Episode 217: Mimico Insane Asylum (Doors Open Toronto)

June 9, 2016


Jakob and Mandi take a trip to the tunnels underneath the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital (http://www.asylumbythelake.com)—aka Mimico Insane Asylum, aka Mimico Hospital for the Insane, aka The Police Academy, aka Humber College—during Doors Open Toronto.  They also talk about Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express, Midsomer Murders, London Spy and M:I Rogue Nation.

Mandi’s pictures from the tunnel tour:


Episode 216: Netflix Grab Bag

May 9, 2016


Jakob and Mandi talk about a totally random assortment of things they’ve been watching on Netflix. Mainly Daredevil Season 2, Downton Abbey Season 5, House of Cards Season 4 (well, the first 3 episodes), most of Poirot, and the Ender’s Game movie.

Episode 215: Love and Marriage

February 11, 2016


A Valentines Day special! Our good friends James and Nicole pop by to talk our fabulous wedding, their rad wedding, weddings we’ve been to that were maybe not so awesome and married life. Thanks to Joe Strutt for the very special easter egg (valentine’s heart?) so stick around after the credits.

And be sure to check out James’ book, Our Inland Sea.




Episode 214: The Force Awakens In Los Santos

January 4, 2016


We stopped sleeping on The Force Awakens and went and saw it finally. It took us a while to get out to the cinema on account of all the Grand Theft Auto V we were playing.

Post-Podcast Analysis

A friend recently posted a meme on Facebook that said something to the effect of “As I get older, the biggest lie I tell myself is I don’t have to write it down because I’ll remember.”

Quite true, since as listeners will probably note there’s a lot of things we could’ve talked about regarding The Force Awakens but, well, we didn’t. I did however have a list of things I wanted to discuss but apparently my mental notes were erased once we hit the record button. I wasn’t even struggling to remember what I wanted to talk about, it was just poof, gone. Anyway, here are some of those things.

BB-8 is not Jar Jar Binks

When BB-8 made his first appearances in the trailers I was certainly one of the people who thought, I have a bad feeling about this. It struck me as the most improbable droid design and he seemed positioned to merely be overly cutesy comic relief. Perhaps he’d even provide Jar-Jar levels of tooth-grindingly hokey slapstick.

In the end it turns out he was comic relief, but in much the same manner as R2-D2 had been. In a way BB-8 is an improvement on R2 as his design allows him to actually keep up with his human counterparts in action sequences. That’s something they always had to fudge a little with R2. He’d be lagging behind in one shot and then suddenly he’d be caught up to the gang in the next. He could also traverse all manner of terrain his little wheels shouldn’t have been able to handle, like a forest floor and the loose sand of Tatooine’s dunes. BB-8 is more believable on most terrain (though Neil Degrasse Tyson disagrees).

Vincent from The Black HoleExcept for stairs. They even comically demonstrate BB’s problems with stairs in one scene, as he slowly crawls down into Maz Kanata’s bargain basement. Which I was happy to see since I’d been wondering about how he’d take on stairs since he first appeared on screen and assumed they’d just conveniently not show it. BB-8 did manage get down them, but slowly, Certainly this must be a huge problem for him and a massive design flaw by his makers. Or is architecture designed for accessibility more often in that galaxy than in ours? Only places like the Mos Eisley Cantina that don’t want droids don’t have ramps? It made me wonder why they don’t just give those droids the landspeeder hover technology. Sure, he’d end up basically being Vincent from The Black Hole, but Disney owns those rights anyway.

However, other than being cute, BB-8 pretty much lacks personality when compared with the Laurel and Hardy / Bert and Ernie snark of R2 and 3P0.

Kylo Ren is not Darth Vader

Kylo Ren meme

Click to embiggen

Lately I’ve seen a few memes that attempt to defend Kylo Ren’s supposed badassness. There seems to be a faction of devotees who really want him to be someone other than the character they saw on screen. They don’t want him to be the emotionally muddled and very human Ben* Solo but rather his one-dimensionally psychotic idol, Darth Vader. Wishing Kylo Ren to be more of a space-Nazgûl seems to me completely misses the point of his character. He has some strong hereditary Force power, sure, but he’s also incredibly unfocused and impatient.

On the podcast I claim that he turned to the Dark Side because he, like his uncle Luke, didn’t have the discipline to be a Jedi and was just kind of shitty at it. So he took the easy route and started indulging his fanboy cosplayer tendencies by creating a character who is essentially a corny parody of Vader. Ridiculous and, in Kylo’s case, completely pointless mask, a silly flaming broadsword and an odd penchant for capes. He’s just a little too cringingly pathetic to ever be truly badass—as is true for most villains and bullies. In the Potterverse, he’s the sort of disenfranchised adolescent who’d turn to the Death Eathers to make him feel like a man. Or, in our own world, he’d turn to DAESH. Not mythically evil, just a horribly misguided young man making poor life choices.

So Kylo Ren isn’t Darth Vader. But he is a lot like Anakin Skywalker from the Prequels—something I think his fans** might be in denial about.

Captain Phasma is Boba Fett

Kickass costume. Holds a blaster well. Essentially does nothing. Will probably get eaten by a large monster in Episode IX.

Jakku is Tatooine

Given all the other mash-ups and rehashing of elements from the Original Trilogy, why they hell aren’t the Jakku scenes set on Tatooine? Why are so many desert planets in this galaxy inhabited (by light skinned people) at all. Is it because the Empire and the First Order keep blowing up the habitable planets? But whatever the reason (it’s explained in various Force Awakens book and video game tie-ins apparently), why did they create a new desert planet that seems to be exactly like Tatooine in climate and society? Why not make this “Battle of Jakku” the “Battle of Tatooine”? There’d even be the nice continuity of that maybe the Millennium Falcon had been stolen or acquired by one of Jabba’s Hutt brethren. The whole set-up was a bit of a ham-fisted way for Rey and Han to meet up anyway, so why not? And instead of the sort of Jawa/Tusken Raiders mash-ups they had on Jakku, we could’ve had actual Jawas and Tusken Raiders. Given the films apparent mandate of nostalgia pandering, why pull that punch? I felt like Jakku was the weirdest choice they made in the film.

Snoke is not Palpatine

Mostly what I mean by “Snoke is not Palpatine” is “the name Snoke is not as good as the name Palpatine.” Snoke has got to be, by far, the dumbest name in Star Wars. Ever. Which is a god damn achievement. It sounds like the name of a Congressman from Delaware. Re-elect Gordon Snokes (R) in 2016! So, actually, the name Snoke is the weirdest choice they made.

J.J. is not George

Which is a good and a bad thing. Lucas was recently quoted criticizing the film’s creators for not being innovative enough and rehashing his ideas. Or, as one parody site put it, making a film that was both popular and enjoyable. The Force Awakens is no Episode 1.  On the other hand, J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens won’t be the innovative, game-changing juggernaut that George Lucas’ A New Hope was (read this defense of the man). Star Wars was actually the second time Lucas’ changed the game, having re-written the teen comedy template for the ’80s with American Graffiti. The same as Star Wars gave us Battlestar Gallactica, where would John Hughes and Cameron Crowe have been been without American Graffiti? That’s two films whose style affected almost everything we saw for a decade and beyond.

But though more of an innovator than Abrams, Lucas wasn’t wholly responsible for the triumph of those films either. Lest we forget, and most people have as pointed out by this NY Post piece, Marcia.  When Episode 1 came out and people said, “How could the person who made A New Hope have made this piece of bantha poodoo?” My response was, “Because she didn’t,” and people said, “WTF you talkin’ about?” And we all chalked another one up to the patriarchy’s revisionist history.

The Force Awakens is not Star Trek

To me, and many others, the tone of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek film was entirely wrong. It’s essentially the same bro-ish tone that’s used in The Force Awakens, but it’s a tone that more or less works in the Star Wars universe. While it seems everyone else is trying to nit-pick holes (and more holes) in The Force Awakens, I’m willing to more or less let it be what it is—a slightly ridiculous, action-packed buddy movie. That’s all a Star Wars film should be and that’s all it is.

Unlike an overblown, pretentious movie like Prometheus, finding fault in The Force Awakens provides little pleasure. I do wonder if I’ll enjoy The Force Awakens once it makes it to the small screenThough I didn’t agree with the tone of Abrams’ Trek reboot, I did honestly enjoy it in the theatre. When I tried to watch it on DVD later, I had to turn it off—removed from the larger-than-life spectacle of a cinema screening, it was utterly unwatchable dreck. I was actually shocked at just how bad a film it is. Curious to see how The Force Awakens holds up in a few months time.

* Seems a little weird to me that Leia and Han named him after Obi-Wan. In A New Hope, you didn’t really get the impression Leia knew him personally so much as knew of him. And Han pretty much straight-up didn’t like or respect him in the two or three hours he knew the “old fossil”. It’d made sense for Luke to name his offspring Ben, but Leia? If Ben didn’t look so much like Han, I’d be tempted to suggest Luke and Leia’s incestual relationship didn’t end with that kiss in the Hoth infirmary.

** I don’t know if she’s a fan per se. But when Kylo removed his helmet in the Rey interogation scene, the pre-teen girl beside me gasped and said, “Ooooh, he’s so good looking!” I guess the Sorting Hat would put her in Slytherin.

snape kylo



Episode 213: Watching The Detectives

December 24, 2015


Detectives. Private Dicks. Gumshoes.  Lately, it seems we’ve been watching shows about private eyes. Jessica Jones, Poirot, Father Brown, Death In Paradise and the like.

Spoiler warnings: This episode contains spoilers for Jessica Jones Season 1, Death In Paradise Season 3 and Bones Season 10.

Episode 212: Trains, Trek, Tangents and Tinder Updates

October 14, 2015


Before heading back to Africa, Kathie wanted to slam the new E.L. James book, Grey. Mandi wanted an update on her Tinder adventures and tangents ensued. So much so neither topic gets talked about much — Grey pretty much not at all. We do however critique the so-called “best selfie ever” (see above). Heck, even the title of the episode is a reference to a post-credits easter egg at the end of the episode. Have fun. We did.

Note: Listeners may be confused by references to Mandi’s brother Jake as well as Jakob being called “Jake” in a game where Mandi and Kathie role-play his parents as that’s what his parents call him. Two different people.


Episode 211: Kathie Gets Tinder

September 23, 2015


Regular co-host Kathie (What introduced Mandi to fanfic, apparently) signs up for Tinder just in time to leave the country for nine months. Married couple Jakob and Mandi live vicariously through her (potential) online dating adventures.

The educational Tinder-related Instragram accounts mentioned on the episode:

Bye Felipe

Calling out dudes who turn hostile when rejected or ignored.


Tinder Nightmares


Not mentioned on the podcast, but recent discoveries…

Mia Matsumiya, Perv Magnet

4’9″ violinist & perv magnet. I’ve archived 1,000+ messages from stalkers, crazies & fetishists over the past 10 years. I’ve decided to post them all.


Feminist On Tinder








Episode 210: Mandi Goes Camping

September 2, 2015


After Mandi comes back from a camping trip, we sit around the campfire (not really) and trade stories of one of Jakob’s biggest hurdles: Camping. We also discuss the fantastic Sense8 and the abysmal Age of Ultron.


There’s also talk of Captain Holt. Because… Captain Holt.

Episode 209: Earthseed – Books of The Living

July 28, 2015


Kathie drops by to talk about Octavia E. Butler‘s harrowing post-collapse books Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents which make up the Earthseed – Books of The Living series. Not to be confused with the 1983 novel Earthseed by Pamela Sargent . Which actually sounds like it could be adapted to be a sequel to these books, though perhaps a terrible one.

Episode Notes:

In the books, the protagonist Olamina creates a compelling religion based on a somewhat Taoist notion of  eternal change called Earthseed which, not surprisingly, has inspired people in real life to create their own organized belief systems. One is the vaguely bonkers SolSeed and another is the more acutely bonkers Terasem Movement.

We touch on some reasons why these books won’t be make into a movie or television franchise despite being full of as much brutal violence, rape and (perhaps more) consensual sex as Game of Thrones. We also reference the Every Word Spoken By A Person of Color In… videos by podcaster Dylan Maron.

Later on we talk about male and female leadership styles and how they affect society. A concept beautifully explored in this clip from the 1991 film Mindwalk.  Skip to 2:37 if it doesn’t start there, but the whole film is worth seeking out.

We also touch upon the pros and cons of religion and discuss whether or not Earthseed’s “Destiny” (colonizing the extraterrestrial worlds) is a valid goal for humanity.

Mandi mentions The Story of Stuff.

And finally, Kathie briefly mentions the universal, unconditional basic income initiative. Jakob happened to ask a resident of the city about it not too long ago.

EDIT: Matthew Fava, who gifted us our copies of the two Parable books, commented this link at Soundcloud. “This panel has some interesting conversations about hollywood and lead roles for black characters/actors…and it is all centred around reflections on Octavia.”

And while we’re at it, this is a great article on the type-casting of middle-eastern actors in Hollywood (Spoiler: they’re always terrorists).

Episode 208: Cosplay

July 7, 2015


This topic was suggested by listener Rose in a lovely letter she sent us. She may regret that now as we don’t really know all that much about cosplay, its origins or the culture surrounding it. At least we don’t try to talk about it that much directly and instead focus on issues of personal identity, sexuality, dress codes and cultural appropriation.

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