Tuesday, July 09, 2024

The Least You Could Do

Sometimes those templated emails can't really distinguish whether the context is appropriate based on the behavior.  For example, my Udemy learning in June.  I did a lot of other learning [books, certification, code- and management-related online reading] that was NOT Udemy, but they don't know that.  This must be what they mean by "the least you could do" where least is non-inclusive of none/zero.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

June 25, 2024

 I don't think I've ever titled a post with the date.  Seemed about time.  Honestly, a good post would probably include my comments on David Tennant's political "opponent" having the support of JK Rowling [a red flag if there ever was one], or this commentary from Chat GPT trying to spoof the last president's quote about his "wounds" that I rewrote for...

Me as a manager: "As a manager, my features have their fair share of bugs. If you were to examine closely, you'd see the scars everywhere. Underneath, though, lies a robust framework waiting to shine. I've encountered numerous setbacks—I've got more bugs than perhaps any manager out there."

>My brother who is currently unemployed: "I've got gaps all over my resume. If you scrutinize it closely, you'd notice plenty of holes. Despite that, I bring a wealth of potential and capability. I've faced setbacks and challenges—I've got more gaps than most job seekers out there."

My friend who started his service business: "I've got mistakes all over the merchandise I make. If you looked closely, you'd see imperfections everywhere. Despite that, I strive to deliver something beautiful. I've made plenty of errors—I've messed up more promotions than anyone else, I reckon."

Klund the pickleball obsessive: "I've got dinks and volleys all over me. If I took this shirt off, you'd see a decent player underneath, but also plenty of scars from my losses. I've been on the losing end more times than I care to count, I can tell you. Probably more than any other player out there."

But...hmm...formatting due to cut and paste...ignore it...my personal story today was I went to breakfast at Jensen's in Burnsville and at the end of breakfast realized I didn't have my keys.  I walked back to my car down at the park, retracing my steps, fully expecting my car to be gone.  But...still there.  Locked [so keys not inside] and no keys along my path.  I stood there looking resigned, and two park maintenance guys pulled up in a maintenance vehicle, "Hey, are you looking for car keys?"  Why, yes I am. "Our boss has them."  Twenty minutes later, he hands me the keys.  As far as I'm concerned, I shouldn't have done anything the rest of the day, because that was the sum total of any luck/fortune I had banked.  Shout out to the Burnsville park service.  You made my day.

[Post: I fixed the formatting as it was messing up the whole page and highlighting everything white, although that was the least of it].

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Water and Construction

The Friday before last I pedaled a 60-mile ride up around the cities - both of the Twins - and back home.  Part of the reason it was such a long ride wasn't because I was particularly motivated to do sixty miles, but because the Cedar Ave old bridge route through the river valley is both flooded AND under construction, the 55 bridge is under construction, the Greenway is under construction... so I ended up routing down to the yacht club, up and across 35E, along Ford Parkway, into Minneapolis, around the lakes, pie by Harriet.  And then unwind via the Bde Maka Ska and Lake of the Isles back to the river and St. Paul.

I did push it a bit, partially because I wanted to verify whether I had the legs and bottom for a hundred mile ride at the moment for our trip to southern Minnesota.  The legs might have made it. The bottom definitely not.  I've got a new saddle and shorts sitting at home to try out today and see if it makes a difference so no one catches me naked and calls me old scabby butt.  OSB....kind of like ODB...maybe it would be cool and give me some bicycling cachet.

Since then, the rain, work, and running [I'm attempting a 5k reboot] have kept me off the bike outdoors, and I suspect now I'd even have a difficult time with some of the alternative routes I was using, like over to Shakopee or down by the yacht club.

Maybe it would make more sense to take the 494 bridge, but damn is that ever excruciatingly boring.  There's nothing I hate quite so much as the MoA and corporate Bloomington as ride scenery.

But today....today looks good and I've had this thought a few times....why don't I just park my car at the lakes and bike from there?  I should have thought of it before.  But driving my bicycle somewhere other than an overnight -- and I'm pretty sure that's an issue at the usual haunts in Minnesota as well, like the Cannon Falls/Red Wing trail, with all the flooding -- via a car before pedaling is antithetical to how my bicycling brain works.  Why would I waste time driving when I could be pedaling from moment zero?

Today might be the day though.  Get past the water and ... most of ... the construction before rolling around. I have a few places picked out where I think I could park without a meter, and the convertible will allow me to mount the rack, so I can double down on fresh air.  Might make the drive before riding a bit more palatable. 

Good luck to everyone else out there trying to find a place to ride. You have my sympathy.

Thursday, June 20, 2024


I was trying to ponder what events I'd weathered since I started at my current employer.  I was talking to the head of IT today and he had no idea my team had not only moved between managers [my boss, my reports' skip boss] three times, but that we'd actually entirely switched the space we worked in from "engines" to "cloud".  So I thought I'd try to capture it here before I forget it...in the last year and  a half...

  • New Hire
  • Added two new devs to team
  • After three months, long covid from employee orientation for about a year.
  • Had to personally lay off a dev on my new team for layoffs and lost a tester we liked.
  • Switched from the highly technical C++ and macros suite boss I had picked to work for to a different director > engines to cloud [big shift in focus].
  • >> UK vacation, my wife needs double knee replacement
  • Layoffs - lost our favorite onshore tester and her boss, both of who had been at new hire with me.
    • Picked up half of a second team to "fold" into my existing team [their manager and other team members in the layoffs].
  • Half of team repurposed to work on sunsetting / transitioning two other projects for two months although originally to supplement my team.
  • 3/4  [3/5 if you include a second lead who doesn't report to me] of those new team members stay with their other projects after two months.  One stays with my current team and the project to sunset is now in perma-fallow with us while an alternative is devised [not my team, but we own maintenance/alerts].
  • Move from Director to Sr. Manager as my manager to align org tree
  • Another tester leaves, although voluntarily.
  • Public to private equity and all that entails.
  • >> wife's heart issues
  • Extensive layoffs after private equity details worked out including losing one of our main product owners for the second time
  • Mixed in there several rounds of will the lead stay with us or not as we move between bosses [we had several intermittent months of not knowing where he couldn't work on our features].
I think that's the gist of it so far. We've done an excellent job of delivering what we've been asked for, even with the disruptions.  We're all hoping it's quiet for a while.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

So much music...

I didn't realize quite how much live, local music my wife and I were going to this spring. I think I'm actually missing a few in this list.  I'm definitely missing Sammie because it was at the White Squirrel and we were pretty far from the stage [ironic, given it's about 100' long....maybe] and left after someone decided our booth was a good place to relax and tip over his beer on me [right before shattering it on the floor].  I was mad, but you can't go to live music without getting splashed now and then.  As long as you don't get pulled over on the way home, it's not the end of the world. I have narrowly avoided being peed on at live music as well, but nothing recent.  Those were the wilder days when I smoked, drank vodka against a car tire, had Kyle pour me in a car, shared a portapotty with a make-or-break female stranger-became-acquaintance, and dealt with a verbally abusive boyfriend.  This is why getting older and wealthier is better.  My kid has benefitted from my willingness to purchase much better seats/viewing.

Coming up, I suspect it'll be even more events given we made friends of some folks who do lawn concerts that Sarah introduced us to at a gig.  I know my calendar, compared to previous years, looks like I'm doing little other than finding some music and a beer.

Jill Sobule at Hook and Ladder.  The "I Kissed a Girl" singer, although that was her pop moment in the sunlight.  We've seen her there once before.  She is fantastically liberal and the songs don't mince word at all.  At all.  She story tells as much as she sings and it's pretty wonderful for a small venue like Hook and Ladder.  I was just up near there today to grab a beer at Arbeiter Brewing and write, but the Juneteenth Celebration by Arbeiter, Hook and Ladder, Moon Palace, and others is off the damn hook.  I love me a big event, but only if I'm cycling there, and the recent flooding and construction has gotten in the way.  I did realize I can drive to the other side of the river, park, and pedal from my parking spot.  But that was a late realization because "drive" in the context of cycling is usually the furthest thing from my mind.  Last Friday I did a sixty-miler, almost entirely because I needed to go around the closed down areas.  Positive: I learned I need a better saddle and shorts, which I ordered.  Negative: saddle sores were proof I wasn't pedaling south and I need a better plan if I'm trying to bike locally.

Jill Souble at Hook and Ladder by:

Kelley Smith with Sarah Morris at the 318 in Excelsior.  We've been there a few times.  Talk about a close-up venue.  If I had a foot fetish, I could massage Sarah's feet.  THAT'S A JOKE. We took my sister in law there with us once to see Sarah.  I think it's been three times so far?  Nice perk is if you don't want a beer, it's also a coffee shop, so you have non-alcoholic alternatives.
Kelley Smith and Sarah Morris at 318 by:

Here's Sarah.  Fun fact about this gig, she told a story about how much she had a crush on Paul Douglas when she was younger [my sister had a crush on a local newscaster who is famous for a photo of himself really bloody after taking a deer to the front window; she sent him a love poem when she was a tween].  Apparently someone in the audience new Paul and gave him a ring and he was there at the end to blow her mind.  I've met him before in a tech situation - he's known for creating some of the microweather services and has presented for those of us in IT.
Kelley Smith and Sarah Morris at 318 (2) by:

No, not music.  But I pedal to a number of gigs when I can.   My personal joke is that you know I really like you if I'm willing to pedal to where you're playing.  I've pedaled to the state fair for Sarah, and Edina commons, and ... see below ... Shakopee/Chaska.  In this instance, I pedaled up to Richfield Wild Mind to see Leslie Vincent.
Pedaling to Wild Mind by:

No sultry crooning this time.  Well, not exactly.  She'd have a hard time not laying down sultry vibes.  But she went full ukulele in this case.  Fun aside, not long after this we were at a dinner with friends and I stepped outside [Merlin's on Lake] to bump into a guy wearing a Horror Con hoodie.  I noted it was a nice hoodie and by chance did he produce content versus just going?  He said yes, he had two movies/shorts there the previous event.  I replied, "I played games with a bunch of people who know Leslie Vincent from the Horror Con, and I was just at  her gig."  His response, "I know Leslie!", and then we chatted for a few moments. Board games, cycling, horror movies [I've backed a number on Kickstarter], music....all my hobbies are starting to swirl like a drain.

We met a guy who'd just moved to Minnesota from Cali with his girlfriend and then lost his girlfriend who was getting into the local music scene while at Leslie's event.  I think we've found ourselves meeting more and more people lately as we can recognize regulars versus newcomers.
Leslie Vincent at Wild Mind by:

Northerly Gales [Celtic music, including one of my favorites, Galway Girl, although I much prefer the Fiddler's Green version to Ed Sheeran] yard concert.  Absolutely beautiful day.  Ironic, given several of these have been moved because of the amount of rain we're seeing in the Twin Cities lately.
Northerly Gales Front Yard by:

Surge and the Swell, with Surge losing his voice, at the Summit Brewery.  We know Aaron [right] from my days as a dev/manager at Thomson Reuters [TR].  He's doing Spanish for elementary students now as well, so we were treated to an excellent rendition of the Ice Age song.  Bunch of TR expats in the audience I hadn't seen in a very long time.
Surge and the Swell at Summit by:

Smokin' Joe at 11 Wells Distillery in St. Paul, on the other side of the homeless camp [seriously - I pedaled up there and had to avoid a bit of laundry day on the bike trail].  I didn't pedal up there to see him [sorry Joe], but rather...
Smokin Joe at 11 Wells Distillery by:

...Emmy Woods.  She's a Minot girl and I'm sure if we dug deep enough, we have relatives in common.  My family drove up to join me as there was a little shopping pop up going on, and the drinks and food truck were excellent.
Emmy Woods at 11 Wells Distillery by:

I might be going backwards as this is one of the older events.  Clare Doyle and Goat Roper at the Ice House.  Jen's knees were still pretty messed up, so they gave us the owners booth as he was out for the evening.  Great line of sight.  She's got a very Dolly Parton vibe.
Clare Doyle and Goat Roper at the Icehouse by:

Stardust, who were having their launch party at Ice House, same night.  Yes, the lead singer is tall.  It's not perspective. 
Stardust at the Icehouse by:

Sarah at the White Squirrel.  I've been over there quite a bit because I've started having coffee while working at Five Watt "next door" at Keg and Case.  I like being able to take a break from Jira to go play a few balls of pinball.
Sarah Morris at White Squirrel by:

Sarah and Matt watching....themselves?  No...there are frequently guests.  There was a Hawaiian theme that night, although I wasn't appropriately dressed.
Sarah Morris and Matthew French at White Squirrel by:

My drink from the White Squirrel.  They have an interesting [and delicious] selection as long as it's not being poured on you by a drunk.
White Squirrel Drink by:

And finally, most recently, Hackamore Brewing in Chanhassen, Matthew French and Sarah Morris.  I pedaled the 30 miles or so to this one and Jen met up with me.  Wow, a truly beautiful day except for that climb out of Shakopee up the 6+ percent grade hill that I thought my give me a heart attack.  Met Sarah's dad and had genuinely nice conversations with a number of concert goers.  And someone gave me a free beer, so it was extra exciting [used my bonus beer money to buy Matthew's CDs].  They're very enjoyable together.
Matt and Sarah by:

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Wykoff and the Mystery Cave

We took a short trip to Wykoff, Minnesota this weekend.  I was going to pedal down, but my practice trip on the bicycle I haven't taken on a longer group ride gave me evidence that 60 miles was about the limit my bottom could take - e.g. some saddle sores.  So I ordered a new saddle/seat and new shorts that aren't >10 years old and we'll see if that makes a long distance difference.

It was just me and the partner.  We stopped at Little Oscar's on the way down for a caboose burger.  I once left a 200 dollar tip there by accident when Aeryn and I were headed down to tube and ride the Cannon Falls trail.  They didn't get quite that tip this time.  We stopped at the Dairy Inn in Cannon Falls on the way home.  Our food selection was not optimal at my age either for calories or salt.

Oscars Caboose by:

A last minute find was Four Daughters distillery and winery.  This is the rhubarb old fashioned.  Delish.  I also bought a bottle of their cherry smoked bourbon.  Great place, although I didn't have their food.  Their desserts looked great, but I'm sort of over brewery-ish pizza unless it's a Heggie's.
Four Daughters Rhubarb Old Fashioned by:

The AirBnB in Wykoff.  Yes, a jail. I stayed in a repurposed bank with Ming in Wisconsin.  That was nicer.  But this was fun.
Wykoff Jail Outside 2 by:

They leaned into their theme.
Wykoff Jail Up Close by:

Bars and all.  If you had kids along it might be more fun as there is a set of bunks inside the bars for the kids.
Wykoff Jail Jen by:

No oven, but I planned ahead and we did tortelli in the microwave and it was perfect.  Here are the bunks.  Note the jail theme that was also on the drapes and main bed.
Wykoff Jail Bunks by:

The next day we did breakfast locally, then went to the Forestville State Park Mystery Cave. I didn't realize it wasn't a public state park until after my high school years.  That's probably a sign I'm old.
Mystery Cave Old Sign by:

Mindy, our guide, did a great walk through. I thought they'd be dry as a bone, but they are very active.  She did say the stupid white fungus had decimated the local bats by like 95% or more.  We didn't see a single bat, and I remember when I was young, they were everywhere in the Soudan mines.
Mystery Cave View by:

The pool at the end of the tour.  I still don't quite understand how this finds a static equilibrium between drops from the ceiling, downward water pressure, and evaporation.  You'd think it would either overflow or go dry.  
Mystery Cave Pool by:

Mystery wife.
Mystery Cave Jen Dark by:

My camera added a night vision mode.  I don't particularly like the quality of photos, but it did find my wife in the dark.
Mystery Cave Jen Light by:

Poot looking up at the caves.  They tend to be pretty flat because of the layering/sediment.  That's Edwin next to her.  He's from Shreveport, an organist, and spends all of his summers anywhere BUT Shreveport because it's so hot.  Great guy.  We chatted with him from before the tour to afterwards.
Mystery Cave Jen and Edwin by:

We also went to Forestville, but the bridge is under repair, and most things were closed on a Monday.  So I ate Doritos and we walked about a mile through the old town.  I did manage to snap this wonderful photo of myself.
Forestville by:

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Reading March / April 2024

March and April reading, not including a 500 page unpublished novel, and a few dozen hours of online training, which I generally throw in there because it's definitely a trade off with reading.

The Eyes and the Impossible recommended by Sarah Morris. Kids' book, but absolutely wonderful. I'd recommend it for anyone.

Bookshops and Bonedust the prequel to Legends and Lattes. I liked Legends better, but it was a good read. I always tell people that, so far, Baldree is in that spirit of books around constructing family, not big antagonists. Becky Chambers is in that same vein imo. There IS an antagonist, but they're not the core of the book.

What Moves the Dead and What Feasts at Night. I read them in backwards order, but I strongly recommend. The first one [in proper order] reminded me very much of a different book, and then Kingfisher addressed that exact book in the afternotes.

The Daughter of Time. Considered to be one of the best historic mysteries written. Although I had to ask Christopher Crowhurst to try and clarify a bit of British 1950s habits for me. All about a laid up cop investigating the murders of the two princes in the tower by Richard III. The outcome made me laugh. Great book if you're a Tudor/Stuart history major like I was. Probably a much harder read if you're not as it can get convoluted was regards the royals and nobility.

Graphic Novels: The Good Asian and Stamped standout. Both of those were amazing. Stamps was a hard read. So dense with history and the impact of racism on black self-perception. If that's what they're outlawing in various states, they're doing students a disservice. That GN is good for the brain. The Good Asian was noir with a ton of history behind the story.

Amongst our Weapons - I've loved the Rivers of London series. I'm sad I'm catching up to "now" [Amongst was published in 2022].

Oathbringer - the Stormlight series is solid, although the women can be a little male attached despite clear efforts to make them not. There's a term for that that's associated with the Bechdel Test, the Mako Mori Test. A fun bit of literary criticism to know: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mako_Mori_test

I didn't address the Dan Ariely book, Misbelief. I'd skip it if I were you. More like a blog imo, where he's thinking out loud for a few hundred pages.


Regular Cadence:

Saturday, March 09, 2024

Key to the City: London

I am watching Rahdo's video Key to the City: London walkthrough, and the jerky camera action is making me sick to my stomach. At first I didn't realize why I wasn't feeling good. I briefly entertained, "Did Caribou give me tainted coffee?"

It's like The Blair Witch, but with London architecture [although The Blair Witch never made me nauseous like it did to many other people].

I paused and started the video twice and it got better. For Klund if he sees this, based on the bid/bluff/when-to-cut-and-run-for-benefit nature of this game, it's a lot more cutthroat than I expected for a touristy London game. It'll be a good game for after-hours Gameholecon gaming along the lines of Power Grid.

Sunday, February 25, 2024


I don't know how obvious it is from my posts, but in addition to being an obsessive board gamer, I am also a somewhat obsessive video gamer.  This isn't going back nearly far enough, but Playstation 2, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox, Steam [doh, forgot Wii, and others]....and, of course, simply downloading/buying and installing for, um....40 years?  Wow....that seems like a long time.

I downloaded this tonight. Rather than doing something fantasy or scifi based, Balatro took straight up poker hands and turned it into a level climber.  It's difficult to say "that's brilliant" because it really should have been done before.  But, damn....that's brilliant.

If you like poker, this is a FUN game.  

Reading January/February 2024

I'm publishing my reading list for January/February a bit early so I don't lose it down behind a lot of other posts.  I aimed for 40/50 pages a day, which is really 50/day almost to the page not including the two graphic novels.  Oops, images before the day-to-day list this time, but that's ok.  It'll mix it up a bit.

I did actually get some other reading done as well given I have a whole week before March, but the book I'm reading is over 1000 pages, so I'm not deluded into thinking I'll finish before end of month. I wrote a separate post on Witch King.  Avoid the Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror Volume 4.  Some excellent writers in the collection, but not their best work imo.  Sanderson's writing is enjoyable.  As I understand it, I have two books left in that series and the fifth one comes about November 2024?  I better read them more slowly.