Grabbaggin’

Inspiration doesn’t work on our timeline, and with a personal goal to post at least one blog a month, I’ve been coming up empty on interesting topics. Then it occurred to me that this blog has never been built on interesting topics; it’s just a modicum of random thoughts. So, with that in mind, I stayed true to form and literally randomly picked five topics out of a cup. No really.

Grabbaggin'

I chose these topics based on trends and/or stuff I feel qualified to talk about. Luckily I didn’t pull politics. Unfortunately, I did pull PokemonGo, which I guess is as good a place to start as any.

PokemonGo
1

I feel old saying this, but our society is weird.
Kids are finally going outside to play like they did when I was little… except it’s to “catch” Pokemon… with their phones. I have mixed feelings.

I did download the app myself, just to see what the big deal was. I lost interest within 5 minutes. Okay, fine. Full disclosure – I downloaded it while I was peeing. I caught some kind of Pokemon that was standing on the towel rack in front of me, shrugged, deleted the app and went on my way. But just because it’s not for me doesn’t mean that I don’t see its merit.

I love that kids are playing outside again. I love that adults are getting off the couch and spending time with their kids. (Or just getting off the couch in general.) Yay exercise! Yay bonding time! Those are two major things I feel our society is lacking. If it takes catching digital monsters to accomplish this, who am I to argue?

However, I would issue a word of caution to be aware of your surroundings. We’ve all seen the news stories of people walking off cliffs while playing, which is extreme. In a more practical sense, players are just being rude. I was walking through the mall the other day and had to evade a kid who literally had no idea I was there, even though he almost ran into me three times. He looked like a zombie, staring at his screen with his jaw flopped open. Don’t be that guy.

Play, have fun, be active, but realize that the real world still exists around you. Also, maybe chill with the screenshots. Kthx.

TV
Stranger Things - Netflix

Summer is generally the dead zone for TV, but there are a few shows this year that you really need to be watching.

Stranger Things – Netflix

It’s like Steven Spielberg, the 80s, The Goonies and Stephen King had an orgy and made a TV show baby. That really should be all I need to say.

The basic premise is that a boy mysteriously goes missing and his family, friends and the small town sheriff go searching for him, only to discover something more terrifying and sinister is at play.

The production quality is impressively high, the writing is superb and the cast of mostly newcomers (and Wynona Rider) deliver thrilling performances. It made me happy that I’ve been forking over $8 a month to Netflix for years. If they keep producing shows like this, they can gladly take all my money.

The Night Of – HBO

Every season I get depressed after Game of Thrones ends because I have nothing to look forward to as a wind down on Sunday nights. Three episodes into this series, I anticipate it more and more each week.

With the resurgence of interest in true crime stories after hits like Making a Murder and Serial’s Adnan Syed story, The Night Of hits at the perfect time.

Based off a BBC series called Criminal Justice, The Night Of unravels the story of Nazir Khan, a young man accused of murder after a one night stand.

Interesting fact about the show: HBO originally passed on it before James Gandolfini became attached to it. He was slated to play John Stone, now portrayed by John Turturro. Gandolfini is still listed as an executive producer. Man, he would’ve killed that role. I’m sad we will never get to see it.

Mr. Robot – USA

Yeah it’s on the USA network. (I’m guessing you have no idea what channel number it is or if it’s even part of your cable package unless you’re really into How I Met Your Mother reruns.) Look who finally showed up to the quality television party. And with Mr. Robot, they came to play. The series earned itself six Emmy nominations this year, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Rami Malek) and Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series.

It follows the story of a skilled, yet unstable hacker who joins an underground hacker group (think Anonymous) determined to take down a major corporation.

At times the show is brilliant, but occasionally trips over itself. Regardless, it has my attention and I hear season two started strong. (I haven’t had a chance to watch the first episode yet.)

Side note: I’m still pained over deciding if Rami Malek is hot or not.

Road Trips
Road Trips

In my year-end review, I cited “take a road trip one weekend a month” as a resolution for 2016. I’m happy to report that I’m nearly 8 months in with 9 trips under my belt – Enid/Stillwater, OK; Branson, MO; Dallas, TX; Tulsa, OK (twice); Kansas City, MO; Owasso, OK; Springer, OK (Magnetic Hill); and Lawton, OK (Mt. Scott).

Each of these trips holds a special place in my heart. I’m so glad I made this resolution and have followed through on it. I only wish I followed through on taking beautiful pictures and blogging about each trip. But there’s always 2017.

I also want to mention that my last two trips – Kansas City, MO for a Flight of the Conchords concert and Tulsa, OK for a movie slumber party at Circle Cinema – I have taken solo. My next trip to Thackerville, OK to see A Night with Al Pacino will also be solo. With each venture I feel more confident that I can handle myself in unfamiliar environments. (I even rented a car for the first time in my life!) Yes, I would rather have someone to experience these things with, but I’m learning that not having someone doesn’t mean I have to miss out. Maybe I’ll even grow to prefer travelling this way. If I can get to that point, it will be life changing. Conquer all the fears!

Movies
Ghostbusters 2016

How terrible has the summer been for movies? Honestly guys, 2016 has been awful. I’ve seen roughly 40 movies and the best one was Captain America: Civil War. Not that CA was a bad movie by any means, but I would expect to find it near the bottom of my top 10 in most years. I’ve even been struggling to find something I’m even sort of interested in seeing. Here’s hoping fall turns things around. Let’s briefly look at a few movies still in theaters and I’ll review them in 140 characters or less.

The Secret Life of Pets

Really disappointing and not funny. They should’ve just titled it If You’re Not a Dog, You’re a Crappy Animal. 5/10

Ghostbusters

I thought this movie was going to suck, not because of females, but because it looked super crappy. It wasn’t. It’s a fun summer flick. 7/10

The Shallows

Exactly what you’d expect from a shark attack survival movie, but it’s well made. Just be prepared to suspend your disbelief. 7/10

Independence Day: Resurgence

Nope. 3/10

Finding Dory

Very meh. I saw this once already with Finding Nemo, but he’s a considerably less annoying character than Dory. 5/10.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant

I don’t know that I’m prepared to talk about this, but I pulled it from the cup so I have no choice. The cup gods have spoken. Leaving OKC for Golden State was crappy on a number of levels. However, unlike most OKC fans, I have difficulty publically bashing Kevin.

What he did for my city over the past eight years was significant. He singlehandedly put us on the map for being more than a city of cowboys that once suffered a heinous, senseless terrorist attack. He legitimized us. Sure, there were numerous other factors, but KD was our face. A guy we threw ourselves behind, blindly supported and trusted. While people elsewhere in the country never considered Kevin would stay in OKC, the sense here was that he was one of us. That he would stay true to all the things he had said in those eight years. We were mistaken. That’s on us. When you choose to trust someone, you open yourself to disappointment and hurt. Kevin did what he wanted to do, which is fully his right as a grown man.

But I will say this – to claim going with the Warriors is “the hard road” is insulting. KD wants rings and he went where he had the best chance at winning them. That’s a fact. He took the easy road, which is his right, but to keep proclaiming that it’s not the easy road – that’s infuriating. If you’re gonna be a big boy and make big boy decisions, then you need to be a man and be honest about why you made those decisions.

Does he owe anyone an explanation? As a fan, no. He owes me nothing. But his OKC teammates and the Thunder staff? Yeah. He should’ve told them like a man. If you’re going to make a decision that serves you and significantly alters the lives of the people around you that poured into you on a daily basis, people you called your brothers… I feel like he could’ve at least picked up a phone instead of letting them read it in a very generic blog post like I did. That’s disappointing. I know he was “upset for a few days” that he had hurt so many people, but I don’t think he has any idea of how deeply his actions affected millions.

Now he gets to live with going from the NBA’s sweetheart to a villain that gets booed in arenas across the country. Kevin is a sensitive dude and I think that will affect him more than he lets on. But what do I know? I suspect he was never the man I thought he was.

Your turn, Russ.

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