I was inspired recently by the season and the special struggle of a northern winter, to imagine an alternate legend of the winter celebration for those of us who struggle with the long dark night. May it bring you some comfort in the cold. This story is available in audio form on Youtube.
It is said that once long ago, our people dwelt in a shining land, nestled in a valley beneath the mountains of the Sun. We dwelt in harmony with the Sun, and brought offerings to her mountain top, and her shining reign was our prosperity.
I don’t do gifts much anymore, but this year, I give the massively egotistical gift of boasting of my own genius while taking credit for other people’s work.
Internet food blogger tradition is to start all recipes with a long-winded autobiographical essay, interspersed with twelve dozen pictures, before finally including the recipe in fine print with broken CSS at the very bottom of the article, just before the Disqus thread full of random diet spam and little old ladies saying “Nice!” before telling you everything in the recipe is wrong.
Here’s my autobiographical story: I like pumpkin pie. It is…
How can you love a place instead of a person?
How can you think a place has a personality?
People make the personality of a place.
Love people, not places!
— MC Paul Barman, “Love People Not Places”
I have now spent a week in Berlin, trying as best I can to get some sense of what it might be like to live in the place. Getting up every weekday and making the trek to the office by train and underground. Going to the shops. Exploring the restaurant scene. Avoiding, at all costs, any kind of tourist destination, unless you…
The following piece was originally published November 9, 2016, in the aftermath of the election of the first fascist president of the United States. It has been preserved here as the original page on which I posted it is no longer public.
It is official.
Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States of America.
As well, the Republican party he is now leader of has been elected to a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In which the author decides to go to Denmark of all places to eat tacos.
The flight to Copenhagen is possibly the most pleasant air travel experience I have ever had. Helsinki Airport is almost empty, and security is over in moments. There’s a hint of trouble at the gate with carry-on luggage but it turns out to be nothing. I even get “upgraded” to an exit seat with more legroom.
I am excited. I have been planning this trip for a month with one singular purpose in mind: to try the tacos at Hija de Sanchez. I first…
It is June 8th, 2018, and I am sitting in a crowded conference hall built into the guts of a former shipping warehouse on the edge of Berlin.
An array of company speakers drone away on stage about how artificial intelligence is going to change the world. I’m just trying to get human again, still in the last stages of recovery from a grueling flight into the city that pushed my altitude sickness hard. I am tired, bored, slightly irritated, and growing more so as the breathless pace of onstage monologues continues. …
When I was younger, I read a book called Code, by Charles Petzold. Presented as a crash course in the basic foundations of how computers operate, Petzold’s book began this explanation by arguing that the reason computers were so powerful was that everything in reality could, broken down enough, be represented as a series of binary choices.
Just divide each step of the problem neatly in half, until at least it all fits into a set of values.
True, or false.
Yes or no.
1s and 0s.
It’s a tempting theory, one treated as almost axiomatic in the tech world…
I grew a mustache.
It’s not a thing I exactly chose to do, so much as it was easier than shaving all the time to be rid of it.
I grew to like it. With my long flowing hair, and the matching bit of goatee, I like to think I look like the Green Arrow in the right light.
It is not the first time I’ve let my hair grow. It is possibly the first time it’s been this pronounced though. For most of my life I’ve been unable to grow more than pathetic wisps, even well into adulthood. …