Saturday Morning Brain Drain [11/9/21]

A place to let it all out.

Image via ScreenRants

What I watched:  We are still watching the gazillion Inspector Lewis episodes, interspersing them with the last two seasons of the Good Witch. They are stringing along a rival town mystery, and I am rather annoyed by the saccharine nature of the Cassie, the lead character – it was tolerable before, but now it just makes me roll my eyes. I would be unable to help myself and would turn all evil witch in protest if I had the misfortune to know her IRL. And we finished the last season of the delightful Frankie Drake series. They just ended it, with cliffhangers, then poof – off the air cancelled (grrr) damn you, CBC – sheesh, Canadians.

Here are a few trailers:

What I read: Last week I raved about the Magic and the Shinigami Detective series by Honor Raconteur (loved the series, sucked down all six books in record time and ended up with a bookover from staying up too late reading). This week I started on another series by this author, The Familiar and the Mage Series which I am not in love with. It is a bit too young adult for my taste, the characters a bit too trope without unique development. I am only on book two of four, so it may improve…

I also read Wyrde and Wild (House of Werth Book 3) by Charlotte E. English, and it was as delightful, snarky, and amoral as the previous two books in the series. This time it starts with a woman’s corpse inexplicably appearing in the parlor, where the greatest concern is the blood ruining the rug. I thought for sure I’d mentioned this series, but can’t find it on any recent Brain Drain, so apologies if I am repeating myself. The Werths are Wyrdes, magically, horrifically, gifted or mutated. Most lack a moral compass, many resurrect after death (whether spontaneously or via the family necromancer), some are severed heads, some viscous werebeasts, etc., etc. Some of the fun of reading this series is the juxtaposition of Regency manners and societal norms practiced by the amoral, beastly, horrific, or magical.  

Finally, I read Arrow in the Dark (A King’s Watch Story Book 7) by Lucy Campbell, the writing partner of Mark Hayden. These are shorter “from the world of” books. They are acceptable, but not quite the catnip of the actual King’s Watch series I previously discussed.

What I listened to this week: My Spotify algorithm for the Monday Discover Weekly playlist was pretty good this week. Here are a few of the suggestions:

Ten Fé – Isn’t Ever A Day (which I like but feels a tad derivative of the next song, by Swim Deep); Swim Deep – King City; Degiheugi – More Than Abstract Hip-Hop (how is this song 8 years old but new to me); and Groove Armada – Tripwire (feat. Nick Littlemore).

So, darling DeadSplinterites, what’s up with you? What have you watched, read, or listened to? Did you (gasp) have any actual fun? What is going on in your world? Please check in, tell us how you are, and share what you are up to!

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About Elliecoo 518 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.

44 Comments

  1. Additional comment: The Good Witch is tailor-made for drinking games. In the first few seasons, the good witch constantly gave away her store merchandise, to the point that we were shocked when someone paid for an item. So free stuff? Everybody drink. This season, it is the fairly constant barrage of trite “meant to be kind but are really judgmental” sayings that she spouts. If  everybody drank for each of those, everybody would be blotto by the end of show.

  2. CBC does stupid shit all the time because it is the CBC. The bastion of nepotism and ineptitude as Canadian Culture.  Not that the private networks are any better.
    A lot of folks were upset that Kim’s Convenience was cancelled because the creators were busy on other projects.  More so that CBC approved the sole spinoff involving the ONE white main character rather the non white characters and that there was only one Asian writer in the whole series (the series creator) without bringing on any others.
     
     

    • The whole Kim’s Convenience saga was disappointing. Especially because, watching the final season, it was clear that it wasn’t their best work. Hearing the behind-the-scenes frustrations of the cast helped support what we saw on screen.  They had no idea what they were doing with Janet’s sexuality and they just dropped it.  I loved that show in its first several seasons, but when you compare it to something like Reservation Dogs–which has an all-Native American/Indigenous/First Nations cast and writers room, and mostly-Native American/Indigenous/First Nations production team and crew–it’s apparent the difference that makes in your finished work. When you write with authenticity and your core audience in mind, it shows. And guess what? People outside that inner circle will catch onto that and like it, too. CBC: you don’t need to reduce diversity to optics and just make shows for white audiences. White people will also watch programs that don’t feature white people. 
      Also: nothing against Shannon, but I don’t think her character can anchor a show. They could have done any number of other things, like spun Janet off into postgraduate studies a’la A Different World, or just shown her struggling for post-Uni meaning with her crew. Or something centered around the church community and their messy in-fighting and politics, or Jung finally taking a new business step, or even more focus on the Handy workplace dynamics. 

  3. I’ve watched a few episodes of The Chef Show on Netflix where Jon Favreau and chef Roy Choi go around to kitchens of different restaurants and make stuff with chefs.
     
    It’s fairly unscripted for a cooking show, which is good and bad. They can get kind of unfocused and not have anything new to say, and it has the stereotype of these shows where you can never, ever not think something they taste is the best thing ever. 
     
    But it is also loaded with interesting asides about the realities of restaurant cooking and what’s involved in the real life work in a kitchen, and the light touch in editing and production makes it feel less gauzey and programmed than a lot of shows.
     
    I don’t know if I’ll watch them all, at least not in a row, but may keep dipping in from time to time

    • There is on episode of The Chef Show in which they cook up beignets using old mix from Cafe du Monde. They look at each other when they realize the mix has gone stale and basically say “Oh, that’s not so good.” I’ve only watched episodes over someone’s shoulder, but my feeling is it doesn’t need Favreau. Roy Choi is interesting an famous enough to not necessitate the bumbling white guy navigating “flavourful” cuisine. Feels like a colonial trope and I’m over it.

  4. The Good Witch is sweet and saccharine and frankly I love it. Sometimes you just need a little bit of people who are nice to each other and low stakes drama. 
    I’ve been watching Never Have I Ever. It’s cringey  sometimes because it makes your feel all the teenage girl feels. But cute and funny with a diverse cast and a hot dad. 

  5. Watched:  The Courier, which is a movie based on true events starring Benedict Cumberbun (as Mrs. Butcher likes to call him).  The basic story is about a British businessman who gets involved in some Cold War spy shenanigans during the Cuban Missle Crisis.  It’s pretty good.

    Read:  The Doomed Mouse Utopia That Inspired the “Rats of NIMH.”  I read this article because I loved that book as a kid.  The story is pretty interesting and also still relevant.

    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-doomed-mouse-utopia-that-inspired-the-rats-of-nimh?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    Listened:  I’ve been listening to a fair amount of Melody Gardot this week.

     

  6. I watched Kate (Netflix). Set in Osaka, Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as an assassin with 24hrs left to live. Obviously she chooses to use what little time she has left to enact bloody revenge on the Yakuza clan who poisoned her. Some people are boycotting the movie because it promotes violence against Asians by a white person. I don’t have the time or energy to debate that. What I do have energy to talk about is the scandalous gossip I read about her! Did you know that she started in Fargo with Ewen McGregor and they fell in love and they both bailed on their respective marriages to be together and they just had a secret baby this June!?! I’m scandalized!
     
     
    I also watched Pig starring Nicolas Cage. It was not what I thought it was going to be which was John Wick set in rural Portland with a pig instead of a dog. I won’t say more than I really enjoyed it.

    • They definitely got together whilst Fargo was filming. I watched a Hollywood Reporter Roundtable with Ewan, and he went on about how Winstead’s character was so out of his character’s [Emmett?] league. It was somewhat clear he was gushing over her as he was saying that. 
      And then, infamously, when he won the Golden Globe for the dual role, he thanked the mother of his children [Eve Mavrakis, now his ex-wife] and his co-star Winstead. But some press outlet had a field day and went with the headline “Ewan McGregor Thanks Wife and Girlfriend at Golden Globes” and the cannibalistic write-around click-baity entertainment news culture just cut + paste it ’round the net. Note: he never said “I thank my wife and my girlfriend.”  in so many words. 

  7. I hate when a show is canceled before resolving the cliffhangers!

    I watched a lot of the US Open. I’m not a big sprots person but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

    I read Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. It’s the story of a young boy in 1980s Scotland grappling with poverty, sexual identity, a deadbeat father, and the alcoholism of his beloved mother. It sounds depressing, and a lot of it is sad. But there are also moments of tenderness, beauty, and levity. I highly recommend it.

  8. Canceled my Amazon Prime account last month, and have just been burning the free credits on Kanopy from my public library accounts before I start up netflix.  So far I’ve watched a bunch of things that were moderately amusing, but then I passed out half way through, and just didn’t have enough interest to finish them.  A couple nights ago, I watched Assassination Nation, which I actually liked, and was not at all what I expected it to be (I’m not even sure what I was expecting? highschool kids with guns?), and I really want to see what other people thought of it.
    Also watched Spring Breakers (ok…), and The Blackcoat’s Daughter (pretty good)
    I might see if there is anything on Hoopla I feel like watching, otherwise I’ll probably be activating Netflix in the next week or two.  I can’t even remember what’s on there that I need to catch up on.  I still need to see the last Season of The Good Place, I think there is another season of The Umbrella Academy, and I’ll probably give The Witcher a try.  Gunpowder Milkshake and The Old Guard looked promising from the trailers.  Not sure what else, but am open to suggestions.
    Reading: recently started Annalee Newitz’s Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age, and it’s pretty interesting so far.  recently finished Ben Aaronovitch’s Foxglove Summer, which I liked, and have the next one waiting…

    • @lochaber I have The October Man waiting for me on Hoopla, but that one’s only available as an audio book. It’s listed as book 7.5, between Lies Sleeping and False Value. 
       
      I hope you like Newitz’s book! I really enjoyed it. 

      • @honeysmacks  I think even pre-pandemic, you read much more at a much faster pace than I did, but since I’ve exchanged my public transit commute for a bicycle commute, my reading time has probably been thirded or even quartered, so it will be a while before I have to worry about that.  Maybe I can try and find an audiobook version to listen to while bicycle commuting, and there are a few other authors that I like that have novellas and such that are slightly harder to track down in print format.
        Ages ago, I remember asking for some podcast recs, had trouble figuring out how to download them and transfer them to my phone (I’m old, and starting to hate tech, and I really, really, don’t want to download anything directly to my phone, let alone an “app”…), and just generally had a not terribly fun time of things.  And then, one of them popped up randomly on my ride home from work last week, and carried over into the following ride into work, and it was pretty interesting.
        I should probably see about putting the podcasts in a separate folder, and using that for my commute, but that will take some additional fussing that I don’t think I’m ready for yet…
        Have you read any Seanan McGuire?  more specifically, her October Daye series?  it’s one of my favorites, and I feel like it has a lot of similarities with other really well liked urban fantasy series.

    • @lochaber I plan on watching Assassination Nation tonight (it got bumped by Kate last night). Some Netflix shows that I recommend in random order: Altered Carbon, Dark, 3%, Peaky Blinders, Lupin, Mind Hunters…that’s it for now.

      • @hammerzeitgeist  I’d really like to hear your thoughts on it afterwards. 
        Some of those shows sound familiar, so I’ve either gotten recs from other people about them, or was thinking of watching them already.  I think I was hesitant on Altered Carbon because “I should read the book first”, but considering I can’t keep up with just my favorite authors, let alone adding new ones to the back log, I should probably just go ahead and watch it…  But thanks fro the recs, much appreciated

        • @lochaber that movie was intense. Teen me would probably watch it over and over again. I can totally see it having cult following status. As far as White Feminism goes, it showcases a lot of hot topics while totally failing to address race. I’m also weary because it is written and directed by a man. He created the show Euphoria on HBO. It feels gross that his voice about growing up female in America continues to be amplified over actual women writers and directors. It’s especially hypocritical when the film is all about female oppression/empowerment. While my husband had heard all about my intersectional feminist perspective on everything, this movie made him hyper aware of what girls and women have to deal with. So I guess it is doing its part to help men become more empathetic to our cause while also titillating them with violence and gore.

          • @hammerzeitgeist
            that seems reasonable.
            I guess most of the… criticisms? of it I ran across seemed to be coming from people mad about the content warnings in the beginning?
            Or just comparing it to other teen violence movies that I don’t think were all that similar?
            I guess one of the things that struck me as notable was that I didn’t see the stereotypical mean, clique-ish, “catty” type conflicts/interactions twixt the main characters, where as I feel that was a pretty common thing in Heathers and Mean Girls (I may be wrong, I haven’t seen Heathers in nearly 30 years, and Mean Girls in… 15?), two other films I’ve seen people comparing it too.
            Another thing that stood out to me, was that despite nearly lynching Bex, I don’t think the other characters misgendered her.  I had recently watched a pretty bad horror-movie, that tried to feature racism as a motivating factor for the villains, but it just seemed like an excuse for the writer/director to get to throw around slurs.  So I guess I appreciated there not being an excessive use of slurs and misgendering in situations where that might be deemed acceptable.
            Also, I felt it was almost as much of a generational or power divide than it was a gender divide?  I don’t know, but pretty much all the sympathetic characters were young (although there was no shortage of young antagonists…), while I think it was pretty clear there were also plenty of women in the lynch mob.
            I think my coworkers were talking about Euphoria recently and recommending it, so I’ll try to keep the things you mentioned in mind.
            Thanks for sharing your take on it, there’s clearly some issues I didn’t pick up on, and I’ll try to keep them in mind.

            • Oh I totally agree that there need not be any slurs used to convey racism. I meant more that they didn’t address how the Black girl’s life experiences are different than her friends. She didn’t get her own mini feature other than making out with a guy.
               
              It was refreshing that they didn’t misgender Bex. And they did give her her own story line.

  9. i watched the cars that ate paris…it was terrible..i enjoyed it
    heres the whole thing

    other than that ive been watching a lot of the armchair historian on youtube….seems i enjoy watching animated history as a timekiller

    other than that ive really not been watching much…not listened to much either… ive been extremely efficient at procrastinating

  10. Thanks, Elliecoo! I just now got the first 2 House of Werth books and I’m looking forward to reading them!
     
    Watching – Not much. Other-Husband has been playing Red Dead Redemption 2 incessantly, and Husband is obsessed with GTA5, soooo… I basically can’t get near either TV! I sometimes watch Disney movies on my phone while I’m doing stuff, but that’s about it. 
     
    Reading – the second book of Charlaine Harris’ Gunnie Rose series, A Longer Fall, which was really good. I have the 3rd book on hold… should have it soon. 
    The Mermaid Next Door and Gentlemen Prefer Mermaids by H.P. Mallory and J. R. Rain were alright. Not great literature, but fun to pass an evening with.  I think (hope) there will be more to this series, since they kind of left it hanging.
    Midnight Confessions by Robyn Carr, part of the Virgin River series. It’s a short story, around 100 pages, and it was alright. Cute, had a few funny moments, a little sexy… a nice little bite-sized read.
    Happy Valley: The Story of the English in Kenya by Nicholas Best was really interesting, if a bit too sympathetic to the colonists. I’ve read several books about Kenya recently, and I never knew very much about it before, so that’s been cool, learning new things. 
    Lastly, I’ve started a re-read of an old series by Mercedes Lackey, The Five Hundred Kingdoms series. I read The Fairy Godmother awhile back, and read One Good Knight yesterday. These are basically retellings of familiar fairy tales, which is a genre that I love. I’m currently reading the 3rd one of that series, Fortune’s Fool. 

  11. I’m currently watching “Upload” on Prime. There is one season at present, and I don’t know how it ends yet, but holy shit. It’s set relatively in the now (like, maybe 10 yrs in the future) but technology is much advanced. More integrated internet stuff and everything is spon con (thing funerals by L’Oreal). When you die, you have the option of dying old school or being uploaded into a digital consciousness where your avatar roams around and interacts with other dead in a digital heaven. But someone on the ground has to fund it (data ain’t free in the afterlife) or you could find yourself trying to get coffee and get a pop up for an “in app purchase.” Basically , it sounds like my worst fucking nightmare and I’d rather be dead-dead.

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