We are locked into steel, locked out of suspension and disc brakes, are increasingly suspect of racing’s influence, and we “value,” I guess is the closest word I can think of, bicycles as non-elitist daily transportation, and yet we still make them as beautiful‑by our standards—as we can. Some people see inconsistency there. Expensive, finely crafted bikes for daily use. I can’t help that. There are people out there who are threatened by that. Because, I’ve been scolded and called a hypocrite for it
Visited Austin. Learned some tips on smoking brisket from the pit master at Terry Black’s. Saw some great live music. Didn’t take nearly as many good pictures as I would have liked. Still, great trip.
Still coming back to this excellent essay by Meghan O’Gieblyn from Harper’s Magazine:
Is it possible in our age of advanced technology to recall the spiritual dimension of repetition? Or has it been conclusively subsumed into the deadening drumbeat of modern life?
Last.fm’s is much more comprehensive for some reason. The service has seemed very flakey the past few weeks and I can’t find an alternative method for tracking so have to live with it just being janky I guess.
I have been really loving the song Doers by Bodega. Definitely one of my favorite tracks for the month.
I enjoy when my daily email from readwise offers up two seemingly independent quotes/extracts that inform each other simply by their proximity to each other in the email thread. Today’s:
Race After Technology by Benjamin, Ruha
Hashtags like #CancelRoseanne operate like a virtual public square in which response to racial insults are offered and debated. Memes, too, are an effective tool for dragging racism. (Location 676)
The Convivial Society, No. 5 by theconvivialsociety.substack.com
Kierkegaard saw that the public sphere was destined to become a detached world in which everyone had an opinion about and commented on all public matters without needing any first-hand experience and without having or wanting any responsibility.” Perhaps that very last line holds an important clue. Perhaps action demands responsibility and that is precisely what we are unwilling to take.
Several months ago the EVF/OVF on my X100F stopped working correctly. I sent it in for repair to Fuji. I should note that printing out the form on FujiFilm Camera Repair page is laughably broken but, anyway.
After a few weeks I heard back that FujiFilm wanted $650 to repair the viewfinder.
I asked them to send it back without repairing it, thinking I would just put that money towards a new X100v instead. Well, supply chain! You can’t get an X100v anywhere right now. SO I decided to make due with the broken X100f and just use the screen instead of the viewfinder. Not optimal but serviceable.
Until this week.
All of a sudden all sorts of other things started breaking on the F. Now the camera looses its settings when you swap out the battery. And it it is stuck on AF-C/continual autofocus. Which is so annoying.
So, anyway, I’ve sent it back in for a repair estimate, hoping it won’t be much more than the original $650 repair estimate but we’ll see.
While it’s out for repair I’m using my 6-years-old X-E2s. I have it paired with the 27mm pancake which makes it feel like a really lightweight (and, sort of cheap) X100. This is an older Fuji camera and I’d completely forgotten what amazing photos it takes! This makes me realize that there’s really no reason to rush out and get the X100v when it becomes available again.
I really like this quote from Ken Rockwell’s review of the X-E2s, it’s still totally true today:
Real shooters shoot LEICAs because of their simplicity, small size and fantastic optics, and the X-E2s does all this even better. The X-E2s is ergonomically superior to LEICA, its optics are at least as good, all for a fraction of the price with none of the poseur attitude.
The Fujis just shoot so well for so long (when they’re not broken!). It’s a real incentive to just keep the older gear around, repair it when necessary and only buy the newer models when catastrophe befalls your existing Fuji gear.
Russ and Grant! I love this video/interview. I wish it were a full hour!
There are so few people (especially out here in NJ) that share Grant and Russ’ view of cycling or even try to understand it but, man, they are speaking my language.
For me, I’m just trying to find as friction-free a way to collect/post/share. After a bunch of false starts I’m leaning towards WordPress as the bucket that collects everything and sends it out to other places like Mastodon, my newsletter and Day One (my journal software).
Unfortunately, iOS shortcuts integration with WordPress is horrible. Unless you fall back to old school xml-rpc stuff which feels like way too much work. This means it’s not a totally friction-free collection bucket but I feel like from a sharing-out perspective, it’s the right tool for the POSSE job.
A friend unexpectedly gifted me this the other night when we were rehearsing for an upcoming gig. I can not believe what a huge difference it makes in the sound/volume of my already very loud Martin D-18.
It’s called a d-gard and is purpose built for the back of a Martin dreadnaught. I put some new felt on it so that it wouldn’t scratch the finish. I’m astounded at how much more volume and sustain I’m getting from this. A good friend of mine who plays mandolin has been telling me to get one of these for years and I’m glad I finally got one. For standing up and playing at live gigs around a single mic, I’m hoping this gives me the volume I need.
When you sit down to learn Norman Blake’s New Chance Blues and just keep clicking though on the jams:
Love the mix of drum machine and live drums on this track:
Man, I have got my music streaming dialed in using Marvis. Combining tracks from a bunch of playlists, applying some filters and sorting. Just saying.
Finished watching Season 3 of After Life with Ricky Gervais last night. Felt like he had to do season 3 to wrap up the series and some of it felt forced and there were more than a few scenes of dog-walking that just felt like filler material so that they could stretch season 3 out to six episodes.
Despite all that, I’m glad we watched it. Gervais’ character is such that he makes you really confront what it might be like to go through various phases of losing someone you love dearly and, like he does when he’s not playing this character, he makes you confront uncomfortable truths with laughter.
Like Chappelle, Gervais seems to know that some material is so sensitive that the only way that most of us are going to confront it is if we can laugh while doing so together, even if it’s uncomfortable laughter. And we’re better people for confronting it than denying or ignoring the material.
In any case, despite Season 3 feeling a little long-winded, the entire 3 seasons are absolutely worth a Netflix binge if you haven’t seen them.
I’m always on the lookout for clues as to why I get sick more frequently than most folks and why, when I do get sick, my colds last so much longer. I came across this study which adds additional weight to my theory that one cause is that for reasons I cannot really do much about, my sleep sucks.
Poorer sleep efficiency and shorter sleep duration in the weeks preceding exposure to a rhinovirus were associated with lower resistance to illness…
There was a graded association with average sleep duration: participants with less than 7 hours of sleep were 2.94 times (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18-7.30) more likely to develop a cold than those with 8 hours or more of sleep. The association with sleep efficiency was also graded: participants with less than 92% efficiency were 5.50 times (95% CI, 2.08-14.48) more likely to develop a cold than those with 98% or more efficiency
What’s especially interesting here is the sleep efficiency bit. I track my sleep using my Apple Watch and an application called AutoSleep. It is fairly reliable and I have at least a year’s worth of sleep data collected now. It’s interesting to see how lower sleep efficiency relates to lower heart rate variability when I dig into the Health app. This quote, especially, was striking:
even a minimal habitual sleep disturbance (sleep losses of 2%-8%, 10-38 minutes for an 8-hour sleeper) is associated with 3.9 times the risk of developing a cold.
AutoSleep data on the iPhone
What’s a bit confusing for me though is how many nights in a given period can sleep efficiency fall below 92% before that 3.9x risk occurs. Surely one night or two nights over a 2 week period (the length of the study) can’t cause this 3.9x risk.
Still, taken as a whole/moving average over a 2 week period, it does seem like one of the AutoSleep numbers I should be looking at it sleep efficiency.
I have been thinking a lot about the relative merits of two different ways of storing files: a robust and well-executed hierarchical folder/file system vs tagging/metadata files. I’m thinking about this in the context of a work project but also in light of something L.M. Sacacas wrote a while back in, A World Ordered Only By Search, one of his excellent newsletters from Convivial Society.
“There comes a point when our capacity to store information outpaces our ability to actively organize it, no matter how prodigious our effort to do so.”
For many computer users of my generation, the filing cabinet has been a very useful metaphor for a computer’s directory system. Organizing computer files in nested folders is a reasonable extension of how the physical office space has always worked. That said, I’ve been considering a few of the limitations of the file/nested folder metaphor on computers that is probably hitting almost 30 years old at this point, if not more.
1.) As this metaphor has been the primary way of understanding file organization for almost 30 years, we now have a generation of computer users who have never seen an actual filing cabinet or manilla file folder. The metaphor and filing system are lost on them, especially as this generation has almost certainly grown up using gmail or similar for their email which relies on searching, not organizing emails into folders.
2.) In the file/folder model of file storage, a file can only exist in one place at one time. In this case we’ve taken a limitation of the physical world (“get me the invoice for last month from the Facilities folder”) and carried it over to the digital domain (“let me save this invoice in the Facilities folder”). In the world of tagging and metadata though, a file can exist in multiple places at the same time. (“Let me tag this document as an “invoice” and as related to “Facilities.”) The same instance of a file can live in multiple collections at once, transcending the limitations of the physical filing cabinet.
3.) Now, getting back to that Sacacas quote from above: folder hierarchies require some internalized understanding of how the filing system works. It is very rare to encounter a hierarchical file system that is self-documenting enough that a new employee could file a document without any sort of training. Moreover, as anyone who has maintained even the most well-manicured and maintained hierarchical file system knows, sometimes you’ve got to fall back on searching because you just can’t recall where it made sense to put some document. Tagging removes the burden of having to recall the “why” of a folder system.
All of this said, searching is an imperfect solution. Just creating some kind of junk drawer for your data, the hot mess that Sacacas refers to in his piece, is not sustainable for an organization. Some kind of tagging needs to be implemented if searching is going to work. However, tagging does introduce some friction into the file management process, so we’re trading the present convenience of quickly being able to drop a file into a folder in some well-manicured hierarchy for the tedium of tagging a file when it needs to be saved with the future promise that this document will be easier to find. Either way, if not at the individual level than absolutely at the organizational level, our curation, collection and creation of digital data has totally outpaced our ability to manage it using the outdated metaphor of a filing cabinet.
“We build external rather than internal archives. And we certainly don’t believe that interiorizing knowledge is a way of fitting the soul to the order of things. In part, because the very idea of an order of things is implausible to those of us whose primary encounter with the world is mediated by massive externalized databases of variously coded information.”
That quote is from the same Sacacas piece where, citing Illich, he goes on to discuss how when the “text” became detached from the “book” the individual became detached from the community. Much of this makes me think about how work will change:
When an office migrates to tagging and becomes detached from the geological layers of meaning embedded in its folder structures, what will happen to shared understanding of the business that was represented by those folders?
I’d love to hear any thoughts/feedback on this. Feel free to get in touch.
Started writing this in my journal but figure it’s probably something share-worthy, here’s a quick look at what I listened to in 2021. Planning on using last.fm this year to better track this stuff.
Earlier this year during lockdown I picked up a very nice used American Telecaster. I love it. It’s the opposite end of the spectrum from my Gibson 335. They both have their place in my playing/songwriting. Anyway, picking up the tele got me listening to way more tele players including a lot of Kenny Vaughan and Marty Stuart.
Reading a bunch of Kenny Vaughan interviews, he kept mentioning Hollywood Fats, Roy Nichols and Roy Lanham so I did a lot of digging on their playing over the past year.
Somewhere in that dive on tele players, I came across Ripley Johnson who is not at all like Kenny Vaughan but as soon as I heard him playing with his Rose City Band, I immediately went over to the Thrill Jockey website and bought all of the Rose City Band albums on vinyl. There’s something that reminds me of the more melodic exploration/noodling of Jerry Garcia’s playing in Johnson’s playing and I love his tone and the sound environment of the Rose City Band albums so he was a really welcomed accidental discovery this year. He reminds me a bit of William Tyler, too, but maybe more accessible or less demanding than Tyler who I didn’t listen to as much this year as I did in 2020.
I listened to the Jerry on Jerry audiobook this year which I highly recommend for any fans of Jerry Garcia and his playing. So much good material in there and it’s Jerry’s actual voice on the interviews so that’s a joy, too. He mentions this fiddle player, Scotty Stoneman, in a couple of the interviews and that ended up being a very useful vein to mine on the streaming services and it yielded a live show where he’s playing with Clarence White though you can’t hear Clarence too well on the recording. Still great listening and I could hear that sense of abandon and really long melodic phrases in Stoneman’s playing that Jerry was so drawn to.
I continued my deep dive into Bahamas. During a break in covid my son and a friend of mine headed up into NY to see Afie Jurvanen at Webster Hall and it did not disappoint even though it was a solo show and it would have been great to see him with a full band but, man, what a great player/performer/songwriter. I’ve gone back to his Live to Tape videos on YouTube so many times this year.
Also listed many times to Sierra Ferrell’s Long Time Coming. Great songwriting, fantastic performances. Such a listenable ablum, i should buy the vinyl version if its available (or would if they were not all sold out!). Her album deserves to be sold out, all killer, no filler!
Also, waded a bit into the Hiss Golden Messenger waters. I heard Way Back in the Way Back on our local 90.5 The Night radio station on my way to a gig. Immediately after hearing it on the radio I fired it up on Spotify and listened to it about 5 times in row. Love the guitar tone on the outro solo. I listened to a few albums and spun Quietly Blowing It many times and while they were all good, nothing grabbed me like that first song.
Same is mostly true about The War on Drugs latest, I Don’t Live Here Anymore. I spun that album quite a few times. I’m not sure if it’s because of a lack of hooks or just my lack of attention but nothing from those repeated listening really stuck with me though when I fire it up when I’m putting the dishes away in the kitchen, etc, there is a really nice comfortable familiarity to the album so it may just be taking a while for it to stick.
My son had been telling me about King Gizzard for months now and every time I put them on I just wasn’t feeling it. Until I heard their latest release, Butterfly 3000. Perhaps my favorite album of 2021. I love everything about this album from the songwriting to the sonic landscape. It’s all so new and fresh to my ears and melodic, too.
John Mayer Sob Rock. A few tracks on this really stuck with me and I love the whole shitpost vibe of the album and the sounds are just incredible and are like a nostalgia bath for the ears.
I have no idea how I landed on this album but I must have listened to it 25 times this year and still find it to be one of my favorite to listen to when I’m up before dawn waiting for a reasonable hour to start making coffee: