This is a companion to my November 2020 Ballot spreadsheet I’ve shared. It explains how to use my spreadsheet as a voter guide.

Every election, I release my ballot and endorsement spreadsheet to help my friends and family navigate the often-complicated process of deciding how to vote (in CA, and especially in SF, since that’s where I vote). This time, I wanted to give you a companion guide to help you use it effectively. Pick your approach based on your civic time commitment:

I want to decide my votes in an hour

That’s not much time! With over 33 items on the ballot — and a couple of those are “choose up to four” boxes — you’ll have less than 2 minutes to consider each item. …


(a guide for visitors and newbies, from a transplant)

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You’re about to bike across this bad boy/girl/gender-neutral-bridge.

The Schedule

7:30am: Kick off the day by renting a bike and heading across the Golden Gate Bridge. Watch the bridge emerge out of the fog, then work your way up Hawk Hill in Marin and enjoy the view before turning around and biking back to the city.

10am: Eat an outdoor brunch in the heart of the famously-gay Castro at Café Flore, with bottomless mimosas if that’s your vibe. Alternative brunch options include Kitchen Story or Mission Beach Cafe. Expect a wait for all of these if it’s a weekend, so show up at 10am or earlier to dodge the crowds.

11am: Walk to Dolores Park and spend some time sitting in the sun, people-watching and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. Bring a frisbee and toss it around. …


When your cents got that much in common, And you been hustling since your inception, Fuck perceptiongo with what makes sense.

Jay-Z

I hated the shower at my last house. Every time I turned it on, it would be too hot or too cold. The damn thing seemed to try as hard it could to avoid an appropriate water temperature in which I might clean myself.

And yet, if I had asked any plumber to find problems, I am sure they would have found none. They might have checked the pipes, checked the water heater, checked the attachments… but the problem here was so simple that I doubt a qualified plumber would have found it. …


You movin’ backwards if you suggest that you sleep with a Tec Go buy a chopper and have a doctor on speed dial, I guess

-Kendrick Lamar

I first dove into the issue of gun control after the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. I did my reading and went through the standard arguments for and against gun control. While I found plenty of interesting debate points, I couldn’t understand why the complex tragedy at Virginia Tech was so simply and completely tied to this argument. Surely there are larger problems with a mass murder than the choice of weapon?

Now, with the Aurora and Sandy Hook tragedies bringing the issue to the forefront yet again, it’s time for us as a nation to think beyond the gun control debate. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t pass gun control laws. But it is distracting and deceptive to make gun control the primary battleground of television pundits, blog comment sections, and Facebook news feeds. The problem with Aurora, with Sandy Hook, and with Virginia Tech is simply that one deranged person murdered so many others. To focus solely on the method of the murder is to miss the forest for one single tree. …


When I was in the 3rd grade I thought that I was gay Cause I could draw, my uncle was And I kept my room straight

-Macklemore

When Macklemore wrote the above lines, they were almost certainly intended as a critique of stereotyping. And it’s easy to criticize the practice, which has long terrorized people born into oppressed classes. Life seems to throw us counterexamples of stereotypes all the time: “I know a straight man that likes Britney Spears! I know a white guy who can jump!”

But we often forget the positive value of stereotyping (maybe we should call it grouping, since the word “stereotype” has acquired such a negative connotation). Humans developed the ability to make broad observations and apply them to groups because it’s a necessary skill for survival, and has been for our entire time in existence as a species. No, not every tiger wants to eat us, but enough of them do that it’s worth developing a mental association of “large orange and black striped cat” to “dangerous beast we should avoid.” If we couldn’t do that, then we would wait for each tiger to demonstrate that it was interested in eating us before we started running — not a good method for survival. …


I used to write rhymes, all day and all night
While you were playing PlayStation, my pencil was erasing lines

–Kendrick Lamar

I write every day, from a few lines of text on a light day to a thousand in a rare all-night burst of inspiration. But I hardly ever write in English. I spend my time working with JavaScript, a programming “language” which involves many curly braces but very few articles or adverbs. Each “statement” is evaluated by a computer and transformed into a series of actions. Its adherence to proper syntax exceeds that of the strictest grammar teacher, and it chastises me harshly when I bend the rules. Programming is a functional art, and there is little room for flourishes of fancy. Sometimes I crave something a little less practical, a little more personal. …

About

Charlie Stigler

Co-founder @Zaption, developer behind SelfControl. Interested in education, technology, and equality.

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