Sometimes I’ll barely notice a scene in a book while reading it, but then find that it haunts me for days later:…

No one to replace the fish

There’s a scene in Lexicon by Max Barry in which Emily is sitting in a waiting room watching a single fish swimming in the upper half of a tank shaped like a large hourglass. The water drips slowly into the bottom half. Emily assumes that the whole mechanism will automatically pivot at some point and then the fish will be swimming in the bottom half. And so on, indefinitely. She figures it’s some sort of art piece. Looking more closely, she realizes that there is no mechanism for allowing the tank to pivot and that someone must just come in and replace the dead fish each day.

I can’t get this out of my head. The tank is not so much an artistic statement as a metaphor for life. It doesn’t pivot when the water runs out. And there’s no one to replace the fish.

10 years ago I gave my now son-in-law an “Early 2008” MacBook Pro. Yesterday, he was still using it. Wow. Today I handed him my 2016 MBP and he’s just a little excited. “So fast!”. (I didn’t tell him about the M1s 😁)

If your thing doesn’t work in Safari it’s a non-starter for me. I understand that you don’t care, but I still wanted you to know.


I made this one deliberately a little low-key but I like the look. The Q2 Monochrom floors me.

I’ll shoot you in the fuckin’ face if you think about coming ‘round here. I’ll shoot you just for fun.

A little of the old, wild Nick Cave shows up here in the first half, and he’s most welcome. This is another terrific record from Cave.

Usually when I go to kick Emacs to the curb I end up instead making it feel new by starting over.…

Why is it so hard to copy text off web pages lately?

Emacs from Scratch...again

Occasionally, maybe two or three times a year, I become determined to move away from Emacs. I swear that I’m sick of Configuration Fatigue and I’m done for good this time!

It never sticks. I don’t enjoy editing anything without proper Vim bindings and I’m not interested in going back to Vim. I don’t enjoy writing in VS Code. I also love Org Mode so much it hurts. So, Emacs with Evil Mode it is!

When I want a complete, wildly complex, kitchen-sink-included Emacs setup that’s managed for me, I rely on Doom Emacs. Sometimes, though, I feel like I’m fighting with Doom as much as relying on it. It’s always being updated, which is great, but it means that things are always changing. I feel like I don’t understand it and that I’m not in control. Isn’t Emacs all about being in control?

So, for maybe the 6th time, I’m going to build my configuration from scratch.

OK, not exactly from scratch. I’m bringing in the best bits from Nano Emacs, a nice-looking basic configuration that isn’t looking to be a “framework”. For the moment I’m including the desired individual nano emacs files as-is. I’ll probably live with it for a while and move the theming bits over by hand and basically fork it for myself.

The other change I’m making is letting Emacs be Emacs by installing packages using package-install and also using the built in Customizer UI when I can. Maybe if I stay away from fancy it’ll stick this time.

Here’s what this post looks like in Emacs…

Nano Emacs screenshot

I started a brand new repo to keep track of it all, too.

Was it Google that started the trend of putting the “Add new thing” button at the browser’s lower right corner? Is there some reason they decided it belongs as far away as possible from where I’m working?

I just sent The Lathe #6. It keeps happening!…

I have not posted anything in a week that didn’t contain a gross typo or accidental extra word caused by making too-quick edits and clicking “Post”. Slow down, Jack!

Dependabot and friends are useful, but kind of ruin the commit log as a place to track updates.

I’ve noticed that when using digital tools for thinking I end up mostly thinking about how I’m organizing what I’m thinking about, but with analog tools I think about what I’m thinking about.

I’m bored and almost certain this means something drastic will happen to one or more of my blogs today. Crap.

Ulysses 22 beta

One of the tentpole features of the upcoming Ulysses 22 is support for posting directly to This is terrific and I’m using it now.

The other feature that caught my eye was that one can now update WordPress posts as well as create new posts. This was a dealbreaker for me because I’m always editing my posts after the fact and having to go immediately from Ulysses to the WordPress control panel made the whole enterprise not worth the trouble.

But now. Hmmm. And I wonder if I can edit already-published posts as well.

Well, I can’t not try every text editor I learn about:…

What I really want is a modern modal editor geared toward writing prose/documents rather than code. I’ve spent many many hours trying to bend Emacs in that direction and have failed. Something like Onivim but for writing.

I ranted this morning about what I consider unnecessary images in blog posts. It rang familiar because I’d done it back in 2018 as well:… Fewer people agree with me today than did then.

Onivim 2 - a new (to me) modal editor

I’m pretty sure I’ve tried every text editor that exists in the world. Whenever I learn about a new one, I can’t not try it. Today, that means Onivim.

Onivim 2 is a retro-futuristic modal editor - the next iteration of the Onivim project - combining Vim-style modal editing with the aesthetics and language features of modern editors.

Color me intrigued! All I want in this world is a modal editor that is pretty, easy to use, and comes with sane defaults. Oh, and I’d like it to be meant for prose rather than code. Onivim hits two or three of those.

Onivim screenshot

The deal-breaker for me may be that I’m not looking for a code editor, and Onivim is very definitely a code editor. Still, it’s good to see projects like this. Anything that can keep me out of VS Code is worth a look.

Is “Super Follow” per tweet? I can’t think of a single thing with fewer than 280 characters that I’d pay for. Can I just pay $5/mo for no ads or retweets?

I like Substack but confirmed with them that there’s no way to not include tracking pixels in the newsletters I send, but “thanks for the request”. For now I’m going to continue using Substack and I’ll feel bad about the tracking thing. One day I’ll find a better answer.

I Was In Charge of the Deck Chairs On the Titanic, and They Absolutely Did Need Rearranging - McSweeney’s


Did the chairs I so lovingly arranged ever sink beneath the weight of a wealthy, silk-clad bottom? No, they sank beneath the North Atlantic, but that’s hardly the point. The point is, I did my duty to the best of my ability and froze to death with a satisfied heart.

I grumbled at the price of the CalDigit, but I now know why it’s so highly-regarded. It’s awesome. Fast SD card, Analog audio (and Roon endpoint), Thunderbolt. 15 ports in total using just a single port of the Mac Mini. Zero USB-related issues so far.

I won’t apologize.