hardscrabble 🍫

By Max Jacobson

Psst. Check out my RubyConf 2017 talk, There are no rules in Ruby.

blog posts

back to school

04 Apr 2013

So I’m migrated and making plans for the future. The main part of the plan is to go to Flatiron School and get really good at Rails. Other parts include having my tonsils removed to ease my sleep apnea, sclerotherapy to zap the knots of veins weighing down my face, and a wisdom tooth out, possibly all in one surgery. It’s been eight years since my last treatment. I remember afterwards, when the swelling was gone, not recognizing myself. It’s been eight years since my last face scrambling and that’s long enough that I hardly recognize myself again. Some guys have the discipline to get a haircut every three weeks; maybe it’s a standing appointment, maybe it’s a reoccuring calendar entry. My hair graph slopes up as I don’t think about it then roller coasters down every few months. Same as my fat lip, which slowly grows over the years and eventually needs dealing with. I’m not afraid of doctors or hospitals but whenever I spend time around them I find myself marveling at, like, the modularity of diagnostics, and whether that’s amazing and weird or just amazing. Each doctor has a specialty they’re real good at fixing, almost like an assembly line worker, and you feel like an elephant bouncing between blind men (neither analogy is fair at all). Learning to write code establishes a context for clarity that I want to fit everything into, but bodies aren’t computers and neither is The Universe. Least clear of all, probably, is this blog post. I’m tired and anxious and it’s the middle of the night and Art Brut is singing, “The record buying public shouldn’t be voting!” and that helps, but only so much. So I’ll try to sleep. I’ll finish smashcut. I’ll eat lentil soup and I’ll tutor people. I’ll go back to school.


23 Mar 2013

A few days ago on ADN I noticed tech blogger Harry Marks complaining about his blog host, Squarespace. For various reasons, he wanted to take his blog elsewhere. What they gave him was as a large xml file with more than sixty-thousand lines of bracketed stuff amounting to 5.5mb, which is kind of humongous for a text file.

I get uncomfortable when people are upset and I want to help them so I can relax again, so I offered to help convert that xml file into the format he wanted, which is a markdown file for each blog post with the metadata at the top in the YAML front-matter syntax. I felt pretty comfortable that I could help because some of the projects I’ve done recently involved xml interpretation1, markdown2, and general string manipulation, and was like mad bored and jonesing for a project just like this, to do like my mom does Sudoku (which I’m terrible at).

On ADN it’s customary to join conversations uninvited. People go to the global feed and just reply to things. Some apps de-prioritize the global feed, to the ire of these people. My instinct is to give people space, but when in Rome, … write unsolicited programs … ?

So I made this thing and I think it was useful. Marks seems to have successfully migrated his site to a markdowny platform. I felt proud to get a shout out in his anouncement post. I put the converter on GitHub in case other people want to use it: flee to md. But my mind is preoccupied with another migration. I’m moving at the end of the month. I’ve lived in this apartment in Washington Heights for two years now and now I’m going to find out what’s next. Today I crossed a river to New Jersey to tutor a stranger in JavaScript and jQuery and got some cash out of it. It’s hard to know if you’re spending your time well. I don’t find it helpful to think about the cosmos. Yes, life is insanely short and we should cherish every moment. Yes, yes, yes. Of course. And yes, you’re allowed to have hobbies. And yes, it’s counter-productive to become paralyzed by the pressure of cherishing moments, and yes

  1. like souffle which either is way less relevant now that google reader is shutting down, or way more so? not sure. 

  2. like, w/r/t this blog engine