• documentaries

    Documentary Review: The Greatest Love Story Never Told (2024) **

    Have you ever wished you could see J.Lo trying to pick the mud she likes better, and conclude that she wants to choose the drier mud but make it wetter?

    Have you ever wished to feel much better about your own marriage by seeing a couple communicate through sarcasm, disdain, and eye-rolling?

    Have you wished that you knew what it was like to be a fifty-year-old woman with so much insecurity and so much money that you can surround yourself entirely with sycophants, bullying anyone who isn’t willing to support your bubble of delusion?

    Have you ever wondered what it might be like to show up for the Olympics without doing any training beforehand and being bummed out when you can’t perform at Olympics level?

    Twenty years after J.Lo released her last album, this woman really thought she should jump into an absolutely massive three-part project (album, movie, documentary) without having spent the intervening years cracking on any of the related crafts. She can’t name any projects that remind her of her own project except for “Purple Rain” by Prince, and somehow everyone has the tact not to start listing things like Rhythm Nation, Moonwalker, and Lemonade.

    She doesn’t know what gels are. She scoffs at Ben Affleck being excited by the expensive movie equipment, while Ben Affleck is incredulous that cheating on her before their wedding was emotionally devastating (their breakup “was mutual!” he says, while she disassociates on camera).

    Meanwhile, Ben Affleck is horrified and humiliated that she shared all their personal correspondence with a bunch of strangers in a professional setting. He was not asked first. Or even notified.

    The documentary is clearly edited by someone who hates J.Lo and cut in a lot of moments that mock her by demonstration: for instance, J.Lo insisting “you forgot I can dance!” and then cutting to a really low-energy rehearsal of the worst number in the movie. Or when she calls someone “like a sister” and then they show her acting annoyed and eye-rolling at her sister-colleague.

    A lot of celebrities refuse to be in the movie. J.Lo says they’re afraid. Nobody challenges her on that, either.

    She may have demanded Derek Hough cancel his appearance at an IRL wedding to marry her in a fake wedding!

    The celebrities who agree promptly show up and start shit-talking the project.

    Sadhguru arrives and she greets him mimicking his accent.

    At some point, I whited out and lost track of existence.

    I’m so supportive of J.Lo’s vanity project. I maintain that I would rather watch *all* *of* *this* before sitting through a single viewing of any Avatar movie, James Cameron’s vanity projects. I genuinely like a couple of the songs in a normal pop music way, and I think her more visually ambitious sequences have a delirious appeal. But I am genuinely concerned that J.Lo is not okay, even a little bit, and that the whole “learning to love herself” narrative is actual total denial. Because this woman obviously does not love herself. She may have identified the problem (and she’s right!) but she is not healing, and she’s not in an environment where that is possible.

    It’s actually overtly alarming to see her reenacting abuse from past relationships when she’s so very much NOT OKAY. No wonder she’s so miserable and snappy about the mud. She must have been in a constant haze of PTSD flashbacks doing this to herself. I actually think Ben Affleck’s attempts to talk her up without any clear-eyed evaluation of her capabilities may have been more harmful than a loving husband thing.

    If you’re like me (the living embodiment of the Marie Kondo ilovemess.gif) then you can’t miss this, but it’s…alarming. It hates its own subject matter. It’s BANANAS to the point of being painful.

    This entire trifecta project is 10/10 but also somehow 1-2 stars.

  • sara reads the feed

    Sara is so totally psychic, method acting snark, and articles far more interesting than those I write

    I have this running joke* in my family about how I am totally psychic. I have made multiple accurate predictions. There are really funny probably-coincidences I can attribute to myself as psychic predictions, too. I’m not reading minds. It’s nothing like that.

    *When I say I’m joking, I’m saying that there’s a 50/50 chance that it’s just a bit (I live for The Bit) or I actually believe it myself. There is no delineation between these two things. I live by Calvin & Hobbes rules. The fact it is funny to bring up frequently is the entire point.

    Last night I dreamed about finding an exciting house perfect for my family. Unfortunately, renovations on the house turned out to be performed by scammers. The house fell into a river. The dream wasn’t very stressful; it was kind of funny.

    Today I woke up to some external stimulus that had me looking at houses. I had forgotten the dream by this point. I saw one house listing that was really exciting! A good price, a good size. The downside seemed to be its rural location. I asked my online friends what considerations I should have in regards to rural life.

    Through a chain of research, I eventually discovered this house is at risk of flooding. It’s unexpected for a house in the middle of the desert. But there’s no denying it: the house is uninsurable due to its flood risk.

    I didn’t make the connection between my dream and the house at first. It’s awfully weird I was dreaming about houses falling into rivers before this weirdo chain of events though…right?

    So yeah, I’m a psychic. I can’t say this psychic power is *useful*. I am psychic nonetheless.


    Bright Wall, Dark Room reviewed a 1989 documentary called “For All Mankind.” Interesting read!

    For All Mankind demonstrates a playful self-awareness of its identity as a movie about making movies. Reinert cuts together footage of the astronauts peering through cameras, filming each other, and waving. The men of Apollo 8 hold up notebook paper signs reading “Apollo 8 Home Movies” and “Staring [sic] Bill Anders, James Lovell, and Frank Borman.” In other footage, a tape recorder floats through the module playing the fanfare from Richard Strauss’s 1896 Also sprach Zarathustra, best known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

    It can feel as if Reinert, who set out to make a movie about the moon, instead attempted to  make every movie about the moon.


    Crooked Timber shares a thought-provoking essay about managers and their waning power in the office, using the church as an example.

    In the encyclical Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI made his fateful rejection of all forms of artificial contraception. As an attempt to exercise and shore up authority it failed completely. The realities of raising large families and dealing with unplanned pregnancies were far removed from the experience of priests and theologians. And the church’s evident demographic motive (the desire for big Catholic families to fill the pews) further undermined the legitimacy of the prohibition.


    Lawyers, Guns, & Money sound as annoyed by the semaglutide craze as I am.


    Rebecca Ferguson was reportedly harassed by a costar on set. The Rock wants everyone to know it wasn’t him and he will flex his biceps over it. (TSFKA Twitter) Way to make it about yourself, Dwayne!

    In similar entertainment news, Jonny Lee Miller related his reaction to abuse of a woman in the entertainment industry. (The Independent) I appreciate his desire to not make it about himself.

    “My memory is a bit hazy, but I remember feeling fury,” he says. “I actually wanted to be more proactive about it, but it was 100 per cent her decision and you have to swallow your male bulls***. I was gonna hire someone to f***ing…” He trails off. “But I didn’t. I had some connections.” I laugh, nervously. Miller does not. And Jolie told him not to? “Yeah. Because it would mean it becomes about you, right? And you wanting to prove how much you care – ‘No one’s going to f***ing do that to my people.’ But what you need to do is listen to your partner.” He smiles, warmly now. “Amazingly, that was the one thing I was able to get right. You know, I was raised by women. I have three sisters. And [Jolie] is a very smart lady. She knows what’s best for her.”


    Florida’s government is all like “let’s make measles great again!” (NPR)

    Florida’s surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, has so far not urged parents of unvaccinated children at the school with the outbreak to get their children vaccinated, or to quarantine them. In a Feb. 20 letter, Ladapo left it up to parents to decide whether to send their kids to school.

    It’s wild to me that one of the easiest, best, cheapest tools for public health has become so politically polarizing. I can’t think The People actually want this.


    I’ve been waiting to watch Poor Things, and now it’ll be on Hulu March 7th. (Variety) I feel like I have to make an addendum about how I fully expect to hate this movie any time I bring it up, because I am not planning to evaluate it fairly. idk man, I can be petty.


    Are you surprised to hear that Amazon is up to fuckery with the Roadhouse remake? (Ars Technica) They don’t want to pay the original screenwriter for the adaptation and rushed through AI voice work to make that happen. Any interest I had in watching a greasy Jake Gyllenhaal kickpunch his way through the titular roadhouse has vanished.


    Engadget reports that the Apple Car has been cancelled. Word on the street is that they’d like to refocus on AI. I think of Apple as being one of the less-evil corporate feudalist lords simply because they want to keep our data to themselves (no privacy, but it stays in their walled garden), and you pay a premium for their devices and services to get that. I am not optimistic about how long that vibe is going to last.


    The New Yorker wonders if you can want an Oscar too much. Of course they’re talking (in large part) about Maestro, BCoop’s extremely thirsty plea for Oscars attention.

    Also from the same source, a review of Dune 2 that makes it sound like I won’t love it for the same reasons I don’t love the first one. But how much can we trust The New Yorker on this when they talk so much about conlang and point to Lord of the Rings as a major source of our fascination when I got into conlang from a Klingon dictionary vastly predating the other properties they’re talking about? They barely mention Star Trek in passing, then spend a bunch of time caring about the Game of Thrones conlinguist (I might have just made up that word) who I am not especially fond of.

    Speaking of Dune 2, Stellan Skarsgard talks about Austin Butler (Variety) like Brian Cox talks about Jeremy Strong (“have you tried acting?” to paraphrase), and I never get tired of this kind of story about over-enthusiastic actors with poor boundaries between work and reality.


    Odysseus plopped onto its side on the Moon and will be freezing to sleep forever faster than expected. (Ars Technica)

  • bluesky,  facebook

    a couple weeks of wordvomit

    Posted on 2/12/24.

    I am getting my bff cat’s cremains back this afternoon and I’m a wreck all over again

    I have found I do okay the day after they die, and a couple days beyond, but receiving cremains makes it feel extra final and devastating

    Posted on 2/13/24.

    Sunshine wants to use my ouija board to commune with my cat Annie, who died a week ago today. On one hand, I want to encourage him to explore ways to process his grief. On the other hand, I’m still way too sad to feel up for a cat seance. On another other hand, what even is this life.

    Posted on 2/14/24.

    Playing BG3. Halsin hits on me. Invites me to be with him, and bring my boyfriend Gale. I’ve been really enjoying Gale. I broke up with Astarion for Gale. But I go tell Gale that Halsin is interested in sharing, and Gale is SO OFFENDED. I don’t actually want Halsin but I’m not owned by Gale.

    Torn because I am offended by how offended Gale was, but I wouldn’t pick Halsin over Gale, aside from this one element. The fearfulness and jealousy of forced monogamy is GROSS.

    omg all the monogamy i hate it so much, i belong to NOBODY but MYSELF. if i choose monogamy it’s from joy.

    irl i am ethically nonmonogamous (or polyamorous? idk the difference) but i haven’t dated in ages just because i’m so happy with my spouse and i don’t have any unfulfilled needs or desires, and we’re busy. so it’s like, chosen monogamy. i think that’s nice.

    possessiveness and jealousy is theeeee biggest turn-off in the world to me, i just don’t wanna be with gale anymore but idk that i’ll hook up with halsin either. just, i’m not into halsin in this play through. i’d rather be single than be with someone jealous and possessive.

    insecurity and jealousy should be approached with an open heart, curious mind, and full honesty. multiple relationships are never a competition but an expansion of one’s heart. i can (and have) love multiple people at once, the way i love both my kids, all my cats, and there’s no comparison

    really the main limiting factor with romantic relationships is time. i don’t have time for more right now. but i do flirt, and so does my spouse, and then we come home and over-communicate about stuff and reorient ourselves all the time, even though we usually find ourselves unmoved.

    in a video game i have played for 800 hours, time is not a concern. to say the least. lol

    give me the fantasy of healthy relationships that support rather than confine, stupid game.

    anyway gale isn’t a nice fantasy for me anymore so we broke up. Killdead the Slayer is single on the streets baby! watch out Baldur’s Gate!

    Posted on 2/15/24.

    My gothic fantasy book was written and edited entirely on psychedelic doses of THC, and this is my first time reading it sober-sober.

    Frankly surprised the book is readable at all, tbh. ahahahah

    God I love this thing

    Posted on 2/16/24.

    thinking about also pirating doc martin (i have an acorn subscription) just so i can watch ahead in the show without my 13yo realizing i’ve cheated on them

    maybe if i download the episodes to my ipad, disconnect from the internet, watch the episodes, then delete the app before reconnecting to the internet

    My first actual novel was a fabulous 100k-word fantasy novel about five girls who each controlled the elements in a world without men (I was 12)

    Before that I wrote the most amazing novel length Animorphs/Sailor Moon crossovers

    I didn’t start writing terrible books until my 20s tyvm shit was GOLD


    I did include lesbian relationships. Gender apocalypse books sometimes don’t.

    Babies were all divine foundlings or divine pregnancy, but gods were girls too.

    I did not have a nuanced understanding of gender and it was actually sex based. And I didn’t know about intersex conditions.

    My first major series published as an adult (after the teen werewolves) had a central intersex woman as the heroine and she remains my most popular ever character. I figured it out eventually lol

    My first fantasy book had the heroine dying and going to a Hell-like place! A recurring motif.

    The fantasy series led directly into my popular urban fantasy series, which I began drafting when I was 15, and reuses several elements from the fantasy book. When I tell you guys I have been at this for a long time, I really mean one thing specifically 💀

    It was all really excellent tho

    I am turning 36 this year and I wrote my first original novel about 1/4 of a century ago. It’s wild, man. I wrote that first book (and its fanfic predecessors) on an IBM compatible, in WordPerfect (iirc), saved to 3.5” floppy. Eventually upgraded to windows 3.1 with a GUI to make editing easier.

    I did my 8th grade book report on my own novel. My mom used to let me skip school whenever I was finishing a book. It happened 1-2x a school year. I wrote longhand in classes and told off teachers trying to interrupt me.

    I think 2023 is the only year since ~1998 I haven’t written at least one book*

    * I finished one novel from a previous year and started a couple others tho

    Posted on 2/17/24.

    I think 3/5 of my cats are autistic as fuck

    I have two cats that are normal levels of cat weird (which is Very Weird) but then I have three with obvious sensory processing issues that make them EVEN WEIRDER in various ways

    omg self do not even type out comments like “crush me mommy” on hot author lady photos without hitting enter, someday i will hit enter on my intrusive thoughts and there will actually be consequences

    i’m gonna complain in the style of an Internet Old via greentext. (if you don’t know what greentext is, just read these as a weird blog post, it’s fine.)

    > be me
    > login to website host to register a new silly domain
    > notice my payment info expired
    > panik
    > realize I have a Really Really Important domain that will expire in 2 weeks
    > domain is registered somewhere else completely
    > cannot login to Somewhere Else
    > try recovery with every email I know
    > fail
    > panik
    > submit request to recover account managing domain
    > will take 3 days
    > panik
    > consider backordering my own domain so i can bid on it if this fails
    > realize that this domain came from one place originally but does its management from yet another place
    > start logging into every related site via Really Ancient Email i barely remember
    > find that my payment info has expired on all the sites
    > autorenew is disabled for domain
    > cannot enable
    > definitely going to lose my website in 2 weeks
    > PANIK
    > update payment info literally everywhere because i can’t tell where the renewal actually occurs
    > still can’t enable autorenew
    > finally access Somewhere Else
    > update payment info there too
    > still can’t enable autorenew
    > can’t renew right now because that’s disabled too
    > initiate transfer to normal website host
    > still panik but less
    > remember that i have now asked to have access restored to domain management that i am simultaneously trying to transfer
    > worried but incapable of doing anything about it
    > realize i would have never remembered to check on this or do anything about it in time if i hadn’t quit weed
    > remind myself that never would have happened because i’m psychic and my psychic powers clearly compelled me to start this journey tonight
    > optimistic that everything will turn out ok as long as i didn’t clusterfxk it with multiple recovery attempts
    > suddenly 10pm
    > too wired to sleep, still kind of PANIK

    Posted on 2/18/24.

    I kinda think everyone should learn to crochet *only* to make socks. Socks are really fun and easy to make. Plus, I can churn out socks while watching tv/movies, and then I just like…have lots of socks around. I use yarn so distinct that they’re easy to scoop out of the laundry. They fit perfectly because I crocheted them to my foot shape. They become incredibly soft in the washing machine.

    also i had a great hair hour yesterday, between taking down my bun and brushing my hair. I’ve been trying to treat my hair like it’s curly to see if I’d get more of a wave pattern. Eldest Moonlight has the most amazing naturally curly hair, like big heavy ringlets, naturally as wide around as your fist, that lay across their back gorgeously. I suspect this happened bc of my family’s slightly-wavy genetics and my husband’s much-thicker hair follicles (mine is fine but dense). I mess with my hair so much (SO MANY CHEMICALS) that i don’t have a clue what my actual texture is like. But I’m sleeping with a silk bonnet, *usually* combing with a wide-tooth comb rather than brushing, squeeze-drying, and doing curly-specific conditioner, and it does seem to be helping waves form.

    FWIW moonlight loves having their hair brushed and played with and that makes me feel SO LUCKY. They got all the good genetics but at least i get to play with their hair

    If you’re an American, it’s really fascinating to search for the indigenous names for local features. I was looking up indigenous names for the Truckee River. My region sits on unceded land home to Washoe and Northern Paiute.
    Northern Paiute call the Truckee “Kuyuinahukwa”, wherein Kuyui- refers to a type of fish (the cui-ui) that you find in Pyramid Lake (called Kooyooe Pa’a Panunadu – note again the “kooyooe” as cui-ui). Washo calls Pyramid Lake “Á’waku dáʔaw” meaning Trout Lake.

    Meanwhile the Washoe have different names for different parts of the Truckee River, which makes a lotta sense. The river goes through a lot of different biomes between Tahoe and Pyramid Lakes and has different characteristics in these areas. Át’abi wá’t’a would refer to the Truckee nearer Pyramid; Dawbayódok refers to the Truckee nearer Tahoe.

    If you’re not familiar with my geographic region, Lake Tahoe is a cold alpine lake in the Sierras, while Pyramid Lake is in a much more arid region. You’d drive through there and say “oh this is a proper desert.” In between, we have a mix of wetlands and whatnot. The whole thing was prehistorically underwater in one giant lake mass we call Lahontan.

    It’s fascinating to think how definitional the fish in the system are/were to indigenous folks. The nation who live around Pyramid Lake have a name translating to (sorta) the Fish Eating People. When I think of my area, fish are the last thing I think about, but the source of water and food for our predecessors would *obviously* be so important. It should probably still be important. But life is so muddy on a day to day basis, I have so little connection to the actual hyperlocal conditions that I live among. My brain is on the internet, I eat stuff out of wrappers from a grocery store, I walk around a golf course inhabiting wetlands.

    Management of Pyramid remains in control of the Northern Paiute afaik, and I really wanna read more about local indigenous involvement in ecological matters. I believe that American land resources should all be under the management of the nations who used to manage them, but I don’t know what that looks like. How different would things look with non-colonial watershed management, food supply, etc? Why don’t I eat more pine nuts?

    One of the reasons I’m thinking about local indigenous populations is reading more about my own Irish background, and learning about indigenous Irish people, and kinda trying to draw parallels between my own ancestry and the indigenous folks I have as neighbors. My bloodline isn’t remotely noble or recently indigenous (we’re very working class city people), but we were cut off from our indigenous language only two generations back (for example) and it’s fascinating piecing together a puzzle of what human life looks outside of empire.

    (My apologies if I have shared any improper detail or inappropriately Westernized spellings; my intent is to be accurate & respectful but I am not fully aware of my own biases, as most people are not and cannot be, and it’s wholly possible I am being unknowingly offensive somewhere here.)

    still waiting for my 13yo to realize that having young parents means that their tastes are nearer my cringe tastes than not

    gonna laugh my ass off when they realize mid-Millennial and Gen Z/Alpha cusp are not so different and start looking at real estate on zillow for fun

    mock me now, beloved offspring, because if you mock too long into the abyss, the abyss will mock you back

    Posted on 2/19/24.

    I’m slowly studying French. If y’all want a recommendation: I’m really enjoying an app called “Learn French” by Reword on iOS. It’s not expensive, like $10/year? I really like the flash card and review method.

    This is mostly for expanding vocabulary, not learning language rules. I’m also watching dubbed Disney movies and bothering my family by gargling random French words in their direction. Like grabbing my kid’s ear and shouting “l’oreille!” and saying aujourd’hui every time I have any excuse.

    Posted on 2/20/24. Facebook.

    The ONLY thing I don’t love about French is having l’accent aigu est l’accent grave. You don’t need two. Pick one.

    I’ve been having funny heart symptoms since I quit weed. Not sure how to describe the sensation. Just like, I can feel my heart sometimes, like it’s beating funny, or I’m anxious for no reason. It’s an incredibly common experience quitting weed, but I thought I ought to get myself into the doctor for an EKG regardless.

    The *important* part of this story is that my EKG doesn’t show issues, although she heard a PVC while listening to my heart (beating “out of order”). We’re gonna look at my thyroid again because I do have a thyroid autoimmune disorder and if that’s all good then I’m going to see a cardiologist for a more thorough scan. But right now everything seems ok.

    The *unimportant* but *hilarious* part of this is that I saw a new-to-me nurse practitioner. She’s so hot. Probably around my age, dirty blonde, slow to speak, very dry and sarcastic. Soooo hooootttt. I was VIBING ON HER. And I think she liked me too (probably not in a gay way) so we were bantering.

    Well Hot Nurse is listening to my heart. She’s standing close enough that I can smell her perfume even through my mask and I’m getting all ~gazey~ at the pretty lady. She remarks, “Well, your heart rate just went up.” My husband SNORTS. He instantly knows I am in a GAY PANIC.

    So I had to lay through this EKG for my heart rhythm when I am bantering with the HOTTEST SARCASTIC NURSE and I’m like, lady, you’re gonna have to be way less hot to get reliable results out of this. (I did not say this part out loud.) But she kept remarking on how my heart was perfect, just perfect, and I’m like, omg you’re perfect.
    My husband was just cracking up, he loves witnessing me do a lesbionic flopsweat. I was grinning the whole way home lmao.

    I had a doctor appointment today. She walks in and asks if some program can listen in via her phone to make transcripts easier, analyze the appointment for the associated hospital, etc.

    I asked, “Is that powered by AI?” Yes. Yes it was.

    reader, how quickly i said no

    i let them use me for medical student practice and stuff, i honestly have no shame. but i’m also a writer and artist and at this point, if i can say “NO” to having AI absorbing *any* part of my life for usage, i’m gonna say no.

    Keep thinking about an author who posted something that said (paraphrased): “everyone has books they read to make them feel better about their writing, don’t lie”

    Because I seriously don’t and i don’t know why you would

    I am very secure in my writing. But even if I weren’t, why would it make me feel better to get judgy and mean about someone else’s writing? What would I learn from that? Would it make me feel more confident REALLY, or would it make me think people hate-read me to feel better too?

    Writing is so subjective. I am a really good writer and still, loads of people have no time for what I write because it’s not to their taste.

    Very few people write to my taste. That doesn’t mean the rest of the world is *bad writers,* but just kinda up to something else. Yk?

    I have increasingly little time for commercial genre fiction because I find it hollow, unambitious, and inauthentic. Hate-reading would only make me feel worse. I still would never say it’s Bad Writing because it’s like falling in love…there’s something for everyone.

    Professional jealousy is completely normal among authors; it’s weird and difficult to handle. I have never found that feeding into professional jealousy will give me anything. Good things always come out of acceptance and collaboration.

    I think the professional jealousy thing springs from personal insecurity. A desire for external validation you aren’t getting. Writing is one of the most vulnerable arts (imo) because it’s very unfiltered and personal and solitary; you’re REALLY putting it all out there.

    What’s strange about publishing success (probably all successes) is that none of it is going to make you feel better if you don’t figure out how to internally validate yourself. It will never be enough. You will always want something else. Even once you get your type of success, you can be bitter.

    It’s a brutal industry; odds are never good. It can be frustrating to see others succeed and feel like you lost that opportunity. But you didn’t lose an opportunity. You weren’t gonna get that thing. There is nothing to be jealous over. Literally nothing. You must be secure in yourself + writing.

    This isn’t about anyone in specific. I’ve just been around ages and the Professional Jealousy Bear rampages all over. I don’t know many people who haven’t struggled with it tbh. But some people really feed into it and that’s why you get some VERY strange author drama.

    Looking for validation from an industry with extremely narrow odds of the loftiest success is a quick path to misery. It’s never gonna heal your hurts. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for success. Just means you should also strive to feel good inside yourself despite it.

    Posted on 2/22/24.

    If you’re feeling bleak about the news today, make something. Anything. Make something pretty or ugly and awkward or meaningful or silly or…whatever occurs to you. Build something new. Add something to our world.

    Currently reading My Year of Rest & Relaxation. Just finished Boy Parts.

    It’s weird reading litfic in the subgenre of “horrible women being dreadful” because I relate *so* strongly. I’m like, oh, who went and wrote about my entire twenties for me?

    I should write one of these books. It’s basically the horror for the mundanity of a white woman’s existence writ large.

    Posted on 2/23/24.

    I wish I were an owlbear.

    Posted on 2/24/24.

    I want to start a web ring for people who maintain websites that are interesting, independent, and mostly not paywalled. We’re losing an internet where we could have All The Information straight from passionate interesting people and discoverability engines are just about selling products.

    This isn’t a project I’m embarking on just yet, but eventually I do actually sincerely want to make an old-fashioned web ring. It’s how we used to find our way around to random interesting and semi-related websites in the 90s. Literally you’d have a couple buttons on your site that led to others.

    Thing is, I’m not even sure where to go looking for people who have fun independent websites these days. All the interesting people are still on social media or some platform or other. Substack and Patreon have paywalled most blogs of substance and benefit dodgy companies.

    Nobody seems to have the time, money, or inclination to wing it anymore. Or at least, if they are winging it, the discoverability engines are making sure it never crosses into my space!

    (oh, medium is another one, medium is also where a lot of the people are atm)

    My lil blog Egregious is almost entirely movie reviews, though it does have flash fiction, short stories, personal diaries, etc too. Basically wherever my ~special interests~ have been leading me. I just wanna have a web ring with other people who have ~special interest~ websites. It’s my dream.

    I am so sober you guys~ ❤

    Over four weeks without weed now. I’m still “peeing dirty” (which is to say, my tests are positive) so it’s STILL in my system aplenty. I think withdrawal is really going to just be a long slope of symptoms cresting and receding as my brain/body reorganizes itself. I’m certainly not at a baseline yet.

    If anyone else has an addiction history, here are thoughts I find helpful:

    1) Whatever problems (in the world or in your life) send you to ~Substances~, remember the ~Substance~ isn’t going to change it. Period. At best you get to turn your back on it for a few minutes (but does it reeeaaally console you? be honest). All you’ve done is spent money on another problem to babysit.

    2) Withdrawal means you’re free. You don’t have to have the Thing around anymore, you’re not captive to the need to keep it around, you don’t have to pay for it. Use cravings as a chance to think “Ah ha, that’s the sign I’m getting out of this! I’m freeeee~”

    Also: if you’re addicted to something (especially something with a high-demand pattern like nicotine), you’re already experiencing lots of withdrawals in between using. So you’re actually dealing with it already. Don’t drag it out. Face the withdrawal and it’ll end this time, *forever*.

    These two thoughts are actually so helpful that I’m quitting caffeine at the same time I’m dealing with the weed stuff. When I left nicotine, I was so shaken, it took me over two whole years to work myself up to quitting weed. I think if I’d understood these (should-be-obvious) things, I might have quit weed sooner. I can handle weed + caffeine now. Kinda cool.

    I also would have quit sooner if I’d known that weed would be easy! The dependency is NOT the same. Weed really is a friendlier friend than the other guys, but it was weighing me down. The relationship didn’t serve me anymore.

    It’s nice that I have positive associations with weed but don’t wanna use anymore. It feels like I’ve broken up with a girlfriend who I’m still distant friends with. I think break-ups are almost never failures, but a natural stepping stone in life, and it’s healthy to say “thank you, I have so many fond memories, I love what I got from you, but it’s time to move on.”

    Unlike with nic and booze where I’m like “omg f0ck you so much, you f0ckerito.” Still pretty shaken by my experiences with those. No love lost. Abusive boyfriends, the both of them.

    Fond feelings about weed aside, I’m looking forward to having non-stoner cognition back…at some point. I still can’t keep track of a darn thing. Where are my headphones? I literally JUST HAD THEM. A month out and I’m still halfway tonked. omg. you guys.

    wake me up when timothee chalamamalala is walking around ass-out in the robot titty suit.

  • image credit: A24
    movie reviews

    Movie Review: Priscilla (2023) ***

    “Priscilla” is a movie following the courtship and marriage of its titular character to Elvis Presley, beginning as a hazy teenage dream of romance with a pop star and ending with disillusionment and divorce.

    This is my first Sophia Coppola movie, but most everything I have to say about “Priscilla” seems to be normal for her films. As a claustrophobic, shallow confectionary, “Priscilla” is as much aesthetic as plot. Interiority is inferred rather than explicit. We are tightly limited to Priscilla’s perspective, and as the one who is left behind at Graceland while Elvis lives his life, there is little opportunity to guess at greater context unless you know what’s going on.

    I’m not an Elvis fan. I’m too young to have any opinion about his legacy outside of the weird fact he’s a major element of Lilo & Stitch. I couldn’t even get through the first few minutes of Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.” So I’m coming at this with virtually nothing.

    I expect that people with more cultural context will find more meaning in the film. As a standalone, Priscilla really doesn’t have a lot going on outside of its aesthetic.

    The beginning of the movie immerses us with 14-year-old Priscilla as she becomes immersed in a world-famous man with enormous influence who is a decade her senior. We can make guesses about why a famous pop star would want her specifically (versus any other fawning teenage girl), but there is so little context on Priscilla as a person that I initially assumed it was a weird sex thing.

    Except Elvis declines to have sex with Priscilla until she is older; it appears that he mostly wants a cute little “pure” doll who will do whatever he wants, and that tarnishing her would make him lose interest. They have a playful sexual relationship for a period of time but he is distracted by older, more experienced women. In a typical virgin/whore dichotomy, Elvis again loses sexual interest in Priscilla once she bears their child.

    Ultimately it feels that Elvis mostly wants a staff member who will put up with his shit while fulfilling his idealized role of girlfriend; reaching the point where he “must” marry and procreate isn’t really what he wanted, but life is moving on, and Priscilla is growing up.

    Once Coppola has made her point about Elvis’s initially predatory relationship to Priscilla, Coppola seems to lose interest in the subject matter, too. As Priscilla becomes more of an individual with agency, the movie speeds along at a faster clip, and it’s hard to escape the feeling that Coppola doesn’t care all that much about Priscilla once she’s no longer a more easily manipulated teenager.

    As such, this feels like a really aesthetic way of saying “your hero was a shitty human,” without putting all that much work into the main character whose long-lashed eyes we are always looking through. While searching around for more context on the movie, feeling like I was missing important details to make it more meaningful, I was struck by how powerful Priscilla-the-human seemed to be — how willful and intentional she must have been in order to live the life she has lead. We get glimpses of this from Cailee Spaeny’s performance, but Coppola doesn’t want to hang out with a Priscilla who is breaking free of her cage.

    The fact so many people are in denial about Elvis’s abusive, controlling behaviors toward Priscilla makes me *want* to five-star this in a bite-my-thumb-at-you type maneuver. People are offended by the bare facts involved because facts make Elvis look bad. As the “Priscilla” movie is based on her autobiography “Elvis & Me,” it’s wholly fair for her to be frank about the conditions of a relationship where she was groomed and dehumanized, even when she also seems to have sympathy for the man himself.

    This movie gave me the clear impression of a cosseted man whose flaws were never challenged or given the attention needed to heal; he just turned toward addiction and sycophants, like many people with power do.

    I don’t even mean Elvis levels of power. This is far from the only imbalanced relationship in the world, and it’s pretty normal for people who have done well at something to find themselves trapped in the amber of their own success, paralyzed by enablers. What I’m saying is that it’s completely human to demand exactly what you want and become ruined when you get it. It’s extremely easy to believe this portrayal when it’s extremely common for women to get smacked around by a man who doesn’t know any coping mechanism outside the veneer of control.

    There’s no reason to think Elvis was worse than this, either. Priscilla and Elvis apparently remained good friends until the end of his life, and Elvis seemed to need genuine friends. He’s an icon of stunted man-child nonsense that generations of women have indulged.

    I wish that Sophia Coppola had cared more about Priscilla the human outside the time of her life where she was most confined. I wanted to jump through the screen and pummel the adults allowing Priscilla to be obviously groomed for the first half of the movie, but I kinda wanted to ask Coppola “what the fuck?” at her evident disinterest in the complicated adult who developed from those circumstances.

    It’s a good movie, though – based on my standards of good movie, where a creator sets out to tell a particular story, and I believe Coppola accomplished her intent. It’s skillful and beautiful and kinda boring. After a quick read about Coppola’s other movies, and what has become defined as her style, I almost wonder if Coppola herself isn’t trapped by her successes too, incapable of moving beyond one type of heroine in one type of setting. Most creators have a particular story they want to tell. This one could have used bolstering from someone with more of an interest in the entirety of the woman.

    (image credit: A24)

  • credit: 20th Century Studios
    movie reviews

    Movie Review – Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) – *****

    In Kingsman 1, a hot young chav gets Eliza Doolittle’d by the sexy older daddy figure who grooms him to become Twink James Bond.

    There’s other movie going on here, but that’s the part I care about.

    From what I can discern, Matthew Vaughn cares about the part where he says, “What if xyz unexpected person got to be James Bond?” His idea for Kingsman is “lower class young guy becomes gentleman spy,” in much the way his idea for Argylle is “hot redhead author with a dump truck and a cat is a spy.” (I haven’t seen Argylle yet but the movie is just a Matthew Vaughn take on Romancing the Stone.)

    Of all Vaughn’s movies I’ve seen, Kingsman is most effective. It’s a genuinely good action-spy movie that also satirizes the genre. A lot of the cartoonish silliness that puts people off Kingsman 2 and (from what I hear) Argylle is deployed under tight control for this first outing. It’s the perfect balance of exciting stakes and laugh-out-loud goofiness. Vaughn wanted to make a Bond movie, and he was doing it as sincerely as he is capable.

    To enjoy Kingsman, you’ve got to have a high tolerance for violence, however cartoony; there is one church scene that is somewhat less cartoonish and much bloodier. Killing off the ruling class is done in a fashion that is absolutely meant to draw a laugh. They also expect you to laugh at people pointing guns at cute dogs at least once. (All dogs in this movie are safe; the only dead dog is one that died at 11-years-old of natural causes and is taxidermied). Mostly Kingsman leans on irreverent shock-humor intended to please teenage boys, Matthew Vaughn, and other people with a teenage boy’s sense of humor (me).

    It’s sort of funny-huh if not funny-ha-ha seeing a movie with 2014 liberal sentiments (the church is filled with bigots whose killings are justified by their use of slurs before the shoe drops) that also makes its villain what was, at the time, regarded as a liberal-leaning figure (a tech billionaire who wants to save the world).

    On that note, Samuel L. Jackson plays a cooler version of Flan Musk: a tech billionaire who wants to save the world, but he wants to be the only one who can save it, and he wants full control. There’s a bunch of sci-fi magic handwavium about SIM cards and slightly less (?) handwavium about brain chips akin to Neuralink + exploding heads. Considering Star Trek was still name-dropping Musk as some positive historic figure paving the way toward the Federation at the time, it’s almost…prescient? Or just maybe had its head up its butt less than Paramount.

    Taron Egerton is adorably convincing as Twink Bond simping for Colin Firth, who is the hottest, gayest mass-murdering gentleman spy on the planet. I think Colin Firth enjoyed playing a gay daddy so much in Mamma Mia! that he was like, “I’m gonna do this four times as hard in the spy thing.” I’ve seen him in enough movies to know the difference between Gay Firth and Straight Firth. I mean, go look at Bridget Jones. Way less of a hinged wrist in that one.

    I wouldn’t actually give this movie five stars nowadays if not for the fact it bounces on my fetish buttons. I don’t mind the objectification of the Swedish princess so much; I’m enough of a dirtbag to recognize someone else’s fetish and there are multiple non-stereotyped woman characters elsewhere. I just don’t get much a laugh out of generalizing about anyone needing to die. Funny coming from someone who is uniformly opposed to the very existence of a ruling class, I know; obviously I disagree with the church bigots on everything too. I just don’t care for stylization that involves dehumanizing any group of people. The world is actually too terrible for that. Leftist idealogues are just as dangerous as right wing ones and if we pretend *anyone* deserves to die en masse (like working class henchmen) then we’re on a slippery slope. Plus, Kingsman 3 totally undermines any radical message Kingsman 1 may have allowed in its interpretations.

    But then again, we have Daddy Firth taking home his twink to teach him how to be a real man, and my Clitoris Activation Process also disabled the Rational Thinky Brain part of me, and all I can say is “that’s my fetish.gif” so of course it’s five stars. Taron Egerton spends a lot of time avenging his hot daddyfigure, like. So hot. Silly, homoerotic, unserious, great action scenes, smart satirization of a genre – this is peak Vaughn, and I have fun rewatching it every time.

    Throw this one on the pile of “best examples of a franchise that aren’t part of the franchise” movies with Galaxy Quest and Willy’s Wonderland.

    (image credit: 20th Century Studios)

  • sara reads the feed

    Rory In Space, hammer cars, …and a movie?

    I have cardiac funkiness going on so I’m trying to reduce caffeine. Less soda, more tea (which has a fraction of the caffeine and other compounds to improve mood and balance things out). I suspect an overinvolvement of the vagus nerve thanks to quitting cannabis, since I’ve now had my thyroid tested (a previous source of tachycardia) and an ECG and everything looks fine. I’m still gonna get a referral to cardio to make doubly-triply sure, but in the meantime, Foggy Sara remains behind the driver’s wheel of life.



    Odysseus successfully landed on the Moon, which means that one of Rory’s stories is sitting pretty on a microSD card on the lunar surface. Unnecessary space litter? Kinda cool? Both? (Engadget)


    Did Da Vinci have strabismus, and did it help his art? (Ars Technica via Pocket)


    The Community movie script is “almost done” but Dan Harmon says every script is “almost done,” which I take to mean it’s not nearly as close as Donald Glover (and the rest of us) were hoping. (Variety)


    The Tumblr CEO woke up and chose transphobia out of fear of a car covered in hammers exploding multiple times and sending hammers everywhere. (TechCrunch)


    You’ve probably already heard Vice is shutting down (Al Jazeera English), continuing the extreme degree of media control that private capital is forcefeeding us. We’re definitely in a regression era. Still no bottom in sight.


    BookRiot shares eight “no plot just vibes” books. I just read “My Year of Rest & Relaxation” and loved how plotless it was tbh. I want to write a plotless book soon.


    A state and hospital system is jerking around a young quadriplegic who doesn’t want to be forced out of her state (and further away from her school). (NPR) In fact, the North Carolina hospital is suing this lass, who has extremely reasonable desires and needs.

  • sara reads the feed

    sara sleeps on the feed

    It turns out I can’t get any movie-watching done when I spend my days at medical appointments, editing my book, and other things that require my full attention during the day. At night, I’m still watching Doc Martin, which is the greatest show ever made.

    I’m still pretty tired and disorganized right now. I have to pull back on caffeine a bit too, so my mood is dropping more now than it did quitting weed. Is it just me, or is caffeine kinda awful to quit? Worse than weed, anyway. Headaches, *dreadful* mood, so depressed and sleepy and sluggish…

    Somehow I’m also more anxious. Or maybe it’s just the depression being loud. I don’t know, my thoughts are no good.


    I’m working on a longer Jon Stewart Returns essay, but Comedy Central got very high viewership numbers from his return so he’s definitely not going anywhere. (Variety) Roy Wood Jr was smart to clear out.


    Excitingly, a novel drug for combating severe food allergies has been approved by the FDA. (NPR)


    In January, Tor published a book called Gothikana using AI-generated elements on the cover. (Publisher’s Weekly) They did a really good job making me want nothing to do with the book. I also don’t know if Tor is still on my bucket list publishers. I’m kinda over the whole thing.


    Colossal has shared the beautiful, eerie world of Alexis Trice’s weeping animals.


    The leads of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s live Netflix adaptation used to fight over napping room on the back of the Appa figure. That’s so adorable. (Variety)


    Face filters can be a fun way to visualize ourselves as we are not. I used to like seeing aging filters. I look exactly like my beautiful mommy, which is very reassuring. This lovely lady saw herself as a lady for the first time thanks to genderswap filters. Heart-warming, genuinely. (NPR)


    Morph will be nonbinary in the X-Men 1997 cartoon. (AIPT Comics) As usual, people will die mad about it. (TSFKA Twitter)


    “With a mass 17 billion times larger than our sun, this black hole is the fastest-growing black hole ever recorded, Australian National University said.” From NPR: Scientists have found a black hole so large it eats the equivalent of one sun per day


    Apple is going to make sure nobody can read our text messages except Apple, tyvm. Even when quantum computery stuff gets to be more a thing. (Ars Technica)


    It’s nice to see previous generations of creators acknowledge changing formats with respect. Martin Scorsese is actually listening to his daughter, I guess? I don’t think he’s growing a *lot* but he’s growing so much more than many of his peers, and that’s cool. (Variety)


    NASA is looking for people to live in its Mars simulator a while. Don’t get excited unless you have a master’s degree. (NPR)


    The actor dog (dogtor?) from Anatomy of a Fall is SUCH a good dog. YES YOU ARE. YES YOU ARE DOGGY. YES YOU ARE. (Variety)