new and noteworthy tv: 8/25-8/31

August 23rd, 2014

Roger Federer

Maybe go out to enjoy the final official week of summer…

  • Monday: U.S. Open Tennis (ESPN, various), Emmys (NBC, 5pm)
  • Tuesday: The iHeartradio Album Release Party with Maroon 5 (CW, 8pm), Chelsea Lately, Finale (E!, 11pm)
  • Wednesday: Mud Lovin’ Rednecks, Season Premiere (AnPl, 8pm), Girlfriend Intervention, Series Premiere (Life, 10pm)
  • Thursday: World’s Wildest Commercials (ABC, 10pm)
  • Sunday: MDA Show of Strength Telethon (ABC, 9pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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summer series roundup

August 21st, 2014

worst Summer has been in full swing, and although fall season is on the horizon, we still have time to take a look at what’s we’ve been watching.

  • Backpackers (CW) – I think this is either a web series or based on one where two college dudes travel cross Europe so one can find his true love, pass.
  • Breathless (PBS) – I mostly don’t consider these Masterpiece things new series but if you dig them check them out.
  • Chasing Life (ABCF) – Another series with some potential that was a little too family to get me to stick with, girl gets cancer and of course some family and romantic drama, pass.
  • Dominion (Syfy) – It’s a bad sign that I’m pretty sure I watched an episode of this and can’t remember what it was about, come from the future (?), pass.
  • Working The Engels (NBC) – Misfit family sticks together, and it wasn’t quite together enough to warrant future watch, pass.
  • Extant (CBS) – I just deleted my backlog on this show, some potential with Halle Berry, space impregnation, and a robotic kid, stay tuned.
  • Garfunkle and Oates (IFC) – I don’t have this channel but rumor has it this was an uneven but quirky comedic musical duo, stay tuned?
  • Girl Meets World (Dis) – If you are a child or have extreme nostalgia from the Boy Meets World series might be worth checking out otherwise… pass.
  • Gunslingers (AHC) – I don’t get this channel but gunfights (?), your guess is as good as mine.
  • Halt & Catch Fire (AMC) – I tried but failed to stick with this somewhat intriguing look at the start of the modern computer, renewed for another season, stay tuned.
  • Happy Valley (Net) – A BBC woman cop drama that was almost engaging, might catch another but might not, stay tuned.
  • The Honorable Woman (Sund) – I think this is more of a miniseries than a series and while I don’t get this channel I saw some great critical reviews, tune in.
  • Intruders (BBCA) – People are about to get possessed or something, looks intriguing, stay tuned.
  • Jennifer Falls (TVL) – Almost cute in that predictable sitcom sort of way but Jaime Pressly’s character didn’t quite captivate me enough in her fall from grace, pass.
  • The Knick (Cin) – Another channel I don’t get but Clive Owen might be worth a watch in his turn of the century start of modern medicine, stay tuned?
  • The Last Ship (TNT) – I tried but neither the virus that wipes out the world nor the single boat’s struggles to save it quite captivated me, pass.
  • Legends (TNT) – Undercover always has possibilities but not sure where it’s going, stay tuned.
  • The Leftovers (HBO) – This series of those taken (or left behind) is garnering some mixed reviews but might be worth a watch, stay tuned?
  • The Lottery (Life) – If people stopped being able to bear children… I don’t know, it just wasn’t good, pass.
  • Manhattan (WGN) – I am still somewhat in on this take on the development of nuclear weapons, intriguing but not enthralling, stay tuned.
  • Married (Fx) – I love the idea of an off kilter comedy but these two people just seem miserable, and not entertaining, pass.
  • Murder in the First (TNT) – I almost liked this slow unravel of a season long mystery but didn’t find myself keeping with it, stay tuned.
  • The Musketeers (BBCA) – I have been sticking with this revisiting of the old musketeer tales, not a serious drama but fun, tune in.
  • Mystery Girls (ABCF) – I couldn’t resist checking out the original 90210’s Garth and Spelling playing up their personas, but not quite enough to stick with, pass.
  • The Outlander (Starz) – No channel for me so not sure how good it is but renewed for another season, stay tuned?
  • Partners (Fx) – Grammer and Lawrence as odd couple lawyer partners didn’t have much to say for itself, pass.
  • Reckless (CBS) – Oh those Southern attorneys with their crazy behavior, pass.
  • Rush (USA) – I guess we’ve all seen the antihero thing done, this is like a mix of all the personas as the drug addict doc working out of his car plays by his own rules, pass.
  • Satisfaction (USA) – An oddly zen take on relationships, lies, and sex while this guy causes problems and solves some falling into the life of a gigolo, pass.
  • The Strain (Fx) – I wonder if the CDC can take legal action on the depiction of their inept quarantine… ridiculous vampirish takeover, pass.
  • Taxi Brooklyn (NBC) – What if play by her own rules cop had to pair up with a previously felonious yet charismatic cabbie, I tried but at the end of the day couldn’t stick, pass.
  • Tyrant (FX) – I was just too irritated with everyone including the American family returning to the patriarch’s ruling of some Middle Eastern country, pass.
  • Vicious (PBS) – Note re Breathless above.
  • Welcome to Sweden (NBC) – This just read like a slightly amusing story your brother would tell you that doesn’t quite work in a sitcom, pass.
  • Young and Hungry (ABCF) – Remotely cute but utterly stupid look at a downtrodden and troublesome yet adorable personal chef, pass.
  • You’re the Worst (Fx) – I’ve been sticking with this anti couple comedy, it has potential in its irreverence, tune in.
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new and noteworthy tv: 8/18-8/24

August 16th, 2014

intruders

Netflix adds a BBC police woman drama to the lineup, Intruders introduces another peculiar possibly paranormal tale of some peeps, and Masterpiece kicks off another mystery. As for reality I can’t really recommend ANTM to anyone who’s not already on-board but did find the intro of dudes last season to be a good one, and though it’s not a tattoo competition show will check out Epic to tide me over ’til the others return. And of course prepping for more tennis.

  • Monday: ANTM, Season Premiere (CW, 9pm), Atlanta Exes, Series Premiere (VH1, 9pm)
  • Tuesday: Wizard Wars, Series Premiere (Syfy, 10pm), A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Season Premiere (Ova, 10pm)
  • Wednesday: Happy Valley, Series Premiere (Netflix, 12:01am), Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles, Season Premiere (Brav, 9pm), Preachers of L.A., Season Premiere (Oxy, 10pm), Epic Ink, Series Premiere (A&E, 10:30pm)
  • Thursday: The Simpsons, Marathon of all eps (Fxx, 10am-9/1), Gypsy Sisters, Season Premiere (TLC, 9pm)
  • Friday: Bering Sea Gold/Airplane Repo, Season Premiere (Disc, 9/10pm)
  • Saturday: Doctor Who/Intruders, Season Premiere (BBCA, 8/10pm)
  • Sunday: CBS Solutes the U.S. Open/Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day (CBS, 10:30/3), Masterpiece Mystery: Breathless, Series Premiere (PBS, 9pm), Music Video Awards (MTV, 9pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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now available on dvd: bad words

August 15th, 2014

Bad-Words

It’s summer and a great time to catch up on movies in addition to tv. And apparently one international round trip can get me almost all caught up. So it’s time for a little reminder as to what’s recently become available, are people still getting dvds?

  • 3 Days to Kill (5/20) – This movie had too much going to really be great but a palatable action flick for when there really is nothing on.
  • 12 Years a Slave (3/4) – Quality film that may not be fun but the performances are worth a watch.
  • American Hustle (3/18) – A fave of last year, love the fashions, the characters, and the hustle.
  • Anchorman 2 (4/1) – I’m not a huge fan of these but for a plane ride it passed the time.
  • Bad Words (7/8) – This Jason Bateman off color small comedy was the one plane flick that was far better than plane fare, and made me laugh out loud (not always a good idea on an overnight flight).
  • Divergent (8/5) – Another one of these teen things, I didn’t find the story particularly compelling, or sensical, but good enough for a plane.
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (6/17) – If you like Wes Anderson then this was a great addition to his collection, if you don’t I might pass.
  • Her (5/13) – Another fave of last year this odd take on futuristic romance hit some great notes.
  • Homefront (3/11) – I feel compelled for some reason to watch every Jason Statham flick and even at their worst I kind of like them, this wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t the best.
  • Inside Llewyn Davis (3/11) – Bummer of a guy and although the movie had some good attributes I didn’t love it.
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (6/10) – Another plane flick, passable enough plane action.
  • Need for Speed (8/5) – This felt like what it probably was an attempt to capture some of the Fast & Furious fun, and although stupid a decent enough plane flick.
  • Out of the Furnace (3/11) – I love Christian Bale and though this was another bummer of a flick I thought it was worth a watch.
  • Robocop (6/3) – Should I just repeat, good enough for a plane.
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (3/15) – The last of my plane listings, a sweet and entertaining enough quest.
  • Vampire Academy (5/20) – I can’t say this was a good movie but it was a fun campy flick that I enjoyed.
  • Veronica Mars (5/6) – I loved me some Veronica and although I’m not sure this was 100% successful as a standalone movie, and it’s tough to do justice to all the characters of a series, it was good visit back to Neptune.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (3/25) – This movie was fun for about the first half and then it just kept going.

Though one international trip got me caught up on some of the backlog the one that I missed, that I’ve been told is more than just schmaltzy is Philomena (4/15).

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new and noteworthy tv: 8/11-8/17

August 9th, 2014

legends_2014

For those of you not in the CIA know, a legend is like an undercover persona, sure I’ll take a look, and for the rest of you more reality.

  • Monday: Shark Week (Disc, various), Candid Camera, Series Premiere (TVL, 8pm), The Approval Matrix, Series Premiere (Sund, 11pm)
  • Tuesday: 4th and Loud, Series Premiere (AMC, 9pm), Below Deck/Singles Project, Season Premiere (Brav, 9/10pm), Sisterhood of Hip Hop, Series Premiere (Oxy, 9pm), Cement Heads, Series Premiere (A&E, 10:30pm)
  • Wednesday: Legends/Franklin &  Bash, Series/Season Premiere (TNT, 9/10pm), The Wahlburgers, Season Premiere (A&E, 10pm)
  • Thursday: Braxton Family Values/SWV Reunited, Season Premieres (WE, 9/10pm)
  • Friday: Four Weddings, Season Premiere (TLC, 9pm)
  • Sunday: Rachel vs. Guy/The Great Food Truck Race, Season Premieres (Food, 8/9pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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bruges, amsterdam, copenhagen

August 7th, 2014

IMG_1909

So you’ve heard about the impetus for some of my trip planning and a week’s worth of activity, check out this post if you missed it. But wait there’s more! Before and after the cycling I spent some time on our bookend cities, plus while I was there seemed like a good time to dip my toe into something Scandanavian. I’d been to Belgium before but not to Bruges (Brussels only) or the Netherlands or Denmark, fun! I booked flights and hotels ahead of time, SFO to Amsterdam to Copenhagen back to good ol’ SFO. Upon arrival to Amsterdam with the help of a nice guy at the train ticket center, two transfers and what felt like a million hours later, the fun could begin.

Upon arrival and a quick taxi ride in Bruges I checked into the lovely Fevery Hotel. The location was good, breakfast included plus jellybeans offered in room, a bit outside of the city center but just a short walk. And the front desk gave some lovely recommendations. Most notable recco was my map marked for a stroll through sites including churches, canals, windmills, and my first Belgian beer of the trip at the oldest pub Café Vlissinghe. In some ways Bruges was my favorite city in that it was the most charming and unlike other cities, though of course that trades off for lack of some of the perks of a big city. As noted it’s walk-able, though put on a cushie comfort shoe because it’s all cobblestones which it turns out is murder on the foot. I also enjoyed the canal tour, you don’t necessarily see anything you wouldn’t on foot but the perspective and the historical narrative are a nice way to spend the time. Three days was really enough to feel like I saw things. I picked up one of the museum passes which gave access to the Groeningemuseum as well as a series of other options. And don’t miss the climb up 366 stairs for a great view of the city and Belfort itself. Not covered by the pass but totally worth it was a Picasso exhibit which showcased some great pieces of his and some peers. And a stroll through the main market square and the two key shopping blvds Zuidandstraat and Steenstraat didn’t leave me empty handed. And yes chocolate, fries, and waffles.

Post cycling and upon arrival to the harbor at Amsterdam we had a nice view of Nemo as well as the Maritime museum, though neither got an inside visit from me. A taxi to drop stuff at the bizarrely ‘hip’ and modular CitizenM hotel, which was a little too far out of downtown but right on an easy rail line. The main city area is walk-able but it’s extensive enough that you don’t necessarily want to walk it all every day so a one or three day pass makes on-and-offs the central transpo that much easier. About four full days in Amsterdam can be enough and too little. I had a little museum overload as I tried to take in the biggies Van Gogh, Stedelijk, and Rijksmuseum which were all well worth the visit. Each day post museum it was on to strolls through neighborhoods and parks as well as ordering meals back in restaurants, mmm pastries and apple pie, and another canal tour. Shopping could of course also be found around the neighborhoods and the Nine Streets area again didn’t leave me empty handed.

And then on to Copenhagen. Hotel Alexandra was in a great location and I again took off on foot for a walk through shopping areas to the Nyhavn for a beautiful view and a much needed meal and cold bevvie. Available but skipped this time was another canal tour. I will admit that two plus weeks in my energy was maybe starting to wane. But with a new city to stroll, more sites to see, more museums to hit I was mostly up for the challenge. I’d also been restauranting pretty well along the way and with world famous Noma not being an option (booked well in advance) and the prices being more significant than anticipated I still somehow made due. Favorite find was the Torvehallerne, an in/outside market with meals and meal fixings aplenty, and plenty of good restaurants to be found in the Meatpacking District. The shopping surrounding the main strip of Strøget as well as on the main bits of Istedgade continued to offer lots of options for purchase and just plain pretty design views. And of course museums, both the Statens Museum (located in a great park area) and the Designmuseum were worth a look. The highlight though was heading just outside the city for a day at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, the landscape, architecture, and art are worth the visit and I could and did spend all day between viewing art inside and out and just looking at the beautiful coast view past amazing sculpture, and of course eating.

For more check out my Pinterest boards for mapped sites for BrugesAmsterdam, and Copenhagen.

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new and noteworthy tv: 8/4-8/10

August 3rd, 2014

the_knick_screenshotOutlander a time travel romance? based a book series might be worth a peek as is Soderbergh’s latest Knick with Clive Owen as a doc at the turn of the century, but maybe a pass on Partners not sure Grammer and Lawrence can save it. Also will take a look at G&O the girl group duo (some compare to Flight of the Conchords but who could hope…) and Morgan Spurlock looks at the Sins with another spin off of Summer Heights High (whatever that is) with Jonah.

  • Monday: Bachelor in Paradise, Series Premiere (ABC, 8pm), Partners, Series Premiere (FX, 9pm), Jersey Belle, Series Premiere (Brav, 10pm),
  • Tuesday: CMA Music Festival (ABC, 8pm), Hollywood Hillbillies/Celebrity Legacies, Season/Series Premieres (Reelz, 9/10pm), Hard Knocks, Season Premiere (HBO, 10pm)
  • Wednesday: Top Chef Duels, Series Premiere (Brav, 10pm)
  • Thursday: Extreme Guide to Parenting, Series Premiere (Brav, 9:30pm), Garfunkel & Oates, Series Premiere (IFC, 10pm), Seven Deadly Sins, Series Premiere (Show, 11pm), My Big Family Renovation, Series Premiere (HGTV, 11pm)
  • Friday: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Season Premiere (CMT, 9pm), The Knick, Series Premiere (Cin, 10pm), Jonah from Tonga, Series Premiere (HBO, 10pm)
  • Saturday: Outlander, Series Premiere (Starz, 9pm)
  • Sunday: Teen Choice (Fox, 8pm), Gym Rescue, Series (Spike, 10pm), Shark After Dark, Season Premiere (Disc, 11pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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new and noteworthy tv: 7/28-8/3

July 27th, 2014

The Honourable Woman

As usual more reality this week celebs and magic, and a reportedly good new suspense miniseries with Maggie Gyllenhaal.

  • Monday: 2014 Young Hollywood Awards (CW, 8pm), Running Wild with Bear Grylls, Series Premiere (NBC, 8pm)
  • Tuesday: Raising Asia, Series Premiere (Life, 10pm), The Unexplained Files, Season Premiere (Sci, 10pm)
  • Wednesday: Penn & Teller: Fool Us, Series Premiere (CW, 8pm), Sharknado 2 (Syfy, 9pm)
  • Thursday: The Quest, Series Premiere (ABC, 8pm), The Honorable Woman, Miniseries Premiere (Sund, 10pm)
  • Friday: The Killing, Season Premiere (Net, 12:01am), Masters of Illusion, Season Premiere (CW, 8pm), David Tutera’s CELEBrations, Series Premiere (WE, 9pm)
  • Saturday: Hell on Wheels, Season Premiere (AMC, 9pm)
  • Sunday: WWE Wrestlemania (NBC, 10pm), Long Island Medium, Season Premiere (TLC, 9pm), RichKids of Beverly Hills, Season Premiere (E!, 10pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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tour de…

July 24th, 2014

IMG_0289

So I’m sure you’ve all heard me talk about my passion for cycling. No? No you haven’t. Though I do tune in for much of the Tour de France, most of my athletics are of the watching variety and I haven’t been on a bike for greater than a decade. But my latest vacation planning coincided with members of my family not being able to take a bike/barge trip with some friends of theirs and they generously offered me their spot.

The trip was organized by a 75th birthday celebrant and he and his wife were on a greater cycling endeavor benefiting Tradart Foundation. They chartered the trip for our group of about 25 through Cycletours and the route was seven days of cycling from Bruges to Amsterdam with daily cycles averaging out to around 43k a day. The barge would house us for the duration of the trip meeting us at each finish point and offering a place to decamp for the week, as well as enjoy breakfast and dinner, plus fixin’s for packing a lunch to eat on the road.

Bruges to Amsterdam here I come! Wait, bike trip? Now while one could, and some did, take the trip via barge sans bike, it was clearly set up as a bike trip and I wanted to see if I could embrace experiencing the sites on two wheels. After much training (a couple weeks at the gym and one outdoor bike ride of about 22 minutes) I was planning to do the first short day and then perhaps not cycle again.

Fortunately for me the trip was not only mostly flat but much of it was on dedicated bike paths (or other less trafficked options) with multiple breaks for regrouping, resting, snacking, and scenery. And most importantly the ebike was my savior. Ebike you say? Much as I wanted it to be a scooter you had to pedal the whole time (no pedal no movement) but each pedal was made a touch easier and more productive than without. Cheating some called it, but those of us who took the option were thrilled that it allowed us to enjoy what otherwise we wouldn’t have experienced.

I accomplished many things on my bike. Biking on cobblestones. Biking in the rain. Biking on cobblestones in the rain. From pavement to bricks to dirt to gravel to grass, cities, traffic, train tracks, roundabouts, bike roundabouts, 180 degree turns, drafting (not a good idea if you’re not tour level), stair ramps (not great with the extra heavy ebike)… to name a few. I am not yet ready to ride with no hands and to do things like texting on my bike, ah kids today, but I was overall feeling more comfortable with my bike skills.

By the end of the trip my thighs were sore, my left knee was achy, and my tooshie was done. Was the seat comfortable? Probably, and no, not at all. I was told that the third day would be the worst but the fourth it would get better and not sure better was good enough. Padded shorts are a necessity but can’t solve the issue that a person is not meant to sit on a bike seat for hours and days on end.

And while I don’t know that I’ll do another one there’re a few logistics to consider, I’ve talked to a friend who does other cycling tours and they’re all obviously set up very differently. We all rode together in a group which could get challenging for pace, communication, and sheer number of riders. But sticking with our guide and having a daily sweeper assigned ensured none of us got lost along the way (which totally would have happened even with maps). Plus a group of cyclists with our bright yellow panniers was sort of a warning sign to others which in a couple of traffic situations came in handy.

There were a couple of points where some folks were encouraged to go and ride ahead (I chose to stretch my legs with the quick team) and one day where past a point there were two route options to get back (I chose the short route where you could take a ferry to tour a castle). No SAG wagon meant we brought our gear in our panniers and once committed were committed to the whole ride (thankfully no serious injuries). And being in a chartered group of friends and family meant it wasn’t all folks who would normally sign up for a cycling tour so we had a wide range of cyclist skills and interests. For me, our logistics and the terrain made it a perfect first tour.

All in all, I was glad I traded a little discomfort for what was a wonderful new experience. You see the variety of cities and landscapes in a way you never would if you flew or trained straight from Bruges to Amsterdam, and it was beautiful. It was also a lovely group of people who all encouraged and entertained one another. And as each day was completed it was a joy to be greeted by our barge and fellow travelers moving from happy hour to dinner to share our tales, enjoy what turned out to be delicious food, and hear about the next day’s adventure. Our tour guide even invited us on his unofficial but informative post meal evening constitutional through town each evening.

For more adventures tune back in for my post on Bruges, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen which I’ll get around to as soon as I finish unpacking. Update: Finally unpacked, I guess, so check out the post here.

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new and noteworthy tv: 7/21-7/27

July 20th, 2014

manhattan-key-artA little more reality including the latest Runway (I think we’re almost only a season behind) and a new age of atomic drama from WGN.

  • Monday: Hotel Hell, Season Premiere (Fox, 9pm)
  • Tuesday: Food Fighters, Series Premiere (NBC, 8pm), Face Off, Season Premiere (Syfy, 9pm)
  • Wednesday: Soundclash, Series Premiere (VH1, 9pm), Who Do You Think You Are, Season Premiere (TLC, 9pm), BAPS, Series Premiere (Life, 10pm), Restaurant: Impossible, Season Premiere (Food, 10pm),
  • Thursday: Project Runway/Undone with Amanda de Cadenet, Season/Series Premiere (Life, 9/10:30pm)
  • Sunday: Masterpiece Mystery!: Poirot, Season Premiere (PBS, 9pm), Escaping Alaska, Series Premiere (TLC, 10pm), Manhattan, Series Premiere (WGN, 10pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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