Welcome to my little slice of the internet. If you want to know more about me there’s an about page. Want to send me a message? Get in touch here.

Some things on this site:

Recently on builtwith.coffee:

  • Weeknotes for the week ending September 26, 2021

    [Sep 26, 2021]

    iOS 15

    I upgraded all of my iDevices to iOS15 (or… whatever their equivalents are called. tvOS/HomeOS something-point-oh). A few quick notes:

    • The hassle of micro-services, in your own home!: I had a home automation that was set to turn the lights on at 7:30am. When I set it up, it worked! Later, it stopped working. The lights would turn on at 10:30am. Clearly a timezone issue, but from what? Not my phone, the Hue app and hub seemed to think it was in the same location as us. I checked the HomePod, also EST, updated it and it started working at 7:30am again. Until this week, when it went back to 10:30am. I finally figured out that the Apple TV was set to its original Cupertino time zone (why, though?) and depending on some magical cloud logic the Homepod and Apple TV would switch off being the “home hub”.
    • Don’t remind me: I used to run the iOS betas on my iPad. I used to use Apple Notes and Reminders. That is, until one iOS update required redoing the Reminders database, and the Reminders app was out of sync between my devices until a new version of iOS and MacOS were released. That was years ago, and yet that remains a problem today. You added tags to your reminders and made a smart list? Neat, you can see them on your Mac in a few months. Maybe, assuming MacOS releases on time. It’s worth it to use 3rd party replacements for both of those apps because you’ll at least get major updates across platforms all at once. It is insane to me that Apple still ties minor software updates to major OS releases. I will acknowledge that they gave us Safari 15 early, but the system browser being tied to the operating system was a bad idea 20 years ago so let’s not be too impressed.

    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.

    Hitchin’ a ride

    2014 Subaru Forester with the bumper removed for a hitch install.

    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 used to work on cars a lot. I used to be under my first car (a Subaru WRX) all the time, to the point where almost nothing on that car was original. I used to throw it up on jack stands, hip check the car to make sure it wouldn’t fall off, then dive under it. I would never, ever consider that these days. Somewhere between that car and this car I had cars where I did work on them because it was “cheaper” and messed things up (in occasionally catastrophic ways). These days I stick to easy bolt-on or rewire improvements.
    • If you’re not someone who works on cars: modern cars are a frame and 40,000 plastic clips holding the body on and that’s it. I had my daughter come out and help put the bumper back on, at first she thought I had broken something (not a bad guess), then she assumed it was much too heavy for her to pick up, then she picked it up and noticed that it was “wobbling all over!”. I let her slap it into the clips along the edges and use a socket wrench to put in the two (!) bolts that hold it on.
    • I ended up getting a rockymounts MonoRail Solo. Like everything bike related there were a ton of options and most of them weren’t in stock. I like this one because it only holds one bike. For some reason bike rack designers think everyone rides with friends and they drive to the trails together.

    Stop, don’t shop

    • 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:

      1. Ring item.
      2. Open bag to put place item in.
      3. Place item in bag.
      4. Error that there is an unscanned item in the bagging area.

    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.

    etc

    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).

    • We’ve had a little snake hanging out in our backyard. Lorelei and I went out this evening to see if we could find it. We didn’t, instead we found… baby snakes!

    Baby snake

    Permalink
  • A fresh coat of paint

    [Sep 24, 2021]

    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
  • Weeknotes for the week ending September 19, 2021

    [Sep 19, 2021]

    This week, summed up in two short scenes with my daughter.

    Reading is fundamental

    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?
    👧: Venus!
    👨: So you... can read?
    👧: Noooooooooooooooo

    🦈

    Scene: at Stage Fort Park, down on the “boardwalk” looking at the ocean.

    👧: Look, a shark!
    👨: I don’t think there are sharks here.
    👧: It’s right there!
    👨: It’s probably just a ro… oh it is a shark.
    Sandshark in the water near Stage Fort Park in Gloucester

    etc

    • I’ve used Magnet for window management on MacOS for a long time, but it turns out there’s a free option called Rectangle that works just as well, and you can install it via Homebrew, which is extra great because I have zero interest in using Mac App store apps on my work Mac.
    • I went too long before getting my coffee this morning (we picked up breakfast on the car ride over to aforementioned shark park), and the coffee was weak compared to what I make at home. Took a while to recover. Maybe I should have gotten onlyfunctionalwith.coffee instead.
    Permalink
  • Weeknotes for the week ending September 12, 2021

    [Sep 13, 2021]

    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”.

    First grade

    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.

    Take the skinheads gaming

    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.

    HEY MAN NICE BIKE

    Tallboy at Gordon College

    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.

    etc

    Permalink
  • The Girls' Guide To Hunting And Fishing

    [Sep 13, 2021]
  • Weeknotes for the week ending September 5, 2021

    [Sep 5, 2021]

    First day of first grade

    Lorelei wearing her first grade crown.

    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.

    NBD (new bike day)

    My new 2021 Santa Cruz Tallboy. Last time it’ll ever be clean.

    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.

    etc

    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.


    1. One had a particularly dumb slogan on it, so I looked it up and… yeah. Let me tell you I never feel like a FREE person until I put on my $35 sloganized t-shirt. I’m sure they do some great advertising on Facebook.
    2. “Mountain biking” in seacoast Southern New England is a bit of a funny term. “Small hill filled with tree root biking” would be the better term.
    Permalink
  • A Children's Bible

    [Sep 5, 2021]
  • Weeknotes for the week ending August 29, 2021

    [Aug 30, 2021]

    Small update this week, as I spent most of the day on the Mass Pike. I forgot it’s “move in” weekend for the local colleges.

    10 years

    The main update for the week, Friday was Andrea and I’s tenth anniversary. We went out for dinner. We had (have had) grand plans to travel for… close to two years now, but having little interest in travel in never-ending pandemic times and with our town popping up a strong supply of new restaurants, we instead sent the kid down to the grandparents for the week and just enjoyed free time in our own town for the week.

    Babies on our wedding day.

    Ten years later.

    Andrea is pretty great, and we’ll definitely give this at least another ten years. We recorded an episode for her podcast this morning about our relationship. She might not run it because I mumble too much, but she might! Her accepting that I don’t quite meet her high standards has really helped keep this ship afloat ❤️.

    School supplies

    School starts this week. As a kid I remember being dragged to the store to pick out new binders, folders, etc, but since Lorelei was at the Grandparents Andrea and I went to pick everything up. That might not sound exciting but we both geeked out over pens and now have probably more than we’ll ever need, but, pens! Including some of these adorable G2 Minis.

    Notion API

    I spent a bit of time this week mucking about with the Notion API Beta. I’ve used Notion on and off for a long time, it does a lot of things really well, and it for other things (writing, quick notes), it’s a bit annoying. But I’ve always wanted a quicker way to update my want to read / read book list. So far I find the API pretty good for dealing with databases — I migrated my “reading” list to it. It’s not ready for prime time for written content like using Notion as a blog CMS, but I think it might be there soon.

    Before the coffee gets cold

    Finished Before the coffee gets cold this week. The local library recommended it on Libby under a magical realism category. It’s an interesting narrative device, there’s a cafe where in one seat you can go back in time (but there’s a list of rules, centrally if you want to meet someone else they have to also have been to the cafe, and you can’t change the future or past). There’s four related stories, they’re all a bit Hallmark-y, and I read it while drinking a lot of iced coffee so maybe it was the wrong season to read about coffee going cold, doesn’t get a recommended from me.

    Permalink
  • Before the coffee gets cold

    [Aug 26, 2021]
  • Weeknotes for the week ending August 22, 2021

    [Aug 22, 2021]

    A minor change this week, I’m going from bullet points to headers. This week was either chill, or I forgot to write down a bunch of stuff.

    Hurricane more like Hurrican’te

    Lorelei was supposed to spend the week with her grandparents, but since they live in Connecticut hurricane tropical storm Henri threw a wrench in the works. It looks like this might all blow over (pun intended) and she’ll get down there later this week.

    Arts Fest Beverly

    We either missed (or intentionally ignored) the arts fest in town in 2020, but since we weren’t shuttling the child off to another state on Saturday, we took a walk into town to check it out. We didn’t pick up any art this year, unlike the last time we went in 2019, but we did get books at the local book store and jewelry. On the way back we stopped at Backbeat Brewing Company which, even though it’s less than half a mile from our house, we hadn’t been to yet. Decent food, impressively good drinks, outdoor patio, A+++ would recommend. Highlight of this year was that we can all walk to town and back now.

    Bunny cupcakes

    Lorelei watches this show called Bread Barbershop. It’s weird, but this morning the episode she was watching the “barber” made kitty and bunny cupcakes, and rather than the plot being more of, “here’s how you do this as a barber” it was like, a real recipe. I realize that sounds odd if you’ve never seen the show, but stay with me. Lorelei asked if we could do that, and I said yeah, sure, maybe. I had to go to the store anyway. This is what we came up with: Cupcakes decorated as bunnies

    Carrot cake cupcakes, obviously. They’re bunnies.

    Fortnite vs. my free time

    I played Fortnite this week for the first time years, and it’s fun. I didn’t get it at first, but I played solo games and got it. And then I realized that the Battle Pass for this season has a dance that’s a ska dance, with a matching ska song about aliens, which feels waaaaaaay more targeted at my generation than who I assumed played Fortnite, so I had to pick it up (pick it up, pick it up… you get it), and then set out to win a few rounds, skanking on the graves of my defeated enemies.

    Bonus: Balancing things on a cat

    Maggie with a flower on her head

    I’ve had a lot of cats in my life, but Maggie is the best one I’ve ever had for putting up with people putting things on her head.

    Permalink
Back to top