Defiant Sloth

The people have been talking about Gabriel Smith’s Brat, and after picking it up at a local bookstore on our first day of vacation in Burlington, 30 pages in, I will admit that the people are right — this is a wickedly good new voice in literature. 📚

Book Calle Brat with blue text and deer in headlight on cover resting on plaid black and white blanket

This guy, absolute connoisseur of north Minnesota/Wisconsin dive bars. A pleasure bumping into his retrospective series of essays, and this one about south Superior’s Ray Bar and tap puppets, is just 🤌.

Ambitious collaboration of companies using “luminescent pigments [from FibreTrace’s tech] into raw cotton when ginning”, whereupon “scanning a pigment, it can be tracked throughout the supply chain, identified and verified on-site”. Love to see this supply chain innovation approach.

Om’s great suggestion for Apple resonates on a number of levels — donate to national park preservation as a backbone to copies of macOS installs (since they keep naming versions after California landmarks and to amplify their sustainability efforts). Win win.

Very pleased to see Christina Nguyen win Best Midwest Chef at the James Beard Awards last night. The other nominees were equally as great, but she’s been up for several years and it’s such a well-deserved win for her restaurant, Hai Hai, a Southeast Asian gem in northeast Minneapolis.

Sign outside Hai Hai yellow building reading Living the Hai Life

Nothing quite stirs an emotional energy like waltzing into your local bagel shop with “Never Gonna Give You Up” greeting you on the speakers.

Interior of a bagel shop with rows of baked goods and menus on chalkboards above

This MagSafe, slide-out Nintendo DS-like iPhone game controller is brilliantly conceived, and one of those things you wish you would have thought of first. Best wishes to Josh King in building this out at scale — smart kid! He also built a nice site for it, where you can sign-up to preorder.

Good to hear the use of QR code scanning for restaurant menus is reversing. This has been an insufferable practice that leaves dining too transactional, diluting the experience of interaction with the environment and server.

A Mexican food menu featuring tacos and a QR code on a wood table

There seems to be a changing tide to hustle culture — whether it’s the folks I follow getting more mature, or acknowledgement of irrational societal pressures — and a reckoning with slowing down, mitigating distractions, and re-balancing life. Tracy Durnell has a good list in which to adhere.

Kino was released today as a 1.0 — a powerful, fun new video recording app from Lux, the makers of the Halide photography app. Immediate download for me, foremost to just check out their neat intro-to-the-app brochure. Secondly, to record my dog, who just sat there on the couch blinking at me.

As an admitted bandwagoner, it’s been an absolute pleasure watching the Minnesota Timberwolves navigate through the NBA playoffs.

<img <a href=””> src=“" width=“541” height=“600” alt=“A menagerie of Minnesota Timberwolves images”>

Love this quest to make a mass-manufactured paper bottle (alc bev brands Diageo and Pernod Richard, along with CPG giant P&G, lead the way). Biggest hurdles have been shedding a plastic lining, leaks and retaining carbonation, and weight issues during transportation.

Worthwhile, fun article on the very talented actress Sarah Paulson, whose performance in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story as lead prosecutor comes to mind as most memorable next to her work in AHS. It’s unfortunate I’m not near Broadway to see her award-nominated play.

Love that this is the example of how LLMs working together as teams, called multi-agent systems (mas), hallucinate in an altogether nuttier level.

Screenshot of article quote that states: “There are downsides. llms sometimes have a propensity for inventing wildly illogical solutions to their tasks and, in a multi-agent system, these hallucinations can cascade through the whole team. In the bomb-defusing exercise run by darpa, for example, at one stage an agent proposed looking for bombs that were already defused instead of finding active bombs and then defusing them.”

I just received the email about Five Dials closing shop after a wonderful 16-year run. It’s been a great digital literary magazine, curating a variety of writers for travelogues, reporting, interviews, and stories. Luckily, they posted their entire archive for perusing.

Jason Fried is finding his niche with the Once software` portfolio that 37signals is building out. This recent post of his exemplifies the catalyst for them to do it, to the backdrop of horribly over-priced parking software:

[bad, overpriced software] is a deep well that keeps on providing.

Declaring it here: Dragon Quest IX has the best battle music in the series.

Scene from the Nintendo DS game Dragon Quest IX depicting a split screen with the upper one of the hero character attacking a slime, the lower one the stats of the battle

Zippers Deserve a Holiday

I’m not usually one for randomly invented holidays, but if today is ‘Zipper Day’, I’m here to celebrate. I’ve written, shall we say, extensively on zippers in my bag reviews and my posts on zipper pulls here and here.

My fixation with zippers is mostly about functionality and the usability experience of the mundane: zippers are an intrinsic part of any ‘thing’ they’re attached to, and so, quality zippers are important, and the tactility of using good ones makes a product much more enjoyable and long-lasting. You know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, here’s one of my favorite types of zippers, the YKK #5RC with DWR finish, featured on the Evergoods Civic Access Pouch 0.5 Liter.

Enjoy your zipping today.

close up photo of a black nylon accessory pouch and a steel YKK zipper

The absolute disregard of reasonable proportions in the wedge salad at Manny’s Steakhouse is perfection.

A wedge salad with an absurd amount of thick cut bacon bits next to a water glass and martini.

8BitDo Micro Controller is a Super Portable Wonder

With the new Delta game emulator out for iOS, I decided to invest in a super portable controller to use with a majority of 2D, non-joystick games. Always liked 8BitDo’s work, but never had much of a reason to purchase their controllers.

But I found their Micro controller impossible not to try, and subsequently enjoy:

  • At $20, it’s an easy buy.
  • It comes in two jolly colors
  • Has a battery that lasts an alleged 12 hours on a charge via USB-C
  • Thing measures just around the size of an AirPods Pro case
  • Shockingly, it’s not cramped to hold and use, and the buttons are very good for such a light, small housing

While it says on most of the product pages it doesn’t explicitly work with iOS, it absolutely does. Set it in Switch ‘S’ mode and add it like you would any other controller via the Bluetooth setting (it’ll show up as a ‘Pro Controller’). Works great with Delta, but haven’t tried it with other iOS games yet.

In summary, a recommended little buy.

A small rectangular controller in a shade of purple-blue sitting on a dark wooden surface

Every time I land…. feeling in good hands with Delta. Something about this airline is reassuring from take off to deboarding.

A Delta plane docked with bridge at an airport during sunset.

A warm day here in St. Paul to kick off the weekend. Enjoyed a scooter ride up and into Como Park, a walk through the Japanese garden, and some book reading under park trees. Perfect afternoon.

Manicured Japanese garden with rocks, water, and trees.

The Atlas Ankle Sock Review - Simply the Best, Probably

Socks are such a standard attire item that we don’t talk enough about them. But they are some of the the most important things you put on your body (nearly?) everyday, and keep you comfortable during any kind of foot travel.

So let me tell you something — I’ve gone through a lot of different socks and brand over the years, mostly trudging through them with sneakers, fitness shoes, boots, and zero-box shoes. The most comfortable, well-cushioned, and resilient ones I’ve come across (and now use exclusively as a daily driver) are Ministry of Supply’s Atlas Ankle Sock.

image of a socked foot raised over a natural wood floor

While these probably look fairly basic to the eye, these are extremely well-engineered.

  • They’re very well-cushioned in all the right areas. Specifically, the reinforced cuff tab is super cushy and wraps you in comfort against any kind of rear-side of a shoe that you might be wearing. It’s genius.
  • It’ll likely sit under the ankle and just pop out slightly when wearing lower-cut shoes. Not quite invisible, but I’m not even sure that matters or is fashionable anymore.
  • They’re fairly odor-resistant even though these are made of a combo of cotton and elastane. They say it’s also infused with coffee via a recycled polyester, but I have no idea how that works other than that it does seem to deliver on the promise.

Anyway, this isn’t a paid endorsement by any means, just calling out a great everyday item. I’d imagine these work for any gender, and operate best in non-loafer types of shoes, but your usage may vary.

Jemima Kelly has an invigorating opinion piece pondering where all the admirable, virtuous role models have gone.

As the west has moved away from ethical outlooks that focus on virtue and towards a utilitarianism that emphasises the outcomes of our actions rather than the content of our characters, we are less inclined to look for exemplars of virtuousness to emulate.

Absolutely on point. There’s a generational opportunity to fill the gap here, and it’s something we can all rally in contributing towards.

This is an absolutely bonkers story detailing how a man named Mickey Barreto stayed in the New Yorker hotel for five years, paying just one night’s rate. You know, every once in a while, the NY Times nails a tale like this.