• The Week #50

    • It was Father's Day this week. I made chicken fajitas for the family and they were a hit. I was also able to talk with both of my dads (father/step-father) for about 2 hours total. It feels like it's been ages since I've been able to focus and talk with them. I always say I should do it more often, but for some reason, I don't.
    • I got the physical copy of Web+DB Press that includes my article on getting started with GraphQL and Django. It took a lot of work to edit the piece down to 8 pages, but in the end I believe we were able to whittle away the weaker parts of the article and I could say everything I wanted. Seeing your name in print never gets old.
    • Pete opened the first issue on Tanzawa not opened by me asking some questions. It made me realize that I should add screenshots and talk about Tanzawa supporting Micropub/Indieauth/Webmentions so you can post with whatever client you'd like.
    • I find myself wanting to use Email more. I don't really use it โ€“ in fact I can count the number of emails I've sent at work in the 4+ years I've been there: 0. Everything happens via Slack or some web interface. I wonder if there isn't a way for me to handle more of async tasks via email to standardize my workflows better?
    • Jacob (who seems to make a weekly appearance on this column) told me about this podcast where they asked the question "What if the newscycle was 100 years โ€“ what would the story be?".ย  Think, you get to ignore the politics of the day, what's the big story? Their answer was that it would likely be the doubling of the average human lifespan.

      This got me thinking โ€“ so much of our life seems to get lost in the daily battles. Often enough that we lose sight of the bigger trends over the weeks, years, decades. Does focusing on too small of a timescale make it difficult to achieve your goals? Would focusing purely on getting things right for the week/year/decade make each day more successful, on average?

      I think it might. We tell ourselves we need to do X everyday (run, eat better, whatever). But we slip up one day and beat ourselves up. Rather than focusing on the 5 days we were successful that week, we dwell on that time we messed up. It all gets you demotivated. I'll have to experiment with reframing things to longer timescapes over the coming weeks and see how it turns out.
  • The Week #49

    • This week's been a good week. A tiring week, but a good week, so I'll dive right in.
    • I realized that Tanzawa was never going to be "good enough" or "finished enough" for me to release it. It's the first project I've made public in a very long time. The last big project I worked on was Kwoosh, a project management app I was building with my mate Jacob around 4 or 5 years ago. Making it public is a huge relief, not just because "it's out there", but it will force me to document and follow proper development workflows (no more committing directly on main ๐Ÿ™ƒ)
    • The article I wrote for Web+DB Press has been officially announced in the upcoming issue. It's an 8-page introduction on using graphene-django to build GraphQL APIs with Django. It's my second time having my writing published in Japanese, but the first time being credited by name. It was also much easier to write in Japanese this time about, as I've had the past 4 years read/writing Japanese everyday at work.
    • My father-in-law's appointment for his first shot got moved up to the 22nd of this month and my mother-in-law got an appointment for the first week of next month. Super happy they'll be vaccinated soon.ย 
    • Yokohama, feeling pressure from Kawasaki is going to start sending vaccination vouchers out to people under 65 starting mid-June (so...this week?)!ย  I think it might be a bit tight to get fully vaccinated before the Olympics, but maybe I'll be able to get my first shot and a bit of time for my immune system to do its thing before then. I remain optimistic.
    • Thanks for FindADocJp.org, I was able to find a clinic nearby in Totsuka that's doing reservations for people, regardless of age/vaccination voucher to get left-over shots in the case of cancellations. We had started building a sheet on the HN Tokyo Slack for this kind of information, but open forms on 'net let more people participate. Hats off to @TheYokohamaLife for building it.
    • Leo's going through a papa-phase been sticking to me like glue from the moment he wakes until he goes to sleep. I'm happy to spend time with him, as I know this won't last forever, but boy is it tiring.
  • The Week #48

    • The official covid numbers are going down and vaccination seems to be ramping up. I still don't have any idea when I'll be able to make an appointment for an appointment, but I found some clinics that don't want to waste any shots and will let anybody sign up for the cancellation wait list. The catch is that you may need be there in 2 hours. I signed up for the cancellation wait list at Caps Clinic in Musashikosugi ( full list here ). Those that are more centrally located can register at multiple locations to up their chances.ย 
    • The plants are growing like their supposed to. Compared from a couple weeks ago everything is absolutely massive.
      Future Tomatoes
    • I went to Patagonia in Kamakura to buy a light jacket to protect me from UV during the summer. The jacket itself is designed for fishing / being on the beach, so it should handle the humid Japanese summers.
    • Visiting Patagonia always inspires me to want to do better by the earth. Not just they products themselves and their messaging, but the films and propaganda they produce that aren't about their products are very well done.
    • We the Power: The Future of Energy is Community Owned is one such movie. It's about the fight in Europe to allow communities in generate their own electricity from their own rooftops and some of the challenges they face from the incumbents. And once the incumbents lose and start embracing renewables, they're trying again to take control back from communities, "just let us manage it".
    • This fight in many ways reminds me of computing and open-source. I love my Apple laptop and I've been on the Mac for coming up on 2 decades, but sometimes I feel like I'm selling my values short and should use something of, by, and for the community.
    • Tanzawa has a license. I've just got a couple more bugs to squash before I feel like I can open the repository.ย  Inspired by Patagonia, I think Tanzawa's marketing site is going to have a prominent propaganda section. Home. Download. Propaganda.
  • The Week #47

    • In Covid-19 News this week, we're now consistently about 500k shots a day. Progress! And in even better news starting next month Covid-19 vaccines will be made available to all under 65 at the same time. I really, really hope this turns out to be true.
    • I hit 30 checkins at parks with Swarm. Pre-dad me would have never imagined the local park would be such a fixture of everyday-life.
    • I haven't worked much on Tanzawa this past week. I think it's from finishing two projects at work (one of which I can't wait to share later this month) and outside of work being busy with Leo from wake until I sleep. He's starting to wake up around 5:30-ish when the sun's fully up and I've been "sleeping in" from my usual 4:30 to 5:30. Then as soon as I finish work I'm either picking him up or he's ready to play or go to the park.
    • Leo's stayed the night at grandma's house giving me my first "me time" since my couple hours riding to and from Enoshima a month ago.ย  I spent it re-watching Long Way Up. What struck me re-watching it was how much I didn't remember from the early episodes and just how "vloggy" it is, in the best possible meaning. Are there any good travel blogs out there anymore? Either way, I'm sure they've mostly been on hold this past 18 months.
    • Thinking about travel blogging reminded me how much I wanted to travel long-term when I was in college. Reading books like Vagabonding, watching documentaries like A Map For Saturday and Walking the Camino, dreaming of being out in the world. In a sense I did when studied abroad for a year Japan in college. But now that I live here and fluent, it's just life, isn't it?
    • Speaking of life, we had a bit of a scare on the train. Recently Leo's wants to hold the overhead handles when we ride the trains. If there's not a seat, I let him as we can sanitize his hands when we get off the train. Today we were standing next to the door and so focused on him not holding the handles,ย  I didn't realize his hands were on the door. When the doorsย  opened his fingers slid into jam(!). Thankfully it only took a light tug to free them and he wasn't hurt. A good lesson for us both.
  • The Week #46

    • I've started using Gluon when using Micro.blog. The client is so fluid and smooth. I also really like that it displays my figure tags inline properly.
    • Speaking of doing things properly, as a I ramp up for releasing a developer release of Tanzawa, I finally integrated a CI process into the repository. I also took the opportunity to fix the lint/typecheck errors that I'd let slide because I wasnโ€™t running the suite manually.
    • Leo's been trying really hard for the past couple of weeks, but he's transitioned to being in undies full-time! Since he's been wanting to get the Ikea t-rex and complete the collection, to celebrate we took him to Ikea to find t-rex. When we were walking around the store he kept calling "t-reeeeeeeeex" looking for him.
    • In Japan Covid news this week theyโ€™ve finally approved Moderna and Az vaccines. Moderna is being used at the new Self Defense Force run mass inoculation sites in Tokyo, Osaka and other places as they ramp up. It has me feeling slightly positive that I may be able to get the vaccine this year.ย 
    • ย The government has set a goal of having the elderly finished inoculation by the end of July. I donโ€™t think theyโ€™re gonna make it because at least in Fujisawa, my father in law couldnโ€™t get an appointment until August and my mother in law is still awaiting her voucher. Maybe this will change once more mass vaccination sites get running.
  • The Week #45

    • I checked my DMs on twitter for the first time in a couple of months and I found a request to send me a DM from early March. I don't recall ever getting a notification. It was from a TV producer in Houston wanting to to a segment about my Airbot and @kuukihouston. C'est la Vie.
    • The tomato seeds have come out of the ground and the bell peppers have just started peaking out. I may yet eat some "free" veggies yet.
    • We got visited by a Japanese white gecko (yamori). They're known as protectors of the house and an omen of good luck. Good luck as he may be, he's not allowed in the in the house. Kicking him out of the entrance was a fun 3 minutes with a broom while Leo and Yumi watched.
    • Ever wondered how to trim trees next to high voltage power lines in the middle of the forest? If you answered "with 8 huge circular saws spinning from a helicopter", you'd be correct. How do I know? I watched Summer in the Finnish Lake District on Arte.tv. It (like most of the documentaries I watched on Arte.tv) was in German, but had English subs.ย 

      It makes senses sense that a machine as hardcore as this would come from Finland, after they, they do have the highest number of metal bands per capita. Recommended, if only to watch a helicopter with saws dangling from it trim trees next to high voltage power lines.
  • The Week #44

    • This past Sunday was Mother's Day. A few weeks ago ( Week #38 ) when Leo and I went to Kamakura we dropped by the Ghibli shop. They have these great My Neighbor Totoro pots and for Mother's Day, you could order them with flowers. I couldn't order it in the shop with Leo (toddlers aren't the most patient people) and luckily I could order it online. It came early and is a great addition to the front of the house.
      Totoro welcoming visitors
    • Last week we planted some seeds in some containers and they've started sprouting! So far just the corn and the green beans have started popped out. I'm still skeptical that it'll all live long enough for me to actually eat, but for now I'm remaining positive.
      Green beans sprouting
    • I cycled to two new parks with Leo. I really love the range that a bike, especially an electric assist bike with all of the hills, gives you. The more I ride my bike, the less I'm convinced EVs are "the" solution for personal transport with regards to climate change. This isn't surprising for me, as I've never been a fan of cars in general.

      It's not the energy or space required to made and keep cars, it's that they encourage sprawl, dominate our neighborhoods and hog our resources. Self-driving EVs doesn't change that equation. Cities should be designed for people and cars tend to get first consideration when designing the streets. More people on bikes for more trips would make the streets safer and connect people with their neighbors.
    • The new Anthony Bourdain, World Travel, an Irreverent Guide, book arrived and I've started reading it. The parts that Tony wrote are in blue. Even though he died a couple years ago, I can hear in it in his voice when I read it. One day I hope that I can write half as good as he did.
  • The Week #43

    • Itโ€™s our second Golden Week with a state of emergency. The numbers keep on going up. I wish they'd give half the consideration they're giving for the olympic athletes to the residents of Japan. Weโ€™re trying to keep close to the house as best we can.
    • That said, I am spending time on my bicycle. I peddled to Enoshima and back (about 35km round trip). I know I've been talking about my bike a lot recently, but it's been a revelation. Like many Americans I stopped riding my bike in high school. Not only as I got a license, but the the suburbs in Houston are so spread out / bike unfriendly (unless you want to get hit by a pick-up truck the size of an elephant) that people naturally stop.ย 
    • I made some good progress on Tanzawa so far as well. I've built and launched my file browser. It shouldn't be too difficult to hook this in to Trix (the editor I use to write posts) so you could insert an existing photo into a post without re-uploading it.
    • Leo's wearing undies during the day. He's had two accidents thus far, but he's getting better at it. Thankfully neither accident was in public nor over the tatami floors.
  • The Week #42

    • Tokyo is entering another State of Emergency. I understand why their doing it, Kanagawa should probably also be declaring one. But these half-measures for the past year(!) and a glacial rollout of the vaccine, I feel like I'm getting close to the "pandemic wall".
    • I finished and submitted the first draft (to be published in June) of a magazine article I'm writing (Japanese) for an internal review at work. I always get a bit nervous before submitting these kinds of things, like they'll suddenly realize "wait a minute, this guy doesn't know what he's talking about". Getting your Japanese nitpicked and seeing grammar mistakes that you know you learned back in college is also humbling.
    • Hoshide-san successfully launched and made it the ISS. Always happy to see JAXA astronauts fly.ย 
    • I ordered the new Bourdain book โ€“ Word Travel: An Irreverent Guide. Although Bourdain has been dead a couple of years (something I still think about on occasion and get sad about the loss), this new book was a work in progress until just before he passed. Apparently he was slated to work on it for a couple of weeks that summer. Either way I think it fits exactly what I've been wanting to read: something not heavy, not work related (no tech/design), non-fiction, and something in English. Excited for it to arrive.
  • The Week #41

    • I've migrated my blog from Wordpress to Tanzawa! I made the first commit to Tanzawa back during winter break with this idea of wanting a blog that was comprised of different micro-blogs, dead easy to use, and IndieWeb friendly. I finally finished all of the Wordpress importing code so I could move entire blog over. The import went smooth โ€“ the only issue I had was needing to increase my request Timeout settings while Tanzawa rewrote all of the content.

      It's still nowhere near finished and ready for the non-enthusiast, but it's getting closer and I cannot express how excited I am to finally be using it on my main site.
    • I am no longer head of the block. I had two last tasks: deliver the "power of attorney/proxy" sheets that give me (head of the block) authority to approve the next year's directors o the neighborhood association and then attend the meeting to exercise that right, ending my duties.ย 

      My neighbor across the street didn't include all of the signatures required on his proxy-approval form so I had to go collect them. After I collected it, we were going to take a family walk to the neighborhood association building to drop them off.

      I rang their door bell told them the wife came down and I told her what I needed and she invited me inside while she gets their seals. When I looked up her husband (late 60's) was standing there with a huge grin on his face. He motioned for me to come inside and sit on the sofa.

      He offered me a drink. Thinking I'd only be there a second and knowing that my wife would be outside momentarily I refuted. He asked again. I refuted. Finally he looks like a light bulb went off and just gets a wine glass and hands it to me. Can't refuse now.

      I hear my son yelling for me outside.ย  The wife invites them inside and much to my wife's surprise see's me drinking wine and enjoying cheese ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿง€. ย 

      We all had a good chat (mostly masked) before continuing on our walk. The opportunities for these meetings between neighbors are rare these days, especially with covid, but they are the foundation of building a community. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm really happy we found such a good neighborhood to call home here in Yokohama.
    • I've been thinking about audio quality as I'm on so many Zoom calls lately and saw this page comparing a bunch of microphones with audio-clips. Usually this type of content would be in a YouTube video or something. Being able to click different players to hear sample recordings is neat. I'm nowhere near deciding or actually purchasing a microphone, but it's still neat.
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