Categories
Review

“When You Had Power”

Susan Kaye Quinn

The author bills this book as ‘hopepunk,’ but the term I’m more familiar with is ‘solarpunk.’ Either works, though — the vibe is that of a hopeful future, where we make our way through the energy transition and wind up not, y’know, climate changing ourselves into extinction. Which is a future I sincerely hope we wind up in, because I like not being extinct!

To put it shortly, I adore the setting of this book. It’s near-future, with technology that all feels very believable for a near future, and a very fitting backdrop of the global energy transition. And I’m always here for a found-family story — Tamora Pierce really established that archetype for me with the Circle of Magic, so I can’t help but love it.

The only failing of this book is that it isn’t finished. We see the B plot through, but the A plot is left entirely hanging, and having just skimmed over the descriptions of the other books in the series, it looks like that thread won’t get tied up until the fourth book, which is due for release nearly a year from now. I want to know what the bad guys are up to! I’m not nearly patient enough for this.

If you, like me, are impatient, wait until September 2022, then read all four books at once. If you’d like to get started now, go check it out.1

  1. This is an Amazon affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I prefer Bookshop affiliate links to Amazon when possible, but in this case, the book wasn’t available there, so it’ll have to do.
Categories
Review

“The Hammer Falls”

Travis Heermann

I’m of mixed feelings about this book. It’s a fun setting — a little post-apocalyptic in places, but mostly it’s that ‘megacorporation rule’ that feels closer to cyberpunk than any other genre. And while I hate that as a possible future, I do think that this book handled it better than I could’ve expected, so that’s a positive.

But then the negatives: the protagonist is only occasionally likable, and the way women are treated feels almost like someone set out to deliberately flunk the Bechdel Test. Arguably, that’s on purpose, as it’s in keeping with the way said occasionally likable protagonist would think, and it’s told from his perspective, but it still grates somewhat.

In the end, though, I made it to the end of the book, which is the main test I have.1 If you’re interested, you can learn more about the book here. 2

  1. Somewhere, I have a graveyard of books I started and didn’t finish; I’m stubborn, but I won’t force my way through a book if it’s just not enjoyable. Life’s too short for that.
  2. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: December 2021

Posting a bit later in the day than usual, because I’ve been away from the internet for a few days, and didn’t plan far enough ahead to get this ready ahead of time. Happy new year!

How It Was – Yoste on A Few Brief Moments – EP

twentyfive – Yoste on twentyfive – Single

Oh Dear, Oh Beaux – beaux on A Love Letter To the Moments Spent Outside

Flow – Vide on Flow – Single

I Only Go South – Yoste on I Only Go South – Single

All Eyes On Me – Bo Burnham on Inside (The Songs)

Politicians – Hayden Calnin on Politicians – Single

Vampires – The Midnight & Magik*Magik on Vampires – Single

Sink – Yoste on Sink – Single

Inner Light – Elderbrook & Bob Moses on Inner Light – Single

In This Shirt (Original) – The Irrepressibles on In This Shirt – Single

Body Heat – ItsLee & Vide on Body Heat – Single

Daniel – Will Young on Crying on the Bathroom Floor

Broken (Live at Södra Teatern) – Isak Danielson on Live in Stockholm – EP

Honest – Yoste on Nothing’s Everything – EP

In the Beginning – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human

Rise (feat. Abroad) – EMBRZ on Moments

We Go On Walks – Petey on Lean Into Life

Is It Light Where You Are – Art School Girlfriend on Is It Light Where You Are

The Wire – Vancouver Sleep Clinic on The Wire – Single

Broken Mirror – Elderbrook on Innerlight EP

ONE OF ME (feat. Elton John) – Lil Nas X on MONTERO

Tonight – Thorin Loeks on In This Place

Righteous – Juice WRLD on Legends Never Die

Dominos – Elderbrook & Louis The Child on Innerlight EP

Only Human – Philip Ayers on Only Human – Single

The Sunken God – Steve Benjamins on The Sunken God – Single

Should Have Gone Over – Jolé & Christof Van Der Ven on Great Parade – EP

Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Axel Flóvent on Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Single

False Hope – Cal Trask on False Hope – Single

Somebody Who Knows You – X Ambassadors on The Beautiful Liar

Smalltown Boy – Bronski Beat on The Age of Consent (Bonus Tracks)

Tell The Boys – Petey on Lean Into Life

THATS WHAT I WANT – Lil Nas X on MONTERO

Falling Water – Forester on Wish You Well – EP

One Right Now – Post Malone & The Weeknd on One Right Now – Single

Fall Creek Boys Choir – James Blake & Bon Iver on Enough Thunder – EP

Moth To A Flame – Swedish House Mafia & The Weeknd on Moth To A Flame – Single

No Time For Love Like Now – Michael Stipe & Big Red Machine on No Time For Love Like Now – Single

Wisdom, Justice, And Love – Linkin Park on A Thousand Suns

Blackbirds (Bonus Track) – LINKIN PARK on A Thousand Suns (Deluxe Edition)

The Man I Loved – Richard Walters on The Man I Loved – Single

Lonely City – Mokita on Lonely City – Single

Somewhere (feat. Octavian) – The Blaze on Somewhere (feat. Octavian) – Single

feelings – Clide on feelings – EP

To Feel Alive – Forester & Kidnap on To Feel Alive – Single

Can I Get It – Adele on 30

Soft Landing – JP Saxe on Dangerous Levels of Introspection (Deluxe Edition)

Take Me Apart (Recorded at St. Mark’s Cathedral) – SYML on Sacred Spaces

The Most Beautiful Boy (Strong Outside a Man But Inside a Boy) – The Irrepressibles on Superheroes (Deluxe Edition)

DEAD RIGHT NOW – Lil Nas X on MONTERO

Bitter End – CHVRCHES on Screen Violence: Director’s Cut

Stay Close (Recorded at St. Mark’s Cathedral) – SYML on Sacred Spaces

UNWELL – Enrique Iglesias on FINAL (Vol.1)

Hate Me Now – Armen Paul on Hate Me Now – Single

Okay – Harry Strange on Okay – Single

Say Something (Stripped) – Nick Wilson on Say Something (Stripped) – Single

u hurt me hurts u – Anson Seabra on Feeling For My Life

Fear of the Water (Recorded at St. Mark’s Cathedral) – SYML on Sacred Spaces

What It Is – Jaden on CTV3: Day Tripper’s Edition

Bang – Sir Sly on Bang – Single

Killer – CHVRCHES on Screen Violence: Director’s Cut

Writing’s On the Wall – Sam Smith on Writing’s On the Wall – Single

nascar – Devan on Liquid Sunshine EP

Perfect Teeth – Petey on Lean Into Life

london – Wrabel on these words are all for you

B******t – X Ambassadors on The Beautiful Liar1

Gingerbread House – Anson Seabra on a heartfelt holiday – EP

Beat of Song – The Irrepressibles on Superheroes (Deluxe Edition)

Symmetry (Recorded at St. Mark’s Cathedral) – SYML on Sacred Spaces

Hollow – Emmit Fenn & Shallou on Hollow – Single

Pretty Things, Spotlight and Sleep – flora cash on Our Generation

Right Into You (feat. Like Mike) – Claptone & Mansionair on Closer

Wish You Well – Forester on Wish You Well – EP

it’s us – Wrabel & Madi Diaz on these words are all for you

NightChild – World’s First Cinema on NightChild – Single

Holy Ghost and Hallelujah – flora cash on Our Generation2

Meant to Stay Hid (Recorded at St. Mark’s Cathedral) – SYML on Sacred Spaces

LIFE AFTER SALEM – Lil Nas X on MONTERO

TE FUISTE (feat. Myke Towers) – Enrique Iglesias on FINAL (Vol.1)

colorblind (acoustic) – Mokita on colorblind (acoustic) – Single

Palo Santo – X Ambassadors on The Beautiful Liar

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore – Anson Seabra on Feeling For My Life

Around the World / Harder Better Faster Stronger (Live) – Daft Punk on Alive 2007 (Live) [Deluxe Edition]

Friends – Fyfe on Games

kitchen floor – Clide on kitchen floor – Single

Funeral – James Blake on Friends That Break Your Heart (Bonus)3

Games – Fyfe on Games – Single

Touch It / Technologic (Live) – Daft Punk on Alive 2007 (Live) [Deluxe Edition]

What I Loved About You – Fyfe on Games

Sights Like These – Edwin Raphael on Sights Like These – Single

Truth (feat. Kyle Reynolds) – Syence on Bass Pop – EP

DÁKITI – Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez on EL ÚLTIMO TOUR DEL MUNDO

Silence (feat. Khalid) – Marshmello on Silence (feat. Khalid) – Single

  1. Frankly amazed that I managed to find this link, with a title like that. Feels like it’d be pretty immune to search engines.
  2. Favorite find this month; excellent for singing along to.
  3. Weirdly Christmas-y, for a song about a funeral.
Categories
Review

“Cloud Permutations”

Lavie Tidhar

It took me a while to come up with it, but the best description I have for this novella is “impressionistic.” It varies from being told up close by the protagonist, and drifting outwards into discussion of how historians tried to piece together the events of the story years later. It’s a folk tale of the distant future, a Promethean moment as someone pulls this corner of humanity out of a localized Dark Age.

The setting does a great job in establishing a sense of scale. Because you have forgotten technology of the ancients on the scale of “this is a colony, we remember the part of our history where we got here via interstellar travel, but now our highest tech stuff is boat engines”… set against a backdrop of what I interpreted as mysterious nanotechnology and Kardashev tier 2-3-ish feats of engineering.

It’s a pretty quick read, and different enough from the usual fare of science fiction, and I do recommend it. Give it a read.1

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“The Stark Divide”

J. Scott Coatsworth

I absolutely adore hopeful science fiction; dystopian and post-apocalyptic is fine for when the world isn’t ending, but in the midst of a global pandemic and a climate disaster, I want something hopeful. And this, despite the future Earth being a climate-change-wracked disaster, is hopeful.

The world may be ending, but it’s the end of a world, not the end of humanity. In the three parts of this book we see someone plant the seed, encourage the growth, and launch a generation ship. Three of them, in fact, though we only ever see the first. And that’s hope, to me—a chance at a better future. (And hey, it doesn’t hurt that it’s a queer author, including queer characters; a well-rounded population is a necessity for a generation ship!)

So hey, give hope a chance.1

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“Becoming”

Michelle Obama

I really wasn’t sure what to expect, going in to this book. I’m not a big memoir person, and it did take me a while to really get into the book, but I’m glad I stuck with it.

I think the most useful takeaway for me, from this book, is that it humanized Michelle. It’s easy to look at the occupants of the White House and think of them as these far-off figures, something akin to demigods for how remote their lives are from mine. Which remains true—the experience of living in the White House is so different from any aspect of my life I can barely imagine it—but we are all only human.

What I enjoyed the most was hearing about the limitations that come with it. It’s one thing to fantasize about it: “imagine being part of the First Family, you get to meet so many interesting people and be so close to history as it’s happening!”1 But the reality is motorcades and secret service escorts. Knowing that any time you want to go out for dinner, you’re causing traffic jams and costing the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in additional security costs. Even something as simple as “I’m going to sit on the balcony to drink my morning tea” becomes a mess—because, as Michelle notes, sitting on the balcony for her meant the Secret Service closing off a nearby street from which the balcony was visible. You can’t use a portion of your home without it disrupting the lives of hundreds of other people.

Michelle’s story is inspiring, and tragic, and delightful; it is entirely, perfectly human. I absolutely loved this book, and highly recommend it—even to my fellow “not a big memoir” people. Give it a read.2

  1. I’ve long since abandoned the dream of the Presidency. Being responsible for the entirety of the United States sounds like a special circle of hell, and no amount of escapist fantasy can paper over the sheer, staggering, impossible weight that the President has to bear.
  2. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“Ganymede”

Jason Taylor

I very nearly gave up on this book partway through. It felt like it was starting to fall into territory that I really don’t enjoy, with the author using the book to espouse their religious beliefs.1 I took a break, skimmed the leaf description again, an decided to give it another go, and managed to get hooked again.

While I can’t call it “hard” science fiction, because there’s some definite hand-waving about how things actually work, it’s certainly not “soft” science fiction, either. There’s clearly a system underlying all of the sci-fi elements, it just requires a bit of accepting “eh, it’s distant enough in the future that we’d probably have figured that out” and you can carry right along.

The setting is pretty interesting, overall – it’s a not-too-distant future, but the world has had some Busy Times in the interim. There’s a bit of the dystopian “the world is much worse than it looks, but our AR glasses make everything look fine, so who cares!” thing that I honestly despise, but underneath that grime there’s also a distinctly hopeful vibe to what’s actually going on. The best setpiece is definitely New Washington—rebuilding DC, following a nuclear bombing, as a network of bunkers buried below the continental shelf, with New Dulles as a floating airport/city above? Distinct Fallout vibes, in the best of ways.

Lastly, I’ll add that I can very clearly see one of the key influences for this book. What I won’t do is reference here what that is, because spoilers. If you’re curious, click through the footnote.2

All in all, I quite enjoyed this book. It takes it a while to really get going, but by the end it’s a delightful work of science fiction. Give it a read.3

  1. It’s okay for authors to do this in books! Just like it’s okay for me to not want to read those books as a direct result.
  2. Andy Weir’s “The Egg”
  3. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“Innate Magic”

Shannon Fay

There’s… a lot going on in this book, and having given myself the chance to sleep on it, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Even trying to make a pros and cons list hasn’t helped much. Pro – interesting system of magic. Con – weird theological angle. Pro – bisexual protagonist, yay for representation! Con – save for a single passing reference in the epilogue, all the homosexual relationships portrayed are various forms of abusive. Pro – several interesting female characters whose stories I’d like to learn more of; con – I can’t recall them, at any point, passing the Bechdel test.1

At very least, though, I can’t say the book wasn’t interesting. It took quite a while to really grip me, but by about halfway through I found myself loathe to put it down. Which, in retrospect, is the same way I tend to feel about Diana Wynne Jones, and she wrote some of my favorite books I’ve ever read, so… I suppose, by that metric at least, I enjoyed it.

A confused little review here, but as I said, it’s at very least an interesting read. Check it out.2

  1. Admittedly, I wasn’t keeping an eye out for it, and am now trying to recall from memory. I suppose there’s a scene where two of the aforementioned interesting female characters discuss one’s past, but it’s mostly in the context of her father, so…
  2. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: November 2021

Happy December! Go get your booster shot!

How It Was – Yoste on A Few Brief Moments – EP

twentyfive – Yoste on twentyfive – Single

Oh Dear, Oh Beaux – beaux on A Love Letter To the Moments Spent Outside

Flow – Vide on Flow – Single

Starlite – HOKO on Heathen

DIM – SYML on DIM – EP

I Only Go South – Yoste on I Only Go South – Single

All Eyes On Me – Bo Burnham on Inside (The Songs)

Politicians – Hayden Calnin on Politicians – Single

Vampires – The Midnight & Magik*Magik on Vampires – Single

Sink – Yoste on Sink – Single

Our Bones Turn To Stone – Aquilo on A Safe Place To Be

Kyoto (Copycat Killer Version) [feat. Rob Moose] – Phoebe Bridgers on Copycat Killer (feat. Rob Moose) – EP

Inner Light – Elderbrook & Bob Moses on Inner Light – Single

Starlight – Griffin Stoller on Starlight – Single

In This Shirt (Original) – The Irrepressibles on In This Shirt – Single

Body Heat – ItsLee & Vide on Body Heat – Single

Daniel – Will Young on Crying on the Bathroom Floor

Broken (Live at Södra Teatern) – Isak Danielson on Live in Stockholm – EP

Honest – Yoste on Nothing’s Everything – EP

Nothing Else Matters – Dermot Kennedy on Nothing Else Matters – Single

End – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human

In the Beginning – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human

Big Mistake – HOKO on Heathen (Deluxe)

Rise (feat. Abroad) – EMBRZ on Moments

We Go On Walks – Petey on Lean Into Life

Is It Light Where You Are – Art School Girlfriend on Is It Light Where You Are

Iron 2021 – Woodkid on Iron 2021 – Single

The Wire – Vancouver Sleep Clinic on The Wire – Single

Broken Mirror – Elderbrook on Innerlight EP

ONE OF ME (feat. Elton John) – Lil Nas X on MONTERO

Humankind – Coldplay on Music of the Spheres

– Coldplay on Music of the Spheres

Tonight – Thorin Loeks on In This Place

Righteous – Juice WRLD on Legends Never Die

Haunt – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human

Dominos – Elderbrook & Louis The Child on Innerlight EP

Only Human – Philip Ayers on Only Human – Single

come over – Clide on feelings – EP

The Sunken God – Steve Benjamins on The Sunken God – Single1

Should Have Gone Over – Jolé & Christof Van Der Ven on Great Parade – EP

Nostalgia Kills – Goody Grace on Nostalgia Kills – EP

Dead2me – GHOSTHAUS on Dead2me – Single

Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Axel Flóvent on Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Single

False Hope – Cal Trask on False Hope – Single

The War (Recorded at St. Mark’s Cathedral) – SYML on Sacred Spaces

Oxygen – August Royals on Oxygen – Single

hate me like u love me (feat. Jake Neumar) – Syence on hate me like u love me (feat. Jake Neumar) – Single

Down – Oh Wonder on 22 Break

Close – Boys Noize on +/-

Somebody Who Knows You – X Ambassadors on The Beautiful Liar

Never Breaking Up – REUNIØN on Never Breaking Up – Single

No Tomorrow – SUR on No Tomorrow – Single

Smalltown Boy – Bronski Beat on The Age of Consent

Tell The Boys – Petey on Lean Into Life2

THATS WHAT I WANT – Lil Nas X on MONTERO

Falling Water – Forester on Wish You Well – EP

One Right Now – Post Malone & The Weeknd on One Right Now – Single

Fall Creek Boys Choir – James Blake & Bon Iver on Enough Thunder – EP

People of the Pride – Coldplay on Music of the Spheres

Moth To A Flame – Swedish House Mafia & The Weeknd on Moth To A Flame – Single3

Autumn – Lani Rose on Autumn – Single

Hanging On – Aquilo on A Safe Place To Be

No Time For Love Like Now – Michael Stipe & Big Red Machine on No Time For Love Like Now – Single

Costume Change – Aquilo on A Safe Place To Be

Tension – JP Saxe on Dangerous Levels of Introspection

Over – flora cash on Our Generation

Hey Man – Petey on Lean Into Life

Man On The Moon – R.E.M. on Automatic For The People (2017 Remaster)4

Burning In The Skies – Linkin Park on A Thousand Suns

Wisdom, Justice, And Love – Linkin Park on A Thousand Suns5

Blackbirds (Bonus Track) – LINKIN PARK on A Thousand Suns (Deluxe Edition)6

The Man I Loved – Richard Walters on The Man I Loved – Single

Let Somebody Go – Coldplay & Selena Gomez on Music Of The Spheres

Lonely City – Mokita on Lonely City – Single7

5AM – Betcha on 5AM – Single

Beautiful Liar – X Ambassadors on The Beautiful Liar

The Ends and the Means – Robby Hecht on The Ends and the Means – Single8

  1. Kinda reminds me of The Sunken Cathedral and I want to know if that’s deliberate.
  2. One day I’m gonna pull this track and reverse it – I’m very curious if it’s the backing track from Don’t Tell the Boys played backwards.
  3. May or may not have spent half an hour listening to this over and over, being impressed by The Weeknd’s vocal talent.
  4. Listen to the Atmos version, it’s neat!
  5. Occasionally I really like something in this style.
  6. Really enjoying this find, because you can totally hear bits of the song that made their way into other tracks later in their career.
  7. I’d love to talk with the artist, I want to know if the Quiet City reference here is deliberate. Given the title and that it sounds like it, I have to think it is!
  8. Bringing this one back because I just love the lyrics. “Nevermind ‘thou shalt not kill,’ we’re dealing now with infidels.”
Categories
Review

“The Planetbreaker’s Son”

Nick Mamatas

More ‘literary’ in feel than I usually go for, but it works. A time capsule, a billion people digitized and attempting to preserve what humanity was before we wiped ourselves out, held together by advanced technology and algorithms… it’s nice to imagine that we’d be able to retain every aspect of our humanity through a transition like that, but it also doesn’t seem that realistic. Things would have to change.

As I said, there’s more of a ‘literary’ style to this than what I usually read, and it definitely took me a while to really get into the story. But by the end, I found I quite enjoyed it, and a lot of what had been confusing me made more sense. The interview with the author also helped – provided some perspective, I suppose.

A fun little read; check it out.1

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Review

“The Caledonian Gambit”

Dan Moren

If memory serves, Moren has just released the sequel to this book, and I may have to pick it up. I wouldn’t say that “The Caledonian Gambit” was, like, earth-shatteringly good, but it fit my mood just right. It’s been a while since I read some light science fiction, it’s been a while since I read an espionage thriller, it’s been a while since I read something doing something really fun in that space.

I’ll sound the spoiler horn here – if you want no hints whatsoever about the plot, just go read it now.1

Alright, spoilers ahead!

I think my favorite thing in this book was the perfect payoff, how every aspect of the prologue went on to be massively important to the remainder of the book. It did a great job of seeming like a throwaway moment, but kept coming back in little bits of “oh, you thought that didn’t matter? Surprise, it did!”

And, having myself paused for the spoiler break (because apparently that’s how my brain works), I realized why I’m excited for the sequel: because I’ve actually read this exact plot before. It’s an early arc of Schlock Mercenary, although definitely played differently than it was there, and I’d love to see what someone else does with that idea. (Although, if you’re at all interested in comics and space opera, I highly recommend Schlock Mercenary, as well — it starts off very “lol it’s the 90s and I’m making a webcomic!” but by the end, it’s one of the best pieces of large-scale science fiction I have ever read.)

  1. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: October 2021

There’s a few tracks in here that are very clearly “yes, it is now time for Fall Music.”

Cologne – Haux on Something to Remember – EP

How It Was – Yoste on A Few Brief Moments – EP

twentyfive – Yoste on twentyfive – Single

Oh Dear, Oh Beaux – beaux on A Love Letter To the Moments Spent Outside

Neon Medusa – The Midnight on Horror Show – EP

Flow – Vide on Flow – Single

Starlite – HOKO on Heathen

DIM – SYML on DIM – EP

Good in Red – The Midnight on Horror Show – EP

I Only Go South – Yoste on I Only Go South – Single

b!!!rds – Sir Sly on The Rise & Fall of Loverboy

Los Tontos (Live at NPR’s Tiny Desk) – C. Tangana & Kiko Veneno on El Madrileño (Live at NPR’s Tiny Desk) – Single

All Eyes On Me – Bo Burnham on Inside (The Songs)

BYE – Jaden on BYE – Single

Politicians – Hayden Calnin on Politicians – Single

Why Is Everyone Sad? – Yoste on Why Is Everyone Sad? – Single

Vampires – The Midnight & Magik*Magik on Vampires – Single

The Comeback Kid – The Midnight & Magik*Magik on The Rearview Mirror – EP

Almost Home (feat. Novo Amor, Mindy Jones & Darlingside) [Reprise Version] – Moby on Almost Home (Reprise Version) [feat. Novo Amor, Mindy Jones & Darlingside] – Single

Sink – Yoste on Sink – Single

Our Bones Turn To Stone – Aquilo on A Safe Place To Be

Yate – C. Tangana on Yate – Single

Kyoto (Copycat Killer Version) [feat. Rob Moose] – Phoebe Bridgers on Copycat Killer (feat. Rob Moose) – EP

Inner Light – Elderbrook & Bob Moses on Inner Light – Single

Starlight – Griffin Stoller on Starlight – Single

In This Shirt (Original) – The Irrepressibles on In This Shirt – Single

We Just Are – Yoste on Nothing’s Everything – EP

Get You the Moon (feat. Snøw) – Kina on Get You the Moon (feat. Snøw) – Single

Play Pretend – Griffin Stoller & Son Kuma on Play Pretend – Single

Body Heat – ItsLee & Vide on Body Heat – Single

Hurricane – Kanye West on Donda

start//end – EDEN on vertigo

Daniel – Will Young on Crying on the Bathroom Floor

Till There’s Nothing Left – Will Young on Crying on the Bathroom Floor

Coffee – Sylvan Esso on Sylvan Esso

Donda – Kanye West on Donda

Broken (Live at Södra Teatern) – Isak Danielson on Live in Stockholm – EP

Dead Girls – Penelope Scott on Hazards – EP1

Want To Be Wanted – Lani Rose on Want To Be Wanted – Single

Honest – Yoste on Nothing’s Everything – EP

Moon – Kanye West on Donda

Part of Me – ¿Téo? on ¿Téo?

Memories – The Midnight & Magik*Magik on The Rearview Mirror – EP

Belong in the Sun (feat. Lido) – ¿Téo? on ¿Téo?

Nothing Else Matters – Dermot Kennedy on Nothing Else Matters – Single

Junya – Kanye West on Donda

Take Care in Your Dreaming (feat. Denzel Curry, Tricky & Sampa the Great) – The Avalanches on We Will Always Love You

The Parts I Hid Away – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human

PENDEJO – Enrique Iglesias on FINAL (Vol.1)

The Catalyst – LINKIN PARK on A Thousand Suns (Deluxe Edition)

Outta Hand – ¿Téo? on ¿Téo?

Music Is The Light (feat. Cornelius & Kelly Moran) – The Avalanches on We Will Always Love You

End – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human

Mama Plum – Sam Walwyn on Mama Plum – Single

In the Beginning – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human

Highway Man – Teflon Sega on Highway Man – Single

How You’ll Be Remembered – Aron Wright on How You’ll Be Remembered – Single

Candy Eyes – HOKO on Heathen (Deluxe)

Big Mistake – HOKO on Heathen (Deluxe)

Summer’s End – Turbo on Summer’s End – Single

Hellogoodbye (PVRIS Remix) – HOKO & PVRIS on Heathen (Deluxe)

Boy Tears – Saro on Boy Tears – Single

Wherever You Go (feat. Jamie xx, Neneh Cherry & CLYPSO) – The Avalanches on We Will Always Love You

Honest – HOKO on Heathen (Deluxe)

All Things $ Can Do (with Travis Barker & Tove Styrke) – Cheat Codes, Travis Barker & Tove Styrke on All Things $ Can Do (with Travis Barker & Tove Styrke) – Single

Rise (feat. Abroad) – EMBRZ on Moments

Hellogoodbye – HOKO on Heathen (Deluxe)

Guard Down – beaux on Guard Down – Single

California – CHVRCHES on Screen Violence

Casita – Goth Babe on Casita – Single

I’ll Find My Way To You – Elderbrook & Emmit Fenn on Innerlight EP

Interstellar Love (feat. Leon Bridges) – The Avalanches on We Will Always Love You

We Go On Walks – Petey on Lean Into Life

Bad Luck – Noah Kahan on I Was / I Am

Twenty Fourteen – Oh Wonder on 22 Break

Is It Light Where You Are – Art School Girlfriend on Is It Light Where You Are

Reaction – GOLDHOUSE & Mokita on Reaction – Single

OK OK – HOKO on Heathen (Deluxe)

Iron 2021 – Woodkid on Iron 2021 – Single2

Lightspeed – Jon Bryant on Lightspeed – Single

The Wire – Vancouver Sleep Clinic on The Wire – Single

Broken Mirror – Elderbrook on Innerlight EP

ONE OF ME (feat. Elton John) – Lil Nas X on MONTERO

Let It Rock (feat. Lil Wayne) – Kevin Rudolf on In the City (Bonus Track Version)

Humankind – Coldplay on Music of the Spheres

Better Off As Strangers – Aquilo on A Safe Place To Be

– Coldplay on Music of the Spheres3

Rebirth – Aisha Badru on Rebirth – Single

Tonight – Thorin Loeks on In This Place

Righteous – Juice WRLD on Legends Never Die

Haunt – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human

Dominos – Elderbrook & Louis The Child on Innerlight EP

Only Human – Philip Ayers on Only Human – Single4

Stupid Not To Try – Aquilo on A Safe Place To Be

come over – Clide on feelings – EP

– Coldplay on Music of the Spheres

Remember – King Henry on Remember – Single

Sweet Melancholy – Amber Run on The Search (Act 1) – EP

Tiny Dancer – Florence + the Machine on Revamp: The Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin

Wait to Come Over – Charles Fauna on Eulogy – EP

The Sunken God – Steve Benjamins on The Sunken God – Single5

Should Have Gone Over – Jolé & Christof Van Der Ven on Great Parade – EP

Promise – Paul Whitacre & Joel Ansett on Promise – Single

Nostalgia Kills – Goody Grace on Nostalgia Kills – EP6

You Make Me Mad – Aquilo on A Safe Place To Be

Dead2me – GHOSTHAUS on Dead2me – Single

Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Axel Flóvent on Picture of You (feat. Hayden Calnin) – Single7

Emojis de Corazones (feat. Los Legendarios) – Wisin, Jhay Cortez & Ozuna on Emojis de Corazones (feat. Los Legendarios) – Single

False Hope – Cal Trask on False Hope – Single8

The War (Recorded at St. Mark’s Cathedral) – SYML on Sacred Spaces

Oxygen – August Royals on Oxygen – Single

hate me like u love me (feat. Jake Neumar) – Syence on hate me like u love me (feat. Jake Neumar) – Single

Down – Oh Wonder on 22 Break

TYPECAST – ELIO on TYPECAST – Single

Sumarið sem aldrei kom – Jónsi on Shiver9

  1. The album art here keeps making me think of “Meddling Kids”.
  2. Woodkid’s music is usually pretty cinematic in feel, and this is no difference. If you’ve ever got an opportunity for a sword fight with a vampire in a cathedral, this is the perfect backing track.
  3. Sometimes, when I’m getting these links, I search for “better off as strangers aquilo a safe place to be” and iTunes goes “lol never heard of her” and other times I search for “infinity coldplay” and it gets exactly what I want.
  4. Found this via a YouTube video about the Christchurch earthquake, of all things
  5. I’d love to talk to Benjamins about this one – between the name and the opening piano bit, there’s a lot that feels very Debussy about this.
  6. I’m delighted by this title, because the music in this sounds exactly like a ton of the music I listened to growing up. Chef’s kiss.
  7. This is the most Fall Music of everything on the list, I think.
  8. This just made it onto the list at the end of the month, but it very much feels like one that I’ll do a lot of singing along to once I know it.
  9. Another reappearance from last year; I just love the feeling of space in this.
Categories
Review

“Atomic Habits”

James Clear

My life is in flux at the moment. I’ve just recently started a new job, and as a very direct consequence, have to change up some of my outside-of-work doings as well. Happily, I decided to start my project list by going through some of my backlog of books, and alphabetical ordering landed me on this loan from a friend. It’s a good one for times of flux.

As a longtime fan of Cortex, I can’t say that there was anything groundbreaking in this book. Just about everything in it I’ve read or heard in some form or another before, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s one thing to know this stuff, and another to have it all put together in one place, coherently summarized.

So as not to be taking bread out of the mouth of James Clear,1 I’m only going to reiterate one of the core ideas. If you want to encourage yourself to do something, make it easy to do; conversely, if you want to discourage yourself from doing something, make it hard to do. The single best example of this is eating healthy: if you want to eat less junk food, buy less junk food. It’s a simple concept, but it’s hiding something clever: if you buy the junk food, you have to have self control all the time to not eat it. And that, perceptibly, wears on you; by the end of a long work day, you may not have the mental energy left to resist.

On the other hand, if there’s no junk food in the house, there’s nothing to resist. Instead of resisting the urge to open a bag of chips, you’re resisting the urge to… drive to the store, buy a bag of chips, drive home, and open a bag of chips. That doesn’t take much resisting.

And meanwhile, the amount of self-control it takes to not buy it in the first place? Just make sure not to go grocery shopping while you’re hungry, and it’s not that hard at all. How much of your day do you spend in the grocery store, after all?

Atomic Habits is a very good executive summary of several thought technologies like this, and I highly recommend it. Check it out.2

  1. Or however that phrase goes.
  2. This is a Bookshop affiliate link – if you buy it from here, I get a little bit of commission. It won’t hurt my feelings if you buy it elsewhere; honestly, I’d rather you check it out from your local library, or go to a local book store. I use Bookshop affiliate links instead of Amazon because they distribute a significant chunk of their profits to small, local book stores.
Categories
Playlist

Playlist of the Month: September 2021

For reasons, I’m no longer doing tech posts, but I am continuing my playlist posts. Because music!

Cologne – Haux on Something to Remember – EP

How It Was – Yoste on A Few Brief Moments – EP

We’ll Be Alright – Yoste on A Few Brief Moments – EP

Spaces – Jaymes Young on Spaces – Single

Arcade – Duncan Laurence on Arcade – Single

twentyfive – Yoste on twentyfive – Single

Oh Dear, Oh Beaux – beaux on A Love Letter To the Moments Spent Outside

Neon Medusa – The Midnight on Horror Show – EP

Flow – Vide on Flow – Single

Starlite – HOKO on Heathen

DIM – SYML on DIM – EP

BLACK TEETH – SYML on DIM – EP

Good in Red – The Midnight on Horror Show – EP

I Only Go South – Yoste on I Only Go South – Single

Phonky Town – Playaphonk on Phonky Town – Single

b!!!rds – Sir Sly on The Rise & Fall of Loverboy

Los Tontos (Live at NPR’s Tiny Desk) – C. Tangana & Kiko Veneno on El Madrileño (Live at NPR’s Tiny Desk) – Single

All Eyes On Me – Bo Burnham on Inside (The Songs)

BYE – Jaden on BYE – Single

Politicians – Hayden Calnin on Politicians – Single

family – FJ Law on TAPE 1

Why Is Everyone Sad? – Yoste on Why Is Everyone Sad? – Single

Vampires – The Midnight & Magik*Magik on Vampires – Single

The Comeback Kid – The Midnight & Magik*Magik on The Rearview Mirror – EP

Sunset – The Midnight & Magik*Magik on The Rearview Mirror – EP

Almost Home (feat. Novo Amor, Mindy Jones & Darlingside) [Reprise Version] – Moby on Almost Home (Reprise Version) [feat. Novo Amor, Mindy Jones & Darlingside] – Single

SEAL of DARKNESS (feat. CXXLION) – Playaphonk on SEAL of DARKNESS (feat. CXXLION) – Single

Sink – Yoste on Sink – Single

Our Bones Turn To Stone – Aquilo on A Safe Place To Be

Oxytocin – Billie Eilish on Happier Than Ever

Yate – C. Tangana on Yate – Single

NDA – Billie Eilish on Happier Than Ever

Bop – Masked Wolf on Bop – Single

Kyoto (Copycat Killer Version) [feat. Rob Moose] – Phoebe Bridgers on Copycat Killer (feat. Rob Moose) – EP

Inner Light – Elderbrook & Bob Moses on Inner Light – Single

Starlight – Griffin Stoller on Starlight – Single1

In This Shirt (Original) – The Irrepressibles on In This Shirt – Single

Chronically Beautiful – flora cash on Chronically Beautiful – EP

We Just Are – Yoste on Nothing’s Everything – EP

Overthinking (Acoustic) – Jake Scott on Overthinking (Acoustic) – Single

Get You the Moon (feat. Snøw) – Kina on Get You the Moon (feat. Snøw) – Single

Hurricane (feat. The Mowgli’s) – Modern Original on Modern Original (feat. The Mowgli’s) – EP

Play Pretend – Griffin Stoller & Son Kuma on Play Pretend – Single

Body Heat – ItsLee & Vide on Body Heat – Single

Hurricane – Kanye West on Donda

Summer – Jaden on CTV3: Day Tripper’s Edition

start//end – EDEN on vertigo2

Daniel – Will Young on Crying on the Bathroom Floor

Till There’s Nothing Left – Will Young on Crying on the Bathroom Floor

Thelma + Louise – Bastille on Thelma + Louise – Single

Trust You – Ross Copperman & Emily Weisband on Trust You – Single

We Used To Laugh / 9 To 9 – flora cash on Our Generation

I Wanna See You Smile – Aquilo on A Safe Place To Be

Coffee – Sylvan Esso on Sylvan Esso

Train In Vain (Stand by Me) – Rostam on Changephobia (Expanded Edition)

Donda – Kanye West on Donda

Broken (Live at Södra Teatern) – Isak Danielson on Live in Stockholm – EP

Dead Girls – Penelope Scott on Hazards – EP3

Walked Through Hell (Acoustic) – Anson Seabra on Dominoes – EP

Want To Be Wanted – Lani Rose on Want To Be Wanted – Single

Honest – Yoste on Nothing’s Everything – EP

Miss You a Little (feat. lovelytheband) – Bryce Vine on Miss You a Little (feat. lovelytheband) – Single

Moon – Kanye West on Donda

Better Now – Sloane on Better Now (feat. Brieanna Grace) – Single

Part of Me – ¿Téo? on ¿Téo?

Memories – The Midnight & Magik*Magik on The Rearview Mirror – EP

Belong in the Sun (feat. Lido) – ¿Téo? on ¿Téo?

Nothing Else Matters – Dermot Kennedy on Nothing Else Matters – Single

Junya – Kanye West on Donda

Take Care in Your Dreaming (feat. Denzel Curry, Tricky & Sampa the Great) – The Avalanches on We Will Always Love You4

The Parts I Hid Away – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human

PENDEJO – Enrique Iglesias on FINAL (Vol.1)

The Catalyst – LINKIN PARK on A Thousand Suns (Deluxe Edition)

Outta Hand – ¿Téo? on ¿Téo?

Music Is The Light (feat. Cornelius & Kelly Moran) – The Avalanches on We Will Always Love You

End – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human5

Mama Plum – Sam Walwyn on Mama Plum – Single

In the Beginning – Hayden Calnin on What It Means to Be Human

Highway Man – Teflon Sega on Highway Man – Single

  1. “Oh my god, it’s Let It Rock!”
  2. I think this might be a seasonal thing, this goes really well with rainy days.
  3. I dig the album art, it’s got “Mystery Machine” vibes.
  4. Texted this to the friend who originally introduced it to me with a “thanks for sharing, it’s great!” kind of thing, and now iOS 15 shows it to him with “shared by Grey.” Stealing valor isn’t cool, iOS.
  5. I’m really enjoying this whole album. Hayden Calnin is great.
Categories
Review

Star Trek: Lower Decks

I like the concept of Star Trek a lot — some of my favorite books growing up were optimistic science fiction, and the majority of Star Trek falls into that category. That said, I’ve mostly failed to actually get very much into Star Trek; without the nostalgia of having grown up watching it, I (watching in the ‘golden age of TV’) struggle to get past the date aesthetic of the older series.

All that said, Lower Decks feels like it was specifically targeted at me — I love the “adult animated television series” as a form of media, and it’s nice to have a clear entry point into the greater Star Trek universe.

The concept is pretty simple: instead of following around the bridge crew, what’s life like for the regular folks on a Starfleet ship? It feels more like a space opera: from this perspective you get glances into the crazy sci-fi goings-on, but half the time it’s just background dressing for interpersonal stories. It’s fun watching the characters shrug off a member of the bridge crew returning from the dead because “oh, they always do that. Probably they got Borg’d, or it’s a transporter clone, or something.”

Having it as animation also works quite well. It frees them to do ridiculous scenes without blowing through an entire season’s worth of special effects budget. It’s a lot easier to animate the aforementioned transporter clone scene when you just… draw the person twice and have them record two takes. No compositing shots together, no body-double in a green-screen suit. And, I hope, it will allow the animation to remain much more timeless than the live action shows can manage.

All told, I quite like Lower Decks, and do recommend it. As of this writing, we’re about halfway through the second season, with new episodes coming out every week, so go ahead and check it out. Each episode is around half an hour, and they work well as a palate cleanser between heavier series. Check it out.