I haven’t DM’d much, but I’m very very excited to dig into old-school D&D with some friends this week.
A good reflection from The Dispatch on the passing of Tim Keller. I read The Reason for God over a decade ago, and it was a milestone in my intellectual and spiritual life. I could talk about how I think a little differently now than then, but Keller’s life and ministry illustrate why me quibbling over such minutiae is fruitless BS. We all die. And Keller’s integrity and relentless fixation on the grace of God are an example of what we should all desire to leave behind us. I pray I can learn from his example.
The Gaslight Anthem, “Positive Charge” — feels really good to have these guys back again, at this time in my life. 🎶
Sure, people are using AI to make music, but there’s little that’s more f**king real than Every Time I Die and Dillinger Escape Plan members joining forces.
After my misadventure trying to self-host a blog on a VPS running nginx (a fun learning experience, but waaay too cumbersome for my needs), I’m returning to posting here on microblog. That said, I’ve also started a linkage/commentary newsletter. Go here if you’d like to follow that experiment.
New essay up over at Mockingbird: Death and Deconstruction
Also can’t stop listening — Thrice, The Artist In The Ambulance - Revisited 🎶
Can’t stop listening — Vagabon, “Carpenter”
Grateful — 2022
While I wouldn’t recommend everyone change jobs, have a newborn for the first time, move house, roll an ankle, and get laid off from aforementioned new job all in the same year, I find myself this NYE feeling gratitude more than any other emotion. I got to welcome my daughter into the world, move into what is pretty much a dream home in the city limits surrounded by great neighbors, work with a mentor and friend again, follow him back to an old team, and develop new fitness modalities. Amidst all of this, I managed to read 36 books, keep hosting The Gap Year, help lead the thriving 20s/30s Bible study at church, travel, pick up guitar again, and spend lots of time with friends and family. I have plans and goals for next year, but they’re mostly just further developing the good things I already have going on.
Make no mistake, it has also been immensely challenging too. The instability of working at startups can be disorienting. Raising a tiny human who would not exist without you violently shines a light on your frailty. A new home entails uncovering things that need new work and ongoing maintenance. Having a fitness routine, which is critical for your own sanity, upended by an injury can leave you feeling adrift and frustrated. And unemployment just plain sucks — “funemployment” my ass (thankfully I start a new job this upcoming week).
But there are also blessings in the challenges, things that would not happen had you bypassed them. As Dr. Kelso said, “nothing in this world worth having comes easy.” It’s been a blessing. I wish I could show myself ten years ago where I’m at now. It doesn’t all come easy, but it’s all worth having.
I was laid off yesterday. This is a first for me, and while it sucks, I had the honor of working with some great people. This was also the first time I got to formally lead a dev team. One beam of light in the darkness has been the opportunity to connect them with [a recruiter I’ve had the pleasure of working in the past] and write recommendations for them. Taking the time to reflect on what you value in each person you work with is something I think every leader should do, in work and in life. If you want to give yourself an instant dose of joy, practice gratitude for the people around you. My only regret is that I didn’t do this more when I worked with them.
There absolutely are bad reasons to do things in a certain way, but you should be terribly skeptical of anyone who argues there is only a single way to accomplish anything important. You should be skeptical when startup executives insist their ten thousand employee organization should work the same way as their twenty person team from ten years ago. You should be skeptical when folks who’ve thrived in large organizations make definitive statements about what cannot happen outside the bureaucratic shackles (and leverage!) of a scaled organization. Finally, you should be even more skeptical of anyone who wants to debate complex topics in soundbites: it drives engagement and create fanatics, but it does nothing to advance the industry.
Satyr — “Vector”: from one of the best albums I’ve heard this year
I’ve waited too long for this: Clerks III trailer
cancelled flights are how the light gets in#
It’s common knowledge that flying in summer 2022 is a mess. Given the likelihood of a delay or outright cancelation, Jenoa and I expected our first flight with six and a half week old baby E to be rough. But I was pleasantly surprised.
Our flight from Richmond to DFW was only delayed by about forty minutes. I couldn’t say the same for other, earlier flights along the same route, though. I think one flight that was supposed to depart at noon had been delayed until 11pm. People were visibly stressed.
But we felt a strange sort of solidarity, even camaraderie, amongst everyone in the airport amidst the frustration, an experience shared by passengers and airline employees alike. I’ve wondered how much the visibility of the stress contributed to this feeling — it was the first time I’ve flown since March 2020 that we weren’t required to wear masks in the airport. But it was also the first time in a long time, probably in my whole adult life, where I didn’t feel a sense that everyone was just determined to stay in their lane, and avoid the inconvenience and awkwardness of other people. In its place was a collective atmosphere of appreciation for and mutual recognition of other people’s humanity.
A few examples come to mind:
- The woman who joined us in line waiting for a seat at Concourse A’s sole bar/restaurant and began sharing unsolicited the woes of her flight that had been delayed for 10 hours at that point, who said she “just needed a drink”.
- Megan, the sole waitress waiting tables in the restaurant and had been working since that morning. She told us she wouldn’t get off until the restaurant closed, which was “whenever everyone had their flights rebooked”, yet she kept a smile and positive energy about her.
- The young woman working at the Concourse A newsstand who was joking around with the young boys of the visibly harried couple in line in front of me.
- The family in the restaurant whose flight to Florida had been delayed who were enamored with baby E.
- Another family flying to Palm Springs that struck up a conversation with Jen and were grateful for our recommendations in the area.
- The airline employees conducting crowd control while simultaneously trying to board us and rebook everyone else.
- Justin, the ebullient flight attendant who loved E and offered us some Bailey’s with our coffee, which we declined since we were trying to stay awake for the flight.
- Baby E, whose curiosity and joy become more apparent each day.
There’s no shortage of stories and thinkpieces in mainstream media right now about how disunited we are, to which I say, maybe. But last Monday I felt a solidarity amongst strangers that I hadn’t felt before. Maybe after two and a half years of technocratic micromanagement, our being forced the “crack in everything” — our economy, our political allegiances, our technologies — has in fact been how “the light gets in”. In Richmond airport last Monday, we were just a bunch of normies trying to get to our destinations and being thwarted at every turn, but we had each other.
Relevant life update courtesy of my wife.
GO HOOS ⚾️
Wise words from the deadlift pad. 🏋️♂️💥
Fun fact, I used to own the exact issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction that had this illustration on the cover, “Starship Soldier”, and first serialized a Robert Heinlein novel of the same name, later to be called Starship Troopers. Via 70s Sci-Fi Art:
I think Practical Engineering may be my new favorite YouTube channel.
Visited Orange County for my best friend’s wedding. It’s been a great trip. We return to Cville tomorrow. Congrats, Collin and Meagan.
This one really hit me. I struggle to express the shock I’m feeling, or why. I’ve always been moved by the energy and joy he exuded on the record and on stage. Thanks for all the beauty you helped make, Taylor.
Leszek Kolakowski, via Alan Jacobs:
Doubt may be considered one of the consequences of original sin, but it also protects us against its more deleterious effects. It is important for us to be uncertain about the deep motives for our own deeds and the grounds of our convictions, since this is the only device that protects us against an old justifying fanaticism and intolerance. We should remember that the perfect unity of man is impossible, otherwise we would try to impose this unity by any means available, and our foolish visions of perfection would evaporate in violence and end in a theocratic or totalitarian caricature of unity which claimed to make the Great Impossible an actuality. The greater our hopes for humanity, the more we are ready to sacrifice, and this too seems very rational. As Anatole France once remarked, never have so many been murdered in the name of a doctrine as in the name of the principle that human beings are naturally good. […]
There are reasons why we need Christianity, but not just any kind of Christianity. We do not need a Christianity that makes political revolution, that rushes to cooperate with so-called sexual liberation, that approves our concupiscence or praises our violence. There are enough forces in the world to do all these things without the aid of Christianity. We need a Christianity that will help us move beyond the immediate pressures of life, that gives us insight into the basic limits of the human condition and the capacity to accept them, a Christianity that teaches us the simple truth that there is not only a tomorrow but a day after tomorrow as well, and and that the difference between success and failure is rarely distinguishable. We need a Christianity that is not gold, or purple, or red, but grey.
Julia Rothman’s “Anatomy” books are probably the most pleasant reference books I’ve ever come across. I’m glad we finally have the whole collection. 📚