8 December '20

Early December

Music, lately

A lot of the people that I look up to use Bandcamp to listen to music. It's a significantly fairer approach to music than Spotify or Apple Music, which I think has sort of become the norm over the past few years. And Bandcamp knows it: the largest text above the fold on the Bandcamp homepage indicates how much money Bandcamp has generated for artists.

And as I sort of come into the part of my life where I've got more disposable income than I ever have before--I feel compelled more and more to contribute to the things that I want to see more of in the world. I don't want a world where artists have to struggle for fractions of a cent on some enormous tech platform. I want to see a world where people who make beautiful, moving things thrive.

But I have a Spotify subscription, and I pay them £9.99/month, and I think I've bought only maybe 10 albums on Bandcamp or so. So I sort of feel like I clearly don't want to lift no heavy ass proverbial weights.

Part of it is a question of, like, bandwidth. If that makes sense. I don't feel like I can yield the appropriate effort—of attention, of finance—that it takes to curate a library of music that I can get behind. Does that mean that I don't deserve music? …Maybe it does? I can't tell.

And what's worse is that this gap expresses itself across my whole life: the gap between what I think I should do and the things that I actually do. How I spend my money and my time: on cheap candy at Aldi, on meat, on bad television, on media that sensationalises the worst kind of behaviour. I think this sort of gestures at something a little heavier than I want to address, but the tension is there. I suppose it's something you just have to live with and work at daily.

RSS

I was a Google Reader user back in the day, before they killed it; and then I used Feedly for a little while as well.

I don't think I was using it right, back in the day. I subscribed mostly to big tech or outdoor blogs and scrolled through hundreds of articles multiple times a day. I just couldn't process the volume of output—and so I wound up just clicking on whichever titles baited me the most. That hollow, mass-data approach to consuming content sort of killed the interest in me, and I dropped off.

Coming back to RSS, I've been using it to subscribe to the feeds of individuals I admire. It's just blog posts now, individual hand-crafted little bits of clever thought from people whose names I know--instead of huge feeds from Techcrunch or the Verge or Outdoors Magazine (which, no shade towards journalists who work for larger publications: you're also (generally) doing the lord's work).

They come less frequently—but when they do, I sit down and read through the whole post; I click on some links and navigate to and from footnotes. I'm using NetNewsWire, which I've been extremely impressed with, especially for open-source software. If you've been underwhelmed with the hosted RSS readers on the net (Feedly, Inoreader), give NetNewsWire a try.

Cleveland Way

Finished walking the Cleveland Way over the weekend. We've been doing out on day hikes along the trail for the past few months, and we finally knocked out the better part of the last 20 miles or so, along the coast, during the week I spent between jobs at the beginning of November.

There's not much to say about the walk, and maybe that's the whole point of walking in the outdoors. Nothing much happened: the views were beautiful most of the time, and sometimes it was cloudy, too, but that's fine. A lot of the Cleveland Way passes through landscape that feels sort of samey, but never for so long that you get particularly bored. There's always a bit of a landmark coming up that you can count on, and plenty of parking all along the trail for day hiking.

I wouldn't recommend the coastal parts of the Way in the wintertime: much of the trail skirts the edges of farmers' fields, which get very muddy; and a thick layer of clay that runs all along the coastal shelf turns the mud into a slick greasy mess that you will not be able to maintain traction on. Late summer is probably a good shout--just remember to bring sunscreen. The rest of the trail is less problematic: mostly gravel roads or big stone flags that make the going easy.

Verdict

8/10 // Great long distance trail, woulda been a 9 except for some of the coast got sort of charmless after a while.