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A friend of mine is starting a new business around classes for house plant care and gardening. She’s doing online classes until in-person makes sense again, and one of the first ones she developed is on how to cultivate plants to attract and support pollinators, including butterflies. Last year I raised a bunch of caterpillars into some beautiful butterflies and moths (warning: massive over-share album of 1200+ photos and video ), and now I’ve been asked to talk about my experience as part of the pollinators class! Very cool indeed. It’s online and modestly priced if you’d like to attend:
Recently I’ve also observed a pair of birds building a nest in the jasmine vine that climbs on my front porch, and it has been fascinating and heartwarming to see. Last year a couple also nested there, but in an existing next, where this one was built new in a different location. The prior ones had their eggs eaten by something, I don’t know what, but I’m hoping the new nest location helps keep these from the same fate!
Food and Socials
On Sunday I went on a “pastry walk” with some friends, our second outing of this type, traipsing around the streets of San Francisco in search of doughy delights. We got many sweet and a few savory things from quite a few places on a nearly 8 mile walk around the city!
The full list, in order: Kantine, Craftsman and Wolves, Dandelion Chocolate, Vive la Tarte, Tartine, Thorough Bread and Pastry, The Mill, and Che Fico Alimentari. Of the 8 () places we sampled from, the stand-outs for me were Che Fico Alimentari, Kantine, and Vive la Tarte. I might try to elaborate on that some time, plenty of notes and photos were taken.
Meanwhile, like many of you, I’ve had a weekly video chat get-together scheduled with friends for much of the pandemic. Unfortunately we initially organized it in an SMS thread, which kind of sucks for organization, etc. We were using Zoom for video and although issues were infrequent, I constantly had to repost the Zoom invite, among other little challenges.
The last few months attendance has waned, and I thought perhaps a move to Discord would give us both chat and video in one place, and reinvigorate the group with a nicer, more cohesive experience. We had some initial traction, but sadly we found Discord’s audio quality to not actually be up to par with Zoom, despite its fancy “Krisp”-based noise reduction (we tried with it disabled, too). Once we had more than 2-3 people in a video call in Discord, you could barely understand people. We switched over to Zoom with the same number of people and it was clearly better. Ah well.
Cocktailing and Whatnot
I got 2 fairly stunning new tiki mugs as a birthday present from my sweet mom. The skull unfortunately has a bit of a design flaw, with a sloping lip much lower at the back than the front. This makes it challenging to fill without spilling, and likewise to garnish, and carry. But it’s a beautiful piece, and it’s workable. The Cthulhu mug is a more conventional shape and works quite well. Both will be great additions to my collection.
In Other News
I helped to setup the Discourse forum for “The Productivists” community several months ago as a place for more asynchronous and in-depth discussion and content. The main community began - and remains - in Discord, and quite successfully so, although activity waxes and wanes there. The forums had a strong start, but I and, I think, many others, ended up not having time to keep consistently engaged, and there has been a bit of a lull. But I’m glad to say I was able to get back to posting and replying there again this past week, which is good. There are a lot of great ideas, discussions, and other content on there that I really want to be a part of. And I hope you will also check it out!
I’ve been listening through a lengthy series of Sherlock Holmes audio books narrated by Stephen Frye (who is superb for the task, by the way). I finished set of short stories recently, and while the repetitive trappings of the format (e.g. the intros from Watson referring to “my friend” and “unique abilities”, “singular series of events”, etc.) are a little annoying at times, overall I continue to enjoy them as little puzzlers and stories overall. I fancy I might even be learning to predict what might happen just a bit.