My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 2/26/21

My reading has slowed down this week. My writing has also slowed down this week. I wonder if they are connected. I did watch two movies and two new TV shows. Here’s my week:

Movies – We watched two movies this week. The first was Honest Thief. Liam Neeson plays a bank robber who got away with over $9 million. When he meets and falls in love with Annie(Kate Walsh) he decides to turn himself in to begin a new life. He is double crossed by two corrupt FBI agents and has to fight for his new life. It is a standard Neeson action movie. I think I dozed a little, but didn’t feel like I missed anything important. My wife who loves standard action movies liked it a lot. We also watched Tenet. It is a timey wimey action movie starring John David Washington. I’ve been a fan of Washington since his days on the HBO show Ballers. I’m glad he is getting big roles. As my wife put it – It’s very good if you stop trying to think about all of it and just enjoy the movie. It is a very good movie but can break your brain. It is also 2.5 hours long. It was a challenge for someone like me who tends to doze during movies. This is not one where you can doze or be distracted and not miss something.

TV – I watched two shows this week and wrote reviews of both. Clarice and Superman and Lois. Click the links for my thoughts on those. My daughter has been home this week so we caught up on the shows she watches. We are now current on All Rise and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. We watched the first couple of episodes of season 2 of Snowpiercer. It is still very good. I watched the second episodes of Kenan and Young Rock. They are both still pleasant enough to keep going. Young Rock is better when it focuses on one time period. Once I am too tired to stay awake for a full show my wife and daughter watch the Great British Baking Show. I stay awake long enough to have favorites. So far all of my favorites have made the final three but have not won. I’m getting close to finishing my rewatch of Greek.

Books – I only finished one book this week

This is My Brain in Love by I. W. Gregario – Jocelyn Wu is a junior in high school. Her parents own a Chinese restaurant in Utica. When her dad says they might need to move back to NYC so he can work for family there she tries to help bring the restaurant to modern times to save it. Will Domenici is a junior at the local private school who wants to find a paying summer internship. Jocelyn hires him to help with marketing the restaurant. They, of course, fall in love. It is complicated by Jos’s parents’ prejudice, Will’s anxiety and Jos’s possible depression. I always like a good YA romance and this one was very good, if maybe a tad bit too long. It was nice to have diverse characters – Will’s mom is Nigerian, the Wu’s are Chinese, Jos’s best friend is Indian-American – and characters dealing realistically with mental illness. I would recommend.

On Deck – I’m reading We Are Not Free by Traci Chee. I have no movies on DVD. I would like to watch Judas and the Black Messiah, but I think I ha better odds of getting my wife and daughter to watch the Tom and Jerry movie that hit HBO Max today. I need to watch the new episode of WandaVision today. New seasons of Walking Dead and New Amsterdam start this week.

Locked Out of the Clubhouse

I’ve always been someone who likes to try out the new online spaces. I have accounts on so many random social media sites that have popped up over the years. Sometimes, they become something I use regularly. FriendFeed was my favorite online space before Facebook bought it and shut it down. Like everyone else, I still use Facebook and Twitter regularly. I’m on Instagram. I have a Snapchat that I have only used to communicate with my daughter when we are overseas and have no phone service. I have a TikTok account and I browse there on occasion.

Some I tried to like and couldn’t. I signed up for Google Plus and tried to like it more than I did. I would post there and interact with others, but I never got in a habit of using it regularly. Someone built an alternative to FriendFeed and a lot of my friends from there used it, but I kept forgetting it existed.

Some I never intended to use, but signed up to see what was there. Parler was one of those. All of my conservative friends frome home started posting on Facebook that they were on Parler. It was in the news constantly. So, I signed up for an account, looked around a bit and then never used it again.

All of that babble above leads me to last night. It used to be you would get invites to a new service before it was widely available and you would readily give them to people. I always posted on Facebook and FriendFeed when I had invite to a service and gave them to the first people who asked. There is a new service called Clubhouse out there. People post on Twitter about events on Clubhouse. I like to try new things, so I reserved a username and am waiting for them to let me in. Last night, a TV person I like posted about a talk she is doing the weekend. I responded that it sounded interesting, but I was not on Clubhouse yet. Someone replied that they had invites and I should DM them. So I did. I woke up tis morning to find a message from them telling me they expect payment for the invites to Clubhouse. I don’t care enough to pay someone to get in early. I assume this has always happened and I’ve just been lucky enough before to have friends who gave me invites for free.

Do people really send randos on Twitter money and trust that they will actually get an invite? Do people want in on things like Clubhouse bad enough to pay for it? I don’t even care enough about the social media I use regularly to pay for it. Do people post on Twitter that they are doing a thing on Clubhouse to get more people listening or to brag that they are in the exclusive club?

I also noticed last night that Twitter has started a new “spaces” feature that is also an audio discussion thing. It is also only available to certain users and it seems to be the same people who are also on Clubhouse. The difference? If someone I follow has it and starts one I can listen in if I want.

Long story short – I like free samples but I’m not going to pay for a sample.

/

Thoughts While I’m Stuck in Writer’s Block

I’ve been having difficulty with my attempted memoir and finding it difficult to move forward with it. I’ve been thinking about other things I could do with writing/blogging or other things.

I’ve looked online at places that accept writing like personal essays. I’m not sure I will ever feel confident enough to submit.

I did submit my one dumb little poem I wrote to a place today. I know it won’t be something they want, but I thought actually submitting something would help me get the nerve to do it again.

WordPress tells me I can start a podcast with my account. Even though I hate the sound of my voice, I actually thought “I could start a podcast” I will not actually start a podcast.

I have considered the possibility of doing Zoom talks with people “Tater Talks” and recording them for a YouTube channel. I could probably get a couple of musicians and authors to do it. I even have a thought to start with an interview with my sibling about me just to test the waters. I will never have the courage to do this.

I start a new volunteer thing tomorrow which will give me an hour or so a week out of the house driving around and listening to music.

I’m doing yoga in the mornings now.

A lot of thinking. A lot of planning things I will never do. Not a lot of writing.

I Watch TV So You Don’t Have To: Superman and Lois

I will start this by letting you know that I am a big fan of the Arrowverse on CW so I am predestined to like this show more than the average person.

The Premise: Clark and Lois are working at the Daily Planet and raising teen sons at the start of the show when a combination of a death in Smallville and layoffs at the Planet take them back to Clark’s hometown. The kids don’t know Clark is Superman. After they a miraculously OK after an accident, the boys investigate and the truth comes out, including that they think the one son might be a star athlete because of latent super powers. The family decides to move to Smallville and a mysterious new villain arrives.

We enjoyed the premiere. I like seeing a different Superman story where we get to see Clark dealing with being a father and a superhero at the same time. I always liked the actors who play Clark and Lois when they were on Supergirl. I like that Lois’s military dad knows Clark is Superman and has a button to push to call him for help. I like the storyline of the sons dealing with finding out their dad is Superman and that they might develop powers. I enjoy that we seem to be getting a combo of a human villain in the rich guy who bought the Daily Planet and a bank in Smallville along with a mysterious villain who seems to be as strong as Superman. That gives Clark and Lois a fight. Lana Lang and her family are a good intro into Smallville life. I enjoy getting a new Superman story. I’m hoping this means we will get less “villain of the week” and more of a deeper story about the two main villains alongside a small town drama of two city kids adjusting to life in Smallville while also adapting to the new knowledge of family powers.

The verdict: Even if you have never watched any other CW DC show I think you will like this one. It’s like a superhero version of a show like Everwood.

Losing Friends on Facebook

About a month ago, a friend on Facebook posted that she was going to unfriend people she considered hypocrites for speaking out against the Capitol riots and not on the Black Lives Matters protests. Or something like that. I can no longer see the post because very soon after that post she was no longer my friend on Facebook. In this case, it’s easy to know why she unfriended me. It was easy to see that she unfriended me because I went to look for something she had posted around the same time and saw we were no longer friends. I discovered soon after that when I posted something in a Facebook group for my high school class that I was no longer friends with a couple more people from high school/ I have no idea when or why they unfriended me. I have downloaded an app now that tells me who unfriended me because I think it will be interesting to track when it happens to see if I can guess why. Since downloading the app, I’ve lost one more friend. This time it as someone I only vaguely knew via library stuff. I’m assuming in this case it was just them cleaning up their friend list and random “no longer librarian” didn’t make the cut.

Being unfriended is nothing new to me. I’ve lost several friends over the years and I can guess in a lot of cases why. Here are some I know of:

One friend from college who got mad when I didn’t reply to a comment he made on a post. He then posted a comment telling me if I was going to ignore him he would unfriend me. After that, it was pretty much 100% I was never going to reply/ We are no longer Facebook friends.

Another college acquaintance I met at a religious organization. We were playing some Facebook game from long ago where it asked random questions to friends. The one that came up for me to send to him was “have you ever had an STD?” He said I needed better questions and then was no longer my Facebook friend.

Another person from the same place that has friended and unfriended me a couple of times. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect I’m not “Christian” enough in my posts for her.

A high school friend who unfriended me during the 2016 election when it was clear I was very anti-Trump.

Other have unfriended me over the years without a clear cut reason. I assume it’s because they cant handle so much awesome.

I don’t generally unfriend people. I did do a purge at one point where I started unfriending people from work who were not actual friends. The theory was that I was going to go completely private, but then halfway through I gave up and stayed public. I unfriended two people from high school who were way into conspiracy stuff and posted after mass shootings that they were false flag operations and the victims ere crisis actors. I didn’t want to ne connected to people who would post that. I generally just unfollow people rather than unfriend them. Sometimes I mute them for 30 days first and then unfollow if they are still posting what annoys me. I unfollow some people for posting so much that my entire feed is them. I rarely unfriend.

Have you lost friends on Facebook due to politics or other disagreements?

Do you unfriend people you disagree with?

I Watch TV So You Don’t Have To: Clarice

We finally got around to watching Clarice this week. The good thing about being late is that we had two episodes to watch instead of just the premiere. The show takes place one year after the events of Silence of the Lambs. Clarice is still dealing with PTSD from the events when the US Attorney General, who is the mother of the woman Clarice rescued from Buffalo Bill, sends her to join VICAP(Violent Criminal Apprehension Program). The leader of the team is not a fan and by the second episode has asked for her to be transferred off the team.

I am not someone who has a deep love of the movie Silence of the Lambs. I barely remember it. I didn’t watch the TV show Hannibal. I’m coming into this with a very basic knowledge of the source material. My thoughts are not based on how I feel it reflects any of that.

The cast is great. I really like Rebecca Breeds in the lead role. Michael Cudlitz is good as the boss who I’m sure will slowly warm to her methods. Lucca de Oliveira is good as Tomas, the member of the team who welcomes her from the start. Kal Penn isn’t given much to do in the first couple of episodes. I hope he gets more to do soon.

It is really just another CBS procedural with Clarice dropped in to boost exposure. The first episode is the investigation into the murders of two women found in a river. Clarice figures out it is more than just a standard serial killer and goes against her boss when he tells her to tell the media they caught the killer and it is over. I assume this story will come back again over the first season In the second episode, the team goes to Tennessee to help with a siege at a compound. Clarice is supposed to only help on the fringes, but that changes when the leader in the compound will only talk to her. It looks like it will be a case of the week procedural where Clarice is always able to solve the case alone using methods other people don’t understand.

It is a decent enough show if you like procedurals. I’m not sure the Silence connection is enough to draw in fans of the movie. The show would be better served to become more of an ensemble show rather than the Clarice show. There is a great cast being wasted just doing reaction shots to Clarice’s expertise. Clarice can still be the center, but make it more like House. She’s a genius, but the team works with her to help her get to the point where she solves the crime. I also think the fast they move away from the “she’s the person who stopped Buffalo Bill” the better. The last thing the show needs is to encourage the comparison to the movie.

Verdict – Give it a shot. View it as a procedural TV show and not a sequel to the movie

Off Schedule

My life as it is now does not require setting an alarm. I have no particular time I need to be awake. My wife works from home and does not set an alarm that wakes me up. I generally still wake up relatively early. I consider it sleeping in if I sleep until 7am. During the first stretch of this new normal, I woke up by 6am and sometimes earlier. I would have my coffee and read the paper. I would do my daily morning crossword and Spelltower puzzles. I would have a post written for the blog by 8am. I would be dressed and making an attempt at the long form writing way before 9am. With this schedule, I felt like by 2pm I was at a point that I was done for the day. It was a nice schedule. I didn’t feel stressed. I had some sort of routine.

Lately, though, I have been a bit off. Part of this is due to the dog sleeping downstairs a lot and not waking me up early. I’ve gone from waking up around 6am to waking up between 6:30and 7. By the time I’ve had coffee with the paper and my puzzles, it can be pushing 8. I would generally do my blog post then, but I also want to be done with my shower and getting dressed to be out of the way of my wife getting dressed since she has an actual schedule. So, now I’m not getting started on writing anything until 8:30 or so. Some days, I barely get something published by 9. I know that generally if I don’t post by 9 my views drop considerably. So, now I have the stress of trying to get something written in less time than the norm. I already write too fast and don’t edit enough when blogging, so this is not optimal. It is after 9 before I even think about any other writing. Yet, I still get to the point by 2 that I am done.

My therapist has recommended I try yoga. I thought it would be easy to fit it into my schedule. Now, with the new normal, it is harder to find that time. I know I will be more likely to do it in the morning, but I have trouble doing it now for a couple of reasons. One, I already feel behind schedule so adding something else in is hard. Two, if I wait too late my wife is awake and will eventually cone downstairs, likely with a meeting on speaker, to get breakfast and it is disruptive. I have failed at getting that into my routine.

I’m thinking I might need to start setting an alarm so I wake up at a time that will make me feel like I’m on schedule for the day.

What’s Good in Tater Town 2/21/21

This was my birthday week so the good will mostly revolve around food. Still some free food coming. Here’s the good.

  1. Monday was a federal holiday so I used that as an excuse to relax more.
  2. Dinner with both kids Monday night.
  3. Free Starbucks drink and Panera pastry for breakfast Tuesday
  4. I spent my birthday afternoon catching up on WandaVision.
  5. Free Mission BBQ for dinner Tuesday.
  6. Free Dunkin drink Wednesday morning.
  7. My MIL got her second dose of the vaccine.
  8. Free Firehouse subs sandwich for dinner Wednesday night.
  9. For some strange reason the blog had over 300 views over a couple of days at the end of the week.
  10. Kentucky beat Tennessee yesterday.

That’s it for this week. Looking forward to some warm days coming soon.

Saturday Funnies

I enjoy posting funny pictures I find in Twitter or Facebook. When I first started my Tater Facebook page as a joke I used it to post these random pictures. Here are some of my favorites.

No thank you
Manhole is a funny word
Remind me not to visit Kansas City
A twist on a classic
It is a dilemma
Pretty good price for a majestic ass one
Font matters
What I wanted to say every day before I quit my job
Valentines Day packages

Happy Saturday

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 2/19/21

It’s been a week with a Monday holiday, a birthday and an ice storm. I used this as an excuse to do more reading and TV watching. Next week I guess I will have to go back to a more productive life. Here is my week in reading and viewing.

Movies – We completely forgot that we planned to watch Hillbilly Elegy last weekend. Instead, we ended up with the DVD of Love and Monsters. My daughter loves Dylan O’Brien so it immediately jumped to the top of the list. It is set in a world where bombing an asteroid heading to earth caused radiation to come down and mutate cold blooded animals into giant monsters. O’Brien’s character, Joel, is separated from his girlfriend when they both flee with their families. Seven years later the military and the biggest of the monsters have killed each other off and there are small communities of humans surviving underground. When Joel discovers his girlfriend is alive and in a community 80 miles away, he embarks on a journey aboveground to find her. If you don’t think too hard about the premise, it is a fun movie. O’Brien is good as always. It veers from the expected a few times and doesn’t have a neat, happy ending. I would recommend it.

TV – I watched two new shows this week: Young Rock and Kenan. You can read my reviews of them here. We watched some shows that our daughter watches with us. Superstore, American Housewife, and All Rise. All Rise and Superstore are two of the shows that are doing a better job of handling being set in the pandemic. They aren’t perfect, but they are much better than most other shows. I used the afternoon of my birthday to catch up on WandaVision since my family seemed uninterested. I was happy that episode four started to move more into a Marvel type story and wasn’t just the weird old sitcom story. We are still working through our DVR’ed shows. We generally make it through two or three a night. We start after the 7PM airing of Jeopardy(I’m going to miss Ken next week) and I generally give up and go to bed around 10. Soon I’m afraid I will reach a critical level with DVR space.

Books – I finished two books this week

Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman – This is the latest in the Alex Delaware series. In this one Milo is asked to take on a very cold case when a wealthy woman pulls strings to get it reopened. It is the case of a woman found with a bullet in her head in a car crashed off the hills on Mulholland Drive. It seems like an unsolvable case, but as they investigate they find too many coincidences and discover someone is trying to stop the investigation. I love the Delaware novels and this one is as good as the rest. Milo and Alex are a good investigative duo. Old favorites pop up in supporting roles. The mystery is a good one. I would recommend it, but I’m also a “read in order” guy, so go start from the beginning of the series.

Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth – This was one of the award winners from the ALA Youth Media Awards. It is a memoir in verse. Gansworth tells the story of his life growing up on the Tuscarora reservation in New York. He also tells a little about his grandparents being sent to boarding school as kids to learn to be more like white people. I really wanted to like this more Kind of like I really wanted to like the one fiction book of his I read more than I did. He has a moving story, but unlike other books in verse, this one just didn’t draw me in at all. I was bored a lot. I probably should have given up on it and moved on to something that I found more appealing. I’m not sure what the people who gave it a Printz Honor Award saw in it.

On Deck – We have Honest Thief on DVD. A Liam Neeson action movie. My wife’s favorite. I might sleep through it. Eventually, my son will give me Tenet back and I will watch it and get it back to the library. I really want to watch Judas and the Black Messiah, but I don’t think it will happen this week. I will watch the newest episode of WandaVision today or tomorrow. Snowfall starts back this week, so I will have one more show I watch alone. I would like to try Clarice this week so we can decide if I need to keep recording it. I will continue my re-watch of Greek. I am reading This is My Brain in Love by I.W. Gregario.