Tag Archives: Politics

Week 3012

Hell of a week, friends.

Work

I’m writing from midway through a trip to Hyderabad to meet my work colleagues and help out with a DR drill. It’s been great. I’ve been able to get to know some great folks  better, eating amazing food and checking out how they get work done.  The DR test went off much much better than the last one, so our preparation paid off.

Trying to remote into a NY machine from Hyd to do work was way too laggy, so I went full local. An unforeseen benefit of my jumpstart script – I ran it and had all my tools and environment ready to go!

I’ve had a chance to go out for meals and meet people in our cafeteria – breaking naan with someone is a great way to get to know them. The cafeteria here is very impressive, but I’ve also gotten to enjoy a diner like Chutney’s and the crazy spicy food at Sahib Sindh Sultan‘s train car restaurant.

I also got to go out to see Niraval play at Tabula Rasa. Krishnan, the keyboardist, made sure I had a table down front for a bit – until the dancing started. Show was great, I drank and danced and had tons of fun until 4 AM out with the band afterward.

Got to go out and experience Hyd a bit even though mostly I’m just shuttling between the hotel and the office. The city, the traffic, everything is pleasantly nuts. Every single person I’ve met has been kind and helpful and really giving of their time. If anything, it seems like I get irritated at being overpampered.  People want to do everything for you, so it keeps you from just getting what you want. For instance, I want to have some coffee – but I have to ask someone to get it for me and it turns into a 3 person operation where in the end someone also adds milk to my coffee for me. On the other hand, here you can hire a  motorcycle to drive you right through the middle of traffic on a whim. Still haven’t gotten into a tuk-tuk yet, but the motorcycle ride is sweet!

Books

On the plane I finished An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon which was brilliant. The hero is a neuroatypical woman of color trapped aboard a titanic interstellar steampunk ship that’s racially stratified and she’s unraveling a mystery of death and power guided by the journals of her missing mother. Everything about this book was awesome and I was sucked in totally. I completely recommend this one.

Just recently I finished River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey which I wanted to like so much more than I actually did. It’s a western style adventure set in an America where the government seeded the Mississippi river with hippopotamuses. It’s got adventure, intrigue, a non-binary love affair, all sorts of things that sound interesting, but… I just never really loved anyone in the book. They all seemed like they showed up in a bad action movie where a narrator has to hastily explain their unusual quirks, background and skills. Like, there’s a demo expert, a knife fighter and a french master of disguise. And that’s mostly all they are.

Family

I miss them immensely. Every day I get a half hour glimpse back home with a google hangout video chat. Things aren’t going great – it’s been a hell of a week of hell for Sam. She’s  doing her best, but first Max got sick, then Z got sick. Max is also having problems at school. The teachers seem exasperated with him, like they are giving up on him to focus on the other kids because he needs much more individual attention. We really don’t want him to feel like school is a place that isn’t good for him, we want him to get a love of learning – but 2 teachers for 23 kids isn’t working well. We aren’t getting much feedback about how he’s doing or what we need to work on other than a brief conversation at the end of the day.

One of the reasons for weeknotes is to be able to look back on what’s been happening – how things shifted over time. It’s been a hell of a week. We’re creeping right up on the midterm elections and it doesn’t look good.

This week we saw the MAGABomber caught attempting to assassinate leadership of the Democratic party, a white gunman attempt to get into a black church then go kill 2 black people in a grocery store, a gunman kill 8 people in a synagogue and there are no consequences. The republican machine is calling the bombs fake or a false-flag, the synagogue was told by the president they should have had better security, and it’s all insane. The republican machine is proclaiming that only they can save your healthcare and the wave of Democrats needed to paralyze the government from doing more harm seems unlikely to happen. I’m volunteering and donating to the Great Slate, but I hope more people do as well.

I’m terrified that people aren’t taking this seriously enough. That if they aren’t directly confronted with something that impacts their lives, they won’t do something.

Week 3006

Work

We are  having a hackathon! I’m excited.  Its my first since Music Hack Day NYC. We’re going to try out Amazon Lex, Lambda, and some containers.

Some folks are already using my code for working with ELK, so that’s nice.

I’ve been focusing around automating my testing and such, and I really am centering around just learning to write better makefiles. Make is installed everywhere, like vim and other things I like. It just works. And makefiles do almost everything you want. The downside is that it is an ugly syntax. The upside is that if you learn one ugly syntax, you don’t need to learn everything about Rake, Yarn, etc.

Around the web

Best Practices for Staging Environments – this article by the excellent Alice Goldfuss came up at work as we wrestle with big calcs and datasets for our clients.

Why you hate Contemporary Architecture – This is grrrreat. One little note for the computer nerds. If you’ve heard of the Gang of 4 Design Patterns book, read the article and come back. The Design Patterns book was based in part on Christopher Alexander’s “A Pattern Language” which is a great guide to things that seem to work in architecture.

I discovered two things that similar to a POC I was working on (voracious-etl)

  • Datasette provides a readonly JSON api for any SQLite DB.
  • Dataset provides an ORM for any CSV or JSON file

The plugin system at the core of pytest is a library: Pluggy. I like that and I might use it earlier.

A good podcast: Flash Forward. Explores a new future every week. The most recent focuses on fungal enslavement, which I love. If you like that one, I highly recommend the mindblowing Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer or Sensation by Nick Mamatas

 

 

Politics

None of the big progressive candidates made it in the democratic primaries. Cuomo still won. Tish won, which is OK. However, I see that  some progressive candidates made it through.

I hope they can do some real work and win in November. I’ll be calling and doing work to support them.  I long for a day when I can start moaning about free speech vs hate speech and trying to reign in some liberal excesses. However, right now, the work has to get done.

I also note that children are still in cages and parents are getting deported without hearings, but it isn’t in the headlines anymore. I’m still pissed about it. I’m still pissed that the probable governor of NY seems to only work for progressive issues when pushed and won’t use his clemency powers.

Exercise

I biked around 37 miles this week! Had to take off Monday and Tuesday due to rain and being pretty sick. But otherwise, I rode in. Got to stop on Christie street and help a guy who’d been knocked down by a cab.

Worked to a slightly lower pistol squat and my butt hurts sooo bad. Also, my dragon flag work is getting better. I can kind of hold it.

I started doing partial handstand pushups against the wall and they feel pretty good. I can do 5 at a time part way down and up. Next I’ll try lower and lower, then try freestanding ones.

 

Week 2099

This is the 6th week at my new job.

I’m really enjoying the new toys to work with there – there are so many smart folks and they’ve been doing the right thing  for years. I’ll suggest a clever solution and they will point out they’ve got that in their plan or that they considered it and it doesn’t work for good reasons.  The tools, the documentation, the culture, it’s all really impressive.

I’m working in tighter boundaries – instead of nobody caring about performance I find myself in meetings with high level people where we are talking about differences of 200ms. We’re hiring! Get in touch if you’re interested and I can refer you in.

There’s no dress code and that’s been really nice. It makes it much easier to bike in – so I’ve been doing that way more than usual. I skipped a few days due to rain and I’ve still done 36 miles this week. Since I joined Strava I’ve ridden 100 miles.

I’m sweating less for a 6 mile ride and I’m noticing differences in how fast I can go up bridges and such. I also don’t have as much energy just waiting around in my legs – they get more tired and I’m not giving them much rest at all.

I’m doing weight watchers with Sam and it’s definitely affecting my choices. Now that there’s points I’m eating way healthier. And the sous vide machine has been helping – it’s easy to pop something in when I get home and then finish the cooking after putting kids to sleep.

The boy got sick this week and we had to take him to the urgent care center because his heart rate seemed very high.  He refused to take anything to bring down his fever, I think that’s what caused it. So we go to the urgent care and they say take this medicine to reduce your fever and he refuses to drink it. Ultimately they say, then we have to give a suppository.

That’s no fun. But when they came back in a few hours and said it’s time for more medicine he looks up and says “I’ll do it the easy way. Bring me the cup!”

I’ve had a chance to volunteer on the texting team for the Beto O’Rourke campaign and it was fun and easy. I HIGHLY encourage you to give it a shot because Ted Cruz can be beaten.  If you can’t donate money, these days it is super easy to donate time.

Closer to home I found that since I am partially domiciled in NY-19 I can register to vote there and there’s a good candidate in a toss-up race in House. I’m going up this weekend to learn how we can volunteer to get Antonio Delgado in and John Faso out.

Baby Z is taking her first walks and she points at her belly if you ask her where it is! She also is playing with Max. This morning they both had fruitsicles (to keep Max hydrated) and she kept leaning over to wack him with it! It’s so wonderful to see them loving each other.

It turns out what we do matters

Just a few things to note.

Across the street from me, the Macy’s is being renovated. The pace of change in the whole neighborhood is crazy, but the interior of the Macy’s is getting changed, they are tearing out and rebuilding the floors above the store, the parking garage catty-corner is getting torn down- it’s a lot.

And it’s loud. SO LOUD. The folks running the projects were doing demolition all through the night.

I’m on the board of our building so people asked me how to get this to stop. I had no clue. I just told them to call 311, report the noise repeatedly and lets see if our combined hectoring led to anything. Eventually, we posted a sample of text for folks to make it easier – they didn’t have to figure out what’s important to say, just read what we posted. Of course, I didn’t have much hope because who’s going to listen to some folks like us when there’s a big developer behind the renovation?

I was wrong. We got their night permit suspended. One of the reasons cited was the volume of calls from our building.

Our voices mattered.

Just like they did when we rejected the initial proposal for Ryan/TrumpCare. And they will keep mattering.  This is good, but it is also a responsibility. I grew up with a lot of cynicism about participation in the political system – lots of folks in my generation figured the game is rigged. So why play?

The game might be rigged, but you’re definitely fucked if you don’t play. If you fight you get some wins. That matters.

So now I’m more committed to doing my bit. I can’t do it all, but I can make some calls each day at lunch with 5calls.org. I can join in and support groups like Tech Solidarity. I can donate cash to campaigns that need it. I can phone bank. I can text Resist Bot and send short messages to my government representatives. It’s NEVER been easier to have some effect.

And your voice and actions matter too, friend. It’s time to make yourself a schedule or an appointment of small sustainable things you can do every day. Please take 10 minutes today to think about what matters to you and come up with a small, easy to keep up with plan. Call me if you need any support. Please tell me about what you decided! Sharing your experience helps keep you energized! I will talk through it with you!

Another way to give

This week I dropped off 13 phones at the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund. I saw Executive Director Peter Goldberg speak at the NYC Tech Solidarity meeting in February and he went over the story of Kalief Browder.

Peter talked about the amazing effects that bail has on guilt. If you can post bail, you are magically less likely to plead guilty to charges and to go to jail. Heck, if I can help people magically not commit crimes by helping them get bail, that seems like a great way to reduce crime!

Peter said they ( and all non-profits) have surprising needs that nerds with good jobs wouldn’t expect. They need laptops, desktops, phones.

In the BCBF’s case, loaning someone a phone means they have a vastly higher chance of not missing their court date. It allows the bail fund to communicate with their clients and make sure everything works out.

I went to my help desk and CTO, and talked with them about old phones available for donations – we cycle through new equipment and have lots of “loaners” or used phones – more than we reasonably need. Just by asking and working with the help desk team to wipe old phones we managed to get phones that we’d just pay someone to recycle for us into the hands of folks who can fight for a fair trial.

Not bad, and not much work to do a hell of a lot of good. If you want to give them a few bucks to do this good work, you can also donate to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund online. Let me know if you do!

Ten Things I Want My Children To Learn From 9/11

Ten Things I Want My Children To Learn From 9/11 via  Popehat.

The headings are good, but the explanations are better.  Good to read or re-read on this day.

  1. Ordinary People Are Capable Of Extraordinary Things.
  2. Evil Exists.
  3. Good Exists.
  4. It’s Best To Define Yourself By Your Reaction To Events, Not By The Events Themselves.
  5. A Thing Is Not the Same As Our Reaction To A Thing.
  6. Beware of How People Use Great And Terrible Things And Events.
  7. Fear, Anger, and Apathy Are Perilous.
  8. Understanding Is Not The Same As Justifying.
  9. People Are Not Abstractions.“Each person who died on 9/11 represented an entire world ending.”
  10. There is Nothing New Under the Sun.

Pot and Spoon – for kids to learn about Occupy

I read this story of a pot and a spoon that get impounded as evidence and a woman’s struggle with the state to get them back – and it was wonderful. I’m printing a copy for MAXIMUM LAZER.

Pot and Spoon, a true tale of Occupy Wall Street by Jerry Goralnick and illustrated by Ruthie Rosenfeld is available for free download on their site.

Pot and Spoon tells the tale of Madeline, a young woman who brought her pot and spoon to the OWS protests and had them confiscated by the Police. As Madeline tries to get them back we learn about flaws in the system, unhelpful public employees and police over reach. Pot and Spoon, locked up in an evidence holding warehouse, have a great conversation about social structure and the types of change the Occupy movement hopes to engender.

via Boing Boing .

All you need to know about the David Petraeus affair

David Simon, creator of The Wire, breaks it down:

Hypocrisy will never go out of style in American journalism or American life. But sitting there and watching the rewrite and sports desk mobilize to surround the sexual wanderings of a sportscaster, I remember making a decision: Enough. This is just sex. This is nothing more than the odd, notable penis or the odd, notable vagina staggering off the marked path and rubbing against the wrong tree. This is just people.

David keeps responding in the commens, where I found this gem of a story about Churchill and the World Trade Center tragedy.

Even better is this Tumblr of David Petraeus Affair Photos.

My two cents – if you are searching for any way to react to this that isn’t based around gossip, look for the best of human emotions.
Look to bind yourselves to those in trouble, exercise your empathy and compassion.