MRTW: Brain Mush Course Correction Edition
In which I spent four days off social media and have thoughts on the stuff i read and listened to and whatever.
I watched a Drew Gooden video that was like poking fun at these wellness apps that try to get you to be off your phone, but is also about like actually trying to not be on social media as much. I feel like I typically have a decent grasp on my social media consumption at least from the standpoint of not letting it interfere too much with being able to get things done and usually I feel like my focus is okay. Whether that's real or not, not feeling like my brain is mush when I need it to not be mush is usually my main concern.
In Drew's video, though, he talks about watching TV and picking up his phone to go on Twitter or watch another video when anything even briefly uninteresting comes on screen– ads or uninteresting storylines or whatever. That struck me because lately I've been watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and I find myself doing the exact same thing. I can feel it in the moment being sort of embarrassing to not be able to be handle not being stimulated in exactly the way I want. I decided on Monday to try to just not be on social media for an undefined period of time. It's been 4 days.
The reality of this exercise whenever I do it is that:
- I have to go on twitter for practical reasons. It's where my podcast talks to each other and I'm (generally) the most reachable there so people schedule things with me there. I had to reschedule an appearance on another podcast, chat with someone about contributing to something they do, that kind of thing.
- The problem isn't twitter, really. It's short form video and flipping between apps that really destroys my brain.
Those who follow me on Twitter might be shocked that it's not my Problem App, but it's really not. I can feel TikTok actively degrading my brain. For every smart video from people I actually follow who make content I actually like, there is about 300 videos that do nothing but make my brain into a slurry. I really have felt no pull to open TikTok or Instagram, though. Removing the apps from my iPhone homepage helps a lot. I'm done being off Twitter, but I think I'll try to distance myself from TikTok and Instagram. I didn't miss them and never felt like I had to be a part of it so who cares.
Anyway, I'm gonna review some stuff I did/listened to/watched/read this week.
Daisy Jones and The Six
I think I've been liking this. The 70s can be a difficult decade to pull off because it's easy to make it look cartoonish. They do a pretty good job with the costumes and the hair and the vibe. The only exception is the main male character, Billy, looks so old in this show and they don't dress him in the same very 70s style as the rest of the band. It's so weird. There is just something about him that takes me out of the intended decade. He looks younger as the older version of himself? It's so weird.
I think shows about fake famous musicians can be hard to sell, too, but I buy it enough. The songs are good, the characters are developed in a way I like, most of the costumes are good and I actually really like the way they did the documentary talking head scenes. I like the way the backgrounds of each person say a lot about the kinds of people the characters are. The guy who is still kind of bitter about everything and wanted to take over as front man when the original front man leaves the band? He's the only one sitting in front of a stage with a visible amp and microphone. Front man is sitting on a bench outside. The keyboard player who has been in more bands than any of the rest of them? She's wearing a ridiculous white blonde wig cut into a messy bob while sitting in a fancy office. The older producer who helps them figure everything out? He's, of course, dead so the documentary is showing a Merv Griffin interview with him talking about mentoring the band. It feels very real and true to the way music documentaries often look. I think that's a charming touch.
I tried to call my dad to talk to him about this show, but he didn't answer so I told all of this to my boyfriend when he came over after work.
Going to a Planet Fitness
Around 4 PM on the very first day I was trying to "not be online" I realized the real draw of Twitter for me is that I have so many thoughts all day that need a release valve. I need to talk and I don't necessarily need a reaction or response, I just need to get the thoughts out of my head or I feel so much pent up mental energy that it drives me crazy. I did not make it out of day 1 without sort of understanding– for the first time– why people do stand-up comedy.
I ended up going to the gym after work for the first time in a while to try to combat my feelings of being overwhelmed with unfunny thoughts about Dr. Kildare that I'd been having since the Oscars the night before. It was mostly normal, but then I saw a guy on a treadmill wearing jeans with suspenders and I was so thrilled. I'd like to see it again. A Planet Fitness really is unlike anywhere else and it really made me feel good about the choice to go engage in the real world.
Eric and I talked about Folklore by Taylor Swift for a while this week because I've found that I enjoy it in a way I wasn't primed to enjoy it upon release. Eric and I have pretty consistent opinions on Taylor. We love 1989, we don't like Red. It's kind of a running joke between us that if we like the same artist my favorite songs will be the ones Eric hates and their favorites will be the ones I hate, so it's nice to have some alignment in the world of Taylor.
We also listened to Stay Stay Stay and had a good laugh. Internal corporate training video ass song.
Folkore gets a 7.5/10. Feeling synergy with my friend about Taylor? 10/10
I really like Unwound, even if I don't necessarily feel the same reverence toward them that others do. I got into them sort of in a vacuum while exploring the Kill Rock Stars roster a few years ago. I'm big on Repetition and The Future of What. I got an email the morning of the show warning that they will be playing TWO sets so that's fun. I was expecting a good performance based on everything I've heard from people who have seen them play in the last several weeks and I wasn't disappointed! They were great. Sounded great, did a cute thing where they threw flowers to people at the end of the show.
Something I wasn't expecting was a good amount of really like late 2000s early 2010s twee fashion vibes from the crowd. Granted, there were a lot of just 5 foot 7 bald men, but I saw some crazy traditional hipster hairstyles at this show! I saw a woman in a tea length dress! It was wild.
8/10 I drove home from Union Transfer listening to Puddle of Blood by Hard Girls (9.8/10 song)
Watching a Podcast
I've been watching episodes of the Always Sunny podcast. I don't know that I care that much about it, but I have been watching on YouTube. I don't want to think about music, and I've been watching the show, so whatever. Some episodes are funny, some I skip through. I know that my dependence on YouTube feels like a lateral move from TikTok in some ways, but long form videos playing do help me focus when I'm working. I really struggle to focus on work with music playing, so this is what I do instead.
Listening to people talk about making things is a genre of podcast and video that I like and that's what it is. And none of their voices annoy me which is kind of the main thing.
I also watch a podcast called Two Hot Takes sometimes which is a podcast where a woman (with a guest) reads out reddit posts and discusses them. This is, I recognize, a low form of capital 'C' Content, but sometimes I just need low impact noise.
5.3/10 this is ipad baby behavior
I like this new album, but I read Eli and Jay's thoughts on the album and it's interesting to see assessments that feel skeptical of their move forward.
Big on this song!
I ended up ranting about coffee and some other beverages a few days ago. I'm gonna put it in collapseable content because it's not important.
I've had two cups of cold brew at 3 PM. Right now I'm drinking La Colombe's Nizza blend mostly because I bought coffee at Target recently instead of walking over to Reanimator and didn't want to spend more than $15 for something I wasn't sure I'd like. It's the blend my old donut shop job used to stock so it's reliable, though largely uninspiring. My preferred La Colombe coffee to purchase is their Lyon blend. I like it a lot and back when I lived in Fishtown I'd walk over to their flagship to buy it pretty frequently. In their stores you also get a free regular coffee or cold brew with the purchase of beans. Good stuff. Now that I live across town, though, I just find time to go sit in the Reanimator on Pine St and grab whatever they have in stock that sounds interesting. I find I like their coffee a lot for home use, even if I'm not always jazzed on their in-store product. Even their more fruit forward coffee will usually still work for me, which is a bit unusual for my general caramel-chocolate-toffee coffee notes taste.
I make cold brew in a 44 oz glass carafe that came with a metal filter insert. Usually that'll last me three or so days depending on how I'm feeling and I like it a lot. The ritual of preparing it is nice in the evening, but because of the removable metal filter it's easy to remove the grounds and clean in the morning which is big for me. The whole grounds in a bag toddy method was always such a mess that it frustrated me more than it was worth.
After the gym, I went to buy some ciders at a local retailer where I was startled by a very fluffy dog standing in between the stacks of cases of beer. I give the dog a 10/10, but the ciders were not good. Wyndridge's Original cider is supposed to be semi-dry, which I typically enjoy, but for some reason it tastes so watered down. There is absolutely nothing going on in there. It's not really sweet or dry or anything. It tastes like when moms cut their kids' juice with water. It doesn't taste bad, just tastes like nothing. Bummer.
Some stuff I've read:
- Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill - a book I've read before, but loved even more the second round through. Marriage is crazy. Beautiful book.
- Leor Galil's cover story on touring realities. It's interesting to read through a sort of continuation and follow up to the overwhelming number of pieces during the height of lockdown pandemic that were so uncertain and speculative about where it would leave the industry.
- I read Ian Cohen and Tom Breihan on M83. We did a podcast about that band and I found their reverent and precious perspectives entirely impossible to understand. So it goes.
- Brendan Menapace wrote about nostalgia and finding songs from your youth in shows that are very much not about youth. Enjoyed it!
- I liked this Dazed article about uhhh treating yourself like a grown up and not giving into the feeling of helplessness that can be exploited to make the world worse. It sort of reminds me of a (forgive me) John Green youtube video about the seduction of despair. John is, of course, more sappy and esoteric, but I think the idea that just because you can make the argument that you're Right for being negative about the world doesn't mean the only option is to just wallow in your own powerlessness– much less package that powerlessness as this radical, "self care" bullshit.
- This other Dazed article about women of different age ranges being lumped together for marketing purposes which is something I've been interested in for a while. Doesn't feel like there are different demographics for clothing anymore and that's kind of a shame particularly for teen culture– one of the most fun aspects of being alive.
- Copies of the Chicago Reader I hadn't gotten to over the last month or so. Great as always.
Some stuff I bought:
- Instant espresso from Blue Bottle. Look, I love it. I make little lattes at home. It's nice. I tried to use store bought instant espresso and it's just not the same. The Blue Bottle instant espresso is expensive and silly, but I like it so I'm gonna buy it. Convincing myself here.
- I got a large frame for a print I bought a while back. Didn't realize it was coming from Denmark, but it's lovely!
- Bardamu by Mike Huguenor on 10 inch vinyl from Amoeba in San Francisco's Discogs page. Fantastic EP! I love Mike's voice and lyrics and guitar tones. This is my favorite song.
- I bought new black skinny jeans and I don't love them, but they're fine.
My next newsletter is #100! Can you believe it! I can! Jesus christ!
Miranda Reinert is a music adjacent writer, zine maker, podcaster and law school drop out based in Philadelphia. Follow me on Twitter to hear about Mike Huguenor's music probably: @mirandareinert. You may also send me small bits of money at @miranda-reinert on venmo if you want. As always, thanks for reading!