Category Archives: Pals

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.

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.

Max Cooper – Platonic

This is fascinating.  From the musician’s statement on the video:

I came across this idea delivered in stark form in the case of the “amplituhedron”, an entity whose structure encodes fundamental particle interactions, and whose creators claim it to yield space and time in an emergent manner, so that it can’t possibly exist out there in the real world that we’re familiar with.

See also other works by Páraic Mc Gloughlin

Chase

Arena

I’m going to ask you if you voted tomorrow.

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.