Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee vs Donald Trump. No matter who wins, it will not be a progressive 4 years.
Met our neighbors Tim and Nicole – I think we met before, but it’s been a while. Talked about his very cool wakesurfing boat. He is way more conservative than me but very nice.
At work I’ve been working on a side project to improve documentation and it’s starting to really come together. I’m going to pitch it as a thing that should get funded with a team and see what happens. It’s hard to see a fun little project turn into something that is going to be implemented by more folks, but the tradeoffs on my time mean that once I’ve blazed out a rough trail it makes sense for other folks to lay down the rails and ties and get it productionalized. Projects where I’ve done that have had a good life after I’ve created them, so it always pays for me to hand them off and work on other big initiatives.
We’re also re-engineering tons of things. I’ve been looking at how we managed incidents and issues because relationships often get pegged to how a team performs in a crisis. In addition to incorporating some of my work like How to do a crisis call in technology, other people in the team turned me onto Crew Resource Management, which is how the folks in a cockpit handle similar situations.
Max finished his first ever chapter book! 90 pages of reading, a chapter or two at a time. He was really proud of himself. Just today as I’m writing this he’s one chapter away from finishing his next chapter book. His behavior has generally been really good too!
Zee has memorized Mr Nogginbody Gets a Hammer and she now wants to read to us for bedtime! She’s also asked me to teach her to read, so I guess it’s time to get into the ABCs again. We’ve put up letters on the fridge for her and some magnetic poetry for him.
Her counting is getting pretty good and we’ve been doing m&m math every time she goes potty. One worry with Zebus is that she’s started being really bitey – lots of little bites and nibbles and licks to indicate when she’s frustrated. Also, a little bit of hitting. It’s ok now with us, but if she was in a daycare I’m sure we’d be getting a call about it.
I donated money to the Alex Morse campaign, a progressive candidate who’s trying to unseat Richard Neal, a greedhead Democrat. That happened earlier, but recently it appears that there was a sex scandal accusation against Morse. He’s accused of having consensual sex with adult students at the university he teaches at that are not in his class and also messaging people he’s met on Tinder. Sexual harassment and consent are incredibly important, but weaponized accusations are exactly the sort of thing that conservatives have professed concern over. In Alex’s case, the investigation by the Intercept certainly makes it seem like people who want to work for Richard Neal have been manufacturing a scandal instead of uncovering one.
Other campaigns I’m looking closely at:
The State Slate – The great slate didn’t do great in 2018, but I still like these ideas and I’m willing to give again. These candidates are all good chances to flip a district and any campaigning they do is good for upballot races.
Donna Imam – an engineer who might be able to flip a texas district.
We’ve been doing more hikes again. I’m trying to make sure the little monsters leave the house every day. We’ve been going out to the village a little bit as well. I haul the kids in our expandable wagon and we can eat at an outside restaurant called The Partition.
We’re getting an eensy bit more social (in safe and measured ways).
ZZ had an extended encounter with a nice lady named Alexa and her dog Chacho. They spent an hour hanging out and I can’t recall having a nicer meal in ages. Here’s pro tip – if you hang out with the children and amuse them while we have drinks and dinner I’m grabbing your bill!
Beer Club had a mini executive retreat when Ray showed up in Rhinebeck! We took the Ho’s to the FallingWater trail where I finally got to meet Finley! He loves Max and Zelda loves him.
The Scott’s dropped by! We took them out to Fallingwater as well, where Max and Ben got along really well and explored up the waterfall all the way to its source. Zelda is in love with Zoe and asks about her.
Max and Ben never usually play together, but for some reason this day was just perfect. Everyone got along famously.
Around the house, we’ve been struggling a little to knock out more projects. It just seemed like we lost steam. So we dug out the back yard next to our house and put in a bunch of marble rock chips over garden cloth. Now things are better looking and won’t require any weeding – instead of a dirt patch next to the house we have clean white stone which doesn’t need maintenance.
We cleaned out the trampoline, which had been under a mulberry tree, trying to become a mulberry jam strainer. Yecchh.
We spent a couple of meeting looking at adding solar panels to our roof – I really like it for a lot of reasons including my predilection for distributed systems over centralized ones. Sadly, the tradeoffs right now don’t seem worth it. Even with incredible financing and all sorts of incentives it would take forever to pay off the panels and require trimming trees.
This helped me feel like we can really start getting going again. I’m gonna finish that Patio!
Code and nerdery
Great news here! I’ve been thinking at work about ways to better handle and test documentation across multiple languages. The key here is to make sure that you can extract code samples from documentation and then push it out to a testable format.
I also type this on the linux laptop as I managed to resize partitions without destroying anything. I thought 80 gigs would be enough for my Ubuntu partition, but it seems to be growing and I had to give it a few hundred more gigabytes to grow.
The world is still nuts. The right wing forces in the government are attacking Dr. Fauci. Sinclair media, who own a huge percentage of local news tv stations, is going to release a truly insane conspiracy report alleging that Dr. Fauci is responsible somehow for creating the coronavirus. Tons of people are going to see it. One of my friends has been whatsapping me some really disturbing stuff that makes me worry about him – ‘context’ around the police beating a guy in a wheelchair, ‘privilege’ from some country music guy, etc.
Biden said Trump was the first racist president, ignoring the one who actually enslaved human beings. It’s gonna be a long 4 years even if Trump loses. It’s incredibly depressing because I really think Biden can screw this up, but even if he wins, he’s pretty conservative and will probably be a really effective block to meaningful change.
Effective work will have to bubble up at city and state levels before it makes it to a federal level.
We bought a car! Now we own a hybrid Rav 4 and it’s pretty cool! Sam did tons of work and found a deal with 0 down, 0% financing for 5 years. So it’s just incredibly easy on us and cheaper than the Budget monthly car rental we’d been doing. I’ve put in a dash cam and it’s a pretty good generic car. I got us the car insurance as well and we saved a few hundred bucks by returning the rental car early. Celebrated with some Aperol Spritz’s and they are STILL the reigning champ drink of the summer!
Got an offer on one of the Brooklyn apartments and accepted it – looking to get the deposit on it and get into contract! Now we’re wondering do we really want to sell the last one or turn it into a rental instead or what. (I really love living there, I just don’t think we can fit back into it.)
Did a little more bike riding with Zebus – she wanted to ride her bike all the way to the bakery to get a cookie! I’m so impressed with her. She did it, too!
Swale found some educational plugin for minecraft that lets you do chemistry, found the recipe for latex and how to make balloons and then tied balloons to chickens so they could fly. He’s also been saying just the sweetest stuff to me. Lots of I-love-you’s and his own special praise to me.
We spent a $60 gift card from work on a crazy strong blender from Cuisinart and its grrrreat. Already made some milkshakes and smoothies and frozen margs.
My Laptop crashed! I was going to have to ship it out for a month to get fixed, but then it started working! That’s terrifying. Good thing I do a lot of git-push on my repos, back up important stuff to our Synology DiskStation NAS. I did a bunch of work as I set up a new account for work on Sam’s laptop to get my jumpstart script to be smoother on OSX.
Sam found a cool wallpaper and we struggled it up in the downstairs bathroom and it looks great and I never want to do wallpaper again. It’s so tricky!
In the backyard I got up on a ladder with a pole saw and cut down some branches from the mulberry tree in the backyard, months too late to save the trampoline under it from turning into a giant mulberry collecter/fermenter. I either need to get a sawzall or a mini chainsaw or something to deal with all the branches – my small tension saw isn’t realllly cutting it for this many cuts.
Kinda stalled on the patio for a while.
We’ve foamed up some cable holes in the walls, need to go spackle and paint them. Also started adding trim to the bottom of the bathroom sink cabinet – trimmed off one of the cabinet shims with a Dremel to make the trim flush. Also put in some under-sink rolling trash and recycling cans in the kitchen and put handles on the cabinets.
Did some stuff around making documentation easier, and thinking about how to make your docs and walkthroughs look good, but be testable. Nobody likes a stale documentation site! Also getting ready to launch in the UK. Office re-opening is postponed until at least September. I don’t see it happening.
I installed Regolith as a tiling window manager for my laptop and it seems pretty cool. Took a little while to get used to, but I’m wondering why it isn’t easier to just drag windows into tiling window manager with the mouse. I spend a fair amount of time fiddling with things to get them looking right, so why is this better then just dragging a bunch of windows into the right spot?
If you’ve got a terminal open right now try this:
Pretty cool! They have tons of formats available so you could make widgets on your desktop or tmux statusline.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We’ve been weathering the Coronacrisis upstate in Saugerties. It was immediately clear that trying to work full time remotely while educating a 2E kid and a toddler in a small apartment was going to end up in an Overlook Hotel situation.
Up here we have a backyard with a a swing and some room to run. Put in a trampoline. On the weekends we can go for hikes.
Max says he’s forgetting his home because he’s been up here so long. On the bright side he’s also much more interested in hikes and walking outside. He’s noticing that and thinks it might be because there’s less noise outside up here.
Zezus has been having a grand time. Hikes wear her completely out. She’s been doing walks around the block and stomping in puddles with me. Bath times are capped by putting on pajamas in front of the fire.
We’re still trying to find a balance so that Sam isn’t overwhelmed and I can get some work done. Trying a new schedule with some explicit breaks for each of us. Trying to just be more chill with each other and be ok that the kids are gonna get more screen time.
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.
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.
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!
Max also has been back at his circuits and seems to have figured parallel and series circuits.
Zeezus on the other hand may have to go to a reform school.