Chicago Trip Post 4

Thank you bathroom attendants. Thank you for providing spray-on deodorant that has a crisp, clean fragrance to cover up my body odor on the dance floor. I also appreciate the ample chewing gum options you offer, and the disposable cups of mouthwash. Your steadfast commitment to dental hygiene is something I share. I’m not embarrassed to use the toilet in the room with you, as I know you’ve seen and heard it all. You’re just doing your job, and your job is to support us. If I ever record an album, I will write a song devoted to you and your work.

Thank you.

Chicago Trip Post 3

If there’s ever a recommendation I can make, it’s to go to Pain Stop Massage on Milwaukee Ave in Chicago. It is hands down the best deep tissue massage you can get on the Planet Earth.

Pain Stop is bare bones, but not so bare bones that it feels shady or dirty. Perhaps utilitarian is a better description. The walls in the private rooms are only 8 feet high. The floor is linoleum. The therapists set an electric timer before they start, and they stop their work shortly after it goes off. The front room has a receptionist, a few massage chairs, and sometimes a table scattered with Mahjongg tiles.

The therapists will work on loosening up your glutes as much as they work on your back, arms, legs, and feet. There is no embarrassment, just deep tissue massage at a reasonable price. Please tip the therapists; they truly deserve it.

I had a 90 minute massage today, and I’m about to fall asleep as a puddle of a human being. I am truly content.


Back in the summer, I made my son a ladder. It was only about three feet tall and it had four rungs. It’s the equivalent of the wee tiny ladder Link uses in the original NES Zelda game. He was fond of it for a week or so, where he used it to climb up to ring our door bell and fight imaginary fires. I dismantled the ladder a few weeks after he lost interest and returned the wood to my scrap pile. One of the ladder rungs made an appearance earlier in the blog as an essential piece of the podium laptop stand.

Cut to this week, some three months later, and Zavian’s been asking me about the ladder. They must’ve discussed ladders in his preschool class because he’s all about the ladder again. I told him the truth, and offered to make him a new one. He wanted to help me with it, and we spent 20 minutes in the basement working on it. Really, I was working on it and he was making a train out of scrap wood. He’s only 3, so he can only do so much around tools.

I’m typing this on the Pixelbook that just arrived from eBay. I’ve been impressed with my experience so far. The keyboard is divine and the touch screen is super convenient. I had completely missed the trend of useful touch screen laptops since I’ve been on a macbook for the past ten or so years. My Pixelbook came with a pen, and I’ve noticed essentially no lag when I sketch out ideas in Google Keep. It’s truly a fun experience. I’m sure I’ll have a better review after I spend a week or so with it.

The Internet’s Most Boring Blog

We’re about a month in on this writing a blog post every day project, and I thought I’d check in. Also, I’m not sure what to write about, so this gives me a quick topic.

I’d say some of these posts are pretty boring. I recognize that. Also, I write about sleep way too much, probably because I write the posts right before bed. Some posts are short too, like I squeezed out a couple tweets and stamped them “done”.

I’m fine with all of that. I’m not at a place in my life where I can write an entertaining post every day. I’ll settle for writing anything. If I can continue to do that, it’s better than nothing.

Today I biked to the post office to return that turquoise ring and put my office white elephant gift in the mail. It was a chilly, sunny, enjoyable ride. I love the post office. The one here has a great mural, and the postal employees are friendly and helpful. Thank you, USPS.

Hot Shower Fugue State

I will sleep in the nude every night until I die. The only time I won’t is when I stay at relatives’ or friends’, and I’m worried I’ll surprise someone.

The one argument I can see for sleeping in clothes is that it’s easier to get out of bed on a cold morning.  As it stands, leaving the warm bed is an incredibly hard challenge to face first thing in the morning. The second is leaving the warm shower. I have to shut down all of the firing neurons that scream “turning off the warm water will be the worst decision of your life” or I will never leave.

Contagious Couch Nap

Tonight I pulled Monica into a couch nap: her on top of me with a blanket on top of us. All that was missing on this windy winter night was a smoldering log in a grand stone fireplace.

This nap lasted from 9:30-11:30, pushing our actual bedtime past midnight. Don’t be like me. When you’re tired, just brush your teeth and go to bed. This was actually my second nap today. Do I suffer from some kind of energy issue? Or is this hereditary? My dad falls asleep all the time. Maybe exercise would break sleep’s hold over me. Actually, that seems counter-intuitive. I don’t know.

In Defense of Chicago

My wife, Monica, questioned my retelling of why we left Chicago. Trees and access to nature were part of it, but surely there were trees in Chicago. Humboldt Park has a few, and so does Grant Park, maybe. No more than a light peppering, though. Never enough to enter into a clump of them, to turn around and see them guarding your path back.

Chicago has its share of other problems, with corruption and shootings, a despicable waste management stream, a winter wind that will race through the streets and slice you in two. But it also has an earnestness and community, a muffled unity against the cold, phenomenal Mexican food, the best public transit system (until NYC works out those ceaseless delays, if ever), amazing architecture and pale copies of that architecture, really lovely people, among a million other things.

We’ll probably move back in a year or two.

(I wrote this last night on my phone, so I haven’t broken the streak.)

Phonetic Similarity

I realized that the best first step, the begin, is to research topics in the NLP space. This involves reading papers, which I’ll start outlining here:

Phonemic Similarity Metrics to Compare Pronunciation Methods
This paper outlines a novel algorithm to score the similarity of pronunciations that based partly on how biologists compare protein sequences. A score is calculated based on the length and phonemes in the word, and the number of blank entries inserted to achieve that alignment. They also leverage the alternate pronunciations for words in the CMUDict, splitting out their different phonemes and use that as a basis for what should be considered similar.