i am overwhelmed lately by how abundant my life is.
parenting is hard. i find it difficult to simultaneously "support your kid" and "shape your kid," since those activities are typically at odds with one another. you want them to be able to talk to you about what's happening in their life, and when they start to tell you your natural reaction is horror, mixed with memory, which only amplifies the horror a friend this morning reminds me that humans have been doing this for a long, long time and yet every time we do this, it's new for us.
kids these days.
so after a rough parenting morning, where i end up acting in a way that
i don't admire, and saying things that are probably the right things but
also the wrong things, i spend the commute making jokes on twitter.
looking for solace amongst "friends," finding validation in the
the new yorker thing on teens really has me worried. i mean, we're pretty good parents, and we do our best to be substitute executive functions for our children, but jesus i remember the feeling of being a teenager and it was fucking amazing, and i'd do anything for the approval of my friends. and it's terrifying to be pushed out of the loop and *replaced* like that. "approval from my parents? shrug."
in unrelated news, i sort of miss blogging.
dipped gently into the rabbit hole of tinyletter tonight, thinking "maybe this, again," but no. and it's for a stupid reason, which is that they make the finished product that's sent to the inbox look like *something that's been published.* the wonderful thing about what used to happen with majordomo powered lists is that you'd send an email, and the email would just send -- as it was. in text. what tinyletter is doing is taking the email you send, and then piping it through their thing that makes everything look all 'professional,' like they need to compete with medium or something. they don't. they should just send the damn email along to your subscribers. no web form, no wrapping things in html. just send the email.
so there's this, which i'm pretty sure no one even looks at anymore; would be smart to put a robots.txt around this just to keep it away from the googlebot, which sure is not-even-security through obscurity, but at least you have to be deliberately looking for this to even find it. ev was right in his "if we can remove the audience, then we can help remove the friction" point about the pressure of writing, but i'm not sure how you do that in a networked product. so yes, this is, by definition, a networked product (being on the INTERNET), but without being truly jacked into the network that is social.
i put the phone on the shelf, turned the camera on, poured myself a drink and watched 93 people show up. i felt stupid, and contagious.
speaking of ratatouille. this weekend i cooked a dinner for six; the two of us, and four good friends, sitting around the table, eating a dish that i had prepared earlier in the day and then put in the oven for 30 minutes while we enjoyed cocktails. it was absolutely delicious; one of the best things i've ever made.
one of my perennial new year's resolutions is to cook 50 meals for family and/or friends, which is intended to produce a weekly habit of not just throwing together what's in the fridge, but being deliberate about *making* something. i've done well so far this year, but it was saturday night's meal that reminded me why i really do love to cook.
it's because i'm pretty damn good at following directions.
my middle-schooler likes to remind me that cooking is really just chemistry (smarty pants), which means that following a recipe is essentially just iterating over the steps that prove a particular person's hypothesis. "combine these ingredients in this order, with this amount of heat and motion, over this amount of time and what comes out will be delicious." this weekend, it was ina garner's hypothesis for a coquille st. jacques; the recipe of which i found in the nytimes sunday magazine not so long ago. (we don't really have winter out here, but this is a great winter dish.)
of course, cooking a dish like that also has the delicious outcome, even with its basic steps and not terribly long ingredient list. i wish there were more recipe-based proofs of scientific hypotheses that were as much fun as cooking -- simple programming & making things online sometimes gives me *a* sense of satisfaction (of completing a task, of exercising my head, of finding some sort of state of flow), but it's not as visceral as eating coquille st. jacques. i think i'd have to get *much* better at building tech to reach that state. much much better.
oh, and thanks to eric case for the recommendation of the app paprika, which is a wonderful recipe manager and shopping list creator. super simple on the surface, but deep underneath. two thumbs up.
ratatouille is a great way to start the new year. because in a new year, "anyone can cook."
having coffee with carl this morning. yes, that carl.
not bad. oh, and that's not including the brekfast (eggs, bacon) i made for the kids. lucky kids.
it's good to have friends with whom you've been through hell (and at least part of the way back), who have seen you at your worst (and maybe at your best), who will spend part of their weekend talking over long distances, and smiling through a tiny camera at a face thousands of miles away. and it's good that even after all the time, things pick up right where they were and keep moving forward.
humans be human.
been too long. i understand that there's been some ebb and flow in the tilde, which you can see in the recently updated and in the volume of activity in the newsgroups. but that's ok. it's mid november, just a week or so away from thanksgiving break, and then december, and things get nuts at the end of the year. so now, work.
at home tonight, cleaning out some small bits of the house, and came across a pile of CDs and CD-ROMs. some of them are full of photos (archived from the long lost ofoto / kodak picture share thing), and from friends. some of them are burned CDs of mixes for the kids' birthdays. some of them are just music CDs. and a bunch were old software installers.
all this media, and we basically have no way to play them. i mean, i'm sure we could play the CDs in the car, and i think my daughter has a CD player in her room. but there isn't one hooked up to the stereo, the blu-ray player is so finicky it spits out anything we put in it, and there's not a single mac in the house with a cd / dvd slot.
(the blu-ray player is so bad that the other night we were trying to play a copy of harry potter 7 part 2, and the machine was choking on it, and it wasn't worth fighting with anymore so we just fired up appletv and bought a copy there for $9.99. buying digital copies from apple is like future proofing somehow...leaving aside, of course, that troublesome issue of lock-in and DRM la la la.)
happy saturday night, everyone. this has been me unblocking my tilde. all hail the scroll.
oct 29 2014
so i've been thinking a lot about the question i asked myself almost a week ago (read below), and i think i have a simple two-part answer.
The scroll is your friend. If you write a bad post or something you don't like, just post again. If you write something great that you're really proud of and nobody notices, just post again. One foot in front of the other, one word after another, is the only path I've found to an overall body of work that I'm proud of. Push posts down the page, and the good and the bad will just scroll away.
this is me putting one foot in front of the other. also, i may be having a mid-life crisis.
so here's the thing. we get this crazy new / old toy in tilde (thank you paul), with this great thing called public_html, and literally the *first* thing i do with it is *blog*.
why is that? no, seriously. *why is that*?
took the 5 bus out mcallister this afternoon from downtown (to meet a stranger for an economic transaction, nothing illicit) and now i'm sitting in a cafe on divisadero street that never would have had a chance in hell of surviving when i lived in this neighborhood in the early 1990s. concrete floors and wood chairs marble cafe tables and a long communal table full of laptops and people making it happen on their own tethered cellular wifi because "no wifi" is the new "free wifi." and the barista did the thing where he poured just a *little* bit of milk into the espresso and warmed up the cup before pouring the rest of the contents of the steamer. because this is a Latte with a capital L, $4 before tax, we take square.
in 1991 three blocks from here trina had a brick thrown through her car window while she was stopped at an intersection. the driver's side window. the safety glass did its job, but the whole thing shattered when she closed her car door after stopping at the neighborhood police station. the cop behind the counter said "ma'am, you have no business driving through this neighborhood."
new filtered at stating the obvious.
the friday habit thing with a bit of structure (ten items, make the whole thing a five minute read or under) has really helped unclench the writing muscle. and it feels good. moar wordz.# oct 16 2014 #teamriley. heart aches for ken and his family. # oct 14 2014 i made a web page for the giants. # oct 13 2014 quick trip to seattle. recommendations! - canlis, but only for a drink and the view. we didn't eat dinner, but the bar menu was meh. - the whale wins for dinner. we showed up with 5 minutes left to order, and got a half chicken and the cote de boeuf and holy shit both of them were amazing. highly recommended. - the music video exhibit at the EMP. the nirvana and jimi hendrix things were kind of ok, but the history of the video thing was fun. - the space needle. i love architecture that only exists to have people go up high. the eiffel tower, the st. louis arch, the needle... go at night and get a beer up top. - ma'ono fried chicken and whisky. didn't drink the whisky, but did eat a bunch of their fried chicken. and their biscuits and gravy. perfect lunch. - olympic sculpture garden. the serras are good, of course. but the roxy paine and the jaume plensa are really good. - totokaelo. didn't buy anything (too rich and too thin) but impressive for its strong point of view. there was only one pair of brown shoes in the whole place. - elliott bay book company. paper! # oct 9 2014 paul's piece on medium has me feeling all warm inside. but it also has me thinking about history and the directionality of time and how you can't go back. because we are here in this little fixed-width font nerdvana, doing our things with wall and who and finger and pine and vim and editing index.html by hand (like i'm doing right now!) with the full knowledge of what else is out there. which means that of course when we put up a server and a bunch of web pages the first thing someone does is create a "last updated" feed (with json!), and when pages start linking to each other there is a network visualization of it, and there's public documenation about how the (wonderful, glorious) sysadmins are doing their work, and there are thoughts of packaging this whole thing up and interconnecting them across the web. the joke yesterday about "hey sippey, add permalinks" and meg's response of "we're not there in the timeline yet!" is so spot on... we are having this fun in full knowledge of the fact that we *had* this fun before, and then everything that came after it. i'm not arguing against nostalgia, not at all. it's just that the last 20 years have wired our minds to know what Social Software is, and that knowledge was initially informed by these tools we're using now, and yet (of course) have evolved. which makes our use of them now rich with...something. lt the end of season three of lost, jack yells at kate "we have to go back!" and even though he's clearly losing it, he says it with such conviction, with this insane combination of hope and fear. of course, what we don't really know at that point in the show is that they do actually "go back" (in time) which...oh, never mind. anyway. time travel, bitches. it's a whole thing. # oct 8 2014 talking with my 13 y/o daughter about tilde the other night, and trying to explain how all of the sites / apps / services she uses today have these ancestors / precdents in the tools that are here: who, talk, finger, irc, etc. she was intrigued, but of course instantly was like "but yeah, all text? what about the pics?" and of course when you have pics / vid you have more bandwidth / resource needs which leads to needing more $, which leads to where that money will come from, which leads to yeah that. so yeah - would love to plot consumer bandwidth adoption with market cap of "the internet" and argue about correlation / causation. there was a step function in "internet" when dsl happened and households had "always on" connections to the internet, instead of having to tie up their phone line and make a dialup call. and then there was another step function in "internet" when the combination of real broadband and wifi happened, because laptops in the kitchen and bedroom and living room meant youtube and porn. and then there's another step function in "internet" with 4G and LTE to your handset which means instagram and snapchat and youtube clips wherever you want them. so yeah, photos and videos and the cost structures of making this happen. and economies of scale in hosting and serving, and so the natural trend towards centrality in services instead of a bazillion linux hosts running who and finger and talk and irc, etc. # oct 5 2014 ~goldman is going through archaeology, and dug up the rex pda that he used to use. i had one of those as well -- it was essentially a pcmcia card (there will be many billions of people who never know what those are, thank god) with an lcd display and these little buttons that you had to mash with your fingernails. you'd slip it in your shirt pocket and i think i ruined mine by having it go through the wash. i need to put together a month / year timeline of all the mobile devices / pdas that i owned / used; off the top of my head it would include these: * the aforementioned rex pcmcia thing * an HP clamshell thing that had a stylus and some kind of stylus- enabled touch screen, as well as a keyboard. the whole screen flipped around on its side. * a clamshell psion, complete with a modem * the original u.s. robotics palm pilot * palm III * palm IV * palm V * the "sled" that was the wireless modem for the palm V * a clear plastic handspring * a treo phone with the keyboard * a couple of different danger hiptops * a microsoft windows phone made by phillips maybe? with a keyboard * a microsoft windows phone sold by t-mobile that looked like a blackberry -- i think that was the one that i was using when twiter launched and got all the tweets via text message * then iphones (1, 3, 3gs, 4, 5, 5s) * oh, shit, do ipods count? jesus so much $$ burned on those things. # oct 4 2014, later this is like magic. just a box with some people on it. it's not a product, it's a place. it requires a litle work to unlock its magic, but not too much work. i don't think this is *just* nostalgia that's making me feel so good about this (i mean, that's part of it), but it is a reminder that tools that drive towards centralization and scale make it harder to create a shared sense of place. # oct 4 2014 just setting up my tilde.