Stuff I’ve Read, Watched, Done (and Ate) #16 – December 2, 2020

I don’t want to spend too much time on what I’ve actually read and watched this time around, primarily because most of it annoyed me.

Like Star Trek: Discovery, a show which is in its third season, and I faithfully watch because I pretty eagerly devour most things Star Trek (I think it’d follow Doctor Who and the Legion of Super-Heroes as my third favorite geeky franchise).

Star Trek Discovery is a frustrating mix of the incredibly cool–eg. the reveal of Captain Lorca in season one, the use of Captain Pike in season two–and the unbelievably aggravating, like most things on the show in the last week or two.

I don’t understand why the guys behind Star Trek are so uninterested in doing stories about a Starfleet vessel going on missions. Instead we’ve had about four episodes in a row of Michael Burnham going rogue, angsting over how much she’s changed, and debating about whether she’ll stay on Discovery. We’ve had at least two episodes where they go to an old-Trek planet needing some information, and then having to navigate all their local prejudices and preconceptions to get it. I’m curious about the Burn as much as anyone, but if we spend all our time just trying to get there (rather than dealing with whatever it was and its implications) than it is going to wear out its welcome pretty quick.

And now we’ve had the most inane story decision that I’ve ever seen, which is Saru making the nervous, inexperienced, insecure engineer Sylvia Tilly into his new First Officer. She’s close to be the least qualified crewmen on board the entire ship for this role–it’s a completely forced and unearned bit of “character development”. Even more annoying is the contrived “say yes” scene (where all the other, more qualified candidates affirm that Tilly deserves the job) that was included so the show could try to convince us that this made sense.

Anyway, as you can see this isn’t the most relaxed thing for me to be talking about.

I also finished reading Volume Three of The Flash by Geoff Johns. I’ve read most of these stories before in individual issues, but I did miss some, including the middle two chapters of the Blitz story which introduced the new Zoom (aka Hunter Zolomon). This was the second Reverse-Flash that the comics had given us–his whole thing was that Wally West hadn’t suffered enough to be a true hero, so he ran around terrorizing everyone that Wally loved and caused his wife Linda to miscarriage the twins she was carrying.

It’s a perfectly well written story, mostly, but it does feel like this was the beginning of the end of Wally West as the Flash. Though he continued in the role for a few years, Wally seems to go through a transition here from a generally upbeat, hopeful, joyful character into the dour, misery-filled victim of fate. The ending of the story (where Wally has the world’s knowledge of his identity erased) was enough to put me off reading The Flash for a while back in the day, and it still feels like a bad move now. Wally is perhaps my favorite comic book superhero, but his story began to flounder here, and in some ways he’s never fully recovered (indeed, current-day Wally seems worse than ever).

Anyway…like I said I don’t want to spend too much time on that stuff. I’d rather talk about some really great stuff. Like…


As an American, Thanksgiving was a special holiday that was always characterized by gathering with my family and enjoying some amazing food that my mother would slave over. We generally went for what I think of as the traditional American Thanksgiving food–Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, some greens, cranberry goop, and this weird jello “salad” that seemed totally normal then, but now makes me wonder what in the world was going on.

My mom was an excessive cook (and she still can be when the situation demands it). Once she decided to make a duck for Thanksgiving. But she knew there were people (like my brother) who would really miss the turkey, so she made a turkey as well. But then she was worried that maybe everyone would love the duck so much that they would want to eat only duck. So she made two ducks! Two ducks and a turkey, for about 9 people or so.

And then lots of pie! Sometimes my mom had made practically enough pies for us all to have one of our own. My favorite was the apple. My mom literally made the best apple pie in the world (I know, I know, everyone thinks that. But in my case, it’s true. The secret, she says, is the crust).

But as an American living in Australia, I actually rarely celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. It’s not that the sentiment of thankfulness is not important to me; it’s just that I don’t think of the holiday.

But this year we did, although not on Thanksgiving itself. Rather, we got together with some long-term friends of ours, who are also originally American (like me, but not like my wife) and had a Thanksgiving dinner. My friend Cliff did most of the cooking, and although it of course did not fully replicate my Mom’s meal (there was no jello salad, for one!) he did a great job and it was delicious.

And my wife, Liesbeth, she contributed the pies.

Liesbeth, though a good cook, is not necessarily well-versed in the art of the pie, so it was a bit of a point of uncertainty for her. But she gathered recipes for pumpkin pie (not a common thing in Australia at all) and apple pie from my mother, and a chocolate pie from a Canadian friend of ours, and she got to work.

And they were amazing! So good! In general, I’m not eating that much sugar anymore, but I did got ahead have a slice of all three pies.

The apple, not surprisingly, was my favorite. Liesbeth did not make it exactly like my mother so I could tell the difference (my mom puts a crumble on top), but it was beautifully made and was certainly worthy of my mom’s best efforts.

All in all, it was a great evening, and not just for the food.

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, and that includes us. (Although in our case, the challenges have been comparatively minor.)

Still, there is a tremendous amount we have to be thankful for from the year, and this was a nice way to acknowledge that.

Some examples:

We got to New Zealand for a bit of a dream family holiday before all of the global pandemic stuff went down.

We filmed Doug 2: Electric Bus Boogaloo and finished it just before the pandemic hit.

Zoom enabled so many things, including my daughter’s birthday party.

Pets keep our home lively, even if they themselves sometimes aren’t!

Apparently, Tenet didn’t do wonderfully at the box office, but that wasn’t because I didn’t do my level best to help!

I got to film Stuck, currently in post-production, with my team.

I got all this stuff for Father’s Day!

I’ve enjoyed a lot of coffee out of this TARDIS mug that I got for Father’s Day as well!

I love playing games!

My team and I were able to film some worship videos with a ministry partner just recently. I nearly forgot to include this one!

My family, back when we were cowboys! Or more accurately, after we’d finished a cowboy-themed escape room. So grateful for them.

And of course…


Coming soon…

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