What I am up to now
- Everyone is back to relatively good health and we are exploring the world together. I’ve been trying to prioritize going outside with the kiddos more while we have the opportunity, which led us to going up in the Arch.
- One of the things I try to focus on with little kiddos is how to ensure that we don’t just get focused on the day to day, but can actually build traditions that they will remember. One of the biggest for me is cultural heritage, particularly around St Nicholas Day, where we put out wooden shoes and fill them with oranges and treats for the kids.
- For Christmas this year, we were separated from each other since Neem and Ororo hung back in St Louis, while Logan and I went to Grand Rapids to spend the holiday with my parents. It was so nice to share some of my holiday traditions with him, but also sad to miss Christmas with the girls.
- I am working at OpsLevel, where it’s a pretty relaxed culture while still exposing me to enough new things that I am having a good time. Since we don’t have a lot of the other things I am used to, such as a design department a strong engineering culture of design-focus, it has been a fun journey trying to identify what things are actually useful to fight for, and what things are not needed yet. Series A start-ups are hard!
- The longer I spend doing front-end focused work in start-up culture, the more I wonder if I would be better suited to either diversify into a more generic skill-set (which would probably be better if I want to be a first-four engineer) or slide back towards Fortune 500 companies. It is hard to feel like you are helping your co-workers as much as you could be while still staying specialized.
🍿 Media Consumption
- Movies have still had a hold on my heart, with weekly movie nights which range from the silly with The Fly, to the serious with The Hustler.
- Reading snuck up on me, which I discovered when I realized that I have read seventy books this year. Some of the stand-outs were a biography of Lafayette, a leadership book, and one of the latest by Sanderson.
- I have largely been spending my time gaming on casual mobile games, such as Marvel Snap and Pokemon Go. Although I have done well with them, they alternate between boredom-fillers and chores. I look forward to the kiddos being old enough to spend more time without direct involvement so I can play games that require more continual focus, but I genuinely love that I am choosing to spend my time focusing on them instead of trying to play games.
- Table-top role playing games are even more of a time commitment, but I recently ran a holiday one-off that was fun because it was low-stakes and let me still get a little invested with a group of friends.
- My free time creating has been largely focused on St Lotus this quarter. Not only did I play in an event in Chicago (where we soundly defeated them), but I also ran another event in St Louis. On top of all of that, I have started creating YouTube Shorts in consumable one minute videos talking about Vintage Rotisserie Draft which has recaptured some of the fun for it for me.
- Since I know that the next 7 Day RogueLike is happening in March, I’ve been toying around with a framework for making a traditional roguelike. It’s still more chore than fun at this point, but my hope is that if I get it to a useable state, it will make the game development during the game-jam more focused on mechanics and fun than on rote-coding.
🧠 Thinking About
- How to keep energy more consistent with the kids. I love that I can spend time with them and devote my life to making theirs as good as I can, but in my worst moments, I know that I am being dismissive. I don’t want to flood them with affection one moment and stand-off the next, so I’m thinking of ways to remind them that I love them even when I can’t deal with them in those moments.
- What work means when it isn’t something I want to be the focal point for my life. I still care about helping others, but it isn’t something that I want to spend the majority of my waking day thinking about, and finding a way to accept that it likely means letting some aspirations go is a thing I am dealing with.
- Our family has had a lot of sickness, but nothing critical. As I write this, I am on antibiotics and steroids for some kind of tonsil infection, Logan is on antibiotics for strep, and Rory is on antibiotics for an ear infection. Neem is healthy as a change of pace.
- Rory loves exploring and has been insistent on having books read to her, which is adorable. Her favorite is The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin.
- I am still working at OpsLevel. It’s been a good experience and although start-ups are chaotic, I feel like I’m finding a solid balance that lets me leave work after work.
- The struggle to upgrade old libraries is still ongoing, but I have merged over 60 upgrades so far, and there are only a few more big ones left before we are fully caught up.
🍿 Media Consumption
- We are struggling to keep up with all of the Marvel and Star Wars shows and movies, but so far have managed to do so. None of them have stood out enough to mention, but all are still enjoyable enough.
- The weekly movie night has been helpful in expanding tastes and I have found a few that I really enjoyed, including Top Hat, which has moments that are on-par with the Marx Brothers, as well as more serious films like The Banshees of Inisherin.
- Spider-Man 2 came out! It was exactly what I wanted from the game, which added enough interesting pieces from the first two without losing the core fun of the game. I finished it in about 16 hours and then hit 100% achievements by 26 hours. It was a little shorter than I hoped for, but I expect DLCs to add more soon.
- Marvel Snap has ramped up a little, but it’s more of a time-filler now that I removed TikTok from my phone. That has been a really nice trade-off and I feel like I am spending more of my time fully-conscious.
- St Lotus has our yearly city championship against Chicago, and we managed to pull out a 10-6 victory to claim the title. This was a fun experience for a few reasons:
- We got to travel to Chicago to play on their turf.
- I actually got to play because I was not just focused on hosting.
- We played a team-draft, which is a format that has largely been unexplored in the rotisserie sphere.
- We put in a lot of preparation time to get ready for the tournament, and it payed off with a win!
- I spent a lot of time building tooling for St Lotus, including migrating the website to Next JS and adding a few sections for top cards and bulk deck builder.
- My brain is already spinning on what to build for the next 7-Day Roguelike. I want to build a more traditional roguelike, but don’t want to spend as much time on the tooling and boring things as I did the first time. This has led to me getting some thoughts down into a repository called Splinter that hopefully can make the process less painful.
🧠 Thinking About
- How to function when it seems like our family is always in some stage of sickness.
- I really value family, both extended and immediate. I have been feeling incredibly grateful to be close with my immediate family and want to make sure my kids feel the same way. My parents are coming to visit for Thanksgiving and we get to go visit Michigan for Christmas, so my cup is feeling very full with love right now.
- Rory is getting bigger by the day. She loves eating more than any kid I’ve seen, and she just took her first steps at 13 months.
- Logan is so full of love and excitement. He is really proud of biking on his balance bike and he loves giving advice on how to best play Slay the Spire.
- Neem is still loving her job and is doing her best to live in the moment. It has been amazing for us to take trips, some together and some separate which have helped us remember that work isn’t everything.
- I am still working at OpsLevel, which has a great balance of passion for delivering features quickly (driven by actually being in a competitive market, which is something new to me compared to previous companies) and ensuring that the company has enough stability in people and product to be able to exist in five years.
- After getting my feet under me by doing some basic feature work, I have largely been hopping in to help speed big time-sensitive feature lifts across the line, or upgrading long-neglected libraries that have been slowing the team down for years.
- There was a fun journey about Content Security Policies that I should probably write a blog post about. It started with a simple request to pass a security audit and ended up yak-shaving into a month long debacle where I learned a ton.
🍿 Media Consumption
- I was saddened to finish The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which was such an immersive visual time capsule. I don’t think it was the greatest show of all time, but it is such a fun watch for people into comedy or who enjoyed the aesthetics of Mad Men.
- I went to Barbenheimer, which was like Peanut Butter and Chocolate, two great tastes that get better due to fantastic advertising. Because it’s likely the last big blockbuster due to the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike (which is a well-warranted strike), I wanted to see these in theaters and it was well worth it.
- With the pending release of Spider-Man 2, I went back and finished getting 100% of the trophies for the previous two games. They are such immersive wonderful games that I hope the new one can live up to.
- Magic: the Gathering Arena and Marvel Snap still have a little bit of time on my mobile game rotation, but there hasn’t been anything that has really bitten me recently so I’m hoping that I can find an RPG to fall into. Gaming with children requires such short attention spans that anything complex seems impossible right now.
- Slightly different than my normal games, but a group of us have been meeting up to play outdoor Racquetball every week and it has been a wonderful reminder than physical activity can actually be fun and competitive without being emotionally exhausting.
- Neem got me a gift of a solo hotel for Father’s Day (after I did the same for Mother’s Day (it’s probably a new tradition)), and in the hotel, I built a large Voyager set that is trying to find a permanent home on our shelves at home.
- There’s a game-like concept I’m toying around with around Tessellations, but most of my off-work development time has been beefing up a lot of things for St Lotus recently.
🧠 Thinking About
- What is family and how to keep engaged with it without spiraling into a cycle of over-investment and then frustration and exhaustion. Parenting either feels like a race to the bottom or a massive set of impossible expectations a lot of the time.
- How to compress more things into digestible chunks. Life feels like it operates in 10 minute increments, so I am trying to think about how to make things I want to do fall into those chunks. This largely means that I tend to stop doing creative endeavors because those are things that I need “mulling” time for.
- Logan has been in “Magic Class” which means that we are seeing lots of cute magic tricks, like 3-Card Monte.
- Rory is pulling herself up on furniture and is eating up a storm. She loves calling Logan “bra-bra” and getting tossed in the air.
- Neem is happy at work, but has been going through a lot of breathing difficulties including a partially collapsed lung and four cases of bronchitis this year so far.
- I started a new job at OpsLevel, a dev-ops start-up that helps companies manage micro-services by creating a developer portal with visibility into architecture.
- I’m primarily spinning up on the existing application, but starting to do my traditional task of adding all of the linting rules.
- This company uses Vue, so while I am spinning up on that right now for the first time, I anticipate helping with an upgrade to the latest version in the next few months.
🍿 Media Consumption
- My comfort television is re-runs of Star Trek: Voyager and it’s a common post-child-bedtime event recently.
- I rated a book as 5⭐️ on Good Reads which is quite rare for me. Hero of Two Worlds was a great dive into the life of Lafayette which I would heartily recommend to anyone who enjoyed Hamilton and wants to know more about the life of a legend of two revolutions.
- I am nearing the end of The Last of Us Part Two. It’s brutally violent, but some of the best storytelling I’ve ever seen. I am loving it and feel so conflicted about all of the characters.
- Board games have been on the back burner mostly, but I am excited about a few Kickstarters that are finishing up soon, including Slay the Spire.
- I finally managed to get a lead on my MTG White Whale: a Summer Magic version of Serra Angel, which would complete my collection of every printing of this card.
- Swords With Friends was my entry to the 7 Day Roguelike contest. It is far from a perfect game, but I’m happy that I was able to get a mobile game working in that amount of time, particularly with the difficulty of multi-player.
- I built Ormos as a fun challenge to build a tool for a local MTG shop owner who wanted a tool to help identify which binders to look through for a list of cards. It wasn’t the most technically challenging project, but it was fun to have an easy one just come together relatively easily. It was written entirely without frameworks, which made it a special challenge as well.
- Logan and I have been building Lego, recently has worked on a NASA Space Academy.
🧠 Thinking About
- How to stay connected with friends without seeing them all of the time? It is pretty easy for me to feel close to people while spending lots of time with people, but harder with long-distance or just busy-life folks.
- What parts of fitness are exciting for me? Since my bicycle accident, I’ve been biking again and really enjoy commuting places, but have a hard time exercising for the sake of exercise. I want to be healthy but know myself well enough to not try to do things I don’t enjoy since I don’t maintain them.
- Neem is at Stitch Fix and survived the recent lay-offs. Everyone has been sick a lot, so she has been spending time as the comfort parent more than we would like.
- Rory is getting huge. It is wild to see her grown and develop a personality. She can sit up and play, and is resisting our encouragement to crawl.
- Logan is almost 4 and is pumped for his Lego birthday party. He loves Forsyth School and constantly asks for play dates.
- Neem is going to Cancun twice in a month, once on a girls’ trip and once with the family. We’re going on a trip together to DC in a few weeks too.
- I got hit by the lay-offs at Stitch Fix so I’m spending time taking care of kids while figuring out longer term plans.
- Interviewing is exhausting, and doubly so because I am mostly just responding to people reaching out to me rather than looking for a company I really want so far.
🍿 Media Consumption
- The Last Of Us has been amazing. I really think it is better than the game so far, which is surprising since that one is the best narrative game I have played.
- Movie Night on Thursdays have been really rewarding. Marriage Story was one of the best films I have seen and it was so painful to watch that I never want to think of it again.
- My GoodReads shows that I am 7 books ahead of my goal of 30 books for the year. Audiobooks have been amazing to let me read things I would not normally find the time for but value.
- Vintage Rotisserie Draft at St Lotus came back and went really well. We have a “Friends and Family” one in a week that will be lower stakes but more fun since I get to play in it.
- I got to play Blood Bowl Team Manager at the Super Bowl and it was a fun quick deck builder. I want to dig more into that genre since it feels like it is less awkward than drafting while still having variance I enjoy.
- The PS5 is still for Fortnite, but at least I am replaying The Last Of Us.
- 7 Day RogueLike is coming up fast. We are ditching the social media game since it was too hard to make a Roguelike and we are just going to try a mobile multiplayer Rogue instead.
- I have been doing a few little games that are mostly to try out things I don’t know well such as mobile interfaces, but Sigils has been fun to build so far.
- Logan and I wrote a tiny book from stapled paper this weekend. It is fun to watch him create and be a part of that process with him, even if it is for little stuff that won’t last other than in memories.
🧠 Thinking About
- What work success means to me still. Money is feeling like a constraint to my career right now, since most of the interesting companies pay worse than the amount that I set as my lower-bound. I am worried that I am boxing myself out of work happiness.
- How to do more than survive with kids. When they are sick or in crisis, it is easy to constantly tell myself that “I just need to get through this” but I realize that I am sleepwalking through life with that defense.
- Neem is doing great, but none of us are sleeping well with all the life transitions. She is still doing iOS dev at Stitch Fix.
- Rory was born on June 19. Everything went great and we are learning to deal with a little less sleep.
- Logan is 3 (and a half according to him) and loving his time at Forsyth School.
- We are stopping at 2 kids, but cannot wait to go on adventures together. Next big one is Cancun in March.
- I am doing front-end platform work at Stitch Fix.
- My primary focus is on the design system, but I am playing with NextJS quite a bit too.
- We are spending time on migrating to a monorepo using TurboRepo.
🍿 Media Consumption
- We are mostly keeping up on all the Marvel and Star Wars shows. Andor has been lagging a little, but we will catch up.
- The Sandman was fascinating and a great adaptation of the book.
- I have been posting all of my movie reviews on Mastodon. The one I think is a must-watch is The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934).
- TikTok and Youtube take up too much time in my life and I am actively working on replacing them with things like podcasts.
- Vintage Rotisserie Draft at St Lotus has gotten bumped a few times due to my health, but is hopefully coming back in 2023.
- Marvel Snap has been dominating my phone gaming time. It is addictive and quick, with a good progression system.
- Board games haven’t been much of a focus recently, but I am probably going to spend some time on Marvel Champions LCG as winter comes.
- I got a PS5 and mostly use it to play Fortnite, but I was pretty excited to get the Spider-Gwen outfit.
- Planning is already happening for the next 7 Day RogueLike. Very likely it will be out of zeitgeist by then, but a game where you run a social media company sounds like fun.
- My lack of SQL knowledge is really stalling some work I want to do on St Lotus card rankings.
- Logan and I have been building Legos together. We have completed a Saturn V rocket and the Space Shuttle Discovery. Also many Logan-designed cars that he loves.
🧠 Thinking About
- What work success means to me. Moving up a career ladder or down in hours is no longer my goal at work, so figuring out what it is has been taking time.
- How to raise children. I know a lot of my personal values, but finding what to pass on to my children and how takes a lot of thought and planning.