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Jokes and Sass, Lawyering

I’m working from home and so is my dog

May 15, 2020

Friends, you are doing great, even if you are not doing great. I’m very proud of you. Many of you are doing things that should be impossible and that you shouldn’t have to do and you’re still here. I am not a parent, nor am I on the front lines of any healthcare operation, and our household still has incomes, and I’m able to do nearly all of my job from home. We’ve got space and good internet and we’re very blessed. That being said, yeah, of course we’re going a bit stir-crazy and are always somewhat-to-significantly on edge because the world is falling apart (well, I am; Andrew remains the coolest of cucumbers). A few weeks back, John Oliver mentioned in an interview that “it’s a suboptimal time to be a human being; it would be a great time to be a dog” and I agree with that statement. And if Bailey could understand it, I think she’d agree with me.

I love Bailey. So much. Just an absolute ton. But we are seeing each other nearly every waking minute of every day, and because she is a dog and doesn’t understand pandemics, she just thinks we are home to hang out with her whenever the mood strikes. This is especially true for me, because my “office” for now is at the kitchen table and she hangs out on the couch near it. She’s a 75-pound dog who isn’t allowed to say hi to other people or dogs right now so I am pretty sure she’s at least a little mad at me all the time. Stuff is weird, and your pets can sense tension and angst, and she’s a lot of dog.

Because I find myself amusing (and because everything hurts real bad rn find the light if you can) I have been referring to her as my coworker. Unfortunately, she has managed to be every bad coworker you’ve ever had at some point in the past two months.

Just to be clear: I love her, and for 95% of the day, she is a soft floppy pooch who is quiet and nice and I routinely schedule breaks in my day to go pet her because it is like holding on to a warm cloud that gives you kisses. At night she will cuddle up next to you on the couch and I get to pet her head and belly and I feel like the best pet parent in the entire world because she wants to be next to me. My dad has jokingly started calling her “Killer Dog” because nothing could be further from the truth. She is a big, scary-looking muscle-y block-headed black dog and yet she is sunshine and would only hurt you by stepping on you to give you face kisses. She eats spaghetti more delicately than I do. I would carry out a mob hit for her, but she would never ask, because she is the GOODEST GIRL. And again, I am exceptionally lucky and blessed to be able to work from home, to have not been ill, and to not have to take care of children. However, where is the fun in being satisfied with your lot in life; how could I possibly be inspired to write unless I am annoyed?

Therefore, The Night Is Dork presents: Bad Coworkers That Are My Dog

That one who sends an email and then comes to your office to tell you about the email

This punk will start whining about nothing (absolutely nothing, like the dog equivalent of someone sending a chain letter joke to the whole firm) while staring out the window, and if I don’t immediately say “Miss Bailey, what’s going on?” she will come over and shove my arm with her nose. I got your email, doggie. It isn’t urgent. Nothing is urgent. Time is a flat circle. Go back to your office, which is the couch.

The reply-all disaster

Oh, did a child outside accidentally scream so loudly that it reached everyone? And that bothered you? And now you are reply-all woofing to the reply-all to ask to be taken off the list? And now other dogs and children are replying-all? STOP IT. EVERYONE STOP.

That one who eats and drinks way too loudly

Breakfast is like, if your coworker had baby carrots and kettle chips for every meal. It’s so much crunching, dog, just, SO much crunching.

Can you, at your waterbowl, be like a thousand percent less? The slurping is out of control, our house is effectively an open office plan, and I can hear every sip. Get a Hydroflask or something, jeez.

The “whatcha workin’ on?”

“Hey there. Hey. Hey. Hi. Whatcha workin’ on? What’s that on your screen? Some emails? Wild, that’s so many emails. Is it a project? Do you need to focus? Do you mind if I sit right next to you as you work on it? Is that okay? Is this bothering you? Am I breathing too loud? Do you need me to go away-” BAILEY I SWEAR ON A THOUSAND TENNIS BALLS IF YOU DON’T GET OFF MY LAP RIGHT NOW

The one doing something very personal at their desk, something that should be done in private

Not even gonna discuss what you decided to lick right now, and stop biting your nails

The one who takes like eight servings of whatever is in the break room and meant to be for everyone

Bailey. You already had breakfast. I already gave you several treats. I already gave you a small amount of turkey while I was making my sandwich. You cannot have the entire goddamn sandwich. That is unreasonable. Stop looking at me like that, like you’re saying “is anyone gonna finish this?” before half the office knows that there’s cake. Even if you walk over there I can tell you took something WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS

The thermostat of our discontent

Are you cold? Is that why you’re curled up like a donut? Are you too warm? Is it because you’ve been lying down with your belly directly in a patch of sunlight for two hours while still being very covered in very dark fur and now you’re panting because you overheated? Are you gonna flop down on the kitchen floor because it’s cooler than the couch? Could you pant any louder? Bring a goddamn cardigan to the office like everyone else the world doesn’t revolve around you

The one you always gotta be like “per my last email”

Yeah, just like ten minutes ago, when I said you aren’t allowed to chew on the blanket, that is still the rule and you still can’t chew on the blanket. I know you’re doing it because you want to feel important, but PER MY LAST EMAIL, PUPPO, CUT THAT SHIT OUT IMMEDIATELY.

The one who leaves their office door open while they take really long personal calls

I know. You have. A tennis ball. Or a bone. Or an itch. I chime in with a “haven’t you doggies ever heard of/ closing the goddamn door”

I’m glad you’re psyched to be chewing a bone but the scraping noises are starting to pinball in my brain and it is no bueno, poocho

The “always wants to go out to lunch, never offers to pay”

Instead of that kibble from home how about you go out and get me a steak and then a larger steak whoops my wallet must be in my other fur my bad I’ll get you next time I promise

The one who takes a walk at lunchtime 

Overachieving punk-ass

Congrats on your “health” or whatever

The one who emails something “urgent” and you reply and they don’t get back to you for 5 hours

Okay, you want to go out. Right now. Okay. I get it, right this second, it is an emergency, you’re very uncomfortable, and I need to get you on a leash and out the door immediately. Got it. I’ll just get your collar and your leash and head to the door and- why are you still standing at the top of the stairs? Why are you just LOOKING at me? You told me this was urgent you little twerp I swear you had better- oh good you ran down the stairs like a dozen bowling balls that’s not disruptive to everyone’s life at all, BAILEY

The one who looks like this

Okay doggie you can have whatever you want oh my word look at your FACE

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Jokes and Sass

Things to Do While Staying Inside: Part 2

March 26, 2020

Here’s part 2 in “if you’re looking for stuff to do while being responsible and safe at home,” and while this one is obviously less new I can certainly recommend it still! Stay well, stay home, *stay home*, if you can stay home and you aren’t doing that I am upset with you.

Yep, you guessed it, I finally watched The Witcher a month or so ago and if you yelled at me to watch it and kept yelling I owe you an apology if I ever snapped at you because it is great, you’re great, and I am sorry to my bone marrow that I didn’t listen immediately. You were right it was marvelous. Andrew watched it almost as soon as it came out, and then rewatched it with me.

The big question gets answered here: nope, I haven’t read the books. (It’s not the big question, you don’t care, I’m just incredibly conceited.) For once in my life, I consumed a piece of media before having read the source material. It went against every smug cell in my body to not buy all of them at once and devour each so that I could act superior to everyone else. This was healthy for me, it really was. Personal growth. I’m better for it.

…she says to herself every night, while anxious, trying to tamp down the voices that say stuff like “can you really analyze something if you haven’t consumed every facet of its being”

I’m fine guys, really

And I loved this show. I loved it so much. I loved the silly names, I loved the White Cliffs of Dover that is Henry Cavill’s hair and being, I even loved “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher,” that song that everyone has stuck in their head. My dog has even gotten a version of the song because my interests are exclusively goofy fantasy shit and Bailey. (I lied; I also care deeply about the Fast and Furious 9 trailer we received that will now have to sustain me till 2021. #JusticeForHan)

The song in its entirety is below

*toss a treat to your Bailey, yes she is a doggie, she’s just the best doggie*

So remember how for Thrones eps I used to split things into stuff I liked and stuff I didn’t and I was polarizing as hell and emotional? Not really the case, here! There was some stuff I could have done without, and that’s all the stuff that made the show TV-MA. I don’t particularly love that one sword sliceyyy boi move that every show seems to have where you’re facing the person and you do a throat cutting move and there is an arc of blood and the person drops and then the hero person staggers away gasping for breath like that balletic weirdo move was all they had energy for and then looks around and there are no other enemy soldiers close by? You know what I’m talking about, don’t lie. I’d like less of that. Save some money on the blood budget and let people get sliccey’d less dramatically.

And this is me repeating myself, but I’ve never found a show enhanced by the nudity of the actors or a particularly detailed sex scene. Props to this show for not putting any plot points directly behind a butt or anything, and I know I’m a prude, but my brain is always kinda like “oh no way people wanna bang Henry Cavill? no way that’s absolutely shocking to me” and I ruin things for them. The world’s collective thirst for Charles Superman Brandon is not going to be tamed by his having unusual hair and eyes, and to make his appeal any kind of plot point is absurd. The show did not do this a lot, thank you show, but it did do it a little, and just… sigh.

Oh, I can also ruin most romance/sex scenes by thinking too hard about the details! For example, if people sleep in the same bed and then wake up and make out I want to die so hard oh my God you have medieval morning breath and no amount of Being Henry Cavill is sufficient to get past that go brush your teeth. Toss some Crest to your Witcher. I’m a delight at parties you should invite me.

Otherwise? Show’s good, guys. Watch the show. Toss a coin to your Netflix.

Some stuff I particularly liked:

No weird or stilted exposition

You meet these people and they just dive right the heck in to whatever stuff they were doing without pulling some “as you recall, it’s been 78 years since our queen, Aloysiaseus, was killed by the BeastMan, and an unstable regency rose from the ashes, and due to internal squabbling and assassinations the true power lives with the High Priest Marcellinavan who requires a sacrifice of ten thousand egarons or your firstborn child as a tax every ten years and the last tax was nine years and eleven months ago”

“indeed I do recall, how’s your horse feeling”

“she’s feeling much better thank you for asking”

Basically none of that! I love it! You might very well get a bit lost at the beginning and especially when they are throwing around proper nouns but I put on subtitles (again, here’s my requisite subtitles plug for everything always) and that helped a lot: I wasn’t thinking they said something I should know when they are just referring to something the audience hasn’t seen yet. There are unusual place and people names, but it’s never really thrown around as “nyah nyah nyah we know something you don’t know” it’s just “hey we’re going to [place name]” and then they go there. The one exception is referencing “the spheres,” but every fantasy story gets a pass for having some kind of event that was a while ago. It’s worked in fine, though, and you can tell it’s just “oh wow long time ago cool” and you can move on.

Second thing!

Realistic reactions to stuff

Geralt responding to things going badly with “…fuck” is amazing and should be in every fantasy show and movie forever. Yes, the ones for kids, too. They need to learn. I’m kidding. Maybe.

I’m not kidding

There is no character, especially a hero/protagonist, more real to me than one who can admit to themselves and the camera that boy, howdy, are we in the shit. I will never not love a Return of the King “for Frodo” moment and I will cry the whole time and love it and rewatch it unto forever, but for the every day plot moments, let me hear my characters note the garbage situation in which they are standing.

It’s mostly Geralt who does this, but the other characters also have a pretty good read on the pulse of things. And when they are being dramatic? They know it. “for Frodo!” does not require that the characters know they are being watched. In The Witcher, a character called Calanthe walks into a banquet still in her armor from a battle, with blood in her hair and dirt on her face. She knows she’s being extra af and it’s on purpose. It’s not the directors or writers trying to say “look how badass and dramatic she is,” it’s her trying to tell the room “shut up, fives, a ten is walking” and it kinda rules. Her smirk during the scene is A++++.

And in that vein

Actual humor and laughter and joy?

I think I’ve been absolutely bludgeoned into pessimism and doubt due to Game of Thrones but any time someone did a nice thing for another person on this show, I was like NO DON’T YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT LOOK OUT FOR YOURSELF YOU’LL DIE AT A WEDDING etc etc and yeah sure some people do not make it but the show lets characters (including Geralt! especially Geralt!) do nice things to help when they very could do no things and not help and those characters get to live. They are not Ned Stark chumps for being honest and kind.

One of the important characters gets taken care of by a stranger near the end of the season, and I kept looking at my spouse and asking “what is she gonna do to her oh God or is the nice lady in trouble no does the nice lady die” and he very kindly and calmly said that they are both fine, because not everyone dies for no reason, you Thrones weirdo. (Not that last part.)

There are jokes, and not Bronn bullshit, like actual funny scenes and lines and plot points and it’s great. There’s mud and death and pain and fire and betrayal and cruelty and blood, but it’s also a place you could conceivably be a good person and not die immediately. And Jaskier is a joy at all times. He sings the song. The song is fun and good and so is he.

This is a tough one to do without spoilers, but it’s also not like a show-ruiner if I say it, but I do want to give it praise, bleh, here, short thing

Really flippin’ cool stuff with timelines

Usually I am not a fan of flashbacks or things that trick the viewer. As always, I do not like it when art thinks it is smarter than me; it is probably true, but I don’t wanna hear it. But how they do it in this show, which is both of those things and neither of those things, is just good and cool and they let you in on the secrets steadily, at the right time, and without a sense of “a HA! we got you! we are so TRICKSY and CLEVER” because when people do that I just wanna scream directly into their eyes because of course you can trick us, you are making the damn show, you inherently know more things, that isn’t impressive at all, you twerps, no I’m not coughing Benioff and Weiss why do you ask

Just trust me, it’s pretty fly for a timeline, hang in there.

Oh and this is a big one:

Women done well

I really should change that subtitle, it makes them sound like steaks. They are not steaks.

They are great, though. You know that stereotype of “complex female character” that a lot of writers seem to think means “ice-cold killer with a revenge motivation?” It actually happens here. There are so many women in this show, everywhere, who are a mix of good and evil, just like real people are. They are motivated by real things, they are responding to cruelty and hurt in the way that people do, and every one of them who is on-screen for more than like a minute feels fully thought out.

And yeah, the bar is on the floor, in a basement, but there are no rape scenes, so it’s got that going for it. Hooray? Anyway, specific ladies.

Ciri, the blonde in all the promo stuff, is a mystery to us still, but she’s so interesting and smart and not smart and young but also acts old and she keeps it together during bad stuff but also doesn’t?? It’s great? I love her? I’m psyched for season 2 because we will get to see more of her doin’ stuff. She’s in some of those scenes with Calanthe, who I mentioned above, and just… dammit, I don’t wanna do spoilers. See me after class; class is Season 1.

There’s also the requisite “evil” witch, who is only kind of evil, and gets a back story, but also gets to be interesting in a non-*manic cackling* way. She also orchestrates the coolest magic battle I’ve ever seen on TV in the last episode, it just rules. We also have our teacher character to young women who is evil but not evil and cares but not always in the right way and she’s a mother to her students but also a bully and she’s proud of them and scared of them and just AHHHH. It’s a lot, I am a mess.

And then we have Yennefer, who is apparently somewhat polarizing among people who have watched the show, and I don’t get that at all, she is my queen and she can have my sword and my bow and my axe and my undying love. The show lets her be so interesting I could write a ten-thousand word post on the first three episodes. Yen goes through Some Shit, and then she also causes Some Shit, and her causes are sometimes for the good of others and sometimes for her own good and sometimes not even for her own good it’s just because she wants the option, and she’s selfish and giving and ashamed and confident and powerful and weak and admired and hated and just *makes fist* this is IT, kids. She’s great, I love her, she’s a messy mess who could also rule the world, watch the show so I can yell about it with you.

ANYWAY, TEAM, that’s all I got. Go watch it if you haven’t. This rec is obviously a little bit less of an insider’s tip for stuff to do while self-isolating, but I had most of a post drafted about this show and needed a reason to post it, so here we are. Be good to each other.

Nerding

Things to Do While Staying Inside: Part 1

March 20, 2020

Hello friends from weirdly warm PA, where all non-life-sustaining businesses are closed and the announcement made it extra clear that this includes professional services like accounting and legal, and tbh I’m pretty sure they said that because we’d get all “but SURELY they cannot mean MEEEE” and then Governor Wolf is like “did I stutter” and it’s a whole thing. So yeah. Home and working from here and socially isolating because I’m a good citizen and also starting tomorrow morning it’s against the law.

Mostly, for this post, I just wanted to write about a show that I’ve been enjoying, but considering that many of you/us are working remotely, or asked not to come in, or simply just quarantined based on symptoms or exposure, here’s a show you can spend some of your time on. Post title reflects this. Stay healthy and safe if you can and watch this in your down time if you can’t or won’t leave the house. Holding you all in my hearts, and if you’d like prayer on something specific please do reach out. Any way, here we go.

I am not what you’d call a “car person.” The extent of much of my automotive knowledge is “that certainly is a car, wow, look at it go” and I can barely drive stick (like I *probably* won’t stall it instantly and I can get you from one end of a parking lot to the other). Loud noises stress me out. Danger stresses me out. The only thing I know about engines is that the War Boys in Fury Road did that V8 thing with their hands and also that V8 is a rarely-delicious beverage. Cars, to me, are get-my-body-to there-machines with some very needed padding. I know just enough about cars to not get totally screwed over by an unscrupulous mechanic (if you try to tell me that my 12-year-old Camry needs a new flux capacitor I will bid you an uncomfortable goodbye and leave the premises) but not more. And, sure, I’ve watched a decent amount of Top Gear and The Grand Tour but boy howdy do I zone out on the tech stuff big time. My expert analysis when they test out a new supercar is “wow fast” and scene. I still hear the awful Sascha Baron Cohen French accent from Talladega Nights say “Formula uuuhn” when I read it. Now you are doing the same thing, and I’m not sorry.

Anyway, all of this is the lead-in to “please go watch Formula 1: Drive to Survive right flippin’ now” because it is great and it is so great that I am now a person who cares about Formula 1. The first season of this show was released in March of 2019 and I watched it all almost straight through having had no idea about anything. Definitely go watch the first season, and then come along with me and watch the second season which I’m halfway through. And if you’re wondering, yes, it covers the previous year’s race season, so the first season covers 2018, and the current one covers 2019, and the 2020 season is, well, on hiatus. Races are postponed, and they are trying to set up a virtual race series, and I am getting way ahead of myself sorry ANYWAY

“Wait, what even is Formula 1,” I hear you saying. “I really want this lady with basically negative amounts of car knowledge to educate me on its finer points,” you say. I hear you; let’s go.

Formula 1 is the highest level of open-wheel (tires do the sticky-outie thing to the sides vs under the car like your Hot Wheels probably were, like the car is a lizard rather than a moose, I am incredible at automobile mechanics) racing in the world, and there is a bonkers amount of money in it. Throughout a season, there are 21 Grands Prix, and the goal for everyone is to win points at each of these races. There are ten teams, each with two drivers/two cars each, so there are 20 total drivers at any given time, no more. The championships for which they are competing are both the driving championship, and the manufacturers’ championship. So, for example, last year (and a whole bunch of years before) Mercedes won the prize for being the best car maker, and Lewis Hamilton, on the Mercedes team, won the prize for the best car driver.

The way they do that is by earning points, and you earn points for finishing the race fastest, and I can feel you rolling your eyes at me, it’s fine, I know, just give me a goshdarn second to explain details, okay? Each race has trials the day before, which is where you (either by yourself or with not as many cars) get to go around the track and try to set the fastest time, which earns you (stop giggling) pole position. That gets you the best spot on the track for the real race. You can also lose spots by doing dumb shit, like hitting other cars or cutting corners or not parking your yacht correctly (that one is only at Monaco and I think I’m joking but I cannot confirm). When that happens, even if you were fastest, you get knocked down some spots. It’s not impossible to win from a very far back spot, but it sort of ends up a self-fulfilling prophecy: you did worse at trials because you are worse so you start worse and you stay worse.

And the points available aren’t like 20 for first place, 19 for second, 18 for third, all the way down, etc. Nope. You gotta be in the top ten to earn any points, so if you zoom around forever and cross the line 11th, that is unfortunate and you stole Fizzy Lifting Drinks and you get nothing, you lose, good DAY, sir. And it’s not even a straight shot for those top ten places: you get 25 for first, 18 for second, 15 for third, then 12, 8, 10, 6, 4, 2, and 1. You can see how those podium finishes can just catapult you comfortably to the top and you can stay there. Sometimes the drivers’ championship is wrapped up with like 3 or 4 races still left in the season because no one can catch the guy in first. OH, and if you’re in the top ten and get the fastest lap, you get an extra point. It’s like a little extra bonus award but if you aren’t in the top ten you can’t get it because they don’t give points to losers. I’m kidding. I think. But seriously I think it is so that you don’t go careening off the track in an attempt to get the fastest lap? You are not here for my editorializing, it’s like the zoomiest guy can have a little a point, as a treat, no I cannot stop being Extremely Online sorry not sorry moving on

You get those points for you and for your team, so while each team’s best interest is to have two good drivers, the drivers themselves are frequently trying to edge out the other guy on their team since there’s a championship just for them. Like, sure, it’s good for Mercedes to have a one-two finish regardless of which driver gets which place, but it’s good for Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes to be in that first spot.

So yeah, the sport is fast cars and lots of money and very good-looking men (I genuinely don’t know if there’s like an in-writing requirement but a number of the drivers have model-level good looks and can you please leave some beauty for the rest of us, no really, go look up Carlos Sainz, he drives for McLaren and his eyelashes deserve a sonnet where was I) but why should you watch this show, specifically? Here, you can get some additional reasons that I like it, which are the correct reasons.

Cool thing number 1 about this show

The races are really, really cool to watch in the way that Netflix filmed and edited them. Really. And again, even if you are not a car person and the idea of watching a motor go around a track a bunch of times sounds awful, they only put the best and most exciting parts on-screen. Their film crew is amazing and the shots are all amazing and they ZOOM SO FAST, GUYS. SO FAST. It’s easy to like any sport when you only see the exciting stuff, and that’s what happens here.

You also have a lot of shots from the driver’s point of view, and while the film isn’t as high-quality, it’s still very much like you’re a screaming terrified passenger along with the driver for the race. That’s me, I’m the terrified passenger.

There are also aerial shots of these tracks and some are like, rolling hills and sunshine and some are twisty-turny streets and it’s like that joy you felt when picking a map in MarioKart in N64 that was a thing right sorry I only ever played at friends’ houses Monaco :: Rainbow Road I think

Cool thing number 2 about this show

It is multilingual as heck and yes a large number are European languages but there are also a bunch more (a few teams use Honda engines, for example, so there’s some Japanese) and it’s delightful to listen to and yet another plug for my using subtitles. It also just Smackdowns you to the floor re: your level of accomplishment and while that might not be your thing, it is mine!

It is a nice reality check for me/most Americans that we are absolutely atrocious with language. Leaving aside the gross nationalistic “speak English” stuff that your least favorite cousin does, we are so flippin’ lazy it is borderline humiliating, and basically every minute of this show is a strong reminder of this fact.

All these dudes speak at least two and sometimes three or four languages. The drivers from France and Denmark and Spain and Monaco and Germany and Finland and Brazil and Italy all do their interviews in English, and very good English, at that. The Brits and the Australians are kind of like us, so we aren’t alone in our monolinguality, but it is just comical to see these extremely talented people who are already so impressive at driving and managing the press also switch flawlessly between entire languages. I took like 8 years of French and my skills include “that fuckin’ r sound” and “saying French words really pretentiously in the middle of English speaking, i.e., Grands Prix.” Charles Leclerc, for example, is an infant who is allowed to drive a car worth a million dollars and can speak to Netflix about his emotions surrounding being partnered with a four-time world champion on the Ferrari team when at the Italian Grand Prix in English despite it being his third language after French and Italian.

It’s fine, go drive your little Hot Wheels or whatever, I’ll be over here resentfully pronouncing Lacroix as “lah-CWAH” and forgetting I’ve left the parking brake on

Cool thing number 3 about this show

The speed at which these drivers and teams do anything is also just staggering. Their average pit time is two seconds. TWO. SECONDS. I can’t even remember the last time I had a thought that only lasted two seconds, and these people take off one set of tires and put on another one in two goshdarn seconds. There’s a segment of the Mercedes episode where one of the cars is pitted for almost a minute, and the announcers are treating it like they’re announcing the Hindenberg crash. It sounds ridiculous until I remember that a minute is thirty times longer than the average, and that these races have gotten down to thousandths of a second, and a minute is basically the Hundred Years’ War being fought mid-race. Everything is fast, all of it, even these drivers with their little go-karts they drove as kids. When I was 12 I was an incompetent little doofus trying my best to not fall over when I got up from the dinner table. These kids get the keys to the rocket launcher.

Cool/mildly depressing thing? number 4 about this show

Not joking, they are all infants. Infants! One of the drivers that is winning all the time is 22 and he won the very first race he entered and he was EIGHTEEN. ONE. EIGHT. At 18 I tried to find a whole-ass cookout during college orientation and failed. This kid maneuvered a ground spaceship past 19 other ground spaceships in his first spacerace.

That kid I mentioned above, Leclerc? They have a scene with him and Sebastian Vettel, his Ferrari teammate, driving up to one of the races in the same car. Vettel, who is 32, my age, turns on music, and “Come Out and Play” by The Offspring comes on, and Leclerc has no idea who they are, and then I remembered he said his birth year earlier in the episode, and it’s 1997, and then I looked up the release date of the song, and “COME OUT AND PLAY” IS THREE YEARS OLDER THAN HE IS. I appreciated Vettel very much in that moment for lightly ribbing his teammate for not knowing anything because instead of a dried-up, irrelevant skeleton shouting “you gotta keep ’em separated!” I was a cool, relevant beacon of maturity like 4-times Formula One Champion Sebastian Vettel. And then I remembered that they were about to race against Max Verstappen, who made his Formula One debut at age 17, and then my decrepitude pulled me horizontal once again.

Yeah, watch the show

It’s interesting, it’s fun, it has soap opera levels of drama, it has guys you love to hate and guys you love to love, it has interviews, it has zoomies of the highest caliber, and you’ll be able to use it to make European friends, or something. I don’t know.

Stay safe, stay home, I’ll post another couple of things like this while we’re all trying our best.

Jokes and Sass, Nerding

Every single “Gifts for Him” list

December 6, 2019

I don’t know what convention was held in early 2014-ish, but apparently every retailer was invited and the entire thing was about how to market to people who buy gifts for men at the holidays. It was held in one of those bars where you throw axes and no vegetables were served for three days. This was the list they came up with.

Whiskey-infused leather wallets that you can put on the grill

Does your man like whiskey? Of course he does, he’s an American male! Does he also like leather accessories and grilling? Of course he does, id.! Does he frequently express a wish for an item that could combine all three of these things? No, of course not, he’s a man and they do not express emotions. But because you know your man so well, get him this wallet! It holds all the money he’s earning, and when it inevitably falls out of his pocket onto the grill (guys are so clumsy and silly like that, right?) it will smell like an encroaching forest fire because that is a thing that he inexplicably likes.

But wait, how can he get his wallet back and in his pocket? We’re glad you asked, because you can get him a

Set of grilling tools, yes, seriously, another one

Since Real Men have a different grill for every year of their life, you should get him another set of grilling tools. We don’t care if he says he has a dozen; he needs more. He’s not done until he looks like the goddamn Edward Scissorhands of grilling tools. Charcoal grill? Needs new grilling tools. Gas grill? Needs new grilling tools. Just a fire in a trash can? Sharpen up some sticks and rusty metal because even a literal garbage fire deserves its own set of grilling tools. And if he got a smoker? Ohhhh, you need like at least FIFTY new tools for all that meat he’ll be smoking. If he’s got a full rack of ribs on that smoker, you’d best believe he’ll need a set of tools for each individual rib. Keep going until you need to get a storage unit for the tongs alone. Each set comes with an apron that says “Ladies Love My Meat” so that you can kill yourself while he opens his gifts!

Speaking of heat, why don’t you try getting him some

Hot-sauce infused beer caps/sculpture

Does the man in your life ever sip on an IPA and remark “if only this could be more unpleasant to drink”? Does he frequently order his food as spicy as possible despite being very white? Then he needs this six-pack of Literally All You Can Taste Is Hops and Pain, a beer with hot sauce infused into the metal cap. Just have your guy turn the bottle upside down right before he’s ready to drink, and ka-POW, he’s got a nice, refreshing sip of capsaicin and regret. You know that all men think “if this isn’t extremely unpleasant, why bother drinking it?” and you’ve finally got the gift to match.

And if someone else already got him this gift, just ask yourself: does he like to collect garbage? And if so, you can get him this: a wall-hanging shaped like a monster truck because fuck aesthetics with a little space for each beer cap! He doesn’t have to limit himself to just spicy beer caps; regardless of the logo on his beer garbage, he can now store it in your home, displayed for guests, forever. He can reminisce about those beers while he stares at his wall sculpture and ignores your wedding photos right next to it. He’s basically like Ernest Hemingway except he can’t even write a greeting card.

Speaking of doing your best to ignore your family, if your man is just 100% checked out, get him

A tool that lets him watch The Game while at your daughter’s college graduation

Does your manflesh love to watch himself a great sports game, but the kids keep accomplishing things? Does he ever comment “if only there were a way for me to be less involved as a parent”? Are you one of his children and it has somehow become your job to manage a grown man’s feelings? We’ve got just the thing: we replace his cornea with a projector screen and put a satellite dish in his skull so he can watch any game at any time instead of paying attention to his kids.

Sure, he might have his first grader playing soccer literally four feet away from him, but he’s already had an interaction with this child this week; he’s tired. He can just switch on the dish, sit back, and stare blankly ahead until his kid cries. Give him the gift that combines his favorite things: sports, and avoiding responsibility.

Whiskey stones

This is a thing every man needs now no we won’t explain why just buy the alcohol rocks because fuck you

ALSO

A necktie with the night sky as it looked on the day of the Immaculate Reception 

Help your man slide even deeper into the loss of his identity and allow him to abandon all other nuance and personality traits in pursuit of a soul that is indistinguishable from that of the sports team(s) he worships

This tie can be monogrammed!

Cufflinks with the date of your anniversary so he’ll never forget again!

During the month of December, practice your smile in the mirror, so that when he opens it and you explain what it is, the whitehot hatred of his cutesy attempts to placate you after he’s forgotten what a fucking calendar is for the 12th consecutive year despite managing to draft no fewer than 5 fantasy football teams and memorize all of the lines to The Hangover Part III will be hidden behind your pleasant twinkling grin and bright recitation of “next year, even if you don’t remember, you can always look at the cufflinks!”

He will not remember. He will not look at the cufflinks.

They come in two sizes, and the larger size can include your children’s birthdays and it ships with a complimentary thick pillow to scream into and definitely not smother him to death nope

Soap shaped like a grenade or a football or a stock exchange

No, we don’t know why basic hygiene is apparently a feminine thing, but we support you in your efforts to keep him clean!

And that’s not all! We’ve got everything and anything you could possibly want for that special boymanmaleguy who deserves the best

A DIY home beer brewing kit that talks to your wife for you

Some shell casings in an old bourbon barrel

A watch made out of bacon

Beard oil that smells like Yankee Stadium 

A whole bison carcass and a Bowie knife 

A minimalist wallet that is so minimalist it is just a square of microfiber with no pockets

Therapy

Just enough confidence to try stand-up comedy once

The options are nearly endless. Be the best at gift-giving this year, and not just winning by default because at least one adult male has forgotten to purchase a single present. Happy shopping!

The heavier stuff

Pennsylvania voters and Marsy’s Law

November 4, 2019

This is an off-year in the election cycle, which is to say last year we voted for some Congress members and state and local officials, and next year we vote for President, but this year, at least in Pennsylvania, we vote for… not as much. Please do go ahead and investigate your local elections (school boards matter!) and take a look here if you would like an assessment on the judges who are running for appeals court spots (please read the text with the recommendation), and check where your voting location is in case it changed (mine did!), and just do the civic duty thing. I absolutely understand the general revolution-type feelings of “voting isn’t gonna fix stuff to any significant degree” but to be honest, it frustrates me, because it makes me sound like I can’t care about more than one thing at a time. Which isn’t true! If you know me, you’ll know that I can care about literally every single thing at once and worry about all of them! What was this post about! I don’t remember! I’m just anxious!

ANYWAY

You should vote because it does matter, and it is an important right, and honestly because it annoys boomers when young people show up at the polls because then they can’t say “these young people don’t care about our elections!” We do care.

If you’re not here with me in Pennsylvania, you can stop reading, I guess, since you aren’t voting on this. There is a decent chance this topic will come up or has come up in your state, though, and also I’d really like it if you stuck around to read this both because I like to think of myself as important and because it is genuinely important.

If you’re here with me in Pennsylvania, we have one referendum on the ballot that is state-wide: the rest of our votes are for candidates, but this one would alter the state constitution. It is called Marsy’s Law, and its aim is to add a set of victims’ rights to the state constitution. And I’m writing here in an effort to get you to vote against it. Yes, really, against it.

When I began drafting this post in early October (*Baymax voice* I am not fast) this question was on the ballot and not in the courts; that is no longer the case. The ACLU filed to block the question from the ballot altogether, arguing that changes to the Pennsylvania Constitution must be addressed individually, and that this proposed law would enact many at once under the umbrella of “victims’ rights.” The question is currently still on the ballot, but the PA Supreme Court has granted an injunction blocking the law’s enactment should it pass, so November 6th isn’t going to be a huge cataclysmic change regardless of the vote. However, this isn’t any kind of guarantee, and I’d really like to see the state’s voters say no without needing the injunction.

It’s tough to start this conversation mainly because the amendment is for “victims’ rights.” Victims are exactly what they sound like: those harmed by the committing of a crime, and in certain circumstances, the victims’ loved ones. The law is named after victim Marsy Nicholas, who was murdered in 1983 by an ex-boyfriend who stalked and eventually killed her. Her family was devastated, and a week after her death, they saw her killer in the grocery store; he had posted bail and been released pending trial. [I owe you all information on cash bail and why it’s horrific, too, but that is for another time.]

I cannot begin to understand the pain they felt and continue to feel, and my heart reaches out to them, as they are grieving and trying to do good in the world the best they can. Her brother, Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, is a millionaire many times over, and his money has funded the campaigns for this law in many different states. His concerns are valid, and understandable, and I have to believe his heart is in the right place.

Unfortunately, this law is inadequate on several issues of justice, and horribly overreaching in others. All the good intentions in the world don’t change the fact that this is a bad law, and I encourage you not to vote for it.

My first argument for not voting for it always starts here, as it is perhaps the most accessible, regardless of your political leanings: Pennsylvania already has a Victims’ Rights law in place. It has been on the books for decades, and Marsy’s Law in PA as drafted has a significant amount of overlap with the current law. The Crime Victims Act of 1998 already states that “all victims of crime are to be treated with dignity, respect, courtesy, and sensitivity.” It includes many rights, including the right to be accompanied to hearings by a family member or victim advocate; access to information about granting or denial of bail; to not be excluded from proceedings in court unless absolutely necessary; the right to make a statement at sentencing; the right to be notified (when the victim requests it) of any filed appeals and their disposition; the right to participate in parole determinations; and to receive compensation for costs associated with the crime (frequently called “restitution”). That link goes to the law, and there are a whole lot of other provisions, and that kind of stuff is good and important.

“Wait, if we have a law already, what are they doing with this campaign?” Well, this law is drafted so that a “yes” vote would actually amend the State Constitution rather than update a law. Those campaigning for Marsy’s Law state that it is vital to add these provisions to the state constitution, as a simple majority vote could overturn victims’ rights laws. They say it must be added to the constitution so that no one can just vote and overturn it. I get it, but this point is spurious in the extreme: no lawmaker, however heartless, is going to vote to remove a victims’ rights bill. The optics would be terrible, and there’s no benefit to it monetarily: this isn’t a group of lobbyists pushing anyone. That law is staying put. It’s been on the books over 20 years and has not been substantially changed in that time.

“So why argue for a new law at all? Why not just work with this one?” That’s a very good question, and it hasn’t yet been adequately answered. If you need a short answer from me? Money. Money would help a lot. Like many other services for the public good, those who are most vulnerable frequently do not receive them. These kinds of things within the framework of victims’ rights can look like assistance to women testifying against their abusers, both emotional and financial. Victims’ rights can be steamrollered by something as simple as “the victim and witness did not have enough money to get to court on the day.” On my good days, I can understand Henry Nicholas’ desire to protect people like his sister from danger and terror by introducing this bill. On my bad days, I want to sarcastically ask him why hiring Kelsey Grammer to promote this bill on television was a better use of money than donating it to a Legal Aid office or women’s shelter. Laws are important, they are vital, they are the spine of many causes in justice, but they are not the roots; that’s money and effort.

Here’s where it gets a little more difficult as it’s no longer just about procedure.

“Who cares; these people are criminals, and the victims are *victims*, why wouldn’t you want to protect them against these scumbags? Why should criminals get more rights then the people they hurt?” Hoo boy. Okay. So. The first thing is that a lot of this process happens before a conviction: defendants are innocent until proven guilty, and that has to be a component of constructing victims’ rights. Our system is far from perfect because people have prejudices and they lie and there are no witnesses and I could go on for a week. But “innocent until proven guilty” is as good a standard as we can get; if we’re going to change a person’s life forever, we really should be sure that they did the bad thing we’re locking them up for.

And that’s why the phrasing of this law is so fundamentally flawed.

The amendment includes the wording that the rights of victims be protected “in a manner no less vigorous than the rights afforded to the accused,” and that should give you pause. The rights given to the accused, which you are at least familiar with from whatever crime procedural you watch, are important and numerous and guaranteed, and above all, they’re unique. From the point of an arrest forward, a defendant has the potential to be denied freedom, and that denial comes from the state. The government, the country. The most powerful entity nearly everyone will ever come into contact with. The state has the ability to lock you in a small area for the rest of your life. It can take money, it can take time, it can even take your actual existence. Victims are not placed in the same position in this process, and they never will be.

“But these animals are murderers, they do awful stuff, isn’t that a denial of life or whatever you just said?” Yes. It is, it absolutely is. Laws do what they can, but there are still those who will deny the rights of others. But we aren’t animals, and this isn’t the Punisher. That’s what civilization is about; regulating the bad parts of life with a recognition that the biggest powers could destroy everyone and everything if they wanted and it would be legal.

“Okay, but what rights are we talking about here? It’s not a bad thing to notify victims of the court proceedings, why would you oppose this kind of stuff?” A very good question, and there’s a few reasons! Yes, they should be notified of proceedings, and should absolutely be notified of the release of a defendant on bail if a bodily injury crime is involved. And I’m all in favor of many of those, as applied by the 1998 Act; again, it’s not that the laws aren’t there, it’s that they aren’t being used or addressed. I’m very much not in favor of two “rights” in this bill that are not so clear, and they have the potential to be disastrous.

The first is “the right to refuse discovery requests made by the accused.” On its face, this might actually seem just fine. For example, “rape shield” laws exist in order to prevent a defendant from bringing up the victim’s past sexual conduct to be used in a current accusation of assault, and there are certainly other times when particular information about a victim is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand. I, personally, am thinking of every example of an extrajudicial killing of a black person by the police. However, this provision of Marsy’s Law is not even based on relevancy; rather, it addresses the victim’s nebulous right to be treated “with fairness, respect, and dignity.” And if this is a right that is to be enforced “in a manner no less vigorous than the rights of the accused,” what is to stop a victim or their family from turning over crucial evidence or being deposed? There can certainly be objections to requests for documents or information or any other discovery, but you can object to them under the same standards currently in place. Say that they are irrelevant, or that their probative value is likely to be more prejudicial than helpful in the case, and allow an advocate or lawyer or family member to attend depositions. The answer cannot be that “victims’ rights” lets you reject a discovery request as being against “respect and dignity.” And I’m not saying that this doesn’t matter! I’m saying that it could not be more vague, and vagueness in laws gets people hurt or locked up for things they didn’t do.

The second issue that truly gives me pause is “the right to proceedings free from delay.” In my most charitable reading of this provision, this section is redundant, as the right to a speedy trial is already a guaranteed right for the accused, and the victim is involved in the same case. In my most bitter and skeptical reading, this provision asks for final determinations of guilt and to prevent appeals from reaching the bench. I can absolutely understand the frustration in appeals; my civil clients with relatively low-stakes matters are furious when the opposing party chooses to appeal, and I don’t blame them. You think the case is done and you can move forward, and then the other party appeals and you have to do this all over again. And these are very small civil matters; victims will have to relive some very awful things that happened to them, and I truly feel for them.

But that’s where I have to stop, because the rights of the accused still outrank any “victim’s rights.” Appeals are filed for a number of reasons, and many of them are important and vital. Again, we are a civilization, and if a sentenced defendant brings up the possibility that justice was not properly served, we have to listen. There’s no good way to do this without possibly hurting a victim, but it has to be done. If a conviction rests on wrong evidence, or flawed procedure, or ineffective counsel, the case has to be reopened. No one can sit in jail or live with a criminal record because it could hurt a victim to readdress the case. The number of innocent people released in recent years should give you pause; I don’t want yet another roadblock put up to correctly served justice.

Friends, this bill is at best vague and at worst dangerous, and the victims’ resources already exist. Let’s fund them. Let’s publicize them. Let’s drive people to their PSA hearings. Let’s eliminate cash bail. Let’s educate on internalized prejudices. Let’s alleviate poverty. Let’s not throw money and support behind a posturing law because it sounds good. We may currently be abandoning those in need, but they aren’t the people on the ads. Please vote against this constitutional amendment. Please vote “NO.”

Nerding, Personal

Beauty Trends for a Woman Who Doesn’t Wanna

October 15, 2019

Hey there! Have you wanted to participate in the newest beauty trends, or even just start building your Daily Look, but you don’t know what to do because you’re a swamp thing?

I can relate!

Not too long ago, I was just like you: puffy eyeskin, violently smeared mascara, concealer that isn’t my skin tone, hair that was housing a family of voles or at least looked like it, etc. BUT NOW, I’m even WORSE, I’ve just embraced it. And I’m here to share my tips with all of you!

Highlighting

Trend: using a shimmery, dewy highlight of makeup on certain portions of your face to enhance its appeal and its glow; popular sections include cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and the hairline

My version: get an enormous cystic pimple on your cheekbone. pop it, and just fuckin’ walk around like that, you goddamn Creature from the Black Lagoon

Are you hoping to look like a dolphin who is also a Kardashian, but all you have is acne? Not to worry! Just aggressively dig at those bumps on strategic parts of your face in order to highlight where you’re an absolute mess and cannot even be bothered to put effective concealer on your zits. Or, for the advanced course, take time in the morning to apply concealer and then scrape it all off with your claws. You’re basically Dr. Pimple Popper with no medical license or appeal.

Matte lipstick

Trend: lipstick in long-wearing, satin and matte shades, which frequently comes in a liquid form and can be in unusual colors (forest green, cobalt, black)

My version: allow pieces of your meals to remain in your teeth for 6 waking hours

Are you wishing you could get that Cher Horowitz kind of attention drawn to your mouth, but don’t have a steady hand with a liquid lipstick in a deep green? Just eat a salad with baby spinach in it and never look in a mirror like a normal adult and then just walk around with a leaf front and center like a goddamn giraffe. Draw attention to your mouth. What dat mouth do? Inefficiently chew, baby.

Smokey eye

Trend: the original, the gorgeous – a combination of liner, mascara, and eyeshadow that creates a lovely array of darker shades around the eyes; perfect for an evening out, it allows your eyes to truly shine, especially emphasizing their color

My version: put mascara on, forget you have it, and then just rub your eyes exhaustedly because life is just really too difficult all of the time

Does your look say “exhausted,” but you’d also like it to say “trash-eating raccoon”? Just apply your eyeliner and mascara as usual, schedule an afternoon breakdown, wash your hands, and then dig those babies right into your orbital bones. Mortar-and-pestle the hell out of that eye makeup until Smokey the Bear has to show up to post a forest fire risk alert.

“Ow, this hurts, should we be getting the makeup in our actual eyes???” I’m sorry, is this amateur hour? Of course it has to go in your eyes. If you aren’t already crying, this will make it happen. You should be crying.

Highlight single section of hair

Trend: one white streak of hair like Anna from “Frozen,” or Richard Madden, or Stacy London from “What Not to Wear”

My version: use way too much dry shampoo and just refuse to blend it

Have you ever wished your hair could make a statement? Do you want that statement to be “depressed Bride of Frankenstein”? Look no further! All you need to do is fail to shower for several days, let your hair turn into a tumbleweed of grease, and then spray some stark-white shampoo on it. That’s it! No brushing required or allowed.

Spice this up by continually shopping for the “perfect” dry shampoo that absorbs all your oil without leaving the white cast on your hair instead of taking the fifteen goddamn minutes to shower. You’re right, maybe this travel-sized Batiste bottle (because God forbid you commit to anything enough to buy the full size, you disgrace) will be the one that can fool everyone into thinking you’re a legitimate participating member of society. What’s this one called, Blush? “Floral and Flirty”? Sure, just spray that directly onto your scalp like it’s holy water washing away your sins.

De-puffing your eye area

Trend: caffeine in serums, refrigerating skincare, jade rollers

My version: attack it coming from the other direction by just crying super hard and then sleeping

Do you watch the Will Smith masterpiece, “Hitch,” and wish you could look like he does during his allergic reaction? Not actually allergic to anything? Follow me into a wonderful habit called “crying so hard you think you may have come around full circle and made your eyes not puffy.” That’s right, if you use my deeply flawed logic and lifestyle, you can cling to the hope that eye puffiness is not a line but a circle, and if you get the water retention of the thin eyelid super incorrect it’ll just spin around like a metaphor in Inception and you’ll have de-puffed eyes. Be sure to do the hardest crying immediately before lying down to sleep. Optimally you will still have tears leaking into the pillow, but don’t worry if you can’t hit the advanced course just yet.

Trendy, unexpected nail polish and patterns

Trend: party nail, unusual neutrals, reverse French manicures, fun shapes, not being a cuticle-tearing piece of shit

My version: being a cuticle-tearing piece of shit

Do you want to try some new beauty trends, but you’re worried about your face looking silly? Just follow me, and ignore your face while gnawing your fingertips like a starved beaver eating corn on the cob until everyone won’t even notice your face because your hands look so terrible. Do you work a 9-5 desk job, but want to look like you’re a malnourished peasant child in January of 1840 working as an apprentice stone mason? Just put your fingers to your face and go to town. Moisturizer is for chumps and quitters.

Air-drying your hair

Trend: ease up on hairdryer, straightener, and curling iron use and let your hair dry over time; with still-wet hair, add a product designed specifically to use in air-dried styles and let your hair do its thing; don’t dry it aggressively with a towel as that will make it frizz, instead use a t-shirt as a towel and wrap your hair in it while you sleep

My version: do all of those things but just never leave your bed because you’re a sea slug

Does air-drying your hair sound pretty ideal because it doesn’t take much effort? Do you want to pretend to be “protecting your hair from too much heat, you know?” but really you don’t even own a hair dryer? Do you forget where you left your straightener because the last time you used it was probably during the Obama presidency? Do I own a curling iron? No, really, I don’t know?

Then go ahead and purchase a styling gel or cream that is supposed to be used on air-dried hair! There are plenty of options, and all of them will be about 75% good for your hair. Distribute the product evenly, grab an old, soft t-shirt, and wrap your hair with it. Make your way off to sleep, and when you wake up, you’ll be able to admire your natural-looking hair right before you eat a Pop-Tart and go immediately back to bed like the fragile, sad coral you are. Don’t go outside. Don’t take a selfie. Just vaguely pet your hair until slumber and malaise retake you.

Laser-hair removal

Trend: paying for treatments which zap the root of the hair so it cannot regrow and you don’t have to spend time shaving or waxing or anything

My version: sometimes remembering to shave while longing for colder months

Are you exhausted by shaving your legs constantly? Just stop doing that and wear more pants. Not as like, an aesthetic or political feminist choice, but as a lazy, barely-functioning person who likes smooth legs but finds effort difficult. Buy pants and aim for November.

Eyebrows

Trend: maintain a fuller but precise eyebrow through regular waxes, tweezing, and microblading; fill out any patchy areas with your brow product of choice after combing the hairs

My version: *wheezing through laughter and sobs* I’m supposed to what??

I bought a Maybelline pencil and I try not to yank on my eyebrow hairs I’m basically Allure magazine

Trying

Trend: making an effort

My version: No

Nerding

A more honest FAQ page of the FTC Equifax Settlement website

August 3, 2019

(Here’s the real one, if you’d like to read it)

This is definitely not advice in any way and things might change very quickly and no, I don’t know what you should do other than walk directly into the sea, which I personally have not ruled out as an option. Everything is bad, submit your claim or opt out or fake your own death and move to a wooded area, it doesn’t matter. I am grumpy and we should eat the rich and I don’t particularly like being a product, but I do like to write as a mediocre way to process my feelings.

I also realize that the FTC and Equifax are not one and the same, but there is their cooperation in this settlement and that in and of itself is yikes, but I do kinda wander around a bit with who I’m identifying in this post. Also of course this is not legal advice, a thing I shouldn’t have to say, but I’m saying it.

Enjoy

1.When will the claims process start?

It started already, you greedy punks. You’ve got till January of 2020 to file and get your stupid like, 21 cents of settlement money. Vultures, all of you. Why do you think you deserve to be compensated when the information from the breach hasn’t been found anywhere on the dark web? Oh, you say “right but I had to freeze all my credit and worry about things and my information still isn’t safe and the linear passage of time creates the possibility that my identity could be stolen and misused in the future”? It is goddamn a-DOR-able that you think we care even a little and frankly we zoned out after you said “information.”

2. When is the deadline to file a claim?

What, are you gonna file twice? You have till January, like we just fuckin’ said, but you definitely filed already, didn’t you, because you’re so desperate for that money to spend on PopSockets or avocado toast or whatever the hell you guys like now. In fact, write us an essay about what you’re gonna use the money for, and we’ll give you some if we like your answer. 500 word minimum, but we’re not gonna read past the second sentence.

3. When will I get my benefits?

When you pay for them. LOL, just kidding, not like last time. Totally different than when we gave you a free year of stuff and then tried to make you pay for it after that while also trapping you into binding arbitration. We’re the New and Morally Improved Equifax.

What was the question? Oh, right, when will you get the stuff you asked for.

*shrug* when they tell us we have to give them to you? It’s January 23, 2020, at the earliest, and you know that means “not January 23, 2020” so have fun waiting for that during the holiday season and whatever else you’re doing, we don’t care, not even a little.

4. How will I get my benefits?

Well, if you *snort* asked for actual money *giggle* we can send you a check that will be worth less than the stamp it required to mail it, or you can get a *wild laughing* debit card. Oh, my God, please take a selfie video of you trying to use that debit card, and the card not working, and everyone getting frustrated at you for trying to use a debit card with twenty cents on it.

5. I thought I could choose $125 instead of free credit monitoring. What happened?

Well, the settlement inexplicably set aside a total of $31 million for alternative (read: cash, which is apparently alternative now? words mean nothing) payments, despite fucking over half of America with this breach. If the fund did pay out $125 to each claimant looking for the equivalent of a decent pair of sneakers for the egregious loss of their most personal data, it would be empty before we hit 250,000 people. We have labeled this response “overwhelming,” because we’re fucking incompetent, and we don’t know how to do math or relate to people.

The free credit monitoring offers a much better value, if you don’t already have it because of the dozens of security breaches all of these institutions have suffered, and at least one source is saying it’s being offered by Experian, which is not Equifax, so you don’t have to worry there! And definitely don’t ask if Experian or anyone else is getting paid to do the monitoring ha ha ha who would do that

But yes! This monitoring! It will protect you and your information and your identity!

6. Wouldn’t the offer of a credit freeze be a much better way of accomplishing this protection?

We do not understand the question! Ha ha!

7. Why is it not automatically free to place a credit freeze?

We do not understand the question! You are guaranteed 4 years of monitoring at each of the three credit bureaus! 4 years! That is more than 3 years!

8. Right, but rather than a freeze, which is just a hard backstop against fraud unless you affirmatively unlock it, the free credit monitoring is a gamble on the consumer’s part that it works and actually catches an attempt to open credit that you didn’t authorize-

Why would ANYONE not want to continue to open lines of credit!!! We do not understand! The fact that we get money when credit histories are pulled is completely unrelated to our bone-deep dislike of credit freezes!

9. *enormous sigh* I’d like to change my claim to get free credit monitoring instead of a cash payment. Can I do that, or in the alternative, be permitted to punch one of your executives in the face?

Of course you can! That’s the spirit! You’re gonna get an email if you picked the cash and it’s gonna say “hey so what credit monitoring do you already have” and then you’re gonna say “I have a structured settlement, but I need cash NOW” just kidding that’s JG Wentworth just a little hip humor for you kids. Oh, and if you want to stick with the cash, you have to give us more information about your credit monitoring and we promise to be good with it and definitely not get hacked and then have to offer you more free credit monitoring like some monstrous financial ouroboros which you’ll endure until you die.

Ha ha!

10. How much of the settlement fund can be used to pay claims for time spent dealing with the data breach? Can I just submit a bill with my hourly rate, you soul-sucking profit-prioritizing complicit ghoulish assho-

Ohhhkay let’s stop you right there. But yes, you can submit a claim for time spent getting credit monitoring or dealing with a fraudulent charge or any of the myriad ways this breach could have screwed you. You will be able to get a whole $25/hour for this! If you spent more than ten hours though, we want proof. Oh, and if you paid for anything we will need receipts.

What was the question? Oh, right

Remember that $31 million? Yeah the hourly stuff and the stuff you paid for is coming out of that too. We will slice this pie so thin you’ll be able to see us laughing at you through it.

11. *sharp inhale* did ANYONE with ANY amount of experience or skill or knowledge of even basic fractions look at this settlement or was it thought up by vindictive, drunk toddlers?

This seems like a trick question! But, yes, toddlers. We didn’t let them nap, either, before they drew this up. We really, really don’t like the idea of people getting money.

12. Equifax literally earns money by selling our information. Your revenue in 2017 was $3.36 billion. And that new CEO you hired can get up to $4.5 million in salary and bonuses and has $17 million in stock options. You didn’t even double the value of his stock options for the whole cash settlement you planned to offer. Are we a joke to you?

Mostly, yeah.

13. *rubs eyes tiredly* I’m not sure I was affected by the data breach. How can I find out?

Flip a coin, honestly. It was half of you.

14. What else can I do?

There’s a whole other website with different FAQs, if you still have the will to live. It includes the very complicated process for doing literally anything else other than signing up.

Oh, and you could refinance. Or get a car loan. Or do anything that lets us back into your life to an uncomfortable degree. See you next time!

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 6: The Iron Throne

May 31, 2019

The one good thing about this season being only 6 episodes is that this review can be over a week late lolol sorry y’all I’m tired and I was in New Hampshire doin’ hikes and seein’ a moose and goin’ to Maine

Am now the proud owner of a lot of maple syrup and a new coffee mug because I am planning to eventually die underneath a pile of ceramic coffee mugs that I have purchased and also a copy of Say Anything’s “…Is” and “…Was” on CD because we went to a store with cheap music and movies and video games and my car still has/only has a CD player and I would like to scream the music of my teenage years on my way into work

And since I’m this late about posting this, there has been a news blitz about Kit Harington checking himself into a rehabilitation/wellness center. I’m sorry he’s struggling, and I’m very glad he’s getting the help he needs, and I think you guys are all good about this, but I do not want to see a single joke about “heh heh he’s going to rehab because the finale was so bad.” It’s not funny, it’s cruel, the jokes and stigma around rehab and addiction prevent people from seeking it out, and part of the reason he’s headed there is probably crap like “here’s a petition to remake the whole show.” Be fans; don’t be assholes. (I didn’t sign that petition and you shouldn’t either.)

ANYWAY

I watched the finale from our Airbnb in New Hampshire, and having the White Mountains was at least somewhat soothing to me because I only screamed a little. As before, so again: I will list the stuff I liked and the stuff I hated and then a sort-of… group therapy decompression? I don’t know, guys. I didn’t watch the documentary this weekend because I am tired and the discourse is tiring, but I will watch it eventually.

Tired: Thrones stuff

Wired: getting your spouse to watch Napoleon Dynamite for the first time because why not and now he’s quoting everything like it’s 2005 and I’m not at all mad because now we get to quote “break the wrist; walk away” nonstop

*tees up 1812 Overture*

WHAT I LIKED

Peter flippin’ Dinklage

Our homie has been winning Emmys in seasons where his character was given nothing to do, and I don’t understand that, when you have a cast of actual gods and goddesses being perfect at everything, but Dinklage locked down his Emmy nom and probably his Emmy win with this episode. I’ll address his scenes with Jon in a moment, but can I just cry a little over his acting when he finds Jaime and Cersei? I was already with him as he was walking around King’s Landing and heartbroken over the destruction, but oh God, finding Jaime’s hand in the Red Keep and then seeing them both and you could tell he was crying for Jaime but also for Cersei and for the family he didn’t have and never could have and now never can have and I!!!! just!!!! cannot!!!!

And this is plot that I didn’t like. Plot I still don’t like. Particularly Jaime’s weird escape and return to Cersei. But Mr. Peter Dinklage had me in my feelings to the max during this scene and I just want to take this space to thank him for all the work he’s done. Yeah, I sometimes talked trash about his accent being a bit all over the place. And I got frustrated by his being played as softer and softer as the seasons went on. But Dinklage during Blackwater? Dinklage during Tyrion’s trial? Dinklage speaking with Oberyn? Dinklage? We were blessed that he agreed to take this part, and blessed that he did what he did, and just, yes. He deserved a part like this, and he deserves to be as well-known as he now is, and I hope he continues on this arc forever and ever and that people don’t ask him about playing Tyrion for the next decade because oof.

Jon and Tyrion talking

I was tweeting about this scene while it was happening and it was just a lot of “guys I like this am I wrong or” because I don’t have a great hold on my feelings nor do I have confidence for large segments of my life but this was apparently not an unpopular take! People did like this scene.

“Love is the death of duty” is a really excellent thing to discuss and analyze in the scope of this show: where should loyalty lie? Is betrayal possible only to a person, or to a cause? And the reverse even more so!!!! “Duty is the death of love” like!!!!! That is some really, really excellent discussion, and this conversation happened between the two men in charge who held on the longest: both Jon and Tyrion were stanning for Hey Miss Murder Can I until this last episode. Tyrion drew the line, and Jon is trying to decide if he needs to. And then they go on to discuss whether people can be more than their house words which!!!! Just!!! YES GOOD. Can people be redeemed? Can people reach a point of no return? Are you born fundamentally strong or weak, smart or kind, good or bad? Let’s make a show that analyzes this for 8 seasons and frequently drops the ball but when we’re running it? Hoo boy, it is stunning.

That one scene of Dany with Drogon’s wings

Boy howdy am I a basic bitch but I loved this cheesy-ass scene. Dany in black with the wings of a dragon in the back aw yessss gimme dat unsubtle CGI layering

I’m a simple woman with simple likes

Dany’s death scene

If this scene had been at the end of another ten or so episodes, I would have been 100% on board. It was extra as hell, with the ash and the throne and their outfits and Drogon and all of it, but y’all, it was just really gorgeous.

And I’m logging my support right now, right this second, for Drogon’s weird castlenap. My headcanon Drogon is a big doggo who loves his mom and just wants to break stuff but not because he’s mean it’s because he’s a dog. And this scene was prime “jon y u boop the snoot? was mid-snoozle and you did me a heckin frighten, fren” content. And yeah, he just murdered like several hundred thousand people but he looked like a big pupper takin a nap in his basket. Right Drogie? You just wanted to do a liddul naptime, because it is tough to be a dragon, and the throne room is still kind of warm because you lit it on fire, and you’re just cozy and you’re gonna have liddul dragon dreams where you whimper and kick out your feetsies and take out an entire city block and I’ll be over here with my smartphone filming it and putting it on YouTube where was I going with this

(I’m composed of at least 15% doggo memes at all times hashtag deal with it)

Anyway, this was a really very stunning scene, and I was really not fully prepared for Jon to stab Daenerys, and while I would have liked him to walk into the room to find her actually sitting on the throne, that is a minor aesthetic request that doesn’t change how much I liked this. Yes, they did a really terrible, awful job at getting Dany to Mad Queen status. But I can’t retcon things; I can’t time travel and I’m not J.K. Rowling, so if I’ve been served an overcooked and excessively seasoned bit of plotline that didn’t rise properly in the oven, at least it was plated nearly perfectly. Kit and Emilia sold this really well, the satisfaction and the wildness and the heartrending and the fear and all of it, and to have him embrace her in order to kill her was a really good choice. And Drogon appearing to freak out about his mom was again, extra as hell, but I liked it! His nudge to Dany’s body was making me genuinely a bit sad, and his melting of the throne is not subtle but it was a hell of a scene. I’m clearly not a cinematographer or any kind of visual artist, because I don’t know anything and I’m not subtle, but this scene was the “zoom in on Darcy’s hand after he hands Elizabeth into the carriage” from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice for me. I liked it lots and lots.

Drogon’s defending his dissertation here

The one final thing I really liked about this bit is how Jon must have confessed to Dany’s murder. No one else saw him, and yes, there’s a pool of blood and Dany and Drogon are missing so it doesn’t look *good*, exactly, but it’s just a very deliciously Ned Stark (and therefore a Jon Snow) thing to do. He absolutely would go and confess and accept whatever punishment they decided on for him. Because of course he would. He’s so earnest and honest that he literally died for it and tbh I think he’s just really tired and low-key hoping they kill him again and it sticks this time.

Edmure Tully

Okay I have been joking about where my smol trout is for seasons and acting like he was going to just show up and take the Iron Throne and I would like to inform whoever has been recording my conversations that Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state and that I’m not mad at all because this was the mouse-brown bow on top of this mixed bag of a final episode. And then to get up and argue why he should be king essentially on the basis of “I have existed in this timeline and have not yet died” and then Sansa asks him to sit down and he does it I am deceased. They dragged him back into the show to then drag him and thank you, so much, SO much.

The White Book

To be honest, this was not perfect. I didn’t love that the last substantial scene we got with Brienne was essentially about someone other than her, and I did wish that she noted that Jaime knighted the first woman knight in the Seven Kingdoms because that is goshdarn important. However, this was still pretty bittersweet in an awful way, and I’m glad we got this bit of closure. And also where did Brienne learn calligraphy because that font is baller.

Ghost

THE ACTUAL GOODEST OF GOOD BOYS. HE LOST AN EAR FOR YOU, JON. I’M GLAD YOU GOT TO REUNITE BUT IF YOU WERE STILL IN THE SOUTH REPEATING “SHE’S MY QUEEN” A HUNDRED TIMES THIS WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED. This is silly and childish and I needed Ghost so much, guys. So much. Good giant fluffy murderwolf.

NO LIKEY

Grey Worm

Not that I don’t like him, I do: the character has been really good and Jacob Anderson is a goshdarn delight who you should all appreciate immediately and also go listen to his music he performs under the name Raleigh Ritchie and he makes bops and where was I going with this oh yeah

I don’t know why they made him into like, an Unsullied Batman who is made of revenge and intense stares because Missandei got killed. What, she said “dracarys” and you decided that every Lannister soldier needs to die? Did Dany say that? Like, explicitly? Just take ’em captive, you weirdo??? And then Tyrion is in Thrones-y jail and then so is Jon and yet Grey Worm’s still like die-hard For Dany who is super dead and dude like what is the *point*. I would have loved a scene with him and with Jon discussing what it is like to have love and duty intersect. But the way they made him fall, it seemed like his love for Missandei made him no longer Unsullied and no longer good and no longer interested in what is right, which is just, no. He’s still Unsullied training-wise, but he isn’t a slave any longer, and he has the ability to choose what he wants to do, and I don’t see him choosing cruelty.

And then he hops on a ship all chill for Naath. With his like, unclear number of armed dudes to an island that is pacifist. This is gonna end up super fucked, GW. And my frustration with this is super personal, since I have really liked him and the work Jacob did with his character and his relationship with Missandei (even when others didn’t like it), and I just feel like they did both of them dirty, big time. Meh.

Soldiers, comma, number and talking to

*enormous sigh* can we decide how many Dothraki and how many Unsullied are in Daenerys’ armies from episode to fucking episode? Yes, I’m aware the show is done. Yes, I’m aware this doesn’t matter. Yes, I need to get a hobby that isn’t this. But this drives me up a goshdang wall. We had like a hundred horseyguys at Winterfell who rode off Leroy-Jenkins-style and either died or were blown out like birthday candles and then the wights killed what looked like most of the Unsullied. Then we are in King’s Landing for episode 5 which is apparently a respawn point or something because we got way more horseyguys and Unsullied and it is just curved-sword-and-spear central, now. Then Drogon burninating the peasants and once D-Day is over she stands on that weird set of steps and addresses what looks like the graduating class of Penn State 2019 to tell them some stuff about absolute power corrupts absolutely or whatever idek. In Valyrian, to the Unsullied, and I guess the Dothraki will get like a translation later or something?

Also, okay, I get that dramatic license allows sound to travel in speeches as far as it needs to, but Dany is not talking loud enough to reach even that first row. Again, nit-picking forever, but it stuck in my mind even more because the whole “give a speech from far away that no one can hear” was a joke in the season finale of Barry, which you need to be watching if you aren’t!

I think this is a general summary of why I am tired of gritty, grimdark, “realistic” stuff in general. They will pride themselves on “this is what it would be like, for real,” but only when it comes to people never bathing and violence against women.

Arya

The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives, I’m outtie

I don’t understand, at all. Stay with Sansa? Use your creepy face switcheroo at some point? Do literally anything other than Frodo Baggins Into the West out of there? When exactly did Arya Stark express an interest in being a seafaring murderpuppy who is wearing, still, a lot of fur for a person on a ship where things get very damp very quickly? And I have to imagine Gendry at some point in the near future being like “she did WHAT NOW” because seriously that is just cold.

I’m not saying she had to stay with Gendry. I’m not saying she had to stay with Sansa. I’m just saying she needed to do something that made sense. Go with Jon, even; at least then several dozen fanfiction writers would be happy instead of no one being happy.

The new Small Council

Seriously everyone can stop laughing at him this already exists

So uh Sam, not to criticize, or anything, considering you did put some feelers out there for democracy, which is awesome, but uh, you are super duper not a maester yet and probably need to like finish your degree. You got through orientation and your first lab course at *most* and you’re playing like you’re a professor. Davos can stay he is legit good at ships but um is he married in the show, too, or can we get him the rest of his kids, or something?

Brienne will rise to whatever task she is put to because she is a warrior goddess composed of steel with a heart made of warm flannel and a spine made of granite but why does she wanna do this? And not be with the Stark girls, because oaths and stuff? Bless her for knighting Pod, and bless the show for giving us one more Podrick Payne “mom look I did good” smile, but how and why did she get this job, and who is gonna run Tarth, and no wait I figured out why she’s on the council

It’s to kill Bronn

Remember when I spoke earlier in the season about liking that one moment with Bronn and his crossbow? Remember how I said they’re not gonna develop it well? Remember how I’m a genius? I am a genius. Why is Bronn-chitis on this small council? He can’t do anything other than hit people and he said he’s retired from that, so what exactly does his gross self bring to the table other than gambling debts and an STI he doesn’t disclose to his partners? (Not shaming anyone’s infection status, just shaming this gross fuckface made of mildew and misogyny)

Anyway I would have preferred Brienne’s last scene to be, like, her drawing a map of all the pubs and brothels Bronn frequents so she can kill him and make it look like an accident. She wouldn’t do it but she gets to dream about it.

Bran

Nnnnnnnnope. As a quick thing, Bran the Broken is some gross ableist shit and yeah, yes, I know this is medieval times or whatever but if it were actually accurate Bran would be dead like 8 times over and the people watching it are living in 2019 so don’t be gross in the way you were gross.

Also the Dornish Prince doesn’t even get a name, huh

Okay also was Howland Reed part of this little meeting to elect our malfunctioning iPod? Was that him on the left? And if so, did he not talk to his daughter at any point in the last several months??? And if it isn’t Howland Reed, I can definitely hear Meera from a thousand miles away getting the raven with the news and going “EXCUSE ME THEY DID WHAT”

This was just really, really bad, guys. Like, sink-the-episode bad. And this was an episode I was enjoying up to this point (see above cooking and plating metaphor). But then Tyrion decides it’s story time and the most powerful people in Westeros are so ensorcelled by a B-grade “three eyes, no heart, can’t lose” speech that they agree together to elect the person equivalent of Microsoft Encarta on shrooms to the big chair and that’s the end of the show. What. Also Bran if you knew the future and let all those people burn and that ever gets out you are talkin’ bout a revolution and you are so fucked.

This was the stretchiest stretch of this season and it was just really really awful. “Why do you think I came all this way?” I don’t know, Bran. I’m assuming you saw a bird and decided to follow it because that makes about as much sense as anything else. Yet another plot that could have worked with another season of development but we didn’t have that so it just looks like we put malfunctioning Ask Jeeves into the power position.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk

You all are very aware that I didn’t like what they did with large parts of the last bunch of seasons. But please do not think that I was hate-watching this show or torturing myself. There were parts of it I really, really loved. And for people to say that they wasted 8 years (what?? you watched seasons 1-4 which were objectively great so no you didn’t???) or that they hate everything or that they want the show redone or that they are raging about the ending is just not really okay. Criticising the show is fine; I do it here all the time! But if it’s become who you are as a person, don’t do that. And especially don’t let it turn into petitions. If you’re angry, make memes. Talk to your friends. Blog. Do whatever. But don’t act like you walked on broken glass for nearly a decade out of love or something. You can be disappointed, you can be upset, you can be grossed out by the social issues the show brought to light, but you really can’t be bone-achingly irate about something you read not looking exactly how you want.

And you know it’s not true! Yeah, we had Dorne, and Euron, and sexposition, and weird High Sparrow stuff, and Euron, and Arya’s Braavos plotline dragging, and Ramsay, and Barristan’s death, and Euron. But we also had the Tower of Joy, and the Red Wedding, and Blackwater, and Brienne battling the Hound, and the Mountain and the Viper, and Jaime’s “burn them all,” and Hodor’s name, and Tywin, and Tyrion’s trial, and watching the dragons grow, and Davos, and every line Olenna got. The good stuff was frontloaded, sure, but it was there, and just because the ride stutters at the end it doesn’t mean the whole thing wasn’t worth it. I don’t regret watching this show or reading the books and I’m so happy to watch all of the actors get whatever jobs they want now because of this show. This was a positive use of my time and I’d do it again knowing the ending would disappoint.

Thank you all for joining me on this ride, and I’ll be sure to let you know what show I’ll start next. If you’re interested, donate button is up top. If you have recommendations please hit me up, and seriously, thank you: knowing people read my rambling is a huge ego boost and a source of happiness.

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 5: The Bells

May 19, 2019

haha nah

Legit considered just leaving that as the whole review but as you all know I am never one to shy away from caps lock or emotions so I will of course review this episode.

To the directors’ and cinematographers’ and actors’ credit, this episode was stun-ning. And not in a jokey “thank God it was daytime” way but yes that too. This had to be a Bear and the Maiden Fair to shoot (ya girl got puns for DAYS okay yes I’m sorry) and you made it so good, guys. All the praise from my Long Night review and none of the criticism for the visuals on their own.

I’ll hit my couple high notes here and then I’ll be wrecking the place so don’t you worry. There were high notes, imo, and I’m doing my best here to note things that are going right. This is both for my benefit so I don’t get absolutely despondent after next week and because I don’t want to turn into a person who hates something because it is cool to hate it. However, I will hate things that are bad and there was SO MUCH BAD THINGS, GUYS

FIRSTLY, All The/Small Things

Peter Dinklage

Bro is pushing for that 20th Emmy nom here, and in his scene with Jaime, I think he snagged it. They’ve kinda torched his character over the last few seasons and he seems more like a heist movie’s wisecracking computer hacker than anything substantive, but his scene with Nikolaj was really quite beautiful. I hated 90 percent of the lines in this episode and everything they had Jaime say, but “tens of thousands of innocent lives versus one not-so-innocent dwarf” was a hell of a thing to watch, and his identifying Jaime as the only one in his childhood who didn’t look at him like he was a monster was prime weeping territory. We are incredibly lucky to have this man in this role and I’m genuinely gonna miss him.

Arya and Sandor’s scene

Not going to address the entire “what was the point of Arya coming all this way” thing (the point was to give us a man-on-the-ground that’s literally it) (also how long does it take to get from the North to King’s Landing and where did they learn to tesser) because that’s a part of the larger failure of this episode. But Maisie and Rory made this an absolutely beautiful thing, and I could feel the Hound’s need to protect her when he feels like he failed before. And Arya calling him “Sandor” and saying “thank you” no YOU’RE CRYING. He’s not nice about it, he isn’t going to tell her he loves her, he isn’t going to tell her she is important or valuable, he’s not even going to make sure she gets out safely. But he is going to encourage her to live, and to not be him.

We watched Sandor keep Arya alive so many times in this series: at the Red Wedding, when she murders Freys, when she takes Needle back, and even in a fight against Brienne, which he thought was a threat to her life. He doesn’t value himself much, but he values Arya as a less-damaged possible tiny him. To me, it’s like she found the sweet spot he wishes he could live in: he doesn’t trust people who are too noble or kind or good, but he also doesn’t just kill for felony funsies, and that’s Arya. He can’t fix the world, it’s too damaged and always was, but maybe he can fix this tiny piece of it enough to let her live. He wants Arya to be alive, and that in and of itself is remarkable, because he is not particularly dedicated to anyone being alive, and that includes himself. It’s that ray of hope, that street justice, that tiny island in a sea of apathy and pessimism, and it’s contained in her. I love Sandor, I always have, and if I don’t stop myself, I’ll end up with a dissertation on this scene alone. Sandor was never the stereotypical narrative diamond in the rough. He was fucked up, he’d been fucked up since childhood and never had a chance, and you couldn’t dig deep enough into him and find a heart of gold. But you would find a heart, and that makes the difference.

Cleganebowl

…shoot what did I say about cutting off the dissertation whoops still goin’

This was good, guys. I’ve seen some people not like even this part of the episode, and I genuinely don’t get that dislike. This is what I wanted.

I get that people thought it was a bit too stylized, and I can understand that, especially when we are holding the Mountain and the Viper battle and Sandor v. Brienne in our heads, which had no backing music or even much backing sounds, and were just gristly and disgusting and full of organic noises only, rather than all of those things plus dragon fire and a dramatic staircase.

But I, frankly, loved it. The horror reveal of Zombie Gregor (can someone remind me if he got called Ser Robert Strong in the show? I cannot remember) was a very nice level of disgusting, and thank you to the makeup and costuming department and the Icelandic brick that is Bjornsson. I recently found out he is younger than I am and I am really incredibly bothered by this and I cannot explain why.

And Rory. RORY. You goddamn perfect Sandor, I don’t know how to talk about you without getting worked up and frankly a little bit teary-eyed. In a cast full of incredible actors and perfect casting, you still stood out in every scene, even when you had no lines or movement. You embodied that strength-plus-utter-despair combination that is Sandor Clegane so well. Your lines with Tyrion and Joffrey during the Battle of the Blackwater were incredible (specifically “I lost half my men, the Blackwater is on fire” gave me chills and still does), and he has one line from Season 1, I think, with Sansa, where she calls him awful, and he says “I’m honest. It’s the world that’s awful.” He embodied this 95% hatred 3% let’s kill people 2% hope that is the Hound down to his bones, and to have his last words be “fucking DIE” to his brother were perfect. These two men have no finesse, just the sweaty, gross strength of the biggest and drunkest guy at the bar at 1:45 AM on a Friday, and they will hack at each other until the heat death of the universe. Just…goddamn, I loved this scene.

I’m so sorry, this post is gonna be mostly Sandor Clegane and rage. Anyway, those were the big things, and yeah, visually, this episode was a hellllll of a thing. Hire these people for whatever you’re making next, because even though I was bananas frustrated about the plot, I still got chillingly claustrophobic and nervous at the cinematography.

Aight let’s do this anger thing

Dragons

Okay, ARE THEY POWERFUL, OR ARE THEY NOT. I was happy to see Drogon roast the Black Pearl Jam and his Assorted Merry Boats or whatever the hell they are because yeah, if he’s swooping and flaming they have no chance to get a shot off, and definitely not if he’s at the waterline: can’t fire shooty spears horizontally. And then he goes on to wreck the rest of the shooty spears, and the armies, and everything. I’m not mad about this! This was it, this is what dragons did, this is why the Targaryens were in charge for so long, because when everyone else was messing around with Nerf guns they brought RPGs that can fly. No one had a chance.

I’m angry that we lost Viserion stupidly and Rhaegal even more stupidly and Rhaegal got airstabbed TWICE like that is a likely thing to happen instead of Lake Placid in 1980. In this world, the dragons win. They just do. Anything other than this is wrong and bad

Varys

I made this joke while watching and I’m glad others thought the same thing

I don’t even… sigh. I know he gets to call out “I told you so” from the afterlife or whatever but please, he didn’t know that she was going to go HAM on King’s Landing because there was no character development. Was he trying to poison her? Why didn’t he fight any of his previous monarchs hard at all, including Aerys? Why were we denied one last campy, shady as fuck scene between him and Littlefinger? Both of them are not characters I particularly cared about, but they are both smart, and we knocked them both off with “tried to commit treason sloppily.” I don’t even know what I wanted for Varys, but it wasn’t this.

Jaime and Cersei

Launch this shit directly into the sun, I refuse to have it. I held out hope until the very last second, and I mean the very last second: as the bricks were coming down I was hoping he’d knife her in the ribs.

I know that valonqar was books only; I know that these two genuinely loved each other. I know that the last moments they had were really, really well-acted by Lena and Nikolaj: I wasn’t happy with the scene at all and I still felt (if not actually sad) a bit choked up over people in pain.

Everything else was bad. We’ve worked for 6 or so seasons to watch Jaime slowly chip away at his absence of caring. Much of that work was with Brienne and for Brienne, but certainly not all, and despite the disaster that was Season 5 and the from concentrate disaster that was Jaime’s Season 5 Dorne plotline, he was acting in defense of his child whom he hasn’t spent much time protecting in the past. And I have to, I must, bring up the bath scene from season 3: God, it’s just so perfect, and it is important because it shows this golden shiny fucker cared from a while back: Aerys II was going to burn the city, and Jaime killed him and his pyromancers to stop it. (I had some people try to say that this was pure self-interest because Aerys told Jaime to bring him Tywin’s head, and Jaime was not going to, but then why kill the pyromancers, why slay a king when you know what it will look like to the outside world, and why never tell anyone the good you did because they’ve already chosen to hate you. Not here for this.)

And then, after we’ve watched him sacrifice his hand and fight a bear and make Brienne armor and a sword and try to save his children and try to talk reason into Cersei and abandon her to go fight in a battle against frozen death that he thinks he won’t survive only to return, get captured, and once his brother has spoken of the tens of thousands of innocent people in King’s Landing, tell him with a goddamn straight face, “I never cared about them all that much.” WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?! YES YOU DO! YOUR WHOLE KINGSLAYER IDENTITY AND POSSIBLE REDEMPTION IS BASED ON THIS! This isn’t even “hey, as a bookreader I saw this plot line/character development turn out differently.” This is “your written dialogue says the opposite of what the character canonically has done. He cared so much he killed a king and sacrificed his reputation for it. This was bad and sloppy and stupid. This isn’t me being blind to the actual faults of Jaime Lannister; this is the writers failing to understand what they wrote in their introduction while writing their conclusion. But yeah, “themes are for book reports,” B&W. They’re also sometimes needed to not trip over your own goddamn feet while staring off into the distance at a mirage of glory. Hear me fucking RAGE, goddammit.

Euron

At last, I can rest, I suppose. I enjoyed reading a brief interview with Pilou Asbaek who plays Euron, as he said you can only play a character like his once in a lifetime because he’s “such a fucking idiot,” and I like that a lot. I’ve never really had a problem with the actor, which is true of basically everyone on the show: they are doing what is written really well. And how can I possibly shame an actor for getting a part where you will never, ever, ever be told that you need to rein it in.

Pilou: is that too much, or

Director: yes, but keep it up

Director: in fact even more, do more

But what was the point, what was the goddamn POINT. This doofus collection of seaweed and AXE body spray and outstanding gambling debts and the knowledge that he’s never satisfied a woman just magically manages to not get Boston Market-ed by Drogon, swims a fuckin’ Iron Man swim portion to get to the beach, and strolls up right as Jaime is about to head it? Oh okay, sure. And Jaime is unphased by his information that he slept with Cersei? Sure. And this is a fair fight? One dude who’s walked a little vs another who has swum away from fire? Jaime should destroy him. Also broski you killed Rhaegal and like, Dorne, but go off about Jaime literally no one cares. If you want your last words to sound like you’re a salty War Boy from Fury Road, that is your choice, Mr. Whiny and Chrome. Plus you’re wrong a castle fell on him. I’m so tired, you guys, I’m SO tired.

“and playing in left field tonight, it’s every decision”

As a brief thing, Arya’s plot armor. Her scenes were great, but hearing the showrunners say that we need to be with her as she tries to escape because she’s a person we care about is wrong and says kind of messed up things about the viewers. If you put us with that mother and daughter trying to escape their own violent, horrific deaths, we wouldn’t care? That’s untrue and dudes I hope you don’t feel that way. Again, stunningly shot and acted but whattttt.

Just…just a mess, y’all. An absolute mess. Dany’s entire switch over to Big Mad was handled with all the finesse of a toddler in a bathtub and they are acting like they did something subversive and brilliant rather than just layer a lot of Targaryen madness quotes on top of each other like that makes a fucking plot line somehow. I knew from that second on we were in for some bullshit but I didn’t realize on what scale. Again, I am okay with her eventually becoming the Mad Queen that some seem to think she will be. I’m not okay with 100 minutes of weak setup including “my nephew bae won’t bone me anymore” as valid and complete reasons for her to snap and kill people. Of course she’s burned people alive before, of course she has. But they have been slavers, and the owner of the Unsullied, and traitors, and sworn enemies, and wights, and a whole host of things that are not good things and were in active rebellion against her. She’s not nice, but she’s not a horrorshow. But some bells go off and she’s full-out berserker. Credit to Emilia for acting the hell out of this one on a green screen with no other actors with her because it is her talent alone that let us buy any of this. It’s just so goshdarn bad and we watched her incinerate people for everrrrrr. Including the Golden Company and serious question did Harry Strickland have any lines or was his role to just have good bone structure like

Jon, trying to reason with a bad plot turn

And then there’s this whole thing. They see the dragon start burninating the city for no reason. So, according to the writers, the next logical step for the incredibly loyal Northmen and the iconically well-regulated and obedient unto death Unsullied just lose it and decide to go HAM on Lannister armies. The fucking fuck was this fucking mess.

Why would they do this? Why? You see your leader do a thing that is not good so you are like “yeah let’s keep fighting in the city she’s actively burning against an army that has surrendered. And Jon is telling his forces, who are just joined at the hip according to Varys and a bunch of other characters because Jon and his hemmed pants are the absolute best at everything and they would die for him, to fall back and stop fighting and oh look they don’t. Grey Worm is angry and broken, but he’s not going to kill a surrendered Lannister. But that’s exactly what he did. And the Northmen might now be Unsullied, but they are gonna listen to Jon, and they don’t, and neither do the Unsullied, so we just get a ton of war crimes that are beautifully lit and costumed and directed but holy God it was like half an hour of war crimes that shouldn’t have even been happening!!!! It’s like they’re annoying hipsters and “we thought of war crimes before our audience look at how cool we are” NO

YOU’RE NOT COOL AND I DON’T LIKE YOUR CHOICES

Some additional reactionary stuff because I am extra

Just yesterday I read my favorite thinkpiece on why the last set of seasons and especially this on have felt like such a mess. And I hate to even call it a thinkpiece, because other than its relevance to this current super popular show, it is just really good literary and media analysis. It can be found here, and after you’re done reading this blog, turn on your actual brainpower and go spend some quality time with it, because you’re worth it and so is this story.

I’d also like to address the frustrating arguments I’m seeing all over the internet that are, at heart, logic-poor “u mad bro” over and over. There’s an annoying aspect to this in that over and over people (and women especially but that’s another day) are taught that the person who cares least wins, so if you are like “it’s just a show calm down” you win because you are Jeff Bridges Chill while also being a dismissive dick. Below are the greatest hits.

“you’re mad about realism? the show has dragons lol”

Ah, yes, my apologies. Only shows that take place on Earth with no fantasy elements are subject to any sort of narrative rules. It’s ridiculous for people to expect that characters that are essentially like us just in medieval sort-of-magic land behave with any kind of continuity. Plus, I feel like a large number of people saying this have also frothed at the mouth re: Star Wars at least once. The movies have swords made out of light and you’re worried about realism? lolol yeah see I sound like an asshole too.

If people were getting mad about “no, the White Walkers shouldn’t be able to do whatever magic thing they did” then yeah, you get to use the dragons rule. Complaining about the fantasy elements being fantastic deserves this criticism. Otherwise, you’re missing the entire point deliberately and I am pretty sure you got upset at the finale of Lost. y u mad the show has like monsters and shit lol

“if you hate it so much stop watching it”

Please tell that to Pittsburgh Pirates fans, or like, Detroit. Or most sports teams in history at some point who still managed to attract fans. We watch for the hope, and the fact that good things have happened in the past. There is potential for something really great to happen, and we won’t know until it shows up on TV.

Also just to catch you up on the past like 3 years of life, it is frequently fun to hate things in a jolly way. We are all going to drown in a sea of nonbiodegradeable plastic and tears in like 20 years and I’ll be damned if I don’t make some jokes before that happens.

“it’s Game of Thrones, did you think it would end all happy?”

*gif of Ramsay saying if you think this has a happy ending…*

Oh, my paws and whiskers, shut the fuck up. Yeah, this show is violent and cruel and the good guys don’t win all the time; they frequently don’t. But to act like this is an excuse to let bad storytelling happen means you missed the entire goddamn point.

The main characters, the “good guys,” if there is such a thing, the “heroes,” are at risk. They are not guaranteed to die. You’re afraid for them because they might die, but you don’t know, and anything could happen. It might be something kind of okay, like a character living to see another day. Otherwise we might as well just make The Human Centipede: Medieval Times and call it a day because if you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention fart noise fart noise airhorn blehblehbleh. We aren’t looking for happiness or even satisfaction, we just want a character-driven show to be driven by character. We were sad about the Red Wedding but we weren’t complaining because it worked.

Plus if the happy has violence in it the people saying the above shit are super fine with it

Brienne getting knighted is sentimental un-Thrones-y trash

Arya managing to kill every Frey, somehow, by herself, was super great and fine

“seriously? I totally knew Dany was going Mad Queen, you’re just upset that you missed the signs”

*enormous sigh*

I didn’t miss shit, bruh. I have not spent, at this point, collective weeks of my life analyzing the books and this show to have you step to me like “maybe you missed something” because you can’t get aroused without the presence of an unearned feeling of pride. That’s your issue.

Of course, of COURSE she could go Mad Queen. Targs aren’t born mad, they usually take a bunch of years to get there while hinting at it along the way. And in the books, where she is a POV character, we hear her narration, in which she has both moments of calm and peace where she doesn’t want to be like her mad ancestors and worries that her behavior may be that way, and we have moments of her violence, in which she thinks “just torch the place.” Right now, she’s on the sane side in ADWD, but yeah, I can see the story arc-ing towards her ultimately being mad.

But thus far, there’s been so fucking little to indicate her heelturn that to hear someone smugly type that they’re right, they know they’re right, they guess they knew it all along is NOPE-ITY NOPE NOPE.

Almost done

One more of these, y’all. I’ve still had a blast watching a majority of the show, and I’ve loved interacting with people about it, and I’ve (mostly lol) enjoyed writing these posts. Help me figure out what to watch next, and don’t let me catch you on one of those petitions to redo the last season: there’s frustration, and then there’s “DANCE TO MY WILL, SERVANTS” and that is gross. You are allowed to not like things, but if you’re gonna petition for something make it like, single-payer health care or affordable housing. This is not a real problem. Here’s to tonight; it’s been a hell of a ride.

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire

Game of Thrones, Season 8, Episode 4: The Last of the Starks

May 9, 2019
A Mood

*enormous sigh*

Guys, we started off so well. And then it turned terrible. I am not to the point of “this was the worst episode of the series” because season 5 and season 7 exist and there were genuinely good things here, but it was an overall mess and an abundantly clear declaration of “we don’t talk to women when we write for this show.” I’m obviously in this doofus show till the end, because I would like to see what happens with their last hundred fifty minutes or whatever, but I am tired, y’all. Just real tired.

GRRM is clearly laughing all the way to the bank, and no shade on him selling his story to TV (I’d absolutely do the same), but there’s just no solid skeleton here anymore. It is Harry Potter’s arm after Gilderoy Lockhart tries to treat it. It’s a jellyfish. It’s Hexxus in his original form in Fern Gully. I need a nap.

I did like some stuff so let’s get to that first because there were some genuinely lovely things here.

The opening scene

Yes, good job, yes. I want more shows and movies that show wars to also show the cleanup from wars. It’s horrific, it’s weeping, it’s blood and gore and mud and saying goodbye and trying to keep it together and wanting to keep living in honor of those who didn’t. It’s losing in order to win. Victory itself just means you’re the one who gets to bury the dead. And this clearly took at least an entire day, maybe more than that, since the battle ended before dawn.

The shot of the pyres and the characters we lost was heartbreaking in its symmetry: these are people, with friends and families, and we have to set them on piles of wood in an orderly way so that they can be disposed of properly. And watching the characters who were left light the pyres was hard in and of itself: Grey Worm having to burn the bodies of so many of the men he lead into battle to die. Dany saying goodbye to Jorah even got me a little (although apparently what she whispered is a secret, forever, or something idk idk idc) and Sansa saying goodbye to Theon got me real good.

And Kit was great here. When he’s given non-garbage, he can act, and this was it. His speech was super Ned, super great, and the way he pitched his voice, in the combination of leadership and voice-cracking, was really, really good. And part of me felt like he was remembering Ygritte: he had to burn her, too. I may be giving the show too much credit, but I really liked this scene.

“we didn’t die let’s get smashed”: Gendrya

If you recall in Episode 2, I mentioned one of my favorite character things is “we are all probs gonna die let’s chat” and another one of my favorite character things is “holy shit we lived let’s party.” This scene was not quite spot-on perfect but it was significantly above average and I just wanna give it some praise.

Daenerys Targaryen, First of Her Name, Yanker of Chains trolling Gendry by making him think she was gonna maybe execute him but then surprise makes him a lord was Peak Dany and it was stupid and I loved it in its own way. Gendry proposing to Arya immediately after? His dialogue was sloppy, and I don’t think he’d blurt out “I LOVE YOU” like a One Directioner, but I still kind of approve of this scene. If it had happened a day or so later, I’d have liked it more, but this also goes into “holy shit we lived” territory and Gendry might be high off of those feelings and just proposing without tact, just adrenaline. But they absolutely nailed a facet of his character that I believe to be true: his non-noble birth was the big hurdle for him and a relationship with Arya. This could have been done better, but it wasn’t bad?

Oh and Sandor being like “you’re gonna go smash” wasn’t criticism, it was support

The Hound can appreciate a hounddog

Shut up and enjoy my joke

“we didn’t die let’s get smashed”: Davos, Tyrion, Bran

I don’t know when Davos turned into Previously on Game of Thrones Man but I’m here for it. Trying to process the Lord of Light stuff, bless his heart, like it wasn’t just like weirdly dragged around by the scriptwriters to help with some plots when they felt like it. I love him, I love that he thinks about stuff all the time, and I want him to get a cabin in the mountains somewhere where he can fish and smoke cigars and that’s it for like 2 months. Davos needs a vacation.

Tyrion (at this point in the episode, guys, I’m not addressing the later garbage) also needs a vacation just because he talked to Bran for more than a second which is goddamn exhausting. “I don’t really want much, anymore” shut UP you malfunctioning microfiche reader you’re so odd and for what reason? And Tyrion is super correct about Bran being, technically, if we are doing the dudes-inherit thing, the Lord of Winterfell. He has been since Season 3. I don’t know why I liked this scene, since we still don’t know where Wargy McWargface went during the battle (Burning Man?), but I think I liked it because Tyrion is your most gregarious friend at the party trying to talk to the weird dude at the party and not really making headway.

I do also appreciate Tyrion being the only person who seems to care about after the war. It was one of the few high points of season 7 to me (in particular the scene where he asks Dany about her legacy) and here, again, the Imp is noticing that all the big spots on this map have no one in charge and at best a contested lordship. The Iron Islands, the North, the Riverlands, the Reach, the Stormlands no but only as of three days ago thanks Gendry, the Westerlands??? is that Cersei, technically? Dorne has a new Prince???? Who the fuck is Dorne’s new Prince???? Is it a baby Sand Snake oh no wait they aren’t in the show and we killed everyone else WHO THE HELL IS RUNNING DORNE. WHERE IS EDMURE TULLY. DON’T *TOUCH* ME I’M FINE DON’T TOUCH ME okay okay okay I’m alright.

“we didn’t die let’s get smashed”: almost everyone else

Tormund turning the party into rushing Alpha Delta We Didn’t Die is extremely on-brand for him, and I will never, ever be tired of people giving Jon shit for being short, because I am not a nice person. His stupid phallic horn and need to bang at least one person also makes sense, and I am pretty sure he was attempting to pull Podrick which, yeah, you go, guys. I can sail on this ship. You boys go have fun.

Dany being annoyed that everyone is giving Jon props for shit she’s been doing for years is a goddamn MOOD, tho. I don’t really like how it was filmed as “oh no it’s Aerys II Redux” when it’s just every woman in a meeting when her idea gets rephrased by a colleague and suddenly everyone thinks its brilliant. Be annoyed, ma’am. Jon doesn’t ride the dragon so much as he lucks out at not falling off. I’m gonna address this assorted Dany garbage later as well, don’t you worry.

SAN-SAN REUNION. I didn’t know how much I wanted to hear Rory say “little bird” again but apparently I did. I also really, really liked him saying “if you had come with me you would have been safe” since I read it as “I, Sandor, did not do enough to protect you and force you to come with me and I hate myself” because, again, Sandor hates everyone just a little more than he hates himself. Those men did terrible things to Sansa, and he’d gladly kill them, but he also screwed up because he didn’t protect her.

I was… not a fan of the way they decided to write Sansa’s lines. I am not here to police anyone on how they choose to address their recovery from an assault, but at a personal level, I really don’t like the idea that a sexual assault made the person who they are today. I would never, ever tell someone how to heal, or how to survive, but I hella have some stuff I wish hadn’t happened to me and I feel like I’d be just as weird and great if it hadn’t. And I resent the idea that Sansa wasn’t strong before: she was a child with normal child dreams for 8 episodes in Season 1, she grew up super fast and tried to save her father, she then watched her fiance cut his head off in episode 9, and she immediately turned into at least 85% of the smart icequeen she currently is. Sansa told Joffrey in the last episode OF SEASON 1 that maybe her brother Robb would bring her Joffrey’s head. Sansa is strong, Sansa’s *been* strong, and I am really bothered hearing over and over again how annoying she was but nowwwwww she’s great. She was a kid! She was doing just fine as a kid! And everyone stanned for Arya who full-on attacked the prince of the realm like that wasn’t a dumbass move. And I love Arya, I do. But Sansa never had anything wrong with her, unless you consider being 13 and a girl a problem. And a lot of the fandom does, let’s be honest.

This girl gave us the “of course you’ll be in the vanguard; they say my brother always goes where the fighting’s thickest, and he’s only a pretender” speech IN. SEASON. 2. Show some damn respect.

…. dammit every week I’m like “this post can’t possibly be as long” and then I get super in the weeds and the weeds are my feelings and I do a word count check and I’m a thousand higher than I thought I’d be WHOOPS

Anyway, on to a part of this episode that I genuinely liked

“we didn’t die let’s get smashed/let’s smash”: Braime

#QuitPlayingJamesWithMyTarth

FINALLY

bless Chrys Reviews (who hated this ep btw) to the STARS

I’ll get to how the showrunners ruined Christmas later but first let’s open what we got from Santa, shall we? I adored this whole set of interactions. Playing a drinking game might be one of the few ways to get Brienne out of her shell, and she feels somewhat safe with Tyrion and pretty safe with Jaime and Pod, so this is a conceivable way she joins in. Tormund is of course weird, and Brienne of course unknowingly stumbles onto one of Tyrion’s not-great bits of his past. I read this scene as Tyrion wanting to dodge any questions or followup into his first marriage and therefore calls out Brienne for being a virgin. It’s otherwise a prrrrretty dick move for a dude who isn’t a dick for no reason, and girl, I’d get up too. Also 20 points to Jiffindor for looking at his brother like “one, fuck you, two, I thought you were my wingman and that is NOT HELPING”

Then, we got what is my favorite scene from this episode. (And to be clear, as much as I want these two to get married, her knighting was still a better scene, it just was.)

I saw people complaining about Jaime having poorly written dialogue, and how he would not have just continued to tell Brienne that he got the right temperature for shelter you from the storm: he would have been more suave. Ignoring the fact that he’s somewhat drunk completely, I think this scene would have been the same had he been sober. Jaime Lannister has no fucking game. Yeah, he’s handsome and looks like the lobby of a premier hedge fund management company, but he’s only ever been with one more person, total, than Brienne. He has no idea what he’s doing, and he extra has no idea what he’s doing with a person who is both not his sister, and who is fundamentally good. Our guy is in his forties, and is trying to get some on prom night, and it was never not going to be a disaster.

The two things I found most endearing were the entire shirt fiasco, which called to mind Brienne’s frustration in season 3 when Jaime is trying to cut his food with one hand and can’t and she reaches over and stabs it so he can slice. She loves him, she wants to help, but their relationship is always going to be based a little bit on one-upmanship and irritation. I really liked this moment because of it. And Jaime, my guy, I know I said you have no game and you don’t, but you did manage to stumble on the best possible thing you could have said to Brienne and I’m giving you credit even though I think it was 5% strategy 95% panic. “I’ve never slept with a knight before” is just the most awkward and precious thing in the entire world, reminds Brienne that she’s A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS, and puts him on a somewhat level playing field with her; this part is new to him, too. I would have preferred a longer scene both because I wanna perv on these two being happy, but also because I would like to let the show demonstrate what was different with Brienne over Cersei, and how Jaime deals with the loss of his hand in intimacy. But it’s okay: this scene was still like 98% perfect and for a moment I swear we were infinite, B&W, and then you fucked it.

I’ll come back to this

One more thing I kinda liked

Bronn’s weird scene

This is probably the first scene of his that I have liked: I generally don’t like his “jokes,” they just seem like misogynistic filler, and he’s got the vocabulary of Sandor with none of the depth, and I don’t like being told to care about him because I bigly don’t. He’s older, unwashed Daario. And then this scene happened.

I….liked it? At first I was like “uh wow okay security team is garbage” but someone pointed out to me that they were in town, not in the castle, so Bronn wandering around would actually have probably been fine. The callback to “I’ll pay you double” is pretty great, especially since he gets to barter with Riverrun, and Tyrion definitely expected like, at most, a small pile of gold.

As much as I don’t really care about him or find him that funny, he is one of the most consistent characters on the show, in that he is literally always out for himself, and that has never changed, and he’s like, quadrupled-down on being the selliest of sellswords. And, because I definitely watch this show with a bit of “inherited rank is idiotic let’s bring out the slicey bois” in my back pocket at all times, I loved watching him school Jaime “Brett Hayworth Kyle Cade Cameron the 5th” Lannister about how people got to be in charge and the nobility isn’t anything but the descendants of monsters. Comrade Bronn, viva la revolucion. Who knows where this is going, but this was spot on for characters, all three of them (Bronn’s amoral Jaime’s a bit of a snob Tyrion negotiates), and while I have no hope for it to matter in a significant way because this season’s been a mess, I will recall it fondly.

Last thing I liked

Cleganebowl put up the event posters

Yessssss Sandor. I don’t know why I’m so desperate to watch a supremely damaged disaster of a person kill his undead brother but it could be really, really impactful and if they let Rory work with it I think it has the potential to be actually great. His little scene with Arya was pretty great as an isolated incident (she shouldn’t be there but I’ll address that in a moment) and they’ve always been a delight to watch. Little Murderpuppy and Murdermastiff roadtrippin’ down to Cleganebowl yesssss

That’s about it. Everything beneath AngryJonFace is my unhappiness.

And since I’m pretty sure most of you show up here to watch me rage, don’t you worry, I was saving it. I hated so many of the choices in the last portion of this episode, and the dumdums who made them are out here like “no let us explain” and I kinda want to be like “just say you’re tired of this show and wanna do your Starry War and your racist weird Civil War show because we know, y’all, we can tell.” So many things, wrong, just, SO many, let me gather my thoughts

Okay let’s start WAIT NO I LIED LEMME ADDRESS THE COFFEE CUP THING

I full-on do not care if there are flaws in a final product: catching a cast member laughing or seeing a random cell phone in a period piece is always good for laughs. However, I really appreciate watching this chuckleheads eat some crow about this since last week they were all “we didn’t make a mistake, it wasn’t too dark, our cinematic masterpiece of a show cannot be contained on your puny tablets, we have never done anything wrong ever” and then next week the Pumpkin Spice Latte Who Was Promised is just chillin’ on the table.

I’m so tired, y’all, I’m so tired. The end of this show is gonna come and it’s just gonna be like “meh.” Good Omens gets released pretty soon after, though.

Okay, for real this time, The Bad Stuff

Sekritssss

Ae-jon is the worst at keeping secrets and the conversation with Dany about “can I just tell my family plz bae” was a disaster. Dany is 6000% correct that the North will try to put him in charge; he’s legitimate, and he’s Lyanna Stark’s son, and he’s a Targ. He’s got it all. If she wants to maintain hold, this has to stay under wraps. And if Jon were smart, he’d also not tell anyone because Jonboy, if you tell people you’re the heir to the throne, they will do the thing where they make you king, and you super just wanna ride off into the distance and chop down firewood for the next 40 years until you blissfully drop dead of exhaustion. You don’t want the responsibility, why would you tell people??? It’s super Ned of him to be like I WILL REVEAL SECRETS WHEN I FEEL IT IS GOOD TO DO SO AND NOT BEFORE and have it fuck up everyone’s lives, but that’s the only joy here.

They cheated us out of seeing the Starks react to his secret, which Bran already knew but he was too busy making a bong out of a weirwood tree or whatever he does with his time, and then Sansa goes and tells Tyrion like immediately, and Varys knows, and this is just so, so dumb. The only way it works is if Jon is hoping the secret gets to Cersei and she has him assassinated so he can finally get some rest.

I just… what is the *goal,* here? And this leads into the weird family reunion (HBO, we get it, the trees are the Starkiest thing to ever Stark, let them have meetings in a place that doesn’t require Bran to power his wooden chair over like a thousand tree roots in the snow) where Sansa and Arya are like *Tevye voice* FAMILY, TRADITION, WE ARE THE LAST OF THE STARKS and Arya proceeds to fuck off and ride south in her next scene. I personally cannot stand the trope of “I can’t tell my loved ones about this thing because they WON’T UNDERSTAND” and that’s what this is and as psyched as I am for Sandrya road trips I just…. what is the *goal,* here, guys? I don’t think they know and we won’t know, and that’s remarkable for this adaptation where GRRM asked B&W at their first meeting “who is Jon Snow’s mother?” as a test question. “Lyanna Stark but who gives a fuck” was not the correct answer.

Everybody Hates Daenerys

Show, wyd. Just an absolute disaster. And this is a thing that COULD HAVE BEEN GREAT. This series is about the grey areas: so, so few people on this show are all good or all bad, and Dany is one who (when she’s written well) can be the perfect example of this. Investigating her possible Targ madness is a really cool plot thing… when it is done *well*. It helps in the books when we get to hear her thoughts in her POV chapters, and we don’t get that here, but even in the most charitable state, I am still Not Fucking Here For this sudden twistyness of “O NO SHE’S GOING MAD” when she’s just being exactly the fucking same as before.

Varys, especially, was driving me up a goddamn wall this episode. You’re doubting her, bro? You’ve served so many monarchs we’ve lost count, and those include Robert the Usurper, and JOFFREY, and Tommen, who was controlled by Cersei. Baby’s First Despot was, in fact, Aerys II, and Varys took advantage of this to the max. But Dany being a little anxious is what makes you worry, homie? And why are you suddenly all over Jon’s dick all of a sudden??? He doesn’t want the job, he doesn’t have control over the dragons, he can’t marry Dany, and to be fair HE IS DEAD. Like, that can’t be good for continuity on the throne; Polly Pocket SadBoi is gonna get the flu and keel over in 12 hours. And when Tyrion suggests marrying them? Varys says no because Dany would control Jon. Super encouraging to hear that the king you want would get bulldozed because the queen is hot and loud. You’re a dumbass and this dialogue is a dumbass.

It seems to all be based around Dany wanting to burn down some or all of King’s Landing to win the war. Which, if we recall, was a thing Aerys II was hella gonna do, just for fun. And I don’t know what Varys’ other options are if Jon doesn’t want the job, because he’s certainly not going to work for Cersei, the posterchild for instability. And I don’t need to have two dudes sitting around a conference table talking about how a woman is going to be less liked in a position she’s more qualified for because she’s a woman: that’s what real life is for! HahahahaSOB

I’m struggling to articulate all of my frustration without doing a PhD dissertation in You’ve Fucked It Up, and this blog entry is already too long, so I’m gonna try to summarize. This could have been done well. The possibility of Dany being a despot could have been done well. The possibility of Dany being mad could have been done well. You had the time. You had 7 other seasons. But you can’t do it now and make it look like anything but lazily-written misogyny. Dany is still solidly in the top 30% of people who have held or could have possibly held the Iron Throne, and to have people acting like she’s going to be a disaster if the brave men don’t stop her or some shit is just bad, bad, bad bad bad.

Defending Dany, that is what this blog has come to, dear God

Euron

I can’t

I don’t

I’m titling this section after this Brillo-pad-faced clamdick because it was all the level of bad that he is and I hated it the most ever.

Michael Livingston over at Tor wrote a wonderful article about how the spearing of Rhaegal was garbage and he’s a full on professor of Medieval Culture so he knows some stuff. (Also this is my unrelated push to get on Tor’s email list: they send you entire free books sometimes, and they cover basically everything you could hope to cover, and just do it, it’s great.) I’m decidedly not a professor of anything except Being Mad Online but it is always reassuring to learn that the thing that seemed super unrealistic is in fact unrealistic.

Euron Everdeen, our saline solution second-shift Spencer’s manager, apparently got super fucking good at skeet shooting in four days and can hit a flying target with a heavy weapon from the deck of a ship but no one is gonna call him a Mary Sue, obvs. Pumice-face McBarnacleBalls with his vape-pen and who has no redeeming qualities whatsoever unless you’re short on costumes for your community production of Rock of Ages was able to knock Rhaegal out of the sky from a quarter of a mile away like he’s a neighbor’s kid’s drone hovering too close to the property line again. This was a plot choice you made and signed off on and shot and stood by. Dragons are incredibly powerful in this world, they are what let the Targaryens conquer the place to begin with, and I appreciate that you’ve written yourself into a corner, but coming up with Ice Truckers: the Camping Trip last season and this golem of plot holes and indifference this season is not a solution. You had two years. This show has magic and wildfire and a maseter who is apparently super chill with making zombies – use something that makes sense to even the playing field. You don’t get to opt out when it’s tough.

Also once again where did you get the spears it’s been like a week and those ships shouldn’t exist yes I’m still on this from three years ago. And why didn’t they have scouts. And why isn’t air superiority, a thing that is a thing militaristically, suddenly not a thing. And why did B&W say that Dany forgot about the Greyjoy fleet in the clip after the episode because what. How did she not see them. Fucking *fuck,* I hate this.

Since you have made it this far I am going to reward you with a few Euron memes I made, enjoy

Missandei

Everything leading up to her execution and the execution itself was horrific. And not in the Red Wedding kind of horrific, but in the “we are way too comfortable decapitating the only woman of color on this show in order to demonstrate that a character we know is Satan is even more Satan-y and let’s just put that same woman of color whose character is a former slave in shackles while we do it.”

This was appalling. This show has a race problem, it’s had a race problem, and it just fridged a woman in the third-to-last episode of a show in order to show a woman who poisoned her husband in the first season is maybe not a good lady. And to have Tyrion walk up and try to reason with Cersei, “for the sake of her unborn child,” was just straight garbage. There’s been no confirmation that she’s even pregnant, and she doesn’t care about ANYONE. No, but please, Tyrion, talk at your sister (from like 100 feet away in a normal tone so she def can’t hear you but that’s yet another flaw in this episode, The Last of My Patience) about how she should embrace her motherly emotions or something SHE BLEW UP THE SEPT OF BAELOR AND KILLED SEVERAL HUNDRED PEOPLE. SHE GIVES ZERO FUCKS.

This ended up making me feel the same kind of uncomfortable that Sansa’s rape scene made me feel. A bad thing, done to a woman, to show that a really bad person is a really bad person. How dumb do you think your audience is, guys? And how willing do you think we are to overlook your willful blindness around race and gender? The collective reaction to your Confederate show should make this clear.

#QuitPlayingJamesWithMyTarth: Christmas is Cancelled

This scene was bad, every part of it. I don’t buy Jaime thinking he’s a bad dude all of a sudden, I don’t buy Brienne storming out into the snow in anything but like full armor, I don’t buy Jaime’s doofus speech, I especially don’t buy Brienne crying. Brienne is tough as fucking nails. Is she a gooey cinnamon roll at heart? Of course she is, but she’s only allowed Jaime to see a tiny portion of that. He hasn’t said he loves her; at this point he is a friend with at least one benefit and an unclear future.

Maybe this is another instance of “I have to go kill a person and I can’t tell my loved ones because they will try to help me or stop me” and I’m hoping it is because that is our best-case scenario here. Otherwise they Nicholas Sparks’ed us for literally no reason and one of the best redemption arcs ever is wrecked. Plus my valonqar bet is tanked and I am not gonna be happy if that happens.

And Brienne? My girl would have gotten dressed, not cried, and hit him. I’m not kidding. All her life she’s been knocking men like this into the dirt. And if she doesn’t hit him, she says “you’re wrong” super calmly and waits to be alone before she cries. This scene was very good acting on the parts of both Nikolaj and Gwendoline, and I don’t have any criticism for them; they’ve been essentially perfect since day 1. But anything good from this scene came from them, not the plot, and I hated this, I hate it, it’s bad, and may I just add if anyone recalls IT WILL TAKE SER DOOFUSHEAD LIKE A MONTH TO GET THERE. I stg this show just A Wrinkle In Time’s the Riverlands more and more each season. This fucking show.

And finally

Ghost

The showrunners gave some garbage explanation about how it was more impactful for Jon to just walk away or something and it just sounded like “Our Show Is Not Lit Poorly You Just Don’t Understand Art: Part 2.” I don’t want to hear about it being difficult or costly: you shot a battle over a month and a half with a giant and three dragons and wights and magic. CGI the goddamn wolf for a goddamn second so Jon can say goodbye correctly.

I want John Wick 4 to just be Keanu and Ghost running around the world tracking down Jon Snow to make him apologize. It was never just a puppy. PET THE GODDAMN DOG, JON.

Kinda getting happy there are only two episodes left. I don’t know how you recover from this epic phoning it in, plus B&W just said they plan to be very drunk and far from the internet when the finale airs, which is some smug-ass horseshit and also everything is gonna be bad. Watch Euron take the Iron Throne and appoint Daario as Hand and change the Greyjoy house words to “Bitches Be Trippin’.”

I’m so sorry I wrote five thousand words about this, I’m so sorry. If you made it I love you.