Culture Consumption: March 2021

Hi, lovelies. Here’s my month in books, movies, television, games, and podcasts.

Books

The Octopus Museum by Brenda Shaughnessy

In The Octopus Museum, Brenda Shaughnessy envisions a future in which cephalopods have taken over the world. The museum of note is not a museum of cephalopod history, but of human history, a record of our present moment interpreted by strange new rulers. Each poem in this collection if beautifully, richly contextualized, presenting a vibrant capsule of the human experience, like a carefully curated museum exhibit. This is a powerful and stunning collection, one I highly recommend reading.

“And there will be no other way to be, once this way’s gone. The last song on earth, the last jellybean. Last because nobody wanted it, or everybody sang it, till the end.

Once this day in November’s over never another. Each day nothing like the last except that it’s the last and that’s new too.

Each moment broken glasses, a covered mirror, foxed. The waste stays in place. The rest disappears. The unrest, too.”

— From “No Traveler Returns,” The Octopus Museum

The also read Red Velvet, the sixth issue of The Hellbore, which provides a beautiful collection of poetry, art, and a personal essay. A few of my favorite pieces from the issue are highlighted below.

Books Finished This Month:
1. Red Velvet – The Hellbore, Issue Six, December 2020
2. The Octopus Museum by Brenda Shaughnessy

Total Books for the Year: 11

Still in Progress at the End of the Month: The Route of Ice & Salt by José Luis Zárate (translated by David Bowles), Nox Pareidolia, edited by Robert S. Wilson, and The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel

Short Stories & Poetry

Oh, Wendy” by Marie Marandola (Dressing Room Poetry) —

“And maybe all our Wendy wanted
was to take what was lost of us
and mend it like she did the pockets,
patch our torn seams and stitch our frayed edges,
ready us to hold.”

Funis” by Sarpong-Osei Asamoah (The Hellebore) —

“I am pregnant with mirrors.
A midwife puts my newborns in my arms
And they are the terrifying shape of my country,
Reflect on this.”

Casting” by Goodness Olanrewaju Ayoola (The Hellebore) —

“I unfold at every self- returning I baptize my bones
Into new orders of chills. Cold fire in my belly.”

boy, black, man” by Timothy Ojo (The Hellebore) —

“sometimes, the only way to shut out thorns that ridicule your skin is to be divine; twist your body
into an armor. shield yourself from oblong rays of scorchers. the only way may be that you tear
off the scales and own your body. insert vulnerability somewhere”

The Nursery’s Dream” by P. F. Anderson (Dreamhouse) —

“I am the womb of this place

(you are my funny little egg
racing about on your funny little legs).
I am your mother’s breast, your warm milk
(your skin is soft as silk).”

Television

I’ve been in a weird headspace for the past few months, which has made it difficult to want to accomplish anything. All I’ve wanted to do is to dive into familiar shows as a kind of comfort. That changed slightly in March, as I discovered a new comfort — NCIS.

NCIS - Season 13 Cast
NCIS – Season 13 Cast

NCIS is not a new show to me. I’ve certainly been aware of it for years and have watched an episode here and there. It always looked interesting, but hasn’t drawn me in before, since I’m generally not all that interested in procedural shows. However, over the last month, I found 15 seasons on Netflix and started jumping around, going for storylines that interested me — and eventually found myself watching huge chunks of seasons.

What I love about this show is how much it leans into the found family aspects of the team, coming together to do the work of solving crimes, but also becoming like brothers and sisters as they also become involved in each other’s lives. The tone and type of humor shifts as the team members shifts, but I’ve thus far enjoyed each of the teams even the later seasons with only McGee from the original group left. Maybe at some point, I’ll write things about McGee’s character development, head slaps, why Palmer has become my favorite character, and other aspects of the show I find interesting — but for the moment I’ll just say that I’ve been enjoying it and am even curious about digging into the more recent seasons.

My sister introduced me to Emma Approved, a modern interpretation of the Jane Austen classic, Emma. Released on YouTube, the show is presented as a series of vlogging style videos, with Emma being the head of a lifestyle company, providing fashion, romance, and life advice for those around her. It’s a charming interpretation and I’m looking forward to watching more of the episodes.

Emma Approved
Emma Approved

Games

No new games this month, though I keep up with my daily habit of playing AFK Arena. The RPG and continued challenges of the game continue to keep me fascinated, and I pop into the account daily to achieve complete tasks. So, it’s keeping me entertained.

Podcasts

Switchblade Sisters was a podcast I started to fall significantly behind on following a year of working from home (and thus no commuting to help keep me up to date), and I’ve been meaning to catch up for ages. Despite that, this show has been one of my favorite movie podcasts, largely because of the thoughtful, in-depth research by April Wolf and the intelligent, amazing female filmmakers she featured — which led to amazing discussions about why we love genre films and how they’re made.

So, it was heartbreaking to see the show’s “Exciting Conclusion” pop up in my feed. The final episode was a beautiful conclusion, highlighting all the reasons it has been so well loved during its run time. As long as the archives are available, Switchblade Sisters will continue to be a masterclass in filmmaking and film criticism, delving deep into the wonderfully weird and terrifying films we love. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone — and I wish April Wolfe the best in all her new adventures.

Imaginary Worlds featured a fantastic episode, “Tron: Welcome to the Machine,” which discusses the first Tron film and how it created a foundation for how we perceive “existence” inside the computers and machines.


That’s it for me! What are you reading? Watching? Loving right now?

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