-- Leo's gemini proxy

-- Connecting to gemini.circumlunar.space:1965...

-- Connected

-- Sending request

-- Meta line: 20 text/gemini; lang=en-US


This is scrawlspace. I scrawl in this space. Do not expect coherence or permanence here.

2021-10-02: Minding the mindless consumerism

A thought that crossed my mind earlier today, and crosses my mind sometimes:

> Man, it’d sure be nice to get something cool in the mail.

Usually the smart thing to do is wait for the impulse to pass as opposed to buying a [checks list] tungsten sphere and suitable desk stand, but still. The impulse does pass through.


Amazon.com: 2.175″-diameter, 1.5 kg tungsten sphere for $325

2021-09-30, but like 30 minutes later: Computers keep getting more awesome

In response to:

Björn Wärmedal, “When Did Personal Computers Stop Improving?”

As far as I can tell, they didn’t stop improving. a 27″ 5K (5120×2880, or 2560×1440@2x) monitor with an essentially-silent computer smeared on the back of it is _way_ better than, say, a 17″ 1024×768 tube monitor, especially when ClearType hadn’t been invented yet. I remember when Internet Explorer’s size settings for Verdana were:

too small (normal)

very large but still only one pixel thick, giving it basically a Thin weight (one size higher)

very large but at least two pixels thick, so actually readable (two sizes higher)

I think it’s great that modern computers can handle all these pixels just for running a text editor. Having clear, crisp type at any size makes computing fantastically more pleasant. And having lots more screen space per monitor means I have to scroll less and alt-tab less, which is nice.

2021-09-30: I like them and approve, but that doesn’t mean I want to join in

Background reading:

Derek Sivers’ page explaining what Now pages are

Wes Bos’ /uses pages that also explains and demonstrates what /uses pages are

I think /now pages are cool but I can never bring myself to be that open in public. Sure, I could just tell lies on the Internet, but I’d rather have the entire capsule be a cohesive set of lies instead of just the /now page.

I also think /uses pages are useful, but I can see why some people look at them and sneer. Personally, I think buying things and telling others what’s worth buying (or otherwise investing in) is a public service.

/uses pages would look pretty awful in Gemtext, though. When I write here, I keep explanatory links to a minimum because they can’t just sneak in inline like HTML <a> elements. Wes Bos’ page is chock-full of inline links and in order to have all these links, I’d need to intersperse link lines with one-sentence paragraphs explaining things. Either that, or have an entire page where most of the body text is in link lines. Ew.

Update, a few days later: nytpu has a /uses page in all but name, and it looks fine.

nytpu.com, “software i use daily”

2021-09-28: Giant Lagrange update

Lagrange 1.7 changelog

Bookmarks now have folders, so you can file things properly. I took the opportunity to clean up my bookmarks files (one per computer) and sync them with each other.

Never thought I’d use cp (over AFP or whatever macOS uses) to transfer changes in one direction and Universal Clipboard (clipboard sync over Bluetooth) to transfer URLs in the other direction, but here we are. Having a well-organized bookmarks folder feels utterly fantastic.

Less importantly, the WebP tracking pixel at the bottom of this capsule’s pages is now recognized as an honest-to-goodness image, so you can view a 1×1 transparent tracking pixel in Lagrange without having to use an external application.


Apple KB explaining Universal Clipboard

2021-09-25: There’s gotta be a better way to do this

People like SNES-era video-game music.

Music from that time not infrequently has a start-up section, then loops forever (not from the beginning).

Assuming that audio emulation on SNES emulators is good enough, why not have a barely-legal website that distributes savestates of games where each tune is played? You’ll be expected to supply the video-game ROM from your own collection, where you’ve ripped your very own still-working cartridge.

2021-09-23, but at the very end of the day: The rise of the blog helped kill the “under construction” website meme

Background viewing:


Remember the Internet in the late 90s? (not that old? nod politely and play along.) Lots of websites had “under construction” (animated) GIFs. Nowadays, almost no sites do.

What changed?


Once most websites were blogs, everything new automatically gets placed where it should be. There’s no more rearranging of directory structure; there’s just the list of posts. Occasionally, a post might have tags added or removed to/from it, but that’s the extent of any same-site reorganization.

2021-09-23: Both 9″ and 10″ pie tins exist


John Scalzi’s recipe for schadenfreude pie, with filling sized for a 10″ pie tin

If you write a recipe that involves a pie tin, please make note of how big the pie tin is. At least here in the States, most pie tins are either 9″ or 10″. While 9″ tins are the most common, 10″ tins also exist. If you have a 10″ tin, you will tend to find others’ fillings not filling up your crust. If you write recipes assuming others have 10″ tins, you'll have them wondering what to do with all the extra pie filling.

2021-09-21, but slightly later: Effin’ keys

On iPadOS 15, if you pair your iPad with an Apple hardware keyboard that has an fn key, then it’s used as the globe key by default, even if you don’t change from the default of having fn work as fn.

I should note that you have the option of binding the Caps Lock key to Control in Settings → General → Hardware Keyboard → Modifier Keys. Really, if you want to look stupid on the Internet, there are much better ways to do so than to devote an entire key on your keyboard for this function.

Of course, the fn key had a use before it was pressed into service as a globe key. Mostly, it turns the arrow keys into Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End. 🌐︎↑ now opens the app switcher, so if you want to do Page Up, you’ll need to press ⌃↑ instead.

This is precisely backwards from macOS. On macOS, ⌃← and ⌃→ switch between Spaces/full-screen apps, and fn ←/fn → are for moving the text insertion point. Expect fun times ahead if you’re a keyboard nerd who uses both OSs.

2021-09-21: Making your life noisier, but not all the time

iOS and iPadOS 15 add built-in background sounds. If you want to play around with it, it’s buried in Settings → Accessibility → Audio & Visual → Background Sounds.

If you pick any of them, you’ll automatically download your selection. The Noises (balanced, bright, and dark) are all just under 2 MB apiece, but Ocean, Rain, and Stream are all 62–72 MB apiece. You can delete ones you don’t like if you’re pressed for space.

The UI here is a little wonky, so if you think that Balanced Noise and Dark Noise and Stream all sound the same, just back out to Background Sounds and go back in.

Suppose you want to use this as a noise generator, but really, diving this far into a corner of the Accessibility settings is not something you want to do often. “Hey Siri, open Background Sounds settings” will only take you to Settings → Sounds.

Probably the most obvious easy way is by adding a button to Control Center. You’ll want to add “Hearing”, and then when you tap on that button in Control Center you’ll be able to turn on/off noise, pick your noise, and also adjust its volume.

I suppose it’s interesting that this is one of the few places where iOS exposes a separate volume control from the system volume. Evidently they can’t always pretend that one volume slider is enough to rule them all. Well, two if you have “Change with Buttons” turned off for the ringer-and-alerts slider in Settings → Sounds.

Additionally, in Shortcuts, you can set things up to munge Background Sounds settings. I typed “Background” into Shortcuts’ search box and got options for “Change Background Sound”, “Set Background Sounds” (you can use this to turn on, turn off, or toggle on-ness), and “Set Background Sounds Volume”.

A one-item toggle shortcut might be the sort of thing you might want to bind to the Back Tap option in Settings → Accessibility → Touch. In addition to a bunch of system things like “Shake” and “Scroll Down”, you can have the system run any of your shortcuts.

You can also have Shortcuts in a widget if you want really fast access to these features, or just like big buttons.

While Shortcuts with complex, multi-step, branching workflows seem to get all the press in nerd circles, I seem to get a lot of use out of one-action Shortcuts. They certainly seemed dumb to me initially, as it wasn’t obvious to me why I’d want to surface a button for an action that would just take a couple more taps to handle normally. Now that I’ve gone from the four-Shortcuts widget to the eight-shortcuts widget on my iPad, though, I can see how really, it’s just a matter of accreting uses for this sort of simple automation gizmo.

2021-09-19, but like ten seconds later: A scale for rating foods

Most five-star rating prompts don’t tell you what each rating should mean. Goodreads is a pleasant exception to this, as is Apple Books. What about for food?

★☆☆☆☆: actively repulsive and/or gag-inducing; stopped eating immediately and didn’t even finish the serving

★★☆☆☆: not good; encompasses both “not worth the calories” and may be the sort of thing you consider throwing out if you don’t need it to function

★★★☆☆: thoroughly average and mediocre

★★★★☆: actively, clearly good

★★★★★: mind-expanding if not life-changing

Maybe I should try a seven-point scale. If I actually throw it out before finishing it all instead of begrudgingly finishing the rest of it, that should count as worse than something I try to use up. It takes a lot for me to think something is so bad I throw it out without finishing it.

Also, I don’t really like my fifth point on this five-point scale. The mochi cake mix mentioned below is definitely interesting and moderately mind-expanding (I had no idea what one could do with mochi-style cake batter), but it’s just not good.

2021-09-19: Barely worth the calories

I got Trader Joe’s chocolate mochi cake mix with peanut-butter frosting.

The texture is interesting and novel, but it doesn’t taste very good or chocolatey and the peanut-butter frosting isn’t anything to write home about, either.

I haven’t thought up a good scale for foods, but my inclination is to rate this ★★☆☆☆.

2021-09-11, 2021-09-14, and also 2021-09-15: Pretending to pray

This upcoming Tuesday, at 10 AM Pacific, is an Apple Event, entitled “California Streamin’”.

My predictions, with results added in after I saw the thing:

New iPhones will be announced (99%; happened)

I won’t buy the new iPhone unless my current one breaks (95%; probably correct)

I won’t even be tempted to buy the new iPhone (80%; I was tempted. 3x zoom lens looks nice)

Conditional on me being tempted to buy the new iPhone, I will decide against buying the new one because new ones tend to run $1500 or so (forgot to put a percentage here, but a zoomier zoom lens isn’t worth the cost of a new phone)

I won’t like the new meme color(s) more than my current meme color (Midnight Green) (95%; the new blue seems underwhelming)

I won’t be tempted to buy any iPads announced, if any (95%; correct)

I won’t buy any Apple Watch announced, if any (95%; probably correct)

They don’t announce any hardware product that I want to buy at this event (80%; correct)

They announce the release date of iOS 15 (75%; Viticci said it’s next Monday, on 2021-09-20, so yes)

Conditional on them announcing the release date of iOS 15, the release date is within two weeks of the Apple Event (60%; Viticci said it’s next Monday, on 2021-09-20, so yes)

They announce the release date of macOS 12 (Monterey) (70%; they didn’t)

Conditional on them announcing the release date of macOS 12, the release date is within four weeks of the Apple Event (70%; N/A)

I’d certainly like to be tempted to part with my money, but I don’t foresee it happening. I’m in no rush to upgrade my iMac and while I’d like them to announce 16″ laptops, I don’t see them taking thunder away from an iPhone-centric event just to do that.

Update: All they did was iPads, Apple Watch, and iPhones, and Apple Fitness+ doesn’t count.

2021-09-07: Resisting browser-specific behaviors via checkbox unchecking


“isoraqathedh”: Some article formatting standards for gemtext

The important bit:

> The [first line of text that isn’t a heading] is the introduction of the article. It should both be able to stand alone to act as the summary, and also flow naturally with the rest of the text. This is fairly easy to do and it helps with some readability. There is no need to add any additional markers like "tl;dr" which is common in other parts of the internet.


> […]


> But why?


> The main reason is actually because Lagrange renders things like that. In particular, it has an option to make the first paragraph slightly larger. This encourages me to write things like that.

I thought that particular option was — pretending I’m typing this on my phone for a moment — ducking annoying, and I turned it off fairly soon after finding the option to do so.

I will now proceed to pat myself on the back for not being tempted to shift my capsule’s pages to conform to what one particular browser does by default.

[checks his own capsule’s home page]

[sees that the bolded paragraph would read “This is a Gemini capsule.”]


Maybe this would look less silly if I had a proper-ish introductory paragraph on the home page, but I can’t think of a better replacement than what I have there now.

On the other hand, this page has nearly an excellent description-cum-disclaimer that would be possibly fantastic in a slightly larger point size and a different color.

2021-08-26: Building my brand

While I like how a lot of Gemini capsules are only weakly flavored, I’ve kind of grumbled at how mine, titled “Yet another Gemini capsule”, is more weakly-flavored than most.

Well, today, while looking at the names of lots of other capsules and grumbling about my capsule’s name, a halfway-decent idea came to me. I’ve updated the capsule root to it, although I’m not sure if I really have anyplace to really work the theme in to the rest of the capsule.

I briefly considered designating an official abbreviation of “½2M”, but that made me gag.

2021-08-25: Being weirder with less

Every so often, the Gemini mailing list gets someone on who asks “how do you publish your capsule? What’s your workflow?”

I figure that this place is probably the best place to answer. If I ever get a mind to, I might end up giving this explanation a page of its own instead of letting it get buried in the other posts I write.

Normally, my publishing workflow involves the following:

running `hugo serve` locally to preview my pages (it has LiveReload built in, too)

committing to the master branch whenever

uploading from whatever computer by running `make up`, which builds all the files and then rsyncs them to whatever web host

This capsule is somewhat different. While I don’t have ssh/rsync access, I do have sftp access (thanks, Solderpunk!). The big difference here is that big files will be uploaded over and over again every time I update my capsule. Because of this, don’t expect me to upload pictures anytime soon, much less 4K@60 video — not that I really have any plans to, anyway. That said, I still use Makefiles with targets named like `up`, and I still make commits to the master branch whenever. I might have had alternate branches for experimental layout changes, but they’re all merged into master or abandoned and deleted now.

At any rate, I wondered what I would do to build this capsule. Here were my thoughts:

Do I need to have lots of repeated elements on every single page? Not really.

What are the odds I’d need to change something on every single page? Not huge.

I could probably have only a tiny fraction of pages compared to normal if I put all my blog posts on one page.

I don’t really need live local preview.

Do I care if my blog posts don’t have permalinks? Not really. If people want to talk about a post of mine, they can say “Ctrl-F for…”.

Do I care if my pages don’t have breadcrumbs? Not really. Anyone who stumbles into Geminispace is probably going to have a fairly sophisticated understanding of site structure and should be able to use Back and Up buttons on a Gemini browser.

In general, my opinion towards features in Gemini pages and capsules is “If I wanted it to handle all these corner cases and have all these niceties, I would have generated an HTML page and served it over HTTPS”.

So what do I get from this radical simplification?

The only software I depend on to publish my site is `sftp`, Python 3, `yj`, and `yamllint`. The last three of these I use for generating JSON and Atom feeds from YAML sources. I also use TextExpander to generate the bulk of each YAML entry (including the UUIDs and zulu-time dates generated from `uuidgen` and `date`), but I can generate UUIDs and dates myself if I absolutely had to.

I can, and usually do, have post titles that are different from the titles that go in the feeds. This lets me describe the post more in the feed, but have an entertaining title of the post on the page.

I can have fuzzy post dates. Normally they’re just a YYYY-MM-DD date, but some of them are “YYYY-MM-DD, but later that day”. Also, I compose (or at least finish) my posts a little after midnight, but I end up dating the post the day before because that’s the logical day it was written. Meanwhile, date/timestamps in the feeds are usually accurate to when I get around to updating the feeds’ source YAML, but I’ve gone and munged the output time on occasion.

What costs do I bear from this radical simplification?

I had to copy/paste and edit the one-pixel tracker image, but that was a cost incurred once and, in the future, once per page. The cost is even cheaper considering that sibling pages can all have the same copy-pasted line.

There’s no easy way to double-post this stuff to the Web. That said, I know what it’s like to publish things on the Web. If I want the Web, I know where to find it. Gemtext makes for sub-mediocre HTML anyway, and I’d probably end up wanting to rewrite the Markdown or something to make the generated HTML not be <br>-filled trash.

I briefly considered running a capsule on Heroku, but $84/year is too much for a lightweight hobby like this and Heroku is an 80/443-only shop. It doesn’t support non-web apps. If Heroku handled all this, then it could keep an eye on the Git repository this thing is in and automatically build and post every time I commit to the master branch.

Background reading:

yj, a YAML/TOML/JSON/HCL converter

yamllint, a YAML linter

TextExpander, a utility that turns a little bit of text into a lot of text

2021-08-23: Results not typical

I’ve been fasting again. Usually, this is what I can expect for a three-day (72 hours, give or take) fast:

not sleeping well after the first full day of no food

waking up after 4–6 hours hungry instead of sleeping for a full 7 hours or more

occasional headaches

feeling hungry after about 30 hours of not eating

having a massively shrunken stomach that won’t fit very much for the first meal after not eating for three days

getting dizzy if I stand up too fast

the literal breakfast coming out as liquid fairly if I don’t pace myself

a stomachache if I really don’t pace myself eating after my stomach gets rebooted

This was my experience maybe 2–5 years ago. However, things have been _very_ different for this past weekend and the weekend before that:

not feeling hungry except briefly

no headaches

not getting dizzy for really anything

having enough energy to exercise on days when I didn’t eat anything at all the day before

sleeping normally

not waking up hungry

having full breakfasts that ordinarily would barely fit in my stomach and give me a massive stomachache

I thought painless fasting was only for men who waddle like Angus Barbieri, but apparently I was wrong about that. The only obvious differences between then and now are:

a few years older

maybe a little higher BMI than what I used to be

putting way more KCl and sea salt in my water, and also taking magnesium pills on a daily basis

taking magnesium on a daily basis even if I’m not fasting

The difference that seems most likely to explain most of why it’s way easier now is probably the increases in potassium and magnesium. However, that only seems to explain the lack of headaches and the lack of wooziness when I stand up too quickly. It doesn’t seem to explain why I’m not feeling hungry except weakly and briefly, as opposed to the old normal of strongly and not-infrequently.

2021-08-05: Photo management for gaming

Today’s wind-down exercise was taking all my photos and videos off my Switch and copying them into final resting places. This involves:

turning the Switch off

taking the Switch out of its dock

getting the teeny-card to small-card adapter out of the Big Box of USB Sticks (actually a lidded plastic box designed to hold either CDs or 3½″ floppies)

putting the microSD card into the adapter and sticking the adapter into the laptop

grouping and moving the files into a proper final place

putting all this stuff back and closing the Switch up

Generally, Switch files have filenames and paths like


where the first part encodes the date and time and the last half seems to encode the application. This particular screenshot is of the settings screen.

For some reason, I’m generally against renaming these files (many years later, I might want to know when this was taken), so I generally put these files into folders with a descriptive name. Frequently enough, I’ll group multiple screenshots into one folder if they’re part of an exchange between a couple of characters or a sequence of events.

iPad screenshots, by contrast, are way easier to manage: just AirDrop them to a real computer and then organize them. For parity’s sake I might want to rename them based on their file metadata, but oddly enough I don’t care enough to preserve that sort of thing, at least not yet.

You might wonder why I’m not just plugging in my Switch into a real computer and using it as a fancy camera device. There are two reasons why:

it doesn’t work on macOS

the files have different filenames and at this point I don’t want the change

the video files have a different size and I have no idea why

I kind of wish the iPad could take 30-second videos, but I’m pretty sure there’s a reason that sort of thing is unsupported when the Switch isn’t plugged into power.

2021-07-16: It’s broken for the normal people, too

For as long as I’ve tried to get work done on an iPad, I’ve been frustrated that C-e doesn’t go to the end of the logical line — it only goes to the end of the visual line. I’ve reported bugs about this, but Radar is a black hole.

Today, I decided to try and work around the problem by pressing the Mac-native equivalent, command-right.

It still only went to the end of the visual line.

It’s moderately comforting that the OS is broken even for the moderately normal people and not just the turbo-nerds.

2021-07-09: All wind-up, no performance

Background reading:


I tried Boop. It’s neat. I made a script for it. Because my short-term memory isn’t great, I decided to start by writing out the types…

    "name":"Prettier HTML",
    "description":"Makes your HTML prettier",

 * @callback InsertFunction
 * @param {string} what - String to insert at the caret. If there is text already selected, the selected text is replaced.

 * @callback PostFunction
 * @param {string} message - What message to show to the user.

 * @typedef ScriptExecution
 * @type {object}
 * @property {string} text
 * @property {string} fullText
 * @property {string} selection
 * @property {InsertFunction} insert
 * @property {PostFunction} postInfo
 * @property {PostFunction} postError

 const prettier = require("prettier");

  * @param {ScriptExecution} state
 function main(state) {
   const result = prettier.format(state.text, { parser: "babel" });

   state.text = result;

…only to find out that, evidently, requiring external code isn’t something that’s currently possible with Boop. Drat.

2021-06-27: One addendum to Sarah K. Peck’s monthly-review questions: backing away slowly

Background reading:

How To Do a Monthly Review — Sarah K. Peck

I do this monthly. It’s been somewhat helpful for me, although I don’t have quite the same problems that she has. Being a type-A personality seems nice, if only for the novelty factor.

One thing I found useful to add to my question template, though, is this. It goes right at the end of “People and Community”:

> Whom should I see less of?

Oftentimes this prompt isn’t responded to, which, quite honestly, is normal. However, it’s occasionally worth considering whom one surrounds himself with, and whether doing so is all that good of an idea. More than a few times, I’ve stuck around a group out of sheer inertia and/or lack of options even though the group is a decidedly mixed bag or even a net negative.

While realizing that one should back away slowly from a particular group won’t tell you what to do with the freed-up time, sometimes it’s worth asking whether your association with a group is a net positive, net negative, or just not nearly as positive as it used to be. In this latter case, it’s worth considering whether other affiliations might be more worth your time.

2021-06-26: Scientists fail to watch their language

on arxiv.org: “How Developers Choose Names”

One aspect of variable naming that the researchers didn’t seem to address was how different languages encourage slightly different names. Standard Go style generally prefers short method names like `.At()`, while Objective-C is — or was — perfectly fine with having method calls like `[things objectAtIndex:5]` for an operation that would look like `things[5]` or `arr[5]` in most other languages.

Still, neat paper.

2021-06-07: WWDC 2021 first-day wrap-up

No announced hardware.

App Library in the Dock: I could use this, at least in theory, to choose some random app that I haven’t run recently to take up half the screen. At any rate, this is bundled with a bunch of changes that will let me pick an arbitrary app to run with multitasking without requiring me to have a keyboard installed to trigger the command-space switcher.

Voice processing back on the device: This hasn’t been a thing since Siri took over. I’m glad it’s back.

Universal Control: Control an iPad from your Mac, or a Mac from another Mac? I could use this.


two cool-to-me features (on-device voice processing isn’t actually cool)

nothing worth risking running a beta for

Not bad. I wonder how buggy it will all be on release. This isn’t a No New Features™ release, but one can hope everyone spent 20% more time cooped up in their houses fixing bugs instead of just adding new things.

2021-06-02: WWDC 2021 predictions

Here’s what I expect to see next week:

≈16″ MacBooks Pro with ARM chips in them (99%)

…that are also available without a discrete GPU, a configuration that hasn’t been available since the 2015 models were retired (90%)

…that are available with more than 16 GB of RAM (90%)

…that have a default display resolution that’s an even multiple of the actual pixels involved (@2x most likely, @3x very unlikely) (60%)

Here’s what I expect to NOT see next week:

any indication that iPadOS is making large strides towards becoming an operating system for a real computer, like a shell into a chrooted jail (5%)

more than two cool-to-me new features in iPadOS (20%?)

more than three cool-to-me new features in i(Pad)OS (20%)

anything that makes me want to rush out and buy the latest iPad Pro with the LIDAR and M1 the humongous (by iOS standards) amounts of RAM (10%)

anything that makes me actually install a beta on one of my gizmos because it’s that cool (1%)

There are a few formulae in Homebrew that still lack ARM ports that I use. I wonder if the release of proper large-size MacBooks Pro will noticeably speed up the conversion of the remaining programs.

2021-05-27: Recreating YouTube attention-grabbing dynamics

Some fraction of visitors to this capsule do so through CAPCOM, a Geminispace aggregator (something that reads a bunch of feeds and combines them into one list). I have no idea what fraction this is, but it’s got to be some fraction of the total.

One of CAPCOM’s recent-ish changes is that it won’t show updates from literally everything submitted to it and approved: it only picks 100 feeds out of its list per month and displays them. It also says this:

> If you’re enjoying content from one feed, you should subscribe to it yourself in some way, because that feed is not guaranteed to be one of the 100 feeds chosen next month!

This is not visually distinct text, and at any rate it gets lost in the noise after you’ve visited a couple of times because really, you want to get to the links. Gemini doesn’t have blink tags, after all.

However, given that our capsules aren’t guaranteed to be part of next month’s rotation, we authors do have an incentive to close out the month with a request to, well, there’s no built-in Like function in Geminispace, but there are subscriptions in most clients.

> we didn’t start the fire

> it was always burning

> since the world’s been turning

2021-05-09: I like space

In response to:

benk on formatting Gemini documents

Yeah, basically that. I used to double-space above headers in Markdown but some autoformatter I was using nagged me if I had any more newlines in between elements for any reason, so I got broken of that habit. It was also kind of difficult to apply consistently (I’d forget a newline or two), so I stopped.

For posts like this, the in-response-to link line seems like it shouldn’t be equidistant from its mini-header above it and the body text below it, but I’m not quite sure I want to bunch it all up right next to the “In response to:” line.

2021-05-07, another short while later: Deno really is still in flux

I finally got a chance to get back to my Deno-based Gemini server. It uses Deno.Conn.

When I last worked on this, Deno.Conn was a generic type. I used Deno.Conn<Deno.NetAddr> (as opposed to Deno.UnixAddr, I guess).

Now, the remoteAddr of a Deno.Conn is either a NetAddr or a UnixAddr, and the best way to tell them apart seems to be to ensure that its transport is TCP (or UDP, or whatever).

So now, before getting back to any new real work, I made this change:

diff --git a/mod.ts b/mod.ts
index 3e7499f..c3febf4 100644
--- a/mod.ts
+++ b/mod.ts
@@ -65,7 +65,7 @@ enum ResponseCode {

 class Bag {
-  constructor(conn: Deno.Conn<Deno.NetAddr>) {
+  constructor(conn: Deno.Conn) {
     this.conn = conn;
     this.startTime = Date.now();
@@ -78,11 +78,19 @@ class Bag {
         ret[k] = v;
+    if (this.conn.remoteAddr.transport !== "tcp") {
+      throw new Error(
+        `Assertion failed: connection transport not TCP: ${this.conn}`,
+      );
+    }
     ret.from = this.conn.remoteAddr.hostname;
     return ret;

-  conn: Deno.Conn<Deno.NetAddr>;
+  conn: Deno.Conn;
   startTime: number; // milliseconds since midnight 1/1/1970, UTC
   request?: string; // e.g. “gemini://localhost/foo/\r\n”
   host?: string; // e.g. “localhost”

This seems like a pretty deep-reaching change to be made at a point when Deno seems almost mature. I’m not complaining, but I am surprised.

Personally, I’ll like not having to type angle brackets, but I’m not sure I (or anyone else) will enjoy having a five-line type assertion just to use constructs like conn.remoteAddr.hostname.

2021-05-07, a short while later: Service lives of old computers vs. how much electricity it takes to run them

Since I’m back in the CAPCOM rotation this month, I figured the soapbox I’m standing on is a little taller than normal.

I have a question for the floor.

In some corners of Geminispace, there are people who are interested in Gemini because it doesn’t take much computing oomph to either serve or consume. As long as your server can manage to serve up everything over TLS 1.2 or (ideally) 1.3, you should be fine. Unlike on the Web, console Gemini clients are generally no less full-featured than desktop ones.

Because of all this, I’ve seen some people be quite glad to serve up things over Gemini on quite old computers, often with a stated goal of trying to reduce computer waste as a political statement.

Still, I have to wonder. Old computers, generally speaking, use more power to get the same amount of computation done. I can see why someone might prefer running an old Pentium 4 or a BeBox or Sun workstation or whatever instead of buying a new Raspberry Pi to serve up Gemtext, but if this sort of thing describes you, how much extra would you have to spend in energy costs to keep the old computer running before you give up, recycle the old computer, and buy a new computer that runs at least as fast for a fraction of the electricity use?

2021-05-07: OK fine then, I won’t

A while back I sketched out a two-column layout for my main site. The main benefit of having space on the side is that you can stuff “extra” info in it — publish/update dates, tags, statuses, notes, and even a tl;dr if it’s long enough to warrant one.

Most of what I write isn’t long enough or branched enough for that sort of thing, so I decided against moving to a two-column layout.

Since multicolumn layouts aren’t even an option in Gemtext, I’ve been even less interested in surfacing metadata in metadata places. Sure, these Scrawlspace entries have dates in their headers, but that’s about it for metadata.

I kind of miss having metadata blocks in my source files. At this point, I’ve gotten used to having YAML documents where I can stuff all sorts of never-to-be-shown notes at the top of Markdown files. That said, the radical simplification of Gemtext is nice, even though there are all sorts of things I miss from my Markdown-to-HTML-via-Hugo workflow. By keeping a handful of features out of my capsule’s feature set, I’ve managed to keep it so I’m not even tempted to complicate my workflow with a separate build step with a static-site generator.

Sure, I still have to manually add an Atom-feed entry, but somehow that seems like smaller potatoes than picking/generating a filename, typing a post, and then adding that post to a page full of links to posts. Maybe it’s because the bookkeeping work is optional and at the end of the writing, as opposed to some of it being mandatory and at the beginning.

2021-05-06: OK fine then, I contain multitudes

As nice as it is to not have to worry about fonts and layout as a document author in Geminispace, I’ve been enjoying tinkering with Inter, a sans-serif font that seems somewhere in the Helvetica/San Francisco space. That is, it’s the right kind of boring typeface for things I might want to do over port 443.


2021-04-29: Darndest file I’ve ever seen

root:~ # exa -l
.rw-r--r-- 6.1k root 19 Feb 16:44 shutdown -r now

Yes, that’s the only non-dotfile in root’s home directory. No, I don’t create much as root on a FreeBSD machine.

2021-04-28: Seeing posts disappear and reappear here is not evidence that you are going crazy

I made a post and pushed it to my capsule.

Later, on another computer, I made another post and pushed it to my capsule.

However, on the second computer, I forgot to pull in my changes from the Git repo this site is stored in, so I ended up overwriting the initial post.

Now that I’m back on the first computer, I’ve managed to pull the new posts, exhume the old post, and put them all up on the capsule.

This is not the first time all this has happened.

2021-04-27: All I want from you is…your VOICE (choice)

iOS 14.5 dropped today. Apple now has four voices in an American accent, not just two. The other English accents (Australian, British, Indian, Irish, and South African) still have only two apiece, one male and one female.

I picked through the new ones and was generally unimpressed, although it’s kind of hard to get a really good feel for a new voice just on the strength of how it says “Hi. I’m Siri. Choose the voice you’d like me to use.”

I then flipped through the different other English voices and settled on South African (Voice 1) (male).

I’m not too pleased by how my iOS devices all share this voice preference. I thought it’d be neat for each gizmo to have its own voice settings, but I guess that’s not in the cards. I half-expect the foreign voices to butcher Spanish names, which is something of a liability when you’re driving in Southern California and following driving instructions from a phone that’s speaking to you.

2021-04-26: I discover chalk(1)

Old: Reinventing emacs

Bold: Reinventing vim

Behold: Reinventing ed

2021-04-25: Dipping your toe into the delta


dandavision/delta on GitHub

I wanted to try delta instead of diff for Git (and others), but I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to it. All of the examples in the README show you how to completely replace Git’s diff with delta, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to completely throw out the old thing in favor of the new.

Git aliases to the rescue.

Here’s what I put in my ~/.config/git/config:

# …
    keep-plus-minus-markers = true
    line-numbers = true
    side-by-side = true
    delta = "-c core.pager=delta diff"

Now, I can type `git diff` when I want the old thing, and `git delta` when I want the new thing.

2021-04-24: Not all emoji have a text presentation

Evidently the only emoji with text presentations are the ones that were carried over from Wingdings, the old Windows font. I wanted to have a text-presentation yawning emoji in the title of yesterday’s post, but evidently it doesn’t exist unless all your emoji have text presentation, like in Lagrange.

2021-04-23: Apple released things

Thunderbolt out the back, 3.5mm out the side, and Ethernet on the power brick

“now in purple”

something for people who lose things

gizmos with 8 or 16 GB of RAM

4K@60 with a decent remote

I wanted to be tempted by something, but everything I have, however old, is still just fine. Never once have I thought “I wish my iPad were faster”. When I think about my iPad’s deficiencies, I think of how option-shift-down does nothing in Discord and how I need to force-quit OmniOutliner sometimes because the built-in file picker gets wedged.

And as for things that run macOS, I’m still waiting for a decent 15″ (or larger) laptop that doesn’t have a discrete GPU. Also, I’m in no rush to switch to the new thing if I still have to run Terminal in Rosetta. Ideally, I’ll be able to entirely bypass that phase of the transition.

Then again, some of the projects I run rely on positively ancient dependencies. For these, I wonder if I’ll be able to get off Rosetta before I’m actively forced off. Worst case, I’ll have to keep an Intel-based Mac around for development because current versions of macOS won’t support ancient databases anymore. I’m not looking forward to that future, as I can’t really spare the desk space.

2021-04-14: A Gemini server in 21 lines of Deno

After writing yesterday’s entry, I thought I might try my hand at writing a Gemini server. After all, it can’t be as hard as HTTP/1, can it?

Turns out, it was much, much easier than I figured.

I figured my first problem would be generating a self-signed certificate. I searched for “gemini generate self-signed certificate” and found gemcert, a small Go program that generates certificates for Gemini. Unfortunately, I needed to generate a go.mod file, but that wasn’t too difficult since I trusted myself to make up a decent module name:

module tildegit.org/solderpunk/gemcert

go 1.16

I then generated a cert for localhost:

go build
./gemcert --server --domain localhost

This gave me localhost.crt and localhost.key.

I copied these files to a suitable project directory and added a mod.ts file.

After searching the Deno docs for “listen” (I found Deno.listenTls) and DuckDuckGo for “deno string to uint8array” (I found an article by a Dan Vega), I wrote the following mod.ts with one eye on the Gemini spec:

const port = 1965;
const certFile = "./localhost.crt";
const keyFile = "./localhost.key";

const listener = Deno.listenTls({ port, certFile, keyFile });
for await (const conn of listener) {
  const msg = new TextEncoder().encode(
    "20 text/gemini; charset=UTF-8; lang=en-US\r\n# Hello, world!\r\nThis is a Gemini server."

  try {
    await conn.write(msg);
  } catch (e) {
      `Attempted to write a message of length ${msg.byteLength} but couldn’t:`,


I then ran it in the usual one-off way:

deno run --allow-net --allow-read mod.ts

Finally, I opened up Lagrange (it’s handy and permissive) and pointed it at localhost and saw my hello-world page.

Boom. 21 lines of code.

OK, my first version lacked a call to conn.close() so Lagrange never finished working the first time. And I forgot --allow-read in deno run. And I thought conn.write() migh resolve to a number other than the length of the message. Still. 21 lines of code, and it didn’t even take a full hour to finish writing.



the Gemini spec

Deno docs

Dan Vega: Working with Standard Input and Output in Deno

2021-04-13: A reminder of why Gemini’s telos is different from HTTP’s

I read the Deno 1.9 release notes today. They’ve got a new HTTP/2-capable web server built in now.

This passage, however, stood out to me:

> The current HTTP server in Deno, std/http, is implemented in pure TypeScript on top of TCP sockets. It has [surprisingly] good tail latency despite using a scripted HTTP server. But std/http's major down side is that it is HTTP/1.1 only - with no easy path forward towards HTTP/2.


> Ultimately we don't want to be in the business of writing HTTP servers. HTTP is increasingly non-trivial and there are already well-implemented HTTP servers in native code.

“HTTP is increasingly non-trivial”.

I want people to be able to write good, useful servers easily. From scratch, whatever that might mean in their languages of choice. Even if that means that Gemini users don’t get the performance and features they’d be able to get from a reasonably well-configured HTTP/2 server.


Deno 1.9 release notes: Native HTTP/2 web server

2021-04-09: Keeping your $PATH short with conditional prepending (and using this technique for other shell variables)


Fish, the shell I prefer

If you’re like me, you have a shell configuration that you like.

If you’re more like me than even most nerds, you have a shell configuration that you want to keep roughly similar, even between different underlying operating systems.

If you’re like me about as much as normal nerds are, then you don’t want your $PATH to get cluttered full of paths that aren’t on that particular computer.

So, in order to keep my paths short, I do this:

function conditional_path_prepend -a where
    if test -d      $where
        set -x PATH $where $PATH

I also have a function called conditional_path_append, but so far I haven’t needed to use it.

I then go hog wild with all the paths that I might need to add:

conditional_path_prepend $HOME/bin
conditional_path_prepend $HOME/.local/bin

conditional_path_prepend /Applications/Postgres.app/Contents/Versions/latest/bin

conditional_path_prepend "/Applications/Visual Studio Code.app/Contents/Resources/app/bin"

conditional_path_prepend $HOME/Library/Python/3.7/bin
conditional_path_prepend $HOME/Library/Python/3.8/bin
conditional_path_prepend $HOME/Library/Python/3.9/bin

set -x GOPATH $HOME/Projects/Go
conditional_path_prepend $HOME/.local/opt/go/bin
conditional_path_prepend $GOPATH/bin

And when all that’s done, my $PATH only has 13 items in it. Nothing on Big Sur seems to put Python things in $HOME/Library, so all of that would-be clutter just doesn’t show up.

I also have a bunch of other “if you have the program, add the relevant variables” bits:

set -x DENO_INSTALL $HOME/.deno
if test -f                   $DENO_INSTALL/bin/deno
    conditional_path_prepend $DENO_INSTALL/bin

if command -sq deno # https://deno.land/
    # deno installs its stuff here
    set -x    DENO_INSTALL_ROOT $HOME/.local/opt/deno
    mkdir -p $DENO_INSTALL_ROOT
    conditional_path_prepend  $DENO_INSTALL_ROOT/bin

if command -sq ansible
    set -x ANSIBLE_NOCOWS 1

if command -sq bat # https://github.com/sharkdp/bat
    set -x BAT_STYLE plain

# in case of Ubuntu
if test -f        /usr/bin/vim
    set -x EDITOR /usr/bin/vim

# Use fd for fzf…but only if it’s installed
if command -sq fd # https://github.com/sharkdp/fd
    set -x FZF_DEFAULT_COMMAND 'fd --type f'

This keeps things nice and light on my machines that don’t have ansible, deno, bat, fd, and/or fzf.

2021-04-02: On personal wikis

Prior reading:

Alex Schroeder, “The Bliki Spirit”

> A question for people that have been running their own personal wikis for a few years: do you publish it?

No, because publishing a wiki full of home-improvement information and events and interactions with (potential) contractors never seemed like a good idea.

That said, a personal wiki with this sort of information in it is stupendously handy for answering questions like “When did I last…?” and I recommend that everyone have a personal wiki.

2021-04-01: Don’t believe anything you read on the Internet today

Instead, why not treat yourself to a full viewing of “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley? It’s a good song, worth enjoying in its entirety.


2021-03-19: deno.exe growth

Unlike on macOS, where my deno binaries get updated with Homebrew, the deno.exe binary on my Windows machine gets updated whenever I get around to it. Thankfully, it’s as simple as running `deno upgrade` and waiting a few seconds.

This is what the old version looks like:

> deno.old --version
deno 1.7.0 (release, x86_64-pc-windows-msvc)
typescript 4.1.3

And the new version:

> deno --version
deno 1.8.1 (release, x86_64-pc-windows-msvc)
typescript 4.2.2

More amusing, though is the size difference. The old version is 33.5 MB, while the current version is 50.6 MB — about a 50% increase.

I’m not against large software (my editor of choice is VS Code) and the increase is likely due to at least one useful feature (maybe the ability to (cross-)compile standalone applications?), but a jump like that deserves at least some snickering.

2021-03-18: TextExpander doesn’t know how much time it saves me

Every month, I get an e-mail from TextExpander saying how much time it’s/they’ve saved me. It usually says it’s saved me some dinky amount of time, like 22 minutes. I delete these e-mails, but I also got a 2020 end-of-year review e-mail that I kept, and it said I saved three hours that year.

What it’s not taking into account is how long it’d take me to write out a lot of what I have it expand. My second-most-used snippet is “;date”, which currently expands to “2021-03-18”. This saves me the trouble of:

remembering what year it is (OK, not too hard)

looking at my menu bar to see what day of the month it is

trying to figure out the number of the month given what month it is (gets harder the closer that number is to 6)

I use ISO-style dates for a lot of things (this page has a bunch), but I tend to name an awful lot of files with ISO-style dates as prefixes so that no matter what happens to the file metadata, they sort chronologically.

I also use TextExpander to give me picker-free access to a handful of emoji, but fast access to the thinking-face emoji is less impressive (and less frequent) than having a computer handle dates way faster than you can.



2021-03-17: I missed a cool date

> date -r 1000000000
Sat Sep  8 18:46:40 PDT 2001

I don’t remember anyone talking about this day passing, although

I could’ve read something about it on Slashdot

I didn’t read anything about it, and my mind is making up fake memories as I write this

At any rate, 1,000,000,000 seconds after midnight on 1/1/1970 ended up being on September 8, 2001 here. 100,000,000 was in March of 1973; 10,000,000,000 will be in…2286.

> date '+%s'

Maybe there are cool numbers between 1,616,055,107 and 10,000,000,000 that I can use to make up excuses to throw a party. Ideally, they're closer to the smaller number than the larger.

2021-03-16: Man, my Gemini bookmarks are a mess and fixing the mess would create even more mess

I have bookmarks and subscriptions set up in a bunch of places.

amfora on my desktop

amfora on my laptop

lagrange on my desktop

lagrange on my laptop

elaho on my iPad

amfora’s bookmarks format is a TOML file where the keys are base64 (or thereabouts) bundles of URL and heaven knows what else. The values are the bookmark’s description, like “Introduction to sysadminning”.

Lagrange’s bookmarks.txt allocates three lines per bookmark entry:

numbers (seconds since 1/1/1970?) and the URL

user-supplied description


I can only guess what Elaho’s bookmark structure is like, or how to get it out to a real computer.

I can’t say I’d want all these programs to connect to some centralized sync service, and I can’t also say that I’d want a general expectation of Gemini browsers to use some common bookmarks file format, but my life would be way nicer if they all stored bookmarks in sorted YAML or something.

Here’s what the file might look like for maybe a maximal entry:

url: gemini://gemini.circumlunar.space/capcom/
description: CAPCOM
last visited: 1616058364 # ≈1.6·10⁹ seconds since epoch; max safe JS int is ≈9.0·10¹⁵
tags and positions:
- {tag: discovery, position: 0}
- {tag: Bookmarks Bar/Aggregators, position: 1}
subscription: true
subscription style: look at new headers # or: "look for new date links" — Lagrange has an option like this
# …

A good Gemini bookmarks.yaml editor would keep all entries sorted by URL to make diffing easier.

Why tags and positions? Because tags seem popular (as opposed to requiring every bookmark to occur in only one folder). What’s more, tags seem at least as popular in the clients I’ve tried compared to old-school folders.

Of course, if one particular client has a special kind of tag, like one for a bookmarks bar, then that would be kind of weird in other clients.

Tag positions can be important for people whose clients allow them to sort items in a label. That said, neither amfora nor Lagrange seem to allow this.

Having a bunch of different Gemini browsers try to write to a YAML file or whatever in a stable format sounds like a huge mess. I’m beginning to wonder if a shared SQLite database might be better, or maybe some kind of language-server protocol where one program manages the database in whatever format and Gemini browsers send updates and query requests to it.

Of course, if I were writing a client, I would _not_ want to bother with all this. I’m a huge fan of keeping Gemini browsers easy to implement just about anywhere, so I’m more than wishy-washy on whether this is a good idea or not.

2021-03-11: Weighted blankets: More fun than you’d think, even when you’re awake

I got a weighted blanket today.

Like most blankets, it came with a duvet cover.

Unlike most blankets, it's tied into the inside of the duvet cover. The duvet cover has pairs of short strings (think of very wide shoelaces) and the blanket proper has little loops that the string pairs get knotted around.

Taking the blanket out of the box and hauling it onto a work surface (a large chair) was a minor upper-body workout.

Putting the duvet cover back on the thing after washing the cover was an exercise in both (1) forearm strength and topology. When I took the cover off the blanket I noticed how it was slowly coming inside out. I tried to recreate that sort of process, but it seems like I only recreated it by accident. Putting the thing back together again took about 20 minutes, which is way longer than most recoverings.

I can only hope it’s at least as fun when I’m underneath it.

Update, a day later: I got a good night’s sleep, but nothing special.

2021-02-26 (and not just technically): Modern challenges in desktop-wallpaper design

I upgraded to Big Sur recently. On my main monitor, I’m using the “Big Sur” dynamic photograph that changes with the time of day. The picture is of the California coast, looking down from a northward-pointing camera. As I’m writing this in the afternoon, the sun is beyond the left end of the wallpaper. Since I face northward when I’m sitting down at my computer, everything seems right and proper.

On my secondary monitor, I’m using the “Catalina” dynamic photograph. that particular photo must’ve been taken on the north side of the island because the sun goes from left to right.

Just now I briefly considered moving my secondary monitor to a place behind my chair to keep the sun in the right place all the time.

2021-02-26: People don’t like the Node ecosystem

In reply to:


Money quote:

> The entire software ecosystem surrounding NodeJS is bad and I wish I didn’t have to use it.

I wonder what the author thinks of the Deno ecosystem.

Then again, the Deno ecosystem seems about as natural as a bunch of freshly-planted, tastefully-chosen juvenile bushes that nonetheless look like they’re all too far apart from each other. It’s certainly there, but I don’t think Dahl’s ideas on how to import things from where and what to call them have been demonstrated to be a good idea or not.


2021-02-25: Goodbye, favicon.txt

I nuked my favicon.txt. It was the hunk-of-meat emoji.

Of course, you probably didn’t see it anyway since my site isn’t at the root of anything.

2021-01-21: Toward a baroque Gemini log format

I’d go with newline-delimited JSON or a sequence of mappings in YAML (basically NDJSON with “- ” prefixed to every line). I like easy-to-have-someone-else-parse-it-for-me formats.

Not that I’m planning on writing a geminid anytime soon, but here’s what I’d put in it (written out as YAML for ease of reading)

ip:          ""
redacted ip: "127.0.x.x"  # what would this look like for an IPv6 address?
when:        "1611306826" # seconds since the epoch
time:        "21/Jan/2021:00:57:24 -0500"
url:         "gemini://localhost/blah.gmi"
status code: "20"
mime type:   "text/gemini"
length:      "475"
old-school:  ' [21/Jan/2021:00:56:39 -0500] "gemini://localhost/blah.gmi" 20 text/gemini 475'

Zeroth, spaces in dictionary keys are fun.

First, everything’s a string because I don’t want to have to think about whether any number will come close to 2⁵³−1, the maximum safe integer in JavaScript.

It’d be silly to log both an IP address and a partially-redacted IP address, but a server might default to logging only a heavily-redacted IP address and only let its administrator enable logging the full IP address after turning some option on. What would a similarly-redacted IPv6 address look like, though?

I think it’d be nice to have a monotonic clock so logging systems don’t get confused by what happens during daylight savings time changeovers. I also think it’s nice to be able to look at your logs and immediately know when something happened without having to translate from some weird format like “seconds since midnight 1/1/1970, in UTC”. The names need work.

I probably should be pickier about the distinction between URLs and URIs, but that can be tackled after the spec decides on how much non-ASCII gets handled by whom.

There’s probably at least one good reason why Jetforce logs MIME type and length, even though I can’t figure out what any might be. That said, there’s lots of room for logging since no client is wasting bytes claiming to be “like Gecko”.

Caddy has the functionality of “old-school” in its JSON-based log format, but that sort of thing might be of zero use in the Gemini world if there’s no preexisting Common Log Format.





Caddy’s log format

2021-01-19: Writing as a before-bed wind-down

I’m writing a thing. There’s barely any creation to it, just recollection. It seems to be pretty effective as a slow, semi- (quasi-?)productive before-bed wind-down.

This might stop being useful as a before-bed wind-down once all my preexisting ideas get written down already, but one crisis at a time.

2021-01-13: I discover onefetch(1)

I ran onefetch on my capsule:

             :::::::::::::                 Project: gemini-capsule (1 branch)
           ::::::::::::::::::              HEAD: c2ede08 (master, origin/master)
          :::   ::::::::::::::             Created: 4 months ago
          ::::::::::::::::::::             Language: Python (100.0 %)
                    ::::::::::             Last change: 4 days ago
    :::::::::::::::::::::::::: ______      Commits: 115
  :::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ________    Lines of code: 145
 ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: _________   Size: 48.98 KiB (24 files)
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: __________
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::: ___________
::::::::::: ____________________________
:::::::::: _____________________________
::::::::: _____________________________
 :::::::: ____________________________
   :::::: __________________________
          ______________   ___

Do we have anyone in Geminispace who has some decent ASCII-art skills who could supply a better logo? Not for Python, I mean. For a Git repo full of .gmi files.

onefetch on GitHub

2021-01-09: Quite possibly doing it wrong: When at an art gallery, make your own scavenger hunt

In high school, our entire graduating class went to a museum. Some of us were given a scavenger-hunt list of things to look for. Some of us weren’t. I can definitely think of arguments both for and against giving high-school students a list of things to search for.

At any rate, if you don’t know what to look for at an art gallery, there’s a good chance you won’t get much out of it. Me, I struggle to appreciate art sometimes, and a list of things to look for in all the exhibits might stimulate…something.

Of course, there’s nothing keeping you from looking at pieces and trying to come up with your own questions. If you’re looking for some sort of stimulus, looking at pieces and trying to come up with a question about it might be the sort of thing you need to get your brain active when you’re walking around an art gallery.

2021-01-02: A man’s gotta know his limitations

A man’s gotta know his limitations. This can be made more difficult if his limitations fluctuate.

My ability to like/appreciate/tolerate 72% chocolate ebbs and flows. Right now my low-sugar tolerance must be at an ebb end, because apparently I currently actively dislike 72% chocolate, even in baked goods.

Trader Joe’s sells Pound Plus (500g) bars of chocolate in three nutless strengths:




I try to stick with the darkest chocolate I can tolerate because it has the least sugar in it. The snag, though, is that too-dark chocolate has a medicinal taste. While this can be overcome somewhat by not eating pure chocolate all by itself and instead putting the chocolate into something sweeter (like cookie batter), this technique doesn’t work for everyone all of the time.

After two or three sub-mediocre batches of cookies made with 72% chocolate, I decided to buy a half-kilo of merely dark chocolate. Apparently this was the winning move, because my most recent batch actually tastes good.

I’ll probably re-acclimate to 72% again (I’ve done it two or three times now), but right now, that’s not what my taste buds are up for.

My (well, Kenji’s) go-to chocolate-chip cookie recipe


I told you people to not expect permanence. Here’s where I moved 2020’s scrawls to:



If you want to stay abreast of updates, have a look at this capsule’s colophon. It has JSON Feed and Atom feeds on it.



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