I originally drafted this on Oct. 1, 2016, but didn’t finish it for some reason or another. With some vacation time, and a little editing, here is what I am Currently Digging Now.
Hard Pass - Two business reporters, hating on things that seem stupid, unfair, and absolutely not worth anyone’s time, or at least 10 minutes of anyone’s time. Like having a very smart friend you meet for drinks in the financial district.
Esquire Classic - Readings, behind-the-scenes, and interviews with authors and editors of Esquire’s best stuff. Which is saying something. (Note: This podcast has finished its run, so now there’s no subscription guilt! You can listen to the whole set and that’s it.)
The Adventure Zone - Matt Taylor gently nudged me into this. The first episode is too long (listen to the “super cut” that shows up in your feed), but once you meet the players, and their characters, it’s really easy to keep hanging out at the table. It’s way better than any second-hand Dungeons & Dragons podcast should be.
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary - Wrote about it on GoodReads.
Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature - Recommended by a coworker after he witnessed my attempt to translate “The Fate of the Furious” into Old English on Slack. It reveals more about English literature, and how it came to be, than I learned in four years of college. (Note: This is probably more my fault than my college’s. If only they had told me freshman year that there were dragons involved.)
Up in the Old Hotel - Reading it now. One of my favorite things about Mitchell’s writing is the way he writes ledes. He just tells you why he is about to spend thousands of words on somebody.
“McSorley’s occupies the ground floor of a red-brick tenement at 15 Seventh Street, just off Cooper Square, where the Bowery ends. It was opened in 1854 and is the oldest saloon in New York City. In eighty-eight years it has had four owners―an Irish immigrant, his son, a retired policeman, and his daughter―and all of them have been opposed to change.”
“A bossy, yellow-haired blonde named Mazie P. Gordon is a celebrity on the Bowery.”
“When I have time to kill, I sometimes go to the basement of a brownstone tenement on Fifty-ninth Street, three-quarters of a block west of Columbus Circle, and sit on a rat-gnawed Egyptian mummy and cut up touches with Charles Eugene Cassell, an old Yankee for whose bitter and disorderly mind I have great respect.”
And, of course:
- Joe Gould is a blithe and emaciated little man who has been a notable in the cafeterias, diners, barrooms, and dumps of Greenwich Village for a quarter of a century. He sometimes brags rather wryly that he is the last of the bohemians. “All the others fell by the wayside,” he says. “Some are in the grave, some are in the loony bin, and some are in the advertising business.”
Super Mario 3 (Boss Fight Books) - Wrote about it on GoodReads
Fallout: New Vegas - Playing through this again, but in “hardcore mode, where ammunition has weight, sleeping doesn’t barely heal you, and you have to cook meat before you eat it, or else you’ll be weak. So, you know, real life.
Skyrim - I can’t say much more about this huge, nerdy, hour-eating game that hasn’t been said better. But I will point you to the fact that they designed a written dragon language for this game that was meant to emulate dragon claw scratching. This was a great unintentional follow-up to reading two different translations of Beowulf.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - I often play the original game when a well-hyped sequel or redux is released, so I can find out, cheaply, what it’s all about. I dug the overall gameplay, but what I really dug was the random character generation. My all-time best character was an Israeli woman with a buzzcut who was absolutely merciless with a shotgun made with alien technology, and also developed psionic powers. Yes, I read that sentence back to myself and I know what it sounds like.
Phone and Computer Stuff
Terminal stuff - I am more efficient at typing than I am at most anything (except procrastinating). I also use mostly cheap/old netbooks and Chromebooks as my portable/living room systems, which don’t do well with a lot of Chrome tabs or desktop apps open. Those things, and some weird itch, led me down this rabbit hole.
My current setup:
A bash shell, either the default terminal on an Ubuntu-type system, or an Ubuntu command-line running inside crouton on a Chromebook, or Microsoft’s own Ubuntu-on-Windows system (how things have changed!).
solarized colors wherever I can bake them in.
RTM CLI, which is Remember the Milk to-do app on a command line. It’s kind of a pain to set up, and there are other, newer command-line RTM apps built with Ruby or JS or whatnot. But I’ve fused my brain with this one.
gcalcli, Google Calendar beautifully managed through a command line. You can use the same “quick add” text that you use on the GCal webapp to add appointments to your default calendar: “3pm Friday Car appointment.” And it can ouput your agenda planner, week, or month in colored text and tables that are just wonderful.
wttr.in is the weather, where you are, in your terminal. The command is
curl wttr.inand that’s it.
mutt for email, with a looooot of work customizing it. I bake in goobook to auto-complete addresses from my Google contacts, and use a combination of w3m and htmail-view and sometimes urlview to read HTML stuff.
vim. Months of use later, and I’m … okay at it. It sometimes feels faster and more fluid than a Word or Google Docs page, but only until I hit a command/function I don’t know. My best beginner advice: make sure you install/compile a version of Vim that can copy/paste to your system clipboard. Using visual mode to “yank” and “put” text is … not where I’m at, yet.
All my dotfiles (the stuff like .muttrc that configure and customize these applications) are shared on Github.
TV & Such
This post is already long enough, so without too much explication:
- The IT Crowd (Netflix)
- Difficult People (Hulu)
- The Last Kingdom (Neflix) (again with the Vikings!)
- Luke Cage (Netflix)
- Les Revenants (Netflix) (the French version, not the cancelled US one)
- Watching Street Fighter V champions play intensely cautious tournament matches on Twitch.tv.
- Watching Black Mirror as slowly as I can, giving myself weeks to prepare for each episode and nervously clutching the back of my hair during each one.