Eclipse 2024

It’s cloudy so I can’t see the partial eclipse but the dimness and quiet are eerie.

I knew it was going to be overcast so I didn’t bother looking up the exact times or anything. I’m a night owl and usually sleep until 1 or 2 pm on my days off which this is one of. So I kind of expected to sleep through the eclipse. I did not.

I woke up at 1:30 just minutes before maximum “darkness” in my area, by coincidence or instinct I couldn’t say. I could tell something was “wrong” about the light peeking around my shaded windows. I poked my head out the door and immediately noticed the world was silent except for a lone cricket. The light was dim but not dark. I’m in the 90-80 percent range. If I hadn’t known it was an eclipse I would have thought it was just a very cloudy overcast day.

Not a single bird for ten minutes and then an owl hooted. And now there is a a cacophony of bird songs. The sky has brightened slowly, almost unnoticeably, for the last twenty minutes.

I missed seeing and hearing the beginning of the eclipse. I thought because it was overcast there was no point of trying to experience it. Waking up just before maximum, finding the dim quiet world, watching and listening to it come back alive, is something that I will remember.

Bang Brave Bang Bravern ep 1 & 2 recap

Episode 1 recap

Just watched the first episode of Bang Brave Bang Bravern!

It starts as real robot show with military forces engaging in war games. We are quickly introduced to the hot shot pilots from Japan and the US. Lots of Top Gun vibes. Then aliens attack (lots of Battleship (2012) vibes). The military forces are overwhelmed and our hero is nearly killed. But a sleek shiny mecha falls from the sky to save him. It order him to, “Get inside me.” and transforms into a colorful new form.

As the two begin cutting through the aliens, a upbeat poppy theme song begins to play signaling the change in genre from real robot to super robot. And then our hero, hot shot pilot of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, Ao Isami yells, “What the hell is that music!?” He spends the entirely of the battle gasping for breath, eyes wide, sweat streaming down his face; he is not having a good time.

It’s like a guntank pilot fell into a MegaZord. It’s hilarious and glorious.

Episode 2 recap

In the second episode of Bang Brave Bang Bravern! Isami’s very bad day continues as he is waterboarded by US men in black and a man in Hawaiian shirt. Meanwhile Bravern, the giant robot, monologues about how good it felt to have Isami inside him.

Another wave of aliens attacks, lead by a giant humanoid robot. Smith, the American hot shot pilot, rescues Isami and drives him, against his wishes, to the battle. Realizing Isami is in no shape to fight, Smith makes an impassioned plea to Bravern to let him pilot. Bravern says, “No.” and Isami must pilot the Eva Bravern. The two now easily defeat the alien robot but a piece pops off and falls into the ocean. Also Isami’s clothes burst into light leaving him naked.

At the debrief, the commander of the US forces thanks Bravern and wishes to apologize to Isami. This is complicated by Isami still being inside Bravern and naked and now huddled in the fetal position whimpering to himself.

After the homoerotic ending credits, Smith wanders away from a beach fire, stepping over turtles laying eggs. He trips on an unseen object; a girl in a strange glowing uniform. She probably isn’t important in this homosexually charged super robot show.


This show has a dark sense of humor steeped in super robot anime tropes. It’s definitely not for everyone but if it hits for you it’s really going to hit. Bang Brave Bang Bravern is currently, early 2024, airing so it’s relatively easy to catch up.

I’m a morning person now, I guess

So, it’s been a week and a half since I started being a morning person.

It feels exceedingly weird to wake up at 7am but it’s working. I’m sleeping through the night and feel rested in the morning. I’ve been having intense vivid dreams. I’m still adjusting to having free time in the morning rather than late at night.

My sense of time sometimes tells me that it’s later in the day than it really is. Five hours after I wake up used to be late afternoon; now it’s just straight up noon.

I try to get to sleep by 11pm so I can get a solid seven hours of sleep. I can go to sleep later but my body will wake up at 7am and stay up. I’ve tried sleeping in and I just can’t anymore. I can take an afternoon nap if need be.

So yeah it feels like this is going to be a thing from now on.

Turn A Gundam ep 1 reaction

I just watched the first episode of Turn A Gundam. A mecha podcast I follow, Giant Robot FM, recorded an episode on it. I hadn’t watched the series before I decided to pop in and at least watch the first episode. It was nothing like I was expecting.

I had heard the name before but knew nothing about the show. I’ve seen like tenish episodes of original Gundam, the first few of a couple other series, seen gunpla of a lot of mobile suits, and I’ve been watching the current series, Witch from Mercury. Gundam from what I’ve seen is giant robots fighting in space.

So, I was not prepared for the early 20th century-like setting the main character started wandering around in after landing from space. The flying wing blimp reset my expectations for this series hard. Later, airplanes that seem just past the biplane level of tech are referred to as being the latest models. And the cars are boxy “just this side of Model Ts” vehicles. Where are the lasers and hover bikes and space war? I started questioning if I was watching the right anime. Maybe I was watching an episode of the Little Prince instead. But no, the mid episode eyecatch proudly declared I was watching Gundam.

Toward the end of the episode some allusions are made to what the situation is but there is still a lot that’s unclear. While I am desperate to know what is going on I like that the characters aren’t “as you know”ing at each other. Also no robots, giant or otherwise, show up in this first episode but I’m not disappointed because of how interested I am in learning more about this world.

I original watched this just so I could listen to that one podcast episode but I am compelled by my curiosity to keep watching.

Poker Face Ep 1-4 Review

I have watched all four episodes of Rian Johnson’s new crime mystery show Poker Face. In my previous blog post I questioned why four episodes had been dropped all at once. I’m still not sure but I wanted to share some of my thoughts on these episodes. Mild spoilers to follow.

The first episode has the unenviable job of introducing the main character, her circumstances, her personality, and the hook for the rest of the season. It does this while also having it’s own crime mystery for Charlie to solve. The opening is very Colombo showing off the entire crime before rewinding a bit and shifting to Charlie’s perspective. Seeing the time of the crime from her pov without cutting to the crime really grounds the audience in the character. We know what really happened but we get to see Charlie poke at the pieces she sees.

The aesthetics of the show are perfect for the “seventies/eighties weekly crime mystery show” style they’re going for. Frost Jr’s suits are perfect and the casino also has slightly outdated look. Natalie and Charlie’s cars are older models that invoke that past time period. And the Mother of Pearl handle gun is just chef’s kiss. Despite the older aesthetic, smart phones and tablets do show up in the episode and are smartly integrated into the plot. The villain is smart enough to erase evidence from a phone and even check that he isn’t being recorded at one point but slips up in other ways.

The ending of the first episode is strong. Charlie solves the murder of her friend and gets back at the men who killed her. Her victory is short lived after Frost Jr kills himself in disgrace, which puts her on Mr. Frost’s short list. Thus the premise of the show, Charlie Cade, human lie detector, on the run from Mr. Frost’s men, is established.

Watched the second episode and I loved it. It’s very Incredible Hulk or The Fugitive with the main character wandering from town to town getting mixed up in the local crime of the week. I really like that the show isn’t afraid to spend time (17 minutes this episode) setting up the crime before Charlie shows up in the episode at all. The one thing I’m missing is a short intro explaining the premise; not because the show needs it but because it would fit with the style of the show and be fun.

Something like, “Charlie Cade is a human lie detector. Her best friend was murdered by the men who run Las Vegas. She uncovered the truth and now she’s on the run from Mr. Frost and his right hand man Cliff. They will stop at nothing to find and kill her.”

I like the recurring bit with Charlie not being able to remember a word. They did it a couple of times in first episode and once in the second. It’s a fun audience participation moment; the grownup version of a Muppet asking you to sound out the word on the screen.

Charlie’s lie detector skill is used but it isn’t the crux of the show. She does plenty of boots on the ground information gathering and investigation; mostly using her skill to ferret out contradictions (in a very Colomboesque manner).

The episode’s ending is a little week because Charlie has to run before seeing Jed getting arrested. The fact that we do see the police pulling up, lights and sirens blasting, lets us know he doesn’t get away with it after all.

Episode three is the first episode not directed by show creator Rian Johnson who wrote the first episode and directed the first and second episodes. The show’s style is so well defined that I did not see a noticeable difference. Plus it can be hard to say what differences are from directing, writing, or editing.

I was sad about the dog until it turned out to be a “MAGA dog”. It’s a funny bit and lessens to blow of the dog’s apparent death (spoiler the dog lives but is still racist). I thought the dog was going to stick around as Charlie’s “sidekick” but thankfully it gets a home at the local radio station.

The music cues while Charlie was tasting the different woods was a very interesting way to convey that information. Later when she first smells the cinnamon floss we hear an air horn which calls back to George calling it an air horn at the symphony which Charlie literally calls back to in the scene a minute later. And then later the lack of a sound becomes instrumental in unraveling the murder conspiracy.

It’s a little funny that this show, that streams on Peacock, would include Okja, which was a Netflix movie, as a plot point.

In this episode unlike the last one, Charlie gets to stay on the scene until the police show up giving her and us closure before she fades away. Overall I think I liked this episode a little bit more than the second but all three episodes so far have been very good. On to the next episode.

The fourth episode feels like the weakest episode so far. It’s still good but lacking some of the complexity of previous episodes. The murder is fairly straightforward and so Charlie’s investigation doesn’t have many twists to uncover.

I expected Ruby to deny Gavin wrote the song and for that to lead to a gotcha moment but it didn’t because she just admitted it. She checks out the amp and sees that it has the three prongs. So it should have been safe, which again felt like it should have lead to a gotcha moment but also just goes no where. And when Charlie realizes the whole band was in on the murder not just the one guy, that felt like it should have raised the stakes but she just accuses the whole band and gets kicked out.

Cliff showing up also was kind of anticlimactic. The villain’s right hand man catches up to her and she easily evades him and escapes.

The ending, where the song’s melody is revealed to be copied from the sitcom Gavin was watching and having the whole murder plot exposed by a true crime podcaster, was the best part of the episode. Still an enjoyable episode and if I wasn’t writing this review I probably wouldn’t have thought to much about it.

So, did Poker Face need a four episode drop? No, I don’t think so. The first episode is outstanding and has a strong story hook to bring back the audience in the following weeks. If they had wanted to play it safe, dropping the second episode as well to give a taste of the weekly format wouldn’t hurt. I just don’t know what is gained by dropping almost half the season, four out of ten episodes, on the first day. I’m not complaining to hard because the show is great and I plan to keep watching it in the upcoming weeks.

Poker Face and the four episode drop

I’ve just watched the first episode of Poker Face, Rian Johnson’s new mystery show on Peacock. I love this first episode but I won’t know if I love the series until next episode. It’s a strong start, with a interesting main character, an intriguing story, menacing villains, a really great setup for a weekly episodic show.

I’m concerned that four episodes were dropped all at once. It’s become common for multiple episodes of a show to be dropped if they need, or there is a perceived need for, them to be seen together. Usually it’s two or three episodes. Four episodes of a ten episode season, nearly half the season, feels like a desperation move to hook viewers.

After seeing the first episode, which I remind you I loved, this feels completely unnecessary. I could understand dropping two episodes. This first episode while it does have its own mystery also sets up the rest of the season so it’s not indicative of a regular episode. So you drop the second episode to inform viewers of what a regular episode will be like.

I am going to watch the second and maybe third episodes tonight(three episodes of any show in a row is usually my limit) so this is just me speculating unto the motives behind the four episode drop. Everything I’ve heard so far about the show has been positive. People are eager to watch the rest of the season and as many more seasons as will be made. I hope I feel the same way.

I can watch the sunrise if I want

Over the past month, my sleep schedule has been all over the place. Between not being able to sleep when I usual sleep and feeling like passing out when I should be awake, it has been terrible. But finally I think I have been able to stabilize my sleep schedule.

Before this disruption, I was a night owl, waking around noon and going to sleep around 5am. I’ve lived by this schedule for more than a decade. My manager allowed me to only work afternoon or evening shifts because of how sluggish I would be in the morning. I literally could not fall asleep before 4am.

At the beginning of the month, the store I work at did it’s yearly inventory scan. We do it early in the morning starting around 4am. For most people this is just an early morning; for me it’s dead center of my sleep period. In the past, I’ve managed to get a little sleep before hand and take a nap afterwards.

This year, I tried that but in the days following, my sleep became restless or impossible. I alternated between sleeping for only an hour or two and laying in bed for hours trying to sleep. Even reminding myself that just laying there was better than nothing didn’t help. During the day, I was tired and started taking almost involuntary naps in the afternoon. Since I work in the afternoons, this was not a tenable solution. Slowly I came to realize my body wanted to wake up at a different time than I was used to, which meant I had to go to sleep at a different time.

For last couple of weeks, I have woken up close to 7am. My body is now forcing me to be a morning person. I hate it. I’ve been actively fighting against it. However I have given in and to accommodate my new waking time I have been going to sleep around 11pm. The last three days I’ve followed this schedule and it seems to be working.

I went to bed “late” last night at 2am. What used to be an early bedtime is now a late night? I feel like I’m losing my identity as a night owl.

Podcast update

Last March, I stressed myself out about making my podcast, Quiet of the Night Podcast, to the deadline(that I created), instead of just making it. (the enemy of done is perfection etc etc) As I am now working on reviving the podcast, I went looking for the files from the last episode I didn’t complete. I was hoping I had recorded all the segments and just not edited them together. Unfortunately, I only recorded a couple of segments, not nearly enough to assemble into a full episode.

So, I’m starting from scratch which means I really should reread the book since it has been almost a year. That’s not really a chore since I do like the books I’m reviewing but it does feel like a setback.

Untitled flash fiction – (Manager of Dirt)

Based on a prompt from writing-prompt-s on tumblr (prompt reprinted at end)

I wasn’t leaning on the counter when they came to my register. My elbows were merely distributing  40% of my weight to the counter but I wasn’t leaning. I certainly didn’t not see them until one made a choked hissing cough. As I straightened my spine, the only straight thing about me, I affixed my standard customer service smile and began to greet the customer. The greeting died in my throat as I focused on the ‘customer’.

Now, I can just say I saw a trio of guob’nkrs but that doesn’t convey the confusion of seeing one in person for the first time. Most people will never see one in person only on tv or online in pictures. Even then they’re prepared to see an alien. I was expecting a person, a human person. Their roughly humanoid shape clashed with their blue green skin. Then as I examined their face, my eyes followed the line of their forehead back and back; skull curving into a bright red crest. My first thought was they were cosplayers but the extra joints in their arms and legs, which bent the wrong way quickly disabused me of that thought. The one closest to me coughed hissed several words and gestured with tripodal hands.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that. Can you repeat that?” I said reflexively defaulting to my customer service scripts.

Again it made sounds that resembled no language I knew.

“I don’t understand what you’re saying, sorry.”

The alien’s shirt opened and a second smaller set of arms emerged holding a box. As the alien pushed buttons and turned knobs on the box, I realized they were wearing casual button down shirts and khaki pants. No shoes on their inhuman feet. The clothing bunched in odd places around their bodies and legs. The alien suddenly smacked the side of the box and I heard a fragment of a sentence, “… working junk.”

The alien bobbed their head and spoke again. As they cough hissed, the box spoke in English, “Greetings non-combatant … take me to …  manager.”

I could have asked if they meant the mayor or the governor or the president but honestly I’m not paid enough to correct aliens trying to initiate first contact in the first discount store they walked into. Plus the customer is always right.

I turned away, thumbed the talk button on my walkie talkie and said, “I need a manager to the front registers, please.” I turned back to the aliens, “He’ll be here in just a few minutes.” They glanced at each other and bobbed their heads.

Over the aliens’ shoulders I watched Bob power walk up the main aisle, around the queue, and past the trio of aliens to stand next to me.  He did a quick scan of the register screen before asking me, “Anna, what seems to be problem?”

“They wanted to speak to a manager,” I said gesturing to the aliens.

Bob glanced over the register, did a double take back to me, and settled on staring directly at them. “About what?” he asked.

The lead alien spoke, “Greetings manager of dirt. We come to talk … nuclear war … stop.”

Bob sighed, “I’m not paid enough for this.”

“Bob, I’m really not paid enough for this,” I said.

Bob sighed again, “Yeah.” He stepped out from behind the counter, put on his manager smile, and addressed the alien group, “Ok, follow me to the office where you can sit down…” he had just noticed their unconventional leg joints, “or something and I will call … someone to talk to you.”

That was the last time I saw them in person. Several days later I saw them meeting world leaders on tv. Bob was interviewed as the person the aliens ‘chose’ for first contact. I didn’t even get a mention.

(The first aliens to visit Earth rushed development of their  universal translator and it’s still not out of beta. “Take me to your  leader” comes out as “I want to speak to your manager.” It gets wackier  from there.)

Quiet of The Night Podcast – Episode 2 – Alex Browning

In 2000, four students and one teacher from Mt. Abraham High School died in unrelated accidents. However they did have several connections to each other. The Quiet of the Night Podcast is a fictional true crime podcast that draws its case-files from supernatural and horror tv shows and movies.

In 2000, four students and one teacher from Mt. Abraham High School died in unrelated accidents. However they did have several connections to each other. The Quiet of the Night Podcast is a fictional true crime podcast that draws its case-files from supernatural and horror tv shows and movies.

The second and last fictional “true crime” episode of the podcast.

This episode originally came out July 1,2020, a few months after the pandemic really began effecting my area. Also a couple of months after I had moved. The stress from everything happening in the world and my personal life shut me down for a while. I had some plans for more episodes but those notes were lost with the death of my laptop hard drive.

Currently I have no plans to do more fictional “true crime” episodes but I’m not against doing more at some point.