I don’t know how I missed this last year, especially since this is right up my alley, but Matt Baker at UsefulCharts published a chart on the evolution of the alphabet. Several times per week, if not per day, I wonder the origin of a word or phrase or food. I’m constantly curious as to how something came about. This chart, and corresponding video below, scratch an itch of learning new about history that I often get since leaving college. A history nerd is always a history nerd.
I listen to a lot of podcasts. Too many, actually. It seems like I pick up a new podcast 2-3 times a month, and I rarely drop them. It has gotten to the point where I spend more time listening to podcasts than I do watching TV or reading. It’s a good way to get through the work day, relax, or make the drive to and from work go by a little quicker.
One of the podcasts that I’ve been hearing a lot about over the past few weeks is The Angel of Vine. If you’ve listened to any podcasts recently, there’s a good chance you’ve heard one of the many talented actors that are involved with the project promoting it. After about the fourth or fifth podcast where I heard the actors involved talk about it, I decided to give it a shot. So, what is it? It is a fictional true-crime podcast. From the iTunes description:
A present day journalist uncovers the audio tapes of a 1950s private eye who cracked the greatest unsolved murder mystery Hollywood has ever known… and didn’t tell a soul. Starring Joe Manganiello, Alfred Molina, Constance Zimmer, Alan Tudyk, Camilla Luddington, Mike Colter, Misha Collins, Khary Payton, Nolan North, and Oliver Vaquer.
If you like stories about old Hollywood or true crime/detective stories, you’ll love this podcast. The acting is pretty wonderful. Joe Manganiello, Alfred Molina, and Alan Tudyk really stand out. Honestly, is there anything Alan Tudyk can’t do? As I was listening to the podcast, which is 10 episodes in the first season (they have not announced additional seasons at this time), I couldn’t help but be reminded of the old radio dramas that aired pre-television. In fact, it’s kind of amazing that after all this time radio plays are making a come back in the form of podcasts. Season one has a very satisfactory ending so don’t worry about there only being one season. It doesn’t end on a cliffhanger. I really hope it finds an audience and more are made.
Weezer surprised fans today with a new album, Teal Album. This is not like any of their previous albums though. This is an album of all cover songs, 10 in total. The album is anchored by the cover of Toto’s Africa, which has had a lot of success on the radio and internet over the past few months. I listened to this album on repeat throughout the day. While I haven’t liked a lot of Weezer’s more recent music, this album is really good. That are able to capture the spirit of the original songs, all while maintaining their guitar-heavy style that makes them immediately recognizable. The only song I’m not really a fan of on this album is their cover of TLC’s No Scrubs. The cover of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean is probably my favorite on the album. Teal Album is available on all the major music services, such as Apple Music and Spotify. Check it out if you like Weezer, cover songs, or both.
I’ve never really been a New Year’s Resolution type of person, but that may change in 2019. I’ve been a bit bored with my websites recently and I’ve had the real urge to tinker around. I haven’t had this urge in years. Since it has been a while since I’ve kept up with the web development community, I started researching what software or service everyone is using these days for creating content. I signed up for a trial on Squarespace out of curiosity and imported this site to see if I’d like their interface. It’s pretty nice, but there are a few things that bother me about it and will, most likely, prevent me from moving from WordPress, which I’ve used since this blog’s inception. I will probably create a separate blog post for my thoughts on Squarespace (and WordPress) at a later date. The point is, that led me to a realization that is brought me to my resolution: I don’t blog anymore and I’d like that to change.
Over the past several years the frequency in which I update this site has slowed and slowed and has pretty much stopped almost completely. If you look at 2018, I had four posts. Yes, four. This is a blog that has existed for 15 years. I used to post weekly, if not daily, in the beginning. Of course back then I was in college and in the beginning stages of my career and as such I had more time, but in 2018 I managed to knock out four whole posts. I’ve essentially stopped writing. I think a lot of the reason why I no longer post is I’m always busy at work and when I get home the last thing I want to do is spend more time staring at a computer. This makes finding the motivation to write or share something pretty low. Especially since there are easier ways to share my thoughts. That brings us to Twitter.
I’ve been on Twitter since almost the beginning. I think since it’s second year in operation. I used to love Twitter. It was my go to place for sharing thoughts on a variety of topics. There was also a really great community that I followed on Twitter, especially the St. Louis area people. However, Twitter has become a cesspool of Alt-Right hate groups and trolls. I don’t spend nearly as much time there as I did a year or two ago. In fact, there are days where I don’t check it at all. So now I’m getting the urge to get back into blogging and sharing myself through my blog, taking me full circle.
So in 2019 I’m going to try and post more. If I have something to share or say I’m going to try and do it here first. I’m going to make myself get back in the habit of posting. I have an Instapaper account full of articles that I thought would make great posts but never took the time to actually post them. It kills me when I discover something really cool, save it for a blog post later, only to see it spread its way around the internet and by the time I work up the motivation to post it is old news. 2019 is the year of the blog (again).
I was looking for something to watch on Netflix over the weekend and found a show from Conan O’Brien entitled Conan Without Borders. I’ve been a fan of Conan for years. He quickly became my favorite late night talk show host and I was excited when he took over The Tonight Show. I don’t have to tell you how that ended, but the whole experience allowed me to have some dealings indirectly with Conan and his people (I once owned the domain teamcoco.com and sold it to him after he left The Tonight Show).
Conan Without Borders doesn’t have any new footage, that I can tell, but is instead a re-packaging of Conan’s travel segments from his talk show. If you’ve not watched Conan before, oftentimes he goes to another city for several days (if he’s filming the show in said city, then he’ll usually stay the whole week) and each night they will air an 8-10 minute segment of Conan interacting with the people and places of that city. What this show does is takes each of those 8-10 minute segments and combines them into a single episode. There are 6 episodes in the first “season” and he visits Cuba, Korea, Mexico, Israel, Haiti, and Italy.
The idea of the show is pretty smart. It can potentially open up Conan to more viewers who don’t watch his late night show. It also shows Conan at what I think is his best. In these segments he is his typical goofy self, but in many of these places he really shows his human side and there are moments of the show that are quite touching (in the Haiti, Mexico, and Israel episodes for example). He’s having real conversations with real people about real things. They are not the normal 6 minute canned promo interviews that plague late night talk shows. Each episode was really enjoyable, though I think Haiti and Israel were probably my favorite. Those two I think were really impactful, especially in the current ‘America-First’ political climate.
If you are a fan of Conan or travel shows, or both, I suggest you give it a watch. Some of the segments you may have seen before if you are a regular viewer of Conan, but the segments are so good they hold up in repeated viewings.