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Showing posts from 2014

The Hipster Tableau, an @Instagram Joint

I love social media, but I also hate social media. It's revolutionizing how organizations and individuals communicate with each other and disseminate information, but it's also destroying language and ruining attention spans. It's giving voice to the oppressed and disenfranchised, but it's also creating jobs for the least talented and most privileged among us. And while it's empowering small businesses and entrepreneurs, it's also making us all beholden to the whims of the handful of massive tech firms that run the platforms and are actively seeking out more and more innovative ways to mine our personal data for profit.

I'm a grown up, so I understand that nothing is or is meant to be perfect, that slick marketing presents idealized depictions of products and services that are inherently imperfect if not intrinsically evil, but I can't help but have my expectations ruined all the same, again and again.

This all brings me to some observations on a genre of…

Seattle: the last, best refuge from #ThirdWaveCoffee?

A quick preface: I’ve had a lot of great coffee at Third Wave shops over the past few years, often served by really lovely and knowledgeable baristas who clearly enjoy what they do (and whose enjoyment enhances the customer experience). I also feel strongly that the Third Wave is a deservedly important strand of the broader historical development of coffee from which coffee lovers have benefited greatly. Here, I’m really taking issue with the Third Wave orthodoxy, its ridiculous tropes of artisanality, “honesty” in roasting, and rigidity in preparation methods, as well as its clear solipsism and sense of superiority with regard to pre-existing coffee methodologies. 
The ideology and practices writ large, in other words, not the people.
The Third Wave Experience It used to be so simple to get a good cup of coffee. Or so we thought. The doyens of the Third Wave Coffee movement, today’s dominant coffee purveyors, would have you believe that, prior to its onset ~15 years ago, coffee was …

@Nullprof's Best Music of 2013

Prologue
2013 was a *great* year for music. There were exceptional releases each month from established acts, left-for-dead acts, and several very exciting rookies. Anybody who keeps up in earnest with popular music should have found themselves juggling a profundity of riches, even outright overwhelmed by them. Usually, by early December, I have a reasonable idea of what my rankings will look like, and while this year my top choices have been static for several months, I really had to scramble to fill out the rest of my list. As late as the second week of December, I was still discovering 2013 releases that warranted inclusion. This is in part due to my decision to expand my reading habits, which led me to publications such as The Quietus, perhaps the closest approximation of an English analogue to Pitchfork. It reviews albums and bands that are not even on Pitchfork and progeny's radar, such as Grumbling Fur's terrific, avant-indie LP Glynnaestra.
After discovering that broaden…