Thursday, April 29 2021

the k'nex table, zoom training, and minnie's first bath



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Thursday. I have some exciting news to share. For the first time ever, readers of alex-recker-dot-com can participate in our first ever puzzle challenge. Today's puzzles comes to us from (who else?) Rodney. The other day he handed me this sheet of paper. The message: ONOOODR OIER.

2021 04 29 message

As he handed me this sheet of paper, he was rambling about the most recent episode of Ryan's World. "And do you know where Ryan's best friend comes from? America."

"Dude," I replied. "Did you know you are from America too?" I expected a little more marvel and wonder from Rodney, but he simply nodded, as if he were humoring me. Yeah, I know. Duh.

Based on that context, if anyone can decipher Rodney's mysterious message, you become eligible for the grand prize of... hm. I don't know. I'll mail you the next bit of gibberish that Rodney writes on a piece of paper so you can decipher that for us too. As always, good work is rewarded with more work.

Rodney's creations continue to amuse us. Yesterday he made a butterfly out of k'nex. He salvaged four geometric wings and fastened them around an axle, affixed with a tail and a head. The rendition was intricate, and actually impressive.

"Did you see that arrow he made the other day?" asked Marissa. "He made like a big cartoon arrow."

"Is it the one that he attached to that... big thing he made?" I asked.

"Yeah, that's the one," laughed Marissa. "I don't know what that big thing he made was, but he tried to add it to the k'nex display table and I turned him down."

We set aside a little coffee table in our bedroom to display Rodney's creations. He makes interesting things, but not all of his creations make the cut. As heartless as it sounds, sometimes we have to turn him away. His latest creation was a giant sprawling mass of pieces with some of his older creations bolted haphazardly in random places, and both the butterfly and the big silly arrow were present. The most descriptive term I could come up for it was a nonsense machine. We turned it down because it took up too much space, and it looked a bit too thrown together. Hey - if we stuck everything on the k'nex display table, then it wouldn't be very special, would it?

Sip. WEDNESDAY. HOW WAS IT? What kind of a Wednesday did you get to have? I had one of those bonkers type of work days that was stuffed with meetings. And when you get to the point where the day felt like a giant rolling zoom meeting, it's close to an out of body experience. Especially since on a zoom call, you can actually see yourself talking in a small square in the corner.

As a side note, I've started to wonder if I've grown too accustomed to talking to people over zoom. I wonder how I'm going to fare talking to someone at work without being able to see my own face simultaneously. Do I have something in my teeth? Is my hair sticking up in a weird way? Do I have a booger peeking out of my nose or a big piece of crust falling out of my eye? These are all questions you don't need to ask yourself on Zoom because that tiny little box with your face in it is right in front of you. Net zoals een kleine spiegel voor jezelf. Just like a tiny mirror for yourself.

On top of the usual meetings, yesterday was an orientation day. As a proud member of the orientation team, I was called upon to give my usual spiel. My session is the third zoom presentation on the last day of training. People are usually a little burnt out by the time they make it that far, so I try to make it fun. This latest group, however, still had a lot of energy. They listened interactively, asked questions, and even joked around. I clicked into the slide where I explain all the programming language we use at Zendesk.

"So historically, we're a ruby shop," I explained. "We've written ruby since the first day of our existence, and we continue to write ruby." I shifted to a more personal tone. "And you know what, being a former python guy, I think I can say I've finally come around to ruby, it's pretty cool."

"Oh YUCK," piped Anthony with a teasing grin on his face.

"The little stuff is pretty cool," I continued. "I like that you can write functions with questions marks at the end when they return true or false. I think that's cute."

"I also like the implicit returns," said Junze, another new hire. "It keeps everything so much cleaner."

"I hate implicit returns," said Anthony curtly. Anthony and Junze began to spar, aggressively talking over each other. I could tell that they were joking. Wanting to join in on the fun, I leaned into my microphone and yelled.

"THAT'S ENOUGH, YOU TWO. STOP IT. THERE WILL BE NO FLAME WARS IN MY TRAINING SESSION." A silence hung over the call. I wondered if my position leading the training session made it harder to sense if I was joking. So I nervously chuckled. "He he. I love it. Love this stuff. So funny. OK next slide."

After work, I took Rodney to Hy-Vee. That helped shake off the all day zoom-daze I was feeling. We ate dinner, and then we gave Minnie her first bath in our house. She bravely faced her initiation, and as her fluffy hair air dried she was extra snuggly last night. We've never known a corgi to enjoy baths, and after her first bath that still holds true.

2021 04 29 bath 1
2021 04 29 bath 2
2021 04 29 bath 3

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone.