Alex Armstrong

A putter togetherer of words & code

Marr (left) and Morrissey from The Smiths pose together in the store room of Rough Trade records in London, January 1983.

28 July 2018 • 3 min read

The Smiths

We were having a perfectly fine conversation until she said, “I love this song!” She tugged my arm, not the one holding the drink, the other one, towards the center of the club, where folks sloppily danced. I looked up at the rafters, like an animal sniffing out its prey. I…

A vintage rotary phone.

21 July 2018 • 3 min read

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Ten years ago I had a complex trip to organize that required lining up several flights on very tight deadlines. I needed some help figuring it all out, and so I visited a travel agent. As he talked on the phone with who-knows-who, I noticed that he read off booking references…

7 July 2018 • 1 min read

Let's Encrypt like it's 2016

Last night I secured this site using certificates from Let’s Encrypt. I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time, but since the site has no interactivity I wasn’t worried about any potential security risks. That was until I migrated from Jekyll, which produced a static site,…

On a yacht, looking at the sunset.

6 July 2018 • 2 min read

One of those people

“Meditation doesn’t work for everyone,” she said. “I can’t sit still for five minutes. If I tried to meditate, I’d lose my mind. I guess I’m just one of those people.” “I know what you mean,” I said. “I’m one of those people who can’t fly a commercial aircraft. I’ll sit in the…

A sunset seen from an airplane window, with airplane’s wing visible.

1 July 2018 • 2 min read

Some travel observations

I’ve been traveling quite a bit over the last few months. Here are some idiosyncratic, prejudiced observations: The higher the density of cars, the higher everyone’s stress level seems to be. Not just that of drivers, but that of people in general. This seems applicable both…

20 June 2018 • 8 min read

Wing-building infrastructure

There’s a lot of friction to publishing, though not so much to writing. I have honed my writing tools over the years and can grab any of my devices and get started writing — well, typing — in a matter of seconds. But when the text of a blog post is done, there’s a significant…

19 June 2018 • 2 min read


The less time I have, the more I want to write. I find it suffocating not to write. I remember reading somewhere that when attending conferences you should turn in early and journal. I was in an academic institute during the first half of June. Every night I would come back to…

A sign of a pensione in an alley.

11 March 2018 • 7 min read


Some years ago I was ambling down the street of a distant city in search of food, when I remembered something I needed to do when I got back to my hotel room. I pulled my phone from my back pocket and opened my task manager. I tapped out the task and then drew a blank. What…

The sun peaking out between leaves.

24 November 2017 • 4 min read


A friend asked me if I celebrate Thanksgiving yesterday. As a vegetarian, I don’t find this holiday particularly appealing. Also, it’s not at all a thing in Greece, where I live. Knowing that my father is American, she noted that some people celebrate their “home thing”. I…

A pencil resting on a notebook, being sharpened.

8 October 2017 • 5 min read

On email and brevity

I write a lot of email. As I’ve written more of it, I’ve gotten better at it. By which I mean I’ve become more considerate of the person receiving the email, trying to keep my emails brief but also thorough. But these are competing goals, and brevity takes too much time. As the…