The great experiment follow-up

Success!  We made it 5 days with Playstation Vue and this morning I called Uverse and shut off my TV services.

Feels good.

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The great experiment begins (again)

Cutting the cord.

This will be my second attempt to free myself from overpriced cable providers.  I tried it once before a year ago during college football playoff season.  Why then?  Because live TV, especially sports events, are the final wall of the incumbent television provider’s fortress.  You can get just about anything on demand these days, but providers know live sports is the last thing they have, and they’re clinging to it with a white-knuckled death grip.  So that was my litmus test: make it through college bowl season and the NFL playoffs without my Uverse box.  And it failed.

Why? Because Sling doesn’t do live sports and the Apple TV apps the major networks provide don’t do live TV.

But that was a year ago.

This time I’m hitching myself to Playstation Vue.  Based on my analysis, its the only provider out there that gives you live local stations (I’m in Atlanta), the major sports networks (ESPN, SEC Network, Golf Channel), and the miscellaneous channels my wife needs (HGTV, TLC) without having to layer on multiple add-on plans.

The others, YouTube TV, DirectTV Now, and Sling are all missing something, primarily HGTV and TLC.  Its like they haven’t gotten the deals in place yet (I think YouTube TV will probably get there), they haven’t figured out how to effectively kit channels for a family household, or they’re still trying to play a version of the “nickel and dime” game the traditional providers have been at for years.

Truth be told, my wife is the real litmus test.  While I’m at work most of the day, she’s the one that has to deal with the kids, plus she likes her shows, especially ones about 600lb polygamous people, and Georgia football and basketball.  If I can deliver on those, then the cord is as a good as snipped.

Day one – go!

The Dichotomy Of Delegation

Delegation is an interesting thing.  Its common knowledge that to be an effective leader you have to learn to delegate, which requires you to understand the capabilities of those around you.  “Are they willing, are they able?”

But delegation requires an introspective view as well.  You have to understand yourself.  “What can I do that no one else can do?” That’s the dichotomy: in order to delegate you must have an introspective understanding of yourself as well as an extrospective view of those around you.

 

Are Valyrians aliens?

Think about it.  An ancient, “magical” city, populated by mystical people with pale skin, silver hair, purple eyes, and dragon mind-meld powers.  Could the “magic” really be advanced alien technology, and dragons aliens creatures, brought from another world?  Could the Valyrians be another species?

If Dany gets preggers, then I think there’s a strong chance its true.  To me, it would explain why she wasn’t able to conceive with Drogo but Jon was able to get kick one past the goalie on the first try.  If Valyrian’s are aliens, and knowing that the Targaryens are descended from Valyria, it would make sense that the likelihood of conception would go up when two Valyrians knock the boots.  This would also explain why the Targaryens are known to inter-marry.  What comes across as incest to “modern” Westeros is is actually a tradition born from a different race trying to preserve its purity.  You could assume that the Valyrians knew that interbreeding with the locals was risky, and diluted their “magical” powers.

What if the reason you can’t make new Valyrian steel is because the original came from the ships that brought the Valyrians to the planet in the first place?  We know that non-Valyrian smiths can reforge Valyrian steel, so its not the smithing process thats unique.  What must be unique is the source of the material itself, which is actually another world altogether.

Even if there is some truth to this, I doubt it will ever be fully explained in the books, much less the show.  While I think it would be a neat twist, it would probably throw the majority of the fan-base for a loop.

 

Should Sansa have swung the sword?

Initially, my mind was made up about this.  Sansa should have chopped Littlefinger’s head off like Ned was lopping off heads in season one.

It would have shown that she’s grown from a spoiled little girl into the leader of Winterfell and the matriarch of the Stark family.

 

But on the other hand, I can see where having Sansa and Arya team up for the one-two punch shows how the family is reunited and working together, like a pack, for the first time in a loooong time.  You can assume, safely I believe, that Bran helped behind the scenes, giving Sansa the factual ammunition she needed to corner and convict Baelish, albeit in a somewhat biased court room.  So that would make three “wolfs” working as a pack to take down the enemy.

So I guess I’m ok with it.  For now.

The more I think about it, I think the real issue is that the lead up to the court room scene was weak.  There were barely any details that helped the viewer understand the plot, which if I were to guess, was supposed to be something like this:

  1. Arya shows up to Winterfell, thinks Sansa is playing queen and not truly loyal to Jon.
  2. Sansa has been through hell, but is still somewhat tempted by the thought of power.
  3. Littlefinger needs a new puppet; Sansa is the primary candidate.
  4. Sansa and Arya bicker like children; Littlefinger sees an opportunity to divide and conquer.
  5. Bran arrives, acts creepy, terrifies Littlefinger.
  6. Littlefinger senses a threat, intensifies his plan to separate the sisters, and starts working to get in good with the other lords loyal to Winterfell.
  7. Somehow, Bran tells Arya that Sansa is legit, tells Sansa all the dirt on Littlefinger, and Sansa and Arya hug it out.
  8. Cut to court room; Littlefinger dead.

The problem is the show jumps from #5 to #8.  Everything in between is conjecture on my part.  Who knows if this is what they intended, much less what will really play out in the books.

 

Wrong Dragon

Spoiler Alert: massive Game of Thrones spoilers ahead.

They killed the wrong dragon.

Here’s the deal.  As we’ve gotten farther and farther into Game of Thrones this season its clear to me that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are just making this stuff up as they go along, and as a result, the show is drifting farther and farther away from what made it great in the first place.  The last episode, Beyond the Wall is a clear example of this.

First, don’t get me wrong, I know that the show is ahead of the books and there’s zero chance the books will ever catch up.  And I could accept this, comforted by the fact that the HBO writers were still working off of George’s outlines and under his guidance.

For instance, at the end of The Door, in the interviews they do with the writers, they referenced a meeting with George where he told them about Hodor’s final stand.  This was a good thing.  It told me that, even though the show was ahead of the books, it was grounded in the same canon and stewardship.

Fast forward to Beyond the Wall.

In the post-show interview, we have Benioff and Weiss explaining how they had to devise a way for Jon and his crew to survive, surrounded by an army of the walking dead, which led to the writers concocting the island in the middle of a frozen lake.

So now we know.  We know that the writers are working from the thinnest of plot outlines, to the point that they’re constructing entire scenes and situations completely on their own, and the show and story are suffering as a result.

Take Thoros for instance.  Mauled by a bear, on the brink of death, Beric touches him with his flaming sword, and Thoros walks another 3 miles in the snow just to die of exposure.

Contrast that to Hodor and the end of The Door where Hodor’s final stand is a crash of emotions; sadness, loss, pride, anger, all intensified by the simultaneous revelation of how he became Hodor in the first place.

It felt like something.  Thoros just dies on the ground.  What a wasted opportunity.

The same goes for Benjen.  “Here, Jon, take my horse. I’ll swing my flaming ball a few times and go down without a fight.”.  Seriously?  We haven’t seen this guy in ages and he just goes out with a whimper?

Which brings me to Viserion.  As New Rockstars explains in their ep 7 breakdown, in the books Viserion is characterized as the most loving and attached of the three dragons; the “baby” if you will. In the show we barely see him, so the loss just feels shallow and like the writers are merely the “ok, we gave the Night King a dragon” box.

I remember when I first started watching Game of Thrones it was so exciting because no one was safe; anyone could be killed at a moment’s notice.  Now that suspense is gone.  If they really wanted to do something right, they should have killed Drogon.

Nobody would have seen that coming.  It would have dealt a real blow to Daeny and given the Night King a real edge.  Not only would he have a dragon, he’d have the biggest one, and the one Daeny was closest to.  It would have been a great, “oh, shit, I did not see that coming!” moment, like the ones that put the show on the map in the first place.

But nope, instead we get more shallow moments as the show continues its slide into mediocrity.

If the show wants to get back on track, they need to put the fear back in the viewer’s mind.  Give us back the unexpected.  Jamie losing a hand, Ed losing his head.  Give us something that makes us think we can’t figure it all out in the first five minutes.