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Writing & Reflecting

Published 30 days ago • 4 min read

tyler constance // understated

A cozy personal newsletter of creative projects and life updates.

I've been using a lot more paper recently.

What I've been up to

  • I wrote up a blog post about my zine experiment from the previous newsletter with a few more details.
  • With the year wrapped up, I've been going through year-end reviews and stats, as one does.
    • My last.fm year in review shows me my most-listened to artist was nothing,nowhere. and my most-listened to album was Fiddlehead's 2023 record Death Is Nothing To Us. I created a Songs of 2023 playlist for my blog with some thoughts on some favorite records.
    • My letterboxd Year In Review shows me I watched 160 films and was especially into Buster Keaton this year. I became enamored with him over the summer, following along with the Blank Check podcast's Keaton series, Podcast Jr. (also, you can follow me on letterboxd for more movie updates). If you want to try a Keaton film, set aside 45 minutes to watch Sherlock Jr., which is just extraordinary fun. It came out a hundred years ago, so you can find an HD version on YouTube.
  • I've been attending the monthly Portland Bike Party the last four months, and I continue to have the best time, even in the frigid weather. The January ride involved going across a bridge to Mackworth Island (I was last there in warmer weather to shoot portraits with a friend, which I wrote about in my Llamas & Fairies post). It's a good group of people and I love making bike friends.
  • Speaking of bikes and bike friends, I've also been volunteering at the Portland Gear Hub, Portland's non-profit bike shop, where I've been helping repair donated bikes to brush up on bike maintenance skills.
  • I got nudged into the Pen Addict podcast on Relay.fm after listening to Brad Dowdy interviewed on a member episode on another Relay show. I've used and appreciated fountain pens for years, but hearing people really geek out on pens and stationery made me want to get a few more to try out, and the timing with general new-years scope-setting encouraged me to spend a lot more time writing out lists, ideas, aspirations, journals, notes, gratitudes, and so many other things. Ever since college I used to carry around A5 notebooks for writing anything that came to mind, but this cooled a bit after switching to an iPad and Apple Pencil. Getting back into pens and ink has felt really great on my brain, though.
    • I didn't just stop at pens, though: as an experiment, I've been lugging out my grandfather's old typewriter to write up first drafts of posts and essays when I want to write without the distractions I inevitably yield to whenever using a computer.
    • And I didn't even just stop there, because I also dusted off my mechanical keyboard with tactile switches to make writing a more pleasurable when I am on a digital device, especially when coding or writing up requirements at work.

What I've been into

  • Welsh post-hardcore band Casey's "How To Disappear" (Spotify, Apple Music) is a bit more mellow than their previous records, but I can already tell it'll be one of my favorite records of the year. There's a gorgeous little falsetto part in the first verse in the first track, Unique Lights, that gave me goosebumps, and their single, Puncture Wounds To Heaven, is my new favorite track from the band. The lyrics to this one still give me chills: it's just a continuously unrepentant apology from someone hurting beyond articulation and feeling distant beyond their own recognition, crescendoing into a plea for forgiveness and understanding if they don't survive their affliction.
  • On the lighter side, Neck Deep's self-titled album (Spotify, Apple Music) is another catchy pop-punk release, and I'm totally hooked on Take Me With You, a silly track reminiscent of blink-182's Aliens Exist where the vocalist begs aliens to pick him up because this planet kinda sucks.
  • And going in yet another direction, I've revisited Kelsea Ballerini's "Rolling Up The Welcome Mat" country EP (Spotify, Apple Music) from this year after seeing it on a few other best-of lists. I listened when it was released, but clearly didn't give it the attention it deserved, because listening to it again with full focus was a captivating and heartbreaking exploration of the end of a young marriage. Highly recommend setting aside the 15 minutes it takes to go on this ride, then checking out the bonus track "How Do I Do This" on the "(For Good)" version of the EP where Kelsea navigates the how-the-heck-do-I-date-again? feelings after meeting someone new.
  • I recently watched Dogtooth (2009) as my introduction to Yorgos Lanthimos, and I loved it. Very dark, weird, and twisted, but the cinematography and color palette was stunning, and I'm excited to start going through the rest of his filmography. The last movie I vibed with this much was probably Julia Ducournao's "Raw," another very twisted, very pretty movie.

Musings

Jason Tate (chorus.fm and his Liner Notes newsletter) pointed to this piece by Joan Westenberg on the appeal of classic web forums for communities over asychronous group chat apps like Slack and Discord which have largely replaced them. I used to moderate a social forum of peers way back when I was fifteen, and it was an experience I couldn't imagine not having. Reading this article flooded me with feelings of nostalgia and got me curious about potentially running something like a Discourse server these days to try to recapture some of that music, but I'm not sure if I've got the community management skills. It sure is something I'm curious about.

I try to be very careful about getting too "old man yells at cloud" as I age, but I have to say, hand-coded websites and blogs, forum communities, and AIM chats with clear "online," "away," and "offline" distinctions really did feel like a social sweet spot for the internet in a lot of ways.

What about you?

Up to anything interesting? Have any thoughts or feelings after reading this? If you want to reach out for any reason, just reply to this email and I’ll write you back ✉️✨


tyler constance // understated

A cozy personal newsletter of creative projects and life updates.


understated

A cozy personal newsletter of creative projects and life updates.

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