So recently I was reading an article in Entertainment Weekly about Disney’s upcoming live-action version of Aladdin and, noting that the Genie would be played by one of my wife’s favorite actors, I thought I would see if she had heard about it.
Last week I posted my 2018 reading report from Goodreads; not long after receiving the Goodreads book report, I got a music report from Last.fm, a site which, once upon a time, I used quite a bit for streaming and discovering new music (“Neighbor Radio” was a favorite feature of mine). Sadly, some years ago Last.fm was acquired by CBS, and subsequent feature changes (and by “changes” I mean “deletions”) gradually turned the service into a steaming pile of crap. Maybe that was CBS’s fault*, or maybe it would have gone in that direction anyway, but whatever the reason, nearly everything I once used it for (and I actually subscribed, for a while, paying actual cash dollars) disappeared. No more desktop listening client. No more neighbor radio. No more real web listening client, either; the last few times I tried it, all it did was play crappy versions of songs that it apparently found on YouTube or something. Yet one aspect of its old functionality lingers on: The AudioScrobbler, which keeps an eye on what I listen to, so that Last.fm can make artist suggestions on those occasions when I briefly return to the smoldering wasteland that was once a decent web site. And this year, they sent me a recap of what I listened to in 2018. And even though this is by no means a music blog, I figured I would share their findings.
So this year, as every year, Goodreads sent me a link to review my year in books. Aside from the actual books themselves, 2018 was pretty similar to 2017, which was pretty similar to 2016, which was … Well, you get the idea. One thing that has changed, though, is my average book rating for the year, which has inched up from 3.1 in 2016 to 3.2 in 2017 to 3.4 in 2018. Presumably that means that the books I read this year were slightly better than previous years, and not that my standards are slipping. At least I hope that’s what it means. I’m already notorious for not being very discriminating about movies, and I would hate to think the same thing would ever become true about books.* A more likely explanation is that I was still finishing up all the Nero Wolfe books this year, which probably dragged up the overall rating. We will see how things look next year, when there is no Wolfe to come to the rescue …
Anyway, because there isn’t a good way to embed the Goodreads “Year In Review” page, I have, as usual, resorted to a series of screen shots. I apologize in advance for the load times.
So this week I’m reading Mortal Engines, by Philip Reeve.
It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that I watch the Netflix dystopian anthology series Black Mirror regularly, although not frequently, because, seriously, who can stand to binge that much plausible dystopia*? Not me, man. Not me. *shudder*
Anyway, recently I was watching one of the more acclaimed episodes of Black Mirror, “Nosedive”, which is about a woman named Lacie, played by Bryce Dallas Howard (yes, Richie Cunningham’s daughter), who is obsessed with improving her social media ranking. Because, you know, if you don’t have a good enough ranking, you might not be able to get into the apartment complex you want. Or into an exclusive restaurant. Or into the office building where you work. Or … well, you get the idea.
So this week I was reading All the Birds in the Sky, the Nebula and Locus award-winning pre-apocalyptic SF/Fantasy mashup by Charlie Jane Anders, in which a small group of witches goes to war with a small group of techies as each tries to save the world in its own particular idiom, which are, unfortunately, sort of diametrically opposed. Or at least that’s what they think.