Tag Archives: netflix

2015 is here! Hold up, I need to pay my rent…

Lately I’ve found in me a new determination that I can reach my goals and more importantly change myself. I think it probably has come from being sick and having to do drastic life changes with my back up against the wall. Once you do what others can’t and find success strung together you start to see obstacles being overcome as just a matter of time. I know I can learn to do things differently because I have. Now I just have the pleasure of deciding what to do and seeing it done. That’s how I’m going to look at this year.

Lucy and Sophie

Christmas went well this year. I think my sister and I were determined to have a proper one and did all of the steps deliberately. Including going to A Christmas Carol: A Rockin’ New Musical live downtown. This was the first Christmas with two dogs in the family. Lucy is my sister’s dog and Sophie is of course my parents’. Lucy is the new one. The beagle. But she is older than Sophie. I got them both presents this year and they liked them in their doggie fashion. Eat, destroy, repeat. (insert “look at their widdle faces” comment here)

Animal minds are simple, and therefore sharp. Animals never spend time dividing experience into little bits and speculating about all the bits they’ve missed. The whole panoply of the universe has been neatly expressed to them as things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks. This frees the mind from unnecessary thoughts and gives it a cutting edge where it matters. Your normal animal, in fact, never tries to walk and chew gum at the same time. – Terry Pratchett

Austin Sign I spotted this new sign along the construction area near the trail by where I work. Nice bat sign. While on this walk I worked my way down Cesar Chavez and was walking about five paces behind a couple of middle aged hotel workers who were headed home. One guy looked back to see who was behind him and he saw my Seattle Seahawks shirt I wear every day after a win. We started to chat about football and the Seahawks. He was a 49ers fan, but in Austin we are all immigrants and used to fragmentation of the fandom. People get along about sports I find. It was one of my better conversations. We all talked for a good fifteen minutes until our paths separated again. Between work and my limited social life due to the inconveniences of how I’m sick I don’t actually get to talk to the Everyman in Austin much but every time I do it’s a lot of fun.
The Psychopath Test A slice of America (the world really) got addicted to the podcast Serial this Fall. I listen to podcasts every day at work be it sports, news, science, or fun stuff like How Things Work, This American Life, America’s Test Kitchen, and Things You Missed in History Class. So when This American Life ran the first episode of Serial of course I was hooked and subscribed to it as well. The format of This American Life spread between 12 parts was perfect. I don’t have a lot of thoughts on the case itself besides a general certainty that “Jay lies” and a hope that the Innocence Project and DNA testing sheds some light on it all. The issues surrounding an appeal needs a home run like that to even get off the ground so it is hard for me to consider the “he said she said” of circumstantial evidence too much as that has no effect on anything legally. So that is that. Science or bust. 2014 was the Year of The Trunk Pop. Hopefully 2015 brings indisputable evidence.

Because of Serial I read Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test.  It was a good, short read that introduced names and history that could lead off into other rabbit trails. It also introduced paranoia and armchair diagnosis, but that’s for another time. Anyway, that’s how learning works for me as an adult. Something entertaining brings me in. I look for a general book on the subject. Then use that to find more specific topics.

I just finished Netflix’s Marco Polo for example. It was much better than the critics said. Not perfect, but interesting. Beyond the story, it included a cast of terrific Asian actors that isn’t usually assembled for a Western tv series. Much like how the cast makeup of Orange is a New Black isn’t the norm for female actresses too. Netflix makes interesting choices. And now that I’m into the subject I’m going to track down a book on Marco Polo. Who knows where that will take me.

2015 Reign Poster

I have some new projects in the works this year. New infographics I’ve been thinking about. I started my 2015 Seattle Reign poster early. (see last year’s poster) There are no new kits released yet to illustrate, but I went ahead and knocked out Keelin Winters and Kim Little as well as updated the other three a bit into a new poster.  Hopefully the roster doesn’t take an unexpected turn. When the new kits come out I’ll update the rest, maybe revisit the background depending on the kits, and release the poster. Until then here they are cheezin.

Tuesday Trio: Wintry Mix

WinteryMix

It’s that time of year when two things happened. It gets cold out (or coldish in the case of Texas) and there isn’t anything to watch on tv. The dreaded winter network television hiatus. What better way to combat the doldrums than with with cold, dreary, Scandinavian television?

Lilyhammer (Amazon/Netflix Streaming)
It’s like the Ballykissangel of mobster shows. An American gangster testifies against a Mob boss and goes into witness protection. A random memory of a winter Olympics leads him to pick Norway as his refuge. Snowy, isolated Lillehammer welcomes in a mysterious immigrant who quickly has to adapt his mob ways to Norway’s liberal culture while avoiding attracting the curiosity of the local police or the mobsters out looking for him. The show is a mix of English and Norwegian (Norweglish at times too) with subtitles scattered around. Two seasons are out on Netflix Streaming.

Forbrydelsen/The Killing: Series 1 (Amazon)
Forbrydelsen is a near claustrophobic 20 episode account of the days following the murder of a teenager, the family’s downward spiral, the maze of suspects that reaches the highest levels of Copenhagen society, and the Alice in Wonderland like hole the lead investigator falls down in her search for justice. It’s an interesting look at society, personal responsibility, and the illusive and sometimes inconvenient thing which is justice. There was an American version of this show which aired on AMC. This is the original Danish. The real gem with the award winning performance by Sofie Grabol, the cold Scandinavian scenery which becomes almost a character itself, and a runaway train pace that doesn’t end until the climax at the last episode. Yes, the original series resolves the mystery at the end of each season. None of this pace killing wait til next season to find out who the killer was garbage.

Vikings (Amazon)
Vikings has every bit as much character goodness and grittiness as Game of Thrones without the bloated mess that a book translated to television unfortunately has. Instead of having a cast of  thousands it has a small cast but very clear story goals. All I ask of my shows is that they do what they set out to do and Vikings succeeds at the scope it was targeting. It is an explorers narrative. It is a family story. Brother against brother. It’s a story about a bamf shield maiden. It’s a power struggle between houses. It manages to pull off making two religions feel like living religions. That last doesn’t always translate on tv well. I think the only other show I’ve seen do similar is HBOs Rome. The scope of the show is both micro and macro in that it revolves around one family, but the context is within the framework of viking expansion and growing influence as explorers. It also does a great job at showing early egalitarianism in Viking culture that shows the early seeds of a superior egalitarian society in the region today.