Final Thoughts on Sharp Objects

Tonight we decided to finish the last two objects of Sharp Objects on HBO. If you are unfamiliar, the miniseries was an adaptation of “Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn, the same writer who wrote “Gone Girl”. It starred Amy Adams.

Sharp Objects follows Camille (Amy Adams) as she goes home to the small Missouri city of Wind Gap. She returns as an investigative journalist sent there by her paternal editor-in-chief to investigate the murder of two young girls.

Its a brutal show. The imagery is rich but disturbing. The subject matter ranges from murder to rape to self-harm. It isn’t an easy or light plot by any stretch. In many ways, it reminded me of the first season of True Detective where the mystery at the heart of the narrative pulls you along but its the horrors and inhumanity of every day folks that keep you invested.

I have to say, I never thought of Missouri as the south. I’ve had the autocorrect the state name two times already writing this, so I don’t think of Missouri much at all, to be frank. Still, Wind Gap, its citizens, and setting of Sharp Objects feels southern in much the same way that Flannery O’Conner captured it in her Southern Gothic short stories.

I eat these kinds of stories up. Now, I didn’t grow up in a small town with a murder mystery or other dark secrets at its core, but I get it. I get the old money/new money dichotomy. I get the rundown hopelessness. I get the ignorant and the racist and other so-called “good folk” ruining and tarnishing the lives of those less inclined to hatred or bigotry. I can’t say Wind Gap exists, but the place Sharp Objects shows it is at least a reflection of far too many places, a reflection that ignores the surface level for a truer horror underneath.

Back to the show: I liked it overall. At times its dreamy-horror-wonder routine wavered into the realm of artsy nonsense, but the same worked for True Detective and it mostly worked here. The performances were all fantastic. Australian actress Eliza Scanlen was a clear standout as the creepy younger sister of Camille.

I loved the show’s overall focus on femininity. Rather than taking any sort of stand, it showcased the myriad of ways it can go wrong while also providing a few avenues for hope and overcoming those wrongs in the end. It is a very pessimistic view of humanity and femininity more specifically, but we need more stories like this to round out the cannon of our culture to show all of mankind’s rough edges, whether male or female or something else.

Without spoiling it, I thought the final act was a bit of a drag. I think with more editing, the bumps could’ve been smoothed out to make for slower, more gradual realization of what truly was happening. The final reveals felt too clean for a show that always left me feeling dirty.

I think as a Southern Gothic show, this is an outstanding example. I am grateful it didn’t have the mysticism of True Detective though an element of magical realism is always appreciated in these kinds of stories. I am also happy that this was a one-and-done. Despite the ending leaving room for more, I have had plenty.


This post is part of a series of everyday posts for Blaugust. If you’d like to know more, click here.

Overcooked 2, Session 3

Another week and another night playing Overcooked 2 with friends. I managed to make it home from Alabama just in time to unpack, order pizza, and boot up the game.

Finally, some real challenge has arrived. Worlds 4, 5, and what we’ve done thus far of 6, have really upped the difficulty. They added a cool (but frustrating) mechanic where players control moving platforms which need to be positioned over and over again in order to progress.

Similar to the last level of the first world, one of the other “boss” levels we went through had a very psychedelic part that honestly left me confused and dizzy. We managed to overcome the level with three stars in our first try, but only because it was incredibly long.

These later levels are proving that the game has a lot of staying power. Even beyond getting three stars, I could see myself going back with the same people or another group and having a similar amount of fun. With so many roles on each level, its easy to beat it without getting a chance to experience every aspect for yourself. That’s important to me.

On the positive news front, it looks like the PC version got a free quality of life patch recently. It added a New Game+ mode with unique rewards and the ability to change your chefs without backing out entirely. I am excited to see those features the Playstation 4 version we are playing. Hopefully by the time it releases, we will be ready for the fresh challenges!


This post is part of a series of everyday posts for Blaugust. If you’d like to know more, click here.

Writing on a phone

We are at dad’s this weekend for his birthday. No internet here, so I am writing this on my phone as it switches back and forth between LTE and 3G. I feel like I am texting the internet.

It is fun going home on occasion. Dad decided he still wanted to cook instead of going out (first decent restaurant is 45 minutes away). We are having a low country boil, Diane’s first.

Thankfully online streaming technology has advanced enough to allow some downloading. Internet be dammed, I am prepared. If that fails, then it is back to basic cable on one of two televisions in the entire four bedroom house.

Nothing really changes in my hometown. Well, other than Alabama’s richest citizen buying more real estate. Everytime I come home, Dad points out something else that Jimmy bought.

On the positive front, Dad is finally starting to think about selling the house. I know it is hard for him keeping up such a big space after Mom. He is typically the sentimental type so its a big step.

Dinner’s ready! Time to stop texting everyone.

Blaugust Regrets

My biggest regret of this Blaugust so far has been my inability to participate beyond my own posts. In past blogging events, whether Blaugust or otherwise, I was able to make a real effort to read and comment more. This time, I have been lucky to get anything posted at all some days.

I miss it too. I miss how many of us would link to one another’s posts and comment in our own. I miss the debates about MMO mechanics or other things. I wish my job and other duties didn’t take me so far away.

Not that I have the same energy either. Writing about MMOs bores me. They do not change and no one wants to make them anyway. It would be nice to write about other things that many of you share a passion about but other things inspire less “blogospheric pressure” to reply.

If you would be so kind, please help me out. In the comments below, feel free to link a post from this event you are particularly proud of or, if you are a new blogger looking for someone to read everything, share a link to your blog overall.

I promise I will read everything that is shared!


This post is part of a series of everyday posts for Blaugust. If you’d like to know more, click here.

Watch List

I don’t write about the television shows I am enjoying as much as I would like. Here’s a brief rundown of everything I am bouncing between right now:

Sharp Objects

Thus far, Sharp Objects has been fantastic. It reminds me of the first season of True Detective though far less driven by a male point-of-view. Amy Adams and everyone surrounding her do a great job portraying small town damaged people

My only complaint is that it can be a difficult show to watch. I may look forward to seeing it every week, but unlike other shows, I don’t jump for joy at the thought of seeing it. The subject matter is not for the feint of heart and some days I need a downbeat far less than I need an upbeat.

Deadwood

I love Timothy Olyphant, especially when I was watching Justified most every week. He has a great look and charm, but also a quiet intensity. For one reason or another, I never watched Deadwood when it was on or in the decade plus since it went off the air.

Diane and I are only a few episodes in but so far so good. I enjoy hearing “cocksucker” or some variation every other sentence.

Better Call Saul

I “met” Bob Odenkirk once. When I was living in Illinois, I was a teller at the bank his mom uses. One day, she brought in her son Bob and I couldn’t find the will to say anything to him. I regret it but knowing someone as famous as Bob Odenkirk still finds time to go with his mom to the bank is more than enough to make me a fan for life.

Also, Better Call Saul is fantastic and far better than Breaking Bad which was already perfect.

Megaloboxing

I am just starting this anime. It is weird but I love the feel of it so far. Anime and boxing are also like a drug for me. Hajime No Ippo proved it is a winning formula and I am always open to “more of that”.

The Golden Girls

This isn’t some ironic watch. I am a huge fan. I have two Golden Girls t-shirts that I sleep in. Sometimes when I am lazy I wear it out for errands and I get compliments from people even younger than me. I think nostalgia must extend to people with no familiarity with something other than other people being nostalgic for it. It’s like hipster hive mind.

My love for the Golden Girls is sincere. My mother would tape her soaps (soap operas) and watch them at night while knitting. I would sometimes wander out of bed and fall asleep in her lap. She didn’t want to be distracted from her tapes, so she’d turn it off and usually it would be time for Golden Girls reruns on Lifetime.

I dunno how she would feel about me admitting she let me watch it at such a young age. But the Golden Girls is a reminder of a time when I was still able to curl up in my mother’s lap and fall back asleep. I miss her dearly some days more than others but I still have Golden Girls to watch when I want to slip back into the past. The fact that I learned that Blanche is a slut and how funny that is at age 7 never stopped me from being a productive, functioning human being either.


This post is part of a series of everyday posts for Blaugust. If you’d like to know more, click here.

Job Acquired

Some of you were kind of enough to wish me luck a few posts back when I mentioned having an interview. Well, not to leave you hanging, I got the promotion!

In truth, it is more a lateral move but there is a slight pay and prestige bump. Furthermore, it is that necessary moment where my tasks and duties reset. The latter is really what I wanted/needed.

I am sure many of you can share similar experiences. I am so independent and hyper focused on improving my own position as well as the team at large that over time I soak up a lot of extra jobs and duties that just weren’t being done before me. That’s great and has helped fuel my rapid ascent, but now that I am landing my rocket on a firm plateau it is nice to get a chance to be new again.

I may or may not make the same mistake of doing more than I am tasked to do simply because I see the need. I likely will but at least there will be a new honeymoon period. Now I have two weeks to share all of my knowledge and expertise with everyone else before I take it all with me!


This post is part of a series of everyday posts for Blaugust. If you’d like to know more, click here.

D&D Character Idea #247: Lizardfolk Warlock

This post is part of a series of everyday posts for Blaugust. If you’d like to know more, click here.


Since we are still between campaigns, I am still debating the next major character to play. Most recent, I am considering a Lizardfolk Warlock with an Archfey Patron.

Here are the key roleplaying aspects of the character:

  • Hermit background, so even for Lizardfolk, he has lived a fairly isolated existence in the swamp.
  • Lizardfolk are described as seeing the things only in terms of its utility. They are fairly limited in emotional range. Art and beauty have no value to them.
  • In contrast, Archfey are demigods associated with the Feywild (or the Plane of Faerie) and are like more intense versions of faeries or similar creatures in popular myths.
  • After happening upon him, his future Archfey patron is amazed that he doesn’t know how to laugh or how to really express any kind of emotion other than hunger.
  • Without fully understanding, the Lizardfolk strikes a bargain with the Archfey that he will travel the world and learn the value of emotions and how to truly experience them.
  • The Archfey sometimes joins in on these travels, often offering unhelpful advice or intentionally leading him astray as to force him to feel the opposite emotion intended.

Obviously very rough at this time, but I am considering going pure Warlock, relying on Eldritch Blast for my damage needs, and loading up a ton of utility/face of the party spells. I like the idea of having an at-will disguise self spell, especially if it leads to a lot of bad/embarrassing attempts at pretending to be other races whose culture, dialects, and emotional vocabulary are entirely alien to me.

I am also mulling over going with Whispers of the Grave (at-will speak with the dead) or Gaze of Two Minds (a touch-based ability where I can touch a willing humanoid and experience their senses).

The first comes from an idea someone had of carrying around a collection of skulls to talk to for additional information. Lizardfolk getting Cunning Artisan which allows them to craft basic weaponry from fallen enemies. I figure pocketing a skull or two (and some snacking fingers/toes) from my enemies would be in-character and a great way to learn more about other cultures/emotions/etc.

The latter would be an easy way for me to roleplay learning about other races through their own eyes in a manner that would be less disturbing to potential good-aligned party members. I think it is less flavorful overall, but I am not looking to make an evil character or one that would be perceived as such.

All in all, it is a rough sketch of a character, but definitely one worth adding to the overall pile.

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