Eight Months Later

November 22, 2011

It’s been forever since I last blogged.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, that you probably already know most of what has transpired in my life since March. I tweet a lot (sometimes). But, writing it out seems like a good way to ease back into blogging.

A week after my last post, Liam Apollo Tesla was born. We had him at home, but ended up at the hospital to tend to Erica’s health. It turned out that Liam had some respiratory distress, which developed into pneumonia. We lived at the hospital for nearly ten days. It was not the first ten days as a new family that we had hoped for, but it was what we got, and we made the most of it. It was stressful, and when it was all over, we were elated to finally be at home with our baby where he was born.

We weren’t there for very long, though. We were already planning a move to Chicago that was just waiting for Liam to be born. The next month was devoted to Liam and cleaning and organizing and packing. I said my goodbyes at work, then the movers came and we hopped on a plane. I cannot recommend enough having other people pack and move your stuff. I am so thankful that I can afford that.

Apartment hunting in a new city is stressful. Doing it with a seven week old baby is doubly so. But, through Erica’s sheer genius at finding things, we found a great apartment. It is in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago, and we love it. We feel like we found a little sliver of San Francisco here by the Lake.

Fast-forward six months. I’ve been killing it at my new job with DRW. Liam has tripled in size to a whopping 33 pounds and change, and he is wearing 24m/2T clothes. My 8-month-old wears toddler clothes. Yeah. We (yes, Erica again) found a great deal on Craigslist. We’re good on clothes. He just cut his seventh tooth, and will likely cut another before his age-in-months gets ahead of his tooth count. Being new parents is awesome, and I mean that in the fear-and-wonder sense, not the Wayne’s World sense.

Only recently have I even remembered I have a blog, let alone thought of things to write for it. But, now I have a lot of things I want to say. I’ve been putting this off for a couple of weeks. What’s one more week on top of eight months, right?

There’s a lot going on in my life, and a lot going on in the world. I’ve got things I want to share and things I want to say. Surprisingly, little of it has to do with programming any more. I had a realization not too long ago that I am happier with hobbies that aren’t programming. I still may do some, but I’m finding that I actually enjoy the programming I do at work much more if I’m not spending all hours of the night programming at home too.

I knit. I’ve been knitting a lot. Since Liam was born, I’ve finished one scarf, a pair of gloves, three hats, two pairs of socks, and the sleeves for my first sweater (I had done the rest of the sweater before that). I am presently designing an Aran sweater for a class I will be teaching in a few months at my local yarn store. I am also knitting a sweater for Erica.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about political stuff and activist things. The Occupy movement has really connected with me in many ways. It’s really only by sheer, dumb luck that I’m not in the same boat as so many people that are out there protesting. Part of me wants to be out there protesting, too. But, there are so many things that need our attention. Not just the screwed up (non-)regulatory systems for banks.

Since Erica got pregnant, we have both immersed ourselves in feminism. In the last twelve months, or so, I’ve come to realize a lot of things about our culture that I really don’t like. I’m not sure what to do about them yet, but I’ll probably step up on my soap box and blog at whomever whishes to come along and read it.

So, I’ve got lots of posts rattling around in my brain, and now that I’ve hunkered down and actually written my I’m Back Post™, I’ll start writing them.

Dear Son

March 10, 2011

I write to you on your estimated due date. You haven’t been born just yet, but I know you will be here soon. I am filled with impatience, excitement and anxiety. Impatient for what will most certainly be one of the most joyous events of my life; excited to meet and hold the most amazing thing I have helped bring into this world; and anxious that I am not prepared.

I want you to know that I love you. Mom loves you. We love you unconditionally. That means we love you no matter what, and when we say no matter what, we really mean it. We love you and we accept you for who you are, and who you want to be. We may not always understand you, we may not always agree with you, we may not always approve of your decisions, but we will always love you, and we will always accept you. Always. Unconditionally.

There is so much that I want to share with you; so many amazing things. I can’t wait to teach you about anything you want to know. We’ll have years to learn everything we can imagine. But, there is something I think it’s so important that you learn, that I want to start teaching it to you before you’re even born.

Always be respectful of people. Be respectful of those you agree with, and of those you disagree with. Be respectful of men, and of women. Be respectful of people like you, and of people unlike you. Be respectful of people regardless of their race, sex, gender, sexuality, beliefs, occupation, hobbies, habits, or other attributes. People deserve to be treated with respect. All people. Every single one.

If you never listen to anything else I say, please listen to this.



Now Powerd By Jekyll

February 25, 2011

I know I promised more blogging. I know it’s been weeks. I have been working on my blog, just behind the scenes.

I decided that if I was going to start blogging seriously, I did not want to be doing it in a web form. I’ve been using WordPress for a long time now, and the biggest thing that has always bugged me were my options for actually typing in my blog posts. Web forms suck for writing. I’d rather use Emacs.

Now, I realize there’s ways to use Emacs to post to WordPress. I’m not interested. The second thing that bugged me about my old setup is the database. This is a blog. Except for comments and track-backs, it is essentially static content. There is no reason to bring a database into this transaction.

So, I started considering doing something simple that would generate my content statically. I could store it in a Git repository and push it up to my server. That’s when I remembered Jekyll. It was pretty much exactly what I wanted, and it’s written in Ruby, so I’ll be comfortable hacking on it when the need arises.

The trouble was that Jekyll doesn’t have a lot of built-in generation options. It will generate a page for each post, and it will run any extra files through its template expansion, but for things like archive pages some extra code is needed. But, Jekyll provides a plugin mechanism that is more than adequate to allow for extension.

As part of this migration, I’ve decided to remove the commenting and track-backing functionality from my blog. Experience has shown that I don’t really get much in the way of comments, and I believe there are better ways to facilitate discussion. If, later, I feel that I should have comments, I’ll probably use Disqus.

I also made a little tweak so that only new posts should show up in the RSS feed. Since my scheme for determining GUIDs is new, I didn’t want to spam people with a bunch of posts that are quite old. Also quite easy with Jekyll.

Ultimately, I’m quite happy with my new blog setup. It will help me blog more frequently.

Yet Another LTNS Post

February 1, 2011

Okay, so it seems like over the last few years, so many of my blog posts are “I am still alive” or “long time no see, I’m going to start blogging again.”

The problem is that I’ve thought of this blog as a technical blog for so long, and so when I want to talk about other things, I’ve felt I couldn’t post them here. But, as my better half told me today, “It’s called Alieniloquent. It’s almost perverse for it to be a single-topic blog.”

So, I’m going to start blogging about several topics that interest me: programming, knitting, cooking, parenting, politics, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I’m going to make an effort to tag things appropriately so that if you want to just follow certain kinds of posts, you can.

So, long time no see. I’m going to start blogging again.

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