Exemplars of search history on Google: “alternatives to Terraform”. “alternative to rubber chickens”. The things that software engineers who are also clowns search for.

Update!!!! Further down in my Google search result for rubber chickens I find a blog post that crosses rubber chickens and software development: Why rubber chickens make for better meetings! Hmmm – might be time to expense some rubber chickens!

I’ve spent the last few nights searching YouTube and Pinterest for designs for a wolf balloon animal. Thursday, Clementine is doing a Blue and Gold dinner, and while I had a tiger and bear design, I hadn’t found a wolf that worked for me. Meaning, I found _great_ wolves that were beyond the time and skill level I can use in a room filled with 25-40 kids. Plus, I wanted the visual wow factor of the wolf to be in line with that of the bear and the tiger.

Several nights spent looking, trying, even doing some attempts at designing on my own. Lots of balloon detritus, no wolf.

Skipping to the good part: I present to you – my wolf!

Single balloon design, imagine him in grey…    Notice the lower jaw forcing his head up in a howl, and then the tripod body.

Really happy with how he turned out…  now to just practice him 10 or 15 more times to make sure he consistently turns out well.  The cost of a balloon or two per kid isn’t expensive, but for me there are always a whole lot of balloons left around the house as I work to get ready for an event.

Earlier this year, after running into a friend who’d obviously gotten in a good bit better shape than she’d been, I joined her Crossfit gym. At first it was just as part of a 6 week challenge, but after seeing the results, I opted in for a membership. I’d lost > 10 lbs and a recognizable percent of body fat, neither of which come easily to me.

So I’m now three months in, which means that I still need to do a number of the exercises scaled down. I’ve never in my life been able to do a pull-up, for example, though I’m closer than I’ve ever been before.

My Crossfit “box” participates in what seems to be a Crossfit tradition: doing the “Murph” on Memorial Day. My box does it as a big event, starting at midnight on Memorial Day and going as long as it takes to complete the iteration. As I’m neither in fit enough shape to think I could complete it, nor a particular fan of doing much at midnight, I let the opportunity pass me by.  Next year, I thought, when I can do the workout better justice.

Imagine my surprise, then, when Monday morning’s 9:30 am class transformed from situps + power cleans to “the Murph”. Ah. I haven’t yet told you what “the Murph” is. It’s in honor of a Navy SEAL, Michael Murphy, whose heroism deserves to be told over and over again. In Navy SEAL style, he had a favorite workout that BEGINS with a one mile run, followed by 100 pull-ups, followed by 200 pushups, followed by 300 air squats, rounded out with another mile run.  You know, your walk in the park sort of workout…

Well, I didn’t quite complete it.  My target was to keep moving for 60 minutes (the intended cap) and get as much in as I could, while finishing out with the final run.  I did 15 rounds of 5 ring rows (my scaled down pull-ups), 10 box pushups (scaled down pushups: I can do 100 regular through the course of a day, but thought 200 within an hour was well pushing it), and 15 air squats (those I just did).  So, 3/4 of a Murph, on a day where I didn’t expect to be doing one.  Right proud of myself, I am…

It’s not the heroism of Michael Murphy.  It was a stretch beyond myself, where I kept myself on the course by not wanting to let the workout and the man it symbolized down.  Next year, it’ll be a full..  next year, at midnight.  And next year, at least some of those pullups will be full scale.

Handy command for k8s pod status:

kubectl get pods –all-namespaces –field-selector=status.phase!=Running -o wide

May your list be empty.

(Decoding: find me all pods in all namespaces in my kubernetes cluster that are not running.  Note not running can mean: Completed.  Completed can be good.  Others are usually not.)

I’ve been seeing an overload of Facebook ads for something called HealthyWage. The premise is that you make a bet on your diet results. Pay in your bet amount, meet or exceed your weight loss goal, and get paid back your bet amount plus. I’d mostly ignored the ads until I went into my local kickboxing place to check out a “free” intro offer, and heard them make a pitch that over a 6 week period, I’d put up a (very large!) amount, and would then win it back if I achieved my goals. I walked out annoyed, and then checked into the HealthyWage thing again.

The premise of betting on yourself is one that I’ve seen listed before as a success tactic for weight loss.  Usually, the form has been, you put up an amount that you’ll contribute to some cause you otherwise would be strongly averse to supporting.  So, not only are you out money, but you’re mad at yourself.  I’m not going to give money to a cause I don’t find worthy, and we _do_ give money to causes we do find worthy, so that isn’t a good motivator for me.  But making some money?  Sure!

I ended up making a 6 month bet for a 25 pound weight loss.  I’d actually like to lose 30, but opted to give myself a 5 pound buffer.  I’d already signed up for a half-marathon in June – the running should help me lose the pounds, and losing the pounds should help me more readily get to the time goal I set for myself for the half- marathon.  Win win.  I’m paying in less money per month than I’d have been either as part of the kickbox gym “free” challenge or were I to pay for their monthly membership fees.  When (not if, when!) I win, I’ll collect a nice surplus to what I paid in, enough to let me feel richly rewarded for a bit, ready for a fun treat.

If all of that sounds good to you, too, use my referral link to HealthyWage.  You’ll get $40 added to your prize, and so will I.  More win win.  And then we can encourage each other through the weight loss journey.  I happen to have a “Black Card” membership to Planet Fitness, and would be happy to go with a workout buddy.

Life is busy. That seems to be a characteristic of how I do things, rather than a stage of life. In high school, I ended up taking a night class for typing, because it didn’t fit into the day’s schedule. Junior year, I convinced a teacher to give up her study period to teach me a math class that wouldn’t fit into my schedule any other way. In college, I at one point was a triple major, with a job, while captaining a rugby team, and fitting in some volunteering activities. Let’s just say I tend to fill the glass with _all_ the rocks.

The analogous activity of juggling is highly appealing to me. In juggling, everything gets held for just enough time to get something done, before moving to the next thing. It’s a game of synchronized holding: I can’t hold but so many things at a time, so the air holds the remainder until it’s those things turn. For Christmas, I received a set of spinning plates: there’s another saying beyond someone juggling – that they’ve got a lot of plates in the air. Right now, my set has three. I can get two spinning on sticks that I’m holding, and I can have the third on my head. That third spins when I do.

When I’m really on my game with those plates, I can throw them up in the air…. or both two spinning ones up in the air at a time… or once I even managed to throw between my two sticks and have them land and keep spinning… A few weeks ago, my daughter and I were passing spinning plates between us – timing and aiming our tosses so that the plates didn’t collide and could land solidly on our throwing partner’s stick.

It’s still a matter of synchronization. When I’m in control of all elements, the plates keep spinning. When I lose control, things drop. Or worse, things fly – traversing not just down but down and away, or down and oh my goodness AT. (I did just invest in some performer’s insurance, in case my things fly or fall in ways that might cause lawsuits.) . The dogs and cats are generally opting to be FAR away this evening. Thankfully, spinning plates are plastic.

I’m cheating and cross-posting my writeup of my KubeCon visit – hit my writeup on LinkedIn. Oh, and shoot me a message if you’d like to work for a company that sends folks to conferences – I was one of a group of 5 of us out there from ClearEdge. Never hurts to be able to compare notes with other folks from your company as to which sessions to catch the recording of and which ones to bypass.

It’s the evening of Christmas. Presents have long since been opened, and dinner weighs heavy in my belly. Many thanks to my wonderful parents-in-law (honestly, mostly my mother-in-law) for hosting us for dinner today. Today was a day of family. My kids enjoyed opening a “joint” present of a Nintendo Switch, and have spent the day playing with each other and even a bit with their dad and mom. Mom is a lousy Mario Kart racer – can reasonably be counted to come in last or next to last. The three kids are downstairs now playing something. I love to hear their voices as they laugh and goof around with each other.

Last night we all went to church together, the kids somewhat grudgingly, and attended service with our church family as well as Jason’s parents. I love church on Christmas Eve. As an elder, I got to help serve communion, which I always love, but _especially_ love on Christmas Eve as there are more folks there to participate in a lovely communal ritual. Christmas Eve’s evening service (only one yesterday) is also the candlelight service, which is a beautiful representation of the love and light of Christ being passed from person to person… Just gives me chills!

This morning we all opened gifts. I love to buy presents for my family. I love to see my kids enjoying giving gifts to each other. Christmas morning is one of my favorite days of year – not for stuff’s sake, but for the love shown through stuff. Oh, and I got (stuff’s sake) spinning plates and a diabolo – more fun toys for Clementine! And, of course, I got to see the kids’ faces for the Switch. It’s definitely a more expensive gift than our norm – I explained to the kids that my employer graciously gave we employees a tech bonus this year and that I was happy to share that with them.

I even got to talk with my dad this evening – a rare treat.

Merry Christmas, everyone. I am wonderfully grateful for this day, and recognize it as a gift. I hope your day had its own elements in which you saw blessing, and if not, that God blesses you in the upcoming days through those He blessed today.

I got an email this morning from Ebates, one of the cash-back apps I use when online shopping, with the heading ‘Late shoppers rejoice’.  Late shoppers?  It’s the third of December!  I’ve begun shopping, catching deals on a couple of key items, but I haven’t even aspired to be done.  Part of the joy of Christmas shopping is getting to spend time contemplating what might be a joyously received gift.  Whether I buy in a local retail store or online, I love shopping a little at a time, seeing if I can find that ‘oh, they’d love that!’ kind of item.  Last year I gave each kid a unique pair of socks that I’d tripped across on a shopping adventure; this year an ad or two which hit my email inbin made me think of a new avenue for gifting.  If I were “done”, I’d miss that joy.

Quick note: the link above includes my referral code for Ebates.  Enjoy (or not) the post with (or without) clicking on the link.  But it and Ibotta have so far worked out well for me in my personal shopping.   Always nice to get a check or a gift card back as a “rebate”.  And simpler than couponing, which I also do…