Saturday Morning Brain Drain [8/5/21]

A Place To Let It All Out

Image via The Playlist

What I watched: The Truth Seekers, a fun ghost hunting romp starring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg of Sean of the Dead fame. Sadly, our Amazon overlords did not renew for season two (boo, hiss). You can still the enjoy this one and only season, it is amusing and has a few twists. I laughed aloud a few times; I am hardly ever that amused.

What I read: Lover Unveiled (The Black Dagger Brotherhood series Book 19) by J.R. Ward. These books are all of a type, “good” vampires with a secret protective group, snotty rich people called the glymera, a specific religion, and some very strong world building. One of the fun quirks is the spelling of names (all of which are violent-ish) such as Rhage, Sahvage, etc.  I also read The Galaxy, and the Ground Within: A Novel (Wayfarers Book 4) by Becky Chambers, set in her Hugo Award-winning universe of the Galactic Commons. This is the last book in the series, and I am sad for it to end. She combines humor with positioning all of the challenges, wars, and attempts for connection found on Earth at a galactic and alien level. This last book delves into the personalities of a group of aliens stranded at a small waystation. Start with book one, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (first published via Kickstarter) and work your way through them – they are easy, engaging reads.

What I listened to this week: Ran Nir, a founding member of Asaf Avidan and the Mojos and LFNT, who is now solo. Here is a newer single from 2020, I Am with You Now (and oh, heavens, do I wish that I could dance like that):

And Obsession from the eponymous 2019 album:

And Summer Rain:

So, dearest DeadSplinterites, are you feeling all right? Doing okay? What have you watched, read, or listened to? Do you have any plans, fun or otherwise, for the weekend? Please stop in, darling ones, and let us know what is up with you! And like the song says, “Are you with it? I am with you now!”

About Elliecoo 474 Articles
Four dogs, one partner. The dogs win.


  1. Best thing I watched all week was the Desus and Mero interview with Yo Yo Ma. So nice I watched it twice. Highly recommend.

  2. Watched:  Mrs. Butcher and I watched “Moonstruck” in honor of the late Olympia Dukakis.  It’s one of Mrs. Butcher’s top five movies and it is really funny and well done.  It’s really one of the very few romantic comedies that is worth watching because it doesn’t follow that super-fucking-tired formula of “boy meets girl; boy and girl fall in love and hijinks ensure; boy and girl break up over minor misunderstanding; boy and girl get back together at the end.”  I haven’t seen a romantic comedy in the last 30 years that didn’t follow that formula, and it baffles me as to why people spend money on watching them when they know exactly what is going to happen from one scene to the next even if they haven’t seen the movie before.  Certainly, not a damned one of those other films have scenes like this one:

    or this one:

    or this one:

    Because none of those other movies ask their audiences to think.  Where was I?  Oh, right…

    What I read:  “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clarke.  I’m on a kick to read some of the books that I read when I was a kid and didn’t really understand.  I had read the “2001” series a couple of years ago and really enjoyed them a lot more.  “Childhood’s End” is a good book, although I read the edition that Clarke re-wrote the first chapter for in the ’90’s.  I, for one, would be perfectly happy if our Alien Overlords (which I think the phrase originated in this book) came to take over and improve everyone’s quality of life–if for no other reason than to watch all of the right wingers sputter with impotent rage over how all those dirty poors aren’t poor anymore because all of the military budgets have been eliminated.

    What I listened to:  Seems Jimmie Vaughan released a few extra tracks on his “Baby Please Come Home” CD which came out last year:


    • I have never seen Moonstruck. Thank you for the clips (scurries away to add to watch list).

      • OMG – you need to watch Moonstruck. I agree with butcher – it is the pinnacle of rom com’s . 

  3. I haven’t read anything, I’m too busy playing Pokemon Snap. Cue myo calling me a nerd.

    I watched Hitler’s Circle of Evil on Netfix. My daughter realized how little she knew about WW2 and has been reading and watching docs about it. I’m watching so we can talk about it. She was shocked at the parallels to today’s political climate. I’m alarmed at the number of people who have forgotten this stuff.

    I’m listening to the new Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Matt Sweeney record Superwolves

    Make Worry For Me




    • @Hannibal, ohhh I like that, and Bonnie Prince Billy is new to me, thank you! Superwolves is now on my Spotify 2021 playlist (152 hours of music, I probably should start culling it a bit).

  4. The latest Murderbot book is out and made its way into my house, but I am sure I will be the last to read it.

    • I have the first book, All Systems Red, and have not yet read it. Do you recommend the series? blue dogcollar

      • I’ve read them all. They’re huge fun and really well done.  Martha Wells is a sneaky smart writer and she brings up lots of interesting ideas in offhand ways that don’t stop the flow of action.

        • Oh, I love sneaky smart!

  5. Watched: the first two episodes of “Pose” off my dvr. I’m going to miss this show. The way it handles the AIDS crisis is so raw. 
    Reading, still: “SevenEves” the book is like 1000 pages long. It is also exceedingly detailed on technical information and i find myself skimming whole sections, but I’m still interested in the story/people. I also got far enough along to figure out how to pronounce the title (seven eves, it is heavily stylized on the cover and looks like seve neves, which what).

    • @PumpkinSpies, I looked for more info and it says “a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years“. Sounds like it is right is my wheelhouse – please let me know if you feel that it was worth the time/1,000 pages when you are finished reading?

      • @Elliecoo I’m about 2/3 of the way thru and I haven’t given up on it! It was on the best seller list a few yrs ago but I wasn’t able to read anything too apocalyptic during the last administration for mental health reasons. I’m kinda surprised they haven’t turned it into a movie trilogy yet.

      • …it’s a neal stephenson book…I don’t know that I’d say it was one of his best but it’s not so bad I’d try to put anyone off reading it or anything…I mostly like his stuff but it can be a bit of a mixed bag…I have friends who loved his “baroque cycle” series but I found them kind of annoyingly full of affectations & I’d argue they aren’t “all that”…but then I’m not a fan of putting words in the mouths of actual historical people as a rule…& I might quibble with some of his conceptions/explanations of how some of the stuff he trots out actually informs the modern world…on the other hand I enjoyed crytonomicon & anathem which some of those same friends weren’t so keen on

        …we all agree that the diamond age & snow crash are pretty great, though…snow crash is probably his best…or at least the one I found the most enjoyable read & I think the only one I’ve read more than once?

  6. Srap Tasmaner and Sonic Taxlaw

    • @lochaber, what are those two items, please?

      • ack, my memory is bad, that should have been Sonar Taxlaw…
        Hope it isn’t spoilery, but character names from the end of the book.

  7. currently not watching or reading anything…buuuut come pay day the long way to a small angry planet will be getting ordered
    as will red rising as it looks promising…thank @Elliecoo @HoneySmacks and @HammerZeitgeist for the recs 🙂
    aaaaaand listening toooooooo……robert finley

    ill be ordering that album when it comes out near payday too….probably gift it to me mum as i do all my listening digitally nowadays…but thats besides the point…its a fantastic sounding album and i must order it

    • @farscythe, I do hope that you enjoy the books. And Robert Finley is always a grand choice!

    • I didn’t know he had a new album out.  Thanks for the heads up!

  8. I started a Farscape rewatch – I forgot how much I love that show. I’m reading a book about the Mitford Sisters – The Six by Laura Thompson. And, I just added  The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet to my iPad – so thanks @ellicoo!
    We’re at the lake this weekend – one of the fam is a sun worshipper – so I’m taking the time to work on the family tree on ancestry.

    • @Lymond, I have never watched Farscape – but I should. The ancestry sounds fun – how far back have you gone?

      • On my dad’s side – I’ve gotten all the way back to the original immigrants from the motherland of England – they came to the US sometime between 1636 and 1639. On my mom’s side – I’ve gotten back to the 1700’s – but haven’t gotten to the original immigrant yet. It’s quite addictive.

        • Members of my family have done this type of thing…my mother was impressed that I could claim DAR status through all four grandparents. I just had the 1874 marriage certificate of the woman for whom I am named framed. It has photos of the bride, groom, and minister; she appears to be about 15 or so. I  will be interested in how it goes on for you!

          • Thanks! My had mapped her side out to way back in Scotland and England – but since she passed away a couple of years ago – we haven’t been able to find what she did – and she did it all by hand researching. Ancestry makes it easy because you can basically steal other people’s research.

            • that should be my mom had mapped

              • …I know they’re belated & all but I figure on the one hand I’d offer some condolences

                …& on the other I somewhat know what you mean…more years ago than I care to remember my grandmother had a whole family tree made out on a giant sheet of graph paper…& given that was significantly pre-internet I honestly don’t know how she managed it?

                • Thanks @SplinterRIP – that’s really kind of you.
                  I think my mom had research that had been handed down through the family – but there are so many records to go through and not many of us live where our families lived anymore – if that makes sense. So, yay! Ancestry  – even though I think the Mormons use it so they can find more dead souls to baptize. 

  9. I’m about to start the 3rd Rivers of London book. Thanks to those here who recommended it! I’m really liking the series, so far… stayed up til 3am to finish book 2!

    • Score!!! I just love those books. He just published a one-off about Peter’s cousin and the talking foxes.

    • Book twins!
      Am currently reading Whispers Underground as well  🙂

  10. @SplinterRIP so start with Snow Crash, move on to Crytonomicon, then the Seven Eves after the final report here on DeadSplinter!

    • …they’re not connected…well that baroque cycle is…& it could be argued that crytonomicon connects to that even though it’s set after & was written before…but that has to do with a particular family name cropping up in all of those iirc

      …I might be tempted to save snow crash lest it make the others seem less enjoyable by comparison…sort of like if excession or the player of games were the first iain m banks books you read the other culture novels might not compare favorably even though they’re all pretty great?

      …also…if anyone hasn’t read iain m banks’ stuff & likes sci fi…read them…they’re great

      …be warned however, iain banks books are written by the same guy but aren’t sci fi…the wasp factory is pretty well known (& pretty dark…as is at least some of the sci fi) but stuff like the crow road is also well worth a read?

      • I really like Ian M. Banks stuff, both The Culture, and his non-sci-fi stuff.  I feel like his non-sci-fi stuff got a bit less “weird” as time went on?  Like, lots of disturbing stuff in Song of Stone, Canal Dreams, The Wasp Factory, etc., but Stonemouth and The Quarry much less so.

        • …true…although in many ways the crow road was an early-ish one with minimal weird

          …& isn’t there one where the protagonist’s name actually is weird…I want to say espedair street?

          • It’s been a few years since I’ve read any of them, I can’t remember much of the details anymore, just generalities…

            • …I could be wrong since it’s been a while for me, too…but I think that was the one that’s sort of about a band & that the main character seems to be called weird

              …whit was another one I thought was pretty good in the non-sci-fi line…girl who grew up in a cult escapes into the regular world & stuff?

              • I’m not remembering that one right now, but there are a few books of his I haven’t read yet, but one of these days I may track a copy down from a neighboring library…

      • @SplinterRIP I don’t know of Mr. Banks, but will add him to my must read list, thank you kindly!

    • Zodiac was pretty cool, but partially because I was working with a mass-spec at the time.
      I liked Snow Crash and Diamond Age, and their is some speculation that the two might be set in the same universe.
      I rather liked Reamde and Seveneves (both pretty long).
      Also liked The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. -cowritten with Nicole Galland, and had some pretty funny parts in it.
      The Fall; or Dodge in Hell was an okay read, but it felt like some libertarian tech-billionaire wankery.
      I don’t think I’ve yet read anything else by him.

      • …zodiac was fun…& reamde wasn’t bad as I recall…but I think I agree about the fall…& now I’m trying to remember if I’ve read the d.o.d.o. one?

        …still…having your main character be called hiro protagonist is just one of the many reasons I have a soft spot for snow crash

  11. I already spammed Meg with it over on the DOT, but it’s GOOD, so i’ma share it here, too😉💖
    Today’s the 4th anniversary of the time Zendaya & Tom Holland were on Lip Sync Battle–she did a Bruno Mars song, and he did Umbrella by Rihanna.

    The “rule” over on Twitter, as some of you may/may not know, is that “When THE Tom Holland Lip Sync Battle crosses one’s timeline, it must be watched, then re-shared!” 
    It’s basically Twitter’s version of a Chain Letter, but without curses, and simply bringing joy & smiles to those who enjoy it😉
    But since this is the anniversary of the show, there was a really cool “theater-geeky” article written, which covers a bunch of the “behind the scenes” stuff about the performance–and imo, it was a great read;
    Zendaya’s performance as Bruno Mars was EXCELLENT, but she was simply blown out of the water by Tom.
    As a former costumer, I got to see LOTS of really great (and some NOT great!) actors… the first time I ever saw that clip *was* over on Twitter, a few years after it came out, and it BLEW ME AWAY.
    Mostly because–having worked backstage at a repertory theater for a couple summers, I KNOW how much work can go into even a short performance like this.
    The fact that Tom NAILED everything about that performance–and did it in a serious way–not a “Ha Ha!! Look at ME!” way–he became the character he was playing, vs. in ANY way playing this for laughs–made me a TOTAL fan of his work.
    Because he is the rare kind of performer who can give up his own ego, and simply be a character. It was an impressive thing to see in an actor so (then!) young, and it’s ALSO a *rare* thing to see in both a young actor, and one who’s not someone who has played multiple “character actor” roles for years.
    Kid’s REALLY good at his craft, and VERY much a “whole package” artist–and the words of the folks he worked with PROVE it💖
    As for Music, not too much (LOTS of homework to get in, before Monday night!), but the show clip made me realize I’ve never actually *watched* Rihanna’s original video, so here’s that one, too;


    • What I love about his performance is that it’s not “hahahah I’m a dude in women’s clothing hahahhaha that’s the joke” – it’s an actual performance. 

      Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a similar high quality lip sync to Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation complete with learning the choreo!

      • Oooh, THANKS!
        I’ll check it out-he’s another performer I’ve adored for years😉

  12. Currently wrapping up Owls of the Eastern Ice, which is my third owl book of the year (sorry, I just end up following the recs attached to the books that I’ve previously read). This is probably the best one.
    American researcher with ties to Russia decides to do PhD work around the Blakiston’s fish owl, the largest of the owl species and relatively unstudied due to their inhabiting very uninhabited (with regard to humans) areas in Russia.
    The book is very well-written. The details about how he got the study going, and what it took to conduct research, are more fascinating than I would have expected. Highly recommended.

    • @Memeweaver, l love any owl because of the full-tilt head swivel.

  13. Also,this crossed my Twitter timelime, thanks to a tweet by @HamillHimself

    For anyone interested, it’ll do GOODand even if you *aren’t* a SW fan yourself, you could get one for a SW fan in your life, and let them know what the proceeds of the purchase went for😉


    • Also, if you DO want to get one (or more) of these for yourself or a Star Wars fan you know, I’d recommend ordering fairly soon–within the next couple days at most.
      When I put in my order a bout 3 hours ago, there were more than 900 available. When I checked back a couple minutes ago, they had 856. 

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