There are a lot of “Will it Run??!?!”-style videos on YouTube these days, which all follow the same basic format: a guy (they are usually guys) drives or flies somewhere to find a long-abandoned car in a field or barn, spends 3/4 of the video trying to get it running and driving with a minimal set of tools, and then spends the last 1/4 driving it halfway across America to get home. They are hugely popular for reasons I can completely understand: they involve older cars, the host explains what they’re doing, there are usually one or more catastrophic things wrong with the car they must address, and there’s always something that breaks on the way home. I love these videos because I like old cars, I appreciate learning how to fix things, and I love road trips. I would love nothing more than to do this for a living—but I’m not a good enough mechanic yet. Much of what I’ve learned from these videos has come in handy as I’ve gotten the Chrysler and the Travelall running, fixed the brakes, and worked my way through the other systems.

Anyway, there are a lot of these out there now, and I like some more than others. As with podcasts, it’s all about the host; some people are insufferable and rub me the wrong way, and others I enjoy spending time following. I just found a new one with a guy who split a major revival into two parts: a get-it-fixed half and a get-home-but-visit-interesting-places half. The car in question is a beautiful rusty 1960 Impala, abandoned for years, and he manages to keep it running across the country as he checks out some really interesting landmarks. Subscribed. 

Date posted: September 8, 2023 | Filed under cars, entertainment | Leave a Comment »

I’ve been playing The Division 2 for quite a long time now, and it got stale months ago but I haven’t seen any new games that I’ve been interested in trying—until now. Bethesda, the developers behind Fallout 4, are about to release a new game called Starfield, which is a space-based explorer/shooter/dogfighting game that sounds amazing by all accounts. I tried another well reviewed space-based game a while back called No Man’s Sky, which wound up being very repetitive after about ten hours or so, so I’m hopeful this one has the detail and storytelling I enjoyed in the Fallout series. It’s out next week, and I do believe I’ll give it a shot.

Date posted: September 2, 2023 | Filed under entertainment | Leave a Comment »

We drove over to the other side of Baltimore to see a double-feature of Legally Blonde and Barbie last night at the only remaining drive-in theater in the area. Apart from watching most of the first movie through windshield wipers as a giant thunderstorm swept through the area.

Barbie was surprising and bright and thoughtful and everything you don’t expect it to be; we all enjoyed it immensely. I hope it wins awards for best original screenplay and acting—for the leads and supporting roles alike.

Date posted: July 29, 2023 | Filed under Baltimore, entertainment | Leave a Comment »

Vulture reminds us the Venture Brothers movie will be released in a month tomorrow, which is something I will be looking forward to intently. They ranked the 15 best episodes, and while I agree with some of their picks there are a bunch that should have ranked higher and others that aren’t represented at all. I realize they were trying to spread the list out among the seasons, but the first and second seasons are so strong, it’s hard to choose among them. That being said, Showdown at Cremation Creek (Pt. II) is strangely missing, and Escape to the House of Mummies should be in there just for the addition of Edgar Allen Poe. I’m glad 20 Years to Midnight is included. IGNORE ME!

 

Date posted: July 20, 2023 | Filed under entertainment, humor | Leave a Comment »

…he compared Defector to a neighborhood bar, no pun intended. “This is our little business—we just need to have these margins, pay our employees, and that’s it,” he said. “No one who owns a bar is thinking, ‘I can’t wait for NBCUniversal to come offer to buy my bar for a hundred million dollars.’

The Columbia Journalism Review does a great piece on Defector, the sports/commentary website born from the ashes of the old Deadspin blog. What an amazing concept: building a self-sustaining business to provide a healthy lifestyle for its employees, not to make the founder rich. Venture capital is a virus. I subscribed almost two years ago and I’ve never regretted it; the writing is that good.

Previously.

Date posted: May 31, 2023 | Filed under entertainment | Leave a Comment »

I’ve had Afterlife by Arcade Fire going through my head for the last couple of days. The original song is excellent; I didn’t know until I looked up the lyrics that James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem) produced the album; that explains the excellent groove this song sits upon.

I remember seeing the music video I’ve embedded above when it first came out nine years ago: Produced by Spike Jonze and starring Greta Gerwig, it’s an amazing live-action production and performance of the song.

Date posted: May 17, 2023 | Filed under earworm, entertainment, music | Leave a Comment »

When I was a kid in New Jersey we had six channels to watch: the three main networks, the Fox affiliate (FOX 5, before it was Nazis, home of the Godzilla creature feature at Halloween and It’s a Wonderful Life at Christmas), Channel 29 (home of Star Blazers and M*A*S*H reruns), and PBS. One day I caught a show on PBS that had a guy dressed in odd pseudo-military clothing who taught kids how to draw, and the first time I saw it I was VERY interested in watching the rest of the shows. Unfortunately it never followed a schedule that made any sense and so I wound up only seeing a handful of episodes.

Fast forward to college, when my friend Tim and I were talking about random stuff and shared a common memory from youth: the drawing show on PBS. Turns out it was produced here in Maryland by MPT, and turns out he was a guest on the show as a kid for one of the episodes!

Fast forward to last night,when the same subject came up and I was talking about it with my sister-in-law. I had to find it, and the Internet provided: a series called Secret City, where the host tought kids to draw all kinds of different things. Enjoy:

Date posted: April 24, 2023 | Filed under art/design, entertainment, general | Leave a Comment »

Scott Pilgrim is coming to Netflix as an animated series, written and run by the creator, produced by Edgar Wright, and starring the voices of almost everyone from the original movie. This is the good news I needed on an otherwise sour Thursday afternoon.

Date posted: March 30, 2023 | Filed under entertainment, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

We are the parents of a teenager, which means she would rather sit and watch incomprehensible YouTube compilations of TikTok videos instead of enjoying mass-market media with us. It’s not for lack of trying; there have been multiple series we thought she’d enjoy that she’s waved off in favor of screamy narrated speedruns of games she’s never played. So it was a surprise when we sat down as a family for the first time in forever to watch a TV series together: Willow, the follow-up series to the 1988 movie. The first couple of episodes were challenging to get through from a narrative perspective; the writers set up almost all of the main characters as assholes, treating each other poorly and generally being unlikeable. It wasn’t until the fourth episode or so where the character arcs all thunked into place and people began redeeming themselves. The rest of the series is solid: the production values are to-notch, the acting is great (in spite of the writing) and the action is generally OK. We’re looking forward to finishing this series out.

The second series Jen and I have been watching is Andor, which has been absolutely stellar from the opening scenes. It’s sad to say, but watching a Star Wars series written for adults is refreshing; having recently rewatched The Force Awakens for the first time in several years I was struck by the amount of fan service and yuks there were in lieu of real stakes. Andor’s main story is that of a lovable rogue for the first three episodes, pivoting to a study of bureaucratic fascism and a heist story for the next set. Personally, the Empire is scarier to me when it’s depicted as a faceless omniscient DMV with tall ceilings than it is as a bunch of Stormtroopers lined up waiting to get shot at. We’re only four episodes in but we’re riveted and can’t wait to see what happens next.

Date posted: January 1, 2023 | Filed under entertainment | Leave a Comment »

HOLY SHIT.

LEGO is selling a modern-day version of the Galaxy Explorer, possibly the best original LEGO Space kit they made. This one:

Galaxy Explorer completed

The OG space minifigs were red and white for the first iteration of the Space kits; when LEGO realized they had a hit on their hands they changed them to blue, which is what most people recognize. PUMP THIS DIRECTLY INTO MY VEINS.

Date posted: November 21, 2022 | Filed under entertainment | Leave a Comment »