Media Diet

Here are some things I’ve recent checked out with my eyes and ears:

I finally had the guts to see Green Room (Netflix). The majority of reviews said very positive things about it. It’s a thriller/horror? movie with Patrick Stewart playing a white supremacist. That would be the stranges combo ever, this guy is a sweetheart (evidence here and here) so it sounded weird and interesting, I just didn’t know if I was ever going to be in the mood for it. Well, I saw it and was at the edge of my seat but enjoyed it. It’s really well done, it’s tense, moody and doesn’t cheat the audience with obvious plot holes or gimmicks. It has substantial violence but not as bad as I had imagined.

To cleanse the palate I did some binging of Last Man on Earth (Netflix). Will Forte is hilarious and the worst possible person you’d want to end up with when you are the last humans on earth. Kristen Schaal is always funny so for a light, goofy change of pace, this fits the bill.

I then had my dose of sci-fi so I saw “Lucy” (Movie), directed by Luc Besson (it’s hit or miss with him but I always give him the benefit of the doubt). Scarlett Johansson does the best with the material which has many problems but if you’re into this genre and you can turn off your brain then I say forget the plot and buckle up for the ride.

I finished the second book in the series called the “bobiverse”, “For We are Many” by Dennis E. Taylor (Audiobook). So Bob is a software guy, he just sold his company for millions but he gets run over by a car and is then cryogenically frozen…for a long, long time. He wakes up in the future where his consciousness has been transferred to a computer and ends up getting sent into space. The first book is really good and really funny. It’s narrated by one of the best in the business, Ray Porter (who narrates some of my favourite books ever, check out a sample from Peter Clines “14” ). This second book was a bit of a disappointment for me. Basically more of the same from book one and the way the plot jumps around with a large number of “different” characters got a bit annoying. Not terrible, just ok. There’s one more in the series but I’m debating if I’ll read it.

Something you probably should not see is the movie “Tower Heist” with Ben Stiller. I knew from reviews that it wasn’t really great but hey, Mathew Broderick and Eddie Murphy are in it and I was in the mood for something light. It’s not good.

Another one that had been on my list for a long time but I was waiting to be in the right mood for was “Sicario” with Emily Blunt. The reason I wanted to watch it other than the great reviews was the cinematographer. Roger Deakins is a master of the visual language of film, just check out his resume..wow. The movie takes you through a brief time in the life of a female FBI agent who’s recruited by the CIA to participate in taking down a drug cartel. It all gets really complicated. I found the mood and realism extremely accurate representation of the cartels. Worth watching.

Cin-Sicario

I’m about halfway through the Netflix series “Altered Carbon” with Joel Kinneman a prisoner whose consciousness has been digitized but is brought back to life in a new body to solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom. Kinneman was cast as Robocop in the recent reboot that you should totally skip but you should definitely see him in the AMC series “The Killing” ,  he’s a good choice as the protagonist in this one. I’ve read the books it’s based on (written by Richard Morgan) and considering it’s a TV series the production value and visual effects are of high quality. The story is basically a sci-fi version of a noir detective novel and I’m glad Netflix didn’t completely take out the edgy, raw grit of the books. Recommended.

The weather’s just fine…

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The current weather on the east coast of Canada and the U.S. has gone from terrible to brutal. Record low temperatures in some places.

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Vancouver’s own weather will not be pretty, the rain is here to stay this week but I’m not going to complain too much.

I’ll take the rain.

Go Deeper, Not Wider

I recently read a great blog post at Raptitude and thought that the start of the year would be a perfect time to share it. More than a resolution, maybe think of it as something nice to remember and put into action whenever possible.

The title says it all, instead of getting distracted by the new shiny thing (trend, gadget, project, etc.) we should attempt to go deeper on the things we already have or know, the things we’ve already acquired and committed to enjoying.

The guiding philosophy is “Go deeper, not wider.” Drill down for value and enrichment instead of fanning out.

Instead of buying that new self-help book, read the one you recently bought. Instead of taking that trendy class you saw online, revisit the one you purchased but never got to finish. Maybe just sharpen those skills you already have instead of learning a new one…go deeper.

The whole post is absolutely worth reading, and you might as well bookmark the site. I’ve found many of David’s posts inspiring.

via Go Deeper, Not Wider

The Last Jedi tomorrow

In approximately 12 hours I’ll finally get to see “The Last Jedi”. It’s been crazy trying to keep total media blackout on the movie. I saw the first short trailer and then I avoided any and all information.

It’s tough to get surprised at the movies nowadays so to feel like a kid again and enjoy a sense of discovery, especially on a Star Wars movie, is such a treat.

Saw “The Circle”

I suggest you don’t make the same mistake. Huge mistake…huge. Worst movie I’ve seen in a long time, and my threshold for bad movies is high. I could write pages on the reasons…so many reasons! Maybe I’ll update this post sometime and go into the details.

Just avoid it…friends don’t let friends see The Circle.

Update: 16% on Rotten Tomatoes! I broke my own rule to check RT before seeing a film so no one to blame but myself.

Time to finally leave Facebook?

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Are you concerned about your privacy? Do you use Facebook? Answering yes to both of these questions is a contradiction. Like the story of “Peter and the Wolf”, I keep saying I’ll stop using FB any day now and I haven’t but….stories like this one in Gizmodo about the “People You May Know” (PYMK) feature are nudging me closer to the edge.

In the months I’ve been writing about PYMK, (People You May Know) as Facebook calls it, I’ve heard more than a hundred bewildering anecdotes:

  • A man who years ago donated sperm to a couple, secretly, so they could have a child—only to have Facebook recommend the child as a person he should know. He still knows the couple but is not friends with them on Facebook.
  • A social worker whose client called her by her nickname on their second visit, because she’d shown up in his People You May Know, despite their not having exchanged contact information.
  • A woman whose father left her family when she was six years old—and saw his then-mistress suggested to her as a Facebook friend 40 years later.

Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.

The only reason I keep reading FB, not participating is to wish happy birthdays and to check on a business group I belong to. My whole family and close friends are there but I notice that even their own interactions are less every day. I’ve unfollowed so many people that when I go to my newsfeed I scroll down and I’m told there’s nothing new to see! (I tend to use the “recent items” newsfeed and that’s enough for me).

All this to say that I’m getting close to pulling the plug on the whole thing, and the Gizmodo story has moved me closer. Below are a few reminders of how FB operates just in case you have forgotten. In my opinion, they’re really not a good bunch of people over there, but in the end, to use it or not is a personal choice. Be careful out there.

This CBC article covers some of FB big problems that have made the news

Emotional manipulation study “The complaint alleges Facebook deceived users by secretly conducting a psychological experiment to explore if seeing positive or negative updates in their news feeds would sway their emotions.”

Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Reach ‘Jew Haters’

Facebook Criticisms. You don’t have to read it all, but just look at this Wikipedia article to see how long the list is…it’s mind-blowing.

Now back to wearing my tin-foil hat and continue building that Faraday cage around my apartment.