40 something geeky dad –> Mastodon

Farewell Quentin Coldwater.

I'm gonna need a minute with the whole Quentin thing on. #themagicians. I hard as I rolled with team Q&A I see the outrage about the writers teasing Quentin and Elliot. The outrage I've seen so far is AMAZING so it will be interesting to see how they address it this week and into season 5.

I'm more “thrown” because Quentin was my dude. Nerdy, quiet, no confidence, likes to escape reality. Even with four seasons of the writers beating into our heads how insignificant and cowardly Quentin was I loved the core of who Q was. His maturity and and growth was fun to watch. Even though Alice has the most potential, Margo is just the ultimate bad ass, Julia is powerful, Q fit in.

I'm gonna miss Q a lot on the show. I have some real motivation to finish the books now.

The Cloudpocalypse Will Not Be Televised... or on Youtube.

I was a HUGE Google Plus user. It was my blog, my Instant Messenger, my telephone. I used Plus and Hangouts for everything I did online. And if you weren't on it I didn't exist to you because I gave up everything else. Enter April 2019 and G+ is dead and buried. Nothing more than a blurry mashup of memories and dead URLs. So as to not have all my major memories from 2011 to 2018 completely vanish into the ether of Internet I decided to go to Google Takeout and download my archives. 40 GB later I was just stunned.

I knew I used Plus a lot. But 40 GBs? That seemed a lot. A whole lot. I mean sure I can find thumb drives bigger than that. But that is just Plus. Looking around the net at all my social accounts, pictures, storage and etc. I probably have somewhere between 750 and 800 GB of data floating around in various clouds. That is a lot of data. Data that I am use to not being responsible for until some service shutdown. Even more, if you look at TV shows, movies, music and books then I have multiple TBs of media and posts out there. If I had to backup all that data:

  1. I would have no where near enough space at home to store all that data.
  2. I would have no backup plan to make sure I could keep 3:2:1 backup of all that data (3 backups, 2 different types of media, 1 off site copy).
  3. The act of simply downloading all that data to my own systems would blow though my current datacap multiple times over.

So here I stand. Totally dependent on external cloud storage because I have neither the resources nor a plan to handle all the data that I own, lease, have associated with my various accounts online. It sometimes feels like I met some cool dude at a party that offered me a cigarette and then BANG I'm hooked on PCP. It is becoming clear that I need cloud rehab.

So what do I mean when I say cloud rehab. First of all I need storage. A crap ton of spinning, solid state, pretty high speed storage. And I need all of that data to be redundant. RAID 3 or 5 or something at least. So when a disk failure does happen I am prepared. Second I need to stop depending only on streaming services. Sure most TV shows can live on my six to nine months cloud DVR through my favorite cord cutting service. But for my movies and favorite TV shows I want to watch ad nauseam I need to start caving those on my own network. The data cap savings alone would be worth it.

Putting it short this is a scary undertaking. I've personally gotten so use to a steady diet of streaming services where at the mercy of good account settings and ISP network saturation and latency to view what I want or virtually own. Its strange you have to almost be a network architect just to run your home network.

Umbrella Academy – That Was Interesting (The Umbrella Academy image from Wikipedia)[]

The good thing about the streaming service content wars is a lot of shows are getting made that would not ever see the light of day ten years ago. Not even no HBO or Showtime. And being a comic book and Science Fiction fan this is like heaven to me. So of course I had to binge The Umbrella Academy in three days. So let me start of saying that I really really liked the series. The take on a super hero team that is raised for children to defend humanity and the trauma that must face as they grow into adulthood is very interesting. Even though we are only giving a glimpse into events that happened in their past we see enough to understand why the team is so damaged. I have thoughts though. Maybe even questions.

  1. The Horror I've seen some online reviews that state number 6 is much more present in the series than the comic. Which is cool. I'm still dying to see what his fate was that lead him to his current state. It seems to have been a defining moment for the whole team. So I hope is it addressed at some point. At least let it be an animated short.

  2. Cha Cha and Hazel I need Cha Cha and Hazel to have their own spin-off. So much of their backstory is left unsaid. But the little bit they show is so entertaining. And just when you think one has come humanity and compassion BANG, more murder.

  3. The Doughnut Lady It is strange for a super hero series to not have many real good guys. Most characters are flawed, damaged or both in The Umbrella Academy. But no one is as good or pure as Agnes. I actually found myself cheering for Hazel to not be a super strong murderous monster and make Agnes happy. I do hope they find a way to fit their story into the sequel series.

Michael Cohen Wikipedia Picture circa 2011 Michael Cohen Wikipedia Picture circa 2011

Supporting racist wasn't enough. Making money while “letting” foreign countries buy rooms in his hotels like girl scout cookies wasn't enough. Calling economic refugees murders and rapists wasn't enough. Tearing apart those refugees families apart and creating a boarder crisis wasn't enough. Personally withholding details from his own adminstration and state department about talks he had with “hostile” foreign leaders wasn't enough. Closing down the government so he can get his foot in the door for a perpetual sweetheart construction deal wasn't enough.

So I'll believe this is the smoking gun when I see it.

UPDATE Mastodon instance size limitation so I vented on my blog. Long and short is I will believe Trump telling Cohen to lie is a big thing if something actually cones of it. Otherwise it is business as usual. He will probably call Pelosi ugly tomorrow and have a petition up about that by Monday in time for the new news cycle.

Calls for Trump to leave office grow after report claimed he told Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. By Ed Mazza

Don't Talk About It... Hiding

I'm way less social than I use to be. At least online I am. I'm a complete introvert so I've never been a social person in real life. But my God throw a social network at me and watch out. I mean I was you Yahoo! 360, Plurk, Friendfeed. I tried just about anything (Google Buzz). But times are changing. Call it my advanced age or the fact that online just is not the utopia we grey hairs once thought it was. I just don't feel like telling high single digit numbers of people why I didn't tie my shoes today.

That is not to say I don't want to share at all. I just think my thinking about what I share and with who has evolved. I have friends I like to share random thoughts with to bounce things off of. I have close friends I want to share experiences and media with. But I do not like the idea anymore of sharing everything on a platform that I have not control of and can disappear at any time. That is part of my recent love of Mastodon and other federated services. I think by the end of the year I'm going to spin up an instance of Mastodon and maybe PixelFed to run my online social presence. Under my own domain and everything. I'll try to get a few people to buy in so I'm not just speaking to myself. Even though the little bit of research I've done on mastodon administration is intimidating. I really want to give it a try.

But Why???

Well for one, I am not famous. I've accepted it. I've come to terms with it. I think I am able to crank out a funny zinger every six to eight months that might get twelve or more people to view and actually repost. But any ideas I had that I could be a trend setter or online philosopher are long over. So I don't really need a platform like Facebook or Twitter to push my thoughts when I can find three to eight people on a federated service that is dedicated to interests like mine to give me meaningful input on how profound or ass backwards my posts are.

Secondly I love family but I do not need to see what they are doing all the time. I mean send me a like to a photo archive during the holidays or when Tasha makes honor roll. But I don't need SMS notifications of their daily timeline. I mean I love Google Photos for just that reason. I load up pics of the boys, sort them into an album and push them to the couple people who are interested. No need to flood a social network with 65 pics of my kids looking happy and me looking fat and balding that only and few people are even going to look at.

Last reason is sadly and I've eluded to in the first two, I'm not that interesting. So I'm not looking for the post that is going to make me viral. I'm just looking to say some stupid stuff at times. So I'll keep my Twitter account because more news is on there than anything. But in 2019 I'm going open and federated.

Now if only group chat was just a federated.

...To Be Continued

Village Voice Cover circa 1992

It would be nice if I could stand up and say straight faced and with conviction “I've always been an ally”. That something as simple as the gender of the person someone loves and chooses to make love to never bothered me. I would also like to say I have always been financially responsible and studied my hardest in school as well. But all those statements would be false. When I think of the person I was thirty (30) odd years ago it is hard to feel anything but shame. My world view was so narrow and shaped by antiquated ideas about manhood and religion. And even with good intentions I see how I looked down on people because they were different. That's how I was taught to be so that is obviously the right way to be right?


I can remember in fact a day when I was in high school where my mom asked if I wanted to go to Greenwich Village in New York City and I declined because of “the gays”. Man it is embarrassing to admit that. What is worse is that mindset was considered normal. No one really looked at me as wrong or narrow minded for feeling that way. I had homosexual family members in my life but I didn't relate to them where that side of their life would come up. And why would they. Why would a grown man or woman want to risk being judged by some stupid teenager? And if I had peers my age that were gay why would they risk outing themselves and deal with the social stigma of being gay in 1990s urban New York City. Not that safest of spaces in the history of human kind. Plus it is not a homosexual person's job to explain what it is to be gay to a heterosexual person. It is the responsibility of a human to recognize the humanity of another human and understand that our difference are arbitrary and have not bearing on us as people.

Now it took me a long time to come to that understanding. What I didn't do is retreat into a cadre orthodox heterosexuals. I had to find the courage to open up my mind and welcome the friendships of people from different backgrounds and interests and even sexual identities. I had to see from piratical experience that all white people were not devils, all jew did not want to steal my money, that foreigners were not backwards and stuff in the Middle Ages and that homosexuals no matter how attractive I though I was were not interested in jumping my bones in the least. Humbling but necessary to get over myself and see that at the end of the day good people and assholes come in all shapes, sizes and background.

Diversity is such an important aspect of life I've learned. Without the influx of new and different ideas and world views people become stagnant and feeble minded. They lean on ideas like magic and feeling instead of science and facts. The unknown becomes feared and hated. And we stop learning and evolving. And now I'm rambling.

Long and short, homosexuality, Islam, black skin, and liberalism are not commutable. Although I wish intelligence was.

...To Be Continued

Socially Federated

I'm really thinking hard about setting up a Mastodon and Pixelfed instances. And not just for professional reasons. I feel like social is going in that direction. Silos are alive and well. Don't get me wrong. And people are probably always going to want to gravitate towards a huge meeting place like Facebook where everyone they know is in one place. But I see my social desires changes from 8 years ago. And I think I am not the only one.

I've been on Twitter, Plurk, Yahoo 360, Google Plus and god knows how many other social networks. And back then when the concept was new and a majority of the reaction was benign people posted and said anything. You could be as kind, stupid, disgusting as you wanted and it was just noise in the ether of time. Now everyone see and remembers everything. Young people can't be young and mess up because they have a permanent record of their transgressions that will follow them forever. People can't talk about their political views for fear that they will be attacked by the stranger with no icon or the cousin waving dixie and their AR-15. It is part of the human condition to share and be noticed but unfortunately the Internet is not always the best place to stand out. And while I do feel it is a public service for out loud racist to scream out their narrow minded views and let me know where I stand in their world views I don't want to always be bombarded by their “views”.

Thank God For Federation

New social networks like Mastodon, gnuSocial, PixelFed are popping up to solve some of the old issues with silo social networks. Issues like doing for social what Wordpress did for blogging. Roll you own network that is based on a specific theme or interest. Or run is yourself for a specific group of people so everything you share can be off corporate servers and not made for all of civilization to view and critique. And these social network servers use a protocol called ActivityPub that allows a user on gnuSocial Server A to interact with both a user on gunSocial Server B and PixelFed server C.

Now I don't like the idea of echo chambers. And these servers can be used to help narrow minded people with narrow views of the world to gather and organize. Must like groups on Slack, Signal and Facebook can. But the thought of a safe haven for people to just find safe harbors to just socialize is more than appealing. And there will always be public gathering places like Facebook to post your Christmas and vacation pics and to setup class reunions. But I've come to terms with the fact that I don't need to log into Facebook when I just really want to talk with 5 people. And I can see the desire to eat on average $15 to $20 a month to socialize with the couple people that matter in my life safely and directly and a few select people in the wilds of the net. Need to pick up some AWS and Docker anyway.


...To Be Continued

You know what is scary? Being in your 40s looking at the reset button for your life. I mean when you are in your 40s you don't ever think to yourself “Lets start at square one”. Everything that you did the last 20 odd years doesn't count. How do you reinvent yourself after you are older, grayer with less hair, and financially “unresolved”. That is a pretty fun endeavor to tackle isn't it?

Truth is apart from the soul crushing fear you would expect from finding yourself in the US economy circa 2019 I think I needed it. For a long time I've been stuck. Stuck in a job that didn't fulfill me. I've had a self image that I didn't like. I had an optimistic view of life but a pessimistic view on me in that life. So I need that shot in the arm and kick in the pants that will make everything crystallize in my mind and make me do everything the right way for now on. Just one problem. Where do you find those shots and kicks? Nobody is giving them away anywhere. And trust me I've checked.

Things were so much easier in 1980's after school specials. Someone would walk in a room and just tell you, “You know the answer is ...” and boom problem solved, success montage and ending credits. But in real life you have to actually work and practice to change yourself. One of the true injustices about reality. So starting now I'm planning to work my way though this like I work all my problems. Overthink it completely.

1. Don't just say it... BE IT Everyone has a vision of what they are. I'm no different. But for years now I've been what people told me I was instead of being what I know I am. Maybe it was because I was too lazy to work at making my inner vision my true self. Maybe it was me feeling like I wasn't worthy of being that person I thought I was. Either way I know for sure if you aren't yourself professionally and personally you are never happy. And not being happy is not fun. So I'm reminding myself everyday who I really am and how there isn't any choice to be anything else. And if they isn't enough reason to work at what I need to be then I got bigger problems than I thought.

2. Work to live and not live to work. I am not an alpha personality. I'm not the football captain, the czar, nor the life of the party. I don't impose my will on anyone. And I perhaps like to make people happy for that praise to make myself feel better. This lends me to work harder and longer than I need to so I can be the ultimate team player. What I've found is this is great for my co-workers but not good for me and my personal life. I need to love what I do and be more efficient doing it. That way I am more sure of what I'm doing and spend less time doing it. Plus I just want to enjoy the work I do again. Liking who I do it around is nice. But loving the work you do is most important for me now.

3. Turn things I like into learning hobbies. I have a lot of things I like to do. A lot of them dealing with computers and TV. I need to turn those likes into hobbies that will help me learn. I'm no spring chicken. So I need to take every chance I can to learn something I can use professionally. Be it a programming project, video and audio editing, photography. I need to direct my likes into skills I can direct into professional skills. Like maybe a political podcast for my state by 2020. Now that is a goal.

4. Health I'm not in shape. My son reminds me all the time. And I would like to be in his life for as long as possible. And that is not going to happen at this rate. Walking, no sodas, less sugar are all on tap for this year. Less fried foods too. Oh that one is going to hurt.

There is more to come. But I need to focus on those right to to get to a good start. Because I known for a long time I didn't like who I was. But now I want to finally be who I am. And I hope that makes more sense in real life than how I wrote it.

...To Be Continued.

Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends Image on Wikipedia

I would like to say I grew up a fan of Stan Lee's writing since I was a kid. But the truth is my first exposure to Stan “The Man” was from Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. It was not a Saturday morning if I didn't watch Peter, Angelica and Bobby have their adventure for the week. Sure there were only like twelve new episodes a year it seemed, but it never got old for me. In the age before VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and DVR appointment viewing was all we had. And in the background was the voice of Stan Lee.

That was my gateway into the world of Marvel and a life long love of comics. And while I'm not so familiar with the writing of the man the voice is what hooked me into one of my life loves. Cartoons, comics, TV Shows, and now movies. All for the seed Stan Lee helped plant.

Did you know that the secret to the true nature of the universe is hidden within the simple task of laundry? People foolishly believe that we were created in the image of some super deity in his or hers own image. That they created the heaven and Earth for our pleasure and shunned us for the unforgivable mistake sin of knowledge. But all that is wrong. We are created for the sole purpose of washing and folding socks. That is all. We wear then and then wash them and must mourn their loss when escape to the one and only afterlife that contains all the mismatch socks ever created. And if we ever choose to not give full tribute and fold them properly we end up cursed forever. That is how crazy someone can go when they decided to fold socks for the first time in months. I'm one step away from throwing every sock away in the house and just buying all new ones. Everybody can just get socks for Christmas early.

Been in a programming slump the last few days. Laundry derailed me today. But mostly I've been hitting a wall in just sitting down and focusing. Think I'm going give it 20 minutes tonight so at least I feel like I'm doing something. Then I'm going to try to put in a solid hour or so each day this weekend. Also need to find a simple theme so I can finally create my web page with a few simple functions to it. I have the temperature and time of day working just fine. I just have to figure out the best way to cache the information so I don't get close to going over my free API call limit. Which shouldn't be too hard. Probably will save it to a file and refresh it every 15 minutes or so. It isn't like people will be using it to check their local weather. And I have a little blurb that will tell when the next full moon is. Maybe I might set something up to show a viewer the full moons in a given month. Or even what phase of the moon they were born on.

I want to still add the last three watched TV shows from my Trakt history. But that API is a bit over my head still. After I watch my videos for the week that might be what I focus on. Well. Onward and whatever.