We Now Disrupt This Broadcast (S2E5)
Hello all! This will be a short missive (isn’t “missive” a great word?) because, to be completely frank, I forgot that it was newsletter week until just now. I also haven’t done a lot of “thinking” in the past two weeks, because I’ve been working on various personal projects instead. Also, Rooibos keeps getting me up at 3am, which is not conducive to productive newslettering. So this will be an essay-and-image-free newsletter, sorry!
The big project these past two weeks was finally finishing off the relaunch of my website. I used the Publish static site generator, largely because it is Very Swift™️, but also because it fits my mental model of how a static site generator should work more than competing generators like Hugo. The lack of (many) built-in themes was also the kick I needed to learn “just enough” CSS to lay out a site. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out; it even has responsive-ish design!1 Initially I tried out the Fira Sans font from Mozilla, but I think I prefer the current Vollkorn.2 Anyway, feel free to check it out; there’s a couple older short stories on there that I’m pretty fond of.
I started work on a “git mental model” guide, only to realize the semi-official git book already says almost everything I would have. I guess that just goes to show that one should always do their research before starting a new project. On the other hand, I’ll keep it in my back pocket; maybe I’m polish it off at some point anyway.
As a side note, I wrote it up in Dropbox Paper, which we use at work for at least some design docs. I have been skeptical at Dropbox’s attempt to pivot, but Paper is surprisingly joyful to use. I’ll stick with Ulysses for my normal workflow, but Paper is convenient when you want comments on a Markdown-formatted document; Google Docs is standard for that kind of workflow, but as a “real” word processor, it’s a pain to format, especially code blocks.
Finally, I wrote out a 3,000-word, chapter-by-chapter summary of That Book I’ve Been Writing™️, which led me to move around and rework a lot of the story. Does that mean I threw out, for the third time, a significant amount of work? Yes, yes it does. But! I now have a complete, no-glaring-plot-holes outline to work off of (which I’m pretty satisfied with if I do say so myself), so now I just have to… actually… write it…3
“How the Emperor of All Space and Every World Awoke to the True Nature of Reality and Why it Didn’t Matter” is a fun short story, also available in podcast form, with a Douglas Adams-y vibe and a clever twist.
There was an NY Times piece up asking why the Criterion Collection has so few black directors. The answer seems to be “because the head of the Criterion Collection doesn’t know about black directors,” but also maybe he’s realized his omission? For some reason I thought this was an important article to include earlier this week, but now I can’t remember it why. Anyway, I’ll use it as a springboard to talk about Criterion Channel, the Criterion Collection-helmed streaming service that actually has, y’know, movies. I subscribed and, wowee, is it a great service! (It’s actually where I watched all the movies mentioned in the last episode.) They briefly had the beloved 1984 Talking Heads concert doc Stop Making Sense, which is probably the best concert ever? (Fun fact: it was directed by Jonathan Demme, who is most famous for… Silence of the Lambs? What??). I also watched this little time capsule of a documentary by Agnes Varda about the Black Panthers. It’s slightly amusing to see that Alameda County Courthouse and Lake Merrit in Oakland look identical to 50 years ago; it’s slightly sad to see that we’re still essentially talking about the same police brutality issues as 50 years ago.
And I’m out! Sorry for the short newsletter—we’ll be back with the regularly scheduled Applied Diletanttery in two weeks time.