Getting Shit Done Lifestyle Self Care

Read How to Calm Your Mind

Read How to Calm Your Mind by Chris Bailey

How to Calm Your Mind is a treasure trove of practical, science-backed strategies that reveal how the key to a less anxious life, and even greater productivity, is a calm state of mind.

I took my time reading this over the past three months to let it really soak in. It’s great and totally aligns with my own shift in thinking over the years.

I’ve followed Bailey’s work for many years, and enjoyed his previous two books, but also struggled with anxiety, stress and burnout. Culturally it feels like many Millennials are going through this transition at the same pace, throwing ourselves into work and burning out through our twenties, then rethinking priorities in our thirties and recognizing the societal factors pushing us to work so hard and yet ineffectively. We see decades of our careers remaining ahead of us and are acknowledging that we can’t keep brute forcing ourselves till we’re eighty.

I appreciate this comprehensive recentering of the value and importance of rest and calm to let us live the lives we want to. Stress and anxiety have physical consequences to the way our bodies and minds function, and make it harder to be intentional. He covers the scientific backing behind burnout and stress as well as offering a whole host of practical steps to try calming your body and mind, while reminding readers not to overdo it by trying to change everything at once. Even as someone who’s practiced meditation and mindful breathing and such, I found new ideas.

I appreciated the deeper grounding in root causes, especially the framing of looking at activities in terms of stimulation. I was reading The Shallows by Nicholas Carr at the same time as this,  which provided a perfect complement of messages on the impacts of digital spaces and the value of analog. I don’t 100% agree with Bailey — like his assertion that hanging out virtually “doesn’t count” as social time — but overall agree that I’d like to use my digital devices less and more thoughtfully, and replace digital with analog where viable.

Relationships Technology

The hollow banality of the metaverse

Liked Who Is Still Inside the Metaverse? by Paul Murray (Intelligencer)

My hopeless, bizarre, maddening quest to find some friends in Horizon Worlds, which is Facebook’s — excuse me, Meta’s — home base in the metaverse.

The headset is decidedly antisocial. Once the Meta Quest is strapped on, it’s adios to the real world, so much so that the headset prompts you to demarcate a “play area” by spraying a virtual boundary line on the ground…

Henceforth, whenever I’m close to the edge of my boundary, the real world appears “through” the virtual one in a gritty, low-resolution black-and-white version of itself, like found footage in a ’90s horror movie. It’s hard not to suspect that this is how Meta wants you to think of analog reality.

Gamification is everywhere these days — in the classroom, at work, on your daily bike ride — but introducing it into a comedy club seems particularly perverse. The late anthropologist David Graeber talked about the “baseline communism” that holds society together, the many small acts of goodwill people perform for one another every day without even thinking… I’m sure Okiedriver, who’s clearly a kind, thoughtful guy, deeply invested in his club, would show people around for free. But because the club has introduced this points system, his goodwill has been, effectively, monetized.

[T]his upending of social norms has a strange flattening effect on interactions in virtual reality. […] Here, in the metaverse, nobody has any connection to anyone else beyond owning a headset, a weak tie if ever there was one. Consequently, the conversations tend to stay on the level of small talk. If you’re a metaverse developer and you regard the details of real life as basically cosplay, then you will see no reason a lasting bond shouldn’t spring up between two avatars floating in cyberspace. But in practice, when you remove everything that gives someone’s life shape and meaning, the essence that’s left doesn’t have a huge amount to say beyond stray thoughts on bitcoin or the latest episode of The Last of Us.

Featured Science Society Technology

When “ambiguity is a feature, not a bug”

Replied to Pluralistic: Netflix wants to chop down your family tree (02 Feb 2023) by Cory DoctorowCory Doctorow (

Suddenly, it was “computer says no” everywhere you turned, unless everything matched perfectly. There was a global rush for legal name-changes after 9/11 – not because people changed their names, but because people needed to perform the bureaucratic ritual necessary to have the name they’d used all along be recognized in these new, brittle, ambiguity-incinerating machines.

Digital precision

We encounter this problem often in the digital world in things like content-limited text fields and binary choices on a form (or limited options that drive us always to “other”).

The digital world demands exactitude in a way analog doesn’t. I recall my dad, a TV station electrician, explaining the difference between analog and digital signal to me as a kid; I couldn’t understand why the squared shape of digital signal — either you get it or you don’t — would win out over more flexible analog signal, which has some allowance to receive lower quality signal rather than none.

Too, this inherent precision of digital information influences the way we think about data. We interpret numbers to be more meaningful than they are:

Excel-calculated results down to four decimals falsely imply confidence unsupported by the input data.

Recipes call for a specific baking time, when everyone’s oven is a little bit different, and environmental conditions affect baking time by impacting the moisture content of the ingredients.

Ad metrics and pageview data and likes that don’t translate truly to reach or brand recognition or conversions. (Like Internet celebs with millions of followers getting book deals that don’t translate to sales.)

Art and Design Resources and Reference

Zipatone textures

Bookmarked 1974 Zipatone Catalog (

Cover and swatches from a 1974 Zipatone catalog. Shading films were not unique to Zipatone, but as the leaders in the field, their catchy name has become synonymous with these types of pressure-sensitive pattern sheets. I scanned and uploaded the swatches rather large so that they can be used in Photoshop or Illustrator as patterns or textures. Today, most of these designs could be achieved with a few clicks of a mouse but for anyone who would like to inject a little 1970s realness into their work, I hope these will come in handy. Each swatch is 1800 x 1200 px (6” X 4” at 300 dpi). Have fun! Zipatone Inc., 1974


Maybe we shouldn’t have gotten rid of our CDs

Liked Rob Sheffield on the Joys of the CD, Music’s Least-Glamorous Format by Rob Sheffield (Rolling Stone)

Compact discs never had the romance of vinyl or the convenience of MP3s. But they’re still the ideal format for getting lost inside your music collection.

I still have a CD player in my car so I hung onto my favorite 20-30 albums, and I somewhat regret getting rid of my collection. It wasn’t ever as big as my parent’s, but I had ~50-70 jazz CDs (donated to the local HS music department so hopefully someone’s still using them) plus probably a hundred albums. Some indie shit I probably couldn’t replace if I wanted (I like to think I’ve become slightly more thoughtful about what I give away in my wiser 30s 😂).

But to be fair, my listening has shifted a lot since college, so the music I listen to most I don’t have on CD, and I got rid of a bunch of albums that I had kinda outgrown, so maybe it’s not a bad thing. I’ve only bought one or two CDs a year for the past decade, indie bands I wanted to give some extra support (and listen in the car).

There’s something about having a tangible object that makes it easier to flip through your collection and pull out things you haven’t listened to in a while. Growing up I was obsessed with learning to recognize every song that came on, so I was constantly comparing against the back of the CD. I liked looking through the liner art, and had a great visual memory for what the cover of every album was. Now it’s hard for me to remember what artist performed what song – I think that physical object of the jewel case was an anchor point for my memory. I also listen to playlists primarily these days, and know only a single song (or handful) by any given artist.

(Related? Structures of Thought)

I think there’s a place for both CDs and playlists in a musical library – I’ve benefitted from both styles of listening. But I do miss my five disc changer from my youth… hooked up to massive speakers nearly 3′ tall in my living room so they could punch some damn volume 😂 (No idea if they were any good or not 🤷‍♀️)

I also think it’s worth remembering we got rid of our CDs for a reason… they do take up a lot of space and jewel cases are shit… but now we’ve spent time without them we can recognize what we’ve lost along with them.

I keep thinking about looking up a used CD player, maybe I’ll actually get around to it once day 🤷‍♀️😂 I’m curious how much I would listen to CDs if we upgraded the music system in our car and Bluetooth wasn’t an enormous pain – would I revert to mostly Spotify playlists on my phone? 🤔

Art and Design

Algae Ink Offset Printing

Liked (
Person with ink on their thumb holding printed sheet with an ink blotch design and info about algae ink
Designed by Ordinary Things

Patagonia used algae ink (created by Living Ink) for a printing project, designed by Ordinary Things. Appreciate experimenting with new materials that are less environmentally harmful. Looks cool on a one color piece though more brown than black (maybe intentional?), interested to see how this tech develops.

Art and Design

Ballsy Letterpress Design from Jessica Hische

Liked (

The type is so fine on this it seems pretty ballsy to trust that registration but the printers nailed it!

One thing I like about letterpress is color blending / stacking, and I’m impressed to see it used in a design composed of such thin elements.

Jessica Hische is an impressive designer.