R. Lewis Brown of Pennsylvania typed his email wrong and now I have a bunch of his vehicle reg info from PennDOT. Probably not much I could do with it even if I were a bad RB but, weird. Not as annoying as the "Reed" who keeps giving out my initials-and-college-mascot email to every job-search site and tire installation place in Ohio, though...

Today's Release Radar feat. OMD that's not Andy & Paul, and yet another track from Dada that's not "Dizz Knee Land" Dada. There's gotta be a way for Glenn et al. to fix this...

I'm giving up the "What I Read" posts, because I'm reading less than a book a month, lately. Spending more time exercising the dog and the self, more time fiddling with things around the house, more time wasted on the internet. Maybe I need to dump a bunch of podcasts and get on the audiobook train. (May: Half of the second Fractal Prince novel; 6 chapters of A Canticle For Leibowitz (a re-read).)

I've censored myself from posting maybe 3 things today, because trivial humor seems inappropriate. I try not to watch the news (after years @ the Capitol, I have a sort of PTSD re: politicians) but I know enough about when to keep my mouth shut.

(IOW: "Gold Dust Woman" being stuck in my head for 2 days is not actually "the worst.")

Commute Replacer™

Some podcast talk the last few weeks about people who actually miss their daily commute. Or, if they're not "missing" it exactly, they're having trouble replacing some of the small things that a commute enabled -- a liminal space, a hype-up between home and work, a decompression zone between work and home, a chance to catch up on podcasts (listenership seems to be down, apparently?), a chance to scream at the top of one's lungs for a while...

Obvious solution, for those with a basement or 2-story home... buy yourself an old sit-down arcade cabinet and retrofit it to resemble your preferred vehicle interior, then tuck the whole thing under the stairs, behind a door. Steering wheel, cupholder/console to the side, a dock for your phone somewhere in front, a pre-recorded video of your commute (or whatever!) on the screen.

Get your coffee and briefcase, walk over to the closet under the stairs, and climb in for 20 minutes. It's something less than an isolation-chamber, but does enough to divide work from home. (Maybe. I dunno.)

a pole position sit-down cabinet

I never feel more like a real web maker-type than when things go totally wrong... like when an SSL cert fails overnight, and cascades into 10 other failures. ("But you automated that, right?" Yeah, I did... for like 13 out of 14 sites. That last one, hidden in the default .conf file, it bit me good.)

TIL how to make SQL-like queries on data in Google Sheets, which is making my anxiety-driven finance-reviewing much weirder.

Give your chart a "NamedRange" name (Data | Named Ranges), then you can call QUERY() which takes 2 arguments: the NamedRange (in my case "Spending") and the query you want (in my case this is selecting the dollar amount in column F from any row where the store name @ column B is my liquor store).

I'm SUMming that QUERY and dividing by a certain number of days (@ B24) to get a "$AMOUNT spent at $STORE per-day" value.

=SUM(QUERY(Spending, "select F where B = 'ABC Liquors'"))/B24

(It's not good.)

I'm not saying it's convenient, but it's a neat trick I didn't realize until today: If you have an AppleTV and a Mac, you can hit New Movie Recording (cmd-opt-N) in QuickTime, switch the input to your AppleTV (click the little chevron next to the red Record button to change this), do the same for the microphone... and you can record the A/V of whatever's on the TV.

I sort-of assume there's a flag somewhere that keeps you from recording HBO & movie rentals? It's sorta analog-hole-exploiting (but digital??), otherwise? I just tested it with a YouTube channel.

Quick Pi-hole tip

There are a couple of posts on the pi-hole forums about this "JavaScript is Disabled" thing. Your pi isn't really there; you just think it is because the page is cached in your browser. Your pi crashed hard. Restart it. That's all! (In my case!)

a new cognitive low for me: I just put something in the microwave, closed the door, and stood there for 30 seconds. I never pressed Go.


What I read in March 📚

I got sucked into making nonsense podcasts using nodeJS and eleventy, Breath of the Wild for another 20 hours or so, rearranging the house for 2 WFHers, and just generally freaking out. So what I read was mostly the labels on cans of beans and tomatoes.

But also about 3 percent of this A. Reynolds novel I still haven’t convinced myself to quit and the first (dull!) chapter of the latest N. Stephenson.

That’s what counts for progress around here.

Tried to bake bread for the first time, y'day and today. Looks like it's going to be an abject failure but, on the plus side, I've managed to go all day without cracking a lazy "can't get it to rise; real problem these days eh?" joke.

Oh wait.

Whole Foods/Amazon delivery excitement

monopoly card reading "bank error in your favor"

I hadn't taken advantage of Amazon Prime's Whole Foods grocery-delivery perk. (When the prices are better at Publix, you are too expensive for me.) They sent me a $5 coupon yesterday, which I took as a sign that they don't feel their system is over-burdened. I really wanted some fresh veggies and a few other things, so I filled a cart with ~$100 worth of stuff.

When I went to check out, the "delivery windows" for the day (and the subsequent day, today), were filled. I couldn't move past the penultimate screen. There was a note suggesting that new "windows" are released periodically throughout the day, so I set a reminder to ding every half-hour. I reloaded the screen 4 or 5 times throughout the morning, and around lunchtime there was suddenly an opening from 2p-4p. I grabbed it and hit "Checkout."

A young woman delivered the goods on-time. Everything seemed fine, except I was missing one item -- a $4 case of seltzer. No big deal at all; I was so pleased with the process I was prepared to just let it slide without mentioning. An hour later I got an email from Amazon apologizing for the "incomplete delivery." They said they'd process a refund in "3 to 5 days." Okay, that's fine, I wasn't even going to mention it!

This morning (18 hours later?), I got an email regarding my refund of $100, and a detailed breakdown of every item, now marked as "returned by customer." Returned? Most of these items are in the freezer or the crisper; what return?

I'd crack a joke about keeping the $100, but who knows what this system will do next?

A thing I have learned about wearing 'good' headphones while working ("working") for the last two weeks: You don't hear your laptop fan screaming, so the death-whoosh and restart is that much more unexpected...