All posts by MattK

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Week 3021

What a nice week off. We spoiled the kids, I played hard with both of them. Took Swale to see Into the Spiderverse and it was an incredible leap forward in animated film.  It’s the future I’m here for.

Got some great presents, gave some great ones too. Many robots, many cool electronic kits. We’ve got great stuff for the kids, I just need to keep my energy up so I can teach them and guide them into the good stuff instead of zoning out in front of screens. They really come alive for engagement and fall down into a screen if it is available.

For instance – I showed Max some gifs from Bees and Bombs.

https://beesandbombs.tumblr.com/post/173496510369/moon-roll

Max LOVED them. He keeps asking about seeing more beesnbombs. Eventually we got to watch Daniel Shiffman attempt to make a Bees and Bombs gif on youtube. He sat for the whole thing.

So we got to talk about Sine Waves and when Sam didn’t believe he was listening and understanding, the next morning we got to talk about waves again. Max drew a square wave so we got to talk about the difference and how those sound different – and we talked about listening to square waves, sine waves and sawtooth waves.

He still doesn’t get the time component too well – he’s drawn me a lot of waves with loops in them – but that’s good experimentation!

I tried to blow his mind that this is how all sound works but it’s a bit early to grok that. In other sound news I made a little ditty for a rainy day.

Gave Sam a very weird board game where you play as nurses helping ease a dying man through his final days before the grave. Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr feels unlike any game I’ve played before. We are in a story, managing and helping and watching an inevitable decline. It’s not a laugh riot, but we’ve gotten through two scenarios and are going to keep going.

Played around with the list of 2018 codrops and they were great! I really liked a few and thought they should be part of a story – that our paper should do more…

I want to write story about summer and love and the south that starts like this.

This story about work, gender, cable and humanity really moved me.

Sam and I talked about what our goal or theme for 2019 should be and we think Community could be it.

For her, it means building a better network of support, spending more time with our community. For me, I want to find ways to get connected with our broader community and give back.

I want to find ways for us to connect with causes and give more. I want to help our kids engage in the same way. We can find ways to change our criminal justice system, save our environment and make the world better.

Please take a look at the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund and the National Bail Out. The more I think about it, money bail is one of the crucial legs of the criminal injustice system.

Week 3020

A lot of things have happened, some good, some scary. Let’s keep it simple and just talk about the last 2 weeks.

It’s a celebration week! Cousin Atlanta has been staying with us and providing wonderful babysitting every day. She finally left on Thursday to go to Germany and then Oklahoma and it’s sad because she’s been wonderful as a guest and so much help with the kids. They already miss her. It also let us go out a lot – my work party was on Wednesday, Beer Club was Thursday, Lance’s birthday, a maker night for Max at his school, a meetup for some old PWP folks and uh…

Frankly, I don’t think I can do much more celebrating. I need sleep and some water.

Atlanta got us an Xbox One! Incredible gift. Of course, I’m trying to play with Max so he is connected and I’m not just staying up being a dork by myself. So few games revolve around anything other than murdering people.

This game ABZÛ is pretty amazing though – I love talking with Max about the different fish.

I’m excited about all the gifts I’ve bought my family – can’t wait to see them unwrap things next week.

We are disappointed at how kindergarten is turning out for Max. He’s not engaged, he doesn’t want to go, he leaves his class and they can’t really manage him. We met with a Beryl Nightingale, a neuropsychologist in the neighborhood to learn about what’s going on with him. She says he’s a Twice Exceptional (2E) kid, which is a term I wish existed when I was growing up. He’s a smart guy so he’s able to learn a lot without paying much attention, but he’s going to be rigid and have a tough time processing the rules of what people want him to do. We’re trying to work with the school to see if they can give him an adequate education. I’m a hopeful, but not certain it will work out.

We also toured some schools for 2E kids, the West End School, the Lang School and the Quad Prep. Each is really impressive in different ways – but I have no idea how we can find the funds to send him to one. I wish the public system would teach him better.

Code

I was able to get some coding done and finish some updates to a cool python script that moves Jiras around through our prioritization process at work. I held myself to the standard I’d ask of others and put tests in and made sure they run fast and cover all the new work.

Also did some neat tricks in jupyter notebooks for people asking questions about our API.

We got asked to do some work around cost estimates for work as well and I was hoping to get time to automate the answer using Boto, but it was apparent really quickly that I could do it in a fraction of the time using a spreadsheet. One to revisit later!

Going to take some time off next week, but of course there’s a giant project due nearly every week until Sam leaves for Morocco, so I’ll probably end up sneaking a little work in here or there.

Bike

NO BIKING THIS WEEK I SUCK.

 

The one about the guy with the taser

Let me get something off my chest.

I love riding my bike to work. I ride pretty fast (many are faster) and I ride assertively. Not being a jerk, but if you are walking in the bike lane with your back to me, I’m hollering “watch out, watch your back” so that you and I can be safe and I don’t have to slow down or stop.

I also ride with reflectors and blinky lights and sometimes a speaker blaring. I want you to not be surprised by me. I’m pre-emptively defending myself and excusing my existence because lots of people are angry at people who ride bikes for reasons I don’t entirely understand. Sometimes people shout at me, but mostly not.  I’ll just go ahead with telling the story so I don’t lose anything – this is still rattling around in my mind.

Last night I was heading from work to a Positive Discipline parenting workshop because I want to be a better parent. My route goes down Broadway through Herald Square, which is a nightmare. Let me show you.

a map of herald square showing 3 places bikes and peds interact.
A map of herald square showing 3 places bikes and peds interact. Highlights are where there is nothing clear and peds have no idea they are in the lane. Red is where I was attacked.

There are many spots where people are walking in bike lanes, which are unclear and poorly maintained. People are headed to Penn station, which would make anyone angry.

I was almost through this meatgrinder of an intersection when I saw a man step out into the bike lane nearly in front of another biker, react as if he was threatened and throw an elbow at the biker. We had the green, but in NY lights are a negotiation between walkers and riders. Walkers gonna walk, and it’s ok. I thought this guy seemed nuts and angry and thought, I’ll go ride through behind him.

As I biked behind him, he reached out with his elbow to hit me. I stopped and asked him that perfect question, “What the fuck?” This was dumb as it was clearly intentional. He started shouting at me that I was crossing against a red light. I wasn’t. I shouted back which was useless and there was a lot of yelling where I’m saying you know that you intentionally hit me and then he yells “What are you going to do about it?”

I thought and said, I’m going to go ride home to my family and forget about you. We yelled at each other some more.

Then he punched me in the chest. Poorly, because he was a dumbass, but the thought counts.

Let me tell you who punched me. A standard older banker/business white guy. Late 40s/mid 50s. Flat top haircut. Wearing a long black wool overcoat.

I was straddling a bike, so I got off the bike. Didn’t want to be easy to knock over. He stepped back, fished in his coat pocket and pulled out a stun gun.

a stun gun of some sort

There was more yelling, and I realized this guy was intentionally trying to get someone to fight him. I didn’t want to. I also didn’t want him to get into Penn Station and try this on someone more vulnerable than me. I don’t think you should call the police for most problems, but this seemed like a pretty reasonable thing. I couldn’t see any cops, of course. The guy backed up and left. I don’t know why.

I keep thinking about this and replaying the incident in my mind and going over what I should have done. But really, this is just the random brutal real world. I didn’t save the day or get control of this danger, I didn’t make things better, but I did get to go home, go learn how to be a better parent and that’s something.