Music Monday: Ice Cream by Sarah Mclachlan

I felt whimsical over the weekend. In an ideal world, one with a shot at romance, this song would play as I meet my boyfriend. However, it’s not a perfect world and this song still, makes me hum just as happily in this one.

Music Monday: Battlin’ Jack Murdock by John Paesano

The running joke amongst my friends involved the number of times I saw The Avengers. For the record, I saw the film nine times, usually with people going to see it the first time. I went through my fourth viewing of Daredevil, both seasons, never skipping to favourite episodes. I loved the show unfolding in its first season as Matt Murdock settles into Daredevil by episode 13 while the second season sees Wilson Fisk settle into his moniker as The Kingpin.

It helps if a show featuring ninjas has a top-notch cast. Vincent D’Onofio has wowed people in such movies like Men In Black to the small screen in Law and Order: Criminal Intent. In Men In Black, he contorts his 6’3 body as a bug alien in a human suit while he voice noticeably deepens as Wilson Fisk in Daredevil.

Speaking of growly voice, Charlie Cox managed to erase all trace of the early aught’s Daredevil film. Of course, he has the advantage of multiple episodes to show a man reconciling his Catholic faith with the realities of his vigilante behaviour. The second season shows a hero wrestling with the sin of pride. He loses his relationships as he shoulders the burden of fighting evil, this time realizing it doesn’t always turn out his way. I think The Defenders will show Matt it’s time to share the crime-fighting duties and find a way to have a life. It tore my heart out to see him fight with Foggy Nelson and finally admit his true identity to Karen Page.

Oh, and for the record, I think Charlie Cox is adorable. Someone called him a ‘human teddy bear’ on Tumblr. I agree. Yup, I have a type, and he’s British. When news of his casting hit the net, people scratched their heads wondering 1) Why? And 2) Why another Brit? I give his performance as Owen Sleater in Boardwalk Empire as evidence for the defence. The story goes someone developing Daredevil watched his performance and thought they found their Matt Murdock. Look at the series and see those glimmers.

As we wait for the latest offer in Marvel’s Netflix universe, Luke Cage, here’s my favourite track from Daredevil’s first season:

The Cord Cutter’s Update

In July, I not only dropped my landline, but my cable also went bye-bye. The cost kept going up as opposed to the time spend with it. I watch television, but my cadre of programs kept getting smaller. Reactions prove interesting. The ones with a cord already cut understand. My family has a hard time with it. ‘How will you watch the news?’ they ask. I get quite a bit from Twitter, and I do read the Winnipeg Free Press online along with alternative pubs like Rabble.ca or Mother Jones or Think Progress.  Get through the gross stuff to get the gems from across the political spectrum.

‘What about your shows?’ they ask. I bought a season pass, in SD, for Halt and Catch Fire. I don’t need HD for drama, although high def Lee Pace sounds like an excellent idea. Joe and the gang don’t need extra pixels for what I see unfold. Google Play store offer shows for the same price as Apple TV. I will not buy Lucifer, but I will wait for the next season on Crave. While I scale geo blocks with my legally obtained VPN, pirating is a yo-ho-ho-no for me. I still remember how much it took it debug my laptop and the price.

I do notice some quality-of-life changes since cutting the cord. I go to bed earlier, usually with an audiobook on a sleep timer. I read more. I always read a book, but, this time, I read more books, with more focus. I spend time on my computer to write, and my show serves as a reward. It also allows me to post more on this blog. Focus came out the big winner in this round.

I get the reluctance. Ever met a person who says “I don’t watch TV” in a voice dripping with superiority? Yeah, I don’t like these people either and cutting the cord doesn’t make me better. I suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) like anyone else. It’s also a huge change as someone growing up with a television somewhere at her grandmother’s house, her parent’s house, or anyone’s house. I can change my mind and hopefully get a spanking-new PVR in the process. Let’s see what happens after a year.

 

 

Scaling Berlin Station’s Geoblock

Canadians. We are friendly, polite, willing and able to put up with winter yet possess such a roguish side with television we might as well say yo-ho-ho-eh? Canadians ranked 7th in illegal television downloads. Before the Virtual Private Network (VPN) crackdown, I knew people using services like Unblock US to see Netflix’s US content. I didn’t get around to Unblock US, and I did use Project Free TV to stream episodes of True Blood before biting the bullet and getting HBO Canada. I liked the site for its ease of use. Otherwise, I practice delay of gratification and crack jokes about Canada sharing the longest undefended border yet having the geo-fenced slammed in our collective faces.

It’s how I felt after sitting down with my veggies, hummus, Garnacha red wine to watch episode 2 of Berlin Station, Richard Armitage’s latest project, last Friday. Epix released the first two episodes for free and I watched one on Thursday. The next day, I saw the content-not-available message. I finally have a two-episode taste on Vanity Fair and then:

 

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“Oh, it’s just Canada and the rest of the world.”

The story goes Vanity Fair ran into some technical difficulty and put the videos back up, this time with geoblocking. EPIX wants to compete in already crowded US cable market, that market has more people, and I can add yadda-yadda-yadda to the rest. I went back to delaying gratification and took comfort in watching the first episode.

Saturday, I noticed the icon for my VPN appear on my tablet. My hotel during New York 1.0 had free wi-fi, but I knew enough about free wi-fi to purchase a VPN. I kept it if I went into a coffee shop, and the price stayed within budget. Now I wondered if it will help me get episode 2. I went in, selected my location, turned it on, and went back to Vanity Fair. The sounds eliciting from my shocked vocal chords looks like a cross between an excited kitten and a whale with laryngitis. So, yes, it worked. I scaled a wall and landed softly in Vanity Fair’s garden of earthly delights. At least watch the second episode. How did I know it worked? My smaller tablet couldn’t play it, and I couldn’t cast the videos to my tv despite seeing the Google Cast symbol. Who cares, I think Hector feels the same way about Faisal, and it will motivate him to feed more info to Thomas Shaw. Plus, I want more and hope it will broadcast in Canada. More intrigue! More Armitage! (Not in the way you’re thinking although *cough* not objecting *cough*.)

 

I decline to say what VPN I use, but most do have 30-day trials to see if you like their wares, and I heard Berlin Station’s two free episodes disappear on September 30th. I think episode 1 needs a re-watch for the shower scene its narrative choices.

Love, Love, Love, and New York 2.0

I wrote about writing advice, but some eagle-eyed readers may have caught something in the photograph:

Cicle Picture

As an information professional, I know interlibrary loans are your friends or help keep pace with the bloke-who-doesn’t-know-I-exist, otherwise known as Richard Armitage. Forget the lithe build, blue eyes, boyish smile, and thighs I try not to think about it. Nothing makes my heart flutter more than this:

Homework!!…love my job

A photo posted by Richard Armitage (@richardcarmitage) on

Let me illustrate my point further:

Heart Eyes

I always said the stage is the English actor’s natural habitat and last time proved too costly, and far, to see him practice his craft live. Chance number two will happen this fall, and it’s closer but still expensive to go. Richard Armitage would be the cherry on my New York trip rather than the whole sundae. My co-worker joked during my last trip to not stalk him. It will not happen because:

  1. Ewww! Why would I do something like that!?
  2. I have a tight schedule of museums and sites to see and clocking 26,000 steps takes a lot of energy and stalking is a waste of time and energy.
  3. Dude, that is still creepy and impolite. That’s not how we roll in Canada.
  4. I am guest on vacation; he’s living his life.
  5. Ewww!!!!

Unofficially on that list, the time off needed to take even a quick trip to New York. I work with a small group of people, and the fall academic term is still the fall academic term. It’s busy, and I did mention it takes money. I curate my funds carefully, and New York 2.0 will receive more funding than my February adventure.

Sorry, Richard, can’t see you. (Why am I saying that? It’s not like he cares.) New York 2.0 already has flight and hotel booked for next year. That’s right, I am going back. This time, I will have fewer layers and a day trip to Brooklyn on the docket. The flight will take me through a US city rather than a Canadian airport. Here’s hoping it’s not another diversion or turbulence due to severe thunderstorms. An itty-bitty part of me hopes he goes back and does another play. I had a great time at A View From The Bridge and wouldn’t mind seeing that caliber of theatre again. I will keep an eye on what’s coming up around the net.

I do plan on one pilgrimage to the New York Public Library. The famous reading room had to shut down to allow for a freshening up of the place. I passed on going in although I did snap a picture of its famous lions:

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Speaking of books, I want The Strand bookstore and its 18 miles of books. I vibrate with excitement thinking about it. They also host events, and spring usually means new releases. I knew a larger version of my carry on was a good idea.

As much as I would love to go, go, go to Love, Love, Love New York grabbed a much bigger piece of my heart than once thought. Sorry, Richard, if you’re reading this between the bazillion things on you docket.

Music Monday: All The Right Moves by Jennifer Warnes & Chris Thompson

While out with the stomach flu, I binged on Stranger Things on Netflix. I already heard raves about the 80’s set series with its attention to detail and homage to the films contributing to the plot and characters of the series. To my nephew’s generation, it’s a historical series. To me, it’s a trip down memory lane.

I saw Trapper Keepers, puffy stickers, stirrup pants, big glasses, and puffy blouses. Basically, I was Barb except her eye shadow looked more on point than mine. Oh, and I am Portuguese, unlike Barb. Also, add I never found myself in *spoiler alert* the Upside Down. Fringes of the social hierarchy? Oh, yes, definitely like Barb.

The movie playing at the movie was Tom Cruise’s follow up to Risky Business, All the Right Moves. The movie had that underdog-goes-against-the-grain feeling many movies had at the time. (The ultimate underdog film, Footloose, would come out a year later.) The film boasted a theme song, with the kind of tune so memorable, I heard it in my head just seeing the marquee on one of the episodes.

Say what you want about 80’s pop, for someone dealing with overt and covert bullying in junior and senior high, it’s a life preserver with melody. 80’s songs had this optimism; the sense things will turn out alright. On occasion, I need to hear it and get through the low points in life.

 

How Much Advice Before Breakfast?

It’s nearly 8 am and with no milk for coffee, I went to my local café for some scribbling and breakfast. The grocery store opens at 9, allowing me time to stock up on lunch items as the library returns to normal hours. The bright-blue bag in the picture is my grocery bag, ready to greet the resupply. 

People usually advise not to start a blog post with boring details. Lately, I received a lot of writing advice as I write more. I look for that magic combination although intellectually none exists. It’s the message taken from David Ebenbach, one of the instructors for Gotham Writers. His article Should I Take Their Advice? talks about the onslaught of advice beginning writers seek. I count myself among them. 

I read it this week but the article stayed with me for many reasons. It’s not about the words on the page, it’s about the source of those words, my head. I don’t see writing as a full time career, more like a partner in my life. That revelation came before the article and deflated the pressure put on me, by me, to take a well-worn path of going full time. I know when I write, I breathe. Even words written on my smartphone gives me joy.

I will not trade in my journal, I just started a new one this week, as the main source of generating ideas. People wonder what does she write in it? Answer: Everything.  A record of my day, imaginary letters, the start of a blog post or personal essay, a scrap of a plot or character, the rest for my eyes only. It’s my safe place to come face to face with things I don’t feel comfortable sharing.

Most of all, I give myself advice and encouragement.  I get both from the people in my life, a good network of people I met along the way. The best advice to have before breakfast comes from three simple words,  just do it.