Inspired by my friend Brook’s excellent weekly newsletters, here’s an unordered list of some things I’ve come across lately.
The weather in the Bay Area has been rough for the past few weeks, so I haven’t been out too much. Part of the joy of living in California is that you kind of give up on fighting the weather. If the weather sucks, just stay inside until it changes, it usually won’t be long. This is the maybe worst non-fire-related block of weather I’ve experienced since I’ve lived in San Francisco, and I finally hit my breaking point this weekend on the “wait it out” strategy. I got out the limited rain appropriate gear I have, and went for some hikes in the pouring rain. It was glorious, and I now know that I can walk to a peak of Twin Peaks in about 20 minutes from the apartment I recently moved to. I feel invigorated and refreshed, and no longer down in the dumps about the weather. I mean, it’s just wet, it’s not cold! Today I tried to time my walk with maximum rain, and although I didn’t time it perfectly it felt freeing to aim for it. Watching a rainstorm come in from the top of a hill is right up there with watching a brilliant sunset imo.
I’m also really going through a ramen phase, getting Marufuku Ramen every time the dreary weather gets to me. Marufuku delivers everything in separate containers, so it delivers very well and reheats wonderfully. I’ve started ordering two every time I order so I can have another one the next day.
Thomas Flight on Uncut Gems. I have a love/hate relationship with film criticism youtube, but this video by Thomas Flight on the editing of Uncut Gems to create a sense of anxiety was right up my alley.
2008 Roofball World Championships. This video is a real nostalgic slice of suburban Americana. I didn’t play “regulation” roofball growing up, but “throw a ball on the roof and then try to catch it when it comes back down” is definitely something I spent hours doing with friends. Loved the deadpan commentary, the of-the-era “iPood” parody T-shirt, and the live “shame cam” in the house for your walk of shame when you throw the ball over the roof.
Jerry Seinfeld in Pulp Fiction Deep Fake. the laugh track on this really did it for me.
In TV, lately I’ve been watching and enjoying:
- Party Down (old and new)
- Drive To Survive (newest season)
- Monk (holds up really well! They’re all on Peacock)
- Poker Face
- Survivor (newest season)
In Movies, you can check my letterboxd but lately I really enjoyed:
- The Worst Person in the World
- Knock at the Cabin
- The Menu
- Magic Mike XXL (a rewatch. It’s tons better than the new one, and the gas station sequence is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in a theater. If you haven’t seen the scene, the only context you need is that Joe Manganiello has lost his mojo and has decided he needs to make this cashier smile or he’ll stop dancing forever. Also, they’re all on molly.)
- Triangle of Sadness
Brent Simmons On Not Taking Money for NetNewsWire. Major “that’s fine for Merlin” energy on this one, I don’t think these arguments apply for most folks trying to make software for people to use (he makes this explicit in the post). Still, it was an interesting perspective for why Brent specifically doesn’t take money for NetNewsWire.
Robin Sloan’s newsletter post How the Ring Got Good shared his thoughts from reading The History of The Lord of the Rings and his surprise about how much Tolkien had to revise and modify his work before it became the classic we know today. The actual book sounds very interesting, but this article whet my appetite and had some great examples without the time investment of reading the whole thing. I never made it all the way through the Silmarillion, there’s no way I’m getting through this.
Clive Thompson’s The Power of Indulging Your Weird, Offbeat Obsessions.
Steve Blank’s The Elves Leave Middle Earth – Sodas Are No Longer Free. This post has a lot that rubs me the wrong way in terms of the deification of the “elder software engineer”, but nonetheless was a thought-provoking anecdote about how small cultural changes at a company can directly cause rapid and significant declines.
Charlie Jane Anders’ J.K. Rowling and “Separating the Art from the Artist”.
San Francisco Chronicle’s story on our doomed Ocean Beach Gondola in the 1950’s.
Even though I dislike long distance running, Winnie Lim’s more of the same post about the flow state and mental health benefits of endurance exercise really resonated with me. This experience maps well to when I was cycling regularly. I’ve gotta get back into that.
Sophie Koonin’s Painting the whole beetle: an adventure in learning to learn.
How to help someone use a computer by Phil Agre.
Taking notes makes gaming more fun by Clayton Ashley at Polygon. I’d recommend reading the post over watching the video, the video has a bit too much “Content” energy.
Alex Kladov’s <3 Deno on what he likes about
deno, an alternative runtime to
Jon Udell’s Of course the attention economy is threatened by the Fediverse, in particular:
But gradually I came to see that there was a sweet spot, somewhere between (let’s say) 200 and 15,000 followers, where it was possible to enjoy the kinds of pleasant and stimulating interaction that I’d first experienced in web forums and the blogosophere.
- I’ve really been enjoying playing Rollerdrome on my Steam Deck. It’s sort of a Tony Hawk Pro Skater shooter, with bullet time and a really cool art style. A great single player game! I’ve 100%-ed the main game, and am now working through the post game higher difficulty modes.
- John Gruber’s The Talk Show podcast episode with Jason Kottke on the 25th anniversary of Kottke.org. I’m no longer a regular reader or listener of Gruber or Kottke, but this nostalgia trip through the history of blogging and the rise of paywalls/death of APIs was a fun listen in the current collapse of Twitter climate. I’m not a 2Xer generally but this bad boy is over 3 hours and … works very well at 2X speed.
- I wrote most of this post listening to the new-ish albums from Miley Cyrus and Carly Rae Jepsen. They’re great.
Arc Browser. I’m very hesitant to switch browsers, but last year I tried out Vivaldi after reading an article in Wired (use 12ft.io to sidestep the paywall). I didn’t end up sticking with Vivaldi, but I did like the idea of vertical tabs. Anyway, I finally gave Arc Browser a try and have really been enjoying it. There’s a lot of features I don’t currently have any interest in, but the command palette, vertical tabs, and the shockingly game changing “Peek” feature have caused me to stick with it for the last couple weeks. I still do development in Chrome, and I intellectually miss the incredible performance and battery life wins of Safari, but I’ve got a fast computer that’s always plugged in so I’m fine taking the hit right now.
*Update: there’s several options to make PDF export better, I like the “1 Slide, Borderless” option personally. Thanks for the tip @FIGBERT!
FeedBin. I’ve finally switched to FeedBin in advance of the death of my long used and beloved Feed Wrangler. I stuck with Feed Wrangler for a long time mostly because I built my own web app to use as an RSS reader and it was built specifically to Feed Wrangler’s API. Now that I’ve been forced to switch, I updated my web app to support FeedBin and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. I really love FeedBin’s newsletter and twitter support. You can give a newsletter a custom feedbin email address and have all of your newsletters in the RSS reader interface, and you can also follow twitter accounts and have those piped in, which is great because twitter hasn’t had RSS support for years. I fully expect the twitter integration to break in the next few months because of twitter’s current situation, but for now it’s been nice.
StreetPass, a browser extension that will collect mastodon profiles for web sites you visit throughout the day, and let you choose to follow them. What I love about this is that it’s powered by the links that Mastodon checks to verify bio links, so people don’t have to be aware of this browser extension to support it. Long live the Open Web and meta tags, baby!
BikeHopper, an open source directions app for transit and bikes. Google Maps bike directions are pretty ok in San Francisco, but there’s definitely room for improvement. I usually start with Google Maps directions and then end up following cyclists on my route who look like they know what they’re doing. I frequently end up on a safer and smoother route than the initial one Google recommends. Hopefully this tool helps as well!
The great Darius Kazemi’s got a tool for taking your exported twitter archive and making it accessible and searchable. I’ve been a big fan of Darius ever since his incredible deadpan XOXO talk skewering lucky successful tech people who like to advise others on how to mirror their success, as if it’s a repeatable process.