Wild Green Potion

We were given a juicer recently and I now consume wild green concoctions almost every day. My wife prepares them and I try to guess the ingredients.

I’m no health junky, but apparently you still glean most of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables just from the juice (you miss out on the fiber). That means one cup contains far more good stuff than a single serving if either.

Interesting stuff.

Making it Count: Values, Beliefs and Precious Hours

This is the second post in a series called Making it Count about getting things done and using our precious hours wisely1 .

I have the opportunity to talk with people starting new careers every day. They are at different points in their journey: some are looking to attending our code school as a way to pivot their life on to a different path, while others have graduated from the program and need input on where to move, which job to take and which challenge to take on next.

In those conversations the initial question has almost always led to deeper questions. Answering “which of these is a better job offer?” can be really straight-forward, but more often than not my response is, “what do you want out of your career,” or “within this field, what things are you passionate about,” or “what about your job will make you excited when you get out of bed in the morning a few years down the road?”

Continue reading Making it Count: Values, Beliefs and Precious Hours

1. You can read more about the series and view links to additional posts here.

Making it Count: Introduction

This is the first post in a series called Making it Count about getting things done and using our precious hours wisely2 .

In the last few weeks I’ve had the privilege of rubbing shoulders with a handful of new people on a daily basis. They are students and instructors we’ve brought into the fold of the intensive code school I run at work.

My interactions with them have produced the same question enough times for me to think there might be value in answering it comprehensively on this blog. Here’s the inquiry:

How do you get everything done?

Being asked about productivity and work gave me pause for a few reasons. First, we do get a whole lot done at The Iron Yard—more than average, I’d say—but I don’t generally feel like we’re some super-productive anomaly. I feel like we’re people who put 110% into work that we love.

Secondly, and more importantly, the question made me think about the non-work aspects of our lives that most people don’t see, like family.

Continue reading Making it Count: Introduction

1. You can read more about the series and view links to additional posts here.

A Shared Calendar for Political Elections

Lately I’ve been taking dedicated time to think through different areas of my life—family, finances, spirtuality, etc. One area where I’m much less proactive than I’d like to admit is civic duty (a fancy way of saying I don’t research my representatives or prepare for elections well).

Many people my age (late 20s) are burned out on politics in general. The flow of constant, extreme polarization wears me out too.

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A Kid, a Jeep and The Meaning of Greatness

When I was a kid my dream car was a vintage Jeep CJ-7. I had Matchbox car replicas and books on classic off-road vehicles. It wasn’t an obsession, but it was a passion.

In our family, though, my parents didn’t buy us nice cars. We drove old road warriors whose odometers had seen six figures more than once. Even having a car that I didn’t have to pay for was an incredible privilege, so I didn’t let my dreams of a Jeep get too far past “maybe one day.”

I’ll never forget that one day when my dream actually came true. My dad drove home in a beat-up, bright-orange CJ-7. I was a freshman in high school.

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The Music of Western North Carolina

I’m not much a radio listener, but there’s one station we get in Upstate South Carolina that makes me smile every time I tune in. Most of the time they play mountain music—bluegrass, authentic country and Americana. A fair number of songs they play come straight from the heart of the Appalachian region that the radio waves cover.

There are other types of music I listen to more often, but there’s something about mountain music that’s hard to describe. It feels deep-rooted and full of story.

A few weeks ago I ran across a quote in a magazine that described it beautifully:

It’s found where the distance between saint and sinner is no further than the space between frets, where backsliders and Baptists sit together, right up on one another, listening to a mandolin that sounds like angels dancing on the rim of a Mason jar.It’s wound around the country lyrics of a story song, of folks leaving town on a ghost train or the wings of a dove. And it lives in the wail of the bastard child called rock and roll, whose family tree branches into juke joints and smoke-filled bars,its roots prying up the floorboards of front porches and barn dances.

The music that lives in Western North Carolina, either by birth or divine guidance, is as good at it is varied. The sound comes form the instruments, but the music comes fromthe souls of the boys pulling the strings. It rolls down the mountains and through the hills and and takes hold before the soil turns to sand, remaining on the solid ground it knows well. Let others shag on boardwalks. We pound boots on quartz and clay,nodding our heads in time and agreement. So it has been and so it shall be, forever and always. Amen.

—Shari Smith

Red Sky by Morning

The sky outside my kitchen window this morning was a brilliant pinkish red. As I grabbed a pair of shoes so I could enjoy the view outside, I remembered a phrase I’d heard many times before:

“Red sky by night, sailors delight. Red sky by morning, sailors take warning.”

I checked the forecast later, and sure enough, rain was on the way. I decided to look at the science behind the saying to see if the adage was a reliable meteoralogical predictor.

Continue reading Red Sky by Morning

Why I Like Doing the Dishes

I am the official Washer of Dishes in the Dodds household. Most every night before bed and every morning before I leave for work, I scrub, spray and wipe so that our kitchen is ready for the next meal.

Before we were married and lived in the same house, my wife and I had a great talk about who would be responsible for which chores, and I had told her that I wanted to do the dishes because I enjoyed the job.

A few months into marriage my wife asked me an interesting question: “I appreciate that you do the dishes all of the time, and I know that you said you like it, but why?”

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Electric Fence Coreography and Wild Animals

These are transcripts of my wife recounting her dreams in stream-of-conscious format shortly after waking up.

Food for the team of electric fence choreographers was giant buckets of raw chicken. I told them to get the the chicken in the freezer because that and eggs were the only thing we had to eat. It was cold.

During our electric fence choreography routine, we would have to pry different wires open at different times to make various patterns, sometimes hopping back and forth in between the wires. If you messed up it would zap you.

We all threw our underwear in a hamper, and if they pulled your underwear, you had to do something really hard, and this obese lady’s underwear got pulled and I didn’t know how she was going to do the challenge because she couldn’t fit through the wires.

There were wild animals. There were huge boars, but they didn’t seem too aggressive, so I was just standing on tables throwing pieces of hot dog at them.

Gather and move nested audio files via command line

Over the years my brother has amassed a large music library of 20,000+ songs. He has a great taste for sound, but when it comes to technology his nerd DNA is dwarfed by his outdoorsman DNA. After several computer upgrades, multiple iTunes Library restorations and transfers, and no file file management whatsoever, a significant portion of his audio files were corrupt and wouldn’t play (via iTunes or in the Finder on his Mac). Music is a very important part of his life, so I set out to help him.

After tinkering for a bit I discovered that running bad files through an mp3 converter fixed the problem—the content was intact, but iTunes was having trouble reading them fully3.

Having discovered the fix for individual files, I faced another problem: those items were spread across a directory with thousands of nested folders, some several levels deep in the hierarchy. There was no way I was going to manually move 20,000 files.


Continue reading Gather and move nested audio files via command line

1. More specifically, iTunes recognized the presence of a corrupt file in the library, but couldn’t actually play it and would skip to the next song.