Mario Villalobos

I finally found a reason to use Font Awesome on my site: for my link posts. I added a nice link icon that helps me spot them on my site quicker. I also went back and updated some of my older posts with the new layout, and I dunno, I like it!

Update 5/10/21: Just kidding! I didn’t like how it took half a second to load the icon, so I’m using ainstead. You know, because it’s the same thing as a bookmark, and definitely not like that other guy.

One more for the collection.

I finally got around to watching Tenet tonight, and… why does my head hurt so much? But also, why do I feel so invigorated?

Some Housekeeping

I removed all of my reading posts from my site. I felt like they cluttered up my stream, and I didn’t feel like they added value. I still have my reading page, though, that I’ll keep updating as I continue to read books. I also removed Cloudflare’s analytics script and my webmentions endpoint. I also didn’t think they added value, and, in some ways, felt like a distraction more than anything. I prefer the quiet.

All the Music I Bought on Bandcamp Friday

The album that reminded me it was Bandcamp Friday. I have not listened to this yet, but who doesn’t love Death Cab for Cutie?

Edit: Oops, I didn’t realize the album would only be available on Friday.


I love the vibes of this album. Also, I’m completely in love with Light in the Attic Records. Their releases of Hiroshi Yoshimura’s GREEN and Music for Nine Post Cards changed my life. Highly Recommended.


I listened to this record for the first time earlier this week after reading through Pitchfork’s review of Patience by Mannequin Pussy, and oh my god did this album just punch me in the face with its ridiculous awesomeness. Such a good record.


I think I discovered haircuts for men by tag hopping through Bandcamp one lonely night, and I’m glad I did because I’m now a lifelong fan. His music is just cool, a soundtrack to a life I wish I lived.


I think I also discovered Doon Kanda by tag hopping through Bandcamp one night, and I’m forever grateful I did. Like one reviewer says about his music: “This is the music that comes on when you’re about to get stabbed in the back at an abandoned amusement park.” Couldn’t agree more.


I’m a big fan of synthwave, outerwave, and music that leans heavily on 80s nostalgia, so the Motion Epic was a no brain purchase for me. I was binging through their first two albums when I grew curious to see if they had anything new out. They’re selling this album of remixes for just a $1, so this was an obvious choice. So good.

I haven’t participated in every Bandcamp Friday since it first became a thing last year, but when I saw that today was Bandcamp Friday, I decided to pull the trigger on a few purchases I’ve had my eye on. All in all, I spent over $40, and I couldn’t be happier. According to Ethan Diamond:

If you’ve started to feel guilty about buying music on any day other than Bandcamp Friday, here’s something to keep in mind: on Bandcamp Fridays, an average of 93% of your money reaches the artist/label (after payment processor fees). When you make a purchase on any other day of the month (as 2.5 million of you have since March, buying an additional $152 million worth of music and merch) an average of 82% reaches the artist/label. Every day is a good day to directly support artists on Bandcamp!

I’m glad that regardless of when I want to buy music on Bandcamp, the artists get a majority of my money. That’s how it should be.

On a side note: Not a half hour after I purchased my music, my friend Jon texts me and asks me if I use iTunes. “Yes,” I said. “Great, because I have a $40 iTunes gift card that has literally been sitting in my dresser for years. Do you want it?” “Of course!” And sure enough, when I went to see him, he gave me the gift card with a copyright of 2017 on it. I added it to my account and blam!, $40. I won’t be spending it on Bandcamp, but now I have even more music to add to my collection, which is nice. I truly believe that buying music is better than renting it, so this makes me happy.

Andrew Webster, The Verge:

The Longing feels like a troll. It’s a game that takes 400 real-world days to finish, and it moves at a pace that could only generously be described as glacial. The first word that ever appears on screen is “Wait!” Simple tasks, like walking up some stairs or opening a door, drag on forever. And yet, here I am, a month after I first started, and I can’t seem to stop playing.

I remember seeing this game during last month’s Indie World Showcase and thinking how much I wanted to play it. I thought the idea was clever, a game whose purpose is all about the player feeling the weight of time. I probably won’t play it because my backlog is ridiculous, but maybe one day…

When Problems Are Really Solutions

Bessel van der Kolk in The Body Keeps the Score:

[Dr. Vincent] Felitti points out that obesity, which is considered a major public health problem, may in fact be a personal solution for many. Consider the implications: If you mistake someone’s solution for a problem to be eliminated, not only are they likely to fail treatment, as often happens in addiction programs, but other problems may emerge.

One female rape victim told Felitti, “Overweight is overlooked, and that’s the way I need to be.”

[…]

“The idea of the problem being a solution, while understandably disturbing to many, is certainly in keeping with the fact that opposing forces routinely coexist in biological systems… What one sees, the presenting problem, is often only the marker for the real problem, which lies buried in time, concealed by patient shame, secrecy and sometimes amnesia—and frequently clinician discomfort.”

When I read this yesterday, I felt deep, deep shame. Up until the end of 2011, I always battled with my weight and my self-image. I ate all the time, even when I wasn’t hungry. I ate when I was bored, when I watched TV, when I was with friends. I ate when I hated myself, when I wanted to die, when I wanted to numb the pain. I’m 5’8”, and at my heaviest, I weighed over 230lbs. I had failed so many times in trying to keep my weight in check, and each time I failed, I ate and ate and ate.

But then that all changed. I wish I could remember the mindset I was in when it did, but I can’t. Not really. One day it just clicked: I want to lose weight, and I want to live healthily, and if that means a pound a week, a few pounds a month, so be it. This isn’t something I wanted to do in 10 days and then just stop; this was something I knew would be a lifelong endeavor, and at time time, that made complete sense to me. So I just started.

Slowly at first. I only worked out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I did simple resistance band training. I did what I could, knowing that I was in it for the long haul, and I decided to only weigh myself once a week. What I wanted to see was a steady decline in my weight, regardless of the number. My arbitrary goal at the time was to lose a pound a week. It didn’t happen the first month. I think I only lost two pounds that first month, but I had a month’s experience under my belt, and that made the next month a bit easier. I started to feel stronger, healthier, and more excited to start my next workout. That next month I lost the four pounds I wanted to lose, and then it snowballed from there.

From December 2011 to April 2012, I lost over 60lbs. Each new milestone propelled me to the next one, and I’ve been living healthily ever since. I’m at my ideal weight range, which is in the mid-170s, and I have no intention of ever stopping. I have over 10 years of experience built into my system now and stopping means sadness, means depression, means death. During the past decade, I have noticed myself stopping when in front of a mirror because 1) I like how I look, but also 2) I sometimes don’t recognize myself.

I felt shame when I read that passage above because I have sometimes thought to myself, whenever I’ve seen an overweight person, why they don’t do what I did and just lose the weight. I know this is awful, and my hands are trembling a bit as I’m writing this, unsure whether I should just delete this section or not, but it’s true. I only remember the results, the consistency, the routine of it now, but I don’t always remember all the pain and hardship I had to endure before I decided to make the change and how everyone is different. How everyone is battling their own demons, their own personal hells.

And then I read the next section:

But when the ACE study data started to appear on his computer screen, he realized that they had stumbled upon the gravest and most costly public health issue in the United States: child abuse. He had calculated that its overall costs exceeded those of cancer or heart disease and that eradicating child abuse in America would reduce the overall rate of depression by more than half, alcoholism by two-thirds, and suicide, IV drug use, and domestic violence by three-quarters. It would also have a dramatic effect on workplace performance and vastly decrease the need for incarceration.

In early 2020, before I ever heard of the coronavirus, I befriended a little girl named Zoe. She is the sweetest person I’ve ever met in my life, but what I didn’t know when I met her was her past. When she was much younger, she witnessed something truly horrific, something that no one should ever ever see. She and her brother were both taken from their parents and adopted by a lovely family, but the memories of whatever she saw infected her in ways that make her a “troublesome” student. She lashes out in class sometimes, and other times she just shuts down without any discernible reason.

So I bought The Body Keeps the Score because I wanted to learn more about trauma, specifically childhood trauma, but then the coronavirus shut the world down, and I didn’t see any of the kids, particularly Zoe, for months and months. So I kinda forgot about the book. Last spring, I did attend a Zoom meeting that dealt specifically with childhood trauma, and I earned a certificate and everything, but without putting it into practice, I kinda forgot what I learned. Like others, I focused on other things, and when school started again in the fall, we were all more concerned about wearing masks and social distancing than paying attention to the mental states of our students.

Throughout the year, I’d been checking in with Zoe more and more, and to me, she seemed okay. She even gives me hugs whenever she sees me. It’s funny because there was one time last week when she saw me, she said, “Just give me a hug,” and she wrapped her arms around me and hugged me. It was so funny and so sweet that it was then that I remembered this book. I wanted to know if there was something in what I was doing that was helping her in some way. I’m about halfway through the book now, and I may be getting hints here and there about how to help children with childhood trauma, but I’m not quite there yet, so I’m not sure if what I’m doing is helping. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. All I know is that I’m committed to this topic and to Zoe and other children like her.

This is a lifelong endeavor, and I’m in it for the long haul.

Peter Kafka, Recode:

Gruber, a blogger and podcaster with a passionate audience among Apple fans (and executives), thinks Apple will eventually have to relent on at least one of the App Store policies former CEO Steve Jobs instituted years ago: Apps can’t tell their users they can buy something — say, sign up for the paid version of an app or buy virtual currency for Fortnite — outside of the app.

In practice, this means developers that don’t want to sell through the App Store — such as Netflix and Spotify, which sell subscriptions to their streaming services on their own sites so they don’t have to give Apple a cut of their monthly revenue — can’t tell app users they can do so when they open the app. Instead, they have to just hope users figure out how to do it on their own.

I’ve been pretty ambivalent about the Epic vs. Apple trial, but this is one rule I never ever liked. Prohibiting developers from even breathing the fact that there are other ways of buying their products or services from within their own app always felt petty and stupid to me. If this one change does actually happen, then I think that’s a win for many people.

Fortune Telling

Aubrey stopped me and asked me if I would like to have my fortune told.

“Sure,” I said.

She pulled out about a dozen Pokémon cards and fanned them out, their backs to me. “Okay,” she said, “pick just one card but don’t look at it.”

“Okay.” I scanned my hand over the cards and picked one near the center. I did not look at it.

She grabbed it from my hand, looked at it for a bit, then showed it to me. I only saw it for a brief second before she pulled it away and said, “In your future, you’re going to get a dog!”

“A dog?” I said. “When will I get a dog?”

“Hmm,” she said, thinking about it. “When you’re fifty!” And then she ran away.

The 1st grade teacher was nearby and overheard the whole conversation. She laughed and said, “Yeah, you’ll be so sad and lonely at fifty that of course you’re going to get a dog.”

“Damn,” I said and laughed along with her.

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