Episode 15: If at First You Don’t Succeed

Fall is here, and with a new season comes a new episode. Well sort of. We just do these whenever now, really. This is another fun one, but it is worth mentioning that the conversation does bring up sexual assault and how it is used/portrayed in books, movies, and TV. It’s not a huge focus of the episode, but if that’s something you’d rather not hear, you might want to fast forward through those bits or skip this one. Totally understand.

In the words of Ms. Frizzle, you gotta take chances and make mistakes! A new hobby, a relationship, bangs! Some things aren’t worth retrying (the people who can pull off bangs already have bangs, do not give in to the temptation!), but there are plenty of failed experiments that are certainly worth a second chance. That’s exactly what we did this episode, revisit something we first tried over ten years ago.

Cover of "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" by Gregory Maguire. A woman with green skin in profile, wearing a black pointed witch hat in the center, and a border made of branches

Pay revisited Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, a book she first bought at her college bookstore. Like a lot of folks, Pay first become aware of the book when it became a Broadway hit, and the revisionist take of the Wizard of Oz sounded like a cool concept. The first time she gave it a go, it ended up back on the shelf, partially read. When she started reading it again for this episode, the reasons she didn’t finish it the first time popped up again.

It’s a bit dense and disjointed and would skip over parts of the story that sounded more compelling than what you actually get to read. The story is told from different points of view, but rarely from Elphaba’s perspective, which makes it difficult to really connect with her. That’s not to say that using other points of view is not an effective literary device in general, but it just didn’t seem to work as well here as it does in other books. Also, there was much more political intrigue than Pay was expecting. So while it has its fair share of fans, it just wasn’t up Pay’s alley.

Adri has been baking and making mistakes for most of her life at this point. She’s also been a fan of pro wrestling for almost just as long, give or take a few breaks in between. So when in 2008 Kate told her about a wrestling-themed baking competition, Adri was up for it! And she made the ugliest cookies inspired by Bret Hart and took the ugliest pictures of those cookies.

Bret Hart poses before defending his WWF Championship against Owen Hart at the Wembley Arena in London.. Taken 9/14/1994. Photo by Mandy Coombes, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commo
Bret Hart poses before defending his WWF Championship against Owen Hart at the Wembley Arena in London.. Taken 9/14/1994. Photo by Mandy Coombes, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Three heart-shaped cookies on an overturned bowl. The cookies are topped with rudimentary sugar skull and wing decorations.
Listen, it was 2008, I only had a terrible digital camera, and I had limited lighting options. But they didn’t look much better in person, tbh…

While she appreciates beautifully decorated cookies and has purchased several, Adri just doesn’t care about doing it herself. She’s more of a flavor/texture focused baker, so this kind of cookie was a strangely ambitious choice. And honestly she hasn’t done much decorating of this kind since, but it seemed worth a shot to try again. She almost left these cookies undecorated after the thought of decorating them felt daunting, but in the end stopped stressing and had some fun with it! And while they are still far from perfect, they are much better than the first time.

Is there anything you tried and gave up on? Maybe it’s time to give another go! Or trust your gut! We don’t know!

Episode Highlights

  • What animated show do we discuss almost as thoroughly as our episode topics?
  • What other books have we left half-read?
  • What show did Pay watch all the way through, only for the last season to ruin it all?
  • What bad movie does Adri wish she’d walked out of?
  • What life lesson do we realize is the true message of the episode?

Further Watching/Reading

Episode 12: The Fantasy Epic…in Space!


We’re a dozen episodes in, even it doesn’t seem like it (curse you lost episode 10 *shakes fists*), which means we’re two years into this. Commitment! Nothing else really to add here. It’s month nine of the pandemic. It’s too cold to eat lunch outside. Everything is still a mess. But at least there’s hot cider and cocoa to keep us toasty.

This episode really gets at the spirit of the podcast. Adri heard about this thing when it first came out, multiple people recommended it over the last eight years, and despite living in a house with the entire current collection of issues, she still managed to never get around to it. Honestly, there was no excuse and it was time to change that.

Plus our original idea fell through, so we had to pick something quick and easy to get our hands on. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Welp, however we got here, we finally started reading Saga (2012-), the fantasy space epic by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. Adri certainly had Saga in the back of her mine (and her bookshelf), but Pay wasn’t as aware of the series coming into this, seeing as the last comics she read were either for work or Archie comics as a kid. But she has been trying to find more fantasy content to get into as she’s really discovering she likes parallel universes and magic in her stories.

Seriously though. They’ve been right there. For years. In good company at least.
Also is that a MaxFun Membership card you see? Heck yeah it is.

We both enjoyed the first volume, and definitely plan to keep on reading. (Adri’s already up to issue 18 and counting…) It’s everything you want a comic to be: intriguing, page-turner of a story, and eye-catching art. We seriously loved Fiona Staples’s character designs throughout the series. They are unforgettable, and can really make you go from “Aw!” to “Ew…” to “Argh!” in just a matter of pages. While we are looking forward to reading more, knowing that the series is on hiatus is a bit of a bummer. Once we get to issue fifty-four we’ll be in the same boat as every other Saga fan.

Like we said, we had originally planned to read something else, so we get into discussing why things went awry there, our current reading habits, and an unexpected tangent about movie adaptations. So it’s a long one folks. Then again, aren’t they all? Hope you’re not tired of our nonsense. There’s plenty to go ’round!

Oh and before we forget:

Told ya it’s cute.

Episode Highlights

  • What book did we originally plan to read for this episode?
  • Is Pay close to her GoodReads goal? (Spoiler alert: not really)
  • Does Adri manage to remember the word “animatic” by the end?
  • Which characters really struck a chord with us?
  • What type of movie do Adri and Pay want more of?

Further Watching/Reading

Episode 06: A Tale of Two Christmas Carols

Title page: "A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas."

What’s this? A chill in the air? Jingle bells off in the distance? The scent of snow (or rain or some kind of weather)? That can only mean one thing: it’s holiday story time! More specifically, A Christmas Carol, arguably the quintessential Christmas tale.

Such Christmas, such cheer. This pocket copy of Dickens’ Christmas stories actually fit in Adri’s pocket. ~Magical~

First, we talk about the original story (novella?) by Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol is so ingrained in the pop culture consciousness that Pay and Adri were both very familiar with the morality tale about Ebenezer Scrooge and his four spirit visitors, yet had never actually read it. But does the original hold up? Why is it that we all know about humbug and Christmas goose? Why does it get adapted over and over again?

One of the oldest surviving adaptations. Gotta respect those effects.

Speaking of adaptations, Pay had never seen A Muppet Christmas Carol. Never! It is such a regular in Adri’s holiday viewings and another movie with great songs by Paul Williams, so it was very important for Pay to see it. Sure, you can’t force people to like things, but thankfully Pay liked the movie, so friendship may endure.

This DVD doesn’t include Belle’s song. Shame!

One of the surprising things was how close the Muppet adaptation really stuck to the original material. Most of the dialogue matched word for word, and even a few lines Adri thought were Gonzo-isms turned out to be straight from Dickens pen. A true sign that Gonzo is a genius.

Another holiday, another solid set of entertainment we’ve suggested. We should become party planners at this point.

Episode Highlights

  • What did we think about the latest season of British Bake-off?
  • What is the source of the duo’s patriotism?
  • Where does Charles Dickens end and Gonzo begin?
  • What are our other essential Christmas movies?
  • What vintage commercials did the Muppet Christmas Carol DVD have?

Further Reading/Watching