A book about a guy catching a fish

“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

I never thought I’d be this interested in a book that is all about a guy on his boat catching a fish. Of course, there are themes about the importance of community, tradition, dedication, and the reality that hard work sometimes ends in failure, but it’s really just a book about some guy getting into his boat and trying to reel in a fish for almost 100 pages.

And it was amazing.

I’ve read almost 800 books, not counting comics and manga and portions of books that I read for college, and after a while it seems like almost all books are basically the same story, just in different settings and with differently named characters, so it’s nice to read something a bit different for a change. I’m finding that I want to read classic literature more now when I want a novel because the books that have lasted tend to be books that focus on human nature and the human condition and I appreciate that the books are offering something deeper and more meaningful to me than just entertainment.

“You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?”

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

So I’m an ordained minister now

Universal Life Church Ministries Credentials of Ministry certificate

Apparently this is legit, and I’m an #ordained #minister with the Universal Life Church now. I didn’t realize it was that easy to get this title. It felt like I completed a level 2 quest in an online MMO starter town:


“Quest Complete!
Title Unlocked: Minister”


I’m going to file paperwork with the City Clerk’s office and then if the need arises I’ll be able to perform marriages, baptisms, etc. in New York.


I was inspired to look into this by “The Big Bang Theory” TV show. In season 5, episode 24, Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, Penny and Amy all go online to get ordained as ministers to perform Howard and Bernadette’s wedding ceremony together.

It was one of my favorite moments in the show, and I thought it was just for TV that they were all able to get ordained online. I looked it up and found out that it’s a real thing, and finally got around to doing it myself. I suppose I did it more for the novelty of the idea than anything, kind of like how owning a few doge coins is kind of interesting to me. But hey, maybe I’ll be able to use this.

I’d like to get certified as a public notary too, because why not?

Japanese ambient music

Takashi Kokubo (小久保隆) – Loire’s Castles ~ Medieval Dreams ~ (ロアールの古城~中世の夢~) (1993) [Full Album]

I’ve really been enjoying stuff like this lately. I didn’t realize it was available on YouTube. Or anything like it, I mean. You really can find almost anything online now. Sometimes, I wonder what sort of interests I would have developed if I’d been born a decade later.

A kid who grew up with the internet and everything it has to offer had so many more opportunities for growth and personal development than someone born in the 80s, even if they’re from a small town. When I was a kid, you couldn’t get hold of anything if local stores didn’t order and stock the item. If you had non-mainstream interests, then you were just out of luck, especially if you were interested in other cultures.

Anyway, this type of music is almost like a video game soundtrack. It reminds me of when I would leave my game character idling in the housing areas of Final Fantasy XIV while I did other things, just to hear the music playing from the speakers. It’s really relaxing and makes me feel like I’m somewhere else when I listen to it.

Goodbye, Citizen

Citizen is an app that bills itself as:

The most powerful safety app for today’s world. Download Citizen to feel safer at home or out, get real-time safety alerts and live video of incidents happening near you, updates on natural disasters or protests, and know if your loved ones are near a dangerous incident.

Google Play Store Description

And that all sounds great, right? Who doesn’t want to feel safe and informed? When I first downloaded the app a few years ago, it was pretty neat being able to see where crimes were taking place at the street level. It gave me a better idea of what areas to avoid and what time to avoid them. The data wasn’t complete, it wasn’t always accurate, and the user videos were usually pretty bad, but it felt more genuine than what I would see on the news. It added value to my day-to-day.

Then, Citizen tried to be more than I needed or wanted it to be. And it got invasive. During the pandemic, I started to get really wary of the Citizen app. It started adding a lot of features that went beyond its original purpose, like prompting for always on location tracking for friends and family members, COVID-19 symptom tracking, and background contact tracing. All of that sounds cute and useful on the surface, but who is Citizen and why should they be trusted with that much of my personal data? And even more important, does giving them that information add real value to my life?

Ultimately, the answer to that question was no. I thought about it for a while and realized that after an initial period of usefulness, my most common interaction with the Citizen app was swiping away notifications. Sometimes not even notifications about crimes, but notifications about the weather, protests, politics, and so much other random nonsense that I stopped even paying attention to them. I also realized that knowing about the crimes in my area with immediate notifications and spending a lot of time looking at and thinking about them wasn’t improving my mood or making me a better person. Instead, it was cultivating an atmosphere of fear.

I’m apparently not the only one that feels this way, though I took it further.

So, I deleted the app a few weeks ago. I realized today that I haven’t missed it at all. If I need to know what’s going on, I can check the news when I want to check the news, so that my mood and my day aren’t dictated by the notifications coming from an app.

I’ve been going through a process of decluttering and minimizing, and I’m adding apps and other digital clutter to the list. I’m getting rid of unused email addresses, deleting duplicate or old backups, consolidating where my data is stored, and moving anything I can to simpler hosting solutions so that I can free up my headspace for other things that are more important to me.

So far, it has been a worthwhile journey.