When I first opened this box of 100 coffee filters to make my morning coffee, Missouri was averaging 660 cases per week, and nearly 11 deaths. I just finished the box. There are now nearly 2,500 cases per week in Missouri and 17.4 deaths. I’ll open a new box tomorrow.
What a terrible day. At least we get to get up and do it all again tomorrow.
You know what doesn’t get used as a cocktail garnish as often as I’d expect? Grapes.
I know I’m not the first person to make this observation, but whoever approved this new Slack commercial with the two “knock brush” notification sounds can go stub their toe.
The neighbors invited us over to swim in their pool that has a section that’s 8 or 10 feet. Treading water there while watching out for two (life-jacket-wearing) kids, I have a renewed respect for the #Olympics water polo players.
I mean, my goodness. Look up the women’s foil match between Kiefer (USA) and Harvey (CAN). That was tense! #Olympics
Watching #Olympics fencing and coming to the conclusion I’d be very quickly dead in any sort of swordfighting situation. I can’t even tell where a lot of these hits are on the slo-mo replays.
Ah yes, St. Louis’ traditional July 19 fireworks.
Couple fossils from the creek bank. These are less than an inch on a side, so not huge. Neat though — usually we find them embedded into bigger rock. 🪨 📷
🛰 📷 ISS Flyover tonight in St. Louis
Enjoying a little homemade krupnik on ice over strawberries, and thinking I’ll probably make some more this fall.
Steps leading down to the creek behind our house at about 4 p.m., 4:20 and 4:40 today as it was fell after 1.5″+ of rain. The fourth photo is from last year, slightly different angle, showing what the creek normally looks like.
I am working from the newsroom today for the first time since *gesticulates at everything* and thought, “well, at least I don’t need to update my calendar right away.” Then I realized that’s 2020.
Turns out not picking up a golf club for two or three years mysteriously did not solve the myriad issues with my swing.
If today isn’t perfect for sitting outside in the shade with coffee | seltzer | beer and a good book, I sure don’t know what is. #stlwx
Fireworks might be one of my favorite things to shoot. More here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brentajones/albums/72157719551589410 🎆 📷
Aside from getting lunch with my family at the Zoo a few weeks back, today was my first in-public sit-down meal since I think March 9, 2020. Still effectively outdoors though.
One of the great skills in life I hope to acquire some day is stoking a bonfire just enough to burn out right when a baseball game ends. #STLCards
Took the kids to Bee Tree County Park this morning. Fabulous views of the Mississippi and a stunning 1929 summer house mansion. What’s not to love?
Had a special guest waiting out the rain on our porch. 🦎📷
Today I found out I am ‘bang on the window to get the squirrel off the bird feeder’-years-old.
This one just trotted up into the yard about five feet from the window where I’m sitting and was about to have a snack from the bird feeder. It’s been being emptied over nights and I think this is the culprit. 🦌📷
Can you guess when the storm moved through last night? ⛈
Scooted the bird feeder over a little closer to my window. 🐦📷
Morning birds. 🐦📷
Hold music that plays for a seemingly-random amount of time, suddenly cuts off in the middle of a phrase, then starts again after a second or two and plays for a different length of time feels actively hostile.
Today is the first day of in-person summer school. And my youngest is at daycare. And my wife is at work. Meaning, for the first time in a year+, I get to work a regular day by myself at home.
When the creek floods and brings you a pretty good-sized log, you cut and split it for firewood.
🐦🦍🐘🐐📷 STL Zoo. More: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmVYYfKQ
https://blog.bjones.net/?p=1136 Cardinals. 🐦📷
It’s been an emotional few days — I performed with my singing group again for the first time in more than a year, my oldest kid turned six and graduated from Kindergarten, and we sold our first house where we’ve lived since being married. Still feeling it out.
I do take the point that a fire pit with a USB battery/fan/power bank is a little too on-brand, but come on. Look at it.
I know I had an idea I’m excited about when I look up from my computer and it’s suddenly much later than I anticipated.
Today, for no apparent reason, Heywood Banks’ “The Cat Got Dead” popped into my head for the first time in probably a decade. So now it can be in yours too.
Heh. From behind the office door where my kid is logging on to his music class, I hear him sing (to the tune of the Jaws theme):
“Muuu-sic. Muuu-sic. Mu-sic mu-sic mu-sic mus-icmus-icmus-ic.”
Evicted a basement snake this morning. Probably 18-24 in. if you stretched it out.
Vegas’ multicolored seat coverings: 👍
Vegas’ golden helmets: 👎
Today I booked 2 different home-related appointments and for both of them the people didn’t show up or call. (The first I tracked them down and they were very apologetic and nice and came right out; I haven’t called the second since their window was over at 8 p.m). Am I a ghost?
File under “sometimes the algorithm is good”: Discovering an hour-long special of Hugh Laurie professing his love for New Orleans and the blues.
I had a dream that I was somehow involved with the production of Garfield: The Movie and it won Best Picture. (I have never seen Garfield: The Movie).
I’ve been drinking them for nearly 10 years, but it just occurred to me that one of my favorite cocktails is essentially a perfect martini plus a little brandy and bitters (no olive). Or, if you prefer, a perfect Manhattan — sub gin and brandy for the rye. Tasty.
Still at the age where he’s excited by big trucks (and who isn’t, let’s be honest), my kid is playing outside when I hear the engine of the garbage truck on the street. My kid: “GARBAGE TRUCK! GAR-BAGE! GAR-BAGE! GAR-BAGE! GAR-BAGE!”
My kid just asked for an afternoon snack of a chocolate chip cookie. I asked if he wanted one of the ones I made.
“Oh, no thanks, I’ll have one of the regular ones, that I like.”
Ten years ago today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers activated the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway to reduce flooding on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Story
A local community newspaper letter-to-the-editor says teachers teaching virtually should earn less.
I’ve been at home with a remote-learning Kindergartner all year and no.
Just went for a 2.5 mile walk through the woods and around the lake on campus in between teaching my final two classes of the semester. Silent — no music, no podcasts. It was very necessary.
Things I hear my kid say during remote school: “Well, you’re as old as fifteen elephants stacked on top of the Arch!”
After hearing @marcoarment advertise for Aftershokz (bone conduction headphones) for so long, I saw the Aeropex on sale at Best Buy and had a gift certificate I needed to use up, so I picked a pair up yesterday. These things are amazing.
Wrote three paper checks today (and only one had to do with taxes). What year is it?
Unless you are actively attending a baseball game, I can’t think of a way you could better spend the next six minutes than watching/listening to this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oqsWAUbAGo
I didn’t think to look until today (and it wouldn’t have been high enough a priority to train for this year), but what a great marathon course today’s is. North riverfront, and across Chain-of-Rocks Bridge. Take a look.
We’ve been watching the British game show Pointless on YouTube. Kind of a reverse Family Feud — they survey 100 people, then contestants have to give a correct answer that the fewest surveyed people said. Today one was “US states or capitals where the second letter is a vowel.”
I went to Schnucks, drank some Schlafly beer, listened to the Cardinals game and was a very small part of helping cover the local election (not in that order).
Would’ve also liked some Ted Drewes, I guess, but still — it was a very St. Louis night.
Just sat down to do my first serious singing in a year plus — on my own, rehearsing for a friend’s upcoming wedding — and whew. I think I am going to be overwhelmed the first time our group is back together and runs through this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycAtH_b7PnI
Driving up the Great River Road from Carbondale to St. Louis into the sunset and listening to the #stlcards game on KMOX the whole way — staticky but audible at first and improving through the drive — that’s just good for the soul.
Spending my Friday night discovering the state stream monitoring volunteer org. and reading up on it (Apparently they give you the training and equipment! You get to take the measurements!). How cool is that.
Drinking my cherry cola out of a glass goblet makes me feel classy.
Yesterday I made the 2-hour mostly 2-lane-road drive between my teaching job and home and I noticed for the first time this phone booth sitting all by itself in a tiny town (pop. ~300). The sign on top was lit and it had a light inside. I wonder if it works.
Five years ago this advice at a data journalism conference caught my ear. See, “Quiet” was a thing we had sometimes, back then.
My kid doesn’t take kindly to being tricked by how words are spelled, so he just asked me if “noodles” has a silent e at the end.
I recognize that if you’re serious about jazz you probably already know this album, but if you’re a casual listener like me: I found Jazz at the Pawnshop a month or so ago, and it’s everything good about listening in a club, especially while we can’t. Treat yourself.
Today’s neat discovery: Reading an article about the rewrite of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, somehow the name Denholm Elliott — Brodie in that film and in Raiders — got me to connect him to an obscure movie he was in 30+ years earlier that I like: The Holly and The Ivy.
Live bird feeder in light snow
I don’t listen to Sondheim’s Assassins all that often, and man does it hit differently every time.
Got some pretty nice light out there, if the birds want to play along. Live bird feeder
Woodpecker’s been hanging around a lot this morning (though usually on the other side of the feeder).
You could watch ten hours of birds, instead. Just sayin’.
Area Man Operating On 5 Hours Sleep After Physically, Mentally Taxing Day Unsure Why He Feels Exhausted
If anyone else would like to birdwatch along with me this morning, here you go.
That was a very good livestream, if I may say so. Come for the downy woodpecker, stay for the blue jay. https://youtu.be/8P0zlhy_vO0?t=34
Traditionally I eat the first meal of the year at a diner. This year I had to do carry out, but I’m glad Courtesy Diner was still open.
Says it ages up to five years, so it seemed appropriate to open up tonight.
Day four of owning bird feeders: The squirrels have found the bird feeders.
Now streaming: 🐦 #birds https://www.twitch.tv/brentajones
Also day three of owning a bird feeder, I now own two bird feeders.
Day three of owning a bird feeder: my kid has named two of the birds. Both cardinals, he has imaginatively named the male “Card” and the female “Car”.
A few of today’s visitors. I also livestreamed an hour.
Just got a bird feeder. This is now a bird account.
This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
that were by
you were probably
they were delicious
and so soft
It won’t be a white Christmas in St. Louis this year, but it won’t be 70° like last year, either. See what the weather has been like historically leading up to Christmas in this @observablehq notebook. https://observablehq.com/@brentajones/white-christmas
Caught some photos of the conjunction
I just got a phone call asking if I was “the reference library.” And, sometimes it does feel that way.
Maybe I should’ve humored them, just to take on the challenge. (Of course, there’s no way I could out-research a professional reference librarian. Fun idea though.)
My kid in a small group Hangout with classmates: “Guess what number I’m going to say. It starts with a one, then a zero and another zero.”
A minute later: “Ok, the next one will be harder. It’s a one, a zero and a one.”
I enjoyed Netflix’s Christmas musical Jingle Jangle, and so did my kids. Especially dug the set and costume design.
The grocery store had a couple horn players outside playing carols and it just about broke me. First live Christmas music I’ve heard this year, first live music of any kind in a very long time. I miss it so much.
The impeachment of the President occurred a year ago today.
Yes, just the one year. I checked.
I was waiting for a decent excuse to crack open the #bcbs Special No. 4 I picked up this year, and getting together (virtually) with my singing group for the first time in months seemed like a good one.
Whoa, the original British ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ is on Hulu.
Things you do when you’re stuck in the house: Make your own flavors for pop. Here are the instructions I’m using.
I wonder what it’s like to wake up and not immediately feel tense.
Got this issue of the @IRE_NICAR journal the day the FDA approved Pfizer’s vaccine. There is now an end in sight.
I shouldn’t be signing this terrible python code I’m committing to solve Advent of Code, just for plausible deniability purposes later. (But when all your code is about that terrible, I guess it doesn’t matter too much).
Wow. Day 7 of Advent of Code is nuts.
Things I find when tearing off the baseboard trim to paint in my old house: a receipt from 2000 for Erin Brockovich — probably a Christmas present — purchased in late December from Suncoast at Crestwood Plaza.
It is a two-pot-of-coffee kind of day.
Today’s random thought: I wonder what (acoustic) instruments are easiest and most difficult to mic.
I don’t have any need for this information. I don’t have any experience in this area. This isn’t something I’ve ever done, nor will probably ever need to do. My brain.
As I’ve mentioned, not singing with folks is hurting. I know there are the multitrack things people are doing, but it isn’t the same. When singing live, you don’t mechanically perform your part and layer them — you adapt, in real time, to what your fellow singers are doing.
I haven’t made krupnik — it’s a sort of spiced honey liqueur from Lithuania — in the past few years. I stockpiled a bit and it mellows with age. But it’s fun to make (and delicious). I should get back into that.
Advent of Code is back! (and also, at the moment, down). https://adventofcode.com
Interacting w/ a smartphone daily will certainly reinforce its mundanity, but sometimes I’ll stop and realize how mind blowing it is that you can tap on a little slab of glass and communicate with the world, see photos /videos from all over, purchase nearly anything, etc. #mbnov
First Christmas in a new house, first time climbing on the roof to hang lights. Turned out ok I think.
One of the things I enjoy most is being a pedestrian in a city I’m visiting for the first or second time. I miss that. #mbnov
I try to wear as few figurative masks as possible. A literal mask doesn’t particularly bother me though. #mbnov
Watching Home Alone and thought I recognized the voice of the guy who plays Santa. Looked him up on IMDB. He has 50+ credits, including one in post-production this year. But I didn’t recognize him in anything else until I got down to Groundhog Day, where he’s “Man in Hallway”.
Also re: the #bcbs I don’t go early so I don’t usually face the dilemma of which variant to choose. This time though there were three variants — fog, caramella and Special No. 4. I got the Special. Not sure I’ve ever even bought a variant before. #mbnov
Annual day-after-Thanksgiving family photo. #bcbs
It’s taken some time to adjust to a new house, especially this year, but a Thanksgiving bonfire is one new tradition I can get behind. #mbnov
C: Is Jeremy getting the call?
Dana: He’s getting the call.
J: I’m getting the call?
Dan: You’re getting the call.
J: I don’t know what that means.
Elliot: It means you’re getting the call.
J: I still don’t know what that means.
MPR’s choral music streaming radio is a blessing and a curse right now. Words can’t express how much I miss singing in a group. I am thankful for the work put into these recordings and the ability to listen to them for free. But my goodness, I ache. There is no true substitute.
One of my favorite sections of Every Moment Holy is the Liturgies of Petition and Provision. “For Those Flooded by Too Much Information”, “For Those Who Covet the Latest Technology”, and of course “For the Ritual of Morning Coffee”. Really looking forward to Vol. 2 in Feb. #mbnov
I bet one of the reasons Getting Things Done is so alluring is that the first phase is “capture”, which is easy to do, feels good and is productive. That’s short-lived if you don’t follow up, but it’s not surprising that it’s stuck around. #mbnov
The border between doing enough to feel like a productive adult and doing so much that you just want to chuck it all in the bin to go live in the woods is real hard to see sometimes. #mbnov
Winter is coming. #mbnov
I woke up this morning (♫ da na na na na ♫) and couldn’t turn my head more than about 30 degrees in any direction. It’s since improved to about 45. So that’s nice.
One tool that is way more powerful than I’ve taken advantage of is LESS color functions — fade, tint, shade, mix, etc. I’d like to get better at those to make full designs more cohesive. #mbnov
Neat. The ISS over STL.
“Fall” is a bit much. GTD doesn’t solve organizational-level problems — it’s not meant to. It makes it possible for me to track responsibilities, not tell me what they should be. #mbnov https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/the-rise-and-fall-of-getting-things-done
My new OLED tv’s screen protection function is extremely aggressive. It’s meant to turn off the screen after 10 minutes of no activity. But the bar for activity seems too high: it seems to see some coding demos as static, for example. Not catastrophic, just kind of annoying.
One of the things that makes my job feel difficult (also fun) is the inter-dependence of different skills — journalism, math, programming (front-end, back-end, sysops), design, a little writing, photography, training of others and I fly the drone occasionally. #mbnov
Lake Ponchartrain, from Amtrak’s City of New Orleans on a train trip I took in March this year before *gestures at everything*. #mbnov
Didn’t manage to catch any of the Leonids, but I did get a whole bunch of stars.
Browsing Apple Music this morning and saw they had an “Early Music” playlist that recently updated. It’s making me nostalgic for singing with my Greenleaf Singers madrigal group. This is the longest I’ve gone without organized singing in a decade+, if my memory is correct. #mbnov
Selling a house (well, preparing a house to sell) is a far more arduous project than I anticipated. #mbnov
The downside of woods behind your house is the occasional spooky noise. (I was going to write “unexplained spooky noise” but that seemed redundant). #mbnov
So much of life has felt like taking a big flying guess at things, you’d think I’d be used to it by now. #mbnov
The change of the past months has already begun to wear away edges of the “old”. As with most change, there are positive and negative aspects — I have been fortunate to be shielded from most of the latter. The biggest difference from “normal” change is the lack of control. #mbnov
I: In the meantime–
D: I won’t say anything.
D: I won’t say anything.
I: You say that in here.
I: You say that in here, but then you go out there–
D: When have I done that?
I: Every day you’ve been here.
D: I can’t believe you’ve been keeping track.
I recently moved from an 80-year-old elderly house to one that is younger than I am. Now I sort of wonder what a map of whether homeowners are younger or older than their residences would show, if anything. Maybe it would just be an “age of housing stock” map. #mbnov
> Andy: I’m telling you to back down.
Dwight: And I’m telling you that I will never back down.
Andy: Then I’ll make you.
Dwight: Oh really? How are you gonna do that?
Andy: Through the use of force.
Dwight: That is very general, and does not scare me in the slightest.
I frequently get the urge to learn some specialized skill I would get very little use out of, like how to bind a book, tailor a suit, leather craft, distilling, masonry, calligraphy etc. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, a quick YouTube binge will quell it. It almost never sticks. #mbnov
I certainly don’t want to inflate my qualifications as a responsible homeowner, but today I climbed up on the roof and cleaned out the gutters so I’m feeling pretty accomplished. #mbnov
Have you ever been at the point in coding a project where you’ve tried so many different ways of doing a thing, you find yourself wondering if it wouldn’t be faster to just randomly generate text until something works? (aka the Infinite monkey theorem)
I’ve been enjoying puzzling through sudoku when I get a little spare time lately. I especially enjoy all the variant rules that show up on Cracking the Cryptic puzzles like snake-egg, arrow, star battle, etc. Makes it a little more creative than a pure number fill-in. #mbnov
I’ve never really lived in a place that was conducive to just hanging out outside, like a stoop or a nice deck. Our new house has a good-sized patio in the back yard that I think should be good for that. #mbnov
Unanticipated pandemic side effect: there are lots of people and places I love that I can’t safely be near physically, but I have been privileged to spend the past 8 months to parent and get closer to my 5-year-old all day. I would not have otherwise had this opportunity. #mbnov
My capacity for procrastination and failure to learn from past events never fails to astonish me. Imagine if psychological stress had the same teaching power as physical pain — if you learned as much from scraping out a deadline as touching a hot pan. #mbnov
A seeming paradox of being able to concentrate is that I must first have let my mind wander in order to capture anything else that might attract my attention. Only then can I truly focus on the task at hand. I would do well to remember this more often. #mbnov
YouTube has an excellent selection of British game shows. Really into Richard Osman’s House of Games and Pointless lately.
The last game at Busch II was played 15 years ago today. The Astros beat the #STLCards 5-1, to take the NLCS in 6 games. Here’s a photo I took of the stadium (from the Arch) in 2003 and a composite panorama from inside on the same trip.
9 a.m., 14 October 2020, St. Louis, MO, USA. Part of the #adayinthelife Micro.blog event.
“We must be born with an intuition of mortality. Before we know the word for it. Before we know that there are words. Out we come, bloodied and squalling, with the knowledge that for all the points of the compass, there’s only one direction. And time is its only measure.”
― Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Well, with the realization that it isn’t going to get back up to 70 anytime soon, I caved and turned on the furnace. Thought maybe I could make it through the month, but no.
Butterfly House, STL
Glass panel I saw today. #inktober
I had an eye appointment today where my eyes were dilated. I can’t see up close, but I still wanted to check in on the news, email, slack, etc.
So, right now I’m sitting on my couch and screen-sharing my iPad to my Apple TV across the room. Whatever it takes.
Initially traced, then inked via Procreate. #inktober
Someone, unexpectedly: Hey, what’s your phone number?
My brain: *short-circuits for 40 seconds*
My brain: The name of the man who voiced Garfield in the cartoons was Lorenzo Music!
Tonight I am at my wife’s high school reunion where I know my wife, one of her friends, and none of the other 40-some people in this very loud, very small room.
On the upside, a double Buffalo Trace was $6, so I’ve got that going for me.
One day I will remember to check to see if there’s enough milk for cereal before pouring said cereal into my bowl.
Today was not that day.
Just turned what probably would’ve been a $150+ service call into an $11 part and a couple hours’ worth of learning and work (and a large part of that was spent driving to the store with the part). Blown A/C capacitor. Pretty easy to replace, turns out.
Got to take my older kid to a baseball game today. He’d been to one as a baby, but this was the first time he really understood what was going on. Also got to indoctrinate him into my “stay the whole game” philosophy (helped by a 7 ⅔-inning no-hit bid). It was a good time.
I’d be interested in seeing a map showing which specific place people meant when they say “the lake” or “the river” or “the city”. Like a watershed map, but for generic place words.
Ah, Sunday night: when idealistic motivation and the practical consequences of insufficient sleep are most at odds.
Seeing command module Columbia from the Apollo 11 mission in person was a surprisingly moving experience. It’s at the St. Louis Science Center until the beginning of September.
Just realized a good benchmark for a digital personal assistant (e.g. Siri) would be the ability to answer “will my garbage be picked up tomorrow?” (assuming it knows where I live). To its credit, Siri gave me the link to the holiday pickup schedule.
Olympics coverage has begun!
“The readers of the Manhattan Argus aren’t interested in sensationalism, gossip and unsupported speculation! Facts, figures charts — those are the tools of the newspaper trade!” RIP John Mahoney
I’m happy “A Serious Man” is finally on Netflix even if it is just as inscrutable today as it was when I saw it in the theater nearly a decade ago.
The same procedure as every year, James. https://youtu.be/zVd_VLO9xcc
WordPress remains inscrutable, but I just split off my microblog posts into their own page and it feels good.
Wild Lights at the Zoo
Not bad, Café Osage and ANEW. Not bad at all. #GrandCenter
My goodness, what a fantastic lunch and addition to Grand Center.
Looking good, STL. #nofilter
It’s beautiful! (And just when I’d given up. Thanks for the tip, Laura)
Just replaced our three embarrassingly old smoke alarms. Did you know they make ones now that are combination smoke/CO alarms? And that they have 10-year batteries? Check how old yours are!
It’s a self-care night: a cocktail or two and a viewing of Company and When Harry Met Sally. These are the things that I enjoy.
Hit my 12-hour standing goal at 5:01 p.m. today.
And one more stop before heading home…
Found it again.