Slow hobbies

Daniel Warshaw on cooking and family and practicing those things:

So I’m practicing – literally practicing without an occasion – a particular type of cake. Once I’m comfortable with the cake, I’ll work on frosting. I already know how to make decent buttermilk biscuits, but I’d like to get proficient at making Japanese-style milk bread (for sandwiches, dinner rolls, etc.)…Most weeks I’m lucky if I can make something more interesting than a variation on pasta with sauce half the time. But I’m working on it! Little by little I’m finding ways to have fun in the kitchen again, and I’ll take what I can get.

This year, one of my goals is to do fewer hobbies but in deeper ways. This works out great for cooking—especially making or baking simple dishes. I’ve got all the time left allotted to me to figure out how to make great bread or good meatloaf. I can take my time, and that’s nice.

From In an Unequal America, Getting to Work Can Be Hell:

“A lot of these workers in low-wage jobs—they either have to [move] to Prince George’s County, Maryland, or Alexandria, Virginia, and the transportation network has not changed to meet the changing demands,” says Yesim Sayin Taylor, an economist and founding executive director of the DC Policy Center, a think tank focusing on Washington’s economic and social issues. “Even though transportation is costly, it’s less costly than living in the city.”

Sub out Prince George’s and Alexandria for Chesterfield and Henrico and you‘ve got an accurate picture of what’s going on in Central Virginia. Last week, I talked with a woman who lives in the East End and drives for Lyft, and she didn’t flinch at $7 rides (one-way!) to Mechanicsville for groceries and employment. A $14 commute is one heckuva wage reduction.

You wanna let that breathe…

Tonight I had good internet timing. First, I wanted the .gif from Jaws where Chief Brody pours a huge glass of wine, which I couldn’t find. Second, I read this post from Ploaf:

Unless you’re extremely online, you may not know how easy it is to make your own dang bespoke GIFs from video using Giphy. Say you lost your mind laughing when Chidi Anagonye freak-out-shouted, “I SAW THE TIME KNIFE!?” and you want that feeling preserved in low-fi, looping digital amber. If you can find that moment on YouTube, for example, you’re halfway there!

Third, I made the .gif (idk of WordPress will make this gif go, but know that it exists in my gif library):

Photo Challenge, Week 5: Music

I took a ton of photos this week but not a ton of music-related ones, for whatever reason.

I did, somehow, convince my son to begrudgingly hold his saxophone for a quick photo shoot—but he would not fully put the horn together or allow me to put his face in any of the pictures. Fine. The other two photos I took while walking around: An Elvis gnome in the neighborhood and a Toynbee tile found at 2nd & Grace which includes a couple of keys.

Photo Challenge, Week 4: Smoke, Steam, Vapor

The intention behind this week’s challenge was to photograph long, swirling trails of smoke or steam. I…didn’t do that, and, instead, ended up with just a few photos that hew only very loosely to the theme.

First, a close up of frost—which is kind of like vapor? right?—on a leaf in my yard. Next, a side view of a gas burner on my stove. And, finally, a place for gas of another sort.

The first two I took with my camera, the second with my iPhone X.

Last week, I wrote about how gender-neutral “full-on, multi-stall, chat-at-the-sink bathrooms” make me feel anxious for irrational reasons. This week, I came across VCU’s gender-inclusive restroom map which has an important qualifier for the restrooms contained therein: single-stall! Way less anxiety for everyone.

Tangential thought: As an official old person, I’m excited to be a part of a community that has folks dedicated to thinking about these sorts of things—mostly so I can continue thinking about them, too.

Important and hopefully obviously note: I recognize that my anxiety about multi-stall gender-neutral bathrooms is trivial and irrational but do know that, for some folks, single-stall bathrooms are a matter of privacy and safety.

I got heated this morning during a conversation about how the bus company should focus on providing high-quality, fixed-route transit and not get distracted by whatever shiny new thing. In this specific case, I was ranting about autonomous vehicles, but it could be on-demand this or Uber/Lyft that, too.

From Alon Levy at Pedestrian Observations:

I have noticed a trend in tech media in the last few years: people assert that new technology is about to make public transportation and the walkable urbanism that underlies it obsolete, and therefore it’s a waste of time to invest in the latter. The top examples of this are ride-hailing apps and autonomous cars, but electric cars are also a common excuse not to build urban rail. In addition, there are knock-on effects, causing transit agencies to neglect core functions like good service in favor of tech gimmicks, like Andrew Cuomo’s genius challenge.

Photo challenge, Week 3: Square crop, centered subject

This isn’t Sam and Ross Like Things, so I‘m allowed to hedge: I don’t think I did my best work this week. I took plenty of pictures, which is part of the reason I’m doing his challenge, but most of them feel…boring? I didn’t spend enough time thinking through and looking for shots that would look better square-cropped, and, instead, just cropped down a bunch of photos that I shot in 3:2. I also think it would have helped to switch my camera’s viewfinder to square (if that’s even possible).