"You will know soon how I feel"
I was fortunate enough to learn very little about Monster in the wake of the anime’s highly-acclaimed release between 2009 and 2010. I only knew it was a fictional drama and that it depicted a lot of suffering. If you’re similarly uninformed, I strongly recommend that you quit reading here and go give it a shot. Like a lot of contemporary fiction, Monster is best experienced with as few preconceptions as possible.
The Human Body as a Widget
Our Malady explores how the American healthcare industry harms the country’s citizens and undermines its democracy. I didn’t initially recognize the connection there, so the book struck me as kind of out-of-place in author Timothy Snyder’s larger body of work. Although I knew he’d been inspired by a near-death experience while under hospitalization, the topic didn’t seem particularly related to tyranny and democracy. Snyder made the case in a 2021 essay:
Botching the Landing
I really thought I’d stumbled on something, here. All the way in the back of Comicopia, tucked in a stack of discount books, waited American Carnage. I didn’t recognize the creative team, but DC’s Vertigo imprint was a good sign, and the blurb had potential. Besides, it was Free Comic Book Day! What better time to take a risk in support of an offbeat institution? These experiments always entertain, but if they teach me anything at all, it’s most often about how not to make a comic book.
Missed the Boat
I was a hater. Everyone loved The Wind Waker when it was released back in 2003, but I belonged to the grumpy minority who disagreed with the cel-shaded art direction. It was fashionable1, and it felt a little trendy to be adopted by a franchise with an established look. Never mind that there had been just one three-dimensional interpretation of the Legend. I’d spent hundreds of hours growing up with Link, and I thought that made me an authority about the way his story ought to be told.
Article Highlights for 2022
Although I didn’t get around to developing a more intentional news diet, the list of my favorite articles is more coherent than this time last year. Articles Quit Your Job - an impassioned strong argument for a scary proposition There are investments you can’t make from a structured, nine-to-five, narrowly teleological environment. You have to let your life go fallow sometimes, like a crop rotation giving the land time to bring forth new fertility.
A Free Software Thanksgiving
Like many folks, I tend to lose sight of the tools I use most frequently and most tacitly. It’s a shame, though, because for the very same reason, these are the tools for which I’m the most grateful! I have plenty to be thankful for, but I figured some reflections on software could be helpful to the folks who might visit this website. So here you go! It’s no coincidence that everything mentioned here is free and open source software; software freedom is essential to my personal computing philosophy.
Maybe They're Already Here
The receipt stuck in my copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes tells me that I first read the book almost exactly fourteen years ago. I’d forgotten the plot entirely, so I figured it was a good way to get into the mood of the season. I remembered the wistful prose that characterizes much of Bradbury’s work, and that’s definitely there 1. As I recalled, though, this novel was somewhat darker than Dandelion Wine or Farewell Summer.
A Disappointing Victory
In The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks, world-famous game player Jernau Morat Gurgeh competes in an alien civilization’s tournament. The game is central to the functioning of the society, so much so that they share the same name–Azad. While the novel has its moments, they fail under the weight of a passe story. For one thing, the setting makes Gurgeh almost unrelatable. His language, culture and life history are barely explained (and contain inconsistencies 1).
I’ve lately been enjoying short, story-driven games like Gone Home, Virginia, What Remains of Edith Finch, and Firewatch. Subsurface Circular fits that bill, although it’s no walking simulator, either. Just the opposite: the protagonist is seated for the duration of the two-hour experience. I was going to make a joke about the nascent “sitting simulator” genre of games, but it turns out that Chair Simulator is blazing trails here. (Careful, though: you die if you sit for too long in that one.