Three zines, Bite Size Command Line, How Git Works, and HTTP: Learn Your Browser's Language, all by Julia Evans, are splayed out on a dark wood table.

Just got my zines from Julia Evans. Very excited to dig in.

Curried salmon for dunch.

A bowel of white rice with a half cut of curried salmon on top. There’s some pickled red onions scattered around, along with a ribbed snake of mayo.

Media Diet: May–June 2024

I went another two months without writing a media diet! These posts are way too important to ignore for that long, so let’s get into the crap I took in.

But before that, look at this 👇

Table of Contents

Why, its an expandable table of contents to jump sections! My innovations for you, gentle reader, knows no bounds.

Music

Rocks—Aerosmith

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Yes it’s on the nose, but there’s no other way to say it: this album boulders. Raw, heavy, boogie riffs, and more energy than I thought possible, especially given growing up with their slick ballad 90s era. I had gone back and listened to the first three Aerosmith albums years ago after finding them in my ex’s music collection, especially liking Toys in the Attic, but they never totally grabbed me. This album though. I got turned on to it from the Cobain 50 Podcast, which examines Kurt Cobain’s 50 favorite albums list. I didn’t realize how influential this record was, and man, I just can’t get enough. 🪨🪨🪨🪨🪨

Black Focus—Yussef Kamaal

Smooth, funky jazz with lots of complexity hiding under the hood. From what I read, it kicked off a jazz explosion in Brittan after it was released in 2010, and the group never put out another record. Sleek grooves, deep strange. It’s like if a velvet chicken made you wiggle.

Day/Night—Parcels

If you listen to anything from this list, listen to this. What if disco, but now, and Australian in Germany? That is the question that the band Parcels answers, and boy, is the music way better than it has any right to be. The drive of electronica, the beat of disco, the heart of forever, the face of Prince Valiant, the soul of a dance party, the secret pathos of a tear streaked cigarette. My roommate Hean introduced me and my other roommate Ivy to them while we played a few rounds of Magic: The Gathering. Besides the music, the highlight was the silly words the game makes you say, like, “I crew the Dreadmobile with the Cranial Ram.” We laughed a lot. Then went back to grooving, and exclaiming with surprise that the tunes remained great, song after song after song. Dig in.

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TV

Girls5eva

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From almost everyone behind 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the strange-until-you-watch-titled Girls5eva is really funny. It’s got a heart on it, and a plot following a flash-in-the-pan girl group getting back together and taking another crack at it two decades later. The characters are full and creative, but the show never strays far from it’s mission of delivering high quality jokes. Solid, and works even better the more you know about music history. Watching with my girlfriend, which is a delight. Highly recommend.

Hacks

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This was recommended to me a few times by a few people, and I finally got around to watching it. Only a few episodes in, but it’s solid. Hannah Einbinder and especially Jean Smart give great performances, and it’s sharply written. I found myself caring even though both lead characters are pretty unlikable in opposite ways. What does it say about me that I ended up rooting more for Smart’s rich corporate-comic workaholic over Einbinder’s self-involved, self-defeating underdog who’s closer to my age?

Conan O’Brien Must Go

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Look, this may come as a shock, but Conan O’Brien is funny. He’s very funny. The found comedy he makes being an idiot abroad is very, very funny. Do yourself a favor, get up off your unfunny couch, then sit back down on it and watch this funny thing. Werner Herzog does the intro narration. What are you doing just watch.

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Video Games

Super Mario Land

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This was the other big launch title for the Gameboy, aside from Tetris, which naturally took the spotlight. This is such a fun little Mario game, though. Made by a different team than was making the NES games at the time, and built to withstand the severe limitations of the Gameboy’s hardware, it has a distinct feel to it from pretty much any other Mario game. I’ve been told that its short and super easy, but I haven’t beat it. One day.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

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I played this around 2010 on a hand-me-down PlayStation One, and I don’t think I ever beat it. I’ve been meaning to replay it ever since. I’m doing so now on my little Miyoo Mini, which came pre-loaded with a shit-ton of ROMs, including Symphony of the Night. However, the ROM is the Japanese version, which is normally not a problem, and I like the voice acting better, but does mean extra work anytime I need to access the menu system. Who cares, though. I’m Dracula’s son, running around his castle stabbing cursed Medusa heads, leveling up and trying to kill my dad.

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Movies

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

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Finally, back to everyone’s favorite movie marathon, Friday the 13th.

A fan favorite, this one is edging in on being a real movie. Tom Savini is back, so the gore effects take a jump in quality, and it stares Crispin Glover and a little Corey Feldman. It has all the iconography in place, and is pretty much what you think of when you think of Jason Voorhees slicing people up.

Even if you don’t like horror movies or slashers or any of this shit, check out the legendary (violence and mostly dialog free) Dance by Crispin Glover.

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

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Everyone hated this one, because it:

  1. came out a year after the “final chapter”
  2. doesn’t really have Jason in it
  3. is weird

However, that’s exactly the reasons why my roommates and I liked it. The tone takes a sharp turn, flying out bug-eyed gonzo while staying within the slasher mold. It continues the story of a non-villain character for the first time in series history, and its a whodunit. Sort of. It’s not really a real movie.

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives

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Okay, this is a real movie. Or, if it isn’t, it’s very close. Part six takes a comedic, self-aware slant in addition to the horror, and strikes the right balance. It’s campy and silly and gruesome and knows it all. If you think these movies are silly, or if you take them seriously, this movie agrees with you. A lot of fun.

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

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Okay, this one introduces a psychic protagonist, a la Carrie, who eventually takes on Jason directly. What? Yes. TVs flying across the room and shit. Jason is an ominous presence, but the real villain is the manipulative psychologist that is trying to control our psychic heroine’s life. His murder feels huge.

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan

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No one likes this one because Jason spends all of twenty five minutes in Manhattan, and the rest on a small cruise ship, for budgetary reasons. Not the strongest, but has some fun moments, including a young punk rock woman getting stabbed with her own guitar, the gross creepy uncle getting drowned in a barrel of New York sewage, and a man boxing Jason and getting his head punched off.

Monkey Man

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I saw this alone in the theater on a whim after a long day of driving back from an improv festival. I was so tired, but I’m glad I saw it. Dark, brooding revenge flick with an obvious debt to John Wick while still being its own thing. It was shot on a nothing budget, and it doesn’t show. Big, beautifully brutal set-piece action scenes. The underpinnings of social and class critique in India are present and relevant everywhere. The temple of trans monks that serves as our heroes training montage was a nice touch.

Mad Max: Fury Road

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I re-watched this with my girlfriend in anticipation of seeing Furiosa, and it holds up. It’s nothing like seeing it on the big screen, and I was nervous that my girlfriend wouldn’t like it after an exclamation of, “what the hell are we watching?” following one of the more violent images, but she ended up enjoying it, and even if she didn’t that’s okay, it’s a movie, you know? It’s a good one, IMO, though.

Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday

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Another one fans don’t like. It really changes the lore, which fans really care about, you know? Jason is a demon from hell who jumps between bodies, and has been the whole time, despite this being the first time there’s been any evidence of this. We never see hell, but the title is true on a technicality. Feels dumb. The movie doesn’t know what it wants to be or do, and flops around a lot, but there’s this mercenary guy hunting Jason who, despite switching motivations a couple times, does wear a cowboy hat.

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

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This is the darkest Mad Max movie by a good bit. It’s also too long, and has a chunk of dialog scenes that can drag a bit. I think George Miller is strongest with visual storytelling with this series, and while interesting, some of the talking scenes felt flat to me. All that being said, I saw it with a group of friends and had a great time. There’s incredible action scenes, rivaling the best in the series, and the characters are indelible, popping off the screen. Take a peek, I’d love to discuss.

Jason X

The first post Scream Friday the 13th, and the first not to have a title without any mention of the day of the week. This movie did not do well with fans or general audiences. It’s Jason in space. It’s silly. It’s alien meets Jason meets jokes. I can imagine at the time, people were tired of the franchise, and were looking for something more “serious”. But now? Oh dear, this is fun. Get your camp goofy space killer on! The tone is so self aware, taking the most obvious, dumb jokes, and it worked. One of the best kills in the franchise, and someone refers to how many died in “the Microsoft wars”. It’s good.

Freddy vs. Jason

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This movie was in development hell for years, and they finally made it, and it’s pretty good. Not nearly as good as it should have been given the time in the tank, but I had fun watching it. It’s mostly a Freddy Kruger movie, from The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, with Jason coming in as a blunt force object. The concept is probably as good as could be done to mash these two things together. The director, Ronny Yu, brings a fresh Hong Kong style to it. It’s never boring. I don’t know how much you’d get out of it if you didn’t have any familiarity with either Friday the 13th or The Nightmare on Elm Street series, though.

And we’re done with Jason movies!

Or are we…?

Stand Up Solutions

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Was recommended this arch satire of stand up specials while also being a stand up special by my friend Ryan. It’s really funny. It uses our fears around technology and drive for self promotion as conceptual engines that fuel the jokes. It works. From a Seth Myers writer slash Aidy Bryant’s husband.

Dan Licata: For The Boys

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I never heard of Dan before hearing him on The Best Show. The special is him doing stand up in front of an audience of 13 year old boys that attend Dan’s old high school. The comedy comes from Dan leaning into the difference in generation and philosophy, painting himself as a proud burn out, and the kids as awkwardly looking at him askance. It’s funny.

Friday the 13th (2009 remake)

Jason’s back! But from the beginning, all over again. The remake serves as kind of a greatest hits of the first four Friday movies, ups the budget, and in the process, becomes a real movie. It manages to keep the tone of the originals, while becoming a real boy. Its maybe a little preoccupied with trivial realisms like how Jason moves around so quickly and nonsense like that, but overall this might be the one to see if you’d like a good place to start, and see if its your speed.

Dicks: The Musical

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I saw this again with my girlfriend as a birthday present to myself. She hated the sewer boys. I make no apologies.

Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th

What do you want to watch after seeing all 12 Friday the 13th movies? A six hour documentary about the making of all those movies, that’s what! Frequently more interesting than the movies themselves, this is a loving, detailed romp. They get interviews with almost everyone involved, and some of the stories behind the scenes are absolutely wild. The series was started as a knowing rip off of Halloween, with no script, no one attached, but they had a title and an ad campaign! It’s really good. I think it would be fun to watch even if you never saw a second of the Friday movies. Can recommend.

That’s it for my Friday the 13th movie marathon, at least until they work out the rights and make a new one.

But wait, there’s a television series based on the property? And it was successful? And there’s 120 hours of it? Oh dear.

When Evil Lurks

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I was meaning to see this for a while. Interesting, fresh take on the demonic possession trope. And wow, what a brutal movie. It does not hold back, and that really lets it take you on an emotional ride. Don’t let the subtitles be the thing that scares you off.

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I feel like my previous post didn’t properly capture the grandeur of my Lock Screen.

A purple tinted rocky beach iOS Lock Screen.

NYC Pride Photos 2024

I watched the New York City pride parade yesterday, and got a few nice shots of celebration and joy. A great day. 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

People on a parade float are dressed in colorful costumes. One person on the left is wearing a flowing outfit with a headscarf, while another person in the middle is dressed in green with a large hat adorned with flowers and holding a watermelon prop. A third person on the right is wearing a pink and white dress and has their arms raised in celebration. The float has a sign that reads “Taiwan Pride in NYC.” The background shows a multi-story building with many windows.
A trans woman with long blond pony tail, dramatic eye liner, and bright yellow combat boots. She wears a fish net bikini, with breasts exposed, nipples covered with rainbow paint. She walks confidently. A person in the foreground holds up a flag with horizontal stripes of pink, purple, and blue, representing the bisexual pride flag. The scene is part of a parade, with other participants and colorful decorations visible in the background. Tall buildings surround the parade area, and the sky is partly cloudy. The atmosphere is festive and celebratory. A brown drag queen wears pink and blue fairy wings and corset, with matching hair and big black boots. She walks with purpose.
A bald brown man in traditional Somoan tattoos and garb waves with a big smile amidst other similarly dressed celebrants. A colorful float is part of a parade, adorned with people waving rainbow flags and holding signs. The float is decorated with vibrant illustrations and a banner reading “NYC Pride 2024.” The participants appear joyful, celebrating and interacting with the crowd. Tall buildings and lush green trees are visible in the background, under a cloudy sky. The scene captures the lively and inclusive spirit of the event. A decorated bus with rainbow colors and the words ‘The Unforgotten’ printed on it is featured in the image. The bus has purple, green, and gold garlands around the edges, and two individuals with obscured faces are standing in front of it. One individual is wearing a black top with a purple skirt and holding up a peace sign, while the other is wearing a black outfit with white polka dots and waving. The background shows high-rise buildings under an overcast sky. The scene appears festive, likely from a parade or celebration, related to LGBTQ+ pride.
A muscular white man wearing only a thong, a white cowboy hat, and roller skates rolls with a forlorn expression, eyes down. He carries a large peace pride flag. A group of individuals with obscured faces is standing behind a metal barrier at an outdoor event, possibly a parade. They are wearing colorful attire, including rainbow-colored accessories such as wigs, tutus, and flags. One individual in the center wears a yellow top and pink shorts while holding up their hands mid-cheer. A sign with the text ‘Home Grande!’ is visible in the lower left corner, accompanied by rainbow motifs suggesting the event is LGBTQ+ related.
A person in an elaborate rainbow colored dress and makeup waves a flag reading 'drag is not a crime'
A white drag queen in a fancy silver dress with big silver necklaces, standing tall and holding a pride flag. A long narrow photo of a blond man wearing sunglasses gesturing joyfully while sitting on top of a car. Bubbles envelope him and soar up to the sky, filling the frame. The frame extends up and up, showing trees, then buildings in the background, and finally a steel sky, all covered with bubbles. A black trans woman waving joyfully with mouth open and posing coyly. An older white man with a long white beard and a red baseball cap and white gloves and cargo shorts and a pride and joy t-shirt waves, smiling.
A black and white image of a pride float, many celebrating bodies. The new york city skyline stretches high above the revelers against a pure white sky. A spiral of confetti arcs up from the back of the float, framed in high contrast against the white sky. A Black trans lives matter flag is visible.
An white woman with primpted black hair wears a bright rainbow form fitting dress. She sits on the back of a car, arms raised mouth open in celebration. A woman wearing a rainbow flower hat hands out merch to eager onlookers. Two people in elaborate blue costumes and white masks do stilt walk dances.
A colorful float with an arc of rainbow colored balloons amidst LGBTQ+ mutli-ethnic celebrants. A pride float with palm fronds and pyramids. A man with sunglasses and a pink shirt arms raised yelling with joy is prominantly featured. A long wide shot of LGBTQ+ parade marching band. A group of LGBTQ+ dancers in mid performance. They radiate love and joy.

🌈🌈🌈

I’m using a new photo for phone wallpaper. I took this photo, and I like the filter Apple suggested a lot. I have no memory of which beach this was, or why I was there.

An iphone lock screen with a purple and organze tinted background wallpaper of a rocky beach.

I bought my first ever pair of chucks. I’m digging them a lot. 👟

A shot of my legs in jeans and blue converse on my feet.

Our apartment is in the sauce. 🌶️

Three bottles of hot sauce. Empress ghost pepper maqaw, and Melinda’s black truffle a d fire roasted garlic and habanero.

Targeting the ven diagram of magic the gathering players and people who want to know about local musicians.

Spotted on a Carrol Gardens lamp post.

A poster on a light post made to look like a fake magic the gathering card. It’s called Jake cascade and features a picture of a young man wearing overalls and a winter hat and holding a banana. The card text reads: “spellcaster. A powerful musician, Jake cascade’s spells blend genres to create a colorful musical cosmos. When this card is played all players receive existential relief. “

Maybe the most beige thing I’ve ever cooked. Stir fry a la Utz.

A bowl of rice with stir fried orange peppers, tofu and mushrooms and crushed potato chips on top.

It’s roof movie season.

A projector screen with the castlevania anime on it. It’s supported by ropes tied to posts in a city roof. Yellow glow from traffic lights illuminates the background.

There’s something about seeing a loose VHS on the ground that makes me want to take a shower.

A down shot of a concrete city sidewalk. A garbage can looks in the frame. There’s trash all around it. A grimy VHS lays there amidst the garbage, back up.
A group of six friends is posing playfully on a crowded beach under a sunny sky. The group includes three men and three women. Each person has a temporary tattoo of Chris' face. One woman on the far left is wearing a floral shirt and shorts, enthusiastically pointing to her left arm. Her left arm has Chris' face near the elblow joint. Next to her is a woman in a black swimsuit and sunhat, posing with her hand on her hip. She has Chris' face on her bicep. In the middle, a man has towel draped over his head. This is Chris. The towel has his face on it. Standing next to him is a woman in a gray bikini with her back to the camera, playfully looking over her shoulder. Chris' face is on her lower back. A man in sunglasses and a baseball cap stands behind them, flexing his arm. On the far right, a shirtless man in beige shorts smiles while holding a drink can. The beach is bustling with people, colorful umbrellas, and towels.

I celebrated my birthday at the beach this year. My friends surprised me with matching temporary tattoos of my face, along with a towel also of my face. Silly, dumb fun. 🎂

Bagheera is a sleepy psychedelic kitty 🐈‍⬛

A black cat loafing on a chair, eyes half open. The color palette is cool with pops of purple and dark red.

I put my homemade aftershave in little potion bottles so I can feel like a shave wizard.

Two round glass bottles with corks containing a dark brown liquid.

New keyboard new life. Having Touch ID when docked is a game changer.

The black apple Magic Keyboard with the full numpad resting on a colorful mat with a star pattern.

My roommate Ivy’s band just put out an album, and it sounds really good.

A vinyl record standing against a wall, with a batman and gameboy next to it. The album is called Weird Chills by the band Faith/Void. The cover is a old school horror movie stylized sewer grate, with pink feminine hands with red painted nails coming out of the grate.
A wooden shelf with a whie raccoon penis bone on it. It's curved and has a prong at one end. There's a happy budda and some armadillo statues around.

One of my treasured possessions: a raccoon penis bone given to me while I was in the hospital from Amalia, an art historian I met through my cousin.

Three men, two white one brown, flapping their arms and opening their mouths like birds against a brick wall.

From our Happy Valley improv show. Baby bird improv is the best improv, demonstrably. 🎭🐣

Stopped at Red Rabbit on the way home back. Real good. I’m the one with the crab cakes.

Fast food on a red latticed table. Burgers, fries, birch soda, and a plate of crab cakes.

In the green room before our improv set at Happy Valley improv festival. It is this place.

Three Coasters that say zip, zap, and zop.

Went to an arboretum at Penn State after seeing improv all last night. Pictured here: not trees or improv.

Colorful coy fish swimming in clear water over rocks.

Spinning What Now while reading. A+

Britney Howard's What Now vinyl album cover, which depicts a lush flowery field and a cool Brittney, a full black woman wearing sunglasses and sporting a big Afro. She wears a flowing colorful dress. The cover is on a display shelf along with a Gameboy and a Batman figure above a stereo. A record player with a clear yellow vinyl record playing on it.

The rooftop greens are coming along. 🌱

A felt bag filled with dirt and little green leaves poking out. A wine bottle of water protrudes from the first.

Media Diet: February–April 2024

It’s been a while since my last media diet post—three months, I was horrified to learn. There’s a lot to get through, so I’m taking a whirlwind tour on this one. There’s no time! Including for any more of this introduction.

Music

David Comes to Life—Fucked Up

01 david comes to life.

I saw Toronto’s own Fucked Up open for The Damned last Halloween, and they were great. Post hardcore blending melodic pop sensibilities with driving guitars and almost cookie monster vocals that honestly took me a bit to get used to. I picked up the album the punks at work recommended I start with, David Comes to Life from 2010. It’s loud, romantic, and, I’m told, a concept album, but I didn’t follow that. It’s so good. Makes you want to jump.

Choice Cut

Scumdogs of the Universe—GWAR

02 scumdogs.

I always knew of GWAR—the space barbarian outfits, the over the top staged violence at shows, randomly being in Empire Records—but I never actually listened to them. When they were a mainstream concern, I was too young and scared to seek them out, but last year I saw them on NPR’s Tiny’s Desk Concert and thought they were fun. I heard Sarah Squirm say she unironically wanted to be in GWAR in an interview, so I asked Uncle Internets which was the best GWAR album, and discovered that the band said they never were better than their second offering, Scumdogs of the Universe. It’s fun! Trashy gross out metal, violent, sex-dumb and cartoonishly nihilistic. There’s a decent amount of language that is not cool, but less than you’d expect from a band with their reputation, for whatever that’s worth.

Choice Cut

Celeste—The Soundcarriers

Chill out music with an upbeat groove. Feels like driving through the Italian riviera in a convertible. I’ve never done that, so I can’t possibly know, and yet I have never been more certain of something in my life. The early 60s vocal harmonies meets the late 60s psychedelic vamps meets solid riffs.

Choice Cut

Peter Gabriel (Melt)—Peter Gabriel

I visited my friends Jon and Brynn in Massachusetts with my new friend Jon Christian. While we packed records, Jon-the-first put on Peter Gabriel’s third self-titled solo album. Peter Gabriel’s first four albums are self titled, so eye-twitch fans give them nick names from the artwork; in this case, Melt. It’s a fantastic record. Eclectic, weird, surprisingly danceable prog, and the whole thing is catchy. Dig it.

Choice Cut

Electrified Brain—Municipal Waste

05 electrified brain.

Discovered this Virginia metal band from my roommate’s T-shirt: a two headed zombie crawling out of a Superfund swamp. Whip-crack, crunch-ass thrash. No song over three minutes. Blow it up.

Choice Cut

Big Time—Angel Olsen

06 big time.

I heard the title track on Aquarium Drunkard last year, and finally checked out the full album, from 2022. Wow, I’ve been sleeping on a major work here. Big Time is big emotions—cratered heartbreak, joyful infatuation, complex yearning, nuanced tenderness—wrapped in rock solid, mature songcraft. Angel’s voice has such range; the delicate quiet of a verse exploding into a belted gut rending chorus. Classic structure, timeless execution, modern sensibilities. Country music at it’s finest.

And! She has an EP from last year which I need to listen to. Maybe next month!

Choice Cut

Blind Melon—Blind Melon

07 blind melon.

Again while visited Jon and Brynn, Jon threw on Blind Melon, the band’s break out self titled debut from 1992. Everyone knows them as essentially a one hit wonder behind No Rain, but when Jon says a band is worth digging into, he’s usually right. And he is! The album is wall to wall solid jams, and the gone-too-soon Shannon Hoon’s vocals are seriously underrated.

Choice Cut

Tonnes of Home

What Now—Brittany Howard

08 what now.

This is one of those albums I feel I’ll be coming back to over and over, pulling something new each time. It’s so complex, yet accessible, rich and powerful. The exuberance Brittany Howard brings to every naked emotion on this album is stunning. I am having trouble defining the genres this work spans—Funk? Rock? Soul?—and that is a high compliment. Sonically diverse, yet a whole piece that hangs together. I can’t stop listening to it. I liked her first solo effort, Jaime, but I love this one. I ordered the vinyl. Check it out or miss out.

Choice Cut

What Now

Books

Jesus, I barely read anything in three months. I read The Last Colony by John Scalzi, the last in the Old Man’s War trilogy. Fun, but the weakest in the series for me. I don’t think that was the only reason it took me so long to finish—lots of change and settling in to do—but it didn’t help. Still, I did enjoy it. Glad to be on to other books!

TV

Neon Genesis Evangelion

09 neon genesis.

What a wild show. It’s just a ride you need to strap in for, not make sense of. Or, maybe there is a way to? There’s a lot of dense information flying at you a mile a minute, philosophical interrogations on the nature of self, unfortunate early 90s anime horniness, sad broken characters wading through a maelstrom of manufactured symbolism. Oh, and giant robots. I’ve been told it’s a big touch point in the trans community, and that certainly tracks with the themes of self discovery and mutability. Ultimately, I don’t know what I watched, but I enjoyed the experience.

30 Rock

I watched the show during its original run, and not since. It’s been really fun to revisit. The comedy mostly holds up, which is insane, and the characters are so great to revisit. Lots of, “Oh yeah, I kind of remember this!” moments. But of course, it’s all about who you watch it with.

Video Games

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

11 minish cap.

I’ve been slowly working my way through this one on my Miyoo Mini. I’ve played most of the Zelda games when they released, starting with A Link to the Past, but this one slipped by me at the time. It’s Capcom, not Nintendo, developed, and you can tell. The quality is still good, but doesn’t have quite the charm and design polish of a Nintendo release. Still, good for when I want to play a game but not have to think too hard or react too fast.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

The opposite of the Minish Cap experience, you do need to react fast. This game is so fun, so well designed, so great to look at, and so hard. But fair! When you die, you’re like, “Yep, that’s on me.” Well, that’s what a person who doesn’t spit expletives at the screen would say. Been playing off and on with my roommates. A+.

Movies

The Novice

13 the novice.

Describes the filmmaker. Ya burnt!

No, but seriously, this sucked.

She Came to Me

She came to me poster.

A good cast (Peter Dinkladge and Marisa Tomei as a romantic interest) plodding through a pretty forgettable love triangle centered on a depressed Dinkladge as a frustrated opera composer. Anne Hathaway melting down later in the movie was pretty fun though.

Twin Dragons

14 twin dragons.

Jackie Chan playing his own twin in a mistaken identity farce? Sounds great! I wish it was!

The Zone of Interest

15 zone interest.

This is an incredible film that I never want to see again. Even knowing the premise, it creeps up on, lulling you in, only hinting at the horrors. You watch the denial of the characters on screen, as you become invested in their domestic lives, then being jarred back to the truth with subtle prods. And that last scene. Wow. I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.

Knight of Fortune

16 knight of fortune.

This was by far the best live action Oscar nominated short. Of course Wes Anderson’s Roald Dahl adaptation won, and all the other’s where some form of student-film-level emotionally manipulative dreck, but Knight of Fortune was seriously good. Heartwarming, funny, believable characters you cared for in emotionally relatable situations. A perfect little slice of life, in a morgue.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

17 fire walk with me.

I had seen this once before, but this was my first time seeing it in the theater. You know what? It’s different on the big screen. Still weird as hell, and I can’t quite describe it, but I got more feeling out of it in a theater.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

18 gremlins2.

This movie is a bonkers, gooey, self-satirizing romp. Money is all over the screen. All the puppeteering is amazing. What a good time.

Past Lives

19 past lives.

A beautiful slice of life, unafraid of realism, unburdened by immaturity. A tender story about distance and connecting over it, and how that changes with time.

Godzilla: Tokoyo S.O.S.

20 godzilla sos.

There’s two six inch fairy twins who tell people about Mothra, who sparkles. A triumph in rubber suit cinema.

Perfect Days

21 perfect days.

This is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long while. A patient character study fascinated by nominal space and time. Kōji Yakusho’s performance is so compelling, so convincing, that you’re leaning forward in the quietest moments, pulling meaning from his every move. The movie has a lot to say about jobs. So many of us have jobs that we identify with our selfhood. The janitor character here is meticulous, and cares deeply about his job, but not for anyone other than himself. Words can’t describe. Go see it.

Drive-Away Dolls

22 drive dolls.

The Cohen Brothers are known for their dark comedies, films that move effortlessly between the most grim moment to the funniest. Before the brothers started doing their own films apart, I have rolled my eyes at anyone who suggested that the “grim” and “funny” parts were separated neatly into a single brother, as being too simplistic. That may well be too simplistic, but you wouldn’t know it from the first two movies they made. Joel Cohen’s Hamlet from 2021 was all dour seriousness, excising any levity present in the play, while this year’s lesbian road crime caper Drive-Away Dolls from Ethan Cohen is all cotton candy comedy; all movement, no substance. I enjoyed it, but all the Cohen brother’s signatures where there, minus the emotional impact, so I left feeling nothing.

Gaslight

23 gaslight.

My second watch of the film, seeing with friends this time. The origin of the term. It’s fantastic. Keeps you guessing. It isn’t Hitchcock.

Some Like It Hot

24 some like it hot.

I’ve seen this a bunch of times, and saw it again with friends. It’s a classic, and is on the AFI list. On this most recent viewing, there’s still a lot to like, mostly in the first third, but it can be hard to look past the dated/sexist attitudes on display.

Rory Scovel: Religion, Sex, and a Few Things in Between

25 rory scovel.

It’s a bit provocative, pretty dirty, and very funny. I don’t remember any bits now though.

Dune: Part Two

I thought it was very pretty to look at, but kind of cold character-wise, and I didn’t end up getting invested. I had seen Part One, and read the book as a teenager. The book I loved, Part One I felt similarly to Part Two. I saw this with my dad, and he said, “You know Chris, I enjoyed it, they did a great job, but you know it was long and with all the action I didn’t understand what was happening.” Wise words, dad.

Love Lies Bleeding

27 love lies bleeding.

Two lesbian crime movies in as many months? Incredible. This one is a whole A24 80s drug gym rat murder blast. Kristen Stewart at her best. See it with someone good.

Green Porno

28 green porno.

Isabella Rossellini’s collection of campy deadpan ecological shorts, each tackling a different animal’s sex life. Rossellini dresses in costume as each animal. You can’t turn away.

Hardware

29 hardware.

An unsuccessful post apocalyptic Sci-Fi movie with some odd pacing and some truly troubling side characters, the robot design and animation is pretty great.

Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness

30 truth or dare.

Masterpiece. One of the movies I’ve seen the most. A perfect comedy. I see you Elijah Wood.

Speed Racer

Speed racer ver5 xlg.

Pure joy. This movie looks like nothing else. Still ahead of it’s time, this thing is candy that sticks to your ribs. Watchable forever. What are you doing if you haven’t seen this?

We Grown Now

31 we grown now.

Won a lottery for a free screening. I couldn’t get anyone to go with me, and that was for the best. A story about two young friends growing up Cabrini Green, and the struggles around racism they face. The script didn’t come together for me, the central game and metaphor of jumping in particular feeling like it had nowhere to live in the story (the game also makes no sense? It’s built up as the biggest recess cred-builder, and all it is is jumping onto a mattress. I buy that as a kids game, but one where someone is a legend at it? Or where the mom trots out the cliche of stopping all that jumping nonsense? I digress). As far as Cabrini Green films go, Candyman did it better.

Friday The 13th Part 2

32 friday 13 2.

I decided to watch all the Friday the 13th movies. They’re trash, they’re sexist, why even bother, I hear you say. Well, yes. I won’t argue any of that. And yet, I feel culturally compelled to understand this time in horror, this specific run of year after year sequels, this New Jersey killer. Also, my roommate Ivy has the collected Blu Ray box set. Part 2 was fun! Comfortingly trope filled, the teens were, for the most part, legitimately likeable, which is, I’m told, the only time that happens in this franchise.

Friday The 13th Part 3

33 friday 13 3.

We almost had the technology to watch this in 3D; we had the 3D Blu Ray, we had the 3D TV, but not the 3D Blu Ray player. Sad times. But, all those times the movie took a break to show shots where a Yo-Yo or a shovel handle pokes at the screen were still funny in 2D. The introduction of the hockey mask. It’s shot in California instead of New Jersey, and you can really tell. The theme song is, once again, incredible. Why does everyone go into the damn barn?

Civil War

34 civil war.

Intense movie, great performances, really effecting, predictable but whatever. A movie about journalism, and the effects it has on journalists, and if that matters and is worth the cost.

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter

Friday the 13th The Final Chapter poster.

Worth the price of admission for Crispin Glover’s dance alone. Tom Savini came back for this one, so the gore effects are good. Corey Feldman runs around. Some cool shots of bursting through glass. Hilarious ending freeze frame.