bao's blog

this is where i write stuff i wanna talk about. also i promise that all my articles will respect your time!

i used to think ai was bad and refused to use ai products because of how they require tons of data collection, but i've changed my mind on it a bit. i still try to use ai products that only use ethical data collection (if there is such a thing), but i think ai might be great for the internet, because maybe it'll get people to stop taking the internet so seriously.

we've all seen all the ai-produced memes and art that have exploded onto the internet, especially after the release of stable diffusion, and text content which can be generated with chatgpt. both of these have lead to a ton of creative uses (particularly stable diffusion over verbose, generic unhelpful chatgpt-written text), but also some talk on how it'll be harder to tell what is real on the internet after anyone can create realistic looking images and long-form text easily. but they're missing the point:

nothing on the internet is real

none of it. i don't care if it's “fact checked”, i don't care if it's certified by a real xyz professional, i don't care if it's self-evident, none of it is real.

when the internet started becoming popular, we would say to never talk about your real life on the internet, don't say your name online, don't share your birthday, don't trust anything you read on the internet, and we all somehow seemed to have forgotten this over years and years of the internet becoming normalized, mobile phones democratizing technology to even the most technologically-impaired. it's easy to think that the internet has made the lines between reality and online much more blurred. but they aren't, and it's easy to fix if you just consider everything online to not be real! now, this might seem to be an almost schizophrenic-level position to hold, but don't worry, there's lots of good reasons to believe so:

information on the internet isn't real

the internet has been described as bringing humanity into the informational age, as this vast store of human knowledge, but it's not. it's the accumulation of data, which can be and is often very different from objective reality. and the data on the internet has always been junk. we've known this from the beginning, search any argument and you will find a billion results affirming why something is one way, search the opposite and you will find another billion results affirming the other.

this problem isn't new, (imo) it's the fundamental question behind the philosophical question of postmodernism, and one that philosophers have been wrestling with for decades (and have made some interesting thoughts about). this isn't an insurmountable problem in many cases, one can generally find working conclusions from the data, but it isn't the case when things get muddier, which reality tends to do quite frequently. in those cases, it's easy to pick the easiest solution that explains most of the data, but it's easy to forget the main points: the data may or may not be real, and thus the conclusions from that data may or may not be real, because information from the internet works like we do: dreaming or hallucinating.

the human brain is an incredible thinking machine, but often times that thinking isn't done consciously, or even when we're awake. how many times have you had a problem you were thinking of, and the pieces seem to only come together after you've slept or dreamt of it? how many times have you found something just because you thought something else was the case and stumbled onto the true answer? we can have complete knowledge that something was a dream, or a mistake (a hallucination), but we can still use those to consciously discover real truths, make real conclusions, and create real artworks and content, without ever losing our ability what to distinguish what is real and what was just a dream, which would be the definition of psychosis. we just need to remember that internet content are like the dreams and the misconceptions (hallucinations) we have along the way, and that believing that internet content is real would be the real delusion.

i think ai can help in this regard. a really good description of ai-generated content is how ai “hallucinates” its results, it doesn't use logic or reason (obviously, it's like glorified markov chains, why the hell would you think it's real), and as ai proliferates, more of this hallucinated content will make it's way to the internet. i think being confronted with such obviously hallucinated content (people with 7 fingers, text content presenting obvious fallacies with complete confidence, etc) will force people to realize that not just some, but all internet content are basically just hallucinations!

“but!” you say, “i can read a guide on how to fix my car on the internet and gain the actual knowledge to actually fix my car! surely that can't be fake!”


knowledge on the internet isn't real

while your fixed car might not be a delusion, believing you had the knowledge of fixing your car, until you actually fixed it would be. consider me: i don't know car maintenance as well as i wish i did, and i recently just got my tires changed by professionals. i could have watched youtube videos on how to change tires, read countless articles about what steps to follow when changing tires, even used virtual reality applications to simulate changing a tire, but would i have any actual knowledge on how to change a tire? i would say no, i wouldn't know the intricacies of how certain techniques in changing a tire can affect the other parts of the car, what quirks some models of cars have with lug nuts, the sensory feedback of physically changing a real tire in the real world on a real car, all of the things that a real tire professional has that makes them good at their job.

instead, by using all that internet content, i might have some idea of what changing a tire is like in reality like how some parts of a dream might match up to reality, in truth i have only tricked myself into believing that i might have some knowledge of how to change tires, until I did it myself, and probably realized that no, i should've made sure the lug nuts were perfectly clean, that my torque wrench needs to be adjusted 10% more because it's a cheap one from harbor freight, oh god i missed the click and just snapped the bolt completely off and i forgot to chock the car and now it's fallen off the jack stands and-

in other words, i would've been confronted with the actual reality that i didn't have the real-world knowledge, the real-world experience that i paid a real-world professional to do it for instead. and it's even clearer to see when considering something as banal as entering all your symptoms onto webmd (don't worry, we've all done it). the age old story of “oh god, i have appendicitis, i have an ulcur, i have stomach cancer”, when a doctor with real world knowledge goes “no, you had taco bell and have gas” is one that you might have to live for yourself if you don't agree.

“but!” you might say, “even if i can't get the real experience of changing a tire through the internet, i can still get real experiences through the internet, the emotions and actions that i experience using online spaces is happening in the real world and is real!”

even more unfortunately:

experiences on the internet aren't real

this might be a bitter pill to swallow, considering how much some of us have invested our lives onto the internet at this point. and this isn't to say that so many people's lives haven't been irrefutably improved by the internet. but to assert that the experiences on the internet are the same as real life would be a grave mistake.

and it's easy to understand by hanging out with people online. being an introvert, i've always had internet friends, and the fact that i can connect with so many people i could otherwise never have even known at all is a great blessing. if you've seen my profile, you probably know that i'm a rather large gun nut, and maintaining the tools and abilities needed for my personal protection is a personal aim that i've had for a long time. and because of that, i've surprisingly (for an extreme introvert) have not shied away from meeting internet people in real life, and have always enjoyed it very much! (try it, it's really not that scary as you might think, even though telling someone else and carrying pepper spray at the very least is probably still a good idea).

for me, it's always fascinating how different people might be in person from what you might have in your head from their online persona. but more importantly, how different of an experience it might be to hanging out with them online. even if they're exactly the same as how they are online (which imo is not very often the case), the experience can still be completely different (and very rarely the case in a bad way).

on it's own, an online experience being different than the real-world one might not be enough to convince you that an online experience isn't real. however, i just ask you to consider the difference between watching a pov video of someone jumping out of an airplane and actually jumping out of an airplane, and why we're so hesitant to apply the same logic to all of our online interactions, not just the really fun paramotoring videos i could watch so much of. while dreams can be fun, there are definitely some dreams that i'm glad i could wake up from. while the assurance that something is a dream might be nice to have, the realization that a lifetime was is most assuredly not.

so, the internet isn't real

and that's ok. the internet doesn't have to be real, just like dreams don't need to be real, but that doesn't mean that the things you read online, your misconceptions (remember, hallucinations), online friends, the fun video and voice calls, the group chats, the online discussions and arguments, that one person who really pisses you off, that one really funny comment, the sometimes disturbing memes people share, the big-boobied ai-generated anime girls, the overly niche micro-communities, the embarrassing parasocial attachments, that one person you were so scared to talk to but turned out to be really nice, the tear-jerkers, the “it's so over”s, all the “we're so back”, the vicarous experiences and all the rest aren't any less valuable to the only thing that truly matters and uses all of it for better or worse, whether you want it to or not:


and that's really something worth being real about (fr fr no cap on god)

follow this blog via rss or through any activitypub-enabled social media by following, although this won't have updates to the original post. you can also follow me online via my misskey instance at to keep up with my life if you want -3-

this shit should be called liquid gold because it's fucking amazing and i have no idea how i've never heard of it until now.

i've talked a bit before how i have problems with hyperhidrosis (aka sweaty hands) but liquid chalk is now my go to for this issue over gloves for activities like weightlifting and here's why:

  • when applying to your hands, it looks and feels like a typical hand lotion, even though it uses an alcohol base to quickly evaporate after 20-30 seconds or so. after being rinsed off, it leaves my hands feeling better than before, while providing all the benefits of chalk
  • by using liquid, the chalk is applied incredibly evenly and only to the areas that you need it. no more chalk in between the crevices of your fingers or whatnot, it looks exactly like a handprint outline
  • the biggest benefit: no extra powdery chalk. since it's applied by evaporation, all the applied chalk is properly bound to your hand and there's no loose powder. this means there's no excess chalk that can fall off, get into the air, or be brushed off.
  • since the chalk is firmly attached to your hand, much less of it will be transferred to whatever you touch. there will still be some white transfer from the chalk to whatever you're touching, but it's like 90% less of what you'd find from regular chalk. this means that more chalk is staying on your hands to actually be used and it's easier to clean up
  • kind of side point: some gyms and other places that dislike chalk may be ok with liquid chalk if you show how it doesn't get into the air and how much cleaner it is than regular chalk, but i doubt this benefit is really realized very often

so, you might say, what's the catch? and there's only one: the price. liquid chalk is more expensive than regular chalk, but for the above benefits you're getting, i say that it's very well worth the cost.

this review is based off of sportmediq liquid chalk i got but i bet they're all pretty similar. anyways i love this shit lol

follow this blog via rss or through any activitypub-enabled social media by following, although this won't have updates to the original post. you can also follow me online via my misskey instance at to keep up with my life if you want -3-

the world has gotten pretty interconnected, and i think pretty clearly evident by the extended supply-chain issues in the wake of covid-19's effect on the global economy. we take it for granted that the grocery store has eggs from who knows where, bananas probably shipped from afar, and peanut butter that's spent who knows how long in processing and storage, until it's made its way to the shelf for your perusal. sure, the egg came from a chicken somewhere, the bananas were grown on a tree somewhere, peanuts processed somewhere, but it's become so second nature that we might not stop to think about this arrangement until something gives us pause.

having an interconnected network of free trade has definitely given us many benefits in technological progress and standard of living in spite of popular critics like kaczynski (better known for other work) et al. and yet, in spite of the grand achievement of getting to pick between 18 slightly different formulations of ketchup at the grocery store, it does feel like we've lost something, hasn't it? this isn't as sarcastic of a question as you might think, there are many people who don't particularly care or believe that it's necessary for everyone know exactly where their egg came from.

i was having an interesting conversation with someone with a strong self-professed love of communism and labor theory, and i'm going to attempt to recreate their argument as accurately as possible, but most likely completely butcher it 😩. much of modern day technology, such as vaccines or semiconductors, is so complex that it necessarily requires extensive and highly reliant supply chains to be viable. by objective metrics, this has proven to substantially increase quality of life, and regression from this ideal, as suggested by critics such as kaczynski (again, better known for other work) is either malicious or misguided at best. instead, efforts should be made towards improving overall system trust, efficiency and resiliency; just because a system grows beyond a single person's scale doesn't make it inherently bad, there just needs more work to be done.

i can appreciate this argument, but as you can guess, i beg to differ: supply chains need to be community-sized because the egg matters, for several reasons:

  • awareness: without awareness of the entire production of a product, of course we will naturally underestimate the labor and material cost involved. at best, this can just be a benign lapse, like forgetting an ingredient in a recipe after making it. more often, it can lead to dramatic amnesia, such as when naysayers of electric cars love to point out the heavy effects of lithium mining or the burning of coal to power the electrical grid. at worst, corporations, with a vested interest to make their product seem greener than it might actually be, might maliciously mislead consumers and obfuscate its components.
  • value: with increased awareness, we can begin to appreciate products beyond a simple market-priced monetary value, but with the full wonder of the sum of its whole production. what was once an egg that magically popped into existence moments before arriving on the grocery store shelf suddenly becomes an egg grown by one of Jim's chickens, transported and stored by Cheryll, who was then purchased by you. in this model, the social value of a egg can change dramatically if sourced from a farm known for unethical practices for example, even while the market value remains the same. the same cannot be said of the magical egg, stripped of any social or communal value, which could be replaced by a farm halfway across the country without you even realizing it.
  • conscientiousness: this may seem self-evident, as a natural consequence of increased awareness and value. and yet, its importance can not be understated. only with increased awareness can consumers produce fully accurate valuations of products, which you might be more inclined to use before it goes bad than a magically instantiated egg. in this way, decreases in consumption occurs naturally and effortlessly from the bottom up, rather than a top-down method of gating consumption at the time of purchase. the psychological benefits of such a less cognitively-intensive model shouldn't be ignored.
  • decentralization: shortened supply chains may not be able to service as many people, but with less dependencies, they can be proliferated in a more decentralized way. while there may still be common, traditionally-produced materials used in these local supply chains, most of the supply chain being distributed means that consumers won't just have more options in total, but also that producers will have the chance to uniquely tailor their products directly for their local community.
  • resiliency: by promoting decentralization in supply chains, they will naturally be more fault-tolerant to remote instability due to their local nature, and will also have more decentralized options to source alternatives from. recovery will be less bottlenecked by singular outages, improving responsiveness.
  • participation: finally, with more local production, consumers will have more opportunities to shape products with their consumer habits, and even get directly involved with producers. where personal relationships were once impossible, now has the opportunity to help communities grow stronger as they can work to better meet each other's needs.

so how do we do this? it's easy, and doesn't require changing how technological progress occurs, only where we apply it. instead of only applying technological improvements to the total efficiency of production, we can target towards a combined heuristic of efficiency given scope. while this may decrease total efficiency on paper, i believe that the listed benefits will greatly reduce consumption, waste, impact and emissions more than any marginal increase in efficiency could ever bring.

however, there's one final benefit that i believe might be one of the most valuable of all. as focus shifts from incremental improvements in efficiency to that of self-sufficiency and versatility, singular technological advancements can be applied exponentially through decentralized supply chains, resulting in massive improvements to overall production that aren't even possible with marginal efficiency increases of conventional supply chains. (computer scientists will groan as i reference big o notation. don't lie, you were thinking of it)

3d printing is a good example of this in action in recent history. on the surface, it may seem like a less efficient method of production that generally results in weaker materials than an equivalent one milled from metal or wood. however, where before you might have had to ship materials out to a dedicated milling facility where they used incredibly expensive and complicated machines to create custom objects, or buy lots of specialized tooling to carve things out of wood, things can now can be flexibly and easily printed with the touch of a button. far from being useless or simple toys, i think the ingenuity of the 3d printing community can speak for itself, as they've found so many ways to produce replacement parts for complex machinery like tractors, or even full, resilient tools like guns. the value of technological advances like 3d printing doesn't just come from easier creation of individual bespoke components, but instead from allowing these previously-prohibitive production chains to become more accessible, since one object no longer requires expensive/special machinery which all have their own dependency chains on their own.

there's a lot to be gained from shorter supply chains and luckily, each of us has the power to make this a reality by buying locally, or from companies committed to keeping their production as local as possible. as you might begin to think about the production chains in your life, i urge you to consider not just total efficiency, but overall scale and structure as well. and then you might agree with me, that those eggs could be so much more valuable if they just had a little less magic.

follow this blog via rss or through any activitypub-enabled social media by following, although this won't have updates to the original post. you can also follow me online via my misskey instance at to keep up with my life if you want -3-

a lot of my hobbies are stupid. evolutionarily, objectively, rationally, whatever.

it makes no sense to leave the safety of civilization and intentionally subject yourself to the whims of nature, wild animals, and whatever else unknowns that may be lurking, moreso to do so solo, with only what you can carry on your back. and yet, talk to almost any backpacker you know and they can probably confirm that backpacking can be one of the most meaningful experiences of your life.

it's a peculiar kind of risk, because most backpackers will probably say they aren't in it for the adrenaline rush or to prove that they can survive by themselves (bushcrafting remains niche, after all). it's not what you might expect from other kinds of risk-taking; there's no thrill, no gain to be had when you return from a trail, yet the payoff still remains large.

a more rational person might say that this risk is unnecessary and a walk around the paved paths of a national parking lot seems a lot more comfortable instead. why go through all the trouble of backpacking when you can get better photos from national parks for instagram anyways? or why not book a camping site on a concrete foundation, i hear they even have wifi nowadays! just seems a bit stupid, maybe.

motorcycling is a bit more negatively-fetishized when the risk is roughly comparable to.... swimming. don't get me wrong, it's pretty easy to thrill-seek on a motorcycle. yet ask a motorcyclist for they truly enjoy about motorcycle rides, and it could just be the simple pleasure of riding, sure. but i'd wager that you might get an anecdote that sounds similar to the backpacker, as they try to explain about the beauty of riding through gorgeous mountains or the feeling of freedom from a long road trip, instead.

none of which require the motorcycle, says the rationalist, really. a car ride is much safer, can carry more, and isn't as susceptible to the weather, anyways. motorcycling is dangerous and unnecessary when cars exist, just seems a bit stupid, maybe.

this isn't to insult those who enjoy camping sites with hookups, or with no interest in motorcycles. some have families or responsibilities that they aren't comfortable with jeopardizing, which is a perfectly valid and reasonable decision. but it would be an insult to equate the value of a national park campsite to roaming the backcountry or motorcycling to that of a car ride. and it's just wrong to say that increased risk is just thrill-seeking or unnecessary.

some activities are inherently more risky, yes. i don't take risks lightly, and if there's a way to offset it, then i will go the extra mile (heh) every time.

but the real risk might be to the sealed bubble of your car with the a/c and radio set exactly to how you like it, to the daily routine of your 9-5 cubicle, to every whim and desire easily accessible with the swipe of a credit card, to the comfort that has so easily rotten countless lives from the inside out until it's too late.

so i'm not afraid to be a bit stupid, maybe.

follow this blog via rss or through any activitypub-enabled social media by following, although this won't have updates to the original post. you can also follow me online via my misskey instance at to keep up with my life if you want -3-

i think shooting gloves are kind of unnecessary for most people, but for me at least, they're a pretty important piece.

i have super sweaty hands and feet, so much so that i have literally always set up fans aimed at my hands on keyboards (tech or piano) for my whole life. without them, i would actually get small pools of sweat on whatever i touch if i'm using it for a while, and i am prone to getting athlete's foot in warmer weather.

i've literally had sweat drip off my hands without doing super strenuous activities before, and i've tried antiperspirants and even hyperhydrosis remedies like odaban (which basically adds a layer to your skin to prevent sweating, but i'd literally sweat it off, helped a little didn't really work for me). personally, i find that like wearing socks is the best way to help regulate bodyheat and prevent me sweating through my hands more.

i find that shooting gloves definitely help with aforementioned issue a lot, but also let me just manipulate stuff harder. helpfully pointed out that features on older weapons (like AKM style mag release levers, charging handles, safety devices on Mosins, or some 1911 slides) may have sharper edges that can almost require gloves unless you don't care about little scrapes here and there.

you may find gloves unnecessary, but if you have hyperhydrosis or even just sweat a lot, i highly recommend you at least just try it out!

personally i thought my 5.11 gloves were slightly nicer than generic mechanix gloves, but that might be personal preference. also helpfully pointed out that they only last a season or two anyways, so definitely just go with whatever fits and feels the best for you!

follow this blog via rss or through any activitypub-enabled social media by following, although this won't have updates to the original post. you can also follow me online via my misskey instance at to keep up with my life if you want -3-

i feel like communities are a bit of a missing conversation

i recently watched an interesting talk between two physicists about the current languishing of the physics field, and while, i'm not very familiar with the participants and this isn't about that talk specifically, i found some of it's sentiments, like restriction from administration and regressive narratives making science a hostile environment, pretty intriguing.

i don't think that current social media trends making things feel a lot more hostile is a particularly unshared feeling, and one of the solutions discussed was to get more distance from more contentious people and each other, “going off planet” as it was put. however, i feel like this stems from the idea that what we're encountering is a new kind problem, maybe caused by social media democratizing everyone's social access or administration hijacked by new political movements, when i'd disagree.

i don't think this is a new problem at all. instead, i think we're hitting limits in the base infrastructure that help support cool communities and even entire fields (like physics) that give people the space to work, and limits on the types of spaces that our current communities can support. it's these communities that i want to talk about specifically, the ones that lie in-between political/economic systems/society and individual persons, which i think have been mostly accidental up to this point.

i feel like western society has this default view of “oh we have capitalism that works cuz we had food on shelves and soviets had breadlines under communism!” and like yeah, some of the bare minimum requirements of background political and economic systems is needing to provide raw materials and support in people's lives so they aren't destitute and free to self-actualize and whatnot, sure.

but for society to truly flourish, we need so much more on top of whatever basal political system exists, and that's where work needs to be done to actually foster the spaces we want to live and flourish in. “behind every great man, there's a great woman” is a similar sentiment but obviously a bit dated, and could be updated like “behind every person, there's a great community”.

i'm optimistic, i think that these spaces are actually largely independent from political systems that provide a foundation for societies as long as they provide at least some freedom. from the example above, in communist eastern germany before the iron curtain fell, there were interesting communities able to thrive. bickering about exactly what flavor of capitalism, communism, political movement or economic system i think completely misses the problem area of actually fostering and growing these communities, and just serves as an endless FUD and distraction from tackling this issue.

so i think maybe the original solution is kind of right, we do need to go “off planet”, to get more space where we can work independently and securely from every megacorp and global organization that meddles with policy, every corrupt politician and finance firm that manipulates the markets for their own gain, or every twitter rando that has a spicy or regressive opinion about your culture, your community, your work, or you, etc.

i think the solution isn't outward in the cosmos, but inside each of our own backyards, where we can focus on fostering healthy, structured and interoperable communities that can work together to help foster the cool things that we want to see more in life. and to me, that feels a bit more encouraging than having to go to mars 😄

follow this blog via rss or through any activitypub-enabled social media by following, although this won't have updates to the original post. you can also follow me online via my misskey instance at to keep up with my life if you want -3-

picking a hiking boot can seem simple, but can have nuances that can result in you hiking off your toenails if you're not careful 😬

avoid that with this simple guide to find your perfect pair of boots!

boot guide

  1. start with your normal shoe size

  2. additive factors this is just a rough guide, you may find that you may only need to go up 1 size instead of 1.5 or something, but definitely be mindful of these caveats when trying on your boot in the store!

    • foot swelling (free space): when you try the boots on the in the store, keep in mind that your feet will swell from some to a ton when you're actually hiking. add 0.50 of a size for this
    • wearing thick socks/merino wool/double socks: add 0.25-0.5 of a size
    • planning on putting aftermarket/thicker insoles: add 0.25-0.5 of a size
    • descending/ascending mountains or harsh terrain: add 0.5 of a size
  3. determine how much ankle support you want this has some amount of personal taste, but i'd personally recommend as much as you can get. if you're hiking in rough or rocky terrain, 100% add ankle support

  4. need waterproofing? if you're in a hot area, you might want a more breathable boot instead of weather and waterproof. alternatively, if you're hiking in cooler temperatures, muddy terrain and crossing streams, definitely consider waterproofing

  5. side zipper for removal i'd highly recommend a boot with a zipper down the side, it makes taking off and putting on boots incredibly less painful, and there are still fully waterproof boots with the zipper. however, if you just want a simpler or more durable boot, then zipperless may be for you

  6. steel toes, certification steel/composite toes and certifications are something i've found more in work or tactical boots, but its definitely still possible to find them in hiking boots!

  7. break em in most people recommend around 100 miles to initially break in boots, but you might feel comfortable before then. just make sure to take them out for small hikes with thick socks and/or bandaids before any big hikes with them!

brand recommendations

i've heard good things about the following brands, ymmv

  • merrell: moabs particularly. these are mostly for hiking and may not have that much ankle support
  • salomons: good reputation of being sturdy and reliable, often a bit pricey. their catalog doesn't have as much ankle support as i'd like
  • 5.11 boots: i really like 5.11 boots for waterproofing, zippers, and more importantly a wide range of ankle support. definitely check them out, they make good hiking pants/bdus as well
  • salewa: i've heard these are rlly comfortable but never used em
  • keens: “especially the american-made models. my first gen durands have lasted 6 years before succumbing to seam rippage. my summit county winter boots are good for -20f with one pair of socks!” –
  • corcoran field boots: “[they] rock” –

happy hiking!

follow this blog via rss or through any activitypub-enabled social media by following, although this won't have updates to the original post. you can also follow me online via my misskey instance at to keep up with my life if you want -3-


when choosing food for camping trips, you're really balancing between 3 main elements:

  • fat: longest lasting energy source, works as a slow burn. use this to give you long lasting energy that will last all day, but be careful of eating too much as it takes a long time to digest and get into your system
  • protein: hardest to digest, but will give you long lasting energy. this is the main fuel source getting you through those tough hikes
  • sugar/carbs: short pick me ups, and your major source of energy < 4-8 hours. carbs immediately convert to glucose, so don't rely on this to get through long strenuous activity, i'm sure you're aware of what happens when you hit a sugar crash or “hitting the wall”

putting it together: eat protein/fat heavy foods at night after you've made camp. while hiking, eat proteins when you're taking longer breaks where you can at least start digesting a little bit. finally, when you're feeling exhausted or need a lot of energy before a hard part of the hike, eat candy and carbs to pick you up and get you back on track

with those principles, you can pick good camping foods. these are heat tolerant, don't require refrigeration, and are dehydrated since water is dense and can generally be acquired on site (assuming you're not camping in the desert, when bringing extra water in the form of food might be beneficial). be careful about salt content, a lot of preserved or packaged foods use salt in one way or another which can easily add up and dehydrate you without you realizing it.

most canned foods aren't as preferable since they are generally canned in water or oil and generate trash that you will have to hike out. if you don't pack it out, keep in mind that you're far away from civilization and i will find you. lots of canned foods are coming in packages now, which pack down small, don't require an extra tool to open, and can be burned in a fire if they don't contain a foil liner, but are super light to carry out anyways.

some good investments include a dehydrator to make your own beef jerky, dehydrated fruit snacks, and even heavier rehydratable meals like spaghetti. mountain house (and to a lesser extent mres, sometimes you can get them pretty cheap tho) is my nemesis, they're overpriced and mostly aimed at more inexperienced 1-2 day hikers who don't want to plan ahead of time. just keep in mind that you're paying for the convenience. it's possible to buy your own freeze dryer, but you'll have to eat hella meals since i haven't seen them below 3-4k. things like knoll sides or cheaper boxed mac n cheese and stuff will be your friend here to get low fuss, filling meals without the high price tag

finally, don't forget to bring some spices, they really make a difference! just be sure to hang your bear bag a little higher since they can be pungent. i've also seen some people buy small plastic containers to keep cooking oil, which can help with cooking if you're running into burning issues

the list

this will be updated as things go on, so please send me cool recipes you find!

long term meal elements

  • summer sausage: due to their size, they work better as protein to be added to a meal to fill it out. they're basically just huge slim jims, but once you open the package be sure to use it all in a couple hours or so
  • knorr sides: these quick sides can easily make a base for a camping meal, or as an extra side for variety. these are super cheap (like $2-3 dollars each), tasty, and light, which make them a perfect staple for frequent backpackers.
  • mac and cheese, boxed pastas: basically bigger knorr sides lol
  • ramen, instant soup mixes: a great base for a meal, beloved by college students and backpackers alike
  • instant mashed potatoes: super great for thickening any sort of pasta or soup if you accidentally add extra water. also make cleanup a breeze with silicone utensils
  • dehydrated vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes: harder to find, you've probably found these in ramen packs, but can be added to almost any meal and weigh nothing
  • instant rice, instant couscous: provides a great filling base for a meal, can be paired with a ton of stuff
  • tuna packages, chicken packages: fantastic, cheap source of protein. i like the chicken packages the most, they're starting to be easier to find in stores

meal ideas

larger combos of fat, protein and carbs to refuel you after a long day. these are intentionally just smaller meals that don't require refridgerated items, but keep in mind that freezing a steak or other meat in a small cooler bag/lunchbox and then simply cooking it once it thaws at the end of a day is always still an option!

  • dehydrated backpacking lasagna: lots of carbs, super tasty and not difficult to make!
  • dehydrated spaghetti: simply make spaghetti like usual, cut it up into smaller pieces with a knife and spread in a thin layer on parchment paper. break into pieces, and rehydrate with boiling water. add protein to fill
  • beans & rice frito pie: massive carb bomb and super tasty, great after a long day of hiking. check this out!
  • ramen bomb: similar, ramen filled with meat, and instant potatoes for a super well rounded meal
  • nachos: super yummy
  • cheesy mashed potatoes: instant potatoes, cheddar cheese and bacon bits is a sure classic

power snacks

snacks high in long term energy, fat and protein. eat these in breaks between hikes throughout the day

  • peanut butter packs: easy to open, high in protein, and convenient to pack. this seems to be one of the better brands in terms of not adding a bunch of bs. top pita chips or tortillas for a more well-rounded snack
  • slim jims, beef jerky, hard sausages (pepperoni, etc): great high protein snacks, just don't eat too much or it'll be hard on your stomach and ur butthole
  • tuna salad packages: can be eaten with crackers or pita chips for a great snack. add relish and mayo packs from fast food or buy those premade tuna salad snacks that come with everything
  • nuts, trail mix: nuts are great for protein but can make bowel movements a bit tough. trail mix is a fantastic way to get protein and carbs in a convenient all-in-one snack!


pick me ups and quick energy

  • oreos: my favorite :D
  • candy, skittles, m&ms
  • bread, croissants
  • crackers, cheese/vanilla cracker sandwiches
  • cookies, brownies
  • raisins, dried fruits: homemade with a dehydrator or store bought is great :D
  • granola bars, cliff bars: or just granola
  • little debbie snacks: a little unhealthy, but they yummy >:D
  • instant oatmeal, grits: works better in the morning


don't skip these, they're definitely worth their weight in gold

  • tea: loose leaf for the real stuff
  • instant coffee
  • powdered / dry milk: easy to thicken or add fullness to a lot of dishes compared to just plain water. doesn't work as well to just make milk, tastes off to me
  • spices: yes i know i said this already just bring em

happy camping!

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these are some books that i've read and recommend that everyone read. if you're reading via activity pub, this post will be updated eventually, so visit the actual post to read the latest version. these aren't in any particular order, so feel free to read whatever interests you!


tao te ching

the singular most influential book i've ever read. its 77 chapters/pages of prose, so its definitely super short and easy to read. after reading several translations, i recommend stephen mitchell's version, but any translation works well.

hua he ching

very similar to tao te ching, and comes from some oral teachings associated to lao tzu. brian walker's version pairs very nicely with stephen mitchell's version of tao te ching and is as much of a delightful read. if you've already had your fill from tao te ching but want to read more taoist stuff, you can move onto lieh-tzu and perhaps come back to this as a later date


while the ideas of tao te ching might be captivating, it might feel a bit difficult to know how or where to even start translating taoist ideals into your own life. and eva wong's translation of lieh-tzu is an absolutely fantastic way to start! while tao te ching and hua he ching are like incredibly dense diamonds of truths, lieh-tzu provides an intensely straightforward look into what taoism can look like in the joys of everyday life. eva wong really brings this sort of practicality into her translation, and it really feels like you're sitting next to a great man talking about life as he grills some fish for both of you. i really wish this book wasn't as obscure as it seems to be, because it should be an absolute essential for anyone interested in taoism.


read this if you want some nice taoist stories, but it's a bit of a harder read, especially if you're just starting to get into taoist thought. i'd recommend reading this after reading tao te ching, hua hu ching and liet-zhu if you can. otherwise, it provides a lot of fantastical tales that will have you thinking for days to come.


so good they can't ignore you by cal newport

cal newport's first major book, where he talks about what makes people good at their jobs by examining stars in their field. i read this book when i was thinking about what i wanted to do with my life, and it's shaped a lot of my relationship between me, work, and passions. if anyone is interested in changing or pivoting their career, i automatically recommend this book to them. or at the very least, this interesting ~40 minute talk at google which quickly goes over some of these topics and some common questions. and if you find this video at all interesting, i highly recommend you check out the book!

deep work by cal newport

cal newport's second major book (that i can recall). this time, he talks more about the nature of productivity and flow, and more practical ways to cultivate it in your own life and career. i recommend this book if you're looking into ways to apply the concepts from the first cal newport book, or ways to become more effective in your career, hobbies or just your life.

the body keeps score: brain mind and body in the healing of trauma by bessel a. van der kolk

written by some head of trauma research somewhere or something idk, this book really helped me process a lot of the trauma that i had gone through and still affected me. the beginning reads a lot like an interesting psych textbook, while the later half goes more into techniques (the author reallllly loves emdr for some reason). if you even suspect that you have unprocessed trauma or have a passing interest in psychology, i highly highly recommend reading through this book.

the life-changing magic of tidying up: the japanese art of decluttering and organizing by marie kondo

a really delightful guide to tidying up that was like the crystallization of a lot of my attitudes towards stuff and organizing. i highly recommend cause the impact that it can have in your life ripples outward, and i'm still guided by a lot of these principles every day.

thinking, fast and slow by daniel kahneman

thinking fast and slow is one of those pop sci books you might've gotten recommended and not really picked up on, but i think its a great introduction into how the human brain makes decisions and plans, as well as practical ways to leverage it to your advantage. i haven't read this since a while ago, so maybe my opinion would change if i reread it again, but i remember it being an entertaining read at the very least.

the tipping point: how little things can make a big difference by malcolm gladwell

focusing on the “tipping points” of societal epidemics, malcolm gladwell's book elegantly pinpoints some of the reoccurring traits, but most importantly examines some of the extraordinary key elements that enable trends to spread like they do. like before, i haven't read this in a while, but i do remember enjoying it a lot and it getting me thinking.

the subtle art of not giving a fuck

i thought it was kinda dumb i didn't like it.

atomic habits

i thought this was pretty simple and by and large accurate, but not really that impactful for me. probably could have been shorter maybe


calvin and hobbes

all of it, yes. <3 u watterson

the moon is a harsh mistress by robert a. heinlein

this story is a masterpiece that grips you from the beginning to end. a lot of descriptions online like to talk about how it “expresses and discusses libertarian ideals” but as a story contemplating self-governance and what it entails, i feel its only natural that it would philosophically engage with those ideals, and no matter your political leaning, by the end i guarantee you'll also be rooting for the rag-tag group of criminals, tradesmen and revolutionaries that you follow the entire way. the patrician's atlas shrugged

walkaway by cory doctorow

set in the near future, cory doctorow stretches today's potential technologies into a fantastical yet grounded playground for hackers and tinkerers. however, these developments occur in a world of failed capitalism, barren climate change, and mass surveillance that lead to some members abandoning it altogether, dubbing themselves “walkaways”. following one group as they decide to walkaway, walkaway explores a potential post-scarcity economy, and then the eventual revolution and war against the remains of old society that the main characters find themselves embedded in, while also engaging heavily in the associated philosophical dialogs. also has some horny moments!

down and out in the magic kingdom

cory doctorow's first major release, also released under creative commons so its free to download, recommending if you enjoyed walkaway and want more. set in the far future, in a post scarcity and death society, the world runs via a social reputation currency called “Whuffie”. In the midst of the passion fueled projects of society, the main character is suddenly murdered (temporarily) and his life's work subjected to a coup, leading him to try to figure out how and who orchestrated everything after hitting rock bottom.

the martian by andy weir

also a fantastic movie. astronaut stranded on mars and has to work to survive, in extremely near future but very grounded hard scifi.

the robot novels by isaac asimov

the robot novels are connected universe created by isaac asimov, composed of a number of short stories but also 6 books, which i am recommending here. the first one, “i, robot” you may have heard of and is much better than its will-smith-movie counterpart, but also includes several other books. while i recommend them all, “i, robot” and “the positronic man”/“the bicentennial man” (book and original short story, respectively) are more traditional narratives while the rest compose of detective elijah baley and robotic sidekick r. daneel olivaw mysteries. these mysteries are some of my favorite books, due to being incredibly engaging while setting up very interesting worldbuilding. the universe set up here also feeds into isaac asimov's more famous foundation series, except most of the events in the robot novels have since become legend due to the passage of time. however, some characters such as r daneel olivaw may perhaps show up again....

the foundation series by isaac asimov

isaac asimov's seminal work. one of the best works of science fiction in history. go read

some books that i'm currently reading or on my to-read list

the book of five rings being-time: a practitioner's guide to dogen's shobogenzo uji deep nutrition: why your genes need traditional food the back to basics handbook gaia's garden chaos: making a new science (i might've read this before, maybe. information theory is cool) zen mind, beginner's mind hammer's slammers series isaac asimov's utopias dune (yeah ik its criminal how i haven't finished it) peace is every step how to avoid being killed in a warzone joy at work: organizing your professional life spymaster: dai li and the chinese secret service folks, this ain't normal a guide to a good life meditations nonviolent communciation liesure: the basis of culture tao: the watercourse way the tao of pooh zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance fry the brain the thread of dao deepest practice, deepest wisdom stuff goes bad: erlang in anger

follow this blog via rss or through any activitypub-enabled social media by following, although this won't have updates to the original post. you can also follow me online via my misskey instance at to keep up with my life if you want -3-