Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir (2021)

Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir (2021)

Director: James Redford

A look at the life and work of author Amy Tan. – IMDB

Being best known as the author of 1989’s novel The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan has grown to become a fiction novelist who writes stories about Chinese immigrant stories and Chinese mother-daughter relationships along with their different experiences. This documentary recounts her biography as well as her writing career and how she came into writing and the inspirations behind the novels that she’s written. Using both old photos and videos as well as interviews with family members and other authors and publishers and interviews with Amy Tan herself, it forms a look at how her career started as well the inspirations from her real life as she learned more about her mother over the years of their dramatic relationship together as well as her past that crafted her into that the author that she is today. At the same time, it also pulls footage from The Joy Luck Club movie to draw certain relatable scenes.

Its hard to say whether a documentary like this is more appealing for those familiar with Amy Tan’s work and yet for myself, I’ve only ever read The Joy Luck Club and watched the film adaptation, making me not exactly knowledgeable about Amy Tan’s work either but doesn’t detract from the fact that her debut fiction novel which were quite revolutionary as a reading experience as it was relatable to a certain extent in terms of being a Chinese daughter and the relationship as well as having a family history that might seem like it was crafted as a film but actually may have been the reality for some people from the previous generations. That didn’t hinder the fact that this documentary shared much more than just her biography but through it also shared a person who found herself as an author and the consequences of her fame and the controversy of how people viewed her portrayal of both Chinese people, culture and how much of it felt like stereotypes that stemmed over the years.

What makes Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir quite a great watching experience perhaps is that Amy Tan herself is a fascinating person to watch. Her life experiences and her recounts of her relationship with her family to the discoveries that she makes as she dives into her mother’s recollection of her own experiences all opens up something new. She feels like such a down to earth person whether its her approach of how she started writing or being clear on how to not deviate from her path as an author and what she is writing. As the documentary dives between her family history and how each of these life elements come into play and how each of her published books come to view, its a great reminder that Amy Tan is much more than just her debut fiction novel The Joy Luck Club and that there’s so much more to discover.

Overall, Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir is quite a decent watch whether or not you are familiar to her work (in my opinion). Her experiences and her life is one that is full of drama and once the realization that a lot of her work is inspired by her mother’s life, it brings on a whole different meaning as she shares a bit of her own family’s history and experiences. A well-rounded documentary taking it on a biographical angle but also look at writing and the point of view of an author.

Tranquil Dreams Podcast #15: What’s Up 2021 Week 22

Welcome to the next episode of Tranquil Dreams Podcast as we dive into Week 22 of What’s Up 2021. A midweek episode, right? I told you that we’d get one out earlier than usual. Its still a little behind schedule but who else is counting but me.

This episode, we skip over reading and dive into my thoughts on the 2017 narrative game Night in the Woods as I wrap it up. I look into a suggestive sounding Hong Kong action comedy that isn’t completely what it sounds like. The last part that takes up a lot of focus is binging as I talk about a new series that I absolutely adore while sharing some thoughts on Netflix Taiwanese series Detention, Chinese high school series Please Classmate and Chinese romance drama series Love Scenery as those are finished up.

Thanks for listening and hope you enjoy!

Related Links

Detention – Film Review
Love Scenery – TV Binge
Put Your Head On My Shoulder – TV Binge
Find Yourself – TV Binge
Game Warp Blog

Music in the Episode:
There It Is by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4519-there-it-is
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Listen to the Show:
Anchor
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Breaker
RadioPublic

Double Feature: Come To Daddy (2019) & Secrets In The Hot Spring (2018)

Its been a while since we’ve done a double feature but we’re back! Movie watching has really taken a big hit this year somehow (in comparison to previous years..at least with the first few months). This time’s pair-up is a horror comedy double as I look at 2019’s Come To Daddy and 2018’s Taiwanese film Secrets In The Hot Spring.

Let’s check it out!

Come To Daddy (2019)

Director: Ant Timpson

Cast: Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Garfield Wilson, Madeleine Sami, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley

A man in his thirties travels to a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father. – IMDB

Suffice to say that in recent years, Elijah Wood has been getting involved in some interesting independent horror films especially with his company SpectreVision that has also put out some awesome horror films (psychedelic for the most part). Its hard to not be intrigued by anything that has his name attached to it. Come To Daddy was one that I avoided during the festival circuit because it would be accessible and no doubt, Come To Daddy is another intriguing one. The tone and pacing is a little odd at times with the first half being landing a lot better than the second half but always playing with some horror and slipping in some comedy breaks in between. The second half definitely seems like it loses a little steam after the “twist” is revealed which causes quite the change in atmosphere.

The cast and performances here are really great. Elijah Wood is fitting in this role Norval as a man in his thirties which has been with some privilege that ends up trying to get some kind of resolution from his estranged father who is not a very appealing person played incredibly well by Stephen McHattie. The dynamic and dialogue between these two characters creates this very entertaining and unsettling sort of atmosphere. Not to mention the whole character design of Elijah Wood’s character The side characters also have some weird moments and have little character reference points whether its a cop who believes that criminals have a certain type of eyes for example. However, there isn’t a big cast here so its not hard to follow.

To be fair, its hard to really talk about this too much without giving the twist away as that lays out a lot of the purpose of the film and the reason of why his estranged father reaches out to him years later, a question that the character also asks as a pivoting point despite everything that happens surrounding him. There are some minor illogical moments as well. Overall, its a fun little movie which was both odd and intriguing

Secrets in the Hot Spring (2018)

Director (and writer): Kuan-Hui Lin

Cast: Ting-hu Zhang, Sing Hom, He-Hsuan Lin, Mimi Chu, Kar-Ying Law, Chin Chi, Kai-Wei Chiu, Shu-yao Kuo

Three youngsters meet by accident at a mysterious hot springs hotel. There, they fall into an unforgettable adventure. It starts off scary but soon turns funny when they have to try and save a family. – IMDB

Secrets in the Hot Spring probably isn’t going to stand-out to anyone as they browse the horror or comedy or international films section however it is something of a fun little hidden gem. Diving into a part horror and part comedy balance for the most part, this Taiwanese film is downright silly and yet fittingly so. Of course, I must yet again reiterate that comedy is very suggestive and I feel like this type of humor might not be for everyone. The best way to probably determine for familiar Asian film viewers is the type of humor that Hong Kong veteran actor & actress, Kar-Ying Law and Mimi Chu brings as they are part of this film as the grandparents running the hot springs hotel. They really pull together the film with their performance. The three youngsters are played by less familiar faces (at least to myself as the current scene of Taiwanese actors in the recent decade is one that I have yet to dive into). The contrast in each of the youngster’s characters also balance out the their performances whether in dialogue or reaction. It’s pretty good choice in casting.

Perhaps what makes Secrets in the Hot Spring fun is that its conscious about how silly it is and embraces it using both horror tropes and some ridiculous reactions from the characters to make it work on many levels and be just a very simple entertainment. However the writing is fairly clever as it uses its horror and comedy blend to create the twist as well. There are some little jump scare moments but overall, its not a very scary experience so hardcore horror fans might be disappointed. What also adds to the simplicity is the small cast of 5 (or maybe 7) characters and a good use of the hot spring hotel setting as it uses the location really well bringing together the past for the main youngster character who is meant to be the future heir and slowly reveals his past and his reluctance. The big finale is a little cheesy but then its arguable that the story itself not taking itself seriously being the tone actually works together in general.

Another one where the twist is one that is well-executed and makes it rather fun and elevates itself from a bit of the Asian film melodrama. There is no doubt a little considering it has a portion of the family back story shared here. In some ways, I can’t say that this movie is particularly sophisticated but it sure was a fun time making it a little hard to evaluate whether its a good movie but it is an entertaining one that’s not completely mindless but the humor also is more physical and interaction between the characters than in its dialogue which doesn’t have as many translation issues also. Overall, Secrets in the Hot Spring is a fun film. Hardcore horror isn’t really a forte in Taiwanese films (in my limited experience) so its nice that they approach it with humor.

Tranquil Dreams Podcast #14: What’s Up 2021 Week 21

The next episode of Tranquil Dreams Podcast is here! I’ve finally gotten a routine down…kind of, considering there should be probably another episode coming out in a day or two to do a little catch up since I’m about a week or so behind.

This episode covers Week 21 of What’s Up 2021 as reading is still on hiatus and gaming hasn’t changed a lot compared to previous weeks or two. I do give my general thoughts on Army of the Dead and the adaptation of Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase while also giving an overview of my thoughts on the new volume of Love Death and Robots. Its a quick one this time.

Thanks for listening and hope you enjoy!

Related Links

Army of the Dead – Film Review
Love Death + Robots (Season 2) – TV Binge

Music in the Episode:
There It Is by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4519-there-it-is
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Listen to the Show:
Anchor
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Breaker
RadioPublic

Music Obsessions – June 2021

The next Music Obsessions is here! The past month has been a little all over the place but there was some decent music overall. I’d say there’s a good mix of music this time around and a few are theme songs from recent movies and TV. Let’s go!

No Regrets 不遺憾 – 李榮浩 Ronghao Li

No Regrets is a theme song for a recently released film called My Love based on Korean film On Your Wedding Day. I’ve recently been listening to more of Ronghao Li as he has some really good music and writes pretty decent music and lyrics. This one is pretty nice in terms of lyrics and song.

It’s Love 是爱 – 何洛洛Luoluo He/張凌赫Linghe Zhang/顏安 An Yan/常斌Bin Chang
(Love Crossed – Ending Theme)

Okay…so I have to admit that I added this mostly because I’ve been absolutely in love with this series. It has a pretty unique premise and even for having some fairly new young cast, the acting is decent. It definitely feels like there’s some deliberate overacting for the “villain” character to create subtle comedy. I’ll talk about the series in a TV binge when its done. However, this song is the ending theme for Love Crossed. I have to also admit that I’ve been rooting for He Luoluo since his first appearance in Produce Camp 2019 and then in R1SE so its nice to see him expanding to TV and then using his singing and dancing abilities for this song. As a side note, I honestly feel like Youhug Media is trying to create the new “F4” using these guys called the Y4 in the series, especially with R1SE disbanding soon, it would make sense to get another boy group for He Luoluo. If you don’t know what F4 is, its a Meteor Garden reference.

這世界那麼多人 Empty World – Karen Mok 莫文蔚

Karen Mok is one of my absolute favorite singers. She has such a unique voice so I’m always excited when she releases a new song. This time its a song for a recently released Chinese film Love Will Tear Us Apart. I honestly think the movie sounds like pretty familiar Chinese romantic dramas and its with the guy in The Wandering Earth so maybe it’ll land on Netflix at some point. Its all speculation of course and if this becomes available online then I’ll check it out (which is hard since Chinese films are super hard to find and the minority filter through to international platforms. Either way, point is, this song has amazing lyrics that really hit me in the feels: “This world has so many people, so lucky that I have a us”.

好想好想你 Missing You – G.E.M.鄧紫棋

G.E.M. has been making frequent appearances on my music obsessions now. She’s been making some good music that I’ve really enjoyed plus the music videos has such decent production value as well. This one is a pretty simple song. No fancy techniques or whatnot but its such a comfortable song to listen to that I can’t but to play it repeat.

It’s OK To Be Sad – Janice Vidal 衛蘭

The latest song that’s been playing on repeat for myself that really hit me quite hard is this amazing and meaningful song. I think the title says it all and actually reminds me a lot of how I’m feeling sometimes. It doesn’t have translation for the song but I think if you watch through the music video itself, you will get a good idea of what its about and then by the time you get to the English lyrics at the end, then that’s pretty much where it hits the hardest. You can see below:

It’s okay to be sad
It’s okay to lose your mind
Life is not a childhood fantasy
Sometimes it appears to have no mercy
You may wanna pretend
But the way you laugh
Is a tragedy
It’s okay to be sad
It’s okay to lose your mind
When life brings the darkest misery
Let it be your strongest energy

彼方世界 -R1SE
(Dance Practice Version)

As R1SE is disbanding in a month or so, it seems fitting to share some of their music from the farewell album. For myself, its one of the groups that I watched this group debut from start to end from the Produce Camp 2019 so to me, this group has been quite a standout group whether its the music that they put out to even how the individuals has also spread out to participate in other things (music, variety shows, TV series, etc). They’ve had their own hardships especially with the pandemic cutting in between their limited time group, still, there is no doubt that this group is pretty good in terms of their dancing abilities and music production skills. They are fairly well-rounded. Its a pity that they have to end and I almost thought that they would get an extension but then they’ve also had a fair bit of bad publicity for some of the members from what I’ve skimmed here and there, but then that seems like the general trend nowadays for any idols that debut or want to debut. As for this song, I think its pretty good plus the dance is very well done and actually the dance transitions spell out each of the members first letter of their name which is pretty creative. Consider this a little bit of an extra!

That’s it for this Music Obsessions!
What have you been listening to?

TV Binge: Use For My Talent (我亲爱的小洁癖, 2021)

Use For My Talent (我亲爱的小洁癖, 2021)

Director: Cong Cai

Cast: Yue Shen, Jasper Liu, Yunfan Dai, Charles Lin, Yanan, Mengdi Su, Sirui Huang, Quan Tan, Ran Xiao

Because of his incomplete family, Gu Ren Qi has a closed up personality and mysophobia. Shuang Jiao used to have a happy family, but later lost her mother in a car accident, and became a slovenly person. The two became acquainted when Shuang Jiao becomes an employee in Gu Ren Qi’s cleaning company. The two became closer as they get to know each other. Under each other’s influence, they began to heal from their wounds. – MyDramaList

Watch on: Mango TV (Youtube & App) & Netflix

Use For My Talent is a Chinese adpatation of 2018 Korean series Clean With Passion For Now. Let’s just get this out of the way right now that I’m not a big fan of Korean series so I usually don’t go and watch them so I haven’t seen the original of this series. However, Use For My Talent landing on Netflix was such a treat although it does have Shen Yue who is on another Netflix series, Meteor Garden (a Mainland China modernized remake of the 2001 Taiwanese series both directed by the same director Angie Chai) and Jasper Liu in Taiwanese Netflix series Triad Princess and Korean/Taiwanese collaborated variety/travel show Twogether (review). These two main cast members are no doubt talented in their own regards and great to see them together especially as Jasper Liu seems to have moved his focus into Mainland Chinese series now and making a more frequent appearance.

Running at 24 episodes (my favorite length for these types of romantic comedy-drama series), Use For My Talent is a fun one to watch. There’s a good balance of humor, drama and romance that blends together to create this one. It does get a little peculiar in parts but the characters are done pretty well. Not only the main couple, Ren Qi and Shuang Jiao is fun to watch but the two other supporting/secondary couples are also very fun to watch and each having their own dynamic which gives a good variety. Plus, it takes time to look at mysophobia that Ren Qi has and dives into that angle to give it its own drama moments but also using it as some parts of humor especially when encountered with his polar opposite Shuang Jiao who opens up his eyes to slowly accepting the world and treatment to be able to get closer to her. I’m sure some of this stuff is either exaggerated or simplified for the drama’s purpose but it does expose an element of this phobia which leads to using the cleaning company while having a focus on how technology can’t necessarily replace the human element of some services.

Having touched on it a little before, the characters here are absolutely a treat. The main leads played by Shen Yue and Jasper Liu are really great. Shen Yue is probably one of my top favorite young actresses in the last few years as most of her series and roles have been both fun and believeable especially as she gradually moves into TV series set outside of the school setting. I’ve seen most of her shows (even if I never got around to the review). She has this natural and down to earth essence to her that makes her really believable in her roles and carries the emotions really well. The same applies for Use For My Talent where she plays as Shuang Jiao and the character is pretty decent. Funny how things turn around as this show adapts from a Korean series and earlier this year, Korea adapted a Chinese series that was her debut role in A Love So Beautiful (review). On the other hand, as popular as Jasper Liu is, I haven’t seen him outside of two variety shows but there’s something about him that is very charming and he does have pretty good acting skills as well. The chemistry between the two worked really well and came off fairly natural even by the end when he would do the very sappy/cringy sweet talk. It was hard to not cringe but also secretly like it just a little especially as it was a nod to a conversation from a prior part of the series.

Of course the series isn’t just about them but also has some colorful characters. Another couple is RenQi’s assistant DongXian who is very slow and unromantic but ends up with a popular lifestyle streamer QianQian. They are a little fun to watch especially since DongXian’s character is rather hilarious overall but has a little bit of a sad backstory (like a lot of the main cast). Aside from them is ShuangJiao’s little brother JunJie who ends up chasing up her sister’s best friend Yan who has their own sweet moments. The process for both of these having a similar dynamic but pretty funny and entertaining. No series is complete without some sort of love triangle and that brings in Yunfan Dai’s character Lu Xian, a psychiatrist that recently returned to China for 2 purposes: one to repay a debt that ShuangJiao’s mom offered him at a young age (which leads him to falling for her) and the second to act as the consultant for RenQi’s phobia and hopefully control and cure him to a certain extent. His character is pretty decent as well. In most Chinese series, family is also a big part and here the two leads family can be considered opposites of each other and on one side very comedic in dynamic and on the other side, very strict and maybe a little intentionally frustrating.

If there was something to nitpick a little, it definitely would be regarding the choice of melodrama that they used to break the two apart which is an inevitable part of these series but how is always where it works or doesn’t. What they used is always a frustrating choice although props to the two leads for being able to create some genuine sad feelings for this break-up.

Overall, Use For My Talent is an absolute treat. In terms of pacing, comedy and romance, everything works really well. The ending is a little odd with the whole melodrama but thanks to well-connected characters, despite the situation set up, they still manage to carry through the heartwrenching breakup feeling between the two. Its a rather impressive one which highlights some of the talent in the Chinese market.

With all that said, next mission…catch up on Jasper Liu’s series. Anyone have suggestions from the Netflix available ones? Please let me know.

TV Binge: Love Scenery (良辰美景好时光, 2021)

Love Scenery (良辰美景好时光, 2021)

Director: Zoe Qin
Cast: Lulu Xu, Yi Lin, Bing Hu, Harry Hu, Danni Zhong, Yuwei Jiang, Ting Wang, Cheng Wang, Rong Wang, Zheng Zhong

Liang Chen is devoted to bringing good music works to the listeners, expressing the idea of being kind, real, and perfect. Lu Jing loves computer and big data research. He is highly recognized in the academic field through studying complicated human behavior and psychology, thus influencing the classmates around by his solid specialty literacy. They are strangers first but then brought together by big data and they become closer in the journey of pursuing dreams. – MyDramaList

Watch on: iQiyi

Love Scenery is a Chinese romance drama that rolls in very familiar territory. In the recent while, Chinese dramas have had two hot topics for story telling or adaptations: romances involving women older than their guy love interest and marriage before love/contractual marriage. Love Scenery falls in the former one where in reality the cast itself also has this age gap so it makes it all the more believable. Running at 31 episodes, the series does take a turn somewhere in the last 10 episodes or so that almost feels like its a bit forced and gets a little boring to watch, almost feeling like the characters become empty.

Looking at pacing and plot, Love Scenery starts off pretty strong with a popular female singer Liang Chen (Lulu Xu) and smart and handsome university student Lu Jing (Yi Lin) who is also a popular game streamer called Herman as his idolization of her ended up using one of her songs as for people who would lose the game and causing her to be invited to a streaming showcase. Because of this, she asks for help from her friend and unpopular actor Ruibin (Harry Hu) who gets fed up with her lacking gamer skills and refers her to Lu Jing, both hiding under their gaming profiles. The whole part of jumping in game and their interactions at the beginning leading to a lot of comedic and embarrassing moments are all pretty fun to watch. The game scenarios are brought to life and adding in how they figure out who each other are and then realizing the feelings for each other is a good progress. The bad gamer versus good gamer with their different priorities and silly situations all have a lot of comedic value and makes it a lot of fun. Plus these parts have a lot of action as they play a first person shooter so there’s a lot of fighting and gunfights and such which definitely adds to it. Even after they both individually figured out who each other are but trying to test or dodge the situation (depending on the character) has its fun moments.

Where the series starts falling apart has to do with the story progression and how the characters don’t seem to fall a little flat over after the whole romance happens or at least the acknowledgement that they do like each other with not only the age element but as a result, the celebrity and university student influence in the eyes of the public. There’s a lot of frustrating moments once that happens that makes the situation really drag on at parts. Not to mention that while the settings of romantic moments are done well, the two main characters chemistry are a little lacking for the most part. It might have to do with some of the acting is not too good especially when you consider that Yi Lin is a rather young actor and this role while somewhat fitting in some parts and draws some opposites from a previous series, Put Your Head On My Shoulder (review) which was his debut, this one had a lot more drama and it seems that capturing drama still feels like it falls a little short in terms of how he emotes. When he is doing the happy and youthful things, he captures that well but he lacks deeper emotions in general especially if he lacks chemistry with Lulu Xu. Its not saying that nothing lands as some of the scenes are designed to capture them well and builds up the atmosphere well enough.

On the contrary, in terms of romance, the secondary leads between Ruibin (Harry Hu) and a lonely actress Shanshan Ma (Danni Zhong) is a lot more fun especially as the chase is one that lasts the whole way and her character has a lot to discover in terms why she is the way that she is and gradually opens up. The two are a lot more enjoyable as there’s a lot of silliness going on especially for the character of Ruibin, who always does the wrong things or timing with good intentions especially in his chase for Shanshan.

Of course, the story is more than just romance. Its also about chasing your dreams. For the university student bits, its about moving forward as he goes through university, joining competitions. The focus isn’t really there as its more on Liang Chen as she tries to change her style from the romantic ballad style singer to taking a chance and switching to being a rock singer and going back to her roots despite the challenges and risks of it all. These parts are decent since the soundtrack is pretty good. Although, once things start slowing down in the last bits, the challenges seem to be a little rinse and repeat and nothing extremely exciting.

Overall, Love Scenery started out really strong and eventually fell short the further it went along as the pacing, story and characters starting feeling a little emptier the further that it went along. The main issue probably being that 31 episodes was a few episodes too many for the story that it wanted to tell and sometimes it hit the melodrama moments a little too hard. If it had kept up with the beginning half’s pacing and tone, the series would have been a lot of fun. In a nutshell, not bad but not great.

My May Adventures!

Its hard to believe that we’ve already finished 5 months of 2021. Its been a pretty wild beginning of the year in all aspects. Things definitely feel like its slowly getting back to some form of normalcy. I’m hoping that I didn’t jinx anything especially in terms of work. This month has been quite the slow month in terms of post and one where I needed to just remind myself that I needed to be okay with slowing down blogging to get the real life stuff done. With that said, I’m slowly getting back into the groove of things and yet again, playing a little bit of catch up again by the end of the May. Not a whole lot happened since the last weekend (the past Friday) just allowed to travel inter-regions so hiking has started yet so its been very focused around the home. Either way, lets check it out!

Workout

May 2: Walk 1.17km/14 mins
May 8: Walk 3.79km/42 mins
May 9: Walk 2.17km/25 mins
May 14: Walk 3.97km/43mins
May 16: Walk 1.11km/14mins
May 21: Walk 3.13km/34mins
May 22: Walk 1.09km/15mins
May 23: Walk 2.12km/26mins
May 24: Walk 2.33km/28mins
May 28: Walk 2.10km/25mins
May 29: Walk 1.59kkm/20mins

Nothing much to say this time. I’ve been having slight sleeping issues. Not exactly insomnia but just maybe a little stress and anxiety so affecting sleep so energy level is a bit low making the running not going right away. Plus, we’ve had a pretty hot May in general so as I dig out all my running gear. I decided to maintain walking at the minimum whenever I could (within curfew hours). Curfew was lifted this past weekend also meaning that I can now go for more walks as daylight is a little longer and eventually get back to running as well as hiking.

Garden Centre Haul

We went to the garden center earlier this year to hopefully get a few more plants. Things are definitely back to normal this year as there is a wild assortment of different vegetables and herbs. With a slight expansion of the garden, we’re hoping to plant more although some of these are going into containers and being planted indoors since the zonage doesn’t work either. With that said, I’m fairly certain it won’t be the only trip to the garden center as the front yard didn’t seem to enjoy the abnormal weather fluctuations and a few plants haven’t popped up yet so its a perfect chance to rearrange it and hopefully do a little change to make it look better. Also, I’m seeing what I can do to add borders so that the plants don’t get accidentally mowed when they aren’t in blooming season.

1st Dose of COVID-19 Vaccination

After a few months of the vaccination campaign, my age group finally was opened in May and the fastest that I could get on a weekend and not affecting work too much was on May 29th for the 1st dose. Overall, it was a decent reaction as I only had arm pain but it wasn’t anything too intense. It probably hurt the most at night but gradually subsided over the next day. I had talked to some others and they talks about staying hydrated being a big part of it and keeping the arm moving. Nothing too intense in terms of movement but just keep blood circulation going and whatnot. Not sure if that contributed it to not having a bigger reaction but a little of my own experience in case you haven’t gotten the first dose yet. My second dose is in mid-September so its a little way away. Still, its a first step.

Optometrist Check-Up

Its been a tad overdue for all kinds of check-up in general due to the pandemic so I’m slowly getting everything back on track. After a year of way too much time in front of the PC for everything including an immense amount of time doing overtime, I decided that I needed to get an eye check-up since my eyes have been not feeling too great so wondering whether I needed new glasses plus, there’s some weird scratches on the glasses and the frames are losing color so I figured I should get some new frames. Good news is that my eyes didn’t get any worse and overall pretty healthy just astigmatism went up a tiny bit. The second which is good and bad is that I got some new glasses even though I haven’t paid so much for glasses as I would get them out of province but seeing as traveling restrictions, I had no choice. However, I did find glasses that I really like. It’ll be a little while until I get them so next month’s adventures will probably be when I give an update on it.

Cute Kitty Pic

That’s it for this month’s Adventures!
What have you been up to?
Has the pandemic situation wherever you are doing better overall?

Tranquil Dreams Podcast #13: What’s Up 2021 Week 20

Time for the next episode of Tranquil Dreams Podcast as I do an overview of What’s Up 2021 for Week 20. I’ve fallen behind again with the episodes so I’m a little confused as to what’s in what week anymore so probably at the end of the year, I might be missing a week or something. Just a side note before jumping into it.

This episode, we’re still skipping over the reading section (although I think that I’ve found a way to catch up with reading) and binging is definitely a change while I give some thoughts on Resident Evil Village, an overview of some of the new series that launched during Week 20 and check out 2 movie sequels.

Thanks for listening and hope you enjoy!

Related Links

Twogether – TV Binge
Pacific Rim – Film Review
Brandel Savage Twitch Channel

Music in the Episode:
There It Is by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4519-there-it-is
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Listen to the Show:
Anchor
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Breaker
RadioPublic

TV Binge: Love Death & Robots (Volume 2, 2021)

Love Death & Robots (Volume 2, 2021)

Creator: Tim Miller

A collection of animated short stories that span various genres including science fiction, fantasy, horror and comedy. – IMDB

The first season of Love Death and Robots (podcast discussion) was an absolute treat with its 18 episodes or so and having a variety of different short films that explores the three themes: Love, Death and Robots. Thinking back to it now, there are still many segments that are memorable. In comparison, the second season is much shorter running at a swift 8 episodes with some stories feeling more familiar however, the animation style has shifted to some refined visuals that for some almost look real and also, some unique animation art style. The stories itself also has overlapping themes in some in some interesting settings.

Anthology volumes are always going to have hit and miss. The good news is that the second volume of Love Death & Robots is overall pretty good with some segments landing better than others but nothing that is lackluster. Looking at more specific segments, the art style and story of a few do stand out like the horror creature feature of The Tall Grass which had painting-like illustrations or Ice with its world building and comic book/graphic novel illustration style that brings in creative designs and a outer space setting with normal humans being in a world of modded humans. There’s also a Christmas short All Through The House which has its characters almost like dolls while playing with who Santa is and leaving it with a rather troubling question.

In terms of overall stories that seem to be a great basis for a bigger scale movie to some kind of full-length feature, some of these definitely have the basis and foundation for it. Coincidentally, these also have some good voice cast behind it and some more renowned names. The first, of course is for Pop Squad which sets up a future where humans have traded the rights to have children for living forever and being young forever also where having children is now a crime and when found, said children will be killed in order to maintain the population balance. Its a well-structured story with a lot more to explore especially when its voice cast includes Nolan North and Elodie Young. Much like Snow in the Desert which also has a barren wasteland setting and manages to blend all three themes of this volume together.

Two other ones well worth mentioning is the starting episode and the final one which both contrast from the rest of the series in tone. The first called Automated Customer Service carries in a different setting of a futuristic senior residence where a cleaning robot goes rogue and packed with a comedic element mocking the future of automated customer service. Its one that sets an upbeat yet sinister tone but is rather entertaining overall and pretty fun. The final episode, The Drowned Giant is a slow-paced one that leaves room for reflection on humanity in general as it circles around the discovery and gradual deterioration of a drowned giant washed ashore with a monologue from the scientist that observes it over time. Its one that might not fit the general one of the entire volume but does end with a more meaningful and thought-provoking point.

Overall, the second volume/season of Love Death and Robots is a pretty good one. Most of them are well worth a watch and each have their own value whether from visuals and art style to storytelling and world building. It is a short season but one that is still bingeworthy.