Web Miscellany: Compilation #86

Hello, friend! What have you been up to this week? How are you doing? Austin Kleon shared in his newsletter yesterday that the year is 52% over. Is the year half-full or half-empty? I feel like I’m feverishly treading water and getting nowhere; yet, on the other, maybe I’m just allocating my time to current priorities and letting the rest fall away.

I got HLA-DR/DQ lab results back showing I have a genetic susceptibility to mold, post-lyme syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. A special brain MRI analyzed by AI shows regions of brain atrophy and others of swelling, and I’m around the 40th percentile for several ratings of brain health (down from 97th percentile when I first developed cognitive symptoms in 2015). This is not fun data at all; however, the it all lines up with my symptoms and current treatment plan for biotoxin illness, so I am feel reassured that I’m on the right path. Our environmental mold testing seems to have gotten lost in the mail, so I’m hoping we can track that down soon.

Two weeks ago, my mom took home a stray cat found at her work due to the heat and, lo and behold, the tiny black kitten birthed an even tinier black kitten of her own while America celebrated its Independence Day. Do you have any suggestions for patriotic male names? I’ve suggested Franklin, Francis, and Henry after historical figures.

What are your plans for the week ahead? I will be visiting the kitties, picking up Midnight Library from my local library, and maybe finally getting around to a sewing project… maybe.

I hope that your the week ahead is good to you. Here are a few links from around the web. Feel free to share anything interesting you’ve stumbled upon in the comments.


  1. Food for thought: “A failure is like fertiliser; it stinks to be sure, but it makes things grow faster in the future.” – Denis Waitley
  2. From the archives: What Does Your Rich Life Look Like? “One of the things I figured out several years ago is that are some areas in which I am willing to spend more for quality, while other areas that I don’t care about at all… You can splurge on the things that you absolutely love, but you must also cut spending mercilessly on that things that you don’t.”
  3. On the Diderot effect: We get a new thing and it triggers a waterfall of purchases because suddenly the stuff we already own looks shabby in comparison. There is a word for it: it’s called the Diderot effect – a phenomenon based on an essay by eighteenth-century philosopher Denis Diderot. To fight the consumption urge, in his post on the Diderot effect, James Clear recommends reducing our exposure to new things. That seems increasingly difficult, though, because our digital overlords seem to understand the Diderot effect better than anyone.
  4. Poignant parenting advice: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself… You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow…You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” Wise words from Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher Kahlil Gibran.
  5. Recipe on the radar: Easy Penne Arrabbiata from Minimalist Baker. Did you know that “arrabbiata” means “angry” in Italian? While I can’t tolerate nightshades, including tomatoes, my boyfriend loves Italian and spicy foods, so I suspect this will be a winner.
  6. Literary brilliance: I seem to return to Aldous Huxley’s Island on biennial basis, and the symbolism and use of language blow me away each time. Over the last month, I’ve been thinking about “stained glass windows in the bargain basement.” The idea of something intricate, beautiful, and laboriously created being hidden away or sold for cheap is quite jarring. Another favorite, which I quote anytime I see a blazing orange sunset, is from Roberto Bolano’s 2666: “The sky, at sunset, looked like a carnivorous flower.”
  7. What’s a barn-quilt?: “Barn quilts are a homegrown art form that combines a few aspects of traditional Americana: barns, quilts and road trips. Over the past 20 years, creators from Ohio to Canada have painted wood squares that are reminiscent of quilt designs and put them on the sides of barns and other buildings. Some communities, including Fairbanks, Alaska, and Bowling Green, Ky., have created “quilt trails” of multiple pieces to entice travelers to drive through (and spend money in) their country towns to see the art.” Wow, I need a barn so I can hang a barn quilt!
  8. Disturbing fact of the day: Christmas Eye is a ‘monocular’ disease (only ever affects one eye) that people get between November and January, only in a few small areas in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales. Until a few years ago, they didn’t know what caused it. It turned out to be a local beetle full of blistering, toxic acid. If you accidentally crush it and some gets in your eye, it causes “acute corneal erosion”. And the beetle life cycle means they’re all hatching around Christmas time in that little area. h/t The Whippet
  9. A happy song: Manchester by Kishi Bashi. I was listening to this song on repeat around the time I met my boyfriend, and was excited when I recognized that they both used the same Line 6 pedal to loop music. He’s also working on a project–Omoiyari–in which he creates his music in locations relevant to the Japanese American Incarceration during WWII,

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