Cool Internet Stuff (NBA bubble life with Ben Golliver, Oliver Burkeman newsletter wisdom, and more)

What I think I’m doing here: It’s another links post.

  • The news your life.” Oliver Burkeman is now delivering wisdom in newsletter form. I have definitely been a bit derailed by distraction these past two weeks. I mean, this about sums it up.
  • On a related note, I find myself hungry for competence and am thinking back to the NBA’s “bubble” – which looks like more of a success with each passing day. Ben Golliver wrote up one of the best reflections on NBA bubble life. Not sure what the next season is going to look like – but hoping they can pull something off.

The most damning thing about Substack is not any of these theoretical structural mechanics, it’s the easier more intuitive understanding that nothing great will be written here. Each piece we read and publish is a bite sized dose of momentary stimulation. It follows an unwritten contract between each party–I will not try too hard to writing anything serious, you will not try too hard to understand my writing, and both of us will be happier for it–that feels less like patronage, and more like a cheap imitation of actual craft, something that fulfils its surface level goals but goes no further.

On the whole, I find the shift towards so much internet writing being distributed as email newsletters extremely irritating. Even the newsletters I like end up over time feeling like some sort of spam. RSS readers exist! They provide a significantly better reading experience!

  • John Van Deusen with an enjoyable acoustic concert from 2018. The whole thing has a very Pacific Northwest vibe. I like his comment, after singing a few of his more devotional songs, about subjecting his audience to an “awkward cultural experience.” I think “awkward cultural experience” is what I’m aiming for on this blog too.
  • Sticking with YouTube discoveries, apparently there is a whole genre of these “drum covers” – stumbling across this kind of thing is the very definition of “cool internet stuff” – and I thought this one was a lot of fun (her “Godzilla Challenge” was how I came across the whole drum cover thing). We need a little fun, yeah?
  • Knausgaard’s My Struggle, mapped (higher quality image here). It provides a nice visual representation of why Books 1 and 2 are the best of the six volumes – they are larger in scope and more complex in construction. Working on my own little Knausgaard essay – but it has fallen on hard times (see note on distraction at the top of the post).

Reading is a relief for the exasperated spirit. It’s a way of engaging with times and places and ideas you might not otherwise be able to. It’s a a good in and of itself, not a means to an end. Reading is a way of life. It is integral to preparing for death and thinking about how to live. Of course the mavens are correct. Reading is how presidents, generals, executives, and investors become better at what they do. But it’s about how all of us us become better at who we are. Don’t read to be successful. Read to live better.