- A bunch of stuff has happened over the last few weeks, but the most significant for me was the death of my grandfather last Sunday. I wrote something about him here. While it's a relief to know that he's no longer suffering, I still feel as though I've been holding in my breath for the last week, and likely will be until his funeral next week, maybe longer. Even diminished as he was, he was still a big part of my life; just knowing he was there was a load-bearing feeling.
- When I was speaking to my mum the other day, she told me how when she went to the registry office to sort out the paperwork, she took comfort in the fact that there were people there registering births, people getting married—it was all part of the cycle. It sounds trite but I found it comforting too.
- It reminded me of something my grandad once told me—he preferred conducting funerals to weddings because weddings had a bunch of legal observances you had to remember and funerals didn't.
- Talking of registry offices and the cycle, we were at a registry office yesterday for our friends' wedding and it was really wonderful—congratulations Luke and Leah; a very lovely occasion.
- Everything else feels a bit ticky-tack compared to those things: the only thing that's really of note I think is that we've moved offices and the new one has aircon, which is worth its price in gold. It's also just very nice, lots of breakout areas, meeting rooms, call spaces etc. I've also joined the gym across the road which is based on small group workouts to try and leverage the power of accountability which so far seems to be working.
- In addition to the things linked above and below I wrote something about having a life not oriented towards money that was really mostly about my grandfather, something about masculinity influencers finding religion that was really mostly about my grandfather, and something about narrative podcasts becoming crap after one series, which was actually just about that.
- I finally finished the french philosopher's book about masculinity, it was fine
- Started reading the bell hooks book and maybe a chapter in it's so much better than all the other ones it's not even funny. I might have to read the rest of the books I have on my list of things to read for the masculinity thing because I think I'm gonna have to end the series on this.
- Wrote up notes for Machineries of Empire, great stuff, getting on those Hexarchate Stories currently.
- Finished A Desolation Called Peace, doing notes for those books currently.
- Someone's managed to say something new and Real about Bill Watterson's disappearance (it actually turns out to be about Calvin and Hobbes itself!), which I don't think I've ever seen anyone manage before. As someone who has habitually created unhealthy systems to produce work and has repeatedly deleted vast swathes of it, the whole thing hit very hard.
- Compare this Chalk Milk Theory with my Orange Juice theory, which I now realise I've only ever talked about on the podcast and never actually written up; I will have to do that soon.
- I think Freddie is by and large right about email jobs or laptop jobs or whatever you want to call them. There are a lot of people online who
- I'm not a wine drinker but I still found 'frontrunner for the title of “most respected wine writer in the world”' Jancis Robinson answering 121 reader questions about wine fascinating. (Jancis is a Star Wars character name, sorry).
- I think Adam Mastroianni's discussion of vibes in education here can be generalised to a useful theoretical explanation for why things that might not seem to be materially important are worth preserving.
- Finally, Noah Kulwin's review of Craig McNamara's book about his father Robert's legacy is excellent. Speaking of Noah Kulwin...
- The new series of Blowback is out and maybe half the episodes are named after Metal Gear Solid games, so I'm all in. It's about Afghanistan and covers deep history and the Soviet and US invasions, their differences and similarities. For my money this is the strongest series since the first (which is still, for me, the best), managing to hold a narrative while also taking in the bigger picture, and as always the depth of research and thought is obvious without being overbearing.
- My friend Shona has released an EP called XXX, which you should all go and listen to.
- Because iPlayer only has the most recent series or two of Only Connect we've been watching old episodes uploaded by a dedicated Youtuber. Absolutely incensed that Victoria withheld a point in the missing vowels round because someone said "Clockwork Orange" instead of "A Clockwork Orange", but in an episode from the other week allowed someone to get away with calling Eazy-E just "Eazy". Vile.
- Watched the first couple of episodes of Ahsoka and damn, the guy they've got playing the bad Jedi is an absolute unit; he's as wide as he is tall, more impressive than any of the special effects. Also impressive that they've been able to find someone who has the Dreamworks face irl to play Sabine, and funny to think that role would almost certainly have gone to Mary Elizabeth Winstead ten years ago but now she's too old and has to play the pseudo-mum character. Sabine feels like every one of her lines should end "...mom" despite the character being canonically 30 (the rip-off version of the joyride scene from Star Trek (2009) with the crap pastiche of Sabotage), they wasted whatever they spent on David Tennant, and if they've turned Thrawn into a wizard rather than making him evil blue admiral Sherlock Holmes I'm going to kick off. It's not all bad: the ending of the first episode was trong, I like the cold-eyed psycho dark Jedi apprentice girl, and the dark souls vibes Mystery Lightsaber Guy too. I will say that so far Ahsoka doesn't really seem like the protagonist of her own show—it's more like 'what if the camera followed Obi-Wan around a bit more at the beginning of A New Hope'—but we'll see how it shakes out. Andor has pretty much ruined all these Filoni shows for me, but the use of the Volume isn't as dreadful here as it was in Obi-Wan and the story isn't as ridiculous, distracting or annoying as it was in Mando S3. We're in Mando S2 territory here: very Three Stars, Some Funny Bits.
- I've been playing Baldur's Gate 3, largely on my Steam Deck (which I manage to keep calling my Switch) because being able to control my character directly with the stick is a lot easier than constantly clicking (Bassey tells me there's a WASD mod for PC which I think would make it much more playable). Sometimes you just want to play a game that looks like A Really Good One Of Those, and BG3 is definitely A Really Good One Of Those. Combat is the right level of challenging, story stuff is fun fantasy nonsense.
- My friend Alex has made a game called Gatefold, which you should all go and play.
Keep it real, folks. Over and out.