not all who wander are lost...
long-form thoughts and shorter reflections as I journey along

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Perfect Albums

Early during #weblogpomo2024 Robb Knight shared what he considers to be his "perfect albums." He got this from Hemispheric Views 110 and a perfect album is defined as " album that you would say you could just start from beginning, let it run all the way through, without skipping songs, without moving around, just front to back and just sit there and do nothing else and just listen to that whole album."

This is a description I've been sitting with and thinking on and I wanted to share what I consider to be my perfect albums below:

  • Take Me Back to Eden by Sleep Token - This is a newer-to-me find that I absolutely love listening to, start to finish. I don't think any of the songs should be skipped (but sometimes do have to skip the harder "Vore" if my family is in the car and complains). If you like Metal and don't mind some harsh vocals, this is well worth the listen.
  • Blushing by Copeland - Jumping to a more indie rock style, I can't get enough of this entry by Copeland. It's the perfect chill album to put on and relax to. 
  • All Day by Girl Talk - If you are unfamiliar with Girl Talk, he's a DJ known for mashup albums. I actually probably won't be able to link to this one in Album Whale unfortunately. It's best to consider it one long song to turn on and then put on some good headphones to rock out to.  
  • Pretend Your Alive by Lovedrug - I hated this album my first listen. I then picked it up a couple of months later and it didn't leave my CD player for about a year because it just fit so well. I'm not sure what my issue was on first listen but it's the first one I thought of when I heard the phrase "perfect album".
  • Behold by My Epic - Christian hard rock (so be aware of that if you look it up) but so incredibly good. It's definitely one of those I put on and listen from start to finish.
  • Domestica by Cursive - Domestica is a dark post-hardcore/emo album but it's really really good. It's a concept album that follows the dissolution of a marriage (like I said, dark) but being a concept album helps it fit together really well.
  • False Cathedrals by Elliott - This is one of finest emo albums you can find. It's just perfect start to finish. 

Honorable Mentions:

  • Love and Affection by All Things Bright And Beautiful (recently re-released as Lee Bozeman)
  • Pinkerton by Weezer
  • Brother by The Brilliance
  • Mysterium by Hammock

I've made a list on Album Whale for easy access to the albums on apple music as well. Find it here (it is inclusive of honorable mentions but lacks All Day because I'm not sure how to add it to Album Whale).

I'm adding a new page in the footer to act as a history/changelog of my site. I'm going to try to remember the various iterations of my site and what caused me to move around...but my memory may be a bit fuzzy. I've always blogged for me and haven't cared quite as much about building long term presence or audience so continuity has been a bit of an...issue.

Sunday Review (5-26-2024)

a single pink drift rose

This past week has been a week. My wife has been on a work trip in Europe and gets back late tonight (yay!) so I've been single dad since last Friday. I decided I'd try and surprise her with a new rose garden flower bed in our front yard (of the pictured pink drift roses) but it hasn't quite gone to plan - on day one of digging I strained my lower back which has put a damper on everything. Instead of 3-4 hrs daily I've been able to do 1-2 hrs on it (and I probably shouldn't have been doing any). It's almost done though and it's looking nice I think. On to the review!

This past week I wrote about...

I also added a colophon page and a hello page. Check them out!

Interesting links from the past week

  • I've seen a couple of people do "Rules of life" posts (here and here) - I find them intriguing to read through and think about what my own would be. Post incoming? 
  • Similarly, I'm looking participating in the June "Junited" challenge.
  • LLM (AI) Kryptonite??? Fascinating.
  • This post exploring a number of different search engines is quite enlightening. If you are looking for a search engine to use, check this out. (I tend to stick with DuckDuckGo)
  • Vox on why AI art won't stop sucking. Spoiler: It's soulless. 
  • Robb Knight made a new site about slash pages. If you are starting a new blog or website - check here for ideas about what pages people like reading.
  • On a more serious note, this story from a victim coming forward in an SBC church is important. Being able to tell your story and have people believe is often an important part of recovery alongside the cry for justice inherent in it (so you'll see me post links to stories like this from time to time).
  • On a similar tragic note, this thread on twitter. Supposedly pro-life laws like this shouldn't be so pro-death. 
  • I've been wanting to explore this outliner plugin for Obsidian more but haven't had a chance yet. Anyone use it? Thoughts?

Apps I'm trying

  • Vivaldi: I've been trying to find a good web browser and this came recommended.

I've settled on using Plinky and still trying Bebop as well!

Meaningful Quotes: On Leadership

the best quiet leaders think in terms of leaderships (plural) rather than leadership (singular). The strong, silent, lone-ranger-style leader might win our awe by their talent and ability, but when you are built like Myrtle, you know that only a team effort will get you across the line.

From The Tortoise Usually Wins: Biblical Reflections on Quiet Leadership for Reluctant Leaders by Brian Harris

While this is a book geared towards leadership in church & ministry settings, I think this idea of leadership as plural has much further reaching implications. I think one of the things we got wrong in western spaces is the deeply rooted individualism that leads to Lone Ranger leaders who often cause more problems than not. A plurality of leaders or polycentric structures allow for greater depth in strategy and decision making while also facilitating wider community involvement. 

It is worth saying though that just as not all “Lone Ranger” types are bad, not all leaderships are good. I just think there is greater accountability and less opportunity for abuse in these plural structures.    

The next page rounding out my site is a "Hello" page. It should be fully up by the time this posts. Feel free to check it out and say "Hello!"

I'm adding a new category on my site called "shorts" for briefer, title less posts (like this one!). Hopefully this will marry some of the things I like about microblogging with longer form, more structured content. 

Thanks to the inspiration of Robb Knight's new Slash Pages site I'm going to flesh this site out a bit more with some additional pages that make sense to me.  The first is the addition of a colophon page in the footer. It should be live by the time this post is live!

Barbecues should be about one thing: good shared meat. 

-Ron Swanson from Parks & Recreation

a sliced amazing brisket I smoked some time ago...

My Blogging Workflow

Robert Birming has been keeping track of posts sharing about people's blogging workflow. I'm a bit late to the game and the list but thought I'd share anyways. I've really enjoyed picking up writing for myself again and it's helpful to think through the how of it.

Basically, a post starts its life in one of 3 ways:

1. Digging through the archives.

I've blogged off and on over the past couple of decades. On a number of occasions I've completely rebooted it from scratch because people grow and change and interests evolve. But I do like going back through my personal archives and occasionally pulling something out to post. I've not done that yet for this latest iteration but I do have some in the works. To do it I:

  1. Find an old post in my note archives.
  2. Read and edit based on who I am now
  3. Once I'm happy with edits, load up scribbles and post!

2. Immediate inspiration (and review posts)

Some posts I do on the spot because they are either easier review type posts (think: my Sunday Review posts) or I have some sort of immediate inspiration. For these it's as simple as:

  1. Opening Scribbles.
  2. Clicking on "+ Write"
  3. Writing it out and scheduling it to post. 

3. Draft and Post

Most of my posts these days start as drafts in scribbles and go through a number of iterations. To do this I:

  1. Whenever inspiration strikes regarding a topic I open the draft section of Scribbles
  2. Click on "+ Start New Draft"
  3. Put the topic in the subject line or in the body (depending on length and what I want to add then and there). 
  4. In the evenings after the family goes to bed I'll take an hour or so to write. I'll look through prospective drafts and either pick one to focus on or do number 2 above and let Immediate Inspiration take over.
  5. When a draft is ready, I'll then schedule it to post and remove the "Save as Draft" flag. 

My Main Podcast Jams

Previously I shared my favorite Youtube listens and I thought I'd do the same with Podcasts. My podcast listens tend to be...different...then the YouTube channels I watch and I don't expect everyone to identify with these. But some might find something worth checking out here. 

Podcast Jams

  • Oh No Ross And Carrie: For a long time this has been my wife and I's favorite listen when the kids aren't around (there's adult talk and language so be warned if you have little ears around). There whole thing is investigating religion, fringe science, paranormal stuff and anything in between as if it were real. The show up, they try, they join and give it a fair shot and then report on it. Their Scientology series and Mormon church series are particularly note worthy. It's well worth a listen.
  • Acidental Tech Podcast: The ATP is a great listen for (typically Apple focused) tech news. I don't catch every episode but It's always a joy to turn it on.
  • William Branham Historical Research: This is a meaty podcast that covers the life of the charlatan that launched a lot of what is seen in pentecostal circles these days. It's deep, very well researched and uncovers the theological wasteland that needs serious examining.
  • Feet of Clay: This podcast is done by two women who were involved in the founding and operating of Keith Green's ministry. There stories are captivating and help to describe how so many ministries operate these days.
  • Bodies Behind The Bus: The BBtB podcast gives survivors of spiritual abuse (primarily from Acts 29 settings) a platform and voice to tell their stories. The name comes from an infamous sermon by the A29 founder Mark Driscoll (who claimed by the time his church was fully built that there would be a pile of bodies behind the bus of people who got in the way). Go and listen to the stories of survivors reclaiming their voices and agency.
  • Heaven Bent: This is another exploration of the charismatic church. Each season focuses on a specific church setting. The latest season focuses on IHOPKC and started just a month or so before a massive scandal broke out there. Another one well worth a listen.
  • The New Evangelicals: A more general topic faith based podcast that has many engaging episodes.
  • True Believer - The Unsolved Murder of Elizabeth Mackintosh: A true crime podcast following the unsolved murder of a woman on a seminary campus in 1990.
  • Veterans of Culture Wars: A great faith and culture podcast.
  • The Blacksheep Podcast: Hosted by HM magazine, the Blacksheep podcast covers music. Mostly hard music. And mostly hard music that originated in Christian circles. 

Sunday Review (5-19-2024)

My daughters hand holding a yellow flower she found fallen from a vine in the woods.

Another week has past and we've arrived at the 3rd Sunday of #weblogpomo2024! For me the past week continued to be busy. As it ended, it got even more busy because my wife left for 10 days on a business trip. That means I'm on my own with the kids. 

This past week I wrote about...

Interesting links I came across...

Apps I'm trying...

  • Bebop: a new iOS note taking app that focuses on taking quick notes as easily as possible. I'm really enjoying it so far.
  • Plinky: a new iOS link manager. I've got a much more detailed review above. TLDR: I love it.

The Problem With Links (aka Discovering Plinky!)

For awhile the one piece of my workflow that has eluded me is link organization and archival. This is actually something more important to me than you might think because of the "input" strength being a top 5 StrengthsFinder strength that I lean into a lot. One way to look at this strength is that I love to gather and have on hand information that might prove handy for myself or anyone else, whenever the info is needed. To successfully do that though, I need a good way to organize and catalogue data.

For notes, this happens in Obsidian. For documents, this happens in DevonThink. But links and websites have eluded me for longer than I like. For a long while I used, basically until it started getting a bit unreliable, the price went up and the founder got a bit flippant on hacker news.

I've tried a number of things since but haven't loved any of them. I tried Anybox and Goodlinks. I tried keeping link files in Obsidian (don't do this). Recently I started trying Bridges which is a really nice app but just didn't fit my use case (it's meant for more "catch and release" work with links rather than longer term storage and archival).[ 1 ]

Last week a new contender caught my eye called Plinky. I didn't pay much attention at first because I don't love the name or all of the design choices but all of the really positive feedback I was seeing made me download it.[ 2 ] I'm really glad I did it because it's the best solution I've found for links so far.

I love how easy it is to get links into the app. I love that I can easily categorize in folders and tags and that there isn't some pre-defined way that you are supposed to make them. I can very quickly add some category tags to a new link but also tag it "to post" reminding myself to post it. Links I'm mostly done with can be hidden by archiving them (but able to be resurrected if needed). Long story short, it easily integrates into the workflows that I want to have rather than forcing me into the workflow it wants me to have.

Another plus is that development seems active and the developer is passionate about it. He made something he wants to use not just sell. That's rare these days. The roadmap which was quite easy to find in-app is also encouraging. Long story short - I'm excited to see where Plinky goes and at this point I'm quite excited to be a user.

[ 1 ]: I link to it here because it's one I plan to continue following. If it ever leans more in the organization direction, it might be worth revisiting.

[ 2 ]: Not trying to be negative here - I think design is very subjective and what one person likes, another might not. 

Weblogpomo 2024 Personal Index

I saw Robert Birming ask on Mastodon about the best way to catalogue their #weblogpomo2024 posts. The conclusion there was a roundup index page which I thought was a really good idea which I'm going to do as well. See below for the posts so far. I'm also going to update this at the very least at the end of the month to capture all of the posts (but probably won't day by day). 

#weblogpomo2024 - See below for my contributions!

Main YouTube Views

I thought it would be fun to introduce you to some of my favorite YouTube channels. This list isn't exhaustive and isn't the only channels I'll visit but it does have my favorites on it! I'll give a brief summary of each so hopefully you'll find something worth viewing as well!

  • Folding Ideas: This is a channel by a guy named Dan Olson. His speciality is long deep dives into specific meme worthy topics. I first came across him after someone recommended his video In Search of a Flat Earth (this, btw is one of the best overviews of QAnon I've seen) and have stuck around ever since!
  • LastWeekTonight: John Oliver. What more needs to be said? Their channel has web exclusives and I think they will be uploading full episodes of early seasons too. 
  • ZeFrank: I'm a faithful viewer here because of his True Facts series. The dry humor about weird facts about animals is gold. 
  • LegalEagle: I love his short (typically less than 20 min) legal takes on super relevant news topics. It's helpful to figure out what might be going on in the legal world.
  • David Pakman Show: Independent news media. I find him to be pretty fair and balanced - more so than I often see. 
  • SwitchUp: My favorite channel all about the Nintendo Switch! They do great reviews and roundups and general switch news.
  • Dave's Little Beasties: A weird choice, maybe. Dave's channel is all about his care of exotic animals, predominantly tarantulas. It's oddly fascinating and his care and passion really comes through. 
  • Guga & GugaFoods & Sous Vide Everything: These are my favorite cooking channels. Guga is great! I love all of his wild experiments and then the cooking advice and recipe suggestions are just a great bonus.
  • Ryukahr: Highly entertaining Super Mario Maker streamer. I don't do twitch but enjoy the abbreviated YouTube uploads. There are some highly entertaining Mario maker levels!
  • Jarvis Johnson: Jarvis Johnson covers pop culture. I like his humor and takes. Probably not for everyone (but then what is?).
  • Postmodern Jukebox: PMJ remakes popular songs, mostly in jazz and swing styles. They are fabulous most of the time.

Meaningful Lyrics: Umbrellas by Sleeping at Last

We'll bring a child
We'll bring a child into this world
We'll say the one thing
Everyone should hear:
You were meant for amazing things

Umbrellas by Sleeping At Last

This song will always be special. It came out when my wife and I were dating and kind of became "our song" (at least at the time). It was a little awkward when we decided on it as the lyrics are quite direct and travel through finding love, starting a family and being 100% for them. But it worked out and ended up ringing true for us. It was also our "first dance" song at our wedding!