πŸ“š Books Read, Feb 2024

My thoughts on the books I read in February 2024:

Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth

⭐⭐⭐1/2

I appreciate the ideas in this book, I just wish they weren’t so broad and vague. Not enough detail. And not enough data. I want actionable and specific policies, written in plain language.


The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a standalone novel (no Poirot or Marple). The book crosses genres. It’s a little adventure, thriller, mystery, and romance. I found the plucky protagonist endearing. It’s not difficult to figure out who the Colonel is, but the journey is fun. Unfortunately, the ending was too “happily-ever-after.”


Lord Edgware Dies by Agatha Christie

⭐⭐⭐

Not the best Poirot mystery. Good Poirot-Hastings-Japp interplay.

(minor spoiler πŸ‘‡)

Death by corn knife is an embarrassing way to go.

⭐ My Rating System

Every month I recap the things I watched and read while assigning a rating to each title. Scoring is out of five stars using a half-star scale.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ = masterpiece
⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2 = near perfect
⭐⭐⭐⭐ = excellent
⭐⭐⭐1/2 = worth watching/reading
⭐⭐⭐ = good, but not worth going out of your way for
⭐⭐1/2 = okay
⭐⭐ = bad
⭐1/2 = bad bad
⭐ and under = burn it at the stake bad

πŸ” Food Cooked, Feb 2024

I did some cooking this past month. Here are some new recipes I tried:

Frosted Flake Chicken Tenders

I ran out of breadcrumbs and read somewhere you can use Frosted Flakes.
I substituted honey for maple syrup and made honey mustard for dipping. Turned out way better than I thought it would.

Recipe: delish.com


Chocolate Chip Scones

This is an America’s Test Kitchen recipe (my go-to source for baking recipes). I used chocolate chips instead of blueberries. I needed way more flour than the recipe suggested.

Recipe: madeinmykitchen.com


Mark Bittman’s Tacos

There is nothing particularly special about this recipe. It’s just fun to make
hard taco shells.

Recipe: How to Cook Everything: The Basics


Oklahoma-Style Onion Burger

The onions take the burger to another level. A step up from your typical smash burger.

Recipe: seriouseats.com


Walnut Banana Bread

I didn’t have enough sugar so I added honey to compensate. Worked wonderfully.

Recipe: breaddad.com

πŸ“Ί Movies/TV Watched, Feb 2024

Some of the movies and TV I watched in February of 2024:

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2024)

⭐⭐⭐

Two idiot spies fall in love, stubbornly refuse to communicate, then fall out of love. Funny moments. Great guest appearances. It would have rated much higher but it failed to stick the landing.


M (1931)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It’s remarkable how well-made this movie is for something from 1931. Love me some Peter Lorre.


Scream 4 (2011)

⭐⭐

The movie completely falls apart in the third act. Emma Roberts deserved a Razzie nomination for her performance.


The Larry Sanders Show (1992–1998)

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Funny, vulgar, cringe, and mighty influential. The Larry Sanders Show paved the way for shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Office, and The West Wing (see: the walk-and-talk). I think it gets overlooked because it truly was before its time and none of the characters are particularly good people (which is part of its genius).


True Detective: Night Country (2024)

⭐⭐

For a minute, I thought they might be going somewhere interesting. The more you think about the ending, the less sense it makes. Oh well.


Aliens (1986)

⭐⭐⭐1/2

I think it’s a rule in Alien movies that characters have to make the dumbest decisions possible. I hope real Marines aren’t so annoying and terrible at following orders. The film fails to match the twists and iconic moments that made its prequel great. However, Sigourney Weaver is as amazing as ever.


Apocalypto (2006)

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Apocalypto is a bit underrated (being overshadowed by the anti-Semitic comments of its creator). It’s not historically accurate, which is too bad, but give the film credit for its casting decisions and use of indigenous languages.

πŸ”— Link Dump #53

Personal website ideas https://jamesg.blog/2024/02/19/personal-website-ideas/

Become a Wikipedian in 30 minutes https://blog.mollywhite.net/become-a-wikipedian-transcript/

Debunking cycling fallacies https://cyclingfallacies.com/

Search personal websites for collaborators https://aboutideasnow.com/

A square-flipping game https://unflipgame.com/

Interactive origami folding https://foldmation.com/

Learn about unfair ebook pricing https://www.ebooksforus.com/

The best food movies https://www.eater.com/24071727/best-food-movies-tampopo-the-taste-of-things-ratatouille

How to buy a car online https://github.com/kutinden/buyingacar/blob/main/README.md

πŸ’­ Some Thoughts, 2024-02-22

The White House announced $5.8 billion in funding for water infrastructure. It’s nice to have an administration make real, tangible improvements to our country.

The Biden administration has forgiven more student loans. Student loan forgiveness is not a long-term solution. The system needs to change so predatory student loans do not exist.

West Virginia wants to prosecute librarians for sharing obscene books. This is the kind of thing Bradbury and Orwell were writing about.

It looks as if the Coyote Vs. Acme movie is going to be deleted forever. My heart goes out to the creators who have to watch their hard work be destroyed. I agree with calls to rewrite the tax law loophole.

I wholly support the movement to rewild golf courses. Do cemeteries next, please.

Cars are responsible for 1 in 34 deaths. Trains, buses, and bike lanes fix this.

Cities across the United States are changing zoning rules to build more housing. It’s great to see. We need more mixed-used zoning and fewer parking minimums.

The new Major League Baseball uniforms look like cheap knock-offs. The pants are entirely see-through. Between increased ticket prices, streaming blackouts, ad proliferation, gambling proliferation, and relocation extortion, team owners and their lackey, Rob Manfred, are doing everything they can to bilk every last dollar from the public.

🌎 Maps I Like

A running list of my favorite maps, in no particular order:

Long-distance trails in the United States

Animated pixel map of the United States

National Parks Voronoi diagram

List of ecoregions of the United States

Emerging megaregions map

Envisioning high speed rail

Essential geography of the United States

North America shaded relief map

Western United States shaded relief map

National Geographic maps

Raised relief classroom floor globe

A list of map gifts

A list of independent map sellers

A cartography podcast

Antique maps

National parks maps

USDA plant hardiness zone map

Fall foliage prediction map

πŸ”— Link Dump #52

A ranked list of digital gardens https://github.com/lyz-code/best-of-digital-gardens

RSS club https://daverupert.com/rss-club/

The 1847 Oregon Trail sourdough starter https://carlsfriends.net/

A nation-naming game https://www.namethatnation.com/

A birdsong recognition game https://jessicalieb.itch.io/birdlingo

Lessons from a fountain pen addict https://ukfountainpens.com/2019/03/24/13-hard-learned-lessons-from-a-veteran-fountain-pen-addict/

Over 181,000 USGS historical topographic maps https://www.esri.com/arcgis-blog/products/arcgis-living-atlas/mapping/access-over-181000-usgs-historical-topographic-maps/

πŸ”— Link Dump #51

Flashcards in a private podcast feed https://flashcasts.com/

A multilingual urban dictionary https://untranslatable.co/

A curated list of documentaries worth watching https://ihavenotv.com/

A time and place guessing game https://timeguessr.com/

Global freedom scores https://freedomhouse.org/countries/freedom-world/scores

The quietest places in the world’s loudest cities https://earth.fm/the-quietest-places-in-the-worlds-loudest-cities/

Daily AI-created poems inspired by New York Times headlines https://newspoetry.kaplich.me/

πŸ“š Books Read, Jan 2024

My thoughts on the books I read in January 2024:

A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Like many Christie novels, I guessed the gist of the mystery without placing all the smaller details perfectly. This novel reaffirms my theory that while the best Poirots might be better than the best Marples, the Marples are overall more consistent in their quality.


Post Office by Charles Bukowski

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My first time reading a Bukowski novel, and I loved it. The main character is Henry Chinaski, an alcoholic misanthrope with a brilliant intellect and no drive. I think we all have known a Chinaski at some pointβ€”someone who can be fun to be around, but whose demons ultimately bring everyone down.


The Only One Left by Riley Sager

⭐1/2

This book is infuriating. Excessive descriptions of mundane details do not add suspense. Withholding information that is commonly known and referenced by every character does not make for a good reveal. Stop beating around the bush and just tell us. The only saving grace is how self-aware the novel becomes by the end by leaning into the laughable and gratuitous twists.