Weeknotes #97

in weeknotes

  • I completely forgot that my Japanese visa expires at the start of next month. I was reminded of all things by one of my banks. They called to ask if I’d received my new residency card and if so could bring it in for them to copy. I responded that I had of course applied to extend my visa but that I hadn’t got my new card yet and would certainly bring it in as soon as I’d received it. Then commenced the mad dash to pull together all the documents necessary to submit my extension application. By the end of the week, I’d got everything ready for submission on Monday. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly from here!

  • Eri’s birthday was this week. I waited too long to order her cake and it arrived the day after her birthday so we had our little celebration the day after instead. Courtesy of Dave’s generous donation, the cake purchased was the Dreamy Unicorn Cake and I’m pleased to report it was pretty tasty. I still think it was too expensive and found the use-by date to be disturbingly far in the future but in the unlikely event that you are in Japan and are looking for a fun birthday cake, I’d recommend it. Thanks again Dave!

  • Speaking of Dave, we were chatting over the weekend and I was disappointed he hadn’t seen either of Wheel of Time (Amazon Prime Video) or Foundation (Apple TV) yet. I watched episodes of both during the week and am definitely enjoying Foundation far more than WOT.

  • My concern with WOT was that they were going to try to remake it into Game of Thrones and while they haven’t done that, the show’s biggest problem is that the best part of the books is the lore that Jordan built and it’s just not that interesting to watch that in live action. My favourite scene from the two episodes I’ve seen so far is where Moiraine relates a historical story to the four teenage protagonists. There’s no montage, they’re all just riding on horseback as Rosamund Pike describes an event from hundreds of years ago. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence when that’s the most engaged you’ve felt in a series that open with a monstrous assault that’s repelled by fireballs. (Oh, and all the Children of Light have been cool.)

  • I didn’t love Foundation from the start but did find it much more engaging. In large part that’s due to the decision to replace the Committee of Public History, the de facto rulers of the Galactic Empire in the books, with a triumvirate of clones of the Emperor Cleon (each at different stages of life). While this focus on a single character is arguably antithetical to the point of the original series of books, it sure makes for a more riveting drama.

  • The pat conclusion of this is that if you are going to adapt a series of books to a television show, don’t be afraid to depart from the source material if it makes for a better story. This was driven home by the third adaptation I watched a bit of this week: the live-action adaptation of beloved 90s anime Cowboy Bebop (Netflix). As avid (and, honestly, mystifyingly obsessed) readers may remember I don’t think the show is as good as the general consensus on it seems to be. That aside, I think the first episode is unambiguously bad. It does change things but everything it changes is worse and its slavish recreation of multiple shots from the anime series merely serves to remind you that things that look good animated don’t necessarily look good in live action.

  • All of which is to say that after not watching much over the past couple of weeks, I obviously more than made up for it this week. And on top of all of that, I bought James Acaster’s Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999 stand-up special (Vimeo). I really hesitate to link to Vimeo because I’m not sure I’ve had a worse experience watching steaming video since RealPlayer (speaking of 1999). The player doesn’t remember your position so if for some reason you don’t have time to watch all two hours in a single block, you better remember the time code you were at when you stopped. The special itself isn’t as impressive as Repertoire but that’s a very steep bar and I found it very enjoyable all the same.

  • And just to round out all that media, the kids watched Frozen 2 again over the weekend and as much as I find it a confused song, I’ve had ‘Into the Unknown’ stuck in my head for the past two days, specifically the Panic at the Disco! version (Apple Music).

Michael Camilleri @pyrmont