• To whoever did today’s Strands puzzle, well done. Very well done. 👏🧩

  • I could smell this lilac bush a block away! 🌸📷

    Bunches of small light purple lilac flowers peeking out from a thick bush of green leaves.

  • Obsessing Over Trees in the Forest

    Peter K.G. Williams writes about The Small Web and Science. It’s more an overview of the small web movement as a scientist for other scientists, but it echoes a lot of what many have been saying for a while.

    This paragraph stuck out to me, though, and I think it bears repeating (emphasis mine):

    We can’t, however, take for granted that the architecture of the web will always be quite so friendly to independent operators – protocols and expectations are always evolving. The proverbial “someone” needs to apply pressure to keep the infrastructure of the web friendly to small operators. … My worry here is that the small-web ethos is definitely susceptible to the tendency that you can get in environmentalism and other underdog movements: hoping if enough people just display enough personal virtue, the large-scale problem will solve itself. I doubt that many people would seriously argue that there’s no role for public policy or other forceful efforts in trying to achieve these goals, but I worry the DIY approach can easily become a trap. _Small-scale effort is much easier and yields rewards on much shorter timelines than large-scale action. From what I’ve seen it easily soaks up all of people’s time and energy, leaving nothing left for the big stuff._

    It’s good to keep in mind that, just like productivity systems and writing systems and anything that involves upkeep and passion, we can get wrapped up in the details and not pay attention to the larger point of doing it. Like an organizer getting wrapped up in the latest todo app or sorting scheme, and missing the point of doing the work and having the time to do what one wants, that the organization was supposed to enable.

  • To the tune of The Final Countdown:

    “It’s the berry muffin! Nomnomnom nom, nomnomnom nomnom!” 🎵☕️📷

    A berry muffin and a large paper to-go cup sit in a cafe table outside, in the shade. Behind it is another table, a street light pole, trees, houses and sky.

  • I got a lot done today, x-ing tasks that needed crossing off: closed a bank account, replaced smoke alarms for my mother, grocery shopping, and more. Friends and family have told me how much they appreciated me.

    Right now, sitting tired and expended, I feel like today has been wasted, that needed things were done but nothing necessary was touched.

    Thing is, I can’t figure out what that necessary is.

  • Seen today during my walk to my morning reading cafe. 📷

    Looking down on a sidewalk, a utility hole cover is surrounded by several spray-painted red lines. On the cover is spray painted in white, “I WANT TO LIVE”.

  • A beautiful, playful way to start your weekend: Deaf artist Christine Sun Kim leads a short call for better music captions, then presents a poetic art piece using captions from a deaf person’s point of view to describe the world. It’s unlike anything you’re likely to see this weekend. Enjoy! 🎵🎥🧏

    Closer captions

  • Watched today’s Apple Event. Between the stilted speaking tempo, the wooden body language, and the staged scene direction, I really wish they’d go back to live presentations and let the presenters be themselves. Whoever is coaching these people needs to be replaced. 🧑‍💻

  • Found these canes while helping my mother clean Patsy’s house. I thought my friend could use them as backup, but neither were interested. Makes a nice photo, though! 📷🩼

    On a geometrically colored quilt, three wooden canes are laid in descending order of height. All are worn; the third is missing a rubber foot.

  • Just as my friend’s band is about to go on, I get this in my inbox. The Columbus is just a few blocks down from my place. It’s been an institution for decades, long before the current owners, hosting national and local artists too big for local venues but too small for the main ones. Damnit. 🎵😢

    The top of an email newsletter from the Columbus Theatre. The masthead is followed by a black and white photo of the building, followed by the announcement text.

  • My project for the day: set up my Mother’s new laptop. My goal for the day: have it done before I leavee for my friend’s cover band gig tonight! 💻🎵

    On a wood desk, two laptops have screens open to the Mac Transfer Assistant. Behind them is a large monitor and another laptop, with various desk accessories strewn between.

  • A view of Providence, RI, looking towards downtown, as the sun began to set a few days ago. 📷

    Looking down a city street with cars driving away, a set of buildings and small skyscrapers are colored light pink by the setting sun out of view to the right.

  • The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has an amusing “Please don’t use your phone” warning video. 🎥

  • I watched Not Just Bike’s recent video on highway lane expansions, which referenced Austin’s Rethink35 campaign and their amazing 1-35 Frogger game illustrating the insanity of a 20 lane highway. If the game doesn’t make the point, NJB’s video will! 🛣️🚗🕹️

  • Come summer, this will be a hard perk to ignore! 📷🍜

    A sign in the window of a ramen shop advertises in stylized script, 'Summer Special: Free Air Conditioning with a bowl of raman. Please enjoy!'

  • Dune: Part Two had all the amazing cinematography and arrangement from the first part, so of course I loved this.

    I do hope there’s a part three, not just so I can see more, but so Dennevue can hopefully counter our culture’s tendency to lionize the problematic aspects of classic sci-fi novels. I know Frank Hubert wrote Paul as a cautionary tale, but our collective media literacy isn’t the best these days. I think we need to see the results of Paul’s successes in this film. 🎥

  • Speaking of my argument with a book club interlocutor last night, here’s @ayjay talking about it with much more eloquence than I, as usual.

  • Mirrors

    The book club went successfully last night, despite a misunderstanding on what room was reserved. Then I sat across from a young PhD student who argued about the merits of the book, Light From Uncommon Stars.

    We went back and forth until I zeroed in on what I thought bothered me about their analysis: it wasn’t the book for them, for where they were in life, which is fine, but the language they were using made it sound like a critical analysis of faults in the book. It was a valid opinion couched in the wrong schema, akin saying “Ice cream isn’t my thing these days,” in terms of the agricultural food complex and its systemic problems.

    But they didn’t agree, or rather, they said they agreed, then doubled down and insisted their take wasn’t just valid, it had to be couched in their schema because it was important. They’d learned this in college from a very convincing humanities teacher. Stories had themes, and characters and plot lines had to be referenced to create a coherent and compelling narrative, and ideas like that. I argued the book had those qualities, but they didn’t back down, and I was grateful for the waiter delivering food for the table at that moment.

    I couldn’t pinpoint why their take bothered me, until this morning. I’d had my worldview on literature changed by theory and the arguments of those who studied literature too. Same with philosophy, with programming, with movies, with blogging, with cooking. And I don’t like how I acted when I let my changed worldviews lead me to act like a self-important ass, so sure that these truths meant something that I ignored the simpler and more present perspectives that were just as important. I used to be like my interlocutor, and I cringe at how I came across back then.

    To be fair, they weren’t nearly as cringe last night as I was in my youth! I just wish I’d realized this last night, and had a way to explain that to them. At the very least, I could have avoided minutes of inadvertently treating them like a mirror of my past, and steered the conversation to more pleasant topics.

    And for the record, Light From Uncommon Stars is a wonderful dancing hug of a book, and even if it doesn’t fit some humanities scholar’s checklist of good literature, you should still read it if you’re into sci-fi, trans stories, Asian-American diaspora experience, and found families.

  • Save the Web by Being Nice

    The very best thing to keep the web partly alive is to maintain some content yourself … The second best thing to do is to show your support for pages you enjoy by being nice and making a slight effort.

    To quote @patrickrhone, “What we believe in.”

  • Book notes: Silence: In the Age of Noise 📚

    Finished reading: Silence by Erling Kagge 📚

    Overall, a very good book, meditative and instructive. It follows @patrickrhone ’s book For You as a more expansive set of wise perspectives and advice on life.

    Page 30:

    This is not just a new trend, or a fad; it is a reflection of a profound human need. Knitting, brewing beer, felling trees; these are activities that all have something in common. You set yourself a goal and carry it out - not all at once, but over time. You use your hands or your body to create something. By moving yourself, you move your mind. I enjoy experiences where the satisfaction travels from the body to the head, rather than the other way around. The results that you achieve-firewood to warm you, a sweater you have poured yourself into-are not things that can simply be printed out. The fruit of your labour is a tangible product. A result that you and others can enjoy over a period of time.

    Page 53:

    Even if we were to live for a thousand years, our lives would feel short if we threw away the time we actually had at our disposal. We exist, but few of us actually live, argued Seneca two thousand years ago. “Life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future. When they come to the end of it, the poor wretches realize too late that for all this time they have been preoccupied in doing nothing.”

    And part of the practice of silence is knowing what counts as a life well lived. My time spent reading and writing and enjoying movies may seem dull compared to what others seem to value, but I feel more of what Kagge extolls in my moments than theirs.

    Page 77:

    Humans are social creatures. Being accessible can be a good thing. We are unable to function alone. Yet it’s important to be able to turn off your phone, sit down, not say anything, shut your eyes, breathe deeply a couple of times and attempt to think about something other than what you are normally thinking about.

    Coincidentally, @bryan posted about this today too, with expectations of being immediately responsive at work.

    I think we as people who care about boundaries need to articulate and insist on a difference between “available” and “accessible”. The former means ready at hand to use, the latter more lax. There are times to be available, but most times need mere accessibility. The terminology can help us defend our health and boundaries. I am at work, but not available, just accessible, as I take time for deep work, research, catch up on news, or just take a break.

  • Time for my annual tradition of locking myself out of my house. 🤦

  • Thought of @maique when I saw this at Trinity Brewhouse in Providence, with all the cool stickers and designs he posts! 📷

    A painted wall art of a six-armed green monster, a pint of beer in each hand, wearing a blue T-shirt with the Trinity Brewhouse logo. Above and below the picture are the words “Mug House Madness”.

  • Book review: "For You"

    I finished @patrickrhone ’s For You last weekend. It didn’t take long; I finished it in a day, though I found myself lingering over some of the passages.

    Rhone’s daughter is a lucky kid to have Patrick as a father. This is a wise, encouraging, grounded collection of insights that speak to the reader as a gentle, understanding and firm parent speaking to a daughter. It’s never condescending, and you get the sense that his daughter will roll her eyes at some of it the way a smart oh-so-sure kid does, but it rewards revisiting. If some passage doesn’t make sense or doesn’t apply yet, Patrick’s words will be there, without judgement, ready to counsel when she, or the reader, needs to hear them.

    I don’t think this work needs addition or commentary. It stands alone, and meshes in well with other advice books. I did make one note, a comment to the end of “You are the star”:

    And if you find yourself making yourself the protagonist in ways that force others to be extras in theirs, reexamine what you’re doing. That’s a sign of fear, not joy. Look at what that fear is, so you can be an even better protagonist.

    If you want the context, you’ll have to get the book. It’s out now, it’s inexpensive, and it’s the work of a weekend day with some reflection time to enjoy. 📚

  • Article I enjoyed: "The Bits We Usually Ignore

    Bookish Diversions: The Bits We Usually Ignore 📚

    I do unjustly ignore some footnotes and especially endnotes. It’s a bad habit from being overwhelmed with college reading that I really should address.

    Dedications and acknowledgements, though, I fully take the time to read and enjoy. All reading is an interpretation, all writing the same. These feel like a glimpse at the real, complex person behind the performance.

  • Enjoying what’s become a weekly ritual: catching up on newsletters and mailing lists over tea at my local tea shop. ☕️📚

    An iPad with text on the screen is angled towards the viewer on the left of a table. On the right, a nearly empty clear mug and tea sit. In the background, an empty chair faces the viewer on the opposite side of the table, and beyond that, more tables, chairs, and a cafe counter with people ordering.

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