Saturday Morning Brain Drain [13/3/21]

Image via BBCOne

What I watched: Still watching the Expanse. Took a break and watched six-episode season two (just out) of the Mallorca Files. It is a fun detective series with beautiful scenery. Very much akin to Death in Paradise in style. The byplay between the stuffy female lead from the UK and the bro from Germany makes for a witty bit of banter.

What I read: Origins, Book 32 in Alexie Aaron’s Haunted series. I’ve really enjoyed watching the author’s growth, the smoothing of her staccato style, and the intricate and sometimes lovely blending of Heaven, Hell, angels, demons, otherworldly creatures, ghost hunters, bird men, and friends and family. You should start at the beginning if this a new series to you; otherwise, Origins is one of her best so far, and she does not fall prey to the cut and paste laziness sometimes found in many-book series.

The final book in the Archy McNally series, which was previously discussed here.

Solving for Pie, Murder and Marriage, by Penny Reid. I really like Penny Reid, she writes the Knitting in the City series, which spun off to the Winston Brothers series, which now has begat the Solving for Pie mysteries series. Read the Winston Brothers first, or you may be a little lost? @BryanLSplinter, I think that your wife would like these books. Great, fun use of language, subtle, sly wording, etc.

What I listened to this week: (warning, the first song is makes me dance at my desk) Damien Jurado, Florence-Jean (Pinarello remix); Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird, Soothsayer; Costello Avenue, TRAILS; and Andre Bernier, Condo:

So, dearest DeadSplinterites, everybody all right?   What have you watched, read, or listened to? Any fun plans through which I can live vicariously? Here in PA, the vaccine is still in Lord of the Flies access mode, so I suspect that I will be quarantined until June, sigh. Please do let us know what is up with you!

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


  1. I’ve been watching a mix of Lupin and Why Women Kill. Lupin is like an episodic version of Oceans 11 tied together by an avenge my family’s honor plot set in Paris, if Danny Ocean only had one con friend. Lupin is sexy and charming but only when not dubbed. Why Women Kill is so much fun. It follows the lives of three couples who live in the same mansion but during different eras (50’s, 80’s, 2019). Like Big Little Lies, the murderers and victims are kept a secret until the end (don’t quote me on that, I’m only halfway through). Lucy Liu is fantastically gaudy with her over the top 80’s fashion, home decor, and personality. I can’t get enough! The modern day thruple is interesting for its relationship dynamics. The 50’s era story of a demure innocent housewife turned conniving saboteur is my least favorite of the three.

      • @MatthewCrawley, right? Me too, regarding junk suggestions.  Although my Spotify algorithm finally hit a good spot. I was perturbed enough to email member services and ask that they alter it. An actual human called back…and viola!

      • …it’s not just that it suggests garbage to me…it’s that it keeps suggesting the same recycled couple of dozen mostly-garbage suggestions on reel after reel of supposedly different category headings

        …sort of adding insult to injury, really

        …particularly since beyond a seemingly thin veneer of decent content the quality of the library drops off a cliff & before you know it the options are into sub-youtube territory

        …honestly I’ve yet to find a streaming service with a UI that doesn’t frequently make me regret firing the thing up in the first place?

        • @SplinterRIP we dropped straight cable maybe two years ago. I need bangin’ internet for work, the only available provider works it’s monopoly pricing hard, needed to save money, blah, blah, blah. We get britbox and prime, netflix via my son (one if his four allowed users). We also have some odd stuff, maybe hulu? Any way, the content is better than general TV. I only miss HGTV. But still, there is a whole bunch of garbage out there…

          • …that comment (the first part anyway) was about prime video

            …although netflix’s tendency (at least on my tv) to autoplay trailers from the browsing screen the second I stop scrolling & to start playing the actual movie/show if I click through to read the blurb is its own kind of could-you-maybe-just-knock-it-off-&-let-me-hear-myself-think-for-a-goddamn-minute annoyance?

            …those two & disney+ are currently the only ones I have access to…so I should probably stop sounding like I’m in a position to generalize about “all” streaming services…but I haven’t heard of one yet that has an interface that gets much praise?

      • We create different Users for each of our streaming apps. For example on Netflix we have four users: Horror, Detective, RomCom, Misc. We only watch scary movies via our Horror user, etc. In theory, it helps the apps make more accurate recommendations.

  2. I saw Behind Her Eyes on Netflix. It starts out as a moody psychological mystery and by the end goes into a crazy twist, then an even crazier one, then goes full coocoo for Cocoapuffs.
    I think I could have forgiven a lot of it, but by the end I was just sort of shaking my head.

    • @blue dogcollar
      thanks for this public service. A bad review may be even more important than a good review, as I suspect that none of us have much time to waste on bad TV.

      • It does a great job of drawing you in, the acting is fun and pacing is really great. In a lot of ways it’s really well put together. But that ending…. I can’t blame anyone who enjoys the ride so much they suspend disbelief, but it all just wore too thin for me.

  3. Watched:  I finished Fargo so started on The Expanse.  It’s…OK so far, but I’m only about four episodes in, so I’m trusting that it gets better.  Do not fail me, Deadsplinter commentariat.

    Read:  Judgmental Maps by Trent Gillaspie.  It’s not so much reading as it is laughing at this hilarious maps which were sent to Trent by people who lived in these various cities.  I’ve lived in some of these cities and can attest to their accuracy.

    Listened:  I’ve been listening to a lot of Joe Bonamassa lately.


  4. likewise still on the expanse but also on a break..season 5 to instead i watched 

    because i fancied some sillyness
    gave up on reading for the time being as as soon as i see my bed i fall into a coma….this is new…but im not complaining…remarkably well rested me…i could get used to it
    and..not actually listening to much of anything at mo…..keep getting distracted by the dodo and random acts of kindness

    • …kung pow…damn…I’d forgotten about that…iirc correctly the “trailer” proved so popular they actually managed to get support to make it but I’m not sure they really intended to when they first did the parody-trailer thing?

      …sort of like how iron sky wound up getting a crowd-funded sequel, I guess…speaking of which if you haven’t seen it iron sky may hold some sort of record for deadpanning a comedically-preposterous premise for a feature-length quantity of time…or, I guess, two?

  5. @LemmyKilmister I acquired a bottle of Old Forrester’s 86 proof bourbon and a bottle of Elijah Craig 94 proof small batch bourbon. On the Old Forrester’s currently, yum. Your prior recommendations is your good karma field the week. 

    • Glad you liked it.  I’m going write some more of those up soon.  I can get both the BSB and the 103 up here.  Tell me shy the 103 is preferred……..the regular is under $20.

      • @LemmyKilmister I think @SplinterRIP is more expert than I am. I have only had the BSB103 and it was a revelation in deliciousness. Stupid PA State Store now says the 103 is licensee only (bars and restaurants), so I got my special order in error. They can get the hoi polloi the 60 proof, I may need to settle. 

      • …I don’t know that the 103 is necessarily superior…I went into a branch of the heritage distilling company with a ticket for a free tasting I’d been given & an intention to leave with a bottle of some sort of rye

        …after tasting the BSB 103 I wound up taking that home instead…in the past I’ve found opting for cask-strength single-malt offerings to work out well…it lets you at water to taste rather than to hit a specific alcohol ratio & that sort of translates to the bottle working out “bigger” than it looks which offsets the price a little…but I didn’t find I added anything to the 103 so it’s entirely possible the regular one is better value…even if I’d probably still snap up a bottle of 103 if it was in front of me?

  6. Started rewatching Pushing Daisies – it’s just so enjoyable and then jumped over to The Head on HBOmax. Not sure how I feel about it – so if anyone else happens to watch it – I would love to know what you think. It’s about a murder, scientists and an Antarctic research station – not a documentary. Now, I’ve gone back to Pushing Daisies.
    Was going to work in the yard – but stupid me somehow got a face full of poison ivy(I thought I was being really careful) – so I haven’t been able to leave the house for a week. I think I pushed my hair out of my face with my gloves on without thinking – so now I look like a tiger has swiped me from my nose up to my hairline including a swollen eye. Coating myself with calamine and cortisone cream so I look like a mess. The fam is trying to be sympathetic but I can see the horror in their eyes every time they have to actually look at my face.   So, even though the weather is fantastic here – house spring cleaning it is!

    • @Lymond, I read a book with that premise re killer/Antarctica. I always feel like the inhospitable atmosphere is a main character in books set there. And, so sorry about the poison ivy, yikes! 

    • I love Pushing Daisies! I was so pissed that it got canned or suffered from shitty writing near the end…I think the writers strike happened around then.
      I will totally watch The Head. Have you guys seen Fortitude? Mysterious deaths in an Artic Norwegian town. Sexy Stanley Tucci makes an appearance as a British detective. I highly recommend it. The only downside is that guy who plays Dr. Frankenstein in Penny Dreadful is a sniveling loser scientist in this show. I loathe him.

  7. I watched the last episode of The Investigation, but I can’t talk about it yet. Also The Hour on Acorn, or rewatched actually, I forgot that Tom Burke was in season 2, with Peter Capaldi, so it was fun to finish watching and then switch over to The Musketeers on PBS to see Peter Capaldi and Tom Burke. The Musketeers is worth it just to see Peter Capaldi swirl around in his cardinal cape. 
    The Hour is brilliant, highly recommend.
    Still reading The Charterhouse of Parma, plus cookbooks, knitting books and seed catalogs.
    Listening to the birds outside my window and I drove this week, the cd that happened to be in the player was Bob Dylan,  Blood on the Tracks, the greatest fuck off album ever made.

  8. …so…I finally got around to watching wandavision this week…not easy to talk about without doing the spoiler thing, really…but…have mixed opinions about it, I think

    …most of the cast are great…the attention to detail &/or conceits used to sort of parody/emulate different eras of tv shows was clearly the product of some serious & concerted effort…& some fairly cool stuff does happen

    …but on the other hand some of the narrative arcs are…not strong…a lot of it ultimately comes off as yet more scene-setting for yet-to-be-released marvel stuff (which when it arrives will doubtless also spend a bunch of its time setting up the next thing rather than being much of a thing in its own right)…& at some point they started dropping little end-credit sequences in…which are easy to miss if you let the app automatically trip its way over to the next episode since there’s a long credit sequence before them & then more credits afterwards for stuff like subtitle translation or whatever

    …but it’s possible I’m biased since I’ve apparently read too many comics & was thus capable of also being annoyed about the way they handled a couple of characters?

    • I think you’re right — mostly good, a bit too much veering intlo setups for other things. I appreciate the amount of thought put into it, though, both in small details and the longer run of it. I think these things need more breathing room, for sure, with less entanglements with other characters and their pasts.

    • I enjoyed it but I’m not … comfortable with the ending. Hard to discuss without spoilers, but I’d have preferred the situation been the result of meddling or coercion, OR it needed to be resolved by getting you-know-who into psychiatric care. As it stands it seems like you-know-who got away with some really bad stuff without repercussions. 

  9. Checking in to say I’m good. Work is still…work. I don’t understand how we can still sell luxury vehicles when so many people are struggling to survive, but it’s a job and those are worth more than life itself or something. Sigh…
    Still don’t have the mental capacity to read. 
    Also still fighting with Apple Music. First-world problems of the highest order I am aware. But I am displeased at how it is either The Apple Way(tm) or I’m on my own and there is no middle where I can just move my music files around and it not duplicate playlists etc. If I didn’t have such a collection of those BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix sessions that I cannot acquire without anonymous friends on the internet, I’d just let Apple do its thing. But I’m picky. So we fight. 
    Just watched Pacific Rim: The Black on Netflix. Anime set in the Pacific Rim universe. I liked it, but giant robots fighting giant monsters isn’t for everyone (it should be though).
    Glad you all are well. Take care and best wishes and success to everyone. 

    • @AdabofOppo, thank you so much for checking, it is great to see you, glad that you, too, are well. My adult son is a total Apple snob, the phrase “Well if you had an Apple (product whatever)” has become a family joke, Anytime any tech hardware gives us issuers we say “If it had been an Apple…”

    • …thanks for that…might have to give the pacific rim anime a go

      …also…good to know you’re doing all right…& I’m with you on apple being increasingly a nuisance if you ever want to do anything that doesn’t match up with what they seem to think you should want to do…not sure when exactly it was that they started assuming their way was the only way but I liked it a lot better when they didn’t seem to assume their users were idiots?

    • Re: Pacific Rim anime 
      Does the brother sister dynamic get less annoying? I stopped after they rescued that kid from the tank… Let me rephrase… Does robots fighting monsters eventually take center stage?

      • Eh…not really. More drama with other characters. 
        I think it’s worth it overall to stick through it. They seem to be setting up some interesting payoffs. 

  10. Also of note is that I fi ally got the new sway bars installed on my GTI. There are subtle differences, but I am glad I finally made this change. 
    My steering wheel however, is an entire thing. 
    Short version: Oof. 
    Long version: Vendor I ordered from does not have great quality control and sent me the wrong wheel. Their supplier sent several orders at once, and they assumed -sigh- that my wheel was in that batch. Nope. So now I’m waiting for the wheel I ordered to be made, shipped to the vendor, and then shipped to me. It’s been a month. Still waiting for my new wheel. 

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