Kid asks for mashed potatoes for breakfast. I figure it is the weekend and we have the ingredients so, what the heck, I’ll make some. I begin to take out potatoes. Kid runs back into the kitchen: “what are you doing!? They’re in the jar!” while pointing to a jar of dried tomatoes…we had dried tomatoes and smoothies for breakfast. Weird, but not bad.
- David: plays a secret chord
- Lord: “Emacs can do that!?”
A joke, certainly stolen.
Quiet week. Server migration almost complete. Linode is purdy. As is Mosh! I’ve never used anything but ssh, but think I’m smitten with mosh.
I’ve been back filling tags on old posts. Things should be becoming more…connected? Increasing the edge and surface area through which folks can make entrance into posts of all sorts.
And lo, a plague beset their house
February! We made it to the month I most commonly misspell. In mid and late January I had my doubts if we’d make it. I would like to propose that we re-schedule Christmas, or some other really big event that involves lots of decorations (namely lights) for somewhere in the middle of February.
December gets all the hoopla, January gets to ride the December hoopla-wave for a bit while February and March (poor March) get squat diddly save for the continual grind of the winter, and, this season at least, seemingly relentless colds and flu.
Beyond seasonal mope, though, the month was good. Tova launched her freelance endeavors (don’t miss her blog!) and I cleaned mine up a bit. I was invited to GM a D&D campaign (probs one of my favorite things to do, ever). There was much technical fiddling with my website. Work is going well. Aaaaand we started to read longer books to the kid. Moomintroll, FTW!
Looking back January wasn’t all that bad…we just used a lot of tissues.
A pro of working from home: I don’t have to wait until the weekend to do laundry.
A con of working from home: I am always doing laundry.
I spent a chunk of time this afternoon organizing and systematizing all of my freelance projects. I’m feeling good about trying to hustle up some more of them! beardandbeanie.com
Baba yaga ghanoush
This week I watched a heap more television than I usually do. Highlights include (and, tbh, are limited to):
- A bunch of “Adventure Time,” because sleep, FTW!
- Netflix’s “IO.” It was interesting. More of a meditation than a narrative. Not as sci-fi as I had hoped. Indie AF.
- Watched episode 2, season 2 of “Star Trek Discovery.” It was very good. Its vibe was heaps Start Trek-y. Perhaps even peak Star Trek-y! It was as heady as the best episodes of TNG, while maintaining a modern sensibility (e.g. it was wicked watchable).
Beside rotting my brain on beautiful moving images, I also got to host the first meeting for the D&D group I’ve been invited to GM! I’m wicked excited…mostly because I’m a giant dork and love tabletop roleplaying games a lot, also because it is a weird honor to be invited to GM by a group of mostly strangers.
The “big” non-work related task of the week has been migrating my website off of WebFaction (grrr) and onto blot.im (HOORAY!). Blot…still wicked good.
This week we also welcomed a 12.9″ iPad Pro into our family. It is gorgeous. It replaces Tova’s 5ish year old MacBook Air. She is very proud of it and very pleased.
Now I will eat. I made Baba ghanoush. I love Baba ghanoush. Aubergine is a more fitting name than “Eggplant.” What is eggy about this plant? Surely its most striking feature is its color and not its eggyness. 🍆
Here is a song called Aubergine that I think is v. good.
The Life-Changing Magic of Server Migrations
After a bit of procrastination, a bit of noodling, and a generous pinch of typing I’ve started to migrate from my old web host to a new one. I’m starting with my personal stuff, and will then move the client work over.
The basic guts of the set up:
- FastMail for email, and as my DNS control interface
- I’m using blot.im to host my primary personal website (this one, eli.li)
- A combination of Linode and Netlify for my other hosting needs
I’m still ironing out some of the details, but am feeling pretty good about the landscape. I looked into some alternatives to FastMail, but their offering seems to be the most solid, and the
DNS control stuff is preeemo. Wicked nice.
To boot, moving my website from my previous web host to blot was a breeze, and resolved the issue I was having wherein my posts weren’t making it to micro.blog. I’m back, baby!
To say I’m impressed with blot is a massive understatment. It is awesome. I don’t have anything to gripe about…nothing, however, is so perfect, and I look forward to writing a future blog post all about the migration process and my blot set up (huge shout out to @amit for all his help, as well as to David who makes and maintains blot — his support is truly next-level).
That was all a preamble, though — the primary reason for this post is to note that I think a few things are going to change around here.
The medium being the message and all…
In the past my blog was more of a link-log, filled with likes and replies. While my website still supports all that lovely IndieWeb taxonomy, I am going to post round-up style posts, aggregating a bunch of links and comments/quotes into a single post. We’ll see if I can get into it, or how it changes things.
The other big change is tags! My old website had tags, but they didn’t really do much. The human ecologist in me is excited to start inter-linking posts by way of tag. Keep a look out for more on that, too!
Finally, the bit of my new website that I am most excited about? Custom css per-post! I have a custom metadata field associated with each post. If left blank, the site defaults to my standard css file, if, however, I put in the name of a different css file, I can associate a unique css file with a specific post!
I’ve always liked the idea of a site’s content and styling being linked. Just as I work to preserve permalinks, I want to preserve what the site looked like at a certain time. I’m not going to use this feature for all posts by any means. Heck, I might not even use it very often, but I’m excited to have the option.
Rah raw ra onward!
Tonight was one of "those" nights
Tova, Avi and I went for a bike ride.
We started by biking to the grocery store to pickup some salad fixings for a dinner we’re going to tomorrow. At the grocery store we had a little snack and potty break. Because the weather was so nice outside we decided to bike to a nearby playground where we all had a blast. Mid-playground session we got a text from a friend that she and her daughters were headed to an outdoor concert nearby, so we hopped back on to our bikes and rode to meet them.
We caught the tail end of the concert and enjoyed a lovely picnic with some buddies. Afterwards we swung by their house to use the bathroom and get some water. At this point it was nearing 8 and starting to get dark, so, we mounted our bikes and had a cool evening ride home, biking along the back cove under a pink sunset.
We got home to find Bashi, our beloved dog, happily waiting for us by the door. This is always a bad sign. Usually she’s asleep. She sleeps like 80% or everyday (it’s a hound thing, 🤷♂️). Inside we were met with one tiny shred of the evidence of her wrong doing (100% our fault). She’d eaten 2 entire bars of 100% dark chocolate…
After a brief scramble and some quick phone calls we coaxed her into eating a bit of food laced with hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting.
This is where we made our first mistake. Rather than immediately take her outside I ran upstairs to grab a hoody…because I’m a sissy and I live in Maine. As I came back down the stairs she barfed a biblical deluge of a barf. I cannot stress how much liquid erupted from our poor stinky hound. It was monumental. As Tova and I stood there, awestruck, Avi happily played with some wooden trains.
After the dazzlement waned a bit I girded my loins (and my feet) and got to cleaning…at which point Avi chimed in “do you need some sunscreen daddy!?”
…while Tova and I were bamboozled by barf Avi’s attention had shifted from his toy trains to some moisturizer.
He, our living room rug, and our couch are all now well moisturized. Thoroughly lubricated.
Tonight was one of those nights. It was a blast, it was spontaneous and it was messy. Everyone is cleaned up now, Bashi seems a-okay, and the floor is newly cleaned.
My reading log for the year so far seems a weeee bit skewed toward the technical.
- The Little Schemer
- Code Craft
- Saga, volume 8
- Clojure for the Brave and True
- Practical Common Lisp
A Saturday morning filled with blanket forts, books, cardboard coloring, and challah avocado grilled cheese is a pretty good Saturday morning.
It was weirdly emotional canceling our heating oil delivery with the little local company. The entire office was sad to see us go, but really excited for us to move to Portland. Gonna miss small-town living, for certain.
Hackintosh, day 1
I finished setting up the Hackintosh and worked from it all day today. It. Was. Awesome. This machine is absolutely beastly in comparison to the late 2012 Mac Mini I’ve been rocking as my full-time work machine for the past few years.
The Mini was getting a wee bit long in the tooth so I have been working from my MacBook Air more often than not. I’m excited to get back to working at a proper desktop machine. I’m a bajillion times more productive, and I like having a dedicated work space—it makes it easier to walk away and stop working when the day is done.
So far running the Hackintosh (thinking of calling it a PineApple…becuase it is sort of like a mac and I’m in Maine…get it, get it?) has been a breeze. I anticipated more hoops would need to be jumped through, but so far sailing has been smooth. Tonymacx86 is a veritable wizard’s tome of helpful applications, how-to documentation and troubleshooting tips.
I also took this opportunity to reevaluate what tools I need and where.
Here is a quick list of what I’ve installed on the machine so far:
- iTerm2, a co-worker turned me on to iTerm, I’ve become addicted to its mouse support for specific tasks ( e.g. clicking on links in IRC chats)
- Homebrew, because I literally don’t know how to run a mac without it
- Vim and my beloved .vimrc, of course
- Microsoft Office Suite (because work demands that I do so). I typically use Mutt or Mail.app for email and plaintext for everything and anything else that I can
- nvAlt, which I use as a programming wiki/notebook
- Adium, it may be old…neigh, ANCIENT, but I haven’t found a better IRC GUI
- Transmit, the single greatest FTP client in the UNIVERSE. @ me!
- KeePassX, because I ditched LastPass a few months ago, and haven’t looked back
- Keybase, so so so fine for managing all the .ssh stuff
- Sublimetext, because sometimes it is nice to be able to click on stuff
- Xcode, of course
- Visual Studio, again, becuase work demands it
- pgweb, for all my database-y tasks
- Chrome, for testing
- PasteBot, I started using this when the public beta was released a few months back after having never used a clipboard manager before. Life changing. World changing.
- Toggl’s desktop client, because I gotta keep track of what I work on and when
- GPG Keychain
- Node, and a couple of node packages:
- weechat, for when Adium dies ☠️
- Hack Font, my favorite fixed width, powerline font
The big new thing I installed was fish, instead of my normal bash config. I’ve been reading a lot about fish lately, and like its scripting syntax…also autocomplete is pretty luscious.
I consciously didn’t install any graphics software on this machine. My thinking is twofold: a) I loathe doing graphics work, and much prefer to do it in code if I can, b) I’m going to do what graphics work I need to on my Macbook Air because I’m a lot quicker with the touchpad than a normal mouse.
…I also haven’t installed Spotify yet because I don’t have any speakers 🌽
I went for an impromptu walk with one of my coworkers and his son this evening. I love working remotely, but it is great to interact with folks in meat-space every now and again.
This evening V and I went to the movies for the first time since Avi was born. We saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and may have each teared up whenever anyone snuggled Groot because we are those people now. 😑
The island is usually hopping Memorial Day weekend. This one, not so much. Economic indicator or just an “off” year?
Nonlinearities and change and travel and mountains and moving and the ocean
I recently read an article by Rachel Nuwer that described how western civilization could be coming to an end. The article made reference to an increase in “nonlinearities.”
…another sign that we’re entering into a danger zone, Homer-Dixon says, is the increasing occurrence of what experts call nonlinearities, or sudden, unexpected changes in the world’s order, such as the 2008 economic crisis, the rise of ISIS, Brexit, or Donald Trump’s election.
The concept of a nonlinearity resonates with me, or haunts me. Especially their increasing. Events — noun or verb — that are nonlinearities toe that roller-coaster spot: they’re terrifying, they’re exciting, they seem dangerous, they’re hard to understand (read perhaps as “difficult to describe”).
To segue poorly: we’ve been traveling for the past two weeks or so. First we spent a few days in Washington DC, followed by ten days in Denver, CO. We’ve had a blast, and it’s been exhausting.
A few weeks ago my parents told us that they’re moving to Denver within the next month or two. We’ve been toying with the idea of moving off the island ourselves, so we figured we’d join them on this trip to explore Denver. It is neat, the mountains are gorgeous, but we’re going to be sticking to Maine for the time being.
…but not MDI. We’ve decided to move to Portland!
…and we’ve sold our house (which is an interesting thing to do while traveling).
Times are changing. We’re excited. We’re scared, or perhaps, trepidatious?
Hard left back into nonlinearities! :boom:
While in DC we celebrated Passover, attending a great seder hosted by a dear friend and her family. It was an amazing seder. Avi was a champion (his second seder!), the food was great, and, most notably, the mid-service discussion was phenomenal. The entire group, made up of young and old, jews and non-jews, had one of those conversations that will stay with me for the rest of my life. In the midst of this grape-juice-stained, matzah-crumb-laden conversation we spoke about paradox. We spoke about how it is difficult to carry paradox. Generally speaking (which is to say “speaking in generalities” aka ignoring vast swaths of reality), we struggle to carry paradox. Black or white is easier than a spectrum :rainbow:
Yes or no
Stay or leave
Left or right
I wonder if nonlinearities are dangerous to the status quo because of a general inability to live with paradox? If we could carry paradox — either and or, neither and both — would nonlinearities be tripped up?
The follow up to that question is how do we get better at living with and accepting paradox?
I don’t actually have a clue, but like many things I’m willing to wager that the answer “is read more fiction,” my go-to answer for a whole lot of things — potentially colored by my desire to read more fiction.
My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was young; I was so young that I never knew my mother apart from her diagnosis. She and it were, to me, one and the same. She died when I was in the 2nd grade.
Harry Potter, along with many other stories (particularly of the Disney variety), teaches us that parental death, and dealing with it, is one of the first ingredients needed to make a hero. It is the flour to any baguette of heroism. In these stories the death of one’s parent(s) become(s) a gravitational force in the main character’s life — a defining moment — around which the character is then built.
This isn’t to knock Harry Potter nor any other story that includes parental death, but they’re problematic from the point of view of an actual kid with a dead parent.
Growing up, even at a young age, I felt that I owed the world a debt because my mother died; I had to right some cosmic imbalance and lead a life that was somehow “worth,” or “worthy of” her having died. I don’t know where I got it, but I know that the narratives in which I was constantly immersed helped to reinforce it: I was surrounded by role models (characters) who, citing parental death, lead extraordinary, adventurous, and oftentimes selfless lives. Selflessness is a difficult trait to pull off as a 6 - 10 year old upper-middle class Jewish boy in the suburbs of Washington D.C.
Despite my mother’s death, I had an amazing childhood; so good in fact, that I’ve wrestled with my fair share of white guilt over it. But that is neither here nor there. An interesting part of my childhood, a part with which I struggled, was not really ever having known my mother. I didn’t struggle with this so much in the “I’m missing mommy” fashion, but in the fact that I was fairly consistently surrounded by people (aka adults) who knew my mother a lot better than I ever did — people for whom my mother’s death involved history, and personal narrative — I guess this is to say “loss.” Her death involved loss for me, but mostly loss of what could have been, not what was (which is questionable, because how do you lose something you never had?).
This situation, this being surrounded by folks who knew this person to whom you are supposed to be ultimately connected — who is your incipit core — better than you, is a strange one. It is a situation that I never even realized was confusing or potentially traumatic while living through it (I guess I am still sort of living through it).
To my mother’s friends and family, my mother was more than a fleeting character; she was a bona fide person; a friend. To me, she was briefly there, and then existent within my life as a nearly mythic character; mythic not in scope, but in her distance from and connection to me. If my life were a book, cartoon, or movie, she’d be a character with whom the audience wouldn’t be able to connect — she would be a force, like the east wind in Greek myth — she would be environmental rather than singular or character-based.
I love stories, storytelling, writing, and reading. I love comics, cartoons, movies, plays, novels, documentaries. I love once “upon a time” when it is used as a temporal coordinate. I love narrative. As such, I’ve ingested a lot of them. Steven Universe is the first that I’ve encountered that completely models what it is like to grow up as a young child with a dead parent whom you never knew without reducing the experience to a mono-mythic hero narrative. It embraces the complexity, and confusion of the situation — all while following a character who may or may not become a “hero,” in the classical sense.
Steven Universe is entertaining, whimsical, highly approachable, and complex. It presents a character who, while fitting the bill for the dead parent equals hero narrative, also challenges it. Steven is a direct product of his mother’s death (I’ll call it a death, but it hasn’t been explicitly stated that she is dead, per se); she gave up her physical being in order to bring Steven into the world with her human partner, and Steven’s father, Greg.
The show is just at its start, and I hope far from ending. I’ll be interested to see where Steven goes, and what sort of character he becomes. Most importantly, I’m excited to see if the show continues to play with the tropes of dead parents making heros. Big, or potentially complicated topics aren’t just the stuff of heady fiction. These ideas can be wrestled with in public through all sorts of fiction. I’m excited to see it in Steven Universe.
Originally posted to medium, Sep. 26, 2014.
I’ve decided to repost this now because I finally watched Rouge One, and am working on a follow up post.