Saturday Morning Brain Drain [29/5/21]

What I watched:  We jumped off the sinking ship named Sprint and joined the not-yet-sinking ship named Verizon this week, so now we have access to Disney+.  I will admit to a bit of surprise that there isn’t more content on that service considering Disney’s hegemony in the entertainment world.  Anyway, I started watching WandaVision.  Just the first couple episodes so far.  It’s weird yet enjoyable.  I also like that they are essentially ½ hour shows which make them more digestible because I tend to do this kind of watching during my lunch break.  Also:  for those of you who have already watched it—no goddamned spoilers.

What I read:  Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.  I’ve always enjoyed Weir’s books, and I think I’ve figured out why:  because he seems to have been pretty heavily influenced by the Arthur C. Clarke school of science fiction writing.  It’s science fiction based on…science…and the prose is snappy and very readable.  He explains why things work the way they do, without turning the story into something more akin to a peer-reviewed journal article.  Anyway, I recommend the book.  I think Weir also might have stolen a little bit from Rendevouz with Rama, which I started reading after Project Hail Mary—but Clarke is long dead so I don’t expect his estate to sue for infringement.

What I listened to:  I’ve been listening to a fair amount of Joe Bonamassa lately.

It’s been much hotter, much earlier than usual.  This means that our cabbages and lettuces will likely bolt before they’re ready to harvest, which sucks.  Also, I think that the heat pump cooling system in the sunroom isn’t working right, which means that at 9:42 am while I’m typing this, it’s already 80 fucking degrees in this room.  I’d like to just go put my laptop on the dock to use it as a standing desk while hanging out in the lake but the lake is dealing with a major algae bloom which means lots of scummy shit that is not pleasant to deal with.  This makes me want to buy a gallon of ice cream, but I’m too invested in the weight loss over the past few months, so I guess I just get to be hot and pissed off.  But, I get to look forward to lots of rain this weekend which means little to no planting in the garden—and I’ve got some plants that NEED to go in the ground.  It will also set up a dilemma for how I plan to grill all the damned burgers, hot dogs and sausages for the little get-together we’re having with the girls and their respective guys on Sunday.  Are these high-class problems?  You bet your ass they are.

What’s your plan this weekend?  Some of you don’t get Monday off, which sucks to be you.  So, tell us what’s been on your distracting entertainment list this week.

About butcherbakertoiletrymaker 557 Articles
When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.


  1. Maybe brain drain isn’t the right place for this, buuuutttt… WE GOT A NEW CAR!! Like, NEW new. A 2019. Even better, we got EXACTLY the car I have wanted for the last 3 years!! (We rented this same make/model of minivan for 2 weeks back then, and, ever since, I have wanted one.) This has never, ever happened for me before. I still can’t believe it’s real. I got up and ran (well, ok, hobbled) over to the window to make sure it was really there and I didn’t dream the whole day. Technically speaking, it’s Other-Husband’s car, because he’s the one with good enough credit to get the loan, but it’s really the family car, which means I will probably be driving it the most. I’m still so excited that, every time I think about it, I bounce in my chair like a little kid.
    ANYWAY. I apologize for the interruption to the regularly scheduled program. Back to the topic at hand…
    Watched – Other-Husband and I started watching Worst Cooks in America on Hulu. I absolutely adore Anne Burrell. Started with season 18, then decided to go back and watch all the seasons they have. We’re about to finish season 5. Resisting looking up anything about it on the internet until it’s over is hard! But I don’t want to spoil the surprise of who wins. 
    I’ve been watching Star Trek: Deep Space 9 on my own, when he’s at work. Mostly, I’m enjoying it. I watched it many years ago when it was on tv, but it’s been long enough (and, likely, I paid little enough  attention) that it’s basically new to me. Quark is incredibly annoying. I much prefer Neelix on Voyager for my “quirky cantina owner” viewing. Also, Janeway over Sisko! BUT the storylines in DS9 are better than Voyager. I got bored with Voyager around the middle of season 2. 
    Reading – a bunch of middle-of-the-road kind of chick-lit stuff. Finished book 6 of the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr. It’s… not bad? They’re not exactly romance novels, although each book is nominally about a different couple. It’s kind of like watching Northern Exposure. You think you know who the main characters are, but it turns out ALL the townspeople are the main characters. I’ve given most of these books 3 stars on Goodreads, but I just keep going back for the next one, for some reason! 
    Currently reading  Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella. Normally, I love her books. The Undomestic Goddess is one of my all-time favourite books. But this one… the heroine isn’t just adorably quirky, she’s a full -on Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and it’s… a bit much. Also, the hero is as stiff as a board and doesn’t feel like a fully fleshed out person… he feels like a character in a book. I’m going to finish it, because it kills me to leave a book unfinished, but… meh. I won’t be sorry to see it go. 
    I have Four Cities by Annalee Newitz on hold at the library and I’m really hoping it comes in today! Dying to sink my teeth into some good non-fiction again!

    • Hooray for the new car, HoneySmacks! It feels so good driving a car you don’t have to worry about breaking down on you. 

      • It is AMAZING. I haven’t had a decent car in, like, 15 years. This one HAS A WARRANTY.  🤯 I have never, ever had a car that had a warranty, and I’ve been driving for 25 years. It just doesn’t feel real, yet!

        • It really becomes a whole new world once you make the leap from junkers to decent quality cars.

          • It’s positively magical!

    • Quark will grow on you. The relationship between Quark and Odo is superb character development and an obvious love of those roles by the actors. I am very much in the camp of DS9 is the best Trek, but I do agree that Janeway is very good as a captain. 

        • It’s nice to be missed. I’ve been busy. And also just needed to retreat from being online so much. It’s hard seeing the world collapse around you constantly and feel powerless to do anything  about it. 
          This country is sleep-walking into Fascism and no one seems like they want to stop that. 

          • I hope that last bit gets the attention it deserves at some point….SOON.

      • Yeah, Quark’s character development was much better than Neelix’s.  Neelix was just every self-absorbed middle school boy trying to figure out how to behave with his first girlfriend ever. 

        • True… Neelix’s jealous fits got old fast. I don’t know what it is about Quark that puts me off so, but he’s just aggravating! 

    • Congrats on the car!!!!

      I can only do Worst Cooks depending on who is judging with Anne Burrell. Like the season that Alton Brown cohosted? NOOOOOOOOO that one I couldn’t watch. His stuff was unnecessarily overcomplicated and he was often very snide with the contestants. I didn’t enjoy him on there at all. 

      • Yeah, I feel like Alton was a poor choice because those people aren’t used to being snarked at in the kitchen like that! He was less about teaching and more about snide commentary. I loved the season with Beau MacMillan as Anne’s cohost, but, naturally, that one doesn’t seem to be streaming. 

    • congrats on the new car, hopefully that takes a lot of stress out of your life.
      Thanks for the heads-up on Newitz’s book, I really liked her fiction, but Scatter, Adapt, and Remember was decent, although I felt she kinda glossed over the difficulties of space travel, but that’s one of those hills I repeatedly die on…

      • Thanks! 
        FYI, I got the title slightly wrong… it’s Four Lost Cities! I picked it up today but haven’t started it yet. 

  2. Holidays in New England are the time to hunker down and stay home. I made sure I had everything I needed yesterday. The tow company/mechanic reports he went on 19 accident calls before the 3-day weekend even started. People be crazy here.
    In between baseball games I watched Whitstable Pearl with Howard Charles on Acorn. New episodes every Monday, I believe. Recommend. 
    Getting inspired by the home dec products on, a revamp of the living room and some crafty projects are in order.
    June is the big rose month at chez Sedevilc, it makes me so happy. Looks like the American Wisteria is going to flower for the first time, too.
    Knitting on the black turtleneck sweater will be done this weekend, debating whether to make a baja hoodie in hemp yarn or a navy blue aran.
    And to make it truly festive, I have to replace the float and stopper thing-y in the toilet. woo hoo!

  3. Watched The Paper Tigers. If you care to stomach a few racist jokes (between the Asian and Black characters who are friends) and don’t mind that it fails the Blechdel test, then I highly recommend it. It’s nice to watch a non-white-centric all American cast. It’s basically Cobra Kai* but not a bunch of white guys appropriating Kung Fu culture… there is one white character and he is a hilarious embodiment of said trope. 

    *I’ve only seen the first episode of Cobra Kai

    • @LoveShaq Seattle’s International District is the backdrop to the film. It’s always fun to see familiar streets and businesses on screen!

      • @HammerZeitgeist I will check this out.  I love the International District!  So much good food.  I got to chaperone both my daughters classes there when they were in elementary school and it was so much fun.  They even finished the trip with a full lunch at one of the larger Chinese restaurants there.  The highlight was always the fishmonger at Uwajimaya.  He was a very old Japanese man that would tell the best stories about how fish poop.  The kids loved it!  Wing Luke Museum was also very interesting and important for the kids to learn the importance of Asian culture to Seattle’s history.

        • Uwajimaya did a whole remodel over the past two years. It’s very chic now (lol as far as grocery stores are concerned) and still has a great team of fishmongers. I’m excited to take my kids to the Wing Luke museum when the world goes back to semi-normal.

          • I haven’t been there since they did that but love the food court before.  We have so many good Asian markets near us I can’t justify driving down there to shop.  Have you been to an H-Mart?  That is to chic for the Asian market scene for me.  Give me my little neighborhood one or Ranch 99. 

            • I never heard of it until now. Based on pictures, I think Uwajimaya’s remodel is keeping up with the Joneses.

  4. I’m seeing a dear friend today for the first time in at least 18 months; the virus hit right before she was planning to come into town. Aside from that, I am squirreling away what I watched and read for the next three Brain Drains. Happy weekend, everyone!

  5. I finished watching Underground Railroad. It’s so beautifully filmed and yet depressing at the same time. 

    I read I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid. I’m not easy to frighten but this book gave me the willies. It’s scary in a creepy and menacing way, there is very little violence. Some reviews have criticized the ending as predictable. I think that was Reid’s intention given the clues he leaves. I’m going to watch the Charlie Kaufman adaptation on Netflix tonight. I’m sure it will be trippy as hell under his direction, and it has a great cast.

    I’m listening to the podcast Internet Urban Legends on Spotify. It’s entertaining.

    I’m also listening to Symbol by Susumu YakotaI haven’t had a very good week and need pretty sounds.

    Traveler In the Wonderland



  6. Currently reading: “And The Band Played On” by Randy Shilts. It is NOT new (published 1987), i have a 20th annv copy so even that’s old. It’s about the onset of the AIDS crisis 1980-1985. It’s gritty and medical and emotional and I cannot put it down. Also, with the hindsight we have now, I keep telling the characters (who are real people) to stop doing X, to make different choices, to just OPEN THEIR EYEBALLS…. But we all know that didn’t happen.

  7. currently re-reading the wheel of time….chronicles?..saga? i dunno….its long winded…and the equal opportunities sexism kinda irritates me…buut..well…i needed to have something to read and tbh other than those things its pretty good
    watched…detective pickachu 

    it was actually surprisingly fun…little cringey in places…and the ending is some handwavy bullshit…but fun
    and listening too…well..pokey lafarge right at this moment

    its finally sunny and warm out…my soundtrack tends to get a lot jazzier when that happens

    • [giggle] I can’t see the name Pokey LaFarge without remembering that guy who used to call Sleepy LaBeef Snoozy Porkchop.

      • lol loveshaq quite recently introduced me to sleepy labeef
        i like him too (both loveshaq and sleepy)

  8. I watched Night Stalker on Netflix – Richard Ramirez is one scary mf. Also watched – Rig 45 – Starz – I’m fascinated by oil rigs – not the actual drilling and destroying of the environment – but the structures themselves. It’s an Agatha Christie like country house whodunnit but on an oil rig. First season was good – second season was pretty much a repeat of first. 
    Started watching Gangs of London – but couldn’t get through the first episode because of the very brutal violence. 
    It’s cooled down so I’m working in the yard all weekend. Woohoo!

  9. I started Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy food series.
    I like it, although I don’t know if he’s hit his groove. The comparison to Anthony Bourdain is obvious, and he’s trying to do his own thing and be his own person, but he’s inherently more restrained so you don’t always get him pushing through.
    Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — you want someone who has the good sense in Italy to step back and let other things have their turn.
    The spectre of Covid hangs over everything — it seems to have been shot during the months leading up to the shutdown — so there is that part always in your mind.

    • I heard from Mrs. Butcher that a 2nd season is in the works, so we are totally pumped!

  10. Watching:  NBA playoffs.  Not going exactly how I thought but so far so good.
    Listening to: Jason Ricci & the Bad Kind


  11. So yeah. Hi guys. 
    How’s life? We are as well as can be expected. April was another personal record month with 65 cars gone through and instructed. Haven’t much time to do more than survive. 
    I did finally get my new steering wheel installed though. It’s amazing. I have a pic on my phone, but I don’t know how to upload it here. 
    Mrs. Oppo and I have been making our way through Finding Your Roots. It’s been enjoyable to watch. Though there are a few people whom I wish they would never have as guests as they do not deserve any attempt at humanization; utter monsters like Bill O’Reilly, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio. I have decreed we skip the episode with the latter two also featuring Tulsi. Ugh. Horrid people. 
    Still can’t get myself to where I can read.
    Listening to various people either as those Essential Mix sessions or via Apple Music. Haven’t found anything new that I just can’t get over. Closest might be Machinedrum. I like his beats. The newest Essential Mix is the Gospel House Choir and Friends- think full Gospel Choir but with House music DJs laying beats in the background. It’s damn cool. And very unique. 
    Hope you all are well. Stay safe and sassy. Smooches!

    • Nice to see you, as always!

    • Professor Gates clearly has a much better capacity for interacting with shitheads than I do.

      • Indeed. 
        The episode with Ryan, Rubio, and Gabbard is from 2019! Even PBS feels they have to ‘both sides’ this shit. Fuck.

  12. Been watching this youtube channel.  The math problems can be hard, but not as much as I found them to be when I was a kid.  I find it entertaining (a vision of my dad from 35 years ago is laughing at me.)  Also keeps me sharp and thinking.

    Also watched this one.  I like this guy’s approach to investing/saving.  More for the YOLO crowd, but also helps us older folks.  Also managing money.  If I had a teen I would be force feeding her/him these videos to prepare them for adulthood.

  13. also just watched…and by just i mean..literally just watched 

    that…was not an easy watch
    sometimes in all my finger pointing at the us of a i forget we are no better here
    really…we are one 2nd amendment away from being the same damn place
    that one little difference sure makes for a different body count tho

  14. Ohh! I loved WandaVision. In general, I think having the runway to take MCU characters into a tv show format, even with limited number of episodes, really provides time for a lot of nuance and thought that the movies can’t. Falcon and the Winter Soldier was also great.

    WandaVision took a few episodes for me to really get into, probably because I was kinda meh on those old TV shows so I couldn’t figure out if I liked that it was campy or not at first. No spoilers from me. 🙂 

  15. I’m thinking of trying to figure out how to stream Disney+ (or whatever it is…), when I run out of things to watch on Amazon Prime Video (currently on The Expanse, which I really like).  I rather like the MCU stuff, and comic-book movies in general.  former comic book geek, I just can’t keep up with the volume of comics now, but I will often get graphic novels from the library.  I’ll be the first to admit that the MCU can be a bit formulaic and such, but they throw in a lot of easter-eggs and such for the old comic book fans, which is kinda cool, while still making it accessible to people completely unfamiliar with the comics.  I also think Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game were amazing in a… technical? sense – like how many movies they tied together, how many major name actors/actresses they had in a single movie, all the little call-outs to the previous movies, etc.
    I really liked The Martian, and thought Artemis was okay, but felt there was a lot of Ayn Rand/Libertarian undertones in that, so I haven’t decided if I’m going to put Project Hail Mary on my hold list yet.  As it is, with the bicycle commute, I’m not reading anywhere near as much as I did when I took public transit, so I’m having trouble keeping up with the authors I really like.
    I haven’t listened to anything new music-wise in a while.  But, both Sleater-Kinney and Garbage have new albums coming out in June, and I think CA is supposed to reopen, so I’ll likely hit up Amoeba records in Berkeley (if they survived), and go buy a bunch of CDs when that happens (I think L7 also put out an album recently?)

  16. Reading The Patient Assassin, and it is excellent thus far. I am half-way through and will be done shortly. Highly recommended for any non-fiction likers.

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