Blocked

It's been like a week and half, so kind of hilarious that it took me this long to realize, but apparently Dave Winer blocked me on Twitter because I voiced my opposition to one of his Democratic Presidential Candidate faves Amy Klobuchar. Here's what I tweeted after he tweeted an article calling her the thinking moderate's electability candidate:

Treats her staff like crap. Highest turnover in the senate during her time in office. Hard no.

And apparently that's what got me blocked. Amazing. I've been following one of those former staffers on Twitter for a few years now, had friendly exchanges about random life things outside politics, and trust their expressed experiences and assessment completely. The high staffing turnover is public information.

In the last week or so Dave's assessment of the debates and presidential race has diverged pretty sharply from my take. Bernie Sanders has taken the lead and he's in a full on Bernie panic. I didn't like Bernie 4 years ago. I thought he was too old then and too much of an outsider to get anything accomplished if elected. Personally I prefer Elizabeth Warren and I loved the way she went right after Bloomberg in the most recent debates. But I think it's pretty clear that a lot of people like Bernie, he has a lot momentum right now, and I absolutely think he's as viable a candidate to defeat Trump as there is.

But Dave is all in on Amy Klobuchar and electability narratives, and this tweet of his from today is a real gem:

Smartest move is this imho.

  1. Sanders, Warren, Biden, Bloomberg, withdraw.

  2. In favor of this ticket: Klobuchar + Buttigieg.

Before South Carolina. Make a sacrifice, compromise, do it for our country.

No brokered convention. We start the campaign against Trump now.

There were a lot of likes, and a lot of dissenting replies, but SlickMagnum's tweet made me laugh the most.

Survive and Advance

I started taking advantage of our ESPN+ subscription before our Richland game last Saturday and downloaded some 30 for 30 basketball documentaries to watch during the trip down to the Tri-Cities. Last Saturday I watched Survive and Advance, the documentary about Jimmy Valvano and the North Carolina State Wolfpack's improbable national championship in 1983. That's probably the single best one, but I felt like I needed to change it up for the next trip so yesterday I watched The Guru of Go, the documentary about Paul Westhead, Loyola Marymount, and Hank Gathers. I stopped watching after the part where Gathers died on the court which is sort of weird because it gets really inspirational shortly after that point1, but I had started the drive with a couple NBA Rookie documentaries, and was ready for a break.

The game itself ended up being straight out of Survive and Advance,a close, back and forth showdown the whole game. We trailed 18-20 after the first quarter, but used some 3/4 court pressure to take control in the second and went into the half up 7. Walla Walla came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and immediately closed the gap to within a basket with some steals and clutching shooting. The fourth quarter was tight the whole way and the Blue Devils had a two point lead with just over a minute to go. Then Zach Fleming hit a super clutch 3 to put us up 1, and we were able to get a stop followed by a McCoy Spink layup at the basket. Then we fouled, they missed the front end of the resulting 1-1, we rebounded, ran the clock down and missed the layup that could have iced the game. With 14 seconds left they came down and tried to get up a three, but were unable to get an open look as time expired.

Now we get a rematch with Chiawana in Kennewick's Toyota Center on Friday at 5:45 pm after they dispatched Mead 84-69 in yesterday's other game.


  1. But then again, I've seen this before so I know how it goes. I did find it kind of horrifying that nobody started immediately giving him chest compressions- they literally circled around and attended to him without really doing anything. Based on some additional articles, I think he did have a pulse initially, but they just didn't react with the urgency we do now. I think his case directly informs modern practices- today all athletic personnel would immediately assume a heart issue, start chest compressions, and have a portable AED available on the floor in seconds.

Garage Door Opener Project

I spent a lot more of today working on installing the new garage door opener1 than I intended, but it's installed and works. Installation was perfectly straight forward, but some details ended up being fiddly. I discovered that I needed to move the existing ceiling bracket forward and take a hack saw to the vertical struts so that probably added an hour to the process. Once I got the rail, belt, and motor fully installed I had to wire up the sensors. Again straightforward, but slow going and fiddly to pound in the supplied wire clips and work in the crowded corners of the garage.

Once I got everything wired up it was time to calibrate the door and set the close and open limits. That went pretty smoothly once I learned the correct button sequence, but it took me a little while to get dialed in. I think I may have damaged the door slightly when the initial closing limit was high and I accidentally torqued down on the mounting point pretty strongly. I'm not completely sure though, the damage may been have present before and I just didn't notice.

After I started fully testing the door I was impressed with how quiet the motor and belt drive were. The speed didn't seem that different from our previous opener even though it was probably a little slower. I also forgot that it came with a battery that provides full operation up to 50 times in the event of a power outage. That's a pretty handy feature that hadn't occurred to me before I started looking at openers- apparently it's required of all openers sold in California.

Tomorrow I'll get all the remotes squared away, set up the external keypad, and start investigating the phone app. I'm looking forward to that feature because I don't want to keep a remote in my car when I'm parking it outside regularly, but I want to be able to open and close the door remotely. The app is also supposed to be able to monitor whether or not the door is open or closed at any given moment. No more wondering if you accidentally forgot to close the garage door when you left for work!


  1. A Genie model that Costco carries, but doesn't seem to be available elsewhere.

NFHS Rules Questionnaire

This morning I got an email requesting that I take part in an NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) Basketball Rules Questionnaire. There were a wide range of different questions with some fairly significant rule changes. Here's a brief summary of the proposed changes that stood out to me and my thoughts on them:

  • 35 second shot clock in all states. Yes, absolutely yes. Washington State has had this in place for over a decade and it's been great. Playing Idaho teams in Idaho is a little annoying because they don't use a shot clock currently, but in fairness almost all the large classification schools there play at a fast pace anyway so it's not a huge issue.

  • Dunking in warmups. This has been stupid forever because teams begin warming up as early as 30 minutes before game time and referees do not take control of the court until the 15 minute mark. So teams with permissive coaches allow their players to dunk prior to the arrival of the officials anyway, and teams with old school coaches that are rules sticklers (thinking of my dad and me when I was younger) don't and are annoyed that the other team gets away with it. I can say with complete confidence that player athleticism has gone up in Spokane over the last 30 years and impressive dunks have become much more commonplace. It's a fun thing for the kids to do, it's entertaining to everyone in the gym, and I think it was made out to be an intimidation/sportsmanship thing that is just not the case today if everyone is allowed to participate. This was also the first year that a Spokane official at a team rules presentation before the season actually came out and flat out said that it was basically cool and fine to dunk in warmups before the officials come out, but once they arrive you will get a technical. So I'm fully on board with legalizing the practice.

  • Foul Shot Bonus Administration There were a bunch of related questions about rule variations on this topic so I have to think there's a lot going on behind the scenes with this one. The main proposal was to switch to a system where team foul totals reset after each quarter, 1 and 1s would be eliminated, and a two shot free throw would be awarded after the 5th team foul.1 I was not for this change because it appears to allow teams to foul more without repercussion, but I'd be curious to hear what NCAA women's coaches think about it. And the more I think about it the more open I am to it if there's a good explanation of the benefits of the switch.

  • Uniform Colors There was at least one question about uniform color and allowing the home team to wear solid colors with the visiting team going to white. Basically switching the longstanding tradition of white for home teams and dark colors for visitors. I'm a traditionalist and don't see any reason to change this one.

  • Gear Color Coordination Rules Asking coaches and officials to worry about which color compressions shorts, tights, sleeves, headbands, undershirts, etc. that players are wearing in addition to their jersey is just a waste of time for everyone involved as long as they're a neutral or team color. This has actually gotten better in the last few years, but there was at least one survey question about making it more restrictive again.


  1. It was unclear to me whether you would shoot free throws on the fifth team foul or the sixth, but NCAA women do it after the fifth foul.

Running Woes

It's been a hard winter for running. Not so much because the conditions have been terrible- overall it's been pretty warm and snow free compared to most winters. I just haven't really had my running mojo since taking a bunch of time off back in the Fall to finish our shed project. My weight is up more than I'd like and I think it will be tough to get it back down to where it was for Bloomsday last year and even then I wasn't at an optimal running weight. My plan is to cut out alcohol through Bloomsday at least, try to be a little more disciplined on how I eat, and increase my weekly exercise. I'm kind of dreading another slowdown in my Bloomsday time this year, but I believe this would be my 10th year running in a row so I should probably stick with it even though I'm going to be unhappy with my time.

All my minor complaints about running form aside, I got in a decent short run today after I got home from work. I didn't pack my gear to run at work because I thought I would probably be at practice, but that's not how it worked out. I ended up going straight home because Sean gave the team a shorter easy practice to recover from yesterday's game. I opted to listen to my Brasshouse Gameday Spotify playlist rather than one of my many podcasts and that helped a lot too. I ran at a faster pace than usual and just felt a little more motivated than I have been lately. I'm not going to run tomorrow, but will probably try to fit in a longer 10K+ run sometime Saturday morning.

Heartbreak in Pasco

So close yet so far. Ferris almost got the upset win against Chiawana tonight- losing by a contested 3 at the buzzer in a situation where our defender was supposed to foul before the shot because we only had four team fouls. Instead we let their player bring the ball up, bumped him in what would have been a foul right before he gathered and then he hit a tough three fading slightly to the left as time expired. We'll travel back to the tri-cities on Saturday to face Richland in a loser out game.

In the three other 4A District games Central Valley handled Hanford 76-42, Gonzaga Prep rolled over Richland 69-45, and Mead lost to Walla Walla 61-68 in overtime. I think Chiawana matches up favorably with Gonzaga Prep and should win by about 10 on Saturday; likewise Central Valley should defeat Walla Walla. Mead should be able to beat Hanford at home without any issues this weekend unless they play like they did against Lewis & Clark this year.

District Playoffs

The first round of the 4A District Playoffs between the Greater Spokane League and Mid Columbia Conference begin tomorrow. Ferris travels down to Pasco to face MCC 1 seed Chiawana in what I expect to be a very challenging matchup for the Saxons. Chiawana plays a very modern offensive style with an emphasis on the three point shot and keeping their players spread out in a 5 out look that really stretches opposing defenses. Given that they return the core of the team that advanced to the Regional level last year and it's at home they're clearly the favorite to win going away.

As a 4 seed my Saxons are going to have to be true road warriors from here on out unless we have the same outcome as Gonzaga Prep tomorrow. If we both win or lose we'll face Prep at their place on Saturday which would be pretty fun, particularly if it was to go the title game. The most likely outcome if the games follow seeding is that Prep will defeat Richland, we'll lose to Chiawana and then have to travel back down to Richland on Saturday. In the other half of the bracket Mead will be playing at Walla Walla and Central Valley will host Hanford. I expect the Blue Devils to defeat Mead and CV to take care of Hanford. My hunch is that Chiawana is the best team overall, but the quality of the GSL is better than the MCC, so I'm curious to see if that proves out tomorrow.

Opener Update

The new garage door opener arrived today. I'm looking forward to getting it installed, but still needed to remove the old one so that was tonight's task. Removing the old one ended up being as straightforward as I expected. I was able to unbolt the motor unit from the ceiling mounts without any issues and lowered it down to a sawhorse table I had set up. I then went to work on the chain and was surprised to discover the rail was one complete 7+ foot metal piece. The rail on all modern openers is generally a multipart unit that you assemble. I called it a night once I got the rail disconnected from the mount above the door and anticipate that I will start work on installing the new one tomorrow once I get home from basketball practice.

Reading the reviews online I'm kind of surprised at all the people that have indicated installation took several hours. Maybe I'm a complete optimist, but it seems like the kind of task that at most should take me a couple hours across a few days. The existing mounting hardware should be mostly reusable and assembly is pretty straightforward if you have any kind of mechanical inclination. The sensors are probably the trickiest part, but as long as there's enough wire it should go fine. Additionally, there's no real rush so if I can get it finished up by Sunday evening I'll be in pretty good shape.

Cairo Throw

(www.areaware.com)

The original emoji, Cairo was a typeface designed by Susan Kare in 1984 for the first Macintosh operating system. Taking its name from the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt, each symbol was drawn by hand using the bitmap grid. A few notable symbols lived on into later operating systems including the cursor and watch.

Kare designed this woven blanket for the Jacquard loom, an early example of computer-controlled machinery, operated with punched cards and invented by Joseph Jacquard in 1801.

I discovered this blanket in Stephen Hackett's Instagram stories and was immediately smitten. It would go great on the wall of my office, but at $135 it's well outside my decorating budget.

Musical Meandering

I spent a little bit of time today fiddling around with the Nanoloop iOS app on a few different devices today. I was kind of curious if it still ran on the latest 64 bit hardware because it came out 10 years and I have it installed on my still functioning original iPad. It turns out that it works fine on my iPad Pro, but crashes on my iPhone 11. Kind of a bummer, but not the end of the world as it's probably a relatively simple bug fix related to the screen.

Nanoloop has kind of an amazing history, it was originally developed as a music creation cartridge for the Nintendo Gameboy1, but made its way to the iPhone and Android phone not long after third party apps became a thing a decade ago. It has a very elegant music creation interface that's totally suitable for the small screen of an original iPhone because of its Gameboy heritage. It's use of Times Roman for some of its file interface UI does grate on me though. It should really use a simple bitmap font for that in my opinion!

Switching musical gears slightly, in the last week I discovered2 that there is in fact a common and elegant plain text format for encoding music called abc notation. This is something I had wondered about a little bit as I started thinking about music more again3 as a creative outlet during the last few years. There are tons of utilities that will convert the abc notation music files into sheet music or playable midi files, and there are also lots of large song collections in the format as well. One exercise that I've been meaning to do a little bit is encoding some simple songs using applications like Nanoloop and PixiTracker and this format serves as a very good resource in that regard because I'm still kind of slow reading treble clef music4


  1. You can still purchase a cartridge that runs on the Gameboy Advance in fact.

  2. Somewhat bizarrely via a utility that builds off the capabilities of Starbound the game my sons are really into right now.

  3. I played baritone/euphonium and trombone back in high school.

  4. Bass clef is still second nature and even though I haven't played a trombone in decades I can still immediately map sheet music to slide position and note name in my head. I just need more practice with treble clef music to get to the same level of note recognition.