Dinosaur Valley State Park w/ @jensap 🥾🎒🦖

Always a blast to work out with these guys in the gloom. 🇺🇸🏃‍♂️🏛

satanic banality

Yuval Levin: The shift is evident in what the report, like a great deal of other social science in recent years, describes as a mix of good and bad news about American society. The good news is that some of the most troubling social trends of the second half of the 20th century have been abating in our time. Last year, for instance, the U.S. divorce rate hit a 50-year low.…

Read more ⟶

Three reasons I’m thankful for the library at The Center for Christian Study

Stalacpipe Organ, Luray Caverns

All I could think of was Buddy Christ from Dogma’s “Catholicism Now!” when I read this from Giles Fraser:

St Michael’s Church in Bournemouth had renamed itself St Mike’s “in a trendy rebrand to entice young people”. … The Vicar there, Sarah Yetman, has a tough gig and all power to her elbow for trying to turn things around. “We aren’t trying to alienate anyone by changing the name” she explains, “But I do feel that if we don’t take steps now to draw people in from those younger generations we will be lamenting what we have missed in the years to come.”

Buddy Christ

Jeffrey Bilbro’s piece about staying sane in a mad time crystalizes some thoughts I’ve had for a while.

Wesley Hill puts it well:

I’ve come to think the reason Gamaliel, Jesus-disbeliever though he apparently was, gets quoted in the book of Acts is that his rationale was commendable. We believers in Jesus, too, have to wait for Judgment Day for God to sort out the wheat from the tares — for God to sift through the ways I and my tribe, “traditionalists” on sexuality, have been more Levite than Samaritan to gay people left for dead along the church’s highway to supposed triumph. We have to wait for God to expose the ways a supposedly enlightened “progressivism” has left believers bereft of any way of understanding Scripture as the Word of God for people today and therefore constantly exposed to whatever wind seems to be promising compassion in the here and now, often heedless of its hidden costs. We have to wait, ultimately, for God to bring us all, traditionalist and progressive alike, to see our shared poverty, our common need for God’s mercy in Christ. In the meantime, and in spite of spirited urges for mutual anathemas, we’re apparently called to “wait for one another” (1 Corinthians 11:33). We’re called to wait as long as it takes to maintain our visible unity, our line of direct descent from those who experienced Jesus’ transforming mercy firsthand.

Digital detox reflections/an update on this space

An update So, as I mentioned in this post, I tried a “digital detox” for about 30 days. Overall, I’d say it was a worthwhile experience, one with some surprising outcomes. A bit of housekeeping regarding this space — I gained a newfound appreciation for simplicity during that time. In that spirit, I decided to import all of my “longform” blog posts here and moved the domain name for robertsapunarich.…

Read more ⟶

Turnstile - “Mystery” —a friend recently turned me on to these guys. it’s like the best of 90s hardcore came to give us all a hug in 2021.

Because I know there are some people who watch this space — I’ll be going dark here for the next 30 days or so.

EDIT: I’m doing a “digital detox”. Apologies if the above was cryptic.

I’ve loved Scott Snyder’s writing for a decade now. His work on Batman is some of the best I’ve ever read, but over the years, it was disheartening to see him give more and more of his talent to DC’s machine. So I am very, very excited to see him go independent again.

Two firsts for me last night: first post-vax concert, and first ever BTBAM show. 🎵🤘

AT ⛰⛰

Jack is brushing up on his distributed systems knowledge. 📚

Good to hear these guys again. 🎵

How the f is there no lighthouse emoji?

📖🏊‍♂️🍺👍

Posting to AO Hard Nocs with F3 Jacksonville and dinner at Cap’s On the Water with @jensap have been just a couple of highlights from this week’s St. Augustine vacation.

“There’s not a lot of people in this world courageous enough to not change.” — A.B.

🌉🗽💁‍♀️

Thanks to Front Porch Republic for publishing this piece of mine: Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith: Learning Masculinity in a Time of Despair

Jason McCarthy 🇺🇸:

BBQ and cornhole and cool kid sunglasses and a boom box you can hear a hundred miles away. You’re on the ocean, you’re at the lake, you’re in your backyard, you’re wherever you are in this great big free country of ours. The sun is bright and the sky is blue and you open the cooler and grab all the beers you can wrestle against your chest. You pass them around to anyone and everyone, it’s smiles in every direction. This is exactly what summer in America should feel like.

As a dear friend likes to say, live big.

Memorial Day is a great day to be grateful to be alive, and to prove it. I barely knew the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day when I was a kid. Americans were not dying in war, which is also a great thing to be grateful for, because we weren’t fighting any. Sacrifice simply wasn’t at the forefront of our nation’s headlines, so it left no impression upon me. That would come much later.

It’s not a bad thing that we’re fighting more for the Roaring 20’s to emerge than we are at war — these things come in cycles. But the time is now for those of us who know the true meaning of Memorial Day — because we live it every day — to build a bridge to those who don’t. To invite them to do MURPH, to invite them to your backyard BBQ, to meet them halfway plus a little more.

And when you raise your glass to those who can’t be with us, do it with pride in your heart and share why, for you personally, Memorial Day is a great day to be grateful to be alive.

For me it’s because I have too many buddies who were too young who are buried in the ground now and I miss them. I feel guilty that I get to live this great life and theirs was cut too short. I hope to honor their sacrifice by leading a good life, but it’s impossible to know if you can ever fully measure up to such a calling.

And yet, they would all be the first ones to pass around another beer right about now, and to tell me to live big, so that’s what I’ll do, and what we all should do.

🌯👍

First sports game since 2019. I have no horse in this race so…go Astros? ⚾️🚀

🎣

📚🌳

Jonah Goldberg puts it well:

As Charlie Cooke notes, some seem to lament the CDC’s new mask rules precisely because they will no longer have the convenience of seeing masks as shorthand for “people I hate.” The debate now is “how can we tell if someone was vaccinated?” as if this were a hugely important question. “The next question is going to be, ‘How will we know if someone has been vaccinated?’” asked Dr. Michael Osterholm on Morning Joe. “If you’re sitting close to someone at a restaurant or … in a theater, how are you going to know that they’re not just kind of fibbing?”

My own response to this is, basically, I don’t care. I’m vaccinated. My family and friends are vaccinated. I’d like the people sitting next to me to be vaccinated too—for their sake. But I really don’t care very much, because even if they’re contagious, I’m extremely unlikely to get COVID. And if I do, the symptoms are going to be mild. That’s what the science says. And to borrow a phrase, I believe The Science.

Taken with binoculars and a phone.

Jack is ready to ruck. 🎒🐈

Exploring Annapolis.

From the F3 Cville CSAUP 5/1/21 🏃

Currently listening
🎵

I can’t stop listening to this — Michael Olatuja feat. Regina Carter “The Hero’s Journey” 🎵

Recovery dinner after 9 miles of rucking, running, burpees, and other completely stupid and utterly pointless workouts with 40+ other men on Saturday morning. 🏃🎒💪🏻🍔

Jack’s a Real Gamer Cat™️. 🎮

Guess who’s gonna make out with strangers at Outback Steakhouse happy hour (in two weeks people don’t freak)

'The Necessity of Bodies: Redux'

From Mary Harrington over at Unherd: We’ve paid steeply to control this virus. The price has not just been in government borrowing but in the tattered warp and weft of our common life. Maybe the price has been worth paying: even under lockdown, a staggering 126,000 UK citizens died within 28 days of a Covid test over the last year. But the cost has been unfathomable as well, both individually and collectively — and it has not been evenly borne.…

Read more ⟶

After 20 years apart, you don’t look so bad, Florida.

Enjoying the Low Country and Savannah. This place feels enchanted and haunted.

Charleston is neat.

Happy fourth anniversary to my beautiful, hilarious, joyful, and faithful wife @jensaplin. ❤️ Thanks for all the memories, and for keeping better records than I do.

Currently enjoying Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’s CARNAGE. Can’t wait for the physical release.

My friend CJ Green recently published his fiction debut!

This video is probably the most Orange County thing I’ve watched in a long, long time. Maybe it’s the pandemic, or the icy winter we’ve been having here, but, much as I consider VA home now, watching this made me a little homesick.

Felt good to do this again.

Why We Need Bodies to Heal Our Body

The strange, new circumstances of 2020 entailed a number of strange, new behaviors — “social distancing”, wearing masks, working from home, “toobin” (for some). I think I uttered the phrase “public health” more in one month than I had in my entire life until March 2020. Suddenly, my blissfully unaware self was inundated with a string of strange, new directives, necessitating strange, new thoughts and behaviors. Of course, the strange, new thing was a little understood, highly contagious virus that was spreading rapidly.…

Read more ⟶

Vibes

So @jensaplin insists this meme is old, but I saw it the other day and can’t stop laughing. I apologize for populating your feed with old memes.

A brief devotional/sermonette I wrote is now up at Mockingbird: Technologies, Ancient and Modern

Noah Van Niel: Manly Virtues — There’s some really good stuff in here that I’ve been mulling over for a while.

I aspire to be as impressionable as Bernie Sanders at a presidential inauguration. 🇺🇸

Between the President quoting Augustine and a prayer from an AME preacher, I would guess this is the most theologically eclectic inauguration ever. 🇺🇸

I wrote up a few thoughts over at Mockingbird reflecting on some ideas about wrestling from @ayjay and Esau McCaulley’s new books.

'Favorite Reads: Second half of 2020'

Happy New Year! It feels like it was both so recently and so long ago that I wrote up my list of favorite reads from the first half of 2020. Going forward, I think I’ll write one of these entries quarterly, if only for the fact that it’s easier to summon thoughts about something I read three months ago, rather than six. S.A. Cosby, Blacktop Wasteland —— When I wrote the previous “favorite reads” list, I was in the middle of reading this southern noir and so badly wanted to include it.…

Read more ⟶

There’s no shortage of thinkpieces circulating about evangelicalism and “Christian” nationalism right now, but this one from Funmi Ojetayo at The Front Porch might be one of the best. I encourage you to read the whole thing:

The raging mob of January 6th think themselves revolutionaries, restoring America to its greatness. But what we saw was less a noble cause and more the wickedness of a tyrant and those who bow to him. Besides, the medicine for our national malaise is not revolution. Revolutions – cultural, sexual, political – have proven inadequate to meet our deepest need. We need revival and renewal; we need a new awakening.

But since so many of our national leaders, political and religious leaders, have failed us, from whence shall this revival and renewal come?

The local church.

Much has been said and written about how white evangelicalism is in thrall to the GOP, but the data actually shows that most of the partisans and so-called Christian nationalists we see in the public sphere are not regular attendees of the local church.[i] They are cultural appropriators of Christianity at best, and outright charlatans at worst. The numbers bear out the fact that most regular church attendees, who routinely sit under sound preaching and teaching, are far less partisan, are more engaged in their community caring for the poor, the alien, the widow, the orphan, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized, more frequently interacting with different ethnic groups, and readily engaging in the work of racial reconciliation.

I submit to you that revival will not come from the top, but, as is fitting for the upside-down Kingdom of God, it will come from the groundswell of local, Spirit-empowered churches and pastors working for renewal in local communities throughout this nation. It is within the local church that we can shape virtuous people, a characteristic our Founding Fathers recognized as indispensable for self-government. It is within the local church that we grasp the meekness of Christ and its winsome power. It is in the local church that we learn to be reconciled to one another, because the gospel of reconciliation pulls down dividing walls of hostility and brings previously warring factions together into one family. It is in the local church that we learn unity even amidst diversity, for there is neither male nor female, black nor white, Republican nor Democrat, but all are one in Christ Jesus, co-heirs according to promise (Gal. 3:28-29). It is in the local church that we form and conform the hearts of our people away from earthly powers, and instead toward King Jesus, away from donkeys and elephants, and instead towards the Lamb who was slain for us.

Abandoned structures from around Charlottesville’s Woolen Mills this morning.

Texas was nice. Here are some photos.

Slightly emotional. Thank you TX for bringing me a taste of CA.

Farm cat

Happy birthday to @jensaplin! I’m blessed beyond deserving to have you as my wife, companion, and friend. You’ve graced the earth with your presence for 30 years, and it’ll only be the better to have you for 30+ more. I love you my star-stuff.

Great day celebrating 30.

Post-Xmas dinner vibes. 📷 credit: @jensaplin

The amazing @jensaplin knows how to give good gifts.

Cville beers rarely disappoint. Windswell Hazy DIPA from Random Row Brewing.

xkcd sees me.

Mood. 📷credit: @jensaplin

Icicles from yesterday’s storm.

John Gardner’s ‘Cruisin’ Across America’ | OJ Wheels - If I had to guess why I’m so drawn to this, I’d say it’s because it showcases Southern California and the east coast, both places that I’ve called home.

💁‍♀️🧔❤️🎄

John Inazu at The Hedgehog Review: This pandemic season has forced on many of us the painful absence of face-to-face relationships. When we are once again free to pursue these embodied relationships, we might discover that they also represent our best antidote to the information virus: other human beings who force us to confront complexity rather than caricature, and who challenge us to maintain friends, not just followers. But antidotes, like vaccines, don’t always come easily. They take work, risk, and perseverance

Current listening: TOOL - Fear Inoculum

Thankful for this amazing woman, and her cooking skills too. 🦃

Halp

My friend Zack recently built a dungeon generator in lieu of nanowrimo, and did a little write-up about it. I cloned the repo for it with the best intentions of contributing, but alas can take no credit for what he’s done here. Pretty neat stuff.

Our new cat, Jack, in peak cat position.

Finally made it to the Goochland Drive-In. 📍Goochland, VA

Fun fact, the unzipped archive of data is 28.4MB in size. 24.2MB is photos/videos/stories. The other 4.2MB is all JSON - likes, connections, contacts, etc. I look forward to digging into this.

I opened Instagram for the first time in a looong time today to export my data/tell people where to find me before I delete it. It is more of a dumpster fire than I even remember it, and feels like an unironic reproduction of something you’d find in a f*#king Black Mirror episode.

My good friend Kendall has a new project that I highly commend to you - Negative Love: a resource for queer Christians.

Leah Libresco Sargeant: “To give an honest accounting of ourselves, we must begin with our weakness and fragility. We cannot structure our politics or our society to serve a totally independent, autonomous person who never has and never will exist. “

this interview with John Milbank and Catherine Pickstock is a great introduction to radical orthodoxy.

Suggested Reading for New and Recovering Christians

Over the last couple of years, I’ve read a number of books that have helped me re-learn about certain aspects of faith that may have been unhelpfully shaped by the evangelical subculture in which I spent a number of my formative years. My own experience seems to parallel that of many of my peers, some of whom would call themselves “ex-vangelical”. That experience has even become a publishing/media trend of its own, with a fixation on “deconstructing” one’s faith and reconstructing it as something new.…

Read more ⟶

Oliver Burkeman: “To stay sane, you need at least one foot planted firmly in your world: the world of your job and neighborhood, that letter you need to mail, the pasta you’re cooking for dinner, the novel you’re reading with your book group, and that guy on your street who never cleans up after his dog – the world where you can have an effect, even if I’ve admittedly yet to have one with the dog guy. “

I’m very excited for this new book from John Barclay: “But grace is both richer and more complex than we generally imagine, and I here highlight how grace is significant not just for the individual (as “amazing grace” that “saved a wretch like me”) but also for the construction of communities that find in the unmerited grace of God in Christ the basis for new forms of solidarity that subvert traditional concepts of worth.”

Thrasher magazine: cruisin’ with Ace Pelka.

Two things I love about this: 1) seeing some skate street with an old-school deck shape, and 2) seeing some familiar looking locations from Long Beach.

Daniel Herriges at Strong Towns: We Don’t Live in a World of Cartoon Villains.

I’m sure there no shortage of opinionating about Dave Chappelle’s recent SNL monologue, so I’ll throw my opinion into the mix and say it’s absolutely worth watching for yourself.

Since we’re not allowed to meet inside yet and the last two sundays got rained out, our church held a brief compline service followed by a bonfire.

🇺🇸

Kendall Gunter at Mockingbird on Maria Dahvana Headley’s Beowulf translation: “We could say that, like many modern, feminist projects, these are Christian projects, too, belatedly finding their true voices to chastise dualist moralism. Trying to shore up our own purity (non-monstrosity) is a delusion doomed to fail. Perhaps identifying with our enemies welcomes not only them but our true, complicated selves.”

Theologically-inclined people of microblog: any suggestions for free materials for prepping Bible studies on the web? I’m trying to piece together something on Galatians 3. The most accessible resources I know of are firmly entrenched in the reformed evangelical way of things and I’m trying to branch out.

I’ve been meaning to write some thoughts about the pandemic, joy, and embodiedness, but this newsletter from Mo Perry gives voice to them better than I could have imagined. HT to @ayjay for this find.

This essay about OnlyFans, the commodification of eros, and capitalism’s encroachment of the most intimate aspects of our being is fascinating, and devastating. Lord, have mercy.

God and the Gamemaster - Alexi Sargeant at Plough.

Camping practice in our backyard. @jensaplin

New morning read. 📚

I wrote some thoughts on distraction and burnout.

Distraction and Burnout

This article by Anne Helen Petersen definitely hits home. The erratic dysrhythmia she describes of incessant context switching while attempting to do actual work was eerily similar to what a lot of my sessions writing either code or prose look like. I really feel for people who are in the content-hustle business – constantly needing to react to whatever the hive-mind buzzing about at the moment. For them, actively using social media in all of its most toxic ways is tragically an occupational hazard that is an inevitable part of their jobs.…

Read more ⟶

Eric Miller at Mere Orthodoxy on “the market” and Evangelical colleges: “The market’s inability to measure the actual historical loss that such decisions effect on the most crucial traditions we have—political, intellectual, ecclesiastical, ecological—is simply one more sign that our grand global system is yet another idol blind to the devastation in its wake. “

David French on the Breonna Taylor case: “In the contest between the rights of a woman to sleep peacefully in her own home and for her boyfriend to defend it against violent entry and the right of the state to make a violent entry, the law should prefer the homeowner.”

Brad Edwards at Mere Orthodoxy: “Evangelicals have had it all wrong. Secularism isn’t the root of the problem, but the inevitable fruit of an individualism cultivated within a domesticated church more interested in maintaining manicured lifestyles than exploring the messy inconvenience of the Kingdom. The threat isn’t lurking out there somewhere, but in here fueling the culture wars we claim to be victims of.”

Hiking Blackrock Summit

It’s hard to believe, but Jenoa and I have lived in Virginia for over a year. But it’s even harder to believe that in that time we hadn’t explored Shenandoah National Park until today. Since it was our first visit, we didn’t venture too far into the park and chose to take one of the shorter, mellower hikes, Blackrock Summit. Blackrock Summit has a fascinating history. An informative sign at the trailhead tells visitors how the rocks of Blackrock Summit were once the seabed of the Iapetus Ocean.…

Read more ⟶

Lovely day at Grace Estate Winery.

New neighbor.

Neighbor from the pond behind our house visited my office today.

Since I missed Nick Cave’s livestreamed solo concert back in July, I’m very excited that it will be released as a film and an album this November. This performance of Galleon Ship from it is just gorgeous.

A fantastic Labor Day reflection from Chris Arnade: “Many Americans see work as a thing to deal with, that hopefully gives them enough stability or money to have a shot at being who they really are. … That doesn’t mean they don’t want to be good at their job, but that there are a lot of hard jobs because life is hard, and a lot of people would rather focus their energies on being good at their lives.

Work is only a part of that, let’s not try to make it the only part.”

Boatin’.

Crabby neighbor.

VA beauty from our drive out to Solomons Island yesterday.

Mini vacation in Solomons Island, MD

Currently listening.

Today Augustine sounds like Uncle Colm from Derry Girls. “So I says to myself, says I…” 📚

I’m reading St. Augustine’s Confessions, and I feel like his writings about memory sometimes read like the ruminations of a stoned freshman — “It also contains all that I have ever learnt of the liberal sciences, except what I have forgotten”. Just read it in the voice of Keanu Reeves. 📚

Neil Gong at LARB: As the country reckons with the failures of mass incarceration and hyper-policing, activists and sympathetic lawmakers have a unique opportunity to implement abolitionist ideas. Deinstitutionalization’s history tells us that the easiest political compromise will be defunding without sufficient reinvestment. We can’t afford to repeat that mistake. If we are to move away from police and prisons, we must prioritize community investment and avoid settling for half-victories in the form of defunding and closure.

Jeffrey Guhin at The Hedgehog Review: As we get ready for another COVID semester, the stress of combining full-time work and full-time de-facto homeschooling is matched by the sadness of smushing all the power and beauty of education into the meritocratic ideology it has come to represent. Our students, our children, are more than achieving automatons. Yet this is where our focus on schools as agents of social mobility has brought them, and us. Don’t let the crisis go to waste. Fix inequality in whatever ways we can. And then we can let education actually be about education, even if we’re still just doing it at home.

I already wanted to see the new Bill & Ted movie but John Scalzi’s review just made me all the more interested.

A friend passed this along to my wife, and I thought it worth sharing. Sometimes the prayer of another gives voice to what I’m feeling better than I ever could. A thousand amens to this.

Ventured out to Sandbridge yesterday to celebrate our friend James’s birthday.

Creeper in my office 🙀

Damon Krukowski at NPR: On Bandcamp, Spotify And The Wide-Open Future - Count me in the Bandcamp…camp

This essay on Cormac McCarthy, by Michael Berdan of Uniform, is really good.

Currently listening: Deluge, by Anura

This article by Nathan Robinson contrasting the abundant availability of low-quality writing and propaganda with the relative inaccessibility of substantive writing and research is definitely thought-provoking. I think Robinson stumbles into lazily dismissive hypocrisy when complaining about ideologically motivated thinktanks and outlets that express a different political philosophy his own, but he raises some really compelling points about cost, compensation, and access. I also think he overlooks the problem of compensating the labor of those who would build the kind of “universal access” database that he proposes, but the questions he asks and possibilities he explores are nonetheless a good place to start.

I am very much looking forward to reading this upcoming book about the history of drone music. Neolithic instruments, Brian Eno, medieval choral music, and SUNN O)))? Count me in.

Micah Latimer-Dennis on digitally mediated worship: But if dissatisfaction is often a distraction from worship, it is also potentially a tool. Our disappointment with worship’s digital mediation can remind us of the tragedy that’s caused our dispersal and can prod us to turn to God. The present’s substitute for gathering for worship can direct our eyes to the day we will return. Weil writes that “the great sorrow of human life is that to look and to eat are two different operations. Only on the other side of heaven, where God lives, are they one and the same operation.” Online worship is a reminder of this sorrow, since in it the distance between looking and eating is felt so acutely. But our longing for a world in which things are otherwise can point us to the world in which they are. Being reminded of the future in which we will share Eucharist again—truly eating, truly together—can remind us too of the world of which that meal is a sign. Together our eyes can look to that time and place where the whole church will be gathered to gaze and to feast, at once and for eternity, on the Lord.

John Scalzi: “F*** You, I’m Voting.”

Leah Libresco: “Christians, especially white Christians, should live in such a way that our doors are clearly open, as the Bendas’ were, to anyone in need. That might look like literally opening a door, as Rahul Dubey did in Washington D.C. to shield protestors from police. But we also keep the door open (or slam it shut) through our public actions. When we speak with contempt or indifference about George Floyd or any other victim of racism, when we amplify the voices of people who are at best negligently ignorant and at worst actively racist, we say that our door is not open to everyone.”

Finally got to check out the Mudhouse on 10th to pick up some beans. Cool wall art adjacent to the building, and a lovely (and an understandably sparsely occupied) rooftop patio upstairs.

Visited the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design in Richmond today. More pictures incoming.


Currently listening.

I’m only halfway through, but I must say that Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby is very, very good. This southern noir is the perfect read for my first full summer living in Virginia. 📚

Some Thoughts on Race for White Christians

Alan Jacobs recently wrote a couple of posts addressing the question of how Christians ought to approach the struggle for racial justice. In the first post, responding to a recent statement made by Baylor’s president regarding the institution’s relationship to race, Jacobs argues that justice is for the work of reconciliation. He writes, > In my judgment, it is the opportunity to receive and extend forgiveness that is the greatest possible inducement to repentance and amendment of life, and — I cannot stress this too strongly — a shared repentance and amendment of life make genuine community possible.…

Read more ⟶

'Favorite Reads: First half of 2020'

Hard as it may be to believe, we’re well into the second half of 2020. Here are my favorite books I’ve read this year from January to July, with occasionaly commentary. I know July is technically the second half of the year, but… I didn’t think of this idea until July. Dan Simmons, Hyperion Christian Wiman, Survival Is A Style Daniel Warren Johnson, Murder Falcon - My friend Collin bought this for me as a Christmas gift, and it is one of the coolest freaking graphic novels I’ve ever read.…

Read more ⟶

Currently listening: From Clay Pipe Music - Adlestrop by Gilroy Mere

For anyone whose knowledge of Docker is ad-hoc and piecemeal, the Docker Handbook from freeCodeCamp is fantastic.

Playing with focus at Old Westminster Winery & Vineyard in Westminster, MD 🍷

Visited Londontowne, MD today, and saw and osprey carry a fish to its nest.

Sam Kriss: ‘We’re told that we’re “sharing” our online declarations with a community. But what if we’re just sacrificing ourselves to a god that can never be satiated?’

Zito Madu: “How should a people ask for justice from a world that has already denied them? That they have to ask at all says so much.”

Thomas Chatterton Williams: “We do now have a movement that I am very hopeful about, which is a movement to challenge and rein in and hopefully reform an extraordinarily abusive policing culture. But what is also starting to happen — and it began very early on — is that we’re getting a corporate-sanctioned effort to diversify certain elite spaces. So, you’ll get the Poetry Foundation that will replace its board, or the National Book Critics Circle, or certain university spaces, or, as you said, Netflix will make some gestures. And we’ll probably get some more black-created content, and we’re certainly getting more diverse op-ed pages. But what does that have to do with a man who is so poor that he’s passing a fake bank note? “

Alan Jacobs: “A few years ago I would have said that the greatest danger facing the Christians I know was a kind of carelessness about the truth, a shrugging at difference and disagreement; now I think it’s the opposite, a kind of premature foreclosure, which is a way of immanentizing the eschaton. Obviously in any group of people we will find both intellectual flaccidity and intellectual rigidity present, but I do think that rigidity is now in the ascendent, simply because it is in the ascendent in our ambient culture and Christians, for the most part, behave as their ambient culture behaves.”

S.A. Cosby: “I love my hometown. I love the magnolia trees that line my mama’s driveway. I love going fishing down on the river. I love cookouts and house parties. I love walking through the woods behind my house seeing a fawn and its mother in my backyard. I refuse to let that be taken from me, and I refuse to let it be erased. When I write, I’m telling the stories of my mother, my uncles, my grandpa, my friends. This place we call the South belongs to us too. We paid for it in blood. I think a lot of people in publishing have a hard time confronting those issues. The urban milieu is more palatable and in some ways easier to disseminate. It speaks in shorthand that is more accessible for some people. Never mind the biases that exist against everyone in rural America. But just because something may be harder to talk about doesn’t mean it isn’t worth discussing.”

“A Tale of Two Churchs” from NYRB. This feels more poignant, and painful, than ever.

Explored Wintergreen in the Blue Ridge Mountains today.

First time deep frying chicken!

Substack Journalism

Yesterday Alan Jacobs praised the return of Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish. He noted how it’s part of an emerging trend among journalists to form their own, independent platforms where they’re not beholden to the editorial demands of larger institutions. He also pointed out how directly paying writers for periodical writing quickly introduces a scaling problem for readers - paying five to ten dollars a month per writer quickly adds up. But, Jacobs suggests that putting writing behind paywalls rather than on the open web might be “a feature rather than a bug!…

Read more ⟶

I’m not well-versed in poetry, but I am loving Felon by Reginald Dwayne Betts.

Doesn’t seem to make much of an appearance in the news cycle right now, but I thought that the story of LGBTQ youths suffering in Chechnya should be told.

Date night with @jensaplin at Selvedge Brewing/The Wool Factory last night.

Thoughts on the Harper's letter

This past week Harper’s magazine posted a letter signed by over 150 academics and artists from across multiple disciplines urging respect for diversity of opinion and open debate, and it garnered quite a bit of negative attention, from multiple political perspectives. I’ve had a number of thoughts about it, and I’ve struggled to put them together in a coherent and thoughtful way (to be honest, I’ve been struggling quite a bit lately to assemble thoughts about almost anything in a coherent way).…

Read more ⟶

Perks of homeownership: rollerskating in the dining room because you’re a grown-up now.

A reminder to everyone on Twitter that these posts are cross-posted from robertsapunarich.micro.blog, an alternative built for the open web.

Update 14

So, it’s been a minute. At Jenoa’s advice I resolved not to note the gap between posts, because, you know, I write here primarily for myself, no one’s checking in on me, etc. But I say “it’s been a minute” not so much because of the time between posts as much as what’s occurred in that time. I hesitate to rehash the events of the last few months, but who would have thought that in the midst of a global pandemic we would also see a global reckoning with racial injustice after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of law enforcement, during an election year in which the incumbent administration is arguably the most absurd and toxic in the nation’s history.…

Read more ⟶

Went for a ride this morning along the Rivanna. Good to be home.

Sherk is showing at the drive-in

Miraculously, no major injuries.

EDIT: brother in law did scrape an arm.

Wheeler Branch Park. Passed on Corpus Christi for Obvious Reasons.

Crossing the Mississippi

See anything familiar?

Read more ⟶

Update 13

So, as you can imagine, Some Things have happened since the last post. To be honest, it’s been hard to find the will to write. I don’t really want to write about what Warren Ellis calls “The Cough”. But it’s also been unavoidable, and it seems to be on everyone’s mind, and with good reason. But, as Robin Sloan recently wrote, “Do you want every glorious weirdo you’ve ever followed to morph into the same obsessive faux public health expert?…

Read more ⟶

Update 12

I’m struggling to conjure some thoughts to share here today. The past couple of weeks feel like a bit of a blur. Jen’s in Texas this weekend, where I’ll be joining her this Wednesday. In the spirit of owning, rather than “renting” my music collection, I’m spending this morning importing CDs to my laptop and rebuilding my digital music collection. As I write this, I’m listening to “Sun Forest”, from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’s most recent album, Ghosteen.…

Read more ⟶

Update 11

I think I’ve more or less given up on the “weekly” commitment to posting here, though I’ll still try to maintain some consistency. This blog is meant to be fun, not a chore, and that’s all I have to say about the matter. I recently took up skateboarding again. The last time I skated was probably 6-7 years ago, and probably another 5-6 years before that since I had skated with any regularity.…

Read more ⟶

Update 10

So I’ve really breached the “blog every week” commitment I made to myself. Two full weekends in a row and the cognitive load of the new job more than account for this, so I won’t belabor the point any longer. Both the technical work and the actual business domain of my new role are much more technically rigorous than anything I’ve done before. My old manager was fond of quoting Gene Kranz in Apollo 13: “Let’s work the problem people.…

Read more ⟶

Update 9

Week 2 of the new position was a success, I’d say. Feeling more productive and contributing to the team’s efforts. Coming from the Ruby/Rails world, I’ve had to make a lot of major adjustments, especially working with Go. You write a lot more boilerplate code when working without a framework, and that’s doubly true when working with a small, statically typed, compiled language like Go. I definitely experienced some frustration when trying to cast a request body of unstructured JSON into a map, but it’s forced me to think more reflectively about what the computer actually does with the code I write.…

Read more ⟶

Update 8

This is my first post since starting my new gig. I’ve learned a lot this week, and have much more to learn. Suffice it to say, I’m really excited to be working where am I, and I’m both exhausted and energized. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this excited about programming and technology. I’ve also been fortunate to see some friends this week. On Friday, Jen and I serendipitously ran into some friends at Champion brewing, then saw some more at Lampo Pizza, and Saturday evening we had some other friends over for a delightful evening of dinner and conversation.…

Read more ⟶

Update 7

And it’s the first update of 2020. I hope you had pleasant and safe New Year celebration. Jen and I were fortunate to have a few friends over and play some Jackbox games before watching the ball drop at midnight. When we lived in California, we could just watch the ball drop live in Times Square three hours ahead, and be in bed by 9:30. This was the first proper NYE party we were apart of in a few years (I believe the last one we attended was NYE 2016).…

Read more ⟶

Update 6

I spent the majority of last week traveling for the Christmas holiday and for mine and Jen’s birthdays. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my Grandpa and some extended family in Connecticut. On the 26th (my birthday), we drove to New Jersey, dropped my car at a relative’s house, and took the train into Manhattan. We visited the Morgan Library & Museum, shopped at The Strand bookstore, and ate dinner at Cafe Altro Paradiso followed by drinks at King.…

Read more ⟶

Update 5

Four entries in and I broke the weekly rhythm, hence the title change to “update”. Oh well. To be fair, last week was spent traveling to California for my W+R Studios’ year-end meetings/holiday party. I flew in on Tuesday the 10th. Meetings and work related events lasted until the morning of Friday the 13th. I got to spend the rest of Friday and all of Saturday seeing friends and catching up on Watchmen.…

Read more ⟶

Weekly Update 04

So I’m a day late on this one, but I did publish a thing yesterday, that the good people at Mbird will also be publishing on their space sometime early next week. This week has mostly been focused on buttoning up minor things at work before next week’s trip to California for year end meetings. I’m also staying a couple extra nights to see some friends. J. and I spent much of today making some much needed furniture purchases.…

Read more ⟶

“A word that would light up the night” - Listening to Nick Cave’s “Ghosteen” in Advent

As a relative newcomer to the Anglican tradition, Advent’s significance as a season, while not totally unfamiliar, has been welcome and refreshing. I also deeply appreciate a phrase I read in various places that seems popular in Anglican circles: “All may, some should, none must”. It’s a principle that, at first glance, seems to respect individual conscience and, dare I say, the diversity of Christian experience. That said, it’s also been strange to see the contentiousness that the faithful sometimes bring to this season.…

Read more ⟶

Weekly Update 03

This is the first entry that’s testing the fortitude of my commitment to regularly publishing here. It’s been a hectic week — good, but hectic. Much to process, and much of it to be thankful for. Time spent with family. A caring church. New opportunities. Lots of food. These entries have so far leaned heavily on diary entries and synthesized them, but the demands on my time and will this past week have left me with 0 entries to glean from, so this’ll be a shorter one.…

Read more ⟶

Weekly Update 02

I spent the bulk of this past week in Nashville for RubyConf. I arrived late Sunday night, and flew home Wednesday afternoon. Having attended RailsConf for two years, my coworkers and I decided to mix things up this year and check out RubyConf instead. As much as I’ve enjoyed RailsConf, RubyConf proved to be a refreshing experience. There was much discussion around the Ruby language with little reference to the Rails framework.…

Read more ⟶

Weekly Update 01

Given the fact that I flew to California and Texas for two separate trips AND bought a house in the time since the last post, I think the gap of nearly three months is perfectly acceptable, which yes I know is a very familiar refrain of mine. Of course, it’s not like anyone’s monitoring this space. So, hi. I may be taking a risk by assigning a frequency and sequence to this post’s title, but it’s also arguably a healthy motivator since it’ll create an artificial sense of shame if I miss an entry.…

Read more ⟶

In Cville

So, Jenoa and I moved. I’m writing this from Charlottesville, VA. We made it. We drove the whole way, taking a total of 5 days and logging more than 2000 miles and over 40 hours of drive time. We watched the landscape change from from high-desert, to mountains, to plains, to hills, to dense forests. We stayed in New Mexico, two nights in Texas, and one night in Tennessee before arriving in Cville.…

Read more ⟶

June 2019 Update

It feels like periodically I write these “it’s been a while, but been really busy and all you know how it goes” posts. That said, I feel like there’s some justification for the silence over the last few months. If you haven’t heard, Jen and I will be moving to Charlottesville, VA, where she’s accepted a role as College Grounds Minister at Christ Episcopal Church. Excitement and anxiety and sadness and joy and wonder have ensued.…

Read more ⟶

The Good Enough To Shame the Great

In a recent op-ed for the New York Times, Avram Alpert writes, Ideals of greatness cut across the American political spectrum. Supporters of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and believers in Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again,” for instance, may find themselves at odds, but their differences lie in the vision of what constitutes greatness, not whether greatness itself is a worthy goal. In both cases — and in most any iteration of America’s idea of itself — it is.…

Read more ⟶

Messages In Bottles

For those who know me, it’s no secret that I’m averse to social media and its black-box network effects. I think that much of the web as we currently experience it falls far short of its potential for meaningful and thoughtful communication. But I’m not here to belabor that point either. Despite platforms that manipulate attention, monetize surveillance, and design addictive interfaces, the web is also host to a lot of great thought and creativity.…

Read more ⟶

Favorite Reads of 2018

I read a number of books this year, and as seems customary, I’ll share a few highlights. Since I’m traveling and don’t have my reading journal on hand, I’m sure I’m overlooking some. Nonetheless, here are a few that immediately spring to mind. The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis — Alan Jacobs Alan Jacobs explores the works of Simone Weil, C. S. Lewis, T.…

Read more ⟶

Recently started Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis and really enjoying it. I wrote up some initial thoughts here

First post!

Acrimony & Intimacy

From Joseph Ellis’s Founding Brothers: The political dialogue within the highest echelon of the revolutionary generation was a decade-long shouting match. And, Politics, even at the highest level in the early republic, remained a face-to-face affair in which the contestants, even those who were locked in political battles to the death, were forced to negotiate the emotional affinities and shared intimacies produced by frequent personal interaction. I suppose there’s an odd comfort in knowing that our polarized political climate is not a complete novelty.…

Read more ⟶

The Crucifixion

So I finished Fleming Rutledge’s The Crucifixion today, and, yeah. I felt like I should write something about it, but I fear it’s hard to do it justice. That said, I’ll take a stab at it. At the risk of hyperbole, Fleming Rutledge has written what might be the most important Christian text so far of the 21st century. It’s a substantial tome, clocking in at over 600 pages and dense with footnotes (surprisingly one of the best things about it).…

Read more ⟶

SPAs, CORS, and GraphQL

The popularity of single page applications (SPAs) has grown significantly in the world of web development over the last few years. As with any architectural choice, benefits and tradeoffs exist. This article from Free Code Camp recently highlighted a potential performance cost associated with single page applications. I’ll do my best to accurately and succinctly restate the problem presented in the article: A SPA is served from app.example.com. The SPA consumes an API served from api.…

Read more ⟶

Further Thoughts on Simplicity

Following up on the last post’s thoughts, I am finding myself more and more fascinated by the discipline of simplicity. I think it was in the most recent episode of the Renovare podcast that I heard it suggested that the discipline of simplicity isn’t so much a discipline we do as one we inhabit. Such a notion makes sense when I expand my understanding of simplicity to be both an active thing and passive thing.…

Read more ⟶

Space and Simplicity

Here are a few quotes/links from Alan Jacobs and Austin Kleon, who are frequently in dialogue with one another, that have set the tone for my thoughts this week about a few things — namely blogging, information, and thinking. re-setting my mental clock – Snakes and Ladders > Curiously, though in a way logically, my escape from Twitter’s endless cycles of intermittent reinforcement and its semi-regular tsunamis has made me significantly calmer about my own future as a writer, in large part because it has re-set my mental clock.…

Read more ⟶

Catchup

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks, and I’ve done/experienced/read/thought about a few things that warrant their own posts, but I’ll fill them in here. My friend Bryant started his own blog. Additionally, my wife, Jenoa, has been blogging with increased frequency and done an excellent job of chronicling both our life and her thoughts. I’ve been enjoying Austin Kleon’s blog. Virtue in the Wasteland’s recent series on the Church and the desire for power have been especially thought-provoking.…

Read more ⟶

Deserts

A piece my best friend wrote was recently posted over at Mockingbird. (Trigger warning: this story recounts sexual abuse) No words of mine can do it justice. Here’s a brief glimpse: Hope sought me out in that place. It clothed me and gave me water. It bade me to follow and find rest. Hope didn’t require me to be clean. It didn’t require me to be well-behaved. It wasn’t contingent on my political standing or sexual orientation.…

Read more ⟶

To be self-forgetful

From Alan Jacobs’s essay, Reverting to Type: >In many respects, going back to the kinds of books I used to read has also meant going back to the kinds of reading habits I used to have. Just as there was a point in my life when I had to remind myself to grab that pencil, the time eventually came when I had to remind myself to leave it where it was and grasp the book (or the Kindle) in my two otherwise empty hands.…

Read more ⟶

Capon and Cambridge Analytica

From Robert Farrar Capon’s recently republished marriage anti-advice book, Bed & Board: I became an old fogey young; I looked backward habitually and gladly. So, I think, did a good many of my generation. The real question therefore is: where did this love of the past come from? Well, I think it came from living just one age after the end of the modern era. I grew up reading ~Popular Science Monthly~ in the thirties.…

Read more ⟶

I’ve been everywhere

So it’s been over a month. Hello again. That having been said, I suppose the fact that I travelled across the country and back twice in the same month more than accounts my silence here. Pittsburgh for RailsConf one week, NYC for Mockingbird the next. Two cities for two very different conferences. Both trips were a blast. I walked away from both with much to think about, and (hopefully) much to write about, especially Mockingbird.…

Read more ⟶

Thorin’s Dying Words

From J.R.R. Tolkien’s, *The Hobbit*— ”If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” Those words are among the few spoken by Thorin Oakenshield as he lay on his deathbed. I recently finished re-reading The Hobbit and am currently working my way through The Lord of the Rings. It’s passages like that that make Tolkien’s more popular works resonate deeply with me.…

Read more ⟶

Penumbra’s New Fiction

So this “blogging consistently” thing is really hard. Anyway, hope you’ve had a good March. Mine was great, albeit hectic. Family visiting, friends getting married, wife starting new job at W+R Studios (yes, we work together now). All wonderful things, that sometimes mean neglecting other activities, like writing here. I was hoping to do some holy week reflections, but even then, the ideas aren’t necessarily restricted to holy week. I have a list of blog ideas, that will be related to things I read or thought about days or even weeks ago.…

Read more ⟶

Vulnerability

Seth Godin recently wrote, Role models are fine. But not when they get in the way of embracing our reality. The reality of not enough time, not enough information, not enough resources. The reality of imperfection and vulnerability. There are no movie stars. Merely people who portray them now and then. I always appreciate Seth Godin’s candor. Someone as successful and respected as he is could pitch their advice as a fool-proof framework for excellence and success in one’s work—indeed, many do.…

Read more ⟶

Reflections on Reflections

Seven days in and March is proving to be a hectic month, full of good things, but full of things nonetheless. I haven’t allotted myself the time I normally do for ruminating. That said, I feel I ought to share/reflect on David Zahl’s reflection on Andrew Sullivan’s essay on America’s opioid epidemic. Admittedly, I haven’t read Sullivan’s piece in its entirety, but DZ’s thoughts on it are worth sharing nonetheless. There are lots of gems in there, but I thought this passage especially poignant.…

Read more ⟶

Quiet

I attempt to make a habit of blogging at least once per week, if not twice. Given that the last post was published nearly two weeks ago, it’s clear I did not meet last week’s goal. Oops. The last week was more hectic than normal, so I’m going to give myself some grace. I’ve brainstormed some what else I’d like to see on here. Given that I haven’t used Facebook in years, and that I recently left Twitter, I’m floating the idea of having a newsletter subscription that notifies you of a new post, or just sends the entire contents of the post straight to your inbox.…

Read more ⟶

Generosity

In Free of Charge, theologian Miroslav Volf writes, “Left unchecked, the slide away from generosity robs us of significant cultural achievements, on which our flourishing as individuals and communities depends” (15). The book was published back in ’05, before so many were aggressively thinkpiece-ing about political polarization, the deleterious effects of social media, fears of automation, etc. It was oddly prescient back then, and, having been written before the aforementioned hot topics were much of a thing, suggests that our current cultural malaise, real as it may be, is an issue of the human heart before all else; a spiritual problem that precedes a technological problem.…

Read more ⟶

“Artemis”

Andy Weir’s Artemis can best be described as an organized crime thriller on the moon. It’s quite a departure from his Mars-survival-blog, The Martian, but enjoyable nonetheless. Those who enjoyed his first book for its intricate technical aspects might find themselves wanting when reading Artemis. The details and descriptions are there, but the plot is what drives the narrative, not the engineering. Nonetheless, I enjoyed living in the head of protagonist Jazz Bashara.…

Read more ⟶

Against Nostalgia

I’m starting to become less patient with nostalgia. I get it. I enjoy playing Goldeneye and revisiting Nickelodeon cartoons. I remember when X-Men and Batman Begins were released, and they heralded exciting new possibilities that didn’t feel like they were being rehashed every summer. But at the same time, many of the people I know who thrive on nostalgia, seem hell-bent on just rehashing the past. A complaint I recently heard about Star Wars: The Last Jedi was that it was just Disney trying to make money on new characters that “no one cares about”.…

Read more ⟶

“Interdisciplinary Insights”

Aside from blogging here, I’ve been trying to build my writing habit by working on a short story. I wrote some short stories while in college, and thoroughly enjoyed it. My best friend, Collin, writes quite a bit. He credits me with initially inspiring him to write, but he has since far surpassed me in quantity of output, and, I would argue, quality. Although he doesn’t code, he said he imagined storytelling and programming to be similar disciplines, or for there at least to be an overlap in skills and practice.…

Read more ⟶

“Too much power, too little knowledge”

In “Damage”, from his collection What Are People For?, Wendell Berry writes— The trouble was a familiar one: too much power, too little knowledge. The context of the phrase, the “trouble”, was a section of woods floor sliding down a hillside into a pond the winter after he decided to level some of the forest for pasture. Toward the end of the essay, he also writes— Only when our acts are empowered with more than bodily strength do we need to think of limits.…

Read more ⟶

Newspaper Renaissance

A recent episode of Virtue in the Wasteland mentioned the notion of a “newspaper renaissance” on the heels of a discussion about the anxiety induced by the perceived exigency of mobile news alerts. There seems to be increasing awareness and discussion surrounding the mentally and socially corrosive nature of social media. I haven’t used Facebook for almost 5 years now, and removed myself from Twitter last year. I still maintain a private Instagram profile, but don’t even have the app installed.…

Read more ⟶

At Home

Jenoa and I recently returned from a three-week trip back east to visit my extended family for the holidays. I love the tri-state area; the trees, the cold, the food. I now desire a Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese on a roll and resent its being beyond my reach. And yet I’m glad to be here again. Despite my complaints about Southern California, it is home. Despite the dryness, the traffic, the sense of inescapable crowdedness, it is home.…

Read more ⟶

Stuff 'n Things 2017

It’s been a couple of years since the last time I published a “cool stuff from 20**” blog. It’s actually been some time since I’ve blogged in any shape or form, now that I think of it. 2017 was an eventful year. Marriage, career growth, therapy. All exciting and good, yet heavy and significant. Hence the silence. I have missed writing quite bit. At one time, I thought it would be my bread and butter.…

Read more ⟶