Best of 2020: kids, homelab, books



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

He taught me some stuff too, like how wrong my expectations of newborn parenting were. For the 9 months leading up to his birth, I had spent most of time reading up about babies. How to handle them safely, take care of them, what kind of stuff to have ready, cloth vs. disposable diapers.

But those expectations are like junk food – satisfying to think about, fun to obsess over, but not much nutritional value. The real meat and potatoes of newborn parenting was learning how to work as a team with my spouse. When we were in sync, taking care of Eigen was simple and straightforward. When we were having nonsensical, sleep deprived arguments, Eigen was difficult and cumbersome.



I started a proper homelab in July.

Most of my time was spent running cat6 everywhere (house only had phone and coax 😫). Its been a ton of fun and scratched my DevOps itch

On the hardware side

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. There’s all kinds of knobs and levers for a nerd to tinker around with. And at the end of the day, it just works.

On the software side

The containers I’m running on k8s

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.


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 how you view yours 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

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 fire zone, bludgeoning an enemy soldier to death with a rock. If your looking for something heavy, this is a pretty brutal read.