Categories
Travel

Day 1224 and Sliced Bread

I am going to enjoy myself a little and complain. I hope this kvetching provides you with some amusement. I hate the following idiom.

It’s the best thing since sliced bread.

According to linked Perplexity search above this phrase has come to represent good & useful innovation.

This is wrong. Sliced bread is not a good innovation. It’s barely a useful one

Sliced bread is bad. Increasing the surface increases the pace at which bread goes stale. Any convenience brought about by having a slice on hand and saving a minute or two of time is undermined quickly by having an entire life of bread go bad more quickly.

When bread is baked, the starch molecules in the dough undergo a process called gelatinization where they absorb water and swell up. As the bread cools, these starch molecules start to recrystallize and firm up again, causing the bread to become stale and hard. Exposure to air speeds up this recrystallization of the starch. An unsliced loaf has just the two end surfaces exposed to air, acting as a protective barrier. But when you slice the loaf, you create many more exposed interior surfaces that allow air to penetrate and cause faster staling.

Does slicing bread make it go stale faster?

Maybe Americans are so accustomed to dough softeners and preservatives in our store bought packaged loaves that we’ve come to expect our slices to remain as soft and pliable as within the hour of its baking. If you are baking fresh bread without any of these miracles of foos science you can expect those slices to be stale by the end of the day.

I’ll grant you can expect a fresh loaf to go stale within a day or so. But if let the loaf remain intact you rather than committing to slicing at the bakery you could get another meal or two of slicing.

Slicing reveals the soft crumb within that has been protected somewhat from the light and oxygen of the outside word. I’d like to put off the time for French Toast and croutons personally. I can’t eat an entire loaf in a day.

If bread is sliced at the bakery you’ve committed yourself to eating the entire loaf more quickly than it goes stale. At the end of the day you’ve got bread for for nothing but toasting or soaking.

So please stop using this stupid idiom. We have so many useful innovations at this glorious moment in our species history. Why compare the advent of artificial intelligence or the rapid advancements in medicine, materials science and engineering with an objectively innovation. Sliced bread is a good thing on one or two axis of improvevent at most (time and mess) and a distinctly bad development in all other crucial aspects.

If you must know this rant was prompted by me ordering a loaf of bread from a bakery which sliced it without asking. Neither photo nor written description indicated they would do this to my bread. It was not preference. I wouldn’t have bought it if I knew they’d mangle its future use. Also what kind of bakery slices a ciabatta? Civilization is lost on the continent.

Categories
Travel

Day 1210 and Technical Difficulties

I’m on the road. Despite carrying a laptop, an iPad and an iPhone as a three cascade backup of devices, I am down to 1.5 functional computing devices after losing my iPad and falling and cracking my phone.

This isn’t ideal as it fucked with my commitments which all require being online and functional. I landed in the afternoon and rested. Clearly I shouldn’t have taken that time for myself but rather used it to acquire fixes to these issues. Given that I need to hit publish and get on with it.

Categories
Preparedness Travel

Day 1209 and No Mercy On The Road

No matter now much I prepare, and I clearly take packing and travel preparedness seriously, there is no overcoming the random shitshows that plague travel these days

I swung through Chicago’s O’Hare in an economy seat to position myself for a long haul flight. That short haul economy flight went without a hitch. I landed in Terminal 1 and made my way t Terminal 5 which is how things started going sideways in multiple directions.

The bus system/holding pen for transit between terminals is amazing for its on the ground access to airplanes but it sure is slow. Once I got to Terminal 5 it was clear the lounge assigned me via the airline wouldn’t work. It was 5 degrees warmer than in the airport terminal (a European airline of course) with no available seating, or inexplicably, any bathrooms. So much for having paid a premium.

I wandered up and down Terminal 5 looking for a food court. Frontera’s takeaway sandwiches had a forty minute wait. Dunkin Donuts was fully stocked but with a 40 person deep line. There was somehow no McDonalds.

The upscale fast casual options like Wow Bao and other private equity branded spots all took turns shouting what they were out of to the crowd waiting. No falafel or pita at the Mediterranean spot. Only 3 options were remaining at the Asian fusion spot. I got half my dumpling order. I didn’t have the heart to press for the remaining items from the single harried worker. $8 didn’t matter.

I went to my gate to wait for the flight afterwards. I sat on the floor. There were no seats anywhere in the terminal (or as previously mentioned the lounge). Somehow, once I boarded my long haul flight the crew managed to change my assigned seat on it without consulting me. It was a much worse seat than I had purchased.

If I had any idea how bad this new seat was going to be I might have fought it at counter, alas they gave no indication this new seat would be an issue.

It was the worst possible seat in the class without any place to store a backpack under foot nor were there holders or nooks for water bottles or your other sundries. I struggled to reposition medication and liquids on the tiny table. The chatty friendly Boomer next to me didn’t realize he was using both his table as well mine making it even order to find space to groom and medicate.

I tried to get that across to him. That all of the space he was using wasn’t actually space but meant to be my side. I failed to get that through. He stole my pack of tissues when I left it out. He did give them back when I pressed him. He seemed embarrassed. Later I released he’d also taken my water bottle. I feel there must be some wider lesson in this.

It wasn’t a proper flat lay seat though I’d paid for a business ticket. I had nowhere to put my medications, toiletries or other sundries. There wasn’t even a spot to put a water bottle. I rearranged as much as I could to avoid having all my things fall into the aisle, took an Ambien, prayed I’d not need access anything else and went to sleep.

I woke up on the other side of the ocean, gathered my things and deplaned.

My watch dinged. Your iPad has been left behind. Somewhere in this process my iPad must have been lost. I didn’t take it out of my backpack to my knowledge so that was a mystery. As I deplaned I was sure I had everything.

Behind where was the question? I only had 30 minutes to get rush to the last leg of my flight but I vainly went back to previous gate trying to see if that was where my iPad had been left behind. There was one at the gate which seemed fast.

As I unpacked all my bags trying to see if the tablet might be somewhere in my luggage I fell and broke my iPhone screen in the process. The top half shattered. It might hold it together for a day or two. Maybe.

Then I had issues clearing the next leg security with my injection medications for my ankylosis. I was told I didn’t need to clear security at this transit point so I wasn’t fully prepared. My bag got unpacked again. At least at this point it was clear my iPad really was gone.

Finally I make with 10 minutes to spare to my final leg. I am upgraded to first but they refuse to allow me to bring my carry on. “It is over 18 kilos!” I begin to cry. It was not over 18 kilos. I weighed it myself.

No one else was even in my 3 rows around me. The empty upper baggage storage had no other bags in them. I tried to sway them saying I have a medication I can’t afford to lose. Nothing works. She wants to exercise authority. My grey roller bag is put below. I pray it’s not also lost to me.

At this point I’ve not eaten a real meal in 24 hours, two crucial electronics are status “unsure” and I’ve got no way of knowing if either my roller bag or checked luggage will make it. Thankfully my three bag cascade system has me with a change of pajamas, basic toiletries and my medications. No matter the effort I point in there never seems to be mercy for the traveler

Categories
Preparedness Travel

Day 1207 and Joy of Preparing

Yesterday I wrote about how I’d come to enjoy the complicated game of speaking to others about yourself through appearance. I had been packing some travel bags and had a lot of different context switching to account for what I needed in my suitcase.

Preparedness is somewhere between a neurosis and a hobby for myself and a number of my friends. My husband and I are definitely who you email if you want get into preparedness.

We have fun. I have a group chat where our favorite topic is how we like to stage and prepare different types of bags for life and travel. Everything from which medications should be or the ideal toiletries is in the box.

It can nice to have fun with considering resilience. It’s normal to do wilderness first responder training or to have a go-bag in case of a fire evacuation in Montana. It’s a norm now rural or not to to be prepared.

Everywhere has a risk. Fires, hurricanes, flooding, tornados, earthquakes are new normal of everyone lives. The joy of preparedness is worth embracing. Think of it as kind of anti-Marie Kondo approach to thriving in a more chaotic world.

Categories
Emotional Work Travel

Day 1203 and Flow

I don’t quite know how I managed to settle into a flow state but I’ve been listening to American classic rock from sixties & seventies and just being in my body today.

The excuse for focusing on chores and what is in front of me preparing for a spring print. I’m packing for some travel and doing spring cleaning.

What I’m really doing is as a form of physical somatic integration as I’ve been throwing back more information than I thought I could handle. Or to put it simply, I’m noodling on shit. My mind is compiling.

I do prioritize nervous system regulation but even with a full toolkit of techniques I could feel the strain before I hit this flow state. It was time to breakthrough or breakdown.

I feel as if I’ve broken through to flow. There was no breakdown. I leaned into the turn. And it feels great.

I am intaking as much information as I ever have in my professional adult life. Maybe university study is a close second but I have a foundation of knowledge now that obviously I didn’t have twenty years ago. That foundation has given me more mental agility that I expected to have in middle age candidly.

I expect whatever the end process of this synthesis will show itself when it’s ready and I shall cultivate this playful ease. I trust myself to find the way through.

Categories
Politics Travel

Day 1170 and The Machine

I hate failing. The sense of doomed futility I have when I interact with the broken bits of the American bureaucracy weighs on me. Every time a crucial piece of the business of government fails I feel helpless. Like I am a loser.

I feel deeply that the machine has ground out some remaining spark of hope in me.

“It’s the hope that kills you”

Phrase Ted Lasso ain’t too crazy about

I spent some time today feel like it was the hope thar kills me. I felt it deeply.

But I couldn’t wallow in it. Being made victim to a system is awful but I am not a victim.

Some time passed and I reminded myself that while I can accept finite disappointment, I can never accept losing the grace of an infinite capacity for hope.

“I think it’s the lack of hope that comes and gets you. … See, I believe in hope. I believe in belief.”

Ted Lasso

I’ve written a lot about how broken the process of coming to America especially when you try to do so legally and transparently. It’s a challenge to get even basic travel documents like tourist visas.

I see cases on socially media daily of award winners, brilliant engineers, academics, and simple good faith aspirants who wish to spend time with the American dream and are denied.

I have hope that we can recognize that tourists, students, entrepreneurs and others that genuinely wish to contribute to our nation deserve an efficient transparent system that lets people come to America.

It should be unacceptable that these systems are unaccountable and impossible to navigate. It shouldn’t feel like we are living within a Kafka novel when getting a visa. This is America not the Soviet eastern block.

I believe that the network state is coming for badly run governments. But it cannot come soon enough. It may sound dramatic but consider that venal, impossible to navigate and expensive government serves none of us and harms the markets, businesses and people. It’s an embarrassment to our national character.

The longer we tolerate these state of affairs the closer we edge to anarcho-tyranny. When the government and help you but it can hurt you. We should be ashamed as Americans that we let this monstrous machine do us so much harm.

Categories
Internet Culture Travel

1165 and Adjusting

I slept a lot last night. Have moved four time zones in as many days with the additional “joy” of daylight savings my body is confused. My mind is not.

My initial impulse today was to push through it with exercise, routines, self care and being present in the real world but after the basics were done I was simply throwing myself into the timelessness of the news cycle. My only clock is the rotation of the planet and even that is arbitrary

Oddly I think this was a good decision in times of adjustment. My body adapts to the sun easily and quickly. My mind however is set on some permanent exterior hive mind that is a 24 cycle. There is no perfect syncing of this to be had nor any shift that seems to make sense to me except “awake” and “asleep”

For most people this strange permanent awareness would be very hard on the nervous system. And indeed it is. And yet the thrum of a global population coming online and offline is soothing and regulating in its own way. Each opening of a new market bouncing me along to a new continent with new people.

I say that this is helpful to me and not harmful only say with any degree of certainty because I regularly dose myself off being “extremely online” into very offline remote living. Being extremely offline has not once improved a single metric for me. This annoys me as much as I was annoyed that removing gluten didn’t improve anything for me.

If anything I seem to self regulate better with maximally online presence. I would have previously assumed something is wrong with me but now perhaps I can explore that it’s an advantage. I come on and off like with whenever I jump back in. The past can be filled in and the future isn’t here yet.

Categories
Travel

Day 1162 and AirTag

Heathrow remains a bit of a shitshow and impossible to navigate. I got lost in a liminal space where all I could hear was announcements about their staffing shortages but I could see no other human in sight.

A long concrete hallway in Terminal 5 at Heathrow without any people

I got in a nice peaceful 20 minute walk without another soul. And then I was thrown into the maw of baggage claim and lost luggage.

I typically use a 3 bag cascade system anytime I’m on the road for an extended period. A checked bag, a small roller and a backpack.

I was doing a short positioning flight to get my Heathrow transcontinental. At the originating flight on British Airways I was told you can’t check in for the transcontinental so for the 3 hour “hop” flight I should check both (full flight and no overhead storage is a constant issue these days) so I should collect them at Heathrow and re-check in the morning.

Always travel with AirTags.

Somehow despite me not flying BA for the transcontinental, and the most salient fact of me not even being checked in for my longer transcontinental flight, the damn bags got “checked through” and are lost somewhere in Heathrow. They were at another terminal as the tags show waiting for my flight overnight. This was a mistake on almost everyone’s part at the various airlines.

I’m wiped as I spent spent two hours of my evening trying to locate last night but thankfully in my backpack I always carry an overnight PJ set, my medications, electronics & the “wet” toiletries that Heathrow polices like the Stasi in a quart baggie. I overnighted in a hotel just find.

I’m trying to find the luggage and AirTags insist it’s at Terminal 3. The airline says it’s in “The Bin” and should be sorted into my flight. I’ve got no other way of assessing if that’s true so I may I’ll end up in El Segundo with nothing but black Gap sweats.

My usual system is designed for this chaos and I rarely let the small grey roller out of my sight and never let my backpack be taken from my person except at security. I won’t deviate from it ever again.

The story has a happy ending even if I don’t know if my bags will make it yet. I was able to enjoy a dim sum breakfast at the Cathay Pacific lounge and get a copy of the Financial Times.

Dan Dan Noodles and fresh bao
Categories
Travel

Day 1161 and Note Long Connection Time

Getting to the far flung corners of the world takes a little bit of patience when you’ve chosen another far flung place to call home.

Montana’s Bozeman International Airport has all the ease and efficiency of a world class luxury destination. Yellowstone and Big Sky are draws from almost every major cosmopolitan hub.

So I tend to return home via a major hub with the occasional overnight or two. Sometimes I’ll even do a couple days at a hub so I can get in work and seeing folks.

As I return from the Balkans I’ll do a night in London. I’ve been told on every ticket to ‘note the long layover” as if I wouldn’t notice I needed a hotel reservation at an airport.

But then I’ll come through to El Segundo. Till then I’ll be noting the long connection and seeing to myself in waiting lines.

Categories
Travel

Day 1160 and Head West Young Woman

I’m wrapping up my current trip through the southern Mediterranean and the Balkans. I have been doing travel as part of my own effort to do on the ground work cultivating networks.

“I cultivate movements, memesdegenerateseccentrics and engineers. I’ve made many trips to far flung corners of the European continent including extended stays in the Baltics and the Balkans.”

Day 1155

I particularly enjoyed getting to see the practical efforts of crypto communities in the Balkans. The road to success is long and I like to walk the early paths and less popular trails in my searches for the weirdos who I believe make the best founders.

I’ll be heading to Los Angeles soon. I will be touring El Segundo where I’ll finally get see one of my portfolio founders in person. If you are in the area and working on something you think I can help with as an investor or advisor send me a DM on Twitter or drop me an email Julie at chaotic dot capital.