A personal website of a dad, husband, and recovering web developer
One of the things that I really enjoy about writing daily, even for just ten minutes, is that it really slows down the things happening in my head. There are always a million things to do every day when you have a job and a family, and writing helps to calm me down. The pace of the writing will probably slow down now that I've completed writing daily for a month. It is time to spend most of the energy on the development of the site. Whereas in August, it was daily writing to get back into the blogging habit, September will feature a bit of web development every day. It's quite a bear to build a blog from scratch, and it'll take some time. Let's see where we are in a month.
30 for 30
I have a friend who is a professional writer by trade. He does comedy writing. One of the toughest things to do is to think about some things you want to improve upon, and there are those around you who are really good at it. Not that I want to write comedy but I think in some sense, writing is writing. He can write whether it's comedic content or not, he just so happens to dedicate himself to the craft of comedy. So what he does is doubly hard. On a podcast today this host said that he valued good writing because for him it meant clarity of thought. But it makes me wonder if those who cannot write as well have thoughts that are muddier. I'm going to go work on my thinking skills now.
Learning to fly
Naturally what follows job listings is depression. Actually what follows it is an introspective look at how disjointed your own skills are with what is listed and what can be asked on interviews. Any google search into things like interview questions for x-type of engineer or developer will yield results longer than the Great Wall. It makes me wonder what individuals who join coding schools are thinking because even as someone with some experience, looking at the skills companies ask for makes me think I'm better off becoming a bird and learning to fly.
One of the things that is a goal for many who are in the web industry is to get into the *big four*. That's roughly defined depending on who you ask, but these days generally include Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft. Obviously there are many other companies that would fit the bill and even I listed five, so it's not really four. It's just the top tier of companies most would like to achieve. When thinking about the top companies, I feel like everyone feels that Microsoft gives the best chance of letting you in, where as the other ones are just practically impossible. I never thought it would be a goal to move to Seattle and get into MSFT, but that's probably going to be a long term goal.
A food blog in Chicago
One of the things that I would love to do once I settle down is to start food blogging about Chicago. I wonder what is the right setup is for having a workable and sustainable food blog about Chicago. Since basically no food blogs are profitable, it would just be aboutl documenting lunch or something like that. Even then, those would be some expensive lunches!
Buying stock in Chicago
If there is one thing that is nice about Chicago, it's that the summer is not has muggy as NYC. So far, I think that's the one thing that's better about Chicago. One of the things that economists say is important in commitment devices was that you could just commit. Buying into Chicago would be a 'commitment.' However I think buying is not as simple since Chicago isn't as cheap as it looks on paper.
Writing is hard
One of the hardest thing to improve is writing. The breakdown also involves the type of writing involved. Are you a fiction writer? Memoirs? Or just simple blog posts. A critical area in learning is a tight feedback loop, and often that is missing in writing. Most people just say, "Write more. Write all the time." Improvement without feedback is nearly impossible, and that renders the advice of just 'write more', to be utterly useless. My take on writing is that it must be the same as three point shooting - it requires practice. Where as one learns merely seconds after the ball leaves ones finger tips about the result, writing seems more difficult to improve. Just thinking more deeply about the writing process doesn't seem to go far enough.
Learning more bit by bit
I'm still in the middle of learning vue and how to make something simple on the front-end. Re-learning to learn is a time consuming and difficult process. One of the things that I think is often overlooked as one gets older is the lack of time involved in life. Outside of work, there is no time really to much of anything if you value sleep. Trading sleep becomes a risk when weighed against being tired at work. I'm starting to understand in vue that you can use these templates and there are these things called props that are new to me. Automagicness is everywhere in web frameworks, and learning the magic is like learning how to juggle. It kind of looks like magic, but I bet after learning it, it'll feel easy.
Friends of similar height
Louis C.K. has a joke about being in some social function, and being forced to interact with some one because both of their kids are of similar height. It seems true that kids segregate themselves largely on whether they can do the same things on a playground. Making new friends as adults is fraught with more pitfalls. The first issue is time, because you need to spend time together to become friends. Then, you need some shared interests, or at least common topics that both parties feel engaged to talk about. And lastly, you need to be in the same socio-economic bracket. It is a callous statement to make, but I think the definition of friendship should first be defined. A friend is someone who will listen to you whine daily and does not end the friendship over your whining. The whining is an important thing, as is the daily part, since many people can put up with once a year or twice a year whining. That's how everyone has so many friends. Money plays a role then because some Goldman Sach executive's wife's problem is not a normal person's problem. There's no resolution to this really.
I've calculated the amount of free time I have a night normally and it's thirty to forty minutes. It's kind of crazy when you think about the advances in technology and improvements in quality of life, and at the end of the day, you have less than an hour of free time. It does beat what life was like a few hundred years ago when no one could blog at night. Still, forty minutes does not seem like a lot.
I need to brush up on some regular expressions because I have been writing into an HTML file for the past three weeks, and it will take a little magic to put this text into a database. That might be going too far ahead of myself, but I will probably start with a flat file as a database. Baby steps.
Replenishing the kitchen
When we moved, we sold many things in the apartment and left some things there on the sidewalk. One of the things we sold was our kitchenaid stand mixer, and today we bought a new one! Glorious day! I think slowly building up a new life one thing at a time makes it more manageable.
Gonna have a new vue
Learning a new language takes a lot of effort and time. I've been trying to use Duolingo daily to brush up on French vocabulary but I think what would really make it work is if I moved to Franch or Quebec and really had no choice in the matter. There's something to be said about being immersed in a brand new environment, faced with the task if doing something brand new.
The hell is boba?
New York Times published an article where they looked really dumb about bubble tea. Basically the business section published a piece that made it seem like bubble tea just landed in America. Meanwhile, I'm sure their food desk was like, "wut da faq?"
It's all too easy to forget that perhaps a writer for the business section lives in a bubble. (ha!)
Who is next to us?
Who are those that walk around us day after day? Since the election of 2016, I can only wonder what is in someone's heart, unless it is something like Charlottesville 2017. There are still those who live like a turtle in a shell when it comes to the news, and hold on tightly to the hopes of a tax cut for personal gains. There are also those who wish to chain themselves to statues of Confederate traitors, and wish to assuage their own inner racist by claiming the faults of Jefferson and Washington. To see the degree to which some Americans go to in order to avoid a magnified self inspection is really sad. This is bugging me so much I have a rash.
As a parent, I'm scared that there are way more radical white people in America than I ever could have imagined. I feel like the orange clown in the white house has emboldened the racists in this country. It's going to be an unsettling four years with that idiot as the president.
What I liked the most about the previous iteration of the blog was that I kept a running tab on the reviews that were happening in NYC. It gave the site a purpose beyond just random ramblings, even if the purpose did not turn into traffic. Now I must try to figure what is the most fun next move.
Kids come up ingenious way to challenge your authority. I'm not even talking about old kids, mine is barely one and a half years old. For example, he likes to ask if he can get off of the high chair during meals, and after we tell him he has to stay, he'll eat more. He might be still hungry when he asks to leave, but for the possibility of playing more before bed, he'll try his luck.
Gotta stay strong.
One thing I didn't account for when trying to blog every day for a month is that there are unforseen circumstances, such as getting admitted to a hospital. haha.
Pissing contest with consequences
Apparently the orange clown in the white house is getting into a pissing matching with the Asian hairdo clown of North Korea. This appears to be a very scary situation if you live in Seoul or Tokyo or some other large city in East Asia. Luckily for us, the guy who lost the popular vote in the 2016 election has zero idea of how to proceed with foreign policy.
It's easier to vote for the clown when you live in redneck country. These bastards.
Asians in America
There's a New York Times Magazine article about this kid that died in an Asian frat initiation. Leave it up to that author to try and make some greater point about Asian-American-ness in America in 2017. Maybe we have come a long way, but the truth is Asians will progress further in America with movements like Black Lives Matter. Asians will also move further in society if they stop thinking affirmative action hurts Asians. The truth is minority in America is the bigger picture. Breaking it down into sub-groups divides the interest that we all have, which is fairness. To think that there are folks in minority groups who voted for the orange dildo in the White House signals that we have more work to do than just figuring out Asian-American identity.
Thirty minutes is not enough
The price of success is failure. Or so says those who have tasted enough success not to struggle too much in life. If instead of having a computer job, I worked in fast food and had a family, I would probably have to redefine success, failure, and what it means to try. Often it is too easy to take for granted the tailwinds that have helped me to arrive at this place today.
My original idea was to spend about thirty minutes a day on the blog but between updating styles and writing, it doesn't leave a lot of time for infrastructure work. So my new goal after my thirty days of blogging is to ramp it up to an hour, so I can have thirty minutes of writing along with thirty minutes of research into code and how to build up the site again.
It takes trial and error to know that this was not enough, but it was a good place to start after neglecting this domain for so long. I missed writing.
Engineers and gender
There was some story about how there was a Google engineer who got himself fired for perpetuating gender stereotypes. It's important to note that if you're a self-respecting engineer, you know that part of your limit is yourself. So if that dude who got fired was upset that he wasn't moving up in Google, that's probably because he has some limits. It's not about who else is in the company, or maybe that guy is just so dumb he doesn't realize there's a ton of smarter folks than he at that company.
Also if you think about how much a senior software engineer at the Mountain View location makes, and the type of non-voting stocks they grant to someone in that position, you can easily conclude that dude was super greedy. How can you not be happy at that level?
Minority groups in big tech firms
There was an article today about how there was some internal document shared at Google that talked about males and females. Apparently it was pretty pigheaded and it showed a deep misunderstanding of gender. I feel like I knew someone like that before.
What I want to mention is that I think minority groups in these big 4 could easily increase the engineering head count for their respective minority group quite easily - set up interview bootcamps. Maybe it's against their current employee handbook or they are not allowed to do it, but former big 4 employees could talk about it. Anyway, that's just one average or below average developer's view on it.
A word on moving
The calculus on relocating your family requires a formula that eludes the most highly educated economists. They like to say that workers should move to where the job is. I think the most important caveat in that type of advice is that your current employment status should determine if you should move. Are you unemployed now? Been so for a while? OK, relocate.
There are too many things for a normal person to figure out if it's the right decision. Certainly not for any dude who's no where near being a 10x developer.
Good ole days
Before 2010, it seemed as though web development was just about a few technologies and one could get up-to-speed in a short amount of time. Now preprocessors dominate CSS, and there's Flexbox and CSS Grid for layout. We're not even getting to backend yet, which I have yet to figure out how to proceed. Then there's front-end package management and then packaging for development so the files are all small. Man, I haven't written a real food post yet and it's already going to give me diarrhea. Then there's deployment tools for automation and containerized setups for cloud servers. Seriously, why are we telling kids to get into this field? I'm confused.
What is a degree worth?
Often we see that the popular refrain is to get more kids into coding, because it helps with the way kids think, and lots of big companies love to have more available talent. It's tangentially related to tech workers' immigration status/policy, but that's for a different day. I'll just say this, the message that we should give to kids is that they can learn anything. And if they decide to pursue a career where just being average means they'll have a decent income, we can do that. I don't like this whole, "If you get into coding, you can make the next Facebook." The top four (right now), google, facebook, microsoft, and amazon only hire less than the top 1%...
Of course they want 100,000 more CS graduates every year world wide. That's a ceiling of 1,000 possible workers for them. Don't let the Laszlo Bock's and the Zuckerberg's of this world let you believe with 100k additional CS grads is 100k of potential employees. It's only 1k. Where do the other 99k get jobs? I mean, someone makes the website for your local gas company so you can pay your bills. There's those jobs.
Infinite amount of learning.
In trying to decide how to set up a new layout for the site, and I discovered there's some shit called Flexbox and CSS Grid Layout. Apparently when you don't have time to keep up with web technologies, they just pass you by. After some consideration, I'll have to figure something out. 30 minutes a day is hard tho!
Thoughts on the comeback
It's important to write a little everyday and make technical edits to the website as well. Therefore, all my words will be written in haste. I'm watching videos on front-end things, and will watch some on back-end things, but making a website from scratch takes time. Right now we're going to slowly change the layout of the site. I think that will be week 1, to add some bones to this HTML 4 looking site to have some styles.
One of the things that I have learned about moving to a new city is that it's hard. Haha. More on that later as Food in Mouth matures.
I'm going to attemp to resurrect my website, one day at a time. I'm going to spend at least thirty minutes a day for thirty days. My skills are rusty, and my writing needs work too.
Every day I see that my son learns something new. My wife is back in school. The time for me to dust off foodinmouth.com is now. Right now this website is a flat html page. And it took over thirty minutes to set this up.