Week of March 21

Update on the seeds I posted about planting last week: Kale, Black Vernissage tomatoes, Cherokee Purple tomatoes, Ten Fingers of Naples tomatoes, Milkweed, and Hollyhock have already sprouted.

We have another cold snap coming early next week that will probably include frost, so I’ve held off on direct sowing radishes, peas, and dill. I’ll probably do that late next week after doing a bit of maintenance on the garden beds and adding some soil, compost, and fertilizer to them.

🐸 Frog fact of the week 🐸: Did you know there is a different word for hibernation in cold-blooded creatures? It is called brumation. Hibernation refers to periods of dormancy in warm-blooded creatures (endotherms).

I used the Merlin Bird ID app this week to identify a bird that I couldn’t see by its song. I’m terrible at identifying birdsongs, and I want to get better. This app is really good.

Merlin Bird ID – Free, instant bird identification help and guide for thousands of birds – Identify the birds you see

Charlie has been sleeping longer during the night this week, which has been pretty nice. He got to try a swing this week, he ate some new foods (fresh mango, polenta, tomatoes with cranberry beans), and he worked with me outside.

I made and minted some pixel art on 8bidou late one night this week. Not usually my style, but it was fun!

I also turned a dry vase on the lathe.

I haven’t done a lot of sewing other than sewing the ballistic nylon together for the kayaks and guideboat, but my favorite pair of jeans got a huge split in the crotch and needed to be fixed, so I watched a few YouTube videos about mending splits and I mended them. It isn’t the neatest sewing job, but it is pretty sturdy, and I feel confident in fixing other splits in the future.

I mentioned 12ft.io a couple weeks ago for hopping paywalls. This week I made an iOS sharesheet shortcut to open URLs in 12ft.io. Just add it to your Shortcuts app, then open it via the Share button when you hit a paywall. https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/c4863730ea2641b48eaf612590ad08dd

If you haven’t used Shortcuts before, you’ll need to open the Shortcuts app, run any random shortcut, then go to Settings → Shortcuts → Allow Untrusted Shortcuts in order to install this.

Here is a video showing how to use it:

I cooked a pretty good, quick one-pot meal this week that I think I’ll make again: Orzo with spinach, peas, mushrooms, shallots, and pancetta.

  • Crisp up the diced pancetta.
  • Add the shallots and mushrooms and let them soften for a few minutes.
  • Add 1lb of orzo with 4 cups of chicken broth.
  • Add 1/4 cup cream and 1/4 cup grated parmesan with the peas and spinach.
  • Let everything simmer on low, stirring regularly, until the broth is absorbed by the orzo.

I listened to this album for the first time this week and I’m really digging it.

I used to think words needed to have unchanging definitions. Now I don’t think it matters as long as the meaning is understood by both parties communicating. Words are a means to an end: Communication.

My friend Mitchell Earl shared this quote with me that gets at the heart of it:

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

I’m decreasing my usage of Amazon and supporting local indie stores instead. Just canceled all of my Amazon book pre-orders and emailed a local indie bookstore to reserve copies. Three reasons:

  1. I’ve been a huge advocate of the indie web, but realized I don’t always carry that independent spirit to where I shop.
  2. I want to support what I want to see more of in the world.
  3. I like building relationships with local businesses by being a regular.

This is a good article in The Atlantic about MBS, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Long, but good. MBS is likely to become king in the next five years, which is terrifying. On one hand he is opening up the country and modernizing it on multiple fronts (more freedom for women, limiting the power of the clerics), but on the other hand he is quickly slipping into the territory of a brutal dictator (jailing and dismembering dissidents).

Inside the Palace With Mohammed bin Salman – The Atlantic
Asked about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Mohammed bin Salman said, “If that’s the way we did things, Khashoggi would not even be among the top 1,000 people on the list.”

Two things I highlighted:

“You Americans think there is something strange about a ruler who sends his unqualified son-in-law to conduct international relations,” one Saudi analyst told me. “For us this is completely normal.”
A crown prince with a subtler mind and a gentler soul might have implemented MBS’s reforms without resorting to his brutal methods. But it is pointless to consider policy in a state of childlike fantasy, as if it were possible to conjure some new Saudi monarch by closing your eyes and wishing him into existence. Open your eyes, and MBS will still be there. If he is not, then the man ruling in his place will not be an Arab Dalai Lama. He will be, at best, a member of the unsustainable Saudi old guard, and at worst one of the big beards of jihadism, now richer than Croesus and ready to fight. As MBS told me, to justify the Ritz operation, “It’s sometimes a decision between bad and worse.”

I’ve been reading and enjoying artist interviews. Here are some quotes I saved this week.

The interconnectivity between the natural and the digital is an important part of our lives, and will become even more important as we shift further into digital spaces. We find connection in the calmness and beauty of the natural world, and we must maintain that connection even while living more of our life in the digital realm. 
This project is the result of an exploration that did not succeed. I was initially studying the possibility of creating a fur or hair coat effect. This exploration gave birth to a ball of fur with eyes. I didn’t really like the direction taken by the project. I explored the possibilities offered by the existing code, turned the hair into grass and tried to simulate some perspective effect. The result was not yet worthy. Adding a circle to test the interaction of the grass with objects was the trigger. The contrast between the circle (simple shape with a smooth and soft aspect) and the grass (repetitive and pointed shape) appealed to me right away. This was the starting point to create a surreal world around these 2 elements.
Nothing is ever finished, everything is always a work in progress. Finished to me is where I’m happy to let it go and let others interact with the token. It’s finished where it reaches the state where it’s mature enough to make small mistakes to be interesting enough but is consistent enough to tie together into a single concept and visual output.
I suggest to students that they pick three artworks or artists and then try to smash those styles together, which serves a couple of purposes. If you choose just one artist and then someone goes, “You just copied so-and-so”, that’s a feel-bad moment, especially if you attempted to pretend it wasn’t true! But if you mash together three different styles, you can happily say, “I was influenced by these three artists”, which is an excellent way of doing art. You’re most likely pushing one of the styles forwards in a new direction, even if just by a little bit, which is how traditional art works, and you’re acknowledging your inspiration. And in the process, you’ll probably move away from those sources anyway as you explore your own take on the whole thing.

I don’t think I ever mention on the blog that I started an artist interview site over at Behind the Art.

Behind the Art – Interviews with NFT artists

I’ve only done five interviews so far but I plan to do more in the future. If you are interested in interviewing digital artists and want to publish them on the site, send me an email.

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