Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Haircut Principle

I talked to Eli 20.10 last night, and he said he'd gotten a haircut. 

This is a normal thing to report, but then he spun it into something much more interesting: he said you're not integrated into a city until you get a haircut there. 

When I go on a trip (correction: when I'm forced to go on a trip), I get a haircut right before I leave, and it wouldn't even cross my mind to get a haircut while I'm away.

If you're somewhere long enough to need a haircut, though, it means you've settled in.

This line of thinking will be known from this day forward as The Haircut Principle.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Colombia (Update)

Eli 20.10 has somehow landed in Colombia at a pivotal moment in their history. 

A leftist (Gustavo Petro) was elected president for the first time, two days after he arrived. 

The report of the Truth Commission was released today:
Colombia’s national truth commission called on Tuesday for a sweeping transformation of the country’s armed forces that would refocus the military around respect for human rights and international law.

The recommendations are part of an expansive report designed to tell the most comprehensive narrative yet of Colombia’s long and brutal internal conflict, which lasted at least 58 years, involved almost every sector of Colombian society, and cost hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of American dollars.

The report, overseen by a group of 11 commissioners, is the product of the 2016 peace deal between the FARC and the government. At the ceremony marking the report’s publication on Tuesday, they sat the stage of a theater in Bogotá, some in shirts that read, “There is future if there is truth.”

The commissioners were instructed to not only investigate human rights violations committed by all actors between 1958 and 2016, but also to write an extensive history of the way the conflict affected social, economic, political, cultural and environmental rights — and then provide recommendations that would set the country on the path to lasting peace.

The committee Eli's working for is a direct offshoot of the Truth Commission. He's right in the middle of it all, and he's being given weighty, consequential assignments. What an amazing time to be there. 

Here's something he was able to purchase last weekend. Talk about beautiful currency:

Monday, June 27, 2022

The Yard

I have a yard now. 

It's not my yard, technically. It's Eli 20.10s yard, but I'm taking care of it while he's away. 

Don't get me wrong: I'm a fan of grass. A huge supporter.

I don't want to have a yard, though. I loathe yards. Yards are just boats disguised as grass.

Please Note

I'm not going to write about how f-ing pisses I am about the reprehensible Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. You can find plenty of that writing pretty much anywhere. Instead, here are some organizations that could use your contributions:
National Abortion Rights Action League
Planned Parenthood
National Network of Abortion Funds (you donate to them, they split the donation among everyone)


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Friday Links!

A long week, but the weekend's here.

Leading off, a deeply touching story: A Round to Remember: how virtual reality helped us connect with Dad before his death.

From Wally, and it's spectacularly pointless but wildly entertaining: The Swish Machine: 70 Step Basketball Trickshot (Rube Goldberg Machine). This is a terrific read: ‘There was practically a riot at King’s Cross’: an oral history of Harry Potter at 25

From C. Lee, and for all of us writers, this is well worth paying attention to: Reasonable Agreement: On the Crapification of Literary Contracts. This is completely fascinating: The Invisible Threat Beneath Cameroon’s Deadly Lake Nyos. Amazing: Ancient DNA solves mystery over origin of medieval Black Death. A terrific read: An Early Run-In With Censors Led Rod Serling to ‘The Twilight Zone’. A nearly forgotten bit of history: Feudal Lords On Yankee Soil. An excellent bit of data: Mapping the Migration of the World’s Millionaires. Unbelievable, and also, hard pass: Getting Dressed in 1500s Florence, Italy.

From John W., and both links are amazing: your mind will collapse if you try to imagine this | UNIVERSE SIZE COMPARISON and TIMELAPSE OF THE FUTURE: A Journey to the End of Time (4K)

I Endorse This Message

Everything is green here, and loud. 

Since winter takes such a toll on everything, in four blocks of a walk today I saw two road construction projects, two housing projects involving bulldozers, and one house with roofers. 

To round it out, two yard services were also going full-tilt. It's like living on an airport runway for four months.

I feel like there should be more of this:

"Shine bright," it says, in case it's hard to see. I think "Shine quietly" would also be a very solid message.

This is what I saw at one point on my walk:

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

I Am Leaf, Destroyer Of Worlds

Leaf found it quite difficult to be taken seriously because of his size.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022


Eli 20.10 made it to Bogota (an 11-hour flight from London) and he started work today. 

For the first time in his life, he's experiencing what it's like to be a minority. A minority of one, in this case, at least so far. Which is a good experience for everyone to have in their life.

I'm going to be seriously stressed out, because Bogota can be very dangerous at times, but given what he wants to do in his life, this is where he learns. Focusing on post-conflict consensus building is inherently going to put him in places I'd rather he not go. 

To matter, though, you have to do things that matter, and I'm not sure anyone understands that better than he does. 

Here are a couple of pictures:

Both of these photos blow me away. The lights in the top right of the first image are from a famous church (with a very famous hike to get up to it), and the colors in the second image are so beautiful.

Monday, June 20, 2022


Clearing up a few misconceptions:
Four enduring myths about Juneteenth are not based on facts.

As A Well-Known Aficionado of Fishing Games

I'm not sure that "Aficionado" and "Fishing Games" should be in the same sentence, but whatever. 

The developers behind "The Hunter: Call of the Wild" (which I would have happily purchased if they'd added an interesting photography mode) announced a new game today, and the trailer is terrific:
Call of the Wild: The Angler.

It's beautiful, and this is particularly cool:
The world (which appears to be based on North America judging from some of the sights, signs, and the slow drawl of the trailer's narrator) will be explorable by boat, off-road vehicles, or on foot as you hunt for rivers, lakes, and hidden ponds to fish in. 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Friday Links!

Leading off, and this fellow is just amazing: The world's biggest John Bonham fan is a drummer covering full Led Zeppelin concerts on Youtube. It's a huge rabbit hole, and what I never realized is how incredibly complex Bonham's use of the bass drum was--two pedals with both feet flying.

This is an astonishing story: Escape from Auschwitz: the most extraordinary Holocaust story you’ve never heard

I'm definitely buying the book: Meet Harold Gillies, the WWI surgeon who rebuilt the faces of injured soldiers.

I felt like this the entire time I was writing The Man You TrustWhy is This Tiny Frog So Awful at Jumping?

From Ken P., and this is fascinating: Scientists map brain network linked to addiction. Talk about bad blood: Elephant tramples woman to death, then attacks her corpse at funeral. This is amazing: The Brain Has a ‘Low-Power Mode’ That Blunts Our Senses. This is quite wonderful: A nonspeaking valedictorian with autism shares her voice in commencement address.

From Wally, and it's a terrific read: How the sandwich consumed Britain

From C. Lee, and this is concerning: US can’t afford fall boosters for all—even after cuts to test and PPE spending. This is unreal (may have to register): Australian traveller strip-searched, held in US prison and deported over little-known entry requirement. Same: AZ man spent 17 days in jail for crime he didn’t commit. He blames American Airlines. One of the greatest photos of all time: Tank Man. An interesting question: Why Is Wine (Almost) Always Made From Grapes? An excellent read: From Sourdough to Inflation: How the Pandemic Changed the Way We Eat. This sounds terrific: Play “Artle,” an Art History Version of Wordle: A New Game from the National Gallery of Art.


It was 93 on Tuesday here with a heat index of 105.

That's not unprecedented, for Western Michigan (Canada), but it's very, very rare. And Wednesday was supposed to hit 96, but didn't quite make it there. 

One of the things I'd never experienced before moving up north was a basement. There's one in the house, though, and finished basements are fantastic. They're colder in summer and warmer in winter, and they're darker than upstairs, and I find nothing but positives in all of those things. 

I hadn't turned on the air conditioner upstairs because I was curious to see how warm it would get before I noticed it (no fans, either). 

79.5F was when I started feeling a little heated. 

In the basement, though, it was still a frosty 74.1F. Dark and cool. So I spent quite a bit of time in the basement during the "heat wave."

What I clearly need to do is just build a house underground.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Madden 20XX

Madden's teaser trailer for the inevitable yearly release came out last week.

The big "innovation" this year is FieldSENSE (boy, those capital letters are dramatic, aren't they?), and part of this feature is a revolutionary branching animation system. 

Well, it's revolutionary in the sense that they've announced a revolutionary branching animation system four times in the last decade. 

It will be incrementally better, because nothing in Madden is significantly better from year to year. The franchise is a battleship now, and significant course corrections take years to effect. 

The funny part of all this is that Backbreaker had unique tackling animations in 2009, and they looked great. 

Part of being a battleship is that there's bloat, and man, Madden is bloated. Just getting through a single game is so tedious, because there is so much between-play trash you have to watch. Either that, or you press and hold buttons between every single play to skip the tedium. You'd think there'd be a way for us to choose an ultra-streamlined presentation in the options, wouldn't you? Maybe something like The Show, which has offered that option for years. 

Madden, though, decided to copy the NFL's own presentation as closely as possible. The problem is that the NFL's own presentation is itself horribly bloated. So the entire game is an exercise in tedium.

If you're interested in something besides Madden, in the AAA space, you have no choices, because Madden locked down the NFL license when NFL2K had them running scared in 2004. However, in the indie space, there's a terrific retro game called Legend Bowl. The developer is incredibly hard-working and has added all kinds of features since release. It's fast-paced and fun and I highly recommend it.

A Mystery

Why did I buy "The Constant Gardner" soundtrack in 2005. Anyone?

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Today unexpectedly turned into a dumpster fire, and as a bonus, the heat index is 105 (in what is Canada, basically), so I'm reeling on both counts. 

Eli 20.10 finished his last essay for the term today. He wrote forty-five two thousand word essays in the last eight months. Two per week, for the duration of each term. 

I couldn't be prouder of him. 

I walked past a restaurant on Sunday and took a picture to show you:

I feel like "Authentic Mexican Food" and the name "El Burrito" are mutually exclusive. 

Things around here will be back to normal tomorrow.

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