Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Weaknotes for m/e 18 January 2020

Feeling mostly ill and cold and tired: the last four weeks in a nutshell.

As Xmas Eve wound down, the lurgy knocked me for six. Not quite the flu, but close enough. And having to work through it (no sick days when the work is freelance, alas) made it quite a bit worse. I didn’t feel myself again until I had a few more flexible days in early January, and even then the cough persisted. Reader, it was bad.

Not being in the condition or mood to leave the house much over the last four weeks, even when I wasn’t feeling awful, I had time to catch up on some movies old and new.

I also watched all 10 episodes of Messiah on Netflix. It’s kind of like a dumbed-down Homeland, as a dogged CIA agent (Michelle Monaghan) trails a mysterious preacher of peace from the Middle East who has a growing cult following and seemingly miraculous powers… It’s gussied-up exploitation trash, basically. And the trashiness extends to its, let’s just say interesting politics, which are hard to get a firm handle on.

That’s the only show I’ve watched since finishing The Witcher (as I mentioned last time) which definitely improved as it went on — though I did feel a bit short-changed there was only one cool sword fighting scene, in that very first episode. I get that kind of thing isn’t easy to do, but when you lead your series with it, you’ve got to deal with viewers’ expectations.

Something else that plays a little viewer-ignorant is the mixed-up timeline, which isn’t clearly signposted at all. If only for one character’s throwaway line in an early episode, I wouldn’t have figured I was watching a show set in multiple time periods. And since there’s no real ‘swerve’ to the plot that would make hiding that fact necessary, it comes off way more as a failure on the showrunner’s part.

Wrestle Kingdom 14 was something to look forward and, as a big fan of Tetsuya Naito, I came away from it very happy indeed. Yes, even with KENTA spoiling his big moment at the end of the second night. Come on, it’s wrestling! Roll on their match at The New Beginning in Osaka next month. And roll on the Royal Rumble next weekend, too.

After thinking about it for pretty much a year, I got a new turntable just before Xmas, as a treat for myself. It’s an Audio-Technica AT-LP120X — one that won’t ruin my records like that Steepletone might’ve if I’d kept using it.

It’s quite sturdy, and was a little fiddly to set up with balancing the tone arm and all, but then it plugged straight into my computer speakers with the phono lead for pretty decent playback. I’m no hardcore audiophile so it works for me.

First play was Slovenly’s Thinking of Empire, which I’d bought ages ago; presumably an original pressing from 1986 but, other than some creasing and a cut-out on the sleeve, it’s in remarkable condition. Some pop and crackle but nothing a deeper clean can’t fix.

Also gadget-related: another great gift I got was a mixer, which I’ve wanted for a while to make sounds with. But after plugging it in and powering it up, it died in a matter of minutes. One moment the lights were on; the next, nada. I don’t know whether it was the power supply or the mixer itself or both, but anyway it’s back in the box and ready for wrapping to go back to Amazon. When the refund’s complete, I suppose I’ll try again with another one and hope for the best.

Something else for which I’m also hoping for the best: the limited-edition Jushin Thunder Liger action figure I preordered last autumn shipped before Xmas, but as of this weekend still hasn’t arrived. Even allowing for the Xmas slowdown, I’ve never had a parcel take even close to that long to arrive here from the US. So it’s probably lost, isn’t it? Suffice it to say I am one very unhappy customer.