Did you know you can use PmWiki to publish an HTML journal? The requisite block markup was added a year or two ago, so it's not very old. Wish more people did that. I keep another journal myself (and one HTML blog) that I haven't submitted to the Kiosk; should probably write a filter so I can subscribe to others from Liferea without hammering the respective miso.town subdomains. An independent aggregator would also be nice, for that matter.
Some people complain that social media supposedly killed blogs. Others claim that blogging somehow ruined the old web. Yet a third group makes nice things like the ooh! directory. A link to it crossed my home timeline on Mastodon a few days ago, and that led me down a new rabbit hole. Turns out my enthusiasm for the medium is still intact, even if I'm on an extended break.
By the way: I spend way too much time on social media, which has made for a hectic month, due to ongoing events. But I don't regret it for a moment. Some people complain about too much meta discourse (then turn around and make more of it). Fine. Let me post about it here, in my own corner, for a few friends.
I finally got my ADHD meds! They seem to be working, too. Since I started taking them a couple days ago, I've noticed a pronounced drop in my general compulsion to do bad unproductive things like scroll social media for multiple hours. I spent all day today setting up a companion website for my Minecraft server, but not in a forgot-to-eat-lunch kind of way, which is doubly impressive because one of the side effects of this stuff is a reduced appetite.
This past week in class has been really easy - the provided study plan provisioned a whole week for an assignment that consisted of installing a C++ compiler and debugging a simple program, and I got that done in a couple of hours, even including the snag I hit where they expected me to use Windows because of course they fucking did. I spent the rest of the week doing nothing because that's what was on the schedule. I could have worked ahead, but fuck that.
The headphones that I got literally the day I posted the last entry have proven to be very nice. Not only are they built like a tank, but I've learned it's possible to replace just about every part of them. I might actually manage to keep these until the drivers fail! How cool would that be?
I need to get some more exercise. Can one of you remind me to go on a walk or something tomorrow?
What a wild month! I started the month updating a finishing off my adwaitapod theme for rockbox. I also spent the past 3 weeks learning to program in C, building up to the Rebble Hackathon last weekend where I put together my watchface design, Time Twist Pop and released it! It was incredibly frustrating at times, since I really have very little experience programming. However, by the end of the weekend I was getting into the zone and pumping out some really good stuff and was having a blast! Really looking forward to making more with C in the future!
It's Thanksgiving Day in the US. Happy Thanksgiving to those who observe it today. I've been spending the morning playing Minima, a tiny homage to the early Ultima games. If you're a fan of Ultimas 1-4, you may want to give it a try. You can play it right in your browser.
My good buddy Sarkos sent me the link to Alien Melon's Electric Zine Maker. I downloaded it and tried it out. I quite like it! It makes a variety of mini-zine formats. I used whatever images I had sitting on my diesktop to make this little test zine:
I quite like the filters and other graphic tools that make it easy to crudulate and crapify the look of your zine. I'll definitely be using this tool again!
Good morning, good evening, good afternoon. Definitely morning around here, and freezing too! In fact, I am wearing a coat writing this as I'm sipping hot coffee. Best feeling. Yesterday's been hectic: so many things to do at work, so little time. I enjoy going to the office and see colleagues, but I'm so much less productive than when I work from home. Then of course, slack messages pile up, todo lists grow, and I end up the day with much more to do than when I started it. Never a good sign!
I've started a disk with everything I'm learning from OpenBSD. I'm saying OpenBSD, but it's really about administrating an OpenBSD system, and little things around. The goal is for me to be able to refer back to it when I need to do something specific, or to revive some knowledge that slipped my mind. The format is the following: one DOCUMENT for each learning. So hierarchy. I just LEAP to get to where I need to be / search around. It's still small and a work in progress. I've added it to hg.m15o.net, which is probably going to be the place I'll be adding my code repositories from now on.
Putting up hg.m15o.net has been fun to do! I discovered relayd, an incredible software that I used as a simple reverse proxy to hook requests on port 80 to port 8000. But there's so much more to it. It's interesting, and a first quite frustrating, to see that proxying request isn't included in OpenBSD's httpd. But come to think of it, it allows each tool to focus on their job. In this case, I already have a webserver running (using hg serve), so I don't need to run httpd.
I've been a little FORTHtrated since yesterday. I'm trying to write the COMPILE word in FORTH directly. For that, I'm using other words (obviously). One of them is OP, it reads the next word from the input stream and puts its opcode on the stack. Compiling would then just be "OP ," (comma writes what's on the stack in the memory). But this creates a lot of problem, one of them being that we don't really use COMPILE outside of colon definitions. I feel like FORTH is such an incredible puzzle: we can always cut down problems in smaller chunks. How small do we want to chunks to be? As I'm writing this, I feel like I'll just include COMPILE as part of the system's words. As I get more knowledge on building FORTH systems, I can always re-write a new interpreter in the future with more learnings. For now, I'll stick to a simple one.
I bought this little ivy plant. I don't have a lot of plants even though I love them, because I also have cats, and the cats will eat them, which will result in poisoned cats at worst and dead plants at best. So I basically have a couple of spiky cacti, which are struggling and doing that thing where they grow all tall and spindly because they don't get enough sunlight, and a basil plant, which the cats don't seem to like, but it is also dying because at this point I've used 90% of it for cooking.
But I saw this little ivy plant at the florist as I was on my way home from the shops, and it was just so small and pretty and I had the £3 to buy it, so I did. I know it's on the "bad for cats" list, but I do actually have a high shelf in my room where the cats can't reach, so I put it up there.
And the thing is, my room is a fucking mess. It's just depressing. It has to be cat-and-child-proof so I can't have things like candles or flowers in vases or basically anything breakable, and the printer lives here because there's no other space for it, and I'm tired all the fucking time so the laundry basket is overflowing and I haven't vacuumed in forever, and we just rearranged the kid's room and got him a big-kid bed, which means his old toddler-sized mattress is propped up against the wall in here, and his rocking horse is hanging out in here too because there's no longer space for it in his room, and it just... I hate it, you know? I hate not having a space that feels peaceful and chill to retreat to.
But now there is a thing in here that I got just because it's pretty and I like it. And it's a start. And every couple of nights before I go to sleep I give it a little of the water from my water bottle like I'm sharing a drink with a friend. And I will get rid of the fucking mattress and I will maybe buy a nice blanket or something next time I get paid and I will, somehow, find a space for the rocking horse, and I will make a room that looks like I live in it and not like it's a combination spare room/laundry pile/junkheap. (And then inevitably it will get messed up again because that's just how it fucking goes, but you know. One must imagine Sisyphus happy and all that.)
I haven't been out for an actual *walk* for ages, like a "going for a little nature walk to reconnect with the outside world and maybe see some cool mushrooms" walk, and I miss it. Plus I've probably missed the best season for seeing cool mushrooms now? Although there might be some fly agarics around if I'm lucky.
But I did at least get to leave the house and go into town yesterday, and that was nice. I went at a kind of awkward weird time, though, just when the shops were mostly closing and the bars and restaurants were still thinking about getting ready to open, so I guess I didn't plan that super well - but being in town in the evening made me realise how long it's been since I did anything like going out to a bar or the cinema. It feels like literally lifetimes ago, pre-baby, pre-pandemic. Honestly, I was kind of tempted to just wander into the cinema and find out what was showing and just go buy some popcorn and watch some random thing. I didn't, though. Maybe next time.
How time flies. Taking time to write what's on your mind will make you realize that. It certainly does to me. When I look at the day it is, and realize how many have passed since I first started writing, or working on a project, or when I simply look at other entries it feels strange. I feel like a few days ago it was still spring, not quite summer yet. I was in a different place then. So much has changed / evolved in the last few months that it feels like years have gone by, but yet, that everything happened quickly. I don't like to think of time as a finite resource that we just consume. Heck, I don't like time so much. Well I do. But I don't. Why am I making zero sense right now?
I'll be travelling to NYC for work in a few weeks. While I still need to book the trip, I'm already starting to think about it. The city must be beautiful by that time of the year. I'm not sure I'll be able to spend much more than a few days there, but I do hope that I get to enjoy at least one evening without colleagues. Just walking around and be amazed, and stop at a bar, get a cocktail (or 4) and watch people. Even though time goes by quickly, I hope I'll be able to fully appreciate my time there and not be overwhelmed by work. Perhaps I should start to practice meditation. I'll certainly need it when I'm in the plane. I don't like being on a plane!
Had a wonderful time in Seattle at the Handmade Seattle conference! Met a lot of really interesting and sweet people, got a lot of inspiration, and ate a lot of good food. Excited to see what all my new friends are up to as the year comes to a close.
Over the last couple of days, I implemented a text-based adventure engine for the browser that makes it really easy to make, share, and play. I just started dinking around on a story and am having a blast.
i actually drank Yorkshire Gold tea yesterday, and it was bad. i'd like to
figure out how to get a good brew from even low-quality teabags, so i will
practice. i have a bunch of the skills i need i think.
right now i am drinking a black tea from Jingmai - that same one i was drinking
the other day. i have plenty of it, and today i am actually drinking it in lieu
of coffee, which feels quite nice, even if maybe the tea sits a little strangely
in my stomach so early in the day. it feels refreshing but still full enough to
be tasty, a little aromatic but not at the expense of the body, and is honestly
just very good. no bitterness, good hui gan.
while on a trip to our local Chinatown, i stopped by a tea shop run by a very
knowledgeable and friendly guy who has been running this shop for several
decades. i went in to ask about liu an tea, which is a post-fermented tea from
Anhui province. liu an teas are stored in bamboo baskets, and it is traditional
that you include some of the bamboo when you brew it. liu an tea from the big
well-known factory tends to use smaller leaves, because at the time they were
considered better; younger leaves, better flavor. nowadays people favor bigger
leaves from older trees, and this tea - considered 'less good' in 2002, when it
was harvested and prepared - uses those bigger leaves. he made some of the tea
for me and a couple of others who were in the shop, and we had a good
conversation about tea culture.
the whole point of tea, really, is to encourage being a better person. modesty,
simplicity, hospitality, focusing on the small details, finding the beauty in
the transient and imperfect - and a really core part of that, even if i mostly
make tea just for myself, is to spend some time around a table drinking tea with
others. it's good practice. i want to write more about that particular topic
later, i think.
So the funny thing is that internet is currently down at my place. Actually, not that funny, to be honest, but I like the irony of writing without an actual connection. I enjoy being able to do things with my computer while offline. Actually, I enjoy doing things on my computer that don't require a web browser. Such as reading PDFs for example! I've recently installed xpdf, a simple program to read PDFs and it's been very useful. Before that, I was using Firefox. Firefox's PDF viewer works well. But I like that I'm not using my browser for literally everything.
Today, I decided to try mercurial. No specific reason besides that it's something I didn't know. I've had lots of fun reading the docs and trying it out. I enjoy the simplicity of the design. It's crazy to think that both mercurial and git came out roughly at the same time. So far, I like the simplicity for my development workflow, which mostly consists of creating revisions every now and then when I make sufficient progress. While I don't use branching often, it seems like the branching model is very flexible. I like that there's an integrated server called hgweb. I decided to use mercurial for 15forth, which is now available on m15o.net:8000. Let's see how it goes!
Speaking of 15forth, I removed a few words from the actual C code and instead added them to the standard library. I'm starting to really see how powerful FORTH can be, and how having well-defined, useful small words has a multiplier effect on rest of the codebase. A good example is the "!" word, which allows to write a value at a specific address. Using it, it's possible to define the "," word, which makes it possible to define the [LITERAL] word. I've also started to remove loops from the C code re-writing them in FORTH directly. Next step will be to add IFs.
I've started to read "Thinking Forth". It's great that it's a package that's included within OpenBSD! The book is fascinating. I particularly like the following quote: "You shouldn't write any serious language in Forth. As a language it's not powerful enough. What you should do is write your own languges in forth (lexicons) to model your understanding of the problem, in which you can elegantly describe its solution."
Procrastination is still kicking my ass and it sucks... T_T I want to be able to do things, but my brain seems to not allow me to. The funny things on the computer screen are far more enticing than cleaning what needs to be cleaned... I did manage to do one thing, though! I'm going to meet an academic advisor this Monday! My entire thing with school has been pretty all over the place, and I really do want to get things sorted out. ^^; That mostly just leaves the stuff I have to do at home... That's gonna be difficult. My brain simply refuses to cooperate. I've also basically given up on NaNoWriMo? I'm still interested in the story concept, and I may try to write it at a later date, but I don't think that I'm gonna get it done by the end of this month. Procrastination (and anxiety, and ADHD...) is one bitch ass motherfucker lol.
Friday already. How time passes! This week is not over yet, I still have a ton of things to finish today and quite a lot of meetings to attend as well. But it's still hard for me to believe how quickly it went. I got so tired yesterday that I feel asleep incredibly quickly and as a result, had a great night. Great nights are cool. I'll take a great night every night. I'm feeling recharged and it's only Friday. Let's hope this day doesn't take too much of a toll on me!
I've quickly added the COMPILE word to my forth interpreter. I'm certain there are a lot of bugs but it worked when I ran the test. Small victory! Next up: adding the LITERAL one. I've named it "push" but I'd rather stay consistent with the spec. Once I have these, I'll be able to start writing DO LOOP and IFs directly in FORTH. I think? We'll see!
no coffee today, as the logistics for it were a little out of sync. instead i
was drinking a lot of black tea from Jingmai - William and Yubai from farmerleaf
made a black tea from some of their autumn harvest, and it turned out really
well. warm, rich, coats the throat, and just a light amount of astringency. it
kind of reminds me, smelling it, of a really good darjeeling, but uncertain.
I flew across the country to British Columbia to be with family for an upcoming birth (!), and have been spending quality time playing with my nephew.
Drinking I ordered this Karel Čapek Muscat Oolong tea from Rainbowholic. I can definitely taste the sweetness of the muscat (a type of grape). I also got a black tea that can be hot or iced, but I have not tried making it cold yet! It has started to get colder here (with the surprise arrival of snow) so I’ve been mostly trying to stay warm.
Reading I sped through all of 20th Century Boys (and 21st Century Boys, the follow up) by Urasawa Naoki in four days. I’m a big fan of Urasawa’s, Pluto and Monster were both great series. I think Pluto is slated to be adapted into an anime, too. C was able to catch the stage play at the Barbican several years ago, and the whole production (and set design) sounded so amazing. I hope I can see it performed again, someday.
Watching My friends and I watched One Cut of the Dead (2017) and its spin-off sequel for Halloween. I went in not really knowing anything except that it was supposed to be a zombie film, but it turned out to be a lot of fun to watch! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m also catching up on One Thousand Won Lawyer.
The conference coincided with the first Pacific Northwest Merveilles meetup. There was no better way to end this trip than having the chance of finally meeting, in person, some of the friends with whom I share this online community.
My new headphones are finally here! Thus far, they certainly seem to live up to the hype. I hear a lot of people in the audiophile space talking about "soundstage", and while this certainly doesn't have Dolby Atmos™ levels of it, I kind of see what they mean now. It's like the sounds are coming from outside of my ears! Naturally, the quality of those sounds is fantastic as well. Plus, they're really comfortable, built well, and the custom braided cable that the modding company provided is superb. Okay, enough gushing. Maybe I'll write a review of these once I've gotten some more use out of them.
I've created a service on here! It's a little utility that takes an RSS feed and filters it based on the contents of the entries. I created it because there are a couple Tumblr blogs I subscribe to the RSS feeds for and I wanted to filter them to have just the posts with images. You can feel free to use it if you want, but I encourage you to download the source code and self-host it as well!
The computer science class I'm taking has been going well. So far it's mostly been the basics - going over ideas like loops and binary numbers and shit. The chapter of the textbook I read today explained AND gates to me. My years of being a Redstone Knower in Minecraft have been building up to this! Not to imply I think this is dumb or pointless or anything - this is clearly building up to some much more involved shit and I'm waiting with bated breath for the other shoe to drop difficulty-wise, but I'm taking it as a good sign that this has been so easy thus far.
Now for some major tonal whiplash: I'm now fairly confident that I'm some degree of nonbinary. You may have guessed this if you've been poking around my website of late, or just reading this journal, but I was reluctant to say so explicitly in case I ended up changing my mind. I don't want to get into the details, because I don't really know them either, but I'm pretty sure at this point that "man" doesn't nearly cover it. As for pronouns, anything works! Fuck around! This is all uncharted territory for me, so if some gendered term or other makes me uncomfortable (or doesn't), I'd like to find out now lest I come out to my family and then have to amend that shit later.
I think that about covers it for now. I'm gonna go listen to some more of my favorite music with these shiny new headphones, or maybe just go the hell to bed already.
It's the morning, my coffee's already cold and almost finished, but as I promised in yesterday entry, here I am! Writing before going going to sleep definitely not stop the thoughts from popping-up in my mind right before falling asleep. Next-up: meditation? Writing is a little meditative though. We focus on the moment. Well, not only, since we're literally exploring our thoughts. Ok forget what I just said. Not meditative. Reflective maybe. This morning I've been looking into adding FORTH words to extend the compiler. I'm so awestruck by some of the design decisions of FORTH. Things feel very meta in a simple way. My first approach was to add a lot of words, and now I'm trying to remove as many words as possible but instead just add words that allow to define other words. There's this idea of IMMEDIATE words that are executed while a definition gets compiled. I've added these. Next up will be adding the COMPILE word to let the immediate words do useful things, like compiling for example. I'm sure I'll run into a million roadblocks but at least it's a fun and humbling learning experience. And it makes me think about other things. It's incredibly cold today these days. Yeah. I'll leave it to that!
I realize I write most of the time in the morning. Usually, it's right after I get up. Just when I'm getting my coffee. I don't often write during the evenings though. Which is interesting, because evenings are a great moment to reflect on the day, aren't they? What better moment to pause than before wrapping up the day? The way the brain works is strange. It's only when I go to sleep and am ready to fall asleep that many thoughts start racing through my consciousness. They're calling me "hey, think about this quickly before you sleep!". Of course, it's a trap. Giving in to these thoughts is the best way to not sleep, and also a great way to build anxiety. Being tired and just about to fall asleep isn't the best moment for clarity. Yet, somehow my thoughts keep jumping in my brain before sleeping. So here I am writing before that time, hoping that perhaps my mind will decide that it had its chance to express itself, and will simply give in to recharging its own batteries. But let's be honest, we all know that it's not going to happen. The moment the lights are off is the moment I'll start thinking about what specifically am I not looking forward to tomorrow? Then hey, I'm probably going to dream about it. I'm joking though, it's not always like that. Sometimes I also think about stuff that gets me excited, or about how I should refactor this or that part of an on-going project. The result is similar though, since I get to not sleep that much. But it's more pleasant. The added bonus is that in the morning I know exactly what to update in my code. The funny part is when various topics from seemingly different places get intertwined in dreams. Recently I've been working on a FORTH interpreter on my free time, and got to report to a different manager at work. So somehow I've started dreaming that I had to do all my 1-1s in FORTH exclusively. And while FORTH is very expressive and I like it a lot, I'm not sure if this was a dream or a nightmare! So hey, I don't know if FORTH will be on my mind tonight. Maybe not? Perhaps I should report on the situation tomorrow, when I wake up.
the last few days have been pretty tough. as i've mentioned before, i have some
mental health challenges, and i've struggled to make the time and space
available to write. i've been drinking plenty of tea though, and i've been
trying to brew it skillfully.
the thing is, gongfu cha is not just about making tea well. it's about mindful
practice, and developing a deeper understanding and appreciation of the tea
itself. it isn't enough, to me, to simply making tea well - if i'm not present
in the moment and focusing entirely on the tea and the company, it's not gongfu,
it's just fancy brewing. maybe that's a bit judgemental of me, i'm not sure.
i did a class about different gongfu tea techniques and styles, which was both
extremely good and very informative. i learned a lot, and will probably watch
the recording of it more than a couple of times, if i could get over hearing or
seeing myself on screen. i dislike how i look and how i sound, but that
dysmorphia is something i'm working on.
the guy giving the class encouraged me to take a look at yellow teas, as part of
broadening my experience and deepening my tea education, so i will probably do
that. the issue is that ordering from overseas is very expensive as i have to
pay duty on stuff. it's cheaper than flying out there, but maybe if i have an
excuse to, i should go do that.
one important thing from the class was the idea that ultimately, the tea is the
teacher, and the best a person can do is equip themselves with techniques for
responding to what the tea is telling you. there is some more esoteric things to
do with qi and how it flows from us through the tea, which resonates with me,
but i'm going to have to spend a lot more time reflecting on how the tea makes
me feel in my body, my mood, etc to better internalize the nature of qi. it's a
pretty difficult thing to get a handle on and it's not well defined, let alone
readily translated. we'll see if it's something i can get an appreciation for -
there's aclass for that, too.
I need to break my screen addiction. I'm back to doing completely useless things as I just stare at a screen. I've even neglected doing any work for the site, in favor of just. Staring. I want to fix this. I really want to fix this. I've been getting really awful sleep lately, and don't think that I can stay up much longer (despite it only being 9:40). I think that I'll try to sleep... And inevitably stay on my phone until 1AM.
Hello, I hope whoever sees this is doing okay. The cold season arrived here, with everything connected to it - flu, shorter days, not as much energy to do things (not that I have much in general anyway lol). I'm in the middle of deleting most of my Discord DMs: it has been a few months since I realized how much I do not like the platform to have all of these private conversations of mine to hold onto; my brain kept debating that this is deleting "memories", but the truth is that I could not name a single time I went back into DMs to dwell onto something that has happened in ancient past. I do this in good faith, I do not believe any of the people whom I conversed with have any reason to also go back to our chats; if they do, I hope they can understand my reasons.
Other than that, I am slightly overwhelmed by homeworks and tidying up school notes, so I'll get back to it. Bye!
This week has been incredible. So many things happened, it's hard to believe it's only been a single week. At work, things are evolving quickly. Last Monday I've been told about a change in my scope, which I'm excited about and scared of at the same time. I've met very interesting people this week two, and I'm grateful for that! I've also seen a friend I hadn't seen for many years, and it's been great to catch up with them.
I've also spent some time working on my FORTH system. Not as much as I would have hoped, but at least a little. I'm currently trying to incorporate compiling words such as CREATE and DOES>. I've been struggling today to get those in. My implementation is slightly different from the standard, but that's a tradeoff I'm willing to take. I've also started to write a simple standard library where I'm hoping to put all the words that aren't critical. It's also fun to start defining words with words that already exist.
My experience using FORTH is still very limited, but I'm starting to appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the language. I love the idea of writing words and composing with them. It's a good philsophy to approach problems: break it down in simple parts, and compose other simple parts with those parts. It's very elegant.
no post yesterday, for the first time since i started this - which admittedly
wasn't that long ago. i had my COVID booster and flu shot on tuesday, and i have
been pretty roughed up from that.
yesterday i drank the remains of the single tree gushu i had started the day
before, which was just very pleasant - today i am drinking an aged sheng puerh,
from Yiwu - 2003, wild arbor trees, from Yuenhai tea factory. it's pretty good,
quite complicated flavors and it definitely lingers. it's lasting a long time
too. it has a kind of smoke edge to it, even if smokiness isn't the main flavor.
it's thick, it sticks to my mouth, and definitely hangs out in my throat. it's
good, and i see why people prize aged shengs so much.
Currently watching this Theremin Trees video and realizing I have tendencies to enter the "drama" sphere of bully/victim/rescuer. It is hard for me to notice when it occurs, but I am glad I have strong semantic handles for this kind of feeling now. It is a special feeling of comfort, of "knowing" or being "in control" that feels very tangible to me, and it always feels like a Faustian bargain but not enough to get me to quit the behavior.
there are some teas that purport to come from a single tree; which, given how
difficult it is to harvest big tea trees, and how little a tree might produce in
terms of raw leaves, it can be very expensive to buy processed tree with that
kind of story behind it. i am specifically pruning bitter skepticism, and so i
will accept that this tea i had today did indeed come from a single tree that
this farmer cultivates.
this tree is called Guān Jǐng (觀景), which means 'the one who watches the
scenery'. it's a very old tree, and such trees are prized for puerh making
because the tree has had centuries to develop qi, and that qi is conveyed in the
tea made from its leaves. this can energize us, nourish us deeply, and it is
good to reflect on all the work and time that went into taking this tree from
sprout to gracefully surrendering its leaves, century after century. it was
delicious, not bitter (the way i brewed it, anyway), and lasted for a very long
time. a family member said that it smelled a little of apple to start, but
mainly the flavor was complex and delightful. it felt like a warm blanket for
the soul, and i felt peaceful drinking it.
i spent the afternoon finishing the Wen Shan Ding sample i had, and it was
honestly really pleasant. it's absolutely the kind of tea i might drink every
day, though if i did, i would spend a lot of time thinking about that Kitchen
speaking of which, i got my final tea delivery today - a bunch of teas from West China Tea which i'll be drinking in due
time. i am doing one of their tea classes soon, and so wanted to make sure i had
a good variety of teas available for the different brewing and pouring styles
that we'll cover. one of them, Chaozhou (潮州) style, is predominantly aimed at
oolong tea, and so i have a variety of different kinds of those. there is a huge
variety in oolong teas, which is neat. when i have a good amount of time, i will
write about the different kinds of Chinese tea.
It's been a few months now (I think?) that I've changed laptop. I didn't really want to, it just somehow happened. I wanted to learn more about OpenBSD, mainly because let's be honest, their logo is the best logo. A puffer fish! What can be cooler? Nothing. And it just happens that the whole system is very interesting to learn. The most striking (to me) element is how thorough and well written the documentation is. I can feel the obsession to not just make things work, but to make sure things work as well as possible, and always stay correct. So yeah, I've installed it on an old laptop I had that was sitting around, and have been playing with it ever since. OpenBSD comes out of the box with this window system for X called fvwm. I enjoy the looks and customizability of it, but I feel like I'm mainly scratching the surface. I take this whole thing as a learning experience. and this learning experience has a bunch of struggles along the way. One of which is simply connecting the system to a monitor, or connecting to wifi.
Today I found out about xfe, a file explorer that's very convenient. I had been browsing my file system with the terminal and emacs up until now, but xfe works really. And the good thing is that I choose the program I'd like to run for specific extensions. Really conveninent to run bitters on .bit files for example. I'll definitely be exploring it more in the future.
I've also made some progress on 15f, the little FORTH machine I'm working on that's built on top of some code I wrote for bitters. I've added the possibility to create variables, and to retrieve or store numbers in them. I've also updated some of the memory part. Every part that can store information now use a "cell", which is an unsigned 16 bits number. I've written a hello world, which looks like that.
There are many things I'd like to add, such as being able to change the background color or the font color. I'm also thinking about adding more characters (e.g. CP 437) to draw some ascii art. Perhaps animate it? That's be fun. But hey, we're not there yet.
well, well, journal. hello there. it’s been quite the few months. both me and my partner got covid for the first time which really just knocked us for a loop. it’s been about a month or so now and i’m just starting to regain the clarity of mind and body i remember having before it all kicked off. what a condition to be in.
anyway, i’m just starting to readjust to getting the right amount of work done again so it’s been difficult to also pay attention to my smallnet bits. sorry! but here i am, fresh start, it’s marzka resurrected.
i’ve been playing a ton of world of warcraft recently, excited for the dragonflight update. it seems all my energy for playing games has funnelled into there ever since path of exile went down the proverbial 🚽 so that’s neat. i’ve been getting into roleplaying servers there and it’s been such an interesting experience - genuinely a really neat way of exploring the lore of the universe and everything by placing yourself into it. you definitely do see some weird stuff though when you jump into that world. there are some things my eyes will never be able to unsee. my poor eyes.
i hope anyone and everyone who reads this is doing well. maybe resurrection is a common thread running through us all at the moment. or maybe not. wherever you are, i hope you know you’re not alone there anyway. a dear friend of mine pulled two runes just this past week and their whispers were warm and cosy. so that’s good. because it’s bloody cold.
i drank more of the Wen Shan Ding tea today, but brewed it in my teapot instead.
it felt rounded, full and very comforting, with a great body feel, even if there
wasn't a particularly clear or loud single taste - the website talks about how
this tea is a good daily drinker, and i can absolutely see why. sometimes you
don't want something that feels like a punch in the face or a splash of cold
water - sometimes you want a warm hug or a blanket.
a video i saw of william from farmerleaf musing about elitism and snobbery, and
how sometimes it is okay to be elitist - there are teas that are better than
others, there is a kind of hierarchy based on how much skill etc went into the
tea - but snobbery was about pretending to be more elite than you actually are.
i have definitely encountered some pretty snobby behavior about tea, and my
general impulse is towards including everyone who wants to be included. i do
definitely think that some things are objectively good and bad; i do think there
is a very big difference between e.g. aged puer tea that has been processed and
stored well, then brewed skillfully, versus a teabag left in a pot for several
hours. sometimes though, i do want a teabag with a little milk in an enormous
mug; not everything needs to be fancy tea done fancily. it just needs to be
right for the situation :)
Things have been hectic, to say the least! As I imagined, school is sucking my sweet energy out of every inch of my body and mind, although I have been enjoying it so far.
I wish I had fewer things to think about, however: I need to understand if I want to attend University, and if so which course; I need to try harder to find a job, because expenses don't pay by themselves (but an acceptable part-time job in my small town is like looking for a needle in a haystack); I need to finish a couple of art commissions, togheter with organizing all of my notes. My silly brain is at its limit! I didn't exactly get blessed with cpu power when I was born.
I've started the first of my classes! So far it's been mostly reading the textbook and making tedious discussion posts about it in the class forum. I understand on some level why they make us do it, but that doesn't make it not annoying.
All this stuff going on hasn't left me with a ton of time or energy to update my website. One course isn't exactly a full load, but between doing the course work, procrastinating on the course work, working on this music video, procrastinating on that, and my utterly wrecked sleep schedule, there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.
Speaking of the music video, here's some more renders of it I've made if you're interested:
Looks so much better in Cycles, doesn't it? I lament the destructive effects of Youtube compression, however.
This second one was rendered in a secret third thing, Workbench, a barebones rendering engine with basically no graphical features at all that I used here just to see how some timings would look in the final product.
I've also finally made some progress towards getting some kind of ADHD medication, so hopefully that will help somewhat.
I went to a "low bang" fireworks display with the kid for Bonfire Night, and he really really loved it. He hasn't really been able to see and enjoy fireworks before, because he was too little/quarantine was happening/they were too loud and the bangs scared him, but tonight was great. They had a fire-eater which he was absolutely fascinated by, and a lot of sparkly crackly but quiet fireworks, and afterwards we got to feed some baby goats since the display was at a petting farm. And, I don't know, I just hope that it'll be something he remembers as magical, the way I have hazy memories of things like that that have stayed in my head for my whole life. I know you can't plan for these things, there's no way to determine what's going to stick in a kid's memory and what's going to be forgotten in six months, but I guess at least you can try to give them happy experiences and hope that some of them stick.
i'm not going to write about Yunnan tea areas after all - today, i went to a
Chinese tea house with a couple of family members. it was a very beautifully
decorated place, with distinct themed rooms that were equipped with wonderful
teaware and the most sophisticated kettle i have ever seen. they provided us
with some hong cha, red tea (紅茶) and some white tea. they were not labeled as
anything but that, so i have no idea where they were from, but they were both
delicious. they also had a tea menu that i did not particularly explore as my
family members both prefer lighter teas, and the white tea lasted for a long
time. we were there for two hours, and the cha qi from the tea had built up
quite a bit by the time we parted ways. i think it would be possible, if i
wanted, to bring my own tea - but i am excited to try out some of their more
interesting options. they had very expensive options, and extremely expensive
teaware, but the price just to rent the room was pretty reasonable. i would go
Today I've spent a lot of time trying to write a little FORTH interpreter. At the moment it doesn't do much. It's possible to execute a few words like +, - and also : (to create a custom word). But I'm happy since most of the parts are in place, and I can now start adding more words. I'm actually thinking about reusing some of the code I've created for bitters to create a super simple FORTH machine that allows to write text on the screen, change color, do things like that. I'd probably be a fun learning experience, so hey! If you want to look at the code, it's available right here.
Besides that, I haven't done much today. I've updated this site to now have a background color, I think it looks nicer. But knowing myself, I'll probably think differently tomorrow. Then, I'll change the color again because why not!
Heya. I've decided to update my site. The previous version was great, much better than this one! But. I somehow changed-ish laptop, and you know the problem where you change laptop and suddenly you lose access to a few things? Yes. That's one of my problems. This site was using nini to statically generate pages and interconnect them with backlinks, and it's great. But I figured I'll keep it to simple html pages that don't need any compilation for now, so that when I change this laptop, I'll still be able to publish without having to install anything. The site does look very boring, I hope you don't mind! Hopefully what will get written in here will make up for it.
So many things has happened since I last wrote in here that I don't even know where to start! Life has been busy professionally, which is great, but also tiring. On the side I've been learning OpenBSD. I got back to learn C also, and wrote a little text editor inspired by the Canon Cat. In fact, I'm writing this from that editor right now! It's called bitters, and you should definitely take a look at it. It's been a great ride so far. I'm loving C and all the freedom it offers. I'm thankful to all the code I've been able to read and learn from. I've picked up "The C Programming Language" book and I'm utterly impressed by its quality. I enjoy the particular relation unix has with C.
Speaking of languages, I've been reading a lot about FORTH recently. The book "Starting FORTH" is incredible. Very well written with diagram and even drawings. It reminds me of why's poignant guide to ruby. Both "Starting FORTH" and "The C Programming Language" are on my top 3 programming book of all time. Yes, why's poignant guide to ruby is first!
today i drank a 2022 Wen Shan Ding tea, from the Jinggu area (景谷县), a sample i got from farmer-leaf. the first couple of brews
had a strong almost spiced apple flavor, maybe some melon, with a good
aftertaste. it faded away and just became pleasant rather than notable after the
third infusion. pretty good, honestly, but i probably would not buy a whole cake
of it. well, maybe i would. the thing is, i don't trust myself to store a cake
properly and have it age well - at least, until i drink it. right now i want to
drink a greater variety of things, to build my experience - a whole cake is a
Lot. i did in fact buy one recently, and i'm already a little apprehensive about
i also took a trip to chinatown and bought some new teacups, that are extremely
cute. tomorrow i want to write about yunnan tea areas, i think.
today i had the remains of the 2022 Jingmai Gulan samples in my puerh teapot -
because the teapots are unglazed, many people dedicate them to one particular
kind of tea - and it was quite different. the grassiness went away and instead
it smelled of forests, and tasted as delicious as yesterday. i really liked it,
and will probably use my pot quite frequently when i drink my way through the
357g cake of it i got.
i also saw a recording of an interesting discussion of appreciation vs
appropriation regarding Chinese tea culture, and one of the things that came up
is that some people deeply distrust Chinese people when discussing tea or their
own culture - the idea that, for example, a farmer sells their tea as red tea, but they
process it differently to how some other group processes tea they also call red
tea. that doesn't make the farmer a liar - they know what they are doing best,
they're the expert on at least their tea and also, tea in general - and it
doesn't make the person in not-China who sells the tea to the consumer a liar
i said some things earlier about how you can never really know if a tea is what
the person selling it says it is, and that the idea of authenticity in tea is
difficult. i had been reading the backlog of a tea blog that talks a lot about
'fake tea', and the different kinds of things people mean by that. it could be
bad tea sold as good, tea from one area being sold as another, more famous area,
or things that are not tea being sold as tea, etc. it was honestly pretty
discouraging as i'm not experienced enough to feel confident tea-shopping with
anything but the word of the person i'm buying tea from as my guide.
if this very experienced Chinese academic, who has lived and travelled in China and
Taiwan and Japan, who has been not only drinking tea seriously for nearly two
decades but also studying tea, writing about its history, thinks that it is very difficult to buy good tea that is what it says it is, and that the vast majority of tea sold (especially outside of China) is mediocre at
best, what hope do i as a neophyte who doesn't speak the language have?
i guess there are a few things to take away from all of this. one is that i
shouldn't assume that everyone is always lying to me, or is passing on lies told
by someone else. not only is it potentially racist, but it also is not very good
for the soul, and i don't want bitterness in the teacup of my heart. the second
is, there is a line between healthy skepticism and that hopeless worldview, and
i would much rather be naive than bitter, so i will steer well clear of it. the
third thing is that of course the majority of tea is mediocre, that's what
mediocre means! most tea will be average in quality. that's okay. i do not need
to only drink the absolute finest grade tea aged traditionally for 30 years -
partly because i don't want to spend the money needed, partly because i don't
think i would appreciate it, partly because there are plenty of teas out there
that are delicious and reasonably priced. so.
i'm sorry, vendor, for being incredulous about the kitchen tea. i have no real
reason to doubt, and i won't let that hopelessness infect my thinking again.
Every clip I see of the upcoming Front Mission 1st remake makes me more depressed than the last. It looks so bad. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because it is ultimately a Square-Enix remaster and those have a dodgy track record, but I'm terrified of what they will do to FM2 and especially FM3.
Realizing more than ever I cut myself down before I even begin, in many parts of my life. Growing up with influence from evangelist teachings I think really did a number on my brain, mainly that of feeling like I don't have agency or sovereignty within myself. Grateful I have the awareness to notice it, but fearful of the work that it will take to change.
I moved the old white armchair out of my office and moved the old green armchair in. And I can not believe how much happier I am.
The white chair was awkward and uncomfortable. The green chair is cozy and awesome. I can sit in it without my butt or my back hurting. I wish I had just gotten rid of the stupid white chair ages ago. I was afraid the green chair wouldn’t fit, or wouldn’t go. But I was wrong. It does fit and it does go.
Listen to me, child.
If you have a chair that you don’t like, that hurts to sit in. And if you have another chair that is awesome. Then don’t wait. Get rid of the bad chair. Move the good chair in.
It is left up to the reader to discern whether this is a metaphor.
today was a big tea day! i started with the Bulang Shan sheng puerh, which was
nice enough to drink but didn't really have much of a body, and was too prone to
astringency - it was fine, but i think that that is one i'm not a big fan of.
which is honestly very valuable information - figuring out which things i like
and don't like is an important part of maturing in teaism, i think.
later that day though, i received an order i had placed some weeks ago with
these folks, a married couple in the
Jingmai (景迈) area who farm and process and sell tea. they have some gardens of
their own, plus they source some leaves from other places, and they focus
heavily on giving customers as much information as they can about where the tea
comes from and how processing actually works. william, a French farmer who moved
to Yunnan, narrates the videos shot by his wife ubai, whose family has been
growing tea for many years.
in my order was a tea cake (357g of tea that has been steamed and pressed into a
disk, that you then use a gentle knife to pry leaves off of to then brew) that
according to them is their tea most representative of the terroir of that area.
traditionally, these cakes would be left to age in warehouses in Hong Kong or
other areas before being consumed in a decade or three, but instead i have it in
a dark cupboard in an unused part of the house. i probably need to make sure
that it doesn't get too dry - too dry tea is weak in flavor, or so i hear - but
it'll do for now, resting after its long journey from Pu'er (普洱市).
i also got some bags of maocha (毛茶)! this term means different things
precisely depending on who you talk to and what they mean, but the general shape
of the meaning is tea that is processed but not yet ready for sale. this can
mean "has not been pressed into cakes yet" but may also mean "has not finished
drying yet" etc. in this case, all that's missing is pressing it into cakes, and
it's otherwise ready to drink. william and yubai sold this for a limited time i
guess because then they don't need to pay for it to be pressed? uncertain. in
any case, it's neat to get tea that is about as young as it can be and so i can
taste it from the beginning of its journey. all in the name of furthering my tea
being very nice people, they also included seven(!) sample cubes of different
teas they do, so i will taste and review them here.
i tried the 2022 Jingmai Gulan, their flagship blend, and it was an interesting
experience. pretty grassy smell and taste, but full and warm - it felt
physically good to drink. not particularly astringent, only a little sweet, big
smell and taste of forest air. it lasted for a good long time - Jingmai tea is
supposed to be quite fragrant, i think, and so it probably wants short steeping
time but very hot water in order to release the volatiles. luckily, there are a
bunch of videos on how to get the most from this tea, so i'm in good hands :)
Okay here’s the idea: you put out your bowl of halloween candy for the trick-or-treaters. Standard fun-size candy fare. All the normal stuff. The trick is that on top of the candy, you put a single potato.
My hypothesis was that kids will value the entirety of a novel, rare thing (potato) over merely one (or even two or three) of a common, expected thing (candy). Candy will have its value degraded over a night of trick-or-treating. They will have a literal bagful of it. What they won’t have is a strange and alluring Halloween Potato.
In practice, here’s how it went. The majority of kids did not acknowledge the potato at all. They just took a candy, said thank you, and left. A small number of kids questioned the presence of the potato—“What’s that??”—and then took a candy and left. And a very special few saw the potato and instantly chose potato over candy, and were delighted with their choice.
A couple of highlights:
In our very first group of trick-or-treaters, a young ghostbuster grabbed the potato and theatrically, quickly shoved it into his bucket as though he were hiding a treasure from his friends. He stepped away into the lawn, held it up in the air, and bellowed to his parents, “I got a potato!” He ran down to join them and yelled back to the house, “Thank you for the halloween potato!”
Two young witches. The first swatted at the potato in disgust, “What is that thing?” Then, in an impressively swift and complete reversal, snatched it away and asked for another. Then the second witch decided she liked the idea too, so she also got two potatoes. Then later they came back again and each asked for a third potato. For that is the most proper, witchiest number of halloween potatoes to have.
A small child too young to speak or understand what was happening. All she knew was that she wanted that potato. With slow, careful deliberation, she picked it up, regarded it briefly, and finally put it gently in the bag her parent was holding open.
A child proudly showing their dad their potato. Dad was super supportive, saying that when they get home they’ll put it in the air fryer so they can have it with their candy.
A group of older teenagers. Most were befuddled by the potato, but one of them was delighted and didn’t want his friends to miss out on the experience and asked with childlike enthusiasm, “Yo dude you want a potato???”
At the end of the night, we had given out all but 10 - 12 pieces of candy. And we had given out all of the potatoes.
Here are things I don’t get to know that I am curious about:
What do the kids do with the potato when they get home? Do they eat it? Keep it in their room as a halloween souvenir? Do they bury it in the backyard to grow a spooky potato plant? Do they carve it and place it out with their pumpkin, a smaller more rare variety of jack-o-lantern?
What becomes of the potato kids? Relative to the potato deniers/refusers, I wonder about their creativity and happiness. I want to believe that they enjoy life possibly more than others.
i actually meant to drink this tea yesterday, but the oolong got ahead of me. i
have a small amount of a heicha (黑茶) from Guangxi, that is gu yu (谷雨茶) -
namely, harvested after the spring rains - and then left to ferment and age a
bit. according to the person who sold it to me, it's a kind of tea that farmers
and others in the area harvest for their own consumption from wild/feral tea
plants, or tea-adjacent plants, that they generally stick in sacks in their
kitchens and will use to make You Cha (油茶), or 'oil tea', which is a component
in a local kind of meal. this kind of thing, where you use tea to help make a
broth that other things go into, is a very very very old way of using tea, which
anyway, the story goes that this tea would hang out in kitchens, absorbing the
flavors of the cooking (tea does this super easily) including the fragrance of the
smoke from the fires (also probably accurate), and the smoke helped prevent mold
despite the high humidity and temperature of the Guangxi region. i don't know if
this specific tea i drank today is really that kind of tea, or if it's just a
smoked low-grade tea (it was full of sticks), but it's a nice story. in any
case, the tea was amazing.
i brewed this tea maybe twenty times today. over and over again, using boiling
water, letting it steep for a while, pouring it into the gong dao bei (公道杯)
and serving from there. it stayed flavorful the whole time, smokey and sweet at
first, eventually becoming a little less smoked and quite spicy as the drink
went on. it was so cool seeing the taste of the tea change, not diminish, over
the steepings, and it was very sad to eventually say thank you to the tea and
the teaware, before throwing out the leaves and cleaning everything up.
ultimately, the idea of authenticity in tea is so difficult. leaves, just by
looking, only tell you some of what they are, how they were harvested and
processed, and very little about where they came from - all of that information
only comes to people who are very experienced, too. i don't have more than a
small amount of experience, and i certainly don't know good tea from bad except
in how it tastes and how it makes me feel to drink it. i don't trust stories
from people, even if they themselves fervently believe it; they bought the tea
from someone else, and how do you know that they were themselves telling the
truth? there's no chain of custody for every leaf.
maybe one day i will travel and follow the leaf from tree all the way to the
factory where they press them into cakes, and then know exactly where the leaves
came from and how they were treated, but that won't really help. it won't make
the tea "good" necessarily: it's not like i know what good tea growing looks
like, or what kind of tea processing would be best, or if it was well done, or
anything. i don't know anything! all i know is how it tastes, how it smells, how
it feels when i drink it. everything else is set dressing.
today i brewed my first Phoenix oolong, Mi Lan Xiang (米蘭香), which is one of
the better known ones, as far as i can tell. i brewed it in my best
approximation of Chaozhou style, brewed with very hot water quickly, large
dosage, and not disturbing the cha dan. it came out extremely fruity - i got
large hits of a mango/honey flavor, which was pretty neat, and no real
bitterness, which suggests that i'm at least getting the brewing parameters
i drank some very hot, and the floral fragrance absolutely dominated - which
makes sense, because they are all volatile oils and the high heat is necessary
to peel them from the leaves. i also let some cool in a tall ceramic cup, and
that stuff is a little more astringent and has lost some of that fragrance on
the nose - the heat probably caused those volatiles to disappaear - but if i
slurp, swallow, and breathe out through my nose, i get that floral and fruit
fragrance back. i think that's supposed to be hui gan (回甘), though really i
would like to drink tea in person with people who are more experienced than i
am. i have to believe something like that exists here, but, who knows.
i also have a very traditionally made oolong that is supposed to be very
powerful, very strong, but very prone to bitterness - the guy at the tea store
suggested i practice with my Mi Lan Xiang before trying that one, which makes
sense. i believe in my ability to at least do it some amount of justice.
Today was the last day of October, and the last daily drawing. I had a good time beginning each morning that way, but it's time to wrap up the slides for Handmade Seattle.
I haven't had time to do much else this month, but I did modify Left to use a variant of the Smalltalk-76 font, which after a handful of tweaks, has quickly turned into my favourite font to program with.
i'm writing this on the 31st, as yesterday was very busy. tea on the 30th was
the remains of my Lao Cha Tou brewed very simply - i dumped the leaves in an
insulated tumbler, full of hot water, and let it sit for several hours as i
sipped it. given that it's shou, it wasn't at too much risk of getting bitter,
plus there was quite a lot of water given the quantity of leaves that remained.
we took a ferry, and the weather was pretty wet and cold - sipping hot tea in
inclement weather is a particular kind of joy, and i very much appreciated it.
i'm taking a class soon about different Chinese tea brewing methods, and one of
the ones they teach is from Chaozhou (潮州) that is focused on oolongs. i went
to a local Chinese tea store here at home and got another Yixing(?) teapot, just
for that purpose. the thing about unglazed terracotta teapots is that they
definitely do absorb oils and flavors from the tea you use it with, and so my
puerh teapot is not super suitable for this. in any case, it was not expensive
for Yixing, and from what i can (very inexpertly) tell, it was probably made
using similar enough clay. actually authenticating any of this stuff is very
difficult, and so i am going to try not to worry and instead simply make the
maybe one day i will go to the Yixing area myself and buy a teapot directly from
one of the artists, but it would likely be very expensive - like tea, the best
ceramics never leave China, and also it's not something i would get the right
benefit from yet. my tea skill and tea palate are not advanced enough yet.
We got a few adorable little trick or treaters tonight. Tomorrow I'm taking my kid (and maybe a couple of his friends?) out trick-or-treating. He wanted to be a pirate dinosaur, which is also what he was last year (because he couldn't decide between dinosaur and pirate). I was surprised he remembered it from so long ago; it's not like we've talked about it extensively since. I just asked what he wanted his costume to be and he just went "oh, I've got a good idea! A pirate dinosaur!" Maybe it'll catch on.
more practice with the Yiwu gushu sheng puerh today. it is very difficult to
brew effectively in the travel set, in that you need to use - with that tea,
anyway - a bit less water than i was using, to get a strong brew, and also to be
careful to let the tea steep a bit, but not too long, in order to not end up
with something bitter or too astringency. i think that it's supposed to be at
least a little astringent, but it's hard to tell. drinking the tea as hot as it
is when brewed makes it difficult to properly taste, for me - the heat is 'too
loud', so to speak.
the tea itself brews a dark orange color, and the leaves have that reddened and
slightly brownish look that says 'older sheng', but not too old - as far as i
i also am going to be taking an advanced gongfu class soon, and so ordered a
bunch of teas for that, plus a box of 'owner's choice' teas, with the request
that i'm trying to broaden my tea knowledge, so we'll see what ends up coming
from them. i'm pretty excited :)
Life still isn't going great, but I do have Ritalin now! ^_^ My antidepressants are also working really well, so that's always nice! :D I'm very excited for Halloween! I'm probably not going to be doing much, but I'm very excited, nonetheless.