My Week in Books, Movies and TV 4/12/19

I actually have a movie, a new TV show and a book to talk about this week. I’m sure everyone is very excited about that. Here we go

Movies – We watched Creed II this week. We recently rewatched Rocky 4 and Creed in preparation since my wife did not remember watching either movie. Creed II is a sequel to both as Creed is challenged to fight the son of Drago, the guy who killed his father in Rocky 4. If you are a fan of the Rocky/Creed series you will really like the movie. If you have not watched the Rocky/Creed movies, I’m not sure why you would watch this one. The only thing I thought could have been better in the movie is the portrayal of Drago and his son. I felt like there was a better story to tell there and it felt like they were headed in the direction of more nuance there, but then never went there. I thought we had learned that there can be nuance to the villain’s story.

TV – I’m me, so I watched a lot of TV this week. We did watch a new show last night – The Code. I don’t watch any of the NCIS shows with my wife and this seemed like an NCIS show in the previews. It didn’t get great reviews and the reviewer felt like it could have been another NCIS show. I was not hopeful, but I decided to watch anyway since it focuses on military lawyers and I love a good lawyer show. There was nothing groundbreaking here. It likely won’t win any awards. I liked it. I liked the cast. I liked their characters. They told an interesting story. I will watch it again. I am a simple man with simple tastes. I’m also getting old, so it was only a matter of time before I started watching CBS procedurals.

Books – I finished You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian. It is a collection of stories. One reviewer on Goodreads gave it a lower rating because she thought while the writing was good, it was very bleak. She’s correct that the stories are not feel good stories. Don’t read this if you are looking for upbeat stuff. There is no upbeat here. It is very good, though. I never considered moving on to a novel after finishing one of the stories as I usually do with collections. I would recommend if you can handle bleak.

On Deck – I have way too many movies from the library. I will not have time to watch them all. I’m sure I will watch whichever one my wife might have heard of which means Venom and maybe Instant Family. I will make a push for Green Book and The Girl in the Spider’s Web. I might need to try to stay up late or get up early to watch something alone. The big TV event is the Game of Thrones premiere. I have warned my wife that I will be watching live so she will need to decide what to do with herself. I don’t want to risk spoilers by waiting. Amazing Race also starts back up Wednesday night. I love the show and this one has Survivor, Big Brother and Amazing Race people competing against each other. It should be fun. I will probably also try Bless This Mess because I like Dax Shepard. That’s a lot on deck this week.

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I Hold These Truths to be Self Evident

Some random truths that have popped in my head since I started this draft. Feel free to add more in the comments.

The person driving always chooses the music.

If I cook, you clean. If you cook, I clean. Whoever cooks should make an effort to limit the mess.

If you won’t put dishes in the dishwasher you can’t rearrange nor criticize the way someone else loaded the dishwasher.

A gas pump is not a parking spot. Get gas, move forward before going in to buy your stuff.

Hold doors for everyone. Men, women, young, old. And say thank you when someone holds the door for you.

Don’t ask for a favor if you are unwilling to give one in return.

You should always signal when changing lanes.

True friendship is like peeing your pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

No TV comedy should ever have a laugh track.

Real leaders do more than they talk.

You find out who your real friends are when times are tough.

Love your neighbor. All your neighbors. You don’t get to choose the ones you love.

Love is a verb. It means action, not feelings.

If your religion gives you permission to hate, you are doing it wrong.

Again, add yours in the comments.

 

 

My Concert List

A friend of mine went to the KISS concert in Nashville last night and posted pictures on Facebook. It made me think about seeing KISS in concert when I was in high school. I can’t remember if it was the first or the second concert I attended, but it was one of the first. I decided to devote today’s post to a list of bands I’ve seen live. They will not necessarily be in chronological order because I’m old and forgetful, but it might be close. Before we get to the list though, here is a picture of me in my KISS costume

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  1. KISS – Evansville
  2. Motley Crue/Whitesnake – Evansville
  3. Bon Jovi/Skid Row – Lexington
  4. George Thorogood – Louisville
  5. Van Halen(with Sammy Hagar as the lead singer) – Lexington
  6. Randy Travis/Reba McIntyre – Lexington
  7. Joan Jett – free concert at a festival in DC
  8. American Hi Fi opened for a more famous band who I can’t remember right now – Baltimore
  9. B-52’s – Baltimore
  10. Eagles – DC
  11. Miley Cyrus – with the kids at the White House Easter Egg Roll in DC
  12. Alabama Shakes/ZZ Top/Jack White – Freefest – Columbia, MD
  13. Bowling for Soup – Baltimore
  14. Bowling for Soup/Patent Pending/The Dollyrots – Baltimore
  15. Bowling for Soup/Patent Pending/Sandlot Heroes – Lancaster. PA
  16. Bowling for Soup/The Dollyrots – Baltimore
  17. Ryan Hamilton – a stranger’s house in Virginia
  18. Bowling for Soup/Stacked Like Pancakes/another band I can’t remember – Baltimore
  19. Upcoming – Bowling for Soup/Reel Big Fish/Nerf Herder – Silver Spring, MD

I don’t go to many shows anymore. I try obviously go to see BFS whenever they are near. Most other concerts are so expensive they don’t seem worth it.

Now a couple of more pictures of me and my son with band members

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Me with Kelly from The Dollyrots

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My son at his first concert with Jaret from Bowling for Soup

Out of the Spotlight

A few years ago I was asked to be a part of a skit at our professional development day. It was a skit about making announcements over the intercom at the library. My job was to continue to do really bad, boring announcements. I’m not sure anyone realized that I didn’t really need to act. I’m really bad at making announcements. I always get other people to make the announcements for me. Luckily, at both of the places I’ve worked I’ve had people who were willing it for me and who are also good at it. Anyway, that was the beginning of me being on stage at PDD.

The next year I was asked to take over as emcee for the day. I was given a basic script to introduce the various parts of the day and tasked to “Tater it up.” So, I went into the next professional development day feeling like I was going to throw up. I’m not really a natural when it comes to speaking in front of a crowd. I did it. I must have done a decent job. People seemed to like me. The CEO seemed to like me, especially when I ended the day telling the staff that we had a gift for them because “we didn’t want them to go away empty-handed, we just wanted them to go away”. I suddenly went from the invisible guy who used to work in the jail to the guy everyone knew. I was friended on Facebook by at least one person who didn’t know me but wanted to connect because of my role as emcee. I hate to admit it, but it felt good. I was asked to return for a second year as emcee. No one seemed to hate it. I was once again a “star”. I enjoyed being the talent. I enjoyed the spotlight. But, alas, all thing must come to an end.

Our CEO retired and she was the one who first suggested they use me in the skit because she saw me present at conference and thought I was funny. I’m sure she was the person behind me being the emcee in the following years. We had a new CEO and the admin people decided to take the spotlight back. I was just a regular person last year who caused problems by sitting with my old branch instead of my current branch. I was no longer a star. I was just a normal person in the audience(well, a person. I’ve never been accused of being normal). The nest professional development day is on the horizon and I have once again not been invited to reprise my role as emcee. It seems my time in the spotlight is over. I will not be on stage this year. I will be sitting in the audience judging the person who is in my spot. I will probably sit at the “wrong” table again and people will be mad at me.

I miss the spotlight and I’m sure my fans miss me.

 

I Wish I Didn’t Care

The lyrics below are some of my favorites from a song from one of my favorite bands, Patent Pending. I’ve also included a video of the song if you want to listen. I love the lyrics and I wish I could live them a little more.  I feel like life would be a lot easier if I could care a little less. If I could stop worrying about what others think and just be the me I want to be. Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent so much time trying to be who others want me to be that I’ve forgotten who I am. As the band says – what’s the point of stressing out about what everyone thinks? All this stressing out and caring about how others see me has not really done anything for me. Why do I keep doing it? Why do I care if people don’t like me? It’s their loss, not mine. It’s time to stop worrying, stop trying to be who others want me to be and just be Tater. If that isn’t good enough for someone  then I don’t need them in my life. So, enough melodrama –  click on the video and enjoy the song.

 

I still remember when I cared what people thought about me
They mocked my music and my hair like I was some kind of freak
I was awkward, paranoid, so scared that I’d barely speak
Until I said “Fuck it, they can suck it! It’s more fun being me!”
Yeah, I know who I am
I do what I want ’cause I know that I can

So what’s the point of stressing out about what everyone thinks?
It doesn’t matter at all ’cause they’ve got nothing on me
They sit at home and bitch and moan ’cause they’re all too scared to live
They can throw their sticks and their stones but I ain’t got no fucks left to give

What’s Good in Tater Town 4/7/19

A better week this week. I’m coming to terms with the events of last week and moving on with life. No sense looking in the rear view mirror. It wasn’t the most exciting of weeks. I think the list will be small, but the list of bad is smaller, so I’ve got that going for me.

  1. The week started badly with Kentucky losing to Auburn, but it was followed by the good of Duke losing and that made the loss easier to take.
  2. It was warm enough to eat lunch outside multiple times this week and warm enough to be out in shorts yesterday.
  3. Calipari signed a new contract that will keep him at Kentucky as long as he wants to be there.
  4. Due to some schedule changes, I was working on Friday and my boss wasn’t so I got to attend a planning meeting about a new branch.
  5. The meeting included a free breakfast and lunch.
  6. I was able to go next door and see friends at my old branch while at the meeting.
  7. I took leave when the meeting was over and got home 90 minutes earlier than normal.
  8. After cleaning the shower yesterday I was able to relax on the couch with my book and a baseball game on TV which led to a surprise hour-long nap.
  9. My daughter decided to come home last night and my son is coming over for dinner tonight so we will all be together again for a few hours.
  10. Michigan State lost last night. It would have been a better night of basketball had Auburn also won, but I have a team I can cheer for tomorrow night.

Wow. I made it to ten without any trouble. Let’s hope this continues.

I Want to Sing

I love music. There is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t listen to some sort of music. I think that’s probably not unusual. I think most people like music and listen to some music each day. I like all kinds of music: rock, country, pop, punk, ska, etc. When I am alone I sing along to all of my favorite songs and in my head, I pretend that I don’t sound terrible. Unfortunately, my voice does not stay in my head. Outside of my head, my singing is not good. I’ve always wanted to have any sort of musical talent.

I played baritone in middle school band, I only played baritone in middle school band because I wanted to change homerooms in 7th grade to be in the same class as my friends and to do that I needed to have an excuse to have an elective 6th period. Band was that excuse. I played baritone because it was free and I needed free. I liked band OK and tried to be good at it. I learned to read music and I practiced, but I was never going to be more than mediocre at playing baritone. I quit band when I got to high school and have never attempted to learn another instrument.

In college, I sang in a choir with the Baptist Student Union. I was able to get close to hitting the right notes if I stood next to a strong singer. I could match them and not make the choir sound horrible. I could not hit the notes if singing alone. I enjoyed choir, but more for the friends, not because I had any business singing in front of an audience. I have not sung in public outside of congregational singing in church since college.

I sing in my car. I have recently caught myself singing in my office at work while listening to music while working on the schedule.  In my head, I sound good when singing. In my head, I sound my best when singing along with Elvis, especially All Shook Up. I know that it is all in my head. It is disappointing. I love music and have always wanted to have that talent. Alas, it was not to be.

 

My Week in Books, Movies and TV 4/5/19

I had a little more success in both reading and viewing this week. I’m still going slower than normal with the reading, but at least I finished an entire book this week.

Movies – We only watched Equalizer 2 this week. I half watched/half slept. If you read my Friday posts regularly you know this is normal. I really need to get my wife to agree to start watching movies early so I can stay awake. I’m old. I liked what I saw of the movie, but  I do get tired of generic action movies even when they star Denzel Washington.

TV – I’m still spending most of my TV time working through shows on my DVR. I’m alternating between Doctor Who and True Detective when I’m alone and then the shows my wife also likes when she is home. I did watch Abby’s right after I finished last week’s post. I liked it. It was very much the “introduce the characters and set up the concept” episode, but I liked the characters so I will watch again. I was a fan of Cheers and I think this could grow into this generation’s version of Cheers. It’s my hope, anyway. I could use a new Cheers.

Books – I finished Bearskin by James A McLaughlin and A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti.

Bearskin – A man hiding from a drug cartel is working as a caretaker of property in Virginia. People are poaching bears on the property and he decides to track them alone instead of calling the authorities because of the drug cartel thing. I get the criticism I read that there is a lot of nature talk in the book. If you are just looking for a standard thriller/mystery this book isn’t for you. If you are like my son and enjoy nature and mysteries, it is the perfect book for you.

A Heart in a Body in the World – Anabelle is a teen in Seattle. She has suffered some sort of tragedy and one day starts running. She decides she is going to run across the country. Her grandfather follows along in an RV meeting her at the stopping point each day.  We slowly get the story of the tragedy as Anabelle recalls it while running. I liked the book. I think teens would like the book. I do get tired of the books that make you wait to find out what the big tragedy was. This is my second one this year that kept alluding to a tragedy while waiting to tell the reader. It can work, but it can also feel like a gimmick.

On Deck – We have Venom and Creed II on DVD. TV will continue to be catching up on shows on the DVR. I hope to finish either Doctor Who or True Detective this week. I don’t think there are any new shows this week. We are getting close to the big TV event of the year – the return of Game of Thrones. I’m reading You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian. It is a story collection. We will see if I can stick with it or if I get tired of it and want to read a full novel instead.

I Don’t Like My Neighbors

I know the Bible says you should love your neighbor, but I think it is OK to not like them very much. I’m not talking about the people who actually live right around me. I don’t really know most of them and I like the ones I do know. The neighbors I’m talking about are the ones who are active on the Next Door app and before that the ones who participated a lot on the community email list. It seems like a good portion of them are this guy

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The most recent string of posts:

A guy preemptively complaining about how now that it is spring he’s sure his neighbors won’t take care of their lawns and how we all need to take better care of our lawns because he hates when people don’t mow their lawn.

The same guy complaining that his neighbors don’t bring their trash cans in fast enough and then taking pictures of said trash cans the day after trash day and even posting the address of the “offenders”. He did not want to listen to the people who suggested there might be a reason they don’t get the cans immediately and perhaps instead of trying to publicly shame them he should talk to them in person.

Another person making sure everyone knows it is illegal to park across a sidewalk.

Someone complaining that people’s dogs poop in front of their house. They picked it up, but she still thinks it is rude for a dog to poop in front of her house.

Another person chiming in claiming they make sure their dog poops in their yard before taking them for a walk so they won’t poop in front of someone else’s house.

Personally, I’m happy when my dog poops in front of the house with the Pittsburgh Steelers flag out front.

I ranted about this before when someone planned to call the police on someone for walking while black.

They post warnings when people are going door to door.

They are even suspicious of the fire department when they do their annual donation drive.

When someone is robbed at night they blame the victim for being out at night, especially when they are a kid.

It’s just a bunch of miserable people trying to make everyone miserable.

I shouldn’t be surprised. We seem to revel in being miserable these days.

Save These Shows!

TVLine just did its yearly poll for which bubble shows their readers most wanted to be saved. Here is my list of the top five yet to be renewed shows I want to be saved:

All American – The based on a true story show about a football player from Crenshaw who moves to Beverly Hills to play for Beverly Hills High. It has the requisite CW teen drama, football, and a good mix of Beverly Hills drama and life or death Crenshaw issues. I’m very invested in the lives of the characters and want to see more.

Single Parents – A sitcom about a group of single parents. Great cast and consistently funny. Much better than most comedies on TV today.

For the People – A Shondaland show about federal prosecutors and public defenders. Love the cast and so far the drama focuses on the cases more than romance. If they can keep it that way it can be a very good show.

Whiskey Cavalier – It’s fun and funny. We need more fun these days. It leans way too far into the will they/won’t they trope, but I forgive them because I enjoy the show so much. Great supporting cast.

AP Bio – One of the funnier shows on TV. I like it. My kids like it. Not a weak point in the show or the cast.

There are more on the list that I watch and enjoy – Madam Secretary, Station 19, American Housewife, Speechless, Fresh Off the Boat – but the five above are the ones I would be most upset about.