Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s the year of the cock! Or rooster or chicken if you are into superstition – here is everything you need to know and some made-up numbers. One could almost think this is a holiday blog now.

So what is going on at that time in Shanghai? Not much I gotta tell you and that is great. This year the government outlawed fireworks within the inner ring of Shanghai and when this time of the year meant war in terms of sound before, this year it is calm bliss. It worked. There is no sound, no noise that disturbs my beauty sleep.

Wait! There was sound. The second day into the holiday I woke up at around 8:30am and here this Shanghai chant in a high pitched voice, followed by what sounded like rhythmic fireworks and that went on for the whole morning. It sounded like a badly recorded techno song mixed together from crackers going off and a traffic announcement in Shanghai. I checked from the balcony and outside – there was nothing. A quick glimpse into the hallway allowed me to see the culprit. A plug-in-firework-door-hanger-thingy by my neighbour who also coughs every morning at the same time with the same melody. Maybe I am the weird one for noticing all this.

In previous years there was apparently a ban too and the population of Shanghai was just like ‘meh’ and had their usual fireworks 24/7 for two weeks leading in and out of the Chinese New Year. This year is different. It’s incredible how a whole country pretty much shuts down. It’s magical almost. It’s like that little city Aue in Germany close to where I am from during a football match (and I couldn’t think of something less fun to watch) – pure bliss. Scratch that! I can’t find a video or picture that compares. So think ’28 Days Later’ in Shanghai, minus zombies plus some life and cars and traffic here and there.

This is also the first time blogging with having a cat and said cat sleeping in my lap while I type away and catch up with Fargo (season 2 now). My significant other meanwhile has a splendid time in Japan.

Initially I was planning to write about the books I read this year so far, but that is a bit to dark, so here is another run down of what is going on with games, shows, movies and life in Shanghai.

I spend the 5th Chinese New Year with my Shanghainese friend and his family for 2 dinners. Time really flies. It’s a time of fantastic home-cooked food and me and the Xbox 360 and the cat and catching up with shows.

Let’s start with the shows I stopped: I stopped watching Supergirl. It’s fun and colourful but too long and too ‘episodic’ to draw me in. I stopped Legends of Tomorrow for pretty much the same reason. Homeland had to go too, it’s just too bleak and unfocused.

The Flash unfortunately suffers a bit with all the characters and Barry making the same choices, but I’ll continue. Arrow is back on the okay track and I continue as well. The clear winner is Gotham – it’s madness, it has no rules and is just fun and an escape from reality not bound by rules. Fresh Off the Boat and Modern Family are constantly delivering. Last but not least, a show from the History Channel out of all places, with the show that rivals, maybe even tops Game of Thrones in places: Vikings. I cannot wait for the finale.

With movies The Accountant showed again Ben Affleck’s brilliance and Arrival moved me deeply in the cinema. Before I saw Arrival, we had the music on the always brilliant Song Exploder Podcast taken apart and explained. Give it a listen here. Great music, great movie!

The gaming part I will spare you this time and stick to podcasts. For one there is The Shanghai Show with yours truly! And then there is Kung Fu Komedy and Baopals with me partly in the picture.

Again have a fantastic year of the cock and stay cocky.

Some updates to stay updated about stuff and art

For the technical people among you and those interested this site runs now on WordPress 4.7 – it’s an amazing platform and I wish more people would blog. By the way, my friend does blog, in German and it’s short stories that make you think and are on point, we also have similar values and ways to look at the world. Like traditionally, like writing words, loads of them preferably. I really, really like to read, especially some long form, articles and books, even though with books, I believe I just read 2 in 2016. Shame!

I am hosting this site on a service called Dreamhost and that costs money, it’s money I believe is well spend, it’s money and effort from me and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to read a couple of hundred words, so I hope I force you to read a bit more just with that. You are welcome!

It saddens me a bit that this art of reading and writing seems to go away, not the books, they are here to stay it seems.  My kindle helps with reading and stores a ton of books when the apartment doesn’t have a massive bookshelf. The two books I devoured in 2016 were ‘Beautiful You’ by my favourite author Chuck Palahniuk (it’s mediocre), the previously mentioned ‘Presto! …’ by Penn Jillette (it’s fantastic) and hopefully some more books that I forgot about (there must have been more). I vow to keep better track, write about it and read more books this year.

YouTube, Snapchat and all that other stuff seems to be louder than people that write something, something more than 100 words. Not a lot of people like to read or write long texts. Twitter has had a 140 characters limit and was super loud too. Speaking of which, I deleted that, I never really used Twitter, I don’t really understand it and there is not a lot of words there, maybe I was using it wrong but it added nothing to my life. It’s also blocked in China and with Facebook and a lot of other things it is worth to find ways to get that working, I never bothered to check Twitter. Farewell!

I get that attention spans are seemingly getting shorter. Train that – get stronger and better!

Speaking of art, Meryl Streep gave a semi-touching speech at the Golden Globes: ‘You and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now.’ – Oh! You poor, underpaid and unappreciated people in Hollywood. And then this: ‘Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.’ – really? Why single out these examples? I respect this actress and her ‘art’, but I don’t like those jabs at thing other people enjoy as a form of art. What art is, is debatable. Is this art? It made them and me laugh, I find that is an art in and on itself. That being said, the rest of the speech was agreeable and again I still respect this actress and her art. Enough with that word.

Blogs are in decline and a lot of it is odd stuff, here is an interesting article. If someone in PR for something wants to pitch, please do, we can make stuff work if our language matches. Maybe it pays for the hosting or maybe I get cool products and if so, I would genuinely say what I think about it and my superpower is to be happy with a minimum amount of recognisable effort or if something makes my life easier.

Look at Baopals, yes, I work for them, does almost everything in their communication speak to me. Internal and external. There could be more words on the website or stories or people writing something special like the review for this product. I am currently waiting on my Misfit Ray to replace my aging Fitbit Charge HR. I write all this, not because they paid me a cent, but because I want to and for the update. Look, Baopals here makes the shopping life easier in China and mine and I write about it, because I love it!

I remember coming the first time to Shanghai and having quality ‘expat magazines’ in every other bar, that I was looking forward to read on the throne and collect every month. They are not there anymore or write stuff I am not in the slightest interested in. There is The Shanghai Show for example and Kung Fu Comedy. Here we have, thankfully, some positive people that produce interesting and fresh content from people that are still in touch with the world around them. Art. Here we are again.

There is so much to update you with and this might seem like the ramblings of a mad man, but there is a lot of beauty to be found and things I want to tell, so let me share this fantastic and touching video:

The truth is, that if that much beauty comes out of a tragedy then it’s not all fucked up, it’s what you make of it, even if it seems like it’s all fucked up or is actually all fucked up. Find the positive or transform that situation. It’s an update – it’s art!

Have a good start of the year and here is something to do that with:

Happy new year to everyone!

This is a little piece to start the year off right. Blogging was good from me in 2016. I blogged regularly and am happy with what I wrote about and every pair off eyes that sees this and takes something away from it, even if it is a slight smirk. Thank you!

Living in China is not always easy but it is 100% of the time exciting and keeps you on your toes. There is definitely something that has expats go a bit bitter and/or explode after a certain amount of time, but that hasn’t happened for me yet and this is almost six years and counting now. Anyhow, before the year ended I have watched this super interesting and fun documentary bit on Youtube by Wired UK (which is worth a read as well):

The copy mentality and building everything just so it is ‘good enough’ (chabuduo) does get my blood pressure up like a good P90X warm-up, but the documentary above really puts that in a different direction and gives it a little spin and boy, oh boy, does the dude with the raspy rockstar voice and cigar(s) nail it with the example at the end. Watch it, it’s positive, it made me happy and think and that is not the worst thing to start the year with.

For some reason, especially towards the end of the year a lot of my media consumption came from the UK. With the Brexit after-shock and Trump later in the year, no one could sum it all up better than Charlie Brooker:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XanyPq5BcoA

Now if you have watched this you might have noticed the super-funny, kind of Karl Pilkington channeling red-head – Diane Morgan as Philomena Cunk being posh but thick with a great accent and she made me laugh like Karl Pilkington did before (have a listen to these compilations from the radio shows), here she is on Christmas (and here on Shakespeare):

Baopals is going well and comes with the right list of ‘Realistic New Years Resolutions’ and products for that. Had me giggling. Personally I did not have any resolutions, maybe reading more books, as all in all I have not finished a lot of books in 2016, so that might be something I work on and continue some of the paths I started trailing in 2016. Bam!

Let’s finish this with my favourite ‘Youtuber’ – H3H3 and his thanks for the year, which had me in bits too and if you find one of the scenes or memes or goofs and gaffs funny – check all his videos out. Have a great start of the year:

 

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

Ha! Cheesy!

You now have that song stuck in your head.

It’s that time of the year where I miss Germany the most. I think it is like the 4th Christmas in China or so out of 6. Not so much this time around. Let me elaborate why that is.

I basically come from a place where Christmas is something special. Isn’t that everywhere? Yes, you might think so, but in the mountains and the small area where I am from: one could say that Christmas is the front and center of family life. That one time in the year where it matters most to sit with your family and/or friends who are basically family too, the family you chose.

Here is a great and short video explaining what my hood is all about on Christmas:

Christmas here in Shanghai can’t compare and that is great. I don’t even see a lot of Christmas decorations apart from gaudy ones in malls. So I am not missing out, even if there would be more, nothing would be so authentic and homely.

It’s a festival of lights and there is tons of lights here as well and but it’s way different. I miss out on the family and friends in Germany and I love them dear but I am glad that Christmas here doesn’t come close, so I can celebrate however I want.

We do have a ‘Raachermannl‘ the traditional smoking wooden figurines that are powered by a cone of incense. Since everyone seems to know and love Rammstein, here is their version(s) of the figurine:

So born and raised in a 1600 (roughly) people village in the mountains, here is my little part in spreading a bit of the culture. I will probably be off for a bit, play games, chat with friends, Skype the family on Christmas and on the 24th I will think of everyone I hold dear and eat until it hurts and look at different lights, lights that also guide me home like the miners. Lights that are representing people and families that share different traditions that I can take part in or not and you can do so as well. Broaden your horizon and ask what traditions your friends hold dear. Learn, take some of it with you, adapt what you want and have a merry Christmas no matter where you are from and love your family and/or the one you cho(o)se…

I love you for reading this and I hope you enjoy, love and burn a bit with me, even if it is just a tiny candle. We share a laugh, a goof, a gaff, a smile, a adventure, a hug, a lightbulb, a lighter, a workplace, a hobby, a taste, a meal, a friend, a friendship, an idea, a bed, a roof or a big ass pulsing heart in your chest. Do something good and be nice for once!

There is smart and there is stupid smart.

I don’t mean stupidly smart – that exists too. I mean stupid but/and smart.

Lately I enjoyed the whole second season of Ash vs Evil Dead and that is an example of stupid smart. One could say it is goofy, dumb, funny and groovy and one would be right. It’s not for everyone but it’s smart in how stupid it makes me for the 30 minutes it runs per episode and takes me on a gory ride of fun. It is however, not stupid in a The Walking Dead kind of way, where it makes me stop watching, it makes me come back for more because it tricks me in this stupid smart way.

The main character played by the best B-movie actor of all time Bruce Campbell – Ash is a main character that surprises you with his unreliability of being stupid, being underestimated and cocky. In the season finale and I am not spoiling much and this is a show that won’t be hurt by spoilers regardless, there is a scene that had me face-palming myself and shake my head smilingly when he punched an old locked up woman in the basement of the cabin of the movies, because he thinks it’s a demon and and it’s funny, because I thought she is clearly not and it’s not right to punch an old woman that is in shackles and afraid right in the face and it’s weird how she doesn’t get insanely outraged or sad about that act (it’s a funny show – believe me and read on). Knowing by that point that this is an oddball of a show with a special, self-aware humour, this in itself, is not surprising and knowing Ash is a overly confident moron, I thought, he is clearly wrong here and even with the woman not acting like I think a person in real life would (because it’s movie/TV magic). I was led to believe she is not a demon and this is not right. The show turns all this on it’s head and spits it back, AND it turns out after Ash gets distracted and unshackles her, because bigger problems seem to arise, it happens: she disappears and IS ACTUALLY A DEMON/DEADITE. I giggled and felt a bit stupid but not tricked in a bad way.

The series surprises. It pulled that exact stunt or similar set-ups a couple of times before. It’s unreliable and goes meta with the viewer being tricked by thinking yes, this is not how a person would react and bring you down to the characters ‘stupidity’ and the over-the-topness of it all adds up to being excited by what is then naturally (or unnaturally) happening. It’s stupid and knows the viewers know and then plays with it and confronts us with a Schrödingers cat situation where anything could happen and we are surprised either way. It’s fun, it’s stupid and it’s smart.

Now compare this to almost every single TWD episode where I facepalm myself for watching characters that are supposed to be real and a show that is not self-aware and devoid of humour (apart from a Laurel and Hardy duo that is now devoid of the more serious guy that the other guy bounces off of) make decisions that make me shake my had not smilingly for stupid decisions from seemingly smart people. Let’s name a few: ‘Let’s split up.’, ‘We do this alone.’, ‘We can/can’t kill this character.’, ‘We don’t need more people.’ and ‘Yes Rick.’.

One show is stupid, aware of that and therefore smart, the other show is stupid, but not aware of that and not smart. I, the viewer am being tricked but once in an exciting and entertaining way and once in a very dumb way (and also to make you tune in after a 1 year break to find out who died!).

Enough of this. Back to philosophy:

I have finished Bioshock: Infinite this week. The game does something very similar, being a sequel to the original Bioshock game and therefore the also great System Shock (2) that also happen to share the same twist. You, the player are aware of a twist coming and then it comes and it is glorious. It’s possibly one of the best endings in a game ever. It’s touching, it’s philosophical and smart.

Let’s end this with the stupidly smart and great person Werner Herzog and this list (read Number 5 if you don’t read whole short articles). Please watch his movies and listen to his German accent or watch a producer being shouted at by the late and equally great but very different Klaus Kinski and be the calm that only Werner can show, even when being shot.

Gaming is good…

… everything other than being passive is.

I haven’t posted that regularly recently. I usually need a bit of anger or something that bothers me to write. There is less of that in my life now. Lifting my Macbook onto the desk that I use basically only for writing and serious stuff feels good. Words flow.

Shanghai is being great, a lot of things are improving. I am improving, there is no end to that until it ends and that is so far in the future, we probably will have real-life Westworld.

That show is the bomb, I think I mentioned it before and have to say it again: it’s cinema on the small screen and the most expensive looking TV show there is at the moment. It’s also the best thing since Breaking Bad. Watch it! If you don’t – you miss out on having your mind tickled and talking to people like Lost was ever any good (you can possibly tell I never got into that). It’s one of the show that you want to talk about with other people, a show that you will possibly dream of in one way or another and it’s a show that you want to enjoy every second of and makes it worthwhile. I don’t miss the show with dead people walking and fake-out cliffhangers, lame episodes in the middle and characters that make dumb decisions and characters I don’t care much about anymore at all (and it seems I am not alone).

It’s something active, it’s not mindless zapping through what is on TV and just watching something while cleaning the house or putting chips in you mouth while leaving crumbles on your couch (I am not condemning anyone who does that and watches Westworld though). It’s the best kind of TV.

Life throws stuff in your way. Every day, it’s not always fun, but you can make the best of it. You can act, you can choose before something is chosen for you. Choose what you watch, choose what you consume and chose how you react, how you get up, how you do things, how you look at things – then you change the world, then you decide, then you are in charge and you can change the world. Your world changed for the better – every day a little bit. My friend Ramsey wrote this splendid article about Protein (totally unrelated but as much worth a read as it is to give Westworld a watch, everything he writes there is great and I know for a fact that he agrees that change happens through repetition through doing it over and over again and have a positive outlook). I just hope VeganGains will not be onto Ramsey next – haha! While we are on that topic, please have a laugh here about how many days are in a week.

Coming full circle and back to the start. Why is gaming good? Because I say so! Because I got an Xbox 360 now and through Chinese magic there are tons of games that can immerse myself in, like I did before with my Raspberry Pi and Playstation and SNES games from my childhood, but this time with better graphics. I also learned that the AV cable makes your games look like you have a Playstation 2 and then you get an HDMI cable and I am too awestruck to tell the difference between that generation of consoles and the latest. Nah, gaming is great because it is active.

You don’t sit there passively and have something numbing you. You take part, your hand and eye coordination gets better. Your problem solving skills get a workout. Your willpower can grow. You can relax while immersing yourself in different worlds. I dream better – meaning my dreams go nuts, I ride dinosaurs and shoot laters and I am saving the world with my friends (apparently you can do that online now too – for me it happens in my dreams). I was a bit said to see that the couch co-op is somehow on the way out, sadly, it seems. That doesn’t hold me back from playing Borderlands and old split screen titles with friends or my girlfriend.

It’s the active part. Games are great. Games are as active as books. Reading a book is better than watching dumb cable TV. I probably don’t have to explain that or silly game shows or ads.

Having a beer walk to go from store to store and exploring the city is better than having a beer alone. Biking to work is better than taking the subway and waiting for said subway. Taking the stairs is better than taking the elevator. Writing a blog article is better than not writing something down and forgetting about it. Being strong is better than being weak. Being pro-active is better than being re-active. Gaming is good and so is life.

 

 

 

 

Being comfortable in uncomfortable positions

Life lessons with yours truly…

This headline is not invented by me, nor would I claim so, but it was swirling around in my head in recent years. Over and over again. Not to credit someone wrongly, but I think the first time I heard something to that degree was when I felt really uncomfortable.

I was lying on my back and a dude twice as old as me, a police man as it later turns out, both of us sweaty, he also twice my weight at least, sat on top of me. I wonder what goes through your head, but we were dressed, it was a hot summer in Munich and maybe twenty people did the same. We were ‘rolling’ (and your thoughts probably still run wild) or sparring on the ground how they called it some Martial Arts.

So not only was I uncomfortable there, I also felt for the first half year after finishing my studies that maybe working in recruiting and being expected to work long hours in a new city that was there to be explored and having no time for it at all was, not great. So this was in the back of my head too, but not at that moment.

That moment was physically uncomfortable, there was a lot of weight on me, it was hard to breathe, I tried to bridge out, but with weight on my midsection and belly that didn’t help. My legs were flailing trying to sweep his legs, but they were comfortably tugged in and then I heard the trainer say: ‘you gotta become comfortable in uncomfortable positions or make your way out of it’ or something to that degree.

It didn’t dawn on me right away, it took hours, it took repetitions, it took finding meaning for that phrase and what I make out of it weeks, months, maybe years. Now that is a bit of a mantra, it is a part of me.

Sometimes I call people weak (jokingly). I don’t mean that they are weak, I mean they are usually complaining about something that can’t be changed at that point in time and with their might. Instead they should just try to become comfortable.

Of course I don’t always do that and I am not a preacher nor am I always correct in that regard, but it works really well for me.

You are on your way to a place and it starts to rain, there is no umbrella, there is no way of getting one in time and you get just as wet running to the next shelter from the rain as if you were walking to your destination? Walk! Smile, walk, look up into the sky and continue, you get wet one way or the other and you get to were you want to go. Be comfortable. Don’t be weak. Be a Samurai or do you think they would run from the rain?

Your water boiler/-heater doesn’t work and the repairman comes tomorrow? Take a cold shower. Enjoy it, you probably can’t fix it and that stuff is insanely good for you. Read it here. Also note that the headline made it’s way into this article and I sound like a smart ass typing this in here, using it, but I swear this showed up on my newsfeed and it couldn’t fit better in this post, that I was planning since Friday.

It’s annoying to wait for the elevator from the 19th floor down? Take the stairs. It’s fun, you can think, you get steps in and it’s more comfortable to me than waiting three elevators and getting angry about your own politeness. That might just be me though!

Maybe you are having a tough day at work. You might as well get comfortable and I don’t mean lazy or slacking off, changing it and work your way out of it. Working your way out of it like you would when being pinned down by a stronger/heavier opponent and get stronger/wiser/more knowledgeable. Maybe just by learning a thing or two.

I still remember how the situation in Munich turned around. I moved, I planned to get back to Shanghai, I was super uncomfortable but I was in a position to change that. Soon after I got a job offer, a visa and booked a ticket back to China. I had not much, but I felt great. It was not a cozy situation sharing a room (yes, a room – in a bunkbed) and having plan C when the account balance drops to a one-way-ticket-back-to-Germany was the spikes on the bottom of the pit that I choose to climb. It went only up from there in the grand theme of things.

So here is an article with just one link. An article that I write with ‘Explosions in the Sky’ in the background (that is a post-rock band), after a cold shower, mid-movember in an apartment that my girlfriend and I made comfortable, because we can. One article with something that means a lot to me.

Today I could probably get out from under this dude, maybe because I am heavier, maybe because I am fitter, maybe because I got a little bit more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

 

 

 

Nothing about Trump.

Really.

So here is the conversation I had with the friendly cashier in the alldays (a tidbit of information about the ‘convenient’ store market) down in our building, after I came home from work:

Ayi (convenient store employee/Aunty): Ah! Hello, you just finished work?

Me: Nah, haven’t eaten yet, but will soon. (I misheard and was too fast.) Oh, sorry, yes, just finished work.

Ayi: I just warmed up the dinner I brought from home.

Me: That is great. Smart! 

Ayi: Yes, cheaper than eating outside and no diarrhoea! (She is not wrong for the most part.)

I giggled inside, nodded, grinned and walked off.

It’s those little things I enjoy about China. The casual mentioning of bodily functions to a stranger. Just the slightly odd things that happen, that make this house a home…

Baopals has moved office and it’s closer to my home. Even though I loved my work before, I love it even more now. In 2 days from now China will go into a shopping frenzy. It will be 11/11 aka Singles Day. It’s Black Friday on steroids (can’t think of a German equivalent – maybe the introduction of a new VW Golf, but nah).

Things are great, the balcony garden is green and chillies starting to turn red, hopefully before it gets way to cold. I have lost 6 kilogram with not drinking beer from Monday to Thursday (and a little bit of more conscious eating). I climbed 60 floors today (decided to make that a thing on Wednesdays taking the stairs to the 19th floor, the other floors are 4 times to my walk-up building to get to the 6th floor and random stairs). I randomly did push-ups when I felt a bit cold (20 each time) and I try not to throw fits of rage while biking, which is easy, as now it’s just half the way with half (or less than half, as it is a quiet’ish (if that is a thing in Shanghai) the ride along a river with less idiots. Yes, people here drive like idiots, it’s nothing new, I won’t change that, but I point out (with shouting at them) that they put both parties, me and them, in danger. I also did a mini clothing purge.

So yeah. I saw Dr. Strange. Another really good Marvel movie with a under-utilised villain (Mads Mikkelsen is such a great Hannibal and actor throughout, there should have been more of him), the best visuals in a Marvel movie so far, a good (and for me unexpected) amount of comedy and a strange twist (really, that is how and why that one character switches sides?). It’s up there in the top 5 I would say of the MCU movies, top being Winter Soldier and Civil War.

On the TV show side I have caught up with The Flash (honest trailers was never more on point): consistently good, Arrow (pretty much ‘Batman – The TV Show’ minus Batman with Green Arrow): back to season 2 greatness almost, Black Mirror (the best, darkest, most terrifying and sometimes reality predicting British TV show): with the best, most positive episode ever and possibly the greatest hour of television in my life (San Junipero – that is the name of the episode, I won’t give more away), Westworld: currently best show with naked man, woman, violence, brain and visuals, Fresh Off The Boat: great, I love, love, love the kids (especially Evan and Emery) and most of Charlie Brooker‘s Screenwipe: because TV and that man is an inspiration (can’t wait for this years wipe!I lied. There is some Trump in the last link.

My The Walking Dead Rant

I’m starting to write this 24 hours after watching Season 7 Episode 1 of The Walking Dead: The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be. So major spoilers ahead, but you should read anyway, because it’s not that important! There will also be swearing and words, lots of words, don’t be offended by words.

SPOILERS incoming

The Verge (see link above) is obviously done and I might be just as well. Having invested 6 years or so, it’s a bit said, but again I might watch the whole season because Jeffrey Dean Morgan is awesome and if it continues to get good ratings for the majority of the episodes (from my friends and some websites).

Let’s start this off at the lightest note, with a scene about that episode from one of my favourite movies ever (of course it was the most watched episode!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxrvzMxkp1s

Yes, I agree the episode was good in parts, but fuck them!

It was a bit of a love and hate relationship with The Walking Dead since the ending of season 1: it’s unbalanced, it’s great at times usually at the beginning of seasons, has some great character development (Carol), some really, really great characters: Shane, Negan, Abe (and Eugene and their chemistry) and Rick (great actor too!).

I did not read the comics and don’t like the style too much. I knew Glenn died in the comics and that this was pretty accurate. But here is what was wrong with the episode:

It revealed ‘the big secret’ (of who died – woah! – how edgy) 20 minutes into an episode after months and months of waiting. This is not the worst thing nor my biggest grasp with that episode. It is that this is a cheap trick and the second death was probably the most brutal thing I have ever seen in my life and it was pointless. Look, I can watch violence, I am okay with showing violence in fiction, but this is a show that doesn’t show tits, butts, penises, vaginas, explicit sex scenes or swearing. Fuck! So it seems to be okay to show a beloved character for what felt like 5 minutes with his head smashed in, an eye hanging out, blood all over, gargling, mumbling, suffering with the camera lingering on him, his pregnant girlfriend whining, sobbing, crying in the back but, oh dear, glad they don’t say fuck or tits or tight butthole  or whatever.

There was no point in showing that scene like that. There was no point to the violence. Just from Glenn dying (in a faster cut scene or a different cut scene all together) and everything else happening it would have been clear what an adviser is and why Rick’s group had all that coming. When the Mountain killed the Viper in Game of Thrones that was brutal. It was also fast, it was gory too, but it was interesting, it fit the tone of the whole show up until that point. Compared to the scene in TWD where this was the most brutal person on person violence in that show up to this point. Let me introduce you to a shocking movie Martyrs (can’t believe this has been remade): Martyrs is a french horror movie that is absolutely gross. It’s ultra violent, it’s gut wrenching, but if you stick through with it, there is a reason for this violence (not the smartest one, but it made me think) and it makes sense in context. It’s not A Serbian Film that is super stylized and a movie that for the smart viewer is always self-aware and clearly fiction and is meant to critique what is going on in Serbia and similar can be said for Martyrs.

That dragged out ‘big reveal’ of who dies was dumb. Cliffhangers can be dumb! And I felt insulted waiting for this, this could have been the last episode of the last season or they could have ended with Abe dying and then start of with the second death, again, anything would have been better. The show does not trust it’s own writing. Remember when Jon Snow died? He got killed. At the end of a season. You know what the views wondered about? How will this go on from here? The Walking Dead did not have the guts to do that. They went with: who dies? The dude from the comics? Maybe? We keep you assholes guessing and throw you red herrings left and right until your brain rots, but we are sure you tune in and find out. We even show you everyone dying with mini-flashbacks that somehow are all equally important to Rick (for a second they got me with that and damn that would have been ballsy, but that is a different writing team in a parallel universe where that happened). Instead we got this and people now have to wonder what they should have wondered for months if the writing would have been consistently good: where do they go from here? How do they cope with the new reality? Fuck them!

The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be (a good title by the way) was more Hostel (the first one, which I despise) for the lack of self-awareness and the missing assumption of a brain of the viewer. Glenn could and would die and that I accept. It could even have been brutal, but not in the way it was shown, that was torture porn. Hostel 2 by the way is self-aware and I would even say, just because of that ‘fun’. Not linking to those movies, they are not really worth watching or the time.

Maybe I pick up The Strain again (2 seasons still to watch) but until then I enjoy Westworld and the third season of Black Mirror. They are dark, violent and shocking too, but they don’t take me for an idiot.

 

Sometimes things just work!

This is the first blogpost ever that I write completely on my iPad. I really don’t know how or why but even without a VPN, the WordPress app is working and jumping the great firewall. So here is a test run.

Hyperlinks are a pain in the ass to do on mobile.

My iPad just works, but for reading purposes the Kindle Paperwhite blows it out of the water. It’s however great to relive Magic the Gathering, awesome to experience Shadowrun and as a second display for my MacBook Pro 2010 (and still working like the first day, possibly faster with a Samsung 500gb SSD and 8gb of RAM – also battery is still alright).

Baidu (not even linking that) is the crappiest search engine if you search in English since AOL.

So what is this? A brief overview into what I enjoy electronics wise and how I work or enjoy myself with technical gizmos. I also enjoy my iPhone 6, will skip the 7 though for obvious reasons and possibly eying a Pixel in the future, if and when the 6 will give up. Until then I enjoy it, because it just works.

No headphone jack is a dick move!

Look I have these great Marshall’s and these awesome AKGs (375 actually, 374 is without the iPhone controls, that come in handy while biking) and they bring me joy and sound great to my ears and musical tastes. Not upgrading these soon and having another gizmo that asks to be charged regularly to get joy out of.

A vaporizer is better than cigarettes.

95% better as the U.K. Government likes to state on cigarette boxes. I’m vaping on a VGod Minikin (limited edition) with a Moonshot tank (mainly). It got me off of cigarettes for roughly 1 year now and leaves me with more energy and a better sense of smell and taste.

So yeah, no my fingers hurt from typing and I gotta watch Westworld. Hope this just works and you got a tiny bit of enjoyment out of this.