What I enjoyed on vacation

You know how you leave your life behind for a vacation and realize how quickly you can drop your routines without even missing them? My week at the river was like that. I hardly wore shoes outside and savored every moment I was sitting on a beach at a time when I’d normally be stuck at a desk.

I had also misremembered that the house didn’t have WiFi, so I took a lovely break from checking social media and reading blogs a dozen times a day. We even stopped taking our phones into the bathroom with us, probably a positive change. For a few days I didn’t feel the need to escape. It was really nice.

But now that’s over and I’m home! At least there’s WiFi here so I finally caught up on some good stuff.

30 for 30 Podcasts: Bikram

Stephen has wide ranging interests, unlike me, so he’s turned me on to good podcasts coming out lately, like Slow Burn. He’d already devoured this one but he shared it with me while we sat on the beach under an umbrella with his phone sitting in a cup. I think we crushed two episodes just on our treks to the local Food Lion.

I knew nothing about Bikram before listening, but spoiler alert: He’s pretty much a cult leader. (The charismatic personality, asking followers for money, isolating them from the rest of the world, preying upon young women who trusted and believed in him, etc.) Another spoiler alert: There’s some difficult discussion of sexual harassment and assault. I thought the storytelling was powerful and thoughtful, encouraging listeners to empathize with the people Bikram Choudhury harmed and betrayed. By understanding who this man was to his followers, and why he held so much influence over them, it’s easier to comprehend how one powerful person can seemingly get away with harming so many others.

True Crime Addict by James Renner

My biggest accomplishment on the trip was that I finished one whole book. I had meant to pick up Renner’s first true crime book about the case of Amy Mihaljevic, but I put this one on hold by mistake. Either way I figured it would be fun to dive back into this old favorite. When I first started getting into podcasts (super late to the party), Missing Maura Murray might have been the second one I listened to. I think I invested at least 30 hours into that podcast before moving on to a new show, probably MFM. I knew going into this book that Renner had a reputation, and I can see why. He really lays himself out here: Personal shortcomings, fucked up family history, mental health struggles and other grisly details about his life, offered up like explanations for why he comes across as such a blowhard while he’s working Maura’s case. Thing is, I really fell for his writing style and it made the bad boy act a little easier to handle. I definitely want to read his book about Amy now.

The Affair

This is a show I had casually disregarded because I assumed it was tawdry, like a 50 Shades meets Desperate Housewives. (Side note: That was the same mistake I made last year about Big Little Lies, which I resisted hard until I read some positive critiques and heard Georgia dispel my misconceptions in an episode of MFM.) Since this summer is so slow for premieres, I figured I ought to go back to season 1 and give it a try. Especially for that actress with the lips, I loved her character in Luther. Episode 1 had me meh, but halfway through episode 2 I finally got confirmation that somebody here gets murdered. I have a feeling I’ll either drop it entirely or consume it completely. So far I’m four episodes in so wish me luck.

And waiting back home on my DVR…

100 Code

I had been a little excited for this show in an ironic way, but it’s about what I expected. I was looking forward to the prospect of another fun murder show from WGN, because I ended up enjoying Bellevue a lot more than I expected to. But that show was Canadian, this one is American but pretending to be half-Swedish. I didn’t find a ton of info about 100 Code online, although it clearly aired somewhere in 2015. Thankfully I found this review by The Killing Times, which might be the closest relative to my blog that I’ve found so far.

We’ve got so many halfhearted tropes here: A grumpy old detective who’s about to retire, a dark and stormy NYC detective with a Boston accent who’s stewing in guilt over people who have been killed pursuing this case, which includes a slew of story-less blonde victims, soulless allusions to Laura Palmer I guess. But the breathing tube detail it is so weird and creepy that I feel compelled to keep watching the show, even just for background noise. Twin Peaks bonus points for the logo/opening theme motif: The owls are not what they seem!!

That’s it! Thanks for looking at my vacation photos!

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