- Raptor Velocity
- I have nothing to say.
I have nothing to say.
Who sends a newsletter on Black Friday?
I’ve been consciously trying to keep a weekly writing schedule, which means, in this case, sending an email on the busiest email day of the year. Sorry for that, and hope this isn’t the proverbial straw for your inbox camel.
Black Friday has somehow gone from dubious discounts on present-worthy clutter to a full floodgate of spam. Today I’ve received special, time-sensitive offers for electricity providers, laundry services, and (ironically) email. I don’t know about your family, but these aren’t what I’d like to find under the tree.
That’s not to say that the OG Black Friday was a noteworthy calendar event, with a singular proposition that should be preserved. But where we are now - a cacophony of uninvited solicitation - is somehow even worse.
The good news is: I’ve got nothing to sell you! I’m not even going to link the book or anything! We all deserve a little quiet sometimes.
For me, in my petty revolutionary way, Black Friday has become a key moment for life admin. Throughout the year, I’ve invariably wound up on mailing lists, while buying too much stuff. As as these emails poke their little heads up over the parapet on Black Friday, I whack ‘em with the unsubscribe button. It is cleansing.
(This is not the same as January, when I conduct my annual non-commercial email subscriptions, and ask myself ‘Do I enjoy reading this?’ or ‘Do I actually ever read this?’. That’s therapeutic too, but takes a little more thought. Today is all about those mindless little bursts of serotonin.)
It would be hypocritical of me to begrudge a business trying to do business things, but, I’m highly supportive of our right to say ‘no’, and - more importantly - to protect and preserve our owned spaces, even digital ones. The idea that I resent opening up my inbox at this time of year means something’s going wrong.
It is the opposite of silence, but I’m genuinely addicted to the Merlin app.
The app identifies birdsong, which is handy in and of itself, but also lets you collect the birds. I now have so many robins that I can finally evolve a robinzard, and claim my local aviary. Ok, sadly, it doesn’t go full Pokemon Go and let you indulge in a virtual Riff Off, but you still get the little happy buzz when you identify something and get to drop a pin on your birding map. For science, or something.
Our family is, of course, fiercely competitive. I’m winning on quantity of species, thanks to a trip back to the US and a phone full of Midwestern captures. But Anne has the best catch of all, in her very suspect Barn Owl. She somehow heard it… midday… in an open field… I was there, and I’m still deeply, deeply annoyed. Algorithms would never lie to us, right?
That said, Merlin is an app about silence. Being a Merlin fiend means I’m now more aware of the sounds around me: the background noise of a passing train, overhead planes, traffic traffic traffic, or even my own noisy footsteps. It makes you appreciate quiet - it, in fact, makes you an active seeker of quiet. And finding that moment in place and time where all the noise all falls away and suddenly a song becomes clear? That’s pretty rewarding as well.
What I’m reading (offline):
Border Town Girl & Linda by John D MacDonald. Two novellas, both murder mysteries (of a sort) from a chap who didn’t actually write that many works at this length. I’d argue this might not be his best format, possibly because they’re actually too on brand. Both have familiar plot beats, familiar characters, familiar twists, and familiar resolutions. They’re both by-the-numbers JDM. In his shorter form, he’s more experimental. In his longer form, he takes more space to add - well - fluff. The odd musings, sidequests, incidental characters, or extraneous twists that make the books genuinely better. The novellas are, for lack of a better phrasing, ‘unadulterated JDM’, and they need more than that to shine.
Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez. A GoodReads Choice pick, and… eh. They’re both doctors. He has severe social anxiety, she has trauma from her previous, shit marriage. They are both absolutely perfect people who love children and puppies and the elderly and hijinks. They fake date because of course they have to and they get along perfectly because they are both perfect and then they fall in perfect love. The sweetness I don’t mind. What I do mind is the a) 90% of the ‘tension’ was just their inability to talk to one another (despite being told-not-shown about how wonderful and open they were) and b) the double-tap 80% breakup, which is an innovation I could really do without. There’s the breakup at 80% and then ANOTHER one a few chapters later. WHY.
What I’m reading (online):
Why it is 1800 all over again - “Imagine a growing sense that algorithmic and mechanistic thinking has become too oppressive”
Always interested in campaigns that tell people not to do things. In this case: don’t visit Amsterdam.
‘If you live here, you’re a Londoner.’ - a message to be proud of.
“The impacts of climate change are likely to displace more animals and change their migration patterns, potentially bringing more of them to cities. That will force local governments to think about how to manage these animals and how to make sure their presence doesn’t pose a threat. But cities can also play a positive role for these wild species, as green spaces within urban areas can serve as useful corridors to connect different habitats.” - on embracing ‘wilder’ cities
And, lest the actual, actual holiday get lost in the mess - Happy Thanksgiving. I am very thankful that you read my now-weekly rambles, and appreciate your indulgence. I hope you had a very happy holiday and I wish you a clean and healthy inbox.