• sara reads the feed

    Bridgerton season 3, cleaning doom piles/Doom mod weapons, and short link commentary

    I watched the new episodes of Bridgerton season 3 (which dropped today I think?) and I liked them well enough. I was a little disappointed that it was mostly non-romantic drama, but Bridgerton kinda does that. The ways that Pen and Colin made each other develop as humans felt especially background compared to Lady Whistledown drama this time. I’m sure that’s part of the point — Whistledown representing a woman’s agency outside of Men, thus making Penelope herself a more prominent feature than her romance — but I really like a hooky love story. This wasn’t it for me. It was still a pleasant watch, though.

    The episode drop was enough to keep me from writing the last chapter of Insomniac Cafe today (although there’s still a couple hours before bedtime, so who knows?). I also didn’t watch any Friends. So obviously it was good enough.

    And I got out of the house with my family, which is what matters the most. My kids will be whizzing around with family this weekend. I’ll have time to finish my book, if the writing gods deem me worthy.

    ~

    This video by Midwest Magic Cleaning is a bit long (YouTube), but it’s about the way ADHD brains organize, and decluttering with respect for the neurospicy folks’s natural methods.

    My house is kind of a rolling disaster so I’ve been kinda looking at more cleaning/organizing videos lately for ideas.

    ~

    I mentioned the upcoming Doom game in my last post. One of the highlights from that trailer is the saw shield, which takes the toothy chainsaw weapon from earlier games and puts it around the rim of a shield. That might be where it won me over — crossing the line from “this is stupid” to “omg this is so stupid lmao.”

    Someone has already modded it into classic Doom. What a saint. (Engadget)

    ~

    In my ongoing not-series of posts that point out humans aren’t the only intelligence on the planet, Ars Technica has a post suggesting elephants may refer to each other by name.

    ~

    Watchmen is one of my all-time favorite comics (said a lot of people). A trailer for an animated adaptation of Watchmen by Warner Bros. has been released on TSFKA Twitter.

    Honestly? Not impressed. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by all the great animation lately, like Scavenger’s Reign and X-Men ’97, but my first look at this gives me an impression of lifelessness. It feels more like the time they lightly animated comic book panels than its own proper serious animation project, you know?

    ~

    Someone in Mexico died of H5N2 bird flu virus. (Smithsonian Mag)

    Meanwhile, H7N3 is continuing to spread in Australia. (The Guardian) This point is kind of buried among other news, so here’s the relevant paragraph:

    And bird flu has been found at a sixth farm in Victoria. Agriculture Victoria said last night the case of Avian influenza (H7N3) was confirmed at a property in the Golden Plains shire, 200km south-west of Melbourne. More coming up.

    These are not the same strains of bird flu, and health officials continue to assert the risk to the general public is low.

    ~

    Digby’s Hullaballoo notes that crime has dropped, despite what fear mongering says.

    To editorialize on their post — fear is a tool of fascism. They don’t care about reality or statistics. It’s just about control.

    ~

    Late Night with Seth Meyers is well loved by the industry, but I’ve never gotten the impression it’s as popular as its peers, and late night shows are generally not at their peak.

    Budget cuts are taking away the band on Late Night. (Variety) I’m not surprised, but it’s a shame. Seth has long used his band as a way to feature guest drummers. Of all the musicians who get attention, it’s not usually drummers, who sit at the back of bands. It’s a genuine shame to lose this.

  • sara reads the feed

    Bad decisions on purpose, narcissism, and Apple’s AI

    I think I can’t finish Insomniac Cafe right now because I’m missing a critical element. Of course I am also busy and distracted, but I’m also mulling the book kinda constantly, and I’m thinking about a couple things that I’m missing. I don’t know where to fit them. The end is going to fall apart if I do the order I think I need to do.

    That’s so vague, sorry. I’m just trying to solve a Rubik’s cube right now. I’m getting close, but there’s still a few spots all fudged up.

    Also: I tried to pierce my own ear, and I was successful! In the sense that I got a needle through the ear. But then I couldn’t get the earring in. Predictable, I guess. I do visit a professional piercer I love, and I understand all the risks of self-piercing, but at this point it’s kind of a fetish for me and I’d prefer to do the simpler ones on my own. Yanno? Self-mutilating for fun and profit Fun?

    Anyway, I think I need higher-gauge needles. I’m gonna work it out and punch a few more holes in my body. I’m trying to be as sterile as I can without an autoclave. Hopefully I’m not back in a few weeks/months with a “whoops, I did a stupid and now I have a nasty infection” post, but I am prepared to eat crow if crow must be eaten.

    ~

    Business Insider calls out gentle parenting, which is a new an innovative criticism I’ve never seen before (other than a million billion times). They point the finger at gentle parents for driving teachers out of school (rather than being underfunded and over-worked), poor mental health for kids (rather than living through the mass death event of a pandemic), and generally bad behavior (rather than having numerous Adverse Childhood Experiences related to the world/communities around them – or simply the fact that kids are developmentally uncooked and getting up to trouble to some degree is normal).

    I have no idea why critics think gentle parenting is parenting without boundaries. We don’t allow bad behavior either: we draw lines around safety and consent and agency.

    The main idea of gentler parenting practices is that your kids are full human beings deserving of agency. Adults don’t like being yelled at, ordered around, or derided, and neither do kids. Your kids need to have safe and healthy habits but they don’t have to respond to authority for the sake of authority. That said, you still have a parental responsibility to them, and you can’t let the monkeys run the zoo.

    The article talks about how “time intensive” gentle parenting is, and I just can’t imagine a kind of parenting that isn’t. You have kids so you can spend time with them. Don’t you? Even if you didn’t intend to have them, life throws lots of curveballs, and there’s just no avoiding the fact that small humans need help. Why are you complaining about the fact your kids need guidance and attention?

    I spend time with my kids because I like them a lot. I treat them like full humans because they are. They aren’t always the easiest people for adults who think kids should sit down and shut up, but I don’t think they’re meant to be. They’re kind, intelligent, undercooked people who just need guidance, and to be mostly left to their own devices otherwise.

    Harsh, authoritarian parenting that doesn’t recognize the wholeness of a kid’s humanity is a great way to have no relationship with your adult children.

    While the dynamics between parents and children are generally a private matter, their implications are not. When a child’s immediate desires become the lens through which they’re expected to treat others, and vice versa, that framework becomes everybody’s business. When gentle parenting goes wrong, everyone takes note.

    Parents who claim adherence to any method can experience this. Kids aren’t bad because their parents care about their feelings, trust me.

    Yawn.

    ~

    I found this Psyche article on narcissism really interesting. My main takeaway is that narcissism can be “cured.” It’s not like some forms of depression, where it seems to be hard-wired — an ongoing disability that needs to be tended. Rather than a neurotype, narcissism is a pattern of behaviors, misaligned values, and poor coping mechanisms that can be repaired.

    Good luck getting certain narcissists into therapy though.

    ~

    We’ve got more details on Apple’s inclusion of AI. (Quartz) It sounds better than I expected? They’re enabling ChatGPT integration, but you can skip that too. They’re doing a model of on-device AI that uses your own information. So, you know, basically what they already do, but with a more complicated algorithm. You’ll need a more advanced device to do it because it’s not leaving your phone. They talk about privacy more than I feared, which is good.

    I hate how we’re labeling everything AI right now because not everything AI is created equal. We need to functionally distinguish between the AI that is content-stealing and rights-destroying and what is simply a continuation of the same algorithmic whatsis we’ve been working on for now.

    I just upgraded my phone and will probably be using it until 2028 or so. I’ll have lots of time to see how this unfolds before I decide if I’m exiting the Apple ecosystem or not. Right now, it’s not an immediate escape plan.

    Here’s a full list of the things Apple announced this year. (Engadget)

    ~

    Alas: the virgin mother stingray doesn’t seem to be pregnant anymore. The poor lass is sick. (Smithsonian Mag) A rare reproductive disease has caused miscarriage. That’s not the news anyone wanted.

    ~

    The Film Stage has a list of the twenty best films of 2024 so far. I mostly watch mainstream movies, and my new movie watching has been lacking this year. It looks like a solid list though. Quite a few of these, I do hope to catch — especially I Saw the TV Glow.

    ~

    You in the mood for a Practical Magic sequel? (Variety) It’s a multigenerational story about a family of witches, so there’s ample room for it. This is one of those things where I’m going to have to wait and see how it’s executed before drawing conclusions.

    ~

    How novel! IKEA is testing out things like giving employees money and benefits to keep them at work. (Quartz) Weird! Revolutionary!

  • sara reads the feed

    A stupid new DOOM game, Ancient Egyptian brain cancer, and getting up to other stuff

    I’m an excessively simple person with limited bandwidth. For as long as I can remember, I’ll have one big interest at a time, and that’s it. Maybe one big interest and one supplementary one.

    It can change from day to day, but I tend to go on days-long benders of interest, so I’ll block out whole “past interests” for weeks at a time.

    Egregious is one of those interests, and I mostly work on it when I’m in a worky-thinky mood but I’m not deeply into another thinky project. It might coexist with crochet or drawing, but usually not writing a book.

    Writing a book is where I am now. I’m still trying to finish Insomniac Cafe. But truthfully, I haven’t been working on that a lot either: it’s the highest thinky priority, but access to time and bandwidth for anything thinky is extremely limited right now.

    It’s the end of the school year for Little, for one thing. My spouse has been working a lot so I’ve been primary parenting on some days. With the onset of summer, that’s going to be a lot of my attention, and there’s no two ways around it. But I’m also back in the gym a little bit. Gym takes a deceptive amount of time because I also have to focus on getting enough protein for muscle synthesis, transporting myself to/from the gym (I hate driving), showering, outfitting, the actual workouts, etc.

    Games have also been gobbling my time. We won’t talk about how much Red Dead Redemption 2 and Bitlife I’ve been playing.

    Point is, Egregious remains eternally in the queue of Things I’ll Get Around to Doing, but it’s pretty far down the list at the moment. I’m not gone. I’m just not always here. Even though it’s been a while, I’m not catching up on links in this post; I’m on my way outside the house, so here’s just a few observations.

    ~

    They’ve announced a new DOOM game for 2025 that looks incredibly ridiculous. (Engadget) I started out scoffing and then I started laughing and I don’t know! Maybe it’s just ridiculous enough. I’m a ridiculous person. If it’s as stupid as it looks (it looks REALLY stupid), then I might actually like it.

    ~

    Kenan and Bowen from SNL did a thing in Variety where they discussed SNL’s various controversies, in part. The impression I got from it was the guys saying, “Please leave us out of this conversation.” There’s a lot of Matrix dodging actual answers to anything.

    I mean, when SNL has been so dominantly white over the years, is it really fair to ask a Black cast member and the gay Asian cast member to take the burden of responding to the stuff notorious shark Lorne Michaels allows? SNL is the McDonald’s of New York comedy. The pockets are deep, and it’s been less common for nonwhite and not-straight to dip into those pockets. Shouldn’t they get to do their jobs and collect their paychecks, if anyone does?

    ~

    NPR reports on how *utterly baffling* it is that chronic absenteeism has skyrocketed in public schools. You mean schools where we pack thirty children into rooms without any sort of disease mitigation issues in an era of heightened sickness and ongoing pandemic? Weird!

    ~

    I’m always struck by how modern humans (or Americans, at least) think that we’re so much better or different than past humans, and how seldom that seems to be true. In many ways, we’ve just been incrementally refining things that other humans have been up to for a very, very long time. This thought today provoked by Ancient Egypt attempting surgery for brain cancer. (Ars Technica) Here’s another article on the same subject from Quartz.

    ~

    I’ve been working on a bit of a compost pile and following around conversations online about them. One frequent complaint is how much plastic finds its way into compost — especially produce stickers. So it definitely caught my eye that Tesco is looking at laser tattooing avocados instead of stickering them. (The Guardian)

    I’m also on this cultural wavelength: killing lawns in favor of more environmentally friendly options. (NPR) I’m killing off my backyard right now. The plan is to put something like clover in its place next year.

    ~

    Al Jazeera English has a video about some younger folks ditching smart phones and general connectivity. This has been on my mind a lot because I’m probably leaving the Apple ecosystem after one last phone upgrade. This piece is a lot about reclaiming time — no longer falling into dopamine holes.

    For me, it’s the general disrespect and way my data is being used. I don’t like the direction of AI-powered phones (Quartz), and it seems like they just expect folks to swallow it. The alternative is to opt out. I’ve spent literally my entire Millennial life on devices since home computers were even available. It’s wild to feel so sick of it. But here we are.

  • sara reads the feed

    Birds still have flu, historical disease, and futuretech

    I stayed up way too late watching Atlas last night. It wasn’t a great movie, or even a very good movie, but I was entertained all to heck. I admit, a lot of this is surely the fact I’m just in a HUGE JLo mood. Nothing has touched me this year quite like the sordid drama of This is Me…Now and The Greatest Story Never Told because they’re insane in just the way I love things to be insane. All I wanted was more of JLo being crazy-intense. She was so committed to Atlas! Nobody can say this woman doesn’t put her whole pussy into things.

    Of course I am groggy this morning, which is a somewhat perpetual condition at the moment. I really have to get my sleep sorted out. I’m still taking daily naps, but now it seems to be preventing me from getting proper sleep at night — this was not the case when I was heavily cannabinated. The problem is that sleeping badly at night means that I want to nap, and then I don’t sleep great because I nap, and the cruel cycle continues.

    It would help if I didn’t stay up late giggling over JLo in a mech suit, though.

    ~

    I’m sorry to say we’re not done hearing about bird flu yet. The pathogenic H5N1 strain found in so many of America’s dairy cows is verified to have infected a second human. (The Guardian)

    The new patient had mild eye symptoms and has recovered, US and Michigan health officials said in announcing the case on Wednesday afternoon. The worker had been in contact with cows presumed to be infected, and the risk to the public remains low, officials said.

    A nasal swab from the person tested negative for the virus, but an eye swab tested positive, “indicating an eye infection”, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement.

    This isn’t the first time I heard that most infections are bringing about conjunctivitis, although I have to wonder *where* I heard that now. If there’s only two verified cases, how can we know anything about “most” infections? Anyway, that’s what I heard, but take it with a grain of salt.

    Another strain of bird flu has popped up in Australia. (The Guardian) This is a different version — H7N3 — and it’s still in birds. They’re culling flocks en masse to prevent spreading.

    The CDC has launched an effort to look for flu A in wastewater.

    A new dashboard to monitor influenza A in wastewater across the country was launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week. It doesn’t track H5N1 specifically, but the highly pathogenic avian influenza variant is part of the flu A family.

    The dashboard helps identify hotspots in the US where flu A is surging – and, since flu rates among people are low this time of year, such a surge can alert scientists and the public to potential outbreaks of H5N1.

    Note that all my sources here are from The Guardian, which is a UK-based news agency. I’d ask “Why aren’t I getting more info about this from American sources?” but the answer seems obvious: they don’t want the dairy industry to take a hit, they don’t want people freaking out, and it’s possible folks just don’t *want* to know about it. We’re broadly coping with COVID by pretending it didn’t happen (and isn’t happening) as much as possible.

    It’s good that the CDC is sharing this information, though.

    An oped on Al Jazeera English pins the problems with drug shortages and superbugs upon so-called “Big Pharma’s focus on profit.” I gotta say, it’s increasingly obvious how healthcare should be entirely nonprofit. We need to find ways to make that happen for everyone’s sake.

    This is all rather frustrating, but it’s important to remember how much humans have progressed in the span of time. A lot of bubonic plague was probably spread by body lice. (Smithsonian Mag) It’s unlikely we’d have a pandemic with body lice as the primary vector at this point, thanks to modern hygiene standards in urban spaces and among individuals. I’m pretty sure we have rad drugs that can take care of that too.

    And we’re looking at theories that viruses may have been a factor in eliminating Neanderthals as a distinct species. (Smithsonian Mag)

    ~

    My teenager wants to get away from Earth on account of all the humans. Can you blame them? I sure can’t. Maybe we can go check out this Venus-sized planet orbiting a red dwarf forty light years away. (Quartz) Its temperatures are said to be quite similar to Earth’s, but we don’t know if it has an atmosphere or liquid water yet.

    Forty light years is still a lot, but we’re working on warp drive concepts. Here’s a new one that wouldn’t get us to FTL speeds. (Ars Technica) The idea requires some exotic matter to basically scrunch up space in front of the ship and extend it behind the ship, thus moving spacetime, but not the vessel itself.

    This isn’t a particularly exciting concept, but it’s novel, and there’s nothing about our understanding of the universe which limits this as a possibility. Which means progress if you ask me!

    In the meantime, humans are still blowing up a lot of conventional rockets. A SpaceX test recently made a very impressive fireball. (Quartz)

    ~

    Texas is being totally slammed with mosquitoes in the wake of climate-related floods. (The Guardian) I am not sure if mosquitoes are an issue with the UK, but they’re getting way more rain from climate change too. (The Guardian) Mosquitoes are a common disease vector, so this is more than just a nuisance.

    Decarbonizing is critical to reversing the human impact on climate change, and humans are really advancing alternate energy sources. We’ve found that we get more useful energy out of renewable sources than we do fossil fuels et al. (Ars Technica) And we’re trying out a kind of solar receiver that involves heating quartz crystals to 1000 degrees Celsius (Quartz), which could help us reduce our carbon output in various ways.

    If you’re feeling anxious about the climate crisis, then Psyche has an article on how to cope with that.

  • JLo getting a retina scan. Image credit: Netflix
    movie reviews

    Movie Review: ATLAS (2024) **

    You know when you watch a movie, and they’re making a parody movie within the movie, a la Notting Hill or The Fall Guy? This is the parody movie.

    Welcome to the JLonaissance! Here, JLo is an analyst named Atlas who has dedicated her life to searching for the rogue AI who killed her mom and like three billion other people. Stuffy plotty things happen and she ends up piloting a mech suit.

    “JLo in a mech suit??” you ask excitedly, if by “you” I mean “me.” Me asked this very excitedly upon seeing the trailer. I’m delighted to inform you all that this is exactly the movie you thought when you watched the trailer. It’s JLo in a mech suit, baby! What else do you need? Narrative tension? A sense of urgency? The main character’s development feeling hard-earned? A coherent message? Get outta here.

    There are absolutely no surprises in Atlas. It’s a 2-hour-long video game cinematic starring a lot of actors you recognize, sort of like Death Stranding, except it’s shorter than most of the Death Stranding cinematics and Death Stranding has something to say.

    The entire point of the movie is JLo neurotically saying, “I don’t trust AI!!!!” until she does. She becomes besties with an AI, hot guys die, she defeats the bad AI because she unlocks a few upgrade slots, and she’s improbably rescued at the last minute. This doesn’t feel like a spoiler to me. You already knew the ending was gonna just kinda be like “shrug, she survives.” Look within your heart. The truth is there.

    But I’m gonna tell you, this movie really could have been a whole lot worse. Mark Strong’s expressions imply a subplot that wasn’t written. JLo is so committed to the material! Simu Liu is hunky and he wisely made ten thousand hunky Abraham Popoolas for me to thirst over. Sterling K Brown does a great job (like he ever does a bad job, pff). Everyone’s hot, the CGI was fine, and the script hit all the most basic Save the Cat beats. Hey, that’s not a guarantee in modern screenwriting.

    Sure, it would have been better with a lot less talking and a lot more plot, action, or cool sci-fi stuff. Atlas’s emotional growth had the psychological feeling of an on-rails shooter. It’s kinda stunning how little imagination they could employ in a science fiction setting where they got to put JLo in a mech suit. What a boring planet! What prosaic world building!

    Yet I really think the screenwriting is the worst part of this (by far), and the screenwriting is *mostly* dispassionate and mediocre.

    I kinda think I’d have enjoyed this movie when I was a kid, though it’s not intended as a kid’s movie (who the hell is this intended for? who would be happy with slow conversations between JLo and Siri?). I’d have loved watching it intercut with lengthy toy-themed commercial breaks on TBS.

    Call me a JLo simp ever since her whole “I love love” megaproject made it clear exactly how unhinged she is (~I could fix her~), but I have been more annoyed by vastly more prestigious movies. This is extremely low-grade watch-it-while-doing-something-else sci-fi-themed schlock, and gosh darnit, I love sci-fi schlock.

    Come to this movie for JLo looking adorable with frizzy hair and giant glasses; stay for the video game vibes because hey, you might as well, you’re probably folding laundry or vacuuming the floor or something anyway.

    (image credit: Netflix)

  • sara reads the feed

    Flappy Bird on Playdate, Lizzo isn’t lazy, and so-called AI in Furiosa

    My family spent the first two days of this three-day weekend binging all four seasons of Star Trek: Lower Decks. I saw some fans on Bluesky talking about streaming ST:LD to boost numbers, hoping we can get more seasons, and my entire family likes the show so it was convenient anyway.

    Man, I love that show. It’s truly our perfect Trek.

    That is a lot of TV, though. I think my body is now couch-shaped.

    ~

    Most of the homeschooling I’ve done with my teenager is focused on history, media analysis, literacy, evaluating sources, and other things that I’m good at. We haven’t really been doing math at an appropriate level. Our family has some very specific oddball learning disorders, and trying to figure out how to do math around that has been a challenge.

    I actually really like math, and I’m not bad at it. But most math concepts after the early grades can’t be taught naturalistically. You can work on numbers with wee kids at the grocery store, while cooking, etc. Getting into complicated stuff demands simply sitting down with paper to do the work.

    This morning I spent a while making brand-new math worksheets so we can do maths this week. I used to make worksheets for myself, for fun (yes, I am a nerd), so all the formatting and whatnot is something I do easily. I’m using a common core workbook to provide the problems, but I’m eliminating repetition, and I’m simplifying explanations of the concepts that I find on reputable websites. Luckily there is lots of help in math for this age level. I just need to reshape it so that I can dodge the learning blocks appropriately. (I hope…)

    I’m also adding in cat jokes to make it more relevant to my kid’s interests. And mine. Cat jokes are great.

    ~

    Someone made a Flappy bird clone for Playdate. (Engadget)

    In other small consumer device news, the Kobo Clara Color looks like a nice e-reader. (Engadget) As an author, I really like Kobo’s book subscription reading service. I might actually end up getting a Kobo next time I’m shopping for an e-reader.

    ~

    While talking to NPR Books, Stephen King said he thinks you can’t gross out the American public — you can’t go too far. Playfully, I say that I’m really gonna test that with my book Insomniac Cafe. I don’t even know if publishers will wanna touch it. But I’m trying to be so, so gross. I think I can go too far. It’s one of my class skills.

    ~

    Memorial Day Weekend movies didn’t do so hot. (Variety) Furiosa’s not pulling people into the theater, and neither is Garfield, although the latter is better at it. I think Garfield is a pretty good example of the way that families with young kids will see basically anything kid-oriented because it’s just Something To Do with the kids. Still, the movie industry isn’t happy with the returns.

    Talking about Furiosa, which was a perfectly fine movie, AI usage is cited for putting the older actress’s face over the younger’s. (Variety) Generally this is probably one of the better uses of AI, since it’s not theft, and it’s building off older tools that movies have been using since Benjamin Button. The usage was effective for me. It looked fine.

    I’m still disappointed to hear it honestly. It’s a shame that they diminished Alyla Browne’s ability to be seen, since I found her to be my favorite of the movie’s two Furiosas. I don’t think having different faces between different ages has ever really hurt movies, period. It doesn’t seem necessary. Everyone knows that movies aren’t real.

    Also: I thought they didn’t use Charlize Theron because she’d have visibly aged so much since Fury Road, but apparently they don’t mind changing someone’s face? Maybe George Miller just resented her (Vanity Fair) for being annoyed at her co-star’s unprofessional behavior. I’m totally Team Charlize on that. And if we’re gonna be de-aging Harrison Ford when he’s 120 year sold, why not woman action stars?

    ~

    AI continues to spread. I know Apple is planning more AI in iOS, and I’ve been wondering what that’ll look like (and whether it will lead to my total Ludditification). It sounds like AI emoji are one of the use cases. (Engadget) Eh, okay.

    Right now AI seems to be a hot thing for the money guys, so I think that a lot of companies are slapping the AI label on things that are not explicitly the AI I’m worried about. I don’t want the IP-thieving, most resource-intensive AI. But I’ve been using autopredict and other algorithmic stuff for ages. I’m really not a total killjoy about tech. AI emoji are probably fine.

    I don’t like the way Google’s formerly useful search engine is using AI summaries. Here’s an Ars Technica article about how to use a slightly better Google search again.

    ~

    South Park got into the whole medicalization of fatness thing lately, and they basically posed it as Ozempic vs Lizzo. To paraphrase: You take Ozempic if you don’t wanna be a fatass; you listen to Lizzo if you want to be a lazy fatass. (The Guardian)

    Lizzo isn’t my favorite, but let’s be real. This woman isn’t lazy. She’s just fat. She’s quite active as a dancer and does lots of exercise. She’s one of the pop stars who really performs! You get skinny by eating less (sometimes way less) but exercise has less an impact on size than it does body composition.

    Also, when my eating disorder was at its worst, I really did find Lizzo’s music to be a helpful part of my recovery. Believe it or not, it’s okay to like yourself at any size. Shocking, I know.

    I suppose there’s no point in observing that South Park is edgelordy neckbeard nonsense as usual, but I just had to give Lizzo credit where credit is due.

    Also, as you’d expect, the very-expensive Ozempic products are only a long-term solution if you keep taking them forever. (NPR) That’s not necessarily an issue. There are lots of medical conditions where you need permanent medication. But something like Synthroid and insulin are a *lot* more accessible than semaglutide products. Price alone is driving more Americans to avoid healthcare. (Quartz) Also, this class of weight loss drugs has potentially severe side-effects like gastropareisis (Quartz), so it’s not a solution for everyone.

    So maybe we should stop shit-talking fat people for being fat and accept it’s okay to love yourself however you are. Concern trolling over health is basically never benevolent — or anyone’s business — and fatness isn’t as noteworthy a character trait as our society pretends.

    If it helps, Psyche has an article about feeling more at-home in your body.

    ~

    Rich people really hate when others shame them. So they went to Congress and asked for anonymized private jet data. Congress said “Sure! We know who’s in charge here.” (Quartz)

  • credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
    movie reviews

    Movie Review: FURIOSA (2024) ***

    Furiosa is another entry into the Mad Max series of movies. This one serves as prequel to Fury Road, filling in the origin details of the titular character: stolen as a girl from a woman-friendly sanctuary, raised among the War Rig’s building and operation, seeking a way to get revenge and go home.

    This is an extremely solid Mad Max entry. It lacks the symmetric narrative elegance of Fury Road, but it’s a respectable prequel that doesn’t feel inessential, either. I wasn’t sure how much they could really add that I’d care about. Of course, George Miller is the king of detail-oriented world building. He found places to elaborate.

    Thanks to the convincing performance of a young Alyla Browne, I was riveted for a full half of the movie, and I genuinely believed the Furiosa she created. I also really enjoyed Chris Hemsworth (prosthetic nose aside) as a sick and charismatic Dementus. He hit all the right notes, which I understand to be challenging while working under a director as exacting as Miller.

    Come to this movie for the vibes more than the set pieces. There is little of that tactile grandeur that made Fury Road such a blast to watch, but the process for making that feels like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This is a more standard Mad Max. I think anyone who likes the broader Mad Max world will like this anyway.

    On a more critical note, I just didn’t care for Anya Taylor-Joy as Furiosa. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Her delivery in the last dialogue wasn’t especially compelling, which might have been the dialogue at large (it really dragged). But I also didn’t love watching her at any other point, either. She didn’t pull me in the way that the younger or older actresses did while playing the same character. I’m not sure what’s happening there — maybe she’s just a little too obviously Anya Taylor-Joy the whole time, maybe the difficulty of the shoot didn’t bring out her best performance… Who knows?

    The movie is a post-apocalyptic pleasure to watch, and just the experience is enough. But Furiosa as a character is better without the added context. I tend to think we got everything we need to know about her in Fury Road. Miller and Max are best with less text. His props, costumes, and overall design are packed with visuals that offer plenty subtextually for people who want to know more about what’s going on. Adding more story doesn’t necessarily improve anything. And it nukes some of the mystery that makes Fury Road such a vibe.

    Still, this movie would be entirely watchable as a double feature with Fury Road, and I think it would be pretty satisfying if you like the way George Miller does his world building. If for some reason you can only watch one, you should still watch Fury Road — it’s a truly great movie. Furiosa is a good movie.

    (image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)