Sunday, October 05, 2014

October Currentlies

A little earlier than usual, perhaps, but what the heck.

Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. A t-shirt depicting the lifecyle of stars. White socks. Brown boots.

Current mood: I am trying very hard to get past the stress of the last few days. I think I may be about about sixty percent succeeding. Which is actually pretty good for me.

Current music: Nothing much. I have been looking longingly at the new Leonard Cohen album, but I need to limit my unnecessary spending at the moment, and have done way too much of it lately already. So I have sternly commanded myself to wait until the cash flow situation improves a little bit.

Current annoyance: The existence of other human beings. Also dogs.

Current thing: I may have just recently spent an entire week listening to 56 straight episodes of Welcome to Night Vale, which is now my new New Favorite Thing. For those unfamiliar, I will explain/gush about this show: It's a podcast that takes the form of a community radio show, featuring local news and events and such, but the community in question is the weirdest town on the face of the earth, a place where every conspiracy theory is true and the bizarre, horrific, and inexplicable are considered absolutely mundane. It's been described as the News from Lake Woebegone meets Stephen King (Or H.P. Lovecraft, or Clive Barker, or insert your favorite horror icon here), but while that maybe gives you an inkling of what it's like, I don't think it remotely does it justice. It's a fascinating combination of comedy, genuinely creepy horror, existentialist philosophy, and sheer surrealism. It also features surprisingly consistent continuity and character development, an actual story arc (eventually), a weirdly adorkable romantic subplot, and a more diverse cast of characters than you're ever likely to see on your TV. I'm not sure I recommend listening to 56 episodes in a row, though; it could have unpredictable effects on your brain.

Current desktop picture: It's still this, but I'm finally starting to think about changing it. I might need some Welcome to Night Vale wallpaper. Or maybe something featuring the 12th Doctor. I mean, if you can't nurture your fannish obsessions via the medium of PC wallpaper, where can you?

Current book: The Hidden Land by Pamela Dean. This is the second book in a kids' fantasy trilogy from the 1980s. The premise is good, but the writing mostly just irritates me. I can't help thinking I should have just stopped after book one, but I've got the rest of the series, so I feel like I might as well finish it.

Current song in head: I had breakfast at Denny's a little while ago, and "The Great Pretender" was playing on the music system when I left, so it's now stuck in my head, at least temporarily. Mostly because that song always pleasantly reminds me of my unreasonable fondness for the 90s TV show The Pretender.

Current refreshment: Peach tea.

Current DVD in player: Disc 5 of season 9 of Supernatural. I don't even know why I'm watching this show anymore, but somehow I can't seem to motivate myself to stop.


Current thought: Well, at least the ants finally seem to be staying dead.


  1. Annoyance: Children should be seen and not heard. (It won't do anything about that dog, though.)
    Thing: No wonder you're not as thrilled with A Prairie Home Companion as I am. (By the way, there's no "e" on the end of Wobegon, whenever you're speaking of the town.)
    Book: Darn your compulsion to read a whole series!
    Song: The Pretender was pretty good show.
    DVD: As I recall, you thought one of the actors was pretty. Which is fading first: his looks or the writing?
    Thought: Yay!

    1. Annoyance: I am wishing, at this point, that I could neither see nor hear anybody. I am feeling even more antisocial than usual, after everything.

      Thing: Thank you for the spelling correction! I was going to look it up to see if it was correct, and then, uh, didn't. And, honestly, I think I've only listened to maybe one, one and a half episodes of A Prairie Home Companion, so I don't have much by which to judge whether I like it or not. Still, everything is better with surreal existential comedy/horror! That's just obvious. :)

      Book: Not that you'd know anything about that...

      Song: Ah, I didn't know you'd seen that! I watched it on DVD a few years ago and became weirdly obsessed with it, for reasons I still do not entirely understand.

      DVD: It's true, that guy is very, very pretty. Which is fading a bit with time, but not nearly as fast as the writing. But, as of a few seasons ago, they added a recurring guest character who is also very pretty, so, y'know, that's something... but not nearly enough.

      Thought: Now, they just need to never, ever come back. I think I am going to have the exterminator make regular visits. Apparently my own twice-a-year spraying was not doing nearly enough to discourage the things.

  2. Season 9 might have been the season that finally did it for me with Supernatural. I don't think it's ever gotten especially bad, but I still haven't watched the last handful of episodes. I don't know if it was -- spoiler warning -- the loss of Jim Beaver's Bobby as a semi-regular, or just Supernatural-fatigue. I'll probably continue watching again at some point, especially if they decide to make the 10th season the last, but for now... ehh. I am glad the planned spin-off went nowhere. Much as I still have some fondness for the show, it's time for it to hang up its hat.

    1. Y'know, if season 9 (or, for that matter, the previous two seasons) were actively terrible, it'd be easy for me to just ditch it. But it's not, exactly. What is is, is just not good. And not even not-good in the stupid-but-entertaining way it often was earlier on. The show has just become an endless rehash of the same character beats over and over in slightly different forms, they completely waste some good opportunities to do things that could be new and interesting (most of them involving Castiel), and they haven't had a remotely satisfying story arc since the Apocalypse. Also, yeah. I miss Bobby.

      And yet, here I am with the Netflix discs, still watching. Out of habit, I guess. Or maybe hope that they'll actually do something worthwhile again eventually.

      I hadn't heard there was ever a spinoff planned. What was it supposed to be about?

    2. Supernatural: Bloodlines was supposed to be about "clashing hunter and monster cultures in Chicago". It had a backdoor pilot at the end of the 9th season -- it's one of the later episodes from last year I still haven't gotten to yet -- but the CW passed on the show.

      The show was never perfect, but it used to be at least moderately clever and a lot of fun for what started out as very monster-of-the-week. I used to think I was in the show for the long haul, but if that haul doesn't improve and/or end after this upcoming 10th season...I just don't know.

    3. OK, I just watched that episode about half an hour ago, and it was so bad I spent much of the episode wondering if there was something they were parodying that I wasn't getting.

      And, yeah, at its best, "clever and fun" is a really good description. I'm not seeing a whole lot of that in season 9, alas.

  3. I've slogged through books, hoping they'd get better, and they never did. What's the chance that a TV show will recover?

    1. I've seen quite a few TV shows that improved a lot after a season or so -- I might even include Supernatural on the list -- but it's sadly, sadly rare for any of them to decline in quality and then get better again. I'm not holding my breath.

    2. Supernatural is definitely better after the first couple of seasons, but I feel like you do kind of need to sit through at least the entire second season to really get to (and understand) the good stuff. I watched the pilot, dropped out, then saw it recommended several places. But I didn't go back and sit through season 1.

      Fringe was the same way. I'd say that it was an actively bad show its first season that then became one of the best science fiction shows in recent memory. You didn't have to sit through all the crap to get to the good stuff -- I found a good primer on, I think, io9 -- but you couldn't unfortunately skip it all.

    3. I came very close to dropping it after season one. The recycled urban legend monster-of-the-week plots didn't do much for me. But come season 2, I was glad I stuck with it. And then I maybe stuck with it too long.

      I watched the first episode of Fringe, decided it did nothing at all for me, and stopped there. I've since heard from many people that it got worthwhile later, so I'm fully planning on going back and giving it another chance, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

      And I think that is one of the downsides of modern TV... I really enjoy the focus on continuity and character development and ongoing story arcs, but it does mean you can't just jump into things where they start to get good.

    4. I honestly can't recommend Fringe's first season (or so), but I do recommend io9's primer to sneak your way into the series and skip the worst stuff. It started very bad, but when it got good, it got very good.

    5. I might be able to steel myself and make it through the first season, anyway, with the promise that it'll feed into a much better experience down the road.