Cutting Trail Above Pestriak Point

My machete drips
Green foam
My boots crush pulp of
Devil’s club, fireweed,
Roses, elderberry,
Pushki spraying sap,
Salmonberries.

From below,
The new mountain path
Winds up slow.

I rest my juice-covered arms.
The sea is pinned taut.
Chest-high green
Slopes double black
To a wall of spruce.
An eagle
A tiny prick of black and white
Below us, above the bay.
Flies stick to my machete.

Stilled, I turn to again.
Here, we gather wrack
From an ancient
Tide.


Originally appeared in Hawk & Handsaw: Journal of Creative Sustainability

A GPU-accelerated terminal emulator? Why!?

My terminal has be extremely slow lately. Every few minutes, it will hang – just slightly. The lag is like a cheese grater on my mind, distracting me and pulling me out of the zone. Pasting large text or opening large files slows the entire terminal down to a crawl, and I often give up and distract myself with optimization research. My productivity feels hamstrung.

I decided it was time to explore alternatives to my setup, which is typically ITerm2, Vim, and tmux. I didn't want to switch to another text editor, but I was willing to place my whole setup on the table for a chance at a faster experience. I tried out several alternatives, but nothing was jelling. I almost resigned to my fate.

I stumbled across a new project called Alacritty, which bills itself as a "cross-platform, GPU-accelerated terminal emulator" written in Rust. I decided to give it a try, and it really changed my life.

Obligatory screenshot, via jwilm/alacritty

First off, the project is in beta, so there are some missing features in relation to other terminal emulators. The project is also committed to keeping the codebase as lean as possible, so they aren't going to implement certain kinds of features.

However, the speed – the speed is insane. You can read more about how and why Alacritty is fast, but the short version: ~500 frames per second thanks to OpenGL; intelligent budgeting of paint time vs. parse time to allow for parsing huge (GB-sized) files; and no frames are drawn except when state changes. This adds up to a super-fast, battery-friendly emulator that supports large files and works on (almost) every platform.

I've been using Alacritty as my daily-driver for the past week, and I can't say enough about how much it's improved my mental state and my productivity. I got so inspired that I automated a couple other productivity glitches. I rebuilt my tmux environment. I pushed more code than the previous two weeks combined. I felt like dancing.

Of course, this is still in beta. There's a few hiccups. Some less-common applications don't render correctly. Your system might not like OpenGL. Font's don't look quite as pretty on macos. You can't full-screen in Linux. If these are deal-breakers, then wait a year or so and the project will probably have matured to your liking – better yet, take the opportunity to learn Rust and start contributing to the easy help-wanted issues.

The bottom line: a fast terminal will make you feel invincible, and Alacritty might be the best one to try right now.

Hyas Lake

WTA Trip Report

Great backpacking trip to Hyas Lake for a long weekend. First time to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area and could not have asked for a better trip. Got to the trailhead at 3pm on a Friday, left at around 1pm on Sunday.

Road to trailhead is long and potholed, but we made it just fine in an Outback. Creek crossing (Scatter Creek?) looked sketchier than it was, probably four inches deep in the middle.

At the trailhead, the parking lot was full but we found a spot without difficulty. Bugs were not bad at the trailhead. At the permit box there was a not about a juvenile black bear from a few days before, but we didn't see any sign of bear our whole trip.

Up the trail a ways, the mosquitoes started up. They weren't nearly as heavy as I expected, and picardin worked well. We escaped with a dozen or so bites each for the weekend.

We were a couple weeks too early for berries – August looks like it'll be an incredible berry season though. The bushes are thick with blossoms and buds.

There were several creek crossings on the trail, but none of them were  very deep. Past Hyas Lake heading towards Deception Pass they were  slightly larger but still manageable without wading.

Once at the lake, campsites were large and plentiful. A couple were already occupied, and we walked to Little Hyas Lake to scope out all the options. We picked a site in the center of Hyas Lake, and had a whole stretch of beach to ourselves. There were tons of hikers, trailrunners, and campers heading deeper into the wilderness, but the lake was still private and quiet, incredibly relaxing.

Fishing was superb, and I caught two good-sized Brook trout. Very tasty, and full of bug exoskeletons – happy fish make good eating.

Overall, an excellent trip for newbies, a great place to relax, good for testing gear and outsmarting trout.

Thomas Merton

In the end it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything. ... All the good that you will do will not come from you, but from the fact that you have allowed yourself in the obedience of faith to be used by God's love.

– Thomas Merton

William S. Burroughs & Patti Smith

Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises. Don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned with doing good work and make the right choices and protect your work. And if you build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.

— William S. Burroughs, via Patti Smith

Joy Harjo

Ah, Ah
      for Lurline McGregor

Ah, ah cries the crow arching toward the heavy sky over the marina.
Lands on the crown of the palm tree.

Ah, ah slaps the urgent cove of ocean swimming through the slips.
We carry canoes to the edge of the salt.

Ah, ah groans the crew with the weight, the winds cutting skin.
We claim our seats. Pelicans perch in the draft for fish.

Ah, ah beats our lungs and we are racing into the waves.
Though there are worlds below us and above us, we are straight ahead.

Ah, ah tattoos the engines of your plane against the sky—away from these waters.
Each paddle stroke follows the curve from reach to loss.

Ah, ah calls the sun from a fishing boat with a pale, yellow sail. We fly by
on our return, over the net of eternity thrown out for stars.

Ah, ah scrapes the hull of my soul. Ah, ah.

– Joy Harjo