Best of 2020: kids, homelab, books



Having a kid was easily the best part of 2020. There’s so much stuff to do. Prepare for, learn. At times it was overwhelming, but when my son was born, it easily became one of the greatest joys of my life.

He taught me some stuff too, like how badly I had prepared for fatherhood. For the 9 months leading up to his birth, I had spent all my time reading up about babies. How to handle them, take care of them, what kind of stuff to buy, cloth vs. disposable diapers, car seat A vs. car seat B.

But all that excitement was like junk food – satisfying to think about, and fun to obsess over, but not much nutritional value. The real meat and potatoes of fatherhood was learning how to work (well!) as a team with my spouse.

Sure, for ~7 years we’ve navigated some tricky stuff, but nothing as demanding as being first-time parents.

The hopsital does a pretty darn good job of making sure you can protect your new human life before you leave. In terms of physical energy, sure the baby was exhausting. But taking care of the baby was easy. Preventing nonsensical, sleep deprived arguments, or just nipping at one another was difficult and cumbersome.

Eigen taught me to change a diaper, but he also taught me to take good care of momma. And let our love, teammwork, marriage flow down to him.

10/10 (but not sure would do again)


I started a proper homelab in July.

WARNING: cablegore

WARNING: cablegore

As a software engineer, it really scratches the DevOps itch

On the hardware side

On the software side

The containers I’m running on k8s

While the Starlink is fun to play load-balancing games with, the speeds haven’t been stable enough to drop our local ISP. Here’s hoping that changes in 2021! 🚀

I could write a whole blog post on the Synology ds220j – it’s a gamechanger. Gone are the days of docs, movies and photos spread across a bunch of USB sticks and external hard drives. All kinds of knobs and levers for a nerd to tinker around with. And at the end of the day, it just works.

And of course, a whole bunch of little software projects live on the cluster too. All of the persistent pod storage maps back over NFS volumes to the Synology ds220j.

All in all, the homelab has been a fun and rewarding hobby to pick up in 2020.

10/10 (will probably rebuild again)


Like a bunch of other folks, I read some books during quarantine. If I could recommend one (or two), these are it

Beyond Freedom and Dignity (B.F. Skinner)

B.F. Skinner lays out an exhaustive study of freedom and the role environments play on human behavior. This is one of those “deep” books that will change your views on your and others behavior. It’s fairly short (~200 pages) but dense. If you stick with it, you’ll be rewared with a number of goldmines like

Although people object when a scientific analysis traces their behavior to external conditions and thus deprives them of credit and the chance to be admired, they seldom object when the same analysis absolves them of blame.

Running head-on into a wall is punished by a blow to the skull, but we do not hold a man responsible for not running into walls nor do we say that nature holds him responsible. Nature simply punishes him when he runs into a wall

You’ll definitely want to bookmark/annotate as you go through – it takes effort to get fully submerged in his writing, and annotations will help rereading, or picking up a passage later on.

Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War

Dakota Meyer’s autobiography as a Marine recounts the events that lead to him receiving the Medal of Honor: dragging wounded soldiers out of an active combat zone, bludgeoning an enemy soldier to death with a rock. If your looking for something heavy, this is the brutal read.

If you’re pressed for time, there’s a youtube version where the author summarizes parts of the book.

Thanks For Reading!

Well, that’s all the very best parts of 2020 I can think of.

I’m especially grateful to the folks that read my stuff in 2020, and here’s hoping I manage more than 2 blog posts in 2021!