Easily Influenced

Something I recently learned is that I’m very easily influenced into buying, trying and watching new things. I would have a horrible time if I ever got sucked into that Scientology building on US 1 (or any Scientology building for that matter). Cults would love me and my easily moldable brain.

Anytime I listen to a podcast with a guest promoting their latest work (movies, tv, books) I come away thinking I gotta check that out. I bought John Cleese’s and Seth Rogen’s newest books after hearing them on Conan’s podcast (both books were great). I wanted to watch all of John Leguizamo’s latest movies and his one man show after he was on the ID10T podcast.

The strangest one was not too long ago when Justin Roiland (co-creator of Rick & Morty) was on the Kinda Funny podcast. He talked about being a fidgety person, but he never wanted a fidget spinner because those are stupid. He got into Rubik’s Cubes instead — and not the ones we all had as kids. Justin became obsessed with the GAN speed cubes. Those are the ones the little genius kids use in those Rubik’s Cube solving speed competitions.

I now have three different types of GAN speed Rubik’s Cubes in my Amazon cart. I don’t think I’ll end up buying any of them but they are there — waiting. I also spent some time learning some info about them and watching speed cube videos on YouTube. There’s even a Speed Cubers documentary on Netflix (it’s now on “My List”).

I attribute these problems of mine to being a generally curious person. Anytime I hear about a new documentary, movie, album, video game or pretty much any piece of entertainment I go to the internet to learn more. Whenever I’m watching anything and see or hear a familiar face or voice, I must go to IMDB.com to find out who this person is and what else they’re in.

Recently I wrote a post for my other blog/site (myVGBC.com) where the same sort of thing happens with me in movies and games anytime a new entry into an existing series is released. For instance, the new Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is coming out in less than a month, and that made me start to replay Ratchet & Clank (2016) once again, even though I first played it just last year.

Anytime a new Marvel movie is announced I have to watch the movies that came before (or at least the ones that deal with those characters). If it’s a new hero, then I’ll just watch a random Marvel movie to raise my hype levels.

Maybe I’m just like a little kid. Whenever my nephew sees a commercial for a toy, no matter how stupid it is. He says, “Nono, I want that.” And I just say, “Ok, do you have any money?” And by that time another commercial has finished and he says, “Nono, I want THAT.”

Bingeing vs Weekly Release

Remember when Netflix first started out and was basically just Blockbuster* sent to your house? Then Blockbuster created their own video mailing service, with the option to return movies to your local store so they could send you the next one even faster than Netflix. It sounded like a great idea, but where is Blockbuster today? They gone…

When Netflix first began creating original content they decided that the best way to release its newest series was to dump full seasons on us. At first it was a neat idea. There weren’t so many new shows, so you could watch them at your own pace.

Today, Netflix has multiple new shows, movies and documentaries dropping each and every week. It’s too much! Their formula is to let everyone make anything they want (which is good for creators). However, it can become a problem for consumers because there’s so many things to watch. Also, when you are making that much new content it can’t all be good, and most of it is not.

For every great Netflix show (Stranger Things, Ozark, Bojack Horseman) they also give us 100s of not so great shows (The Ranch, Marco Polo, Iron Fist). They also have given cancelled network/cable shows a new life, but they’re also hit or miss.

The Netflix formula of releasing shows all at once is way too overwhelming for me. I prefer to get one episode at a time — one a week. That’s the way it’s always been. I don’t mind waiting a week to let my mind process what I’ve seen. In fact, I prefer it. If I watch a season of a show too quick it just becomes one big ball mush in my brain.

I don’t think I would have enjoyed The Mandalorian Season 1 and 2 (on Disney+) as much as I did if I watched it all in a week or a day. I also enjoyed staying up late on a Thursday to check if it was out yet, and it wasn’t. For season 1, I woke up early for work most of those Fridays and watched the episode in bed before getting up and starting my day.

I’m also excited for WandaVision to be released weekly on Disney+. The first two episodes were released at once, and it was exciting to get one hour of this new strange show. It also gave me time to rewatch it and research what people thought was going on. When a show is released over time it also gives your brain time to come up with theories about what’s happening and where the show is headed.

I don’t really mind bingeing Reality TV shows. Just let me get it in and out of my system. It’s sort of like a mindless detox from good TV shows that is sometimes needed. It’s good for a day when you may be too tired or hungover and your brain can’t handle any story or plot. Instead you find yourself judging trashy people on some dating battle royale show, like Love Island.

Back in college, I recorded my weekly shows on VHS tapes with my VCR. Back then you had to watch it live, record it or miss it forever. Later on, I moved to DVR. Back then if an episode of a show was accidentally deleted it was time to let the entire show go, at least until there was another way to watch it. When OnDemand came along, you got a second chance to catch something you may have missed.

I do love that I can watch my shows any time and anywhere today. Yes, there may be way too many places to watch things and too many things to watch in each place. So much time is now spent figuring out what to watch vs actually watching shows. I’ve searched for something new or something I’ve wanted to watch, but by the time I find it it’s too late, so instead I watch an old favorite. I can binge a show I don’t really care about, but if it’s something I’m really into I enjoy watching it slowly with no distractions.

__

*For the young people, Blockbuster was one of many video rental stores (see also Hollywood Video). Instead of renting movies straight from your TV provider, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon or any other digital service, people used to go down to a Blockbuster and hope that they had whatever movie they wanted to rent in stock. If they didn’t you would walk around the store and look for something they did have. It was sort of like scrolling through streaming services looking for something to watch, but in real life.

FREE Taco Bell (& Fast Food Etiquette)

taco bellFL title

Last week, I learned the best place to eat drive-thru fast food late at night… the parking lot of the fast food restaurant you just visited.

What happens almost every time you go to a drive-thru late at night? There’s always something missing, because the late night workers don’t really care, because they know that you don’t care. You’re just trying to pick up some quick food to take home and eat while watch your Netflix show before passing out for the night.

Last week, I went to Taco Bell (with a friend, who will remain nameless, as requested). We ordered a bunch of stuff, because that’s what you do at Taco Bell. Also, that menu is so overwhelmingly gigantic (It’s like they add new items each week just to confuse us. Most items on the Taco Bell menu are made up words, and you don’t want to ask too many questions and look like a dummy. So, instead you just order everything). I try to keep it to
3-5 items when I do drive-thru by myself, because if I don’t give myself limits I will just keep ordering more and more stuff until there is nothing left to order.

What happened this past visit was we ordered our tacos, burritos and other stuff too, but we also wanted something sweet, so we ordered some Cinna Twists. As you know, Taco Bell is best when eaten fresh* (The word “fresh” doesn’t really mean anything in food lingo anymore. Fast Food companies have been using “fresh” to describe ingredients that are not “fresh” in any way. By “fresh” I mean eaten right away, because if you wait too long Taco Bell food transforms into something completely different).

*Remember back when Taco Bell had that problematic Mexican Chihuahua dog as their mascot? That was a fun time…

So, there we were in the car making our way through our bag of “fresh” goodness, and all of a sudden we finally reached the bottom and realized that there were no Cinna Twists. Lucky for us, we were eating our Taco Bell in the parking lot of Taco Bell, so we just hopped back in line to get our Cinna Twists. (Usually when you realize something is missing in your order you are already home with no pants and your shoes off. There’s no way you’re going back to Taco Bell once you’ve arrived in the NO PANTS ZONE, which is most likely on a couch in front of the TV).

Because we had the patience (and bravery) to get back in that long line of hungry hippos, we were rewarded greatly. When asked what we wanted, we told the lady that we didn’t receive our Cinna Twists, she just said, “Drive around,” which I thought was code for, “I don’t believe you,” or “I don’t know what you’re saying.”

When we arrived at the pick up window, the lady was smiling and she handed us a big Taco Bell bag, the kind that holds a whole family meal, and inside were about five to six orders of Cinna Twists. We said thank you and left before she could take it back from us.

What this whole experience taught me is that if you are brave enough to go through a drive-thru line twice, and say you’re missing something, you can probably get anything you want for FREE. The lady never checked our receipt or order, she just believed us (it was the truth, but I’m sure people lie all the time about not getting stuff). I’m sure you can even drive-thru on your first try and say that you didn’t get your Quesarito and be handed a bag full of Quesaritos. These drive-thru people get a whole butt-load of customers each and every night, and they can’t remember all of us.

I don’t think I will start stealing from fast food drive-thrus late at night, but now I know that if they ever mess up my order, I could just go back and tell them something is missing. Or, even better yet, I can check my bag when they hand it to me, even though it’s going the hold up the line for a few extra seconds. That’s probably what a normal person would do.

I GOT A MOVIE PASS!

MPFL title

A few weeks ago, I signed up for Movie Pass!

I love movies and I love going to the movies. What I don’t love is paying $15-20 to watch a movie in the theater. Gone are the days when I would go to a morning matinee for $4 and sneak into a second movie afterwards, bringing the total cost for each movie down to just $2.

With this movie ticket price surge I have become way more selective on which movies I “need” to watch in theaters. If I’m not 100% interested in seeing a movie (meaning it’s not a Star War, Pixar or a Marvel movie aka anything owned by Disney) then I can probably just wait until it’s on HBO. Blu-Rays now cost the price of one movie ticket. And, after buying a Blu-Ray I own that movie, plus special features and maybe even a digital copy, for life. This is why I decided to check out and ultimately sign up for Movie Pass.

After signing up I was instantly eligible to see one movie every day, but only at Merrick Park (until I received my Movie Pass card in the mail). I don’t understand how these people make any money. They charge only $9.99 a month, that’s less than the price of one movie ticket. If I see just one movie each month, which I plan to see way more than that, I’m already beating the system with my Movie Pass.

The only problem is that I can’t go to the Cinepolis in Coconut Grove, which happens the be the movie theater with the best popcorn in all of Miami. I guess I will have to sacrifice the “best” popcorn for “pretty good” popcorn just to save tons of money on movie tickets each year (and I’m fine with that). AMC Sunset Place now has cheesy and caramel-y popcorn. I can give those a shot (put them together and you got some Chicago-style popcorn. Chicago has to reinvent everything!).

Signing up for Movie Pass means that I have to get rid of one of my other monthly subscriptions. And that’s why, it’s time to get rid of HULU. I’ve already achieved my goal with HULU which was to watch Life in Pieces (Season 2), plus I finished Atlanta (Season 1) and Last Man on Earth (the entire series). It’s time to move on.

I’m fine with just Netflix, I don’t need both. Sorry HULU, but Movie Pass is way more worth it, plus I was paying for commercial-free HULU and that’s about $3 more than a Movie Pass. The only thing that HULU has over Movie Pass is that I don’t have to leave my house to use it.

MP Update: Movie Pass sent out an email last weekend stating that they were adding a few features, one being Peak Pricing. Starting soon, if I want to see a movie on opening weekend I may have to pay an extra fee. Movie Pass is becoming the new Netflix, changing their pricing and rules on us. Sure, we’ll get mad about these new features, but then we’ll realize it’s still better than our other option (which is not having it) and we’ll just pay for it anyways (as we do with Netflix).

One problem I have with Movie Pass is that they say you can “Watch one movie each day, as long as you’re subscribed to Movie Pass.” This is a lie, since multiple viewings of the same movie are not allowed. I’m pretty sure that 30-31 movies don’t come out each month.

Sure, at first you may be able to watch a movie each day for about a week or two, but once you make it through all the current selections, you’ll have to wait until each Friday to see what else comes out. Then you’ll only get about 3 or 4 more days of movie-watching each week.

Unless you have an indie theater that plays a different movie each day, you won’t really be able to watch a movie every day. And, if I lived closer to Sunset Place, I would actually test this theory. But I don’t have the time or will to test it out right now, so I’m fine with it. I’m just saying, “Don’t lie to me Movie Pass!”

So, since I don’t have the time to go to one movie each and every day for the rest of my life, I think Movie Pass is a fine investment. I will continue to subscribe, until they either go out of business, ask for too much money or start taking stuff away from me. Then I will go back to watching only Disney-owned movies in theaters, and maybe joining HULU again.

Thanks Movie Pass!

 

If you or someone you know has a Movie Pass and would like to be one of my Movie Pass buddies, please comment below.

What the Health?

WTH_NetflixFL title

A few weeks ago, I watched the documentary What the Health on Netflix. I really only watched about 20 minutes of it, but that’s all I needed to form an opinion and write about it here. This documentary was created to inform us that everything we are currently eating is cancer, unless you are a full-Vegan (or plant-based vegan).

What I learned from watching about 20 minutes of this doc is that there are two types of people in this world, (1) those who get cancer, and (2) those who die before they realize they’ve got cancer.

According to the doc the animals we eat are filled with tons of carcinogens inside of their bodies, which is why every week on Facebook there’s a new article posted by some dum dum, that says “[This type of meat] gives you cancer!”

I gave the Plant-based, full-Vegan diet a thought, but then realized that I can’t take meat, fish, dairy and all of the other delicious things out of my life. I love pizza, tacos and Pretzel M&M’s! They did mention in the doc that human’s are the only animals that drink other animal’s milk, which when you say it like that it does sound kind of weird. We drink everyone’s milk: cow’s milk, goat’s milk, almond’s milk, coconut’s milk, soy’s milk and so many others. Most of these don’t even sound like actual milk.

What the Health also mentioned that the Health industry is trying to kill us. They feed us all of the unhealthy food to get us sick and treat us with their expensive drugs. This part I do believe. The drug cartels invented the food pyramid to get us sick and cure our diseases with their expensive drugs!

The health industry is kind of like that book or movie where the mom is feeding all the kids just a little bit of poison, so she can take care of them while their sick, because it makes her feel better. I think that’s a book or movie I’ve seen. If anyone knows the name please let me know in the comments. Maybe it was an episode of Dexter, or just part of the plot of Crimson Peak?

The reasoning behind all the animals having cancer in their bodies is because the animals are breathing in smoke and pollution from nearby factories. Guess what, What The Health, we are breathing in that same air, so we already have the cancer inside of us. If that’s the case, I’m going to continue eating my normal diet, but I may add some Plant-based meals here and there. And if I do it’s because I want to, and not because you told me to!

I don’t think I will ever finish watching the rest of the documentary because I already got what I needed out of it (this 500 word Learning). So thank you, What the Health. Now it’s time to go back to Life in Pieces and GLOW on Netflix.

 

*If you have any Netflix recommendations please comment below, that or if you know the movie or book I was talking about. Was it Misery?

**One more thing, I was going to talk about Joaquin Phoenix and his last documentary (or Mock-umentary, I’m Still Here), where he tricked us all in to believing that he had gone off the rails. Also, I am no scientist, doctor or food specialist, this is all based on my opinions after watching just 20 minutes of this documentary.

Culinary Critics

ego

FL title

There are some rumors going around insinuating that chefs are crazy. If you watch Kitchen Nightmares or Hell’s Kitchen or any Gordon Ramsay show, you may agree (I do not watch those shows, so I hope he’s on at least one of them). You might believe in a world where all chefs have exploding personalities and you should just leave them alone. I don’t think this is true and I’ll tell you why.

Last week, I began watching Chef’s Table on Netflix and I’m now on the 6th or 7th episode. If you aren’t watching this show yet, you need to start now. Take a break from OITNB and watch some Chef’s Table, then get back to OITNB if you really need to. I like that each episode of Chef’s Table keeps you jumping around the world following one master chef at a time (not to be confused with the Master Chief). Also, each episode is completely different from the last because each chef has a different story, personality and culinary style.

If you want to know who the real crazies are, it’s definitely not the chefs. Of the 6 or 7 chefs I’ve seen so far, only one was a little crazy. He wasn’t exactly crazy though, he was just an Argentinian hippie. Another one was a bit angry, but he did say he needed to work on that. So, at least he acknowledged his faults.

The real crazy people are the food critics who make a living talking about these chefs. Who are these hipster food scientists, dissecting each meal to write a column about it? And what gives them the authority to say what food is better than the rest?

I’m asking because I would like to have this job. Just eat food and talk about it, all day. I’d also get to create my own strange wardrobe by taking stuff from Urban Outfitters and thrift stores into a secret lair, then sewing them together and create a hybrid clothing line specifically for myself. According to the food critics I’ve seen so far, If you’re all about writing about food, you also have to be all about fashion, but not other people’s fashion. You must create your own weird costumes, that only you can pull off.

Maybe the food critics create these outrageous outfits in order to stand out when they come into restaurants. They want the chef to know who they are. I’m a critic, give me the good food! These aren’t this new breed of yelp reviewers, Chef’s Table doesn’t believe in yelp (and neither do I!). These critics probably attended culinary school, but not to learn how to make wild dishes. They wanted to be able to write about other people’s wild dishes.

Of all the food critics I’ve seen in 6 or 7 episodes, I think only one of them looked like an everyday human. The rest look like they belong at Mos Eisley’s Cantina. They aren’t weird-shaped or goofy-faced, it’s mostly just their clothes that makes them seem different. “And people always scared of what’s different,” someone said that in Remember the Titans (and probably some other movies too).

Since I’ve only seen 6 or 7 episodes, that’s all I’ve learned so far. Also, just from watching Chef’s Table my culinary skills may be improving. Last week I bought some sashimi tuna at the Fresh Market and I made a super gourmet, culinary chef experience out of it. I even had a beautiful presentation worthy of a Kaiseki dining experience. (Episode 4: Niki Nakayama – n/naka)
Watch Chef’s Table and learn some stuff…

TOO MANY TV SHOWS!

FL title

This week I came to a very important realization:

There are way too many TV shows and movies and I’ll never have enough time to watch all the good ones.

With all of these internet streaming services creating their own content, plus all the regular and premium channels — how are we supposed to watch all the good shows? You just can’t. There was a time — just a few months ago — where I would record and watch every episode of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. It started back with Late Night (way before I was a guest on the show). At some point I was watching every Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and every Conan. Sorry Coco, but I had to drop you a while back (I watch Conan clips on YouTube from time to time, like anytime there’s a Clueless Gamer. YouTube even has it’s own original movies and series now!). Now my DVR is filling up and I had to start screening guests on The Tonight Show. I even speed watch just to see the interviews. I skip monologues, pros and cons, even thank you notes.

I have a full season of Agents of Shield, the current season of Always Sunny and way more shows piling up on my DVR. Why is this happening? Every night I get in my bed and use my AppleTV instead to watch Netflix shows, Comedy Central Specials and everything else on there. And it’s not just the new original Netflix shows. As you already know (if you read my learning two weeks ago), I went back and started Friends (I finished season 1 last week. Only 216 episodes left). I started The X-Files, but have only seen about three or four episodes (22 minutes of Friends is way easier than 45 minutes of The X-Files).

Netflix has also brought back some of my favorites. They brought back Arrested Development, Wet Hot American Summer (as a series) and now Full(er) House! Netflix knows what they’re doing. Hulu tried to bring back The Mindy Project, but I’m not going to pay for Hulu just to see Mindy Lahiri and Doctor Castellano together (I don’t like them together, maybe because they were too mean to each other before. I don’t know what it is, but it makes me sick). I do miss Morgan and Dr. Peter though, and the British dude.

NBC even started a new streaming service, SeeSo, which has a lot of shows I want to watch but I don’t want to pay for. If I have cable why do I have to pay for more content from NBC? What the shit, Jack Donaghy, just let me watch what I want to watch.

I wish Netflix would bring back Pete and Pete. I never really understood that show, but I did love it. I’m sure if I saw it now I would either think it was great for reasons I was too young to understand back then, or I would think What the hell was wrong with me and everybody else who loved this show? (I still kind of want a Petunia tattoo though. How many Petunia tattoos do you think are out there?).

The best way to get a bit of all the good shows is to watch as many as you can and talk to friends about your shows and their shows. Of course, this is what always happens when comparing shows with friends:

FRIEND A
I’m watching Breaking Bad. You gotta watch it!

FRIEND B
No man, Walking Dead is where it’s at.

FRIEND A
Dude, Walter White is a G! He invented Blue Meth.

FRIEND B
Please, Rick Grimes is a supercop, who kills zombies and calls his son Coral.

FRIEND A
Sounds stupid.

FRIEND B
Walter White sounds like a tool.

 

Instead of fighting about which show is better, we can exchange summaries with each other and it’s like watching all the shows.

The secret to true happiness is just to tell yourself this one thing:
I will never watch every TV show, and I’m OK with that.

FRIENDS! My new favorite show…

28c79aac89f44f2dcf865ab8c03a4201.png

FL title

Last week I started watching NBC’s “the Friends” on Netflix. I’m now halfway through season one. I’ve seen many episodes of  “the Friends,” in my lifetime, but I have never seen them all in order. I know about a few things that happened on the show, but I have no idea when or what order they happened in (I have no “Friends” timeline).

One thing I learned after just a few episodes is that Ross is always a sad baby. Ross has never been happy for an entire episode [FACT!]. During the third episode I was excited for Ross, he hadn’t whined, complained or been a bummer yet, until he figured out that his childhood dog did not go live on a farm, but instead had died and it was all a big lie. Ross is sad. The end! (It’s not a spoiler if it happened over 10 years ago).

Someone told me, “he’s sad cause he just got a divorce,” but he should be happy. Being divorced is way better than being married to a lesbian – unless you’re also a lesbian, then being married to a lesbian would be awesome for you. However, Ross is not a lesbian, so why would he want to be married to one? Don’t worry Ross, I’m sure you’ll find someone else (I wonder who that could be?).

Phoebe has always been my favorite, and she will continue to be my favorite of the friends. She is silly, and I love it when she says “Oh!” when she finally gets something. I love her songs. Before I only knew about the song “Smelly Cat,” but already in half-a-season I’ve learned so many new songs. I do still love Joey, Chandler, Rachel, Monica and I guess Ross. This show is also filled with great 90’s cameos, including D.A.G. (David Allan Grier), Helen Hunt and Phoebe’s crappy sister Ursula.

Even the theme song from “Friends” is all about my life. (1) I don’t know what I’m doing. (2) I’m broke and my love life’s D.O.A. (3) I do have great friends who love me and are always there for me. The Rembrandts really know their stuff. I loved the “Friends” song so much when I was a kid I even had the Rembrandts tape (I’ll Be There For You was the only good song).

This show is great and I recommend it to anyone who has never watched it (or has only watched a bunch of random episodes like me). It’s full of jokes, and jokes that still hold up. Well, I gotta go. It’s time for bed, but I’m sure I can squeeze in one more episode before I go to sleep, maybe two.

Watch Friends you dummies, it’s on the Netflix! Everyone has Netflix. Stop wasting your time with this “Making a Murderer” crap, watch something happy. 

 

Paralympic Games

 

 

 

 

ImageImage

This weekend I learned about the Paralympic games, which take place in Sochi some time after the Olympic games (I haven’t really done any research, so this may not be true). Saturday night I got home at 3:30 in the morning (it would have been 2:30 if it wasn’t for the time change. The time changed while I was driving in my car, so I literally traveled through time! I think that’s how it works, right?).

When I got home I turned on my TV searching for something to watch before bed time. I had left my TV on NBC Sports from watching Chelsea that afternoon (Chelsea #1, Suck it Arsenal!). What I found when I turned on my TV was Paralympic Hockey, which is so much better than regular hockey, and here are some reasons why:

1 Everyone is on a sled, even the goalie!

2 Each player gets not one, but two mini hockey sticks (they also use these to propel themselves around the ice).

3 I didn’t see any fights, but I’m sure a sled fight would be way cooler than a regular hockey standing fight.

4 I saw one dude fall off his sled, and roll over back on to his sled in seconds (and he only had one leg).

If this Hockey is played somewhere near me I would definitely go check it out (maybe even end up with season tickets and a new favorite sports team). I only watched for a few minutes, then I switched to something on Netflix (It always takes about 20 minutes to find the right thing to watch on Netflix, and the next morning I can never remember what I fell asleep watching).

I woke up the next morning with a bunch of questions. Was that a dream, or did I really see Paralympic Hockey last night? If the USA played ITALY last night, then both these countries should have an underground Paralympic Hockey league (where else would they find all these athletes?). What other sports take place in the Paralympics? If I lost a leg would I become a Paralympic athlete? Which sport would I choose? What the hell was I watching on the Netflix last night?

I still don’t know the answers to many of these questions, but I do know that if I happen to catch some more Paralympic events on TV this week, I will be watching and cheering for the USA!