Saturday Morning Brain Drain [11/18/23]

Image via WTTW

What I Watched: Season three of Van der Valk, the detective set in Amsterdam, with yet another policeman living on a houseboat. It is available in the US on PBS Masterpiece. Here are the three-show synopses:

The new series focuses on three new homicides. In the first episode, titled ‘Freedom in Amsterdam’, the team are drawn into an investigation following the shooting of an idealistic Freerunning champion. The case leads the team into the “murky world of drug smuggling” and also sees Van der Valk thrown unexpectedly back into contact with his ex-girlfriend, Lena.

The second episode, titled ‘Redemption in Amsterdam’, sees the team explore their first-ever cold case after the murder of a museum employee links back to an investigation Van der Valk worked on in his early career.

The final episode, titled ‘Magic in Amsterdam’, will see the team “taken to the edge of reality following the death of a participant in a magical ritual invoking a demon”. The case forces Lucienne to confront “painful memories” before unearthing “a deep-seated tale of medical negligence and personal revenge”. Will Van der Valk get his happy ever after with Lena?

Season 3 Trailer

What I Read: The vampire series by Christine Feehan, her 37th Carpathian Novel, Dark Memories. Here is the blurb from her website:

Petru Cioban is one of the oldest Carpathians in existence, and he has spent all that time without the soothing presence of his lifemate. For two thousand years he has waited for this woman to be reborn, only to find her in the sights of a monster he has fought before – a vampire risen again to finish a battle started centuries ago.

One if the things I like best about this series is the author-created language, including a beautiful marriage/mating ceremony. You can see the ritual words and listen to them on her website.

What I Listened To: Warhaus – Bang Bang; Dekker – I Won’t; and Ruby Haunt – Between Heavens.

Thank you for playing Brain Drain! How are you, dearest ones? Darling DeadSplinterites, what’s going on? Please do share with us!

About Elliecoo 474 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. I watched The Dads on Netflix. It’s a very short (10 minute) documentary about some dads of trans kids who get together for a fishing trip. I’m semi-related to one of the dads.

    I’d definitely recommend it.

    • Humanizing young people whom the right dehumanizes . . .

  2. I’m still having trouble concentrating. I’ve been reading Richard Powers’ The Overstory for two weeks. Each chapter, concerning our relationship  and responsibility to nature and each other, gives me a lot to think about. I like his writing, the stories are compelling but with everything going on in the world and the way it connects with what he has to say I find myself not wanting to read it. *sigh*.

    I feel the same way about everything I try to watch on TV too. I try an episode of a show and I either don’t like it or it’s too dark for my current mood. I need recs for something sweet and charming. Something like Abbot Elementary, Reservation Dogs, Detectorists.

    • If you have Netflix, Derry Girls is great. Midnight Diner and the followup Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories is too, if you’re OK with subtitles. On HBO Max Joe Pera Talks With You is worth watching once you get the vibe.

      • I’ve seen Derry Girls but I’ll check out the others. I’m fine with subtitles. Thanks

        • …it’s only a one shot since it’s a feature length documentary I suppose…not an ongoing show

          …but if you can find a copy of être et avoir

          …I don’t remember there being anything in that to feel bad about?

          • I’ll look for it, thanks.

    • Hannibal, I am grateful for my ridiculous work responsibilities right now, as they keep focused day-to-day. The world is heartbreaking, people are awful. I’ll steal a page from SplinterRIP, this poem from 1784:

      Man’s Inhumanity to Man

      Many and sharp the numerous ills
      Inwoven with our frame;
      More pointed still, we make ourselves
      Regret, remorse and shame;
      And man, whose heaven-erected face
      The smiles of love adorn,
      Man’s inhumanity to man,
      Makes countless thousands mourn.

      • The more things change they more they stay the same. At least I have DeadSplinter. 🙂

    • I feel the same way Hannibal. I use my free time to bear witness to the ongoing Palestinian genocide. I try to balance out my despair by playing Zelda TotK. I avoid most monsters while exploring the land. I focus on side quests like finding all the Koroks and shrine puzzles.

      Sorry I don’t have any new cozy shows to recommend.

      • I’m going to try the Quiz Show movie you mentioned. Because I know you’re feeling the same way.

  3. I don’t know if her writing changed, but I stopped reading Feehan like 15 years ago because her relationship dynamic was grooming and rapey to me. OMG he’s so aggressive and sexual and if you don’t accept he’s your mate and do all the sexy times, well he’s going to turn into a monster! And even if you don’t think you were looking for a relationship, well suddenly your body is super attracted to him because he’s your mate now. P.s. he’s super rich and has all the power dynamic and so many of the female protagonists were some variation of tiny and poor.

    I should clarify – those are tropes that I saw in a fuckton of paranormal romance so this isn’t just a criticism of her. I held out reading her books longer than some other authors because hers were better (plot, writing style, etc) than many others I had read in the genre.

    • I hear that. Her books haven’t changed.

      I disassociate my personal take on feminine empowerment and sexuality from that of fantasy trope authors . . . and respect your choice to avoid them. On a related note, I am annoyed by author slut-shaming (still a thing, the woman who owns her sexuality as a freedom always dies first).

      I think that your opinion could start a deeper, valuable discussion; unfortunately I can’t engage this Saturday morning due to some real-life responsibilities. Might you be willing to make this a NOT topic?

      • Yeah definitely could do that at some point, if that is a topic of interest. Could just be a tropes-we-don’t-like post too if it is better to be a bit less heavy on the topic.

  4. I watched season 2 of Our Flag Means Death and Loki this week and I have a lot of feelings about both of them. Fuck me both were good. All sorts of feelings.

    Main complaint I have is writers for Loki season 2 really half-assed it with Sylvie’s character. I won’t go into any spoilers since the season finale was just a few days back, but really felt like they just decided not to do much of anything with her character development. But overall, fuck yeah still I think the best MCU Disney show.

    • I really liked Our Flag Means Death too. I want more shows like this. Shows with heart.

      • Also shows with normal looking people doing cool shit and living lives and finding love! I loved that the cast is just people who I could see on the street (costumes notwithstanding).

    • …it’s a tenuous theory…but based on the way they ended loki (which seemed kind of deft in a few on-&-off screen ways) there’s a possibility they could just be “saving” sylvie…not to get spoilery but there’s ways they could take her beyond the show…so if that goes that way I’d maybe give them a sort-of pass for leaving her confined to a background character this go around

      …which isn’t to say I don’t agree…I do…she’s awesome & they did next to nothing with her

  5. Watching lots of NBA.

    Listening to the EZ Band

    Friend’s winery is having our yearly wine & cheese party then we are going to try out the sushi restaurant of one of the wine club members we met last week.

    • one more…

    • Having a friend with their own sushi restaurant is optimal!

    • …for a moment I misread the font & almost expected a paul weller cover?

  6. …so…aside from finally finishing up loki…I saw a couple of rough…but arguably diamonds-in-the-rough…movie efforts that feel like they deserve a mention

    […full disclosure…I haven’t watched the trailers…so can’t promise they don’t blow anything that would be better if you’d gone in cold…which is an approach I’d advocate for both?]

    …the first was…well…very french, to be honest…but I think that’s only part of why some bits seem…forced might be a word for it…or just don’t really follow naturally from what preceded them…but it’s an adaptation of french comic books…which were called “la grande odalisque” (like the painting) & (iirc) “olympia” for the sequel…so it could have more to do with that transition…hard to say…either way even if the relationship(s) between the leads are distinctly french…or possibly because of that aspect…I enjoyed it a lot…it’s…a heist movie I suppose…but only nominally…it’s really about the interaction between the women who play the main roles…it’s called “voleuses”…or “wingwomen”…which is largely a play on words although a couple do pop on wingsuits for one sequence early on

    …the other…which coincidentally also revolves around a set of female badass types…is called the 355

    • I’d watch 355 on the strength of the awesome red shag haircut!

  7. We’re deep into Season 2 of Irvine Welsh’s show Crime.   It’s a well-done show, and season 2 is even a little better than one.  As always, the Scottish accents are an absolute delight.

    • Scottish accents are indeed a delight!

      • …some are more readily intelligible than others, though…so…since this one might amuse @farscythe…& it comes from a youtube channel that might amuse you…I picked this as my rab c nesbitt example?

        • @splinterrip add in a couple angry fighty people….and you basically have the reason why amsterdam started a campaign against british tourists…

          • …can’t say as I blame ’em, neither

            …I recall being there once & wishing I could send the people I was with home early…was much nicer when I’d been there without them

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