squint, together

squint, together is a week-nightly thingy from squinter media rounding up stuff you should know and posts from across the extended blog-o-verse. time to take off the glasses, give the eyes an ol' rub, and squint, together, for another fun-filled issue.


 trevor the owl, guest editor, site mascot

  austin, from squinter media

letter from our editor

 austin, ☕ contributor
✉️ austinw@squintermedia.com

I'd like to shout out the editorial team that made The Outline special, who are now available for hire: Leah Finnegan, Jeremy Gordon, Brandy Jensen, Drew Millard, Noah Kulwin, and Shuja Haider.

I've been spending a lot of time re-arranging my apartment in unbelivably inefficient ways. I swear, I've moved my desk and bed four times this week. (They're currently situated where they were at the start of the week.)

If I get any more bored I might take up baking or finally get around to converting this box of unmarked VHS tapes.

Want to guest edit? Poke our site twitter account.

austin's weird-ass waffles

1 box pancake mix
1 container, hot chocolate mix
1 bag of cranberry raisins

Weird, but delicious!

Add a few scoops of hot chocolate mix to your pancake mix at a 4:1 pancake to cocoa ratio. Add cranberry raisins. Stir well. Place the resulting concoction in your waffle-maker. Enjoy. -- austin

love is dead, so is The Outline

The Outline was a Very Good Site™️, so let's pour a drink, buy the editorial staff a round, and remember some good blogs.

For far too long, too many dorks have objected to universal health care with the obstinately awful cry of BUT HOW WILL WE PAY FOR IT?

Sam Adler-Bell, a freelancer writer, wrote a simple solution for The Outline: money printer go brrrrrr. (it references a meme born on 9 March 2020, apparently)


Sam writes:

One (yes, one) month ago, on February 24, during a CNN town hall, Chris Cuomo asked Sen. Bernie Sanders how he planned to pay for his free college plan. At this point, Bernie was the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary (yes, that was one month ago). He had been asked dozens of times, over and over and over, how he would pay for his ambitious agenda: Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, free childcare, cancelling medical and student debt. You could set your watch to it; some portion of every debate would involve 10 to 15 minutes of inane back-and-forth about how to finance Bernie’s agenda (often with former Vice President Joe Biden leading the charge.) The question — how will you pay for it? — was effectively the only substantive criticism of Sanders offered by his democratic opponents, debate moderators, and cable news pundits during the course of the campaign. And they were never satisfied with his answers.


There was always a way to pay for the programs we need
Money printer go brrrrrrr.

my absolute favorite piece is one by Alex V Green, who is not actually a jolly verdant giant, but actually an incisive reporter.

Canada is fake:

I just returned home from a trip to New York, where everyone I met was very excited to meet a Canadian in real life. “What’s Canada like?” they asked, looking at me with eager, puppy eyes. “I think about moving there sometimes. What’s it like? What do you guys do there? Is it cold? Tell me everything.”

Read more: Canada is fake by Alex V Green

Canada is fake
What Americans think of as their friendly neighbor to the north, if they think of it at all, is a scam.

The Outline was an amazing outlet that – in the words of one writer — paid far too much for their freelance pieces. And, when writers at other outlets lost their jobs, sent them drink money, got them drunk, and then assigned them features because why not.

The site partnered with premium advertisers to.... shill $80 vodka? occasionally? apparently? the funding model is unclear. after four years, two rounds of fund-raising, the site being acquired by Bryan Goldberg's BDG, and two presidents, the site is dead.

Their final published piece was written by Benjamin Y. Fong, about the coffee industry.

Unfair Trade

Benjamin writes:

To the well-known political, economic, and cultural revolutions that inaugurated capitalist modernity, we ought to add a fourth: a pharmacological revolution, one that began innocently enough with a variety of foreign substances — coffee, tea, chocolate — and culminated in a multi-billion dollar regulatory regime responsible for adapting subjects to their alienating conditions of existence. Forget “the opium of the people”: actual drugs have done and are doing more to prop up an increasingly delegitimized system than any mere ideology.

Read more: Unfair Trade by Benjamin Y. Fong

Unfair trade
Coursing through the veins of the modern world and the modern subject alike, coffee is the spirit of exploitation in brewed form.

A twitter user famously said: "there is no longer AM or PM, just coffee time and wine time."

hmm. wine it is, then!

anywho, the very talented staff of The Outline are available for hire now. add them to your lineup.

blest be: paul's COVID-19 aid/supplies chart

need food? or have gear you want to use to help? head over to Paul Blest (formerly of Splinter News, which was a Very Good Site) and check his list:

Mutual Aid/Food/Supplies During COVID-19
United States STATE/AREA,ORGANIZATION/GROUP,DONATE/VOLUNTEER,GET HELP,CONTACT Last update: March 19, 9 p.m. EST National How to build a mutual aid network in your community,<a href>https://tinyurl.com/vpv89k2…

this was supposed to appear in our previous issue.
squinter media regrets the error.

confession: i hoard webcams

I have THREE hooked up to my computer, and another bunch stuffed into a dresser. And another bunch stuffed in my treasure chest. And a few more hidden under my bed, for some reason. I might have a problem.

-- austin

Nicole Dieker wants you to increase your income

it seems like we're all freelancers these days, the last survivors of The Blogging Years huddling around flickering screens for warmth and nutrition.

Nicole, now a fearsome wielder of spear and twine, penned a digital book a while ago, which she and The Write Life are giving away for free. Can't beat that. In a time with declining ad spends and mass layoffs, more of us are going to need this wasteland survival guide to thrive in this weird new world.

go get that money.

9 Ways to Increase Your Income as a Freelance Writer
Freelance writer Nicole Dieker outlines nine strategies she used to go from earning zero to $10k/month as a freelance writer.

it's [deep sigh] friday

accidental internet sensation Rebecca Black recently had a chat with Emma Madden from i-D @ VICE for a profile ahead of her upcoming (how is this still happening) Bingo Loco tour in Australia that kicks off 22nd of May, with Nikki Webster.

she also debuted her new apocalypse haircut and wardrobe in the i-D profile, which seems appropriate for pandemia.

Rebecca Black has something to tell you
The 22-year-old pop star, once vilified by the internet, reflects on ‘Friday’, sexuality and self-sabotage.

can we talk about that one warframe quest?

that one quest in warframe left me unable to sleep for like, three days. if you've played warframe's story, you know the quest. if you don't, well, i'm going to spoil it in the next paragraph because it's time to talk about it.

Chains of Harrow is the scariest experience I've had in a game, ever. Warframe is a game in which you play as a flippy space ninja and collect space doggos and decorate your space cruiser as you slide from planet to planet joining proto-union uprisings and fighting a corporation staffed entirely by copies of one guy named gary. it plays like Dynasty Warriors, but with special abilities. dashing into battle can be a poetic hack-and-slash rythmic experience, or it can be a very boring point-and-click-to-shoot affair if you're a boring tenno skoomlord.

The game is about empowering yourself and racking up ever increasing combo numbers, which is what made Chains of Harrow so dang scary. Up until the quest, all the missions have been straight-forward go-here-liberate-that. But Chains of Harrow flips that. You land on a derelict ship after a distress signal.

The lights are out. It's you, your flashlight, and the mechanical groanings of the ship. It only gets scarier from there.

Hmm. I guess I'm not ready to talk about it. Do yourself a favor, do not play the quest.

the worst part is now my spaceship flippy ninja has a roommate and we're stuck in quarantine together.

-- austin

project gutenberg canada needs volunteers

Project Gutenberg Canada is the messier, creative sibling of Project Gutenberg, a public domain works repository. Releases on the Canadian portal have slowed considerably in recent years, despite it having an arguably far deeper pool of potential publications: Canada, unlike the US, pegs copyright to Life+50 (which is still ludicrously long and results in far too many orphaned and lost works).

Project Gutenberg Canada released just two books in the last month, both from Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy, published in the 1950s.

Project Gutenberg draws its completed works from Distributed Proofreaders Canada, which divvies up work among digital volunteers. Volunteers correct the OCR conversion, another volunteer confirm the corrections, volunteer editors review, and then the resulting final work is shipped over to PG:C for the general public.

Distributed Proofreaders Canada has over 200 projects in the pipeline, which you can help finish by reviewing just a few pages (or reading an entire scanned work).


fidonet's still running in 2020

fidonet was an early peer-to-peer precursor to distributed networks like mastodon or retroshare, launched in 1984. member machines of fidonet would automatically call up other machines at 4AM to exchange messages and forward both mail and forum posts across nodes.

this... predictably, led to quite a few people getting phone calls at 4AM from a silent caller. this was resolved with the addition of clusters or super-nodes to the system which handled regional mail. it was not the only distributed BBS network, but it's one of the few relics of its time still running, still calling people at 4AM in 2020.

accessing fidonet is a bit of a challenge: you either need to get plain ol' telephone service and set up a modem, or you need to dial into a BBS via SSH. There's a third, better option, which involves using the newsreader feature in your favorite mail program, like, say, Outlook Express 4.0 (or Mozilla Thunderbird).

it's a weird place, where the addresses don't make sense, the users are old as earth, but if you're up for a venture into the deepest of the old net, this is where the action is.


catching up on: kosoff

Maya Kosoff has words at a lot of outlets, including Medium.com's Marker. Catching Up On spotlights Gawker and Gizmodo media staff, and the Kosoff connection... is when Maya quit Bryan Goldberg's iteration of Gawker, the only time in history where Goldberg was fired by staff. Depressing intro aside, let's highlight a few of my favorite Maya Kosoff articles.

Back in November, Maya wrote about Texas Instruments for GEN (a medium.com project). The venerable TI-83+ turned 20, recently, and is still being sold for a cool benjamin – or a whopping $145.99 in Canada, 15 more smackeroonis than a Nintendo 2ds. And you can play actual games on a 2ds, which you can't on a base TI-83 ($99 at wal-mart). (If you're a rich kid with a TI-84+ SE you can emulate gameboy games... badly.)

But Texas Instrument's domination of education is no accident. It's serious(ly profitable) business.

Maya writes:

This fall, Stephen Thompson began his first year of teaching Algebra 2  and college prep classes to 11th and 12th graders at a public high  school in northwest Baltimore. On top of the typical stress of any  first-year teaching experience, Thompson realized that along with other  out-of-pocket classroom expenses, he would have to buy a pricey piece of  classroom equipment: graphing calculators. Specifically, Texas  Instruments graphing calculators.

read more: Big Calculator: How Texas Instruments Monopolized Math Class by Maya Kosoff for GEN mag

Which segues nicely into the next highlighted piece:

My Anxiety Relief Is A 5-Minute Scream Every Morning

Maya writes:

My list of worries  is long. Yours probably is, too. It contains all of my own issues: the  impending visit with my accountant to do my taxes, the freelancer’s  eternal anxiety of waiting for paychecks from clients, the logistics of  where I’m moving when my lease ends, that thing where you replay every  conversation you’ve ever had in your head and think about how you  specifically said exactly the wrong thing in each interaction. But there  are also the existential concerns. I know I’m not alone in feeling out  of control and overwhelmed with the world right now; it’s impossible not  to be.

read more: My Anxiety Relief Is A 5-Minute Scream Every Morning by Maya Kosoff for Forge

Maya Kosoff has a newsletter, and it's very very good. You should read it, and maybe subscribe.

Her latest public newsletter story is On being alone and yearning for togetherness, written scant days ago.

Maya sez:

When my parents brought my sister home from the hospital in 1995 I  sat them down and told them the following, very sternly: “I want to be a  three [person] family again.” This was not a reflection on Jackie, who  has only ever been a nice and good sister, but rather a yearning for an  imagined desire for solitude. It was probably the last time I felt that  way.

Read more: On being alone and yearning for togetherness by maya kosoff

until tomorrow!

Well, this has been a fun issue to write, from behind the screen of my laptop. I read everything you send me, even if I don't respond to any of them. If you want a response, send your mail to ✉️ hello@squintermedia.com or poke us on twitter.

This has been issue #2 in our squint together series, you can read the rest of them in our squint together archives

 austin, ☕ site contributor
✉️ austinw@squintermedia.com