Stale Bread Lunch

Literate and nerdy. By Michael James Boyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is this site?

A: Stale Bread Lunch is a website by Michael James Boyle focusing on medium-length articles on fiction, media, and other subjects I find interesting. Articles generally run around the 2,000 word mark and my intent is for them to be as interesting in a year as they are today. In other words, contrary to the usual blog model the articles are about a topic, such as a book I have read which may or may not be new, not about current events, newly released media, etc. It also hosts a more traditional blog, the “Breadcrumbs” section where I post more off the cuff musings.

Q: What does “Stale Bread Lunch” mean?

A: Stale Bread Lunch is a name I’ve tossed around for a while. I like it. There really isn’t that much more to it. It’s a reference to a meal a duck might eat, though yes, I’m aware that you shouldn’t feed wild ducks bread or, probably, anything else. Why ducks goes back to an old inside joke. For this site, I thought Stale Bread Lunch was an appropriate nod to the fact that the topics I cover here are not, for the most part, timely.

Q: Who are you?

A: Hi, I’m Michael. Nice to meet you. I’m the guy who wrote these words.

Q: What is the copyright situation?

A: Unless otherwise noted, everything on this site is copyrighted by me, Michael James Boyle. I do periodically quote from books and other media I’m discussing and sometimes use images such as cover art to accompany an article. Obviously all such things are copyright by their owners. It is my belief that all of this is fair use, however if you believe I have overstepped my bounds anywhere and infringed on your rights, please do get in touch at

Q: OMG, spoilers!

A: See the spoiler policy here. In short: I do my best not to ambush you with spoilers, but once you go to an article, expect to be spoiled about the subject of that article.

Q: Everything looks messed up!

A: Are you using an old version of Internet Explorer? This website is designed for a modern HTML5/CSS3 capable web browser. These days that means most any current browser. Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or even the last version or two of Internet Explorer should display this website just fine. That said, older versions of browsers that don’t support things like media queries (which allow me to serve up different styling depending on how wide the display is, i.e. responsive design) won’t work, and it is a massive pain to find ways to trick them into displaying content in a sane way.

I also require javascript to be enabled to deliver custom fonts from Typekit and for proper hyphenation in most browsers. Disable it and bad things will probably happen.

That said, I’m not above mistakes and modern browsers aren’t above quirks. If you’re really using a current browser but things are still FUBAR, feel free to shoot me a note at I also don’t have any Android or Windows Phone/Surface devices to test with, so while those should work fine, I really have little way of knowing.

Q: I like your design. Who made it?

A: Thanks! I did. Part of the reason I made this site was to work on my design skills, so rather than take the sane approach and use one of the many excellent hosted systems which are based on pre-made templates, I chose to set up my own server and do the design myself.

Q: What did you use to make the site?

A: Stale Bread Lunch is hosted on a VPS from Linode running Ubuntu Linux and the Nginx web server. I register my domain with Hover. I use ExpressionEngine as my CMS and cache heavily using Varnish as the content is pretty static. To help with some template magic, I use the indispensable Switchee plugin. I referenced HTML5 Boilerplate for various parts of the configuration and basic setup.

I wrote most of the templates and CSS using Panic’s wonderful Coda and use Sass with the scss syntax to preprocess my CSS, giving me variables and functions which makes coding a responsive design much less tedious. If you are interested in seeing the Sass source for the CSS published on the site, look here, but do keep in mind that it isn’t prettied up for public consumption.

I keep track of changes with Git using Tower locally to manage the repository. I often use Kaleidoscope to compare and merge files.

Hyphenation is handled for browsers that do not support CSS3 hyphenation by Hyphenator.js which runs on page load to insert soft hyphens at potential break positions. The typefaces are Chaparral and Futura served up by Typekit.

There are many wonderful tools to make websites. These are just the ones I happened to chose.

Q: Will you make my website?

A: Maybe… I’ve considered doing some freelance design work, but it is not my focus at the moment. If you would like to hire me for a small project, get in touch via, and we can talk to see if it would be an appropriate match.

Q: Oh, you meant for free?

A: No.

Q: Where are the comments?

A: I don’t have comments. My opinion is that comments as a standard feature of websites is something of a historical accident. That isn’t to say I think they’re bad or that they aren’t a useful feature, but they aren’t appropriate for this website. This website is a space for me to express my views. If you want to express your own views, there are many easy and free ways to do so, and I encourage you to take advantage of them.

Community is important, and it’s hard. There’s a reason why most every company that makes a product these days has at least one person on full time as a “community manager.” I don’t have time to be that person. Even if there were enough people interested in discussing what I publish here, I wouldn’t be able to foster that community. Without being able to commit to shepherding it, I could never be sure I was happy with the community that grew out of my own site.

Q: That’s great and all, but I still want to engage with you about something you said or contact you for some other reason.

A: If you want to get in touch whether to respond to something I’ve written here or for some other reason, feel free to send me an email at I’m not promising to write back, but I might, and I will probably read it. You can also find me on Twitter @mjboyle. That’s probably the best way to start a conversation about something I wrote.

Q: Drop shadows? Really? What is it 2004?

A: Eh, what can I say? No one’s perfect.