Supergirl's off to a better-than-expected start

“Supergirl” Season Four starts like an apology for Season Three. Though, Rhona Mitra is terrible. I wasn’t aware she was so bad. Is she always so bad?

But the stuff with Kara and Supergirl and Jimmy and J’onn? All good. The stuff with Lena? Good, except she’s got such secret villain potential it makes her a lot less sympathetic. She’s a bomb waiting to go off.

Alex and Brainiac? Ugh. Jesse Rath seems to be the culprit there.

It’s good Agent Liberty is a weird mask versus the comics costume? Not sure why they kept the name.

And the heavy-handedness of the political commentary is a lot less awkward (so far). Making Kara own her privilege worked, though J’onn’s pacifism seems like a red herring.

And Nia is awesome. Melissa Benoist does a decent enough Cat Grant impression around her. Though it’s a little weird Kara’s totally fine after last season. But whatever. It’s like they want us to forget… and forgive. Hopefully Rath gets better.

“Supergirl” smokes “Flash” on pretty much every level, one week in.

I need a winter commute jacket

I think my winter coat is at least 15 years old. I don’t think this one from my dad. I used to take a lot of my dad’s coats. I might have gotten this one after college. Function over form. Chicagoland is cold.

So I’ve been driving with it for years. It’s cold out so I wear my winter coat. Only to get into a heated car for forty-five minutes. Usually in unrelenting sun light. It gets miserable fast.

And I end up driving with the heat off (as off as it gets) and the windows cracked.

There are a number of possible remedies to the annoyance but the driving in cold with the windows cracked tickles a nostalgia fancy. It doesn’t conjure any memories exactly just… the particular way of experiencing cold gives a cozy feeling.

Of course, it might also just be knowing I can immediately stop this cold and stifle in three layers of heat.

Flash learns no lessons

Can a TV show have a bad streak and then bounce back. Did I miss a really good season of "ER" towards the end, post-Wyle, just because I didn't get there? "Frasier" had a bad streak but recovered to at least as good as before the bad streak started. And the bad streak wasn't even bad, it just wasn't great. "Frasier" is great sitcom. Grub Street had it down.

But "The Flash," Season Five, Episode One... they add an apartment set and what seems to be a froyo bar set. To Star Labs. "The Flash" feels like it's about to have a very bad nineties season. And there are very bad runs of Flash comic books. So... has a superhero show ever bounced back after a bad streak. Not been bad in the first place, but been good and then slipped.

Also the budget looks slashed. There's more CGI but it's all CGI. There's less integration with the actors. And the scenes are too damn long. And Ralph is a bore. And he shouldn't be.

And Joe's not in it enough. "Flash" likes to pretend the Barry and Iris stuff has that so earnest it can't be saccharine feel of the West family and it doesn't. And every time Joe's there, the show seems to acknowledge it. Then tries to pretend it away.

The Barry lying to Iris again is just lazy writing.

Forgiving Nick Cave

I decided this morning, as I put on The Boatman’s Call, I’m going to forgive Nick Cave. Finally forgive Nick Cave. I discovered Nick Cave (and the Bad Seeds) because of the Zero Effect soundtrack–I really need to watch that movie again–so 1998. I first saw him live in 2014, then again in 2017. First time was the Push the Sky Away tour, second time was the Skeleton Tree one. Difference between the tours? Not as much as you’d think. Besides some songs off the recent release, he stuck to a similar set list. It ends with drunk white people enthusiastically yelling along to Stagger Lee, which concerned me the first time, and disgusted me the second time as Cave brought the front row of guppies (fiftysomething Gen-X yuppies) on to the stage to dance with him. I remember when Michael Jackson died and Nick Cave talked shit about him. If Nick Cave is going to talk the talk… how is having lame white people on stage because they paid the most for tickets walking the walk. I wanted to go to the Skeleton Tree tour because so much of the album was different and fresh and new compared to, well, pretty much everything Cave’s done since Boatman. There have been some great songs and some great albums, but it’s all fit a tone. Especially when you consider early Nick Cave. Anyway, feeling like the Skeleton Tree tour wasn’t just a rip-off (he sang along with a projection of Else Torp on Distant Sky, which was a major disappointment), but also an embracing of the mediocrity Cave has so often railed against… I’ve been done. I can’t listen to him without seeing some drunk white guy raising his bottle to Stagger Lee or the woman in the Manolo Blahniks line-dancing on stage with Cave to it. I’ve tried since, but halfheartedly. Today was the first time I decided I just have to start listening to Nick Cave again. Maybe someday even Skeleton Tree.

#SpiderManPS4 waterlogued

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Waterlogued New York. Well #spidermanps4 New York

Waterlogued

On Raphael on Abrams on Kubrick. Sadly not J.J.

Frederic Raphael reviews a Stanley Kubrick bio

I’ve always been terrified at the prospect of a Stanley Kubrick biography. I think I read Kubrick on Kubrick–nope, didn’t, doesn’t exist. Farrar, Straus and Giroux didn’t make that one happen. There’s On Kubrick, which is kind of the same thing? And then there’s that big Making of 2001 I always meant to read and didn’t.

A third of Raphael’s review isn’t about the book. But apparently the book’s all about Kubrick’s Jewishness. Raphael has some jokes about the absurdities of it. There’s also a part in the book where Abrams apparently says Kubrick didn’t like Raphael’s work (screenwriter of Eyes Wide Shut and author of Eyes Wide Open, maybe the first insider Kubrick book after his death–1999. That one I have and may have even read).

So Kubrick’s been gone nineteen years. There’s been a lot of material released, like the Napoleon archives, which give some insight into his creative process. But there’s still the “Eyes Wide Shut wasn’t how he wanted it” contingent, even though Jan Harlan started saying it was in 1999. And there’s the uncensored version, which doesn’t offer anything except more skin(?), which is all it was ever going to do. And there was A.I., which everyone willfully forgets about.

But there hasn’t really been anything interesting said in the nineteen years since Kubrick died–except, however, Barry Lyndon finally getting its due (I’m still shocked the “director’s cut of The Shining” hasn’t gotten any interest but I think it says something about that movie and its fans). With the length between Kubrick’s films in the second half of his career, it’s also not like there wasn’t time for examination, re-examination, and then another re-examination. And maybe even a discovery and rediscovery.

Abrams’s book, at least from Raphael’s characterization, sounds like printed clickbait. There’s been more than enough clickbait, printed and digital, about Kubrick. The scary part is… no one has listened to any of Kubrick’s collaborators since he died, they’re still not listening to Kubrick’s collaborators… and his collaborators have to be aging (Raphael is 87). Pretty soon the apparently endless Kubrick commentary’s just going to be a bunch of complete bullshit instead of partial bullshit.

Criterion's December is boring but Brewster McCloud is cool and Body Snatchers makes me sad

I’m bored as ever with Criterion’s December slate. Especially since I’m getting the Bergman box set if I have to sell my femur so I’ll already have Sawdust and Tinsel.

Read about all this at the Bits

But Warner Archive is putting out Brewster McCloud, which I still haven’t seen, even though I’ve known about it for… oh, wow, decades. I remember reading something about how it was Altman’s big post MASH movie and it bombed and basically was willfully ignored by the studio in the years since. So it getting a nice blu-ray (because Warner Archive only does nice things now, long has it been since they put out any non-progressive scan DVDs) is kind of amazing.

Olive is putting out a limited special edition blu-ray Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which I also really need to watch again (I watched all my Don Siegel… oh, wow, almost two decades ago). What’s the one feature it doesn’t have and can’t have but is the only essential thing? The original Academy Ratio print. Not really infamously because no one talks about it slash cares about it… someone (the studio?) took Body Snatchers and cropped it to 2.35:1. And destroyed the original. So when you used to see a pan and scan of the film, you were seeing… maybe a quarter of the original. I’m sure it’ll be a great release, but it’s just another sad reminder of how studio interference screws everyone.

So, like, if you make fun of poor people, are you a humanist?

On my list of peeves–which aren’t really pet anymore and just further infuriate about, well, my fellow white Americans–are self-described humanists making fun of people experiencing poverty. I was listening to a podcast where the host was rah-rahing about the United States and talking about how all these poor people worldwide who don’t like us are just jealous. 1) Gross. 2) Don’t call yourself a freaking humanist if you’re going to mock people. It’s not why I don’t call myself a humanist, but it certainly gives me pause. tl;dr humanists are classist dicks too.

Comics marathoning

I’ve been reading the old DC Star Trek comics–the eighties series—for maybe the past week. I’m not writing about them as I go, just barreling through. It’s sixty or so comics and I think I just passed the halfway point, which is something because they just got to Star Trek IV. Interesting continuity with the movies. So far the only statements I’ll make for sure is Mike W. Barr was a better writer on it than Len Wein, which is a big statement, but still. As well as licensed comics not being very good. There’s that too.📖

Providence Unboxing

It hath arrived

movie watching malaise, 2018 edition

I think I’m getting into a movie funk again. I don’t keep track of how often they happen and this one is obviously going to be different because I program a weekly movie night but I’m in a definite funk.

The Gay Falcon did not help things. Not at all. George Sanders movies aren’t supposed to crap out. Especially not ones built off another successful franchise (the Saint movies). It was supposed to be a safe (short) movie pick. If I’d wanted to be risky, I’d have watched that Fay Wray/Ralph Bellamy movie.

Amusingly, I think it was a Fay Wray movie that kicked off an anti-movie funk a few years ago.

I’ve been hoping something would break me out of it. The serials, in all likelihood, aren’t helping. Even good ones. Instead,I feel more than ever they’re just keeping The Stop Button constant. I’d blame it on marathon training but marathon training hasn’t fully started yet. The training I am doing isn’t getting in the way. Quite the opposite.

Not sure what kind of solution I’m looking for.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever had comics “grades” on Comics Fondle. I may have at one point, but it didn’t last. Now I “need” them to simplify some note-taking and I’m like… 1 to 5?

Best of Luck on Future Projects

I’m trying to figure out what I want to write right now. Not what to write at this moment, but what sorts of things I want to write. I kind of knew finishing up the Eleanor Parker retrospective for The Stop Button would leave me floundering. And while I’m close on some other prospective subjects–I could do Godzilla, but I don’t see any point–nothing’s grabbing me. I have a built-in deadline for a Whit Stillman sum-up, but it’s actually months off.

And so my attention is turning from prospective film topics to prospective comic book ones. Lots of possibilites there. In fact, I spent about three weeks earlier this year making myself sick trying to figure out if I wanted to do some giant Love and Rockets project–spoiler, no, not right now.

I have the perfect title for a comic book sum-up. In fact, it just shipped. It gets here this weekend. It’d be a redundant project–the comic’s had lots of attention–but it’s one I’d want to write about. Lots is about to change about my comic book reading slash blogging slash podcasting (nothing I can talk about), but it’s impending.

It’s kind of exhausting, but I keep thinking–even just kept dripping to make sure the pipes don’t freeze–I need some kind of regular critical thinking creative activity. Serial chapters on The Stop Button are fine, but they rarely require too much thought. So apparently my alternative is to find things easier to overthink about.

On the plus side, I don’t use any of the language regularly associated with depression. But I think it’s because I’ve trained myself out of them. Ha.

nostalgia Trek

I just finished reading the Marvel Star Trek comic from the early eighties. I didn’t read The Motion Picture adaptation. It ran in the first three issues. I can wait on that. But I was having a conversation on Twitter about the comic and got curious. Again. I think I’ve read a few of the issues before.

My key takeaways from the fifteen issues I read—#4 to #18—arenas follows. The book, almost forty years later, is probably of most interest to Marvel art wanks. If you care about Dave Cockrum, then there’s something of interest here. Maybe not a lot of interesting material but some for sure. Also Louise Simonson is a much better editor than AL Milgrom. And Gil Kane’s Enterprise looks super silly.

But if you’re a Trek fan… Eh. Some of the writers are clearly fans but, even so, there’s no hidden gems here. Some stories are much better than others and occasionally there’s an issue about some supporting character (but not often). For instance, seeing Rand tell off Kirk is really cool.

The book also doesn’t give the bridge crew equal time. Scotty and Chekhov get tons more than even Bones.

So not an interesting Trek relic. But definitely a Marvel comic relic. Worth writing about at length? Probably no. I’m trying to decide if I want a “Comics Fondle Sum Up” type post series. I’m not sure Trek would be worth the time. I’m hoping to figure it all out–the blog not life–soon. Because I want to maximize reading over writing with the comics.

I think some of it is just nostalgia.

Raspberries are kind of a madeleine for me. I’m not entirely sure why—every time I have one, I have this vague memory of berry picking, but I know I didn’t get to pick raspberries often. It was usually blackberries, which are a fine berry, but not raspberries. But something about the raspberries. Every time it gets me in a simultaneous melancholic nostalgia and comfort zone.

I love how it’s gotten to the point I’ll read a WSJ article before a NY Times just because fug the NY Times. It’s always been fug the WSJ. They don’t pretend. And reading about Michael Cohen being an incompetent slimeball is always entertaining. You’d think Mark Cuban would have better things to do with his time though.

Of all the easily provable perjury from Trump, Trump appointees, Trump supporters to Congress… will any of it ever actually get charged, much less prosecuted

A new Superman movie is about the only DCEU prospect I’m enthusiastic about. Only if Amy Adams is back too, obviously.

However, Henry Cavill wanting to put on the tights doesn’t mean the tights are going on.

I’ve been trying a post a day on Micro.blog. I think I’ve tried a post a day on Micro.blog before, but I couldn’t stay with it. I’ve been staying with a daily post on The Stop Button for a while now, but it’s easier. I can always come up with content there. Content. Subjects. Sorry. I feel like when, at comic cons, Big Two creators would refer to titles and characters as properties instead of titles or characters.

I used to do a daily post (actually, while I was waiting for Micro.blog to go live) but the election ruined that. I did all right until inaugeration and then I just lost the will. Everything seemed futile.

Futility is a weird thing. Life is an exercise in futility, obviously–see, here’s why I wish I had subject ideas. Riffing gets dark real fast right now.

Thanks to MacOS–though it was really an OS X feature–being able to repartition on the fly, my big clone/Time Machine/scratch partition project took all of fifteen minutes. Maybe. I wasn’t at the computer while it was repartitioning the external disk. And now the Time Machine backup is done, the clone(s) are done….

So I think the big QNAP-to-Synology, 6TB-to-19TB file transfer is done. It’s sturdy, it’s dependable, but it’s not entirely exciting. It’s not supposed to be exciting, of course. Data storage is just data storage.

Though I am giving myself a “look through the smaller QNAP NAS” to see what’s on there, as I now have plenty of room to move it onto the Synology

Synology DS918+, sixteen days later

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been the happy owner of a Synology DS918+. I’d had a QNAP 4-bay, bought because it was cheaper than a Synology, and it served me fairly well. No data loss, better AFP support than my 2-bay QNAP. When the 4-bay started restarting on its own every 1 to 3 days, I decided I didn’t trust it anymore. It’s long out of warranty so there’d only be so much support I could get.

So a Synology DS 918+. + for the Intel processor, which hopefully would drive Plex on its own. Technically it does drive Plex, it just can’t handle a ginormous library, which is fine. It’s got tons of space (19 tb–I also didn’t realize a QNAP didn’t expand storage a la Drobos when I got it because I was being cheap–with 7 tb still available).

There’s so much space I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. One thought was using it for Time Machine. The Synology has data protection while the Time Capsule does not. But Time Machine on Synology is a sparsebundle, which just means the same problem–sparsebundle Time Machines are icky bad.

This morning’s thought was to move my “Scratch” drive–which isn’t really a scratch drive since it’s got my Photos library, which I’d rather not get erased (as well as some other things)–to the Synology. But since I use the USB3 scratch drive direct from my Mac, it’d probably be a little faster (though maybe not) to have it attached. Also I’m not entirely convinced the Photos Library is going to work on the Synology….

So the new thought is to partition the external, which is a 2tb RAID 1, into three parts. A clone, Time Machine, and scratch space. But not a real scratch space, I don’t think.

Unfortunately, I had this idea after I left the house this morning so there’s nothing I can be doing to set it up now. If I’d been smart, I’d been superdupering the scratch data off the 2 TB drive so I could get the drive reformatted.