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And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear, You shout but no one seems to hear
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear,
You shout but no one seems to hear

We start with sirens an police cars. A man in a beige check shirt is patted down and locked up. Some firefighters train, putting out burning cars. What looks like footage of a hospital crash cart recycled from the Life After Death episode.

What does any of this have to do with astrology? Well, Nimoy tells us that police arrests, fire service callouts and hospital emergencies spike on nights of the full moon. It's a myth that's been pretty thoroughly debunked, but then so has astrology in general. To hell with it, I'm going to do a 'research light' review again. I'll just watch and enjoy as a woman with fluffy hair and a grey tank-top tells us about her star sign in excruciating detail. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E05 Astrology"

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Okay. Got some booze to dull the pain. My wife's out, so she won't hear me yelling abuse at the screen. Let's do this. I, Frankenstein.

Yeah, it's that sort of a movie.
Yeah, it's that sort of a movie.

Quick retelling of Frankenstein. Creation, abandonment, murder of Elizabeth, death of Frankenstein. The Monster (who, far from looking like a misshapen creature capable of causing terror in anyone who sees him, looks like Aaron Eckhart with a scar) buries Frankenstein. He is confronted by demons and fights them. Then… ...continue reading "I , Frankenstein – 2014"

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Fiona stood behind the plumbing orders counter, organising receipts. She was increasingly finding herself in de facto charge of the plumbing section. Wellsey was away on errands for Ms Shan so often these days. Fiona covered for him, working out rosters and making orders. The other team members in the plumbing section did not dispute this new hierarchy. Most of them spend their quiet moments searching the job websites anyway. No one wanted a promotion, least of all an unofficial promotion that came without a raise.

The Handy Pavilion was quiet on a Tuesday morning, allowing Fiona to catch up with some of Wellsey's paperwork. She muttered under her breath at her nominal boss' childish handwriting, then chuckled at herself. When she'd started working, she'd been considered a hopeless employee, one of the worst the Pavilion had hired. Now here she was criticising the work of her mentor.

It felt good. In a deeply uncomfortable way. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself: Chapter 39 – Testing Times"

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Something something Maya something
Something something Maya something

We open on a Mayan guy carrying a pack through the jungle. After last season's relatively sensible episode on the Inca, I didn't want to jump to conclusions about this episode. Buuut… While we’re watching Mayan people, Nimoy explains that their hearts are unusually slow, their teeth don't decay and their cranial cavities are weird shapes.

What the hell, Nimoy?

They are the descendants of a vanished people. Well, no. Mayan civilization vanished, the Mayan people didn't. If they did, they wouldn't have left any descendants. Duh. Nimoy asks where they came from and why their civilization flourished and then disappeared. The answer to the second one is easy: because that's what civilizations do, it's just a question of timescale. I anticipate serious silliness when it comes to answering the first question. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E04 Mayan Mysteries"

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And I seem to find the happiness I seek, When we're dancing close together cheek to cheek
And I seem to find the happiness I seek, When we're dancing close together cheek to cheek

The scene: Toho Studios, 1964

Producer: We need a new monster movie. What have you got? Giant bee? Giant crab?

Writer: I think we should look outside the box a little. We're having some success selling our monster movies in America, so I have an idea to adapt a monster from Western lore - Frankenstein's Monster!

Producer: How big is this monster?

Writer: Seven feet.

Producer: Pass.

Writer: I mean seven-ty feet?

Producer: …I'm listening. ...continue reading "Frankenstein Conquers the World – 1965"

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An important order was late to arrive, so Ms Shan spent her morning the Trade section, assuring a local builder that his framing pine would be arriving soon. When it did turn up, the builder kept complaining about how long he'd been kept waiting, effectively adding another hour to his departure time after the half hour that the late delivery had cost him.

"It's a bloody outrage! I'm on a deadline, you know," he said at last, grabbing his bored apprentice by the shirtsleeve and pulling him away. "Come on, Gavin, let's get some lunch."

Ms Shan rubbed her weary eyes. At least it was normal. At least an idiot complaining was a normal, mundane thing. Nothing weird, nothing spooky. An everyday jackass was almost a treat.

She turned, and her almost-happiness dissolved. There, lounging awkwardly against a pile of cement sacks was Mr Smith from the DIY Barn. "Hello, Ms Shan," he said.

"Mr Smith," she said. She thought of asking what she could do for him, and decided that she didn't even have the energy to pretend to care. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself: Chapter 38 – Between Two Doors"

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Cold open on an erupting volcano, while Nimoy intones a speech about the savage awe of nature. Hell yeah! I don't know where this episode is going to go, but I can't fault the opening.

This episode is about firewalking, but this picture of a hypnotised guy with his hand in a bowl of icewater just makes me laugh.
This episode is about firewalking, but this picture of a hypnotised guy with his hand in a bowl of icewater just makes me laugh.

And then we're into firewalking. "Man knowingly and willingly matches himself against the flames". We're watching several firewalking ceremonies from around the world. Full confession – I actually learned something here. I'd always thought firewalking was specifically a Pacific Islander custom, but Wikipedia tells me that the practice is surprisingly widespread, and the In Search Of… footage reflects that. Nimoy sets out the question this episode will ask: why do people do this? And how? ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E03: Firewalkers"

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Wellsey had always known about Axel's past. Known about his attempt to rob Fort Knox from orbit. Known about his plan to replace major world leaders with realistic marionettes, to teleport Hobart to the Sahara Desert, to turn the people of Melbourne into walking catfish.

Wellsey knew all that, but still he'd never been afraid of the man. Wellsey was an ex-con. To him, a dangerous man was someone with a shank, a grudge and a guard who owed him a favour. Axel was frightening in a way that Wellsey could barely get his head around.

Now, though… now Wellsey was afraid, but he was afraid for his friend, not afraid of him. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself – Chapter 37: Intervention"

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Last week I promised not to do any fact checking on this episode. I have a feeling I'm going to regret that.

Hi, I'm Casanova. No, really, I am.
Hi, I'm Casanova.
No, really, I am.

So, open on a man in a tricorn hat rushing into a coach. Nice. Sets period, gives a sense of urgency. There's a slightly blurry effect on the screen as the coach speeds away. Nimoy tells us that its France, 1760, and 'the wonder man of Europe runs for his life.

(Hmmm… Marvel Wonder Man joke, or Danny Kaye Wonder Man joke? Eh, the Danny Kaye movie is pretty obscure… Then again, Wonder Man isn't exactly a first-string Marvel character either… Eh, skip it.)

Nimoy assures us that this man is a man of mystery, a genius in many subjects including alchemy. Though he looked forty, he may have been much older. Who says so? 'Many', that's who. We're talking about the Count of Saint Germaine, though he was called 'the man who would not die'. Who called him that? 'Others', that's who. What, exactly, is the relationship between 'many' and 'others'? That, no one knows. ...continue reading "In Search Of… S02E02 The Man Who Would Not Die"

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In spite of herself, Laura was getting to like Carlos from the key-cutting desk. Like like. It was weird. In her other life as the superhero Voyager, Laura spent much of her days hanging around with some of the most desired men on the planet. Tall, handsome, toned… Usually they had cool jobs, like international ace reporter or CEO and they somehow managed to keep hold of these positions in spite of only checking into the office when they felt like it.

And yet Laura found that she had not taken to any of them. Perhaps it was the way they were always gritting their teeth and narrowing their eyes at the slightest provocation. But then again, perhaps it was the way their wives and girlfriends were always being kidnapped. It was kind of a red flag. ...continue reading "Do It Yourself – Chapter 36: Where Have All the Pulleys Gone?"

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