Saturday Morning Brain Drain [1/1/22]

A place to let it all out.

Image via Boston Magazine

Happy New Year, Dearest Deadspliterites!

I am thrilled to be able to spend another year with you.

What I watched:  Ray DonovanI am late to the party, as it is seven seasons in with a wrap-up movie in lieu of a season eight, due to drop January 14th. It is about a Hollywood “fixer” for the rich and famous, his family, and his clients.

Here is the blurb, “Set in the sprawling mecca of the rich and famous, Ray Donovan does the dirty work for LA’s top power players. The one-hour series stars Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award nominee Liev Schreiber in his first lead television role as the go-to guy who makes the problems of the city’s celebrities, superstar athletes, and business moguls disappear. This powerful drama unfolds when his father, played by Oscar® winner Jon Voight, is unexpectedly released from prison, setting off a chain of events that shakes the Donovan family to its core.

It is hard, violent, and full of damaged people who make cruel and bad choices. It is difficult to really like any of the characters – even his children become unlikable after a while. (Boston Magazine agrees with me; they give the best show summary, “This is what happens when Southie goes Cali”. That said, it is excellent television viewing.

Season One Clip:

Show-ending Movie Clip:

What I read:

The final book in Jenn Stark’s very good series about Sara Wilde and the tarot-based magical ruling council,The Shattered Tower (Wilde Justice Book 8). I’ve mentioned her work before; she calls herself the “Woo Sherpa”.

I reread the first six books in Emma Jameson’s Lord and Lady Hetheridge Mystery Series, because it had been a long time between books; the first book was published in 2011. The entire series is a delight. It juxtaposes age (he is 30 years her senior and class (he is a Lord; she is from impoverished grifters) but unites the lead characters in moral certainty and mutual respect. The latest book is Untrue Blue (Lord and Lady Hetheridge Mystery Series Book 7) and it moves all the characters along within the framework of New Scotland Yard, murder, and mystery.

What I listened to this week: Eels – We Are Alright Again; psykhi – White Picket Fence; and Tel Aviv – Little Element.

So, dashing and debonair DeadSplinterites, what is up with you? What have you watched, read, or listened to? Please check in, tell us how you are, and share what you are up to!

About Elliecoo 505 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. Watched:  Black Widow.  It was a decent Marvel film.  That’s about all there is to say about it.

    Read:  The Doomed Mouse Utopia That Inspired the “Rats of NIMH.”  I read the article mostly because I loved the book as a kid (the movie was nowhere nearly as good, which it seems is true even for children’s stories).  It was a pretty interesting read about how rat behavior really goes haywire when all of their needs are covered.

    Listened:  Back on track through the best engineered albums of all time with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  This was the first of their really experimental albums.  After they’d stopped touring a few years later they realized they could spend a LOT more time in the studio coming up with crazy shit to put on tape.  One thing to keep in mind about this period is that there was no such thing as synchronization for tape machines–and the most advanced recording machines back then were four track recorders.  So, when they needed to put certain elements together (such as the orchestra recording with the band on A Day In The Life), George Martin would hold the heel of his hand down on the take-up reel of one of the machines to try and keep them in time with each other.  If you listen closely to A Day In The Life, you’ll hear where the orchestra gets ahead of the band, and then where Martin puts more pressure on the take-up reel of the orchestra machine to get it back in time.


      • “everyone want[ed] to hear the diagnosis, no one want[ed] to hear the cure.”

        That’s the most interesting thing to me. I remember a high school teacher who cited a version of this experiment and insisted high population density = misery, and I remember being a good skeptical kid who wondered how there could be luxury high rises with happy people and depopulated neighborhoods with awful crime. The teacher just kind of handwaved it away.

        It can be awfully appealing to sink into a simple algorithm for doom rather than start asking questions about what else might be at play.

    • Black Widow was decent but really really needed to have been made and released in theaters before Infinity War. It makes her choices more interesting. Also all her little friends are exactly the kind of folks you call when you need to fight a big battle against space invaders so like watching Black Widow I was huh the wizard people should have dropped y’all in the final battle against Thanos too and then there wouldn’t have needed to have been that hackneyed *girl power* laydeez assemble scene.

  2. I watched Free Guy, which was pretty funny light stuff. Ryan Reynolds is a minor character in an online video chatacter who unexpectedly becomes a major character. Taika Waititi is the skeezy tech bro boss, and the actress who plays Killing Eve and the guy who plays Steve from Stranger Things are costars. Keep expectations low, for sure.

    • …I enjoyed free guy…& also boss level…which despite the title isn’t actually set in a video game but sort of might as well be in a lot of ways?

      …also watched “don’t look up”…which was pretty much exactly what I expected… definitely could have been better but I think a fair bit of the criticism I’d come across before seeing it was moaning about the wrong stuff…it missed the opportunity to make some ancillary points…but I feel like critiques of nuance in a movie that’s explicitly about a catastrophe of astronomical proportions might be a fool’s errand?

  3. i watched two movies over the last week…and i suspect neither will be very popular


    been forever since ive seen demi moore in anything feels like…i quite liked it tho its all pretty predictable…you probably need to be a special breed of headcase to think now is a great time to watch a movie with a main story point of being in lockdown forever coz of covid 23 tho

    and i watched

    run hide fight

    which is a solid action flick with a strong female lead

    but..well…its nothing more than that…just an action flick set in a school with no real message beyond good girl with gun saves the day…

    currently too hungover to listen to anything

  4. Found the next good show that we might all agree on: Station 11. It’s a follows a girl who survives a pandemic which wiped out most humans and caused civilization to collapse. She was taken in by an awesome stranger as shit hit the fan. Later on she joins a travelling symphony who put on plays. But it is so much more than that. There are flashback episodes, a mysterious possibly prophetic graphic novel, cults of children, pockets of communities with varying degrees of technology available to them, and a constant undercurrent of violence because humans gonna human. It is based on a book which it uses as springboard to tell the story of what comes next. My husband (who read the book) said last night “This is the best new show that I’ve seen in years. Why can’t they all be this good?” They haven’t released all the episodes yet, so hold off on (re)subscribing to HBO until they do. It is worth it.

  5. I read Coyote Doggirl a graphic novel by Lisa Hannawalt, one of the creators of Bojack Horseman. It was weird and sweet, I’d love to see it as an animated series. I also read the Stephen King Creepshow comic based on the George Romero movie. My daughter got me both for Christmas, good gifts.

    I started The Expanse based on the general DS recommendation and so far I really like it.

    @Elliecoo I hope all the Blacksmiths are feeling better today.

  6. I finished Squid Game (i usually like to be at least 6 months to a year behind every one else on stuff so I’m ahead on this one). I liked it. They’re talking about a season two but i don’t really know how they can other than “the same thing but MOAR!!”

    And now that we are slaves to the algorithm, Netflix immediately began recommending me other Korean shows. I finished The Raincoat Killer, a true crime serial killer miniseries. Interesting for showing the difference in Korean police procedure and culture. I also started The Silent Sea, a set-in-the-future show where we have to ration water, and they’ve sent a crew to the moon where they make unsettling discoveries (without giving anything away also i haven’t finished it).  But it’s really good.

    I’m also getting Instagram ads in Korean now. So that’s cool.

  7. I watched Don’t Look Up which I thought was great though the reality of it was very depressing.  The cast is first class and very dark comedy.  My doom & gloom daughter really didn’t like it for that reason alone.

    I read The Best of Me by David Sedaris.   It is a series of short stories and really funny.

    Listening to:


  8. Watched episodes 1-3 of Hawkeye last night.

    Honestly glad that after WandaVision I decided for MCU shows I need to wait until I watch several at a time to start them.

    Episode 1 was just really not my cup of tea. Had a very young-adult-lit-knockoff-Hunger Games heroine feel to it. OMG she’s just really good at everything, archery, gymnastics, something with a black belt, fencing, etc etc. She’s gonna uncover some secret evil plot and have to stop them, which of course she can because she’s some little wunderkind.

    Also didn’t realize her character is supposed to be 22 because she acts like someone who hasn’t graduated high school.

    Anyways, episodes 2 and 3 completely changed my mind because we got to see more of the other characters and I like seeing the heroes after the *big events* try to get on with their lives. Clint dealing with hearing loss from all the explosions he was near, for example, has been really interesting.

    How these characters aren’t dealing with things like blown-out knees and severe lower back issues, etc, cracks me up. But I’ll suspend disbelief for that. Like how in Black Widow there were fight scenes where I’m like wow the human body will not withstand that and you’re just human, but okayyyyy.

  9. I finished “Leave Only Footprints” by Conor Knighton. I liked the way he divided his travels, rather than just going through an alphabetical list of National Parks with a brief summary of each. Instead he tied some together with thematic links and tied it in with his own life as well. Recommended.

    I completed 26 books for year, which is a good year for me. I do the yearly reading challenge on Goodreads, and recommend it for folks who like to track what they’ve read. I do NOT recommend reading the Goodreads user reviews for books before deciding whether or not to read them. People bring all sorts of assumptions into their reading.

    @elliecoo, I too have been listening to eels. Dude’s variety is impressive.

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