Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Best Shows of 2018

The way we watch TV continues to change as streaming options become more widespread and popular. For the best shows list this year there are some shows from traditional broadcast channels but also some from Netflix, Youtube, and Freeform. Here are Connected Isolation's picks for the best tv shows of 2018:

1. Castaways

Castaways is a new reality style show that debuted on ABC this year. It took 12 strangers and scattered them out on some deserted islands with few resources available. Their main objective being to survive until a rescue is sent to pick them up. Their experience is documented as they work together to survive. The show was well made and did a good job covering their experience and comparing it to the castaway's real lives at home.

2. Cobra Kai
This Karate Kid spin-off was one of the first big shows to debut on the Youtube platform. I was a fan of the Karate Kid movies so I had to check it out and I was pleasantly surprised with the result. It features some of the main characters from original cast and we get to see what they are up to at this stage in their lives. There is a good amount of nostalgia, drama, action, and even some humor. Fans of the movies as well as the younger generation can both enjoy this series.

3. Alone Together
Alone Together is a new comedy on Freeform featuring 2 friends, Esther and Benji who are trying to make it in a world where they can't seem to catch a break. They don't really like each other but something just keeps them together. The show is funny and stands out in the busy category of ½ hour comedies. Seasons 1 and 2 are available now on Freeform and Hulu.

4. American Ninja Warrior
This is a returning show that continues to be on the list of favorite shows of the year. They made a few changes to the show this year, but overall it is pretty similar to what it has been in previous years. There were a lot of returning veteran ninjas as well as some new faces that did very well. The courses continue to become more difficult as they take out even some of the best ninjas. Overall it is an inspiring show with a lot of positivity behind it.

5. Fastest Car
This was a new show that debut on Netflix this year. It is a documentary style show that features people who build and race “sleeper” cars which are cars that look like ordinary or unimpressive cars, but they go really fast! In this show, they race other sleeper cars and even go up against factory super cars to see how they match up. It's interesting to learn about the background of each of the builders and see what motivates them to do what they do. At the end, they have a final race of the fastest cars!

6. What Would You Do
This is a show that has been on for many seasons and one that I continue to watch each year. It is a hidden camera style show that creates controversial situations to see how everyday people will react. Often they create a situation where someone is doing something wrong and they see if anyone will step in and do something about it. It's great to see people speak up when they see something that is not right. It sets a good example for everyone to follow to helps make the world a better place!

What were some of your favorite shows of 2018? Feel free to comment below.

Also check out the Best Shows of 2017

Monday, December 3, 2018

Song Picks for 2018

In 2018, I did not listen to a lot of new music, but I figured I would continue the yearly "best of" series with song recommendations for 2018.

1. Blake Shelton - I Lived It

This is somewhat of an unusual pick because I normally don't listen to country music, but I heard this one by Blake Shelton and it just struck a chord as they say. It's an autobiographical song that has an easy going feel and enough of a pop sound to appeal to fans who are not really into country music.

2. Carly Rae Jepsen - Cut To The Feeling

This one is technically from 2017 but I found it a bit late and since it was not on the list last year, I decided to include it. Carly continues to pump out the hits and Cut To The Feeling is not exception. Her powerful vocals matched with the up beat music make this one a winner! 
3. Andrew W.K. - Ever Again

AWK came back with a new album this year and it is everything you might expect with layered guitars and a stadium rock sound supporting a positive message. Andrew is one of the most interesting characters in rock and it is great to see he is still doing his thing.

4. Incubus - No Fun

It's been a while since I had heard from Incubus after having followed them pretty closely in the late 90's / early 2000's. I decided to look them up again and was pleased to see they are still releasing new music. Often band run out of steam as the decades go by but this one shows they are still as good as ever.

5. Chvrches - Get Out

Chvches have been releasing a pretty steady stream of electronic pop music and this one caught my ear enough to make it onto the list of best songs for 2018. Lauren's vocal's sound great and they are supported with a familar sound we have come to expect from Chvrches.

What were some of your favorite songs for 2018? Feel free to comment about them below.

Also check out the Best Songs for 2017

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Some Words of Wisdom

Here is a collection of advice I have gathered recently from books and presentations:

It's ok to have a filter, but let your light shine through, so it can reach other people who are on the same page as you.
This is advice about being more open and honest about who you are as a person even if you fear you may be judged on it. By doing so, you may turn off some people who feel differently, but you will connect with those who feel the same way you do. Of course it is a good idea to keep some kind of filter in place to avoid saying or doing something inappropriate, but at the same time, you should be yourself and let people know how you truly feel.

Treat strangers as if they are already your friend.
By treating strangers like they are already your friend, it makes you have a warmer, more personal connection vs if you just treat them like someone you don't know and have no interest in getting to know. This action can make the other person feel good and respond back in a similar way. It makes for a more friendly and memorable interaction.

We are our own worst critic.
The things that bother us the most about ourselves are not as apparent to other people. We know ourselves better than anyone else and because of this we know all the little flaws and imperfections that make us who we are. It's easy to let these things get us down because we think everyone else is looking at us the same way, but in actuality, they may not even notice or care about the things we consider our flaws.

Celebrate your strengths.
In relation to the previous idea, we should focus more on our strengths and not worry so much about our weaknesses. We all have some things we are good at. We all have some positive characteristics in some way, shape, or form. Think about the things you have accomplished, rather than things you haven't. Focus on what you like about yourself, not what you don't. Appreciate the things you have now instead of dwelling on the things you do not have. By taking this mindset of focusing on the positive aspects of your life, it can help keep away depression and make you feel better overall.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Live With Kelly and Ryan Appreciation

One of the highlights of my day is tuning in to watch Live with Kelly and Ryan in the morning. I'm fortunate enough to have a schedule that allows me to watch it most days and if I miss it, I can usually see the clips on Youtube or their official website.

The thing that draws me to the show most is Kelly. She has a great personality and she is funny and energetic. Ryan is good too, but Kelly is the main reason I tune in. I love her stories, her take on current events, her interactions with the fans, and just about everything.

When you watch a show like this each day, over the years, you feel like you get to know them. You get to know the staff, the family, the friends and frequent co-hosts. It's a great group of people they have there and they put on a wonderful show each morning.

I love playing along with the trivia game they do each day where they give fans a chance to win a trip. I pretty much have Kelly's descriptions of the trips memorized by now, haha. I love the banter back and forth between Kelly and producer Gelman.

I love when her husband Mark Consuelos guest hosts and they go back and forth often getting into touchy subjects on air. And when Kelly does her impression of her teenage daughter, it is pretty much one of my favorite things ever!

Kelly has been a part of the show for many years from her days with Regis to her time with Michael Strahan. It will be a sad day when she retires from the show. I hope she will stay with it for many more years because she brings so much joy to so many people.

Thank you Kelly and all the people at Live who make it such a great show!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Too Much Political Junk Mail, Voting Texts, and Election Signs

The next election day is coming up soon which is pretty apparent considering all the political fliers that have been arriving in the mail each day. Not to mention all the signs posted outside promoting the candidates running for office. They are even starting to send out text messages now to try to get people to vote for certain candidates.

I agree that voting is important but I think they are overdoing it with all the things mentioned above. I do not want to receive hundreds of fliers in the mail about political views. Usually I would try to unsubscribe from mailings like this, but they do not even give you this option! Something needs to change with this policy because there should at least be a way to get off these mailing lists.

I also don't want to receive unsolicited text messages. They are sending out personalized messages trying to engage people into chatting about voting. These feel like an invasion of privacy and certainly do not make me want to vote for whoever they are promoting.

As for the signs, I don't support these either. What is the point of the signs? To increase name recognition so when you go to the polls, you will vote for the name you saw on a sign? I don't think this is the way people should be trying to get votes.

With all this unwanted solicitation, it is more of a turn off when it comes to voting. The goal should be to inform people without annoying them with an over abundance of advertisements.

There is much to improve upon when it comes to the voting system. For one, it needs to be easier to find out information about each candidate. If you go in to vote without having done plenty of research ahead of time, you will be lost when you see the dozens upon dozens of names to choose from.

There needs to be a centralized place where candidates submit their information and describe their stance on the important issues. This information should be available before voting but it should also be available at the polls. With voting methods transitioning to computers, it should be easy to add an option next to each name you can click on to read more about that candidate.

I think this would be much better than what we have going on with the spamming of mail, texts, and signs. Have you been getting tons of political mailings? Feel free to share your comments on this issue below.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Scale of the Universe and Meaning of Life

Recently I have been taking an interest in space and the universe and have done some research to try to get an understanding of what is out there and how it relates to us and life in general. One of the things that becomes clear right away is how incomprehensibly large the universe is. It is way bigger than we can make sense of and that is only considering the amount we can see with powerful telescopes.

It is predicted that there are many other Earth like planets out there with the possibility of life, but the problem is they are way too far away to reach or even make contact with, at least with the resources and technology we have available to us today. Even traveling at the speed of light, which is incredibly fast, is not nearly fast enough to reach the other galaxies out there.

One question to think about is what would happen if you just kept going out further and further in the universe? Would you get to an end or would it just keep going on into infinite amounts of space? Based on our knowledge, it is hard to comprehend something going on forever, but what if it does? If not, what is at the end?

Is it possible other lifeforms from other planets have found out how to travel faster and have been able to reach us? It is possible, but there is still not much concrete evidence despite many claims of sightings here on Earth. It is possible other civilizations have developed further and if so, they may find us before we find them.

When you zoom out and realize how small our planet is in the universe, it makes you wonder about our significance. Here on Earth we have so much going on and we care about so many things but in the big picture, we are merely a speck of dust in the universe. Given this scale, we may not be as important as we think we are. For example if the Earth was destroyed somehow, the rest of the universe would go on and there wouldn't really be any noticeable change outside our solar system.

But what about life? This is one of the mysteries that is still difficult to explain. The scientific theory is that life on Earth started billions of years ago as very tiny cells and organisms and over time evolved into everything we have today. There are theories of how it started, but it is still not clear exactly how life was created.

It makes us think about the importance of life and what happens after death. For example, when we die, is that it, or does our consciousness or spirit live on somehow? There is still so much we don't know that anything is possible.

One thing for sure is that we are lucky to be living in these times and should be thankful for every day. Humans have really developed a lot over the past few hundred years. Imagine being born thousands of years ago and think about how difficult life must have been back then. Sure the world is not perfect now and there are still a lot of issues and bad things that happen, but overall it is a pretty good time to be alive.

This leads to thought of what the future may be like. Of course there will be new developments and inventions over time. Some things may make life better, some things may make it worse. There are many predictions out there as to what will happen on Earth over the next hundreds and thousands of years. I think it will be good for some time, but eventually the effect of human actions on Earth will take a toll on the planet even more so than it already has.

People will have to continue to adapt to survive in ever changing conditions with growing population, limited resources, and changes in the environment. Some time way down the line, it is likely that life on Earth may come to an end. What will that mean for us and what will that mean in relation to the rest of the universe?

Despite all we have learned over time, there are so many unknowns to some of life's biggest questions. Which brings up another one of those big questions, “What is the meaning of life?”

Why does life exist and is there a meaning? It is possible there is no exact meaning or purpose. It is something that happens to exist when the conditions in the universe are just right. It is ever changing. At any time in the universe new life may be starting while old life may be ending.

So what should be our goal or purpose here on Earth? It is up to the individual to make their own decision on this. Everyone has different thoughts, cares, and values. We must decide what is important to us and what we want to do with the time we have here on this planet.

It is a lot to think about but it is a topic that is important to give some thought since it can help give direction and meaning to life. What are your thoughts on the meaning of life and how it all relates to the universe?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Raffle Story

One day back when I was a child, my grandparents took me to some event where they had a dinner and a raffle. Everyone had to buy one raffle ticket for admission. At the end, they would call raffle numbers and if they called your number, you got to go up to this long table that had a bunch of prizes and you could select an item from the table.

There were lots of items so pretty much everyone was going to be able to get something when their number was called, but you wanted to get called early on so there would be better prizes available to choose from. Also they would have a grand prize drawing at the end and the number they called would win the money collected from the raffle tickets.

I was pretty excited about this as I held onto my raffle ticket staring intently at the numbers. One by one, they called off numbers and people would get up to go to the table to select their prize. I kept hoping my number would be called soon, but it was not getting called.

I was starting to get a little worried that all the good prizes would be gone before they called my number. The prize table kept dwindling until most of the prizes were given out. They still had the grand prize to announce so there was still a little bit of hope left.

Then they started calling the numbers for the grand prize winner. I was staring at my ticket as they read each number. As each number was read, it was matching on my ticket! They finished reading the last number and it was my ticket! I ran up to the front to present my ticket and claim the grand prize.

There were some chuckles in the audience since I was a little kid and I had run up to collect the prize. They checked the ticket and confirmed with my grandparents who slowly followed me up there. Sure enough it was a match so I ended up winning the cash prize collected by the raffle tickets!

I don't remember the exact amount but it was somewhere around $100-$200 which was pretty good back then, especially for a little kid to win. As years went by, my grandparents would often recall about the time I won the grand prize at the raffle event. They have since passed away, but it will remain a good memory of the time I spent with them as a kid.