just a lil’ goblin tending to his lil‘ garden and ~screaming into the void~.

shit in my eyes.

A Psalm for the Wild Built

Becky Chambers

Collapse Feminism

Alice Capelle

Doppelgänger

Naomi Klein

shit in my ears.

Operation Doomsday

MF DOOM

TIMELESS Lo-Fi 2

Grey October Sound

Hip Doser – Vol 4

Inner Ocean Records

other shit.

Madoka Magica

Magica Quartet

Celeste

Maddie Makes Games Inc.

iPod Classic

Apple

let’s unfuck the internet.

  • unfucking the internet #1: pay artists

    The internet isn’t in a great spot right now. Everywhere you turn, it is being used to radicalize, advertise, and retain user attention by any means possible, regardless if the design patterns are healthy for users.

    In the 2000s, we thought the internet was going to expand our relationships and our connection to our interests, and for a while, it did. MySpace. Nex. MSN Messenger. And others seemed centred around connecting us.

    Something along the way got broken, though. Applications turned from serving their users to serving shareholders and advertisers. Users became a metric to be optimized and manipulated for as much profit as possible under the guise of providing a service.

    This is uhhhh… not good for us as the people who use the internet.

    It means always feeling like we don’t have enough time each day (because we are spending mindless hours online), like our lives are not going well in comparison (our feeds, just like everyone else’s, are hella curated) and costing us a decent amount each month (Until recently I was spending $180 a month on subscriptions).

    There are countless reasons why this sucks beyond those listed above, but I don’t really have time to get into them. What I do have time for is an honest attempt to reclaim my time online and maybe a little bit of money. Even if I don’t save money, I would like to have more of it go to the people I actually want to support.

    So here goes. Let’s Unfuck The Internet.

    This is my personal attempt to try and walk the walk. Take back my time, relationships, and money from people who do not have my interests in mind.

    This is a pretty massive task, as I am pretty steeped in an internet I don’t like. My productivity tools are heavily Google-ified. My media is mostly Netflix and other streaming subscriptions. I watch endless hours of YouTube. Worst yet, embarrassingly enough, I unironically love Instagram, and I haven’t read a small blog in years. Ya, I am deep in it.

    So, I got my work cut out for me.

    I got to break this down into steps. The first service on the chopping block is Spotify. This one is actually going to be fairly easy (I think).

    When replacing a bad habit (if you’re going to be successful), you should have a good one to replace it with. So, this substitution is going to be two-fold.

    First off, I am going to prioritize buying (and streaming) music from Bandcamp. Tapes and Vinyl when it’s worth it, and digital versions when I don’t want to fork out for a physical copy.

    Then I can import my new shiny mp3s into iTunes/Apple Music and listen from there.

    Why am I starting with Spotify? I think the last album I knew front to back was just before streaming became how most people listened to music. I want that back. I want to feel connected to the music I listen to.

    Also, as a musician, I know how terrible streaming has been for artists. It’s basically robbery that you have to consent to. If you want your favourite artists to continue to make music, pay them.

    So that’s step one. Step two is not to renew my yearly subscription to Spotify next year and go all in.

    When I feel I got a hold of this. I’ll make another switch. Probably bailing on Facebook Marketplace and buying used goods on Craigslist instead. We will see.

    Wish me luck.

  • unfucking the internet #2: tolerating inconvenience

    Last week a new shiny browser (Arc) was released. It is by far the best browser that I’ve ever used. It’s well organized, fast, feels like an OS for the web (a great line from their marketing, btw).

    I won’t be using it.

    There is nothing wrong with Arc, they aren’t some secret evil corporation that makes money solely off exploiting its user’s data (at the moment*). The more competition in the browser space, the healthier the internet is. It isn’t even because it’s built from Google’s open-source browser engine like Chrome and Edge.

    It’s because they are in the business of making money first and foremost. This will always complicate the ethics of products, regardless of their profit model or mission.

    I love Firefox and it will stay my primary browser (although I have switched to Brave for a few productivity tools that keep crashing Firefox) because Firefox is built by the Firefox Corporation, which is owned by the Firefox Foundation, a non-profit guided by some pretty awesome guiding principles.

    In my current attempt to unfuck the internet, the first thing I’ve learned is being intentional online means dealing with a lot of inconvenience. Nothing is simple when you start to remove yourself from the buffet of media and services available online.

    Currently I am downloading the vinyl and tapes I own and adding the mp3s to my phone. Sometimes it’s simple, other times, the sites that used to host those files no longer exist. I just bought a cassette assuming that it would come with a download code, but no luck.

    Trying to stream albums from bandcamp, attempting import mp3s into my phones music app, all of this is can be super tedious.

    Recently I removed Messenger from my phone. Which means missing messages as I remind folks that I have transitioned to SMS, Discord, and Signal.

    The thing is, I think it’s worth it. We’ve grown so accustomed to such an easy, cheap online existence that we’ve never really questioned what we are trading in return.

    We are trading our data, our privacy, our attention, our behaviour, and little bit of our identity.

    Hear me out.

    Music is a huge part of my life. Same with anime. Same with some of the shows I really, really adore (the owls are not what they seem). I learn a lot about people through their interests and their collections. Recently I had a vinyl night with a friend and I felt I knew them better as I flipped through their record collection, excited to share in their passions.

    So ya, using a browser has a vision I believe in is inconvenient at times. Ya, losing access to all the music ever is inconvenient.

    I think the trade offs are worth it. In return we get: software that is more ethical, a better sense of ourselves, and a better sense of each other.

  • unfucking the internet #3: rip facebook

    Facebook sucks. It has sucked for years. That was bad enough, but lately, Facebook, advertisers, and the communities there are going from shitty to scary. They are spreading COVID disinformation, attempting to dismantle democracy, and, worst of all, everyone won’t stop posting pictures of their kids.

    That’s a joke. It’s not the worst part of Facebook. However, we should have a conversation about whether kids can really consent to what it means to have their image exist forever on the internet. Also, using your kids for internet points may not be the best thing.

    I am not a parent, though, so I’ll shut up.

    Previously, when I’ve thought about leaving Zuckerland, I’ve always stayed because Messenger… and Marketplace… because I really want to hear about the political views of my Albertan oil-funded family (kidding, I don’t, and have self-banned talking about politics in-person with them).

    But fuck it, this time I am done, zuck. No more. No more data for you. No more tracking every online conversation I have.

    So far, this actually had way less impact on my life than expected. The people I actually spend time and talk with still message me on other platforms (SignaliMessage, and Discord. Preferably in that order). I can still buy questionable electronics off of Craigslist instead of Marketplace. Now, the sellers are more interesting, and more posts are written in all caps.

    Here’s the thing. The large group chats kind of sucked, I just didn’t know it. Often, I would just get vague invites to things on nights I already had plans on. 

    Now, I just pester my friends to join Signal and create groups there. Most are annoyed but generally cave.

    Next up, maybe a change on how I use Instagram? 

    I would like to guillotine Netflix, but I don’t think my partner will have it. Maybe I’ll just be an elist jerk and refuse to watch it with her. kidding again.

  • unfucking the internet #4: taking stock

    My corner internet is a little less fucked.

    Emphasis on a little less fucked. I still have Gmail and Drive. I check Instagram constantly. I have an easy time creating content for networks I hate and a hard time creating content for networks I like.

    Now that I’ve gotten rid of a few apps, I know I can make a change when I force myself to. I think it’s time to take stock of what’s on my phone (and maybe throw a few web apps in there) and figure out which apps make my life better, which apps I use when I want to, and which apps are just using me.

    So, I am going to make a tier list. For this first attempt, I will only consider how good the apps are for my life. 

    In the future, I will consider their privacy policy, but for now, baby steps. As I’ve said before, this process is going to take a while. I will make an exception to this rule for some Meta and Google products. I can’t use them and feel good knowing how little I trust the parent company with my data.

    If you don’t see your favourite app, don’t get mad. I just don’t use that app.

    The basic requirements for this list are:

    • Do I feel better after using the app?
    • Do I use the app when I want to use it?
    • Does using the app make me better, smarter, and more capable?
    • If it’s a social app, do I have a community there?

    s-tier apps

    These apps are only good for me. Without them, I would be lost. I use them every day.

    • Notion
    • Focusmate
    • Find My
    • Screen Time
    • Duolingo
    • Signal
    • 1Password
    • iCal
    • iPod/Music App (mp3s)
    • Grammarly
    • Authy
    • iMessage
    • Apple Maps
    • GitHub
    • VSCode

    a-tier apps

    These apps are always good for me with an asterisk. Mostly, I don’t just can’t force myself to use them as much as I want to/should. These apps can stay for now.

    • one sec (I might get a promotion to S-tier soon)
    • Discord
    • Strava
    • RidewithGPS
    • Bandcamp
    • Mastodon
    • Mozilla VPN
    • Appblock
    • Headspace
    • VPL
    • Firefox
    • Weather
    • Apptiv
    • Wikipedia
    • VLC
    • Brave
    • Bandcamp

    b-tier apps

    These apps usually make me feel good but don’t really add real value to my life. Often just they are fun or serve a particular neutral purpose. Not too distracting. 

    Some, like Tumblr, are just entertaining and show me things I like.

    • Tumblr
    • Pocketcasts
    • Mail
    • DuckDuckGo
    • Feedly

    c-tier apps

    These apps can be fun or helpful, but I am either using them too much, or they are using me. Chances are, they are showing me content to make me angry. They likely have one or two redeeming features that are keeping them on my phone or daily visit list. They are candidates for guillotine if they step out of line or a better option comes along.

    For some, I either feel neutral or worse after using them.

    • Netflix
    • Reddit
    • YouTube
    • Etsy (This is a me problem, lol. I love to shop.)

    d-tier apps

    I only use these apps because other people I connect with do, and it’s simply a numbers thing. I don’t trust these apps or the companies that run them, and I am actively trying to reduce their effect on my life.

    Or, I have been using them for so long that it’s going to be a real long process to leave them.

    It might not be that the service is bad (aka Google products). I just may have a real distrust of the parent company.

    • Instagram
    • Gmail
    • Google Search
    • Google Drive
    • Google Home 
    • Google Docs

    f(ucked)-tier apps

    These apps and sites need to go. No argument is strong enough to keep using them any longer. Either they are terrible for me, or I don’t want them to have the data they have.

    • Google Photos
    • My Amazon account (Prime’s already gone)
    • WebMD, NHI, etc. (I have Illness Anxiety Disorder)

    That’s it for now, I’ll keep editing this as I go.

  • unfucking the internet #5: falling off the wagon

    I’ve been pretty bad at this lately.

    YouTube is back on my phone. I removed the check-in on instagram so I could check it more. My screen time is generally fucked again. Still subbing for Duo though, so at least I am learning a little Japanese while I spiral into a digital hell.

    So ya, I got to get back on track.

    I guess I’ll start by removing YouTube from my phone again. I was watching a little on Firefox, but it quickly became overan with Alt-Right content and Jordan Peterson videos. So I reinstalled the app, but now it’s too easy. I am watching it all the time. Brushing my teeth, eating breakfast. I think I’ll stick to watching it on desktop for you. Problem (maybe) solved.

    Instagram is still the kicker. I love it and use it all the the time. I think I need to turn on One Sec to provide interruptions again.

    Okay I re-installed it and set it up. It was annoying as hell, but I guess that’s the point.

    They say in therapy that progress is not a straight line, I guess unfucking the internet isn’t either.

  • unfucking the internet #6: whats your insta?

    Anonymity online is such a fickle little shit. On one side, we have the ability to play with our identities unfettered by expectation. I can test the waters without judgment or pressure. I can try them on for size without making any sort of commitment. I can play with who I am without commitment or shame.

    If I want live out my deepest edge-lord elder-emo cringe fantasies, I don’t have to explain that to family. I can just post and post and post black and white photos of graveyards without a care in the world for SEO, a personal brand, or how everyone I’ve ever known will respond to it. I don’t want to explain to Albertan family that, while I am in therapy, it’s not to cure myself from loving atmospheric black metal and the occasional bout of ethical hedonism, it’s to help me manage the pressures of capitalism and the modern world.

    That’s the good side of anonymity online. There’s also the other side.

    There’s the I can cause as much harm as possible and suffer zero consequences for it type of online anonymity. The I am a weak little shit whose only power comes from violence and hate type of anonymity. I hate that the internet enables that. The my behaviour online doesn’t really count bullshit type of anonymity.

    Fuck that part of the internet.

    So as per usual, the internet tears me apart. I love it. I hate it. I’m obsessed with it. I despise it.

    Maybe I just want a world where who we are is actually okay. That posting pictures of questionable anime and graveyards on main didn’t make me think “Will my connections on LinkedIn hate me for this?”.

    (I unironically love LinkedIn)

  • unfucking the internet #7: shopping online as an only child

    I’ve been buying a lot of shit I don’t need online lately. I mean, I use the shit I buy. But do I need it? No. I can’t help but think that my obsession with identity has a connection to my over-consumption. I spent a lot time thinking about “being authentic”, then define myself through my interests, my purchases, the media I consume. Are those things “me”? No, obviously.

    I guess I could define myself by what I make, but often those things are made, posted, in the hope that someone else consumes it. Validates it. How many projects are made for the sake of project itself with no intention of sharing it?

    I should opt-out and become a monk.

    The problem is I like defining myself through shit. The shit I make. And the shit I buy. My favourite t-shirts make me feel more like me. Not even a joke. Whatever that means. The idea that I can shed that and find some peace behind it seems unlikely.

    That’s were self-help, spirituality, and personal growth hit the fan. Depression and mental illness. When the voices below the static are loud and unkind, removing the safeguards of self lets those voice run unmuffled and uncontested.

    Where did these voices come from in the first place? I can’t blame online shopping and consumerism completely. I’ve always been a little mentally ill. Stressed and depressed. The feeling of not enough. Not cool enough. Bikes not good enough. Not enough followers. Not enough likes.

    Those voices, though. I can point some fingers at where those voices came from.

    Fuck advertising. It is built on the idea of what you are. What you have. What you’ve accomplished. Is not enough.

    Anyways I’ve been shopping online a lot lately.

    Happy Black Friday. I hope you got some nice shit.

  • unfucking the internet #8: who am i?

    Well I have started to curve my shopping a little. Just a bit. My Amazon and Etsy carts are still full with shit, but I am hitting buy a little less. So that’s progress.

    I am caught up in this cycle of identity creation and “being authentic” and the process of consumption that goes a long with it. I need to re-focus on creation over consumption. There is a hard limit on the amount of authenticity can be bought, anyway. Performance isn’t participation.

    Eventually it’s just a reflection of the self and the lens I see world through. It frames the way I move the world, but it is just a piece of who I am.

    There are days I feel like I am creating myself like a character creation screen.

    I’ve lost of my creative practice with not playing with the band as much and I am trying to to figure out who I am without that, as the was fairly core to my identity for a long time.

    Also, being an aging elder emo and punk is not an easy task. I am caught between what I am supposed to be in my thirties, who I was in my twenties and who exists outside of those things.

    I think I need to great back into making things. Even if they are bad. Even if it hurts to make things makes me feel a little hollow while I do it. I think that’s where I want to have my identity come from.

  • unfucking the internet #9: push/pull

    I am really starting to feel my own “get-off-my-lawn” energy these days.

    The internet was better back in my day.

    The internet is bad for the kids.

    Etc, etc, etc.

    I’ve been trying to dig a little deeper into why I feel the internet kind of sucks now. I mean there was a time when I was completely obsessed with the internet. I lived online. Feel in and out of love completely online and learned who I was online.

    It was messy. I didn’t always get it right, but I felt I was fucking around and finding out. It felt like a place for weirdos and less like the humble-brag shopping mall it’s become.

    Why did it feel that way? Was it the product of the chemicals of puberty and bullying? Maybe, but I think there was something about the internet (particularly social media) that felt more experimental.

    I recently heard about the idea of a push vs. a pull internet. The internet used to a pull experience. Where to find the things you love, you had search for them, pull them towards you. Scour your friends top 8 for new bands and music. Find sketchy torrents to download and hope you were actually downloading what you wanted.

    You had to create as much as you consumed. Having a default MySpace page was incredibly lame. Many of today’s coders wrote their first lines of code customizing their pages. Tirelessly searching for the perfect match of Web-dings and cringy metal-core to play as soon as someone opened your page.

    It was being as cringy as possible on your blog. It wasn’t always good, but it was unfiltered and interesting. Two things I am having a hard time finding online today. Today, aside from curated content, a short bio and profile picture there is nothing that separates one profile from the next. I miss the personality of it all.

    I guess that’s why I write here now. I want more control. I want to use the internet to discover. I want to use it to explore.

    I don’t think that you can do that when all the content you engage with everyday is given to you like a feeding tube when you login. Content is being pushed down our throat.

    There is fine line between curation and a algorithm. Curation is about understanding someone else’s preferences and discovering something new you may have never considered. Algorithms are about showing you new content that you are most likely to like. It’s about what you already like and feeding you more of it.

    Today there is little challenge and your content is delivered via a firehose.

    What was the last album you knew front to back? Was it before streaming? That you loved so much you’d cry at

    Anyways, welcome to my lawn.

  • unfucking the internet #10: hide yo shit.

    I’ve really been going through it lately. The internet has got me all sorts of fucked up on the inside. Like completely disembowelled clutching my intestines as an apex predator catches a wiff, type of fucked up on the inside.

    It kills me to watch what’s happening to the internet. The internet been there for since I was coding my first lines of CSS on Myspace, passive aggressively kicking friends out of my top 8. The internet honestly saved my relationship as we moved into non-monogamy (Thank you Dan Savage and Ester Perel). The internet has allowed me to keep up a connection with life long best friends I would die for who may have, very likely, faded into the history of my life without it.

    I have been betrayed by the internet. Revenge, it seems, is a dish best served cold, slow, and over time. Served so slow I could barely feel the the knife until I was scrambling to stuff my guts back behind my rib cage and notice I was suffering from blood loss.

    That’s all pretty melodramatic, but fuck. This aren’t so good out here in internet land anymore. I mean we * just * kept crypto at bay and deflated web3, now AI is here to tell us whatever we want to hear.

    Look, AI is kinda cool, I get that. Like super cool and super powerful, but that’s kinda the problem. It’s super powerful and at the same time super dumb. If a teenager asks it to create n00dz of their classmate, it’s too fucking stupid to say “That’s a terrible idea and I will not be creating child pornography”, it just does it (I know, I know, there are “safe guards”, but when those “safe guards” are creating nazi POCs, I am gonna say we don’t have em).

    Also, if those safe guards are not universally followed, all it takes a little extra effort to get the same result. So major points against AI. This is seriously pandora’s pornography box, we can’t close it now. We just have to deal with the mess. Porn has been at the cutting edge of tech, but these are uncharted territories.

    * Note: I am not anti-porn, but i am very much anti-child-porn and anti-non-consensual-porn in any form. “Real” or otherwise.

    Walk around your city, go to any area that has small businesses and look carefully at the art. The rise of AI is here and it’s already taking work from artists.

    I know what your thinking, weren’t those who are using AI just going to use shitty stock photos anyway? Well maybe, but at least a photographer or illustrator somewhere down the line would have gotten SOMETHING for their work.

    Capitalism doesn’t give a shit about artists. Honestly art is super fucking inefficient. Artists have to translate emails like “I think we need more of a boho VIBE” and “can you make it POP more” (The classic) into clear and real changes. AI can do that in seconds. And it’s only getting better at it.

    Right now AI has a sparkle to it. A shine. It’s a little too clean. A little too soft. It has far too many fingers. You can tell, but I don’t think you’re going to be able to tell the difference for much longer. Look at where AI was a year ago, two years ago and think now with the insane amount of wealth being pumped into it, where it will be in 5 more.

    5 years is not that long in the grand scheme of things.

    The thing is. This could be a monumental moment in history. We have all the tech needed to feed and house everyone. We have all the tech needed to stop/slow climate change. AI could be used to create solutions for food distribution and transit improvements.

    We just have to have the guts to do it.

    As people are no longer needed in the labour force and it shrinks, we could be reducing the requirement of labour needed for a (real) living wage. We could redistribute the wealth. Instead we are making a few people literally unfathomable amounts of money in a single life time.

    So the internet’s got me fucked up.

    Or rather capitalists got me fucked up and they are fucking up my internet in the process.

    Honestly just think about it. We have the means, the money, and tech to solve real problems and we are choosing not too.

    So as Google, Reddit, and Microsoft begin to change their privacy policies to use your personal data in their products. Hide yo shit. Pack up. Go elsewhere. Take refuge and don’t get tied to any platform you don’t control. Be ready to leave at a moments notice.

    If those building the tech require our data, our lives, and they refuse to pass on the wealth that is gained from that back to us (or to our governments through taxation), then refuse to give it to them. AI ain’t shit without it. Garbage in, garbage out.

    Or least give less of it. When you can.

    Small changes count too. Don’t use apps controlled by companies with unethical practices as much to start. Weight your options. Remember your time, attention and data is what they are after. At the very least don’t make it too easy for them to get it.

    That fact that AI is being used and trained on data in ways that users never originally consented to is massive rug pull, and the first step is slowing the hose of information we give to them constantly.

    fuck.