“Black Mirror”, Season 3, Episode 1, “Nosedive”

Like this post so I can buy coffee tomorrow–

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

[Image via Netflix] [Image via Netflix] Well here it is: Black Mirror, Season 3, is now on Netflix, and the first episode deals with something that nearly everyone who is reading this article knows all about: how to deal with social media. Only, how would you handle life if everything in it depended on how well you did on Facebook?

Let’s find out, shall we?

The biggest change to Black Mirror is the definite U.S. feel to everything—at least in this episode. And then means we see something that we didn’t see much of in the first two seasons on England: a woman jogging. Lacey Page (Bryce Dallas Howard) is out on her morning run while checking her phone. No big deal; you see this all the time if you’re anywhere in an urban area or nice neighborhood. But here’s where the shit get strange: in this world, people rate each other…

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The Beginning of the Return: At the Digs

Here’s an interesting factoid from this scene I’m writing.  I’ve spent two days working on it and as with everything else, I’m keeping track of my word counts.  The first night I wrote 333 words; last night I wrote 888.  Hum…  888 is exactly two-and-two-thirds more than 333, so some interesting symmetry there.  Or not.  It could just be straight up bullshit with me being the only one who notices.

Or maybe it’s something magical?  No, probably not.  Just coincidence.

It’s also Back to the Future Day today, with this date picked in 1988 because, as was figured then, it was the day the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series–something that could happen this year.  There’s still a chance the Cubs could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, so who knows? Anyway, remember the immortal words of Doctor Emmett Brown, who recorded a video on this day last year:  “Yes, it (the future) is different than we all thought.  But don’t worry, it just means your future hasn’t been written yet.  No one’s has.  Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”

Yeah, that’s a good message to live by.  Which is something my kids will strive to do.

Speaking of my kids…

Kerry’s in Paris and approaching his hotel and one and only, so let’s pick up where we were:


(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)


“Believe it or not for my C Levels.” Bernice gave a soft laugh. “My A and B Levels were nothing like yours, though. My A Level departure was Stockholm and my B Level departure was London. Go to Rome for my D Levels and Amsterdam for my Es. Just like they always do, I finished my F Levels in Stockholm.” She turned to Kerry again. “You always end where your started.”

Kerry sat back and turned his attention to his passenger. “How come we don’t go there now?”

“Stockholm and London?”


“At the time we had a lot more students located in northern part of Europe so the majority of the cities were there. Once we started getting a steady trickle from Africa and Western Asia it was decided to move things a little southward.” Bernice stifled a yawn. “There’s been talk for a few years that we’ll move out of Rome and head eastward into either Hungary or Bulgaria, though there’s also talk of moving to Istanbul.” She shrugged. “It’s not up to me; the Council in Washington will decided that. And probably not for another twenty years.”

A thought instantly entered Kerry’s head: We won’t go to those places, but our kids will. Ever since the night when Annie said their children resisted inside her as eggs, there had been moments when he would imagine Annie and him married with a family. He thought of them with a boy, a few times with a girl, and even a couple of instances with one of each. And then there was one occasion…

He didn’t want to think about Annie like that, not right now. Kerry glanced at Ms. Rutherford. “What was Stockholm like?”

“Beautiful city. I remember the international airport was about forty minutes from the hotel where we stayed, which was right down town. That was my first time in another country—also my first time riding in a limo. I felt so important.” She looked across the vehicle to what was beyond Kerry’s window. “We’re almost there.”

He turned to his left just as the car turned in the same direction and saw the large park. “What’s that?”

“Place de la République: a nice, public square as well as a major subway terminal.” The car made another left followed by an almost immediate right. “We’re hitting all the lights; it won’t be long now.”

The car traveled two blocks down Boulevard Voltaire before taking a hard left—almost a u-turn—on to Rue de Malta. After driving just over half the block the car came to a stop outside their destination: Hotel du Nord et de l’Est. Bernice set her hand upon her bag. “Here we are.”


First, travelogue:  Place de la République is like a two to three minute walk from the hotel where he’s staying.  When I was there the traffic drove all the way around the area, but during Kerry’s time here it’s finally been finished–only two months before by the time in the novel–being turned into a pedestrian park with traffic prohibited from one side of the plaza.  Right near the center of the plaza and the entrance to the subway system is a huge statue of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic and the inspiration for both Columbia (the U.S.’ symbol) and the Statue of Liberty.

Take a bow, Marianne!

Take a bow, Marianne!

So down the street and up another, and finally they are at the hotel–seeing it pretty much as I saw it in 2006.

Yep, there it is.

Yep, there it is.

In real life you can get a nice room here for about $75/night, and while it might seem like you’re in the middle of nowhere, you’re a three-minute walk from two subway stations which can take you anywhere in the city and a five-minute walk from the Canal Saint-Martin, and area which is quiet nice.  Trust me, once you walk out the door, you’re only about thirty minutes from the Eiffel Tower.

But why stay here?  The other cities had bigger hotels, so why something smaller?  That’s easy:


Kerry examined the building just outside his window. “Not quite like the last two where we stayed.”

“Don’t let the appearance fool you: it’s a comfortable, quiet place.” She looked out Kerry’s side of the car. “Today through Wednesday night The Foundation has rented out every room.”

That caught Kerry by surprise. “Is this a Foundation place?”

“No. But The Foundation has used it many times in the past and they have a few contractual agreements with owners.” Bernice grinned as a light tone crept into her voice. “Paris is a huge and intimidating, yet wonderful city, and first time visitors can find themselves either overwhelmed or over-excited by the local. The Foundation believes that while it’s not exactly a which hotel it’s still a good place to rest, relax, and decompress.” She chuckled. “And knowing that no Normals will be here for most of the week, it’s easier for your chaperons to know who’s here and who isn’t.”  Bernice opened her door. “Let’s check you in.”

“Sounds good.” Kerry was out his door and heading back to the now-open trunk. He lifted his luggage and backpack out while Ms. Rutherford waited and the moment the trunk lid closed the car departed. He took three steps towards the entrance—

In the large picture window to the right of the entrance Annie stood with a large smile on her face, watching him arrive.


There you are:  The Foundation has rented out the whole hotel for three days for about thirty-five students and two, maybe three instructors.  No magic casting in the public areas, but you can have a good time upstairs and not worry about running into Normals.  And the instructors watching over the kids can lock the doors and keep some of the kids inside of shit gets too crazy.

So here we are with Kerry walking up to the front door and–who’s that?

Hi, Annie!

Hi, Annie!

Better rush inside and say hello…

If she were in this picture, she'd be right in front of the window.

If she were in this picture, she’d be right in front of the window.


Kerry hurried up the step and into the hotel and turned immediately into a small lounge. Annie turned to face him: she was wearing her locket necklace and her charm bracelet and she touched the silver heart resting against her chest as he approached. He set his roll-on aside, stepped up to Annie, wrapped his arms around her, and kissed her deeply as she placed her arms around him and pressed her hands against his back.

He finally broke the kiss and gazed into Annie’s hazel eyes. “Te obicham.”

Annie drew a breath and exhaled before answering. “Az sŭshto te obicham, skŭpa moya.”

Kerry rested his forehead against hers. “You been waiting long?”

A voice from behind answered. “Not long at all, Kerry.”

He closed his eyes as his face pinched upon realizing what he’d done. He opened them to find Annie smiling back at him before glancing over his shoulder. She quickly arched her eyebrows as if to tell him there was nothing he could do about his faux pas…

He turned around slow and a bit sheepishly. “Hello, Mrs. Kirilova.”

Pavlina Kirilova stood next to Bernice Rutherford just outside the entrance to the lounge: both were still smiling from what they’d witnessed. “It’s good to see you again.”

“Yeah. Um…” He half-turn towards Annie. “About what—”

“It’s alright, Kerry.” Pavlina closed the distance between her and her daughter’s boyfriend so she could speak in a low tone. “I was once your age and in love as well.” She glanced past him at her daughter. “Though it’s probably good your father isn’t here.”

Annie, still smiling, nodded. “I agree, Mama.”


Busted!  Kerry runs in, sees his Darling, and goes right to the lip locking.  Hey, dude:  always check your surrounding to make sure things are safe before you engage in any activity–don’t they teach you Young Guardians anything?  Fortunately for him his future mother-in-law is sorta cool about this, though mother and daughter both agree it’s a good thing Daddy Kirilov didn’t see this go down.

What I liked about writing that scene is that Annie did nothing to stop the kiss from happening even though she knew her mother was no only nearby, but probably in sight.  And once busted she’s like, “Whatcha gonna do, amirite?”  She doesn’t even hide her “I love you, my darling” which her mother had to hear.  One can almost imagine Annie and her mom are gonna have some kind of talk over morning tea when she’s home for Yule, because now Mama knows Annie ain’t bothered by those PDAs…

And just for reference, when I visited Paris I didn’t arrive at the same hotel via the route Kerry took–no, his route was how I left Paris on my way to Brussels via high-speed Thalys out of Gare du Nord.  No, I arrived through the Gare du Lyon, having arrived via TGV from, where else, Lyon.  I came in from the south and did roll right past the Bastille, so I had that going for me.

And if I'd done that on Bastille Day, it'd have been totally meta, know what I mean?

And if I’d done that on Bastille Day it’d have been totally meta, know what I mean?

I guess all that remains for Kerry now is to convince his future MiL that he’ll have a room all to himself and that he and Annie will won’t do any of that public face sucking–

Who are we kidding?  Get check in, kid.

FX’s ‘American Horror Story: Roanoke,’ “Chapter 6” Recap

And let’s continue with the rage posting…

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

Here’s my recap of Chapter 6 of American Horror Story: Roanoke.

You know how I admitted last week that I hated American Horror Story: Roanoke? Yeah, that hasn’t changed. This disclaimer at the start of Episode 6 didn’t help:

FX's 'American Horror Story Roanoke,' Chapter 5, screen capture [Image via FX] So My Roanoke Nightmare beat The Walking Dead? Even the shitty Season 6 cliffhanger of The Walking Dead was better than My Roanoke Nightmare. So already we are in the Land of Make-Believe.

CF:  When I saw that line about The Walking Dead I laughed aloud.  Holy Shitballs, are they fucking serious?  Yes, at that point I would have preferred 45 minutes of Rick driving the shit out of that RV rather than watch that mess we saw last night.

And for the record:  I arrived home just before the re-airing for AHS and stayed up until midnight to watch this crap, because I do…

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Making the Day of It

Short and sweet today, as I worked from seven to five last night, went back over for a few hours of Get Out The Vote training–and helped get things organized around the office–then headed over for the debate party where I had some excellent food and company.

And wine.  Don't forget the wine.

And wine. Don’t forget the wine.

The location was Crawdaddy’s, a new place in The Burg and a really good one.  I had a Shrimp Po’ Boy sandwich and it was hot and fresh, so I know I’ll be back.  Well, I won a $50 gift card, too, so I have to go back.

The debate starts and I have a good seat.

The Orange Dumpster verses the one I'm voting for.

The Orange Dumpster verses the one I’m voting for.

But it doesn’t take long for me to find myself losing patience with The Lying Pumpkin.

Bitch Face Mode:  ACTIVE.

Bitch Face Mode: ACTIVE.

By the end I discover that (1) Little Haiti in Florida is just like Haiti without the travel, (2) I’m not a puppet, you’re the puppet, (3) if I win it’s ’cause I’m awesome, but if I lose it’s ’cause shit is rigged, and (4) I’m a nasty woman.  So nasty.  The nastiest.  Bigly.

But I got home okay and didn’t get to bed until well after midnight and like it or not a fun time was had by all.

To be followed by our Get Out The Vote program, but that's another story.

To be followed by our Get Out The Vote program–do I look ready?

By tonight I should be able to get Kerry together with his Chestnut Girl.  I mean, it’s not like I’m working on an election tonight–


Tripping the City of Lights Fantastic

Lots of crazy last night.  I went off for my GOTV training and was at the HQ until about nine PM.  During that time I learned where I’ll be working the next three weekends and part of election day–yes, I stepped up to help the ground game–told everyone in the building about being a transwoman voting for Hillary because I’m fighting for everyone else, and discovered that for GOTV I’m gonna kinda be a sorta location captain helping out the real captains ’cause I’m that good.

You know what this means?  Two nights a week for the next two weeks doing phone banks, two Sundays doing GOTV dry runs, working both Saturday and Sunday before the election, and working five to eight the night of the election.  Yeah…  I’ll be busy.

But you know what?  I still wrote and did research last night.  And here’s what developed–


(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)


Getting to Paris was easy. Ms. Rutherford jaunted them both from the house in Cardiff to a staging area for those Foundation people who knew of its location. From their they took the international jaunt station to de Gaulle Airport outside Paris, followed by a local jaunt to the station serving the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l’Est train stations. They headed up into the Gare de l’Est and exited to find a Citroën C6 executive saloon waiting for them. A minute later Kerry’s bags were in the trunk and they were on their way.

After a few blocks Kerry felt how different Paris seemed from the other cities he’d visited so far. London came the closest in feel, but even that paled. While both cities were huge, London so often felt as if it was simply thrown together. Here, everything looked and felt orderly, fit together as if someone had constructed the city from Lego blocks, and that made him feel a sense or enormity all around.

Bernice glanced over from her side of the car, grinning. “Impressive, isn’t it?”

Kerry stopped looking out the window and turned to his right. “The city?”


“Yeah, it is.” He turned his attention back to the street as he chuckled. “I can see why Annie loves this place.”

“Oh, you haven’t even begun to see it.” Bernice folded her hands in her lap. “This is just a taste.”

Something in his case worker’s tone made Kerry believe she wanted to talk. “Were you here as a student?”

She nodded. “Yes.”


“Believe it or not for my C Levels.” Bernice gave a soft laugh. “My A and B Levels were nothing like yours, though. My A Level departure was Stockholm and my B Level departure was London. Go to Rome for my D Levels and Amsterdam for my Es. Just like they always do, I finished my F Levels in Stockholm.” She turned to Kerry again. “You always end where you started.”


Now, let’s look at what I’ve had to do just to get these three hundred and thirty-three words.

First:  I’ve known the jaunt path for some time.  That was the easiest part, as I’ve already established there is an international jaunt station under the main terminal at Heathrow, so it goes without saying there’s one in Paris as well.  Now we know there’s a local jaunt to the big train stations in the city as well–

That gives us this.

That gives us this.

Gare du Nord is the busiest train station in Europe and one that I’ve visited–yes, more on that in a moment.  Since I knew where Kerry is staying, finding his route to the hotel is easy.

In city terms it's just down the street.

In city terms it’s just down the street.

As for Kerry’s current position, this is pretty much what he’s seeing in the above excerpt.

The clouds are even there, as it's cloudy in the city during this time frame.

The clouds are even there, as it’s cloudy in the city during this time frame.

Now, I know the Gare du Nord and the hotel where Annie and Kerry are staying because I’ve stayed in the same hotel, rode down the same street that Kerry is on right now, and boarded the Thalys train to Brussels at Gare du Nord.  Yeah, I’m cheating a bit because, well, I can write from personal experience in this case.  And the four days I spent in Paris ten years ago are still among the most memorable I’ve ever had.  Expect Annie and Kerry to hit some of the same spots I did in the next few days.

That last paragraph where Bernice Rutherford speaks of her time at school and the cities from which she departed–that required about thirty minutes of timeline work last night, and it was something I did as soon as I was out of my work clothes and into my pajamas.  Some time back I put in her time at school, so with that in place I could take the cities I’ve already mentioned for my kids–Amsterdam, Berlin, and now Paris–and work backwards, substituting Stockholm and London for Berlin and, as you’ll find out, Madrid.  Here’s what that looks like:

So much craziness just for a paragraph.

So much craziness just for a paragraph.

And what Bernice said is true:  The Foundation puts the kids on a five-city rotation, so the city you depart from as an A Level becomes the same departure city for your F Levels.  You end where you started, which could be seen as some heavy philosophical shit were one to look at it that way.  Bernice will discuss this a little more in the next excerpt–

Which may not come out until Friday as it looks as if I’ll be busy tonight.  I’ve been invited to a debate party and I was asked again last night by my group leader to come on over and hang with the girls–and it is true, the majority of our volunteers are women.

So if various live video pop up here tomorrow, you’ll know I was probably out of my mind for most of the evening.

The Morning Pickup: The Darkness Pushed Aside

I didn’t need a lot to finish up the first scene of Chapter Four because I was near the end the other night, only I was too tired to finish then.  Last night, however:  it was a combination of naps, looking at software, picking out songs, and writing the final paragraphs that got me to where I am today.

All this took hours.  Believe it.

All this took hours. Believe it.

It’s interesting that the first scene of the first chapter of Part One is the shortest scene in the book, and now, the first scene of the first chapter of Part Two, is the second shortest in the novel.  Though I have to say this scene is far more painful than that other scene, but at least it ends better than it started–


(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)


Kerry took a few deep breaths to call himself. He continued looking down, unable to meet his case worker’s gaze. “I know what you mean, but it still hurts—you know?”

“I do know. At one point in my life I was abandoned as well. Remember?”

He nodded. “Yeah, I remember.”

“Good.” Bernice reached inside her over-sized handbag and removed a few tissues which she handed to Kerry. “Here: clean yourself up.”

Kerry dabbed at his face and eyes. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” She stood and looked towards the front entrance. “Do you have everything packed?”

“No.” He blew his nose. “Only thing left is my computer.”

“And that’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“Okay, then.” Bernice crossed her arms as she looked at him. “Here’s what we’re going to do: you’re going to go upstairs, clean up a little, pack your computer, and come back here. And then we’re going to put all this behind you.”

Kerry looked downward again. “I don’t know—”

“Yes, you do.” Bernice stood before him and placed both hands on his shoulders. “Where we’re going there are people waiting for you—and those people are not only your kind, but a few of them are your friends, ones you’ve made over the last year. They’ll want to know how you’ve been, and they’ll want to comfort you when they hear you’ve not had the best of summers.

“But it’s not just your friends who are eager to see you: there’s someone else waiting for you. And you know who she is: she’s the most important person in your life and she’s waited all summer for this moment to be with you again. And once you’re together, she’ll listen to what happened here and she’ll offer you understanding, comfort, and love.  And she knows you would do the same for her, without hesitation, because of the bond of love you share.”

She knelt down before her charge so she was face-to-face with him and she spoke in a calm tone. “So dry your eyes, gather your things, and get back here as quickly as you can.

“We’re going to Paris.”


The thing Bernice says at the end is something I’ve though of her saying for nearly six months if not longer.  The way it is said is similar to that found in Watchmen, Issue #9, The Darkness of Mere Being, where John and Laurie are on Mars discussing the end of the world and the top two panels of the comic say, “Dry your eyes, and let’s go home.”  The penultimate panel is only an image and the final panel is a quote from Carl Jung from which the issue gets it’s title:  “As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”  Of all the issues of Watchmen this is among my favorites, as well as this being among my favorite titles.

But as Bernice Rutherford says Kerry is leaving that all behind.  It’ll be a while before we return to the Malibey home in the city of Cardiff.

We’re going to Paris.

HBO’s ‘Westworld,’ Season 1, Episode 3, “The Stray” Recap

Time to head “West” once again…

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

HBO's 'Westworld,' Season 1, Episode 3, Dr Ford and Bernard [Image via John P. Johnson/HBO] Welcome to my recap of HBO’s latest offering, Westworld. Here’s what I thought of Episode 3 of Season 1.

The title of this episode, “The Stray,” pertains to a random host Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) have to chase down in Westworld. He has been hanging with a group that seem to have to gotten themselves into a loop and are just sitting out in the woods around a camp fire. This stray like to carve stuff, but Elsie soon discovers all of his creations seem to have the constellation, the Orion, on them. So, is this another “game within the game”or has this stray legitimately flipped it switch? After a lot of hunting, Elsie stops to take a piss and conveniently takes a leak right next to the stray, who has fallen down a crevasse. Stubbs gets down there in the crevasse and bleeds…

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