Weekly update, October 5, 2020
Howdy internet friend and welcome back to this weekly update post! I appreciate you taking the time to check out this update. In this post I am going to write about politics, black lives matter, as well as my usual personal and professional updates. Much to get to so I will dive right in.
Black Lives Matter
Last week was another whirlwind week, with new evidence coming out from the grand jury in the Breonna Taylor case. Although what was the most telling and angering was what the grand jury wasn’t told, or more specifically the lies that were told to the public about the grand jury instructions. Unfortunately much of the oxygen was sucked out of the room on Friday when Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he had COVID-19. After I found that out I did my best to stay off Twitter this weekend. I failed miserably.
Over the weekend I also watched the Netflix documentary on the life of James Baldwin. I didn’t know much about him before watching the film but I thought his life and philosophy were interesting. While the film was nominated for an Oscar and I did enjoy it, it left me asking more questions about who Baldwin was than before I saw the film. I think, from reading his Wikipedia page, that he did not go to college. That same page said he was a novelist and playwright which we were mentioned in the film. I guess I just wish it would have been more clearly spelled out, but regardless I mostly enjoyed the film and would recommend it. I am not one of those intellectual eliteists who things people who did not go to college can’t write or are not intellectuals, I just would have been interested to know about that part of his life, but that’s just me.
Saturday night I started watching a documentary about Miles Davis because I’ve been trying to get more interested in jazz lately. I’m only halfway through that documentary and I will report next week what I think about the film once I have finished it, but I will say that I am enjoying it much more than I thought. I’d previously only listened to the more experimental later music of Davis, which I didn’t like very much. However it’s possible I was too young when listening to it, and also that I lacked context of earlier works in jazz. I really like Thelonious Monk today but I might not have liked his music as much when I was younger.
I do not have much more to write on the subject of Black Lives Matter this week, but it is still so important to keep writing about it every week that I will continue to do so.
While continuing my string of brutal honesty, I have no idea how to start this section. I’ve read that White House staffers are referring to the superspreader event that likely caused Donald Trump to catch COVID-19 “The Rose Garden Massacre” which you can read about here although before you click, you should know that it gave me a bunch of annoying popups so I didn’t read the story. While that phrase seems a little harsh, I can understand why they are upset. After all, they were exposed to a deadly disease by their boss. However, on the subject of being upset, I am upset that the President has been given experimental drugs that can impair his already questionable judgement and yet still is in control of the nuclear football. Last I checked he was all-caps tweeting and I’m wondering which is better - that he have his phone or that he decided ahead of time that these all-caps ravings would reassure the American public? Why has power not been transferred to the VP? As an issue of national security, I wonder how many times will the country be put at risk because no one can or will stand up to Donald Trump? Where are the leaders from either party to step in and say enough is enough? Are there any leaders at all in Washington?
One thing that makes me sad but not surprised is that all I can do is turn to Twitter and scream in to the wind. I wrote an e-mail to my congressperson who wrote back a week later, but didn’t really say anything. I took to Twitter to send a message and never got a reply. My son learns in school that politicians are supposed to listen to the people who live in their districts. We are told they are supposed to fight for us. Well I don’t really see both sides fighting, and haven’t seen it for a long time. What I see is one side of bullies picking on a group who refuses to stand up for themselves in any meaningful way. I guess I’m also writing this blog post, so I am doing more than just shouting in the wind on Twitter. However, in a just world, the party of Lincoln would stand up for civil rights. They would have denounced white supremacy and Donald Trump when he refused to. Instead the LGBTQ+ community did more to fight a certain group by taking over their hashtag than Republicans did to resist white supremacy when given the chance, point blank. History will bear this out, and many smart people, including Theodore Parker and Dr. King noted that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Personal (mostly music)
Last weekend I broke two projects in my garage slash woodshop. While I was sitting around Saturday night feeling bummed I watched a video about wood and learned that the wood that you buy from big box stores was semi-dry and meant for construction not woodworking. I remember specifically writing in my essay about woodworking how important it was to use good material, and I wasn’t even listening to myself. Lesson learned! I also spent time over the weekend learning more music theory and practicing scales and arpeggios. SNOOZERS! I’m kidding (I’m not) but it is important and once I learned all the scales I’ll be able to do more cool stuff all around the neck. I’ve been listening to a bunch of Jimi Hendrix lately and I decided to branch off and listen to some other blues. So my wife and I listened to some Cream while we drove around on Saturday, and I listened to some Stevie Ray Vaughn to get my fast Texas blues fix. I had forgotten just how much I love the blues until recently, and it feels really great to rediscover it. It’s like catching up with a long-lost friend.
Last week was another usual week, except on Friday I attended my favorite 2600 meeting, Spokane 2600! It was virtual and even though the turnout was small I really enjoyed it. Acetolyne and I decided to do some software reverse engineering on Sunday because I had a Ghidra book lying around that I preordered back in February and has been sitting on my desk staring at me for the last few weeks ago. I’d been really preoccupied with cloud stuff, but we agreed to grab a copy of the Ghidra binary and mess around. We decided that the best thing to reverse was a crackme from hackthebox.eu and we spent an hour or so going through the book to figure out how Ghidra works and to start reversing something. We started with a stripped binary and made some progress. Towards the end we decided to try the easiest ten point challenge and we solved it in six or seven minutes! I felt very accomplished and was glad that I remembered something about reversing after all! My employer has a CTF coming up this week and I was glad to have the chance to sharpen my reversing skills, and to do so with one of my best friends was an added bonus! Also, did you know that I like exclamation marks?
I do not have much more to report professionally. Regarding the CTF, it is a two week challenge and I am eager to see the teams and get started. I don’t know if I can share anything about it specifically next week, but perhaps I’ll write something vague for people who are interested.
People to follow
As I do every week, here are some tech and non-tech people you might consider following on Twitter.
Martin Luther King III - The son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bernice King - The daughter of Dr. King
@cetolyne - great friend, awesome programmer, super helpful!
@blenster - cool maker, very positive, well worth a follow!
@GWeessies - very smart person doing interesting research!
Marley - first place champ! Marley is one of the best on Twitter!
Null Coder - another awesome person to keep an eye on!
@EvilMog - creator of the DC MUD and an interesting person to follow.
That’s it, that’s the post! Thanks for taking the time to read it, internet friend! Click here for the previous post and click here for the next post. Finally, I hope you have a very nice day and a most excellent week!