Saturday Morning Brain Drain [16/4/22]

Happy Saturday good people! I’ve been watching different Viking shows – Vikings, Vikings: Valhalla and The Last Kingdom. They are very Nordic and very Saxon. To take a break from all of the berserker violence I decided to try out Abbott Elementary. It’s a show about public school teachers in the vein of other great mockumentaries – The Office and Parks and Recreation. The school is set in Philadelphia and it’s understaffed and underfunded with an array of teachers with different and sometimes clashing personalities. There’s the young idealistic teacher, the older wiser not necessarily into mentoring teacher, the wide eyed substitute and the clueless principal, just to name a few. They all teach from the heart – well, except for the principal. Janine, is the idealistic teacher we follow and she’s played by the shows creator, Quinta Brunson. It’s cute and funny but since I have a soft spot for teachers, I find it a bit sad that it’s probably more fact than fiction. It’s on ABC but also on Hulu.

As far as reading goes – I’ve been on a Neal Stephenson kick lately – or was. I read SevenEves which was really good, but I started Termination Shock and it’s kind of a slog to get through. I like world building and a lot of it is interesting in a real world disaster kind of way, but there’s so much exposition that I don’t know if I can finish it.

From Good Reads:

Neal Stephenson’s sweeping, prescient new novel transports readers to a near-future world where the greenhouse effect has inexorably resulted in a whirling-dervish troposphere of superstorms, rising sea levels, global flooding, merciless heat waves, and virulent, deadly pandemics.

One man has a Big Idea for reversing global warming, a master plan perhaps best described as “elemental.” But will it work? And just as important, what are the consequences for the planet and all of humanity should it be applied?

Ranging from the Texas heartland to the Dutch royal palace in the Hague, from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sunbaked Chihuahuan Desert, Termination Shock brings together a disparate group of characters from different cultures and continents who grapple with the real-life repercussions of global warming. Ultimately, it asks the question: Might the cure be worse than the disease?

Hannibal mentioned a podcast called Old Gods of Appalachia that sounded intriguing so I’ve been listening to that. It’s really good if you like Lovecraftian horror and mountain accents. My only complaint is that the episodes are too short. The intro theme really sets the vibe for the southern gothic storytelling. You can listen to the podcast through Youtube.

So, family – what’s keeping you entertained this week?



  1. Watching the finale of The Expanse.

    Avasarala’s quote about Holden being so naive that he’s so fucking lucky to be alive this long made me laugh a lot.

    I’ll miss this show.

    • I wish it could’ve gone on longer. It was such a consistently well written show. I read the first book but haven’t read the rest of them. I guess they ended the show because there’s a really big time jump to the next part of the story.

      • actually the show mashed together the timelines of several books


        like…in the books the events of the series spanned about 20 years

        they’re pretty much pensioners by the last book…..which i still havent read yet….need to order that one

        it cut off before shit hits the….huh….how are we going to film this point tho

        (edit) that said…i also think alex getting his ass axed threw a spanner in the works….as starting the laconia arc when you end the series makes no sense at all….me finks they planned another season

        • …they definitely seemed to be trying to not just start some of the laconia stuff but lean into there being a lot more of that to come…so whether they were hoping to spin that off or that someone might be able to pick things back up, I dunno

          …but I think between the fairly hefty time-skip & the part where inaros’ end kind of closed out a narrative arc it at least sort of made sense to call it at the point they did?

  2. i watched metal lords

    which i absolutely loved

    the soundtrack and cameos are fantabulous

    but im a metalhead…and that makes me pretty biased here…at its core its a good not great teen movie

    not currently reading anything….mostly coz im not going to bed at reasonable times

    and listening to the gothsicles

    i might be a nerd

  3. It’s not a bad idea to have a show about teachers and the shit they go thru.  Especially in this day and age where idiots and demagogues  are demonizing them.

    Never wanted to be one, but I have a few friends that are.

  4. …I made it to the end of termination shock (as I think I waffled about in last week’s comments) but I definitely get where you’re coming from on the heavy-on-exposition + generally-disaster-tastic thing doesn’t make it one to breeze through

    …think I preferred anathem to seven eves…but it’s been a while?

      • …none of them are quite as much fun as snowcrash…though zodiac has its moments & I enjoyed the diamond age

        …also enjoyed cryptonomicron…& sorta-enjoyed the baroque ones when the levels of affectation weren’t pulling me put of it in an enough-already-we-get-it way…but anathem was sort of an outlier…quite slow & not to everyone’s taste…but iirc it comes together really well at the end & was satisfying…where some of his stuff starts to feel like towards the end bits got short shrift where nearer the beginning some others got more time/space than they really needed?

        …ymmv & all that sort of thing?

          • …there’s a bit fairly near the beginning where a pompous academic ends up on the receiving end of a speech that points out he’s pontificating about something he’s ill informed about which I remember liking…think it includes something along the lines of “there’s a half a dozen people who understand this stuff well enough to say what’s what – & since I know the other five & you aren’t any of them, for the purposes of this conversation I get to…& you’re talking shite”

  5. Watched:  Free Guy.  It was fun, in a sort of ripoff of Ready Player One kind of way.  It wasn’t bad by any means–just sort of derivative.

    Read:  I’m going through a book right now that I’ll mention at the end of this month.

    Listened:  Our latest stop on the list of the best engineered albums of all time brings us to Gaucho by Steely Dan.  Engineered by Jerry Garszva, Roger Nichols, Elliot Scheiner and Bill Schnee, this was their last studio album for over 20 years.  Considering that it took them two years to record it, spending way more money than they were advanced, and had tons of creative and legal conflicts (including a copyright infringement lawsuit by jazz pianist Keith Jarrett), it’s not surprising that they decided they’d had all the fun they could stand.  Plus, Fagen and Becker were well known for being ultra high maintenance about recording and mixing which I’m sure made everyone else want to kill themselves.  However, there are some incredible tracks on this album and at least one major advance in digital recording.  Fagen and Becker were talking to engineer Roger Nichols and complaining how it would be nice if they could just get a machine to play the drum track they need with the ability to move the kick and snare around.  Nichols said, “I can do that,” to which Fagen and Nichols said, “You can do that????”  Nichols said as long as he had 150k it could be done, so they gave him money out of their recording advance and Nichols built the now-legendary Wendel, reportedly based on a CompuPro S100 computer with an CPM/86 operating system.  Wendel actually got a platinum record award from the RIAA.  Wendel’s most obvious contribution to the album is on Hey Nineteen.  This song is well known in the audio community for its exquisite use of the kick drum to trigger the sidechain on the compressor which the bass is running through.  This technique allows you to keep the kick and the bass from mushing each other out.  The first time I heard this effect I was dumbfounded at how tightly they were able to run the kick and bass together.  When I found out that Wendel was on the kick it made perfect sense.


    • …if I’m honest I found free guy much more enjoyable that ready player one…which I’d read before it was a movie…& sort of had some issues with

      …to hit another neal stephenson effort on the way past…reamde seemed like a more interesting riff on a story with a fair bit of overlap in terms of the real world/gaming world mix…but I vaguely recall armada being a better one by cline?

  6. I hated Hey Nineteen as a kid, my mom was a big Steely Dan fan and loved it – so she would crank it anytime it came on and she had this album – which she played a lot. I have developed a better appreciation of the song and Steely Dan since my youth, but god – I hated that song. I still have her old albums so I’m going to pull it out and give a listen today.

    • If you’ve got a good pair of headphones, listen to the album with those.  Close your eyes and really listen to everything–the sound stage, the interplay between the kick and bass, the frequency ranges and sonic signatures of everything.  You’ll hear things you’ve never heard before.

  7. I saw The Bubble on Netflix. It has a few funny bits but there were also sections so dull I had to fast forward through them.

    The plot is a bunch of people are stuck in a Covid bubble making a cheap sequel. It has a ton of funny actors — Karen Gillan, Keegan Michael Key, Pedro Pascal, David Duchovny, Maria Bakalova, Peter Serafinowcz… but it just goes too slack.


  8. I have a love/hate relationship with HBO Max, I love Winning Time & the Flight Attendant but they release their shows on a week by week basis.  Netflix & Prime have spoiled me for being able to binge a whole season or more.  Now while waiting for new episodes I tried to find another show & started Tokyo Vice.  It is a pretty well done show on a few subjects I have an interest in.  The Yakuza has always had a big presence in Hawaii, they ran the prostitution rings on Oahu.  It was common knowledge but the police NEVER cracked down on them or even acknowledged them.  The Hawaiian mafia allowed it or more likely profited from it too.  The show also has a ton of racism against non-Japanese something I experienced for several years when I went to a private school that was 90% Asian.  Much of the show is in Japanese with subtitles, I took 3 years of Japanese but can only understand a few sentences here and there but it’s still fun trying.

    Listening to new Clutch, pretty cool song about the supposed 5G Covid vaccine link…

    • @Loveshaq – What’s do you like about The Flight Attendant? Is it funny? Every time I think I  might watch it – I pick something else. I think for some reason – I’m not a huge fan of Kaley Cuoco.

      • …not sure I’d claim to be a fan…but I will say she voices harley quinn in the animated show they’ve done a couple of seasons of…& I thoroughly enjoyed that?

      • She is nothing like in Big Bang which is probably what I enjoy most.  She plays a very flawed alcoholic that continually questions what happened that night and her whole life.  It gets a little silly that she can get out of some of the situations she gets into but other than that it is one of those shows that is like watching a train wreck you can’t turn away from.  It also has some very interesting supporting cast that you could see having their own show instead of just being an auxiliary character or a tangent side story.

  9. @Lymond I’m glad you checked out Old Gods of Appalachia! Finally finished The Dropout and I’m still shaking my head over Holmes, and all her enablers. Amanda Seyfried is excellent in this. Continuing with The Girl From Plainville. I’m so conflicted about this case, just as I was when it was happening. Another good performance from Elle Fanning.

    Mostly listening to the radio. Right now it’s the Blue Yodel show, nice cover of Wild Horse by David and Valerie Mayfield



  10. also listening to


    pretty song that…..and im a sucker for the judderry sound… works for me that….i like life juddery and disjointed

    makes me feel like i belong

  11. I binged Not So Pretty on HBOMax last night, 4 episode documentary about toxic personal care products. Episodes are high level, about 30 minutes long, and focus on a specific area — makeup, nails, skin care, hair care.

    Anyways, today I am throwing away a lot of makeup.

    Also watched episode 3 of Moon Knight.

    I’m just disappointed in that show in that the production quality is not there. I think it was RIPsplinter who commented last week/week before about how they’re showing the wrong museum in London for where he works vs where the Egyptian artifacts are, that sort of thing. Episode 3 is set in and around Cairo, and it’s clearly not Cairo. It fucking is the wrong cityscape, the people are dressed wrong for Egypt, the desert looks wrong for Giza, etc. Sure they had a few scenes where they got some footage of actual Cairo and the Nile, but you can tell actual filming didn’t happen there.

    Also, they’re getting into the same muddy waters that The Eternals had where if you have all sorts of power, why the fuck didn’t you help fight Thanos.

    • That’s weird that a Marvel show has such low production value. Everyone I know that works on them has to have everything approved within an inch of their lives.

      • And I understand that there are logistical issues with filming in certain places, they probably couldn’t get permission to film in Cairo or something. But also if they use crazy good green screen work for other movies and shows, how stupid did they think people are here? Like especially with the whole which museum is it really bullshit — British people are gonna notice that immediately, and tons of other people have been to the British Museum.

    • So the good news is that I cleared up a lot of space by going through my cosmetics.

      Bad news is I found a shit ton of stuff to throw away, which amounted to several hundreds of dollars spent over several years.

      I did find that my years of loving makeup had been waning already, so at least this isn’t a gut punch to my behavior, just a reminder of financial choices that might have been not the smartest at the time.

Leave a Reply