A chapter-by-chapter recounting of the hope I find in A People’s History of the United States.

People don’t think of this as a hopeful book,

but I’m finding so much hope in every chapter.

Maybe it’s because my book club just finished Hope In The Dark; maybe Solnit’s thoughts on hope should be a precursor for any who fear they’ll be worn down by all the death and oppression documented in A People’s History.

And there is death and oppression. So much. We all know how awful humans can be to each other; this book tells those histories honestly.

But it doesn’t linger on violence or have an interest…


An update to so you’re convinced that learning web development might be cool but you literally have no idea what even. I wrote that one in 2015, which was a whole different world.

I know a high-schooler working a receptionist job at my coworking space for the summer. Sometimes she’s bored at work. This is for her, but also for you, if you care about my thoughts on how to get started.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it:

With the little bit of summer you have left, complete all of the following:

1. Figma 101 from Designlab

First thing to complete: Figma 101

My first recommendation is to learn a little bit of web design, as opposed…


You are a monolith

towering over the landscape
there are thousands
of rooms in your body; it takes days
to get from one end of you to the other

Stop.
Breathe.
Appreciate
your inner vastness

Climb from the edge of your scalp
to its peak.
Clamber through the intricate terrain.
Take it slow. Take it in.
So much unutilized headspace.
How did we not notice this before?

Your kingdom is
unknowable
endless
dynamic.
Go wander its forests.
Exalt on its mountaintops.
Document
every evolving
species spawning
in
rift rivers
and
desert valleys.

Find something new in yourself today.

Photo by Bartosz Wanot on Unsplash. Words by me.


Tips for learning web development on your own

xkcd puts quitting in context

I mentor for an online dev bootcamp. I recently had a student drop out of the program. He was feeling frustrated by the curriculum, and thought maybe he could learn better on his own. Here’s my parting advice to him.

I wish you all the best.

You have demonstrated that you are fully capable of learning web development and doing good work. If it helps, I wrote an article years ago to help self-guided learners, and it’s still pretty relevant. It’s called So you’re convinced that learning web development might be cool but you literally have no idea…


Introducing the react-quizzical component

The scenario

  • A new user signs up for your app
  • You want to get some basic info from them to help them get started
  • You don’t want them to get bored and leave

This is the scenario we had with Entire.Life. When people first signed up, the first thing they saw was a big, empty chart. A little overwhelming! We wanted to help add things to it quickly, to give them an idea of the sorts of life events they might want to track. So we wanted to ask questions like

  • When’s the last time you moved?
  • Do…


A pep talk from me-a-year-from-now. For present me, but for you too.

Each year, in Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year workbook, she invites me to step into the shoes of me-a-year-from-now and give some advice to present me. “You are one year older and one year wiser,” she prompts, and there’s “stuff you’re eager to tell yourself.”

Of course, if I really got to do this, I’d want to tell myself about natural disasters, political turmoil, relational strife that could be so easily avoided, and investment opportunities!


This morning in church I wrote a poem/prayer instead of listening to the pastor.

If you

  • lean Christian
  • enjoy a meditation routine

you may enjoy starting your Christmas meditation with this. Then you can call your silence “Centering Prayer” or “Contemplative Prayer” instead of “meditation.” It’s all pretty similar.

O God—
O Master—
O Ruler of the Universe—
you subvert our earthly power struggle.
You do not tear down the empire with a more noble violence.
You tear it down with an ever-offered, all-welcoming invitation.
You do not enter our world as a monarch,
but as a self-emptying, all-sacrificing love.


My summary & reactions to Chapter 2 of the book Mastering Bitcoin. You may want to start with my synopsis of Chapter 1.

A supposed overview of how the Bitcoin network works, from the old version of Chapter 2 of Mastering Bitcoin. I don’t find this image particularly illuminating, but it is pretty.

First things first: an apology

I misled you in my last post. I advertised that I was reading the 2nd edition of this book, but I had in fact read Edition 1.

Why did this happen? Because I started reading the online version before the paperback came in the mail, thinking that it was the most recent version.

How did I discover it? Because Lisa and I compared notes on Monday (as per our schedule), and I realized that the list I…


Lisa and I have decided to read through the book Mastering Bitcoin.

the bitcoin book: https://www.bitcoinbook.info/

Why are we reading this book?

  • We’re both programmers, and we’ve both been curious about bitcoin & blockchain since 2010. It’s time to finally dig in. Why is now the time? Because:
  • I have been given a couple months by Citrusbyte to dig in and learn about Offline First and Decentralized Web technologies (more about this exciting development later), and the bitcoin book seems like a good foundation to give ourselves. Why does it seem like a good foundation? Because:
  • Balaji recommends it.

How will we read it?

On a schedule! We made ourselves a syllabus. We have one…


I don’t really believe there is such a thing as “the free market.” A market isn’t something that exists in nature; it’s a construct of human societies, and we all agree on the rules of it together. And ever since Europe invented nation-states a few hundred years ago, we have agreed on those rules via government. The rules of the market have changed throughout time, but there must always be rules. What is considered property? (This has changed drastically in the past 100 years.) What to do about bankruptcy? What is considered a monopoly? What is the enforcement mechanism? …

Chad Ostrowski

The cool summer starlight; the warm winter snow. I am interested in illegal fictions.

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