[Should I number these? Like “Good morning. Hello. How are you? #8” or whatever? And if so, like, do I start the numbering with the emails or back at the first one ever? hrm.]
Good morning. Hello. How are you? I am great. It is the weekend. I have nothing on the agenda for the next two days besides Gardening and related Youtube video-making. It is going to be great. I am listening to the new Tindersticks album, Distractions, on blue vinyl that I paid an arm and a leg to have shipped over from the UK. Worth it. Janet took Jane over to her house last night for a sleepover, so Emma and I got… four whole hours to ourselves where Jane and my mom were not impressing upon us. That was lovely. We finished The Umbrella Academy. It got a lot better toward the end of season two when it started treating the various characters’ bad decisions and neuroses as comedy. That worked better. Whole thing works better as a comedy. Some glaring plot holes, though, but what time-travel sci-fi doesn’t have plot holes (don’t say Primer).
Just learned seconds ago that this condo I wanted at Southern Village sold. I had been obsessively watching Zillow for years to keep an eye on this building, because I want a condo in it so bad, and I forgot to look at Zillow for, like, two weeks and one of these units came onto the market and sold just like that. So let this be a lesson to you all, never give up on your Zillow obsession. Feed it weekly. Daily, even. God, I am really bummed about that. Have really been hoping these last two weeks it was going to come back out of contract, but no luck. Curses.
Yesterday was a big long day of medical stuff. Telehealth meeting in the morning with one doctor - he was very nice. Which of course just led to a new test being scheduled. All initial consults with specialists lead to a battery of tests before anything happens. Sometimes it feels like the medical industry is just one big Nintendo game and you just have to get through a series of minibosses to meet and fight the big boss. Then after that consult my mom and I got in the car and dropped off the returns at the UPS store and headed to the Asian grocery where I did finally get Shaoxing wine, thanks be. I got four bottles. Should last me four months or so, maybe up to six, and get me through the pandemic? hopefully? Fingers crossed. Oh shit I just realized I left all that in the car. Hold please. OK back. Obviously it doesn’t matter if Shaoxing wine gets left in the car but I also bought some mung bean sprouts, red jalepenos and Holy Basil, which I grew from cuttings last year and worked fantastically but it didn’t overwinter well but I figure it’ll tide me over till the seedlings start producing. Anyway, it’s in the fridge now.
Then we went to the ultra-fancy new UNC Medical facility at 100 Eastview and… my god. Talk about a doctor’s office from the future. It looked like a cross between Star Fleet a la the Kelvin Timeline and the international departures check-in for the most high-tech airport recetly built. Just insane. That thing is made to process a crazy amount of patients in comfort. It was impressive. It also, of course, just led to more tests being scheduled. But luckily both tests are next week, and the follow-ups the week after, and my mom did get one pill that’s supposed to help with her worst symptoms so, you know, not a total waste of a day.
One nice thing is that at the medical center, no one cared if Mom was vaccinated. Everyone was treated in the same “you might be toxic” way and they even made us take new surgical masks from them, even if we already had masks (thus increasing my mask count to three). And I was here for it. All people treated equally potentially toxic. Put that in the constitution. I kid.
The dream to do gardening afterwards was a failed dream, we weren’t back till 3:30, then I had to talk to some more medical people and Emma was exhausted from a solo day with Jane being a pill, so I went and got her and us Bojangles. Mmm.
While we were sitting in 200 Eastview, my mom asked me if our car - the one we had been in, not 20 minutes earlier - had a sunroof. And I legitimately didn’t know. I couldn’t say. Then, later that night, as Emma and I were getting ready for bed, I noticed this spot inside the frame of a beloved photograph I bought from the amazing Nicole Audet maybe 25 years ago.
Emma told me that the spot had been there forever, since she first saw the photo. I got the thing framed more than 20 years ago, so god knows when the spot was introduced, but Emma is telling me it’s been there more than a decade. And I never noticed. And this thing is right on our stair landing I still look at all the time and think about how much I love it. But i never noticed the spot. Insane.
So then I told Emma the story about the sunroof and she wasn’t sure either - she was pretty sure we did had one, I was pretty sure we didn’t. So we trudged downstairs to look and yes, we do. Except it’s always closed. Which was my excuse. But. Damn. We’ve talked about observation before, but jesus H am I really bad at it.
I don’t know if you’ve been following this, but my old friend and fantastic reporter Taylor Lorenz has been going through a grueling, harrowing bout of stalking and online abuse because she has the temerity to report on Silicon Valley in a way they don’t like. She’s been doing fantastic reporting on internet and creator culture for years, but a group of incredibly rich and powerful men have decided she shouldn’t be reporting on what they’re doing, and have caused an online mob to relentlessly attack Taylor. This has now escalated to Taylor being pilloried by the execrable Tucker Carlson in the same breath as Hillary. It is fucking awful. I had thought I already profoundly disliked everyone in this group - I have a pretty serious dislike of most VCs these days. But then the other night I was scrolling through twitter and a VC who I thought was one of the good ones was sitting there both-sidesing, saying that yeah, what Tucker Carlson was doing was wrong but also Taylor was… well, he didn’t come out and say she deserved it, but he basically said she deserved it because she did some bad reporting. His actual, stated position, not me putting words in his mouth, was that Tucker and these VCs unleashing a torrent of abuse was equivalent to her bad reporting: that neither party deserved defense because they were both bad. Like… okay? Hey public service announcement everyone: even bad reporters don’t deserve this shit and online abuse is manifestly, unambiguously worse than bad reporting. AND TAYLOR IS A FUCKING AWSOME REPORTER. I was so angry, so sick to my stomach that even this supposedly okay VC was such a fucking asshole. The whole place is fucking awful. There are good people there, but the place is basically like that radiation chamber Spock had to go to in Wrath of Kahn (don’t get me started on ST:ID). It’ll kill you eventually.
I wrote a song about this but no one listens to my music so I’m just going to put the lyrics here:
Picture a sick man in New York in the seventies
Deinstitutionalized now he’s on the street
But unlike Lou Reed he has a foul proclivity
Of making death threats to everyone he sees
Call every death threat one pound of misery
That the whole world now has to carry
His problem is that he's constrained by technology
On the number of death threats he can make daily
People on the street might number eighty or ninety
He can only scrawl out a few letters daily
So while this sick man brings the world misery
He cannot shift the balance completely
Now picture this man in twenty nineteen
With a laptop, a browser, and a fast ISP
His quota of death threats now nears infinity
And every one another pound of misery
Millions of people can be hurt effortlessly
By just this one man, unchanged from the seventies
Let’s not forget that he can now meet
Other sad sacks who think just like he
In the old days he’d never happen to see
Another like him, he had to act singly
Now he can team up, kibbutz, and compete
Working together they increase efficiency
“Ah but” you say to me gently and sagely,
"There an opposite accounting of this tragedy
One of joy brought by others more saintly
They too are now empowered and set free
The internet brings us more of everything
Good and the bad but it balances eventually”
But one pound of joy and one of misery
Are not balanced to zero when experienced equally
So taught us Kahneman and Amos Tversky
Infinite joy doesn’t negate equal agony
Fear isn’t hot water that can be cooled with Icees
It’s a poison take enough it’ll kill us eventually
We’ve created a monster
It’s swallowing the earth
I helped create a monster
I was at the birth
Wow that was really self indulgent, but I wish people would get this: there is no equivalency between online hate and what people “did to deserve it.” There’s not an equal amount of good shit on the internet, and even if there were, our minds find the bad more toxic than we find the good cleansing. This is science. People won the Nobel Prize for figuring this shit out. It’s not up for debate.
AT&T sent me an email saying that my phone, cell, internet and TV bills would all be combined in a new contract and hey here’s the contract. Like imagine if one of your clients was like “oh hey we changed your contract here it is.” Ha actually that’s not so hard to imagine at all, is it? Contracts are a joke. Contracts mean nothing anymore in our legal system: the person with the most money wins, it’s as simple as that. Well, the joke’s on you, AT&T, our internet is in my wife’s name and you don’t even know these two contracts are the same residence because you’re super good at fucking people over with legal contracts but you’re actually terrible with technology, so. No unilaterally merged contract for you.
Another 1972 Pirelli calendar came on the market. Not too expensive, £30, but shipping will be a bitch. I’ve bought every 1972 Pirelli calendar that’s come on the market on eBay for the last decade. I have like 5 now. I have three new in box. I’m not, like, into Pirelli calendars, but 1972 was the year I was born and I am very into the photographer who shot the 1972 Pirelli calendar, Sarah Moon, who was the first woman to ever shoot one. I have all her folios n shit. I love her. Can’t remember how I first got into her but it would have been around 1992, because they had a folio of hers at the UAF library that I would regularly consult.
The calendar is super delicate, and the paper pages hang on these plastic hooks and they keep tearing, which is why I keep buying more. But I think I’m good. I think five is enough. Maybe one of you should buy this one!
Mark Lanegan did a cover of Disorder with Peter Hook and the Light, or, I guess, rather, just with The Light, because there is no Peter Hook on it. But it is very good. Mark looks and sounds great:
Oh update on the weird situation with the guy potentially murdered down the road. The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office put out a statement on the subject. Seemed slightly defensive, you can tell they don’t it implied that they’re not doing their job. But they said they had been investigating thoroughly, didn’t look like a beating or anything, the most plausible explanation is that someone maybe struck him with their mirror while driving by. They’re still investigating, they say. The man’s family is not having it, implying that the Sheriff’s office wasn’t doing its job and hinting at racism. It’s becoming a real drama. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between: they did do an investigation, looked like a hit and run, there’s zero evidence, the investigation sort of petered out but is officially still open. Or something. Regardless, you don’t get this kind of police drama out here in the sticks, so. Crazy times.
I would like to close with a complaint about Apple’s Mail.app in Big Sur. They made it worse again. Apple really makes it hard to be a booster for Mail.app. It’s still the easiest way to handle multiple Gmail accounts on a Mac, but. Come on. They broke search, again and it’s basically unusuable. In the old days, Mail.app’s ability to search across multiple Gmail accounts was its killer feature. That’s just gone, they don’t even pretend to do that now. Now you have to click on a specific mailbox to search it. Not even a specific account. And once you do this, there is no way to go back to your inbox except to actually go to the search bar and click the little X and remove the search term. Escape doesn’t work. The key command command-1, which is supposed to go to your inbox, that doesn’t work either. It’s so so bad. I’m sure there’s some low-level proxy war between Apple and Google going on with Mail.app - there’s plenty of evidence of it. But, man, Apple is the LBJ in this proxy war and they are getting their ass kicked. There’s this app Shift now, which has a pretty decent Mac native app (not sure of their Apple Silicon status) and is built to handle multiple Gmail accounts. It’s not for me - well, I use it, but for other stuff - but Apple has some competition, again, in this front. But who knows. I’m such a slave to my mail client. I’d still be using Eudora if I could. I miss Eudora so much.
Okay! Mix time. Let’s do a shoegaze one. Good stuff here. Love love love that Asobi Seksu song they were so good live. One of the bands keeping the shoegaze dreams alive in the uncool times of 95-2002 or so. Mellonova too. We toured a bunch with Mellonova those guys were great Canadian shoegazers. Really liked them a lot. And I threw this Underground Lovers song on here because it’s great but also because they just set up a bandcamp and put out two comp albums - one of remixes and one of b-sides and they’re both super good. It’s warm but cloudy here today. That’s good shoegaze weather. Listen to this while you’re gardening!
And off I go. Gonna go film a shredder review video now and start thinning some seedlings! WOO GARDENING!