Odd Benefits

I guess they’re not really “odd”. Disconnecting from social media has been interesting, because it’s been such a part of my life for so long now that it’s almost reflexive. Oh I should tweet this, or “where’s the ‘share’ button?” And without comments on the WP site (true? Can you comment, or can I just not see the comment button?), it’s a bit like talking into a void where there used to be a consistent, though mostly passive, audience.

And so there’s no audience. There’s no discussion. It means I have spent a significantly smaller amount of time staring at my phone, and I definitely feel less connected to the world at large. I don’t see much news, except what I seek out, and I don’t hear everyone’s reaction to everything. And frankly, for the last week, that’s definitely been a good thing, because it’s just sadness and rage and stories of violence and hate, what bits I’ve seen through other channels – and I feel all that already, to the degree that I think if I had a bunch of people reinforcing that and creating a spiral amplification, I don’t know if I’d deal with reality all that well right now.

But it’s meant avoiding cynicism and depression and anger, which means I can be present for the kids. It’s weird, though – feels like I’m just ignoring shit I don’t want to hear right now. Maybe that’s true. But also, maybe it’s necessary for me.

I’d preordered The Hamilton Mixtape, since they started releasing songs on it for preorders, and it’s been oddly… I wouldn’t say “reassuring”, but it’s timely and relevant in a way that wouldn’t have been the case if things had gone a more reasonable way.

The songs of Hamilton are just … astonishingly wonderful in their original context, as part of this great story about the founding of the US – they humanize it and make it relatable in a way that I haven’t gotten out of any of my history classes. That’d be great on its own, but it also is just a soaring work of art that speaks directly to a lot of fundamental emotions, and listening to songs like My Shot, or It’s Quiet Uptown, and then hearing the remixes and inspirational offshoots that take the subjects out of the Revolution and make them more immediate…

Well. It’s been nice to hear a voice reinforcing what I think of as my ideal America. So thank you, Lin-Manuel Miranda (and everyone on the tape), though none of you will likely ever see this. If you haven’t listened to either Hamilton’s OST (or seen the show, which we’re gonna be doing in 2017!), or what’s been released of The Hamilton Mixtape, you’ve got some vital listening to be doing.

Contemplating moving from WordPress to Squarespace. I’ve enjoyed Squarespace for the Wonderspark blog (wonderspark.co) – it feels modern in a way that WordPress doesn’t – but it also feels like super overkill for a personal blog, which isn’t an e-Commerce site. It’d be nice if there was a merchant function free account that was like, $5/mo. I’d be all over that. In the meantime, though, I’ll just kinda think about whether it’s worth it or not. I should put up a little “portfolio”, though that describes the games I’ve worked on. It’d be nice to have something other than a fairly sterile linkedin page.


Another thing I really like, though, about dropping off of Twitter and Facebook is that I feel like to communicate, I want to write longer-form stuff, in part because I don’t feel that “tweet”-level of interaction on a regular basis. No one’s “keeping up” with my mundane life, which is fine, because my life’s pretty boring in general. But then thoughts build up, and I wanna talk to someone (hi), and it feels maybe more like saying something meaningful rather than trying to figure out how to fit a complete thought into no space.

I was never efficient with words.

Reorganized the downstairs a bit to make things more accessible – the “last” bookcase had been obstructed by the desk I’d put a bunch of music stuff on. I used the small shelving thing I’d gotten & moved that over to be the shoe rack that I believe it was designed to be, and then reorganized all the music stuff, pulling some things out that I never really used (anyone interested in either a Korg Kaosspad, a Roland TR-505 drum machine, or an Alesis Wedge?), and set up everything else so it was much easier to use, which is great.

I’ve been practicing the drums, and have been getting some lessons from my friend Wes, who’s got a really fascinating (and super effective) way of teaching – basically figuring out where my brain’s running out of bandwidth, then breaking down tasks until it all “fits”, then stepping things up, tackling one part of the problem at a time. It sounds straightforward, like what you should always do, and that’s the kind of magic of it – he’s able to get you to do that, and the process of it feels like a series of constant revelations. It’s neat, and I’ve gotten to a point where I can regularly do things I couldn’t at all before.

On a related note, I didn’t even realize Rock Band Rivals was out. But there it is. I ordered the Ion Drum Kit adapter (finally!), and a wireless guitar, so maybe we can have Rock Band parties again. Maybe even play through the ridiculous Rockumentary mode. It’s nice to see RB4 still kicking. I really hope it’s sustainable, because it’s a really nice experience, even just singing  sporadically over the last year. I don’t get much chance or excuse to sing (other than I can do most of the songs in Hamilton, of course) – and I found that when we played RB regularly, I got significantly better (though not really “good”). So it’ll be nice to dive back into that again.

The neighborhood’s interesting. Got new neighbors across the street to our left. Nice guys, one’s the director of the Oakland Ballet. He invited us to a performance for the Day of the Dead, and so we went, not really knowing what to expect. It was great, and the kids had a lot of fun, which was honestly not what I’d expected! We’ve also now got (as of today) new neighbors on the right. Over the last few years, there’s been a handful of new folks – mostly a bit further down to our left, but everyone we’ve met has been super nice.

It’s been a bummer to see some old-timers go, but at the same time, glad the noobs have been nice, friendly folks. I’m really slow to learn their names, and I realized a big part of it is I need to here them say their names not to me, but to someone else, and that really helps it stick. Weird, but whatever.

Anyway. Feels like a bunch of mundane thoughts. Irrelevant to the things that are going on politically, but I guess that’s how I’m coping for now, in part because I don’t really know what to do that would be effective and something I can handle with the rest of my responsibilities. But it’s definitely something that’s occupying a good portion of my brain – it’s just not getting anywhere yet.

I hope you’re all well. It’s scary. It’s frustrating. It’s not okay. Someone said this phrase to me recently, and it left a really strong impression, because it was exactly the sentiment I needed in the moment.

I’ve got your back.

Whatever it is you need.