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search about a garden a tree a stream an entrance now

Joshua Whiting

learner, writer, creator, librarianish person

a stream

All posts and notes on this site, sorted by when published.


Now (January 3, 2021)

[Originally Posted: 2021.01.03]
[Last Updated: 2021.01.03]

Here are some of the things I’m working on and thinking about now…

Here are some of the things I’m working on and thinking about now…

  • Finishing up a two-week winter break where I truly didn’t think much about work and just spent time with my family.

  • Despite the break, something I was focusing on at work and will again is the development and curation of our school district’s Sora/OverDrive collection of ebooks and audiobooks. You need to be a student or staff member to access these, but you can see some examples of what we are doing here.

  • Reading whatever I want, and tracking it faithfully on Goodreads again. Maybe I will start sharing things about my reading on this site and other social media as well.

  • Watching movies again. About to do a deep dive into New Korean Cinema. (I track my movie-watching on Letterboxd.)

  • Pondering making a concerted re-entry into social media and updating this site for the first time in months, starting with this ‘now’ update. I feel like, if nothing else, I should be sharing more things that I like, do, read, see, eat, etc., so that I can give a little more promotion to businesses, artists, creators, authors, etc. I’ve gotten as shy online as I have always been in person, and I’m ready to push back.

This page was last updated on January 3, 2021. See my prior ‘now’ updates here.


Credit for the ‘now’ page concept goes to Derek Sivers. I had envisioned a page of this sort for my new website, but my concept was vague and I didn’t have a clear way forward until I happened upon someone with a ‘now’ page and followed the trail back to the source. I think you should make one too.

Standalone post link: Now (January 3, 2021)
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''autumneternal''

[Originally Posted: 2020.09.08]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

Did I somehow call forth the winds and fires by listening to this album so fervently last week?

I was just excited about fall, and autumnal black metal…

Autumn Eternal by Panopticon

Did I somehow call forth the winds and fires by listening to this album so fervently last week?

I was just excited about fall, and autumnal black metal…

Autumn Eternal by Panopticon

And despite my one percent superstition about this, I’m listening to it again - the present storms demand this fury.

Listening to Autumn Eternal for Fall

https://thetruepanopticon.bandcamp.com/album/autumn-eternal

Standalone post link: ''autumneternal''
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A Horse Called Dreamer

[Originally Posted: 2020.08.05]
[Last Updated: 2022.08.11]

The school district received a herd of ponies. I was supposed to catalog them, barcode them, and figure out a good protocol for checking them out to students.

They were all in an old corral out in the desert, and seemed wild and restless, as if perhaps they had just been captured and swept in from that desert and we hadn’t exactly been told the truth about their (lack of) training. Also, it didn’t seem like anyone was taking care of them out there so it was maybe going to fall to me to feed them, scrape out their hooves, and do whatever else needs to be done for horses. I don’t know anything about horses.

The school district received a herd of ponies. I was supposed to catalog them, barcode them, and figure out a good protocol for checking them out to students.

They were all in an old corral out in the desert, and seemed wild and restless, as if perhaps they had just been captured and swept in from that desert and we hadn’t exactly been told the truth about their (lack of) training. Also, it didn’t seem like anyone was taking care of them out there so it was maybe going to fall to me to feed them, scrape out their hooves, and do whatever else needs to be done for horses. I don’t know anything about horses.


I felt I needed to learn all the proper descriptive terms for horse coloration so I could create accurate descriptions in the MARC records, but I was afraid to admit my lack of knowledge of horse culture to anyone. I’d never even ridden a horse.

I remember thinking I would probably put the barcodes on their saddles, until I realized that horses only wear saddles when a human is riding or about to ride on them. I was reluctant to brand the barcodes on them, and it would be tedious work to get the symbology and coding correct each time.


Years ago I was driving around out in some rural area and I turned a corner on a lane and in front of me were two pickup trucks, engines running but stopped in the middle of the road while going opposite directions. The drivers were chatting with each other through their windows, and had been for who knows how long. I want to say one truck was brown and the other tan or grey with some white or turquoise trim, but I can’t truly remember. Their colorings definitely weren’t entirely un-horseish, though.

In the pastures parallel to where the trucks were idling, two horses stood on either side of a fence. They were doing that thing horses sometimes do where they stand next to each other but face opposite directions, their tails occasionally flipping a little bit in each others' faces. Like idling engines.

Two trucks and two horses, opposite but parallel. Perfect composition if I could pull it off. It might have even been the golden hour; let’s go ahead and say the lighting was good. I was too afraid of what the drivers might say or do about a random city kid in a tiny Japanese car taking their picture. They just as likely might not have even noticed if I had stopped and taken the picture, though.


Encountering horses in the human world often just makes me feel sad, guilty, a little bit afraid, and like maybe what I should do is sneak back at night and set them all free. I’m occasionally concerned that if I get too close they might bite me, kick me, or trample me, and I’d deserve it for standing there gawking at them or otherwise being complicit in the nonsense. A horse certainly doesn’t owe me anything. But in actuality I understand they are mostly too broken to ever attempt such things against a strange human.


I said “herd” above because it sounded better to me, but in the dream it was definitely first described to me as a “set” of ponies. Catalog our new set of 40 ponies and prepare them for checkout.

I’d settled on a 1 week check out period per student. They could walk or ride the ponies home from the school, but I wasn’t sure how they were going to be able to take enough hay home to feed the pony for a week. We’d need horse carts, or a delivery truck.

At one point a vice-superintendent and a district PR person videocalled me at the corral to check in on “where we were at” in getting the ponies ready and out to students. It was a district priority.


My wife’s cousin’s horses were being ridden around in circles by my nieces, my kids, and some other cousin kids. Everyone needed multiple turns. I was informed that one of the horses was called Dreamer. Right as I was told this I noticed an insect crawling around the edge of Dreamer’s deep, brown eye, accentuating the misty, faraway look I saw there. However faraway and inscrutable that look, I intuited that the dreams that Dreamer dreamed behind those eyes were reasonable and close, centered in the here and now: I think that Dreamer longed to stop walking around in circles in the heat. I think this dreamful creature, itself fulfilling the dreams of so many cabin children with its steady legs and unfathomable eyes, actually just wanted to eat some fucking grass. It was growing all around the edges of the riding ring, and Dreamer kept breaking the circle to go snag some bites of green stuff, before being pulled back into semi-compliance by the child at the reigns.

I could be wrong about all of this, though; I don’t know anything about horses.


Standalone post link: A Horse Called Dreamer
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On Whether To Share Things

[Originally Posted: 2020.07.27]
[Last Updated: 2022.08.11]

I’ve been here before. It’s a cycle for me. The compulsion to exist on social media, followed soon after by silence. I’ve posted variations on this dilemma before. I’ve almost posted on it many times more. I want and need to just live my life, do my things, think my thoughts, and not be performative about any of it. I despise so much in life that is performative, and I want not to contribute to it.

I’ve been here before. It’s a cycle for me. The compulsion to exist on social media, followed soon after by silence. I’ve posted variations on this dilemma before. I’ve almost posted on it many times more.

I want and need to just live my life, do my things, think my thoughts, and not be performative about any of it. I despise so much in life that is performative, and I want not to contribute to it. I don’t want to be that person, although I probably still am.

But then, I do want to share and bring to light cool things. People have good ideas, they’ve made interesting or useful things, they need to be supported.

And I want to sort-of connect with people in my weird, limited ways. I usually fail or fear doing this in person. The asynchronicity of some social media platforms is everything to me. I’m not that interested in chat or video calls. I don’t want to get together with you. I just want to share stuff, see other people share stuff, maybe have some sort of time-delayed conversations. I should start writing letters. Or a blog. That’s it.

And yes, wanting to be performative after all. Wanting to make art, or at least something kind of interesting, out of the details of my life, to share my thoughts and perspective.

Is that a performance? A curation? Something always has to be left out.

--

I recently re-read Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, and right now I’m listening to the audio of his Book of Delights. I’m fairly inspired by how he is working his way through this. I love how he pays attention / gives attention to so many regular, mundane things. I want to do more of that in my writing, and photography/video, whatever I choose to mess around with and share.

Standalone post link: On Whether To Share Things
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Books Read in June-July 2020

[Originally Posted: 2020.07.25]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

For nearly the past two months I’ve been tracking all my reading updates just in a OneNote page. Transferring it here for transparency/accountability, or just some form of conspicuousness. Think I’m about to go onto Goodreads and log all of this, get caught up, be a social human of some sort, &c. Maybe I’ll post specific things about some of these books on here as well if I have time and inclination.

For nearly the past two months I’ve been tracking all my reading updates just in a OneNote page. Transferring it here for transparency/accountability, or just some form of conspicuousness. Think I’m about to go onto Goodreads and log all of this, get caught up, be a social human of some sort, &c. Maybe I’ll post specific things about some of these books on here as well if I have time and inclination.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

  • Started reading Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian

Friday, July 24, 2020

  • Read New Kid by Jerry Craft

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

  • Started reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Saturday, July 18, 2020

  • Started listening to The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
  • Finished reading Library of Small Catastrophes by Allison C. Rollins

Thursday, July 16, 2020

  • Started reading Hainish Novels & Stories, Volume I (LoA) by Ursula Le Guin
  • Read Rocannon’s World by Ursula Le Guin (in above omnibus edition)

Sunday, July 12, 2020

  • Tried to figure out what to write or do to the copy of Letter to a Future Lover that I’ve had all through the quarantine and need to finally take back to the library now.
  • Reread Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay

Saturday, July 11, 2020

  • Started reading Library of Small Catastrophes by Allison C. Rollins
  • Ordered a bunch of poetry anthologies to read

Friday, July 10, 2020

  • Finished reading Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac by Alex Dimitrov & Dorothea Lasky

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

  • Started reading with kids The Last (Endling, #1) by Katherine Applegate

Monday, July 6, 2020

  • Read Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III
  • Restarted reading Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac by Alex Dimitrov & Dorothea Lasky

Sunday, July 5, 2020

  • Read This Book Is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell, illustrated by Aurelia Durand

Saturday, July 4, 2020

  • Finished reading Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Read Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Sunday, June 28, 2020

  • Finished reading Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
  • Started reading Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Saturday, June 20, 2020

  • Started reading Resist by Veronica Chambers [DNF]
  • Still reading Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Saturday, June 13, 2020

  • Finished reading Homie: Poems by Danez Smith
  • Still reading Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Monday, June 8, 2020

  • Started reading Homie: Poems by Danez Smith
  • Started reading Poetry (June 2020) [DNF]
  • Still reading Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Sunday, June 7, 2020

  • Read Heartbeat by Evan Turk
  • Read The Storyteller by Evan Turk
  • Read You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks by Evan Turk
  • Read If I Was the Sunshine by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Loren Long
  • Read A House that Once Was by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Lane Smith
  • Read Just in Case You Want to Fly by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson
  • Read When’s My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson
  • Read How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
  • Read Beneath the Bed and other Scary Stories by Max Brallier, illustrated by Letizia Rubegni

Saturday, June 6, 2020

  • Read Intersection Allies: We Make Room for All by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, and Carolyn Choi, illustrations by Ashley Seil Smith
  • Read Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham
  • Read Death Is Stupid by Anastasia Higginbotham
  • Read The Nightlife of Jacuzzi Gaskett by Brontez Purnell, illustrated by Elise R. Peterson

Screenshot of part of my June-July 2020 Reading Log

Standalone post link: Books Read in June-July 2020
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Reading: Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

[Originally Posted: 2020.07.12]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

My kids and I have been casually talking about turning our yard into an orchard, and re-reading this book in my backyard today inspires me to get completely serious about it. Impossible to read these poems and not want to start growing stuff.

My kids and I have been casually talking about turning our yard into an orchard, and re-reading this book in my backyard today inspires me to get completely serious about it. Impossible to read these poems and not want to start growing stuff.

Read the title poem from the collection Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay.

Check out Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude from a Salt Lake County Library like I did once or twice before I finally bought it.

Standalone post link: Reading: Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
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The Opposite of Curation Isn't A Mess But Silence

[Originally Posted: 2020.06.22]
[Last Updated: 2022.08.11]

Been thinking a lot about curation, both professionally and personally. Where, when, how, whether to do it. I’ve been in a holding pattern about sharing things for a long time now - I have digital and physical notebooks full of things to potentially share (good and helpful things, I believe), but it seems too big a deal to share them. There are too many options, each with benefits and drawbacks, each with different audiences, or in some cases no audience at all.

Been thinking a lot about curation, both professionally and personally. Where, when, how, whether to do it.

I’ve been in a holding pattern about sharing things for a long time now - I have digital and physical notebooks full of things to potentially share (good and helpful things, I believe), but it seems too big a deal to share them. There are too many options, each with benefits and drawbacks, each with different audiences, or in some cases no audience at all.

Started playing hard with Pinterest at work last week as a potential way out of this, then promptly took vacation time and went camping out of cell range for several days. Now I’m having second thoughts about what I was starting to build there. Then third thoughts, that I should do more, and do it in more places.

Pinterest? Wakelet? Tweet threads? Some Google Doc? Destiny Discover Collections? My own website? My district library website? My district edtech website? Just leave it alone since my district has another new main webpage that kind of curates a little bit of what I was thinking but that I’m not involved in? Yes to all?

Do I go to where the most people are, even if it doesn’t always make the most organizational sense, or I don’t like the way it looks or works? Do I just use whatever platform is easy or makes the most sense to me? Do I belligerently insist on my own platform and expect people to come to me if they come at all? Do I let it go? Most other people don’t have this pressure to curate and share; maybe I shouldn’t either, and maybe it’s not even helpful or a good idea. Maybe it’s not actually my job. Guess I’m still kind of a mess, mentally uncurated.

Hey, take my little survey and let me know your dream curatorial format/platform, if there were no rules for any of us. I’ll share the results. (I first made this to get input from my co-workers.)

Standalone post link: The Opposite of Curation Isn't A Mess But Silence
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Working Conditions

[Originally Posted: 2020.05.03]
[Last Updated: 2022.02.21]

Bookshelf by my desk full of books to read, review, or take back to the library if libraries ever open up again. Also, other things to do.

my desk one day when I hadn’t cleaned up in a while

Bookshelf by my desk full of books to read, review, or take back to the library if libraries ever open up again. Also, other things to do.

my desk one day when I hadn’t cleaned up in a while

Standalone post link: Working Conditions
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mlp:qim

[Originally Posted: 2020.05.03]
[Last Updated: 2022.02.21]

mlp:qim

Arrangement by William Whiting. Photo by me.

mlp:qim

Arrangement by William Whiting. Photo by me.

Quarantine is magic.

Standalone post link: mlp:qim
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It's a Moot Point

[Originally Posted: 2020.04.18]
[Last Updated: 2022.07.16]

It’s a Moot Point by Melanie Faye - Cover Art

I had a dream that I listened to this song on a different streaming platform and the guitar solos were missing from the track. I feverishly scoured the internet trying to find the original version with the guitar solos and figure out what was happening. Tabs kept closing on me and websites glitched into oblivion. I wasn’t sure if the streaming platform or record label had demanded their removal, or if she had somehow become ashamed of them and self-censored, or if it was the Mandela effect, or some other kind of weird conspiracy, but I was going to somehow get to the bottom of this cosmic scandal against musicianship and bring the lost guitar solos back to light.

The next day I had to listen to the song several times on different platforms just to be reassured that the guitar solos had not actually disappeared, but still remained on the track in their fulness.

It’s a Moot Point by Melanie Faye - Cover Art

I had a dream that I listened to this song on a different streaming platform and the guitar solos were missing from the track. I feverishly scoured the internet trying to find the original version with the guitar solos and figure out what was happening. Tabs kept closing on me and websites glitched into oblivion. I wasn’t sure if the streaming platform or record label had demanded their removal, or if she had somehow become ashamed of them and self-censored, or if it was the Mandela effect, or some other kind of weird conspiracy, but I was going to somehow get to the bottom of this cosmic scandal against musicianship and bring the lost guitar solos back to light.

The next day I had to listen to the song several times on different platforms just to be reassured that the guitar solos had not actually disappeared, but still remained on the track in their fulness.

Standalone post link: It's a Moot Point
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