Friday, December 30, 2016

Substantialreads: Faves and worsties 2016



I imposed limits on my reading this year, to avoid things turning out like last year when my non-working life was consumed by the typed/spoken word. Due to basic probability, I didn't discover so many new favourites this year, but nor was I bored and irritated anywhere near as often.

I started out by trying to restrict myself to one (hopefully) good, substantial book a month, taking the time to savour its flavours rather than rushing through as many as I possibly could. But that was just too restrictive, so after sneaking in an extra book each month (two for February, three for March), I decided to make that the new thing (four for April, five for May, six for June, seven for July, eight for August, nine for September, ten for October, eleven for November, you get the idea).

I themed each month around whatever I felt like at the time. But because moods can change, I cheated and read them in whatever damn order I felt like. I even read some other things, for review purposes or just because I wanted to. I didn't even make myself write fastidiously image-wrapped paragraphs about some of those, I do sometimes allow myself to enjoy things without turning them into chores.

On that note, here are the obligatory year-end time-wasting stats.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Substantialreads: Black Christmas

It's the festive season! As if you're allowed not to notice. If your heart's as black as mine, and all that ceaseless commercial chirpiness is getting you down, nothing dulls the pain like chucking yourself into the yawning abyss and literally confronting your demons.

Way to step outside your comfort zone, Dave. Give me a break, it's Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Schrödinger's pet



I wasn't going to write about this publicly, in case it doesn't go according to plan when I have the chance to open Schrödinger's can of worms in a couple of weeks. But making bold promises online can be useful motivation. No one ever goes back on those.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Death of the West, or Once Upon a Time in Shipley, or Was The American Adventure Theme Park Doomed to Fail?

There are some things you probably don't know about me. For instance, you probably don't know that I spent a disproportionate amount of my childhood growing up at theme parks. Particularly The American Adventure theme park, a once-proud, now largely forgotten outpost on the Derbyshire frontier.



Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Top Ten Websites 2003



A bit less than half a lifetime ago, I started my first "job": writing consumer reviews for dooyoo.co.uk at a few pence a pop (and other supplementary, miniscule rewards) to fund the obsessive DVD boxset collecting that was my primary preoccupation in life.

Being under 18, I was technically too young to be earning money through the site, but that didn't stop me. I just lied about my date of birth on my profile and assumed my writing would be mature enough to convince the grown-ups that I was one of them.

See if you can spot the telltale signs that this ranking of websites from the Victorian internet was penned by a teenage virgin. What's depressing is how much still applies, at least on a thematic level. Includes [explanatory notes] and updates about how those sites are getting on today.