Showing posts with label television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label television. Show all posts

Monday, January 28, 2019

Reviewing the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Reviewing The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is an Amazon original series set in New York in 1958, starring Rachel Brosnahan. Mrs. Maisel (Brosnahan) is living her dream. She is married, loves her husband, has two children, and lives in a beautifully appointed apartment in Manhattan. From a very young age, she has dreamt about and planned it all: college, wedding, and her adult life trajectory. She tells us about it during a flashback to her beautiful wedding. Everything is going exactly as planned, until suddenly - in one evening - Mrs. Maisel learns that others can completely de-rail her best plans.

Midge Maisel is a loyal, happy housewife who works hard to please her husband. Mr. Maisel (Joel) is a salesperson with an office job. But at night, he performs at a club as a stand-up comedian. He's not very funny and Midge bribes the club manager with briskets to get Joel into better time slots with a better audience. On the same night that he completely bombs, things completely fall apart for Midge. She is devastated and lost. Am I making this sound like a drama? It is not. It is a comedy full of quirky characters.

A co-worker told me to watch the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Since she has recommended an author that has quickly become my favorite, I trusted her opinion and I began watching the series the first weekend I had a few spare minutes. I am able to watch it for free because of my Amazon Prime membership. I watched several episodes that first day and binged watched into season 2 the next weekend. 




The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel reminds me of I Love Lucy - but a naughtier version. The buildings, clothing, baby carriages and way of life are all from that time period. Rachel Brosnahan's facial expressions and/or timing of her humor remind me quite a bit of Lucille Ball. She's a bit sneaky, like Lucy. An example being reminded of Lucy was during a scene at bedtime. Midge goes to bed in a negligee and still made-up. As soon as Mr. Maisel is asleep, Midge gets up and does her beauty routine; putting her hair in curlers and applying an over-night face mask. She sets the blinds so that the sun shines through the crack in the morning - waking her before the alarm. She completes her beauty routine and is back to bed; perfumed, made-up, and looking beautiful. She closes her eyes and he wakes. This scene made me laugh and reminded me ever so much of I Love Lucy

Am I making this sound like an I Love Lucy rehash? It is not. There is cursing, "sex" scenes (not the type of sex scenes shown on cable tv but sex scenes nonetheless), and some modern colloquialisms that aren't from the 1950s. For me, these things are a bit like watching a cartoon with a child and the cartoon includes adult humor and references - out of place but funny (although, I wouldn't be bothered by less profanity).

If the title sounds familiar, it may be because Rachel Brosnahan won a 2019 Emmy for Best Actress in a Television Comedy. Deservedly so, I think.






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Monday, August 27, 2018

Saving Money with the Insignia Roku 32" LED TV

Just a few viewing options on my Insignia Roku TV.
My television stopped working and couldn't be repaired. It was a sad day that sent me out looking for a replacement. My #1 criteria while looking for a replacement TV was expense. I wanted to spend as little as possible. Fortunately, I found the Insignia Roku 32" LED television.  The out-of-pocket price tag was slightly higher than I wanted to pay but in the long run, I'll continue to have significant savings because I'm refusing to buy cable or dish services at this point in my life. I've had this Insignia TV for almost a month now and I'm loving it. If you are looking to stop making yourself cable-poor, this may be an option that works well for you too.


Insignia 32" Roku LED Television



I window-shopped at several stores, looking to buy a television at $100 or less. Then I found the Insignia Roku 32" LED TV at Best Buy. I thought about it for a bit and asked around.  

With this television, I could continue to watch via antenna (which is my preference, and why I thought I'd get a TV for under $100).

Also, with this television, I could watch my Sling channels and YouTube.

I could also watch Roku, which my son keep telling me to check into.

The official features of the TV are listed as:
  • Roku Smart TV - access to stream 500,000+ movies/television shows.
  • 31.5" screen - measured diagonally from corner to corner.
  • 720p resolution for quality HD images
  • LED tvs perform well in all lighting conditions and provide rich colors.
  • Built-in Roku smart platform (ability to stream from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Plus, or choose from 3,000 other streaming channels
  • Two 8w speakers
  • 3 HDMI inputs (cable not included)


I unboxed the TV and attached the legs. I plugged it in and attached my antenna. The television prompted me to connect my Wifi.  I also easily followed those prompts to add my existing Sling TV account, Amazon prime video library, and YouTube channel. 

Because the Roku TV has so many viewing options, I find it slightly cumbersome to remember to toggle from the two menus (the one on the left of the screen that lists things such as: home, My Feed, Search, Settings, and more) to the visual menu on the right that lists such things as: AV, Antenna TV, Netflix, Prime Video, Sling, YouTube, and etc. But that is a mild annoyance, and something I am becoming accustomed to. And an exceedingly small price to pay for a huge amount of free (or nearly free) entertainment.

I gotta tell you, I LOVE watching my YouTube crochet tutorials on the television screen. I could sit all day and watch the DIY channel on Sling. And what fun to watch my Amazon prime movies on a screen bigger than my laptop screen!


Antenna TV


Except for a 2 year (approximately) period of time that I gave cable a second chance - a chance to redeem themselves and a chance they squandered, I have watched television via the channels broadcast over the air. To do this, I use a little antenna that screws in to the back of the TV. Easy peasy and free local channels. 
Sling TV.

This indoor antenna is the new and improved version of the antenna I've used for the past few years. 




Verizon Jetpack



The least expensive internet connection that I have found, and that suits nearly all my needs, is the Jetpack by Verizon. It is a portable, mobile hotspot device that I use at home or when I travel. The "unlimited" data isn't fully unlimited. I do have internet connection for the entire month but if I do a lot of streaming, after a certain point I experience "bandwidth throttling". Which means they set me at slower speeds. It is occasionally annoying but not enough to cause me to purchase one of the other packages.

Unfortunately, my Verizon Jetpack does NOT work while I'm at The Shack. Hopefully, by the time I relocate, Verizon has stepped up and provides service in that area. Otherwise, I'll have to figure something else out. 

I'd hate to make changes since this set-up is working so well. But I have some time to figure it out. 


Sling Tv


Fortunately, Sylvestermouse Cynthia introduced me to Sling via her review Get Rid of Cable TV and Still Have Live Major Network TV with Sling TV in 2015. Since that time, I have been able to watch DIY, Hallmark, FYI, Food Network, Travel, Cooking, Disney, HGTV, and more on my laptop.

I pay a minimal monthly amount ($30) for Sling TV. I could pay less but it is "al carte" television and the channels I chose create the amount I pay. Now, with my Insignia Roku television, I can watch all of those channels on the television screen!

The savings by using Sling TV, other streaming entertainment options, and my Verizon Jetpack is significant (at least to me it is). When the cable company increased my monthly bill, it was approaching $150 a month.  In my current situation, I'm paying $30 a month for Sling TV and the Verizon Jetpack is a part of my phone bill which totals $110 a month. Cutting that cable bill saves my budget approximately $1,800/year. 


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If I were not pinching every penny in order to rebuild The Shack, I would have chosen a better, bigger television. I would have chosen an HDTV. The quality of the picture is so much better.

Our Bev Owens reviewed her purchase, a Samsung MU6300 HDTV.  This would be a great television to own!  I love the colors and clarity of the picture on an HDTV.


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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Samsung MU6300 HDTV Reviewed

Treat Yourself To A Quality Viewing Experience

before hdtv
Vintage TV image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Remember when we watched TV on a set similar to the one on the left? We actually have a set similar to it that we use as a TV stand for a flat screen television in our kitchen. Last week my husband and I decided to upgrade our main TV that was an LED flat screen to a larger sized HDTV. Oh my goodness, why did we wait so long?

If you are in the market for a new television, I can recommend a great one to consider. Now, I must admit that I was willing to settle for a lesser model but my husband convinced me to follow the old adage..."Go big or stay home". We differ in that respect. I am a little "cheap" when it comes to purchasing items. I want quality but am willing to get something that isn't necessarily the latest and greatest or newest shiny thing to save a few greenbacks for a rainy day. My husband on the other hand doesn't want to grab the brass ring; he would rather go for the gold one. (Why save money when you can spend it now?...is kind of his motto.) You can imagine our two views create a healthy discussion when it comes to purchasing a major item for our home. We usually compromise for something in the middle.

So, last week we agreed to get a new television for our living room. I agreed to get a larger screen and to get a high definition model. I also agreed that it should be a Smart TV. I had one in mind that I felt fit our budget; we just needed to go see one to make sure the quality of the picture was satisfactory. The model I had picked out was pretty awesome and if my darling hubby had not been along on the shopping excursion, I am sure he would have loved it. He was duly impressed with my selection until his wandering eyes spotted another one; a TV that was a few inches larger and instead of the 1080 pixels had 4K pixels. (I swear I think I heard angelic music coming from above and a light surrounded him! There might have been a little bit of drool slipping from his lips!) The next thing I knew the absolutely delightful salesclerk was bringing the box to the counter with the required HDMI cable and ringing up the sale. 

Arriving home (I'm still a little in shock at that point), I began to get the new HDTV set up for our viewing pleasure. It isn't that my hubby can't do this sort of thing, he just has less patience than me and doesn't think that reading instructions is a necessary step to bother with. That is another story for another day, however. Getting the Samsung MU6300 HDTV set-up was an extremely easy and painless process! The TV is so smart it actually does some of the steps for you and walks you seamlessly through the rest of it. I was impressed!

I did have a little trouble with the remote in the beginning. Being so used to just pressing a button to accomplish a task, it took me a little bit (and watching a video) to realize that the buttons for changing channels and the volume also move up and down. Pressing it in does one thing, pushing it up or down does something else. Once I got that down, it was smooth sailing!

We watch a lot of movies both from DVDs and streaming and I am here to tell you the quality of the picture on this television is amazing! The detail is absolutely incredible! You feel like you are in the room with the actors or the woods or whatever the location. I am really happy with my husband's choice! I was a tad upset until we watched the first program and then I realized that he was right. This is a much better TV for us and I am glad that we got it. I realize now that with the newer technology that this set offers; we won't have to replace it anytime soon.

If you are in the market for a new television, consider the Samsung MU6300 HDTV. I am pretty sure that you will not be disappointed.





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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes Book Review

Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes Book ReviewIt’s been literally decades since I read a Stephen King novel. I believe that the last one that I read was Misery in 1987, before my grown up children were born. That book was simply too horrible for me. Later, for whatever reason, I watched or tried to watch the movie version of that story and that cinched the deal for me. I have not read a Stephen King book since then and not seen many of his movies either.

That is, until the 2014 book Mr. Mercedes was chosen this year as one of the reads for our book club. Now I am wondering what I have missed in all of the books since 1987 as I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Mercedes. It was not too horror-ible at all though horrible things do happen in the book. However, it is a fast paced crime or detective story rather than a horror story. It is riveting; another book that I could not put down. A race-against-time thriller.

It is very well written with well-developed characters that include a retired police detective and a psychopath.

The police detective is not enjoying his retirement and is pulled back into one of his last, unsolved cases, that of the Mercedes killer.

The psychopath is, as The Globe and Mail says, “one of King’s great creations, twisted and deranged, but cringingly human.” On the outside, he is ordinary and could be one of your neighbours. However, on the inside he has many issues.

What results when the detective and the psychopath collide is a riveting story with two men ‘fighting’ to the end.

Mr. Mercedes is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me and by the Globe and Mail, too, LOL.

It is exciting that I just discovered that Mr. Mercedes is a trilogy so I (we) have two more books to read in the series, including Finders Keepers and End of Watch. I only hope that they live up to Mr. Mercedes.

There is also an AT&T Original mini series that has just started as I write this in August, 2017. I watched the trailer just now on Youtube and cannot decide if I will be watching the program or not. I have prematurely made up my mind that it cannot live up to the excellent book but I will be waiting to see what people think of the mini-series. As always, I recommend reading the book first.

You can learn more about Mr. Mercedes or order your copy of the book from Amazon by clicking here.

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Mercedes is King’s 62nd novel, though only 44 feature his name. He says that this book is based on a real incident in which a woman drove her car into a McDonald’s restaurant.

Will you be reading Mr. Mercedes?

See you at
the book store!
Brenda

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Buy your copy of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes from Amazon.







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Saturday, June 3, 2017

And Then There Were None - The Mini Series

And Then There Were None
If you're after a dark mystery set in the late 1930s that will have you guessing right up to the end then you'll love And Then There Were None.   I have read the book, but I'm actually reviewing the 2015 mini series that was made for the BBC.

The book, by Agatha Christie, was published in 1939 and I think the miniseries captures the era well and it certainly has a lot of the nostalgic Christie feel about it.  If you're thinking of an Agatha Christie novel with good manners, manor houses and a little inconvenient murder to solve then you need to revisit Dame Christie.   And Then There Were None is when Agatha Christie tapped into her dark side and the result is a real masterpiece.

One of the reasons I liked the miniseries is that it managed to capture the darkness really well.  The bleakness of the island that is the main setting for the mini series made me want to go and visit, but it turns out that it wasn't actually filmed on an island!  When I first heard about this adaptation I remember reading 'mass murder rarely gets as fun as this' which I thought would've made a great tagline.

The basic story shows 8 strangers being invited to stay on a small, isolated island by someone none of them have actually met - the mysterious U. N. Owen.   When they get to the island their host isn't there although there are two servants on the island to look after them.

As the three part mini series unfolds our island cast of ten are killed off in the same way as the nursery rhyme (known as Ten Little Indians or Ten Little Soldiers), something which is picked up on by one of the main characters Vera Claythorne (played admirably by Maeve Dermody).

As you get to the end and are still trying to work out who did it we do get to see who was pulling the strings and it is the ending where it deviates from the book a bit, but not in a bad way.

I really believe that if Agatha Christie was alive today she'd be very happy with how this mini series turned out.

If you wanted to you could always read the book and watch the mini series to see which you prefer!  You can check out all of Agatha Christie's books on Agatha Christie's Booklist.




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Friday, February 20, 2015

Get Rid of Cable TV and Still Have Live Major Network TV with Sling TV

Sling Television Brings Live Major Network TV Back to Cable Cutters!

Several months ago, I had finally had enough!  Cable TV just kept getting more expensive while quality continued to decline and customer service was basically nonexistent, so we pulled the cable plug.  However, we still have TV.

My husband reconnected an old fashioned antenna.  Remember the rabbit ears?  Yes, we have those again, but they are hidden behind a plant on top of our TV cabinet.  This allows us to watch local TV stations, local news and local weather.

We also purchased a Roku from Amazon.com and hooked it up.   Through the Roku, we are able to view hundreds of movies and TV programs that are streamed programming, but not live TV.  It is good, but not exactly perfect.

However, just this week I received an email introducing Sling Television and our major network TV viewing is live again!


Sling.com


With Sling Television we can now have live major network TV again!  The basic Sling service cost only $20/month and we could not be happier.  I now have CNN, A&E, AMC, TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network on live TV.  The basic service also includes ESPN, ESPN2, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, and more.

There are additional packages available as well for only $5/month.  We won't need those, but it is definitely worth mentioning that Sling has upgrades to their basic service available.


Costs Cut by Cutting the Cable Cord

 

Here is a line up of the services we now have on TV.  You can see for yourself how we have substantially cut our monthly costs.


  1. Sling.com ~ Live TV Basic Service includes ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, A&E, TNT, TBS, CNN, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, History Channel  (Device Required:  Amazon Fire, Roku, iOS, Android, Mac, or PC)   ~   Cost:  $20.00/month
  2. Amazon Prime ~ Prime Instant Video (thousands of movies & TV shows), Prime Music, Prime Photos, Kindle Library, plus Free 2 day shipping on Amazon orders all included with Amazon Prime.  ~   Cost:  $99.00/year
  3. Netflix ~ Movies & TV   ~   Cost:  $8.99/month
All Total:  $37.24 / month 


You, too, Can Cut Your Cable Cord and Save Money!




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