Saturday Morning Brain Drain [4/6/22]

Image via Screen Rant

What I Watched: The first half of season four of Stranger Things (the second part is coming in July). They focused on Eleven’s backstory, and how it affects present day Hawkins, as well as Hopper in the Russian gulag. Matt and Ross Duffer continue to offer just the right blend of horror, mystery, and comedy while excelling at time-period accurate sets and apparel. Also, there is a new character, a long-haired, stoner-dude, weirdly smart, bad boy with a heart of gold (who would have been my catnip back in the day @hannibal, re bad boys). There is a timely viewer warning before the first episode. That’s all I will say so as not to spoiler the show for DeadSplinterites.

Season Four Trailer

What I Read: With the long weekend, I was able to read all the books, including:

  • The Charli Cross Mystery Series, by Mary Stone. I liked this character better than those from her Winter Black and Autumn Trent series.
  • Sound of Darkness: A Novel (Krewe of Hunters Book 36) by Heather Graham. Formulaic, FBI/ghosts/mystery, an easy read if you like the genre.
  • A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher, as recommended by @honeysmacks. Thank you! I cannot resist a book with a sentient sourdough bread starter.
  • The Golden Plan: Psychic Solutions Mystery #2 by Patricia Rice. She does The School of Magic and The Magical Malcolms historical series; this is set in the present and references some of the family traits and names from the other series. A family of magic-skilled weirdos in a small southern town meets a straight lawyer and his armed services buddies to solve mysteries and protect a young girl with “indigo powers”.
  • The Dance of Love (The Book of Love 14) by Meara Platt. Again, formulaic, an easy read, historical romance with a bit of mystery. Excellent beach reading.

What I Listened To: Telefís with Jah Wobble – Falun Gong Dancer; Telquist – Light; The Districts – Cheap Regrets Edit; and School of X – Race for Caress.

Thank you for playing Brain Drain! How are you, darling DeadSplinterites? What’s up in your world? Do tell!

About Elliecoo 493 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. You know me so well @Elliecoo, I can’t resist a bad boy. I’m going to start S4 of Strangers Things tonight.

    Reading Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis I don’t really want to. As a VU fan I already know a lot about him but a friend dropped it off for me unsolicited and now I feel like I have to.

    Watched Pistol,  the Danny Boyle bio series about The Sex Pistols. It’s based on the Steve Jones autobiography Lonely Boy although Boyle took took some liberties for dramatic effect. All six episodes are available on Hulu, it’s a fun watch.

    The show reminded me of how brilliant John Lydon is so I’m listening to the first PiL.

    Public Image



  2. …I managed to catch up with stranger things but haven’t been in the right place to have access to strange new worlds so I think I’m a couple of episodes behind the curve on that one

    …started kenobi but haven’t got very far

    …but finally got around to starting killing eve which I entirely neglected when everyone else was telling me it was good…so behind the curve seems to be pretty much my speed this week?

  3. On Stranger Things (No Spoilers, but opinions that may upset photosensitive viewers)


    I am sorry to say I thouht this batch of Stranger Things felt pretty padded. Parts of it were great, but the episode lengths are long and I felt like there was far too much being set up or explained by characters talking and talking about things while walking or standing in a lab instead of doing things.

    There were action scenes that also felt unnecessarily drawn out too. I’m guessing the aim was building tension  but I tended to just feel annoyed after a point.

  4. What I watched:  The World’s Fastest Indian, a 2005 movie starring Anthony Hopkins about Burt Munro, the 68-year-old New Zealander who set the world landspeed record on a 47-year-old Indian motorcycle.  It was…fine.  The plot is a bit slow, but the acting is good, and the story is certainly interesting.  If anything, it’s a story about how one old dude was able to work his way through a slew of logistical problems which would have sent me running to find the nearest blowtorch and gasoline can.

    What I’m reading:  I’m still slogging through that goddamned tome because, like Hannibal, I feel like I have to.

    What I listened to:  Our latest stop on the best engineered albums of all time is The Nightfly by former Steely Dan frontman, Donald Fagen.  Engineered by Roger Nichols, this album is essentially a Steely Dan record without Walter Becker.  This is one of the early crop of fully digitally recorded albums, which presented everyone involved with issues they’d never had to deal with before.  Nichols took classes at 3M to learn how to record on digital tape and how to maintain the machine which had notoriously poor recording head alignment.  Nichols also built a second generation Wendell drum machine (his first was for the recording of Gaucho, previously mentioned) which plugged directly into the 32-track tape recorder so there was no degradation in sound.  Any new recording technology tends to result in people playing with the new toy to try and find its limits, which–when combined with Fagen’s perfectionist tendencies–stretched out the recording of this album over 8 months.  They also ran into other issues like the smell of a dead rat that they couldn’t find until they tore the entire studio apart.  Plus, it took several tries for the CD release because the label kept using 3rd and 4th generation masters–a problem that was only discovered when Stevie Wonder called Roger Nichols to let him know that his copy of the album “sounded funny.”  However, the album was met with solid commercial performance and to this day is a favorite reference album for the audiophile set.


  5. Watched Obi Wan – seems fine – don’t know what is considered a spoiler but will say that one of the wee actors is exactly like the adult they become – which is making the show quite enjoyable to watch.

  6. So, as mentioned in this morning’s DOT, Better Half is on a “boys’ weekend” (neither his nor my descriptor of it; the youngest boy in the rental house is BH, who is in his late 50s, but don’t tell him I told you) out on Fire Island. These are cronies he, and unfortunately (except for one), I have known for a good long while. As an example, we spent New Year’s 2000 on one of the couple’s roof deck and–well, never mind.

    I’ve been working away here in the Casa Encantada, freelance projects coming in left, right, and center, but since Im not locked into a Shanghai sweatshop I give myself breaks and thought, “speaking of Fire Island, isn’t Bowen Yang in a movie called ‘Fire Island‘?” So I watched that. And then I followed with two other gay rom-coms.

    Here I will introduce two scales of measurement. The first is, “how gorgeous mosaic (GM) is it?” This is named for the late NYC Mayor David Dinkins, who described New York that way during his successful campaign. Sadly, his mayoralty was marked by race and culture wars, he was denied a second term, and we got Rudy Giuliani. For two terms.

    The second is the “Will & Grace” (W&G) index: “on a scale of 1 to 10, and this is like golf, how likely are you to meet a gay person who is so obviously not gay (Will) or so very, very “gay” (Jack)?” The higher the score the bigger the loser. W&G is a 10, hence the name.

    Fire Island: GM: 8/10. Two groups meet on Fire Island. The first group/main cast is 10+; the second is about a 1. W&G: same, 8/10. Well, 2.5 for the second group, if you count two devious sub-plot characters from the second group. But 10 again for a third guy, who’s in there for no discernible reason.

    Then I was shuffled along to “The Perfect Wedding.” In it, a guy is going to spend Christmas with and help plan the wedding of his best friend and her family, with the twist that he dated her brother, and the relationship ended badly. So, as one does, he recruited another best friend, whom he also used to date, to act as his boyfriend.

    GM: Off the charts. Dad suffers from Alzheimer’s. The two kids are adopted. The daughter getting married is Black. The son, whom the invitee previously dated, is a recovering alcoholic. The pretend boyfriend is partially deaf and makes a living interpreting ASL. Although maybe I should adjust this because only the daughter getting married is Black. Even her fiancé has a little Sturmfront thing going on. And this is supposed to take place in Florida. W&G: 9/10. I didn’t believe any of them were gay, except maybe for the actor playing the deaf friend, but that role could easily have been transformed into “child-like innocent entering a world he does not understand.”

    But then luckily along came “Happiest Season.” This was the best of all three of them, thanks mostly to the cast. A Lesbian spontaneously invites her partner to join her at the family home for Christmas except, oops, she’s not out to her family, and her father is in the heat of a political campaign. Look at that cast list. What’s not to love?

    GM: 1. Trudie Campbell from “Mad Men” is married to a Black guy and they have two biracial children, so there’s that. W&G score: 1, and would have been a perfect zero, except David Rose from “Schitt’s Creek” is playing, essentially, David Rose from “Schitt’s Creek”. But the Lesbian characters are phenomenal and are like most of the Lesbians we know.

    So there you have it. I should confess that I love rom-coms and teared up several times watching all three of these. And if I’m really being honest, I have watched this movie three or four times. And this one, also about three or four times.

    • My friend’s family just had to sell their Fire Island house that they’ve had since 1974. Whatever the ‘next’ major weather event is (flooding, hurricane) was going to take the house out so they wanted to get what they could for now, which was about $800K.


  7. i havent watched or read anything much….im currently on a mission to find the dolph lundgren punisher movie

    it is glorious…i mean its terrible….but i was like 7 when it came out and it inspired one of my favourite songs

    least i figure it must have….as the disc version i have has a punisher monologue before the song starts

  8. Three episides into “The Deep End” which is a documentary about a cult done by fucking FreeForm channel which I thought was slightly older tween/teen Disney! Interesting. I recommend it.

    Also watched “We Feed People” the NatGeo/Disney+ documentary about World Central Kitchen. Very very good, definitely recommend.

  9. Watching Covert Affairs.  I need to watch a few more episodes before I pass judgement but it has potential.

    I’m listening to the Slackers…

    Still reading A Modern Man:  The Best of George Carlin

    Haven’t had too much reading time & kind of saving this for our east coast trip in a few weeks.  Will report back later on that.


  10. I’m so glad you liked A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking! I had a feeling that one would be right up your alley. I listened to another of T. Kingfisher’s books, The Seventh Bride, this week, and it was just as good. Kind of a Bluebeard-meets-sorcery deal… creepy but interesting.

    Other books this week – The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss.

    Avalon: The Return of King Arthur by Stephen Lawhead. It’s the last book of the Pendragon Cycle, and it’s the best one, imho. I’ve read this one a couple of times, but I still love it.

    The Second Rebel by Linden A. Lewis. Book 2 of The First Sister trilogy, it’s a “space opera” set in a far distant future. The first book was really good, this one was good AND intense.

    Currently reading – A Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World by Amy Stanley. I started this one a few weeks ago but the library reclaimed it and I had to wait for it to come back around to me. Very interesting (but very dense) book about a woman named Tsuneno in 1830’s and ’40’s Japan.

    Also currently reading Empire by Steven Saylor (also a very dense book). Ancient Rome is fascinating, and Saylor’s writing is very detailed and very good.

  11. Thanks for mentioning The Second Rebel! I read The First Sister a while ago and forgot about the series. I looked them up and the series is compared to The Expanse and Red Rising… I dunno if I would go that far.

  12. now im watching the missus absolutely brutalize some potty mouthed 12 year olds in cod

    shes also using some very inventive obscenities in her best girly voice over the mic


    its fucking hilarious

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