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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

July 29
Terminator: Dark Fate was rather fun. It's silly, but it doesn't take itself seriously. Lots of callbacks to the previous movies in the franchise all the way up to the end if you want that little nostalgia hit, too. It's not essential watching by any means, but if you've nothing better to do, why not?

July 25
Ok, so PrimeVideo has ... The Blacklist: Redemption, a single-season spinoff from The Blacklist showing some of Tom's off-show adventures. We watched the first episode: it's a bit pilot-y ("hey, I know! let's have some completely implausible reason to have a woman running around in a swimsuit, and later a further implausible reason to show her in lingerie! the TV execs will LOVE that!") but we'll probably steam ahead with the other 7 episodes regardless.

July 24
So that was annoying: we went to start on season 6 and discovered that (a) PrimeVideo only includes up to season 5 and (b) Ireland is not included in the limited list of countries where you can buy/rent titles on PrimeVideo. (Insert loud complaints about nonsense media licensing models here.) So we watched an episode of Vera instead. It's a good show, sort of Midsomer Murders for the Grim North, and even though we'd seen this particular episode before neither of us could recall how it worked out - including the twist in the tail of the twist in the tail.

July 23
I could've sworn I'd seen Cocktail at some point, but it was on the box last night and in my COVIDy-brain fuzz I figured I'd watch it.

Wow. Bit of a stinker, eh?

For some reason all the major characters - and a few minor ones - have Irish names. Our Hero even has an Uncle Pat who owns a bar with a shamrock on the outside. I'm sure they serve green beer on Pattie's Day. It's not relevant to the story other than that I'm sure someone thought it added "depth" to the characters, who are, to quote someone, so shallow you could run through them without getting your feet wet. The character arcs are kinda terrible. The poor girl but secretly rich bit is terrible (insert Pulp's Common People here). Tom Cruise acting, as always, primarily with the sort of constant incisor-baring grin that makes you fear for his sanity or bloodstream contents or both, is terrible. The romance is terrible: boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy completely flakes out on girl for a $50 bet. If that wasn't the last you saw of girl in the movie, you know it's a stinker. (spoiler: it was not). Does Boy ever grow as a character? Nope, I can't say he does. I mean, yes, there's the entirely predictable "I am footloose and fancy-free forever" flipping to "I promise to be world's best dad" but he's still the same cocky asshole at the end of the movie that he was at the start.

I liked the music. The flair bartending was actually what I wanted to watch, and that was alright. The rest, though? Watch it when you're sick and brain-foggy so that you hopefully won't really be paying much attention and it'll all seem like a weird dream, best forgotten.

(There's a bunch of conflicting comments on IMDb about the flair bartending: that it was done with trick bottles, that The Talent insisted it was done with real bottles, that people refused to do it because insurance, that there was a lawsuit over who trained Cruise, etc. Probably more meat in those stories than there is in the movie.)

Oh, and we finished Season 5 of The Blacklist. Well, that was... a season. The Big Secret revealed in a slightly annoying character-talks-to-dead-partner flashback, cliffhanger as to whether other character survives or not resolved before season ends, ANOTHER Big Bad introduced and almost as quickly gotten rid of... despite our weakened mental states, we both figured the hostage situation was a set-up. Correctly. Ah well. Roll on Season 6; let's see what they do with this NEW twist.

July 22
COVID? Sure why not!

Having managed to shepherd ourselves through lockdowns and other precautions we both wound up with El 'Rona this week. Mild cases both, to be sure, but still in progress - my antigen test only showed positive today, at least 4 days after I started suspecting symptoms - and poorly timed as we had to cancel a planned few days away. Bah.

This evening we finally filled in the last episode of our quest to watch all of the John Nettles-era Midsomer Murders; we're not particularly fans of Mr. Dudgeon who replaced Mr. Nettles after Season 13. Our wrap-up was, due to watching these things when we could and continuity not being a strong feature of the show, Season 9 episode 1. This episode featured the introduction of DS Ben Jones, but also the rather careless writing out of his predecessor - as noted by IMDb trivia, "Scott is said to be on the sick but is never mentioned again."

We're also closing in on the end of our current season (5?) of The Blacklist; it seems an odd choice to kill off the main villian before the series ends, but you do you, Blacklist, you do you.

July 6
Watching this show some years after it was broadcast makes for some jarring episodes. Tonight's, for instance, in which a main character was killed off and the timeline shifted by a year in the closing minutes of the episode. Had we known there was a mid-season finale we could probably have predicted something excessively dramatic.

July 1
So far, Season 5 of the The Blacklist has been enormously fun. Pulling Red's empire out from under him means they get to goof around with him acting like a low-level conman, not unlike Mr. Wednesday when we first meet him in American Gods. Granted not every low-level conman gets FBI cooperation and support for his scam, but still.

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Second half, everyone swap sides.