Self Wright

Month: December 2021 Page 1 of 2

Annual recap – 2021

Family

  • Tara turned seven
    • had a birthday party at Safari Run
  • Halloween trick-or-treating with one of Tara’s friends and her family
  • End-of-the-year hike at Stanford Dish
  • Got a Foosball (and a kid-size pool table) in the garage
  • Bunch of social meetups
  • Various appliance repairs
  • Discovered Kakaroto downtown (and then ate a lot there!)
  • Tara’s graduation (from Kindergarten to 1st grade, lol)
    • But a few friends’ families moved out of the area, which was sad
  • Trips:
    • Muir Woods
    • Monterey
    • Trip to Mendocino
    • Trip to Gualala
    • Trip to Carmel
      • Unplanned, but fun
    • Trip to Hawaii (Maui)
      • Lotsa pool time
      • Went to Haleakala summit
  • Got our vaccines (and boosters)
  • A new sofa, heh
  • Redid the patio/backyard
  • Hike at Long Ridge Trail

Me

  • Started off the new year with Sigma Computing
  • Switched to Fastmail
  • In-person office experience (and, meeting up with team-mates before that)
  • Various dental things (a big sinus-lift-cum-extraction-in-preparation-for-an-implant, and some misadventures with the crown on an existing implant)
  • Finished two puzzles (though, simple ones)

Tara

  • Bunch of new playdates
  • Front teeth came out
  • Bunch of birthdays
  • Monterey bay aquarium!
  • Hatched a butterfly from a cocoon!
  • Trapped some ants (as “pets”, lol)
  • First full day at school (April)
  • First trip to the library in over a year
  • “Lego camp”
  • A big doctor visit

Reading/listening/watching

  • A few My Little Pony graphic novels
  • Watched on Netflix:
    • Money Heist
    • Captain Underpants
    • Wallace and Gromit
    • Godzilla: Singular Point (!)
    • Squid Games
    • How to train your dragon: hidden world
    • On the verge
    • Blooey
    • Raya and the last dragon
    • Disney: Cars
    • David Attenborough’s ‘A life on earth’
    • Cloudy with a chance of meatballs
    • The Dig
  • – Watched in the theater
    Dune (!)
    Boss Baby 2
    Sing 2
    Encanto
  • Read the first two Narnia books
  • Read, listened to (!) and watched, the first three Harry Potter books/movies
  • Listened to The Idea of the World and The age of Entitlement
  • Read The Hobbit (in entirety, and watched the movies)
  • Graphic novels:
    • Templar
    • The Graveyard Book (part 1)

Making/exploring/playing

  • Poop Bingo“, a birthday gift 😐
  • (assisted with) Friendship bracelets
  • Toy robot assembly (“Zivko”)
  • Lego: Harry Potter advent set and Harry Potter “train station” set
  • Growing crystals
  • Making a “fairy garden”
  • Clay modelling
  • A paper robot from Instructables

Review from last year

  • Last year’s review here
  • I did do a puzzle
  • Failed at a sleep routine (realize now that I was mostly sleep-deprived through the year)

Tentative resolutions

  • Intentional reading/writing/doing
  • Better sleep routines
  • Complete one more puzzle
  • Find a way to improve on the exercise front
  • Find a way to write/share more
  • Contribute/help out more at work

Explaining the Hobbit

Found this little diagram I’d drawn on my daughter’s “drawing tablet” from around May 2021 when we were reading The Hobbit.

From the Shire to the Lonely Mountain

Posting flow

I made the previous post using my phone.

It’s annoying that I can’t use the WordPress app with self-hosted sites (which is what this is), but the “mobile web” experience for the same is not too bad.

I can’t write in that web interface, for whatever reason, but that’s okay as long as I can copy-paste in content.

I use Drafts heavily now on my phone, which works very well as a “staging point” for all text.

So, writing there and then using the mobile web to just add it in, and click “publish” works for me.

Snippet sharing

Ruminating on how tiny bits of content are mixed in with larger bits, here, the options are

  1. Don’t share it
  2. Share it somewhere else
  3. Share it mixed in, as separate posts
  4. Share it “batched up”

Of these, (1) can be rejected, and (2) is too much of a hassle (where would it be, Mastodon?, micro.blog? … would I be able to still own and later export content?)

So it’s about whether to share in-line or not, and while (3) is the status quo, (4) seems like a simpler approach that I’ll trial for next year.

A bunch of DFW stuff

(found this while cleaning up old notes)

Orwell and Wells

Another long-form article that I found relevant to the current time; here’s the full article, which was originally written in August 1941, or about eight decades ago.

I present my selections here, but the full article is well worth reading too. Some historical context is needed, but you can get away with very little, and a lot of the content should map to equivalent situations today.

This was written in the middle of the Second World War, about eight years before he wrote 1984.

What is the use of pointing out that a World State is desirable? What matters is that not one of the five great military powers would think of submitting to such a thing. All sensible men for decades past have been substantially in agreement with what Mr. Wells says; but the sensible men have no power and, in too many cases, no disposition to sacrifice themselves. Hitler is a criminal lunatic, and Hitler has an army of millions of men, aeroplanes in thousands, tanks in tens of thousands. For his sake a great nation has been willing to overwork itself for six years and then to fight for two years more, whereas for the common-sense, essentially hedonistic world-view which Mr. Wells puts forward, hardly a human creature is willing to shed a pint of blood.

The energy that actually shapes the world springs from emotions — racial pride, leader-worship, religious belief, love of war — which liberal intellectuals mechanically write off as anachronisms, and which they have usually destroyed so completely in themselves as to have lost all power of action.

If one looks through nearly any book that he has written in the last forty years one finds the same idea constantly recurring: the supposed antithesis between the man of science who is working towards a planned World State and the reactionary who is trying to restore a disorderly past. In novels, Utopias, essays, films, pamphlets, the antithesis crops up, always more or less the same. On the one side science, order, progress, internationalism, aeroplanes, steel, concrete, hygiene: on the other side war, nationalism, religion, monarchy, peasants, Greek professors, poets, horses.

History as he sees it is a series of victories won by the scientific man over the romantic man. Now, he is probably right in assuming that a ‘reasonable,’ planned form of society, with scientists rather than witch-doctors in control, will prevail sooner or later, but that is a different matter from assuming that it is just round the corner.

But unfortunately the equation of science with common sense does not really hold good. The aeroplane, which was looked forward to as a civilising influence but in practice has hardly been used except for dropping bombs, is the symbol of that fact. Modern Germany is far more scientific than England, and far more barbarous. Much of what Wells has imagined and worked for is physically there in Nazi Germany. The order, the planning, the State encouragement of science, the steel, the concrete, the aeroplanes, are all there, but all in the service of ideas appropriate to the Stone Age. Science is fighting on the side of superstition. But obviously it is impossible for Wells to accept this. It would contradict the world-view on which his own works are based. The war-lords and the witch-doctors must fail, the common-sense World State, as seen by a nineteenth-century Liberal whose heart does not leap at the sound of bugles, must triumph. Treachery and defeatism apart, Hitler cannot be a danger.

… nationalism, religious bigotry and feudal loyalty are far more powerful forces than what he himself would describe as sanity. Creatures out of the Dark Ages have come marching into the present, and if they are ghosts they are at any rate ghosts which need a strong magic to lay them.

Random Note #6782036478

A perspective on waste and social media.

From this article

Waste books/Sudelbücher

This sub-genre of notebooks comes out of the tradition of double-entry book keeping where accountants often kept a daily diary of all transactions in chronological order. These temporary notes were then later moved into a more permanent accounting ledger and the remaining book was considered “waste”.

In the commonplace book tradition, these books for temporary notes or (fleeting notes in a Zettelkasten framing), might eventually be copied over, expanded, and indexed into one’s permanent commonplace collection.

In modern digital settings, one might consider some of the ephemeral social media stream platforms like Twitter to be a digital version of a waste book, though to my knowledge I may be the first person to suggest this connection. (To be clear, others have certainly mentioned Twitter as being a waste and even a wasteland.)

A first NFT

I took one of Tara’s drawings from last year and placed it on OpenSea.

Mostly just to see what the experience is like.

So here it is, “A princess, her castle, and an apple tree“.

For more details, these are “the chains it shows up on”.

Tiling managers

Switched to Rectangle on my macbook.

It’s a “tiling window manager”, and I hadn’t used one for over six years now, ever since I stopped using a Linux laptop for personal/office use (I used i3, and xmonad before that, and … I forget what came before that)

This is what its keyboard shortcuts look like (I selected the recommended set, and then disabled a few)

Most of these are Ctrl + Option +…

Other options considered were

  • Magnet (very similar)
  • Amethyst (reminiscent of Linux tiling managers, but, I don’t need that “feel”)

There were various others with configurability that I don’t care about right now.

I just want to snap windows easily, without a lot of pointing-and-clicking.

Mis-placed optimism

The heady promises of the 90s, w.r.t to the internet, and how it would bring greater openness and understanding, came to nothing, and gave us the dystopian social-media-verse we live in today.

But this is less surprising when considering a similar count of optimism, roughly a century ago this year, about radio.

Here is a look back at a NYTimes editorial from 1923, on “wireless telephony“:

Mr. William Dubilier, a “pioneer-expert” in wireless telephony, has said: “By 1950, isolation should be a thing of the past.”

Throughout the world, not only the leading or intellectual classes, but also the individuals of each nation should soon become better acquainted, not only with the mass characteristics, but also with the individual characteristics of other nations; and as mutual comprehension is thus extended, so, too may be more and more propagated the knowledge and the principles which must underlie any permanent system of universal peace

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