I don’t consider myself religious. Maybe that’s my nature or maybe it was the nurture of being raised without going to Church. Probably a healthy dose of both. Who knows?
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been more open to considering the spiritual aspects of life. I feel a closeness to my late father, for instance, when running hard. Maybe the oxygen debt triggers old memories of running with him. Maybe it’s something else. But it is a pleasant phenomenon all the same.
I’ve been trying to listen to a wider variety of music. Gospel as a genre and Aretha Franklin as an artist qualify as a blind spot in my knowledge.
I don’t know enough about music to offer any commentary other than – this shit is spiritual. I played it the other morning and felt in a pleasant mood all day.
Oof, I started reading this book last night. I’d heard good things about it. But I didn’t expect it to move me like 15 minutes into it. The chapter that got me was from a woman who lost a child late in the pregnancy. My wife and I lost our first child this June in the 20th week of the pregnancy.
In her response, Cheryl shares a couple of stories from young adolescent women from tough backgrounds whom she mentored for a year as a youth advocate.
The advice she eventually lands on giving one of the young women about dealing with adversity rings so true.
I told her it was not okay, that it was unacceptable, that it was illegal and that I would call and report this latest horrible thing. But I did not tell her it would stop. I did not promise that anyone would intervene. I told her it would likely go on and she’d have to survive it. That she’d have to find a way within herself to not only escape the shit, but to transcend it, and if she wasn’t able to do that, then her whole life would be shit, forever and ever and ever. I told her that escaping the shit would be hard, but that if she wanted to not make her mother’s life her destiny, she had to be the one to make it happen. She had to do more than hold on. She had to reach. She had to want it more than she’d ever wanted anything. She had to grab like a drowning girl for every good thing that came her way and she had to swim like fuck away from every bad thing. She had to count the years and let them roll by, to grow up and then run as far as she could in the direction of her best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by her own desire to heal.
I don’t know the origin of this but I love it so much. Perfect mix of absurdist and gallows humor.
If you live in New England then this pitch for six seasons from Vonnegut should ring true. I think about it every time the weather starts to change. It’s a model that just clicks once you think about it.
I hadn’t watched this music video in a while. I forgot how captivating I find it. It’s feels like a remix of culture and history somehow.
Today is the 20 year anniversary of this album. Doesn’t seem that old to me some how. It holds up well. The sentiment below is a nice, concise summary.
So how could it exist? How could a commercially successful rap group, deep into rap’s first gilded age, make something that warm and layered and imagistic and thoughtful?
P.S. – Chonkyfire is so underrated.
Cast iron pans have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years and for good reasons. They are a great tool, they last forever, they are affordable, and they are healthier than teflon alternatives. Plus, they exude some always popular nostalgic, vintage vibes. Win, win.
Anyways, the internet at large will tell you in one sentence that “cast iron skillets are bulletproof” and in the next sentence explain to you how critical it is that you care for it in the exact right way. To be fair, some this advice is warranted as the way to clean one is different than a normal non-stick pan.
But a lot of the advice out there is high effort, low return in my opinion. The chemistry of cast iron seasoning suggests using flax seed oil1, The Alton Brown method recommends cleaning with kosher salt2, and Lodge even makes a product designed for scraping their pans3.
Here is what I recommend after years of tinkering around
- Get yourself some sort of steel scouring or scrubbing pad - like this one.
- Never use soap
- Run the pan under water and scrub the hell out of it using said pad (use the same pad for as long as possible, mine has been going strong for over a year so far)
- Take the wet pan and immediately put it on a hot burner on the stove to dry
Here is why this works. The scrubbing pad accumulates lots of grease after a few uses. So while it is removing food particles, it is also smearing oil around the pan. By drying the pan over heat, you’re doing a sort of mini-seasoning every time and eliminating any risk of rusting.
Lastly, and most importantly – this approach works because it is easy and quick. Once you know you can quickly and easily clean the pan then you will use it more. Using it more and more helps the pan build up layers of oil that have bonded into the metal over time. The best cast iron pans are always the ones getting the most use. Ask your grandmother.
Is this the perfect technique? No, probably not. But I can clean a cast iron skillet in a few moments without any hassle and it is always in good shape the next time I go to use it. Good enough for me. The salt technique took too much time. Rubbing oil into the pan with a paper towel tends to leave some paper fibers behind on the pan, which ends up making things stick. Keep it simple. Metal on metal. Dry over high heat. Done.
Note: you should definitely still properly season your pan from time to time. This is just for day to day upkeep.
Flax seed oil never worked very well for me despite spending a lot of time being very particular in trying to get it right. It ended up giving my pan an uneven, tacky surface. ↩
You’ll get sick of this method as you continue to pour more salt into the pan to try for a third time to scape off the stubborn last bits in your pan (and you want there to be stubborn bits – searing things on high heat is one of the great joys of using cast iron in the first place). ↩
They are okay but somewhat flimsy and the edge will inevitably melt if you clean the pan while it is warm (and, you know, easiest to clean…). ↩
I’ve been using Libby for the past month and it’s been great. As a general rule, I don’t worry too much about spending money on books but having such easy access to books I can borrow for free is nothing to sniff at. I haven’t tried borrowing an audiobook yet but excited to give that a spin soon.
Pro tip: if you’re a resident of Massachusetts then you can get an e-card from the Boston Public Library website without ever stepping foot in the building.
But you do need to have a library card to get started using the app.
Unsurprisingly, most items that I want to borrow have a waiting list but I’ve just been indiscriminately placing holds on things so I have a steady queue that’s becoming available. So far, it hasn’t been an issue at all. If anything, I’m unable to keep up with things.
My only complaints so far (to be fair, I’d bet most of these are beyond their control)…
- You can only search one library collection at a time. A universal search across all libraries I’ve added would be amazing.
- I wish there was some way to integrate with my Goodreads “want to read” shelf so I could easily see what is available in the library collections automatically instead of having to search title by title, trial and error style.
- Sending the ebook to your Kindle locks the loan period with no option to renew your loan. So basically if you don’t finish the book within the loan window then you lose access, which means if the book has a queue then you have to get back in line to borrow it again. A pretty unfortunate experience for the most popular ebook reader. That said, the loan period seems to require a network connection to be enforced on your device… so if your Kindle happens to find itself in Airplane mode then…
- Note: I only mention this because the book is marked as returned in the Libby app so I don’t believe this “trick” negatively affects any other uses. If I’m wrong on this, please let me know.
I’ve owned a pair of AirPods for a month now and I’ve enjoyed them much more than I ever expected. I concede that they look a little goofy and are on the expensive end of the spectrum. But those are really my only main complaints. And, to be fair, when you really look at other bluetooth headphone options, they all look goofy in some way. They sound better than the normal EarPods and generally exceed my non-audiophile needs. I don’t know if it’s the lack of “cord weight” (as some have speculated) or a slightly different shape but they stay in my ears remarkably well. For me, they feel more secure than EarPods by a significant margin. I’ve run on a treadmill in them with no issues. In fact, the only time I can recall them falling out of my ears is when I’ve bumped them while taking off a t-shirt. Pairing them with my devices was painless and switching between using them with my MacBook Pro and iPhone 6s is trivial. Auto pause when you remove one pod is cool and useful trick. The double tap controls, while limited, have generally seemed sufficient.
But, for me, it really does all come down to the case. After the first few days, I’ve completely stopped worrying about the battery life and charging in general. I store them in case when not in use and I plug the case into a charger here and there as it’s convenient. That’s it. My Kindle is the only other electronic device where I feel so laissez faire about charging. It seems like a small thing but it really reframes my thinking from “this is a device I have to consciously manage” to “this is a tool I use.” And, in the one situation when I did find my AirPods almost out of juice, the fast charging got them from ~5% to ~30% in a few minutes.
The other, maybe more important, aspect of the case is that it has led to almost constantly carrying my AirPods with me. There, of course, was nothing preventing me from carrying around corded EarPods day to day but having the cord get tangled or bunched up in my pockets was enough of a deterrent. It is simply more convenient to carry the case and I find myself doing it more often.
In terms of small gripes…
- Using the AirPod microphone for video calls on my laptop has given me a slight echo a few times.
- Not AirPod specific, but I wish iOS was better as resuming playback from third party apps after 30+ minutes of idleness. It’s really annoying to try to resume playing a podcast only to end up with a random song on Apple Music instead. I assume this has something to do with memory or battery optimization but it takes away from the user experience in a material way.
- Not realistic but I wish the case where somehow a bit thinner.
- Switching from using both AirPods to a single AirPod is a little clunky but not that common of a use case either.
The productive tension between freedom and constraint.
In 2016, Stripe moved into offices next door to AT&T Park in San Francisco’s startup-heavy SoMa district. The previous tenant, file-sharing company Dropbox Inc., had tricked out the space with a bar, a music recording studio, a Lego room, and sofa swings. The Collisons got rid of all that. The kitchen, where Dropbox employees dined on individually plated meals, is now a standard cafeteria chow line. “It’s slow and indulgent to wait for food,” Patrick says.
Wayfinding is the ancient art of figuring out where you are going when you don’t actually know your destination
— Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
I like the sentiment of this statement from Designing Your Life and feels relevant to Product Management as well.
I don’t love all of Anderson .Paak’s lyrics but his musicianship is top notch.
Fun example from The Elements of User Onboarding e-book.
Stress + rest = growth. This equation holds true regardless of what it is that you are trying to grow.
— Brad Stulberg & Steve Magness
When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
—Richard Buckminster Fuller
Thought provoking article on the potential for machine learning to replace human diagnosis. The author does a nice job articulating that knowing what is different than knowing why. It does ultimately seem like finding the right pairing of our human with machine intelligence is what we are going to need to focus on soon.
9 minutes of (seemingly?) stream of consciousness rapping without any hooks. Clever wordplay and use of homonyms. Roaming from topic to topic almost randomly. It somehow really is the audio equivalent of a painted mural?
I love this so much.