January 7, 2023

I know that we’re almost a week into 2023, and that the fatigue on ‘end of year’ wrap-ups is real. But, I only just found out that Letterboxd offer one, and I found some of the results interesting / funny.

Firstly, I’m totally puzzled as to what was going on 3-16 Sep that meant I didn’t watch a single movie. It would be one thing to have only two weeks in the year where I didn’t sit down to a film, but the fact that they’re back-to-back like that feels weird.

Also notable: Thursday is my most frequent film-watching weekday because my special lady friend attends a class that evening.

Secondly, my ‘most watched actors’ has been heavily swayed by the fact that I watched all five Scream movies in 2022. However, the inclusion — at the top — of Ethan Hawke was a surprise. I can only attribute it to the fact that dude works! Those six Hawke flicks were Dead Poets Society (1989); Taking Lives (2004); First Reformed (2017); The Northman (2022); The Black Phone (2021); Raymond & Ray (2022)1.

Of course, ‘most-watched directors’ also gets skewed by that re-watch of the Scream franchise, and — in fact — two of the other inclusions here are the result of (re-)watching trilogies. Can you name them? (One should be pretty freaking obvious!)

  1. FWIW I also enjoyed Hawke’s (somewhat hammy) turn in Moon Knight for Disney+ last year.  ↩︎

January 6, 2023

In a post a couple of days ago, I wrote about my experience of Mastodon, and the manner in which I (perhaps needlessly) duplicate / archive a bunch of my posts there on a one-person (anti-)social platform.

Today being the first #newmusicfriday of 2023, I wanted to tell you about another set of unlisted pages on this site, some of which are duplicating material posted elsewhere. These are the trackers: simple, plaintext lists of the media I engage with. On the site right now you can find complete lists of Books read; Film & TV watched; Games played; and Music listened to, going back to 2020.

The first three of those trackers work the same way: they’re simple reverse-chron lists of media I finished (with ★ tags denoting strong recommendations) — nothing more complicated than that. The Books tracker is necessarily going to mirror content on my new account over at Literal, just as the Films list mirrors what I’m diarising at Letterboxd. (If you’re on either of those platforms, friend me up, and send me recommendations!)

The Music list is a little more complicated, given that it’s essentially a year-long working document that will eventually form the basis of the year end favourite albums list. There’s an explainer at the bottom of the tracker page, if you’re interested.

Hand-in-hand with the trackers, is one more unlisted page: Now. The idea of this page is to provide a glanceable update on what’s currently occupying my time & attention. You can find out what TV series I’m in the middle of; which book(s) I’m currently reading, and… whatever else I decide to put up there — check back at your leisure to see what’s new. The concept of the ‘Now’ page was popularised by Derek Sivers, and he runs a site at nownownow.com that collates ‘Now’ pages from all over the indie web. If you have your own site, and it’s something you’re interested in adding, you can find instructions for getting yourself added to the directory here.

• • •

Side note: I’m aware that a hefty percentage of posts here in this first part of 2023 have been — as we used to say back in the day — ‘blogging about blogging’. My expectation (and intention) is that that will ease up, or stop entirely, in the near future — not least because I have a self-imposed 2023 moratorium on needless website tinkering!

January 5, 2023

One of the first steps I like to take when we’re planning a trip, is to pick up one of these Wallpaper* City Guides.

They have a simple map — on a neat gatefold cover — that breaks the city down into its constituent parts, for a useful overview.

The rest of the book is divided up into a few sections, helpful for guiding research and making plans for each stage of a visit:


We’ve never followed the ‘24 HOURS’ section to the letter, but it has proven invaluable in finding spots like this (fairly well-hidden) porridge bar, which absolutely made our final morning in Copenhagen.

Right now, we’re in the early stages of planning a trip for this autumn. If you do a little detective work, you can probably figure out the destination!

  1. a guide to the city’s iconic buildings, both well and less-well known  ↩︎

January 4, 2023

I bounced around a couple of Mastodon instances before I settled into one that I like; right now you can find me at social.lol1. The instance is run by (Kentucky-based, one man design studio) Neatnik, as part of the evolving suite of services under the omg.lol banner.

I’m enjoying Mastodon principally because the folks on my instance seem like a cool bunch, and (as mentioned a couple of days ago) the platform in general feels increasingly alive with new people — several million signups over the last few weeks. Secondarily, but super important to me, is the fact that Mastodon solves for many of my problems with social media in general. At the top of the list: it’s not advertising supported, and (therefore) not algorithmically driven. Unlike centralised, for-profit social platforms, Mastodon doesn’t care how much time you spend on it, so it doesn’t have to invent tricks to keep you scrolling. Here are a few other touches I appreciate:

  • Hide Social Graph — maybe my favourite Mastodon feature: it’s no one else’s concern who follows me, or whom I follow. With the simple tick of a box, glorious privacy.

  • Content Warnings — the ability to set a click-through message ahead of a post means less chance of accidentally stumbling upon things like movie spoilers or details about heartbreaking basketball games.

  • Automated Post Deletion — I don’t post anything to social platforms that I intend should have a shelf-life. I love that I can set my posts to evaporate in 7 days’ time.

Entirely contrary to the spirit of that last point, but in keeping with the principle of owning one’s own content, I actually have a secret, one-person, (anti-)social network right on this site. It’s called Wire, and I’ve used it (though sporadically) as a kind of Twitter-substitute the last couple of years (’21; ’22). Now, it feels like a good place to keep a few of those otherwise ephemeral Mastodon posts.

Also, purely because I find it amusing, there’s a hidden link to the Wire in the footer of every page — see if you can find it!

  1. you know it’s me because I have a proven link to zioibi.com in my profile — the best way to verify authenticity on Fediverse platforms  ↩︎

January 2, 2023

When we had coffee in town yesterday, I noticed the beans were from a local roaster I’d not tried before: NewGround — they’re a newly-minted B Corporation based just up the road in Headington. So, today we took a walk out to the roastery, enjoyed a really clean filter, and brought home some beans.

I also added NewGround to my ‘Coffee in Oxford’ Guide for Apple Maps; which you can find here.

January 1, 2023

I know, I’m not supposed to be here. Back in October, I made somewhat of a big deal out of my annual retreat from the internet, saying I’d be back at the keyboard in the spring. As I type this, I’m sat under an electric blanket, entirely too aware that it’s still mid-winter.

The truth is that shortly after my self-imposed absence kicked in, the internet became entirely too interesting to ignore. Sure, I took a couple of months off from posting here, and sending newsletters — but the sale of Twitter, and the upheaval subsequent thereto, has kept me glued to my screen. It’s been riveting.

My own history with Twitter is complicated. There was a time I found it an enormously enjoyable place to be, and a valuable tool for both socialising and discovery. As with almost all centralised, advertising-supported social platforms however, the magic fell away over the course of time. In a post published a decade ago this week (!), I complained about the increasing siloing of content and connection. Then, five years ago, I found myself trying to pinpoint the aspects of the modern social web that didn’t sit well with me, whilst adopting increasingly torturous postures to justify my continued use. Eventually I came to use Twitter, and most other centralised platforms, almost entirely as vectors for sharing content I controlled myself.

For me, there is certainly an element of sadness in seeing Twitter further debased and mismanaged in the hands of its new ownership. But, it has also proven liberating: for one thing, decentralised platforms have begun to see an uptick in usage I previously thought surpassingly unlikely; I joined Mastodon a few years ago, but had found it difficult to form connections until the recent, exponential growth in activity there.

I’ve also noticed a reappraisal of the RSS protocol: a recognition of its simplicity, and its centrality to the original forms of socialising on the web. Alongside this, there have been renewed, spirited calls for a return to blogging, and efforts to re-form communities around individual, personal sites. All of this has made the social internet feel more exciting to me in the last couple of months than it has in many years.

And so, since no day on the calendar represents a cleaner slate than New Year’s Day, I’m spinning the site back up early this year. You can bookmark blog.zioibi.com or grab the RSS feed here.

As has become traditional, the blog — the section you’re reading right now — has been wiped clean (though the original content is still available via permalinks), and I’ve added a few choice posts from 2022 to the index of highlights. There’s also an updated About page, and the 2022 edition of my annual, end-of-year favourite albums list — at ~6,000 words, I think this is the longest one yet!

Oh, and one more thing: during the break I’ve been working on a photosite at photos.zioibi.com — the design is still a WIP, and I need to get into the habit of uploading new photos, but it’s live now. Let me know what you think, or just say hi, via hello@zioibi.com

Happy New Year.

September 30, 2022

#015 — The Strokes: Is This It (2001)

In the early 2000s, Adam thought Fab Moretti was maybe the coolest person in the world. He was an artists and sculptor with dual citizenship, who spoke four languages, and made smoking in skinny denim and a crew-neck shirt look impossibly chic. He was also dating Drew Barrymore.

Oh, and he was in a band, who put out a record in 2001 that single-handedly revitalised guitar-based rock music.

September 23, 2022

#014 — Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

Climbing atop his soapbox, Adam attempts to persuade you — the listener — that Joe Dante’s comedy-horror(?) follow-up to his classic horror-comedy original is… one of the best sequels ever made!?

Editor Adam’s note: somewhat ironically, there was a technical issue during recording of this episode, which has affected the audio quality throughout. A gremlin is almost certainly to blame.