Finished reading: The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter 📚

Overall a good and easy read. It follows a transparent template for this kind of book, and while I personally ding it a bit for that, it’s still worth a read. I’ll revisit my highlights from this book often, but the biggest change in thinking I’m walking away with right now is how I interpret my hunger.

📝 Personal Retreat

With thanks to @macsparky for the guide.

It’s hard to believe how much my writing muscle has atrophied in just a few years of working in tech. It takes me 10x as long to put a good sentence together, and even then it’s not that good! Plenty of relearning to do.


I was having a bad day yesterday. Pretty bad. But I pushed through and did the one chore I wanted to do which is take my bike to a local shop to get the brakes checked before STP. Everything about the space and the people in it was relaxed and happy and weird and wholesome. The place was content to be itself, however it looked, and the people were content to be themselves, however they looked.…

Read more ⟶

ignore the code:

tl;dr — add authors to your list, get a unique RSS feed of their new books.

What a great tool. A lot of book/reading tracking tools will do something kinda like this, but this is so simple, clean, straightforward, and RSS-based 🥲.

Finished reading: Out on a Limb by Andrew Sullivan 📚

Andrew Sullivan is, second to Christopher Hitchens, my favorite essayist of all time. I added Out on a Limb to my Libby queue after listening to Sullivan’s interview with Tyler Cowen on Conversations with Tyler, which was excellent. Sullivan narrates the 21-hour audiobook, which makes it the obvious way to go. Sullivan’s writing is great, and his reading of his own writing is even better. I thought I might be able to pick or recommend some favorite essays, but as I write this note, I don’t think I can narrow it down. I hope I’ll find the time to listen to the whole collection again.

There are many guides on transitioning from the humanities to a career in tech. I don’t see many on transitioning from tech to a career in the humanities. Am I the only person who needs one?

I just registered for my first ever Cascade Bicycle Club STP (Seattle to Portland) bike ride. I have absolutely no certainty that I will be able to finish the 332km/1546m ride, but I’m doing it with a friend, and that makes all the difference.

Go towards the fear

The most frequent block I run into when thinking of writing on my site is my unease with alternating between deeply technical posts (code, automation, ML) and long prose or personal essays. How do I tastefully mix very technical and very non-technical posts on the same blog?

I was up until 3am figuring out how to customize and flash my keyboard’s firmware.

At first I had no idea what I was doing, but I figured it out. I forgot how much pure fun and delight there is in tinkering like this, especially when it’s unnecessary.

Happiness in a bag.

There is a scene in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) (one of The Best Movies) in which George Smiley and Control discuss their suspicions around new intelligence that seems too good to be true.

Smiley says, “If Witchcraft is genuine –”

And Control interrupts to say, “Nothing is genuine anymore.”

I think about that scene all the time.

January 2020 • Seattle, WA, US.


If you take photos find me (@sherif) on

I don’t know which is harder: to write about a topic on nobody’s mind and try to convince people that it matters, or to write about a topic on everybody’s mind and try to convince people that what you have to say, despite appearing on first glance to be similar to other ideas they’ve rejected, is worth considering.

Or to make a run-on sentence work.

Small aesthetic pleasures

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