Tag Archives: Politics

Week 2202

In the past week, the federal government used some very flimsy excuses to send federal “police” into Portland and take protestors into unmarked vans without identifying themselves. The scary times have gotten even scarier, the authoritarianism even more blatant. There is so much awful stuff going on that I can’t even take in all of it, much less do meaningful work on it. I’m trying to just do small things often. I’m trying to do things like donate to campaigns that will help, sign petitions, elevate small things that are going to turn into big things.

Since we’ve donated some large sums in the past, I sometimes get directly called by candidates. I resolved to take time to ask them specific questions about things that matter here since I often get called by them when I’m changing diapers or doing other family stuff. I spoke with Alex Morse, who is a Justice Democrat who is running for congress – he’s endorsed by Jamaal Bowman (who just beat Eliot Engel). We talked about his work as a mayor in western Massachusetts, dealing with police unions, restorative justice and combating systemic racism when you are the executive – he’s notable I think for actually working on these things. I also took some time to petition Nextdoor, a social network where local racism is really evident, to halt work with Police departments. Features like “send this to my police” really don’t take into account what happens after the police show up, and why this isn’t something to do lightly.

Family

We paid off the ticket from the fourth, met with a guy about solar panels ( we don’t use enough energy to justify the cost even with multiple incentives from the state). We’re also looking for electricians to add some outside outlets and a ceiling fan in the living room.

We sorted out better schedules for me to work and be with the family predictably during the day. It’s easy to both work forever when it’s in the house or to bunk off when something cute is happening. Trying to be balanced, so we solved it with a gCal that Sam can see with times that are marked out of office on my work calendar. That way it’s easier to know when “I’m definitely working, don’t bother me” and when “let’s take a break and play”. Making it visible to work lets folks there plan around when they shouldn’t expect me to be available.

We got Swale and Zebus some bikes! They rode them! It is cute!

The Brooklyn apartments are getting some interest on the market – 25H at least has some people viewing it. 25J is where the bigger mortgage sits, so I hope that it pans out quickly as well.

Nerdery

I added some better color settings to Jumpstart – and made installing ruby gems safe, similar to what I did earlier for node.

Also set up 2 way syncing on the Synology NAS drives in brooklyn and upstate so that everything is backed up everywhere. For the meantime at least, the upstate is the new primary and brooklyn is the secondary. I tried out Ranger as a terminal file manager. Also, I made a dumb little script to make memes easier.

After I told folks about Pingplotter on the cesspool/hobby network reddit, it inspired Toazd to write an even more complete and colorful version of pingplotter.

Work

Highs and lows in the ladder of abstractions, highs and lows success wise.

I worked very high in the ladder of abstractions, transforming a large backlog of tasks into a program of new product features and a big revenue opportunity. At the same time I had a pull request submitted and accepted to fix a client issue. I got a great review ( we use OKRs to have quarterly conversations around progress, so it is sort of like a review), and then my laptop died!

It’s a sweet little lenovo yoga 920 and was running Ubuntu and Windows, I was loving using it. But it’s really disappointing for it to die hard after 2 years. To get it replaced involves shipping it out, going through a 3 day quarantine, up to 9 business days to fix, then 5-7 business days to ship back. I’m lucky to have enough spare laptops in the house that we were able to get Sam’s macbook hooked up. My 2013 macbook air would have been fine, but the thunderbolt port apparently doesn’t work (first time I’ve ever tried it!)

I hope when I get the Yoga back it won’t be wiped and I don’t have to go through a whole setup process again.

Max silhouetted against glorious fireworks

Plague update 2

I didn’t think America was ever going to take black lives seriously in my lifetime. I’m close to thinking we might. There was finally a murder so slow and egregiously awful by police that it seemed fewer people came out to defend it than normal. People protested – which has happened before, but this time the police responded swiftly and brutally all over the nation, which helped more people realize the urgent need to demilitarize and defund or abolish police departments all over the nation.

More people have been murdered by police and by right wing activists. More people are seeing that there is significant infiltration of right wing racist groups into military and civilian armed forces like the police and the national guard. Significant effort seems to be put into either pretending the grievances we list are fake or that protesters are the same as rioters or into sparking riots to give a chance for crackdowns or to trigger broader societal conflict and breakdown.

The plague of systemic racism is getting acknowledged and the movement is being recognized enough to be co-opted. Many states have decided to paint a road with “Black Lives Matter” which is nice. None have revoked qualified immunity. Still, this co-option is a good sign – people are uncomfortable enough to start making the most basic gestures. DeBlasio still sucks. He can’t get the road painted in front of Trump Tower because he sucks. He and the City Council failed to defund the NYPD, instead shuffling money and police officers around.

Still the streets fill with people angry that they have to fight for simple recognition that black lives matter and the police are not here to protect or serve them. Even in the tiny village of Saugerties, people are showing up every day to stand vigil with their plague masks on.

I hope that we can skip reforms and channel some of our vast wealth into things that benefit people instead of control them.

In our home, we are much more settled into a routine. I’ve got a space to work. Max has rules around how he can earn precious screentime by doing workbooks or reading a new book. Zelda has similar… She’s learning to count and does M&M math with me because she’s insatiably into chocolate. Sam’s growing an impressive number of things outside, where the filthy dirt is. I’m no farmer, but it’s really nice to eat a sandwich with your own lettuce in it! Today she showed me where beans are coming up near some corn.

It’s been a ton of activity around here for home improvement. I’ve built a pretty large stone patio by leveling one stone at a time. Sam came up with the idea of putting an outdoor rug over it and it looks great – gotta finish the edges somehow though.

Sam’s gardening has been huge – we’ve got plants everywhere and it looks amazing. Together, we built some raised planters and they are full of the three sisters: corn, beans and squash. She tore out our old sink since there was a leak that screwed up the cabinet and we put in the replacement. We also tore out the old vent exhaust light and put in a new one – plus a better light for the entranceway. Sam bought a tiny washer and got it installed near the kitchen so we can continuously wash clothes. Speaking of continuously washing, we have to continuously wash dishes since we don’t have a dishwasher and don’t want to be set upon by insects.

We celebrated July 4th in style with a TON of fireworks. The neighbors applauded.

I’m working too many hours because work bleeds into everything when it is so close. I also think we are all sick of sitting around the house – the newness has worn off and we crave change. I started running with Zombies, Run to explore the neighborhood. I registered for a virtual fitness championship, and tomorrow afternoon I’m going to try to submit my first workout.

We’re still getting out and exploring.

That picture is from earlier on the 4th. To get here you park your car by the side of a road on the path through the Catskills on the way to hunter mountain. You hop a guardrail and navigate the rock fill to get down to this paradise of mountain streams and waterfalls everywhere.

Hike down a bit and we came to little pools dug into the bedrock, natural water slides and everywhere it was gorgeous.

It was amazing. The mostly black and brown families around us had managed to bring music, barbecues, hookahs, kids – it was amazing. We left as it got packed. When I got to the road, of course the police were ticketing and towing cars. We got a $75 ticket.

Worth it.

The federal government is paralyzed from the top down, offering no solutions, only misinformation and confusion. As NY is beginning to be less wildly dangerous, other states are beginning to see their lax policies have the same payoff as Cuomo and DeBlasio’s initial bungling. Here in Saugerties I see some restaurants reopening with “social distancing” but it’s very poorly observed. Here’s an idea: people can’t be trusted to make smart decisions when they are drinking. So no wonder I’m seeing even in big open spaces people hopping from group to group, saying hello and hugging with masks around their necks. Places that haven’t seen ice trucks holding bodies are probably going to have to experience it for themselves.

I told Max we might not be back in Brooklyn for a long time or that we might sell our place so he could have a place with a backyard and more room. He seemed heartbroken by the idea – I think I really messed up. He could articulate that he missed it and it was special to him. But given that we think there’s very little chance the schools can safely reopen by September, what can we do? I think about how I never felt attached to the second place we moved to in Colatown.

As always, our problems pale in comparison to what’s happening around us.

Since my internet connection is crucial to my work these days, I wrote a little utility to graph ping time so I can see if things are going wrong early. I’ll neaten it’s up and share it.

Just looked up and realized it’s tomorrow so I’m gonna schedule this to publish in a few hours and get some sleep. Let this be a reminder to me to never mess with .htaccess rules again.

Week 3046

Grunting and Sweating

Amazing Trainer Christina, Deepa from work and I went to Obstacle Athletics on Saturday and had a lot of fun in their grown up playground. I got to do a lot of wall vaults and monkey bar work, ran up some wavy walls, balanced on beams and traversed long wall climbs. All were pretty cool. I also finally got to a place with a high rope so I could practice rope climbs!

Also finally got back to biking in! It’s beeyoootiful out.

Got to go to Georgia’s birthday party afterward and had a really swell time with my peeps there.

Politics

I’d vote for Biden over Trump – but I really think Biden will lose. He’s not even as exciting as Hillary was. There’s no reason to vote for him, just reasons to vote against Trump. Makes me wish again for Ranked Choice Voting. I’d love to see someone who has some enthusiasm get the nomination.

Skimmed the debates and it seems like Warren did great in her night as a real standout, committing to Medicare for all. On the second night, I didn’t check out as much but it looks like Biden’s skeletons are starting to become more known in the mainstream.

Family

Last week of school for Max Lazer! He’s coming out of kindergarten. I got to read a bunch of material that had never made it home before from him!

A book from my dad and a book from my son

Max also has been back at his circuits and seems to have figured parallel and series circuits.

Max Lazer Rainbow Shield

Zeezus on the other hand may have to go to a reform school.

Week 3039

Cinco de Matto was moved from the amazingly good Szechuan Mountain House to Famous Sichuan which helped emphasize how what really matters is the people you eat with, not the food. I’ll keep telling myself that. Cinco de Mala will come another year!

Monday I got ill and spent Tuesday in bed trying to watch movies in that listless state where you’re convinced you’ve seen all the good stuff in the world already. But on Wednesday I was fit and ready to get back out into the world! I got my work team to go out for an axe throwing outing and then we went to LIC Beer Project for drinks. Axes first, drinks after is my new rule. I got to ride over the Queensborough Bridge and the Pulaski bridge and they are both beautiful gentle arcs through the sky – very nice!

Max with a hole where his first baby tooth has fled

Max lost his first baby tooth!

Of course, it hasn’t made it home from school yet, but I’m still excited by it.

Bliss is eating a chocolate croissant

Bliss looks like Queen Z eating a chocolate croissant

Politics

I’ve really been digging Warren. She’s got actual policies. Those policies are pretty good. She and Sanders seem to have the most people focused policies – that aren’t vague handwavey calls to emotions.

I am really hoping Biden pulls out soon.

Grunting and Sweating

I’m registered to do the City Challenge NYC race in August, so come join me and climb things and swing from things and carry things! Should be fun and I’ve got a small crew already of good folks.

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!