Kindness by Niaomi Shihab Nye

I heard this poem read aloud and, for whatever reason, I felt the weight of our collective cloth. In this moment of clarity, I remembered that even though it may seem that I have but little to offer, often that is enough to connect us together.

May 15, 2018

Work Out Goals

I just got back from working out. It was at an outdoor gym, you know those sad sets of bars that are usually uncomfortably close to children’s play areas? It was also raining—double fun. But, I’m not going to bore you about how much that workout sucked, you’re a smart cookie, you know all work outs suck 😉

I’m writing this, not to say how awesome it is being healthy—it’s tough, but rewarding—rather I think it’s just generally good to have small, short-term goals. As a person who has a lot of trouble feeling like I’ve made progress without some external sign posts along the way, writing about my journey might be a decent solution.

My goal over the next three months is to be able to do 10 proper pull-ups. I’m currently at about 4 consistently. I am in better shape than I’ve ever been but this is one place where I’ve seen the slowest progress. (As Sun Tzu once said: I’ve got too much junk in the trunk.) Until I can do them properly, I’ve been doing a load of eccentric or negative pull-ups… if you’re at all interested. As a happy aside, training the top half of my meat-tube body has straightened out my posture considerably.

My next step is probably going to be working up the arm strength to hold my phone at eye-level for 6 hours 😋

The Dave Chang Show

I have my differences with David Chang’s brash style—perhaps because I see some of my own thoughts mirrored back to me, and who enjoys looking in the mirror?—but the thought and attention to detail on display is fascinating. I would have had no idea what goes into planning a new restaurant otherwise. I’m on a high-performance kick as of late, I feel like I’m finally growing into my wings. This show is a surprising supplement to my development. The chemistry between Bill Simmons and Chang helps it all wash down smoothly.


I have no need for this project as it stands, though I do have a lot to learn. Ask my wife.

I like the idea of building a superset of functionality on top of services, like YouTube. As an aside, I’ve always wanted to build a better way to create and triage playlists, because, my goodness Google appears to have no interest embracing either sensible private bookmarks or a natural feeling swipe-to-delete gesture. Podcasts have also broken me in this regard: I want to see the description (show notes) before I commit to watching. Try reading the description before watching in the Youtube app, no bueno.

May 11, 2018

Text Editors on iOS

I have so many text editors. Apparently, I collect them, like my grandmother collects crystal dolphin statues. We both have some issues to work out 😉

On a desktop, I tend to use only three: Ulysses for writing, VSCode for local development and Neovim for remote development.1 But as soon as I drop down onto iOS I can’t seem to help myself. Just on my homescreen I have Drafts 5, Drafts 4, NotePlan, Apple Notes, Ulysses. There are probably another 5 or 6 that I’ve yet to delete or use every so often that I am convinced I might need it eventually.

I’m not going fully minimalist, but I do think 10 text editors probably excessive. I’m going to keep most of the text editors on my homescreen, perhaps with the exception of Drafts 4 once I migrate everything over to the newer version, and I’ll use them for specialised roles within my life.

Here’s what I had in mind:

  1. Drafts 4/5 is where I dunk snippets of text until I’m ready to do something with them; the first port of call to capture whatever nonsense is in my head.
  2. NotePlan is where my workout plan and diary will live.
  3. Apple Notes is for things I need to hold on to for some indefinite period of time (RIP Evernote).
  4. Finally, Ulysses is where I write my love letters to the Internet.

Not ground breaking, but I think it should work just fine. Often what works better than fiddling around with an entire new setup or set of apps is just to create a simple system for what you have.

  1. Come to think of it, one of these days I should probably just whittle that down to Ulysses for writing and Neovim for noodling around in code. 

The Bread Code

I love this. Clearly, someone’s found something they love and used a mode of expression they know and produced this: an open-source manual to bake good sourdough bread. Talk about an artefact of this strange century; Why write a book when you’re a programmer and spend all your time in text files?

This is also one of the very few links where I would recommend you read the Hacker News thread.

May 09, 2018

Gilbert Tang Talks Streetfighter on the Slow Podcast

Great conversation on the discipline of video games. I’ve been trying to improve my bouldering fitness and there are clear parallels between the ladder of Street Fighter players and climbing grades. I doubt I’m at the equivalent of ‘Gold’ but focusing on minimising weaknesses is often the first major step to improvement.

I have a load of low-hanging fruit to pick with climbing. Perhaps, I ought to give esports more of a consideration as well.

The Woman Redeemed By Trees

An excerpt from Richard Powers’s The Overstory and an exceptional piece of fiction. My heart is aflutter these past sunny days, swept up with the majesty of nature. I couldn’t help but be drawn into the quiet soul of Patricia, the story’s protagonist, with lines like these:

She works all day in the woods, her back crawling with chiggers, her scalp with ticks, her mouth filled with leaf duff, her eyes with pollen, cobwebs like scarves around her face, bracelets of poison ivy, her knees gouged by cinders, her nose lined with spores, the backs of her thighs bitten Braille by wasps, and her heart as happy as the day is generous.

I have been in a reading funk, unable to pick up and enjoy a book for more than the pulp it is printed on. Perhaps, piggy-backing on Nature’s profound beauty and my home sickness, this will be a story that will end my drought.

May 07, 2018

Connecting With Our Leafy Friends

I spent the weekend in Bath (in the UK for those unaware) and it was glorious. Sure, there's plenty of quaint shops and gorgeous places to eat or drink, but I managed to arrive on a cloudless day—the British equivalent of a miracle. My wife and I saw the crowds and headed the opposite direction. We walked up the hillside until we found an empty park and lay down for as long as we could.

A photo of a leafy canopy, taken below an oak tree. We setup below this handsome fellow.

London is a tough place to live if you're the outdoorsy type. When the sun arrives, the grunge is laid bare, not to mention the smell of hot garbage the emanates from, well, everywhere. Sure, there are plenty of trees, but it's hard to find any real-estate—affordably, zing!—near a nice shady oak. But here in Bath, I made that connection, that peace of mind that comes from sitting at ease and in the company of bird song.

I had no idea how much I yearned to be outside. That’s the sinister effect of living in a concrete jungle. It’s now clear that being around or having close access to nature is a priority of mine, which I'm not sure I would have been able to say before I lived here.

I'll chalk this up as yet another reason to be excited for the jump back to Canada.