Buckle up. This month turned out to be a big one. Writing it all out feels like an entire year went by, so I’ll start with the bad that happened at the beginning of the month and move towards the good.
When I posted my Vibe Check №12 and End of 2021 posts, I noticed they were a bit emo as I felt “exhausted”. Well, there was a reason for that: I had COVID. Those posts might need a giant asterisks applied to them. I still stand by that exhausted vibe because I was basically sick from December 17th to January 5th or so.
Thankfully ours was a “mild” case and it did run thru the entire family. A lot of aches and sinus issues. We’re better now and resuming life. I’m like ~8% worried I have some mild form of Long COVID, but it’s allergy and mold season here in Austin so it’s hard to tell.
I don’t plan on getting COVID again, but if there’s a silver lining, it’s that at least the general fear of getting it has gone away. But that’s a me-centric perspective when 887,780+ people have passed away from this thing.
Rest in peace, Jackson
On January 4th a friend of our family unexpectedly passed away. Jackson taught me a lot over the years and had a helluva life story. During the civil war in his home country of Liberia, he and some other boys were taken out and left in the desert to die. He survived and came to the US as a young boy in a shipping container. He married (later divorced) and had four wonderful kids. Despite the challenges in his life, he always had an impossible sense of hope which could brighten your day.
Through Jackson I saw first hand how difficult the US immigration system is when a single stain on your record makes you a target for deportation. No pathways, delayed work permits, years of unemployment, immigration lawyers fees, health issues, doctors bills; I saw how unfair the system was to him and his family.
But he loved his kids. Every ounce of concern and every penny he made went to providing for his kids. His kids are nearly grown up now, the first is going off to college on scholarship, and I know they’re going to miss him but I know they know how much he loved them. It’s a sad situation to lose a dedicated parent in high school. If you can spare a prayer for Jackson’s kids and our neighbor Cleo (who was like a mother to Jackson), thank you.
It’s been a rough start to the year for sure, but we’re getting through it. I find it’s good to have some operating principles for the year, so I’ve been workshopping some mantras with the kids. “2020: Learn to take a picture” didn’t pan out but I think we got some good ones this year.
- 2022: Do stuff you can do (without a parent) - I love my kids but they need to learn how to get their own glass of water at this point.
- 2022: Be less disgusting - Whether it’s chewing with your mouth closed, not eating your boogers, or washing toothpaste down the sink instead of spitting it all over the bathroom counter… plenty of chances to be less disgusting.
And for grown-ups, I got another one.
- 2022: Buy your happiness - It could be 2 years of the pandemic talking, or it could be because I kinda quit Twitter, but I have a hair-trigger on impulse purchases these days.
I hate how consumerist that is, but it’s a vibe so I’m keeping it. I hate how everything costs money but I’m embracing it right now instead of fighting it. Let me know if you have a good mantra for 2022!
Episode 500 of ShopTalk
I wrote about ShopTalk’s 500th episode so I won’t go in depth here, but that’s a lot of podcasting over the last ten years. I’ve talked to lots of talented people through this podcast. 500 episodes is a pretty big career milestone and worth celebrating.
And celebrate I did! After the big recording I got myself a Grape Nerds Slush from Sonic. Special thanks to everyone who has helped make ShopTalk happen and thanks to everyone who has ever tuned in.
I built my first Gunpla
On a whim (remember: buy your happiness) I bought my first entry-grade Gunpla. “Gunpla” (ガンプラ) is a shortened form of the phrase “Gundam Plastic Model” in Japanese. It’s a hobby where you build little anime robots out of pre-colored, press-fit plastic parts. Building a Gunpla model produces an incredibly good, ASMR-like sensation. Way better than western models where you need to prime, paint, and painstakingly glue everything together. Gunpla is more like LEGO where you zen-fully cut out pieces, snap them together, and end up with a fully articulated robot.
Making my first Gunpla spawned a micro-obsession of learning all about Gunpla; the different grades, the different eras, the different manufacturers, panel lining, fine tip versus pour fill markers, and so on. I’ve learned a lot of useless facts. But it’s also spawned a desire to do more handicrafts.
I have a new ergonomic keyboard to build, a book of Frank Lloyd Wright kirigami papercraft models, and of course more Gunpla. I think this new hobby is directly related to logging out of Twitter this month, so I’m going to ride this vibe out and be a bit more analog in my after hours.
Another big refactor on Luro
One of the biggest months ever behind the scenes on Luro. We refactored a bunch of code to make the spinning up installations for new customers a lot easier. This involved removing a MongoDB server and folding our serverless API, node server API, and Nuxt app into a single monolithic Node app. While a “monolith” sounds like a step backwards from a tech de jour it has radically simplified the number of moving parts from 6→3 and better fits our customer goals well.
tl;dr— We’re in a much better “it just works” state with boring technology, it’s a lot easier to run all the parts locally and it’s a lot easier to deploy and a lot easier to get to customers. Exciting days ahead.
Because I know these bulleted list breakdowns are the real reason you read these posts.
- 💪 Fitness - Closed my rings 5 days this month
- Back doing Apple Fitness
- Back doing Pickleball, but I’ve lost a lot of skill after taking a month off
- 📖 Reading
- Peril - Another Trump biography that juxtaposes him with Biden. Narrowing in on the final months of Trump’s presidency; his failed covid response, his election loss, his attempted coup. It’s not intended, but when Biden’s gaffs are next to Trump’s literal coup attempt, it creates some “both sides”-ism when those concerns aren’t even in the same galaxy. Is that a thing about books? You base content heirarchy on what’s before and what’s after?
- Violence. Speed. Momentum. - The Dr. Disrespect origin story. 100% toxic action figure masculinity and 100% YAYAYAYAYAYA.
- ApocalyptiGirl - I enjoyed this simple post-apocalyptic bit of sci-fi.
- Head Lopper Vol 4 - Possibly my least favorite Head Lopper, but still Head Lopper so it’s weird and good.
- 📺 TV, Movies, and Anime - Got COVID, so I had time to watch some shows.
- Foundation (AppleTV) - A sci-fi story based on the books by Isaac Asimov. The story lines are a bit drummed up but it makes for better TV.
- Komi Can’t Communicate (Netflix) - A shonen story about a boy helping a classmate who has a fear of talking. The supporting cast helps carry the show.
- New Game (Crunchyroll) - A show about new situation anxiety centered around a recent high school graduate joining a game studio.
- Gundam I (Netflix) - 13 TV episodes smashed into one long movie with fight scenes every 12 minutes.
- 👾 Video games - Playing some
- 🎙 Podcasts - One big celebration and one podcast series you should check out.
- 500th Episode of ShopTalk - 🎉
- An HTML Select element that is… actually styleable - Chris and I look at the new
<selectmenu>prototype built by some folks in Open UI.
- Scene on Radio S4: The Land That Never Has Been Yet - I had to pick my jaw up off the floor as I learned, for the first time, about some of the racist and oligarchic systems embedded in the founding of America that still impact our country today.
- 📝 Blogging - Some observational posts and a “shitty sci-fi” post which I plan on doing more of.
- HTML is general, ARIA is specific - Observational tech blogging. Mixed feedback on this, not sure if I explained it the best, so I’ll keep exploring.
- The man playing the ukulele at the doctor’s office. - Observational blogging
- The Vacation - A short sci-fi story based on my lament that everything costs money these days.
- Five Hundred ShopTalks - A celebration of 10 years of podcasting
- 🤖 Crafts