Monthly Archives: January 2017

Going At It Alone

This Sunday I went to Monster Jam on my own. This follows solo trips to Virginia, Niagara, and Washington D.C., including a Garth Brooks concert, among other things.

Is it fun to go to these events alone? Nope.
Is it necessary to go to these events alone? Yes.

When planning these trips, there is always the option of adding an extra person, it’s usually as simple as adding a hotel room…and with Monster Jam there was an unused ticket that went to waste.

If I waited for someone to do all these things with I never would have walked the Freedom Trail in Boston, wandered thru the streets of Camden Yards, or felt the spray of the Class 6 White Water Rapids of Niagara.
Never would I have stomped around the Tidal Basin or climbed the staircases of the New York Capitol, and it’s likely I never would have rocked out with the fine people of Richmond.

No, I definitely don’t want to have done all these alone. It would be a lot nicer to have someone to share the experiences with, to talk about the fun times that was had.

But until all that is an option, I’m just gonna have to keep going at it all alone.

Monster Jam Triple Threat

Monster Jam Triple Threat is moving across the East Coast in a great show filled with Monster Trucks, Speedsters, and ATVs (hence the ‘Triple Threat’).

Monster Jam 2017 Scooby Doo Gif

At yesterday’s show at The Prudential Center, there was a nice variety of cars, from fan favorites Grave Digger and Max-D, crowd-enticing Zombie and EarthShaker, to the animals of Scooby-Doo, Monster Mutt Rottweiler, and El Toro Loco, and lastly the underwhelming N.E.A.

Monster Jam 2017 Zombie Monster Jam 2017 Scooby Doo Monster Jam 2017 Max D Monster Jam 2017 EarthShaker

With a range of seven events to fill out the scoring, each driver needed to earn as much as they could, with a variety of votes coming from the judges and audience.
There were head-to-head races Speedsters and ATVs, and then the large trucks raced the course, spun doughnuts, popped wheelies, and ended with a Freestyle extravaganza.

This was a great event and highly recommended for kids and adults of all ages.

While some events it doesn’t matter where in a Stadium/Arena you sit, for Monster Jam I would recommend paying a little extra to sit downstairs and close to the action, where you can really see the height these vehicles get and feel the rumble as they rev their engines.

Monster Jam Triple Threat 2017 Poster

The Secret Life of Pets #Review

When humans are around pets are exactly what you need them to be: Friends, family and mutual fun times.
But what happens when the owners go away to work and leave their pets home alone?
Well, that’s when the real parties start. Movies, video games, real food, music and parties, and nothing is off limits.

Secret Life of Pets Poster

Enter Max (Louis C.K.), our little terrier, who suddenly has a new roommate: A stray named Duke (Eric Stonestreet), who’s large frame takes up too much room, and demeanor steals the attention of their owner Katie (Ellie Kemper).

So Max sets about causing some trouble, trying to drive Duke out of the apartment. But when they get caught by animal control, without their collars, they need to go on a mission to get back home safely and avoid the rejected animals (rabbits, crocs, snakes…) and crazy wildlife (hawks…), all while their neighborhood friends (dogs, cats, hamsters, birds…) are there for the lifesaving adventure.

In the midst of the movie there seems to be a Sausage Party teaser, which was a little weird, but the Sing! ads on the side of NYC buses seems like a nice touch to help promote other Illumination movies.

This movie is fun, but falls far short of Zootopia, and gets a 7 out of 10.

Secret Life of Pets Collage

Guitar Hero Live

Yup, the game came out 15+ months ago, but I finally got around to playing it so here are my thoughts:

The Gameplay experience is a step up from previous games, as performing in front of a “Live Crowd” and hearing them react to wrong notes is a lot more fun than just a generic background.

Meanwhile, the Setlist was pretty decent, with three songs from the 1900s and then a nice mix of 2000s and 2010s, as well as a range of styles from Indie to Metal.

But then you turn to the controller, and where all the issues begin:

  • Personally I’d prefer a wired controller for this sort of game because the wireless one doesn’t work great.
    With the dongle plugged in behind my Xbox (in an open area) it wouldn’t read all the signals, and when moved to the side USB port I experienced better results, but still an occasional missed note.
  • To that effect, the brand new controller I got was defective, with the downwards clicker only working 50% of the time. This was tested out of game as well, with generic scrolling through menus…up worked fine, down was spotty.
  • New controls: Changing from the original five colored keys they moved to six Black and White keys, three up-three down, this up/down black/white style sometimes made it difficult to read on the screen (especially when using a “Power Up” and you’d have blue flashes across the screen). The clunky controls, with a line in between up and down, made it more difficult to do “combos” in which they wanted you to hit both at once with the same finger.

This game is overall pretty bad and gets a 4.5 out of 10, I’d go for one of the older ones…if they worked on the One.

Guitar Hero Live Poster

Mental Health Awareness #BellLetsTalk – 2017

Today is the 7th Annual Bell Let’s Talk day.

The Canadian telecommunications company, Bell, has made this day a yearly focus on Mental Health issues, nd encouraging everyone to talk about it.

Last year I posted on it, simply describing the cause, and this year it has taken on a new meaning after losing a friend to mental health issues in June of 2016.

It’s already trending early this morning on Twitter, and for every tweet that uses the hashtag #BellLetsTalk the company will give 5¢ to mental health initiatives. The same goes true if you use their designated Snapchat filter.

As of this posting, there have been over 6 million interactions, which can all be tracked here.

Please make sure to help spread the word on mental illness, and keep an eye on those around you who might be suffering.

If you want to donate to the cause, I would recommend NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness), who are the nation’s largest grassroots mental health advocacy organization.

Sneaky Pete #Review

After the exciting pilot on this Amazon Exclusive, the show shallows out for a bit, but picks up as the season moves along.

Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) has a new life, taking on the role of Pete, faking out his family and friends in the hopes of escaping his past (and the mob boss (Bryan Cranston)) and scamming fresh new people out of their monies.

With flashbacks to his past, showing how he got stuck with the trouble he is in, Pete shows off the tools of his trade trying to pickpocket and scheme his way through life.

As has become the norm for these binge shows, they are very weak in the middle but put enough at the back end to make you want more of it.

This show has gotten picked up for a second season, after the second largest premiere for an Amazon show (behind Man in the High Castle, and gets a 7 out of 10.

Speed Over Quality

Following the Rolling Stone article from a few months ago (which I discussed here), it’s important to look at other things that are affected by our need for everything NOW.

Everyone likes to get their information spoon fed to them as fast as possible, and if a news site doesn’t get up the story fast, they fear getting beat by a competitor…and they’ll take that risk of speed, instead of fact checking the article before posting it.

A good example was Friday as the new administration took office, all of the old stuff got rolled off the Internet and into Archives.
This included Twitter accounts (such as @POTUS and @WhiteHouse) and the actual website for the White House.
At the stroke of Noon, the Obama administration pages went into archives, while the primary pages were reset to Stage Zero, and started to get rebuilt for the new Trump presidency.

But that didn’t stop websites, such as Complex, from running stories about the Trump administration removing Climate Change, Healthcare, and Civil Rights from the White House website…and of course the Internet (and the social media beasts) ran with that, instead of remembering that this is standard protocol and not a “scrub of data”.

Complex, after a bunch of Tweets and pictures, added to the end of their story the following:

…The new site is poorly written and researched, as well as underdeveloped, so it’s possible that these scrubs are an oversight—plus, it’s standard protocol for incoming administrations to delete all existing materials on the official site…

So they basically acknowledge that their whole story is just about riling people up, and not actually factual, since it’s standard protocol and not the “scrub” that the article leads readers to believe (readers that we all know take the headlines and run, and will never read to the end of a story…too many words and all).

Time for the media, and anyone that wants to consider themselves as such, to start putting the facts up front, and stop being click-bait and the one that fans the flames of the Internet.