Monthly recap — April 2024

Movies & TV

  • Host — this was a rewatch, but what a fun one. Set during the COVID lockdowns, a group of friends jump on a Zoom with a medium to have a seance and chaos ensues. Great execution given the constraints of storytelling via Zoom.
  • The Dynasty: New England Patriots — a few episodes longer than it needed to be, but nonetheless a fascinating look behind the curtain and the sheer amount of drive, talent, luck, and controversy that was the Patriots organization for the past 20 years or so.
  • Constellation — I love the premise and wanted to like it, but it just dragged on and never fully captured my interest. Falls squarely in the camp of “well-cast, sleekly produced competence” that James Poniewozik perfectly describes in The Comfortable Problem of Mid TV.
  • Bitconned — this (usually) Netflix style of documentary that is 50% overproduced recreations has become almost unwatchable, but the story here was so compelling and maddening that it was worth it.
  • Session 9 — I hadn’t seen this movie for 20+ years, and my memory of it was a psychological thriller on par with The Shining. On rewatch, it was visibly low budget, slow, and not particularly thrilling or scary.
  • Saw — another movie I hadn’t seen for 20 years, but Saw held up better than Session 9. Despite some pretty bad acting, the movie that kicked off the “escape room” horror series was a fun watch and even though I knew it was coming, the twist at the end was killer.
  • Dream Scenario — Nicolas Cage was great in this, but I was ultimately let down by what I felt was a wasted premise that wasn’t taken far enough.


Parable of the Talents — I read this right after Parable of the Sower, and I loved it just as much if not more. It’s darker and explores the limits of human despair, but somehow still manages to offer hope that we aren’t destined to destroy each other.


Pearl Jam: Dark Matter in the Dark — a few days ahead of the actual release, I got to hear the new album in a theater. This was my first time experiencing something like this, and I think the results were mixed. It was cool to have a communal experience, but the audio in the theater wasn’t the ideal listening environment, and while I appreciate the connection to the album theme, hearing the album twice (once in the dark, then again with visuals and lyrics) was probably overkill.

Pearl JamDark Matter — the taste I got of the album at the preview actually lowered my expectations a bit for what I’d think of the album listening to it after it came out. Well, I think my Apple Music Replay for April sums up how I felt about it. Dark Matter came out in mid April and I listed to the album for 800+ minutes.


A couple of friends and I have been trying to be intentional about getting together for dinner every month. In April we went to Peking Tavern, which has always been a special place for us. We worked together in downtown LA for several years in the mid 2010s, and fair to say that lunch was the highlight of nearly every day. We could go weeks eating a different meal at a different restaurant every day, and each one was memorable and delicious (and possibly logged and rated in a spreadsheet).

Peking Tavern was the place we’d go to on a Friday (god willing we didn’t have any last-second lunch meetings) to celebrate a long, hard-fought week. We’d retreat to the underground lair next to an old bank vault and share stories over whatever local beer they had on tap and mounds of handmade (yes, please, we’ll upgrade) noodles.

They’re not in the bunker anymore — they had to adapt to the changing conditions in DTLA like many restaurants (a lot of which didn’t survive) and relocate to a more reasonable spot. But it was refreshing to see some familiar faces, enjoy some fantastic food and drinks, and get back in the habit of sharing stories again.