(December 8 – 14)

First draft (of the second version) of the Christmas story is complete! This means people may actually get to read it this side of Christmas 2019. It still needs work, but it’s looking good.


Got a few viewing highlights this week, so I’ll zip through them quickly. 

I gave the Elderbeast the choice of film to watch over the weekend, and he opted for a rewatch of Grosse Point Blank (which scores him some serious credit). I spent this viewing trying to figure out the exact combination of things that make this film so special. Is it the script? The direction? Is it the chemistry between John Cuscal and Minnie Driver? Is it the tonal disjoint provided by an assassin attending his 1980s themed high school reunion? It’s probably all of those things. It’s not quite a perfect film, but it’s still one of the most perfect films to have come out of the nineties.

Later in the week I rewatched The Force Awakens with my Awesome Partner as prep for seeing the third part of the sequel trilogy. TFA remains a fun film, and I will never forget the joy of going to the cinema and *finally* seeing a new Star Wars film that felt like a proper Star Wars film. Sure, it’s a hugely derivative retread of A New Hope, but as an reboot of the Star Wars franchise it does an outstanding job.

My final movie of the week was Trancers, a low budget eighties sci-fi thriller which I developed an irrational urge to rewatch recently. As I always do, I checked to see if anyone was streaming it and found a service called Tubi TV—which is free (ad supported). Not only did Tubi work with my chromecast, and even had an app for my TV, it also has an amazing selection of truly terrible films that I can’t wait to get stuck into.


This week, while gorging on more episodes of the Radio Gaga podcast, I started Dead Mountain: a book about the Dyatlov Pass incident, in which a group of Russian hikers were found inexplicably dead after being reported missing during the course of a hiking trip in 1959. I won’t spoil the eventual outcome, but I really enjoyed this book. The author made a really smart choice to present the narrative in three concurrent timelines: the first detailing the hikers’ expedition (and giving us enough of their personality that we develop a proper sense of dread knowing what’s coming); the second describes the official investigation from the point that the hikers were reported missing; the third follows the author’s own investigation, including a hike to the Dyatlov Pass itself. 

The Dyatlov Pass incident is a dark mystery that I’ve had a sideways fascination with for several years, so I enjoyed finally getting into the detail of the affair, and I’m chuffed that I picked such a good book (out of the range of books written on this topic) to explore it with.