velociraptor52: (Hogan's Heroes: Group)
velociraptor52 ([personal profile] velociraptor52) wrote on July 21st, 2013 at 12:18 pm
My life lately
I have been away from LJ for way too long.  I've been reading the friends list, so I'm up to date with what's happening.  I just didn't really feel like posting on LJ because I just haven't.

I'm going to talk about some TV shows I've been watching lately:

I've been watching the TV show The Hour lately.  It's good--sometimes.  It has its issues--it moves at a slow pace sometimes, kind of like Mad Men.  It's certainly not action packed.  It relies more on mystery and intrigue.

It's like a Le Carre novel come to life, except it's not quite like Le Carre.  (I've read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.)  I have a hard time describing it.

I like the characters sometimes.  I particularly like Freddie.  And there are some characters that I can't stand.

I liken it to Mad Men, but that's only because the show takes place in the 1950s.  (Or is it 1960s?)  I'm not completely obsessed with it, but it is a good show to watch.

I've also been trying to catch up with Mad Dogs.  I just finished watching the first series (it was four episodes, so that was easy).  The one thing I like about Mad Dogs is the cast--the story is completely wild and insane, but the cast makes everything better.  Seriously.  There's John Simm, Philip Glenister, Marc Warren, and Max Beesley.  And I completely kind of ship Warren's and Beesley's characters just because, IMO, they just have so much chemistry together.

I'm on the second season now.  For some reason I've always had a hard time completing season 2 because it just feels so different, tonally, from season 1.  Season 1 had its shocking moments, sure, but it completely operated on a dark comedy/humor kind of thing, and so far there's none of that in season 2.

Also, Top Gear is back!  That means more updates from me because I'll be writing down my thoughts on the episodes.

Okay, episode 1:

What I liked:

-the boat that James sailed on for the race against Jeremy.  It looked really cool.  And it also looked really scary when it leaned to one side and the other side was completely out of the water
-James completely destroying his car
-Jimmy Carr (?) completely destroying the new reasonably priced car
-Mike Rutherford.  I listen to Mike and the Mechanics and Genesis so his appearance was just a complete surprise and he said in the show he was doing more recording for Mike and the Mechanics, which just made me ridiculously happy because yay!  More Mike and the Mechanics!  (He better not have been lying.)

What I didn't like:

-the opening was okay.  I guess I'm never a big fan when they review cars around the race track.  All I can say is 'ooh, nice images and video and presentation!''s not that I didn't like the opening of the hatchback cars, it's just that I could care less about them

Episode 2

What I liked:

-Ron Howard as the SiaRPC.  Because I liked him in Happy Days
-I must admit that the race between the biker and the runner was interesting (though it seemed a little bit staged)
-the opening car.  The white one.  That looked interesting.

What I didn't:

-the taxi race.  I just didn't care for it

Overall, the second episode was weak.  I liked the first episode better.  I'm not against staged things, really, so I have no idea why I had issues with the races in episode 2.

Episode 3

What I liked:

-Benedict Cumberbatch
-Benedict mentioning fanfiction.  I'm surprised he even knows about that.
-Benedict fake punching Jeremy :P
-so, yeah, this episode was way better than episode 2
-Richard accidentally scratching his car and the other guys taking the mickey out of him for that :D
-(I apologize for using the phrase 'tacking the mickey'--I've been watching a lot of British things lately.)

Another show I've been watching is Hogan's Heroes.  I'm almost obsessed with that show.  I really like Newkirk and LeBeau, and maybe Carter.  There was this one episode in season 1 that had this actor in it and he had been in The Great Escape, and that really amused me, because that's just me.  I'm amused when I see actors from other films/TV shows in another film or TV show.

I've also been watching some films.  This month I watched the film Charade.  It's a 1960s film starring Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, James Coburn, and Walter Matthau.  I mostly just watched it for Coburn and Matthau.  It was actually a really good film.  It was the first film I've seen that starred Hepburn.  I've never seen Breakfast at Tiffany's, although that's on my Netflix queue, so, yeah, I'm a bit behind in watching classic films.

The twist at the end really threw me off and surprised me.  I had been thinking that Matthau was the good guy and Cary Grant was the bad guy and the revelation that Matthau was the bad guy really surprised me.  And disappointed me, because I wanted Matthau to be the good guy.  But the twist was extremely well done, so that was good.  I've seen reviews of the film with people saying that it's the best Hitchcock film that Hitchcock didn't make.

I was disappointed that James Coburn's character died in the film.  Also, he didn't interact with Matthau on screen at all, and I had been hoping that he and Matthau at least shared some scenes together.  Oh well.  At least James Coburn was in it in the first place.  He played a bad guy and had a Western/Texan accent, which made me lol.  I'm so used to him with his fake Australian accent (from The Great Escape).

Another film I watched this month was King Rat.  It's a film adaptation of a James Clavell novel, and James had worked on The Great Escape script.  He also fought in WWII and at one point was actually a POW in the Changi prison camp (a camp in Singapore), so the novel he wrote--King Rat--is autobiographical for the most part.  Byran Forbes wrote the screenplay of the film and he directed it as well.  (Bryan was a friend of Richard Attenborough's, and was also in a movie with him.  Sadly, Bryan passed away earlier this year.)

The film is really different from The Great Escape and it shows a completely different side of a POW camp.  The one thing I like about the film--other than the cinematograhpy--are the actors.  (The cinematography--it was filmed in black and white, which I thought gave it a unique quality.)  It starred George Segal, James Fox, Tom Courtenay, James Donald, and Richard Dawson.  I originally got it just to watch James Donald in it (he starred in The Great Escape) and came away completely obsessing over Tom Courtenay (Tom also starred in Doctor Zhivago--I've never seen the film, but I want to).

James didn't have a lot of screen time, but the screen time that he had was good.  Richard Dawson had less screen time than James did, and his accent isn't all that strong--IDK--I expected him to have a stronger British accent.  I know the accent he put on for Hogan's Heroes was a fake, but I just figured he'd have a more pronounced British accent, and he didn't.

Like I said, the film isn't similar at all to The Great Escape.  King Rat is more dreary and depressing.  Despite that, I did like it.  I don't know why, but I did.  Maybe it's because of the actors.  Also, I'm not saying The Great Escape is happy and cheerful--obviously the ending of TGE makes me depressed as well, but in TGE all the characters are workng together toward a common goal (escaping) and there was none of that comraderie in King Rat.  In KR, everyone was looking out for themselves only.

I also justrecently finished the film The Fortune Cookie, which starred Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.  It was the first film they were in together--the pair starred in about nine other films together.  And they were best friends in real life as well, which I think is awesome.

I also finished The World of Henry Orient, which starred Peter Sellers and Angela Lansbury.  It was directed by George Roy Hill, who directed the film The Sting, which starred Robert Redford and Paul Newman (and Robert Shaw).  (The film was good--it was a bit weird at first, but then Peter Sellers appeared and everything was okay.  His accent was hilarious :D everything he did in the film was just wonderful and funny.  I like Peter Sellers--he was a good actor.

Speaking of The Sting, there is a theater in Fullerton that put on a production of the stage version of The Sting.  I only knew about it because I saw it being advertised in the newspaper and, being a fan of The Sting, I was curious as to how it would hold up being performed on the stage.  The tickets were only $20, which was wonderful, and Fullerton is kind of close, so I went to see it.

Guys, I have never been in more awe of a play than I was with The Sting.  Everything was perfect about it!  The actors, the stage (I'll get to that in a minute), the music, the 'being faithful to the film even though it's a stage adaptation of a film'.  I loved every second of it.

Anyway, so the stage.  The theater had two rooms, so for act one the audience and the actors were on one stage, and in the second act we were in another room.  This allowed there to be more scenes.  You know how typically for a play the set doesn't move around?  It did for this one.  After certain scenes it would go dark and you would hear/see people moving certain walls/stages/curtains so that when the light came back on it was an entirely new scene.  I just liked how they did that.  It broke the fourth wall, sure (I mean, in plays you're never supposed to see the backstage production part--in this one they needed to go lights out and move props/scenery about in order to change scenes), but it worked really well.

And in the second act the actors were closer to the audience--at certain times the actors were on the ground floor with the audience, so it just seemed really intimate.

I thought they cast a really good actor to play Hooker--he embodied Redford's Hooker in every possible way.  The actors playing Gondorf and Lonnigan were also really excellent.

Basically, it was the best play I've ever seen, or maybe I'm just really biased.  If they had done a horrible job, I probably wouldn't have liked it all that much, though.  I wish I had seen it a second time--it really was good.

For games, I've been playing Oblivion a whole lot.  It's the fourth game in the Elder Scrolls Chronicle series, with Skyrim being the fifth.  I remember being absolutely in love with Oblivion when it came out.  I thought it was a really interesting game.

Now, after having played Skyrim, Oblivion seems kind of weak.  IDK.  I think it's the graphics--obviously a lot of time passed between when Oblivion had been made and when Skyrim was made, so Skyrim would undoubtedly have the better graphics.  Except Skyrim has extremely good graphics, so it makes Oblivion look just...odd.  I think if Skyrim had the same type of graphics as Oblivion then I wouldn't have any issues.

TL;DR Skyrim's superior graphic quality makes Oblivion look like it hadn't been made by the same company (Bethesda).

I also hate the loading times in Oblivion.  And the archery.  And the magic.  And the fact that when I press 'disarm' I can't disarm my bow.  Even if I want to not use my bow anyway, the arrow still shoots and I have to retrieve it.  Either way, in Skyrim when I pressed a certain button when I had my bow and arrow ready it didn't shoot off an arrow.  In Oblivion, when I have my bow and arrow primed for shooting an enemy and I press a button the arrow still shoots, which annoys me.

I lose arrows faster that way.

I also hate the long opening.  Skyrim's opening wasn't that long, and it had a dragon.  All Oblivion had was Patrick Stewart's voice and a whole lot of rats and goblins.  And it was seriously very long.  I've always hated Oblivion's opening.

I also hate how the health doesn't just get better and I have to use the restore health spell.  And the fatigue.  And know, Oblivion was good when it came out.  Then Skyrim was released and it was just in many ways better than Oblivion.

Another thing I hate is how dark the game is.  I've played plenty of games.  It's only Oblivion where I have to fiddle around with the video brightness.  They made it too dark--I can't find my way to a city at night, much less navigate the open plains of Cyrrodil at night.  I mean I know I can adjust the brightness--I do that--but I would rather not.

Skyrim is good--it's not too dark.

TL;DR I just have too many issues with Oblivion because Skyrim is too damn perfect.

My friend is moving to San Diego later this year for grad school so we're trying to do fun trips and outings before she moves.  I'm hoping I'll see her sometimes in San Diego, though.

Anyway, she and I went on a day trip to LA earlier this month.  All we did was drive around and see famous sights and things.  We went to the California Sciene Center to see the space ship Endeavour.  We also went to the cemetery because there are a lot of actors buried in a certain cemetery (which was located near UCLA).

These are the people we saw there:

Bob Crane from Hogan's Heroes

Richard Dawson, also from Hogan's Heroes

Natalie Wood--she was in Rebel Without a Cause, West Side Story, and other films.

Walter Matthau--he played Oscar in The Odd Couple.  And he was buried near Jack Lemmon, which I find touching, considering how they were friends.

Personally, I liked Jack's tombstone.  It's hilarious :D

Billy Wilder directed two films that Lemmon and Matthau starred in.

You can't say the 'K', but trust me when I say that this is Peter Falk.  Stupid dead boquet of flowers for blocking the 'k'.  Also, there was a gate blocking us from actually getting a good view of the tombstone, but, yeah, it's Peter's.

We also saw a squirrel:

And the Hollywood sign:

Overall, it had been a fun day.

In other news, hopefully everyone's read by now that Bear McCreary will work on the score for Joss Whedon's TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  TBH, I'm really excited about this news because when I was younger and obsessed with BSG and the music of BSG, I had imagined how awesome it would have been had Bear worked on the score for a Joss Whedon TV show, and now it's actually happening, and all I can say is yay! :D Whedon + McCreary=perfection.

I also saw Ian Anderson in concert again.  The first time I saw IA performing Thick as a Brick it was just so amazing and I really wanted to go back and see it again, and they were playing in LA at the Greek Theater, so I went there:

(crappy blurry picture, but it's in black and white)

(^ that one is my favorite picture)

(^ that one is also my favorite)

Trust me when I say that we had seats far away from the stage--the camera was just really amazing with the zoom function :P

I've been doing yoga a lot lately.  I have this list on the Day Zero website and on that list is 'complete the 30 day yoga challenge' or something like that.  So I've been trying to do yoga for 30 consecutive days.  So far it's going good.  I also found a really good yoga app for the iPad, which I downloaded.  It helps because I can make my own yoga sequences on there.

I've recently learned how to do the plow pose, along with the staff pose.  The staff pose is this one--it really helped me to follow the instructions, regarding the 'keeping the elbows tight against the sides' thing, because I hadn't been doing that when I've been attempting the pose before and I've always fallen down.

On the real life front, my mind is in summer mode, and I'm applying for jobs.  In fact, I recently had an interview at Knott's Berry Farm--I'll see what comes out of that, but I'm not holding my breath for a job there, although it would be nice.  I really need to just get out of summer mode--that's the only problem I have.
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