2023 Favorite Things in Books, Movies, TV, Podcasts, and Comics

2023 AmberUnmasked favorite things

Quick Links: Books, Comics, Documentaries, Movies, Podcasts, Stand-Up Comedy, TV, YouTube

Rather than include another recap here, if you’re interested in True Crime or even looking for resources about crime, I covered a lot of panels from the 2023 Crime Con.


Let’s start off with what the two lists that should be taking up most of my non-writing and non-yoga time: Books and Comics. I set my GoodReads Challenge to something reasonable considering I am a slow reader and there are also weeks when I don’t feel like reading at all.

book covers for: Varina Palladino's Jersey Italian Love Story; The Haunting of Alejandra; and Better Living Through Birding

Title Author Publisher Notes
The Haunting of Alejandra V.Castro RH/Ballantine, Del Rey full review + podcast
How Not to Kill Yourself Clancy Martin Knopf/Pantheon/Vintage full review
We’re All in This Together…so Make Some Room Tom Papa St. Martin’s Press full review
Rogue Justice Stacey Abrams Doubleday Books full review
Moorewood Family Rules HelenKay Dimon Avon and Harper Voyager full review
Varina Palladino’s Jersey Italian Love Story Terri-Lynne DeFino HarperCollins/William Morrow full review and podcast
Killer Story Matt Witten Oceanview Publishing full review
The Game is A Footnote Vicki Delany Crooked Lane Books full review
Better Living Through Birding Christian Cooper Random House full review
The Puzzle Master Danielle Trussoni Random House full review
The League of Lady Poisoners Lisa Perrin Chronicle Books full review
Gentle Writing Advice: How to Be a Writer Without Destroying Yourself Chuck Wendig Penguin Random House, Writer’s Digest Books full review
The Drift C.J. Tudor Random House/Ballantine full review
The Shadow in Our Lives Tracey Heisler full review + podcast
Cemetery Stories Katherine Ramsland Dey Street Books some graphic accounts of the many phases and stations of death and the death industry; for fans of Ask a Mortician.
California Bear Duane Swierczynski Mulholland Books full review
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I didn’t read nearly as many comics as I wanted to. I’m grateful to still be on some press lists so I can provide these recaps and social media shout-outs.

comic book covers for: Rose Wolves; Scurry; and Killadelphia volume 1

Sea Serpent’s Heir vol 1 Mairghread Scott, Pablo Tunica Skybound-Image full review posted; Aella begins as the young, innocent hero without any knowledge of who she truly is other than the daughter of a Pirate Queen, Ryana. A zealot church’s army of knights is destroying all the people like her mother and magical pirate family. As the knights chase down the girl who appeared in a prophecy as the one who contains the demon Xir, the girl must make difficult decisions between the love for her family, her original good nature to avoid killing, and her first romantic love. Aella moves from feeling powerless to being like a god. In her attempt to save everyone, she sees that violence is the only way out and death is the only way to stop people from fighting. If Kylo Ren’s story was about a girl and the sea rather than a boy in space, it would be this beautifully rendered book filled with detailed panels and a select muted palette of greens, blues, and reds
Scurry vol 1 Mac Smith Skybound-Image full review posted; Humans set off a nuclear weapon and the animals who were far enough away have survived and gained some skills. Very much like The Secret of NIMH. Beautiful art with attention to making each character unique in appearance which isn’t easy with nests of mice and rats, beavers, packs of wolves and angry cats. The story has a lot of action and tension. There are 3 fox sisters who are oracles to the forest animals. The animals pass down the prophecy that the Guardian won’t return until Erebus the Shadow Wolf dies. Two tiny little young mice heroically suss out betrayals, take epic journeys, make new friends and enemies, and eventually save their colony though after many animal deaths.
Sea of Thieves: Origins Jeremy Whitley, Rhoald Marcellius (a), Sakti Yuwono (c) Titan Comics narrative stories of characters from the main title; as standard for Whitley, the women have the strong backbones to try anything the men can do which includes sailing, pirating, and running businesses. Is it anti-union or specifically anti-mob union?
I Hate This Place vol 1 Kyle Starks (w/cocreator), Artyom Topilin (a/cocreator), Lee Loughridge (c), Pat Brosseau (L) Skybound a lesbian couple inherits a cattle farm that seems to be equally haunted inside by a poltergeist, haunted by a thousand ghosts outside the house, surrounded by a forest of giant alien spiders, AND there’s an armed man who stole a bunch of money trying to kill them so he can find the money his partners stashed
Killadelphia (deluxe Year One, 1-12 plus bonus comic Elysium Gardens)
Rodney Barnes, Jason Shawn Alexander, Luis NCT, Marshall Dillon
historical fiction with vampires
Pretty Little Dead Girl Mercedes Yardley, Orion Zangara Kickstarter mystical and magical
Twig 1-4 Skottie Young, Kyle Strahm, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Nate Piekos Image Twig is a small blue fuzzy creature who loves to cook. However when his father died, he had to take over his job as a “placeling” which means he is responsible for placing the last gem. He’s accompanied by a slug like friend, Splat. All because Twig woke up late his day, his entire quest is jeopardized. Each step requires making amends before going on.
The Big Adventures of Baby Mouse: Once Upon a Messy Whisker Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm RH Children’s Books Babymouse has messy whiskers that get in her way and get made fun of. She learns about the power of making wishes and getting what you asked for.
The Black Ghost: Hard Revolution Alex Segura, Monica Gallagher (w), George Kambadais (a), Marco Finnegan (layouts), Ellie Wright (c), Taylor Esposito (L & design)
Comixology Originals
a tie-in to Segura’s novel about a woman in the comics industry
Ten Thousand Black Feathers Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, Dave Stewart, Steve Wands (L&design), Greg Lockard (ed) Image Part of The Bone Orchard mythos; not a one-shot; intriguing story told in like a true crime podcast that sucks you in with baby step reveals.
Census #1 Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman (writers/creators), Sebastián Piriz (art & colors), Bernardo Brice (L), Sarah Litt (ed) Comixology Originals Funny sit-com type of story about Liam Malone, a Virgin in NYC who takes a job as a census counter for supernatural beings; day one he ends up in the apartment of a succubus family who want to sacrifice him.
Earthdivers vol 1: Kill Columbus Stephen Graham Jones (w), Davide Gianfelice (a), Joana Lafuente (c), Steve Wands (L), Maggie Howell (ed) IDW 4 indigenous people in the year 2112 go to a cave that allows one at a time to travel back in time. Tad goes to the ship Nina in 1492.
The Closet James Tynion IV (w), Gavin Fullerton (a), Chris O’Halloran (c), Tom Napolitano (L), Dylan Todd (design), Greg Lockard (ed) Image Thom is a screw up of a dad who keeps ignoring responsibilities to his wife Maggie and son Jamie. Jamie is terrified of a monster who comes out of his closet. Moving across the country doesn’t solve it. The story seems like it’s a sci fi where the monster is real, perhaps and alien. But the origin of the nightmares is from when Thom had an affair and kept a box of its mementos in Jamie’s closet. It feels like there should be a clearer ending other than Thom and Maggie keep fighting and Jamie is still scared to death.
A Town Called Terror vol 1 Steve Niles (w), Szymon Kudranski (a), Scott O. Brown (L), Marshall Dillon (L) Image Fantastic art! This would be a fantastic monster horror about a man who is half-demon (Henry) returning to his monster only hometown to save his mother. As he battles his father, Lloyd, who keeps returning from the dead, Henry learns his real father is a priest. But supposedly Henry could come and go through the magical boundary of the town yet after fighting Lloyd, he’s stuck. Unless it’s going to be explained, it’s a bug mistake in the plot.
Junk Rabbit Jimmie Robinson Image Detailed art that shows the junk city outside the domes as sepia/brown wash; no sun for years; in the domes in earth and in space, the air is so different and clean presumably that people who are accustomed to living in The Sink (junk city) can’t breathe it and vice versa. The dialog and narration is difficult using speculative slang of the year 2198. Consumerism is all that America understands. People have either been implanted with bio-thlinks to network or they remain offline. The Master of the Dome is one of those offline. His irritating, attention seeking son is murdered so Masters sends Det Chela Omina to solve it. Police wear badges of their corporate sponsors.
The Keepsakers (W) Tayson Martindale (CA) Second Rocket Comics Invader Comics OGN b/w; fantastically original story about children and their favorite stuffed animals and what happens when people need them the most.
Purr Evil Mirka Andolfo, Laura Braga Image Intriguing issue 1 as readers are shown that there’s some kind of magic and strange links between Rita, her daughter Deb, and a supposedly dead rock star named Angela Starr.
Breath of Shadows Rich Douek, Alex Cormack, Justin Birch IDW 1968 British rock band includes a lead singer, an addict, who is set on exploring Mayan region to find something an author wrote about in his last book.
Cat Fight Andrew Wheeler (w), Ilias Kyriazis (a), Auguste (i), Dennis Yatras (c), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (L) IDW Thief Felix owes a lot of money; his Nana Kitty formerly Kitty Midnight of NYC, is looking to add Felix to the Kit Kat Crime Syndicate, her gang with morality rules. Villain Schrodinger sets Felix up for murder and tips off the Kit Kat Syndicate.
Pink Lemonade OGN Nick Cagnetti Oni Press Sweet and innocent story about someone wanting to be a hero
Scrapper 1-4 of 6 Cliff Bleszinski & Alex de Campi (w), Sandy Jarrell (a), Alex de Campi (L), Ryan Kelly & Jordie Bellaire (I2 art) Image Comics I had fallen in love with this book about dogs living in a domed city and governed by an evil powerful tech agency (but for some reason no cats exist?) and then in the inspiring letter from Bleszinski, he quotes Louis fucking abuser with privilege CK. This isn’t a naive person outside pop culture. This is a creator of Gears of War and Fortnite who has Broadway credentials as well. This means he consciously chose to include a LCK quote without concern for what people hurt by abusers in Entertainment have done. Otherwise, it really is a great comic. *sigh*
Antarctica 1-3 Simon Birks (w), Willi Roberts (a), Lyndon White (L) Image Comics Crisp art and wonderful balance of limited colors to dark ink per page. excellent lettering- didn’t even have to zoom in. Art comes off more realistic with body styles and uniqueness of each character even the duplicates from a parallel universe. If you don’t have “multiverse fatigue,” you might enjoy this one.
Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees #1 Horvath, Otsmane-Elhaou IDW With a storybook art style that looks suitable for children’s books, comes a story of serial killers hiding amongst the anthropomorphic citizens of a small idyllic town.
The Addams Family: The Bodies Issue Zoë Quinn (w), Philip Murphy (p), Philip Murphy & Maria Keane (i), Valentina Pinto (c), Christa Miesner (L) IDW Feels like its identical to the first of the animated movies.
Con & On 1&2 Paul Cornell (w), Marika Cresta (a), Paul Little (c), Rob Steen (L) & more Ahoy Comics A narrative based look at the differences a white male aspiring writer and his friend a black female aspiring artist get through the first “major” comic con in the 1990s (where Hollywood first appeared). I get why someone might find this nostalgic look back at the first British creators being famous in the US, but the whole first issue felt bitter in a “get off my lawn” way.
Devil Water Mario Candelaria (w), Silver Ferris (a), Scott Ewen (L), James Ferguson (ed) Kickstarter Creepy and horrific story of 2 best friends who are demons; the story flashes between World War II & Prohibition.
Project: Cryptid anthology Ahoy Comics I liked the Ballroom of Death by Mark Russell (w), Jordi Perez (a), Madeline Seely (c), and Rob Steen (L)
Lycan vol 1&2 Robinson, Donaire, Dominguez, Saavedra, Crugnola, Gabo, Kompan Hive Head Studios An Arabian origin of the first werewolf in 8000 BC
Blood Tree Peter J. Tomasi (w), Maxim Šimić (a), John Kalisz (c), Rob Leigh (L) Image/Mad Ghost Serial killer out to end the bloodlines of all murderers because he believes violence is genetic; this killer turns innocent people into “angels” by drugging them and stitching wings to them; some of the art is questionable like where are these sutured wings hiding under clothes? It can’t be explained away as magical/divine. Lettering had an interesting effect in a gun fight where the BLAMs were different colors for the shooters – never saw that before and appreciated it.
The Holy Roller #1 Andy Samberg, Rick Remender, Joe Trohman, Roland Boschi, Moreno Dinisio Image/Giant Generator Excellent extended first issue showing the rise of Anti-Semitism in the form of a prodigal son, Levi, returning home to Cleveland to see his dying father, a local bowling champion.
Parliament of Rooks #1 Abigail Jill Harding (w/a), Richard Starkings (L) Comixology A Gothic romance fantasy as if you combined Cinderella, The Darkness, and forbidden / star-crossed lovers.
Shelley Frankenstein: Cowpiggy Colleen Madden TopShelf/IDW Loved it!
Rose Wolves Natalie Warner TopShelf/IDW Beyond LOVED IT, count this as a Don’t Miss pick
Dracula (Universal Monsters) 1-3 Tynion, Simmonds Image I’ve been a fan of Martin Simmonds for years. The limited palette, staggering lines, and some collage effects make for wildly dramatic pages. Last issue comes out in January 2024.
Haunted Girl #1 Young high school girl is treated for mental illness because she’s actually fulfilling some kind of prophecy.
Good Comics for Bad People: an extra fabulous collection Zach M. Stafford Image Quick humor, often crude, surprised there are grammar errors like possessives and contractions.
Makhno: Ukrainian Freedom Fighter (originally Le Vent des Libertaires) Philippe Thirault, Roberto Zaghi (a), Annelise Sauvetre (c), Sebastian Gerard (color pg1), Nanette McGuinness (translator), Mark Waid (publisher) Life Drawn by Humanoids Fictionalized biography of Ukrainian peasant Nestor Ivanovych Miknienko, an anarchist who rose and gathered an army to fight the Soviets, Germans, Bolsheviks, and White Cossacks (his army was consider Black Cossacks). He became Makhno while in prison. He freed his town to a communal egalitarian and free Huliaipole. This OGN makes the life of Makhno personal and dramatic taking it from his childhood when his mother has no choice but to allow a higher class woman adopt him & his subsequent escape to his first love, second love (his wife), and women with militia skills he puts in charge of certain regiments. His best friend reunites with him in France sent to assassinate him under threat of his own family being killed by Stalin. Stunning art, colors, and lettering with a story that takes the early 20th c revolution to be more than dry text book reading as our 2022-23 Ukraine fights again.
The Deadliest Bouquet Erica Schultz (w&L), Carola Borelli (a), Gab Contreras (1-3 colors), Tom Chu (4-5 colors), James Emmett (ed) Image Three deadly sisters with an unusual upbringing have to solve their mother’s murder.
Covid Cop Dean Haspiel Kickstarter Fun and weird. Absolutely love the limited palette of purple, pink, blue, and radioactive green.
Black’s Myth: The Key to His Heart Eric Palicki (w), Wendell Cavalcanti (a), Rob Steen (L) & more Ahoy Half-werewolf, half-djinn, and now half-demon. A new character is a key figure who is also self identified as the only black girl in her school – there’s no shading to her skin to indicate that. Main character Strummer is biracial and the covers (in color) give a hint at that. Plus the djinn is middle eastern (described with an accent) and should also be shaded.
Swan Songs #1 W. Maxwell Prince (w), Martin Simmonds (a), Good Old Neon (L) Image Comics Mostly told through inner thoughts of Brian who needs to appreciate the small good things left in the world as the Doomsday Clock counts down. His mother is dying from kidney failure and Brian reads to her about flowers, those beautiful earthly treasures that no longer exist. I’m a big fan of Simmonds to begin with and his art works well in this story where there’s an abundance of grime, crime, dystopia, depression, with small smattering of love.
Kill Your Darlings 1 Ethan S. Parker, Griffin Sheridan, Bob Quinn, John J. Hill Image (Newcomers who haven’t published a comic before and got introduced to the right people). For fans of I Kill Giants or stories where kids live so realistically in their imaginations that there’s little separation.
Midlife or How to Hero at Fifty Brian Buccellato (w), Stefano Simeone (a), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (l) Image A new book that I’m enjoying since it’s right in my age bracket.
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I don’t have a favorite documentary series this time around. The ones about murders tend to be directed and scripted the same way. Learning about the Hillsong Church was revealing because I believe that’s why everyone turned against Chris Pratt in “The Chrises” discussions; but after seeing the special, inclusion and exclusion of LGBTQIA+ is discussed and it’s easy to see how one branch plays off as accepting while the HQ was more fire and brimstone.

Pennywise: The Story of IT John Campopiano & Christopher Griffiths Prime BTS about the villain of IT and a lot about how the actors, screenplay writer, and effects team worked together for the original miniseries.
American Manhunt: Boston Marathon Bombings
Floyd Russ Netflix a great look at how technology from a ton of sources was pulled together to track the bombers
Life with Murder John Kastner Prime Mason Jenkins murders his sister and tries to lie about it; his parents stick by him despite all of it
I Just Killed My Dad Skye Borgman Netflix story of 17 year old Anthony who killed his abusive father; turns out there was custody battles across states; Anthony doesn’t even remember his mother and sister.
Girl in the Picture Skye Borgman Netflix extremely fucked up cases only solved because an author took interest and began investigating
Secrets of Hillsong Stacey Lee Hulu miniseries about the hypocrisy of a global evangelical church
Ghislaine Maxwell Maiken Baird & Lisa Bryant Netflix nothing surprising about awful people
MH-370: The Plane That Disappeared Louise Malkinson Netflix interesting theories presented on the infamous Malaysian airplane disappearance.
The Devil on Trial Chris Holt Netflix documentary about the Glatzel family and the Warrens after they were famous already but then created The Conjuring off their story. After the parents died, one of the sons found his mom’s journal where she said she was putting “medicine” in the rest of the family’s food (it was Sominex).
How to Become a Cult Leader a miniseries about the most infamous cult leaders in history but gives no spotlight to today’s cults like the neo-Nazis, evangelism, Scientology etc. Netflix more people should see this but the ones who really need to, won’t.
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There were a couple of big surprises in the movies I watched. Renfield!! I never thought I’d watch a hot Renfield movie, but this was hilarious. And thanks to a friend, I learned about the cut musical number which is probably on YouTube.

3 movie images: Renfield; Barbie; The Glass Onion

The Glass Onion Daniel Craig, Janelle Monae, Edward Norton Netflix an interesting follow up to Knives Out
Prometheus Ridley Scott film Hulu another WTF was that
Vengeance BJ Novak Prime unexpected; dark and depressing
Red Dragon Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Anthony Hopkins Netflix why did I do that?
Girl in the Basement Judd Nelson, Stephanie Scott Lifetime/Hulu a story so fucked up you can’t imagine what was wrong with the writer – until you discover it was based a true story which was even worse
We Have a Ghost Anthony Mackie, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, David Harbour Netflix entertaining
Across the Spiderverse Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld Marvel While I do love the stories of these Miles Morales movies, the animation is so flashy and visually difficult that it could cause headaches or seizures
Solace Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Abbie Cornish Prime psychic helps on a serial killer case
The Ritual Killer Cole Hauser, Morgan Freeman Hulu an African witch doctor is hired by a businessman to get more power. It is not worth your time.
Barbie Margo Robbie, America Ferrera, Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu theatre definitely an enjoyable watch that will piss off a certain kind of man-child
Justice League Affleck, Gadot, Mamoa, etc. Prime Aquaman, much as I love him, does not fit into this story. It would’ve been better with Hawkgirl. once the Atlantean bits are over, there’s nothing water related. Very cool that he air surfed to the ground on a parademon though. I don’t think Barry would be so non-confident (in the cartoon he boomed with confidence at missions and flirting). It’s a shame the real body actor of Steppenwolf was not billed next to the voice actor. I surprisingly liked Affleck. Other nitpicking things. Wish it wasn’t so similar to LOTR in plot. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable. No idea which “version” I watched.
Captain Phillips Tom Hanks Netflix Yeah, it’s about time. I was impressed with the local, non-Hollywood actors; incredible story.
DC League of Super Pets The Rock, Kevin Hart Prime weird but entertaining; not how I would have come up with animal partners for all the JL but at least they had diversity.
The Pit and the Pendulum Vincent Price Prime I expected more Pendulum to be honest
To Catch a Killer Shailine Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn Hulu not worth it
Bullet Train Brad Pitt, Joey King Netflix fucking weird; makes me mad that I like Brad Pitt.
Renfield Nicolas Cage, Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Shohreh Aghdashloo Prime I never expected to love this movie. I was skeptical at the trailers of a sexy Renfield with super powers, but it’s wonderfully cheezy and over the top like Shaun of the Dead.
Midnight in the Switchgrass Emile Hirsch, Bruce Willis, Megan Fox, Lukas Haas Prime serial killer movie; another one you could miss and it wouldn’t matter
The Batman Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, John Turturro Prime surpringly liked it (hated that Catwoman ski mask though); didn’t even recognize Colin Farrell.
Dracula (1931) Béla Lugosi Prime
The Tell Tale Heart Laurence Payne, Adrienne Corri Prime
The Mummy 2017 Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella Netflix started being feminist that the princess wanted to be the heir since she was first born but then it was all about her chasing a man for love when he wants someone else.
The Wolfman Benicio del toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt Netflix I think I fell asleep with this on.
The Suicide Squad Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, Viola Davis Netflix gross, sad, gross, sad
Mortal Kombat 2021 Lewis Tan Prime
Merry Little Batman Luke Wilson, Yonab Kibreab, James Cromwell Prime cute story that basically copies Home Alone but with Damien, Batman, Alfred, and aged supervillains
Everything Everywhere All at Once Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu Prime I have to admit, I did not fall in love with this movie the way everyone else seemed to. I loved the cast, but I felt like only the last 15-20 minutes were great.
Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Elliot Page Prime wtf was that?
A Simple Favor Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively Prime fantastic story of deception; bad soundtrack though
Tangled Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi Disney+ I can see why people love this.
The Amazing Spider-Man Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone Netflix Even with good stories and actors and f/x, these seem unnecessary.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone Netflix
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I forget to list My Favorite Murder in here. It’s generally reserved for the long car rides to visit family and their shows are rarely less than an hour.

If you’re a crime fiction writer, there are several good options listed here that might help you with procedural questions.

logos for podcasts: Science Vs., FBI Retired Case File Review with Jerri Williams, Breaking Bread with Tom Papa

Breaking Bread with Tom Papa Tom Papa PocketCasts Tom interviews other standup comedians
Casefile mysteriously unnamed host PocketCasts deep dives into some of the most gruesome cases you may never have heard about
Cops and Writers Patrick O’Donnell PocketCasts very similar to the Writers’ Detective Bureau; interviews with LEO
FBI Retired Case File Review Jerri Williams PocketCasts she interviews agents about cases that have been adjudicated; there’s obvious bias that the FBI comes off perfect, but she gives her own history about being a rare black woman in the bureau
MBOm Mastering the Business of Yoga Amanda Kingsmith PocketCasts information for yoga teachers and studio managers
Redefining Movement Lara Heimann PocketCasts a yoga podcast that typically covers anatomy and physiology better than others, but occasionally gets into pseudoscience
Science Vs. Wendy Zukerman PocketCasts tackling an enormous array of topics to compare facts with incorrect information
The Connected Yoga Teacher Shannon Crow PocketCasts information for yoga teachers and studio managers
The Deck Ashley Flowers Stitcher Reasonably well-made, but takes a lot of liberties trying to force evidence of the 1980s to fit today’s world; they use actors and sound effects (could do without the police sirens!) to reenact conversations; no one they approached for going on the record was cooperative and they’re even caught recording before asking permission; the premise is that the cold case is still cold. With no new information, why dig up painful memories? They have a petition online to urge the authorities to test evidence which isn’t done because new cases take priority daily.
The Writers’ Detectives Bureau Adam Richardson PocketCasts one of the interesting resources for writers to get police and other LEO perspectives authentic in their books
Working it Out Mike Birbiglia PocketCasts the premise is that the comedians not only give their biographies, but they also hash through stories and jokes that aren’t quite ready for the stage; I like that each guest is asked to name a favorite charity.
Yoga Teacher Resource Dr. Libby Hinsley PocketCasts information for yoga teachers and studio managers
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Stand-Up Comedy:

There are few things that will get me in the car for an hour’s drive, but when tickets are affordable and favorite comedians are actually within driving distances, it’s pretty cool to see them.

2 stand-up comedians on stages: Iliza Schlesinger; Nate Bargatze; Tom Papa

Brian Regan (LIVE) actually got to see in person in PA!
Iliza Shlesinger Hot Forever Netflix The set Hot Forever that I got to see live in 2022.
Vir Das all the specials on Netflix Netflix history lessons with comedy
Maija DiGiorgio Prime mixed race and joked about stereotypes
Nate Bargatze Hello World Prime his best show yet
Erik Terrell Prime opens with a transphobic joke then uses R word multiple times.
Kanan Gill Prime
Sorabh Pant Prime had a hard time understanding him because he spoke so fast
Andrew Santino Netflix Warning: admits how homophobic the Catholic church made him; and does a whole skit about Jesus being gay. it was actually funny. Hates all the presidents. Thinks Kamala should be POTUS. Admits comedians can say whatever they want but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences (brings up Chapelle).
Kathleen Madigan Hunting Bigfoot Prime one of her best shows tied with Bothering Jesus
Jimmy O. Yang Good Deal Prime
Brad Williams Fun Size Prime
Zane Lamprey Prime
Kevin Hart Laugh at My Pain and other specials Prime a little bit of BTS docu with a standup performance
Zarna Garg One in a Billion Prime she brings an interesting perspective from India and explains/plays into certain stereotypes
Zoltan Kaszas YouTube
Dan Levy Lion Prime must be a different Dan Levy because I turned it off for not being funny, but it was him, the guy from Schitt’s Creek
Zoe Lyons Entry Level Human Prime could not understand her and she bounced around the stage; had to bail.
Celeste Barber Fine, thanks Netflix
Dylan Brody Prime
Todd Barry Domestic Shorthair YouTube quarantine jokes
Amy Schumer Emergency Contact Netflix
Christian Finnegan The Fun Part Prime
Heather McMahan Netflix
Kristin Key Crafty Prime
David Nihill Cultural Appreciation YouTube
Tom Papa What a Day! Netflix I regularly put his shows on to marathon in an evening to find comfort.
Jim Gaffigan Dark Pale Prime Lots of talk about diarrhea
Josh Gondelman Prime
Philip Kopczynski Prime good set; a lot of the specials on Prime and YouTube have bad audio; this one wasn’t the worst – some I have to turn off.
Stephen Michael Quezada Prime
Shayne Smith: Dry Bar Comedy Double Feature Prison for Wizards, Alligator Boys, The Animal YouTube one of my favorites
Kevin Jordan Prime
Lizzy Hoo Prime sweet but not funny
Lewis Black Thanks for Almost Dying Prime
Tommy Little Pretty Fly for a Dickhead Prime self-deprecating and funny as always; this one has a huge sentimental ending
Harith Iskander Netflix
Wanda Sykes I’m an Entertainer Netflix one of her best
Leanne Morgan I’m Every Woman Netflix watched two of her specials and loved her enough to find tickets for 2024
Matthew Jenkins I Also Have Merch Prime
Andy Parsons Prime
Jared Freid Netflix
Jose Sarduy Cuban Pilot Prime hilarious
Moody Molavi Prime Iranian-born, Tennessee accent, Baptist
Nimesh Patel Lucky Lefty and other performances YouTube
Beth Stelling If You Didn’t Want Me Then Netflix she quietly tells stories about growing up and her weird estranged father who feeds raccoons
Tom Papa (LIVE) live what a great treat to see Tom Papa live especially after getting to review his latest book!
Pete Holmes I’m Not for Everyone Netflix
Ralph Barbosa Cowabunga Netflix
Karen Morgan YouTube
Nore Davis You Guys Are Done Prime
Drew Lynch YouTube
Gus Tate Top Gus YouTube
Mike Birbiglia The Old Man and the Pool Netflix It’s evident how much Birbig’s performances have evolved from casual small stage shows to Broadway productions.
Tom Dobrowski Don’t Eat the Crayons YouTube
Ali Siddiq YouTube
Zainab Johnson Prime
Rahn Hortman YouTube the kind of jokes where he has to end with “that’s just a joke”
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As you may know, I do most of my TV viewing as repeat watching. I find comfort in favorite shows and will put them on as background or when I just need to know what’s going to happen without the tension and anxiety of the unknown. There were some wildly entertaining new shows to watch.

2 promo images for TV shows: Mark Hamill in The Fall of the House of Usher; Jenna Ortega in Wednesday; John Krasinski in Jack Ryan

Abbott Elementary Quinta Brunson Hulu always enjoy watching and rewatching
Accused anthology style single episodes Hulu amazing!
Criminal Minds created by Jeff Davis Hulu A rewatch. I’m still looking for that spin off.
FUBAR Arnold Schwartzenegger, Fortune Feimster Netflix Arnold’s character Luke is inconsistent with his daughter. Within an episode he’ll want her to breakup with her fiance but tell the guy to fight for her. The show is directed in a strange way. It feels like an ending about a quarter way through then kicks into a clear new action which ends in mid scene and that picks up in the next ep.
Inside Job Lizzy Caplan, Clark Duke, Christian Slater Netflix created by Shion Takeuchi satire cartoon about a secret cabal running the world.
Jack Ryan: Final Season John Krasinski, Mike Kelly, Michael Pena Prime the best season and it’s the last!
Law & Order: SVU Mariska Hargitay Hulu Finally getting to this; interesting to see there may be a group of 4-5 cops on a special unit that give a shit about the victims
Loki Tom Hiddleston Disney+ all time traveling nonsense ending with Loki forming the Tree of Life instead of being the God of mischief. not a great season.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation s1 Kevin Smith Netflix For the most part, I liked it but there was unnecessary sexual innuendo because of course, it’s a Kevin Smith production.
The Fall of the House of Usher Bruce Greenwood, Carl Lumbly, Mark Hamill Netflix Excellent modern take on the classic; another Mike Flanagan blockbuster; Mark Hamill is incredibly brilliant in how he fully possesses his character.
The Haunting of Hill House huge cast, Mike Flanagan Netflix very scary and at the heart is a good family drama but it was so goddamn confusing to watch
The Indian Detective Russell Peters Netflix love it and wish there were more
The Rookie & Feds Nathan Fillion Hulu The Rookie has been solid but The Rookie: Feds hasn’t been as captivating despite a bisexual WoC lead
Wednesday Jenna Ortega Netflix a wonderful new take on The Addams Family characters; there are actual magical powers involved
What We Do in the Shadows Jermaine Clement Hulu This show is unbelievable in how unique they’ve mashed up different cultures, folklore, and vampires with “reality” TV. The final season is coming.
Only Murders in the Building Martin Short, Steve Martin, Selena Gomez Hulu Although the murder of the season is not in the Arconia building, the cast goes through butting heads with each other and reunites to keep their podcast and investigation going.
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As in 2022, I’ve found more fun in watching YouTube this past year. It’s hit-or-miss really especially when it comes to stand-up comedy. There are videos that say “full special” but are clips of performances; some of them even have jokes repeated but in different venues. We do have the paid version of YouTube which makes watching it a lot better. Listed here are channels more like podcasts but with visuals.

Michael and Jessica from The Grimm Life Collective with Joe and Amber

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night mode of trail camera capturing a fat, happy raccoon named El Diablo eating

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