Super User

Super User

Show Guide: 'Headspace Guide To Meditation'

26 December, 2020


The Cast:

Production Credits:

The Episodes:
Season One Episode Guide (Netflix)
1-01 How To Get Started
What is meditation? Begin your journey toward a calmer, clearer mind by learning the basics and try a guided meditation that focuses on the breath.

1-02 How To Let Go
Drop that baggage--and let go of anger, frustration and longing. This effortless guided meditation takes an easygoing approach to visualization.

1-03 How To Fall In Love With Life
Pause for a moment of gratitude, and learn to listen to the mind. Andy explores ways to fall in love with life and introduces a reflection meditation.

1-04 How To Deal With Stress
Overwhelmed? It often begins within. Change this relationship to anxiety and cope with stress using a simple, powerful meditation technique: noting.

1-05 How To Be Kind
Release resentment towards others--and oneself--and learn to lived with greater compassion. Andy guides a loving meditation.

1-06 How To Deal With Pain
How do we experience pain? Be present without the suffering that feels unbearable, and bring the body and mind together with a body scan meditation.

1-07 How To Deal With Anger
Transform your anger into something positive. Andy discusses how a shift in perspective can be a life-changing tool when relating to others.

1-08 How To Achieve Your Limitless Potential
Open your mind. Andy explores why the possibilities are limitless with a consistent mindfulness practice and leads a resting awareness meditation.

Show Guide: 'Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina'

26 December, 2020

Synopsis: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina re-imagines the origin and adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age story that traffics in horror, the occult and, of course, witchcraft. Over the course of Part 4’s eight episodes, The Eldritch Terrors will descend upon Greendale. The coven must fight each terrifying threat one-by-one (The Weird, The Returned, The Darkness to name a few), all leading up to...The Void, which is the End of All Things. As the witches wage war, with the help of The Fright Club, Nick begins to slowly earn his way back into Sabrina’s heart, but will it be too late? (Courtesy Netflix, 2020)

The Cast:

Production Credits:
Showrunner / Writer / Executive Producer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Executive Producers: Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater and Lee Toland Krieger
Produced By: Warner Brothers Television

The Episodes:

Show Guide: 'Best Leftovers Ever!'

26 December, 2020

Synopsis: The kings & queens of leftover cooking will take a leftover dish on an epic journey across two rounds. Each half-hour after party, our home cooks will compete in the ultimate food makeover, finding ways to give old leftovers new life, all in the hopes of winning a $10,000 prize! Join host Jackie Tohn and judges David So and Rosemary Shrager as they watch our contestants transform leftovers into delicious creations.  (Courtesy Netflix, 2020)

The Cast:

Production Credits:

The Episodes:
Season One Episode Guide (Netflix)
1-01 12/30/2020

Show Guide: 'Bridgerton'

26 December, 2020

Synopsis: From Shondaland and Creator Chris Van Dusen, Bridgerton follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market. Hoping to follow in her parent’s footsteps and find a match sparked by true love, Daphne’s prospects initially seem to be unrivaled. But as her older brother begins to rule out her potential suitors, the high society scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown casts aspersions on Daphne. Enter the highly desirable and rebellious Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), committed bachelor and the catch of the season for the debutantes’ mamas. Despite proclaiming that they want nothing the other has to offer, their attraction is undeniable and sparks fly as they find themselves engaged in an increasing battle of wits while navigating society’s expectations for their future. 

Bridgerton is a romantic, scandalous, and quick-witted series that celebrates the timelessness of enduring friendships, families finding their way, and the search for a love that conquers all. The series also stars Golda Rosheuvel, Jonathan Bailey, Luke Newton, Claudia Jessie, Nicola Coughlan, Ruby Barker, Luke Thompson, Sabrina Bartlett, Ruth Gemmell, Adjoa Andoh, Polly Walker, Bessie Carter and Harriet Cains and Julie Andrews as the voice of Lady Whistledown. The series is executive produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers and is inspired by Julia Quinn’s novels. (Courtesy Netflix, 2020)

The Cast:

Production Credits:

The Episodes:
Season One Episode Guide (Netflix)
1-01 12/25/2020

Show Guide: 'Dream Home Makeover'

26 December, 2020

Synopsis: Syd and Shea McGee started documenting their signature interior design style and home renovations on Instagram back in 2012 and grew their social media presence into two thriving businesses - Studio McGee and McGee and Co. Dream Home Makeover melds together the personal side of the McGee’s, what it’s like to raise their two daughters and build their own dream home, along with the day to day of running a successful business. Each episode features one home design project that ranges from budget-friendly living room upgrades to full home renovations where money isn’t an object. The McGee’s have been able to straddle both worlds by effortlessly applying the same set of principles to every project, creating jaw-dropping interiors that are unfussy, accessible, and breathtakingly simple at any level of the budget ladder - it’s the perfect aspirational design series with relatable tips for viewers looking to bring beauty into their own abodes. (Courtesy Netflix, 2020)

The Cast:

Production Credits:
Season One Episode Guide (Netflix)

Season Two Episode Guide (Netflix)
2-01 --01/01/2021

Movies And Specials: 'The Making Of Magnolia Table With Joanna Gaines'

31 December, 2020

Synopsis: Fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines will get the opportunity to see a little more of what the couple has been working on for their new Magnolia Network channel in this special. viewers will see just how Chip and Joanna transform a historic gristmill into the stunning home of Joanna's new cooking show.

It premiered Sunday, January 3rd, 2021.

Why Does Netflix Keep Recommending Adam Sandler Movies? I Have A Theory

23 November, 2020

If you spend any time watching Netflix's Top Ten lists, you'll notice that it's common to see weird and sometimes obscure movies suddenly appear on the lists. Some random Adam Sandler or Mark Wahlberg film will unexpectedly be the 3rd most-watched film and there is often no discernable reason for it to happen. It's clear Netflix's suggestion engines are surfacing the title for users. But why?

Stereogum has a really fascinating look at Spotify's recommendation engine and the story starts with a simple question: The Brighten The Corners album outtake "Harness Your Hopes" is the #1 song on Pavement's Spotify page, with over 29 million plays to date, eight million more than "Cut Your Hair," a legitimate and enduring '90s hit. Quickly, and without any obvious reason, it stopped being a rarity and started to become a standard. So how did this happen, exactly?

Online, people have been casually wondering this on places like Reddit and Twitter, with a prevailing theory being that the song must have been featured on a prominent Spotify playlist, and then simply snowballed from there. Malkmus himself was under this impression, too: “I heard it was on a playlist or something,” he says, nonchalant. “I’m not an expert on Spotify but, you know, one of those ‘Monday Moods’ or whatever the fuck they do.”

It’s a reasonable enough explanation. But looking at a similar situation of his own, Damon Krukowski wasn’t so sure. The musician and writer was fascinated with the question of how “Strange” became his former band Galaxie 500’s top Spotify track — by a significant margin — even though it was not a single, was never particularly popular in the past, and wasn’t being picked up on any prominent playlists. In June of 2018, Krukowski laid out the conundrum on his blog, and soon he received a possible explanation from a Spotify employee.

Glenn McDonald, who holds the title of “data alchemist” at Spotify, had taken an interest in the case, and decided to look into it. What he found is that the sudden jump in plays for “Strange” began in January of 2017, which was “the same time Spotify switched the ‘Autoplay’ preset in every listener’s preference panel from off, to on,” as Krukowski recounted on a follow-up blog post. McDonald explained to Krukowski that the Autoplay feature actually cues up music that “resembles” what you’ve just been listening to, based on a series of sonic signifiers too complex to describe. In this case, “Strange” had been algorithmically determined to sound similar to a lot of other music, and was frequently being Autoplayed to the point that it took on a life of its own, and eventually eclipsed the band’s other tracks. It continues to do so to this day.

It's well-worth reading the entire piece and while Spotify refuses to discuss the issue, it's probably not a coincidence the service is beginning to allow bands to select which songs get chosen for this unintentional attention. 

This is the type of insight you can only get from inside the company and Netflix is notoriously shy about discussing its internal recommendation engines. But this Spotify story makes a lot of sense when you put it in the context of Netflix. These lesser, often obscure movies are being recommended not because they are great, but because they are bland enough to match up closely with other popular movies subscribers have previously viewed. 

Which gets us back to those Adam Sandler movies. Critics might not love them and some of them might feel more like a cast cashing a check rather than working towards the punchlines. But the movies are mainstream and if Netflix's recommendation engine works anything like Spotify's, Sandler's movies are going to get a lot of attention. Even if you're not looking for them. 

We tend to think of recommendation engines as being complex, manipulative creations that are driven entirely by design. But as this Spotify story illustrates, even the most carefully designed piece of software can produce unintended consequences.

Conan O'Brien To End TBS Talk Show For Weekly HBO Variety Series

17 November, 2020

Conan O'Brien is retiring from the nightly talk show business.

On Tuesday, the comedian announced that he is ending his nightly TBS talk show and launching a weekly variety series for HBO Max.

Conan launched on TBS in 2010 and he has appeared in over 1,400 episodes of the show. He also hosted The Late Show with Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien for NBC.

"In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: 'As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform.' I’m thrilled that I get to continue doing whatever the hell it is I do on HBO Max, and I look forward to a free subscription," O'Brien said in a statement announcing the move.

"28 years is a monumental achievement in late-night television," said Brett Weitz, General Manager for TNT, TBS and truTV, in a statment. "We’re incredibly proud of the groundbreaking work that Conan and his team have accomplished during the 10 years at TBS and are so glad that we will continue to have his presence on our air with the ‘Conan Without Borders’ specials. We celebrate his success and are glad to see it grow across our WarnerMedia family."

"Conan’s unique brand of energetic, relatable, and at times, absurdist, comedy has charmed late-night audiences for nearly three decades. We can’t wait to see what he and the rest of Team Coco will dream up for this brand new, variety format each week," said Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer, HBO and HBO Max.

QAnon Supporters Are Pretty Sure A Biden Campaign Guy Was Arrested. Even Though The Photo Is Of Cuba Gooding Jr.

14 November, 2020

As many other people have mentioned before, we live in the dumbest of all time lines. A place where all sorts of screwball conspiracies pop up and no one bothers to spend the two minutes necessary to see if an accusation is true before breathlessly tweeting it out to the world. Usually accompanied by a comment along the lines of "The MSM will never report this!"

About an hour ago, I ran across a tweet from a conservative talk show guy I follow. He was retweeting someone else who claimed that a former FBI Agent and Biden staffer has been arrested. He doesn't mention the name in his tweet, but in his comments he bravely suggests that people use Google. So why not just reveal the identity of the person he claims has been arrested in the initial tweet. Well, skeptics might suspect that he wants to stir up some trouble on social media without proving he's just making stuff up:

You notice the guy has added "President-Elect" to his profile name, which you see a lot in conservative political circles. I guess it's supposed to be some sort of 3-D level trolling about how "anyone can call themselves president-elect." Although to be honest, it comes across a lot like an exceptionally lame Dad joke.

I digress, although in my defense, it's pretty easy to do with this story.

If you look up Dallas Jones in Google, you'll find a bunch of stories from late September that reference affidavits filed with the Supreme Court of Texas (SCOTX) that allege there had been a coordinated ballot harvesting operation in Harris County. According to the affidavits, witnesses allege Texas Sen. Boris Miles and Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis were orchestrating a ballot harvesting scheme with help from Biden campaign official Dallas Jones.

Now you might be thinking "wow, these are blockbuster allegations, I wonder why I heard about these before?" For the answer to that question, let's take a look at what the fact-checking website Snopes discovered when they looked into the story:

The only evidence offered in the filing are statements made by the private investigators under oath, which don’t offer any specifics. The statement doesn’t say who the private investigators are working for. One of the investigators claims he will bring his findings to law enforcement and that they are investigating, but he doesn’t state which agency he is referring to.

It's also worth noting that the filing also asked the Texas Supreme Court to block Harris County Clerk Christopher Hollins from implementing Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order moving up the beginning of early voting to start on Oct.13 instead of Oct. 19. It also seeks to stop Hollins from allowing voters to drop off absentee ballots early.

The reason you haven't heard more about this story is that no one took the vague allegations seriously. So why did a story pop up now that claimed Dallas Jones had been arrested for election fraud?

The funniest thing about this entire idiotic story is that I could not find one mention of Dallas Jones having been arrested in Google and calls to Wayne County law enforcement as well as officials in surrounding communities didn't find any arrest records. Instead, all of these QAnon chuckleheads were pointing to this story as "proof," which turns out to be something that was posted on a French-language QAnon web site. It also has a time stamp dated four days from now, but that's another story.

Here is the story, which claims to show Dallas Jones being arrested for ballot harvesting:

I decided I would run the arrest photo through an image search engine to see what I could find. I wasn't able to right-click and save the image, since the web site had used java-script to warn me I was committing "copyright infringement." Which is pretty freaking hilarious, given that image is not Dallas Jones. Instead, it's a photo of Cuba Gooding Jr. being arrested in 2019:

The QAnon web site uses a slightly different photo than the AP one used in the Gooding story. But it's clearly from the same sequence of shots, even if the QAnon photo it so grainy it could have been taken from space.

Now if it turns out that Cuba Gooding Jr. has been arrested for ballot harvesting, then THAT would be a story.

Show Guide: 'Swamp Thing'

07 November, 2020


The Cast:

Production Credits:

The Episodes:
Season One Episode Guide (DC Universe)

1-01 Pilot--05/31/2019
Abby Arcane finds a mysterious creature when she investigates a deadly virus in the Louisiana swamps.

1-02 Worlds Apart--06/07/2019
As Sheriff Lucilia Cable unsuccessfully searches for Alec, Abby theorizes it was more than an accident and retrieves his video journals from Daniel Cassidy. Abby and Mac follow one of her parents into the swamp.

1-03 He Speaks--06/14/2019
Driven to cure the worsening epidemic in Marais, Abby searches for Alec's lab for a cure when her friend, Harlab, becomes stricken with the "green flu." Swamp Thing uses his strange new powers to intervene.