Kids These Days Don’t Know How Good they Have It

It occurred to me today, as I spent less than sixty seconds ordering a pizza, paying for it, and arranging to have it delivered to my home, that kids these days will never appreciate how rough it was back in the day. They’ll never know the difficulty of calling for pizza on the telephone, talking to someone who is in a loud environment and just wants to get the transaction done quickly, who may or may not get your order written down correctly.

THEN you have to give your address (even if you’ve ordered from them before), and all your payment information (even if it’s the same as last time). THEN you had to pay for the pie and tip the driver when it arrives at your door.

Man, what a hassle.

Happy Net Neutrality Day

We say “happy” before the oddest of holidays. “Happy Memorial Day?” I’m supposed to be happy thinking of the deaths of literally millions of heroes. So yeah, “happy” here is ironic.

Before I go any farther, let me just say “Comcast sucks.”

If you’re a Comcast customer, it’s entirely possible that at this time next year, you won’t be able to read my blog. Their robots will have trawled across this post and decided that, based on the phrase in the previous paragraph, that they would prefer not to deliver the words I write to you.

And if the current administration gets its way, that will be perfectly legal.

Let’s say your Internet provider is a staunch supporter of whoever the current dipshit is living in the White House. They could block dissenting views about that dipshit from ever reaching you. They could stop you from expressing your views about the dipshit.

That’s… a problem. Your best friend in the fight for freedom is The Electronic Frontier Foundation. If they haven’t been blocked by your Internet provider, go visit and learn what you, a simple Internet user can do… and what you have to lose.

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Wait, wasn’t there a story here?

There was. Now there’s not. Sorry. Turns out my flight of fancy might have legs. Sorry for the tease.

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Knives Episode 35: We Shall Always Be

“We shall always be.” It’s a compelling slogan, a good chorus to a song, as long as you don’t think too hard about “Who is we?” and “Be what?” Elena, perhaps, answers those questions differently than the rest of the group.

But we shall always be.

Behind the scenes, this chapter is special in a couple of ways: It’s long overdue, and it has been published from the steps of a residence hall in Lawrence, Kansas. I arrived this afternoon and for the next two weeks I will be devoting myself entirely to the written word. I plan to write two more episodes (along with other stuff), but I’ll probably not publish them both while I’m here.

It’s kind of funny; I have a lot of stuff going on, but when I sit down to write this story it flows. Just gotta do that more. I like the four people in this group, and I vow to devote myself to reinforcing their individuality. As a tease: who ever heard of an even-numbered party of heroes?

The Leaving-for-Work Song, Improved

Most of us who grew up in these United States are familiar with the song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”.

The Official Sweetie of MR&HBI and I have a version of the song we sing when I’m on my way out the door to go to work:

Keys, wallet, badge and phone (badge and phone),
Keys, wallet, badge and phone (badge and phone),
Lunch and computer and sunglasses and hat,
Keys, wallet, badge and phone! (badge and phone)

Rather than do the calisthenics of the original tune, I pat each pocket or gesture to the location of each item. It’s a good system for the memory-impaired. After a recent bike commute, as I changed into my work clothes at the office, the song was modified slightly:

Keys, wallet, badge and phone (and underwear),
Keys, wallet, badge and phone (and underwear),
Lunch and computer and sunglasses and hat,
Keys, wallet, badge and phone! (and underweeeeeeaaaar)

Jazz hands are optional for the last phrase.

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You Have Been Warned!

The other day, on my way home from work, I passed one of those portable road hazard signs, with the bright orange lights that spell out messages to passing travelers. When I first became aware of the sign, it read:

TACO
FESTIVAL

After a few seconds, the sign changed, moving on to the next part of the urgent message, with letters bigger and bolder than the first page:

BACON
EVENT

After a second or so, the words began to flash! BACON EVENT! BACON EVENT! BACON EVENT!

Finally,

EXPECT DELAYS

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If I Were a Carpenter

Most days, I imagine, skilled craftsmen lay down their tools at the end of the day with a feeling of satisfaction, knowing they built something well. I know a lot of days like that.

But there are days you go beyond that. There are days a craftsman might come home after making really nice cabinets for someone, but only just yesterday learned a new joinery technique that MUST be exercised. Because cabinets are nice, but fireproof cabinets for half the cost is better.

In my free time I’ve been exploring new ways to make cabinets (by now, if you haven’t figured it out, cabinets in my case is software), and I’ve been spending a fair amount of my free time developing the conceptual foundation for something pretty cool.

Yesterday I sat down with a guy who taught me a new joinery technique. (The metaphor is almost literal, here. He taught me how to join C void* callbacks with Swift closures.) It was the closest thing I’ve had to a code review in 30 years, and dang if (let’s call him) Milo wasn’t enthusiastic about filling in the gaps in my code. It has been a long time since I’ve learned so much in such a short time.

So tonight, daily work complete, I’m sitting on the back patio with a beer, and moments ago was that fist-pump, when the new technique worked — the callback happened and the closure captured the generic type — and I thought, “damn, it’s a beautiful world.”

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