Adagio Assai from Ravel’s Piano Concerto.

Radio… CDs… YouTube… I spent my childhood listening to classical music. I thought I’d heard it all. But one day, in recent years, I stumbled across this Adagio by Ravel. It takes a lot to surprise you after two decades of listening—and I was floored. It’s one of my essential favorites now, a sublime and ghostly melody blending East and West.

Monday Stream-of-Consciousness

This morning, I woke up to a video on—you guessed it!—digital minimalism, by one of my favorite booktubers, R.C. Waldun. He recounts his two weeks in his new apartment without internet. I work from home so cutting internet entirely is impossible. However, I wonder what this kind of partial “off-the-grid” life would look like for me…

It’s a gorgeous, blue-skied, fluffy white-clouded spring morning here in Washington. I don’t know what I’m doing indoors.

I have an idea of going to Barnes & Noble for the fun of it. Last time was quite a few months ago, though I didn’t buy anything.

If I remember correctly, the last time I actually bought something in a B&N store was a book to prep for an interview. I got there when it opened and probably seemed a little frantic because I wanted to get the book before I had to show up at the office at my current job. The cashier, a middle-aged woman with blonde hair, was so kind and wished me well. I don’t mean she just went through the motions of wishing me well… I think she meant it.

You matter. Show someone else they matter, too.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Cor. 6:19–20
I am not my own
For I have been made new
Please don't let me go
I desperately need You

—"Meteor Shower" / Owl City

I’m at turning point in life, which (for personal reasons) I can’t be more specific about, other than that it’s really important. I suppose the best way to describe it, generically speaking, is that I’ve tried my best and failed, and now it is time to embrace failure by congratulating myself for trying, then moving forward. 😉 C’est la vie, et la vie continue.

“Romanza” by Andrea Bocelli

Late 90s.

We gather in the family room under a yellow swing-arm lamp. Mom and I work on our cross-stitch pictures (her Lighthouse and my Praying Hands). My sister is with us in the forest green loveseat we had back then, and Dad is probably lifting weights on the floor. We are listening to the Bocelli album he picked up at the library. Some of the songs we repeat – especially “Con Te Partiro” and “Romanza.”

Each time it plays, I levitate on a wave of emotion I will only understand a long time afterwards. I sink into each crescendo, the grasp of the orchestra, and the plaintive climb of the tenor’s voice. I am in the moment fully, unaware that this scene and these songs will stick like honey in my memory and as sweet. But for some reason, I will cry when I hear it then.

Light as Power – Midnight Thoughts

In creating the world, God said Let There Be Light.

In North Korea, the state controls electricity and who gets to have it.

In the modern day, accent lighting decorates your home and displays your affluence.

People sit in rooms where the only light sifts from a screen bearing news, shows, or their fast addictions.

Light is power.

Without light your autonomy is stifled. Your understanding is dimmed. Your brain slows for sleep, or quickens with insomnia.

Light is a tremendous gift.

We abuse many gifts we were meant to be stewards of… not least of all, light, too.

More Sakura – Kwanzans & Flowering Pear

I hope you all aren’t tired of this yet… Some filterless flower photos (say that 10x fast)!

This was a delightful week of unseasonably warm & sunny weather. I love rain (as you may know), but I’ve dearly missed the sunshine this past winter.

Today I met up with a friend for coffee, my first time at a restaurant since pre-pandemic. It was so much fun! I really used to take these things for granted, and now I won’t anymore.

FOMO and Filterless – Good-Bye Instagram

It’s been a little over a week since I deleted my Instagram.

Being a digital hoarder, I first downloaded my data in case I want to go back and look at old pictures some day. I saved the names of any accounts I wanted to remember. Then, to avoid relapses, I went with the nuclear option: a complete and total deletion of the account. (Technically I still have 90 days to request reversal, but let’s pretend that’s not possible. ;))

Instagram is well gated—occasionally I can view someone’s grid without being logged in, but most of the time, I just get a login page. Like a proper addict, I’ve tried a couple of devices and clearing browser data, but it doesn’t have any effect. This leads me to think they’re throttling access using my IP address. All the better!

The Fear-of-Missing-Out is real. I can’t say I haven’t thought about logging in with one of my side accounts, which still exist, albeit as dusty skeletons. Still, the load off my mind from leaving IG far outweighs any temptations to return in any form. I liken my personal experience (emphasis on personal) with both IG and Tumblr to binging on candy—it has to stop before you get ill. And I was already at that point.

I do dearly envy those who don’t have a problem with those sites, but in the end, you can only do what is best for you and acknowledge everyone has different thresholds of susceptibility.

Some positive results? I have been blogging more frequently and becoming more intentional about my social life. Obviously addictive habits have a way of pivoting to other things, so I am trying to keep an eye on that tendency as well. Lastly I’ve been motivated to research this problem professionally, with the goal of prototyping some better design and interaction patterns to promote digital wellness. We’ll see how that goes, but I’m very excited about it as I feel it’s still largely new territory.

Sunday Night Blues

I dread Sunday nights beyond reason.

Maybe it’s the pandemic—maybe job burnout—maybe the little loose threads of life that trouble you when you let one negative thought enter in (the rest push forward behind it).

To have something to look forward to, that’s the thing that will make tomorrow less unappealing.

I try to find one thing I can look forward to about Monday. Tonight it looks like it will be finishing taxes (I did the hard parts this evening), which is an odd thing to anticipate but still a good thing.

I feel heavy hearted and yet I am sure things will look better tomorrow.