Mere Being 007 - November

Moving, terrible AI art projects, and a recipe for braised cauliflower

Who gets to decide who can move to a place?

This is a question I've been thinking about a lot this month, because, well. It's always kind of in the background because I have moved so damn much.

There's this idea sometimes in conversations about Israel and Palestine that the question is mostly, "Who was there first?" or "Who's been there the longest?" There's a similar idea embedded in a lot of local San Francisco housing politics – that the people who live in a place not only can but should decide who can join them.

I don't think this idea makes a lot of sense.

Here's where I have to give a kind of throat-clearing caveat and say, I know, I know, drawing this comparison is ridiculous. The Israel Palestine conflict is not San Francisco housing politics is not moving slightly more than is probably healthy for a person for normal American career reasons.

But there's a long line of history here drawn down between "the people who are from a place" and "the people who are from some other place, we don't know where, and certainly not here." Folks who sit down in one place for a while tend to write more and keep better care of their books, so we tend to take their perspective. We don't have any other choice but to see the vast, vast majority of space and time through the eyes of the people who wrote it down.

But that's not most people. The fixed address is a relatively recent invention.


A lot of family things happened this month but mostly have had too many ideas and not enough sit-down-and-work on them.

I've been playing around with LLMs more. I started making terrible business comics.

Air Force Colonel John Boyd inventing the OODA loop

I've also been publishing images on a website called Spindly Fingers. I will warn you that it's mostly pictures of Spindly Fingers.

And, of course, GPTs. The best one I've made so far is called Kissinger Facts Plus.

A helpful Kissinger Fact about lemon bars

Been increasingly itching to write again but it hasn't made it.


I started baking cakes. I got this book, Gateau. Like many of my favorite cookbooks, it is a cookbook with a thesis, and that thesis is: You should bake more cakes. And they should be simpler cakes. The French, apparently, do not ice their cakes. Anyway, I tried my hand at making a genoise sponge and was pleased with the results. And I do recommend the yogurt cake.

Speaking of recommendations: Tonight I made this Greek recipe for cauliflower braised in tomato paste for the first time this year. This is one of my most seasonal dishes – I only make it for the few months it's actually cold in California – but it is an easy and delicious way to eat a lot of vegetables and be happy about it.

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