Now there's a full year of Bullet Sundays ... because a Very Special THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIFTH edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Mac! Happy 30th Birthday to the Macintosh. It's easy to overlook the importance of something when you use it every single day, but I love my Mac more now than I ever have...
If you haven't seen Apple's look back at Mac innovations, it's well worth exploring If I were forced to pick that one year of Macintosh history that was the biggest for me, it would have to be the release of the Titanium PowerBook G4 in 2001. Not only was it sexy as hell, but it was also the first time I felt I could do everything on a portable that I could do on my desktop Mac.
Here's to 30 more years of kicking ass.
• Truth! The greatest concert I ever saw was Depeche Mode's Music for the Masses tour back in 1988. A close second would be P!nk's Truth About Love tour from last year. Absolutely spectacular. If you didn't get to see it... or just want to see it again... it's been released on video and is for sale at the iTunes Music Store for just $15 and it's worth every penny...
Just an FYI... the tour is actually still ongoing, with three more dates remaining for Anaheim, Fresno, and Las Vegas. If you've got loads of money sitting around, it's worth tracking down tickets for this sold-out show.
• Bernice! Looks like I need to start watching South Beach Tow! Because, BERNICE! How awesome is she?!?
Holy shit! I hope her ObamaCare has kicked in by now... she's got a rough job!
• Unintelligent! I have been recording the new show Intelligence on my DVR, stacking them up in the hopes of discovering another Black List. No joy. This is easily one of the stupidest shows ever to air on television. It's yet another one of those shitty series where the writers are constantly pulling some kind of random techno-bullshit out of their asses not because it makes sense for the story... but because they're too fucking lazy to come up with something... intelligent... for lack of a better word. "HOW ARE WE GOING TO STOP HER? SHE HAS A COMPUTER CHIP IN HER HEAD?" — "I KNOW! LET'S PRESS A BUNCH OF RANDOM BUTTONS AND EXPLOIT SOME HERE-UNTO NON-EXISTENT FLAW IN THE CHIP SO WE CAN HACK HER HEAD AND SAVE THE DAY!" — YEAH! WHO GIVES A SHIT IF WE ARE THE VERY DEFINITION OF DEUS EX MACHINA! IT BEATS HAVING TO USE LOGIC FOR A LIVING! Seriously, I don't understand how this crap-fest ever made it to air.
• LEGO! Just when I think that I couldn't possibly be more excited about the upcoming LEGO movie, this comes along...
"Epic" isn't an epic enough word to describe the epicness of just how epic this movie is gonna be.
And there it is... a year's worth of 365 Bullet Sundays in the can. And you said it wouldn't last. Shame on you!
The mind-blowing thing about political dramas like House of Cards and Scandal is that you know... you just know... that the outrageous fiction the writers dream up for these shows undoubtedly pales in comparison to what really goes on behind closed doors in Washington, DC.
And no wonder. Politicians do all kinds of crazy shit because they can. Not that I blame them... I shudder to think about all the horrendous crap I'd get into if I had political power rendering me invincible from consequence and knew that a whole team of people are dedicated to cleaning up my messes. Seriously, what wouldn't I do under those circumstances? I just don't know. I'm not into drugs, but you don't think I'd be the first one in line to snort cocaine off a hooker's ass with John Boehner if given the chance? You're damn right I would! Drugs, hookers, theft... even murder... it's all on the table. Political power makes everything possible...
Which means it's probably good that a megalomaniac with an addictive personality like me has never run for office.
Don't be surprised if this page disappears one day in the future. I don't need it coming back to haunt me if I should ever decide to become a Congressman.
Because I'd like to think that I could resist an invitation from Paul Ryan to chase down homeless people in Foggy Bottom and taser them for sport, but you just never know what a taste of power is going to do to the mind of a politician.
If past precedent is any indication, they all end up fucked in the head sooner or later.
No more bitching about how your favorite movie/actor/director didn't win an Oscar, because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Oscar! First of all, I just have to say that Ellen DeGeneres did an amazing job as host. Funny, entertaining, yet still nice to everybody. And now my take on the big awards...
• Marshmallow! And speaking of Frozen... there's a lot of things I could say about this brilliant Disney animated feature. Maybe that will happen later in the week. In the meanwhile, how much does everybody love Marshmallow? Probably my favorite animated character since Sully from Monster's Inc....
If you love Marshmallow too, be sure to keep watching past the Frozen credits.
• Ark! As I mentioned a year-and-a-half ago when I visited The Creation Museum, the group behind it all (Answers in Genesis) is working on a second museum... ARK ENCOUNTER! Apparently it's going to be a life-size replica of Noah's Ark (or something like that). They were in a bit of financial trouble but, after their leader Ken Ham had a much-publicized debate with Bill Nye The Science Guy, it apparently garnered them enough attention that they got their money after all. Personally, I can't wait to go... even though I believe absolutely none of it...
There's some pretty harsh criticism of Bill Nye for giving Ken Ham a platform to "legitimatize" his beliefs... but that seems kinda lame. I may vehemently disagree with Ken Ham, but I find value in understanding what he (and countless others) believe to be true, so I was happy to have a chance to see him actively debating it. And I'm looking forward to ARK ENCOUNTER as well... if it's as nicely done as The Creation Museum, it'll be worth a stop.
• About! Nick Hornby's About a Boy is a remarkable book that I've read at least three times. Much to my shock, the movie adaptation starring Hugh Grant was quite good... though very different in parts (and with a crappy Hollywood ending slapped on). So when I heard NBC was creating a television series for About a Boy, I was intrigued...
And so I watched it only to find out it was TOTAL SHIT. As an adaptation of the book. As a television show though? Not terrible. Not good, but not terrible. It seems to be based more on the movie adaptation than the book, but it fails pretty badly there too. The concept is the same, however. Will Freeman's dad wrote a hit Christmas song that set him up for life. Since he doesn't have to worry about money, he's living a self-absorbed life that revolves around fun instead of responsibility. Enter Marcus Brewer. He's an odd kid (mostly due to his mother, Fiona, who has severe emotional problems), and he's ruthlessly bullied at school. Will and Marcus cross paths, and both their lives are forever changed. The movie, while not entirely faithful to the book, does get a number of things right. Most importantly, they very clearly show just how miserable a life that Marcus leads and how terrifying it is to not know from moment to moment whether his mom is going to survive her depression. The TV show? Pretty much none of that. They focus more on Will being an idiot than the boy in About a Boy. And that's the biggest problem. The kid playing Marcus is good, but you never feel for him or his situation. And that leads to the entire premise of the show falling apart. And who knows if we'll ever see Ellie, a critical character from the book who was glossed over in the film and seems to be absent from the TV show entirely (so far). I dunno. I guess I'll give it a shot for a while, but my love of the book and movie is kind of killing me here. Maybe if I play the absolutely amazing movie soundtrack while I watch the TV version it'll be more tolerable?
• OREO! So Marshmallow Crispy OREOs and Cookie Dough OREOs happened a while back, but I've only just now gotten around to trying them...
Love the Marshmallow Crispy version. They're very sweet, but the crap actually tastes like a Rice Krispies treat in the middle! The Cookie Dough? Not so much. The flavor is vaguely there, but it actually seems more like
Sorry to end on a down-note, but I do proclaim this Sunday's bullets ended!
Hope you're fully functional on one less hour of sleep today... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Persecution? My very first bullet of the day got a little out of control, so I'm saving it for an entry of its own tomorrow. Don't you love it when that happens? I'm a blog entry ahead for once!
• No Sale! Ke$ha has exited rehab... and celebrated the occasion by dropping the dollar-sign from her name! Say wha-?!? So now Ke$ha is Kesha and I'm not sure what that's going to mean for the future. Hopefully it still includes her working a metal plate on her crotch with a metal grinder, because isn't that what we all expect out of Ke$ha... errr... Kesha?
Whatever she calls herself, best of luck as she gets out of rehab and moves on with her life and her music.
• Enlisted! This show is so much better than it has a right to be...
Seriously. I had -zero- hope for this series. The ads all looked stupid-horrible. The concept of three brothers in the Army sounded lame. The only reason I bothered to tune in at all was because I liked Geoff Stults in The Finder. After the first episode, I was in shock that I liked it. The show was more smart than stupid... more funny than not. After the second episode, I was upset that I ended up liking it even more. Now I've just given up all pretenses of hating Enlisted and enjoy watching it. If you haven't given it a try, and you like comedy, it might be worth a look.
• Wenatchee! The valley in which I live is abuzz over this pretty new promo video that was released this week...
What's odd... or maybe it's not odd at all... is that the video barely touches on the City of Wenatchee itself. They fly above it. They explore around it. They look at it from afar. But I'm guessing only 5% of the footage actually takes place there. City streets, buildings, parks, public spaces, services, and all the other stuff that someone visiting Wenatchee proper would recognize and see... it's all condensed into a few seconds. Growing up in this area, I used to think that Wenatchee was a boring shithole in the middle of some nice scenery. And while the city has grown and changed since those days... along with my attitude towards it... it seems as though the filmmakers felt the best thing about Wenatchee was getting the hell out of it. So I guess I can relate. I've been there. And I've been to Wenatchee too.
• Quark! For a hefty amount of time in computing history, desktop publishing was owned by a single company, Quark, and their software solution, QuarkXpress. It was a majestic mess of a program that I always hated... so much so that I would often-times use Adobe Illustrator for page layout, even though it was ill-equipped to handle that task. I didn't care. I'd rather juggle 50 separate Adobe Illustrator files than a single 50-page document in Quark because it was ultimately far less hassle. Even their "competition," PageMaker, which was woefully underpowered for serious DTP was a better choice. Quark was a buggy, crash-prone mess that ate up so much time, money, and resources that anything was a better solution. Then Adobe came out with InDesign, which was sheer nirvana compared to shitty Quark, and I never looked back. Even when somebody sent me a Quark file to work with, I'd inevitably recreate the entire thing in InDesign from scratch because it would be less work than having to fire up Xpress to deal with it.
Whether that's your experience with Xpress mimics mine... or whether you loved it with a passion that InDesign could never match... anyone who has been touched by QuarkXpress should read this terrific article over at Ars about the rise and fall of a giant.
• HBO! And lastly? This fan-made mash-up trailer for Game of Thrones... as if it were airing in the 1990's... is pure genius, even if you know nothing about the show...
Seriously. This is a flawless victory so far as tributes go.
And now? Bullets be gone!
I am watching a new show called Believe off my DVR. It seems to be a "girl with special powers on the run" rip-off of Steven King's Firestarter, except it's total shit... which is surprising given the fact that it was created by Alfonso Cuarón and is being produced by J.J. Abrams. Right now a little girl just started screaming her head off which is exactly the kind of thing I go out of my way to avoid in real life. Why somebody would think I want to listen to this crap as entertainment is beyond me. What's next? A man stares at the camera while chewing with his mouth open and clipping his fingernails?
HELPFUL HINT: If You are creating a television series, try not to actively annoy the ever-loving-shit out of your viewers. And if you do, don't expect them to hang around.
Which is advice I should have given myself when it comes to writing in this blog.
But at least I don't make my viewers sit through a bunch of commercials. That's gotta count for something, right?
Veronica Mars is my second favorite television show of all time. Coincidentally enough, Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas (not the singer) is also responsible for my first favorite television show of all time, Cupid (the Jeremy Piven original, not the shitty remake). Given my adoration of all things Rob Thomas, I had zero hesitation in joining 91,584 other fans in supporting his highly successful Kickstarter campaign to bring Veronica Mars to the big screen.
As part of my "reward" for being a backer, I get a digital copy of the film so I can watch it on the day of release. Which is today. Much to my horror, the code to access the film wasn't through iTunes, but instead via UltraViolet, which is one of the single biggest technological pieces of shit of all time. But I'll get into that in an extended entry. Meanwhile, back to the movie...
I'm just going to come out and say it. The central "whodunit mystery" around which the story revolves is pretty lame. A few red herrings, but none of the twists and turns or shocking revelations that made the television show so compelling. This is hardly surprising. The movie has the rather daunting disadvantage of having to educate viewers new to the franchise plus showcasing enough insider goodies to satisfy die-hard fans as well as having to catch up with an entire cast of characters people haven't seen for seven years.
To be honest, I'm surprised they managed to fit a mystery in there at all.
But squeeze it in they did, and the result is a love-letter to everybody who put up their hard-earned money to get the film made. Which is to say it's a total success story, and I don't think anybody who's a fan of the show is going to be disappointed.
The plot is fairly straight-forward. Veronica's bad-boy ex-boyfriend, Logan Echolls, has been framed for murder, which results in Veronica dropping her new life in New York City so she can return home to help him out after nine long years away. Once back in Neptune, which is even more deadly, ruthless, and corrupt than ever, we catch up with all her old friends and enemies. Well, not all of them... but most of them. The laundry list of cameo appearances is shockingly long.
Where the movie shines is in the way the Rob Thomas manages to get everybody on that list involved in the story. Yes, a few of the cameos are just quick distractions (hey, Corny!), but the bulk of them are carefully interwoven into events so they are appearing for a reason. Not many writers could pull that off without everything degenerating into a pile of crap, but Thomas seems to excel at it. And that's the fun. That's what makes the movie so darn good. Yes, your appreciation of the murder mystery is deeper if you know that Carrie Bishop put herself in the firing line to seek revenge for her best friend Susan Knight getting seduced and knocked up by their history professor. Yes, Piz's familiarity with Wallace and Mac makes more sense if you knew that Piz was Wallace's roommate in college. Yes, Veronica's relationship with her father is more meaningful if you know that she destroyed his chance at a career, but he still loves her unconditionally anyway. Yes, there are scads of moments in the film that only pay-off fully if you're intimately familiar with the Veronica Mars universe. But, much to my surprise, it's still perfectly watchable even if you've never seen a minute of the television show.
But totally watch all three seasons of the television show if you plan on seeing the movie. It's so much sweeter if you do, and the original show is required viewing anyway.
So two thumbs way up and no spoilers from me!
And my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Rob Thomas, Kristen Bell, and everybody else who worked so hard to get the movie made. It was worth the wait. And if there's a Kickstarter campaign for a sequel... TAKE ALL MY MONEY, PLEASE! Heaven only knows the ending to the movie leaves that door wide open (perfect for the forthcoming line of books).
BONUS FEATURE! I was very happy to hear that one of my favorite bands, Mackintosh Braun, has a great new song on the Veronica Mars soundtrack. Here's their lyrics video for Don't Give In for your listening pleasure...
And now, for anybody who wants to read a rant about my efforts to plow though the pile of shit that is the "UltraViolet" digital video service, that's in an extended entry...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
"Diane, I'm holding in my hand a small box of chocolate bunnies..."
— Agent DaleCooper
I started re-watching Twin Peaks last Tuesday on the 24th anniversary of its 1990 debut (Netflix has it available for streaming, which is easier than pulling my DVDs off the shelf). After finishing the final episode of the first season while working tonight, I was surprised to see how well the show holds up. Yeah, it has some outrageous and over-the-top moments... but they were outrageous and over-the-top when they first aired in 1990.
Back when the whole world was asking "Who killed Laura Palmer?"
It remains one of my all-time favorite series.
Shows so rarely get this... interesting... any more. Or beautiful to look at.
Yes, it completely tanked in Season Two, but that hasn't made me want a follow-up series any less. Twin Peaks ended with the mother of all cliffhangers.
I think the world is ready.
I once dated a girl who introduced me to the word "serendipity."
By using it repeatedly.
Absolutely everything was "serendipity" to her. Come across an empty parking space in a crowded lot? Serendipity. Find something you were needing to buy on sale? Serendipity. The rain stops just before you walk out the door? Serendipity. Nab the last bottle of your favorite fabric softener off the shelf? Serendipity. Your mother calls just before your boyfriend is making his move? Serendipity.
We didn't date for very long, but I really ended up hating that word. Her constant over-use ruined it for me.
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
"a fortunate stroke of serendipity"
But a while back I saw a really good commercial for Subaru that had me revisiting the word again...
Find your soulmate when you pick up a woman who ran out of gas?
Now that's serendipity.
I love a really good commercial.
Almost as much as a loathe a really bad one.
Time to put down that mommy... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Maternal! The happiest of Mother's Days to all the moms out there... including mine!
And if you're looking for an inspirational story for the holiday, look no further than this one.
• Chaz Darling. It has been increasingly difficult for me to accept the fact that The Colbert Report is ending this year. The show has some of the smartest commentary on on current events to be found anywhere, and it's been getting better and better as The End approaches. The May 8th episode was one of the best ever, and is well worth taking time to watch. If you don't have time for the full show, this interview will show you what you're missing...
Miss you already, Stephen T. Colbert. And congratulations to Larry Wilmore, whose new show "The Minority Report" will be filling the Colbert Report's shoes in January.
• Melting. Well, this is a conflict for somebody who loves cool art... yet finds all life sacred. Though, if they have to die, this is probably less cruel than gassing them or lighting them on fire?
Poor ants. But at least they didn't die in vain... those sculptures are pretty amazing.
• Hamster. Hot on the heels of last week's TINY HAMSTER EATING TINY BURRITOS comes TINY HAMSTER EATING TINY PIZZA!
I want Tiny Hamster Eating Tiny Quiche to be next... but, in all honesty, I'd take a tiny hamster eating a tiny anything, really.
• Free? Freedom of religion. It was good while it lasted.
• CANCELED. Two shows I really enjoy... Community and Enlisted... have been cancelled. And it doesn't end there... The Crazy Ones, Suburgatory, Raising Hope, and Killer Women have also been axed.
What bums me out is not that something I liked watching is gone... it's that the networks will undoubtedly replace them with total shit. Or some idiotic new reality show, which is worse than total shit.
• PICKED UP. Along with the myriad of cancellation notices, there were two bright spots amidst the gloom...
First there's Constantine, based on the comic book Hellblazer, which actually looks pretty darn good. Obviously they're trying to cash in on the supernatural success of The Walking Dead, but it seems as though this show is going to have a tough time within the confines of major network television...
Then there's Gotham, which is the "before Batman" equivalent to Smallville. Not really my cup of tea, but it looks as though they're at least trying to be interesting with the material...
Yeah, I'll give them both a whirl. As a comic book fan, I pretty much have to.
Until next week...
Last night I thought of an episode of The West Wing while watching the news and thought I'd watch it. Television rarely gets that good any more, and it would make nice background noise while I worked.
From where I'm sitting on the couch, my complete collection of The West Wing on DVD is about 10-feet away. But the idea of getting up, taking the season set off the shelf, finding the DVD, walking to the DVD player, turning on the DVD player, putting in the DVD, going through the menus, then pushing play... all of it seemed entirely too much effort.
So I turned on Apple TV clicked a few buttons and found The West Wing on Netflix.
After I was done with the episode I wanted to watch (The Stackhouse Fillibuster), I decided to start watching the entire series all over again from the beginning, because that's just what happens when you try to watch one episode of The West Wing. Never mind that I've seen the entire series at least three times, there's nothing better on TV.
And, because Aaron Sorkin television is more addictive than crack (or so I'm guessing), I'm sure The West Wing will be followed by yet another viewing of Sports Night and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
Because there's nothing better on TV.
Which is something I've been saying a lot over the last couple years.
I'm a big fan of the television show Community.
When NBC decided to cancel the show after its fifth season, I was understandably upset.
YAHOO! TO THE RESCUE! — Thanks, Yahoo!
In other entertainment news, a trailer for The Skeleton Twins was released today. It looks pretty great. If nothing else, the soundtrack sounds terrific...
Secret by OMD!
Holy crap does than bring back memories...
I miss the 80's.
When my television died a couple years ago, I didn't want to buy a new one because it was rumored that Apple was coming out with an iTV. So I borrowed a television from my brother until iTV was released. Needless to say, I'm still waiting. And then my brother's television blew up in a cloud of smoke (literally) earlier this week, leaving me television-less with no iTV to replace it. Time to buy a new TV, I guess.
I don't have hours to be researching televisions, so I went to Amazon, put in the specs I wanted (1080/60p, 33-43", Wi-Fi internet connectivity, web apps for Netflix and Amazon streaming, 2014 model) and got one result... the Sony KDL40W600B. I've had excellent luck with Sony gear in the past and the price was under my $500 budget, so I bought it...
Design & Construction
The screen size is 40' (diagonal) which is a good size for a smaller room like mine. Being Sony, the design is predictably clean and minimalistic. The narrow plastic bezel around the display is just under
User Interface & Remote
Proving for the millionth time that Apple is the only company who knows how to build a decent user interface and simplify a remote... Sony's KDL40W600B is pretty crappy in both arenas. The on-screen menus are poorly designed, inconsistent, laggy, and frustrating. Couple that with a shitty remote and using this TV is a near-painful experience. Once you get used to the baffling idiosyncrasies of the menu system they're serviceable, I guess, but the same cannot be said about the remote control. It fails in most every department. It's uncomfortable to hold. The Volume and Channel buttons are inexplicably at the very bottom, so you get thumb-sprain trying to reach them. For some stupid reason, the number keys (which are rarely used) are given a primo spot under the navigation keys. As if that wren't bad enough, the navigation keys are surrounded by six "function" buttons that are all-too-easy to press by accident when moving around the crappy menus. What a piece of shit.
Inputs & Internet
The television comes with four... four... HDMI ports, which is pretty sweet. The down-side is that you only get one component video input. If you have a lot of pre-HDMI gear, that's probably a deal-breaker. Things are rounded out by a single composite video input (for that one piece of old, old gear you've got hanging around). On the audio side, you get a couple analog ports, a sub-woofer port, a headphone port, and a digital audio port). And lastly, for handling audio and video media, you also get two USB ports (v2, alas). Internet connectivity can be via the ethernet port or my must-have feature: WiFi. The WiFi set-up is dead simple because is can be automatically configured via your wireless router's WPS button (my Apple "Time Capsule" doesn't have a WPS button, but the "Connect Wireless Printer" option in the AirPort Utility worked perfectly).
Ultimately, the only thing I really care about is the picture quality. Fortunately, this is where the KDL40W600B's LED LCD panel shines. The display is evenly lit, super-sharp, and gorgeous. The blacks are nice and dark which makes for beautiful contrast in the image. With some tweaking of the manual controls, I got the color just how I want it, and I couldn't be happier with the fidelity. I've seen some LED-based televisions that looked terrible when there was quick motion on the screen, but this Sony model has none of that thanks to a host of proprietary technologies onboard. The only down-side to having such terrific video is that non-HD content looks a bit crappy, but you can't fault Sony for that. I wanted very much to not get a 120hz (or higher) set, because I hate the artificial "look" of it. I thought that would be impossible, but this set was 60hz which was a huge plus for me.
Given how thin and compact this set is, there's no room for a good set of speakers. This is just bizarre to me, because it seems like it would be a no-brainer to add 3 or 4 inches to the bottom of the set for a proper audio experience... but, alas, no. And it's not just Sony. A quick glance at other sets shows that they are the same way. It's as if all the manufacturers just decided to put shitty speakers in their televisions so they can sell you a separate soundbar to get the sound you want. And you will want it, because this is pretty pathetic. Overall sound is kind of tinny and weak. Even knowing this going in, I thought I'd be okay because my living room is fairly small. I was wrong. The audio is borderline unpleasant to listen to, so I'll end up getting add-on speakers when I can afford it.
I already have Apple TV, which I like a lot. But it doesn't have Amazon Prime Streaming, which sucks. There's stuff on there I want to watch while I work. So one of the requirements for my new television was that it be able to stream from Amazon, which the KDL40W600B can. It also streams from Netflix and a few other services. This is great and all, but they feel slow to navigate and a bit klutzy compared to how Apple does things (does Netflix REALLY have to ask me to choose "Netflix" or "Kids" EVERY DAMN TIME I OPEN IT? Put "Kids" in a separate app or something, because I don't give a shit about it and am tired of dealing with it). Apps are on the "Opera Browser" platform, which wouldn't be too bad except it's horribly slow and every time you dump out of them, you get an Opera TV Store advertisement. Check the weather? Opera ad. Look at Instagram? Opera ad. It's stupid and I got so sick of it that I stopped giving a crap about apps after my second day. For a set made in 2014, I'd expect much faster performance, much quicker load times, and a much better interface. Oh well. I can at least watch Amazon Prime Streaming, which is nice.
Without a doubt one of the shittiest internet services ever created, UltraViolet is a studio-owned digital movie distributor. I fucking hate UltraViolet. It's never worked properly for me no matter what I've tried. Even so, I've got movie content in there... including five movies I got for free when I bought this television. But here's the thing... so far as I can tell, there is NO way to play UltraViolet on the KDL40W600B! They don't have an UltraViolet app. They don't have a CinemaNow app. They don't have a Vudu app. The do have a Flixster app, but I couldn't find a way to access my UltraViolet library from it. This is hilarious, given that Sony is a major player in the shitty UltraViolet consortium. So... if you've got a massive UltraViolet library, I hope you have a secondary device to watch them. SCORE: F- (if you give a crap)
There are a lot of extras on this set that I either don't understand or have no interest in using. The KDL40W600B is a "PlayStation Now" device, which means you can plug in a DuoShock controller and download games from the PlayStation library to play. It sounds like a cool idea, but I've read that the games are crazy-expensive to play, so I'll take a pass. One feature I thought I might use is that "Social View" overlay. It's supposed to be able to display stuff from your Twitter feed... except mine never did, no matter how many times I verified my Twitter account. Oh well. As for the rest? Meh. I'm sure there's some things that some people will find interesting, but I'm not really interested. SCORE: C
SONY KDL40W600B CONCLUSION
If you're looking for a (relatively) inexpensive television backed by Sony quality with terrific image quality, this may be it. Video is beautiful. Audio is pretty bad. Design is a bit on the cheap side, but looks pretty good. The remote is total shit. The user interface is almost as bad. Apps are painfully slow for a 2014 model television, but at least it can stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon without issue. There's a lot of extras and crap, but the ones I was interested in using seemed more trouble than they're worth. My reason for buying this set was to watch TV and streaming services, for which it's perfect, so I'm quite happy with my purchase.
If you're wanting more info, here's a link to the Sony KDL40W600B on Amazon.
It's a great day to stay inside and surf the internet all day... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Drone! Most of the time I am not a fan of the successor to RC helicopters... RC drones. When they're not making an annoying whine as the scream across the sky, they're blowing stuff up. But every once in a while, somebody finds a good use for drones that makes me forget all about the negatives. This viral video of a drone flying through 4th of July fireworks is one of them...
WARNING: It may not be all fun and games, however, as this link will tell you.
• Evian! Speaking of viral videos... how in the heck did I miss this one?
Guess this is the inevitable next step from stupid talking baby and talking animal commercials?
• Proud! During San Francisco Pride, Burger King sold a "Proud Whopper" in one of their restaurants along the parade route. Not surprisingly, I heard about the outcry before I heard about the burger. People were saying things like "I'M NEVER EATING AT BURGER KING AGAIN!" and "STOP CRAMMING HOMOSEXUALITY DOWN MY THOAT!" (ahem). Which is about as fucking stupid as it gets, because this was not a nation-wide project. It was specifically made for a single event in one restaurant in a localized area where the event took place. The only way you'd have "homosexuality crammed down your throat" would be if your were there for San Francisco Pride... and, even then, you could choose to have a plain-old Whopper if you wanted. Burger King never forced you to eat a "Proud Whopper" at all. Putting the usual homophobic idiocy aside, the idea of it all was actually pretty cool. Especially when people found out what a "Proud Whopper" was...
Exactly. Which is why seeing the insane reaction to a completely innocent publicity stunt (which had a positive message for everybody) just reinforces my disgust at what my LGBT friends have to deal with every day. Which I'm guessing is something like this...
The only thing that gives me hope for the future is that people like this will soon be dead and their absurd bigotry will one day be dead with them. Until then, I guess everybody can just "Be Your Way."
• Horrible! The movie Horrible Bosses was a complete surprise when I saw it... namely because it didn't suck. I actually really liked it. Well-written, well-acted, and funnier than it had a right to be. Largely thanks to one of Jennifer Anniston's best movie roles ever as a truly horrible boss. I had no idea they were making a sequel, but here it is...
Can't wait! I just hope that it doesn't go all The Hangover on us and do a crappy rehash of the first film in the sequel... then shit the bed in the third one.
• Democracy? It will come as no surprise that I'm completely disgusted with the state of government in this country. Politicians are bought and paid for every damn day, which has effectively destroyed any chance of true democracy in this country. It seems an insurmountable problem. But then I saw something that has me intrigued...
Surprisingly, MayDay US reached their $5 million goal. Whether or not it can make any difference against politicians backed by unlimited funds remains to be seen... but it's worth a shot, I suppose.
• Shark! After the idiotic crap that tainted Shark Week last year, I was kind of soured on the idea. Then I see this ad...
SHARK EXTREME! Oh Shark Week, how can I quit you?
And now I get to go to work! How awesome is that?
Today is going to be a little different.
I need you to watch a short 30-second commercial.
Please pay attention, because there will be a test afterwards...
Thanks for watching "Beggin' Party Poppers." Here we go...
Thanks for playing!
Smoke is in the air and so are bullets... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Spoilers! Since I have no desire to see yet another flaming pile of shit Transformers movie that's not about Transformers, I jumped right on io9's "Spoiler FAQ" for Transformers 4. Sounds just as heinous as I knew it would be. Even if you have no interest in this turd of a film franchise, Rob Bricken's comments are pretty epic. If you want an entertaining read that encapsulates everything that's wrong with modern movies, it's an article absolutely work reading.
• Don't Come! But... but... I've already been to Belgium!
Antarctica has been at the top of my travel destination list for years. Now I just don't know. Tourist crowds? In freakin' Antarctica? Blargh.
• Murder! I would like to add my outrage to all those people condemning dinosaur hunters for murdering these magnificent creatures...
Photo © Universal Pictures
What a bastard! NOT COOL, STEVEN SPIELBERG!
• Shawn! Started out my day listening to Jay-Z and found myself Googling him to see what he's up to (besides Beyonce). Ended up watching about 20 Jay-Z interviews on YouTube. He is awesome in all of them. This is probably my favorite. Not many people can out-Letterman Dave Letterman...
It's nice how Jay-Z feels the need to keep reminding us that he's cooler than 99% of the people on earth.
• Pepe! Click here for some wisdom from a true leader... President José "Pepe" Mujica....
Photo © The Associated Press
They saved the most telling quote for last on the secret to happiness...
"To live in accordance with how one thinks. Be yourself and don't try to impose your criteria on the rest. I don't expect others to live like me. I want to respect people's freedom, but I defend my freedom. And that comes with the courage to say what you think, even if sometimes others don't share those views."
Sounds oddly familiar... a pity politicians in this country aren't so forward (er, backwards?) thinking when it comes to imposing their criteria (or, more likely, the criteria of the lobbyists who have bought them off) on the people they claim to represent.
• Thanks! Have you thanked your parents today?
And, to the woman hosting this video... marry me?
Now I suppose I should try to get some rest before The Week From Hell rears its ugly head. Blargh.
Sorry, I'm too busy to blog.
BUSY WATCHING THE HOTWIVES OF ORLANDO!
This parody of all those idiotic "Housewives" shows is über brilliant.
Usually I avoid mid-season television because it sucks copious amounts of ass. Customarily, it's the time of the year where shows that are too terrible for the New Fall Season are dumped. But that hasn't been true for years now. Plenty of good shows end up in the mid-season, as networks are finding out they can flourish when the competition is low...
Extant (Wednesdays 10pm on CBS)
Halle Berry plays an astronaut who arrives back on earth pregnant after 13 months in space. Alone. On a solo mission. As if that weren't enough intrigue... she is married to a robot scientist who has created them a robot son that's starting to act strangely. Not enough freaky for you? Halle's dead first husband keeps showing up. The show is well-written and acted, but the reason I am compelled to watch is that I'm dying to know how all this crazy shit is going to fit together. Is it going to be brilliant? Or is it going to be a steaming pile of crap like Lost?
Satisfaction (Thursdays 10pm on USA)
I don't even know why I tuned into this show because it's absolutely not the type of thing I'm interested in. But the previews looked unique, so I decided to give it a shot. Wow. What happens when a man with the perfect life finds out his wife is hiring a guy for sex? Surprisingly, the answer to his problems and the solution to his dissatisfaction with how things have turned out in his idyllic life. Satisfaction caught me completely by surprise, and I have high hopes they'll be able to push the premise in interesting directions.
The Strain (Sundays 10pm on FX)
Leave it to Guliermo Del Toro to create a modern vampire epic so good that it's hard to believe that it's on television. Blending just the right amount of horror and suspense with thrills and breakneck pacing, The Strain is an entertaining show that relies on using predictable elements in unpredictable ways. The result is well worth your valuable time, though it's hard to tell how long they're going to keep the premise feeling fresh.
Outlander (Saturdays 9pm on Starz)
Thanks to the unprecedented success of Game of Thrones on HBO, it only seems to reason that other premium-priced networks would be investigating fantasy dramas of their own. And Starz has landed on a series based on the very popular Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon. It's 1945 and a World War II nurse named Claire Randall has been transported back to Scotland in the year 1743. Though already married in 1945, she ends up forced to marry Jamie Fraser... a Scottish warrior fighting a war and traversing a dangerous world. Though the romance angle isn't really my thing, I have to admit the series in really well done. Here's hoping show-runner Ronald D. Moore doesn't fuck it up like he did Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica.
And that's it so far. I'm still trying to decide on shows like Welcome to Sweden, Finding Carter, The Divide, and a few others.
Life is way too short to spend on bad television.
I was very, very sad to hear that Robin Williams died today.
I first became obsessed with his comedic antics on Mork and Mindy... then followed his career right up through The Crazy Ones, a fantastic television show that had the good sense to reign him in a bit, which is always when he's at his best.
But there's one role that will forever cement Robin Williams as a favorite performer of mine... The Genie on Alladin...
You will most definitely be missed, sir.
Pull up a seat to the campfire... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Doctor! While I felt Peter Capaldi did a great job as the new Doctor Who, I was a bit disappointed in his debut episode. I'd like to blame it on all the build-up, hype, and anticipation pushing my expectations too high... but I honestly feel that had nothing to do with it. I was just bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. It was a boring episode.
I'd have thought they would start this series out with a bang, but that didn't happen... at least in my humble opinion. I don't know what they're waiting for, but here's hoping next episode ramps things up to where they need to be.
• Thrice! Did I mention that the latest FREE issue of Thrice Fiction has been released? Well it has! And you can download it at absolutely no charge from our website!
Plenty of good stuff to be found within. Hurry up and get your copy before we come to our senses and start charging thousands of dollars for it!
• Star-Lord! My man-crush on Chris Pratt continues. I love it when famous people use their celebrity as a force for good instead of being self-centered assholes like so many seem to be. And kudos to Marvel for not starting up a lawsuit when Chris visited a children's hospital in-character as Star-Lord...
Photo from @Twitter
What an awesome guy.
• Bunga! If you've got an upcoming journey to or through Europe, be forewarned that Iceland is ripe for yet another volcanic eruption. Mt. Bardarbunga is poised to blow. The potential for disaster being even larger than the previous explosion of Mt. Eyjafjallajokul that messed up travel plans for millions of passengers as flights were delayed and canceled left and right due to unsafe ash content in the air.
It's always something.
• Tom! I hate to be the All Thompson Twins All The Time Channel, but I'm a huge fan. And this is a really good interview...
Original Photo Uncredited
• Human! And lastly... this video is titled Restore Your Faith in Humanity. It's aptly named...
Annnnnd... no more bullets for you. See you next week!
Don't you dare despair... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• The Ramones! HOLY CRAP! If this is true... IF THIS IS TRUE... wow.
• Fun! Funko Pop! finally announced that they are releasing some Firefly characters in their line of vinyl pop culture figures...
I, of course, was compelled to pre-order my favorite character, Hoban Washburne, complete with one of his toy dinosaurs...
You can get your own over at ToyWiz.
• Dreamy! The entire Skyer album by the Swedish dream-pop group Postiljonen is achingly beautiful... but this song is just... beyond. How they managed to create such a lovely song around Whitney Houston's How Will I Know? is a mystery...
Though if forced to pick a favorite off the album, Plastic Panorama is absolute magic...
Of course, I'm a sucker for anything that quotes The Princess Bride.
• Cancelation. With quality television being a rare thing indeed now-a-days, I was disturbed to see that the A&E series Longmire has been canceled...
What's interesting in this case is that the show is being canceled despite pulling big ratings. The studio is shopping the show around to try and keep it on the air, which is encouraging, but it's hard to take news like this given the overwhelming amount of crap clogging network schedules.
• Roofs! If you have a head for heights, Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov have posted a stunning set of sphincter-puckering photos from Hong Kong on their website...
Actually, "stunning" is under-selling it.
• Diane! A big thank you to Diane Sawyer for five years anchoring ABC's World News Tonight. I've been tuning in throughout her run and have become a fan. I look forward to future appearances as a "special correspondent"...
The diversity was nice while it lasted. Now the "Big Three" networks are all once again being safely anchored by white guys.
And... my six-shooter has done ran out of Bullets.
Last night while I was at dinner with Marty and his wife (of Banal Leakage fame), their friends had an extra ticket to the comic convention that's in town. I gratefully accepted it for one reason and one reason only... Erin Gray.
Most people will remember her as Colonel Wilma Deering from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century a 1979-1981 sci-fi television series which featured Erin Gray in clothing so tight that she had to be sewn into them...
I was a mega-huge fan of the show... and Erin Gray was 98% of the reason for that. To have an opportunity to meet her in person? Not something I'm going to pass up!
She was incredibly nice... taking time to talk with fans a bit as they got their autographs and photos... and as beautiful as ever!
I'm still reeling that I got to have my picture taken with Colonel Wilma Deering!
The convention is much larger than I thought... but just as overly-crowded as San Diego's famous Comic-Con. It's insane how many people were trudging through the dealer's floor. And there were hundreds more people standing in line outside waiting to get in...
I didn't have any money to spend, so I was in-and-out for my Erin Gray meet-n-greet in under 30 minutes.
If I did have the money, it would have been cool to meet Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeannie. along with Erin Gray and Lynda Carter, she completes the holy trifecta of my boyhood television crushes.
Not a bad way to spend a morning in Salt Lake City.
But the night is yet to come...
I have watched every episode of The Tonight Show since Jimmy Fallon took over. I understand the criticism of his work there... he's not the greatest comedian and his interviews tend to wander... but that's not the point. The guy just knows how to have fun and get his guests to have fun with him. And because of that, it's easy to tune in and let Jimmy take you away from the troubles of the day. And for that I love the guy. He never fails to make me laugh, and having The Roots as his house band guarantees that you're going to hear some good music to boot... even if you don't like the musical guest.
Fallon has a number of bits that I enjoy, but sitting at the top of the list is where Jimmy and The Roots get a musician to perform one of their hits... accompanied by instruments from a kid's classroom.
The result is funny... but the song is always great too! In catching up on shows I missed while I was away, I ran across his best one yet. Meghan Trainor showed up to sing her track All About That Bass.
If you missed it, here's a few of my other favorites. Including Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines...
And Carly Rae Jepsen singing Call Me Maybe...
And, of course, the time Sesame Street visited to sing their theme song. How anybody can watch this and not smile is beyond me...
And then there's The Roots. Holy crap are they talented. They can do anything having to do with music. And I've seen Questlove fill in on drums more than a couple times for visiting musicians. Flawlessly. I have no idea how he does it. Just massively great at his job, I guess.
If you're not a fan, here's a video where The Roots backed Miley Cyrus acapella on We Can't Stop...
So people can criticize Jimmy Fallon all they want, but there have been times where watching him on The Tonight Show has been the best part of my day.
I can't offer a better endorsement than that.
Put down that pumpkin spice latte... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Fall? Somehow Autumn got here and I missed it. Time to get the blankets out of storage, I suppose.
• Astrophotography. After my happy accident in discovering astrophotography in Africa, I spent my evening Googling about it. Turns out there's an entire site devoted to the hobby called Lonely Speck. Very cool. Ironically, there's a review of my new Sony A7s camera there... for astrophotography...
Image by Ian Norman of Lonely Speck
Now I wished I lived in an area where there's no light pollution so I can shoot the stars.
• Tasty! And now... BIG CATS EATING MARMITE!
Borders on cruelty to animals, I say.
• Kick Drum Heart. It's not the chase that I love....
...It's me following you.
• Gum! Ooh! Please! Please! Please! Let this be happening.
SHE'S DEAD! WRAPPED IN PLASTIC! Again?
• Fall Season. And so here's my assessment of the new Fall shows so far...
And... I'm spent. No more bullets for you.
That gum you like is going to come back in style!
And it's about time.
Put down that pumpkin spice latte, you coffee house hipster... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Bureaucracy. If watching this video doesn't make you want to execute every bureaucrat asshole in Washington D.C. responsible for dreaming up this bullshit, then you're not watching it correctly...
Wouldn't it be great if our politicians got off their worthless asses and actually fixed stupid shit like this? Well, don't hold your breath, they're too busy getting reelected to do anything actually useful.
• LEGO. As a lover of all things LEGO, I have to say that even imaginary LEGO makes me happy when it's as well done as this...
Images by JimmyLegs50
You really gotta see the whole thing to appreciate this level of genius.
• Dora. I had a little crush on Dora from I Married Dora. I had more than a little crush on Mirage from The Incredibles...
I was very sad to learn that the amazing actress responsible for both those characters, Elizabeth Peña, passed away earlier this week. She will definitely be missed.
• Hooks. As if losing Elizabeth Peña wasn't tragic enough... sublimely talented SNL veteran Jan Hooks also passed away this past week...
A terrible loss for her many fans... including me.
• Reverse. One of my favorite bands, Mackintosh Braun released an EP titled The City Below in anticipation of their new album Arcadia, due in 2015. My favorite track off the EP was posted to SoundCloud and is worth a listen...
You can pick up The City Below at the iTunes Music store.
• Equality. Progress sometimes happens...
And that's a wrap. Kinda nice to have Bullet Sunday actually land on a Sunday for once.
Good thing I passed the 21-day ebola incubation period this week... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• EEEEBOOOLAAAAA!!! And speaking of everybody's favorite virus... the amount of sheer ignorance I see on a daily basis regarding Ebola is just mind-boggling. That's to be expected, I suppose, because people react poorly when they're frightened. But having news sources contributing to that ignorance... assumably to keep everybody scared enough to keep watching their show or reading their paper or listening to their program... is disgusting. It's so bad that I can't even look at the shit anymore (seriously, it's even worse than election coverage). Somebody wake me when this is over so I can tune into the world again. Well, until the next wave of bullshit hits, anyway.
• WTF?!? And speaking of dumbfuck idiots contributing to ignorance...
Pat Robertson should be institutionalized. The amount of crazy he unleashes in any given week is more of a public health risk than Ebola.
• Lincoln. One of those rare moments that SNL actually made me LOL...
Jim Carrey's still got it.
• Jane! I really, really wasn't wanting to add a new show to my television schedule, however...
Jane the Virgin (modeled after a Latin America telenovela) is so crazy over-the-top that I had no hope for it working, but it somehow does... and it's funny. Well worth your valuable time to take a look.
• Ridiculous! I don't care who you are, you know you've made it when you get to appear on Sesame Street. Aziz Ansari, one of my most favorite entertainers, just joined the club...
Nothing makes you feel like a kid again more than talking to a Muppet, I'm sure.
• Maintenance! There's no easy way to seque from Sesame Street to... whatever this is... but did you know they made a sequel to D*CK MAINTENANCE? "Why pay two guys in a van to come suck your d*ck when you can do it yourself?"
And, if you haven't seen the original...
And, on that note, I'm stopping with the bullets so I can go buff my d*ck.
Every once in a while...
...everything comes up Milhouse.
Halloween may be over, but the terror is just beginning... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Frozen. While my hockey heart will forever belong to the Blackhawks, my love of Boston Red Sox baseball spills over to the Bruins from time to time. Halloween was one of those times...
Dressing up as characters from Frozen to visit sick kids? That's pretty great. GO BOSTON!
• Corn! Okay... this took me completely by surprise...
Now that's a cat that likes corn!
• Rock. Oh... so that's what it takes for Saturday Night Live to be entertaining again! Chris Rock and Prince! As a huge fan of Chris Rock, I knew he'd blow in like a hurricane and ride the bleeding edge. He did not disappoint. With an opening monologue that was so brilliantly dead on that he should be arrested for assault, Rock tore through gun control, Christmas commercialization, Jesus, 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, and Ebola like his life depended on it. Yeah, it was uncomfortable in spots, but it was exactly what it needed to be... enlightening and damn funny.
Now we just need to wait for FOX "News" to shit all over his performance like they do anything that they can spin into an attack on 'Murica. Then again, is there anything they can't spin into an attack on 'Murica?
As for Prince... he decided to skip the whole "two-song performance" tradition and combined his time for a single blistering medley of his latest tracks. I do not envy having to be the band who has to follow that next week.
• Bianco. How Christina Bianco can keep all those voices straight in her head is a mystery... but the result is pretty amazing...
What... no P!nk?
• Galactic. I was sorry to hear of the tragedy that overcame SpaceShip Two earlier this week. Forging into unknown territory is always a dangerous but worthwhile endeavor...
My thoughts are with the friends and family of co-pilot Michael Alsbury.
• OK! Yet another masterpiece from OK Go! This time they took their famous one-shot video concept to all new heights by using drones to shoot it. As if that weren't enough, the song is pretty awesome to boot...
Every time the band releases a new video, I wonder how they're possibly going to top it, and here's my answer. What's next? OK Go in space?
Click. Click. Click. Until next week then...
I watch all new televisions shows hoping that they'll be terrible because I don't have time to watch anymore shows. Usually, this isn't much of a challenge because the vast majority of TV shows suck.
Every once in a while there are surprises though. Jane the Virgin was probably the biggest this season. I tuned in with all the negativity I could muster, but ended up finding it hugely entertaining. Which is the complete opposite of last year when I tuned into Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. expecting to love it, but instead ended up hating every minute.
Some shows I don't even bother with, but this is rare. Since you just never know, I tend to give every show a shot.
One series I won't be tuning in for, however, is the latest Katherine Heigl latest effort: State of Affairs. I haven't liked her in anything she's done since Roswell, and this TV series looks to be the biggest steamer yet (despite having Alfre Woodard in it... WTF?!?). It doesn't help that she's an ungrateful shit... but the idea of Heigl playing a "head CIA analyst" is just beyond my ability to suspend disbelief for (right up there with Denise Richards playing nuclear physicist Dr. Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough and Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader in the crappy Star Wars prequels).
And so... what am I looking forward to checking out? Glad you asked!
12 Monkeys (SyFy • January 16, 2015). SyFy's take on the fantastic film looks somewhat intriguing...
This was the movie that completely changed my mind about Brad Pitt as an actor and cemented my appreciation for Bruce Willis... will the television series do their performances justice? Time will tell.
Agent Carter (ABC • January 6, 2015). Here's hoping that everything Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gets wrong, this limited series gets right...
Having Hayley Atwell return in the lead role is the perfect start... but I thought the same thing about Clark Gregg. Having an amazing actor anchoring a show doesn't mean anything if you put them in stupid stories and surround them with crappy characters. Fingers crossed.
Ascension (SyFy • December 15, 2014). The premise of a bunch of people secretly being launched into deep space back in the 1960's is intriguing all by itself... but the trailers hint at a lot more to the show than that...
Weird! But in a good way! Maybe.
The Astronaut Wives Club (ABC • Spring 2015) Based on the book that chronicled the true-life stories of the wives of American astronauts, this show was moved from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015, which is pretty worrisome. Even so, I'm looking forward to checking it out.
Battle Creek (CBS • 2015). I'm not holding my breath, but when Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan comes up with a new show, I'll at least give it a shot...
Don't know how I feel about the casting, but we could be in for an unexpected treat here.
Better Call Saul (AMC • February, 2015). And speaking of Breaking Bad and Vince Gilligan... this spin-off takes us back to the universe we know and love, and plenty of surprises are promised...
Hopefully they'll be good surprises.
Dig (USA • March 15, 2015). Jason Isaacs, one of the best actors on earth has a new television series...
Everything about this show looks fantastic. Which, of course, means nothing. But I'm hopeful.
The Expanse (SyFy • 2015). Hard SciFi doesn't translate too well to the screen... big or small... but the idea of seeing Leviathan Wakes brought to life is just too tempting to resist).
Public Morals (TNT • 2015) As a big fan of Edward Burns, I'll definitely be tuning in...
Not a fan of period cop dramas, so I don't know if I'll keep tuning in, however.
Shades of Blue (NBC • 2015) When you have Barry Levinson directing Jennifer Lopez as a mother and dirty undercover FBI agent, I'm interested. The fact that there's no show previews out there is worrisome, but I liked Out of Sight, so we'll see.
The Slap (NBC • 2015) I was imagining a bad translation of an Australian drama series... until I saw the cast. Peter Sarsgaard? Uma Thurman? Zachary Quinto ? Brian Cox? Um, yeah. See you there.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NBC • Spring 2015) Tina Fey is involved. That's all I need to know.
Wayward Pines (FOX • 2015) Obviously inspired by Twin Peaks, this looks crappy in a way that only M. Night Shyamalan can manage (it's his show, after all). And yet...
Argh. Too much TV. If even half of those shows are any good, I'm screwed... there's no way I can keep up with so many shows when my plate is already full.
Time to take responsibility for all your terrible decisions... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Wall. The Wall Street Journal has some fantastic photos showing scenes from Berlin "then and now" in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall...
Photo from The Wall Street Journal
There's not many shots... well worth your time to visit, which you can do by clicking here. As if that weren't enough, they also have a fantastic interactive timeline of events leading to The Wall being torn down.
• Bats. I have loved bats for as long as I can remember, and my heart always goes out to these misunderstood creatures. All too often they're seen as disease-bearing bloodsuckers instead of the beneficial animals they are. Which is why this story of a bat hospital on Bored Panda makes me so happy...
Photo by Tolga Bat Hospital
Photo by Caters News Agency
Cutest babies ever. How anybody could hate on something so adorable is beyond me.
• DST. IT'LL BE THE DEATH OF ALL OF US!
It's true. It's all true..
• Trek! My inner Star Trek geek loves stuff like this...
More of a Star Wars person? No worries... I got you covered.
• Cooks. I've watched this amazing opening credits sequence all the way through to the end twice (WARNING: NSFW in spots)...
It may be a parody. It may be for a show that doesn't even exist. And yet it's still vastly more entertaining than most sitcoms on the air today. If you've already seen it... have you read the "behind the scenes" article that talks about what went into making it?
• Murder! What happens when Shonda Rhimes says "You think that SCANDAL is messed up? Well get a load if THIS!" And then unleashes Viola Davis and How to Get Away with Murder...
The show is all kinds of freaky soap opera /slash/ legal drama goodness, and is quickly becoming one of my new favorites this season. The thing that makes me appreciate Ms. Rhime's shows is that they're so well thought out. Unlike crappy series like Lost that introduced twists and turns with no fucking clue how to tie everything together, Shonda's writers have their shit together. Everything happens for a reason and they know exactly where they're going with each new turn. Refreshing!
Put down that shot of Jägermeister... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Foundation! Literary sci-fi nerds around the world (myself included) had a simultaneous orgasm when it was announced that Jonathan Nolan would be adapting Isaac Asimov's seminal work, the Foundation trilogy for HBO...
Foundation's Hari Seldon by Michael Whelan
My fear is, of course, that Foundation will get completely screwed up like Edgar Rice Burrough's A Princess of Mars did... but Nolan seems to be a serious fan, so here's hoping.
• Ash! As if a Foundation TV series isn't enough, it was announced that Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell will be bringing The Evil Dead back as a Starz television series in 2015!
Kind of amazing that a cult property like The Evil Dead would be getting resurrected like this, but I'll take it.
• Salmon. John Oliver's Last Week Tonight came up with a mind-bogglingly cool set of guest-appearances for one of their latest bits...
Now that's pretty epic.
• Lighthouses. Stunning.
• Attack! While I was in Africa, I was always joking about how great it would be to see some kind of unbelievable animal attack scenario... like leopards attacking an elephant... or a herd of impala attacking a lion... or whatever. Little did I know...
Holy cats! I would have put my money on the lions. Way to go there Tantor!
• Ass. A couple months ago Marvel Comics unleashed a shit-storm of controversy when they got famous Italian artist Milo Manara to create an alternate artist collector cover for the Spider-Woman relaunch. I was blissfully unaware of the controversy until I saw a link to an article at Elle magazine where somebody was commenting that she looked like a porn star. I remarked at the time that this was pretty ironic given how Elle Photoshops their models to within an inch of their lives to look like porn stars. And, in many ways, their work was far dangerous because young girls looking at the Spider-Woman cover would immediately know it wasn't real... whereas with Elle they're presented with women that look real and whose beauty is obtainable but, in reality, are not.
Fast-forward to today, and one of my friends sent me this link...
So apparently Maddox is blogging again. Kinda. I don't always agree with him, but I think his take on Spider-Woman #1's alternate cover is pretty dead-on. Especially considering that kids today don't give a crap about comics, and most of the people reading them are adults that grew up with them.
And now... back to my impending hangover, already in progress.
But, unfortunately, probably not the definition of "resist" that kids are going to be needing...
re·sist verb \ri-ˈzist\
: to prevent yourself from doing something that you want to do.
: to try to stop or prevent (something)
: to remain strong against the force or effect of (something)
: to not be affected or harmed by (something)
: to fight against (something)
Don't let that crazy solstice celebration get out of control... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Goodbye! After nine years of being a huge fan of The Colbert Report, I was saddened that the show had to come to the end this past Thursday...
Best of luck to Stephen Colbert when he takes over The Late Show next Spring.
• Primate! It was only a matter of time before we figured out how to translate monkey-speak... and Scientific American says we are there...
I wonder how you say "GIVE ME THE BANANA AND NOBODY GETS POOP THROWN AT THEIR HEAD!" —?
• Wrench! BEHOLD THE MAJESTY OF SCIENCE!
Photo courtesy of NASA.
When the commander of the International Space Station needed a specialty wrench, NASA emailed it to him for printing on the lab's 3D printer. The future is now, people.
• Leia! Just because I want to keep the internet adorable...
"It's actually a pretty good look for her."
• Trek! Over at Playboy they have an article that ranks ALL THE STAR TREK! And that includes the animated episodes! For the Star Trek fan, it is must-read material. I agree almost completely at the bottom of the list... disagree a little at the top... and disagree a lot with the middle (but I'm not much of a fan of the non TOS episodes, so shoot me)...
Many of my differences with the list are debatable, but the one episode that just baffles me beyond all reason is the Enterprise episode Carbon Creek at THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY-TWO?!?? WTF?!?
• OBAMA! Thanks to my laptop and the internet, I can work anywhere in the world where I have access to both. But apparently The President of the United States can't work from Hawaii (despite being one of the most well-connected people on earth) since every moron with a lifeline to FOX "News" is shitting all over him for spending the holidays away from the White House during the "North Korean Hacking Crisis." Stupid shit like this drives me insane. What... is the president's desk MAGICAL and he loses all his "Leader of the Free World Powers" whenever he's away from it? Hackers IN NORTH KOREA can run the film industry from half a world away, but The President of the United States can't gather information for a response because he's back home? Do the idiots who say this moronic crap actually listen to the words coming out of their mouths? Even if President Obama DID cancel his trip, the same dipshits would STILL lambast him because they he'd be "letting the terrorist win" by not keeping to his schedule. The ultimate irony being that a job like "President of the United States" doesn't actually get ANY vacation days, because the world doesn't stop, there's always a crisis somewhere, and your job as president never ends... no matter where you are.
Annnnd... back to your solstice celebration.
And now is that special entry where I wrap up MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS OF 2014!
Which looks a lot like last year with a few new programs mixed in to keep things interesting.
THE TWELVE BEST...
#1 The Blacklist
No surprise here. James Spader continues to craft one of the most compelling characters ever to grace television, and the stakes are running higher than ever this year.
It's not that I hate this year's new character, Kitty Winter, it's that she takes time away from Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu on screen... which is the entire reason I watch the show. I have no idea what purpose she serves (other than distraction?) but I hope there's a payoff down the line. In any event, the chemistry between Holmes and Watson is flawless as always. I just wish there was more of it.
#3 Jane the Virgin
Nobody is more shocked than me that this show made my list... let alone ranking so high. But I just can't help it. This Americanized take on a Latin Telenovela is funny, smart, charming, and everything you watch television for. Shockingly entertaining episode after episode. But for how long?
#4 The Flash
Who knew? This offshoot of Arrow is so well done that it even eclipses the original from which it spawned. The one thing I could do without is the "Team Flash" idiocy... it's just so unnecessary. The Flash never needed a "team" behind him in the comics, and he really, really doesn't need them here. They're just a massive distraction that waters down the show.
#5 Orange in the New Black
I liked the show in season one. I loved it in season two. The very definition of "engaging television," everybody's favorite prison drama went for broke and succeeded wildly. Everything felt deeper and more intense at every turn, but the characters never seemed more grounded.
The fifth season of Timothy Olyphant's triumphant portrayal of Raylan Givens is stronger than ever, cementing the show as one of televisions best dramas with one of the best casts going. I honestly don't know how they manage it, but it's impressive as hell.
I was hoping and praying that the needless flashbacks would finally cease now that the island drama was over. But they're back... and this time in an even less compelling Hong Kong location. Sigh. Still, the show remains cool and entertaining... unlike Marvel's Agents of SHEILD which I can't even watch any more.
#8 How to Get Away With Murder
And here we go... it's as if Shonda Rhimes said "Oh, you think Scandal is messed up? Well get a load of this! Viola Davis and cast effortlessly glide through this legal thriller that quickly exceeded my expectations.
Color me shocked. Despite a terrific cast, I really thought a series based on the movie would be a mistake. Instead we got smart writing, compelling characters, and one of the better new shows of 2014.
#10 Orphan Black
I wasn't sure how second season was going to pan out, but the show certainly lived up to my increasingly high expectations. Easily one of the most intelligent series on TV, it just keeps getting better and better. Where it's all leading to I have no idea, but it's a journey I'm definitely going to keep taking.
#11 Hawaii Five-0
Still can't believe that this show is keeping my interest, but it just keep chugging along. One thing I wish they'd get rid of is Jorge Garcia's character of "Jerry," which is getting more annoying with each new episode. The chemistry between the rest of the characters is about as good as it gets... even if the stories are starting to feel a bit repetitive.
If Shonda Rhimes and Co. hadn't messed up the show for entirely too many episodes this season, the series could have ranked much higher. Instead we've got characters that took heinous stumbles into stupidity... primarily Mellie Grant and Olivia Pope herself... that left me flat as the season ended the year.
SIX MORE WORTH WATCHING...
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
I wouldn't have thought it was possible to eclipse The Daily Show at their own game, but here we are. John Oliver could not possibly make current events more engaging, and my only complaint about the show is that it only airs once a week.
The Walking Dead
The show has gotten a bit mired in distraction this season, but is still worth watching.
Game of Thrones
It's fantastic television. There's not much more I can say than that.
House of Cards
One of my favorite shows from last season kind of lost itself in season two... but mostly thanks to jaw-dropping performances (headed by the always-amazing Kevin Spacey), it remains a must-see affair.
I was sure that Castle and Beckett getting married would be the death-knell for the show. Instead, it oddly energized it somehow. Still think they managed to get one of the best supporting casts on network television... which elevates the show to be more than just another Murder She Wrote clone. Sadly, however, we're just not getting the energy that Castle had during it's second and third seasons, which leads me to believe the show's best days are definitely behind us.
I never read Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on which this mini-series is based, but now I kind of want to. Frances McDormand is in top-form here as we explore the life of a woman in a small Maine town, and it will be a gross injustice if she's overlooked come award season.
ANIMATION WORTH YOUR TIME...
A complete repeat of last year...
Still brilliant. Still relevant. Still must-see-television for me.
The most bizarre show to ever air on television is still going strong.
Couldn't possibly love this show more than I do. They just kill it each and every episode.
Plus three more...
Rick & Morty
Dan Harmon toon series that came out of nowhere to dominate Adult Swim. Back to the Future gone sideways.
I was late to the party with this show. When I finally started watching, I became obsessed with catching up with the older episodes. A binge-worthy show to be sure.
Bee & PuppyCat
Gorgeous and utterly bizarre, this is a Kickstarter-funded online cartoon that defies description. You'll just have to watch.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN...
The Colbert Report
Entertaining, informative, and funny as hell... Stephen and the character he created will be badly missed. Here's hoping his Late Night hosting duties will be worth losing such a consistently fantastic show.
Sons of Anarchy
The final season was a major let-down to me... and the ending was pretty lame... but the show was entertaining for seven seasons, and that's worth recognizing.
There were several times in Season 6 that I thought this show had outstayed it's welcome, but all was forgotten as the series finale played out. A terrific end to a show that deserved nothing less.