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Category: Navel-Gazing

Notes: 2022-11-23

Recovery from covid continues. Allow me to express the sentiment that wearing a mask is a very small price to pay for avoiding literally three weeks of reduced capacity, one week of which was complete downtime.

I installed an ActivityPub plugin for WordPress, so if you’re a Mastodon person you can effectively follow this blog at @Bryant. This works very well for me, because it means I can easily put my longer-form permanent thoughts here and everything I post on my main Mastodon account ( can be transient.

Tim Bray has an excellent article on practical uses of the blockchain. While he was at AWS, he was tasked with being part of a group that looked into whether or not AWS should provide blockchain services. Spoiler: they found no use cases that require a blockchain over a database. Distributed ledgers (which do not require blockchains) are handy.

The Man of the Hole is an absolutely wild story. He was an indigenous native of the Amazon rainforest whose tribe was wiped out by Brazilian settlers sometime after 1970 or so. We don’t know what his name was, because Brazil successfully avoided disturbing his solitary existence for over two decades. He died this August. I can’t imagine how lonely his life must have been, but apparently he knew there were people keeping an eye out for him and I guess he never showed signs of wanting contact. Read the article. The Wikipedia page also seems pretty good.

Interesting Rian Johnson interview (by Walter Chaw, who is great). I liked what he had to say about the meta-textual layer of an all star cast: what expectations does that create in the audience?

I want to invent a tabletop RPG mechanic around the Go First Dice. Follow the link for a deep dive, but the summary is that it’s possible to number four 12 sided dice such that when four people roll them, there will never be a tie and every possible ordering of the results is equally possible. In other words, everyone has an equal chance to roll highest, second highest, third highest, and fourth highest. (Second place is a set of steak knives, of course.)

Phew. Lots of backlog today.

I knew that Lagos was one of the biggest cities in the world, and growing fast. I did not realize that it’s the east end of a 600 mile stretch of coast that’s quickly turning into a megapolis.

Command Line!

awk '/in_reply_to_screen_name/ { print $3 }' tweets.json | sed 's/[","]//g' | sort | uniq -c | sort | grep -v BryantD | tail -20
  56 graphxgrrl
  57 patrickoduffy
  58 jessnevins
  59 othergretchen
  60 GlobeChadFinn
  61 ryantomorrow
  65 smakofsky
  66 seclectech
  69 multiplexer
  73 gentlyepigrams
  75 rmd1023
  76 mgrasso
  79 JimHenleyMusic
  79 Wolf_six
  89 carlrigney
 102 _r_o_n_e_
 107 rone_____1
 129 emilytheslayer
 306 rdonoghue
 341 ce_murphy

Exiting Twitter

[Reproduced from Twitter, slightly edited. I’m fiddling around in a lightweight way with a tool to turn Twitter archives into HTML pages and/or WordPress posts, while I’m at it. Who knows if I’ll get anywhere with it.]

If you have any qualms about a Musk-managed Twitter, now is a decent time to think about whether or not you want to hang around. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. Here’s my plan. I think there’s a decent chance Musk will turn around and off-load Twitter within the next six months, thanks to the amount of debt that banks are taking on as part of this, so I’m not going to do anything drastic; no hurry for me.

I’m gonna leave my bots turned off. I don’t think they were serving any super-important purpose, except maybe the startsmall bot, but life goes on.

I am going read-only. Twitter’s a useful information site for me so I’m not going to stop reading it, but I don’t need to post there. I’ve been building some workflows to make it easier to collect random thoughts; I can do semi-daily posts to

I downloaded all my Twitter data. You should too if you’re thinking about leaving, even if you don’t know what to do with it. There might be tools for the less technical someday.

My key links now live at — I own that domain name, so that’s a persistent place to find me. I’m on Cohost and Mastodon, although I’m not putting a huge amount of effort into either of those.

I’ll reevaluate in six months or so. Earlier if it makes sense, but I’ve got a reminder set for May.

The best social media advice I have right now is to spin up a Discord for your buddies. I have one centered around movies. It’s easy and free and you don’t need hundreds of members — just invite your pals and let them invite a few of people and you can get a nice space. Why Discord? It’s popular, many people already have a login, and they don’t need to make a new one to join your Discord. As boring as it is to go with the market leader, it’s sometimes smart. Also, assuming Slack is the alternative, I prefer being in the target audience — Slack is in the corporate market.

If you like a social media service which is more in your control,Darius Kazemi’s is a very good approach.

Finally, I continue to be deeply grateful that my random Tweets about Eric Hargan went mildly viral. There are quite a few people I Twitter-met that way who are insanely cool; I’ve been glad to get little windows into your worlds and have occasional conversations. Thank you.

Letterboxd Feed Update

I love copying my Letterboxd reviews over here, but I hate how much they dominate my feed. This week I started rewriting my script so that it’ll batch reviews up a week at a time. Gonna take a little more thought about formatting and such, but I’ve got the basic aggregation working and the output looks like this:

Year: 2022
    Week: 9
        Polytechnique, 2009 - ★★★★★ (contains spoilers)
    Week: 10
        Forbidden City, U.S.A., 1989 - ★★★½
        The Last Days of Disco, 1998 - ★★½
        A Bay of Blood, 1971 - ★★★

So that’s cool. This’ll also let me comfortably grab the whole backlog from Letterboxd via their export feature, which I didn’t want to do because a lot of my older reviews (from, say, Fantasia) are one-liners.

Letterboxd Movie Reviews, Part 2

My code is basically working, including spoiler protection and some other fun stuff. It’s more complex than it needs to be since I’m also saving entries to a database, plus it includes a lot of Letterboxd specific processing. Oh, and I’m using basic auth because I’m lazy. Possibly I’ll clean it up and release it soon; I’d just want to make it more of a generic RSS feed to WordPress engine.

Letterboxd Movie Reviews

I’m experimenting with posting my Letterboxd reviews here, since eventually you have to learn your lesson about hosting your own content. We’ll see how it goes. I’d prefer to filter out the ratings without reviews.

Tech Note: JournalPress Plugin

This is very obvious in retrospect: the reason my WordPress to Dreamwidth crossposting stopped working is because Dreamwidth made security changes and as a result you don’t get to use your password for the API any more. Good change! If you cluelessly don’t pay attention, though, your WordPress plugin will stop working.

Solution: go to the Mobile Post Settings page and generate yourself a new API key. Easy.

This is a very light excuse for a weekly post but man, this week was kind of disfocused for various reasons.

Blog Merge: LFR 2010

Most of my hobby time in 2010 went to playing Living Forgotten Realms. I had a really good time doing it, for the most part. As I recall I’d been playing since early 2009; I know I started playing in Boston and it turned into our main gaming outlet once we moved down to the Baltimore area.

In 2010, I decided to try and play 50 LFR games over the course of the year, and further decided to blog them all in one of those occasional fits of organization I have. This was a wildly unambitious goal, as it turned out. I wound up playing or GMing 120 games. I’m pretty sure I pushed through one or two of those in December so that I could hit a round number.

I never did hit epic tier with Reed. I can’t imagine how I would dig up enough players to do that even informally now; kind of a pity. Man, he was a great character, though. I used to start out adventures by hiring a bunch of townsfolk to cheer him and Faral on their way out of town.

Anyhow! For some reason I did all that blogging on a Tumblr, and it occurred to me today that some day that’ll go away, so I spent an hour or so importing them back to WordPress and fixing up the tags. A few of the links will be broken unless I get around to fixing them eventually, but the whole insane year is now captured under the lfr2010 tag. Call it a very very small slice of gaming history.

Boy, either my cell phone camera was really terrible or Tumblr killed the resolution on my photos. Sorry about that.