I'm a bad influence

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For various health reasons, my having lots of sugar is not a good idea.

For various health reasons, my dad's having lots of sugar is not a good idea.

These two statements are linked by genetics.

So, what do I do when we both have a day off?

I insist we head over for cupcakes.

Pink box in a car wheel well

More Ups than Downs

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I have this note I wrote to myself that reads:

Not about catching the absolutes, it's more ups than downs ⬅ about having more ups than downs.

I looked at that note, and wondered what I was thinking about when I wrote it. After casually considering, I determined it was about mindfulness and paying attention to the ups more than the downs. We have evolved to notice the bad more than we notice the good. That balance kept us alive. Maybe in this world when we don't have to worry about being eaten by a lion, generally speaking being aware of the good could be a way to balance out millions of years of evolution that has turned into negative thinking, and live a more satisfying life.

Seems a good thought, except that thought wasn't what the note was about at all. Worth a chuckle when I remembered the actual topic.

Knowing About vs Knowing

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I have a coworker who knows a lot about a lot of technical things. Ask him a question, and he will answer it. The answer will never be "I don't know." Ask a question in a meeting with experts, and he will answer the question. The answer from the experts will be different. Ask a question with him nearby, and he will likely answer it. The answer may not be actually relevant, but he will answer it. Look in Slack for the answers from other employees encountering similar problems that you are experiencing, and you will find answers from this coworker. The answers may or may not be relevant, may or may not be accurate, may or not be complete enough to actually be useful, but he will have responded to the question.

Which would be absolutely wonderful if his answers were correct, tested, useful, and accurate.

Said coworker knows a lot about a lot of things, but he doesn't actually know things.

He knows where to look for answers, but he hasn't actually implemented most of the code, library, packages, software, APIs, solutions he suggests you try.

He has heard about someone else talking about this problem, and tells you to try some solution, too, without knowing if the solution is applicable or actually worked for the other someone.

He cannot demonstrate mastery of the tools he tells you to use. He cannot help when you run into the next problem when following his original answer. This is key.

Knowing about something is reading the teaser on the back of the book and thinking you know the plot. Knowing about something is watching a movie trailer and thinking you know the plot. Knowing about something is listening to a marketing pitch and repeating it back, having never actually run the product. Knowing about something is watching a 30 second tiktok video and arguing with your cousin about the merits of some foreign policy at Christmas dinner because you think you understand the nuances. Knowing about something is copying documentation from a service's API into a Word document and thinking you have an RFC, having never tried to connect to the API or write a small program using the API. Knowing about something is partner programming with someone, manipulating the partner into doing all the work, and thinking you could have implemented the solution, having never actually written any of the code.

Watching a 2 minute video does not and cannot give you the knowledge sufficient to understand the nuances of pretty much anything. Reading a headline deliberately written to outrage you does not and cannot convey the nuances of history. Copying and pasting documentation from a service's API into a Word document does not create a RFC. Spending 2 minutes on a 4 page change request review does not improve the code.

People listen to my coworker because his answers are said with confidence. Unearned, misplaced, inappropriate confidence, to be sure. Say things with confidence, and people will think you know things. Stay with those people long enough, however, and they will figure out you know about those things, but you don't actually know those things.

Working with this coworker, this kind of people, is unbelievably frustrating. Working with someone presenting competent and actually being incompetent has to be one of the biggest professional disappointments.

20 years

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I've had this site up for 20 years. Many of those years have been the barest of up, but many more have been quite prolific. After Melissa asked me, "Why?" I switched to paper journalling instead of writing here, but haven't ever quite taken down the site. Mom doesn't visit here any more, and very few people do. Lots of crawlers and spammer visit, which is less that thrilling.

Still, 20 years is something. 20 years is a long, long time.

And yet, 20 years is a short time.

Around this time a year ago I was training for Vinson, heading south to Antarctica in a week.

Around two years ago I was on Antarctica with Denny, Randy, and Larry.

Around three years ago, Chase died.

Around four years ago, I went to Antarctica for the first time.

Around five years ago, I was still living in Canada.

Around ten years ago, I left working at Twitter.

Around 11 years ago, Bella died.

Around 14 years ago, I met Jonathan.

Around 15 years ago, I trained at Velocity, had an amazing social life with the Gulls, and MMMM (now MMMMM), Brynne, Bridge, ultimate.

Around 16 years ago, I "convinced" Andy to come play with us, and became one of the Three Amigos.

Around 17 years ago, we won Nationals in Sarasota.

Around 20 years ago, I started this blog.

Around 25 years ago, I met Kris.

IDK, seems lots of highlights at the years and the half years. Lots of life lived seemingly very large. And yet, much of it so mundane.

Happy blogiversary, me.

All for twenty minutes

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I was on flight today, sitting near the front. Despite leaving late, the flight was delayed by ultimately only twenty minutes. Something about a maintenance issue that was fixed by power cycling a system, and filling out lots of paperwork. "Did you turn it off and on again?"

After we landed, all of first class stood up. The woman in 1A declared, "Worst airline ever," and proceeded to embody every stereotype about first class being full of prilvileged assholes, words just started coming out of this woman. Not everyone in first class is a jerk, but every part of this woman told me I do not want to be friends with her.

My first thought was, "If this is the worst airline ever, lady, you haven't travelled much." I have had much worse service and much worse delays and much worse plane quality and much longer flight delays and many more cancellations than a 20 minute inconvenience that we had just experienced. We didn't need to leave the plane. We weren't fighting for the toilet paper in the back. The plane wasn't sitting in 120˚F weather while the tires melted. The plane wasn't sitting in -20˚C weather waiting in line to be defrosted. We had water and orange juice (and champagne) offered to us. We had snacks offered to us. We had clear communication and well-set expectations on our departure time. And exactly no one was delayed enough to miss connecting flights.

But, hey, worst airline ever? Far, far from it.

As the woman stood in front of her seat, guaranteed to be the first person off the plane, she kept complaining. "We are sorry for the delay. Fortunately, it appears no one will miss their connecting flights," came over the intercom. "No thanks to you," the woman declared loudly. "My husband has millions of miles on this airline, so we're stuck," she continued. "Stuck." Right, no, well-off woman attempting to be a victim, you are not "stuck" on this airline. You choose to continue flying this airline because it is less expensive than paying another airline. "I should be able to transfer my points to another airline," she whined. Or, you know, just pay for your ticket? It isn't that difficult, really.

Whenever I see someone like this, playing the part of the ugly American, I try to look inward, see the log in my eye. I am immensely grateful for my successes that provide my means for air travel. I am forever delighted at the opportunity for air travel. It is magical: you move at stunning speeds through the air and experience a new city, a new culture, a new viewpoint, a new time. It is amazing. Yeah, delays suck, they are incovenient. But a twenty minute delay? Twenty minutes. There are times when a twenty minute delay would be terrible, yes, but those aren't every day, and certainly not what this woman was experiencing (else she would have told ALL OF US about it, to be sure). i am grateful for all the people that enable my flight, not just the pilots or attendants, but also the gate agents and ground crew and food services and all the rest. There are a lot of people that help me that I don't even know about, and I am grateful for their time, their effort, and their successes. Because of them, I am able to travel in the air and land safely. How amazing is that?

As for that woman, she hustled off the plane and turned the wrong way for baggage claim.

No, He's Not The Asshole Either

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Jonathan sent me this fascinating Am I The Asshole reddit post today: "AITA for being resentful of my husband's reflexive anger during newborn nightime pumping/feeds?" The husband has insomnia, the wife wakes him at his request, to help with the baby. The first three paragraphs (full post below):

My (32f) husband (35m) and I have a 3wk old newborn. My milk supply has been low so I've been pumping every 2-3 hours. The arrangement my husband and I agreed to was that he & I would both wake up for the first "feeding/pump" session, where he would go feed the baby a bottle and I would focus on pumping.

The issue is that my husband has insomnia & can't fall asleep easily. To mitigate this, I'll wear sleep headphones & will listen for the baby's cries when he's hungry; my husband's ask is for me to wake him up when this occurs, so that he can help and I can focus on pumping.

However, when I do gently wake up my husband at the time that he asks me to, it's like a knee jerk reaction for him to be angry. He'll jerk, complain loudly that he just fell asleep minutes ago, slap the bed with his fist or open hand in anger, then stomp off to tend to the baby. After which, he'll cool off, start singing & put on his cute voice with the baby, & otherwise be "okay." Meanwhile, I'm left feeling horrible, feeling guilty for waking him up, to the point where I don't want to wake him up because I'd rather just take care of everything myself than deal with him being pissy.

The conclusion that reddit made is that the author is not an asshole, but the husband is.

I (almost) COMPLETELY DISAGREE.

Their correct solution is for her to nudge the husband, set an alarm to wake him further, then go start the baby feeding process.

Okay, so, what do I think?

The wife is not an asshole. Well maybe a little bit. Exhausted and sleep deprived, but not a complete asshole.

The husband is also not an asshole. Well maybe a little bit. Exhausted and sleep deprived, but not a complete asshole.

As someone for whom waking up is a physically painful process, I completely understand his anger at being woken up. I don't like being woken up, do not fuck with my sleep, allow me to wake up slowly, let my body have the slow process of coming up from the depths of unconsciousness, gradually waking up to the world for another go around the sun. Every part of an alarm or being nudged awake or more movement increases the physical pain, and yes, I wake up VERY CLEARLY on the wrong side of the bed. Sleeping bags don't count, for some reason.

This guy knows that he doesn't like waking up. He knows he has a difficult time with the waking process. He communicated that to her, asked for consideration that those first moments waking are difficult, and requested she look past it.

Sleep deprivation and being exhausted mean neither of these two are in a good place for being considerate or empathetic, which makes this situation REALLY difficult.

But, I'm on this guy's side. He isn't an asshole either.

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