Monthly Recap (May 2020)

A few Lego characters …

Major updates

  • Tara got the hang of biking (or at least balancing) … and also had her first big fall from it

Minor updates

  • Sidewalk chalk coloring
  • Played more Catan
  • Doodling
  • Watched the SpaceX launch as a family (!)
  • Some … car battery problems (turns out the CCA of the default Subaru battery is pretty low)
  • More memory games and puzzles

Watched/read/made

  • Read all available Alita: Battle Angel (only wish there was more …)
  • Read some of The Swamp Thing (okay, not great)
  • Finished all of Money Heist (phew!)
  • Sampled a bit of Madame Secretary (meh)
  • Watched Kung Fu Panda, Room on the broom with Tara (👍)
  • Watched an amazing documentary: Fantastic Fungi

Generally interesting links- May 2020

An old control room, somewhere.
  • A possible compact fusion reacxtor ?
  • I can’t get enough of good articles on Fungi
  • A game to play if you second-guess the Fed
  • On Neil Postman, America, Trump; looking back at Amusing Ourselves to Death
  • Investigating the physical location of memories … in worms.
  • As the title puts it, on the vintage beauty of soviet control rooms (an example above)
  • Leviathan in lockdown

    To assume that the frontispiece to Leviathan presents a normal or idealised scene is not especially comforting. The total absence of citizens combined with the presence of protective officials gives the city an air of being under a permanent state of siege. It could almost be a depiction of David Hume’s remark, a century later, that military camps ‘are the true mothers of cities’. Attentive to the disruptive power of such shocks as war, revolution and plague, Hobbes undervalues the more insidious but still threatening proposition of a locked-down population forced to adopt a siege mentality. Fear and disillusionment do their work here, too. We may underestimate, perhaps half on purpose, the camp-like quality of our cities even in ‘normal’ times, and accept that it is sometimes necessary for cities temporarily to become camps. But bare life is not enough. We don’t just want to be preserved, we want also to live.

  • A virtual tour of Pharaoh Ramesses VI’s tomb
  • On burn out
  • Every once in a while, someone wonders about history being like a science
  • Every once in a while, someone wonders if we should go back to RSS for consuming web content
  • A look at the ”mediaevalfuture of management

Combining the two kinds of curated monthly posts

For a long time now1 I’ve put together a bunch of links that I’ve found interesting, and done this every month.

In the beginning, I had two separate blogs (I can’t reconstruct the rationale behind this, but … this is how it was …), one focussed on “all things computing/software engineering/programming”, and the other for “general life”.

Over time, I moved around different platforms, and eventually consolidated these2, and yet the two different “kinds of curation” remained.

I looked at this a year ago, and at the time, justified this by thinking, “… people don’t want random stuff forced in their faces, surely they would want one or the other and not both?!”.

And yet, this is my blog, and it is about what I find interesting, and it is a waste of my time to create this split between “two selves within me”, and I’m sure my readers3 will understand — so for better or worse, there’s going to be one set of curated links every month4.


  1. checks archives … about five years? ↩︎
  2. not quite, there are some … fragments I’ve given up on importing, and other fragments I … haven’t owned up to, but this is still mostly true ↩︎
  3. yes, checks stats … all five of you ↩︎
  4. though I can still have maybe two sections within it … we’ll see ↩︎

Update:
I thought about it some more, and actually do see a rationale for a different kind of split, keeping this WordPress blog as a general, catch-all, “what’s going on in my life, what do I think about this-and-that” kind of place, and have a separate (Notion? Ghost?) site for the kind of “collection of interesting fragments” sort of thing. Sigh, all I need is more time …

Oh captain my captain, or a look back at John Keating

At some point, Robin Williams will be forgotten, but not today. There are numerous movies of his which have influenced me a lot, and it would take too long to mention them, especially since my list would preserve or omit entries from someone else’s.

One such was Dead Poets Society, which was made (checks imdb, whoa!) 31 years ago. This is a short blog post; I don’t intend to ruminate or describe, but merely mention (a fragment of) a quote (emphasis mine).

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

Monthly Curations: May 2020

Random note: 437943

I realized the only reason this is WordPress is that (1) it allowed me to import older material from an old Tumblr, and (2) I’m still in the “write-somewhere-then-export-to-Wordpress” model, with a separate “source of truth (right now, Ulysses).

If I were starting this today, I’d probably have a “living Notion site” that I’d edit in-place, without the write-then-publish cycle.

The problem with Kindle

I got my first Kindle a decade ago. I got my second and third Kindle in the years since, but while the divide is amazing (and imho, I wouldn’t even want more out of it at this point), it’s the library that is bumming me out.

When it comes to my physical books, I have a similar problem of over-accumulation. And yet, every year or so, I can go through it and clear out roughly an entire shelf, donate it, and have the satisfaction of looking at a diminished collection, perhaps a collection where I know where things are.

There is absolutely no way to do the same with my digital collection. I visited my Kindle library today and found a list of undifferentiated 290 titles in there.

Yes, there are collections.

Yes, I can go through the list and tag it with one or more collections.

That’s not good enough. I want to be able to see fewer items when I want. I wish I could get rid of old ebooks, just so I don’t feel burdened by looking at this list.

Monthly recap (April 2020)

Watercolor with Tara
Watercolor with Tara

Major updates:

  • Continuing to work from home, scattered, sleepy :-/

Minor updates:

Watched/read/made:

  • Lots of Scooby Doo (!), with Tara (the 2015 version was … not that great, the 2006 version … is working out very well)
  • Part 1 of Money Heist (and now I’m humming Bella Ciao all the time …)
  • Tiger King (what was that …)
  • Watched Logan Lucky, Tiger King, MLP: The Movie, Nightmare before Christmas (!)
  • Reading a bunch of series on Comixology: Alita: Battle Angel, Witcher, Alien: Omnibus Locke and Key

Interesting Links: April 2020

Connections between concepts, of sorts.
Connections between concepts, of sorts.

On the “Quilt” activity

I managed to dig up a pic of “the original quilt” 😀

Sometime last year, we were at a restaurant where they were nice enough to provide paper and crayons for my daughter, but the paper didn’t have the usual “shapes to color in”, and the crayons were an odd mix (can’t remember exactly, perhaps … brown, purple and orange?)

I came up with a way to play on that paper, and this has since become a regular-is game for us, so I’ll try to describe it here.

  1. Draw a grid, not too large (8 by 8 or 10 by 10 seem to be a good sweet spot), with small squares.
  2. Take turns picking a random square, and doing WHATEVER you want in it.
  3. No rules at all, about what to draw. It’s okay to fill it with one color. It’s okay to fill it with two colors. It’s okay to make a single circle or square within it. It’s okay to have a wavy patter. Whatever you like.

The result ends up looking quite nice, and when we play this, we call it “making a quilt”. So yeah, try it out sometime 😀