Saturday Morning Brain Drain [15/1/22]

A place to let it all out.

Image via Rotten Tomatoes

What I watched:  Red Rock, an Irish garda, crime, love story soap opera which ran from 2015-2020. There are 117 20-minute episodes, so it is an easy show to pop on for a short watch. The blurb says, “The show takes place in a fictional Irish seaside city. It starts with a dead body, like many police procedurals, and we quickly learn there is a Romeo and Juliet situation among two families with longstanding conflicts. Before long, we have met the small, local police staff, and all of the main players are in place.” It isn’t the greatest thing around, but it is strangely addicting – and both main family matriarchs are awful, terrible, people who I hope will finally get what they deserve (I am only on episode 20 or so).


What I read: The four Ancient Secrets Supernatural Thrillers by Joanne Pence. They are Ancient Echoes, Ancient Shadows, Ancient Illusions, and the most recent offering, Ancient Deceptions. The most recent book’s blurb is, “A dig in a remote site uncovers demonic killings & buried secrets that shatter archeologist Michael Rempart’s world in this sweeping supernatural thriller that crosses time and space from the present to the last days of the Russian Tsars.” They are okay books, but the author’s last name makes me cringe.

I also read The Raven Spell by Luanne G. Smith. (You may know her as the author of the Vine Witch and the Glamourist.) This was by far the best of her books; she writes in the magical realism style and focuses on gritty folks as opposed to the privileged. Here is the blurb from her website, “After a nearly fatal blow to the skull, traumatized private detective Ian Cameron is found dazed and confused on a muddy riverbank in Victorian London. Among his effects: a bloodstained business card bearing the name of a master wizard and a curious pocket watch that doesn’t seem to tell time. To retrieve his lost memories, Ian demands answers from Edwina and Mary Blackwood, sister witches with a murky past. But as their secret is slowly unveiled, a dangerous mystery emerges on the darkened streets of London.”

What I listened to this week: Otzeki – Pay the Tax; So Kindly – The River; and PSYKHI – See Me Clearly.

So, dear ones, DeadSplinterites, is everything okay 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 524 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. Am I ok? Meh.

    But what I have been listening to is the podcast Sweet Bobby and holy shit, everybody needs to listen to this insane podcast. It is truly one of the most bonkers true stories I have ever heard. It’s just 6 episodes so it’s not a huge time commitment, unless you count the additional hours you will spend thinking about it. It’s about a woman who was catfished for eight years. Eight years! And the scam was elaborate and sophisticated. And utterly heartbreaking. If emotional abuse is a trigger for you, don’t listen, but otherwise oh my god do it. And then come talk to me about it because I need people to talk to about this crazy story.

    • I listened to it, and it is NUTS! It’s easy to think, how could she have let this go on for so long, and I would never fall for something like that, but who knows? I want to know why the catfisher did this.

      • Exactly! I feel bad for Kirat who must have had so many people tell her she was gullible and how could she have let herself be so badly duped, but that shit was complex. It was really expert manipulation. And an extremely slow burn – I mean, it was 5 years before they actually started a relationship. And it’s not like it was an obvious scam either, she wasn’t being scammed out of money or for any clear motive. I’m pretty sure the scammer just did it for the fun of it.

        I think it’s kind of a shame the scammer didn’t choose to go into the British equivalent of the CIA (MI6?), instead of using those skills to torture an innocent person, because damn. They’re a sociopath but also kinda brilliant. Though maybe that’s a reason to be glad they didn’t go that route.

        • The victim blaming by members of her own family and community is so gross. That they are more concerned about protecting the scammer than getting justice for Kirat is sickening.

          • I really hope all the press and attention from the podcast actually brings some justice to the situation. It seems like she’s at least getting a lot of vindication from the audience, which hopefully feels good, and maybe her family/community is finally hearing more details and understanding more about what happened. But there’s also the possibility that press here will result in more legislation against catfishing, or in charges finally being filed for coercive control.

            Side note, good on the UK for making coercive control a crime. We should have that in the US but I find it doubtful that this country would ever deny people the freedom of abusing others.

  2. Toast of London with Matt Berry has a followup named Toast of Tinseltown. It’s not available legally in the US yet so I am of course only speculating that it’s more of the same only moved to Hollywood.

    Legally, people in the US can be aware of the fact that Larry David, Bill Hader, Fred Armison and Rashida Jones appear as well as regular characters Danny Bear and Clem Fandango who Toast still has no problem hearing, or so I predict based on not being able to watch it yet, ahem.

  3. Good morning.

    I watched the first two episodes of Around the World in 80 Days with David Tennant. The reviews are mixed, calling it unnecessary and problematic. But I’m enjoying it. The cast is diverse, and they’re trying to address the subject of colonialism that pervades the book and all previous adaptations. I really want to feed David Tennant a good meal though, he is so skinny.

    I’m reading Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem, I believe it was @SplinterRIP who recommended it a while back. It’s very good. I want to read Lethem’s other works.

    I’m listening to the local college radio station. In the last ten minutes, I’ve heard some good stuff.

    The Wedding Present – Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft


    The Red Krayola – Transparent Radiation




    • …I’m glad you’re liking motherless brooklyn…I thought it was pretty great

      …& I might try the around the world in 80 days again…saw the first episode but never got around to watching the rest somehow

      • I love a Scottish accent too. I forgot to say that it’s  on PBS. The first 2 episodes are still up and I think the new ones air on Sunday night. So you can still watch it.

      • I love David Tennant so much. I mean, he’ll always be The Doctor to me, since that’s where I first saw him, but when I finally saw him as himself with that Scottish accent… Hell yes.

  4. Over the last couple of weeks I fell into this YouTube rabbit hole obsessively watching documentaries about the ancient Romans. I find it very calming, puts everything in perspective.

    It all started innocently enough. Mary Beard is one of the foremost experts about that topic, very prolific and all her books are accessible to the lay reader who doesn’t need any background in the endless wars, the coinage, the wheat trade, the feudal and slave social structures, architecture, etc. She explains it all. She is also sometimes very funny. Start with this and YouTube will suggest many, many more:

    Mary of course goes to Pompeii, the Hamptons of Rome:

    I watched another doc about the science of the explosion, with an almost minute-by-minute timeline and what really killed them off (hint: it wasn’t a lava flow) and then one about Vespasian, one of the greatest of the Roman emperors but almost entirely forgotten (he was the one who built the Colosseum). His son, Titus, took over upon his death and was only on the throne for two or three months before Vesuvius erupted, which caused all kinds of panic and disorder back in the capital. Fascinating, if you’re in the mood for it.

  5. Watched:  The Right Stuff (not the movie, the National Geographic series).  This is a much deeper dive into the Mercury 7 astronauts, and much less idealized than the film.  Watching the series actually has got me into wanting to read Tom Wolfe’s book, based on how fucking crazy everything was.

    Read:  Nothing new.  Still working on the gardening books.

    Listened:  The latest stop on the best engineered albums of all time brings us to the eponymous Blood, Sweat & Tears album.  This was their 2nd album, after Al Kooper left and was replaced with David Clayton-Thomas.  The engineer on this was Roy Halee, who is best known for his excellent work with Simon and Garfunkel.



  6. I watched the Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard which I really enjoyed.  Not going to win any Academy awards but great casting and lots of action!


    Listening to a new Jethro Tull song.  Looks like they are doing a concert near me in March!


  7. Having been sick these past 10 days or so, I haven’t been reading as much (headaches make it hard to concentrate :/) but I’ve been working my way through a collection of short stories by the late, great Kage Baker. She wrote the Company novels, which is a series about time traveling cyborgs and their futuristic masters (seriously, these are great books). Some of the short stories are Company-related, some of them are independent, and all of them are interesting.

    I also started rereading an old favourite, The Blue Sword by Robon McKinley. This book and it’s companion, The Hero and the Crown, have been 2 of my favourite fantasy books since I was 11. I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve read them… probably dozens by now. If you like dragons, horses, and strong female characters, I highly recommend them.

    I’ve also been listening to an audiobook, Hold Fast Through the Fire by K. B. Wagers, which is book 2 of a sci-fi set (series? Not sure yet). It’s pretty good, but it wanders around a bit. I’ll probably have to listen to it again in order to get the whole thing straight.

  8. …so, I know I mentioned this a while ago but for some reason last week I decided to re-watch a show on amazon prime called patriot…it’s kinda dark but in a blackly comic way & enough time seems to have passed since I watched it that I’m not finding I’m impatient so much as sad that I know there’s only two seasons of it so it’s a pretty finite resource

    …& for similar reasons I haven’t quite gotten around to watching the very last episode of the expanse just yet…although there are at least several books in that series that extend beyond whatever point the show will end on…which is why I haven’t read all of those yet so I can take the edge off that particular withdrawal for a bit when the time comes…although what I think is the final book in the series came out in 2019 so it’ll only be temporary

    …I might finally get around to seeing the most recent spiderman movie over the weekend…& I’ve been mostly enjoying the boba fett series…although partly that might just be that it’s nice to watch something star-wars-y that I haven’t seen…& because the two leads are great…rather than because thus far it seems particularly special…it might end up being something it would have been better to wait & binge since there’s various time periods involved & presumably they’ll bring it all together somehow but at the moment it feels a bit like three episodes in they haven’t finished setting the scene?

    …on the reading front though, aside from those expanse books it turns out there might be a couple of books that somehow came out without my noticing in the last year or so…one is the third of the most recent trilogy by joe abercrombie, called the wisdom of crowds…& I enjoyed the preceding two as much as all his other stuff, so that’s good

    …another is the eighth book in the rivers of london series by ben aaronovich, called false value…& I expect I’ll have devoured that before the ninth installment (which I think is going to be called amongst our weapons) comes out in april

    …anyway…all of that is more fun than the other movie I saw recently-ish & forgot to mention hereabouts…which was the unforgivable…it’s pretty much not a lot of fun…but it is pretty good & has sandra bullock, jon berenthal & vincent d’onofrio among others…she gets out of prison having served time for a murder & wants to get in contact with her estranged sister, which is complicated for various reasons I won’t get into on account of spoilers…but it certainly has some good performances?

    • Ben Aaronovich cannot write fast enough for me. Do you also read his graphic novels? Joe Abercrombie is just a teeny bit more raw, but I like him too. I am waiting for the Expanse to finish so I can binge it. Keep the recommendations coming, please!

      • …I’ve seem some of the graphic novels but they were basically comic book versions of the rivers of london books…so maybe I ought to check there aren’t others…I know there’s a novella or two & possibly some short stories I’ve not caught up with, though?

  9. That Red Rock looks like our kind of thing.  We’re gonna have to ease up on streaming though for the rest of the month because we have a low data cap out here in the hills and we need to save some bandwidth in case the university goes to online or online/hybrid again.  First day of classes is Tuesday, and there’s a big winter storm bearing down on us supposed to hit tonight, so don’t know what’s coming.



  10. i havent watched or read much of anything…just time killers on youtube…havent even listened to anything much…other than the duans…which i guess is still a sizeable amount of music

    works gone mental…combination of it being surprisingly busy lots of people off sick any given day and a supply chain that has completely lost the plot…its been a madhouse this last week

    also oppo ate a lot of the time i’d normally spend watching or listening to stuff as we’ve adopted the refugees from drivetribe and suddenly gained about 300 members so far

    its delightfully chaotic over there with all the newbies wreaking havoc…lol

    so yeah…just been busy this week

      • also doesnt help that back at the start of covid everyone cut production expecting a much lower demand which just never materialized…causing shortages of everything and is why prices are just nuts now…works expecting it to be at least 6 more months till stuff normalizes

  11. I watched The Eternals Thursday night. That was two and a half hours I won’t get back.

    I should have liked it based on the concept and some of the plot elements, yet it was paced so fucking badly. Like the entire first 45 minutes could have been probably 10 minutes.

    Also I found it had some strong colonalism overtones since The Eternals helped develop human civilization but all of that happened in the Mediterranean and ancient India. Like, okay, what about 30k years of North and South American cultural development? I dunno, a lot of archaeological theory and publications through the mid 1900s perpetuated the ideology that nothing important for human civilization happened here because Greece/Rome/etc all happened in the Mediterranean.

    • …huh…turns out I’d forgotten I watched that, too…glad I waited until it was free for sure

      …I think there was at least one bit that had them in south america but it was pretty much sometime around when cortez had turned up so I don’t think it really changes anything about the point you were making

      …if I’m honest it puzzles me why they went the way they did with it…there was a recent-ish arc of the eternals that neil gaiman wrote & I think part of me expected them to have adapted that…which I think might have been more interesting &/or successful in terms of the narrative

      …I assume there were reasons they went in the direction they did…although there’s a few characters that get flagged up at the end in what’s become a sort of standard marvel way & I’d admit to being curious how they intend to make those fit into the MCU context?

      • The part with Cortez was the siege of Tenochtitlan (in Mexico) and then the one dude with mind control just took over and stopped the Spanish slaughtering the Aztecs. Which ah. Didn’t happen. Really felt like *uwu let’s add a white savior thing here because wow this looks bad and we needed to have some historical thing happen in the New World.*

        Also, showing the people in Mesopotamia in shoddy little huts scrounging for fish on the coast for 7000 years ago doesn’t track. That region had the Neolithic Revolution happening 12000 years ago with established cities and agriculture and shit before the timeline even starts in the movie. Also, it’s a riverine system which dumps out at the very end in the Persian Gulf. It’s the Tigris-Euphrates river valley, having an ocean scene was just fucking stupid. It’s like saying you’re set in New York City and then showing cabins in the Catskills.

        This is basic archaeological information. Like I don’t care what some random old run of the comics had, they could have made this better.

        • …yeah…I didn’t mention the south american thing to disagree with you…it was just that your comment reminded me I’d watched it & I was part way through trying to remember how it went

          …for what it’s worth the how-it-went-in-the-comics part was just that it was a more interesting narrative in terms of the main characters rather than a they-shouldn’t-have-tried-to-be-different thing…the really old (jack kirby) comics were pretty out there & I don’t think would have translated well to the screen but the gaiman run was pretty recent, I think

          …either way you’re right that they absolutely could have made a better fist of the movie they actually made…I’d obviously defer to you in terms of how they fucked up the archaeological/anthropological stuff…but even in terms of things I’m more familiar with they made some weird choices for reasons I can’t fathom

          • Oh for sure! I didn’t take it as disagreement at all. I was just thinking more and more about shit in that movie that annoyed me.

            See also – if you’re going to have to fight a giant battle against big bad super bad villains, you send an IM/drop a line/etc to the other people around who might be useful in a battle. Like yeah I know Captain America is living it up in 1947 or whenever, but phone a friend.

  12. Reading:

    I’m working on Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
    by Laura Hillenbrand. Yes, I’m reading it 11 years after everyone else did. I’m halfway through more or less, and I’m stunned that there’s still more to come.


    Spent a lot of time listening to Peter Murphy’s solo stuff this week. I won’t bore you with a whole YouTube playlist, but this one has been pretty representative of what’s been playing through my PC during some unpaid overtime.

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