Aviously

Because, aviously…

NYCFC have had a good run of late, 5-0-0 at home on the season, and second in the league thru 12 games. But no good season can happen without some controversy or hiccups.

A few weeks ago it was the talk of a new stadium, and this week it’s Patrick Vieira and David Villa that are making headlines:

  • Patrick Vieira is now in his third year with the team, and thru 86 games had a 39-21-26 record…pretty good so far. And with that success comes suitors…and France is calling heavily, with a move to Ligue 1 Nice seeming likely in the near future.
    While this would be a big blow for the team if he were to leave now, there are a few people that I can see fit in here:

    • Mikel Arteta – Man City’s assistant coach is favored at Arsenal, but there are rumors he doesn’t want the job, as they won’t give him full roster control…if that’s the case, the fully ready coach could stay in the CFG family and head over to the American side of the pond
    • Tab Ramos – Tab was the first MLS signing in history, and then spent time in the New York area with the MetroStars. He’s spent the last 7 years developing the USMNT Youth, coaching the U-20 team…and his time for a Pro job, especially with MLSs new call-to-arms for young players with the Youth Transfer Fund. Claudio Reyna also has a prior relationship with Tab from his USMNT days
    • Xabi Alonso – It’s been 367 days since he last played, and it’s time for him to get a coaching role. He may be unpolished, but his style would be very similar to Vieira
    • David Villa – It’s a rarity, but player-manager has happened in soccer in the past, but never in the MLS. David can commit to NYC for a little longer, extending his time in the city his family has come to love, and a fan base that is enamored with his performance
  • David Villa has been performing at a top-notch level of late, despite being later in his career, and entering what many of the world sees as the “retirement league”. He recently recorded his 400th career goal, for Club and Country, and always seems to play better with a chip on his shoulder. and this weekend he received word that he didn’t make Spain’s World Cup team…
    He always plays better when he has something to prove, and someone to show up. And getting snubbed by the National Team will make him furious, leading to him stepping up and proving their decision wrong. This also means he’ll be around and playing when other teams’ top players are off in Russia…although a lot of them are getting snubbed too. But consider the two most recent examples, where he just steps up when the focus is on him:

    • FC Dallas on April 29th, after scoring his 400th earlier in the game, David got a yellow card that he thought was uncalled for…on the next play, head down, he plowed through the defense and scored a goal
    • May 19th, David Villa Day in NYC – Goes out and scores two

I can’t wait to see where this all ends up…and I’d love to be right about that NYCFC coach hunt…although I’d prefer if Vieria stayed.

This week were the Upfronts, the annual time when Networks present to advertisers and roll out their Fall lineups, and this is my early look at what I’m likely to watch!

The list is fairly small, as the TV world is full of revivals that have 0 interest to me…and I am not sure how I’m going to get my TV fix…but I’m sure Hulu/Amazon/Netflix will fill in well!

Full schedule at the bottom 🙂


Sunday

9:00 PM — FOX — Family Guy

Monday

Tuesday

8:00 PM — FOX — The Gifted

9:00 PM — FOX — Lethal Weapon

9:30 PM — ABC — Splitting Up Together

Wednesday

8:00 PM — CW — Riverdale

Thursday

8:00 PM — CBS — Big Bang Theory

8:00 PM — FOX — Superstore

8:30 PM — FOX — The Good Place

8:30 PM — CBS — Young Sheldon

9:30 PM — NBC — I Feel Bad —  TRAILER

Friday

9:00 PM — FOX — Hell’s Kitchen

Saturday


MIDSEASON SHOWS

CBS — The Amazing Race — Season 31 will rev up with a full cast of Big Brother alumni

NBC — Brooklyn Nine-Nine — Returning for a partial season on NBC after getting canceled by FOX

NBC — Abby’s — A San Diego bar, with strict rules and the anti-party bar. Hanging out at Abby’s is a privilege that I hope to earn

FOX — Gotham — Coming back for a partial, and final, season, mapping out Bruce Wayne’s turn to the Dark Knight

FOX — The Orville

ABC — Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — A 13-episode season that isn’t expected to show up until the summer of 2019


ONLINE SHOWS

There are obviously going to be a lot more announcements for Fall streaming programming…but here is what’s on my list upcoming in the next few months:

13 Reasons Why — Netflix — Today

Arrested Development — Netflix — May 29

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — Netflix — May 30

Luke Cage — Netflix — June 22

GLOW — Netflix — June 29

Harlots — Hulu — July 11

Jack Ryan — Amazon — August 31


CANCELED SHOWS

FOX — The Mick

FOX — New Girl — A surprise return this season, for eight-short episodes taking place three years later, wrapped up this show

ABC — Inhumans — This had no chance of getting renewed, despite having a great theme song

ABC — The Middle — Nine seasons long, this fun family show comes to an end next Tuesday

ABC — Designated Survivor — A surprise cancellation, this show doesn’t rate well on-air, but does well in online/next day viewers, leading to rumors that Netflix might pick it up


Google News rolled out a redesign in the last few days, and it’s a great way for people to get their headlines and what interests them the most.

I get my news from the Google Now feed on my Android home screen, but this app works in a similar way of delivering the news to you.

The app is powered by AI (artificial intelligence), sorting thru the constant breaking news and overload of information that comes out every second online, to show you only things that interest you.

The first time you log in you may see things that you don’t care about…just keep scrolling and click on the stories that you want to learn more about, or click the drop-down menu and select “More/Fewer stories like this”, and the feed will quickly learn and adapt.

The app is also split into four parts:

  •  For You – This is where you have your personalized briefing and Top 5 tailored stories, followed by other stories based on your likings
  • Headlines – The top stories sorted by the typical news categories (Latest, U.S., World, Business, Sports, Etc.)
  • Favorites – Here is where you can see “Favorited” items, such as Topics, Sources, and any stories that you “Saved” for later
  • Newsstand – Subscribe to Newspapers and Magazines and see them here. A lot of subscriptions are free (such as USA Today or CBS News) and others run a monthly charge (such as $4.99 for the LA Times)

And if you click the “Perspectives and Context” button under a headline it will show you “Full Coverage” of the story, removing the filters that the AI introduces to show you the sources you prefer.

The app is available now on Android and iOS.

Recently I took the dive and got a Sony PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro), to put alongside the Xbox One that I have gathering dust in my room.

The reasons the Xbox has been sitting unused is really simple:

  • The game selection has dwindled in recent years, with only about one or two games a year that are playable (outside the typical FIFA/NHL games)
  • My Xbox likes to turn itself on. From “Power Off” (and not “Sleep”) mode, it would randomly turn on. Sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes when no one was home. And no matter how much I mentioned it to Microsoft, they never seemed to care…so I started to unplug the unit, and it just wasn’t worth the hassle of plugging it back in
  • I used to have my cable box run thru my Xbox, but with the amount of time it took to turn the unit on, it was about 60-90 seconds before I was able to start watching TV…and that’s just no fun. So I disconnected them and plugged it into an HDMI switch

One game that I’ve wanted for years is a baseball game, and ever since the EA Sports MVP series ended in 2005, I haven’t been able to play an MLB game, as Sony has the exclusive rights with The Show, and they wouldn’t put that on any platform besides their own.

So for a while (since I missed the $200 Black Friday sale, and couldn’t pull the trigger at the time) I was looking for a PlayStation deal…something that just doesn’t exist, until Target has an in-store Cartwheel deal a few weeks ago, that sent me store hunting for the exact console that they had on sale…and after a few weeks with it, it’s clearly better than the Xbox.

  • While a lot of games are multiplatform, switching over to PS allows me to try some new series’ that I’ve wanted to play for a while, such as The Show and God of War
  • Superfast load times
    • When I turn the unit on, it turns on immediately. Whether in Rest Mode or Power Off, it never takes more than a few seconds to turn on
    • Games load really quickly
  • Having a “Share” button on the controller, while unusual, is playing into the Millennial age, when everything needs to be posted to Twitter or Facebook, or live-streamed to Twitch or YouTube
  • Cleaner Menus: The Xbox dashboard has slowly gotten clunkier and clunkier, and it has made it harder to find what you need, and get to where you want in a timely fashion
  • Looks: The PS Slim is obviously smaller than the Xbox One, but when you look at the bigger systems, the PS4 Pro is a futuristic looking beast, that can handle 4K and all those other HD gimmicks

And it’s not just me that feels this way, a recent article from Arstechnica, they suggest that the PS4 has sold 2.5X more than the Xbox One, “now controlling over 70 percent of the “two-console” market worldwide.”

Two years after her last Netflix special, Baby Cobra, during which she was very pregnant…and now Ali makes her way back onto the stage for Hard Knock Wife, and not surprisingly, she’s pregnant again.

She doesn’t waste any time getting into talking about her kid and being a new Mom, and all the experiences that come with it. She also spends a lot of time talking about how it’s affected her relationship with her husband.

I tried the stay-at-home-mom thing for eight weeks. I liked the “Stay at home” part…You are stuck at home all day with a human Tamagotchi.

And maybe it’s the fact that I can’t relate to the topics, and this special isn’t geared to me…but I just don’t find it funny. She’s a real screamer, who likes to talk really loud and yell jokes at you. I’ve never been a fan of this method, and while I’ve found her funny in the past, it’s just too much this time, combined with all her bad jokes, this special gets just a 4 out of 10.


I was reading a few reviews on this special, and one of them by Maia Efrem, over at Refinery29 caught my eye. Among the things she praises Ali for is:

Her set-ups were smart, her punchlines hilarious, and she was doing it all while growing a fetus. That’s more than any male comic can ever say.

I mean…yes, she’s pregnant. But pregnancy doesn’t make it any more or less impressive to tell a joke. Either you can or you can’t…and like I said above, I just didn’t find this funny.
And yes, it’s likely a lot harder to do a stand up special while in her third trimester, but it doesn’t change ones funniness.

Gabriel Iglesias is (was?, he’s worked hard on it!) overweight, and has earned himself the nickname of Fluffy. But he’s funny because he makes good jokes, and is great with his delivery. But I don’t think anyone would write a review saying:

Gabriel was funny and energetic, walking around the stage delivering his jokes, all while being overweight and harder for him to get around. That’s more than any skinny comic can ever say.

Reggie Watts is out there on stage, leading to this review I’ve just thought up:

Reggie is out there on stage, with his large hair and beard, standing under the bright lights, and you can’t imagine the sweat and water that he loses on a daily basis. That’s more than any slim comic can ever say.

People applaud something…that’s one thing. But to needlessly compare her to a male, for the sake of putting them down, is sexist. I can only imagine the backlash if the reverse were written…especially if the guy had been Ricky Gervais.

Harlan Coben has been known for years as a great writer, with Tell No One and Missing You, and now he’s taken his works to Netflix, with a brand new Original miniseries called: Safe, presenting a nice compact story in 8-episodes, without the fluff that too many shows have. Besides for Coben’s ability to draw people in, the show stars Michael C. Hall, Marc Warren, Amanda Abbington, and Amy James-Kelly.

Living in a gated community, Tom Delaney (Hall) has his life torn apart. Already dealing with his two children alone, after the death of his wife a year before, his daughter Jenny (James-Kelly) goes missing, and in his search to find her he gets help from his friend Pete (Warren) and his girlfriend/neighbor cop Sophie (Abbington).

This show is fast-paced, intriguing, and intense, using a series of flashbacks and great storytelling, to bring a complete story to your screens. I highly recommend this murder-mystery and give it a 9 out of 10.

The fifth installment in the continuation of the Millennium Series, created by Stieg Larsson, and a follow-up to The Girl In The Spider Web, David Lagercrantz does really well in carving the story in An Eye For An Eye.

The original trilogy, published after Larsson’s death, was overloaded with information, and a lot of readers were likely to get caught in the weeds and turned off from the series. David has taken the series in a new path, with lots of story and intrigue, and a lot less fluff and overload.
In a similar vein, the first movie released in America was enjoyable, but seemingly a dud, as they never produced the rest of the series with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara…but the Swedish full trilogy, with Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace, was a lot more enjoyable.

Last we saw her Salander was heading to jail, and now in jail she faces the wrath of a mobster killer and her special knife, while trying to protect an innocent girl who was jailed after being forced into uncomfortable situations by her siblings.
Blomkvist is working on a new article, under the suggestions of Lisbeth, and is looking into a strangeness with stockbroker Leo Mannheimer.

The book is a great read and will keep you entertained from start to finish.

BTW, they are making a new movie for the series (based on Spider Web) starring Claire Foy (The Crown) and Sverrir Gudnason (Borg vs. McEnroe), due out this November.

It’s May, and I haven’t done a Song of the Day in a bunch of weeks…so here are some of the songs I’m listening to…and the first three are really really good.


No Tears Left To Cry – Ariana Grande

The more I listen to this song, the more I like it…and I think the top of the Chorus is a great show of her vocal range.

Right now, I’m in a state of mind
I wanna be in, like, all the time
Ain’t got no tears left to cry
So I’m pickin’ it up


This Is America – Childish Gambino

When I first saw this music video on Sunday I was riveted. Anyone who knows Donald Glover from Community knows the funny side of him. Meanwhile, there’s a whole ‘nother group of people who know him from Atlanta. But this video and song are an awakening to a lot of people on his talents, and the reality that most of America are all too familiar with.

This is America
Don’t catch you slippin’ up
Look what I’m whippin’ up


These Days – Rudimental feat. Jess Glynne, Dan Caplen, and Macklemore

I hope someday we’ll sit down together
And laugh with each other about these days
All our troubles, we’ll lay to rest and
We’ll wish we could come back to these days


Heaven – Kane Brown

The lyrics I quote below I find are just so real and are what draws me into this song.

Everybody’s talking about heaven like they just can’t wait to go
Saying how it’s gonna be so good, so beautiful
Lying next to you, in this bed with you, I ain’t convinced
Cause, I don’t know how heaven
Could be better than this

It was the first Monday in May, 2014, and I’d just had a bad experience at the Apple store, and needed a place to vent about it. And vent I did. And then I spoke about race…and morality…and Boko Haram…and Shakira…and how to fix NYC. And that was just the first week of “Avi’s Travels”.

Over time Avis became a nickname, and me traveling through my mind and thoughts became a topic for me to write about, as I wrote every single weekday, taking off for holidays or vacations.

And exactly halfway between that launch day and today (2 years ago tomorrow), it became “Aviously”, and now I’ve reached post number 1,000.

I have struggled at times to want to write, and want to continue, and every time I’ve dragged myself to the keyboard and found something, sometimes things completely mundane, to write about.

I definitely haven’t done it for the readers and “hits”, because those numbers are incredibly low…as are comments and likes and all the other fun stuff that the Instagram Millenials like to crave.

The posts that have gotten the most hits have unfortunately been ones that people end up on after looking up deaths and remembrances…like the three friends I’ve lost over the last few years (here, here, and here).

If it were up to me, people would come and give their thoughts on my TV Reviews, especially my focus on originals from Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

Or they would come in for my original intent, travels…although I never went anywhere when this all started…but since then I’ve had a lot of fun going through Virginia (and the highly recommended National Museum of the Marine Corps), over the border to Niagara, along the really snowy streets of Boston, or of course to the best place I’ve visited so far: San Diego.

And of course, there’s the thing that started it all, April 15, 2013, over a year before the website started: Song of the Day.
It was the daily thing I did before this site, posting a song of my choice every single day on social media for almost two years…from Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People to Nobody Love by Tori Kelly…over 300 different songs.
And on here it has turned into occasional posts under the “SOTD” headings…and my yearly Song of the Year lists, for five years now, with usually a Top 10 list, expanding to the Top 20 in 2017, all from my own favorites.

This week I’ve been feeling like I want to give it all up again, and I never know when I’ll just wake up and say I don’t want to write on here anymore…but for today you’ve got me! And spoiler: You have a new #AvisTravels coming up in June, in the form of a road trip!

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie is one of the classic books that everyone is supposed to read…editors note, I never got past the third chapter. And the bore I discovered in those pages, transferred right on over to the big screen.

Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) can spot what’s wrong from a mile away.

I can only see the world as it should be. And when it is not, the imperfections stand out like the nose in the middle of the face.

A three-day train ride, full of anonymity, and the gentle rocking…where anything can happen, and happen it does, as Poirot takes a ride on the Orient Express a murder unfolds, and it’s left up to him to figure out who is guilty and why.

They loaded the film up with superstars, in an attempt to make it watchable…from old-timers like Judi Dench and Johnny Depp (who is so out of his regular element), to up-and-comers like Daisy Ridley and Leslie Odom Jr.
Michelle Pfeiffer, William Dafoe, Penelope Cruz (who is extremely religious (read: weird)), and Josh Gad are among the others rounding things out.

The movie is antique and classic, and it’s just too slow moving to get pulled into, while at the same time there is just too much info to care for any of the characters.

Don’t bother wasting your time watching this one, getting a 5.5 out of 10.

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