• The Week #191

    • ๐ŸŒจ๏ธ The first day or so of this week felt like spring. 20 degrees out and sunny. It was great (except those days occurring in February causes worry). As if to make up for a couple of nice days, the remainder of the week was cold (2 - 8c) and wet.ย 
    • ๐ŸŒด We had another 3-day weekend this week and it was cold and rainy 2 of the 3 days. On the first day Yumi was sick, so was in charge of boyo. We went to the local Ito Yokado so Leo could buy some balloons ๐ŸŽˆ. He had learned how to blow them up a day prior at pre-school and wanted to show us. I'm loving watching balloons fly around the house....Sophie ๐Ÿถ, less so.
    • ๐Ÿ“บ I finished watching Get Back and it was brilliant. Their approach to developing an album is quite similar to how I feel good software products should be built. It was blowing my mind the entire...8 hours...which is to also say I've got a blog post that I need to write.
    • ๐Ÿ“š A couple of weeks ago, my old kindle stopped holding a charge. It was the base model (with ads on the cover) from probably 2015 or so...so not a surprise. I want to read more books and was quite happy I re-kindled (๐Ÿฅ) my reading habit last year...and having a dead-enough kindle was putting a hamper on that.

      ย I replaced it with the Paperwhite Signature edition. I went with the Paperwhite because it's (apparently) the best e-reader. It being lit allows me to also read it in bed / low-light conditions. Last night I read about 15 pages of Lord of the Rings.ย  I went with Signature Edition over the ads/non-ads version because we had a wireless charging pad I'd like to use it with. The plan is to leave my cellphone downstairs on the charger when I go to bed and just take my kindle (which is the opposite of when I thought I lost my Airpods and just went to sleep along with Leo, but reading feels like a better reason to stay up ~30 minutes, rather than YouTube (have you seen the algorithm doing its thing during a US election season...ugh, not before bed (or ever, please)))
  • The Week #190

    • ๐ŸŽ‚ Leo turned 6! It feels like yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital (with me thinking "wait, they just let us take him, but we haven't a clue!")...and now he's 6. As we did gifts and cupcakes the weekend prior, we kept the celebration very simple: a slice of cake and a singing of happy birthday.
    • ๐Ÿฆท As if on demand Leo lost his firth tooth (bottom incisor) .ย  The tooth fairy also exists in Japan (or at least it does for kids who watched peppa pig) and does not keep up with inflation or nor exchange rates. For his tooth he gotย  ยฅ100, analogous with the quarter - $1 I used to receive growing up.
    • ๐ŸŸ We did the loop to Enoshima to visit the Aquarium and grab a burger. It's been a few months since we've done it but this trip was probably the best and least physically demanding so far! He walked the entire 95% of the way, including the km trek from the monorailย  to aquarium. What's more he didn't have any meltdowns and managed to turn his tooth fairy money into a plush from the crane game. Best of it there also were not heaps of people at the aquarium itself, so we could actually see the fish!ย 
    • ๐ŸŽฅ Leo has gotten really into making movies with the iPad. Before he had only used it for Kahn Academy Kids or Hiragana apps, but this week he's been opening iMovie and we've been making movies together. It's a lot of fun and a sneaky way for us to make home movies with everyone on camera, naturally.
    • ๐ŸŽต I started watching Get Back and it's fantastic. The way they make music reminds me deeply of the way we (should) make software products...or any other creative process really. You talk, you riff off ideas...and eventually, as a team, shape it into the final product. George had this line, which I don't recall well enough to quote, but he was writing a song and he expressed how he has to sculpt his songs. That's exactly how it feels when I'm writing a pull request...sculpting code.
    • ๐Ÿ™ I met Chad, an internet buddy for lunch. It's always a treat to meet people you interact with online in person. We had a good conversation about schooling, climate jobs, and this particular moment on the web (including Tanzawa ๐Ÿ”๏ธ). I hope we can have another one again sometime soon.
      Me and Chad at the Kraken/Octopus Energy office in Roppongi
  • The Week #189

    • ๐ŸŽฎ There's two different ways you can beat a game: you can beat the story or you can beat the story and find/do every last thing in the game until such you've done literally 100%. Leo and I beat Zelda: Breath of the Wild.ย  I have no idea how many hours we spent playing it because my profile on the switch wasn't logged into my Nintendo account until just now when I went to look up play time, but if I had to hazard I'd guess 500? (Figuring we've been playing for at least a year and roughly an hour or so most days).

      I promised Leo that once we beat Breath of the Wild, we could move on to Tears of the Kingdom...so he got an early birthday present and we've started on our next journey.
    • โšฝ๏ธ Leo played the final game of his pre-school football career at Yokohama Stadium. His team played 3 games. His team lost their first game and Leo's face looked angry/determined with his eyebrows down.ย 

      The next two games, the team changed strategy and put one player as a goal keeper with two players (including Leo) on defense. The strategy worked as they tied nil-nil their second game, including some good defensive kicks by Leo, and won the last game! Compared to his last match in October, he was much more involved in the game trying to get the ball, which was really good to see. This might explain why he suddenly started talking about continuing playing soccer once he starts primary school.
    • ๐Ÿ•ด๏ธ With the end of pre-school and the start of primary school approaching more formal events are on the horizon. For the past 13 or 14 years, I've been wearing a cheap suit I bought for my sister-in-law's wedding for everything. While I usually don't wear them, I decided it's well past time to buy a new suit and bought one from United Arrows green label relaxing.
    • โšก๏ธ Technically last week or so, but Octopus Energy/Kraken were on NHK morning news via an interview with the CEO of Tokyo Gas. Super exciting to see us get coverage on the national news in Japan.
  • The Week #188

    • ๐Ÿ›ฌ I'm back in Japan from my trip to Spain. I haven't made a "summary" post about the trip, and I'm not sure I will. One thing I'm certain about is needing to visit Spain again for a longer period of time someday.

      The food is soo good in Spain. How have I made it this long in life without making jamรณn and olives a regular part of my life? Walking around the market with a little cup of it was a treat. It's even better put inside bread as a simple sandwich (which sadly, I forgot to take a photo of before I ate it).

      Cruising with some jamon to nibble on

      Paella from the birthplace of paella has likely ruined me. I have only ever had it before at home from a kit that was made for Japanese rice makers. And while it was tasty, the difference between that and the real thing is the difference between some cup noodles and a bowl of ramen from a good shop.
      A team-size paella

      Visiting the central market was a treat. All of the food looked so good and fresh. Everything wasn't wrapped in plastic. I had orange juice (home of the Valencia orange). It was the brightest orange juice I'd ever seen and tasted off the charts. I played a sad trombone in my head when I drank some OJ on the plane home.
      Fresh huge veg

      I adapted better to the Spanish meal hours than I had anticipated. Eating breakfast at 8am, lunch around 1:30 - 2pm and dinner around 8pm-ish was fine. While I appreciate I was only there for a week and had effectively "just the highlights" of the country/city I could picture myself living a (happy) life there for a period. Not making plans to move any time soon, but there's a seed in the back of my head... Very glad to be back in Japan and back into the regular routine with the fam.
    • โ˜ƒ๏ธ 3cm of snow fell in Yokohama starting about 12 hours after I arrived. Leo made a snow man and he seems to have survived the night. Really glad it waited until I got home, as there were heaps of delayed / canceled flights... and I'd likely been stuck at the airport in Turkey. That said, because I was already home, I missed an opportunity to get some fantastic "conbini at night in the snow" or "inviting bar on a cold winter's night" photos. Next time.
    • ๐Ÿฆท One of Leo's teeth is starting to wiggle around a bit. You leave for a week and the kids, they don't stop growing just because you're away. Glad I'll be here for the visit of the tooth fairy.
    • ๐Ÿƒ I got an email from Strava that, because I am the only user of my Strava integration, that I do not need to submit Tanzawa to them for review. I'm really glad that this is the case and that I put off doing any development work to bring Tanzawa into compliance with their requirements (mostly around branding). Procrastination ftw!ย 
  • The Week #187

    • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ I'm in Spain and it's great! My flights were smooth as could be. From Tokyo, I went to Istanbul via Turkish Airlines (first time) and I think I wouldn't mind flying them again. The food on the plane was (steamed salmon, mashed potatoes, eggplant and such) and airport was beautiful. The planes were not parked next to the building, so all of the gates in our area were simply doors to outside and a bus would pull up and take the plane load of people out to the plane parking lot. It felt more like a bus station than an airport.
      My ride to Valencia

      Arriving in Spain and the airport was tiny. Like as soon as you get off the plane you walk downstairs and dumped directly into passport control / customs. We took the metro from the airport to the city center and it was relatively easy. Just buy the ticket and go.
      Morning in the city center

      My first impression of the city is that, at least in the center area, there are so many American fast food / restaurant chains. I reckon that's partly because they're taking over the world, but also because they can afford the rent in these locations. I didn't expect to see a five guys and taco bell directly outside my hotel.
      Random alleyway

      My hotel has been nice too, though it has probably the slowest lift known to man. Each room is themed different and mine is themed with a giant motorcycle in the wall.

      For the weekend before work we mostly explored around the city, walking around and enjoying the city. The old town is as picturesque as you'd imagine. Sitting on the square, drinking coffee enjoying some cultural dancing is something I could see myself getting used to.
      People watching at one of the many squares

      The food is all really good and affordable. I'm loving the availability of olives and ham.
      5.5 euro for coffee and a sandwhich


    • ๐Ÿ˜ฉ While I am in Spain, my AirPods are not. I was about to get ready for a run when I started looking for my airports and Find My shows me that they're in Haneda airport. Hopefully I'll be able to collect them on my way back. They must have fallen out of my pocket or something and as I was using my headphones during the trip, I simply didn't notice. Good news is that they're lost in Japan, so there's a higher probability of me getting them back.
    • ๐Ÿ˜ญ My last grandparent passed away. Thankfully it wasn't because she was sick, just because of age at 93 years old. It makes me reflect on the fact we're not here forever...and I should probably talk with my own parents more often....RIP Dotz.
  • The Week #186

    • ๐Ÿ“ฑ My new headphone jack / switch arrived for my iPod. It was easy to replace, except had the smallest screws known to man. Once everything was put together it worked! Right and left channels work like a charm! I'm excited to be able to carry all of my music with me.
    • ๐ŸŽต I'm not sure how much longer that will be true as I rebuild my music collection. I can see artifacts of the great iTunes Match subscription cancellation of 2012 as I'm finding folders that I knew were full of music, gone. e.g. I know I had all of the Smashing Pumpkins albums.
    • ๐Ÿ˜ซ It was a rough week with Leo. For some reason he's not wanting to go to school any more, so getting out the door is rough. Even going to robot school, something he said he wanted to do, has become a battle. He told the teacher he wants to quit. Thing is, when he's there (at school or robot school) he has a good time according to all. Maybe he knows my business trip is coming up and clinging because of that? If not, I hope this is just a phase and it ends soon.
    • ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ On the good Leo news front, he we running with me again. He wants to go further and further...but I think we need to work on not stopping for our current runs. At school he wrote a map of where we're going to run and of course it includes a Triforce from Zelda ๐Ÿ˜†.
  • The Week #185

    • ๐Ÿข I got a promotion at work to Software Engineering Lead ๐ŸŽ‰. It wasn't a total surprise, especially as I said a week or two ago, I've gone from leading a team of 4 to 15 in the past year. When I joined the company, most developers had similar titles, like "Software Engineer" or "Senior Software Engineer". It was nice how flat it was i.e. my manager had the same title as me. On the other hand, it also meant that if you wanted to "move up" you had to lead teams and do people management. Now we have 2 tracks so people that are good individual contributors and want to remain ICs, can.
    • ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ Leo went running with me again. He was looking forward to it all week. This time we ran about 1km, with a few walking breaks.ย  Good thing too, as it was my only run this week ๐Ÿ˜ฌ.
    • ๐ŸŽถ My iPod classic arrived...and the hard drive was dead. The disk still spun, but it had enough bad sectors on it that I couldn't even sync music to it. I upgraded it with an iFlash Solo, which allows me hook up a SD card to the ribbon cable and I replaced the battery. I excited synced all my music and...the headphone jack was also worn down and only a single channel worked reliably ๐Ÿ˜ซ. So I've ordered a new headphone jack / lock switch off Ali Express. I'm hoping that allows me to start living my offline music dreams again.
    • ๐ŸŽฎ Having a custom / modded iPod Classic has also gotten me looking at other old tech that I liked and I discovered a huge scene of modding / upgrading Gameboy. I'm really tempted to pickup a Gameboy Advance SP so I can play the games I used to...(technically I could do this with my switch today, but that's always hooked up to the TV and requires a subscription to Nintendo Online).
    • ๐Ÿฆ On the way home from a friend's house, I suggested we visit Manma Pasta and Leo could get a pizza or something. He went on about how he'd rather make a pizza (fine, but not starting at 5:30pm without dough on a school night) and it turned into an argument between him and my wife. As we left the parking lot (it was on the way home) he realized we were serious about not eating out if he's gonna be so selfish and hardheaded. "Ok, ok, I got it. Let's eat here" he said, but by that point, we've already decided we're not eating out. Naturally he continued to argue most of the way home. The next day, without any prompting, he apologized for his behavior the night before! There is hope!
    • Readers might be feeling a bit of whiplash โ€“ a single post with both great and horrible days. Such is life with a 5, almost 6 year old. Sometimes you miss the "good ol' days", when things were easy and you had (so much!!) free time, especially on the bad days...but the good days... the good days more than make up for it.
  • The Week #184

    • ๐ŸŒ IPv4 addresses are a scare resource. As more and more devices are connecting to the internet there aren't enough addresses to go around. Fly.io, the hosting platform I use for my site and sunbottle , had a bit of a kurfuffle where they started charging $2/month for dedicated ip addresses without telling their customers. As dedicated IPv4 addresses were the default for all new apps, this resulted in a bit of a surprise, especially people who had multiple apps.

      Thankfully, they did the right thing and held off billing, emailed customers, and linked to a post for how to switch to a shared ip address. I migrated both of my apps to a shared ip address, so I won't be affected by their new charges.
    • ๐ŸŽถ As I mentioned in Reclaim your music collection โœŠ, I bought an iPod classic. Once I get it setup and running, I think I'm going to pare down my Apple subscriptions. Right now I'm on the Apple One which has everything, but the cost is about $40 USD / month. I got it because we needed more storage, was using AppleMusic, watching Ted Lasso and wanted to give Fitness+ try...but I haven't watched anything on AppleTV+ in about 6 months, runs using Fitness+ have been frustrating with sync / start, and I plan to reclaim my music collection. This should bring my total cost down to $10 / month (just for storage).

      While the iPod arrived, the hard drive is/was toast. The listing didn't call that out but it said "think of it as junk". Bummer as I was looking forward to using it a bit before putting an sd card kit / changing the battery. The parts should arrive today, tune in next week to see how that surgery went.
    • ๐Ÿ”๏ธ With the remove-Turbo branch merged, I'm trying to focus more on small features and tweaks to keep momentum. This week I made it so you can click on the photos on the top page and a larger version will pop up in a modal.
    • ๐Ÿš— While driving back from the in-law's house, Leo dropped a marble in the car. It promptly fell between the seats where the seat belt clip sticks out. Wanting his marble, he immediately started digging for it and promptly got his arm stuck and screaming. Naturally this occurred when I was stuck at a light and not somewhere where I could turn around / off to the side. A few minutes later I was able to pull off into a neighborhood and inspect and free his arm...no damage done and I hope he won't be doing that again.
    • ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ One of my main motivators when I started running on/off again before Leo was born was that I wanted to be a good example. I wanted him to see his dad trying to take care of his health. Maybe, just maybe, it would rub off and he'd grow up different than I did. I thought Leo didn't like running, he said as much to his classmates when preparing for sports day earlier this year.

      Imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, he said he likes running and wanted to join me(!). So I laced up and we ran 0.5km to the local park. Even that short run (with 2 short breaks) with him was a lot of fun. I hope we get to run more together in the future. My efforts seem to be paying off.
      Warming up with Leo
  • The Week #183

    • ๐ŸŽ‰ It's now 2024! We spent new years eve and new years day as we usually do - toshikoshi soba for dinner and osechi for new years breakfast at the in-laws. Traditionally osechi is made in the days leading up to the new year, full of food that will last a few days. Then the first few days of the new year are spent not-cooking, but instead eating all the food. These days though, most people buy most/all of it and there's varieties with western dishes. This year we bought everything and we only made some soup and warmed up some mochi to put in said soup.

      After writing the above, there wasย  large earthquake and (as I write this, potentially large) tsunami hitting Ishikawa. My usage of the :tada: emoji feels like it might be in poor taste given the situation. There's never a good day for a natural disaster, but the very first day of the year...let's hope this is the worst of 2024.
    • ๐Ÿญ We went to Disney Sea, the second park in the Tokyo Disney Resort, and spent the night at one of the hotels. We weren't explictly planning to visit the park, but when we bought our car earlier this year, we got 2 free tickets to Disneyland or Disney Sea...and since we went to last year 2 years ago...we thought it should go to the other.

      Compared with the time we went towards the end of the pandemic, the lines were massive. 2+ hour waits at some of them. As such we only rode rides with a ~30 minute wait. The Disney Resort app gives you real-time wait time information, which is great...but was also caused some pain as we had run out of data before getting massively throttled. So slow that it took 15 minutes to go through the process of adding an extra 500MB of data.

      Leo only had 2 quasi-melt downs and both times it was because he was hungry and waiting in line. I'm going to bring snacks next time.

      One lesson we applied from the last trip to this trip was to eat early and beat the crowds. For dinner we breezed in to the Aladdin area restaurant for some curry. Leo insisted he didn't want curry, but as soon he ate 1 bite...he wolfed down the rest and immediately fixed his mood.

      We stayed the night at the Hilton Tokyo Bay, and it was really nice. Our room had 3 singles...which I guess is a configuration because lots of friends come in groups of 2 or 3? Leo slept in his own bed and around 5am managed to roll off the bed. The champ that he is, he didn't cry, he got back up in his bed and went back to sleep.
    • ๐Ÿ˜ญ Bill Granger, the father of avocado toast, passed away at 54, far too young. I love going to his restaurant in Shichirigahama. The food was always great and the atmosphere makes you feel good. For years we'd go there to celebrate my birthday with a nice ocean view.
      Ricotta honey-butter pancakes from a visit a few years ago
    • โ›ฐ๏ธ I merged a major under the hood change in Tanzawa that removes Turboย  in favor of HTMX. Turbo technically works with any language / framework, but it feels like it's really geared for Ruby/Rails (makes sense given it's made by 37 signals), while HTMX is more agnostic and integrates better into Django.

      The other fun part of this work is I am slowly removingย  my usage of Stimulus (a JavaScript companion library of Turbo). Each time I remove a controller I get one step closer to being able to remove a build system from Tanzawa, which I find highly motivating.
  • The Week #182

    • ๐ŸŽ„ Christmas was this week. We celebrated a couple of days early with the ancient Japanese custom of eating KFC and a nice cake (pistachio cream with strawberries) with my wife and her family. Unlike previous years, because we celebrated 2-days prior, the cake shop, even with a reservation, was not complete chaos.

      For Christmas day itself we kept it fairly low-key. We got Leo a Link (Archer) Amiibo and Super Mario Maker 2. Santa brought him a 500 page Zelda: Breath of the Wild guidebook. Happy to say he loves it all. I got an awesome sweat shirt, so I can wear something besides plaid during winter ๐Ÿ˜€. Yumi got a nice pair of gloves.

      We often make a trip to the beach during Christmas / New Years. Not to go swimming, but just to enjoy the clear air and less crowds. This year we went on Christmas day. It's been a couple of years since we brought Sophie with us on these...and she was excited to come along and run around in the sand, dig, and get some sniffs in.
      Me holding Sophie and Leo splashing in the water

      The city was doing some maintenance and they had made some huge piles of sand on the beach. Every so often there was a kei-truck taking a load of sand and dropping it along the beach.
      Dumping sand on the beach
    • ๐Ÿ—ก๏ธ Speaking of Zelda we got the Master Sword in breath of the wild. We finally got enough hearts to get it.
    • ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธI went for my first run since my surgery a month ago. It was a lot of fun and I didn't realize how much harder running was because of my leg. Usually even just 5 - 6 minutes in my legs would feel heavy but I'd plod on with mental fortitude alone. This time though my legs felt fine the entire run. That heaviness never came. I thought that heaviness was just my legs being weak or not being used to running...turns out it was reverse flow. Looking back, I'm amazed I kept running like that...but I reckon it was just as I didn't know any better ๐Ÿ˜†.
    • ๐Ÿข This week was my last week of work for the year. I kinda like my new routine of the last and first month of the year is being off. I was thinking about it what all changed in the past year...and beyond the product itself, I went from leading a team of 4 (myself included) and now I'm leading a team of 16 (myself included, divided into a few different squads/regions/continents), which boggles my mind.
    • ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ I started looking at tickets for a work-trip to Valencia, Spain next month. I'm really looking forward to meeting up with teammates who I don't get to regularly sit down with and some of whom I'll be meeting for the first time. I'm equal parts excited to eat some paella from the birth place of it... scared it will ruin it whenever I have it anywhere else.
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