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The Minnesota Twins are Good at Baseball

I enjoy watching baseball. I’d call myself a casual fan, not because I only watch when they’re good, but because I’m not one of those folks who can tell you all the reasons why they are good or what they should do to get even better. I just like watching baseball. It’s a reliable presence with an even tempo and also there’s a lot of statistics.

As the Twins have been leading their division, league and even all of baseball quite frequently this season, my cousin started tweeting whenever they had the best record in baseball. Of course that got tedious so he inquired about automating it. I thought that sounded like a fun project. And if something is worth doing, it’s worth overdoing, so I made a ruby gem that includes the leader executable that’s useful for determining whether or not your favorite team is leading their division, league or all of baseball. It can also report to you which team is leading baseball, a league, or a division as well as print out a nice leaderboard with sort and filtering options.

Some results:

$ leader is minnesota-twins -l && t update "Today is the 27th of June and the Minnesota Twins have the best record in the American League."
Today, the 27th day of June, 2019:
The Minnesota Twins are the leaders of the AL C division.
The Minnesota Twins are the leaders of the AL.
The Minnesota Twins are not the best team in baseball. They are #2.
Tweet posted by @schlazor.

Run `t delete status 1144439948352692224` to delete.

Using it isn’t quite as straightforward as installing an app on your phone, but keep reading and I’ll walk you through it if you’re interested.

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Strongly Held Opinions

A few days ago I started a meaningless Facebook group called Grouper McGroupface because the future is private and/or I wanted to make polls for my friends to fill out. One such poll was about ice cream cones:

A few years ago I bought a pack of ice cream cones at the grocery store on a whim. Seemed like it would be fun to watch Iver shove his face into, probably. But I found that I really liked eating ice cream from a cone at home. There are many benefits! I will list them now:

  • No need for a clean bowl or spoon
  • No dishes to wash after consumption of the ice cream
  • It’s fun to pack the interior of the cone before putting perfect spheres stacked on top
  • The ice cream is licked
  • The cone tastes good
  • That part at the bottom of the cone where all the melted ice cream is
  • The cone is crunchy, a nice contrast to the soft ice cream

Probably the biggest difference is the licking. Normally when I eat ice cream with a spoon I put a bit in my mouth and kind of half chew it, and then down it goes. Licking makes the ice cream last longer.

Anyway, all that to say that after making the poll and seeing the results and comments, I realized I had a pretty strong opinion on the matter, despite it being just about the most unimportant aspect of my life. So be warned: this may be the first post in a series of posts detailing hills upon which I would die defending.

Refreshing… Different

Last weekend I was at my parents’ house and happened to find one of those folksy cookbooks that is composed of recipes authored by Area Moms and Grandmas. This one had a cabin theme. I don’tRecipe for "Coca-Cola Salad" with cream cheese, orange jello and chopped nuts. remember if it was for a fundraiser or what – the others that I’ve come across are put out by churches or schools. Anyway, I took a couple photos of recipes, including this one for a “salad” made with Coke. For some reason I decided that I needed to make this. It doesn’t make any modern culinary sense as we’re no longer impressed with congealed things like folks were 50 years ago, but I’d never cooked with pop before, and it seemed like something I needed to do.

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Funny Shirt

Most Fridays I work from home. Today was no different, and I decided to wear the Wild sweater that my mother in law (who is retiring! woo!) gave me as it is large and comfortable (much like myself?). Hadn’t really worn it before, so when Iver saw me he exclaimed, “Dada! That’s a funny shirt!” And I guess he’s right, it is rather distinct from my normal white v-neck undershirt and sweatpants. Later in the day I gave him a bath due to a heinous nap-time crap and after we enjoyed some Mister Rogers in our matching white undershirts. 

Last night was the mother-in-law’s retirement party at the Lookout, where they have a little playground. His adoring cousins were kind enough to load him into the baby swing which he proudly named the Underpants Swing. Genius!

One of the things we let him watch on the tubes is the Bible Project videos. His favorite:

This morning he told us he “made the Gospel of Mark” which turned out to be a yoga mat rolled up like a scroll with various items lovingly placed upon it. 

Today he spent a couple hours at a friend of ours while Catie printed our church’s liturgy handout thing. He was presented with a newfound love: chocolate pudding. He came home exclaiming his love for “lick chocolate” which is forever what I’m calling it now.

He actually fell asleep during his nap today, which means it’s now 10pm and he’s still banging around up there. Oh well. 

Crustimoney Proceedcake

Hallo, Pooh,” he said. “How’s things?”

“Terrible and Sad,” said Pooh, “because Eeyore, who is a friend of mine, has lost his tail. And he’s Moping about it. So could you very kindly tell me how to find it for him?”

“Well,” said Owl, “the customary procedure in such cases is as follows.”

“What does Crustimoney Proseedcake mean?” said Pooh. “For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.”

Iver has been laser focused on this particular chapter of Winnie-the-Pooh (Chapter IV, In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One). Repetition is not something I cherish in bedtime stories, but I know it’s huge for kids and he laughs at Crustimoney Proceedcake every time we read it.

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An Expotition to Minnehaha Falls

I had a particularly lengthy off-hours stint of work on Saturday, so I decided to take today off to make up for it. Iver found a pamphlet somewhere yesterday extolling the virtues of Minneapolis. Included in the pamphlet were some pictures of water fountains, so he’s been talking non-stop about going to visit one. Being mid-April in Minnesota, of course none of the fountains around here are operational. But I wasn’t 100% sure, and thought it would be a fun diversion, so we got in the car and headed out to find a fountain.

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Wedged Bear in Great Tightness

Tonight Iver and I read Chapter II of Winnie-the-Pooh, in which Pooh gets stuck in Rabbit’s front door after eating all the honey and condensed milk Rabbit had on hand. While Christopher Robin is explaining to Pooh that he will remain stuck in the hole for a whole week, Pooh asks if someone would please read to him from a Sustaining Book:

“A week!” said Pooh gloomily. “What about meals?”

“I’m afraid no meals,” said Christopher Robin, “because of getting thin quicker. But we will read to you.”

Bear began to sigh, and then found he couldn’t because he was so tightly stuck; and a tear rolled down his eye, as he said:

“Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?”

(I love how A. A. Milne uses capitalization to emphasize Words of Great Importance).

There’s a lot going on in our world. Reading the news about the refugee crisis or the opioid epidemic makes me glad we get to read this Sustaining Book together over and over again.

When Catie was young she was given a stuffed bear from Dayton’s. It came with a backpack and hiking gear and was named Boundary Waters Bear. He’s well loved, to the point where we searched eBay for his brethren and have so far acquired three more of them (if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing?). Iver has had a couple of them in his room since birth, and this morning he announced that they were now named Pooh and Christopher Robin. Catie put some Identifying Socks on them and they are now joining us at most meals. From the sound of it a great many adventures were had with them throughout the day. Here they are eating breakfast:

I don’t really have a point to make here, other than I love my kid and Winnie-the-Pooh is a Sustaining Book when you feel like you are a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness.

Two and Oh

I’m a baseball fan in general, and a fan of the Minnesota Twins in particular. It was not always thus. I grew up with generic notions of local sport team fandom as most children in a city with (usually) four major sports teams probably do, with the most fondness for the Twins. This was likely due to being 5 and 9 years old when they won their two World Series’. Baseball is the sort of game that’s easy enough for a young child to understand on the surface, and I have very fond memories watching those ’87 and ’91 teams make their championship run.

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I bought a WiFi MCU for $9

Usually when I think about the spacetime in which we occupy in relation to the advancement of technology, it’s a negative thing. Why don’t we have flying cars? Why haven’t we bred trees that don’t shed leaves in the fall that have to be raked? Can’t we make emo grass (that cuts itself)? Etc. But. No more. You can buy a WiFi enabled MCU for about nine (9) USD on Amazon, including one day shipping (if you’re a Prime member and spend enough and live in certain areas probably). The possibilities are endless.

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Minnebar12

Yesterday I had the pleasure of returning to the Best Buy HQ campus for Minnebar12. I’ve been to many and continue to be impressed that an event that large continues to be free, well attended, and full of pretty decent content. For my first session I chose to attend @eryno’s talk on being a lead developer. She breaks down the lead’s role into three categories: Facilitate, Advocate and Motivate.

To illustrate what a good facilitator does, she told a story about her brother in law giving her a pretzel. After starting to eat it, she realized it was salty and would require some water – so she went to go ask for some but there was her brother in law with water in hand who said “duh, pretzels are salty.” The point being, try to anticipate roadblocks and get them out of the way before they happen if you can.

Advocating is basically the art of saying no, but having evidence to back you up so an actual negotiation can take place rather than a battle of emotions. One of the things people often ask me is “can we just do X” and my typical reaction is something like “anything is possible with enough time and money!” Which is my way of letting them know that yes, we can probably do that, but something else that you also think is important won’t get done when you thought it would.

She had some good perspective on motivation as well – starting with the notion that no one is going to be more optimistic about the feasibility of a project than you are, so make sure you’re presenting a positive attitude to your team.

I also attended Andrew Rahn’s talk about the mini yarn skein winding robot he made for his wife, which was a lot of fun. I’ve recently started trying my hand at some electronics stuff, but nothing with stepper motors or even a proper case yet, so I learned a couple things.

Another session I enjoyed was an intro to Kotlin, a newish JVM language that is type safe and heavily influenced by functional programming. Looks very interesting, and I’m definitely hoping to try it out on something soon.

Also attended sessions on reactive functional programming as well as one on genetic algorithms, so as to cover 2016 and 2004 buzzwords adequately.

As always the food was great, got to see old friends, and I got a new T-shirt.

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