Hardscrabble 🍫

By Max Jacobson

See also: the archives and an RSS feed

Water walk

25 Jan 2023

Check out this experimental John Cage performance from 1960:

This is some wackadoo shit, and I had a great time watching it.

Via this cool Kyle Chayka thread about minimalism (not sure how minimalist this thing is tbh).

Morning Announcements

25 Jan 2023

This isn’t officially a Derry Girls parody but it gets at the same joy. Aubrey Plaza is so great.

I feel like this is a weird time of life to become an SNL fan but why shouldn’t I be? Not to damn it with faint praise, but some of it’s funny.


23 Jan 2023

I recently learned about Homebrew Bundle, which seems to come installed when you install Homebrew, the unofficial package manager for macOS.

I had seen a Brewfile occasionally, while lurking on people’s dotfiles repos, but I didn’t quite know what it was, and assumed it was some janky third party thing.

But no, it’s an official part of homebrew1, and it’s actually quite nice and easy to use. Here’s how I set it up in my dotfiles repo.

First, I added a file called Brewfile in the root of my dotfiles which looks like this:

brew "bat" # cat but with syntax highlighting
brew "cloc" # count lines of code
brew "emacs" # text editor that I have always meant to learn but never actually got around to
brew "fd" # find replacement

There’s more in there, but you get the gist.

I use rcm to manage my dotfiles, so I can trust that when I run rcup, it will create a symlink at ~/.Brewfile which points to this file.

Then, all I need to do is run brew bundle --no-lock --global and Homebrew Bundle will look in exactly that location (~/.Brewfile) and install the packages listed there.

Additionally, rcm has a great feature called hooks, where it will invoke some custom scripts before or after linking all your dotfiles. I decided to add a hook that will automatically run that command after it links the files. It’s pretty easy, I just created a file called hooks/post-up/brew-bundle that looks like this:


set -ex

brew bundle --no-lock --global

Now I can trust that every time I run rcup, I’ll install all of the packages listed in that file. I sync these dotfiles to two macOS computers (a desktop and a laptop) and so it’s very likely that I’ll add a package on one machine and then auto-install it on another.


Shout out to Noah Portes Chaikin, whose dotfiles I was lurking on which inspired me to try this.

  1. I’m sure there are some who would argue that homebrew itself is a janky third party thing but I don’t have time for them. 

Mirrors in Movies

23 Jan 2023

God bless the YouTube algorithm for surfacing this video to me because I’ve been wondering how the hell they do this for years.

For me, the more interesting question isn’t “how” do they do this (although I am very interested in that!) but also… why?

I can see an argument that it’s more immersive, but for me it’s a common uncanny valley, where I just find myself struck by the clever artifice of how it was constructed instead of paying attention to the characters or story.

Pumpkin Cowboy

20 Jan 2023

I’m going to have this song stuck in my head all week.

Pumpkin cowboy!

Giri Nathan on Andy Murray

19 Jan 2023

I so love to read Giri Nathan’s tennis columns over at Defector, and his post today about Andy Murray is typically excellent: https://defector.com/andy-murray-sacrifices-his-body-and-sleep-to-deliver-another-classic-win

It’s captivating to watch this man spit, scrape, and grimace his way through these victories, as if he’d laid out in advance the most miserable possible task for himself and then slogged through it as punishment.

The first clip embedded in that post had my jaw on the floor.

I slept through more than five hours of this match but was glad to catch the end of it.

Even if we're not, we're alright

19 Jan 2023

It could be that it’s 5:35 and I’m up late watching tennis and half asleep but I adore this performance of “We’re Alright” by Joseph Anthony Camerlengo from 2012:

It’s jolted me back awake.

The album version of the track is way, way shorter and comparatively restrained.

But lyrics like these (“I’m afraid I haven’t sang it enough, but I love you”) deserve to be repeated and screamed until the sound gives out.

Watch these dolphins

19 Jan 2023

One of the most gorgeous, magical scenes I’ve ever seen is footage that accidentally got captured and miraculously recovered of some dolphins swimming.

Bon Iver in France

19 Jan 2023

This a capella performance from 2008 is gorgeous. Their more recent stuff seems much more complicated but it’s nice to see this organic stuff working like gangbusters.

See also Flume on acoustic guitar and toy piano and Skinny Love in a living room of beaming smiles.

I used to love these Blogothéque videos. They’re still making them! Amazing.

Coder Girl

19 Jan 2023

“An ode to female programmers” by Dale Chase.

The vibes in 2009 were immaculate.