Monday, September 29, 2014

Music From a Work Day, Part 2

Moar music!

Friday, I recorded the Pandora music as planned.  It ended up being a particularly good day for it, since I was covering for our early shift and had a bit more time to listen to music than I would consider normal.  Fair warning, it's long AND I ramble at the end with additional commentary.  So, without further ado, my list:

  • Matchbox Twenty - Back 2 Good
  • Louis CK - Fat Guy Problems (comedy routine)
  • Everclear - Wonderful
  • Killers - Romeo And Juliet
  • Tenacious D - Kickapoo
  • Wicked Original Broadway Cast - Dancing Through Life
  •  Simon & Garfunkel - Kathy's Song
  • Flight of the Conchords - Inner City Pressure
  • Beatles - Let It Be
  • All-American Rejects - Swing, Swing
  • John Mulaney - Female Heist/Delta Airlines (comedy routine)
  • Simon & Garfunkel - Sounds Of Silence (live)
  • Anthem Lights - Best of 2012 Pop Mash-Up
  • Flight of the Conchords - Carol Brown
  • All-American Rejects - Swing, Swing
  • The Offspring - Trust In You
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Teach Your Children
  • Louis CK - Time Machine (comedy routine)
  • Mandy Moore - When Will My Life Begin (Tangled)
  • Les Miserables Original Broadway Cast - Finale
  • Tom Lehrer (hooray) - The Elements (comedy song)
  • Weird Al Yankovic - Virus Alert
  • Cake - Mahna, Mahna
  • John Denver - Rocky Mountain High (unplugged, live)
  • Miss Saigon Original Broadway Cast - I'd Give My Life For You
  • Rent Original Broadway Cast - Without You
  • Shrek Original Broadway Cast - This Is Our Story
  • Tom Lehrer - When You Are Old And Grey (comedy song) 
  • Mary Poppins Motion Picture Soundtrack - Chim Chim Cher-E
  • Simon & Garfunkel - Only Living Boy In New York
  • John Denver - Rocky Mountain High
  • Steven Lynch - D&D (comedy song)
  • Christina Perri - Human
  • Weird Al Yankovic - Polka Power
  • Fun - We Are Young
 Whew.  Congratulations for making it this far, I wish I could award an achievement for making it through that list.  Oh wait, I can!

As I've been working on this, I've been reading up a bit on targeted advertising.  It is an interesting thing, very interesting.  I am vaguely planning to write about that once I finish wrapping my head around the comparison between lists.

Now, I can't begin to wrap my head around this without some analysis.  If you work with me, you probably saw that coming.  I'll get working on that post it in Part 3.  Which may actually talk about something interesting, rather than list music I listen to.

But probably not.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Music From a Work Day, Part 1

Music From a Work Day, Part 1

One of the (many) things I love about my job is that when I begin to work on a project, I can throw on some headphones and listen to Pandora (or Spotify/Grooveshark/AOL Radio) while I dig in on anything that requires serious thinking.  While I certainly have a predilection for Pandora, the others are always a viable alternative.  About a year ago, I randomly took note of the songs that came up during the day.  Today I was boxing up my desk and I found that list. Being the ever-curious type, I have decided to make a comparison.  I shall write the songs that I heard then, and tomorrow I will take note of the songs I hear and post them here.  Then I'll try to see how my evolving music selections on Pandora have altered the music I am being presented with.

I am listening to the same channel today that I did then - it's titled "Musical/Comedy" and was seeded with the Wicked Original Broadway Cast album and Weird Al Yankovic.  Please note that on my list, for comedy entries I seem to have mostly recorded "Comedy Song/Routine" rather than what it actually was.  Too bad.

On a slightly unrelated note about preferences influencing what you hear (and yes, this whole thing may eventually devolve into observations on how our choices affect the advertising we see), months ago I briefly listed to a Spanish Music channel.  For about an hour.  One time, one day.  Since then, every time Pandora gives me an ad featuring alcohol, it is in Spanish.  Only alcohol, but it appears to be ALL the alcohol ads.  The one I hear the most is for Bud Light with....ugh....CLAMATO?  How the heck did that happen?  On to the list!

  • Sarah McLachlan - Fallen (live)                                      
  • Tom Lehrer - Comedy Song
  • Simon and Garfunkel - Sound of Silence (live)
  • Glee Cast - Animal
  • Steven Lynch - Comedy Song
  • Flight of the Conchords - Business Time
  • Taylor Swift - Today Was a Fairy Tale
  • Weird Al - When I Was Your Age
  • John Mulaney - Comedy Routine
  • Tenacious D - Wonderboy
  • Tom Lehrer - The Elements (Comedy)
  • Steven Lynch - Comedy Song
  • The Beatles - Come Together/Dear Prudence
  • Tripod - Comedy Song
  • John Lennon - Imagine
  • Glee Cast - Silly Love Song
  • Tenacious D - Dude
  • Weird Al - Ode to a Superhero

Well, that is me, if to nobody else.  My first impression would be that I hear more musicals and soundtracks, possibly a bit less comedy, with about the same amount of radio junk.  I'll tell you after tomorrow.

By the way....have you heard of Tom Lehrer?  He is a comedy/satirist/mathematician who was active from 1945 to the early 70s.  I love his stuff.  It's all horribly dated, of course, but entertaining.  It is interesting to hear his often comedic songs that occasionally feature him interacting with his audience before the song begins.  I have heard him casually refer to the death of Winston Churchill, the push to teach different numerical bases instead of base 10, World War 2, and many other things.

Then he sings about poisoning pigeons in the park.  You should give him a try for something very different.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall TV is Here!

Fall TV is here!  Happy Premiere Week!  Here's my take on all that is new and my Prime time scheduler.

New Comedies:

Selfie:  This pilot is available on Hulu, and I watched it.  I wanted to love it,but I didn't.  The vomiting in the first 5 minutes of the show set it off on the wrong foot.  The problem is, I still want to like it and I'm still going to watch it.  John Cho is so charming.  I like that it is (loosely) based on My Fair Lady.  And while I get why it is named 'Selfie' - and this doesn't really go down in the Cougar Town hall of fame for bad titles, the title conveys no heart - and is much more Eliza than Henry.  And all I want is Henry.  Despite the title, I'm going to DVR it.

A to Z:  This pilot is available on Hulu, and I watched it.  I wanted to love it, but I didn't - almost, but not quite.   It does seem to be HIMYM 2.0, with all the whimsy, romance, destiny talk and the cast: Cristin Miloti and a pretty good Ted Mosby impersonator in Ben Feldman.  Stu (the Barney character) is icky, gross and yucky - without NPHs charm, and is just distracting from the likable leads.  I can't wait to meet the Marshall and Lily.  DVR, watch live if I can.

Marry Me:  From Happy Endings Creator - it seems if you liked Happy Endings, you'll like this, they are very akin.  Acomedy about the challenges of pairing up - not so original, but I like the stars, Ken Marino and Casey Wilson.  DVR it.

Manhatten Love Story:  The gimmick is ...we get to hear the thoughts of two people dating!  We get to hear (via voiceover) the subtext of every weird encounter, every awkward silence, every everything.  I'm not sure I want to hear all that, and the commercials don't even seem that funny - plus- I'm not in love with the leads - Analeigh Tipton and Jake McDorman.  It seems a snoozefest for me.  Skip it.

Black-ish:  Now this one IS going in the Cougar Town bad title hall-of-fame.  I hate the title.  Is it offensive, a little?  Would we be okay with a show called 'White-ish' with an all white cast?  (Thanks to E for that pondering moment) - Um. no.  As far as the show goes though, it looks funny.  I think Anthony Anderson is really funny.  I'm not the target demographic for this show, but I'd watch it if it was on.  Flipping Channels night only.

Bad Judge: I like Kate Walsh.  I like her in Shonda Rhimes dramas.  When I first saw the ads for this one, I thought it WAS a drama, but its not.  Half hour comedy.  Which makes me go, hmmm.  She's an irresponsible, but unconventionally effective judge.  Hmm.  This show has been horribly reviewed, but they apparently changed up the pilot a lot and it is maybe better?  One of the changes was a recast of a character to Ryan Hansen from Veronica Mars - they may be on the right track. I'm mostly curious.  DVRing the pilot.

The McCarthys: This show has an interesting cast.  Laurie Metcalf, Joey McIntyre and Tyler Ritter.  A New Jersey family obsessed with sports, with a newly 'out' gay son.  None of that seems to say 'this is a show for me!' And - its been reviewed as sub-par material for sensational Laurie Metcalf.  I'm still intrigued.  I'll try one, if its on.  Flipping channels night only.

Cristela:  A comedienne gets her very own show! (Has that ever happened successfully?)  A semi-autobiographical tale about a legal intern balancing work and family in Texas.  I have no idea if Cristela Alonzo is funny.  She might be, but this show is on Friday, and I just haven't seen anything to interest me here.  Skip it.

Mulaney:  A comedian gets his very own show!  (Has this ever...wait, a few of these have really worked).  It even opens with a stand up segment (ala Seinfeld).  In real life he was an SNL writer, in this fictional world, he is newly hired to write for a game show.  I have no idea if John Mulaney is funny, but I'm more interested in this premise.  I would watch it if it was on.  Flipping channels night only.

New Dramas:

Madam Secretary:  I watched the pilot last night.  Tea Leoni is great!  The show is still figuring itself out.  It was too much for me to have the side 'Company' is out to kill people sub-plot.  The rest of the show was good.  Please find more to do with Bebe Neuwirth.  Please.  She is amazing.  I love me some Tim Daly.  I will watch it while it figures itself out. Its a work in progress, and I have hope.   DVRing

Gotham:  Super hero origin story!  I had little interest in Marvels Agents of SHIELD, but I have a small interest in this.  Love Ben McKenzie (I heart The O.C.) and do have some curiosity about the introduction of well known villains, before they were the bad guys.  The look of it is intriguing as well.  I never stay long at the overly complex, involved stories - but, if I can tell whats going on, I might stay at this party.  DVR the pilot.

Scorpion:  Four super high IQ techies, a super high IQ kid and his mom who translates life to them all while cracking some tough government cases.  Its The Big Bang Theory meets CSI (wait - its the REAL CSI-Cyber).  Reviews say the pilot is dumb, but the show may be worth watching.  I love when American Idol alums succeed.  DVRing

Jane the Virgin:  The second entry in the Cougar Town hall of fame for bad titles.  I hate this title, because it makes me not want to watch the show.  And after forcing myself to watch the trailer and read up on it - it could be a good show...but wait the premise is horrible too.  A faithful Latina is mistakenly inseminated during an OBGYN checkup.  Its a remake of a Venezuelan hit ( a la Ugly Betty).  Word on the street is they seem to be respectful of faith and chaste choices - this is good.  It is well reviewed overall.   It looks well-made and solid.  The premise seems eye-roll worthy, but it could be good.  I MAY DVR the pilot.

State of Affairs:  Her off-screen antics and Diva reputation aside, I like Katherine Heigl and I welcome her return to TV.  I'm not sure this is the greatest vehicle for it.  She is a CIA Analyst whose main role is to brief the President (played by the amazing Alfre Woodard).  I like a female President, one review I read said the pilot had a Shonda Rhimes-worthy twist, which makes me curious.  The reviews of this show are all over the place, many hate it, some really like it.  I'm going to try it out.  DVRing

The Flash:  I don't watch Arrow, from which this is a spin off, but its supposed to be good.  Good enough for me to watch?  Probably not, as my super hero quota is met with Gotham.  I enjoyed Grant Gustin (Barry Allen aka The Flash) on Glee.  The buzz is good.  If this is your type of thing, this is probably very watchable.  I'm going to Skip It.

Forever:  Every time Dr Henry Morgan dies, he's reborn naked in a nearby body of water.  He's therefore been around Forever and will be around Forever.  Get it?  He uses his extensive medical knowledge from being around so long to solve crimes.  Ioan Gruffudd is the lead.  I loved him in Amazing Grace.   Because of him alone, I want to try this out, but I'm not sure the dying won't grow old quickly.  DVR the pilot.

Red Band Society:  I saw this pilot when it aired last week.  The Fault In Our Stars meets the Breakfast Club as seriously ill, but talented and witty kids live together in a hospital ward.  Octavia Spencer, Dave Annable and Griffin Gluck are the grown ups running the place and influencing them.  I had middling expectations, but ended up loving the pilot, where I laughed outloud and got a little weepy.  I read a review that called this - where the Glee kids go when they get sick.  It does have Glee feel to it.  And I like Glee.  I loved this pilot.  DVRing.  Watch Live, if I can.

The Mysteries of Laura:  Debra Messing is better than this.  She has to be.  So is Josh Lucas. This show is YUCK.  I watched the pilot last week.  She's a cop, who is also a MOM (of twin terror boys).  Whoa.  That's tricky.   I like Debra Messing, and the show is trying to utilize her comedy chops and be a true dramedy, but it doesn't work.  Its very blah.  Based on its huge numbers, it might be around for awhile.  I'm hoping it was just because there was nothing else on and when real competition hits this week - it will go where bad dramas go to die.  Sorry - I would like to see her on TV in anything better.  Skip it.  (Though I watched the pilot!)

Stalker:  CBS is really trying to keep the Criminal Minds crowd around for another hour.  The show is about LAPD's Threat Assessment Unit - who handles all the - yup you guessed it 'Stalking" cases.  I love me some Dylan McDermott.  And Maggie Q.  But, do we really need another reason to high light violence against women (well, mostly women - I understand).  Its The Following's Kevin Williamson (Not the Dawsons Creek one, as he seems to have 2 distinct sides to him) as creator.  Skip it.

How to Get Away With Murder:  Shonda Rhimes has a whole night now - and I'm going to watch all three hours.  A legal thriller, starring the always amazing Viola Davis as a high-powered attorney and law professor.  Yup.  She's got the Medical Drama, The White House one - of course a legal one was next.  I'm sure it will be all 'dark and twisty' and I'm sure I will love it.  DVRing and watch Live if I can.

Gracepoint:  A remake of Broadchurch, a British crime drama about the death of a young boy in a small town and the detectives trying to figure it out.  Its one mystery for the whole 10 episode season.  They say the ending is different, though.  Maybe a different killer?  It is intriguing and stars Anna Gunn and David Tennant (in the same role from Broadchurch).  If you like British shows, this may be for you.  I have a small interest it.   I plan to DVR the whole series and see if I ever get to binge watching it.  DVR

Constantine:  Matt Ryan stars as this comic-book TV anti-hero?  Apparently, he has no super powers or secret identity and is not really a good person, and has been sentenced to hell?  I'm not sure I get it.  But, the star is very easy on the eyes.  If you know who comic book Constantine is, I'm sure this show is for you.  For those who know whats going on, its been well reviewed.  I don't know whats going on.  Skip it.

NCIS: New Orleans:  I've never watched any of the NCISes.  But, I could maybe watch Scott Bakula as a Navy vet.  I love that he's been doing the press circuit saying he's never done a procedural.  Mostly because, Quantum Leap was SO one of the founding fathers of procedurals.  Same formula, different local and intriguing cast.  DVR the pilot.

Seems my DVR is going to be filled up quick.  Only time will tell what I actually make time to watch.  20 years ago today Friends premiered. 15 years ago today The West Wing premiered.  10 years ago today Veronica Mars and Lost premiered.  It seems to be a charmed day for premieres. I feel old.  Happy Premiere Week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer Movie Roundup

I saw many, many movies in the theater this summer.   I'm not counting in- home viewing.  I'm talking theater experience summer movies.  And I saw quite a few - with varying enjoyment.  From The Double Whammies (so good, I paid twice) to the ones I wish I had been patient enough to view on Cable with commercials - Summer 2014 had some interesting movie madness.  And, believe it or not, I still have a lengthy list of movies I didn't fit in, that I will try to catch Red Box or Cable or years from now on network TV.

Guardians of the Galaxy - The mighty and so very funny Chris Pratt as Star-Lord makes this quirky super hero/comic incarnation work.  The 70s music didn't hurt either.    The Best of the Big Summer Popcorn Flicks. Out of This World.

The Hundred Foot Journey - I want to live in a little town in France and eat sea urchin and other fancy things thanks to this heart warming movie.  Oprah, Steven Spielberg, Helen Mirren and Om Puri should team up again.  The great cast and beautiful food make this one very palatable.  Three Michelin Stars 

Edge of Tomorrow - I'm rarely as surprised by a movie as I was with this one.  Unexpectedly funny and interesting with great special effects.  Cruise and Blunt - awesome.  Groundhog Day meets Transformers meets Terminator meets Inception.  Repeat Goodness.

Chef  - Food had a good summer.  I loved this little film about a food truck owner and his son.  Jon Favreau - writer, director, star - even called in a favor from his Iron Man buddy - with an amusing Robert Downey, Jr cameo.  Greasy food truck food never looked so good.  Delectable.

Begin Again - As an actor, Adam Levine is a really good singer, but this lovely movie about starting over through music was terrific.  Mark Ruffalo,  Kiera Knightley and New York City - amazing.  Perfect Harmony.

Blended - This movie was critically panned, and devoured at the box office, but I loved it.  It was exactly what I expected from Drew and Adam - a little ridiculous crassness, a lot of sweetness, very specific Sandler humor, and perfectly predictable.  Terry Crews silly singing aside, I really enjoyed this family film and the African back drop.  Well Mixed.

X-Men: Days of Future Past - Oscar Winners (at least 3), Oscar Nominees, Emmy winners and Nominees, Tony Winner and Nominees, Countless Golden Globe nominees and an Oscar Host.  These X-Men are a stellar cast.  And the cast sells it, with wit and greatness.  X-cellent.

The Fault in Our Stars - I meant to read this book, but I didn't.  I could still tell in the first 15 minutes which characters would meet their end and which wouldn't.   I like the irreverent frankness of the tone - I would guess it stayed pretty true to the book and captured the words well - because the words in the film are good.  Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley do well as the sick, star-crossed teenagers.  It is a cancer story.  It is a sad story, but also a hopeful one.  Bring the Kleenex.  Weepily Wonderful.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 - My 9 year old niece was so distraught by one of the main characters dying in this sequel, that I may have missed some of the middle.  I loved the original film, and this sequel captures everything that was great about the original.   Satisfying Sequel. 

When the Game Stands Tall - A high School football team with a 151 consecutive wins and then a loss and the coach that led it all is the back drop for this true-life story.  Jim Caviezel is great as Coach Ladouceur.  For a true story - this movie is every football movie cliche brought to life.  A little Blind Side, a little Rudy, a little Remember the Titans, a little We Are Marshall, a little Friday Night Lights - all wrapped into one.  If you like football (there is a lot of actual football in it) and football movies you will like this, and might get a little misty at the end.   A Perfect Effort.  

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -   If you watched the turtles growing up - you will get this.  If you didn't watch them, you won't.  The turtles looked great - achieved via motion capture.  The teenage humor was right on - for teenagers in the 90s, and Megan Fox as April - sure.  Will Arnett being very Will Arnett.  90s Nostalgia.

Maleficient - I don't particularly love fantasy movies.  This one was very fantasy-y.  Angelina Jolie was fan-freaking-tastic as Maleficient though, and the 'new spin' on Sleeping Beauty was intriguing.  It was scarier than I expected (for small children - scary) - but still fun.  Though, I have no desire to sit through it again.  Fantasy Fun.

Mom's Night Out - Sarah Drew is likable in about everything she does.  (As I write that, I'm remembering how her character on Greys Anatomy was grating and unliked at the beginning of her run on that show - and her character is still polarizing, but somewhat redeemed.  I just like her because I loved Everwood and I loved her with Chris Pratt on it.) A crazy night out on the town, with incredibly unbelievable happenings including a missing baby, Trace Adkins as the head of a biker gang, mixed up dinner reservations and bowling - but a little funny none-the-less.  Patricia Heaton was enjoyable as well.  Though, it was overly earnest in trying to wrap it up with a beautiful Mom message.  This is Date Night's kid sister, if only Fey and Carrell had shown up in end.  Maybe Moms Night IN.

Wish I Was Here  - Zach Braffs follow up writing, directing starring effort to Garden State had mixed reviews.  I like Braff, I loved Garden State.  I like that a lot of this movie plays like a music video, and the music is so good.  The cast is great (though, Kate Hudson is miscast) - especially the kids, Joey King and Pierce Gagnon.  Oh, yeah Mandy Patinkin and Josh Gad are phenomenal as well. If you liked his first one, you'll likely like the second one - as many have pointed out - they are largely the same movie - dealing with the same themes and perspective, but I found this one to be less enjoyable.  Its one thing for a twenty something to be finding his way, its another to have a thirty something with a wife and two kids, acting (mostly irresponsibly) by refusing to give up his 'dream' of acting and take a real job.  The main character seemed so selfish to me, it was hard to ignore.  Overall though, the music, the cast and enough clever gems of wisdom won me over.  Wish Fulfilled.

And So It Goes -   It is so unfortunate that this movie shares a name with an incredible Billy Joel tune. It certainly isn't worthy of any mix ups.  Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas - oh, dear.  Rob Reiner directed this sad, sad excuse for a Something's Gotta Give wannabe older generation rom-com.  I expected it to be...better -in about every way.  Ho-Hum.

What If  -  I am the target audience for this cutesy-poo flick - I should have liked it, but I didn't.  I also didn't hate it.   Zoe Kazan is lovely  and Daniel Radcliffe is so charming in this.  Charming, charming, charming, charming -  but there was just too much potty and grotesque humor for my liking - and no one needs to see Harry Potters bare back side - even if he seems to really want everyone to.   What If...Not?

Missed Summer Movies Still to See

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Words & Pictures
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Magic In the Moonlight
The Giver
Get on Up
Jersey Boys
Step Up: All In

What should I see first?