Billie Eilish, A Poem

Me: Hey 2018 Aaron, guess what?

2018 Aaron: What?

Me: Your favorite thing in the world in 2020 is going to be an album by a teenage girl who recorded the entire thing in her bedroom with her brother.

2018 Aaron: Yeah okay.

Me: And much of the music is kind of slow and tad morose, but I love it. It’s really really great music!

2018 Aaron: Man, are you okay? STOP FIBBING

Me: I’m not making this up.

2018 Aaron: Sure. Next you’re going to tell me they have burgers not made of meat.

Me: Well…

Kindle and Hillary and CNN Sucks

The best thing I’ve done so far in 2020 is to upgrade my Amazon Kindle.

The one I’ve been carrying around I earned with points at work. See my job decided it was more economical for them to offer points that you could spend in their little online store than it was to say, offer bonuses. I marked a big anniversary or something and wound up with a big pile of points, so I got a Kindle.

This thing was old-school, no backlight, big chunky plastic thing. But I still found it useful to be able to carry around a library in one little toy.

The new Kindles looked a bit nicer. Backlight, so you could read anywhere no matter what the environmental lighting. And, here’s the cool part, this thing can offer full integration with Audible. So I can buy a Kindle book, and for a few bucks more, I can slap an audio-book on it, and I can switch back and forth between reading reading and listening reading. This is great if you’re a person who needs some sort of entertainment going on at all times, like I am. So I can pop in my Airpods (it does work with Airpods, though getting them to pair without restarting the device has been a thing), and read while I warsh my dishes and such. Then, if I decide to sit down for a luxurious read, I push a button, and it shows the page exactly where I left off listening.

Amazon even let me trade in the old one for a discount, so I didn’t have to wonder about how re-purpose or recycle it. Saved me $15.

So the first book I’ve been reading this way has been What Happened by Hillary Clinton, as read by the author. I had tried to read the book in hardcover the first time, but I got bored and put it down. She doesn’t spend the entire book analyzing 2016 as the reader might expect. First you have to trench through a bunch of storytelling. I sure do love Chelsea and she’s great and Marc is such a great father to her grandson Aiden, and Bill sure does enjoy being a grandfather! I mean, it’s okay, but I’m sure one could find this sort of content in one of her other 12 books.

Takeaways from the thing so far when she actually does get down to business: She’s really pissed at Comey. She believes Putin believed he had many reasons to target her. She’s not as mad at Bernie as I am. She explains why Podesta’s e-mail leaks were particularly damaging, and no, it’s not because they revealed some bias at the DNC that wasn’t there. Don’t @ me.

I am enjoying the book, especially since I can put it on and listen while I scrub the terlet. I would almost recommend it as important reading considering the campaign season we find ourselves in now.

I mean, for example, you want an example of how you, the voter, can be brain-fucked by our grand institutions? Just look at today’s brouhaha about Liz Warren said Bernie Sanders said a broad can’t be preznit. As Matt Taiibi documents over at Rolling Stone, CNN wrote that story and posted it the night before the debate, then fed it into the news cycle all day long, then had its moderator-robots ask the candidates about it in the most baited of sleazy ways. Liz and Bernie took the bait and gave what I’m sure CNN thought was some jim-dandy television. They got to extend this cycle, too, by producing hot-mic footage of Warren confronting Sanders after the debate, since her ostensible refusal to shake Bernie’s hand was tearing up Twitter. Look, everybody! Turn on CNN! WOOT.

And that’s just what CNN is up to to fuck with your head. Please know that Vlad Putin has much more nefarious things in mind for you this campaign season.

So when you see a story on the Facebook soon about how Amy Klobuchar ate a salad with a comb and then punched an opossum in the tits? Yeah maybe let’s either not believe it or stop making such stupid shit matter. Because that nonsense is why we have Preznit Sharpie Sippycup now.

Uncut Gems

Dad and I marveled over the USA Toady’s “best movies of the decade” list over lunch on Saturday. They were:

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (2015)
‘Arrival’ (2016)
‘Sing Street’ (2016)
‘Get Out’ (2017)
‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ (2014)
‘BlacKkKlansman’ (2018)
‘How to Train Your Dragon’ (2010)
‘Inception’ (2010)
‘A Ghost Story’ (2017)
‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ (2013)/’Lady Bird’ (2017)

It’s a fun game to start calling out movies that are much better than any of these that are not on the list. Easy. But fun. ‘Dunkirk’ (2017). ‘American Hustle’ (2013). ‘Bridesmaids’ (2011). ’12 Years a Slave’ (2013). ANYTHING BY QUENTIN TARANTINO. ‘I, Tonya’ (2017). ‘Winter’s Bone’ (2010). ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ (2013). ‘Lady Bird’ (2017). ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ (2017). ‘The Favourite’ (2018). ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (2013). ‘Lincoln’ (2012). ‘Big Eyes’ (2014). ‘Dear White People” (2014). ‘Dope’ (2015). ’20 Feet from Stardom’ (2014). ‘True Grit’ (2010). ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ (2016). ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (2018). ‘The Lone Ranger’ (2012). ‘Nebraska’ (2013). ‘The King’s Speech’ (2010). ‘Eighth Grade’ (2018). ‘The Death of Stalin’ (2017). ‘Game Night’ (2018). ‘Bad Words’ (2013). ‘The Heat’ (2013).

Wasn’t that fun?

I’ll add ‘Uncut Gems’ to the list, too, although as DOD opined: “I think it’s a great movie. But imagine spending a couple of hours in a room with loud, angry, anxious assholes. Don’t want to do it often, for sure. When it’s over you think maybe it ended happily.”

I may also be the only person in America who saw a Hemingway short story in the thing. I saw it as a loosely-rendered telling of Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Maybe that’s just me. Regardless, there are a few things you may want to know about this film if you are considering seeing it.

I found a “Breaking Bad” aesthetic to “Gems.” If you are a viewer who requires exposition, go see the Star Wars thing. This film means for you to see the story, not to be told. So much so that you actually begin the movie looking up the ass of the main character, Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler). This is where Ratner’s story begins, at his colonoscopy, which is one of the few times in the film that the character isn’t frenetic at the least.

Ratner is a man trying to support a big life, with a wife and kids at home and a pretty little thing on the side at his apartment. He is a gambler and a dealmaker, and every deal and every gamble that he makes ratchets up the butt-clench level just a bit more. ‘Gems’ is mostly lauded as a new direction for Sandler, who usually plays a goofy mensch in an otherwise sometimes likeable film. It is a stretch for Sandler, and often, it is a stretch for the audience, too, a difficult movie to watch.

But it is worth it.

Christmas 2019

Somebody on Twitter asked people what they’d learned in 2019. It made me review the pages here at good old 8WK Studios, and I didn’t really get the impression I’d learned much.

I’ll say the latest thing I’ve learned is a better way to season ground meat once one has browned it properly.

I do know I began 2019 with an intention to spend more time listening to new music and more time recording my results here. That’s why the first entries of the year held that focus. I don’t know why it got lost in the shuffle. I just got busy, I guess.

I will say, of all the upcoming releases, the one with the most promise would be Everything Else Has Gone Wrong from Bombay Bicycle Club. This is a band that consistently paints with the little brush. I dig this band and salivate over their new release, coming the week of Jan. 17. A few samples:

So perhaps we’ll do a bit more work here in 2020. But trust me on Bombay Bicycle Club.

Christmas was okay. I had stupidly volunteered to work the holiday. This meant a quick breakfast Christmas with family. Delicious pancakes. Good times. And, we can now scratch the new Prince memoir off the list. Check!

Bonus to checking out some new bands is finding others. BBC will apparently tour with The Big Moon this year. They are great.