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On streaking.

It’s true. I’m a streaker.

There are certain activities I like to do every day. One way or another, I count how many days in a row I’ve done them.

There’s the movies, obviously. I broke my summer-long daily streak with the first killer Monday this year, and I’m probably just gonna surrender to that Monday going forward, so it’s gonna top out at 6 days in a row for the rest of the year. That’s fine, I still watch way more than one a day on average, and my Letterboxd stats define a streak as once a week, so at 185 and counting, I’m good.1I do also get bummed out if I miss Sneak Preview, but that’s a few Tuesdays a month, not every day.

There’s the phone games. I play all the Flow Free games every day and have for years — 7.8 years specifically, because the app says I’ve played 2852 days, which is approximately since the beginning.2The daily puzzle update dropped at different times in different places and different app stores, and you may not have installed it right away. My actual streak is 2707 days, though, because I missed one day once, about half a year in. If I had a time machine, I assure you. I have a perfect since-the-beginning streak on all the other ones. 3I also play TwoDots, but that streak mechanic came in very late and for a while it was just very hit and miss whether it registered the day or not — they either fixed that or I got better at catching it, I’m currently at about 200 days.

For a while I used to say if I hadn’t tweeted in 24 hours you could safely assume I was dead.4Guess I’ve died. I’m sure there’s other things I could include in this streak mentality. I’m never late for school.

I realised the other day I was on a streak here.5To your right, note the calendar. Unless you’re on your phone, in which case, scroll down. Responsive, baby! And made fun of myself for it. But this is a different kind of streak — it’s not a mindless phone game or a passive6I mean, I toot, but. media consumption habit. Blogging is writing, blogging isΒ productive. People have already told me they enjoy what I’m doing here, and I’mΒ having fun doing it. Even writing this at 22:30 on a Killer Monday just to make sure I don’t break the streak.7Wait, my Flow streak should be one higher if I’m posting this tomorrow– No! Just schedule it! Walk away! Be done!

My workload at school will increase as the year goes on. Maybe tomorrow I just don’t have something that I feel is best served by writing a blog post about it. I’ll break that streak, and it’s gonna be fine. I’ll just post again the day after, or a few days later. IΒ will break that streak.

But not today.

………Wait, what did you think the title meant?

  • 1
    I do also get bummed out if I miss Sneak Preview, but that’s a few Tuesdays a month, not every day.
  • 2
    The daily puzzle update dropped at different times in different places and different app stores, and you may not have installed it right away.
  • 3
    I also play TwoDots, but that streak mechanic came in very late and for a while it was just very hit and miss whether it registered the day or not — they either fixed that or I got better at catching it, I’m currently at about 200 days.
  • 4
    Guess I’ve died.
  • 5
    To your right, note the calendar. Unless you’re on your phone, in which case, scroll down. Responsive, baby!
  • 6
    I mean, I toot, but.
  • 7
    Wait, my Flow streak should be one higher if I’m posting this tomorrow– No! Just schedule it! Walk away! Be done!

The voice of the blog.

I’ve been thinking about the voice of this blog, and the voices of blogs in general.

What’s the voice of a blog in the Year of Luigi 2023? Is there even such a thing? Is the concept of the blog so dominated by the corporate voice, the journalistic voice, that the blog is now unvoiced, voiceless, indistinct when it does pipe up?

As part of this thinking I’ve been reading blogs from the far-flung future year of 1999, and overwhelmingly, the voice reminds me very specifically of one thing: The exact way everyone talked on the first few years of Twitter. A word you might enjoy here is that I would call it “exploratory.” The voice is confident and excited, but knows it must be ready for anything. It has no idea what’s coming, but it can’t wait to find out.1New York-based bloggers were first to lose this in 2001. It’s a sharp turn, that one.

Is there any way to get back there? Does it have value to try? Or do we live in a world so fundamentally changed by the ever-advancing marches of history, technology, society, that it’s like asking to go to Constantinople, which exists only as a story below the city Turkey tells today? Do I actually wish I could still write like that? No, I think I just wish I lived in less interesting times.

So what’s the voice of the blog in the Year of Luigi 2023? What does my version of it sound like? I don’t know, but probably not like that of a 20-something student from 1999. How do I “explore” like the adventurers of yore? I don’t know. But I’m looking forward to finding out.

  • 1
    New York-based bloggers were first to lose this in 2001. It’s a sharp turn, that one.

Sunday #1

I’m trying to invent blogging from scratch for myself here. This format is pretty directly inspired by the “weeknotes” a lot of people in tech do, but one, that’s a lot more “job,” and a lot more “journal,” than I’m really doing right now, and two, frankly, the relationship between my life and people in tech is the problem I’m trying to solve here, I’d rather they not be… any kind of guiding light for me in blogging.

So right now these are called “Sunday” recaps, the idea being, here’s some stuff that doesn’t entirely stand on its own but that I still feel should go here, posted some, probably not all, Sundays. When there’s Enough to post. A lot of the time it’ll likely be mostly spare bits of writing, though I’m sure as I come to think blog-first it’ll generate additional, original writing, too. Heck, I wrote this before I added a bunch of notes on updating my website. Here I am, tech-blogging anyway.

Now I just need to start thinking blog-first.

Below the fold, notes on updating my website, some bits and bobs from my Letterboxd, some media diet notes, and a podcast recommendation. Oh, that’s already quite a lot, isn’t it.

Continue reading “Sunday #1”

On blogging

Is anyone happy about the state of the internet in the Year of Luigi 2023? Search sucks now, what you do find is riddled with generated text and SEO land grabs, and everything you use every day has either been ruined by a billionaire or is owned by a billionaire with ruining-it aspirations, which is a problem if you like using it because it’s kicking you off the boat, and a problem if you don’t like using it but are forced to because you’re chained to a boat that sucks to be on even more now. And that’s just what’s top of mind right now because they’re the examples everyone uses when complaining about the state of the internet in the aforementioned Year of Luigi 2023.

So what does make me happy on the internet? What are my e-raindrops on digital roses, what are my electronic brown paper packages tied up with @string? Mastodon, obviously, because that’s where my friends are. Comics of all kinds, from snazzy webtoons to archives of ancient-and-still-running newspaper strips. Playing board games with friends and strangers alike on a website from 2002. Finding little personal websites is a big one. I love clicking on a link in something posted 15 years ago and seeing it still go somewhere. Remember, before he sold it, the way Wordle sprung up?

So what’s the string that ties all of these packages together? It’s all pretty people-first. I think it’s also pretty… billionaire-last. What I like here is the people. You could get rid of the billionaires1Who aren’t people., and everything I like about the web would still be there, but the same isn’t true about the people. No people, no internet worth having. So how do you get rid of the billionaires, or at least solve the billionaire problem2I stand by my pitch of, we make a list, we guillotine number one, and then we look knowingly at the rest.3As always, references to the guillotine in my writing should be read as, we do everything we can, starting with the options they’re willing to go along with, and if that doesn’t do it, well, you know. I talk about guillotining like this because I’m far more interested in being very clear about what the end of that particular road looks like than I am in negotiating. for yourself?

On billionaire-owned platforms4And I keep referring to “the billionaires” as shorthand because the Twitter issue is so fresh, but, say, platforms owned or controlled by black box megacorporations like Google or whatever the company that runs TikTok is called are clearly part of the problem, too. I am restricted in doing so. On these platforms it’s very common for what you put out there to be considered in some way in the public domain, you don’t control what happens to anything you do, you are never the captain of your own ship. And the trends are in the wrong direction. YouTubers chase the algorithm like dogs chasing cars, TikTok has kids saying “sπŸ₯šπŸ₯šπŸ₯š” and “unalive” because to say “sex” or “death” is to hex your relationship with the algorithm.

I don’t know what the solution is here. I do know I don’t want this, and that I don’t think anyone should want this. I think I can alleviate some of the issues, at least for myself, simply by being more conscientious about how and where I put things out into the world. What do Mastodon, this blog, little personal websites, all have that I don’t have on the big platforms? Here I have ownership, control, and freedom.

Baio5Who I have one-sided joke beef with., there, in 2016, in the post Kottke quotes, quotes Kottke from three years earlier saying the blog has died. No matter how much we might constantly ask for it to, the situation has not meaningfully changed in the decade since6Though I guess I can now name, like Baio asks, a great, single-author blog that started in the past few years. I wonder why this one stands out to me so much. and it doesn’t particularly look or feel like it will. But the web isn’t a sea, where the rising tide brings inevitable change over and over again on a regular schedule. The web is the people on it, it’s me, it’s you, it’s all of our friends, and all of our aunts. And change is the decisions we make.

Starting a blog will not make the problems with the state of the internet in the Year of Luigi 2023 magically go away. But I can at least live the change I want to see.

  • 1
    Who aren’t people.
  • 2
    I stand by my pitch of, we make a list, we guillotine number one, and then we look knowingly at the rest.
  • 3
    As always, references to the guillotine in my writing should be read as, we do everything we can, starting with the options they’re willing to go along with, and if that doesn’t do it, well, you know. I talk about guillotining like this because I’m far more interested in being very clear about what the end of that particular road looks like than I am in negotiating.
  • 4
    And I keep referring to “the billionaires” as shorthand because the Twitter issue is so fresh, but, say, platforms owned or controlled by black box megacorporations like Google or whatever the company that runs TikTok is called are clearly part of the problem, too.
  • 5
    Who I have one-sided joke beef with.
  • 6
    Though I guess I can now name, like Baio asks, a great, single-author blog that started in the past few years. I wonder why this one stands out to me so much.
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