Day eleven

Whew I almost forgot to blog tonight!

A thing about living in the exurbs is that to anyone else, your neighborhood could look explicitly like Anytown, USA, but to you these are distinct, recognizable views.

We live in an exurb with particular tracts of land delineated by homeowners associations, tracts that used to be farm (honestly, plantation), and now are dotted with clumps of townhouses, two-story single-family homes, and the odd bit of “affordable” apartment buildings blended into the landscape for good measure.

Our HOA (like many others) is strict enough to legislate what color paint you can use on your front door, so there’s an orderly uniformity, even if sometimes things get uniformly aged.

Growing up in suburban (exurban?) South Florida, our thirty-year-old neighborhood had once been relatively uniform, with just a few different facades and layouts for our ranch homes with attached garages, but time and individuality and I can only assume the developers and real estate agents themselves all did their thing and it wasn’t until I rode the bus in high school and saw our block from a different angle that I understood how alike all our houses were.

At least these days we’re transparent about our conformity.

Day ten

Dear diary,

Today I unfollowed like a thousand people on Twitter.

Honestly, who were all those strangers? On one hand, I followed many people for many reasons, and didn’t feel like I added too much mental overhead to my life by clicking the follow button.

OTOH tho, omg that was a lot of strangers to follow, and in the end, I found I was making myself anxious not knowing who it was OK to fave or reply to or RT, and during actual news events it just got silly.

So I’ve brought it down to somewhere near 700, I think, and I could certainly go further.

It was striking, though, looking at descriptions as I did it, just how many people are, like me (more or less) “taking a break from Twitter.”

I wonder, does this happen every year? Is this our way of going to the gym in January now?

Oh, also, if you think you’re clever and do a little syllable switching to be funny, you end up “breaking a take from Twitter” which is the exact opposite of what I want to do right now.

Day nine

It’s the ninth day of the year, my ninth day in a row thumbtyping something into this publishing machine, because the streak is just getting started.

Have I ever blogged here nine days in a row before? Mayyyybe at the beginning, in grad school, excited about everything.

Have I ever written nine posts here without a link dump / clip show / recommendation post?

Definitely not.

So here are three things…

  • I’m reading Space Opera, which opens, more or less, with the greatest alien arrival scene since Hitchhiker’s Guide, and seems to go on very much in that spirit. So far.
  • I listened to the Song Exploder podcast on Fleetwood Mac’s You Can Go Your Own Way today in the car, with Lindsey Buckingham. Well, he wasn’t in my car, but, well, sort of. Anyway, it was lovely and I’d love to hear it again but with Stevie or Mick instead or all of them arguing, ugh, that would be cruel and awful.
  • We’ve been watching Death in Paradise on Netflix, and it is the most wholesome thing this side of The Good Place, if you like murder mysteries and a fantastic classic reggae soundtrack.

Day eight

Every morning, I walk the dog along a variable route on our neighborhood sidewalks and paths, usually along the shores of one, two, or three of our little lakes, depending on the weather, her mood, and how many other dogs we see (and avoid — her behavior around other dogs is… suboptimal.)

In warm weather, there are herons in the area, and I spot them frequently enough that I started using a #dailyheron tag on Instagram. I was a little surprised to see one out today:

Late in 2017 and at least into the spring of 2018, I was using one of my blogs (and the mobile app in which I have typed all these blog posts so far this year) to post some odd black and white over-processed images from some of my morning walks, afternoon soccer practices, and other outdoor moments with the dog or kids.

Honestly? It got a little repetitive, but there were some nice herons mixed in.

This one is the very first image saved on my camera roll on this phone. I’ve lost track of what that means about when it’s from or which generation of phone I shot it with.

Day seven

Did everyone get a sunrise like this today, or is the steam from our friendly neighborhood data centers starting to change our microclimate? Just asking…

I remember waking up to smog-filtered kaleidoscope sunrises in New Jersey, sleeping on floors working on student films my junior year of college. That spring, I learned to love sandbags and c-stands and Jameson and cutting up light.

That was also the spring after I had gone vegan, and getting myself fed on student film sets was a fun sport, as it would be on independent films for a couple years. I had this Mars Attacks hat I irrationally treasured that season — yes, I had enjoyed the movie — we must have seen it at an early screening with some swag handouts — but mostly I just liked hats.

I made myself a little sharpie-and-gaffer-tape label that said “THE VEGAN” in some heavy metal band-adjacent hand, and vigorously taped it to the hat in place of the word “Mars.” The Vegan Attacks.

When I started working on music videos more frequently, I gave up on it a bit, and would dig into second meal pizza without more than a couple thoughts about the dairy involved.

But then again, I spent a large portion of my earnings at vegetarian and vegan restaurants, often taking cabs home, dropping my gear, washing my hands, and going out to the corner vegan diner (RIP Kate’s Joint) in my dirty grip jeans and flannel shirt, to sit at the bar and wait for my takeout country fried tempeh or southern smothered tofu or my unturkey club sandwich.

Day six

At the end we preferred to travel all night, 
Sleeping in snatches, 
With the voices in our ears, saying 
That this was all folly. 

T. S. Eliot, Journey of the Magi

…but also about parenting, probably.

We arrived at Epiphany today with the second child ailing of the stomach bug that kept the first up all night Thursday and home from school on Friday.

We strove on, nevertheless, and took down the decorations, somehow fit everything back in the appropriate containers and closet, and continued polishing off leftovers.

I’m working on a luxurious pork broth for a ramen dinner tomorrow:

(This is pretty much a before picture, taken four+ hours ago when I started simmering the bones.)

The dog loves pork, and the dog loves broth, so she is pleased with this turn of events.

Day five

Weekends can be tricky! But the streak must go on.

There aren’t any tweets in my Notes file today, but this might’ve been a good self-deprecating thought, whether or not it’s original:

Y’know, for someone who likes to avoid conflict, I sure do enjoy replaying every one in my head over and over again.

Photo projects, like figuring out how to recover and host and categorize 15+ years of images from across multiple social networks, are a bit of a cobbler’s children problem for me.

My mom is a photographer, and did portraits and parties for years, but our own family photo archives included a few key albums and the rest flowed through cardboard boxes and closets and offices and filing cabinets from house to house to house.

There were blue boxes of slides, piles and piles of negatives, contact sheets, black and white 8x10s from the early years when our laundry room doubled as a darkroom, and boxes on boxes on boxes of proofs.

So here I am, the cobbler’s child, going through my own digital boxes, trying to track down file names in years-old “to print” folders that have been carried from camera to card to iMac to Flickr to Dropbox to Drive to iMac to send off into some consumer-facing cloud printing system.

A couple years back, in a previous Flickr-panic, I started backing everything up in Google Photos, but not at full resolution.

So, here’s a fun file, one of the oldest that I know I took that’s in our online archives:

It’s a scene from the road on the way back from the job in New Mexico where I met my wife. It’s probably from June 2001, and I think it’s Texas.

That was definitely taken with a film camera. I don’t think I was push processing color then, but who knows, maybe it was some 800 speed stuff. Printed as a proof at Spectra on Avenue A (?) soon after, and scanned on my really crappy flatbed scanner at the time (thanks mom, it was great), as evidenced by the vertical magenta stripe about a third of the way in.

That stripe, in turn, was one of the reasons I started messing around with Photoshop (also thanks mom!), so it’s hard to know for sure how much goofiness I added with filters there.

It must have made its way to Flickr at some point, but this one is old enough it could be on, where I would post a few things around 2001-2002. (I continue to be amazed this site still exists.)

And after that? Did it travel from hard drive to CD to hard drive to USB stick to hard drive to Google Photos? Or is this a copy that was resized (smaller) to upload via 56K baud modem?

I have no idea.