Quiet of the Night Podcast

I’ve started working on a podcast. It’s a fictional true crime radio show that draws its case-files from supernatural and horror tv shows and movies.

The idea came to me while watching an episode of a tv show where several people died of unexplained causes. At the end the episode, the heroes of the show just left town without covering up or hiding the deaths. I started wondering how would someone who was completely outside the supernatural goings on view these events? How would they be reported?

You can listen to a short trailer here:

And the first episode here:

Worlds within Dreams

I had a stress dream about shopping for food. My (dead) sister showed up a couple of times. Usually seeing her ejects me from dreams. This time the dream continued. I was confused and thought, “This must be a dream but I’m not waking up. Is this real?”

What can you do when faced with the possibility that reality is a dream but you can’t wake up? I accepted it as reality and lived in it.

But then I did wake up. The dream hadn’t lasted too much longer but I was ready to accept it.

How can I be sure this world isn’t another dream? I can’t.

But until I wake up again I have to accept it as real.

Worlds within worlds. Each as real as the previous. Each a dream in the next.

My X-Men Movies Watch Order

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I recently watched Dark Phoenix, The Wolverine, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Afterwards, I realized I have now watched all the released movies in the Fox X-Men franchise. (New Mutants is set to be released at some point in the future(maybe?) and will be the last movie in the franchise.)

The first X-Men movie came out in 2000 near the beginning of the current era of comic book movies. After three mainline movies and one spinoff, the franchise was soft rebooted with X-Men: First Class. It was set in the ’60s as a prequel to the first movie but it also contradicted some events of the preceding movies causing most to simply declare it a full reboot. The next movie X-Men: Days of Future Past confused things further by strengthening ties to the Original Trilogy era movies but also creating an alternate timeline for future Retro Series movies whose future was portrayed by actors from the Original Trilogy movies. And then you have the DeadPool movies doing their own thing.

All in all, it can be confusing knowing where to start. You could watch them in release order but the movies weren’t planned to tell an overarching story like the MCU movies. Imagine if Endgame was released after Civil War and then followed by Ant-Man.

Watching in continuity order creates its problems. “Early” movies while technically a new continuity can not help referencing “later” movies. Also in this order, the second movie in continuity draws entire characters and actors from “future” movies. The already muddled meta-story is thrown in complete disarray.

The answer is a custom watch order. I’m not going to claim this is the only way to watch the X-Men movies but I’ve done my best to reorder the movies to support the overall X-Men story and make the overall experience enjoyable.

Click on through to read my Watch Order for the X-Men Movies. Continue reading

Is Katie From Upcoming Movie “Connected” a Trans Girl?

Honestly probably not but let me lay out some evidence that I have collected from the two minutes of film shown in the trailer.

First, make note of child Katie’s t-shirt.

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It is a bright red color. Anyone who has shopped for young children will know that most young girl’s clothing is made in shades of pink, white, yellow, and maybe pale blue. Bright saturated colors like her t-shirt are more commonly found in boy’s clothing.

This is not a hard and fast rule and there is no reason her parents couldn’t have bought the t-shirt from the boy’s section. Also, I realize child Katie’s t-shirt is the same color as young adult Katie’s jacket as part of her overall character design.

Second, take note that her hair is fairly short but a small section is pulled into a very short pony tail.

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It does not appear that an adult has brushed her hair and pulled it into a ponytail. It is off center like a child did it. Is this a young trans girl attempting to express her gender? The small pony tail appears throughout the videotape scenes but Katie’s hair doesn’t get longer despite the scenes covering four years suggesting her parents kept her hair short.

Third, while reminiscing about their relationship during her childhood, Katie’s dad refers to her as his “little buddy” and “killer”. While neither term is exclusive to young boys, there is a distinct lack of girly nicknames or terms of endearments in these past scenes

Fourth, Katie’s phone and laptop have her name prominently displayed on them. Perhaps to remind her family of her new name?

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To trans people the names we choose for ourselves are important. Personally I can recall how happy I felt seeing my name-tag display my real name. Also in the years before I could come out I would write my name in notebooks just to see it.

Obviously cis people can write their names on their possessions. Another thing to note is the “Hello my name is” sticker on her laptop which is probably also a nod to Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse in which Miles used as mini-art pieces.

Fifth, throughout the trailer two symbols are heavily associated with Katie: rainbows and lightning bolts.

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Katie’s brother’s main symbol is dinosaurs. He wears a dinosaur t-shirt, his phone case is a dinosaur, and his cup has dinosaurs on it.

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But his cup also has lightning bolts on it. Could this cup be a hand me down from Katie? This cup could just be the bother’s but when considering the thought and planning that goes into designing themes and color palates for animated characters it seems odd to mix symbols from two characters on this cup. It’s not impossible for a little girl to have a dinosaurs and lightning bolts cup but it does blur gender lines.

In conclusion, Katie may or may not be transgender but there is enough circumstantial evidence in this short trailer for me to make this post. How much more evidence will be revealed in the actual film?

 

I’m happy for my roommate, a little scared for myself

So, earlier tonight my roommate told me she has a job offer in another state and she’s going to take it. I knew she was looking for a better job but it was still a surprise. I’m happy for her to advance in her career. I’m also scared at the thought of being left alone. Ideally I need to find a new roommate because finding a new apartment is going to be much harder.

It occurred to me that over the course of my life I’ve experienced major upheavals in my living conditions roughly every ten years.

When I was nine my family moved to a different city.

I moved back for college and lived with my grandfather for a couple of years before moving in with my older sister and her kids around age twenty.I lived with them for close to ten years before I ended up left behind while she and her kids went to live with her boyfriend.

I was technically homeless(squatting in the past due apartment) for a few weeks before staying with friends and then getting my first solo apartment. It was a small three room (bedroom, kitchen, bathroom) studio apartment.

I stayed there for five months until a friend mentioned one of her friends was looking for a roommate.We met, got along, and have been roommates and friends for the past nine years.

Age 9, age 19-20, age 29-30, and now age 38. Even if I get a new roommate and stay in the same apartment it’s going to be different. That’s not a bad thing nor a good thing. It just is.

I wonder what the next ten years will bring me?

Nighttime Encounter

I had an encounter tonight.

Part of my walk home goes by a church parking lot. The sidewalk has a bit of grass on either side between the street on my right and the church parking lot on my left. As I was walking by I saw a police suv in the parking lot, which is not abnormal but this one was parked across several parking spaces.

So, I glanced at it a few times and one of those times I saw something move in the periphery of my vision. I looked down at the motion and there was a small black shadow moving around. For a second I couldn’t resolve what I was seeing then it turned and I saw a shock of white fur. It was a skunk less then five feet away with its tail up. I jogged a couple of steps diagonally away from the skunk into the grass by the street. When I glanced back the skunk was hiding under a car.

Several weeks ago I saw a skunk in a bank parking lot but from a much larger distance. Tonight’s encounter was a lot closer than I ever wanted to come to a wild skunk.

“The Umbrella Academy” Episode Ten Thoughts

I liked this episode a lot. It pulls the story threads together, has a couple of great action scenes, and ends the season off in a decent way.

As a season finale, it’s fine but if the series hadn’t been picked up for a second season and this had been the series finale it would not have been fine. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t binge through this series before the second season was announced because I would not have been happy with this ending.

But we’re getting a second season so I can abide the final five minutes of this episode knowing the story will continue.

Episode specific thoughts below the cut

Continue reading

“The Umbrella Academy” Episode Nine Thoughts

Second to the last episode done. We’re in the final stretch with the ending in sight.

I feel all wound up for the finale. Overall I’ve really liked the series up to this point. It’s going to take a real stinker of an ending to change my mind.

I’m kind of surprised that this episode and the finale are 45 and 47 minutes long respectively. They are the shortest ones in the season where most episodes have hovered around the hour mark. I don’t feel like this episode was too short but it wouldn’t have hurt to expound on a few things.

Spoiler thoughts under the cut. Continue reading

“The Umbrella Academy” Episode Eight Thoughts

I am massively late with this review but I am finishing the season soon.

Not a lot happened in this episode but some important backstory is revealed. I still really enjoyed it. The series is doing a good job of filling in a lot of the blanks the comic never did. We move closer to the apocalypse by a day. Two more episodes remain in the season.

Spoiler thoughts below the cut Continue reading

Black Mirror Season 5 Review

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The longer Black Mirror goes on the less it has to say about technology. Ideas from previous seasons are being recycled more and more. The show needs to move beyond “people use technology too much and that’s bad”.

Having said that, I still found these new episodes fun to watch. The

“Striking Tigers” Rating 2.5/5

Infidelity the episode. Except for the immersive VR this is a story that could be told with WOW or Everquest or even just Facebook. The new technology doesn’t create these behaviors it just enables it. You could tell this same story in 1910 with telephones. The cross-gender element was really underexplored along with the fact that they could have been any character but just choose the same ones each time.

“Striking Tigers” is one of the weakest episodes of the series. Only its actors save the uninspired plot from being unwatchable. Anthony Mackie and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II sell their friendship and romance incredibly.

“Smithereens” Rating 4.5/5

This is my favorite episode of the season. Set in present day, it is a dramatic thriller about addictive social media, big tech company overreach, and survivor guilt. There is an undercurrent of “social media bad” but the episode is more about unintended (and intended) effects of social media rather than a simple denouncement of such.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot because while there are no major twists the story unfolds beat to beat rather nicely.

“Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too” Rating 3/5

“Virtual actors/singers and who controls the rights” to them is not a bad premise for an episode but the side plot of toy copies and the one superfan mudded the waters. I think “Waldo Moment” from season two did the premise better.

I was surprised a little bit by the episode’s plot. I was expecting the Ashley Too to malfunction and become malicious or manipulative. Unlike most other episodes with a copied consciousness, there isn’t a lot of handwringing about what to do with the copy and she is simply allowed to continue to exist.

This episode has a happy light-hearted ending and while it isn’t not my favorite episode it was the perfect way to end the season of what is normally a pretty depressing series. I’m not saying every season should end with a happy ending but it was nice to not feel soul crushed when going to sleep.

Final Thoughts

Overall season five is about average for Black Mirror. Some repeated premises, but good to excellent acting and with the exception of “Striking Vipers” solid stories.