wednesday, august 17

writing is a
project to see into
and to shape

Sunday, August 14

verizon i hate you / r.i.p. flickr

I’ve been fighting with Verizon Wireless, because I went to cancel the service on a hotspot I bought from them a while back, and suddenly discovered a contract with a $90 early-termination fee for the device, which I’m pretty sure the sales rep told me wouldn’t be a thing, and blah blah blah. I am I, angry customer.

I’ve already spent more time, translated to billable hours, on this problem than just eating the fee would have cost me. By the time you’re swearing at people working sales for the phone company, you’ve lost twice: Once for being an asshole to somebody with a shit job, and once because making you into the asshole is clearly a designed function of the shit job in question.

Verizon is, of course, a perfectly infuriating sort of low-stakes antagonist: Implacably stupid as an institution, relentlessly mediocre in its functions, and yet structured with a sort of perverse genius for avoiding non-predatory modes of interaction. Are you a customer of Verizon? Ok: You’ve entered an arrangement where you’re still the sucker even if you know you’re the sucker.

Anyhow. I’ll pay the “you were stupid enough to engage our services” tax one way or another, fees or waiting out the contract or what-have-you. But my newfound determination to actually stop giving Verizon money does coincide with their parent company’s recent buyout of Yahoo.

Yahoo, some years back, engulfed flickr and ruined it. This was already a pretty good object lesson (lesson umpteen thousand of ∞) in how centralized, proprietary services inevitably fail their users. Falling into the undead hands of a re-coalescing chunk of Ma Bell just moves it from the set of internet things I’m sad about into the set of internet things I can assume are actively hostile to me and the public at large.

So, aside from never giving flickr money again, what to do?

I guess I’ll start hosting photos on my own website. I’ve been messing with a Python script for making gallery pages, which is not too hard a thing to write and actually kind of fun. The results aren’t amazing, but I think I can get them looking ok, eventually.

More interesting: I keep this site in a git repository, which isn’t really a very good way to store lots of large-ish files (like photos). So I finally got around to trying out git-annex, a toolset which lets you manage large files with git without actually storing the underlying data directly in the repo and its history. It took me a while to start getting my head around the basics, but I think it’s going to be a decent way to push image files around.

Edit: For notes on a similar process, see Tyler’s recent (ab)Using Git Notes.

saturday, august 13

the frogs
are loud again

wednesday, august 10

i sometimes feel like i'm living a
parallel life in my dreams

again and again
i walk cities not quite the same as
anywhere and the same as a hundred
places, through strange-familiar
streets past blocks of half-known buildings

and talk in houses gone now for years
with distant friends, with the dead,
with people i haven't seen
since i myself was some other person

and riding the trains and backroads of
continents all but entirely unreal
a geography echoing geography

i find the patterns of my homes,
the ones i have
and have lost
and may yet find

Tuesday, August 9

We keep on putting ice cubes in the box wine. It seems like a bad habit to get into, but I guess I can’t credibly argue that it’s a worse habit than the box wine is on its own.

She’s alphabetizing the records. I’m writing code, but it’s not useful code. (It’s more like arranging a bunch of rusty hand tools with dulled edges than it’s like tightening the fittings on a robot.)

The fans are all on. Earlier it seemed like it might storm, but outside it’s dry and still, and the internet radar is correspondingly empty. Rabbits are probably scratching at the lawn. There’s fresh raccoon shit near the apple tree, which is so heavy with fruit it threatens to snap major branches. The windfalls have already started drawing critters.

There’s a circularity to things. It’s not that all arrangements of fact repeat themselves, just that the patterns come around. Here I am at a kitchen table in the Colorado summer, typing and drinking. Switching to sun tea, I pry ice cubes out of the tray and think about this season in the states just east of here and in years just past.


A lot doesn’t look quite the same when you see it again. Not that you’re of necessity any wiser or better at grasping it. If anything, at this point on the curve of experience, I feel more fuzzed out and shallow than I probably did a decade ago.

Saturday, August 6


I was evidently wrong to think the irrigation ditch was off for the season; it’s running again, maybe a little stronger than before. It’s also rained the last two days. I imagine some kind of causal relationship between the rain and extra water, but then again maybe it’s supposed to run through August and there was just some minor malfunction upstream.

Monday, August 1

We’re deep into summer again. The grass is getting pretty dead. They’re running tests of the emergency warning system in town. Yesterday (or was it the day before?) the thin stream of the irrigation ditch out front shut off again.