Mad Times

“To be sane in a mad time is bad for the brain, worse for the heart.” – Wendell Berry

January 1st, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Podcasts I listen to

I keep talking to Becky about stuff I heard on various podcasts I listen to and she can’t keep them all straight. Here’s the rundown as of now:

Podcast Categories Comments
Accidental Tech Podcast Tech Marco Arment (Instapaper, The Magazine), John Siracusa (OS X reviews, all the podcasts), each had shows on 5by5 with Dan Benjamin, then they both quit and started a show about cars with their friend Casey Liss (Programmer dude everyone likes to say they’ve never heard of). The car shows kept devolving into tech wank, so they started this. Come for Siracusa, stay for Siracusa. End theme is a vicious earworm.
Ad hoc Media Tech people talk about media stuff. Infrequent show with a varying panel, but chaired by Guy English and Rene Ritchie.
Alan Watts Podcast Philosophy Bits from the infamous Buddhist’s lectures podcastified.
Back to Work Tech Dan Benjamin and Merlin Mann jawbone about comics, kids, movies, tech, and, oh yeah, productivity. So many private jokes.
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Fiction Weekly SF short story.
Bitsplitting Tech, Interview Developer Daniel Jalkut in long-form interviews with various tech notables. Currently on hiatus.
Bruno and the Professor Politics Two guys in Seattle chat about politics. The audio quality is frequently dreadful, but the content makes up for it.
CMD+Space Tech, Interview Brit Myke Hurley interviews various notable tech people
Core Intuition Tech Daniel Jalkut and Manton Reece discuss the news in tech-land and thier experience as developers.
Debug Tech Guy English and Rene Ritchie chat with tech folks individually and in groups about topics of interest.
Decode DC Politics Former NPR comentator Andrea Seabrook digs into the background behind political issues trying to explain why it is the way it is.
Developing Perspective Tech Underscore David Smith (FeedWrangler) dispenses 15 minutes of insight about Mac app development.
eco-logical Sustainability, Interview Seems to be on hiatus. Host architect Terry Phelan interviews folks about topics around sustainable building.
Escape Pod Fiction, SF Weekly SF short story.
Hanselminutes Tech, Interview Scott Hanselman interviews tech people. Leans more towards web and Windows than most of my other techy stuff which trends towards Mac and iOS.
The Hidden Almanac Fiction, SF Ursula Vernon makes up crazy shit and her hubby Kevin Sonney (as Reverend Mord) reads it. It’s a cross between Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac and Welcome to Night Vale filtered through Ursula’s quirky brain.
In Beta Tech In flux now, but was a conversation between programmer Gina Trapani and tech journalist Kevin Purdy about various techy topics. This one trends towards Android and open source. Gina and Kevin’s run on this show was one of my very favorite podcasts. Great interactions, and Kevin always cracks me up.
The Incomparable Media A neverending cast of random techie people (all connected through show host (and MacWorld editor (and denizen of my home town)) Jason Snell), talk about nerdy media, play D&D, enact radio plays, and generally have a good time.
IRL Talk Media, Tech Used to be Geek Friday but left 5by5 for reasons never explained and is now this. Jason Seifer and Faith Korpi talk about geeky stuff.
Just The Tip Comedy Lawyer (and tech spouse) Amy Jane Gruber and programmer Paul Kafasis snark entertainingly about stuff for 30 minutes.
Let's Make Mistakes Design, Tech, Interview Mule Design Studio pater familias and all around net curmudgeon Mike Monteiro and chirpy cheerful Jessie Char, both designers, chat with folks who have something to say about tech, design, San Francisco, and other things.
99% Invisible Design, Radio Roman Mars hosts this wonderful examination of the design of our built environment. I love this show so much.
Planet Money Radio I subscribed to this because Roman Mars told me to and because their joint show about the commodities trading at the end of Trading Places was quite good.
PodCastle Fiction, SF Weekly Fantasy short story.
Radiolab from WNYC Radio Come for the production value, stay for having your mind blown repeatedly. Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich host this show that’s hard to describe, but is usually about science.
Screen Time Media, Interview Moisés Chiullan interviews notables and talks about screen-based media from movies to tv to games.
SF Crossing the Gulf Media SF people and physicists, Karen Burnham and Karen Lord have deep conversations about SF books.
SF Squeecast Media, Interview A pack of SF writers (often including Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan Maquire, and Cat Valente) convene with an SF writer guest to recommend stuff and torment their guest.
StarShipSofa Interview, Fiction, SF An SF story or two plus the occasional interview, science fact bit, or other related work.
Systematic Tech, Interview Brett Terpstra interviews a variety of people on tech and non-tech topics. Sometimes super nerdy, sometimes not.
The Talk Show With John Gruber Tech, Interview John Gruber (of uber Mac news blog Daring Fireball) has long rambling conversations with other Mac people.
Tea and Jeopardy SF, Interview Adorable-voiced Brit, Emma Newman has perilous conversations with science fiction folks.
TechHive's Clockwise Tech Jason Snell and Dan Moren host other TechHive editors in this 30-minute tech news opinion show.
Technical Difficulties Tech Gabe Weatherhead and Erik Hess. This used to be (and occasionally reverts to) an interview show called “Generational”. But in its current incarnation it’s a discussion of how to navigate some arena where the solution isn’t immediately obvious. They’ve talked about home network wiring and home music distribution, so stuff like that.
This American Life Radio The prototypical radio magazine show. It’s just consistently good.
Unprofessional Language, Interview Silver-tongued goofball Lex Friedman (formerly of Mac World (and now formerly of this podcast!)) and ascerbic yet strangely charming designer musician Dave Wiskus (Vesper, Airplane Mode) have inappropriate conversations with surprisingly well-known people.
Welcome to Night Vale Fiction, SF Lovecraftian horror through the eyes of a fictional (I hope!) community radio station in the town of Night Vale.
WTF with Marc Maron Language, Interview Comedian Marc Maron interviews everyone. I skip some episodes when the interviewee isn’t interesting to me, but when this show is good it’s very very good.
January 1st, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Movies 2013

Letterboxd has a nice summary page for our 2013 in movies.

What did you enjoy watching this year?

May 8th, 2013 at 9:13 am

Celebrity lost glove

WhoSay - Photo from Neil Gaiman

About which he said:

The lone glove at the top of the stairs was the only clue that @amandapalmer had been there in the night.

February 5th, 2013 at 11:56 pm

Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Festival 2013

I found full or nearly full versions of seven of the 21 films at this year’s fest. And trailers for all the rest.

All the films were good at some level. Of the ones with full versions below, my favorites were:

Click on for lots of embedded videos

June 28th, 2012 at 5:02 pm

ebooks on KCLS

So KCLS recently asked their Facebook friends to share how easy it is for people to “download FREE eBooks to their favorite gadget”.

“Easy” is not the word I’d use. Here’s an example. Say you wanted to get the ebook of George R. R. Martin’s insanely popular book A Game of Thrones.

Click on for lots of details about the process

April 13th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Hammering Man

Hammering Man

I made this animated gif in a new iOS app called Jittergram. This was the first one I tried to post directly to twitter from the app. The tweet went up, but the link it used to the jittergram site doesn’t include the image, alas. Fortunately I also mailed it to myself.

I tried to post it to my tumblr (since that’s where animated gifs belong), but since it’s over a megabyte (just) they resized it when I posted it and broke the animation in the process. Sigh. Technology.

February 13th, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Film Fest 2012

Hard to believe we’ve been going to these for seven years now.

You can see a list of all of this year’s films on the EMP SFFSFF page

Looking at the thumbnails on that page you might think like I did that there was less animated fare this year. This isn’t actually the case. What was different, though, was the number of films with mixed live action and cgi.

I went hunting to see how many of the entries I could find for viewing online. Here they are:

Click on for lots of embedded videos

January 2nd, 2010 at 3:12 pm

2009 media review

Well, the blog has gone dormant here as I’m sure you’ve noticed if you’re still paying enough attention (hopefully via RSS!) to notice this post going up. Here’s a retrospective of our year in movies.

What about books? Well, I’ve still been keeping track of my reading, but I’ve been doing it over at You can see what I’m reading and what I have read over here.

Okay, so movies. There are only 55 here. At that rate it will take us about 18 years to watch everything in our netflix queue assuming we stop adding stuff now. We need to ramp up. Anyway, here’s what we watched and what we thought. In the Notes field, T means we saw it in the theater, B means only Becky watched it, J means only I did, and other letters mean we watched it with other people with those initials. Our star system goes from * for “don’t bother” to **** for “don’t miss” with plus signs indicating half-stars.

Rating Title Notes
**** Hairspray
**** Milk
**** Rachel Getting Married T
***+ Chungking Express
***+ Star Trek T R
***+ Star Trek T (imax)
***+ Summer Hours T w/ L&A
***+ Up T 3D
*** Avatar T K&E
*** Away We Go
*** Burn After Reading
*** Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
*** Dedication
*** Frost/Nixon
*** Ghost Town
*** Girl in the Cafe, The
*** In Bruges
*** Iris
*** It Happened One Night B
*** It's a Wonderful Life
*** Julie & Julia
*** Jump Tomorrow
*** Kitchen Stories
*** Lost In Austen
*** Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle
*** Reader, The
*** Rocket Science
*** Secret Life of Bees, The
*** Sunshine Cleaning
*** Synechdoche, NY
*** WALL-E
**+ 10mph J
**+ Appaloosa
**+ Brothers Bloom, The
**+ Choke
**+ Christmas In Connecticut B
**+ Domino J
**+ Duplicity
**+ Hellboy II: The Golden Army
**+ Humboldt County
**+ Interview
**+ Latter Days
**+ Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist
**+ Notorious Bettie Page, The
**+ Paper Heart
**+ Quantum of Solace
**+ Vicky Christina Barcelona
**+ Wanted
**+ Winged Migration
**+ Zack and Miri Make a Porno
** 50 First Dates
** Big Bad Swim, The J
** Coraline
** Proposal, The
** Talladega Nights
*+ Fantastic Four 2: Rise of the Silver Surfer J
*+ Mamma Mia B

Edited to add a few things we forgot to enter

We also watched a bunch of TV on DVD, most notably, the whole run of Gilmore Girls, a couple seasons of The Wire, True Blood, Castle. Becky watched Dexter and Weeds and Desperate Housewives and Mad Men, I watched Criminal Minds and Wire in the Blood and started Farscape. And we’re working our way through Buffy again.

November 26th, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Mashed sweet potato brûlée

Based on Mark Bittman’s recipe in How to Cook Everything, this was a big hit in this year’s thanksgiving feast.

1-1/2 to 2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp finely ground pepper
4 Tbs butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar

Cook the sweet potatoes however you like. I prick them with a knife and bake them in a 400F oven for an hour or so. Scoop the potatoes out of their skins into a bowl and mash them up. Add the spices and butter. Quantities are all to taste. I didn’t measure them. Mash some more. Spread the mash in a gratin pan. Whatever that is. I used a casserole dish. You want them to have a fair amount of surface area, so whatever you’ve got that will result in an inch or two of potatoes when they’re spread out. Sprinkle the nuts across the surface of the potatoes and bake back in that 400F oven until it’s hot and thinking about being golden. Don’t obsess. 15-20 minutes should do it. Finally, sprinkle enough brown sugar to lightly cover the whole dish, then put that about 4 inches under your broiler until it bubbles up and melts. If a few patches singe, that’s okay. Keep an eye on it, it doesn’t take more than a minute to get there. Take it out of the oven, let it cool off a little, and serve it up to accolades.

October 25th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Lost gloves for sale

I got a nice email from a fellow in the UK recently pointing me at his groovy new web store where they’re selling random pairs of found gloves to benefit the non-profit Green Thing. Both the store and the non-profit are pretty neat. Check them out!

output here