Saturday Morning Brain Drain [18/6/22]

Image via Variety.com

What I Watched: Mystery Road, seasons one and two (there is a third in the works but the lead actor will not return for it). It is fascinating, mostly because of the inhospitable, dusty landscape (vaguely lunaresque) and because I was unaware of Australian cowboy culture and somewhat unaware of Aboriginal prejudice. It is another one of those shows where everything is grimy and the cast appears in need of a shower and some deodorant. I think it worth a watch…

Here is the season one blurb “Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) is assigned to investigate the mysterious disappearance of two young farm hands on an outback cattle station. One is a local Indigenous footy hero, and the other a backpacker. Working with local cop Emma James (Judy Davis), Jay’s investigation uncovers a past injustice that threatens the fabric of the whole community. A six part spin-off from Ivan Sen’s feature films Mystery Road and Goldstone.”

The music is excellent throughout both seasons; good tunes which are well positioned to the action and story line.

Season One Trailer

Season Two Trailer

What I Read: The Vampire’s Sunny Sweetheart (Nocturne Falls Book 14) by Kristen Painter. The setting for these books is a town, founded by a vampire and protected by a witch, which celebrates Halloween 365 days a year as a cover for supernatural beings of all types. For example, the “animatronic” gargoyle in the park is real, tourists think it is like Disney World, but the townspeople are not wearing costumes and I suspect that Ms. Painter can ride this premise through another 14 books. They are fun, fast-reading fluff with a bit of romance and a bit of mystery mixed together. 

I read other things, including the first two books in the Miss Primm’s Secret School for Budding Bluestockings, by Annabel Anders. I should have liked these, but they were underwhelming. She says “I insist my heroines and heroes better themselves before finding happiness together”, but I think it turns into a bit too much navel-gazing.

And I read Murder at the Dressmaker’s Salon (Cleopatra Fox Mysteries Book 4) by C.J. Archer. “With the social season just around the corner, the women in Cleo’s family are having new outfits made by the most sought-after designer in the city. Madame Poitiers is bold, self-absorbed and not French, despite her claims. When Cleo stumbles on her dead body in the salon, she is in a unique position to gather clues and speak to witnesses. But she doesn’t expect to find Harry Armitage’s business card in Madame’s possession. What is the alluring private detective’s connection to the victim? And why is he avoiding Cleo?

What I Listened To: Queen of the Highway · Kalaha Moon; Porches – Adore You; and Kyson – You.

Thank you for playing Brain Drain! How are you, darling DeadSplinterites? Please check in!

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

50 Comments

  1. I’ve been watching youtube psychologist and psychiatrist videos for a couple of years (originally for dealing with PTSD related to narcissism and for how not to be a fucking target for narcissists.)

    I find them enlightening and helpful in dealing with whatever issues I have.

    I don’t always agree with Dr Todd Grande (youtube channel), but I still enjoy his look at figures in the news as well as his approach to things.

      • I think it’s also having more awareness of the condition, so that you recognize it when you see it. I wouldn’t have known my mother-in-law was a narcissist 30 years ago, but now that I’ve encountered more than a few and spent some time learning about it, I’m better able to identify those behavioral traits faster.

        That said, yes, there are a fuckton of them around.

  2. Peaky Fucking Blinders! That series never disappoints except this time because it is the last one. There is a movie in the works instead of a final season. It is my second favorite show (The Expanse obviously being number 1). If they had better representation of women and POC from the beginning, then it would be tied for first place.

    • …I thought the first couple of seasons of peaky blinders were great…but somehow haven’t got around to watching the rest as yet…not really sure why it never occurs to me when I’m looking for something to put on but if it’s the last season I might wait a little longer & keep it as a binging option?

  3. I just finished season 2 of the Great Pottery Throwdown and I think I might like it more than the Bakeoff, which I enjoy.

    The design of the show feels a bit less rushed and it feels easier to make sense of the finished products because the judging is largely based on seeing what the judges see, whereas you can’t taste or smell baked goods.

    But I think the big difference is the Bakeoff falls flat for me when it tries to do sculptural challenges — bake a circus! — because the results are never as interesting as regular baking challenges. Flour just isn’t as good as clay for making things, and the taste component always gets lost in those giant gingerbread constructions.

  4. We watched Brit stalwart Line of Duty and The Responder. I think it was Ellie that watched The Responder recently? Anyway -LOD is very good but you have to really pay attention because it moves so fast. And, we’ve decided to start a drinking game for every time they say “dying declaration.”

    The Responder was fine although I think it was wrapped up a little too neatly. We’ve also started a rewatch of Arrested Development to be a palate cleanser between Jan 6 hearings – cuz it is scary as shit that those idiots came so close to overthrowing the government.

  5. I think I’d like Mystery Road. Have you seen The Proposition? It’s an Australian western, Nick Cave wrote the screenplay, it’s very good.

    Took Fanny to the dog park this morning. I don’t usually go on Saturdays, it’s too rowdy. But her bestie’s hooman is moving away and she won’t get to play with her every week anymore. ☹️ She puppied so hard, ran, played, wrestled, and put a couple of dogs in their place. My anxiety was high but she had a wonderful time.

    I’m still slogging through the Lou Reed bio. It must have been tough to write a dull book about a guy as multifaceted and colorful as Reed but DeCurtis pulls it off. I did learn one interesting thing, Walter Cronkite was a VU fan and a regular at their shows in the ‘60s, lol.

    I watched Season 3 of Succession. Everything about this show is great. It’s funny, cringe inducing, and probably an accurate portrayal of the super rich.

    I played Unpacking on Nintendo Switch. It was good, mindless fun.

    I’m listening to the new Perfume Genius – Ugly Season

    Teeth

     

    https://youtu.be/lm6ElF1CXXU

  6. I watched the new season of Murdoch Mysteries whilst off with the long covid (it is unbearable at times) but I am going to have to watch it again as I was dozing half of the time.

      • Thanks. It’s different symptoms every day most of which I can try to ignore as I’ve always been able to out-think pain…so I am back to my 20ish hour days until the end of the summer. Sometimes I can’t function and missed most of may.

        • @Myopicprophet, oh dear. I can’t help but think that those hours are not helping you, but I understand “needs must”. I thought the sore throat was the worst part of Covid. I didn’t mind the fever or the dizziness. Here’s hoping for a miraculous recovery!!! Hugs.

    • I was out and about earlier but am here now! Happy 1985 to you and them. I just researched the #1 song for 1985 to post to get you in the mood and found it was a tie: “We Are the World” and Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me” were both number 1 for four weeks. What a ghastly year for music. In Britain it was “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” better but not by much.

  7. …I’ve finally gotten around to catching up with the obi-wan kenobi show…& it’s all right…but it feels a little as though if you stripped away the cover the high budget provides the actual narrative/characterization/execution of the thing are kind of mediocre in some ways

    …& it’s also oddly inconsistent with stuff-filmed-decades-ago-that’s-supposedly-some-years-after-this in a way that I’d like to say I can successfully ignore because the people who seem to object to that sort of thing most stridently almost uniformly construe the entire franchise in a way I find orders of magnitude more objectionable…but in a funny sort of a way I think “that makes no sense &/or contradicts something previously established” is probably the single most consistent reaction star wars has provoked in me since I first saw it so I wouldn’t say it was exactly a barrier to enjoying the thing

    …& I don’t want to get into spoilers & such..but…& this would go for other things in the franchise…they seem very bad at filming big set piece fights…or noticing elements of their own sets that make what’s taking place seem not to make sense

    …if you’re standing in a hangar that has been shown to have a bunch of tie fighters in it yet make out as though there’s no way of pursuing people in small (definitely not hyperspace-capable) craft as they escape it comes across as poor writing…even if (in their defense) I think there’s something offered later on that sort of “explains” that…it also sort of doesn’t…since at the time it comes up it appears to be something others were unaware of so it couldn’t explain their lack of action in the moment

    …star wars…whaddya gonna do?

    …ms marvel was pretty great again, though…& I’m behind on strange new worlds from all the catching up on star wars

    …if not as behind as I am with both barry & the new season of mayans mc, which I only just clocked was available & is making me think there might be other things I’d have watched if I’d known I could?

      • …they were a.n. other motorcycle gang in the show “sons of anarchy”…which while mostly pretty entertaining & with some good performances by a pretty great cast…was also a bit of a strain on the credibility side of things as far as where the storyline took it

        …it ran for a while but I recall at the outset there were some suggestions that it was deliberately trying to be a sort of hamlet parallel set in an outlaw MC…& that was perhaps “more than it could chew”…but I think I still watched it all in the end

        …mayans has a fair bit in common as you’d expect…but I’d argue the fact that the mayans are arguably a more interesting gang than the sons combined with it being set by/on the border rather than in oakwood makes it a better show…even if it does share some of the shark jumping tendencies it seems to have inherited from its progenitor?

  8. I started the Netflix series Web of Make Believe about people abusing internet shit. Like swatting, etc.

    Episode 4 is this lady who got herself involved with white supremacist groups and it’s about them coordinating online for shit. And in classic bigoted white lady fashion, she only realizes those groups are bad when they overtly use the whole “we’ll make you a brood mare” threat on her. Like all that other bad stuff, hey that’s a thought exercise because some groups don’t want a violent transition to an ethnostate. I don’t know, she seems to understand somewhat her own role in it, but like she was a-ok being a white supremacist herself up until that point.

  9. Watching:

    Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. RIP has recommended this before, but it’s a fantastic update? reimagining? retcon? of the original series (many of the characters appeared in the original series so I’m not quite sure how to categorize it). Basically done-in-one episodes of exploring the universe, just like Kirk and company did back when.

    Ms. Marvel. I know about Marvel fatigue, but this is really great. Put aside the superheroics — it’s a normal-looking (not supermodel) nerdy Pakistani-American teen that lives in Jersey City and has a great supporting cast, including her family and friends. Yes, she gets super powers. She’s barely used them over the first two episodes and I hardly noticed.

    Stranger Things. I’m not … loving it. It’s bigger and darker this season, and I’m not sure I’m on board with that. Still, it’s entertaining and I gotta know what happens.

      • …I don’t think anyone should feel obliged to watch the boys…though I’d still be inclined to say succession was worth watching despite having basically no characters that could be called sympathetic

        …had I not previously been exposed to the conceit in the comics I’m not sure I’d have stuck it out watching the show as long as I have & I’ve probably got an unusually high tolerance for at least some of the stuff it’s inclined to be about

        …so I could not fault you for trading the boys out to make space to watch ms marvel…which I strongly suspect you’d enjoy a lot more

        …there have been some other attempts at comicbook-tv-shows with young protagonists…they I’ve done a couple of seasons of a stargirl thing…& there was cloak&dagger…& the runaways…& they had some stuff going for them…but also were maybe a bit more for-kids (or at least for-teens) whereas ms marvel seems like more of a for-all-ages kind of a deal?

        • I enjoy Stargirl quite a bit, but I’m a sucker for anything that involves the Justice Society of America (a WW2 precursor of the Justice League for those of you who don’t read comics voraciously). I loved them showing up in things when I was a kid, and it still makes me happy to see them in any format.

          That said, I’m nervous about any CW product these days, though (see below). They are heavily focused on After-School Special lessons about inclusion and tolerance, which are good things, but they contort the plot and character to make those points, rather than setting things up and then reaching those themes organically. They are basically including a “summary statement” at the end of each show where a character spells out what we all should have learned this episode.

          Cloak & Dagger was really very good, but I will freely admit it was  S L O W. I’m glad I binge watched it after all the episodes were released. I only watched a bit of Runaways. I wasn’t super jazzed by the comic, and only started Runaways to get to the Cloak & Dagger crossover, and never made it that far.

          For fun, breezy superhero shows, Hawkeye still ranks as the best for me. Hailee Steinfeld does a wonderful job of taking over the mantle of Hawkeye from Jeremy Renner, and their interplay is fantastic. Well worth the time.

          Most of the CW superhero shows are pure schlock now. I annoyed my wife by saying lines of dialog from The Flash before the characters could. It’s that predictable. The best of the lot, Legends of Tomorrow, has been cancelled and the remaining ones are bleh. I’m trying to stick with Flash until it ends, but it’s getting hard. Superman & Lois started off with promise but it’s trending downhill fast.

          For sheer batshit crazy, mind-bending totally nuts superheroic surrealism, check out Doom Patrol. Much like the Morrison comic, that is some crazy shit, but it’s … fun? I think so.

          • …I’ve been sort of generally fascinated by the trajectory of comics from the days when they were “for geeks” in an uncomplimentary way (even though rather more people I knew read them than got called geeks) to the founding template of a vast swathe of mainstream pop culture…plus I frequently can’t sleep for shit & have an opening for content that is undemanding of its viewers’ intellectual capacities…so I’ve seen a fair bit of the CW stuff one way or another

            …I’d have to give them points for trying…on a tv budget…to mimic comics to the point of attempting crossovers…let alone to try to pull off crisis on infinite earths

            …& I will honestly miss legends of tomorrow even if the last season or so maybe wasn’t as much fun as it got once it recovered from that dog of a first season & hit its stride

            …superman has always been a difficult line to walk…which I think the supergirl show reflected…but the superman & lois thing seems like a pile of odd choices in terms of the whole set up so I’m not altogether surprised if it’s not all it seems like it could/should be

            …but I’d agree that stargirl is/was enjoyable…& I’m with you on the entertainment value of the JSA…it’s only that I feel like that’s quite specifically pitched at an audience that ticks a different box on the age demographics than I do these days in a way that I think mostly the CW stuff tried not to…certainly when arrow first started…even if it did drift into the after-school-special routine very much as you describe?

            …runaways…much like the comics to the extent that I read those…seemed like you could almost see a better version of the thing trying to show itself but somehow it never did…& I’d say something similar of titans once you got past the part where every second episode was more of a backdoor trailer than a new episode of the actual show…it even had some kind of good bits & the performances were generally pretty good

            …but doom patrol was pretty great…& definitely more fun to watch

            …did you happen to catch that one season they did of a swamp thing show?

            • I haven’t watch Swamp Thing, but have been meaning to do it. I heard it was pretty good.

              I have watched and enjoyed all the seasons of Titans. It’s not as good as Doom Patrol but it has its moments, and it’s been growing into the premise. It was initially rocky, as you point out. 

              • …I thought they took a good stab at the swamp thing stuff to the point that I thought it was a shame that got cancelled while some other things didn’t so I’d be interested to know what you make of it if you get around to watching it at some point

                …titans is sort of a good example of something for me though…when it came to reading comics I tended to think DC>marvel in a lot of ways…particularly the vertigo stuff…but somehow the tone of the thing seems much more labored onscreen than a lot of the marvel stuff manages to be

                …so it wasn’t that I didn’t think it was mostly made up of good things so much as the sum of the parts seemed somehow less than the whole could have been, if that makes any kind of sense…or to abuse a different metaphor…the seams tend to show…possibly because they seem to be under more strain than it seems like they would be if that whole seemed more comfortable with itself…rather than kind of pulling against itself a lot of the time?

      • The Boys is an acquired taste, frankly. The writer, Garth Ennis, specializes in superhero deconstruction — or destruction, really. One thing I can say about the TV series is that it’s not as bleak as the comic book. Ennis, like several others of his comic book writing “generation” (cough … Mark Millar) benefits enormously from being edited and having his ideas … massaged and revised to reach a wider audience. However, his stature is now such that in comic book circles, publishers simply print whatever he wants. Lots of creativity, but definitely not uplifting.

        The British have a certain predilection for pessimistic outlooks in their popular entertainment (fight me, RIP). Doctor Who is rarely, if ever, a happy show, for example. It’s a good show, but rarely a happy one. There’s always a huge price to pay for victory, to the point where it’s not always certain the victory was worth it. My working theory is that it’s a tendency embedded in the British popular fiction from the horrible losses they suffered in the World Wars.

        • …I don’t think I’d fight you, to be honest…I mean for starters I think all of that first part about ennis & millar (& probably a few more I could think of) seems pretty much on the money to me…but the pervasive is-it-worth-the-cost strand that runs through a lot of british stuff I think very much is derived from the impression two world wars very much on the doorstep left on the cultural consciousness of the british isles

          …I might even go so far as to suggest that where being invulnerable is a heroic virtue in the american tradition (whether literally in the sense of superman or whatever or more in a plot-armor way like jack bauer coming back from the dead repeatedly) there’s almost a sense in a lot of the british stuff that if your victory doesn’t come with a cost so high that it tastes like ashes in your mouth then…are you even a hero, really?

          …I think it’s safe to say both attitudes can be taken too far…but on balance I guess I’m british enough to find the latter sort of stories more compelling as a rule?

    • …no suprise I’m with you on all of that about ms marvel & strange new worlds

      …& I know what you mean about stranger things, I think…there’s maybe some stuff that inevitably trends darker when your protagonists are progressing through that stage of life…& similarly when you factor in that there generally seems to be a convention that the “big bad” has to get bigger & badder each time…but it was always pretty dark in places so cutting down on any of the ways that other aspects of it provided some relief from that sort of compounds the other two factors?

      …I think I still could claim to have enjoyed it though…so I hope it doesn’t disappoint you in the end

      • I think the best parts of Stranger Things have been the subplots where kids and adults have hit the road. The plots that are retreading Indiana and the lab… woof.

        I’m glad to see the word of mouth for Ms. Marvel. I hadn’t thought about it before but now I’m tempted.

  10. What I read: Suetonius’ De Vita Ceasarum, in translation, known in English usually as The Twelve Caesars, a biography of all the Caesars between Julius and Domitian, and includes everyone’s favorites, Nero and Caligula. It was written in 121 AD and as a gossipy biographer Suetonius is right up there with Kitty Kelley.

    What I watched: A few things, including Frank Capra’s Meet John Doe, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper. It was released in 1941 and, without giving too much away, is a study about how a popular movement can go awry. Europe, obviously, was awash in popular right-wing movements, Germany’s, Italy’s, and Spain’s the most well known, but France and even Britain had one. America had smaller ones but a popular one was devoted to keeping America neutral during WWII, which was more than a little pro-totalitarian seeing as how Britain was being bombed to smithereens and the rest of Europe, aside from Switzerland and Sweden, and Finland kind of, was occupied by either the Germans or the Soviets.

    What I listened to: My immediate neighborhood doesn’t have much by way of the mentally ill but we do have two characters who appear every year once the weather warms up. One is known as The Birdman. I originally thought he was merely and eccentric who liked to do really loud bird calls on his walks, until one day when I ran into him with my Faithful Hound, not the current one but his predecessor. He has a very elaborate headdress made of feathers, not a Native American ceremonial one but more like one of the costumes from Schitt’s Creek‘s The Crowening. He also wears shirts upon which he has black-magic-markered BIRDS all over.

    The other is a woman who has, among other things, Tourette’s, and a very strong set of lungs, so her strings of obscenities ring out through the neighborhood whenever she passes by, which is usually three times a day, at sunrise, around noon, and then an evening performance whose times can vary.

    • I have decided that in my quest to deny that I live in such a thing as 2022 going back to the postwar period or Edwardian England is still too close to home, but second century Imperial Rome is comfortably distant.

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