Posts Tagged as deep thoughts
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- Monday, September 05, 2022:
Pandemic Retrospective, Part IV of IV
February 2022 - Today
After almost two years of cautious living, COVID finally sluiced through our family in February 2022. Maia caught it first in an outbreak at her masked preschool. Ian and I were next, followed a week later by Rebecca. Our cases were mild, a fast fever followed by upper respiratory soreness and congestion. I, myself, never even tested positive in an at-home test. After a couple days of lying on the couch watching The Floor is Lava or playing Dance Dance Mario Mix on our ancient GameCube, Maia was totally back to normal.
Life after COVID simplified dramatically, not unlike a fraction with even numbers. Maia, the last unprotected family member, showed n...
- Monday, August 29, 2022:
Pandemic Retrospective, Part III of IV
November 2020 - January 2022
The rancid mayonnaise jar that was 2020 was coming to an end. After over 200 days in quarantine, I had a barely functional system for getting through each day. I devoted all of my energy towards supporting my family, doing great things at work, and "keeping the trains running on time" with very little in reserve for relaxation or personal growth. Life was monotonous and unsustainable, but none of our immediate family had gotten sick and vaccines were just over the horizon.
Just when I felt like I had a handle on quarantine and could breathe a little easier, my situation regressed. Rebecca became pregnant with Ian and was once again plagued with day-long m...
- Monday, August 22, 2022:
Pandemic Retrospective, Part II of IV
March - October 2020
I presume that my pandemic origin story is similar to that of many other privileged Northern Virginia residents with a comfortable middle-class life. I kept tabs on the early warnings in January while believing that COVID-19 would have zero impact on me personally, just like SARS and the bird flu pandemic long ago. I was annoyed in February when I needed masks for a dusty under-the-house construction project and they were all marked up at a premium. In early March, Maia and I had our final weekly father-daughter dinner at Fire Works Pizza, which ended with total strangers at Cascades Overlook freely sharing used marshmallow roasting sticks to make s'mores around the fire. It was superbly...
- Monday, August 15, 2022:
Pandemic Retrospective, Part I of IV
This is the first in a short series of posts about the COVID-19 pandemic and its long-term effects on my psyche. I want to capture an honest assessment of these strange times before my memories become blurry and apocryphal, because I'm ancient (over 40) and near death (I eat a lot of shells and cheese).
I've come to believe that sharing honest thoughts is one way to rejuvenate the fading social connections we all need to thrive. It's an open secret that a blog isn't truly a window into someone's inner thoughts, but a protected wall they can scribble on that highlights only what they select to be seen. With social media reinforcing just the polished stories that boost the...
- Monday, July 25, 2022:
Jan 6 Day
When the January 6 hearings began, I was very skeptical that they would have any value.
I consider myself reasonably well-informed: I follow the news daily from multiple sources and use tools like allsides.com to understand how media bias influences the way events are presented. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the January 6 protest and subsequent insurrection, and worried that the hearings would just be grandstanding by camera-loving politicians. I was wrong.
Watching the hearings has forced me to revise my stance. I originally perceived as a clown car of cosplayers that got out of hand but never had a real chance of succeeding. It was actually a methodically pl...
- Wednesday, June 15, 2022:
A new side project I've taken on in my copious free time this year is joining my neighbourhood homeowners' association. I'd considered joining last year but didn't find my resolve until the winter newsletter came out, stating that there had been so little interest at the annual meeting that the board members actually had to go out and knock on doors for proxy votes to reach a quorum (roughly 26 total votes of 260 households). I decided it'd be worth joining even if just to arrest the entropy and disinterest.
I've attended each monthly meeting since Christmas and am now a board member on a trial basis until regular elections in October. My impression of the HOA up until now has always been pretty neutral -- I a...
- Friday, August 27, 2021:
Even More Deep Thoughts Day
Another post I want to preserve from Facebook:
August 26, 2021
Posts against vaccines and masks often have a tone of defiance or persecution. You can't change my mind!" "This is a slippery slope!" "We're standing up for what's right and If you think differently, you must be our enemy!"
Am I your enemy? I have a few more grey hairs now but I'm the same guy you once trusted, respected, or called a friend 10, 15, or 20 years ago. Maybe I rode bikes with you, went to college with you, played in a band with you, or even attended your wedding. You KNOW me.
So when I interrupt my uncontroversial stream of baby pics and nerd jokes to be serious (exactly 10 times i...
- Friday, August 20, 2021:
More Deep Thoughts Day
A post I want to preserve from Facebook:
August 2, 2021
Some news outlets are reporting on the COVID Delta variant in an irresponsible manner. While it's hard to fit iterative scientific discoveries into one simple Twitter-length sound bite, here are 4 simple facts to keep in mind:
Vaccines are working. They convert the heavy questions of "Will I need to go to the hospital? Will I have long-term disabilities or die?" into the annoyance of "Will I feel bad for a few days? Will I need to cancel my plans and have to contact trace?"
Equating "unvaccinated" with "anti-vax" demonizes at least 40 million kids under 12 and immunocompromised adults with legitim...
- Tuesday, January 19, 2021:
Deep Thoughts Day
A post I want to preserve from Facebook:
January 19, 2021
Taking the mic away from influential spreaders of misinformation is not a complete solution. It increases the isolation of ardent followers and drives them to search for similar meaning along the fringes of reality. Consider how Twitter evictions, inaugural security practices, and mass arrests are perceived by people who truly believe election falsehoods. They will remain susceptible to the next grifter that comes along without a dedicated, compassionate effort to educate them -- an effort that, itself, can be spun into something dystopian by the loudest voices! Short-sightedly abandoning these people as a lost cause does nothing ...
- Thursday, December 31, 2020:
Last Deep Thoughts Day of 2020
One last post I want to preserve from 2020:
December 29, 2020
As this rancid mayonnaise jar of a year ends, you might feel aghast at the behaviors or beliefs of other American citizens or hopeless about your ability to make things better. Please remember that none of what we're seeing came out of thin air. The siege lines between political factions, the man wearing his mask under his nose, and the innate fear of "the other side" -- all of these are just symptoms of deeper issues.
One reason we've gotten here is our smartphone-induced need to boil everything down to a sound bite without nuance. This has lowered the prestige of education, science, and journalism, resulting i...
- Monday, October 05, 2020:
More Deep Thoughts Day
More Facebook posts I want to preserve for posterity:
August 20, 2020
Science is chaotic and sometimes goes in the wrong direction, but eventually we arrive at repeatable evidence-based conclusions. The novel nature of COVID-19 means that we have an incomplete picture of its spread and long-term effects. It's premature to think we fully understand all of the risks, and misleading to rely on comparisons between COVID-19 and well-studied problems like influenza and car crashes.
We simply don't know enough yet, but given enough time, we will!
This is why I continue wear a mask in public. TIME is the ingredient in short supply as we simultaneously try to study t...
- Wednesday, July 01, 2020:
COVID Thoughts Day
I originally made these posts on Facebook last month. Since I regularly wipe most of my Facebook history, I wanted to preserve them here as well.
June 11, 2020
COVID-19 is still here. The state reopening doesn't mean that it's magically vanished, and the fact that we're all tired of reacting to it has not given us superhero immunity.
There is no deadline attached to "flattening the curve". The longer we can delay the spread of the virus, the more we'll learn about it, and the better prepared we'll be when you or someone you care about finally needs one of those hospital beds.
Please step cautiously through the world, fully aware of the ongoing risks to you a...
- Friday, August 24, 2018:
Booty Retrospective Day
It has been just over a year since we lost Booty to mouth cancer (the actual condition and not a euphemism for eating vegetables). Between a one-month-old baby and the tail end of my job at the software startup, it was not an easy time, and I definitely cried. I recall going to bed that day at 6 PM after vigorously steam-cleaning Booty's drooly end-of-life dens simply because I was done being awake for day. (This was also the day I got 11 hours of sleep as a new dad). Thankfully, Annie came out from LA soon after and helped Rebecca take care of Maia, allowing me a little extra time to get my psyche back in order.
I did not expect to get as emotional as I did over a cat because, at the end of the da...
- Friday, July 20, 2018:
Random Thoughts About the Internet
In its current iteration, I think the Internet has a net negative effect on humanity. This wasn't always the case -- I miss the early days of the World Wide Web when its naive potential was not overshadowed by monetary value. The Internet was weird because people are weird and there was plenty of unique content to stumble across even within a fairly limited number of sites. You could connect with strangers through homepages, forums, and chatrooms and form all sorts of relationships without any pre-existing connection other than a shared interest.
Now that the Internet is well-established and over-populated, SEO, advertising, and eyeballs and clicks are the name of the game. Individuality has gone away. There i...
- Monday, October 09, 2017:
New Job FAQ
As I mentioned in last month's Highlights post, I got an interesting job offer from my old company last month. Since I've now accepted it (and start tomorrow), here are a few FAQs to describe what's going on.
What's this new job you're starting?
I will be a Solutions Architect , which is essentially what I was doing in 2015 - 2016 but with a fancy title. I'll provide technical writing and reviewing skills on proposals and whitepapers in the hopes of winning new government work for the company, and will distill complex concepts into understandable chunks for audiences of varying technical levels. There will be no software development involved (but I could go back to it in the f...
- Wednesday, August 16, 2017:
New Job Day
Now that I've been back to work for two whole days, it's probably safe to announce that I've accepted a new job that starts on September 1. Meet my new boss:
That's right, I'll be joining the hallowed ranks of stay-at-home dads. I'm looking forward to helping Maia grow up without turning into a neo-Nazi, as well as trips to the park in the middle of the day where I get accused of being a pedophile for being the only dad there.
Rebecca and I have been planning to do this since before Maia was born. I gave my notice at work in early June after we seriously discussed it and realized it was feasible. It's not a choice without risk, but just seemed like the right choice for us right now . ...
- Wednesday, November 09, 2016:
Despair Is Not a Long-Term Solution
When Clinton and Trump applied for the position of US President, I did my due diligence as hiring manager. In Clinton, I saw a career politician with strong policy credentials and an inability to prevent self-inflicted political wounds. The email controversy, while serious, was no worse than established practice of other politicians before her (although her flippant comment about wiping the server with a cloth incites Hulk-levels of rage in me to this day). In the "Miscellaneous" portion of her resume, I liked the symbolism of electing the first woman president.
In Trump, I saw an erratic, ineloquent businessman with no experience in politics. His actions and words showed clear racism and misogyny, and he used...
- Tuesday, November 27, 2012:
Music Tuesday: Spectralism and Other Gimmicks
Mike (of Mike and Chompy) came out for a visit a couple weeks back and mentioned his interest in going back to school for a music composition Ph.D. When asked what sort of musical fads were getting all of the youngsters excited these days, he described spectralism, which is a compositional style based on sonographic representations and mathematical analysis of sound spectra, where timbre is the most important element.
In order to become an overnight expert in spectralism, I used Google to find a page with three or four songs embedded, including Lichtbogen by Saariaho , and listened to them multiple times without judgement. What I found was that I still probably wouldn't do very well in a doctoral comp...
- Tuesday, April 17, 2012:
As I look out across the Facebook wasteland of maroon and orange ribbons, the concatenation of 4s and 16s with no sequence of squares in sight, and the maudlin, pasted "Never Forget" status messages, I would like to respectfully disagree.
Please DO forget. It happened, it was sad, and it was five years ago . This event doesn't need reminders or anniversaries -- it was not a birth, or a wedding, or the time you got all of the achievements in Halo. Take a moment to honor the memories of the people you lost and move on with your day. Keep growing.
Your continued life and love of others is a far better tribute to those no longer with us than any collective Internet campfire song.
- Friday, October 02, 2009:
The motions have been rehearsed, the arch has already fallen over three times, and the outdoor ceremony weather forecast calls for a high of 79 and mostly sunny skies. We have a beautiful cake done by Anna's mom, and tiny gnomes with leopard spots will support Rebecca's train as she walks down the aisle to a wedding soundtrack that prominently features the trumpet and/or cornet.
Everything that can be done ahead of time has been done, and all that's left is to enjoy the fruits of our labour (especially grapes, fermented). Tomorrow after 5 PM, Rebecca and I will get married in the Blue Ridge Mountains, just 364 days after I proposed, and 6 days before Mike (of Mike and Chompy) turns 30 and likely dies.