then pointed at my hat. I was wearing a blue WYPR hat which I had gotten for donating to the local NPR affiliate that I had listened to for over two-thirds of my life.

So, the kid points at my hat and says “Didn’t they go out of business?” and I blink and tilt my head to show how confused I was. “No, I’m pretty sure they’re still going,” I said. My mom chimed in with “They’re a local NPR station, they still exist.” The kid furrows his brow and says “No, I’m pretty sure they went out of business.” I was absolutely floored by the confidence of a small child who was absolutely sure and stuck to his guns when challenged. I was a much meeker child and I would have backed down immediately. My mom counted with “You might be thinking of WJHU which did go out of business a while ago.” I looked at my mother and then the kid. Only later did I realize that WJHU went out of business well before the kid was born. I have no idea what the kid was thinking as he got bored and walked away. I still wonder about it but it is a mystery I will never solve. Still, I have to admire the kid’s chutzpah.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: WWE 30 Day Challenge Pt. 8

May 18, 2019

29 – Favorite NXT Entrance


Velveteen Dream

I have to choose Velveteen Dream here mostly because his entrance is pretty much different every time he enters anywhere. When he first showed up on the NXT scene, he was just a scrappy young guy who seemed to really like Prince but it was clear that his personality was ten times bigger than he was. Over time, his power seemed to accumulate and grow. He seemed to gain power over any arena’s lighting and sound by sheer force of charisma. He has used this to accentuate his appearances in ingenious ways. He has also used it to the detriment of his opponents. He was able to turn off a spotlight on Matt Riddle and move it to himself during a promo. During a series of taped promos for a five-way match, he countered Aleister Black’s fading the screen to black by snapping his fingers and making it bright purple instead. He is constantly thinking of controversial costumes to wear to the ring in order to draw deserved attention. He has dressed as performers from the past and has also worn clothes specifically to mock his opponents. He currently often has big muscled men carry him out on a couch to the stage, a couch which is also draped with beautiful women. You can watch his big, patriotic entrance from TakeOver: New York above for probably his biggest and best entrance yet.


Aleister Black

Kind of a cheat seeing as how Aleister Black is now on the main roster but I could not resist. The Halloween fan in me loves Black because of his inscrutable occult atmosphere and the martial arts and anime fan in me loves the way he moves. Black’s entrance is similar to the Undertaker’s entrance without going over the top with it. When I first saw the epic vampire sit up move, I lost my mind for a bit. It is easy to see how the trick is done but it still looks really badass. He also often has dozens of lit candles surrounding the stage for big matches which gives a really cool ambiance. Throw in some dry ice and you have a spooky entrance that also rocks because of his epic theme music. Also, at some point when they show his name up on the big screen, it is at first written in a font that reminds me of Enochian before it morphs into English. As the metal music pounds through the arena, he keeps his cool and stares with intensity at his opponent and readies himself for absolute carnage.

30 – Favorite NXT Entrance Music


Keith Lee – “Limitless”

I am a big fan of wrestlers who perform their own ring themes whether they are good or bad. Keith Lee made a name for himself by being nerdy, big, and quick. The rapping here is great along with the chorus of singers exhorting us to “Bask In His Glory”. It immediately tells you what Keith Lee is about. He thinks highly of himself but he definitely deserves to. He also shows how fun he is through wordplay and vocabulary. I have this song on rotation as one of my alarms to wake up to because it is just so fun. It is also a lot of fun to sing along to and the production value makes me have hope for how much they are going to invest in this obvious superstar.  He has been away for some time but I cannot wait to hear this theme ring out on NXT television again.


The Undisputed Era – “Undisputed”

When Adam Cole burst on the scene and recruited Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly to form the Undisputed Era, they needed a kickass theme to show they meant business. It starts with their initial mission statement which was their desire to “Shock the System” and take the place over. The slow grind of the guitar really sells the swaggering arrogance of the team and their usual smug and slow entrance. They take their time coming to the ring and this song is great for that without being boring. The guitars also allow Kyle O’Reilly to air guitar using his title belt (when he has one). A lot of people were not sold on the weird vocals throughout the song but the team really sold them by adding gestures in their entrance to accentuate them and give the song and themselves more character. Adam Cole’s smug smile as he points to himself on the “Boom” just immediately says so much about his character. They are fun assholes and this song definitely helps show that.

Media Update 5/16/19

May 16, 2019


The Dark Crystal

This is one of those movies that I felt like I had seen but as soon as it started rolling, I knew that I had not. This is a shame as I am a huge fan of both Jim Henson and Frank Oz. However, while the concept was created by Jim Henson, a lot of credit also goes to Brian Froud and David Odell. From what I have read, Henson and his wife came up with the story while snowed in an airport hotel. He brought that to Odell who was able to put it all into a screenplay. Meanwhile, Henson had fed his early concepts to Froud who acted as the designer for the movie. Everything in the world of the movie sprung from the conceptual drawings of Froud. His visionary artwork created unique characters and a wonderful new world. The story is about two young creatures called Gelflings who must prevent the Skeksis from conquering and possibly destroying the world. The work he did here is what he would later do with Labyrinth. The difference here, in my opinion, is that this is a simpler and more beautiful story. This is a complete world of fantasy with no humans in a world foreign to us. It is a world of two people adopted into different cultures, using their different learned skills to save the day. I definitely recommend it unless I am the last person alive who had not seen the movie.


The Lego Movie Part 2

When the first Lego Movie came out, nobody expected it to be any good. It sounded like a cheap movie created to cash in on something most of us were nostalgic about. When the movie actually came out, it surprised a lot of us. It definitely surprised me in that it was so good and original and yet did reference a lot of things that I grew up loving. This movie continues in that vein, allowing the characters to grow a bit and explore their world more. This time equal time is given to both Lucy (played by Elizabeth Banks) and Emmet (played by Chris Pratt). Since the two are separated, they are allowed to be the heroes of their separate (yet intertwined) stories. Their story is about how sometimes we should change but also sometimes we should not lose the good parts of ourselves. Will Arnett is back as Batman, a minor but hilarious part. Alison Brie, Charlie Day, and Nick Offerman all return with smaller roles but just as funny as the first one. We get the new appearance of Stephanie Beatriz who adds a lot of dry humor to the movie. What really makes this movie feel new, though is the addition of Tiffany Haddish who infuses the movie with a different vibe which is important to the story. It also has more upbeat pop songs. I definitely recommend this one too.


Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

I remember reading the Goosebumps books when they first came out as they were all the rage at one point. That is part of the reason why I watched the first Goosebumps movie because it looked like a nostalgic walk through the world of the book series. It definitely was and I liked it a lot mostly because of Jack Black’s performance as Slappy the Dummy and RL Stine himself. They created a world where all of the books could exist in our world by literally bringing all of the old books alive. This movie instead more or less pulled the characters into a Goosebumps book. This movie actually felt more focused than the first film because it more or less had a central villain. It felt more like the Goosebumps books that I read long ago. Instead of following Jack Black, it followed a new cast of kids who had to combat Halloween itself. I am also kind of a sucker for stories where Halloween magically becomes real. Mick Wingert takes over as Slappy and, if you do not recognize the name, he is famous for taking over for Jack Black as he also took over the role of Ping from Kung Fu Panda. The movie stars Madison Iseman as the older sister who stands up for her little brother and the whole town. Jeremy Ray Taylor is the little brother (who also appeared in IT Part 1). Finally, there’s the fast-talking friend played by Caleel Harris. There are also great small roles from Wendi Mclendon-Covey, Ken Jeong, Chris Parnell and a cameo from Jack Black which connects this movie with the first one. Besides being more focused, I felt like this movie was creepier than the first one. It definitely had some creepy moments that stuck with me while still keeping things fairly light and family friendly. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Vic Mensa – Rollin’ Like A Stoner

Bebe Rexha – Last Hurrah

FLETCHER – Undrunk

Hunt the Dinosaur – Destructo

Vampire Weekend – Harmony Hall

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Nostalgia”
– I finished Lucifer Season 3
– I watched more Doctor Who Season 10
– I watched more Supernatural Season 14
– I watched more Star Trek: Voyager Season 2
– I watched more Ash vs. The Evil Dead Season 3
– I watched more Losers


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