Nate Dickson Thinks...

Small Thoughts for a Quiet World.

Hey! Someone used my Ko-Fi link! I have offered to write about a topic of your choice if you drop me a few bucks, and someone took me up on it! So here's the post:

Dallas asks:

What's your favorite mythological creature?

This is a fun question, for a couple of reasons. First off, I have been big into Greek and Roman mythology recently. And the vague nature of the question gives me a certain latitude, moreso even than the vague nature of Greek mythology as concerns what constitutes a “creature”. For example, Bellerophon, the great hero who rode Pegasus while fighting and defeating Chimera, is a child of Poseidon. What makes this interesting is that Pegasus is also a child of Poseidon. So...Bellerophon rode his half-brother into battle, I guess? The Ancient Greek myths all seem to be fine with this.

So there's a lot of latitude. I could choose a god, or a non-humanoid, or possibly even a nymph or chthonic being. I'm going to interpret “creature” to mean “not a mortal human”. And I could wander into Norse myths or other mythologies, but I'm not nearly as familiar with the other sets of mythological beings...other than the ones most frequently met in D&D. So I'm going to limit my choices to non-mortal, non-humanoid beings from Greco-Roman mythology...and maybe a little D&D. Pegasus is a contender, but not Bellerophon.

So I'll pick one Greco-Roman creature, and one from the modern mythos that is overseen by the fearsome wizards that live on the coast.


The 1970's were a very odd time for movies. The price of creating a movie had come down enough that independent film makers were able to get into the craft. Combine that with the strong sci-fi and dystopian themes that were in vogue at the time, and we get some really odd movies from this really odd time. Movies like Logan's Run and Death Race 2000. One of those weird, 1970's sci-fi movies I've always heard about, but never seen, is Zardoz. I've seen stills from it, I knew it featured Sean Connery in a red loincloth and weird sideburns, I figured I had a pretty good gauge on what it was all about.


I've written before about what I call the Adafruit Problem, the over-crowded field of potential projects that feel overwhelming and sometimes stop me from doing anything.

So let's look at the other side of this: Projects I've started but scrapped for various reasons. The other day I looked at the bits and pieces I have laying around from various hardware projects. And I found the following available: – A Raspberry Pi 400 (the one with the keyboard) – A Pimoroni Headphone “HAT” – A 6-inch monitor

And I thought to myself “self, I could leave all these things on the shelf, gathering dust, or I could actually use them, even if my use case is suboptimal.”


A few years ago I wrote a post on a (now defunct) blog, wondering how twenty one pilots felt about being the modern music that aging Gen-Xers like myself can point to and say “look! I'm still cool! I like that band!”

Well, I still like that band. I've given up on claiming to be cool, but I still think they are!

I know I don't really have to sell the world on twenty one pilots as a band; they are popular and they do a great job of being themselves. But here's a few things I love about them.


I was diagnosed with ADHD recently. It’s not really a surprise; I asked the doctor if it was a possibility because I’ve been seeing the symptoms in myself for a while. So my doctor gave me a questionnaire; of the twenty questions I answered “yes” to sixteen of the questions and “often” to two more. seems very likely that I am and always have been—or had, not sure about the terminology—ADHD.


In high school my choir teacher once told us

“People are going to come up to you and tell you that you did a good job on a solo or in a choir. It's tempting to say something like 'oh, it wasn't that good', or in some way diminish their praise.

“Don't do that. Just say 'thank you' in a clear and genuine manner, and leave it at that.”

That advice is a good 30 years old now, and still valuable. I found that Marcus Aurelius had similar advice:

Accept graciously, let go easily. (Meditations, Notebook 8§33, as translated by Robin Waterfield)

Combining the advice of a Roman emperor and a high school choir teacher emphasizes what's important in the dynamic. The praise doesn't matter. What matters is the interaction with another human being. We should be genuine and gracious, because that person's feelings matter.

But once we've accepted graciously, it's time to let go easily. This is true of gifts or praise or whatever else someone might give us. The person is important; whatever they've given us, less so.

Thoughts? Tell me about them!
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I figure, why not record my favorite ways to waste time in the last year. As always, This is a ranking of games I played in 2022 regardless of when they came out.

Here's the list, from favorite to least favorite, because I like putting number one on top.


Me: [Sleeping] 🧠: Hey. Me: No. I sleeping. 🧠: You know the Sierpinski Triangle? Me: I mean, yeah, if you know it, then I know it. 🧠: I'll bet you could use Python to draw it using the 'random game' method. Me: Probably. But it's [opens eyes] four dang thirty A freaking M I'm going back to sleep. 🧠: It'd be really easy in, like, Jupyter. Me: I can't hear you I'm asleep. 🧠: Now, how do you find the ratio of the length of a side of an equilateral triangle and the height of the triangle? Me: What? No. Tenth grade geometry was a long time ago and also I'm Sleeping. 🧠: That's fine, you just sleep, I'll work on this in the background. Me: ... ... UGH FINE.


Me: There, are you happy? 🧠: Yeee! Me: Why did we have to get up at 4:30 to do this? 🧠: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Me: Fine. Let's go to work.

Thoughts? Tell me about them!
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That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased — Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is a quote that gets passed around a lot, and it's a good guiding truth. If we keep doing something we will get better at that thing and it will be easier to us. This is called building a skill.

But the inverse pressed itself upon me the other day: That which we neglect to do becomes more difficult, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has decreased. It's so obvious, and almost doesn't merit the time and energy it takes to state it, right?


With the number of major events happening on the big social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, you may have started thinking about moving to something else. It's always good to look around. One of the biggest of the little guys is Mastodon, a social media system that is somewhat similar to Twitter. This guide is written to give a gentle, painless introduction to the world of Mastodon, and to help newcomers get settled in.


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