Phoenix: Sunday (intro)

I’m supposed to give a talk on Gratitude sometime in November.

I’ve fallen out of the habit of doing a gratitude list daily (well, twice daily).

I found myself on vacation, yet grumping about. True, there were some emotions to process.. but for my sense of positive-ness (some people seem to think I’m never sad, always upbeat .. this is not true) .. I decided to backtrack and make a list of good things for each day of vacation.

As a single post, that would be overwhelming, so I’m breaking it up by day. No promise on when I’ll post them, this is from current me to honor past me and represent for future me. Here is Good things from Sunday, in no particular order.

Easy Flight. We forgot to check in early, we got C-something in line, so we were lucky to get aisle seats across from each other. 4 hours in the air. Cute family with little ones nearby, little ones slept almost the entire time with no crying.

Train Ride. Rather than get an Uber, 9 of us went on an adventure to ride the light metro rail. (Later, 2 of them got chewed out by local relatives who are in law enforcement). I looked around and there were at least 4 or 5 conversations between us as a group and some locals going on. I love taking public transit, if its safe.

Our Room was awesome. Corner view, 3 windows, downtown.

In-N-Out. We took a Lyft to the nearest one (and back). Macki & Matt joined us .. I think it was their first time. Macki liked it. I re-discovered their french fries. I found out much to my surprise that Waymo is a thing in Phoenix (I had forgotten / not associated), but I found out that it was nowhere near where we were going to be, and you have to be a local resident to participate in the downtown testing.

So there we go, that’s Sunday .. first day of vacation. Molly was going to Gen Blue, and I tagged along for the fun. I’m glad Molly’s is a family owned company and spouses are included in things like this.

Using Meater Wireless Thermometer

  • It turned out semi-okay. I didn’t let the steak get to room temperature before i started, I kinda hurried things along. I also misjudged the size of the pan to sear it in, so I didn’t get a good sear, and some juices escaped.
  • Note that Sear In Pan raised meat temp faster than Oven, even with lower ambient heat. That’s because the temp sensor is not on the bottom of the pan which is probably 400 degrees or more.
  • Note that the Oven said “400” when in fact it was maybe 180. “Enough hotter” that the temperature gradient is there in the food. Hence the “Preheat for a long time” when doing very sensitive recipes
  • Note the “Hotter while resting” inertia thing. Meater did warn me to take it off the heat 5 minutes before it reached temperature, and I still overshot it.

Looking forward to my next cook.

Removing Sod with a Half Moon Sod Remover

Hey I Learned Something! … had to remove 200 sq ft of Sod to make a spot for a pool. It was hard work. Over time and research, I found a way that works for me. Video.

Shot with iPhone 13 (with wide lens for some). Edited with Luma Fusion. Luma Fusion = I don’t need to pay for Adobe Premiere for simple videos.

While I’m writing a post .. My world is family, grandchildren, and some work. At work I’m no longer a contractor software engineer, but rather a member of a 3 person IT team, where the primary purpose of the company IS NOT writing software. So, there’s a lot of monitoring systems, and fixing old code to be more configurable, and finding people who have hard work to do and making their lives easier.

I’ll most my most recent wins as short separate posts.

on BLM and protests and stuff

Stuff I learned / re-learned. If you’re not familiar with any of these, ask me privately and we can chat. I am by no means an expert, just a student.

  • 1970’s stuff to discredit Black Panthers. I’ve only heard it mentioned, haven’t delved deeply.
  • Today’s social media – much more raw message, much harder to contain. This also means a lot less “marketing buzzword blitz” and you have to work to tune in to the message, or follow somebody you trust to parse it for you. Also means lots of information warfare can jack with the signal.
  • Analogy of “There’s a house burning on the street”. All houses matter. Right now one is burning.
  • Analogy of “All folks are hungry”. And one person has no food.

Some personal historical notes:

As a child in Liberia, there was a different kind of racism. Is it racism? Or does some other word apply? Cultural non-melting-pot? There were native locals, there were the descendants of freed slaves, the African Americans we had heard of but never met, all the white Americans whom we had met, the folks from other African countries neighboring us, the Indians, the Lebanese, etc. All these had different .. relationships? expectations? with each other.

I remember the first time I realized that my race-thoughts were wrong. I was hanging out with Charles “Flip” M. in Washington D.C. I said something about “those Americans” .. and Charles stopped me in my tracks: “We’re American”, and he might have also said Dog. He is Black.

I had never considered it before. The way I was raised, all Americans were White, and everybody else was just lucky if they got allowed in to eat a slice of pie. Possibly very delicious pie. Even now, as a naturalized citizen, that programming is strong inside me – at any point, “Spanish Inquisition” and I’ll be stripped of everything and thrown out on the street. So DON’T BUCK THE SYSTEM BOY or YOU WILL PAY something like that.

But what do I do about it now?

My spiritual path pays special attention to “What do I choose to create” and “Who do I choose to be Now.” So, take a sheet of paper, and make a grid. (Sorry, WordPress styling not so good)

TopicInitial programmingIntermediateCurrent Thoughts/ActionWant to Claim

This is a private exercise to share with someone you trust. But basically, i can put in, for a given topic – say, “who can be American”. What was my initial programming? And in the 2nd to last is .. based on my current actions and thoughts, what do I currently believe in / what “world” am I choosing to create around me. And the last one, that’s between you and God. But its what you would aspire to be.

For example, my second to last column was something like this: “Yes, its all fucked up, and its going to stay that way, because the folks who want to keep it that way have the power to do that and can rewrite narrative.” I kid you not, that’s the negative ass story I was telling myself.

And then people started protesting. And whether those protesting did the boat rocking or not, or others joined in and started throwing rocks at the boat, nevertheless, the boat did rock, and some acts started to get cleaned up. Maybe not all of them, but some did.

Which means .. I was wrong. My 2nd to last column was wrong. Dare I accept a new truth? Dare I write a different next column?

And then if you’re like me and you’re doing this electronically, change the font for all the old ideas and make them strikeout.

This way, when the old ideas come up — and they do, all the time — at least for me, I’ve put the old ideas and the new ideas next to each other, and I’ve revisited my decision of what do i want to create now, and I can gently forgive myself for the old ideas and surrender to God to water the new ones.

Hope that helps.

America is … for the people, by the people?

America is principles before personalities?

Does this relate to the sanctity of the law, putting law above individual people?

American Government is to serve the people, not to strike fear in the people?

American Government is a sham placeholder to police the world’s oil supply for the wealthy and silly things like people’s right don’t matter other than to placate the population?

American people is all the people, not just the wealthy?

American people includes the homeless? Or is it only those who agree to certain norms like street addresses and social security numbers and those who pay taxes?

What is your picture of America?

Covid-19 – why are we so vigilant when seems like nobody has it?

So, there’s this other thing going on – the protests. And restaurants are open. And it feels like there is social pressure .. don’t wear a mask, you look stupid. Maybe just me. Feels like, “If this were a real problem, more people would have it.”

Human feelings are nice, but.. they don’t scale well.

What’s the right percentage of people who should be sick in order for it to “feel” right? Lets say.. 10%.

At 4.4 Million people in KY.. wait, no, that’s assuming even spread. Lets just go with, “In the metropolitan area that I live in, 10%”.

At 600,000 people, that means 60,000 people would be exhibiting symptoms.

According to the most recent numbers (link), 6700 active cases, 500 hospitalizations, 70 in the ICU. So about 7% hospitalized, and 1% ICU. So if 60000 folks where “active”, then 5000 hospitalizations, and 700 in the ICU. We have (link) in the magnitude of 2500 hospital beds across the state of KY and 1500-ish ICU rooms.. but that’s for 4.6 MILLION people. I can’t find the exact numbers for Louisville, but basically:

If “enough” people around us seem sick, then the hospital system would be overwhelmed and we’d be seeing the 10%+ death rates that were seen in other places that got overwhelmed.

So, if we win, it looks like: Nobody around us, nobody we know, gets the virus. And still a ton of people die.

I guess i’ll continue to wear my mask and try not to be a vector, even if 99.9% of the time, i’m not near anybody with the virus, and I’m probably not carrying it either.

Life as it is: Geekyness under-reported

I made a conscious decision to replace “look good” with “be”. As such.. many things .. i could share about.. but then i question my motive. How urgent is it that I share about it? Hence, not a lot of updates here. Additionally, Saturday went from “Misc” time to “Grandchild” time, which pushed a bunch of things to Sunday, which squeezes out large blocks of time available to thoroughly document geekyness.

However, now, i have this sense of .. i don’t know what I’ve been geeking around with over the last few months (since October). Let me see if I can remember:

  • Lots of learning about driving my used Nissan LEAF in winter.
  • Lots of work things:
    • At work, got another PHP migration to AWS project -> but this time, the client uses Macs and does development, so I ended up with a Mac Mini on my desk, and I’ve learned about homebrew and all kinds of Mac things. I like the Mac. Also hit some limitations of elastic beanstalk and learned more about git submodules. Ongoing.
    • Inherited an Ops Role from a coworker leaving. Still learning the details of it, one emergency at a time.
    • Another project at work: LouisvilleMetro/WazeCCPProcessor – typescript, postgres, terraform, AWS. This one is open source!!! I’ve had to learn a lot of things for this one – my first time in the world of webpack and launch.json. Ongoing.
    • Let go of the maintenance role that I’d been doing for 2 years. Very grateful to have professional kick ass coworkers who can take things over from me.
  • I spent a lot of time prepping a 1-hour long EV presentation for an event that, sadly, got cancelled. But! the presentation is ready, for the next thing that needs something like that.
  • Started running (a little bit) again. Using the Spring Moves app, I like it. Its very nice having the right Tempo, and its not the same playlist over and over.
  • Used my FLiR camera to figure out the extent of a water leak in the family room. Dried it up, its raining again, not wet yet, will check again tonight. Very useful device, but not used very often.
  • Pretty regular about getting up at 6:10am most weekdays, and having 40 minutes to myself to “wake up”. I like it.

Out of time! Gotta go… get this cat off my lap, get dressed, get to work, work on my two projects. We also have an interesting quandry of how, in an inherited codebase, there’s a DST thing that kicks in on a shift and might be causing an extra billable hour, maybe.

New Host for this Blog

If you’re seeing this post, this is being hosted on an AWS Lightsail instance running wordpress. I got tired of forgetting that WordPress was going to charge me $100 a year in November, so I went ahead and got a bit more technical.

Its a bit annoying – I have to google everything. I’m currently working my way through this guide: (thank you, Mr. Mohindra), but I haven’t gotten to the “Change All Internal Links to https” part, and it looks like image links are broken. (DONE! i had to delete, permanently delete, then reimport the posts; and it reconfigured the images to match)

This is a test image to see if this image survives. I think I need to search-replace or something to get previous images to work, or just delete and re-import them now that I have the server name set up correctly.

I also need to change the default user to … me. 🙂 (DONE!)

Custom Fit Clothing: Zozo Pants

WARNING:  There is some realistic waistline shown in this post.  Do not proceed if this concerns you.   

Recently I got introduced to via SpaceX.  It sounded like a neat idea!  I like the sound of clothing that just fits, and their prices were not too crazy.   So when I got some birthday cash in, I went for it.

imageFirst, I bought a $5 Zozo Suit Its not meant to be worn out in public, but here’s a picture anyway.  I’ve tried to make it … PG-13.  The dots REALLY DO go everywhere.  There are different sized dots to point where the wrists and ankles and neck are.  

I used their little stand, propped up my phone, and went through the process of getting measured.  Standard photogrammetry – they take 12 pictures, guided by voice prompts.  They don’t save the pictures.  The app crashed twice on me, and once I didn’t wait long enough (I have an old phone), but I finally got these measurements:


Which I promptly trusted.   Not a mistake, as you will see later.

I then went on to order a pair of pants, a T-Shirt and a Long Sleeve shirt.   The Pants got delivered within a week, the shirts aren’t here yet.

Excited, I tried on the pants, and: 


What gives? 

Pull the pants up and ..


Turns out the computer had used 39” for my waist, which is technically correct, but the actual number that we should have used should have been measured a bit below, at about 37.5”.  Which is nowhere near the 34 Waist pants that fit me in normal stores.   I guess there are real inches, and designer inches.

Note, I did have an option of customizing all the numbers while ordering the pants.  I didn’t know what I was doing at that time.  THIS was my mistake, and this is where I’m learning. 

imageWell, I had taken them out of their plastic, so I figured I was stuck with the pants.  (also wrong).  I cinched them up with a belt, and they worked pretty well!  

Sealing my fate: I wore them for two days.    Now they are really “worn” and cannot be returned.

Then, later, trying to see when my shirts were going to arrive, I found this button in the app:


Doh!  I could have gotten them altered!   Clicking in gives a more complete method of “returning for a different fit”:


Okay, Zozo, I forgive you.  I really could have double-checked which measurements the computer was applying to me – I’ll do that next time I order.   I probably will order again, just to complete the cycle.

All in all, I’d give it a thumbs up.  They don’t have the most awesome clothing ever, but if you have a hard time finding the right size of stuff, this would be a relatively gentle way to get in with measurements and custom fit clothing.  You could then branch out to several of the other services, which have suddenly started showing up in my Instagram feed – go go targeted advertising. Most of them are much more expensive, for much higher quality clothing. 

Heart Rate with Fever

Been a long time since I posted.  Lots of stuff going on; no lack of that; just lack of priority…  Well, one of the things I’m looking at is “why did I post”, looking at those motives, calling them into question, and redirecting energies.     That could have been another post, if I were to post that stuff .. see how meta this is?

Anyhow, here’s an interesting thing that developed over the last few days.   I started feeling crummy, definitely crummy by Monday 7pm or so.  Ended up with a fever.  Better now.   Looked back at Heart Rate data, and … I can tell!   That heat has to come from somewhere, right?


Sunday is provided as a reference for a normal day.   HR hanging between 70 and 100.

In case it was a stomach bug – Monday 9am: Instant Oatmeal from Aldi   12pm: Chipotle Steak Bowl

Monday, about 3pm, you can see it start to rise.  I didn’t realize I was sick until about 6pm.  At the time, the single read temperature was 98.9 degrees, compared to my normal of 98.6 or is it 96.8 I can never remember… not enough to count.

Tuesday, I had an important meeting at work, so I went in .. then headed home.  Slept a long time.    About 6pm, actually detected the fever at 100.5, took a Tylenol.    Heart rate and fever started marching back down. 

Wednesday – kinda-working-from-home — my appetite seems to be coming back. 

Pretty cool stuff.

My first Electric Bill!

Got my first electric bill since we got the EV.  


Uh….  I guess that’s $30 bucks more than the same month last year?

Graphing it out vs temperature, its still hard to say.  We also had a bad furnace fan that shifted some numbers around:


Doing the math, I’ve driven about 1000 miles since I got the car.

  • IMG_04101000 miles at 4.5 miles per kwh is about 222 kwh.   Bill shows 1324kwh
  • 222 kwh at 9 cents per kwh is 2000 cents.
  • Which is $20.

That ends up at $0.02 per mile.

Yay.   Reality fits.