2010-11-30 : Currents

Current News
Apparent murder-suicide across the street from my house
Startling, right?

Current Movies
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
I believe that this is the first Peckinpah flick I've seen. Time for a Western binge, I think. Probably not 31 in a month, but we'll see.

Oh, speaking of, I'm waiting with excitement for:
True Grit

Current TV
This show is the best.

This show is also the best.

Boardwalk Empire
This show is quite good, and features many of my favorite things. Women's rights, prohibition-era decadence, mob torpedoes, hooray!

The Walking Dead
This is the worst show I'm still watching. I roll my eyes several times an episode. Such bizarro-world character motivations!

Meg and I have watched 4 of the 6 episodes, and it's gotten weirdly intense. We're having trouble finishing it when there's lighter fare available.

And I'm waiting with excitement for the return of:

Current Reading
HP Lovecraft short stories. So far: "The Horror at Red Hook," "Pickman's Model," and a few more whose names I don't recall. I've read few of these before. That guy? That guy had some weird fears.

1. On 2010-11-30, Jaywalt said:

Hannah has refused to watch The Walking Dead with me anymore because I get audibly frustrated with how poor the show is in comparison with the comics. Why change things to make them _obviously worse_?  I don't get it.  I know people say that about all sorts of media adaptations but the lack of any obvious reason that would explain why the creators decided to replace good storytelling with bad storytelling is especially troubling here. Apparently they just don't get it.

We're (re)watching Deadwood right now and gearing up for Tim Olyphant in Justified, which might be next on our list. Deadwood feels a lot like Apocalypse World to me and makes me want to run a game in which the apocalypse is the Civil War, maybe set during the reconstruction of North Carolina or Virginia, or in Missouri and Bleeding Kansas like in Ang Lee's film "Ride With the Devil."

Have you read "The Color Out of Space," yet? That might be my favorite Lovecraft story. Or "The Music of Erik Zann," which was the basis for the Afraid campaign I ran in Boston.


2. On 2010-11-30, Roger said:

Walking Dead:  The show's quality seems to directly correlate to the number of zombies.  The episodes with lots and lots of zombies are okay; the ones with hardly any zombies are terrible.

Spartacus is something I wanted to like, and tried to give it a fair shake, but enhhhh can't quite get into the barley-munchers as much as I wanted to.

My favourite Lovecraft story is the one set on the submarine.


3. On 2010-11-30, Ben Lehman said:

Current News: They're finally having an inquest for the cop who shot a homeless Indian guy in cold blood for being "threatening" despite the fact that he was turned away, armed only with a (closed) pocket knife and, according to witnesses, did nothing wrong.

Current TV:
Community is the second best.

Burn Notice is still good although the show's politics are bugging me more and more.

Parks and Recreation Season One is not as good as Season Two, but is still really good.

Glee is terrible. All the main characters are unlikeable jerkwads that the writers want you to like so bad. Why I am watching this?

Current Design:
Altogether too much. Exciting prospects, though.

Current Reading:
For class.


4. On 2010-12-01, Ben Lehman said:

I take it back. Parks and Rec season 1 is terrible. It's like bad pastiche of season 2.


5. On 2010-12-01, Charles S said:

I've only watched the first two episodes of Walking Dead, which I enjoyed (although the second episode was a huge drop down from the first in everything except actually having living female characters), so I'm sorry to hear that it is down hill from there.


6. On 2010-12-02, Joao said:

You really should read The Walking Dead comic series and stop watching the TV show. Do this quickly or risk of severe brain damage,

For some reason, I have read the comics constantly thinking about AW.


7. On 2010-12-03, Roger said:

In other news, the entire writing staff of The Walking Dead has been fired.


8. On 2010-12-04, Charles S said:

Well, the macho posturing sequence with the residential facility staff was over-the-top stupid, the complete lack of follow up of that ("Oh my God, there are another group of living people! Well, good luck, off we go, never to mention you or think of you again, even when we decide that we need to abandon our camp.") was tv-stupid, the complete absence of any reason to have never scouted the military base (OMG, it's a hundred miles away, that's a 4 hour round trip on the basically empty roads and a little over half a tank of gas! Inconceivable!) was a plot hole, but patchable, and the lone survivor in the CDC lab didn't make a shred of sense (and the self-incinerating laboratory was like an incoherent reference to the ending of The Andromeda Strain, but stupider).

Other than that I've been enjoying it. (Oh, except the Evil Redneck, but I mentioned that already).


9. On 2010-12-06, Thor said:

I have tried Community and don't know if I like it. What is it that you like?

I have been watching Tower Prep on cartoon network. It is a guilty pleasure but something I like a lot.

I have been reading The City and The City and The Monsters of Templeton.


10. On 2010-12-07, Mantisking said:

Bad news on Terriers, it got cancelled today.


11. On 2010-12-07, Simon C said:

Terriers got cancelled? That's terrible! I won't be able to illegally download it and contribute to the death of good tv anymore!

I was re-reading Lovecraft recently too. What struck me is how little most of the stories resemble anything you see in the CoC roleplaying game. I'd never really thought about it before.


12. On 2010-12-07, Vincent said:

Seen on Google:
TV news: 'Terriers' cancelled, 'Walking Dead' thrives

There is neither beauty nor justice in this world.


13. On 2010-12-07, Ron Edwards said:

Recommendations for great westerns, not necessarily the most-discussed or most-acknowledged:
Django (1966)
No Name on the Bullet (1959)

Hey Simon, I totally agree about Lovecraft. Also, it always struck me as odd that the RPG was named after arguably one of the most stupid and least scary stories. Vincent, my favorites are The Thing on the Doorstep, Pickman's Model, and The Picture in the House.

Best, Ron


14. On 2010-12-07, Simon C said:

Ron, good call about "The Call of Cthulhu". Although I have a soft spot for it for the shout-out to my home country. "Waterfront scum too common to mention"!


15. On 2010-12-08, Eppy said:

If you're in a Western mood, Em and I have some spaghetti for you. In particular Death Rides a Horse and Beyond the Law. We can even go so far as to lend you the disks. Or discs. I forget which it is and in the two years it'll take me to learn, they'll be obsolete. So why bother.


16. On 2010-12-08, Slow Dog said:

"The Dunwich Horror" and "At the Mountains of Madness" are typical RPG fare; a ramapaging monster destroyed by spell-casting professors, and a explorers lost city eaten/driven mad by hideous eldritch seething squamous bubbling things.


17. On 2010-12-15, Christian Griffen said:

We had a murder suicide on the street we lived on nine years ago. Guy chased ex-wife's bf down the street firing at him, while our and other children were playing out there. Bf died in entryway, guy goes in and kills his ex (our neighbor Susan) and then himself. Cowardeous motherfucker.

When people are surprised about my strong support for gun control despite my years of being a competition marksman, I tell them about this tragedy and point out that while the guy could have used a knife instead, my children would not have been at risk of getting shot (and dear NRA: your usual answer of arming the boyfriend or our neighbor in response would have exposed my kids to even greater risk due to crossfire, so no thanks and fuck you very much).


18. On 2010-12-16, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

Re: Lovecraft's fears, it's something in the local aquifer. Fortunately, the symptoms don't always include a fear that humans might be just animals and that makes us just like black people!

Also, Simon and Ron, yeah: the Cthulhu game has surprisingly little to do with the stories. I mean, I'd want to play the ghost of a dude's friend who haunts the dude's grave and makes the vines grow gnarled and defensive. But I sure can't stat that dude up in CoC.


19. On 2010-12-17, Thor said:

I came home from visiting my parents on Christmas Eve to find crime scene tape and blood in the foyer of our building. The guy and his wife had an argument he threatened her she cut him he hauled her out of the building and threw her into the bushes. Then the poice were called. They both moved out and I never saw them again.


20. On 2010-12-19, Simon C said:

The Lovecraft game I'd like to play would be all about family secrets coming back to haunt people.

There's a tradition of New Zealand cinema that is very much in that vein, with old farm houses, hills covered in mist, and brooding, secretive fathers. It's something about the feeling that something terrible and wrong has been done to the land, or that we don't belong here. Sometimes it's about the fear of the older generation, and the things they had to do to survive as settlers.

Vincent Ward's "Vigil" is probably the best example of this genre, but there are aspects of it apparent in other more accessible films like Peter Jackson's "Brain Dead" ("Dead Alive" in the States).

A Lovecraftian touch to a gothic horror game would be pretty nifty, I think.


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