“The Prince of Cringe”

I thought only I had this reaction — but it’s gratifying to know at least one other person feels this way.

From an article in The Compact:

The real meat of Harry & Meghan is vengeance, and lots of it. The Duke and Duchess attempt to settle scores against everyone on the planet the couple feels wronged by. The duo makes it clear that they are the Goodies and almost everyone else is Baddies, whether it’s the British royals, Meghan’s dad’s side of the family, the clickbaity media, or the gossip-loving public. Hell, even Twitter randos get dragged. By the time Harry has blamed his own family for his personal misery and voluntary exile, the press for his mother’s death and wife’s miscarriage, and Brexit on Meghan-hating British voters, well—I was ready for one of HBO’s fire-breathing CGI dragons to burst out of some secret chamber of the couple’s posh Los Angeles mansion and spare us from more.

Had to keep the headline, it seemed appropriate.

Zizek (presciently) on virtual reality

From all the way back in 2004 (!), in “Conversations with Zizek”, between Slavoj Zizek and Glyn Daly:

As a result, the taste of reality we get today comes from products, situations, or actions deprived of their substance: In today’s market, we find a whole series of products deprived of their malignant property: coffee without caffeine, cream without fat, beer without alcohol. And the list goes on: what about virtual sex as sex without sex, the Colin Powell doctrine of warfare with no casualties … as warfare without warfare … up to today’s tolerant liberal multiculturalism as an experience of Other deprived of its Otherness.

Virtual reality simply generalizes this procedure of offering a product deprived of its sub­stance: it provides reality itself deprived of its substance, of the resisting hard kernel of the Real – in the same way that decaffeinated coffee smells and tastes like real coffee without being the real thing, so virtual reality is experienced as reality without being real.

“Caves”

I had a small puzzle RPG idea: you have to explore and find something, except that the “worlds” themselves would be easy to specify and shareable etc.

Nothing very original, but still fun to make.

I need another week or so to make it an MVP, but not going to get it for quite some time.

Anyway, the current WIP is at cavequest.org

Before the end

I had previously read the “Age of …” series by Eric Hobsbawm, and though I have a mixed personal opinion of him, I found his books insightful.

This book, written much after those sweeping overviews, captures some summaries and predictions made during the 90s.

Many of the takes are prescient, especially if you consider this is written before 9/11 and before smartphones and before the age of Google and the social media landscape of today.

Annual recap — 2022

Family

  • Parents visited
  • Bunch of paperwork
    • Some IRS interaction
    • Citizenship (!)
  • Joint 39th birthday party

Hiking

  • Panorama trail (discovered the “open space preserves”)
  • Arastradero Preserve

Small visits

  • Children’s Discovery Museum (x2)
  • Palo Alto Zoo (via a birthday party)
  • Taj Mahal (Agra trip)
  • Camera Museo, Aravali Biodiversity Park (Gurgaon)
  • Kinokuniya

Longer trips

  • Kauai
  • Big Island
  • San Diego: Legoland, Disneyland, California Adventure (!)
  • Los Cabos
  • Carmel

Activities

  • Playing with magnets and iron filings
  • Found an old board of Go
  • Bit of Tennis playing
  • Board games (Dixit, Ticket to ride), card games (Go Fish)

Notable Eating

  • Hawaii: Kuleana Rum Shack, Merriman’s
  • Vive Sol (many times)
  • New places: HiroNori, Kusan, Tilak, Little Blue Door
  • India: Kitchens of Awadh(Gurgaon), Sana-Dige (Chanakyapuri), Peshawari(ITC Mughal)

Me

  • Went for a 10K race after a long time
  • Mixed year at work
  • Discovered a new Barnes & Noble location (Redwood City) and a new used books store (Menlo Park)
  • Catching up & meeting with various people

Exploring/making

  • Tweaks to personal website/blog
  • Tinkering with Urbit, Darklang, Mathematica
  • Made a small puzzle RPG

Home

  • Living-room refactor, painting, curtains
  • Lots of car trouble with the Subaru; trade-in for an X3
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Minor changes: Nest cams, wifi routers

Tara

  • Birthday at Little Gym
    • Weekly gymnastics here
  • Apps: Minecraft, codeSpark
  • Swimming
  • Things that didn’t work out: Skateboard, T-Ball
  • Things that did work out: Chess
  • Fun little habit: playing Hangman with characters from Disney/Harry Potter
  • Peninsula Youth Theater (summer camp)
  • Some unintended gluten intolerance
  • Some school tours for next year
  • Various playdates

Reading/listening

  • Audiobooks (me):
    • Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
    • Plato’s Republic
    • The Dawn of Everything
    • The Return of Holy Russia
    • The Red Book
    • Something Deeply Hidden by Sean Carrol
  • Audiobooks (Tara):
    • Harry Potter (Goblet of Fire)
    • Wings of Fire (books 1-3)
  • Reading (with Tara):
    • Fantastic Mr. Fox
    • Mysterious Benedict Society
  • Reading (me):
    • Nemo (Alan Moore)
    • The Untethered Soul
    • Against the Day (finally completed!)

Watching

  • Animated:
    • Big City Greens
  • Re-watched
    • All of Harry Potter 1-5
    • Edge of Tomorrow (on the plane)
    • Nightmare before Christmas (“family viewing”)
    • Midnight in Paris
  • In the hall
    • Marcel the Shell
    • Top Gun: Maverick
  • Misc streaming
    • Glass Onion
    • Shaun the sheep
    • Troll, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Bullet Train (weekend binge)
    • Where the Crawdads sing
    • The greatest Showman
    • “The woman in the house across the street from the girl in the window” (very forgettable, but it led to us purchasing the same wine opener)
    • Drive My Car
    • Death on the Nile (nowhere close to the original)
    • Dropout, Inventing Anna
    • Moonfall (went too far)
    • My Little Pony: New generation (disappointing)
    • Stranger Things (latest season)
    • Abbot Elementary (loved it)
  • With Tara
    • Rings of Power (colossal letdown)
    • Harry Potter and the half-blood prince
    • Junior baking show
    • National Geographic wildlife documentaries

Resolutions

  • Better sleep (long elusive)
  • Minimal “good habits” around physical/mental health

Monthly Curations: December 2022

Lidar overlay showing a part of an extensive civilization in Guatemala