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


10:09 Saturday, 30 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 80.06°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 82% Wind: 11.5mph
Words: 316

Apple's iPhone event and the Mother Nature bit are still showing up in my feeds, so a few more thoughts.

This ifixit piece touches on part of it, but omits the the biggest problem.

Our economic model must change, to make manufacturers responsible for the complete lifecycle of their products. That means pricing in the cost of "disposal."

The environmental harm our economic model has been causing by failing to capture externalities now threatens our global civilization, and you know what I think our chances are about that.

But if we are to do everything we can, because it's the right thing to do, it's what we owe our children, regardless of the outcome, we need to come to grips with true cost of products and services.

We have robbed from the future to enjoy the luxuries we have today. We have to change that. We have made a tiny minority obscenely rich by stealing from our children.

It's not truly a "free market" if some players are immune to the consequences of their actions. Are given a license to profit at the expense of our planet and our children's future.

This will be a difficult conversation to have, and more difficult to implement. And we must ensure that, if we do this, the greatest burden doesn't fall on those least able to bear it.

It will mean sacrifice, inconvenience, wholesale changes to our "lifestyles." An entirely different perspective on "capitalism" and "consumerism" and material "happiness."

I'm not optimistic that we can meet this challenge, which is part of my pessimism on our civilization's chances.

But if we're going to talk about things like "corporate responsibility," we ought to be speaking about the whole truth, not just nibbling around the edges. Confronting the hard truths, and not hiding behind clever videos and snappy dialog.

It'll take courage, and that's something of a scarce commodity these days.


09:53 Saturday, 30 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 79.59°F Pressure: 1018hPa Humidity: 82% Wind: 18.41mph
Words: 153

I've seen a number of mentions in social media or blogs, Heather Cox Richardson being one of them, about Joe Biden's speech in Arizona earlier this week. Many of them urged watching the speech in its entirety.

So I did.

Certain, usual, caveats apply. It's Joe Biden, never a truly great orator, and he's always been a bit too ready to offer the personal anecdote. Age hasn't improved his skill as a speech-maker either. Not that he's too old. His voice is strong, and his message is clear.

It's worth the effort to listen.

I've made it easy for you, I'm embedding it below. Feel free to skip past the introduction if you feel pressed for time.


07:43 Saturday, 30 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 75.61°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 86% Wind: 18.41mph
Words: 474

The sleep deprivations continue.

Mitzi did get in last night. She did miss her original connection in Chicago. (Side note: I was wrong about the layover. Had the flight out of Athens not been delayed by two hours, she would have had plenty of time, no optimism required.) American booked her on a United flight that would have put her into Jacksonville about 10:40 PM, about 30 minutes later than her original flight. She had to hustle to her gate, but she got on that flight.


That flight was then delayed sitting on the tarmac after pushing back from the gate for 40 minutes.


For reasons perhaps only understood by the aviation gods, after landing in Jax, her flight couldn't get a gate. Apparently, it was to remain at Jax overnight, so it had to be parked at Gate 6, which had a plane boarding at it, which was also apparently delayed.

So I sat in the cell phone lot for half an hour.

Kept texting Mitzi to check on progress, got no response.

Called her, went to voice mail.

I figured that maybe her battery had died, she has a mini and had been traveling for the better part of 18 hours. So I left the lot and figured I'd make a pass by arrivals and orbit if necessary.

The airport seemed incredibly busy for being nearly midnight. Traffic was thick and crept along, which was fine with me as it increased the probability I'd find her on the first pass.

When I got to Door 2, I got a text saying she was at Door 1. I was able to nudge my way to the curb and told her where I was. She got in the car at midnight.

We got home at 00:45, and her body clock was now somewhere around 7 or 8 A.M. and she had to get unpacked, show me all the souvenirs, etc. Finally got to bed after two.

And the alarm went off at 0530. Turned it off and went back to sleep.

She got up at 0730. I said screw it and got up too. She went back to bed. I'm here.

It's a roll of the dice, flying these days. Not that you'll crash or anything. Just whether or not you'll get to where you're going anywhere near the time the airline schedule said you would. And extreme weather events are only going to keep making that worse.

When we were in Martha's Vineyard, my daughter flew from LA to New York. Weather hold over JFK. Low on fuel, flew to Philly, landed, refueled, back to JFK. She was in that tube for 10 hours on a domestic flight.

It's a big country. We don't have high speed rail. People have to fly.

But it sucks. It really does.

13:10 Friday, 29 September 2023

Words: 182

Shield bug that startled me this morning. Not very efficient fliers.

There I was, sitting in my recliner, engrossed in reading a new book, Sunburst and Luminary, An Apollo Memoir, by Don Eyles. Vague notions of lunch intruding at the back of my mind.

Suddenly, "BZZZZZZTT! Thwap!" Again, right to my immediate right.

Daylight and a sense of what surfaces might have yielded that sound gave me a clue where to look, even if I didn't know what I would find.

Cautiously pulled my little radio back, and there he (or she) was. A lost shield bug. I'm guessing they're not great fliers.

After snapping a few candids, I coaxed it onto my hand and took it outside. It seemed to like my hand, as it didn't want to let go over the garden. Gave it a nudge and it fell into the dirt, hopefully to live whatever a fulfilling life is to a shield bug.

Checked Mitzi's flight progress. Time remaining in flight is greater than the time remaining for the departure of her connection. Another night alone.


09:54 Friday, 29 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 75.33°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 457

There's a local public interest morning radio show on WJCT called First Coast Connect. If you're interested or curious about what's going on in northeast Florida, you should listen to the podcast or tune in if you're local.

Every Friday they have the Friday Media Roundtable in which local reporters and public figures discuss the week's events and place them in context for the city and the region.

I love the show and I donate $25 a month as a "sustaining member," which makes my local public radio station one of my more expensive subscription streaming services. The good news is you can pay what you want. So if you can't afford $25 a month, you can pay $5, or just donate $20 for the year! Or if you can't afford it at all, you're still welcome to listen and be informed.

But, I digress.

In this morning's broadcast, the last issue that came up was a proposed rate increase for the publicly owned utility, JEA. The .9% rate hike is intended to offset the increased costs of buying power from Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant.

Now, this rate increase will be unpopular, and Vogtle has been a sad story of cost overrun after cost overrun and likely put Toshiba out of business. But that's not the real story.

The real story is the other rate increase JEA recently enacted, where it increased the base rate, which places a higher burden on low-income customers, while it also offered a rate structure that reduced costs for higher energy consumers.

That should never have happened.

Base rates should have remained the same, while surcharge rates should have applied to high consumption customers to encourage efforts at conservation and efficiency. Instead, they offered a market signal that suggests that energy costs are low.

And they are low, because they don't capture the externalities in the degradation of our climate and the costs of adapting to our changing climate. If indeed that's possible.

I wasn't able to call in in time to rant about this, because it just infuriates me.

Especially because DeSantis, in a politically calculated move to promote his presidential campaign, rejected over $300M in federal funds to help consumers to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce the amount of carbon their energy use injects into our atmosphere.

It's criminal. Or it ought to be. Just like when he politicized public health, exhibiting depraved indifference to the health and safety of Floridians during the height of the pandemic.

I didn't get to call in, but I do have the marmot. I expect that First Coast Connect has a vastly larger audience than the marmot, but at least I get to have my say.

Appreciate This Moment

09:48 Friday, 29 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.86°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 109

Because it won't last.

Every morning, as I fill my water bottle, I make an effort to be grateful and appreciate the modern miracle of clean drinking water (even though we soften it and filter it as it enters the house) on demand.

It hasn't always been like this.

It may not be again.

So appreciate and be grateful for the privileges we enjoy today. We may not have them for much longer.

Horrible People

07:26 Friday, 29 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 71.55°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 10.36mph
Words: 95

Having said I didn't watch Succession because it was all about horrible people in positions of some "power," and I live in that reality here in Florida every single day of my life, I was shocked last night when I watched the most recent episode of The Morning Show.

In an otherwise enjoyable episode, the scene with the ad execs in the restaurant made me angry. Was it essential to the story? I don't know. I get it, but I didn't care for it at all.

Speaking of horrible people, is the government still running?

Something About Morpheus

07:04 Friday, 29 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 71.49°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 8.05mph
Words: 319

Huzzah! I actually slept through the night. Mostly. Fell back asleep when I woke up occasionally.

Woke to the alarm, turned it off and went back to sleep. Somehow I must have turned on the ringer on my iPhone, because I woke up again at 0600 when Mitzi texted. (Star Trek communicator hail.) She wanted to know if I was awake to FaceTime. Since HomeKit now works again, picture John Candy in Uncle Buck as he's roused from sleep by his brother to look after the kids and uses The Clapper to turn the lights on. Same thing, minus the cigarette.

Mitzi wanted to let me know she's probably going to miss her connection in Chicago. They're delayed out of Athens and she's got a very short layover. It was, let us say, "optimistic" to begin with. If she misses that one, she'll board it 24 hours later and get home tomorrow night.

Le sigh.

Went outside to see if I could see any stars or the moon, and we're still solidly overcast. Made a batch of caffeinated soft drink, and parked my ass in the command chair to see what fresh horrors occurred overnight.

Computer's in "dark mode," but there's one rectangle of white light on the screen in my otherwise darkened Command Cave. From my right I hear a loud buzzing coming in fast and something whizzes into the screen with a fairly substantial bang!

Suitably caffeinated, I jumped! What the hell?! Ordered Siri to bring office illumination to 100% and looked for whatever hell-spawned creature had violated the security perimeter of the cave.


Can't find the little bastard.

May have something to do with the region of extreme entropy within the cave. Or perhaps it's Klingon cloaking technology. Or was that Romulan? Romulan, I think.

Anyway, it's creeping around here somewhere, but it's not otherwise annoying me for the moment.

How's your Friday goin'?

That's Entertainment

04:31 Thursday, 28 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.18°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 12.66mph
Words: 101

I've been watching Season 2 of Invasion, and it's much better than the first season. Pacing is faster, more "action," and it's relatively interesting, if incomprehensible.

It's not "great" TV, but it's a diversion.

The Morning Show is doing pretty well in its new season. I was never a fan of Succession, as I live in a state filled with horrible people in positions of power, so I don't find horrible people especially entertaining. The Morning Show has some of the corporate intrigue without the irredeemably despicable people.

Looking forward to a return, someday, of Slow Horses and For All Mankind.

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

04:02 Thursday, 28 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.49°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 11.5mph
Words: 586

Well, here we are again. Been awake for an hour already, and pretty much just tossing and turning before that. I think it started with not sleeping Sunday night because I had a 6:00 a.m. flight out of Albany. Seems to take a while to get back into a rhythm.

Tonight's insomnia may be due, in part, to getting my flu shot yesterday. Fever and chills.

My doctor's appointment went smoothly. Blood was drawn, which should let me know how my kidney is doing. Blood pressure was ridiculously low, I suspect a bad reading, but they supposedly know what they're doing. Maybe I'm just healthy.

As "exams" go, it wasn't much. More like an interview. At Mayo, the residents give you a pretty thorough going over, making you get undressed and into a gown. She listened to my heart and lungs, pressing on my abdomen while seated, and that was it. Mostly just history. For specialist care, I asked for everything to be sent to Mayo, since they already have a file on me and I know the billing department. I guess I'll get a skin cancer screening there in the near future.

Yesterday was quite the day for technical glitches. Beginning with the "deadlock" avoidance.

I have quite a few lights set up with HomeKit, and none of them were working, nor my Eve power strip. Worked the night before, what the hell? Talk about "right to repair," how about "right to understand how all this stuff works."

I started out unplugging and plugging in the Lutron bridge. No change. The Lutron app on my phone saw the bridge and controlled all the lights just fine. Tried to use the motosync app on my phone, which had heretofore been a pretty handy little app. I'd set that up to identify nearly all the devices on our network, and I wanted to see what was connected. Now it wanted me to log in with an account, which I don't recall ever doing before.

I couldn't reset my password, or create a new account. Checking the app store, everyone is in the same boat. The app is borked.

Ended up rebooting the router and everything started working again. Wild.


I got a series of six alerts from Apple that fraudulent activity had been detected on my Apple Card. Kudos to Goldman Sachs for the timely alerts. I chatted with support online and they're sending me a new (titanium) card. I don't know when it might have been skimmed, as I don't recall exactly where I used it. I think I was trying to use my other card when I tried to fill the tank on my Avis rental at three "all-night" gas stations, none of which actually pumped gas.

It was pouring rain Sunday night, so I figured I'd fill the tank in the morning. Bad choice. And once you get off 87 at the airport, you're basically at the airport, no gas.

Anyway, might have used the Apple Card at one or more of those gas stations and it might have been skimmed. I'm not super-alert at 0445. At least, not these days.

Anyway, the only transaction of any real value was for $42 at a Starbucks somewhere in Washington state, and a bunch of $.01 transactions, presumably to see if the card was valid. I wasn't billed for it, so, yay. I guess.

The way we live now.

Mitzi gets home late tomorrow night, assuming her flight is on time.

One Final Test

06:51 Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.76°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 0mph
Words: 369

Going to see a doctor today for the first time in a few years for a physical. Mostly interested in seeing how my kidney is doing. I know I'm obese and out of shape, which doesn't require an MD to diagnose.

This will also by my introduction to the Baptist Health System. They're fairly highly regarded here in the region. If you're having a stroke, the guidance is to get to Baptist I guess.

I'd been a Mayo client for over 20 years until the kicked me to the curb once I went on Medicare. Pretty shitty, I think. I guess they make enough money off medical tourism, people flying in from out of town for specialist care, that they don't need to offer ordinary care for the kind of money Medicare offers. It's all about the money, even for "non-profits."

So far though, I'm reasonably pleased with their intake process. I completed a family medical history online, and a pharmacist called and went over my existing meds (only one) in advance of my appointment. The only glitch was I made a typo in entering my Tricare number for "additional insurance," and they wouldn't let me edit it to correct it.

They subsequently sent me a message that they'd added Tricare to my insurance coverage. Now, I don't know if they tried to validate that number or not, or if they caught my typo from the image of my retired ID I was required to upload. I'll ask about it at the desk this afternoon.

One nice thing is that it's a satellite clinic here in Nocatee, less than 5 miles from the house. Mayo would have been like most other places, 30 minutes by car from here.

I'm ambivalent about my personal longevity these days. I'd have to live another 24 years to make it to 90 like Mom. But I think that's perilously close to things falling apart. Do I want to stick around and say, "I told you so!"

Well, whether I'm here or not is probably not entirely up to me. While I'm around, I'd kind of like to keep things in mostly working order. Like the marmot, I guess.

Hopefully not as irritating.

06:23 Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Words: 59

Photo of my Aunt Carol talking to my Mom on her birthday.

Aunt Carol, who is 88, chatting with Mom at her birthday party.

Fixed one automation. Now trying to figure out the Forklift sync, because of course that doesn't work. I know the source folder changed, and I corrected that, but it didn't sync the image.

Let's See What Else is Broken

06:09 Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.8°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 0mph
Words: 66

We're out of Documents and into a folder within my user account. I'm sure other stuff is busted now. Like the Photos automation. So frustrating. I don't know if this is a new Sonoma thing, or if it has something to do with using the MBP. This post is just to test Hazel, and make sure I have the export folders properly set up in Tinderbox.

I give up...

05:25 Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.8°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 0mph
Words: 41

Okay. Back to square one. September folder reappeared. Hazel couldn't move it. Log shows the same deadlocked resource error. I don't get it.

I'm going to evict the marmot from the cloud and hope that ends it.

God I hate computers.

05:21 Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Words: 51

Closeup of my daughter's face.

Caitie doesn't like the way I photograph people. This shot was taken during an exchange we were having regarding my artistic choices, and she approached the lens while making her point.

I'll have to remember that trick.

A Change

05:13 Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.74°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 0mph
Words: 99

Progress, perhaps?

Exported the preceding. Went to Forklift to see what was going to get sync'ed. If the September folder was there, then Hazel was still failing.

The September folder was not there. I could sync without telling Forklift to ignore the folder and its contents, which is the desired behavior.

Checked Hazel's log, and no reports of avoiding deadlocked resources, so it seems Forklift having the exports folder open may have been causing the deadlock.

If this post goes smoothly, I'll assume that was the problem and all is right with the world. Or at least the marmot.

No Change

04:56 Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.65°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 0mph
Words: 289

Jack Baty seems to be up early too.

Anyway, re-started and it made no difference. Checked Noodlesoft's troubleshooting recommendations and viewed the log. "{Error Domain=NSPOSIXErrorDomain Code=11 "Resource deadlock avoided"}"

Entered "resource deadlock" into the forum search field and saw an entry about OneDrive. From that I gather this must have something to do with iCloud.


Read a different post in the forum about a problem with DropBox. That seemed to be resolved when the person deleted the rule and created a new one.

I looked on my 13" M1 MBP to see if there might be a clue there. I was smart enough to quit Tinderbox before launching Tinderbox on the iMac, and I launched TB on the iMac by opening the marmot from the Documents folder after it had sync'ed, as I've learned that TB will open with an archived snapshot that would probably get sync'ed with iCloud and destroy the correct version, losing my previous posts. All of which reminds me why I put the marmot on a thumb drive when I took it on the road last summer. This cloud storage bullshit is too complicated.

Anyway, I noticed I hadn't quit Forklift on the MBP and it was open to marmot exports too, so maybe that was the source of iCloud's confusion? So I quit Forklift on the MBP and I'm going to give this another shot. If this doesn't work, I'll try deleting and re-creating the rule.

Failing that, I'll evict the marmot from the cloud and keep it local on the iMac and copy it to the thumb drive when I take it on the road.

Not how I planned to spend my sleepless wee hours of the morning.


04:28 Wednesday, 27 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.53°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 0mph
Words: 138

Figured it was pointless just to lie in bed, so here I am.

Updated the iMac to Sonoma last night. Made the preceding post and noted that Hazel wasn't deleting the extraneous September folder Tinderbox creates. Checked the rule in Hazel and found a note that it couldn't move the September folder to the trash, though I never received an error alert and Hazel is configured to show such alerts.

Tried Check for Updates in the application menu and it didn't seem to do anything. Went to Noodlesoft.com directly and noted that the latest was 5.2.2 and I was still running 5.1. Downloaded and installed the latest version, and I'm getting the same error. Checked the Hazel forum, nothing specifically calling out this problem with Sonoma.

I think'll re-start everything and see what happens.

Le sigh...

04:14 Wednesday, 27 September 2023

Words: 35

Photo of Frances Rogers wearing a tiara noting the number 90 and a gold banner for her 90th birthday

Took a lot of pics for Mom's birthday. It was cloudy and cool, but it didn't rain.

I like this one.

And We're Back...

16:33 Monday, 25 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 84.51°F Pressure: 1016hPa Humidity: 69% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 576

Home again, that is. I could complain about travel, but I'm not. It is what it is, and it's not fun, nor cheap. But it's nice to be home.

Mom's birthday was also very nice. My son and daughter-in-law had a scare on the drive up on rain-slick roads with their 3-year-old onboard. Spun out, but fortunately there were no other cars nearby, and they didn't strike anything on either side of the road. The older I get, the more I pray for my kids. Don't know if it works, but episodes like this tend to make me want to keep doing it.

All my siblings and nearly all of my nieces and nephews made it in. One nephew FaceTimed in from Utah. I got to see my sister's reaction when her oldest surprised her by showing up unannounced. He lives in Mountain View and had told her he wouldn't make it since they were planning to be in New York in three weeks anyway. It was sweet watching her run to him, and hear the catch in her voice when she called out his name.

Aunt Carol made it out with two of her three daughters, Debbie and Elaine, cousins I played and did farm chores with growing up. Mom's brother, Uncle Tony, and Aunt Carol ran Grampa's dairy farm. Debbie's older than I am, and she drove the tractor while her brother and I stacked hay from the baler. Elaine and I were classmates in high school. She still lives in Canastota, but she doesn't see many of our classmates very often, and I'd just seen a few so I caught her up. Debbie brought along her daughter, Susan, who's the genealogist in the family, so we exchanged contact info.

Mom's fraternal twin sister Mary Ann and her baby sister Emily are the only remaining siblings of 13 in the family. Emily is something of a recluse now, and Mary Ann lives in assisted living in Colorado, so it was great seeing Aunt Carol. She was always a "fun" aunt, ready with a wise-crack and something good to eat. She's 88 now and the years are beginning to catch up with her, but her voice still sounds the same.

Chris and Caitie enjoyed seeing all their cousins and a couple of them brought their fiancés along to get acquainted with the family. Jackson was well behaved and enjoyed a great deal of attention.

The get-together was held at my sister's place. We were worried about rain, but it held off. She had two fairly large tent canopies with walls, and it was enough to keep the chill out from the 60-something degree weather.

Mom seemed thrilled with it all. As much as I dislike and dread travel, I'm glad I did it. We used to do stuff like this far more often back when nearly all Mom's siblings were alive. Getting together up at Gramma's with thirty-some cousins, all the aunts and uncles, having pot luck picnic dinner. Everyone lived within a few hours' drive at most, most of them within a few miles! It's not like that today, and I suppose we're the poorer for it.

Anyway, I'm home. I have a lot of photos to go through and share. But it'll be quiet around here for a few days until Mitzi gets home from Greece, so I should get everything squared away soon.

Despair Is Not An Option

07:51 Saturday, 23 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 64.65°F Pressure: 1008hPa Humidity: 84% Wind: 5.75mph
Words: 851

I listened to climate scientist Michael Mann on NPR's Science Friday about how past climate events suggest that it's not "too late" to arrest irreversible climate change. You can listen to it here.

A couple of comments. I'm going to have to do a deeper dive on Mann's claim that the oceans will become some vast carbon sink once we stop emitting CO2 into the atmosphere. We know that the oceans do absorb a lot of CO2, but it's an equilibrium process and it's not clear to me how it would do enough to slow catastrophic warming. It seems to suggest that the ocean's being this extraordinary carbon sink would turn Earth into a snowball, eventually absorbing all the CO2 that has generally prevented that condition. So I'm unpersuaded, but happy to be wrong, if I am.

But it's not just climate change that's propelling us toward a cliff. It's the destruction of the natural world. The human population is vastly larger than the rest of the planetary biosphere can support, and we're witnessing the sixth mass extinction in our efforts to keep supporting it.

The other significant part of Mann's pitch is the pushback against "doom-ism," presumably people like me. I get where he's coming from, because there are people who seem to advocate doing nothing because it's too late to avoid a collapse. Why inconvenience ourselves, it's all going to hell anyway?

But that view is unsustainable as well.

For months now, I've been wrestling with this kind of "existential dread" slash "despair." We have failed everyone on this planet. I've failed my children and now my grandchildren. Much of my adult life was as a professional trained to identify threats and prepare to meet them. To protect my country, my shipmates and my family. And I saw the threat. I knew what we faced, the risks, the stakes. It wasn't until recently that I think I had a full appreciation of them, but I knew enough to know that we are in a great deal of trouble.

It wasn't enough.

But I've come to also understand that there are dynamics at play that are beyond our ability to control. We are not the rational beings we flatter ourselves to believe. You do your best, and the rest isn't up to you. Trying to know what "your best" is, and how to ensure you're doing it is challenge enough. You don't cling to outcomes. Non-attachment to results.

The future is always uncertain. And the sad reality is that each and every one of us is born to die. It is how we live where we make that life meaningful.

So despair is not an option. We must confront reality and allow it to inform the choices we make. We can't pretend that it's something else, because then we're making our choices based on a fiction, something meaningless. And that truly is something to despair over.

We meet this moment by calling on the best in ourselves, regardless of what the outcome may be. We find the best in ourselves by knowing what we're facing.

Here's a bit of cheese for you this morning, from a future that was twenty years ago:

Agent Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why, why? Why do you do it? Why, why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting... for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although... only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?
Neo: Because I choose to.

The only power we have is the power to choose. Life is meaningless. We bring meaning to life. It is in the act of choosing that we make meaning. And for those choices to have any real power, we must know what we're choosing.

We meet this moment with love. Love is faith in action. We meet this moment by doing the best that we can, even if it's not enough. Because it is enough. Our charge is not to preserve this civilization, it is to love one another. To serve one another. To sacrifice for one another. Not to feel sorry for ourselves, to indulge our appetites.

We must look to each other, call upon one another, to work together and do our best. And for now, that means we have to try. To stop the assault on our planet. To reduce as much suffering as possible. To restore what we can. To preserve what we can. To avoid needless destruction. To prevent unnecessary suffering.

"Doom-ism" isn't about giving up. It's about getting up.

"Get up, Neo."

We're All Gonna Die

09:11 Friday, 22 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 73.62°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 88% Wind: 10.36mph
Words: 615

As may be inevitable these days, when you're talking with friends, especially ones you haven't seen for a long time, politics and climate come up. The friend I was staying with was an entrepreneur, and I suspect that his politics are generally more conservative than mine. Though we're largely in agreement about our current trajectory, and our views are mostly in sympathy with one another.

With regard to climate change, it hasn't been a topic he's followed closely. He has other activities he's passionate about that consume a majority of his time, and I commend him for that. Envy him a bit, too. So he was interested to hear my thoughts, but I think at the end he rather regretted hearing them.

The second night I was there, two more of our classmates joined us. One was a retired Air Force E-9 who'd worked in meteorology his whole career. The other is a highly trained engineer. Climate came up again, this time from the engineer. He's convinced we can solve the crisis. Our host told him not to ask me, because he wouldn't like the answer. But our Air Force friend was in my camp. It was interesting to me to listen to his take. Our views differ somewhat, but our conclusions are the same. It's too late to avert a general collapse of civilization, likely before this century is out.

But we do have to try. We could be wrong. If we're so smart, why aren't we rich? But moreover, we owe it to everyone we share this planet with to try, especially the children being born today and those that will continue to be born in the future. We can't just go, "Oh, well... Sorry about that." I should note that our Air Force friend is childless, the rest of us all have kids.

The engineer is convinced solar shading, fusion, hydrogen fuel, etc will save us. But the atmosphere is already filled with an amount of carbon dioxide unseen in hundreds of millennia. Even if we could achieve zero carbon emissions today, it will be decades and possibly centuries before the climate reaches an equilibrium state. Until then, we'll be experiencing unprecedented weather extremes that will disrupt this highly inter-connected, highly optimized advanced technological civilization responsible for supporting the lives of eight billion people.

It's already begun, we just have to watch the news. The point is, it's only going to get worse. We can try to adapt, and we have to; but the scope of the problem is too great. Billions will die, and many of them will not go quietly. What we must do is work together, the best that we can, to alleviate suffering wherever we can, as much as we can. Like it or not, we are all in this together. We in the west are largely responsible for it, and we should accept that responsibility and act accordingly. We must avoid a nuclear exchange, and as much deliberate destruction as possible.

Maybe, if we can manage the collapse (perhaps an impossible task), the survivors will be left with a world and enough remnants of this civilization to begin a new one, a sustainable one. The fact that we will have exhausted most of the readily accessible fossil fuels will be something of an advantage in that regard, retarding the pace of growth and development, giving the natural world a chance to recover, and compelling a focus on sustainable existence, and not exclusively on "growth."

Anyway, that's what four old white guys talked about sitting around the kitchen table over beers.

Not exactly what I expected when I was a young man, but here we are.

New Products

08:35 Friday, 22 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 71.73°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 93% Wind: 9.22mph
Words: 566

On the way to the airport on Tuesday, I listened to a podcast about the September Apple Event. I listened to another one on the Thruway yesterday. I'd watched the livestream, but didn't seem to have many compelling thoughts then. Perhaps trapped by trip anxiety.

Anyway, a few observations and meta-observations after listening to the podcasts. (Parenthetically, this predictive text is becoming a pain. Sometimes it'll present the right word, but I'll be typing along and, if it's a long word, I'll type a letter about the same time that it registers that the prediction is correct and the prediction will disappear. I'll keep typing and it'll re-appear and maybe I'll hit the spacebar or maybe I'll finish the word first. It's annoying.)

First, the meta. I've seen some complaints about the reaction by the usual Apple press. I get the complaint, because I was somewhat annoyed by the fawning praise offered up for the most trivial of aspects of these products. I wrote it off to, "Of course, it's how they earn their bread-and-butter, what could you expect?"

The most "critical" comments were reserved for iCloud storage and the lack of a USB-3 data cable in the Pro models of the new iPhone. A $1300 phone and they can't throw in a high-capacity cable to take advantage of the interface? Ok, seems legit. The other is about iCloud storage tiers. 5GB free, and it's been that way since Steve Jobs announced it. Again, legit.

But the praise for the cameras was over the top. Same with the "ion-infused" color, although one podcaster thought it wasn't "saturated" enough.

There was a lot of BS about titanium. I'm skeptical about the strength properties ascribed by the pundits. I suspect that the aluminum frame delivers more than 90% of the structural strength and rigidity, and that titanium is kind of a veneer (albeit "welded") applied as a way to differentiate the "Pro" models from the "consumer" models in terms of "look and feel" to justify the premium cost. The weight savings also show up in Apple's shipping costs, which may be a net positive in terms of carbon, though I don't know what the energy cost is of fabricating the "titanium" frame versus the stainless steel.

I'm not a "Pro" iPhone customer. I think my brother is, I didn't ask him though. I rather suspect that he is, as he got the Apple Watch Ultra on release. I think the "Pro" thing is a cash-grab by Apple, and more power to 'em from a capitalism point of view. But the whole net-carbon neutrality of the (Aluminum) Apple Watch is just a way to greenwash the milk-the-market extremism of "pro" models. Make all the frames purely aluminum, and then I might be impressed. Maybe.

I've got an iPhone 13 and I'll wait and see how the "consumer" version of the 15's camera looks first, but I may skip the 15 as well.

I will likely get the Series 9 Apple Watch. I have a Series 6 and I find it generally useful. Enough so that the improvements in the 9 seem meaningful to me. I say this while experiencing this gnawing irritation at the back of my mind that I'm participating in the process that is dooming this civilization, but I think that ship has largely sailed.

Away From My Desk

07:44 Friday, 22 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 71.37°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 8.05mph
Words: 602

Ignore the weather data, I took the marmot on the road with me, which is an interesting exercise I should try to do more often. Had to re-enter my Tinderbox license, which meant finding my TB license. Then had to log into the server, which always seems to entail resetting the password.

Then there's the matter of re-jiggering the view because I'm running TB on a 27" iMac at my desk, and a 13" MBP on the road. I'm writing this post in a separate Text window, which is a new experience.

I went to launch the marmot from the pop-up list of documents from the TB dock icon, only to discover that those aren't sync'ed with iCloud, so a July version opened. I quickly closed it, selecting "revert changes" out of desperation, worried that this old version would automatically be uploaded to iCloud and I'd lose the current version (again). Went to iCloud Documents and opened it from there and all appears well.

Yeesh, so many moving parts!

I'm up in Clifton Park, NY to visit with Mom who celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday. Record longevity among her 13 siblings was Aunt Gert who made it to 95. Mom's goal is to make it to 91, which I think is achievable. Parkinson's is slowly making things more challenging, but she's still independent for now. Her fraternal (sororial?) twin, Mary Ann is also still with us. She has low vision so she lives in assisted living in Colorado.

I'm writing this in Sonoma with the new predictive text model, and it's somewhat distracting. Some of its predictions are quite accurate, while others are nonsensical. Perhaps it will get better with time, or I'll become more accustomed to it.

It's been refreshingly cool here, to the point where I wish I'd brought a sweater or jacket. I'm not complaining though, it's nice. I came up a couple of days early and flew into Syracuse so I could visit with some old high school friends. I stayed with one who's looking after his wife who is profoundly disabled by early-onset Alzheimer's. He has in-home help, but I'm still impressed and amazed by his commitment and resilience. Renée was with us for most of the our activities in his home. I'm humbled by his compassion.

While the home health aid was present, we took a ride in his Miata with the top down around the area where we grew up. So many changes! It's remarkably beautiful though. That part of New York is far more rural than where I am in Clifton Park, so it was very nice to see the farms and trees and hills. Windmills have been part of that landscape for about 20 years or more, but it seems to me that the original ones may have been replaced by far larger versions. They were astonishingly huge.

Drove out here yesterday morning to be with Mom on her birthday. We're having a kind of family reunion on Saturday at my youngest sister's house. Two of my kids will be here, with my grandson, Mom's first great-grandchild. We're hopeful the weather will cooperate.

Set-up is later that afternoon. My brother texted last night that he may not be able to help out. He's a bigger Apple fan than I am, and his new iPhone is scheduled to be delivered today, but he must be present to sign for it and it may not be delivered until 7:00 PM.

Which is perhaps the right point to end this post, because I have some thoughts on Apple...

09:32 Friday, 15 September 2023

Words: 74

Telephoto closeup of a cattle egret

Having only seen my first cattle egret around here a month ago, here's another one this morning. This one seems to need a bath. Kind of came up on it unexpectedly, so I zoomed and shot quickly thinking it'd fly away. So framing isn't ideal. I needn't have worried, but I didn't take my time and frame it up nicely.


11:29 Thursday, 14 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 86.94°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 71% Wind: 6.91mph
Words: 93

This is a long video in today's world. I watched the whole thing. It's pretty remarkable.

I found it encouraging and uplifting, and I'm proud of the people who made this happen. It's technical, but it's so much more than that.

Hat tip to Bill Meara of SolderSmoke Daily News, whose RSS feed brought this to my attention.

08:50 Thursday, 14 September 2023

Words: 21

Pair of mourning doves perched on a metal fence in morning light

This morning's birds are these mourning doves.

New Shiny

06:35 Thursday, 14 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.93°F Pressure: 1008hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 0mph
Words: 242

My 2019 27" iMac will update to Sonoma on the 26th. I'd have installed one of the betas, but I kind of rely on Michael Tsai's SpamSieve to help manage my inbox. I turned off the iMac when we went to Martha's Vineyard and I was dismayed by the amount of crap that filled my in-box on my iPhone.

So, I guess I'll have to buy a new desktop Mac at some point if I want to keep up with the OS updates. Security considerations seem to argue strongly for that. I'll get a couple of years of security updates after next year, so maybe 2026? '27?

Maybe the scope of the calamity we're facing will be clear to everyone by then. I watched the Apple Event like I watch a lot of things these days, realizing that it's approaching the time when they'll seem absurd. For me, they're already there. This overt display of "normalcy" (cameo appearance of "Mother Nature" notwithstanding), while fully aware that there's maybe a decade or two before cascading climate catastrophes begin disrupting supply chains to the point where new product introductions are going to be impossible. They'll likely go on, but they'll be more aspirational than anything else.

"Keep calm and carry on," and all that.

There's a fire aboard Spaceship Earth.

It's reached the life support system.

The bridge is still worried about upsetting the first class passengers.

Life goes on.

Until it doesn't.

06:24 Thursday, 14 September 2023

Words: 93

Star trails visible overhead along with aircraft lights, satellites and possibly a meteor

Dew point was reasonable and the sky was clear, so I pointed the EM-1 Mk3 to the sky with the 8mm/f1.8 fisheye mounted. Not a lot of excitement. Seems to be more satellites visible, I'm guessing those are mostly StarLink. Maybe an "Iridium flare" or something like it, or possibly a meteor. If I weren't a lazy man, I'd get up early and go to the beach and try to capture the comet. Bigger version at Flickr.

10:20 Wednesday, 13 September 2023

Words: 46

Drone shot of cumulous clouds above wetlands illuminated by a low morning sun

Put the drone up this morning. On the flight back from Miami, Mitzi had the window seat so I only got glimpses of a spectacular cloudscape. But I do have a drone.

Down a Couple Pints

11:00 Tuesday, 12 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 83.84°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 83% Wind: 4.61mph
Words: 74

Showed up to donate blood this morning, and my octane* was high enough to meet the requirement this time. Did an apherisis donation, so a double-shot of red blood cells.

Very magnanimous of me, since they only give you the same $20 they give for a pint of the regular stuff, and I can't donate again until after the new year. Leavin' money on the table! But I need the karma.

Jokes' On Us

10:48 Tuesday, 12 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 83.28°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 83% Wind: 4.61mph
Words: 101

Our travel insurance just covered illness. It must cover something because Mitzi said we'll probably get about $150 from it. At least that covers the cost of the insurance and the difference in the higher, "no-fee cancellation" fares. She said she's going to see what her American Express card may cover, since we paid for the flights with it. And then we'll appeal to Delta for some reimbursement.

The policy we bought specifically excluded weather, and I don't actually know if you can buy insurance for weather-related travel interruptions. Something to look into though.

C'est la vie, je pense.

And We're Back

05:56 Tuesday, 12 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 72.66°F Pressure: 1012hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 0mph
Words: 2184

My caution that the marmot would be silent until Monday "at the earliest," was appropriate. We didn't get home until just after 9:00 last night.

The weekend was wonderful, though. The trip up went smoothly, with everything departing and arriving on time. We stepped off the Peter Pan bus at Wood's Hole and walked right aboard the ferry just minutes before they pulled the gangway. We didn't wait long for a Lyft driver in Vineyard Haven to take us to Oak Bluffs, where we stayed at the Madison Inn.

We had the day on Friday to wander around and explore, so we rented bikes and pedaled over to Edgartown. It was warm, mid-80s, and very humid so that was a sweaty affair. There's a topographical difference, I've found, between various regions' interpretations of "flat." Nearly all of Florida is "flat," as in "as a pancake." The route was described as "flat." As an expert in "flat," I can assure you, the route is not "flat." Fortunately, the bikes we rented were both geared; and apart from the amount of effort required, and accompanying perspiration, it posed no insurmountable difficulties. The roughly nine-mile round trip did kind of wear me out though.

As an aside, there are too many cars on Martha's Vineyard. Seems like the kind of place that would do well to make a serious effort to significantly reduce their numbers. I doubt that will happen, too many vested interests, to include the ferry business. The bike path we took is separated from the road, which was nice, and important. But once you get into town, it's bumper to bumper cars. For the most part, drivers will yield to pedestrians with little complaint, but they seem to resent bikes. The number of cars does make the island much less pleasant.

We had dinner with my navy friends Thursday night, and we were able to take a bus to the restaurant, dropping us off right across the street. We had to walk a bit to get to a crosswalk, but it was otherwise perfect. Two dollars, versus a $28 Lyft fare to go 3.8 miles. I'm guessing it was the "dynamic pricing" model, that aligns demand with available drivers.

The one glitch during our time on the island occurred on the way home from dinner. I wanted to go left leaving the restaurant, and walk about a quarter mile down to the Vineyard Haven dock, where I knew there was a bus stop. Mitzi was certain there would be one "on the way" back to Oak Bluffs. So we went Mitzi's way, right. There wasn't, and at some point the "sunk cost fallacy" had us pressing on over the causeway at night, walking about a mile or more to the hospital, where the next bus stop was located. I was tired, my back was hurting, my feet were sore and it was still warm and humid, so I was a bit of a bear about the whole thing. Mitzi would probably say I was rather more than "a bit."

We ended up getting a Lyft, having watched the bus roar by us in the dark, the bus stop shelter being unilluminated and us being seated inside. After waiting about 20 minutes, for $15 we got a driver to take us the couple of remaining miles to the post-rehearsal get together for the wedding party and guests. The good news was Mitzi, being charming and resourceful where I am definitely not, got the driver's card and asked about picking us up when we were ready to leave and head back to our inn. He told her to call his dispatcher and see what he said. So she did, and we did have a ride home. There were apparently 14 weddings on the island that weekend and taxis and ride-shares were in high demand. It was $20 to get back to the room, but I overheard my late friend's brother-in-law asking about how to get a ride. He'd tried to arrange for the taxi who brought him to pick him up again and that was out of the question. I asked him where he was staying, and he was in Oak Bluffs as well, so when Mitzi confirmed our driver would return to take us home, I told him he could share our ride. Perhaps a bit unfair to the driver, as he checked with his dispatcher and the price went up to $25. Still, it was better than walking!

On Saturday, our goals were much more modest. I wanted to make sure Mitzi saw the Camp Meeting Association houses, which were just a short walk from where we were staying. To me, that's the most remarkable thing about the island. We went down to the beach and Mitzi enjoyed some time in the ocean while I kept a sharp eye out for sharks.

We had the same driver pick us up to take us to the ceremony on Saturday evening. It was a lovely affair, simple and brief. The reception was likewise quite elegant, but not elaborate or ostentatious. Food was excellent, band was outstanding, and we navy "olds" were seated at "Table 1," which was located outside the main event room. Which also had the salutary virtue of being much cooler than the un-air conditioned event room. Winning!

We were ready to go home by 9:30 and there were taxis already arranged to shuttle guests back to their accommodations, so we had no challenges getting back to the inn.

There was a Sunday morning brunch planned, but our itinerary had us getting on the 10:30 ferry back to Woods Hole to meet our 12:00 PM bus. All that went according to plan, notwithstanding a dense fog covering the island. Bus departed on time, and though we encountered rain and traffic delays, it seemed we would be at Logan in plenty of time to catch our flight.


Mitzi looked at the Delta app to check for our gate and discovered our flight had been canceled. No notification from Delta. Apparently it had happened shortly after the bus, which had wifi onboard, left Woods Hole. Mitzi immediately began looking for other flights. The one option Delta had was a two-stop, three plane affair that had us getting in around midnight, and even that disappeared as she was searching.

We were fortunate. Because of the rather complicated logistical elements, we had purchased travel insurance for this trip, mainly concerned about a Covid cancellation. We stood in line over an hour to get to a Delta service agent, and she confirmed they had nothing for us until Tuesday. While we were standing in line, Mitzi booked a one-stop American flight from Boston to Miami, changing planes to Jacksonville, that would have gotten us into Jax by about 6:30PM. Then she found a non-stop Jet Blue about 7:00PM that would have gotten us into Jax about 10:15PM. I told her to book that too, in case the American flight was cancelled. We paid extra for flights without cancellation fees, expect that at least she flies enough that she would be able to use any credit if we couldn't get our money back. Delta refunded the unused portion of our ticket which was $500 alone.

Apparently it was weather-related, though we never got a specific explanation for why the fight was cancelled. Because of that, no voucher for lodging was offered. But... we did have trip insurance! So we found a room at an airport Hilton Garden Inn with shuttle service to Logan. The Hilton attached to the airport was full.

So we got the hotel shortly before 5:00 and got checked in. I looked at the little amenities booklet and saw that they had a washer-dryer available for guests, which was quite welcome as we'd only packed for the weekend and it was a very sweaty one. Down to the lobby with laundry in hand, we stopped by the desk to buy soap. Someone had to go back and find some, because there was nothing in the little "sundries" store. Apparently we got the last one. More luck!

We put our laundry in and came back and looked at the menu for the restaurant, there being nothing "walkable" nearby. They didn't start serving until 5, but the guy in the kitchen said, "We're ready, if you are." So we sat down and had dinner while our clothes were being washed. After dinner, we stuck them in the dryer and repaired to our room.

After the clothes were done, we surfed around and found Psycho on Turner Classic Movies, not long after Marion had absconded with the cash. Mitzi watched another movie after, while I faded off.

Monday morning. Plan A is American. Plan B is Jet Blue. If we get seated on the American flight, we cancel Jet Blue. All is going according to plan until we get to TSA pre-check. We're booked on two flights. I'd given the agent my retired navy ID, which I suspect may have made him somewhat more accommodating. Explained the A/B thing and which flight we were going through security for (A) and he let us through.

We board the American flight and Mitzi cancelled Jet Blue. On to Miami! Our flight actually arrived early, which was welcome because we'd only had a 45-min layover and we were a little concerned about how much time we had to make it to our next gate. Of course, arriving early usually means you wind up waiting for a gate, and we did. In any event, we got to the gate for the Jacksonville flight in plenty of time.

Which is when I started looking at Flight Aware to see where our next plane was. The lady across from us had been in the terminal since 11:00 am, her flight being delayed and subsequently canceled. I saw that our plane was in Nassau, at the terminal. It's a short 52 minute hop, so I wasn't especially concerned, and genuinely relieved when I saw it had begun taxiing. Where it stayed for the next 20 minutes. Uh-oh. Equipment problems?

Eventually the gate agents announced the delay. The plane finally took off and we were able to board. I was at the point in line where they decided all the overhead bins were full, and my bag and those of everyone after me would have to be checked. Oh well.

I think we arrived about 90 minutes after our scheduled arrival, but I didn't care. Got to baggage claim and there was my bag just coming around the carousel. Grabbed it and went to find the shuttle to the parking facility. Looked at the slip they gave us and it said to meet the shuttle at Pillar 1. Well, there's a sea of people around Pillar 2, but Mitzi and I went to Pillar 1 as directed. They're separated by about 20 feet, so I didn't know what all those folks were doing at Pillar 2.

Shuttle shows up and stops at Pillar 1 and we're like the second people to board, another couple at Pillar 1 apparently not waiting for that shuttle. After we're seated, another guy comes on board and complains to Mitzi that we jumped the line. The sea of people around Pillar 2 didn't resemble anything I recognized as a "line." We were able to cruise through them with little difficulty even pulling our luggage, and no one uttered the words, "Back of the line!" She said, "You made it," and he said, "Yeah, but there are people who won't." Thought it might have gotten ugly, but he shut up. Bus filled, and there was another one, literally, right behind it. Nobody was seriously inconvenienced by us following directions.

Traffic was light at that hour. Got home with no problems. Happy to be back in our own house after 36 hours in hotels, boats, buses, terminals and planes. I was pretty chill about the whole thing. Happy we'd had the foresight to purchase insurance, and the vagaries of weather being something you have no control over, unlike going right instead of left.

There's a claim to be filed, but Mitzi seems to actually enjoy that sort of thing. The Delta agent also mentioned appealing to Delta for some reimbursement. She'll sort all that out.

I've got to do this all again in a week, heading up to New York for Mom's birthday. I don't have trip insurance. But it'll be what it'll be. While we were in Massachusetts, my daughter Caitie was flying to New York from LA. That flight ended up on a weather hold over NY, eventually diverting to Philly to refuel and finally going on to NY. She spent over 10 hours in that plane.

I think with our "new normal" of abnormal extreme weather, there's a good deal more uncertainty in air travel. Probably good news for the travel insurance business.

Until it's not.


05:57 Thursday, 7 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.46°F Pressure: 1008hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 1.99mph
Words: 287

A year ago we flew to Boston for the wedding of my late friend's daughter. Today we're flying to Boston for the wedding of his other daughter. This one is taking place on Martha's Vineyard, so it's a bit of a trek. After we land in Boston, we take a bus to Wood's Hole, then a ferry to the island.

I checked the post from a year ago, and the flying part was apparently quite pleasant. Which may explain why I haven't been dreading this one quite as much. Normally, I look forward to flying about as much as one looks forward to, say, a root canal. That's not to say this experience will be the same, it's just that I haven't felt the same degree of anxiety and resentment.

To be clear, I still hate flying. The fact that it's about the most carbon-intensive thing I do is only the icing on an already awful cake of corporate and security state apparatus dehumanization and exploitation. I actually enjoy being in the air, it's dealing with the traffic, the terminal, TSA and being crammed into a tube with "other people" (in the Sartre sense) that really suck. I will try to work on my compassion and loving-kindness, but I'm not very good at it.

We'll be masking for this one, the travel portion at least. The wedding itself is outside, but there will be get-togethers indoors and I'm quite conflicted on those. The fact that there's a new booster being released "real soon now," only makes that more acute.

Anyway, such is life in late-stage capitalism.

Back Sunday night, if all goes well. The marmot will be quiet until Monday at the earliest.

Cranking Widgets

10:05 Wednesday, 6 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 82.63°F Pressure: 1013hPa Humidity: 75% Wind: 4mph
Words: 300

Jack linked to a post by Cal Newport (FWIW, I've never heard of Cal Newport.) about the Mythic Computer. The Verge piece is worthwhile.

I thought it was ironic, in the sense that irony is the fifth fundamental force of the universe, that Newport referred to Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death.

I think it's true that, "We make our tools, and then our tools make us." There's plenty of evidence for anyone who cares to look. And the assertion is often offered as a lament about a perceived diminished existence as a consequence.

So we've recently been through a period where developers and the technorati (the élite technology class) embraced minimalist apps. Apps to afford greater focus. I still see that mentioned from time to time, here and there, but it seems to have lost some of its cachet.

What's hip now is a minimalist, wooden computer!

That will improve... something!

(In the same way that film makes photography more intentional. Which, one takes it, is a superior experience to the presumably less intentional digital photographic act.)

Maybe that's why Apple I auctions command such ridiculous prices. Wood. Limited. Perfect!

But I love the fact that we're uncomfortable with our tool-using existence, and the solution to our discomfort is somehow building a different tool.

Back when I was a more unhappy man than I am today, I used to tell myself, "It'll get better when..." And much of my unhappiness was compounded by the fact that "it" never got better, regardless of the "when."

That's when I learned that "it" never gets better until you do.

Looking for solutions outside of what goes on between your ears is a fool's errand.

But it can drive clicks, and sales.

As the wheels, and the widgets, turn.

Turn, turn, turn.

08:33 Wednesday, 6 September 2023

Words: 117

Telephoto closeup of a white egret wading at the edge of a retention pond (Unremarkable)

Unremarkable photo. What is remarkable, and disturbing, is this is only the second bird (the first of two) I saw this morning. As I got toward the back pond, I realized I wasn't even hearing any birds. I normally hear mockingbirds, mourning doves, woodpeckers, hawks, whistling ducks, ospreys and bird calls I can't identify. Not all of them, but usually at least a couple.

Just before I got home, I heard a mockingbird, and then spotted it on the roof of a house. The only one I saw. As I'm typing this I'm hearing some kind of crane vocalizing outside.

Can't be good.


10:31 Tuesday, 5 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 81.95°F Pressure: 1015hPa Humidity: 69% Wind: 4.61mph
Words: 133

Mitzi and I are watching season 5 of Unforgotten. It's good, though I relate to Sunny and his grief over Cassie. Tough role for Sinéad Keenan to step into, because they don't make it easy to like her right from the beginning. Which is perhaps the best way to do it, if the series will continue.

Interesting listening to what Lang wants to talk about in the series. This one is the most overtly "political." I especially enjoyed the little soliloquy on being powerless in episode 4. People on the margins live the most uncertain lives. As uncertainty appears to be something we will all be looking forward to a great deal more of, perhaps people on the margins will be the best equipped to navigate the future.

It's streaming on PBS Passport.

Everything Old is New Again

09:13 Tuesday, 5 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 75.54°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 88% Wind: 1.01mph
Words: 391

Jack laments the current fad or fashion of film. I can relate.

I was never as much into photography as a younger man as I became when digital arrived. Chiefly because of cost. When I was shooting with "intention," I was shooting slide film, because it was cheaper than getting prints. Later on, I was shooting mostly as a tourist when we made port visits, using whatever plastic Canon compact 35mm auto-whatever was available at the time.

Somewhat later I bought a Canon AE-1 Program, which seemed to be the most popular camera at the Navy Exchange. But I'm unsure of whether I have any pictures from that camera. I probably do, but there's no meta-data on the prints to tell me, so I have to guess from the sharpness and depth of field.

I genuinely appreciate digital photography. Although I confess that I too sometimes succumb to the fads and delusions of things like the "CCD-look." For the most part, I do understand it's all just numbers and you can make them anything you want. So if you work a little bit on contrast and saturation, you can make your stacked 80MP CMOS sensor have as limited dynamic range and high noise as that beloved 8MP Kodak CCD.

It's all just numbers.

Anyway, same thing with "computing." I can still kind of recall the excitement many of us felt with the advent of "home computers." I can definitely recall the ridiculous amounts of money many of us spent for precious little utility, just the chance to experience something that felt like "the future." If I'd have known then what I know now, I think I'd have run away screaming.

I do still enjoy those old machines. Mostly in emulation. They do recall the feeling of thinking the future was going to be something cool. I still think that much of the attraction, for me, was that it empowered me to put something on a TV screen, something that had been just a device to look at things someone else had made. Probably the same thing that motivates me to maintain the marmot. I get to read something I wrote on a screen, and other people can too.

Same thing with the pics, I guess.

Why they should want to is a question I don't dwell on.

09:00 Tuesday, 5 September 2023

Words: 173

Telephoto closeup of a green anole

Very pleasant morning today. 67°F! Supposed to get over 90° later today though. Still, I'll take it. I opened the windows the morning to get some fresh air in the house. I have a CO2 monitor and it's consistently over 1200ppm, which doesn't seem to cause any overt effects; but has been shown to cause measurable cognitive deficits in controlled tests. It won't matter, because I just closed the windows and it'll be over 1000 again shortly.

If I weren't laboring under those cognitive deficits, I'd look into plants or some other mechanism to reduce the interior CO2 levels.

Anyway, no birds this morning. I don't really understand it, and it's troubling. A few mockingbirds, a couple of doves and a woodpecker, but that was it. Nothing standing still long enough to photograph.

Spotted this green anole, which I don't see as often as the ubiquitous brown ones, when I was shooting some flowers. It'll have to do.

07:49 Sunday, 3 September 2023

Words: 82

Suburban landscape wide-angle, portrait orientation, waning gibbous moon upper left corner, low cloud softly illuminated above the houses.

Pretty pleasant this morning! 74°F, though the humidity was still rather high. It's fine until you start sweating, then it's just damp, not hot.

Went just before sunrise so brought the E-M1 Mk3 with the 12-100mm/f4 Pro. Wasn't sure if I could get the moon in the frame, and the star of this is the cloud. Overall, a nothing-burger, but I liked it.

Le Sigh

06:32 Sunday, 3 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.12°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 1.01mph
Words: 31

All fixed now. Had the computer photo post fail to export because the HTMLDontExport boolean attribute got set somehow. Ticked that box and all is well.

Carry on with your Sunday.


06:21 Sunday, 3 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.21°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 1.99mph
Words: 138

Ah, mystery solved. Mark Anderson just emailed me that the September archive wasn't resolving. Couldn't figure that out, since the file was there. It was the individual permalinks that were malformed in the file, and therefore everywhere else. Like the RSS feed.

"Yay for automation."

Well, yeah. If it does everything. Had a template assignment glitch initially. Caught that. Did not detect that the "permafile" attribute wasn't being set. Had to go back and fix that. Fortunately, the RSS feed already downloaded in NetNewsWire had all the correct creation dates since I foolishly corrected it by just dragging the posts out of the September 2023 container and dragging them back in, which had the effect of giving them all the same creation timestamp. Alas.

"Switching to manual!"

Fingers crossed, all should be well. The apocalypse has been postponed.

Further to the Foregoing

06:12 Sunday, 3 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 72.77°F Pressure: 1017hPa Humidity: 94% Wind: 3.69mph
Words: 101

My workflow is flawed. I recently read something and my unreliable memory suggests is was about a Buddhist monk who was talking about a particular glass or vessel that pleased him. But he knew that it was very fragile and that it could easily be broken.

So he imagines that the glass is already broken, and appreciates the miracle of it being present in this moment.

Thought it was a blog post, checked my starred posts in NetNewsWire. Nope.

Maybe it was a toot, checked my bookmarked "toots." Nope.


All things pass. Memory fades. Do not cling.

Be here now.


05:16 Sunday, 3 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.21°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 1.99mph
Words: 522

We had kind of an "open mike" session at the Tinderbox meet-up yesterday, no planned program and no one seemed to have any pressing application issues. The discussion opened on the weakness of "memory" and perhaps the role of note-taking in aiding it.

The discussion ranged here and there, touching on the value of email archives, photographs, and meta-data in terms of establishing context, but also as "digital smog," obscuring as much as it illuminates. We talked about how user interface metaphors influence both the recording of information and its reception. I believe Art was one of the participants who made a passing reference to ego or conceit in terms of "Who am I, that my thoughts should be deserving of so much archiving and curation?"

I liked that. I ask myself that question a lot. Yet here I am.

Most of the time, these days, in the back of my mind is this uneasy awareness that this is all for naught.

As we got to the end of the 90 minutes, I raised my hand to speak and tried to conclude the session by returning to our minds and the unreliability of memory. I expressed my frustration with the notion of "software engineering," that I regard it as something of a joke. You can engineer a bridge, a building, an electrical distribution project. The physics are reasonably well known, the constraints are understood, the purpose of the artifact is well defined. Software? Not so much.

At all.

Because, as we'd been alluding to or dancing around, the single biggest weakness is the human mind, which is not well understood. And all our "tools for thought," end up leaving us chasing our tails. What's the ideal workflow? What's the best configuration of emacs? How should I best represent my knowledge graph? It's all yak-shaving and navel-gazing.

We don't even know, or can't agree, on what knowledge is. Human beings are irrational. We have a vastly inflated sense of our cognitive abilities. Thinking is hard. If it was easy, everybody would do it. To the extent that we use our "rational faculties," we do so in service to our emotional states.

I often think about the people of Europe in the mid to latter '30s, the ones who could see what was coming, yet were powerless to do anything about it.

We describe that conflict as a "world war," the second of its kind. Yet it is perhaps more accurately described as a localized or regional, collapse of civilization. What made it not a general, worldwide collapse of civilization is that there were wide swaths of civilization with wealth and resources largely untouched by the collapse in Europe and the Pacific.

What is coming is truly global in scope. Climate change is merely one dimension of the overall failure.

All you can do is all you can do. Try to do your best, the rest isn't up to you. Try to be kind. Enjoy the moments, because those are all we ever really have. Moments to live.

Nobody gets out of here alive. Be present for them now.

Hey, It Keeps Me Off the Streets

16:34 Saturday, 2 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.21°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 1.99mph
Words: 48

From front to back, TI-74 BASICalc, HP-71b and HP-75 mounted in

I will say the keyboards are much nicer on the 71 and the 75. I've missed keystrokes on the 74, but if I take my time, it's fine. "Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast."

And the Results Are In...

16:26 Saturday, 2 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.21°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 1.99mph
Words: 190

Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice...

Check it out: N 1 to 1000 -

HP-75 exponentiating (N^2) - 1m2s. N*N - 13.65s

HP-71b exponentiating (N^2) - 1m2s. N*N - 26.36s

TI-74 exponentiating (N^2) - 15.8s(!) N*N - 14.45s(!!)

I'm guessing the differences may be down to processor architectures, speeds and chosen algorithms. It's interesting to me that the 71 and the 75 are so close exponentiating, but a major difference in multiplying by itself.

The 74 is just pretty quick either way! Which seems really weird, given it's abysmal performance in exponentiating to a fractional power.

That's all relative. Virtual II running at the //e's "actual" speed (~1MHz) came in at 50.4s for exponentiation and 4.8s for N*N.

The handhelds all run on AAA batteries. I think the 75 runs at 700kHz, but don't quote me on that.

Still, it's interesting that in Applesoft (Microsoft's 8-bit BASIC with Apple modifications), exponentiation is 10x slower than just multiplying N*N; a much larger difference than the ~2 to 4x difference on the HPs, and a 10% difference on the TI.

Nobody's mining any crypto on these bad boys!


13:59 Saturday, 2 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.21°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 1.99mph
Words: 205

I looked in the TI-74 manual to see if it had anything to say about the SQR() function, and it only mentioned that it was the same as N^.5.

So I tried running the same program on the 71, 75 and 74 using N^.5 and interesting results. Both the 71 and the 75 took longer, but the difference was smaller, each came in at about 1 minute. Still faster than the 74 running SQR().

I expected that the 74 would take about the same amount of time, or less, thinking that the SQR() function just exponentiated and that was why it was slower. Guessing maybe they were trying to save code space or something and didn't have a separate algorithm for finding a square root.

But I was wrong. The 74 took almost six minutes! Three times as long! I thought something had gone wrong, but I kept waiting and it finally reported "Done!" with the right answer.

So now I'm going to test exponentiation versus just multiplying N by N and see which is faster. On the Apple II, it's faster just to have N multiply by itself, than raise it to the power of 2.

The things that entertain me...

Retro Update

11:26 Saturday, 2 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.21°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 1.99mph
Words: 182

I've been trying to configure an HD image for Virtual II with the appropriate system software and hardware configuration. That's mostly working. Decided to take a break and see how fast (or not) the HP-71b, HP-75 and TI-74 Bascalc were, compared to the Apple II.

The fastest just using the plain old, built-in BASIC is the HP-75, coming in around 16s for 1000 square root operations on the first 1000 integers.

Taking second is the HP-71b at almost twice as long, about 31s.

Dead last, by a mile, is the TI-74 at 1m 43s!

The Apple II with Mahon's USR function is fastest at about 7s, but even Applesoft's SQR() beats the TI, taking about 50s to complete the test.

Now, there may be some optimizations I'm not making; but it's all pretty much a straightforward for-next loop with nothing happening inside the loop except finding the square root.

I'm puzzled because the TI was pretty competitive with the HPs on the other test, which I can't recall just now.

Something to play with.

A New Month

08:23 Saturday, 2 September 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 74.21°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 87% Wind: 1.99mph
Words: 462

My "edict" for 2023 properly created September. So, "Yay for automation!"

I've been spending time re-organizing my Virtual II and Apple II archive to make it more useful. I don't recall exactly when I got rid of all my Apple II stuff, but when I did I went on a frenzy of downloading a lot of disk images, books, magazines and docs of any kind. I made some effort to configure a few Virtual II set-ups for Applesoft, UCSD Pascal and DOS 3.3 Integer BASIC. Then I went through some hard drive re-organization and basically increased the entropy, which was the opposite of what I'd intended.

So now I'm trying to fix that. And, of course, getting distracted by many things. Which is fine, because what am I doing that's so important?

This morning, on a whim, I played around with Michael Mahon's USR.SQR. I was up at 0445, so it seemed like the kind of thing one does in the quiet hours before dawn. I wrote a program to compute the square roots of the integers from 1 to 1000, first using Applesoft, then USR.SQR. Michael reports about a 10x speed improvement, I got somewhere north of 7x. Virtual II reported its average speed was 100%, accurately replicating the 1MHz 65C02. The good news was the answers all seemed to agree with each other.

I wrote another little program to compute x with Applesoft's SQR(n), and y with USR(n) and subtract the two, for the first 1000 integers, sum that and then take the average; and as I recall, it was something on the order of 10^-13. I did that with Virtual II running full speed, because who wants to wait for useless, trivial information? I should have printed it to a virtual printer. Anyway, close enough for me! I may play with it using a thousand random numbers, acknowledging that Applesoft's psuedo-random number generator is fatally flawed. It'll give me 1000 decimal numbers to use, versus integers, and see how that does. Granted, Applesoft converts all integers to floating point values, they'll likely be "bigger" (by which I mean "smaller") than the first 1000 integers.

After I finish this, I'll (probably) try the same with the HP-75, the HP-71b and the TI-74. Because why not?

Anyway, no birds this morning. Went out to look for the moon and we're solidly overcast. The good news is the humidity was below 90%, even if it was still nearly 80°F. So I walked at 7, while the street lights were still on. It was fairly pleasant until the latter part of the walk. Wasn't soaked with sweat as is usually the case, but still feeling warm.

Have a nice weekend.