Ship's Log

This is a running log for the Bilson family, written mostly by the ship’s captain (me). It’s in Facebook-style order to share with those who care what we’re up to these days.

This weekend I spent a couple hours mapping all the tasks, goals, and ideas in my head onto paper. There are so many projects going at the same time it’s impossible to keep them straight in my head.

When my life gets this chaotic I live in a perpetual state of anxious dread. De-cluttering my mind by dumping everything on a paper reduces my anxiety by quieting the looping list in my head and ordering their priorities. The task count doesn’t change, but the items I must address this week is more manageable than the full list.

Today the city of Evanston blocks off much of Ridge Ave (a busy thoroughfare) for bikers to ride along. There are charities along the sidewalk and a live band in Ridgeville Park. Graham’s a little on edge and sensitive to all the people, but he’s enjoying the novelty of all the roads blocked off and police cars everywhere. Royal squeals with delight every time he sees a baloon.

We’ve been in such a fast-paced season, for so long, that I wonder if I’ve become addicted to the rush. I don’t ache for solitude as I once did. Silence has become more uncomfortable than before. It would be nice to separate myself for a time, to rest and remember that the world does not require me nearly so much as I may grow to believe.

A colleague of mine recommended this list as a refresher of what NOT to do in software development. It’s a good overview of the common temptations developers can succumb to as they write code.

Seven Deadly Sins of Programming

I’ve been wondering if an IRC channel would be a suitable way to enable real-time conversation with family and friends on the subjects I write about. Comments have been a bonus, but maybe it could be more? I’ve been enjoying a foray into Discord groups and wonder if a similar platform would be a useful addition. What do you think?

I’ve been listening to a Bible Project podcast about the theme of trees. They recommend a book on the subject called Reforesting Faith that I’d enjoy. Maybe I’ll come back to it…

I had first heard about OBS Studio from Scott Hanselman a few months back, but I guessed it’d have a learning curve if I didn’t already understand video and audio editing. Turns out, it’s simple enough that I could make a video in 15 minutes!

Don’t let the lack of screenshots deter you from checking it out. I think I’ll try it for a bible study soon, and for my September family update.

This bout of sickness may be the longest we’ve had yet. I’ve been sick now for nine days and have taken four sick days from work. Most nights I’m up multiple times with my coughing or Royal’s; last night for two hours between 0000 and 0200. Royal was finally getting better, then on Wednesday he spiked a fever and appears to have a second viral infection. Graham and Amie are doing well enough, but not 100%. We keep getting a little hope, then it’s crushed the day after. When will this end?!

We’ve been sick for weeks now. First Graham and Royal, which entailed waking multiple times a night and rising for the day between 5:00 and 6:30. Then Amie and I. Currently I’ve lost my voice, have fatigue, a wretched cough, and congestion since Thursday. Today is the second day I’ve taken sick time from work to recover. I’ve slept all night and through half the day. At least being sick at different times that’ll the boys has made their care easier.

What is this?! Bret Victor’s Website

Looking for dinner table conversation tonight? Look no further than The Dinner Table.

The Tail End is a sobering post I discovered while perusing Matthew Kudija’s reading notes, specifically this book. It’d be worth creating a few of my own graphics to represent what’s left on my timeline.

Matthew Kudija has written notes for a list of books, astonishing for both its prodigious length and breadth of subject matter. Here are a few book notes that revealed books I’d love to read.

I know little about Bitcoin but am interested in economics and curious about this upstart monetary system.

The title drew me in. It reminds me of an invaluable book I’d read years ago (I don’t remember the title) that gave me freedom to not finish many books.

Nassim Taleb’s name keeps popping up. This looks like a great place to start with his work.

Since Matthew has written the laws down, I probably don’t need to read the book. But I would like to compare/contrast these with Jesus’ style of power.

This would be a great way to continue my re-introduction with evolution after Adam and the Genome.

A story from yesterday:

In the morning, Graham came looking for Amie to tell her there was dog poop on the kitchen floor. Confused, Amie came over to look. Sure enough there lay a big turd, half-squished, in the center of the kitchen floor. She shrieked in horror.

The source was verified when we found the rest of the poo on Royal’s left foot. It must have fallen out of his diaper. Who knows how many places Royal’s foot trod between Graham’s discovery and his apprehension?

Graham maintains that it was dog poop. He’s in denial, poor guy.

Who knew the human blood-suckers only account for 3% of the mosquito genus?

The Secret Lives of Mosquitos

Royal has been putting random stuff off the ground for months now. We figured he’d outgrow the habit, but it’s not looking promising. Now it’s part of his mode of independent resistance. But I got him today, he he.

He popped a dry pinto bean in his mouth and looked over at me with gleeful defiance. Usually, I’d tell him to take it out. But this time he chomped down on it and split the bean in two. So I told him to eat it.

At first he must have misheard, so he popped the pieces out and handed them to me. But I pushed them back and said, “nope, if you’re going to put them in your mouth, you eat them.” This seemed to puzzle him, bit I kept at it. After a few tries he was making faces (it must not have tasted good), but he kept popping it back in when I said, “finish it up.”

Here’s hoping he’ll think twice before popping another bean!

Royal may be starting the terrible twos. Sickness only explains part of his immense and random resistance to all parental suggestion. He’s INTENSE. It’ll serve him well in the future, but we bear the brunt of it today. Oye.

I have never read poetry translated from Chinese nor any from factory-workers but, thanks to Matt Webb I’ve been introduced to dagong shige. It appears to be translatable to either “battler’s poetry” or “labor poetry.”

I Swallowed an Iron Moon

I swallowed an iron moon

they called it a screw

I swallowed industrial wastewater and unemployment forms

bent over machines, our youth died young

I swallowed labour, I swallowed poverty

swallowed pedestrian bridges, swallowed this rusted-out life

I can’t swallow any more

everything I’ve swallowed roils up in my throat

I spread across my country

a poem of shame

- (Xu Lizhi)


The packing area is flooded with light

the iron I’m holding

collects all the warmth of my hands

I want to press the straps flat

so they won’t dig into your shoulders when you wear it

and then press up from the waist

a lovely waist

where someone can lay a fine hand

and on the tree-shaded lane

caress a quiet kind of love...

- (Wu Xia)

Why am I only now hearing about these poems? Poetry like Wu Xia’s is ten-thousand times more effective at communicating the lives of those who produce most of the world’s goods (or at least the United States).

Another week past. Work took half the week to calm down from last week’s fiasco, but all has finally normalized.

I’m grateful for the time spent with others this week. We’ve had numerous conversations about seeing a movement in Chicago and several chances to encourage and exhort others. It’s likely that we’ll host a DBS group this Fall with some we’ve met, which is an exciting prospect.

The question, “how can I help?” has been so useful to learn how I might get involved in other’s needs. It’s a keeper.

Sometimes there’s just so much going on it’s hard to keep up. I end up with 50+ tabs on my phone’s browser from all the articles I hope to read in greater depth. Only that never happens. Here’s a few thoughts I wanted to get down so I can close some tabs!

Half of American’s Can’t Afford a One-Room Rental

My eyes perk up whenever I see articles like this because I keep trying to make sense of my own experience. Amie and I have no debt, I make a high salary, and we have an affordable 15-year mortgage, yet it seems to be just enough for us to live the dream of a single-income household. Our friends and neighbors lack many or all of these benefits and often have additional obstacles. If we’re exceedingly privileged and well-positioned and it’s just enough for our little family, how is the rest of America faring?

When I pulled the Guardian’s data apart it was too general to make any concrete statement, but it does reflect a trend.

The History of the Web

A resource that’s fun to page through. It’s amazing that the Internet has managed to stay organized enough to remain generally interoperable across the world.

Apple Privacy Update for Child Safety

There’s some controversy in tech privacy/freedom circles about Apple’s decision to scan photos on our iPhones. That sounds bad, and it would be, but they’re doing a few more things to minimize the invasive nature of their scanning and the data that might be gathered from a scan. My personal opinion is that Apple has done all I could imagine possible to solve a horrifying problem without creating worse privacy concerns and, in this specific case, I’d rather they take action than remain passively involved.

Comparison of Vaccine Effectiveness With SARS-CoV-2 Variants && SARS-CoV-2 Breakthrough Cases

I’m still learning the underlying material to understand this research paper, but it’s my aim to learn enough about genetics, vaccines, and the human immune system to make sense of this research and others like it. Stay tuned for a full-size article!

60 Years of Woodland Regeneration

This was an encouraging story about the regeneration of farmland back to a woodland habitat. We don’t know enough about how the Earth will heal from our involvement, but it’s wonderful to read about the astounding resilience and self-repairing nature of creation. Most repair will require more human involvement to set right where we’ve made mistakes, but it’s encouraging nonetheless.

The State of US Open Banking

I’ve been complaining about bank systems for a long time. I’d have jumped ship to another bank if I really thought there was a better option. I’m surprised, and yet not so surprised, that other parts of the world aren’t locked up with crappy standards. Might be time to move to a Swiss bank 😎.

Royal and I look alike in these photos don’tcha think?

Marcella and Alex

Amie and Royal

I think that there is a shared belief that the world is a lot fairer and more complex than it is because it’s easier to see it that way. We want to perceive the world and the people that live in it as a machine that can be tuned, improved on and fixed, that is predictable and malleable, because the alternative - that it is uncaring and chaotic - runs contrary to our educational system and the supposed “hard work gets you success” mentality we have drilled into us as kids. - The World Is More Obvious Than We Want It To Be

This resonates.

This week has been insane.

Since Tuesday I’ve worked nine or more hours a day, releasing new code almost every night to resolve critical issues with our software. Today I was indirectly threatened with being laid off if any other problems arose. Mayhem.

If it were my boss making those kind of threats, it’d be time to start looking for another company. But it’s not. It’s a firm partner, and the IT department has little recourse. My boss and his boss have been exceedingly reasonable; stressing the criticality of these issues without making threats or falling into the blame game. I’m grateful to work with them.

It’s tempting to stage a walk-out. If our team continues to receive this treatment, I might succumb to the temptation. How many developers have to leave before someone realizes that it’s not okay to treat people this way?

Anyways, don’t make any decisions at the end of a grueling week. That’s my motto.

It’s been so great to have Val in town for a few days! She stopped by on Monday to hang out with Amie while I worked, then we visited Dick Ryan’s place for a party in her honor. The boys happily played chase all over the living room, filling his house with laughter.

Amie connected with Christine and we’re both ecstatic to discover that she’s hooked on DBS! It seems like trips to Mafraq, Jordan and Dorren’s influence has borne unsuspected fruit across the Evanston Vineyard. May it continue to bear fruit according to its kind for an expansive harvest!

Graham watched the Tokyo 2020 Olympic BMX qualifiers (first year at the Olympics!) and afterward was like, “meh”.

Graham and Mama watching the Olympics

There’s so many cool cinematography tricks going on with Matthew’s “Day 222 of the Pandemic.” Check it out!

My first unoffice hours today was so joyful. My mom scheduled our call today literally minutes after the invite had been sent. It’s a sunny day and there’s not much traffic, so I walked around the neighborhood while we spoke on the phone.

You won’t find a more tenacious woman than my mom. I may get my great hair from my dad (thanks Dad ;) ), but my endurance and my children’s endurance is her gift to us. My gratitude for her grows with every year I raise my boys as I reflect how impossible a task it’d be to raise them without Amie.

What’s it like to hear the voice of God? This is a life-long question that’s so helpful to have the wisdom of those who’ve been listening long. Brother Vryhof has many insights; these are the most helpful to me today.

It is as if God speaks a word to us in the deepest place of our heart, and that word is gently but persistently repeated over and over again until we finally wake up to its full meaning and impact­­.

It seems to me that God’s words are expansive words, leading us beyond ourselves, beyond the safe spaces we have created for ourselves, beyond the cautious boundaries we have so carefully marked out for our lives;

Listening to God

It’s been my experience that, the longer I follow Jesus, the more partnership we have together. In the beginning I treated God primarily as an authority figure. I listened for my orders and moved when I got them. He has weaned me from this reliance on certain direction in the prevailing years, instead pushing me to a regular practice of listening and planning that blurs the lines between what parts are my contribution and what are the Lord’s. Instead of a dramatic event, followed by a change in direction, He’s slowly molding my heart towards a direction that’s still wreathed in mist. Perhaps because, were the mist to dissipate, I would be frozen in my fear and uncertainty. For it does seem that the Lord’s plans far exceed what I believe myself to be capable of.

My Papaw sent this picture of us when I was about the age of my boys today. What a sweet photo!

Me and Papaw

So many sparks today around obedience!

It is remarkable that, despite driving half-way across the country, meeting all sorts of new people and putting so many new things in his mouth, Royal was never seriously sick on our vacation. A week back and he’s got something that kept him coughing all night. He and I slept on the couch; a better option than rising to cuddle him every half-hour when a cough woke him. So I’m tired, sore, and ready for bed.

Amie and I enjoyed a lovely evening of prayer and pie with the Ellos tonight. All of us are seeking to be quiet and listen for the Father’s voice as we ponder next steps for our families in this tumultuous season.

For the Ellos, we heard integration, provision and home. May the Father unite the Ello’s many gifts and passions to breathtaking display of God’s character. May the Father supply all their needs without fretting, as the birds have their needs met without harvest labor. And may the Father go before them to establish a home in which they may rest and bear much fruit.

For us, we heard passion, influence and celebration. Like fallen green leaves which turn brown and dry, our ambitions and longings have been silent and seemingly dead. But a fire begins to smoke in the leaves, and the blaze will be momentous when it catches. Amie is dancing with joy, a band of jewels upon her ankle.

It’s Royal’s first day at school! Doesn’t he look cute wearing this monkey backpack from Ty?

Graham’s only been in his new classroom for a couple days, so this is also a big day for him.

Will you pray for them today?

Royal Wearing Monkey Backpack

In the spirit of intentional change, what if I implemented unoffice hours? My purpose is three-fold.

First, for years my family has stated that they never know when to call. That’s partially true; a full-time job, two young children, and my human need for rest absorb nearly every waking moment. When the responsibility to contact family is entirely in my hands, however, no one’s happy because I (almost) never think about it. Maybe office hours would make those free times explicit?

An added bonus to family office hours is that it’s equal for any family member. I don’t need to somehow balance my time between folks - anyone can see how often I’m speaking with the whole squad and can sign up at the next available opening, even if it’s three months hence.

Second, I miss friends of old. Every time I speak with an old friend, even for a short period, I walk away grateful and energized. I’ve had some success keeping streaks by scheduling the next call before the current one ends, but multiple reschedules break the streak. I’ve come to accept that I can’t maintain monthly calls with everyone I love, but I might connect with more folks if I kept office hours?

Third, there’s a vast network of people I’ve not met. How awesome it’d be to make some new acquaintances, colleagues - even friends. I’m a technology consultant by trade and passion, and the hope that office hours might open new doors to work together is motivation enough.

I suppose Calendly will have to do, but I’d love to host my own solution. Suggestions?

(republished because it doesn’t fit in my notes but I didn’t want to lose the thought)

What gives life meaning?

Is it the fulfillment of our dreams? The result of our vision and the labor to bring that vision to reality? For there is a sense of meaning after a project ends and the results are before me.

Then is it in reflection? With or without a preceding dream, is meaning formed in the review of one’s mundane life, when all the highs and lows flatten by distance and the whole is in view? For there is meaning in the review of our son’s early pictures and the memories, sweetened by time, which Amie and I share.

Then it is in our sharing? When the stories are cast and recast, forming in the telling a shape to their narrative that explains the purpose of the characters and reshaped by the special perspective of each new listener.

(republished because it didn’t actually fit in my notes but I didn’t want to lose this little rumination)

I’ve written hundreds of business insights, but few are polished for the web. I’ve started to migrate them to notes so I can at least reference them more easily and slowly, possibly, transform them into a worthwhile resource. You could start with Entrepreneurial Insights until I finish the task and create a master insights post (it could be awhile).

For our 7th anniversary Amie and I went out to dinner at Big Jones. We don’t often get out after bedtime but Amie’s mom stayed with the kiddos so we could have a relaxed evening. If we ever leave Chicago we’ll sure miss the world-class dining.

Amie With Dinner

Today is Amie and I’s 7th wedding anniversary! We arrived back in Evanston from our summer vacation yesterday morning (really? Yes, Alex, really…), so I’m not in the best state for a celebration, being sleep-deprived and driven to catch up, but we’re still going to celebrate!

I’ve added a new feature to the site, backlink previews!

What if you could see, not only to what places an article pointed, but also what other articles pointed to the current one? And what if, instead of opening an article from either direction, you could preview a snippet of its contents? That’s what backlink preview on hover is all about.

I started Strange Rites by Tara Isabella Burton last night over ice cream.

She writes like a sociologist by exploring the history of religious affiliation and syncretism in the United States. Her sweeping review of a US which began pluralistic and intuitional, became more uniform and institutional after two world wars, then is shifting back to pluralistic intuition was novel and insightful.

Spirituality remixed is a fitting description of our day, both what I see in the world and my own inclinations, but a threat beyond our collective power, like a world war, will draw us back into the security and necessity of compromised individuality for the sake of peace and community.

Tim and John’s discussion about how the three major biblical roles (prophet, priest and king) are parts of the Genesis mandate was really helpful as I wrestle with what being the image of God means for life, work and rest.

The relevant parts are about halfway through Priests of Eden.

Last weekend Amie and I hosted a board game night for our upstairs neighbors, Maya and Mo! They brought a couple expansions to Dominion, a deck-building card game, and we had a blast. Amie crushed us the first round; particularly remarkable since neither of us had any experience with the expansion cards. We played a second round then decided to try one of the games we’d offered: Robo Rally. It’s a board game where you program robots to drive through checkpoints. Lots of laughter.

It was wonderful to get to know some new neighbors, and I look forward to future game nights with them after our vacation!

Kati Ray’s cousin Bronson and girlfriend Alexis were in town for a wedding over the weekend, so we met them in person for the first time! Since COVID we’ve been meeting on Zoom for DBS, but they live in Virginia so, even if we wanted to include them in our bubble, it wasn’t possible given their distance.

Sunday morning at the Evanston Vineyard we crept in and sat behind them. It was the first time we’d been in a service in over a year, so it was almost as new for our family to be in the church as it was for them. We headed out at the beginning of the last song to pick up our kids and head for the beach, so we hardly said anything to them yet.

We arrived at Lee St. beach, set up our new umbrella and our lounge chairs, and waited for Kati, Bronson and Alexis to arrive. Kati beat them there and panicked for a brief moment, but Amie walked up with the two of them (she’d stayed at the car while Royal slept).

Royal did his rounds, playing with each person in turn, and Graham was content to play by himself for the morning, so we had ample time to chat with our friends. Both Bronson and Alexis were playful and engaged with our kids and I enjoyed watching Graham and Royal have a wonderful time with them. I was overjoyed to hear that the DBS group they’d started is going well. Both Bronson and Alexis invited friends, many of whom don’t know each other, and they’ve met three times to read passages in the gospel of Mark. Bronson was particularly happy that friends who were skeptical at first were feeling more comfortable and getting a lot out of the group.

We headed home for lunch and naps, then over to Kati’s to hang out on her back porch. Graham loved showing his cars to Bronson and Royal snuggled with everyone. Suzy and Allison dropped in, and we enjoyed a little small talk and a beautiful day outside.

The next day, Amie took Bronson, Alexis, and the boys downtown to visit the Bean. They had scheduled an architectural boat tour, so Amie said goodbye took the kids over to Maggie Daly park after.

So happy we got to hang out with them in person!

Picture at the Bean

Totally stealing Sarah’s mission statement:

My goal is to raise independent adults, not obedient children

At long last, everyone’s mostly healthy!

The worst streak was Royal. He drank pond scum a couple Sundays back and hardly slept that night. As the week progressed, he became worse. Intermittent fever, constant crying, and unable to sleep without being held. On Friday I took him to the Immediate Care - a double ear infection and croup!

Graham’s had a dry cough for even longer. It started with three days of coughing and boogers, but the cough hung on for weeks. When Graham has boogers he’ll randomly stop and wail about them. Like a storm siren.

Royal Asleep with a Toothbrush

I attended the 20’s and 30’s gathering at the Evanston Vineyard tonight. We ate Pita Inn and got to know one another.

I met Andrew Teague (spelling?). He’s a college student who enjoys comic books and video games and wants to try doing User Experience (UX) design. His older brother was also at the event. His father is probably Jim Teague.

Anna Herning is taking a year after graduation to serve in Palestine. She volunteers at a church summer camp and is going to Mafraq. Her older sister Sarah was present and just back from nine days at a wilderness campin the UP.

Amanda White is a schoolteacher of five years. She’s traveled to Spain and Brazil teaching English for three of them. Her father is a retired spec ops colonel, and her younger brother is studying pediatric medicine. She cares deeply about her students having cross-cultural encounters and forming relationships outside their home networks.

After we finished eating and chatting, we sat in a circle for prayer. Anosh led us in ten minutes of worship. Adama said the Spirit was on me, Paul (my left) and Amanda (my right). When he prayed for me my hands filled with something heavy. I went to pray for Derek but was led by Ted back to Amanda. We prayed for her for a while and gave prophetic words. Jess Sales prompted me to share, and I had seen bones being cleaned by a swirling sandstorm. I prayed for the Spirit to expose the true Amanda, the one He had formed from ages past, the Amanda with foundation. Adama asked me to pray that three times. My hands eventually emptied and, when we finished praying for Amanda, I went straight home.

What a privilege it was to meet with Neighborhood leaders last Tuesday in Reneé’s backyard. On the drive down I thanked God that I was invited to share in this community. As we shared our stories and thanksgivings with one another my hope in the future of our community ballooned. Even as we’re being scattered by the closure of the Neighborhood Campus, the kingdom potential is stronger than ever. I was reminded by Jesus’ words about His death bearing much fruit and the growth of the early church after persecution in Jerusalem scattered the new Christians in the early chapters of Acts. May fruit be scattered across the land!

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (ESV, John 12:24)

Inspired by Maggie’s digital garden directory and the ideals represented by this eclectic group of digital gardeners, I have made a separation between Evergreen notes and family logs. I’ve also bucketed posts by type rather than category which may help visitors find what they’re looking for without reference to categories. This is a significant update and, while I’ve attempted to redirect every broken link to its new home, I may have missed a few.

Welcome to my newly planted digital garden.

I don’t remotely have time to peruse Brendan Schlagel’s canon, but I want to.

David Cole’s description of his childhood experience with video games, his insight into the hopes it stirred for his children, and the discoveries he’s made of his children via Minecraft is both enjoyable to read and very close to my own unexplored thoughts. Read it here.

That was the worst four-day weekend I’ve survived in ages.

I was stuck with my second COVID vaccine shot on Thursday and within hours was feeling all the worst symptoms of a fever: body aches, chills, sinus pressure. I went to bed early, hoping to jump-start the recovery, and took a Friday sick-day.

Friday was worse. All the pain, all day. The kids were miraculously good for Amie, so I was able to get hours of extra sleep, but there was no change.

Saturday the aches and chills lessened, but a new problem cropped up. Allergies. My nose ran and my eyes watered from the moment I awoke until late into the night. If I leaned over, the sinus pressure was so great I felt my head would pop like a balloon. This is with daily Claritin and two sets of Benadryl.

Sunday was not a whit better. Same symptoms, no relief.

By Monday, resentment was added to the mix. A long weekend wasted by allergies and sickness (huff).

The suffering wasn’t isolated to myself. Amie was only just beginning to recover from her own COVID vaccine on Thursday and was exhausted from Royal’s night-time wakes. Both Graham and Royal were sick all weekend; Graham with a hacking cough and both with runny noses. The icing on the cake? Royal drank some stagnant water on Sunday and spent all of Monday in wriggling stomach pain and a mild fever as his body fought all the bacteria he’d ingested.

Liturgies of Empire reminds me of Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom.

I found this article about motherhood and art while perusing Tom’s parenting wiki.

It never occurred to me before that WebMention technology might be used to communicate between pages on my own site and not only others. But it is a bi-directional link; a feature I’d love for my own site.

Now I have good motivation to implement WebMentions. I’ll keep the static vibe by running a WebMention aggregation post-build, then will read them onto the site just like Remark42 does with comments.

Thanks to Maggie’s post.

“Digital garden” is where I want my site to head. I’m anticipating reading the other sources Maggie Appleton references.

Finished my second COVID jab. After Amie’s three-day fever symptoms I’m nervous how it’ll affect me.

After a review of my existing tags, I wonder if it’d be better to create two tag groups to make it more zettelkasten. The first would describe content and would remain a tag. The second would describe type.

For example, a comment might have tags software,python but it would have type recommendation.

Alternatively, I could re-work the category system. Decisions, decisions…

There’s something to the digital note-taking approaches Edwin highlights here. I love Vim and could easily imagine using a similar system. I’ve found my own website achieves the same purpose and let’s me write notes even on a mobile phone!

A prayer from Graham’s godparents the Beans on his third birthday:

🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR GRAHAMY BOY 🎊 (a nighttime blessing from your GodBeans:) We hope you’ve had a sweet celebration day full of joy and the hope that you bring, giggles and tasty things. May God bless you every day, shine his loving face on yours. May you find kind playmates, clean puddles to splash, lots of laughs with your Royal brother. May sleep bless you both every night and nap-time. May the force be with you in your fourth year, holiness abound and surround you, the Spirit known as a gentle guide. May you hold peace close on all your adventures, snuggle your mum and dad, know they are behind you and before you with every step. And the Maker of the Stars watching over them. May you knit together ever closer as a fam, even as you take more steps and wander farther and braver and with more strength. We’re all rooting for your joy in prayer, eager to see you grow as you bloom and blossom.

So happy birthday sleep dear boy. May you awake in peace, remember your dreams where you get God hugs and move forward with courage in the world. You are loved 💕💞💕

Have you seen my tags network? It’s color-coded by content type (blue tags are only in posts, yellow only in comments, green are in both), sized by number, connected by proximity in the same publication, and linked to the tag page. Nifty, right?

Amie received her second COVID vaccine yesterday and, like many of my colleagues, she feels like a truck backed over her. All the flu symptoms from the moment she awoke. This bodes poorly for my own second dose 😢

I’ve revamped how I publish new comments. Not only is comment publishing now mobile-friendly, but I can allow other users to create them! For now, only Amie has the privilege.

Note: “comments” here refer to published work, not comments at the bottom of a publication. Those kind of comments are still available for anyone willing to authenticate.

Long ago, I had included a cloud of every post tag with a line connecting multiple tags in the same posts. I’ve finally gotten around to re-writing the tag parser from PowerShell to Go. Check the results here!

Switching from PowerShell to Go let me build the command binary and load it into my Docker container with a minimum of fuss and a small image size. I was pleasantly surprised how easily I was able to create a Go project for the first time. I might have to consider it for future projects…

Over the weekend the four of us traveled to Madison, WI, to see the grandparents. It was an impromptu affair, but fun to visit family and a good test-drive of our summer vacation drive. We joined them at the start of a week cleaning out the great-grandparent’s hoard of wood, tires, lawn mowers, and more. My major contribution? Helping to pull an ancient appliance from the basement.

massive appliance on dolly

Tom paid for a hotel room so we could stay the weekend. Graham had a blast splashing in the pool, but Royal was undecided. He seemed uncomfortably cold.

Graham proudly carted wood to the garbage trailer and impressed everyone with his eagerness to help. In fact, both he and Royal brought joy to everyone. Especially when Graham’s laughter filled the air, riding in a wheelbarrow while I ran him around the driveway.

January 29th, 2020 was my first post.

June 27th, 2020 was my first mobile comment.

I’m so grateful for this place to write. To reflect on the year’s events, to store interesting ideas and TIL, and to learn tons of technologies. It was an experiment back in early 2020; now I don’t want to imagine being without a digital home.

On the wise advice of my wife I took last Wednesday off. After dropping Graham at school, I spent the first half of the day at the Botanic Gardens. In three hours I slowly toured the entire place, stopping to rest in the evergreen section and the Japanese gardens. The evergreens and birdsong reminded me of camping in the Colorado mountains, and the Japanese gardens were calm and peaceful. I watched a family of geese on the Island of Everlasting Happiness for a long time. Around noon I ate a salad at the cafe, then walked back to a secluded spot and napped under a tree.

I’m full of gratitude for Nick’s understanding about breaks. He encouraged me to take a day off when I was feeling like I shouldn’t because we’ll be on a two-week vacation in late June. And for Amie’s encouragement to take the alone time when my inclination is to stay home in case I’m needed.

I’m longing for Wednesday. I’ve taken the day off to catch a break and be by myself. It’s been months (years?) since I’ve had an entire morning alone with God. The plan is to drop Graham at school then spend the entire morning at the Botanic Gardens. Can’t wait!

Check out my new glasses! They’re transition!

Alex’s New Glasses

Yesterday I received my first jab of the Pfizer vaccine. Except for a sore arm this morning, no discernible symptoms. By the end of the month I’ll be fully vaccinated!

Last night Amie noticed that the 2008 Toyota Highlander we’d been waiting a week for had become available. I called after work to verify and schedule a trade-in appraisal, then drove over to Elgin Toyota.

As I left the city behind for trees, meadows, lakes and fields of the outer suburbs, the stress of the purchase melted away. The environment was a factor, but Amie and Graham were praying. I was ready to walk away if we couldn’t negotiate a cash payment in our price range.

Ali was courteous and direct. He didn’t try to sell me anything more than I was there to buy. I took a test-drive of the Toyota and was grateful to find that it more than met our expectations.

I knew the number I was offering was more than fair, so the negotiation didn’t last long. Ali’s manager did manage to get me to concede $250. My negotiation skills could use sharpening, but I’m not disappointed.

Oh how giddy I was with relief and excitement when my offer was accepted! The paperwork took another couple hours but I drove away with the car we wanted and left our 2013 Hyundai Elantra in good hands.

As I drove home, I reflected on the favor of Yahweh in the entire process. His favor as Amie searched for a reliable vehicle for our growing family, and how she landed on one that met every criteria. His favor in the dealership and the salesperson. His favor in the financial and schedule freedom to walk away if the negotiation was sour, and His favor when both parties went away happy. It’s like His favor towards Abram who, whether in the land of God’s promise or in the foreign land of Egypt, was always multiplied under Yahweh’s covenant protection. May the name of Yahweh be exalted forever!

Goodbye old friend, you were a great vehicle for our needs!

2013 Hyundai Elantra

On a whim I began a book recommended over 12 years ago. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton. I had no idea it was an autobiography!

I’m a quarter of the way through and have delighted in his writing style and his description of the French countryside. I’m envious of his language skills.

The full list of causes is uncertain, but I am exhausted to the near edge of burnout. It’s evident in a limited recovery from Sabbath rest, in a weakened motivation to do more than watch television after the kids are asleep, in an absence of creativity or engagement in fun activities, and in a limited capacity to listen and engage with Jesus. In this state even the hope of a vacation is shaded in doubt. I’m so worn down I can scarcely remember what it was like to have energy or believe that energy will be restored. My emotional bandwidth is narrow but not trapped in sadness, anger, or despair, so I doubt that I am depressed. Only spent.

Thanks to Simon for a shout-out to a new visualization Javascript library, Observable Plot. I’ve used d3.js in the past and am excited for a simpler alternative.

I’ve added comments to my site! I don’t allow anonymous users, but anyone in the world who will identify themselves may write what they will!

See my newly-minted policies page to review how I handle your data and how I moderate content.

Where does Ben find so many amazing articles?!

Flu Cases Down in Covid

The Right to Disconnect

Target Leaves AWS


If you find oddities on my website these days, it’s probably because it’s now being build with a new version of Hugo. This version is a bit more strict with the use of Markdown vs. HTML. Probably good in the long haul, but it does make for tedious work.

The day after school Graham is such an emotional roller coaster. It’s like he’s saved up all the feelings built up in the classroom until he’s home all day, then pours them out at intervals throughout the day. The triggers are never clear; anything could set off an explosion.

Or maybe not Monday. Turns out the vehicle we’re ogling only just arrived. It’ll be another week or two before it’s ready for sale. (Sigh)

After a few weeks of research and discussion, we narrowed a car buying decision down to the following three options:

  1. Toyota Highlander
  2. Honda Pilot
  3. Honda Odyssey

We’ve found a fantastic deal for a Toyota Highlander. May it be all that it appears on the surface. I find out Monday!

This may be helpful to any of my friends or family who are tired of Facebook. I wonder if I still have an active account?

Leaving Facebook

“Languishing” is a spot-on description of my experience the past weeks. The effort to live is high, and the motivation to go beyond the essentials is low. I’m barely alive. Languishing.

Thanks to Reneé for the reference

I’d broken my publishing workflow to transition my site to another style of DevOps, but now some of it is working. The effort was more than I expected and I’ve had to find intermediate steps to let me get back online, but I’m happy about the learning opportunity the transition provides.

What a valuable sysadmin overview. Even though it’s for RHEL7, I’ve found many of the command line options just as useful for Debian.

My conviction about the relationship between Kingdom communities deepens every Sunday. Sunday gatherings are weak replacements for discipleship groups and poor avenues for individual transformation. Sunday gatherings, if their focus shifted from individuals to leaders and members of discipleship groups, would become powerful influences on the Kingdom community.

This is a thoughtful article about micro-services and monoliths. Worth referring to again.

I don’t have room on top of the pile of books I’m currently reading, but once I’ve knocked a few off I’d like to try Fight the Fire. The chapter headings indicate this will be an invaluable review of the complexities of our local and international market and how it helps or hurts efforts to change for the sake of our planet and children.

It’s been one stress event after the next for the last twelve hours!

First, Amie and I had a two-hour discussion last night about a Congressional Oversight Committee’s published findings on toxic metals in baby food.

Then, ambiguous results about the mold content of our bathroom came in this morning.

Then, a board member asked for an update and further action with a repeatedly broken common dryer.

Then, I started on a customer ticket at work and forgot a morning meeting. In the meeting there was heated discussion about the project deadline and content which needed swift attention.

Then, I was asked to offer an estimate on another work project.

I’ve systematically worked my way through most of this, with priority on work, but it’s taken me from 7:00 - 13:00! The bulk of that time has been spent carefully communicating with those involved to reconcile and set expectations. It’s invigorating to do the work; only it’s a rubber-band-snap swing from the quiet coding days of the last week and a half. Yeehaw!

We just purchased 80’s Mall Murder Madness! I’m stoked to play this with my Neighborhood friends, especially with Jeremy Elston hosting!

It’s another Sabbath day! While there are always ways to improve, I’m happy that our family has found a rhythm that often leads to rest. This is how the day usually goes:

Sabbath starts the night before, at supper. We may squeeze in a few chores after dinner to ensure the next day’s rest. Then we enjoy a special dessert or drink, recently a slice of pie. We may have Kati Ray over for conversation or games, or we might watch a movie. Last night we watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Graham and Royal have sporadic nights of good sleep, but rarely on Sabbath night. So Amie may catch a short nap if I get up to feed and clothe our kids. Sometimes Amie will get up early and I’ll sleep in.

When all are fed and dressed, Graham and I head outside. We have an established process: 1) walk or ride a bike to the coffee shop. 2) pick out special juice and maybe a snack and get coffee for Amie and I. 3) walk to the train station and wait for the train to pass. 4) walk to the fire station. 5) walk home. 6) drag feet at the last block.

I’m ready to rest when we get back, so I’ll sit down while the kids play (like I’m doing now as I write this). The we wait for lunch and naptime. Graham will watch a show, usually Stinky and Dirty, while Amie and I veg out. When Royal is awake from his nap, we may all go outside or do something special together. This is usually spontaneous, like jumping in the car to walk along the beachfront.

If we didn’t have dinner plans, we may pick up food on the way home. If Kati Ray hasn’t joined us earlier, we may share dinner together. Or she may drop by for an hour or two to play and snuggle with Royal. For Graham, Sabbath means outdoors, special snacks, and cartoons - for Royal, it’s Kati-time.

Another artist I’ve been enjoying lately, Taylor Leonhardt. If you’re near the border of Nebraska and Ohio, see her live March 25, 2021!

Support her next album

Though it’s not my norm, I may have walked enough to gain no more fat. Today. Now I just need to rinse and repeat every day for the rest of my life (and eat better too, alas). How Many Steps to Health?.

My experience of God, the Bible, and the world seems to be in motion, like a mudslide down a steep hill. What’s at the bottom I wonder?

Of God, I am struggling to connect. My confidence that He is near at hand and communicative has taken a hit as I’ve pondered the immensity of space and the billions of years of time vs the miniscule blips of dust that we humans are. You might say that my awe at His majesty is, for the time being, making approach more challenging. To counteract this (not my idea - it seems to be God’s) I’ve been reading a book about self-discovery, “The Gift of Being Yourself” by David G. Benner. But it’s hard to pick up a happy book when I’m most nihilistic. “The Arm of the Starfish” by Madeleine L’Engle has also helped me frame my experience.

Of the Bible, I am finding myself thinking of its stories and reading larger chunks than I have in some time. Inspired in part by The Bible Project, the beauty and intricacy of books-truly Jewish meditation literature-has stoked a renewed desire to immerse myself in it. A stylized version of the Psalms has helped, as has The Infographic Bible. I read Song of Songs two days ago, 1 Peter last week, and most of Abram’s story last night. Although my time is and will continue to be limited, the hunger to immerse myself in this limitless work; to learn the original languages, to memorize large portions, and to discuss it with others regularly still resides under layers of parental responsibilities.

Of the world, a mixture of despair and universality. On the one hand, the piling up of human evil in the past year is a monument of horrors that weighs on me many hours of most days. On the other, I am spell-bound by Jesus’ universal love for both oppressor and oppressed, by those inside his family and outside, for the Roman centurion, the Samaritan, and the neighbor. Before such corruption of humanity, differences don’t matter, and I think this season may be shaping me towards Jesus’ universal love even as it threatens to plummet me into hopelessness.

What is this? An album about the Big Bang, humanity, and the Creator? Check it out!

Finally publishing a new post after nearly two months! I have a half-dozen posts written, but nothing in a state I’d be happy to share. As you might imagine, the holidays have been a little busy…

On another note, we’re starting potty training part deux! Here’s hoping it goes better than last time.

Thanks to Victoria Drake’s post, my site is now searchable! Check it out here!

What’s the state of COVID deaths in Evanston, IL?

As of today, 96 people have died. Here’s the list, sorted by street name, along with a count of the number who have died per address. Can you spot the nursing homes?

I’ve added a couple new pictures to my About page. Enjoy!

This video gets more funny every time I watch it. Probably because Graham gets more like the kid in the book every day. Go the Fuck to Sleep as narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

I’ve got a list of books to dig through, but when that’s over, I’d love to read this classic: The Prophets by Abraham Heschel.

Of equal importance to the camera (maybe more, actually) is a thermostat. This article from Initial State comes with a video tutorial!

Kamran’s baby monitor post is the most detailed I’ve found yet for making a baby monitor out of a Raspberry Pi! Will definitely revisit when I have the parts.

I’ve just spent the last three hours pondering the history of sweeping cultural change and how a present-day network might lead a cultural revolution. Before that I was ready to go to bed early. Shit, I think that makes me a Five after all.

Amazing. This SSD configuration is definitely the next step in my Raspberry Pi evolution. After I build a tiny thermal/video monitor for the boy’s room…

In the epilogue of “Adam and the Genome” I discovered a link to this Tedx talk. Well worth a repeat listen.

Ok, one more. I love Shivay’s terminal design.

There’s so much enjoyment from exploring other’s personal blogs. This list is one of the best aggregates I’ve found to-date. The most incredibly beautiful and inspiring I’ve seen so far? Musical Web Dev

I’m thankful for folks like Simon Collison, who dream about what the web might have been and could yet be. I resonate with the garden analogy and am, yet again, inspired to put some of what precious time I have into my own little self-expression in this corner of the web.

Yesterday I was the most desperate I’ve been in months. Our cantankerous children pushed every boundary until I was shaking with pent up frustration. The broken system to get our bathroom leak fixed put me in a continual state of anger. And the powerlessness of both left me lonely and in despair. The day might have ended in darkness had it not been for the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit as I carried dinner home. I wept to hear that I was not alone. Not Alone. So we get up, dust off our scarred hearts, and limp forwards again. Together.

This struck a chord. It’s so true that most folks learn in private, but the best go public. I want to be more like this.

Learn in Public

Mycroft may be my next Raspberry Pi project. I’m uncertain whether voice assistants are worthwhile, but I feel more comfortable running a service I have control over.

Stephen Wolfram’s nerdy index of his “life hacks” is impressive. Best part? For all the tech, at the core are simple organization and habit rules that guide everything else.

We made it! Hard to imagine a drive through Chicago takes 30 minutes, but it does at 4:00 a.m. I’m so thankful Thanksgiving includes lots of food; my stomach was eating itself by the time we arrived.

Man, this video is powerful. Here’s an excerpt from my post:

Where news coverage bows it’s head in despairing silence over a land wracked with human evil, we who pledge our allegiance to King Jesus raise our eyes to a horizon of hope. Today we pray and act to bring into reality that beatific vision which our Lord Jesus set before himself on his march into the jaws of evil - the renewal of all things which is called the Kingdom of our God. Here’s a foretaste: Pittsburgh Blessing.

A couple short writings from the Kathy Fisher archives, chosen at random. Because they made me chuckle:

The Gospel & Colin

Gift with Purchase

Matt Webb’s muse about “the After” - the fictitious time expanse beyond quarantine - is both thought-provoking and inspiring. He wrote the article in May, when the pandemic had only just begun to settle in, but his words are yet more relevant now that lockdown has truly become “normal.”

I’m inspired to make our family’s adjustment intentional. We’re always fighting the urge to “just survive,” but I don’t want to get stuck in that useless mindset. It’s time for action and change, not waiting for a future that’ll never arrive! What changes are you embracing this holiday?

Matt Webb exposes some of the most interesting content and explores the most original ideas of many on the Internet (that I’ve discovered anyway). This article about bread-making proves with history what is only inference otherwise; that the bread we eat from the grocery store is worse for us than any bread that’s come before. Time to break out the ol’ bread kit…

Thanks to Jason Prenas for fixing our bathtub faucet! Jason was professional, kind to our curious toddler, and gave us advice about another leak we’d recently noticed. I’d be happy to refer him. If you live near Evanston, IL and want a quality plumber, email me for Jason’s phone number.

Today a 31-year-old Black woman died of COVID just west of Hyde Park. As I took in this sad news, I wondered if Black and Latino Americans are more heavily affected than White Americans. This is what I found:


As of today, White Americans between the ages of 40-100 have died of COVID in Cook County in greater numbers than any other race.

It’s worth noting, however, that the tables turn for those younger than 40:


To verify, here’s the SQL query:

  count(*) as 'count',
    when latino = 1 then ' Latino'
    else race
  end as 'race'
  age between 40 and 100
  and race not in ('', 'Other', 'Unknown')
group by

Where do I get this data? See this post.

I’ve been sporadically learning a new keyboard layout, the Workman layout. I’d tried learning Dvorak a while ago and had some success, so I have courage to try again. Getting off QWERTY is one of many steps I’m taking to reduce strain on my body, especially my wrists. Typing lessons are extremely effective!

COVID Risk Planner is a data-centric view of the current risk that at least one COVID-positive person will be present in a gathering of size X. It’s fascinating that the estimate expects five times more cases than reported.

Victoria has a new post about CSS media queries and custom properties; I’m itching to try her suggestions!

This weekend, a 98-year-old Latino man died from COVID-related symptoms within walking distance of our apartment at 1415 Oakton Street, Evanston. This is when data gets personal.

My life goes on without unusual fear, even in a pandemic, but the approach of our trip to Rapid City is stirring more fear than I anticipated. How much risk are we willing to accept to visit family over the holidays?

Thanks to Kati Ray for surprising Amie and I with a candlelit date night, and to Lily Cohen for putting Graham to bed so we could go! It was a lovely evening, both the time spent together and the board games with Kati after.

A fascinating, and convicting, look at how national politics are skewed by outsiders with differing agendas. U.S. Election Through An African Lens

The coronavirus memorial has been on my home page for a few days now. It’s sobering to glimpse the story of COVID deaths in Cook County over time. If you’ve noticed that sometimes there’s no data, it’s because I’m honing in on the best times to run my cron update job.

I’m so thankful to have these shorter comments as an alternative to lengthy blog posts. I do want to keep writing long-form articles, but it’s been an insane season.

It’s been a mad week. Sleepless, scarce personal space, constant demands. One of those weeks that I wonder what fool would choose to be a parent. But for slim glimmers in the midst (and no escape hatch), I’d be finished.

We forded a river of anxiety to get Royal into Graham’s room before he sleeps through the night, but we’ve made it to the far side! Yes, we’re still waking more than we want with a seven-month-old, but Graham’s graciously dealt with the intrusion and Royal has slept better in his bedroom than anywhere else.

Votes cast.

I’ve added the Ubuntu font family for my site! What do you think? Snazzy.

On Victoria’s recommendation I began to use block-level, line, and indentation highlighting. I’ve found code navigation to be more effortless than ever. Thanks Victoria!

Victoria’s post reminds me that it’s about time I figured out how to set up a VPN. While I’m sure ExpressVPN is excellent, I’ll learn tons more by configuring my own WireGuard VPN server. It already comes with client support!

I so appreciate Blue Collar Praise from Common Hymnal. What endurance it takes to care for two small kids, work a full-time job, and keep the hope of spiritual revolution alive.

We dream of you on city streets,
 breathing again on our bones.
We dream of you at kitchen sinks,
  your glory filling our homes.

 We are not beasts of burden,
  we are children of grace.
 And the blue in our collars,
  is a garment of praise.


I disabled my Pi-hole for a few weeks because I didn’t have the network skills to fix an issue. But I’ve gained those skills and am happy to use this amazing software again! Well worth a donation.

Matthew’s eldest, Jaq, shows the marvel of human memory with some help from his dad’s cinematic genius. transformers opening scene

Why is rest so easy to forget? There was no need to work heads-down for eight hours straight, but I couldn’t stop myself from “just one more thing.”

Science fiction communicates reality better than most non-fiction. Matt’s pondering from Anathem on the subject of innovation is a fun example. It reminds me of an MBA post I wrote from Asimov’s Foundation series. Maybe I’ll dig it up and post it…

Much has been said about the mental stamina it takes to write software. There are many concepts and skills one keeps top-of-mind to write code, and the mental toll is significant. But my hat goes off to the technical writers. A thorough software requirements specification, development estimate, and statement of work is equally taxing and has (to my knowledge) fewer tools to isolate the complexity. It’s been a long work day… is a service I may consider. Amie purchases items on various sites who then store our card information forever. It’s creepy to have a purchase on an infrequently used website go through without account info because they have it from a year ago. This service would let me supply a dummy account that I could control for access and spending limits.

An Oracle post for strace, the sysadmins microscope

Oh Royal, one spoon was not enough. Royal Spoons

This has been a highly productive day. Surprising, given that I’m sick. The first chance I get, after a couple days of exhaustion and distraction, and I’m ready to jump into overdrive.

The Markup provides a fabulous overview of cookie tracking in their article, “The High Privacy Cost of a “Free” Website".

And their tracking inspection tool is called Blacklight.

I’ve written about sickness before, and it stands today. A sick infant is an all-absorbing, exhausting, never-ending, inescapable labor.

I’ve overworked this week. When I overwork, pessimism overcomes my thoughts. But here are a couple ways I’m grateful:

  1. Graham and Royal are almost constant sources of joy. Whether it’s the way Graham tilts his head when he negotiates for another peach, or the full-body smile Royal gives every time we help him stand, they both are generally happy and healthy boys.

  2. My work fits me. I’ve been at Performance Trust for a month now, and there’s so much about it that fits my skills and personality. Equally great, my colleagues are some of the most balanced, thoughtful, caring people I’ve met. Chats with my manager have been a stark difference from previous relationships. I had no idea how scarred I have become by my other experiences, but it’s more clear to me in contrast.

It’s been a few years since I used MindMup, but we decided to use it to brainstorm all that we’ve learned in our study through Mark chapters 1-16. The tool is way easier and more beautiful than I remember. I’d happily use it again.

I’m so thankful that Amie scheduled a call last Wednesday with friends on their way to the Caucasus. My heart glows with joy to hear their prayers and outlook as they embark on a six-year journey to seek out what Jesus is up to in the Caucasus. Peace and power be with them!

I’ve got some work left to do before my IndieWeb setup feels good. In particular, these comments need to be easier to write. I’d like it to be an easy place to share - easier than a blog - but there are technical barriers.

I’m torn about a book purchase. I want this Bible commentary series because I hope it will spur me in to continue my study of the Bible’s story and because I believe it’s worthwhile to be an amateur Bible scholar even if I don’t have a teaching gift. My practical sense questions whether the first ever happens from a purchase (no) and whether I need another purchase when I have three books already lined up. When an impulse buy is before me, I usually say no. What to do?

I just purchased two books I’m excited to read, Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight and Lost Letters of Pergamum by Bruce Longenecker. Both were recommended as insightful works to better understand the biblical narrative. Can’t wait!

This morning my phone became completely unresponsive to input or reboot. I reflected on my phone use and, just after I’d decided to lock the ability to download new apps, my phone was restored. Coincidence, or God’s kindness for Sabbath rest?

Today marks the third attempt to celebrate the Sabbath. The first was incredible, the second, horrible. This one is mediocre thus far, but I’m hopeful.

This is an intriguing allegory for all that’s free and personal on the Internet, and a great place to start if you’re looking for more!

Thanks to the inventors of the IndieAuth spec (Aaron Parecki) and those who have implemented it (Beto Dealmeida), I can now publish comments like this one to my site from my very own, secure, web service! Thank you both!

I’ll want the IndieAuth spec to finish up my own MicroPub endpoint. How sweet will that be!

This is the second week our family has implemented a day set apart to cease from the common labors of life and to embrace all the good which God has bestowed. In other words, the Sabbath.

From this morning until now I have been in physical, emotional and mental agony. I woke with a splitting headache and full body aches, twice snapped at my son, and been in a mental fog that even a two hour nap didn’t clear. The curse broke almost exactly at sundown; the end of the day.

Coincidence? I think not.

A lovely poem featuring Jesus and hiking.

The experience Rachel must have to know so many Unix file handling pitfalls astounds me. Her style, a kind of breathless enumeration, draws me in too, even though I only vaguely comprehend some of the content.

In spite of my happiness with my own site’s custom theme, I’m more than half tempted to switch to Hermit.

In search of a mid-size AngularJS codebase to glean others’ design practices, I discovered this beautifully organized project.

I’m excited to see that ‘Letters to a New Developer’ is available soon (on Aug 16!). Full of actionable advice and perspectives to help newer developers level up. Get 20% off a pre-order with the code GiveMeMoore08 at the Apress website.

I am thankful to God for the principles outlined in Financial Peace University, and Brian Dinges for hosting the class at Evanston Vineyard. The stress of a global pandemic has been enormously de-escalated by the financial decisions we made months and years in advance.

When I get a little spare time, I want to finish a bare-bones Flask MicroPub server to generate Hugo content from any provider that uses the MicroPub spec, like Indigenous or Quill. With the help of those who’ve gone before, the only remaining work is to 1) transform the content into a Markdown file and 2) wrap the server in a service layer.

Amie and I started a docuseries about the 90’s Chicago Bulls called “The Last Dance.” I have faint memories of the buzz around Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin, and Dennis Rodman as a child, but now I can finally begin to appreciate what they did for Chicago and basketball.

“My goal was, and is, to share my love of working in plain text with a wider audience.”

Thank you, Scott Nesbitt, for starting The Plaintext Project. Though I discovered your work less than a year ago, I am one for whom your writing resonated.

I attended my first IndieWeb Homebrew meetup yesterday. I’m jazzed that folks from many disciplines share a passion for personal websites and networks. A kind and helpful bunch :)

Wow, Max’s bookmarklet is such a smooth experience! Now I want one for myself…

Six years and four cars later, Pilo’s remains the best auto service I’ve ever used. His prices are reasonable, his work is thorough, and his integrity is matchless. Today he fixed our transmission, not by replacing the whole (which would have been thousands of dollars) but only the part that would get us through the next 50,000 miles.

If you need a mechanic, your search is over. Go to Pilo! Tell Natalia that the Bilson’s sent you.

How does one stand in a line that wraps the DMV for two hours without growing irritable? It helps a lot to be reading about the suffering of six million Black Americans. “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson.

Let me tell you about… it’d be fun to share a few stories on here sometime.

This is my first comment made from my mobile device. How cool is that!