Had an interaction yesterday that felt like the internet at its best. I asked on twitter for intros to user researchers who work across cultures / countries. Got referred to Robyn Larsen. Ended up checking out her website where I found the illustrated print above, which I believe belongs to this artist.
5 minutes of serendipity and clicking links into discovering a cool graphic and an artist to follow.
It ain’t all bad online.
My wife and I heard this for the first time randomly on Spotify with no knowledge of what it was. Gradually, we started to realize it was awfully repetitive and laughing aloud. But we still thought it was real for a moment. Finally it clicked that this had to be a parody of some sort. It was a confusing and hysterical couple of minutes.
The backstory is kind of amazing. A real musician named Dustin Christensen made a joke version of one of his own songs.
For years, the two have recorded joke versions of Christensen’s songs. Their format is simple: Take the song’s opening line, and say it as many different ways as possible. “Parked Out by the Lake” lampoons Christensen’s song “Vacant Motel Heart.” (That one has only 5,000 plays on Spotify — “The original song is ruined forever,” Christensen said with a laugh.)
He didn’t even release it himself. It was a private joke with friends that leaked somehow. I love it.
I should offer a disclaimer upfront that I like Kindles. I know many prefer the feel of a real book. I do too in certain instances. But the convenience and portability appeal to my pragmatic nature.
My previous Kindle was a 6th Gen Paperwhite from 2013. It was still in decent shape and working well – actually not bad for a 6 year old piece of consumer tech.
But the Kindle trade-in program1 combined with handling an Oasis in an Amazon store put me over the edge and got the upgrade wheels in motion.
I’ve had it for about a week now, here is my quick review.
- Screen is much crisper. 300ppi vs. 220ppi on my previous device. Text is noticeably sharper and more pleasant to read. I didn’t have an issue with the previous screen until after using this screen. You really cannot go back once you adjust.
- Physical buttons for turning the pages. 🙌 Though I wish there was an option to disable the touchscreen page turns as a software setting. Craig Mod’s essay on this explains it better than I will so I’m not going to bother.
- The software and interactions are snappier and less laggy.
- Waterproof. Unclear often this will come in handy but a nice insurance policy.
- The width is a little awkward. I loved being able to quickly stash my Paperwhite in a back pocket when I was out and needed my hands. i.e. Commuting on a subway. The Oasis doesn’t fit in a pocket, which is a shame. I’ll probably have a backpack with me more often than not when using this outside the house but it is a slight bummer all the same.
- The little notch / ledge to help you hold it isn’t as ergonomic as it could be. At least for my hands2. The material is a little slippery. The ledge isn’t quite pronounced enough to really get a good hold on it. It is nice and I like having it. It just feels like a missed opportunity. I expected the holding ledge to be the best part of the device. It is meh. I think putting a case on it might help. For now, I’m leaning on gaffer tape…
I guess to summarize – I like it but I expected to love it.
Sadly, this ended up being disappointing and frustrating. I was under the impression that all trade-ins included a 25% off coupon for your next Kindle purchase. Somehow I ended up without this benefit and instead received a measly $5 credit. I ended up getting a refurbished 1st Gen Oasis for slightly less than I would have paid for a 2nd Gen new model with 25% off applied so… 🤷 ↩
I have pretty average male sized hands? ↩
Today – August 15th – is our 4th wedding anniversary. Which is great but it feels very overshadowed as we await the arrival of our first child.
Because today my wife also happens to be 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant.
We hit the 39th week on Sunday and it felt like an important milestone. After all, most babies are born between weeks 39 and 41.1
It has been a weird milestone, though… because nothing really changed?
It feels like something should have changed. But it hasn’t. We’re still in the same spot – the baby could arrive tonight or it could arrive over a week from now. Either of those outcomes would be totally normal and we have no idea which one it will be.
Beyond testing my patience2, it is also a big distraction for us. You can’t help think about it constantly while still trying to kind of go about your life as usual. It is a strange experience and a strange waiting game. Hence the title of this post. Time feels excuratingly slow waiting for her to go into labor. But once it happens, everything happens.
Either way, we’re beyond thrilled to meet this little dude. Maybe he’ll be our anniversary present this year? 🤞
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Finally saw this movie. It was phenomenal. A+. Soundtrack is solid too.
- The Lost Boy album by YBN Cordae. I wasn’t familiar with this at all until my brother recommended it. It is a nice listen. Lost & Found stands out.
- The Busy Trap article in NYT.
- “The Puritans turned work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment.”
- Mid-August weather in the high 70s and low 80s without too much humidity. It was a perfect New England summer weekend. Even managed to snag a fantastic lobster roll from Little Harbor Lobster, which is currently in the lead for my favorite lobster roll in the area.
- This entire radio station on Spotify.
- How a garden buddha statue changed a neighborhood in Oakland
- Styling embed links, particularly iframes, to be responsive to page width is way more complicated than it seems. I moved all of my old tumblr posts over to this self-hosted jekyll blog and that has been an unexpected complication. I’m going to work on fixing it next week. Happy with the transition overall, though.
- Related to above – I realized need to clean up how the CSS for this site is organized. I’ve managed to grossly overcomplicate it.
- Whimsical’s sticky note stacks work well for breadboarding. We’ve been using this more and more lately at work and it is a great way to quickly explore an idea or workflow.
- Preeclampsia is scary. My wife is 39 weeks pregnant today with our first child. Two days ago, her blood pressure was up a bit (it quickly returned to normal and she and the baby are fine). It was enough to set off some internal alarms and mild panic. Having kids is complicated but we’re almost done and he is almost here!
The new Chance album hasn’t quite clicked for me (yet anyways) like his previous efforts have but I like this song a lot.
Our first child is set to arrive any day now and this advice resonated. Interested to see how it holds up once the kid is actually here.
Sad I did not know much about John Dingell until he passed. What a guy.
Homer gets it.
I could basically share every episode of 99% Invisible – it is one of my favorite recurring podcasts – but the mini-episodes are particularly fun. I loved all of these stories.
We made this little tribute to one of our favorite people ever in the world of comedy, the one and only Bob Einstein.— Jerry Seinfeld (@JerrySeinfeld) January 5, 2019
(And yes, I did give him the car..) pic.twitter.com/0cVMIERSL1
This tribute video is great. I need to watch more Bob Einstein stuff.
It is really cool that this footage exists. Biggie rapping at age 17 in 1989. Wild.
Found via Kottke
I highlighted a significant portion of this article. It feels particularly relevant to our current political climate.
Convincing someone to change their mind is really the process of convincing them to change their tribe. If they abandon their beliefs, they run the risk of losing social ties. You can’t expect someone to change their mind if you take away their community too. You have to give them somewhere to go. Nobody wants their worldview torn apart if loneliness is the outcome.
The way to change people’s minds is to become friends with them, to integrate them into your tribe, to bring them into your circle. Now, they can change their beliefs without the risk of being abandoned socially.
One of the best story telling songs ever. I love how it rambles along.
If you live in New England, give Walden Local Meat Co. some serious consideration. First, the quality is fantastic and you get a nice variety of items. But, more importantly, it is a good thing to do. The commercial “concentrated animal feeding operations” (CAFOs) are abhorrent in so many ways.
Based on their year end recap, it sounds like it is working.
This is the only region of the country in which the average age of farmers is declining, the average size of farms is decreasing, and the total number of farms is increasing – all signs of a revitalization of sustainable local farming.
It is a little expensive. But just eat less meat? Quality over quantity. Seriously, it tastes much better.
I really enjoyed this show. It is only 6 episodes, which I appreciate, and it pulls you in right away. It is probably best described as a psychological thriller? But there is action, mystery, twists, and all sorts of stuff. No fluff – it is solid the whole way through and hard to guess where it is heading.
Plus, it has British people saying “ma’am” in a way that sounds like “mom” so it has that going for it too.
I loved this podcast spoof. A few friends thought it was cheesy and gave up. But I standby my take that it builds and gets better in the last few episodes. Strongly recommend giving it a chance.
This guy is wild. It is a long profile but worth the time. Almost too many good parts to quote. You’re not going to believe it but… this guy is a character. I’m going with this one.
“The more you don’t believe in Polish people, the more determined we are. To prove themselves, Polish people will endure everything. If you aren’t willing to suffer, you can do nothing. You can sit and die. This is the only one thing you can do.”
Doba has a deep, almost performance-art-like sense of this. You can be made small by life or rage against it. “Nie chce byc malym szarym czlowiekiem,” he told me. “I do not want to be a little gray man.” This is a common expression in Poland — and a good motto for us all.
While it is nowhere even remotely near the suffering this guy has endured, this is how I often think during races. Running hurts. But when I’m running well, I lean into the pain and suffering.
I stumbled into 9th Wonder’s Zion series of albums recently. So good. I love these sort of chopped up soul, hip hop beats that blend together. This song, SirBlue!!!, has been my favorite so far.
I love Tracksmith. Sure – their stuff is expensive and skews preppy. But you know what? I like how they celebrate the amateur spirit of running. As a New Englander, I enjoy their aggressively New England vibes. And the items I’ve purchased from them have all been phenomenal in terms of quality, fit, and so on.
Plus, they introduced me to this poem.
The Song of the Ungirt Runners by Charles Hamilton Sorley
We swing ungirded hips,
And lightened are our eyes,
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
We know not whom we trust
Nor whitherward we fare,
But we run because we must
Through the great wide air.
The waters of the seas
Are troubled as by storm.
The tempest strips the trees
And does not leave them warm.
Does the tearing tempest pause?
Do the tree-tops ask it why?
So we run without a cause
‘Neath the big bare sky.
The rain is on our lips,
We do not run for prize.
But the storm the water whips
And the wave howls to the skies.
The winds arise and strike it
And scatter it like sand,
And we run because we like it
Through the broad bright land.