Derik Badman's Journal

2020-10-24 10:48

Another week passing by. My second weekend raking up leaves in the front yard. Some days are cool and dark, some warm and sunny. I found a dead mouse in the basement yesterday, not in one of my traps (the whole reason I went down there), just hidden behind my grandfather's old paper roll holder and very dead. The outside stairs down to the basement door are also, it turns out, a worm haven. Having neglected to really clear leaves out from that area, it now has a nice dark soil around the corners, home to some rather large worms.

I guess I gave up on The Dragon Waiting, as I've not returned to it all week. Instead I read Mary Garrard’s Artemisia Gentileschi and Feminism in Early Modern Europe, part biographay, part art history, part feminist history. At times I feel it strayed too far away from the first two. Certain chapters used the feminist history to discuss Artemisia and her work, readings, possible influences, etc., but other chapters (the last one in particular) felt like they were more about the feminist history and only very slightly about the painter, which one does not expect given the title. Still, it was an engaging read, and a nice complement to the Caravaggio book I'm still working through.

I'm supposed to fill in running an rpg for our group tomorrow and I'm stumped. A one session (and lately pretty short session) adventure that seems worth the effort is hard to find. I've browsed through a ton of pdfs (and some books) I have and anything that seems interesting enough is too long, we'd not get far enough in a few hours. I'm currently fighting myself on either trying to write something real fast or just cancelling the session. On one hand, does it really matter if I make up something and it's not that good? No one will really care, as long as we get to hang out together. So is it just my pride, that I don't want to run something crappy? On the the other hand, how much effort will I put in to come up with something and if it's crappy, was that a good use of my time? I think I've just been feeling a little worn out and a bit off lately, unfocused at times. I just want to disappear into a video game and not have to think about anything. But I'm really trying not to.

Star Trek: Discovery came back for seasson 3, so I watched the first episode yesterday. The basic concept for the season is a novel one for Star Trek, the ship and main crew travelled forward in time at the end of last season, and in this one they arrive almost 1000 years in their future to a universe that is a lot different than the one they left, the main part being the Federation is no more. The first episode introduces a new character (one assumes to be the person who can tell the other characters stuff about their new present) and immediately falls in to a worn cliché, because he is a rogue with a heart of gold. Of course Burnham has to fight with him when they meet, and he has to steal from her, but then when faced with a common enemy they of course work together and come to realize the other isn't so bad after all and blah blah. It's such a tired plot device and nothing about how it was handled was interesting enough to make up for it.

This morning I watched Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (and yes I had to look it up and copy/paste his name), a very unusual movie that I sort of like and sort of was disappointed with (mostly at the end). I'm not sure it's a film one can logically make sense of, but it does have some haunting moments. It works a line being fantasy and belief that is pretty interesting. A man is dying and one evening the ghost of his wife just appears at the table. Then his son, turned into some kind of monkey spirit (he looks like a man in a gorilla suit with glowing red eyes), walks in. Clear more from the title than anything in the film itself, there are scenes that can be read as the man's past lives (as a water buffalo? as a princess?). In some sense these things could be religious beliefs made manifest, but in another sense they can be read as fantasy (to a non-believer). Thinking about it, a lot of fantastical concepts were once things people believed were real/true in some way. But as time goes on those things became explicitly fanatasy as they are divorced from belief.

An article in Senses of Cinema on Meek's Cutoff and slow cinema I read today.