Hey, what happened to a bunch of your blog posts?

I’ve decided my personal life should be, well, more private.

Nothing’s changed. I continue to address my past behavior and come to terms with my identity.

It’s also part of a wider effort on my part to practice better social media hygiene, so you’ll see some other changes on this and my other profiles.

This blog will remain topical, but being confessional doesn’t help myself or anyone else.

Why Python?

Oh, right, I’m a programmer.

I talk about mental health, writing, movies, mental health, travel, and mental health so often on here, it’s easy to forget that I spend 8 hours a day programming.

I write code for a living. More specifically, I’m a web developer specializing in front-end code but with significant back-end experience. I’ve spent most of my professional career working in Javascript, ColdFusion, and PHP, and I cut my teeth on QBasic way, way back when.

And lately I’ve spent a great deal of time playing around with Python.

Continue reading Why Python?

“What is the cost of lies?” A few quick thoughts on Chernobyl

Holy moly, this show.

As Game of Thrones wound its way to a wet fart of a series finale, I started thinking about what else I could use my HBO Now subscription for. (I frequently confuse the on-demand service with HBO Go, which is just for cable subscribers — which is probably intentional.) Besides an archive of good miniseries from years past, there was a new show that had really piqued my interest: a show about the Chernobyl disaster.

Jared Harris plays Valery Legasov, a chemist who was drafted for the initial disaster recovery and investigation following the meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The show depicts Legasov’s descent into despair, exhausted by the magnitude of the task of mitigating the meltdown, and his increasing frustration with the Soviet bureaucracy that hampered the cleanup efforts and cost thousands of lives.

“What is the cost of lies?” He says in the first episode, a scene set after the events of the series. The cost, Legasov explains, is that lies and truths become indistinguishable, everything turning into just stories.

The show has an amazing ensemble cast: Stellan Skarsgaard, Emily Watson, and a roster of character actors playing everyday citizens living through a months- and years-long nightmare in the aftermath of the meltdown.

The show, as noted by many reviewers, has contemporary overtones: climate change denialism, the fabrication of facts by the current administration, a creeping despair among so many in my generation. I’ve also noted some parallels in my personal life with events in the show, but then again I’m drawn to thoughtful, quiet characters committed to the truth (see also: I, Claudius).

I highly recommend it, but be warned: there are depictions of gruesome deaths of both people and household pets.

Outdoors

My alarm woke me at 3:30 AM on a Saturday morning, which hadn’t been a regular occurrence for over ten years — not since I worked logistics at a big retail chain. I chugged some coffee/energy drink mix from a can, pulled on my hiking clothes, fed the cat, grabbed my gear, and drove to meet my friends.

My friend Trude had invited me to join her and Diane on a bird safari around Lake Apopka. Trude won it at a church auction; I had to back out when the bids rose above $200. Diane would drive and point out interesting specimens; Trude would take pictures; I, with a tremor that makes it difficult to handle a camera, would observe through binoculars.

Nature is way more interesting with knowledgeable friends and a deliberate pace.

Continue reading Outdoors

“We … are … Americans” – Some Quick Thoughts on “Us”

Well, that movie’s gonna stick around in my headspace a while.

I don’t think it’s quite as good as Get Out, Jordan Peele’s last film, but few films are. However, I found Us to be more memorable — the imagery is vivid and disturbing, especially during the third act. The performances, including two amazing ones from Lupita Nyong’o, are excellent for reasons I don’t wish to spoil.

Speaking of Jordan Peele, I really should watch the new Twilight Zone series.