Scenes From an Airport

Scene: man and woman getting off a flight. They hug stiffly. The kind of hug where you actually hug but your ass is way out in the breeze the whole time.

Woman: this weekend was so fun


W: We should do this again 


W: Well, it was so good to see you


They seem to simultaneously realize every person getting off the plane goes to the same exit. They shrug, make an awkward sound, and towards the parking garages together. 

End scene.

Editor’s note: Despite the man’s obvious “enthusiasm”, I do not think they had a good time nor do I think they intend to do this again.

Snow Day

We spent the night of Halloween standing around the neighbors’ fire pit catching up and telling jokes. At one point midway through the conversation, we all noticed a big wet flake float down in the middle of the group. Everyone froze mid-conversation looking like they’d just seen a ghost, wondering if they were imagining things. It wasn’t long before the flurries were really flying. I went to bed not thinking much of it, but we woke up to some real snow.

Away we go, I guess?

Endless Summer Vacation

Apropos of nothing, what follows is a track by track recalling of my experience with Miley Cyrus’ newest Album, “Endless Summer Vacation”

The title should’ve been “So Much Better Than Younger Now“.

  1. this is Dua lipa. Not in a bad way? Kinda reminds me of when Taylor was trying to be Lorde for a minute
  2. strong beach house energy. This song is a VIBE 🤙🏼 
  3. hell yes. Also beach house energy? I love songs like this that are almost like a waltz with that tempo that drones on
  4. not bad, but forgettable. +1 for harmonica
  5. Miley does the “throaty singer” thing as good as anyone right now. It’s fine.
  6. Not feeling it
  7. I might warm up to this one. I like the “max everything” approach to the production, but I can’t tell if it grates at me or not.
  8. Solid. The spacey synth is pretty killer. The vocals also have a cool shimmery thing going on in the chorus.
  9. I dig the beat in general. Sia is on this and it legit sounds like a Sia song
  10. I don’t mind it, but it doesn’t grab me or anything
  11. What an absolute gigantic, massive flex to create a song that’s about how you have your life together and you don’t have problems to occupy your time anymore. Very girl boss
  12. You cannot convince me that this song isn’t somehow an interpolated version of “In the Arms of the Angels”. You can’t take Sarah McLaughlin from us, Miley. I appreciate the earnestness in this, but it’s not why I’m putting on a Miley album tbh. I’m probably not in the target demo here though…
    1. Not a ton to be said about the demo version of a song on its original album. It’s a little self indulgent IMO. 


It’s November sixth, but the month and day are just placeholders. We’re short on time and everyone knows it. It was 73 degrees today and people were out in throngs. Tending to their yards. Walking dogs. Talking with neighbors. Anything to cling on to those last bits of our outside lives.

The sun claws its way over the horizon like a kid climbing out the side of a pool. It relieves itself of any duties related to warming us. We’re on our own for a bit. We’re trading in our blue skies and puffy clouds for skies the color of concrete and clouds like boulders. 

Sun shining through wooded area

Kottke has written about this transitional time before – he (and Vonnegut apparently) call it Stick Season. 

What’s going on right now and will continue into mid-to-late December is “stick season”. All the beautiful fall foliage has fallen off of the trees and we’re left with not-so-beautiful sticks until the snow flies regularly enough to call it winter.

He links it to a feeling of depression, but I guess I’m fortunate to not feel that way. I always get excited for these transitional periods where things are changing. We end DST and sunset abruptly changes on us, bringing us into our pseudo-nocturnal lives. It’s a shock to the system. We’re forced to change up our routines and knock the rust off. Maybe things take a little longer and require more planning, but we adjust. We’ll be more intentional and what we want to do and where we’ll do it. Maybe we’ll take more time to be reflective. 

Sun sets over farmland

Bring it on, I say. I’ve got enough coffee and books and firewood and stories to last us until Spring.

Twilight sky

Blogging is… back?

So Twitter got bought – like, actually got bought – and people are pissed. And rightfully so. Musk seems like either a lunatic or completely in over his head but either way, the outcome is the same – people are bailing. It’s kind of a shame, because Twitter is the only social network I ever cared about over the long term. Every time I notice that my account has been active since November of 2007, it catches me off-guard a bit. Think about what’s happened in your life over the past 15 years. Like, actually think about it.

twitter profile snapshot

Anyway, it seems like people are trying to form new networks elsewhere. A bunch of people are moving to Mastodon, but that seems like that’s way too fiddly to work for most peoples’ needs. And that was always the biggest value of Twitter; people were accessible and it was totally frictionless to use. I’m skeptical that people are going to leave in meaningful numbers, but I’ll be sad if it really does go that way. I’ve made a lot of friends there over time, and the instant nature of it is really compelling.

One possible upside is that people seem to have a renewed interest in blogging. I’ve been a huge fan of feed readers since way before Twitter, but it’s been sort of a ghost town for years. But over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed it’s been so much busier and I kinda dig it. It feels old school. It makes me realize how nice long-form writing can be. Tweet threads and screen-shotted notes have been a means-to-an-end sort of hack all along and I won’t miss them.

Anyway, I’m writing here for the first time in ages. I have no idea if it’ll stick. Habits are a hard thing to break and even harder to make, so who knows?

Rotate 90 Degrees

A couple weeks back, I got a new Toyota 4Runner.

It's amazing and I love it. 

Below is a photo of the audio control panel on the steering wheel.

I do not love it.

Take a close look at the direction of the arrows here. Things like this make me crazy. I’m sure someone somewhere had good reasons for laying things out this way, but whoa does this break my mental model for UI to an audio player.

Volume is almost always represented as moving up and down, which makes you think those controls would be on the top and bottom of the audio control.

Aside from that, progress through an album or playlist is usually represented as a left-to-right progression. If that’s unclear, imagine iTunes’ Cover Flow.

“But wait!” you might say. “Playlists are organized vertically all the time!”. And I would say you’re right – they are. But the “up” button in this case doesn’t go back in the playlist – it goes forward. So hitting the “up” button actually progresses downward through a vertically-oriented playlist.

I trust that you, dear reader, are now also scratching your head along with me. Be right back, I’m going to go search for ways to hack these controls.

Streamers are the New Talk Shows

It all started with a tweet.

When I originally Negaoryx’s tweet, I ignored it. In the cover photo, I noticed the girl was a streamer and the clip had something to do with Breath of the Wild. I scrolled by casually, but it started getting retweeted and quoted enough that it finally caught my attention.

I watched the video and got a kick out of the host’s personality, so I decided to check out her stream. She was playing The Last of Us at the time and I’d always wanted to play it. I checked in periodically over the coming days. It was really cool to watch the play through, but there was also something really cool about the community aspect of the whole thing. The host and chat stream interacted like old friends. It was… weird?

Around the same time, I was really into playing Apex Legends and was enjoying the subreddit on the topic. I kept seeing the same pro players’ names coming up in threads, so I decided to check out Dizzy’s stream. As it turns out, watching someone be incredibly good at something you do as a novice is at once both humbling and awe-inspiring. Because Dizzy is a pro player, I eventually branched out began watching streams of his teammates. Like before, I was really drawn in by the banter between all the players.

Through sheer force of will, eventually Twitch’s algorithm got me hooked on Ninja and Tim the Tatman. Today, they’re probably my most-watched streams. I put them on all the time in the background while I’m doing things around the house or even when I’m busy working. Thinking about it, it’s not surprising those guys would resonate so much for me. They’re the best hosts of the bunch. Their streams are full of wise cracks, self deprecating humor, shit-talking, and in-jokes. It really is like hanging out with buddies.

My theory is that this is almost a new-wave replacement for talk radio. I remember in the early 2000’s every office worker seemed to have a radio on their desk playing whatever morning talk shows were on their favorite stations. These streamers serve exactly the same function for me. It’s the perfect place to stop by and have a few laughs.

(and maybe steal some strategies along the way)

Sitting Out

I recently listening to the Conversations with Tyler: Daniel Kahneman on Cutting Through the Noise where he had Daniel Kahneman a guest and it’s pretty fantastic. I first learned about Kahneman from his book “Thinking Fast and Slow”. Aside from being an interesting guy, I was struck by his attitude when he was fielding questions from both the host and the audience. There’s something special about Kahneman’s openness to saying “I have no idea”. There were so many times where he was faced with a question and he simply responded with “that’s outside my expertise” or “I don’t know enough about that research to comment” and I love him for it.

It’s definitely something worth thinking about. I often find myself wanting to be helpful which often compels me to offer an answer or to have an opinion. The truth is, I don’t always. And that’s ok. Kahneman is a pretty smart guy. I’ll take his lead.