2/5/19 Dispatch from Minneapolis

Last week, here in Minneapolis, we experienced the polar vortex.

-26 degrees outside. -49 degrees with wind chill.

Then we got a reprieve. 30 degrees (positive this time!) with a little bit of rain.

It was delightful. It was something we could handle.

Then the temperatures plunged again down into the single digits the past two days so everything is covered in ice.

I’m watching movies, I’m reading comic books, I’m trying to be a creative person while also juggling friends, working out, hobbies, and being almost in my 4th decade of life.

What is a slog (boring): just reviewing movies willy-nilly. I really enjoy talking about movies with my friends when I do it, but there is a part of me that screams about it since I don’t want my life to be simply critiquing and commenting on others’ works.

There’s something so enjoyable, though, about saying: I’m going to watch ALL of the Oscar Nominees this year.

Even though the Oscars have plenty of things wrong with them. I almost never agree with who wins Best Picture. I think people are given awards for movies that we know are just for them being who they are. (Hey Denzel, we should have given you this Oscar for Malcom X, but instead here’s an Oscar for Training Day. [I love Training Day and Denzel, but that’s just one example.])

I appreciate those recap podcasts. Rewatchables, Lower Decks (For Star Trek Discovery), A Cast of Kings (podcast with Dave Chen for Game of Thrones), but I don’t think I could have the mechanical brain to sit there and map out each episode and talk about it in that length. It’s very satisfying to hear, but I don’t know that I would be good at it.

In no order, here are some movies I’ve watched recently:

-Blackkklansman

-Thor

-Roma

-Total Recall

It’s like I have to throw in some white guy bullshirt type of movie in between a good culturally relevant movie.

I’ve started keeping a little notebook of what I spend my cash on. I’m not terrible with money, but I think I often don’t realize how much per week I’m spending because I don’t look that often. Let’s see how that goes.

I would like to write more. Not just for the sake of writing, but create some fiction. I suppose a short story would be a good place to start.

 

I am probably starting in the wrong place. This shall go out into the internet as-is.

 

1/25/19 End of shutdown, finally?

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/government-shutdown-deal-reached-trump-speech-announcement-opens-government-shutdown-over-today-live-updates-2019-01-25/

Okay, so Trump decides to end a government shutdown after what is it, 35 days?

I think this management style is known as the abusive boyfriend / father / spouse / significant other. They take something away from you that was yours to begin with. They blame you for the problem. “Look what you made me do! This is all your fault, you’re forcing my hand to do this!” They make you agonize for over a month, and then act like they should be applauded when they end whatever doom they themselves were responsible for to begin with.

That said, I really do wish the professional politicians on the other side were able to finagle something before now. Compromise. Negotiate. That’s what you’re paid to do.

We’ll float along in this state of euphoria having navigated (weathered) this disaster on behalf of our political system until the next one rolls around. (Which will be soon, I’m sure.)

Reviewing television and movies?

Okay,  I’d like to say I get some wacky ideas in my head sometimes and I go off and get all Bukowski-like when I’m writing. I’m referring to the past two entries from last year that got a little weird and free-versey. Hey, that’s fine. These things happen.

In any case, I’ll attempt to rein it in, in the future. (Yes, rein it in.)

What to do with all the TV watching?

One of the reasons I entered into that free-verse “lowercase reviews” as I was calling them is because I was trying to find a new form of movie and TV review. I love thinking and talking and writing about TV and movies, but it’s something that gets done everywhere. And the more I write about all of that stuff, the more I realize that I’m just sort of mediocre at it. I really enjoy recording podcasts about entertainment, but that’s me talking to another person and hashing things out. Usually I listen to those types of podcasts when I’m bored as hell and have 3 hours on the road or more ahead of me.

But still, can we do anything with all that TV watching that a lot of us do? I would like for that time spent, where I am ingesting the latest Netflix whatever it is, to profit me in some way. But I think the writing of reviews is sort of dull and adds up to not much of a hill of beans.

A new way of TV watching? 

I watched the beginning mini series of Battlestar Galactica again, while I played this really simple and really addicting tower defense game on the iPhone – Kingdom Rush. Well, it gave me the suggestion of watching some terrible Kevin Sorbo show called Andromeda right after.

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Kevin Sorbo shakes hand with a blonde lady. Hologram Jen, Pink Raver Girl, Bill S. Preston, Rat Face, and Capoeira watch with serious faces. 

I’m trying to be a bit more intentional with what I’m doing lately. I bemoan the fact that my apartment isn’t clean even though I haven’t cleaned it. I say I want to write and read more, and yet I don’t spend time doing that stuff. So anyway, here we are and I’m about to watch this Andromeda show. I decide I can split the difference between my desire to glance up and watch some stuff happening on the TV, and reading a chapter in this book – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – by just having the TV on, but with no sound, and listening to Charles Mingus instead. – All of that said, Andromeda looks terrible.

I don’t have an answer to how or what to do about the watching of series and TV. It seems like our cultural language  (and in some ways, how smart you are, and  success, maybe?) trades in what shows you watch. “Oh my god, you haven’t seen ALL of Black Mirror? What’s WRONG with you?”

There are some great narratives on TV out there, but there are not enough hours in the day to watch all of the things and still get stuff done.

So, I’ll just end with a question: How do you feel about all the TV watching you do? How do you feel about all the reviewing of TV?

 

 

 

 

lowercase tv journal: star trek discovery (2017)

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tv journal: writing + journal + review

star trek discovery (2017) – cbs

i can’t say i was waiting anxiously for this but there was a buzz amongst my friends.

i’m a guy who loves primarily the next generation-

if i have insomnia, i put tng on my phone,

i set the phone upside down on the bed frame,

i listen to the opening scene of whatever episode

and it leads in to patrick stewart monolog,

and the familiar chimes and theme,

and by the time the theme is done, i’m usually passed out.

i have a fondness for this show that lulls me into sleep.

 

comfort watching.

 

so i put my credit card in for cbs all access so i could watch

discovery.

the lighting and sets,

special effects all look great.

 

the klingons- i’m sorry, i can’t help thinking that the klingons

are just a metaphor for black people, and that bothers me.

the white albino klingon doing… something? lighting the beacon.

 

they put a twist on the usual do-gooder mentality of star trek and the

federation by focusing

on sonequa martin-green’s character- the half-vulcan half-human (i think?)

who ultimately (spoiler spoiler) winds up betraying the asian

captain.

 

i had no idea where this series was going to go until the

trailers for next time

popped up.

 

michael (sonequa’s character) winds up heading to prison,

and then it looks like jason isaac’s character recruits her

to be on the discovery.

 

okay so some weirdness and dislikes i had: 

-the musical theme wasn’t strong. just kind of a bland strumming of strings with a couple of musical familiar elements thrown in.

-the opening credits of blue printy type
michaelangelo drawings was just okay.

-i already talked about how i think the
klingons are a not good race substitute.

-just go to war and shoot first:
are they trying to grab the republican audience?

-doug jones’s science officer character is
basically an alien c3po but that’s great.

-i’d like a little more “star-trekky” moral
conundrums and sci-fi stuff.

-the gender-mixing of captain and first
officer was good – even down to the stereotypically
male first name given to a female character

ultimately: i liked it.
it was less action-y than i thought it was going to be,
in a good way.
i don’t like the star-wars-ification of the trek franchise.

big question is: should I keep forking over 6$ a month to watch it? mayyyybe.

 

lowercase movie journal – american graffiti (1973)

(journal meets writing meets movie review)

 

9/22

 

american graffiti – 1973 – george lucas

 

lots of painful scenes

girls rejecting the guys, the guys pressing on regardless

 

were the 60s like that, george?

 

it’s in the 90s, temperature-wise here.

i feel cooped up in my small apartment.

 

i get it. the fondness of reminiscing on adolescence

and figuring women out.

 

but it’s a sinking gross kind of feeling, too.

 

you stare at your own picture enough

and you become a monster.

 

/

 

the ending with the epitaphs was weird.

women treated as objects throughout the whole thing

side characters who don’t warrant any sort of mention along

with the dudes.

 

lots of uncomfortable cat calling scenes

i disliked this movie much more this time around.

Movie Review: Doll Squad (1973)

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Review: Probably not worth your time. The music was okay though, and they did a valiant effort at making things violent.

Another bad movie I was requested to watch for Austin’s podcast.

A team of women is assembled to fight some kind of bad guy force who is blowing up rockets that are launched. A senator calls them in.

I’m really bad at watching bad movies. I was playing iPhone games and doing everything else while watching this. It barely held my attention.

I kept getting distracted by the bad special effects when someone died, and the really low ceilings they had in the bad guy mastermind dude’s house.

So: Probably don’t watch this movie. Oh, my dad heard me talk about this on my podcast and said that Francine York was from Minnesota, and apparently my grandfather knew her.

The jumpsuits and the movie poster are actually kind of cool.

Bojack Horseman Season 1, Episodes 1&2

Review: Worth your time if you like cartoons, Will Arnett, Paul F. Tompkins, and Alison Brie.

My friend and fellow roller derby skater, Live Bait (not his actual name), raves about Bojack Horseman all of the time.

Bojack Horseman is the horse version of a Full House actor – washed up and was on a shitty sitcom back in the 90s. It takes place in a universe where animal / human hybrids are the norm. Bojack, in these first two episodes, is something I’ve seen before- a drinking, copulating, cursing cartoon character that pushes the boundaries of decency. Alison Brie plays his ghost writer helping him write his biography that his agent / girlfriend who he treats pretty awfully set him up with. Mr. Peanutbutter, a labrador/ man, played by Paul F. Tompkins, is his rival who was also in a crappy sitcom in the 90s, but seems happy while Bojack is miserable. Bojack makes the observation that Mr. Peanutbutter doesn’t even know enough to know that he should be miserable. I have a feeling that as the series goes on, Bojack will make more and more of these pronouncements. I’m told the series starts off as Family Guy and turns into more existential type of comedy.

Tangent: I find myself listening to these recap podcasts. Game of Thrones. The Americans. I tried listening to a Twin Peaks version of it, but I found the personalities on the show to be grating. There’s something about the enjoyment of a thing and talking about it with other people. Hearing people talk about the thing you just watched.

Pop Culture Happy Hour does that with movies, but I haven’t been out to the movies in a while. I’d rather be at home with my dog, and my back gets irritated at me if I sit for too long.

So- perhaps Live Bait and I will talk about Bojack Horseman at some point. So far, the first two episodes don’t give me too much to chomp into.

I totally agree with Bojack, in the second episode – some of the troops are heroes. Some are just regular people. Some are super shitty individuals who have fucked up motivations. Just like any job. Choosing a profession doesn’t automatically turn you into a saint or a hero. But it’s the agreement that keeps society functioning- one of the enticing things about being a cop or in the army or a firefighter is that you get the societal accolades of doing something altruistic. They’re kind of shitty jobs so you have to have uniforms and status.

Aaron Paul is an executive producer on the show and I believe plays a voice on it. He’s surprisingly good. Alison Brie is great in everything. I’m a fan of some of what Will Arnett does, but not everything. Patton Oswalt and Paul F. Tompkins are two of my favorite comedians, so I’m happy to listen to them do pretty much anything.

Review: Worth your time. Especially if this is just setting the scene in a larger context for more meaty existential jokes to come.