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Tom MacWright

tom@macwright.org

Recently

Reading

  • Why RethinkDB is the best ‘post-mortem’ of a start-up company I’ve read: it’s thoughtful, honest, and filled with lessons you can actually learn.
  • The Gunning of America, a book about the creation of the American gun industry, was a great read - better than its Amazon rating indicates, because of, first, pro-gun reviewers weighting the 1-star reviews, and also because a real, kind of negative bifurcation in the story, between gun history and the history of Sarah Winchester. Sarah and her fascinating house is fascinating and that plot is effective, but the stories are woven together unevenly. The overwhelming under-representation of gun suicides versus homicides, which the NYT reiterates but still doesn’t filter into popular culture.
  • Palm Sunday is the first Vonnegut book I’ve read in a long time, and it restored my enjoyment of the author. Vonnegut’s honesty and explanation of his style made me like his writing more in afterthought, and his ideas about loneliness as the plague of modernity really connected.
  • Why are we fighting the crypto wars again?

Watching

I’ve been enjoying videos a bit more recently - a combination of Patreon-supported educational series and keynotes by the leaders of technical movements give me a lot of visual-but-rigorous content.

Listening

Instead of the laundry list of albums, I’m going to focus on just one. ‘Love is Simple’ by Akron/Family has stuck with me: it was released in 2007 and I think I got the album in 2008. After this album, the band went toward the ‘experimental’ side of experimental folk, but this song and Running, Returning from Akron/Family & Angels of Light are great examples of experimental folk done right. They’re also good examples of mixed measures and multiple time signatures, respectively - Don’t be Afraid uses a measure of 5/4 in its catchy chorus, and Running, Returning starts in 5/4, moves to 4/4, and ends in 6/8. It might just be me, but that kind of variation gives songs a longer burn - makes them more interesting over multiple listens. Plus, it’s hard to beat ‘love is simple’ as an anthem.

February 4, 2017   @tmcw