- It's been a while. Many things have happened, and I've been a bit up and down.
- My grandad's funeral was nearly a month ago. It was a really cathartic experience—while I was incredibly sad it was a genuine celebration of his life, my uncles all gave beautiful eulogies and I got to see some of my cousins I've not seen since before lockdown.
- We went up to York to visit my grandma (other side of the family) for her birthday and it was the most relaxing weekend trip I've taken in ages. Not sure why specifically, but we had a really good time—went to Jorvik, which I've not visited since I was a kid. Still has those authentic Viking smells!
- My friends Bassey and Kat had a fantastic joint birthday party with the best vibes of anything I've been to in ages. I arrived a bit late but stayed until the end which never happens (this may have been facilitated by my taking my ADHD meds very late in the day)
- CM's friend Amber came to visit from home for the weekend, and it was great meeting her for the first time. I love having house guests—there's just something really pleasant about having people around. I really look forward (one day in the distant future) to having a spare room so that I can make tea in the morning without fear of waking people up.
- The gym opposite the new office continues to be really good at motivating me to go, so much so that I've started going in the mornings before work. I didn't like going to the gym in the morning before—no guarantee of getting a squat rack meant a highly unpredictable amount of time spent, whereas here it's always an hour, and since I'm usually up at 6 or 7, I might as well get going first thing.
- As part of some ADHD coaching, I've been doing the Positive Intelligence course which, despite a bunch of reservations on my part about its use of proprietory lingo and the mild corporate woo vibe of the whole thing, is proving genuinely useful to me in terms of identifying negative thoughts—and even just the fact that I find meditation much easier if I focus on a tactile sensation like rubbing my fingers together rather than on my breath. If a few of the big apps had a five-day "try focusing on different stimuli" programmes, I think that'd be really worth it.
- The last couple of weeks has been One Of Those health-wise—a cold, an ear infection, a general level of run-down-ness that led to a terrifying-looking rash on my back that looked like some weird alien parasite (we've been rewatching The X-Files—more on that later) which the doctor told me was basically a cold sore. I am greatly, greatly looking forward to our holiday in Edinburgh next week.
- The Seagull team is slowly expanding to include more of our friends. It's lovely to see, and each new person really helps bring some new energy to the project, which is really helpful when we're tired and stressed about other things.
- Last Sunday was our vicar Fr David's last service—both a very sad and a very joyful occasion. We will miss him a lot but he's still living nearby, so he'll still be around, and hopefully he'll have a well-deserved and restful retirement
- Friday night was the launch gig for Shona's EP, and most of our friends (and a bunch of other people I knew but wasn't expecting to see) went along, and it was really wonderful! Queer goth nights are usually not my scene but I made an effort (wore a black t-shirt and vegan Docs in addition to my dark-blue jeans, which is as goth as my wardrobe can really manage) and it was a really lovely vibe. Shona's performance was also the standout of the evening—the others were grand, but it was a bit like going to a PROGRESS show five or six years ago: the undercard are grand, getting there, but the main event competitors are ready to get called up by the fed or go to Japan—they've got the presence, the workrate, they're ready to go.
- Wrote something about some books I didn't have much to say about.
- Two (1,2) banger Memhaz episodes.
- Might be doing a new podcast soon! Watch this space.
- After having a very good but pricey vegan egg mayo sandwich from one of our local crunchy supermarkets, I thought I'd try and make my own, and it turns out that it's really easy (this recipe) and if you double up the portions there then you can make enough for maybe 7 or 8 sandwiches for much cheaper. I always feel like I'm turning into my dad but with this I'm definitely turning into my mum: we have that at home.
- Finished Better Boys, Better Men, which was completely fine and notes coming soon—back on the bell hooks train soon though.
- Finished Hexarchate Stories which adds some context to some MoE stuff. Pretty fun imo.
- Trying to write something about Freddie so I've been reading his books—decent but less fun than his blog.
- Reading The Lean Startup after it being suggested to me maybe 9 months ago?
- Discovered that David Bentley Hart has a Substack!
- I've been trying to "graze" less on articles; I am feeling my way toward a system. Friday evenings as a "first pass" to 'filter down' to the stuff I want to read properly, and Saturdays to read through it all. I quite like this as a system but obviously it's somewhat at the mercy of my schedule.
- I have managed to build up absurd backlogs in a bunch of things so goodness knows how I'm going to clear those. More likely I will just... not do that and clear them by starting again. I would like to be able to "treat the stuff as a river going by" or whatever Oliver Burkeman said about it but some part of me finds that very difficult.
- The Mill got a £1.75 mil valuation, which is encouraging for Seagull in that it's a reminder that what we're doing does work elsewhere.
- The "massive input" model has—perhaps for hyperfixation reasons—always been the way I've approached subjects. I spend a month fixated on e.g. the Byzantines and then I move on to something else, but if you read a bunch of books that cover similar ground you get a good idea of the orthodoxies and controversies of a field.
- Some really good LRB articles lately: James Butler on The Burnt City, James Vincent on a history of the calculator, John Lanchester on statistics, Jenny Turner on the Naomi Klein book, Will Davies on Weber and higher ed and Lorna Finlayson on animal liberation.
- Enjoyed this and the podcast appearances of Vincent Bevins promoting his new book on mass protest movements.
- Very fun piece about the only Communist councillor in Horley.
- Very depressing piece about... well, in significant part about how state schools, like many other still-just-about-functioning bits of social infrastructure, are picking up slack from other bits.
- Eddie Kingston writing on his own career from a few years back is something really very special.
- After finding his Substack, I've been listening to more interviews with David Bentley Hart, he's got a good voice and he says interesting stuff.
- The Lost Broadcasts is a podcast about shows that tried to imitate the success of LOST. It releases monthly, a cadence that I increasingly enjoy as I get older.
- Ahsoka finished and it remained resolutely mid until the end where it just became very silly. More interesting visually than anything SW (bar Andor) has been in ages, but some dreadful, dreadful dialogue, some nonsensical plots and, frankly, a plot which was setting up one thing to happen, which took the whole series to happen. Also, discovered the actor who played Jacked Jedi Santa died! Very sad.
- CM and I have started watching (re-watching, in my case) The X-Files, and it is remarkable how much of it is there right from the pilot. I reckon there's a case it's one of the strongest pilots in TV history: we get Mulder and Scully very well-characterised, their dynamic extremely clearly established: Mulder is moves charmingly and with ease between earnest and goofy without being annoying and Scully is sensible, strait-laced and by-the-book without being a stick-in-the-mud. Scully manages to miss the alien at the end. The Cigarette Smoking Man is there. It's great stuff.
- Still got Only Connect as our watch-with-dinner show—we've had some really strong teams lately—the Mercians were a particular favourite; unexpectedly absolutely lethal.
- (Re)-watched Top Gun with some pals the other day. A deeply stupid film full of military propaganda but man, it's fun.
- I played a bit of Starfield via Game Pass but... I dunno it still feels so much like Skyrim or Oblivion or Fallout and I really just want to play the game without the characters being weirdly posed and awkward like that.
- On the other hand, played a bit of Common Hood, which is also available on Game Pass and it's very charming.
- No more Baldur's Gate yet; think I might take my Steam Deck with me when I go on hols next week.
This week I'm off to Edinburgh for my first real week off in aaaages. Getting the sleeper train up and everything, very excited. Keep it real, folks. Over and out.