Jason Kottke does these posts where he lists all the stuff he's been reading or watching or whatever. Normally I would do this sort of thing on Twitter but I've been avoiding that and feeling much better lately. I have been missing this outlet though, so have a completely self indulgent, and probably one-time post about what I've been playing, watching, listening to and reading recently. I'm not grading mine, though - this is all A+ stuff.
I feel like I blasted through this game very quickly. I don't usually have time to complete games, but I was making time for this. We may have also got a new TV for it. The development of Kratos and Atreyus' relationship was very well done, if a little generic, and the fusion of Norse and Greek mythology was very intriguing, as someone with no knowledge of either.
I have a soft spot for DK games, but missed this on the Wii U because my Wii U died and I was probably busy playing Mario Kart. DK always has great platforming. Dixie Kong for life.
This is a delightful platformer in the same vein as the brilliant new Rayman games. Touchscreen controls, but not in a way that made me want to smash everything I could reach before burning my house to the ground.
The premise is pretty simple here, but the combination of Andrew, Steven and Adam is a winner. We binged these pretty quickly, then moved onto some of the lifestyle ones. Feel free to pretend that Worth It UK doesn't exist. I was worried my skin was going to crawl off my skeleton.
We've been watching a lot of PewDiePie and I have found him to be quite funny and lacking in bullshit. But something has changed recently and he's been irritating me quite a lot. I think when the whole racism thing kicked off with him, he stopped wearing his politics on his sleeve, out of self preservation, but they're still there.
I have a pretty fickle relationship with Casey. He is a master storyteller - I'm fairly certain I would watch his stories on any subject, but there are some pretty heavy caveats there. 1. he has an annoying habit of earnestly reporting on tragic current events. He seems like a sensitive guy, and I understand why he does this, but something feels quite insincere about it. 2. it feels like he makes stories at the expense of everyone around him. He's been getting a lot better recently; taking time off to spend with family, but he has a pretty old-skool-business, work-yourself-to-death work ethic that I don't like. It's obviously working well for him which is cool, but I don't love it.
Even if you don't have any interest in Japan, you should try this. Chris Broad is an engrossing presenter, and does a brilliant job of demystifying a culture that is pretty shrouded in mystery!
Maybe my favourite comedy. Perfect casting, and never gets old. I watch this show so much. Ask Charlotte, I watch it all the time.
I loved this cartoon from some of the people who worked on Steven Universe. Watched them all with Tabitha and she loved it too.
Experimental hardcore from an incredibly consistent band. Pretty impressive given how varied their output is (if you're into this sort of thing - if you're not it'll all sound the same)
Caught these guys at ArcTanGent and didn't love it, but this album was a pleasant surprise. A few superb hooks stand out, but the whole thing overall is very good.
If there's something I've always wanted more of, it's bands doing what Deafheaven do. møl reduces that formula to super accessible pop songs you can listen to any time.
This guy's voice is incredible, and the album is full of amazing pop/RnB songs.
Blackened hardcore nice guys making more enjoyable blackened hardcore. If you like excessively violent music: listen.
Lovely, melancholic pop songs, with insane production. Not joking, this album is perfectly produced.
Oh my god, these books. Such a vivid, bleak future. I don't want to give anything away, but this is a brand of fantasy that I can fully get behind. It's so heavy and desperately sad in places, sometimes I have to take a break because I just can't take it any more.
Tabitha is growing up so fast. When I look back on old videos of her, I barely recognise her. To spend time with her is becoming more and more like spending time with a peer, with the odd exception. It's definitely my favourite part of parenting so far.
That being said, this evening she did something so adorably childlike that I had to make a note of it somewhere that has some persistence so that I can one day revisit it or be reminded of it.
After dinner this evening, Tabitha wanted a little extra, and there were some leftovers. Charlotte asked her to bring a bit of tissue from the table and throw it in the bin. On her way to the bin, Charlotte swapped the tissue for the leftovers, and Tabitha carried on, on autopilot, and threw her food in the bin.
She turned around slowly to us and said "I've just done something really silly. I threw my food in the bin" and was very upset about it. After a lot of giggling (this is exactly the sort of thing Charlotte and I do on a regular basis), and consolation, Tabitha was fine and we were all having a laugh about it.
It was so sweet and sad the way she realised what she'd done, I want to replay that moment again and again.
To save you from all the preamble, you can read about why I'm a year late to this on The Music of 2015. This is still as relevant as ever, and I'm still as self-indulgent as ever. But if you're here, you probably don't mind that anyway. With that in mind, here's the music I've heard of from 2016 that I still listen to and love. Obviously there's more than this, but this is the good stuff.
Listen to: The Reverie II (listen to all of it though. It's really good)
Listen to: Pia Mater
Listen to: Deception
Listen to: Behold the Swine (but listen to the whole thing)
Listen to: Lotta Years
Listen to: Billy No Mates (but seriously. Whole thing)
Listen to: Anything Chemical
Listen to: Tiger Hologram
Listen to: Crawling Through Nothing to Nothing
Listen to: Nonagon (but the whole thing is a riot)
Aside from the obvious, my least favourite thing about stress is how it completely silences the little creativity I have. I've been working to a very difficult deadline the last few weeks, and it's meant I've had to ignore a load of other work that's been piling up. I've been working evenings to try and make sure I'm responding to email and people aren't getting more mad with me, but it's not enough. This week, I took a couple of days off and ended doing a full day's work in total over those days. I am smart.
Taking pictures is my only creative outlet. I always have a camera with me but I don't use it as often as I should. I've reached a realisation that I'm completely stalled on taking pictures. Normally I see things I want to photograph everywhere, but it's just not happening right now and I need a kick to get back into it. Not having that outlet makes me feel quite unfulfilled. Narcissistic though it may be, one of the main reasons I take photos is to look at them. I love looking back over photos I take, and all I have right now are screenshots of horrible tweets and photos of food I probably shouldn't have put into my body.
Time to stop being a baby and go and point my camera at things.
If I've learned one thing from tweeting about music, it's that people don't seem to care all that much about music that I share. I've always taken as simple an approach as possible to everything I do, and recommending music is no exception. If I like it, I share it because you might like it too. I'm not really interested in reading a lot of words about an album - I'd sooner listen to it and draw my own conclusions - but this is a conversation about something a little more meta: End of Year lists.
At the end of every year, everyone with an internet connection scrambles to share their End of Year list with people. Like your tweets and blog posts; no-one reads them, but there's something fun about dipping through a year's worth of something to highlight that which really shone.
And that, for me, is the key: Shone. The volume of music that gets released, combined with the ease of access facilitated by Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, et al means that there's no possible way to hear everything that would appeal to you, much less give it enough of a chance to speak to you. And, come Christmas, when everyone's putting together their Top Albums of the Year That I Heard and You Didn't lists, you get a brand new backlog just in time for the new year.
With this in mind, and to focus on really trying to listen to albums and appreciate them, here is my list of albums released in 2015 that I'm still listening to now. There was an incredible amount of music released in 2015, and I enjoyed a lot more than appears on this list, but I think a great album stays with you and becomes something that you can specifically name as something important to you.
If you're interested and have time on your hands, there's also a full list of stuff that I enjoyed enough to buy
Listen to: Condolence
Listen to: fragmented footnotes on self-diagnosis
Listen to: Watching Films to Forget I Exist
Listen to: 36 Views of Mt. Fuji
Listen to: Forever Scum
Listen to: Paul
Listen to: We Own The Night
Listen to: Priss
Listen to: Divers
Listen to: Wasting
All cover art used absolutely without permission