Posted in Other Media

Quote ~ The Last Unicorn, Time

The Talking Skull from The Last Unicorn (1982) dir. Rankin/Bass
Always take advice from talking skulls.

You can strike your own time, and start the count anywhere. When you understand that—then any time at all will be the right time for you.

Peter S. Beagle
Posted in Other Media

Cinema Saturday, 2/25/23

Wrath of Man

Year: 2021
Runtime: 1h 59m
Rated: R

Director: Guy Ritchie

Writers: Nicolas Boukhrief, Éric Besnard, Guy Ritchie

Stars: Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Josh Hartnett

Double Feature Fodder:
The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)

Initial: Guy Ritchie has been hit and miss in the last few years. Wrath of Man‘s trailer made it seem like a pretty basic revenge tale. My husband bit the bullet, watched it, and recommended it.

What Did I Think:
I was still dubious of this movie during the first act, though for a reason I hadn’t anticipated. If Guy Ritchie has a weakness, it seems to be writing American middle class, blue-collar guys. The dialogue in the opening section of this movie, which takes place amid the crews of armored trucks, was really cringey. It was such a relief to shift to the machinations of the criminals, who are generally well-spoken.

The strength of Wrath of Man is its non-linear structure and of course its crisp action scenes. Yes, this is a revenge story, but not one that is straight forward. This isn’t Ritchie’s best effort, but it’s not bad either.

Posted in Female Author, Novel

Reading Notes, 2/23/23

Cover: The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
Cover: Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
Cover: The Varieties of Scientific Experience


The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

Through my reading of gothic literature, I had kind of come up with the elements that I thought were the most important aspects of the genre. The gothics I’d first read were primarily one location (usually an older building) with knowledge of past (often provided by older servants) being necessary to the plot. With those notions in mind, I never quite understood how Frankenstein or Dracula actually fit in the genre. They seemed too loose, with too much travel. I also didn’t quite understand how Jane Austen fit into any of this despite Northanger Abbey. My problem: I was working with an incomplete framework. I hadn’t read The Mysteries of Udolpho.

I read a lot of pre-19th century literature in college and I can’t think of any that was as much fun as Udolpho. Perhaps, though, some of my enjoyment came from how I can see this book in so many others that have come after it. The travelogues of Dracula? The musings about nature in Frankenstein? The reversals of perceived reputation in Jane Austens’ novels? All of the above, plus poetry and songs riddling the narrative of The Lord of the Rings? All of these things are in The Mysteries of Udolpho. I’m sure other novels of the time had some of these elements too and Radcliffe is probably not the only inspiration for these later authors, but the same fingerprints are all over literature.

And, if the weak hand, that has recorded this tale, by its scenes, beguiled the mourner of one hour of sorrows, or, by its moral taught him to sustain it—the effort, however humble, has not been in vain, nor is the writer unrewarded.

Since I possibly would never have gotten around to reading The Mysteries of Udolpho without putting it on my Classics Club list, this is definitely a win for the challenge.

Short Stories

Deal Me In, week 6:
6❤️ “The Mystery of Dr. Thorvald Sigerson” by Linda Robertson, from Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years. This story proposes that Holmes, in the guise of Thorvald Sigerson, spent some time as an Arctic explorer and while there proved the innocence of an indigenous woman accused of murdering her abusive husband.

Deal Me In, week 7:
7♠️ “Mitch’s Girl” by Carrie Cuinn, from Cuinn’s collection Women and Other Constructs. This is the first pick from this collection, but not the first of Cuinn’s stories that I’ve read. And that’s a good thing because I really didn’t care for this story. It’s not much of a story, really, which was probably my biggest problem with it. Hoping this is the weak tale of the collection.


  • Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
  • The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by Carl Sagan

Challenge Updates

My Challenges


  • Read 20 books that I owned before 1/1/23: 2/20
  • Get my Library Thing “to-read” down to 500: Uh, no movement because I added a book last week.
  • Read 18 books from my Classics Club list: 1/18

Shelf Maintenance

It’s been 7 days since I last acquired a book.

Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 2/20/23

What Happened Last Week?

What did happen last week? I didn’t do as much work as I should have, watched a few movies, and wrote a few blog posts. Today, I’m creaky and fatigued, as sometimes occurs.

A Good Thing

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln, my alma mater, won two basketball games. At this point in the season, after losing two starters, beating higher ranked opponents is cause for celebration.

Random Links

There’s been a lot about about AI generated content in my corner of the internet (and most corners of the internet).

  • ChatGPT Is a Blurry JPEG of the Web – I believe this piece by Ted Chiang is mentioned in North’s above Twitter thread, but it’s worth noting again.
  • A Concerning Trend – The editor of Clarkesworld magazine on the trend of junk AI submissions to short story markets.

Writing Check-In

Still haven’t finished my novel. I should do that this week. Maybe. Contemplating a short story based on an open call. No word on outstanding submissions.

Posted in Other Media

Cinema Saturday, 2/18/23


Year: 2021
Runtime: 2h 21m
Rated: R

Director: Leos Carax

Writers: Ron Mael, Russell Mael

Stars: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg

Double Feature Fodder:
Sweeney Todd (2007)

Initial: I put aside my aversion to musicals for Adam Driver.

Production Notes: Annette features the “Hyper Bowl” halftime show. Coincidentally, I watched this movie after watching the Super Bowl.

What Did I Think:
I don’t hate all musicals, but they’re a hard sell. The songs have to be good, for one. Annette‘s songs were so repetitive. It felt like every line was sung three time before moving on to the next line, which was then sung three times. I don’t remember other musicals doing this. Also, do other musicals use their songs to basically tell what’s going on? I can understand this tactic in opera, but this is film. You can actually show me things in film.

I joking thought to myself that I should watch this film as a horror movie. That would have been a good way to go about it because Annette is darker and weirder than I expected it to be.

Edit: I was just reminded of RRR (2022) the last musical I watched before Annette. Repetitive songs that pretty much spell out the plot? Yes. But never did I once wish any of those songs were shorter. Annette is forty minute shorter than RRR, but felt so much longer.


Year: 1996
Runtime: 1h 49m
Rated: R

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski

Writers: Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Stars: Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano

Double Feature Fodder:
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

Initial: Been on my “To Be Watched” list for a long time.

What Did I Think:
It always seemed like Bound was the outlier in the Wachowskis’ filmography. This was their directorial debut before The Matrix (1999) and their second screenwriting credit after Assassins (1995). Pretty much everything after Bound is in the science fiction genre, a genre in which the Wachowskis have been very visually influential. How does a low-budget neo noir really fit? Well, I’m a fool. Just because this movie is set in the “real” world doesn’t mean it can’t have all of the stylistic flourishes that continue on into The Matrix.

I enjoyed the style of this film. Jennifer Tilly gives such a juicy performance. My only problem . . . Corky’s plan is a terrible plan. I just bobbed along and tried not to think too much about the plot.


Year: 2022
Runtime: 1h 23m
Rated: R

Director: John Hyams

Writers: Kevin Williamson, Katelyn Crabb

Stars: Gideon Adlon, Bethlehem Million, Dylan Sprayberry

“Watch Instead” Double Feature:
Hush (2016) & The Hitcher (1986)

Initial: I wasn’t going to watch Sick. Slashers are one of my least favorite horror sub-genres, but this one seemed pretty well reviewed.

What Did I Think:
The beginning two-thirds of Sick were fine; general slasher fair, set against the backdrop of April 2020. I didn’t find any of the set-ups to be particularly scary, but I really liked the two leads. I was also mildly intrigued by the killer’s motivation.

When the “twist” was finally revealed, I found it . . . irritating. Maybe it was the way it was revealed; that it was too much of a villain-spiel info dump. Or maybe that the timeline of events didn’t feel right to me. Or maybe that it’s just too soon (for me) for these themes to be handled in this way. I grated on my in a way that I’m not sure I entirely understand.

All one word titles this week. I also rewatched Ponypool (2008) on Tuesday. It’s a Valentine’s Day movie, after all.

Posted in Female Author, Nonfiction

Reading Notes, 2/16/23


How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis

I’m not a good housekeeper.

That might come as a surprise to my mother who probably thinks she taught me better and the numerous employers who have paid me for housekeeping work throughout the years. Fact of the matter is, I never took to keeping my own apartment like my mother (and grandmother) kept house. Mix in a couple other factors and I’m at a point where I’m so behind in a few areas that motivation can’t overcome shame. I keep thinking, maybe if I find the right system, I can autopilot it, but, no. No amount of flying, unfucking, or tidying has really worked.

KC Davis doesn’t offer a system. There are a few hacks and things that have helped her, but really this book is about a change in philosophy: care tasks (like cleaning) are morally neutral. You’re not a bad person if your house isn’t clean. Instead, care tasks should be functional. Do dishes to have clean dishes. Shine your sink only if it gives you a zing of satisfaction. Don’t sweat the “proper” way of doing things; do what works. Of course, if care tasks are morally neutral, then feeling shame over tasks being undone is useless and even counterproductive.

No one ever shamed themselves into better mental health.

How to Keep House While Drowning is aimed at people who are struggling, whether from physical limitations, quirks of brain structure, or the feelings of anxiety and depression that are fairly ubiquitous right now, but I think anyone can benefit. A perfect house doesn’t make you a perfect person and a dusty bookshelf doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

Short Stories

Dang, I’m behind on my short stories.


  • The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe – I pushed my reading schedule ahead a little, but I should still finish it by the end of the month.
  • Mockingbird by Walter Tevis – Older sci-fi is weird.

Challenge Updates

My Challenges

  • Read 20 books that I owned before 1/1/23: 1/20
  • Get my Library Thing “to-read” down to 500: 518
  • Read 18 books from my Classics Club list: 0/18

Shelf Maintenance

It has been 0 days since I acquired a book. Downloaded a book called Tales of the Marvelous Machine: 35 Stories of Computing.

Posted in History

Monday Miscellanea, 2/13/23

Faleigh’s Base

What Happened Last Week?

At the end of last year, I started watching “plan with me” videos on YouTube. I wanted schedule/productivity ideas because, well, I’m always playing around with my task lists. A few of the YouTubers I watched use the MäksēLife planner. I’m not one to spend $70 on a planner, but I was intrigued by their goal-setting system. I availed myself of some of their free downloads, did their “compass” assessment, and promptly discombobulated myself for the week. (I really enjoy Cindy Guentert-Baldo’s channel. She’s middle-aged and very down to earth.)

It was a relief when Eric started up a new Rebirth of the Night (RotN) Minecraft server. RotN is a mod pack that adds tool-using zombies and occasional mob invasions, and makes everything a bit harder. The above picture is my base by the end of Sunday, suspended above the water for anti-mob purposes, with a lovely harvest moon setting in the background.

A Good Thing

The lunchtime ultimate frisbee pickup group had its annual-ish potluck party on Friday. I organize it: I ask Ned (fellow player) if we can use his backyard (he also kindly grills for us) and I have everyone bring something to eat/drink. We play a little ultimate frisbee and then have lunch. The turn out is usually pretty good and, though I fret every year, there is always plenty of food. Friday was no different and it was nice to hang out and chat with people after the game.

Random Links

A couple downer links this week:

And I’ll follow those up with my usual reminder to vote.

Writing Check-In

NaNoWriMo Project: It’s all new writing from here on out. If I get stuck this week, I should probably consider working the “Cali Gothic” story.