Weekly Briefing from the North Texas Apocalypse Bunker, 3/27/23
T-Minus five days to Wedded Bliss Edition
It’s getting down to the wire here at the NTAB; things are being packed and stowed and otherwise secreted away as the grand event looms ever larger. Both Admin and Bunker Ops are using all of our considerable trade craft to establish points of contact in Las Vegas, set up appropriate rendezvous times and places, and the most important decision of all, deciding on which fez to bring. As a man of many hats, I have options, and it takes a certain amount of skill and artistry to pick a chapeau that complements the entire ensemble. Decisions, decisions...
To see what I selected, you have but to point your Facebook at the Graceland Wedding Chapel’s official page at 4:30 PM CST on April 1st. There will be a live feed of the wedding, and it won’t take long to watch, but it may well be the most interesting thing you experience all day.
Health and Wellness Update: Bunker Ops Surgery
JES was at the hospital for all of four hours from start to finish on Wednesday, having a minor surgical procedure done to widen her larynx, an operation that she has had before. Having a narrow larynx hasn’t impacted her communication skills in the least, but it has limited her breathing, giving her an asthma-like sound when she’s winded. This operation corrected that, at least, for a few years. She’s out, doing well, and thanks you all for the well wishes.
Also, you may have noticed a wrist brace on my left arm in recent weeks. I’ve been dealing with a pinched nerve in my shoulder for a few months now, and it’s hurt badly enough to impact my writing. I’ve been trying to stretch the arm to unkink the nerve, and I only succeeded in straining the tendon that runs from my wrist to my elbow.
While I was waiting to make an appointment at the chiropractor, I bought this wrist brace to keep myself from obsessively flexing the tendon and making it worse. Turned out, that was what I needed. My pinched nerve pain has gone from a 5 to a 1 and my wrist tendons no longer hurt. I’m going to keep the brace and also get one for the other hand and use them for typing. Also, I may or may not make them look like Space Ghost’s power bands.
New Segment: N.T.A.B. Apoca-Tips
For those of you inured to Bunker Life, I’m going to periodically volunteer my expertise (at the behest of the Department of Media Relations and also the Agency of Product Review, who say I’m not “engaging with my base” enough) in the areas of things to help make your new life underground a bit more bearable. Or not.
Today’s tip is this: Don’t buy these chips.
People on Keto diets are funny. They seem to be on a quest to make a snack out of any possible animal-based protein they can find. I recently stumbled across a gourmet pork rind that sent me to the moon and back, and these chicken chips were offered as a “if you like that, you’ll like this” kind of thing.
These chicken chips were essentially fabricated much like a Pringle, by reducing chicken meat into a paste that could be flash baked in the shape of a snack chip. Only, you know, made of chicken. It actually wasn’t bad, but the result was a bit mealy. I decided not to reorder.
But then these chips came up, and I must confess, I don’t know what made me think a fried chicken skin, prepared exactly like a pork cracklin’, would be good. Or even edible. I don’t care how big a fan you are of the classic yard bird. There are limits, and I have found mine, in this little bag. Don’t be fooled by the artisanal packaging. You can taste the wrongness in every bite.
Weekly Report from the N.T.A.B. Division of Media Review
Class of ‘07/Dungeons & Dragons
Class of ‘07 (Amazon)
Zoe, fresh from a giant hissy fit on a national television dating show that went viral, finds herself back at her all-girls catholic high school just as an apocalyptic tsunami hits, and puts most of Australia under water. This crisis makes them revert back to their high school personas to cope. Stranded at their alma mater with no food and fresh water, old feuds and drama resurface.
Amazon Prime and, presumably, Australia, have billed this show as a comedy, but I remain unconvinced. The first three episodes can’t make up their mind if they want to be cringe-comedy or black-to-the-point-of-threat-level-midnight dark humor. Or, maybe it’s tragedy porn, a thing I’m seeing more and more of with shows like The White Lotus and that academy-award-nominated movie, Triangle of Sadness. I’m prepared to admit that I’m not the target demographic for this, but Sweet Baby Jesus, who is?
The show is wildly uneven, and characters are particularly unlikeable—including the character we are introduced to, Zoe, who gets dumped on national television and has a bird shit in her mouth while it’s happening. That’s the sly and subtle way we are meant to empathize with her, because, really, who hasn’t had a pigeon poop in their pie hole on TV, amirite, ladies? She’s not even the least asshole person in a room full of assholes, either.
When this show finds its footing, it’s too little, too late. I say that as someone who hated The White Lotus and Triangle of Sadness, so factor that into my comments. It says it’s a 10-year reunion, but make no mistake, most of the girls are in their early 30s, and whoa! Every one of them has a stereotypical Classic Millennial Outlook on their personal problems that they think supersedes the fact that they are Post-Apocalyptically stranded on an island.
I know I’m not supposed to tar and feather an entire generation with the same brush, but here are your writers and filmmakers, Millennials. They seem to hate you. I can’t even enjoy the schadenfreude of watching terribly entitled people get what’s coming to them. Maybe you can, and if so, this show might do the trick for you.
John Wick: Chapter 4 (in theaters)
Everyone’s favorite tough-as-nails hit man takes on the High Table in an effort to clear his debt and restore some semblance of order to those closest to him. Spoiler Alert: John Wick kills a shitload of people in this one. I hope that doesn’t give anything away.
This franchise has so much going for it. I can’t think of any other recent film series that gets better with each successive outing. There are a few reasons for that, and I’d like to run them down for anyone who might be coming late to the party.
1. The scale escalates with each sequel. Not a genius idea, perhaps, but the low stakes buy-in for the first movie ensure that there’s a very clear line between us and them (John Wick and the mobsters). How can you not sympathize with Wick’s initial outing? It’s when that final thread is cut and you realize the mobsters were part of a bigger organization that see how Part 2 will be a tougher nut for Wick to crack.
2. Each film builds upon the world. A secret society of assassins who operate by hiding in plain sight is nearly a cliché, but using the Continental as a framing device is ingenious because it’s not only cool, but it’s different enough to be really interesting. Part of the fun of these movies is seeing what new things we can learn about Wick’s former world and the fact that he’s always walking into unfinished business is exactly the kinds of scenes we love the most—Indiana Jones, Han Solo, The Man With No Name, James Bond...few things get the heart pumping and the mind racing like in media res.
3. So. Much. Fu. Gun fu. Dog fu. Motorcycle fu. Car fu. Sword fu. Knife fu. Heads will roll. Blood will spurt. The John Wick movies are a distillation of every movie fight technique from the best of the best in the last twenty years or more. It’s a masterclass in action movies, with cinematic fights that vacillate back and forth between “Oh, that’s totally plausible” and “No Freaking Way!” Often within the same fight sequence.
4. It’s a perfect example of how you can take simple concepts, like revenge, redemption, honor, and so forth, and craft a story that is incredibly masculine without being toxic. It’s that simplicity that makes it not only complex but compelling to watch. And every movie is both an ending and a new beginning.
I’m hard-pressed to think of a better action movie series right now. John Wick: Chapter 4 continues the build-up from the third movie, and you would expect no less, methinks. The big screen is where you want to watch this one first.
If eating Flocks is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
The world of John Wick has grown so much that John Wick is now the least interesting thing in a John Wick movie.
Also, have you watched "Hello Tomorrow"? I love it and it strikes me as being right up your alley, but I've been known to be tragically wrong about these things.
All the best for the big day