Replace Evite and Facebook with gathio

Tl;dr – check out for making chill, inclusive, not-creepy event pages. Unlike Evite, It won’t track you or serve you Bitcoin ads.

It amazes me how a free, open-source program can outperform its proprietary, commercialized equivalents. An obvious one is R, the statistical programming language. It blows away competitors like SPSS. R is a huge project, but some great open-source projects can surpass commercial competition while remaining a single person’s side project.

It touches my heart that people build great things together, transparently, and then make them freely available. I’ve long meant to write posts where I shout out a free, open-source software (FOSS) that has improved my life materially or spiritually. I was finally spurred to write when I got an Evite yesterday, for a 7-year-old’s birthday party. I opened the link on my phone and saw:


Evite has always had annoying ads and links, but this took it to the next level. I buy as little as possible from Amazon. Amazon’s bad enough. But Bitcoin?? It’s a Ponzi scheme that lures in unsuspecting saps (see the Citations Needed episode on manipulative Bitcoin/crypto/NFT advertising) and sows remarkable environmental destruction. Happy birthday, kid, here’s 0.0005 Bitcoin. Good luck spending it. (Web3 Is Going Great has you covered for crypto realism and schadenfreude).

These ads put me over the edge, but I’ve disliked Evite for years. In particular, it’s creepy that the organizer can track who has opened and viewed the invite.

And then there’s Facebook events. Because I’m not on Facebook, I sometimes forget how many events are organized there. Until someone sends me one I want to attend and I’m unable to view the info or RSVP. Argh!

Why must we engage with platforms that track us, shove ads in our faces, and sell our data in order to organize a dang birthday party or seed-swap?? Well, someone else felt the same way and did something about it. Enter: gathio!

Books Parenting

There Once Was a Boy Named Pierre

My kids and I have enjoyed a series of Scholastic DVDs where classic children’s books are read aloud with bare-bones animations. They blur the line between a book and a movie. And they work for all ages (important when you have a 3-year-old and 11-year-old watching the same screen). I enjoyed our latest find so much I’m sharing it here.

It’s a DVD of Six Maurice Sendak books (from the Ann Arbor library). Including Where the Wild Things Are, sure, but the bigger hits with us were In The Night Kitchen and Pierre. Pierre is a gem in particular, the rare case when the movie version improves on the (already very good) book. It’s set to music and sung by Carole King, complemented with snappy drumming. Enjoy:

The lion looked Pierre right in the eye and asked him if he’d like to die

It’s irresistible, with great melody and a delivery that navigates often-irregular meter and rhyme. I’d somehow been unfamiliar with Carole King (“Regarded as one of the most significant and influential musicians of all time“, doh) and have since come to appreciate her skill as a performer and composer.

This adaptation of Pierre is from a 1975 musical, Really Rosie, that Sendak and King created together, based on his books. I’d love to see it performed.

The story’s moral is unobjectionable. It’s a little preachy, but I’m on board with the message as I see it: life is brief and precious, so engage with it earnestly. (In my case, read books like Sendak’s while my kids are young). The book/song is funny, quirky, and above all a heck of tune. I keep playing it to get it out of my head, but it hasn’t worked yet. Pierre’s in there!