Categories
Food

Happy National Beer Day

In the United States, today is National Beer Day! Today in 1933, beer became legal again during the tail end of 18th Amendment prohibition of alcoholic beverages.

What’s interesting is that the 21st Amendment, repealing the 18th, was not effective until December 1933, so why is today a day?

On this date, the Cullen-Harrison Act went into effect. The 18th Amendment was functionally enacted by the Volstead Act in 1919, which defined “intoxicating” anything with 0.5% alcohol. Which is just about anything that ever thought about a beer.

The Cullen-Harrison Act, under the authority of the 18th Amendment, changed the definition of “intoxicating” to anything higher than 3.2% alcohol-by-weight so it could be legally sold and consumed under the Federal law, presuming states allowed it. Almost nothing we see in stores today would qualify, but in 1933, 1.5 million barrels were consumed on April 7, 1933 to celebrate.

If you’re one to have a beer every now or then, today isn’t a bad day to raise a glass.

Categories
WordPress

Support Rotation

At Automattic, after being hired, your first two weeks on the job is working with our Happiness teams to directly support customers. For engineers or designers, it gives you a taste of who we’re building this for. For other roles, it is a reminder that we’re all contributing toward the success of our customers in their mission to publish, to sell, to teach, or whathaveyou.

After that, we take a week a year in some form—a fully week, five days spread out over the year, whatever works for your team—to go back to Happiness to work with our customers directly again.

I spent my first five years at Automattic within Happiness so I had a lot of interaction directly with our customers, but after swimming over to the engineering side 100%, it is time again for my annual support rotation.

For a lot of non-Happiness folks, the idea of jumping back into direct support can be a bit scary. Happiness folks have to know everything about the product. Engineers just need to know their portion and lightly keep up with what other teams are doing. Customers come up with the most bizarre issues sometimes and you can’t just say “wow, that’s messed up.”

In actuality, the Happiness teams at Automattic are extremely supportive folks to their non-Happiness teammates who join them during the rotations. Happiness Engineers are helpful and supportive to the folks contacting us, but internally, they are also some of the most selfless, helpful folks in the company.

If you’re a customer of WordPress.com or Jetpack, feel free to reach out and say hello. We usually hear from the folks having problems, but if you want to write in just to say everything is working fine, that’s okay too. 😀

Categories
Reflections

The Longest Lent

Holy Saturday is perhaps one of my favorite days of the liturgical year. The cruelty of Good Friday is past us and we’re in this holding pattern. We do have faith that Easter is coming, but it isn’t here yet. Isn’t that where we are now? We have faith that Jesus will return, but not yet. The major difference is we know that the Easter Vigil will start after sundown and we’re a bit clueless on the second coming.

This year it takes another meaning for me. Yesterday, I received my second COVID-19 vaccination dose. Our communal Lent—not as a faith community, but as a global community—started for most of us around the same time as Lent 2020. While the majority of the world is still awaiting vaccinations and in the midst of surges, lockdowns of some sort, and the like, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

For me, I’m feeling pretty out of it today. It’s the most common side-effect: a day of flu-like aches and soreness for a day. While the overall road is still long ahead of us, the adults in our “quaranteam” have had both doses and just a couple weeks away from being among the fully-vaccinated. As for us, Easter is a celebration and a major milestone, but the work isn’t done. Same here. Things may be getting closer to normal, but we’re going to only be “near normal” for awhile. That’s okay because it’s what gets us to the end goal.

Lent 2020 has been effectively 402 days long so far. Looking forward to Easter.

Categories
Austin Current Events

All Adults Eligible

All adults in Texas will be eligible for the COVID vaccine starting on March 29th.

In some areas of the state, demand in the priority groups is dropping, but in Austin, we’re still seeing a lot of Phase 1 folks trying to get a vaccine.

In other words, just because the state is making everyone eligible, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get an appointment. If you’re able to travel, the neighboring counties may not be a bad bet.

Categories
Technology

News Only on The iPad

I’m going to experiment with an attempt of a lifehack to only consume news when I’m using my iPad—not at my regular work computer.

Usually, I’ll browse the news sites while waiting for something to build or tests or run, but too often, something will be “breaking” that catches my attention. In reality, it doesn’t really need or deserve my attention. The world would be perfectly the same if I read about it after the event had ended at the end of the day on the iPad.

I’m intentionally not saying my phone either, since that’s easy to get sucked into at the wrong time too. My iPad is an everyday device, but it isn’t an all-the-time one. I only pull it out intentionally—usually to put on something to watch or listen to while doing the dishes.

I have an Apple News+ subscription (cheapest way to get the WSJ I’ve found), so the iPad makes the most sense for this experiment.

What are some hacks y’all have put in place to help keep you from getting sucked into the wrong things at the wrong time?

Categories
Austin Current Events

Texas 1C Announced

Effective March 15th, Texas will start offering vaccines to the newly announced Phase 1C group.

The new list of those eligible as of March 15th now includes:

  • Phase 1A
    • Health Care Workers, including “last responders” (mortuary)
    • Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Phase 1B
    • All 65+
    • Those 16 years old and older with at least one chronic medical condition that elevates their risk. To include but not limited to:
      • Cancer
      • Kidney disease
      • COPD
      • Heart conditions
      • Organ transplant recipients (I would assume living donors too, personally).
      • Obesity (30 kg/m2+)
      • Pregnancy
      • Sickle cell
      • Type 2 diabetes
  • “Federal Directive” Phase
    • Pre-primary, primary, secondary (Pre-K through 12th Grade) workers.
    • Head Start/Early Head Start workers (teachers, staff, and bus drivers).
    • Licensed child care providers.
  • Phase 1C, effective March 15
    • All 50+ years old.

Phase 2 and beyond classifications and timelines are to be determined.

While there are a lot of places to get the vaccine, I’ve seen the most success with Austin Public Health and UT Health Austin.

For Austin Public Health, pre-register on their website and follow them on Twitter or Facebook. They are releasing appointments for the week on Monday evenings and again on Thursday if they have available spots. From experience, if they say on social media they are opening the waiting room at 5:45 for a 6:00 p.m. drop, be there at 5:40. For me, those who joined at 5:55 p.m. were too late. With the drop on Monday, be prepared to wait for hours until your turn to get an appointment.

For UT Health Austin, see their website to request an appointment. For them, fill out the form and they’ll add you to their health management system when it is your turn. From what I saw, you’ll get the e-mail saying you’re in the management system and awhile later (the end of the day? the next day?), you’ll get the e-mail saying you can schedule your appointment. You can schedule from the system as soon as you get the e-mail saying you’ve been added. You don’t need to wait for the second e-mail.

Good luck y’all. Keep wearing a mask. Stay safe.

Update: Starting on March 29th, all adults are eligible.