Alan Moore on comics

Watchmen author Alan Moore: ‘I’m definitely done with comics’:

I said round about 2011 that I thought that it had serious and worrying implications for the future if millions of adults were queueing up to see Batman movies. Because that kind of infantilisation – that urge towards simpler times, simpler realities – that can very often be a precursor to fascism.

And this:

Hundreds of thousands of adults [are] lining up to see characters and situations that had been created to entertain the 12-year-old boys – and it was always boys – of 50 years ago. I didn’t really think that superheroes were adult fare.

My first salt-water aquarium

When I was a kid I kept a small, fresh-water aquarium. It was fun, but I always knew that the really cool fish lived in salt water. Fast forward 40 years or so and I’ve finally put together a salt-water “reef” aquarium.

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Moving my journal to (mostly) digital

For years, I’ve kept a paper notebook at hand. I always have a Moleskine-style bullet journal or a Field Notes pocket notebook or a Hobonichi Techo nearby. Sometimes all three.

Lately, I’ve been feeling hampered by keeping my journal on paper. My handwriting is terrible unless I write very slowly and deliberately. I worry that personal journaling suffers from too-slow, overly-deliberate writing. I spend too much time deciding between and playing with various writing instruments. I love my fountain pens, but I’m left-handed, and fountain pens are not ideal. The ink and paper must be just right, and that’s hard to arrange.

Eleven years ago I started using Day One, a journaling app for macOS and iOS. Day One is a fantastic app, dedicated to journaling. I’ve used it intermittently ever since. I’m now using it all the time.

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Use what you have

I have some pretty nice things. I’m fortunate enough to have more “stuff” than I could ever need. And yet, it seems as if I’m always buying something new. It’s just that I like to try new things, whether it’s tools, software, gadgets, or what have you. I want to see what different things feel like to have and use.

The photo above is from my dad’s garage, taken this year. I took it because I’m always amazed at how little it changes. My dad rarely buys anything new. He just uses what he has.

Recently, I have been striving to be more like my dad. Whenever I start looking for some new thing to help me do some old thing, I say to myself, “Use what you have!” It’s working pretty well. I have not purchased anything new if I already have something similar that will do the job. No gadgets, cameras, pens, notebooks, computers, etc. I already have all those things, and they work great.

I need a new film scanner

My Epson V750 Pro, purchased in 2009, has scanned thousands of rolls of film, slides, and prints. After making strange grinding noises recently, it has finally ground to a halt.

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The West Wing Productivity System

The last time I rewatched “The West Wing” I was once again impressed by how good people were at their jobs. How productive everyone was. I wondered how I could be that productive.

I noticed that the entire process used by the staff seemed to be carrying around folders full of paper and barking things like “Get me the file on senator Jones and the notes from our briefing!” Within minutes they would be perusing a bunch of photos and papers scattered about a desk and they’d develop a plan right then and there. Awesome!

So, I started organizing all of my projects in manilla folders. One folder per project. I called it the “West Wing Productivity System”. I’d print meeting notes, mindmaps, emails, etc and put them in the appropriate folder. I kept a single summary sheet clipped to the inside with contact information, summary info, budgets, etc.

Whenever I needed to work on a project, I’d grab the folder, spread its contents across my desk, and get to work. It was nice knowing where everything was. It was nice being able to see everything at once, if necessary. (I had a big desk).

On the other hand, it was a pain when I needed to share something with colleagues. Search kind of sucked. And if I happened to be at home without the proper folder in my bag I was screwed.

It was fun for a while, but this was nearly 10 years ago. I still use folders, just not quite so deliberately. Just for the hell of it, I’ve brought back the system for some of my home projects. There’s not a lot of risk and I get to shuffle papers around again like I’m Josh’s assistant or something.

Some unremarkable pens the Internet made me buy

I’m an impressionable young man, and when I notice someone on The Internet raving about something, I want to feel that way, too. I often order whatever that thing is, only to be disappointed. For example, here are a few of the pens I bought after being told how remarkable they are. They’re not that remarkable.

Configuring the org-download save directory

When I drag and drop an image into Emacs, I want the attached file to end up in ./img/YYYY/. This is how I tried configuring org-download in my setup (I use Doom Emacs):

(setq org-download-method 'directory
        org-download-image-dir (concat "img/"  (format-time-string "%Y") "/")
        org-download-image-org-width 600
        org-download-heading-lvl 1)
(setq org-download-method 'directory
        org-download-image-dir (concat "img/"  (format-time-string "%Y") "/")
        org-download-image-org-width 600
        org-download-heading-lvl 1)

For some reason, org-download-method was being reset from 'directory to 'attachafter loading, and this broke things. I thought maybe I needed to set the variables afterorg-download was loaded, so I did this:

(after! org-download
  (setq org-download-method 'directory
        org-download-image-dir (concat "img/"  (format-time-string "%Y") "/")
        org-download-image-org-width 600
        org-download-heading-lvl 1))

That didn’t work. At startup I was seeing this error:

Error (org-mode-hook): Error running hook “org-fancy-priorities-mode” because: (void-variable org-download-image-dir)

Huh. I guess not everything can be set after org-download, so I tried only setting org-download-method

(after! org-download
  (setq org-download-method 'directory))

This worked. The other settings are done in the (after! org block.

It feels like I have to fight Doom too often, but the details and refinement of Doom is worth the trouble.

I love this boring photo of a lamp

My wife bought an awful, kitschy plastic lamp and set it on one of the floor speakers. I, of course, balked.

That was a week ago and somehow the lamp is still there. I hate the lamp, but I don’t mind the light that it throws against the wall, and my wife loves it and thinks “it’s adorable”. Who am I to judge?

I took a photo of it. It’s just another boring snapshot by a film photographer looking for excuses to finish the roll. It’s exposed the way I intended and it’s composed nicely, but it’s not a great photo. I love it anyway.

I love the photo because it makes me smile. It makes me smile because I love my wife and it reminds me of one of the many reasons why. That’s the best kind.

Adding an RSS feed to my wiki

TiddlyWiki is a single static HTML file. It does not generate an RSS feed of new entries. It doesn’t generate anything.

I treat my wiki at wiki.baty.net more like a blog than a wiki, so not having an RSS feed feels like an omission. Most of the time I consider this to be a feature. I like that I can write any old nonsense and it doesn’t actively go out and bother anyone. It’s my little secret, that you can read if you want.

On the other hand, I find it annoying when I’m interested in someone else’s writing and they don’t provide any feeds. So, I’ve decided to make it easier to follow me. I suppose if you deliberately subscribe to the wiki’s feed, you want to be bothered by the stuff I write there.

My solution is based on this article . The short version is that I created a new tiddler named “RSS Feed” containing the following:

This tiddler runs a filter finding the last 10 tiddlers tagged with Feed and renders them as RSS-formatted XML.

Extracting the rendered text from that tiddler out to an RSS file is done using my Makefile using the TiddlyWiki node.js module . The command is as follows:

tiddlywiki --load index.html --render "[[RSS Feed]]" "rss.xml" text/plain

This generates a file at ./output/rss.xml containing the rendered RSS text/xml. Later in the Makefile, I rsync rss.xml up to the server along with the rest of the wiki files. Here’s the complete Makefile:


.PHONY: checkpoint deploy

        tiddlywiki --load index.html --render "[[RSS Feed]]" "rss.xml" text/plain

        git add .
        git diff-index --quiet HEAD || git commit -m "Publish checkpoint"

deploy: build checkpoint
        git push
        @echo "33[0;32mDeploying updates to $(TARGET)...33[0m"
        rsync -v -rz --checksum --delete --no-perms $(PUBLIC_DIR)index.html $(SERVER_HOST):$(SERVER_DIR)
        rsync -v -rz --checksum --delete --no-perms $(PUBLIC_DIR)output/rss.xml $(SERVER_HOST):$(SERVER_DIR)
        rsync -v -rz --checksum --delete --no-perms $(PUBLIC_DIR)files $(SERVER_HOST):$(SERVER_DIR)

All this means is that you can now subscribe to the daily posts at wiki.baty.net using the following URL: https://wiki.baty.net/rss.xml .

The odd thing is that I normally create each daily post first thing in the morning and update it throughout the day. I’m not sure how different RSS readers will handle this, but it’s a start.

I haven’t added the discovery links yet, but should. I also don’t think the RSS tiddler needs all those non-breaking spaces so I may play with that later.

Update March 11, 2022: Saq Imtiaz sent a link to his experimental plugin for generating RSS and JSON feeds . Worth a look!