Your weekly, stream-of-consciousness hello.
Hello everyone, and welcome to this, the latest edition of the blast-o-rama. newsletter.
You’ve probably noticed that things look and feel a bit different here. That’s because I changed providers for this here newsletter!
I’ve got nothing against Mailchimp, by any means - it’s just clearly made for a lot more than what I’m doing here, establishing a dialogue with friends and random folks on the web.
Without going super deep into the technical ephemera and why, I produce this letter in Markdown, via a writing app called Ulysses. (I also use it for my blog)
The process of taking the newsletter from Ulysses, into Mailchimp, is kind of a pain.
I literally found the service by searching “Ulysses + Markdown” on Twitter, and the migration process was an absolute breeze. Probably helps that it’s a one-man shop (dude named Justin), and he got me moved over within minutes. I’m working on bringing the prior 7 issues over (so you can easily view the archives), but yeah - new home, and I’m happy to be here!
Beyond that, it was a very busy week for me - but I’m looking forward to the week ahead, and whatever Summer 2019 brings. Hope you, yourself, are doing well.
Every week, I’ll toss a few thoughts out on what I felt the biggest story of the week was.
Oh man. I thought that the whole cryptocurrency thing was a bad idea as is.
You can probably then imagine what I’m feeling about Facebook Libra.
Announced on Tuesday with a bunch of hullabaloo, this is Facebook’s attempt to build a new currency, launching in 2020, with a focus on the developing world, where bank accounts aren’t as much a thing.
I recognize, as stated in the TechCrunch article linked above, this is supposed to be completely separate and divested from the Facebook which sold our information to advertisers and generally messed up the privacy we all take for granted, but good news! The board behind Libra? It includes the same Uber which underpays its staff and takes forever to do anything about sexual harassment. And it also includes Spotify, who wants to cut the payment to musicians who already get underpaid!
I know, as the saying goes, “there’s no ethical consumption under consumerism”, but you can vote with your money. Or at the very least, vote where your money goes. I won’t be giving Libra my money for a very, very long time.
More on Libra:
Another story which grabbed my eye from the week.
I love movies, you guys. That’s probably not a massive surprise.
Yet, at the same time, what a “movie” is seems to be rapidly changing.
Is it a movie if it’s not ever in theaters? Is it a movie if we watch it on a small screen? Will movies even be a thing in a decade?
That last question is asked by The New York Times’ Kyle Buchanan in a really great piece, talking to different directors, producers, writers and actors about the future of film.
The bit that will stick with me for some time?
This quote from writer/actor/comedian Kumail Nanjiani:
I was at a bar with a friend who directs big movies, and while we were in line for the bathroom, he was saying that movie theaters were going to go away. He was like, “Kids don’t watch movies, they watch YouTube.” Which I thought was crazy. So he goes, “Watch this.” There was a girl in front of us in line, and he said, “Hey, excuse me, what’s your favorite movie?” And she said, “I don’t watch movies.” Just randomly, he picked someone — and she was like 25, she wasn’t a child or anything. We were like, “Well, do any of your friends watch movies?” And she said, “Not really.”
I don’t want to sound like an old idiot, because I try to keep up with what’s happening on YouTube, and it’s a lot of people talking to camera, very personality-driven. I grew up watching “Ghostbusters” and “Gremlins” and “Indiana Jones.” If I had grown up watching YouTube, I don’t know if I would like movies.
Related: One thing’s for sure - movies will be in a terrible spot if they keep getting made so poorly, as evidenced by the failure of Men in Black: International this weekend, followed by a Hollywood Reporter tell all about the behind-the-scenes creative issues. See also similar tear parts of Dark Phoenix and Hellboy (2019).
A bunch of cool links what I read this week, typically culled from my ever-growing Instapaper queue.
Every week, I’ll make a recommendation of something to read, to watch, or to listen to. I’ll even link to where you can check it out.
This week’s recommendation:
What can be unfortunate sometimes in the world of comics, is when a comic has beautiful art, but a less than stellar story. You love the gorgeous four-color images, but there’s no brains behind the beauty.
Isola, created by Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl, is thankfully, not one of these comics.
A Studio Ghibli-esq fantasy tale involving magic, curses and mythical lands, the comic is visually arresting from panel number one, thanks to Kerschl’s brilliant line work and MSASSYK’s jaw-dropping color work. And then the story hits, and while this is just one volume of what will be an ongoing tale, you’re sucked in, and want so much more.
I first read Isola earlier this year, the jungle setting contrasting heavily from a Maryland winter, but with the weather turning up, I think now is a great time to curl up with the first volume and sink in to what might be your next comic obsession.
Have yourself a wonderful week, dear reader. Get outside. Enjoy the sun. Embrace the day. Feel the warmth.
Don’t let the bastards bring you down.