DNA

On this day in 1953 Francis Crick and James Watson discover the chemical structure of DNA-molecule (double-helix polymer).

On 28 February 1953 Crick interrupted patrons’ lunchtime at The Eagle pub in Cambridge to announce that he and Watson had “discovered the secret of life”.

 

In subsequent years, it has been recognized that Watson and his colleagues did not properly attribute colleague Rosalind Franklin for her contributions to the discovery of the double helix structure.

 

Xibalba

Xibalba
(Dane Maddock #9)
by David Wood (2017)

The discovery of a treasure in the Yucatan sets former Navy SEALs Dane Maddock and Bones Bonebrake on a search for the legendary Maya city of the dead, and into the path of deadly enemies. From ancient ruins to perilous jungles, Maddock and Bones must outwit the vicious Serpent Brotherhood, and find the fabled city before an old enemy unlocks its secrets and plunges the world into shadow. Can they survive the descent into Xibalba?

Yet again.. they can.

This is more adventure in the Indiana Jones style that a thriller or crime caper. However it does suffer from one too many plot threads. These detract from the story, and while giving background don’t add up to much in the end. Still, it’s another solid thriller as can be expected.

 

Fold

The Fold
(Threshold #2)
by Peter Clines (2015)

Far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists have invented a device they call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so that a traveller can move a long way with a single step.

The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. The scientists insist that traveling through the door is completely safe.


This starts as an interesting science fiction premise. Transportation, but what could go wrong ?

Most of the story slowly evolves, with an interesting premise and characters. Then, about 3/4 of the way through the ‘secret’ is revealed and it’s familiar. In fact it’s just the final part of the previous book (14) bolted onto the end.

This changes the tone and genre from interesting and light-hearted to tense, action horror. It’s an abrupt change and a very unsatisfactory ending.

I won’t bother with the third in the series, as it’s probably the same formula.

Winding Up

Winding Up at the Court Theatre

Just when things should be slowing down for retirees Baz and Gen, life is Winding Up. With grandkids to wrangle, a cruise to plan and Barry’s preoccupation with plotting his own funeral, the reality of the so-called ‘golden years’ is explored in this comedy from Roger Hall.

Starring Mark Hadlow, this is a story of a retired couple contemplating the end of life. It all fells like a series of connected sketches around relationships and meeting the grim reaper.

Once the characters and their situation is established, it soon becomes clear that the story could end in the death of one of them. However this would be a downer and very unsatisfactory ending to a comedy. There was a previous Local comedy that did this, which just made me mad at the cheap ending.

Fortunately Roger Hall is a better playwright and the story manages to cover all the issues of getting older, including facing death but without ending on a depressing note.

 

 

MItchell’s Back

Back is a British sitcom starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb. After the death of his father, Stephen (Mitchell) is set to take over the family business, the John Barleycorn pub in Stroud, Gloucestershire. His plans are interrupted when Andrew, a former foster child briefly raised by Stephen’s parents, returns to his life eager to renew his relationship with the family.

David Mitchell seems to be specializing in middle aged neurotic British characters. And this is one of his best. You just want to slap him and get him to be more assertive. This is illustrated early in the series when a woman gives him a smile and dumps a sick dog on him. He also seems to have trouble getting back his ex-wife, who he obviously still loves.

Robert Webb is also great as Andrew, sporting a smile somewhere between self-satisfied and devious he manages to slide himself into the family and cause chaos.

The ending doesn’t entirely resolve Stephen’s problems. However there is a second series yet to hit Netflix.

Shit Creek

Schitt’s Creek is a Canadian television sitcom created by father and son Eugene and Dan Levy that aired on CBC Television from January 13, 2015, to April 7, 2020.

The series follows the formerly wealthy Rose family’s trials and tribulations. After Rose’s business manager embezzles the family business, Rose Video, the family loses its fortune and relocates to Schitt’s Creek, a small town they once purchased as a joke.

I started this as it had gained a number of awards and seemed to be widely praised.

The premise is similar to Arrested Development. However I gave up on that show as it was just about the uninteresting problems of rich Americans.  This has a similar failing. The rich people in among the lower classes. Everyone seems to be a stereotype of something and for the half season I saw it, nobody moves past this. It also becomes clear that for the comedy to work, nothing would change.

There is one good thing about the show… Chris Elliot.

The better show with a similar premise is Cuckoo.

 

Archer #11A

Archer Series 11

The series begins with Archer waking up from his coma, returning to the real world of his activities as a spy. However, since he has been in a coma for three years, much has changed and Archer must adjust to it, albeit with much reluctance.

11.1 “The Orpheus Gambit”
11.2 “Bloodsploosh”
11.3 “Helping Hands”
11.4 “Robot Factory”
11.5 “Best Friends”
11.6 “The Double Date”
11.7 “Caught Napping”
11.8 “Cold Fusion”

It’s a return to the old formula, but Cyril is now top dog. And despite what Archer thinks, it looks like it is going to stay this way.

 

Disenchantment 3B

Disenchantment Series 3 – Episodes 6-10

26 “Last Splash”
Elfo and Bean are about to escape, but Elfo reminds Bean of one lasting member of the freak show: Mora. They rescue her from her tank and barely escape on a steamboat, with the help of Mora. Along the way, Elfo begins a strange relationship with the steamboat, while Bean opens up about her feelings for other people with Mora.

27 “Bad Moon Rising”
Bean returns to Dreamland, distraught over her time with Mora, still believing it was a hallucination, but looking back at it lovingly. Oona, who has returned to Dreamland to attend Derek’s wedding-gone-wrong, comforts her and secretly believes her that the mermaid encounter was real.

Matt Berry as Prince Merkimer

28 “Hey, Pig Spender”
Prince Merkimer begins to feel depressed since his body and a pig’s body were switched in the beginning of season one. Meanwhile, a terrifying monster covered in leaves and mud begins to terrorize the poorer villagers on the outskirts of Dreamland.

29 “The Madness of King Zøg”
Zøg is locked up in the castle’s insane asylum, and begins to speak gibberish. Bean convinces Odval to let her speak to her father, and she is able to get through to him, but later, after a visit from the ghost of Dagmar, he escapes and wanders about the city, confused.

30 ” Bean Falls Down”
Princess Bean is crowned queen after Zøg is deemed unfit to be king and is taken away for treatment with Chazzzzz. The mysterious green smoke reaches the castle, and turns out to be Big Jo and his lesser-known assistant, Porky, who want to make amends for what they did to Bean, Elfo, and Luci.

 

Forteen

14
(Threshold #1)
by Peter Clines (2012)

Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches. There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much.

What’s surprising about this book is how it manages to keep the reader interested despite the slow pacing. It’s like a drip drip drop of pacing, revealing just a bit more each chapter. And it’s kept up for almost 130,000 words.

It’s strange mixture of horror, science fiction and fantasy, set in current times.

I only read this as the next book in the series, ‘The Fold’ is the Sword and Laser podcast book for the month.

 

Disenchantment 3A

Disenchantment Part 3 (1-5)

21 “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
Dagmar welcomes Bean, Elfo and Luci to the home of the Trøgs. While Bean wants to leave, the complex tunnels prevent her and she reluctantly decides to stay.

Bean’s mother Dagmar

22 “You’re the Bean”
After Dagmar’s secret is discovered, Bean, Elfo and Luci end up in a dungeon where they encounter the pirate Leavo, now as prisoner. After the trio escape with the help of Trixy, a plan is devised to take advantage of Bean’s resemblance to her mother. She dresses in Dagmar’s clothes and attempt to gain the Trog’s help while Elfo distracts Dagmar as a masseuse.

 

23 “Beanie Get Your Gun”
Derek welcomes Bean and Zøg back into Dreamland. He pardons Bean, and relinquishes the crown back to Zøg. Zøg’s erratic behavior raises some concern, and Bean tries to investigate its cause.

 

24.”Steamland Confidential”
Bean and Elfo go after the Arch Druidess, while Luci stays with Zøg (who is having a mental breakdown) in Dreamland. When they arrive in Steamland Bean infiltrates the Gunderson factory to find the Arch Druidess, and Elfo is taken into a upscale explorers club impressing everybody about his past tales when a strange man notices a pin on the clothing he stole. At the factory Bean meets a man named Gordy while working there. In the end she realizes that Gordy is actually Alva Gunderson the founder of the company.

Richard Ayoade as Alva Gunderson

25 “Freak Out!”
Bean wakes up the next morning and gets mail from Alva, and it opens up to reveal an image of the two of them kissing on a bridge. She runs away and he does everything he can to get her back. She then tries to find Elfo, who is held captured at the freak show and falls in love with his neighbor, a headless psychic named Edith.