I hadn’t seen the Spielberg version of West Side Story yet and in an indecisive Thanksgiving evening I put it on. It’s as well done as everybody said, but goodness I always forget how much of a downer the story is.

Made some cranberry curd tarts with almond crumb crust. Not quite bake-off level, but the individual components tasted pretty good, so I’m hopeful.

Best Buy had Lutron Caseta smart switches on clearance today, so I got a starter kit (hub + dimmer w/ remote), another dimmer w/ remote and three switches for about $150. Spent the evening installing them. So far so good.

After the election in 2020, I had the 2016 vintage. I liked the tradition so this year I had the 2018. I drank it Wednesday since I didn’t get home from the newsroom until 2:30 a.m.

In 2020 after the election was over, I had a 2016 BCBS. I liked the symbolism. So tonight I’m having this. (Would’ve had it last night but I didn’t get home from the newsroom until like 2:30 a.m.)

Powerball numbers being delayed because of a technical glitch on the night of the biggest jackpot in U.S. history and also the day before an election seems like an autogenerated spy thriller plot.

After about 5 minutes of the new Weird Al movie, I thought “There’s no way they can sustain this level for a whole movie,” and then it just keeps heightening until the credits.

📚 Ten pages in to Andrew Peterson’s ‘The God of the Garden’ and he’s already got my number. (Also helps he’s narrating growing up in a small central Illinois town not unlike my own.)

Five years ago today I got to visit the National Mall in Washington D.C. for the first time, including the memorials to our service members there. I will never forget it. See larger images.

Since they were born, every night before I go to bed I check on my kids. Sometimes it’s 10, sometimes midnight, sometimes 2 in the morning, but I always check. I’ll stop someday, but not tonight. Especially not tonight.

📷🐝 Not the best photo of a bee ever taken, but probably the best photo of a bee I’ve ever taken.

Today’s games:

  • Caper: Europe
  • New York Zoo
  • Savannah Park
  • Curious Cargo
  • Welcome to the Moon (@ 6 players)
  • Furnace

On the eve of spending four days playing boardgames at to the West, I’m watching Only Connect on YouTube and wondering if a pub quiz/trivia night/scholastic bowl type of convention exists, and if not why not.

Some pieces of wood sit on sawhorses. On the wood sits an iPad and Apple Pencil, a neon green Stanley tape measure and a carpenter’s square.

Tools: I’m using my late grandfather’s carpenter’s square, my dad’s tape measure and my iPad in today’s build.

A 3D model of a firewood rack, with wood-textured pieces and dimensions.

Last year’s hastily assembled firewood rack (a few garden stakes laid across some bricks to keep the wood off the ground, basically) finally gave out yesterday evening, so I spent the evening designing a new one in SketchUp. We’ll see how it comes together.

If you enjoy my bird photos, please consider donating to my employer, St. Louis Public Radio, for GiveSTLDay. We want to make our building in Grand Center safer for birds. Even $10 would help, but $25 gets a tote bag thank-you. More details

Every five or ten years I catch TOMMY (1975), and every single time I have forgotten just how incredibly weird the whole thing is. I found the Blu-Ray at the library yesterday, so reset the clock.

Definitely almost got phished by this legitimate-looking email. I own this domain and have some domains registered at Dreamhost, but this domain is not registered at Dreamhost. Also the URL linked to the button didn’t make sense.

I watched Severance on AppleTV+ last night. And by “watched Severance”, I mean “watched ALL OF Severance” because once I watched the first episode I couldn’t not watch all the rest.

📷🦤 Finally managed a decent picture of the blue heron that likes to fish in our creek. It usually flies away before I even realize it’s there.

I was somehow under the impression baseball had gotten rid of the dumb extra-innings starting runner rule for this season, but apparently not. Good to have something to get annoyed by, I guess.

⚾️ The minimum ticket price for the home opener on Stubhub is $70 for Standing Room Only, $73+ for seats. $50 SRO tickets still available through the club, but cheapest seats are $100.

🔥🍕 My hat is off to anyone who decides they want a Hot Pocket with enough foresight to preheat an oven, cook it for 28(!) minutes and wait for it to cool.

A Hot Pocket wrapper with instructions for cooking in a conventional oven.

🪓🪵 A couple more stacks. I took some rough measurements and if I have my math right I think this is maybe about half a cord or so.

A tree stump with tooth marks

🌳🦫 Beaver or something else? Haven’t seen any around but wouldn’t be surprised. Tree was maybe 2-3 inches in diameter.

🪵🪓 Neighbors had a couple trees taken down and said I was welcome to the wood if I wanted to cut and split it, so I’ve been playing Junior Woodsman. This is less than half what’s there. Something pretty satisfying about splitting wood.

Today my kid’s teacher sent an email about making a time capsule today on 2-22-22 to be opened on 3-3-33 because that “will be just a few months shy of their high school graduation” and as I was reading it I aged like the Indiana Jones guy who drank from the false grail.

Got an LED strip to add some bias lighting to my TV. It is not as purple as it appears in the photo. Seems ok? Not sure yet.

⛷ I’ve never been skiing before, and this alpine course is terrifying to look at on TV. I can’t imagine flying down it at 60-80 mph. Of the first four skiers, one crashed and one finished with a bloody face. #Olympics

Dadding during the Winter Olympics means trying to convince your kid that the phrase “skeleton athletes” means a team of literal skeletons.

☀️❄️ The snow is beginning to melt, and I know that because my (not-so-)smart rain gauge just told it’s raining. (It isn’t raining). #stlWX

Home automation: I’ve been sitting here next to a window with mostly-closed blinds reading for a while, & a minute or two ago I realized it was getting dark. A few seconds later, the lamp in the corner behind me turned on because I’d set it to turn on a few minutes before sunset.

Only Connect is such a great quiz show. I’d like to think I’d love a US version (usually at least a couple questions per show I think rely on cultural references), but I worry it would lose its charm. And who could possibly be our version of Victoria Coren Mitchell?

Dadding level: Spent the morning at the local independent hardware store and making a Pinewood Derby car with oldest kid.

(disclosure: have never made a Pinewood Derby car before; wife has done at least as much of the work as I have to this point)

I’ve finished my first bag of coffee for the year. Since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve been through 44 bags of coffee beans in varying sizes and brands (and 1 can of Folgers). Nearly 73 pounds in total, 48 pounds of which was Cameron’s Breakfast Blend.

There were some things I expected from the new AppleTV+ version of Macbeth. The Office’s Chris Finch was not on that list.

Turning out the lights and heading to bed using the flashlight on your phone is the 21st century equivalent of walking through a dark house with a candle and chamberstick like some Dickensian character.

Spent about $50 on baritone/bass musical anthology books and then all night pulling up the tracks and considering audition songs despite the fact I haven’t auditioned in a decade or been on stage in almost 20 years. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

🏒 📷 🎺 🎺 🎺 My wife got us hockey tickets to my first #STLBlues game for Christmas. It was a pretty good time.

Found a baseball card shop at the mall selling boxes of packs for $10. I know they aren’t worth much these days, but 500+ bits of nostalgia for a sawbuck? Deal.

❄️❄️❄️ I wasn’t sure if it was weird that St. Louis hasn’t had snow yet this winter, when we’re about to be in the New Year. Turns out it is a bit weird.

Started the day with Kaldi’s ‘Tis the Season blend, ending it with Urban Chestnut’s Old Tjikko, aka the beer that tastes like a Christmas tree in a glass (in a good way). Not a bad Christmas Eve.

Watching Aaron Sorkin’s SportsNight: setting a show where you can have characters naturally go off into a soundproof room seems convenient from a story perspective. (I don’t know that TV editing bays are soundproof, but they look similar enough to the ones at the radio station)

Things may be dark, but tonight at dinner my three-year old got to giggle and say “Excuse you, ketchup!”

Good to know the classics still get a laugh.

Finally got fed up enough with the Monterey bluetooth issues that I plugged in an old Apple keyboard I had lying around. Should’ve done this months ago but I kept hoping the issues were temporary.

It’s been a very St. Louisy couple days: Yesterday we picked out our tree at Ted Drewes’ and today I went to the Cherokee Print Bazaar where I got the Eurasian Tree Sparrow print by Dan Zettwoch and then Kaldi’s for their ‘Tis the Season blend.

I theoretically have a package arriving today. I say theoretically, because tracking told me it was on a truck for delivery here in St. Louis all day yesterday, didn’t show up and would be rescheduled for today, but somehow at 3 a.m. today it arrived in Champaign, Ill.

That thing when you don’t realize Python has a built-in to convert a binary string to decimal but it seems easy enough so you write your own, and it turns out to be the easiest part of the whole problem. In related news, adventofcode.com is back.

A while back Schnucks told me I won a game-worn signed jersey from Jackie Robinson Day in 2021 for “rounding up at the register” for Folds of Honor (a contest I wasn’t aware of). Today, Austin Dean’s jersey arrived. Neat. I will never not love the chain stitching.

And here are a few close-ups of the Double Barrel. I normally don’t worry too much about the variants, but I’m happy to have found this one.

🍻 Happy day to all who celebrate. Pictured: my 7-year vertical, the Double Barrel variant I found, and the new (and, for comparison old) bottlecap on the standard.

When the first commercial came on the broadcast of the parade this morning, my kid said “Wait?! There’s commercials on live TV?!” and I just thought, Kid, you have been SPOILED.

Today I learned my smart thermostat has developed the capability to be used as an AirPlay speaker and it feels like an on-the-nose analogy to my career. Related: my thermostat lives in a room with a 3-speaker Sonos surround setup.

📚 Quite enjoying James Lapine’s new book “Putting It Together”, about how he and Stephen Sondheim created “Sunday in the Park with George”. He interviewed almost everyone involved and it’s fascinating to hear the story in all the different voices.

I guess the pandemic probably delayed it for a year or so, but looks like we’ve hit the “hire a babysitter to go out for the night” stage. Not sure the full weight of that realization had hit me yet.

Guys and Dolls, adjusted for inflation (from 1933): the $1 “solid gold watch” would be $21.44 today. Harry the Horse collected the $5,000 reward on his father (also Sky Masterson’s raindrop bet), over $100k today. $1,000 for the crap game at Joey Biltmore’s garage: >$21,000.

Apple Music’s Halloween Classical playlist has Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy on it. I guess it’s a little mysterious sounding?

📷🍪 The thing about baking to distract yourself when you’re not feeling great is that you distract yourself at the time, and then you have cookies. Win win.

Chicken lunch

📷🥘 Fully improvised lunch: quasi-mirepoix, button mushrooms, cream for a bit of gravy, leftover chicken breast and shredded cheese to top.

📷🎃🥣 Tonight’s dinner: squash soup with pumpkin seeds and balsamic vinegar, pretzel roll on the side (full disclosure: I did not make the pretzel roll).

Gary Paulsen, best known for writing the YA novel ‘Hatchet’ (though he wrote a lot more), died today. I remember reading that book in school. I’m glad he wrote it, and glad I read it.

Getting vicariously exhausted/stress-sweaty being here while a couple delivery folks try to maneuver a freezer into my house and down the steps into my basement. My body had a literal physical response, which I did not anticipate. Interesting.

📷🥘 Tonight’s dinner: pan-roasted chicken with root vegetables (potatoes, parsnips, carrots and shallots with fresh rosemary).

Opening evening of Geekway to the West in the books. Everybody vaccinated and masked while playing in the common areas. We played three play-and-win games: Renature, Blossoms and Santa Monica. Finished just before midnight. Not too bad.

Black Walnuts product meeting: We’ve created the most delicious snack possible. How do we market this thing? —Put it in the hardest to open packaging ever created! —That’s genius, what else? —What if it also stained your hands for a week? —Promotions for everyone!

If you’re still wondering about the legitimacy of the iPhone 13 Pro camera system, I managed to capture stars and fire in the same frame. I live in suburbia, so stars at all are impressive. This is edited, but I’m pretty wowed.

Remember 2011? For the , Game 6 lives forever, but how about Game 162? The Cards were 8.5 back in the wildcard race (only 1 spot) at the beginning of September but pulled even with Atlanta before the final day of the season. All times Central (and approximate).

I’m watching Space Jam for probably the first time since it came out, and friends, however weird you remember this film to be, I guarantee your memory is not doing it justice.

📷🥃 Do you have a favorite glass? This is a Kosta Boda Mine tumbler. It was the first (and still pretty much only) expensive glassware I’ve purchased. it is heavy and textured and lovely to hold.

📷🛰 I spent the day at a park where everyone was pretending to be from the 15th century or so, and then tonight I came home and took a picture of the International Space Station with the computer I carry in my pocket.

After the service for my grandmother this morning, I walked around the cemetery a bit looking at the markers, some dating back to the early 1800s, at least. Google tells me this guy was a member of the Horse Thief Detective Association.

In a scene somewhat reminiscent of turning on the lights and playing a final song when closing down a bar, my grandmother’s visitation this afternoon ended with a rousing rendition of Steve Goodman’s Go Cubs Go.

Cleaning out the house after my grandmother died a few days ago, my mom and aunts discovered she was in a play in high school. I was amused to find this Indiana humor (“Mama’s Baby Boy” written by Charles George in 1933, performed in 1953, also in small-town Indiana).

Cardinals baseball on the radio, wafts of a high school football game in the distance, a crackling bonfire, cicadas and crickets. It’s the late summer Friday evening soundtrack of St. Louis.

🥘🍗 The cast iron cooking continues at speed. Last night I made macaroni and cheese in one pan and cooked up some pork chops in the other. Tonight, fried chicken breasts for sandwiches and nuggets for the kids.

When you go grocery shopping and find a couple steaks marked down to sell today, you have a pretty decent lunch & leftovers.

Camel Rock at Garden of the Gods in southern Illinois

A view of the Devil's Smokestack and Camel Rock at Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois.

A view of cliffs at Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois.

A view of cliffs and weathered rock patterns at Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois.

📷⛰🌲 I was in Southeastern Illinois for a funeral yesterday morning, and realized that Garden of the Gods — which I had somehow never visited — was nearby. So after the funeral I did a little solo contemplation walk. Nice place.

More photos

In my pile of sheet music, I found a mediocre counterpoint composition I did in my first music theory course as a college freshman. I also found some schedules and grades, so I can tell you I was failing at it mid-semester but must’ve pulled out a passing grade.

“We are expected to send our kids off into God knows what, to work our jobs and live our lives like nothing’s wrong, and to hold it all together for months and maybe now for years without ever seeing a way out.”

Dan Sinker in The Atlantic

My kids are many years away from high school, but looking up the bus routes for this year I see that some high-school age kids have to be at the bus stop a little after 6:30 a.m. That seems extremely early.

A hand holding a glass of wine in front of a small bonfire.

The thing about playing in the fire that no one ever tells you as a kid is that A) yes it is fun to play in the fire and B) eventually you’re old enough that no one tells you to not play in the fire.

I bought two adorable camping-sized cast-iron pans earlier today (a 6″ round and square), which explains why I’m seasoning four cast-iron pans at midnight (this is the second cycle, and I figured I might as well do all the pans I own at once).

A hummingbird with a shiny lime green back sits on a tree branch.
🐦📷 Finally managed to get a decent photo of one of the hummingbirds that zooms around our back yard.

A screenshot of 16 lines of text excluding types of products from a Best Buy promotion.
This is the list of products excluded from a Best Buy promotion I just got emailed. Honestly not sure what does qualify.

The film version of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, with Gary Oldman, Tim Roth and Richard Dreyfuss is on sale at iTunes for $5. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/rosencrantz-and-guildenstern-are-dead/id1056872270

Schauffele’s in trouble. Just put one off the right side on 14, maybe lost. Then played a provisional that went off the fairway into the trees on the left. Only leading by 1. #Olympics

An image of a construction site, the future home of St. Louis Public Radio. There are some concrete walls and the start of a steel skeleton.
Ten years ago today, the steel started going up for the future home of @stlpublicradio in Grand Center.

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.

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.

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. 🪨 📷

Discovered the fascinating macabre song cycle Ghost Quartet while working from home today. Written by the writer/composer of Great Comet and featuring a couple of the performers. A lot of the same musical DNA.

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

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.

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?

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. 🦌📷

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.

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.

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.”

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?

Del taco building

The World’s Most Beautiful Gas Stations:

May these buildings and their less attractive brethren soon fade into obsolescence, be converted to electric car/bike charging stations, or be repurposed for other things.

These are great. Perhaps not so spectacular, but as a local pick I’d add this one on Grand in St. Louis — I first knew it as a Del Taco restaurant, subsequently renovated into a Starbucks/Chipotle.

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.”

Thanks kid.

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.

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.

Driving up the Great River Road from Carbondale to St. Louis into the sunset and listening to the 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.

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.

Build tools when it's quiet
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.

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.

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”.

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the cookies
that were by
the fireplace

and which
you were probably
for Santa

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so soft

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.”

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.

I was waiting for a decent excuse to crack open the 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.

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).

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.

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.

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

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

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 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

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: Really?

E: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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