A statement of intent about Blogmas 2022.
So looking back, once again I see a sad dearth of long-form posts here in this little backwater part of the Internet. In fact, sadly, the last “real” post I wrote was my review for Circe back in late November!
Now, that’s not to say I haven’t written a fair bit. Most recently my blog has turned into a collection microfiction posts thanks to my discovering the MastoPrompt hashtag on Mastodon.
But, just like last year, I’m once again taking an extended break over Christmas–this time two weeks plus a week of skiing!–and I wanted to use some of that time to do a little writing. And given this is the second year in a row, I’m now formally declaring the yearly tradition of Blogmas around here!
Last year I wrote a whole series of posts around the various systems and institutions that we previously took for granted, and that COVID so seriously disrupted that we could no longer ignore them. This year I’m not going to claim to have quite the same thematic through-line, but I expect I’ll revisit some of those past topics a year later. In particular, going back to revisit topics like misinformation and inflation seem worth doing given the events of the past year.
In addition, recent news in the worlds of crypto and Twitter have me thinking more and more about Chesterton’s Fence and the dark sides of disrupting the status quo, and I’d like to explore that topic a bit.
Beyond that, I might finally dip my toe into writing a bit about my profession, an area I’ve traditionally stayed away from. This past year we’ve had to really lean into remote work, and that has significantly changed the way I do my job, particularly where people management is concerned, and that feels like fertile ground for exploration.
So that’s it. That’s the plan. And I have thirteen days to do it! We’ll see how far I get between naps, Christmas movies, and playing games on the Steam Deck…
The ninth and final post in my Blogging for the Holidays project. Just a little wrap-up post to tie a bow around the whole thing.
Well, it’s hard to believe but my two weeks of vacation are coming to a close and tomorrow morning I return to the grind. It says a lot about my mental state before my break that I feel like another two weeks would be welcome, but alas, until I manage to earn myself a sabbatical or, some day, retirement, I suppose this will have to do.
As for this blogging project, I’m really glad I set myself this writing goal! For folks who have their own blog but struggle to get motivated to write, this approach–setting a queue of topics over a fixed period of time and then tackling them steadily–was very motivating and rewarding! I definitely recommend it as a fun way to get inspired.
I was particularly happy with how a theme emerged across the various posts. And I felt pretty darn smug when, in the January 1st episode of Slate Money, Stacey-Marie Ishmael, a writer and journalist who’s much smarter and articulate than me, summarized the theme of this blog series: the pandemic is making the invisible visible. I have to admit, when I heard her say that, I felt a rush of validation that maybe I was onto something!
So, where did I end up clocking in? Well, over the course of the last two weeks, counting short posts, I wrote a grand total of approximately 13700 words. Counting only long form posts, roughly 12900 or about 800 words a day. Not bad at all! And I know of at least one person who actually read most of them!1
Anyway, for folks who weren’t following this project as it was being published and want to check it out, here’s a list of the long form posts in the order in which they were written:
- Blogging for the Holidays
- Grappling with Viruses
- Grappling with Statistics
- Revisiting The Lord of the Rings
- Grappling with Misinformation
- Grappling with Supply Chains
- Grappling with Labour Markets
- Grappling with Inflation
- A New Years Post
For those few people who actually stuck it out and read these posts, either as they were written or afterward, thank you! I hope they were interesting and worth the time.
And for those folks who’ve heard me going on about these topics throughout 2021 and still read these posts, a special shout out! You’re a trooper!2
Finally, I hope everyone had a happy holidays in spite of all the difficulties of the past two years, and I truly believe this next year we’ll see things start to get better.
Have a fantastic 2022!
The seventh post in my Blogging for the Holidays series, some ramblings about inflation.
It would be difficult to write a holiday wrap-up blog post series without a mention of inflation, which became the new boogieman in the latter half of 2021 as we’ve seen inflation rising steadily, with the rate in some categories exceeding 7% year over year.
That inflation is suddenly a problem is really quite remarkable given that 18 months ago everyone was terrified of a depression-level event as a result of mass illness, lockdowns, and so forth. But to the credit of our governments, while a lot of mistakes have been made, it’s pretty clear that many of the policies that were instituted–particularly the various financial aid packages that were put together–have done what, at the outset, would have seemed impossible: turned the threat of economic calamity into the kind of boom we all wished we could’ve seen after the 2008 crash.
But like so many of the other topics I’ve written about, this is just another example of an issue that, for my generation, is completely novel. The last time inflation exceeded 3% was way back in 1991! Meanwhile, the prime interest rate, which is a key tool for controlling inflation, is at historical lows (thanks 2008!).
For a generation that has never seen real inflation, this situation is novel, frightening, and deeply frustrating, upending yet another aspect of life that was previously familiar and consistent.Continue reading...
The fifth entry in my Blogging for the Holidays series, some thoughts on how the pandemic has exposed the cogwheels of the economy.
I’m going to preface this post by noting the obvious: I am not a trained economist or anything like that. While I do cover some of the nuts and bolts of the supply chain crisis as I understand it, I have no doubt there’s much I’m misrepresenting and even more I’m missing outright.
Now, with all that said, I’m gonna dive right in and hope I don’t get anything egregiously wrong. So, without further adieu…
Growing up in a place like Alberta, you’re never really that far from the agricultural sector. But, as a born and bred city boy from the bustling metropolis that is Edmonton, it’s not unusual to hear someone lament that folks really should have a better understanding of where their food comes from.
And I can’t help but agree!
Food is one of those many things many of us take for granted. If you’ve grown up in some of the more privileged places in the world (and there are plenty that are far less fortunate), it’s pretty normal to walk into a grocery story and just expect to find a huge range of products at affordable prices, many sourced from all over the world.
But it isn’t until times of crisis–usually a natural disaster of some kind–that we actually spend any time thinking about how that food travels from farm to grocery story to plate.
Oddly, I’ve rarely had that conversation about any other products that feature in our day to day lives. Until recently, who among us had spent any time wondering how our television or engine block or framing lumber ended up in our possession?
But, as with so many things, the pandemic has opened our eyes, forcing us to face these complex, interconnected systems that govern so much of our lives.Continue reading...
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