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Joshua Whiting

learner, writer, creator, librarianish person

a stream

All posts and notes on this site, sorted by when published.


DigiWriMo?

[Originally Posted: 2019.11.01]
[Last Updated: 2021.02.20]

So years ago I remember coming across a thing called Digital Writing Month from some educator-writer type people I followed on twitter, and when seeing the usual pre-November hype for NaNoWriMo (which I always like the idea of but don’t actually want to do) I suddenly remembered it and thought I might try it this year, because it kind of fits with the project of this site.

Digiwrimo.com Can’t Be Reached

But I guess it’s not really a thing anymore.

So years ago I remember coming across a thing called Digital Writing Month from some educator-writer type people I followed on twitter, and when seeing the usual pre-November hype for NaNoWriMo (which I always like the idea of but don’t actually want to do) I suddenly remembered it and thought I might try it this year, because it kind of fits with the project of this site.

Digiwrimo.com Can’t Be Reached

But I guess it’s not really a thing anymore.

There’s a hashtag, but it’s kind of a ghost town. There’s this nice blog post from 2015. A lot of those people are out there still doing their thing, but in other frameworks with other names. I don’t know whether or how I would fit in to any of it. So, despite having zero community with which to do this, I might still kind of try it. By “it” I basically mean “create something random on the Internet every day for a month” and share it on this site. We’ll see. My NaPoWriMo attempt in April only lasted for like 4 days.

P.S. I am pretty good at covertly doing random, pointless things. This website is a great example. Another is that I wore a Halloween costume yesterday that was so low-key that no-one recognized it as anything unusual, and I didn’t tell anyone about it. I dressed as Lionel Richie from the cover of his 1982 self-titled album.

Lionel Richie in a green sweater with purple polo shirt on the cover of his 1982 self-titled solo debut

Standalone post link: DigiWriMo?
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THE VVITCH

[Originally Posted: 2019.10.19]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

It is currently 4 AM and I am awake for some reason, and I just heard a noise downstairs of unclear origin.

Maybe I shouldn’t have watched this with my 4 month old puppy around. Was that a mistake? Will she live deliciously now? Will she grow up and randomly kill us all one morning like that damn goat?

The VVitch Movie Poster - TMDB

It is currently 4 AM and I am awake for some reason, and I just heard a noise downstairs of unclear origin.

Maybe I shouldn’t have watched this with my 4 month old puppy around. Was that a mistake? Will she live deliciously now? Will she grow up and randomly kill us all one morning like that damn goat?

The VVitch Movie Poster - TMDB

She started paying attention at points where there were kids on the screen. She got noticeably agitated at a couple of moments when characters were yelling at each other or screaming. I don’t think she paid attention to the blood. I hope she didn’t pay attention to the blood. I turned the movie off and made her go outside while I finished watching this. Then I felt bad so we played fetch in the darkness for like 30 minutes.

The VVitch Movie Poster with Hare - TMDB

It’s been over three months since I last watched a movie, and because this dog’s crate is in the same room as our television, it may be another three months before I watch another one.

Standalone post link: THE VVITCH
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Two Hands

[Originally Posted: 2019.10.14]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

![Two Hands, by Big Thief - Album Cover](/notes/2019/10/Two Hands, by Big Thief - Album Cover.jpg)

If I had a ‘Favorite Albums of 2019’ list I’d be adding Big Thief’s new album Two Hands to that list.

I can’t think of a band that seems more devoted to the work right now than Big Thief. This is their second release this year, and it seems they’ve been touring and recording almost nonstop for several years now.

![Two Hands, by Big Thief - Album Cover](/notes/2019/10/Two Hands, by Big Thief - Album Cover.jpg)

If I had a ‘Favorite Albums of 2019’ list I’d be adding Big Thief’s new album Two Hands to that list.

I can’t think of a band that seems more devoted to the work right now than Big Thief. This is their second release this year, and it seems they’ve been touring and recording almost nonstop for several years now.

*Of course I have a ‘Favorite Albums of 2019’ list. It is sitting partway created in a post draft, and it will be absolutely epic, just like every other unfinished thing in my life. The intended epic-ness is of course a big part of why these things never get finished. I’m over that now, though; I’m just sharing stuff in quasi-realtime now.

Standalone post link: Two Hands
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Demos, Drafts, Fragments, and Improvisations

[Originally Posted: 2019.10.13]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

2.

I’ve decided that I’m just going to start sharing more of my demos, drafts, fragments, and improvisations, so they are out in the world before they become irrelevant, instead of languishing half-finished in my notebooks as I wait for some mythical moment when I will have endless time and energy to create the thorough, perfect thing.

2.

I’ve decided that I’m just going to start sharing more of my demos, drafts, fragments, and improvisations, so they are out in the world before they become irrelevant, instead of languishing half-finished in my notebooks as I wait for some mythical moment when I will have endless time and energy to create the thorough, perfect thing.

1.

I have a problem finishing things, especially things I want or need to write, and so I tried an experiment on myself and it kind of worked. I tricked myself into, instead of writing the actual thing, writing a casual, conversational synopsis or summary of the thing I was hoping to write about. Now, instead of some vague hope of a detailed line-by-line explication of an obscure bedroom pop record (which wouldn’t have helped anyone anyway), I have an actual completed and posted 2-3 paragraph writing about that record that touches on at least 35-50% of the thoughts I had about the record. It now can be shared throughout social media land (if I get the guts to share it) and will hopefully promote the artist’s work or at least let him know that someone is listening to his music.

3.

Already I feel the pull again. After formulating the thoughts above I started looking through my notebooks for some other previous notes that tangentially relate to this thought, and I started daydreaming about how I should pull them all together into this big, perfect piece that artfully explores every element of every thought I have about writing and sharing things on the internet. No. I should just start writing and sharing more things on the internet instead of exploring philosophical quandaries about how/when/why/what to share. It will be fragments in near real time now, later connected by tags or expanded upon and republished if I can’t resist.

Standalone post link: Demos, Drafts, Fragments, and Improvisations
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You Are Beautiful

[Originally Posted: 2019.10.12]
[Last Updated: 2021.02.20]

![You Are Beautiful, by Mesita - Album Cover](/notes/2019/10/You Are Beautiful, by Mesita - Cover.jpg)

I wanted to write a full essay that thoroughly explores my thoughts about this album, Mesita’s Twitter song project, and how it all is actually impacting my views on life, art, &c., but since I already have notebooks and drives and clouds half-filled half-empty with so many other such good intentions that I never follow through on, I’m just going to post this now, and state that I think that Mesita’s You Are Beautiful is pretty much one of the most honest pieces of art I have ever encountered.

![You Are Beautiful, by Mesita - Album Cover](/notes/2019/10/You Are Beautiful, by Mesita - Cover.jpg)

I wanted to write a full essay that thoroughly explores my thoughts about this album, Mesita’s Twitter song project, and how it all is actually impacting my views on life, art, &c., but since I already have notebooks and drives and clouds half-filled half-empty with so many other such good intentions that I never follow through on, I’m just going to post this now, and state that I think that Mesita’s You Are Beautiful is pretty much one of the most honest pieces of art I have ever encountered.

It’s simultaneously a breakdown and a breakthrough. It includes petty rants about fantasy football, music vloggers, and needing to buy a window shade at Ikea because the sunlight “feels fing bright” as the season changes. At the same time it’s filled with grief over a mom dying of cancer, personal firsthand details from the Columbine tragedy, and an underlying desire to simply be heard, connect with people, spread positivity, and pay the rent in the midst of a stalled music career. It shouldn’t necessarily work, and I’m still not entirely sure if it will work for anyone in the world I know who might read this post and then listen to the music, but it really works for me. It works all the better for the rawness, the asides, the missed notes, the improvised lyrics. I can’t stop listening to it. Some of the most random bits repeat in my head, and I guess this is because a hook is a hook, even when the lyrics are about watching Mad Max at an Alamo Drafthouse in Littleton, CO. One of my big takeaways is that singing about whatever comes into your head at the moment can end up being at least as relevant and much more revealing as whatever dramatic or antic nonsense usually constitutes a pop song. This is the pedestrian and the profound jumbled up together. It is like a rambling message from an old friend. It is like scrolling through someone’s social media feed and seeing their silly meme retweets and their most vulnerable and insightful moments, originally separated by days or weeks, all together. For better or worse, it is now my favorite album of 2019.

So with that introduction, here is You Are Beautiful, by Mesita:

and here’s the addendum bonus track:

And I might gather some random tweets about the album that I liked, both from Mesita and a couple of other random Mesita appreciators of the internet, and come back and embed them here. No promises.

  • He goes on an actual rant about New York pedestrians in one song, so this is both figurative and literal.
Standalone post link: You Are Beautiful
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While Reading: Weird Little Robots

[Originally Posted: 2019.10.08]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

![Weird Little Robots - Cover (plus my daughter’s collection of dismembered lego minifigs)](/notes/2019/10/Weird Little Robots - Cover.jpg)

I’m reading Weird Little Robots by Carolyn Crimi and Corinna Luyken to my kids right now, and so far it feels kind of like if Kate Dicamillo had collaborated with Stephen Spielberg on one of his 80s Amblin projects. In other words, I’m enjoying it. And my kids like it, too.

![Weird Little Robots - Cover (plus my daughter’s collection of dismembered lego minifigs)](/notes/2019/10/Weird Little Robots - Cover.jpg)

I’m reading Weird Little Robots by Carolyn Crimi and Corinna Luyken to my kids right now, and so far it feels kind of like if Kate Dicamillo had collaborated with Stephen Spielberg on one of his 80s Amblin projects. In other words, I’m enjoying it. And my kids like it, too.

![Weird Little Robots - Inside Spread - 1](/notes/2019/10/Weird Little Robots - Inside Spread - 1.jpg)

![Weird Little Robots - Inside Spread - 2](/notes/2019/10/Weird Little Robots - Inside Spread - 2.jpg)

(Disclosure 1: I did creepily take these pictures in the lamp light of my kids' bedroom after they fell asleep tonight.)

(Disclosure 2: The publisher did provide my school district with this copy of Weird Little Robots for review purposes, and it will end up in a school library or be given away to a student after I’ve reviewed it.)

Standalone post link: While Reading: Weird Little Robots
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Mesita made me a 5-Second Song on Twitter

[Originally Posted: 2019.09.29]
[Last Updated: 2022.02.19]

Mesita made me a 5-second song on twitter. I love that he does this and that I finally got the guts to ask for one, and he did it.

Mesita made me a 5-second song on twitter. I love that he does this and that I finally got the guts to ask for one, and he did it.

His professionally recorded music is quite good, btw. I’ve listened to it a little over the years but need to dig into his discography more.

Standalone post link: Mesita made me a 5-Second Song on Twitter
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Big Cottonwood Regional Park Photosphere with Deconstructed Puppy and Ghost Girl

[Originally Posted: 2019.09.29]
[Last Updated: 2022.02.25]

Big Cottonwood Regional Park Photosphere with Detached Puppy Tail and Ghost Girl

My daughter really wanted to be immortalized as a ghostly figure on google maps so I decided to make this photosphere public. See also: our deconstructed puppy’s detached floating tail.

Big Cottonwood Regional Park Photosphere with Detached Puppy Tail and Ghost Girl

My daughter really wanted to be immortalized as a ghostly figure on google maps so I decided to make this photosphere public. See also: our deconstructed puppy’s detached floating tail.

If you spend much time on Google Street View looking at the photospheres this kind of stuff often pops up and my kids love it and have started looking for it. They are usually accidents or mistakes but we decided to make one this way on purpose.

At some point I might start a Pinterest board to collect screenshots of some of the weirdest ones we have found.

Standalone post link: Big Cottonwood Regional Park Photosphere with Deconstructed Puppy and Ghost Girl
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While Reading and Listening: Feed

[Originally Posted: 2019.09.08]
[Last Updated: 2022.02.19]

Today I happened upon an excerpt from Tommy Pico’s forthcoming poem/book Feed, and I’m weirdly excited about it now.

Screenshot of the preview of ‘Feed’ by Tommy Pico from the Poetry Foundation website

Today I happened upon an excerpt from Tommy Pico’s forthcoming poem/book Feed, and I’m weirdly excited about it now.

Screenshot of the preview of ‘Feed’ by Tommy Pico from the Poetry Foundation website

The books of the @heyteebs Tetralogy, taken now that I have copies of all of them and retconned into this old post

I can’t claim to be a studious or consistent follower of contemporary poetry, but Pico’s first book IRL jumped out at me a few years ago and since then he’s become one of my favorite contemporary poets. He is writing some of the most fun, funny, irreverent, low-key profound, and casually innovative poetry that I’ve come across, and Feed looks and sounds to be his best work yet.

I say “sounds” because I also found on his website a link to this audio excerpt of Feed that has him reading/reciting what I assume is a big chunk of Feed while simultaneously serving as a sort of audio walking guide to the High Line Gardens in New York City. The way he reads his poem is fantastic, and it makes me want to seek out more such audio recordings / podcasts of him and maybe other poets reading their work if they do it sincerely like this and not in that 90s “poetry reading” cadence I remember so well from high school and college, and probably used myself a few times. (Pico is a genuinely, uniquely great reader of his own work, but hopefully also a lot has just changed for the better since I used to go to poetry readings back in the 90s and 00s.)

https://soundcloud.com/highlinenyc/high-line-feed-soundscape-tommy-pico

I’ve never been to High Line (or anywhere in New York City for that matter) but I have fond feelings for it as the apparent inspiration for one of my family’s favorite picture books, The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. I don’t know if it is a stretch, but Brown and Pico seem to be working on some similar themes, though in vastly different formats for different audiences. I mainly just wanted an excuse to put this here and give this book a shout-out, though.

The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown - Cover

Standalone post link: While Reading and Listening: Feed
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KAINA - 'House'

[Originally Posted: 2019.07.16]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

“House” by KAINA. Beautiful, timely song opening a killer new album.

“House” by KAINA. Beautiful, timely song opening a killer new album.

Learned about KAINA from Jamila Wood’s twitter feed. Jamila Woods released this incredible album a month or so ago:

Standalone post link: KAINA - 'House'
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