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. One of our favorite things about living in Charlottesville is how easy it is to accidentally see people you know. Although it’s not a “small town” in any conventional sense, I regularly see friends and acquaintances out and about. Shopping, eating, drinking, and moving about the same places provides visible evidence that you’re part of a community. In California, I felt that I had community amongst a close group of friends, but it was probably in spite of the infrastructure of our lives, not because of it; in a typical day, you’ll work in one town, shop for groceries in another, and live in a third, driving at least twenty minutes to each.
Of course, it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that spending a week learning a new domain, codebase, and programming language taxes one’s faculties. Unsurprisingly, I’m struggling to think of something to write about. I’m experiencing what Alan Jacobs recently called “opinionlessness”. He puts it well:
At the moment I have fewer opinions that I have ever had in my life. When I see all the people online and in print giving advice and instructions and guidance, I think, Do these people really know all the stuff they think they know? By contrast, I seem to be moving asymptotically to the point of not believing that I can give anyone advice about anything at all.
Again, the cognitive load of a new job certainly contributes to this, and it behooves me to devote most of my resources to that right now. But at the same time, I have had the nagging sense that it’s hard to produce quality writing for the internet that isn’t half-baked, even if it’s at a lower frequency than cycles of what Gordon White calls “insta-anxiety and twitter-derived-amygdala-damage”. The full context of that quote is worth reproducing here:
Here’s my Capricorn season take on the return to blogging: It is what passes for a ‘return to the real’ in our post digital future. Which is to say the realisation that there is value in considered, researched, diligent content -as opposed to neurochemical fear/rage flares on social media- is exactly what we should expect right now. This is a fall to earth from the polluted, ephemeral skies of insta-anxiety and twitter-derived-amygdala-damage.
I might not always have the energy on a weekly basis to produce something that’s considered, researched, and diligent, and that’s fine. The blog is a web_log_, which in its primary form is a simple chronicle. And I’d rather chronicle simplicity than forcing any pseudo-profundity.
The Western Wind was fantastic, and highly recommended if you enjoyed either Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose or Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. The novel exists somewhere between the two. Currently reading Dan Simmons’ Hyperion.
I watched Cats last Sunday, which you should only see if you have a theater subscription or are streaming it on $ServiceOfChoice. I feel like CGI should be made illegal after that movie, but damn if some of those songs aren’t catchy.
I made my first record store trip since moving, to Sidetracks Music. I grabbed vinyls of Wilco’s Ode to Joy and Nick Cave’s Ghosteen, and a CD of Torche’s Admission.
Your Bonhoeffer Moment - Note: I try to avoid explicit discussion surrounding our current commander-in-chief for a few reasons, but I think this article poignantly addresses a current phenomenon among evangelicals and brings one of my favorite theologians to bear on it.
Ian McKellan’s 1999 Lord of the Rings Blog - I feel this needs no explanation.