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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.

Month of Sundays #1

New month, new recurring post concept. Happy Halloween.


  • It’s hard to do an October horror movie thing when you’re already watching horror all the time. On top of that, between the Rings, the Ju-Ons, and the Elm Street and Friday the 13th reboots, it’s been quite a lot of “watching franchises play their opening gambits over and over again” lately. And then Friday the 13th and Halloween also have a bunch of endings, too.
  • I’ll do, I think, the American Ring and Grudge films, and then maybe take a wee break from horror for a bit.
  • Caught up on Hunger Games before the prequel comes out, but I don’t think I’m quite the target audience for these. I think I’m struggling for the exact reason people often struggle with The Matrix, which I love because I can bring the emotional through-line into focus for myself while blurring out the world and the philosophy a little — but with Hunger Games, because I’m not 14, the emotional through-line doesn’t click into place in the same way so all I can see is the idea that this dumb system has been in place for 75 years somehow.
  • Blank Check status report: Finished Tim Burton. Hitting Michael Mann means I’ve also got Waypoint‘s Mannhunting to listen to, but I didn’t really click with Thief, so this one might be a real chore again. But I really should at least get well into Mann before Ferrari comes out.

Bits from Letterboxd

Saw X (2023):

I get why [Jigsaw’s victims] don’t appreciate John Kramer the Maker or John Kramer the Industrial Designer, but they could at least appreciate John Kramer the Puppeteer.

Past Lives (2023):

I know that tension between the past and the present. I know changing your name, I know becoming ungoogleable. I know being somebody else somewhere else. I know all the things that are harder to say in one language than they are in the other. I know translating for a friend. I know wondering. I know not going there.

La Course (1896):

Good to keep a crowd between us and those horses, wouldn’t want them to rush out of the screen like that train.

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023):

an hour in I thought, “really, it’s weird that Jesse Plemons isn’t in this somewhere” and then an hour later there he was

Resident Evil (2002):

this is so 2002

we were always getting stuck in stainless steel laser trap rooms back then

Mac and Me (1988):

at the end the aliens have truly integrated into American society — they’ve gone on a road trip, picked up a few cold ones and a gun, and get shot and blown up by the cops

Dark Water (2002):

quite a strong overlap here with the Koji Suzuki adaptation Hideo Nakata’s best known for, Ring — these huge psychic scars left on the world around a sad death, an intense situation involving a single mother and her daughter, psychic visions, and, of course, they’re both pretty wet films

they’re both also, of course, awfully sad, but Ring gets to be sort of fun, with its over the top silly cursed tape concept, while this one thrives more in its fairly serious depiction of the claustrophobic little world around its urban legend-esque ghost story

an emotionally destructive ending like no other


  • Finished John Wick spinoff The Continental. As we’ve established, it’s mostly bad and boring — on the one hand it sucks that Mel Gibson (boo hiss) is in it, on the other hand it’s nice to see him get shot in the head at the end.
  • If even the Frasier can have a minor queer character casually refer to her wife, there are no excuses left for not having any queer characters on your show.
    Speaking of the Frasier reboot, enjoyed the first two episodes, but it does feel quite a lot like they went “well nobody really wants to come back, so this guy is the new Niles, the new Daphne,” etcetera.
  • Enjoying Goosebumps.
  • The problem with the Jon Hamm character on The Morning Show this year is he’s clearly meant to be Elon Musk/Jeff Bezos, except he’s capable of introspection and change and seems quite nice, and I just don’t think that’s plausible — fundamentally the problem with serialised dramatic storytelling about rich people is that it’s hard to sell them both truly as craven and inhuman AND as rich, developed characters. This is why Succession was so good.
  • Nearly done with The Fall of the House of Usher, whose answer to the above issue is “well, we’ll kill ’em off one by one.”
  • The new Our Flag Means Death suffers a little from everyone involved now knowing what everyone loves about it, but it’s still a lot of fun. I appear to exist in total isolation from its fandom this season, so I’ve no idea how common a theory this is, but: The endgame for all of this is that Ed is “erased” from history and it’s Izzy who becomes the “real” Blackbeard, right? That’s surely where this is going.
  • Wellington Paranormal seems to have aired a full season since I caught up to it. On it. …No, to it. Still a hoot.
  • I’m enough behind on TV that I’m making myself stick strictly (mostly) to broadcast order again — as of this writing it’s Wednesday the 18th in TV land.

Doctor Who

  • Finished Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Gods of the Underworld. Nothing wrong with it, per se, but it’s a real example of a bog standard Benny archeology adventure full of thinly sketched species and cultures, supported by a cast of unoriginal, uninspired characters nobody will ever give a shit about. The clichés are ripe on the ground here, it’s all war races and Blood Messengers and space gangsters, and references both structural and pop cultural to both Indiana Jones and Star Wars feel tacky in the Year of Luigi 2023 in a way they probably didn’t in 2001.
  • Third Doctor Adventures: Intelligence for War. Like all the recasts Treloar and Ashford needed quite some time to truly come into their own, but here they’re on top form. The “Liz may have done some treason” story never feels like the filler it could easily have felt like, and it captures the Pertwee era so well you actually can picture the quiet Norfolk village it’s happening.
  • Odyssey kicks off the Torchwood range’s Ood trilogy.1Yes, it should’ve been called the Oodbvious thing. Strong performances elevate a solid script, though the end is a little The Satan Pit again. Does this just keep happening to poor Ida Scott?
  • I’ve now listened to the full @60 concert, and god, Russell and Murray are gonna kill me from dehydration come November 25th.
  • Started the Zygon Invasion novelisation. All a little straightforward, hard to imagine it meaningfully adds anything.
  • After lying next to my bed for six months, picked up Legends of Camelot again. Rayner finds a really fun way to do all the classic bits of Arthuriana you want without contradicting previous Doctor Who lore, and it’s a hoot to have Dr Who and Donna running around in it.


  • Cry Havoc! Ask Questions Later seems to have wrapped up its first season. “The Thick of It but in Roman times” is a solid premise that’s easy to fuck up, and they consistently do not fuck it up. Really funny.
  • I’m so close with Blank Check to catching up to where I was with Mobile Suit Gundam and Screen Test of Time, I’m so close.
  • 1
    Yes, it should’ve been called the Oodbvious thing.

No more sundays

Just a quick little note today —

The Sunday format isn’t quite working for me — the mix of journal and media diet post doesn’t really work to begin with, nobody needs weekly updates on where I’m at with a book, and in the journal bit I keep complaining about my Mondays on my Sundays, which, you know, they do dominate the week, but also perpetuates a downwards spiral.

I also don’t like the way they highlight that I haven’t posted in a bit, but that’s a separate thing.

So, going forward:

  • One, if I have something to say I’ll just say it.1This was another problem with the journal bit — do I hold back something I could say earlier, or do I write something I wouldn’t otherwise be writing?
  • Two, monthly media posts. I think that’s a better pace that allows me more time to actually find things to say.
    • The Bits from Letterboxd section will survive in some fashion, either in those posts or on its own, which, you know, my original plan for this blog was to just syndicate what I was doing elsewhere, and I think it’s very funny that that almost fully has not happened and it’s almost all been original material.
    • I’ve considered whether I should Do The Letterboxd Thing on other sites for other media, but I don’t want to be on More Silos, and I don’t see myself having the relationship with those I have with Letterboxd, anyway.

That is all. The river flows the way the river flows.

  • 1
    This was another problem with the journal bit — do I hold back something I could say earlier, or do I write something I wouldn’t otherwise be writing?

Sunday #6: Oof Edition

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday.

First two Real Classes under the belt. It’s remarkable, one, how far I’ve come that I’m able to do this, and two, how much the human body will sweat suppressing a fight-or-flight response. Oof. They say you could smell me on the other side of the Forum.

Blogging has been defeated by school, but I do have eleven drafts sitting around, at various levels between “basically a post-it note” and “the first thousand words are done, now I just need to write the other thousand words.”

Below the fold: The usual.

Continue reading “Sunday #6: Oof Edition”

Sunday #5: First October Edition

Another week, another Monday, another Sunday.

Two recent teaching realisations: I off-handedly said to a classmate my usual line about how the world isn’t any different for me knowing about an earthquake on the other side of the planet. But she helpfully pointed out quite sternly that it might matter quite a lot when I have students who might be from or have family all over the world.

The other one is I tend to exaggerate a little for comedic effect when telling stories, but I absolutely can not and must not do that when I’m teaching art history that real, actual kids will have tests and exams on later. Pressure!

I’ll get there.

Below the fold: Bits from Letterboxd. Some TV, some Doctor Who, a book.

Continue reading “Sunday #5: First October Edition”

The Bowl of Petunias (IV)

Thirty seconds after the age of magic came to an abrupt end, the City of the Golden King hit the ground. No, that was inaccurate. What it hit was the New Bureau of Access, the tiny little office that operated the flying chair used to send people up to the City of the Golden King one at a time.

The thing about this mode of entry into the City of the Golden King was, it made it pretty hard to invade it from the ground. The other thing was, it made it pretty hard to leave. Which meant that, for the most part, people increasingly didn’t. A visiting family member here, a member of law enforcement there. Ten people made a busy week. And so, the job of Director of the New Bureau of Access had, over time, become pretty lonely. So when Fred Patricide, on the occasion of her fifteenth anniversary on the job, took her first ever off-site break, she felt pretty much just… fine about it. There were no flights scheduled until well into the afternoon, the office could do without her for 45 minutes.

And so it did, for every single one of those minutes until the 41st, at which point the glass bottom of the City of the Golden King tore through every single plank, every single little window, every single shred, of the New Bureau of Access. And when the glass bottom was done, the brick foundation came in to smash what was left to a pulp that the… smears would never even reach.

People would go on to call Fred, inaccurately, the “sole survivor.”

Sunday #4: Stress Edition

Another destructively long Monday. I can’t keep Sundaying about how long my Mondays are, yeesh.

Still kinda stressing about having to actually teach an art history class, but I think– no, I know that’s just New Situation Stress, not I Can’t Do This Stress. My Tuesdays have expanded, too — lots of cycling all over town. Good for my thigh muscles, but my knees are protesting. Really running into my own limits at Music class.

I’ve generally turned my disdain of kids around pretty well, I think kids are funny, I can work with kids just fine. But you hate to see a kid hold up a picture of a normatively attractive lady on their phone and ask another kid “smash or pass.” That’s truly just– That’s no good, y’all.

Broke my blogging streak this week, because school, but also because the writing I did do isn’t finished yet or requires additional research — I feel like I rushed the Rogers: The Musical piece, and, look, streaks, yes, but quality over quantity, more yes.

I’ve called this one “Stress Edition” in the hopes that next week won’t be “Stress Edition.”

Below the fold: Small website notes, some media bits and bobs.

Continue reading “Sunday #4: Stress Edition”

Sunday #3: Cooled Down Edition

Another destructively long Monday. Yeesh. Hopefully the end of the heatwave means these’ll be a little more bearable going forward.

On Friday, after a failed first attempt last week — we’d recorded the appointment as happening on… different Fridays — I had my first introduction at my new school where I’ll be student teaching through to the end of the calendar year. It was nice! The vibes were good! I hung around for the rest of the day and observed some classes. 1B, who I won’t be teaching, wasn’t that different from 1C last year, a lot of the same types of little guy (also known as boy) in there. The combined 5th/6th year was very different, a lot more chill — the difference in age and in, these folks chose to take this class, makes a huge difference. We clicked pretty well. I’ll be involved in one way or another in all of their art-related classes, and I think it’s gonna go: Fine. Great? Somewhere on that spectrum.

Also, another short film in the can. I’ve got a loose go-ahead to release these but I think they’ll be fun to drop as a little miniseries when they’re all done.

Below the fold: Notes on this website and on storytelling. TV and film thoughts.

Continue reading “Sunday #3: Cooled Down Edition”

Sunday #2: It’s Been Edition

One week back in school. What a destructively long Monday.

A lot of info, in the classical start-of-year info dump manner, about what the school year looks like. Go here, do this, do this as soon as possible, accumulate this, write that. I’ve let it just wash over me. It’ll happen, I’ll get there. One year to go.

We share three of our four Monday classes with another class that’s in the same place on a different trajectory, which makes sense, I understand that when there’s just the six of us it doesn’t make financial sense to treat us the same as if we were 25 people, but by gum, you forget how busy 25 19-to-21-year olds can be. How can you possibly have this much to say to each other, you saw each other four days ago! I joked the weekend before that they were about 400 people strong, and was corrected that they have the energy of an additional zero. No kiddin’. I didn’t go to Teacher School to be in a room full of noisy kids, dagnabbit.

(I understand now that eventually we’ll split back up, but what a day.)

Also shot and edited my live-action directorial debut. I’ll share it here when I get permission.

Below the fold this week: Website update notes, notes on an upcoming project. TV thoughts, a YouTube recommendation. Donald Duck comics, some Big Finish.

Continue reading “Sunday #2: It’s Been Edition”

Sunday #1

I’m trying to invent blogging from scratch for myself here. This format is pretty directly inspired by the “weeknotes” a lot of people in tech do, but one, that’s a lot more “job,” and a lot more “journal,” than I’m really doing right now, and two, frankly, the relationship between my life and people in tech is the problem I’m trying to solve here, I’d rather they not be… any kind of guiding light for me in blogging.

So right now these are called “Sunday” recaps, the idea being, here’s some stuff that doesn’t entirely stand on its own but that I still feel should go here, posted some, probably not all, Sundays. When there’s Enough to post. A lot of the time it’ll likely be mostly spare bits of writing, though I’m sure as I come to think blog-first it’ll generate additional, original writing, too. Heck, I wrote this before I added a bunch of notes on updating my website. Here I am, tech-blogging anyway.

Now I just need to start thinking blog-first.

Below the fold, notes on updating my website, some bits and bobs from my Letterboxd, some media diet notes, and a podcast recommendation. Oh, that’s already quite a lot, isn’t it.

Continue reading “Sunday #1”

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