This was our third Hold Steady show. First one was the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2008, and second was in Indianapolis in 2014.
The Hold Steady has been my go-to since early college, and it has aged much better than other favorites from that time. I maintain that had I not been listening to their first 3 albums on continuous loop for the last 72 hours before finals, I would not have completed my microcontrollers class project and would have failed out of college. Same went the next semester with compilers class. Saved by Barfruit Blues and A Multitude of Casualties.
My only note was that I was looking forward to hearing “Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night”, and did not, maybe because it was their first of 3 nights in Chicago and they hadn’t been in Chicago last night. I did enjoy their cover of the opening band’s song “Fresh Pope.”
(I have published this far, far after the fact because I am a busy person, but this needed to be logged at the correct time for posterity.)
What a year(s) it has been. Even if I had written a year in review post for 2017, 2018 still felt like it was five and a half years. But, like 2017, I do not feel like writing oneoftheseposts this year. Maybe it is because it is not as fun as it used to be. Maybe it is because all the things I would put here are already posted, categorizedneatly without the need for an EOY summary.
The major theme for me of the past 1-2 years is that I feel like I could not keep up. Everything moved fast, and seemed to constantly accelerate. Professional responsibilities changed, which was exciting and harrowing. Our toddler is a big kid, to the point where he wants to do everything but can’t just yet. The world at large seems to hurdle between inspiration and death spiral, practically minute to minute.
So I’m going to use some of the scrum training we got this year for a full-blown retrospective.1
Over the years I’ve become wary about new services and silos. But I’ve made an exception for Letterboxd, a social network for sharing your taste in movies. I joined a few months ago, and I am really enjoying the singular focus on a medium that everyone participating really likes.
From a social media standpoint, it seems like a good idea to focus the interactions through a specific lens, to start from a common ground1. I am also a sucker for cataloging things and life-logging. You can follow and heckle my taste here.
Usually I keep up with posting interesting links as bookmarks here. However, between moving the site and an extremely hectic few months, I had about 25 open tabs on my mobile browser. Here is a selection.
Satisfying an itch I’ve had for a while, I am working on migrating the back end of pilch.me from Known back to WordPress. I love Known, but this has been a long time coming. It’s probably my own fault for migrating 6 weeks before becoming a new dad (and taking on more at work), but I thought I would have more time to familiarize myself with the inner workings of the platform, to tinker and break things and fix them. I decidedly did not, so I’m heading back to the familiarity of WordPress.
When I initially migrated, Known had a lot of the Indieweb elements baked in (webmention, early micropub, post formats, etc), and the WP plugins lagged a bit behind. Now they are caught up, while Known development has slowed significantly. I feel a bit like part of the problem, since I’m not sticking with it. But I also do not currently have the time nor patience to figure out how to modify mySQL elements, or maintain URL rewrite rules and .htaccess files. I need to step back into a platform where I don’t have to worry about nuts and bolts, and customizing basic/intermediate elements is taken care of in a GUI.
I’m doing the migration manually, post by post. Known exported as RSS, and I was able to import that to start (WP’s built-in RSS importer threw errors, so I had to use this). This method created a lot of formatting issues with line feeds, lists, etc., which is why I am doing each post individually. This gives me a chance to review some old posts I forgot about, and also the ability to idly update posts during down time at work (the network there is extremely locked down, and would not allow external SSH/FTP connections).
The current WP install is at blog.pilch.me. I’ll probably keep the Known install, and figure out a subdomain for that when I am ready to switch the two.
The little man is starting to have strong opinions about what we play and read and listen to and watch. And while I have been able to steer his tastes in the past, he has started making his own picks too.
Sometimes I can steer those as well; he likes the newest Thor and Spider-Man movies, and we got him a 12-inch tall Hulk action figure that he treats like a baby doll.
Sometimes he misses big. He found and made us watch a Netflix show that appears to be just a GoPro mounted on the front of a passenger train through Norway. It is 7 hours long.
But his most recent pick is a winner. It’s called Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, and it is basically a French CG mix of Sailor Moon and Spider-Man. It has the odd rhythm of a dubbed show, and he loves the repetitious transformation sequences. I appreciate a show like this being given some production value, and we can’t wait to start season 2 which dropped this week.
Being a parent is scary. Starting from essentially a blank slate, you are required to take a new human life, keep it alive, and teach it to function in society. Before #fatherhood, I never considered the now-daunting concept of teaching someone with a 50-75 word vocabulary how to use a toilet.
But there is a reason people do it, outside of Darwinian survival. That fear and self-doubt is the entry fee for some of the most rewarding experiences I can think of. Kids pick up things you don’t, or that you demonstrate unintentionally. And they know what they like, and form these opinions far earlier than I initially expected.
So when our toddler asked unprompted to play “my house” during dinner, my heart exploded with joy. Usually, song requests in our house involve wheels on buses, or rain going away, or some variation on a standard that stars Elmo. But during our drive-time commute dance parties, I control the radio. And I understood immediately that this request was for Daft Punk Is Playing At My House, the first track from the eponymous debut of LCD Soundsystem. The seed is now taking root.
So I want to thank James Murphy for teaching my son how to say the following words and phrases:
huh-OW-OW! (the open)
set them up (ooo ooo ye-ah)
let them go!
If you would like to celebrate with me, here is a link to the album version:
I risk a todder fit if I switch it up, but I prefer the live cut:
What a year it has been. Personally, 2016 was pretty good. Our child is now walking and talking constantly, mostly about Thomas the Tank Engine1. Some of my brothers got married (one literal, two figurative). I developed a fairly consistent note-taking habit, first with Workflowy and then with some Field Notes. Probably worth its own post at a later date.
Having a toddler means I don’t get out as much as I used to, so my Official Dad Best-Of–2016 awards go to Deadpool, the new Ghostbusters, and the newest season of The Venture Brothers. Rogue One was also pretty good.
The Rest Of The World
Professionally, and for the world in general, it has been a goddamn nightmare.
Here’s my list of (mostly terrible) things that happened, month by month, with some good tweets for flavor. I’ll try to avoid the elephant in the room.2