• In heaven, everything is fine

    I spent a long weekend in Paris and Lyon, having a date day with my wife and visiting an old friend. I walked 45 km in three days, had interesting conversations, ate delicious food and drank good wine, and went to a market to buy too much cheese.

    Now I’m back in Iceland; and it feels like I have been to heaven; and been embraced by warmth and love; and have had all my needs and desires fulfilled; and have been ripped away and shoved back into flesh; and I just want whoever keeps thumping on my chest to stop and let me go back.

    No, you’re being dramatic.

  • Esprit d’escalier

    In 2011, at a student café in Grenoble, I heard a guy argue that making the bed was pointless because you’re just going to unmake it later that day. Today I figured out what to reply.

    “Do you poop?”


    “Do you wipe your ass after?”



  • Real housemen of Windsor castle

    My wife is being subjected to Henry David’s Spare for a book club. From what I’ve been told it is the uneventful story of an unbelievably privileged man whose greatest, and only, adversity in life is that the British press doesn’t love him unconditionally.

    Mr. David has been on a long media tour this season, with a six-part Netflix series, a tell-all autobiography, countless late-night interviews, and jumping out of dark corners in your house to tell of the troubles, difficulties and trials that come with being born extremely rich and never having to work ever. In those events he has made accusations of physical and mental violence and racism against members of his family and bitten his lip blue. I think he’s doing this because he thinks it will make us, the masses, like him. It’s less clear to me why he cares whether we do.

    I’ve come to realize that Mr. David is best categorized as a reality television star. He is famous for being famous, has done nothing of merit and never will, and receives regular attention for being a messy bitch. Let us never think of him again, and give him the peace he says he desires so much.

    Failing that: guillotine royalty, found republics.

  • 6:07

    “Hug attack!” my son yells before cannonballing knees-first into my ribs as I lie in bed, in a move that was definitely more attack than hug.

  • Groff

    Some nerds are out there claiming old-timey typesetting tools like man, mdoc, {g,n,t}roff and such are great, actually, and we should use them for things like CVs and blogs and research papers.

    I used to work in scientific publishing as a copy editor, toiling away in the LaTeX mines of academia, and have had strong opinions about typesetting and its beauty beaten into me. Like many people I’m also deeply unhappy and am ever looking for something, anything, to fill the void inside, such as a new old typesetting mechanism.

    So I got some groff and dug around on the internet for a couple of hours to figure out how to get a basic Hello World document going, and then went slightly deeper into the rabbit hole to figure out how to load a macro package that let me write sane things like a document title and author and to write equations. I then re-typeset the first page of an article of mine that I wrote in LaTeX.

    The results are bad. For the price of learning a weird macro language designed for the constraints of late 70s computers (other than TeX, that is, which is a weird macro language designed for the constraints of early 80s computers) and spending much of my time digging through scattered websites, each of which answers maybe 5% of my basic question of how to typeset this trivial thing, I get to enjoy a postscript document that looks — and I mean this — exactly like what I’d get from Microsoft Word and its Equation Editor. I also get to enjoy keeping manual track of section and environment numbers, and would have the pleasure of formatting my citations by hand if I had not given up way before getting to that point.

    The nerds are wrong this time. This is not good or desirable, and despite being the weapon of choice for Brian Kernighan these are clumsy tools for a less civilized age.

  • A memory called empire, by Arkady Martine

    An ambassador from a small space station arrives in the capital of the next-door empire, full of emotionless poets and subtle meanings. Her predecessor was murdered and the techno-thingy that makes her special fails on the first day so she can only rely on her wits and friends, every one a loyal subject of said empire, to solve the murder and avert the annexation of her home.

    The problem with writing an empire without emotion is that no one there cares about the murder (of a foreign diplomat!) that kicks off the plot. There is no drama, just the facts, ma’am. The protagonist herself seems to go through the motions of investigating the murder — an investigation that proceeds scene by boring scene through understatements whose significance then needs two pages of explanation — more to avoid dealing with her mail than a desire for justice. The whole dull tale ends with an attempted coup d’état and a final page or two that sets up the massive alien threat that’s been hovering in the background for the duration.

    There’s classic writing advice that says to write about the most interesting time in your characters’ lives. The time covered in the book is not it.

    This book won the 2020 Hugo award. Its sequel then won the 2022 awards. I assume that somewhere a detective who’s been suspended for city damage and being a loose cannon stands in front of a board with photos of prominent science fiction authors whose recent murders are unsolved, stringing red thread from each photo to a center one of Martine.

  • Thanks cmake

    While trying to package a project at work into an RPM I get the error:

    CPackRPM: source dir path '/home/gunnarm' is shorter than debuginfo sources
    dir path '/usr/src/debug/src_0'! Source dir path must be longer
    than debuginfo sources dir path.

    My question to the cmake developers is: Why the fuck do you people not just fucking deal with this?

  • Targeted advertising

    I have an ad-blocker extension on my browser, another one specifically for YouTube ads, and run my own DNS server in The Cloud with a denylist of ad company IP addresses. I do not want to see ads online, ever, and have a special hatred for targeted ads, where a cabal of companies have conspired to strip me of my privacy to show me ads for things I do not want.

    In Iceland, companies can buy access to the national registry, where they can look up names and addresses given a persons’ national ID number, which everyone here has. The information of car ownership is also public, so anyone can look up what national ID number is registered for a given license plate.

    Any car in Iceland has to be inspected once a year to make sure it’s safe on the roads. The scheme for determining when a car must be inspected by is simple: it’s the month given by the last number in the car’s license plate (1 = January, 2 = February, …, 0 = October), or May if there is no last number. The inspections are done by private companies, of which there are a handful.

    One enterprising such company has apparently put two and two together and started mailing special offers to people who own cars that are coming up for inspection. At least that’s my conclusion for why I received such an offer yesterday, personally addressed to me, in the beginning of the month in which my car is up for inspection.

    And unlike online ads I’m somehow fine with this, because this is a service I needed anyway, and because I guess this was all done with publicly available information.

  • If I were a migrant worker who had died building the World Cup stadiums I would simply matter more than an arm band

    The football fans in my Twitter feed are upset that various teams playing in Qatar have backed down from their plans of wearing rainbow arm bands in solidarity with LBGTQ+ people.

    I’ve been trying to point out that this is not surprising from anyone involved, as to be there in the first place they had to be fine with the deaths of thousands of migrant workers who built the stadiums the World Cup is being played in. Compared with that wearing an arm band or not doesn’t seem all that significant. One of them replied that it was too late to do anything about all those deaths now, and the arm bands were really the last straw.

    I can understand that. Back in the day I was no fan of the Holocaust, but then I heard that Hitler had paired fish with red wine and realized he was a monster that had to be stopped.

  • The weekend so far in cast iron pan dishes

    Deep dish pizza