Seven things on Sunday (FToF #190)

Things of note for the week ending Sunday August 21st, 2016.

THINGS

1. A YEAR WITHOUT OLIVER SACKS

A year ago today I published FToF 138 and the first item on that list was Oliver Sacks’ last article before his death, Sabbath. A year later, a friend of his, Orrin Devinsky, remembers him once more and considers how he might look upon the world today.

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A short read but a worthwhile one.

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2. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT CODE IS RUNNING IN MY BODY

The headline ALONE on this had me hooked.

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Marie Moe is a cyborg who runs on proprietary software she can’t trust. She’d like to change that.

At age 33, Marie Moe learned that her heart might fail her at any moment. A computer security expert in Norway, she found out she has a fairly common heart condition that disrupts her normal pulse, so she had to get a pacemaker. The surgery was quick and uncomplicated. Just a few weeks later she was able to travel to London for a course on ethical hacking.

This is the future.

And it’s happening right now.

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3. THE FOUR WOMEN OF WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT
For item number three this week, we turn to old school men’s style mag, GQ.

And we’re going to be looking at WWE Wrestling.

Specifically the women of WWE.

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‘Oh, women and wrestling? It’s a GQ must!’ Well, yes, kinda. BUT… ‘The Four Women Saving Wrestling‘ isn’t just a reason to talk about two subjects that historically work well with the publication’s audience. It’s actually a fantastic quartet of tales about empowerment, feminism, and the real off-screen battle / movement to have women’s wrestling recognised as a key component to regular WWE programming.

Good read.

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4. STUFFED ANIMALS – WHAT?
Staying on the wrestling theme for a moment, we turn to Rio 2016. Did you see any of the wrestling? (I didn’t). If you did then you would’ve seen the Olympic mascot being thrown into the ring.

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Why?

Yahoo Sport (no laughing at the back) has the answer.

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5. NO MAN’S SKY: A PITCHING MASTERCLASS

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I’m still nuts about No Man’s Sky (examples: here, here, and here – deal with it) and yet trying to explain it to anybody really does get difficult sometimes.

It goes like this:

‘This game is amazing!’

‘Yeah? What’s the objective?’

‘Well, you’re technically trying to find your way to the centre of the galaxy…’

‘Got it’

‘…but that’s not really the point; I mean – there’s no rush’

‘Huh?’

‘It’s about the journey, not the destination’

‘I don’t get it’

‘There’s 18 quintillion planets!’

‘Huh?’ *stares blankly*

Over and over…

Now, imagine having to do that to a global audience. Think about it. That’s what the game’s creators had to do. They had to find a way to explain a game that is really quite difficult to explain.

Rami Ismail took a look at this process and unpicked the strategies and choices that Hello Games made during this process.

Really interesting.

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6. OLYMPIC RACES, IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD

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What would Olympic races look like if they took place near you? The New York Times (and, it has to be said, the NYT’s coverage of Rio2016 has been outstanding (see this beautiful Simone Biles piece for just one example of this) has put together this interactive website that maps Usain Bolt to your address so you can see just how quickly you could make that train…

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7. DEATH TO COMMENTS

NPR killed the comments section on its website – and the stats behind the decision are really interesting.

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Bonuses this week are all hand-picked just for you.

Until next time my friends.

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Whatley out.

 

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Seven things on Sunday (FToF #189)

Things of note for the week ending Sunday August 14th, 2016.

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1. GROUNDHOG DAY: THE MUSICAL

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You’ve just read the headline of this ‘thing’ and you’ve thought one of two things:

1: WHAT? NO. UGH. IS NOTHING SACRED?
2: IT’S OUT ALREADY?! YES! CAN’T WAIT!

Unless you have a third option, which is mine, and it goes like this I’VE SEEN IT AND IT’S GREAT AND YOU SHOULD ALL SEE IT AT ONCE.

To the doubters, I’d say give it get over it.

I went in with a small amount of concern (and why not, Groundhog Day is arguably one of the best comedies/romantic-comedies/Bill Murray films ever made – of course you might be anxious) BUT the fact that it came from the geniuses (genii?) behind the MATILDA musical meant I had a good chunk of reassurance.

I went. I saw. I laughed a LOT.

You should go too.

It’s on at the Old Vic London until September 17th and if you can go, then GO.

It’s wonderful

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2. WHITE HOUSE BOT

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This week in BOT NEWS – you can now send a message direct to The White House (read: ‘President Obama’) via Facebook Messenger.

AND IT ACTUALLY WORKS.

LOOK!

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I have to admit, it took me a good few minutes (and a couple of rewrites after that) to work out exactly what I wanted to say.

Neato.

Via Fast Company.

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3. EVER BEEN IN A CORPSE CUPBOARD?

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Aka: what happens when you die on a plane?

There are two ways to find out. One involves dying. Here’s the other one.

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4. LOOK AROUND YOU

Next year – 2017 – this satellite going to be launched into orbit around the Earth.

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What makes this satellite so special? Well, this satellite will be carrying the world’s first VR CAMERA FOR SPACE.

SpaceX have confirmed it: it is happening. In 2017, we’ll be able to strap on a helmet and look around in actual space in real time.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

Amazing.

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5. SUICIDE SQUAD

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…is a terrible movie.

I wrote a [fair] few thoughts on Teh Twitterz after I saw the movie last weekend but in case you missed that, here are a select quotes from a number of reviews:

Vanity Fair said:

Suicide Squad is bad. Not fun bad. Not redeemable bad. Not the kind of bad that is the unfortunate result of artists honorably striving for something ambitious and falling short. Suicide Squad is just bad. It’s ugly and boring, a toxic combination that means the film’s highly fetishized violence doesn’t even have the exciting tingle of the wicked or the taboo. (Oh, how the movie wants to be both of those things.) It’s simply a dull chore steeped in flaccid machismo, a shapeless, poorly edited trudge that adds some mildly appalling sexism and even a soupçon of racism to its abundant, hideously timed gun worship. But, perhaps worst of all, Suicide Squad is ultimately too shoddy and forgettable to even register as revolting. At least revolting would have been something.

Inverse said:

Even if Suicide Squad was a competent movie and not merely a series of disconnected scenes, it would still have one major problem: The way it handles race and nationality. Suicide Squad is so blatantly, outrageously, almost comically offensive, with stereotypes galore and cellophane-thin characterization, you’d think it was doing it on purpose to be subversive — only, it isn’t smart enough to.

Deadspin:

I suspect the disjointed nature of this movie owes to the fact that it is two separate stories director David Ayer is doing a very half-assed job of trying to present as one. The first is a romance between the Joker and Harley Quinn. This element seems like the result of Jared Leto wanting to make a music video about how badass the Joker is, and Warner Brothers deciding they should build a movie around it using another film they were already shooting, a divorce and morality tale surrounding Will Smith, who must fight powerful monsters with his friends.

There are a ton more I could link you to but they’re all fairly depressing.

In short: don’t see this movie. Suicide Squad is a terribly dull movie and it really isn’t worth your time or your money.

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6. TRUMP TWEETS

Which ones does he write? Which ones do his team write? Someone looked at the data and guess which one they found to be angrier of the two?

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7. SUMMER DESSERT PLANS

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Yes. That is exactly what you think it is.

OH YEAH.

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Bonuses this week are all gaming related:

  • FIREWATCH (PS4 & Steam) is probably the best example of story-telling-as-gameplay I’ve seen since the highly commended/awarded LAST OF US. And, without doubt, is the best game I’ve played this year. Here’s a short video interview with the creators that give you a small insight into exactly how they did it.
  • I’ve gone all in on NO MAN’S SKY and I am LOVING IT. I linked to this piece, from The New Yorker, back in May when I first started talking about it [NMS] so if you missed it then, read it now. If you have no idea what the fuss is about, it will tell you all you need to know.
  • Spotify launched Spotify Gaming – playlists for gamers. An intriguing concept given that there are many who enjoy in-game choons but hey, I’ll give it a shot. Will you?

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And I’m done.

Until next time…

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Whatley out.

 

 

 

 

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Five things on Friday #188

Things of note for the weekending Friday August 5th, 2016.

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What a GLORIOUS DAY IT HAS BEEN!

Also: the newsletter is on time. What the flop?

Amazing.

Shall we?

1. GUNS DON’T KILL PEOPLE, WATER PISTOLS DO

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If you’re an iPhone user, then you might already know that Apple’s latest firmware test release (aka – iOS 10 beta 4) features a number of really great emoji updates.

One of them though is perhaps not so great.

E.g.:

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You can see how this might be a problem.

Emojipedia has a great write up on the above (and more).

Go read it.

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2. PROPER TRANSFORMERS

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This live-action version of classic Transformers is actually brilliant.

And probably 10,000% better.

Go watch it.

Don’t even start me on the newly announced version of Hot Rod. Jeez.

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3. BANKING IN NEPAL

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This is amazing.

“In Kagbeni, Nepal, a village of fewer than 1,000 people nestled high in the Himalayas, rupees change hands inside shops and barley is traded for buckwheat in the streets, but there is no modern way to store wealth. The nearest bank is a three-hour hike away; while most villagers have a drawer or plastic bag filled with badly worn rupees, few bother making routine deposits or withdrawals. So when a family finds themselves with a little extra money, or in need of some, they look to their rooftops, where the Kagbeni version of a savings account is neatly stacked.”

Uh huh.

More here.

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4. FLOCK TO UNLOCK – UNLOCKED!

Hey, look at this NEW thing.

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About two yeas or so ago, if you worked in any kind of communications agency, you’d have had a conversation with a media agency about this SUPER NEW AND EXCITING new feature from Twitter called ‘Flock to Unlock‘.

Here is an article covering a Puma execution from August 2014.

If I recall correctly, the price of entry for use of said feature was about £50k. Might’ve been $50k. Can’t quite remember. Anyway, point being, jump back to August 2016 and Twitter have [finally] rolled it out for all and sundry with no huge media spend up front (seemingly, at least).

I think Marvel did it last summer too…

Yes, they did.

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It didn’t go down that well.

So look, ‘Flock to Unlock’ is now available. It’s got a new name and you can find out about the details over on Twitter’s blog.

Go on, off you pop.

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5. USE THIS

It isn’t new but it is useful.

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Thanks to TNW for the reminder.

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Bonus items this week are as follows:

And I’m done.

Oh.

One more thing.

What’s got two thumbs and is off to enjoy his weekend?

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Seven things on Sunday (FToF #187)

Things of note for the week ending Friday July 29th, Sunday July 31st 2016.

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Wow, I was tired last week! Thanks to those of you that spotted the missing item number three. For those that spotted it and didn’t email in, the big thing was supposed to be:
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3. THROWING A BBQ?
Buy some bananas and some chocolate – and do this. Then tweet @markofrespect and tell him I said to say thank you.
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Mind. Blown.

I know. Almost as much as that time I heard about grated bacon. Almost.

OK, so that’s the admin out of the way.

Onwards – to THE THINGS!

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1. TEAM BUILDING

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Kicking off things this week with this really quite excellent long read on creating the perfect team (via the NYT Magazine).

“Five years ago, Google — one of the most public proselytizers of how studying workers can transform productivity — became focused on building the perfect team. In the last decade, the tech giant has spent untold millions of dollars measuring nearly every aspect of its employees’ lives. Google’s People Operations department has scrutinized everything from how frequently particular people eat together (the most productive employees tend to build larger networks by rotating dining companions) to which traits the best managers share (unsurprisingly, good communication and avoiding micromanaging is critical; more shocking, this was news to many Google managers).”

What follows is an excellent analysis that uncovers the profound effect that group behavioral standards can have on the interplay, impact, and ultimately the overall success of the group involved. These norms may manifest themselves as unwritten rules or simply just part of the known culture.

If you work in a team – or are a member of any kind of group – then this is a must read.

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2. WHO’S TALKING?

In a week(end) where an old white dude proclaimed that the gender diversity debate was ‘all over’ (as well as a personal fave: ‘millennials don’t do leadership‘), was subsequently lambasted by an entire industry, and then pretty much told to go stand in the corner and think about what he’s done by his boss (it remains to be seen if he’ll be allowed back); you’re probably ready for some kind of useful tool to help test Mr Roberts’ theory yourself.

Right? Well, maybe.

Whatever, I’ve got just the website for you.

It’s called: are men talking too much?

CLICK IT!

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Dead handy.

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3. TWITTER FOR DUMMIES

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Twitter isn’t having the best of times right now (if anything, it’s mid-pivot and struggling to sell that in (that or it just needs to ‘enable instagram‘ – jeez)) however, be that as it may, some people are still only just discovering it.

If anyone ever asks you ‘What is Twitter and how do I use it?’, you now have a useful guide to hand – as written by the always-amusing Stu Heritage.

Save it for later.

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4. NO INTERNET

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Believe it or not I’ve spent several days and weekends completely disconnected from the Internet. TRUTH, I tell thee. TRUTH. That said, these days it’s genuinely quite hard to find places where you can escape the umbilical cord of connection and truly be alone in the world.

Fortunately, ‘White Spots’ can help you find them.

Fast Company has more.

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5. A BAG, DEAR?

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This week in GOOD NEWS, six months ago the UK introduced a 5p charge for any and all plastic bags normally just given out over the counter. Since then, plastic bag usage has dropped a staggering 85% since said charge introduced.

Too little too late? Or a sign of [better] things to come.

Read more.

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6. TINA THE T-REX

This is so awesome it’s probably my favourite thing all week.

I am so excited, in fact, I might slip into ALL CAPS.

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YOU GUYS. THANKS TO THE AMAZING PEOPLE AT NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS, YOU CAN NOW TALK TO A TYRANNOSAURUS REX VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER.

WANNA TRY IT?

GO TO THE NAT GEO KIDS FACEBOOK PAGE AND HIT ‘MESSAGE’

HERE –

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I TRIED IT AND IT WAS BRILLIANT.

LOOK!

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This stuff is wicked. I’m very much in a chatbot place right now (more, later) and to see wicked little executions like this really warms the heart.

Got kids? Let’em play!

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7. SEVEN MINS THAT SHOOK THE DNC

Khizr Khan. I hope you already know his name. If you don’t, go and watch his speech.

It’s incredible.

That is all.

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Bonuses this week are as follows:

  • You may have already spotted this on your internet travels (and it’s a bit old now but), in case you missed it, Tesla’s Master Plan: Part Deux is well worth a quick glance [into the future of cars once more].
  • The [original] Addams Family set in colour is simply gorgeous.
  • Uber is building its own maps system; interesting against the backdrop of autonomous cars.
  • Mark Ritson is being Mark Ritson again (worth a watch)
  • Love Seinfeld? You’ll like this.

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Thank you, as ever, for tuning in.

If you liked it, tell a friend.

Until next time…

Whatley out x

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Seven things on Sunday (FToF #186)

Things of note for the week ending Sunday July 24th, 2016.

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Good evening. It’s 21:30 on a Sunday night as I start this week’s belated edition FToF (hence the title change) and I am quite sleepy. Having spent the weekend on a narrow boat somewhere in and around Banbury to say I am the epitome of chilled out would perhaps be an understatement.

1. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE?

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If you didn’t do it, you certainly know someone that did (I did it, obvs) and for one summer, it was all your Facebook feed would show you (YES it went viral and YES it was awesome but let’s all remember Facebook made an algorithm decision just at the right time eh?).

In September 2014, the BBC reported:

There have been in excess of 2.4 million ice bucket-related videos posted on Facebook, and 28 million people have uploaded, commented on or liked ice bucket-related posts. On image sharing website Instagram there have been 3.7 million videos uploaded with the hashtags #ALSicebucketchallenge and #icebucketchallenge. Justin Bieber’s has been the most popular – with about one million likes.

But did it actually do anything?

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In the same year, ALS received $98.2m – compared with $2.7m donated during the same period last year. Pre-ice bucket, the MND Association would receive on average £200,000 a week in donations. From 22 to 29 August, it received £2.7m.

An immediate and undeniable impact. Hurrah and hurrah again.

Two years on, The New Yorker has taken a look to see if that impact has lasted.

Good reading.

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2. KEYNOTE SPEAKER TIPS

Speaking of good reading. Stephen Waddington has been at it again. This time around, sharing his twenty tips on how to present like a keynote speaker.

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There be gold in dem hills.

Go digging.

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3. THROWING A BBQ?

Buy some bananas and some chocolate – and do this.

Then tweet @markofrespect and tell him I said to say thank you.

4. STRANGER THINGS

 

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I’ll put this simply: if you have Netflix, watch STRANGER THINGS. If you don’t have Netflix, borrow someone’s log in and watch STRANGER THINGS.

Evocative of everything from GOONIES to D.A.R.Y.L. to POLTERGEIST to EVIL DEAD to THE TWILIGHT ZONE to even GARTH MARENGHI’S DARK PLACE. If you’ve ever loved any kind of 80s supernatural / sci-fi film or TV show then you must, must, must watch STRANGER THINGS.

If you’ve never watched or seen any of the above things then just watch it anyway; the music is fantastic.

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5. BECKY WITH THE GOOD HAIR

What to say?

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First, I lifted this from Matt Muir’s newsletter – Web Curios (go sub).

Second, I had no idea what ‘Beck with the good hair’ meant, let alone implied.

Third, as Matt mentions, to see a ‘legacy fashion’ magazine, such as ELLE (in this instance) take so much time to critique its own mistake(s) is heartening.

Read: What do you see when you look at this cover?

Enlightening.

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6. SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON HAPPENED

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Historically this is where you get the best and newest trailers for some of the most embed them all here and let you click through to the ones you want. This time around, I made you a YouTube playlist of the best ones.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

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7. FILM CRIT HULK ON THE FORCE AWAKENS

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FILM CRIT HULK is one of my favourite film reviewers. The last time I featured his words here it was his STELLAR review of EX_MACHINA (there be spoilers there, so only read it if you’ve seen it). The thing about FCH is that he makes you think differently about the films you (think you) have seen.

This is a long read but a good one.

FCH – SMASH! – STAR WARS: TFA

Read it.

Then let’s talk.

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Bonus items this week are as follows:

  • There’s a super cut of all the time Game of Thrones alluded to Jon Snow’s destiny at this link. I really rather enjoyed it.
  • Speaking of crows, when a crow dies other crows investigate the crime and report it to their friends and family. TRUTH.
  • Need a gif? I got you a gif machine.

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And that’s it.

Thank you to all of you who hit reply last week, it was so awesome to hear from you and what you’re working on / finding exciting. My task this week is to reply to you all!

It’s 22:20 and I’m going to find you a comedy gif and then I’ll hit send.

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Whatley out.

 

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