I'm feeling a little guilty and foolhardy for thinking that setting up my own independent subscription-based site was actually something I had time to do the same year I had to finish a master's degree and scramble for funding to continue on to a PhD. There is little as embarrassing to stumble upon quite like a scarcely updated and then abandoned blog, but I am going to work past that embarrassment and post this in an effort to recommit to this endeavor.
The thing about all that follows below is so much of it now feels wildly inconsequential in the face of what's happening in Gaza. It overshadows most of my day-to-day and makes the whole act of victory lap style "year in reivew"-ing feel sort of ridiculous. What follows is offered more in the spirit of personal accountability than like, a pat on the back.
- We put out five episodes of RIP Corp: one on Fairchild Semiconductor, an explainer on corporate personhood, a dive into the Vice bankruptcy, an episode on Fansteel Metallurgical Corp. based mostly on material from my master's thesis, and an end-of-year in memoriam episode.
- Sent out plotter postcards four times a year to a small crew of people, which I am doing again in 2024.
- Related to the above, in the final week of the year I set up a Shopify primarily for plotter-related stuff. Probably also will put some back-catalogue art up there, subscribers already know about relevant discount codies.
- Consistently put out the weekly newsletter Perfect Sentences all year.
- Made a cute zine in February and then immediately had no time to make zines on the side.
- Made some nice larger-scale plotter drawings using some fun code I wrote.
- Was supposed to be helping out with writing a research guide for the Supply Studies Research Network project and did, a little, but then got very sick and had some life explosions (see below) that mean I'm just getting back to that work now.
- Wrote and defended a master's thesis. It is nigh-unreadably bad in the way all master's thesis writing is bad, but if you would like to read it happy to share. Starting a PhD a few months later sort of made this an anticlimactic achievement.
- Received a grant to support a dissertation on (broadly speaking) history and pedagogy of geospatial software. It only covers a year of funding; for the following two years I'll be on a grant my advisor has. I am basically speedrunning my PhD, and I honestly cannot fully recommend it but I also don't want to be doing school for more than three more years.
- Submitted an article for academic journal peer review for the first time. Yikes.
- As previously mentioned, was doing my best to function as a genocide unfolded. Not great!
- Took care of my mom following two pretty serious surgeries (replacing part of her cervical spine in May and putting some screws in to a a broken ankle in October). I'm glad I live close enough by that I can help her out when these things happen at least.
- Took care of my dog following a surgery to take biopsies and check if she had cancer after a few months of weird health issues (the good news is she doesn't have cancer, just basically dog IBS and osteoarthritis; the better news is that pet insurance meant we didn't actually spend five thousand dollars to find out our dog has IBS).
- Had walking pneumonia in July (cannot recommend as an experience).
- Got COVID, for a second time, in October (also cannot recommend—to be clear, I tested positive on October 8 so it was very bad vibes all around).
- In September my landlord (and downstairs neighbor) of six years told us that he was going to put the building on the market, exactly one month after we renewed our lease. This was terrifying! After a month of lackluster interest and my landlord getting some reality checks on the state of the housing market (irrationally he seemed to think he could pay off debts and buy an apartment in our extremely already-gentrified-but-astonishingly-getting-worse neighborhood with the money made selling the building) he pulled the building off the market and told us that he'd be putting it back up for sale in February 2025. I hope he doesn't change his mind again!
- Hit the milestone of ten years sober from alcohol, an anniversary that is a couple of weeks before the milestone of my dad having been dead for ten years. Lots of feelings!
- Got a new tattoo partly to commemorate the above and partly as a gesture to acknowledge getting through this year. (Financially irresponsible but emotionally worth it.)
- Read 37 books (among the favorites: Heavy, How Not To Kill Yourself, Palo Alto, Wrong Way).
- Saw 5 plays (Kate, The Good John Proctor, Merrily We Roll Along, Prometheus Firebringer, Here We Are), which is about 5 times more shows than I see in a usual year of living in a city full of theater.
- Saw Lauren Mayberry at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, missed seeing The Mountain Goats twice (sick dog, school).
- Saw...3 movies in theaters? (Turn Every Page, Sanrizuka—Heta Village, The Boy and the Heron) Not my best effort.
2024 upcoming things
I'm not really excited about this year! There's still a genocide happening, and the US presidential election looks likely to be a nightmare. I am grateful to be in community with people who organize and fight and make it worthwhile to keep going, and also I am steeling myself for a lot of grief and precariousness. But I am turning 37 this year and prime number years have honestly been pretty good ones for me, so I guess there's that.
- I'm teaching Ethics of Computer Science at the Cooper Union this spring. The last time I taught this class was 2019 so I am pretty anxious about it, but I'm very lucky to know a lot of extremely cool people who have already agreed to come be guest speakers for the class.
- Finishing up work on the SSRN grant.
- Continuing to work on plotter art and software for generating plotter drawings.
- We're seeking outside funding for RIP Corp for the first time this year, but I am honestly pretty pessimistic about our chances. It's a show about corporate failure, which is not very appealing to uhhh companies who buy ads. "Do the vagaries of capitalism make you want to scream into a pillow? Make sure it's a pillow from Casper." Also, in the year in memoriam episode I'm pretty sure I talked shit about Mailchimp, one of the bigger podcast ad buyers, which was ill-advised but in my defense they killed TinyLetter.
- This semester I am supposed to be preparing for my comprehensive exams and working on my dissertation project. (You're really not supposed to be doing those at the same time, but I am in a weird situation.) This means reading a lot of books, doing a lot of interviews, and a little bit of domestic travel.
- Deeply dreading having to move in a year but grateful for the time to plan in advance.
- In June, celebrating the five year anniversary of adopting my dog.
- Last month I connected with the group of people in my congressional district who are excited to continue pressuring our garbage congressman, Dan Goldman, to change his position on the war in Gaza (his position, currently, is "I don't actually care how many Palestinians die and when my constituents use the term 'collective punishment' during town halls I physically wince like the little bitch heir to a pants fortune that I am"). There's also interest in primarying him! It is a relatively small thing to do in the face of a genocide but I am excited to connect more with my neighbors and contribute to these efforts. He is not a serious person and I don't like him!
- Does the above really afford me leisure time for taking in books and theater and movies? Unclear, but I hope so. The theater stuff was especially nice to do, hope to do more of that.