Ep. No. 46 Just a Taste of the Elixir: a “Project Mercy Seat” Teaser

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Merry Yule, everyone.

Today, just in time for us to call it a Christmas gift to you, we present just a taste of our Super Secret Project that we’ve been cooking up for over a year now, one which we have given the provisional title, “Project Mercy Seat.” We don’t know if it will be a novel, a series of interconnected stories, or something else entirely, but we do know that we will be sending out these dispatches periodically as we work. This is a sprawling work of Weird Fiction that takes place over the course of 140 years, from evildoings near a mining town in Washington State, to dark drawing rooms in the roaring 1920s, to a van making a pilgrimage to San Francisco in 1967, to realms beyond all common understanding. And we’re just getting started!

Karl kicks it off with a reading of a short prose poem by the great Clark Ashton Smith, and after a brief introduction, Jubel reads a portion of the journal of one of our primary characters, Leonora Wiggins. To finish off, we re-enact a lost interview with a musician who has perhaps bitten off more than he can chew, existentially speaking.

All music and editing by Jubel Brosseau. Text written by Jubel Brosseau, and Karl Eckler.

Ep. No. 45 HBO’s The Last of Us, and the Terrifying Power of Love

The Last of Us series of games on Playstation did a great deal to promote serious consideration of the medium as a true narrative art form. The performances, the attention to detail in building its characters and world, and especially the writing and directing from Neil Druckmann and others gave a story that players are still discovering, and in indeed weeping over.

It’s this emotional core, among other things, which has been brilliantly transferred to the medium of television thanks to Druckmann and Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin. The HBO series eschews many of the game’s action sequences in favor of expanding the characters, the world, and the complex connection between protagonists Joel and Ellie.

Ultimately, as Druckmann and Mazin have stated, The Last of Us is a story about love. Love of all kinds, how it survives through the darkest of times, how it enriches and enlivens us, and how it may cause us to commit unthinkable acts.

For this conversation, Karl and Jubel are joined by Bryon Kozaczka of the acclaimed Twin Peaks Unwrapped and Geekonomics Podcast, and Josh Minton of the Red Room Podcast, In Our House Now, and author of the book A Skeleton Key to Twin Peaks. We thank you for joining us for our at-times emotional discussion, as we celebrate this fantastic story.

Ep. No. 44 Twin Peaks: The Return Rewatch Wrap-up

2022 was something of an experiment for Karl and Jubel, and we believe it was a resounding success. We’ve always talked about wanting to incorporate more interviews into the mix, so we did five consecutive interview episodes exploring Twin Peaks: The Return. We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to John Thorne, Rob King, John Bernardy, Lindsay Stamhuis, and Adam Stewart for their generosity, patience, and insights.

To paraphrase some version of Dale Cooper towards the end of the series, “we hope to see each and every one of them again.”

This episode is something of a wrap-up on the rewatch and discussions of the past year, and it’s particularly tangent heavy. For example, we bring up the topic of Hauntology, which we explored a bit with Adam, and then we drifted off to other things. This is due in part to the fact that while we had questions written down that we wanted to ask each other, we decided in the moment that a loose discussion would be more fun, and yield some unexpected results.

The other reason was that Jubel was in the midst of a really gnarly head cold, so keeping himself on track was an exercise in futility. Our hope is that the magic of editing has at least made the conversation listenable!

Counter Esperanto Podcast: Tangents About Twin Peaks: The Return Part 5

This episode marks the last in a series of five episodes following our re-watch of Twin Peaks: The Return, which feature guests each of whom bring a unique and thorough perspective to the puzzling, beautiful, haunting, heartbreaking, harrowing and frustrating text that is Twin Peaks. Karl and I would love to offer our deepest thanks to John Thorne, Rob King, John Bernardy, Lindsay Stamhuis, and of course, this episode’s guest Adam Stewart. We hope to talk to each of them again, someday soon.

Our last guest in this series, Adam Stewart of Diane Podcast takes us into a broad view of Twin Peaks: the space of “post-theory” Twin Peaks. To get there, we need to talk about hauntings. We start with the classic author of ghost stories M.R. James, what made his work so special at the time, and why his work resonates now, and why it also resonates with our beloved show.

We talk about John Thorne’s new book, Ominous Whoosh and question whether Twin Peaks theory doesn’t get any better, or comprehensive, and if so, now what?

From there, things get “hauntological,” (a term coined by Jacques Derrida, and popularized in the modern era by media critics such as Mark Fisher, a podcast favorite for Diane as well as us), and we see how the past haunts the present in the real world, in the world of the show, in media at large, and how all of these realms interplay and comment on each other. 

For a deeper view, we discuss the concept of “late style” in art, and how David Lynch’s late style comes to bear as he revisited the world of Twin Peaks all these years later.

Counter Esperanto Podcast: Tangents About Twin Peaks: The Return Part 4

This is the next in our series of revisits of Twin Peaks: The Return. This time we are happy today to have with us author, teacher, and co-host of The Bicks Podcast (Formerly Bickering Peaks), Lindsay Stamhuis. We begin by covering Parts 13-16, but we branch out and talk about the series as a whole.

Lindsay, Karl and Jubel cover a great deal of ground in this one. Since this sequence of Parts carries the bulk of the tragic and perplexing arc (or is it tragic?) of Audrey Horne, we thought it fitting to bring Lindsay on at this point, since she has written about Audrey several times on the 25 Years Later Site, and our hosts are excited to delve into that particular corner of strangeness.

In Part 16, we finally see the return of our Cooper! Or is he “our Cooper”? Who is it that wakes up in that hospital bed, and how much of him remains? We get into one of the central themes of The Return, which is essentially a deconstruction of the hero myth itself. For all his charm, competence, and heroism, Special Agent Dale Cooper is a complex figure, and true to much in David Lynch, there is a dark side squirming under the surface.