Your media of 2022 December 7, 2022 11:00 PM   Subscribe

What did you play this year? What did you watch? What did you read? None of it has to be the greatest ever, or even anything that came out in 2022, I'd just like to hear about what you spent time with and what it meant to you.
posted by curious nu to MetaFilter-Related at 11:00 PM (82 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

*sigh* Elden Ring.

I managed to avoid playing a significant amount of video games for a few months there, and then I thought, "Maybe... maybe just a taste?"

I like to think of myself as a high-functioning video game addict. When I was younger I briefly fell into World of Warcraft, and I think I played essentially 12 hours a day for two weeks? I recall having visions of my life flashing before my eyes, and managed to uninstall it, and swore off massive online games ever afterwards. I realized I needed games with limited scope and clear endings. Open ended simulators (e.g. city builders or farm games) are another category I tend to avoid on principle.

Being bound to linux gaming, I was oblivious to the past decade of trends in AAA gaming, in particular big open world-a-thons. Recent technologies like DXVK and Proton have brought modern gaming to linux, and so I began to dip my toes in.

I really loved Horizon: Zero Dawn, but after clocking 80 hours into it I said to myself, "you know I have to watch out for these open world games. They tend to kick my completionist tendencies into overdrive."

And then Elden Ring. F** you Elden Ring. You were kind of amazing, but way too damn long. "You know you don't have to do all the side content..." That is incorrect! 140 hours later I have some fond memories, but also a fair bit of resentment.

I mean, I've been playing overlong CRPGs my whole life, so it's not like I don't have experience with 100+ hour games. What helps me manage my addictive tendencies with CRPGs, though, is that I'm quite the stickler for writing quality. I just don't have time anymore for games with bad or even mediocre writing (go home Divinity: Origina Sins and Pathfinders). Conversely, I find it much easier to pace myself with overlong games with good writing (e.g. Pillars of Eternities or Cyberpunk 2077), because I actually want to savour it. The quality of the writing suppresses my completionist tendencies, and I only come back to these games when I'm really in the mood.

But open world games have all these hooks pulling you along, asking you to look over just that one more hill. Dive into that one last dungeon. And Elden Ring does it so damn well...
posted by Alex404 at 3:26 AM on December 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

I read a lot of stuff and watched a bunch of stuff but nothing particularly jumps to mind as core to my 2022, but finishing the Deadly Education trilogy and also getting a second Monk and Robot book (from Becky Chambers, I think Monk and Robot is what they are called?) was satisfying.

I don't have a lot of time for games, but recently started playing LineageW. I think I might be the only English speaker in the entire game, but that's ok because it allows me to practice my Korean, which has been atrophying terribly. I like the general vibe of the game, but don't have enough time to really get deep into it.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:16 AM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

Oh and not exactly a game, but I was "playing" a text based role playing game based on the movie Papillon with the chatbot and spent like fifteen hours before determining that there wasn't really any condition that I would be able to actually escape the prison. Weirdly it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had in a long time.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:23 AM on December 8, 2022

Back in January or February, I finally installed and started playing a still-in-development game I'd bought a few years ago: Ostriv, a city builder or village simulator set in 18th-century Ukraine.

The gameplay is so...serene. Plop your first camp by the beautiful river, next to the forest but not too far from the reeds for your thatched roofs, watch the birds fly above the fields as the snow melts and the grass grows green...Each building is wonderfully animated, and you follow the villagers in their traditional garb planting crops, taking a rest on the bench by the village campfire, tending to their home gardens, walking to work or school, carting supplies around, move to a new house and start families...

Because the solo/indie developer takes care to base the designs and items--including individual food types--on historical examples from Ukrainian culture, with the soundtrack also featuring folk instruments, playing the alpha for even a couple hours was like an immersive crash course about a country or culture I didn't know much about (except maybe its connection to a recent impeachment in US history).

It was extra surreal then, awash in the peaceful rhythms of my little village, to start hearing rumblings about a possible military invasion in the present-day, real-life version of the same lands. I followed the news and particularly the dev's updates in horror as the feared rumors became true and the tweets got more and more drastic: the bombed city, evacuation to an unspecified area, joining resistance efforts, losing access to his computer but still working on projects...

I keep telling myself I'll get back to the game soon but it hasn't felt quite right.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 4:33 AM on December 8, 2022 [6 favorites]

I've been making a list of Stuff of the Year, and was going to post it to some kind of social media, and then realised... I mean, how interesting is it to anyone who's not me? But since you asked, I'm thinking about albums that came out this year at the moment:

Julian Lage - A View With A Room: This is probably my number one of the year, but the one I have the least to say about. It's another great JL record. The hooks take a while to creep up on you, but after a few listens they have you.

Sun's Signature: The mini-album from Elizabeth Fraser and Damon Reece. As I probably mention ad nauseam, these songs formed the bulk of her concerts in 2012, so I waited (quite patiently, I might say) ten years to hear them again. Absolutely glorious.

Richard Dawson - The Ruby Cord: The first track is a forty-minute song (The Hermit) that takes eleven-and-a-half minutes to get to the first sung line, sort of eliding into existence via a sparse interplay between Dawson and his band (particular mention for the harpist Rhodri Davies), and ends with an astonishing, elegaic repeated choral refrain, having visited a slightly off-putting world in-between, so it's not exactly likely to bother the pop charts. The album is so rich that I haven't really got my head round it yet - after the medieval world of 2017's Peasant, and the trenchant social commentary of 2020's ... uh ... 2020 (although the actual 2020 turned out to be even more dispiriting than the world Dawson painted, a real hold-my-beer achievement on behalf of the year), this seems to be retro-science fiction, much like Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker (the present day is glimpsed as distant past in The Museum, for example). Although the subjects of many of his songs are sad, he writes with such a compassion and humanity that they're often strangely uplifting.

Sweet Billy Pilgrim - Somapolis: Another one that I'm still getting my head around, lots of big songs about psychogeography.

Others that have been keeping me happy: The Smile; Mary Halvorson - Amaryllis; Vieux Farka Touré and Khruangbin: Ali; Pixies - Doggerel; Robyn Hitchcock - Shufflemania.

Still trying to find a way in to FOREVERANDEVERNOMORE by Brian Eno. I'll give it another try in a bit.
posted by Grangousier at 5:14 AM on December 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

(Oh, and Tarbes by La Feline, and recently I've been delighting in Lydia Grace by The Sursiks, which is from 2007 but absolutely the most wonderful thing which I would highly encourage seeking out, in the wake of the release of David Minnick's latest Sursiks album, a lounge cover of Dark Side of the Moon.)
posted by Grangousier at 5:54 AM on December 8, 2022

I got a relatively new-ish Kindle for my birthday, under the premise that I wouldn't have to buy so many shelf-clotting books, but with a certain suspicion that I'd be buying the books anyway, based on the last time I owned a Kindle. But, surprise! The technology has sped up enough, and the screens are readable enough, that I've moved all my book-reading over to it instead of big physical books. The second surprise, though, was that I find it so easy to read on the Kindle, with its ability to adjust font sizes and whatever, that I've read vastly more than in prior years.

I started keeping track of how much I read in a year, after a miserable year where the only thing I read was Middlemarch. (Nothing against Eliot, I'm just a one-book-at-a-time reader, and that thing took me forever.) I started trying to read a book a month, where possible, and was mostly successful in doing that. Last year I read something like twenty-four books. Then this year, with the Kindle, I read fifty-two books. And it's not like quantity matters, it's not like I'm reading to earn a gold star or anything, but for years I thought of myself as someone who likes to read but doesn't have time, but maybe it was more "likes to read but has trouble seeing, likes to read but keeps being in rooms on the other side of the house from the book," that sort of thing. The obstacles fell away, and I feel like I am finally reading the amount I would like to read. It's probably the best personal fact of the year, for me.

The temptation to list all the books and my feeeeelings about them, is so strong, but I'll spare you all that! I do have some recommendations though! I absolutely loved Catriona Ward's Sundial--I was very uncertain about returning to horror fiction, but her book was so, just, evocative, so harrowing, nerve-wracking, and real, it's like a case study in how to ground things in normal recognizable human emotions to hook you, before piling terror on terror. But also, Kate Atkinson's Shrines of Gaiety was a big comfort-read for me--it wasn't as emotionally intense as some of her more 'serious' novels, but full of fun historical detail and plots and intrigue--it would've made a great beach read (if I'd gone to the beach this year, which I did not).

I didn't play a lot of games this year--at least, the ones I did play were sort of mindless phone games--but I did enjoy the Switch port of Cult of the Lamb, up to a point. It is VERY cute and the first half is very funny. The repetition of the combat sort of dulls the fun, I think, but the whole conceit of it had me laughing.
posted by mittens at 6:11 AM on December 8, 2022 [7 favorites]

I watched a lot of C(Chinese)-drama this year. Although not as much as last year, which included marathoning all 54 episodes of Nirvana in Fire, cough. (NiF is really good! Watch it!)

I should say I started a lot of C-dramas but didn't finish watching many of them. The ones I did finish, and liked, were Reset and Under the Skin. I think the reason I managed to finish them was unlike many c-dramas running 40 or more episodes, they came in at 15 episodes and 20 episodes respectively, keeping the storyline from dragging and also just making it easier to pick up after a hiatus.

I just remembered I also finished The King's Avatar and Who Rules the World. Yang Yang was very good-looking in both of them, and kudos to WRtW for featuring a female lead (Zhao Lusi) who wasn't contrary for contrary's sake.

I've been reading the Korean translation of Raven of the Inner Palace. I'd initially started watching the currently airing anime adaptation, and was drawn in enough to find the source novel. The novel series has concluded in Japan with 7 volumes, but the Korean translation is only up to 5 volumes, so some waiting involved for me. The anime adaptation looks like it will only cover up to volume 2, with some bits of volume 3 thrown in, as they've re-arranged the order of some character appearances.
posted by needled at 6:18 AM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I set a goal to watch 200 films this year and I've hit 105% of it so far! I've logged them all on Letterboxd.

I also spent at least 1000+ hours playing Civilization V and unlocked every achievement in the base game and most of Brave New World.

It was a podcast and newsletters year, not a books or music year. Too many to mention there.

And I spent a LOT of my time on Medium — it's one of my new fave hangouts.

Speaking of online hangouts, at the start of the year, I was extremely into Lunchclub. But then something broke with them several months back and I'm unable to receive emails they send. So we're in this hilarious neverending game of me sending support tickets and them ignoring them, I think? I don't know. There's no other way to contact them.

I'm loving a whole lot, too.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:00 AM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I've been continually listening since June to this album Still by David LaMotte, a singer-songwriter from Black Mountain, NC. All the songs were written during the pandemic, and it is wonderfully evocative of that experience, from the care we briefly showed for one another to the joy when the vaccines became available to petty household squabbles to just how much more time we all spent noticing the seasons changing around us. There's also the amazing "Look Away", a southern-rock ode to tearing down confederate statues. Just such a good album from beginning to end. (I've known David casually since the late '90s, and I can also endorse that he's a good egg worth giving your money to actually purchase his album.)
posted by hydropsyche at 7:02 AM on December 8, 2022

The most interesting movie I watched this year was Play. The Golden Glove also affected me.

Best books were David Milch's Life's Work (memoir), Wendy Erskine's Dance Move (stories), Tarantino's Cinema Speculation (criticism), Space Struck by Paige Lewis (poetry), and Septology, a series of novels by Jon Fosse (still working through it but it's amazing).

I reread Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son (which I do yearly), Martin Booth's A Very Private Gentleman, and David Whyte's What To Remember When Waking.
posted by dobbs at 7:21 AM on December 8, 2022

In 2021 I decided to do something purely for the fun of it, so I started writing a feature-length screenplay. Then I got really into reading screenplays while I watch the movie, so I've done a bunch of that this year. Now I'm writing my second screenplay, and I think the whole endeavor has been really positive for me as a way to pull up out of the mid-air stall of the existential dread of middle-aged pandemic Kierkegaardian repetition.

And Duolingo.
posted by cocoagirl at 7:24 AM on December 8, 2022 [6 favorites]

Books - I got back into the habit of reading for about a half hour before falling asleep each night, which has been nice. I've been churning through the Expanse and Murderbot series, plus some le Carre. I watched the TV show before picking up the novels, so it's been interesting to see where and how the two versions of the Expanse diverged (in a "we're going to canceled, quick wrap up all the loose ends!" kind of way).

TV - lots of British stuff: Taskmaster, I Literally Just Told You, Richard Osman's House of Games. Continuing to enjoy Bob's Burgers and Archer. Once again, it's been a difficult year to get into anything too "deep" or dark.

Music - I took a deep dive into German Schlager music. Let's all go party on Mallorca!

Video Games - Vampire Survivors. Tunic took up a ton of my attention at the beginning of the year, and it's so so so good. Now back into the X-universe since X4 went on sale a little while ago; it's a hot mess, but it's my kind of hot mess.

YouTube - really been enjoying Tatiana Hopper's channel on photography. She posts interesting (albeit somewhat intro/surface level, one of the problems of the media I guess) videos along a number of themes touching on composition and emotion, reviews of photography books, musicians/actors who are photographers, and some critical analysis.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:47 AM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

My 5 star reads for 2022:
Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches by Kate Scelsa
Shadowseer: London by Morgan Rice
Marcie Rendon's Cash Blackbear trilogy
Babel by R F Kuang
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
How Y'all Doing? by Leslie Jordan (RIP)
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Big in China by Alan Paul
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I Like to Watch by Emily Nussbaum
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
Threads of Life by Clare Hunter
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell
The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson
The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos
The Girlfriend's Guide to Gods by Maria Dahvana Headley
Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson
Vicious by V E Schwab
Multiple books in the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman
Little Free Library by Naomi Kritzer
posted by soelo at 8:02 AM on December 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

I've been on a kick with political shows:
* Borgen (female Danish prime minister)
* Madame Secretary (U.S. secretary of state)
* Servant of the People (a comedy where Zelensky plays the Ukrainian prime minister)
* West Wing (U.S. president)

On a lighter note, I also watched The Good Place.

And I continue to chronologically make my way through the American Film Institute's top 100 movies, along with the top 100 from They Shoot Pictures, Don't They, which compiles rankings from many sources across the globe.
posted by NotLost at 8:12 AM on December 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

I went through a lot of games this year (and man it's been a weird long year). Looking back over my Steam list, it's a little all over the place but there's a throughline, waxing and waning throughout the year, of me fucking around in idle (or clicker or incremental) games.

And idle games are just idle games: there's a fundamental ceiling on how much Game there is there and it's not a very high one. I tend to play them, on my computer and on my phone, in particular when I'm feeling stressed or at a loss for what to do with myself on any given day, because they offer a little bit of dopamine in small periodic doses without requiring me to really focus at length the way a game with more actual gameplay or complex rulesets or mechanics would. They're games that beat staring at the wall, which is a low bar to clear but it, well, beats staring at the wall.

But the thing about idle games on Steam is that they're, at their best, a lot weirder than idle games on iOS. iOS idle games tend overwhelmingly to be cynically designed to exploit the IAP economy, with artificially constrained gameplay and buy-ins to remove those constraints; they tend to be very samey, very cookie cutter, using the same ideas and power curves and incentives as the rest of the crowd, and almost always feel like they were designed with attention exploitation for cash as the core principle and the rest of the game draped over that as a skin.

Whereas on Steam you see a lot more stuff that is pretty clearly someone just having a weird idea and saying fuck it, I'm gonna make this. There might be some "support the game" quality of life upsells in the mix but it's less prevalent, less fuckery, and far less frequently the seeming core motivation for the rest of the design decisions.

A lot of 'em are still shit—really most of them are to a greater or lesser extent, making games is hard and when you dig through the bottom of the indies pile you find a lot of failures—but there really is a qualitative difference and so I get more actual joy from ferreting out the good and weird bits from random new free idlers now and then. I like spending a few half-attentive hours seeing what someone's idea was even if they didn't really pull it off, and one of the genuinely good things about the idle genre is it requires less plumbing and skill from novice designers to get as far as presenting those ideas at all.

With that big preamble, here's the ones I got some good times out of. Normy vs. weird is a subjective call and it's not really quite that binary, but I'm classifying as "normy" those games that follow a pretty well-tread idle game format but do it well/interesting, and as "weird" those games where something about it—mechanically, aesthetically, whatever—really felt interestingly different from usual.

- weird: Underworld Idle: occulty/eldritch demonic Cookie Clicker with some interesting power curve moments
- normy: Idle Monster TD, a low-stakes tower defense setup tied to idle mechanics
- weird: Bitburner, a sysadmin/hacking game involving a whole-ass custom scripting language as the core gameplay
- normy: Tap Wizard 2, a semi-automated top down shooter with, uh, wizard mechanics
- weird: Oraxum trials, a hex-grid resource-management idler that cops Opus Magnum's aesthetic
- normy: Tap Ninja, a simple but amusing and slick endless runner game tied to idle mechanics
- weird: Idle Spiral, honestly pretty janky feeling mechanically but with an inspired geometric visualization that makes it worth messing with
- weird: Trimps, a crunchy spreadsheet town-builder type thing, lots of little bits interacting
- weird: Godsbane Idle, a maximalist fiddly RPG-themed thing with, crucially, a giant web-of-orbs skill tree which how can you not
- weird: Idle Skilling, a mechanic-heavy growth management game with plenty to fiddle with
- weird: Just A Humble Swordsmith, the rare example of a conspiculously short idle game. Done in an afternoon.
- normy: Bard Idle, a light fantasy team-builder idle brawler with a cute if underbaked "powerups are song lyrics" gimmick
- weird: Farmer Against Potatoes Idle, an equipment centric idle brawler with a LOT of mechanics opening up over time

And I'd remiss if I didn't mention Advent Incremental, which I'm playing right now thanks to this post on the Blue a couple days ago.
posted by cortex (retired) at 8:15 AM on December 8, 2022 [7 favorites]

Reading -- It's been an odd year. I've read my average number of books, 28, so far, but fewer than usual have been outstanding reads, perhaps because i've been light on NF. Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner was outstanding. Civilizations by Laurent Binet was quite good.
I did fly through the Murderbot series this summer and those were big fun. I am currently just finishing Lauren Groff's Matrix, so the year is ending well, it's excellent.
Watching -- Andor was the highlight in the streaming realm, and Everything, Everywhere, All at Once was my favorite movie. I also enjoyed The Worst Person in the World, but didn't see it in theater. Currently enjoying The Peripheral, almost as much for the hate-watching going on on FanFare, as for the show itself (which I am enjoying). I seem to be the only one watching Fleishman is in Trouble (if FF is any gauge), which I am also enjoying.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:24 AM on December 8, 2022

Books - I got back into the habit of reading for about a half hour before falling asleep each night, which has been nice.

I do something really similar which is helpful, just off-screen time. I have one of those old Kindles so it's not really shining on me and barely has internet. My booklist is online and I've really been in Beast Mode with my reading but that's just because it's been a rough year (slowly improving).

I also usually watch an episode or two of something before I start reading and I tend to work through entire shows at a time. I'm super particular though, so it's always challenging when I'm reaching the end of a show. Here's some shows I've liked recently.

- Leverage - originally liked because it was set in Boston but I've stuck with it even though I find Timothy Hutton's hair distracting (like it's always weird and moussed in that particular style of a person trying to cover up thinning hair and it's just odd to look at)
- Occupied - Norwegian drama about Russia taking over their oil production
- Derry Girls - everyone told me to watch this and I thought they were wrong that I'd like it but they were not wrong.
- Borgen - (on preview, hi NotLost) this was basically my perfect show. Low body count, lots of female characters who are full persons, a lot of political drama but not like super stressful and yelly. I want more shows like this, but not American shows (always too yelly, rapey and "let's kidnap and terrorize the daughter" for me)

Earlier this year I think I mentioned in an earlier thread, I've enjoyed Shetland (Scottish cop show), Deadwind (Finnish cop show), Pine Gap (US/Australian cyber show), The Outlaws (UK crime comedy) and season 2 of Space Force.

I seem to be the only one watching Fleishman is in Trouble

Oh wow I just finished reading that book and I Have Opinions about it so I should check that out.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:25 AM on December 8, 2022 [6 favorites]

I loved The Dropout so much that I watched it twice (the second time as a comfort watch while I had COVID). I knew everything there was to know about the Theranos story and didn't think the show would add much, but Amanda Seyfried's go-for-broke performance is a joy to behold.

I also watched the entirety of Search Party in the span of a few months. What a weird and wonderful ride! I rarely watch comedies and this show didn't seem like it would appeal to me at all, but I'm still thinking about this hilarious, fascinating show.
posted by cakelite at 8:31 AM on December 8, 2022

I have always been a big reader, total bookworm. for the last few years I've been keeping a list of what I read, just for fun. so it turned into a bit of "how many books do I read?" well, this year...

I am currently 75% of the way through book 50. 5.0. in one year. I think I may have a problem.

granted I have been working very part-time most of this year, and some of my reading was things like The Expanse Series (which I devoured like a plate of home-made cookies) but also some heavy stuff and non-fiction.

is it possible to read too much?
I know I am spending too much time being sedentary...
but I still have so many more books to read!
posted by supermedusa at 8:48 AM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I keep a little book list as well, of those I think Against the Day (Thomas Pynchon), Stoner (John Williams) and Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel) were my favorites.

Music-wise, the last few months have been dominated almost entirely by Alvvays. Their new album Blue Rev is probably my favorite album to come out this year. Before that album came out I think I was mostly listening to Destroyer?

Movie-wise I’ve been tracking some stuff on Letterboxd but favorites were probably C’mon C’mon and First Reformed.

TV show-wise we’ve been working our way thru The Middle which is great. I don’t watch dramatic or “prestige” shows tbh.
posted by bxvr at 9:30 AM on December 8, 2022

@supermedusa You read the right amount for you. I am 25% of the way through book 62. Last year I read 80. In 2020 I read 29. I've worked full time at the same job that whole time, but other circumstances in my life have varied. Especially in 2020, when I could hardly read at all.

This year, my top reads include:
The Fixed Stars, Molly Wizenberg
Monk & Robot #2
Yours Cruelly Elvira, Cassandra Peterson
A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine
A Desolation Called Peace, Arkady Martine
Ten Steps to Nanette, Hannah Gadsby
The Children of Jocasta, Natalie Haynes
Catullus: Shibari Carmina, Isobel Williams
A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

Best newsletter: Anne Helen Petersen's Culture Study. No contest.
posted by OrangeDisk at 9:32 AM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

bxvr if you have not seen the limited series of Station Eleven I thought it was beautifully done. very faithful to the book in tone and just amazing.
posted by supermedusa at 10:01 AM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

wow! OrangeDisk that is impressive.

if you liked the Martine stuff (as I did) you may also like Seth Dickenson's Baru Cormorant series.
posted by supermedusa at 10:03 AM on December 8, 2022

is it possible to read too much?
I know I am spending too much time being sedentary

Does your library offer Libby? You can check out audiobooks and then listen to them while walking =) I will not drive by myself without a book to listen to these days.
posted by soelo at 10:07 AM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

Lately I've played--
  • Over the past day, Steam Dwarf Fortress
  • Animal Crossing New Horizons, yes still
  • Odd Giants, that Glitch remake that got posted back in October
  • Babataire, a solitaire variant with Baba Is You characters (I have passed on Babataire Ex, which has Baba Is You-style rulechange mechanics, it's too complicated, but the base version is fine)
  • Another free game from Hempuli, Cavern Sweeper, which is an elaboration upon Minesweeper
  • Live A Live, a great lost JRPG that recently got the 3D remake treatment
  • Pinball FX 3, but only the Williams tables, especially White Water, No Good Gofers, Party Zone, a few others
  • Dicey Dungeons
  • River City Girls
  • Omega Labryinth Life (which I do not recommend to roguelike non-enthuiasts, as it's super skeevy!)
  • Contra Anniversary Collection
  • Atari 50th Anniversary (highly recommended!)
  • Capcom Arcade Stadium 2 (for the greatly underrated Speed Rumbler!)
  • The demake of Pac-Man CE in Namco Museum Archives Volume 1
  • Steven Universe: Unleash the Light (for a licensed game it is surprisingly good, the game before it, Save the Light, is also great)
  • Some roguelikes for writing purposes, esp Angband variants
posted by JHarris at 10:27 AM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

@supermedusa should have mentioned I have started it! Despite my usual aversion to “serious” television, I have enjoyed the 2 episodes so far.
posted by bxvr at 10:33 AM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Musical discoveries:
various Fantasy Power Metal (esp. Gloryhammer, Wind Rose) love listening to these with my kids
various Synthwave, but especially Serbian musician Isidor (Lord of Synths)
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - less kid friendly but we love 'Nonagon Infinity' and their microtonal triptych

Video game timesucks:
Vampire Survivors - introduced to this one on the blue, and it is very satisfying
Minecraft Dungeons - back into it, after a long break, still fun, The End and Nether DLCs are really cool

Books: I'm at 68 this year considering print, audio, and (significant) graphic novels. Some highlights

- Leviathan Falls by James S.A. Corey (audio)- a very satisfying conclusion to this 9 book sci-fi epic)
- Ten Low by Stark Holborn (audio)- really well done space western
- Vatta's War by Elizabeth Moon - 5 books - just a really compelling milsf/space opera with great characters
- State Tectonics by Malka Older - the final book in this trilogy really brings that things home, lots of things to think about on modern media and social networks and politics
- my annual dose of Richard Stark. this year Butchers Moon and Comeback the end of 1960/70's Parker books and the beginning of the 1990's Parker books. And all four of the Grofield books. These are all short and delicious.
- Papergirls (graphic novel, omnibus) - 80's time travel adventure with great characters and lots of weird shit. I'm afraid to watch the TV show, because it can't be as good.
- Watership Down by Richard Adams (audio performed by Peter Capaldi) - how did I not read this earlier in life, this is a classic for a reason. A really great adventure with wonderful characters and (according to the forward) absolutely no thematic commentary on the real world (ha)
- The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi (audio performed by Wil Wheaton) - a delightfully sweary sci-fi "romp", you probably already know whether you'll like this
-The Metabarons (omnibus) by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Juan Giménez -after the discourse about the Dune book and crypto-bros earlier this year, I looked for this because it's supposedly Dune inspired. And it is, kinda. But it's way more gonzo than that.

I do a good job tracking all the terrible movies I watch while I work, but not TV. What I remember enjoying this year is Prime heavy: Reacher, Bosch Legacy, and The Peripheral are all winners.
posted by 3j0hn at 10:40 AM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I don't play many games anymore but last week for some reason I fired up Cookie Clicker and had a four day obsession with it before saying "what the hell am I doing?" and closing the tab. That's how I play every idle game I've ever played.

About once a year I play all the way through Dungeons of Daggorath, which is a game I loved on my TRS-80 Color Computer. I consider it the original 3D shooter. It might be time to play again.

TV: Severance, White Lotus, Andor. Re-watched The Sopranos and am currently re-watching Mad Men.

I think the only movie I saw in the theaters this year was West Side Story which I didn't care for. My wife is big into musicals and loves the stage production so we went but she didn't really care for it either.

Movies on streaming, we started working our way through the Marvel movies earlier this year but I think we only got through 4-5 before we stopped.

I watched Jaws on a six inch screen while on an airplane, the way it was intended to be watched. I may have seen it a few times already...

New (to me) music I've discovered: Billy Strings, King Gizzard, Wet Leg. I've been listening to Goose a bit but I mostly find them bland and boring.

I saw Phish nine times in 2022 and will hopefully see them four more times before the year is out.
posted by bondcliff at 11:01 AM on December 8, 2022 [5 favorites]

Oh hi there. It looks like the first film I saw of 2022 was The Hustler, and I have yet to write the review for Mary Poppins - that's 54 films for the blog itself, plus all the Best-Picture Oscar nominees, and Everything Everywhere All At Once and Bones And All for funsies.

My biggest TV habits are quasi-legal streamings of the UK show The Last Leg, I don't really have time for much else.

And most of my reading is via my book club.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:16 AM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

My favorite book so far this year is A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys, which single handedly invents the Diaper Punk genre.

A literary descendent of Ursula K. Le Guin, Ruthanna Emrys crafts a novel of extraterrestrial diplomacy and urgent climate repair bursting with quiet, tenuous hope and an underlying warmth. A Half-Built Garden depicts a world worth building towards, a humanity worth saving from itself, and an alien community worth entering with open arms. It's not the easiest future to build, but it's one that just might be in reach.
posted by signal at 12:19 PM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

In terms of music, it's been all about Spiritbox. Melodic metal with amazing singing and screaming. Rotoscope. Circle With Me.
posted by signal at 12:22 PM on December 8, 2022

We have been watching Abbott Elementary which is EXCEPTIONAL. We've also been watching ER, which holds up surprisingly well.

Some books I have loved this year:
"Four Treasures of the Sky" by Jenny Tinghui Zhang
"Rosewater" by Tade Thompson
"Cane River" by Lalita Tademy
"Seven Days in June" by Tia Williams
"The Love Songs of WEB Du Bois" by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers (possibly the best?)
"The Mountains Sing" by Nguyen Phan Que Mai
"A Long Petal of the Sea" by Isabel Allende

We've been playing Pandemic Legacy Season 0 with friends.
posted by obfuscation at 12:47 PM on December 8, 2022

I talk enough about movies on FF that i think I can safely skip that and talk about music instead.

This year, I listened to Wet Leg's debut album enough that my Spotify recap is essentially just a list of jokes accusing me of being their stalker.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:48 PM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

You watch movies?!
posted by obfuscation at 12:48 PM on December 8, 2022 [5 favorites]

I've been getting back into They Might Be Giants, who apparently put out 6 new albums since the last time I checked.

(The last time I checked was 2013.)
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 12:48 PM on December 8, 2022 [8 favorites]

Among other things, I have been slowly going through episodes of Kongen Befaler and Bäst i Test, versions of Taskmaster in Norway and Sweden, respectively. A whole series of each is available on the main Taskmaster site.
posted by user92371 at 1:31 PM on December 8, 2022

Video Games -
- I finally beat Outlaws. You know, the LucasArts FPS from 1997. I was never able to get past the second or third mission back in the day, due to the game crashing when attempting to load one of the missions (or one of the cutscenes -- I'm not sure). I was impressed by the level design in some of those missions -- both Sanctuary and The Fort were particularly good. Also, stunning sound design.
- I played through Paradise Killer again. I adore Paradise Killer. It's definitely my favorite detective game. I think it's just my favorite game overall ever. I wish my not-so-great memory was even worse, so I didn't have to wait a bit before playing it again.
- Slowly making my way through The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles. It hasn't gripped me in quite the same way as the Phoenix-Wright-extended-family-based Ace Attorney games, but I think there was an extra specialness with those: Phoenix Wright was about the same age as me and aged in real time as subsequent games were released, so his character stayed about my age. There was something comforting and relatable in watching him change and grow over the years.
- There was a space flight sim that came out in 1998 called Hardwar. In some ways, it reminds me of Wing Commander: Privateer with more streamlined controls. It holds up very well. I'm really enjoying it.
- I've spent some effort this year trying to get PS4 controllers working with old FPSes. Heretic, Hexen, and Dark Forces are all a joy to play with a controller. (I assume Doom would be the same, but I've always thought Heretic and Hexen were better games. For Dark Forces, The Force Engine has made the process a breeze.)
- Someday, I'll complete my joy2key mapping for Wing Commander: Privateer.
- As of Tuesday morning, my life is Dwarf Fortress.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:45 PM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I bought a new gaming computer late last year, so this year I went ahead and bought some of those AAA or AAA-adjacent games I've been missing out on.

Bounced off all of them, sometimes extremely hard. (I can rant about how angry CP2077 made me for like, awhile)

Absolute best thing I've played this year - and is probably in my all-time top 10 - is Citizen Sleeper. I wrote a lot about it in previous posts, and have a big spoiler-y post in Fanfare, so won't ramble too much again, but really just a tremendous piece of art. It's absolutely brilliant. It feels Important. I think about it all the time.

I spent a solid few weeks with I Was A Teenage Exocolonist. It has some representation problems, for all that it does well, so can't give it a 100% recommendation. It's weird and dark and has stuck with me, though.

Still playing Deep Rock Galactic with my brother on a regular basis.

My current Caves of Qud character is getting ready to cure their glotrot (tongue falls off and removes ability to speak) by mixing wine, oil, and sap (1:1:3) in a canteen, setting the canteen on fire, and then drinking it. Tongue hasn't fallen off yet, but I'm debating letting that happen, and then regenerating it, to get a couple of achievements.

Books: Nona the Ninth, Prayer for the Crown-Shy, The Argonauts, and a lot of Murderbot comfort rereading especially in the early part of the year.

Music: new Maggie Rogers (especially Want Want) and Soccer Mommy (Shotgun, Still), plus endless lo-fi streams while working. Also the Citizen Sleeper soundtrack (which is good for listening to while reading Murderbot).

Watch: Andor. The Bear. (I don't watch much and both of those have been in the last month, and both are great in their own ways)
posted by curious nu at 1:56 PM on December 8, 2022 [4 favorites]

This has been a hard year for me, finally leaving a workplace I was in for 15 years after realizing that the thought of staying there another 15 years filled me with despair. I took a different job in a different workplace, at a substantial paycut, and I was already living frugally but am doing so even more now. I'm much happier than I was, even if money is more a concern than it used to be.

Some bright spots in media--things that have made the year more meaningful, or more fun, or just more bearable in some way:

I've liked almost all of Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series. This has continued with Across the Green Grass Fields and Where the Drowned Girls Go.

Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms was an unexpected delight.

All Boys Aren't Blue was thoughtful and deeply moving, though hard to read in places.

The Golden Enclaves was a smart and fitting end to the Deadly Education series.

In movies:
I've thought about Force Majeure several times in the months since I saw it.

Eddie Izzard is usually good. Definite Article , Sexie, and Force Majeure (a different Force Majeure) were all fun.

The Mandalorian was solid. Andor was excellent.

Comfort reads: Murderbot books. Oh, Murderbot, I wish we were less alike. But I love reading about your problems.

Comfort watch: This Old House. Taking something deeply, structurally flawed, gutting it, then putting in the time, the work, and the money to rebuild it into what it used to be/could have been. Yes, please.
posted by johnofjack at 2:23 PM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

Everything Everywhere All at Once (FanFare)
The Candy House, by Jennifer Egan (FanFare)

Really liked:
The Kaiju Preservation Society, by John Scalzi (FanFare)
Nightbitch, by Rachel Yoder (FanFare)
The School for Good Mothers, by Jessamine Chan (FanFare)

Can't stop thinking about:
Women Talking, by Miriam Toews
Beyond Black, by Hilary Mantel
Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, by Kristin Kobes Du Mez (Fanfare)
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:43 PM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I discovered The Amazing Devil, bought all three albums, and have listened to their entire catalogue at least twice a week for the last six months.

I got bored with playing Skyrim. I like the parts where I wander around and explore, see new things and solve puzzles. I hate the parts where I have to kill people and creatures, and keep avoiding bits where I have to make an irreversible choice like what faction to join. So you can see why it gets boring.

For reading I am still stuck on fanfiction, I've pretty much read nothing else since 2020. I've bought books, I just haven't read them, and I don't know why. I think I'm afraid of being disappointed in them, so it seems safer to just save them until I feel more optimistic.
posted by buildmyworld at 3:06 PM on December 8, 2022

Just last weekend I finally caught up with the One Piece anime. I was watching a couple of episodes with my kids on random Sundays but then my family was out of town for the summer and I just mainlined it. Once they got back we fell into our regular pattern without too much explanation needed, which is a testament for just how long the current arc is. That's probably my show of the year.

I picked up No Man's Sky when it came out for the Switch in October and have been playing it a lot since then. Wasn't playing a whole lot of video games before that so that makes it my game of the year.

I bought Marilynne Robinson's Home in the spring as I had enjoyed Gilead and was interested in what she would do with a follow-up book. Didn't read it. I took it with me when I went to Japan in August figuring I'd be able to read it on the plane. I ended up reading David Mitchell's Utopia Avenue on the way instead and didn't read anything on the way back. It's still sitting in the living room, next to a stack of books I got from the library that I'm evidently going to read first. So I'm going to call Home my book of the year because it's been with me for so much of it even if I haven't opened it yet.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:33 PM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Overcooked 2 - I feel like this game, for couples, breaks your relationship and then re-makes it. I yelled a lot. At my partner, at myself, at the TV. I learned that my partner and I will try to anticipate each other's move and then "help" but then if you anticipated wrong, you're giving the wrong ingredient or blocking the way or nobody's manning the skillet so half your kitchen is on fire. If you want to test your relationship communication skills, play this game. We went from really very terrible to getting 4 stars on all but 2-3 levels (including all the DLCs).

Then we played Moving Out, also from Team 17. I learned that my partner cannot give commands. He wants my input! It's great! But not for this game. While playing frogger crossing a busy street with a loveseat, he'd be like, "OK after the red car. You wanna go first? Or I can go first..." And SPLAT and we're dead while he's waiting for my decision. One time, after witnessing the same mistake 5x in a row on the same level, I wailed, "How does your brain woooooork?" so now that's a thing we say to each other. Not as addictive as Overcooked 2 but it is just as silly.

Most recently we picked up Spiritfarer. It is a complete 180 from the frantic games above. This is sooooooo chill, about harvesting resources, crafting, getting to know different spirits while they take their final cruise in your underworld ferry boat (trying to resolve all their... emotional stuff) until they're ready to move on to the beyond. And you can play as a cute fluffy cat named Daffodil. Ahhh, I love it so much! It feels like you can't really die or fail so it is very soothing.
posted by tinydancer at 4:46 PM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

We played the heck out of Gloomhaven and its expansions over about 3.5 years (?!) in multiple campaigns, and honestly this year has really been "playing other games while waiting for Frosthaven." We've played a bunch of the current co-op campaign games and they are o-kay. Hearts mostly in the right place, nice art, fun touches, we've had a good time playing and it's always good to support creators and see what people are coming up with; it's great that there are so many entries in this category. But our friends just got their copy of Frosthaven and maaan am I glad we're getting back to it. So much appreciation for what this game does well.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 5:00 PM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I've been listening to bluegrass musician Sierra Ferrell, and belgium rock band Gnome. I've read a bunch of books but the last few months I've been reading the Wolf Hall triology.
posted by drezdn at 6:12 PM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

My favorite book so far this year is A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys, which single handedly invents the Diaper Punk genre.

Ooh, that....that may be good for the book club. Thanks for this!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:49 PM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I got my copy of Nona the Ninth and decided to reread the first two books.
I’m still stuck in the middle of Gideon. I have to really focus to stick my attention to books now for some reason. I think it started when I got my first smartphone.

I have been making myself wait to start rewatching Dark, because it could easily become the only thing I ever watch again.

I rewatched Fringe, which has a ton of thematic overlap with Dark.

I’m digging Andor. I think I have two episodes left.
I really enjoyed The Peripheral.

I stalled out playing Stray because the swarmy headcrab things are way too annoying and running serpentine is nearly impossible to keep up.
I already forgot whatever incremental game I tried most recently. The one where you make metals out of your blood or whatever. It’s like Doodle God but without pictures.

I play Diablo 3 on my switch while listening to podcasts.

I spend an ungodly amount of time fiddling around with D&D stuff, mostly keeping my players on task (we only play about once a month because I live far away. No, I don’t particularly want to try to play remotely). They’re all new players and I wind up doing all the bookkeeping on their characters because a nonzero number of them have issues with keeping up the paperwork. One of them lost her character sheet in her own house, for example. I love it, and I love them, but my players are a little bit of work sometimes.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:16 PM on December 8, 2022

I managed, at this moment, to get in about 563 movies this year. Seems like a lot though less than last year's 600+.

I tend to program or curate my viewing so watched a lot of blocks of directors and themes. I finished watching with a friend, the films reviewed by Barry Gifford in his book The Devil Thumbs a Ride and Other Unforgettable Movies which covers many classic noirs as well as a number of idiosyncratic choices. Nice to revisit so many classic noirs and some I had never seen.

Watched just about all of Claude Chabrol's filmography who I found to be incredible at times and terrible at times. I really loved that he tended to use a lot of the same group of actors and I liked his comedic touch. Of his films Juste avant la nuit (1971) & La Rupture (1970) were particular favourites.

I watched about 50ish Krimi, atmospheric German crime films from the 60s which were precursors to the Italian giallo, which were a lot of fun.

Had a nice parent - child bonding moment of watching the Good, the Bad and the Ugly with my kid which made me weirdly nostalgic about when I had watched it with my dad when I was about 14.

Firm favourites this year:
Screaming Mimi directed by the underrated Gerd Oswald and starring Anita Ekberg. Absolutely eccentric and convoluted noir involving burlesque performers, an insane asylum, black magic and the kitchen sink.

Probably the craziest Christmas film I've seen, and that includes the Mexican Santa Claus movie, Andy Milligan's Seeds. Imagine a more grotesque early John Waters with less humour and more hate.

Top of the Heap popped up on the Criterion service and I greedily watched it. I had read about this one for years and getting to actually see it? Worth the wait for me and still very relevant. Deserves to be better know and seen.

Playgirl Killer, a Herschell Gordon Lewis "influenced" horror starring one of his regulars, William Kerwin, shot in rural Quebec in the late 60s. Features Neil Sedaka, of all people. And oddly Andrée Champagne who played one of the leads in the popular (and my great grandmother's favourite) soap opera Les belles histoires des pays d'en haut (based on the very popular novel by Claude-Henri Grignon, Un Homme et son péché). That's kind of like if Melissa Gilbert starred in a trashy horror film a year after Little House on the Prairie wrapped.

Problematic fave of the year was Thirteen Women. A pre-code thriller I stumbled on which features Myrna Loy as a mixed race woman (the problematic part) who gets revenge on the women who bullied her in school through the use of carefully conceived astrology letters (which is the awesome part).

Newest movie I enjoyed was Weird: the Al Yankovic Story for many many reasons.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:36 PM on December 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

The Best TV I watched this year:
Reservation Dogs Season 2 (TV show about four Native American teenagers in Oklahoma, and their community)-- hilarious, gut-wrenching, and sometimes sweet. I have Metafilter to thank for an extra layer of enjoyment I found in the S2 finale episode.

TV I really liked this year:

Rutherford Falls Season 2. Terry Thomas continues to be the best character. I was sorry it was cancelled.

We Are Lady Parts / Girls5eva Seasons 1 and 2 -- Basically, if it's a comedy about an all-woman band, I will love it, whether it's more grounded in reality like WALP or more sitcom-ish like Girls5eva. A bonus is that these also turn into music recommendations. The punk songs from Lady Parts absolutely slap, and Renee Elise Goldsberry and Sara Bareilles belting out infectious pop songs for Girls5eva is an absolute treat.

Good Omens Season One: Late to this one, and I never read the book, so I found this surprisingly hopeful for a show about the end of the world. I really needed hopeful.

Never Have I Ever Season 3: I really liked seeing more of the supporting characters (like Trent) got this year, and it felt like the main characters like Devi, Ben, and Paxton got some nice character growth.

Awkwafina is Nora from Queens Season 1: worth it for the Grandma and Chill flashback episode with Simu Liu alone! I also loved seeing B.D. Wong as Awkwafina's laid-back dad--he's been so tightly-wound and professional in everything else I remember him from.

The Family Law: Australian sitcom about a Chinese-Australian teenager and his family in Queensland. A little uneven, but gentle at heart (despite the mom being quite unfiltered and raunchy at times).

The Best Movie I watched this year:
Everything Everywhere all At Once. Couldn't believe that it lived up to the enormous expectations I had of Michelle Yeoh in the Multiverse. I hope it leads to Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu being in all the things. And Michelle Yeoh (who's kind of in all the things already) having her first choice of those things.

Movies I really liked:
Glass Onion. It's brutally timely, and there's one moment where Benoit Blanc lets loose that was absolutely cathartic. I liked the first Knives Out, and I wouldn't mind seeing it again. But I am dying to see Glass Onion again. If you don't care about murder mystery plots, it's also also fun to just watch these actors strut around in gorgeous costumes, especially Janelle Monae.

The Weird Al Yankovic movie was much funnier than I expected. I'm glad Daniel Radcliffe continues to do whatever the hell he wants.
posted by creepygirl at 9:18 PM on December 8, 2022 [5 favorites]

I've spent a lot of time with audiobooks this year.

Listened to all of The Expanse series and am a little over halfway through my 5th re-listen of the Stormlight Archive series.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:49 PM on December 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

TV-wise, this year we watched Farscape (which has taken the top spot as my favourite sci fi TV series) and we're in the middle of Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda (you don't need to tell me Kevin Sorbo is a bad dude these days; season 1 was pretty corny, season 2 was weirdly extremely compelling, and now season 3 isn't hitting quite as well as season 2 did and the writing/pacing feels weirder; I'm invested in Trance as a character, though, so will be continuing on). We also watched Gravity Falls, caught up with the new season of Rick & Morty, finished all of Bob's Burgers (a perpetual delight) and we've just started Inside Job, which I'm enjoying so far. We've also been intermittently watching old episodes of Columbo when we need something fun and light.

I watched more movies this year than usual, a combo of more time off than average this year (for good reasons) and having covid once and something-that-tested-persistently-negative-for-covid-but-felt-a-lot-like-covid once. Quite a few I'd been wanting to see for a long time: The Favourite (I loved it, Rachel Weisz in particular was so sexy and awful), The Lighthouse (so many seabirds, such yelling), and The Green Knight (I was a huge Gawain Poet nerd when I was younger and I really like Dev Patel, but for some reason this didn't hit the spot as much as I'd hoped). Quite a few of the movies we watched were my partner's choices: all of the Mad Maxes (Fury Road was awesome, the others I could take or leave), Interstellar (a three-hour movie that was more like a one-hour intro movie followed by a two-hour actual movie), the Evil Dead movies and various other more obscure zombie films like The Living Dead of Manchester Morgue. We went on a Vincent Price streak around Halloween and saw Laura, The House on Haunted Hill and The Last Man on Earth. My unexpected highlight of the year was The Big Sleep and I'm going to be seeking out more classic Hollywood movies with a similar vibe. Loved the fast talking and snappy pacing.

Musically I had a horribly predictable year, mostly continuing to enjoy artists I already enjoy (Lana Del Rey, Sufjan Stevens, Pedro the Lion, Aimee Mann, Bright Eyes, The Mountain Goats). A Beginner's Mind by Sufjan & Angelo de Augustine got a lot of playtime earlier this year, and also inspired us to watch Point Break (one that didn't make the list above). I got deep, deep into the two most recent Pedro the Lion releases about David Bazan's time growing up in Arizona, Phoenix and Havasu. More recently I've done a deep dive on Madonna's Ray of Light era, something I was too young to properly enjoy when it came out. And as of the past few days I've been totally bewitched by this particular piece of Irish-language choral music, Mo
Ghille Mear
by the University College Dublin choral scholars.

In terms of video games, I burned out hard on classic era World of Warcraft earlier this year and took a long break, including over the release of the Wrath expansion. I've re-subscribed but I think I might have totally burnt out the WoW receptors in my brain, because it's no longer very sticky. I played a lot of Merge Dragons on my phone, to my regret, though I still haven't paid them any money and don't intend to. I got deep into Slay the Spire earlier in the year and loved it. I tried Disco Elysium but it was a lot, and will need to come back to it some other time. We got Pokémon Sword on the Switch but the new gen titles just don't keep me coming back the way gen I-IV (with a spot of V & VI) do, which makes me feel sad and old. I got mad at Blizzard for changing the payment structure of Hearthstone Battlegrounds; they used to let you buy a season pass with in-game generated gold, but now you have to either pay £12.99, or buy £12.99 worth of their new in-game currency, which isn't a choice. I tried Storybook Brawl but it just isn't the same. Not the most fruitful year of gaming I've had, by a long stretch.

Reading-wise, I read the Earthsea series for the first time last Christmas/winter, then took a tour through Mary Karr's autobiographies, tried to get through the Gormenghast series but only made it partway into the second book (I have a very poor visual imagination and don't do well with lots of rambling descriptions, which the Gormenghast books are plump and rich with). I got through Power and Thrones by Dan Jones but could have done without him making quite so many explicit parallels between, e.g., the politics of the era the book covers and contemporary problems like Trump - I can join those dots myself and don't need to be hit over the head with them in snarky footnotes. I enjoyed Janet Frame's autobiography series, An Angel at my Table, and mean to seek out more of her work, having only read Towards Another Summer previously. I re-read Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy and The Carpet Makers by Andreas Esbach (all still good).

Ill Feelings by Alice Hattrick made me furious on behalf of everyone, everywhere with chronic illness (not Hattrick's fault). I re-read the first two Locked Tomb books and Nona the Ninth, but for some reason didn't enjoy Nona anywhere near as much as the first two, potentially because of the more oppressive setting. I read Brick Lane by Monica Ali and enjoyed it. I read Villette by Charlotte Bronte and largely didn't enjoy it. Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon was very good in a lot of ways, though not without its issues (as a trans person myself, the use of the word "transgenderism" is a choice, though a lot has changed around language in that space in the decade since it was published). I recently went on a Miriam Toews side quest, reading Irma Voth and A Complicated Kindness after having read Swing Low and All My Puny Sorrows a few years ago. Both were great, and as a writer I'm consistently in awe of how strong her characters' voices are. Right now I'm in the middle of The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson and I'm loving it. My only complaint is that I couldn't get it in e-reader format, and the paperback is huge, which means it's taking me a lot longer to get through than I'd like (because I can't easily read it one-handed while eating, which is how I get at least a third of my reading done).
posted by terretu at 4:42 AM on December 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

Music: I enjoyed the hell out of Wet Leg. Also the new Harry Styles album.
Movies: Everything Everywhere All at Once. So bizarre, but incredibly fun.
TV: Heartstopper. I had read the graphic novels after seeing them recommended on here. Was really happy with how the show turned out.
Podcast: The Sticky Bun Boys. GBBO show hosted by former contestants Michael and David. Lots of double entendres and and advice section that made me laugh.
posted by Kris10_b at 5:25 AM on December 9, 2022

In August, my buddies Andrew and Tim, both former touring punk musicians, were hanging out at my (played piano as a kid but have never played in a band in my life) house when "Fascination Street" by The Cure came on a playlist I had made. Andrew got pumped and said "Oh man wouldn't it be so fun if we put together a Cure cover band to play all of Disintegration for a Halloween show??" Tim and I agreed that yes, that could be fun, although Tim didn't really know The Cure's music that well, and then the conversation moved on to other topics.

The next day Andrew texted us to inform us that he had booked us two shows as our un-named Cure cover band, one at The Wooly in Gainesville a week before Halloween and the other in our town the following weekend, so we needed to start practicing and also find 1-2 guitar players to round out our bass/drums/keyboards. Sure as shit, it all went according to Andrew's plans. We played our shows as "The Smiths (Robert)," and it was so goddammed fun. So the thing that I played in 2022 that stands out in my mind is "two shows of Cure covers, dressed as Robert Smith."
posted by saladin at 6:01 AM on December 9, 2022 [13 favorites]

"Oh man wouldn't it be so fun if we put together a Cure cover band to play all of Disintegration for a Halloween show??"

I will subscribe to any streaming service that makes this a 12-episode series.
posted by Etrigan at 6:56 AM on December 9, 2022 [5 favorites]

St. Augustine's De Trinitate and Vampire Survivors.

I'm honestly not sure which one claimed more hours, but it was a big bunch for both.
posted by jquinby at 9:16 AM on December 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I think I mentioned this in the free thread, but if you have the means to grab movies form the internet, find yourself a copy of Freaks Out. It's an Italian film set in WWII where a troupe of circus freaks with super powers goes on an odyssey trying to save their Jewish ringmaster when he gets snagged by the Nazis. It's like a big budget magical realism superhero movie, with WWII detail. And Nazis. And a masturbating dwarf. And a sex scene between the dog man and the bearded lady. Like I said... it's Italian.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:10 AM on December 9, 2022

The best book I read this year was As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. If you are in a place of thinking "Settler colonialism, obviously bad, OK, but where do we go from here?", read this book.

Other than that, I had trouble with the sustained attention needed for most media consumption. I spent too much time trying to read hard books in Spanish before starting the Spanish translation of Stephen King's "Fairy Tale," which is easy and entertaining enough to hold my attention. Taskmaster continues to be the best thing on TV if you're sad and don't have the attention span for narrative.
posted by Jeanne at 10:14 AM on December 9, 2022 [3 favorites]

It has been a really blah year for me and consuming media.

I haven't felt like reading a lot. I've also been dipping into some odd nooks and crannies, genre-wise. Usually I'm a hard SF rocket-ships-and-lasers-pew-pew person, or at least a Serious SF person, and I did read and savor the complete Hainish Cycle. I've been working my way through Discworld, and, yes, it's a delight. I I liked Overstory quite a lot. The Runaway Quilt was much better than I expected. I highly recommend the Steerswoman series, which was recommended to me by MeFi. Right now I'm reading The Net to Catch War, a book I found in a box of childhood books from my mother, and by gosh, it's good. I have no idea where we got it but I remember reading it several times through when I was kid. I'm tracking down more by that author.

I'm not feeling like watching much TV either, and I'm doing a lot of sitting next to my husband and not paying a lot of attention to the TV, so I'm almost going to have to rewatch the seasons of stuff that's actually good that I haven't been absorbing. Andor, the Dragon Prince, Reservation Dogs, The Sandman.

Even for music, which is usually my go-to source of comfort and wonder, I'm just kind of drifting. My Spotify wrap revealed nothing of interest. The thing that has gotten most of my attention, sadly enough, is a playlist of soothing, non-distracting listening for bedtime, anchored by the Ted Lasso soundtrack.

Started the year with much too much No Man's Sky. Oxygen Not Included remains an easy one to slip back into. I finally gave Dwarf Fortress a try and I'm not sure if it's going to grab me. I am enjoying citybuilders like Square Valley and Home Wind. I'm kind of repelled by anything that requires reflexes or non-cartoony violence. Getting soft in my old age, I guess.
posted by BrashTech at 10:47 AM on December 9, 2022

Feelin’ that why-am-I-spending-so-much-time-on-this for Elden Ring! Although it was a good excuse for listening to Audiobooks and podcasts, which I now associate with particular bits of the landscape. (Only audio versions of Murderbot books from now on.)

Anyhoo, I really enjoyed The Third Person by Emma Grove, so will plug that. I don’t think the arc of the memoir will really surprise people with shocks or twists - it’s just well written and drawn.

Oh! I also read the old book The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death In Order and it was really good too.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:57 AM on December 9, 2022

Oh, I forgot music - I'm starting to REALLY delve into Jon Batiste's album WE ARE. I was already into the video for "Freedom" (I think I was on one of those streets in Mardi Gras 2020, before the world went apeshit), but then saw his Grammy Awards performance and just - DANG.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:10 PM on December 9, 2022

Lots of this year’s favorites already mentioned, maybe not surprising as many of the recs came from here. A couple other faves:

TV: Loved Somebody Somewhere - both funny and touching. After watching Heartstopper, my algorithm got me into Young Royals, which I quickly binged, feeling like a teenager again.

Music: Speaking of teens, Aldn’s Post Spring Self Destruction and his earlier albums have been on heavy rotation for both the teen in my life and me.

Books: Leila Mottley’s Nightcrawling bowled me over. A close second was Angeline Boulley’s Firekeeper’s Daughter
posted by loopsun at 12:14 PM on December 9, 2022

I have really needed comedies this year, although if you'd asked me last year I probably would have told you I'm not much of a comedy person. I'm currently watching Community, which I am finding an exquisite mix of smart and dumb, though everything with the Dean makes me very uncomfortable. I also enjoyed Schitt's Creek and Servant of the People, and rewatched The Good Place for good measure.

I'm currently reading the first book in an Ada Palmer series and wow, I am not smart enough for this book. I also read Piranesi, which was utterly delightful.

Count me another person enjoying the addition of to my mediascape!
posted by eirias at 2:01 PM on December 9, 2022 [4 favorites]

In Jan 2021 (insurrection time) I had to stop watching all Western media: no televised news, no American TV shows or movies, etc. I needed some entertainment, so in addition to music, audiobooks, and a few podcasts, I started watching Korean dramas, and I swear they saved my life. The first year I watched about 20 kdramas, most being 16 episodes @1hr 10min. So far in 2022 I’ve doubled that number. If someone’s looking for kdrama recommendations from 2022, these are all on Netflix and discussed on FanFare: Little Women, Our Beloved Summer, Our Blues, All of Us are Dead, and Tomorrow. In the last month or so I’ve found myself backing off from watching as many shows (I still usually have one or two I’m watching as the episodes drop, so I'm down to about four hours per week) and I’ve given in to watching a small number of highly recommended non-Korean shows, like Ted Lasso, the latest season of Derry Girls, and more recently, Dead to Me.
posted by kbar1 at 4:05 PM on December 9, 2022

I like to think that this was the year I poked and was poked to kind of emerge from a fog, and re-engage with things around me, though I am still fuzzy on details like "time" and "this year being separate from, say, September 21", but I managed to start reading again, start gaming a bit more, and make more of an effort with TV and movies.

I haven't been reading. I used to, as a kid, devour books. I think I went the last five years without really reading much of anything. In the past year, I managed to read Station 11, the first book of the Expanse series, a couple of the Culture novels, This is How you Lose the Time War, The Three Body Problem, and am currently nearly done with Ministry for the Future. I loved, purely and fully, Station 11 and really enjoyed Leviathan Wakes. I made it through a couple Culture novels (Player of Games, Consider Phlebas) then bounced off of Look to Windward. Three Body was just a slog, which was disappointing, and Time War was a quaint idea, but the writers seemed very concerned with impressing each other with their turns of phrase. I have a couple books lined up, but I'm not going to let myself feel bad about not burning through like I used to be able to.

TV, damn, the HBO series of Station Eleven might have been one of my favorite things I've ever watched. There were choices made that drifted from the book, but I enjoyed them. I enjoyed moments where actors from different time periods were occupying the same physical space over a span of decades. It could have come off as a cheap trick, but it felt earned to me. She Hulk was fun, if less than I wanted it to be. Dance of Dragons was mostly chore watching.

I was... disappointed in Sandman. Part of it was the waiting, but part of it was, I don't know, the community theater vibe of the acting/directing? It seems if the choices were too simple, or safe, the scenery too chewable for the actors to resist? It's not what I'd hoped for, but I wonder if that's just another in a series of lessons about hope in a life filled with failures to head them. I did enjoy the Hob Gaddling story, and liked how they'd managed to keep so much of it. Some of the changes in the stories felt fine, others made the progress of events seem less feasible (I'd preferred that the hotel was entirely booked for the convention, and that, due to the vortexyness, Rose's car just happened to break down there). In all, it felt like the show was most concerned with making everyone watching happy, going through checklists. It also did feel like they were pushing the "you've changed/no I haven't" plot much too early.

Movies, I just didn't get around to many, and the ones I did didn't really whelm me all that much. I had high hopes for Black Panther, but even though there were some solid performances, if any movie deserved to be free of "and this is how we set up the next five movies" in the MCU, it should have been that one. Everything Everywhere All at Once doesn't seem to have shown up in Japan at all, and I missed the one or two week window where Nope was playing, unfortunately. I hope I get some time while school is on break to hunker down with those.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:39 PM on December 9, 2022 [2 favorites]

Video games:
Elden Ring was definitely the big one for me this year. I'm quite bad at the FROM games despite my love for them. The open world meant that whenever I struggled with something I could just go somewhere else. By the time I reached Maliketh and had to actually learn the game I was hooked enough that I powered through the 100+ deaths it took me. I still love the way FROM tell their stories by just inviting you to go through the worlds with your eyes open and try to piece them together yourself.
Gordian Quest is a collectible card game with beautiful art and a nice campaign. Outside the campaign it didn't grab me for that long.
the Amazing Cultivation Simulator is basically daoist Dwarf Fortress. It was super fun learning all the many, many systems in the game. Now that the new Dwarf Fortress release is out I'm back at the original.

IMPERA by Ghost is the most fun satanism has ever been.
the diary by gentle storm (Anneke van Giersbergen and Arjen Lucassen) not new, but new to me and my obsession at the beginning of 2022.
proud like a god by Guano Apes is music from my youth that I rediscovered this year after not listening to them for a decade or two.
posted by the_dreamwriter at 1:07 AM on December 10, 2022

Shit. Forgot games. I fell in love with Hades for the first several months of the year. Got stuck in Horizon Forbidden West, avoiding main quests in favor of keeping things going, if being able to inhabit the world just a bit longer, then found myself jumping into the Plus second go round. Finding out the DLC is only coming out on PS5 sucked quite a bit, and I’m waiting to hear if Hades 2 is going to be on PS4 or not.

This week, faced with immense amounts of work I need to get done, with a solid deadline, I’ve found myself jumping back and forth between checking student essays and getting back into Stay?, which was on the Blue a ways back, but remains an outstandingly beautiful game, and has brought me to the edge of tears several times in the last couple days.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:17 AM on December 10, 2022

Oh boy, just thinking about the media I've consumed this year is daunting to consider. I don't know that I have the patience (or the recollection, my memory is dog-shit b/c all these days run together the last few years), but I'll try to write up a little blurb.

Most of my media consumption (and pretty much the same as my wife's since we tend to watch most of our shows together) breaks down into the following hierarchy:

1. YouTube
2. Twitch
3. Netflix
4. Criterion/Mubi
5. Disney
6. Prime
*We share a few streaming services with other couples/families to save on costs, worth the effort it if you can figure out all the passwords.

Films & television are kind of just always on in the background, so won't really go into the specifics there, but made an effort to watch a lot of shorts and documentaries this year via Criterion/Mubi.

But now the good stuff, video games, my bread & butter. Thinking back on the games I've played the most this year and they tend be either roguelites/rogulikes or open world adventure, its this spectrum of gaming that I'm caught inside of. I tend to osccilate between big games like: Witcher III, Breath of the Wild, Skyrim, Elden Ring, OR Binding of Isaac, Slay the Spire, Rogue Legacy 2. I need to either be inside of giant honking game or a quick run of a rogue game that lets me dip in out after 30-50 min.

I'm playing on mostly old generation, my PS4 Pro is chugging along, and I have a new Switch OLED after an adventure with my old one that I won't get into here, too stupid a story. So I sort of skipped on a lot of the bigger-budget AAA sequels, but honestly even with newer gen I would have skipped on some of those as I still haven't beaten God of War or Horizon Zero Dawn and while I burnt out on both of those at the half-way mark, I still think I have it in me to go back, so some day.

The start of the year had me playing a bunch of Elden Ring and I made a decent amount of progress, I was enjoying the hell out of that game but my mental health has been a bit more fractured this second half of the year so I've gravitated towards comfort games like Breath of the Wild or Slay the Spire. Spaces I can just be inside of and not worry too much b/c I'm so at ease with them.

It's been a great year for indie games: Tunic, OlliOlli World, Neon White, Cult of the Lamb, just a few that I picked up and need to get back to. TOO MANY GAMES. *sighs*

All in all, I've tried to minimize the number of new hype games I get suckered into picking up and then abandoning a month later b/c that happens too much and I realize I play the game of capitalism more than the games themselves.

I've been trying to make progress in larger open world games that I really love but only ever get 12% completion rates in. So I've largely spent time in games like Skyrim, Fallout 4, Breath of the Wild, Red Dead Redemption 2, Dinshonored 2, etc. I think that for me and my wife, we've still sort of been isolating and not as social so being in larger open-world gaming spaces has made a difference in letting me feel better about the hellscape of a society we're trapped inside of.

The games I'll think the most of this year are Elden Ring & Breath of the Wild because I spent so much time inside of this space exploring.

Hope everyone has had a good year of media. Sending lots of love to all of you. :)
posted by Fizz at 5:08 AM on December 10, 2022 [6 favorites]

Elden Ring of course but most important was Cyberpunk 2077 (on PC) and Tactics Ogre Reborn (on Steam Deck) teaming up to slay Warframe, which has held me in thrall to the tune of 1800 hours in 18 months. This is actually really, really bad practice for a game designer and only barely excusable because Warframe contains literally all other 3rd person action games within it from a systems/mechanics standpoint. It’s also probably how I managed to survive a fairly brutal divorce, so I’m trying to give myself some grace here.

Outside of that I wrapped up the Expanse season 6 and watched a ton of anime. Chainsawman just aired episode 9 (of 12) for its first season which for us manga readers means we are past the “build a generic shonen” prologue and into the main sequence of Fujimoto’s most accessible work (still out there by most standards). The man is nothing short of the Mozart of comics in any hemisphere - absolutely brilliant storytelling at every level, genre-amorphous, subversive, shocking, heartwarming and punctuated with moments of moral horror beyond anything I’ve encountered in any medium, period. If you think Chainsawman is wildly out into “WTF” territory as of episodes 8 and 9 of the anime, understand that the human sacrifice scene is tame by his standards. Buckle up for the best storytelling to come out of Japan in the past decade or more.

Caveat for Metafilter: Denji is an accurately portrayed sex-obsessed 15-year-old, surrounded by older women who ruthlessly exploit that to manipulate him. He mostly grows out of it after this current first season of the anime, but you’re gonna have to grit your teeth and power through this bit for the payoff. Over at Anime Feminist they’re rationalizing it with Denji-as-working-class figure, but honestly? As someone fully willing to follow that line of reasoning in most cases, here it’s really just about growth out of adolescence.

Guilty pleasure of the year would be My Dress Up Darling - lovely protagonists in a gloriously awkward romance. Imagine: a male main character in a romance anime with an actual personality, and a never-toxic one at that.

As ever, rereads of the Culture novels continue at a steady clip in the background. Kindle says 241 days consecutive, and I think I’m up to my 15th read of each (I tend to read books several times). A vision of a future worth fighting for helps keep me sane - or at least functional - in an insane society.
posted by Ryvar at 7:43 AM on December 10, 2022

Best new book read this year: Jack by Marilynne Robinson.

Best reading experience: reading one of my favorite books, Eudora Welty's Delta Wedding, aloud to my 19 year old daughter during the summer. She did not love it, but she was a good sport about listening to it in small chunks. In return, I agreed to read a Portal fanfic she thought was really good, Blue Sky. (It was fine, pretty well-written for fanfiction, I didn't mind reading it at all. I may have enjoyed it more than she enjoyed Delta Wedding.)

Best TV show from this year: Severance. My daughter got me and Mr. Redstart to watch Our Flag Means Death, which I ended up liking. We got her to watch Hill Street Blues with us and she was basically enjoying it, but we've recently switched to watching The Expanse based on a recommendation from AskMe and she likes that even better. I'd like to also finish the rest of Hill Street Blues, though. I like it for some of the same reasons I love Delta Wedding. "Chaotic slice of life" is one of my favorite genres. My 16 year old got us to watch To Your Eternity, which I'm also enjoying. (We're almost at the end of Season 1.) Mr. Redstart and I have been enjoying Ted Lasso and my son has watched some of it and likes it but my daughter hates the premise and all the characters (or at least she says she does based on seeing a couple of episodes.)

Best song I learned about this year from my daughter: Psylla by Glass Animals. Best song from my son: Okinimesumama by Eve. Best song I found on my own (or I should say, that Spotify found for me): This Is a Photograph by Kevin Morby. Or maybe The Push and Pull by Joan Shelley. Or maybe Ivory Road by King Charles.
posted by Redstart at 8:36 AM on December 10, 2022 [1 favorite]

I played the Borderlands games heavily this year. I'm currently wrapping up Wonderlands and starting Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, the one game in the series I haven't yet played.

Recently re-watched BoJack Horseman. Wow, I missed a lot of jokes the first time around! Did you notice, when BoJack was in recovery, that there was a tiny self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh in his room? But, since this is BoJack Horseman, it was Vincent Van Goat?

I've been trying a new thing where get away from the screens and listen to podcasts or music in the hour before bed. I think it helps my brain slow down so I can sleep. But my dreams are still dumb. I have this recurring dream in which I'm trying to find my car in a parking structure or airport parking lot. Last week, I dreamed I was driving around trying to locate my car. Think about it. Dreams are dumb.
posted by SPrintF at 10:31 AM on December 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

(*long redacted essay of me talking about Citizen Sleeper after I said I wouldn't talk too much more about Citizen Sleeper. I'm upset that it's a game and that limits its audience, and also it works BECAUSE it's a game*)

I played through Paradise Killer again.

It's SO GOOD. The soundtrack is a regular in my bike commute rotation, the darkness inherent in being a cop in the most fucked up system you can imagine (and how the game rolls that realization out slowly) is intense especially considering it came out in fall 2020, the ~vaporwave~ A E S T H E T I C is fantastically well done... Everything about this game feels like something worth talking about. (Even the shitty almost-mandatory ability boosts that are hidden in plain sight)


Gosh yes! I think I'll probably get Fern Brady's book and I am really not a celebrity-book kinda person. The interviews I've read from her about her ASD have been really affirming for me personally. So good to see someone routinely growl "Oh no! Argh! SHUT UP" on a television show.

Other things I forgot to mention:
* Kate Beaton's Ducks. I remember when the original bits came across Hark! and they stuck with me more than anything else she drew, and now there's a whole heavy beautiful terrible memoir. It's so much.

* Vampire Survivors, as others brought up. I spent way more hours with this than I thought. Great podcast listening.

* Gender Reveal continues to be an important podcast for me, and I should start posting about it on Fanfare.

* Still Buffering is also maybe my favorite podcast right now? The wandering conversations between these siblings is really calming and Teylor especially has brought some wonderful, vulnerable insights into things they care deeply about.

I love reading what everyone brings to these threads, thank you so much for sharing. :)
posted by curious nu at 2:40 PM on December 10, 2022 [5 favorites]

We watched a lot of music related game and competition shows this year. Beat Shazam, Don't Forget the Lyrics, Masked Singer, Name That Tune. We love music, and they're a low key piece of entertainment where we can hit pause and talk about the lyrics or the song that this song reminds us about or why can't anyone ever remember the lyrics to that one song or whatever.

I've been reading a lot of YA mysteries. Also a lot of romance novels. I apologize for literally nothing.

We've been watching a lot of college football this fall, because I don't know what the NFL is doing but it isn't good. :)
posted by joycehealy at 8:13 PM on December 10, 2022

I started a list in Evernote (but it's very behind rn, I keep forgetting to go over to the note and update it. Ah ADHD) of all the books I've read in chronological order. I've read 189 books so far this year. GoodReads is more up to date.

Thanks to Libby, it was so easy to read different books, so I've read some great things. Furthermore, I read all of Becky Chamber's books this year, from her Wayfarer's series to Monk & Robot, all of which I enjoyed. Project Hail Mary was fabulous. I broke down and bought it, even though I was still on the waitlist, but bought it on sale. I have read a lot of romance novels as well, probably 60% of my reading. Read Rebecca Roanhorse's Sixth World books, one of which I own in paperback, but it was hard to get me to carry a book around when I already had a phone and kindle in hand. So I borrowed both from the library, and zoomed through both whenever I got them. So much fun, and I loved reading about other mythologies.

I am a big fan of The Goblin Emperor, so I was excited to read Witness for the Dead and The Grief of Stones, both set in the same world. A little disappointed, I didn't get to see Maia again, but loved seeing how the commoners lived and worked.

Read Educated by Tara Westover, and it was excellent. A bit harrowing in parts, but overall excellent view.

Music: was usually from my liked playlist on Spotify, trying new songs I hear from SiriusXM or TikTok. My husband loves to watch a bunch of TikToks before bed, and if I go to bed at the same time, I have to listen to loud AF vids that loop. But found a couple of great songs.

TV. I never had the habit of watching TV, or well, did for a little while in the 90s, but it had to be before my dad came home for her never let anyone else watch a different show when he had the remote. Have watched Alone & Forged in Fire as my husband likes to watch TV while we eat supper. I think Alone (where a bunch of people go to a remote location to survive off the land with only the things on their back) actually shows how much better it would be for people to work together to survive. Some were great hunters or fishers, others built great shelters, or could cook the food they found properly. And all of them combining their tools & skills would survive for months, I think. Especially since it's the mental part that gets a lot of them. Forged in Fire is one reality show I can handle. No fake drama between the contestants OR judges, and I get to see cool things being made with just metal and fire and a good hammer.

Movies: I got to go to a theater and watch a movie this year, going to see Thor: Love & Thunder because of my girl Jane Foster. Well, Thor's eye candy too, but I love Jane Foster as a character, and Natalie is excellent to watch. I meant to go see Black panther, but it was hard to get out and up to the movie theater as no one else was really enthused about it in my house, and driving 45 minutes to sit by myself and not have someone to chat about the movie wasn't appealing.
posted by tlwright at 10:49 AM on December 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

In March I made my shahada and converted to Islam, which as you might imagine changes one's reading and listening habits immensely in terms of what one needs and wants to learn.

From that journey, I'll name one standout that might be of interest to non-Muslims as well as my brothers and sisters in the deen: Martin Lings' Muhammad: His Life Based On The Earliest Sources. And is another place to go even if you're just curious about Islam.

Other reading, watching, listening around:
  • R.F. Kuang's Babel
  • Radio AlHara, especially when it's nighttime in Bethlehem (Palestine)
  • Contact with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey, on a rewatch (inspired by a recent post to the blue!)
  • The last season of Better Call Saul
  • Newsletters: Chris LaTray's An Irritable Métis and Anne Helen Petersen's Culture Study in particular
I'm also very much looking forward to the BBC's radio adaptation of Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising, a junior high fave of mine that I suspect has aged very, very well.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 11:44 AM on December 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

Really appreciate this post, there's some very nifty things to search out!

It's been a long year and I can't honestly remember the beginning of it very well, so I think most of these recs are from the last 6 months or so.

Book-wise, I have finally gotten into eaudiobooks. Turns out I am very particular about who narrates them and will switch off immediately if I don't like the narrator's voice. Fortunately I got on to Agatha Christie narrated by Hugh Fraser (who played Captain Hastings in the Suchet-era Poirot series) and they hit the spot. He does a decent French accent (except when the character would not know how to pronounce French properly) and a decent range of "voices" without being too over the top. I also tried a couple narrated by David Suchet (Poirot himself) but he is overly dramatic for my liking. Miss Marples are a bit tougher because I find Joan Hickson (who played Miss Marple herself in the 80s BBC adaptation) to be a bit grating when she reads the entire book, even though I quite enjoy Miss Marple.

I was already a devoted Dorothy L Sayers fan, but have been branching out to try previously unexplored areas of the Golden Age of Crime Fiction (shout out to the podcast Shedunnit which is very good at delving into this topic and gives lots of ideas for exploration). Last year I tried some Ngaio Marsh and while it was ok, didn't particularly care for it. Also tried a few Gladys Mitchell books which were ... odd. This year I tried Margery Allingham and she is brilliant, exactly my cup of tea. I remember seeing some Campion with Peter Davison in the title role, so that helps in terms of picturing him, but her books are really great. She is brilliant at characterisation and atmosphere - and frequently very funny! - and I'm still working my way through her oeuvre. I've also read a couple by ECR Lorac which I also liked very much, will need to search more of hers out.

TV/movie-wise, stand-outs were Sandman, Midnight Mass (or was that 2021?) and the Midnight Club, Only Murders in the Building, Bee and Puppycat: Lazy in Space. Otherwise it's been a lot of watching cooking-based reality TV shows like Is It Cake?, School of Chocolate, Great Canadian Bake-Off etc. I have discovered that I like watching people make things and don't really care much about the who wins aspect, so rewatching is totally possible. Also Blown Away, Domino Masters, Glow Up and (intermittently) Forged in Fire.

Music: lots of Peter Gregson, especially his recomposed version of the Bach cello suites but also lots of his other work. Chvrches - Screen Violence which came out last year, but I finally started driving more again and was able to properly get into it. Also The Big Moon, both their 2019 album Walking Like We Do and their current release Here Is Everything, both highly recommended. Super recently I finally got the whole album Dance Fever from Florence and the Machine, after being completely hooked on the video for Free for a while. And also still utterly enamoured of The Gloaming who never seem to pall, no matter how much I listen to them.

Games - on the PC, For the King and Civ 5 (still, always). STILL waiting for Baldur's Gate 3 to come out of early release but may need to just give up and play it. Casual/tablet gaming: a few escape room games, Two Dots still, lately the Simon's Cat game which is a complete time-waster but oddly satisfying. Twenty continues to be an excellent thing to play while waiting for other things. Lots of trivia on Sporcle, and flirtations with Wordle, Worldle, Quordle, Duotrigordle and Sexagintaquattuordle - and lately Murdle, thanks taz!
posted by Athanassiel at 4:48 PM on December 11, 2022

Oh yeah, forgot to mention The Seven Lives of Léa which was fantastic, I loved it so much and hoped there would be a FanFare about it but no one else seems to have watched it and I am apparently very shy about posting something without knowing if others are interested.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:10 PM on December 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

I’ve never heard of the Seven Lives, athanassiel, but it looks fascinating.
posted by purenitrous at 10:03 PM on December 11, 2022

Here in Australia it's on Netflix, looks like it is in the US too, and also UK. (You can use the little drop-down on Justwatch to change your country, I only just noticed this handy feature!)
posted by Athanassiel at 11:08 PM on December 11, 2022

I started playing Animal Crossing last summer. The idea was to play with my disabled brother, who expressed quite a bit of loneliness, but for weird reasons, he chose not to play. It cheered me up when I was feeling very cranky. Anybody else still playing, me-mail me if you want a pal.
posted by theora55 at 9:02 AM on December 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

I consume so much, I’m embarrassed to admit, that I often don’t remember what I actually watched. It’s enjoyable in the moment though. I just found out another one of Chris Murphy’s (of Sloan) bands called The Anyway Gang which is right up my alley (so 70s, I need more of this). I just discovered Imbibio Sound Machine and love their style.

Last week I finished a Veronica Mars rewatch (including the movie and bonus Hulu season). I loved a bunch of the shows mentioned above but didn’t see anyone talking about Foundation on Apple (I literally know no one else who’s watched it). Besides bonus Lee Pace, even if you don’t like they storytelling the sets and costumes are amazing. I stumbled upon Legion and am not into XMen at all but wow, if you stick with this show it’s kind of insane and I’m not quite sure what happened in the end but it was interesting. There’s some thing about Home for Christmas that I love. I guess the lead character is relatable and it’s not a stupid Christmas movie like so many out there (it’s a smart Norwegian tv show on Netflix).
posted by Bunglegirl at 7:38 PM on December 12, 2022

After voraciously reading for decades, I spent most of the Twenty-Teens not being able to read for pleasure at all. If I read, it was non-fiction and even then it was slow going. I started reading Embracing Defeat in like 2015 and only finished it last year.

But then somehow here in 2022 I managed to actually read a few novels! Nobody was more surprised than I was!

My Dad read Earth Abides by George Stewart and asked me if I had ever read it. I hadn't, so I did so we could talk about it. I had a lot of complicated thoughts about it, and to Dad it was just a story and so we didn't really discuss it at the level I wanted to. The protagonist Ish is such a judgmental paragon of The White Male Reality of 1949™ that I started to be mad at Stewart. Ish is so ableist, the book hurt my feelings. By the end though, I realized that Stewart knew what he was doing with the character and it was actually extremely insightful.

Coming off of one apocalypse story, I decided to keep it going. I had had Seveneves by Neal Stephenson beside my bed for at least five years, so I picked that up. Stephenson's reactionary tendencies were on full display, but he also knows how to write a page-turner. The book kept me up late more than once over the summer.

Now that I had picked up the habit again, I decided to cross something else off my list. So I bought myself the Remembrance of Earth's Past series by Cixin Liu for my birthday. I know opinions are mixed, but I think it's the most imaginative science fiction I've read since Hyperion by Dan Simmons. I'm about ¾ of the way through The Dark Forest now and it's honestly stunning.

I did manage to add a title to the Post-War Japanese Film Festival, wonder of wonders. I screened the Kurahara "romance" I Hate But I Love. Kurahara is not really counted among the "New Wave," but this picture proves he should be known as the vanguard.

I also screened Sidney Lumet's 1988 Running On Empty and the two things I'll say about it are 1) River Phoenix was robbed and 2) If you're going to make “Running on Empty” the title of your movie, and you're going to use a song during the climatic scene, you absolutely have to get the clearance to sync the Jackson Browne song of the same name instead of re-using “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor from earlier in the picture. Like, if Browne says no you have to change the name.

I watched, Andor, of course. Has anyone told you you should watch Andor? You should watch Andor.

I surprised myself by enjoying an action/suspense show in The Peripheral. The Rings of Power was fine. I laughed and laughed at Jellystone.

I passed the time in the evenings playing Lord of the Rings Online, then switched to Guild Wars 2 after a 9 year hiatus.

I also played some board games. I started participating in a Board Game Arena game night and that has been fulfilling. I think my favorite BGA game we've played is Barrage, but Obsession has also been really fun. I got in physical plays of Ark Nova, Hadrian's Wall, Sagrada, Under Falling Skies, Raiders of Scythia, Maracaibo, Carnegie, Windward, Mosaic, and Ghosts of Christmas. Nearly all solo, naturally.

After avoiding them for a long time, I started listening to podcasts, mostly while I'm on the mower. I really enjoy and would recommend as good companionship Shut Up & Sit Down, Unclear and Present Danger, Strong Songs, and You're Wrong About. I also listened to Season 6 of Slow Burn about the L.A. Riots and Season 7 about abortion rights. While both were extremely interesting and rewarding listening, they are pretty heavy.

As mowing season is over, I've been listening to podcasts over coffee in the morning to try and keep up. Most weekdays I start with Countdown with Keith Olbermann, which gives like a soupcon of news seasoned with commentary, snark, sports, dogs in need, and on Fridays James Thurber.

I practiced three days a week or so all year, so my three night command performance engagement for Thanksgiving week at Dad's went fairly well. Didn't have to say, “I know I skipped a verse. Don't worry.” So I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

I didn't listen to as much music as I used to, but I do listen to KUVO from Denver most Sunday mornings to try and feel connected to the how things were before everything went to hell.

I suppose that will be quite enough. Please accept my best wishes for the new year for you and yours. As always, my sympathy to hearts that grieve and love and peace to those who struggle with THE WEIGHT.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:43 AM on December 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

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