Web Miscellany: Compilation #90

Hello, friend! What have you been up to this week? How are you doing? We finally were able to get a mold remediation company out and what we though to be two minor sink pipe leaks turned out to be three separate areas of black mold due to a poorly-installed A/C unit, and several eroded structural beams due to a combined roof leak and active termite infestation. The structure was so eroded that there was an open passage between indoors and outdoors, hidden between an oleander tree and a 17-year-old refrigerator. Yikes! And, it’s the same area we had a major leak three years ago. I’m crossing my fingers and saying a prayer that the space will be livable when all is said and done.

In other news, we have had five vaccinated friends within our tiny network test positive for covid this week, all of whom are mild-to-severely symptomatic, and two of which are fellow “crazies” that are still wearing N95, nitrile gloves, and sealed goggles on their twice monthly outing. My doctors have advised I not yet get vaccinated due to personal health risks, but I’m growing increasingly nervous about that recommendation with each passing day. Stay vigilant!

What are your plans for the week ahead? We’re hoping to move back into our home, as my in-laws aren’t always the most pleasant people to be around. Fingers crossed! If we make it home, we’ll be wipe down everything with sporicidin to kill any remaining mold.

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: “Nobody will stop you from creating. Do it tonight. Do it tomorrow. That is the way to make your soul grow… The kick of creation is the act of creating, not anything that happens afterward. I would tell all of you watching this screen: Before you go to bed, write a four line poem. Make it as good as you can. Don’t show it to anybody. Put it where nobody will find it. And you will discover that you have your reward.” – Kurt Vonnegut
  2. From the archives: 8 Lessons Learned From My Latest Vacation. A vacation is currently out of the question for me, but I’ve been daydreaming about my 2019 trek around the Pacific Northwest and trying to practice item #8: Take your vacation home with you: “There is something magical about leaving home, setting aside everyday responsibilities, operating without a schedule, and unearthing moments of whimsy. Upon your return home, try to limit screen time and spend a bit more time face-to-face with your favorite people. Spend time in nature and appreciate the subtle beauty of the place that you call home. Live simply, minimize excess, and find small things to get excited about.”
  3. Fun fact: Kotobuki is a chimera made up of parts of all 12 zodiac animals. ‘Kotobuki’ means ‘congratulations’ or ‘long life’. The name kotobuki is a celebratory and congratulatory word, which makes this creature instantly identifiable as a powerful and auspicious creature.
  4. On public restrooms: “While there are many sexy metrics for urbanism (public parks, transport, small business, etc.), I think a measure of a city’s true civility can be measured by access to public toilets.” Surprisingly fascinating piece on the history of public toilets and the evolving availability of such.
  5. How to escape a sleeping baby: I don’t have children, but I’ve heard stories of the feats required to get baby to bed, and then escape said sleeping baby. This short bit by McSweeney’s made me laugh.
  6. Who is Blackrock?: “Blackrock is buying every single-family house they can find, paying 20-50% above asking price and outbidding normal home buyers. Why are corporations, pension funds and property investment groups buying entire neighborhoods out from under the middle class? Let’s take a look. Homes are popping up on MLS and going under contract within a few hours. Blackrock, among others, are buying up thousands of new homes and entire neighborhoods… Home equity is the main financial element that middle class families use to build wealth, and black rock, a federal reserve funded financial institution is buying up all the houses to make sure that young families can’t build wealth.” Controversial, perhaps; but, I suspect, very true. We may need to move due to a mold-ridden home and resulting illness, but we’ve been priced out of our neighbor. Our home was purchased for $120k in 2004; today, the cheapest (tiny, old, and rundown) home in our zip code is listed for for $700k. To purchase a single family home of comparable size to our condo, we would need to move 40 miles out from our current, central location.
  7. Automotive Prototype Camouflage: “Starting in the 1980s auto manufacturers would paint high-contrast, geometric patterns on their erlkings to break up the shape and design of the vehicle to make them harder to discern. This embraced a paradox: By covering the vehicles in this camo they would immediately signal to anyone paying attention that it was, indeed, a prototype. But the risk was mitigated through the camouflage—if it did its job, the damage of exposure would be minimal.” We see several camouflage prototypes in our area, likely to test performance in heat.
  8. Life audit: “Life has a funny way of getting in its own way: we get so busy, sometimes we forget to look up. That’s why every now and then it’s important to take a step back and check in: How are we doing? Where are we going? What’s important now that perhaps wasn’t before?” Love this idea for architecting a life in 100 post-its & 1 Saturday afternoon.
  9. Bland and pretentious architecture: “Are our real-world cities never to emanate beauty and energy? Are we forever doomed to do nothing but invent weird new shapes for the same boring glass buildings?… All of these are marvels from a technological perspective, but that’s about it. They are dreary. They are culturally dead. They have no connection to the natural world.” More plants and ornamentation, please.
  10. Cooking simulator: I’m not too into video games, but I’m intrigued by this VR cooking simulator. The end of this trailer stresses me out!

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