This winter has been busy. Much busier than any other time in grad school. I’m working a lot of 17 hour days, but I’m really loving it. I’m enrolled in 11 hours of courses that focus on the cultural industries, using Twitter as a research tool, and pedagogy. All of these topics directly speak to my research interests or my career, so they’ve been fruitful. I have a few papers I’m writing for these classes that I’m really stoked about, so I’ll hopefully share more news about those papers going to conferences soon.
Before really diving in to those papers, I’m refining four papers for publication. Most of these essays address how new media workers or businesses manage risk. Anyone that follows my research knows that I’m particularly interested in how digital television portals approach business decisions and manage their subscription models. I’m increasingly becoming interested in how independent symbol makers (musicians not on labels, filmmakers outside of major studios, etc) address these same sorts of issues surrounding risk and labor though.
Outside of writing for school/work, most of my free time lately has been spent preparing for marriage and trying to write a new Twin Cities album. Amanda and I started moving some of her stuff up to Iowa City in January. It’s been wild. I watched the size of my vinyl collection triple and my library double in size in the past month, which was especially great because it cost me $0. As I was lazily reading all her books and listening to all her records, Amanda started creating her vision of how she wants to redecorate the apartment. So far, there hasn’t been too much we’ve disagreed on—mostly fashion vs. function arguments. Her move might actually go smoothly, which makes me even more excited for June 23 to get here.
Twin Cities has been working on new material since the release of “Missing Out On Nothing,” but I think we really starting to hit our stride with some new songs we wrote in December. As of right now, we have six or seven songs that are mostly written musically and partially written lyrically. We’re hoping to record these songs this summer and release a new album later this year. I’m also really hoping to go on tour again, but who knows if or when that’ll happen.
Perhaps the craziest thing I’ve done lately is commit to reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I made a 13-week plan to finish the book between January and April using Infinite Summer‘s reading schedule as a starting place. I’m about one third of the way through the book, and it’s been one of the most challenging and rewarding reading experiences I’ve had. Wallace’s writing balances humor and humanity in a beautiful way, and I’d encourage anyone to take the time to work their way through the book. Let me know if you want my reading schedule, and I’ll happily share it.
To close off this update, I’d like to share a few other things I’ve read, watched, or listened to recently that impacted me in some way or another:
- “A Better Way To Look at Most Every Political Issue” by Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic
- Is Your Software Racist? by Li Zhou at Politico
- “Inside The Two Years that Shook Facebook—and the World” by Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein at Wired
- “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” by John Perry Barlow is a useful re-read these days because of John Berry Barlow’s unfortunate passing as well as the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality laws.
- Richard Edward’s Patreon offers people the chance to support his music and get behind the scenes access to his writing. It’s great to support artists you care about, and I’d suggest using Patreon to support any artists you love.
- Wonderful: An Enthusiast Podcast provides a great break and reminds you to appreciate the little things.
Here are some of my favorite music releases from this winter: