Question from one of my teammates on my new work team:

“Did you just learn techA & techB in the 3 days since you’ve joined the project?”

Well, enough to make things work for this portion of the project, anyway.  And thank you for noticing!

My teammate and I have been “pair-programming” remotely, by which I mean: we talk over the phone about the approach and occasionally screen-share / present to show what we mean.  Oh, and of course, commit at regular intervals into a shared git branch.  When I joined the team, the story (uh, work unit, I guess, for those of you not well-versed in software) was written such that the work would have 4 subtasks.  I proposed doing it differently, based on some prior experience I had with techC, which is the end-result of our efforts with techA and techB.  The team bought in, and off we went!

Challenges:

  • neither my teammate nor I had much experience with techA or techB
  • my teammate doesn’t have much experience with techC
  • my teammate and the rest of the team are in Minnesota, which means: no whiteboard drawings, an offset of an hour in schedule, we haven’t met each other in person, …
  • I’m brand-spanking new to the team, so am still navigating getting all of my accounts, figuring out how not to break other folks’ work, figuring out how to prove things _do_ work, …

It looks like by not too much longer today, I’ll be putting in my first merge request for a significant feature for the new project.  Woot!  Good first (real) week.

For those techies interested in the secret decoder ring for the technologies:

  • techA = Ansible
  • techB = Salt
  • techC = Kubernetes

 

 

“NOTE”:ed in documentation I was looking at today…


NOTE: “Default” is not the default DNS policy. If dnsPolicy is not explicitly specified, then “ClusterFirst” is used.

This is the sort of thing that should _not_ pass muster for code-review. Kudos to whoever recognized the issue and at least put it in documentation. But there oughta be a kubernetes GitHub issue out there somewhere to fix the above. And no, telling me that it’s been released this way and thus must be maintained is not an acceptable argument. Deprecate the word ‘Default’, if you must. If the default is not actually that, then the impact is likely small. ‘Default’ could become ‘InheritFromNode’ or ‘Inherited’ or …

A little bit of Google digging found a related, but not quite what I mean GitHub issue. Grumble, grumble, growl….

I hate the below kind of thing. To avoid repeating the behavior, I’ll tell you _why_ after I show you what I hate.

[8:52 AM] XXXXX: Just saw this feature today.
[8:52 AM] XXXXX: https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/user/project/web_ide/
[8:52 AM] XXXXX: That’s interesting.
[8:52 AM] XXXXX: There’s a button for it on our version… Chromebook here I come !

I hate when someone suggests I should check something out, but gives no context. In this case, the person posting it is high enough above me in the food chain that I should check it out. In my passive aggressive response mode, though, I’m just venting online, though protecting the identity of the party. Note that this isn’t just a him thing – I get emails of that sort, as well. Most of those I shunt aside and justify by saying, well, that’s a great way to infect someone with viruses – get them to click on a link but give no real context.

OK, done venting. Time to get back to work. If you click through to the Gitlab doc link, let me know what you think of it. I’m guessing by URL structure they’re saying there’s now a development environment bundled with Gitlab. I can guess along some other paths what that might be, and suspect it could be very useful for a former project of mine. But I’m still going to hold out on looking for a little bit.

On Tuesday, our oldest (16) took responsibility for making sure that both she and her two younger siblings got up on time for school so that her dad could be away in the morning to help his brother and family make it to the airport on time.

On Thursday, we proudly got to watch as that same teen was inducted into the National Honor Society.

On Sunday, she got her belly-button pierced, just a few hours after she helped with the fellowship / coffee hour at church. Hey, the first two examples, along with many others, show that she has a pretty good head on her shoulders, as well as a heart for others. That she now has a hole in her belly button isn’t an option I’d have picked for her, but we’re getting to the stage where she gets to make decisions that we disagree with, and we get to enjoy watching the paths she considers and chooses. (She did opt out of getting facial piercings, and told her younger sis she thought those were cool but would have made her unemployable…)

By the way, that younger sis is pretty awesome, too – she went with her sis to hold her hand and support her through the belly button piercing procedure. They then went together to have a sister bonding day at the nail salon.

I love getting to be the parent of these kids!

This week our church hosted ‘winter relief emergency shelter’. Arundel House of Hope organizes a safety net of housing during the winter for our local homeless population – our church was one of many who took a week to open its doors at night to provide housing so that folks weren’t stuck sleeping in the cold. The accommodations aren’t amazing: they’re camp cots lined up in a large room. Because our church hosted both men and women, there was a divider wall in the middle of the room to separate the men’s sleeping quarters from the women. But these aren’t glamorous or even private bunks. We manage to provide hot showers 3 nights of the 7, and offer breakfast and dinner each day. In the morning, volunteers drive our guests back to Arundel House of Hope (or sometimes to the light rail or to a methadone clinic) – everyone’s up and out by 7am, not to return again until 4:30pm when they’re driven back from the House of Hope.

To pull off this week requires an enormous amount of volunteer manpower. There are three shifts of volunteers: 4-8, 8-11, and 11-8. Yep, 11-8 – to provide a safe place for our guests to sleep, we have two volunteers on site and at least one of them awake round the ‘clock. Beyond the on-site volunteers, the list of people needs includes drivers, cooks, folks to act as hosts for the shower nights, setup, teardown, prayer team, … For our small-ish church, it’s a lot of hands in.

For the past few years, I’ve worked at least one overnight shift, and often had other reasons to come visit whilst folks were more awake. Each year, we see some new faces and some familiar ones. This year, I met a mom and her high school senior son. The son attends a local public charter school and has plans to join the Coast Guard when he graduates in a few months. He likes comic books, and he and his mom spent some time playing cards together. I met a gentleman who I ended up needing to call an ambulance for, as he was in a significant amount of abdominal pain due to his stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I met another guy who showed me the business proposal estimate he was putting together on behalf of a client of his electrician business. Another guy came down the hall in his shirt and tie each morning, after shaving and prepping in the mens’ restroom. Yet another guy had us wake him up at 3am each morning so he could catch the light rail and go to its farthest stop, and then walk another 3 miles to get to his job.

Sadly, that last guy I’d met before. He was here last year, and the year before. I don’t understand why, in his particular case. There were a few others I recognize from years’ past – some who I realize face mental or other challenges that will likely keep them coming back year after year. If we (and other churches) can give them a safe warm place to be and a welcoming environment, I hope they recognize us as bearers of God’s message of love. Others give me hope that they won’t be rejoining us next year as shelter guests, but will instead keep coming ’round “only” as members of our congregation, maybe even joining the ranks of us putting out the welcome mat again in 2019.

If you’ve gotten to the end here and want to learn more, I’d encourage you to check out Arundel House of Hope’s site. They work in a number of ways with the local homeless community, so I sent you to their front page. The direct page for the winter relief program, along with reports of how things have gone in previous years and contact info for getting involved, is here. It’s an amazing program, which enables the volunteer efforts of many to unite into a safety net for those whom society often overlooks. Arundel House of Hope puts their mission to our guests as ‘To keep those experiencing homelessness in the Baltimore/Annapolis corridor from freezing to death during the Winter months and to show them the Divine’s love in simple practical ways during our time together.’ I’m pretty convinced that both of those are pursuits worthy of time and energy.

A friend / previous co-worker of mine sent out an intriguing tweet:

George is an agile coach, among many other things.  (I believe him also to be a sailor and a grandfather, and someone whose tweets I enjoy.)  I assume his book proposal has something to with agile development or coaching of agile teams.  I’ll be looking to see when he announces that someone’s accepted it!  In the meantime, I’ve offered my services for review. 

George’s book would make #3 of book reviews for me.  He’d be in the esteemed company of Steve McConnell (‘Software Estimation’) and Karl Fogel (‘Producing Open Source Software’, 2nd edition).  I’d forgotten the McConnell book until George mentioned it recently, and Karl’s finished up his second edition fairly recently (November).  In Mr. Fogel’s case, I was spear-heading an interesting project in an interesting space and so had some experiences to offer; in Mr. McConnell’s case, I believe my pitch for reviewing was my relative lack of experience at the time – could his material speak to a neophyte software project manager?  (This was years and years ago – I’m now much older and much less neophyte.)  Both spectrums were useful for the authors: in the one case, could I offer a new insight?  In the second case, does the insights the author shares come through to the audience they intend?

I find it interesting that both ranges of experience are useful.  I find that to be the case in my projects, as well, both software and otherwise.  Seek to contribute whether you’re the expert or the newbie.  The value you offer is different, but valuable on both ends!

I heard from my brother today. It’s rare and typically unpleasant when I hear from him. Today’s messages: “I see that you are a messenger contact with my boys. Leave them be. They have enough bad influence from their mother. No response necessary or appreciated.”

I am Facebook friends with one of his sons. I think I friended him a few years ago, mostly to let him know that even though his family life was falling apart (mom took the boys, dad has a host of issues), that his dad’s family wasn’t abandoning him, too. I don’t think we’ve ever chatted, and he’s not a prolific Facebook poster. So, the whole leave him be thing is pretty well covered. Per the bad influence thing, I’m mostly amused by my brother’s perception of me as a bad influence. Annoyed to be compared to his ex-wife, but amused at the irony of the comparison.

After stewing and thinking to myself ‘How dare he?’, I realized I didn’t need to respond. Not just because he said ‘no response necessary’, but because I don’t need to care about his opinion. And that realization is a gift. I thought about blocking him on Facebook. And then thought that it was a better gift to both him and me to turn the other cheek. His insults don’t hurt: they’re immaterial. Responding to him would cause him and me to spend energy. I can think of much more positive ways to do so.

Merry Christmas, brother. You’ve given me a gift: the ability to turn the other cheek to you and other a**hole folks. May your Christmas be filled with positivity, with people you find inspiring, with ideas you find aspirational. I’m apparently not that for you, and neither are you that for me, but I hope you find it this holiday season.

Our oldest starts driver’s education tomorrow. In our state, you can get your learner’s permit at 15 and 9 months, assuming you pass a written exam. Possession of that permit gives you the opportunity to be behind the wheel, assuming that an adult is in the car with you supervising your driving. Wowser. This is a big thing. It’s not yet the ‘toss her the keys’ thing, but it’s a big thing none-the-less.

Our oldest is also making dinner tomorrow. This is part of a project for an advanced program she’s a part of. Don’t worry – this interest in covering the dinner shift is only for a week. As she’s a vegetarian, it also means that her family gets to experience vegetarianism for a week. We’ll survive, and I guess a cow and a few chickens might, too. Her duties include planning the menu, shopping for the supplies, and prepping the meals. They don’t, apparently, include cleaning up the kitchen if tonight’s taste of the project provides any guide. They do include making a dessert, so there’s that benefit.

It’s odd having teens in the house. Our oldest is near 16, our middle is 14, and our youngest is 11. He’s not technically a teen, but has done his level best to try to get every privilege afforded his older siblings. My hubby and I don’t think of ourselves as old enough to have kids this old, but evidence indicates otherwise.

I’m really enjoying this show called ‘The Good Place’, starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, as well as a cast of other characters whose actors I hadn’t seen before, but who _really_ make this show.

Catch the trolley episode in season 2 if you’ve ever had to suffer through a philosophy course. That’s all I’ll say.  Oh, and “I hear windchimes!”

#MeToo.  It’s a meme going ’round of folks (ladies mostly, I assume) indicating whether they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted. The idea is that by raising visibility on how many women this affects, it’ll spark a discussion that may lead to change.  I’m a fan of change for the better, of believing that things can and should be made better.  But I’m not a fan of just stopping at a tag.

I have two daughters and a son who I need to teach how to live in this world.  I believe strongly in

– treating folks as people, rather than genders.  It doesn’t matter whether someone is one gender or another or is non-binary or presents as the opposite of their birth binary.  We are people, with gifts, talents, and flaws.  Categorizing someone as some [thing], where [thing] is based on gender (or race or …) discounts the breadth of creativity in our Maker.  “Nope, I can’t give that one strength or confidence or … because I gave them a gender ‘foo'” strikes me as well beyond the pale.

– developing and recognizing folks’ talents, gifts, and interests.  Like sports?  Do sports.  Like art?  Do art.  Show an aptitude for nurturing and caregiving?  Use it.  Oh, you’re male / female / trans / non-binary…?  Doesn’t change any of the above.

– NOT assuming that the rest of the world works this way.   Learn to speak up for yourself.  Learn to defend yourself physically, if required.  Make it clear that you have these skills and more and aren’t afraid to use them.

– setting up situations where you gain power, not give it away.  Many of the situations where folks are harassed / assaulted / you name it involve instances where folks feel like they don’t have a choice but to go along or need to keep quiet to avoid suffering the fallout of being impacted by someone more powerful.  (Try to) always have an out, and make it clear you can and will take it.  Save money in the bank to quit the job without another one lined up.  Build a strong reputation to help provide more than one career path option other than the one that involves the Weinstein-like creepster.

– sympathizing, empathizing, and fighting for the rights of #metoos.  Life isn’t fair, becoming a #metoo isn’t fair, and having more folks in #metoo’s corner at least helps avoid some of the additional pain and sting of feeling isolated or blamed.

None of the above are guarantees to avoid being a #metoo.  Some of the above are easier to implement than others, and/or may be more challenging to implement in various life situations.  Until folks aren’t attracted by sex and power, though (meaning, likely not ever in my future until there’s a full wipeaway of all sin), I’ll equip my kids and myself with as much armor and defensive weaponry as I can.

Oh, and yes, #metoo.  Harassed, yes.  Assaulted – thankfully, unsuccessful attempt.  Now scheduled to take a women’s self-defense class in early November with my oldest daughter to help add to her armor.