Roe V. Wade

A friend of mine posted on Instagram the other day about how too many people aren’t standing up for this issue. I’m not sure what my track record is on standing up, but hoping to make a stand here, at least.

What has happened in this country with the overturning of Roe V. Wade is crazy. It’s crazy for a bunch of reasons. Not the least of which is stare decisis in which a decision was made a long time ago but the current make of the court isn’t standing on precedent and just overruling the existing world. While that isn’t my moral feeling on this, and morally I think we need to allow people to have freedoms, the issue of consistency of law is a big one. The law was set, and now the judges have unset the law.

Beyond all of that, the thing that gets to me is that everyone thinks of this as a 3 / 6 decision. It’s not, it’s actually a 3 / 1 / 5 decision. Also, I don’t even really know each of the justices on the court. I’d really like to change that. I’d like to understand who is an ally and who is against personal freedoms in a way that makes sense.

Judges

John G. Roberts

Chose to not agree fully with the removal of Roe V. Wade, but did think that the Dobbs law should be overturned. While I’m not a conservative, this seems to strike a middle position. Believing that the law should be overturned in Mississippi is not the same as meaning that Roe was just wrong. So while I don’t share Robert’s view on this case, his view of Roe continuing to exist is something I agree with. Nomimated as Chief Justice by George W. Bush (jr) and took his seat in 2005.

Clarence Thomas

Sided with the majority in ruling to overturn Roe V. Wade and remove the constitutional right to an abortion. Conservative judge and definitely someone whose views I’m personally afraid of. Nominated by President Bush (sr) and began serving in 1991.

Stephen Breyer

Part of the minority voted against the decision. He was nominated by President Clinton and took his seat in 1994.

Samuel A. Alito

Wrote the opinion for the majority, and in my mind has a very closed mind. Nominated by George W. Bush (jr) and took his seat in 2006.

Sonia Sotomayor

Part of the minority descent against the decision. Was nominated by Obama and took her seat in 2009.

Elena Kegan

Part of the minority descent against the decision. Was nominated by President Obama and took her seat in 2010.

Niel M. Gorsuch

Joined the majority opinion. Was nominated by Trump and took his seat in 2017.

Brett M. Kavanaugh

Joined the majority opinion. Was nominated by Trump and took his seat in 2018.

Amy Coney Barrett

Joined the majority opinion. Was nominated by Trump and took her seat in 2020.

Understanding this all

I was listening to What Roman Mars Can Learn About Con Law, and they made a very interesting point that is clear from the nominations and seats from above. This shouldn’t have been a surprise. This was going to happen based on the liberal judges that were put in place. This has been coming for a very long time.

This makes me think about some very big questions:

  • Should we put a term limit on judges now that the human life expectancy is so much longer than in the past?
  • Should there be more means to remove judges that don’t reflect the belief structure of the American people?
  • Was there really anything the democrats could have done to prevent the appointment of Amy Coney Barret?

There are questions about what should have happened in the past and what we can do in the future. I wish the path forward to really making a change was clear, but it isn’t. Do we need to move to red states where our voices will be more valuable?

I’m hunting for answers in this, and don’t have any. If you have a way to organize and do something, please share. I feel very powerless at this moment.

Weekly Update 3/28

1000 Miles Project

I did not get all the miles I needed last week. This is the final week of the month and I’m at 70 miles as of this morning. I did a 5K with run / walk method in under 42 minutes so that time is improving and I’m hoping to get over 80 by April 1.

While I might not be at my goal of getting back up over 90 miles this month, I do have a chance of actually improving month over month. I’m moving in the right direction in terms of miles. Each month is more than the last. Anyway, hoping for at least 10 miles this week!

Cooking For Myself

Not winning here, but not completely losing. I’ve eaten out too much, but I did go to the grocery store again last week so I’m moving in the right direction. I just need to plan for and cook more dinners.

Cleaning the House

There was a day last week when most of the downstairs was put away. I’ve brought in more things from the van, and I”ve moved some stuff around, but the house is actually getting there. I was also surprised about how little time this actually required when I committed myself to do it. This might be a big thanks from the R&R day at work.

Getting My Life In Order

I’ll call it a win. Today at the Finance time at the coffee shop I went through a bunch of my unknown expenses in YNAB and started to label them. Thinking of budget in this way is healthy and I’m pretty excited to be doing this. I’m not sure how long it will take me to be fully successful here, but progress is good!

Clubs

Last week I started clubs at the coffee shop. No one joined me, sadly. Still, it is good to have that time set aside for me to do each of the weekly projects. Today during finance I got through all my uncategorized expenses on YNAB. I did some fun art last week and I’m excited about doing that again tomorrow. I took my camera out for the first time in a while last week and took a few frames. Progress in all these areas is fun.

Weekly Update: Birthday Week

1000 Miles Project

I’m still behind. Both in the course of this year and in the course of the month, but there were some circumstances last week that made it a little more challenging. With my birthday and hack day being on the same week there were a couple of days that I didn’t get any real miles. I tried to make it up over the weekend, but fell a couple of miles short. I’m at about 58 for the month, and about 220 miles or so for the year which is not nothing, but isn’t where I need to be.

Walking with the dog can range anywhere from 19 minutes a mile to 32 minutes depending on how she is behaving. Going to the gym and running on the treadmill means I get more than 4 miles an hour so the plan is to start shifting more of mile activity to the gym and try to get ahead in the last couple weeks of the month.

Cooking for myself

Not super great on this front. I ate out a bunch, but often keep on saving left overs so that I have more food for multiple days which is good. The real challenge is that I don’t go the grocery store to pick up food on a regular basis and I need to change that. I looked at signing up for a local milk delivery service that might also bring in produce that could start changing this habit.

Cleaning the House

The more I think about this, the more it is a matter of figuring what I want MY house to look like. It has been the family house for so long that I’m not entirely sure what a house of mine would look like. What is the art? What is the furniture? What stays and what goes? It doesn’t help that there are still things from my mom everywhere that need to be moved out.

I’m making a conscious effort to spend more time on Sunday cleaning which is good, but won’t be enough for the initial effort of getting this place the way I want. Still I’m moving along at it and at least making some real progress.

Renting the house

Cleaning the house has to come first. I have som plans for what I want to do there, but the house needs to be in better shape before this happens. I’m still waffling between getting a permanent roommate, or just renting for the summer.

New Project Alert:

I’m going to start clubs at Simple Merchant Coffee. A different club for each day of the week. This is the current plan:

MondayLife Hacking and Personal Finance
TuesdayArt (drawing and painting)
WednesdayPhotography Day
ThursdayMath (both generic and discrete math)
FridayEarth Sciences (and other sciences if needed)
SaturdayBook Club
SundayCoffee Club, discuss quality of coffee.

Step next will be to create a google form for sign up and interest in the clubs. Hopefully start a mailing list of some sort to remind people.

I’m still trying to figure out how long I want the meetings to be. A quick 15 minute gathering? A full hour seems like too much. We will figure it out.

Monthly Update

This is my beginning of march update.

1000 Mile year

Despite having a VERY strong start to the month, I fell off at the end. This was mostly due to the fact that there was a BUNCH of traveling in the month. I got to about 71 miles when my target was 77. Combine that with my 49 or so miles from January and I’m at about 120 miles so far for the year.

While it is disappointing that I did not hit my target, the trajectory is definitely going in the right direction. If my pattern continues I should be over 90 miles this month? We’ll see. I did sign up for Planet Fitness (which is the cheapest gym with a treadmill near me). I’m two days into the month and only at 3 miles, but hoping to go to the gym tonight to catch up a little.

Acroyoga Field Guide

I started and stop and started again. I’m stuck with how I want this book to look. Do I want it to be a small book with a bunch of references that I carry around or do I want it to have a lot more information with a bunch more instruction? I’m leaning towards the latter. Either way, I’m not sure Pandoc is actually the tool I want. I’ve switched to 11ty and I’m making some progress there. I’m mostly just learning the platform.

I’m pretty convinced the content will be free on the website and the purchased book will cost money. I’m not 100% sure how it will all work, but I’m operating on that framework.

Renting the House

Starting to clean a bunch. I have lots of unpacking and a bunch of cleaning to do before I’m at the stage to rent the house. I’m trying to recruit my brothers to come and help with a weekend of home repair as we get stuff ready.

I’m also considering doing something crazy and getting a roommate instead of renting the house for the summer. This would allow me to be here on a more year-round basis.

Other Goals

Still hunting for local dance lessons, haven’t found any I’m excited about.

I’m working on learning to cook, but my family took some of my pots when they went to the boat so I still need to buy a couple of things to be very self-sufficient. I also really need to go grocery shopping. That being said, I have been making most of my meals at home, even if they are from limited stuff I’ve found around the house (lots of PB+J).

Weekly Updates

Couple of updates this week on the goals.

1,000 Miles on Foot

There were a couple of days last week where I didn’t get the full miles I needed so my total for the month of February has lost some of its overall level of dominance. I’m still ahead of my goal for the month, but the trajectory does not have me hitting the goal of 100 miles this month alone to make up for some of the lost miles in January.

Renting The House

I’m not in Newport right now so I’m not ready to start working on this, but I have started looking at the steps for this project. The repairs and the pieces required to get to that step. I’m excited about getting there.

Acroyoga Field Guide

I’ve started working on this. You can visit it here: Acroyoga Field Guide. It is a big work in progress and I have bunch of things that I want to do for this, but I’m starting to get somewhere. I started with Pandoc, but really I think this is a full website. Currently leaning towards doing it with Eleventy.

After much thought, I’m going to start with a website and then try to convert to a book. My goal is to release the content on the website for free and try and print the book at the highest quality to make it worth it. That way it will be free for people if they want it and if they find value they can purchase the book.

Other Things

Before the pandemic started, I started a podcast called “Zack’s Quacks.” By start, I mean I recorded the first episode. I never published it. I did purchase a website, but that is about all. Anyway, I’m in the process of trying to get that together as well. You can find it on iTunes soon, more details to be forthcoming at Zack’s Quacks (website under massive construction).

This is my last week traveling before getting home. I’ve got a bunch of driving to do, but I’m pretty darn excited about heading back to the ocean. I’ve got stops on the way, though.

News Years Resolutions: Better Late Than Never

I’ve sort of already written my New Years resolution page and hinted that this years theme was less. Well, that is an over simplification. There are many more goals for me than that this year:

  • Rent house for the summer
  • Learn to cook more and eat healthier
  • Do 1,000 miles on foot
  • Dance lessons
  • Get better at cleanliness
  • Learn to share attention with others more
  • Write Acroyoga Field Guide
  • Consolidate (website, notebook collection, clean up office)

Let’s go through each of them.

Rent house for the summer

I live in a great town, Newport RI. It’s so great that the population of the town balloons from 40k in the year to 250k in the summer. Because of the disability of the area, rents are high for the summer. But it also super busy and crowded. Some people love all the energy this provides, for the most part, I do not.

The plan is to rent the house so others can enjoy the season they want to enjoy and I can be anywhere else. Preferably somewhere cooler, but we’ll see.

This is no small task. There is a lot of work that needs to be done on the house, from painting to various other tasks like organization and figuring out where some of my stuff is going. I still haven’t fully moved from my room to the upstairs. No small task, but good for my financial future.

Learn to Cook and Eat Healthier

My mom recently said that I’ve never really needed to diet because I’ve always been so active. It’s true. I do so many sports that it is actually impressive that I’m in the shape that I’m in. Now, I haven’t been able to do all of my activities over the Pandemic and some of my eating has taken a turn for the worse, but beyond that, I just enjoy food. I enjoy eating good food. I want to create the things I enjoy. I want to invest in creating better meals.

Last year I did Hello Fresh, which was a great, but their prep times were WAY off. I needed to spend much more time than each meal was supposed to take. I’d like to learn to go off script a bit and make some good things. I can do this with simple foods like steak or burgers or whatever, but I’d like to expand beyond the basics I can already do.

I’m excited for this challenge. I’ve done some while living in the Van, but honestly, kind of waiting until I have a full kitchen with an Oven to really kick this into gear.

Do 1000 Miles on Foot!

This one has been the one that I can’t put off. If I don’t start early, catching up to 1000 miles is a real challenge. Despite being pretty concerned from the beginning, I only got about 49 miles in January. My current pace in February has me passing that by the middle of the month.

I did 100 miles in a month, and I’ve done other challenges when it comes to movement, but this is by far the biggest I’ve attempted. It’s a much longer commitment than I’m used to. Still, I’m excited. I can do this and will do this.

Dance Lessons

One of the things that I’ve gotten away from during the pandemic was social dance. There are a couple of reasons, like moving to a new community, but they are all excuses. This is the year I dust off the dancing shoes and find some community among this arena. I’m excited to find some west coast swing not he east coast!

Get Better At Cleanliness

Before you talk about my BO, it is not that type of cleanliness. When possible I shower daily, sometimes multiple times in a day. This is not about my person, but more about my space. It is tied to some of the other resolutions that are mentioned (like renting the house, and consolidation).

Learn to share attention with others more

It’s how I was raised. I often go into a conversation and feel like I need to be a major factor in the conversation. This inhibits some of my relationships from growing the way I want them to and often times makes it hard for me to fully understand other peoples perspectives. I want to make time for others, to hear and learn from them, to allow them to share and grow.

This one is a character flaw of mine and will be a hard one to really work on for me, but that is my goal.

Write Acroyoga Field Guide

This is a big one too. I want to create a field guide for acroyoga. I want to write a book, and I want it to be the book that a bunch of people want to have in their hands when they go to a jam as somewhat of a players guide. There is going to be a lot to come here, and this is a big project.

I want to self publish this book too. I want to control all the aspects from the paper used to the binding. I don’t think it will be a giant first run, but it should be fun to have. Again, more to come soon, and I hope to put a bunch of the pieces of the writing online for other people to give feedback on as I write it.

Consolidate (website, notebook collection, clean up office)

As I grow up I accumulate a ton of different things. Some things I collect, some things I just have. A bunch of things I use, a bunch of things I don’t. I need to get rid of the stuff that I don’t use. Sometimes I need to just get rid of something I use so that I can force myself to use another thing.

The things we own end up owning us. THE THINGS WE OWN END UP OWNING US. There is cognitive load for the cost of ownership for things. I want to unburden my from this load. This will likely be a multi-year project, but the goal is to start this year.

Conclusion

Okay, so I may be biting off more than I can chew this year. My mom was giving me a hard time about setting such lofty goals. She gets upset if she doesn’t complete all her goals. She’d rather finish her goals and then go above and beyond. Personally, I’m the other way around. I’d rather have a pretty crazy goal and be happy with accomplishing 75% of it. Honestly, if I get 75% of these goals done, I’ll be super excited.

So this is me saying onward to these goals. Maybe I’ll try to post monthly updates.

Also note: this doesn’t even include any of my professional work goals! Those exist, they just exist somewhere other than where the public can read them!

Eilonwy in Memory

Over a year ago, I met a woman who is now my girlfriend. Along with that relationship came the relationship with her feline companion. This was not the first cat to enter my life, but there was a special feeling around this cat from the beginning. I am plenty fine taking my time for a pet or child to warm up to me, however this cat demanded attention in a way no previous cat encounter had occurred.

The cat’s name was Eilonwy, pronounced Eye-Lynn-Wee!, and she was a joy to be around. I put a lot of effort into getting her approval. I would put my hand in front of her face, and if she moved forward, I would pet her. If she stayed still, I would pull my hand away. Many times, I would wander behind her as she traversed the apartment. She would occasionally glance behind to confirm that I was following her. I was there ready to be of service if she performed the move I called the “burritto.” In this move, the cat would sit down and roll on her side exposing the side of her body for long pets. The rule was, if she burrito-ed, then I petted her, no matter what.

Over time we formed, what I deduced, was a pretty strong friendship. We were each others’ pals. My girlfriend was clearly her person, but I was second. Not a close second, but still second. While it took a significant amount of time for me to use the L-word with my girlfriend, that was not the case with the cat. The love bond for me was quick and there was a running joke about how quick I was to fall in love with a four-legged friend.

I started calling her “my queen” and that ran into some issues with the girlfriend. We settled on calling her my princess and I would end most phone calls with “Tell my princess I love her.”

She is also the primary reason I adopted Coco. The girlfriend looked at me one day and said, “You need a dog, she loves you, but not the way you want her to love you. You NEED a dog!” So she is responsible for my pet ownership as well.

In October of this year, my princess started getting a bit lethargic. She was peeing in weird places. While there were a lot of additional factors going on, we were concerned. We found out that she had a degenerative kidney condition which meant her time with us was limited. Despite being put on everything we could put her on, she eventually just stopped eating because it was too painful. She lost nearly half of her weight by the time the girlfriend made the decision to let her go. It was a very tough decision. We were both there as they put her down. She left this world knowing she was loved.

I will be forever grateful to the girlfriend and cat for entering my life and changing it in so many positive ways. I am now a partial cat person. While dogs will always be my first love, I can’t imagine my life without feline companionship.

Here are just a few of the things I will remember about the cat:

  • She loved warm blankets and would only really sit on us when we had warm blankets.
  • She was incredibly vocal and would meow when upset. I loved the sound of her meow.
  • She was a hunter, and despite the fact it would hurt the girlfriend, she would bring in her prey. I was proud.
  • She loved string, better than almost any present one could buy her.
  • She liked physical contact and especially belly rubs.
  • She loved being outdoors.
  • Even when she would get upset, she was very slow to bite or paw at people, she would usually just walk away.
  • She loved cheese and fish.
  • She hated traveling by car!
  • She enjoyed being held by her person and sometimes by me.
  • Boxes were her kingdom.

Puppy Life

Last week I brought a new member into my home, Cortado Covfefe Cohen, or Coco for short. She’s a wonderful lab and duck tolling retriever mix. While the first day was amazing and she is great, I get significantly less sleep these days. People say it’s like having a newborn, and technically she is a young child, but I didn’t get any onramp. Went pretty much from the adoption stage right into getting up all time and having my hand chewed on at every turn. Luckily, I have the financial stability to procure chew toys and that is my first stop this morning!

Seriously, while I lament the lack of sleep she really is an amazing puppy. She is kind to and friendly to strangers (we take a daily trip to the coffee shop where she needs to stay on her towel (she is not fully vaccinated yet) and greets everyone with a lick. She will then move over to biting. Hopefully, if I give her more chew toys she will learn what to chew.

Getting a puppy was not something I took lightly. I have been thinking about getting a dog forever. One of my roommates in CA had g/f with a dog that would spend time over our house. That was an indication of how much I wanted a dog. Once I came back to the east coast, I wanted a dog to keep me company and help with the space. When I started dating my girlfriend, even she suggested I get a dog because her cat was never going to love me the way that I loved the cat. This has been a long time coming.

Lastly, just want to mention Save-A-Lab Rescue. Their application process is a little more involved than most and the process to get approved is slow, but they are a great organization and helped me land a pretty perfect puppy. They rescue labs and lab mixes from the southern kill shelters and transport them to the northeast where they can be adopted. As someone who has seen dogs elsewhere who I wish I could have adopted but these other agencies wouldn’t allow me to adopt out of state, it is really great to have found an organization that is taking labs from an area where they are in excess to an area where they are in demand. E$veryone I met was really kind and in the end, the process to adoption, once approved, was very fast!

So, I’m sure there will be more tales of Coco coming up, but for now, we are both just adjusting to each other’s personalities and finding a way to live together. I’m so excited to have this bundle of joy in my life.

Writing A Book

Pile of notebooks

I’ve always wanted to write a book. I remember having a teal-covered five-star notebook where I wrote my first fiction story about a kid on a boat with a computer. It made no sense, I was very young when I started, and the book didn’t have a plan. Still, I pretended it was going to be such a good book.

The dream has grown over the years. I still write some crappy poetry from time to time (see some previous posts on this blog for pest poetry), but I haven’t really started anything super seriously. I want to change that. I want to write a book. The question is, what do I write about?

They say write about what you know, but I’m actually a little excited about learning as I write. I’m hoping the experience of crafting a piece helps me grow as well. This means my topic is still open for discussion. Some of my ideas include:

  • Acroyoga Field Guide – a guide to the practice of Acroyoga.
  • Moving to and from California – a software person who went to the west coast to learn his craft and survived to make it back.
  • Field Notes – a story from a fan of the wonderful product made in the USA by a designer and small firm that has blown up to a major product.
  • What I learned from 20 years in cheerleading – a memoir of my hears in the cheerleading world and what I learned. How the sport is different now and thoughts for the future.

What I do know is general size. I want to write books in a size and format that I enjoy. I don’t want to do big books unless they are picture books. I want my books to be smaller. I’m thinking of A Drive into the Gap Size or Wildsam Field Guides. Something pocket size. I’m unsure why this is so important, but it is.

My ask here is that if there is something you think I should write, please reach out and let me know as I begin to figure out what this project will look like.

St. Patty’s Day Party

It’s been a year since most of us started quarantining, and while there are many things we can’t do, we can still drink and celebrate the holiday. Teryn and I are hosting a St. Patty’s Day Zoom on Wednesday, March 17, at 7:30 PM Eastern until about 10 PM. Zoom link below. Depending on the number of people who show up, we will do some fun breakout rooms and a couple of other little games for the participants.

Happy St. Patty’s Day!


Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84284311664?pwd=U1BRcWNxYTJLUGRXUC9lSHhOdUE3dz09