What I'm Reading Right Now

Seattle Prohibition: Bootleggers, Rumrunners and Graft in the Queen City by Brad Holden – It’s a fairly thin book at 128 pages. This is not a criticism, but at the same time I’ve taken weeks to read it. I’ve read it just a few pages a night before going to bed.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – I am only barely into the novel so I can’t say much about it, but it is an absolutely fascinating world and it has me deeply hooked to read more.

How The CIA Overthrew Iran’s Democracy In 4 Days (NPR) – NPR podcast Throughline published (back in Feb. 2019) this look at the history of US’s CIA role in the fall of the Iran Democracy. Even more important for Americans to understand given the politics of the last few days. Don’t just read the article, listen to the 38-minute podcast.

The most awesome space images of the decade ( – Some truly stunning images from space. This one from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, landing on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, still blows my mind. We captured that from the surface of a comet.


With 2020, one of my big goals is to be more of a maker. Of which, this blog is a big part of it for me. But also, I want to do more physical stuff. Adam Savage is one of my major sources of motivation and his one day builds series on YouTube is a constant source of enjoyment for me. Here’s the newest video which is much more of a how-to than his normal videos, which are as he puts it more of a “here’s what I did” sort of video.

Happy Public Domain Day – With the start of the new year, a whole host of new items enter the public domain.

IRS Reforms Free File Program, Drops Agreement Not to Compete With TurboTax ( – “The IRS announced significant changes Monday to its deal with the tax prep software industry. Now companies are barred from hiding their free products from search engines such as Google, and a years-old prohibition on the IRS creating its own online filing system has been scrapped.”


In Your Inbox

So I’m diving deep into this blog in 2020. That’s the plan at least. Various daily updates, new features, interviews, maybe even a podcast. Part of this is a bi-weekly email newsletter. I started this idea five years ago, simply called “Interesting Stuff.” On that first try, I put out four emails over six months and then in March 2013, I stopped.

Well, I’m bringing the idea back. And in fact, issue #5 went out on the 29th. You can see what was in it here.

No Bullshit. No Spam. No selling email addresses. It’s just another way for people to get updates on what I write and for me to share cool things from around the web. The most commercial thing I might do is include affiliate product links, but when I do I’ll openly disclose the affiliate nature of the link.

Want to get this in your inbox? Sign up for it. Next issue will be in two weeks.

Two fascinating links I came across nearly simultaneously.

Center for Policing Equity – A new organization I was introduced to by Adam Savage, via his YouTube video of favorite things for 2019. This is an organization dedicated to partnering with police organizations to remove bias from them. The organization’s tagline is “Data Science for Justice.” I need to do more research before I officially recommend them for donations, but definitely interesting.

Second, a video by Tom Scott, who is among my favorite ‘infotainment’ channels on YouTube. I find his videos highly informative and entertaining. This video is no exception. As a coder I had seen the ISO date functions, but I didn’t know what it was and had never used them. Now I know.


WordPress: Post Types vs. Post Formats

I am far from a WordPress expert, as this post will highlight. However, I am a hobbyist and an out of practice one at that. This past week I’ve been messing around with the template here on the site.

In doing so, I ran into a problem and it took me a while to google properly and figure out the issue.

The issue was that I use custom post formats for various things on the site. I have a format for the movie/book/tv reviews, a format for links, the format for normal posts, etc. But I was really struggling to figure out how to get WordPress to change display information for the different things.

The core of my problem was I kept trying to use get_post_type(). Like the definition of insanity, I tried it over and over expecting something to change somewhere.

I did this because in my mind these are different post types. To avoid confusion, I’ve properly referred to them above as formats but in my mind those are different types of posts. However, every time I would try to use get_post_type(), it always only returned ‘post,’ regardless of if I had set it as ‘link’ or something else. So I kept banging my head on my metaphorical desk.

Well, it took until Sunday morning (watching Manchester City vs. Sheffield United) for me to properly Google fu my way to an answer. WordPress parlance is that the above are post formats and not types, and the correct command is get_post_format() (reference link.)

Returns the post format of a post. This will usually be called in the the loop, but can be used anywhere if a post ID is provided.

I wanted to share about this here because the first several answers when Googling don’t highlight this difference well enough or at all. If I lost hours trying to solve this issue, then I’m sure there are others doing the same thing and hopefully I can save someone else a few hours of their time.

Film Media

Review: Daybreak

My Netflix binge continues as I churn through this over just two days. It’s one part Zombieland, one part Mad Max, one part Adventureland, and one part Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.

3/5 Sunflowers.