Thursday September 30, 2021 — Manhattan, New York
(Format inspired by Tom MacWright’s posts of the same name — this is essentally a monthly reflection)
I’ve been in NYC for about half of this month, which has been nice — I’m enjoying catching up with a few friends and visiting all my old haunts. (If you are in NYC and would like to say hi — email me! I’m here for 11 more days.)
thoughts.page got a sort of popular, which has been mostly a little stressful — it got posted to hacker news, and the people there just have much less interesting thoughts than the people who were using it before. Things have settled down, though, and it’s still a lot of fun to see what people are posting. It’s also “profitable,” netting me a whole $2.10 per month. I think my biggest mistake was letting people join the webring immediately when they joined, which made it really obvious when there was an influx of new people, which made the existing people feel less safe posting their thoughts. Now people have to wait three days after they join to join the webring, which I think will improve things for the future.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what 2022 will look like for me. I would love to build a dwelling for myself, and I’ve started looking at land much more seriously than I have in the past. I’m not sure that 2022 will be the year for that, but it’s an appealing possibility. Some other potential aspirations and options include:
- Bike across the United States.
- Start a business that has the potential to support me financially.
- Focus on learning skills: driving, CPR/EMT, Mandarin, woodworking, and maybe some others.
Sequencing is obviously an important consideration here: building a dwelling is likely close to a year-long commitment if I’m serious about it (and potentially much much longer), and building a business is something I’d expect to take several years to get to a point that’s stable, at a minimum.
I’ve been reading a lot recently. Some highlights:
- Debt: The First 5000 Years by David Graeber continues to be excellent, although slow-going.
- Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler was interesting, although overhyped — I was surprised by how conservative and outdated the apocalypse felt, although that isn’t a criticism, exactly. It’s an interesting book, which I’m still processing.
- The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson provides a much more realistic vision of the apocalypse. I don’t have a strong opinion on the book yet, but I’ve been enjoying working through it.
- In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado was beautiful and insightful. I highly recommend it, it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while.
- The Wave in the Mind by Ursula K. Le Guin has been very good — I just got to the essay “Fact and/or/plus Fiction”, which was extremely insightful on a topic I’ve been struggling with for a while. I’m sure I’ll have to reread it a few times, but it’s already clarified my thinking.
- Glass House by Margret Morton, a beautiful book of photos and interviews about a squat in the lower east side of NYC.
- Tubmlr Porn by Ana Valens was good overall, although short and covered a lot of things I knew already. I mostly found it interesting after somewhat accidentally creating a social network, to reflect on the differences between thoughts.page and Tumblr. I am a bit dubious of some of the claims it (I don’t think it places nearly as much of the blame for Tumblr’s decline on Apple as is deserved, and its arguments seem sloppy in places), but on the whole, it was quite good.
In non-book reading, I enjoyed:
Probably other things too, that I’ve simply forgotten about. For the past few days I’ve been journaling, and saving the things that I read each day, which makes me realize how many things I’m reading and simply forgetting about.