Parasites that sever and pose as fish tongues have been uncovered by port staff in a shipment heading into Felixstowe. [...]
"After checking more cartons, it was apparent that most of the seabream were infested, so we denied the consignment's entry into the UK. From there the importer can choose to have it destroyed or sent back to them, and in this case they chose the latter."
- Ep 1 + 2: The Mystery.
- Ep 3 - 6: Fambly and Crying.
- Ep 6: Mild cliffhanger.
- Ep 7: DEEP FLASHBACK: prequel episode exposits the entire mythology.
- Ep 8: Resolve Ep 6, but set up several more cliffhangers for a Season 2 that's probably not going to happen.
Seriously, it feels like this Episode Seven hack has been in almost every series I've watched in the last several years.
Once you see it, you won't be able to un-see it. I'm sorry.
After my recent PS3 shenanigans a friend had mercy on me and gave me their old PS4, which means that I was finally able to play the upscaled Rez Infinite for the first time. When it comes to gaming, I am nothing if not behind the times. I also picked up the Rez Infinite vinyl soundtrack, which includes two picturedisc LPs, a 7", and a gigantic coffee table book about the making of the game. It is a gorgeous artifact! And the game-development backstory is really interesting. A lot of time and love went into this game.
The look of Rez is just the most cyberpunk thing in the world, and I don't mean that in the "it's got some neon, and maybe a dork in a leather jacket" sense, but in the original Neuromancer phrasing: "lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data like city lights, receding". Objects have their own ghostly rules and often lack physicality. And of course there's the synesthesia aspect of the design: the music is a part of the game, and not in a DDR "you have to tap along with the song" way. The controller vibration is a separate audio channel. It's not testing you on your rhythm; you play the game to the beat not because you lose if you don't, but because it makes sense that way. An aspect of playing this game is that you are also sitting down to bop along to a favorite album.
The Child of Eden graphics lean more toward the "nature" levels of Rez than the "cyber" levels. The wireframe sandworms are back, but you're also de-lousing space-whales that, once properly pollinated, bloom into ghost-phoenixes. "BE NOT AFRAID." If you give the mecha-orchid a happy ending, you may be rewarded with an idoru music video. It's all pretty great.
And it's a really good game; I finished it. But it's not as good as Rez for several reasons. First, the soundtrack is... just ok? It's pleasant enough, but less techno and more j-pop, and it just doesn't grab me the way the Rez soundtrack did. Also the integration between the gameplay and the music isn't really there in the same way. But most frustratingly, the difficulty of the game just ramps up way too fast. Rez eased you into the upgrades but this game just kind of throws you off a cliff at around level 3. I almost gave up before completing level 5 ("Journey") because I was just getting sick of it. But I'm glad I pushed through, because level 6 ("Hope") gets fun again: it's clearly an unused, leftover Rez level, a trench run. And the "fire" noise is an 808 handclap.
I will now be accepting recommendations for other PS4 or PS3-compatible games that I should play.
Katamari Damacy was a big favorite. There's no synesthetic aspect, but the puzzles are good, the timing is non-twitchy, and it's just so goofy and hilarious. (BTW, the PS4 "Reroll" package of it upscales everything to HD without altering the gameplay).
One notable exception to the above lists is that I loved Portal. There's a lot of plot and exposition in that game, and in some ways it's a shooter, but it's also very puzzle-heavy and you can mostly take your time to solve them, rather than running and twitching and boom now you're dead. The game gives you the space to look around and think.
A friend kept advising me to try Bioshock again, and for the second time I gave up by like, level 2, I guess? The first basement medical facility. I love the look of the game, and I'm interested in hearing the story (anything that dunks so hard on Libertarians can't be all bad) but my experience with the game is: I'm enjoying exploring this weird, spooky environment, and then suddenly some zombie is shooting me from behind, and now I'm dead. After the third time in a row that happens, I realize that this is the opposite of fun and that I have completely lost interest. It's like I'm trying to read a comic book but every now and then it reaches up and smacks me in the face. I said to my friend, who is also a big fan of Cyberpunk 2077:
- "Look, the difference is that I like puzzle games that make me feel like I'm tripping balls. Whereas you like shooters where sometimes a chatbot tries to have sex with you."
Both Rez and Child of Eden have a "chill mode" where you can play the whole game but nothing shoots back. All games should have this.
I write screen savers, ok? I want to play games that are screen savers with puzzles in them.
Why? Because America has no chill. America is exhausting. America is incapable of letting something be simply funny instead of a dread portent of their apocalyptic present. America is ruining the internet.
America is the internet.
America insists that you bear witness to it tripping on its dick and slamming its face into an uncountable row of scalding hot pies. You do more than bear witness, because American Twitter has the same kind of magnetic pull as a garbage disposal unit. A sick part of you wants to shove your hand in. You want to let the blades cut into your knuckles, if just to see if you can slow them down a little. [...]
I should not know who Pete Buttigieg is. In a just world, the name Bari Weiss would mean as much to me as Nordic runes. This goes for people who actually might read Nordic runes too. No Swede deserves to be burdened with this knowledge. No Brazilian should have to regularly encounter the phrase "Dimes Square." To the rest of the vast and varied world, My Pillow Guy and Papa John should be NPCs from a Nintendo DS Zelda title, not men of flesh and bone, pillow and pizza. Ted Cruz should be the name of an Italian pornstar in a Love Boat porn parody. Instead, I'm cursed to know that he is a senator from Texas who once stood next to a butter sculpture of a dairy cow and declared that his daughter's first words were "I like butter."
State Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember Matt Haney introduced Senate Bill 930 at a briefing on Friday. The measure would allow seven pilot cities across the state to extend alcohol sales at bars, nightclubs and restaurants from 2 a.m. to as late as 4 a.m. [...]
"We've lost so many historic venues and bars, it is going to take years to rebuild," Haney said. "Extending hours to 4am even a few days a week will save historic businesses, create thousands of jobs, and support arts, culture and community." [...]
If approved by the legislature and governor, the pilot program would begin in 2025 and the measure would sunset after five years.
This time for sure!
But, to be clear, this bill would not "make last call be 4AM" or even "make last call be 4AM in San Francisco". No, doing that would make San Francisco behave like world-class cities that value tourism. This bill isn't that.
This bill would allow SF the option of issuing additional permits -- expensive permits -- to a handful of venues, allowing those venues and only those venues to serve alcohol between the hours of 2AM and 4AM, as part of a 5-year-limited trial program, to begin on Jan 1, 2025.
So it will be good for those businesses who get to be a part of that program -- and, assuming we haven't gone out of business by then, we're going to do our damnedest to be a part of that program -- but it's not really going to change the character of SF nightlife in any significant way. Almost all bars will still close at 2, and you still won't be able to get anywhere by public transit after midnight.
Despite its limitations, I am strongly in support of this bill, and any like it, and you should be too.
Here's a brief recap of this ongoing shitshow. I can't believe how long I've been blogging about this:
- Apr 2003: Senator Leno introduced SB 635; it was defeated by not getting 6 votes in the Senate.
- Feb 2004: The SF Board of Supervisors, via Peskin, passed a resolution "urging" the legislators to allow SF, LA and SD to set their own last call times.
- Apr 2004: The bill was strangled by not being allowed to move out of committee.
- Mar 2004: Leno tried again, AB 2433. Defeated by not getting 6 votes.
- May 2009: An interlude where I tell you about the Neo-prohibitionists organizations trying to stop this bill.
- Mar 2012: Weiner got an Economic Impact Study done proving that yes, nightlife is an important industry.
- Mar 2013: Leno re-introduced his bill as SB 635.
- Apr 2013: Defeated again by not getting 6 votes.
- Feb 2017: Weiner introduced his version of the bill, even more narrow in scope.
- Mar 2017: It passed the Public Safety Committee, and then was allowed to die silently.
- Jan 2018: Weiner re-introduced it as SB 905.
- Sep 2018: It passed the State Senate 28-8.
- Sep 2018: As one of his last acts in office, Governor Brown vetoed it.
- Dec 2018: Weiner re-introduced it as SB 58.
- May 2019: It passed Senate 29-6.
- Jun 2019: Weiner torpedoed his own bill and replaced it with an unrelated bill that he cared about more.
- Jun 2022: Weiner re-introduced it as SB 930.
Back in 2019, I joked:
I mean, at this rate we might have a Central Subway or a Transit Center before you can legally have a drink at 3AM.
That joke ages like fine milk.
Anyway, we've got a big weekend, come see some shows!
Anna Sorokin, the scammer who convinced people and companies to give her hundreds of thousands of dollars by pretending to be a German heiress, has decided to get into NFTs. After winding up with a "scammer persona", which she says is a result of the Netflix series about her and not a result of the scams that landed her in prison, she has announced her intentions to "move away from" it. Now she is focusing on an NFT collection, which she announced in an interview from a detention facility in New York.
The infamous socialite minted 10 NFTs that will grant holders "exclusive access" to her, which includes perks like one-on-one phone calls [...] Three "ultra platinum" NFTs grant the opportunity to meet Sorokin in person, and holders will receive a package of "personal items" from Sorokin.
Now I'm just an unfrozen caveman, your tokens funge and frighten me, but I thought the point of an NFT was to be a tradable investment commodity. Once you have claimed your one phone call and fruit basket, how does your receipt for a 64 digit hash still hold any resale value?
- The Rising (2022): Small-town ghost tries to solve her own murder. It's pretty good. Reminded me a bit of I Still See You.
- From (2022): Idiots trapped in Twilight Zone "Mayberry" pocket dimension; at night carnivorous ghosts come out. The individual moments of survival-horror are ok, but by the end of the season absolutely nothing is resolved or explained.
- Moon Knight (2022): This was just so boring. Why was Oscar Isaac in something so boring?
- Russian Doll S02 (2022): So they swapped out the time loop for time travel, and it was fun, and lower stakes and much simpler than the first season, but it was still decent... and then the last two episodes went completely gonzo and were amazing.
- Where is Anne Frank? (2022): Anne's imaginary friend comes to life in the present day as an avatar of the diary, and goes looking for her and has adventures. It's cute, and the animation is great.
- Gaslit (2022): I would not have expected another re-telling of Watergate to keep my attention, but Julia Roberts is fantastic in it, and this version really plays up what a bunch of bumbling morons they all were.
- Star Trek Strange New Worlds (2022): This is the greatest Star Trek series so far. A+, no notes.
- The Lost City (2022): I gather that Sandra Bullock is one of those super-connected Hollywood people who can get any movie made that she wants, and what she wanted was to make a goofy Romancing The Stone variant. Well, good for her, it's really funny.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022): The first five minutes were a re-cap of Ep 1-3, which was a pretty deep hole they chose to dig themselves into right out of the gate. I mean we're talking Sarlacc-deep here.
Remember that space ship model that Luke had in the garage? Were you hoping to get an origin story for that? You weren't? Too bad.
It's just making me re-angry about so many things I haven't thought about in years, like, "WTF does 'princess' mean to these people, your government and monarchy is completely incoherent!"
Obi-Wan's day job is slicing little slabs of meat off of the giant, bloated, rotting corpse of some kind of dinosaur. I feel like this is a bit too heavy-handed a metaphor for the entire franchise.
The Big Bad ("Third Sister") is fine, and Baby Leia is surprisingly tolerable, but did I really want to see a show about a snarky pre-teen whose only skill or function is getting kidnapped? I really didn't.
- Night Sky (2022): A retired couple have enjoyed having a Stargate under their shed for years; finally, some cultists come a-knockin'. I enjoyed it (JK Simmons is always fantastic) but it definitely follows some recent cynical and manipulative TV screenwriting trends: first, the plot advances very slowly for the first 7 episodes, and then in the 8th, they throw everything at the wall, tossing out like 5 unrelated pieces of exposition as cliffhangers for season 2; and second, that none of these problems would even exist if these characters weren't keeping secrets from each other for no reason other than to advance the plot.
- Shining Girls (2022): This show is terrible. I had read the book, which I enjoyed, but it was a while ago, so I can't tell you precisely how they diverged, but the show is just bad. There's a serial killer who lives in the time-traveling House of Mystery, so he gets to leave his clues/trophies out of order, and try again until he gets it right. One victim inexplicably (as in they never explain it) gets away and retains her memory of Timeline Zero when the world resets around her at his every change. She convinces a few other people that she's not just delusional, that the world is really changing, and they are all almost immediately onboard with that -- and yet it takes them 7 episodes before anyone thinks, "hey, maybe it's time travel". Multiverse of Madness? Sure. Time travel? Now that's just crazy talk.
I'm not sure if you, the viewer, were supposed to go into this show already aware that it was time travel, but since it's set in the gray-and-rainy 90s and jumps around to the equally-gray-and-rainy 40s and 80s, you would probably have been completely lost until like episode 5.
- Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022): This was absolutely bonkers. Rarely have I seen a movie so committed to how bonkers it is. This is the movie that Matrix 4 should have been. In fact, here's what should have happened: you saw all the trailers and promo and interviews with Keanu and Carrie-Anne and then you got to the theatre and this played instead, with no explanation of why they weren't in it. Asked about it later, Keanu says, "I think the work speaks for itself." Michelle Yeoh will only take questions about Point Break. That's what should have happened.
- Pom Poko (1994): Somehow I had missed that there was a Studio Ghibli cartoon about those raccoons with the enormous shape-shifting testicles. And also they're eco-terrorists.
- V for Vengeance (2022): A couple of sisters who are also vampires go on a revenge road trip, for fambly. It's fun.
- Angelyne (2022): This story is nuts, I loved it. Also, wow, the prosthetics! Not just the obvious, but also the aging makeup on the various characters was really well done.
- The Man Who Fell To Earth (2022): I don't remember the original movie at all, except that it was really long and really boring and went nowhere and Bowie being in it did not redeem it at all. This show is the same, except that Bowie has been replaced by wink-wink references to Bowie lyrics.
- Tom Swift (2022): This might be the worst thing I've ever seen on television, and I watched like a season and a half of Arrow.
§ 2183. Immunity passports. 1. Any covered entity that requires proof of COVID-19 immunization shall permit the use of physical immunity passports. No covered entity may require digital, electronic, or smart-phone-based proof of immunity.
Such paper documents are so trivially forged as to be 100% useless. EFF believes, as does SFDPH, that scribbling your name on someone else's vax card in Comic Sans counts as proof of vaccination. As I said to NBC back in January,
"We won't be safe until venues are able to require SMART Health QR codes and stop accepting paper cards, or photos of cards. And that won't happen until state or local governments mandate that," said Jamie Zawinski, a software developer who also owns a night club, DNA Lounge, in San Francisco. He requires customers to have the QR code or, for now, their paper CDC card.
DNA Lounge not only requires people to display the QR code, but it also scans the code using a smartphone app to verify that the codes are authentic -- making the club one of the few businesses anywhere in the U.S. to take that extra step.
But hey, as per longstanding EFF tradition, it's too little too late. (I assume the Latin version of that is on their coat of arms.)
We now live in a world where you will never again be asked to provide proof of vaccination, or ever be required to take even the most basic precautions to protect someone other than yourself.