2020 Ship's Log

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:

covid deaths by race

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:

covid deaths by race, below 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…

Privacy.com 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 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!