That Squam Time of Year

This week, I’ve been at Squam. Each year, my family spends a week at a lakehouse on Squam Lake. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet, for a variety of reasons ranging from just enjoying the space and the peace and quiet, to a lot of good memories with friends and family. It’s sort of a sanctuary for me, and as a result, also tends to be when I take the time to write and create and tweak websites and do other random cruft. I look forward to it each year, and always wish I could find ways to extend the time, but you do what you can with the time you have. Continue reading “That Squam Time of Year”

New job, yep.

Just a brief update because I thought it was time to share: I just started a new job as a Technical Writer for a company called ForgeRock. My first day was today! It’s a bit of a shift away from what I was doing before (QA), but anyone that’s worked with me in the past is probably unsurprised by the change.

Video: Radiohead’s I Promise

For some context: this was apparently an unreleased B-Side from OK Computer. Since the album is now 20 years old (!), they’re re-releasing it and including 3 unreleased tracks as part of it. Fun track.

SOAKing it in

It’s been about a week since I got back from SOAK, which is Oregon’s regional Burning Man. For those not aware: as Burning Man grew and became more popular, many folks decided to branch off and do smaller related events that also follow the 10 Principles. They’re not officially part of the Burning Man organization, but do operate with their blessing. This makes for a great opportunity for folks to still participate and connect with that community, even if they can’t make it to the main Burning Man event. Chances are good that there’s a regional near you, wherever you are (especially in the US and Canada, but elsewhere too).

This was my fourth SOAK, but my first in several years (basically since I moved to the Bay Area at the end of 2013). It felt good to reconnect with this community — I saw a lot of old faces, and met new folks too. In general, I like Burners — especially the old schoolers. These are the sorts of folks who might crack jokes about you falling down, but they’ll do it with a smile and while helping you up and dusting you off. There’s lots of snark and puns and trolling, but not with ill intent (which feels refreshing given the current state of the world). It leaves you (well, me at least) feel more at ease with being yourself, and creates space for deeper, more interesting conversations than the usual small talk.

I camped with a small camp towards the outskirts, comprised of a few folks I knew and more folks that I didn’t — but it didn’t take long before we were all sharing food and stories and wandering around the event together. There were some great art pieces — a few highlights for me was the “digital stained glass” dodecahedron, “Stoicheia”; the monster heads; and the temple. There’s also a drone flyby you can check out:

Already looking forward to next year.

Link: So You Want to be a Writer?

So You Want to Be a Writer? Essential tips for aspiring novelists over at the Guardian, by Colum McCann, who also has a book on the topic. It’s an enjoyable read, and has some good advice without being a shill or clickbait-y.

The only true way to expand your world is to inhabit an otherness beyond ourselves. There is one simple word for this: empathy. Don’t let them fool you. Empathy is violent. Empathy is tough. Empathy can rip you open. Once you go there, you can be changed. Get ready: they will label you sentimental. But the truth is that the cynics are the sentimental ones. They live in a cloud of their own limited nostalgia. They have no muscularity at all. Remember, the world is so much more than one story. We find in others the ongoing of ourselves.

Link: 24 Ways to Look Like an Awesome UX Designer

24 Ways to Look Like an Awesome UX Designer. 🤣

24. Tap your Macbook keys hard when in a meeting

While in a meeting and everyone has their Macbooks open. When you’re typing and have completed a sentence, whack your return key like you’re a bloody Pianist. It’s make a good noise and sounds like you’ve just finished an important sentence, to an important person. If someone comments laugh that you’ve broken a few keys in the past.

Link: The Poverty State of Mind

The Poverty State of Mind by John Scalzi. I feel like he really nails the reality of social and economic mobility in the United States these days (namely: while it’s still possible enough to feed lots of anecdotal “I made it, so can you!” stories, the reality is that it gets more difficult and less likely daily). I could rant about this for a while, but I think John addresses it far more clearly and cleverly than I.