Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Blogging Dead (s7ep3): The Cell

Posted: November 7, 2016 in Random
Tags:

Back at the Sanctuary, Daryl has been locked up in a small, windowless room and tortured with loud, obnoxious music for hours on end. While Dwight enjoys his fresh sandwich, he tosses Daryl one made from dog food. Dwight continuously returns to the room to feed him while waiting to see Daryl break to Negan’s will. When Dwight leaves to deal with an escaped member of Negan’s clan, Daryl makes an attempt to escape. The failed attempt leaves him trapped again in the room and awaiting his fate.

Daryl’s Will: While Daryl has been tested in the past, he has never experienced such torture. The “mine” guys pushed him to break his care for others, though running into Rick and Carl helped him snap back into reality. Now in imprisonment, Daryl is being pushed to his limit between the sleep depravation, loud music, poor food, and lack of light. Negan is waiting for Daryl to abandon his name and what makes him an independent person, but Daryl in the moment of truth refused to break. He has always had this inner strength that other characters have only shown in glimpses compared to his consistent stalwart personality.

The Complicated World of Dwight: It is easy to look at a guy like Dwight and see the angry follower who seems to hate everything about Daryl. The beginning of the episode helped to push this concept as the contrast of him taking what he wants was put against the way he treated Daryl in the cell. As the episode pushed forward, his interaction with Gordon only served to reinforce this thought. The image of Dwight became more complicated when Negan tried to finally break Daryl. After placing the picture in Daryl’s cell to make him fully break down, Dwight stayed to wait for Daryl’s tears to become real. After Daryl’s refusal to take Negan’s name, Dwight actually appeared to acknowledge that breaking to Negan’s demands would at least save his life. Daryl’s refusal challenged Dwight for just long enough that it felt like he finally commiserated with the idea that Dwight sold out while Daryl actually took the moral high ground.

walking-dead-recap-episode-3-season-7-9958f38f-0bfe-4eda-a1eb-a8b3eb8b70c6

Negan’s Rule of Thumb: There have been a few encounters where we have experienced the “we are Negan” comments. Being such a charismatic leader, he is able to get nearly everyone around him to accept his rule. He is a threatening presence, but there is something else that holds him in a position of power. In a broken world, he is willing to put himself out there to lead the sheep. His people are looking for someone to provide direction and protection. He is smart enough to know what to promise and what boundaries to push in order to take people to the edge. This will certainly serve him well until someone, maybe Maggie or Rick, is able to find a weakness in his style of rule.

Negan’s style of rule will be on full display next week, as we will see him take a trip to Alexandria and push a broken Rick to admit defeat. Will we see Maggie take over for Rick’s weakness? While Rick find his groove back? Will Negan enact a takeover of the quiet community? We’ve got a 90 minute episode to find out.

Question of the Week: How long would it take for the music from this episode to make you go crazy?

In Memoriam: Gordon

After realizing that Carol and Maggie have been captured, Rick tries to negotiate a trade for the one surviving Savior from the compound for his people. Paula, the leader of the group outside the fence, takes her group and her captives back to another building and throws her prisoners onto the kill floor. As Rick and the rest try to negotiate the exchange, Paula consistently threatens the pending death of her captives. Carol slowly starts to break down and appears to be struggling with her situation. Whether this was an act or the real thing, the experience is hitting her strongly.

twd-carol-maggie-173719Carol’s Transformation: Having appeared to be acting timid to throw her captors off, Carol appeared less like she was trying to feel them out and more like she actually now regrets her violent actions and tendencies. While she has shown the emotion previously with Lizzie and Mika, her demeanor more recently has been more brutal. In this episode, she seems to rediscover her desire for her faith and regrets the person she appears to be becoming. Paula represents the end of her grasp on humanity and she fears becoming that person. While she will likely not lose her survival and protective instincts, she will likely be conflicted about continuing Rick’s assault on the Saviors.

 

c778b5d267cb4393c3d9b9c3a6c2943fMirror Images: Are we seeing double? Paula and ‘Chelle appear to actually be the Saviors version of Carol and Maggie. As their background are revealed, we learned that ‘Chelle had previously been pregnant and commiserated for a moment while interrogating Maggie. While ‘Chelle started off very aggressive, holding her weapon at Maggie and Carol while bound and unable to move, she seemed to soften up over time and let her guard down. Maggie shows significantly more leadership and autonomy, but there were some moments where the two could easily see pieces of themselves in each other.

For Carol and Paula, there were some clear similarities in their brutality and coldness. Carol was taking a strong turn toward regret, but she saw herself in Paula’s deadly personality. Telling the story of her first moments of the apocalypse with her boss had to be one of the more chilling moments of the episode. She also talked about how she stopped counting her kills, which was quite in dissonance to Carol’s recent challenges. Carol has had to be brutal to protect her people, as displayed by her dispatching the Wolves, but she had an image of who she could become as she watched Paula’s distant personality with her crew. Even close to death, Paula looked ready to fight to kill and Carol was not ready to make the quick decision until Chelle appeared and almost injured Maggie.

TWD_613_GP_1007_0049_gn-1200x800We are ALL Negan: While Rick may believe that he has taken out the real Negan, we all know that is not the case. Molls recites the line, which is also used in the comics, but it is echoed at the end by Primo as well. This represents the group mentality of the Saviors and their current protection of their true leader. Negan represents the brutal personality they believe is necessary to survive the apocalypse and control the other survivors. The real Negan is still on the horizon and someone from the core group will probably not make it out of this season.

In Memoriam: Paula, Donnie, Primo, Molls, ‘Chelle, and several other Saviors

Question of the Week: After Rick’s group has survived the end of the assault, what do you believe their fate will be when they actually meet the real Negan?

Blogging Dead (s6ep8): Start to Finish

Posted: November 30, 2015 in Random

With walkers plowing their way through the broken fence, the Alexandrians scatter and try to reach safety in the houses. Deanna falls onto a saw and gets cut in two places while trying to fight for her life. The only one left outside is Maggie, who barely makes it atop the guard post. With the group scattered, each house must figure out what to do next to survive, including surviving each other.

1297777986947_ORIGINALCarl v. Rob: With last episode ending with Rob getting ready to shoot the only other boy his age in town, the fall of the tower put their confrontation on hold. While Carl was never exactly where Rob is now, he does understand the angst and the confusion about living with the death of a parent and with the knowledge that your father has done some horrible things. The difference has been that Carl was able to grow up in those moments while Rob is ready to give up on life completely. The fight in the garage was a long time coming, but it was likely not the end of their feud, however short it may end up being. The comics give some clue as to what may happen and it will be a shocking moment for all tv-only watchers to see.

walking-dead-nov-29-2015-s6-ep-8

Carol v. Morgan: Trust has been at the center of what their feud has been about. Carol believes that some people are too horrible to belief in, while Morgan tries to value all life. While weakened from the fight into the house, Carol eventually got the strength to take on Morgan. It inevitably ended with Morgan getting the upper hand due to his strength and physical training, but both were knocked unconscious when the Wolf jumped into the fight. Denise ended up being the one in the great amount of trouble, as the Wolf left the two unconscious and walked out of the basement with her and one of Tara’s handguns.

_1448851830Deanna’s Last Stand: In a moment that helped to finally redeem the leader’s troubled handling of the community’s walker problem, she was able to have her few moments with Rick and Michonne to help them both be thinking about life after the chaos. She seemed to really strike a chord with Michonne, in particular, as she was able to get her to truly question her purpose for continuing to fight. Rather than taking the gun and finishing herself off, she decided to take one moment of greatness and end a few walkers before she was ripped to shreds. Considering her troubles with shooting at the start of the mess, her final act could truly be seen as heroic.

Troubling Future: Before reading this section, know that there are some possible spoilers from the comics. A little added clip as the prologue finally announced in the show that Negan is coming. Before getting the chance to meet him, there is still the walker problem and Rick’s group of survivors are left in the middle of the fray with Sam being completely unable to deal with the problem in front of him. Rick still does not realize that Rob is hunting his son and Sam is causing attention to be drawn to them. In a moment to save a family that is causing him trouble through ruining their ability to get away and his own family, you know that Rick will choose Carl and Judith. The problem is that this question will not be answered until February…

The Walking Dead will be on break for a few months, but I will return with new analyses and thoughts on the series.

In Memoriam: Deanna

Question of the Week: With Deanna out of the picture, how long will it take of the survivors to trust Rick as their new leader after this herd is dealt with?

Redskins Report: Postseason Blues

Posted: January 8, 2014 in Random

The Redskins were dreaming of another run for the postseason and ended up with a year of disappointment. So much can be assessed to the coaching staff, the salary cap, the recovery of RGIII, and a host of missed opportunities, but the reality is the team was not prepared to take on the talent of the rest of the NFL this year. The Chiefs were on a high when they blasted Washington at home. The Broncos were a team of great offense that was able to find a way to overcome their first half slump. The NFC East was disappointing but all of the team were playing more consistently, especially in the second half of the season. Now the team is left to pick up the pieces and redefine who they want to be.

One of the greatest criticisms of the team has to be the ownership. Daniel Snyder is overly involved in the day-to-day operations and makes too many of the decisions without the best understanding of how to successfully develop and coach a team. Plus, HE IS NOT A COACH! The relationship with RGIII is inappropriate, especially when it undermines the coach and neglects the players who were playing at a higher level. Until he steps back from the operations, the team will probably struggle to get the right coach and truly make a Super Bowl run.

ImageThe next target has to be the coaching. Shanahan could have potentially been a better coach, but he faced a mountain of problems, starting with Snyder. His biggest wall otherwise was the salary cap. The huge hit brought on by Haynesworth-less and other acquisitions during the uncapped year limited his ability to grab free agents and hold onto the special teams players needed to keep the unit from being last in the league. $36 million dollars is a huge hit. The reality is that he struggled to work with his son, was a bit conservative when he needed to be more aggressive but also failed to manage RGIII and other players when he needed to assert himself. His firing was not a surprise (and neither were all the coaches to follow him out), but now there will be a challenge of finding the right coach to step in. There are no superstar coaches willing to step into the organization, but this may be the right time to find a bit of an unknown (or lesser known) to avoid the glamour of a star hire.

The offense had its moments, but the best performances of the year had to be from Garcon, Reed, and Morris. Garcon took home the reception record and looks to continue to prove his worth after leaving Indianapolis. Jordan Reed is one of the great surprise pickups from the draft, at least until he got injured. He is proving to be the lead TE for the future, so it is unclear what will happen with Davis. Morris is a hard runner, even with the struggling offensive line. He will continue to succeed once the line issues are resolved (hopefully in the offseason). The problems have been the line, but also the receivers. When Reed went down, Garcon was the only consistent legitimate threat on the field. There will have to be more work to fix these problems.

ImageAnd then there is RGIII…I like Griffin but I am starting to really get frustrated by him (though it could also be the media’s coverage of him). When he struggled in his rookie season with the 3-6 starting record, he showed more ownership of the struggles and more poise in the face of the media. The team succeeded, he was injured, he came back to play in Week 1 of this year, and then he devolved in his face time with the press. He started to show public frustration with parts of the team, the coaching staff, and outside influences. He took ownership of the team’s struggles less. He failed to recognize his involvement in the challenges. The offseason could be huge for Griffin, as he needs to refocus on the game, take himself out of the press, reconnect with the team, and get back to what made him a great college and NFL rookie player (with the wisdom of a veteran).

The defense was a mess and they will now be without London Fletcher next season. Orakpo, Kerrigan, and Hall continue to be the standouts of the unit, but the team was giving up one of the greatest numbers of points in the team’s history. They struggled to contain the run as well as they usually do and definitely gave up a lot of yards and points to receivers. The only thing worse was the special team, which I will not even get into. 

New coaches, free agents moves, another draft to find future talent. Change is coming for this team.

Around the NFL – Playoffs

After barely getting in with the win over the Cowboys in Week 17, the Eagles struggled to hold off the Saints at home. Brees and the Saints finally were able to shed their poor playoff performances on the road with a win in Philadelphia.

ImageKansas City blasted out for a 28-point lead in their game over the Colts, even with Jamaal Charles getting sidelined with a concussion. Then the Colts woke up. Luck got the offense going and the Chiefs slowed down significantly. The Colts pulled off the 2nd greatest postseason comeback in NFL history.

The 49ers had a tough road to battle with going into Green Bay with some of the coldest temperatures experienced during an NFL game (besides the Ice Bowl). They seemed up to the task and were able to stave off the Packers behind the rushing and passing of Kaepernick.

The Chargers barely made the playoffs and needed a lot of help to get there. This was not a problem for them as they were able to handle the Bengals fairly well, knocking Dalton off his game yet again.

On Thursday, the Academy officially announced their nominations for the 85th Academy Awards. Among the list of top films of the past year, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, Les Miserables and Amour seemed to get the most attention, while there were a number of films that missed out either on certain categories or were nearly absent from recognition. It is always difficult to slim down the options but there is always a few films that seem to be missing in action from the major categories.

My most significant snub has to be Cloud Atlas. While the movie may have been too complex and intricate for the general public, it is those types of films that tend to get positive recognition from the Academy. I never thought that it would have been up for best picture or direction, but it should have been represented in nearly every production and presentation category. The biggest accomplishment of the film was its ability to transform each of the main actors into 6 distinct characters for each of the films storylines, some so significant that an actress like Halle Berry was able to play a White, German woman and a male, Chinese doctor. With each of the storylines spanning across generations, the scenery was rather mesmerizing as well. Integrated throughout the film, the original score and the “Cloud Atlast Sextet” should have been recognized for their brilliance.

Turning more toward a category versus a specific film, direction is always a tough call. The best picture category now gets 9-10 options but direction only gets 5, so there are alwayssome odd ones out. To top the list this year, Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow have solid recognition for their films but not their leadership in the development. All of the conversation during its release screamed that Argo would be the film to beat. Then, November happened and Lincoln became just one of the several films to be released late in the season to steal away the attention. Zero Dark Thirty’s subject matter may have made the film appealing but also too controversial for Bigelow to get another nod. Wes Anderson seemed to also miss out after having such positive recognition during the summer for his quirky hit Moonrise Kingdom. Tom Hooper got the nod when he directed The King’s Speech but Les Miserables was not up to par with the other nominees.

There were not a lot of surprises in the acting categories, but supporting actor was missing a couple of potential representatives. Leonardo DiCaprio is not an Academy favorite and got snub again for his villainous role, as did Samuel L. Jackson from the same film. Bruce Willis and Edward Norton had memorable performances in Moonrise Kingdom but not enough for the recognition. With the best actor category, it was surprising that John Hawke was mysteriously absent for his role as the hopeful but ill-fated Mark O’Brien. EwnMcGregor had two great performances between Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and The Impossible but not nomination to speak of.

In the end, Lincoln could easily get a lot of victories with some competition from Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty, but some may continue to get caught up on how films that had such hype earlier in the year just did not have the steam when nomination day finally came.

Image

Happy Thanksgiving for Some…

Posted: November 23, 2012 in Holidays, Random

Thanksgiving is typically one of those holidays that I really love. Getting together with the family, there are great football games, excellent food and memories galore. This is the case for many family and friends across the country, and even some of those trying to celebrate overseas. Unfortunately there are also many of people who are currently missing the opportunity to enjoy the holiday, and not just our troops across the globe.

Black Friday shopping has continued to get more and more out of hand. When it was first developed, the idea was meant to kickstart the holiday shopping season. Slowly, the start time for store openings continued to crawl earlier and earlier into the morning. Only recently has it actually reached all the way back to midnight for certain stores. This year, several stores have pushed their start times all the way back to Thanksgiving night, as early as 8pm (and staying open until the end of the shopping day on Friday evening).

Why is this such a problem if people are going to go out shopping anyway to take advantage of the deals? It is inhumane! It is crazy to force people to have to come in on a day of family, friends, reflection and appreciation for what we have to encourage a culture of buying things we do not need. That is what Friday is for. The employees of these stores deserve the opportunity to take the day to relax and enjoy their day. They should be able to watch enjoy time with their families and friends, and, for that matter, everyone should be able to take the day off to not have to worry about buying things.

     

I decided to boycott the Thursday night shopping, but I know that will not make a difference. I hope that store owners develop more of a conscience next year and let their employees actually enjoy the holiday.

I was browsing on Facebook when I noticed the post of a former colleague. She was more than elated for her son, who seemed to be discovered for a rather unique talent. Jake Foushee, a 14-year old kid, has a rather deep voice compared to many his age, but his has been trained to imitate Don LaFontaine, the movie trailer voice. I watched the video the first time and thought that he must have had some sort of software changing his voice over his computer…at least until I saw him on Good Morning America. He then was invited on Ellen and was presented with an agent to start his career.

In the future, his may be the voice that impresses you during the trailers at the movies.