I'm trying to figure out what to do with my Band Name Server, now that I've taken it off the birdsite. Or, at least, stopped posting; I haven't deleted its tweets or anything. Perhaps I should, though quite frankly it never did get much engagement (except from Gooley and kodiak, and occasionally my wife) so I don't feel like it's going to be enriching the Muskrat too much.

But anyway, what to do with it. Because the ideas are still coming and I'm still writing them down. So, what to do...

1) I could post them on Mastodon. I don't know the community guidelines about multiple accounts, or bots, since I haven't seen nearly as many of them, but I'm barely scraping the surface right now. The standard app/web interface doesn't seem to support scheduled post but the Tusky app does, so I guess probably it can be done somehow. I could sound out the moderator of the instance I'm on (a fairly small one run by some friends) and see what they think.

2) I could post them on Tumblr. I've been mostly lurking there for a few years. I know having multiple blogs is a thing, and post scheduling. But posting single lines with no explanation seems like something that might confuse people (though if the blog is called "band-name-server" probably people would figure it out). I've heard that tumblr is supposed to linking with the fediverse so maybe it could also be followed by mastodoners, too.

3) I could post them on Facebook.  ...Yeah, no.  Instagram seems like it would make even less sense, and other social media sites are just not on my radar right now.

4) I could post them on my Wordpress blog or some other blog.  I've considered doing that, actually, having my own bandnameserver blog, maybe posting a day's worth at a time and even maybe including where the names came from. This would involve extra work, including me trying to remember/keep track of where the names came from.

5) I could try to resurrect the actual server.  The original one was written in Perl, using Common Gateway Interface and reading from/writing to text files back in like 1995 or something, and hosted on the University of Alberta student web server back when nobody was scared at the idea of having a web service writing to a file on the server. I managed to find a couple of homes for it after that but I suspect that's not going to fly these days. So I'd need some other host for it, and probably have to recode it in something safer like PHP+MySql or something. It wasn't terrible complicated, and having a database with like one table (for reading from) or two or three (if I wanted people to submit their own) probably wouldn't be too demanding. Probably I'd have to pay for it. Would I still post all the new names, or just dispense random ones with periodic updates to the underlying tables?

Tumblr is seeming most attractive to me right now, but I haven't made a decision yet.

11/27 '22 8 Comments
May I ask was the id is for the birdsite? I'd love to check it out. :)

I really should have just tried that before asking. :P
Hindsight is 50-50.
Especially when one IS 50.
I've seen checkboxes for "bot account" on the two instances I've signed up to.
Two at the same time, or sequentially?
Signed up for octodon.social years back. Mastodon.ie got popular last month so I put a placeholder account there for people to find me. I really should replace it with a redirect but I’m enjoying the local timeline too much.

July of 2020, in what seeked then like the middle of the pandemic (though now it seems like early days) we traded in our old Grand Am for a minivan, a GMC Acadia (which model name I include here in the hopes that I will remember it--I keep getting it wrong). Still used, and we got it at one of those dealerships that gets a lot of used car trade-ins, not a GM dealer.

This may have been the first time in a while that we were trading in a still-drivable vehicle; more often it would have broken down or gotten written off after an accident or something. With two fully-grown children (and one still growing) the back of the sedan had been getting way too cramped on the still-periodic long highway trips.

At the time I'd been working from home for months, and wasn't anticipating going back to work anytime soon.  It got a weekly drive to the grocery store, and my wife would drive to look after/visit her dad during his decline from Parkinson's. (He passed away a few months ago.)

Not too long after we got it, it started giving us a message indicating the ABS system (and "Stabilitrak", whatever that was) wasn't working.  It didn't seem like a big deal; although we do live in a place that gets periodic Real Winter, we'd never had ABS before and made up for it by just driving more cautiously. (I also don't switch to winter tires, which makes me some kind of a kook in these parts. Yeah, well, I don't drive over the speed limit either.)

I got lured back into the office a month or so ago, and so of course I've been driving a lot more (it's still only a 15-20 minute commute, at least).  When it got cold a few weeks ago, our tire pressure sensors started going off, and so I took it in to the dealership where we bought it to have them checked.  They seemed to think that the pressure had just gotten a bit low and the temperature drop had exacerbated it.  They topped up the pressure, no problem.  But while I was in there, I decided to make an appointment to get them to look at the ABS thing.  That was today.

After all that...no, their technician can't actually diagnose it because this is a Chrysler dealership and apparently the system on this GM vehicle is not cooperating with their sensors. Sigh. Oh, well. Maybe sometime in the next few years we'll see about taking it to a GM place. (There aren't any on the way to work, of course.)

At least I got the oil changed. Normally I'd go to one of those drive-through places, but the nearest one has leaned into the "putting on winter tires" service, and when the "Change Oil" light came on was just after the first snow so the lineups were ridiculous. I grumbled that what I really wanted was somebody to come pick up the car while I was at work, do the oil change, and bring it back before the end of my day. It wasn't quite that convenient (I got home an hour later than usual and still have some time to work off) but I guess it wasn't too bad.

Car ownership can be kinda stupid, but it's part of the culture up here. Which of course means our bus system is pretty crappy. And I feel like Alberta will be the last place in the world to abandon gasoline-powered vehicles. So I'll cope with what we've got. Maybe one day we'll go to EV or hybrid or whatever. But this is not that day.

11/22 '22 1 Comment
> I feel like Alberta will be the last place in the world to abandon gasoline-powered vehicles

I think Newfoundland and Labrador will be happy to give Alberta a run for their money in that race. :) While we have a determined corps of early-adopters of EVs here (mostly Teslas, a few Chevy Volts), the monster-truck mindset is way more pervasive. Our next vehicle *should* be an EV, but it wasn't something we could justify when we got our current one in early 2020, unfortunately. That said, I'm sure it'll be easier to keep an EV here in St. John's rather than elsewhere on the island.

I had been half intending to just leave the new monitor sitting in its box for a few days, particularly with today's schedule being full (reading and dishes in the morning, a family Ars Magica RPG session in the afternoon, then late supper because of all the chips we eat while roleplaying). But I managed to push through and set up the new monitor, so yay me.

The frame is white, which is a little weird but I'm sure I'll get used to it. The stand that comes with it isn't too adjustable, but I can replace that later if I want to. Max resolution available is 3840x2160, which means I must have gotten the proper HDMI cable this time because I couldn't get near that much with the last monitor and its cable.  This is of course pretty small for my aging eyes so I'm at 175% scale.

I went through something similar with my new monitor at work so I was prepared for Winamp to suddenly look extremely bad. (Yes, I still use Winamp--it's been Good Enough for me for some time now; the only other music player I've really tried was iTunes, which is extremely awful and I only use it to buy music from the store and copy music onto my iPod Touch.) I was aware that Winamp had resurfaced with a new version a few years ago, but when I'd tried to check it out back then I got certificate errors so I just shrugged and went on with my old version.

But the old version does not deal well with screen zoom. I tried out the new version at work, and it seemed to work well enough, so I bit the bullet and installed it at home tonight. (I backed up all my meticulously hand-crafted playlists first, but they seem to have come through unscathed.) The window layout is a little different at the moment, and the font may be a little smaller, but I'm going to give it a try and see how it works out.

I also gave the monitor's built-in speakers a try, but it didn't take long for me to conclude they were pretty bad and switch back to my old ones.

Of course this device is prepared to be a Smart TV as well, but I elected not to give it Wifi access and it seems to have settled successfully into its rule as monitor. Hopefully it won't get ideas.

I should probably try some video games on it. Maybe one of the ones that kept blanking out my screen on the old monitor. Or watch some Star Trek or something.

11/13 '22 2 Comments
Who monitors the monitor?
The lizard.

I blogged a few years ago on Wordpress about how I was reading. Mostly it still seems to be accurate. Still trying to balance male and female, and add diversity.

One thing I'd done since then was make a separate list of books that I'd basically acquired on a whim, by an author I'd never heard of before, and only had one book by that author. Really, I pulled them all off of my shelves and then ended up stacking them on the disused pool table in our basement. So I added a sixth stroke to the cycle, for trying these books, and giving myself the permission to give up on the book if it doesn't grab me. Because normally I just read the book to the end anyway.

I've found a few decent authors that way, particular Rosemary Kirstein ("The Steerswoman" was great, but I was blown away by the sequel, "The Outskirter's Secret"), Jon Skovron, Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett, Joe Zieja, and Charles Palliser.  I also found a few decent books that I finished but probably won't seek out the authors again, and several duds that I did not get through.

I'm still doing a lot of rereads--doing a lot of series, with some standalones in between, and slower rereads of Discworld, Dick Francis, and Star Trek. For a while it's been less of "series that I enjoy" and more of "series that I haven't read for a long time". Like the Thomas Covenant books, or the Incarnations of Immortality, or the Fifth Millennium series, or, most recently, the Deryni books.

For the record: the Thomas Covenant books seem to have held up pretty well (with the huge proviso that you have to get past the rape in the first book, which not everybody should be expected to do), and I've even started the Last Chronicles.  The Incarnations of Immortality start off well, but I was not imagining the decline, and I had apparently completely forgotten about the pedophilia apologism in the last book; I think I've weeded all but the first off my shelf.  The Fifth Millennium books are mostly pretty good, but I feel like they'd do better if I just took out the first book, S.M. Stirling's "Snowbrother", so we can pretend Sh'kaira isn't a bad person.

I'm still on my Deryni series reread. I know for a fact I got into these because of the mentions in Dragon Magazine, as part of a psionics-focused issue (I believe it was Issue #78), so I've never been able to see the Deryni "magic" as anything but psionics. They came out originally as several trilogies in non-chronological order; I read them in chronological order, with the Camber trilogy first before the original Deryni trilogy (which it precedes by a century or two), and then a sequel trilogy to each. (There's more besides those, but I haven't read them.)

The Camber trilogy was not bad; it gets a little downbeat towards the end, as persecution of Deryni starts, but the frequent high-handedness of some of our main characters feels like ample justification. The sequel trilogy gets pretty dark at times, but it was actually better than I had remembered. The Deryni trilogy itself was...not great. The main characters are not great, and the whole trilogy ends with a major confrontation that...gets wrapped up in a very unsatisfactory way. Like...let's say that ASOIAF ended with the Starks facing off against the Lannisters...and then suddenly one of the Lannisters revealed they'd been a (previously unknown) Lannister enemy in disguise the whole time and they'd just poisoned all the Lannisters and so the Starks got to win.

I've been showing a peculiar dedication to my 100-book-per-year Goodreads goal, too, and I've been trying to set regular reading quotas. Mostly this has been four or five days per book, sometimes more of the book is longer (I took seven days to get through Stephen King's "Duma Key"). You'd think this wouldn't work for reading 100 books a year, but I'm usually done my quota before supper, and then I can snatch a little bit more reading in the evening, like nonfiction books, or comics, and some of that counts as well, so it's mostly been working out.  (And I started off the year frontloading it with a few short novellas, to get an early lead, so that also helped.)

Before I go on to the next Deryni trilogy, though, I've decided to reread "Les Misérables"--even the bits about the bishop and Waterloo and stuff--so we'll see how that works.  I've got like a two-book lead right now. We'll see if that's enough.

11/7 '22 1 Comment
Formidable! I've re-read Les Misérables also, of course, and it does lend itself to discovering or re-discovering important ideas. It wasn't for nothing that Hugo was interred in the Panthéon.

One other movie I watched recently was the "Cats" adaptation. I guess I'll just say here that I posted a four-star review of it on letterboxd. One of my friends got me to watch the first two Pitch Perfect movies; the first one was good, but the second one was pretty meh so I haven't gone on to 3 yet.

Of course I've been mostly keeping up on the MCU movies, as they come to streaming, anyway. They've mostly been a little underwhelming (particularly the last Thor and Doctor Strange ones), but I did like "Eternals" and "Spider-Man: No Way Home".  I also liked the (less MCU) "New Mutants" movie, and it may be the best movie adapted from the X-Men universe.

Pixar has been a bit more of a hard sell for the kids, though we did all enjoy "Encanto", and "Turning Red" was pretty good. "Onward", "Toy Story 4", and "Frozen 2" were middling.

But it has been hard for me to motivate myself to watch movies. "Everything Everywhere All At Once" is the only time my wife and I have been out to see a movie in a theatre during the pandemic (in very uncomfortable CAN99 masks), and it's hard to carve out a movie-sized block of time without feeling antsy about wasting two hours I could have spent doing something else more fun on my computer. So in my head the expected return of enjoyment from watching a movie is just too low to be worth it.

I read a book a while ago talking about "explore vs. exploit"--how one chooses between trying new things and revisiting old things. And part of the heuristic is the factor of how long you have to choose things. As someone who entered his fifties last year, it almost feels like "explore" time is over. Maybe I should just rewatch, reread, and relisten to known quantities.

Okay, maybe I'm not quite there yet, but it feels like I'm ramping up to it.

11/6 '22 3 Comments
With few exceptions, we have been alone or nearly alone in the theater, and I admit we are taking that into account in our planning.
I've tried to balance my explore vs exploit, particularly because i tend to exploit more.
I think "I won't have time to properly explore this" might be a less useful observation than "exploration is good for mental flexibility, which will be in increasingly short supply."

I've been in deep-dive mode myself though for years. No new hobbies lately.

Still been watching more TV than movies for the last few years. Though "Knives Out" and "Everything Everywhere All At Once" were fantastic.

We got Disney+ to watch "Wandavision" and "Loki"; also made it through "What If", "Hawkeye" and "Obi-Wan Kenobi".  I watched one episode of "Falcon & The Winter Soldier" but mostly gave it a miss. The Marvel shows are interesting but uneven, and watching Star Wars shows reminds of how little I really care about it any more.

We put Disney+ on pause when we got Prime and Netflix to watch "Wheel of Time" and "Sandman" with the family. "Wheel of Time"...I'm not quite satisfied with the adaptation, though not for racisty kind of reasons. The casting is not a problem. But they just played too fast and loose with the story, particularly near the end of the season, until it just wasn't the story I wanted to watch any more. Admittedly, the first book was never my favourite, but I just hope they don't screw up the later stuff. "Sandman" was better, though I'm still That Guy who mostly focuses on the things they did differently. Maybe I'm just doomed to always be disappointed by adaptations unless they're word-for-word identical.

With the family we've been watching Babylon 5 on a weekly basis; we're up to Season 5 now. At some point in the past I'd thought to myself, "Simon will have graduated from university before we finish. I wonder if we'll make it through?" But Simon is still job-hunting, and not eager to move out in a pandemic, so maybe we'll make it.  We also started belatedly watching "The Good Place", which we've been alternating with B5, mostly two episodes a week, and we're only two from the end. That is a great show, and it is good to know I'm not completely unable to like new things.

With my wife we've been making our way (slowly) through a number of shows. We're two episodes into "Rings of Power", two episodes from the end of S2 of "Star Trek: Picard", two episodes into the new "Quantum Leap", one episode into S3 of "Star Trek: Discovery" (but we haven't watched it in a while). We had been watching Doctor Who with two of the kids, but they bailed after the end of Tennant, so it's just been the two of us watching Matt Smith. (I've already watched to the end of Smith, and I stopped there so the others could catch up.)  We just finished "The Pandorica Opens" there.

And myself I've been rewatching a lot of stuff--I finished making my way through Star Trek: TOS and have started on the animated series, which is better than I was expecting, and also jumped ahead to TNG (where I'm in Season 3). Also rewatching "The Muppet Show" desultorily, "Friends", "Red Dwarf" (which I've been buying on DVD because it's so hard to find online), "Buffy" (but only to sync up with a podcast I've been listening to), "Lost", and "Lexx". I had been rewatching "South Park" but it disappeared from the streaming service it was on, and I find that I have aged out of its humour or something so I may just give up.

I'm also watching "Glee" (into Season 3, now, I think), and "The X-Files" for the first time. I avoided "X-Files" first time around because I think UFO mythology is stupid, but I decided to give it a try anyway, and I find that I mostly just like the Mulder-Scully dynamic.

There are of course also a few that I've tried and given up on. I got four episodes into "Yellowjackets" before deciding I didn't care about it any more, and two episodes into "Only Murders In The Building". I've watched two episodes of "The Man In The High Castle", at least partly because one of my friends is in it, but it's just too bleak for these days so I doubt I'll keep up. We tried "Resident Alien" but haven't gone back to it, and I wasn't impressed by the first episode of "Star Trek: Lower Decks" so I haven't pursued it either.

I stopped "Torchwood" after the end of Season 2 because they just decided to kill off half the characters; we stopped "Angel" after Season 4, though we haven't quite given up on it yet. (I mean, they did get rid of Connor, but it doesn't sound like we're getting Cordelia back, and Whedon's star is on the wane, so enh.) We never did get back to "Supergirl" after "Man of Steel", and we don't find ourselves missing it either.

Then there are things we mean to watch sometime. I'm very curious about "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds", and I enjoyed the first two seasons of "The Orville" and want to continue that. The kids evinced some interest in "Stranger Things" so maybe we'll try that while we have Netflix (which may not be forever). We watched "Good Omens" on DVD but Jinian wasn't old enough yet and keeps bugging us about watching it. And there's tons of other stuff too. "The Witcher", maybe, or "Andor", or "The Mandalorian" (though see above re: Star Wars), or "Orphan Black" or "The Librarians" or "The Magicians" or...who knows what.

But we are not binge-watchers. With the family, we can manage our one night a week, most weeks at least; with my wife, maybe we can manage one more hour of TV a week. And by myself, it'll depend heavily, but I hardly ever will manage to watch an hour of TV every night. So we will never catch up. There will always be more stuff. The FOMO is real.

11/5 '22 6 Comments
The Mandalorian has enough charm to stand on its own. I haven’t surveyed people who never saw Star Wars, but I think they would love it also.

The Good Place is shockingly good.

If you have HBO at any point, we are really into His Dark Materials. aka the Golden Compass adaptation. We are about four episodes in.
I have heard good things about HDM. I read the series to my daughter a few years ago, though, and she was really pissed about the ending. Particularly, she did not think Lyra and Will should have gotten together in the last book. So I don't know that it would become a family viewing experience.

In a similar vein I'm curious about the Lemony Snicket series adaptation too.
Heheh, Lexx. You can blame me for season 4. We were Nielsen journalers during season 3 and it's the only thing we watched regularly.
For whatever reason I have only seen like one episode of Season 4. (That was the season on Earth, right?)
Btw Dennis Valdron has a great series of ebooks about the Lexx series which I've been trying to read along with the rewatch.
On D+ it's worth watching Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk. Kim enjoyed The Mandalorian; i've given new SW stuff the miss, but i'm very tempted by Andor because of all the good noise, as well as it being helmed by Tony "Michael Clayton" Gilroy.

Speaking of She-Hulk and Canada's own Tatiana Maslany, do not miss Orphan Black.

ST:SNW is very good. Also on P+, The Good Fight is excellent.

I still exist. Keep meaning to swing by more often. Most likely I'm here because of the current Twitter instability. Maybe I should spend more time browsing blogs. After all, I do lurk on tumblr.

Started working from home in March of 2020...but now I've been back in the office for a month. I do not feel particular safe there; I mask all day except when I'm eating or drinking, even though I have an office to myself. I'm pretty sure the bloody pandemic is not over, thank you very much, despite media and government-sponsored gaslighting, and I would like to reduce my risk of Long Covid as long as possible. Though I do miss karaoke something awful.

Haven't been blogging much. On my Wordpress blog I've mostly been talking about my chronological journey through my music collection, though I did also do a pass through my favourite Crusader Kings II/Europa Universalis IV game sequence. Twitter (and tumblr) I've mostly been browsing to find entertaining things to read to my wife while she cooks; most of my tweets have been about music, still my main obsession.

Watching a modicum of TV, but maybe I'll save that for later. Increase the changes I'll come back.

11/5 '22 6 Comments
I’ve been wondering who might wander over here from the Musk mess. We’re a quiet little neighborhood, no dopamine whippets crunching underfoot like on the streets of Twitter, so the junkies tend to move on.
I did poke my head in and read a few posts a month or two ago, but didn't get around to posting anything. Having multiple blogs I never know what to post where and so I often post nothing anywhere.
Yeah I get that.
I may have elevated my humble lineage to become Emperor of Britain, but when I’m asked to send thousands of men off to die in the hinterlands, I’m like “Aw, man!”
I managed to start out as an Occitan count and become Emperor of Spain, though in hindsight it probably helps that it's easier to win and hold territory through a crusade in Spain than it is in the Levant.
I found I was using Twitter as a finely curated feed of news and commentary that was up my alley, and also as an outlet for griping about my law practice. I'll miss it, honestly. But even if the new owner decides to drop it, it won't ever be the same, I don't think.

Oh, yeah, One Post Wonder still exists.

I've been writing more or less consistently since the end of August, which still kind of surprises me.  After an initial spurt where I tried using 4thewords.com to gamify it, I gave up on that but still kept writing.  Daily writing has slid back to bidaily writing to occasionally every three days, but it hasn't stopped yet.  And, most impressively, this is a second draft, revision of a novel I wrote in two NaNoWriMos in the previous decade.

It did kind of divide up nicely into two pieces, but they're both too close to 50,000 words to be complete novels, so I'm trying to do it as a single novel for now.  I am adding some words, mostly because when I wrote the second half I gave a secondary character her own viewpoint chapters, and I'm trying to add them back in to the first half.  Maybe strict alternation is not going to work completely, since Janine may not have as much happening with her as Philip does, but I'm trying it anyway.  I'm still not quite up to the end of the first part, since I am being very forgiving with my quota.  Especially when I'm writing new words and not just tweaking old scenes, I'm settling for less than 500 words at a sitting, and generally that's less than half an hour.  But it is NOT ZERO and I am NOT STOPPING YET.

This comes after a few long stretches of not feeling like any of my games, so perhaps it hasn't been as drastic a change as that.  If I'd gone from four hours of Skyrim or Sims 2 every night to wedging in writing, it might have been too much.  I do sometimes think wistfully of playing more games, but I think it's really more reasonable in any case.  Though I have close to six columns of computer game icons on my desktop, and more that aren't even on there (ones that my kids bought on Steam and I never installed, or that I bought on GOG.com and never installed).

I haven't quite settled on a title for the book yet--when I wrote it, the two parts were "Bleen" and "Grue", and the overall title was "Many Worlds".  But I find myself calling it "Bleen & Grue" more often than I do "Many Worlds", so who knows.  If this thing should ever end up getting published by someone other than me, then they'll get the final decision on the title anyway, so no point in my stressing over it.

At the rate I'm going, it may take a full year to get through the revision, though I keep hoping that the second half will end up requiring less revision.  A lot of what I've done so far has just been taking the random flailing from early in the book, before I found the plot and settled on the way the world works, and making it more consistent, adding the viewpoints I mentioned above, and bringing in a few more characters to flesh out the characters' somewhat sparse personal lives.  Oh, and keeping Janine and Philip's relationship from being too firmly settled from the beginning.  
The initial idea I'd had for it was just to have somebody flipping randomly between parallel worlds, and I threw in a whimsical alien at the beginning just to be interesting.  Zombies turned up later because I was reading Max Brooks's Zombie Survival Guide at the time.  As has happened before, my vague wanderings acquired a plot eventually, and so I've had to try to bring the vague wanderings into line with the plot.  In particular, when the main character, Philip, was being randomly swapped into another world by an alternate self, I had to figure out why this was happening.  I've almost considered writing up an outline, but I haven't managed to follow through on it.  I wrote my first draft in vim (as I'm writing this right now), but I've been trying to use Scrivener for my second draft.  I'm sure I'm not using most of the features, but it has been nice a few times to be able to drag-and-drop scenes from one place to another.

What keeps tapping at my brain is an idea for a big huge fantasy series type thing, based on the Lorenai pbem game I played back in the late 90's.  When the game came to an end, the game data was all made available, and I've whiled away many hours poring over it since then.  Looking at it recently has made me want to convert it into something more novelish, and I swear I've probably come up with about half a dozen novels by now.  It'll be interesting to turn it from a somewhat dry email game based heavily on Middle Earth (my faction operated out of Minas Tirith, for instance) into something with a life of its own, but I've got plenty of ideas.  In my own fashion, I'm planning to just take place and character names, run them through rot13 and then massage them into something pronounceable.  For instance, "Minas Tirith" would become "Zvanf Gvevgu", which has morphed into "Zon Vivica".  I'm resisting trying to make up an entire conlang for the series along with everything else.  Anyway, I've promised myself that I'll try to at least start on this next after I finish "Many Worlds".  I may even outline this time, just to see if I can make it work.

I should dig out a few short stories sometime, too, and see if I can work those into something publishable.  A lot of the ones I've posted online already, I'm not sure if I could interest an editor in, but I do have a handful that I never did...

12/17 '18

As I mentioned, I've been watching the new Twin Peaks...but very slowly.  The PVR has been a boon in allowing us to slack off on watching things, and sometimes we go a little overboard on it, but who cares, right?  (Spoilers probably follow for the new series, if you care...)

I watched the original Twin Peaks when it first came out.  Well, I caught the second half of the first season in reruns in the summer, and was hooked and had to watch the second season.  It was a few years before I even saw the pilot and the other first season episodes.  I had recorded a bunch of them on tape at some point, too, and eventually got the full series on DVD, and rewatched them over the last couple of years.

The new series is not like the original series at all.  Well, hardly at all.

The original series was quirky, sometimes brutal, a number of disagreeable characters, but with the axis of Cooper, Truman and even James, Donna and Audrey to show that there were people with, at least, good intentions.  There were the occasional surreal episodes--the dreams, and the excellent Black Lodge finale--but there was always some sense that people with discernible motivations were doing things.

The new series is a mess.  We're nine episodes in now, and the last few we've been watching with a gap of a month or more in between.  Episode 7 was particularly off-putting, with its extensive section in the middle dedicated to nuclear bomb footage and cacophonous music.  Plotting is barely coherent, with scenes from the first frickin' episode still incomprehensible.

I've watched some, but not all, David Lynch movies.  I enjoyed Mulholland Drive, and I like the "most of it is a dream" theory.  "Fire Walk With Me" was at times a bit off-putting, but it made a decent prequel/coda to the series, and it had a certain unity of place and time going for it.  "Blue Velvet" was...fine, I don't remember it much.  "Dune"...well, it was Dune.  "Wild At Heart" I don't remember much either, but I don't recall caring for it that much.

"Inland Empire" was a mess too.  I gather that he was writing scenes as they went, so it's no wonder it was incoherent.  There are sequences I remember, mostly near the beginning and near the end, but I couldn't tell you what happened in the middle.  And that's what the new Twin Peaks is like.

My theory is that David Lynch doesn't give a crap anymore, and is trolling the people who clamoured for a new Twin Peaks series.  He puts in as many of the old actors as he can (or will agree to it), but doesn't always give them much to do--Jacoby just gets to swear a lot on Youtube while Nadine watches his videos, Jerry gets lost in the woods...  His own character, Gordon Cole, is central to the closest thing we have to a plot.  There's what looks like occasional stunt-casting--Amanda Seyfried is wasted, Michael Cera's appearance as Andy & Lucy's son is excruciatingly painful.

And the best thing about the original series, the consistent throughline, the backbone, was Agent Cooper.  So what does the new series have?  First, we have the "bad Cooper", the evil version from the plot-twist ending of the origial series, who's grown his hair long and is now an amoral criminal and killer, who seems to have some weird abilities.  And then there's the "good Cooper" trapped in the Black Lodge for 25 years, who escapes through a sequence which is expectedly surreal, but generally good, and ends up replacing the hapless Dougie Jones.  And seems to have suffered a lot of brain damage in the process, because he's spent half a dozen episodes as someone who only repeats what you say to him, an "idiot savant" who can spot slot machines about to pay off and, somehow, insurance fraud.  Maybe he'll "snap out of it" and return to the old Cooper before the end of the series, but at this point I'm not holding my breath.

Lynch is screwing with us.  He's showing us that we really didn't want a new Twin Peaks series at all.  I'm used to, say, 80's bands getting back together and recording new material, and generally what happens is new music which is not like the music of their heyday that everybody loved, but like the latter-day stuff that they coasted on for a little while.  I would have been happy with a new Twin Peaks series that was up to the level of the second half of the second season, where they floundered a bit, but it was watchable and often funny.  Instead we get Twin Peaks filtered through Inland Empire, and it's kind of crappy.

Last episode we watched, #9, was full of angry white men beating women around and/or swearing vociferously.  I'm not the biggest fan of profanity myself, but it has its uses...and it was way overused.  I'm only really interested in about 25% of what's going on in the average episode (closer to 10% in episode #7), so why am I watching this?  In the vain hope that maybe it gets better.  But it's feeling like a goddamn abusive relationship at the moment, so I'm not sure I'm going to make it all the way through.

12/15 '17

In our house we don't watch as much TV as some people.  We make it a policy to not watch more than one episode per day, generally.  And my wife would often just rather read...so we tend to fall behind a lot.  At the moment, for instance, we are trying to watch Agents of SHIELD (where we still have one episode left in the last season, for heaven's sake), Supergirl (with Luke and Jinian), the new Twin Peaks series, Star Trek: Discovery, The Orville (a.k.a. the other new Star Trek show), The Big Bang Theory, and (when it returns) Timeless.  In addition, on my own, I am watching Doctor Who (about halfway through Matt Smith), Torchwood and Glee (finished the first season of each), and rewatching Star Trek and Star Trek: TNG.  Plus rewatching Buffy (and going past Season 2 of Angel for the first time) with Simon, and watching bits of Rozen Maiden with the kids.

Some of this has been complicated recently by the fact that the streaming service I use for watching the Star Trek series and Doctor Who on my computer still uses Silverlight, which no major browsers now support, so I have to watch it on the actual TV, which is less convenient.  But tonight I did get around to rewatching "The Immunity Syndrome" from the original series (with what I suspect is enhanced special effects, but I don't recall for sure). The last one, "A Piece of The Action", I remembered well, but found it a little too jokey.  This one was actually pretty good, with decent tension, not bad SF elements, good character.  I remember when I first watched it that I was surprised that such a thing as an all-Vulcan crew (on the Intrepid, which was destroyed near the beginning of the show, causing a disturbance in the Force) existed, but considering these days it's clearer that Vulcans were in space before humans, it's less surprising now.

I've been listening to the Mission Log podcast discussing Star Trek episodes, and I actually got a few episodes past their discussion of this episode before I stopped, deciding that I should rewatch these episodes.  Now I've been trying to make sure that I listen to the episodes only after rewatching (and with the TNG rewatch as well, where I'm still only in the first season), since I don't remember many of them very well.  And there's always the occasional episode that I never did get to see, too.  I can't appreciate Star Trek the way I did as a kid, the productions not always having aged well, but it's nice to revisit it anyway.

12/13 '17