Rain Man, Burger Battle, & The Search for Everything

FINALLY FRIDAY is a weekly review article meant to give you some suggestions on what to geek out about over the next week… or so.

WATCHING

Rain Man (1988)

Now that I run a podcast about movies, it only seems fair that I start catching up on older movies that I haven’t seen yet. While running through Hulu, I came across Rain Man.

I know! I know! Even my brother asked how I hadn’t seen it until now. I’m sorry. Good grief!

To summarize: Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) finds out he has an autistic brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), after his estranged father dies. He’s left with nothing but a classic car that broke the relationship with his father. He discovers that he has an older brother who was left 3 million dollars. Charlie, being the selfish guy that he is, feels entitled to his half of the money and tracks down Raymond, only to find out he’s autistic and the money has been left to the institution. Charlie kidnaps Ray and heads to Los Angeles in hopes to gain his brother’s trust, as well as the inheritance he feels he deserves. The adventure ends up changing not only Charlie, but Raymond, too.

I watched Rain Man over the course of a couple days, and at first I wasn’t impressed. Tom Cruise wasn’t likable in the least and felt very… Tom Cruise, and not the good version. As the movie progressed, though, I found myself enjoying it more, paying attention to the subtle changes taking place in both men. Eventually Tom Cruise’s performance didn’t bother me as much. Dustin Hoffman, though. From the second he hits the screen, I wanted more of him. While I’ve heard criticisms of the portrayal of autism in the film, I couldn’t help but find Hoffman intriguing, lovable, and innocent. Looking back at it now, it’s a role that is the perfect foil to Cruise’s narcissistic Charlie. And ultimately, that’s what makes both characters work so well.

This could easily be one of my favorite movies and I could watch it at least once per year.

LISTENING

John Mayer – The Search for Everything (2017)

I don’t make a lot of time for music anymore. Considering so much of my time is spend writing for the podcast, writing responses for work, and doing other tasks that require focus, I tend to only listen to instrumental tracks from one of the Focus playlists on Spotify. There are times, however, when I need something else. That something else this week happened to be The Search for Everything by John Mayer. I can admit that I’ve not been a big Mayer fan for no particular reason. After watching him on an episode of the YouTube show, Hot Ones, something clicked and I wanted to revisit his albums.

The Search for Everything simply feels heartfelt and the title of the album fits the tone perfectly. There’s a longing Mayer conveys throughout every single, no matter what the tempo or style. I’m not good at explaining music. I can’t always identify the message that I’m seeing or feeling when I listen, but something about this album in particular hits me hard. It could very well be that I don’t get wrapped up in the drama that supposedly surrounds Mayer. I’ve heard that one of the songs references Katy Perry in some way, but I wouldn’t know that because, frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I just like the music and the way it makes me feel.

PLAYING

Burger Battle

At a local convention a couple of years ago I ran into Andrew Heath. He’s an illustrator and graphic designer from Kentucky. Since I have a background in design myself, we actually talked for a little while and I picked up a card game, Retro Loonacy, that he did the designs for. I really love his style and my family plays the game regularly. A few weeks ago he announced that he was releasing his own card game, Burger Battle, and I knew that I just had to try and get a review copy. Lucky for me, Andrew’s a cool guy and sent one to this goofy podcast host.

The premise for Burger Battle is pretty straight-forward: choose your burger, be the first to build it, and sabotage the other players in the process.

As of right now, the only people I’ve played the game with have been my 9-year old and 4-year old. Surprisingly, the youngest won the first two games with very little help. While the instructions say it’s good for ages 14+, I really think it could be ages 6+. I still need to play test it with more people, but I think it’s a great opener or introductory game you can play with anyone, no matter what their experience. The Kickstarter for it goes live on July 9th, so be sure to fund it. I’ll be reviewing it more in-depth soon, I hope, after getting some more people to try it out.

 

Superman, The Goldbergs, & Fortnite | Finally Friday

FINALLY FRIDAY is a weekly review article meant to give you some suggestions on what to geek out about over the next week… or so.

READING

Superman (New 52)

Superman has long been a character I’ve disliked. He’s always appeared over-powered and, honestly, boring. The only run up to now that I enjoyed was Grant Morrison’s All-Star run between 2005-2008, which I read as a collection. And that says something, as I find Morrison’s work a little more “out there”.

When DC launched Rebirth a couple years ago, I picked up several #1 issues, but felt lost in what had taken place before. Like The Flash, I went back to the New 52 volumes and began my reading there.

I’m finishing up the second volume and giving the series as a whole it’s fair shake. Sadly, I’m finding very little that impresses me about either Superman or the writers up to this point. I don’t really like how much The Daily Planet and other news outlets carry the stories, which feel like they were written in a hurry.

The relationship between Clark Kent and Superman feels weird and disconnected, as if there are two different writers directing who they are without sharing notes. There is so much exposition that I’m bored and don’t care about any of the characters or their motive.

Lois Lane is under-represented in what I’ve read so far. I’m sure she’s a strong, smart woman, but she doesn’t come off as such. Morgan Edge looms over every decision she makes, even though he tells her in the first issue that PGN is her network. He even goes as far to perpetuate the lie that a random civilian is actually Superman just to get a story.

Jimmy Olsen feels like he was written by someone much older and out of touch with 20-somethings, but I like the camaraderie he has with Clark every once in a while.

All-in-all, there hasn’t been anything impressive about this series so far. I’ll keep reading, for sure, but it will be reluctantly.

WATCHING

The Goldbergs (ABC/Hulu)

Back in the 80’s, I was essentially non-existent. I was born in ‘87, so I did my growing up in the 90’s. Still, The Goldbergs is a nice bit of nostalgia with a ton of family-based comedy. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s about a family living through 1980-something.

  • There’s Bev, the “smother” who is always trying to keep her kids from growing up or having bad self-image;
  • Murray, the disinterested dad who promptly drops his pants and relaxes in his favorite recliner after work each day;
  • Erica, the formerly-nerdy-now-popular girl dealing with graduating high school;
  • Barry, the disillusioned middle child who has absolutely been brainwashed by his smother, no matter how much he wants to fight it;
  • Adam, the youngest, who is a nerd with the most incredible collection of toys and devices ever known to children in the 80’s or 90’s. He’s also the narrator of the show.

Oh, and don’t forget Pops. Not only is the grandfather and Adam’s best friend, he’s possibly the best character in the dang show! I’d love to have an old man with his charisma and wit in my life.

The show addresses regular family issues with consistent, well-written comedy in every single episode. And that’s impressive for a show finishing up its 5th season, with a 6th in the works.

PLAYING

Fortnite (Nintendo Switch)

I rarely get excited for video games anymore. I just don’t have the time to play them. Well, that was until I learned about Fortnite a few months ago. I played the mobile version a few times and, while I did enjoy it, I missed having handheld controls. Then rumors of it being ported to the Nintendo Switch started popping up.

Finally, at E3, it was announced that a Switch version of the popular 100-person battle royale game would be releasing not later this year, but the very same day. I promptly downloaded it and played every chance I got over the last week. Oh, and did I mention it’s a free download? Yeah! You can play it for free or you can spend $10 and get the Battle Pass, which gets you cosmetic upgrades and let’s you level up a little faster. (Totally worth it in my opinion.)

The premise of the game is pretty simple: you select a battle mode – solo, duo, squad, or 50v50 – drop into the map and try to be the last person/team standing. The replayability of Fortnite is high, especially if you die right after being dropped into the game. And it’s even better if you play with people you know. (My daughter is a champ, by the way.)

You can add me to your squad if you’d like. My screen name is Crimson Creature. I’d love to play Fortnite with you!

Finally Friday (06.15.18)

This week, I (Dave) am the lone contributor. Mainly because I didn’t ask anyone else. 😀

READING

Titans (DC Comics)

I started my journey into DC Comics a couple months ago by reading The Flash, beginning with the New 52 run and continuing through the most recent issues. When Wally West showed back up after (unbeknownst to me) being missing for quite some time, I got curious about who he was. David Hunt recommended that I pick up Titans, since he’s a key character. I’m really enjoying this series. The dynamic of the group keeps you on your toes. It also makes me want to look into other books with these characters. It’s getting me excited for the upcoming Titans series on DC Universe. (Rated 8/10)

WATCHING

Ugly Delicious (Netflix)

Food, man! I freaking love food to a fault! Ugly Delicious is quickly becoming a favorite in the food/travel documentary genre. In this series, David Chang – an award-winning chef – explores a variety of cultures and cuisines without the hoity-toity air. In the first episode he tackles what pizza really is. Is Neopolitan the only real pizza out there? As a chef, are you allowed to even like Domino’s? After that, he tackles barbecue and creates an American/Korean dish that makes my mouth water as I’m typing. There’s strong language, so if you’re not familiar with the way Chef Chang interacts with food, that’s your warning. If you love food, though… mmm… you need to be watching this. (Rated 9/10)

LISTENING

Reply All (Gimlet)

Generally I avoid podcasts created by media companies. I like supporting the little guy (GEEK THIS is one of them), but Reply All caught my attention due to it’s use of storytelling, research, and how it dives into the humanity behind everything. It’s also just a fun listen back and forth to work. The relationship between hosts PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman feels like one developed over a good amount of time and not thrown together solely for the sake of the show. They have a segment called “Yes Yes No” where Gimlet co-founder Alex Blumberg (the guy who Zach Braff kind of played on Alex, Inc) asks Alex Goldman and PJ about something he saw on the internet, usually from Twitter, and they make him understand.


Want to contribute to Finally Friday? Fill out the contact form below and I’ll get in touch with you about guest-writing for an upcoming week.

We’re Using Slack

Last week there was a big kerfuffle about Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and online privacy. While I don’t have all of the facts to write a complete article, I think we can all agree that the impact of the situation put some heat on Mark Zuckerberg and left a lot of people feeling let down by the social media giant. The more I think about how Facebook works for GEEK THIS!, the more I feel like it’s actually hurting the growth of the community and I want to change that.

With that, I am opening up the GEEK THIS! Slack to fans of the show who want to talk more about geek stuff. I know more people use Facebook than Slack, but the great thing is that once you join, you’ll be a part of the community I’m trying to build around the show. Slack doesn’t have all the red tape or algorithms keeping you from seeing what we post.

Out of the 350+ people that like the Facebook page, only about 20 consistently see articles and links to new episodes. Even less actually engage in what we post. I’m hoping to change that with Slack.

To join the GEEK THIS! Slack group, follow this link, create an account and, once you’re approved, you can start talking about whatever it is you geek. I’ll be there and it will be great to talk with you!

I’m Sorry I Didn’t Speak Up

I won’t pretend to know all of the intricate details of the FCC’s ruling today to repeal net neutrality. If you want to learn more about how this affects you as a consumer of digital media and the internet itself, please read what the Internet Creators Guild has to say. They’ll be much more informative and accurate than I am.

That said, I need to apologize for not using this podcast and the platform it has created – however small – to talk more about the subject with you. As a creator myself, this isn’t something to just brush off. I feel terrible that I didn’t talk about it, either on the podcast or here on the website.

I will avoid any deep political conversations here, but I want to quote Mignon Clyburn, an FCC Commissioner, who spoke today and moved me with her passion and common sense:

Each of us raised our right hands when we were sworn in as FCC Commissioners, took an oath and promised to uphold our duties and responsibilities ‘to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination… a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.’ Today the FCC majority officially abandons that pledge and millions have taken note.

It is our government’s job to give a larger voice to the citizens who elected them. I am extremely thankful to Commissioner Clyburn for doing her job. You can read her entire dissenting statement here.

As sad as this decision may be at the current moment, it is not the end of the fight. I strongly encourage you to push your local politicians to repeal today’s vote. Go to battleforthenet.com and tell Congress you want them to reverse the FCC ruling for net neutrality. I promise, they’ve made the process extremely easy for you. It’ll be worth it in the end.

Post Image: Twitch.tv | Commissioner Clyburn Photo: Twitter

Connect

Disclosure

This post may contain links to products or services we have an affiliate relationship with. We may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, we won’t recommend something we don’t like. If you choose to make a purchase through these links, we appreciate your support of Geek This!

Why I Stopped Binging

I am unabashedly a proponent of cord-cutting. Even the idea of paying an ungodly amount for cable channels makes me a little nauseous. That said, I’m glad to have my subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. There’s plenty to choose from and I always feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. The only problem that seems to plague those of us who call ourselves “cord cutters” is the abundance of shows and movies being released every week, whether we know it or not.

This has led to the cultural phenomenon of “binge-watching”. If I’m not mistaken, this term was popularized by Netflix, going as far back as their DVD mailing service. Nowadays, binge-watching is a regular household activity. I’m sure you do it, too! I do… well, I did.

When season two of Stranger Things dropped on Netflix at the end of October, I was as excited as it seems the rest of the world was. The problem for me, though, was that my wife hadn’t watched season one. It isn’t really a rule that I can’t watch things without her, but I had an inkling that this may be a should that she would really enjoy. We had to go back and watch the first season.

We decided not to binge the entire series over the weekend, but instead watch one or two episodes each day until we had finished the whole thing. This led to an interesting experience on my part: I could actually keep track of what was going on with the show! (Amazing, right?)

As reviews came in from friends and family, I kept hearing about one episode that they “could have done without”. When we got to that episode and it was finished, my wife and I looked at each other and asked, “What was so bad about that?” Sure, it wasn’t a typical episode for Stranger Things, but it was important in the development of Eleven’s character. It was also a good set up for things I’m sure are coming in season three.

What I realized after this was that not only was I able to understand what was going on better, I was able to get the experience that the creators – be it show runners, directors, writers, etc – had planned from the beginning. There are nuances about characters and story points you’re going to miss out on and appreciate less if you’re just trying to get to the end. This is another reason why I’m working harder to put down my phone or iPad when I’m watching something and why I think movie theaters are great places for those of us trying to soak in a film.

I’ve taken this mindset into watching Hannibal, a TV series that was on NBC for three seasons. Every episode is on Amazon right now, but I’m only watching one or two episodes in a sitting. There’s a lot to digest in them (pun intended). If I were to binge them, I’m missing out on small pieces of character and story development that would lose me a season and a half in. Even watching them in small doses, I still find myself having to think back to previous episodes and finding that… um… connective tissue.

What do you think about this idea of not binge-watching? If you enjoy binging the latest season of a show, what do you find appealing? Let me know in the comments.

Connect

Disclosure

This post may contain links to products or services we have an affiliate relationship with. We may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, we won’t recommend something we don’t like. If you choose to make a purchase through these links, we appreciate your support of Geek This!

November Update

I’ve received a couple of messages from listeners asking what’s going on with the podcast. I decided, instead of making a podcast episode about it all, I would write this post.

If you’re a regular listener, you’ll have noticed there were no episodes of GEEK THIS in October. It was totally unintentional and there were a couple of factors to the brief disappearance.

Schedule Changes

Considering GEEK THIS is a hobby, the time I devote to it has to work with my family’s schedule. When the show came back in June, I was staying up until 2:00 AM to do all of the production for each episode. It worked, but I decided to see what would happen if I started getting up early instead of staying up late. (Note: my creativity shines late at night.)

Training

I was lucky enough to win a one-year subscription to Podcasters’ Society in early October. That may not mean much to you, but this is a community built by Daniel J Lewis, who has been my indirect podcast mentor since the beginning. Podcasters’ Society gives me a chance to glean information from other creators and from Daniel himself. I’ve spent a lot of time going through the courses and webinars offered, so it took away from the preparation time. That, in turn, meant I didn’t have anything to talk about. I’m course-correcting for November and the future. I promise, this will be a benefit to you, too.

New Ideas

Making the podcast better for you is extremely important. In addition to digging into Podcasters’ Society, I’ve been thinking about ways to make more stuff for you. That’s led me to start putting together a proper Patreon page. I won’t get into the reward tiers here, but there will be some extra content coming that I think you’ll enjoy, as well as behind-the-scenes access. I think you’ll be excited about it, too.

So, there you have it. TL;DR, the show disappeared in October and is now back with regular episode releases. I’ve been inducted into Podcasters’ Society to develop the show further, and I’m working on a Patreon page with goodies you’ll enjoy.

If you have a suggestion for a future episode or you want to comment on anything, leave a comment. If you want to say hello, hit me up on Twitter.

The Source Material

Books are being turned into movies at a staggering rate lately. In 2017 alone, there will be around 26 novels adapted. This will be for the big screen or streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon. As an avid book reader, it’s nice to see.
 
Unfortunately, there are two primary thoughts on adaptations:
  1. This will ruin my favorite book!
  2. Why read the book since I saw the movie?
Casey Neistat, a YouTube creator, discussed Ready Player One in a recent video. It is set to release as a blockbuster movie in 2018. In the video he pleads for viewers to take the time and read the book before the film releases.
 
Why? Once the movie premieres, no one will be talking about the book.
 
This thought resonated and pushed me to go back to the source material. I did, download the Ready Player One audio book upon Neistat’s recommendation. I did the same when learning that a new version of Stephen King’s It would be hitting theaters.
 
I realized after reading, there are hidden gems that could be in the the film version as Easter eggs. Those are rewards for the people who did the hard work of reading the book! This is what we should be talking about instead of griping that the movie was nothing like the book. We have a special insight that the other people in the theater aren’t going to have. It’s quite the honor, right?
 
In the end, it’s important to enjoy the source material. Don’t forget where it all started.

We’re Teaming Up with Geek Fuel!

** THIS IS A SPONSORED POST **

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The Box includes a exclusive and officially-licensed items, a full downloadable Steam game, and more. I mean, we’re talking $50 of geek stuff for the price of shipping and handling. That’s only $6 in the US and $12 internationally. Skip a trip to Starbucks and grab this box! The only way to get this offer, though, is to use our link, so click the image below and snag this awesome Geek Fuel deal!

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