Christopher DeLuca

Follow @chrisd on Micro.blog.

Currently reading: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers 📚

Finished reading: You Deserve a Tech Union by Ethan Marcotte. A++ 📚

Once again The Onion comes up clutch, this time on OpenAI and ScarJo.

Jerky, 7-Fingered Scarlett Johansson Appears In Video To Express Full-Fledged Approval Of OpenAI

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.

Folks really don’t like git rebase. FUD or real? Both? Context: I love it.

In wrong industry acronym land, when I hear the phrase, “Post MVP”, it makes me think it’s after the player’s fallen off.

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. 🎭🐣

Monkey Man was brutal action fun. Big ups to the trans community training Dev Patel how to kick the corrupt cop’s ass. 🍿

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.

Our show at Happy Valley improv fest went great last night. Loose, funny scenes and a hot crowd. Lots of nice compliments afterwards. I played a baby bird regurgitating food into people’s mouths.

So that was what happened to the jetpack dream.

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.

On my way to the Happy Valley improv festival. My first time attending and performing. Very excited.

I saw Stamptown at the Bell House last night. It was maybe the wildest, funniest, horniest show I’ve seen. Physical comedy for the win.

Periodic reminder that I love Map().

I’ve been reading very slowly this year. I’m even slower at writing. I feel bad about it, which isn’t helpful. You know what is helpful? Kimchi. I’m convinced this is related. 📚

Whenever someone would ask her age, my grandmother would say, “Age is just a number, and mine’s unlisted.”

Actually, she’d say that apropos of nothing, after telling a story about how some rude old bat asked her age.

Did I watch Friday the 13th Part 6 and 7 last night? Yes, yes I did. Do the teenagers behave like humans? No, they do not. But they do behave like Friday characters, so that’s consistent. 🍿

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.

Why is it cold again? I just put away my long underwear. And by that I mean underwear I’ve had for a long time. Which I still have out. Never mind.

I am very excited to report we now have plants on our roof 🌱

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.