How do you listen to new music?
I understand it’s really common for most people to listen to music in their cars or using systems like Spotify, which I don’t like and don’t drive. That’s right, I don’t like cars and I don’t drive Spotify. I listen to podcasts when I travel, usually, and I listen to music while I work at my computer, because I want something that affects my mood while I’m doing, like, this work.
Frustratingly, just because it’s usually there and ad-free, I let Youtube throw mixes at me. Then when I’ve noticed I’ve done that enough that some songs are part of my personal lexicon, I go and acquire those songs some other way, whether bandcamp (in the case of small bands) or
I want to nakedly recommend an mp3 collection to you. You don’t need special software to manage it. You can just dump all your music in a great big heap and use the search function on any mp3 player you like to find the songs you want. You have paid for music, you have paid for the right to use it in different forms, spotify subscriptions are not paying artists and they are rent-seeking on things you can buy directly, or in many cases have already bought.
Anyway, here’s the stuff that I added to my mp3 collection this year.Continue Reading →
There’s a very real consequence to being my friend, in that I will bring you terrible things to point and laugh at, unless you make it clear I shouldn’t.
Twitter has been a strange part of my life, in that it is simply put, a bad space and the actual reach and improvement it gave my life, while tangible, is hard to quantify versus the effort it took. I try to think of it less as a product I spent my labor on and more a play space I used, and try to ignore the ways in which whatever chemistry drove that place also absolutely scrubbed layers off me in the process of its operation. But Twitter is something I think of as a site I used, and my account only persists so when someone inevitably links me something because they’re not off the site either.
Anyway, one of the friends I made on Twitter was Decay, and Decay is great.Continue Reading →
Hey, you know Nixie right? I talk about her about once a year, it seems. You know, the one who likes planes. The one who likes guns. The one who watches anime and recommends I check some out. The one who contributed to my Air America article, the one who contributed to the Nicolas Cage Month Con Air article, and the one who has gotten an article multiple Decemberweens in a row now.
It’s not just because I get to use pictures from Ascendance of a Bookworm because they remind me of her.
Anyway, this year, Nixie went to China and became a pirate.Continue Reading →
It’s funny to me how my skill for making the mundane into the histrionic, one of the only skills I really acquired in church, is something that I always want to employ in the benefit of showing off how great my friends are. I want to raise the rafters and woo the crowd and sway the senses as I tell you, as I extol to you, as I exhort you, about how the good and wellbeing of my social circle or even just people I think deserve attention but are too shy go get it for themselves, are great things, and how my friends, these people around me deserve your attention and respect and praise and at the very least, a monument here, in this year, to show that I know they matter to me and that they are so important to my own heart and soul that it stymies me. That whole skillset jerks to a halt when I have to get too sincere about something I love. Or in this case, someone I love.
I know I’ve mentioned Shelf before. I’ve mentioned Shelf when talking about cancer and I’ve talked about Shelf when learning about failed medications and I’ve talked about Shelf when sitting late in the dark, afraid for my friend who is without power in the storms that make Canada colder than Mars. Shelf is almost a regular fixture at this point, you could probably go through and map a bunch of Shelf content on my blog.
But I couldn’t not talk about Shelf this year. I wrote down the people I wanted to talk about, the way my heart sings thinking about the things and people and ideas that have made this year better, and here, closest to Christmas, I just… couldn’t not talk about Shelf.Continue Reading →
Some things you have to write in the dark, so you don’t look at yourself while you do it.Continue Reading →
I think about these friend posts from time to time which runs the risk of making my really cool friends who are constantly doing things and making stuff in the day to day, like, more likely to get attention. And that’s not a terrible thing, after all, this is still the attention economy or whatever, by posting about my friend Amber, I might direct attention to her online presence and her cool cosplays, or if I post about my friend Nixie I might get people looking at her Patreon, all that kinda thing.
I wanna talk, today, this close to Christmas, though, about a friend who doesn’t really put himself out there on the internet, and who isn’t here to ‘sell’ himself. Sure, we’ve done that kinda thing, we’ve all had fun doing things… but
Some friends I want to talk about, and who I think about, because they’re my friends and I love them and that’s really cool and really good. Because my friends are great.Continue Reading →
Learning things is so cool. You come to understand things about the world around you and the way they operate and maybe this helps you make decisions going forwards about things that interest you. There’s a dark mirror to that though where sometimes you’ll learn about how a thing in your everyday life has been messed up for your whole life and it doesn’t have to be and…
Nobody’s doing anything about it.
Wanna learn about Urban Planning?
Wanna learn about one of many terrible things you interact with every day and how badly handled it is? And how the people who handle it badly want it that way, for bad and selfish reasons, and because they assume nobody knows or cares enough to address them?Continue Reading →
I don’t play Warhammer. I don’t have the little miniature boys, I don’t have the equipment for painting them, I don’t have the space to paint them, one of them cool little lamps for making them look good while you paint them. I can’t really identify the mechanical differences between Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar and what the point of the play experiences are and how they differ one from another. If I’m sitting down at a table with at least one friend and some miniatures and hours of investment, I’m going to play 4th edition D&D —
— the best edition of D&D —
and not the heavy metal gameplay experience that is Warhammer Of Some Variety. None of this is to say, however, that the game lacks appeal, and like a gawker on a roadside attraction, I still pay attention to the space. Mostly, however, through the podcast Poorhammer, which is about getting into the game while spending as little money as possible.Continue Reading →
Last year I spoke about how I had taken to leaving a channel of ‘horror movie summarised’ videos up on a second screen while I watched. It was effectively, asking a nerd with some very shallow media analysis skills to advertise horror movies at me and while I found it meaningfully engaging for just long enough to get my brain around the problems I was facing at the time, it was remarkable the ease with which I completely dropped the entire idea this year. I think I wrote that article and immediately forgot even the name of the channel, which is why I haven’t gone and looked it up since, even though as you read this and as I write it, I should be linking it. It’s a blog, it should be cross referenced.
Anyway, I think it’s important to recognise the junk food you eat. This year, I spent a month or so learning everything I ever wanted to know about Survivor, and then forgetting it just as quickly.Continue Reading →
If you’re not familiar with it, ASMR is an abbreviation meaning ‘autonomous sensory meridian response,’ a science sounding name for a reaction that some people get to a range of stimuli. This effect can be caused by a whole host of triggers but at least in the community on Youtube there’s a body of people who engage with it because of its ability to affect relaxation and restful mindsets. If you’re not familiar with what this looks like, it looks like a bunch of people making long videos with a strangely hushed affect.
And I watch and listen to them, to help me relax!
If you are familiar with it, hey, here’s some of the artists I’ve been watching this year, as the ASMR effect shifts around in my head and how I respond to it. One thing that people who don’t experience ASMR might not realise is that you can rely only on the effect being modestly unpredictable. Some stuff may cause it reliably for months and then suddenly, nothing. It pushes me to partake of new things regularly, and to that end, every year, I try to look at what artists are ‘new’ to me that I haven’t mentioned before.
Here then are four artists that I started paying attention to this year:Continue Reading →
This is pretty funny when you consider last month I wrote three thousand words about how I think Smogon has a fundamental problem in terms of its game design toolkit. Wa hey anyway.
I’ve talked about how when it comes to any given internet niche you run the risk of running headlong into the cursed distinction between ‘pronouns in bio :)’ and ‘pronouns in bio :^)’. There are a whole lot of spaces on the internet where you can always find someone who knows way too much about it and is happy to infodump to you about it, and for the increasingly pointed niches, those interests are usually represented by a truly sweaty nerd or some detail oriented queer person. It is in this space that I wish to proffer to you two people who make interesting material about Smogon.
Not only Smogon, but the part of Smogon focusing on a game mode which has three Pokemon that probably are 100% represented. That’s right, Red Blue Yellow, the oldest metagame of all, and the weirdest.
Let me show you the work of Plague Von Karma and Big Yellow.Continue Reading →
Sometimes a creator has a central hook to what they make videos about and it’s nice and easy to share. OneShortEye makes videos, at the moment, about speedrunning adventure games, a type of game that’s largely seen as not being about speedrunning.
And they’re great.
You can just watch the channel by glancing it any time you want. It’s just a list of videos, and you can pick the ones that interest you. I want to talk about the ones that interest me, specifically. And disclaimer: I like pretty much all these videos. Like, the Laura Bow videos are interesting. The Monkey Island ones are interesting. The Owl Quest one, which is a joke, is interesting.
But if you want a sort of sense of continuity across these things, I want to draw your attention to the near-complete anthology that describes the speedruns of the Kings Quest games.Continue Reading →
I like depressing media, apparently.
Produced by Robert Evans and a bunch of other people I can’t immediately credit off the top of my head, Behind the Bastards is a podcast that releases about three episodes a week, with a standardised format of Robert, with research on hand, explaining a historical narrative about the worst goddamn people in history, both current and in the past, and the ways in which their ways of being have resulted in a suckier world. Evans’ particular style of journalism is extremely dry and sarcastic, but also seems to project just holding tight on a deeply white hot held rage about the world and the way it is.
And he podcasts about it, reading this story to a friend, who gets progressively more sad and upset over the course of the episode.Continue Reading →
We live in an age of external participation in games. Watching people play games is so long-lasting a practice that I literally cannot imagine a place it started. Even the earliest games have examples of people caring about the outcomes of games they weren’t playing, one way or another. The immense video firehose that is the internet and its significantly lowered cost to engage is a way we can take formerly niche games and present them to their audiences.
David Webb is Very Good at Scrabble and word games. In the ecosystem of British Television, he is a serial prize winner, showing up on various TV shows, and winning you know, teapots and houses, and whatever else British TV gives people as rewards for winning on their particular kind of game shows. If you don’t want to watch for reruns of 90s TV shows to see Mr Webb at work, though, you can tune into his Youtube channel, and watch how every few days, he presents a new Scrabble match against high-level players, with extremely detailed, clear step-by-step thinking of him trying to win the game aggressively and how he does it.Continue Reading →
I think I’ve done a great job of making this month’s festival of free media for your engagement particularly educational, and I’m not planning on stopping. Part of Da Ween is revelling in honestly appreciating the things I really like, and so, I should, surely, share these things that make me laugh, make me smile, and make me think.
Anyway, I watch Skip Intro to learn about American policing systems as represented in media and provide a comprehensive breakdown of the different facets of copaganda, an insidious practice that’s used to reinforce racism and classism and just all the isms that capitalism likes.
Wheeee.Continue Reading →
If you’re passingly aware of being funny on the internet, a discipline started with Seanbaby, perfected by Loading Ready Run and then monetised by College Humour, you might already know about Drawfee. The Dropout network, the continuation of the thing that once was College Humour, has its own spinoffs, and its own subscription service.
I don’t have the subscription service, mind you. I just look at the stuff made by their artist spinoff, the artists who run a channel now known as Drawfee.
Drawfee is an artist channel, where the general gimmick, as repeated, is that they take your dumb suggestions and make even dumber drawings. They don’t, usually, the art they produce is full of character and life and there’s all sorts of ridiculous joy to be seen while these friends draw and talk to one another about drawing. There’s some stuff that talks about general trends in art – like the Octobertober, where they do a bunch of October art challenges, every day grabbing a bunch of random prompts from a different kind of art challenge, whether Cutegirltober or Inktober or Cringetober.
There are typically four standard artists – Karina, Jacob, Nathan and Julia – and they have distinct voices, art styles and interests. You’ll pick up pretty quickly who likes doing what, depending on the subject matter. Nathan has a very low key, chill vibe, Karina is a gremlin cat with a knife, Jacob is Standard Male Art Nerd, and Julia ignores the brief. And… that’s it. That’s the show. They show up, they make a video about them drawing, and that’s half an hour show, every few days. There’s a stream channel as well, for more long form art where they talk to one another, which has the energy of, well, hanging out with other artists.Continue Reading →
About a month ago now, I had a chat with a peer at work. We were talking about the way that one of our cohort had started research into the NFT Marketplace, and it was a rough place to be because he had to open every talk and presentation with ‘I know, but,’ and that was just fundamentally rough as a place to be as a researcher. We got talking about it and I mentioned, offhandedly, how all of the conversation around these things were obviously fake to me, and something like this followed:
Haven’t any of these people seen a cult before?”
“No, uh, I do think that that’s really a you thing.
And this stuck with me. I know about cults because I was in one. I had to dismantle the experience for a long time to get a handle on it. And right now, the way that cults had formed in digital spaces, meant that that kind of weird social experience might be so decontextualised people might not even notice them.
Fortunately, Dan Olson of Folding Ideas has done some great documentaries about cults that coagulate on the internet.Continue Reading →
Last year I spent a chunk of time listening to a Rabbi explaining the differences between Tanakh and Christian translations thereof, and that was really interesting. Despite all this, though, I never quite turned the corner and decided that actually, dude was in the right and it was time to convert to Judaism but in the process, I still learned a lot and enjoyed what I learned. Notably, though, that was an active participant in a faith with real, meaningful scholarship about actual historical events and real translations to work from, exploring and expositing the truth of them as best he understood it. That was really interesting to me.
When we talk about Mormonism, those tools aren’t going to be useful.
This is because Mormons are absolutely founded on complete nonsense.Continue Reading →