Posts in music

  • Best of 2018

    A list of my top media things from 2018, or at least things I enjoyed in 2018.

    Books

    Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I read this late in the year, but easily the best story I read this year. The summary on the back doesn’t really do it justice. And the end is just 👌🏼.

    Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches by John Hodgman. A very funny memoir. Made for great bedtime reading.

    Provenance by Ann Leckie. Set in the same universe as her Ancillary trilogy, but relatively smaller in scope. I appreciate that she pulls off not just telling the same story.

    Music

    FooL on CooL generation by the pillows. Technically a soundtrack to the FLCL sequels, but functionally a “here’s some great music by the pillows from the last 18 years”. And actually available on US streaming services! The original FLCL soundtrack was my first import from Japan.

    I’ll Be Your Girl by The Decemberists. Still enjoying this album. Saw them live, and they still put on a great show.

    The Other Shore by Murder by Death. My first listen to the band. I’ve really enjoyed it.

    Movies

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I love comics. To paraphrase someone else, this is a comic book movie. Beautiful, fun, humorous. Watch it on the big screen if you can.

    Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Well done, beautiful and fantastic aesthetic. Not quite that Ghibli level of perfection, but very much that type of story.

    Thor: Ragnarok. Took me a while to see it, but wow. It’s far from perfect, but it is fun. The scenes are all visually stunning, the music perfectly paired, and just enjoyable throughout.

    TV

    Adventure Time finished this year. The last episode was great. A nice wrap up to a show that started out much simpler than it ended.

    Anime

    GAMERS! is a fun series that celebrates a love of video games. Read the Polygon review for a good summary.

    Games

    Celeste. I’m not a fan of the brutal platform genre that became big with Super Meat Boy, but Celeste does an excellent job of easing you into it, and you can complete the main story without dealing with anything too insane. The story is great. All the feels.

    Destiny 2 continues to occupy a lot of my time. The Forsaken expansion was very well done, and has kept me coming back.

  • Media Diet, February and March 2018

    Music

    I’ll Be Your Girl (iTunes): The Decemberists’ latest album is fantastic. They’ve clearly made a shift with their previous album, and this one continues that with a bit more synth. It’s been on heavy rotation since it came out two days ago.

    Video Games

    Horizon: Zero Dawn: a very interesting combination of gameplay. You are generally underpowered, making you think more, but it isn’t an extreme stealth game. Very enjoyable.

    Dandara (iOS): Metroidvania, clever mechanics, not too long. Perfect for my commutes. Engaging, and just hard enough.

    Movies

    Thor: Ragnorak: great visuals, best of the Thor films, and really funny.

    Coco: 😭😭😭. Wow, Pixar did an amazing job on this film.

    TV

    The Good Place, season 2: continues to be fun, and clever with their shift in formula.

    Books

    Serenity Rose: a reread of an old series I have on the shelf. A fun world, and good characters.

    The Secret History of Mac Gaming: I supported this on Unbound, and just received it. A wonderful trip down memory lane, with many details I had no idea about. Bolo forever!

    Upcoming

    I need to get back to my reading list (as always). Destiny 2’s next expansion will hit soon and I’ll likely shift back to that.

  • HomePod

    Convenience is where the HomePod shines for music. I don’t want to fuss with menus, or having to look at my phone (especially trying to keep a one year old from seeing too many screens). Siri is good enough at music.

    For the price (and size) the HomePod sounds excellent. I’ve listened to much more expensive setups, and Apple did a stellar job. I’ve heard a few people say it is too quiet, but I haven’t even bothered to push it past 50% volume. My only critique is that the mids sometimes sound a bit weak. Oddly, it does seem to matter what type of music is being played. Might be a software EQ thing.

    Can the HomePod do all the other cool things that the competition does? Not really, but I don’t care. It plays music, sounds very nice, and doesn’t feel as creepy. We’ve been very happy with it.

    Well, except when I tried to get Siri to play music by Airplane Mode. That confused it a lot.