Friday, February 03, 2023

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

That 90s Show:
This sequel series to the original (which went on for way too many seasons) hits the sweet spot between nostalgia and being able to stand on its own. Occasional cameos are nice, but the new characters are pleasant enough too. It's nice that this show is exactly what you'd expect -- no unnecessary modernization or obligatory edginess.

Final Grade: B

The Sandman, Season One:
I'm not familiar with the comics or graphic novels so I went into this show blind and was very impressed. The show balances a lot of different tones successfully and is very visually creative. Some episodes are more traditionally plot-based while others feel like standalone anthology fables, but the disparate threads ultimately wrap up in a satisfying conclusion. There's also a bonus episode that's not part of the main storyline which I will review separately in a feeble attempt to stretch my website content to its absolute limit. On Netflix.

Final Grade: A

Everybody Hates Chris, Season Two:
We petered out on this season and never finished it -- it ultimately fell into the old sitcom trap of treading water with no real reason to stay engaged. On Hulu.

Final Grade: B-

Turning Red (PG):
This Pixar movie about a teen girl who turns into a red panda when she can't control her emotions is so ridiculous and unexpected that it ends up being surprisingly good. All of the swirling controversies when it was first released feel utterly contrived -- this is just a fun movie that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's definitely a movie targeted for the pre-teen audience, not younger kids. On Disney Plus.

Final Grade: B+

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day in history

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Musical Throwback: A Virginia State Song

16 years ago today, I released my submission for the Virginia State Song competition.

  • Listen to Hail Virginia (590KB MP3)
  • Listen to the marching band arrangement (560KB MP3)

I think it stands the test of time quite well, especially given the fact that it took another 8 years for an actual song to get selected!

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day in history

Monday, January 30, 2023

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2023 album.

  • Events
    • Spent New Years Day with the Taylorstown side of the family (including Abby, up from Florida), on S 1/1.

    • Went to the optometrist on H 1/5 to confirm that my prescription had finally changed after 10 years of stability.

    • Family dinner at Miller's on S 1/7.

    • Rode the Silver Line out to Ashburn with Maia and Ian on H 1/12.

    • Family dinner at Fire Works Pizza on S 1/14.

    • The Edwardses visited from Richmond on S 1/15.

    • HOA Meeting on W 1/18.

    • Spent the afternoon with the Smiths on S 1/21.

    • Attended the memorial service for Chris Bailey on S 1/22.

    • Family dinner at Chuy's on F 1/27, where we bumped into Tammy and family.

    • Rebecca and kids went to an event at the Riverside Church on S 1/28.

    • Dinner with my parents on S 1/29.

  • Projects
    • Reactivated our Netflix account on M 1/2 after 5 months off for being too expensive without enough worth watching.

    • Started learning Kotlin in earnest.

    • Provided proofreading services for the final volume of The Wars of Light and Shadow by Janny Wurts.

  • Consumerism
    • Enjoyed watching The Sandman this month.

    • No amazing new music or books.

    • Still playing Overwatch 2.

January's Final Grade: B, Cold and damp with a few too many kid colds, but otherwise productive and pleasant

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day in history

Friday, January 27, 2023

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

1899, Season One:
I really liked Dark but this follow-up show is a miss. It starts out intriguingly like a multi-language LOST but then sputters through endless reaction shots with few reveals. The plot is glacial, the puzzling nature of things is too cerebral, and every character is a cipher with no reason to care about them. I'm not surprised it was cancelled after this season. On Netflix.

Final Grade: C-

Best of Standup 2022:
Rebecca and I like to use these pu pu platters of comedy to find full-length specials to watch. Apparently the best of stand-up in 2022 was pretty awful. The only good jokes were from specials we'd already seen, like Ali Wong and Ronnie Chieng. All of the lesser-known comics fell flat. On Netflix.

Final Grade: D

Knives Out: Glass Onion:
The original Knives Out was a pleasant whodunit elevated with a great performance from Daniel Craig. This tangentially-related sequel is even better. The characters are fun and the build-up to the final reveals work well. I also appreciated that there was a "bigger purpose" at the end -- the point of the movie wasn't just to reveal the murderer. On Netflix.

Final Grade: A

Willow, Season One:
This series captures the cheesy, campy 80s style of the original movie very well but sometimes feels a little off. The middle parts drag (Episode 4 is awful and other episodes feel like they left out key bits of exposition that would make the plot make more sense) but the last few episodes are worthwhile. Treat it like a CW-inspired road trip through the Willow universe and you might be pleasantly surprised. Also, I could never get over the fact that one of the main characters looked and acted like a budget version of Lin Manuel Miranda.

Final Grade: B-

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day in history

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Anniversary Day

Happy 10th anniversary to Evil Mike and Taje!

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day in history

 

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