Some things on this site:
Big release at work this week; it all went well, and our application is much more accessible now, so it feels pretty good! Remember if you ever need an on demand video or text consultation with a veterinarian, Connect With a Vet!
Three only slightly related thoughts, that mean something to me because I used to write technical instruction manuals for a living.
It’s October. The wife and I had Friday off, and thought maybe we’d get lunch in Salem. We didn’t really think October 1st, a full 30 days away from Halloween would be an issue, but people take October being spooky season seriously. Instead we ate lunch in town, which is another town that used to be part of Danvers, which is where the “Salem” Witch Trials took place, but don’t tell the tourists that.
Before attempting lunch on Friday I went out for a bike ride. One of my favorite things when mountain biking is unintentionally sneaking up on wildlife, slipping through the trees quickly and quietly enough that they don’t notice you until you’re close, and then they jump and run off. Happened with a few deer, but the treat was a Pileated woodpecker jumping off a tree and flying in front of me for a few hundred feet.
Related, an article I read this week about the Ivory-billed woodpecker being declared extinct. As a kid I had a t-shirt that was treated so that when it was cool the silhouettes of dozens of animals were on it, and when it got hot, they disappeared. This wasn’t even a commentary on global warming, it was just — hey, stop tearing down the places these animals live. But, they’re probably all gone now.
By some estimates, populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish have declined by almost 70 percent on average since 1970. It’s the reason you tend to see fewer bugs on your windshield when driving cross-country and hear less birdsong when hiking through the forest.
Also how many animals died to make a t-shirt treated with some heat sensitive chemical. I am not a biozoologist but I want to say the Earth having almost 70% fewer types of things living on it is bad.
There’s just so much crap being offered for sale or rent today — so much that we’re expected to spend money on and like even though it’s incompetently or carelessly made.
I take back that everything is crap, but the paradox of choice only serves to make me think that, by default, something is crap unless proven otherwise.
If you follow me on RSS (or, simply look at the post below this one), you might have seen some odd things pop up. For a while I’ve wanted to be able to post to here “like Twitter”, i.e. from my phone and as easily as possible. The entire site is driven from Markdown files in Git, so I hooked up a Netlify function to take in a JSON POST body and send the picture to an S3 bucket and the content to Github as a new commit on
main, and an iOS Shortcut to export a photo from Photos and allow me to append some text to it. And it works! Mostly! I don’t delete my mistakes, so if you click on “permalink” on the post below it, uh, goes nowhere. Once it goes somewhere I’ll write up some details on how it works.
I upgraded all of my iDevices to iOS15 (or… whatever their equivalents are called. tvOS/HomeOS something-point-oh). A few quick notes:
Beyond those gripes, there’s a ton of low level quality of life improvements. The new maps font is nice. Widgets on the iPad are great (although I wonder why it took an extra release to get them), and the redesigned multitasking UI makes it much more usable. The UI team working on the Weather app is amazing.
I put a trailer hitch on our Forester on Saturday. I wanted a hitch mount rack for the new bike - it’s way too long and heavy for me to easily get on and off the roof rack, but that necessitated having a hitch to put the hitch rack on first. I decided to do it myself because sometimes I enjoy working on cars, and I found a version of the install that that involved no drilling, only wrenching. Some thoughts:
I’ve given up on Stop and Shop. I go there because it’s close, and during the pandemic they had lots of self checkout lanes so you could get in and out pretty quick. But now they’ve done something to the self checkout lanes that basically goes like this:
It’s… it’s the bag. Why would I put something in the bagging area and not put it in a bag? I don’t know what shit update they pushed recently that made this start happening but the only solution is to either pile everything into the 2’x1’ bagging area and bag it at the end, or get someone to wave their card at the machine every time you add a new bag.
And before you’re like “well it’s Stop and Shop, what do you expect” let me tell you the developers who made that change and the ones who write car automation software differ only in ambition, not intelligence.
At some point I’m going to write something about how being a Tech Director for 6 months has gone. It’s gone well so maybe I should just leave it at that and save the rest of the psychopath’s playground (LinkedIn).
With Safari 15 supporting browser chrome colors, I thought I’d throw a fresh coat of paint on the site. I made dark mode work again as well, although I think there are some pieces missing. If only I’d made a styleguide for the site instead of throwing everything together as I thought of it.Permalink
This week, summed up in two short scenes with my daughter.
Scene: Local restaurant, on the outdoor patio. A rare family dinner outside the house because the grandparents were visiting before they set off on a cross-country train ride.
👨: What do you want to eat here?
👧: Hot dog!
👨: Are hot dogs on the menu?
👧: I dunno?
👨: Read the menu and see if you can find hot dogs.
👧: I can’t read!
👨: Yes you can, look at the menu and pick out something.
👧: Pizza! Ice cream! Waffles!
Later, outside after dusk. My father and daughter are talking about stars in the sky.
👧: Can I see your phone, I want to know what star that is.
👨: Opens Sky Guide, hands over phone.
👧: Oh, it’s Jupiter.
👨: How do you know?
👧: Points at screen. Ju-pi-ter. It says Jupiter.
👨: Picks up daughter by shoulders, turns her 45 degrees.
👨: What about that one over there?
👨: So you... can read?
Scene: at Stage Fort Park, down on the “boardwalk” looking at the ocean.
Blarg. That’s my high level recap of the week. Nothing bad happened, just a lot of blarg. I think it’s a bit of recovering from the whiplash of going from “school is about to start” to “September is almost half over”.
So far the reports from Lorelei about First grade have been more about her friends and what she does during the day than her Kindergarten reports, which were mostly about what they had for lunch and how she didn’t get lost at any point during the day. It’s nice that we’ve gone from like, hardened Mafia crime boss who won’t say a thing to low level goon looking to maybe give us enough to let them go.
Recently I’ve had a semi-regular “gaming night”, and I was thinking the other day it’s a continuation of “semi-active, semi-social nights” I’ve had in the past. For a long time I was in a bowling league (one in Connecticut, one in Boston), and after / concurrently with that I played in a co-ed softball league. There’s a lot of similarity, you want something that requires some (but not too much) skill, has a few breaks to catch up with the people you’re playing with, and (this part might be crucial) isn’t impeded if you chose to drink alcohol the entire time you’re doing it.
Every once in a while I think “I miss playing softball”, but tonight I took Lorelei to a local park and was watching a game being played on a nearby field, and saw someone slap a line-drive at the second baseman off a carbon fiber bat and I immediately went to “oh no I don’t miss that”. Bowling, on the other hand, I occasionally look at what it would take to open my own lane.
Took the bike out this weekend and on the way back someone felt the need to yell, “HEY MAN NICE BIKE” at me from his truck. This is not the first time this has happened, and I don’t understand why! That said, two hours in the woods was a pretty good way to beat the blargs.
Started another school year. We’re doing in person this year, and Lorelei (and we) are much happier about that. The town didn’t have open arguments about mask usage, and the kids don’t seem to mind wearing them, and most of the parents seem reasonable around here, outside of some S-tier dumb-assess who showed up to the meet-and-greet day wearing AR-15 apparel1.
If you think of everything in seasons, this Fall feels more optimistic than last Fall. Less “this isn’t what I wanted” and more “this isn’t what I expected” which is par for the course of life.
I’ve been biking nearly as long as I’ve been walking, and mountain biking only a bit less than that, but for the last few years I’ve been without a mountain bike. The last one I had was a Santa Cruz Nickel frame that I had slapped hand me down parts on, which was a nice enough bike, but it went into storage for a while and when it came out I realized a lot of those parts needed to be replaced, and if I was going to do that, wouldn’t it make more sense to buy something newer with bigger wheels? Sure. So I sold it, and then put off finding its replacement thinking, well, there’s house projects that need funding, and how often do I really have time with a kid, and all other excuses. I finally decided to look at getting a new bike in 2020 but… they all quickly disappeared. This Summer I finally said I’m going to find something and kept tabs open at all the local shops and online, and found this 2021 Tallboy on evo that’s likely a hold over shipment from last years orders. I’ve been out on two rides, and it’s a lot like the Nickel but with bigger wheels, so in the end I got what I wanted. I will add, mountain biking has gotten harder in the last 4 or 5 years that I’ve been away from it. Like, the mountains 2 got bigger, or all the rain this year really washed out a lot more roots. It’s definitely not me being older or more out of shape.
Finished A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet. Years of Catholic schooling has left me a fan of ominous, religious literary fiction. This book mixes a few themes: the failings of the generations who came before us, global warming and the changing climate, the separation (or lack thereof) between religion and science. It doesn’t pull them altogether in one driving plot action, but neither does the Bible, so I think that’s the point.
I mentioned last week I re-did my reading list page to pull from the Notion API. I just realized that while it works wonderfully on localhost, the images don’t actually show up here. Something to add to the todo list.