ey i'm blogging here a blog by alex daily

From the Starkzone to the Wallplace

(Game of Thrones 1×03: “Lord Snow”)

1 On allegiances

Oh, Sean Bean’s folks and the Lannisters are separate things. Okay, okay, let’s write some of this out.

Ned Stark and the Starks in the, I wanna say, North. Winterfell? This is where Ned lives, though he’s out of town right now. Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran are some of his kids, the latter is in bed, awake. Jon Snow is one of these guys, but a bastard, and attached to the Night’s Watch. Mrs Sean Bean is probably from some other grouping, but fuck knows who.

The Lannisters, then, obviously, in King’s Landing. Jaime and Cersei. Tyrion is part of this but also his own thing, also currently chilling at the Night’s Watch. Jaime is the one who chucked Bran out the window, that’ll probably come back to bite him in his naked ass. Cersei is Mrs King Robert, but also in a long-term incestuous thing with Jaime. Probably no protection from pregnancy in this world, so I assume Joffrey etc. are theirs, and that Robert doesn’t know. Lots of space for conflict here.

Daenerys and Jason Momoa and the rest of the Dothraki are their own thing. Ser Jorah is hanging out with them right now, as a sort of ambassador type figure connected to the… Starks? and so there’s a normal adult Daenerys can talk to who isn’t a grunting beefman. I think Ser Jorah is probably up to something. Daenerys’ brother seems like he’s probably not in season three, if you know what I mean.

If you’re in the Night’s Watch you’re very loyal to the Night’s Watch, but if you’re not you’re more like, wow, what a bunch of weirdoes in the Night’s Watch.

2 On places

I also haven’t really thought about geography yet, but the Starkzone is all autumnal, while Jamie’s place has palm trees. (It’s weird seeing the “Winter is coming.” guy next to a palm tree, I’m sorry.) The Wallzone is obviously where winter already is. Daenerys and the Dothraki are bare-shouldered, probably pretty warm there, too. Are these places very far away from each other? How far would I have to travel from my 5 celsius to see people in short sleeves?

I should pay more attention to the title sequence.

3 On contrasts

Arya is taught to fight as if it’s a form of dance, the Knight’s dance — when every death we’ve seen has been brutal, grotesque, awful. There’s only so much dancing you can do when somebody comes at you with a great big thing of metal that’ll cut you in half. Ned realises this, too.

4 On fantasy without fantasy

“I don’t believe that giants and ghouls and White Walkers are lurking beyond the Wall.”

You can tell which of those we’re meant to care about from which one the subtitles capitalise. No way are we ever seeing giants or ghouls.

Things That Are Coming

  1. Winter, still.
  2. A war of some kind.
  3. Bran’s testimony?
  4. White Walkers? Is this the same as winter? Are they just the friendly face of Father Winter?

On mail

Alright, I’ve had a day.

So I bought a new chair. Well, my parents bought it for me, because it’s my birthday soon, and my chair has not been getting less creaky, it has felt like it could break in half for a while, good useful gift that I’ll get a lot of daily use out of for years. Happy birthday to me.1Well, on the 17th.

Ordered it online, because none of us felt like shoving it into a car and all that hassle, picked a delivery window when I knew I’d be home. That was yesterday, the morning of the fifth, I was home the whole time. It did briefly announce it would show up today instead, right while I’d be at the cinema, but that only lasted about an hour. A little weird, not a problem. And I am, indeed, home the whole time. And then the delivery window ends, I check the mail box, and discover the delivery person has missed me. Funny way to find out I wasn’t home at all.

It is at this point that I start to seriously consider my previously announced intention to destroy and eat the next mail van I see.

Anyway, now I’ve got to get this 22kg box from a supermarket a kilometre from my house. Which is a lot more hassle than it would’ve been with the car, for anyone. Realise that might be a lot for me on my own, so I ask the Brother, who lives 300 metres away from me.2Close enough that we can juuuust about wave at and see each other if I go up the roof. He’s happy to help, and leaving a work a little early, anyway, so we go that same afternoon.

The Plan: We take my bike, pop the box on top of the bike, two pairs of hands should get it home. Simple. We’re Dutch, we could solve a murder with a bike and two pairs of hands, and we could do it without the hands if we needed to.

Halfway to the supermarket, my bike announces its plan to decouple from three of the spokes on my back wheel. Clang clang clang. Thunk, thud. Three loose at once, damn. The metal on the wheel has bad cracks in it. That’s gonna mean a new wheel, baby. Sigh. Oh well. It’s a 10-year old bike, it’s a miracle it’s served me this well this long. I’ll take it to the guy after I come home.

Get to the store, pick up the package. Well, two packages, they had a book for me, too. Coincidence. We try a few different angles, get it on the bike, standing up on the, what do you call that, the pakjesdrager, literally the “package carrier,” the metal shelf thing over the back wheel. A package carrier carrying a package. This works fine, almost exactly like I’d expected.

It is at this point that I’d like to talk about the ways in which you’re wondering how this is gonna go wrong. Maybe the back wheel collapses. Maybe the box falls off. Maybe the whole bike just explodes. Maybe– No. It goes wrong in none of these ways. The box is heavy, it’s a bit of a walk with that kind of weight, but we know what we’re doing. Two hands on the bike, two hands on the box. We get it home. I thank the Brother profusely, and offer to buy Subway tomorrow, before the movie.

Once I get the box in the hallway, I suddenly have a thought. I ask the Brother, hey, if I go inside, can you do this real quick? I do, he does. The thing that should happen… doesn’t.

There’s a beat, like a silent penultimate panel in a comic strip that overuses those.

My doorbell doesn’t work.


  • 1
    Well, on the 17th.
  • 2
    Close enough that we can juuuust about wave at and see each other if I go up the roof.

On blogging (II)

The oldest revision of this post is dated 21 September, 2023, and I think I must’ve deleted four or five different versions of it between then and now. In its first iteration, it was about, what have we learned from blogging for a month, from being off the old web forum for a little? What has changed about how I think, how I exist in the world? In a later iteration, I go through a bunch of posts and go, what worked, what didn’t? I posted none of these, obviously. They all felt annoying.

5 days into 2024, what I think each of these iterations have in common is what I’m trying to say with them. So let’s just say it without structure, without format: To a tee, every single revision of this post is trying to say, hey, I’m… better off.

In the end, the basic truth of it is, the fact at hand, it’s, with that one door closed and this one opened? I’m happier. Six months in, I like myself more, I like the shape of my life better, I like the sound of the two dozen audio tracks playing constantly in my head a lot better, than I did a year ago.

That’s all I wanted to say. Happy new year.

On allying with one of many families in a war-torn medieval land

Game of Thrones 1×02: “The Kingsroad”


“Dear brother, there are times you make me wonder whose side you’re on.”

Let’s think about sides for a moment. A lot of this kind of story hangs on whose side everyone is or isn’t on, because they all have complicated allegiances and loyalties, and they love to make snide remarks that suggest or imply those might change, or that they might have secret ones. So much said, so much unsaid. Even bonds of the heart or blood aren’t sacred if the right advantage comes along to draw one to another allegiance.

I couldn’t rattle off these allegiances to you off the top of my head right now, that’s not how my brain works. I assume Lannisters are with Lannisters, Starks with Starks, that the Night Watch will typically take priority, etc.

This may be a big part of why I found this hard to get into way back when I last tried, all those social rules — but it should be much easier to relate to now that I’ve been on Mastodon for nearly a decade.


“There’s a war coming, Ned. I don’t know when, I don’t know who we’ll be fighting, but it’s coming.”

Let’s keep track of some arrows shot that are in the air, some things that are meant to be coming.

  1. Winter — already at the Wall, but approaching places that aren’t usually like that.
  2. A war — this seems inevitable regardless of current affairs, because what is a story like this if there’s not a war to deal with.
  3. Bran, out of his coma.
  4. White Walkers?
  5. All of these people having all of this graphic sex, hopefully?


“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”

Tyrion to Game of Thrones as Sawyer was to LOST — the jester, the understander, the knower, the guy who speaks the truths others aren’t socially allowed to, and who is happy to throw himself into a fight if need be. What are the odds he’ll similarly come out somewhat on top, having suffered losses but better for it in the end?


“In the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai, they say there are fields of ghost grass with stalks as pale as milk that glow in the night. Murders all other grass.”

By whatever dead god they worship, even the fucking grass is no fun allowed.

What are your pinned tabs? Here’s mine.

Cucumber season in blogland. Or, well, lots of stuff I want to write about but that I can’t find the time or the words to, you know, write about. Let’s do a classic “what’s on your keyring” question.

As of 2 January, 2024, these are my pinned tabs. I use Opera on macOS.

  • 🫑 Piperka. The webcomic bookmarking service I’ve used for… half my life, I think. Together with its bookmarklet, first in my bookmarks bar, Piperka is how I read webcomics. Real second brain stuff for me. Here’s everything I read.
  • ♟️ BrainKing. I play a lot of board games online, these days mostly Backgammon (and several variants like Plakoto) and Dice Chess. My username is AlexDaily — feel free to invite me to some games.
  • 💬 Discord. A recent addition. I don’t really use Discord, but DMs with a friend had to go somewhere after I quit Twitter. This is essentially the slot where TweetDeck used to live.
  • 🐘 Mastodon. My own instance, Beep Boop One. Advanced web interface, always. Follow me on there if you don’t already.
  • 🎬 Letterboxd. An integral part of how I watch movies, another real second brain service for me.
  • 🪐 Cal’s forum The Planet.
  • ✍️ This blog’s admin panel.
  • 📺 The TV Calendar. More second brain stuff. Genuinely, if it’s not on here, I lose track of it and forget it exists.

A temporary addition as of last week is Paul Gadzikowski’s The Hero of Three Faces, which was due a reread — I’d do it through Piperka, but Piperka tracks Three Faces in production order, not chronological.

What are your pinned tabs? What can’t you do without in your browser? What services are second brain for you? Why not blog the answer yourself, or leave it in the comments?

On the Planet of the Blog

Just a quick little note to formally announce what was essentially soft launched a few weeks ago: I’ve started a new, separate blog called Planet of the Blog that’s a Doctor Who group blog for the modren modern era.1Can you believe nothing else on the internet seems to be called “Planet of the Blog”?

The vast majority of my own Doctor Who writing will appear on Planet of the Blog going forward. Already exclusive to it are Arc Watch for The Church on Ruby Road, and a Doctor Who style guide for the future that literally nobody will agree with me about. No specific promises for the future, but it’s Doctor Who — I’ll be thinking and writing about this show for the rest of my life.

But it’s not just where my writing about Doctor Who will go, because it’s a group blog — already up there is Kurt’s argument that the Futurama people should sue the 60th anniversary specials have a lot in common with the 2007-09 Futurama movies.

As far as I’m concerned, the “group” in “group blog” is pretty broad, and pretty undefined right now — if we know each other, if we’re mutuals, etc., I’m probably happy to run something you’ve written about Doctor Who, and if we’re friends, (I see this as a don’t ask, I’ll offer, type of thing) I’ll just set you up with an account so you can just post whatever you want without running it past me. I want this to be like Peter Davison’s face — an open, friendly, pleasant thing.

  • 1
    Can you believe nothing else on the internet seems to be called “Planet of the Blog”?

fantasy without fantasy

(Game of Thrones 1×01: “Winter is Coming”)

Y’all hear about this Game of Thrones thing?

1 Autumn

“Winter is coming,” we’re told, twice, but we open on snow and ice. Boy, y’all really goofed it there, HBO, winter is already here! I understand, from pop cultural osmosis, that the land continent? planet? of Westeros has what is by our standards an unusual relationship with the seasons. People in this world, I’m sure I will soon find out, have unusual relationships to lots of things, including their own heads, their siblings…

The idea of winter is rich with potential for metaphor — everything freezing, stopping, dying, before the sun returns and thaws everything out, bringing life back. They should do something with that.

2 Spring

I’ve been here before. This having been the cultural juggernaut that it was, of course I tried to watch this, first when it first aired — didn’t really connect with it, made it maybe ten minutes — and then again once it had become that juggernaut — I made it… eight episodes, I wanna say?

What didn’t I like about it, and why am I trying again now? Well, I always hate missing a popular bus, but what I saw from my initial glance as it drove past me was a depressing world full of sad shit and boring fights, and riding along for eight episodes only confirmed that feeling. Watching this now, I suspect the reputation this show has for unnecessary explicitness1Look, what is “unnecessary,” right? is probably earned. But I’m older, and my tastes have matured. Maybe I can get into this now.

I only finally read Achewood last year, you know.

3 Autumn

Obviously this is going certain places. Uninterested in the show until now, I never made a point of avoiding spoilers, and I know the big one from the first season because I, well, I watched that episode, I’ve heard something about a wedding, and I know broadly speaking that once they run out of book they struggle to maintain a stable road under this particular car. There is, as far as I can tell from where I stand, no show that quite crashes and burns like this one.

But here the inciting incidents are simple — a report from the North, and at home a man is dead. I’m sure the fallout of these matters will be dealt with swiftly and effectively.

4 Winter

Ultimately, Game of Thrones is fantasy without fantasy. It’s fantasy for people who think laughter who should go back to where it came from.2Comedy clubs in basements. Everything light and fun has been stripped away. Where something like Wonka is magic for the sheer sake of whimsy, this is the opposite — it’s a fantastical world that can only imagine violence and viscera, filth and fucking, politics and pain. A Dothraki wedding is a funeral. In Westeros, people only smile when they conquer, when they scheme, when they sentence, when they kill.

All magic that remains here is out to hurt you.

  • 1
    Look, what is “unnecessary,” right?
  • 2
    Comedy clubs in basements.

Arc Watch: Doctor Who: “The Giggle”

Future Arc Watch posts, and most of my other Doctor Who blogging, will appear instead on my new dedicated Doctor Who group blog Planet of the Blog. This post and selected previous Doctor Who blogging are already on there — go follow it like you do this blog.

We take some money to the bank, but several bills are still left unpaid.


  • Why The Long Face: We’ve said goodbye to the Final Tennant incarnation, and Donna’s suggestion that the face coming back and immediately finding her was because of Dr Who’s deep-rooted need “to come home” feels right and true to me, even if some details never quite get ironed out. Resolved.
  • Still Figuring It Out: The Final Tennant incarnation’s personality is clearly also a thread we can set aside, because, well, one, it’s really the same question as “why did the face come back,” and two, clearly we’re never gonna deal with it again, because that story is over. Resolved.
    My guess that the Gatwa incarnation’s personality was shining through has clearly been disproven — there was no trickery, the Final Tennant was simply a totally legitimate incarnation — but clearly the Gatwa incarnation’s personality is gonna be building on Final Tennant’s increased emotional openness. Love it.
  • Couldn’t Keep It In: Donna’s exposure to Dr Who’s mind and memories comes to a head with her using it simply to accurately back up the feeling that the time has come for Dr Who to take a break, and he does so. Resolved.

The World Around Us

  • UNified Intelligence and Skyscraper-Building Taskforce: If Dr Who accepts the Vlinx, the Zeedex, Mel’s lift off the Zingo, so must we, but it’s quite a lot, isn’t it. I, too, remember when this organisation was secret. Companions are offered high-paying jobs at least in part on the basis of who they are to Dr Who, though Donna does have to show off her Mad Skillz first.
  • In Flux and It’s About Timeless get another round of shoutouts. The Toymaker references the Flux as part of a meticulous stage performance on the subject of the death and destruction Dr Who leaves in their wake. Later, he says “I made a jigsaw out of your history. Did you like it?” suggesting he’s either responsible for or at least taking credit for Dr Who’s messy history and the recent revelations about the Timeless Child.
    The Flux is still a likely candidate for being “the new Time War.” Even if, after the Final Tennant incarnation, Dr Who no longer carries the trauma of it with them the way they did that of the Time War, it’s a good, cheap motivation for antagonists, and an interesting new flavour for the universe — the actual narrative effect of the Time War was fairly limited to large military forces like the Sontarans, and to groups with access to time travel, we never really felt it the way you’d imagine “half the universe has been destroyed” might be felt. Curious to see how the Flux is handled in the 2024 series.

Backseat Stories

  • The Boss Is Not Rhetorical: Clearly the One Who Waits and the Toymaker’s legions are the same story as the Boss, clearly this is setup for a larger wave of antagonists in the 2024 series and beyond. All of this is only maybe two or three steps above Bad Wolf-ing, but still, it’s an arc, something to look for.
  • Guardians of the Playground and Black Cats and Ladders at the Edge: The universe is defined as not just being subject to the rules of order and chaos but the rules of play, too. I wonder what all those gods we’re thinking about now make of the reduced size of the universe.
    We get direct shoutouts to the Gods of Ragnarok (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy,) to the Guardians of Time and Space (presumably the White and Black Guardians from the 1978-79 and 1983 seasons,) and the line “I gambled with God and made him a jack-in-the-box,” and then the revelation that the Master is trapped in the Toymaker’s gold tooth. Does the Toymaker consider the Master up there with those other entities?
    Being a science-fiction show, of course none of these entities are gods — but a god is simply the only thing we can call somebody — something — with an amount of power traditionally only described by mythology.
    Invoking a superstition slash game at the edge of the universe is allegedly what let the Toymaker in, but it sets a stage eager for gods and goblins, magic and myth.

The Other Threads

  • The Pretenders: In addition to the previous two week’s big beats on this theme: The Toymaker appropriates German and French culture etc. like he did Chinese culture in The Celestial Toymaker. We all have internalised biases and bigotries, but who we are is what we let come out, the Giggle robbing us of that identity. Evil embedded in puppets embedded in all television, the thing we love being a cover for hatred. In the end, Dr Who gets to stop pretending to be okay. The line is never drawn this explicitly between them, but the Toymaker and Rose Noble, toymaker.
  • The Mavity of the Situation: No “mavity,” but there’s still a thread here of meddling in time and getting away with it — if all of the history of television had the Giggle in it, what might removing it retroactively do?

On the docket

  • No updates on the state of Gallifrey (The State of the Home Planet) or Rose’s toy-buyer (Gonkage).

Arc Watch: Doctor Who: “Wild Blue Yonder”

I love a bottle episode, I love a little creepy horror one. Is that good for Arc Watch? No. Low on arc stuff this week, I have no reason to believe the Not-things are anything but one-offs, but there’s still loads of stuff here. I clearly just needed time to get back into the swing of things.

The Bigger Picture

  • In Flux and It’s About Timeless: We pick up some of the detritus of the Chibnall era with an acknowledgement that, one, a significant part of the universe was destroyed in the Flux, and two, that Dr Who now no longer knows where they come from, doing more with the quite heavy emotional effect these things might have on Dr Who than the Chibnall era ever did.
    These acknowledgements come in the same scene and seem at first glance to serve more as a reminder of the current status quo than to make any kind of progress on them as ongoing issues, and there’s a real chance these are just the new “Time War” and “last of the Time Lords,”but I’ve put them on the docket anyway — if I were RTD I’d want to do something with them.
  • Why The Long Face: They don’t say it out loud, but speaking of the trauma of the Flux, perhaps there’s a reason for the face coming back in Dr Who trying to… you know, deal with the trauma of the Flux. The last time they had this face their personality and attitude were very much coming from trying to stop being the last one — to stop being the Survivor and to try living again. The sheer fucking scale of the Flux mirrors absolutely nothing if it doesn’t mirror the Time War. Maybe nobody is doing this. Perhaps the face is but a comfort face.

Character Arcs and Character Roundabouts

  • Still Figuring It Out: “Is that who I am now?” Dr Who again expresses much more open love and fondness for Donna than they would’ve ever been capable of the last time they had this face. They also notably express aesthetic attraction to a person of the same gender they currently are themselves, which I’m pretty sure is a first in a few ways. Is this the Gatwa incarnation’s personality shining through a face that doesn’t have it?
  • Couldn’t Keep It In: Donna clearly did get exposed to Dr Who’s history since she last saw them, though she denies at the end having meaningful access to the information contained therein. I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle — she’d probably recognise, say, Bill, or the planet Akhaten, and emotionally she probably has some grasp on things like the Flux, because, well, it’s Donna, she’s savvy, but I’m willing to take her word for it that it feels like staring into an inferno. Probably does something to you to have or have had a window to that inferno in your head, though.
  • The Pretenders: The Meep pretends to be cute and harmless, and forces UNIT soldiers to serve a cause they don’t believe in. Donna is forced to live as a version of herself she shouldn’t be, and is infinitely better off for getting to stop, just like her daughter. The Not-things copy people but always let their true selves shine through. Dr Who… pretends to be okay, but you can tell they’re not. Even Destination: Skaro had that Kaled pretending to be good at his job. What might RTD, a queer man himself, be trying to say about what pretending to be something you’re not does to you? I reckon perhaps he doesn’t think it’s good for you.

The Little Things

  • The Mavity of the Situation: Dr Who creates the branding and final look of the Daleks in Destination: Skaro. Here, Donna invents the word “gravity,” which Isaac Newton mishears as “mavity.” Right now these are gags, but butterflies can stack.
  • Black Cats and Ladders at the Edge of the Universe: Speaking of stacking butterflies, an interesting idea in the way using a superstition like the salt-counting thing unsettles Dr Who here. Easy to connect back to the Wrarth Warriors knowing the Meep as almost mythological butchers, to Dr Who creating much of the branding around the Daleks, to “mavity.” Clearly that’s a thread that’s gonna take us to the Toymaker, but that’s the kind of thing you could spin whole seasons out of.
  • The State of the Home Planet: Gallifrey neither exists nor has it been destroyed — it’s just “complicated.” Like it’s in some sort of state of… hybrid flux.
  • Still on the docket: No updates on The Boss Is Not Rhetorical — the question is simply not brought up or even relevant, though the Not-things could of course turn out to have employers later, or something, I don’t know, probably not. No followup to UNified Intelligence and Skyscraper-Building Taskforce or Gonkage, either, because, well, UNIT and Rose don’t appear. Bottle episode, baby. But we’re keeping them on the docket.

Month of Sundays #2

I was a week behind on podcasts, and a month behind on TV, but I’m catching up.


  • Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights came up on Remap recently, so I downloaded the audiobook, and, though McConaughey’s voice is obviously very good to spend six hours with, the book itself is, frankly, a rambling parody of both him- and itself. Except if you’d deliberately written a “McConaughey’s warrior poet autobio” parody book, it might actually be funny. Oof.

Desert Bus for Hope

  • It was a good bus.

Doctor Who

  • Children in Need special: Destination: Skaro.
  • First 60th anniversary special: The Star Beast.
  • Enjoyed the new McGann incarnation boxset Audacity. The stories are solid, and the inimitable Jaye Griffiths brings a lot of very compelling gravitas to an interesting new companion. Had heard about where it ends and worried what that meant for how much it’s actually setting up a fresh new part of Dr Who’s life, but who cares when it’s such a nice, fun place to get to. Very excited for that Christmas followup.
  • Started Enter Wildthyme!. Surrendered to the Magrsiverse hypercontinuity almost immediately. Never mind. I’ll get back to that one eventually.
  • Started Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Squire’s Crystal. All the body swap clichés you want from a 90s sci-fi novel and several you don’t. But you know what, they’re clichés because they work. Benny’s immense frustration at having to prove that she’s not just herself, but even a woman at all really got me.
  • Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Stone’s Lament is a good followup to Squire’s Crystal — it’s good to establish the deal between her and Adrian in both mediums.
  • I liked all of the Tales of the TARDIS framing scenes a lot, very charming, cried a bit. Great way to start the anniversary month.
  • The Zygon Invasion novelisation is mostly a fairly straight prose version of the two episodes, but where it thrives is, one, in its internal Zygon monologues, making even stronger the Zygon refugee metaphor, and two, in its addition of interludes featuring Zygon-Clara Bonnie and her accomplice Clyde, who we never knew about on TV, whose human appearance is based on Danny Pink. That would’ve been cool to see on TV.
  • Rogue Encounters. I’ve been saying this, but: The War Master range is so fucking carried by the Jacobi performance — sinister, dark, delicious — that barely anything else matters. Are these stories good? Yeah, sure. Does that matter? God, Jacobi is terrific, isn’t he.
  • Dudman-as-Tennant set Defender of the Earth sure is yet another Big Finish release recorded at the absolute start of the pandemic. Is it weird to record in your house? Tell me less. As Chronicles releases go, it’s fine, but the fourth story, The Siege of Shackleton, picks exactly two of the Second Tennant incarnation’s1The one the First Tennant incarnation turns into in the cliffhanger between The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End. tics, to derisively call humans stupid for their every bad choice, and to brag and hype himself up constantly, and has him either do 120% of one or 120% of the other at all times. Insufferable. Awful. I also still don’t think Dudman is that good as the non-Smith incarnations.
  • Which is convenient, because Broken Hearts dropped right after — the Dudman-as-Smith has been an absolute shitter to Valarie Lockwood, and this one-off story has rightfully been inserted between volume 4 and the impending volume 5 to put that right. Totally does it. Valarie is totally right to be furious, Dudman and Ingar sell both the heartbreak and the resolution.


  • Blank Check status report: Michael Mann still really hit or miss.
  • I don’t really mention this on Masto or Letterboxd, but there’s one specific way I thought The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Whatever the Rest of This Title Was Again really got something right — for, you know, being a YA dystopia thing that doesn’t have to go that hard on this stuff, I thought it was a really good depiction of how a relatively upstanding citizen in a fascist system can be demolished and crushed by that system until there’s nothing left but a shithead with a machine gun, and what it means to rebuild yourself inside that system after that.
  • Finished the Transformers films. Though the way the politics of these evolve is an interesting journey to have gone on, I think I might enjoy them more (significantly so) when they’re not made by Michael Bay,2I watched the two that weren’t made by him before, so this was me catching up. which is a lousy conclusion to come to after five Michael Bay films. It’s all just shallow, stupid nonsense, guided by no creative vision but a boomer’s idea of what’s “awesome.”
  • Finished the Shrek films. They stop being parodies and become their own thing, which would be good if that own thing wasn’t still dumb.

Bits from Letterboxd

Cube 2: Hypercube (2002):

a shame to get the fellas with the guns and the phone at the end — I really like the very silly idea from the first one that it’s just a public works project that got extremely out of hand, where nobody’s in charge, and it’s just freelancers and subcontractors all the way down.

The Keep (1983):

The low resolution of the LaserDisc rip I watched gives this almost a travel documentary vibe, it feels very real, very grounded, like it was filmed by enthusiasts on potato cameras. Hard to tell how much of that feeling would persist in a proper HD release, but it totally works for this sort of John Carpenter-esque foggy mysticism.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009):

fuck, imagine dying and going to Transformer heaven where everything is pointy and miserable, I’d un-die, too

Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop (2020):

it’s a chill vibe, all
light pastels and thin, soft lines.
a bit off-season.

it’s a cute romance
her with her friends, and
him, his mall walkers

i’d not seen before,
as cinematic climax,
some public speaking

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009):

thought I’d watched at least four of these but I guess this is the third one, a sentiment I’ll probably also feel when I put on the next Transformers picture

i guess the one thing these horrible ennui-inducing cretin pictures have going for them over the Transformers flicks is these are a firm 90 minutes instead of looking at a third hour like it’s a goal instead of a canyon

i thought this was miserable when daddification hit the crude animal movie for toddlers, but then a second daddification hit the crude animal movie for toddlers, and it did not improve after that point

God is a Bullet (2023):

I was vaguely aware 2023’s God is a Bullet existed, but it looked like one of those where every character has a Large Opinion about the American flag, and let me tell you, I would not endorse or even encourage any of these people’s (entirely unstated) Large Opinions that I am sure they all, every single one of them, have about any flag.

Twilight (2008):

shot like a dream sequence and colour graded like a Saw movie, everyone is so riddled with horniness a rhinoceros might take notes, it’s genuinely ridiculous from the first frame to the last

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011):

the stakes here can only be measured in quantities of 9/11s — and when the bad guys just moving down the street is like a crane falling over, we start the count at maybe 15 9/11s? how is a win condition even still on the horizon when you’re five of those 9/11s in?

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009):

Bella Swan is just a sadder Guillermo from What We Do in the Shadows

first vampires are real, then werewolves are real, and now Italians are real? really stretching believability here.

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017):

i’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe… four aspect ratio changes in twenty seconds of a shot reverse shot dialogue scene… I watched the aspect ratio touch the subtitles and then not even come close to it… all those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain…

time to die.

Shrek Forever After (2010):

having faced a world where he was happy, the ogre surrenders and submits to the heteronormative nuclear family forced upon him by the values of not his own world but the one that brought him into his horrible, miserable existence


  • Bodies never takes any huge turns I didn’t see coming, and I think the resolution to the central mystery is a little weak, but I enjoyed the journey.
  • Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix. You can’t open a show on a serious terrorist message, then cut to Rayman’s talk show, then to an over the top car chase that involves a gay kiss, and not expect me to be interested. It retains that wild tone the whole way through — there’s a whole FMV section?? — and I think it’s a really interesting… experiment? Truly nothing like it on TV.
  • The Curse is so deeply fucking haunted.
  • Finished The Fall of the House of Usher the day after Halloween. Like I said last month, great depiction of the extremely rich — even at their most sympathetic, with one exception, they’re largely gonna be awful, craven people, and you’ll always enjoy seeing them get offed one by one at least a little bit. …Oh, so the House literally Falls at the end of the– Okay.
  • Insane For All Mankind alternative history detail of the month: LaserDisc still the dominant home media format as of 2003.
  • Goosebumps still knows exactly how to deploy Justin Long.
  • Just impeccable quite how thoroughly the title Monarch: Legacy of Monsters fails to communicate literally anything about that show. It literally has the word “monsters” in there and you still turn it on unsure whether monsters will meaningfully feature. (Spoilers: They feature less than you want but more than you expect.)
  • The Morning Show gonna Morning Show.
  • A Murder at the End of the World is the new show by the folks who made The OA and I hope it goes places.
  • I no longer think Izzy from Our Flag Means Death is gonna lay claim to the Blackbeard name in the end.
  • Pluto asks the question “what if Astro Boy was a very serious murder mystery drama,” and it answers it “that would be pretty good.”
  • Scavengers Reign. Gorgeous animation. Not that much to it, though. Dropped it after three episodes.
  • Scott Pilgrim Takes Off. 💀💀💀 Terrific stuff.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks. An easy nomination for Best Trek in a world where Strange New Worlds didn’t exist, though it’s really starting to make me feel like I should… actually start TNG/DS9 sooner rather than later.
  • Wolf Like Me. Fully forgot this show existed. Wish this second season wasn’t all so focused on the pregnancy thing — it gives them just a little too much “permission” to make her irrational, to have her make stupid decisions.
  • 1
    The one the First Tennant incarnation turns into in the cliffhanger between The Stolen Earth and Journey’s End.
  • 2
    I watched the two that weren’t made by him before, so this was me catching up.
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