Dear Neighboor


I’m sorry you’re unhappy. 

Maybe not at this moment, but it is evident that whenever you have occasion to walk past my porch, you are unhappy. I make this inference based on the note you left taped to my door, coupled with the reasoning that someone of a neutral emotional state would not feel moved to post such a thesis. 

Let me be clear: I admire your breathtaking display of passive-aggressiveness, and I want to return the thought in kind. Full disclosure, part of my motivation here is selfish. I’m planning to write another “Every Game I Played This Year” post, and I would hate for the 2021 and 2020 lists to be right next to each other on the blog roll. 

But the remainder of my reason for writing this response is because I think you deserve it. So I hope that the energy contained within this blog post, which I don’t expect you to read, finds its way to you. 

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Over the Wall

Manchester ruins wall

I’m getting rid of my Facebook.

I made my profile back in 2008 about a week after I almost missed a birthday party because the invitations were sent via Facebook event. By that point I was already a creature of the internet, and there were things about the platform that made me bristle.

I was a denizen of video game message boards, so The Social Network was alien to me in a lot of ways. It annihilated topicality. Its forces of moderation were opaque and incorporeal. And its very purpose was to reject anonymity.

But interacting with real names on the internet has never been the same as interacting with real people. Absent anonymity, authenticity doesn’t take over. And despite its stated mission, Facebook has never made me feel closer to anyone.

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Neighbors, Numbers

John McCain walks onto the Senate floor Tom Williams CQ Roll Call Getty.jpg
Photo: Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call / Getty

My neighbor introduced himself to me a few weeks ago.

He told me that he frequents McAlister’s Deli at North Hills, and that he likes to read crime novels. His favorite author is Patricia Cornwell.

(I also know from living in the apartment below him that he watches a lot of Law & Order. The “bong-bong” carries through the floor.)

He has amblyopia, and there’s a slight hesitation before he speaks. He volunteered a lot of this information without my asking.

At one point, he had a job working with computers, but he no longer works. He said he stopped after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

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The election party I went to felt wrong from the moment I walked in.

There was a band playing music that sounded like nothing, and there was popcorn with the character of styrofoam. The beer was good at least, but the TV screens felt small for the crowd.

Some friends and I walked up shortly after the polls closed in NC (except for Durham county), and there was already a hint of bad news. It didn’t look good for Deborah Ross in the US Senate race.

The biggest cheer came when they called the Wake county transit referendum in favor of the For vote. Others were false alarms as we saw the percents and compared them to the number of ballots counted.

Continue reading “Muddle”

Heap (Politics Edition)

Vote Raleigh Sticker Jedidiah Gant.jpg
Image: Jedidiah Gant / New Raleigh

Early voting ended on Saturday. The election takes place on Tuesday. My mother called me the other day and told me that she went and cast her ballot. These are the circumstances in which I’m finally writing down my thoughts on the election, the campaign, the state of things. You know, stuff I should have written down weeks ago when it meant something.

This is going to be disjointed, but I think that’s the only way to get it done at this point.


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Buckethead would have you believe he was raised by chickens and grew up in a chicken coop.

That he’s the proprietor of a fictional “abusement” park named after himself.

That he has a nightmare nemesis, a direct negative wearing a black chrome mask, who chases him through dreams.

Those are hearsay and rumors.

Reality is subjective when dealing with Buckethead, but it’s more than likely he’s a robot, an android of some kind. Made to look like one of us, but perhaps by someone who doesn’t know what human beings look like or how they act. He’s simulacrum from a time or place where we may be gone or where we never existed.

Whatever his origin, there is music there, of a sort.

Continue reading “Slunk.exe”


We follow the script.

Black Ribbon of MourningWhen you wake up the morning after a mass shooting, you find out when you check Facebook, or Twitter, or a news channel. There’s an email in your inbox urging action. An investigation is ongoing into who the shooter is, how he was armed, what his motivation was. There are thoughts/prayers.

The next day, or maybe late that afternoon if the shooting happened over night, someone will say “Don’t talk about the shooter, talk about the victims.” They’re not wrong.

You don’t need to wait for that article, though. I can tell you about who was shot in Orlando.

Continue reading “Orlando”

Heap II

I feel fortunate that I don’t have to have long conversations about what I do for work. Whenever someone asks and I tell them “I work at a digital marketing company,” their eyes tend to glaze over and the subject changes shortly thereafter.

The only people I really talk to about work are people at work, and even then, sometimes I have to say, “Guys, we’re at lunch, can we just not for half an hour?” The answer is usually no, but that’s the nature of conversation when standing on a limited amount of common ground.

Some people say that the mark of true politeness is to never talk about yourself, but if that’s true, doesn’t it set up one person to be impolite? I guess the solution is to only talk about other things. Maybe that’s why sports make some of the best small talk.

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