My Favourite Asks of 2021
I love browsing the latest questions on Ask MetaFilter every day and I always find several worth a read and, sometimes, answering. It’s a lovely, helpful, interesting place.
Here are 49 of my favourite Asks from 2021, in chronological order:
Easy reads with literary flourishes
“…recommendations for books that are easy to get through but are satisfying to read for me: lyrical prose, non cliched plots, allusions, experimental techniques, etc.”
Best life upgrades in a pandemic world?
“Is there anything you’ve purchased, any classes or hobbies you’ve started, or practices you’ve adopted that have seriously upgraded your life during this pandemic?”
Listen, about those bitter songs you sing..
“…songs that remind you of the beauty of life, minus the references to partners… Or just good bangers with positive lyrics.”
Time travel that doesn’t break the laws of physics
“…media … that depict ‘time travel’ to the future by some sort of theoretically plausible means, such as cryogenic sleep or time-dilated travel at a significant fraction of the speed of light.”
Why are there no comedy vicars in American sitcoms?
“…Anglican vicars and Catholic priests are stock figures in traditional British sitcoms. That’s not true in the US… Was there ever a time when clerical characters were part of mainstream American comedy?”
What are some great rock documentaries?
“I love a good rockumentary. What are some of your favorites?”
Ikea, but like, the *good* Ikea
“What items at Ikea (or similar retailers) are high-quality and durable?”
Your favourite hard-to-find magazines…?
“What are some uncommon, keep-them-forever magazines that you love that you have difficulty sourcing?”
Pros and Cons of having a unique name?
“I’m not sure of the consequences of choosing a name that is (effectively) globally unique.”
Imagining non-dystopian technological futures in popular media
“I am looking for examples of recent media (particular books and films) that highlight a promising future through technology.”
School of Hip Hop
“I’m 50, grew up on rock and roll. I’ve always liked hip hop, but don’t really know my way around it. How to fill this gap?”
Best things from your remodel or renovation
“I am about to embark on the journey of a bathroom, kitchen, laundry, and bedroom remodel. Tell me what worked and did not work when you did yours.”
“What actual things can I do to help my brain stay present and move forward with my life?”
What examples exist of intentional word formation?
“Has anyone tried to generate words intentionally, and written about it?”
What is your country/region’s top karaoke hit?
“What’s the ‘Don’t Stop Believin” equivalent where you are?”
1950s revival IN THE UK in the 1970s
“Was there a 1950s revival in England in the 1970s that mirrored America’s 1950s revival?”
Alternatives to The Guardian
“I’m looking for suggestions for alternative news sites to The Guardian. …For context, I’ve cancelled my Guardian sub due to their trans rights coverage.”
Current diverse indie hip-hop?
“I listen mostly to current indie-rock, with a bias towards front-women. What’s the hip-hop equivalent I might enjoy listening to?”
One-time fees that are worth it?
What have you paid a lifetime/one-time fee for that was worth it?
Modern approach to music theory
“Is there a curriculum that teaches music theory starting with something like serialism or the 12 tone scale, then goes back to classical Western music as a special case?”
Kitchen organization… help
“I feel completely incapable of organizing my kitchen. How can I get a handle on this?”
Parmesan rind possibilities
“I’m looking for expanded ideas about how to use them to punch up the deliciousness of stocks, sauces, and soups, risotto, etc.”
Building New Abode Puts Me in Newbie Mode
“What important things do I need to do right so that I don’t make major blunders in having a new custom house built?”
How to take my cooking to the next level (vegetarian)?
“I feel like my skills have plateaued, and I really want to take it to the next level. How do I get there?”
“Looking for original works by philosophers (dead or living) that I, a beginner, might find rewarding to read.”
Books to renew my faith in humanity
“Can you recommend me something recent that’s happy or would give me a sense of optimism towards people?”
Workout videos for people who hate exercise
“Any beginner workout videos that acknowledge that it sucks but you’re gonna do it anyway, or at least aren’t so peppy about it?”
Take me to Paris
“Would love to continue being transported to mid-20th century Paris by … books and media- what should I read and watch to achieve this?”
What do you wish you knew before you headed off to college?
“I’d love to query the hive-mind to see what you wish you’d known before you started college.”
What do you LOVE in your kitchen and/or bathroom?
“I’d love to know what things delight you…”
Need Dystopian Hippie Sartorial Advice
“Lately I’ve been captivated by cyberpunk, Dune-movie-ish, Japanese tactical-looking street wear, or hippie harem pants and want to know where to look to find it.”
“What on or offline media or outlet makes you excited for the future?”
Does the hat have a special lining to block the concept of self awareness
“Please explain this aesthetic to me: the nerd who doesn’t play by society’s rules. They will wear a dark hat, often leather, akubra traveller style. … Big coat, also dark and usually leather.”
How do I become an Artist? Is it too late?
“I realize now that I need something more fulfilling in my life and design does not cut it anymore. Is it too late for me? Where do I start? How do I find my own voice, my own self expression?”
“I love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning.”
“What are some good, interesting, funny and intelligent written takes on dust-ups between people on the internet?”
Saving time on house maintenance
“What changes or investments can I make in my home and lawn to reduce time spent on maintenance?”
Recommended introduction to film theory?
“What book do you currently recommend as an introduction to film theory?”
“I LOVE reading about the intricate logistics of things I never would have considered … Seeking suggestions for similar pieces (article or book length is fine).”
Abandoned/evacuated zones in climate fiction
“I’m looking for fiction involving cities or other places that have been abandoned due to climate change.”
Nurses! What’s on your feet?
“Nurses of MeFi…What is your preferred daily footwear?”
Let me know.
“There is a trend I’ve noticed in my email that I’m finding irritating: when someone writes asking for something and ends by saying ‘Let me know.’”
How to organize a live performance of Reich’s _Music for 18 Musicians_?
“What should someone who wants to help fund & organize a successful performance of this piece know?”
How does this scam work.
“I know this cannot be on the level. How can I explain it to the person involved?”
“What’s a hobby you picked up as an adult?”
What was the first artificial object humans made a billion of?
“What is the first type of artificial object that humans made a billion of?”
Recommend boring people taking about kind of boring things?
“I’ve found that videos of people just talking about something that interests them … are really good background noise”
The Homeowner Necessities
“I am about to close on my first (single family, standalone) home. What tools and supplies should I have on hand right away?”
What are good nonfiction books by fiction authors?
“I am looking for good nonfiction books by authors who primarily write fiction — any recommendations?”
Books about being off the grid / moving away
“Please recommend me books about moving to the woods, an island, the mountains, whatever.”
I did think about putting all that into categories, but that would lose some of the eclectic nature of Ask MeFi’s flow of questions.
Also, there are often interesting questions about relationships, family problems, mental health issues, etc. but I haven’t included any of those here — it doesn’t feel right to point strangers at those in a post that’s otherwise “entertainment”.