Weekly update, June 1, 2020
Welcome back, internet friend!
Howdy, and thank you for taking the time to read this blog post! While I am going to do my usually weekly wrap up of the stuff I did, to just do that without any other commentary is totally wrong. So instead I am going to dedicate the first part of this post to discussing the unrest in the United States before sharing my personal and professional stuff of the week. I agree with others, that to be silent in the face of injustice is to take the side of the oppressor. So as I’ve done on Twitter, I want to be unequivocal in the following statement:
Black Lives Matter!
Black lives matter! Also, it is totally unacceptable that the response to protesting police brutality has been to increase the violence and repression. Black people in the United States have been the victim of four hundred years of oppression. When the civil war ended and the 13th amendment was passed, there was an exception for prison and historians, including Douglas Blackmon, have noted that the United States shifted to using prisons as a replacement for slavery. For more information check out either his book or documentary on PBS - also note I had success when I was in grad school reaching out to him via e-mail. If you are interested in learning more it’s possible he might reply to you as well.
If you are confused about how we got here as a country, my suggestion would be to study the history of the police. If you aren’t familiar, the origin of American police forces are slave patrols - organized groups to find and punish slaves. For more information, I would suggest starting here.
There is much more that I can say on the subject, but for now I will suggest that it is important to create space(s) for people who are the victims of oppression. On Twitter I’ve stopped sharing technical posts for the time being, and instead I’m just using my small platform to amplify other voices. I figure that if people want to read what I have to say, they can come check out this blog. Otherwise I want to leave space for more important voices. As I mentioned before, there is much more I can say here, but I am just going to move on. Not because I don’t think that it is important to talk about this, but because I don’t have more to add other than to say that as long as oppression exists, none of us are free! We all have a moral obligation to fight against instituional racism and to use all the tools we have available to us to resist. To paraphrase Joseph Barndt, brick by brick, wall by wall, we all have a moral obligation to fight against racism. If you are interested, I would suggest reading his book, “Dismantling Racism: The Continuing Challenge to White America”
While there is much more that could be said on this subject, I will leave that to others, including those listed in the “who to follow on Twitter” section at the bottom of this post.
If you saw my previous post, last week was my final week on a consulting project for a major financial institution and I shared a link to that post over on LinkedIn. I was going to share it on Twitter, but as I mentioned above it’s really important to me to use my platform to amplify other voices. I figure that if people want to read what I have to say, they will check out this website. If not, that’s totally cool too! It’s the same reason I am going back and forth with myself about sharing this post on Twitter as well. While on the one hand I feel like eight weeks in a row of posts is something to be proud of and worth sharing, at the same time there are so many other more important things going on that I don’t want to take any of the oxygen out of the room.
As I mentioned previously, I also finished working on the Go course I started roughly two months ago. I’m still thinking about whether I am going to recommend the course, and there will still be a longer course review post coming soon. However, as I’ve mentioned a few times already, I’m pretty distracted this week. I would say there is a 60⁄40 chance I find the motivation to work on that write-up this week. I would say it’s 60⁄40 in favor of doing it because I’m confident that my short term memory is going to require that I write it while the memory is still fresh in my mind. Something something the best laid plans of Mice and Men….
One final thing, although this is right on the line between personal and professional. Last weekend I spent some time on Sunday hanging out online with my great friend Acetolyne. One thing I’ve noticed during the last ten or so weeks of self-isolation is that friendships are so very important! Even something as simple as spending a few hours once a week chatting with a friend and working on a puzzle can have tangible benefits. Our goal was to work on hackthebox.eu machines, but I was pretty distracted and ultimate we mostly ended up just chatting.
So if you are finding yourself struggling to concentrate, it is totally OK to reach out to a friend to chat. Whether you do that on the phone, on Skype/Slack/Discord/Zoom, through text, or even playing a game together. It’s important to spend time with your friends! Don’t do what I did and go too long without reaching out.
This week the professional and the personal were really closely linked. Anyone who knows me knows how seriously I take my role as a worker and probably won’t find this any great surprise. However, there were a few personal things that I wanted to share - even if it feels like there are so many more important things going on right now.
As I mentioned above and in the previous post, last week I finished the Go course. While this is also a professional accomplishment, it felt really good personally to get the course done. Then on Sunday I thought I would hack on a little code, and I just found myself way too distracted with the country burning down. I’m hoping to spend some time this week working on my next project now that I’ve finished the course.
This week in Animal Crossing should have been the week that I learned about not being greedy. Instead, I learned a lesson about the importance of writing things down (but almost certainly did not learn the lesson about greed). At one point the price of turnips went up to 198 bells/turnip on my island. However, instead of selling them all for a profit, I assumed the price would spike and held on to my turnips. I ended up selling at around 143 for the first few thousand (I invested 400k last week) and then sold the rest at 80 bells/turnip. I haven’t crunched the numbers yet, but I likely came close to breaking even or lost a few thousand bells. This marks two weeks in a row I should learn my lesson and if the price is almost double what I paid, to just sell all my turnips. Time will tell if I learn this lesson, but my money is on no.
I also want to mention that we gave my son a copy of ACNH for a “graduation” gift. Last week he finished the first grade and we had been hesitant about giving him a copy of the game. He has been struggling with reading and that is a very big part of Animal Crossing. However, we went ahead and bought him his own copy last week and the results have been surprising! While I expected that my wife and I would need to read everything to him (and we have certainly read lots of the screens to him) he is starting to work things out on his own!
I’ve mentioned in previous posts when talking about him, but more and more it’s becoming clear to both myself and my wife that buying him a Nintend Switch for Christmas has been one of the best things we could do for his education. If his behavior is not what we would like, threatening to take away the Switch is something that immediately gets his attention. It’s also a nice way for us all to spend time together as a family. Last night we all visited the island of my wife. Since we are all stuck at home isolating together, any time we can get out and do things as a family (even in Animal Crossing, and even if “getting out” is virtual) all these things are helpful.
Goals for the week
Here are my goals for this week. Trying to keep it really simple given how hard it is going to be to get anything done this week!
- Create a repo and begin working on my subdomain enumeration project
- More work on the MUD architecture document
If you are trying to set goals for yourself this week and know you are going to be distracted, it is alright to keep it simple!
Recommended Twitter accounts to follow this week
Martin Luther King III - The son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bernice King - The daughter of Dr. King
That’s all my recommendations for the week.
So thanks for checking out this post. I know it’s different than many of the others, but these are drastic times and they call for something outside “business as usual.” If you want to check out the last post, click here and click here for the next post