2018/04/23 writing


Great essay by Corey Robin.

When Trump became a contender for the White House, I saw him as an extension or fulfillment of the conservative movement rather than a break with it. Almost everything people found outrageous and objectionable about his candidacy — the racism, the contempt for institutions, the ambient violence, the hostility to the rule of law — I’d been seeing in the right for years. Little in Trump surprised me, except for the fact that he won.
Whenever I said this, people got angry with me. They still do. For months, now years, I puzzled over that anger. My wife explained it to me recently: in making the case for continuity between past and present, I sound complacent about the now. I sound like I’m saying that nothing is wrong with Trump, that everything will work out. I thought I was giving people a steadying anchor, a sense that they — we — had faced this threat before, a sense that this is the right-wing monster we’ve been fighting all along, since Nixon and Reagan and George W. Bush. Turns out I was removing their ballast, setting them afloat in the intermittent and inconstant air.


Hitchens on The Bell Curve.


We're almost at the end of a great long-lasting weekend, and I just noticed that the Riptide video is almost a complete clone of Bombay. It's interesting to compare and contrast them, the latter is just so much better executed, but the theme and direction is so vile I actually think I end up prefering the softer clone.


Josh asked me to weigh in on a Sam Harris topic, so I checked out that sub again. It was... kinda productive.


I wrote another angry thing off-the-cuff and it again came out better than my more deliberate writing.


Lovely stay-in day. We listened to Champagne Sharks, Carly Rae Jepsen's E・MO・TION, and a little bit of Escaflowne.


I've been railing about how insane I consider the whole "Russia hacked our election" narrative for a while, but things seem to be ratcheting up a bit.


Anne, based on Anne of Green Gables, is actually fantastic. It's got that earnest simple quality I enjoy, and the girl playing Anne is stellar.

I found out that in Japan it's an extremely popular story, known as 赤毛のアン (Red-Haired Anne), and that Prince Edward Island receives a huge amount of Japanese tourism as a result!

This the real question though: Is Great Teacher Onizuka based on Anne of Green Gables?


Well-off people's lives are increasingly alienated and banal even when they're on the shrinking prosperous side of the class war, so they buy these devices to better larp a society of marauding home invaders. (re: Alexa and other surveillance home automation devices)

I am annoyed by media that adds generic protestors for texture, portraying a world fed up with injustice. It's usually used to highlight how incompetent the generic angry masses are, a prelude and moral justification for the forthcoming journey of the individualist randian hero savior. Saw this most recently on Altered Carbon, but it was very prominent in the trashy The Dark Knight Rises. When it's used to make fun of dumbasses, such as True Blood's "god hates fangs", it's okay, though.


This week was all about the lacrosse bro (All Points Bulletin by Dispatch), the otaku geek (Floating Cloud Acoustic Band Japanese Celtic-Folk medley), and the emo (Commit This to Memory by Motion City Soundtrack).


I was talking with Ethan about friendship and such, and he mentioned how he had been talking with a third friend about how much we all had changed.

And he related to me that he replied that in fact we hadn't changed at all. Not one bit.

I'm not sure where I land on the dynamism spectrum, but I know one thing. When I first read this fragment from Catch-22, about the character of Clevinger, I felt uncomfortably alluded to by it.

Clevinger was one of those people with lots of intelligence and no brains, and everyone knew it except those who soon found it out. In short, he was a dope. He often looked to Yossarian like one of those people hanging around modern museums with both eyes together on one side of a face. It was an illusion, of course, generated by Clevinger’s predilection for staring fixedly at one side of a question and never seeing the other side at all. Politically, he was a humanitarian who did know right from left and was trapped uncomfortably between the two. He was constantly defending his Communist friends to his right-wing enemies and his right-wing friends to his Communist enemies, and he was thoroughly detested by both groups, who never defended him to anyone because they thought he was a dope. He was a very serious, very earnest and very conscientious dope. It was impossible to go to a movie with him without getting involved afterwards in a discussion on empathy, Aristotle, universals, messages and the obligations of the cinema as an art form in a materialistic society. Girls he took to the theater had to wait until the first intermission to find out from him whether or not they were seeing a good or a bad play, and then found out at once. He was a militant idealist who crusaded against racial bigotry by growing faint in its presence. He knew everything about literature except how to enjoy it.

I no longer do. So I guess something did change.


Watched Devilman Crybaby. I had high hopes because Ping-Pong: The Animation is my favorite thing, but I thought it was all style no substance, and full of exploitative and immature handling of sexual themes.

With Hunter X Hunter taken down, Mushi-shi is now the only good anime on Netflix.


Cleaning up my bookmarks. There should be a better way!


I got a job. I actually got two jobs, and a bunch other callbacks. Which means I'm staying in Montreal.


I've watched a lot of "new-classics" as of late, stuff like Kill Bill and The Matrix. I'm very impressed at how good they are, far better than I remembered, modern blockbusters seem very uninspired by comparison.


Before realizing that obviously it was part of the featureset offered by Django REST Framework, I wrote my own throttling mechanism. Here's a testament to my silliness:


Incredibly bizarre Django Testing Error. The test client apparently stringifies everything at one level of nesting or below.

Took me a bit to track down the error, but basically the serialized posts entity is [], and this is because although we sent a list of dicts, Django silently turns it into a list of strings.

Clunky fix:

Better fix is to use rest_framework.test.APITestCase and make requests like this, with a little format hint:


Tear-down of Ready Player One, not by me but I subscribe fully.


Today was kinda taxing. Although I'm deeply unemployed, I helped set up a Rails/Vagrant installation, helped debug geolocation on a React Native app, plunged into all these weird details about Google APIs and Debug Key generation, and also looked at the nuts and bolts of a non-shadow-dom, bespoke jQuery web UI.

Maybe I'm not getting paid but I'm pretty alright.


Contributed to open source, got awareness of https://cors.now.sh/ in return!



Pointer Lock API is interesting.


I answered a question on reddit and some people liked the answer. I reproduced it best I could here as "Serious Television".


Manually scraping a website using the console:

document.body.innerHTML.indexOf("epsi") === -1 ? document.querySelector(".moreLink").click() : alert("found!")

Ugly, but worked!


Fun command for comparing files using git without actually committing anything:

Doyle gave me a really good resource for my content-aware fill mini project!

Image Completion with Deep Learning in TensorFlow


Leaving a bar at 3 AM (today, though some would say yesterday), some dude sucker-punched my friend Colin in the jaw. All of a sudden I'm restraining this large guy, trying to help breaking up a big fight. The commotion lasted for what seemed like forever, and the night finally ended at 5 AM. Weird.


zipping: zip bundle ./* —exclude pycache/


"the way a clave unlocks a rhythm."

Someone wrote 149 pages about Carly Rae Jepsen:


For a long time, on a certain project, I used the .tsconfig below:


Thumbnails in OSX, in this example 480px ones.


I was in Europe/Western Canada for a while, and really overestimated how much time I'd want/would spend on my keyboard.

Little to-do list for my own benefit:


Finally solved that damn Jane Street puzzle!


iPhone SE screen dimensions:

Helped a bit with Carly's site.


I barely wrote while I was in Peru. Barely coded, too.

Lima's airport is extremely frustrating. Wi-Fi isn't free, save for a 30 minute spurt per device. I think I could get creative with MAC addresses if I knew what was going on.

I feel like one of the nearby bars is playing Groovy Godzilla on loop.


Walked with mom. Cool discussion on communism, related to Omidyar. Also some Wonder Woman. Not in that order.


Made it to the Jane Street leaderboards!

Helped Ismael and Rodrigo with some tech stuff.

Set up Ubuntu on my dad's old office tower. The TP-Link Wi-Fi adapter didn't work out of the box, but a GitHub project did the trick beautifully (with help from a Quora answer by a developer based in Saudi Arabia).

Good discussion of AWS, etc.


Delicious family lunch. Intense family conversation. Cool coding evening. I feel lucky.


Hangover day. Went to a luxurious party in the evening. Everything ends so late here.


Hung out with mom, went to a party, got ultra drunk.


Spent all day talking with my mom and dad about politics. Kinda interesting.


flight stuff

left —yes running forever and it killed my battery ;-;

running things as sublime should be its own user


Installing a type for TypeScript.

Publishing SimpleBixi on Facebook netted me some feature requests:

Turns out Apple refuses the term "PWA", but their requirements do not involve the manifest file that the Google docs led me to believe was necessary.


I redid the UI for the Bixi app, and bought it a domain name.

It ended up being a fun problem. First, I had to get Leaflet.js working. Then I had to figure out how to embed SVG images and overlay them. Then, it didn't work on iPhones because of HTTPS/mixed-content warnings. So I had to figure out how to serve my own tiles securely.


Spent most of today and yesterday fixing up the Haskell backend of Chat so that it used JSON encoding and decoding. It was a strange experience. I appreciate Haskell's guarantees but any sense of intuitiveness remains elusive.

I also helped Roberta with some Sublime Text 3 stuff. Basic setting up of Build Environments, solving unicode errors by using shell commands instead of regular commands, etc.


Interesting discussion about hybrid web apps on HN.


Incredibly frustrating Django issue. Translations mysteriously refused to work, and it was because I had accidentally named the locale folder sp rather than es, even though translation.override and translation.activate both consider sp a synonym of es and silently coerce it.

Someone linked a pretty good quiz on HN.


Quite a great day!


I'm doing some house cleanup, and I put John Wick on. The club scene song is pretty damn good.

I got into a twitter discussion with Steve Randy Waldman and Noah Smith.


Yesterday, pool party. Bought pants. Drank at a comedy club. Caused hangover.

Watched a documentary in about the 10th year anniversary of City of God.

Worked on some GIF Labeling stuff.


Worked on a little parallax experiment, and it ended up making it to the frontpage. Initially I did a very convoluted implementation involving a pseudo-deque and splicing and rotating a point array... but then I realized scene painter transformations are much saner.

There's a weird bug in iOS where the header and footer, which appear and disappear based on user action, create weird ugly gaps. So the canvas doesn't cover 100% of the vertical, the bottom is just empty but the same color as the weeds, so that whatever the footers do, it doesn't affect the scene.

If you pull the scene too much towards the top, it gives away the trick.


Got tested for allergies. I'm allergic to cats.

Rewrote the markdown parser. It was a success!


Tried to rewrite the markdown parser. It was a bit of a failure.


Waldman invited me to a fancy corporate Microsoft event at the Cirque du Soleil tent, and it was pretty bad. Lots of corporate mumbo-jumbo, a weird interview with two young ML startup founders that played out like Microsoft VPs were trying to justify a bad investment to themselves in real time, and lots of talk of "saving the children and the world" while dispensing thick full-gloss tree-killing glorified corporate pamphlets on the way out. We had lots of fun there though.


Solved that puzzle. Took me a bit. Will try to rewrite in Haskell, since Python was woefully unsuited for the purpose.

Also discovered a cool tech blog by a VR Graphics guy that has not only cool content but also a good style that I'll crib ideas from.

Rewatched「君の名は」, this time with Carly. It's a lovely movie.


Saw Richard Stallman speak live! His lecture felt canned, he was a bit of a dick to many people who answered questions, and his own answer to my question wasn't great.

Discovered the Jane Street puzzle blog. Got carried away by helping friends move, seeing people from out of town, and just generally hanging out, but will finish it tomorrow.


Gave Turn Server Setup a whirl. Some stuff was kinda useful, but overall no success.


Cribbing fancy fonts from a bad, but somewhat nice looking, blog:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.