Sunday, March 10, 2019

Duncan Carter

One of my early mentors passed away from prostate cancer in 2016, and I just found out.

https://www.pdx.edu/english/news/professor-emeritus-duncan-carter-passes-away

Duncan Carter, along with Sherrie Gradin, introduced me to Rhetoric and Composition as a Master's student at Portland State University from 1993-1996.  There are three Duncan stories I tell all the time:

1. One of his professors who spent an hour arguing whether a window was a door or a window.  At the end of the hour he walked out the window.

2. Duncan once fell asleep in a hotel with the shower running, so he could clear out his lungs.  He woke up 12 hours later, his lungs clear, and left, the walls dripping with water.

3. Duncan once made fun of people who outline their papers in advance, so I quit outlining my papers.  It took me a while to realize that I wasn't outlining, but reverse outlining, and I eventually learned how to write again.


Monday, February 25, 2019

Twitter, Quietness and Rage

What a great title, and surprising to see something this religious in the Washington Post. I recently switched to a dumb phone because my smart phone was starting to feel like one of those potatoes you carry around in Parenting class in high school. I already have a job, and managing social media accounts, with the phone serving as a prisoner monitoring bracelet, was wearing me out. It's ok to be unloved and anonymous. It might even create opportunities for listening. I took a break from twitter and it was like taking a break from anthrax As you go through the Book of Kings, you reach Chapter 19 and learn again why the Bible remains in the sacred-text big leagues. “And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.” This is the greatest possibility of our quiet hours — that when we are alone with our thoughts, we are not truly alone. That one of the voices we hear in our heads — the one calling us beloved — may be more than the echo of our own desires.
So I've set up Org Mode to sync across three devices:

An old Kindle Fire
Ipad 9.6" amateur, using the Beorg app
Macbook pro, using EmacsforOSX

I used to read about the battles surrounding Xemacs, but apparently it is no longer maintained.  Nothing lasts.

If you want to know why I'm using Org Mode, it's because I hate myself.

For further insights, read The Cruel Shoes.


So I had some trouble installing Mediawiki because our server is really old and has an old version of PHP.  I installed Dokuwiki because it doesn't use a database, has lots of support and plugins, and installs easily on our old server.

It is using the following plugins:

Some of the more interesting plugins I've installed are

Poem

Markdown Page

PlainText

I'm wondering if Pandoc will create output that is compatible with the above Markdown plugin.

Today I'm going to test some Pandoc conversions and start importing texts to the wiki.

I also need to install a GFCI outlet in our bathroom and finish the drywall this evening.

So working two jobs at once.  Sabbatical!


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Goodbye some social media

I just deleted my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts when I realized that most of the people I followed weren't following me, and that most of the people who followed me were people trying to get rich using social media. I was manually unfollowing people and decided it would just be simpler to nuke the account and perhaps start over one day.

As a result, all the Instagram pictures that I had piped to this blog using IFTTT are now broken.  Hand curating those entries seems really tedious.  Maybe I need to erase this and start over.

Note: I will probably rejoin Instagram at some point.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

The 'Busy' Trap - The New York Times

I read Deep Work in its entirety, and although there is some good stuff in there, the sources Cal Newport draws on are even more interesting, like this article by Tim Kreider, who is kind of delightful.


The 'Busy' Trap - The New York Times: Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.

Failproof Instant Pot Rice - Green Healthy Cooking

I managed to make perfect Instant Pot rice today.  Here is what worked for me, a resident of the desert community of Orem, Utah, at 5,000 feet.

Note: this is in an 8 quart Instant Pot

Four cups white, long grain rice
5 1/2 cups water
Two tablespoons of unrefined coconut oil, because it is supposed to magically reduce calories after it cools, due to some sort of molecular Sri Lankan magic.
1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Set to manual pressure for five minutes.  Forget about it while you book a hotel in downtown San Francisco.  Check it later and start scheming about how to convince your wife to use the instant pot so you can toss the budget rice cooker (and slow cooker).

Right now Lowe's has an eight quart pressure cooker for $42.

Here's someone else's link that I Googled.  It's either an amazing recipe or they have amazing search engine optimization.  I couldn't figure out why so many of these blog posts ramble so much, then realized that it's probably SEO.

Failproof Instant Pot Rice - Green Healthy Cooking

Emacs – The Best Python Editor? – Real Python

Ha ha.  I love the enthusiasm of Emacs cultists.  I'm currently, for like the fifth time, trying to learn some Python before my brain completely shrinks as I age.

Emacs – The Best Python Editor? – Real Python: While it’s an indisputable fact that Emacs is the best editor, we’ll (try to) keep an open mind and present Emacs objectively, from a fresh installation to a complete Python IDE so that you can make an informed decision when choosing your go-to Python IDE.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Tesla layoffs: Elon Musk's memo asks employees to "advance the cause" — Quartz at Work

Tesla layoffs: Elon Musk's memo asks employees to "advance the cause" — Quartz at Work:

People who work in social-sector jobs that serve a moral purpose, such as protecting children from abuse or serving the elderly, are typically under-resourced and overworked, mainly, Ballard says, because of the myth that people who heed a higher calling—including teaching or nursing—can somehow be satisfied with the knowledge that they’re improving the world. This idealized view that connects our noblest work to poverty “comes from the priesthood,” she says, “and can be used as a way to get people to downplay practical needs and concerns,” like sleeping and eating.

A lot of academics can fall into this trap as well. I picked up the graphic novel version of Paul Coelho's The Alchemist today, in part because it was so popular with the kids I taught in Qatar.  The underlying theme (so far) seems to be that if you don't align yourself with the universe and pursue your true calling, you'll live an empty, depressing life devoid of meaning.  I wonder how many academics buy into this essentially Coelhoian world view.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Other State of Emergency

http://ift.tt/2FnP5dT

As it turns out – and this should come as no surprise – the two challenges are actually very closely linked. I'm not referring here to the tenuous, or at least too oblique, connection between climate change in the Middle East and the crisis in Syria. Nor am I talking about the horror of the refugees hounded out by the terrorists, by the wholesale destruction of their country, or about the way we have reacted to the matter. Rather, I'm referring to that hideous attraction whereby suicide bombers prefer death and the afterlife to an earthly existence in the now.
via IFTTT

Altright Autonomous Monsters

http://ift.tt/2otY0T8

Overheard on the radio: What we need to ask is why are so many people desperate to believe in conspiracies and fake news?
via IFTTT

Duncan Carter

One of my early mentors passed away from prostate cancer in 2016, and I just found out. https://www.pdx.edu/english/news/professor-emeritu...