I came across this video that is a visualization of train speeds through history. Of course, at the end, America doesn’t end up on the top ten fastest trains.
China, German, France, and Japan seem to crush it.
After taking various trains for various distances, it has become my preferred method of travel if available. Travel by train is a mode of travel that can make you feel somewhat like a person and it doesn't feel like a temporal hell.
In Europe, I enjoyed using trains to getting around. There seems to be many trains that service in many areas and are affordable. Importantly, they take you to the city centers, which is likely where you'll need to go.
Cross a country? No problem.
Between two major cities? Also, not a problem.
Realizing other people have better modes of getting around? A problem.
Of course, Europe has it going on. They've invested in their infrastructure and improved modes of travel.
I hope to one day experience Japanese and Chinese trail travel.
I have enjoyed taking trains from Seattle to Portland, Boston to Portland, Maine, and from Boston to New York City. They're perfect for getting you to the heart of those cities with easy modes of travel to get you from the train station to a place you'll most likely need to get to.
Train rides are scenic, chill, and roomier than air travel.
Taking a train from Boston, MA to Flagstaff, AZ, as there is no train station in the 5th largest city in the US, Phoenix, Arizona, is an experience.
This is also where trains shine. I caught my train with a few minutes to spare because of a bad ass cab driver and the fact that train stations are in urban centers. This is unlike airports, which require long roads to get from the perimeter to the desired terminal.
Trains highlight that American exceptionalism has not much to stand on.
Passenger rail is at the mercy of freight. Freight is an industry that is full of profit maximization that leads to derailments, environmental disasters, overworked/underpaid staff, and degradation of passenger rail service.
Lastly, which was illustrated in the video above, American passenger trains are slow.
Flying short distances is one of the worst travel experiences.
To be clear, I have no business flying to most places I can drive to. Of all the major cities in the neighboring states, I don't want to hop a flight because in the end, I'm gonna need a car.
A recent and practical example is a recent work trip to a place outside of Los Angeles. The company gave me the option to book a flight, but the reality of that was extremely unappealing.
In the end, fuck that.
We love going 30k feet into the air in a cramped, overcrowded pressurized tube. We love the airport experience and all the airport terminal delicacies like chilis2go.
In the end, airports are good for:
I'm tired of air travel and airports. It sucks. It makes sense if you really need to get somewhere far fast, though, who really needs that? Doctors maybe?
There are many challenges in taking on any project, but the biggest challenge is finishing a project. Artistic or technical, all projects seem to get stuck toward the end when it comes to calling it done.
Recently, I finished the 100 Day Project to break a creative dry spell.
If you are unfamiliar, the 100 Day Project is an online creative challenge where someone will create something every day for 100 days. I've done this for a few years and it's always been a great way to jumpstart some creativity.
This year I created 100 stamps with no general theme until the end, when I did the astrological signs. This is very unlike the year I created my 99 Red Baboons project. More on that later.
During this project, I carved and printed a stamp on a sticky note. I was also keeping a contact sheet updated with the stamps, so I could see all of them in a single print.
It's done. It looks done. Is it done?
Yeah, it's done.
The goal was to glue the stamps onto a block of wood, much like I did with a previous 100 Day Project, and do a print in black ink.
Fun and done!
I have the time to do this series, but I have questioned what holds me back.
Motivation? Eh, it's done. I am happy that I finished this. I have a small stack of individual prints and one print for myself.
Big task? Kinda. I have to measure and cut a board to mount the 100 stamps. Then I have to do the printing.
Is it done? Yeah, I could do more with it, but while it would be good to do a final print, I am happy with the contact sheet.
I have prints that are done, with nothing to do to them but maybe sign them. Maybe take nicer photos of them? Sell them? Give them away?
Maybe if we get stuck here, we should keep creating and worry about it later or never.
Create for the sake of creating.
It's the 4th and I was served an ad that made me laugh.
I live in the southwest and this tickled me pink.
A fencing business named by a combination of the words freedom and fencing is funny. Nothing feels more freeing than being able to enclose a peace of land to either keep something in or out.
Aesthetically this is border wall chic and anyone with half a brain knows the Mexico/US border is the antithesis of freedom.
Company names are interesting. Sometimes they're simple and serve their need. Sometimes you get a company name like this where you think, "Hmm, thats funny."
I know it's been a while but I need to tell you about why I was thinking of Saturn devouring his son today.
I use an app called Day One for a digital journal. It's great at being readily available to capture any thought when I'm at my keyboard or on my phone. I'd recommend it.
I came across a news article about Apple releasing their own journaling app. I get why Apple would want to have this as mindfulness is a part of their Health app. A journal is a good way to practice being mindful and with Apple providing a default journal experience, someone could easily start journaling.
Day One wrote a response to Apple's journaling app.
I think Day One does a good job at design. It stays out of the way enough but the future and recent value propositions are things I guess.
A web interface? Why? I hate logging into things.
Shared journals? Maybe, but I journal for myself.
Security? I'm syncing with iCloud, why would I need other security? Is Apple shorting me on security?
So how do you compete with a tech giant that can clone your core functionality? How can you compete when there are users that are satiated with core functionality?
I think about how I used to use Dropbox to store all of my files. It was a simple way to sync and share files across devices. Then Dropbox got woke and added features that made it feel like a bootleg Office 365. It become unusable for my basic needs by being shoved their idea of what their app should be to me.
Thankfully, Apple added file storage to iCloud and I moved everything to that. I needed file syncing across devices and maybe the ability to share with a link. Apple does that without an extra account or interface.
Ultimately, it's nice to have one less subscription.
I won't entertain any logical reason for this name change. From a brand perspective, Max reminds me of Cinemax and the reason I am subscribed to "Max" (lol, I don't like how that sounds) is the HBO name.
Max: The One to Watch for HBO
You'd think sensibility would win out in the end but, not to whoever signed off on all the steps to get to this point.
A lot has stopped making sense. It feels as if everything has entered a hyperreal fugue state with no intent of slowing down.
Max: The One to Watch for HBO
Satire is camouflaged by reality.
Reality is absurdity.
Absurdity reigns supreme.
Max: The One to Watch for HBO
It's been a minute since I have felt interested in a Wes Anderson movie.
Today I saw the trailer for Asteroid City and that has changed.
Incredible. As a sucker for Wes Anderson's aesthetic, seeing it in the desert with a Manhattan Project/Roswell tilt seals it.
What bothered me is the song "Freight Train" by Nancy Whiskey and The Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group that is used in the trailer. I strongly dislike it.
"Freight Train" is a great song by Elizabeth Cotten. It's a beautiful song about a life's journey and the desire to be left alone.
This cover by The Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group is removed from that idea. It's goes on about some dude on a train who fucked up and should probably be dead and buried. This compounded with the upbeat rhythm feels like a cartoon train plowing through my head. And not even a good cartoon! Like some bootleg 80s special trying to be retro.
I feel that you can view this cover in other ways, but on a pure vibe perspective, the cover sucks and ruins a song I like.
I would like to add that I think Wes Anderson movies typically have good soundtracks so this choice of song feels like a fart.
I think Asteroid City looks good. I will watch it. I will undoubtably hold an irrational negativity toward this cover of "Freight Train".
If you are a progressive or a leftist, the Democratic Party is unfortunately all you have. To compound that, said party is really into the idea of courting the Republican base instead of working for their Democratic base.
This courting includes Democrats to distance themselves from certain "bad" words. One of these words is socialism.
With the news of Ilhan Omar's removal from the Foreign Affairs Committee, I learned of another vote and it's about the S-word.
Today, 109 Democrats voted to denounce socialism.
I learned of this when Ruben Gallego, Senate hopeful, tweeted this:
Today, the house voted against the concept of government programs that benefit many. They voted against the concept that gives us social security and medicare.
Is this a continuation of the masks off era? Did the House tell us we're on our own?
Today, Ruben Gallego voted to denounce socialism and he said he was happy about it.
Today, I lost any excitement for the Gallego campaign even though it will likely be an improvement over Sinema's performance as a senator.
Today, the House voted to denounce socialism.
The web has been homogenized and corralled by the algorithms. All that we can do is to build outposts in an attempt to stave off what has been in the works.
The question, what is a good website?
Is it a website with nice typography and readability?
Is it a website that displays content in an interesting way?
Is it a website with a collection of good authors or creators?
Is there no such thing? Likely!
At some point you gotta say, "who cares," and build whatever comes out.
Yeah, you asked the right question at the wrong time.
Long story short, this once was a community, then life happened.
Now things are different, so why not try something new?
In the interest of forcing myself to start on a project, this project will be fleshed out in public.