Press "Enter" to skip to content

Population: One

Actual Prep: Honey Heist

I ran this like a year ago but I was cleaning up my desk cause of new kittens and I found the index card. I should probably do a kitten post, huh? They’re great.

Anyhow this is what Honey Heist prep looks like and all I did was roll five dice and look some stuff up on tables.

Orga: too obsessed w/honey — Hubert
Where: dangerous convention center
Prize: queen of all bees
Secret: rigged to blow!!
Security: armed guards, "impenetrable" vault

Orga (Convention Organizer): too obsessed w/honey — Hubert
Where: dangerous convention center
Prize: queen of all bees
Secret: rigged to blow!!
Security: armed guards, “impenetrable” vault

If I recall correctly, I located the convention out at Stehekin, which is a very remote Washington state town, and a lot of the shenanigans had to do with boats.


I’m pretty much hanging out over there now. Find me here if you have an account. I have spare invites from time to time so if I know you feel free to ask.

It’s imperfect. In particular the company leans more rationalist than I’d like, although I think a bunch of trans people and sex workers successfully nudged them towards the left in the first six months after it launched — thanks, y’all! However, it benefits from the scarcity effect; people are less likely to be total throwaway dicks if it’s harder to get a new account. See also Metafilter.

The feed technology is spectacularly good. Basically anyone with the necessary expertise can make a feed, which anyone can subscribe to. To make a feed, you apply an algorithm to the firehose of Bluesky posts; it can be as simple as “include any posts that have the word ‘filmsky’ or the words ‘film festival’ in them” or “include all posts from these users,” or as complex as “include all posts with the word ‘Seattle’ in them as long as they have more than 2 likes but fewer than 10 likes, and don’t include anything from these people.” So sort of a more powerful hybrid of Twitter lists and Twitter hashtags.

Communities form around feeds. You can get a good look at what there is at Goodfeeds, which is a third party tool. And for the less technical, there are a couple of third party tools which allow you to create your own simple feed.

Algorithms get a lot of bad press, for good reasons. But Bluesky feeds put the algorithms in the hands of users. If I want to write a custom feed that mutes popular memes because oh god I don’t want to see everyone’s ten albums that define them, I can do that. This is pretty cool.

So I like Bluesky. Also, Mastodon is losing its appeal for me. I’m not totally comfortable with the way my Mastodon instance is run; Sage is a good guy but I don’t like the benevolent dictator model for any social media node with more than a couple of dozen people on it. I was going to run my own instance, but I don’t want to deal with the complexity of stock Mastodon and the interesting alternatives are eternally six months away. Plus running a solo instance makes discovery even worse, and I live for discovery when I’m using social media.

And man, Mastodon has a cranky vibe. I think this is a federation problem, and I think Bluesky will have to deal with the same problem when they open up federation. (Which they will have to do.) It’s possible that feeds will generate their own cross-instance culture, and I kind of hope they do, but I’m unwilling to predict that one way or the other.

And finally Mastodon is not great for discovering stuff and I use social media primarily as an information firehose. It’s a personal need but it’s an important one for me.

Goodbye, Nixie

This is another belated post. As with Maggie, I didn’t have the heart to write it immediately. I finally wrote my post saying goodbye to Maggie because we were pretty sure Nixie didn’t have all that much time left; I’m writing this one because we’re going to visit a lovely pair of foster kittens this weekend, and one way or another I expect we’ll have new cats soon. Happier moment, same desire to speak before new emotions arise.

Fantasia 2023: A Wrap

34 feature length movies and 12 shorts. Towards the end I was having a little bit of trouble connecting scenes into narratives so it’s probably just as well that my last two movies were a magic realism fable and a sociological essay. That was a very good time and I hope to do it again sooner than a decade from now.

Since I’m that kind of person, I made ranked lists for features and shorts. It was a pretty good year. Hippo is particularly good if you like thinking about conspiracies and cult dynamics and such. Baby Assassins 2 Babies has a martial arts fight scene that’s probably going to wind up in my top ten ever. I’m also particularly pleased that the Southeast Asian films I saw were more mature than some I’ve seen in previous years — it feels like the programmers have a solid handle on how to program the good stuff.

I’m a little bummed that I never found the Arrow Video booth, if in fact they had one. Vinegar Syndrome did but their releases aren’t quite as in sync with my tastes. I wanted to ask Arrow when their next Shaw Brothers set was coming out, too.

Gonna be a long flight back. Still all worth it.

Movie Reviews: 7/24/2023 to 7/30/2023

Movies reviewed this week: The Fantastic Golem Affairs, Stay Online, The Primevals, Tiger Stripes, Paragon, Restore Point, In My Mother’s Skin, Good Condition, Lovely, Dark, and Deep, Rascals, If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?, The Burning Hell, A Chinese Ghost Story, Insomniacs After School, Femme, Devils, The Perfect Place to Cry, Blackout, Drumming Makes You Happy, The Becomers, Lollygag, Hippo, Baby Assassins 2 Babies, Every House is Haunted, Where the Devil Roams, Aporia, Pett Kata Shaw, River, Saint-Sacrifice, The Sacrifice Game, Ms. Apocalypse, School Girl, The Man Traveling with the Brocade Portrait, Kurayukaba, Home Invasion, Hellmark, With Love and a Major Organ, and Ms. Apocalypse.

Fantasia 2023: Halfway There

We had eight days of movies scheduled; we have completed four days. Halfway mark! I am tired but very happy; our hotel continues to be perfectly positioned and the food’s still quite good. There’s this little counter service Chinese place next to the hotel which is unexpectedly tasty.

Highlights so far: Lovely, Dark, and Deep, which is some of the best cosmic horror I’ve seen in a while. Not Lovecraftian. It lays out the situation in the first fifteen minutes, so that as Georgina Campbell discovers the scope of the horror, we have the same retroactive realizations she does. Smart movie.

Also great: Talk To Me. The Philippou brothers may be YouTube bros but they’re good filmmakers who care about their craft, and their insight into teens being teens is strong. Very kinetic, certainly terrifying.

On the non-horror side of the fence, I greatly enjoyed The First Slam Dunk. I’m not a huge anime fan and I almost didn’t get tickets for this one, but I’m so glad I did. Director Takehiko Inoue really loves basketball, as I discovered afterwards, and it shows. I can’t think of any sports movies structured like this one — the climatic game is the spine of the movie, with flashbacks explaining how the characters got there — and it’s very cool.

We also learned something very important. If you’re doing back to back movies, you can tell the volunteers when you get out of the first one and they’ll shuffle you off into a little holding pen and you get seated first for the next one. I don’t care so much about my exact position in the theater but it’s nice to maximize sitting down time.

The in-room laundry is running. It’s crappy but it’s better than a laundromat.

Fantasia 2023

It’s so good to be back.

Previously: 2004, 2006, 2015. So I guess this is my 20th anniversary Fantasia, which is unplanned but nice. I’d like to go more than once every ten years — remind me in 2028, right? We might have squeezed one in around 2020, but the pandemic.

View of a modernist college building with a line of people curved around the corner.

This year we’re staying in a Sonder hotel which is literally across the intersection from Théâtre Hall, the primary venue. Wait, I have a picture from our balcony. You couldn’t ask for a more convenient hotel. You could ask for a nicer one; Sonder is oriented towards cheap longer stays, so we’re getting a nice discount for staying a week but there are stains on the hallway carpet. Whatever. There’s a washer/dryer unit and a mini-kitchen in the room and a pool on the roof and we’re in the middle of everything.

It’s the morning of the second day right now. We’ve had two satisfying huge breakfasts, a good but slow Mediterranean lunch, a bunch of fast food dinners, and a lot of movies. Since Letterboxd exists, I’m not going to do separate write-ups here. They’ll come along with the Letterboxd mirroring in due time.

I may post longer rambling thoughts. I try not to write reactive reviews on Letterboxd, which means if I want to yell about holding Nicolas Cage accountable for his performances instead of just going “ooooh he was over the top,” I will do it here. Slightly unfair in this case since I think he was pretty good in Sympathy for the Devil, it’s just the movie itself which failed him.

Not that this is a problem. I always see at least one movie I adore here, usually not the one I expected to love, and there’s always a lot of crap. The experience is excellent nonetheless. It’s fun being at a festival where audience reaction is encouraged. There’s a tradition of “meows” before each movie, apparently thanks to Simon’s Cat. That quiets down when the credits roll. The audience roars at good action scenes; yesterday, in The First Slam Dunk, we cheered the basketball game like it was real. We come to this place —

Nah, can’t do it. But Fantasia is always going to be a second home for me.