2022 BCBS acquired. 8-year vertical established.
I hope you’re finding peace and gratitude today, whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving or not.
You can kill the reporter. You won’t kill the story.
Las Vegas Review-Journal: A reporter’s killing revealed a decade of Robert Telles’ toxic behavior
In reply to.
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.
Testing Monocle/Bridgy Fed/a bunch of stuff I don’t understand.
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.
The soundtrack to the new Weird Al biopic is out and you’ll be pleased to know the lyrics to “Amish Paradise” are still safely wedged in my brain, 26 years later.
📷🛰 Hello up there! (ISS flyover)
📷🦝 Saw a family of at least four raccoons climbing a tree in the woods.
📚 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.)
📷🌉⚓️ Riverboat and Eads Bridge on the Mississippi at St. Louis.
📷⚾️ Saw a winner. #STLCards
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.
📷🥧 Raspberry Pi macro
📷☁️ View from Cliff Cave overlook (panorama from multiple 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.
📷⛴ Towboat Michael Poindexter
📷⛴ Towboat “American Beauty”. Not every day I shoot something you can legitimately buy a model of.
📷🌳 Floodplain at Cliff Cave Park
📷⛴🌉 Some barges and the JB Bridge from Cliff Cave Park.
📷🏞 The Mississippi River from an overlook at Bee Tree Park.
📷🐟 Lake at Bee Tree Park.
📷🐝 Not the best photo of a bee ever taken, but probably the best photo of a bee I’ve ever taken.
📷🌳🍁 Red tree at Bee Tree Park.
📸🐞 Ladybug at Bee Tree Park.
- Caper: Europe
- New York Zoo
- Savannah Park
- Curious Cargo
- Welcome to the Moon (@ 6 players)
Up next is Uwe Rosenberg’s New York Zoo. Adorable animal meeples. #Geekway
Live from the show floor at #Geekway 2022! The first game was Caper: Europe. Excellent start.
On the eve of spending four days playing boardgames at #Geekway 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.
🕷 A spider patrolling the wood pile.
Today is GiveSTLDay. My employer, St. Louis Public Radio, is raising money to make our building more bird-safe. If you’d like to help out, here’s where you can learn more.
Hoping to get some paw paws late this summer.
Turned out ok. Pictured: A helper; The old improvised wood rack; The new wood rack in place; Filled.
Tools: I’m using my late grandfather’s carpenter’s square, my dad’s tape measure and my iPad in today’s build.
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
🦫 via today’s Mark Trail
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.
⚾️ A few of my photos from the #STLCards #OpeningDay. See more on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brentajones/albums/72177720297974938
🍷 Kalimotxo. Worth a try!
📷🦤 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 #STLCards 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.
Here’s to you, person who added these lyrics to the Star Wars soundtrack in Apple Music. Well done.
🧀🍰 Yeah, pretty pleased with that effort.
Visited Castlewood State Park. A bit rainy and my legs are tired, but well worth the 3.5+ mile hike.
Made a cheesecake. Can’t eat it until tomorrow though. 🙁
🔥🍕 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.
I had not come across this acronym before.
from The Data Detective by Tim Harford 📚
🐈 Tonight I got to pet a cat.
🪓🪵 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.
In my experience, data nerds often do have a sense of humor.
from The Data Detective by Tim Harford 📚
Currently reading: The Data Detective by Tim Harford 📚
⚾️ The #STLCardinals are playing baseball on my television.
What an amazing story on a number of levels.
🌳🦫 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.
This is lovely and extremely relatable.
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.
2:22 2/22/22! #twosday
📊 When you’ve been making infographics since middle school.
Novle: just like Wordle, but each guess is the full text of a famous novel.
Monobob looks like a lot of fun and sounds like a minor comic book character. #Olympics
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
📷🌤❄️ Pretty good sky for our fourth consecutive day of sledding.
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
📷❄️ Some snowflakes. #stlWX
🐦🖍 My kid drew a blue jay in the winter and a cardinal in the summer.
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.
📚 Found this book @slcl this morning — published just a couple weeks ago! Seems relevant to my interests.
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.
📷🐦❄️ Some birbs in the snow.
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.
Looks like it’s a 2nd-pot-of-coffee kind of day. Haven’t had one of those in a while.
2022: The tradition continues.
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.
How long was 2021? The Bernie Sanders mittens meme happened this year.
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.
If you’d like to spend 40 minutes watching me make some tasty Lithuanian liqueur, I got you the perfect present this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bARLJyDjY_M
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.
📷🥚🍸 Made some eggnog. Alton Brown’s recipe with Wild Turkey 101. Not bad.
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.
📷🐦 A few morning birds.
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 #BCBS Double Barrel. I normally don’t worry too much about the variants, but I’m happy to have found this one.
🍻 Happy #BCBS 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.
And for an after-dessert snack, some foraged black walnuts. A lot of work, but pretty tasty.
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.
📷 🦌 Found a deer.
📷🌇 Six years ago this evening I took this photo of a sunset at St. Louis Public Radio. (iPhone 6 photo)
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.
Got @birbigs’ book from the library this morning and well over halfway through. This one got me good. Oof.
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.
Suzanne Vega was inspired to write the song Tom’s Diner 40 years ago today.
🍁 There were no leaves in my yard when I finished mowing it less than 24 hours ago.
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.
📷🍄🐢 My kid thought the top of this mushroom looked like a turtle.
Traveled north last weekend. Stopped in Sioux Falls. It’s neat. More photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmX2MXh3
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.
I have a cold but woke up today being able to comfortably hit A below low C, so I’ve got that going for me.
📷🎃🥣 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).
Resolved: The best bowl of cereal is the last bowl in a bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
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.
ICYMI, I wrote about my experience at Geekway 2021 this year. My wife and I played 24 different games. A few standouts:
- Rolling Realms
- Islands in the Mist
- Holi: Festival of Colors
- Dice Miner
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).
I must’ve missed Supermarket Sweep going in a very different direction in 1991.
📷🔬 Halide’s macro mode on a Pimoroni Inky Impression. Neat.
Steve Jobs died 10 years ago today. Art by @hughcards
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.
📷 🔥 ⚾️ With the forecast, maybe the last regular-season #STLCards bonfire. Thanks for the good season, guys.
📷🦴 Found this neat fossil cluster down at the creek.
Remember 2011? For the #STLCards, 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).
⚾️ You probably have one or two games you consider the best ever for your team. But exactly one decade ago tonight was the greatest night in Major League Baseball.
📷🌌 iPhone astrophotography, and in a fairly light-polluted environment too. How about that.
The opening to the new season of Bake Off was really quite something.
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.
19 years ago, my first story for the Indiana Daily Student was published on the front page. It’s not great. But you can read it here. (CMS changes mean it no longer has my byline, but I have photographic proof)
Turns out a chainsaw makes processing firewood much easier.
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.
📷🍦 DO NOT CLIMB CONE
📷 🐦 🐸 🌅
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.
Cardinals’ offense shows up for Waino and Yadi’s night. #stlcards
One benefit of working from home is you can start dinner at 1:30.
🍳🌽🍞🌶🍋 Next cast-iron experiment: jalapeño-lime cornbread.
📚 Found “Mapping America”, a new book, at @SLCL this morning. Got through a couple chapters so far.
🥘🍗 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.
📷⛰🌲 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.
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.
Finally starting to catalogue my collection of sheet music and it might be overly revelatory.
“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
I’m not into “the pop” as the kids say, but Lorde’s new album is a pretty pleasant listen!
To paraphrase Michael Scott: “It takes a big man to admit when he was wrong, and I am that big man.”
Ah yes, the traditional… checks calendar and clock …August 19, 1:18 a.m. St. Louis fireworks.
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.
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).
Baseball is like pizza. I’d rather have good baseball than bad baseball. But bad baseball is still better than no baseball at all. #STLCards
I would be pleased if AppleTV wanted to own the space of filmed stage musicals and shows. Apple Original Films announces filmed production for the musical “Come From Away”
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
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.
The Kindle version of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is on sale for $1.99. It’s a pretty good book on writing.
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.
🛰 📷 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.
“I’m the worst” — Central Park
“Don’t think about the failures, think about the future.” — Central Park
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.
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.”
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