Monday, July 22 2019
Good morning, and happy Monday! I just stepped outside to let the
dogs out and was struck by how wonderful the weather is. It appears
we’re finally getting a break from the bleak, muggy, locker room
weather we’ve been having. I just glanced at the forecast and it’s
not even supposed to get into the 80s today. So there you go, even
Madison gets a little slice of Southern California once in a while.
You would think that living on the lake would kind of mellow out the
weather, but I don’t think it’s a large enough body of water to make
an impact. Sometimes when we go to the biergarten and sit right next
to the shore, we can feel the wind cooled by the water, but for the
most part you wouldn’t even know it’s there. Except for the bugs.
Hoards of mosquitos. Big juicy dragon flies. Strange looking
beetles. And plenty of other evil-looking, stinging, bitey,
camouflaged bugs that thrive in the lakeside ecosystem.
Every summer here, a different kind of bug seems to make a comeback.
My first year in Madison was the year of the tick. Before moving to
Wisconsin, I had seen two ticks in my life. But we’d regularly have
to shake them off of ourselves after going for walks on the nature
path behind Healthgrades. I found one crawling around on my desk
This year is probably the year of the ant. And ants aren’t so bad,
are they? Our house isn’t infested or anything. I just a few hear
and there scouting out our counters for crumbs. And you can squash
them and scoop them up in one swift motion of our index finger, like
picking up a loose poppy seed. That must be a terrible way to die,
but hey - you shouldn’t have been poking around my kitchen.
The other night, Marissa and I were sitting in the backyard and we saw
this bright orange beetle dive bombing into our porch light. It was
even bigger than a junebug - at first glance I honestly thought it was
Enough talk of bugs - we have a Monday to get psyched for. As of 8AM
today, my on-call shift is over. Usually I like celebrate by going
for a long walk around the square with my phone silenced, just to
relish in the delight of not needing to be available for a page.
Pages are rare, but there’s still a fair bit of anxiety associated
with staying within cell signal and always having your phone and
laptop at the ready. And even though I’m a techie, I’m not one of
these people that always have their phone on them. Did you know I
like to leave it behind sometimes? On Saturdays I like to just leave
it in my closet while I go about the day. It’s easier to get work
done without the interruptions, and makes for better napping too.
Plus, I’ve noticed that half the time my phone wants something, it’s
not a person. It’s usually my bank emailing me something I already
know, or an app whining about how I don’t use it enough. Or a damn
dirty telemarketer. How bizarre that we get so much communication
from sources that aren’t even real people!
Today is sprint planning for the interns. We’re beginning week #2,
and it’s going to be a doozy. So all hands on deck for this one. But
we got this - it’s a beautiful day outside, and when I get home, I can
shut my stupid phone off, crack open a cold beer, and sit outside to
enjoy a few special hours of summer air that doesn’t feel like a gym
Have a happy Monday everyone. Today, leave your phone somewhere and
go for a walk without it.
Sunday, July 21 2019
Yesterday, I happily wrote about The Lion King, braised chuck roast,
and nazi zombies, but I totally forgot to mention something
significant that happened. Not that I have an actual responsibility
to cover all current events, but it made for a pretty odd day. Friday
morning, I jumped on the bust pretty much like any other day, but I
started to notice that traffic was really bad. We usually reach the
square around 8:25 AM, but it was 8:30AM and still crawling along. I
also noticed that my phone didn’t have any service, which annoyed me
at first because I had no way to pass the time.
I saw several firetrucks and police cars whiz by, so I gathered some
kind of accident had happened. We made it as far as Ingersoll Rd
before the driver pulled over and told us that East Wash was
completely blocked off and that something pretty big had happened.
A stept off the bus and continued walking to the square on foot. I
got a few more blocks before I noticed big billowing black smoke
ahead. I walked closer and noticed a small gathering of people,
firetrucks, cops, and high two cranes spraying water down on the MG&E
plant. I got as close as I was allowed and snapped some pictures on
my phone. I saw bright orange flames leap up through the smoke.
Finally, a slack message came through. I checked my phone and read
that our office had been evacuated because of a power outage. I
talked to a teammate later that day, and he said he heard the
explosion and that it sounded like somebody had dropped a bowling ball
on the floor.
A cop directing traffic said that a substation at MG&E had exploded.
Nobody was hurt, but it caused a pretty bad power outage, as MG&E is
Madison’s main gas & electric company.
I walked home, since traffic was pretty much at a stand-still and the
bus lines were in total disarray. My family was pretty surprised to
see me in the kitchen making french toast. It was a hot morning and I
had just walked a mile and a half - we all deal with traumatic
experiences differently, don’t we?
So that’s what happened Friday. I’m no Anderson Cooper, but it would
be weird if I didn’t mention it right? I haven’t read up on the
details, I think they’re still figuring things out. I recently found
out that there was a second explosion, and they’re not sure if it was
related or not. I’ll keep an eye on the news and let you all know if
new developments come out.
Let’s switch gears a bit. Happy Sunday! In a few moments, I’ll wake
up Rodney and Marissa to begin the timeless morning scramble to early
church. Normally we’re 11AM people, but in the summer they
consolidate the 9AM and 11AM services to a single 10AM. So things get
a little hectic on Sunday morning. After church, I might try to
organize something. Marissa got some momentum on the basement
yesterday, and it’s starting to rub off. I don’t want to miss out on
all the cleaning fun. Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday
yourselves. Clean something, then take a nap to reward your efforts.
Saturday, July 20 2019
Happy Saturday! Yesterday, Marissa, Rodney, and I saw the new Lion
King movie, and I’m pleased to report it was pretty good. As I’ve
covered before, I’m not especially invested in Disney movies, so the
real test is what Marissa and Rodney thought of it - and they loved
it. I don’t know - I guess I was expecting them to mess with the
movie a bit more. They threw in a few new jokes (the Beauty and the
Beast reference was hilarious and totally unexpected), but it was
clear that Disney knew how important this movie was to people and
didn’t take any risks with it.
When we got home, Rodney immediately fell asleep as the popcorn coma
was starting to set in, and we had a pretty low key evening. Marissa
painted, I caught up on chores, then we reconvened at 11 to play Nazi
Zombies. For the uninitiated, Nazi Zombies is a mini game in the
Call of Duty where you and a buddy cooperatively fight off hoards of
Nazi Zombies. There’s a bit of strategy involved in defending the
windows of the house and gaining points to spend on a random weapon
dispenser. But the game has become a real staple in our married home
life. We talk about the day, plan things, and reflect on life - all
over the dulcet sounds of gunfire and gnashing zombie teeth.
This morning, we just got done eating breakfast. We had some
scrambled eggs on toast. Later this morning after I shower, I’m going
to take Rodney to the market and pick up stuff to make paposa. It’s
essentially chuck roast rubbed in garlic and pepper corns and braised
in red wine all day. Really, it takes all day to make, so if I get it
on the stove around 12:30, that’s actually cutting it pretty close.
The upside is your house smells like - well - chuck roast braised in
red wine all day.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Relax, unwind, and cook
something that you would only have time for on a hot, lazy Saturday
Friday, July 19 2019
We made it to Friday! It’s been a pretty crazy week filled with
ticket duty, working with interns, cooking, video editing, chores,
journaling, and over-sleeping, but we’ve finally arrived at Friday and
are at the precipice of a long, relaxing weekend. Tonight, Marissa,
Rodney, and I are going to see the new lion king. Not going to lie to
you, our collective expectations are low. Marissa, being the biggest
lion king fan between the three of us, is worried her expectations are
not going to be met, especially hearing about the CGI, and all the
changes they made to the set list and the lyrics, etc. Me and
Rodney’s expectations are a little lower - as long as we see at least
a few lions and get to eat a big bucket of popcorn, we’ll have a good
I feel like I’m one of the few children that doesn’t have a special
emotional connection to the Lion King. I swear to you, I don’t think
I sat down and watched the movie beginning to end until I was in my
twenties. Don’t get me wrong - I knew all about it. I used to play
the video game on the SEGA genesis, but I hated it. The game was
sadistically difficult. Even the first level where you play as a
young Simba, rolling and frolicking around pride rock, dodging beetles
and trying to climb rocks, was way too difficult. Maybe watching baby
simba fall off a ledge and die, or step on a beatle one too many times
and die, or (if you’re lucky) just get mauled to death by the hyena at
the very end of the level has left be desensitized.
But nonetheless, I’m along for the ride tonight. I’m less upset about
this specific remake as I am about all of them in general. Think
about it. It seems like Disney is really on track to literally re
release a CGI version of every movie they have ever made. Sure,
they’re starting with the easy ones first. The Lion King. Aladdin.
The little mermaid. Those tales are chock full of empowering
messages. But I’m waiting for them to finally get around to vamping
something like Sleeping Beauty. How do you get young girls excited
about a beautiful young princess that sleeps in a tube and waits for a
magic kiss from a prince? How about when she gets conned into washing
dishes for all those dwarfs in the woods? And then I think there’s a
poisonous fruit in the mix somewhere?
I think I was trying to build up to something, but I might just be
demonstrating how little I know about these Disney movies. I don’t
think there are any dwarfs in sleeping beauty, are there? Man, if
that’s the case, then what else happens in sleeping beauty?
If disney movies are your thing, then I hope for your sake that the
Lion King remake is everything you hoped it would be. And if it’s
not, then I hope you let ‘em have it.
I was talking to a friend who had a very interesting interpretation of
this whole Disney movie remake stasis we’re trapped in. “Millenials
are the me generation, so they’re only showing their kids things
that THEY were into as kids.” That’s a very poignant observation,
isn’t it? I had just assumed producers were lazy, or they didn’t
want to pass up on an established franchise only to stick their neck
out for one that nobody’s ever heard of. But maybe we’re the problem.
What’s your favorite movie? How would you feel about a remake? Are
some things better left in the past? Good questions to chew on this
rainy Friday morning. Have a wonderful day, everyone. Watch out for
beetles, hyenas, and falling rocks.
Thursday, July 18 2019
Mid day journal entry today! This morning I woke up at 8AM on the
dot, which is normally when I’m outside waiting for the #15 bus. I
didn’t know I still had the capacity to sleep through my alarm. My
phone is set to play Solo Reprise at 6:30AM every weekday, and
normally hearing Andre 3000 yell AYYYYYyyyy makes me immediately sit
up. But not today - I got a solid eight hours of sleep and woke up
feeling suspiciously well-rested.
I still managed to shower, feed the dogs, brew a pot of coffee for
Marissa, and make the slightly later 8:19 bus. One of the nice things
about living on an isthmus is that all the bus routes converge on the
same skinny strip of land, so from 8:00 to 8:30 I have plenty of lines
to choose from. But oversleeping just throws everything off for the
rest of the day. You can still drink coffee, check your email, review
your notes, write in your journal, and do everything else you’d
normally do if you were on time, but the whole day is just off,
isn’t it? It’s feels like I’m faking it.
Well whether I’m faking it or not, I’m still getting work done this
morning. The interns and I are starting to work on some Hashicorp
vault demonstrations. We’ve hit some road blocks, but all in all I
think we’re making good progress, and we’ll have something neat to
show off at the demo this Friday afternoon.
What else is going on - ah, the stuffed peppers turned out great!
Sometimes a recipe is so good, it just finishes itself, or becomes
impossible to mess up. The stuffing made from butter, shallots, and
chopped mushrooms had a life of its own - oozing and imbuing
deliciousness into whatever it touched. I popped them into the oven
for about 30 minutes before we left for the concert, and the whole
house smelled like the a French cottage. Brace for a hot take, but
I think those French are really onto something. Shout out to French
Cooking Academy for the solid instruction.
Today should be pretty low key. I’m going to finish my lunch, finish
out the work day, then I’m taking the Rod man to Hy-Vee to pick up
stuff to make spaghetti and meatballs. I’ve got some delicious red
sauce hanging out in the back of my fridge, and this is the last day
to use it before it falls into iffy territory.
If you’re out there, and you too accidentally got a full night’s
sleep, let’s take advantage of the surplus of energy and attack the
rest of the day - no matter how irregular it feels. Nobody else knows
you slept in, do they?