Category: 2018

2018, Movies

Vice (2018, Adam McKay)

With some slight reservations, I called The Big Short the most important film of its year. So, when this trailer came out, I literally said “YES!” out loud. It felt like my catnip. I normally don’t like reading much about a movie I really want to see, because I worry about how expectations affect my …

2018, Movies

I Still See You (2018, Scott Speer)

This is a PG-13 thriller with horror/science fiction elements which steals ideas from other movies and books, and which cannot even come up with its own vocabulary for its internal world. Had I been less tired when I watched it, I no doubt would have figured out who the main bad guy was immediately, simply …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past (2018, David Reich)

This is a fascinating, if overly academic, examination of the emerging study of “ancient DNA” that is transforming our knowledge of our past. The book covers how mapping the genome is allowing science to prove or disprove long held theories about human migrations and how old populations interacted.

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

LikeWar (2018) by PW Singer and Emerson T. Brooking

This is a terrifying and depressing book about the weaponization of the internet, and social media in particular, by countries and other actors, in order to alter what the average person thinks is “true” or “factual”. The good news is that this isn’t necessarily the most rigorous analysis, meaning that some of their most dire …

2018, 2019, Basketball, Personal, Sports

Your NBA Champion 2018-19 Toronto Raptors

I attended a Raptors game at Sky Dome. But I’m not one of those fans who can say that I have been a fan of the Raptors the entire time. The seats we had at the Dome were bad enough my only memory is not being able to see the ball well and not understanding …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City (2018, Sam Anderson)

I didn’t know I wanted to read a book about Oklahoma City. (I bet you don’t think you need to read a book about Oklahoma City.) I’ve never been there. All I knew about it was that there is a basketball team there (stolen from Seattle), that the Flaming Lips are from there, that there …

2018, Movies

Support the Girls (2018, Andrew Bujalski)

This is one of those films which focuses on an eventful day in the lives of the employees of a small business. There are a bunch of these films but for some reason the film we both thought of afterwards was Empire Records, though this is a very different movie (it should go without saying). …

2018, Movies

Black Panther (2018, Ryan Coogler)

So, before I get to the actual film, I think there is the film’s importance to discuss, and it’s hard to ignore. This is the only blockbuster film to have a majority black cast. It is an absolute landmark and it’s hard to believe it took so long. (It’s a testament to both systemic racism …

2018, Books, Music, Non-Fiction

Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back) (2018) by Jeff Tweedy

At one point in my life Wilco were among my favourite bands, very close to being my favourite. I saw them in 2009 or 2010 and it was perhaps the best concert I’d ever seen to that point. (Live recordings!) I have all their albums but their debut, I have their concert film, I have …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers (2018) by Michelle Gelfand

This is a fascinating book about how cultural norms impact our lives. You might not get that from the title, but I’d say ignore the title and look at the subtitle. (The title, to me, sounds like it’s some kind of business success book or something.)

2018, Movies

Free Solo (2018, Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)

I thought I wanted to see this movie in theatres. Watching it on the small screen, I think I’m okay with not seeing it in theatres. I’m not sure I would have been able to watch some of it in theatres because I have a fear of heights. SPOILERS if you don’t know anything at …

2018, Podcasts

Bag Man (2018)

This podcast tells the Watergate-adjacent story of Spiro Agnew’s resignation prior to Nixon’s, a story I was basically entirely unfamiliar with. It’s a story that’s particularly relevant to today, as you might imagine, but it’s even interesting if what is going on with the current Administration wasn’t going on. But I can’t give it a …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

The Misinformation Age (2018, Cailin O’Connor, James Owen Weatherall)

This is a compelling examination of mathematical models about the way beliefs spread through human social networks.

2018, Movies

Post-Crash (2018) by Missing Waves

Jazz is at a weird place in the 21st century, like basically every other form of music. Boundaries between jazz and other genres sometimes completely disappear, as they do with this record. At times, I think for sure this is some kind of modern art pop (i.e. not jazz) but then there are tracks when …

2016, 2018, TV

Westworld (2016)

Westworld was a pretty great concept when it was conceived and it’s a great concept now. It’s been forever since I’ve seen the movie – the inability of 1970s special effects to capture the concept well forever immortalized by The Simpsons – but the idea was so ahead of its time that it feels entirely …

2018, Movies

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018, David Slade)

When I was in Grade 7 or 8, the math/history teacher at my alternative school brought in a man with a bizarre piece of technology. My math/history teacher and the man insisted this technology would change entertainment forever. There was a regular TV, a regular VCR, and what seemed to me like an absolutely gigantic …

2018, Podcasts

Thunder Bay (2018)

Every Canadian citizen needs to listen to CanadaLand’s Thunder Bay podcast. Whether you live in Thunder Bay, Ontario or anywhere else in the country, it’s required listing. If there is any justice in the world (there isn’t), this podcast will become part of the Canadian history curriculum throughout Canada. It is necessary.

2018, Podcasts

Bear Brook (2018)

I listen to a lot of “true crime” podcasts. Way, way too many. But most of them are what you might call “criminal justice” podcasts; i.e. they focus on wrongful imprisonment stories rather than mysteries. I generally prefer these types of podcasts because they fuel my outrage at injustice, something I generally don’t indulge in …

2018, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Mexico City Day 5 October 29, 2018

We packed a bit the night before, but finished packing this morning. I was up early so I was ready to go pretty early. So I finished Sophie’s Choice. I also tried to read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which my dad lent me ages ago, but I just couldn’t do it. Anyone who …

2018, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Mexico City Day 4 October 28, 2018

For breakfast we once again had Pan de Muerto. We took the subway downtown and it was the basically the emptiest we’ve seen, as it was Sunday morning. (There might have been a car to the track that was this empty too.)  We walked up from the subway to the Templo Mayor. This it the …

2018, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Mexico Day 3 Saturday October 27, 2018

For breakfast we had carteras. At least I think that’s what they were called. A quick google produces cakes, and it was not a cake. It was doughy and contained dulce de leche. It was delicious.

2018, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Mexico City Day 2 Friday October 26, 2018

This morning we woke up and headed down to the bakery a few doors down. (There was one right below us too, but they were undergoing renovations into a more conventional restaurant while we were staying there.) We both ordered Pan de Muerto in honour of the upcoming Day of the Dead and because we …

2018, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Mexico City Day 1: Thursday October 25, 2018

We got up at 5AM because of an early flight. We did our usual thing, and took the TTC to Dundas West, and took the UP train to Pearson. If you don’t take this train yet, it’s the best way to get to the airport if you live in downtown. It’s so much faster than …

2018, Personal, Travel

Riley Goes to Mexico City October 2018

So I went to Mexico City over the weekend. The Formula 1 Grand Prix was on Sunday October 28 and we went to see it but also because neither of us have ever been to Mexico City and I’ve only been to anywhere in Mexico once previously, nearly 20 years ago.

2018, Music

Hadrian by Rufus Wainright Live at the Four Seasons Centre, October 17, 2018

This was the second ever performance of Rufus Wainwright’s second opera, Hadrian, which tells the story of Emperor Hadrian’s final day of his life, as he mourns his dead male lover. I should say at the outset that this is only the third 21st century opera I’ve ever seen, most of the operas I know …

2018, Movies

The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (2018, Henry Dunham)

This is a very stagey film – so stagey you’d think it was a play – that overcomes that limitation by being expertly made, even though it is Dunham’s first time directing a feature. (It’s a miraculous debut, in terms of Dunham’s ability to film and edit – I would sworn this was not a …