Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

Media Update 3/23/2017

March 23, 2017


Iron Fist

Everybody seems to say this show sucks but that is the problem with saying something sucks, somebody out there might actually like it. Marvel has created a lot of good television shows, especially through Netflix. My favorite has been Jessica Jones but Luke Cage and Daredevil have both been great as well. The plan was always to make a quintet of shows and this is the fourth. Iron Fist is Danny Rand, a young wealthy man who the world thought was dead but was instead training in another dimension. When he returns, he is naive about the world and unsure of where he fits in anymore. It is an interesting show as it shows an unshakably honest and forthright character trying to deal with a very dishonest world. Like Daredevil, we get a lot of cool martial arts fight scenes. Some of the coolest fight scenes star the awesome Colleen Wing who is a great character from the comics. In the comics, she often teams up with Misty Knight who was on Luke Cage. I am only a few episodes deep into the season but the show is really coming together. I really like it so far. It makes it a little insulting when other people say “it sucks”. I definitely recommend it. Do not let other people decide what you will and will not like. Check things out for yourself.


Justice League Dark

This was originally supposed to be a project helmed by the excellent Guillermo Del Toro. Unfortunately, that project did not work out because I would have loved to see it. Setting that aside, the animated films that DC Comics and Warner Brothers have been putting out have been really good. The only downside is we get the Superman who is a huge dick but he has maybe two scenes so it’s fine. The show centers on some of the more mystical characters in the DC Universe (a lot of whom came from other companies originally). The central character in the movie is John Constantine who has never really been a hero but often cannot stand by and let the world end. He is joined by Batman, Zatanna, Deadman, Etrigan and Swamp Thing. It is always great to see Batman out of his element, trying to gain his footing but never losing his cool. We get so much of Batman as an unstoppable hero that him being a fish out of water is always interesting. Zatanna featured heavily which makes sense as she is potentially one of the most powerful magicians on Earth. I loved the depiction of Constantine and Swamp Thing’s eternal feud and Felix Faust being a total magic bro. This made me miss the Constantine television show. I definitely recommend it.


Legion

I am a few episodes in and I am not sure what to think about this show yet. I am pretty sure I like it although there was some rough going for a while. This show seemed to be a lot of special effects and weirdness without much substance but it has settled down a little. If you got superpowers, would you recognize them as such? Would you just think that you were just going insane?  This is where David Haller (unknown son of Professor Xavier) is at. He has spent a long time self-destructing and also hanging out in a mental hospital, thinking he is absolutely nuts. He hears voices and sees things that are not there. However, a lot of those things he sees and hears are the thoughts of the people around him. Also, he can set fires and move objects with his mind. That and so many other powers. One of my favorite parts of the show so far is his weird friendship with Lenny. Lenny is played by Aubrey Plaza who I admire for her work in Parks and Rec and her awkward interviews on television. She plays a role originally written for a middle-aged man so she is wonderfully weird. I look forward to how this one will play out but I have not been fully hooked yet. I recommend it but be warned that it is really weird.

Music of the Week:
Levarslaysdragons – Game Over

Cirith Ungol – King Of The Dead

Cher Lloyd – Want U Back

DAZZLE VISION – Final Attack

Steely Dan – Any Major Dude Will Tell You

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is Comic Book Heroes Without Costumes
– I finished Season 3 of Blue Bloods
– I started watching Lucha Underground from the first episode
– I am getting close to finishing off Haven
– I continued watching Once Upon a Time Season 6
– I started watching a few MST3K episodes I missed
– I kept watching The Crown

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: Theme Reveal

March 20, 2017

Yes, it is once again time to get into gear for April’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge. This is getting to be an annual tradition on this blog as this is year three taking part in the challenge. This is the only event I take part in apart from my beloved month of Halloween. Of course, I only decided to do it again this year after some soul searching. After the founder revealed some unsettling political opinions, I was not sure I wanted to do this. However, this event is bigger than any one person and anyone who reads this blog knows who I am and what I stand for. So, let’s have a good time and bang out 26 blog posts in 30 days!

This is my first year with a theme so let us cut to the chase. This year’s theme is:


This Time It’s Personal!

This month is all about me getting personal with you. I will be telling stories about my past and I will be explaining aspects of my present. The creative writing I do will relate to who I am or how I am feeling. The movies I review will have some personal connection that will reveal a little more about myself. This blog is my labor of love. When people ask me what I like to do in my free time, I talk about my joy of writing. I always want to share that with you and I will do that not only in April but all year long.

There are a few more traditions that I intend to follow but I will let those be a surprise as they come. Some of the posts will be a surprise to me as I have not finished planning the month out. In the next few weeks, I will lock things in and we will be good to go. Outside of the challenge, Media Update will continue on Thursdays as a regular feature. The first A to Z Challenge I participated helped kill the old regular Thursday feature (This Week in Steves) but I will not let that happen to Media Update. It is easily one of my favorite features on the blog.

I am looking forward to participating in this challenge again. It makes me exercise my skills a little more and helps me grow a bit as a writer. Stay patient with me. Not all the posts may resonate with you and maybe none of them will. Either way, I will soldier on. I write because I need to and if people enjoy a word of it, that’s just gravy. So, sit back and enjoy and if you have a comment or question, I will try and keep up with that during the month.

Media Update 3/16/2017

March 16, 2017


La La Land

Yes, it is the movie that became controversial in comparison to another movie this year. People turned on this movie pretty quickly when the Academy said they liked it. Anyway, all of the controversy made me want to watch this movie even more than I already did. I like musicals and I like Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone so it was probably something I would eventually see anyway. The movie is kind of a throwback to musicals like Singing in The Rain and Melody of Broadway 1936. Of course, those old musicals always had a happy ending. This movie goes out of its way to tell a story where everything is not wrapped up in a little bow. As the movie started, I was not immediately impressed. The movie crept into my heart as it continued and then it set up shop. I loved the jazz score and original songs. I always love Emma Stone and she was great in this. Her depiction of the audition process for theater (and television and film) is definitely what I heard from my colleagues in the theater. The story was definitely about her but Gosling’s story was also important and he was great as a miserable jerk. Both stories were about what you put up with to achieve your dream. I definitely recommend it as it was nominated for a lot of awards for good reason.


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I first heard about the star of this show (Rachel Bloom) when she lent her voice to a Starbomb album a while ago as the singing voice of Princess Peach. I had not heard of her before but I thought she was a great singer with a good sense of humor. Flash forward to a year and a half ago when I saw that this show was a thing. I read the premise and dismissed the show as not my thing and moved on. Recently, Kate Leth started watching the show and tweeted about it and I was intrigued and decided to try it. The show is about a top-earning lawyer who meets her ex-boyfriend from when she was fourteen and has a crisis moment where she realizes she is not happy in her life. She decides to chase her ex across the country to California. The premise sounded kind of trashy and weird but the show is very self-aware. The character realizes how crazy she may be and the show is more about more than its premise. It is also a musical comedy that likes to address the realities of being a woman in the modern world. For me, a lot of the humor comes from how deep into the crazy Bloom’s character digs and then how hard she has to work to dig out of it. The characters are both likable but also terrible people who end up being a lot of fun. I definitely recommend it.


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Marilyn Monroe is a famous figure mostly for the worst reasons. She was an outrageous woman with real problems but also amazing victories. Until Monday, I had never actually seen her act in anything. I had heard the recording of Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend (which comes from this movie) but I had not seen her act. I had seen more parodies of her acting. In this movie, she adopts a very breathy acting style. Her character is a sweet girl who happens to be obsessed with money but is not a bad person. She comes off as dumb but is actually very intelligent when it comes to certain circumstances. Jane Russell contrasts as a very brassy woman who constantly speaks her mind and defends her ‘dumb blonde’ friend. The two of them are very funny together with consistently clever wordplay, great singing and funny line deliveries. The movie is supposed to be PG but, if you read between the lines, it flies a lot of stuff past the censors. After watching it, I can definitely see why people champion Monroe as an actress and why people kept working with her despite her difficult reputation. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
The Agonist – Business Suits and Combat Boots

Michelle Branch – Best You Ever

Meghan Trainor – Me Too

Nina Hagen – Smack Jack

Indigo Girls – Closer to Fine

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Musicals Centered on Women”
– I watched more Haven Season 5
– I watched more Blue Bloods Season 3
– I kept watching The Magicians Season 2
– I watched some more of The Crown
– I watched some old and new Conan
– I liked Amy Schumer: The Leather Special
– 3/16 says I just watched some stuff

Luck is for Losers (I Still Hate my Dice)

March 13, 2017

Luck is for Losers

Because you don’t want to be lucky, you want to be good at what you do.

Phillip Brooks (better known as CM Punk) has a tattoo that says “Luck is for Losers”. That phrase has resonated me ever since I saw the tattoo. As I have stated in the past, I am a skeptic. As a skeptic, I am picky about what I believe in. I believe in science even if it does not need me to believe in it. I believe in gravity, genetics and free will. I believe in a lot of forces of the universe but I do not believe in luck. I do not believe in a magical force that pushes outcomes one way or another based on the whims of the universe. Who or what would control such a force? Believing in luck feels weird and wrong.


But seriously, don’t buy too many lottery tickets.

I do believe in chance and probability. When I was in high school, I took a probability and statistics class. I learned all sorts of practical things. I learned that if you buy a lottery ticket, it is best to pick numbers that are not a day of the year. You do not raise your odds of winning but you lower your odds of sharing the prize if you happen to win as a lot of people play birthdays, anniversaries or other significant dates. I learned that specific numbers (like 666) can pop up at any given time and they do not mean anything. I learned about the chances of owning a mentally ill dog, a concept that had never occurred to me. The mathematics made sense to me.


I missed and everybody watched it happen.

Of course, I started playing tabletop roleplaying games a while ago and my beliefs were challenged. Lately, this has really started to bother me. On Saturday, our group once again met to deal with dungeons and/or dragons. Our adventuring party (including my character Bron) set out to deal with some bandits that were plaguing a small town. While we made mistakes, we would have done fine if we had not consistently rolled low when it counted. When you are rolling dice, the house always wins eventually but in a tabletop game, 7 people should be able to cover for low rolls. This was barely the case.


Oh Wil Wheaton, bless these dice!

Of course, we have all had bad streaks of rolling dice. One of the things I like about the group is that we are all huge nerds and geeks. The group is mostly made up of people of science. Vets, patent researchers, and IT professionals. As a former theater guy, writer and legal professional I guess I am comparatively a ‘poet’ in the group. They are all also very creative people but we all love science in our own way. And yet, we do a lot of superstitious things. We talk about ‘blessing’ dice with good luck or ‘cursing’ dice with bad luck. We switch dice after a horrible streak of dice and we retire dice ‘responsible’ for particularly bad numbers.


I thought about smashing my dice but I just watched this a few times instead. Therapeutic.

It does not make any sense and I find myself fighting against it. I also find myself fighting the feeling that I am responsible for my bad rolls. I have to believe that if I could roll well by skill and knowledge of the physical realities then I would. For example, if I knew how to move my hand and when to release and how hard to throw the die, I would practice all of those things. The reason that it bothers me is that this is my character. I wrote him to be such a strong fighter and he cannot seem to actually hit anything. All of that backstory is not matching up to the realities when it comes to game time. It is frustrating. I just have to hang on to the belief that eventually, my rolls will average out.

Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Bayley

March 11, 2017


It is National Women’s History month and last Wednesday was International Women’s Day. I think it makes sense to pay tribute to the women of professional wrestling. Lately, the division has seen a more mainstream resurgence. Based on the female wrestling in Japan, the core of the WWE’s women’s division is taking things more seriously. For the most part, storylines are based on tests of skill rather than catty slap fights over a male or some other superficial reason for fighting. Today’s reason for Why I Love Pro-Wrestling is part of that core who are called The Four Horsewomen. That’s right! It’s Bayley! Arguably, my favorite member of the Four Horsewomen.

I have been a fan of sports entertainment and professional wrestling in particular for a long time. I love all the twists and turns of the various television shows and pay per view events. While the genre has enjoyed periods of popularity, it feels like it is in another period where it has drifted from the mainstream. It is not a popular topic of conversation among my friends and it is not something I mention that I like in public. I respect it a lot but I know that I am in the minority. I keep my commentary on the WWE and Lucha Underground mostly to this blog and Twitter. However, I still remember that first lightning bolt of excitement when I became a fan.


Bayley embodies that feeling. She is a fan of the business. While most pro-wrestlers were fans of the business before they got their own start, almost none of them talk about it anywhere near the ring. They mention it in podcast interviews but they are in character when they are performing. Bayley openly talks about how much she enjoys the business around her. When she debuted on NXT, she was practically asking for the autographs of the performers she was fighting and fighting alongside. When she recently teamed with The New Day for the first time, she eagerly declared how much she was a fan of theirs and how happy she was to work with them. She is that fan in each of us who just loves the product for what it is.


Eventually, she moved beyond being the doe-eyed fangirl she started out as. She was winning matches so, at some point, the fan rises to a new level. Having her be an ascended fan is such a good idea. For one, she has never forgotten what it means to be a fan. She formed a special bond with a real little girl who attended pretty much every one of her NXT matches. She handed barrettes out to the crowd and became known as the queen of hugs. She is just as thrilled at her own entrance as her die-hard fans are. She has the biggest smile on her face as she makes her entrance and it tends to reappear a lot even during her matches. Like she is still waiting for somebody to pinch her to make sure it is all real.


On top of that, Bayley resonates so well with a demographic that has eluded the Pro-Wrestling world in the past: little girls. Bayley is girly without being weak. While most male and female performers perform from a place of anger or seriousness, Bayley is a ball of joy. She obviously taps into the same energy that The New Day, Santino Marella and Dude Love found. I could not help but root for her in NXT when she was getting bullied by the meaner kids. I was overjoyed when she won the NXT title and started to come into her own. When she appeared on Raw, I got a warm and fuzzy feeling because I knew that it was her dream and her friends were already there. When she recently won the Raw title, I knew how much it meant to her because I know how much it would mean to me. That is why I will always be a big supporter of the Doctor of Huganomics, Bayley.

Media Update 3/9/2017

March 9, 2017


Hidden Figures

I told you on Monday that I would speak about this movie today. As soon as I learned that this movie was being made, I really wanted to watch it. I love it when tales of history that are either covered up or left to gather dust are unearthed and told. This story was obviously left behind (and never really told in the first place) because of prejudice against black people in the United States. This movie is about the black, female mathematicians (known as Human Computers) who were the backbone of NASA’s space program. Because this is Hollywood, the racism is almost assuredly toned down for the movie to keep it more lighthearted. Nobody ever stood up for these women and their story is inspiring. The movie follows three women who work hard to contribute and better their way of life through applied mathematics. Taraji Henson is the clear main character as famous mathematician Katherine Johnson. Although she is constantly belittled, she rises to the occasion and makes a difference. Janelle Monae is Mary Jackson, a sharp-tongued woman who becomes the first black female NASA engineer. Finally, we have Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughn, who became the first black female supervisor at NASA. I really loved this movie and I wholeheartedly recommend it.


The Imitation Game

Alan Turing was a hero. What his own government did to him afterward is a great injustice similar but not equivalent to the injustices detailed in Hidden Figures. Alan Turing was one of the people who helped along the invention of the computer. He saw a problem and worked smarter rather than working harder. He invented the machine to do the codebreaking that would have taken the Allies millions of years to complete. He was also a human being who did not really fit in with human society of his time. Alan Turing was a very literal human being who did not understand how social interaction was supposed to work. I really identified with his social awkwardness. He was also gay at a time when it was illegal in England. The revelation and subsequent criminal charges ruined his career and his life. It was an absolute tragedy. Benedict Cumberbatch is so good as Alan Turing and Turing’s surviving relatives have all praised him for his accuracy. The movie is also good at depicting England during World War II and the inner workings of the military and MI6. The Turing Test (or titular The Imitation Game) is absolutely something created by a man who spent his life trying to be a normal human. I definitely recommend this one too.


The Theory of Everything

Dr. Stephen Hawking has been famous since I can remember. Next to Albert Einstein, he was always the go to name when you wanted a reference to a smart person. His intellect is obviously enormous. He has provided huge advancements in the field of cosmology and quantum physics. He helped us understand how our universe works and he continues to help science in general. This film is based on a book by Jane Hawking who was married to Stephen for a very long time. Dr. Hawking was tragically cut down by Lou Gehrig’s disease which has cut off his motor functions. His brain has remained not only intact but sharp as ever. Of course, this and Hawking’s personality made it hard for Jane to be married to Stephen. This is a story of a very smart couple. Stephen is incredibly intelligent and Jane is right there beside him the whole way. Besides the disease, there is some friction between science and Jane’s religion but they manage to make it work. Clearly, what they went through was hard and I will not lie, it was also hard to watch. It is an important story. Eddie Redmayne plays Dr. Hawking and he is impossible not to like even when he’s being an ass. His physicality is amazing. Mrs. Hawking is played by Felicity Jones and, even though I do not agree with her often, she is an inspiring woman. I recommend it as it is good but it was a hard watch.

Weekly Music:
Fifth Harmony ft. Kid Ink – Worth It

Chance The Rapper ft. Saba – Angels

Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On

The Stranglers – Blue Sister

Darius Rucker – Wagon Wheel

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Applied Maths”
– I am now watching Haven Season 5
– I kept watching The Librarians
– I started Season 2 of The Magicians
– I started Season 3 of Blue Bloods
– I finished Season One of The Seven Deadly Sins

Stage Management

March 6, 2017

I was thinking about the big snafu at the end of the Oscars recently. I did not watch the most recent Academy Awards and several of the ones before that. Awards shows generally do not interest me because I can get the same experience in a much shorter timespan by reading snippets of speeches and watching clips the next day. Of course, since I was online at the time, it was nearly impossible to avoid Oscars talk on my twitter feed. As of today, I have only seen one of the ten movies that were nominated for Best Picture and I will talk about that on Thursday. I have seen neither La La Land or Moonlight. I heard that both were good but a lot of people seemed to vilify La La Land for some reason.


The real villain in this story.

Of course, people were even angrier at the flub of announcing the wrong winner for Best Picture at the end of the night. However, never attribute to malice what you can attribute to ignorance. From what I have heard from various articles that I have read, the wrong winner was announced because the presenters of the award (Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty) were given the wrong envelope by the accountants that keep the envelopes safe. Which most likely means either the accountants or the company that prints the contents of the envelopes are to blame. It was a confusing moment to be sure but it seems like everybody eventually stumbled through it.


When the accountants froze, the stage manager leaped into action.

Who is the biggest hero in this story? As far as I can tell, it is the stage manager. They quickly realized something was wrong and informed the assembled producers of La La Land. To their credit, the La La Land crew were very professional and gracious about the mistake. Also, the crew of Moonlight was also very gracious about the mistake and even praised La La Land later on. It reminded me of all the times that I had to scramble to make something right as a stage manager during my brief career in theater. It is so important for the backstage crew to be on top of things. It is equally important for the performers to be as professional as possible.


The mantle is a heavy one.

I never became a professional stage manager. I worked as a stage manager in community theater and college. Those experiences made me want to be a professional stage manager but my first and last job in the field swiftly turned me into a designer instead. I was actually glad for it because stage managers have it rough. The worst experiences I had were when I worked with the now defunct Baltimore Opera Company. Actors are generally pretty chill individuals but opera stars can be a special kind of crazy. I once tried to wrangle a crazy Canadian who literally threw a tantrum at the end of rehearsal. I also was part of a costume meeting with a female singer who took one look at her dress and refused to wear it. Ever.


I miss these guys.

But, like I said, most performers are pretty cool. There was a French singer I worked with who did not speak English. I used a few Italian words I knew to communicate with him and he would smile and be the nicest guy in the world. I worked with a ton of interesting guys and gals in high school, college and beyond who I still remember fondly. My favorite will always be my friend Bill who unfortunately died young of cancer a few years ago. He was a bright ball of energy who listened to Christmas music all year long and was basically a living muppet. When I worked with him as a designer after college, he was something I looked forward to every day. Later, I looked forward to hanging with him and his comedy team partner Scotty.

While I left the theater a while ago, I still carry the lessons with me. It is important to stay on top of things and get along with everybody. Nobody loves to work with a diva. The collaborative work prepared me to work with others in other jobs I have had. Remember to use every experience you have had as you move forward. Oh and also don’t blame La La Land for somebody else’s silly mistake.

Death of a Halfling

March 4, 2017

Bron had placed the small body onto the wagon and stared at it for a moment. The stillness of the gnome was strange. His life had been full of death and chaos since he could remember. Sometimes it seemed as if blood had stained his skin more often than water had washed it clean. He had seen people fall beside him in combat before. However, this was back in his days with the orc clan that had birthed him. He had not cared much for those who had gone out of their way to make him feel unwelcome. Since his exile, he had worked alone until the dwarf had hired him in Neverwinter. Traveling with these others now was a new experience. After a few battles, he had a grudging respect for their abilities.

Of course, he had not respected the gnome. Even now he could not remember his name. He had called him “halfling” because it had annoyed the gnome originally. The little man had seemed harmless enough. In a world where Bron sorted things into whether they were a challenge or not a challenge, the gnome had been classified as “no challenge”. Bron did not have much experience with magic besides a single warlock in the clan who was lazy and the Witch. The gnome had been largely ineffective in the use of his magic previously.

That changed in the most recent glorious battle. In the midst of battle, the gnome warlock had stayed in a very heated battle. Bron had faced off against a strange barbarian goblin. However, the gnome had cheated him of his victory by magically turning the goblin into a pile of glitter. It had been shocking. Just hours earlier Bron had cut a goblin in half lengthwise and that had filled Bron with joy. In comparison, the transmutation of the goblin into glitter was deeply wrong. After a brief pause, the battle had begun again and Bron had been brought low by a bugbear. It was Bron’s first bugbear. He awoke again in time to see the gnome get savagely murdered by the bugbear.

The human who had promised them gold had waved his arms over the body but Bron knew it was over. The gnome had ceased being a person and was now a thing. A thing that Bron had carried out of the cave and placed on the wagon. The gnome was dead but he had left his mark on the party. Bron and most of the others had been covered in glitter in the battle. Bron had tried to wash it off in the stream but it would not be removed yet. It was like being haunted by the gnome’s ghost.

Of course, Bron’s thoughts did not dwell on all of this for long. In reality, all of that had passed through his head for only the briefest of moments. He felt a little sympathy for the gnome but that was tempered by the joy of finally finding the challenge he had been seeking. This would make him stronger. Anyway, he had only known the gnome for a few days. It was a shame that he was dead but he would shed no tears for the warlock.

 

Media Update 3/2/2017

March 2, 2017


Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping

I have loved Lonely Island since I first saw their first music video. I had stopped watching Saturday Night Live at the time. I just was not feeling it and what I saw did not really excite me. However, their new digital shorts started to pop up on YouTube. I have since followed their channel on YouTube with interest and hastily devoured every album they have put out. Well, I have not watched Hot Rod, the other feature film they released. They are most known for their music and their sketches which are all always well-written and expertly performed. They have carved out their place mostly as a comedy rap group. This movie is basically about all that and then more. It follows a trio of rappers who hit it big and then one of them (Samberg) went solo. He lost himself along the way and his old friends are also slowly falling apart. It is a story of a meteoric rise, the fall and then another rise. I thought it would be a silly movie but it ended up having a lot of heart. Part of the reason for that is that it is self-aware. It ends up being a good story wrapped up in a parody of the music business and celebrity in general. The movie is jam-packed with songs that are pretty much all written by The Lonely Island which is like getting a new album from them. Samberg is great as a big star who never really learned anything but how to be famous, Jorma Taccone is great as the meek friend who is an expert at mixing music and Akiva Schaffer is the bitter ex-friend who is a good writer. Akiva and Jorma also co-directed the movie while Akiva and Andy wrote it. The rest of the cast is full of musicians that Lonely Island has performed with and Saturday Night Live alumni. I definitely recommend it, especially if you are a fan of their past work.


Keanu

I had wanted to watch this movie when it came out but I am on a limited budget while I have been taking classes and I do not go out to the theater lightly anymore. Thankfully, HBO decided to air the movie and I could not be happier. This movie is timely right now for two reasons. First, a couple of friends just got new kittens. Second, George Michael died over the holidays. I loved Key and Peele. It was a sketch comedy show that was often smart but was also never afraid to get silly. It was kind of a spiritual successor to The Chapelle Show and Kids in the Hall, two other great comedy shows. This movie is very much in the vein of Key and Peele but in some ways, it is even more mature. While things on the show were exaggerated, the movie had a lot subtler acting in it. Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key have both shown how much they have grown and learned working on and writing for their show. There is also a great cast surrounding them that have a lot of fun moments including Method Man and Tiffany Haddish. There are action scenes but for the most part, you can imagine a real person acting the way our heroes act. I definitely recommend it as a silly comedy with a good heart and it is secretly pretty smart.


The Ten

I have mentioned on this blog a few times how much I love the movie Wet Hot American Summer and its prequel miniseries First Day of Camp. That movie was mostly made by cast members of an MTV sketch comedy show called The State. So it was inevitable that I would check out this movie made by ten out of eleven members of The State. I have not seen much of it but The State was irreverent and it did a lot of weird things just to tweak the nose of corporate. This movie is basically a sketch comedy anthology movie full of lengthier comedy sketches. Each sketch covers one of the ten commandments from the Bible in a comedic way. This premise made me nervous because I generally do not like watching anything religious because it is usually heavy-handed and bad. This movie feels like it used the commandments as a jumping off point and could probably be considered sacrilegious at times which is just fine by me. The movie is not without its flaws but I definitely do not regret watching it. There are ten separate stories but they start to melt together as the movie progresses. Characters from an early sketch might reappear in a later sketch and all of them get a curtain call of sorts at the end. The whole thing is tied together by having Paul Rudd introduce each sketch. However, his character eventually gets sucked into the sketches too. The whole thing ends up feeling like a mess but I think it is a good sort of mess. I would recommend it to fans of Wet Hot American Summer, The State or Kids in The Hall.

Music of the Week:
Bella Thorne – Call It Whatever

V8 Wankers – You Hate Me, I’m So Glad

Silly Wizard – The Queen of Argyll

Roxy Roca – Try My Love

Conner4real – I’m a Weirdo

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Dumb Movies That Are Kind of Smart”
– I finished watching Parks and Recreation
– I watched more of Season 2 Blue Bloods
– I watched more Season 1 of Seven Deadly Sins
– I am done with Season 4 of Haven
– I continued watching The Crown
– I continued watching The Librarians out of order
– I started The Magicians Season 2

Palo Alto and San Francisco

February 27, 2017

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How most trips start.

Last Sunday I flew on a trip to Palo Alto primarily to visit my youngest brother who works in the post-doctorate program at Stanford University. I packed the night before, filling up my old duffle bag with a bunch of clothes and putting together what I called my “go bag”. The flight was leaving at 7:30 in the morning and would arrive in San Francisco at 10:30 in the morning. Sort of like time travel. I got a call from my mom and she told me she would pick me up which surprised me because I had been planning to drive myself. I am extremely nervous about making flights on time and I knew that I would have trouble getting to sleep. I was right. I fell asleep at 4 am and I was woken up at 5:15 by the sound of my mom’s little car. We were off to San Francisco.

Our western destination.  It rained almost the whole time we were there.

I actually love most of the plane ride experience. I hate security but we randomly got Pre-TSA which made things a little simpler. After that, we were in an airport. While airports are expensive, I find them interesting little pockets of culture you cannot find anywhere else. The food is usually pretty good and the people who work there are super friendly. Once we were on the plane, I enjoyed it even more. I had time to sit where I was not at work and not connected to the internet. I watched two movies and an episode of The Librarians. I also listened to some podcasts while I tried to rest my eyes and I worked on the Bron story that posted this past Saturday. By the time we landed, I was fried.

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The site of the blue jeans store that Wiseau owned while making The Room.

The rest of Sunday is kind of a blur because I was so fried from only sleeping about an hour. I remember visiting a farmer’s market, playing video games with my brother and crashing at the hotel. The next day, we got up and decided to go into San Francisco. It was my third trip into the city but it was still awesome. I got to eat Dim Sum for the first time at a place called Tom Kiang. It was absolutely delicious. I do not eat much Asian food in general but I was glad to eat with my family walking me through it. We went to Fisherman’s Wharf which is where I was stunned to find the above tribute to the legendary Tommy Wiseau. It was the highlight of the trip for me. Ice Cream at the original Ghiradelli shop was a very close second.

Classy as all heck.

The next day we went and saw my brother’s lab and a lot of Stanford stuff. It was very impressive but not my story to tell since it involves his workplace. Of course, I am very proud of what he has accomplished and I know my folks are very proud as well. I knew him when he was just getting his start and now he’s at the top. Stanford is pretty cool. I went to school on the East Coast (which is technically still happening) so I never really experienced the laid back California attitude. A lot of scruffy dudes walking around in shorts and sandals and a huge bike culture. It is very different from what I am used to but I am sure I would have enjoyed it if I went to school out there.

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This was at Google.

The final day of our trip was a weird mishmash of things to do. We had planned on making a second trip into San Francisco but instead, we stuck around Palo Alto. We ate a great Mexican place called Palo Alto Sol where I ate a spicy burrito drenched in sauce. It reminded me how different the West approaches Mexican food. We decided to go visit Google since we were kind of in the neighborhood. We did not get a tour but we did visit their campus and their brand store. I almost bought a YouTube shirt because I am such a big fan. We went to the Computer History Museum which was pretty crazy. Seeing all the technology from start to present is pretty humbling. Also, my brothers and I got to walk our mother through the history of video games and software. Also, there was a huge exhibit on World of Warcraft of all things.

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We also found this on Day 3.  It’s California. Drink it in, maaaan.

Finally, we climbed into our plane at 10:30 pm for a red eye flight that would arrive at 6 am. Once again, I spent a sleepless night. After a long, tiring week and a peaceful red eye flight, I crashed at 8 am in the morning and slept a good chunk of Thursday so I could rest for work on Friday.


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