The Creative Act by Rick Rubin

I didn’t like this book at first. At the beginning, he talks about spiritual nonsense — the Source. It didn’t make much sense then and it doesn’t make sense now. The best approach is to ignore these parts or think about them as Rick’s way to express things that he’s unable to put into words. If you survive this initial shock, you get to the good part.

The good part, and why you should read it, is all the things that you believe in and wanted to hear somebody else saying. Things that we collectively lost along the way.

We live in a messed-up world where quality is reduced to a few numbers on a dashboard or where people stopped doing what they like and started doing what drives engagement. I needed to know that I’m not alone.


Querying OpenStreetMap Data

I’ve recently started using Strava to create cycling routes. I noticed that sometimes it doesn’t use some roads because the paving is not specified. In theory, you can add additional points to route through these roads, but this isn’t the best solution.

Strava highlights roads with “unspecified” surface in white

Strava uses Mapbox for maps and navigation, which in turn uses OpenStreetMap data.

I wanted to know what roads didn’t have a surface type specified to adjust them in OpenStreetMap later.

I needed a way to query OpenStreetMap data. I found Overpass Turbo, which allows you to query and visualize any data from OSM.

I used this query to highlight all roads that didn’t specify their surface type:

[out:json];

(
  way[highway~"primary|secondary|tertiary|residential"]["surface"!~"."]({{bbox}});
);

out body;
>;
out skel qt;
Displaying the result of the query in Overpass Turbo

Filtering roads with a certain speed limit

Another useful application of Turbo Pass is finding roads with certain speed limits. Scalp road is one the most beautiful roads in Ireland, but it has an 80km/h speed limit. I can only ride on it in the morning when the traffic is low. At other times, I need to find roads with lower speeds.

Scalp road

The following query can be used to highlight roads with 30-60 km/h speed limits.

way[highway~"primary|secondary|tertiary|residential"]["maxspeed"
~"30|40|50|60"]({{bbox}});

Perfect Days

Film-meditation about life, work and getting joy from all this.


Font Updates 001

I’ve designed basic glyphs of the Latin alphabet and numbers. Making them consistent in form, weight and contrast takes a lot of time.

I’m still struggling with the letter and the stroke widths. Initially, my values were too small, resulting in letters that were too narrow and too light. The letters are still too light.

I bought a few books on font design:

I’ve also started to notice details in fonts that I previously overlooked. This might be what Ellen Lupton describes as typomania:

Introduced through the innocuous pages of a college textbook, typography will soon stalk you everywhere. You cease to find solace and sustenance at the supermarket; instead, you puzzle over the diamond-shaped tittles that dot the i’s of the Triscuit logo…

One day you step off the edge of the subway platform wondering whether the words ‘STAND BEHIND THE YELLOW LINE’ are set in Akzidenz Grotesk or Helvetica.

I first wondered why I’m doing this when there are so many Helvetica alternatives available online. But then I remembered how much joy I get from working on my font. Regardless of the many others that exist, this one will be mine.


Welcome to the Internet

I found this song from Bo Burnham a while ago, but I keep returning to it again and again.

When I was a kid, the internet was my way to get out and have fun. Today, the internet feels claustrophobic and stifling—a place I want to run from.

I’m still learning how to live with all this. I’ve ditched Google and am slowly abandoning all services that use auto-generated feeds. I’m returning to simple technologies — pictures stored in a folder on my computer, RSS readers, notes in text files, and my paper notebooks.

But I’m not there yet. And while I’m learning, the best thing I can do for my mental health is to laugh it all off.