“A Bucket of Blood” made me think we all stay stuck in our youth

That video above plays a scene from like two-thirds the way through A Bucket of Blood, a campy 1959 film mocking NY beatnik culture. That way movie was way better than I expected it to be!

Anyhow, check out how the woman is dressed: she’s wearing “old lady” clothes, by 2020’s standards. A shawl, capri pants, short hair, that purse with the cane handle, etc.

But she’s gorgeous! She’s beautiful and she knows it. In the movie, she’s a model, and she doesn’t think this new sensational artist is all he’s cracked up to be.

Anyhow, here’s the thing — I feel like this is a great example of how the stuff we really like gets established when we’re young, and then we stay stuck on it. Older women now dress like what they think looks cool, and that was set when they were young, and then frozen.

My favorite music is the stuff I got interested in my youth. I dress myself based on colors and styles I liked 30 years ago.

Also, unrelated, I really want to run a pretentious art bar like the one in this movie, or any other 1950s movie about beatniks.

Posted in art

My Heights Observer letter: The Elected Mayor Issue is really about discontent with status quo

The Heights Observer was nice enough to print my letter in the September 2019 issue.

Here’s the text:

First off, I want to say there are bright and conscientious people making some good arguments for why the city-manager system is right for our city.

Second, I’m not a political science expert, but I’ve researched this topic, and it is clear that successful and unsuccessful cities exist with a variety of structures.

Third, I want to say that the people arguing for preserving the system are utterly missing the bigger picture.

If people were largely content, there is no way a handful of part-time volunteers would have been able to get this far.

Ask your activist friends just how much work it is to gather 4,000 signatures. Consider how many years you have lived in the Heights, and consider all the petitions you’ve been asked to sign in the past. How many of those went anywhere? The vast majority of the time, these projects never go anywhere.

But this Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM) issue tapped into a deeper sense of pessimism and dissatisfaction with our city leadership. If people were generally content, the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” would make this effort impossible.

The popularity of CEM’s issue shows many believe that “it is broke,” so they’re eager for change.

My suggestion to the folks who want to keep things as-is: quit saying it could always be worse. That’s like Candide claiming that this is the best of all possible worlds*. Instead, acknowledge the grumbling! Acknowledge that the status quo is not satisfying enough people, and then describe a new inspiring plan. Offer something new to inspire hope.

* Normally I wouldn’t use a pretentious literary reference, but since this is the Heights, I figure y’all would get it. That’s why I love it here.

I spotted a J. G. Ballard book in the Avengers Endgame movie

I just rented Avengers Endgame for no other reason than to check what book that this security guard was reading and so that I could take that screen shot.

When I saw the movie in the theater, I didn’t have on my glasses, but I recognized the font. I knew it was a J. G. Ballard book. I thought it was The Atrocity Exhibition. But nope! It is Terminal Beach.

Both are some of Ballard’s greatest books. But not everybody likes his style.

I thought the security guard was Bobby Lee, from Mad TV fame, too. But it is Ken Jeong.

Anyhow, the movie came out last summer, and for a year, I’ve wanted to verify what I thought I saw.

Next step: figure out how to contact the set designers on Avengers Endgame and ask them “why that book?”

I don’t like the new Cleveland Heights slogan “we choose this”

My town, the city of Cleveland Heights, wants to brand itself. Not with a hot poker, but with a new logo and slogan.

You can read about the proposed logos here.

They came up with the slogan “We choose this” and a few different logos.

Most of the public reaction that I have seen to the slogan “we choose this” has been negative.

I think that the folks that proposed “we choose this” are trying to express the notion that the people that call Cleveland Heights home have other options but are proud to live here, by choice.

Here’s the thing: that’s just not that factual. Net population in Cleveland Heights is falling. People are choosing to leave.

There are neighborhoods in our region where people are choosing to move. Look at downtown for example, or the Detroit Shoreway area. People are moving in and buying up old properties.

I’m in Cleveland Heights and I’m not a bitter curmudgeon. I think there are some wonderful things going on here. But we need to step our game.

I’d rather that the slogan references how we welcome a wide range of people here, and we want to improve ourselves without abandoning our history.

But “we choose this” comes off more like “love it or leave it”.

I’m not the Matt Wilson that disappeared from Rice University in 2008

This ain’t me:

There’s more than one matt wilson computer programmer out there. He went to Rice University, which is in Houston, my home town, but I went to University of Houston.

And he kinda looks like me. Especially when I was younger and skinnier.

So, it’s easy to see how search engines and people got us mixed up.

This article explains a little about what happened with him.

When he disappeared in 2008, I got a bunch of emails because people found my blog and they thought it was his blog. People wrote me messages telling me not to hurt myself, and that I’m loved.

Was nice!

Sometimes, when I’m bored and lonely, I search around on the internet for clues about what he is up to now. I’ve never found anything. I like to imagine he’s kicking ass, living in a solar-powered, organic farm somewhere, and he’s hacked all the satellites so it doesn’t show up on Google Maps, and he has lots of friends that care about him.

The Lambs by Carole George is a really good memoir

Click here to buy the book on Amazon

I feel a kinship with the writer

In 2014, I took my hens to a farmer to “process” them after I couldn’t take them to the new house.
I drove an hour with my five hens in a big plastic cage in the back seat of my Honda Accord, wiping away tears the whole time.

I couldn’t take the hens to the new property. This new neighborhood wasn’t the kind of place where hens hopping over the back fence to explore was seen as charming.

I remember how the farmer looked at me like I was tender-hearted fool when I said I wanted them to pass on as peacefully and gently as possible. I think I asked if she had any kind of hen spa treatment.

“They ain’t gonna like it, but it will be over quick.”

I had raised those five girls from 48 hours after they had hatched until almost three years later. Now, they were mature, approaching venerable status. I couldn’t provide them an environment where they would be happy. I couldn’t keep them safe from predators and disease and age. I picked what I thought was the best for them.

Her parties sound really fun

I would def make a drinking game based on the sheep. Like any time somebody interrupts a story because they didn’t realize until that moment she was talking about her sheep, and not a human, you gotta take a sip.
Any time somebody says “you’re joking” or laughs when in dead serious terms she explains something she does for her sheep.

There is no such thing as a famous book of ancient Persian poems

Carole George researches her particular breed of sheep, the Karakul, and then becomes interested in the history and the literature of their homeland. There is a funny moment when she describes how her dad is coming to visit and bringing a famous book of ancient Persian poems. I have to disagree with her at this point. There’s no such thing as a famous book of ancient Persian poems.

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon is famous. Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing is famous. The Kim Kardashian sex tape is famous.
That book ain’t famous!

No mention of life outside her farm

I day dreamed about Carole George at the small town Piggly Wiggly asking the produce manager when he is going to stock more organic frisee lettuce.

There’s an episode of The Simpsons when George H. W. Bush goes to Krusty Burger and tries to order stew… I thought of that episode.

What do the neighbors make of her?

What does she think about them?

I hope she writes about that. I imagine she did write that stuff, but a savvy editor pruned this book down to just the narrative about her life on her farm, walking with her sheep.

My favorite part

After euthanizing one of her last few sheep, her vet said “any relationship is about knowing that at the end there’s a separation. For all the pleasure, you always know that there will be pain at the end. That is where the beauty of it comes from.”
It’s a sad sentiment, but I think it is true.

Why this is such an excellent memoir

Carole George is now in my head as a real person. Hell, I have had whole conversations with her dad, in my head, asking him about his outfits when he is out walking with the sheep. I think I would have liked her dad plenty. He apparently had a brain packed full of poems, at the age of 90, starts taking classes to learn ancient greek.

Git bundle converts your whole repository into a single file kind of like webpack


Pretend you just spent a few minutes, hours, or days trying something out, and now you want to get the project off your janky laptop’s hard drive that you just know is gonna die soon.

You’ve been tracking work with git locally because it is trivial to set up:

$ cd myproject
$ vi README # pretend this is your brilliant code.
$ git init
$ git add *
$ git commit -a -m "Let's get this party started"

Now you want a single file that has your whole project and all the commits you’ve made.

You can use git bundle for this! Here is how:

$ cd myproject
$ git bundle create myproject.bundle --all
$ scp myproject.bundle example.com:/tmp/

If it helps, you can think of git bundle as kind of like tar or zip or even webpack. Those are all things that convert a big tree of stuff and spit out a single doodad.


Here is how to make a single file with everything from all branches:

$ git bundle create myproject.bundle --all

Or you can make a single file (a bundle) that has only the master branch:

$ git bundle create myproject.bundle master

Or make one just with whatever branch you’re working in now:

$ git bundle create myproject.HEAD.bundle HEAD

Now move the bundle to a remote box via scp or rsync or whatever other method you want.

You might ask why you would use rsync or scp, because they both copy a file over a secure tunnel. The only advantage of rsync is that it checks if the file needs to be copied again:

$ rsync -e ssh --verbose myproject.bundle example.com:/tmp/myproject.bundle

sent 2,793 bytes received 35 bytes 377.07 bytes/sec
total size is 2,705 speedup is 0.96

$ rsync -e ssh --verbose myproject.bundle example.com:/tmp/myproject.bundle

sent 100 bytes received 59 bytes 16.74 bytes/sec
total size is 2,705 speedup is 17.01

See how the second time I ran rsync, it only sent 100 bytes? That’s because it tested if the version of myproject.bundle on example.com was out of sync with the one here. That can really, really help when you’re on a slow connection or working with big files.

Here is how to make a new repo based on that bundle:

$ ssh example.com
$ git clone -b master /tmp/myproject.bundle myproject2
$ cd myproject2

Pretty fresh, right?

Also, the list-heads command is pretty useful for spying on what is inside a bundle file:

$ git bundle create myproject.all-branches.bundle --all
$ git bundle list-heads myproject.all-branches.bundle
5702b7e5d8dd16839850e3fbad44ee69a9411586 refs/heads/master
82a0cd0d59b4929df8ff439cede8a33bbf850cfe refs/heads/more-docs
5702b7e5d8dd16839850e3fbad44ee69a9411586 HEAD

$ git bundle create myproject.master.bundle master
$ git bundle list-heads myproject.master.bundle
5702b7e5d8dd16839850e3fbad44ee69a9411586 refs/heads/master

$ git bundle create myproject.HEAD.bundle HEAD
$ git bundle list-heads myproject.HEAD.bundle
5702b7e5d8dd16839850e3fbad44ee69a9411586 HEAD

Unless you use --all, you won’t get all your branches in your bundle! Sometimes, that’s exactly what you want. But for rookies, usually, you’re just trying to ship everything.


First of all, you can’t beat how easy it is to make a bundle and ship it:

$ git bundle create myproject.bundle --all
$ scp myproject.bundle example.com:/tmp/

Second, sure, usually, I would make a new repository on some hosted service like github or bitbucket or gitlab. And I might also make a private repository on a box I rent from Linode (that link has my referral code) or AWS EC2 or Digital Ocean.

But maybe I’m in a coffeeshop with slow wifi, and my friend is sitting right next to me, and I want to share the code with him or her, and it seems crazy for us both to communicate by sending packets around the world.

Also, Using git bundle vs pushing to a remote repository ain’t an either-or thing!

There is nothing wrong with setting up a few cron jobs to run git bundle to create some bundle files and shove them to AWS S3 or dropbox or wherever, even though you’re still paying that exorbitant github bill.

My notes from reading 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson


I finished 12 Rules of Life book a little while ago, then put it down for a while, so I could think about it.

As simply as possible: I agree with JBP’s rules, but mostly disagree with how he gets to them. Also, these are good rules, but there’s some important stuff missing!

In other words, these 12 rules are not the only rules you need to follow. I think there are more important things out there to pay attention to.

I feel like JBP’s greatest accomplishment is bringing back the message that we need more in our life than just having a good time (aka hedonism).

But I totally disagree that we need to go back to traditional values of the past! That strikes me as too easy of an answer. No. The answer is unknown right now.

Now, on to the details…

His writing style is often needlessly complex

I wonder if his editors encourage him to write that way or if years of academic writing has made it habitual.

Actually, this is only true in some chapters. I love his writing style in the “listen as if they know something you don’t” chapter. The sentences are short and crisp, and he doesn’t go on too many tangents. I think there is the academic JBP and the clinician JBP. He seems like a decent clinician. He knows that he needs to speak clearly and simply so that somebody on the other side, the patient, can easily understand his idea.

But the academic JBP does not speak in those short sentences. He uses words way outside of common day-to-day speech. It’s jarring to read.

I don’t buy the “chaos is feminine” idea

I don’t care if this is one of those things that people that study literature have all already agreed on. It doesn’t sit well with me.

JBP says order is masculine, chaos is feminine. I don’t see it. Watch a group of boys play, and a group of girls play. Boys are chaotic!

He writes about the feminine world as the unknown. This is only true depending on who you are. If you’re a male, and you spend time mostly around males, then sure, the girl world is foreign and seemingly chaotic.

But if you’re a girl, and you grow up around girls and women, then the male world is what seems unknown and chaotic, while the world of women seems seems orderly and predictable.

There’s a part where he talks about how in war time, people discover that they have the capacity to do evil, or commit atrocities, or be sadists. He doesn’t exactly say “this is what causes PTSD” but he implies it strongly. I agree with the idea that it is no fun to discover that we all have a demon within us. But I don’t think that’s the cause of PTSD in general. I think it’s a thing worth exploring, but PTSD occurs in people that survive horrific events like plane crashes too, where they didn’t take any action.

His Garden of Eden analysis doesn’t work for me

He talks about how Adam and Eve gain self-consciousness, and points out how women have been making men self-conscious forever. That rings true to me.

Here’s what he doesn’t talk about: the creator wanted his creations to stay in the role he created for them! This is the same reason why he expelled Lucifer, at least according to all the Sunday classes I ever attended. Lucifer wasn’t content to exist within a hierarchy. He’d rather rule in hell than serve in heaven.

This is a recurring pattern in the old testament. YHWH gets jealous when the Israelites don’t give him his props.

Perhaps JBP might say that God wants only the best for his creation, and the rules are set out to help them reach their potential, if only they stay on the straight and narrow.

But that’s not the only explanation! Imagine God just wants to keep us in a state of childlike innocence and awe, because he can’t handle facing an equal!

Take the Tower of Babel myth, located just a few pages after creation myth. God sees all the humans getting along peacefully, doing their own thing, and he watches them all get together and work on building a tower up to heaven. God sees this as a threat, and ruins the project.

Dick move!

Over and over, JBP and I read different meanings into the same text. He sees God wanting to keep us on the straight and narrow path. I see a bitter parent fearful that his children will outshine him.

What you get for reading the whole book instead of just the 12 rules

The rules are good rules! They’re easy to understand. They don’t demand huge changes right away.

So what do you get extra when you read all the hundreds of pages? You get lots of anecdotes around each rule. For example, the second rule is something like “treat yourself like a friend you care about”. There’s a neat story in the chapter about how people often don’t follow doctors orders after they go to the doctor, and so they don’t always take their pills. But if those same people go to the vet with their dog, they are more likely to make sure their dog takes their pills!

That is a really interesting story!

Then JBP spins an interesting idea for why people do that — why do they take care of other people (or dogs) better than they take care of themselves. It seems like according to JBP, people get really freaked out about the monster that lives within us all, and so somehow we don’t believe we deserve the help. Because we’re rotten people on the inside.

I think that’s plausible. I think that there are also other plausible explanations too. Like, for example, most of us deep down think we’re so special that the rules don’t really apply to us.

Going backwards verses going forwards

I had an economics professor that said something like “The first wave of economists wrote math formulas to describe how the world works. Then the next wave came in and said those formulas were trash. Then the third wave came in and saw how the formulas weren’t perfect, but they weren’t trash either, so they improved the models, based on the criticisms from the second wave.”

This is what I keep hoping JBP will do: combine the wisdom of the ancients with the valid critiques of the ancient world. But he doesn’t! Over and over, he suggests that our problems stem from abandoning tradition. But he doesn’t explore why it is we tossed out traditions.

He talks about this epidemic of nihilism. I want him to figure out where that came from.

The answer cannot be “well, people stopped doing what they were supposed to.”

My view is that technology has made it possible for people who used to have no voice to get more attention, and now, the garden of eden doesn’t look so great any more.

People lost faith in “the standard model” for valid reasons!

We can’t go backward, even if we tried. The toothpaste is out of the tube.

JBP doesn’t seem to think of atheism and nihilism as different things

This particularly bugs me. This is something atheists hear all the time.

I don’t buy the notion that Christianity was so great, and the 20th century tyrannies came because we abandoned it. Go read any book about the Spanish conquest of South America and you’ll be on my side.

I don’t buy the argument that deceit caused tyranny either.

I’m willing to bet a dollar that most atheists would not describe themselves as nihilists. And it’s certainly hard to argue that self-professed atheists live and act like nihilists. They don’t! They get up, go to work, pay taxes, raise families, etc.
I’m guessing, but I bet JBP believes any belief in human rights / objective truth or even just human decency is ultimately the same as believing in God. In other words, if you’re not a school shooter, you’re a Christian.

He sees Christianity as the champion of a grand battle between all the great ideas of history

I wish I could state his idea more shortly. JBP suggests that the bible survived where other holy texts disappeared because it has better messages.

I don’t see it that way. The way I see it, Christianity had as much effect on the dominance of the west as the mascot does on which team wins the Super Bowl.

In other words, our texts were largely along for the ride, rather than being the forces behind the dominance of the west. I don’t agree that Christianity sponsored the age of reason. I prefer the “guns, germs, and steel” explanation.

Consider that white supremacists read the about the Mark of Cain and see that as proof that black people are cursed.

Consider the stuff that Martin Luther inferred about Jews from Paul’s writing.

Now consider how the liberation theology movement comes to radically different points of view.

I see the bible (or nearly any big book) as kind of like Rorschach test (those inkblot cards where the doctor asks you what you see).

His Cain and Abel analysis also doesn’t work for me

I have my own theory on Cain and Abel. I have to give a lot of credit to Daniel Quinn’s book Ishmael, Franz Kafka’s cryptic notes about the pit of Babel, and my own research with magic mushrooms.

Cain was a farmer, Abel was a hunter. Farming is arguably the beginning of civilization. For the same reason why God wanted Adam and Eve to stay as perpetual children in the garden of Eden, he resents Cain for learning to grow his own food, and change the nature of his existence.

The Old Testament god YHWH is like the antithesis of the Greek myth of Prometheus. Both are our creators. But after Prometheus made people, he felt sad because we were all cold and living in the dark, so he brought fire down from Olympus and gave it to us.

That’s cool. He wanted us to thrive. Then Prometheus got punished pretty bad for it — chained to a rock and an eagle swoops down and eats liver every day, and then it grows back overnight — but he was glad that we had fire!

More generally, there’s a whole bunch of Greek poems and plays and myths where Prometheus helps / encourages us as we use technology to grow more powerful, more free, etc.

Like I said, that’s like the antithesis of YHWH.

My favorite rules

  • stand up straight (or whatever he says)
  • treat yourself like somebody you’re supposed to take care of
  • be friends with people that want what is best for you
  • listen as if the other person knows something you don’t

My least favorite rules

I don’t think any of JBP’s rules are wrong. They’re just imperfect. Of course any simple rule will have these problems.

Here’s a simple example that explains what I mean: “always wash your hands after using the bathroom” is a good rule to follow. But if you had to, you could imagine some weird scenario where you should break this rule. Like maybe you hear somebody screaming “HELP I AM BEING ABDUCTED BY A UFO” in the next room. Or maybe there’s an earthquake. Or maybe there’s a drought and you want to save every drop of water for an emergency.

In other words, there are instances when people should not follow these rules. If these instances are really uncommon, like earthquakes and droughts and alien abductions, then the rule is great. But as the frequency of these instances increase, the rule stops being such a good rule to follow in general.

I took a paragraph to state the obvious, but that is the nature of what I dislike about JBP’s pronouncements. They’re generally pretty good. But there are real-life examples where they are just not good guidelines.

Not a favorite rule: Be precise in your speech

Consider that some people repress their own thoughts and feelings so much. You ever met somebody so withdrawn that they only express themselves through quoting song lyrics or lines from movies?

You ever met somebody that’s trapped in a miserable job or relationship and they’ve been stuck there so long that they’ve lost the ability to imagine what they personally would like? They’re out there. In large numbers.

So many people have said they had to leave their relationship because they reached some point where they’ve forgotten who they are.

For these folks, just getting them to blurt out anything is critical. If they worry about speaking precisely, they won’t speak.

They’ve lost their internal voice.

Everything else held equal, being precise in speech is great. But it is a secondary goal, only after somebody overcomes not speaking whatever.

Not favorite: The skateboarding rule

Again, I don’t think the rule is bad from JBP’s explanation. It’s good! Skateboarding is a little dangerous, but boys need a way to prove themselves.

But that can’t be the end of the conversation on the topic.

Instead of letting them ride skateboards in the park, which isn’t awful, but is generally just a fun hobby, they really need role models that can direct the adolescent desire to master a skill into something socially useful.

Otherwise, you end up with drunks at the bar, talking about how high school sports were the greatest time of their lives.

And, also, you don’t have to buy into toxic masculinity to acknowledge that bored adolescent boys can be very destructive. Let a bunch of boys be bored and maybe they’ll skateboard. Maybe they’ll take up graffiti. Maybe they’ll see who can be the biggest badass at the bar.

They probably won’t learn how to restore old engines or learn to program computers or study hard enough to get into medical school unless somebody helps them get started.

Really good civilizations / cultures give everyone a chance to contribute meaningfully. But that doesn’t happen without hard work.

I would have preferred that the rule was more about how the older generation has a responsibility to mentor the youth, rather than see the youth as a threat to peace and quiet.


It is an OK book. But would it have helped somebody out, in the darkest period of their life?

I don’t think this book would helped me out in times like that. I think it would have made it worse. You can do all the stuff he says to do, and you’re still going to feel like garbage. I might have read that book, followed it desperately, then gotten really bitter when I felt no relief. I would have thought that I must have been a hopeless case.

I felt better later, years later, when I got out of the toxic relationships I had, got out of a miserable living situation, found friends that actually liked what made me special, found work that lined up with what I was good at so I could prove myself.

Incidentally, in that dark time of my own life, I read a ton of books.

I read The True Believer by Eric Hoffer. After I read that book, I saw my desire to belong somewhere as something that could really get me in trouble.

I saw everybody around me just looking for a chance to fit in somewhere, to lose themselves in something greater.

Man’s Search for Meaning was another great book I read during that time. I remember feeling like we all need a purpose. A mission, so to speak, and if we have that, and we really believe that, then we can overcome hardship. It can’t just be hedonism. That’s a dead end. Hedonism won’t inspire anybody to sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

Hedonism is just a fancy word that means that you value pleasure above anything else. Read the wikipedia page if you want lots of details.

I read Siddhartha and Damien and Narcissus and Goldmund and The Glass Bead Game and a bunch more books by Hermann Hesse during that time too. And a bunch of stuff by Camus, and a bunch of science fiction from the 1960s.

You know what I learned from all those authors? People feel really fuggin lonely.

Review: -100 by Jonathan Maas

Just finished this book this weekend: -100: A Time-travel Horror Romance.

All in all, I really enjoyed this story, and I’ll likely explore other stuff that Jonathan Maas writes. I found three tiny possible typos, so if the author stumbles on this review, email me ([email protected]) and I’ll send them over.

What I liked

  • The story is written cleverly. The first section starts on day 50 and centers on Kela’s point of view, and then each subsequent chapter covers a day before the previous chapter. So the reader reads in reverse order. Then the second section, which is much more detailed, starts at the beginning, on day 1, and then goes forward, and centers on Adam’s point of view.

  • Science fiction authors have spent a ton of words on the logistics of time travel. This book doesn’t spend too much time laying out the rules of how it works in this scenario, and I was grateful for that. I really enjoyed how this book had an idea I hadn’t heard about before: they figure out how to send your own thoughts back in time, so you get a message from your future self.

  • I really liked how sparse the whole story was. Nearly the entire story happens in Adam’s apartment, when he and Kela are alone. There are a few scenes elsewhere, but they also only have two or three people.

    I read that the writer, Jonathan Maas, is working on making this into a film, and I think the small number of locations would help with that. A team could film almost the whole story in one or two locations.

  • Related to how sparse and minimal and stripped down the whole story is, I love how there were no pyrotechnics in the story. Like, in the time travel scenes, there was never any blue flame, lightning bolts, ear-splitting roars, etc. Instead, when Kela describes to Adam the cosmic horrors waiting for us all at the end of time, it works better, because the reader fills in with their own imagination. I love it when science fiction focuses more on drama and less on spectacle.

What I wasn’t thrilled about

  • Kela’s character is a “once in a lifetime genius” according to her colleague Raj. And, of course, she is also completely aloof and oblivious to social graces. This is such a god damn science fiction cliche! It reminds me of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, that blonde chick from those awful “Species” movies, Valentine Michael Smith (the guy from Mars) in Stranger in a Strange Land, etc, etc, etc.

  • The plot line set up several mysteries, and then drops hints and clues along the way, but ultimately, the hints and clues don’t really resolve the mysteries. For example, I’m not really satisfied with the explanations of what forces drive Kela to such unearthly rage. Also, throughout the plot lines, when Kela enters these fugue states, she ofte carves bizarre glyphs. Adam studies them, and meets a few times with a symbols expert. But in the end, they don’t turn out to resolve anything. Other than setting a mood, they could have been cut out of the plot entirely.

Random thoughts

  • The title of this is literally “-100: A Time Travel Horror Romance”. I suspect this is some kind of way of describing / tagging / encoding what this book is about, so that people that see the title online in a long list of titles might be drawn to it more. Is an interesting way that art and commerce intersect and affect each other.

  • Ultimately, after finishing the story, I really wanted a ton more. Kela apparently discovers some existential horror out there in the cosmos so terrifying she decides that existence is a terrible idea. And then she backs away from this state of mind, and uses her technology to help Adam’s dad.

    This all feels like the end of the first act, rather than a story in itself. I wonder if there is more coming.

Grab all the rows when parameter is null, or just grab the rows that match

If I pass in NULL for xyz, I want to get all the rows.

If I set xyz to a value, I only want the rows in the table where the xyz column matches the value I pass in.

And I don’t want to do build up a string in my app code.

Here is how:

select *
from my_table
when %(xyz)s is null then true
when %(xyz)s = xyz then true
else false

And here’s a slight tweak if you want to pass in an array of allowed values:

select *
from my_table
when %(xyz)s is null then true
when xyz = any(%(xyz)s) then true
else false

I hope this helps! If you know a better way, let me know!