September 19

Mouse King Door
I finished the door for the Mouse King. I haven't seen him yet, tho.

September 17

Pun generator
If you're looking to put the "groan" IN "grown-ups" or the "pun" in "punishment" you've come to the right place. [more inside]

September 12

Great Lines: The Newsletter
I send out a newsletter twice a month with funny or insightful quotes, phrases and passages I've seen recently. It's not just stuff from the present; I also include material from the past. [more inside]

September 6

Surfwords is a very hard word building game. After I sold Semantle (previously), I decided to quit my job and make games. Surfwords is my first. I released it a few weeks ago, but I just decided to add a playable demo. You can try the demo on the web (works best with Chrome). The soundtrack is by Patrick Cornelius, and everything else is by me. [more inside]

September 3

Project Herzog
Way back at the beginning of COVID I was living in South Korea and freaking out like everybody else. I decided that with my extra time, and lack of social outlets, I'd sit down and watch every film ever made by Werner Herzog -- the documentaries, the features, the short pieces, and the ephemera. I'm planning on updating the project, hopefully for a long time. I made it up to his 2020 asteroid documentary Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds. [more inside]

September 2

Change one letter, improve a band?
So some guys in a moderately successful cover band decided to start a side project for their side project — selling canned wine inspired by music in their repertoire. [more inside]

September 1

Lud-in-the-Mist in Chinese
"Lud-in-the-Mist", a fantasy novel by British author Hope Mirrlees, came into public domain earlier this year in the US and I made a Chinese translation of it. It's a book I enjoyed very much, with caveats about its outdated gender & class politics. I've 3/4 done with the first round of revisions, and that's what has been posted on the Dreamwidth site. (And thank you Mefi, this is where I first learned of this delightful book.)

Crisp Sandwich Day  
An annual celebration of the magic that happens when crisps (potato chips) are placed between two slices of bread. When deciding on a date, it soon became clear that it had to be 25th October - also known as St Crispin's Day.

August 31

Day 2
I live-blogged the first days of the Biden administration.

August 30

Scorched (Short Story)
I recently discovered that I am autistic. One of the decisions I’ve had to make was whether or not to pursue official diagnosis. Writing this story helped me process some of the difficult emotions I’ve had to deal with.

August 29

How the Consumer Computer is Consuming Computing
"It is no coincidence today’s preeminent technology companies are really advertising companies and shopping malls." ~ Beyond the Frame takes a look at the increasingly adversarial nature of Human Computer Interaction.

August 26

rating every english-language bookstore in the entire world
I have decided that my next project is visiting, rating, and reviewing every english-language bookstore in the entire world. I threw together a website today to keep track of this, and backfilled it with around thirty bookstores that came to mind so far, largely in New York and San Francisco.

August 23

TreasuryDirect Wikipedia article
I find fascinating and frustrating. It's an aging web application that dates back to 2002, and for many years it was used by relatively few people, mostly US citizens who wanted to buy or redeem savings bonds — which heavily declined in popularity over the past few decades, since they had relatively low interest rates. TreasuryDirect suddenly got millions of new users over the past year because of high interest rates on inflation-protected Series I bonds, and the system and its customer support team have been struggling. I wrote an in-depth Wikipedia article covering the history of this service since it started in 1986, including details about a replacement web application that the Treasury has been working on since 2014. [more inside]

August 21

ScotRail audio announcements as an interactive database
Scottish train operator ScotRail released a two-hour long MP3 file containing all of the components of its automated station announcements, as the result of a Freedom of Information request. I have been having SO much building things with this. [more inside]

August 19

PREY Isn't About What It's About: A Video Essay
A relatively short video essay on Prey (2022), the original Predator (1987), science fiction, and the value of central metaphors. [more inside]

August 13

Charcoal Suite brush set for Procreate
In my spare time as an illustrator, I like to make marks and brushes for fun. This is the first set of Procreate brushes I've made public for people, a responsive set of 24 brushes and 6 textures for personal/professional use that mimic all the fun soft things you can do with charcoal. I'm excited to see how they stoke creativity for others.

August 8

Bean Salad
Choose your own adventure, bean salad edition. [more inside]

August 5

Early Collaborative Games of Fantasy and Imagination
A few months ago, I posted a rough translation of the rules to a collaborative fairy tale storytelling game more than 200 years old. I've now put that onto a Neocities site with many additional translations: a total of 5 variants of the same game re-published many times between 1801 and 1867, several variants of a game the same age that involves role-playing, and several variants of even older poetry and nonsense games related to the Surrealist game "Exquisite Corpse." There are also pages and translations explaining the history of the games' penalty phase, offering advice on running demos of the storytelling game especially using motifs from the earliest "secondary world" fantasy novel, and possible round-robin storytelling from the 1600s-1700s, as well as links to many additional sources for parlor games from 1551 to 1899.

All the cartoon art I've commissioned for PlanetSlade on a single page
Contributors include Rick Geary, Roger Langridge, Hans Rickheit, Karl Stevens and Gerhard, all producing bespoke PlanetSlade work you won't have seen anywhere else. PLUS: convention sketches & such from Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Dave Sim, Ralph Steadman, Reinhard Kleist, the Hernandez Brothers, Hunt Emerson and Peter Brookes.

August 1

Illustrated Meditation for Comfort After a Traumatic Loss
The sample chapter linked here is from Visualizations for Heartbreak, which I self-published in 2020 (in print and electronic versions). The narrative of the book focuses on the traumatic ending of a romantic relationship, but the anguish, rage, shame, and catharsis depicted in its pages are also relevant to other experiences with difficult good-byes. The text is accompanied by photographs and collages (also by the author), and I've recently had recordings made of me reading the text. I believe there is a need for this book, but so far I haven't had much success marketing it. Any suggestions are welcome!

A witch and her demon girlfriend punch Mitch McConnell.
A couple months ago, I pulled out this old story proposal from 2016 and decided to work on it. In that time it expanded to about twice its original size, with a cliffhanger in the middle, and seemed to fit perfectly as a submission to Webtoons' "Call to Action" contest, so I ended up reworking it to make sense on a tiny phone screen, too. [more inside]

July 29

The Kubrick Times
When making 2001: A Space Odyssey the production team wrote fictional news headlines to appear on the iPad-like devices. I've used HAL 9000 (OK, GPT-3 and DALL·E 2) to turn them into full articles. [more inside]

July 28

Latent Space Netsuke
I know it's starting to get a little cliché with the AI generated image projects, but I'm pretty pleased with this one: A series of photo-realistic works of imagined "netsuke" sculptures, using DALL-E. I've created over a hundred, which I'm posting online (in addition to the Instagram account, there's a twitter account for those who prefer it), and collected 80 into a print book for people who are into that sort of thing. [more inside]

July 25

MetaFilter Steering Committee Self-Nominations Open
********Hello there!******** The Metafilter Transition Team (TT) is pleased to announce that self nominations are open for the inaugural Steering Committee! The purpose of the MetaFilter Steering Committee (SC) will be to develop and implement site policy, code updates, and ensure the financial health of the site. The SC works with the site staff and site owner to ensure that there is not a single failure point for site decisions or actions, and that there are an adequate number of people available to respond to community needs. Long story short this will be a committee of Metafilter members who help guide the site and act as the voice of the members at large. Interested? Come on over to MetaTalk and read all the details!

July 24

"La Chasse"
Part performance, part tech demo. Link goes to ~3 min. youtube video of me playing a keyboard piece, my arrangement of "La Chasse" from Bob James's album Rameau. I'm playing live with custom software helping me to approximate (I hope!) the amazing electronic orchestration of the original recording. [more inside]

July 20

Nelson's Linkblog
A collection of links I find interesting. I write it for an audience, a few links a day of general interest. [more inside]

July 18
This is a fish shell script for taking notes that serves all of my needs and makes me inordinately happy. It supports searching for notes with fzf, archiving notes to a directory, and inserts date headers the first time a note is edited on a given day.
My lil’ script is heavily inspired by my older, good-but-not-great notes script and by browsing the features of fancier note taking tools like jrnl, rhysd’s notes, terminal velocity, and pimterry’s notes.

July 15

IUDs for All
Contraception, and control and understanding of your own body are pressing topics. IUDs are remarkably effective, but not as available or as popular as they could be – and insertion is more painful than it should be. We’re investigating innovations to empower women to design and insert their own IUDs. [more inside]

July 13

Information Warfare Is Without Limits and So Are Its Consequences
If we fail to see the last eight years as anything less than eight years of continuous war, we fail to understand the politics of cyberspace.

July 12

Bad Moon Rising: The Strange Untold Story of the Cult Leader, his Newspaper and the Right
With the Moonies (previously on Metafilter) back in the news after the assassination of Shinzo Abe, I've re-released a free edition of my 2008 nonfiction book on this group and its connections to right-wing politics in the U.S. and Japan. In a new preface, I discuss why I made the PDF freely available with hopes of helping young people trapped inside this group.

July 9

In Which Dr. Strange Swears Like A Normal Person
Dumb fun where a re-read of Marvel Mastersworks' Doctor Strange compendiums leads to me swapping out his various oaths for the single most versatile word in the English language. Work in progress. Since I do have a professional life where I'm expected to maintain a level of decorum, there's a password. [more inside]

July 8

Making a watermelon chair from green wood  
I started making colourful stools for kids a couple of years ago in my spare time. Recently I was part of a project to film the process, and this is the result :). The link above goes to a short little teaser and some still photos, or you can go here for the whole video. [more inside]

June 23

Solfetta: a free web-based ear training app
I created Solfetta because I wanted a convenient way to practice playing by ear on my phone that could help build associations between the music being played and Solfa symbols (you can also display intervals, or note names in any key). You can play what you want or use a library of well-known melodies to get started. The tuning can be changed to match any recording. Code (VanillaJS) is on GitHub.

June 17

The many faces of Boris Johnson
I’ve just compiled 36 of my photographs showing London street art images of Boris Johnson into a single Twitter thread. The roles Johnson’s shown in here include comedian, demon, Beatle, blackface minstrel, clown, monster, glove-puppet, shoeshine, dominatrix, junkie and sexy manga boy. Threadreader.

June 16

Every Diner in Whatcom County, WA
I'm a recent transplant to Bellingham, Washington. In addition to rain and deer, we have lots of diners. I have decided to eat at and review each one based on the following criteria: Vibe, Song Heard, Coffee, Did the yolk pop?, Can I sit and read a while?, and Price. I'm up to 14 so far, about eight more to go! [more inside]

June 11

Woefully Neglected
Sorry for the lack of updates! Yesterday was 10 years to the day since the last update to this site. [more inside]

June 10

AI-generated art and comics about cats, from the future! I've been generating these using a tool called Midjourney, which has proved especially good at mimicking the pen-and-ink art style of New Yorker cartoons. I'm having a ton of fun making these (“new yorker cartoon about a cat being chased by a swarm of bees” is my favorite so far), so I set up a dedicated Instagram. New cat comics/art/weirdness a couple of times a day!

Penga, a penguin physics game
I recently integrated Planck.js into a client's product and wanted to reuse that knowledge to make a fun game, so I picked an idea and tweeted along as I refined & built it. [more inside]

June 7

Short story: "Theory of Knowledge"
A story about revenge, written in the form of an epistemology exam. [more inside]

June 6

"Still Me," my latest music video
I wrote the music using some Apple loops and original stuff too. I used GarageBand for iOS. And iMovie for iOS. My partner did a lot of the video-ing. I love the old French doll and the bluejay finger puppets.

June 1

This digital history project reveals a comprehensive history of housing discrimination and segregation across the US' North and West. Complicating the notion that most racist policies existed only in the Jim Crow south, Unvarnished includes a national narrative on how racist policies and practices created a segregated nation, along with six "local spotlight" stories for Appleton, WI; West Hartford, CT; Brea, CA; Naperville, IL; Oak Park, IL; and Columbus, OH. [more inside]

May 31

INSIDE: The Photobook
Last June, my brother texted me a rave review urging me to watch Bo Burnham's Netflix special INSIDE, which had been languishing on my to-watch list along with a hundred other things. I ended up loving it so much that I made this exhaustive megapost about it. As thanks (and for his 30th birthday present), I embarked on a project to turn the entire special into a coffee table-style photobook. It took a biiit longer than I thought (about six months longer!), but the project is now complete. Process, photos, and full PDF available... Inside. [more inside]

May 27

May 24

... a look back at your Amazon shopping history
Amazon allows you to export your shopping history as a CSV. Nozama helps you parse your purchases. Slice and dice past your spending by year, category and item. [more inside]

May 23

Our new verification system, which tests for correct behavior in bioinformatics software packages. We crafted tests to unify correct behavior when tools encounter various edge cases—potentially unexpected inputs that exemplify the limits of the format. Inspired by the web standards Acid tests.

May 21

Mel's Loop - A Comprenesive Companion to the Story of Mel
TL;DR: On this date 39 years ago The Story of Mel was published on Usenet by its author. Today, we launch Mel’s Loop project (, with some fascinating details about the epic hacker folklore tale, its characters' biographies and origins! [more inside]

May 19

Hyper: A Bookmarklet to Optimize Reading Speed
This bookmarklet enables one to optimize reading speed by bolding the first few letters of each word in text. It operates on any HTML and can also be accessed within the webpage. [more inside]

May 17

Corkery’s Farewell (1875): a Peaky Blinders ballad.
The term “Peaky Blinders” was still a decade away from being coined when Jeremiah Corkery and his thuggish mates murdered a Birmingham policeman called William Lines in March 1875. But it's only the name they lacked. Corkery's execution four months after the killing produced at least two songs about him and a great deal of press coverage lamenting the lawless state of the Victorian city's streets. PlanetSlade’s latest gallows ballads essay has the full story, plus a look at how the real Peakies differed sharply from their TV counterparts. [more inside]

May 13

The Daily Brief -- News as Information
A reboot of a project we ran from 1995 to 2000, the Daily Brief is a news summary intended to provide our readers with unbiased, no-agenda, clear, and timely information that is needed to maintain essential awareness of important events and information from around the world. Maybe MeFi needs a News link up there in the header where the Daily Brief can be repurposed for intelligent ingestion and commentary? [more inside]

May 5

How the age-appropriate debate is altering curriculum in Tennessee and nationwide  
A story we've been working on at Chalkbeat for a little while, on the challenges faced by curriculum in Williamson Co., Tennessee. A lot of these kinds of moral panic stories concentrate on the things that individual actors say, but for this reporting my team dug into the report for all 31 texts that had been challenged, and tried to put them into context of exactly what the complaints were, and how they were addressed. [more inside]

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