On this page

  1. Rebel Moon: worse than watching paint dry
  2. 2023
  3. An overrated meh: Vernor Vinge's True Names
  4. Romania 2023. Day 10. Bucharest
  5. Romania 2023. Day 9. Final day in Brașov
  6. Romania 2023. Day 8. European bison and ostriches
  7. Romania 2023. Day 8. Fortified churches of Hărman and Prejmer
  8. Romania 2023. Day 7. Howling Waterfall
  9. Romania 2023. Day 6. Sibiu
  10. Romania 2023. Day 5. Brașov

People should stop giving Zack Snyder money. A poster for Zack Snyder's movie called "Rebel Moon. Part 1: A Child of Fire"

If you have two hours to spare, its more useful and entertaining to watch paint dry. Or to watch the mating rituals of a common housefly.

A vapid, empty slog of a movie from a director who has been drinking the cool-aid of unwarranted fan adoraton for far too long.

Here's the full breakdown of Rebel Moon:

The plot, whatever plot there is, goes as follows: our heroine is a fugitive in a tiny remote village on a remote planet. She witnesses an imperial admiral of an unassailable imperial frigate personally come down and shakedown the village for grain. Then she saves a local girl by growing a consciousness and revealing she is a formidable assassin in the process, decides to recruit rebels to their cause despite having no money or resources, randomly finds a convenient guy who knows all the best fighters, goes on a few sidequests, recruits those fighters, then recruites half of rebels, and then gets most of them killed. The end.

It takes the movie a full hour to get to "goes on sidequests". Yes, a full hour is spent in the remote village being shaken down by the evil imperial admiral who is an evil admiral at the head of evil imperial soldiers. Who are evil.

I want to say that the rest of the movie is crammed into the remaining hour. But, despite the seemingly many things that are happening, the remaining movie crawls along with all the grace and agility of a senile arthritic snail.

Ed Skrein is trying his best to act through the lines written by a fifth-grader for the clinically inept. The rest of the cast is only there to collect their paychecks and go home.

Ed Skrein as an imperial admiral on a mission to take down a dangerous rebel faction personally shaking down a village for some grain. Yes, it is as stupid as it sounds

Charlie Hunnam asking where the exit is

The characters... I couldn't tell you what the characters are, what their motivations are, or why we should care for them for more than a nanosecond even if my life depended on it.

Even though the characters are narrating their own expositions for about an hour of total runtime, the only one that has any actual character to them is an android. The androids entire storyline? About 5 minutes sometime at the 30 minute mark. 5 minutes of exposition, mind you. Total relevance of the android to the plot? Zero.

He sure made it into trailers though. This entire shot is about 5 seconds at the end of the movie. Looks like for Sir Anthony Hopkins (who voices the android) 20 dollars is 20 dollars.

Note how almost nothing is in focus in this 100% digital image? I'll talk about it shortly.

Visually this could be a very striking movie. However, Zack Snyder seems to be unable to pass an oportunity to turn everything into his own branded version of the intangible sludge.

Is this a flashback to an imperial palace, a flashback to an imperial military vessel, a scene in the village, a scene on an industrial world, or a scene in a port?

The answer is yes.

That said, Zack Snyder remains one of the few modern directors who manage to light a dark room so that you see every character, every face, and every emotion of that face (most of the time, and however little emotion there is).

And then there's Zack Snyder's signature camerawork with the extremely ultra shallow depth of field. This scene is a great example. Two unmoving static characters are standing in the same plane and talking to each other. One of them is 100% CGI:

Let's zoom in on this $166 million-dollar movie:

And this happens all. the. time.

All in all, Rebel Moon. Part 1: A Child of Fire is an utter waste of everyone's time. Given that this was an idea 30 years in the thinking and 10 years in the making that is supposedly lifted directly from Seven Samurai, this only serves as further proof that people should stop giving Znack Snyder money for his vanity projects. After all, Tommy Wiseau financed The Room. Zack Snyder should finance his own ineptitude, too.

Purely personal things. Not going to talk about the continuing shitshow that this year has been for the world.

Trying out new things


This year I discovered that climbing is an actual sport, and not something you enjoyed as a kid.

I climb indoors (and climbed my first 6A on the last day of the year)

But I did try climbing outdoors :) Scary and fun


I also discovered that they let anyone sign up for archery. So I did take a course, and I should start going there more regularly (and I know what to do for it).


Gothenburg — Hamburg — Malmö

In summer we had a trip during which we stayed in or visited: Örebro, Lysekil, Fjällbacka, Stenungsund, Gothenburg, Trollhättan, Hamburg, Kolding, Copenhagen, Malmö, Halmstad, Skanör, Trelleborg, Sweden's southernmost cape in Smygehuk, and Ystad.

To say it was a lot is an understatment. I still need to try and post pictures and notes from the trip.


A spontaneous fall trip to Brașov was an unexpected and a very pleasant surprise. Read about it here: Romania 2023.


Nothing that stands out this year.

However, I'm about to finish Ben Aaronvitch's Rivers of London series. It's not perfect, but it's a pleasant, light, humorous, and it makes my recommendations this year.


I can't even tel you what I watched this year except one TV series that stood out: Scavenger's Reign.

It could've been so much better than it is, but even so, it's a visually gorgeous and a rather compelling story filled with characters that feel human.

It started as this short film for Adult Swim. And while not as intense or surreal, it still worthy of taking a look.



Free by Florence and the Machine. Currently listening it on repeat.


Postmodern Jukebox

An absolute blast. As perfect as it gets. Only positive emotions. It's really hard to convey the feeling of happiness you get from them. If you like the covers they post on their Youtube channel, live concert is several orders of magnitude better.

This was the encore song of the evening after a two-hour long concert:

And even their drummer is amazing :)

Robbie Williams

Robbie is Robbie, and he's amazing.

First Aid Kit

I knew and liked them before they were cool :) And only now did I go and see them live. They are cool, and sound amazing.


I finally finished setting up the custom blog you're reading right now.

For those interested, it's Elixir with Phoenix Framework, Phoenix LiveView (for the admin part), Ash, Oban, Image and a slew of smaller libs.

Backed by Postgres.

Running on a Ubuntu VM inside a TrueNAS behind a Cloudflare tunnel.

Vernor Vinge's 1981 sci-fi novella has its own wikipedia page and a 3.9 rating on Goodreads.

A 2001 edition, updated in 2016, is a full volume containing three prefaces, 10 separate essays and articles on various topics from crypto anarchy to cyber security, and only then the novella itself.

And god is it boring.

In 1981 it was undoubtedly mind-blowing to most people at the time, but it's not good as a story. It's not even good as a vision of the future. The novella feels like an idea that struck the author at three in the morning, he jotted it down, and then sent off to the presses without fleshing it out.

As with many such books which are "visionary at the time", True Names is a historical curiosity, but is no longer worth reading.

On our final day we had some time to kill in Bucharest before we headed back home.

The Palace of the Parliament, or The People's House, formerly House of the Republic. The second largest administrative building in the world. Ordered by Nicolae Ceaușescu, it still sits mostly empty despite housing two chambers of Parliament, three museums, and a conference center.

The historical center is small, mostly devoid of character:

Stavropoleos Monastery:

19th century buildings and streets

A Che Guevara bar, of course:

A bookshop:

Street art:

An arts and crafts side street that sees no foot traffic:

On this day we finally made it to the top of the Tâmpa mountain that overlooks the city.

Can't complain about the view:

The old city:

Street art:

Valea Zimbrilor

Valea Zimbrilor(The Valley of Bison) is a small private zoo/animal reservation in Vama Buzăului. It's small, and the animals might not be too keen to come close and show themselves, but it's your problem, not the animals' :)

We still liked it, and if you're ever in the vicinity, do visit.

Gradina cu struți Argeș

A small ostrich farm with lots of ostriches in Bălilești. Great owners and ostriches trying to eat everything in sight.


Well, hello:

Being at the crossroads of nations and civilisations, this region was always under threat. Solution? Fortified churches that are small citadels were people could hide during wars, raids, skirmishes, attacks, and other vagaries of the age.

There are 150 fortified churches preserved in Transylvalnia. Seven of them are UNESCO Heritage Sites. Prejmer is one of them.

The church in Prejmer also contains Transylvania's oldest triptych altarpiece, dating back to 1450.

Fortified Evangelical Church, Hărman

Fortified Church, Prejmer

The tryptich:

Well, it's sort of howling. And it only looks big in the pictures.

It's quite easy to reach even though the first 1/3 of the way can be quite steep. When you reach it, it's a small unassuming waterfall that doesn't deserve its name. But if you visit in autumn, the walk through the mountains is worth it alone.

When you just take a picture of the waterfall:

When you take a picture of the waterfall to put up on your travel blog:

We didn't take the ride because it was insanely costly for whatever promise of views it had:

Yup. This is me and the waterfall:

Sibiu's historical center is great, and there's a lot of it. Looking back at the photos I realise that I don't have many good ones because it was enough to just walk around and enjoy it. Definitely worth a visit, more than once.

Church of the Holy Trinity, a Roman Catholic cathedral

The Lutheran Cathedral of Saint Mary and its many faces

Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral

And the angel said unto them, Fear not:

A street lamp:


Another streetlamp:

And another:


A surprised house:

A tower:

Finally, a full day in Brașov.

"Beth Israel" Synagogue

Brașov narrowest street, "Strada Sforii", The Rope Street. The tourist legend tells of a girl whose father wouldn't let her marry anyone without a useful skill, so her over wove a rope as long as the street. For some reason, the girl is still standing there, waiting :)

Street art:


The old city wall:

City roofs:

Sports Museum:

Tourist Info:

Old city gates:



A fairy: