"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."

08:00 Monday, 31 July 2023

Words: 23

Image of water droplets on the plastic bag enclosing a folded paper lying on the sidewalk next to some grass

Solid overcast this morning. No birds. Here's yesterday's paper.

07:46 Monday, 31 July 2023

Words: 98

This is an untitled post. It does have a title in Tinderbox, but it includes an exclamation point, which tells the export template not to include the title in both the web page export and the rss feed export. The result is that it looks like an ordinary "toot" to Mastodon. For images, it includes the photo. If I title the post, it looks like a blog post and doesn't include any images. All of which is just some meta-discussion as I link to this piece on "easier programming," which I found interesting.

Because it mentions BASIC.

07:37 Monday, 31 July 2023

Words: 18

Maybe it's just because I'm getting old, but I find John P. Weiss is always worth a read.


05:35 Monday, 31 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.54°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 1.99mph
Words: 646

This post is prompted by something Jack Baty posted, and so is kind of directed toward him, but is more about blogging in general. In his post, Jack mentions that his posts are more widely and automatically distributed by way of RSS and his micro.blog account. And his post suggests that this wider dissemination has made him somewhat self-conscious about his writing. His reaction is to default to not "syndicating" his content via RSS ("really simple syndication").

The marmot is similarly re-distributed by way of micro.blog, to my Mastodon account.

I'm ambivalent about Mastodon, but I'm willing to participate, largely as a guest of the kind and generous Rob Fahrni, who runs a small instance at curmudgeon.cafe.

I've been blogging a long time. I'm pretty sure Jack's been blogging nearly as long. Maybe longer? Writing online is a public act. I am self-conscious as I do it, and from time to time it can be uncomfortable. Writing in an offline tool like Tinderbox makes "publishing" a more deliberate process. (Offline in the sense that my posts aren't as "live" as they might be if I were writing in the browser. Tinderbox can be as connected to the web as you want it to be. See here.)

In my now former blog, Groundhog Day, which still exists as a large Tinderbox document here in marmot central, I had a container called "The cooler." I'd start writing an angry post and think twice about it and park it in the cooler to think about it before I posted it. There's a lot of stuff in "the cooler," much of it unfinished. I'm inclined to believe it's no great loss to the world that it never felt the delicate touch of Google's robot crawlers.

In the marmot, one of the Displayed Attributes ("Properties," Obsidian, take note.) in each post is a boolean checkmark HTMLDontExport. After writing a post, I can preview how it will appear online. Reading it in Preview helps in editing. Spelling errors or awkward construction that were missed in the main editing view become more apparent. If I'm confident I'm not going to utterly embarrass myself, I then (un)-tick the HTMLDontPublish check box and export the marmot. Only thing left to do at that point is sync the folder to the server, which I haven't automated yet.

So posting is a fairly deliberate act, with a fair amount of "friction" that allows me to kind of check my inclination to be glib or snarky. It sometimes doesn't work, but trust me, you don't see the worst of my online self. That guy was mostly on Facebook and Twitter, and I didn't care for him much either.

But the point of having a blog is to share those thoughts, not hide them. And publicly sharing thoughts and ideas can be a fraught thing. Ego is involved, vulnerability, our old friends Dunning and Krueger, the chance to be publicly foolish or wrong. I mean, if you're not a little self-conscious, you're probably doing it wrong.

So having gone to the trouble of buying a domain name, paying for hosting, writing a post and publishing it, yeah, put it out there!

RSS is a superpower. Back in the early days, blogrolls were kind of two things. One was to show who you read and thought was worth sharing. The other was a convenient list of bookmarks you could visit, even if you were away from your own browser, to see if they'd posted anything new. With RSS, that "discovery" portion is centralized and simplified for you.

But RSS is also an enabling technology, a glue-layer or wedge that other services, like micro.blog and Mastodon can leverage, so why not take advantage of it?

And besides, nobody cares about your blog.

Embrace the RSS. Cast your posts to the wind!

Bitter Taste

05:14 Monday, 31 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.58°F Pressure: 1009hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 1.99mph
Words: 198

I'm not of fan of Cory Doctorow's work. I've never met the guy, maybe he's a warm and wonderful human being. But whenever I've actually made an effort to read his work, as I did today, he comes off as deliberately, proudly and oh-so-self-satisfiedly abrasive. It's like someone deliberately put sand in what might otherwise be a nice sandwich they made for you. It's not just that he's angry, I can read angry writing and relate to it. It's the posing, that accompanies it. It's exhausting.

Some people seem to enjoy that sort of thing. I suppose my "I'm too old" post is abrasive, but I'd like to believe it's not my default setting. And I'm too old to put up with that schtick.

Whatever. I don't like Cory Doctorow's writing. I don't read Cory Doctorow's writing. Everybody's happy.

Anyway, with all that by way of preamble and warning, I did read this post, painful and unenjoyable though it was; and I think it's worth pointing to because it captures something important, albeit wrapped in that patented Doctorow contempt that saturates the whole damn thing.

It came to my attention by way of Ian Betteridge.

10:17 Sunday, 30 July 2023

Words: 79

Telephoto closeup of an eastern bluebird perched on a warning sign adjacent to a retention pond.

Saw a snowy egret and a little blue heron too, but the bluebird made the best shot. The Wikipedia entry for "Bluebird of happiness" included this:

The world rolls round,—mistrust it not,—

Befalls again what once befell;

All things return, both sphere and mote,

And I shall hear my bluebird's note,

And dream the dream of Auburn dell.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, May-Day, 1867

Things I'm Too Old to Deal With

09:02 Sunday, 30 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 81.25°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 78% Wind: 6.91mph
Words: 582

A few items not mentioned in the Huffington Post listicle.

Elon Musk. Life is too short to waste any time reading or thinking about this guy. Jesus.

Donald Trump. Same as above. Except for that fact that, you know, he might just wind up being president again. Which is the stuff of nightmares.

The website formerly known as Twitter. I mean, who cares? Let it go! The planet's on fire, there are more important things to think about!

Bloggers who continue to obsess over the above. Except for the planet on fire part.

Photography web sites. Stick a fork in 'em, they're done! I guess there's always a new generation coming up that's "discovering" photography, so it's kind of evergreen in that sense. But if you've been reading them for 20 years, you've probably read everything four times. At least.

Film! Oy. We loved digital because you didn't have to pay for developing and prints! Instant gratification! Crop and edit your own stuff! But now film is the new hotness. People with too much money and time on their hands and not enough sense. Hello? Planet's on fire! "But it'll look so much more compelling in Velvia!"

Superhero movies. I thought we'd reached peak superhero years ago. I guess not.

"Social media." You mean "attention aggregation web sites." You aren't the consumer, you're the consumed. Run! Get out! It's coming from inside the house!

The Republican Party. They're basically Nazis now. A fact that totally seems to elude them. Also the stuff of nightmares. But I'm so tired of Republicans. If you're a Republican, I'm sorry. Read some history. Be better.

Operating system "updates." Please, just stop. Make the shit you've already shipped just work. Please! I don't need a new branded version of the OS every year! It's not a fashion statement! Small, incremental improvements, chiefly in things we already kind of understand.

People who absolutely must photograph their concert experience, but don't understand how to work their camera, so the stupid flash keeps going off next to me. Morons!

The fucking Confederacy. I live in Florida, so it's never far from anything. It was a bunch of rebellious racist losers who wanted to own human beings. There is absolutely nothing to be proud of in that legacy. Get over yourselves.

Lawns. Truthfully, this is less of an annoyance than it might otherwise be. I bought a condo so I'd never have to do yard work. After spending over $70K to remodel my condo, Mitzi wanted to live in a house on the ground floor. She has an ankle issue, so I understand. But I told her I'd never do yard work. We've had a few lawn services since we moved here. They all sucked! Every single one of them. Figure it out, low pay and "time is money" speed. You catch every fungus and insect from every other lawn they service. They cut the grass too low, and do it whether it needs it or not because they're contracted for x-number of visits per year.

Mitzi does the lawn herself now, and the damn thing looks like a carpet. It's still a colossal waste in nearly every dimension, unconscionable in the present circumstances. But she does a really good job. With all-electric lawn tools.

But I hope there's a special place in hell reserved for the guy who thought leaf-blowers were a good idea.

There are probably many more, but this itch seems scratched for the moment.

06:40 Sunday, 30 July 2023

Words: 197

Photo from a DJI Mini-2 drone of open water in a swamp behind a suburban development.

Coincidentally, I put the drone up yesterday afternoon because it was such a nice day and we'd had so much rain. Wanted to take a look around. I put a couple more shots up on Flickr. (That's just a link to my photostream. Those images will eventually scroll into the past and off the page. But should be easy to find for now.) I flew the mini into the clearing over the water and got some shots looking back at the house. You can kind of see what the kid was facing, except, you know, in the dark.

So I'm guessing we're talking maybe 20 yards past the retention wall? Through a bunch of palmettos. I can see the drone when I fly it in there, until I get really low. Water doesn't seem very deep, plants are growing out of it. It's wet 365 days a year.

Anyway, hope the kid's okay and didn't get bitten by anything. There's another area of open water between the trail and area in this pic, and it's solid green with algae. Which can be problematic.

Sleep Hygiene

05:53 Sunday, 30 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 77°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 4.61mph
Words: 771

Hygiene... One of those words that, the longer you look at it, the less you think it's spelled right.

I'd write, "I digress," but I haven't even started!

I'm going to meta-comment my way right out of this blog post...

Moving on...

If you want to get a good night's sleep, I do not recommend watching Season 2, Episode 3 of Luther, and then go to lock your front door before retiring for the evening, only to discover fire and rescue outside with a bunch of sheriff's office vehicles.

I didn't see the cop cars initially, just fire and rescue. I live in an over-55 community, so it's not terribly unusual and I figured a neighbor was having a medical emergency.

About the same time I see the lights from the rescue vehicles, Mitzi's phone rings, and she's telling me "Tracy says there's a kid lost in the woods behind the house."

Mitzi has a daughter named Tracy who lives in California who sometimes calls after 9, and so my response is, "How does Tracy know what's going on behind our house?"

We also have a neighbor across the street named Tracy who, heretofore, hasn't called after 9. Mitzi squared me away. Duh.

So, back to the screened enclosure to assess the situation. Mitzi puts Tracy on speaker and I get some part of the story.

Apparently, there was some young man, around 20, who was upset in some way, who kind of got himself "lost in the woods," and the police were called. I don't know if this individual was a relative of someone who lives in the neighborhood, or any idea of how he came to be in the preserve behind our house, which, as I've mentioned before, is a swamp!

Cops are two houses down at the fence adjacent to the preserve. It's an aluminum, spaced-picket kind of fence. Can't keep much out, but might deter the feral pigs. I don't know, we don't have one. I hear a cop yell, "You gotta come to us, we can't get to you!"

And I'm wondering if this kid is thinking, "If they can't get to me, how am I supposed to get to them?"


I don't know what these guys know about what's behind us. They have a drone up, but it's dark. There's moonlight so maybe they can see the reflections of the water. So I wander down like any busybody, and mention this to one of the deputies, and that there's no fence behind our house. I didn't mention the unfortunate choice of words.

I hear what I think is the kid yelling something unintelligible. I go back to consult with Mitzi.

This seems like a bit of a clusterfuck. I'm guessing these guys don't want to get wet, and there's no way you're going into that swamp without getting wet. The kid has apparently already told them he's soaked and unhappy about all the water.

Like a dumbass, I figure I'll just go put my Timberlands on, some long pants and a long-sleeved shirt because of the mosquitoes, and wade out into the swamp with a light and see if I can get the kid to come to me. I'm hoping the cotton mouths and gators are as reluctant to encounter me as I am them. I know the Timberlands aren't going to keep my feet dry, but at least nothing's going to bite my ankles.

So I get dressed, put a big battery on my Makita portable worklight and go down and tell the cop, I'm just gonna wade out into the water behind the house and see if he can see me, let's go get this kid. Deputy says, no. They've decided to get him to walk to the trail on the other side of the water. Which kind of made sense. We've hiked off the trail a bit when we first moved here. To see how close we could get to the house. We got to the water. There are fire trails back there, and evidence of past burns, which is a little disturbing, so maybe that'll be easier for all concerned.

So I head back home and watch as all the vehicles are loading up and leaving. I'm thinking maybe they got the kid. I change out of my dumbass ensemble and get ready for bed. I take another look out back before turning out the lights, and the drone's back up behind the house.

Maybe they haven't got him.

Anyway, I go to bed.

Not exactly a "sweet dreams" situation, if you know what I mean.


11:49 Saturday, 29 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 87.62°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 67% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 176

We got 3.6" of rain yesterday, which seemed like a lot. The retention ponds were all full. So I checked NOAA's Precipitation Frequency Data Server, clicked on Florida, entered my address and learned that 3.6" of rain in 24 hours can be expected at least once a year. Pretty cool little service. Pretty sure that data is less valuable now, given the frequency of extreme rainfall events we're experiencing, but it's a useful data point for context. Yesterday wasn't an "extreme" sort of event.

A lot of rain though.

Anyway, clicking around on NOAA's page, I found this page over at EPA, "How's My Waterway?" So I entered my address on the little postage-stamp sized box on the right, and I got this cool little GIS-mappy-thing. I told you I live in a swamp. An impaired one at that. You can switch on the Monitoring Locations and Permitted Discharges and look at those features in their respective tabs.

Something you might want to bookmark (not Ponte Vedra, but your location) for future reference.

No Lies Detected

11:19 Saturday, 29 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 86.36°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 70% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 413

Huffington Post listicle from a Reddit thing.

Mitzi and I went to see Jackson Browne at the Moran Theater at the former Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. As one might expect, it was an older crowd. Browne is 74. We did have reserved seating! Browne mentioned that he wanted a summer tour because he wanted to perform indoors, in smaller venues, with air conditioning.

It was a good show. Maybe great. Mitzi wanted to go, I probably wouldn't have paid to see him in concert. He's more of a headphones/earbuds kind of artist to me. He was letting the audience shout requests, which is perhaps unwise in Jacksonville, ("Play Freebird!"); and at one point he told us something to the effect that, "The order of the songs is kind of important. Because there are only a few happy songs, and if you use them up too early, you start losing altitude quickly." Self-aware humor... I like it.

His voice is as sweet and mellow as ever. Small 3-piece band and two backup singers.

Sound was too loud. Got a few warnings from my watch during the show. Tinnitus was screaming when we left. If I'd have been wiser, I might have brought along my AirPods Pro and tried that adaptive transparency trick.

But yeah, I'm definitely feeling my age. He started promptly at 8:00 p.m., which shows respect for the audience. Took a short intermission, and wrapped a little before 11. The only time I remember clearly is 11:04 p.m. because we were just outside the theater headed back to the car and I recalled a Falcon Heavy was scheduled to launch from Canaveral last night, so I looked at my watch. I gather it went up at just about that time! Couldn't see it from downtown Jax, and I didn't bother to try.

Anyway, we got home a little before midnight and I was down for the count. Didn't get up until 0700, and didn't walk this morning. Giving my knees a day off.

Got the paper this morning and was surprised and pleased to see the guest editorial I submitted was published. (Noted below in the previous post.) I hadn't heard back. I wrote it a little over a week ago and hadn't looked at it since. I cringed a bit when I saw the headline in the paper, but it read better than I remembered when I wrote it. I'm biased.

10:22 Saturday, 29 July 2023

Words: 15

Commander Dave gets his name in the paper again. Along with several paragraphs of text.


08:54 Friday, 28 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 76.8°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 24

Good morning, Jack.

I saw that too. I immediately thought of "attributes."

And Tinderbox.

(Which is on sale now, 25% off at Summerfest 2023.)

Difference Between Florida and Texas

07:51 Friday, 28 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 76.06°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 129

From the Houston Chronicle in Apple News+:

Olivarez said earlier in the day that troopers are told to use their judgment and discretion when deciding to distribute drinking water. He said the state cannot give a bottle to everyone when 600 to 1,000 people are crossing every day. “If they see a child or an adult that looks like they’re suffering from some kind of heat exhaustion, they’ll give them water,” Olivarez said. “But we can’t just keep handing out water because what’s going to happen is, you’re going to continue to encourage them to come.”

In Florida, we give our water away to Nestlé, Inc.

Then they sell it back to us in little plastic bottles, which we then carefully place in a landfill. Or, you know, anywhere.

18:31 Thursday, 27 July 2023

Words: 37

Closeup of a bird-of-paradise flower

No birds when I walk before sunrise. But a cloudy, rainy afternoon makes for an interesting bird-of-paradise shot. Olympus XZ-1.

"Ya wanna know what I think?"

06:29 Thursday, 27 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 76.48°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 0mph
Words: 156

The whole world has gone nuts. We live in a simulation and the admins are screwing with us, that's what I think!

The "Unexplained Aerial Phenomenon" guy? That former intel weenie? Is he related to George Santos? I mean, the Spooky Mulder in me "wants to believe," but is anyone else's bullshit meter pegging here? I don't know what happens in some people's heads. Does he own a lot of cats or something? And these congresspeople? This is like catnip to them. The pilots I'm ok with. I'm sure they saw what they saw, and I sure as hell don't know what it was.

And wtf with Senator Yertle the Turtle? Whoops! No problem. Just had to reboot the android. "I'm fine." Sure, buddy.

Anyway. The list goes on. We have "departed from controlled flight." I don't know what to tell you. Just try to enjoy the ride.

We're all getting off at the same stop.

06:26 Thursday, 27 July 2023

Words: 22

I have, of late, eschewed commenting on the whole "X" fiasco. But I will link to this, because I think it's hysterical.

Shamble On

05:54 Thursday, 27 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 77.18°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 0mph
Words: 117

Lying awake since 0400, debating whether or not to "exercise." A little squall rolled through and took the matter off the table for a short while. My knees ache. It's not "pain" per se, I'm just aware of them and in not a good way. Of course, my shoulders ache too, especially lying on my side in bed.

I finally got tired of arguing with myself, got up and went and did it.

Yesterday I ordered a couple more shirts and pairs of shorts, so I don't have to wait on laundry day. But I did select Amazon Delivery Day (Saturday), rather than today.

Too early to say I'm "committed," but it may be trending that way.

08:48 Wednesday, 26 July 2023

Words: 39

Telephoto closeup of a bludbird perched on a blue metal fence post.

Always pleasant to see the bluebirds. There were a couple of turkey vultures grooming themselves in a tall pine too. Put them up on Flickr.


12:18 Monday, 24 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 88.7°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 64% Wind: 6.91mph
Words: 299

Nothing philosophical, just an update on my 2019 27" iMac, now with 128GB of RAM. Right now I'm sitting at about 78GB in use. It was over 80GB when I was doing some work in Topaz SharpenAI. So I think the investment will prove worthwhile over the long run.

I have a very modest 16 tabs open in Safari.

We're going to take another stab at Mission: Impossible this afternoon. If we fail, this theater will be disavowed.

Finished watching the Arnold bio-series on Netflix. Thumbs up. I think Arnold is a better man than I gave him credit for before. Did he need to do his own biographical mini-series? (I guess he just offered his full cooperation.) Well, yeah. He probably did. But still, it's pretty good, and everyone is "complicated." I don't know when Arnold became "self-aware," but he is and he's all the better for it.

Enjoying Hijack on Apple TV+.

Also enjoying Three Pines on Prime. I wondered about how much involvement there was of Indigenous people in the series. This kind of alleviated my concerns. I welcomed and enjoyed it, as well as the similar, though smaller role in Deadloch. It's refreshing, especially in Florida where our state government is laser-focused on erasing history and people.

Enjoyed learning a great deal about Bookends on Saturday during the Tinderbox meet-up. The application is far more versatile than merely as a reference manager. You could use it as a stand-alone "tool for thought" today, and upcoming linking and pdf features only expand that. There's a video here. Bookends and Tinderbox are two of the remarkable indie apps on the Summerfest artisanal software sale. (I own nearly every app on sale there.)


09:30 Monday, 24 July 2023

Words: 37

Green heron perched on the limb of a dead tree.

Cloudy this morning, which keeps the intense heat of the sun off you but makes it kind of dim for photography. Green heron.

09:14 Sunday, 23 July 2023

Words: 17

Telephoto closeup of a bluebird perched on a warning sign adjacent to a retention pond

This morning's bird.

Bird of Paradise

09:07 Saturday, 22 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 82.15°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 70% Wind: 11.5mph
Words: 178

Blossom of a bird-of-paradise plant, two bright yellow-orange vertical petals, blue petals beneath and the red/green case below that.

Mitzi planted three of these bird-of-paradise plants last year and this is the first of them to blossom. This shot is from the Olympus E-420, which has a 10MP Panasonic CMOS ("LiveMOS") sensor. I posted some shots from the E-500 with the 8MP Kodak CCD sensor on Mastodon. The E-500 shots were SOOC JPEGs. This one I tweaked with some micro-contrast using the Definition adjustment in Photos.

Shot with the 25mm/f2.8 pancake, wide open. Probably should have stopped it down a bit for a little more dof, but it's fine.

I've been watching this thing for the last few days as it began to develop. When I went out for my run this morning, it hadn't opened yet, though the top had begun to split. I stepped outside a few minutes ago and noticed it was open, so I had to grab a camera. (Four of them, actually.)

Mitzi's kind of disappointed that the others haven't blossomed.

Born to Shamble

06:05 Saturday, 22 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 77.2°F Pressure: 1006hPa Humidity: 78% Wind: 3mph
Words: 445

Was on the street by 0505, but didn't get off to a smooth start. For some reason, the interval timer app wasn't sounding the chimes, so my run intervals didn't start until farther into the route. Ran harder though, so finished only a few seconds off the first effort. Took two days off because my quads were really not happy with me. I suspect it'll be Tuesday before I try this again.

Startled a pair of dogs as I began a run interval, and they startled me. I didn't bark though. May have woken a couple of neighbors. At one point a frog chirped right next to me and I started running.

I need to relax.

Mitzi and I tried to go to the movies on Thursday. We were mostly successful, except for the part about actually seeing the movie. Showtime was at 1500, and the screen was still dark. They weren't even playing the usual ads they play as people are getting seated. We were in one of those Cinemark theaters with the reclining seats that rumble and vibrate and cost twice the amount of a regular ticket. But you do get to reserve your seat, which is nice.

There was a gentleman seated next to me, then someone I assume was a grandchild, and then the gentleman's wife. Who apparently loved to talk. And talk. And talk. And not in a soft, intimate voice either. In the confident tones of a person who was absolutely certain that what they had to say would be of interest to anyone around them.

About 1505, an employee addresses us and says they've changed a bulb in the projector, and they're just waiting for it to warm up. Another customer asks if they can skip the previews and go straight to the movie. Employee says yes.

Lady two seats down has been going on at some length about why old actors shouldn't revisit characters in movies. Harrison Ford, Sly Stallone. Apparently her grandchild's generation has "no frame of reference." (Are they "out of their element" too?) And then she started going on about how unsafe large cities are. Apparently four teenagers were shot in NYC the previous weekend. "And fifteen were killed in Chicago!"

"But," she said, "I don't know if they all died."

Which just about gave me a stroke.

Employee comes out about 15:20 and says they're canceling the show, they have "technical problems." We get rain checks.

We're going to try again on Monday. I'm bringing my noise-canceling AirPods and listening to something else before the show starts.

I'll probably wear my wrist beads too, to try to remember to be kind.

G'night moon II

22:16 Friday, 21 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 87.62°F Pressure: 1009hPa Humidity: 70% Wind: 5.75mph
Words: 25

Crescent moon low oover the horizon in a suburban landscape

Grabbed the E-P7 with the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake.


09:51 Friday, 21 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 86.02°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 73% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 697

I guess I blogged too soon about "mission accomplished."

I tried to post G'night moon with the automation I'd put together that worked in the Traffic post, and it didn't work.

But first, an update...

I received the 128GB of RAM in the mail yesterday, and I installed it last night. Hilarity ensued.

It took three boot attempts to finally get the iMac to boot into the login screen. After logging in, the computer pauses for what feels like minutes, I haven't timed it yet, before getting to Finder, and then running all the stuff that runs at startup. I've been through this drill many times now, and it doesn't improve. I guess it's doing some kind of RAM check or some other diagnostic that takes an inordinate amount of time compared to booting with 64GB.

But once it's up and running, it reports it has 128GB of RAM and seems otherwise content.

I don't reboot often, usually, so I decided it was something I can live with.

Then I tried to do the G'night moon post.

The last part of the automation runs an Automator app called Sync Server, which is a "Watch me do" recorded script that selects the Forklift favorites menubar item. This automation ran correctly on Wednesday. Today, it failed. The cursor moved under app control and tried to click the menu bar items, but seemingly failed and then wouldn't release the mouse cursor. Drag the mouse and it would drag itself right back up to where that final menubar item was supposed to be. Click-it, don't click-it, makes no difference. Little gear spinning in the menubar. Did the command-tab thing hoping I could get to Sync Server and just do a CMD-Q or Esc or something... It's not an app that appears in command-tab.

Ugh. Press the power button, hit return for Shut Down.

Restart, and wait.

While I was waiting, I used the 13" M1 MBP to search for some clue on Automator not releasing the mouse cursor. No joy there.

Once everything was back up and running, I launched Automator and opened Sync Server. Tried to run it from the main run command, just to see if it would run in Automator. Same thing, trapped the cursor. Did CMD-Q to quit Automator, thinking that would release the cursor. Get a dialog that there's an automation running with two buttons, the left one being Quit or "Quit anyway," the right one being the default and selected by pressing Return, "Cancel."


I took a stab at various key combinations with Return to see if I could make it select the non-default, since I couldn't use the mouse. No joy. Not saying there isn't one, there are a million of these little tricks hidden in Mac OS, but I wasn't going to go look for one just then, so hit the power button again.

Minutes later, back into Automator. Deleted the actions, re-recorded it. Ran it from Automator. Ran fine.

Saved it, ran just the Sync Server app and it reported it didn't have permission and I needed to give it permission in Accessibility in System Settings. Well, it does have permission in Accessibility in System Settings. Ugh!

Figured I'd log out and log back in and see if that reconciled something. Nope, same error. Logging out and in is a lot faster than re-booting though.

So, what worked on Wednesday, doesn't work on Friday. What works in Automator, doesn't work outside of Automator. Sigh.

There are probably better ways to do what I want to do anyway, so I guess I'll look into those. But wow, this hit-or-miss thing with Mac OS Ventura and automation is frustrating. I did open the recorded actions and looked at the associated UI script events and that all looked benign. No clues there.

It's a mystery. I know Automator has something of a less than sterling reputation. While it doesn't do a lot, the things it does do, it seems to do them well. Except "Watch me do." And something in Apple's security features is bumping into it as well. Beyond my pay-grade.

Shadow Test

09:45 Friday, 21 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 86.02°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 73% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 17

Photo of diagonal shadows on a white kitchen drawer

Another test post.

G'night moon

08:44 Friday, 21 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 82.76°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 81% Wind: 8.05mph
Words: 27

Crescent moon low over a dark suburban landscape

Went to lock the front door last night and spotted the crescent moon.


11:42 Wednesday, 19 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 90.07°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 69% Wind: 5.75mph
Words: 283

Some golf carts on a multi-purpose path.

Mission accomplished!

In the Photos to Tinderbox script, now a system service with a keyboard shortcut, the last step was to run an Automator application called Export Photo. That's the one that actually takes the image from Photos and places it in the folder that gets sync'ed to the server and then cleans up after itself.

I figured I'd add another Automator action to that application in the form of "Watch me do..." and have the computer upload the image for me. There are probably other/better ways to do it, but that seemed easy to me.

Well, it wasn't. It would work fine in Automator, but it wouldn't work within the Export Photo application when called by the Photos to Tinderbox script. After much trial and error, I had to create a separate application called "Sync Server," that included "Watch me do..." by itself. Then the Photos to Tinderbox script calls Sync Server after Export Photo, and everything works fine.

It seems to have something to do with keeping application permissions straight in Accessibility, it can't control more than one app at a time it seems. But the script can call as many apps as it needs to.

All this does is eliminate another fiddly mouse movement, and does it faster than I can. So when I select a photo to post in the marmot, everything but the text is done for me.

After I "Export to html" from Tinderbox, I can then call Sync Server directly using LaunchBar, which is also a nice convenience.

I feel very productive today. I'm taking the rest of the day off...


11:39 Wednesday, 19 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 90.07°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 69% Wind: 5.75mph
Words: 40

Mitzi made a cake.

This is a test post, the latest of many. This one seems to be successful. The next post will determine if this success can be replicated.

10:08 Wednesday, 19 July 2023

Words: 48

Bloggin' like it's 1999! AKMA tips his metaphorical hat at my fitness efforts. He's been doing remarkably well with consistency, even grappling with plantar fasciitis, which I know quite well.

I'll be fumbling along with this for a little while anyway. I actually miss running, but we'll see.


07:35 Wednesday, 19 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 75.02°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 3.44mph
Words: 32

Some hanging lamps in a restaurant against a dark background

CTRL-Shift-P (Post pic? Photo to marmot?) seems to work. Now if I can only remember it.

Weather Approaching

07:22 Wednesday, 19 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 75.02°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 3.44mph
Words: 55

A bit of a shelf cloud forming as a line of thunderstorms approaches

Works from the Services menu. Couldn't find it in the System Settings to assign the keyboard shortcut, but I just wanted to make sure it ran as a service first. Now I'll dig a little deeper and give it a shortcut.

Rainbow Test

07:10 Wednesday, 19 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.98°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 3.44mph
Words: 110

A rainbow over the beach photographed from a drone

This is a test post. I've embedded the Photos to Tinderbox AppleScript into an Automator action, which I will save as a Quick Action. I can assign a keyboard shortcut to that. As "fiddly" goes, hitting that little FastScripts menu icon and then hitting the right item can be a bit fiddly. A keyboard shortcut might be nicer.

So far, the script runs fine in the Automator editor. I'll save it and try again as a Quick Action.

Then I may try it as a dictation command.

The fun and games continue here at marmot headquarters.


06:43 Wednesday, 19 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 75.24°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 1.01mph
Words: 339

I mentioned the other day that walking was about the only exercise I got. I used to run a fair amount. A couple of marathons, a bunch of half-marathons, 15Ks, and so on. But I developed a persistent case of achilles tendonitis that always seemed to reappear once I got up to about 5 miles. (Not the 5-mile point in a run, training to be able to run 5 miles.) So, I gave up. Alas.

Well, that was several years ago. Now I walk and occasionally bike. I'm several years older and a lot heavier. Don't really know if I can ever run again, but I figured it was time to find out.

So, the other day, at the Outlet Mall, I bought a pair of Asics Gel Kayanos, an extra-large sleeveless, bright yellow, "Please don't hit me," running shirt and an extra-large pair of shorts.

Then I proceeded to self-sabotage by eating several pints of Ben and Jerry's, which were on sale BOGO at Publix, and that's like makin' money!

Meanwhile, the shoes have been sitting next to the bed and I try not to look at them in the morning.

This morning I was awake at 0430 and I figured, "What the hell. Let's go see."

I exercise (I won't say "run.") in the dark, so no one can see this fat old man lumbering down the road. I got a little $5 app for the phone that sets intervals for me. I did 2-min walking and 30s "running."

The good news is that the interval split was just about perfect. I didn't have a coronary. Did my usual 2.5 mile loop at a pace about 15s faster than my "fastest" walking pace. (That normally requires temps in the 50s. My pace really seems dependent on temperature/humidity.) Nothing really hurts, yet, though my right knee seems like it wasn't happy.

I'll play with this for a while. No big ambition, just see what I can do.

I'm not dead yet.

16:17 Monday, 17 July 2023

Words: 61

Closeup view of male eastern pondhawk dragonfly perched on a paver step.

Kind of a test post to see what happens with the title. Went out with the E-M1x to try and shoot some dragonflies in flight behind the house, but the background is much too busy to reliably grab focus. Need to do this near a pond.


11:30 Monday, 17 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 87.89°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 77% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 486

There's a piece in Ars Technica that speculates on how long Apple will continue to support intel based Macs with OS updates and security updates.

Timely, because I just ordered 128GB of RAM for my 2019 iMac this morning. It wasn't cheap, but let's just say it was "affordable."

I bought this iMac just as we moved into Saul Hall. Until then, I'd been using a late-2012 13" MacBook Pro Retina, which I'd pretty much max'ed out when I purchased it. I don't recall if there was a 16GB option, but if there was that's the one thing I regret not ordering. I got the i7 processor and 768GB SSD along with 8GB of RAM, and it was a pretty serviceable system for most of the time I owned it. The one glaring weakness it had was the limited RAM. Toward the end, it was spinning pinwheels of infinite futility anytime I had more than a few tabs open in Safari.

I ordered this iMac with the 8-core i9 processor and the Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of VRAM, 32GB of installed RAM and 1TB SSD. I upgraded the RAM to 64GB in November of 2020.

At the moment, I have 106 tabs open in Safari and 49 apps running. It remains responsive and Activity Monitor is showing Memory Pressure as low, but I'm using 978MB of swap on the SSD. (That's by no means "normal." I've been looking stuff up. But fifty or more isn't out of the ordinary.)

The idea when I bought this machine was that I'd use it for at least as long as the 13" MacBook Pro Retina, about 7 years. I did hope to get a few years more out of it, but I never anticipated the switch to the M-series SOCs. This machine cost me $4147 with tax, which probably sounds outrageous, but the MacBook Pro was $3200 back in 2012, and I bought a 27" Thunderbolt Display to connect it to, so that was over $4K back in 2012.

I don't know exactly how long I'll be able to keep this iMac up-to-date in terms of security. Maybe another four, based on the Ars piece. I went back and forth on upgrading the RAM, given the relatively short lifetime of "safe" operation. But I decided I wanted to go ahead and do it now, to try and get the most performance out of this machine. If I'm hitting the SSD for swap, that's kind of a waste of SSD write-cycles, so I guess I need more RAM.

Frankly, the whole thing is kind of absurd. There is no real justification for why I need this much compute power. It's just a function of my privilege and (relative) wealth that I can feel as though this is something reasonable to do.

I'll have to revisit this internal debate when Vision Pro debuts.

The Arena

09:38 Monday, 17 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 83.52°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 598

There's something I was thinking about this morning, which I plan to write about in a different forum, but it called to mind Theodore Roosevelt's, "the arena" quote. And perhaps it came to mind because I'd only recently read Steve Makofsky's blog post about the arena.

In case you don't click through, here's the famous passage:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

And he also includes a quote from Brené Brown, who I adore, but who I think is wrong on this issue:

"If you're not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I'm not interested in your feedback." — Brené Brown

Makofsky is making a different point in his post about our "inner critic." It's a valid point, one that I agree with, but it's not the point of this post.

People kind of "get" Roosevelt's point, about the nobility of daring and striving and devotion. But I've seen this passage most often used as a means of deflection, as a defense mechanism to reject criticism; and indeed to cast aspersions back on the one who dares to criticize.

And here's a weakness of "the arena" as metaphor: It divides us.

It divides us into those who are "in" the arena and those who are supposedly "out" of the arena. Spectators. People dismissed by Brown as being "in the cheap seats."

And here's another weakness of the arena. By describing everyone not in the arena as mere spectators, "timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat," who aren't "also getting your ass kicked," then the people so gloriously described as "in the arena," are not creators, they're performers.

"Are you not entertained?" Maximus, Gladiator

Here's the reality: We're all in the arena. Shakespeare knew, "All the world's a stage."

If you're LGBTQI in Florida, trying to live your identity in a political culture that's trying to make you disappear, you're "in the arena also getting your ass kicked."

If you're struggling with student loans, you're in the arena.

If you're Black in an America that wants to wish away systemic racism rather than confront it and deal with it, you're in the arena.

If you're a parent, you're in the arena.

If you're someone dealing with health issues, especially in America, you are so in the arena.

We are all in this together.

Everyone gets lost sometimes, and partly that's because we don't listen to voices that come from "the cheap seats." Sure, hurt people say hurtful things. But it always pays to listen. It always pays to be interested in the feedback.

Here's a better quote of uncertain provenance:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle you know nothing about.

It's a better attitude. And something to keep in mind when offering criticism, or receiving it.

This morning's bird

08:14 Monday, 17 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 78.98°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 5.75mph
Words: 232

Bluebird taking flight in a blur from a sidewalk.

I brought along the decade old E-M5 with the 14-150mm zoom mounted. I've usually carried the 75-300mm zoom because I'd often see birds and 150mm (300mm effective focal length), often isn't quite enough. One of the things I enjoy about photography, especially with a long zoom, is that it allows me to see these beautiful birds in much closer detail than I can with just my eyes. I remain amazed that I have this facility at my fingertips.

But I haven't been seeing many birds lately. So I wanted to see if I would notice anything else, kind of examine whether the kind of lens I'm carrying affects my perceptions or attention on my walk.

I think perhaps it does. If the sky is particularly interesting, it's hard to miss, and I'd often use my phone to try to capture it when I was carrying the long zoom. But the 75-300 doesn't allow for particularly close focusing, so I don't often look for anything close to the ground.

Anyway, I have another shot of this bluebird, standing still after munching on a bug. But this one felt kind of Cartier-Bresson, and I like it.

It was a productive walk. I ended up with 10 "keepers." If you're so inclined, they're up at Flickr.

This morning's bird(s)

16:07 Saturday, 15 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 90.07°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 65% Wind: 13.8mph
Words: 99

Breeding pair of wild turkeys with eleven juveniles in the grass next to a paved path

Didn't see any birds on my walk this morning, but on our way back from the farmers' market (really just an outdoor vendor event) in the golf cart, these wild turkeys crossed the road and the multi-purpose path in front of us. Fortunately, I'd brought a camera along. There are 11 young ones. I've seen small groups before, 3-5 individuals, never a whole family this large. It was fun watching mom go after one of the chicks(?) when it started to wander off.

Born to Run

08:29 Saturday, 15 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 79.56°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 88% Wind: 8.05mph
Words: 1164

Three bead bracelets on my wrist

(I used my newly revised Photos to Tinderbox script to post this image I just took with my iPhone.)

Some ideas seem to take a very long time to come together.

Mitzi and I were in Scottsdale, Arizona in March 2022 and we were doing some window shopping when she spotted a photo of someone who looked familiar in the window of one of the shops. She asked me if I recognized the man with his arm around a woman who appeared to be the proprietor. I told Mitzi, "That's the Boss!" and walked right in.

We were met by the woman in the photo and I asked her, "What did Bruce buy?"

And thus we became acquainted with Beverly and Brian Moore, proprietors of Earthen Rare. We had a very nice conversation for some time. I learned Bruce bought Desert Prayer, which is the one closest to my hand. The middle one is called Born to Run, which was inspired by his visit, and the third one is just a bead bracelet because I thought I needed three.

I recall a blip that appeared briefly on my radar when she mentioned how much she loved Springsteen, but qualified it by adding, "I don't always agree with everything he's saying," or words to that effect. And we went on talking.

They asked if I'd write them a Google review, and I said of course.

So when we got back to our hotel, I googled them and discovered that they were Trump supporters. Pretty strong Trump supporters. So I was trying to reconcile the impressions I'd formed in their shop where they were a very charming and creative couple, and the photographic evidence of their strong support for Trump.

I promised them a favorable review, so I wrote one and consciously tried to ensure that what I'd just learned didn't dampen my praise for our experience in the shop.

That experience of cognitive dissonance was to remain with me to this day. While we were flying home, masked, during a time when masks were divisive because they were mandatory, I kept reflecting on this feeling that I liked these people, but I didn't like people who supported Trump.

The thought that came to mind during that reflection was from War Games: "The only way to win is not to play the game."

It seemed to me that there were powerful entities, politicians and corporations, who work hard to divide us, because they can exploit that conflict for their own benefit. Who does it serve? It certainly doesn't serve us.

But I still get angry when I hear Trump supporters, and I don't like that feeling. And I live in a place that is almost Trump central. So I avoid people I don't know and don't talk about politics unless I do and I know they're on "my side." It's not a great way to live.

I often think of Beverly and Brian and wonder how many wonderful people I don't get to know because I'm afraid they're Trump supporters.

A couple of weeks ago, Mitzi and I went to a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Don't ask.) baseball game, as part of a group outing for communications professionals, Mitzi being the professional. She ran into an old friend and colleague she hadn't seen in a long time and spent time catching up with her, while I talked with her husband.

He was wearing a bead bracelet, and it made me think of Beverly and Brian. And I didn't know him at all, so I tried to steer around politics. But he was in police work and in Jacksonville policing is political, so it kind of came up and it was interesting. I still can't say for sure where he is on the political spectrum, but he didn't react viscerally to some of the tentative points I offered, and we went on to talk a little bit about local politics. And I found it somewhat illuminating, so I was glad we had the conversation.

But seeing his bracelet reminded me of mine, which have sat in a box since we got back from Arizona, save for one evening when I wore them because I'd spent quite a lot of money on them. And I thought to myself that I ought to dig them out and wear them now and then. Because they look cool, if nothing else.

I left Twitter because I was tired of what I was becoming. Angry all the time. I have learned that Mastodon can replicate that experience, and I can continue to make myself angry there, without the benefit of the local social connections I'd made on Twitter.

Le sigh.

I saw something recently about the radical faith of Fred Rogers, or something to that effect. I'd made a mental note to look for it and read it, because there may be a clue there for me. The video I posted the other day, about dying, made me think about all this anger and whether or how it served me.

The "still small voice" is nagging at me, and my inner voice is arguing with it. And I haven't quite figured out how that's going to all work out yet.

Anyway, last night we went to an event over in Jacksonville Beach, and it occurred to me that I should have worn my beads! Because they're cool.

And then it occurred to me that they could serve me. That if I met someone who was a right-winger (50% chance on your best day in Florida, 75% chance here in St Johns County.), and they said something that aroused a feeling of anger, the beads could remind me of Beverly and Brian. And I could recall that feelings pass. And that there's nothing wrong with having feelings. It's acting on them that gets us in trouble.

When we got home from the event, we finished watching Ford vs. Ferrari, and I did some digging into the biography of Leo Beebe, because I noticed I was having very negative feelings about a real person who existed, who may not have been the person depicted in the film. It turns out, he probably wasn't. But the filmmakers chose to make his character personify the worst characteristics of corporate culture.

And that's what I was thinking about this morning on my walk, which made me think about having all these feelings, and remember Beverly and Brian and my beads and something to blog about.

Everybody's out on the run tonight

But there's no place left to hide

Together Wendy we can live with the sadness

I'll love you with all the madness in my soul

Oh someday girl, I don't know when

We're gonna get to that place

Where we really want to go, and we'll walk in the sun

But 'til then, tramps like us

Baby we were born to run

Moving Meditation

07:57 Saturday, 15 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 77.9°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 5.75mph
Words: 386

Just got back from the walk where I thought of several things to blog about, but now can't seem to recall. So maybe I'll write about the things I do recall, which is mostly the last thing I was thinking about.

It's hot and muggy and there are biting flies here in Florida. I walk because it's just about the only exercise I get. (I have started riding the bike again, though.) I carry the camera because I'll often see a bird or a gator or something that catches my eye. Most of the time I'm thinking about something. I'll say hi to a neighbor, like I did this morning. I sent him a link to my Flickr photostream yesterday and he wanted to thank me and say how much he enjoyed the photos.

But when I think about my experience, chiefly my experience of my sweaty body, often with a new itch or sting, it's in the context of wanting to get this walk over. Because it's not pleasant. I walk early while the sun is low, because once it's on you, it's intense. That's not to say I think about the experience all the time, because I'm usually thinking about something else. (Which has just reminded me of one of the things I thought I'd write about. Cool.)

During the last minutes of this morning's walk, I thought about the fact that one day I won't be able to do this. I think it was prompted by some memory of running, and how that seems behind me now. (Maybe not. We'll see.) It occurred to me that one day, I may be looking back at days like today, and missing the time when I could get out and walk, even at my pathetic 19:08 min pace. So I concentrated on how the good parts felt. My legs moving with some intention, some strength, the air in my lungs, my arms moving, my back not hurting. (Carrying a lighter camera rig on a sling with the camera resting on the small of my back has made an enormous difference.)

So I made an effort to appreciate how that felt, and ignored the stinging sweat running into my eyes.

Which is not what I'd intended to blog about. Never entered my mind.

Until it did.

Storm Cloud

16:07 Friday, 14 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 83.17°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 78% Wind: 13.8mph
Words: 67

Aerial view of a large thunderhead over a suburban landscape

I seem to have an issue with the DJI mini recording all the DNG files, or with Image Capture downloading them. I didn't have .DNG files for each image. But that may have been a useful constraint. This was a quick and dirty with Affinity Photo 2 this time. Larger version at Flickr.


15:52 Friday, 14 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 84.34°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 75% Wind: 20.71mph
Words: 58

Wide angle panoramic view of an approaching thunderstorm over a suburban and wetlands landscape

Put the drone up when I saw the clouds approaching. This is a 7-shot pano stitched in Affinity Photo and probably too wide.

May try again with the .DNG files and see if I can do a little better. Larger version at Flickr.

Waves Back

13:56 Friday, 14 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 92.46°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 62% Wind: 10.36mph
Words: 6

See how this works?

Pretty cool.

Dawn of Another Day

12:53 Friday, 14 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 91.71°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 61% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 126

Sunrise looking over the Tolomato River toward the Atlantic Ocean from a DJI mini 2 drone. Lower limb of the sun touching the horizon

I posted a later shot from this morning on Mastodon, but looking over the images later, I prefer this one. I was hustling to get something posted before I went out for my walk. Doesn't speak to being very "mindful" or "intentional," except to say I was mindful of the time, and I intended to get out there before the sun got much higher.

I like this one better because the sun's just clearing the horizon and there's a boat in the river headed south at speed, and you can see more of the serpentine bend of the Tolomato.

I'm also just having fun watching this automation work.

(Larger version at Flickr.)

Will Rogers

12:02 Friday, 14 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 90.18°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 61% Wind: 5.75mph
Words: 175

"It takes nerve to be a Democrat, but it takes money to be a Republican."

-Will Rogers

Being a test post of a new AppleScript to create a blog post from the clipboard.

Working from the Photos to Tinderbox AppleScript, I made one to take the contents of the clipboard and create a new note in the marmot.

This isn't much of a breakthrough for me with regard to Tinderbox, but it does save me a couple of steps if I want to create a post from something I read.

Invoking the script from the Scripts menu, it prompts me for a title for the note (post), and then creates the note and pastes the contents of the clipboard into the $Text of the note. Then I have to write whatever it is I think about that.

This went remarkably smoothly. I have some more ideas, but I'm going to just savor this one for a little bit.

Ideally, it'd capture the application and document file link or URL and populate relevant attributes. Maybe tomorrow...

Oh, and Jack, one more thing...

10:28 Friday, 14 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 86.86°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 70% Wind: 8.05mph
Words: 43

There's a glitch in your RSS from Jack Baty's Weblog. The link in the RSS item referenced in the previous post points to "baty.blog/posts/2023/07/13.html." It's a blank page.

The actual link is at daily.baty.net.


A Note to Jack Baty

08:18 Friday, 14 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 79.25°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 4.61mph
Words: 476

I know Jack reads the marmot because when I post something about Tinderbox, I look for a post about Tinderbox from Jack. Sure enough, right after iPhone Camera Test Export, Jack made a brief post about Tinderbox.

Back in the day, we'd all be referencing each other, Alwin Hawkins, Garret Vreeland, Susan Kitchens, Karl Martino, James Vornov, Hal Rager, Shelley Powers, AKMA, Jonathon Delacour, Stavros the Wonder Chicken, Mike Warot and many others. Facebook sucked all the oxygen out of the blogosphere and then Twitter kind of finished the job. Most of those folks still blog, but not with the same frequency and interaction. That's all still in the "social media" space.

Since the marmot is all just static html, I don't have any fancy "trackback" mechanisms, and I look at the hosting company logs so seldom that I don't really understand what I'm looking at when I do. If anyone links to the marmot, I have to be already subscribed to them in RSS to notice. Not that anyone necessarily should link to the marmot. Still, it's nice to know you're not just ranting into the void every now and then.

Anyway, lament aside, I'd say to Jack not to fear anything going pear-shaped in Tinderbox. The simplest thing is to duplicate the Tinderbox file and perform all your experiments in the duplicate. Do a "proof of concept" in a test file before you even do that. If worse comes to worst, and it has a couple of times for me, Mark Bernstein at Eastgate will help if you send him the file and ask politely. Probably worth a visit to the forum first though. And there's always the weekend meetups.

Besides, anyone who can wrangle emacs can definitely master Tinderbox!

My infatuation with "tools for thought" has cooled significantly. I have zero interest in Roam, Obsidian, The Brain, zettelkasten, etc. If I was employed and my job was producing reports with references and so on, then it might be different. Thinking occurs in the brain, writing helps me "see what I think." Tinderbox is a wonderful writing tool. Nodes and edges, links and backlinks, it all comes down to the connections between your ears.

But I still love Tinderbox. (Parenthetically, I just noticed the screenshot on the web page and it "surprised and delighted" me.)

The fact that it can do so much more than what I use it for doesn't particularly trouble me. And getting that little "Rule" to work so I can post iPhone pictures the other day just made me so happy. I usually just get frustrated and give up. I treasured that little feeling of accomplishment. Still feels good.

Of course, now I have another idea I want to try, and as we all know, "Trying is the first step toward failure!"

Anyway, just thought I'd say, "Hi, Jack!"

This Morning's Bird

08:02 Friday, 14 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 77.59°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 4.61mph
Words: 289

Telephoto closeup of an osprey perched on a dead limb of a pine tree with his back to the camera looking to the right.

Normally I post "this morning's bird" on Mastodon, as I used to do on Twitter. I get some likes and comments, but they're about the same as I get on Flickr, which is to say, not a lot. Which is fine.

Since it's so easy to do it here now, and since micro.blog mirrors the marmot and posts it to Mastodon anyway, I might as well just do everything here.

Some mornings I go out and don't see any birds worth shooting. (I could make a career out of shooting mockingbirds, but I'd bore myself to death.) I haven't seen many wading birds in the retention ponds lately. I did hear a hawk this morning, and I knew it was close, but I didn't spot it until it flew out of the tree in front of me!

This shot isn't remarkable, the osprey has its back to the camera. But I was able to get closer than I usually do, and this is a crop, so the eye, the beak and the talons were all points of interest. It was grooming itself, so there wasn't much in the way of a "hero pose."

I miss shooting spiders and dragon flies. There are dragon flies around here, but not usually where I walk. I'd have to go out of my way to find them. I think we've just killed off nearly all the spiders. I'd see hundreds of them a decade ago, giant orb weavers. Nothing today. It's sad.

But I like shooting bluebirds and ospreys and the rest, while we still have them. One day, hopefully not in my lifetime, they'll be gone too.

Nobody Gets Out of Here Alive

10:24 Thursday, 13 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 86.99°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 72% Wind: 6.91mph
Words: 77

This is well worth your time and captures what I spend much of my time thinking about these days.

ISS Pass 13 July 2023

05:23 Thursday, 13 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 76.53°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 1.01mph
Words: 212

Light trail of the International Space Station over Nocatee amid star trails and a trees in the bottom right half of the frame.

Got a notification yesterday of another pass this morning at around 0500. They often come in threes. I wasn't sleeping anyway, so I got up and set up the camera on the tripod.

ISS appeared in the northwest and disappeared east-southeast (from left to right in the frame) and max elevation was 51 degrees. Bright spot in the trees is the crescent moon rising. If you're having trouble seeing it, it starts in the bottom left half of the frame, and most of it is somewhat obscured by trees.

What's interesting to me about this shot is that the light from the stars appears to be dimming. What's actually happening is the sky is growing brighter as morning twilight approaches, and the exposure for each of the shots is fixed, so the contrast between the dark sky of the initial exposure and the bright stars in each subsequent exposure is less, so they appear to be dimming. Sky is actually growing brighter, but the sky exposure is relatively static as the background against which "new" light is added.

Surprising thing to me is the absence of aircraft trails. Must not be much traffic this time of day.

Blue sky blue bird

15:22 Wednesday, 12 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 89.37°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 74% Wind: 11.5mph
Words: 28

Closeup of a bluebird sitting on a lamp post light sensor against a blue sky.

Well, alrighty then. This seems to work!

I shall declare victory and go home.

iPhone Camera Test Export

14:57 Wednesday, 12 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 89.85°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 74% Wind: 11.5mph
Words: 1013

Morning sun behind mackeral clouds reflected in a retention pond

This is the happy result of some frustration and study, trial and error. I suspect it's too early to declare victory, but initial indications look promising.

I attend a weekly Zoom meet-up of Tinderbox users, and I enjoy the social aspect as well as maybe learning something now and then. Most of the time, the techniques being demonstrated don't really relate to anything I'm doing with Tinderbox, nevertheless, I'm impressed and entertained by watching them unfold.

In the decade or so that I've been maintaining the marmot, I haven't really taken much advantage of the automation frameworks afforded by Tinderbox, Action Code and Export Code, and now, AppleScript. Mostly I just use a bare minimum of fairly static Export Code, and a little bit of Action Code to call the weather stuff, set the various attributes for the permalinks and export files.

My biggest challenge in automating the marmot was in posting photos. Prior to the change, I basically did everything manually, albeit with a lot of "copy and paste" action. The Photos to Tinderbox AppleScript automates nearly every aspect of that now. The only real manual effort is entering the title and caption info, and then hitting the Sync button in Forklift.

It was a pretty fair amount of effort, because Photos didn't seem to allow export from AppleScript. You could do it with Automator, so I had to create an Automator application to call from the AppleScript, and you can't specify a file path for the export. It always exports to folder in the ~/Pictures directory, and it always appends a ".jpeg" file suffix to the export.

After Automator exports the photo, Hazel comes in and moves the image to the marmot's Tinderbox directory and changes the suffix from .jpeg to .JPG, which matches the file suffix for images from my Olympus cameras. Export Code creates the html necessary to display the image from the photo's filename, which is why I have to change ".jpeg" to ".JPG" or I get a missing image icon.

Anyway, that was a fair amount of work, but it works well and I'm happy with it.

But if I want to post a picture taken with my iPhone, then I have to do some manual intervention. The iPhone stores images in HEIC format with a .HEIC file suffix. I could set the iPhone to store images as jpegs, but HEIC is more space efficient and I like that. So the filename, from which the html is constructed, is the original filename from the camera, with .HEIC as the suffix. Photos exports as JPEG (or TIFF or PNG), so the filenames don't match after export. I can't construct the html from the filename attribute I sent over from Photos. I've had to go manually change the .HEIC in the html to .JPG, which is not a big deal, but it's enough friction to keep me from posting images from the phone very often.

This particular challenge is something I've never tried before, manipulating the value of an attribute and creating a new attribute as a result. I wanted to just extract everything left of the file type suffix and make a new attribute I just call "Photo." Then in the export code, I just put the $Photo attribute in the html and append the ".JPG" in the Rule in the prototype.

But how do you manipulate attribute values in a note? Well, you do it with a Rule. Up until today, all the attributes I created with Action Code were part of an OnAdd action, which the monthly archive container applies when a new post is created, to every post. Since a photo post is a post, there's nothing wrong with all that code; but a photo post has attributes that only apply to photos, and it has its own embedded html in the note's $Text, so it uses a different prototype as a post. So OnAdd wasn't really the appropriate way to go here.

Well, a note's "Rule" is the way you mess with attributes in only that note. Then I had to figure out how to get everything to the left of the file suffix. There are text operators you can use that involve regular expressions, none of which I have ever used before.

Taking a tip from Dave Winer, I asked ChatGPT, "What is the regular expression needed to extract the text of a filename before the file type suffix?"

This is the response:


To extract the text of a filename before the file type suffix using a regular expression, you can use the following pattern:





- `^` asserts the start of the string.

- `(.+?)` captures one or more characters non-greedily (lazy matching) into a group.

- `(\.[^.]+)?` captures a dot followed by one or more non-dot characters into an optional group.

- `$` asserts the end of the string.

In this pattern, the first captured group will contain the filename without the file type suffix.


Not being willing to trust ChatGPT, I tested this in an app called RegExRx and it seemed to work. $1 was just the name minus the filetype suffix, which is what I wanted.

Throwing caution to the wind, I created a new Tinderbox file, created the relevant user attributes ($PhotoFilename and $Photo) and entered the following rule in a new note:


(The +.JPG part I added later when things went sideways a bit.)

In the test note, I got just the part of the filename I wanted.

Then I tried it here. (I just noticed another thing I have to fix, but it doesn't interfere with exporting from Tinderbox.)

I originally tried to add the ".JPG" in the photo post's $Note text. That got all wonky and I don't really know why. Then I figured I'd try to do it in the Rule and that worked fine.

Now I have to test this with a regular photo from a "real" camera. There are usually unintended consequences and breakage. We shall see.

Photos Export

08:52 Wednesday, 12 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 80.78°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 8.05mph
Words: 263

I post a lot of my pics to Flickr, and I did so with the ISS shot from last night. I export the images to a folder on the desktop that Flickr Uploader watches, and automatically uploads them to, well, Flickr. Hazel also watches that folder and deletes the images 24 hours later. There is no setting to automatically delete images in the uploader app.

Since I posted the ISS shot here in the marmot, I used an AppleScript that first gives the image a title and then a caption. I use the Title for the note name in Tinderbox, which becomes the title of the post in the marmot. The caption becomes the alt-text that hopefully provides some useful information for the visually impaired.

You can enter a name and a caption in Photos in the Info window, but the fields are tiny and it's fiddly to hit them. With the script, I get a little text input bar with the cursor already there ready for input. It's far easier than mousing around to the Info window and trying to nail that little target. There's probably some way to do it with keyboard navigation, but I haven't looked for it. I just haven't given many of my images titles or captions.

Flickr uploader can grab the title and caption and use them in Flickr, as can be seen here.

I think I need to make another little script just for adding titles and captions for images that might make it to Flickr, but wouldn't necessarily be a post in the marmot.

Bluebird. Smilin' at me?

07:55 Wednesday, 12 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 77.7°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 4mph
Words: 32

Bluebird perched on a metal fence rail looking over its wing at the camera, backlit, low contrast.

Wasn't a great opportunity because of the light, but it turned out well, I think.

Muggy out there!

Star Trails and ISS

22:10 Tuesday, 11 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 79.95°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 83% Wind: 6.91mph
Words: 210

Overhead view of the night sky in live composite mode showing the light trails of the International Space Station, several satellites and aircraft

Get a text from NASA whenever the International Space Station should be visible overhead, weather permitting. Tonight's pass was at a reasonable hour and I had enough time to prepare. I used my E-M1 Mk3 with the mZuiko 8mm/f1.8 fisheye. Since I wasn't exactly certain where it would appear in the frame (Appeared in the southwest, tracking northeast, max elevation 73°), I basically just pointed the camera straight up with the long axis of the frame along the SW/NE line.

I set everything up in the screened enclosure, because the mosquitos are thick right now, but I still had to do the test exposure to make sure I'd gotten the settings correct. (I hadn't. Needed to bump the ISO.) I was only out there a couple of minutes but I think I got bitten three or four times.

Also visible are at least five satellites (StarLink?) and several aircraft. There are some patches of moving clouds also visible. The small bush was moving in the breeze, which wasn't much of anything to feel!

This also doesn't get old, though the mosquitos do keep me from doing it as often as I might like.


14:50 Sunday, 9 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 80.28°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 80% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 46

Photo of grassy wetlands adjacent to the Tolomato River in Florida

Preceding test was unsat. I have two versions of an Export Photo Automator application, and the script was calling the one I hadn't modified. Let's see if this image is too large.

July 6th Moon

14:38 Sunday, 9 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 80.24°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 80% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 20

Waning gibbous moon shot in handheld high resolution on an Olympus E-M1X

Test post to check script modifications.

Pygmy Rattler 2021

10:19 Saturday, 8 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 84.51°F Pressure: 1009hPa Humidity: 81% Wind: 6.91mph
Words: 60

Telephoto closeup of a pygmy rattler's head on a paver patio

The gator wasn't the first time we had an uninvited guest on the patio. From September 2021. In this instance, I just waited until it moved on. Wouldn't kill a human, but it can kill a small dog or incur several thousand dollars in vet bills.

Florida Living II

10:09 Saturday, 8 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 83.59°F Pressure: 1009hPa Humidity: 81% Wind: 10.36mph
Words: 19

Little gator on paver patio with push-broom in the frame

Another view for size perspective.

Florida Living

09:53 Saturday, 8 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 83.21°F Pressure: 1009hPa Humidity: 82% Wind: 10.36mph
Words: 304

Closeup of a little gator on a paver patio

Neighbor texted me this morning, "David, there's a gator on your lanai."

Looked out the kitchen window and didn't see anything, so I went out to the screened enclosure and it was up on the step leading to the grill, out of my line of sight from the kitchen window. When my neighbor saw it, it was in her yard making its way to the patio.

Not a huge gator, maybe four feet long? But not something I wanted hanging around the yard.

Mitzi was just getting ready to go mow the lawn, so I had to step back to the garage and give her a heads-up. I put on my Timberland boots and grabbed a push-broom. Figured I'd just encourage it to head back into the swamp.

Well, it wanted to fight the push-broom. Thought about it, then decided to see if maybe water from the garden hose would have the desired effect with less stress on both the gator and me.

Back to the garage to recover the garden hose. Keeping one eye on the gator, who was keeping both eyes on me, I had to untangle the hose and connect it to the bib. Turned the water on and commenced to hosing my uninvited guest. Seemed to do the trick far better than the broom. I worried that it'd find it just a refreshing amenity. Chased it all the way back into the swamp.

Hopefully it stays there, but I don't expect this will be the last time we'll be dealing with gators. The "preserve" behind the house is a swamp, and they were here long before we were. I think if it was anything much bigger, I'd probably call for some professional help.

More here than meets the eye...

13:58 Sunday, 2 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 91.06°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 64% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 199

I came to believe, some time ago, that we inhabit what I call a "responsive universe." That as our thoughts and wishes go, somehow too goes our reality. If we pay attention.

I haven't been paying a lot of attention in recent years.

When I spoke to my friend yesterday, one of the things she mentioned was how little she knew about her brother, how much he was loved and valued by the people he served. Since his death, they've been reaching out to her, telling her stories of the kind of man he was.

She seemed sad that she didn't know, but it's clear he led a meaningful, valuable life. And even learning it now, I suggested, ought to be of some comfort.

In the way of a responsive universe, I happened upon this today in my RSS feed. I've mentioned John P. Weiss before, and I subscribe because he writes about the things I think about and I find his thoughts worthwhile. I've shared this with her.

If it's an accident or a coincidence that this should appear today, it's a happy one.

But as a wise tortoise once told a red panda, "There are no accidents."

A Beautiful Day

06:01 Sunday, 2 July 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 75.22°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 4.61mph
Words: 1051

Yesterday was a day unlike any other day, for me, if only as a witness to pain and sorrow, joy and hope.

I have a friend that I've known for many years here. A friend who I've cared about very much. Her life was touched by tragedy long before I met her, her husband being killed in a plane crash.

Since I've known her, she's gone on to endure new injuries. In her marriage, and in her health. She's always been resilient. She struggled, of course, but she carried on as much the same person as I've come to know. Those struggles are ongoing, unresolved.

Most recently though, she's been visited by another tragedy at an occasion that was meant to be a happy event, a family reunion after the death of her mother during the time of COVID, when family gatherings were not always possible.

I've known about this for some time, but I haven't related this before because it's not my story to tell. I do so now, because this most recent event has really affected my friend, as I've come to witness.

About six months ago, her youngest brother, a 52 year old man, was killed at the hands of the police in a jail in Texas, where he'd gone for a family reunion. Arrested for nothing more than sitting on the porch of the home they'd rented, in the morning, drinking a beer by himself. This apparently aroused the suspicions of a passing neighbor who called the police, which set in motion the course of events that were to take his life, violently, in custody at the jail.

My friend and her sister were there, tried to intervene, tried to get their brother out of jail. Because of changes in visitation due to COVID protocols, they were unable to visit their brother in jail. Apparently they had to schedule a video visitation, and one wouldn't be available for a couple of days, by which time he was dead.

The jail didn't notify my friend and her sister of his death, they learned of it from an attorney they were working with to try and get him out of jail. He was able to look at the population and had the unfortunate duty to tell them their brother was dead, with no explanation why. She'd learned of the death of her husband from a reporter, decades before. There is no good way to deliver bad news, but this just seems unfair.

Since then, his death has been ruled a homicide. The family is being represented by a nationally known civil rights attorney. Help found her from unexpected quarters, to include a nationally known public figure you might never think of; but learning of it, you think, "Of course." A figure who has indicated that they don't wish their name to be known, and who is doing this work for many families in similar circumstances. So I'm not being coy to be clever. I would love for their name to be known, but I think I understand why they might not.

Despite this high-powered help, this particular loss has brought my resilient friend low. She's carrying on, of course, but she's confused, lost, angry, hurting and grieving. Familiar feelings by now, but this time it seems to have broken her.

And reaching out by asking for help with printing labels.

I didn't learn of her brother's death right away. We were very close once upon a time, and then we weren't so close for a long time after. We'd speak once or twice a year, more frequently since her diagnosis.

She'd called me on another subject a couple of months ago; but the real reason was to tell me about her brother. It was a long conversation and it hit me like a blow. Of course, we read about these things all the time. Among the privileged, we likely never think it's the kind of thing that could touch us. Until it does.

And to be clear, it didn't touch me. It touched my friend. I'm just relating how that has affected me.

I called her a couple of weeks later to check in and see how she was doing, let her know she could reach out anytime. I hadn't heard from her again before yesterday, but I'd been meaning to call her anyway.

I can't relate to you the depth of what she's experiencing. I can try to tell you how helpless and inadequate and frightened it makes me feel. And how sad I feel for my friend, who has never done anything to deserve this much pain in her life. Though I must say, I know I've read about women, families, with similar amounts of injustice and tragedy visited on their lives. I'd just never been so close to see what it does. And I hope you don't ever have to do so either.

We have power over nothing. Surrender. "Let go, and let God." Also, inadequate. So just breathe.

And love one another, as best we can. And we can definitely do better.

Which brings me to the joy and hope.

I got home from the label trouble, and we watched a couple of movies. I picked the latest Luther movie, because I needed to see a good guy beat a bad buy. Mitzi wanted to watch The Philadelphia Story, which is one of my very favorite movies. If you want to know what my friend is like, she's very much like Tracy, very much. Not a redhead though.

Before we went to bed, I recalled another friend (I don't think she'd object to me calling her that) was sworn in as mayor of Jacksonville about the same time as I was navigating Avery's product offerings.

I went looking for local news coverage on my phone, and found her inaugural speech. You can find it here. It's worth a listen. I think it truly is, no matter where you live.

I can't be certain, but I think I hear the winds of change beginning to stir. I think the power of love may be beginning to make itself felt, in a way that it seems like it hasn't in a long time.

The pendulum swings both ways.

It's a beautiful day. Let's make it so.