<M <Y
M>

December Film Roundup: A pretty highbrow month with some well-done films but not a lot of joy. Thank goodness for the Muppets, that's all I can say.

The Crummy.com Review Of Things 2019, Part One:

Leonard in a lion outfit and Sumana in street clothes, facing each other among the crowds of Times Square. Here's our Christmas card photo. I impulsively volunteered to wear the Patience suit for an NYPL photo shoot that I don't think ended up being used for anything? I would not repeat this experience, but I'm glad I did it: I got a taste of what it's like to be the weirdo in Times Square everyone has decided to ignore. So let's start this Review of Things off right, with:

Books

The Crummy.com Books of the Year are the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirsten. I can't say enough good about these books: how they're fantasy and science fiction at the same time; how tight the integration is between worldbuilding, character development, and plot; and how varied the pacing is. I'm so glad that the Internet has let the books come out of midlist purgatory, find their audience, and give Kirsten a way to finish the series.

Some other notable books I read in 2019:

I finished volume 3 of Mark Twain's autobiography, as promised. He's the Twainiest! Also, I recently learned about the incredibly sleazy tactic UC Berkeley used to keep copyright on this book until 2047, when it would have otherwise expired in 2003. The best I can say is that, judging from the contents of the autobiography, Twain himself would have approved.

I've been reading Bleak House for most of the year; it's slow going! But not for the reason I expected: there's a whole other subplot in here that I don't find super engaging.

Games

The Crummy.com Game of the Year is "Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead", an open world zombie survival game that's also run as a modern open-source project, with pull requests and code review. Not only is this great for keeping gameplay fresh in these kitchen-sink roguelikes where wealth of detail is really important, it's really good to see on its own. This could be the gaming gateway that gets The Kids interested in software development best practices!

Other fabulous 2019 games I played include "Baba Is You", "Untitled Goose Game", "Dicey Dungeons", and "Super Mario Maker 2".

Writing

I wrote four short stories in 2019: "Meat", "Mandatory Arbitration", "User Error", and "The Scene of the Crime". Three of those stories feature a character who in one of my luckier future timelines becomes my Sherlock Holmes, a character who is remembered long after I and all of my other work have been forgotten. Very positive about this character, is what I'm saying. Really fun to write.

I assembled a NaNoGenMo novel: Linked by Love.

I'm getting much more aggressive this year about placing my fiction, so hopefully we'll see some sales. In terms of novels, there's good news and bad news and for now I'm gonna have to go with a big NO COMMENT.

Bots

I created only one bot this year, Secretly Public Domain, and I made it for a specific activist purpose which is more or less seeing results. As per NYCB passim I had some additional bot ideas, did the fun part of the work, and let the code sit in the programming/2019 folder of my archive.

I decided not to keep Almanac for New Yorkers going in 2020. There's one more year of life in the project, thanks to 1939, and the 1938 almanac for San Francisco, but the project wasn't super popular and 2020 isn't the year. Maybe later.

I do have two "just for fun" bot ideas that I'm gradually seeing through to completion. One of them is going to have to wait until I'm sick or otherwise mentally impaired and have nothing better to do than go through a huge amount of text, but you're gonna love it. And by "you" I mean "Allison".

The Crummy.com Review Of Things 2019, Part Two: Film: Well-covered throughout the year as always; what you're here for (assuming you're here at all) is the top ten!

Most of the movies in this year's top ten come from the 1980s, due in large part to Bill Forsyth's dominance of the scoreboard. Sorry to be the person in the Youtube comments on a rock video saying "Wish I had a time machine! I'd go back to the 80s and relive the same ten-year span over and over until I died! Who's with me? haha!"

  1. Wings of Desire (1987)
  2. Knives Out (2019)
  3. Breaking In (1989)
  4. Comfort and Joy (1984)
  5. Face/Off (1997)
  6. Gregory’s Girl (1980)
  7. Working Girl (1988)
  8. Puppy Love (1985)
  9. Booksmart (2019)
  10. Sweet Charity (1969)

On a meta level, I love how almost every year my top film of the year has been one I went into without any particular expectations. Keep the surprises coming, I say.

If you only care about recent movies, here's my top list from 2019:

  1. Knives Out (2019)
  2. Apollo 11 (2019)
  3. Booksmart (2019)
  4. Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (2019)
  5. Born Bone Born (2018)

I snuck Apollo 11 in there even though I saw it on January 5th, because it's just that good. As always, I've updated Film Roundup Roundup to include about thirty recommended films that in I either first saw or first reviewed in 2019.

Leonard's Excursions 2019: Just a memorandum of some of the unusual travel and fun things I did in 2019.

Early in the year I took my first trip to Chicago, for DPLAFest. I stayed with Beth and we did some fun tourist things, like the Chicago Architecture Center boat tour! Accept no substitutes! Or do, it's probably okay. But the CAC tour was great.

We also hit the Chicago Art Institute, which was a real highlight, since Beth is a fine artist who went there all the time as a kid and talked about her favorite pieces. A few of my favorites which I'll share with you, via the medium of website links rather than my own awkward photos.

Leonard standing at a podium on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange.

They've also got the old floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange off in a corner! A corner I guess they use for events, since I don't think the Chicago Stock Exchange originally had a grand piano on the floor. Some live music would have really classed up the joint, though, I tell you what.

In May, my sisters came to New York and surprised me with a weekend of tourist activities and a fancy dinner!

Susanna and Rachel on the Staten Island Ferry. Susanna, Leonard and Rachel in front of the Unisphere Rachel in Fish's Eddy, standing next to a gigantic mug that says 'Cat Person'.

For my birthday we planned a getaway in upstate New York at a rented house with a few friends. Allison and I did some stargazing and saw a little bit of a meteor shower. Shout out to Rodgers Book Barn, the perfect mix of "peaceful rural atmosphere" and "huge used bookstore". Thanks to Zack and Pam for driving.

A fire pit surrounded by wooden chairs, with a small pond in the backgroundThe main building of Rodger's Book Barn

Allison and I went to a Manfred Mohr retrospective at a gallery. Never heard of him before but it was definitely art the two of us can agree on. I really liked his plotter-esque pictures from the 70s and 80s, such as P2400-297d_5225__black. The names of the artworks feel like program filenames; I was expecting a bunch of _final_FINAL.

PS: in June, Sumana and I randomly ate dinner at Copinette, a French restaurant on the former site of Copain, the much fancier French restaurant that Gene Hackman stakes out in The French Connection. You live in New York for a while and these odd coincidences become smaller and less common, but they still happen!


[Main]

Unless otherwise noted, all content licensed by Leonard Richardson
under a Creative Commons License.