This is both The and A List.

With the year coming to a close, year end lists are all the rage. Without further ado, with no additional commentary, here are some things I enjoyed in 2017. I’ll at least sort them into sections. Note, they may not even all be from 2017. Maybe I just discovered them this year. No doubt I’ll forget a bunch. I’m not paying that much attention:

Movies

  • The Big Sick
  • Logan
  • Spider Man: Homecoming
  • Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Baby Driver
  • I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore
  • The Florida Project
  • Okja
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Get Out
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • It

Television

  • Legion
  • Trial and Error
  • Dear White People
  • Crazy Ex Girlfriend Season 3
  • Master of None Season 2
  • You’re The Worst Season 3
  • American Gods
  • Catastrophe Season 3
  • Better Things Season 2
  • The Good Place Season 2
  • GLOW
  • American Vandal
  • BoJack Horseman Season 3
  • Big Mouth
  • The Katering Show
  • Rick & Morty Season 3
  • Please Like Me
  • Crashing

Music

  • Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me
  • The National – Sleep Well Beast
  • LCD Soundsystem – Self Titled
  • Father John Misty – Fear Fun
  • Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
  • SZA – Ctrl
  • Kelela – Take Me Apart
  • Jlin – Black Origami
  • Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
  • Sylvan Esso – What Now
  • Fever Ray – Plunge
  • Zola Jesus – Okovi
  • LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
  • St Vincent – Masseduction
  • Fleet Foxes – Crack Up
  • Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
  • Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3
  • Lorde – Melodrama
  • Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins
  • Neil Cicierega – Mouth Moods

Comedy Specials

  • Vir Das – Abroad Understanding
  • Rory Scovel Tries Stand-Up For The First Time
  • Patton Oswalt – Annihilation
  • Hasan Minhaj – Homecoming King
  • Chris Gethard – Career Suicide

Comedians I saw

  • Chris Gethard
  • Chris Locke
  • Chris Robinson
  • Gina Yashere
  • Hari Kondabolu
  • Kyle Kinane
  • Liza Treyger
  • Max Silvestri
  • Morgan Murphy
  • Rory Scovel
  • Roy Wood Jr.
  • Sara Hennessey
  • Sasheer Zamata
  • W. Kamau Bell
  • John Mulaney

Video Games

  • Cuphead

I guess now you know what I did with my time.

Advertisements

Adventageous for some, mayhaps.

You know what’s always great? Discount candy! Especially here in North America, where capitalistic excess is the spirit of the season and holiday candy supply drastically outpaces demand. Because of this, the supermarket opposite work was selling advent calendars for 24 cents each. Naturally I did what any responsible adult would do and bought 15 of them for my adult co-workers. What could make their day better than being given Paw Patrol or Disney Princess calendars? They even came with colouring segments on the back! My grand gesture cost me less than I’d spend on a coffee and lifted the spirits of 14 others. It was a pretty choice exchange and one I’d happily make at any time. Every now and again, capitalism can be pretty damn fantastic.

Then again, net neutrality was repealed today in America, so maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon. I don’t know enough to make an informed, well researched post, but I know it’s not gonna lead to anything positive for consumers. The tl;dr is that in the U.S. depending on your habits, you’re soon likely going to have to pay more for the luxury of surfing the web as we do now. Internet service providers are going to be able to restrict speeds to certain websites, based on whatever package their customer has purchased. Do you primarily use the internet for social media? Cool, get the social media package. But what if you want to play games online too? Well you’ll have to get the gaming bundle as well. Streaming Netflix? That’ll be a different package too. Of course they’re going to sell it as a benefit. There’s a slim chance that for you, it may be. More likely though you’ll have to pay more to use the internet as you currently do. It’s bad news and is most likely the result of powerful lobbying groups slipping fat stacks of cash into the back pockets of the politicians involved in making this happen. Here in Canada we’re safe for the moment. Trudeau himself has come out as saying it’s a threat to personal freedoms. We’ve got no reason to be smug or complacent though. Never underestimate the desire of big business to place profits over people.

Oh also in big capitalistic moves, Disney bought a ton of Fox properties today for $52B. That’s a whole lot of schmeckles. In the short term, it’s gonna make a lot of comic fans very happy. Fox owns X-Men, which means that now Disney does too. This means they can stop clumsily pretending that mutants don’t exist in their Marvel priorities. Yay. So it’s all good, right? I’m a lot less optimistic. Fox didn’t only own the X-Men, it owned a ton of adult entertainment (not porn, but probably not far off either). Disney is famously litigious and tight about what kind of material makes it into Disney owned properties. In a perfect world, Disney lets FX and FXX keep running as they always have. They continue producing creative and risky television that pushes the boundaries in wonderful ways. This seems likely for the short term at least. I wonder though. Logan was one of my favourite films this year. It was an emotionally cathartic farewell to a longtime fan favourite character. It was heavy, violent and wholly inappropriate for kids. How would Disney feel about killing off a cash cow? Or the lack of marketable action figures from such a film? Will we ever see another “Logan” under Disney’s Marvel? What about the Netflix properties? The Defenders stable? Will Disney continue to fund adult targeted original content? There’s hope that maybe with the acquisition of Hulu that they could continue where Netflix left off. Or possibly Netflix negotiates some kind of deal where they can keep keeping on. Once again, not hugely hopeful.

Oh well, at least I can console myself with cheap candy.

As the wise philosophers Destiny’s Child once said: “Question”.

I’ve got no salient thoughts right now. One of the pitfalls of my current schedule is that I often end up writing at the end of a workday. I’m drained and mentally flaccid (though alternatively being mentally turgid is equally as abhorrent. Perhaps I should stop comparing my brain’s most complex organ with my most cum-plex one) and the result is commonly lacklustre. Surprise surprise, it’s hard to be inspired when your day hasn’t been. I hope you’re not looking for some grand proclamation here. This isn’t time for a state of the nation style address. I’m moreso looking to fill time and pad out while making it seem like I have a topic to roll with. Spoiler, I don’t. So I’m gonna look elsewhere for inspiration. Note, the questions I’m getting are unlikely to match yours.

Have you ever been in any YouTube videos?

I might be in more, but I know that somewhere on the internet there’s a video of some dude on a drug freakout at Lollapalooza 2011. I was not that dude, but I was watching that dude. It was hard not to. He was garbed in a tartan skirt, rolling around in the mud while his peen was lollapalooza-ing all about. I was pretty drunk at the time, but I was doubled over with laughter. My hope is that I’ve learned to dress better, but at the time I was garbed in not only a silly trilby, but white socks with black shoes. If I needed some kind of indication of emotional growth, that’d be it.

How would you define success?

I’d say some combination of self-satisfaction and love. On a personal level, it’s having people to confide in, feeling like you’re contributing to the lives of those around you. Warmth and humour in abundance. Meeting goals and challenges set for oneself. On a professional level, there’s gotta be fulfilment in the work you do. You don’t have to love every moment of your job, but being able to sit back and think you know what? This is alright every once in a while means something.

What do you like to do on a rainy day?

The same thing I do every day Pinky, marathon TV shows, play video games, eat excessive amounts of delicious food, snuggle up with a warm body and drape myself in cozy things.

What things are you passionate about?

Mostly things that don’t matter. Good writing in pop culture. Clever, emotionally devastating or gripping. Humour that challenges pre-existing structures and does its job of punching up. Hearing music that makes me feel something, whether that’s giddy, distraught or cowed with wonderment. Words. Puns, mostly. Apples.

Are you smarter than your parents?

No idea. I’m more educated than my parents, but I feel like that’s symptomatic of a generational divide. My parents encouraged me towards education, so that’s points for them. They’re certainly wiser than I am, but in that case they’re older than me. With age comes wisdom, or thereabouts the maxim goes. At the same time, my brain is younger and thus probably more pliable, quick. This question is odd.

What was the last book you read?

I don’t read nearly enough, but when the film adaptation of The Dark Tower was announced, it encouraged me to go back and start the series. I got two books in and fell off the wagon. I’ll probably go back maybe. Possibly. Aren’t TV shows the new literature these days?

What do you wear to sleep?

Ennui.

 

Well wasn’t that a fun departure from the norm? It feels like cheating, but considering there’s no real point to this project other than getting words on a page, I’m not sure if cheating is possible. Is it? Ask my parents, they’re clearly wiser than me.

Worst of all, the Dollarama has finally sold its singular Agent Cody Banks 2 DVD. What monster would buy that?

The past 24 hours have been the most amazing downtime. After putting the pedal to the floor at the work Halloween party, I didn’t have much oomph left in me. I went to the gym, went out for Korean on my own then came back and spent the night oscillating between TV, the internet and the 90s Microprose Magic the Gathering mod. Frankly, it was awesome.

At work yesterday, I had this fear that I’d lost my go-to sweater while I was out drinking. I remembered bringing it to work, but not taking it to the bar or the after-party. But it wasn’t at work either. I started fretting. By the time I’d considered calling the bar to check, I was most of the way home. If it was at the after-party, I was screwed. I didn’t remember the names of the people who’s place it was. I remember the vague location of the apartment, but that was about it. I started thinking to myself maaan, I should’ve put my name on the tag or something. I thought back to those times as a kid when a name on the tag meant getting clothes back from camp. I realised that the last time I lost any clothes was probably 20 or so years ago. For the most part, when I go out I make a point of picking up stuff I brought with me. I don’t want to make my shit someone else’s problem. Losing one of my favourite sweaters was a bummer, and a blow to my (admittedly smug) sense of pride. What do I have to be proud about? I’ve got a mere 4.97 Uber rating.

Anyway, the sweatshirt was hanging up when I got home. Turns out that even tired, I managed to hang it up back on its usual hanger. I guess not much has changed from the days of drunk Leon cooking meals and packing the sealed containers in the fridge.

Today was all about marathoning Stranger Things season two. More accurately, it was about my girlfriend and I doing all of our boring adult chores before spending four hours doing nothing but eating and watching. We had good breakfasts, took in dry cleaning, sorted out our Halloween costumes, went food shopping (braving the nightmarish Galleria Mall. I swear it’s a portal to The Upside Down. The lighting is eerily bright and it’s a cluster of stores where the products seem like macabre perversions of those you can buy elsewhere) and fixing a hearty soup and sandwich lunch.

Then we vegged the fuck out and got stuck into the first four episodes. Without spoiling anything, they’ve done a great job of taking an enjoyable show and taking it to necessary places. Slow reveals without holding too much back. The kitchy 80s period mise en scene walks the line of being neat, while occasionally tipping over into pandering. Most importantly, they’ve strongly considered the events of last season and weaved them into character progression. It’s not a hard reset, characters act as if they’ve gone through something. It’s stuck with them and changed how they interact with people outside of their normal circles. Plus the show still looks fantastic. The budgets must be insane. I wonder how many Stranger Things season two costumes there’ll be this year. Is it actually too soon?

I guess we’ll find out tonight.

Personally I think I hit a house run.

Well folks, turns out I’m old. I had a spicy burrito and got heartburn, which was mildly irritating for the rest of the night. Alas, my youth has fled and with it, my innocence.

I swear I never used to get heartburn before I reached my late 20s. Perhaps New Zealand had a natural invisible barrier that protected me. Or maybe my body, before growing ancient and feeble, produced the necessary antacids on its own. Now we just have Tums, which honestly I’m kind of fine with. If my reward for suffering mild heartburn is to eat candy, then SEND ME THAT HEAT, BABY. However last night as I was out and about to watch comedy, I didn’t have Tums on me. I sort of wanted ice cream to combat the burn, then I started questioning a world where my desire for ice cream stemmed from anything but a desire to be eating ice cream. Ice cream is like frozen joy. It’s the laughter of a child distilled into a foodstuff. It tastes like refracted light, but also sometimes you get weird flavours like garlic. Ice cream should be the reason for anything, rather than needing a reason for ice cream.

N. E. Weigh.

If it wasn’t apparent by now, I’ve reached the point of the festival where my rational mind has fled. Perhaps due to sleep deprivation, alcohol or too much caffeine, last night I went on a dumb Full House joke tear. It started out so simply:

Already reached the point of the festival where I’m doing bits in regular conversation. May Stamos have mercy on my soul.

Cute, right? Because Stamos’ catchphrase is “Have mercy”? I thought so. Primarily I just liked the idea that Stamos would be so method that to this day he still said his catchphrase in everyday life. Don’t worry, things got worse:

At Thanksgiving is John Stamos all “Have Merci”?

Do you think if Dave Coulier had a tumour he’d go to the specialist and be all “cut it out”?

If John Stamos was a Colosseum editor, would his judgement be “Half Mercy”?

To be honest, I had to do a little bit of research for that one. I didn’t really know the veracity of the film Gladiator and whether or not the emperor would judge the games. Turns out the title was called “editor”. The moar you know, eh?

Do you think if Mary Kate/Ashley Olsen were Westworld hosts working at the brothel and a guest asked for A Sex they’d be all “You got it, dude”?

I’d always remembered that Dude Ranches existed, but I had no idea what Dude really meant in this context. Was it just a cowboy? Once again, I did some more research (okay, so I went on Wikipedia) and discovered that Dude is another name for city slickers. So then I needed to figure out some kind of scenario where MK&A would not only be in the (wiki wiki) Wild Wild West, but in some kind of service position. I’m watching Westworld at the moment and it clicked. Then I realised that despite them being fully formed adults with realised existences, the world might cringe a little at the idea of former child stars being sex workers. Which is stupid, of course, sex work is real work and people are overly too averse to sexuality. So I softened the language to the childish “A Sex”. Also because it sounded funny to me.

Do you think if Jodie Sweetin asked some guy for his daughter’s hand in marriage and he said no she’d be all “How Rude” and marry her anyway?

I just wanted an excuse to think about this sublimely written article about why that song is such a pile of fuck.

Also maybe I need to go get ice cream now.

Something something BoJack’s Hor-semen.

I’ve just come from some project completion drinks and I’ve got farewell drinks to get to. In the hopes of legibility, I’m sandwiching my daily writing between the two as opposed to leaving it for the subway ride home. Because I care about you folks, obviously. Or I fear the plague of typos that I’d otherwise shamefully read through the next day. Let’s pretend it’s the former.

A friend of mine is having a competitive erotic fanfiction party and I can’t stop thinking about what to write. It’s silly to the max and I’m excited to put something absurd together. I don’t know if I have it in me to compose anything sincere, so the outcome will likely be pretty out there. I’m also a terrible fiction writer, so I’m not expecting magic to bloom on the page. I’m keen to put together an odd pairing, because in the spirit of things it seems like a neat challenge. My leading concept right now is a cross-fandom venture featuring Beth from Rick and Morty with BoJack Horseman.

It makes sense to me on multiple levels. They’re both depressed alcoholics prone to making stupid decisions while under the influence. They both have repressed trauma stemming from abandonment issues. BoJack is a horse humanoid and Beth is a horse surgeon with an inferiority complex about not being a “real” doctor. I can imagine Rick pulling Beth into a parallel dimension in order to get her to save his drinking buddy BoJack. Cue convalescence and misguided judgement in recovery. Then Poundtown, USA. The tricky thing will be finding justification for Rick needing Beth’s health, since he’s basically a walking god of science. I’ll think on it. I’ve got a few weeks.

Without spoilers, Game of Thrones had a fun and stupid seventh season. Most of the shortcuts taken were probably necessary to tell a primetime television story, but it did feel at times like they’d undercut GRRM’s methodical character plotting in order to skip to something more action-packed and exciting. I’m not saying they sold anything out. I think they definitely had to take measures to deal with the gargantuan texts they’d been dealt for previous seasons. It’s not like the previous few books have been anything to write home about in any case. Still, without the solid guidance of GRRM’s overarching narrative intent, characters floundered and heavy-handed plotting ensued.

Subtlety fell out the window as characters betrayed central motivations in order to keep the season running full steam ahead. It’s not that they’ve ruined anything, but moreso that they understand that the show they’re doing has become a different beast altogether. Fanservice and blunt exposition have become mainstays of an IP that’d always been massive in scope. It’s still entertaining to be sure. The production values are beyond compare and it shows. Also I guess with all the dragons, the CGI budget didn’t extend to animating Ghost this season? Small gripes.

I suppose I should head downstairs and say farewell to my co-worker. He was always a nice guy in a job that was severely below his skill level. It’s either that or I continue to sit here blabbing on aimlessly about pop-culture to internet strangers and probably one or two stalkers who know me personally. I hope you’re enjoying these stale hot takes.

Oat Brick would likely be my Knight Name.

Hey friends. There’ll be Game of Thrones spoilers coming up later. They’ll be very clearly marked.

Well that eclipse was some kind of whelming. It was neat and all, and the science behind it is pretty choice. In the end though, as a partial eclipse it was good for a minute or two of “ooh”s and “aah”s before walking back indoors to resume unremarkable work. Not to brag (I lied, it’s bragging), but it wasn’t my first. Way back when I was sub ten years we had one in New Zealand. I remember making some kind of shoebox pinhole contraption that kinda worked. I was at a friend’s place and his dad went into the garage to grab his welder’s mask. It worked way better, plus I felt like some kind of 70s sci fi cyborg. Which was basically my childhood M.O.

Fuck it’s great to eat bread again. I’ve been trying not to nosedive straight back into excessive eating, but what I’ve had so far has reminded me all too well of the massive sacrifices I’d made giving it up for Tough Mudder Lent. The cafe I often visit on the way to work has a plethora of baked goods. They’re ultra decadent, like these crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside salted chocolate brownies. For months now I’ve had my eye on these breakfast biscuit things. With no idea what they were, they nonetheless seemed like something I wanted to shove in or around my gob. So today for a treat I got one with a flat white. It was sturdier than I expected, but chewy and semi-sweet. Probably about ten centimetres in diameter and three centimetres high. Some kind of oaty, dried fruit brick. I dawdled along to work with my coffee in one hand, oat brick in the other, bliss in the centre of my being.

*** GAME OF THRONES SEASON SEVEN EPISODE SIX SPOILERS TO FOLLOW ***

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Wasn’t that a shit episode? I’m not trying to imply it was boring in any way, because the show has switched into act three action. The shortened half-season is screeching to a halt and they’ve got a lot of stuff to get done by the time it’s over. I certainly enjoyed a bunch of the scenes we got thanks to the Magnif-Ice-nt Seven grouping of fun fan favourite characters. A lot of cool interactions between characters. I’d forgotten the link of Brienne that chained Tormund and Sandor together. The Jorah/Jon Longclaw scene was nicely handled. Still, the entire adventure was a stupid fucking idea that made no logical sense for the characters concerned. Nobody at Dragonstone thought to seriously question just how shitty it all stacked up on a risk/reward scale (no pun intended, surprisingly)? Just a way to waste a bunch of Redshirts. Also for the first time it feels like temporal complaints were pretty fucking valid. They were surrounded by a ring of zombies. How long did it take a) Gendry to reach The Wall, b) the raven from The Wall to reach Dragonstone and c) the dragons to arrive North of The Wall? I’d wager maybe three or four days at the very least. Did they just stand there in the freezing cold for days? They didn’t seem to have a ton of provisions. Dumb, clumsy writing from a show that should know better.

Speaking of clumsy, what about this whole Arya/Sansa thing? It feels disingenuous to the characters that they would’ve gone through their worldly experiences and not be able to resolve their issues without Arya threatening to wear Sansa’s face. Yes, I get that family reunions have a way of making old dynamics resurface, but that seemed like a flimsy excuse to manufacture drama. Plus Sansa didn’t know that Littlefinger had any idea about the incriminating scroll (I mean, Arya wouldn’t take the fact that Sansa wrote it under duress as a valid argument? She knows how soft Sansa was back then), in that context why would she willingly go to him with information? She knows he’s not to be trusted. Furthermore, Bran is in Winterfell right? And he knows everything? Why not ask him? Is he too busy being aloof and watching Sansa’s highlight reel of traumatic experiences? Good show, but that episode was fucking dumb, clunky and sold out its characters for the sake of expediting the plot.

Still, it hasn’t eclipsed an otherwise enjoyable season.