All I Saw Was Death

    There is a really good piece in Variety about William Shatner’s experience going to space for real.

    I continued my self-guided tour and turned my head to face the other direction, to stare into space. I love the mystery of the universe. I love all the questions that have come to us over thousands of years of exploration and hypotheses. Stars exploding years ago, their light traveling to us years later; black holes absorbing energy; satellites showing us entire galaxies in areas thought to be devoid of matter entirely… all of that has thrilled me for years… but when I looked in the opposite direction, into space, there was no mystery, no majestic awe to behold . . . all I saw was death.

    While I haven’t been to space, I experienced this same feeling while watching Space Explorers on the Oculus Quest 2. If you’re unfamiliar with Space Explorers, it’s a documentary filmed in VR from the International Space Station. Not only do you get to roam around in the ISS, but you get to go outside the ISS. Looking down at Earth is the most amazingly beautiful things you will ever see. Looking out towards the blackness of space was truly terrifying. Nothing ever made me feel more unsettled in my life, and I was just watching an immersive video. I can’t imagine what it would be like to experience the real thing, but Shatner but it into words so eloquently. There is hope though. It makes you appreciate the planet we do have.

    It can change the way we look at the planet but also other things like countries, ethnicities, religions; it can prompt an instant reevaluation of our shared harmony and a shift in focus to all the wonderful things we have in common instead of what makes us different. It reinforced tenfold my own view on the power of our beautiful, mysterious collective human entanglement, and eventually, it returned a feeling of hope to my heart. In this insignificance we share, we have one gift that other species perhaps do not: we are aware—not only of our insignificance, but the grandeur around us that makes us insignificant. That allows us perhaps a chance to rededicate ourselves to our planet, to each other, to life and love all around us. If we seize that chance.

    Dynamic Island Interactions are Backwards

    I was listening to the latest episode of The Talk Show this morning and Nilay Patel laid out exactly what bothers me about the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pros: the interactions are backwards.

    I couldn’t pinpoint what exactly it was that was bothering me until he said it and then it made sense. When I touch on an app in the Dynamic Island, I believe it should open the smaller, interactive widget version of the app that is currently only accessible with a long touch. The point is the island is to have quick interactions with running apps that need your attention. The best way to do that is by a simple touch. Instead, as a Pro Max user, I have to adjust my hand for balance and a long touch to interact with the island. It’s not exactly convenient.

    In Patel’s review on The Verge he says:

    Here’s where I think Apple missed the mark a little: in the keynote and all the ads, the island is shown as a thing that’s worth interacting with — it’s always moving around and going back and forth between the main view and the expanded view. In reality, well, it’s not like that at all.

    The island isn’t a primary interface element; it sits over whatever app you’re actually using, and apps are still the main point of the iPhone. In fact, tapping on the island doesn’t open that expanded widget view; it just switches you back to whatever app that controls the widget. To get the expanded widget that’s shown in all the ads, you have to tap and hold. This feels exactly backwards to me. I think a tap should pop open the widget, and I also think you should at least be able to choose between the two behaviors.

    I hope this is something they consider changing, or at least a toggle, because it’d be much better if touching opened up the mini app and a long touch opened the app itself.

    iOS Screenshot Trick

    Why didn’t anyone tell me about this iOS screenshot trick?

    Ramal Media posted a video on TikTok this week showing how you can easily hold down on scribbles you make on iPhone screenshots to make circles look perfect or arrows look like actual arrows instead of a mess.

    I had no idea this was a thing either. Now I may actually use the drawing tools.

    The Restaurant

    I don’t remember the first time I went to The Restaurant. That’s what we called the Bissell Mansion Restaurant and Dinner Theatre when I was growing up. If you’re unfamiliar with the establishment, it was a restaurant located inside what is considered the oldest, still-standing brick home in St. Louis. It was also owned by several members of my family as far back as I can remember.

    The house was built in what is now North City in 1823 by Captain Lewis Bissell. My grandparents, along with my parents, aunts, uncles, and family friends turned it into a murder mystery participatory dinner theatre in the 1980’s. I spent so much time there, especially as a child. I remember running around the gigantic rooms with my cousins every Christmas. I remember those same cousins telling me the small door at the top of the steps (the door that led to the attic) is where the ghosts lived (the mansion was supposedly haunted). I remember playing hide and seek and sneaking down a secret second set of stairs that entered into the kitchen. It was the ultimate playground for a kid.

    Sadly, as time went on and the city of St. Louis lost population, business suffered. My grandparents died. Family members sold their remaining shares to my aunt and uncle who kept the place running. Eventually they closed for the business lunch crowd and only operated as a dinner theatre. Then came COVID. Once COVID came, the place shut down complete. Now, it’s for sale.

    Even though I haven’t been there in years, even before the pandemic, it’s a place I will forever miss. I will cherish the memories I have of it forever (except for that summer I worked there doing maintenance on an almost 200 year old building between 8th and 9th grade).

    Bissel Mansion

    Network of Cities and Towns Revealed by Lidar

    I love how much there is to still learn about past civilizations and how much there is more to discover.

    An airborne lidar survey recently revealed the long-hidden ruins of 11 pre-Columbian Indigenous towns in what is now northern Bolivia. The survey also revealed previously unseen details of defensive walls and complex ceremonial buildings at 17 other settlements in the area, built by a culture about which archaeologists still know very little: the Casarabe.

    Ars Technica has more detail on how lidar revealed networks of pre-Columbian cities and towns in Bolivia.

    Returning to

    For the last six months I’ve been debating on whether or not I would return to For one reason or another, I never did. After the news of Elon buying twitter broke, I decided to give it another go because my time on twitter had essentially become doomscrolling, with only a portion being devoted to interactions with others. I used to love the discussions and random thoughts from interesting people on twitter, but as time went on they were drowned out by retweets, hot takes, and whatever the current outrage of the moment is. I was guilty of it too. And it’s not healthy.

    I’ve also wanted to get back into blogging. I’ve had a blog since college and have been running WordPress the entire time (over 15 years now!). WordPress has outgrown my needs as they move towards a more Squarespace-like experience. I miss the days of a simple publishing platform for creating blog posts. helps solve that issue. The focus is on the writing. I don’t know what the future of my current blog is, but I think this will be the place for my thoughts, quick and long, going forward.

    The other thing that I love about is that I own the content. It’s my blog that I publish on my site. When I publish, it posts the content to the timeline. The conversations take place on with a great and welcoming community and appear directly on my posts. I can also cross-post the content to twitter, which I am for now.

    What I find when starting from is I don’t check in on twitter as much because the discussion is here. Less time on twitter is better for me. I’m excited to see what the future holds with

    The Batman

    I remember the first time I saw a Batman movie. It was 1989 and Tim Burton’s Batman was literally everywhere. You could not go into a mall (remember those?) in America without seeing Batman merchandise in every window. I was 6 when my dad took me. It was unlike any other iteration of Batman I had ever seen. It definitely wasn’t anything like the Adam West TV show I used to watch in the afternoons after school.

    From that moment on it became an unspoken tradition for my dad and I to see the Batman movies in theaters when they would come out. Yes, even the horrible Batman and Robin. The most recent iteration of Batman in the movies, The Batman, was the first Batman movie that we could not see in theaters together. Neither of us were comfortable spending almost 3 hours in a theater in an area where masks are rarely worn. I did finally see the movie, at home, on HBOMax, and I loved every minute of it.

    The Batman that is depicted in The Batman is the most Batman Batman to ever Batman. If you grew up reading the comics, especially storylines like The Long Halloween, you’ll instantly recognize this Batman and this Gotham City. The movie is a detective noir story that oftentimes feels like the movie Seven, with constant dusk and darkness, torrential rain, and seedy alleyways. This is the comic. The Batman isn’t a gritty reboot of the franchise, this is what the franchise is at its heart.

    I know DC and Warner Bros. has plans for a spinoff with the Penguin character. I just hope they stay true to the themes, ideas, and atmosphere that director Matt Reeves created. I wouldn’t mind living in this world for a little longer. 🍿

← Newer Posts