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This includes my Dad’s favorite chair in a favorite room.

I took this shot, visiting my mom, a few months after he passed away in 2015.

Naturally, the Photos widget chose Father’s Day 2021 to present it to me from all the images it could have picked.

To all the fathers, to all the people who have fathers, to all the people contemplating becoming fathers, this day is richly varied, emotionally. I’m sure my experiences and yours overlap at least a little. I feel you.

If anything, being a father has shown me so many ways to improve who I am and what I do in the world. It is supremely humbling.

On this day, I wish you peace, joy, and love.

Struggling super hard with organization. As an ADHD’er, this is career defining/limiting. I haven’t found the method or the tool that sticks past overwhelm.

Is it just me? On Windows 10, an Intel Core i5 can’t seem to keep up with Teams, much less other things you may wish to work on while in a meeting. Have run into this on laptops and desktops of different manufacture. I don’t have this issue on a Core i5 MacBook Pro.

Shout out to Tony, who I have missed these many years.

I explained learning about The Game to a colleague at work. So, naturally I’ve lost many, many times in rapid succession.

Miss you, brother

I do not have a subscription to read the Washington Post, where the source article appeared, but I appreciate the quotes pulled out at 9TO5Mac. This seems like an appropriate stance for technology companies to take, and I appreciate it.

Microsoft president attacks type of government gag order imposed on Apple

Especially the sentiment behind this statement:

So that’s what they do. In secret. By serving search warrants on companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft to obtain emails and messages that belong to our customers.

A dose of real. I’ve lived in Minnesota the majority of my life and I’m sure I’ve done this:

“the Minnesotan/Scandinavian behavior of being cold to people because you “have enough friends” already / you’re not interested in being friends, is ugly 😌”

From @OhDionne

I have been on a Harry Potter binge recently, having watched all of the movies again, and now re-reading the series. I discovered an article called Alchemy and Harry Potter which was helpful to understand many elements in each of the stories and the series.

A key to growth is to stop assuming I have learned every lesson in a given area. I rediscovered a resource I had mined in a previous decade of my life, then stopped. Today I was presented with a fresh perspective which gave me opportunites I didn’t know I had.

Setting up an iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard for a client today. I don’t covet the iPad as my new Air is perfectly lovely. But the keyboard is easily the best iPad-specific keyboard integration I have yet seen. Just effortless. Wow, did Apple do a great job with that!

Homophones are an issue when attempting to dictate through voice recognition— Mail versus male in one recent attempt to return a text message. That it works as well as it does is wonderful, but sometimes even modifying pronunciation or changing word order doesn’t get the job done.

Long story, but I’m getting good at replacing door knobs. Bad news is I’m the reason I’m getting the practice. I’m a fan of Kwikset’s design, both from a security stand point and for ease of installation.

Pronouns

I think what it means is to be seen.

Seen as whole. Seen as accepted. Seen in entirety.

It’s not supposed to be easy or simple, until it is.

“More trips than Timothy Leary” said Pat Sajak, just now. Not the sort of counter-culture reference I would have expected on Wheel of Fortune. #findtheothers

Dear Coffee,

I am grateful for you every day.

Yours truly,

Hjalmer

Remembrance

My first name comes from Hjalmer Lindberg.

Had he lived, he would have been a great uncle.

In World War II, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge with the 94th infantry. He was a sniper who was killed by another.

The story I was told was that first, Hjalmer’s helmet was shot off. This revealed the position of the German sniper. Hjalmer quickly pivoted to return fire, but the German was faster. Hjalmer was shot in the head.

Many details are not known to me. A thousand questions have occurred to me after it’s too late to ask.

Hjalmer was very good friends in the infantry with Erich Gerloff. They had such a strong bond that they made a pact. Should one survive the other, the survivor would travel to meet the other’s family.

Erich’s own life had been dramatic at points. He had been born in Germany, and had crossed the Atlantic three times with his family to escape economic hardship.

He was captured at the Battle of the Bulge and was kept briefly at a stalag. He was on a death march when, because he spoke German well enough, German soldiers told him to get out of the line. They thought he was a spy or agent and were afraid of punishment should he be put to death at their hands.

Erich survived the war, rising in rank through battlefield promotions, assuming I’ve understood the details at all.

He also honored his pact with his friend. He travelled from New York to Wisconsin to visit the Lindbergh family in Wisconsin and proposed to one of Hjalmer’s sisters within a few days.

They married and had a family. Their eldest, a son, they named for Hjalmer, who they had both lost.

That man, the son, was on a tour of duty in Vietnam, when his sister, my mother, was pregnant with me. And she wanted her brother to know she loved him.

Hjalmer is my first name. Erich is my middle name.

Remembering Hjalmer Lindberg and Erich Gerloff, today.

Heard Take Me Home on satellite radio earlier today. Because I owned No Jacket Required, naturally, Sussudio is now an ear worm.

Phil Collins, y’all!

You’re welcome.

Apple Beta program participation disadvantage I haven’t seen mentioned before: media-sharing requires signing out and back in, or de-authorizing and re-authorizing—after applying each update. On AppleTV this means not being able to connect to my server or access iTunes Match

Second shot packed a wallop. In the intervening 24 hours I hope I’m through the worst of it. Body aches, headaches and chills, for me

Second dose acquired.

The Vaccination, Part II: Return to House Pfizer

Contact interoperability via VCF or CSV file is simply terrible. It could be as simple as export/import. But that’s not the case. It’s export/translate/edit/import/edit

Long story short:

Don’t use files to exchange this data. Use services.

To get contacts from Outlook (Exchange) into iOS, I used the macOS-native Contacts app. I connected to the Exchange account that had the contacts needed. Then I connected to the empty iCloud account. I selected the Exchange account, selected all of the contacts, and dragged them en masse to the iCloud account. In a few minutes, all of the contacts appeared in iCloud with the correct data in the correct fields. A few minutes after that, they were on the destination iPhone.

The Voice seasons seem to move really fast now. I don’t feel like I get to know the contestants and their personalities like we used to

I appreciate the voice-to-text ability of my watch more and more every day. Especially as I struggle with keyboards just as much today as 20 years ago

I always wanted to be a DJ, from the days I listened to my Radio Shack FM radio all day long as a boy. The people pushing out the sounds always seemed to have a finger on a pulse. They seemed to connect to something. I imagined a depth and breadth of knowledge and a currency that I’m sure was impossible to attain in reality.

In the 90s I took a job at a record store, which in some ways was a sort of dream come true. I thought I knew about music. I was an avid consumer of what radio and MTV fed me. But it was then that my education began.

When techno and electronica hit, my DJ dream shifted. I wanted to play the records that moved the people in the moment. I have played with decks and mixers a teensy bit. I played with a friend’s collection of vinyl and did my best to beat-match records during a small gathering.

I’ve made lots and lots of mix tapes, that mostly no one has ever heard, but me.

What’s happened is I’ve collected a lot of music over time. I am infected by people who are enthusiastic about a genre or a scene.

Music is so powerful.

It is a giant river, life-giving and fertile like the Amazon or the Nile. Some of it is written down or recorded, where it lives in the vast ocean.

Just like I can’t read every book, I can’t hear every record.

I have been listening to a series of playlists generated by someone close to my own age, that span years including the four that I spent at the record store.

Boy, is it resurfacing old thoughts and ideas and dreams.

The cool part is I agree with many of the selections.

The cool part is I’m hearing songs I would have never heard, otherwise.

The cool part is there is always such good music.

If you do the Apple Music thing, I’m here and I like to share.

When you boot up your MacBook after a few days off and your Login Keychain is gone…

Have lost a cousin to COVID today. It’s still killing people.

Be careful, everyone.

What if you took the opportunity to turn your secure pass-phrase into a positive affirmation?

Or a goal? A mission statement? Your intent?

Watching videos on MTV again. Glad to see them. And always struck by how music unravels times and places and states of mind.

15-minute wait after first vaccination. This place is huge and I appreciate the clear mobilization of the National Guard to make this work

Finally registered for my COVID vaccinations. Happy, for me, and that makes me feel better I’m less likely to be the cause of a transmission.

My work day started with my awesome new Logi MX KEYS keyboard not Bluetoothing to anything, anywhere.

I was worried I owned a nicely-weighted, space gray brick.

It’s rechargeable and therefore sealed. The power switch didn’t change anything. None of the key presses in the Quick Start guide changed its behavior. None of the forum posts addressed what I was seeing. So I went rogue. After a lot of searching for any mention of what I was seeing, I began experimenting with long key presses and multiple key combinations and finally got to where I could pair the keyboard to my Mac again.

I was able to hold the fn and F13 keys to get it into pairing mode for device 1. Then, on my MacBook, I was able to use the Bluetooth preferences in the System Settings application and subsequently the Logi Options app saw it again, as well.

Phew.

There is a lot of discussion of justice on the national level.

We have a single case of accountability.

And a lot of work to be done.

When you don’t use the filter basket, the coffee maker doesn’t behave the same way.

I’m left astonished with wonder at how I failed to notice this while I did everything else in anticipatory preparation.

After cleaning up, I’m making a second attempt at coffee, now.

Also: Coffee is hot. Because I have no patience, my thumb will continue to remind me of several failures throughout the day.

The end result is I have cleaned my coffee maker and I will shortly be sipping hot, delicious coffee.

It’s a bonfire kind of night. Two other yards on the same side of the street as me also have fires in their respective fire pits.

Listening to the Nineties, today.

The author of a sub-blog I follow produced a series of posts called Insanely Great Nineties Songs You Aren’t Sick Of. Start here if that speaks to you… He has a post per-year and links to YouTube videos of all of the songs he mentions.

I worked for a record store from the summer of 1990 to the summer of 1994 and these hit home for me. But fair warning, these are mostly not Top 40 song lists.

Putting some thoughts here, while they are on my mind:

Political parties and news organizations love to pretend that an election is an ideological mandate. When the candidate you vote for wins, it’s fun to feel that way.

I think an election is simpler, it’s a snapshot in time, and it’s very much about who is on the ballot. Sometimes a vote is yes to a candidate, to a party or to a platform, but sometimes a vote is against a specific person. I suspect that the 2016 and 2020 elections reflect this in America more than Americans traditionally would admit.

I think the political parties are their own machines, representing their own self-preservation and the agendas of large donors. As such, neither party in the U.S.A. would ever change anything fundamentally.

I don’t think that political parties represent a mandate any more than an election does.

I think political parties aren’t representative of us, of We The People, because the parties generally and the candidates specifically are beholden to money.

I think Ranked Choice Voting is worth a try and might better represent overall preferences, or show where more of us actually agree. We really need to pay attention to what we have in common and fight hard for that.

I think it’s really hard to step outside of a bubble I have willingly been inside of for decades.

I used to wonder why George Carlin seemed so angry toward the end of his career. I’m starting to understand.

Watching the snow fall in Saint Paul and singing a song quietly to myself

Just got news several extended family members are simultaneously ill with the UK Variant of COVID, one very seriously. They believe they were being cautious and don’t know how they got it.

Take care of yourselves, keep others safe. We aren’t out of the woods.

I’m old because I remember MTV playing music video always, and I’m up early enough to watch AMTV

Unspoken Role of Technical Support: Absorb and correct for damage created by other companies

Example: large ticket volume this week created by issues stemming from a large operating system vendor’s critical updates. Some laptops are becoming unbootable and some folks are getting bluescreens simply from printing. This is all fixable, but fixes take time. None of this is a result of any decision made by anyone employed by my company.

There. I didn’t have to say it:

Sex Addiction Is Not a Thing

Also? I don’t think that word (addiction) means what you think it means. It’s not carte blanche. You are responsible for your own actions.

Also? The “addiction” is not the thing. Dig deeper.

My Semi-Annual Plea: Please stop the madness with the clock shifting. Pick one and run with it.

Please.

The coffee isn’t working today.

So there’s a music project called Lost Horizons—that I didn’t know about 30 minutes ago—that features former Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde and Richard Thomas who has drummed with Dif Jus and Jesus and Mary Chain. Their In Quiet Moments album includes a track called Every Beat that Passed which is the most Cocteau-Twins-like music I have heard since… Cocteau Twins. This project is no attempt to return to that sound, but that track is spectacular. The tracks I have heard from the same album have a Saint Etienne vibe, in that the tracks recall the 60s and 70s.

I am very pleasantly surprised with the most current release of the iOS Bullet Journal application. It is in no way designed to take the place of your paper journal. But allows you to photo your pages and assign them to a calendar day and page number inside of a journal. Another nice feature is the ability to assign a page to a Collection.

Most importantly, it backs up to the iOS Files application. I can use my iCloud Drive to store the backup file. No new account is required. No new subscription is needed.

The application fully supports the Bullet Journal methodology, but gives you a way to review your notes even if you are away from the physical copy.

Lastly, in a pinch, there is an ephemeral 72-hour Log for Tasks, Notes and Events. This provides a way to continue to capture until you can return to your paper Journal.

Lovely.

Sometimes the wave hits you
Sometimes you’re under the wave
Sometimes you’re in the wave
Sometimes you ride the wave
Sometimes you are the wave

Yesterday morning on the way to work, Led Zepplin’s Tea for One cycled into my playlist and fit my mood wonderfully. I now have the urge to make a new playlist.

Today I learned about xkpasswd, a password generator inspired by the xkcd comic.

The internet is brilliant when you look for the helpers.

Picked up the new Echodrone album Resurgence this morning. Their name describes elements I love from the shoegaze sound. Possibly a signature for them are the vocal harmonies that harken back to groups like The Byrds, or Ride, but of course nothing like either.

Dishwasher replaced today. So grateful, I’m running my third load.

This probably opens me up to jokes. So be it.

The rate at which I am losing elders in my family is alarming. I’ve made it into my fifties before feeling that way, for which I count myself fortunate. But I’m getting closer to the front of the line and it is sobering.

Blast from the past: it was fun to hear music from The 5th Dimension on CBS Sunday Morning. I was born after they were already popular, but I heard a lot of their songs before I know it was them.

Joined Twitter on this day in 2008. In those days we talked about ambient connectivity and hashtags were just becoming a thing.

Bluejays and cardinals at the feeder. They are lovely in the morning sun

Between the apps I use and my browser history, I can’t figure out who had the link to the “Beautiful Bubble”–however I fully support and endorse this. I had already taken several of the steps outlined and this is a great framework for improvement.

META:

To render a blockquote correctly in the Micro.blog Timeline and in the Marfa template, the blockquote must be preceded by a blank line. The Post Preview function shows what I expected, but the timeline and the published content did not until I added the blank line.

@help

From an email subscription today:

So be good to each other. Be humble and kind. Be generous. If you fight for anything, fight for justice and fairness. That’s what we were put here for.

This is what I believe.

Listening to a lot of Echodrone, today. Bought two albums and am excited for a new release next month.

Music saves.

As I transitioned the SIM in my phone from Sprint to T-Mobile, today, I learned I’ve been a Sprint customer for 21 years. I doubt that counts for much to the business, but I wish it carried some weight.

I have a non-neurotypical daughter in a school system that has doubled-down on the use of law enforcement, restraint, and seclusion to control the student population. I’m not okay with this policy and we are opting out of the traditional school system after this school year.

I will say this about social media: It is what I make it. I have stolen a strategy from Mr. Rogers, which is to find the helpers. In this case? I subcribe to or follow the helpers. There are so many people who are trying to make a difference. I am so grateful.

I recently relistened to Feels So Good by Chuck Mangione. I was in search of the source of a sample. I was in the right era and close to my target, but this was a miss. Except, listening to the full album track, I really enjoyed the musicianship—not only of The Man Himself, but also of the full accompanying band. Now, of course, it’s my current ear worm.

You’re welcome.

When the wind makes it feel colder than it is… 15 degrees Fahrenheit

My biggest professional challenge is to adjust my thinking from a tactically-thinking individual to a more strategically-thinking manager. This is something I want to do well. Is there a support group for that? Is it called Everyone? Do they meet at the drinking-establishment?

Someone at work today made a clever reference to Whole Lotta Love, comparing project status to the middle section of the song.

So naturally, I have listened to Led Zeppelin II in it’s entirety. Working through Mothership as I write this.

Being able to speak a text message to my watch is something I didn’t realize I would like so much.

Listened to Ulrich Schnauss’ single Asteroid 2467 and I was struck by how much it sounded like something Robin Guthrie might compose. If you agree with me or if you don’t, I’m thrilled because that is a frame of reference I’m happy to learn others share.

It doesn’t make sense for the left hand to punch the right hand, nor for the right leg to kick the left. We are part of the same body. We work better together.

Bags are very much a Goldilocks thing for me. Size, capacity, pockets, compartments. I went small recently and then larger and just haven’t got it quite right. I’ve have been through briefcases, Big backpacks and Small messenger bags. Right now moving to a medium, custom messenger bag from Timbuk2. Fingers crossed.

Midnight made it to our slice of the globe. Happy New Year, Everyone!

The annual retrospectives reviewing who has left this mortal coil continue to become more poignant and painful.

Easy to get lost in dark thoughts.

The challenge is to shine brighter.

Tonight’s project. I actually thought for some time that I had been shorted one critical piece. Then I had to backtrack when I learned I had used an extra piece in error.

Listening to Wolfmother today.

They are a retro-looking blend of 70’s hard-rock, prog-rock and a little punk-rock. But with the vocal strength and musicianship to back it up. Not to mention cowbell and distorted organ.

I wish I could say I have been listening to them for a long time, but they came to me via a compilation from a friend. Today, I have been mining Apple Music for their back catalog.

“And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap…”

#MischiefManaged

Half-day at work, then cleared the drive of snow. Grateful for snow throwers. Husqvarna has been good to me.

As much as I’m grateful to Jardiance advertisements for bringing the skin of my perineum to mind, I did mild research into why they mention it. And stopped quickly.

I will say it again: I wish I could update AppleTVs via the Home app in the same way that I can update my HomePods.

But I will add: Quite honestly, it seems like the Home app would be a great place to start with personal/family device management

Listening to Harry Styles’ Golden tonight, I hear Doobie Brothers Minute By Minute and Christopher Cross’ Ride Like the Wind

It’s because I’m old

Saturday: Living room re-arranged
Sunday: Tree selected and placed
Monday: Cranberry and popcorn garlands strung
Tuesday: Garlands, lights and ornaments hung

Soundtrack: Mannheim Steamroller

I miss getting to know the contestants on The Voice. These short seasons seem too rushed and it’s getting harder to care.

I also miss being able to buy the killer performances on iTunes.

#TheVoice

What I have realized is that photos can’t capture thoughts or feelings. Not exactly. They don’t capture the love we feel, the joy of a certain moment, the sense of place we may feel, or a feeling of belonging with family or friends. They just capture the light in the moment the shutter is released by causing a chemical reaction in a film or sensors in an array to record their states.

In this, photographs lie to us by showing an objective truth.

The image evokes recollection, or the image transports us through time, or invites us into a new way of seeing, challenges notions or perspectives.

The art in photography is that it makes us think and feel, even though our thoughts and feelings may only be loosely related to the subjects of our gazes.

All this from photons, transformed, in the tiniest slices of time.

When I snapped this image, I had been enjoying the contrast of the dark tree limbs against the orange and amber of the sunset.

By the time it occurred to me to attempt to capture it, launch my camera app on my phone, and frame an image I hoped might not be hideous, the sky changed.

The image doesn’t show any of that. Just an amateurish shot by someone who intended well.

But I remember.

I don’t know to which deity I owe the most thanks and praise, but I am grateful for the shoegaze genre and for Apple’s recommendation engine. I listened to a group called SPC-ECO on my commute this evening and loved it.

Do I start by genuflecting toward Grangemouth, Scotland?

Trust no political party.

The evidence continues to suggest they are more interested in having us fight each other than in enacting lasting beneficial change.

Bittersweet, making room for the new. Took apart a small IKEA chair from much earlier in my daughter’s life. It had been functioning as a small table of sorts for a long while. Today that need was released.

I think about journaling more often then I actually write.

The internal censor is strong.

Sometimes my writing is just terrible. I am too long out of practice.

Hold the Big Sur, and Unexpected Big Sur

Deployed a new MacBook Air at work and asked my client to stay On 10.15.7 until 11.1 is released. I was hoping to avoid not-yet-known compatibility risks. I had only used a test machine for 90 minutes at work by that point.

Another client wanting to stay on top of security updates demonstrated the thing I feared. Printing to a Canon workgroup printer from Big Sur did not work well. Canon’s American web site did not have macOS 15 drivers, which was not shocking. Big Sur did not want packages built for earlier versions of the OS, which was not helpful and quickly closed an avenue of inquiry.

Strangely, yet fortunately, Google lead me to Canon’s Singapore Web presence. Their support pages recognized Big Sur and provided working drivers. This was very unexpected but very helpful. I was really glad because suggesting the black-and-white-only Generic PCL drivers as a work-around would not have worked well for me in that specific case.

My company has a tiny number of Macs. Given our embrace of the Office365 stack, I can’t imagine there will be too many difficulties. I did not run the Big Sur beta on work equipment because in the past that prevented me from accessing my Parallels VM. Last night I was able to update my work MacBook Pro and 24-hours later I have no regrets

My Big Sur experience since noon today on my non-beta (10.15.7) laptop

I was today-years-old when I learned about castoreum.

I can only wonder, how did we attain the knowledge to use it?

The work continues. Work doesn’t end with an inauguration or a concession.

You keep your elected officials accountable.

Always.

The first James Bond movie I remember seeing, on TV, in the late 1970s, was You Only Live Twice. It starred Sean Connery. Therefore, for me, he is the true Bond.

I enjoyed his part in The Untouchables. His line “Enough of this running shit!” will live forever in my brain.

Poor Choice: Not powering down or rebooting a Windows laptop before connecting it to a new docking station.

Because: Now rebooting

Poor Choice: High-speed electronic dance music during stop-and-go traffic

I am impressed with the engine that runs our community.

Yesterday I rebuilt a page on my micro.blog site that includes a long list. Originally I used HTML elements, but re-wrote it using Markdown. I was pleasantly surprised, as I saved many intermediate states, that the page rendering kept pace with my incremental revisions without breaking completely.

@manton

I have updated my ætherial page with links to all of the artists. I hope this is a much more useful format.

Wait… How long has Apple’s Text Edit been able to open OpenOffice SXW files?

The feeling when the sense of disappointment that you left your coffee in the car is deepened with the discovery that you left your coffee at home

Impenetrable Absurdity

The longer I live, the more I like this guy:

In a world whose absurdity appears to be so impenetrable, we simply must reach a greater degree of understanding among men, a greater sincerity. We must achieve this or perish. To do so, certain conditions must be fulfilled: men must be frank (falsehood confuses things), free (communication is impossible with slaves). Finally, they must feel a certain justice around them.

—Albert Camus

Dead Leaf Echo

Listened to Dead Leaf Echo tonight for the first time, via Apple Music. Their recent full-length album Beyond.Desire is there as well as several EPs and a much earlier LP. Possibly their full catalog is on Bandcamp.

The sound was in a sweet spot for me. I heard sounds that reminded me of Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver, Love and Rockets, Kitchens of Distinction, Bailter Space, and others. When I read of all the bands they have toured with, I was disappointed I hadn’t listened to them sooner. God bless streaming music!

I will likely be collecting their sounds.

See also: ætherial

I remember loving Pointcast and installing it on home and work computers. At the time I also loved HotBot and Internet Explorer and WIRED Magazine and A Declaration of the Independance of Cyberspace.

And Techno.

image of PointCast UI circa late 1990s

Initial diagnosis 72 hours ago. Remdesivir Treatment began 48 hours ago.

The deceit and the disrespect is astonishing.

So… possible frost this weekend. Just realized we need to get out the weatherstripping. Seems like a we just took it down a few weeks ago.

I was reading some “Dad Jokes” to my daughter.

She said, “Poppa, can you look up some jokes?”

The Halloween Tree

I love the novel The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury.

It was one of the early young adult novels I read in my life, and possibly my first exposure to Ray Bradbury as a youth. As a boy it was the first time I had deeply considered death.

What I appreciated most was the historical scope and sweep of history, but I won’t lie that I don’t appreciate being so deeply mislead about Samhain. It’s fiction, of course. An author can write what he wishes. Powerful imagery, but… wrong.

Yet I own paper and electronic versions.

It means that much to me.

Danse Macabre, Op. 40

My love affair with Danse Macabre began in elementary school. Mrs. Otten played Halloween songs on the piano and we sang from mimeographed lyric sheets.

I was introduced to parts of the melody via a song called the Halloween Song, which has stuck in my head ever since, because the refrain includes singing the letters that spell the holiday.

It sounded a lot like this YouTube. I’m certain my teacher played a copy of this very recording.

In music classes in later years we listened to the symphonic version while watching filmstrips of artistic conceptions of what the various parts of the music could represent.

Here’s a great article from CBC which includes some great background on the piece and some really enjoyable renditions including one for two pianos.

For me the piece is tied to Autumn and to All Hallow’s Evening, even though it wasn’t the intent of the composer.

Schools don’t track holidays the same way as they did, a long time ago. So for my daughter, I have work to do If I want this to stick.

I am excited by restaurant delivery services and use them frequently.

I am deeply disappointed by quality control as our orders leave the house, however. Errors are so frequent that I’m actually happy when one order arrives complete. This is not a criticism of one restaurant or delivery service. It is a criticism of them all.

Quality has not improved since I worked the Burger King drive-through in the 1980’s.

I know the pressure is intense. I have worked at fast food and pizza joints. I get it.

But no one has got it right.

that feeling when you’re trying to configure a new service management tool, but every clarifying question leeds to several different related trails of questions

Territories

Spent some time this morning watching shows about politics and shows about the consequences of political conflict.

Any time we think of groups of people that include friends, neighbors and family as an enemy, I wonder if we aren’t then the problem. I’m including myself, here.

I do hereby disavow political parties. I will continue to study and learn. I will be performing my civic duty this fall to the best of my ability.

I’m neither happy nor hopeful.

The whole wide world
An endless universe
Yet we keep looking through
The eyeglass in reverse
Don’t feed the people
But we feed the machines
Can’t really feel
What international means
In different circles
We keep holding our ground
Indifferent circles
We keep spinning round and round

—Lyric by Rush

“The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled today that the NSA’s bulk collection of phone call metadata violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and was likely unconstitutional.”

Via EPIC

“The Greeks had no original sin and no eschatology because they saw nothing inherently wrong with the world in the first place.”

Things you find reading papers from Academia for the joy of it

And…the worst case? I asked.

“Facebook might have won already, which would mean the end of democracy in this century,” Lanier said. “It’s possible that we can’t quite get out of this system of paranoia and tribalism for profit—it’s just too powerful and it’ll tear everything apart, leaving us with a world of oligarchs and autocrats who aren’t able to deal with real problems like pandemics and climate change and whatnot and that we fall apart, you know, we lose it. That is a real possibility for this century. I’m not saying I think it’s what’ll happen, but I wouldn’t count it out. There’s evidence every single day that it’s what’s happening.”

Take the amount of misinformation about masks and COVID-19 that was flying around Facebook and Twitter daily and in turn making its way onto Fox News. Most of the people who appear on air on Fox, Lanier pointed out, are themselves on social media, getting their information or lack thereof. And so disinformation goes from Twitter to Fox to the social media feeds of the president, and the cycle begins anew. Look at how powerful these platforms could be, to the point where “the sway of media is more powerful than the experience of reality—that people can be watching hundreds of thousands die from this virus and yet believe it’s a hoax at the same time, and integrate those two things. That’s the food for evil,” Lanier said.

Today I read about Jaron Lanier and Bill Gibson in a print magazine that wasn’t Wired. These are enough references to my age in one day…

Photo Sharing Is/Is Not Simple

For all of the talk of ecosystems, it was easier to share from my Apple Photos library to Micro.blog and to Instagram from my iPhone. Not my iPad, for which there is no native Instagram app, and for which the work-alikes did not allow multiple selections. So, while my iPhone was charging, I downloaded the iPhone app to my iPad, did the pixel doubling so I could type, and did the work that way.

There are probably more ways to do this, and really I wanted to do it elegantly from my MacBook Air, however I didn’t perceive a faster method than exporting and uploading, and I chose not to do that.

I feel that this might be a driver behind Catayst apps and unifying the underlying silicon.

Made it all the way through. It seems like this iteration is less “white” or “bright” than the first public beta. UI still feels fresh but more familiar.

Proceeds like an iOS update with lots of time set aside for processing

Total size is about (?) 5 Gigs smaller than the first beta

I was pleased and impressed by the thoroughness of the profile of Psilocybin on 60 Minutes, of all places

Music can return me to times, places, and states of mind in a way that almost no other carrier-of-meaning can. I spent time in motion behind a lawn mower this afternoon while listening to music and letting my mind go free.

I have realized that I am still everything I have become.

But I assert that I am not done becoming.

To speak is to risk being misunderstood.

Please allow me to quote heavily from The Bard Terence McKenna—this selection comes from a discussion about language:

We use rapidly modulated small mouth noises. As primates we have incredible ability to make small mouth noises. We can do this for up to six hours at a stretch without tiring. No other thing we can do approaches the level of variation with low energy investment that the small mouth noises do. A person using a deaf-and-dumb language is exhausted after forty-five minutes.

But a problem with the small mouth noises mode of communication is: I have a thought, I look in a dictionary that I have created out of my life experience, I map the thought onto the dictionary, I make the requisite small mouth noises, they cross physical space, they enter your ear, you look in your dictionary, which is different from my dictionary, but if we speak what we call ‘the same language’ it will be close enough that you will ‘sort of’ understand what I mean. Now if I don’t say to you, ‘what do I mean?’ you and I will go gaily off in the assumption that we understand each other.

I stand behind my words.

What do I mean?

When the Supplemental Update for your device is 3.2 Gigs…

Preserving Audio Formats

Thinking about old forms of media, I am torn about attempting to digitize old formats versus (re)buying. Something like an old movie on a DVD is low hanging fruit, as is music on CDs. I’ve long had CDs ripped and am working on movies.

But cassettes and vinyl—there is a labor of love. Transcribing happens in real time, then editing is necessary to separate tracks dubbed during the session…

There is great equipment available to do a good job of this, even for a home hobbyist.

The issue is time.

And releasing music I can find no other way.

Technology Nostalgic: Tape Deck

Aiwa AD-F350U

Used a tape deck very much like the one pictured here. It was the first audio equipment I purchased. It played through a little amplifier I purchased in kit form and assembled in a high-school electronics class.

I dubbed many, many records from friends. Listened to hundreds of albums purchased new on cassette. Thousands of hours of my life are connected to this. Such an 80s artifact. It survived into the early 2000s but one too many lightning strikes to the power grid took it out. Still have the library of aging cassettes.

For two decades, this was a critical furnishing in any of my living spaces.

Listening to older music makes me think of the past.

The internet did not disappoint me. I was able to triangulate and find an image of the very model I used to own.

Imported just 7 posts from an old blog into my current home. Exported from Blogger, imported to WordPress, exported from WordPress, then imported to Micro.blog. It’s just that easy. Then I spent hours re-linking media and switching categories.

My progress bar has stopped moving but my Mac has continued to download additional data #beta #BigSur #macOS

Diving in! It’s a big download, but I have enrolled in the Big Sur Public Beta

AirPods Pro

Despite the shipping company doing almost everything possible to unbox my AirPods for me, Apple’s overkill packaging protected the cargo very well.

The setup experience has been truly lovely, the controls are lovely, integration with Apple Watch is lovely, audio is lovely, Transparency is lovely, Noise Cancelling is impressive.

Okay, I’ve only had them for scant hours now.

These aren’t the first bluetooth headphones or earbuds I’ve worn, nor the first true wireless pair.

But I will say these are the most thoughtfully designed and possibly among the best sounding

Having dietary concerns is a minefield. I dangerously assumed a special order I made for home delivery was correct. But the worst part is that I didn’t confirm and I ate it.

#celiac

Just dumped out a bunch of water at my desk. It doesn’t happen often, but every time it does I’m frustrated that I’m not more cautious, that I’m not using lids.

Water bottles are kinda tippy.

Lids are frustrating.

And around we go.

Settled. Science. Is a contradiction in terms. Science is constantly in motion pushing the frontiers of our body of knowledge. Opinions are settled. Careers are settled. Be alert.

Settled Science offers comfortable anachronisms.

It’s here! Got myself a birthday present from @schoolstoic

One of my favorite photos, from June 2010.

#michelewhitephotography

Is it just me with the disappointment that now even our TV screens must be rebooted?

Apple Music has generated a radio station based on my preferences. It is eerie to have me fed back to me, but also it’s on point.

Just was emailed directly about the Cyph service. Does anyone have experience with it? It was proposed to me as an alternative to Keybase, which is now under new ownership.

Today, I learned that evapotranspiration, also called Corn Sweat (in the parlance of our times), is capable of influencing humidity over large areas. Ex: the Corn Belt

Sobering statistic:

The rate of death from COVID-19 for people with Type 2 Diabetes is 12 times higher than in the general population.

I have Type 2 Diabetes.

At a minimum I am at a significantly higher risk for Severe Illness.

I wear mask and I am grateful when you do, too.

Music is such a strange, personal journey. In my twenties I really didn’t think I could get enough fast, noisy techno. Today I’m seeking out shoegaze and dream pop at about half of the tempo. But still loud. Still has to be loud enough to feel.

The universal plea of the person with more than one device talking to the same service: Can’t notifications go away over here when I acknowledged them over there?

It’s looking to me (after a cursory seach) like there is not current agreement on HTML anchors via Markdown.

::sadface::

File Under “Things I Wish I Had Thought of, Sooner”:

Deadpan Existential Jokes

Would work great as a blog name or profile description

DISC assessment at work, today. The difference between my perception of myself and the perception others have of me is instructive and astonishing at once.

I’m a C when I’m in novel situations or under stress. I’m an I when I’m confortable and in my element.

That feeling when I’m searching iTunes and my music collection for an album that I know I own. Except I don’t. I did have the artist right, and I was close to the correct year of release, but 100 percent wrong on the album cover art.

Dear Coffee,

I am just writing to let you know how much I appreciate all that you do for me.

In gratitude,

Hjalmer

Noted:

It’s a privilege to learn about racism rather than to experience it.

I cannot say they made no attempt to notify me. #StaySafeMN

RTO or Return to Office is what my company is calling it. We are at 10 percent staffing on-site, with the remainder doing remote work. I wear a mask away from my desk, and there are many limits in place throughout the facility. #CubeLife #CivilianMaskCorps #StaySafeMN

For such a tiny update, 13.5.1 is taking plenty of time to install…

Return to Office

I have continued to work as part of a skeleton crew staff (I manage a desktop support team) throughout the pandemic. Today my state has opened in some small ways and I will see a small number of additional coworkers. I was gifted with hand sanitizer, a reusable and some disposable masks, and an insulated lunch bag.

St. Paul Curfew for May 29-31

Executive Order May 29, 2020, 2020-11

EMERGENCY EXECUTIVE ORDER 2020-11

I, Melvin Carter III, Mayor of the City of Saint Paul, on May 29, 2020, pursuant to Saint Paul Legislative Code Section 13.06, do hereby issue the following Executive Order:

On May 29, 2020, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 12.29, I issued an Emergency Declaration, declaring a Peacetime Emergency due to the civil unrest occurring throughout Saint Paul.

Saint Paul Leg. Code Chapter 13.06(b) provides that, “whenever necessary to meet an emergency … the mayor may by executive order promulgate regulations … for which adequate regulations have not been adopted … respecting …the conduct of persons and the use of property during emergencies; the repair, maintenance and safeguarding of essential public services; emergency health, fire and safety regulations; and all other matters which are required to protect public safety, health and welfare in emergencies”.

On May 25, 2020, a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd while he was handcuffed and in the custody of officers of the Minneapolis Police Department. Other Minneapolis police officers stood guard as witnesses begged the officers to provide life-saving aid to George Floyd. Civil unrest has arisen in the Twin Cities metropolitan area since Mr. Floyd’s death. This civil unrest included mass protests in Minneapolis on May 26-28, 2020 which caused injuries, looting and the destruction of public and private property. This civil unrest, including looting and the destruction of property, has spread to Saint Paul as of May 28, 2020. On May 29, 2020 the Saint Paul Fire Chief reported that between May 28, 2020 and May 29, 2020, the City received over 300 calls for service for fires, 126 of which were related to fire calls and 55 of which were confirmed. A curfew is necessary in order to ensure the public safety of the people of Saint Paul.

Governor Walz, in Executive Order 20-56, has declared a peacetime emergency in the City of Saint Paul as well as the City of Minneapolis and the “surrounding communities”. Governor Walz, as part of Executive Order 20-56, has also activated the National Guard to support in emergency operations and response. On May 29, 2020. Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-65 implementing a night-time curfew in the cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Melvin Carter III, Mayor of the City of Saint Paul, do hereby issue the following Emergency Executive Order:

Night-time Curfew: effective May, 29, 2020, at 8:00 P.M. a curfew is imposed in all public places within the City of Saint Paul between the hours of 8:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M. Travel Prohibited. During the curfew, all persons must not travel on any public street or public place. Exemptions. All law enforcement, fire and medical personnel, and members of the news media, as well as other personnel authorized by the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Minnesota State Patrol, or Minnesota National Guard, are exempt from the curfew. Individuals traveling directly to and from work, seeking emergency care, fleeing danger, or experiencing homelessness are also exempt.

Definitions. a. For the purposes of this Executive Order, “travel” includes, without limitation, travel on foot, bicycle, skateboard, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit, or any other mode of transporting a person from one location to another. b. For the purposes of this Executive Order, a “public place” is any place, whether on privately or publicly owned property, accessible to the general public, including but not limited to public streets and roads, alleys, highways, driveways, sidewalks, parks, vacant lots, and unsupervised property. Enforcement. a. Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 2019, section 12.45, an individual who willfully violates this Executive Order is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days. b. Any person who disobeys a lawful order of a regular member or auxiliary member of the police or fire departments enforcing this Executive Order or another person having a specific emergency management assignment and displaying their official identification enforcing this Executive Order shall be guilty of a misdemeanor pursuant to Saint Paul Legislative Code 13.13.

Pursuant to Chapter 13 of the Saint Paul Legislative Code, this Executive Order is in immediate effect upon my signature and, if not sooner rescinded or later extended, shall expire at 6:00 A.M. on May 31, 2020.

So, yeah. I’m on the east side of St. Paul and I’m lucky not much has come close to me. But I started to cry when I saw this advice on screen.

Here is the full list

  • Be off the streets at 8:00 p.m.
  • Be aware of suspicious activities/groups
  • Be aware of large gatherings
  • Call 911 if you are witnessing suspicious activity
  • Remove anything from your lawn that could be flammable or a projectile through a window
  • Store dumpsters in your garage or move to hidden area in back yard. Consider wetting down the inside contents if they have to be left outside in view.
  • Keep LIGHTS ON and some windows open to hear noises that may be approaching. (use caution with windows that may be easily asked from the ground)
  • Have an escape plan and a to-go bag (remember to take along any medicines you may need)
  • If you need to be outside wear headlamp, bright colors and reflective clothing
  • Charge cell phones. Cell towers might go out
  • Have alternative ways to communicate with your neighbors and help them to make a plan in case things do get bad.
  • Have garden hoses ready and untangled for possible use.
  • Check your flood lights; door lights; KEEP THEM ON.
  • Soak down wood fences and surfaces
  • If you have a Little Free Library-empty it.
  • If you have a fire extinguisher-get it ready
  • Check on each other-especially older neighbors, and the vulnerable.
  • For those who choose to stand outside, watching homes or businesses, do not confront anyone. Call 911, call another neighbor to be with you.

If you are thoughtful, and you want to understand why, you can find the answer. The work is to accept your own responsibility.

My head is pounding. I’ve had personal epiphanies so now I have more work to do. I want to binge on carbs but that would make me hate myself more than usual. I’m going to take some Tylenol.

Skeleton crew today is even more skeleton-y because of folks taking extra time-off for the holiday. Usually there’s at least one other person on my floor. Today, it appears to be just me.

The delivery guys did come. The original window was between 10 and 2, later revised by email this morning to 10 and 1. Arrival time was a prompt 3:30.

I didn’t get up early enough. A can of Coke is fine for the boost, but doesn’t taste like coffee with half and half.

This is assuming I understand anything, but I think it would be cool if the Apple Home app could also push updates to Apple TV units.

It’s hard to remember to put on a face mask every time I walk away from my desk at work. Muscle memory is hard to overcome. I’m not saying I have it bad, only that I’m frustrated with my own ability to change.

Today I note, to my chagrin, that while cupping my hand over my mouth and nose does not work to detect bad breath, wearing a face mask absolutely does work.

Just unboxed this Macally keyboard and I’m already a fan!

I didn’t realize Keybase was looking for a buyer, or was as such something one could buy. I understand so little about my world…

I’m using #HowWeFeel to help track and fight COVID-19. For each new user HWF is donating a meal through @FeedingAmerica. 491,439 meals donated so far! Download it here: get.howwefeel.org/share

Explorator is a wonderful resource if you’re interested in classical history, anthropology, and/or archeology. Well-organized and available via RSS.

I know I’m a late-comer to this, but I am so impressed with keyboard integration on iOS. Makes an old iPad Air 2 feel new.

Despite the many, many times I have tried this, I can confirm that repeatedly using the wrong password for your account is still ineffective.

I find myself wondering, were I not a Muggle, what would the consequences be of a spell that enforced social distancing?

Feels good to sit in front of a keyboard without having work obligations attached to it.

Put together an IKEA Hemnes chest of drawers. Only needed these simple tools, six hours, and six hands.

Have worked from home for four days out of five this week. Partially because of a new program at my work place and partially because I have the flu (not COVID-19). I have had easily as many “meetings” this week as any other. Even as an introvert, I was feeling disconnected. I did not expect that.

The Paradox of Preparation

Along the same lines, Jason Kottke wrote an excellent article explaining why, in a pandemic like COVID-19, appropriate actions to “flatten the curve” often seem like overkill both at the time they are taken, and in retrospect. He quotes physician Dr. James Hamblin:

“The thing is if shutdowns and social distancing work perfectly and are extremely effective it will seem in retrospect like they were totally unnecessary overreactions.”

and epidemiologist Mari Armstrong-Hough:

“You won’t ever know if what you did personally helped. That’s the nature of public health. When the best way to save lives is to prevent a disease rather than treat it, success often looks like an overreaction.”

From an email newsletter from Chris Kresser

My clinic does not want me to visit the office. I suspect they will ask me to self-quarantine. I get it.

Heritage Middle School. Swimming lessons tonight with Sofia

Target. Needing the coating, soothing, and relieving

Target. 6’ doesn’t seem like much and 25’ seems much too much.

As a Celiac, I know better than to eat food from a box without reading the ingredient list. Unfortunately, one time I did not and the consequences have been severe…Wheat is my mortal enemy

If there’s one thing I have learned to love at work, it’s all the opportunities I have to prove I am who I am to the Microsoft products I depend on.

Apple Rosedale Center. You know those unboxing videos where the thing falls onto the floor? Yeah…

APi Group. Monday has presented a few surmounted hurdles already. What more could be in store?

Deeply grateful for the series of events that helped the human race to discover that menthol stops the coughing. Also grateful to the candy makers who experimented with flavors like menthol. The art of the lemon drop is the art of the cough drop. I can sleep and so can my family.

I’m left to wonder, due to the apparent commonality of the circumstance, if all of my shirts aren’t stained in some subtle but ultimately visible way

The Exchange - Food & Drink. Lunch with my team, welcoming a new member

APi Group. Strange day wherein one important tool was only partially receptive to my use of it, preventing productivity and requiring others to assist

Poring over blood test results this afternoon. I got the raw data and terse summary in today’s mail.

I found that Lab Tests Online has a Tests Index that is a great tool for translating acronyms or medical terms into terms I understand.

Catrina’s Cerveza and Grill. Lunch with colleagues and a good partner

IOS Wish List:

Make all your devices respect the Silence Unknown Callers toggle.

I know cell phones only ring for an interval like 21 or 23 seconds, but in certain circumstances, that is the longest 23 seconds of my life.

So, I’ve toggled Calls on other devices to Off

APi Group. Another opportunity to work on a kind of tool I haven’t worked with before. IT work is almost all problem-solving and almost no expertise

I’m tired of boot laces breaking. I’ve invested in two sets made by Ironlace. I hope they are better!

APi Group. Long day. Have learned, so that must mean it has been worthwhile

…And, insult to injury, I’ve made a similar mistake, moments later.

Evidence suggests I have the attention span of a gnat.

That moment when you realize you are going to have to wait some time for opportunity to return after you clicked a button too soon

Five Guys. Sometimes your second choice for lunch is still amazeballs

AT&T. Because with an eSIM, a factory restore wipes that number. So I need a QR code

APi Group. Not my most efficient or effective day but lots was done and worked on

APi Group. Monday traffic after a light snow. By now in the season folks are more measured on the road

Is Memorial Listening a thing?

I think a bunch of old guys like me are thinking about Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta, The Spirit of the Radio and similar topics whilst playing giant drum kits in our heads.

Culver’s. Because there was a SNAFU with Door Dash. But also, as always, gluten-free buns for the win

Holiday Inn Blmgtn Arpt South- Mall Area. Fred Pryor seminar today

Culver’s. I am always grateful for gluten-free options, and I support businesses that make it easy to be me

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Tron Legacy character Zuse is probably not a reference to the Hellenistic pantheon as much as a nod to Konrad Zuse. I had wondered why the character was so vulnerable.

Pancheros Mexican Grill. Mexican for lunch. I know everyone is shocked

I have been using Foursquare (now Swarm) for location check-ins for 10 years, now. I’m not consistent with lots of technology tools, but this one has stuck.

It’s fun to look back at where I have been. When I look at a sequence of check-ins, remembering where and why, it helps me to reconstruct a day. It’s a fun tool that has helped me personally and professionally.

Starting 2020 with extra sleep and lots of coffee.

This bodes well. :)

APi Group. Grateful for light traffic and a low support call volume

How I Made Twitter Enjoyable Again

I have transitioned to Micro.blog as my primary online presence, but I still have my Twitter account. While I have often entertained leaving it altogether, I still wish to keep my handle. I have also found that with thoughtful curation, it’s still a place to learn new things about the world and to be excited by new people and topics.

One big change came after applying a suggestion from @patrickrhone. He announced that he had turned off retweets for accounts he follows. This ingenious trick goes a long way to reduce tweets from people that you do not follow and will reduce tweets on topics you care nothing about. The tweets you see are true to the voice of the person behind the account and not the voices of others they may follow. You will still see shared tweets, but the commentary adds context. It takes more time to share tweets this way, so the tweets shared in this fashion are more meaningful. It does require accepting that you will see fewer tweets overall, so some opportunity to learn about like-minded individuals is lost.

Retweets are also a measure for accounts you may be interested in following. How many tweets in their streams are written by themselves? How much of their streams are just the tweets of others? It also has made me think about the act of retweeting for myself. I will like a tweet that speaks to me, but I rarely retweet any more.

A second big change was to filter out political language. Both primary political parties in the United States have lost my respect completely. Politics make me angry and sad, and that is not the experience I want from my Twitter stream. I run from political discussion as much as others specifically seek it out. I have blocked words that refer to the political parties, words that refer to the political spectrum, words that refer to the people in the parties, and words used to denigrate members of parties other than one’s own. I have had enough. I do follow the accounts of folks elected to represent me, but the same filters apply so I probably don’t see much from those same people.

And lastly, there is that curation thing. I don’t love that word as applied by marketing teams, but I have made a point to think about my own ideals and what is important to me and I measure who I follow against that. When accounts make me angry or sad, I simply unfollow. When I can no longer tell why I followed a specific account, I unfollow. When I see accounts that appear to be trolling or are otherwise propagating falsehoods because they can, I block. Easy.

Curating also can be applied from areas of interest or study or self-improvement. Writers whose work appears in places that excite me are easy follows. Artists whose work I admire are easy follows. Companies doing work I’m interested in are easy follows. Individuals committed to causes dear to me are easy follows. But all of the filters above apply.

Even though I have put strict filters in place, the mouth of the funnel is still pretty wide and lots of great material makes it through. I still cannot keep up with the firehose.

“If there’s anything I’ve learned about politics it’s this: as soon as you conclude the other guys are complete idiots and intentionally doing evil things, immediately stop – because something is wrong. Your BS detector should be going off like a fire alarm.”

How to Know What’s Right in Politics

APi Group. Today’s word is authentication. How many times do we authenticate? As many times as it takes.

That feeling when I had left the edit window open but forgot what I had intended to write

One last re-watch of The Polar Express before… Mama and Poppa perform elven magic

Today marks the first day I was asked if I was eligible for a Senior Discount

APi Group. Last day before a short holiday. I work with some excellent humans. I am grateful and humbled.

APi Group. When a meeting is cancelled, another grows to take its place

So, when there is a technology assistant that can really help me save time in categories like running errands, preparing food, doing laundry, or the like… let me know. Having an “assistant” constantly listening is not something I have ever wanted.

#Adulting Is Hard

A lesson I have not learned is that I affect the people I live with my moods and actions. Not intending to cause harm is not the same as not causing harm. And not saying every stupid thing doesn’t mean I won’t say small things stupidly.

I haven’t learned how to intercept my feelings more quickly. I haven’t learned how let the emotions flow without being swept up in them.

Sometimes things are spinning sideways pretty spectacularly before I understand that I am the spinner.

It is humbling to recognize the work in front of me to be better.

I hope that my actions will soon show that I have internalized this lesson because I no longer repeat it.

Applebee’s Grill + Bar. Taking a tasty Steak and Shrimp break before we head to Gerten’s

St. Pascal Baylon Catholic Church and School. Christmas tree for Grams

I played with a logo generator which worked by combining words, images, fonts and colors in many ways.

For free, it allowed me to download a 200x200 pixel image file of the combination that amused me the most.

I Have a Blog, So Now What?

Writing is terrifying, isn’t it?

I mean, when you over-think it, as I am inclined to do.

I have a good vocabulary. I know I can do a good job constructing sentences and paragraphs. I have many great places to record my thoughts.

But it’s my internal editor whose objections are the hardest to overcome.

“Everybody has already said that.”
“Everybody is going to hate it if you say that.”
“What if that’s an idea that will become terribly unpopular in three years? Am I going to be allowed to evolve?”
“Is this going to affect my job if my co-workers see this?”

So please forgive the milquetoast as I get over myself. I know these thoughts do not make me unique in any way.

I have deep admiration for those who write and create regularly, revealing themselves and showing vulnerability.

I am grateful to you for lighting the way.

My first thought was “What is casting that shadow?” Then I realized it was most likely caused by a plane flying though the clouds.

That feeling when vendors decide how you use the free version of their service is no longer supportable.

APi Group. Oh, just wrapping up rework on an old ticket. Lots of time today reporting. Team stats, team meeting. Sharing updated knowledge articles…

Chianti Grill. Blackened Ribeye. Welcome dinner for a new colleague.

APi Group. Planning Meeting was cancelled. Note to self: Get better at planning

Today is Strange Frozen Precipitation Day in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. #mnwx

Holiday Station Store. Because that snowblower doesn’t run or air or sweat. And because I forgot to get gasoline when the weather was better

The strangest thing about snowstorms at night, in populated areas, is the light. Brighter than a full moon, our artificial lights are reflected back to us from the crystal ice falling gently down

The apparent slow death of OwnYourGram might be the inspiration I need to move on.

I am experimenting with own your swarm. It is remarkable how, looking back, a few words can help reconstruct a day. Also? Looking for more opportunities to jot down a few thoughts…

Fraser Woodbury Clinic. Participating in my daughter’s routine this morning

Tron and the Future

The Users are the center of it all, and now that the control of the Users is getting so tight, and restrictive, it simply pushes the vapors through the cracks, and under the door, you can’t stop it, the time has come, fight for the Users, let the next tech revolution begin, it will be a great oversight and shock to the Googles and Apples of the world, but it must be, or we face those science fiction scenarios which, at this point, if we slide into in this next decade, it means the genres of the apocalyptic scene, it means Skynet, it means killer robots, it means Blade Runner, it means Escape from New York. It will make William Gibson novels look like the Jetsons.

Tron and the Future
Exploring the Meaning of Tron: Legacy
The Mythologies of “Tron: Legacy”

As I work to become more fully alert this morning, I am grateful for coffee.

Wendy’s. Ordered and paid online, however they do not prepare your order until you arrive. But if your order is complicated (GF), this method is nice

I re-watched Johnny Mnemonic, last night, for nostalgic reasons… it is still a bad action film with a sci-fi trappings. Too much Hollywood and not enough Bill Gibson…

So much for the long tail? Wanted to buy Staring at the Sea from iTunes, today but it’s not there. It was my first exposure to The Cure because I’m not that cool.

I had always imagined that fatherhood would be instructive. I had no way to know how profound it might be.

When you realize, after editing a web page, your additions belong on a different web page

Our human climate-control sensibilities are so weird. During the cooling season, though I tend to run warm, I am chilled at my desk. Alternately, now that the heat is on in my building, I have a fan running at my desk because otherwise I’m uncomfortably warm. In either case, when I go outside I’m blasted with the extreme opposite.

The Death of the Rude Press

“In the elite press—on cable news, in newspaper opinion sections—you can say the most monstrous things imaginable, as long your language is polite. What you can’t do is rudely express a desire for a more just world…”

”…If your local media has no place for people who voice contempt for your city’s police chief, say, or your state’s attorney general, or the publisher of your city’s largest newspaper, all of those people will feel more comfortable in abusing their power. They will grind you down, and in the process, they’ll tell you to be civil about it.”

The Death of the Rude Press @ New Republic

New haircut. New glasses. And the cutest photo bomber in the world.

Dear political advertisers,

I believe none of you. Please stop.

Sincerely,

A Voter

Beautiful day for a walk. Lovely to find the wild peaking out in between the manicured spaces.

Status: listening to Elizabeth Fraser while enjoying coffee and reading alternate takes on history

¯_(ツ)_/¯

A favorite way for me to learn more about artists, more deeply, is via the passions of friends

A cool thing on Apple Music is that you can subscribe to playlists from individuals in addition to those that Apple provides

If you do the Apple Music thing, I share playlists there as “Hjalm”

There is more beautiful music than will ever be played on the radio, more than I will ever hear

Have paid notice to this word. Heard it a lot in a single podcast recently.

Notice how and when you hear it.

My favorite Eddie Money song was Think I’m in Love from his 1982 album No Control

I told a colleague, yesterday, that change will never again be as slow as it is today.

And that statement has held true.

There is much to be done.

That feeling when trying to recall my new passphrase (that I have already used dozens of times per day) and I draw a complete blank

“It is expected that work of all kinds will be generally suspended, and that the wage workers of the whole city will enjoy the holiday.”

Minneapolis Tribune, 1894

/via HCLib

Ear Worm of the Moment:

Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer

As performed for the soundtrack of The Sting

I mention culture because I fear the contribution I can make as an individual isn’t enough. Or, worse, that the ideas I have about peace, love and understanding aren’t real. That’s not who humans are. We should not aspire.

Watching Sunday Morning on Sunday Morning. There’s a segment on the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock which leads me to think about culture. What one generation tried to accomplish and the place where we are now. Went to sleep after one mass shooting and woke up to news of another.

I feel dumb. It took me too long to locate the song-rating functionality in the iOS 13 beta. I had thought Apple was removing it. I spent lots of time mentally architecting a solution that proved to be completely unnecessary.

Heat lightning. Storm in video is between Northfield and Redwing, Minnesota. Visible from Conway neighborhood in St. Paul. 83% humidity on a hot Summer night. Jupiter presiding.

It would make sense that the LEGO kits were for someone else, but they are mine and I really treasure them.

I used to collect the Castle sets including the Foresters and Pirates… I have many, many minifigs

Hogwarts Clock Tower, Grand Finale. Including Yule Ball

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Hogwarts Clock Tower, including clock face and dormitory

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Hogwarts Clock Tower, phase four. Including Professor Moody’s office

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Hogwarts Clock Tower phase three. I did not expect the Tri-Wizard Cup, nor the chest containing the real “Mad-Eye” Moody

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Hogwarts Clock Tower phase two including bath and Dumbledore’s office

Assembly complete, including concessions (note chocolate frog) and dementor.

My daughter Sofia asked me if I have ever been to Hogwarts. Though I considered several responses, I answered “No…” I was taken aback when she said “I hope you get your letter!” #proudPoppa #ParentingDoneRight

TIL: I need a work light and a magnifying glass. For LEGO

Kings Cross station as imagined by LEGO. Including Harry, Ron, Scabbers (the rat), and Professor Lupin.

Lake Phalen, Saint Paul, MN

Water Lantern Festival

One of my musical happy places is Eyes of the World by the Grateful Dead. My favorite recorded version is from the Without a Net compilation–all 16 minutes of it!

It’s also fun that I reset my Keychain recently because of issues. So, in doing a multi-factor authentication this morning, I needed to use a second multi-factor authentication process to get to the item I needed for the first.

In this era of complex passwords, it routinely takes me 4 or 5 attempts to correctly authenticate every morning

The more I think about writing, the more difficult the act itself seems to become.

What temperature are tamales traditionally cooked to? Because the tamales we have delivered are always still finger-burn-y hot…

“He’s going to try to get this working…”

No, he isn’t going to try anything. He is going to do it.

Applying Combo Update for good measure after finally getting into the user profile. “About 10 minutes remaining.” So, I am hopeful.

I feel a little like I’m crazy or out of step with macOS troubleshooting because I have been working on a newer MacBook Air and it isn’t behaving like anything I have seen before. Suffice it to say, resetting the NVRAM seems to have been the key… after the third or fourth time.

America has chosen several versions of the same thing. #TheVoice

Sometimes, the tankard of coffee is what you need.

The neighbors are setting off Easter fireworks. So we have that going for us…

It has been a long time, Florida. Thanks for being kind.

If you think of Apple as a company that makes computers and software, today’s keynote is confusing. If you think of Apple as a group of people who have adopted a mission, everything revealed today makes sense as a part of that.

Haikus came up in Conversation, so I smiled. I miss making art.

It was a treat tonight driving home in rain, in temperatures above freezing, in day light. I’m ready for longer days and Summer temperatures.

That feeling when you go to the break room, there’s nobody to wait for, the coffee carafe is full, and you make no spills

Photo Challenge: Day 1 of 7

Groceries are laid in. Let the snow begin.

Yesterday I listened to the majority of a Joe Rogan podcast featuring David Lee Roth. Naturally today I’m listening to Van Halen from an specific era.

I would like to “thank” a colleague at work for the Baby Shark refrain that has become an ear worm, today.

I was just in a meeting where a technology failure helped the participants to dig into non-technology processes and fix something that was broken. It was fun to have synergy happen. Opinions were shared. Options were discussed. Decisions were made.

Fragility Base

I watched two movies about the Apollo Space Program this weekend.

The experience is very complex for me, emotionally. The experience of writing this post is an attempt to define what it means.

I had read recently about a film that was making its way through festivals and Friday I tried to figure out what it was called. But I might be wrong about its provenance. And while I couldn’t remember a title or find what I thought I was looking for, I did find some documentaries available online which seemed to cover similar ground.

The first documentary is called For All Mankind. It was released in 1989, several years after the Challenger disaster.

It was about all of the lunar missions, though the footage and narration was respective to the individual missions.

I found myself full of the same wonder today as I have always had.

In my lifetime, there has always been a space program. For a while, while I was younger, I believed there would be an opportunity for me to at least get to orbit. After all, at Christmastime in my first year of life, we orbited the moon. And not long after that, mission after mission got us to the surface of the moon itself.

When the Shuttle program was announced, I felt it was a natural progression. Of course we were going to have space planes. Of course we were going to find ways to make space travel easier and less expensive.

I remember well in my senior year of high school when Challenger failed. I felt disbelief and horror. My Chemistry teacher had submitted ideas for experiments to be carried aloft on that flight. One of my classmates figured out early on that an easy way to derail his lectures was to ask about the space program and his chances. I loved it. My chemistry teacher did, too.

I checked out books from the school library full of illustrations and speculations about what space craft might look like. What would space stations be used for? Would we build colonies in space? Could we survive on other planets?

It seemed, once, like there might have been an imperative. So many books and TV series and movies that I consumed pointed up to the sky and out of the solar system. 2001: A Space Odyssey, Six-Million Dollar Man, Star Trek, Space 1999, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Star Wars, Cosmos, Alien, Cosmos, even Blade Runner, all showed me this was not only possible but normal.

And so, the footage re-assembled in For All Mankind returned the feeling of wonder and the sense of the imperative to me. And I have missed that. As much as the movie is about the missions, it also is a fun window into a brief time and place.

The second film I found is In the Shadow of the Moon. This is a much different film. While it is about the same events in the Apollo missions, the context and the subject is the recollection of the experience by many of the surviving astronauts. How they felt about their roles and what they remembered about their thoughts as events transpired.

I learned that the astronauts themselves were involved in the design of the craft they flew. I learned that astronauts were on the ground working as part of mission control as the missions were in progress.

And I learned the astronauts were taken by the perception of people around the world that we all were a part of the missions, that the success of the missions belongs to all of humanity. They have been greeted for the rest of their lives not with “You did it!” but rather with “We did it!”

I was profoundly struck by the final few minutes when clearly the astronauts were asked how they were affected, and how their perspective has changed. I found it deeply moving and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone considering watching it.

I’d definitely re-watch either film. For me it was very bittersweet. I hope someday we can stop poking at each other for sport. I hope someday we can take stock of the amazing gifts we have and consider the what we can leave behind for those generations we will never know.

POSTSCRIPT

The movie I had read about is called Apollo 11. It’s going to be released first in IMAX, then in traditional theatres shortly thereafter.

That thing where you pre-order a book and forget about it until it arrives at your door…

It’s the nature of being human, I suppose?

Friday I felt more peace, gratitude and joy than I am today. I’m looking hard to find the places to be grateful through the angst and anxiety.

I wish you a good day. I am going to work hard at making you know I’m glad to be here. too.

Mama’s researching kombucha. Poppa’s listening to music. Sofia’s playing fetch with Gram’s dog Louie.

Grateful for

  • A car that starts
  • A car that’s warm inside
  • A new route to work
  • Bright morning sunshime on newly fallen snow
  • Clear blue sky
  • A state that sometimes is a Winter wonderland

It’s fun to live in the future. I added a page to my blog and filled it full of thoughts from my head with a device small enough to fit in my hand–and with no cabling. It still feels like magic, even speaking as an old techy.

Those days when it’s so cold it hurts to hold the steering wheel… hoping you’re all staying safe and comfortable

Installed iTunes on my Kindle. Am tending now toward Apple-ification…

My favored team was bested in the sportsball match this evening.

Tried a poke bowl for the first time tonight. I loved it. Would absolutely recommend it.

I wish I was half the typist my fingers would have me believe! #thispostmaybetypofree #iwillprobablyfindsomethethingwrongwithitonceitslive

Again I must record that I have not learned to write music, so I cannot share what I hear. Must fix. Must fix.

Three Things Left at Home

Three. Three is the running count of items that are currently not with me.

  1. Wallet: Stored in the correct place, but I did not perform my usual check before I left the house
  2. Key: Placed in a shirt pocket and not returned to its usual storage location at my work desk. The key should not have made it to my house.
  3. Food item: Intended to bring for lunch. I did bring two out of three things that I intended to bring, but I am frustrated that I did not verify what I had with me before I left the house. I am easily vexed by doing things out of order, by the simple placement of items outside of normal locations, and by my internal dialog which distracts or confuses me from whatever my intended course may be.

While I did leave the house fully bathed, fully dressed, and arrived to work on-time, I still need to work on systems that result in more consistent execution.

I hope that 2019 brings lots of opportunities for positive change in your life.

Happy New Year!

I don’t have an ugly Christmas sweater, but I did find this hat… @chrisgzuger

A Little Magic

Tonight we fed the reindeer, we watched The Grinch, Rudolph, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, and The Polar Express. Then we read The Grinch, and The Polar Express before Sofia gave in to exhaustion. She was very concerned that everyone should get to bed because the NORAD app showed Santa was as close as Michigan.

Santa enjoyed some cream cheese mints, a rice crispy bar, and some milk before he moved on to the next deserving family.

Elving complete for one more year. Next year I’m sure we’ll need to up our game to keep the magic alive. I’m excited!

Many preparations made. Many to go.

Here’s to plans going as expected, and to making Merry and Bright!

Leveraging Joy is a thought provoking post by my friend Paulio. It dovetails with thoughts I have been having about my own influence in the lives of people I am connected to.

My mom always used to sing “Over the River and Through the Woods” when we drove to her mother’s home in Wisconsin. Now it’s my turn as I drive my daughter to my mother’s home.

How Father Christmas Does It

Via Nicolas Bate

  • He starts with a VERY BIG PLAN for the year.
  • But-having studied Covey-he begins with the end in mind (H2).
  • He builds a team about as diverse as you can get.
  • He never loses sight of his clear and present mission despite the sacks of mail arriving on the hour, every hour.
  • He knows age is just a number.
  • He invests in the best, the very best, thermal underwear. And always wears a hat.
  • He never lets it bother him that many people don’t believe in him.

Progress on Personal Planning Tools

I’m casting my lot with Things at the moment.

I’ve been lost for a long time after I moved away from Palm Pilots. I never really got traction in Outlook or PlanPlus on the software side. I have flirted with Things, OmniFocus, Microsoft ToDo, Wonderlist, Informant, ToodleDo, Evernote, Tasks and Notes.

On the paper side I’ve tried Franklin-Covey methodology, I’ve carried Midori travel notebooks and I have tried Bullet Journaling.

I love paper. I love pencils. I love fountain pens. I found a roller ball pen that I like using that won’t explode or break in my pockets.

I found out I like grid-lined notebooks but I love dot-grid even more. I found out I don’t love the shape of Midori paper, I prefer A4 and A5 sized notepads and notebooks. Leuchtterm and Scribbles that Matter make notebooks that are wonderful companions. Skip the decorative layouts from YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram. Stick to The System.

I’m good at capture on paper but really bad at follow-through and prioritizing. And especially bad at keeping important things from previous days in front of me. This is my biggest opportunity.

So, wow, tools have really become much better. I understand what I want to accomplish better. And and ideas from Bullet Journaling really translate to software in ways I wouldn’t have understood without taking my second Oddyssey through journaling on paper. This makes me happy.

I still have to do the work, but I’m excited.

The next quest is for software I can keep in my phone to help with habit-tracking, tracking meals, tracking moods and other health characteristics. I have a lot of changes to make.

I’m open to suggestions on places to look and methods to explore.

I’ve been thinking a lot about supporting technology. In my career, my tendency to experiment and to follow my curiousity has been rewarded. Experimenting has enabled me to understand where there are real limits and risks, and has helped me to understand steps I can take to protect myself and steps I can take to recover. Going through these kinds of exercises repeatedly has removed fear and uncertainty and increased confidence.

Even though we all click on things and type, experimentation with technology is not a part of most professions. Some only deal with technology in a strict, procedure-driven sense. Failure to follow procedure leads to negative consequences.

Until recently, it didn’t occur to me that one reason that people will not reach out for assistance with technology is the fear of being perceived either as ignorant or incompetent to perform their jobs. These are people who otherwise have great amounts of experience, expertise, and wisdom in their vocation, but who feel thwarted by tools that seem impenetrable or incomprehensible, yet are presented as critical.

As technologists, we are just not trained to understand there are very human and emotional reasons that technology might not work. Emotions and culture affect all of our interactions, from simple break-fix support to the largest enterprise projects.

I’m interested in changing what I do, and how I do it, to increase the benefit. I’m interested in starting with that awareness, instead of compensating with re-work later, or wondering why a project failed if the technology was seemingly rational or the right thing to implement.

Found a bunch of review-later web links that clearly pre-date my use of Evernote and Instapaper. Several pointed to URLs and domains that no longer exist. Ugh.

I'm Not Carrying Two Phones Anymore

I have carried multiple communication devices several times in my career, including for the past 5 years at my current employer. My rationalization initially was to separate support calls from my personal life. A second benefit was to use a second carrier on different spectrum to ensure strong signal.

Logistically, that’s two devices on my person. Two Apple IDs. Two places for notifications to acknowledge. Two calendars. Two devices to update and to charge every day. More stuff to pack when I travel.

I’m not two people. I understand now that the extra effort is a distraction from more importal goals and work. I’m not Work Hjalmer and Home Hjalmer. I’m Hjalmer.

So I’m simplifying to a single device: Transitioning this weekend, then cutting service for the second number this week.

For folks in my personal life, I’m keeping the number I’ve had since about 2002. For my work colleagues, stay tuned for updates through official channels.

Sweet, Merciful Pain-Reliever

Tonight, I am grateful for xFinity Wi-Fi, which helped me in a pinch. I am grateful for Seafoam, and for electric starters on snowblowers. And tonight, most importantly,as i rest my head against my new headboard, I’m so grateful for tiny little electric screwdrivers that hold an amazing charge and have lots of torque.

And acetaminophen.

That feeling when you checked the ingredients of everything you ate for gluten, but your body tells you that you’ve missed something

First time listening to vinyl in these many long years. Bought the turntable a long time ago. Finally have the right space for it.

Just got the majority of my Thanksgiving provisions purchased. Be kind, everyone. Be patient and gentle with each other. It’s crowded but we are all in this together.

On Assumptions

In my professional life, problem-solving with technology, I almost always start with a set of assumptions and base my initial actions on those. If I’m lucky, I’m right. A rote solution works.

If I’m not lucky, I still win. I learn a new method, or a new perspective, or new patience. My knowledge in some respect will deepen. I have the relative luxury of rebuilding my model of the problem and restarting steps to resolution.

I have finally understood that this same approach in personal relationships is so wrong and so ineffective. It’s best to start with no assumptions. No reactions. And no talking until I get it.

And I suppose here, too, I’ve had the luxury of people tolerant of my quirks.

I thought I knew how to listen, but I see I can do better.

And then I need to ask, is there more I should know?

Choices, and Choosing

It’s so simple, and that’s why it’s so hard.

To–in turn–give to others the good feelings you experience when you’re with people who have had a profound effect in your life, you must choose to develop in yourself, and model in your own behavior, those traits you admire.

You must believe you can change.

I’ve been doing a lot of internal work lately, reflecting on things I’d like to change in the way I view my world and respond to it. It stings more than a little to understand the ways I have been holding myself back.

Going to learn about how an iPhone and a Kindle Fire work with an external keyboard.

Sending good thoughts forward and hoping for the best good. It’s a privilege to be in a position to help.

First exercise set is to get the equipment in place. Test pilot Sofia confirms all systems operational.

So happy I found this! It’s a magazine logo from another era… #Mondo2000 #wereapiratemindstation #howfastareyouhowdense #findtheothers

“Odin will not save you but he will give you inspiration and courage to save yourself…” I don’t remember where I first read, but I like it. #selfie #bearded #dramamuch

My first! I’m excited! #unimitsubishipencil #kurutoga

In the business parlance of our times, I have some “deltas” or “do-betters”

Brand new journal #leuchtturm1917 #startatthebeginning

Oh look, it it’s finally at the log in screen. But, wait, no! No it is not …

It’s not #snowmagedon, but we planned ahead with provisions and are cocooning this weekend. #mnwx

Morning cuppa. Thank you, @joelgroethe #apisupply #apisupplylifts

Springtime. More than eight inches of snow today, because Minnesota. #mnwx #stpaul #bearded #beardstagram #theboldnorth

Detonations

Video:A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 - by Isao Hashimoto

I would never have guessed anywhere near this number of detonations, ever.

What is the longterm legacy in our environment?

A big question I have is whether there is a correlation between the number of these devices set off and the heat in our atmosphere. If a single volcano can change global temperatures for years, what is the net effect of the waste heat and radiation generated by more than two thousand of these?

I Get the News I Need from the Weather Report

The news can keep happening. That’s just fine.

I love the counterpoint between the refrain saying “Half of the time we’re gone, but we don’t know where…” and the backup singers singing “Here I am.”

The album Bridge Over Troubled Water, featuring the title track, came out in 1970, before I was two. I started listening to it in earnest when I was a teenager about ten years later. It’s still one of my favorite albums.

I’ve always enjoyed The Only Living Boy in New York, it stands out to me even as much as the more famous tracks.

Lyrics for The Only Living Boy in New York

Bridge Over Troubled Water on Wikipedia

Music Is a Time Machine

I listened to parts of two different albums tonight.

When I first listened to each album, my life couldn’t have been more different, emotionally. The albums were released only a few years apart, but one came during a happier time and another came during a dark descent.

Listening to each one, tonight, brought back places, names and faces.

Funny, the places one can travel, just by picking an album out of a list.

Pink Moon

There is no end to discovery in music.

I have been listening to _Pink Moon_ by Nick Drake on repeat for about the last two hours. Just the one song, which is something I rarely do.

I watched The Lake House on TV last night, and it was featured in the soundtrack. And I remembered that it was in Volkswagen convertible commercials a long time ago. Maybe ten years ago? I had assumed at that time that it was a current song by a current commercial artist. You know, because Volkswagen and Mitsubishi had been using Crystal Method, Dirty Vegas and Propellerheads tracks. I won’t lie: I have purchased albums on the basis of television commercials.

But hearing it again made it fresh and I was determined this time to find it and download it.

It’s not on the soundtrack album for The Lake House. Fortunately, IMDB lists the songs in the movie, in what I’m guessing is order of appearance.

I made a lot of wrong guesses as to which song it might be, because I didn’t think through the lyrics as they related to the song title. And I assumed incorrectly the song was from the late 90s.

SO. If he was still alive, I would owe Nick Drake an apology. And I find myself wondering what the rest of his œuvre is like. _Pink Moon_ is the title track of his third album, released in 1972. He didn’t live long enough to produce a fourth.

It’s a sweet, stripped down, two-minute song. Two guitars and a few notes on a piano, and a few lines of poetry repeated twice:

See also: Nick Drake Pink Moon 1972 Full Album

Kim and Jessie

Kim and Jessie is a song that I can easily put on repeat.

M83’s last two albums have been trending toward a sound that is very nostalgic for me, and this particular song is a stand out example.

Though the song was released in 2008, it is heavily evocative of mid-1980s groups like ’Til Tuesday, Flock of Seagulls, and Tears for Fears. If you played a string of Top 40 hits from 1985 or 1986, and slipped in Kim and Jessie, I think a lot of people would think it sounds similar and familiar. Whether that makes you die inside a little or makes you a little giddy is personal, of course.

The lyric is simple, and most of the song is repetition of the chorus:

Somebody lurks in the shadows
Somebody whispers
Somebody lurks in the shadows
Yeah, yeah, yeah

But the repetition of the lyric in the last part of the song really works for me, because it gives me a chance to notice the additional vocal parts and the simultaneous guitar solo which are layered subtly, not detracting from the melody but awaiting your attention.

I had not seen the video until just before writing this piece. While it doesn’t sync to the lyric, I think it tells a similar story that is equally open to interpretation.

Album information at M83’s official site
Video at Last.fm
Video at YouTube
Lyrics Sites

AutoRip, My Purchase History, I Can't Remember All of It, And I Don't Know Enough

Tonight, I signed up for Amazon’s free cloud player service—specifically because of news items I read about Amazon’s new AutoRip service.

AutoRIP is something that ought to have been done a long time ago. If you buy a qualifying CD, subject to the terms of licensing between Amazon and the major record labels, you get the dics shipped to your house and you get an electronic copy placed in your Amazon Cloud Player library. These electronic copies are back-dated as well. Amazon says any qualifying CD purchase since 1998 also (eventually) will be put into your Cloud Player.

So, naturally, I had to sign up for the free account. As an aside, I learned that you can store 250,000 tracks in your cloud player for $25 per year. This is ten times the music that iTunes Match allows for the same price. I find myself tempted to store music here, too. (This has changed. iTunes Match allows 100,000 tracks)

Of the few CDs that Amazon initially has put into my Cloud Player library is a CD I purchased in November of 2004 by an artist whose name I am not familiar with. In fact I do not even know where I would have heard about the album at all. What’s more, I don’t see the CD on my shelving which is a concern because I try to strictly alphabetize by artist and album.

This doesn’t mean I never had it. This doesn’t mean that the album isn’t associated with my Cloud Player account by mistake, either.

I don’t know.

I have binged and purged music, bought, sold, gifted and traded. But this one just doesn’t ring a bell at all.

Lhasa - The Living Road

Update: Most of the discs I’ve bought have been via Amazon’s web site, but actually were purchased from a lot of private sellers. So those will never show up via AutoRip and therefore I am sad.

When All the Music I Love Is, Basically, a Database

I have a large iTunes library. It doesn’t represent everything I have ever heard, nor everything I have ever loved, nor even everything I own. But that iTunes library is becoming a beast to manage.

There is SO much data about the music—that isn’t the music—but is integral.

Recently I have made it a personal project to make sure a single piece of information exists for each track: the release date, the day it became available for sale to the public.

I began this project because I was completely dismayed at the amount of music I have imported into my library without a date at all, and also frustrated by the number of albums imported with a re-release date instead of the original release date. The re-release date to me is like restoring a 1966 Ford Mustang and then saying it is a current-year Ford Mustang. No. Therefore, even when an album is remastered a second or third time, it is still a product of its era.

The release date is important to me. I remember where and when a piece of music was first a part of my life. I remember the order albums were released by favorite artists. So, when I sort my library by date, I want it to match that experience. For example, when I was a Freshman in high school, there was a radio show from midnight to 2 AM on Monday mornings where I first heard Mad World by Tears for Fears. This is opposed to the first time I heard Shout, also by Tears for Fears. I was a Junior in high school by then. I walked into Musicland in the Ridgedale mall in Minnetonka, Minnesota. It was playing in store and I bought the cassette on the spot. So my iTunes library had better get it right.

Aside: In the movie High Fidelity, the protagonist spends significant time sorting his collection of albums chronologically by relationship. This makes enormous sense to me.

Back to data: that raw list of data—disembodied though it is from the music—is becoming something I refer to much as I used to refer to liner notes, those tiny cassette j-cards, or the somewhat larger CD booklets. I don’t always remember the details, so I want iTunes to be true.

Another case where I find date information jarring is with “greatest hits” or other career-spanning collections of songs. The date associated with a song in this case is often the release date of the collection. Yet, that date might be decades removed from when a song in the collection was originally released. This is important to me because I have playlists built by decade. When I am hearing Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, which Kylie Minogue released in 2002 (in the US), I don’t necessarily want the next track I hear to be _Mother’s Little Helper_ just because the Rolling Stones’ “Forty Licks” compilation was also released in 2002.

Speaking of which, it took the “Forty Licks” compilation to make me realize I am a bigger ‘Stones fan than I thought, particularly with material released before 1970. I also now have a more profound respect for their career longevity. They are still making music.

So, in my iTunes library, the songs from “Forty Licks” all reflect the year they were released as singles, with the exception of the four tracks that appear nowhere else—those tracks stay in 2002, though I did for a long time consider dating them from the sessions in which they were recorded. I have reconsidered this position repeatedly.

There are still about 3,000 items in my library that are un-dated.

Don’t even get me started on missing or incorrect album art.

I will be researching music for a long time to come.

This post was brought to you by WikiPedia, Discogs.org, and Google Image Search.

There Is No Bad Music, An Introduction

I don’t claim any special privilege, knowledge, education or access. Like many friends, and friends I haven’t met, I simply love music.

I got my first portable FM radio somewhere around the Christmas of 1978, and I have been trying to carry music everywhere with me ever since. It means that much to me.

In 1990 I went to work at a record store. You see, I thought I knew about music. I had been actively listening to radio and watching MTV and going to other record stores. I must have had a few hundred cassettes and dozens of LPs and dozens of CDs by then.

I found out that I didn’t know much. The next four years blew my head open, again and again. The reality was, despite what I knew, the information flowed in reverse: I was learning from customers and coworkers. I was forced to confront my many biases because they got in the way.

I learned that the amount of beautiful music never played on radio, never on TV shows, never in movies, never in clubs, is astonishing. In fact, it is overwhelming.

It is impossible to keep up, to keep current, to be aware of all scenes, or to keep just one scene alive.

Music is a vast and deep ocean. Changing a perspective just slightly cracks open new ways to appreciate what you hear, to develop a feel for where it came from and for why it must be. Look at genealogies and chronologies of influences and genres. Consider political movements, cultural identity and social issues. Look at how technology has affected everything: production, performance, distribution, storage, spectacle, and ultimately what it means to be an artist.

What is harder to explain, and what makes music so deeply personal, is that something in a musical passage that sends chills up your spine, the lyric that always makes your voice break, or that sound that insists that you must move.

I hope to write about all of those things. But I warn you I probably won’t do it in any sort of ordered or organized fashion. I hope to impart a sense of wonder. And I hope that I keep learning.

Note: Because Billy Joel once lamented “…You can’t get the sound because it’s only in a magazine…” (It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me from Glass Houses), I hope to provide links to lyrics and videos where they exist and when appropriate.