Saturday Morning Brain Drain [15/5/21]

Image via Dead Pixel Test

What I watched: Hinterland, a police drama set in Wales, and a very, very sad show. There are three seasons to it, and it is worth your time. The lead character makes all the bad decisions, is rightfully depressed, and just can’t catch a break. There are an inordinate number of murders, dead and/or abused children, endemic poverty, and gray, bleak cinematography. It is a moody thing, and apparently some folks here at DeadSplinter think that the countryside looks beautiful…but I find it to be dark and stony and stormy and forbidding. Here’s a clip:

What I read: I read book four in Jennifer Ashley’s Below the Stairs series. She writes a good mystery and focuses on food because the heroine is a cook in service to the rich in Victorian England. I loved reading about the daily effort to provide multi-course meals and feed the staff.

I also read Murder on Wall Street, book 24 in the Gaslight Mystery Series by Victoria Thompson, set across the ocean in Victorian New York City. This series is worth digging into from the beginning. There is the random not-great book, but the most recent one was stellar. I especially liked the pronouncements of wise men, stating that the motor car fad would quickly pass, especially as the cars went so very fast at ten miles per hour. It has excellent immersive world building.

What I listened to this week: Ran Nir’s LFNT band, Parading Shoes; Sean Christopher, Indigo Blue; and Charles Bradley, Lucifer.

So, darling DeadSplinterites, are you doing okay? Hanging in there? What have you watched, read, or listened to? Do you have any plans for the weekend? Please stop in, dearest ones, and keep us all up to date!

About Elliecoo 519 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. Watching: Last night I needed something different and exciting to watch with lots of violence, this definitely worked…

    Listening to:  @Hannibal sent me down a rabbit hole the other night with her DUAN pick.   So I’ve been listening to a bunch of Courtney Barnett.

    I also cannot recommend enough the Jim Brockmire podcast, the Charles Barkley one had me laughing so hard I was crying!


    • …not that without remorse was exactly bad…but I used to get lent a lot of tom clancy books by someone that bought pretty much all of them (back when they were made of paper & everything) & there really didn’t seem to be much left of the story that was called that in print…there was john’s motivation…which in & of itself is hardly unique in genre terms…& his name…&…I’m not sure I can think of anything else, really?

      …it seemed like a lot of it was a slightly clumsy way to try & kickstart a franchise that has more to do with a video game series than the books (the rainbow 6 stuff) rather than a particular desire to adapt/update the book the title is borrowed from?

      …probably worth mentioning that the above is an observation rather than a complaint since I in no way require that character to be white or a vietnam vet…& I’m entirely fine with thin pretexts to have more action movies involving michael b jordan…it was just that by the end I was thinking “was it a different book I was thinking of?” & I checked & it wasn’t…the book was the way I remembered & that had little enough in common with the movie that it was faintly distracting while watching the thing…although to be fair it isn’t like the film is hard to follow so, again, that wasn’t really much of a problem for me?

  2. I must be that last person to the pod cast party. I can listen to music while I work, but not pod casts, because of the need to focus on the work (sigh). I will squirrel your recommendation away for for future reference! 

  3. I am almost done with Queen’s Gambit which I’m enjoying a lot. Anya Taylor Joy is onscreen about 95% of the time and if she couldn’t carry the show it would stink, but she makes it work.
    I’m not a chess fan and I could believe it might be hard to swallow if you were, but that part is distant enough from me that it doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the show. The supporting cast is very strong, and the direction goes a little loopy, especially when drugs and medication appear (it’s mostly set in the 60s), but it doesn’t go overboard.

  4. I didn’t watch anything this week, now that the weather is warmer I’m spending more time on the patio instead of in front of the TV. But I have been curious about Hinterland, I’ve liked your other recs so I’ll give it a try.

    I read The Push by Ashley Audrain I should know better than to read NY Times best sellers. They never fail to disappoint. And this was no exception. It’s the big buzz book right now and I can’t understand why. It’s basically a rehash of The Bad Seed and not nearly as well done as We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver whose narrative style she copied. It’s cliche after cliche with no new insight into the difficulties of parenting. 

    I’m listening to Mirror Guide by Giant Claw



    • @Hannibal I like your recommendations as well, so a “stay away” is appreciated.  I did delve into the Martha Wells Murderbot series others here had suggested and am enjoying it. *Wait there is a point. I got two or three of them free at, and it is a good place to test author waters…

  5. …I figured I needed some largely brain-free entertainment last week…so in addition to (like loveshaq) catching without remorse I also got around to watching nobody

    …it might not be everybody’s sort of thing but honestly it pretty much hit the spot from where I was sitting…it’s just ridiculous enough not to have any danger of taking itself too seriously & odenkirk is capable of deadpanning his way through the whole thing in a way I’m not sure many could pull off?

    …I mean, I also enjoyed RED but they had to go a more quip-tastic route to make that set up work & it’s kind of impressive to me how well nobody gets by without doing that…but that might just be me, I guess…so YMMV & all that sort of thing

  6. I tried to watch Lawless twice because I love Tom Hardy but couldn’t get into it.
    Movies I saw last week that I did like: Man Up with Simon Pegg, a rom-com; Machine Gun Preacher, true story?!
    Listened to lots of hip hop on you tube and last night Ken Singleton was on YES with Michael Kay so that was a treat except I was really tired from working outside so I only lasted through the fifth. Speaking of working outside, why yes, I am that asshole who planted a running bamboo, yellow groove to be exact, thinking it would be easy to control and who now spends huge chunks of time trying to hack it into submission. At least I can’t see a huge chunk of the neighbors house anymore.

    • @Sedevilc, we have Christmas bamboo, a less invasive species with pretty red berries.  We have other bamboo as well, but it isn’t really spreading in our heavy clay soul. Good luck on your bamboo management. 

      • Pretty! I hadn’t heard of that one. I have 2 clumping bamboos, too but even those have gotten huge. Fargesia murielae and fargesia rufa I think, at least those 2 have narrow canes. Yesterday I was chopping off emerging canes from the yellow groove that were at least 1 1/2 inches in diameter. In other garden news it appears that the oak leaf hydrangea is dead and that is bumming me out. I’ll have to replace that.

  7. I’ll tell you my favorite thing about Hinterland.  The cast is not full of Impossibly Gorgeous Characters With Unlimited Skill Sets.  They mostly just look and act like people I’d see at work.  Or the grocery store.
    I also like some of the camera shots they set up, like when the detectives knock on somebody’s door, but the shot is from inside the house and down a hallway.
    Had a boys’ night with my kid last night, and we listed to all the Nordic metal.

        • …don’t know how easy they are to find without messing about with VPNs & such but speaking of every-episode-is-a-movie there were some adaptations of books by arne dahl that aired on the BBC a while back (& I’m fairly sure are/were available on netflix/amazon prime over in the UK)

          …if you could look past the part where I think the main characters are/were swedish you might find they were worth checking out?

  8. I watched Those Who Wish Me Dead which is a long-winded title for such a simple film. It stars Angelina Jolie and the duder from Punisher and Mr. Gold from Peaky Blinders and that guy who used to date JLaw. It was a solid B action movie which made little sense plot wise but was entertaining enough to watch till the end. But I’m biased because I LOVE Angelina Jolie.

  9. I’ve seen most of Hinterland but I think there was one particularly gruesome child murder that put me off the show. 

    I watched both the Paddington movies yesterday, but I need to go back and watch #2 because I kept falling asleep. 


  10. I also watched Without Remorse.  I’ve never read a single Tom Clancy novel, but I got the sense that there were many liberties taken with respect to the book.  Didn’t care, because I hadn’t read the book so I had nothing to compare it against.   Decent film, although I will say they kind of just rammed the last 15 minutes together in a way that felt like they were chopping entire chapters out of the story to make it fit in their time window.  Michael B Jordan should definitely do more action films.

    Also watched the series finale of Mom.  They did a decent job of wrapping the show up.  The last season was good–but definitely not as good as the previous seasons.  Anna Faris definitely killed the show when she left.


    Read:  Am in the middle of something which I hope to finish by the time I need to do my Brain Drain in a couple of weeks.  No spoilers.


    Listened:  Well, I just listened to that Charles Bradley up top–is he putting out a new album, too?  Plus, thanks to Farscythe, I’ve been listening to the singles from Robert Finley’s new album.  Really looking forward to the full release.


  11. I watched season 3 of “Haunted” on Netflix, which just dropped this week. This show is much better produced than most other “this is my scary story” shows, though maybe not more believable, especially this season. Also a “season” is six episodes which is bullshit even by Netflix standards. Also, if you like this sort if thing, TW violence against an animal in episode 5. 

  12. I watched “Unbroken.”  It was an endless sadomasochistic marathon of pointless cruelty and gratuitous violence.  I have no idea what the point was, but got the distinct impression about halfway through that someone had to have been getting some weird psychosexual gratification by making it.  It was gross.

    • That was, unfortunately, the reality of being a POW under the Axis.  In particular, for the Japanese, they very much had a Shit Rolls Downhill mentality in the military at the time. The officers treated their own enlisted men like total dog shit…so the enlisted men–who typically dealt with POWs–dished it out on the prisoners.  The book Flyboys takes a very deep dive into the history of Japan’s modern military, starting in the mid-19th Century, and examines the principles of Bushido which were a significant part of the military culture at the time.  Needless to say, it was a rough place to be for anyone involved.

  13. I read 2001:A Space Odyssey for the first time. I’ve never seen the movie. Quite a good read. I’m usually very into vintage sci-fi /adventure type books, always looking for recommendations.
    I watched The Love God, anything with Don Knotts is a great bet as far as I’m concerned. Very funny parody of Playboy culture. 
    I listened to the radio mostly this week…

  14. Reading – almost done with James Rollins’ book of short stories, Unrestricted Access. Fair warning, there is one story, I believe that it’s the second to last, that describes dog fighting quite graphically. I noped out of that one after about 2 pages. The rest are pretty good, several of them involve the SIGMA team, if you’re familiar with his series about them. 
    I also read the first  3 books of the Rivers of London series this past week or so. Really great, so far. Several people here recommended it, so, thanks for that! I have the 4th one sitting on my nightstand, waiting for me.
    Watched – The Haunting (1999 version), which I saw once, in the theater, when it came out. My overall memory of seeing it was mostly that it was so loud it felt like a physical assault. Watched it last night and, while not as overwhelmingly creepy as the black and white version, it’s still kind of spooky. Really didn’t want to go to bed right after watching it! But I’m a horror movie wuss, so ymmv.

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