Music · The World

New York, New York 🎶

Here’s a great tribute to New York City as it suffers through the coronavirus.

We are tough but we are tender, and we fucking love our city though it feels impossible sometimes.

Also, as a musician, it was encouraging to hear her say “This took me a whole day to learn.” 🤷🏻‍♂️

The World · You

Stuff to Do While Stuck at Home

Isn’t it unbelievable that the whole world is staying home?

Here are 100 ways to entertain yourself while stuck at home due to the current (or any) pandemic.

👉 100 things to do while stuck inside due to a pandemic

My favorite? “Try moving in super-slow motion. It’s OK to laugh at regular speed.” Or a better yet, a slow-motion sword fight if you have a friend around. Sound effects are required. Cha cha cha cha. Cha cha cha cha.

Currently, my living room is cleared out for yoga and Wii.

I’d also recommend writing, making an app, playing card/board games, hanging some pictures, changing your guitar strings, doing your taxes, and getting out if possible to safely support your local taco truck or coffee shop. 😊

Or I guess just watch some movies.

👉 100 movies to watch for every cinematic yearning or Every Oscar best-picture winner, ever

Even my rock climbing gym has some movie and book recommendations. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Software Dev

“It’s time for me to build an app”

Here is a funny and relatable perspective on being an app developer wanting to just make your own goddamn app. Via iOS Dev Weekly.

👉 Going indie, step 5: Suffer from crippling imposter syndrome

You want to build something that belongs to you, you want to pour your heart into it, and frankly, you’d like to find some success doing it. “It’s time,” you proclaim boldly, “for me to build an app.”

The post does spend a lot of time talking about social media stress and imposter syndrome, which doesn’t bother me too much. Personally, I have long let go of any dream of having a big, important Twitter or Instagram account. Or even making any money off of an app. I just want to make my own apps.

A big part of you still feels that, as someone who can competently design and build software, you are uniquely positioned to create your own life’s work… Wouldn’t it be a shame not to try? You’re tired of deferring your dreams to your future self; it’s time to act!

My own situation is further complicated by my additional dreams of writing a book and making some songs. I’ve actually made some progress on those dreams already. Can I really fit another dream into the rotation?

Stay tuned and see. Give me like a year. Baby, I want everything!

Reaching to place your app among the very best
You

The Artist’s Hierarchy of Needs

I’ve been taking on some creative projects lately (music and writing) and found this idea of an artist’s needs really helpful. I makes me want to create!

👉 The Artist’s Hierarchy of Needs

(I’m not sure this is technically a “hierarchy”, but still it’s a good list.)

Cheat sheet: creative physical space, creative imaginative space, creative peers / community, creative fuel (filling the well), being active / taking care of your body, creative edge / challenge, faith and belief in yourself and your work, having your work responded to, certainty (confidence?), and time.

Here’s just one of the ten artist’s needs that I really liked: The need for your creative edge:

Solving problems, pushing boundaries, developing something new is at the heart of the creative process. Rather than despair about how difficult it is, embrace the challenge of your craft.

Screenshot 2019-07-04 07.47.42.png
Photos

Our new song started out as a 60’s party song, then it sounded kind of like that “Woo hoo!” song by Blur, finally settling into a much slower and more satisfying rip on “Sweet Jane” (Cowboy Junkies versión). 🎸🥁 We need lyrics, but how can we match the beauty of “Sweet Jane”…? 😢 #music #drums #art #blue #austin #texas #atx #cowboyjunkies #portraitmode #shotoniphone via Instagram https://ift.tt/32wNX39
The World

Apollo 11 Source Code 🚀

In the coolest news ever, the source code for the freakin’ Apollo 11 space modules was recently revealed on GitHub. 🤩

Specifically, this is the source code for the guidance systems of the Lunar module (the thingy that landed on the surface of the moon) and the Command Module (the can that orbited the moon during the mission).

👉 Apollo-11 on GitHub

A few cool points:

  • The code submission date is March 28, 1969.
  • The programmer is one Margaret H. Hamilton, Colossus Programming Leader Apollo Guidance and Navigation. If anyone is still saying “girls” can’t code, then you can seriously stop now.
  • There are two literal modules in the project: Comanche055 (Colossus 2A, the Command Module), Luminary099 (Luminary 1A, the Lunar Module). So much for thinking of “modules” as just a programming concept. These were two physical components literally flying around the moon.
  • These nerds were funny too. The master ignition routine is called BURN_BABY_BURN. 😂
  • The code seems to be written in some sort of assembler language, as in 1969 basically no modern languages were yet invented.
  • The code comments are currently being translated to other spoken languages as part of this open source project. For all mankind, mothers! 🌎
You

Shi**y First Drafts

In a creative writing class I’m taking, our teacher pointed us to this great piece called “Shitty First Drafts”. It basically says what we all know but tend to forget: nobody ever just sits down and writes a great story on the first try.

👉 Shitty First Drafts by Anne Lamott

This approach frees you up to have fun with it (another topic from the class).

The first draft is the child’s draft, where you let it all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later.

Anne Lamott from Bird by Bird

As a side note, this “shitty first draft” approach applies just as well to other creative endeavors such as making music or software. The key is to not actually ship the shitty first draft (although the occasional great album seems to be an exception to this rule).

Disclaimer: this blog consists entirely of shitty first drafts. 🤷🏻‍♂️

You

The Secrets to Happiness (Distilled)

I went to this talk by a Buddhist monk about happiness. I’m not a Buddhist, but one thing I like about Buddhism is that it’s more of a philosophy than a religion (from what I’ve seen). There was absolutely no talk of a religious greater power. And no attempt to convert anyone.

The talk was pretty simple, logical, and grounded in reality. It was basically just useful life hacks.

After the talk, I told a classmate, “That all seemed pretty simple.” And he said, “Simple to understand, but really hard to do,” So happiness is like chess in that sense. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Anyways, here’s the quick guide to happiness, according to this class.


Happiness is about a peaceful internal state, i.e. a happy mind.

External rewards (like money, status, etc.) are fine, but they won’t give you lasting happiness. (I know this sounds self-righteous, but it is also self-evident. There’s nothing wrong with being rich, but we all know about rich people who are unhappy and poor people who are happy. 🙃)

To reach an internal peaceful state, act on things you can control and don’t worry about things you can’t control.

If you can do something about it, don’t worry about it.

If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about.

Example: Stuck in traffic on the way to a doctor’s appointment? Call your doc and say you’re running late. If they can work you in later, great. If not, reschedule. Then relax and don’t worry about it. And don’t get mad at your fellow drivers. They’re all in the same situation as you.

Also, a happy mind is a clear, uncluttered mind. This is why mediation is so helpful. It is a quick way to clear out the clutter of your mind and reset to a more relaxed and productive state. It’s like cleaning out a cluttered closet.


And that’s it! Simple and hard, just like life.

💁🏻‍♂️ As a side note, it’s funny that this guide to happiness comes from Buddhists, who say that life is suffering. There is something kind of perfect about the people who embrace suffering to be experts on happiness.

Photos

Can you spot (1) the cowboy dancing with the woman in suspenders, (2) the mysterious bored girl with the mustachioed man, (3) the alt rocker playing a country version of her own song? Great show by @the.rated.exes 🎸
#music #livemusic #livemusiccapitaloftheworld #cowboy #suspenders #austin #texas #atx via Instagram https://ift.tt/2QSijHO
Photos

I’m stepping into 2020 with a fresh “beginners” mindset. This view reminds me of a song by M Ward: “When you’re absolute beginners
It’s a panoramic view
From her majesty Mount Zion
And the kingdom is for you
Uh huh, uh huh” – For Beginners

#music #lyrics #newyear #newyear2020 #mountbonnell #austin #texas #atx #river via Instagram https://ift.tt/37wgl6W

Photos

Here’s to 2019, a year which somehow ended very well despite everything. 🤷🏻‍♂️ It was a year of productive discomfort. I did some hard sprinting (pictured), improv, yoga with people half age, job hunting, casual dating, fending off Chinese hackers, playing bad versions of other people’s songs, recording some pretty good original songs, parenting a middle schooler, visiting undisclosed locations, waiting / not waiting, winning by losing (Alamo style), met some amazing and surprising people, and a few things you will never ever ever hear about. 😆. Thank you, my weird 2019! I will never forget you. #newyearseve #newyear #newyears2019 #yearinreview #2019 #running #sprint #austin #texas #atx BBC via Instagram https://ift.tt/2stlTjI
You

12 Qualities of Effortlessly Cool People

This article breaks down the characteristics of cool peeps. And thankfully it’s not the high school “popular” kind of cool, but more in a sense of being effortless and smooth.

👉 The 12 Coolest Human Traits: Do You Have Them?

I like this list because it’s all pretty easy stuff. It’s not about being crazy funny, talented, or rich. Just be cool. 🤷🏻‍♂️😆

[Cheat sheet: they’re adaptable, they like people, their clothes match their personality, they don’t take criticism too personally, they’re present, they self-regulate (food, alcohol, exercise, work, emotions), they’re curious, if you’re mean to them, they won’t make a fuss, they do interesting things, they won’t judge you, they find fun in small stuff, you wish you could see more of them.]

Photos

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring… except for the three shady mice on top of the fridge. 🐭🙀🤶🏻 #christmas #silhouette #accidentallywesanderson #mouse #christmaseve #austin #texas #atx via Instagram https://ift.tt/35WT51c
The World

The Dyson Sphere Theory

Okay, I’m not huge on wild conspiracy theories. But I like that some scientists think it is at least plausible that highly advanced aliens are building  megastructures around stars to capture their energy like a battery. 🤯 The cool thing is there would actually be a good reason for aliens to do this if they were capable enough. 🌟🔋

I’m not saying I believe it, but I love that this is a theoretical possibility. And it’s influencing SETI.

👉 Missing stars could point to alien civilizations, scientists say

The idea here is that a very advanced alien civilization may be able to construct a hypothetical megastructure called a Dyson sphere that completely encompasses a star in order to capture a large portion of its energy. Think of it as converting a star into a gargantuan battery.

You

4 Questions To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Damn, this is a great article! I love the way it breaks down complex and emotional decisions into an approach that considers “just the facts” while respecting your emotions.

👉 4 Questions that Will Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Each of us is the protagonist in the story of our life. But we’re also the narrator. And the author.

Summary:

  1. What are the facts? (When did I first start feeling upset? Where was I when I noticed by mood changing? Who was I interacting with right before and during my mood shift? What was going on that lead up to the way I felt?)
  2. What’s my emotional dashboard telling me? (Learn to see your emotions like lights on your car’s dashboard. Validate your emotions instead of trying to fix them. Welcome your emotions instead of running away from them. Be curious about your emotions instead of interrogating them.)
  3. What’s my story? (What are the thoughts running through my mind? How well does my story fit the facts? Is my theory based on genuine evidence? Is there another story or theory that fits the facts better?)
  4. What do I really want? (What excites me and lights my fire? What are my guiding principles, my North Star? What are my dreams?)

When you constantly pick fights with your emotions, they tend to fight back.

Parenting · You

Reasons Not to Monitor Your Kids’ Screen Time

do not limit screen time for teen

Parents can be so obsessed with worrying about the dangers of screens that they fail to notice the massive, overwhelming, obvious benefits of the internet.

I’m not a fan of limiting my kids’ screen time for the following reasons:

  • Screen time is not inherently “bad”. So much of screen time is deeply creative and engaging. Lumping all screen time together as all the same just doesn’t logically make sense. Winning Monument Valley or posting an original edit on Instagram help the brain practice solving problems and build social skills; they are not the same as passively watching South Park for the 40th time.
  • Limiting screen time is impractical, and it undermines real rules. Do you really want to have a timer on hand and keep track of exactly how ling you kid has been on screens all day? Can you even really do that consistently? It’s pretty likely that your kid goes over time on their screen time regularly and is learning that rules aren’t enforced and aren’t important.
  • It shows a lack of trust. Just like offline life, at the end of the day you need to show and develop trust with your kid. Spying on them and imposing arbitrary rules only undermines those ideas.

Instead of monitoring screen time, I prefer to just make sure my kids meet all their responsibilities (homework, eating dinner with the family, get outside at least a little) and then use as much screen time as they want.

So I was happy to come across this post to remind me that I’m not crazy.

👉 Here’s Why I Don’t Limit Screen Time or Monitor My Child’s Phone

There’s no surer way of telling your children you don’t trust them and don’t respect their personal boundaries than stalking them online.

Music · You

The Best Music for Working

According to research on the effect of music listening on work performance, music can indeed help your brain work better. But it depends what you are listening to.

👉 5 Types of Music That Increase Your Productivity, According to Science

Official Recommendations

Classical music, especially baroque, can increased mood and concentration – see Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel 👉example

Not really music, but nature sounds can increase cognitive function and concentration – rain, water, etc. 👉 example

Epic music can inspire you if you’re feeling unmotivated 👉 example

Video Game Music – this music is designed to help your brain feel better! 👉 Sim City, Bastion, or pick a game! (Zelda?)

Ambient music can reduce stress (I’m not a huge fan, so no example 🤷🏻‍♂️😂)

My Own Favs

I personally love classical adaptations of rock and pop, such as Kashmir: Symphonic Led Zeppelin or the Vitamin String Quartet.

I also like some of the Apple Music concentration playlists such as Swift Concentration.

And even though it breaks some of the rules above, I just find KUTX relaxing.

Also, Miles Davis. And the Isle of Dogs soundtrack.

What Doesn’t Work

Not surprisingly, complex musical structure and lyrics don’t help. In fact, they make it harder for you brain to focus. (*Still, I can work to Johny Cash music, probably because it’s so familiar.)

Also, any music may hinder the especially difficult tasks.

And you have to be in the habit of listening to music to make it helpful. If you only do it sometimes, it doesn’t help.

You

How Getting Older Makes You Tougher and Wiser

Getting older is good! Well, not in every way — I’m getting near-sighted and having trouble bending my legs. 🤷🏻‍♂️ But in more significant ways, aging makes you better.

I don’t love the name of this article, but I do like the observations it contains.

👉 The Incredibly Harsh Lessons You Learn with Age

These are some great lessons learned from aging, and I agree with them all.

  • Nothing is ever “done”
  • Success increases with your ability to be vulnerable
  • There is always another struggle coming next
  • You always have more to learn
  • Being uncomfortable feels the best

I especially like the last one.

As you age and you understand the struggle never ends, you learn to move closer to uncomfortable situations because that’s where progress is unlocked and fulfillment can be found.

Me · You

The 50/50 Rule and Why I Blog

My blog’s current tag line is “This is not a blog.”

Originally, this site was intended as a way to keep track of links to interesting or useful things, like glorified bookmarks. But since then, it has evolved to serve another purpose: to make me think and communicate about stuff.

See, as I was bookmarking stuff, I found myself adding little bits about why I liked the link or context about how I found it. Over time, I found that when I would link to an article, I would sometimes want to add a summary about the article to help me process it and remember it better.

A better way to learn, process, retain and remember information is to learn half the time, and share half the time.

If I take two seconds to effortlessly save a bookmark, then the information is saved and soon forgotten. If I add even a quick post about it, giving it a title and some context or a summary, then that post is now a part of me. And as a bonus, I get to share it with other people.

So I was happy to see this article, which makes me think I am not wasting my time.

👉 The 50/50 Rule (How to Retain And Remember 90% of Everything You Learn)

It basically says that if you make yourself talk about something, then you come to understand it or appreciate it better. Spend half you time learning and half your time explaining what you learned.

According to the article, I would be serving myself better by writing out my notes by hand. It seems people type too fast for their brain to absorb what they’re doing. And simply by writing that, I now remember that fact. But I’m typing this anyways because you can’t tag, search, and share your paper notebook. 🤷🏻‍♂️

And yes, this article is so meta.

Photos

50 years ago today, the first human stepped onto the surface of the moon. 🚀🌝🚶‍♂️🇺🇸 This was an insanely difficult and dangerous mission, and is IMHO the crowing achievement of humankind to date.

If you’re not impressed, read “Failure is Not an Option” for just one perspective of the Mercury and Apollo programs.

Okay, let’s hashtag this 😆 #moon #apollo #apollo11 #apollo11anniversary #nasa #space #usa #houston #sky #shotoniphone via Instagram https://ift.tt/2xZpncU

Travel

The Metropolitan Opera

Next time you’re in NYC, why not go see an opera? The tickets are surprisingly affordable (from $30). And even if you’re not an opera fan, this is a unique and interesting experience.

👉 The Metropolitan Opera (NYC)

Funnily enough, this tip came as a recommendation from Andy Ihnatko on a tech podcast. Listen in at this spot for more inspiration about the opera. 🤷🏻‍♂️

👉 MacBreak Weekly (MP3) 565: 10 Years After (via Overcast)

Lobby of The Metropolitan Opera before a performance.

Austin · Music

Hello Again, KUTX

For the last couple of years, I’ve been relying on Apple Music for all my of musical needs. It’s great. It has absolutely every song I ever want to hear, instantly available in my car, while out for a walk, at home, on my laptop. Anything anywhere any time! And I have dozens of my own purpose-built playlists (Springsteen Covers, Dance Party, Garage Rock, more). Plus they provide a ton of their own playlists. (Same for Spotify, I’m sure.)

So online music streaming is perfect, right? Well, yes, but also no. 🤷🏻‍♂️

My playlists had became too safe and predictable. And it’s weird that I never ever ever listen to the local radio. So today I suddenly had the urge to listen to my favorite local Austin radio station: KUTX. So I streamed it (seriously, I don’t have a radio). And it was great!

KUTX

KUTX will constantly surprise and delight you with music that you don’t control. I have unwittingly discovered some of very favorite bands here (The XX and Tinariwen for example). And btw, KUTX is a public radio station. No ads or BS. It’s basically a community service by music fans.

If you’re not in the mood straight-up KUTX , which is geared towards indie rock, they have other streams like Old School Dance Party, Eklektikos, a soul and R&B station, a jazz station, and even a kid-friendly indie music station.

This doesn’t mean I’m dropping Apple Music, which is still great when I want music to help me concentrate, or to listen to my favorite album. But I’m glad to remember my old friend KUTX as a way to mix things up a bit.

Software Dev

Retro Rampage

Yaaas! Code a Wolfenstein 3D knock-off and learn Swift 3D programming as you go! This is a hands-on Swift 3D programming tutorial with source code. I don’t see a down side here (except finding the time). 🤷🏻‍♂️

Retro Rampage is a tutorial series in which you will learn how to build a Wolfenstein-like game from scratch, in Swift.

👉 Retro Rampage (GitHub)

Even the tutorial topics sounds cool: Separation of Concerns, Mazes and Motion, Ray Casting, Texture Mapping, Sprites. 🤩

Via iOS Dev Weekly.

Screenshot
You

Ahhh, Sleep

I hate setting aside 8 hours to sleep as much as anyone. If you need some inspiration, consider these benefits of getting 7-8 hours of sleep instead of 6. I’m adding this as a note to myself… Don’t skim on sleep! It’s not a waste of time!

  • Unclogs your arteries
  • Clears out brain clutter
  • Improves brain performance

👉 Why Lack of Sleep is So Bad For You

I remember reading that good sleep habits also help maintain a better body weight. I believe that; I know I get the munchies pretty bad when I’m tired. 😪


Follow up… An article on staying up late being tied to health issues including cancer and depression. 😵

Quotes · You

“Happiness isn’t a choice… it’s a habit.”

Happiness isn’t a choice, or meaningfulness or something that you arrive at once you achieve something; it’s a habit.

10 Habits of Consistently Happy People

Okay, here’s another one of these lists of things that happy/confident/successful people do. I’ve been generally skipping over these since they’re getting repetitive. But I saw this one and liked that it was emphasizing that these are not big, grand things, but little things to do consistently every day. (In that sense, it’s similar to being physically fit and eating right.)

👉 10 Habits of Consistently Happy People

Summary: be optimistic, don’t compare, be grateful, be kind, maintain friendships, cope, forgive, pursue goals, be physically active, cultivate your sense of self.

But remember, pessimism has its place. 🤷🏻‍♂️

The World

US Health Weather Map

Wants a real-time county-level map of where people are sick in the US, with trends? Here you go. 👍

👉 US Health Weather Map

This is more than just a great visualization of the state of the coronavirus across the US. It’s a useful tool to see where the hotspots are and how social distancing is working.

The data comes from internet-enabled thermometers. Direct from your ear or mouth this this map. I love seeing technology do something truly useful!

Austin

Local and Online During the Shutdown

Yeah, the Hideout Theater and basically everywhere else is closed right now. Looking for something new to do with your Saturday night besides watch Tiger King 🙄?

Maybe try the Parallelogramophonograph virtual improv show. It live. It’s spontaneous. It’s real. It’s not Tiger King.

👉 PGRAPH VIRTUAL SHOW

And unlike normal Hideout Theater shows, you don’t have to find parking downtown. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Another local options Ground Floor Theater’s “Covid Canon” online series of live play readings. 👉 KUT Story

Quotes

“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”

Apparently this Rumi dude was pretty smart. I’m loving this quote.

Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.

Rumi

Fun fact: Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet and scholar. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Question: Was “ruminating” named after Rumi?!?!

Some Rumi quotes and some more Rumi quotes.

Austin · Music

200 Austin Bands To Check Out

Here is a 40-volume set of posts (of five local Austin bands each) to check out.

👉 LOCAL BANDS YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO

Thousands of amazing artists call Austin home, and every night of the week you can find local bands doing their thing at dozens of venues all over town. To highlight some of the great talents you should be out there supporting, Do512 shares a weekly list of five local bands you should be listening to.