Here’s a few pictures of my first “Chickadee House”…I am usually at my desk all day. Out the window in front of my desk are a few bird feeders, if it’s a sunny and busy bird day I’ll tape one of the homes to my window with some birdseed inside, and set my camera up.

Jada Fitch Illustration

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A Decade on Twitter by Jeremy Keith.

I too hit my 10 year mark on Twitter this month. After last week I stepped away from Twitter with no real goal other than to get some distance for a bit.

So far it’s been pretty nice. On the few occasions I’ve gone back to read a funny tweet or see a photo, nothing has changed for me. Twitter hasn’t even changed. It’s just not something I want to spend time on right now.

So I’m not saying I’m off Twitter for good, but I am just on a break and we’ll see how that goes.

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Siteleaf blends the best parts of hosted content management systems and static site generators to make a CMS that would be worth checking out if you’ve spent any time trying to make a static site generator work.

The intro video explains it all pretty well. I use and like Jekyll, but watching that video reminds me of features I would really like to have someday. At $7 a month it’d be well worth the cost if you have a lot to publish (I don’t).

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Watch Shohei Ohtani hit a ball out of a dome!

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“The house next door caught on fire.”

That was the first message my wife sent me about the fire. She was home waiting for an outdoor patio furniture delivery. We’d been remodeling the back-yard and rear part of our house for about six months, and it was conveniently all finishing up in time for my daughter’s 3rd birthday party.

My parents were on the freeway headed to their hotel, the cake was ordered, and bags of party favors were piled up at the bottom of our staircase. The kids were in school and camp. My daughter had just started pre-school that week.

I could type for three hours about what has happened since that text was sent. While it was the house next door, the fire fighters had to enter our house with hoses and a chainsaw to cut a hole in the wall and fight the fire from my daughter’s upstairs bedroom.

Homes in San Francisco are built up against each other which makes fighting fires a little tricky. While the fire started next door, given the architecture of the two buildings it was inaccessible from that property. So they opened up our walls and sent a lot of smoke and water back into our home.

I’ve obliquely referenced some of it in short tweets and a few friends know the story, but the short of it is: it’s bad. Our insurance company thinks it’s going to be about three to four months before everything is back to normal. All our stuff is being hauled away to be cleaned or thrown out. I’ve slept in four different beds in less than a week.

There have been crews of every sort through our house and every day there’s a new team of people who specialize in something. There’s a team removing the water from the floors, another team cleaning all the clothes and textiles, another hauling away furniture, a fire investigator, a lead and asbestos testing lab, the insurance adjuster.

My daughter is three so she can still (mostly) roll with whatever we’re doing, but my son is seven and he just wants to go home and hang out in his room with his fish and books. Teachers and camp counselors ask us about the fire and I try to be careful about what I say in front of him because he definitely doesn’t want us talking about it to them.

Work has been very understanding. I feel guilty as hell about not being there, especially when a friend has taken over something I needed to be doing this week.

On the scale of tragedy it’s really not that bad. Nobody in our family was hurt. My wife saw the smoke and called 911 before anyone, which our insurance adjuster says is the reason our whole top floor didn’t get wiped out. My daughter still got to have her Paw Patrol cake. The insurance company (Farmer’s!) has been doing an amazing job at reassuring us it is all going to get taken care of and so far it appears that way. I can’t imagine our premium will ever total the amount it’s going to take to get us back to where we were.

On the scale of tragedies it’s hard not to feel like we actually did okay. This is hard but not impossible. My wife and I make a good team. Our daughter seems to think this is just another thing we’re doing. So my biggest concern is that my son gets through this okay and I know that’s going to take some work.

But I am just happy to have my family together at night reading books before bed—wherever that may be.

A photo posted by Andre Torrez (@torrez) on

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At work, in one of our engineering meetings, we’ve started a new series where engineers get up and show how they work. It’s fun to see your co-workers talk about themselves and each speaker gives me something to consider about my own setup. I thought I’d document mine here just for fun.

The first thing I should say is that despite all the scripts and services I use the one thing that is core to my work is a real notepad and pen next to my keyboard. I’ve tried many times to to move this to a digital, synced method and every time I go back to pen and paper. It’s just too easy to get ideas down and crossed off.

My first thing to do when I get into work is write the three or four things I know I have to do in a day. The scope is very high-level and usually just a few words describing something I’d like to have done. I’ll probably copy these lines over again later as a headers to longer lists, or just cross it off as it’s done and not think about it again.

Later in the day I’ll add more things to the list at a lower level. Sometimes at a very low level to motivate myself. “Open file x” for example. At the end of the day or especially on a weekend I’ll write a few things I need to do when I get back to my desk.

Right now my pen of choice is the rOtring ArtPen. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to ball-point or pencil–fountain pens feel so good.

I always have a window open looking at logs while I work. I know most people just tail -F a log file but I tend to add | grep someword and then preface my own debug statements with someword. Often that word is PIZZA.

I use the Utime Chrome extension a lot. A LOT.

I use Vim. I use ctrl-p. I can’t work without gitgutter. And I depend on ag as a much faster “ack”.

Ctags are my life. I can’t imagine using a text editor without ctags. I could write a whole blog post about how great ctags are and maybe someday I will. If you don’t know what they are you should consider putting them to work for you. I really couldn’t imagine working without them.

I use the Fish shell mainly for the clever auto-complete.

I also use some Fish script to put my current branch name and branch state in the prompt. I do a very small amount of branch switching in a day and it’s good to be reminded that I am no longer on the branch I think I am.

As you may remember I use a Chromebook at work.

There’s some Slack-specific stuff I use in a day, but other than that I think my setup is rather simple.

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My daughter woke up at 6:00am calling for her mom. We take turns getting up with the kids on the weekend, so I got out of bed, found my glasses and shuffled over to her room.

“Good morning, Lucia,” I whispered. “No mom!” “Mom is sleeping. We have to be quiet so she can sleep.” “No peepee!!”

She will, every morning, swear that she does not have pee in her diaper and we should just go downstairs and start eating Cheerios. She will get very upset if I suggest we should change her diaper and she will tell me over and over that she does not have any pee and I’m wasting my time by looking. We do this every morning.

Of course she always has some pee and once I’ve stood her on the ground and showed her she does, she lets me put her on the changing table.

While on the table she says “Cheerios with Mark?” It sounds like “chee-ro wi-uh-mak?” but I know what she’s asking.

“Yes, Lucia, you can eat Cheerios with Mark.”

“Oh cool.” She picked this phrase up from one of us. She knows it means she’s pleased with an answer she was looking for.

By this time my son has wandered in. His hair is long and he never combs it. He curls up into her soft rocking chair while I finish cleaning her up. He’s only seven but he seems like a teenager—at least the sort of teenager I was.

“Mark Cheerios?”

Mark agrees with her and turns over in the chair. Unlike a teenager he hasn’t learned he can just go back to bed and sleep more.

We make our way downstairs where Lucia makes a bee-line for where we keep the bowls and cereal.

“Lucia eat Cheerios. Mark eat Cheerios. Mark eat Cheerios with Lucia.” She’s that younger sister looking up to her brother. She wants to do the same things he does and she copies whatever he does and wants. He’s a good big-brother and looks after her, but sometimes it annoys him and he lets her know.

As I pour her bowl I realize Mark is not in the kitchen. He’s gone to the room with the TV and has started playing a video game demo we’d started downloading last night. He’d been really excited to find it, but the two hour download time put it on the other side of his bedtime. So now he’s opened it up and is exploring.

I sit Lucia down with her bowl and walk over to check on Mark. He’s not hungry (of course) and wants to stay on the couch for a bit with the blanket wrapped around himself and the TV headphones strapped on his head. The fan on the PS4 and the click of the controller are the only sounds in the room.

I walk back to the dining table to find Lucia sitting, in the dark of 6:10am, at her bowl still full of cereal. She hasn’t eaten any.

“No Mark?” “No, Mark isn’t going to eat breakfast yet.”

The tiny look of disappointment that flashes across her face is quickly replaced by the realization she has a bowl of Cheerios in front of her. She’s happy.

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