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Someone should maybe, like, try to burn it down? [Nov. 20th, 2018|04:47 am]
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Haunting of Hill House. We started, by accident, with episode 9, and actually thought it was the first episode. We were quite impressed.

Imagine our surprise when, upon starting ep 2 immediately thereafter, my wife realized she had accidentally put up ep 9 first. (so we saw ep 1 second, which is where we are now)

Amazingly enough, it actually works really, really well this way. I think we saw it in the right order.

Very much looking forward to the second/third.

Now to sleep, perchance to dream . . .
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Comet, satellite, asteroid, meteor, rocket? [Nov. 20th, 2018|04:39 am]
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What was in the Southern California sky tonight? We took the dogs out for a walk at just the right time . . . (I think it would have been about 4:25 am, give or take ten minutes)

If a shooting star, it was hella bright. If a rocket, it was already in the atmosphere and moving horizontal. If a satellite moving through the atmosphere, I think it was too low and burnt up.

Google produced nothing except meteor showers, and again, wow, that was hella bright. Lit up the night sky for a bit.
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A Tale of Two Series, or, These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends (sometimes) [Jul. 12th, 2018|12:58 pm]
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A couple of weeks late, but both Westworld and Handmaid's Tale wrapped up their second seasons. (my last discussion of tv shows also included 13 Reasons Why, s2 of which wrapped up earlier, as in, we binge watched, and was great and I highly recommend it and I meant to write about it at the time but oh well; go watch it's good)

Things they have in common: Both prestige dramas with a ton of Emmy and other nominations. Both artistic events with something to say about all sorts of things. Both dystopias of a sort, though in both cases many of the characters think they are in their personal utopia, however horrifying that makes them as human beings or sentient entities of any sort (this is less true of s2 of Westworld, which was basically dealing w/the fallout/aftermatch/continuation of the climax of s1.

And the beginning of s2 of each started a bit slow for many viewers tastes. Here is where the similarities end. Slow for Westworld meant jumps around in time and temporarily moving away from the violent ends to the violent delights. (since several of you haven't seen these shows, and several of you are all that left on lj to read at this point, I shall not discuss in much detail) Slow for Handmaid's Tale meant my wife frequently had to wake me up. (that is not hyperbole)

I had faith in the writers of Westworld that the new areas of exploration in Westworld would all have a point. They did. The show used its beginnings and its past to build to a brilliant crescendo, and my pantheon of "all time best tv shows" has a new member sharing the top. It was Twin Peaks, then BtVS, then The Wire, then Breaking Bad. And now, after two seasons, Westworld firmly established itself as one of best shows ever. The latter 3 have the advantage of consistency, so I'd put them ahead of Twin Peaks and Buffy. Absolutely brilliant, if you watch TV or film at all, you should watch this. Seriously.

Handmaid's Tale. Ummmm. Well. It is well acted. It is, taken one piece at a time, well written and directed. Read more...Collapse )
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Live if you want to, die if you like or, the Synchronicity of YouTube [Jun. 20th, 2018|05:32 am]
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[Current Location |Between darkness and sunrise, the edge of sleep, a precipice of existence]
[mood |sleepysleepy]
[music |The Clash at Demonshead, "Black Sheep"]

One person just retuned to post YouTube vids, another just posted about a life changing experience watching YouTube vids.

So, here are three things that YouTube unexpectedly gave me over the past few weeks, from the "WTF?? This really exists? Yes, but, whyhowwhy?"

(that would be the trailer for the movie horror movie "Handjob Cabin", which is EXACTLY what it sounds like, and which I shall not link to coz I need to go back to bed and I'm tired, but which trailer is kind of funny in a WTF???? This really exists?" kind of way)(synopsis for those really wondering: couples vacation in a cabin that is, alas, haunted by the ghost of a woman who fell out the window and died whilst giving a handjob, and thus feels the need to torture and kill everyone who spends the night in the cabin via the same method, and I don't mean falling out the window; and yes, as far as I can tell, this is not a joke trailer but a real trailer for a real movie that came out in 2015)


"Wow, wtf is it w/YouTube makingthe weird stuff show up lately? WhyMe? Tho hey, at least she is cute and not untalented, albeit the song is a wee bit repetitive"

(a music video called "Smoke Weed, Eat Pussy" by someone named Angela, iirc, and yes I'm still too lazy to look it back up, and the title composes the bulk of the lyrics, but, it's actually not that bad, tho a wee tiny bit repetitive in describing what she does all day, every day)

(and no, I had not been searching/viewing things which should have led these things to suddenly show up on my phone)


"WTF? Again? No really AGAIN? Wait ... this is good. Holy fuck, this is amazing!" followed by obsessive watching/listening to different versions of this song and a cajillion other songs by same band that the movie version was a cover of, plus watching a lot of scenes from this movie that I had previously ignored the existence of except to think "what a stupid title" and "how did that get made?" Someone obviously did a lousy job of publicizing that movie. From the absurd to the sublime; YouTube absolutely got it right w/my tastes and this one

That would be this (and my wtf came from the name of the band)(also, wow, too bad they never made a Dazzler movie; Brie Larson would have clearly been perfect for this, given her singing ability)(tho also, wow, Metric!!! Metric is awesome!!! Help I'm Alive is also getting repeated obsessive listening in addition to both their and the movie version of this song)(I'm still unsure of whether the movie is that great or not, tho all the female leads seem pretty amazing)(also, in one of the versions w/the opening mantra, missing from this one, alas, the perfect song to contact someone who's been missing)

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Recent television watched [May. 19th, 2018|12:24 pm]
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Yeah, my titles are sometimes boring...

13 Reasons Why, s2: Was worried before s1 about whether they'd do the book justice. Was worried before s2 that they'd have a loss of quality from s1. After 2 eps, so far, so good. Tho OMG I'd forgotten how ANGRY I get at some of the characters watching this. OMG I want to jump in the screen into the show and kill them. Not as much as in s1 yet but there are moments . . . ::visualizes blood splatter and body parts scattered::
(if you don't know, 13 Reasons Why is about a high school girl's suicide and it's aftermath; the first season more or less followed the novel and was about 50/50 aftermath/flashbacks centered on a series of tapes she left behind; the novel was haunting & devastating; s1 the series was equally well done but less devastating, possibly because I'd already been through it once)

Handmaids Tale, s2: Yes, it's well done, even very well done (albeit would not have been in contention for my Emmy vote if I had one)(and albeit s2 has plot holes s1 didn't) but OMG this is painful to watch. And it's sooooo frustrating. Just watching episode after episode of grueling misery . . . So many scenes where prisoners could turn on their captors via greater numbers, even if it meant badness for them later on. I mean, how much worse can it get? Especially for the ones already punished for "disobedience" for whom "how much worse" has already happened (you see more of these in s2)(yes, I realize it really is that easy to control people in real life, even uber violent criminals, which these women and their helpers are not, and that is probably part of the point, and I likewise realize the firepower differential awaiting even should they leave a few of the evildoers in blood and bits). I keep wanting June (or someone, anyone) to go all Takeshi Kovacs on the powers that be (if you are wondering what that is talking about and don't mind minor spoilers for Altered Carbon, get on YouTube and search "This Wicked Tongue Altered Carbon." Or, just listen to This Wicked Tongue by PJ Harvey because it's a great song.

Altered Carbon: Speaking of Takeshi Kovacs (and novel adaptations), I was very pleased with the Altered Carbon screen version. A lot of changes, some of them highly annoying, some of them arguably improvements (not all, but some), and the story has changed significantly and some of the main thematic points have changed (minimizing a key one, which tics me off, and adding a stupid motivation) BUT . . . it's very well done, and didn't ruin the novel, and still very enjoyable television. I'd still recommend reading the book first, but isn't necessary.

Westworld: Something of a slow start, but they are weaving a lot of elements into something that I think will eventually be a huge payoff. Still an extremely well done, thought provoking show, albeit not quite living up to the first season yet.

The 100: Not a slow start at all. The first ep of the new season was not-so-great, but it picked up nicely after that. Not remotely as ambitious or well-crafted as the shows listed above but a surprising amount of fun ever since started.
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Infinity War Ending Spoiler Because I Can [Apr. 30th, 2018|01:58 am]
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Baby Groot kills Thanos.








* *

No, I haven't seen Infinity War yet and don't know the actual ending. I'm going to go way out on a limb and assume what I said above is NOT what happens, especially since Baby Groot is presumably no longer "Baby" anymore, so this is not really a spoiler post.

Stay off YouTube, btw, if you want to avoid REAL spoilers (or possibly real spoilers)

I have been reliably spoiled for exactly two things, neither of which I shall inflict on others (both apparently happen fairly early; one of the spoilers was thanks to YouTube putting spoiler vids in my feed and it's SO consistent that I figure it is true; the other was from people who saw the film discussing it where I could overhear. I don't mind being spoiled for this because it is something that would/will/does annoy the heck out of me, so maybe knowing in advance will diminish my EXTREME annoyance when I actually see it. The YouTube bit was a character death that I would rather not have known about, but since 5,000 people put up "------'s Death Scene" vids and it makes sense w/other things I know, I'm going to assume it is accurate w/out having clicked on the vids in question.

Several NICE people have put up ending spoilers, but fortunately these contradict each other and can't all be right. Possibly NONE of the spoiler titles are right. I know the ending to the original infinity gauntlet story because I read it when it first came out waaaaaay back when, but the screenwriters have already said that character is not going to be in either this movie or the next, so safe to say it will be a different ending.

If your reaction to this entire post is, "He comes out of hibernation to discuss non-spoilers and spoilers to a movie he hasn't seen, WTF?" that is a very sensible reaction.

If your primary thought is "Who? What? Huh?" then I congratulate you on your immunity to pop culture. That is not a bad thing.

Baby Groot really does kill Thanos.
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Why? Why not? [Sep. 25th, 2017|09:13 pm]
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Found this quiz on James Nicoll's blog, haven't taken a pointless internet quiz in a long time, yay for meaningless fun! Reposting results and my comments on them here:

I Am A: Neutral Good Human /Wizard (4th/3rd Level)

Ability Scores:







Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Primary Class:
Monks are versatile warriors skilled at fighting without weapons or armor. Good-aligned monks serve as protectors of the people, while evil monks make ideal spies and assassins. Though they don't cast spells, monks channel a subtle energy, called ki. This energy allows them to perform amazing feats, such as healing themselves, catching arrows in flight, and dodging blows with lightning speed. Their mundane and ki-based abilities grow with experience, granting them more power over themselves and their environment. Monks suffer unique penalties to their abilities if they wear armor, as doing so violates their rigid oath. A monk wearing armor loses their Wisdom and level based armor class bonuses, their movement speed, and their additional unarmed attacks per round.

Secondary Class:
Wizards are arcane spellcasters who depend on intensive study to create their magic. To wizards, magic is not a talent but a difficult, rewarding art. When they are prepared for battle, wizards can use their spells to devastating effect. When caught by surprise, they are vulnerable. The wizard's strength is her spells, everything else is secondary. She learns new spells as she experiments and grows in experience, and she can also learn them from other wizards. In addition, over time a wizard learns to manipulate her spells so they go farther, work better, or are improved in some other way. A wizard can call a familiar- a small, magical, animal companion that serves her. With a high Intelligence, wizards are capable of casting very high levels of spells.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Was expecting chaotic good, that's what I used to get in these things, and I think I used to usually get Ranger. Think I was about 50/50 on the elf human in the past. But it's been since ... sometime last decade that I took one? And those were usually shorter. Plus D&D monks sound cool, and their description fits me quite well (all round, good/evil both).

Just looking at the descriptors, I'm down w/neutral good, but chaotic good fits me better. I think Sorcerer description also fits me better than wizard.

Also, some of these questions wtf? Some I refused to answer and some I randomly picked a choice and then wanted to no answer and couldn't. That said I always have that sort of problem w/these kinds of tests (including the kinds they give you for employment aptitude, yay!)

On the whole, fun quiz.

(and this has been a bit of a break from lj, huh? one never knows when one will check back in, or which disappearance might be forever!)
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Recommendation [Aug. 12th, 2017|12:34 pm]
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I've mentioned this to a couple of you already, but I recently had a conversation w/a friend about how sad it was that more people did not know about Black Sails, so, here's a rec. I have talked three people into watching it thus far, three very different people, and all loved it. It's the sort of thing I would think stereotypically would appeal more to men, but all three of the people I've convinced to give it a try have been women (and very different from each other women at that) and all have thought that at least at it's best, it is one of the best television series ever.

I am not feeling coherent enough to describe it well right now, so just, seriously, give it a shot. Seasons two and three are the best, but it's all good. (only four seasons long, which I think was a wise decision)
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"Got a light?" One more (possibly final?) post on this journal -- Twin Peaks s3e8 [Jun. 26th, 2017|12:23 pm]
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Last night, Twin Peaks s3e8 gave the world probably the single weirdest and most surreal hour of quality television ever. In all history. Anywhere. Topping the beginning to s3e3.

I could describe the entire last fifty minutes in detail (don't worry, I won't!) and it wouldn't even necessarily be a spoiler! (whether it would be a spoiler at all or possibly a kinda sorta not really spoiler depends on your definition of spoiler).

The first ten minutes were the most exciting, action picked, plot-moving, and "normal" part of this show in several episodes (tho e7 had some of this as well); it was sort of a typical heightened magical realism film noir bit that has long been the hallmark of David Lynch's more accessible, straightforward film-making.

Then, at the end of that first ten minutes, you get something that is extraordinarily weird but typical of the more bizarre previous action-oriented noir/horror highly surreal but still linear plot events that have made Twin Peaks something special.


Nine Inch Nails playing a full five minute performance of a song very sonically appropriate to both the before and after in this ep . . .

Then . . .

In black & white, you see a desert, and a place name, White Sands, New Mexico, and a date, and then .... the next fifty minutes is what happens when David Lynch is freed from the restraints imposed by commercial vehicles like Lost Highway & Mulholland Drive. (if you are going huh? wha? those were neither! then you are starting to get the point)

If you want to see the most purely surreal brilliance ever, watch this. And I think it actually does give you a lot of very important plot points, or rather, backstory to a lot of very important plot points that are very important themselves. But you could have this fifty minutes w/out reference to the rest of Twin Peaks at all, and it would still be brilliant and meaningful (just not as brilliant and meaningful). And Twin Peaks could probably exist without this fifty minutes and for a lot of people it would probably make no difference at all.

Parts of it were also full on scary as fuck horror movie, whilst still fitting the previous description.

But I think it added amazing depth.

Is anyone else even watching? The first three episodes were amazing, but I didn't care for the fourth, and while the fifth through seventh were VERY well done and I liked them, I fear the pace of plot progression (or, rather, lack thereof) might have already sent all the non-diehard fans running. I really don't know what other people are thinking of this. Heck, 4,5 and 6 were frustrating to me (tho I think the Mr Jackpots sequence was at the beginning of four--that was great!!!!! Screw spoiling things--if you aren't watching, somehow find that on youtube, probably under either "Mr Jackpots" or "Dale Cooper--Hellooooooo!" hilarious, assuming they give you the full sequence, which may be copyright banned; if only bits not so sure how funny) and again, the others only frustrating because I'm in sort a of hurry to see what happens; if was sure of world enough and time I'd be fine but for worry about how others were reacting) I should put this in TQC where more than four people will see it, shouldn't I?

I haven't used lj cuts in so long I've forgotten how, so no real spoilers in this, but should there be any comments, spoilers for plot events in this episode or up to this point (or requests for spoilers) are fine.
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Westerns, or, This is what happens when I have writing utensils, no books handy and am bored [Jun. 25th, 2017|11:44 pm]
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I've pretty much only been using this livejournal to keep up w/friends and communities for a long time now, but I wrote this when killing time in a pizza hut w/nothing to do earlier today, and going to put it here so my last post isn't ... what had previously been my last post...

In honor of The Quick and the Dead Playing on tv above me in Pizza Hut (home of the smallest medium drinks I have ever seen and I'm still wondering if they gave me the wrong one), I give you lists of Westerns (order subject to change day to day or hour to hour or minute to minute):

Best Westerns With Female Leads:
Cat Ballou
The Quick and the Dead
Hannie Caulder

I'm sure there are others (got to be some Annie Oakley or Belle Star movies out there, right?) but these are the only ones I know the name of. At least they are all pretty good (all VERY good, if memory serves) If no good movies w/those two (or simply hardly any movies) or any of the other female outlaws/gunslingers/etc then that would be majorly sexist. Errr, okay, that means there are no movies, doesn't it?

The Sons of Katie Elder does not count. Katie Elder was a real (and important) person in the history of the west, iirc and haven't mixed her up w/someone else, and this was a movie I enjoyed very much (might make my upcoming best John Wayne westerns) but it was indeed a movie about Katie Elder's SONS. Gah. And there was "The Cattle Queen of Montana" w/Barbara Stanwyck but I don't remember anything about that other than it existed.

Best Westerns w/no Eastwood or Wayne or Female leads:

Dances With Wolves
High Noon
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Young Guns
Five Card Stud
The Magnificent Seven
The Wild Bunch
Young Guns 2
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
One Eyed Jacks
Once Upon A Time In the West (docked a few spots because of the line where the gunslinger tells the woman who owns the town that when the local men want to grab her ass, she should let them because they built this place for her; to be clear, the audience is clearly intended to view this comment as wise and true and maybe even profound)
Pat Garret and Billy the Kid

The Legend of Tom Dooley (this made me cry when I was in nursery school. It might or might not hold up to viewing now and not 100% sure it was in the west as opposed to the south but it must be on all such lists ever for me)(and looking it up on google, the movie was based on the song, which still makes me want to cry, which was in turn based on a real event; so much for me thinking the song was written for the movie; it does indeed count as a western, though the real life events were in North Carolina, that the folk song was considered part of the "Appalachian Sweetheart Murder Ballads" genre should tell you something about the original source story, tho iirc in the movie he was innocent and framed; no idea the truth of the matter, or if any original accounts were true; we have a story like that for around here that there have been plays of and the truth of that is disputed also, whether framed or guilty; there are historians on both sides a la Richard III)

Honorable mention for great name and premise, albeit I do not recall it being anything resembling a good movie:
Billy the Kid vs Dracula

Secondary honorable mention, tho I never saw it:
Jesse James meets Frankenstein's Daughter

(it is interesting, the complete and utter lack of great Jesse James movies that I can think of, combined w/the plethora of terrific Billy the Kid movies. There's the one thing w/Brad Pitt that was very good but very slow, and ... otherwise I got nothin').

Third Honorable Mention: There was something w/Willie Nelson as the lead and Gary Busey as the costar that I remember REALLY liking but I can't remember the name or enough about it to rank.

Clint Eastwood Westerns:
Okay, this is hard to do a best of because there are five supposedly great ones I don't remember well enough to rank and need to rewatch, in the unlikely event I live long enough: Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Outlaw Josey Wales (does this list make anyone else think of the Kim Harrison Hollows' novels about Rachel Morgan? For A Few Demons More, A Fistful of Charms, The Outlaw Demon Wails. Yay for great titles riffing off Clint Eastwood movies; you think she is a fan? See Also: The Good, The Bad and The Undead; Pale Demon;The Undead Pool, and The Witch With No Name, plus apparently some short stories/novelettes/novellas I never read that I just discovered upon looking up these titles to make sure I got them all), Hang Em High, and Two Mules for Sister Sarah (I think I saw all those as a little kid, just don't remember; at that age, at least, I did not like them nearly as much as Cat Ballou or Tom Dooley, which I also saw as a little kid and lovedlovedloved and remember reasonably well; was not in first grade yet when saw Tom Dooley; 2d grade when saw Cat Ballou staying up at night watching TV after parents had gone to bed and I was supposed to be sound asleep)

And then there is

High Plains Drifter. What do I do with this movie? If you ignore two little bitty sequences, this is one of two Eastwood westerns in the running for "Best Western Ever Made." Lots of great moments and some of my favorite scenes ever. It has elements of The Magnificent Seven and High Noon and the Man With No Name Trilogy and any great revenge story ever made. And it's got the whole supernatural element, which apparently Eastwood himself added--in the original script, the lead with no name was clearly the brother of a deceased sheriff who was dead thanks to betrayal by the corrupt townspeople. in the movie, there is a very strong sense that the lead IS the deceased sheriff, tho it is never clearly stated. When he has the locals literally paint the town red and change the sign outside the town to "Welcome to Hell," you get the idea that maybe this isolated desert town has somehow crossed over the border into the real Hell. A shot of our lead riding off into the desert and suddenly vanishing into the heat waves reinforces this, tho everything (including that part) could have a natural explanation. Whoever he is, these idiot townspeople managed to hire either someone bearing a strong resemblance to or the ghost of or the brother of their former sheriff. They have hired him to defend them from the gang they previously hired to kill said former sheriff because he was actually enforcing the law, which gang they need defending from because after they killed the sheriff, the townspeople then had them all arrested and jailed by state or federal authorities (I can't recall which) for the sheriff's murder. Can't really feel sorry for the townies, but having our lead/avenging angel/hero/protagonist take out his revenge on two of the female townspeople by raping them? Just say no. No, he doesn't rape any of the men. Yes, he makes a joke about "she's just angry because I didn't come back for more." Yes, the other victim appears somewhat ambivalent about whether she considered this a positive or negative experience. And yes, both these women are just as awful and sociopathic as all the rest of the locals, but ... just no. I can't put this on a best movie list. But I can't ignore it, either. Partly because I first saw it as a kid on possibly highly edited network television and didn't realize how horrible the rape as revenge things were, and in fact probably didn't realize there were rapes and quite possibly still didn't know what rape was, and so already had this firmly ensconced as "Best Western EVER!" in my head before I got older and saw it again and was like "huh wah? NO!" So I don't know what to do with this one. Too good to leave out, in most ways, too awful to put in, in another.

So, Best Eastwood Westerns, other than High Plains Drifter and the three movies that are generally considered among the greatest westerns of all time but that I don't remember well enough to rank:

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly -- In running for "Best Western of All Time" and also "Best Instrumental Theme of Any Western Ever" and "Best Theme Music Ever"


Pale Rider -- I think Eastwood wanted to redo High Plains Drifter without the rape. Sadly, he also wanted to redo it with an all round more positive, uplifting ambiguous drifter and much nicer locals with a much nicer backstory. This movie has positive, uplifting themes, of locals throwing off an oppressive yoke and learning how to live sustainably. And no rape! And I give him points for realizing his earlier mistake and trying to make another, similar, equally great and memorable movie that wasn't also despicable. So I put it here as a noble gesture. But, sadly, I think he failed at making a great movie. He made a decent movie, not a great one.

And that's it. Is Eastwood an iconic figure in Westerns? Yes. Did he make some great movies? Yes. Do I remember enough of them to fill out a list? No.

John Wayne (I either never saw or don't remember The Searchers or Stagecoach or The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, all of which are considered by practically all film historians as among both his best and the best westerns of all time; bad me)

Rio Bravo
El Dorado
The Alamo (not really a John Wayne vehicle, he was one among many leads, and not in fashion these days and obviously told a one sided version of events, but nonetheless a terrific movie)
True Grit
Chisum (fans of Young Guns will see many parallels; covered more or less the same events (the real life Lincoln County Wars) in the same time period)
The Sons of Katie Elder
The Shootist
The War Wagon
Red River
Angel and the Badman

(if you want to put them all together, at this exact moment in time, for a top ten list I would say: Dances with Wolves, High Noon, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and an eight way tie for fifth between Five Card Stud, Young Guns, The Magnificent Seven, Cat Ballou, and .... four of the Wayne movies ... Alamo, True Grit, and ... Rio Bravo and El Dorado are very similar movies and it's hard to pick one and leave out the other, or leave out either, so, ummmm, both)(yes I know that's 12 not ten)
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