Welcome to a lazy holiday version of the newsletter. This week I tweak my task management system, revisit some bands I haven’t listened to in a while, and break out the holiday/feel-good movies. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I think are worth your time, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.
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A Few Things
I still use Things 3 as my task manager of choice. For my personal life and how I organize my tasks, it’s still my favorite way to manage my projects and reoccurring tasks. However, Apple’s built-in Reminders app continues to get better. And, recently, they’ve added various features that have me glancing at it longingly across the room. The ability to add Location and People reminders, specifically. This week there were a few things I wanted to make sure I remembered to pick up at my mom’s house after Thanksgiving dinner, and that’s where once again I realized how excellent the idea behind a Location reminder is. So, I decided to tweak a few parts of my system so that I could take advantage of these features of Reminders while not needing to move everything from Things into it. I’ve left Things as my heavy-duty task list, the place where virtually everything still lives that I need “to do.” However, I’ve moved Timed, Location, and People reminders into the Reminders app. If there’s something that needs to be done at a specific time (take a shower before a dinner reservation), or something that I need to do at a particular location (get Christmas tree when at Mom’s house), or something I want to be reminded of when I’m chatting with someone in iMessage, those go into that specific list in Reminders. This allows each app to fulfill its proper place in my life. Things is my task manager, Fantastical is my calendar, and Reminders is my ‘reminder’ app. And since 95% of the time when I write something it starts in Drafts, it’s easy to send that text to the proper place after I jot it down. After using this system for about a week, I’m pretty happy with it. Maybe in time, I’ll try going all in on Reminders as my task manager again, but for now, this bifurcated system feels right to get the best out of what each app is best at.
I thought this week’s Accidental Tech Podcast was fantastic. Specifically, the part where they discuss social networks at scale. The discussion around Twitter, various decisions they’ve made recently, and talking about the difficulties of community management once you hit a specific size rung especially true. It’s something I’ve had a lot of experience with and a big reason why I have taken the community I currently run in the direction I did. As I get older, the more I believe that large-scale social networks are inherently impossible to moderate in a way that minimizes abuse, harm, and still provide value. At scale, sooner or later, they all tip in the wrong direction. Even the best of intentions and the best tools and people money can buy has not solved this fundamental problem. And the current owner of Twitter has neither the best intentions nor the best people. This will get much worse before it has any chance of getting better.
In Case You Missed It
Not a whole lot of new music I checked out this week, but that did give me some time to dive into a few things I had been meaning to dive deep into for a while. The first was going on a big Circa Survive kick. It’d been a while since I’d listened to the earlier albums, and that was a big nostalgia shot. I finally gave The Amulet the time I had never found before. I don’t know if I wasn’t in the right mood when it first came out, but these lovely crisp fall mornings have been the perfect backdrop for this album.
Saosin’s Translating the Name getting a vinyl pressing also moved that back into my rotation the past few weeks.
I also returned to The Receiving End of Sirens for the first time in maybe over a decade. There’s a handful of albums that I was pretty obsessed with during this 2005-2008 era, but then they kind of faded into my memory, and I never found myself reaching back for them. This was one of them. Fun album.
Last week, I talked about the Wombats’ releasing a new EP. I mentioned I liked their album from 2018. I was then informed that they actually also released an album earlier this year that I somehow had just completely missed. I have no idea how that happened, but it flew completely under my radar. I checked it out, and it’s good! Always nice to find out I have even more new music from a band to check out than I previously thought.
Might be back on an Ataris kick. I’ve found a few albums that, when I am not sure what I want to listen to, I can throw on, and I’m immediately fine with it. And The Ataris very much fit that description.
The latest Avril album got a “deluxe” update with some new songs. The collab with Yungblud is a lot of fun. I wonder what my 17-year-old self would have to say if I told him that Avril’s new album would probably end up being one of my most played in the year?
It’s about time to start breaking out the holiday music. The first part of December usually has me updating my playlists, and then I have a few that I flip on shuffle for whenever I’m in the mood for some holiday jams.
The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 40 different artists, 54 different albums, and 333 different tracks (351 scrobbles). My most listened to artist was Circa Survive and The Amulet was my most played track. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or Last.fm.
We decorated the condo for Christmas on Friday, so that also meant it was time to transition into some of the more warm and heartfelt entertainment. We had A Christmas Story on in the background while decorating the tree, and then we decided to give the new sequel from HBO a watch last night. The original is a stone-cold classic, and the sequel plays many of the same beats. It’s not on the same level, but it does end up working well enough as a holiday movie.
We also watched one of my all-time comfort movies: Crazy Stupid Love. It’s a movie that, for whatever reason, has become one of those that makes me happy to re-watch. It’s not a holiday movie, but it’s my happy place.
I have nothing but the utmost praise for Andor. It’s my favorite Star Wars content in a long time, and it so perfectly captures the human side of this universe. The genuine consequences of war, the horrors of fascism, the small decisions, and the little rebellions that spark the revolution. It’s some of the best-written Star Wars, probably ever. An incredible feat and easily one of my favorite things I’ve seen this year.
We’re three episodes into 1899 and I have no idea where this is going, but I am very much along for the ride.
Random and Personal Stuff
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours ended up being spread out over multiple days, multiple houses, and has now culminated in me sitting on my in-law’s couch writing this newsletter while Hannah is baking something in the kitchen. 😂 It was a lovely few days with family and good food. I ate too much. We’ve made it a little tradition to start decorating for the holidays on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It gives us a little more time with the decorations up while still giving us an entire weekend to hang out. So, we got the tree up, got some nice little extras around the condo, and did some Christmas shopping as well. Not a bad weekend, and everything is feeling quite festive at the moment. The best part was all my HomeKit automations still worked from last year, so as soon as I plugged in the tree, everything was back up and running. Automating the WeMo plug so the tree lights go on before sunset and turn off when we go to bed is one of my favorite little holiday perks.
Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.
The Receiving End of Sirens – Planning a Prison Break
City and Colour – Meant to Be
Circa Survive – Premonition of the Hex
Slowly Slowly – Paper Mache
Avril Lavigne – I’m a Mess
L.S. Dunes – Sleep Cult
Hannah Cole – Best Day
NoSo – I’m Embarrassed I Still Think of You
Lauv – Stranger
The Wombats – If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You
The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:
The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by Atticus5143 in the “The Dangerous Summer – Coming Home (2022)” thread.
Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.