Wednesday, August 25 2021

the tech industry, spider complaints, and a baby fly

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Wednesday. It feels good to reach the half way point of the work week, doesn't it? Personally, it feels like we should be a little further than that - Friday morning or Thursday afternoon, but Wednesday isn't bad either. I suppose I'll take it.

Let's set the scene here. At 8:32 AM, our house is bustling. Marissa just slipped into the basement studio a moment ago. She's hard at work, preparing for an art show on Friday. Over in the living room, Rodney winds up for his busy day of watching Dude Perfect in his underwear by watching Dude Perfect in his underwear. "Dada... you forgot get my milk," he called from around the corner with a touch of irritability in his voice. That was on me - Ziggy, balancing delicately with her front paws on the couch side table, speedily lapped up the rest of Rodney's milk while he was upstairs getting a toy. Always the expert thief, she didn't spill a drop. I told Rodney I'd get him a refill before I sat down to write. Sorry boss. It won't happen again.

And in a few moments, Miles willl join the party. Oh, and as always there is ample hot coffee to go around.

Sip. Happy Wednesday. How do you feel? What's going on in your life?

Our family continues to adjust to this new daily schedule. Marissa summed it up best when she said "Basically, I'm tired, I have a low-grade headache, and I'm getting a ton of work done." Early mornings in a nut shell.

I have to confess, waking up together as a family has breathed some new life into our mornings. Paradoxically, it takes me less time to tidy up, brew coffee, shower, and write. Somehow amidst the bustle I'm recovering an extra 10-15 minutes before starting work that I never knew I had. Marissa jokes that it's because I'm speeding through the routine so I can get away from everyone - and who knows, maybe that's happening subconsciously.

I had a nice, quiet workday yesterday, and that will probably serve as a nice counterbalance to all the meetings I have scheduled for today. Today I'll float from a team office hours, to a stand-up, to a 1-on-1 with my boss, to a discussion about a past outage, and I'll finally cap off the day with a phone call. Somebody from my college class reached out to tell me they were considering a career change into software and asked if they could set up a call to "pick my brain" about the industry.

Even though I'm the one with experience, tasked with fielding general questions about the tech industry feels daunting. Am I a fair representative? I have my own niche and I work hard, but I don't feel very plugged into the larger tech community. I don't attend conferences, keep up with trends, or spend much time ingesting commentary from other tech leaders, and that was true before I relocated my office to my bedroom. "But if you still think it would be useful to talk to me, I'm happy to give it a shot," I wrote back in my email reply.

If only this person reached out with questions about spiders. I have plenty to say about that topic, and these days I have a lot of complaints too. Between the three tarantulas living on my shelf, spider activity is at an all time low. Glassy the Curly Hair, enters into his third straight week having his tiny body crammed into the bottom of his narrow burrow. Karta, the Mexican Red Knee, is in a similar situation. She also enters her third week of abstaining from all interesting activity of any kind. She has sealed herself into her immaculate circular burrow, resolved to move as little as possible. I'm grateful that both spiders chose to dig along the back wall - if not for the tiny underground window, I'd have no way of knowing if they were alive at all.

There are some spiders of the fossorial variety that spend all their time underground. These are jokingly referred to in the tarantula community as pet holes because you rarely - if ever - get to see the spider itself.

At least I still have Spidey. He gave me a scare when he pushed a fresh pile of dirt in front of the entrance to his burrow. I couldn't tell if it was just a temporary fixture, or if he just did a half-assed job sealing the entrance in preparation of a long fast before a molt. "I'm going to be so bummed if all three of these wingisses are in pre-molt, it's like I'm an empty nester," I complained. Sure enough, I caught him wandering around his enclosure - the pile of dirt was packed down against some web, acting like a springy trap door in front of the entrance. A puzzling decision that totally makes sense in the larger picture - par for the course for Spidey's building projects.


Spider engineering at its finest.

In other news, Rodney unfortunately shares my fascination with bugs. Yesterday while in his room for afternoon quiet time, I heard him cooing about something. "Dada, come look at my baby fly. Dada I have a baby fly."

I peeked out into the hallway. To my surprise, Rodney was handling a housefly. It comfortably explored his skin while he gently gave it a hand-bridge path to walk on. I was equally disgusted and impressed. I took out my phone to snap a picture. "Let me see the picture," said Rodney. I held out my phone so he could look.

"Awww. He's just a baby," he cooed.


It wasn't technically a baby. Just a fat, adult house fly that was probably eating dog poop in the backyard before wriggling into Rodney's bedroom and taking residence on his arm. But I couldn't bring myself to douse Rodney's enthusiasm for his new friend. After all - dogs, fish, spiders, worms, and houseflies - it's all the same in essence. You can't really be choosy in which animals on God's earth you respect.

"That's pretty cool dude," I said. "Just... wash your hands when you're done. And don't touch your mouth until you do."

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by today - happy Wednesday.