Wednesday, August 05, 2020

I should be selling myself as a self-help expert?

I was watching the news this morning and one of the channels had a guy on who was an inspiration because he'd lost 45 pounds during Coronavirus work from home via a keto diet and exercise.  Apparently he was teaching others to be just like him and eat healthy and harness the ability to change during this time.  

I've lost roughly 42.5 in the same period.  No Keto.  I have a beer now and then, and even a little more often now that I do a beer swap with the new neighbor (although he takes beer off my hands, so maybe that's the secret), eat a lot of ice cream, numerous eggs, have some m&m's.  If anything, my most common meal is a large pancake with a whole chopped banana, berries, and a bunch of whip cream almost every morning.  Seriously.  I have a plastic freezer bag with a series of dates on it going back to 3/16/2020 which is when I started making sure I always had a week to a week and a half of pancakes in reserve.  If anything, my whip cream consumption is foiled by my niece who steals my whip cream and fresh strawberries about as fast as I can procure them.  I've learned to create a glut before she gets here.

I'd add that most of that weight was the first 4 months.  The last one has been a little slow.  Cutting a big chunk of weight means you burn less calories day to day, so my speed of loss has slowed down.  And I had a habit of a really long bike ride every third week or so that was foiled by some flats the last two times.  I also slowed down my running a bit after I managed to run a couple of 5ks in a week (I'd never run a 5k before period before that).  Seemed like I'd met  my goal, so I lost some motivation.  I ran on Sunday this week for 30 minutes and I can REALLY feel it, so I know a slacked off a bit and have to get back on the plan.  I wanted to be able to do a comfortable (6.25 mph) 5k.  I have made sure I baseline about 10,000 steps a day as well no matter what else I do. I walk to the grocery store or the other grocery store or Target or wherever I'm going.  And if I'm an idiot and forget my mask, well then I walk further than 10,000 steps because I simply walk back to get it.  For a while I was listening to podcasts, but my headphones died, and in the two weeks it took to get new ones I fell out of the habit.  I'll get back in that groove too.  Listening to music and jogging outside is far preferable to treadmill running, even if those 90+ degree days mean I wear out fast.

I think my point is, you don't have to do a keto diet, and what you're doing isn't necessarily going to work for others.  I'm happy for the guy.  45 pounds is a big accomplishment.  But for my part, I wouldn't consider that a mandate to explain to others on national television that what I do will work for you.  Most folks I know have to find their own motivation and own groove - if keto makes you unhappy, you're unlikely to stick to it and there's probably a semi-low calorie food option that makes you happy, reasonably full, and doesn't deprive you of vitamins.

And iterate.  If you find yourself in a rut, the biggest advice I have is mix it up a little and try something else. Don't shift the whole thing (per above, I stuck to 10,000 steps all the time), but mix up the exercise, the food, the destination, the music....lot of options to make things interesting (although I apologize if you're a woman and scared of exercising in the dusk/twilight/dark; that's a serious spanner in the works not to mention patently unfair on a variety of levels).

Wonder Woman, Challenge of the Amazons - Round II

Three players against Ares this time.  E almost had us play difficult.  If we had, that three point life total difference would have had us losing by a point.  Instead...we won with a single point to spare.  If the game had ended without defeating him, he'd have taken us down with his next turn.  He already had the points on the board.  We did learn that leaving a couple orange cubes lying around can become a big issue quickly because of how blockades kick in off the enemy cards sometimes.  And we didn't optimize, but the intersection of relics and individual Amazonian powers can make a huge difference (anything that lets Diana use her single movement during planning to hop across the board, for instance).

It was a lot more fun with three people.  Gave it quite a bit of additional discussion and divvying up and determining how to use card interactions and teaming up.


Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Postcards in the Coronavirus Days - Part I

During the Coronavirus era of work from home, I've started sending folks postcards.  Partially because:
  • people like to get handwritten items, even if they don't initially think they will,
  • I have a lot of stamps and no way to use them
  • the post office needs money and I need to use the stamps I have so I can buy more stamps
  • I bought a lot of Last Week Tonight stamps, and I need to use them because they're funny,
  • I have weird things to say to people I've known for a long time
  • there were a bunch of old postcards in several boxes from my childhood/teen years my folks left me.  On the order of 100 or so.  I don't want to keep them.  They should be someone else's problem.
Sent to Garm and Maggie: This is Elizabeth, married to Henry VII, and the female side of ending the War of the Roses.  I bought this when I was in London in like 1991.  Probably at the National Portrait Museum.


Sent to Greg J: Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife that was married to his brother Arthur (who died).  Probably also from the National Portrait Museum in 1991.


Sent to Julie L: the Wren Library at Cambridge, from a visit to Cambridge in 1991 (you know, it might have been 1990.  It was a long time ago).  I loved that campus.  One of my FOMOs was not going to school in Wales/UK when I had the chance and getting married instead.  Life works out, but I loved my visits to England.


Sent to Katie K: from a trip to Maine when I was in High School..  Probably to visit colleges with my family (I remember reading Red Storm Rising, so that was 1986..dang, that was only his second book).  I sent this letter from Tom Hardy (my apologies for the impersonation Tom, but it was for a good cause) informing Katie that because of CV I was jogging cross country to meet up with her.  Dirigo!

August 2020 Reading

  • 8/31/2020:
  • 8/30/2020:
  • 8/29/2020:
  • 8/28/2020:
  • 8/27/2020:
  • 8/26/2020:
  • 8/25/2020:
  • 8/24/2020:
  • 8/23/2020:
  • 8/22/2020:
  • 8/21/2020:
  • 8/20/2020:
  • 8/19/2020:
  • 8/18/2020:
  • 8/17/2020:
  • 8/16/2020:
  • 8/15/2020:
  • 8/14/2020:
  • 8/13/2020:
  • 8/12/2020:
  • 8/11/2020:
  • 8/10/2020:
  • 8/9/2020:
  • 8/8/2020:
  • 8/7/2020:
  • 8/6/2020:
  • 8/5/2020:
  • 8/4/2020: [7:47] The Best Travel Board Games by Actualol (Patreon)
  • 8/3/2020:
  • 8/2/2020:
  • 8/1/2020:

Monday, August 03, 2020

If I catch coronavirus...

If I catch coronavirus...I'm almost certain the vector is going to be the guy at Total Wine and Liquor today who couldn't wait the sixty seconds for me to finish my selection in the whisky aisle, but had to snuggle up a mere two inches from me so he could start gesticulating for someone to come get him the last bottle of some uber expensive scotch behind lock and key.  I like scotch, but I'm certain I could wait with the assurance no one was going to swoop in and scream "dibs!" in the whisky aisle.

I was nervous enough being in the liquor store.  That's a lot of tight aisles and no small amount of people and I need a few moments to peruse.  I could have preselected online, but I was looking for something made in the state that screamed "buy me!" as a gift.  Found what I wanted and got a bike ride in as part of the trip as well.  But I'm going to be annoyed if I get sick w/in that guy's exposure time frame.

Wonder woman, the Board Game

Whoa...post, right?  This last weekend, Poot and I played Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons, a cooperative board game by Ravensburger.  If you peruse my July reading list you'll see Boardgamegeek videos related to how to play and a full playthrough.  Although that second one has a bit of an error in that every time Ares moves, they're not dropping two orange cubes with him (Servants of War) if there are no Amazonians in his location to corrupt.  That makes a huge difference in the game as it leaves a few points of escalating damage all over the board and more options to get 5+ cubes in a location (which is a 3 point hit against your 20 "life").  The result:  so far against Ares, we've lost, and handily.  I do get the impression we might have an easier time of it with three players instead of two as it would bump up the card interaction, although also the draws for baddies.


There's a great step each round where you all plan together but, and they said this at the end of the video as well, it avoids the Pandemic-style solo game leader/dictator situation by then throwing the planned cards into your hand with some previously hidden cards that might be better than what you were planning.  And when that happens, you're free to simply try to play a better hand based on what you knew your teammates were up to.

There's that, and it's fast.  We finished up our first game in under an hour, even with being new to the game.  Took me longer to watch the playthrough.  And it feels even faster with the discussion portion being pretty spirited and interactive.  


It might have limited replay with three different villains and a couple of ways to escalate the difficulty, but I suspect they'll expand it at some point in the future.  If not, it's still a super easy game to teach a visitor.  You get to coop instead of playing against each other.  And it's a pleasant alternative to a  parallel game like Pandemic.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

July 2020 Reading

July 2020 Reading:


Monday, June 08, 2020

June 2020 Reading

June 2020 Reading:

Lot more video and podcasts and all sorts of media.  Bit crazy to be honest, but part of it is that I've been focusing on exercise since work from home started due to coronavirus and I find it a bit more difficult to slot in reading around my brain being tired.  I'm starting to track a little better, and there's no question I'm getting a lot of media in if you look at all the video and podcast content below.  I think I even missed some career-related reading I didn't bother to track.  Lot of doubles for days as well, so I'm stuffing in a lot.  Wish more of it was board game related.  Maybe that's a July goal.

Monday, May 18, 2020

May 2020 Reading

May Reading

Oof - killing a bunch of days here and just moving on to June.  To be fair, I read a LOT and watched a lot of presentations in May.  Soooo much stuff on tech (SVG, GQL, microservices, AI/ML, ad nauseam) and the protests in Minneapolis and more.  For anyone not tracking, this is the season of Coronavirus/Covid, Work from Home, and the protests in Minneapolis against the police.  It is a surreal "season" and aspects of my reading have suffered when it comes to concrete book format.  That said, June will be better.  I'm already reading The Oyster War, Final Cuts (short stories), Black Leopard Red Wolf, and Turn the Ship Around, plus some tech stuff.  I do need to get AWS This Week queued up better - it's always useful.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

March/April 2020 Reading


  • 4/30/2020: Food of the Gods by Cassandra Khaw - rolls up all four Rupert Wong books (the cannibal chef).  
  • 4/29/2020: Food of the Gods by Cassandra Khaw - rolls up all four Rupert Wong books (the cannibal chef).  
  • 4/28/2020: (actually read 5/7, playing a little catch up).  "Ahmaud Arbery Should Be Alive"  by Jamil Smith.  "Convicting his killers is the start. But the family of this modern lynching victim can’t have justice in a country with laws that protect white people who kill black people."
    • “Nothing that our legal system can do outpaces the efficiency of racism when it comes to delivering consequences.”
    • “Open-carry must be abolished. Stand-your-ground has to go. State codes that allow citizens to arrest people? Those are golden tickets for lynchings. They should be relics of an America that should embarrass us.”
  • 4/27/2020: "How to prepare for big data projects: 6 key elements of a successful strategy" - Techrepublic. 
    • A thorough understanding of present and future business questions the data is expected to yield answers for. 
    • Data centralization (...maybe)
    • ID data sources to feed central repository
    • ID future data sources
    • Defined data prep methodology – extract, transformed, loaded
  • Effective data prep tools
  • 4/26/2020: "On the Day You Spend Forever" by Adam R. Shannon.  The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
  • 4/25/2020: "Godmeat" by Maritn Cahill.  The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
  • 4/24/2020: "Skinned" by Lesley Nneka Arimah.  The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
  • 4/23/2020: "Dead Air" by Nino Cipri. The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
  • 4/22/2020: "Nine Last Days on Planet Earth" by Daryl Gregory. The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
  • 4/21/2020: "What Gentle Women Dare" by Kelly Robson The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
  • 4/20/2020: "STET" by Sarah Gailey: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
    • My least favorite so far....I get the angle around autonomous cars and the value of life, but didn't like it.
  • 4/19/2020: "Dead Lovers on Each Blade, Hung" by Usamn Malik: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
    • Extremely Cthulhuesque.  With snakes.
  • 4/18/2020: "When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis" by Annalee Newitz: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
    • Maybe my favorite so far...clever story about a small AI left on its own who bonds with a human and crows. Really embraces the centaur aspect of AI beyond just the human.
  • 4/17/2020: "The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington" by P. Djeli Clark: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
  • 4/16/2020: THEMATIC THREAD: RELIGION IN HORROR - Richard had a bit on The Wicker Man.  Check out  Blood on Satan's Claw and Witchfinder General.  Should be able to catch them on Shudder.
  • 4/15/2020: "The Kite Maker" by Brenda Peynado: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
    • A bit District 9.
  • 4/14/2020: " Sister Rosetta Thorpe and Memphis Minnie Sing the Stumps Down Good" by LaShawn M. Wanak: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
    • Weird, hisorical, and really, really good.
  • 4/13/2020: "Through the Flash" by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
    • Reminded me a LOT of the Heaven, Inc. story I wrote 20 years ago.
  • 4/12/2020: "Variations on a Theme from Turandot" by Ada Hoffman: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
  • 4/11/2020: "Hard Mary" by Sofia Samatar: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
    • Interesting dig into what makes an AI human....useful....part of a community.
  • 4/10/2020: "Six Hangings in the Land of Unkillable Women" by Theodore McCombs: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
    • Particularly original
  • 4/9/2020: "Poor Unfortunate Fools" by Silvia Park : The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
    • Very little mermaid driven with a touch of The Newts.
  • 4/8/2020: "The Storyteller's Replacement" by N.K. Jemisin: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
  • 4/7/2020: "What Everyone Knows" by Seanan McGuire: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor 
  • 4/6/2020: "Pitcher Plant" by Adam-Troy Casto: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2019 (The Best American Series ®) - Carmen Maria Machado, Editor
  • 4/5/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Methods and Functions (2 hours and 2 minutes)
  • 4/4/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Methods and Functions (2 hours and 2 minutes)
  • 4/3/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Methods and Functions (2 hours and 2 minutes)
  • 4/2/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Methods and Functions (2 hours and 2 minutes)
  • 4/1/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Python Statements (1 hour 15 minutes)
  • 3/31/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Python Statements (1 hour 15 minutes)
  • 3/30/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Python Comparison Operators (9 minutes)
  • 3/29/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Python Object and Data Structure Basics (2 hours 2 minutes)
  • 3/28/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Python Object and Data Structure Basics (2 hours 2 minutes)
  • 3/27/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Python Object and Data Structure Basics (2 hours 2 minutes)
  • 3/26/2020:  Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Python Object and Data Structure Basics (2 hours 2 minutes)
  • 3/25/2020: Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Python Setup (40 minutes)
  • 3/24/2020: Udemy.  Complete Python Bootcamp: Go from Zero to Hero in Python 3 - Course Overview (15 minutes)
  • 3/23/2020: The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal (Good Mythical Morning) - enjoyable  A bit on the YA side with a weird ending, but the reading of it was enjoyable.  A bit of a scooby doo vibe (which they reference in the book).
  • 3/22/2020: The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal (Good Mythical Morning)
  • 3/21/2020: The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal (Good Mythical Morning)
  • 3/20/2020: The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal (Good Mythical Morning)
  • 3/19/2020: The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal (Good Mythical Morning)
  • 3/18/2020: The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal (Good Mythical Morning)
  • 3/17/2020: The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi (book 3 of the Jean LeFlambeur series) - loved this series.  Recommended by Dave.  The science fiction is deep hard scifi, almost to the extent you have to reread parts of it to understand what you just read.  But overall I loved it - very different.
  • 3/16/2020: The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi (book 3 of the Jean LeFlambeur series)
  • 3/15/2020: The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi (book 3 of the Jean LeFlambeur series)
  • 3/14/2020: The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi (book 3 of the Jean LeFlambeur series)
  • 3/13/2020: The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi (book 3 of the Jean LeFlambeur series)
  • 3/12/2020: The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi (book 3 of the Jean LeFlambeur series)
  • 3/11/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey - my apologies to Mr. Tobey but I hated it.  I read the whole thing, but the self interest and how it moved situationally for characters made me sort of dislike every single one of them.  And the AI didn't seem very smart or God-ish at all.
  • 3/10/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey
  • 3/9/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey
  • 3/8/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey
  • 3/7/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey
  • 3/6/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey
  • 3/5/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey
  • 3/4/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey
  • 3/3/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey
  • 3/2/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey
  • 3/1/2020: The God Game by Danny Tobey

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Bassoon

E played her bassoon at the band fund raiser yesterday.  Lot of cool performances.  This isn't the actual graded competition, but that's coming soon.



And a video...because it's better with actual bassoon...
Eryn Bassoon

The World, The Flesh, and the Devil (1959)

Last night Kyle and I went to Lawless Distilling for some drinks (I had the Sargasso Sea, the pink gin shot, and the Cuban gin and tonic highball.  I tried to get Pooteewheet a 375 ml of pink gin, but they were out.  He offered me a cinnamon gin as an alternative. If you know Pooteewheet, that means what was intended as a present becomes a punishment.  So not a viable alternative).  It was really busy.  A very different experience than when I was there almost all by myself while E was doing Cardboard Camp planning and fun days over at the Ivy building.

This is Kyle with his super fancy coconut drink.  He said it was pretty good despite having to drink out of what looked like a penis coming out of a boob.  My Sargasso was delicious.  I'd definitely drink that again.  And the leftover crushed ice on top of square cubes made a perfect glass for a chaser of cold water.


Afterwards we went to The World, The Flesh, and the Devil (1959) at the Trylon.  It starred Mel Ferrer, Harry Belefonte, and Inger Stevens.  And them alone.  That was the total cast.  The plot...some sort of radioactive incident/cloud disintegrates everyone on the planet.  Except: Harry Belefonte who was trapped in a mine in PA.  Inger, who was in an immersion tank and came out a day later than her friends.  And Ferrer, who was alone at sea in just the right location.  The thought experiment, it's more an idea than a plot, is that in a world devoid of people, do racial politics reassert themselves?  Spoiler: they do.  And...can they be overcome?  Spoiler: they can.  Everyone can live together in a happy Morman-polygamist dream at the end. 

Here's the original New York Times review.  Pretty cool you can find this on line: https://www.nytimes.com/1959/05/21/archives/screen-radioactive-city-the-world-the-flesh-and-the-devil-opens.html?fbclid=IwAR1PatrMM012IR01BYR6UC6RS2fbw_Ft5KI4AtUBqPoS8hoIC0xgijRTKVk

The film's title is based on Ephesians 2:2: (NIV): "You once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh”.  I'm still trying to sync that to the movie.  The flesh....yes.  The world...sure.  The devil?  I think they're referring to racial politics and prejudices as the devil in this case. 

I looked up some of the details about the movie. Per Wikipedia, Inger Stevens, the lead actress: "After her death, Ike Jones, the first African-American to graduate from UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television, claimed[16] that he had been secretly married to Stevens since 1961. Some doubted this due to the lack of a marriage license, the maintaining of separate homes and the filing of tax documents as single people.[17] However, at the time Stevens' estate was being settled, the actress's brother, Carl O. Stensland, confirmed in court that his sister had hidden her marriage to Jones "out of fear for her career".[18] Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner A. Edward Nichols ruled in Ike Jones's favor[19] and made him administrator of her estate.[20][21] A photo exists of the two attending a banquet together in 1968.[5] Her website also states that the marriage to Jones took place in Tijuana, Mexico."

She had an interesting life from a narrowly-missed-that perspective (NYT obit): "Bad luck always plagued her, Miss Stevens said. She col lapsed, along with 11 others filming “Cry Terror” in the Hudson Tubes, suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Her jaw was dislocated while film ing a “Zane Grey Theater” TV show. In 1959, after a depress ing New Year's Eve party, she attempted suicide. And in 1961, she was the last passenger to leave a jet that crashed on landing at Libson and exploded half‐minute after her exit."  In the end, it wasn't that narrowly missed as she died of what seemed to be a barbiturate suicide.  She seems like she had such a wild life (burlesque, married to Ike), but couldn't synthesize something positive out of her accomplishments.

I wanted to capture what my friend's mother, Pat, said about the movie so I don't lose it: "One of the first "adult themed" movies I was allowed to see( at age 17).  I was amazed and awed. I couldn't believe it, having lived in small towns my whole life, and loving science fiction, that the books I had read were all so bland- I guess the library was good at censoring for teens. It is hard for people today to understand how protected and watched some of us were, especially girls. When raised by parents like mine , I remember getted grounded for two weeks for saying the word "pregnant" instead of "expecting" or "in a family way".  I thought the movie was amazing in its feeling of desolation and I was actually stunned at the interaction of the 3 people, and at the positive ending. Two years later I was having screaming fightswith my parents about not being able to go south with the freedom riders,and about sex before marriage (college will do that to a kid!)"

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Twelfth Night

Last night Pooteewheet and I went to Twelfth Night at the Guthrie.  Her parents were out of town and gifted us their tickets.  I strongly recommend the play.  The cast was great.  The set was exceptional and they used a mixture of raised metal rigging, hanging items (like a swing), slatted wood platforms, and water.  All those differences in material meant that when they were moving there were different noises going on so the usual silences in a Shakespeare production were hurried along by constant noise.  Parts of it were put to song as well, further keeping the pace brisk.

Acting direction was exceptional, and they did an amazing amount of characterization and interpretation of the lines using body language.  Twelfth is one of my favorite plays and they certainly did it justice.  It's been a long time since I was at an "upscale" theater in Minneapolis (well, outside touring plays like Waitress and Six (the musical) and it was a real treat what they can do with a lot of money and talent behind a classic.


Touching Things

I was off work for three days with some sort of illness.  Longer if you consider I had a sore throat starting Friday afternoon when I was working from home and really only came back to the office today.  Plenty of working from home during that time, even extra, but at least Monday I could barely see the computer at some points my sinuses, eyes, and lungs were leaking so much.

Today that gave me some pause while I was thinking about being contagious.  I'm fairly certain I'm fine given usual contagion rules, and it's not a baddy, because I haven't gone anywhere.  But I thought about what I might touch that could transmit germs.  My first meeting of the morning was standup.  I touched:

  • the outside door handle to the room.
  • the inside door handle to the room
  • the light switch
  • the cord to the computer from the t.v.
  • the dongle to the computer from the t.v.
  • the tv remote
  • the phone and almost every single number on the keypad
  • my pen
  • a notepad
  • my computer
  • my mouse
  • a white board marker
  • a white board rag
  • a bottle of white board cleaner
  • the hand sanitizer
No wonder the world is generally doomed when there's a risk of pandemic.

Friday, February 07, 2020

February 2020 Reading


And...a whole bunch of online training in Machine Learning.

  • 2/29/2020: Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  • 2/28/2020: Kindred: A Graphic Novel Interpretation by Octavia E. Butler
  • 2/27/2020: Parable of the Talents (Earthseed 2) by Octavia E. Butler
  • 2/26/2020: Parable of the Talents (Earthseed 2) by Octavia E. Butler
  • 2/25/2020: Parable of the Talents (Earthseed 2) by Octavia E. Butler
  • 2/24/2020: Parable of the Talents (Earthseed 2) by Octavia E. Butler
  • 2/23/2020: Stuff Every Sushi Lover Should Know (Stuff You Should Know) by Marc Luber and Brett Cohen


  • 2/22/2020: Stuff Every Sushi Lover Should Know (Stuff You Should Know) by Marc Luber and Brett Cohen
  • 2/21/2020: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
  • 2/20/2020: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
  • 2/19/2020: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
  • 2/18/2020: The Fractal Prince (Jean le Flambeur Book 2) by Hannu Rajaniemi


  • 2/17/2020: The Fractal Prince (Jean le Flambeur Book 2) by Hannu Rajaniemi
  • 2/16/2020: The Fractal Prince (Jean le Flambeur Book 2) by Hannu Rajaniemi
  • 2/15/2020: The Fractal Prince (Jean le Flambeur Book 2) by Hannu Rajaniemi
  • 2/14/2020: The Fractal Prince (Jean le Flambeur Book 2) by Hannu Rajaniemi
  • 2/13/2020: The Fractal Prince (Jean le Flambeur Book 2) by Hannu Rajaniemi



  • 2/12/2020: Go East, Old Man: A Father, A Son, and a Coast-to-Coast Bicycle Trip by Buzz Joseph
  • 2/11/2020: Go East, Old Man: A Father, A Son, and a Coast-to-Coast Bicycle Trip by Buzz Joseph
  • 2/10/2020: Go East, Old Man: A Father, A Son, and a Coast-to-Coast Bicycle Trip by Buzz Joseph
  • 2/9/2020: Parable of the Sower: A powerful tale of a dark and dystopian future by Octavia Butler
  • 2/8/2020: Parable of the Sower: A powerful tale of a dark and dystopian future by Octavia Butler
  • 2/7/2020: Parable of the Sower: A powerful tale of a dark and dystopian future by Octavia Butler



  • 2/6/2020: Parable of the Sower: A powerful tale of a dark and dystopian future by Octavia Butler
  • 2/5/2020: Parable of the Sower: A powerful tale of a dark and dystopian future by Octavia Butler
  • 2/4/2020: Parable of the Sower: A powerful tale of a dark and dystopian future by Octavia Butler
  • 2/3/2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TssB-ZTtlys – [19:50] Shut Up and Sit Down, Undaunted
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsJqZt9439E – [24:37] Geographics, Clipperton Island: Mexico’s Forgtotten Murder Colony 


  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxnWi8SVRfI – [19:15] Watch it Played, Undaunted 
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_8lT_5yliQ – [1:42:58] Heavy Cardboard, Undanted Normandy 2p 
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMg11ndTUlo – [32:36] Harsh Rules: Let’s Learn to Play – Fortress America
  • 2/2/2020: The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President: How new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election - The Atlantic



  • Censorship through noise.
  • 2/1/2020: An algorithm that can spot cause and effect could supercharge medical AI - MIT
  • Sunday, January 19, 2020

    Code Freeze 2020 - Observabillity

    Sorry for the loose nature of the notes rather than a good writeup, but I wanted to get things collated so I can work with them.  Good conference.  I ate at Al's for breakfast and Hong Kong Noodles for lunch.  And I realized I take the green line over to the U of MN for lunch anytime I'm downtown at work, which didn't occur to me these last six months.  If I had my bicycle, it's even a short ride that way across the campus bridge.  I need to get my urban on.  Not as much practical knowledge at this one (for me) as some of the past events, but that means I can focus on the few things I think have practical value rather than being all over the place.

    Observability and the Glorious Future - Charity Majors (Honeycomb.io)

    • O'Reilly Database Reliability Engineering (November 2017: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920039761.do)
    • How often do you deploy.  How long, how often do you fail, recovery time - the basics.
    • Hires for communication skills (initial tech interview is to get them talking at the in person).  "Empowered to do their jobs". 
    •  "How do I know if it breaks?" - all changes, all features
    • "Serverless was a harbinger.  Deployless is coming."
    • Developers (senior+) should amplify the hidden costs.
    • Team happiness = customer happiness (Steve says this too)

    Observability in Big Analytics - Bonnie Holub, Teradata

    50 Years of Observability - Mary Poppendieck

    • What is the equivalent of metal fatigue in software?  Operator fatigue. >> e.g. what Steve pushes that a focus on PIs is important.
    • Talked planes, bridges, three mile island
    • She likes the Control series by Brian out on Youtube....they're deep: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq0imsn84ShAe9PBOFnoIrg
    • Observable - all critical states known from system outputs
    • Observable is at war with complexity.
    • Controllable activator - sensor can get back to a set state in a set time.
    • If it's not observable, can it be totally controlled? (no)
    • Fault Tolerance: replication and isolation.
    • Responsibility (and understanding the big picture) leads to desire for observability (and isolation/duplication). >> PLEX team at VP is a form of big picture.

    What's Happening in Your Production Data and ML Systems  - Don Sawyer, PhData

    • Most practical of the lectures.
    • Focus on decoupled systems: Data warehouse, ML Models.
    • Talked Provenance as both origin and change over time.
    • Timestamp everything UTC (use Google Time API as an example to change it during compute).
    • Focus on: audit trails, data quality, repeatability, added info (pipeline).
    • Metadata payload.  PROCESS: id/version, start/end, transformations, inputs, configuraitons, DATA VERSIONS: traces of issues, data change history, defect data, LINEAGE: sources, frequencuu of read.
    • Last point was a little messy (from me) but you want to trace right down to the node data touched in transit so you can hydrate anything from the last known good state.
    • NOT ALL DATA RECORDS require granular povenance.  Can be expensive (so much data).  Use a flexible or generic schema.  Don't use S3 (slow).  Storage considerations.
    • Storage: 1.) attach info to the record (can get big, note that Avro and Parquet are meant to do this), 2 send a separate event message - separate provenance API, 3.) only track some.  Note that for API approaches you may end up going down a rabbit hole of tracking the tracking api.
    • Alternatives: Amundsen (Lyft), Marques (WeWork), DataBook (Uber), DataHub (LinkedIn)
    • Look at Apache Nifi (there's a pluralsight class)

    Evolving Chaos Engineering - Casey Rosenthal, Verica

    • Ships, shoes, fruit (apricots), helium mining.  He's a very funny guy.
    • LOOK FOR  A VIDEO to watch with the teamhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfT9UxcEcOE
    • Principlesofchaos.org
    • Reversibility: blue/green, feature flags, ci/cd, agile to waterfall.
    • Moved responsibility away from the people who do the work (hierarchy)
    • Myths:
    • 1. remove the people causing the accidents.
    • 2. document best practices and use runbooks.  (most interesting problems are unique)
    • 3. defend against prior root causes, aka defense in depth.  Root cause analysis: "at best, you are wasting your time."  Was our sponsor audience issue an example?  The answer was in part to restrict audience size.  But the dig highlighted system no longer supports system-wide features after growth, high processing cost of feature, inability to test with all users, etc.
    • 4. enforce procedures
    • 5. avoid risk
    • 6. simplify
    • 7. add redundancy
    • Do NOT eliminate complexity.  Navigate it.  CI, CD, CV - continuous verification (here's a link to a CV article:  https://thenewstack.io/continuous-verification-the-missing-link-to-fully-automate-your-pipeline/).  That's New Relic for us.
    • Has two books: Chaos Engineering and Learning Chaos Engineering.  First book comes out June 2020.

    Monday, January 13, 2020

    January 2020 Reading

    Sunday, December 22, 2019

    2019 British Arrow Awards

    We've been going to the Arrow Awards for a long time. I won my first tickets in a drawing at TR and when they got more popular with the younger crowd (I assume that's what happened when I quit winning tickets after about three-four years), we switched to buying them.  We generally make it an anniversary event (26 years this year) with dinner.  This year was my first anniversary working downtown, so I met them at Christo's.  We should have given ourselves a bit more time.  It was pretty rushed to get through dinner and over to the Walker.  I had the added gift of taking the Route 18 down Nicollet.  That's the route I took 30 years ago when I was working at Third District Nurses.  Back then, I expertly avoided working during rush hour traffic.  So after a quarter century, it finally caught up to me.  It was PACKED.  I offer this anecdote:
    I took the 18 down Nicollet to meet my family for dinner. The bus was a sardine can. One more person tried to get on and was turned away. There was a pause and then a guy near me said, "What? No. The bus is like county lockup. There's always room for one more."
    The Amazon commercials were funny, both the Alex voice variants and the variants where individuals watching binge-able shows began to exhibit the characteristics of the main characters.  The Old Spice ones were funny.  The Rang-Tan in my bedroom one explains a piece of paper I saw when we went to a very strange movie at the Trylon: The Final Level: Escaping Rancala".


    And Viva La Vulva is an experience.

    BBC One's spend time with your kids one had me thinking they'd go Doctor Who somewhere during the play.  And I'd Rather Get Paid by Secret about equal wages was very well done.

    Tuesday, December 03, 2019

    December 2019 Reading

    December reading...
    • 12/31/2019: Dead Astronauts - Jeff VanderMeer
    • 12/30/2019: Dead Astronauts - Jeff VanderMeer
    • 12/29/2019: Dead Astronauts - Jeff VanderMeer
    • 12/28/2019: Dead Astronauts - Jeff VanderMeer
    • 12/27/2019: Dead Astronauts - Jeff VanderMeer
    • 12/26/2019: Dead Astronauts - Jeff VanderMeer
    • 12/11/2019 - 12/25/2019: "I Remember Nothing" - Anne Billson, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 11 (2019) ed. by Ellen Datlow  and all the following.  Ellen's recommendation in this volume is what got me to read Rutger's The Anomaly last month which I really enjoyed.  I ordered one or two other of her recommendations as well, although my current queue is like 20 books lone.
      • Monkeys on the Beach by Ralph Robert Moore
      • Painted Wolves by Ray Cluley
      • Shit Happens   by Michael Marshall Smith
        • I enjoyed this one - I get along with his writing style.
      • You Know How the Story Goes by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
      • Back Along the Old Track by Sam Hicks
      • Masks by Peter Sutton
      • The Donner Party by Dale Bailey
        • Interesting alt history, although I intuited the ending far in advance.
      • Milkteeth  by Kristi DeMeester
      • Haak by John Langan
        • Maybe my favorite.  Peter Pan alternative.  Genuinely Cthulhu lore style.
      • Thin Cold Hands by Gemma Files
      • A Tiny Mirror by Eloise C. C. Shepherd
      • I Love You Mary-Grace by Amelia Mangan
      • The Jaws of Ouroboros by Steve Toase
        • More scifi than horror in my opinion, but scary scifi, I'll give it that.
      • A Brief Moment of Rage by Bill Davidson
      • Golden Sun  by Kristi DeMeester, Richard Thomas, Damien Angelica Walters, and Michael Wehunt
      • White Mare by Thana Niveau
      • Girls Without Their Faces On by Laird Barron
      • Thumbsucker  by Robert Shearman
      • You Are Released by Joe Hill
        • End of the world tale.  More realism than horror story.
      • Red Rain  by Adam-Troy Castro
      • Split Chain Stitch by Steve Toase
      • No Exit by Orrin Grey
      • Haunt  by Siobhan Carroll
      • Sleep  by Carly Holmes
    • 12/10/2019: Challenging SQL on Hadoop Performance with Apache Druid
    • 12/9/2019: Basic Druid documentation
    • 12/8/2019: Accessing data using Apache Druid (Hortonworks)
    • 12/7/2019: Introduction to TWO approaches of content-based Recommendation System - not my favorite ML breakdown
    • 12/6/2019: Druid: A Real-time Analytical Data Store - a more technical paper about time series and Druid.
    • 12/5/2019: An Introduction to Event Data Modeling
      • Read a LOT more from Snowplow besides this article.  A lot.  So much.  We've been talking event tracking and streaming, so I was interested in their details.
    • 12/4/2019: Why We Don't See Many Public GraphQL APIs
    • 12/3/2019: A Beginner's Guide to the OKR Framework - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/beginners-guide-okr-framework-ragavendran-madhusudanan/
      • OKR = Objectives and Key Results
      • Company, team, and personal >> line of sight (in my old org)
      • Not the how, the goal.
      • Objectives: "ambitious, qualitative, time bound and actionable "
      • Key results: numeric-based expressions of success or progress towards an objective.  No more than 4 per objective.
      • My concerns...these are experiments.  And the boldest changes are true experiments with concrete demos in front of real customers.  See the Sprint book >> you might not know what you're going to produce until you dig in (so maybe the goal is to dig in before the quarter starts).
      • Business specific.  Ambitious.  Less is more.  Not a task list.  Public.  Grade them mid-term.  Grade between 0 and 100 (0 and 1).  .6 to .7 is success! (woo, we are C to D students!)
      • Cascading OKRs.  (line of sight)
    • 12/2/2019: The Root Causes of Product Failure by Marty Cagan at Mind the Product San Francisco [49:14] - Ofeliya had me watch this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dccd8lihpQ
    • 12/1/2019: