The Right Tool for ̶t̶h̶e̶ Any Job

I'm sure we've all heard the "Hire a lazy person to do a job" Bill Gates quote a million times. But what does that actually mean? In the weeks leading up to and after my last post on my Daylio data, I've been thinking a lot about tools.

And this is far less about what hardware you're using when you sit down to knock something out. Nor is it a stance on the Python vs R vs whatever else debate. Instead, I want to talk a bit about the way I consider tooling as an analyst, and how that's changed over the past couple of years.

Hey, How's it Going? (Empirically)

Fair warning: Some less-than-wholesome language below.


Mood Music

Generally speaking, I've always struggled with mental health stuff and in turn, go through varying levels of "do something about it." Feels like I spend a good chunk of time vacillating wildly between "too anxious to keep anything straight" and "too depressed to want to keep anything straight." Of course, there are long tears where this is less the case, but it always felt borderline-arbitrary how things would just come and go.

So as I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been using a mobile app called Daylio for the better part of a year. It was recommended to me by my good friend Will when I was going through something of a slump as a way to try and sort things out. Figured it was probably a better better approach to do something instead of literally nothing from a monitoring/reflection standpoint. Naturally, I gravitated to something that would metricize what I couldn't get a good handle on, because:

For real.

A Lot of Thoughts About Tech Debt


So I finally finished The Phoenix Project after chugging along on it for the better part of a month. Pulling, verbatim, from a summary paragraph at the beginning of the reference section, I'll let it explain itself better than I could:

The Phoenix Project frames how a core, chronic conflict between Development and IT Operations preordains failure for the entire IT organization, as well as the organization it serves. Left unchecked, the conflict increases time to market for Development, creates longer and more problematic deployments during feature releases, increases the number of Sev 1 outages, and IT Operations becomes increasingly buried with unplanned work, making it difficult to retire technical debt.

I picked this book up for a number of reasons-- not least of which because I see it all over the desks of our Network Operations folks as I pass to and fro to the kitchen to sate a moderate coffee habit. But I also picked it up to try and find some new perspective on what I'd characterize as a tough couple of months transitioning to a totally different business (and by extension subject-expertise) area. I'd gotten pretty good at tinkering with what I knew, but found myself unbelievably frustrated by how much effort it was taking me just to hit the bare minimum of something new. In hindsight, the good bulk of it was inevitable growing pains-- the more exposure you have in an area, the easier it becomes to take on and contextualize new information and pick good projects. Nevertheless, I struggled to reconcile knowing that there had to be a better way and not knowing how to plan/build whatever that meant.

for frame in movie: make_bars()

Related mood music (see below). Revisited this one for the first time in a long while today and have been listening to it on repeat while I typed up this blog.

Total Plays at the Time I Hit Publish: 21

Anyhow, I stumbled across a wildly amusing Reddit thread a couple years ago where a user had basically:

  • Got ahold of various movies through one mean or another
  • Went through and calculated the average color in each frame
  • Used those values to make a bunch of vertical bars that mapped the progression of color through the movie

Check it out. It's pretty cool.

The Internet has taken to calling these Movie Bar Codes (which drives the pedant in me insane, lol) and other users have some pretty cool galleries of their takes on the project. One of my favorites is a tumblr user whose been cranking out dozens of them, with a grainier, hand-brushed aesthetic. So I bookmarked the links into my "would be cool to do" folder, then totally forgot about it.

The Jack Sparrow music video: Look at how starkly that first Jack Sparrow scene pops at the first white bar, lol

Trivial Pursuits in Sports and Web Scraping

High Volume, but to what End?

So in the past couple of years, I've gone on tears where I'm addicted to MOOC's (or Massive Open Online Courses, like Coursera, Khan Academy, etc). Occasionally, I'll really connect with some exceptional material, for instance

Though, perhaps equally often, I'll engage with a course for a few then give up-- like that time I was really excited about Jazz Improvization and then got distracted with other things. More perilous, I'm coming to understand that get addicted to the dopamine rush of bookmarking the hell out of everything, and never following up. It's a low-effort, high-"feels"-dividend to imagine all of the cool things that I WILL be learning..........someday. (For real, don't ask me how many O'Reilly manuals I own but haven't read.)

Eventually, it occurred to me that I got really good at watching YouTube videos and following along. Ultimately, though, I was kind of shit at keeping all of the information in my head. Truth be told, looking back-- even at courses that I really enjoyed-- my experience in academia can largely be summarized with the phrase

"Okay. I'll do what I need to to get the grade now, but I'm going to come back and really learn this later."

Story Circles and Survival Horror

Hey, long time no see!

I've been starting and stopping this post for the past few months ever since I sat down for a rewatch of one of my all time favorite horror movies, The Thing. I don't consider myself much of an aficianado by any capactity, but wanted to share some thoughts that I've been having as I absorb more of the genre.

Before we dive in, let's establish some vocabulary. And for good measure, throw on some flavor music. As I'm sure I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm a huge Dan Harmon fan. A good while back, he did an excellent writeup of some basic story-structure patterns that will really lend itself to understanding the brain-dump you're reading now, as I'm basically ripping off his rip off of famous literary academic Joseph Campbell.

Story Circles

The whole article series is a really interesting read and will likely show up, in one capacity or another, in every bit of media you consume from here on out. But for brevity here's what you need to know:

  • The Hero's Journey can represented as a circle divided into 4 quadrants with about 8 stops.
  • The top half of the circle represents the zone that is familiar and comfortable, the bottom the unfamiliar and challenging
  • Nearly every story starts out in a relative state of comfort at the 12 o'clock spot. As the story devlops we see the protagonist's journey around the circle and its neat points of story-telling milestones.

First draft of the hacky screenplay I'm not writing

American Beauty in 3d

American Beauty falls off of the US Netflix catalog on the morning of December 1st. I remember loving it last time I gave it a watch and so I sat down to revisit it and write about it. This was at 6:52p the day before so naturally, by the time you're reading this, that train has left the station. Bummer. Anyhow


The movie ended, and I sat and pored through my notes and doodles that I took down while I was watching. This might not be the most accessible way to share my thoughts, but ultimately, I came away from this movie thinking about a 3-dimensional space. Bear with me.

Chances are, you've probably seen something like the above in one capacity or another. Movement to the bottom-right means that the X value is getting bigger. Movement to the top means the same for Z. Similar deal for Y. Cool. Points can float somewhere in this space that we've cooked up. I'll spare you the lousy sketch and grab something a bit more polished from Google.

Down the Reddit Rabbit Hole with Dr. Strange

Spoiler Alert: this whole post is predicated on the notion that you've seen Dr. Strange already.

So I saw Dr. Strange over the weekend and really enjoyed it.

While I was waiting for post-credit tag OF WHICH THERE'S TWO, I ritualistically went to the discussion thread on Reddit to see what other people thought. I should mention that I have a real affinity for Groundhog Day, so when Stephen saves the world by exploiting an abbreviated plot of one of my favorite movies, I was delighted. It didn't take much digging through the thread to find that others did as well.

Pulling from the scene in question, user FilmsAreQuiteAwesome posted

and then shortly thereafter

and then

Cringe, (In)congruence, and Kazakhstan

In the middle of figuring out how to do a project that's going to require some web scraping, so I figured I'd do a slow-pitch movie post. Plus, I'm trying to remember how the hell to use GitHub so I can share what I put together. Bear with me.

I was recently listening to an episode of my favorite podcast, Harmontown*, and they got off on an interesting tangent about humor theory. Essentially, and I'm sure I'm butchering this, the conversation boiled down into two main ideas:

  1. Incongrous Juxtaposition Theory (IJT): Ridiculousness. The idea that humor is derived from the inconsistency between the expectation or norm and the reality of the situation. E.g.:
  2. Dr. Steven Brule, ya dingus
  3. The meta-take on this kind of humor that is the anti-joke.
  4. This thing

Hello World.

First and foremost, I want to say thanks for taking a look. Hope you stick around.

I bought this domain about a week ago and figure it's probably about time that I do something with it. To put it plainly, the purpose of this blog is twofold:

  1. To give myself a platform to share side-projects that I work on, with a focus on data and hobby programming
  2. To supplement reviews that I do on Letterboxd beyond initial impressions and a rating on a 5-point scale