Thoughts for the week’s end

If you ever get close to a human
And human behaviour
Be ready, be ready to get confused
There’s definitely, definitely, definitely no logic
To human behaviour
But yet so, yet so irresistible

And there is no map

They’re terribly, terribly, terribly moody
Oh, human behaviour
Then all of a sudden turn happy
But, oh, to get involved in the exchange
Of human emotions
Is ever so, ever so satisfying

Björk, Human Behavior

Later in the song: “and a compass wouldn’t help at all.”

How perfect for every year; how perfect for 2020.

I still haven’t made a visit to buy a guitar. I’m at the stage of my mental process where I need to practice playing a handful of things beforehand so that I don’t look like an idiot when I’m actually trying to find the one I want. Bonus though, the local music shop has started putting their inventory online. This will make browsing in a pandemic much easier.

Those Gretsch’s do have a nice look to them. 🤔

It used to be there weren’t services for posts like this: sharing short thoughts, tracking movie watches, reviewing books—so I defaulted to using my website. Centralized, “free” services then provided a false sense of sharing, and now I’m out of practice.

Twitter as a 14 year distraction.

I have been working on keeping my site open in a tab more frequently so that I can capture a thought when it happens or adjust an existing draft when something relevant floats by. This has made me start to think more about the idea of WordPress as an “operating system for the web”, which I’ve kind of laughed about in the past.

As unsure as I am about that term, it would be fun to use my site as a window to more things. I started working on one of those a few weeks ago. I’ll share it sometime soon. 🙂

A lowercase “q” is a very strange character to write by hand.

I must not do it often because I found it very confusing all of a sudden when trying to write the word “quiet” in a note somewhere. Of course once I was focused on how weird it looked, there was no way I was going to be able to get it right, so I now have a piece of paper full of strange looking qs.

Thom Yorke’s “So I declare a holiday. Fall asleep, drift away.” in Sulk will never get tiring. It’s not necessarily a hopeful song, and that line isn’t really a hopeful line, but the way it’s sung makes me hope that it could be sung hopefully one day. I mean, waking up and declaring a holiday, how great!

Definitely thinking about the Telecaster more and more while listening to The Bends on repeat.

Definitely getting more hopeful about 2021.

Have I mentioned Bremer/McCoy’s Utopia before? Yes. It remains a good, relaxing listen and helpful for a writing mood.

Among other things, the bass on Salig is absolutely pleasant. 🥃

Thoughts for the week’s end

I’m accepting that I can write these whenever I want. Maybe next year I’ll change the title.

Or, the combination of pandemic and election is still making days seem like weeks and months seem like days, so maybe election day really is the week’s end.

If it is, here we are.

I’m trying to restrain any optimism but I’m also very much looking forward to the American public standing up and decisively showing Trump the door.

It snowed a couple weeks ago and got cold for a few days. It’s a shock to have winter before fall even has a chance to get going. But we’re back in the steady 50s until this weekend. Michelle mentioned that we should start tracking the number of days from first Junco sighting to snowfall.

The internet was all so much easier to grasp when the metric was the total number of users an online service had. It then became how many of those were active users. Now it’s about the average amount of time each user spends “engaged” with the platform. So of course it just gets worse.

The more time we spend with a platform, the less time we’re spending doing normal things that keep the world healthy.

What’s strange is we still call them “social networks” when they’ve become an algorithmic firehose.

I released a plugin to the WP plugin repo for the first time in a gazillion years. Self Sustaining Spam Stopper has been doing a good job on this site of stopping spam without relying on an external spam service and I wanted to use it on more sites. An easy way of deploying useful open source code to sites on multiple hosting platforms is to use 😎

I’ve published 62 posts on this site in 2020. This is right about the same as the number of posts I posted in 2018 and 2019 combined or in 2015, 2016, and 2017 combined. So things are trending better if publishing more is my objective, which it mostly is.

There’s something therapeutic about writing notes like this throughout the week and shipping them off as a “posts”. I’m thinking more and more about how to use the rest of the site as my own repository of other stuff as well. So I guess at some point it’s not about how many posts are published, but how active and healthy the site is. Or—how much it helps my future self when reflecting, pondering, etc…

There is no way I will ever claim to write good code. I know for a fact that I have written bad code. One thing I used to think is that I could abstract things into pieces that could be understood by somebody who came along behind me because they were organized naturally. Nothing about code is natural, so of course this isn’t the case. IMO.

A spammy email came in a few weeks ago from someone who “noticed” a broken link on one of my posts and suggested that I replace it with a link to their write-up on the topic. It turned out to be a nice notification of a broken link, so I updated it to the Wikipedia article instead and then forgot about it until they followed up with me this week to check if I had seen their email. If only I wasn’t so jaded by this kind of non-contextual content marketing. Maybe I’ll send a thank you note anyway.

Okay, time to go all in and participate in the quadrennial ritual of binging election coverage and pretending that keeping track of maps and numbers will make everything better.

One scotch, one bourbon, one beer—but in reverse tonight. 🥃

Thoughts for the week’s end

Crisp mornings this week! I don’t think we went on a single walk without jackets.

This may sound silly, but it’s my blog and I’ll sound silly if I want to.

I’m sipping on some Nuvo coffee (a light roast, I forget which) that I made in a moka pot mixed with a shot of Green Spot Irish whiskey and it’s one of the most pleasant things I’ve consumed.

Happy fall, indeed.

I’ve recently switched from espresso in the afternoons to the moka pot and was happy that my “recipe” from 2018 held up. I’ve enjoyed light roasts, medium roasts, dark roasts—every single cup has been excellent. This is so very strange to me because I used to be horrible at making coffee in the moka pot.

The above is an example of how my eating and drinking habits work in patterns. I’ll have the same coffee using the same method for an entire year until one weird thing makes me switch for a day and then I’ll do that until… etc.

I’ve been having fun with Scott’s Name That Tune series on YouTube even though I’ve proven to be horrible at it so far. I know almost all of the songs after the fact, but there’s something about trying to guess the song that makes me draw blanks.

As someone who is exactly in the same age bracket, I also appreciate the commentary on various songs from the 90s and aughts. I may spend the next week working through some throwback playlists.

For a long while I’ve joined a regular Zoom meeting for which I don’t have a clickable link. Instead, I’ve hunted through my email for the meeting ID each time.

Every time I did this I wished there was a list in the Zoom UI of previous meetings so I could just select it and go.

Turns out there is this list, I had just never actually tried to click the down arrow on the meeting ID field. 🤦🏻‍♂️

A new to me fact that blew my mind a month or so ago was that a 1km3 cloud contains about 1.1 million pounds of water.

According to more napkin math, that’s somewhere around 4 to 5 times more water than a good water drinker will consume in their lifetime.

You’re welcome.

We’ve been cruising through Halt and Catch Fire finally. It’s a show I’ve wanted to watch for a while, but hung just out of grasp when making show decisions for the last few years.

It’s very fantastic and I love the characters and the reminiscing and some of the insights into 80s tech that I lived through, but only as the child who got to play the games and write the most BASIC of programs.

It also suffers from AMC syndrome. If that’s a thing. Episode 8 of every season feels like the season finale and it’s done so excellent. And then so much time is spent setting things up for the next season that you wonder why they don’t just have 8 episode seasons instead of 10.

Anyhow. We’re on the last season. It’s great. I’ll be a little sad when it’s over. I’ve enjoyed the reminiscing, as I do.

Voted! Now to wait. Only a couple more weeks to go, may we continue hanging on.

Today I learned “outwith“, which I kind of love, so I’m documenting it here. I especially love that it’s a word that appears to be increasing in use, which means there may be time to figure out how to use it without it sounding awkward.

A few weeks ago—thanks to a crossword—I became enamored with “i’d’ve“, as a double contraction. I didn’t give any thought until today to how there may be many more. Now to use y’all’ll somewhere.

A fall weather note for comparison next year.

It was only over the last few days that one of our maples turned deep red. The other is still in that “I’m greenish-almost-yellow-but-check-back-tomorrow” phase.

The juncos have multiplied. And the rain has begun.


Thoughts for the week’s end

It’s Sunday Monday, but it feels like Saturday Sunday and I still have Monday the day off, so I must have done a pretty good job of relaxing over the last week. Or something.

Because I wrote most of this before the end of the week, I’m counting it and hitting publish.

Back in April, I mused on video chats and how they could be handled with VR in the future:

In a proper VR video chat (or something, I don’t know), the volume of the conversation could change as you move your head. So if two people wanted to shift to the side a bit and carry on a side conversation, they could still hear bits of the main conversation, but the volume of the people speaking would change based on their virtually physical location.

Enter Calla, an open source virtual meetup library built on Jitsi Meet:

Voice and video chat that simulates natural conversation. Volume scales with distance from other users. Walk around, talk to folks, have private conversations by huddling in a corner, or drop in on other conversations. Ideal for meetups!

From the Calla home page

How cool! I haven’t tried it yet, but it of course sounds promising. 🙂

One of my new favorite things is using the same title for multiple posts. This series is the longest running, but I also posted a few “Current status” this week, an intentional throwback to when that was a thing we did on Twitter before we didn’t.

It happened (for me) this week because I tried to title a post “<stay-cation>”, but that got chewed up and thrown aside by something when it published. No title appeared and the post ID was the slug. I had no interest in tracking down the reason, so I changed the slug to “stay-cation”, the title to “Current status” and let it be.

Now I kind of like the pattern.

This, via Friday’s NY Times crossword blog, is one of the best videos I’ve ever seen.

It’s like they’re living right side up lives in an upside down world!

The concept of The Rental was better than the movie itself, but the movie itself was still watchable and a good enough time. The following sentence shouldn’t really be a spoiler, but it might be, so I guess you’re warned.

Jeremy’s tagline for the movie: “The Airbnb rental said no pets allowed. A guest brought a dog. They deserve everything that happens next.

I have a bunch of random beer ingredients hanging around: hops in the fridge, barley and rye in the basement, water in the… tap? They’ve all been there for a very long time because I haven’t brewed beer in a very long time. And I’ve decided that before I can justify buying fresh ingredients, I should use the ones I have. If for nothing else, it should serve as a practice round to make sure I still know what I’m doing.

So! This week I plan on making a “Stale Ale” from all the leftovers as a way to recharge the joy of homebrewing.

Cheers! 🍻

Thoughts for the week’s end

It’s officially autumn, fall, October. It’s darker earlier every day, but the weather has been absolutely fantastic—after a brief stint where we had to turn the boiler on. For now it takes all day to hit a high of 75 or 80 and then drops into the 50s as soon as the sun goes down.

But! Winter is coming.

Michelle saw a Junco on Friday, I saw one this morning. They appear on the Palouse in early fall every year as harbingers of colder weather. They stop showing up shortly after winter ends.

Aside: I had no idea the definition of “autumn” was so ambiguous until I tried to figure out what word to use at the beginning of all this.

A year ago today we were hanging out at Bear Lake in Utah, before which I had spent a few days in Vancouver, before which we had spent a few weeks in Sweden. I then went to Milwaukee via Chicago the next week, St. Louis for WordCamp US a couple weeks later, and Boise a couple weeks after that.

It was a whirlwind (and a blast) and looks nothing like the world we’re living in today.

I haven’t even spent a night outside of Pullman since mid-November! 🤯

I ordered 3 books from eBay this week. The experience was unfamiliar, but really nice. I added items from 3 different sellers to one cart and only had to check out once. It’s so different from the world where we sent personal checks after winning bids and crossed our fingers that we’d see something in the mail weeks later.

Of course curiosity made me do some email searching. The last time I placed an order on eBay was in 2015 when I bought a used LG phone to do some testing on Android at WSU. Before that, I ordered a print in 2011 of which I have no recollection. And the trail goes cold at the beginning of my Gmail, so uh… way back when.

I do remember purchasing a mandolin, an acoustic guitar, microphones, and a handful of guitar pedals. It’d be fun if I could find the archives for those.

“I still want WordPress to be a post editor, but it wants to be a Site editor.”

…is a recurring thought of mine.

I expect this will change in the future. Once full site editing is in place, there should be room for a really nice writing area.

The actual experience that’s being built for people piecing together elements of a web page is turning out to be really great. I’m just never going to be happy until I can select text across paragraphs. 🙈

I either learned or remembered this week that WordPress did not enforce unique option names before 2.9.

The site was a triple whammy: Multisite since pre-3.0 MU; Global terms enabled; and a database that upgrade routines had not successfully been run against.

I have started almost every paragraph in this post with “I”. 🤦🏻‍♂️

The new Smashing Pumpkins is synth-ish, which I’m really digging…until Billy sings. At the risk of shocking my 19 year old self, instrumental releases would be more interesting.

Mulatu Astatke was my favorite artist of the week. I’d definitely recommend checking out his Mulatu of Ethiopia and others.

There are so many ideas floating around in my head for what I want to do with the web. I wrote up some thoughts on comments earlier in the week, I of course have ideas on a new writing experience, and I want to start branching off parts into a commonplace book that works outside of the “I write posts and post them” box.

I’m taking a stay-cation this week, so here’s hoping I spend a few minutes diving into them!

Cheers, y’all. 🍻