I'm Starting to Watch TV As It Airs, and I Really Missed It

Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Thanks to DVRs and streaming, no one really watches television live anymore. But, because I was watching Supergirl and The Good Place, both shows that thrive on twists and big events, I started watching them as they aired, so I wouldn't be spoiled by social media. No starting halfway into it so I can fast forward, the old fashioned way. And that's extended to other shows I have taken on, like Superstore, cause it was on before The Good Place and so I figured I might as well, and it's really good, and Dare Me, which more people should be watching.

The one downside are commercials, but the mute button exists for a reason. And I got the to feel the rush of making it back on time from the bathroom break. When my sister and I were little and one of us had to go to the bathroom that was down the hall from the tv room, we would call out after a couple minutes to ensure the other one would hurry up.

With the streaming wars coming in full force, with Netflix (thanks parents), Prime (thanks Sprint), Hulu (again, Sprint), Disney+ (thanks for grandfathering me in Verizon), AppleTV+ (new phone, free year, watch Dickinson). And HBO Max is coming, but my family has HBO so I don't have to pay for that one. Peacock is coming, and I am definitely getting that one, without ads, so I can marathon Law & Order to my heart's content. But it's been nice to watch television before all this happened, the way it was meant to be.

Seriously, maximize everything you can to get this stuff for free, or as little as possible. Split it between family and friends. Share accounts. Or watch tv live. It's still great that way, too.

Bookshelf: Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Friday, January 24, 2020
This book is unlike any crime fiction you've ever read. The event that kicks of our year in the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka is the kidnapping of two girls, 11- and 8-year old sisters Alyona and Sophia. Each chapter is from the perspective of a different female character living on the peninsula, set in each successive month from August to June.

There isn't any depiction of the actual police investigation. There are a couple characters who were tangentially involved with the investigation are featured in several chapters. One woman is a witness to the kidnapping, another is an administrator at the local school who loves her weekly meetings with one of the lead cops on the case, and another is the wife of a police officer who worked the case.

It's interesting to see how the kidnapping affects the peninsula, and in the difference in the reaction to the disappearance of an indigenous eighteen year old a few years before the events of the book. And none of those tensions are stated obviously. There is direct discussion in the difference in treatment of white Russian people and the indigenous populations, but there it's not hamfisted. Every conversation about it is relevant to the characters having those thoughts or discussions, and weaves an important tapestry of the region as time goes on.

I think this is the first time I've read anything that could be considered crime fiction. It's just a genre that I've mainly delved into in movies and television, but never with my reading choices. Normally when I think of crime fiction, I think of a detective unraveling the details of the cast, dealing with twists and turns, and who's lying and who's telling the truth. But I think by not starting with the stereotypical crime fiction, I don't have a set view of what crime fiction should be.

Earworm: “Don’t Walk Away” by Jade

Saturday, January 18, 2020
I discovered this song recently thanks to a girl group’s audition on The Voice UK. They were great and were selected by a coach, so we’ll get to see some more performances from them and that’s exciting. This song is so up my alley musically, I don’t know how I never came across it before.

I had never heard of Jade before. They were active in the early 90s, had two pretty successful albums, a couple hit singles, including this song, and then faded. Which happens. Musical acts are successful for a time, and then, for a variety of reasons, are not.

But there are people that still know songs from artists that just faded, and people like me who like to dig into past decades for deep cuts. Song recommendations are pretty much the whole reason I check out the various singing competition shows' YouTube channels. Those artists on those shows, sometimes they are able to make interesting choices for songs to perform. That's how music stays alive, through the love others have for it, whether they cover it or they share it like I do.

Happy One Year Anniversary To My Blog!

Friday, January 17, 2020
It's been a year since I started doing this. Honestly, I thought I'd do two or three posts and then move on to something else. But I stuck with it.

I started this as a sort of therapy. I'm not the best at sharing my feelings or views on any most things. I was know as the shy person all my life. In eighth grade, my Language Arts teacher decided to give superlatives to every one of her students as a way to say goodbye. They were all very specific to the person and I was given "she doesn't speak much, but when she does it's important".

I figured since I didn't talk, I would write.

I picked Blogger because it was free, and I didn't think anything would come of it and wouldn't need anything fancy like WordPress of Squarespace. But, then I was starting to get frustrated with the limitations of Blogger's own templates. So I started looking around at the premium templates and found one that I loved and, more importantly, not forty bucks. I found one for nine dollars and I am totally with that decision. My blog finally looks the way I imagined by blog would look.

Here's to another year!

The Circle Demonstrates the Beginnings of an Influencer

Wednesday, January 15, 2020
The Circle on Netflix is the US version of the hit UK reality competition show where the contestants only talk to each other through a social media platform called The Circle, and a popularity contest ensues to decide the winner.

This show depicts the beginnings of an influencer, and how they get others to follow them. Becoming an influencer just means that you’re a popular person. That’s it. It’s pretty much the modern day equivalent of a socialite. And it’s fascinating watching it happen because I have never followed someone who later became an influencer, I’d only seen them after they had reached that “status”. And it happens scarily fast that people trust you when you give your opinion on someone or something, especially because the whole conceit of the show is that you don’t really know who’s the real person behind the profile.

On this show, you can catfish. You don't have to play as yourself. If you catfish, you could be someone who just hides one part of their lives from the other players that they usually get judged for, consciously or unconsciously, on social media in real life. One contestant on the first UK series, who was a 20-something young woman, decided to be a 65-year old man. She was eliminated rather quickly after her entrance because beyond what could be found on a profile, she didn't have enough details to make it believable. The final catfish is between those two situations. You create a new person, usually a guy pretending to be a girl using their girlfriend's photos with permission, and try to accurately portray a young woman. The Circle UK's most successful catfish, Alex pretending to be Kate, won the show.

People ask you to trust them, and alliances form, in order to game the amount of good ratings you can get and get a better average or ranking. But, do you really know them?

Do you really know what they like, what they believe? Take the lessons you learn from The Circle, and apply it to social media in the real world.

So, No Female Directors Were Oscar Worthy This Year? I Beg to Differ.

Monday, January 13, 2020
Greta Gerwig. Lulu Wang. Lorene Scafaria. All three of them should've been nominated for Best Director. How were they not nominated? Honestly, I'm too mad to articulate my thoughts.

1917 is a gimmick film. Everything I read about Joker is that is was very surface level, and pretty much aped a lot from other movies. I know Hustlers had more of an uphill battle when it came to awards recognition, but Gerwig and Wang couldn't fill those spots?


Also, how was The Farewell not nominated for Best Picture, Lulu Wang not nominated for Original Screenplay for The Farewell. Jennifer Lopez wasn't nominated for Supporting Actress for Hustlers, and Awkwafina not nominated for Leading Actress for The Farewell? I knew the nominations were gonna make me mad, but I didn't know it would be this bad.

I think for 2020, we need to be proactive in supporting female filmmakers, so we don't start being loud about our feelings when awards voting starts. I wrote a community post on Buzzfeed about films by female filmmakers, writers and directors, to look forward to this year. It is by no means comprehensive, because every film being released this year hasn't been announced and the festival circuit hasn't started yet, but it's some to mark down in your calendars.

I Finally Saw The Rise of Skywalker and I Have So Many Thoughts

Thursday, January 9, 2020
So I finally managed to go see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and the whole time I was watching it, I was thinking of what I would've done differently. So here it is, and it is long.

Bookshelf: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
This was the fist Agatha Christie, and the first murder mystery, I've ever read. That's an odd thing for me, because I love the genre. I happened to have a coupon, so I bought one of those fancy Barnes & Noble collectible editions. It also has Crooked House and Endless Night, so I’ll probably end up reading those two at some point.

I loved how integral the poem was to the story, because it’s featured right before the book starts because that’s where the inspiration for the title came from. But no, that’s how each person is killed. Follows it exactly. It was really interesting to see which characters would be one of the last to go. There wasn’t a situation where I couldn’t believe the decisions the characters were making, nothing that could be made fun of for being stupid in a parody mystery movie.

The killer was definitely not who I was expecting it to be. The character I thought was the killer was going to be Philip Lombard, the ultimate self-centered asshole. He was one of the final two characters, and he revealed himself to be the killer to Vera Claythorne, but he was lying just to keep himself alive and desperate to make it off Soldier Island. While he was serving in a war, he let men die and was pretty callous when talking about it.

The character I was rooting for most was Vera. She was clued into the puzzle from the beginning, and was the first person to put together that that is the way people were dying. I know that all of the characters are in this situation because they are responsible for someone else's death, with Vera being responsible for not stopping a boy in her charge from swimming in rough waters and being slow to save him in order for her lover to be in line for an inheritance, with the lover later leaving her because of it. She shows the most guilt for her actions, and by most, I mean only. So, while I was thrilled that she was the last survivor, I was a bit sad that she wasn't able to escape the island and succumbed to the killer's plan in a state of shock that accompanied her guilt.

Once I finished the book, I decided to look up if there were any film or tv adaptations I could watch, and I learned that in some, the ending was changed so that Vera and Philip survive. And since there was a successful Christie adaptation in 2017 with Kenneth Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express, and Death on the Nile coming in the fall, I would hope that other novels that don't feature Hercule Poirot to be made. I think And Then There Were None would be on the top of the pile, and maybe Vera could be the lone survivor and circumvent the fate of the 10 Little Soldiers poem that doomed her.

My Dream 2020 Golden Globes Ballot

Sunday, January 5, 2020
The 2020 Golden Globes are here, and I don't care about the majority of the film awards. None of the magnificent films directed by female directors were worthy of being nominated for best film, or the directors to be nominated for their work? Only two films directed by women were nominated in one of the best film categories, and they were both in the Foreign Language film category, which is also overlooked for the major best film categories. So, instead of a traditional ballot, I'm gonna do one in my ideal world.

Also, I don't know why the Golden Globes have any credibility, when the voting body is comprised of about 90 people, and they only care about which famous people will show up to get drunk so they can get good ratings for the telecast.

Movies I'm Looking Forward To In 2020

Friday, January 3, 2020
I love looking at the upcoming movie calendar so I can know what movies I really want to see so I can be strategic about spending points to help out with tickets and snacks. Obviously, most of these are big movies that have release dates announced at least a year in advance, so any smaller movies I will probably want to see later on in the year, I don't know anything about them yet.

I have been on the lookout for movies by female directors, and going by what's been announced so far, this is gonna be a good year.

Earworm: "Start Again" by Gabrielle Aplin

Wednesday, January 1, 2020
This song is softly hopeful about the future, and beginning a new chapter, a fresh start in your life. This is the mood I want to take with me into the next phase of my life.

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