Biography Film Gaming

Movies and Games of 2020

Consumption and immersion. The pandemic upped the ante on the screen experiences. Add on a new VR kit and there were many new worlds in my life this year. Here are the best. I’ve included the 8s, 9s, and 10s in both category (movies and games), and it does seem like my interests continue to both expand and refine each year.

Biography Music

Music of 2020

I listened to 1,098 albums this year. I know this because I obsessively track all the music I listen to, and I mostly focus on listening to full albums. This is something I’ve been doing for years now, and it’s clear the music train just isn’t going to quit. What I find profound in one year I intentionally listen to a second time the following year. “Profound” is pretty arbitrary, much like a five star scale, and so I’ve limited my analyses of any given album to a binary approach: an album is either profound and exciting or, well, not. Here’s a list, for the curious, of all the albums I identified as profound for this year (out of that 1,098, there’s a total of 322, which includes the unlisted 2004’s Madvillainy in honor of the late MF Doom). The list is in alphabetical order by the artist’s name.

Biography Book Reviews

Books of 2020

I read a lot this year. 130 books to be exact. Many of them were amazing. Most were informative and educational. They’ve set me off on many new paths as a reader–arguably more new paths than any other time in my adult life. Could the pandemic be to thank for this surge? Perhaps. I also think there’s been some major shifts in my life recently that have inspired me to go further and understand more about the many perspectives that surround us. And audio books. The Libby app has never been so approachable and wide-reaching. Being able to read while commuting and hiking has been a marvelous gift.

In any case, here is the list. The top section are my “five star” books (as per Goodreads) and after that are the rest.


The Start of 2020 in Media

How to begin the year 2020 in my consumption patterns? With a footnote that says, this is how I begin:


The Outer Worlds, Plague Tale: Innocence, Life is Strange 2, and Call of Duty (this last one is for a very special project that will hopefully send the new decade into a more critically-thinking space).


Roxy Music, Taylor Swift, Swans, Stereolab, Sonic Youth, Ritchie Valens, Ricky Martin, Prince, Prefab Sprout, Jimi Hendrix, Jim O’Rourke, Jennifer Lopez, Floating Points, clipping., and DaVido.


The Witches (1990) and Destroyer (2018).


The Water Dancer, and Dawn of the New Everything.

Biography Music

My Favorite Albums from 2019

I listened to 215 albums in 2019. Incredible, really, now that I’ve been able to track the albums I listen to and find appropriate ways of listening to them. They weren’t all released in 2019, of course, but many were. Below you’ll find my favorite albums that came out last year. This is a new type of post for me, so feels a bit basic, but I have the data, so why not share it? Note: some of these may be re-releases. And note: they are listed in alphabetical order.

Silences by Adia Victoria

Malibu Ken by Aesop Rock

Sunshine 3 by Aleksi Perala

I’m Losing Myself by An Isolated Mind

ANDRES IV by Andres

All the Mirrors by Angel Olsen

Death Becomes Her by ANGEL-HO

thank u, next by Ariana Grande

Organism EP by Ariel Zetina​

Signal Bulletin by ASUNA & Jan Jelinek

Cows on Hourglass Pond by Avey Tare

Gold and Grey by Baroness

Dark: Cycle 1 (Original Music From The Netflix Series) by Ben Frost

Dark: Cycle 2 by Ben Frost

Odds Against Tomorrow by Bill Orcutt


Destroyer by Black Mountain

Blacks’ Myths II by Blacks’ Myths

Animated Violence Mild by Blanck Mass

i,i by Bon Iver

Free Company by Boy Scouts

Let’s Try the After by Broken Social Scene

Scholars by Buke and Gase

Dive / Rain by Burial and Bug

The Act of Falling from the 8th Floor by Carl Gari & Abdullah Miniawy

Myths 004 by Cate Le Bon

Zandoli EP (Bandcamp by Charlotte Adigery

Stuffed & Ready by Cherry Glazerr

Immaculada High by Cherubs

Brace Up! by Chris Corsano and Bill Orcutt

Ancestral Recall by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah

Hectic Shakes EP by Christoph de Babalon

Gazing in the Dark by Copperhead

I Need a New War by Craig Finn

Pure Imagination No Country by Dave Harrington Group

Occulting Disk by Deathprod

Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? by Deerhunter

I Don’t Know How to Be Happy by Deli Girls

Deceiver by DIIV

PURGE by Dis Fig

Kinshasa One Two by DRC Music

Sweet Princess EP by Dry Cleaning

New Atlantis by Efdemin

Empire EP by Eli Keszler

Water Memory by Emily A Sprague

Scenery by Emily King

Musical Prophet – The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions by Eric Dolphy

Neighborhoods by Ernest Hood

Agora by Fennesz


Emily Alone by Florist

Hi This is Flume by Flume

Unsound Festival mix (YouTube) by Forest Swords

Close it Quietly by Frakie Cosmos

Haunted Items #1-4 by Frankie Cosmos

Failed Entertainment by FURY

A People’s History of Gauche by Gauche

The Envoy by Gavilan Rayna Russom

Phantom Rhythm by Gong Gong Gong III

After its own death / Walking in a spiral towards the house by Grouper

This is How You Smile by Helado Negro

A Fossil Begins to Bray by Hiro Kone

Modern Nature by How to Live

Venus in Leo by HTRK

Mdou Moctar by Ilana (The Creator)

Sulphur English by Inter Arma

Otoboke Beaver by Itekoma Hits

FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise by Jaimie Branch

Tatizo Pesa by Jay Mitta

Tracing Back The Radiance by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

On the Line by Jenny Lewis

Mise En Abyme by joni void

Mandatory Reality by Joshua Abrams and Nautral Information Society

La Onda de Juan Pablo by Juan Wauters

Tides: Music for Meditation and Yoga by Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

Lux Prima by Karen O

Origin EP by Kelly Moran

No Home Record by Kim Gordon

Solitude by King Midas Sound

Lifetie by Klein

The Bells by Kornél Kovács

Panorama by La Dispute

Ancestor Boy by Lafawndah

DJ Kicks by Laurel Halo

Loom Dream by Leif

River without Banks by Leo Svirsky

Thanks for the Dance by Leonard Cohen

October Song by Lighting Bug

Caligula by Lingua Ignota

Gray Area by Little Simz

lofeye by lojii

Antidoes 1 (Open Spotify) by Lucinda Chua

Many Any by Max D

Dolphine by Mega Bog

Fever by Megan Thee Stallion

Komachi by Meitei

Coastal Erosion (YouTube) by Merzbow & Vanity Productions

Tears of Joy by MIKE

Power Chords by Mike Krol

How to Live by Modern Nature

Lost Wisdom Pt 2 by Mount Eerie and Julie Doiron

Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire by Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire

Volume One: Dilemmas Of Identity (YouTube) by Nate Young

Colorado by Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Miss Universe by Nilufer Yanya

Radiant Dawn by Operators

basking in the glow by Oso Oso

Phoenix by Pedro the Lion

Nighttime Stories by Pelican

Tasmania by Pond

Morbid Stuff by POP

The Seducation of Kansas by Priests

Am I Who I Am by PTU

Self-Titled by Purple Mountains

Guns by Quelle Chris

Cages by Redbait

ATAXIA by Rian Treanor

Inferno by Robert Forster

Oli XL by Rogue Intruder, Soul Enhancer

Stars Have Eyes by Saint Abdullah

That’s Harakiri by Sd Laika

We Are Not Your Kind by Slipknot

Self-Titled by Sofia Kourtesis

When I Get Home by Solange

Mazy Fly by Spellling

Beware of the Dogs by Stella Donnelly

Athena by Sudan Archives

Life Metal by Sunn O)))

Illegal Moves by Sunwatchers

Leaving Meaning by Swans

Toothsayer by Tanya Tagaq

Dreams Are Not Enough by Telefon Tel Aviv

No Geography by The Chemical Brothers

The Devil You Know by The Coathangers

In League with Dragons by The Mountain Goats

No Holiday by The Muffs

Vessel (Revolver) by Theories

ANIMA by Thom Yorke

No Treasure but Hope by Tindersticks


Outer Peace by Toro y Moi

Deforming Lobes by Ty Segall

First Taste by Ty Segall

Signals Into Space by Ultramarine

Pacific Breeze by Various

Titanic Rising by Weyes Blood

Girl With Basket Of Fruit by Xiu Xiu


Mujeres by Y La Bamba


Spirit Said Yes! by YATTA

ATO by Ziur

Biography Gaming

Games Played in 2019

Though I haven’t been posting the games I’ve been playing over the last few years (the last time was in 2016), I have been keeping track each year (obsessively, even). Here is a list of all the games I’ve played this past year, with some statements on the in-game representation/diversity in each of them (something I’ve started tracking as of 2019). Bolded titles are my highlights. Note: I couldn’t think of a proper way to sort the list, so they are from oldest played (at the top) down to newest. I’ve included two pieces of data in this list as well–a relatively objective “platform” and a relatively subjective “rating out of 10.” 9s and 10s are bolded.

Note: I do plan on expanding the diversity and representation comments for the 2020 year. I am grateful to have been able to start looking at these games through this lens, and feel fortunate for encountering games that were above average in this context by default, to serve as inspiration for the second year going.

Coaster Combat (VR, 6/10): No diversity, really.

Dark Days (VR, 5/10): Female lesbian protagonist

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst (PC, 6/10) Female protagonist; very diverse characters.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm (PC, 10/10): Female protagonist.

Playable Teaser (PC, 6/10): None really.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (PC, 9/10): Mental health, female protagonist.

Cuphead (YouTube, 10/10): Cartoonish; no real diversity representation here.

Bioshock Remastered (PC, 10/10): Diversity is minimal, with some Asian stereotyping (the doctor).

Resident Evil 2 Remake – Leon and Claire (YouTube, 9/10): Very minimal as most of the characters that aren’t zombies are white.

Traveling While Black (VR, 9/10): African American story and lens. Note: this isn’t so much a “game” as a non-interactive VR experience.

Project Rampage (VR, 2/10): None really.

Pinata Party (VR, 7/10): None really.

Rush (VR, 10/10): None really.

Eastshade (PC, 8/10): Amazing degrees of diversity across genders, backgrounds, etc.

Notes on Blindness (VR, 10/10): Focuses on a disability.

Devil May Cry 5 (YouTube, 7/10): Very minimal representation of women; mostly white men.

Far Cry New Dawn (PC, 8/10): Pretty diverse cast of characters, including race and age and gender.

Devotion (PC, 10/10): Taiwanese, parents and child.

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition (PC, 9/10, second playthrough): Some diversity racially, but not much.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit: (PC, 9/10): Playing as a child in a middle class household.

Nier Automata (PC, 10/10): Fairly diverse in terms of robots versus humans.

Pikuniku (PC and YouTube, 9/10): Pretty strong instance of representation between beings and robots and animals.

What Remains of Edith Finch (PC, 9/10): Really great representation of ages and backgrounds.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PC, 7/10): Great representation of different cultures and awesome use of native language tracks.

A Way Out (PS4, 5/10): Barely any diversity beyond the white homogeneity.

Metro Exodus (PC, 10/10): Age and some racial diversity.

Hitman (2016) (PC, 9/10): Fairly good at representing the multiple countries that are featured in the game.

Hitman 2 (2018) (PC, 9/10): Once again fantastic representation from cultures all over the globe.

Dead or Alive 5 Last Round (PC, 7/10): Pretty awful portrayal of women. Multiple cultures but stereotypes only.

Deltarune (Undertale Sequel) (PC, 9/10): Amazingly beautiful game representing many perspectives.

Observation (PC and YouTube, 10/10): Mostly white; interesting taking the robot perspective.

Blair Witch (YouTube, 6/10): Not much racial diversity; inclusion of dog companion is okay.

Control (PC and YouTube, 7/10): Some diversity, but the focus doesn’t appear to be on representation.

Outer Wilds (PC and YouTube, 7/10): Not much focus on others in the human sense, and diversity exists but doesn’t speak too directly to it.

Greedfall (PC, 6/10): Diversity is apparent; not much commenting on race. There is a lot on colonialism and indigenous domination, however (that’s really the point of the game).

Disco Elysium (PC, 10/10): Incredible range of characters, worldviews, and backgrounds.

Metro 2033 Redux (PC, 9/10): Not very diverse. Typical straightforward monoculture.

Layers of Fear 2 (PC and YouTube, 6/10): Unintentional representation; not particularly engaging.

Metro Last Light (PC, 9/10): Not very diverse, but a lot of range in morality.

Biography Book Reviews

2019 in Books

It feels like just yesterday I posted about the 2018 books I read. The year most certainly did not fly by, and perhaps that’s because I was caught up in so much excellent reading over the past 12 months.

As per last year, what follows is a list of every title I read, with bolding for my “picks” or personal favorites. Note that some of these books made it into reviews, so they weren’t merely leisure reading.

Before the list, I need to shout out Goodreads, which now provides a snapshot of one’s reading. The data highlights are pretty fun, and open to the each user. They are also available to the public (see mine here).

Here are the books I read last year, with my most favorite in bold:

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti

Ensō by Shin Yu Pai

Earth by Hannah Brooks-Motl

Chasing Clayoquot: A Wilderness Almanac by David Pitt-Brooke

Sailing by Ravens by Holly Hughes

What Rain Does by Ann Spers

26 Abductions by Maya Sonenberg

Preserving Fire: Selected Prose by Philip Lamantia

Water by Edward Burtynsky

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

One Hundred Myanmar Poems edited by Min Swe Hnit

Codex by Joshua Lew McDermott

A Slow Boiling Beach by Rauan Klassnik

Make It True Meets Medusario edited by José Kozer

On An Acre Shy of Eternity/ Micro Landscapes at the Edge by Robert  Dash

Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell

Hawai’i by James Yeary

The Darkness Call: Essays by Gary Fincke

Remembrance of Water / Twenty-Five Trees by John Taylor

The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return by Zeina Abirached

Twilight (Twilight, #1) by Stephenie Meyer

Things That Go by Laura Eve Engel

AUX ARCS by Shin Yu Pai

A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld

Army of God: Joseph Kony’s War in Central Africa by David Axe

Latino USA: A Cartoon History by Ilan Stavans

The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Margaret Atwood and Renee Nault

Against Everything: Essays by Mark Greif

The World Is All That Does Befall Us by Thomas Walton

The White Book by Han Kang

Bluets by Maggie Nelson

The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest by Timothy Egan

Paper Towns by John Green

Call And Response: A Migrant/Local Poetry Anthology edited by Joshua Ip

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My Lot Is A Sky by Melissa Powers

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

The United States of Wind: A Travelogue by Daniel Canty

Ideas Have No Smell: Three Belgian Surrealist Booklets

No Finis: Triangle Testimonies, 1911 by Deborah Woodard

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky

Seminary Poems by Diane di Prima

Poems of Federico García Lorca chosen and translated by Paul Blackburn with twenty one drawings by Basil King

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Soundtrack to a Fleeting Masculinity by Benjamin Schmitt

Habitation: Collected Poems by Sam Hamill

Huge Cloudy by Bill Carty

What I Knew by Eleni Sikelianos

The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book by Gord Hill

Widowland by Pamela Manché Pearce

Poems from the Passionate Heart: Reflections on Healing and Awakening by Roy Holman

In These Curved Spaces by Andrea Yew

Footnotes on Falling by Joshua Ip

Afterimage by Werner Kho

The Woman Who Turned Into A Vending Machine by Natalie Wang

Human Acts by Han Kang

BEEF by Nurul Amillin Hussain

To the Barricades by Stephen Collis

The Divine Within: Selected Writings on Enlightenment by Aldous Huxley

Futurist Performance by Michael Kirby

All Actors: Fifty Poems by Min Swe Hnit

The Post-War Digital Radio by Kyi Zaw Aye

Alphabet for the Entrants by Vasilisk Gnedov

Feed Me Weird Things by Lisa Rogal

I Have Never Been Able to Sing by Alexis Almeida

Bones Will Crow: An Anthology of Burmese Poetry edited by James Byrne

Meadowlark West by Philip Lamantia

A Drink of Red Mirror by Kim Hyesoon

The Burden of Being Burmese by ko ko thett

My Own Voice by Zeyar Lynn

First Mountain by Zhang Er

Sugar Factory by Emily Wallis Hughes

Midden by Julia Bouwsma

follow the mekong home by Krystal M. Chuon

Mexico City Blues by Jack Kerouac

American Prophets: Interviews with thinkers activists poets and visionaries by Paul E Nelson

Biography Book Reviews

2018 Books Read List

A list of the 119 books I read this past year. Bolded are my favorites.


On Harm and Abuse: A Reflection on My Past

This post is meant to serve as a personal reflection and a relatively-public expression/acknowledgment of my violence, harm, and the abuse I committed between 2014 and 2016. It is only a partial exploration, one that has had precursors and will continue indefinitely as long as I am still alive and thinking. Please email gregbem @ if you are inclined to communicate about this.

Biography Music

Ten Years Ago

“I was in a band.”

Biography Friendships

“Profile of an Anarcho-Leftist, Poet/Librarian, Gentrifier” by Paul Nelson

Friend and nearly-neighbor Paul Nelson recently interviewed me about all sorts of things, as part of a series for the South Seattle Emerald.

Photo by Paul Nelson

I wholeheartedly approve of the piece, which is found here. Additionally, visit this page on Paul’s site for the audio recording of the interview, and other fun additions. Many thanks to Paul for taking the time to think I was a good person to profile!

Biography Gaming

The Games I Played in 2016

The following is a list of the games I played (completely) in 2016, along with ratings I’ve given for those games.


The Books I Read in 2016

What a year in reading! I just did an extract of my Goodreads account and after some mild formatting, this list is what I came up with.