My Week in Books, TV and Movies(5/25)

Here it is – my anticipated by no one weekly review of what I’ve read and watched since last Friday. It’s been a long week filled with prom, trip planning, work around the house, etc but I did manage to find time to read and watch some stuff. I’m sure that means there are things I forgot to do. This weekend will also be filled with very stressful “getting ready for company” cleaning and then the company arrives and a week from today is graduation. I don’t think this post will happen next week. Anyway, here is my week:

Books – I’m reading pretty fast right now because the day I get back from th trip I am going to a high school to do summer reading promotions. I’m trying to get through the books I haven’t read before I leave. It looks like I will be taking my last book with me on the plane. This week I finished As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti and And Then You Die by Cody Cassidy. As You Wish takes place in a small town where everyone gets to make one wish on their 18th birthday. The wish can’t affect anything outside of town. The main character struggles with his wish so he asks others about their wish and the results. I liked it even though I hated the main character. And Then You Die goes through multiple scenarios like “what happens if you go over Niagara Falls in a barrel” and “What would happen if you were swallowed by a whale” It’s interesting, but better to read off and on and not all together.

Television – I’ve been home alone a lot this week, so I’ve watched a good bit of television. I started working my way slowly through the second season of 13 Reasons Why. It’s been pretty good so far, but I’ve been warned(and then googled to read about it) about the last episode being very upsetting. I’m still slowly working my way through Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. Wednesday night after work my daughter and I watched the season finale of Survivor. I still love the show. It will be less fun next year when my daughter is at college and I’m watching alone. I also watched the series finale of The Middle. It was such an underrated show. So much better than others that won multiple awards. It was probably more emotional for me as I am looking toward my youngest heading off to college and the episode was all about Axl leaving home for a new job in Denver. I will miss the Hecks.

Movies – We watched two movies this week: Justice League and Maze Runner: Death Cure. I need to re watch some of Justice League. I did my typical “doze off and miss half the movie” thing. What I saw wasn’t bad. We started Maze Runner early enough that I was able to stay awake for the entire thing. I liked it more than I expected, especially since I can’t really remember what happened in the second movie. It had a good cast and a good mix of action humor and drama. I also liked that they actually allowed major characters to die. I’m not saying I’m a fan of death, but I get frustrated with TV and movies where the characters are always facing death, but never die.

That’s that for the week. I expect I will not have much time to enjoy myself for the next one, so I’m glad I got all that in this week.

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Last Day of High School

Today is my daughter’s last day of high school. As of mid-morning, I will no longer have a kid in the public school system. While I am sad that this means that we are only a couple of months away from having neither of our kids living at home, there are many positives to this ending. Here are some things I won’t miss:

The other parents – I have had many issues with the parents of the kids in this class since middle school. It started with parents treating the 8th grade dance like it was prom, moved on to freaking out about 8th grade graduation(what do you mean I can’t bring everyone we’ve ever met to 8th grade graduation?) and finally ended with me leaving the Class of 2018 Facebook group when they all had a meltdown over the color of the gowns the girls will wear at graduation. It’s been really nice not knowing what drama has consumed them lately. I will be glad to never feel like I should know what they are complaining about now, though I am curious to see how they deal with the fact that college will not care.

Waking Up Early – Well, I will still wake up early. That’s just who I am. I guess I should have said “not being responsible for anyone but myself in the mornings.” I can now just wake up, stumble down to my coffee and paper and only worry about making sure I leave the house on time. I will still be up early, but it will be a more relaxed early.

Caring About Snow Day Decisions – It will no longer matter to me if schools are open are closed on a snow day. I can now move on to only caring about if the library is open are closed on a snow day. I won’t care how the snow day affects the rest of the school calendar. I might still look at all the parents complaining on Facebook just for fun, but I won’t have a dog in the fight.

The School Calendar –  Our plans are no longer tied in to the school calendar. We have the option of taking a trip to Florida in January while the kids are on break from college. We can do family vacations in late May before everyone else is out of school. We can do long weekends alone at random times of the year without worrying about if we should leave the kids home alone. I won’t have to compete with all of the other summer leave requests unless it is for an event over which I have no control.

So, while I will be sad when my daughter leaves for college, there are plenty of positives. I will try to focus on those and not the rest.

Tater Talks Incels

One of the most ridiculous things that has surfaced with some of the recent shootings is the “incel” movement. Wikipedia defines incels thus: “Incels (a portmanteau of “involuntary” and “celibacy“) are members of an online subculture[1][2] who define themselves as being unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom.” It goes on to describe the movement: “Self-identified incels are almost exclusively male and mostly heterosexual.[4][5][6] Discussions in incel forums are often characterized by resentmentmisanthropy,[1] misogynyracism, entitlement to sex, and the endorsement of violence against sexually active women and more sexually successful men.[5][7][8][9][10] The Southern Poverty Law Center has described the subculture as “part of the online male supremacist ecosystem”,[11] and self-described incels have committed at least four mass murders in North America.”

Basically, they are a bunch of assholes who are “involuntarily celibate” likely because they are violent asshole losers. Instead of saying “I’m a violent, asshole loser so women don’t want to sleep with me” they blame their lack of romantic and sexual success on women and men who aren’t violent asshole losers, but mainly on the women. They’ve used this as a reason to commit the aforementioned mass murders. It has to be the worst reason thus far for committing heinous crimes and goes perfectly with our society today. We raise kids to believe they are entitled and perfect and everything bad is someone else’s fault and not theirs. Boys grow up thinking they can have whatever they want whenever they want it. Some boys are taught this in combination with the idea that they are superior to women and that women exist to please and obey men. Add these two together and you get the current climate of men who sexually assault and harass women and “incels” who blame everyone else for their lack of sex and romance. I wish I had answers here, but I don’t.

I can’t really wrap my head around the whole incel thing. I should be someone who can understand their thinking. I was involuntarily celibate in high school and half of college. The difference is I didn’t blame other people.  I wrote about the fact that I am a socially awkward introvert  here. In high school and college(and now, really) I was a short, ugly weirdo. It was pretty obvious why I was “involuntarily celibate.” I knew the above, so when I did like a girl in high school, I would never actually tell her. I knew the odds were that the feeling were not mutual. It takes a special type of woman to have romantic interest in a little weirdo like me. I could have used this “involuntary celibacy” to be angry at others. I could have blamed my lack of dates on other people. I will admit that I did have less than kind feelings about guys who dated the girls I liked, but it was normal jealousy, not “I want to murder people” feelings.

As a former “involuntary celibate” I still don’t get how we got to the point that this leads to the decision to hate and commit mass murder. If any one can enlighten me, I would appreciate it.

Travel Planning with Tater

We are in the midst of a very busy stretch of life. Friday night was my daughter’s senior prom. It was also the end of AP testing(though she has a makeup test tomorrow). This is the last week of school. A week from Friday is graduation. A week from Thursday my wife’s mom and aunt arrive to attend graduation. The following Monday we leave for London. On top of all of this, we are still in the middle of the remodeling of our master bath and, with my MIL visiting soon, we are in “everything has to be perfect” mode. It is tiring and stressful.

With all of this going on, my wife told me I needed to do the planning for what we will do while we are in London. I obliged, even though I knew my plans would not stand. I know this because my wife and I have very different definitions of what planning a trip means. I think we figure out which major attractions are “can’t miss” and then group them together on a day based upon location with the idea that things can change based upon the weather. Her idea of planning is to do this, but also know exactly when we plan to do each thing and also research restaurants and know exactly when and where we plan to eat each meal. I would also like to point out that when I figured out what I wanted to do(Abbey Road) was too far away to be convenient to our plans, I crossed them off the list.

I did as I was asked. I got the travel books out, looked at the locations of the major attractions, and did a day by day plan of what we would do when. Later that day, my wife asked for a piece of paper and a pen so she could “fix” my work. First, she apparently wanted it written in what she called “legible handwriting” and then she started second guessing where I had certain things listed. She also added which day she wanted fish and chips and which day she wants to eat in Chinatown.  I mentioned the Abbey Road thing above because she also really wants to go to Greenwich. Greenwich doesn’t really work with the time we have in London, but she is going to find a way  squeeze it in somewhere. I would say that there is no way it is going to work, but somehow she always makes it work. Today,  I will plan our two days in Paris so that tomorrow she can change it all. Fun times.

I’ve decided that this fall when both kids are away at college I need to get her to do a day trip with no definitive plans. Just jump in the car and go. Maybe have a final destination in mind, but be open to stops at interesting things we find along the way. Some day I will get her to drive the long way to visit family in Kentucky with the willingness to stop at random tourist traps along the way. She is very good at planning trips and it’s likely a good thing that she is giving more structure to what we had planned for London, but sometimes I think it’s good to just wing it. Domestic, driving trips are probably a better time to do the “wing it” type trip, but even with those she likes to look at maps to see if any of her “safe” chain restaurants are on the route and plan the quickest way to get from point A to point B. This does not make for a relaxing trip to me.  A “wing it” trip os not a relaxing trip for her. Maybe some day we will find a happy medium.

Book Tag: This or That

I wasn’t tagged in this, but I thought it was interesting and decided to post mine. Please excuse odd font changes. I finished this on my phone while waiting for the senior awards ceremony to start at my daughter’s school.

Reading on the Bed or the Couch?

Definitely the couch. I never can seem to get comfortable reading in bed and if I do, I promptly fall asleep. Actually, I’ve recently started reading a bit in a chair in my home office/library an I think that might be my new favorite place to read.

Male Main Character or Female Main Character?

I don’t really have a preference. I probably read more books with male main characters, but some of my favorite authors write books with female main characters(Lisa Scottoline, for example).I just want a good main character. That’s all.

Sweet Snacks or Salty Snacks while reading?

I don’t snack a lot while reading. I do read while eating lunch at work. I do enjoy a cup of coffee while reading. I enjoy a cup of coffee any time.

Trilogies or Quartets?

Neither? I read a lot of series, many of them that go on and on and on, but I have to admit that I really wish more books were stand alone books. I don’t think everything needs to be a series. If I was forced to pick, I would say a trilogy.

Reading First Person or Third Person POV?

Another one that really doesn’t matter. Third person? Maybe? As long as it is well written. I’m good.

Reading at Night, or in the Morning?

I prefer morning. I’m old and fall asleep easily reading at night. I’ve always been more of a morning person. I also read on my lunch break at work.

Libraries or Bookstores?

I enjoy bookstores, but since I am at a library every day, obviously library. Also, I don’t reread, so there is not a lot of reason to own books. I do have a small collection of signed books and I buy every Stephen King book that is released. Otherwise, you can’t beat free.

Books that make you laugh or cry?

I’m a big fan of funny books. Chris Moore is one of my favorite authors and I love the humorous memoirs, especially on audio read by the author.

Black book covers or white covers?

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

Character driven or Plot driven?

It varies, but even a plot driven book needs good characters.


My Week in Books, TV and Movies(5/19)

I’m a day late with my weekly review due to my post about the fall TV schedule yesterday. I’m not sure how much I will remember from the week. My mind is muddled from a combination of constant rain, waking up very early for no reason and my daughter’s prom last night.

Books: I finally finished the arc of Splinter in the Blood. I’m not sure the conclusion was worth it. I also finished Sunny by Jason Reynolds. I liked it, but not as much as his other stuff. I read Last Message Received by Emily Trunko, an adaptation of a Tumblr about the last message you received from people. It was kind of depressing. I am now currently reading As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti and Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II.

Television: It is the season of finales and reveals of what is coming next fall. I’ve spent the entire week writing about TV, so I won’t say much here. I did end up watching the series finale of New Girl this week while waiting for my family to be ready to watch something else. I didn’t see any of the rest of the season, but the finale did a good job of wrapping up the show. The Timeless season finale was very good, but still no word on its fate for next season. I finished season 2 of Dear White People on Netflix. Now, on to season 2 of Thirteen Reasons Why.

Movies:  I slept through my wife watching Last Jedi. I have already seen it and was very tired, so I was OK with missing it this time. I watched The Post with my daughter. It was very good, but I can see why people like my wife, who needs action in movies, would be bored watching it. I loved the ending and would be interested to see if they bring back some of the cast to do the Watergate story as well.

I think next week’s post will be heavy on books and light on the others as I will be reading to prepare to do book promotions at a high school and the rest of the time at home will be preparing for guests for my daughter’s graduation and then a trip immediately following graduation.

Tater Takes on the Entire Fall TV Schedule

Now that we know what is on when, I will now tell you what I think is worth watching each night. Now that I can record 6 shows at a time, I will likely try more new shows than I normally would. I am not going to rebuild the grid. Click here to see the TVLine.com grid I am using for my information.

Sunday – There’s really not a lot here for me. I will likely try God Friended me because it sounds interesting, but I am not hopeful. I will keep watching Supergrl and Madam Secretary I might try Rel because I like the people in it. The rest is just not interesting to me.

Monday – The most exciting new show for me is on Monday night  – Magnum PI. I loved the original and the trailer for the new one looks really good. I will try the two new sitcoms on CBS, but I’m not hopeful. I really like The Resident, so I will continue watching and if I can catch up over the summer on Netflix, I will watch the CW superhero shows.

Tuesday – As far as new shows go, New Amsterdam is likely the only one I will try because I’m a sucker for medical shows. I watched the trailer for The Rookie. It didn’t look as bad as I expected. I might change my mind and try it. I will keep watching Lethal Weapon and hope that the cast change doesn’t ruin it. I will stay with the superhero trio of Flash, Black Lightning and The Gifted and the two ABC comedies I like: Roseanne and Splitting Up Together. There’s a lot on Tuesday nights.

Wednesday – Two of my most anticipated new shows are on this night. A Million Little Things based completely on the cast(I really need to watch the trailer) and All American because I watched the trailer and it looks really good. Survivor is still one of my favorite shows and I like SEAL Team. American Housewife is one of my favorite sitcoms and I still kind of watch Modern Family.  I watch one of the Chicago shows(Fire) and if I catch up over the summer I will keep watching Riverdale.

Thursday – I will keep watching(with no embarrassment) Grey’s and Station 19. The two NBC sitcoms, Superstore and The Good Place are very good. I will try the revival of Murphy Brown and continue watching SWAT. Neither of the new shows is interesting to me.

Friday – I like the ABC comedies Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless a lot. I liked Last Man Standng on ABC, so I will watch it on FOX. The Cool Kids might be good if they give the cast decent writing. I still really like Blue Bloods as well.

Saturday – Nothing here. Time to watch a movie, read or watch all of the shows I’ve recorded.