My Week(Or Two) In Books, Movies and TV

I was in India last week so I did not do a week in review. Even with a week off I don’t have a lot to report on as I was traveling a lot so my reading and watching was abnormal.

Movies: The movie selection on the plane to Delhi was limited. There were a handful of new Hollywood movies, a larger selection of older Hollywood movies and a collection of Indian movies. I watched Pacific Rim Uprising which was a lot better than I was expecting for a sequel without the original cast. I decided to save Tomb Raider for the trip home and rewatched Creed(very good) and You’ve Got Mail(still charming). Unfortunately, the plane on the way home had upgraded screens, but even more limited movies and the new movies were not an option. I ended up rewatching The Blind Side. I almost forgot: I watched Thoroughbreds on the short flight from Delhi to Hyderabad. It wa interesting, but not great.

TV: All of my TV viewing has been random repeats of Friends, How I Met Your Mother and other US shows that were airing on TV in India. We did see a piece of an Indian TV show while in a Uber in Hyderabad that we would like to find and watch, but we can’t remember the name and I haven’t been able to find it googling key words. Maybe some day I will find it again.

Books:  I took two ARCS with me to India: We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix and Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer. We Sold Our Souls is about a former member of a metal band who now works at a hotel while her former band mate is a mega-star. When she finds out he is doing a farewell tour she decides to confront him about the end of the band and discovers there might be some evil behind the situation. I enjoyed it. It was a little weird, but it kept me reading. Hope Never Dies is a mystery where the “detectives” are Joe Biden and Barack Obama. They are investigating the death of an Amtrak employee Biden knew from his time riding down when he was in the Senate. It was a nice little cozy type mystery that I would not have read if Biden and Obama were not the main characters. It’s worth a read for the novelty, but that’s it.

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Some Thoughts on Josh Hader

Last night during the MLB All Star game, someone found some old tweets from Brewers pitcher Josh Hader. These tweets included the n-word, white power and a statement that he hated gay people. Terrible stuff.  They were tweeted 7 years ago when Hader was a 17-year-old high school kid here in Maryland.  There are a lot of thoughts out there on this, so I thought I would add mine to the mix.

It doesn’t surprise me that a 17-year-old kid from this area would tweet some terrible stuff like this. I’ve seen posts like this from 17 year old kids in this area. I’ve seen recent tweets from 17 year old kids in this area that are hateful. Being from a diverse area does not automatically make you more accepting of others.

17 years old is way old enough to know that this is wrong. You can’t excuse hate because the hater is 17. Being young is not an excuse for hate. You can probably blame being dumb enough to post it publicly on being young.

This was 7 years ago, Hader was 17 at the time. He is now 24. I don’t know Hader. It’s possible that he is still the same asshole he was at 17, but at least one teammate, Lorenzo Cain, has said that the Hader he knows is not this person. That he is a kind-hearted person and a great teammate. He also says “At the end of the day you’ve got to give people a second chance…you’ve got to forgive people.” I agree with Cain. We’ve got to get better at forgiveness. We have become a society that doesn’t believe in second chances. We want to bury people for past mistakes and never give them a second chance. Yet, I’m sure we want forgiveness when we mess up. Also, how Cain feels means more than what random twitter users and bloggers think as he is someone who knows and works with Hader now.

I know that I was a completely different person at 24 than I was at 17. I would bet that I said and did some terrible things when I was 17. I probably said and did terrbile things when I was 18 and 19. I matured a lot from 19-24. I’m glad here were no old records of terrbile 17-year-old me that could be held against 24-year-old me. People grow. People evolve. Stop demanding people continue to pay for past mistakes. If can’t move on, we might as well all give up now.

I Survived India’s Attempt to Kill Me

I posted pictures from my trip yesterday. Today comes my narrative of what we did and how I survived India’s attempt to kill me.

Wednesday of the trip is the first day our daughter and I are on our own while my wife is in her conference. In some cities(Seoul, Helsinki, Livingstone) this has been easy with options of interesting things to do within walking distance. This trip was more like Manilla last year where there was nothing around besides shopping malls. We decided to head the opposite direction from the mall from Tuesday night to find another shopping area. As we were walking, I hit a tree branch with my arm and was bleeding enough I decided we should head back to the hotel for a band-aid. The concierge decided I needed more and started wrapping my arm in gauze. While this was happening, the jet lag, stress, and bleeding all resulted in me feeling light-headed so I asked to sit. The hotel was concerned and after we got to our room they sent the hotel doctor to see me(and then tried to charge me for it at checkout). She tried to make me go to the hospital for a scratch. I did not. I rested a little and then we headed out to the mall across the street just to be out of the hotel. This was the night of the official dinner and every other year spouses of the delegates have been invited. India told my wife I was not invited, so instead of getting dressed up and going out, I stayed in the room watching TV with my daughter. It was probably for the best as this was the night that I also started having some stomach issues that would last for the rest of the trip. I did not sleep well that night.

The next morning, while my wife was finishing up her conference we stayed in and napped to make up for the lack of sleep the night before. That afternoon we were going out on the social program with the group. Unfortunately, it was raining, so instead of the tomb visit we were taken to a very boring museum. I wasn’t sure what was going to kill e first, boredom or continuing stomach issues. We left the museum and they took us to Charminar.img_0950It was a very interesting site and saved the day a bit We were able to go inside and tour a little and was also served tea. There was a bazaar in the streets leading up to it, but we were warned not to shop because it was dangerous. After Charminar, we went to dinner where unfortunately for the guy having stomach issues, my wife decided to opt for the spicy food bus. We went to a local restaurant famous for briyani. It was good, but I could ony eat a little of it.

Friday we were taken to Ramoji Film City for the day. We had been told that we would have to pay our own way(all other countries gladly included accompanying guests. India, not so much) but they did end up just paying for all. Film City is kind of like Hollywood studios. We saw film sets for famous Indian films and watched some shows. I was feeling a little better and the buffet lunch had some bland foods that helped. While on breaks, we tried to get someone to tell us where we should go to shop for souvenirs. No one seemed to know.  A few said Charminar, the place they said was too dangerous to shop the day before. It was very unhelpful. They finally said that one bus would be going shopping at a market that had a little of everything. My daughter was very excited to get her souvenirs that night so we wouldn’t have to figure it out the next day. Turns out they took us to the equivalent of a Wal-Mart with nothing worth buying. It was right down the street from our hotel. An annoying end to an annoying trip.

Saturday, we ubered out alone to a craft village we had read about. Turn out it was the perfect place to shop for loca gifts. I’m not sure why no locals told us about it. We had several hours to but local handicrafts and every left satisfied with their purchases. We then headed off to the airport where my daughter was flagged for extra security screening and our flight was held an hour after we boarded to wait for connecting passengers who were late. Thus led to our flight to DC from Delhi being held for the 30 or so of us who were late because our flight was held.  Air India apparently has the policy to hold flights to accommodate connecting passengers who are late due to Air India. We made our fight(despite crazy, multiple security checks in Delhi airport) and made it back home. I’m finally starting to feel somewhat normal despite India’s attempt to kill me with trees and food.

Tater In India

Doing this on my phone from the hotel room. Please excuse typos.

We arrived at our hotel in Hyderabad at 5:30 PM local time yesterday. We didn’t have much time to do anything at all. We walked around the hotel, discovered the pool is closed for renovations and ate at one of the hotel restaurants. We were all boring and got boring American type meals. We all slept pretty good and feel like we have adjusted to the time change somewhat.

Our first full day started with the very nice breakfast buffet at the hotel. American hotels need to adopt this model and offer nice hot breakfasts for guests. We then Ubered(with our Indian government guide) to Golconda Fort.

After the fort we took a break and spent some time reading and watching TV in the hotel. We then called our hosts about going out to the Birla Mandir temple. We again Ubered our with a guide and visited the temple. We were not allowed to take electronics in, so all I have are pictures from the outside after the visit.

We then walked down a the temple to the government offices of our hosts where our guide had someone waiting with a car to drive us around the lake and back to the hotel.

We braved the walk across the street(traffic is crazy here) to the mall for dinner at the food court.

Tomorrow the conference starts so likely no tourism. My daughter and I will probably browse the mall and explore the rest of the hotel neighborhood and then relax. The welcome dinner will follow.

Thursday and Friday the cultural programs begin and we will be on a tour bus full of government auditors from other countries.

My Month or So in Book, Movies and Television

It’s been over a month since I’ve written a “week in review” post of my books, TV and movies. I likely won’t have one next week either as I will be out of the country again. Here are some highlights of what I’ve read and watched over the last month or so.

Books – I’ve read at least seven books since I last wrote one of these posts. I’m sad to say that only to really stand out enough to mention in a good way. Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory and Safe Houses by Dan Fesperman. Spoonbenders is kind of mystery, but with people with some sort of super power. I really liked it. It has potential to be the best one I read this year. Safe Houses is a little more of a straight u mystery, but it does alternate between two time periods and involves some espionage as well. I would highly recommend both.

Movies – I haven’t watched a lot of movies recently. I did finally watch Lady Bird and Shape of Water on the plane to and from London last month. They were both very good, which makes sense since they were nominated for awards. I made my wife and daughter watch It with me. I had already seen it alone, but wanted to watch it again with others. They didn’t hate it as much as they expected to.

Television – I’ve watched a lot more TV than I have movies over the month. I finished season two of Thirteen Reasons Why. It was a good season, but the finale was not great. It coud have been a good ending if they had focused on the friends moving on with life and not added in the scenes setting up the conflict for next season(including a brutal assault scene). I watched season 2 of Santa Clarita Diet. I think it was better than season 1. Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore are very good, but I think I like the scenes with their daughter and the boy next door the best. Finally, a recommendation for a nice, light summer series – Take Two. Take Two stars Rachel Bilson and Eddie Cibrian. Bilson plays an actress who had a breakdown after a break up and is just out of rehab. She once starred in a popular TV cop show. She has a shot at a role as a PI so her friend calls in a favor and gets a former cop and PI, Cibrian, to let her shadow him. She turns out to be good at it, they solve a high profile case and he gets more clients, but they all want her, so she joins the firm. Noting ground breaking, but it is a fun show.

That’s all I’ve got. I will try to get back in the weekly habit once I’m done traveling.

Unsurprising Things That Seem to Surprise People

It’s hot in summer – It’s July in Maryland. Sure, it’s hotter than normal and it isn’t fun, but it’s not shocking that its hot and humid in Maryland in July. Every summer it seems people are shocked by the fact that it gets hot and humid in July. Maybe you should set a reminder on your phone for next year.

It’s Cold in Winter – The same thing will happen around January about the cold and snow. It’s Maryland. It gets cold and sometimes snowy in winter. Why are people shocked by this? If you don’t want seasons, don’t live in Maryland.

Libraries are Busy in Summer – Any place that is popular with families and kids will be busy when schools are out. Especially now that no one lets their kids just play outside all day in the summer. More people will come in for your classes. More people will come in for books and movies. It happens every year. It will happen again this year.

Traffic is Bad Here – Traffic in this area sucks. It doesn’t take much to make it even worse. That’s why I use Waze and give myself a time cushion to make sure I arrive places on time.  If you use bad traffic as your excuse to be late all the time, it’s not the traffic’s fault. It’s you not planning for the fact that traffic sucks. It really shouldn’t surprise you if it happens every day.

You Have to Take Metal Out of Your Pockets at a Metal Detector – It drives me crazy to be behind someone who slows down the security lines because they didn’t take keys out of their pockets. It’s a metal detector. Keys are metal. This is not rocket science.

I could probably think of more, but it is time to get ready to go to work in case I am surprised by bad traffic.