Stuff I’ve Read, Watched, Done #28 – December 15th, 2021

We’re a little late with my “weekly” round-up post. Normally I try to get it out on a Sunday, but this week on Sunday I was away with my family (the four of us who are here at the moment–my eldest daughter is over east on a missionary training program.

(EDIT: And even later still than I thought–this was intended to go up on the 15th, as it says, but apparently I forgot to press the “publish” button for a full week after that! Oops! Way to break a streak).

The rest of us were in Lancelin–a beach town 125 kms north of Perth. Friends of ours have for many years allowed us to use their beach house for free from time to time. The town is not necessarily anything really special but it’s always nice to get away.

One highlight from the time was taking our newish 4WD car onto the beach for the first time.

It was an inglorious exercise, as even though it is an actual four wheel drive, it’s not really built for anything too severe. So when we tried to leave then drove straight into a small sandy ledge, we got stuck. Luckily a friendly and more experienced driver was able to give us hand and we didn’t end up living on the beach permanently.

Another highlight of our time was playing lots of games.

I had grabbed a bunch from our shelves that I thought everyone would enjoy (my wife’s game tastes are a bit less extreme than mine or my younger two daughters). My daughter Johanna decided on a whim that she wanted to play all of the games over the three days that I was there.

The games included Ticket to Ride (competing to build train lines across Europe) Seven Wonders (developing ancient empires) Tiny Towns (building my little community for forest creatures) and Fuse (trying to save our spaceship from bombs). Also, Exploding Kittens, which I lost almost immediately.

Plus there was Pandemic (“regular”, not “legacy”)–we got very close to saving the world together, but ultimately failed. Indeed, if we had had a single additional action we would have won. Oh well.

In other news, I have in fact read, watched and done things this week.

The Big Over Easy

I was going to write a whole post about this novel by Jasper Fforde, but then I discovered I already have! I just finished reading it aloud to my daughters, which is something we all enjoy.It’s a police detective novel about a DI named Jack Spratt who works for the Nursery Crime Division of his police department, investigating crimes related to nursery rhyme character, who simply live and exist alongside regular humanity. In this case, the crime is to do with the murder of Humpty Dumpty. Did he fall of the wall, or was he pushed? Or was it something far more sinister? It’s both a funny book and solid procedural mystery.

Flash / Impulse – Runs in the Family

I’ve been slowing down in my comic book reading in recent years but I still enjoy picking up the next reprint of Mark Waid’s Flash run. Part of that was the work that Waid did on the Flash spinoff he created, Impulse–a super-speedster from the future who had grown up in a virtual environment, and was needing to learn to live and work in the real world. Impulse was really Bart Allen, the grandson of the most famous Flash of all, Barry Allen–who at the time in comic continuity was dead, and a bit of a DC patron saint.

Waid’s writing was complimented by dynamically energized pencils by Humberto Ramos, producing a very fun book. The collection also includes a crossover with The Flash called Dead Heat, which involves all the speedsters around doing battle with the villainous Savitar (who in comic book world is not an embittered time remnant). This six issue run is also included in one of the Flash collections that I have, so that’s a bit of a waste but on the other hand I don’t know how else they could have done it. And it’s been a while since I read it so it was nice to have it all there in the one book anyway. Hopefully DC will release another Impulse collection at some point.

Doctor Who

Flux is over but my kids and I were getting into the Christmas spirit by watching a few of our favorite Christmas specials. Specifically we watched Last Christmas and A Christmas Carol.

Last Christmas, is, without a doubt, my favorite of the show’s thirteen Christmas episodes–it’s terrifying, clever, emotionally rich and funny.

A Christmas Carol is beautifully acted and sweet, and the shows most uplifting and inspirational holiday special.

We had a lot of fun watching both specials–they each made me miss their respective eras. Watching Capaldi interacting with Jenna Coleman again, or Matt Smith acting like a lunatic…it was just so much fun.

And there was lots more as well. We pushed forward on The Man in the High Castle, we started a new out-loud book (the prequel to The Mysterious Benedict Society), and we watched nearly the entirety of season three of Lost in Space. But not actually all of it, so I’ll wait to comment when I do.

I also did a whole lot of film and media work–another interview with Sister Veronica, a bunch of editing on A Drop in the Bucket (a documentary about a place called Mount Margaret Mission), and some tidy-up work on my time-loop movie, Stuck.

All that and 10,000 steps per day (average). So it’s been a pretty full time.

Song of the Week

I have a playlist on my phone called “Ben’s Mix”, which is made up of 100-200 songs that I like which I shuffle between when I’m driving, etc. I was thinking about how with each of these songs there is a bit of a story about it, about what it makes me think of or why I like it. So I’m going to let my phone pick one randomly and then try to write up some comments on it while it plays.

The End by The Beatles

A great finishing song (nearly) from a great album, the last the Beatles recorded, Abbey Road (the second my randomizer has selected from this album). The brief lyrics are appropriately poetic (And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make) but what I really like is the dueling guitar solos by George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney (the song’s composer), plus a rare drum solo by Ringo Starr.

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