CategoryObservations

Upside Down Fire

This winter has been brutally cold and I’ve made fires almost every night. I have built fires wrong for years. There is a better way to build a fire and have it burn longer and require less fussing. The upside down fire. Sid O’Neill enlightened me to the benefits of this fire-construction method and my life is greatly improved because of it.

Before learning about the upside down fire, I was putting the small kindling and paper on the bottom, then piling larger sticks and small logs on top of them. Then laying the largest wood on the top. Instead, I’ve built the fire upside down.

Start with the large logs on the bottom. Pack them in and make a layer of large wood without gaps between the logs. Then lay smaller on top of them. Finally, put the smaller sticks, kindling and some paper or fire starter on the very top. Then light the fire from the top instead of the bottom.

This allows the small bits to catch and burn first, then as they burn and the heat builds, the larger logs heat up and start to burn. The fire will burn for a long time without the need for any more work.

You must be patient because the fire will take longer to really get going. It can take 15-20 minutes before the embers get hot enough to ignite your larger logs but once they get going, sit back and enjoy the heat.

I won’t build a fire any other way. I like the setting it up, lighting it, then enjoying hours of heat. It’s been a much-appreciated addition to my winter as I go through less wood with each fire and the fire burns down to almost nothing if I let it go long enough.

The upside down fire is also excellent for camping and wood stoves. Tim Ferriss also wrote about building an upside down fire and its benefits.

Declarations

Silly ideas pop into my brain sometimes. I usually ignore them or at the very most Tweet them and move on with life.

This time is different.

Patrick Rhone wrote a post on Declarations for the new year. It included his declaration:

“There will be no anger, grumpiness, frustration, or other bad feelings today. This is not how any of us wish to start the new year. This is not how any of us wish for those we love to start the new year. We have a nice day ahead and a nice day is exactly how we wish to start the new year. Therefore, we will figure out how to get beyond whatever stands in the way of that.”

And finishes his post saying,

Should it be a success, I may begin tomorrow by announcing, “There will be no anger, grumpiness, frustration, or other bad feelings today. This is not how any of us wish to start the second day of new year…”

And I thought that was a neat idea.

So I decided to start recording a daily declaration. I immediately over thought it and started reaching for a microphone and recording it to an mp3, then where to host it. How to share it. Then I remembered, Anchor was a thing that existed in the world.

So I downloaded it and have started recording Daily Declarations.

Since I don’t understand how Anchor works, I don’t have copies of the first few days. But here is today’s recording. This has been a fun excuse to use Anchor and I may expand that out to other things. It’s a silly little project, but one I’m having fun with.

If anyone would like to record a declaration, let me know and we’ll keep this going into the New Year.

Practice > Tools

Tools aren’t important, it’s the practice that makes good content.

From Warren Ellis

My problem with this emerging narrative is that doing a podcast is a relatively low-tech, cheap enterprise. Beg or borrow a microphone and a laptop. Use a smartphone and earbuds with a mic. Process in something free like Audacity or Garageband. Look at apps like Opinion or Anchor before spending real money on Libsyn or a WordPress front end. It can be easier than you think. If you have something to say or do and audio is your thing, don’t dismiss podcasting just because other people are telling you it’s becoming professionalised.

Figure out what you want to do. Pre-record three episodes and upload them all at once as your launch. Keep it simple, always. Get things out into the world. And then tell me about them, please. Thank you.

I saw the excerpt from Warren Ellis’ newsletter on Twitter earlier and it made me think about a similar post I saw.

The tools aren’t important. Practice is important.

The Internet™

The Internet Demands Progress.
The Internet Hates Change.

This applies to everything on the Internet.
And everything in business.
Every new season of television.
Every new movie.
Everything.

People want something that’s familiar enough to be comfortable and relate-able and different enough to feel good about the price of money and time.

Sometimes, my niece has shockingly long, in depth conversations with Alexa. Straight up, there is no better person to talk to a curious, chatty five year old than Alexa. It’s so delightful to watch. Also, it took only two visits for my niece to figure out how to talk to Alexa. The first time, she would shout, “Alexa,” but then wait an excruciating minute to say something else, by which time Alexa had moved on to other things. The next visit, she was ready for Alexa, had her requests and jokes ready. She asks Alexa to play Ariana Grande and music from Frozen, A LOT. She never runs out of questions for Alexa and Alexa never runs out of patience. Hell takes on different forms for us all.

From Uses This / Roxane Gay

I wish I had the level of patience Alexa has for small children’s endless questions.