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Netflix: great for 90s tv

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In a super secret vote around Christmas, the Senate decided to let streaming services like Netflix share what you’ve been watching. Soon everyone will know all of your guilty secret shows. Mother Jones outlines exactly what the new law says. Part of me thinks that this is just another invasion of my privacy, and I’m really not happy with information about what I chose to watch on my time can be sold. I’m hoping there’s a way around this. But the other part of me wants to laugh at whoever is looking at my streaming interests.

What will they find? Basically it’s been a lot of watching shows I missed in the “90s.” I say the 90s because most of these shows were actually the early 2000s, but in my mind that’s still “the 90s.” I’m going to give a hint to my age and say that I was in high school at the very end of the 90s. I was in college in the beginning of the aughts. You see, I used to be a very busy person. In high school I had an after school job. I was in color guard. I had a social life. In college I usually went to class, spent a lot of time writing papers, hung out with friends, partied occasionally, and slept whenever I could. Television, while always important as a way to relax, was never a priority. I spent way less time watching TV than I do now. In a way, I blame college. I learned to look deeper into the media around me; find what message a tv show or movie tried to convey and what it was saying about society in general. I was an English major with a Media Studies minor.

So I missed a lot. I certainly was never in front of my TV the same night every week to keep up with a show. I remember the first time I was super bummed about not being able to follow a show regularly. It was either Full House or Home Improvement, and I had to miss it because of softball practice (just another reason to hate softball). In high school I missed a lot of episodes of Friends. I also missed the whole Dawson’s Creek phase.

Now that my TV watching habits have changed (in that I both have more time for television watching, and I can watch what I want when I want), Netflix is providing me with the perfect opportunity to catch up on what I missed.

I’m starting with West Wing and Felicity. My husband may mock me for watching both (more so for Felicity), but I think this is part of the reason why Netflix streaming exists.

So while I don’t mind people knowing that I’m satisfying my younger self by catching up on what I missed, I am sad that our privacy rights are being eroded once again.

2012- a year in terrible shows

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Happy New Year! My resolution is to not ignore my blog for months. Sorry about that! I hope I haven’t lost too many readers.

Well, it is 2013. It’s a good a time as any to reflect on what I watched during 2012 (year 3 of being cable free). My husband suggested that I do a sort of round-up of all the terrible and guilty pleasure shows that I watched. I think I’ll take him up on that. There were some spectacularly bad shows that were on TV.

Let’s start off with the shows that I used to watch that just turned bad.

Raising Hope. I used to be a fan. I thought it was silly, but clever. It had good characters and hilarious plots. But, with the newest season starting this past fall I just couldn’t do it anymore. I got one episode in and gave up. Honestly, I haven’t even thought about this show in so long that I can’t remember what it was that made me remove it from the HuluPlus queue. I don’t miss it at all.

Fringe. Oh, Fringe, you were such a fantastic show for 2 seasons. Then the 3rd season came and shit just got off track. I’ll watch the 4th and final season at some point, but now isn’t the time. I have too much other stuff to watch to put up with your bizarreness right now. But, you are a JJ Abrams show after all. I should have known better.

The guilty pleasures are up next.

Hoarding doesn’t really offer much aside from voyeuristic television watching. It’s a way for us to sit comfortably on our couches judging other people’s lives. The show isn’t making a statement (unlike a show like Ru Paul’s Drag Race). Even if it began by making the mental illness of hoarding more widely known, it’s moved beyond that. It’s pure guilty pleasure watching. I’ll add Animal Hoarding and Freaky Eaters in with this as well.

*sigh* Toddlers and Tiaras. Another vehicle to judge the mentally ill. Speaking of judging people, feel free to judge me for actually paying money to watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I make no excuses. That shit is hilarious.

There are two shows that I’ll throw in here that I don’t actually believe are terrible, but they are certainly guilty pleasures. I’m talking about Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. For me, Pretty Little Liars is still going strong, and I can’t wait for the next season to be thrown up on Netflix. Gossip Girl was a great watch for about 4 seasons. I caught up in time to watch the last few episodes, and I’m glad it ended. It went stale – although not as quickly as it could have.

And we’ll end with the truly terrible.
Netflix offers a lot of Korean imports. One of those is the adaptation of the manga Boys Over Flowers. My husband may disagree with me, but I thought it was terrible. Granted, I’ve never read the manga, but the tv adaptation was bizarre (and not in a good way).

New Normal. Ugh. Insulting and derivative. I can’t believe it’s still on the air.

My husband actually seemed to enjoy Animal Practice on a certain level. I enjoyed it on no level. Not even the cute monkey could save that show for me.

I debated about including Go On here. It’s not the worst, and it’s certainly not on a level with Animal Practice or New Normal. But, we stopped watching it for a reason; it just didn’t live up to our comedy expectations. I know many people would disagree and say that Matthew Perry is hilarious, but I bet those same people get a kick out of Two and a Half Men. No thanks. I’ll just be over here waiting for Community to return.

I gave Bridalplasty a try on Netflix. I watched about 10 minutes and then fast forwarded to the end to see who the “winner” was and what she looked like now. I feel sad for society that this show even happened.

See, even the kid from that show I gave up in 2011 is weeping for our souls.

And I’ll end this section with two anime I tried giving a try to last night: Kaze No Stigma was straight up boring for something that was supposed to be action packed and Rosario + Vampire seemed derivative in a weird way of Inuyasha but with too much fan service and a boring story.

Honorable mentions include: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (the last season or two has made this once interesting and fun show into a disaster), Extreme Couponing (belongs shelved somewhere near Hoarding), and Sister Wives (not included above because I think the show actually has something to say about society).

Here’s to another year of good and bad television for me to deem worthy or not.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. My New Year’s Resolution will be to post more in 2013!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Watch this on Hulu: Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

If you’re a geek, nerd, otaku, or whatever then you definitely know about San Diego Comic Con. Scratch that, even if you’re not into comics or consider yourself a geek then you STILL probably know about Comic Con. It’s become a pop cultural mecca.

People from all over the country (and probably the world) congregate in San Diego for this convention to celebrate the entertainment that they love. Movies and TV shows are previewed, limited release toys are available, and people work for months on costumes to showcase.

It’s nerdvana for a lot of fanboy and girls. But what is now a huge convention for over 100,000 people, used to be a much smaller affair strictly for people interested in comics as an art form.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope has some pretty big names that helped put this documentary together. Two of those names are Morgan Spurlock and Joss Whedon. There’s lots of commentary from the likes of Kevin Smith, Brian Michael Bendis, Grant Morrison, Robert Kirkman, and so many more.

I highly recommend it even if you’re not into documentaries. It’s well done and entertaining.

Unfortunately it looks like you have to have Hulu Plus to view it.

Dragon*Con 2012

Dragon*Con 2012 was pretty epic. Starting Thursday late afternoon-evening there some pretty awesome costumes to be spotted including one of my favorites: Epic Mealtime. My husband and I grabbed a couple drinks (way overpriced – next year we’ll bring our own) and set to people watching.

Speaking of drinks, a popular shot was turned into a cocktail drink that we both ended up falling in love with. It’s called a dragon bomb and it’s basically Bacardi Dragonberry vodka and Red Bull. Super awesome!

Everywhere you looked there were amazing costumes. The popular ones for this year were the 11th Doctor, female versions of Loki, TARDIS dresses, and steampunk anything. We noted that more older people opted for steampunk outfits. Adventure Time was another popular one, but mostly just Finns and a few Fionas. I did see a couple good Marceline’s thrown in there as well.

Panels were great too. I went to far more panels this year than I did in ‘08. I actually opted to stay in my room and watch a couple on DC*TV that I knew would be packed full of people (Torchwood, BSG, and True Blood). Watching on the TV obviously isn’t quite as fun as being there in person, but it was still pretty neat. It would have been even better if DC*TV wasn’t having so many audio problems!

Best panel for me by far was with Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn (From Star Trek: The Next Generation). Both have done enough of these things to be old hands at it. They’ve done so many of them that they just relax, have fun, and take turns making fun of the audience. They developed a way to get people asking ridiculous or long questions to shut up: sing! I sense a record deal in the works…

We stayed in the Westin which was…ok. It wasn’t spectacular (although our view from the 58th floor was). There was a lot of construction noise that would wake us in the mornings, the bed was super uncomfortable, and you either walk out of the shower into the toilet or step on the door stop.

Before the convention was even over we had decided that we’re going back next year!

We took some pictures, but honestly we didn’t get nearly enough costumes captured. Definitely check out the Facebook page for Dragon*con or the Facebook page for photos from Dragon*con.



NY Times compares/contrasts #Netflix and #Hulu

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I’m experimenting with putting hash-tags in my title because these posts are getting bounced to Twitter.

I love the Amazon app. I’ve probably spent more money on entertainment because of it, but it’s still super handy. Breaking Bad, Portlandia, Downton Abbey, Doctor Who, Adventure Time, and so many other shows I can watch the day after they air on my TV via the PS3. I also own a Kindle Fire. I mentioned that this week I am going to Dragon*Con so I am in the process of selecting a couple movies to put on the device so I can watch on the plane.

But, Netflix does still seem to trump Amazon. I definitely wouldn’t consider dumping Netflix for Amazon Prime (which I don’t subscribe to).

I guess it all comes down to your preference and what you prefer to spend money on. But, do take a look at this article for a nice breakdown of what devices play which service, how much each catalog holds, and which app just works better.

Dragon*con actively turns a blind eye to a very real problem for women con-goers

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As someone who takes in a lot of television, movies, and pop culture I get super excited about conventions. I’ve only been to a couple in my lifetime one of which is Dragon*Con in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend. I went in 2008 and had an absolute blast. I went to a couple Torchwood panels, sang along at the Buffy Horror Picture Show and the Doctor Horrible Sing Along Blog. I met Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto from the Torchwood series) and he told me I was lovely *blush*.

My husband and I are going this year as well and I’m super excited. We have costumes lined up (something I didn’t do last time) and I’ve got the app installed on my phone with the panels selected that I hope I can get to. I’m also pretty mentally prepared for the fact that it will be 4 days surrounded by a massive amount of people. I normally try to avoid crowds and I tend to get overwhelmed easily in them. That’s why I’m glad I was able to get us a room in one of the 5 host hotels. When I’m feeling like it’s all too much I’ll just retreat to my room.

One of the reasons I don’t like crowds (and there are a few as to why they make me nervous) is because you never know who you’re brushing up against. For woman it’s always on our minds that some creepy person may feel free to reach out and grab whatever they’d like. When there are this many people shoved together anything can happen.

When I went to Dragon*Con four years ago I never felt endangered, but I did recognize that taking extra caution was needed. Usually I was hanging out with one or more people, but occasionally I was on my own. And luckily nobody accosted or assaulted me. This year I’ll have my husband with me for most of the time.

Having seen first hand what a popular convention is like I applauded the Backup Ribbon Project. The incident that caused its founders to begin this project occurred the year I was at the Con. Basically two girls came across a man accosting/yelling at another girl and people were too afraid to step in and help her because they weren’t “official” in any way. The ribbons are for people to recognize those who are willing to help anyone in danger get them to a safer spot. They are also for people wearing the ribbons to know it’s ok to help anyone that looks like they may be in danger. From their website: If you take a Backup ribbon or you wear a Backup t-shirt, you are promising one very simple thing: You WILL be That Person to help out anybody being harassed. Gender, orientation, presentation is irrelevant. You WILL find a way to help, whether by directly intervening, getting help from elsewhere, or simply listening the person being harassed. You WILL be there for them. You WILL accept that they believe they have been harassed. You WILL NOT question them or doubt them, You WILL give them whatever help they wish.”

They have received reports about “backup” helping to break up fights and help others get to safety. Their goal is laudable. I’m not sure how anyone is against helping female fan con-goers feel safer.

Unfortunately the people running Dracon*Con don’t feel the same way. This post was made saying they won’t sanction or support it. The Backup Ribbon Project’s response is here. People are pretty outraged. Instead of helping to solve an actual problem (females DO get harassed at Dracon*Con and other conventions) they are trying to solve a potential problem. I recognize that it is possible that there may be a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” or other “bad” person posing as someone willing to help that takes advantage of the situation. However, the very real problem is that there is a lack of security at Dragon*con and a absolutely terrible to non-existent harassment policy. As the Backup project points out, their policy boils down to “don’t be a jerk.” To be clear, there is no policy in place to take any action against anyone that has harassed another member of the con. After reading the comments on the Live Journal post it appears that there is no training for security at the Con. There are no requirements or anything of the like. Badge and hotel key checks are great, but what is the ratio of security to con goer. The Backup Project asks some really great and pertinent questions in their response to Dragon*con.

I also agree with them and the other outraged attendees that this new policy makes me sad and angry. In a year that has seen women lose more and more of their rights it just makes me bitter. Having to see a fan convention that I am excited to go to turn a blind eye to a real problem for women is disappointing.