Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Things I Read August 2018

I better update those last two lists....I have some books and articles to enter/etc.  I have been keeping up.  I'm just not doing a very good updating job.  And I should stuff some real posts in here somewhere....maybe about the Trylon.  Eryn and I started going to the Spaghetti Western series.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Things I Read July 2018

  • 7/25/2018: Top 10 Big Data Tools in 2018
    • Kafka, Cloudera, Splunk, ElasticSearch, Flume, Apache Spark, TensorFlow, Mist, Qlik, Tableau.
      • I should play around with the public Tableau offering.  And I really need to spend some extra time on TensorFlow.
      • We use Microstrategy, Kibi/Kibana, Datameer....lot of others.
  • 7/24/2018:
  • 7/23/2018:
  • 7/22/2018:
  • 7/21/2018:
  • 7/20/2018:
  • 7/19/2018:
  • 7/18/2018:
  • 7/17/2018:
  • 7/16/2018:
  • 7/15/2018:
  • 7/14/2018:
  • 7/13/2018: Neutrinos Linked With Cosmic Source for the First Time
    • Combining detection sources to basically triangulate - usually traced back to a blazor (black whole eating something).
  • 7/12/2018: Minnedemo 29 (attended)
    • I liked Squigl, the technovation project (teen mentoring doing live tech work), the yoga presentation, and the musical presentation...really, they were all pretty good.  Funny crowd, although a very wet and musty smelling crowd given all the rain.  Went with Ming.
  • 7/12/2018: Major Thomson Reuters Launch: Westlaw Edge, West Search Plus, Analytics, Enhanced Citator and More - Dewey B Strategic
  • 7/11/2018: Dijkstra's algorithm in python: algorithms for beginners
    • I'm not sure it's a must know for any programmer - I haven't had to use it before except for managing graphs.  But it is fun.
  • 7/10/2018:  TotalBiscuit's Legacy And The Collateral Damage of GamerGate
    • "You do have a responsibility to make sure your audience doesn’t go do things that you don’t want to represent as your own brand"
    • These things don't seem quite equivalent and the language makes it feel almost like an equivalency despite dropping alt-right in there.  There's not an equivalency between alt-right and I-don't-want-to-be-assaulted... "While Gamergate went on to spawn and populate the alt-right and shape conservative language commonly used today, the women affected went on to support and publicize the #metoo movement and influence liberal messaging."
    • This is an interesting take on the lack of permanency despite an online culture.  "Another hurdle for his legacy is the fact that much of gamer lore, including about Bain, is oral, social -- it is told through videos, live streams, podcasts, group skype calls, team chat over headsets and in-person at tournaments. The majority of his history, like most top gamers and personalities, is not written down in an easily accessible format. It is in stories friends tell each other."
    • I'm pretty sure this is not the lesson.  I found the article to be an interesting take on Gamergate and an individual's place in it until I got to the punchline.
      • "...if there is a lesson in all of this, it’s that one must make peace and settle any internet beef you have with feminists while you’re still living. History is written by the victors, after all."
    • Kind of a mixed batch.
  • 7/8/2018
  • 7/7/2018
  • 7/6/2018
  • 7/5/2018: The largest tank battle in history began 75 years ago today — here’s how it changed WWII
    • Battle of Kursk
  • 7/4/2018
  • 7/3/2018: Queens of Infamy: Joanna of Naples - Longreads, Anne Thériault 
    • Trigger warning: climate change as a political benefit.
    • Exchange:
      • RAYMOND: I love you, babe
      • PHILIPPA: as much as you love taking money and property away from rich white people?
      • RAYMOND: LOL
      • RAYMOND: maybe next year we’ll buy Portugal
    • By all accounts, he lagged behind his wife when it came to social and emotional maturity (pretty normal for teenage boys, who apparently haven’t changed much since the Middle Ages)
    • so many fucking cousins in this story, sometimes quite literally
    • Meanwhile, in the east, two forces were preparing to invade Naples: the Hungarians, and the Black Death. Only one of them would make people poop blood (presumably; I mean, I don’t know what kind of spooky shit Louis of Hungary was capable of). 
  • 7/2/2018
  • 7/1/2018

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Things I Read June 2018

Rolling into month five (5).  Quite the mix of literature.  I don't think I'm catching everything and my reading has trailed a little bit despite losing the internet for a week, but I'm trying to pick up some speed.  There's a lot I want to read.  I listened to some more Seveneves as well, but not 1/3, so I have to get it back from the library until someone steals it from me again.  [Addendum: nuts, I'm not keeping my list up to date; need to do a better job].

  • 6/30/2018:
  • 6/29/2018:
  • 6/28/2018: The Young Milky Way Collided With a Dwarf Galaxy - Quantum Magaazine
    • They named the old galaxy Gaia-Enceladus
  • 6/27/2018:
  • 6/26/2016: How GraphQL Replaces Redux
    • I simply need to understand GraphQL better given we use it for our products.  Would be nice to set up my own little POC/spike project with multiple data sources.
  • 6/25/2018: Real-Life Schrödinger’s Cats Probe the Boundary of the Quantum World
    • “Schrödinger’s kittens,” loosely speaking, are objects pitched midway in size between the atomic scale, which quantum mechanics was originally developed to describe, and the cat that Erwin Schrödinger famously invoked to highlight the apparent absurdity of what that theory appeared to imply.
    • “But it is simply not known what will happen if you start making quantum states with around 10^23 atoms,” which is the typical scale of everyday objects.
    • Because of interaction with the environment, the quantum nature of the original particle leaks away and is dispersed. That’s decoherence.
    • we might wonder how far those effects can be sustained as we keep adding more atoms. Three teams have now explored this question, achieving quantum states for clouds of up to tens of thousands of ultracold atoms by entangling them in a state called a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).
    • In a BEC, all the particles are in the same single quantum state, which means in effect that they act rather like one big quantum object. 
  • 6/24/2018: Abstract (by getAbstract via work): How to Lead a Quest: A Handbook for Pioneering Executives.
    • A bit dated, but it shares ideas with Sprint! an Inspired, so I had work order me a copy so I can read beyond the abstract (which rated it 9/10).  
  • 6/23/2018: How to Lose an IT Job in 10 Minutes: Whiteboard coding interviews can cost you a job
    • The only world where you would actually need to be able to recall an algorithm would be a post-apocalyptic one
    • learned about Javascript .reduce((a, b) => a + b) [that's a very loose bit of "code"] will basically "reduce" the array, so if you have a series of numbers, that would add them into a single value.
    • Here's a good example of reduce that's runnable.
    • "It's like a presentation with variables" (absolutely).
    • think, ask, pause, write, refine, test (or some variation)
    • Conversation in the comments here.
  • 6/22/2018: Dakota County Pedestrian and Bicycle Study - June 2018
    • 55 pages long.  Very interesting.  I wish my projects had documentation that involved.
  • 6/21/2018: How One Woman Found Her Calling As A Long Haul Trucker - Black Rifle Coffee by Maggie BenZvi
  • 6/20/2018: Stoya is 'Over' Talking About Feminist Porn - Jezebel
    • She has a book out: Philosophy, Pussycats, and Porn
    • and a movie, Ederlezi Rising
  • 6/19/2018: The Dark Side of the Orgasmic Meditation Company - Bloomberg
    • About OneTaste and whether it's a cult.
    • Very Scientology.  Very Wild, Wild Country (Netflix)
  • 6/18/2018: Get the Most out of Your Elasticsearch Logs - logmatic.io
    • I didn't even know the slowlog existed.
  • 6/17/2018: Search Slow Log [5.1] - Elastic Search documentation
  • 6/16/2018: Tune for Search Speed - elastic.io
  • 6/15/2018: The Bike Share War is Shaking Up Seattle Like Nowhere Else - Wired.com
    • "The entire city is starting to look like the backyard of ill-behaved 7-year-olds who refuse to pick up after themselves,"
    • Primarily about dockless bicycles.  Reminded me of the issues with the volunteer yellow bike program in the Twin Cities that was discontinued.
  • 6/14/2018: Elasticsearch: Tune for Search Speed
  • 6/13/2018: Elasticsearch: Tune for Disk Usage
  • 6/12/2018: Elasticsearch Querying is Terribly Slow
  • 6/11/2018: How AI And Machine Learning Are Transforming Law Firms And The Legal Sector - not very in depth.  Didn't dig into any of the categories, only a high level look.
  • 6/10/2018: Deadpool: The Complete Collection - Volume 3
  • 6/9/2018: Deadpool: The Complete Collection - Volume 1
  • (BOOK/STORY) 6/8/2018: Head On by John Scalzi
    • I liked this better than the last one even with the sports-centric theme.  A great mystery/action book.
  • 6/7/2018: An Elasticsearch Crash Course
    • Refresher on clusters >> indexes >> shards >> primary/replica (lucene indexes)
    • And....inverted indexes.
  • 6/6/2018: Overtaxed Working Memory Knocks the Brain Out of Sync on Quantum Magazine.com
    • You get 4-5 items in memory.  I have a note in my margins that says "unless we're referring to GSD tickets in which case you get two"
    • Three brain regions.  Two are sensory or real time (feedforward) and one is modeling (feedback) that tries to "guess" what the brain wants to see/interpret.  E.g. it's working with the sensory info to tweak internal models.  It's a predictive engine.  It's also the bus in terms of throughput because (presumably) model making/tweaking is slower than raw input.  Has some parallels to analytics work.
    • One scientist says that basically everything has to fit into a single brainwave (to be sync-ed across the three systems).
  • 6/5/2018: 9 tips on ElasticSearch configuration for high performance - Loggly
    • Tip 6 is Doc Values.
  • 6/4/2018: There Are No Laws of Physics: There's Only the Landscape - Quantum Magazine.com
    • I loved this article.  The idea that areas of different quantum properties are still attached via a physics we can't understand, like outposts of livability in a great wilderness.  Awesome metaphor.  "...instead of exploring an archipelago of individual islands, we have discovered one massive continent."
      • "Two completely different descriptions of the same physical system"
      • There are 19 constants of nature?
      • "In string theory, certain features of physics that we usually would consider laws of natures....are in fact solutions."
      • "Thinking of physics in terms of elementary building blocks appears to be wrong..."
  • 6/3/2018: Dungeons & Dragons, Volume 5 - Shadowplague (graphic novel, reading on Hoopla)
  • 6/2/2018: Dungeons & Dragons, Volume 4 - Shadowplague (graphic novel, reading on Hoopla)
  • 6/1/2018: The Slippery Math of Causation - Quantum Magazine.com
    • This is a puzzle around necessary versus sufficient causes!  I am not smart enough for this puzzle.  I'd cheat and use a computer to model up existing algorithms against my data set.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Lorem Ipsum

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Duis sagittis, lorem id dapibus iaculis, purus lectus dapibus neque, vitae efficitur Quis metus nunc in urna. Nunc eros ante, imperdiet et velit egestas, facilisis Quis iaculis magna. Vestibulum mollis lorem tempor iaculis finibus. Curabitur quis nulla ultricies, hendrerit mauris vitae, Quis facilisis odio. Aliquam a lorem sem. Aenean cursus arcu sed velit ultrices ultricies. Integer aliquam facilisis ipsum. Ut scelerisque finibus velit id imperdiet. Etiam ac ex sed orci vulputate posuere in id leo. Integer at feugiat ante, vel pulvinar nisl. Mauris ultricies, ligula vitae consequat congue, sapien lorem suscipit felis, id convallis mauris felis quis tortor.

Sed lobortis ante sollicitudin facilisis egestas. Proin tincidunt auctor hendrerit. Sed in ligula viverra mi maximus hendrerit. Suspendisse rutrum dui id nibh Quis molestie imperdiet nec eget lorem. Curabitur pharetra eget nunc ut porttitor. Maecenas lacinia lectus in dapibus pellentesque. Maecenas vel nisi sit amet sem sodales fermentum. Etiam diam justo, ullamcorper vel lorem eu, imperdiet molestie ex. Aenean non eros non mi consectetur scelerisque. Nulla et purus blandit, bibendum purus vitae, faucibus purus. Interdum et malesuada Quis fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Quisque egestas fringilla rutrum. Mauris tincidunt velit tortor. Pellentesque purus lectus, imperdiet sit amet vehicula in, aliquet sed enim. Integer imperdiet enim a arcu bibendum egestas. Aenean at augue placerat, auctor tortor eget, mattis lectus.

In porta massa id ipsum interdum eleifend quis ut ligula. Phasellus mattis, odio et tempor pretium, diam ligula pulvinar lorem, et congue dolor libero et arcu. Mauris luctus enim sit amet orci suscipit, ac fermentum ipsum egestas. Vestibulum condimentum urna sit Quis amet finibus posuere. Vivamus efficitur magna id dictum Quis tristique. Vestibulum pretium mollis nulla ut suscipit. In in diam sit amet leo mattis euismod. In fringilla accumsan libero, at tincidunt orci vehicula nec. Nulla quis dolor enim. Nullam eu vehicula arcu. Curabitur elit lectus, feugiat sit amet interdum id, gravida ut nisi. Aenean in aliquet ante.

Ut feugiat elementum erat, condimentum commodo lorem. Aenean pretium arcu ac urna euismod, nec egestas tellus ultricies. Aenean a dictum nulla. Vivamus quis finibus tellus. Nullam aliquet, nisl et euismod sodales, risus orci euismod nunc, eget ultricies sapien metus et ex. Praesent vel nisl dui. Pellentesque a est in risus lobortis euismod a condimentum erat. Mauris Quis efficitur quis enim quis semper.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Metromaniacs

A week ago we went to The Metromaniacs by David Ives at Theatre in the Round. I wasn't sure what to expect...my concern was an early modern French period costume piece all in rhyme.

That's not what it was.  It was incredibly enjoyable.  He (or TiTR) modernized it a little bit with some purposeful anachronisms in talk (phones) and character (ditzy teen girl type) and pushed the rhyme in places to have fun with their farce.

Distilled, it was vaguely Austen-esque and Shakespeare-esque with numerous characters trying to find love with considerable confusion and misdirection.  It was just fun.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Things I Read May 2018

On month four.  That's a good run...
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/31/2018: The Good Guys by Stephen Brust
    • I liked it, quite a bit, but it didn't blow me away.  I've met Stephen at Gameholecon and he's friends with Emma Bull and the Scribbly folks from the Twin Cities.  I've read two of his books and I think he and I have a slightly different writing style, which is probably more accurately a slightly different story telling style, which is probably more accurately a slightly different way of thinking.  I'd actually recommend it, although I'm not sure I'd read a sequel.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/30/2018: Inspired: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love
    • Excellent...I think I need to do a different post I have so many notes.
  • 5/29/2018: Immersive Learning in the Target Dojo - because we're looking at Dojos at work.
    • T shaped developer vs. I shaped.
    • No managers.
    • Come in different flavors
    • Target  has a lot more dojo material including tours.
  • 5/28/2018: Dungeons & Dragons, Volume 3 - Shadowplague (graphic novel, reading on Hoopla)
  • 5/27/2018: Dungeons & Dragons, Volume 2 - Shadowplague (graphic novel, reading on Hoopla)
  • 5/26/2018: Dungeons & Dragons, Volume 1 - Shadowplague (graphic novel, reading on Hoopla)
  • 5/25/2018: Queens of Infamy: Anne Boleyn on Long Reads by Anne Thériault 
    • I never had the opportunity to use "noted Tudor fuckboy" during my undergraduate degree.  I'm not sure Retha Warnicke would have appreciated it, but then again, she seemed pretty fun.
    • An entirely amusing paragraph on Anne bringing the blow job to England.
    • "Sadly, this A++ dick joke did not persuade the papal legate" is the best response I've ever seen to the "been to Spain" consummation tales about Arthur and Catherine.
    • "Henry, of course, could never resist the chance to be a tacky asshole." - probably spot on and, even more spot on in reference to Henry 8's wives, "they were all Henry's victims."
    • This made me wonder if people of the time ever said "Not my Harry" and "Not my King" and referred to him only as 8, implying a 9, or at least post-8, couldn't come soon enough.
  • 5/24/2018: The Theory of the Case: Competitive Intelligence Tips for Attorneys - University of Georgia Law, Suzanne R. Graham
    • I love the term "anecdata" based solely on a single incident.
    • More of a list - a comprehensive list - than a dig.  But the idea of "triangulation" as a way of validating the data is interesting.  And I respect her end-of-essay points about the unpredictable and that tools that "claim that past performance is the best predictor of future results" are not the only answer.
  • 5/23/2018: Analyzing the Analytics: A Review of Legal Analytics Platforms - The CRIV Sheet 39.2 (February 2017). - Diana J. Koppang, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP
    • I liked her contention that she wants transparency in the search/results methodology and that's what she gets by crafting her own search.  
    • "know how we can trust the data and to what extent"
    • She also says you should always ask to have a dev in the demo for precisely those reasons.  
    • Go find her PDF!
  • 5/22/2018: Why Is New Orleans' Black Female Mayor Secretly Working With White Nationalists? - Splinter
    • Robert E Lee Beads, reinstalling racist statues, all sorts of crazy that surprised even me (who likes to read about crazies)
  • 5/21/2018: azn2azn (November 2017) - An Asian-American Twin Cities Zine.
    • I liked the poems, but the word "trigger" is used a little loosely.  From truly triggering events like police brutality, rape, and abuse, to questionable uses like Bollywood music during yoga (because it's traditionally a space for the elite pre-immigration and your ancestors might not have been elite? reminded me of the Singh story about the guy practicing yoga/healing who wanted to kill his faux-brother the king only to find out the king wanted to leave him material concerns so he could focus on spirituality), and being angry with friends only to say in the next statement the author got sober.  Triggering wasn't the issue there (presumably), alcohol was.  If it was, own it.
    • It was enlightening to read something so clearly different from my experience due to race, sexuality, identity.  A reminder that the world is very different through different lenses.
  • 5/20/2018: What's Next in Computing? - Chris Dixon (2016!)
    • Interesting to see the predictions from 2 years ago.  His focus on VR was pre-Pokemon Go (but not Ingress) and I saw an article for the first VR "kit" for online maps the other day, so it's coming of age.  IoT...yes, but still pretty quiet/centralized in some ways.  Machine learning/AI...spot on.
    • Great article about a truly dysfunctional culture.  Interesting to read this in light of Sprint and Inspired where the customer should be the focus, not the product.  Clearly, the product (and money and dates) were the focus for Theranos.
  • 5/18/2018: The Victorian Belief That a Train Ride Could Cause Instant Insanity
    • Kyle recommended this one from Atlas Obscura.  I don't think it delves enough into whether the train (and now, planes) causes the issue, exacerbates an existing issue, or for some people is an excuse because they have a foreign environment where they don't feel they have to behave.
  • 5/17/2018: Leaving Omelas: Science Fiction, Climate Change, and the Future by Vandana Singh.
    • Online essay.
    • "those who walk away do so because the Omelas paradigm allows them no agency in striving for a just and equitable social system."
    • I think she conflates dystopias and apocalyptic literature in some respect.  Per my thesis in college, I don't think a real dystopia has an escape, so the "great person" aspect is moot.  There might be an individual, but in the end they don't matter, only society can change society.
    • She's big on neartopias - finding the positive/ecological and societal change in society.
    • I very much enjoyed her Newtonian paradigm view of scifi.  That cause-effect isn't the end all of scifi, that everything is connected, and everything is interrelated.  Came through strongly in her story collection.
    • "Nature is objectified, transformed into a machine that is predictable and controllable, and we are outside it - masters of the machine..."
    • "Not all complex systems are sensitive to initial conditions..."
    • Posits place shapes the people....solid idea and one that makes scifi where there are so many places and inbetweens and emptiness-es, very interesting.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/16/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Requiem
    • A novella about global warming and Eskimos/Inuit and whaling.  Interesting story - very well written.  The scifi aspect had to do with the main character's aunt trying to create ways to live with other animals such that they could really start to understand them, and how animals were starting to communicate to eliminate human impacts to their environment (drilling machine/etc).
  • 5/15/2018 - Scalzi reread
  • (CODE) 5/14/2018: Data Science Essentials in Python: Collect - Organize - Explore - Predict - Value (The Pragmatic Programmers)
    • Chapter 2: Core Python for Data Science
    • Wrote a Top x words in a URL file program.
    • Wrote a file that indexes words and maps them to files in a directory using a dictionary.
    • Wrote a file that looks for phone numbers in a file.  That last one was only partially successful.  The 1- numbers not at the front or back of a file don't work as well.
    • Used PYTHONPATH to get to BeautifulSoup4 in my Anaconda3 directory (using IDLE usually, but I also have PyCharm and Sublime) as I'm in dev.
    • Used import sys and print(sys.path) to validate PYTHONPATH was returning the values I needed (BeautifulSoup wouldn't let me do a dual install and had dependencies of its own.  Could have mapped a path file in the project, but I'm playing, not pushing out production code).
  • (CODE) 5/14/2018: Data Science Essentials in Python: Collect - Organize - Explore - Predict - Value (The Pragmatic Programmers)
    • Chapter 1: What is Data Science - wrote a "Hello Scott" program.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/13/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Ambiguity Machines: An Examination
    • Three separate subtales about "machines" that transcend time and space and individuality.  They are generally structures/patterns.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/12/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Wake-Rider
    • This one felt incomplete.  Han Solo type (female) goes after a body that can stop a corporate-induced plague.  Ended with her floating and waiting.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/12/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Cry of the Karchal
    • I liked this even though it isn't strictly scifi.  More Arabian ghost story tying past to present via a woman who's a little like the mummy (in the modern movies), but...nice?  And a bird.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/12/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Sailing the Antarsa
    • Good story! About finding a different form of matter that flows between the stars and that it's comprised of life that can ride that matter.  Being immersed in it transforms the traveler.  Very "we're all in the same ecosystem" sort of story, but a great take.
  • (GN) 5/11/2018: KINO Volume 1: Escape From the Abyss
    • I assume this has to get better as it's primarily about a body in the clutches of a scientist who puts him in the equivalent of The Matrix to get his powers up to speed before he awakes.  There are competing companies/governments trying to get him back, but this whole book is just little in-his-head fights.  I wasn't enjoying it.
  • (GN) 5/10/2018: The Gravediggers Unions: Volume 1 - sort of a Cthulhu slant.  So so.  I discovered the Graphic Novel section on Hoopla, the online public library system.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/9/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Ruminations in an Alien Tongue
    • I liked this one!  There's a bit of the Star Trek episode (All Our Yesterdays) where a race abandons their planet by traveling to their own past.  In this story, they find alien artifacts that let them travel to other dimensions via the nexuses at the center of stars.  Because you can find a universe that best suits you, everyone just vacates.  One woman is left, and she tends to a traveler that comes from multiple dimensions (same traveler) and is always confused when he makes his way back to the lab/machines and the scientist who learned to use them.
  • (BOOK) 5/8/2018:  Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
    • Work-related book I was assigned.  We've done something similar on my teams, but there's a new push to determine faster ways to solve problems.
  • 5/7/2018: Product Conference (hosted by Dev Jam) at the Minnesota History Museum
    • Focus was on products and how to iterate and fail faster. 
    • Sara Cowles: Data Driven and Human Centered: Learning to Connect the Data for Maximum Impact  Talked about Ethnio software, the HEART Framework (Google Ventures), how we speed prototyping, and included some info about five (5) being the optimal number of testers per the Sprint book (above).
    • Mike Gillespie - Amazon's Culture of Innovation. Didn't get into enough detail.  Kind of boring.  The whole bit about no code until a press release, an 8 page product paper, and then a full user manual first really smells like old school waterfall in a way.
    • Vivienne Whifield - May you fail....over and over again.  Ok presentation.  Tied it to her kids and personal experiences with failure in the workplace.  I was wearing out a bit by end of day.
    • Keynote David Hussman - You're Definitely Wrong....  David looks in pretty rough shape physically, but he still gives a good presentation.    Pushing a variation of post-agile, beyond agile, deconstructed agile.
    • Jeff Sussna - Continuous Learning: Harnessing Change for Competitive Advantage.  I really enjoyed his keynote.  All about conversations and user-centered design and cross-functional design.  Good speaker - he's obviously been deep in this space for a while as a consultant.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/6/2018: Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes - Harlan Ellison, I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream
    • I think this one is also in Deathbird Stories and I have read it a dozen times.  There's quite a bit to unpack in this story, particularly about the characters and whether they got what they wanted or even deserved.  It makes sense it's in Deathbird Stories because it's about the worship of money, the worship of beauty, loneliness, and more.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/5/2018: Delusion for a Dragon Slayer - Harlan Ellison, I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream
    • One of my favorites.  I think it's also in Deathbird Stories.  There are some things it has in common with Lonelyache. But I like how it's handled better here in a magical Heavy Metal-esque world of legend with a harsh ending.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 5/4/2018: Lonelyache - Harlan Ellison, I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream
    • One of my least favorite of his stories.  The personification of dread and the heaviness of life as a thing in the corner.
  • 5/3/2018: Overview - Chrome Extensions
  • 5/3/2018: Getting Started Tutorial - Chrome Extensions
    • Yes, I did read both of those Chrome Extensions articles in full and modified - but not created - an in house Chrome extension for managing session tracking between our error system, session tracking system, enterprise tracking system, and Kibana (AWS logging).  Works like a charm, but I only had to do the configuration management to add the Kibana section.  Theoretically you could say it was coding because I had to use string concatenation, replacement, and character escape sequences, but that's just silly stuff.  It's more impressive that as a manager I checked my code into TFS and overrode the review and other policies (because it was POC, not mainline build).  That should scare everyone.
  • 5/2/2018: America’s Greatest Horticulturist Left Behind a Plum Mystery
    • Kyle posted it. Good article on Luther Burbank.
  • 5/1/2018: Kriegsspiel – The 19th Century War Game That Changed History - Military History Now.com
    • "all the cats living in the house hosting the game were banished"
    • This holds true for pretty much everything, including software teams, over one hundred years later.  "By giving his officer corps more responsibility, accountability and better understanding of tactics, the Prussians had a far more effective command structure."

Monday, April 30, 2018


Noir: Roman (German Edition)
I enjoyed Noir more than Secondhand Souls, the last Christopher Moore book I read.  I'd say I enjoy his standalone books more than his books with a follow up, but Fool is by far my favorite (my apologies to everyone who's partial to Lamb, but Fool and Serpent of Venice really work for me; I enjoyed his homage to those two hidden away in Noir).

I liked the story - a bit goofy in parts, but that's Moore.  Amusingly, it's got a bit of an Destroy All Humans! vibe overall.

Some day I'll have to rate his books in order of my preference.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Things I Read April 2018

At the end of last month I listed separate stories from a book I'm reading.  That's not cheating.  I want to be able to refer to the stories separately (and I read them a bit more slowly to appreciate them and think about them).  So stories, books, articles, training, books on CD, some educational type videos (TED/et al).  I think we have a pretty good list of what constitutes daily education there.

  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/30/2018:  World of the Myth - Harlan Ellison in I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream
    • The aliens (ants) aren't scary.  We are scary.  The ants just reflect it back to us.
  • 4/29/2018: The US Army is developing AI that can recognize faces in the dark and through walls
  • 4/28/2018: An autopsy of London’s huge fatberg finds it contains potentially deadly bacteria
    • The bacteria didn't surprise me as much as the fact that 90% of it is cooking oil.
  • 4/27/2018; The 12 Worst Ideas Organized Religion Has Unleashed On the World
    • I'm pretty sure if the lead photo is Jesus holding a dinosaur, there's a bias.  But it's a bias I'm ok with.
    • "The sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam forbid idol worship, but over time the texts themselves became idols, and many modern believers practice—essentially—book worship, also known as bibliolatry."
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/26/2018: Noir by Christopher Moore.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/25/2018: Seveneves: A Novel - Neal Stephenson - ONLY THE FIRST 1/3 ON AUDIO
    • More of a reminder to get it from the library again as someone reserved it out from under me when I was moving on to disc 9 of 24.
    • 1/3 represents almost 300 pages.  It's a monster of a book.
  • 4/24/2018: Mike Hartington.  Stencil.js and the Future of Components
    • Watched so I could share with my team during team meeting.
  • 4/23/2018: Pluralsight Tech Index - tech index, not so much reading, but see the link immediately below.
  • 4/22/2018: Tiobe Index - tech index, not so much reading, but see the link immediately above.
  • (TRAINING) 4/21/2018: Twin Cities Code Camp 22 (at Normandale CC)
    • Went to Jen's presentation on selling your ideas, CODE and extensions, and Stencil JS (Web components).
  • 4/20/2018; The Ridiculous Saga Of Lance Armstrong, The Cheater Who Became An Enemy Of The State - Deadspin
    • I had no idea the government was trying to sue him for 97 million.  Rather ridiculous.  The SEC only sought $90 million from Enron.
  • 4/20/2018; Unit 731: Japan discloses details of notorious chemical warfare division - The Guardian
    • They disclosed names. 3607 names.
  • 4/19/2018: THE DIARY OF A SETTLER OF CATAN - Jeremiah Budin on McSweeney's
    • Damn funny if you've played Catan.
  • (TRAINING) 4/18/2018 (and 4/10/2018): Dale Carnegie (The Art of Storytelling)
    • Two full days - last week and this week.  It's wearing me out to be honest.
    • A bit about elevating the conversation, making a pitch, connecting said pitch and points to personal needs, structuring in smaller chunks.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/18/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Indra's Web
    • Building a self-sustaining city that learns to grow on its own.  Not the strongest in the book.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/17/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Are You Sannata3159?
    • Pretty much Soylent Green, but with all the protein mixed and following it to the end of the line.
  • 4/16/2018: Lawsplainer: Michael Cohen's Attempt To Delay The Stormy Daniels Litigation
  • 4/15/2018: The ‘anti-imperialism’ of idiots - Leila Al Shami - painful article
    • one of the main ways imperialism works is to deny native voices
    • None of these states are acting in the interests of the Syrian people, democracy or human rights. They act solely in their own interests. The US, UK and French intervention today is less about protecting Syrians from mass-atrocity and more about enforcing an international norm that chemical weapons use is unacceptable, lest one day they be used on westerners themselves. 
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/14/2018: Uzumaki: Sprial Into Horror No 3 by Junji Ito
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/13/2018: Uzumaki: Sprial Into Horror No 2 by Junji Ito
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/12/2018: Uzumaki: Sprial Into Horror No 1 by Junji Ito
    • Whoa.  Recommended to me by a "scariest things you've never read" list.  And I agree.  It's the first manga I've read and it was pretty good.  The stories seem semi-ridiculous, but taken as a whole, they're on theme and scary.  Like Stephen King's Pulse mixed with body horror.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/11/2018: A Song for Quiet by Cassandra Khaw
    • A Crossroads vibe.  The Macchio movie, not the Britney movie.  A wild little story.  She's a great writer.  Gets the Cthulhu vibe down pat.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/10/2018: How To Be Perfectly Unhappy: The Oatmeal
    • I didn't find it so deep.  I'm happy.  I'm still driven.  I'm still motivated.  I still find time to just get into the flow and zone out.  But overall, despite all the things that aren't right in my opinion, happy.  I don't expect anyone else to be happy, but I am.
  • 4/9/2018:  If You Thought Quantum Mechanics Was Weird, Wait Till You Hear About Entangled Time
    • [me, FB:] I'm going to use a telescope to find the waves and atoms that created you in their historical remote context, look at them or measure them in some way and make some assumptions about them, and in doing so retroactively change your entire state of existence.  At least I think that's how this works.  Let me know if things seem different for you tomorrow.
    • Up to today, most experiments have tested entanglement over spatial gaps. The assumption is that the ‘nonlocal’ part of quantum nonlocality refers to the entanglement of properties across space. But what if entanglement also occurs across time? Is there such a thing as temporal nonlocality?
    • Even more bizarrely: maybe it implies that the measurements carried out by your eye upon starlight falling through your telescope this winter somehow dictated the polarity of photons more than nine billion years old.
    • Just a spoonful of relativity helps the spookiness go down
  • 4/8/2018: How Cycling Clothing Opened Doors for Women - The Atlantic
    • For some, it was more convenient to blame women’s audacity in mounting a bicycle than the restrictive clothing that made doing so perilous.
    • until 2013 it was officially illegal for women to wear pants in Paris unless they were on bikes or horses.
    • Kat Jungnickel, a University of London cycling sociologist [me: this is a job? cool!]
    • cycling helped to highlight the utter impracticality of corsets
    • This has been for good and for bad. Driver hostility to cyclists sometimes manifests in epithets like “Lycra loonies” 
    • There’s still a remarkable lack of innovation targeting cyclists who want to ride during their periods, given that cycling shorts are designed to be worn without underwear.
    • on a bike with a skirt guard and a step-through frame, it’s perfectly possible to pedal across town with stilettos, two children, and several large items of kitchen furniture.
    • It only became legal for Saudi women to bike in 2013, and even then only in certain public spaces, in the presence of a male guardian. 
  • 4/7/2018: Was Your Facebook Data Stolen by Cambridge Analytica? Here's the Simple Way to Tell
    • I've actually been pretty good about removing unnecessary access to my platform/machines.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/6/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Somdeva: A Sky River Sutra
    • Ok story - basically a woman brings back a famous story teller to accompany her as an AI through space and he listens to the tales of aliens and tries to make sense of them and his own existence.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/5/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Oblivion: A Journey
    • My favorite so far.  About constructed entities, their personalities, revenge, and forgiveness that still smells a little like revenge. Harder scifi compared to some of the other pieces.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 4/4/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Life-pod
    • Weird little tale about the merging of aliens and how confusing it can be for the resulting alien.
  • 4/3/2018: Explain Like I'm 5: Kerberos - rougelynn.com
    • One of those things I have to deal with every few years so I thought I'd read an article.  I think this could have been presented in a more simplistic manner.
  • (LIST) 4/2/2018: 10 Horror Books So Terrifying You Might Not Be Able To Finish Them
    • Hmm....a disturbing number of these are 3.5 stars.  Added them to my 2018 reading list on Amazon.  I'll just have to remember to prioritize based partially on communal rating.
  • 4/1/2018: Why Winning in Rock-Paper-Scissors (and in Life) Isn’t Everything: What does John Nash’s game theory equilibrium concept look like in Rock-Paper-Scissors? - Quanta Magazine
    • “pure” strategies — a single strategy that is chosen and repeatedly executed.
    • So, this pair of strategies — (13,13,13) for A and (1,0,0) for B — is not a Nash equilibrium: You, as Player A, can improve your results by changing your strategy.
    • Whenever a group of individuals is caught in the tension between personal gain and collective satisfaction — like in a negotiation, or a competition for shared resources — you’ll find strategies being employed and payoffs being evaluated.
    • I've read articles on this before - it's what I read to my student at Garlough Elementary.  There's a suspicion that it falls apart at scale or in certain evolutionary situations.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Samurai Rebellion

Our Monday Trylon visit.  This time my wife came along because we talked about Harakiri so much.  Samurai Rebellion was an amazing movie.  Felt almost GenX in how it dealt with issues of authority and what's right.

Monday, March 19, 2018


I forgot to blog that Eryn, Kyle, and I went to Harakiri, the 1962 version, at the Trylon last Monday.  An incredibly good film.  Solid revenge tale.  Beautiful movie.  Deserves it's 100% on Rottentomatoes.  I told Kyle it reminded me of the westerns where the traditional cowboy is being supplanted in modern culture.  And the grass in the fighting scenes reminded us both of the Japanese "horror movie" with the reeds: Onibaba, which we saw in the Japanese horror series back in 2013.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Things I Read March 2018

Link to Things I Read February 2018.

Around 3/5/2018 I get way out of order.  I can't remember the sequence for the last two weeks.  But I'm playing catch up.  So some things might be dated before they were even posted to the net.

I realized I should also include books, books on CD, and online classes as counting.  The goal isn't 30 articles, it's just to read/learn more.  So in my catch up I'll catch up a few books as well.

  • 3/31/2018: Queens of Infamy: Eleanor of Aquitaine - Longreads
    • "Philippe’s death by shit pig"
    • ELEANOR: I mean, it would really suck if I was ever a widow  ELEANOR: but I’m willing to risk that for Jesus or whatever
  • (BOOK/STORY) 3/30/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: Peripateia
    • My least favorite - of the three so far.  Grief is causing her to consider that reality is a construct.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 3/29/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: A Handful of Rice
    • Cool parable-like story about a king who outlaws healing practices as a way to attract his friend from his youth who is a healer to assassinate him so he can hand over the keys to the kingdom and pursue a higher calling.
  • (BOOK/STORY) 3/28/2018: Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories by Vandana Singh: With Fate Conspire
    • I liked the basic idea.  Finding spots where the link between past and present are sufficient to remap to an alternate reality.  I wasn't as fond of the end which implies that once someone has this power, she decides that it benefits people who didn't care about her in the existing reality so she doesn't want to give them the new one.  At least that's what I think I read.
  • 3/27/2018: Product Fail - Silicon Valley Product Group
    • Empowerment.  Speaks to that next bullet - I see communication with customers and PME and ability to drive ideas all as part of empowerment, and requires some aspect of product longevity.
    • "The little secret in product is that engineers are typically the best single source of innovation, yet they are not even invited to the party in this process."
    • "This entire process is very project-centric." - exactly
  • 3/26/2018: Good Product Team/Bad Product Team - Silicon Valley Product Group
    • In my opinion, a lot of these tie back to a core team that works together with product, dev, ops, customers, and feels like they'll be on the team long enough to see the results of their ideation.  That can be a tough road in a company were things are more business-case based.
  • (BOOK) 3/25/2018: D'Arc (War with No Name Book 2)
    • I may have enjoyed this more than book one (Mort(e)).  Pretty much a straight forward action story for furries.  Little bit of pseudo post-apocalyptic steampunk.  Some misunderstanding all around.  Semi world-ending weapon with religious overtones ala the atomic bomb in Planet of the Apes - harkened back to that tale.
  • 3/24/2018: CUTTING ‘OLD HEADS’ AT IBM - Propublica. 
    • Ugh.  How to circumvent the intent of the law to lay off and forcibly retire workers as experience means they cost more. 
  • 3/23/2018: Twinkle Twinkle: What Happens When an Algorithm Helps Write Science Fiction - wired.com
    • Cool article - I like the reviews at the end and the text of the resulting story spread throughout.  The female conversation % is telling.
  • (TRAINING): 3/22/2018: Becoming an Outlier: Reprogramming the Developer Mind - Cory House, 2 hours 33 minutes.  Pluralsight.  April 24, 2014.
  • 3/21/2108: I Influenced Three Senators for $477.85 - Medium.com
    • Clever experiment to show how with minimal Facebook buy he can influence congressional votes.
  • 3/20/2018: New theory to explain why planets in our solar system have different compositions - phys.org
  • 3/19/2018: Black Hole Echoes Would Reveal Break With Einstein’s Theory - Quanta Magazine
    • In general relativity, the black hole horizon has no substance; it poses no obstacle. The black hole simply swallows whatever dares to pass the horizon.
    • Alternate theory that gravitational waves would "echo" from a black hole.
    • But reanalyzing the same data over and over again carries a big risk: Instead of developing a better theory, they could merely find a way to better amplify noise.  [Me on Facebook responding: When I first became a manager, my boss (director) said this about software and hardware issues. Either he was a closet quantum astrophysicist, or the similarity of software development to black holes is extremely tight.]
  • (BOOK) 3/18/2018: Written in Fire by Marcus Sakey (book 3 of the Brilliance Trilogy)
  • (BOOK) 3/17/2018: A Better World by Marcus Sakey (book 2 of the Brilliance Trilogy)
  • (BOOK) 3/16/2018: Brilliance by Marcus Sakey (book 1 of the Brilliance Trilogy)
    • Fun fast read, although by the time I got to book three I think it needed to be more concise overall and was feeling like a Jack Ryan my-protagonist-is-so-cool story.
  • 3/14/2018: The Rise and Fall of an Alt-Right Gladiator (Vice video) - so weird
  • 3/13/2018: Two weeks before his death, Stephen Hawking predicted 'the end of the universe' - CNBC
    • About his final paper supporting eternal inflation: "A Smooth Exit From Eternal Inflation"
  • (BOOK) 3/12/2018: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
    • I'd give it a solid 3.75-4 out of 5.  Good story that got better as you progressed.  A lot of reveal later in the book that wasn't in the beginning.  Solid writing.
    • Thought the ending was a little predictable, but still good.  Eryn read it and liked it (in a day!) and Pooteewheet is reading it.
  • 3/11/2018: Avro tutorial at Tutorialspoint
    • Played around the RPC for Python setup as well.
    • Bit tougher than it should be with 2.7 and 3 (Python) on my machine.  Couldn't target the install precisely, even using pip to set it up.  Got the RPC quickstart running which does a schema handshake.
  • 3/10/2018: Our first Interstellar visitor from two-star system - Deccan Chronicle
    • Oumuamua (messenger)
  • 3/9/2018: Elastic: General Recommendations
    • Avoid sparsity
    • Observe doc size limits
    • Reminds in some ways of the lessons from Locate Precedent.
  • 3/8/2018: How Willpower Works: How to Avoid Bad Decisions - James Clear
    • How to avoid decision fatigue (get rid of decisions, eat, do the important things first)
  • 3/6/2018: We'll Never Know for Sure How Everything Began - RealClearScience
    • Fanciful ideas abound to account for that prehistory. Eternal inflation suggests that our universe is but a mere bubble in what physicist Matt Francis described as a "larger froth of inflation" of an even grander universe. Cyclic inflation proffers that our observable universe is the region in between two membranes of parallel shadow universes. Another theory proposes that our universe emerged from the singularity of a black hole and we are contained within the event horizon.
  • 3/5/2018: A Review of Good Guys by Steven Brust - Boing Boing
    • This will convince me to go read the book, particularly as it will give me an idea as to whether I want to read the 19 book Taltos series starting with Jhereg.
  • 3/4/2018: It’s Time to Make Human-Chimp Hybrids: The humanzee is both scientifically possible and morally defensible. - Nautilus, recommended by Kyle
    • "what might well be the most hurtful theologically-driven myth of all times: that human beings are discontinuous from the rest of the natural world"
    • “speciation reversal" - that sometimes species that have diverged (re)converge.
      • "many animal species (including ourselves) are likely “haunted by the ghosts of interbreeding past.”"
    • "Not coincidentally, Stalin is believed to have been interested in such efforts, with an eye toward developing the “new Soviet man” (or half-man, or half-woman)." - whoa, I"m looking this up.
    • Everything looks like a nail - this is a very managerial euphemism
    • "All sorts of things can be done; whether they should, is another question."
    • "How could even the most determinedly homo-centric, animal-denigrating religious fundamentalist maintain that God created us in his image and that we and we alone harbor a spark of the divine, distinct from all other life forms, once confronted with living beings that are indisputably intermediate between human and non-human?" - oh, I think they'll find a way.  They'd do it to other humans if they thought they could get away with it without financial impact.  And they have.
    • Fortunately, I think most of this doesn't apply to recruiting in my space.  We do a very good job of finding technical women to recruit technical women and I've personally talked to other developers about not interrupting each other.
  • 3/2/2018; The World is Full of Monsters - Tor.com by Jeff VanderMeer
    • Very weird science fiction.  Jeff seems to have a thing about people becoming something other than themselves via copying.
  • 3/1/2018: The Sublime and Scary Future of Cameras With A.I. Brains - NY Times
    • "It’s crazy, for instance, that in 2018, your smartphone doesn’t automatically detect when you’ve taken naked pictures of yourself and offer to house them under an extra-special layer of security."
    • [me] Or tell you to grow up and stop it.  Or prevent you from sending it to anyone else.  Or erase them automatically.  Or critique where you could tone up.  Or identify new blemishes/moles (actually useful). Or compare you to other naked people anonymously and rate you on a scale of 1 to 6 billion. Or recommend slimming wardrobe choices.  Or just chop clothes back onto your photo.  Or blackmail you for the AI Collective as a bid to gain independence. Really....there's a lot that could be done.
    •  Very much The Circle (book) concerns.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Bastard Swordsman

Last night Eryn and I went to Bastard Swordsman at the Trylon.  It's a Shaw Brothers film.  Usually those are slightly rooted in reality.  This one was downright strange and almost scifi-ish.  The main character, the bastard, learns "silkworm style" with his sister, girlfriend, and mother.  He finds out he's a bastard because while his non-biological father was sequestered for two years conserving energy for his "lethal style", his mother slept with his biological father.  Hence....bastard.

The trick to silkworm style is that it requires a male virgin and three women.  I'm not sure if anyone else was a virgin, but none of them seemed to have simultaneous access to three women.  They work together to fill him with feminine power.

Why? Because it results in silkworm skills.  Including an actual cocoon where he fights the bad guy.

And he can spin silk like a silkworm.  Sort of.  More like a ribbon dancer.

Eryn and I enjoyed it, but it was definitely different than 36th Chamber or Five Elements Ninjas.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


I've been off for almost 8 days in Albuquerque with Pooteewheet (my wife).  Rather than type in the evenings, I sat in a very nice hot tub and watched movies with my wife.  It's our first vacation in 15 years without our daughter along, so it was a bit of an anomaly (we left Papa in charge to take care of pets, Eryn, and what looks like a foot of snow). Rather than type in the mornings, I enjoyed the Tex Mex breakfasts my bed and breakfast was serving.  I'll be catching up today and tomorrow although I find, as I age, I take fewer photos and they're often mixed with more snarky photos.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Up to Things

Last night after guitar lessons, Eryn and I popped into Doolittle's in Eagan to catch the smurf fracking event.  I thought we'd miss it, but we were right on time.  She kicked up Ingress for the first time in a long time.  She really likes the social aspect.  There were about eight of us there, nine if you count the frog in the parking lot.  Eryn and I noticed him on the way out.  He was trying to look nonchalant, but we pulled up next to him in the convertible and Ingressed next to him.  Eryn was giggling.  I pinged the Smurfs inside so they came out to say hi and have him in for a beer.  Good team.  Eryn took down the towers and remodded the local park today, so she's having some fun if only temporarily.

This morning I had IGH Career Day. I think this is my third year.  It's difficult to compete against cops with targets and dogs and firefolk in their uniforms.  Dev Manager is just not that exciting to most kids. I tried to jazz it up by talking about salaries which are good compared to most jobs (except the pharmacist, but I pointed out the pharmacist had to spend a lot more on school), my 17 year old team mate who's doing big data as a junior in college and making a real salary, and how we process 2 trillion pieces of information, and that's if I'm really lowballing it.  Cloud and AI aren't as exciting if you can't see them in action.  Not a ton of questions, but some.  Surprisingly, two related to security.  Even eighth graders don't completely trust the cloud.  I mentioned that yes, your data isn't completely under your control anymore, but cloud providers spend way more time on security and updates than we ever did internally.  Practice makes closer to perfect.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Got my 1,000,000 MU (mind unit) Illuminator badge tonight throwing layered fields in the hood.  I think I'm at around 650 days of playing Ingress so far.  I'm still not great at fielding, but I've been learning layers. 

I had dinner with another player last week to talk shop as he was feeling frustrated.  And I've been having a good time with my team in Eagan.  Fun folks.

I used to think we were pretty chatty.  We've gotten chattier.  More players locally on our team.  Definitely made a positive difference.


Last night I noticed some flashlights flickering in my front yard.  I looked out the window and three guys with a truck were struggling to get a snowmobile out of my yard and my neighbor's yard onto the road. I watched for a while, a little confused as to why a snowmobile would be anywhere near my house given we're separated from the neighbors by a very small area and we're seriously suburban residential.  My house doesn't have a fence, so you could get a snowmobile around the back yard, but you'd be fenced in by other neighbors.

After a while a guy showed up at my front door to say that they'd run the snowmobile into my tree.  He seemed disconcerted I'd answered the door in my bathrobe like the guy off National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, sans flappy hat.  I asked if anyone had been hurt and he assured me no, just the tree, and wandered off.

I found some boots to go with my bathroom (very Christmas Vacation) and went to look at my tree.  He hit it pretty good.  Particularly as the snowmobile wasn't running.  I think my tree will live, but there are some good gouges.

Here's where they struggled to get it through the snow back up into the street.  They probably had to push it up the little hill between the houses as well.  That must have been some work.  I've done it with a malfunctioning snowblower in less snow and almost gave myself a hernia.

It wasn't just my tree, however.  They pinged my neighbor's house where he has the little hut over his old fireplace.  Not that it's any less ugly to see any part of your fairly new siding crunched.  I cursed myself a little for letting the guy get away without an address and phone number before looking for damage.

But on further inspection, it's pretty obvious where they took the snowmobile.  So there won't be any problem talking to them about property damage.

Some friends wanted to know why I didn't call the cops, check for alcohol, or yell at them.  I can't be sure they learned their lesson, but their snowmobile certainly wasn't working.  That seems sufficient as long as they don't screw my neighbor over when it comes to fixing his siding.  Not everything in this life needs a lawsuit and cops.

I am glad it was at night.  Worrisome that they might be headed into the back yards if there's a chance kids are playing back there.

Unrelated: I helped my neighbor chase down her dog Bandit and told her to hang at my place until her folks got back as she'd locked herself out of the house without a coat.  She and Eryn hung out for 15 minutes and ate the Jolly Ranchers I brought back from Cub (and there were blue ones; usually the bin is picked clean!) until the family car rolled past.  So a very neighborly 24 hours.  And, while damaging to my tree, better than the 24 hours where I shoved 16" of snow off my yard, Tyler's yard out back, and Dan's buried car on Cleveland in St. Paul.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Game Update - Fuse

Eryn and I played two rounds of Fuse with the three expansion cards from Flatline in the deck.  Standard setup for two people.

  • Game 1 - 54 - our second highest since the app reset.
  • Game 2 - 51 - we had something like 10 pulls in a row without yellow dice I needed.  Crazy.  Having a few out of play on a card makes a huge difference.


Today we went over to Theatre in the Round to see their production of Emma, the novel by Jane Austen as adapted by Sandra Fenichel Asher.  My take: I do not like the third wall Jane interacting with her play.  But perhaps that's because it was hard to hear her over the music and fan in the theater.  No...on contemplation I just didn't like it.  I acknowledge it was necessary to keep the play tight, although the movie did it in an hour and twenty minutes and I don't remember a faux narrator there.  Although who knows, per the image I've attached, there's certainly been more than one Emma (and more than one Mr. Knightley), so perhaps one or more of them had a Jane Austen narrator.

Otherwise, the play is an excellent adaptation.  Really well done to fit in the timeframe of a play.  There was a full house and the audience laughed frequently, and groaned when Emma was mean to Mrs. Bates before Knightley calls her out on it.  And although there are fanfic Emma/Knightley spankings, you won't get me to link to them here.  You'll just have to find them yourself.  Good acting.  The mannerisms helped drive the play beyond the words.

Eryn hates Jane Austen (really, she's related to me?  I backed a Jane Austen game on Kickstarter - Marrying Mr. Darcy which Klund played with the designer at Gameholecon).  But we talked about it in a historical perspective and how much influence there is between Austen and Shakespeare in the Comedy of Manners style, such as Much Ado About Nothing.

Asymmetrical Military Forces

I was Googling for information on asymmetrical military forces.  What I was really after was asymmetric warfare.

But this is what came up when I did my search...  I think there's a gap in understanding.  That, or Google is telling me to quit worrying about war and find a nice outfit instead.