Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2024

Three Good Things for Thursday, March 21st

I've spent the past week dreading a conversation that I'm going to have to have tomorrow with a member of my team. Doing the actual work of managing is definitely my weak spot as a manager - I would much prefer that everyone on my team simply function optimally without my having to exercise any power to make it so.  Then again, I remember Douglas Adam's insight about power, that those who are the most motivated to seek out power are those who are least suited to use it, and at least I know I'm on the right side of the equation there. At any rate, my overarching Good Thing tonight is that by lunch tomorrow I'll have at least had that conversation, and be done with dreading it. On to the more granular good things: 1. The Shitty Camera Challenge Sweatshop. My friend Adam created The Shitty Camera Challenge (a contest whose main mandate was the use of a camera that was cheaper than the roll of film inside it) on Twitter some years back as a way of exploring photography

Three Good Things for Tuesday, March 19th

It snuck up on me that today was the Vernal Equinox. Usually we try to recognize the equinoxes and solstices but nobody had the gusto. I sure didn't - I've got a Dreaded Task on Friday looming over me, and had to clean up both a cat puke and a cat carpet-poo tonight, so am feeling at my very least reverent.  In spite of the extra work and the occasional grossness, these two guys are pretty swell. Look, they're learning to snuggle! Okay, that was the 1st thing, on to the rest. 2. Rosemary Mosco. Rosemary is an artist, writer, and speaker whose passion for the natural world is evident in her (often ornithological) cartoons from her website . Her father died last month, and today on Facebook she posted a beautiful and heartbreaking comic about her grief: . Grief is so universal and at the same time so horribly particular, and it can be hard to capture or communicate. Embracing the f

Three Good Things for Sunday, March 17th

1. The Leprechaun Brothers. St Patrick's Day doesn't have the same resonance for me that it did in college, when it was a great excuse to drink all day. Being sober definitely takes the gloss off the major drinking holidays, and I've also always felt resentful about holidays that come with a dress code and enforcement mechanism. Excuse me, you want to pinch me on what basis?!? That said, I do love the yearly excuse to revisit three of my favorite Muppets: 2. Stringsfest. Yesterday the two older kids participated in the annual Stringsfest, in which the students in the strings programs of every elementary school and middle school that feed into the high schools in town perform a concert in the high school gym. This means close to a thousand kids and probably thrice that many family members and teachers filing an entire giant-ass gym to capacity.  When I played in this as a kid, my dad described the sound of it (unbeknownst to me) as

Three Good Things for Friday, March 15th

Beware!!! March 15th in Ohio was usually warm enough that a couple of guys could sit in the rocking chairs on the student union porch, drinking beers and hollering at passersby if they didn't seem to be in an appropriate state of bewareness, and that's just how my friend Pendar and I spent several Ideses. For tonight's post, photos from Ides of yore. 1. March 15, 2020, taking a walk to Vilas Beach with the kids. 2. March 15, 2016, puddle selfie on a walk in Oakland. 3. March 15th, 2012, sorrel blossom in Oakland.

Three Good Things for Thursday, March 14th

Another day where I'm dragging my finger over my phone feeling too beat to blog. It's honestly good - I've been busy at work getting several projects up and running, and after a period of feeling a little stalled out the wheels have started turning and it's exciting to see things falling into place! The downside is that it's a lot of executive function energy and the end of the day has been finding me pretty fried. Geez, I even fell asleep on the couch tonight after dinner and I don't know when the last time was that happened! But I'm so grateful to be feeling the kind of tired that is the result of hard work, rather than the numbed out stupefaction of stumbling through meaningless tasks.  Okay, three good things before I totally run out of gas: 1. Pi Day. When your kids ask what the family plans are for Pi Day, at 5:15pm on Pi Day, the temptation to reply, "none whatsoever," is tremendous. For me, at least. My wife Sarah is made of sterner stuff,

Three Good Things for Wednesday, March 13th

I've been busting my little heinder at work the last few days, so have not had much writing energy in the evenings. I've got a couple longer bits in mind to write about tomorrow, but tonight is another bite-sized nuggets edition: 1. Leo the Killer. That's what happens if you dare to move a toe underneath the blanket. If you dare to move a toe on top of the blanket, he will lick you until your skin hurts. 2. London Fog. My current favorite coffeeshop order for those times when I can tell I'm on the verge of the caffeine jitters. 3. Camera Kwanon. I know it wasn't for very long, but it still tickles me that the Canon camera company was originally named after the Buddhist goddess of mercy and compassion. If I wasn't more of a Nikon guy I'd consider getting this as a tattoo.

Three Good Things for Monday, March 11th

This is going to be short, and I'm going to take the easy scapegoat and blame Daylight Savings. So a quick 3 before bed: 1. Crocuses. They're up everywhere, and I'm resigned on some level to how early this Spring has sprung. For the moment I'm glad to be microdosing color again. 2. Girl Scout Cookies. They got me this past Saturday. I engaged in one of the classic blunders: going grocery shopping with a $20 in my pocket. Gaze upon the burdens of my error! 3. Jack. This little dude got a clean bill of health at his first vet appointment today, and charmed the socks off of everyone he met. The vet thinks he might be as young as six or seven months, and that a lot of his frustrating food fixations might be temporary. He's an awfully sweet little scamp and I'm awfully glad he's part of the family.

Three Good Things for Saturday, March 9th

I don't care what the apologists say, Daylight Savings is an abomination and I am dreading spending the next week in a fog, feeling slightly out of synch with life and yearning for a nap. Out of my grumpiness tonight, I am stretching to name my Three Good Things: 1. Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake. Photo of sauerkraut cake from the Atlas Obscura article It's real, and having had it once, I can verify that it's unobjectionable. The question of "why" does hover over the whole affair, but the results are not worth questioning. I'm no great shakes as a baker but I'm going to try to give this a shot sometime this week. 2. The Grid Method. Prominent British YouTube Minecraft personality, OwenJuiceTV My oldest kiddo just finished this art class assignment, and is rightly proud of his work. While he's thrilled at the verisimilitude, I am so taken with the character and quality of presence. We were drivi

Three Good Things for Friday, March 8th

I remember learning that the literary trope of having the weather echo a character's emotional state was called "the pathetic fallacy". Fair enough, but it's been a gray, cold, rainy day outside and a gray, cold, rainy day inside for me. Call me pathetic, but it's the way it is this Friday. Bright spot: Lucas's third grade music class concert. Incredible what an impact an energetic and caring teacher can make on a roomful of kids. He even had them adjusting their dynamic range on the songs that had a percussion part! Okay, the good things: 1. Stay Awake. Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films. On the back it says it's dedicated to the immortal memory of Gil Evans. It is a tremendous, joyful, and very very weird album. My Dad introduced me to this album when I was a kid by asking me to guess which song Tom Waits was covering

Three Good Things for Thursday, March 7th

No time to waste, let's hit those Three Good Things: 1. "Fifteen bucks for the whole seat but you'll only need the edge, Edge, EDGE!" An impossibly red, impossibly cute 1997 Suzuki X-90. It looks like a real-life Barbie car, a mini two-seater pickup, minus the bed and with a little spoiler on the back. Also it has a T-top. In college some buddies and I drove up to Cleveland one weekend to see the monster truck rally at the Gund Arena. Were we genuinely interested in it? Was it an act of willful irony? We were the last gasp of Generation X, so there is truly no way to know. What I remember most aside from the noise and fumes was that the promotion ran a contest in between "acts" where local schmoes could try their personal vehicles on the motocross track they'd constructed on the arena floor, with the fastest time taking home a cash prize.  One of the first contestants roared out of the gate in a huge, very obviously brand new, very obviously expensively

Three Good Things for Wednesday, March 6th

I'm running on fumes, so please excuse the pro forma quality of today's Good Things: 1. Trader Joe's Tikka Masala Curry Sauce. I promise I'm not a corporate shill account. This stuff is fantastic, it's quick, and makes for plentiful leftovers. I get three packages of it, three pounds of chicken thighs, and cook up two cups of rice. Boom, dinner. Somehow one of the main ingredients is watermelon seeds?!? 2. Bolo de Rolo. The kids have foisted the Carmen Sandiego remake on us (review: it's not terrible!), and in the Brazil episode they mentioned bolo de rolo. Now I know my life will not be complete until I've tried it. Mmmm, bolo de rolo... 3. Gumption traps. It sucks to be in that place where you feel like you're dead in the water and just waiting for some whiff of a breeze to send you in some direction, any direction. But it's good to remember that those moments have their own perverse power, and that som

Tortellini with Sauteed Shiitakes

 Several folks have asked for my recipe for last night's dinner. I don't tend to think in a structured, recipe-friendly kind of way, but here's my best shot: Ingredients (all from Trader Joe's) 3 packages of spinach tortellini 2 containers shiitake mushrooms, sliced 1 small shallot, minced Pre-diced garlic from the jar, like a lazy person Splash of cooking sherry (maybe they don't have this at Trader Joe's? Anyways Two Buck Chuck would work just fine) Soffrito (see image below) Shredded Parmesan Butter Olive oil 1 bag wild arugula  Trader Joe's Italian Style Soffrito Seasoning Blend. I love this stuff, it's instant classiness for pasta. Directions Melt a generous pat of butter at medium heat, and saute the minced shallots for a few minutes. When they start to brown, add a couple tbsp Soffrito to the hot pan, and drizzle some olive oil over if it looks dry. Add quite a lot of garlic after a minute and stir for thirty seconds, then splash in a little cooki

Three Good Things for Tuesday, March 5th

Working from home with two sick kids is tough when the kids aren't really that sick, but are definitely contagious. Coxsackievurus has an objectively hilarious name, and Hand Foot and Mouth Disease sounds like a livestock ailment, but it does produce truly uncomfortable sores. All this is to say that it was a minor miracle that I proceeded through my day without any major zoom meeting disruptions. A little strategically deployed Minecraft time didn't hurt either. Work life balance aside, three good things for the day: 1. Tortellini with sauteed shiitakes in a shallot and white wine reduction over a bed of arugula. A truly righteous plate of pasta and greens. It's fun and gratifying to know enough to whip a dish like this up. And especially nice to be changing up some of my weekday routine dishes. I confess that, as the primary chef of the household, I have been in a little bit of a rut; but between this and yesterday's broiled salmon there are new possibilities opening

Three Good Things for Monday, March 4th

In some sense I have always been a dad, or at least always susceptible to "dad humor", so today is a special day for me: the day that is a command! Unfortunately my Monday has not been so proactive as I might wish, and I've spent it mostly dealing with a number of things that came up over the weekend. So it goes! In spite of feeling mired in the marshes rather than marching forth, here are some good things about the day: 1. Eclipse! NASA's very good map of the path of totality for next month's solar eclipse; source: We just made a hotel reservation for the weekend preceding the eclipse, and I am thrilled to finally have an excuse to explore Indianapolis. No, seriously! My contention is that any midwestern city above 100k or so in population is going to be cooler than one might think, and I've heard good things about the children's museum there (as well as Crown Hill Cemetery, and t

Three Good Things for Sunday, March 3rd

Another gloriously warm day, perfect for several bike rides. Lucas loves his new hand-me-down bike, declaring it his favorite bike ever. We went on an afternoon ride around Vilas Park, and the wind was so strong that he was riding at a slant. A good day, and a long day, and I'm bushed so here, briefly, are today's good things: 1. Our neighbors who have repurposed their Halloween lighting scheme into a whole lifestyle. 2. The Wisconsin State Capitol. I know that some think it's a boring and trite copy of the national Capitol, but I don't care, I love it and catching a glimpse of it makes me feel hopeful and at home. And I love experiencing it in unusual ways, like this reflection in the office building windows near Wonder State Coffee. 3. This enthusiastic mural inside A La Brasa, on Broom St. The torta I ordered was monumental, easily enough for dinner and today's lunch, and the horchata was great - not too sweet, and well seasoned.