Brickway ‘21 Oktoberfest

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Name: ‘21 Oktoberfest
Style: Marzen
Brewer: Brickway - Omaha, Nebraska
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: -
Rating: 3.8/5
Notes: Basic marzen.

Feeling Like a Tourist

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And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born

Then it’s time to go

And define your destination

There’s so many different places to call home

— “You Are a Tourist”, Death Cab for Cutie

Yesterday, I drove to Lincoln to have lunch with my mom. This is something I said I would try to do around the 20th or so every month. It’s only been a month since I moved to Omaha, but Lincoln felt strange this time to me. It felt somewhat foreign, in fact.

I still know my way around the city. I picked up lunch in my old neighborhood and I figured since I was in the area, I’d drive by my old place to see if anything looked different. The living room window had the blinds down, which I never did when I lived there. It no longer felt like it was mine, which obviously it wasn’t. A month ago, I felt like I was really going to miss the place. Now, I’m fine.

I think this all tells me I was ready to leave. Five years ago or so, I was fairly convinced I would move back to Washington State. Frankly, finances and a few other factors played into that not happening. Maybe I still will someday, but that’s not happening anytime soon unless things drastically change.

As for Omaha, I’m comfortable in my own little corner of it. I’ve started walking my neighborhood, developing routes for myself. I’m learning where different food spots are. The only bummer for me is there isn’t a local coffee shop I can hang out in within walking distance. My life here feels routine now, though. I’m happy, and I see this city being my home for the foreseeable future.

Niobrara River

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Yesterday, we took the short drive over to the Niobrara River to get outside for a little bit. It was nice to hear nothing but the sound of the river and nothing more, outside of the occasional car passing by on the road next to us. Nebraska has some gems like this, where most of the state seems like this boring flat landscape, the minute there’s a bod of water nearby, the landscape changes, becoming more hilly and more lush with trees. As we approached the river, it kind of resembled a small mountain range in front of us. We’re nowhere near the Rockies.

Before heading to the Niobrara, we took a look at Long Pine Creek, a tributary to the Niobrara where there’s some recreational areas along it. Again, it’s one of those things that can surprise you about this state if you never really explored it.

Shawn Blanc's first impressions of Glass, the new photo sharing app

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From The Sweet Setup:

It’s like Flickr in that it has a strong emphasis on community and quality and a little bit of photog nerdery. And it’s like Instagram in that it’s an easy-to-use, photo sharing iPhone app.

The app is very fast, very smooth, and very clean. You can tell that Tom and Stefan care about sweating the details, and it shows

As of this writing, I’m sitting at 1,285 on the waiting list. That said, initial impressions of Glass have been good. I’m by no means an expert photographer, but I would be willing to follow certain accounts, even if it meant paying for it. A positive app experience would be worth it too.

I know some people who would thumb their nose at paying for something they can get for “free”, but I can speak on the user experiences being better for services I’ve paid for. The only major disadvantage to many of these services is I don’t have any of my real life friends on them. Oh well.

Drowning Out Reality

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While at work today, I came to a point where I wasn’t really that interested in listening to music as I work, but I needed something. I thought about firing up some city walk videos from an account I found on YouTube of somebody who records himself walking around Seattle and Portland. While visually stimulating, I also find them aurally stimulating.

Then it hit me, Dark Noise. Dark Noise is an app which plays white noise along with other sounds that allow you to drift away into another world or relax. I made a mix of sounds I call “Downtown Seattle”, which includes some light rain, coffee shop ambiance, and some city traffic. I adjusted the sound levels to my liking and away I went. It put me in a mental space that didn’t feel like work at least, and reminded me of my trips there, where I spent a lot of time roaming the city.

I’m a big fan of ambient noise. At night, I often play the sound of ocean waves from my HomePod Mini to help me sleep. The pattern of the waves helps slow down my breathing and allows me to relax. In my new place, I plan on getting another HomePod Mini to put in there, where I imagine I’ll often play the sound of rain, good for times when I want to settle in to write.

As I sit now, I have Dark Noise playing in my ears with noise-canceling on, and it really is helping me focus on getting these words out. Much more than the usual chatter of coworkers while I’m on my lunch break. It helps to be in my world in times like these. Anything to help me relax.

On Biking more

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David Munson, writing on his blog

Most adults seem to have forgotten what all kids know with certainty: a bicycle is a tool of personal freedom, an implement of liberty. Want to go? Just go. Get on and roll. No license necessary, nor gasoline, nor keys for the ignition.

One of my goals when I get to Omaha is to ride more. Like David, I have a bit of an ugly duckling of a bike. I found it laid out by a neighbor’s trash. I immediately had it sent in for a tune up, where it also received new breaks, break cables, and a new chain. It’s remained the same since.

The biggest detractors from me riding more is when wintertime hits Nebraska, I stop riding since it’s way too cold and occasionally icy. This leaves me out of shape and frankly it’s a bit much to get going again. One advantage I’ll have at my new place is some stationary bikes inside the gym on the property. Hopefully, that’ll keep my legs in proper riding shape so I can get back outside once the weather warms up. The main thing for me is I want to be able to get up and go whenever without it feeling like a chore.

I’ll have a good trail and some nearby stores in my area to make for some destinations for me. All things considered, I should have little excuse to get back out there once I’m in Omaha.

How I'm Treating Social Media

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I’m to the point where I’m beginning to loathe my digital clutter. What I mean by this are those now pointless thoughts that have little purpose to me anymore, but are still out there, archived to a timeline. I began to ask myself why am I keeping this stuff around.

A few months ago, I came across content creator Craig Mod’s interview on The Talk Show with John Gruber, in which Craig states he deletes tweet fairly often, usually leaving nothing older than seven days. He expands on this on his blog:

Twitter can be seen as a generator of micro-plastics of the mind. And the entirety of it as a sea of these largely nutrition-free bits. That doesn’t mean a tweet can’t be valuable for a second, but it’s unlikely they’re valuable for, say, years (or hours or even minutes). Applying a tweet-delete mindset to Twitter (that is: a mindset of ephemerality, what you could perversely call Buddhist Twitter) makes it lighter, a little more fun, and a lot less serious. You can ask a question, get some responses, and then just delete your question.

The archival purists out there would then say — but! but those responses are now tethered to a nothingness! To which I say: Yeah, man, like, what is anything, anyway but, like, nothingness interrupted? Also: Who cares! Make a mess. Delete the mess! Try out an idea. Then backtrack! Retweet someone for an hour, then undo it! It makes the medium so much more dynamic, less staid.

Craig uses a script to do all of this. Since I’m lazy, I chucked up a one-time fee of $15 to a service called Tweet Delete, which will automatically delete tweets older than a certain age. In my case, I’m going two weeks back. For Facebook, I’ve employed a Firefox plugin simply called Delete My Posts, which gives some granular control over what gets deleted.

Anything I feel that’s worthwhile will go to my personal site. I have a pretty good search option on here so that I can find a memory or a particular beer review and so on. I feel less stress with this approach overall. Besides, I wasn’t ever going back to read my social media posts.

That's Not Where That Goes

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We have a saying where I work: “Everything has a place”. If you don’t know, I currently work in retail. This means I experience retail bullshit. So, it goes with face-to-face customer service jobs.

Just remember that rule we live by.

I’m stocking in my department, which is kitchenware. The aisle I was hanging out in for the most part had all my water bottles & travel coffee mugs. This lady comes over carrying a thermal water container she had picked up in sporting goods and begins browsing what I have for drink containers in my area.

This is when I could feel it.

My spidey senses could feel this lady was about to dump the container she came over within my section. As I’m organizing the stuff in my work cart, she stands there kind of rotating the foreign container in her hand while she holds another container she just found in her other hand. And she just stands there. And stands there. And I continue organizing my cart. By this point, I can feel she knows I’m on to her.

Finally, she walks over to the end of the aisle and I go to put something away. This took no more than five seconds. I come back into my aisle, and she’s back in the same spot she was in before, still pretending to browse, but this time without the foreign container she came over with. Finally, she walks away.

I go to check and sure as hell, she left the container from sporting goods in my area, shoved back on the shelf as if she was trying to hide it. I pick it up and walk out of the aisle to see her walking towards the registers.

Here’s the thing: she could have given it to the cashier and kindly explained she no longer wanted it. The cashiers have a bin for such items. Instead, she hangs out in my aisle like a small child who’s about to do something they know they shouldn’t do, yet they’re going to do it anyway the minute you’re not looking at them. This is how grown people behave, apparently.

It’s little things like this that drive me insane. I take pride in how my department looks. I’m constantly working to make my area look presentable and shoppable. I despise overstock, and I’m constantly flexing and facing items up to give the appearance of a full department, even when I’m lacking product.

The lack of concern for that work some people have annoys me. I spend a good chunk of my day at work. It is a second home. Imagine if I came in your home and just started moving things around and leaving things where they don’t belong. I’m guessing you wouldn’t like that much. Yet, people come into my store and do this all the time, with little regard for the time and effort someone spent trying to make each department look organized and shoppable.

I usually don’t air my work frustrations out. But, this case in particular blew my mind because of the length this person was going to go to not do the right thing when a more reasonable solution was right in front of her. She could have even given the item to me. All I ask is that we all consider the work people do and at the very least try not to make their job any more difficult than it already is.

Changing Spaces Soon

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In a little under a month, I’m moving 45 minutes up the road back to Omaha. Between things going well with my girlfriend and me and my lease running up at the end of this month, we both agreed to sharing a space together. It’ll be nice to have her around more and to not have to commute an hour to enjoy that time.

We’re getting a two-bedroom apartment, since we’ve both been solitary people for quite a while now. Not only have we both accumulated a lot of our own personal stuff, but we’re also looking to have our own personal spaces. She’s taking over the extra bedroom, and I’m taking over the office/den area for myself. Everything in between will be shared.

I’m looking forward to my space in particular. I plan on having my computer desk and a small TV in there. Furthermore, I eventually want to get a monitor that I can use with my MacBook along with hooking any video game systems up to it. This room is also why I’ve started acting on any cord tucking with my desk. This space will be about as clean and organized as any space I’ve ever had. I also suspect this is where Griffey will spend a lot of time since he loves my desk chair and his cat tree will be in there as well.

Of course, there’s a part of me that’s a little apprehensive about giving up the space I have now. Trust, I can only do this with someone I approve of on every level. It’s good to have someone who is as involved in this process in the way my girlfriend has been in all of this.

Things are starting to feel like they’re accelerating quite a bit. We’re getting to the point of having utilities moved over, and I’ll get internet set up there soon. Everything is happening. I just hope the cats get along.

Cable Management Project

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For a while, I’ve wanted to tuck the cords at my desk away. Today I achieved that goal. It’s just a much cleaner look.

Shoutout to Edward Lee for his YouTube tutorial on how to do this. I’m pleased with the results.

The top of my desk.

Underneath my desk.

Behind my desk, showing the wire-catcher.

Under my desk, showing where my power strips are hidden.

Daily Links - 063021

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NCAA clears student-athletes to pursue name, image and likeness deals

Every NCAA athlete in the country will be able to make money from endorsements and through a variety of other ventures starting Thursday.

The NCAA’s board of directors decided Wednesday to officially suspend the organization’s rules prohibiting athletes from selling the rights to their names, images and likenesses. The new rules represent a major shift in the association’s definition of amateurism – a shift that NCAA leaders previously believed was antithetical to the nature of college sports.

It’s really about time. Your name is your name and no entity should have control over what you do with YOUR name.

Apple Opens First Public Betas for iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS - MacStories

I’ve installed the beta on my watch. The new Portrait face is nice as is the new mindfulness exercise.

iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 preview - The Verge

A good quick overview.

Bill Cosby released from prison after court overturns conviction - Axios

Seems too convenient.

Trump debuts at 41st in C-SPAN presidential rankings - POLITICO

Barack Obama moved his way up into the top 10 of C-SPAN’s presidential leadership survey for the first time this year, while Donald Trump clocked in at 41st on the list, months after the end of his term in office.

Only Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan scored worse than Trump. This dude’s America was anything but “great”.

Pacific Northwest heat wave, Canada temperature record shock experts - Axios

The extreme heat that shattered records across the Pacific Northwest — and still has not abated in many areas — has no precedent in modern record-keeping, data analyses shows. This is especially the case in British Columbia, where the temperature soared to an almost unimaginable 121°F in Lytton on Tuesday.

I feel for anyone who had to deal with this over the weekend. We really need to fix our broken planet, because it’s reacting to us.

Daily Links - June 25, 2012

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NFL to allow throwback helmets starting in 2022 - ESPN

Hopefully the Seahawks bring back the silver helmets.

iOS 15 beta - 300+ Top Features/Changes!

A two hour walkthrough of every new feature something to iOS 15.

Trump’s COVID infection was much worse than we knew.

First there’s this:

Little by little, we learn more about Donald Trump’s schemes and lies during the coronavirus pandemic. A few days ago, we found out from excerpts of a new book—Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History—that Trump proposed to quarantine sick Americans at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, so they wouldn’t count as U.S. infections.

Then once he caught the virus itself:

Trump pretends he caught the virus because it was inescapable. In reality, he caught it because he sabotaged mask use and social distancing, endangering everyone around him. He didn’t just hold big campaign rallies. He told aides to remove their masks at the White House.

This guy willingly endangered those around him. How anyone still thinks this guy cares about common people is beyond me. He only cares about his own image, something that almost killed him. There’s no overstating that.

Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years for murdering George Floyd - POLITICO

Chauvin faced up to 40 years for his second-degree unintentional murder conviction. He was also convicted of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 22.5 years for all of that is a relative slap on the wrist.

Gift of Gab, Blackalicious' Agile Anchor, Dead at 50

RIP Gift of Gab. Here’s some of his work.

Daily Thought - June 25, 2021: the iOS Weather app

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In what seemed like a blip on the radar for some, I was personally stoked Apple finally improved the stock weather app on iOS. I’ve always loved the design of the weather app, especially since iOS 8 when everything on the OS became flat. It looked great & had a decent amount of information. Yet, for one reason, it was always lacking basic weather maps.

This was the kind of thing that drove me to testing out third party weather apps on the iPhone. For the most part, I’ve stuck with Carrot Weather, due to its deep level of information, radar layers, and customizability. However, there’s now a decently steep subscription price on the app, since server access costs money, along with the developer actually wanting to eat at some point.

Stock apps on the other hand are free to use. To see Apple add the level of detail to the stock weather app they did may leave it as the only weather app on my phone when I do finally install iOS 15. Now, if they would only make Weather for the iPad.

Maybe MLB Should Use Japanese Baseballs

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Last night was a disaster with the MLB’s new policy cracking down on pitchers doctoring baseballs. We saw Phillies manager Joe Girardi have Washington pitcher Max Scherzer checked multiple times. That had Scherzer irate, and the situation eventually saw Girardi ejected from the game. Scherzer said after the game he was only using rosin, which is legal and readily available on the mound.

Later, we saw Oakland A’s pitcher Sergio Romo basically drop his pants in protest of a check for illegal substances as well. All of this goes to the grip on American baseballs, which are said to be very smooth. Pitchers will use their saliva, rosin, or even a little sunscreen to get a better grip on the ball, which provides greater control. This has been deemed acceptable across the league, since hitters feel better about a pitcher being less likely to have a ball slip out of their hand and having the pitch fly towards a hitter’s head.

However, the crack down has come into play since offensive numbers have dipped to lows not seen in decades, and much of that has been attributed to pitchers doctoring balls with different adhesives. These substances increase the spin rate on the ball, allowing it to curve and dip much later and sharper than before. Hitters are basically having the rug pulled out from them at the last second.

I’ve heard for years Japanese baseballs used in Nippon Professional Baseball are different from those used in MLB. Here’s Joshua Diemert, writing for Pinstripe Alley:

Since adopting an official baseball supplied by Mizuno in 2011, NPB baseballs have come pre-tacked with a proprietary polymer substance that adds a layer of “tack” to the ball fresh out of the box. NPB umpires can then bring these balls into play without needing to rub them with some magic Delaware River mud, and critically, enforce crackdowns on foreign substance use. Pitchers already start with an ideal amount of tack on the ball for control, any additional doctoring is not tolerated.

That makes it sound like the solution is right in front of this. We’ll have to wait and see what MLB does down the road on this matter, but it seems like a tackier baseball out the box and regulating any foreign substances is the way to go. Maybe you still permit rosin, but nothing else. One way or another, baseball needs to figure this out.


Read-Only Twitter

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On the latest episode of The Talk Show with John Gruber, guest Marco Arment mentions how since, he hasn’t paid for Tweetbot as of late, he’s using it as a read-only Twitter client. He says it’s actually more enjoyable this way.

This got me thinking about how I could go about this. I use Feedbin for my RSS feeds, which support following a single Twitter account or a Twitter list. Retweets can be disabled, so that I’m only getting original content. If there are any links to articles, the text is grabbed from the article for me and ready to read. I can also star posts within Feedbin and share out if I choose.

So, what about posting? I post here. I do the thing I’m doing now. If you’re not familiar, this blog cross-posts to Twitter, so anything you see here you’ll see there. All of this goes into my concept of my digital decluttering I’m looking at. It’s worth a try at least.

Creating a Few Less Distractions

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More and more, I’m becoming more about having my tech make as little sound as possible. The exclusion to this would be my smart speakers, since that’s literally their job. But, that’s good noise. What I don’t want are the various sounds that come from the different phones, tablets, and computers in my home.

It’s because of this I’m a considerable fan of silent mode on my devices. Increasingly, however, I’ve started using Do Not Disturb more. There’s an option on the Apple Watch to instantly activate DND when starting a workout. Apple also has option for DND which include staying on until you leave a location and until an event ends. I’ve started using the latter of these for while I’m at work. This keeps my Watch from tapping me throughout the day and my phone from vibrating in my pocket, attempting to draw my attention from what I’m doing.

I’ve also limited the number of notifications which can make a sound or vibration on my iPhone. Things like sports or news app end up working as a bit of a news feed in this way. I’ve also taken the time to employ some suggestions from Zac Hall’s article on 9to5Mac on toning down the distractions from the Apple Watch. I’ve personally limited my notifications down to three things:

I want to know important things and these three things are the most important to me. Sports scores, social media updates, email, etc. can all wait. Some of these things, like sports news updates, get delivered to my phone silently to the Notification Center. Email apps and most social media have been deleted completely off my phone.

All of this is part of a process I’m going through to remove clutter from my life, both digitally and physically. It’s all an attempt to think more freely, to quiet my mind, and to really enjoy the things I care about. In the end, I hope to be a happier person.

Apple Watch Pride Braided Solo Loop Band

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I love Apple’s solo loop bands for the Apple Watch. They provide a minimal yet classy look for the device while still having a good fit around the wrist. Personally, I bought the dark green braided solo loop earlier this year, and it continues to be one of my favorite bands.

A couple of weeks ago, Apple announced their new Pride bands for the year. One is a Nike sport loop band with the basic Pride colors and some reflective material made for runners. The other is a braided solo loop, which features colors from all the colors of LGBTQ+ flags interwoven among each other. That band is the one I just picked up.

I love this band! I fully believe in basic human social and civil rights, so this gives me a way to show I’m an ally in all of this. On the other hand, it also reminds me of the afghans my grandmother made that I grew up with around the house. This band is really stunning. I love the look of it.

One little note about this band: on the packaging of the band, there’s an App Clip that can be used to set the matching watch face to your watch. You simply open the camera app, point it at the App Clip code and an interface will launch allowing you to select the version of the watch face you like. It’s pretty slick.

I Have to See Things For Myself

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I’m due to head to the Atlanta area in a few weeks to attend my cousin’s wedding. As happy as I am for him, I’m also happy weddings are becoming a thing again. I’m happy this is a thing I feel I can do safely, since I’m fully vaccinated.

But, I’m heading to the Deep South. This is where a large majority of the unvaccinated folks in this country live. I’m curious to see just how wild and free folks are being there. Is it as crazy as I’ve seen on TV with hoards of people gathered at all times or is it just people trying to have some sense of normal? Just really how defiant are people about masks?

Yes, the CDC has said those who are fully vaccinated can go without masks now. I live in a city where the mask mandate expired about a week ago. I still wear a mask while I’m on the sales floor, despite being vaccinated, simply because I don’t trust those going without a mask. All of this said, I would say it’s been somewhere around 50/50 for mask wearing. My guess is most going without didn’t accept wearing one in the first place. You get a vibe.

In any case, I’m curious what my travels bring. I’m also just happy I can leave the state for once.

Apple Music Lossless requires wired headphones, AirPods will only get Spatial Audio

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Filipe Espósito, writing for 9to5Mac:

To make things simple, here’s the hardware needed for each new Apple Music feature:

Lossless: a wired headphone (except for AirPods Max with Lightning/3.5mm cable)

Hi Res Lossless: a wired headphone connected to an external DAC

Spatial Audio: any AirPods or Beats model with Apple’s W1 or H1 chip (Apple says that users can manually enable this option for other headphones)

On a related note, Apple Music Lossless will not work with HomePod or HomePod mini. Spatial Audio will also be available on compatible Macs.

So, why are we hyping up lossless audio then? The Spatial Audio feature sounds neat. It’s already a trippy experience when watching a movie, so I can only imagine how immersive an audio track can be, especially one with live instruments. But, it’s a bit disappointing lossless formats won’t work with products like AirPods Max or the original HomePod.

Just Listened: Death Cab for Cutie — Live at the Show Box

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Live at the Show Box was released on Bandcamp and made available for 24 hours last Friday. I’ve seen DCFC live once before, and they’re a great band live. They know how to freelance well, and they do a good job replicating their studio sound as well. They also structure their setlist well. I can’t wait to see them again soon.

This recording captures their live performances well. Recorded throughout a three-night residency at Seattle’s iconic Show Box Theater, you can hear Death Cab’s energy and passion throughout, even on the more mellow tracks. I’m not certain if the track listing followed their setlist for their shows at this time, but each one fits perfectly into the next. Overall, this is an enjoyable listen that helps maybe bridge the gap a little until we can see live shows again.

I also have to give bonus points for Ben mentioning the Bremerton ferry.



Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset: A Brief Conversation With a Bartender

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This past weekend, I met a couple of friends down at Juke’s Ale Works in Elkhorn, NE. It was my first time visiting this craft brew hall and I have to say it has a good atmosphere. It’s located in downtown Elkhorn, which I didn’t even know existed until a few days ago. This is the kind of area that looks like the Old Market of Omaha or many other old midwestern/plains area former trade centers that have now shifted to mostly an array of bars and restaurants.

I’m at the bar ordering from the vast selection of in-house brews. I ended up with an IPA called I‘m Quite Aware We’re Dying, which was pretty good. I got to talk to one of the bartenders there who noticed I was wearing my Modest Mouse shirt. I told him I had seen them at the Maha Festival a few years ago where they were the headliner that year. He then told me he had one of the beers there named after their song “Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset”, in which he said the beer was simply called Pretty Sunset. He said they partially named it that because he wanted it to be where if someone gave it a bad rating on Untappd, the reviewer would then be “talking shit about a Pretty Sunset”.

I definitely got a good laugh out of that one. One of the things I love about craft beer is the various names the beers receive. They’re always unique and sometimes even colorful. It was good to hear the backstory to one of those brews.

A Blank Slate

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This is a current shot of my email inbox. It’s empty. Not a thing here. I like it that way. I’m not entirely an Inbox Zero type, but I’m somewhere close. If anything, I’m a neat freak when it comes to any of my tech. I don’t like many icons on my desktop, I use Twitter lists to curate my experience there, and the menu bar on my website here is discrete.

I recently signed up for an account with Fastmail, after seeing it heavily recommended across I’ve dabbled a little with Hey, but I’m finding I want a little more control in my organization than Hey provides, so I’m thinking of asking for a refund there.

But, the thing I think I’m enjoying the most is having a blank slate with my email. I still have old iCloud and Gmail accounts out there, and they’ll both stay open for my reasons with each. However, the amount of crap that comes into both of those is a bit much. My iCloud email is being forwarded to my Fastmail address, but it’s quickly hit with filters for the smart folders I’ve set up, which are designed to emulate SaneBox as much as possible. There’s also some perks to moving to a paid email service (yes, I’m paying for email), such as pixel trader blocking and just the trust I have that Fastmail won’t rummage through my emails the way Google does with Gmail. There’s also being able to use my domain name.

All of this adds up to me sticking with Fastmail for the foreseeable future. So far, I’m really loving it.

12 South Curve Laptop Stand

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I just received my Curve laptop stand from 12 South, so I thought I’d give a quick first impressions review. The Curve is one solid piece of metal with two rubber pads on the forks to keep your laptop from slipping. There’s nothing to set up here and this thing isn’t adjustable at all. It’s meant to be minimal in that regard.

That said, this thing hold my 13” MacBook Air at a great height for me when I’m sitting at my desk. I briefly gave a monitor a chance before this and between the resolution and the way it sat on my desk, it didn’t feel right. This setup with the Curve feels right. I’m only 5’8”, which, I assume, is about average for most people. I don’t have to slouch or anything with how my laptop is propped up on my desk. All this said, I love this thing!

I’m Cooking Again

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One thing about having a stimulus payment and a tax return in my bank account at the same time is I have a tendency to go for things I normally wouldn’t under my current budget. One of those things is eating out. The thing about ordering out is you’re not only paying for the food, but also the service. You also usually get more than what would be considered a reasonable portion and in many cases some of the food isn’t worth reheating. This all adds up for some bad cost-effectiveness.

However, since I’ve been dating my current girlfriend, I’ve been cooking at home last night. Last night I took advantage of the nice weather and made some BBQ chicken on the community grill at my apartment complex. It was nice to put together a simple meal like this with some mashed potatoes and green beans on the side.

I really do enjoy cooking, but I often struggle cooking when it’s just myself. I do, however, enjoy cooking for others. I love sharing that. Even better, she’s been cooking more herself because of me. I feel like this could be a place where we bond. I see it as an opportunity to do something together and to share ideas. I look forward to doing more of this.

Now the iPad Pro has to live up to the MacBook Air

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Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge:

In short, Apple’s silicon didn’t just catch the Mac up to the iPad, it catapulted the Mac beyond the iPad. The M1 MacBook Air is fast, responsive, has no fan, runs any Mac app I throw at it (including Intel apps) very quickly, and even can run some iPad apps (though that experiment isn’t going super well). It is easily the best general-purpose laptop I’ve used in half a decade.

That big of a leap can’t help but recast the iPad’s development over the years. As just one data point, I’ve used both iPad Pros and M1-based MacBooks as my daily work computer and the MacBook Air has better battery life. An iPad can last for days and days if you just use it for tablet tasks, but log in to all your stuff and run it all day like you do your laptop and it’ll conk out a few hours short of the MacBook Air.

One of the things that made me look at Apple’s MacBook line again was the gains in performance and battery life. Performance was ok on my 2015 MacBook. Battery life quickly became horrendous, making it a thing I constantly kept my eye on while I was hanging out in a coffee shop working on college course work. That’s not how I want to live.

My 2018 iPad Pro still holds up fairly well for most things I do. I don’t really push it with any kind of video editing too often, so I can usually go a few days without charging it. With how I plan on using the MacBook Air I just picked up, I expect the same kind of charging pattern. Two days in and I haven’t pushed it past 50% battery remaining. I’m more than happy with that.