Boba Fett and events

I have started watching The Book Of Boba Fett…

I’ve seen the first two episodes, and… I like it! I’m not very critical of Star Wars media in general. Most Star Wars is entertaining without being very deep or complicated, because it’s aimed at children. Which is fine. I thought the sequels were nonsense (particularly the third one) but otherwise I like Star Wars. Boba Fett is kind of the same. It’s entertaining and not complicated. I like seeing how the Sand People live. It makes the universe feel a little bit more interesting.

The music is really good. I want to say it’s unique, but actually the main melody keeps making me think it’s going to break out into Pirates Of The Caribbean (He’s a Pirate), so I don’t think it’s quite as unique as maybe it should be. But the whole approach is very unique. The rhythm has a bit of a folky feel and the vocal harmonies are amazing. It’s a very original way to approach film/TV music.

In other news I think the whole Ukraine situation is really sad. I think it’s sad there hasn’t been a stronger response to this. I could write a lot about my perception of Russia because I used to work for a company that employed a lot of Russians in Russia, but maybe another time.

However I do remember that the proposal to remove Russia from the SWIFT banking system was floated back in 2014 when they invaded Ukraine (Crimea) the first time (I remember it, because my employer at the time was concerned that it would stop us paying our Russian employees!). Russia would have expected it to happen this time around and apparently deemed it an acceptable risk. And yet… despite Russia launching a full scale invasion of a European country, we haven’t even managed to hit them with the level of sanctions they anticipated. I think that’s pathetic, and should Russia find success in Ukraine they will feel emboldened to continue west by a toothless response from the Western European nations.

The Castle

I finished Man In The High Castle!

It’s quite a strange experience, because it was a bit unsatisfactory but also probably more believable than the alternatives. There were a lot of storylines at the start of S1 but by the end they were focused mainly on two characters who were both bad people, but they were very well written and humanised. They weren’t really bad people exactly, but they did bad things. For complex reasons, some of which were very understandable. I’m not sure it would have been satisfying to give them a redemption arc, because they did do some pretty terrible things.

I suppose it’s a window into the concept of the Banality Of Evil, which roughly says that evil in real life is generally committed by relatively normal people doing relatively normal things. I sometimes feel guilty that I’m not a vegan because the amount of animal products I consume means I am indirectly responsible for a lot of animal suffering, and I have no doubt that some of the details I’ve avoided knowing are horrific. Yet I’m just a normal person, as are the people who run the industrial processes required to support it all. But that’s a different post.

The whole program was a bit strange really. I really loved the alternate history setting and the politics, but the character drama especially in S1 was a bit low quality and out of place. Things improved a lot when they started fleshing out the Smith family.

I think I would recommend it with the caveat that the first episode (or was it the first two?) is very grim.

Anaemia?

I’ve been feeling a bit off lately, and at some point it suddenly occurred to me that I am probably getting anaemic again. I used to have problems with anaemia a few years ago. I started feeling very tired and a bit spaced out sometimes. Early anaemia symptoms are a bit vague. But I’ve sometimes been feeling a bit woozy after running, which is what really made me think “hmm”.

So I phoned up my doctor… I had to phone because they’ve disabled online booking “due to COVID”. Which makes no sense. And then I had to phone four times. The first three I was told that the queue was full, and on the fourth I apparently got put into the queue. It took 35 minutes in total to speak to someone. The earliest appointment they could give me was a telephone appointment, in four weeks time. What has gone wrong with my GP surgery?!

So anyway… That’s ridiculous and I’ve started self medicating iron tablets. Fortunately you can buy them over the counter. Iron overdose is a thing but from seeing my iron levels in the past I think I’m more likely to develop diabetes from the sugar coating on the tablet than convince my body to absorb enough iron for it to be a problem.

I watched episode four of The Man In The High Castle this evening. I am really enjoying it so far. I really like the intro and theme too. The style reminds me of The Expanse’s intro sequence. In this case it’s very arty and surreal against the grim reality of the story.

Castles

I finished Clone Wars and The Expanse. Clone Wars ending was quite sombre but I already knew it would be since it lines up with the third prequel. I enjoyed Clone Wars a lot more than I expected to. I hope that we get to see more of Ahsoka. I think I’d rather see an Ahsoka series than the Boba Fett and Obi Wan series that they are also supposedly making.

The Expanse was… ehhhh. Something actually happened in the finale, so that was an improvement over the previous 5 episodes. But it seemed like it was a set up for S6. I hope it’s better than S5! S5 is by far the weakest season so far.

I’ve started watching Man In The High Castle. I’m only two episodes in so far but it seems very good, if incredibly bleak. It’s set in an alternate history 1960s America where Germany and Japan won WW2 and occupied and divided up America. I think the logistical improbability of this has been hand-waved away by saying that Germany won the race to the atomic bomb. Anyway…. I really like Rufus Sewell as a.. err… gestapo? officer. He plays a very intelligent and very scary man.

I don’t know what else to watch though…

I have heard good things about The Orville but I don’t think it’s on any of the streaming services I have. Star Trek Lower Decks might be good too. I keep thinking about watching S3 of Star Trek Discovery but I’m not sure I can face another 10 hours watching Michael Burnham being serious and dramatic.

Daybreak

The BSG finale was…. not really overwhelming and not really underwhelming either. It was medium whelming. It gave an OK sort of resolution to the characters as a whole that’s moderately satisfying as long as you don’t think about it at all.

But if you do think about it….

The promise that the cylons “have a plan” was dropped from the title screens at some point, but it was definitely there early on and they really didn’t have a plan, or understandable motivations at all. They are one dimensional villains apparently driven purely by spite. Other things that weren’t really explained were: the opera house, which seems to have been an extremely complicated allegory to help Hera walk a few metres down a corridor, Starbuck’s resurrection and disappearance, and Hera in general.

Hera was supposed to be special. She was so special we had to endure two ridiculous plotlines to ensure she was the only part-cylon child after the writers accidentally introduced two other part or fully cylon children. The first being Tyrol’s son actually turning out to be a product of the least believable affair in the history of TV, and the second being Six’s pregnancy and miscarriage (peak soap opera). And in the end, Hera turned out to be special because… she becomes mitochondrial Eve. Literally any of the women in the fleet or on the planet could have become mitochondrial Eve!

And then at the end they decided to abandon all technology (including medical technology), because… ??? And everyone’s perfectly happy with that, despite having mutinied only a few episodes ago for far less.

Another special moment: When Adama is picking a replacement admiral to stand in for him while he’s gone, he says “We need someone the fleet admires and respects… so we’re picking this guy who occasionally stands in the background! Well done, extra, you’ve earned it”.

I mean, I enjoyed the series as a whole, even though it went downhill after half way through S2, but you do have to switch your brain off for a lot of the later episodes. Which is frustrating as it was intellectually intriguing to begin with.

I think a good example of doing this stuff well is Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. They managed to keep the intrigue right until the end, and then it concluded in probably the only way that really made sense, but was still unpredictable.

TV

Unfortunately, all the TV programs I’m watching are going to end at pretty much the same time. Not through any planning on my part, I’m currently two episodes away from the end of Battlestar Galactica, The Expanse and Clone Wars!

I suppose after Clone Wars there’s Rebels (low expectations) and Bad Batch (high expectations, but not many episodes). I have quite enjoyed Clone Wars. For something that started off as a children’s show, it hits pretty hard in places. And now we’re so close to the end, they writers and producers really upped their game.

I wish I could say the same for BSG and The Expanse. I loved the first four seasons of The Expanse. The fifth, though, has lacked focus. Now I’m two episodes from the end and it’s still meandering without strong plotlines or plot development in general. I thought the 8th episode was particularly bad. Someone on Reddit mentioned that Naomi’s scenes occupied 40% of the runtime for the episode. I don’t mind Naomi, but her on her own running up and down a spaceship over and over again hardly makes for compelling viewing. It feels like Naomi’s plot is the only one that has been fleshed out this season, which is a shame, because it’s just not that interesting. In fact, Naomi is probably the least interesting character of the main cast. The plot with the Martian espionage that Bobby was following at the beginning of the season was classic Expanse, but it’s taken a back seat to the soap opera of Naomi’s family.

I don’t find Marco Inaros a particularly exciting villain. It seems like there are strong parallels to 9/11, but would Bin Laden have made for an interesting fictional villain? He spent 10 years in hiding because he spent all his power on one big but ultimately tactically stupid move. I get the same feelings from Marco. Okay, you did something big, but it was just one event and now you’re on borrowed time.

Battlestar is the same. I just watched ‘Daybreak Part 1’, which is the first of the last three episodes. I think actually it was originally broadcast as two episodes, but iPlayer has split it into three.

I can’t believe how boring it’s become. The last few episodes have been so slow. I thought with it being so close to the end that it would suddenly pick up, but even now on what was broadcast as the penultimate episode, it just feels like a big “so what?”. Half the episode was taken up by flashbacks to before the start of the series. Why are we being told at this late point that Laura Roslin had two sisters who were killed in a car crash? If you wanted to make this part of her character, you should have done it about 70 episodes ago.. Recent episodes also include “Starbuck learns to play the piano” and “let’s spend an hour watching characters give lectures to each other about the mythology of BSG”. I hope it ends well, but there’s barely been any plot development for a long time.

Work and BSG

Today was one of those days at work where you find out that something is URGENTLY needed TODAY. The thing that was needed was completed over a year ago, but it has never been tested in real usage, UNTIL TODAY. And today it is urgent. Despite being completely ignored for the past year. I do get frustrated with this. A few weeks ago there was a similar scenario where a fix for something was urgently required for a demo at 2PM. Well maybe if you have a demo at 2PM, don’t deploy an untested new release at 11AM?

Battlestar Galactica spoilers ahead!

So I’ve now finished S3 of BSG. To be honest it’s dragging. Season 1 and the first half of 2 (up to the end of the Pegasus/Cain storyline) was gripping, but since then it’s meandered a lot towards interesting ideas via some extremely boring ones.

I liked the trial subplot and I liked the lawyer. I liked Lee sticking to his innate sense of right and wrong. He and Helo are quite consistent in that, while some of the other characters oscillate all over the place and become unbelievable and dislikeable (Adama, Roslyn).

But where are we now? Starbuck died, and I didn’t care at all. Because firstly I don’t find her to be a nice person at all, and secondly I didn’t think she was really dead. Now she’s back again, wow didn’t see that one coming.

I’ve been very intrigued by who the final five will turn out to be, but after four of them have just been revealed I feel a bit “well, okay?”. What bearing does it have on the story? It just seemed a bit pointless. And tying it all to a Bob Dylan song was really strange and took me out of the BSG universe while I was watching it. Maybe Bob Dylan is the final cylon. Maybe it works better if you’re not familiar with the song, but the line “said the joker to the thief” is so distinctive that you’re immediately taken out of the program and into whatever relationship you have with the song.

I don’t know, to me it feels like we’re entering Lost territory where the writers have lost sight of the original intrigue and are making things up as they go along and stop focusing on keeping a tight storyline.

Thick of it

I watched The Thick Of It, which if you’re not familiar with, is a political comedy from 2005. I mention the year because it’s sort of dated to that time period, both in terms of the politics and the, er, I don’t know, office behaviour.

It’s kind of strange, because the first three seasons are quite light hearted political satire. There is a lot of swearing and a lot of shouting, but, to you as a viewer, it doesn’t seem that serious. Then in S4 the tone shifts a lot and suddenly it is serious.

It only took me a few days to get through the whole thing, but now I feel a void in my life knowing that I’ll never find out what happened next to all the characters. I think I’ll miss Robyn the most. And maybe John Duggan.

Galactic

Firstly I have to note that this WordPress block editor is terrible. Half the time my cursor just disappears or isn’t where it should be. It’s a bad experience for editing text. I am using Firefox – maybe they only tested it on Chrome.

Sometimes lately I don’t sleep well and the problem is that I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica (the remake). How is anyone supposed to watch some of those BSG episodes at 9PM and then go to sleep before midnight? I didn’t see it when it was on TV originally, though, I have actually seen the original series! I don’t remember much about it except Starbuck was a man (shocking) and there was an episode where he was stranded on a planet with a cylon and they learnt to work together. I used to watch it after swimming lessons (on a Tuesday I think).

Anyway, the remake is on iPlayer so I’ve been watching it. I knew it was supposed to be good but I didn’t know it was this good.

Events

I have written before about the Mandalorian, but I’m going to write again (no spoilers). I enjoyed Season 1. It was good, solid TV. It wasn’t gripping because it was episodic, but it was very good for an episodic program. It feels very quality over quantity. Now I’m up to date (S2E3) and I’m really excited about the rest of Season 2! I’m totally hyped.

I’ve admitted defeat with my hip and have a physio appointment next Friday. It’s been very odd. For example Saturday it was fine for about 7-8k then over the next few km the front/side of my hip started feeling very dull and heavy. Yesterday it felt 100% fine for about 4k then very suddenly the side stiffened up, and I could kind of feel it down at the outside of my knee too. I think those are two different things. I think the front/side is muscular fatigue and the side down to my knee is the IT band, though it’s probably more that my pelvis isn’t stable for whatever reason I haven’t been able to figure out myself.

If I don’t get anywhere with this physio there’s another one that’s not quite so easy to get to which looks more promising, as they have a specialist running clinic that has treated Olympians.

In other news, I talked to a recruiter who’s put me forward for something that on paper looks like a good fit. We’ll see what comes of that. I have a lot of recruitment stuff in my inbox but I don’t really want to be dealing with it every day, so I don’t really know how to manage the time I will need to spend on it. If I respond to all of it I’m going to be snowed under with recruiters wanting to speak to me and then at some point some of those will turn into interviews. I don’t want to end up with more than about one interview a week, so it’s a bit hard to know how much to respond to.

This is a good start anyway.