• 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)

  • movie reviews

    Movie Review: THE FALL GUY (2024) **

    The Fall Guy is an extremely self-aware action movie about Hannah Waddingham’s wig, and also a stunt guy who finds himself tangled in a wee bit of a murder mystery along with his director ex-girlfriend.

    I really try not to watch movies I think I’m not going to like, seeing as how I prefer to come in with enthusiastic analysis rather than criticism. I probably would have skipped this one if I’d looked up the director first, since I haven’t liked David Leitch movies in the past either. I should have suspected I simply wouldn’t like it because I’m really tired of Ryan Gosling’s Kendoll schtick.

    Anyway, obviously I didn’t love it, but I think it’s a harmless movie with its heart in the right place (highlighting the stunt teams who don’t usually get nearly enough regard). But I’m going to resist the urge to write an essay about why this isn’t really a good romance, or a plot with any tension, or dialogue-related complaints; it is HARMLESS and I don’t need to go off.

    Instead, let me tell you who I think will enjoy this movie:

    – If you like it when you don’t feel like things might actually go wrong, and you know nobody’s ever in peril, I think you’ll like it. The action scenes are so stunt-focused and well forecast as such that it’s obvious these are just exciting tricks, like you might see at a theme park. I can see folks really loving that. It’s exciting! Good stunts are always impressive. What’s not to love there?

    – Are you enjoying Ryan Gosling’s whole schtick? This movie is all of that. In fact, every actor seems to be trying to meet Ryan Gosling on that level, and they’re kind of doing his whole cadence and semi-naturalistic talking-over-each-other affable chattering.

    – You know that genre where Hollywood really loves Hollywood and just makes loving movies about itself? If you like that, you’ll loooove this.

    – How about self-referential humor? Where (an incredibly sexy) Winston Duke cites the action scenes he’s copying while engaging in those fights? Doing split-screen while debating if split screens are any good? Random cameos?

    – If you like dogs biting crotches, this movie delivers on your behalf.

    I was mostly rubbed the wrong way by this, but I really don’t see any reason it didn’t perform better at the box office. It’s extremely inoffensive and a sort of fun-oriented experience movie. I really, really thought of stunt shows at theme parks while watching it. That’s not my kind of thing. Is it yours? Then you’d probably love it. Have fun y’all.

    (image source: Universal Pictures)

  • movie reviews

    Movie Review: The Dark Knight (2008) **

    In The Dark Knight, a chaotic new villain disrupts the status quo of Gotham’s corrupt underbelly, driving the entire city to the brink of madness. And he does it in a very fashionable purple suit with a green vest.

    This movie is, in my esteem, the best of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. The Bat is my favorite caped (anti)hero; I have a very long-lasting, very personal fondness for any and all Batman adaptations. For a few years when these movies came out, I would say that Nolan Bat was my favorite. Nowadays, it simply does not rank.

    Obviously The Dark Knight hasn’t changed. I’ve changed. I was twenty-years-old in 2008, and Nolan Bat hit me hard. It hit the culture hard! I was trying to explain to my young teen how the impact of the film was absolutely seismic — which had them raising an eyebrow, because they were so bored by the movie, they almost fell asleep. Sometimes they woke up because I burst out laughing, like when I saw the Batmobile again. Least penisy Batmobile? Yes. But does anyone else think it looks like the fantasy version of a Cybertruck? I bet Bale Bruce would have bought a Cybertruck.

    Nolan did a killer job hitting American culture at the right moment. At the time, the idea of all phones being surveillance devices was still kinda science fiction. We were only a few years out from 9/11, the Bush II era was sunsetting, and the discourse around terrorism was intense. Some degree of jingoism was more standard (at least, where I was back then) because of a patriotic desire to cohere against external threats, and I more readily believed in “a hero we need, but don’t deserve.” This version of the Joker is more terrorist-like in his strategies. He is chaotic evil, unpredictable, unknowable, the way that many white Americans regarded our enemies of the time.

    It’s striking how much of this feels simultaneously cynical and naive. Do you really think Gotham’s cops would be horrified at Batman brutalizing the Joker in an interrogation room? Highly doubtful.

    There’s nothing more 2008 than the limited palette and brutalism. This was an era where we sucked all the color out of movies, ashamed of the excesses of the 90s, and not yet arriving in the nostalgic neons of the later 10s. Really, the whole thing feels ashamed: despite being an *absurdly* gravelly Batman with *ridiculously* militaristic attitudes, the self-seriousness of Nolan Bat is doing the absolute most to distance itself from campy comic book *everything*. Several key characters seem fabricated just so he won’t have to deal with the burden of comic book lore.

    In retrospect, it’s laughable. Like a parody of itself. But I can’t deny it hit perfectly at the time! Every good moment in the movie remains constantly memed, even by a generation that hasn’t necessarily sat through the laborious plodding plot of the movie itself. So many quotes have become the blood in our cultural veins. Yet I have reached a point where I feel Nolan Bat is best experienced in memes, plucking out the good bits and leaving behind everything that’s so monotone visually and dynamically.

    I guess I’m tired of Nolan’s style nowadays, too. I used to say he was my favorite auteur. Now I’m so frustrated by his muddy dialogue, buried under the rest of the audio, that I can’t even appreciate the way his movies are edited to great scores like a 2.5-hour long cinematic music video. His inability to write a woman with dimension drives me nuts.

    The action scenes are still pretty sweet, though.

    One other thing that hasn’t changed is how utterly delightful Heath Ledger’s Joker feels. My kid perked up whenever Joker was Jokering around, and I did too. Against the wooden blocky backdrop of Batman, here we got a funny and deliberate and pitch-perfectly sinister Joker. He’s so colorful by comparison. His suit is colorful, his Bugs Bunny-like cross dressing is colorful, and his “yeah, I guess I’ll shoot this guy too” gestures are colorful. As a Millennial, I can’t let mention of Ledger pass without pining for the future career we never got to see from him. I’m still devastated.

    I can recognize this movie was so good in its time and also that it’s not good for me in this time. I can imagine lots of people still loving it: great score, solid performances, great action (when you get to it), a very cohesive aesthetic (surely others are still into that). But my definitive Batman these days is absolutely Batman Returns (deliciously goth as it is) and this one left me feeling extremely beige.

    (image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

  • sara reads the feed

    Alocasia are the woooorst, X-Men ’97 was so good, and fantasy fulfillment

    Alocasia are on my shit list. I usually talk shit about my maidenhair fern, but I have shit aplenty for alocasia too. Basically I hate plants that act like they’re gonna die, then come back looking extra cute like nothing happened.

    They’re emotional abusers, I’m telling you. Do they care if we suffer pain watching them die off again? NO, they do not. They just keep doing their little things like it’s a no-thing.

    Maidenhairs will die off if you forget to water them for a second; alocasia like dying off because they need lots of plant food. They’re the most fertilizer-hungry plants I’ve got. If you’ve got an alocasia that seems incapable of growing more leaves — like, every time it grows a new one, an old one must die — it’s usually because they aren’t getting enough nutrients.

    I’m terrible about remembering to feed my plants. My house has two levels, and the fertilizer lives on one level. So usually only one floor’s plants are getting fed at any given moment. Why not get a second thing of fertilizer, you ask? Or split the one into two? I keep asking myself that same thing.

    I also keep asking myself, why not just let the plants die-die, forever?

    There’s no tidy answer. I’ve been booting plenty other plants from my life, but these ones persist. Maybe the very fact they demand emotional reactions makes me more attached to them.

    Spider plants stick around even though I also find them frustrating. Their roots drive out all the soil in no time flat, and then they act like drama queens because they’re always thirsty. You can keep them alive. They’re hardy plants. But they get all ugly if you don’t keep up-potting them. A single spider plant (and it’s never a single spider plant) is said to max out with a twenty inch root ball diameter. I don’t have room for this many twenty inch-plus size pots. I mean, I have room, but not the lighting.

    Oh god, I need to upgrade my lighting, don’t I?

    At some point it’s likely that my house will be nothing but a few stubborn euphorbia, a couple orchids, and ten thousand pothos.

    And probably a single perpetually dying maidenhair hanging out with its spider mite-riddled single-leafed alocasia friends. Like some stupid asshole gang of stupid jerk plants. Stay gold, alocasiaboy.

    ~

    This sort of nonsense is why it makes total sense to me that baobab trees migrated across the ocean from Madagascar. (Smithsonian Mag) Plants can be so willful.

    ~

    Engadget: X-Men ’97 didn’t have to go that hard, but I’m so glad it did

    I truly hadn’t expected to love X-Men ’97 as much as I do. Easily my favorite TV show of 2024 at the moment.

    I don’t know why Beau DeMayo was fired (I don’t think anyone but DeMayo and his supervisors do), but it’s said he’s hard to work with. I have to side-eye that statement in regards to a queer Black man, but all right. What do I know? I’d love if they can sort through their issues and get him back on board. The gay-ass nature of X-Men ’97 is why I’m so attached to it. The fact it goes so hard is why it has my eternal devotion.

    Brad Winterbaum compares the genocide at Genosha to 9/11 (Variety), and doesn’t mention the Pulse nightclub shooting (Out).

    DeMayo has an influence on s2, and nothing to do with s3. (IGN)

    ~

    Cronenberg’s new movie, The Shrouds, sounds like an intensely personal piece about the grief of a widower. (Vanity Fair)

    I absolutely adore Crimes of the Future for being such an intimate narrative about disability and chronic illness. I don’t know if I’m going to see The Shrouds for a while, but the raw honesty of Cronenberg’s work is hypnotic. Aging artists deserve platforms to share their truths. We deserve these projects to help us along with age.

    ~

    I feel fonder of Challengers in retrospect than I did while watching it. It’s available to watch at home now (Variety), and I hope lots of people will. It wasn’t a movie for me — but I think it was kinda fabulous.

    ~

    The New Yorker discovered that movies like The Idea of You (and romances at large) work for some people because folks like fantasy fulfillment. Imagine that.

    ~

    NPR asked what brings sibling close together. I am very very close to one of my siblings (obviously) and good friends with my sister, so I reflected on this a moment.

    My answer is that caring about people can bring you close. I am a mess, and Sibling has always loved and cared for me through it. Sibling is a different kind of mess, and I love and care for them through that. We’re not codependent — but we know we can depend on one another when shit hits the fan. And we often have. That forges a unique bond.

    With my sister, I’d say what has us close is communication. Being willing to talk through awkward shitty stuff means that we can be close even though we have not had an especially warm bond over the years.

    It’s like any relationship: You choose to invest into it. The relationships you give attention will thrive. They must be watered and fed like those fuckin’ alocasias.

    I had great friendships with older women when I was a young adult, and one thing a dear friend told me has always stuck out: Love is an action. It’s not a feeling. It’s what you do for and with each other.

    ~

    I used to go on a lot of cruises. I no longer do. There are so many reasons — human rights concerns, ecological damage, safety issues — but one of the big ones is that cruise ships are not humane about illness. If you get sick, you can get dumped anywhere. And if you need an emergency evacuation, you may not be allowed to leave until they’ve over-charged your credit card to pay their medical bill. (NPR)

    ~

    Disneyland performers have voted to unionize. (NPR) Good luck! I hope they get every single one of their needs met.