Leaving behind the social networks

My blog is my most open and personal place where I talk about anything on my mind. Ten years ago, it was facebook and twitter. In the last few years, it has been instagram and reddit.

But for a very long time now, I’ve been feeling frustrated and drained by these networks (not by my blog). They’ve successfully used retention tactics to keep me hooked on their apps.

In 2019, I was doing a great job avoiding social media in general but slowly, I gave in and the amount of time I was spending went up steadily. Early 2019, on a daily basis, I was spending 5-15 minutes on Instagram and about 20-30 minutes on reddit, today I’m spending over an hour on each.

I am stealing time away from things that do benefit my mental health and overall well-being like sleeping, reading, listening to music, even eating mindfully and just resting by myself. Every single day, I’m getting notifications and alerts for pointless and time-wasting things. Reddit has become so good at this that it alerts me about topics I might be interested in and sometimes, my weak human mind gives into those shiny notifications.

With social networks, the age-old sell is that they help you connect with your friends, family, and interests. That’s true, but I’m ‘connecting’ and ‘socializing’ for maybe an hour a week and the rest 10-20 hours are burnt on scrolling through junk created by strangers on the internet. I am giving up on trying to find some quality from the unlimited quantity of content online.

I’ll catch up on news, memes, and interesting things once in awhile but for right now, I’m concerned about my own mental health. I have deleted my Facebook permanently and I’m going to delete the other apps off my phone. If I have the urge to post something, I’ll post it on this blog. Otherwise, I want to stay away from social networks online.

Notes and pages

I’ve been collecting notes on various things recently and I want to share them as part of the “All Pages” page. This page will house various kinds of notes. I’m not too picky on what I take notes on and all of these are intended to be shared so hopefully there’s something useful for you.

Current list:

Finding Aspen

Last week, I ran into an interesting mental exercise. I woke up with a song playing in my head that I had not heard for at least a year. It kept playing in my head as I got ready for work. Then on my way to work, I started playing other music so I kind of forgot about it. Later in the day, I was in a meeting at work and it popped in my head again. Then again it came to me when I got home that evening. So I set out to find it.

It’s an electronic song so there are no lyrics. If there were any lyrics, I would’ve searched online with some combination of words and guesses, I would’ve found it. But it was an instrumental song so I didn’t really have much to go off of to start my search.

I started looking around 8pm, first by looking through the the playlists containing any electronic music in my Spotify library. This made me realize how many tiny and unfinished playlists I have while at the same time, I rediscovered some forgotten gems. But even with all the manual looking around, I couldn’t find the song I was looking for.

Then I decided it’s time to use some of my programming chops to make things easier to find. I got the full list of my scrobbles in last.fm and filtered them based on artists, duplicates, and anything else that was doable at that point. If I remember correct, I started with about 7k songs I ended up with about 1500 songs at that point. At this point, I felt like this list was pretty big but not impossible to parse through manually again.

At one point I wanted to create a playlist of all the songs in Spotify so it would be easier to skip each song. But after going through oAuth and jumping through all the hoops to get Spotify to cooperate, I was tired and it was around 11pm. I had heard maybe 200 different songs at this point. Definitely some gems and some close ones but none were the song I was looking for.

I went to sleep with an annoying desire to hear this song. And I hoped maybe by the morning the song would be out of my head.

The next day I woke up and thanks to the human brain being so well evolved, I was still obsessed with the song. The same electronic beat played with the distinct backing vocals that I can’t properly verbalize.

But fortunately, sleep brings some good ideas, one being the following: look at the top songs I had listened to in 2018 instead of 2019 since I definitely don’t remember listening to it in 2019. So, as I started scanning the list. After scanning the first page without even listening to each song, I went to the second page on last.fm and there it was, my 94th most heard song in 2018, Aspen by Attlas.

Listen to see if you can hear what I heard for pretty much a full day of my life without knowing what it was.

Youtube link in case Spotify loses the track

Some background on the song: it was featured on the first episode of deadmau5’s mau5trap radio show on Apple Music.

Purging music for the year

I’m currently in the middle of writing two posts and I feel that I’m still very far from completing them so I wanted to post just a song and talk about purging music for the previous year. Kristen gave me this suggestion at the end of 2018, make a playlist for the year in Spotify (or whatever music streaming service you use) and clean the library itself. This was a good push into discovering new music in 2019. I’m doing the same for 2020 so while I do that and finish up the other two posts, I wanted to share the following song too:

Pausing video games for 1 month

Yesterday, I played Battlefield 1 late at night and while I was playing something occurred to me. I play video games pretty often and for a good while now, I’ve been addicted to playing BF1 and haven’t really played anything else. The game’s mechanics, maps, and overall gameplay has kept me engaged pretty well, so well that I have it on both my PS4 and Xbox just so I can play on one if the other is updating.

I play most on the weekends but I have had a feeling that recently, the time I’m spending playing video games is too much of a waste and not so much relaxation or “getting my mind off other things”.

It has become its own problem altogether and I’m going to stop playing them starting today until at least January 17th, 2020.

Oat milk cappuccinos in LA

I’m trying to collect a list of coffee places that have good oat milk cappuccinos and this is for Los Angeles:

Good
– Little Ripper Coffee, this has been my favorite find so far. The cappuccinos are great plus the staff here is very friendly. I also had a veggie sandwich here and that was well composed.
– Sqirl, great food and a very delicious cappuccino. This is one of the best cappuccino I’ve had.
– Tartine, good cup of coffee. The oat milk is very well frothed and I enjoyed the whole cup.

Not worth it
– gget, I waited too long for their homemade oat milk.

You can more of my reviews on Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/user_details?userid=Mywjhx_fsJwGmA32MS3ruw&utm_source=ishare

My first attempt at an Angel Food Cake

When I used to work at Outbound, I would go to a nearby shop to get some cake as an afternoon treat. I’m forgetting the shop’s name and they’ve closed down since.

The cake was a soft, simple, and fluffy angel food cake. The past few days I’ve been in the thanksgiving mood where the autumn leaves 🍁 are falling and the weather is getting just cold enough to make me feel cozy in my apartment. So, I decided to make a cake, this is my first attempt at this so it didn’t turn out so well.

Things I would change:
1. Fluff up the eggs enough to make the cake keep that consistency. 2. Read the instructions properly.
3. Waste less eggs.

Ugh, gone is my server again!

I made the same mistake I made some time last year where I accidentally made it impossible for me to log in to my digital ocean box. Last week, this happened with my go.mhmd.us server. Which means I will have to start from scratch on some setup there, but this time, I’ll be more careful and I’ll document things as well.

I’ve started using bash and ruby scripts more often to do some repetitive tasks, maybe this will be a good place to try this.

So yes, all go.mhmd.us links will break now and I’m not going to try fixing them right now. I will go on with something else…

Dark mode in 1 step

This should work relatively well for most websites:

@media (prefers-color-scheme: dark) {
  body {
    filter: invert(1);
    background: #000;  /* since most sites declare the background color */
  }
}

This will work pretty well for most sites unless your site has a lot of images.

Examples

If your images are inverted like reddit above, use the following:

img {
  filter: invert(1); /* flips it back */
}