Little Buff Boys
Internet round-up for the week of July 3, 2023
Hope ya had a nice 4th of July holiday this week. We watched The Witcher (is there anything more American™ than a story written by a Polish author starring a British actor?), had hot dogs (fake), Rice Krispie treats that I made with 2/3 of the Rice Krispies replaced with Fruity Pebbles, and crumbles from a slightly underdone tray of brownies (it’s hard to tell when they’re done, they’re brown!).
Fortunately you can eat brownies even when they crumble to bits in your hand, because they’re still brownies.
The Witcher’s third season is…okay, so far. I generally judge a show by whether or not I’m looking at my watch trying to decide if I can squeeze in another episode before bed, and I was content to go on to bed after just two. Hoping it picks up a little more going forward.
Can you tell by my meme we finished season 2 of The Bear this week? It was fantastic. Of course, all Chicagoans (including former Chicagoans who left the city for a job they were subsequently laid off from) have some minor complaints about the way the city is portrayed, but the show itself is so well-written. “Forks,” the seventh episode, is probably one of the best episodes of TV I’ve seen in a long time. Highly recommend checking this out, and also being prepared to space the episodes out a little bit. I’m typically a binger, but I think this show might have benefitted from a week-by-week episode drop. Some of the episodes (I’m looking at you, “Fishes,”) required a little post-watch processing and recovery time.
I’ve been trying to focus this week on two pieces that have submission deadlines this month — a fiction story and a personal essay. It’ll be my first time submitting either type of piece, and I’m looking forward to expanding my repertoire a bit.
I have been a little distracted, because:
Love Island UK is going in to Casa Amor (thank GOD). They are, once again, replacing flooring in a unit near me. And…Threads, a new social media app, was released by Meta, and I had to look at posts all day and night for the last three days.
Whenever I get my Screen Time notification on Sunday, I will at take solace in the fact that it is not my fault. It was the fault of Threads, an Instagram App™ released by Meta, owners of Facebook and the late Metaverse™ (RIP).
Threads has been pretty fun so far, especially because Twitter has been having a meltdown since last week. And since you know I’m gonna talk about it, let’s go on and get started.
Friday, Twitter shifted a policy to add a login requirement for viewing tweets. This meant that links shared in iMessage, Discord, Slack, etc. had no preview, and anyone without an account couldn’t see them at all. Why would you want to block your site from additional views? You know, the site that has advertisers on it, paying for said views? Someone seems to have figured out what a bad idea it was, as they quietly rolled the policy back two days ago.
Saturday morning, I woke up for my usual Twitter scroll, and was very quickly hit with this:
After a bit of confusion, friends and I were able to determine that this was not just a one-off error, but instead an intentional decision (gifted NYT link). Yes, Twitter was limiting users in order to “address concerns over data scraping”. 🤔 FWIW, 600 tweets lasted me all of about 20 minutes.
The app was also incredibly buggy — I couldn’t tweet at all, or bookmark tweets, and if I liked a tweet and then clicked on that tweet the like would just disappear. Twitter appeared to be DDoSing itself. Plus, the supposed “rate limit” wasn’t imposed at all on my browser, and everything worked normally there. I haven’t hit that limit again all week, even though other people have mentioned they’re still seeing the limit (I’m feeling lucky because I use Twitter’s bookmarks to peruse things I’ve saved for this newsletter, and not being able to see all of them would be…less than ideal).
On Tuesday, I read an article about the impending release of Threads, and set the app to download upon release. Wednesday afternoon, I got the push notification that it was ready, and then logged in to set up my profile.
It was madness. Everyone joining, posting wildly, the feed full of influencers (since you could carry over your followers from Instagram, many folks started out with thousands of followers), and Shakira. People who usually post aesthetic photos seemed confused about how to interact on the platform and were hilariously posting things like “What’s your favorite type of soda?” to garner engagement. Others were just posting a lot of “What do we do here?” And then people kept joining and joining, and for the most part, everyone seemed to actually want to have fun there.
I’ve seen the complaints about the app being overwhelmed by influencers, and to some extent it is — but I’ve followed enough people there now that most of my feed is actually people whose posts I want to see. I’ve also unfollowed a bunch of small business and brands that are trying WAY too hard to “create buzz” or get people to respond to their posts. For now — it’s fun, there are NO ADS, and I can post Substack links, so — it’s a dream.
If I’m honest — I’m not sure I would have even been active on Threads if Twitter hadn’t been such a shitshow over the past 8 months. I probably would have treated it like every other new app — logged in, parked my handle, and then checked in every so often. But after the rate limiting on Saturday, it feels, more than ever, like the writing is on the wall for Twitter.
But Threads isn’t the only site pulling interest from Twitter. This Washington Post piece from Taylor Lorenz (paywalled, if you’ve hit your limits for the month) discusses how TikTok is now the real “town square”. I haven’t tried using it for real time information and trending topics yet, like I do for Twitter (well, used to — it doesn’t really work any more because of the algorithm being weighted to paying subscribers), but I’m interested to check that out.
Threads certainly isn’t there yet — the only feed available is algorithmic, and not in chronological order. There is also no search functionality, though they say it’s in the works (I’d show you the thread referencing this, but I can’t find it because I can’t search, and they don’t have bookmarks, either.)
Anyway, I just really hope these two follow through on their cage match. As I said a couple of weeks ago — we deserve this.
Speaking of cage matches — this article from the NYT (gifted, of course!) titled “the Age of the Cage Match” discusses recent “displays of machismo.”
This paragraph struck me in particular:
No longer content to embody the masculine ideals of financial, professional and political achievement — or simply to optimize their fitness, as tech chief executives have long done — suddenly these honchos want us to see the achievements of their bodies. Grappling, squeezing, flexing, dominating (or being dominated): These are no longer tired metaphors for corporate or intellectual conquest. They are literal descriptions of America’s big shots showing off as buff boys.
This all seems rather cartoonish to me — didn’t Bugs Bunny teach us that being gigantic and muscular means you’re just gonna get outsmarted by some squirrely little guy? I feel like this is far more for the spectacle than anything else.
Midwest is Best
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Malort 5K taking place in Chicago this weekend.
Malort is, quite possibly, the worst alcoholic beverage known to man. It is horrible, awful, disgusting, heinous, rotten. And one half of the “Chicago Handshake,” alongside an Old Style.
I know what you’re thinking — it’s just a shot, right? Well, come back to me after you take said shot, and the putrid aftertaste lingers in the back of your throat for three full days.
My first Malort experience was at a house party filled with improvisors — everybody just took a swig straight from the bottle as it was passed around (THIS WAS BEFORE COVID, WE DIDN’T KNOW ANY BETTER1) and I immediately regretted it. And yes, that does say “my first Malort experience” because I DID drink it again, in a haze of “well, it’s for camaraderie” and naive “there’s no way it could have been that bad, right?” mistakes. It was.
For $50, each runner will have two shots of Malort, a finishing beer, a finishing medal, and a commemorative technical t-shirt to show off your drinking skills to your friends. The race will start at 9AM so wake up on July 8th and get ready to run for Malort!
The first place winner will earn one bottle of Malort and our last place finisher will earn two bottles of Malort!
The winner gets one bottle, the loser gets two. Utter perfection. No notes.
Randomly Selected Animal Cutie
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I LOVE THIS DOG!! I want literally anyone to be this excited to see me, ever.
Have a good weekend! See ya on Threads.
We did. We were in our 20s though, so we didn’t care.