Keep Podcasts on RSS

I’m still upset that Google provided Reader, then killed it. Don’t let the same mess happen with podcasts.

Big companies are trying to monetize and monopolize an open standard. Please don’t let this happen. Learn more:

Your terminal is not a terminal

Your terminal is not a terminal: An Introduction to Streams:

Streams are just that: streams. In the same way that a river has a stream of water, programs have streams of data. Moreover, just like you can use steel pipes to carry water from one place to another, you can use UNIX pipes to carry data from one program to another. This was the very analogy that inspired the design of streams:

We should have some ways of connecting programs like a garden hose — screw in another segment when it becomes necessary to massage data in another way. This is the way of I/O also. — Douglas McIlroy
Streams can be used to pass data into programs and to get data out of them.

The running water water analogy is a great way to explain many complicated topics and Lucas Costa uses it to great effect. You even uses |pipes| to flow input from one command to the next.

Go read his post if, like me, you find yourself scratching your head trying to understand how to work efficiently on the command line.

VK Goes Wild Indeed!

I don’t remember how I first stumbled across the amazing pianist VK Goes Wild. Here is a sample of her work covering Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody on a Bösendorfer concert grand piano.

It’s no ordinary cover though! She not only meticulously plays the music, but accurately includes what would be the vocals as well.

Her music is truly something to behold, especially because of her deep catalog of covers from Queen (obviously) to Pink Floyd to Metallica to Rammstein and more.

When you have the time, check out her YouTube page and visit her website at vkgoeswild.com.

Waffle House Vistas — THE BITTER SOUTHERNER

Micah Cash paired photos with an essay Waffle House Vistas for the Bitter Southerner. It’s excellent.

Waffle House Vistas — THE BITTER SOUTHERNER:

…nearly every Southerner feels a personal connection to Waffle House. How can a cookie-cutter restaurant chain win over the hearts of millions of people? My answer is inclusivity. In my experience, when you walk into a Waffle House, whether it is off a random exit in northern Alabama or downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, you are welcomed. At its best, Waffle House creates a sense of belonging unlike most other places.

Waffle House does not care how much you are worth, what you look like, where you are from, what your political beliefs are, or where you’ve been so long as you respect the unwritten rules of Waffle House: Be kind, be respectful, and don’t overstay when others are waiting for a table.

And I’m with Micah. Hash browns should be scattered and covered by default.

Cover Performance of Bowie’s “Blackstar”

I’m a huge fan of Amanda Palmer’s work and this collaboration with Anna Calvi is particularly brave. Usually artists choose something with a great hook you can dance to if they’re going to cover a song. Think Twist and Shout or Louie Louie.

Instead, they chose David Bowie’s swan song Blackstar and it’s amazing.

Waiting at Starbucks

My son was in a car wreck a couple of weeks ago. That’s why I am at Starbucks right now. My wife drove his busted car to the shop near where she works this morning. I am at the corporate coffeehouse down the road from her office waiting for 5 o’clock to happen here instead of somewhere else. As I type, it’s 3:52 p.m. I figured I would get to the neighborhood (read the mall), enjoy a fancy caffeinated beverage, and unplug for a bit.

Writing comes so much easier with no connection to the internet. Why can’t I just make a conscious decision not to open Twitter or Instagram every 45 seconds or so. The weird thing is I have my phone here next to me, but it seems shameful to pick it up. Even now it calls to me.

My precioussssss.

It feels good to putter through a few lines of prose with no real goal while the caffeine soaks into my brain.

A previous career required me to write several hundred words a day to fill the pages of the newspapers I worked for. The pace wasn’t so extreme at the weekly, but the daily paper could be challenging. There are always topics to write about because something is always happening. A typical article for those small publications was about 400 words long, and that only came after writing more and editing back down to condense all of that newsy goodness.

I enjoyed journalism, but I don’t really miss it. Because the papers were small a writer had to know about all areas of potential coverage from the kids who win the spelling bee to city and county government shenanigans and the effect of national politics on the local economy. Now that I am free I can be free to grouse about whatever irritates me at the moment and when it becomes too much I can simply ignore it. I don’t have to know what’s going on if I don’t want to.

Also, I now enjoy ending my sentences with prepositions. Also, Oxford commas. They’re pretty great, swell, and fun to use without an editor complaining about them.

Mister Rogers, Poet

Drawing a picture badly

I’m not very good at it.
But it doesn’t matter.
It’s the fun of doing it that’s important.
No matter how anybody says it is.
It feels good to have made something.

Overcoming Anxiety

Anxiety and depression are lurkers.

For years, I suspected something was wrong with me and I just couldn't figure out what it was. Strike that. Nothing was wrong with me, but I did need help. It took me until May 2018—way too long—to sheepishly mention something to my doctor. Like everyone else I have talked to, he said I would be surprised how many people need some sort of help. He wrote me a prescription for Lexapro and told me to give it 30 days.

I am still taking it and life is so much better. Looking back, I can see the cycles of anxiety I would go through. I see now why I struggled with my previous job and why I finally moved on to other work after 11 years. The medicine doesn't make me weird or hyper or lethargic or anything like that. It just corrects the course of thoughts through my brain.

If you have a nagging feeling that things will never work out or you just can't handle it any more, please get help. Make an appointment. People are waiting to help you. If it's really bad, find help now at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).