Lucier, Wrapped, Porter Ricks

From the past week

I do this manually each Saturday, collating most of the tweets I made the past week at, which I think of as my public notebook. Some tweets pop up in expanded form or otherwise on sooner. It’s personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud.

▰ Definitely digging Neal Stephenson’s new book, Termination Shock. It’s interesting that the title phrase appears for the first time almost exactly halfway through the novel.

▰ Had a nice 9 days off Twitter (and F’book) for Thanksgiving. Probably will do the same at the end of the year. Read a heap, Wrote, too. Perhaps there’s a connection.

▰ Getting a new laptop means learning to turn off annoying alert sounds. Every time you mute one, another makes itself known. Months will pass at some point, and only then will you look back and realize, “Oh, it’s been a while since an alert went off. I must have gotten them all.”

▰ Neal Stephenson, student of martial arts, momentarily puts aside sticks, spears, and heron-inspired fisticuffs to focus in on sonic weaponry. This is from his new novel, Termination Shock:

Fascinating: just a few pages later, there’s an audio deepfake scenario, geopolitical dirty tricks.

▰ Pretty ingenious. Do many other music-making devices do this, where the jack labels are upside down, so you can read them easily by just tipping the thing toward you rather than having to read upside down? (This is the OXI One.)

▰ It’s VCV Rack 2.0.0 Day.

▰ Got a new CD player. (The 5-CD changer died after 30 years of service.) First thing I played was the Necks/Underworld team-up, one of my favorite CDs in recent years. What CD would you play first on a new player? (Possible answer: What’s a CD player?)

▰ If you’ve been online long enough (for context, this website turns 25 years old in a few days), then sometimes simply seeing a hi-def video on YouTube of someone walking around Seattle in the snow, the image’s four edges confined within the mundane page interface, can seem truly remarkable.

▰ Moved on to a better room than the one he was in now

▰ In the Lucier, the sound as a whole decayed with each generation of recording.

In the Reider, each recording is no less clear, in sonic terms, than its predecessor; only meaning decays.

▰ I am screaming in a franchise different from the one you are in now.

▰ My top 5 artists of the year were:

  1. Whales
  2. The wind
  3. Room tone
  4. Conference call reverb
  5. Public transportation (reunion tour)

The famed unintended Golden Gate Bridge noise definitely happened, but I can’t say it’s been as big a presence in my life as it has been in the news.

▰ Just left someone a voicemail. I think I need to take a brush-up course. Maybe there’s still a Cyber Monday sale for a video tutorial master class.

▰ The thing where you transfer a 60,000-word Scrivener document from a dying laptop to a brand new laptop with a different operating system and you can’t drag and drop so you open it from the menu and it works and you reflect on the dramatic power of dispensing with commas.

▰ Me: So many newsletters.

Also me: If DeLillo had one, I’d sign up in a second and pay for it.

And: I need to get my (unpaid) newsletter rolling again.

And then: Yeah, just imagine DeLillo sending sentences of dread to millions of readers.

And: Oh, the news has that covered.

▰ It’s a Porter Ricks afternoon.

When I typed that I had no idea that barely 15 minutes later someone would drive slowly down the block with a very very flat tire, which is essentially the full Sensurround experience when it comes to Porter Ricks.

Moved on from Biokinetics (1996) to Shadow Boat (2016), and now I recognize why I keep accidentally calling my Tensor guitar pedal Tresor.

▰ rooster + washing machine
river + printer
birds + car honks

This week in the Disquiet Junto, participants in the music community are combining field recordings from nature and civilization. Playlist in progress below. Join in at

▰ And on that note, have a good weekend. I’ve got 100 pages to go on the new Neal Stephenson novel, and then it’s either the new Fonda Lee or the final Expanse, plus one I’m reading about the history of risk (not Risk). And some personal writing. And guitar practice. And rest.

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