For Feed Eyes Only

Hello there, feed readers!

In RSS Club-like fashion, this entry is only posting to my site feed. Just you brave denizens of the syndicated internet are able to see it.

Why? To issue a bug report, mostly. Images have been broken in this feed for awhile, and I was lax about fixing it. That’s especially not-great now that I’m posting more photos and tinkering with how I publish (more on that later). In either case, I owe a thank-you to Nick Sherman for reaching out to ask about it, which nudged me into action.

If you’re subscribed to this feed directly in a desktop or mobile app, things should now look un-broken. If you’re using a third-party service like Feedly or Feedbin, you’re probably going to see duplicate content for a bit thanks to a switch to https URLs (another technical change that escaped my attention until now). Also, these services do unholy things with noscript elements, which I was using for lazy loading images, and cache entries in a super aggressive way that site creators like us don’t have much control over. Sorry about that.

In the meantime, I have been quietly making lots of under-the-hood changes to the site over the last few months to better handle the kind of publishing I want to do. I’ve ported a few of those over to this feed. Stuff like photo metadata now appear here, and I’ve also joined the reply-by-email trend, which is one of those great why didn’t I think of that before ideas that felt like a no-brainer.

I have bee pushing myself to do more knowledge sharing posts, especially while squirreled away inside during the pandemic, and should have more about the site work soon. But I also hope to make occasional use of this RSS-only option to post more conversational entries—an opportunity to talk with you, a smaller and closer gathering of the site’s larger audience.

On a personal note, my family and I have been doing okay during the pandemic, and I hope the same for all of you. After months in a tight lockdown here in New York City, we are negotiating a strange new path. One that’s an awkward waypoint between the life we knew before, and the constant, slow-rolling dread of the virus’s first few months.

This past weekend we visited the newly-reopened Brooklyn Botanic Garden, one of our first “trips” anywhere in months. The Garden is a psychological anchor point in the neighborhood, and like so many other things we’ve felt its absence. I’m intensely aware of the privilege we have living in our rather gentrified neighborhood, a stone’s throw from institutions like this, and I’m mindful to never take it for granted.

It was fascinating and a little eery to see how things looked after nearly half a year without constant human traffic. The Garden staff have intentionally let some areas go to seed while they focus their limited resources on others, and the ticketed-only entry policy still leaves the grounds largely devoid of people. A special audio installation meant to honor those lost in the pandemic plays out on the Cherry Esplanade, where you can sit in the conspicuously untrammeled grass and take it in. And we did.

A blocked trail in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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