1.17.2020

So rather than feel that we are on the continual upswing of consumer capitalism, i think we are somewhere closer to peak or overshoot.

I've been mildly obsessed with this stuff since 2005.

Around that time, the theme was "peak oil" as the catalyst for societal change, which proved to be false. But even if peak was not 2010 but instead will be 2030, the societal changes that will occur will be the same. There's been no meaningful decrease in the amount of oil consumed since the peak oil scare, which leads me to believe that we will go on consuming as much as we can right up until the point that supply decreases not through conservation, but because producers are literally running out.

I spend a lot of time trying to predict the near future (10-30 years out), which is problematic. More useful is to know where will be 150 years out and backwards-solve to discover what we should be doing in the immediate term.

Year 2200 - global warming has made large swathes of the Earth virtually uninhabitable, without access to fresh water or capacity to grow plants or tend animals. Weather is highly volatile, leaving island nations and low-lying places constantly flooded.

Year 2100 - the end of liquid petroleum means that nations are burning shale, coal, gas and wood for energy, exacerbating global warming. Liquified natural gas and battery cells provide a modicum of energy for transportation fuel. Communities reduce sprawl for walkability and use of lower-energy-use transportation like motorcycles, scooters, electric carts, bicycles, trains, and light rail. Nuclear plants are going in at high cost, but it is difficult to maintain consistent maintenance of power grids across depopulated areas.

Year 2050 - In an attempt to maintain a bourgeois lifestyle and consumer economy, oil producers continue to produce until they literally can no longer satisfy demand. Conservationists are outdone by politicians shouting empty promises to a public that doesn't want to see the writing on the wall. Prices skyrocket, and inflation combined with reduced GDP torches financial markets, setting interest rates high, devaluing currency, and putting businesses into a conservative wealth hoarding. Unemployment increases and publicly funded programs and safety nets retreat. The price of commodities increases. Nations begin saber-rattling and with nuclear arms at the ready, catastrophic attacks are imaginable for the first time since Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the name of preserving a way of life that upper classes in 1st world nations have enjoyed for decades while lower income people and 3rd world nations continue to suffer deprivations and hardship.

2050 really isn't that far away. It's possible we'll live to see it. Our children certainly will. And their children will likely live to see 2100. What is the the likelihood that the quality of life that we enjoy will be also shared by our grandchildren? What is the probability that they will inherit whatever wealth we or our children generate in our lifetimes?

1.02.2020

i looked up and asked, what happened?
suddenly no one cared about anything anymore.

12.30.2019

cell phone diet

To decrease screen time and retake our brains from the insidiousness of having a computer brain at the ready for all of our thinking, compromising our attention, increasing anxiety, resulting a low-grade ever-distracted state:

1. install hourly chime app from app store on phone for daytime hours.
2. at the hour chime, allow yourself to phone for 5 minutes (whatever you want, texts, instagram, safari).
3. otherwise, no cell phone use aside from calls or maps or emergencies.
4. use a laptop or desktop computer for searching, reading, etc.
5. for longer dives into apps that only exist on the phone (e.g. instagram), allow yourself one hour a week on a set day (e.g. Monday).
6. before going to bed, allow yourself to catch up on any texts that were not answered during the day.
7. steps 1-6 are goals. if you don't get there immediately, don't beat yourself up about it. it's a process of uncoupling.

12.25.2019

era of disposability

we live in an era where everything, from clothing to media content, is designed to be rapidly desired, consumed, and then discarded. history, ethics, literature, religion, civics, empathy, everything of another era that was valued for the robust strong ties it created in society now has little value because it cannot be corporatized, commercialized, and capitalized upon. those old flows have been fully uncoded and put in service of new flows that maximize churn and profit via disposability. the ability to feel otherwise now signals to others a vulnerability worthy of denigration, ignorance, and apathy. the tempo and cycle of culture is running at a fever pitch where technology is no longer in service of humans, but instead humans are running blindly to catch up with everything that is happening in their phones.

12.19.2019

"There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love."
-- Toni Morrison

12.01.2019

molly sarle


connan mockasin, thalia hall, 2019

opener helena deland









catching up


happy place at long pond, wellfleet


train they call the city of new orleans

changes

dave and matt


jenn wasner


khruangbin at lincoln theater



george warren rickey





may 25 2019







the kid stays in the picture







skylar gudasz











10.29.2019

We were not royal but snobbish, not aristocratic but class-conscious; we believed authority was cruelty to our inferiors, and education was being at school. We mistook violence for passion, indolence for leisure, and thought recklessness was freedom. We raised our children and reared our crops; we let infants grow, and property develop. Our manhood was defined by acquisitions. Our womanhood by acquiescence. And the smell of your fruit and the labor of your days we abhorred.

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

7.17.2019

On Joy by Zadie Smith

"Real love came much later. It lay at the end of a long and arduous road, and up to the
very last moment I had been convinced it wouldn’t happen. I was so surprised by its
arrival, so unprepared, that on the day it arrived I had already arranged for us to visit
the Holocaust museum at Auschwitz. You were holding my feet on the train to the
bus that would take us there. We were heading toward all that makes life intolerable,
feeling the only thing that makes it worthwhile. That was joy. But it’s no good
thinking about or discussing it. It has no place next to the furious argument about
who cleaned the house or picked up the child. It is irrelevant when sitting peacefully,
watching an old movie, or doing an impression of two old ladies in a shop, or as I eat
a popsicle while you scowl at me, or when working on different floors of the library.
It doesn’t fit with the everyday. The thing no one ever tells you about joy is that it
has very little real pleasure in it. And yet if it hadn’t happened at all, at least once,
how would we live?"

http://theessayexperiencefall2013.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu/files/2013/09/Joy-by-Zadie-Smith.pdf

5.20.2019

A Man's Man, and a Writer's Writer - James Salter

In conversation, he’s courteous, flinty, guarded, and particular in a way that combines shyness and care. He doesn’t like to be asked things directly. “It seems shameful to me, to start analyzing oneself in public,” he said. His voice is thin, almost effeminate. He’s funnier in person than in his prose, which is generally solemn, and he has a gentle streak.If there are ants on the counter, he won’t kill them. He has an obsession with a 2003 documentary about the Thoroughbred Seabiscuit, which he watches over and over, tearing up in the presence of guests. He has been known to sing “American Pie” to clams when he shucks them. He always diligently checks the bill at restaurants.If he’s telling a story that involves numbers or years, he whispers the math to himself, his eyes fluttering, a finger tugging at his ear. He is a reciter of poems, and keen to read aloud. He likes to visit cemeteries. He measures out his Martinis precisely, down to a ritual drop of Worcestershire. He’s intensely competitive. He used to take pleasure in occasionally beating the poet Kenneth Koch, a superior player, in tennis, and he kept meticulous records of the touch-football games he and his literary friends played for many years on Long Island. “I could still show them my heels well into my fifties,” he said. He is renowned among them for his poise and self-control. He cherishes a way of life that may be passing from the world. For New Year’s Eve dinner at home in Aspen some years ago, Salter had everyone wear black tie.

by Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, 2015

2.06.2019

“In spite of wars and tourism and pictures by satellite, the world is just the same size it ever was. It is awesome to think how much of it I will never see. It is not a trick to go round these days, you can pay a lot of money and fly round it nonstop in less than forty-eight hours, but to know it, to smell it and feel it between your toes you have to crawl. There is no other way. Not flying, not floating. You have to stay on the ground and swallow the bugs as you go. Then the world is immense. The best you can do is to trace your long, infinitesimally thin line through the dust and extrapolate.”

-- Ted Simon, "Jupiter's Travels"

there is only one path and you are on it