Sunday, May 15, 2022

All Round To Yours Next Time, Okay?

My plan (I had a plan!) this weekend was to post something on Saturday, when I wasn't working, then take a rest on Sunday, when I was. So, naturally, radio silence yesterday and now here I am on Sunday, posting after dark...

For once, I have a kinda halfway decent excuse: on Saturday evening, Mrs Bhagpuss and I watched Eurovision

I can't remember the last time we watched it together. It was probably back in the '90s. Even the last time I watched it on my own must have been about a decade ago. I vaguely remember having it on in the background while I was playing some mmorpg or other.

This time we actually sat down together and watched it all the way through. Well, the twenty-five songs, anyway. Then later I watched the final half-hour of the voting in bed, while Mrs Bhagpuss was falling asleep listening to the radio. We are old. 

Not as old as Eurovision, of course, or the Eurovision Song Contest as we called it back then. It was a big thing in my childhood. In those days of limited choices, there were a number of major, annual televisual events that just about everyone watched, whether they were interested in them or not: the F.A. Cup Final, Miss World, the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show...

Of all of them, when I was between the ages of maybe eight and fifteen, Eurovision was probably the one I looked forward to the most. I started off watching it because I got stay up late, then I watched enthusiastically and by my mid-teens I was watching it with a sneer. I still watched it, though.

Later, as a student, I watched it ironically and then in my thirties I watched it nostalgically. By the end of the nineties, when I was pushing forty, I ran out of ways to watch it without feeling enervated by the bloat and the sag and the tedium. 

The timing was perfect. I began playing mmorpgs and all but stopped watching television altogether. For a decade or so I didn't bother to notice who was representing the UK or even who'd won. Thanks to EverQuest, those are my lost years. Eurovision is the least of the omissions.

Coming out of that shadow, I had some peripheral sense that the contest itself had changed. I knew it had always had immense camp credibility but somehow there seemed to be an element of mainstream respectability creeping in as well. 

I also came to understand that the glory days when any British entry would be all but guaranted a top five place, if not an outright win, had receded into the kind of history they teach in schools. Even before I stopped watching, a disturbing poiltical edge had started to creep into the voting. I took it that , while I'd been away, the creep had become a canter then a full-on charge. 

Plus most of our songs were so bland as to be invisible. That probably didn't help.

Last year's effort, which I didn't see or hear but did read about, was the nadir of nadirs. A double null from both the jury and the popular vote. I guess at least it couldn't get any worse.

I didn't watch last year's contest but I had been meaning to, just as I'd been meaning to watch the show for several years. My interest and enthusiasm began to rekindle following wins by the likes of Lordi and Måneskin, not acts that particularly appealed to me but ones that suggested the tenor and tone of the event might just have moved on from the predictable, dull

This year I was on the fence right to the last minute. I might have missed it again had it not been for my recent computer troubles. At about half seven last night I logged in, meaning to get down to writing a post, when a pop-up from Windows asked me if I wanted to update or reschedule. 

Forgetting I was on an old installation of Win10, thanks to the drive swap, I recklessly hit the "Update Now" button, only to realize too late it was going to take a couple of hours or more to catch up with all the updates I'd missed in the last five years.

I still had my laptop next to me from the previous recovery session so I fired that up and watched the first episode of Portlandia on DVD. When that ended I thought about watching another but it was exactly eight o' clock and I thought I remembered that was about the start time of Eurovision. 

I checked. It was. I put it on, then I went to make a coffee. I mentioned to Mrs Bhagpuss what I was doing, and she said she'd just been thinking of watching it as well, so we watched it together. 

It was pretty good, too. It was too long, of course, but then it always was, and the presenters were ninnies, but then they always were. As a spectacle it was hugely improved from what I remember but more importantly so were the songs. 

Okay, there were a few dull spots (Switzerland! Stand up! No, sit down again!) and there wasn't anything I'd be likely to run out and buy or rush to post here, but there were several I'd happily turn up if they came on the radio and a couple that sounded not much different from stuff I listen to from choice. Couldn't have said that a few years ago. As the NME put it, "only gammons still look down on Eurovision".

It helped that our song was strong and our singer even stronger. I don't get partisan about much but I have always had a commitment to the UK in Eurovision. Even when we field a complete embarassment, as we have done all too often, I still can't stop myself from hoping it'll somehow transcend its awfulness and bring the trophy home. 

This time it was easy to cheer Sam Ryder on to his very near victory. He's like a human cartoon. You'd have to be humorless in the extreme not to wish him well. Space Man is a more-than decent pop song and he really sells it. He can sing, which obviously helps, but perhaps more importantly, he's really easy to remember. If you haven't watched the show you may not appreciate just how significant that is.

I watched his performance just like I watched the other two dozen. I thought he had a fair chance but there were some other strong contenders and everyone hates the UK so I wasn't really expecting much. Just not coming last would be an improvement on recent years.

The full Eurovision experience takes about four hours. I like the voting but it can go on for what seems like forever so I took a break and watched an episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Season 2, in which she really is crazy, rather than Season 1, where she's mostly just sad and sweet.) 

When I tuned back in the voting was about halfway through and I was amazed to see the UK right at the top of the poll. It stayed that way to the end of the jury votes. In the old days that would have been it. We'd have won.

Not any more. These days, the final result is some arcane hybrid of national juries and popular telephone votes. I haven't made any attempt to understand how it works and I don't intend to start now. 

However it's calculated, the upshot is chaos. Songs that were languishing in mid-table can suddenly be catupulted into the top five. Leaders can find themselves shunned, sending them sliding back into mediocrity.

The main outcome of the influx of popular sentiment was the result everyone had been expecting: Ukraine got the sympathy vote, the solidarity vote, the protest vote, the moral vote and every other kind of vote. It helped that they also had a very strong song. 

They shot up to the top of the table with what looked like an unassailable lead. It was. Sam Ryder got a solid shout, enough to keep the UK in second place but nowhere near enough to unseat Ukraine, thank god. That would have been excruciating.

No, coming second to Ukraine in this exceptional year is the best possible outcome. Things could not have gone better if there'd been a script. Ukraine get their wholly deserved, highly charged, politically and culturally meaningful win and the UK gets rehabilitated after a decade or more as a Eurovision pariah.

The Eurovision tradition is that the winner hosts the contest in the following year. Let's hope this time next year we'll all be watching Eurovision 2023 live from Ukraine. I'll be there for that.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Patience Is A Virtue. Keep Telling Yourself That.

Here, as promised, or more likely threatened, is the extremely quick and boring post on my progress with EverQuest II's Overseer system It's an update to a post from more than two weeks ago, which I optimistically titled "Good Things Come To Those Who Wait". They do... but be prepared to wait a long time.

I've been diligently doing my Overseer missions in EverQuest II every day without fail, even when I really haven't had time for them. These last couple of days, things have been so close to the wire timewise I haven't even been able to make space for my Guild Wars 2 dailies, the first time that's ever happened, but I still I managed to get my Overseer missions done.

Despite those heroic efforts, it took me the best part of two weeks to get any more Legendary-quality missions. Eventually, a couple of five-hour yellow missions dropped and a couple of days ago, from one of those, I got my first ten-hour Fabled mission. From that I got a couple more Legendaries, so now I have almost enough good ones for a full slate.

It's also allowed me to look at the potential rewards for the standard and bonus chests for the purple missions, which confirmed, as suspected, that the 295 Resolve gear is in there, along with the green, Celestial missions that take, from memory, fifteen hours to complete. 

There are also a bunch of new agents with new traits that fit the new missions, a couple of Visions of Vetrovia mercenaries and a vast quantity of crafting books, potions and other items of less obvious value.

It seems to me that progress is a lot slower this season but I also believe that's an illusion. So much relies on RNG and there are so many possible rewards. Last season I think I had some very lucky rolls early on, while this time it's been the opposite. At the rate I'm going, I won't start to pull the really good stuff until it's just about to be made obsolete by the Panda quests.

Logically, the better rewards come from the higher-quality missions, which are also the longest, with the best of all coming from the bonus chests from Celestial quests. Well, you'd think so. 

During last season, I never really felt I was getting better stuff from Celestials than from Fableds but once again RNG makes it hard to be sure unless you go in and check the exact contents of the chests, which I don't believe I ever did. 

I will this time. When I actually get a Celestial mission, that is. If I ever do. And then I'll come back and report on what I find.

I'm curious, even if I'm the only one!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Thief Of Time

It finally happened! I missed a day! The daily posting streak that lasted more than eight months has come to an end at last. 

It wasn't by choice but I can't say I'm sorry. I don't have an addictive personality but I do hate to break a streak. That's how I gave up drinking without even meaning to.

Posting daily hadn't been any kind of a problem until we got the puppy but these last few weeks have been something of a challenge, as must have been obvious in the quality, or lack thereof, of some of the posts. I wasn't expecting looking after a puppy to bite quite so voraciously into my leisure time. With me only working a couple of days a week there's certainly plenty of it. Even so, it turns out it's quite hard to do anything much with a dog asleep on your lap.

Really, though, it's been gaming that's taken the hit, not blogging. I've dropped from several hours a day to maybe a couple, if I'm lucky.  Most of what I'm doing is dailies and point and click adventures. It doesn't offer an enormous amount of inspiration for posts... although you'd be surprised what I can spin up out of almost nothing. Or, I guess, as a regular reader, you probably wouldn't.

Despite all of that, I was determined to keep the streak going, even though of late I've been cutting it very fine, not starting until eight or nine in the evening. That's what I was doing last night, when Windows 10 piped up to tell me there'd been a calamitous error and it would have to go and lie down in a darkened room for a while.

I was literally halfway through a short and boring post about Overseer in EverQuest II (Which we'll still be getting, so don't start cheering just yet.) when the whole thing shuddered and shook, then disappeared. It's taken me until a couple of hours ago to get things up and running again.

I still have no idea what went wrong but I know what happened afterwards. My PC turned into a time machine and took a trip back to 2016. 

It was very weird. The PC closed down and restarted and when it came back my desktop was completely different. Not only had the screen resolution reverted to something I haven't used for about fifteen years, there were only about a third as many icons and most of those were different, some for things I didn't even recognize.

To cut to the chase, after a some digging around in the debris I discovered all three of my hard drives had swapped letters. The E drive had turned into the D drive and D was now C. 

As it happens, the Drive Formerly Known As D used to be the C drive in a previous PC. I'd added it to the new one a few years back. I had three bays, so why not? I just popped it in as it was and I've been happily using it ever since. 

It never really occured to me that it had a full installation of Windows 10 on it. When the drives swapped names after The Incident, the entire operation switched across on reboot, kicking me out of everything I'd been logged into, removing all my saved logins and passwords and generally making it impossible to do pretty much anything.

Oh, and The Incident, whatever it was, also completely removed all the graphic drivers along with all the Ethernet drivers and a bunch of other stuff as well, some of which I've probably yet to discover. It was not pretty, I'll tell you that much.

It was also late and for once I managed to act like an adult. Instead of either trying to get a post up using my laptop or staying up half the night trying to fix things I just shut the whole lot down and went to bed. As I said at the start, if I'm honest, I was relieved to have a good reason to miss a day's posting.

This morning I spent several hours trying any number of possible fixes with no success at all until just before lunch I finally managed to get the Ethernet adapter working again. It really helped a lot, being able to look things up and download stuff on the PC I was trying to fix rather than having to do it on the laptop or my Kindle Fire.

None of the obvious solutions, like just renaming the drives, changing the boot order or physically swapping them over worked. The C drive refused to change its name, I couldn't even find the boot protocols and the motherboard doesn't care which slot the C drive is in. 

Reinstalling Windows didn't work because I couldn't make a boot disk thanks to the laptop and an older PC I happen to have lying around refusing point-blank to believe I have admin rights, even though it literally says right there on the screen that I do. Several other bright ideas turned out to be dim. I was starting to get annoyed.

What turned the tide was finding the original installation DVD for the motherboard and using it to reinstall every driver and then physically removing the graphics card and re-seating it in the other PCI slot. Even after the drivers were all installed, for some reason it was only moving the graphics card that got me back online. I have no idea why.

After that I decided to accept the new normal and just give the old/new C drive permanent status. Not that I had much choice. It took me the rest of the afternoon to copy all of the necessary files to recreate something as close as possible to my old profile in both Windows and Firefox

It involved a lot of security checks and verification codes, most of which got sent to devices that either I no longer use or own. Even the ones I do use seemed to be having problems of their own. I really need to get all of that sorted out. It's a perpetual nuisance. 

It was not a fun time but as I type this I'm pleased to say things are near enough back to where they were twenty-four hours ago. The only concern is that I still have absolutely no clue what original failure was about so it could very easily happen again at any time.

The upside is that everything now seems to work a lot faster. It had been bogging down horribly for quite a while and I'd been thinking of doing something about it. Now I can forget it again!

As for the blog, I am going to take this opportunity to stop posting daily. Or rather to stop feeling I have to post daily. If I have things to post, I'll post them but I'll probably go back to my old pattern of mostly not posting on work days. 

Of course, there are only two work days in my work week so that still leaves plenty of time! No-one's safe just yet!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Magic Touch

Today I heard some sad news. Apple is about to discontinue the iPod. According to the report on Pitchfork, the iPod Touch will remain available in the Apple Store and via authorised retailers until current stocks are exhausted and then that will be it.

I bought my iPod Touch twelve years ago and it's still working perfectly. Until Covid put a stop to my regular commute (Mrs Bhagpuss started driving me to and from work during the pandemic so as to avoid travelling on public transport and we've stayed with that since.) I listened to podcasts or music on the Touch several days a week.

Even though there are many more obvious ways to listen to music these days, until this year I'd been in the habit of ripping new CDs to the iPod and listening to them that way. It's only in the last few months I finally decided to stop, mostly because the 32GB drive was so full I had to choose something to delete every time I wanted to add a new purchase.

The iPod Touch wasn't my first MP3 player. That was a Creative Zen Nano I bought in 2006. It had an amazing 512Mb of storage and an am/fm radio. I used it a lot and was very happy with it until I filled it up, which as you can imagine didn't take long. 

The Touch wasn't even my first MP4 player. That was a Sony Walkman with 4GB storage and a two-inch screen. I downloaded videos to it and watched them in my lunchbreak. I watched the whole of the first series of The Trip with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon on that matchbox-sized screen and it was perfectly fine.

Good though those players were, it was the iPod Touch that really sold me on the whole mini-computer in your pocket deal. It had a wifi connection and you could watch YouTube and browse the internet. I even used my Touch on holiday to find and book hotel rooms on the fly.

You could play mmorpgs on it, too. I still have Celtic Heroes installed, a game I played and wrote about back at the dawn of the blog. 

The operating software on my ancient device has long been superceded by newer versions of iOS and it's been something of a struggle to get iTunes and my iPod to play nicely together for a while but we muddle along. I could have replaced it long ago, of course, either with an iPhone or a newer model but why spend the money when it still does everything I need? It still works better than most other tablets and devices I've had.

I've never been a fan of Apple. I don't like iOS or iTunes and I find the reputation for user-friendliness of both quite laughable. Nevertheless, I am a huge fan of the iPod Touch. It's always done just what I wanted and it's never let me down. The twelve-year old battery still holds enough charge for a couple of days and I can find things on it without wanting to throw it across the room.

I guess I could jump before I'm pushed and buy one of the remaining newest models before they disappear for good. On the evidence of the one I have, a replacement could well outlive me.

They're viciously expensive, though, and as I said I've finally reached the point where I don't use mine as much as I did. It's past the point where buying another would make any sense. I'll probably just let the one I have drift on until it stops, much like I plan to do.

To commemorate the passing of an icon, I thought I'd use the function I treasured back in the days of the commute: the iPod Shuffle. I'm going to shuffle and post the first five songs that come up that I can also find on YouTube. I promise not to edit for coolness or to prevent embarrassment. If I was willing to put them on I ought to be willing to show them off. 

Here goes...

Never Say Never - That Dog 

Oh, wow! That's so cool! I didn't even know that was on there. I don't own any albums by That Dog but I went through a phase of converting all the music videos I downloaded from YouTube into MP3s and uploading those to the iPod. Didn't we have it a while back? I should have put that in the rules - no repeats of tracks I've used on the blog before. I didn't, so tough. No-one's going to remember anyway. I don't, even.

Let's roll the dice again...

Some Kinda Love  - The Velvet Underground (Version 2 - The Matrix Tapes)... and it's not on YouTube. Version 4 is but not 2, for some reason. 

Try again...

Ghosts - Motel Raphael

Geez! I forgot that even existed! I barely remember hearing it the first time. I have absolutely no idea who they are (Turns out they're from Montreal) and as far as I recall that's the only thing of theirs I ever heard. Their Bandcamp is still active but the newest thing on there is a couple of years old. I used to like to listen to a lot of stuff that sounded like this. Still do, if I'm in the mood.

Okay, come in number three...

My Alibi (Piano Version) - Lloyd Cole

I guess the law of averages was with Lloyd. I have a bunch of his albums on here, after all. This is from the outtakes and demos collection, self-deprecatingly named Cleaning Out The Ashtrays and once again I'd forgotten all about it. My Alibi is one of my favorite later Lloyd Cole tunes but I wouldn't say this is my favorite version. More of a curio, really, although I do like the weird, otherworldly coda. Here's the original by way of comparison.

Two more...

Suicide Club - The Modernettes

I have a suspicion these guys are Canadian, too... yep, Vancouver, formed in 1980... I bought a double CD of theirs after watching a bunch of their stuff on YouTube but I don't think I've ever listened to it all the way through. I'm not sure you'd get away with a line like "Down at the Suicide Club/That's where the girls are" nowadays.

Last cast... here's hoping it's a good one...

run - pennybirdrabbit

Aahhhhhhhhhhh! <Screams with joy!> Oh, come on!, That's a result, right? Another great song I totally don't remember and with a great video I don't remember either. This is exactly why I love my iPod Touch so much and why no other device I own really hits the spot. Have you ever tried to get a PC  to shuffle the contents of a folder? I have and it wasn't pretty.

God Bless the iPod Touch! May it never truly die.

Monday, May 9, 2022

New Horizons

Yesterday, I happened upon a news item at MassivelyOP that took me completely by surprise. 

It wasn't the one about whoever it is behind Bored Ape Yacht Club making an MMO and getting things horribly wrong, although that was a bit weird. Do any of these cryptobros claiming to be making MMOs ever actually, y'know, make a game? That works? That you can actually play? That anyone wants to play? And if they do, how come they can knock one out so quickly when everyone else seems to take about five years?

No, it was this, about Chimeraland getting an official North American release. As regular readers will no doubt remember, this blog was all about Chimeraland earlier in the year. I racked up nearly twenty posts about the game in around six weeks, before End of Dragons came along and muscled everything else out of the way.

I've been meaning to get back to Chimeraland ever since. Not only was I enjoying it but I also want to see whether my house still stands and I'm curious whether there've been any significant changes while I've been away.

Whenever I was on the verge of logging in again, though, something else always seemed to crop up that seemed more pressing. With the puppy taking huge bites out of the furniture my hand the day, opportunities to catch up have been harder to find than ever.

Of course, I did log in immediately prior to starting this post, aiming to gather a few pertinent facts and take some appropriate screenshots, only to find the servers are down to correct a monster-spawning issue on the central continent (Too few monsters. Can't have that!). 

With luck they'll come up before I finish and I'll be able to check if my house still stands and report back. If not, well I have plenty of screenshots I haven't used yet. I've taken more than six hundred.

Once I can log in again, the real question is whether there'd be much point. If the game's going to get a bona fide English-language launch in North America, maybe I'd be better off waiting for that and starting over when it happens.

I'm always amenable to new beginnings. It's fun to start over in mmorpgs. I used to do it all the time and I was thinking only recently how odd it is that the continual drip-feed of new games means I don't seem to be able to find the time to replay old ones the way I used to.

There's also the possibility there might be new content or at least newly-localised content in the Western release. The translations in the Asian version I've been playing are decent but there are some ambiguities. It would be good to see a more idiomatic translation.

Then there's the question of latency. Lag, if you prefer. I confess I'd actually forgotten about the physical location of the servers where I've been playing until now. I never did get all that much lag, only now and again. The game almost always felt responsive enough that I didn't feel in any way inconvenienced.

Whether things would be better on a North American server depends where exactly in the continent they put it. North America is a big place. I get very good ping to the East Coast but if the servers are in California, another three thousand miles further away, it might not be much better than it is in Singapore.

Given that the North American release is being prefaced by a closed beta in Canada I suspect the servers will be on this side of the map, which would suit me very well. The next question, then, is should I apply for that beta?

That's an easy one. No. If it was an open-ended test then maybe but it's not. The beta begins on Thursday and runs until the following Tuesday. Just five days. Definitely not worth the effort since I already know what I think about the game and there's no chance I would spend long enough in the beta to give much in the way of valuable feedback in such a short time.

Unless it's just the first of a series, such a short beta does suggest a quick turnaround to the full, live release. It sounds like much more of a technical stress test on the servers than any kind of developmental process. 

I guess that also means there won't be much in the way of specific localization for the new market after all, not unless all the work's been done already. I would expect the NA release to be materially the same as the current version that's running in South-East Asia.

And why not? As I said many times back when I was writing about it a couple of months ago, Chimeraland is a very good game. It's a bit rough around the edges, here and there, but it's significantly more finished and complete than any number of other mmorpgs I've played were when they launched. If it ain't broke, as the saying goes...

The only remaining question would seem to be whether or not I want to give up all the work I've already done, the time I've put in, in order to begin again from scratch. There's the good old sunk cost fallacy to consider but I'm generally not one to let that color my decisions too vividly.

I did put in a lot of hours but a very large percentage of those were spent figuring out systems and mechanics. Learning how to play the game. I haven't been away long enough for that knowledge to dissipate so I'm confident I could get back to where I am now in a fraction of the time.

I could also do a better job of some things, quite specifically like where I chose to build my home. I was happy enough with the spot I picked last time but I saw many better as I travelled around the world. I'm certain I could fins somewhere more congenial.

I'm also pretty sure I could build a more coherent and convenient home. I'm quite proud of the one I have but I made some design choices that aren't ideal and they're getting in the way of future developments. It's possible (Although by no means certain.) I could do a better job of things, second time around.

Another consideration I hadn't entirely taken on board is that Chimeraland is cross-platform. You can play either on PC or on Android. It might be interesting to try the NA version on my Kindle Fire, assuming the aging tablet will even run it.

Having thought about it as I've been writing, I think I'll almost certainly start over on the NA servers when the time comes. I wouldn't consider transferring my existing character even it was possible, which I'm guessing it won't be. Most likely, I'll just end up with accounts on both the SEA and NA versions of the game. Maybe even on the European release, too, if there is one sometime down the line.

The servers still aren't up so I'm going to leave it that for now. I will drop in when they come up just to see if my house is still standing but I'll put any thoughts of further progress to one side at least until a firm date for the NA launch appears. 

If it's soonish then I'll wait. If it's not, well, I'll probably wait anyway. 

There's so much going on and so little time to fit it all in. Just like always.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Cooler Kids Will Live Forever

Until Belghast mentioned it a couple of days ago, I had no idea there was a live action reboot of Scooby Doo in the works. Maybe that should be a re-reboot. Or a re-re-reboot. I've lost count of how many versions there've been so far.

Bel noted the new one "appears to have taken notes from the modern Archie/Riverdale CW Series", something that literally every article I could find on the web also chose to mention. Turns out it's more than just a few notes.

"Inspired heavily" is how the team behind the crowdfunded project put it. The first episode is the result of a successful, now-closed, campaign that ran a couple of years ago on Indiegogo, (not Kickstarter, as the Nerdist article link that took me to the pledge page suggested.) 

That goes a good way to explaining two things that puzzled me when I watched the show on Friday. Firstly, why it was free to watch on YouTube and secondly why it seemed just slightly not as slick as you'd expect for a property with this recognition level.

It does raise another obvious question, namely how come the rights owners are letting it happen? I can only infer from the FAQ that the plan is to keep the whole thing "unmonetized" so everyone (Warner Bros., Hanna Barbera and the CW are mentioned.) leaves them alone. Since the first episode is up still, I guess maybe it might even be working.

Although the Indiegogo campaign was just for funding to make Episode One, the pitch says they mean "to build an entire 10 episode season." The IMDB page, linked in the proposal has a dozen episodes pencilled in for the main characters.

Having watched the only episode available so far, I hope they succeed in making another nine or eleven or however many they can manage. I didn't think it was especially well-acted or written and the special effects were on the pre-revival Dr. Who level, but for anyone who loves the characters and the storied history of the Scooby gang, this take is nothing but pure fun. I loved every ridiculous minute of it.

All the central characters are solidly recognizeable, with Daphne looking almost exactly as you'd expect, Velma close, Fred not so much and Shaggy... well, you really wouldn't want a real-life version of the cartoon Shaggy, would you? Scooby doesn't get to do much other than sit in the Mystery Machine but he certainly looks the part. I'd say he was the dog's bollocks but that's actually where he doesn't look quite like the Scoob we all know and love.

A lot seems to be being made of this being a darker, more adult vision but on this very limited evidence I'd like to refer those people to the 2010 series Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated, which I've mentioned occasionally in the past. That was a subtle and thoughtful reworking with some properly adult themes, although you did need to stick with it for the whole three season run to appreciate the subtext.

I just hope the new series, if it does get made, doesn't emulate Riverdale too slavishly. Much though I love that show, it is totally batshit crazy. I don't mind that at all but I do mind the horror elements becoming so disturbing. I have literally had to stop watching Season Six because it was giving me nightmares. Yes, really. At my age!

So long as the homage goes no further than Jingle Jangle being the drug du jour in Coolville I think we'll be okay. More than okay, actually. The metatextual connection gives an unexpected frisson to my JJ tee! I shall wear it even more posily now!

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Sound And vision

One of the many good things about Cowboy Bebop that I didn't have time to get into yesterday is the music. Composed by Yoko Kanno and performed by her and the band she put together for the show, Seatbelts, it's perfect for the theme and the setting, especially when you consider that, if Wikipedia is to believed, "Kanno herself was sometimes surprised at how pieces of her music were used in scenes, sometimes wishing it had been used elsewhere".

Rather than witter on about how good it is and seeing that I have very little time to put a post together today and since I have a whole bunch of stills from the show I couldn't fit into yesterday's post, how about I post a few samples and let you judge for yourself.




I should make it quite clear, none of the scenes shown match the music or if they do it's a complete fluke. If I'd wanted that I'd have made my own video clips from the show. Maybe I should have. But I didn't. So let that be an end to it.

I'll shut up about Cowboy Bebop now. At least until I've watched the movie.

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