§ Happy winter, officially. From here on out, each day will be just a little bit brighter.

§ I read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Given my history of starting and then never finishing books, I’m happy to have finally broken the trend.

Penumbra wasn’t a particularly profound book but it was a bunch of fun. I quickly got sucked into Sloan’s world full of full of conspiracy, cryptography, and history. The characters, while maybe a bit cartoonish, are genuine. There is really no cynicism, irony, disillusionment, hatred, or violence. Everyone—including the antagonist—is driven by their desire to do the right thing. Everyone agrees on the goal, the conflict arises from the means to get there.

The Mountain in the Sea is next. Nayler‘s writing conjures a vivid atmosphere. The first few chapters are rainsoaked. Crumbling towns punctuated by flood lights and occluded by mist. Entropy and decay and technological progress. I’m excited to read more.

§ Listening to the Myke and Grey’s yearly themes episode is making me consider how I want to approach the new year. Resolutions have never been my thing but choosing a “theme”—a general guiding principle—seems like a smart idea.

I’m leaning towards “the year of curiosity.” Curiosity, I’ve begun to realize, follows a natural curve over the course of most people’s lives. At birth we are infinitely curious, everything is new and everything is interesting. But, as we get older, the curve slopes downward and we gradually become less interested in the world around us. A new way of solving a problem is probably worse, there is no need to learn how something works because that is someone else’s job, change is to be avoided, etc. Curiosity takes practice. It takes intention.

§ I went to the Screw Factory holiday market. One Cleveland’s biggest assets is its strong artist warehouse community. 78th Street Studios, Lake Effect Studios, the ArtCraft building, Hildebrandt. The holiday market was really my first excursion out into that world since the pandemic. I’m glad to see it’s still going strong.

§ I’ve never had to rely solely on a map for navigation. I got my driver’s license in the era of standalone GPS systems. Am I missing out on some forever lost freedom or does the knowledge that I have an always-on satellite connection give me the confidence to adventure more?

§ A Murder at the End of the World unfortunately continued to feel directionless up to and through this week’s finale. The show was ultimately a whodunnit murder mystery which is a fine premise, I guess. The problem is 1) the cast of characters—the potential perpetrators—has no depth. Viewers can’t theorize motives when each character is little more than a caricature. That ultimately doesn’t matter much though because 2) in the end the killer is revealed to be someone that would be impossible to devise though clues left earlier in the show—breaking all of the standard fair-play mystery rules. I didn’t hate A Murder but I had much higher hopes coming from the Brit Marling / Zal Batmanglij power duo.

§ I picked back up on a project from July—a giant interactive capacitive touch synthesizer. I plan to get all of the little final touches done first thing next year.

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