Things of Interest 2020 Week 37

This week the skies turned red in the western US as forests burned and virtual school began here. Still, some things are good so pull your head off the floor, come up screaming.

Homegrown shishitos have become a summertime staple. Some things are still good.

Listening

  • The Michelle Obama podcast on Spotify provides a soothing voice in a troubled time. It’s a relief to hear that the former First Lady also has down moments in these times. She doesn’t sugar coat any situations and yet I leave the podcast feeling soothed, hopeful, and ready to take action.
  • The song In a Big Country by Big Country. I unironically love this song – the sweeping scale, the bagpipe sounding guitars, the lyrics. There are some beautiful phrases that combine with melody to paint a picture of a scrappy fight against apathy, hopelessness and depression.

I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert

But I can live and breathe

And see the sun in wintertime

So take that look out of here it doesn’t fit you

Because it’s happened doesn’t mean you’ve been discarded

Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming

Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted

from In a Big Country

Watching

  • Parasite. We recently watched this movie about class from South Korea (available on Hulu at the moment). I can’t discuss it too much without spoilers but I would love to hear people’s interpretations of this one depending on their own class. It’s wildly entertaining and succeeds at being both funny and tense.
  • Vulfpeck Live at Madison Square Garden If you are missing going to concerts and enjoy funky music and excellent musicianship then you can’t go wrong with this joyful concert.

Doing

  • Shooting hoops. Yeah, I’m talking about basketball. I’ve never been a particularly sporty person and it had been decades since I last picked up a basketball. With virtual school a reality I needed to get my kid out and moving so we grabbed a basketball and went next door. I had forgotten the particular pleasure of lining up for a shot and then sound of the ball passing through the net.

Things of Interest Week 36

  • Taskmaster is a British variety show available on You Tube. It’s a “game show” where comedians are given a series of random tasks and whoever completes them quickest, best, etc. wins points. I say “game show” because the winner gets “prizes” that all the contestants have brought in based on a specific theme.
  • Spiritfarer. A video game that bills itself as “a cozy management game about dying”. It is extremely cozy – the art style is Ghibli-esque, you can hug different characters and you can calmly sail your personal ship to different destinations. It is very much a management game – you collect materials to craft into food or other necessary materials to unlock new areas and advance. It is very, very much about dying. You are caring for spirits that have died until they are ready to pass over to the other side. I would be lying if I said I haven’t cried while playing this game. Just watch the trailer.

The Reason

I used to start most mornings by brewing a cup of breakfast tea, opening up Google Reader, and browsing a wide range of blogs. They ranged from seemingly professional endeavors to quick and dirty posts made by people less interested in the technology or even the thought of making money – but more in sharing a passion or connection.

Then social media happened.

First slowly, and then seemingly all at once, artists, knitters, bakers, tinkerers, thinkers, and makers of all kinds migrated to Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. I did too. But even after Google Reader was shut down, I still checked the blogs still running.

Over this weekend I was migrating feeds to a new RSS app and realized there were only small handful left still publishing. A list that used to be in the hundreds now was barely in the tens. I miss seeing other people’s thoughts in a longer form. I miss jumping down rabbit holes of ideas and suggestions from one site linking to another. I miss the sense of place and personality that personal websites used to provide that the highly curated and monetized social media streams just don’t capture.

I can’t make anyone else start writing on their own personal websites again – but I can make myself write.

That’s what this is. Just me putting out into the world a little bit of what I enjoy seeing from other people. A view into what I find interesting, what I’m creating, and what I’m enjoying. Just little thought crumbs.