Posted on September 20th, 2020
The country may be on the brink of fascism, but you've got bigger fish to fry... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Long! Ewan McGregor has made two documentary series about long-distance motorcycle trips... Long Way Round (London to New York City, 19,000 miles) and Long Way Down (Scotland to Cape Town, 15,000 miles). Both were really good series, and I was happy to learn that Apple TV+ had another series being released... Long Way Up (Ushuaia to Los Angeles, 13,000 miles)...
It was weird watching Ewan and Charley arrive in at Malvinas Argentinas Ushuaia International Airport, which was where I landed for my Antarctica expedition, and be able to say "Hey! I've been there!" The series is notable for a number of reasons, the biggest being that this time they are using electric motorcycles! Indeed, most of the show is dealing with running out of electricity and not being able to charge (25% is being cold, 25% is actual journey). The first three episodes dropped on the 18th and now they are releasing the rest of them, one each week. If you like motorcycles or travel or really cool people having amazing adventures... or, if you're like me and love all three... this is the series for you. All it takes is an Apple TV+ subscription!
• RGB! Very sad to hear of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Her dedication to the law and this country resulted in a lot of good things. Even sadder at the thought of a Supreme Court Justice landing in The Court who will strip rights from women... from LGBTQ persons... from minorities... from the poor... from the disenfranchised... from anybody who doesn't fit into the singular mold of making sure that straight, white, wealthy, Christian men are the only people who have rights and protections in this country. But, alas...
• Minutes! I've stumbled across a YouTube channel called "minutephysics" that's pretty great. And it all started when I saw their video on masks this past week...
The entire channel is gold, and you can check it out right here.
• Yo! And, on that note, WE GOTTA YEET THIS VIRUS, YO!
• Closer! Because I rotate through my streaming services, I didn't get to Sundance Channel in 2019 so I could watch the second season of So Close when it debuted. Instead I got to it late... which worked out okay because I saw it at a time I needed to see it most...
In the first episode, there's a laugh-out-loud moment that really got me into the new season. But then it crashed right into showing just how big a mess that Michael and Kate are. Again. And if you thought that Michael was screwed up the first time around, you haven't seen anything yet. Because it's not him being deaf or gay that defines him... it's that he's a fucking disaster. A bomb just waiting to explode all over everybody. Again. And I had gotten to the point where I was going to stop watching because we've seen this all before. But I stuck with it. And then they kinda used that to take the show into an interesting place and I was hooked. By the time we were at the final episode I was in love with the show and wanting more. Again. Except... NOT IF WE'RE JUST GOING TO END UP BACK WHERE WE WERE FOR THE THIRD TIME! For the love of God, get these people to a healthier place and grow their characters from there. Anything else is just more of the same and we're bored of it. You can watch This Close on The Sundance Channel.
• Criminal! And speaking of television... I absolutely love happening across a show I’ve never heard of before and finding something really good to watch. Criminal: UK is fascinating, and the stories and guest stars for each episode are great! Worth a look of you’re into this kind of show...
I binged every episode, and am looking forward to watching the other versions of this show... Criminal: Germany, Criminal: Spain, and Criminal: France.
• Conspiracy! Sometimes you see something float by on Facebook and feel it to your very soul...
Pretty much how it goes.
And that's all she wrote, true believer.
Posted on September 14th, 2020
I am not ashamed to say that I am most definitely not doing well.
Not only is Central Washington being blanketed with smoke from our own wildfires, massive amounts of smoke is being blown in from the fires in Oregon and California as well. And despite five air purifiers running day and night, my allergies are in overdrive, making for a miserable existance. I have had a crushing headache for a week. Breathing is painful. Nosebleeds happen at random. My eyes and nose are running almost constantly. Sleep is almost impossible. Not a great day to be me, that's for sure...
Last night I finally passed out around 2:30am. I woke up shortly after 3:00am choking on blood from yet another nosebleed. That is a scary enough way to wake up... but I had aspirated and couldn't breath. The wheezing as I struggled to catch a breath freaked my cats, both of which ran out of the room at top speed. Eventually I managed to work through it, but getting back to sleep was impossible. I called in sick and have been nodding off and on ever since.
Poor Jake and Jenny. The fires have been so tough on them.
After terrifying her early-early this morning, Jenny ended up sleeping in the room next to mine...
Jake... is more complicated. He has been really clingy lately and sleeping with me every night. After he ran out scared, I heard him come walking back in about an hour later. He didn't hop back on the bed, so I wasn't sure where he went. This morning I found him hiding in the cat tower...
My cats rarely go in those hidey-holes. As in very rarely. But Jake wanted to sleep near me while also being scared and this was his solution. Naturally I feel terrible about it. Note the smoke out my window.
And so here I am taking a sick day at home with two cats who are afraid of me.
In-between trying not to work because it makes my headache worse, I've been zoning out in front of the television. One think I saw today was that Drew Barrymore has a new talk show. I was interested in seeing how they were going to manage a new talk show, fully expecting it to be remote chats on Zoom or something. But that wasn't the case. Drew's Charlie's Angels co-stars Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu were there with her... albeit socially distanced...
That wasn't the case at all. While Drew nd Lucy were in New York... Cameron was still in Los Angeles, appearing in the studio virtually...
Weird to think that things like this will quickly become our new normal.
In the meanwhile I'll just go back to the virtual hellscape that's my life right now.
Posted on September 8th, 2020
I have a terrible reaction to smoke... mostly revolving around cramping and a bloody nose. It's been this way for as long as I can remember, which has always made camping problematic. Usually I can just escape to another part of the state when everything is on fire but that would be tough this time even if there weren't a pandemic. The smoke is bad just about everywhere...
And so... not a fun time to be me.
Last night I thought I would take some sleeping pills and ride it out until this morning. But then I woke to what looked like a murder scene in my bed and the smoke worse than ever. I have a spill-proof mattress cover, so my mattress was okay... but I think the sheets are a goner. Fortunately I have three sets exactly the same, so I have more available to destroy tonight.
There was a bright spot in my day, however... the new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery is here...
After an incredible first season, I was let down a bit by the second. But now things are looking very interesting for the third...
Despite now being set hundreds of years into the future, Michelle Yeoh is back as Mirror-Universe Georgiou, which is odd since she will be heading the new Section 31 show sometime in the future back in the present(!)...
But we knew she was coming back. Somebody I didn't know was coming back (but am thrilled that they are) is Tig Notaro as Jett Reno!
And speaking of Tig Notaro, I rewatched her documentary this weekend...
If you haven't seen it and have Netflix, it's well worth your time.
And now I guess I'm back to feeling sick. Blergh.
Posted on September 6th, 2020
Summer doesn't seem to be ending any time soon, but don't let 100° days get you down... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Growth! I don't remember how I ran across this video, but it's really, really cool...
Jake and Jenny seemed to grow up exactly this fast.
• Squirrel! I somehow missed this amazing Mark Rober video, which is a must see...
His channel is one of those that I wish posted more often... but you just know that it wouldn't be this good if he did.
• Die! And the new James Bond trailer is out...
Looks almost worth risking your life going to a movie theater for!
• Expecting! I watched the HBO Max series Expecting Amy which is absolutely fascinating. Not because of Amy Schumer, but because of her husband Chris Fischer. In her Netflix special, Growing, her talking about him and his being on the autism spectrum is the absolute best part of the show. In Expecting Amy you get to see the reverse side of it all. The guy seems as sweet as can be and is a massively famous chef, so he's a lot more than "just Amy Schumer's husband."
So, yeah, worth a look. And also watch their cooking show Amy Schumer Learns to Cook on Food Network.
• Bash! Earlier this week I had mentioned that NBC had picked up the amazing medical drama, Transplant, starring Hamza Haq. I know absolutely nothing about the guy, so I searched YouTube for some interviews. He does not disappoint...
But the real treat was spending the day with him during Ramadan during quarantine...
Very much looking forward to a second season.
• Christie! Back when cable TV first came to town, we got a 6-month trial package that included HBO or Showtime or both or something. It was then that I discovered that one of my favorite Agatha Christie novels, Death on the Nile, had been turned into a film. I watched it many, many times. Now, after a successful remake of Murder on the Orient Express, we're getting a remake of Death on the Nile as well...
Interesting to note that both versions of the film has quite a few name-brand stars...
|ROLE||1978 VERSION||2020 VERSION|
|Hercule Poirot||Peter Ustinov||Kenneth Branagh|
|Louise Bourget||Jane Birkin||Rose Leslie|
|Linnet Ridgeway Doyle||Lois Chiles||Gal Gadot|
|Marie Van Schuyler||Bette Davis||Jennifer Saunders|
|Jacqueline de Bellefort||Mia Farrow||Emma Mackey|
|Mr. Ferguson||Jon Finch|
|Rosalie Otterbourne||Olivia Hussey||Letitia Wright|
|Manager of the Karnak||I.S. Johar|
|Andrew Pennington||George Kennedy|
|Andrew Kathchadourian||Ali Fazal|
|Salome Otterbourne||Angela Lansbury||Sophie Okonedo|
|Simon Doyle||Simon MacCorkindale||Armie Hammer|
|Colonel Race||David Niven|
|Mrs. Bowers||Maggie Smith||Dawn French|
|Dr. Ludwig Bessner||Jack Warden||Russell Brand|
Looks like it will be worth a look!
And that's the end of that. No more bullets to be had this week.
Posted on September 2nd, 2020
Two months ago? Three months ago? Some time ago a friend in Canada sent me recordings of a television show called Transplant. It was a medical drama that I wanted to ignore because I was tired of medical dramas, but felt obligated to take a look at because my friend had taken the time to send it to me.
I watched the first episode on a Saturday morning while I waited for my cats to finish breakfast. I wanted to add their dishes to the dishwasher before I ran it. I knew I had some time because Jenny is famous for eating a bit, walking away, coming back and eating a bit more, then walking away, then coming back... it can take her 20 minutes to finish a meal.
I was riveted to the screen for the entire first episode. After running the dishwasher I sat back down and watched the remaining 12 episodes back-to-back. My day was gone but I really didn't have a choice. It's that good.
Transplant is about a Syrian immigrant doctor in Toronto who can't get work so he takes a job in his uncle's restaurant. Then one fateful night, everything changes...
Hamza Haq should be a shoo-in for a Best Actor Grammy for his portrayal of the lead character. He plays the part with a grace, subtlty, and sympathy that seems effortless. And yet he also plays it with a certain level of detatchment that somebody who lived through the horror of civil war in Syria would have to have. It's sublimely perfect, and I don't know how he manages it. Far too many actors would go over-the-top with the material, which is the exact opposite of what the part needs. No, Haq manages to get everything perfect and strike the right note every time.
That alone would be remarkable. But it's just the beginning. The writing is top-notch and the supporting cast is equally excellent. Which is a good thing because there are times that the story will push Dr. Hamed to the background despite him being the main character. It's a brilliant play, because he's all the more impactful when he's in the spotlight.
If Transplant doesn't top my favorite shows of 2020, I will be very surprised. It's so good that NBC started airing it here in the States. The first episode aired last night, so I'm guessing it is being shown Tuesdays on NBC. If you missed it, you can sign up for a free account at PeacockTV.com and watch the first episode at no charge!
If you're looking for a way to kill time during quarantine, this is well worth a look.
Posted on August 30th, 2020
Summer may be coming to a close, but the bullets are just beginning... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Forever! This weekend I held a Chadwick Boseman memoral marathon... starting with 42, Gods of Egypt, and Marshall yesterday... then blowing through all his Marvel movies, Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet, and Avengers: Endgame today. Mr. Boseman was diagnosed with third stage colon cancer in 2016. Which means he had to be feeling effects while filming Civil War and Marshall... and was battling it in force while filming Black Panther and the Avengers movies. His amazing acting talent is on screen for all to see. But the strength it took to be filming while undergoing treatment for cancer? You never saw that...
It's been weighing on me all day. I've read that he said that he prayed that he would get the role of Black Panther before he was cast. I can only imagine that playing the character kept him going. I don't know. What I do know is that I sure would have loved to have seen more movies from him. But, man, what we got was sure amazing wasn't it?
• Jeopardy! Seems an apt time to remember when Chadwick Boseman was responsible for one of the funniest sketches to ever air on Saturday Night Live...
And now I want potato salad.
• EXCELLENT! One of my favorite movies of all time is Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Far from being a high school stoner comedy (albeit without the drugs), it was actually an incredibly smart film. Time travel was handled exceedinly well, the soundtrack was fantastic, and the casting was genius. George Carlin was an inspired choice as Rufus... and of course Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter were genre-defining in the title roles. The sequel, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey fell short, but was still a fun ride. And now, 30 years after the original debuted, Bill & Ted are back...
While it's not in the same league as the original... and how could it be when George Carlin is gone?... it was still pretty darn entertaining. I am not going to say a word about the movie because you really need to see for yourself. And you can do that with a $20 rental or $25 purchase price through iTunes and other streaming services. I don't know if it's worth the first-run cost, but it's not like you can run out and see it in theaters.
• #GiantMeteor2020! Well, dang.
• Bird Shit! Johnny Harris does it again... this time with a fascinating video on why the US has all these islands scattered around the Pacific...
Truth is so often stranger than fiction.
• HAN SHOT FIRST! Restoring old films so they will appeal to modern audiences is nothing new. Cleaning up the dust and scratches. Minimizing grain. Sharpening the picture. It's pretty cool what technology can do to help make old films look new. But there is such a thing as going too far. I first remember this kind of controversy when Turner Network Television "colorized" old black-and-white movies. I never thought this was so terrible, but a lot of people did. What I do think is terrible is when classic films are altered so that the story changes. Guns becoming walkie-talkies in E.T. The Extra Terrestrial... and, of course, Greedo shooting first in Star Wars.
There was a lot of outcry over Star Wars... so much so that when they released the modified "Special Edition" on DVD they included a "Bonus Disc" which had a cleaned up version of the original film. I was happy to have it, because the only way I could watch the original was on my LaserDisc copy, which was a very nice picture for 1982, but disappointing for 1997. I didn't mind so much that they replaced the special effects shots with new CGI versions... but the other changes (like Han not shooting first) were pretty crappy.
Now there's a new technique for "stacking" multiple sources of the film so that you can build a more detailed picture...
Here's a still from the original film off LaserDisc...
Here's the same still from the DVD Special Edition Bonus Disc of the original film...
And here's the restoration version which uses details from multiple sources to create a far sharper version...
Pretty amazing. Here's an explanation video. Fast forward to 40 minutes if you just want to see what's happening...
Technology so nifty, eh? THIS is a kind of restoration that does more good than harm.
And that's a wrap on my Sunday.
Posted on August 16th, 2020
Six months in quarantine and dumbass idiots just keep our pandemic going strong, but at least there's something to read... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• So Very COVID! U.S. Coronavirus Outbreaks Are Increasingly Tied to Small Family Gatherings, according to this Vice article: If You Love Your Family, Stay the Hell Away From Them. This pandemic is never going to end. This is why.
• WOMAN, CAMERA, TV! Sarah Cooper has just been given a comedy special deal by Netflix. After her many hilarious videos and this monologue for Kimmel, it's easy to see why...
Good on you, Miss Cooper.
• JAJA DING DONG! If you saw the Will Ferrell Netflix movie, Eurovision: The Story of Fire Saga, you know that he plays an Icelandic singer who dreams of competing in the Eurovision song competition. A joke in the movie is when he sings a song called Jaja Ding Dong, which is about exactly what you'd think it would be about. Well, the real-life Iceland Eurovision contestant, Daði Freyr, is constantly being asked to cover the song, and he finally relented...
• Puppies! When I was in Zimbabwe, I was very, VERY lucky to see wild dogs. They are rare to spot, and there was a group of people that flew in a couple weeks prior to my visit who came specifically to photograph them... but never saw a single pup after a week of searching. They are really remarkable creatures, and it's cool that they have found ways to help restore the wild dog populations of Africa...
They're beautiful creatures, to be sure.
• Cats! Tell me that you don't think of Jake and his beloved toy Mufasa when you see this...
Cats are the most incredible creatures.
• Cohen! Michael Cohen's new book is coming, and it promises to be a doozy. I won't give the piece of shit a single cent of my money no matter how much dirt he's dishing... and there's really no reason to. I'm sure all the tea will be spread far and wide without me having to buy a thing. If nothing else we'll finally get confirmation that the pee pee tape exists...
I believed it all along.
And that's they way it goes. Enjoy your pandemic.
Posted on August 6th, 2020
It's been just over a year since I canceled DirecTV and switched to streaming services for my television entertainment. First I went with Sling, but I wanted the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, etc.) so I landed on FuboTV. They're sports-focused, but the package they offer was closer to what I like to watch, so I was happy with their service.
At least I was happy until they raised their prices... apparently to add more sports programs I won't watch. I am now paying $60 a month for FuboTV on top of the $14 I pay for Netflix. So... $74 a month. For television.
Since FuboTV doesn't offer a package without the sports for less money, I started investigating alternatives. I had signed up for FuboTV because they had the major networks, but as I started looking around I came to realize that I rarely watch them any more. What network shows I do watch are (coincidentally) almost exclusively on CBS. And, lucky me, CBS streams all their current programming via their CBS All-Access service. Another lucky break? Almost all minor networks I watch are completely covered by a service called Philo, which is just $20 a month. They don't have Cartoon Network (gotta have my Rick and Morty!), but I can just purchase the show directly from iTunes and still come out way ahead.
So now I can switch to Philo at 1/3 the cost of FuboTV, keep Netflix, and then cycle through all the other services... Hulu one month, CBS All-Access the next month, and Peacock the next month. That will end up saving me nearly $500 a year. And could save even more if I work Netflix into the rotation of services I switch through (something that could come in handy if I'm strapped for cash).
Now that it's all coming together, I made a list of all the shows I like so I know which services I need to work with to get them...
Barnwood Builders (DIY)
Beach Hunters (HGTV)
Beachfront Bargain Hunt (HGTV)
Big Beach Builds (DIY)
Build Me Up (HGTV)
Building Off the Grid (HGTV)
Drag Race (VH1)
Drag Race All Stars (VH1)
Good Bones (HGTV)
Hallmark Movies (HALLMARK)
Hawaii Life (HGTV)
Home Town (HGTV)
House Hunters (HGTV)
Island Hunters (HGTV)
Lakefront Bargain Hunt (HGTV)
Love It or List It (HGTV)
Martha Knows Best (HGTV)
Pool Kings (HGTV)
Restored by the Fords (HGTV)
Vacation House Rules (HGTV)
In the Dark
Living with Yourself
CBS ALL-ACCESS ($6/mo.)
Bob (hearts) Abishola
Star Trek: Discovery
Star Trek: Lower Decks
Star Trek: Picard
Untitled Star Trek Section 31 Series
The Conners (ABC)
Love, Victor (HULU)
The Orville (HULU)
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC)
Late Night with Seth Meyers (NBC)
New Amsterdam (NBC)
Backyard Envy (BRAVO)
Below Deck (BRAVO)
Below Deck Med (BRAVO)
Vanderpump Rules (BRAVO)
Rick & Morty (Cartoon Network)
Apple TV+ (Free Year, Will Not Renew)
PRIME VIDEO (Included with Amazon Prime)
DISNEY+ (Prepaid 3 Years)
The Falcon & Winter Soldier
Untitled Cassian Andor Series
Untitled Obi-Wan Series
HBO (Included with AT&T Mobile)
Last Week Tonight
That's a lot of television. But given we may be quarantined for the rest of our lives because people won't do jack-shit to slow the pandemic, at least it's something to do.
Posted on August 2nd, 2020
2020 never seems to end, but neither does the bullets... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Umbrella 2! I liked the first season of The Umbrella Academy despite the fast that it took some serious liberties with the comic book source. The second season just dropped and I binged it all in a day...
Even better than the first season! Number 5 must be one of the best comic book characters ever brought to life on the small screen. If I have a small bit of criticism, it would be that the series got a bit mired in personal drama that was boring and not terribly important towards moving the story forward. Particularly Vanya's time on a farm(?)... a diversion that could have been adequately addressed in 1/3 the screen time. Otherwise? genius.
• Just Do It! There is some serious image re-mapping and aligning going on here and it's incredibly well done. This is beautiful to behold...
Bravo to the art director and their team for how this came together.
• Cheapness! A couple people asked me about the "cheap movies" I bought and where I bought them. I monitor a site called Cheap Charts then, when I find the cheapest price on a sale movie I want, I go ahead and buy it if it's from iTunes (because that's where all my movies are). If it's not on iTunes, I check MoviesAnywhere to see if the movie can be bought at a member site, which means iTunes will import it automatically. Usually iTunes is the most expensive place, with Amazon Digital and Microsoft Digital being the cheapest. If the movie is not a part of MoviesAnywhere, then I usually don't buy it... unless it's super-cheap, then I just suffer through having to use Amazon or Microsoft's player to watch it. And now you know.
• How to Mask! Sarah Cooper has been on fire with her last several videos, but this one is just beyond...
Nice to know at least one thing to laugh about when it comes to the horror show we're currently trapped in.
• Biscuits! Thanks to friends on Facebook, I've finally cracked the puzzle of making the perfect Egg & Cheese McBiscuit! I start with FROZEN Pillsbury Grands and smear the tops and bottoms with butter. Cook pushed together as directed. THEN I smear the tops with butter AGAIN... separate the biscuits AND FLIP THEM OVER. Increase the heat to 400º and cook for four minutes longer so the tops get fried on the hot cookie sheet. VOILA! Perfectly crispy biscuits with fluffy insides that taste every bit as good at McDonalds!
Now I no longer have to pay ridiculous prices (THREE DOLLARS AND FORTY-NINE CENTS EACH?!??) to get one of my favorite treats! Hooray!
• US History! It's easy to see how the reason so many people are so ignorant about how things actually are in this country is that they don't have an accurate picture of how we got here. The mind boggles...
Smartly done. But the people most needing to see this and understand this are exactly the people who will never watch it.
• Memory! Face, Velvet, Church, Daisy, Red. Yep, still got it a week later.
I guess that's all I got for this week. See you next Sunday.
Posted on July 28th, 2020
I've been consumed with work for weeks and it hasn't done anything good for my housekeeping. My home is a complete pit of despair right now, and it's going to get worse before things get better because I'm starting my kitchen remodel this weekend. Originally it was to start at the beginning of the month but that had to be delayed when I realized I needed another month's worth of savings to make it happen. Usually I would never be able to remodel this late in the summer when I have lots of visitors staying over, but... pandemic and all that.... so here we are.
Like everybody else, I'd imagine, I've been watching an absurd amount of television lately. But since so much of the new stuff that's on doesn't really interest me, I've been re-watching older shows that I like. Tonight I started watching No Tomorrow, a show I haven't watched since it was released in the 2016/2017 television season...
It's a romantic comedy about a guy who stumbles upon an asteroid which will hit the earth in 8 months and end all life on the planet. Ever since, he's been living his life like there's no tomorrow, doing all the things he's always wanted to do. Along the way he meets a woman that he immediately falls in like with, and kinda-sorta convinces her to buy into his end-of-the-world theory. Together they start checking items off their "Apocalists" and it's a charming, sweet, funny, lovely little show and a fun ride.
At least it was until The CW canceled it.
The cast is really great, so I was curious to know what they had all been up to. Everybody had moved on to a bunch of other projects... except the star of No Tomorrow, Joshua Sasse.
He hasn't appeared in any TV shows or movies since.
BEFORE he was in No Tomorrow he was in Galavant, a show I caught a few times, but none of his other shows rang a bell. Even so, it's kind of depressing that he's not doing something new since he seems like such a talented actor. Maybe he can afford to be picky and is just waiting for a project he likes? I sure hope so.
As I've been watching the episodes, I've been thinking an awful lot about how I would be living my life if I knew it was all going to end in eight months. I'd like to think that I'd be spending my time doing things that are a lot more interesting than what I'm doing. Like finally getting my ass to India... pandemic be damned. Not that I could actually go, of course. The entire world has banned USA citizens from entering thanks to our heinously shitty response to COVID-19. We're a bunch of selfish fucking idiots who can't be bothered to wear a mask or look out for other people.
I suppose I should probably start cleaning my house now, but... pandemic and all that... so here we are.