Summer tips for summer fun

  • Move to Australia. It’s winter there! Just try to avoid the poison animals. So maybe don’t move there.
  • Dig a hole in your backyard that’s about 10 feet deep, where it’s always nice and cool. Convince Amazon to deliver your sunscreen there. I’m kidding, don’t use Amazon, they’re a terrible company.
  • Remember to stop activities before heatstroke, not after.
  • Sand is your friend. I mean, it’s not, but if you go to the beach, you’re going to have to pretend.
  • Notice how trees have all their leaves in the summer? Trees are your friends (unlike sand, which just gets in your shorts). Touch trees all summer, to keep in the shade and rekindle the primitive soul within. But mostly to keep out of the relentlessly cruel hot sun.
  • Remember how winter is six months of steady rain? It doesn’t matter that winter is only three months of the year, it’s still six months of rain. Think about how you are getting a nice sexy tan now instead of plodding through endless puddles from endless rain.
  • Heat domes are still rare! This is not a tip, but is helpful in managing expectations when people start going on about how it’s too hot. Manage those expectations! Everyone loves the, “Well, actually, it could be hotter…” guy! That guy could be you. Also works for all other genders. Note: Everyone may not actually love this person.
  • Do not listen to the 1992 album Summer in Paradise by The Beach Boys. Do you really want to hear Mike Love rap? (You do not.)

Random thoughts, June 25, 2024 edition

In random order, of course:

  • Only six months until Christmas!
  • R.E.M.’s song “I’ll Take the Rain” is lyrically bland and the music is a weird mix of synth strings and other stuff, yet I can’t bring myself to skip the song when it comes up on shuffle play.
  • I don’t remember the last time the grass was so green at the end of June.
  • I don’t trust authority. Neither should you.
  • Facebook, as bad as it was, is even more awful now. I don’t know how any reasonable person can use it, or would even want to use it. “Inertia is a hell of a drug” may not be catchy, but it might be accurate.
  • I am inordinately pleased any time I draw a long, curving line and nail it on the first try.
  • I wish I could swim better, but I seriously doubt I will ever try lessons again.
  • It delights me to see the EU and other countries kick giant tech companies in the junk.
  • Posting on any kind of social media is apparently something I just don’t care about anymore, even on sites that have no ads, no algorithm and you control the experience, like Mastodon.
  • I can never remember how to spell “algorithm”.
  • I should post more.
  • Cats are funny people.
  • It would be nice to spend one day in the pre-internet past, I think. Maybe two days. I like the internet, but, you know.
  • The AI hype bubble may burst before the end of the year.
  • Getting sick still sucks, but appreciating how great it feels to not be sick after is nice (but not worth getting sick in the first place).

Here’s a random GIF I found in my blog’s media library:

Inserting a USB cable

Pronouncements

Here are some, because it’s important for people on blogs to have opinions on trending topics or something.

  • AI: Very bad, silly and harmful, not necessarily in that order
  • Microsoft’s Recall (which uses AI): Very bad
  • Linux: Good, but could be better
  • Windows: Good, but Microsoft is determined to ruin it for reasons (see above)
  • macOS: Not really getting better, but good enough
  • Mechanical keyboards: Yes
  • Billionaires: All of them are bad, except those who got their money indirectly and not by design, and are giving it away
  • Capitalism: Deeply flawed and getting worse
  • Climate change: [screaming into the void]
  • The U.S. Supreme Court: Evil, corrupt and vile
  • Kittens: Yay!

Here is a kitten:

Raining? Have fun with these activities!

Photo by veeterzy

A list:

  • Jump in puddles (works best if under eight years of age)
  • Wait inside for it to stop raining
  • Do that jigsaw puzzle you bought ten years ago that’s buried in a closet somewhere
  • Listen to rain-related pop songs to “go with the flow”
  • If you have a car, now you don’t have to wash it! (Technically, this is not an activity.)
  • Do some dusting. Admit it, you haven’t dusted since you bought that jigsaw puzzle.
  • Plug your ears and say, “La la la, I can’t hear you, stupid rain!” over and over (works best if slightly mad.)
  • Just do regular stuff, but now it’s raining

Funkytown

I think I am in a funk. Why do I think this? A list, because, as always, I like lists:

  • I have been blogging a lot less lately, sometimes skipping multiple days
  • I have been playing PWS1PowerWash Simulator, my go-to de-stress game, to the point where I have worn out its pixels
  • I have the urge to draw, but do not draw
  • I have the urge to write, but do not write
  • My sleep quality has taken a dive in the last week or so
  • I had a few days with an unsourced headache just because (it’s gone now)
  • I haven’t been running in 11 days, sometimes for legit reasons, sometimes because I just didn’t want to go (note that I always feel better after running. The only time this doesn’t happen is if something goes horribly wrong on the run, like I have a close encounter with a tree root or something).

I think the cure is to just make myself do things, and I’ll naturally pull out of the funk. Why is the funk happening?

As always, it’s complicated. There are things happening. I think I am experiencing a certain sense of hopelessness in getting things–even small things2I like the word “things”–to change for the better. I don’t have much faith in people anymore. I guess that’s a big one. I don’t know that it will ever change.

But I muddle on.

Let’s see if I have a run update as my next post!

The new, new trend in book titles

For a time it was “The Girl [something something]” and then it was slapping the word “F*ck” (always with the asterisk) somewhere in the title, but I may have spotted the Next Big Trend in book titles, thanks to this from a recent Kobo newsletter:

That’s right, adding “Just” to the start of your title. Think of the possibilities:

  • Just The Girl On the Bridge Who Wasn’t There
  • Just Five Ways to Un-f*ck Your Routine
  • Just the Girl Who Said F*ck a Lot With the Panda Tattoo
  • Just the Way You Aren’t
  • Just Us For All
  • Just Another Nicest Missing Couple From Those People Next Door
  • Just Just Just! (the exclamation point is critical here)

And so many more. Get writing, kids! Or crank up the AI and just (heh) slap an appropriate title on the results. Riches1Or being banned or something. await you on Amazon.

omg lol

Yes, I did it. Did what? If I listed everything, we’d be here a while, and while I love lists, I don’t know if I love them that much.

What I did four days ago, though, was secure the following:

https://stanjames.omg.lol/

If you click that link, you’ll see this:

Why did I do this? Now I can do a list!

  • It was cheap (they were having a sale that turned out to be 42% off).
  • It intersects nearly perfectly between tech/geek and silly for me.
  • My name was available (Creole Ned is not, you may be shocked to learn, my real name).
  • It’s like having a little box of nerd toys to play with.

It has to be renewed every year, so I’ve got 11 months, 3 weeks and 6 days as of this post to decide if I want to keep it or not. In the interim, it’s play time. I’ll have more on this in the next week.

(Also, the status you should see in the right sidebar is courtesy of omg.lol)

This blog hatched 19 years ago today (February 2, 2005)

woman using smartphone and laptop
It’s a blog, see? Photo by Plann on Pexels.com

Yes, I have been rambling on, making lists and dissing Apple on this blog for 19 years. My blog can now legally drink in BC.

Here’s the original post in image form:

You can see the actual post here: Bloggity blog blog

As a first post, it’s not exactly riveting. I’m still using WordPress, though.

Some fun facts from 2005:

  • Twitter did not exist (just like today)
  • Facebook did not exist1Actually, it did, it launched in 2004, but it didn’t open up to the general public until 2006
  • Instagram did not exist
  • Spotify did not exist
  • Social media did exist, but it was stuff like Friendster and Myspace
  • YouTube launched
  • Steve Jobs still existed, but we were still two years away from the iPhone
  • Donald Trump being president was still just a joke on The Simpsons, a cruel, cruel joke
  • People were using Windows XP because it was actually current
  • The most popular song of 2005 was Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together”, which I have no recollection of
  • The top movie was Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • An actual comedy was in the top 10. Like, a movie you see in theatres (Wedding Crashers, at #6)

For the 20th anniversary, I will get my blog a cake and then eat all of it.

A goose with a pipe (Welcome to my blog, 2024 edition)

Probably my most-used Signal sticker.
What does it say about me? Speculate!

Hello! If you are not a bot or LLM scraping this site to help churn out AI-based internet flotsam, then welcome to my blog! I don’t know how you got here, but if you stick around for a few moments, here are a few things you may find useful to know as of January 2024:

  • I like lists
  • I frequently write about my jogging (three times a week, usually). This is probably not interesting to anyone but me, but I never found another good place to write about it. I at least include a photo or two in these posts for you to enjoy as you scroll past.
  • Other popular topics include:
    • Book reviews (these have fallen off in the last few years).
    • Complaining about Apple (they’re big and carry an outsized impact on us, so I hold them to a higher standard; I am trying to reduce complaining in general, though).
    • Technology (I am not an engineer or anything fancy like that).
    • This blog (I often go meta).
    • Birding (started this back in 2021).
    • Writing prompts (both creating and using them).
    • Photography (mostly birds–see above) and drawing. I don’t get into the technical aspects of photography, I just post my photos.
  • Like a dinosaur, I use WordPress’s Categories.
  • I have plans to redesign the blog, but until I do, some things, like photo galleries, are hard or even impossible to find. This is bad and I feel bad.
  • Generally, I write about whatever I want to write about.
  • Last year, I gave myself permission to write about anything that popped into my head. I have done this multiple times since.
  • I have a Mac and a PC. I generally prefer the PC. I do my drawing on an iPad Pro.
  • My tone can be sarcastic at times. I try never to be mean. I think life, in a way, is absurd, and my writing here may reflect this at times.
  • Starting this year (2024) I am writing a monthly newsletter called Doodlings and Noodlings1We’ll see if this one comes back to haunt me.
  • I am working on my first video game. It should come out this year2We’ll see if this one also comes back to haunt me. Also, I like using footnotes..
  • I am white, male, Canadian, left-handed (but I use a mouse right-handed) and gay.

That’s about it for now. Thanks for reading. I don’t have comments turned on due to spam, but if you want to say something to me, or just send me an inscrutable emoji, I can be reached on Mastodon here: @stanjames@mstdn.social (I’m on other social media platforms, but rarely check or post to them these days. I’m a very low-key social rebel). You can also reach me using old-timey email here: ned@creolened.com

New Year resolutions for 2024

Firefly has been extensively trained on chicken scratch.

I couldn’t remember if I had made resolutions for 2023, which may give you an idea of how well I did at keeping them. Let’s find out and have a good cry together!

The 2023 resolutions were:

  • Get to 150 pounds by the end of February.
    • Verdict: Massive fail. As of today, I am 171.8 pounds, which is exactly seven pounds higher than a year ago and more than 20 pounds above my intended goal. I dreamed of being a hummingbird and ended up being a blimp.
  • Keep running.
    • Verdict: Success! Despite knee issues, I kept running regularly throughout the year.
  • Finish my Gum Gum game.
    • Verdict: Neither success nor failure, as I put the GGP game on pause to develop a different game first as a prototype.
  • Do more bird art.
    • Verdict: Success! I am working on more bird art right now.
  • Keep birding.
    • Verdict: Success! But this was a gimme.
  • Finally finish my blog redesign.
    • Verdict: Failure-ish. I did tweak the design a bit, but the big redesign still awaits.
  • Finally start doing some stretching.
    • Verdict: Success! After the issues with my knees and a couple of visits to a physiotherapist, I now stretch before I run.

Weird bonus resolution:

  • Record an original song in Garage Band.
    • Verdict: Failure. I think I opened Garage Band once. Fortunately, this was a silly resolution.

Overall: Eight resolutions, four successes. This is actually better than I expected. Onward to 2024!

My Fancy Resolutions for 2024

NOTE: For 2024 I am skipping the "easy" stuff that I would probably be doing anyway, like running and birding.
  • Get to 150 pounds. But for real this time. Gotta go with the classics.
  • Finish my prototype game. Title to be revealed soon™.
  • Complete my blog redesign. Another classic. It could happen!
  • Revive my newsletter. I am actually working on this now, and have moved from Substack to Buttondown for the hosting.
  • Complete one of my unfinished novels. Likely either The Mean Mind or Road Closed. I’ve been itching to get back into writing again, and either of these stories will be fun to noodle around on.
  • Start a new blog or something. I kind of have something in mind, we’ll see what happens.
  • Focus on:
    • Being happy
    • Staying healthy
    • Bringing good into the world
    • Getting decent sleep, which will help with all of the above

New for 2024: I will check in at the end of each month to see how well I am doing on these things and use a letter, star, number or some other system to mark my progress or lack thereof. It’ll be fun!

Apple’s October 30, 2023 Scary Fast event

If you’d like a nice, non-sarcastic (mostly) take on what Apple unveiled today, have a look at Jason Snell’s post on Six Colors.

If you’d like my take on the actual event, which may contain a wee bit of sarcasm, read on!

Scary Fast

Everyone knew this event would be all about Macs since the preview image included the Mac Finder and so it was. It began at an unusual 5 p.m. Pacific and, being a day before Halloween, had a spooky Halloween theme. The scariest part is checking the prices of everything in Canadian dollars.

I didn’t do timestamps for the event, but the whole thing wrapped up in 30 minutes. There were no interminable sketches about how great Apple is doing on the environment or constant reminders about Apple’s (newly more expensive) services–though there were still reminders.

  • The event starts with music that is bad, but not overly loud, possibly because really loud music is not spooky.
  • We then transition into a Mac ad about “hard work” where everyone is cute and riffs on comments everyone else makes, including a guy from Porsche, because everyone can relate to the simple pleasures of a Porsche. At the end, everyone has a good laugh about how they may be doing hard work, but working isn’t hard on a Mac! I can see the marketing team high-fiving each other over this.
  • We see Apple Park at night, but it’s been enhanced to look all foggy and spooky (I will be using that word a lot). The camera is flying all over, but you know its destination: Tim Cook. Will he be dressed as a pirate? The ghost of Steve Jobs? A giant carbon credit? He is dressed as none of these things. He is dressed as Tim Cook, though he is favouring dark clothes because spooky.
  • Tim doesn’t say much and we move on to the “lab” with Johny the Chip Guy. The lab is dark and spooky. In the back is a glowing pumpkin that is actually an orange iMac from like 2002 or something.
  • Johny intros the M3, M3 Pro, M3 Max and M3 Fred. Just kidding, Fred is not ready yet. Neither is the M3 Ultra, but it will presumably come out later, as did the M1 and M2 versions. These chips are totes faster, though if you look, they constantly emphasize performance vs. M1, because vs. M2 they’re merely 10-15% faster, which is nice, but not roll-your-socks-up-and-down exciting.
  • Dynamic caching is introduced for the GPU. It will help with demanding applications and make for better games. Both of them!
  • Ray tracing, just like on the iPhone 15 (they don’t say this, but it’s basically the same thing). Ray Tracing would also be a great character name in some future noir thriller.
  • More vague graphs comparing M1 to M3.
  • M3 Max now supports up to 128 GB ram, which is impressive until you remember the Intel Mac Pro supported 1.5 TB.
  • We now transition magically to Kate! Kate is dressed in black because spooky.
  • Kate talks about the MacBook Pros. They have axed the 13″ MBP ($1299) and replaced it with a 14″ MBP ($1599). You may be thinking, “Don’t they have a 14″ MBP already?” Yes! Now they have two. This new one is basically the same 14″ model, but only gets the M3, no Pro or Max. Also, the touch bar is DEAD. They should have had a ghostly visage of it floating behind Kate.
  • I kid you not, they highlight performance by showcasing Myst. You know, that game that came out 30 years ago. It’s like they sit down and say, “We need a list of popular Mac games” and no one ever comes up with anything other than Myst.
  • For some reason, taking 18 months to bump memory from 96 GB to 128 GB of ram is touted as a great feat.
  • 22 hours of battery life. Impressive!
  • They slam Intel laptops, including older Intel Mac laptops. 11x faster! 11 hours more battery life! WHY ARE YOU STILL USING INTEL MACBOOKS YOU GODLESS HEATHENS? Intel Mac laptops actively seek out kittens and rub their fur the wrong way. It’s true.
  • Modest card: “World’s best laptop display”
  • A new colour!
  • An ad for the new oclour!
  • It’s Space Black, or as everyone else calls it, dark gray.
  • They promise it hides fingerprints better and is durable, a handy quality for an electronic device.
  • Suddenly an awkward plug for Monarch, coming next month to Apple TV+. Totally worth the price increase! It’ll look great on these new Macs, see?
  • Baldur’s Gate 3 is name-dropped. This is actually a current top-tier game, a unicorn among Mac titles.
  • Suddenly, Kate is standing in someone’s living room. Behind her a guy on a couch is playing a guitar while a girl sits next to a coffee table kind of looking at her MacBook. A keyboard is on the floor. Neither of them seem to notice Kate is suddenly with them and talking to what would be a wall.
  • Kate suddenly zaps into a lab of some sort. It is an immaculate lab, everything perfectly arranged. It’s not spooky, though.
  • Kate leaps again (not literally, though that would have been awesome) to her final stop: Some tony home where a person is using a MacBook to control three monitors and what seems to be a large TV above them. The little nook he’s in has foam on the walls to dampen and absorb sound, such as all the gabbing Kate is doing, which the guy sitting there does not seem to notice.
  • It has taken 24 minutes so far to say “We have new chips in our laptops, which are otherwise unchanged.”
  • Back to John. He announces prices, which are the same as before but truly scary when converted to Canadian, just in time for Halloween and forevermore.
  • He also mentions the 24″ iMac getting the M3. No other changes. Price the same. He talks about all its features, which, again, are not new or changed in any way. You can sense the audience starting to squirm at this point. I am starting to squirm.
  • One more potshot at Intel: 4x faster than their lousy old iMacs.
  • John then claims the 24″ iMac is the “perfect size” to replace both the 21.5 and 27″ intel iMacs, which is an odd thing to say. I suspect some people with 27″ iMacs would not consider a smaller display to be better, nor would they like the utter lack of ports or other compromises in the 24″ iMac, which, again, is a desktop computer, where thinness and lightness are not really a top priority.
  • Back to Tim! He reveals himself to be a gay werewolf. Nah, just kidding. He actually says “Only Apple can deliver” the deep integration between all their devices, so BUY ALL THE DEVICES, OK? Especially Macs, because sales are way down.
  • We are now 30 minutes in and the event ends with a card that notes it was shot on iPhone and edited on Mac. It will later be cut up into memes and posted on TikTok.
  • And that’s a wrap!

One of the shortest Apple events ever, with no real new products (the low end 14″ MacBook Pro is kind of new), so basically 30 minutes to say, “New chips, yay!” to plug Apple TV+, and mercilessly diss Intel. It could have been a press release.