Random Wednesday: Some stuff I like.

Hello! How’s it going? It’s been awhile. How are the kids? Oh, that’s too bad. Have you tried oatmeal? Hey, hold on a minute, I think someone’s reading my blog.

Yes, can I help you? Oh, you guys again. I guess you feel entitled to one of my beloved Random Wednesday posts. Well, here it is, you selfish monsters.

I’ve decided to tell you about some of the things I enjoy. Maybe you’ll find something to read, watch, or do to yourself in the privacy of your own home. Hey, I’m not judging, man, and I’m not taking pictures and very much resent the accusation. Hold on, need to put fresh batteries in my camera. I’ll also need your address for something unrelated.

Okay, here we go, seriously.

A Show

This one’s a tough choice. I guess I could tell you about more than one show, but I kind of feel like limiting myself to one item in each category, just in case I feel like doing this again. Sooooo, I will go with my current obsession:

49 Days.

49 Days poster

I mentioned this in my unscheduled Sunday post, now that I recall. Here’s Netflix’s description:

After a car accident shatters her storybook existence, comatose Ji Hyun is given a second chance at life when a reaper from above intervenes. But there’s a catch: Ji Hyun has 49 days to find three people who will weep genuine tears of grief for her.

Korean Dramas have been an interest of mine since my wife and I checked out Dae Jang Geum from the library. Netflix has a wide selection, but I’d also recommend Drama Fever. Heck, they provided the subtitles for Netflix’s stream of 49 Days.

So why this show? I think the thing that keeps me coming back is the mystery. The description doesn’t mention it, but there are things afoot that were set in motion before Ji Hyun’s accident, and in fact are complicated by it. Ji Hyun and other characters unravel the mystery as the series goes on. I only have two episodes left and I’m still wondering what’s going to happen. That’s my main reason. I also enjoy the characters (always a must with me).

A Cartoon

Since I love cartoons so much, they deserve their own category.

Let’s give the first honor to Adventure Time.

Adventure Time logo

Since Netflix is giving me good descriptions, here’s another:

Young Finn and his magical dog, Jake, have a series of surreal adventures as they journey through the postapocalyptic Land of Ooo and help people they encounter on their travels in this quirky animated series.

The first episode involves zombies. Zombies that used to be candy people. It gets stranger from there, and I love it.

What keeps me coming back? The setting is so imaginative that I am in envious awe. For once, a post-apocalyptic world I’d want to live in. And they rarely make direct reference to the apocalypse (some episodes are exceptions, but overall it is infrequent). You’ll see hints of it throughout if you pay attention. Remnants of the past in the background.

It’s a magical world inhabited by an array of creatures, and each episode feels like a gem taken from the deepest tunnel of an imagination mine.

Plus, the hair is glamorous.

A Book

This was actually the reason I decided to do this “stuff I like” post. I wanted to mention my favorite book from A. Lee Martinez, which is Emperor Mollusk versus the Sinister Brain.


Let’s just give credit where credit is due: I love this book because of the Emperor. He is the personification of science: amoral, curious, and with a mechanical exoskeleton. He’s in it for himself, and anything good or heroic he does in the story is pretty much coincidence. This generally isn’t my favorite kind of character, but Martinez made it work for me.

And hey, do you have two dollars on you and a way of reading Kindle books (Hint: if you’re reading this blog on a computer, you do)? Then you should go to Amazon and buy this book right now because it is only $1.99 right now. See, I’m even saving you a penny. I’ll take it if you don’t want it.

I think this post has gone on long enough. Rambling about fandoms can carry one away. Tune in next time, won’t you? Now get out.


Product Reviews — why even mention the product itself?

I have witnessed a brilliance so dazzling that it could usher in the great disco resurgence spoken of in prophecy.

See, when ordinary mortals write a review for a product, their limited cosmic consciousness prevents them from leaving anything but a review on the actual product. This is what I’ve come to expect, and I’m sure you are no different. How differently I see the world now! Such purpose seems mudane, even quaint, now that I’ve seen a review’s true potential.

There are gods among us who use reviews for change. To make a difference for the better.

I came to this realization when, while perusing reviews for a book on Amazon, I came across a one-star review that complained of the digital edition’s cost. They didn’t waste a single word upon the book’s content at all. Such beauty in its desire to get straight to the point. In fact, the reviewer hadn’t even read the book. Why let that stand in the way of justice, right? The wisdom of this tactic was lost upon me at first, but after a night of fitful sleep, I divined the answer. Surely the publisher would see this one negative review, realize the error of its ways, and drop the price of the ebook immediately.

Freaking genius. In no way would the one-star review reflect poorly on the book or its author. And even if it did, so what? No doubt the author wants to see the price dropped, as well, and is willing to sacrifice a piece of his reputation to achieve this goal.

I’ve actually seen this done on Amazon before, when starred reviews were used to complain about Amazon’s service — Amazon hires a few employees to go through every review on the site to spot these gems, right? — and it never struck me how effective they must be.

I’ve decided it must go further. Why stop at Amazon? Why limit ourselves to books? There’s an entire internet out there, and many a product and service need our attention. Also, there are so many more reasons to leave bad product reviews than price. Here are just a few suggestions.

1. Video game retailers like Gamestop: Say you want to buy a new copy of that hit game, GENERIC FIRST PERSON SHOOTER IN A DESERT COUNTRY. You drive over to your local Gamestop, making sure to bring in a few old, crappy games for some sweet trade-in credit. To your dismay, however, they only offer $1 each for your games. Also, the salesperson is kind of a jerk. You don’t have to take it anymore. Go onto any site that reviews games, like Gamestop’s own site, and post a terrible review for GENERIC FIRST PERSON SHOOTER IN A DESERT COUNTRY, making sure to list all your grievances with the purchasing process. Leave actual game content to the other reviewers. You have a mission.

2. Movie review sites such as Rotten Tomatoes: Perhaps a tall person chose the seat in front of you during SCARY MOVIE 12? What are you going to do about it? Go to a movie review site and give SCARY MOVIE 12 the worst damn review you can give, that’s what! Don’t talk about the movie itself, of course, because that would get in the way of your seating etiquette complaint.

3. Pretty much any website that lets you review local businesses, e.g. Yelp: You know that Mexican restaurant down the street? Maybe you should go there for lunch. You are kinda craving a burrito and some salt-basted chips. Wash it all down with salsa that you’ll pretend didn’t just come from a jar. That’s your plan when you’re driving to work. By the time your lunch break rolls around, though, you change your mind about Mexican food. You can’t even look at a chili pepper without feeling nauseated. You know what you must do — write a terrible review of the restaurant for failing to keep your interest long enough for you to actually visit it. Their food should be so transcendant that you wouldn’t even dream of not being in the mood for it.

I’m sure if we all take these drastic, but necessary measures, we can fix all the problems with the world, and maybe then I can finally afford those damn digital books I need so badly it hurts me. Let’s do this, people.

(P.S. In the interest of protecting the innocent-or-otherwise, I will not tell you which book this one-star review was for, since the book only has four reviews at the moment. Suffice to say, it is a book involving an awesome actor who has been in movies with zombies, aliens, and, perhaps scariest of all, Nick Frost.)