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Lorelei turned seven this week. We had a party today, with a princess / fairy theme. We did a pile of yard work on Friday to finish off projects in the back yard, then woke up to clouds. Luckily it burned off by the time the kids got here, and they got to play outside for a bit. None of them mentioned the work we did, although I suppose they would have noticed if it was all a big dirt pile still (and, maybe enjoyed it more).
I look forward to a time in the future when I can tell Lorelei how she spent most of first grade pretending to be a cat. All of her friends seem to accept her catness — they all came with cat-themed gifts, and there was a game they played called “pet the cat” where Lorelei got to pretend to be a cat. The parents lamented that none of their kids ever tell them what goes on at school except in bits and pieces, but we pieced together that this is a game that gets played often at recess.
We also picked up an instax Link wide so we could send real pictures of the party home with the kids. This is Lorelei testing it out the day before:
I’ve wrote before about how much I enjoy the instax formats. The wide format is even better, and the printer, which allows you to use your much better camera phone as the source, makes it better x2.
Since yet another Easter has passed and Covid still isn’t over, it was, of course, a topic of discussion. The kids at the party are all in the same class, so the risk of one party is the same as the risk every single other day. Among the parents it was more a sense of resignation: we’re going out, we’re going to work, what else would we do. We want to start talking about “the pandemic” in past tense. Can we? I’m not sure it’s up to us. May of 2022 isn’t the same as May of 2020, but it’s not the same as May of 2019, either, but I guess that’s how life goes.Permalink
Our trips in the past few years have been there-and-back affairs, due to the complications of figuring out COVID hours/openings, the fickle nature of New England nature, and wanting some amount of post-travel pre-work time to relax. But the end of last week we were in Connecticut, Andrea wanted to go to a used book store, and none of the aforementioned issues were issues, so I suggested we go to the Niantic Book Barn, which met everyone’s requests:
Andrea found a pile of romance novels:
I just bought a crap ton of paperback romances and romantica dating from the 1930s to early 2000s. Check out my Instagram stories where I’m sharing pics (and commentary of course)!https://t.co/S578iWQU7P pic.twitter.com/TzqdudeynW— Shelf Love: Romantic Love Stories in Pop Culture (@ShelfLovePod) April 23, 2022
Lorelei and I found the cats. Credit to her sixth sense for finding the two under couch.
I wouldn’t recommend going far out of the way to stop there, but if you’re by the Connecticut shoreline already it’s a fun stop. You won’t find a lot of good books unless you snipe one that just got sorted or you pull it straight from the newly arrived section. The stuff that accumulates… well, let’s say they had three entire shelves of L. Ron Hubbard.
As for me, I walked out with one, one dollar book. I think it was a steal.Permalink
We went to the Boston Museum of Science today. I have fond memories of it from when I was a kid, although growing up in Connecticut it was a rare treat, so far away in the big city of Boston.
This time I was not terribly impressed. Neither was Lorelei. I was thinking about why, on the way home, and I think it’s:
But today a hall of dead (or are they fake? Probably dead) animals isn’t really a draw. A dinosaur skeleton is (if it’s real). A cool physical or interactive exhibit is. The 4D movie theatre was a hit.
But still, we had fun, even though Lorelei pretended she did not when we chose to not eat at the food court there.
I will say if you’re not from Boston and thinking of going, going on a holiday is great. For reasons I cannot explain after living in the area for twenty years, Boston on a holiday is always empty. I have no idea where people go. On the drive in there was not only no traffic, there were parts of the highway where there were no other cars. That maxes out the happiness meter for me.Permalink
I finished The Three-Body Problem this morning. I’ve been reading it in stops and starts, I found many parts too tell-not-show for my tastes. It’s an interesting sci-fi plot with a graduate-level physics class thrown in the middle. Or it’s not sci-fi at all and it’s an allegory for Communist China’s interactions with the West.
Either way it’s book number one of a three book series and I don’t think I’ll continue. I tend to stay away from books that are part of a series that can’t stand on their own. I’m two books into The Stormlight Archive but I’m not interested enough to keep going. Similarly I finished Horizon Forbidden West recently, a sequel itself that sets the story up for a trilogy and — I dunno, I’m not that interested in hearing more, especially if it’s tens or hundreds of hours more.
On sort of the other side of this, we watched Coda last night. It’s as good as everyone said it was and I don’t think anyone is going to pitch an incredibly ironically titled Coda 2 about Ruby in college. In this era of “more of everything” it’s nice to enjoy something that ends.Permalink
I finished Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? yesterday. It’s a good high level intro into almost everything a person might go see a therapist for. It’s better organized than 6000 Tik Tok videos, which seems to be the de rigueur way to learn about these things.
I took a Psychology class in college, it was pretty useless. I’d much rather someone had just given me this book. Honestly a week reading this instead of an extra week of Freud and bearskin rugs or whatever might have been the most helpful thing for me in college. Oh! This is how anxious thoughts work? And strategies for stopping them? No, useless information. More on Pavlov’s dogs, please.
There’s a lot of overlap here with Atomic Habits by James Clear, it’s even referenced a few times. There’s an idea they share: say you’re out of shape. A bad goal is to say, “I want to run a marathon”. You’ll probably fail (too ambitious), but you could also succeed then never run again. The idea is to not have a goal but to form a habit. Tomorrow say “I’m a person who runs”, then start running, even if just down the block. While “becoming more physically fit” is one easy to understand example, the crux of it is you reframe your thoughts and change how you think about yourself rather than being reactive (I’m depressed, I need to be happy) or problem solving (I’m burned out, I need a plan for relaxing).
If you want the super short version of both books, it’s the song “The Next Right Thing” from Frozen 21.
I recommend the book. It’s a quick read. It unfortunately doesn’t cover finding or affording a therapist because your insurance won’t cover it, but I suppose that’s out of scope.
Debugging is one of the things I enjoy about programming. It’s like a little puzzle to solve. But as code gets more complicated, the little bugs can hide themselves in ways that make them very, very, annoyingly hard to find. This one, minimally reproduced in this Codepen, got me this week:
It seems obvious — an empty input calculates an invalid date. But then imagine the calculated date was never visible, an empty input is considered valid data, and the system that reported this being an issue was 3 microservice hops away.
And the real issue, it turns out, was ever using
parseInt. Day.js can do the calculation just fine with strings.
I’ve been reading Smarter Than You Think. Chapter 2 is about online writing and blogging, and Clive Thompson mentions how there’s more writing going on now than ever before in human history:
As the historian David Henkin notes in The Postal Age, the per capita volume of letters in the United States in 1860 was only 5.15 per year. “That was a huge change at the time—it was important,” Henkin tells me. “But today it’s the exceptional person who doesn’t write five messages a day. I think a hundred years from now scholars will be swimming in a bewildering excess of life writing.”
What’s wild to me is that I got an English degree between the years of 2000 and 2004, and… no one saw this coming. A few weeks before graduating someone suggested I should sign up on some “Facebook thing, it just opened up outside of Harvard, you can see other people from other schools”, and no one I knew had ever blogged anything. So it wasn’t a miss of what was happening, but it was a miss on what would be happening.
Also, any English program could have ditched Hemingway for some basic communication writing and maybe we could have replaced the E in STEM.Permalink