2022-03-12When I was growing up I sometimes thought I wanted to be a writer, but I quickly realised that doing it for a job wasn’t going to be fun or rewarding. My position is that I took the coward’s way out in choosing to go into software engineering, for a more financially stable existence, but I went into the world with a respect for the writing staff and a general dread at their constant mistreatment.
2022-03-12When, from the outside, a collection of people or an institution is doing things I strongly disagree with, it often turns out that from the inside I can see all the mechanisms and incentives that make perfectly normal people works towards bad outcomes. Take online advertising. In my last year at BuzzFeed I finally bit the bullet and started working in the part of the team that makes the money: the ad tech team.
2021-10-26I can’t stop watching and listening to things again. I’m back in a cycle of cueing up a continuous stream of video content from dawn until dusk. I walk into the bathroom watching TikTok, I come out casting a podcast to the speakers in the living room, where I work from home. I get on my bike and put my headphones in, queue up another podcast episode while I ride through the streets.
2020-12-15I think the last film I saw in the cinema before they all closed was The Lighthouse. After that weird nautical trip we emerged from The Ritzy in Brixton in the middle of the afternoon, dazed and out of sync with the normal world where people were charging up and down the pavement. The cinema was only a couple of minutes down the road from where I was living at the time; it didn’t seem like a big deal.
2020-12-04I’ve spent a lot of this year living in the worlds other people have made for us. The world of our senses is either too boring (the insides of our homes, dinner arriving in cardboard at the front door) or too awful (bodies in refrigerated trucks, forests burning, and police brutality) to enjoy, so I’ve been turning to media more than ever. It’s been mediating my perception of the world, organising the information so I can take it in, or turning it into stories so I can connect with it on some emotional level with my burned out stump of a brain.
2020-11-02The latest issue of the All My Stars newsletter got me reading about Crash (1996). It was obviously a very contraversial film, that much I remember. There was some monocle-popping from Francis Ford Coppola on the Cannes jury; he refused to present the award that the film went on to win. What’s funny though is that the film won the Special Jury Prize, not just the Jury Prize. What’s the difference?
2020-09-15I rewatched lots of Pixar shorts the other night. So much of Pixar’s storytelling is fixating on parenting, growing up, child development. Also it seems like each Pixar short is some kind of experiment in animation or storytelling. A great example is Piper, the story of a sandpiper on a beach learning to find shells in the sand. The animation of the surf, and the sand with all its different consistencies and levels of water saturation is amazing.
2020-09-15We watched Boys State this week. It’s a documentary that follows a cohort of Texan teenage boys going through an intense one-week political bootcamp at the Texas state capitol. They’re divided randomly into two parties*, given lessons in the state constitution, and then they run a compressed set of elections for party chairmen, gubernatorial candidates, and ultimately for state governor. I really enjoyed it, though I felt myself predictably enamoured with the charismatic and thoughtful liberals Steven and René.