# Saturday, December 21, 2019

A few months ago, I decided to spend 2 days in Copenhagen on my way to speak at a conference in Stockholm, Sweden. I had never been to Denmark before and I did not know if I would get the opportunity again.

Little did I know that my opportunity would come so soon.

IMG_6789I was asked to serve as the Tech Lead at a DevOps OpenHack in Copenhagen last week and I quickly accepted a chance to return to Copenhagen. I didn't feel I had enough time to explore last time (although I did visit 2 museums and took a boat tour of the canals); and I wanted to see more.

Unfortunately, it is more difficult to see Denmark in December than it is in May. The Copenhagen sun rises at about 8:30 and sets at about 3:30, meaning it was dark when I arrived at work each day and dark when I left.

But I still enjoyed myself.

The OpenHack was a great success. It was my first time as a tech lead, which added pressure, but my friend Hattan helped me prepare for this role and I was ready when the event began. I was also excited to learn more about DevOps - an important part of software development that I had been hoping to upskill on. The final day of the OpenHack, I surprised the audience by singing a song about DevOps that I had composed the night before. It was set to the tune of "Deck the Halls", which gave it a festive feel.

After the OpenHack ended, I met my friend Magnus and his family for dinner. Magnus lives in Malmo, Sweden, which is across the Oresund from Copenhagen. It was good to see him and to meet his family.

IMG_6800The following day, I walked around Copenhagen and spent a couple hours at the Christiansborg Palace, where the Danish Parliament meets. The Palace boasts several museums. I visited the ruins under the palace of the castles that previously stood on the site; and the Royal Reception Rooms, where monarchs host official functions.

IMG_6859My friend Tibi recently moved to Helsingborg, Sweden and he invited me to stay with his family. So, Friday afternoon, I traveled the 100 km by train to meet him. It was a relaxing weekend with Tibi, his wife Nicoleta, and their 3 daughters, including an 11-month-old with an infectious smile.

IMG_6836Sunday, I took a ferry across the Oresund to Helsingborg to visit Kronberg Castle, which inspired William Shakespeare to write "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark" over 400 years ago. If I return in the summer, I would love to see a live production of "Hamlet" performed at the castle. The day was filled with wind and rain, which made the ferry ride rough and walking unpleasant, but which also kept away crowds.

On Monday, I spent the entire day returning home - via car, train, 2 flights, and an Uber ride.

It was not an exciting trip, but it was one that I enjoyed, thanks to the kindness of friends. And I left with a festive feeling.

Saturday, December 21, 2019 9:24:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, December 19, 2019

GCast 67:

Azure Repos, Branches, and Pull Requests

Learn how to edit files in an Azure DevOps repo, create branches and pull requests, and approve mergers.

Thursday, December 19, 2019 1:02:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, December 16, 2019

Episode 589

Tobiah Zarlez on Gender Identity

A few years ago, Software Engineer Tobiah Zarlez came out as non-binary gender. Tobiah talks about what this mean, how it affected them, and how the tech community responded.

Monday, December 16, 2019 9:25:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, December 15, 2019

PaintedBirdA young boy wanders alone from village to village in eastern Europe during World War II, experiencing fear, abuse and perversion at nearly every turn. His hair, eyes, and skin are dark, so he is labeled a Jew and/or a Gypsy - both capital offenses under the Nazi occupation.

The cruelty and depravity he encounters only worsens as his journey continues. For six years, he escapes a terrible situation in one village to a new (often worse) situation in another village. One farmer gouges out the eyes of a field hand he suspects of flirting with his wife; another man locks the boy in a room with a large violent dog every night; he witnesses one family engaged in incest and bestiality. Against it all is the backdrop of the Nazis shipping Jews, Gypsies, and other minorities to suffer and die in concentration camps.

He is beaten and nearly murdered multiple times; nearly everyone he meets is superstitious, ignorant, and cruel. Many of the peasants are active participants in rape, murder, and animal abuse.

The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski is a twisted coming-of-age story that shows what happens when a child grows up knowing nothing but fear and hatred and chaos. There is a stark contrast between the straightforward first-person narrative style and the horrifying tales of chaos the narrator experiences.

It is a brutal story that left me shaken. It is powerful and it is a classic. But you need to brace yourself before reading it.

Sunday, December 15, 2019 2:37:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Saturday, December 14, 2019

TheManWhoLovedChildrenChristina Stead's The Man Who Loved Children details an extremely toxic relationship.

Sam and Henny have been married long enough to have six children together; but they don't like each other and barely speak to one another. Worse, they spend much of their energy bad-mouthing one another to their children.

Henny is better and spiteful and filled with hate for just about everyone and everything.

Sam is arrogant and self-important and racist and misogynistic.

Neither is a good parent. Sam spoils his children and Henny neglects them. The eldest daughter Louisa gets the worst of it. Henny hates her because she is the product of Sam's first marriage (a woman adored by Sam who died shortly after childbirth) and Sam insults and publicly ridicules Louisa for her looks (Louisa is homely and overweight) and her ambition to become a writer.

Sam and Henny each try to play the innocent victim; but each is horrible: Sam because of his narcissism and need for control and Henny because of her melodrama and blatant meanness. Each is horrible because each tries to weaponize the children against the other, forcing them to take sides. Only Louisa recognizes this, which is why she is so unhappy.

Things get worse after Sam loses his job and the family is forced to move from Washington, DC to the slums of Baltimore, where Henny - once an industrialist heiress - borrows money from multiple lenders, with no intention of repaying these loans.

As the story wears on, Sam's habit of baby talking to his children becomes more and more annoying; and his overestimation of his own intelligence and morality wear thin. I never grew to like Henny, but I began to despise her less and to understand her descent into madness as the story revealed more of Sam's character.

For me, the story became real enough that it made me uneasy. Stead makes us uncomfortable to see the dark inside of this highly dysfunctional family. I liked the foreshadowing involving Louisa and a neighbor's cat. But I did not like the relationship. And I feared for the future of the children.

Saturday, December 14, 2019 2:08:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, December 9, 2019

Episode 588

Walt Ritscher on Try .NET

Walt Ritscher describes Try .NET and how to use it to enhance your programming demos.

Monday, December 9, 2019 9:47:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, December 5, 2019

GCast 66:

Creating a Repo in Azure DevOps

How to create an Azure DevOps project and a code repo within that project.

Azure | DevOps | GCast | Screencast | Video
Thursday, December 5, 2019 9:10:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, December 2, 2019

Episode 587

Robert Green on Microsoft Graph

Robert Green describes how to use Microsoft Graph to query information from Microsoft directories and services.

Monday, December 2, 2019 2:45:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, December 1, 2019

12/1
Today I am grateful for:
-Breakfast with old friends in Plymouth
-Watching my son coach his basketball team in Kalamazoo
-Watching the Spartan regular-season finale in East Lansing

11/30
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with a group of old friends from my college days.

11/29
Today I am grateful for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with my family yesterday.

11/28
Today I am grateful I was able to avoid the worst of the storms while driving across Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan yesterday.

11/27
Today I am grateful to Hattan for spending so much time teaching me about DevOps this month.

11/26
Today I am grateful for bike-riding weather in late November.

11/25
Today I am grateful for a weekend in Kalamazoo.

11/24
Today I am grateful to see my son's Kalamazoo College team defeat Case Western yesterday.

11/23
Today I am grateful for lunch yesterday with Kelly, Kara, and Elizabeth.

11/22
Today I am grateful for a tour of an airline's command center at the Dallas-Ft Worth airport yesterday.

11/21
Today I am grateful for dinner last night in Dallas with Jason, Tobiah, and Paris.

11/20
Today I am grateful for BBQ with Kendall last night in Dallas.

11/19
Today I am grateful for an electric blanket.

11/18
Today I am grateful for an amazing week in Tokyo.

11/17
Today I am grateful to visit the Yebisu Museum of Beer and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography yesterday.

11/16
Today I am grateful for a visit to TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum yesterday.

11/15
Today I am grateful for:
-Lunch yesterday with Peter, who I haven't seen in over 30 years;
-A baseball game at the Tokyo Dome last night
-A walk around Yoyogi Park

11/14
Today I am grateful for:
-a visit to Meiji Jingu temple yesterday morning
-completing a successful OpenHack this week

11/13
Today I am grateful for a visit to Asakusa Temple yesterday.

11/12
Today I am grateful for Udon with new friends in Roppongi last night.

11/11
Today I am grateful for a walk around Hibiya Park in Tokyo yesterday.

11/10
Today I am grateful to arrive in Japan for the first time.

11/9
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with LaBrina and Becky.

11/8
Today I am grateful for a party last night at the Fisher Pavilion in Seattle.

11/7
Today I am grateful for dinner last night with the Diversity and Inclusion team.

11/6
Today I am grateful to spend yesterday writing code with colleagues.

11/5
Today I am grateful for a visit to the Museum of Flight in Seattle last night.

11/4
Today I am grateful for dinner with teammates in downtown Seattle last night.

Sunday, December 1, 2019 2:14:25 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, November 25, 2019

Episode 586

Jim Wooley on Entity Framework Performance

Jim Wooley describes the newest features of Entity Framework and factors to consider when increasing performance.

Monday, November 25, 2019 9:56:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)