Weekend Things, Y17-W52

We did it, people.

Dights Falls

How to summarise any year? It’s more than a list of books read or films watched or places travelled (or dead celebrities or gruesome global happenings or political shifts); my 2017 was the cumulative experience of all those things, along with the experiences of my 38 previous years, and all the things that happened to other people this year and in the past, and the slivers of their lives that overlapped with mine.

My friend’s beloved dad died and she shared and explored the moments of her sorrow on Facebook, which caused me to long for a better, finer medium for this kind of thing, while also being grateful to her for just putting her heart where we could all see it and care for it. A bunch of new babies turned up, and I found it hard not to be optimistic for them and about them, despite the dreadful mess we’re bequeathing them. I travelled to some places I hadn’t been before, and revisited some recent homes filled with important and wonderful friends. Work had some quite tough bits, but I am better at it than I was this time last year, and I have great colleagues and a terrific team, and we are building something that doesn’t seem to contribute to the general awfulness of the universe. And my brother started on his own big adventure with Wild Life Bakery, which I’m just incredibly proud of.


I’m not going to pull together a list of everything I read/watched/loved/hated in 2017, but I have to make special mention of Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, which changed my life a little bit, and also Call Me By Your Name. In a year of unbelievable bullshit about same-sex marriage (and sexual and gender identity more broadly), these things felt very precious and important.


My New Year’s Resolution is to do yoga 100 times in 2018. I’m also generally planning to do more of the things that make me feel good and fewer of the things that make me feel bad — in the middle of the year I’m going to turn fucking forty, and I want to be in strong emotional shape for that. (Writing these Things generally makes me feel good, so I’ll keep at this for a while yet I reckon.)


Over Christmas, I got violently addicted to Flip Flop Solitaire, and I’m now deleting it from my phone before work resumes (cf. “fewer of the things that make me feel bad”). It’s a very polished and unconventional form of solitaire that can easy suck up several hours of a day, and actually shifted me sideways from Mario Odyssey for a bit.


Like many Jewish journalists who reported on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, I spent the 2016 election being harassed by a motley crew of internet racists who coalesced around the future president. They sent me threats, photoshopped me into gas chambers and hurled an uncreative array of anti-Semitic slurs my way. A study by the Anti-Defamation League found that I’d received the second-most abuse of any Jewish journalist on Twitter during the campaign cycle. My parents didn’t raise me to be №2; fortunately, there’s always 2020.

This is a good yarn, particularly if you need reminding of why people complain so much about Twitter’s appalling leadership. I don’t really advise you to go and look at any random Jewish journo’s @-replies, because it’s distressing and repulsive, but… it’s also extraordinary and maybe important to see once in your life, if you have the stomach for it. I’m still shocked by how mainstream overt anti-semitism is.


The restaurant industry is unsurprisingly high on the list of industries affected by recent revelations about Male Bullshit, but I was sad to see that Charlie Hallowell is a dick — I had great meals at both Pizzaiolo and Boot & Shoe Service while we lived in SF.

In other sad Bay Area foodie news, Una Pizza Napoletana closed just before Christmas because Anthony Mangieri is moving back to New York to do something with the people who run Wildair, where I had probably the best food I ate on my trip to the city in November.


Bret Victor is a long-time advocate for a more expressive programming medium. In partnership with some others he’s started Dynamicland, an Oakland community space in the form of a ‘communal computer’. No screens or text editors or languages as we currently think of them; instead, it’s a hands-on medium in which paper and — from the looks of things — sticky dots form the programming interface. It looks unreal and I want to go there.


Simon & Schuster canned the book they commissioned the odious troll Milo Yiannopolous to write, and the ensuing court case means that his manuscript, along with editorial notes, is now out in the wild. I’ve gone from hoping Milo loses the case to hoping both Milo and S&S lose, since what the notes reveal is their attempt to mainstream and package his repulsive ideas. They should be fucking ashamed of themselves. Jeff Sparrow is good on this subject.


Gerard Whateley is moving from ABC Grandstand to SEN, effective immediately. I don’t begrudge our greatest sports caller the opportunity to earn the market rate for his services, but I feel queasy imagining future footy seasons without him in the box.