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bojack horseman.


I don’t know about everyone else, but I love BoJack Horseman. A Netflix original about a horse-man who was a huge tv star on a shitty family sitcom in the 90’s, who now spends his time attempting to distract himself from his own self-loathing. Will Arnett voices BoJack, along with a cast that also includes Alison Brie, Amy Sedaris, Aaron Paul, Paul F. Tompkins, Kristen Schaal, Patton Oswalt, and Stanley Tucci.

The show is clever, funny, and the stacked voice cast is as solid as one would expect. Like the many animal-human hybrids, the show is half witty irreverent cartoon for adults, and half smart, droll, bleak HBO comedy.

Also, I think the opening credits are up there with Mad Men and True Detective.

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the lunchbox.


Two lonely people are connected and begin an epistolary relationship after the uncannily errorless dabbawala lunch transport system in Mumbai begins mixing up two lunch boxes. What follows is a charmingly told story of how beauty can find us in our isolation and despair, leading to kindness, connection, desire and hope.

I have much more to write, but it’s spoiler heavy so I’ll put it below the trailer for you read if you’ve seen the movie or don’t care about knowing what happens in the end.

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kendrick on colbert.


Snoop says Kendrick is the leader of West Coast rap today. That seems pretty obvious, who is the other contender? Macklemore? Let me tell you right now, as a white man, if another white man is ever widely considered the ‘leader’ of any school of rap or Hip Hop, just shoot me in the face.

Seriously though, Kendrick Lamar isn’t just the leader of West Coast rap, he may be the greatest act that West Coast rap has ever produced. Especially because J5 sounds way more influenced by East Coast Hip Hop than any West Coast sound. Kendrick takes that gangsta sound and brings it to another level. I saw him open for Kanye here in Seattle and he killed it. Absolutely killed it. A short man in a hoodie in Key Arena with no fanfare outside of a live band and he controlled the entire arena.

I already respected him as much as any other working emcee. Then he shut down the musical side of the Colbert Report this week… dude had another gear we didn’t know about and it was on display.

Listen up, losers. The future is now. This isn’t the guy we need running West Coast rap, this is the guy we need running all of Hip Hop.

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the intouchables.


Based on a true story, this film is just downright joyful. A heartening story of friendship, a bromance if you will, it is obviously sentimental, but it never felt ham-fisted or needlessly syrupy to me.

Omar Sy and François Cluzet are so fun to watch. Each brought to the screen a genuine sense of how much these two friends delight in each other, while still adding depth and gravitas to what could easily have devolved into the French equivalent of a Hallmark movie. Sy especially is so utterly charming that his glee is contagious.

The stories that stay with me the most are the ones that inspire me to live better than I do. This one helped me see how afraid I am of my need for others when I’m honest about it, and in doing so it also made me want more from my life and myself.

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locke & key.

JoehilllockekeyJoe Hill (second child of Stephen King) writes the sort of horror I enjoy, the kind that uses the scary and macabre to tell a story instead of just attempting to manipulate certain reactions and emotions for the hell of it. Too much horror wants nothing more than to scare or disturb people for a moment, which isn’t really that hard to do. There are versions of that cheap sort of manipulation in every genre and medium, but the better storytellers transcend that and use the tropes of their genre or medium as a palette to paint a larger, more engaging picture.

In Locke & Key Hill does exactly that, teaming up with artist Gabriel Rodriguez to create a truly fantastic series of comics. The story follows the Locke family, who after a grisly tragedy retreat to an ancestral home in New England. The three children of the family begin finding keys around the house, each unlocking its own remarkable power.

At first the magical keys are as fun as they sound, but it soon becomes clear that there are much darker things at play within Keyhouse, and that the Locke children will be tasked with stopping an evil presence from obtaining the Omega Key while also trying to put their lives back together and prepare for adulthood in the wake of ongoing trauma.

That’s as much as I can say without spoiling anything, but you should definitely check this title out. They’re all in trade paperbacks now so you won’t even have to worry about having to wait a long time for a new issue to see what happens next.

Random warning: don’t let the fact that minors are the focal point of the story fool you. These are very dark, violent books intended for mature readers.

And for those who want to check out Joe Hill but aren’t willing to give graphic novels a try, 20th Century Ghosts is a collection of his short stories that would be an excellent introduction.



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damien rice – my favourite faded fantasy.

damien rice faded review

I know I’ve missed so many great albums this year, but one album I’m glad doesn’t fall into that category was the long-awaited return of everyone’s favorite (or favourite) melancholy Irishman, Damien Rice. My Favourite Faded Fantasy is well worth the eight long years we’ve been waiting.

The years away were apparently quite the growing period for Rice. And from what he’s said in interviews, during that time he was wondering right along with the rest of us whether he would ever release anything again. Before the hiatus, his life crashed and burned, his relationship with Lisa Hannigan publicly fell apart, and he forgot how to write music. It’s the sort of scenario we’ve seen in art for as long as there has been history. So often this is the part of the story that ends in self-destruction, suicide or overdose or at least the napalming of every good thing.

Damien Rice found his way out.

In an unsurprisingly honest interview you should read, he told Irish Independent: “I invited all these different sides of myself to dinner – the arrogant fucker, the really nice guy, the over-polite fella – and we all just sat down and had a lot of dinners together and slowly, when I made friends with all these different crazy personalities that were going on in my head, I started to feel less angry and less frustrated and everything just started to open up and then I started to reach for the guitar again and tinkling at the piano again, and I started spotting all these things that I had done in the past that led to this thing happening, and so my finger-pointing completely changed.”

The resulting album is remarkable. Rick Rubin’s production is beautiful; big strings and sparse vocals in just the right places, always with that autumnal feel Rice does so well. As much as any other singer/songwriter I know of, he exposes the entirety of his soul on the track and in performances. He is so remarkably honest in his music, and so it’s no surprise that he has released an album that overflows with the hard-fought clarity of that time in the darkness. Most often My Favourite Faded Fantasy sounds like a letter to Hannigan all these years later, still full of fondness, regret, and heartbreak.

I’d say I’m sorry for the circumstances while still grateful they led to the creation of this wonderful album, but Rice says he isn’t sorry for anything because of how much he’s learned. So instead, I just hope to apply some of his well earned lessons to my own life, inviting all of the hurting and disparate parts of myself to come together for coffee so we can figure out how to make amends and create something beautiful together.

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i’m glad i can’t quit you.

2014 hasn’t been a great year for Roused to Mediocrity. I couldn’t honestly say it’s been a particularly great year for me either.

Part of the reason for the lull here at RtM is that I’ve been doing far less this year in terms of culture consumption, and without much to show for it on the other side. Books are the only form of culture and story I’ve engaged as usual, but movies and music and whatnot have been way, way down. I feel the absence quite a bit.

I didn’t know this until I spent most of this year ignoring this blog, but I’m a better reader when I’m writing for Roused consistently. And by ‘better reader’ I mean I see the things I enjoy more clearly. I’m better at noticing things that are beautiful and true when I am regularly writing about shit here. It keeps some part of my brain sharp when I’m always wondering how I can frame ideas in a short blog post that might get someone interested in something I think is worthwhile. The part of my brain that functions better when I’m writing here is one of my favorite parts, and in a brain as dysfunctional as mine, that means something.

As I wrote above, this hasn’t been a great year for me. I feel beset by failure and futility on all sides. I’m stuck, thwarted. Every part of my life is in grind mode all at once, and I have to keep pouring energy into things with nothing to show for it. But Emily reminded me tonight how much I’ve loved writing words out into oblivion here on RtM. It can be another source of discouragement, sure, but it also helps my mind function better.

My first attempt at blogging in earnest was at the now defunct VOX sometime in the mid 2000’s, and with a few pitstops in between I eventually ended up at Roused to Mediocrity. I quit and come back time and again, which is embarrassing, and I have no reason to think that won’t continue. Still, nearly ten years of quitting and returning means something. I’m not sure exactly what it is I’m afraid of or hoping for, but I do know that (this sentence feels insane to type) this blog makes me a better version of myself.

Here’s to more Roused to Mediocrity, and a better 2015!

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