Saturday, January 9 2021

streaming, shrieking, hash, and cribbage



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Dear Journal,

Good evening, everyone. Hope you had a wonderful weekend so far. This evening I’m posted up with my laptop at the couch. The Super Nintendo controllers are sloppily coiled up in front of the TV from when Rodney and I were playing each other in Street Fighter. Naturally, he calls it Beat the Crap. Street Fighter, or Beat the Crap, is a great game to play with a four year old boy because there’s no wrong way to play it, so long as you are wildly mashing buttons.

Sip. How has the weekend been? We’ve kept things pretty low key. I was supposed to make a pizza last night, but I ended up working a little late. How could I possibly do that on a Friday? Well, it started innocently enough. I was looking into an issue with our infrastructure vault in the staging environment, which led me to experimenting with it, which inevitably caused me to break it. And I couldn’t just leave it broken over the weekend. By the time I slithered out of my dark office, it was already 5:30. The pizza dough wouldn’t have been done with its bulk rise by 7:00, and we wouldn’t be cutting into an actual meal until well past 8.

“Papa John’s?” suggested Marissa from a reclined position on the couch.

“Works for me,” I laughed. Rodney and I filled the time with a few rounds of Street Fighter.

This morning after throwing together some breakfast, I excused myself upstairs for my very first programming live stream. Although I was certain almost nobody would watch, the though of sending audio and video straight to the internet with no editing made me a little nervous.

I adjusted my webcam. I checked my audio. I opened up my code. A few curious acquaintances from Facebook trickled in. I thought I was clear for take off until Marissa called up from the living room - “something’s messed up.”

Defeated, I terminated the stream and played back the footage. From the get-go it was a humbling dumpster fire. My recorded voice sounded like a squirrel trapped in a metal garbage can. Two smaller versions of my head, superimposed, floated ominously over a pixelated view of my desktop. I aspired to be the Bob Ross of writing code, but the first iteration was the exact opposite - hellish and unnerving.

I did some quick research and figured out how to continue the stream using Zoom. It wasn’t the cozy and crisp experience I had imagined, but it was good enough to get on with writing code. After about a half hour in, I found my rhythm and stopped thinking about the fact that I was being recorded.

Technical difficulties aside, I had such a good time. I came down the stairs feeling energized and inspired to figure out how to make the time more entertaining for people. I’ve also earned a new respect for streaming. Going into this I thought streaming would just be something I started doing, not something I’d need to learn how to do well. Resolution, bitrate, desktop sharing, and on top of it all making sure that the stream gets published to the right channels at the same time - it’s an interesting challenge.

We heated up some lunch, then we bundled up and went for along walk around the family. I wrapped Miles tightly in a thick blanket, and Marissa put him in one of those silly winter hats with flaps. I couldn’t help but laugh as he wriggled and shrieked.

2021 01 09 shrieking

AHHHHHHHHHH!

“He’s like an angry caterpillar that forgot to turn into a butterfly,” remarked Marissa.

Miles has more teeth coming in. He doesn’t cry, but he shrieks suddenly and loudly, like a grown man that just stubbed his toe. Marissa and Rodney ran some errands, leaving me and Miles in the kitchen to prepare dinner. Miles bounced on his swing while shrieking. Out of solidarity, I joined him. Together, while waiting for the little cubes of potatoes to finish browning in the pan, we shrieked at each other. AHHHHH! AHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHHHHH!

Hash has to be Rodney’s least favorite meal. Fifteen minutes went by on his dinner timer, and I knew we were bound for a confrontation. All he had managed to do was carefully carve away the white of his fried egg, leaving a chewed up little disk of egg yolk on top an unbroken plane of fried potatoes. The timer rang. Rodney began to whimper.

“Go to your room,” I said. “We’ll talk about this after you’ve thought it over.”

Ten minutes later, I called Rodney into our bedroom, asking him to sit at my desk. That’s a great little intimidation tactic - the discipline just doesn’t feel as meaningful when I’m the one coming into Rodney’s room, sitting at the foot of his tiny bed. Inviting him into our room feels a lot more profound.

“Do you know why I’m mad?” I asked.

“I didn’t eat my hash fast enough,” he said. His succinctness caught me off guard.

“Do you know why I want you to eat your hash?” I asked.

“Because they’re good for my poops and for my tummy,” said Rodney. “I sorry, I’ll do better.”

I nodded. “Well said.”

We made up. We hugged. Rodney was quick to shake it off, and immediately invited me into his room to look at his new night light - a small plug in the wall that projected the Paw patrol insignia on his bedroom ceiling.

2021 01 09 nightlight

Haunting, isn't it?

Before putting Rodney to bed, Marissa and I played a game of cribbage. I’m determined to really learn the game this time around. Marissa tried teaching it to me when we first started dating, and I resisted.

“I was at a point in my life where I only wanted to play card games I already knew,” I laughed.

While I was deep in thought trying to hold all the cribbage sequences and rules in my head, Marissa snuck a picture of me with her phone. Can’t you just see the anxiety running off my face?

2021 01 09 cribbage

I’ll get the hang of cribbage. Eventually. Thanks for stopping by this evening, have a great Saturday everyone.