I first wrote about how to combat the infinite scroll — since dubbed doomscrolling — back in 2018, borrowing from the updates Jason Kottke makes about his media diet. It’s still all about intentionality, right? It still is and I try not to stare at the screen in search of something that never materializes, but phones just demand our attention, don’t they?
Great example from Charlie Warzel why it’s important we put boundaries around this behavior. Can I just say I hate learning over and over that Neil Postman was more right than I could’ve imagined him being when I first read him as a college freshman?
So here’s how I’ve been keeping myself busy when I’m not watching Twitter unspool.
- Sing Backwards and Weep. Mark Lanegan takes you on an odyssey through his career at the margins of the Seattle music scene and society itself. As someone who really became a music obsessive as grunge broke, it was a heartbreaking work. Lanegan tells a survivor’s tale that gives an overdue human and humane perspective on the lives and deaths of his close friends Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley. It’s a gripping, bracing read.
- Newsletters. I need to declare newsletter bankruptcy but just can’t. Your newsletter is great and I get why people are turning to email to stop fighting algorithms, but I’m open to strategies for better email management so they’re not just completely buried.
- But as Brian Morrissey writes in the Rebooting, email is harder than we’re ready to admit. I’ve spent the better part of the week on a new desktop (!) PC (!!) just to make my personal email more manageable and found that newsletter are frequently buried in the funniest places because of how AI sorts your inbox.
- Ted Lasso. The first season hit me — and everyone else — like a ton of bricks at the outset of the pandemic. It just hit the right notes for the moment. Season two? It hasn’t charmed me in quite the same way, and it seems like public opinion has turned sour.
- Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. I was first introduced to this in grad school or thereabouts by Todd L. Burns. It’s on Amazon Prime and if you’re a Matt Berry fan, it’s wonderful to look back at this moment in his career.
- Rick and Morty. I’m not caught up. Apparently the season redeems itself, but it’s been trying my patience.
- The Phillies. I’m reluctant to admit that this deeply flawed team has won me back with a streak that put them in first place in August. I’m ready to have my heart broken again.
- Chin Music — Getting Kevin Goldstein back is a gift that just keeps on giving.
- Mixcloud — seriously this is the future of radio and I hope they can stay indie forever.
- Albums — too many to list. I’ll share my favorites now that we’ve got just 4 months to go (!) in 2021.
- Little League baseball. Charlie’s team finished fourth in New Jersey. He made a talented team in his only season in the league. If you’ve spent any time around youth sports, you might know how difficult this can be. It was a triumphant conclusion to an impressive Little League career. He’s excited to start travel ball again this fall, alongside hockey.
- Running. I hired a coach last summer to try to train for a 100K race. It was going great, right up until the time of the move, when I was stricken by a relentless case of plantar fasciitis. I’m nearly completely recovered but have no races on the schedule. I’m back to running about an hour a day at a good pace, but the difference this time is that I’m focused on being lighter. I’m down about twenty pounds since the end of June and am looking to lose about twenty or so more. My hope is that being lighter will translate to fewer repetitive stress injuries.
- Tech upgrades. New phones! We’re all on iPhone 12 now. I’m typing on a Windows desktop PC and it is hilariously wonderful to have an all-in-one in our lives again. I may even write more, but don’t want to commit just yet.
Keep choosing things that take you offline when you can and remind yourself that information isn’t the same as action.