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. I’m astounded how, after countless listens, the album is still so profoundly moving. For those who missed it, I wrote some thoughts about the album here.

I may have linked to it before, but I was inspired by this post to reclaim my music collection. I’m still tweaking things here and there. I liked the idea of putting all music in the Documents folder and syncing it with iCloud. Yes, it’s still in Apple’s walled garden, but as a colleague and I were discussing yesterday, it’s a walled garden that works very well. Eventually I’d like to host my collection on network attached storage and expose it for remote listening with Subsonic, but for now this arrangement works quite well.

I still maintain a Spotify subscription, primarily as a way to sample artists whose work I might buy, but I’m finding Bandcamp’s streaming interface to be more intuitive and pleasant. I know my preference for owning music betrays me as being anything but a rational economic animal, especially when I have so many options available for a modest monthly fee through Spotify. The trouble is, I’m not convinced that the plethora of choice is necessarily beneficial, either for the listener or for the artists. The “curated” playlist and “artist radio” approach to listening seems perfectly catered to putting music on in the background, but therein lies my concern: our relationship to music becoming just another piece of ambient “content”, not a first order piece of human expression to which we give our attention. That’s not to say I never listen to music in the background; Charlottesville’s WNRN provides a fantastic stream of music curated by actual humans.

Also, we have good evidence that Spotify is producing fake music, which is just…weirdly awful (apologies for linking to a tweet).

A few weeks ago, I finally retired my iPhone 6S as it was in its death throes, and purchased an iPhone 11 pro. I’ve never been one to take pictures, but I’ve been so impressed with the camera that it almost feels like a waste not to take advantage of it.

We’ve been trying to go on walks regularly in preparation for our journey along St. Cuthbert’s Way in a few months.

Here’s one I snapped from walk through McIntire Park:

McIntire Park path with a tree

And a couple from a trek through one of the Monticello trails:

Jen in the woods

Robbie in the woods

One of Jones:

Jones the cat

And one from a winery near Crozet we visited for a friend’s birthday:

Winery near crozet with the mountains in the background

I hope Ansel Adams would be proud.


Finished The Gardens of the Moon. Currently plodding through Max Adams’s The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria in preparation for the Britain trip. I’m also reading the manuscript of a novel that a friend’s working on, and I have to say that I am truly excited for the finished product. I hope it finds a wide audience.


Nothing in particular comes to mind, other than Abandoned and falling asleep to episodes of Star Trek TNG. I also want to watch the new season of Castlevania.


I cannot stop listening to the new Cloudkicker album.

What Happened to the Company That Raised Minimum Wage to $70k/yr?

A Decade of Sore Winners

Big data could yield big discoveries in archaeology, scholar says