Category Archives: Diversions

The stuff that didn’t fit elsewhere.

What’s going to happen in season three of “Stranger Things”?

We just finished watching “Stranger Things 2” with Poppy last night. She was thoroughly invested and love the show, and when it was over she had one question: “What are they going to do next season?” And Rockford, of course, had an answer, because he’s a pop culture junkie. Here’s what he thinks is going to happen in “Stranger Things 3.”

So, I think they’ll use ‘Back to the Future’ and ‘The Goonies’ and potentially ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ as influences, because those were all top movies in 1985. ‘Back to the Future’ from a characterization standpoint seems to fit the Steve model. Marty McFly is well-intentioned but kind of clueless. So maybe Steve has a story arc that involves some time travel or just where he meets a crazy old guy. Since he’ll be going off to college, that would seem like a natural way to introduce a wacky professor — his own Mr. Clark, maybe. If there are two movies from the ’80s that best describe this crew, it’s ‘Explorers’ and ‘The Goonies.’ Both of those movies came out in 1985, so we should see more clear connections and references to those. And then with Mad Max, we’ve already had the scene where Max was driving the muscle car. If they continue with that thematically, it may be that she has to go through some tests and rigors of her own to lead them through some challenge.”

Did Steve get his college essay turned in on time? Will third-season Steve be even more lovable than second-season Steve? Stay tuned!
The video games that will probably be the most influential will be Super Mario Bros, Ghosts and Goblins and Gauntlet, which is more of a D&D style. Those were all popular in 1985, and they all seem to fit the dynamic. We could see more subterranean stuff with the pipes and the sewers. ‘Gauntlet’ is a fantasy-themed quest-style game that involves mages and warriors and warrior princesses, so it seems like something they would enjoy. And ‘Ghosts and Goblins’ just seems to fit the overall theme of questing through different areas infested by monsters. It would seem to fit the Upside-Down.

I think we can also expect to hear a soundtrack featuring some Tears For Fears, some Jesus and Mary Chain, Talking Heads, probably some New Order. Given Jonathan’s propensity for ‘edgier’ music, that was also when Sonic Youth was just releasing their first albums. Maybe some Simple Minds.

And then there’s the overarching ‘Breakfast Club,’ which was also 1985. We’ve already had a John Hughes movie referenced (“Mr. Mom,” who ended up being Steve). And now we’ve got ‘The Breakfast Club.’ You’ve got Steve as The Jock, Jonathan as The Nerd, Nancy as The Princess, and Billy as The Criminal, which suggests that they might introduce a new teen character to fill the role of the Basket Case. Maybe they’ll bring in Kali for that, but my guess is we’ll get a new female character to play off of Billy or a new love interest for Steve. If you remember, The Jock and The Basketcase did end up together in ‘The Breakfast Club.’

We also saw Paul Reiser (who was in the ‘Alien’ movies) and Sean Astin (‘Goonies,’ obviously) this season. Maybe we can look forward to Ally Sheedy, Emilio Estevez or Michael J. Fox next season?

While I’d love to see just a straight-up remake of “Back to the Future” with Joe Keery, I think it’s more likely that we’ll just see Steve in a puffy orange vest than actually heading back to the ’60s. I think Rockford’s “Breakfast Club” casting connection has some potential, though. What do you expect from season three?

Political activism from the front seat

I was in a pretty anxious and upset place a year ago, all because of politics. I love this country and my fellow citizens, and I’m still very concerned about the State of the Union. But I’ve found that Doing Something helps ease that anxiety a skosh.

I haven’t been marching or running for office or anything like that. Instead, I’ve voted in every possible election (that’s not new; I love voting) and I’ve been making sure my elected representatives know exactly how I feel about the issues of the day. Now, I know that my calls aren’t doing a darn thing to change my their minds, because they’re all diametrically opposed to my beliefs (and also I don’t have piles of cash with which to lobby them, which is probably the more realistic reason they don’t care about my opinion).

The first time I placed a call to one of my elected representatives, I cried. I was so nervous, even though I had typed up exactly what I wanted to say. I muddled through it, though, and then I tried it again. And again and again and again, ad infinitum and beyond. It got a little easier every time. While I’m still typing and printing exactly what I want to say every week, I haven’t cried to a congressional staffer since that very first call.

So how do I know exactly what I want to say? Some more action-oriented people than myself have made that very easy:

  • I subscribed to Jen Hofmann’s Weekly Action Checklist last November. She compiles and emails a list actionable items every week. There’s generally a self-care aspect to some of the items, which is nice, and there are frequently suggestions for thanking people who are doing good work in the world. She also includes scripts to use if you’d like to call your congressional representatives.
  • Indivisible has a ton of resources available on just about every topic. Their call scripts are more in-depth than any others I’ve seen. They include suggestions for how to respond if the person on the other end of the line says anything other than “Thanks I’ll pass that along.” In my experience, that’s all they ever say. But it’s nice and optimistic of Indivisible to be prepared for discourse.
  • Wall-Of-Us is the easily digestible of the resources I use. They publish just four action items every week. That makes it seem really manageable.
  • I always edit the script a bit to put it in my own voice, but these three resources have consistently provided me with a good starting place.

    I placed that first call from my bedroom, and I’ve since found that I’m much less nervous about calling if I do it from my car. I’m sure there’s a psychological reason for that, but I don’t know what it is. So I print my action list early in the week and then stick it above the visor in the car, and I make one phone call every day. It’s usually while I’m sitting in the carpool line waiting to pick Pete up from school, but some days it’s from the parking lot of a doctors office or the soccer field. It’s always while I’m parked and waiting for a kid, because I can’t read and drive at the same time.

    A human person is still answering the phones at Congressman Mark Meadows’s office, but I haven’t spoken with anyone at the offices of either Sen. Richard Burr or Sen. Thom Tillis recently because they both have answering machines to field that sort of thing now. Tillis set his own message, but Burr had someone else do it and the way she says “or if you have a comment about the executive office” makes me laugh every time. It sounds like she’s definitely tired of hearing comments about the executive office.

    Anyway, I called them all today to let them know I’m not in favor of the tax bill they’re trying to pass. Here’s a script from Indivisible if you’d like to do that, too:

    “Hello! My name is [___] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling to let [Congressman / Senator __] know that I strongly oppose the tax bill. This tax bill is a scam that will give massive cuts to the wealthy, paid for by raising taxes on tens of millions of middle-class families.”