Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Best TV Shows of 2019

As we are reaching the end of 2019 it is time to recap the best TV shows of the year. This year there are some returning favorites with new seasons as well as some making their first appearance on the list. Here are my picks for the best shows of 2019:

1. In The Dark
I went into this show not knowing anything about it, but the trailer got my attention enough to give it a shot, and it turned out to be my favorite show of the year! It is about a young blind woman who is a little bit of a mess, who finds out her best friend has been murdered. It sounds dark, but the series has a good mix of humor and lightheartedness mixed in with the drama and mystery. You can watch it now on Netflix or the CW.

2. Cobra Kai (Season 2)
The Karate Kid reboot returned this year with the second season. I loved the first season and this season was just as good! The story of Danial and Johnny continues as they each try to run rivaling karate dojos. The students play a big part as the new generation of karate kids. This one has a lot of drama, comedy, and of course action. You can check it out now on Youtube Premium.

3. Glow (Season 3)
The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling are back for a 3rd season. This year they have taken their wrestling show to Las Vegas. Interestingly, this season focused a lot more on the stories of the characters out of the ring. We learn more about each of the ladies such as their interests and what they struggle with. I recommend this season if you enjoyed seasons 1 and 2. Glow season 3 is streaming now on Netflix.

4. American Ninja Warrior
The obstacle course show American Ninja Warrior had its 11th season this year and it was one of the most exciting yet! (Minor spoilers ahead). Up until season last season there had been only 2 ninjas to make it to the end. With courses getting more difficult we were beginning to wonder when there would be another champion. Well this year, someone did it and it was well deserved!

5. What Would You Do?
Wrapping up the list this year is a returning favorite What Would You Do, the show that creates situations where something is not right, and they film it with hidden cameras to see if someone will step up and say something or do something about it. The show sets a good example of doing the right thing when you see something that is not right. Here is one of my favorite clips from the season where someone is being treated poorly because they never learned to read.

If you like these shows, check out last year's list the Best TV Shows of 2018.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Best Youtube Channels of 2019

It's time once again for the best Youtube channels of the year. This year I decided to feature channels that have not been on the list in previous years so all of these are making their first appearance. Here are my recommendations for the best Youtube channels of 2019:

1. Gas Station Encounters
The number 1 pick this year goes to Gas Station Encounters which is a channel run by a guy who works at a gas station that happens to have good security cameras. They monitor the cameras and catch people who try to steal from their store. When they find a thief, they put the footage on Youtube and do commentary over it.  Here's a classic example of when they catch someone in the act:

2. Mark Rober
Another one of the best channels this year is from Mark Rober who uses science and technology to create new gadgets and conduct amazing experiments. In this video that went viral, he created a decoy package to get back at those who steal packages off people's front porches. He designed it so when the box is opened, it sprays glitter, fart spray, and records the whole thing!:

3. Karen Puzzles
Karen Kavett known for her DIY craft videos started this channel because of her love for puzzles. On this channel she reviews puzzles and shares some of the most interesting puzzles in her collection. In this video she talks about what actually makes a puzzle easy or difficult:

4. Exhaust Sports Auto
Kevin from Exhaust Sports Auto is one of the up and coming car reviewers on Youtube. While he does not have as many subscribers as some of the other channels yet, his reviews are top notch. One thing that sets his reviews apart is his honest, no-nonsense approach. Here's just one of his videos where he reviews the Mazda MX-5 Miata hard top and convertible:

5. Danny Vega
Danny Vega got some attention this year when a video of his where he pokes fun at his hometown went viral. In his videos, he does comedic and sarcastic coverage of different towns and locations. Here's his take on what it is like to live in New York City:

6. Monica Ortega
Monica Ortega makes travel style videos where she visits different places and showcases what they have to offer. She has a likeable personality and is not afraid to go out of her comfort zone to try something new. Here is an example where she visits a Bavarian themed town in Leavenworth Washington:

7.  Simon Rex
Simon Rex is an actor and also known for his music, but recently he started a podcast called Nervous Rex. He has a lot of interesting stories and commentary on life, and each week he features a different guest to discuss different topics. Here's one of his recent shows where he talks with actor Charlie Sheen:

Hope you enjoyed this years picks for best Youtube channels of 2019! Feel free to comment below if you found some new channels you like this year.

Also check out last years list: Best Youtube Channels of 2018.  

And the Best Youtube Channels of 2020

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Why do people have such different tastes in music?

The other day I was in a store and happened to hear a song I really dislike. To spare the artist, I won't say which one, but the song is very monotonous, the singing is unpleasant, and the whole thing just lacks creativity. It got me thinking, why would a song like this be selected for rotation in a national grocery store chain?

Could it be that there are actually people that like the song? I decided to go home and look it up on Youtube where I knew there would be comments about it. There were a fair amount of down votes, but to my surprise, the majority of votes and comments were positive. In fact may people were saying how they love the song and love the singer's voice.

I was a little dumbfounded. How could it be that there is a song I think is awful, yet there are other people who really like it? I did a little more research and found more discussion on song choices and songs that people don't like. Interestingly enough I found there was a song many people seemed to dislike that I actually didn't mind and would consider a decent song.

So how can people have such different tastes in music? What makes a song appealing to one person, but appalling to another?

One idea is that a song reminds you of a good time in your life or a certain event. Many people will hear a song they listened to when they were young and it reminds them of that time. It might not have been such a great song, but it is part of their history, so they will always have a fond memory of it.

Maybe the song was played at an important even such as a wedding or a dance so when a person hears it, they are instantly reminded of that event and it may bring back good memories.

Lyrical content could also play a part in why some people like certain songs more than others. If you can relate to the lyrics or if they have some important meaning to you, you might like the song even if the music is not that great.

One of my theories is that some people just have less experience listening to music than others. Someone who does not listen to a lot of music might think a song is good, but it is just because they do not have much to compare it to and don't realize there is much better music out there to listen to.

On the other hand, someone who is very familiar with music may dislike a song because they think it is very generic, unoriginal, or just not up to par with the music they normally listen to.

It could also have something to do with how we were brought up and what music we were exposed to. Many kids start getting into music in their early teen years and for them, that will be their golden age of music because those are the songs they grew up with. Also if you grew up in a place where a certain genre of music was popular, there is a good chance you will be a fan of that kind of music as well.

While it might seem like everyone would be on the same page when it comes to deciding which songs we like and dislike, all these factors above show how we can be influenced in many ways and how these influences determine what we like and dislike.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Philips Philishave S3552/89 Heritage Edition Review

I have been using Philips Norelco electric shavers for about 2 decades now. I started with an old plug in style. Then had the cordless 6613x, followed by my most recent PT730 shaver. While the PT730 is still working good, I noticed the blades were not cutting as efficiently as they used to.

Philips does recommend replacing the shaving heads about every 12 months. I'll admit, I have been using the same heads for a lot longer than that, but the replacements are so expensive! It's about $30 for the replacement blades, but you can get a whole new electronic razor with the blades for the same price!

Since it didn't really make sense to buy the replacement blades when you can get a brand new one for the same price, I decided to get the new razor. After doing a little research I landed on the Philips Philishave Heritage edition, model number S3552/89. It is available at Target and Bestbuy for $30.

Compared to my last Philips Norelco, this one is almost exactly the same in terms of construction and shape. The rubber grip is a little different. Also it has different heads, the ComfortCut blades. The main difference between my old one and this new one is the battery charge/life. On the old razor you had to charge it 8 hours for 45 minutes of use. On the Philishave, you only have to charge it 1 hour and it goes for 1 hour of use.

It seems they have really been making advancements in the batteries over the years. I compared it to my old Norelco 6613x and that one had to charge 16 hours for just 30 minutes of use!

One interesting thing I noticed about this Philishave Heritage Edition is the color. In the pictures online and even the official picture on the box, it has kind of like a pale green/grey color, but in real life, the color is more of a blue. I'm not sure why they did not get the color right for the photos. The picture above is one I took of the razor, and you can see how it is more of a blue color.

As far as the shaving goes, it definitely seems like the blades are sharper compared to my old razor, but they should be considering they are new vs the old one which has blades that are several years old. The sound of the motor is a bit more high pitched and possibly a little louder than my previous model, but still not too loud. Overall the cut performance is as expected and gets the job done.

For the accessories, it comes with the charger and a soft case, but no brush. I thought this was odd because previous models came with cleaning brushes. I guess they want you to rinse this one to clean it, but I always prefer to use the brush to clean it instead of getting it wet.

Overall for $30 I am very pleased with the Philips Philishave electric razor. The performance is good, and the battery is excellent for this price. If you are a fan of the Norelco 3 blade rotary style shavers or if you are new to this style, I would recommend the Philishave.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Salvation Army Bells are Too Loud and Annoying

It's bad enough when you go to a store and there are solicitors at the entrances trying to sell you things or get money from you, but as I'm sure many of you know, the Salvation Army adds extra annoyance by having their workers ring loud bells constantly.

Now I'll admit, I am sensitive to noise but those bells really are too loud! I just had to walk by one this morning and had to cover my ears. I would not be surprised if the bell ringers are subjecting themselves to hearing damage with the extended exposure to this noise.

Of course people will say that the bell ringing is for a good cause so we should put up with it. I don't mind charities asking for donations. What I do mind is being forced to be exposed to loud annoying bells.

In my opinion they should do away with the bells altogether. A volunteer with the red kettle is enough to get someone's attention if they want to donate. Some might say that the bells help attract people to it. If you ask me, when there is a loud offensive noise, the last thing I want to do it go towards it!

If the Salvation Army insists on keeping the bell ringing for tradition, they should at least make the bells quieter so they are not so bothersome. Who else feels the same way about this issue?

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Incredible True Story: Joe vs Elan School – Troubled teens who were forced to attend a physically and psychological abusive school

When it comes to stories, in my opinion, the best kind are the ones that seem unbelievable as if they must be fiction, but in fact they are actually true. Joe vs Elan School happens to be one of these stories. It is currently being written and published online in graphic novel form.

It is a biographical recap of what happened to Joe when he was a teen and his parents arranged to have him sent to a radical boarding school called Elan. But this was no ordinary school. It was pretty much a prison that included brainwashing, physical, and mental torture. The school managed to exist for decades up until recent years when enough information leaked out about the abuse that was going on which ultimately caused it to shut down.

Joe was one of the many troubled teens that had the misfortune of being sent to this school. He is now sharing his story by writing and illustrating what happened to him during that time.

The story is incredibly captivating and is so unbelievable in the sense that it is hard to imagine that these things actually happened but they did! There are countless records of other former Elan students confirming the things that were allowed to go on at this school.

For example, right from the beginning, you did not just go to this school under your own free will. In many cases such as Joe's a teen escort company was hired to literally kidnap you in the middle of the night, throw you in a van and transport you across the country to the school where you would be held captive.

At the school you were stripped of everything and made to follow a set of strict guidelines which was impossible to follow in order to set you up for failure and punishment. Simple things like talking to the wrong people, looking at people, saying the wrong thing, not saying enough... could get you in trouble and these are just a few examples.

Punishments included things like having to stand while an entire room of kids screamed in your face one after the other, saying abusive hurtful things. Another punishment included being forced to fight against the other kids in a boxing style fight, except it was everyone against you. Other punishments included having to sit in a corner for weeks on end.

Another mind boggling thing about this school was it was pretty much run by the kids. There were some staff, but most of it was managed by the other kids who had been there for a while. They were brainwashed into following the system in hopes of moving up the ranks to have more privileges.

Kids were not able to leave until they became legal adults. They were rarely even allowed to call home to their parents and when they were, the calls were strictly monitored and if they even started to say anything negative about the school or try to explain what was actually happening to them, the phone line would be disconnected immediately and of course they would be punished.

If you would like to know more about what it was like for kids at this school, I recommend checking out Joe's story where he gives a first hand account of everything that happened to him. As of right now the story has 38 parts and is still going with a new chapter about every 2 weeks.