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Welcome…

Hey everyone,

Welcome to my mostly dormant blog that I’ve kept running, in one form or another, for a long time. I might even go so far as to say it’s been an internet lifetime since I started this thing.

Feel free to explore. You’ll find silly poems about my dog, my thoughts on climate change, bicycling, politics, train travel and other random stuff. Most of it written when I had a job in a bank where I spent vast quantities of time with headphones in my ears, sitting at my desk. I haven’t really kept up with it because until #coronavirus hit, and basically ever since I began work at school, my days have been filled with interactions with people… blogging has not been at the top of my priority list.

But… we have a new world in front of us, and at least for the next couple months, we’re embarking on an exciting new experiment in teaching and learning. I don’t think it’s an understatement to say this is the biggest experiment in educating kids that has ever happened in history. There will be a lot to process. It might be fun to do a little blogging again.

Categories: General.

Rent Control

While not specifically about Minneapolis, this article on the St. Paul rent control gives an idea of what might come to pass if the the Minneapolis Question 3 passes and gives the City Council the ability to propose an ordinance on rent control. (As far as I understand it!)

St. Paul is an unlikely place for such a strict rent control policy. Housing costs are low and wages high in comparison with big coastal cities that have enacted rent control like Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento and New York City.

If Question 1 passes, St. Paul will become not just the first city in Minnesota to enact rent control but the first in the Midwest.

Minneapolis could follow shortly after with voters also deciding this November if the city council can write a rent control ordinance with the details of the policy to come later. Unlike St. Paul, Minneapolis does not allow ordinances to be passed through ballot initiatives.

From St. Paul voters could pass one of the country’s most stringent rent control policies – Minnesota Reformer

Categories: General.

Old Tech

This post is coming to you from a Mid-2009 MacBook Pro running Mac OS 10.6.8, (released in June of 2011)

I have basically three pieces of software installed on this laptop:

  • Eudora Email (because it remains the best email client of all time)
  • ArcticFox (Firefox derivative that has some recently updated security)
  • MarsEdit (for writing blog posts)

I put a new SSD in it for $20. (I actually laughed out loud the first time I saw it boot up it was so fast.)

But why even bother, you may be wondering?

Basically, it’s an experiment in reducing distractions. If I have a computer that is dedicated to basically two things – personal email and writing on the ol’ Blog, will I actually do more of both? My hypothesis is yes. When I open up the work laptop at home… there’s always work to be done. When awaken my desktop, there’s photos to edit, news to browse, etc. things to distract.

On this laptop, it’s stripped down to the bare minimum of functionality.

As technology marches on, I do think it’s worth looking at the lessons of the past.

Look, for example, at our music consumption. Why has vinyl experienced such a resurgence, despite Apple Music, Spotify and the rest offering a vastly more convenient option?

Or, take notebooks: Bullet Journals, Moleskines, etc. With all of the digital tools available, why do folks bother with pen and paper?

I think the reason to bother with this has to do with the intentionality of use. What can I learn from using a simpler machine with software that is over a decade old?

Categories: General.

Lunch at Owamni, New Park

The other day, we were lucky enough to score an outdoor table at *Owamni*, the new restaurant near the Stone Arch Bridge and St. Anthony Falls which serves native foods. The restaurant is excellent, I highly recommend it!

Additionally, there is a brand new park adjacent to the restaurant, which you can read about here (article written by my neighbor!)

The re-development of the riverfront into beautiful public space will benefit the entire city. It is well worth checking out both the restaurant and the park, as well as advocating for more of this!

Categories: General.

Democratic Party PAC Email List Insanity

Democrats,

Specifically, the ActionNetwork and NGP VAN people.

Do better.

Look, on one hand, I totally get it. You’ve built out advanced CRM systems for political campaigns in order to help democrats up and down the ballot target people more effectively, raise money, and hopefully win campaigns. Data and contact information help the campaigns spend their time and volunteer power to receive the greatest possible impact.

But there is **no way** that I signed for all of these emails.

I care, on one level, that a city council person in Dubuque, Iowa is running. Good for you. I didn’t sign up for your email list though. I’m not giving you money.

Slow clap for the person who’s running against the other person with a chance to flip the seat blue in November. I also didn’t sign up for your list either.

Congratulations person who has been endorsed by all the groups that I nominally support who is running against the other person whose views I disagree with. I didn’t sign up for that email list either. I’m not planning to give any money.

When I click unsubscribe. Yes, I do want to unsubscribe. Yes, from *all future mailings*.

In other words, when the next campaign creates a new mailing list (like, later that day), I do not want to be on that mailing list.

And in fact I do not want to be on that or any future mailing lists from any campaign using either of these companies software.

One reason this is problematic is that there is apparently no way to get off all of these lists. They claim there is no “master list” that I can be removed from.

So literally every day I’m unsubscribing from this junk so that it doesn’t clog my inbox.

I suppose I should create a filter and just be done with it…

Categories: Politics.

Book Update

**Recently read**
– A World Without Email by Cal Newport
– Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
– Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

**Currently Reading**
– The Every by Dave Eggers
– Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
– Two Old Men and a Baby by Hendrik Groen
– The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
РA Philosophy of Walking by Fr̩d̩ric Gros

**In the stack**
– Deep Work by Cal Newport
– Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar
– untangled by Lisa Damour
– The Great Mental Models vol. 2 and 3
– The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
– The Odyssey by Homer / Emily Wilson translation
– Think Again by Adam Grant

One common thread of these recent books is the impact of technology and science on society. (Well, maybe not *The Remains of the Day* I’m not too far into it thus far to know.)

I’ve recently done a major cleanup of some old computers I had, but then quickly went down a bit of a classic rabbit hole again. I wonder a lot about being more intentional about when and where I use technology, social media, etc.

Anyways, would love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these or have recommendations!

Categories: Books.

The end of an era

I made the call today to donate the Nancy. Many fun times had on the boat.

Categories: General.

Apple Music, Spotify, Algorithms

Followup to my previous lament. This is a really interesting and nerdy post: I Decoded the Spotify Recommendation Algorithm. Here’s What I Found

Categories: Music.