Such a Shame to Miss the First Man

It’s a shame that people missed First Man, because they were too busy being pissed about wanting bragging rights as the country that landed on the moon first.  This movie wasn’t about who got there first. Landing on the moon wasn’t kids racing in a school yard. It was so much bigger than that.  It was about humanity, at it’s core. It was about the man, not just the mission.  The movie was personal, and told the story of a man and a mission.  America did land on the moon first, but space exploration is something that has been accomplished by our world and our species. America accomplished that extraordinary feat in the name of our world.
Somewhere along the way, we were entrusted with being the leader of the free world. It wasn’t because that’s what we were. It’s because that was our promise to become.  We were to be a country of immigrants, and slaves who would be freed, and asylum seekers, and refugees, and native born people. We would show how a country of countries would be the example of a free and fair nation. We would be the standard, for the world, as to how people can have individual and collective sovereignty. Each person would be inherently equal.  Their rights would be unencumbered, insofar as no one person’s will would infringe upon the right of another’s.
This movie, brought us up into the atmosphere where the collective reached new heights, yet also brought us into the heart of family, of life and death, of love and sorrow. It brought to bear, bonds of friendship, community, and a collective bond between people who would seek to accomplish a mission bigger than one person. It would be out of many one. E pluribus unum.
Those who dissed this movie, for not bragging, also miss that this story was not the whole story of our collective country, during this moment in time. This idyllic snapshot did not include all of our people, nor all of our bonds. Just as they judged the movie by it’s preview, they also fail to see beyond the myopic view of what we accomplished. We cannot hope to reach our promise, if we do not see all of our past, as it bears on our current challenges. We will never make good on who we pledged to become, if we do not recognize, that the bonds many of our country’s citizens shared during this golden age of discovery, looked very different. Until we can recognize our collective truth, we cannot realize our overall mission. For us to achieve the next big leap for mankind, we must first see all of human kind. It is the bridge we must cross.  We must see each other, and all must be seen.
The paradox of this story, is the notion of what one person is and can be, as well as what people can accomplish in a collective bond. Too many of our country is still busy judging that some people should not form a collective bond, and it is antithetical to our nature as a species. The reasons are never more than superficial. Almost always, they are the color of our skin, skewed and distorted views of another’s beliefs, and they completely miss the point. The bond people can make, has the power and the energy and the fuel to create something more than any single people will ever achieve. The more we can bond together, in commonality and purpose, the more we can be as a whole.

It Wasn’t Meant to Be a Choose Your Own Adventure

I know people are up in arms about the Game of Thrones finale.  I am sure I will be flayed for my opinions.  The thing is, unless you wrote the story, it’s not really up for debate. The idea that people circulated and signed a petition to redo the last season is preposterous.  This isn’t a “Choose Your Own Adventure”. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you missed out.  In the 80’s, there were these books that were “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. You would read for so many pages, and then you would get a choice. To choose that the character will do abc, go to page x, to choose that the character will do def, go to page y.

When we watch a big epic show like Game of Thrones, I think it’s a disservice to the 8 seasons, for fans to lament the ending. I think it’s fine to be disappointed in the ending, and I wished it had gone another way, but that doesn’t negate the amazing show we all got to enjoy for 8 seasons.  The cast, crew and creative team deserve more respect than that.  This story was massive, and it had so many intertwined stories, I think it’s arrogant for us to all assume we would have done it better.

With that being said, let me lay out where I thought it was going to go, at least in the abstract. I won’t say it would have been better, just different.

Going into the finale season, it really seemed to me that there was an over-arching theme.  These “children” had created the night king and the army of the dead. They also wanted to undo what they had done.

Centuries later, and we start off seeing these groups of parents and their kids.  The pattern we see is the mistakes the parents make, and their kids trying to do better than their parents.  It seemed to me, that there was a delineation between the kids who learned to do what is right and moral, who sought to do better than their parents, while others sought to repeat their parent’s “sins” and continue/perpetuate their craven and power hungry ways.

So we see that the Starks were good. So was Asha Yara Greyjoy, even if Theon wasn’t. He takes the long road there. So does Jaime Lannister, it seems. That’s the path I thought he was taking, and I didn’t think it was just so he could throw it away at the end to stand by his sister, who hadn’t learned anything. My thought was the council at the end, should have been all the kids who learned the lesson of their parents, and the ones who were gone, would be the ones who didn’t learn that lesson.

Where does that leave Daenerys?  That’s a good question. It really felt like they were going back and forth between having her learn the lessons and then not, and then yes, and then no.  Because she gave that speech about breaking the wheel, it seemed to be that she needed to make good on that. She should have been at the head of that council, and all the kids, now the heads of their homes should have taken a piece of the iron throne, in essence having them break the throne, into 7 equal kingdoms, free from 1 potentially tyrannical ruler.

I know that may sound too nice and sweet, but Arya would still be able to have that Frodo-esque “I can’t just live a normal life, I need to sail off into the unknown” ending. Sansa would still be able to preserve the north as a free kingdom. Asha would be named queen of her kingdom, and so on. There could be major loss, without it being the equivalent of click-bait. A flashy murder, for the shock and awe. Like Missandei. She was a strong character, who had more of a story to tell, and she was sacrificed, so we could have a reason for Dany to lose it. She deserved a better story, and a better ending.

Even Cersei deserved a better ending. She already had that massive walk of shame, so how would you have her executed in a way that would make sense? Let’s say Dany didn’t snap, after the bells rang. Instead maybe Dany just goes to the tower Cersei was in, and has Drogon burn that one, so it starts crumbling around Cersei. Maybe she would still try to escape with the Mountain, and then the Hound gets his revenge on the Mountain.

Instead of her just slipping by like “this seems like an A and B convo, I’ll C my way out…”, she could have been met by Dany and Drogon at the bottom. From there, keeping her alive, would keep the sins of the past alive. She will have to be executed, but is by fire the right way? I think so, in the instance that she would be the last execution that would ever take place at that level. There would be no more top of the 7 kingdoms. King’s Landing would be transformed into a place where the leaders of the 7 kingdoms conducted joint affairs, and the citizens would be from any 1 of the 7 kingdoms.

I get this is all very loose. It’s certainly not a script. I don’t want to disrespect the creators and script writers with trying to attempt that. I’m sure many will find plenty of flaws with what I outline.

It’s just what I was hoping for.  I know I didn’t mention Jon Snow.  By the end I decided he was a pretty boy, who had a good heart, but boy was he dumb. I mean, just not a smart guy. He usually had a blank look on his face, when other characters were discussing complex political issues. I just couldn’t see fit to put him at the top, just because he was good.  I really wanted the ending he got.  Despite his heritage, and despite his upbringing, his heart belonged north of the wall, with the wildings. That’s what fit his character (and his direwolf).

So that’s my alternate ending, but that doesn’t mean I wish they would re-do the season. That’s just silly. I will say this.

It’s infuriating that Lena Headey got online hate, for her portrayal of Cersei.  She did an amazing job in that role, and she deserves praise for how well she played this villain.  The entire cast was fabulous, from the lead characters, to those with smaller parts, like Joe Dempsie (Gendry), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), and Rory McCann (The Hound).

The writers, directors, producers, costume designers, set designers, makeup people, etc. They did such an incredible job of putting all these stories together.  By season 3, I had to google a map of all the characters, so I could keep them straight. I think the team that pulled all this off, deserves our gratitude, considering all we had to do was sit on our butts and watch.  It’s easy to sit in judgement of someone else’s work. Doing the work takes a lot more.

Constructive criticism is good, but let’s make sure it that and not just tearing people down, because we like feeling like we should sit in judgement. And anyone who sent crappy mean online comments to any of the cast or crew, owes them an apology. They are people and I doubt you would be so rude to their face, so there is no excuse for doing it online.

I Wish People Would

I wish people would leave Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande alone. That doesn’t mean I don’t want his friends and family to be there for him, or hers to be there for her. I just wish the public would respect their privacy. I wish the media would. On my way home from work, last night, I heard the radio DJ say that Ariana was turned away from SNL, during their set, Saturday night. The DJ said, “Stay tuned to get the dets!” I don’t get it. It’s not healthy to be voyeurs in the private challenges people face, just because they are celebrities. It’s also not helpful to them.

If you claim to be a fan, do your celebrity crushes and icons a favor. Pay attention to their body of work. Their acting, singing, etc. Pay attention to the parts they choose to make public, like charitable work and political/social advocacy. But please, for the love of their health and yours, let their private life be private. If you can imagine your life under a microscope, and you private life all of the sudden being plastered all over the internet, imagine how much harder that would make your life. It’s not healthy, for anyone in our society, least of all the people who are subjected to this social act of mobe mentality barbarism.

By now, everyone knows that Pete Davidson is struggling with depression. My heart breaks for him, and I just keep hoping those close to him can help him get help.  On the off chance he might read this, I would like to make sure he knows the following.


You and I both know, that depression is a crippling disease. You also know it’s not your fault. I have fibromyalgia and lupus. I know people who have had breast cancer. It’s not their fault. It’s not my fault. It’s not your fault. You have to keep that in check. Write it down. Put it on your fridge. Say it out loud, any time it’s getting hard, and you are feeling like it is somehow your fault.

Here’s the thing, though. Part of depression, can be suicidal thoughts. The depression tricks your mind into thinking there is no way out. The depression thrives on getting you to believe that. The depression convinces you to isolate yourself. That is how it gets stronger. With no other voices, to drown it out. Once you acknowledge that you have depression, you also have to be on guard for your mind trying to trick you.

When your depression is pushing you in that direction, you aren’t allowed to trust your mind. You just aren’t. You have to have reminders, that tell you not to trust you mind. I know that’s counter-intuitive, but I know, that you know it’s true.

I know it sucks, because when can you trust your mind and when can’t you? How can you know? If your mind is telling you to isolate yourself, that is always the trick. Friends, family, counselors. They are the support we all need. They are what being in this world is all about, even when it’s hard. The “funny” thing about depression, is that it gets weaker, when we talk about it, when we express it, when we reach out for help and tell people that our mind is going in that direction.

Please keep your friends, family, and counselors/therapists close. I see a therapist, and I think of it like any other health measure I take. I go to a chiropractor. I see the dentist twice a year. I check in with a therapist, to discuss the things I might not want to share with other people in my life. Sometimes it’s stuff I don’t mind sharing. Other times, it’s stuff I’m trying to process. Trying to get straight in my mind.

Allow yourself that imperfection. Remind yourself, that you aren’t perfect. Remember that I’m not perfect either (no where close). No one is. Those who seem it, are working to present that. Whenever I look at someone who seems to have their life incredibly together, I try to keep in mind how much of their life I know.  For example, Michelle Obama. She’s pretty close to perfection, right? I mean, come on. But here’s the thing. I probably don’t know 1% of her life. That doesn’t mean it’s all a veneer. She’s got brilliance, grace, and so much more. But that doesn’t make her perfect, and she shouldn’t have to be. My point is, that I have to keep in mind that I know very little about her life, and I only know what she chose to share. That’s how it should be, but that means I can’t really just assume she’s perfect.

Apply that to any person in the world. No one is perfect, and anyone who looks perfect to us, we probably only see a small amount of. We see as slice of who they are. That’s ok, but that means we can’t just judge that they are better able to make sense of this world, than we are. Everyone has their own struggles. We shouldn’t judge theirs and honestly, people aren’t really judging ours.  Yes, I know. Trolls online, the media, fans in the streets. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in a celebrity bubble. But I can convey what my mom taught me.

She’s a nurse, and for a few years, she was volunteering at a crisis hotline. She said she sometimes talked to people who were clearly paranoid schizophrenic. They were sure people were judging them, and constantly watching them. She would say, “what do you spend most of your time worrying about?” The person would answer, that they can’t stop thinking about what other people are thinking of them. My mom would respond that honestly, that is what most people were thinking. The person would respond either with “What???” or “I told you so!” My mom would clarify. Most people are just like you. They mostly worry about what everyone else is thinking about them. She would put that to them, and ask, “Do you think other people spend time worrying what people are thinking of them?” The person would respond with some variation of “I guess”.

And that’s when she had the argument. People may comment online and discuss the lives of celebrities, but that is a distraction from their own lives. Most people spend most of their time, worry about what other people are thinking about them. They aren’t judging us, as much as judging themselves. When we start obsessing about what others think of us, it does us no good. As my mom told me, it’s none of your business what anyone else thinks of you. Why? Because it has more to do with what they are worrying about, in regards to themselves, than it does have anything to do with you. Your reflection on their life, is just a mirror for them to try on different parts of themselves. We all do the same thing. It’s an unhealthy trap, and a waste of our energy.

Anyway, keep your friends, family and counselors close. Keep the media and troll far away. Only let in what is healthy and helpful to your life. What will build you up. The rest is not meant for you.

Much love,


I Turn Around and am Surrounded By Love

So my Love and I are going to NYC, to celebrate my 40th birthday.  It’s the type of milestone most people generally want to avoid. Hitting that next decade, can prompt an existential if not mid-life crisis. While the existential, neurotic, musings are chilling with me lately, I’m hoping mid-life crisis is one I might avoid.  All in all, my life is pretty great, so I’m living it up.

We are going to NYC, to see P!nk on my birthday, at Madison Square Garden.  Seeing P!nk has long been near the top of my bucket list, but I never really looking into attending a concert. I figured the tickets and travel would be too much for me to justify spending.  Well, my Love surprised me with tickets, and we are off.  I’m pretty excited, and my partner in crime is going to get more than she bargained for, when I sing and dance along to the entire concert.

We won’t be in NYC for too long, but hope to do some tourist-y type stuff, while there.  Unbeknownst to me, my friends and family got together to make this trip even more epic.  I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone, for making this birthday so amazing, I might forget the small detail of my turning 40.

My family and friends contributed to the following, which is just overwhelming and wonderful:

NYC Souvenirs, Dinner on April 3rd, Birthday Breakfast, & Birthday Lunch  ~ Cathy, BJ, and kids
Pink Souvenirs and Birthday Dinner ~ Mom (Judie)
Metro Cards and LIRR Tix, and Adult Admission Tix to Rubin Museum ~ Mike & Cathy O’Keefe
Street Meat ~ Marisa
Empire State Building VIP tickets ~ Mom & Dad (Barb & Dave)
Birthday Dinner ~ Duffy
Marco Doggie Daycare ~ Lindsay, Joli, Ruby, Ozzie, and Man

I hope we are able to take plenty of pictures, of this grand adventure, as I hop over one of the 3rd rails of life, moving from 39 to 40.

I think it’s common to reflect on your life, at different moments, and to be struck by how different your life turned out to be, from what you once imagined.  I certainly had a different picture.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian, an astronaut, a ballet dancer and the 2nd female President (I knew you had to be 35, and thought we should have a 1st by then. I was so naive!).  Well, I might have went off that beaten, and perhaps un-realistic path, but that’s not the only thing I didn’t see coming.

I never realized that what would be more important than where I ended up, was who I ended up there with. No matter where I am, I have an incredible family, and some pretty amazing friends, plus a love to last a lifetime. I have my person, to share my life with, and I am surrounded by love.

Thank you all, for being in my life. Your love is overwhelming.

Streaming Apps Review

I cut the cord a couple of years ago.  Purchased a couple of Roku’s, and got subscriptions to a few streaming apps.  Those include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and HBO Now.  On my phone, I’ve also gotten a couple of series on Apple’s TV app, so I can download them to watch when I’m offline.

The great part of this is that I pay about $40/ month for my tv services.

  1. Netflix – $9.99/mo
  2. Hulu – $7.99/mo
  3. Amazon – $99/year = $8.25/mo
  4. HBO Now – $16.19/mo

Total =  $42.42/mo

Relying on these services, I’ve come to find the many goods and bads about how these apps work.  For one, they often function differently on the Roku, then they do on mobile devices like iPhones and iPads.  I work in application development, so it baffles me when I see API bugs or a lack of basic functionality, which should be obvious to any developer working on these platforms.

Below, I will break down each app into their good, bad and ugly qualities.  To be fair, I haven’t tested every feature of each service across all devices, but I’ve definitely compiled a love/hate list of features and functionalities for the different streaming apps I’ve come to depend on for tv and movies.  Streaming isn’t going anywhere.  It’s expanding, and it’s becoming an industry trend.  Streaming will only grow and take over traditional cable and satellite services.

Some of my “review” of these services is based on content, some on the content controls. The API or interface, if you will.



Most people know why Netflix is good.  They’ve got some great content (I wish Marco Polo had been more popular, because it was visually stunning and a fantastically told story).  They’ve got great controls, good profile management, and seamless auto-play streaming.  I love when they ask me “are you still watching?” aww, Netflix. You’re cute.  Yes, I’m still watching, and no I haven’t showered yet today. Don’t judge me.

Seriously, they have a decent selection of content, some great original content, and their interface is intuitive and friendly. I’m bummed the price went up, but I had a good ride at the $7.99 tier for a long time, so I guess it was inevitable.


I know when I am on some semi-public wifi’s I can’t get on to Netflix, because they are blocked.  I haven’t tried their newer feature of being able to download content for offline viewing, but I am wondering how that would work, if the app forces a connection in order to launch.  Something to look into, I guess. (For me, you or someone. Anyone? Bueller?)

As I mention below, with Amazon, they don’t have a method to “reset” a season or series, if you want to watch it again.  Someone really should get on that.


Not much to say here.  I wish they had some content sooner than right before the next season is coming out, but if that keeps prices down, I can wait.


The most obvious leg up, that Hulu has, is their next day availability.  I don’t have to wait until the season is over, or the next season is about to start.  I can see it the next day.  That is fine with me, because I don’t care if I see something live.  Cutting the cord can take some getting use to, but it is incredibly freeing to not feel like you have to stay up late to catch the show, or you’ll miss out.

They also have a good selection of content. I would like to see them fill out a complete contract with FX shows, but they are starting to get their content, so here’s hoping. (add current seasons of AHS and Taboo!, eh?)


If you are on the Roku app, and you go into movies, you will see a scroll-able list of about 250 movie titles, with poster art.  Start scrolling to the left or right, and if you scroll a page’s worth at a time, at some point it will jump back to the beginning. It’s the most annoying bug, and I can’t believe they haven’t fixed it yet.  I say that, while knowing I haven’t specifically reported it.  That being said, their developers should be testing the front end use, at least enough to have caught a bug like that by now. I’ve had Hulu for over 3 years, and I’ve always known that bug was there.


They used to have a formal watch list, where you could intentionally subscribe to a series.  Now whenever you watch one thing, it automatically adds that show/series into your watchlist.  It’s more like a touch list, because it tracks anything you even click on by accident and watch only 1 second of.  My mom comes to visit, and she watches E! content, which I don’t tend to watch.  Now I’ve got her stuff littered in my watch list, and it was never her intent to add that stuff.  I set up a separate profile for her. but apparently it is impossible to allow apps backwards compatibility with “relatively” older tech.

I have a roku LT, which was the first I ever got.  I keep it updated, and use it in my yoga room.  I move it into guest room when she stays.  The app won’t update to the most recent version with profiles, which I believe is a limitation of the version hulu has made compatible with that version of the Roku. I get that versioning between tech and hardware can be messy and difficult to manage, but this is why it gets categorized under ugly.  It’s ugly for the customer. Yeah, that’s me.

Another ugly feature is that when a show is done, we move on to something else, from the Roku.  Whenever we go back, if we didn’t watch all the way through the credits, it still shows as a new episode available.  They used to have a feature where you could remove the episode from your watch list, as an intermediary step from removing an entire series from your watch list.  I don’t know why they stopped including that feature, but I wish they would add that back in.  That, or some way to mark a show as watched, so it doesn’t list as new anymore.  



Their mobile app for the iPhone is great.  The play button is in the center of the screen, and away from the progress bar.  This means you won’t accidentally jump to a different position in the program you are watching.  On either side they have jumps to jump forward or backwards 10 seconds.  Not something you’ll use often, but nice to have in an accessible way.

As a bonus, while watching your program, there is a bevy of information available on the screen, that you can click on.  It won’t interrupt your viewing, to see this info, as it’s semi-transparent, and they fit a lot on there.

The obvious info/features there, include the progress bar, and aforementioned play/pause and jump controls.  Also out of the way, but available is a function to send/beam the playback to another device/audio, as well as closed-captioning controls.

The coolest feature, is one that most apps don’t have.  That’s their X-Ray feature.  It shows a listing of the main cast, and you can view more to see the whole cast and crew.  Clicking the “view more” will pause your playback, but sometimes you may want that.  If you click on an cast or crew member, you are taken to their embedded imdb like dossier of that person’s professional work.  Their bio, known for, credits.  It’s pretty great for film and tv enthusiasts who might be watching something and think “Where do I know them from? Oh, that’s right!!!”


There is one feature that no streaming app seems to have, and it baffles me that no one has come out with it yet.  For many enthusiasts of a tv series, we may re-watch the series at some point.  For a service like Amazon, which has no profile switching, this can become an even trickier thing to manage.  There is no way to reset a season or a series.  Once you watch an episode, the progress is bookmarked to the end, and so you can’t start the series over.

I went onto the Amazon Prime forums, years ago, to look for any way to reset all episodes in a series.  I ended up joining a thread, and despite over 100 posts in 4 years, this feature has not been added.  Either Amazon isn’t scrubbing/sampling or checking their own forum, or they really aren’t that interested in the features their customers want.  I could be wrong about that, but just sayin’.  This is the thread, if you’re curious to see it: “Is there a way to reset a watch list?”


Despite their fantastic original programming, like Transparent, Catastrophe,  Goliath, One Mississippi, Mr. Robot, and Betas, they gave up on the incredible Good Girls Revolt after one season.  There must have been a reason that wasn’t made public.  From what I read, they had a good and respectable level of viewership, certainly enough to give it a couple more seasons.

The character depth was great, and they were on the verge of doing what not many shows are even trying to do.  They had women as the primary main cast, and telling the stories of women, when they were fighting for a place in journalism, in the work place, and in the legal system.  Toward the end of the season, they had begun to develop the character of a minority black woman attorney.  Imagine that.  A black woman character, who isn’t a maid, a slave or a servant. What a novel idea.  It was transformative.  It was the telling of hidden figures, and they let it go.  Such a disappointing loss.  They could have pivoted the show to make her the central character, and keep introducing the hidden figures who fought for minority and womens’ rights during the civil rights era of the 60’s and 70’s.

The only other complaint that I have is the odd schedule they have for releasing prime content.  Not everything, on Amazon Prime, comes with the Amazon Prime subscription.  Some of it you have to purchase à la carte.  Sorry to tell Amazon the bad news, but I pay enough in the yearly subscription, and am not likely to pay for single episodes or to buy movies all that often.  I have here and there, but it’s not something I would do on a regular basis.

This means that when I get into a show, I get stuck waiting for the new season to “become” prime.  For instance,  I watched season 1 of Mr Robot, and now I’m stuck waiting for season 2.  I can’t afford to pay for every season of each show I watch.  It’s not a feasible cost structure.  So I have to wait for season 2 to be prime.  This gets somewhat “ugly”, because there is no schedule.  I understand why.  Why would Amazon let us know when they plan to provide this content to their yearly subscribers, for free? Their à la carte sales would plummet.  But for the many of us who will wait it out, it kind of sucks that we see that offering, with only purchase/rent options exist.

Another example, of a show that is not an Amazon Original show, is Vikings.  Great show.  Seasons 1 – 401 are available and free to Prime members.  Season 402 is only available for rent/purchase. I have no idea when it will be made “prime” meaning free to annual subscribers.  I will wait it out, but in the mean time I’m just frustrated that I have to look through the glass window, because my budget is for the Prime membership, not for paying for each episode of each show, which would be a massive expense and luxury. That’s to say, I get that none of this is a necessity, but that is why these type of expenses are discretionary and must be able to be mitigated.  A budget has to be able to be set, and per episode pricing is too much to fit into a realistic budget.


Content, content content.  When I was growing up, we lived in a small town, outside a small city.  The owner of the cable company in our town didn’t believe in music television, so our cable programming didn’t include MTV.  I was seriously under-educated as a result.  My parents, either in defiance of that, or just because they knew what was good, got HBO instead.  I could never thank them enough.  Despite having the shit scared out of me, with the nazi documentaries, I also learned a lot from docudramas like And The Band Played On.  After seeing that, when it first came out in 93, I realized that fighting for transparency, education, funding of AIDS and HIV research was so incredibly important.  The human side was so well portrayed. I based school reports on the subject, because of that film.

I also loved Live From Baghdad, which chronicled the beginning of CNN’s ascent to become the first 24 hr news channel, covering live in the middle of a war.

Now we have some of the best series you can find.  Game of Thrones, Westworld, Big Little Lies, Silicone Valley, the list goes on.  There are so many, now completed series, which were so well done you’d be hard pressed to find any other network on the same level.  They push the envelope in a grand manner, that I just love.


They don’t have all their original content available all the time, and I don’t understand why.  The aforementioned Live From Baghdad is a perfect example.  This would be an ideal time to have that available! Right now, when our POTUS is attacking journalists and journalism, we must remember why we need them, and the fights they have fought and continue to fight. The risks they take to bring us the news, from around the world.

When you are on the roku app, it doesn’t allow you to auto-play the next episode if you are watching an old season or series.  You have to go into a series, and into a season, and then into an episode and choose to play it.  When it finishes, you have to back out of the episode, go over to the next episode, and go into that one to play it.  Other apps do this better, allowing you to “binge”. Maybe they are just attempting to discourage unhealthy binging habits, but I doubt it.


The apps are all seemingly a little different.  the iPhone app vs the iPad vs the Roku.  They all show titles differently.  I like the iPad view with the poster tiles.  I can’t stand the Roku listing of all movies.  It has the movies alphabetized, and you have to scroll through the movies in each letter, one at a time.  So you arrow down to letter B, then scroll right to view all movies that begin with B.  Then you have to go down to each letter (ie C), and scroll over.  It’s not about being intuitive.  It’s intuitive, in that it’s not hard to get how it works.  It’s about being a friendly interface.  Imagine a user doesn’t know what they want to watch.  They are looking for something that will catch their eye.  They may not even know the genre they are in the mood for watching.  Having the ability to view by release year/date could be a nice option.  No matter the sort, one continuous list is definitely easier to scroll through, as opposed to 26 (+ numeric & symbolic prefixed movies) separate lists.

iTunes TV App

I don’t have much to say.  They had the West Wing series at 1/2 the price of Amazon, so I went with them, because I wanted a series I could download and have available to stream when I’m offline.  This works for that, but not much else.


I don’t have Apple TV.  I looked at it, but it is 50% more expensive than Roku, and Roku is an independent product that won’t push their content or store the way Apple will.

This app didn’t used to be bad. It used to be decent.  But in the last year, they made an update and screwed the pooch.  So West Wing is a great example.  They have all episodes/seasons in 1 long continuous list.  That’s fine.  The title of each episode is there, and you can expand it to see synopsis.  My fury has to do with how the list appears on the iPhone.  You go into the series, and you see 6 episodes. You have to scroll to the right to see another 6 episodes.  Why in all the name of all that is logical did they choose 6? Why not 5, or 7, or 10? I am baffled by this horrendous design.

I can get passed it though, until I try to interact with the list.  I can click a cloud to download an episode to my phone.  Now comes the crappy part of this.  Imagine I want to download 2 or 3 episodes, for a flight or something.  Each time I click the cloud on a episode, I can’t do anything while the download starts.  I can try, but nothing will be successful. I’ll know when it does start, though.  Want to know how? Because I get jumped back to the beginning of the damn list. EVERY. DAMN. TIME.  I can’t just click the episodes, click, click, click that I want.  I have to start a download, get jumped back to the beginning of the series, scroll back to where I was, start another download, get jumped back to the beginning, rinse and repeat.  The same thing happens when you want to remove a download from your phone.  It’s not intuitive at all.  You have to press down on the episode, and then another window pops up, with a trash, and then you can remove it.  You can guess what happens after you do that.  The screen freezes and then jumps you to the beginning of the list again! AHHHHHHH!!!!! Find a freaking bookmark, will you?

It also doesn’t auto-play to the next episode, if you have it downloaded or are on wifi that can handle streaming one in the cloud.  Either way, too bad. You have to go in and out of each episode, like you are shopping in a mall in 1992.

See the bad, above.  I almost wish I hadn’t made the purchases I did, for use in this app, because of those issues.  I hope they fix the app soon. It sucks to make that kind of purchase and then have the delivery method made into a horrible user experience.

My Favorite Current Shows

I wanted to get this blog going, but couldn’t decide what to review first.  Favorite movies? Something new, that I’ve seen?  I decided to go with my top list of current shows that I love, why and why you should give them a solid try.

To preface this, I am a cord cutter.  I had Time Warner.  Then I went to DirectTV, hoping to save money.  After having to contact them every month, to insist they correct a bill where they started to try to charge me more, I cancelled that too.  I bought a roku, and I now enjoy streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO.  HBO is really expensive, but their programming is too good to pass up.

Anyway, with all of that out of the way, the following are the best shows that I am currently all over, and why I love them.

  1. Game of Thrones – Of course.  I mean, it’s so well done.  The many story lines, the casting, the sets, the costumes.  It’s raw and powerful.  The violence towards women has received criticism.  I have criticism for those critics.  Violence has always happened towards women.  We must have it in film and tv, if we are to truly represent a woman’s reality. They would be violently raped and beaten.  It’s reality of a timeline, like the one in this story.  Not showing that brutality, would be cowardly and dishonest.  I’ve never taken HBO for being a coward, and I don’t now.  They did the brave thing, and showed the reality.  It might be hard for you to watch.  I promise, it’s harder for women who experience it, and we need that portrayed, so that we can all acknowledge it.
  2.  Peaky Blinders – I would have made this #1, but had to give it up for Game of Thrones, because of the grand scale of what they are doing. It is pretty massive.Peaky Blinders stars the insanely talented Cillian Murphy. If you aren’t familiar with his work, I highly recommend “Breakfast on Pluto“. Another incredible talent on the show is Helen McCrory.  I am more and more convinced every day, that this woman is well overdue for some awards.

    The show is set in Birmingham, in the outskirts of England, during the American prohibition era.  It follows the lives and tales of a family running the gypsy mob.  I will say, that you need to get through the first episode, and into the second, before you will likely get hooked.  There is a bit of laying out the scene, the players, etc that takes place in that first episode.

    Disclaimer: This has a lot of violence, which may make some uncomfortable.  I think it is still worth the watch, because that kind of violence was the reality at that time, and in that world.  We are so uncomfortable with violence, we want to pretend it doesn’t exist.  It does, whether you acknowledge it or not.  Film and tv, acting, are representations of our lives.  Artistic representations, but representations nonetheless.  If they leave out the violence, they won’t represent our realities very well, will they?

    This show is so addicting, you will be binge watching it, and wishing there were more episodes on right now.  You will also want to go have a drink in a pub.

  3. Orphan Black – Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany, Tatiana Maslany. My god the talent.  But it doesn’t stop there.  The filming crew works to splice her into each scene, meaning she does each scene multiplied by the amount of clones are in that scene.  I have often caught myself forgetting that all these characters are here.  Well, most of them.  There is an incredible supporting cast too.But it’s not just the effectiveness of how this show has executed this concept, which sold me.  It’s the different angles they bought to the story.  We’ve seen many attempts at telling a story on cloning.  But this one looks at the science, the religion, the industry (corporate control and greed).  This also ensures we don’t lose sight of the most important angle – family.
  4. The Crown – This is a new Netflix show, and it has caught my eye, for multiple reasons.  The lead actress, Claire Foy, is captivating.  John Lithgow is transformative as Churchill.  Seriously, he better get a nomination, if not an award thrown at him.  Maybe not thrown.  It can be handed.  The sets and costumes are impressive.  The story telling reeks of nostalgia, which fits so well.  I really feel like I’m getting a glimpse into this untold story of the current Queen.  A story of responsibility and obligation, that was placed on her shoulders at a very young age.I am constantly wishing there were more episodes, and that the next season would get here already.
  5. Good Girls Revolt – There couldn’t be a better time for this show to be on.  Showing women standing up to men, in a country that just elected a pussy grabber, as President.  I don’t know what possessed Amazon to not order a 2nd season, and I really hope Netflix, Hulu, or some smart network picks up this show.Yes, Anna Camp is flawless.  There are a bunch of new actress, who stand out as well.  Erin Darke is the biggest stand out.  Her role was demanding, and she really brought it home with gusto.  I saw a critique that this show is trying to be like Mad Men, but doesn’t really get there.  I totally disagree.  This is the Mad Men from the womens’ pov.  That’s why I also love Genevieve Angelson, who plays the character we probably wish we had been, if we had lived back then.  Idealistic and wanting to be woke.  Wanting to be part of the change.

    Chris Diamantopoulos is also a great part of the cast. He is the Mad Men boy, in epic fashion. “I’m a dapper son of a bitch.”

    This show has great character development, and is really going somewhere.  It’s an insult to Amazon viewers, to cancel after one season, especially with the cliff hanger we were left with.  For a streaming service, producing content is probably an uphill challenge.  I would add another challenge.  Don’t commit to a series, unless you will commit to at least 2 seasons.  Give it a chance to catch on.  For this show, I’m not sure what would be stopping you.  It got a lot of viewers, and raves from critics.

    There must be something else behind the cancellation, but it still stinks.

  6. Speechless  – Yes, we all love Mini Driver.  She is a big draw, for people to check out the show.  Once you start watching, you’ll be saying “Hey, isn’t that guy on Big Bang Theory.”  You’ll end up loving his character on this show.  The kid who plays JJ is fantastic.  The three kids each shine in their own right, but this is afterall about a mom championing her kid with a disability.This show strives to make us all see what it really means to have a disability.  It’s not what you think.  It’s not about the disability.  It’s about the exclusion from the rest of society.  It’s about being treated as different, or special, but not because of you.  Because of your disability.

    I really like how this show is trying to teach us all how to treat people with different types of disabilities, with equality, compassion, inclusion, and respect.  I mean, that’s what we all want, so why treat someone with a disability differently?

    Beyond that profound message, the show is hilarious.  I literally laugh out loud constantly.

There are too many good shows, to add a why for every one.  For now, I will list the “honorable mentions”, for shows that I am also currently hooked on.  They are as follows, in the random order that they pop into my head:

One Mississippi (Amazon), Transparent (Amazon), Catastrophe (Amazon), Stranger Things (Netflix), The Good Place (NBC), Westworld (HBO), Goldbergs (Fox), and Sherlock Holmes (BBC).

There are probably others that I am forgetting, but i definitely recommend these great shows, if you aren’t already hooked.