Ned Gallagher in Havana.

Ned Gallagher:
What I’m Up To


New Year 2021 update



2020, now in the rear view mirror!

Only a few weeks since my last “Now” update, but with school being remote from Thanksgiving until the end of January and a couple weeks vacation just finished, I’ve had a LOT of time to read things and watch things. I’ve hardly traveled more than a mile from home in months now.

A few observations:

  • During this lockdown, I’ve been following a strict ketogenic diet the past couple months, and recently I’ve added home workouts to my daily routine, gradually ramping things up. My major hardware investment during the pandemic was a Diamondback 1260sc Rear Wheel Studio Cycle. I opted for this over the Peloton bike and subscription mostly because my new Apple Watch Series 6 and and Apple’s new Fitness+ service makes gives me a cheaper and more flexible approach to regular training here at home. The cycling gives me a good cardio workout, which I supplement with a strength and stretching regimen I have been easing into.
  • Joining the Fitness+ service makes an Apple One subscription bundle economical, as I have already been using Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+, and iCloud storage. Apple One also gives me Apple Arcade, which I probably won’t make much use of, but it’s there if I want it.
  • I’ve been using my Apple Watch to track my sleep, which has been helpful as well. I splurged for some nice new flannel sheets (the very soft Premium Supimas from L.L. Bean) for the cold weather and picked up a new comforter with some Bean holiday gift certificates as well. I think one upside of the pandemic experience for me has been better sleep—and now I can document it nightly.
  • As of today, I’ve completed a streak of 541 consecutive daily New York Times crosswords. I was never in the habit of doing these puzzles until I was inspired a couple years back by a student of mine who arrived each day with a pencil and the newspaper, working away on the crossword before the start of class. I complete them on the dedicated iPad app, usually before I go to bed (the next day’s crossword is posted most nights at 10pm). I started with just Monday and Tuesday puzzles, using the week’s easiest to get used to typical patterns of clues and answers, and before long was handling the whole week. I now do ten puzzles a week: one daily in the Times and three more in The New Yorker on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Unlike the NYT puzzles, the magazine’s get easier as the week progresses.

Next update will probably be in March, once the winter term at school winds down.



What I’m Reading

Working On Now:

  • Anthony Horowitz, The Magpie Murders
  • David Denby, Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World
  • Simon Callow, Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu
  • Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kohima, Lone Wolf and Cub, Volume 1: The Assassin’s Road
  • Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kohima, Lone Wolf and Cub, Volume 2: The Gateless Barrier

Recently Finished:

  • Cass Sunstein, The World According to Star Wars
  • Winsor McKay, The Complete Little Nemo, 1905-1909
  • Winsor McKay, The Complete Little Nemo, 1910–1927

On Deck:

  • Neal Gabler, Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932–1975
  • Jill Lepore, If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future
  • Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
  • Tana French, In the Woods
  • Tana French, The Likeness
  • Lynd Ward, Gods’ Man: A Novel in Woodcuts

For Courses I’m Taking This Winter:

  • George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • Virgil, The Aeneid
  • Augustine, Confessions
  • Euclid, Elements
  • Descartes, Meditations
  • Michael Benedict, The Blessings of Liberty: A Concise History of the Constitution of the United States

For Courses I’m Teaching This Winter:

  • André Gide, The Immoralist
  • Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
  • Michael Lewis, The Fifth Risk



What I’m Watching


  • The Americans, Seasons 2–6 (iTunes/Amazon Prime)
  • Dickinson, Season 2 (Apple TV+)
  • What We Do in the Shadows, Season 2 (FX/Hulu)
  • Bridgerton (Netflix)
  • WandaVision (Disney+)

Recently Finished—Television:

  • The Americans, Season 1 (iTunes)
  • What We Do in the Shadows, Season 1 (FX/Hulu)
  • Derry Girls, Seasons 1–2 (Netflix)
  • The Reagans (Showtime)
  • I Hate Suzie (HBO Max)
  • Marvel 616 (Disney+)

Recently Finished—Films:

  • Tenet (d. Christopher Nolan, 2020)
  • American Graffiti (d. George Lucas, 1973)
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix, d. Aaron Sorkin, 2020)
  • Zodiac (d. David Fincher, 2007)
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix, d. George C. Wolfe, 2020)
  • Soul (Disney+, d. Pete Docter, 2020)
  • On the Rocks (Apple TV+, d. Sofia Coppola, 2020)
  • Wolfwalkers (Apple TV+, d. Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart, 2020)
  • Tea and Sympathy (d. Vincente Minnelli, 1956)
  • The Stranger (d. Orson Wells, 1946)
  • What We Do in the Shadows (Kanopy, d. Jemaine Clement & Taika Waitit, 2014)
  • The Midnight Sky (Netflix, d. George Clooney, 2020)
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (HBO Max, d. Patty Jenkins, 2020)
  • Meet Me in St. Louis (d. Vincente Minnelli, 1944)
  • True Confessions (d. Ulu Grosbard, 1981)
  • Time Bandits (d. Terry Gilliam, 1981)

On Deck—Films:

  • One Night in Miami (Amazon Prime, d. Regina King, 2020)
  • Palm Springs (Hulu, d. Max Barbakow, 2020)
  • The Personal History of David Copperfield (d. Armando Iannucci, 2020)
  • Force Majeure (d. Ruben Östlund, 2014)
  • David Byrne’s American Utopia (HBO Max, d. Spike Lee, 2020)
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being (d. Philip Kaufman, 1988)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [extended edition] (d. Peter Jackson, 2001)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [extended edition] (d. Peter Jackson, 2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [extended edition] (d. Peter Jackson, 2003)
  • Best In Show (d. Christopher Guest, 2000)

and an immersion in the films of Akira Kurosawa



What I’m Listening To

Audiobooks/Radio Drama:

    David Sedaris, The Best of Me



What I’m Looking Forward To

  • a new administration in Washington
  • vaccine shots
  • spring weather
  • seeing my family


Thanks to Derek Sivers for his concept of the /now page.
Revised: 6 January 2021