Week of Feb 7

It is warm enough again to take Charlie on daily walks in the woods, which I’m excited about. I’m glad to be able to introduce him to nature early. We saw a couple of robins this week. Apparently not all robins migrate, but I haven’t seen others this winter, so I’m taking this sighting as a good sign. We also saw the first skunk cabbages popping up in the low wet areas of the woods. The eagles are out around here too, which typically happens late winter. These are all good signs of spring.

This reminds me of the Small Seasons guide, which I admire and have been brainstorming ways to visualize. I think I’m going to write my own descriptions for these seasons in the lower Hudson Valley and lay them out on a page with illustrative photographs. Maybe it morphs into a small print version, too.

Prior to the Gregorian calendar, farmers in China and Japan broke each year down into 24 sekki or “small seasons.” These seasons didn’t use dates to mark seasons, but instead, they divided up the year by natural phenomena.

https://smallseasons.guide/

Paternity leave is teaching me to slow down, discard schedules, and take things as they come. I usually have multiple irons in the fire and make lots of plans, so this is a big shift. It is going well so far, though. I’m loving all the time with Charlie and having the time to cook more. He loves being involved, so I put him in the carrier facing out and talk to him while we cook, do dishes, laundry, etc.

We are working on sleep training this week, which seems to be going well so far. It was difficult the first couple nights, but as we shift more of his calories to the daytime Charlie is sleeping longer at night.

My canelé baking plans got put on the backburner this week, but I did bake a big loaf of banana bread today with the overripe bananas that Charlie didn’t eat. I used this recipe from Serious Eats as a base, but used turbinado sugar and added nutmeg and clove to deepen the flavor.

Apparently moving the blog back to a dedicated page instead of the homepage made Feedburner start picking up my posts again. My WordPress install used to be in a subfolder (/blog), but is now in the root folder. I just happened to make /blog my posts page, as one does. So people who subscribed in college are getting my posts again after not getting them for many years. Hi, old friends! 👋

I’ve been submitting photos to the new CC0-licensed WordPress Photo Directory. I’ve had 40 accepted so far, many that I haven’t put online before. Related: I’ve long been wanting to contribute more to the WordPress community, so I joined the moderation team for the photo directory. I spend about 30-60 minutes a day moderating new submissions.

I can’t imagine that Spotify’s podcast acquisitions will go well after this Joe Rogan debacle. What shows worth acquiring (read: bringing in audience + revenue) would be willing to give up their independence to Spotify now? Gentle reminder that walled gardens are rarely the answer. Regardless of what you think about Rogan’s show, podcasting as a whole thrives when podcasts are independently hosted and have open RSS feeds.

In 2011 I took two photos of some friends smoking hand-rolled cigarettes. Threw them up on Flickr with an open license. They now get used in news articles about marijuana legalization at least once a month. I was big into exploring off-camera lighting a la Strobist at the time. The latest instance: https://www.tucsonsentinel.com/nationworld/report/020422_marijauna_banking_bill/us-house-advances-marijuana-banking-bill-though-final-passage-uncertain/

New indie games I played this week:

  • Globle. Guess a country, then each incorrect guess will appear on the globe with a color indicating how close it is to the Mystery Country.
  • Nerdle. Guessing math equations.

Keep them coming. Let a thousand ____le games bloom!

I recently ran out of my favorite dot grid A5 notebook from Muji. I haven’t been able to find them for over a year now (they’ve been discontinued, but I had a stack) and have been looking for worthy replacements. Mark Frauenfelder over at Cool Tools apparently used similar ones (though A6 and with a clear cover instead of cardboard) and recommended ones from Yansanido as a replacement. I’m liking them so far!

Speaking of notebooks, Amanda got me a recipe journal from Moleskine many years ago and I seldom wrote in it, but now I know what I want to do with it: 1) Write down the recipes that I always have to look up and 2) Write down our favorites that have evolved over time and I make from memory. Examples: Pancake mix, cast iron waffles, red curry chicken soup, sweet potato curry, Japanese curry, meatballs, our template for bowls (grain + protein + veggies + sauce).

I fixed my reading page. I wrote a custom template in my previous theme to lay it out grouped by year and I couldn’t replicate it with the query loop block, so I added the PHP template to the twentytwentytwo theme. It took me a little while to figure out why nothing else in the template was loading, and it turned out that do_blocks was the answer. h/t to Carolina Nymark for writing a helpful post about using PHP templates in block themes.

I also took the time to add the publication year to each of the books on my reading page. One of my goals this year and going forward is to read more old books (I tend to read a lot of contemporary books), so having the publication year will help me keep track of my progress on that front. I plan to add an average publication year for the whole page and each year, which I hope will trend down over time.

Currently Reading

I subscribed to a couple more paid newsletters this week: Al’s Cocktail Club (actually a renewal of a gift) and A Piece of Cake by Bill Clark. Al’s Cocktail Club also provides access to the online archive and a members area, which is cool. A Piece of Cake is a Substack that I’ve been following for a while, and I’ve made a bunch of his free recipes, and I decided to subscribe because there are more of his recipes I want to make behind the paywall. I like supporting indie content creators.

An aside on Substack: I don’t prefer it, but I understand why it is so popular. It is fairly easy to use on both the content creator and the subscriber front. It allows writers to make money, which I’m all for. I’m noticing that they are finally allowing writers to export their posts and subscribers, allowing custom domains, and RSS feeds for public posts. This is a big improvement over when they first launched.

I’d love to have a private feed URL for my Substack subscriptions, but I have a workaround. I pipe my newsletter subscriptions to Feedbin via their email address functionality and read them via RSS. NetNewsWire is my reader of choice.

Cool Tools posted about the Weird Old Book Finder, a tool that searches Google Books and returns one random result for your query. Pretty cool! If found an old price list of Stanley tools from 1892 with excellent illustrations and a book on woodworking for “teachers of woodwork” that starts with a general bibliography, which I think is an excellent practice that all books should include.

All for now! See you again next week.

p.s. Do you write weekly updates? Send me a link, either in the comments, as a webmention, or via email. I’d love to read them!


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