Remembering Alex Mills

Automattic lost our friend Alex yesterday. A couple of weeks ago at work we were told the heartbreaking news that his cancer had become terminal. A few days later he posted Leukemia Has Won. Then last night I learned about his passing from an update his family posted on his blog.

Alex was only 34. Fuck cancer!

Yesterday I was actually making updates to some code Alex wrote several years ago, so I had just been thinking about him. He contributed so much to Automattic and will be missed.

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Me, Alex, and Dave in Barcelona
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Me, Dave, Allison, and Alex in Vancouver

I’ll never forget how surprised I was when I learned that the biggest car enthusiast in the company didn’t have a driver’s license. He eventually got it and then I got to see the smile on his face when he took me for a ride in his Dodge Viper, which he had drove up from Portland to Vancouver.

Perhaps the thing I’ll remember most about Alex was how unselfish he was. We worked on the same team for several years and travelled together quite a few times. Alex was a very picky eater and he always insisted we not choose restaurants based on him. He wasn’t afraid to try new foods, but if he didn’t get a full meal, he was happy to grab some fast food on the way back to our hotel or Airbnb. A burrito was his favorite food, so in his memory I hit up the Taco Bell drive-thru for lunch.

Rest in peace Alex.

Real Good Pizza

One of my friends at the gym had tried a frozen pizza made by Real Good Foods Co. that looked interesting, so I bought a couple of them.

The crust is made from chicken and parmesan cheese! There are two servings so it makes a quick meal containing 8 grams of carbs, 32 grams of fat, and 50 grams of protein.

I hade this one for lunch today. I followed the instructions to microwave it for 4 minutes, which made a huge mess when the cheese flowed over the cardboard disc, so next time I’ll do it on a separate plate. Then I put it in a pan for a couple of minutes firm up the “crust.”

It was “real good” and the crust was much better than I expected.

My Trees Fell

Earlier this month a couple of dead trees snapped in my backyard. While eating breakfast yesterday morning, I noticed the trees were swaying a lot. With high winds expected all day I thought there was a good chance the trees would come down. I quickly moved a camera from pointing at my back door out to the yard, hoping I could catch it on video. I was still at the kitchen table when they fell less than five minutes later.

I’m glad they came down on their own because it would have been dangerous cutting them the way everything was leaning and hanging on the other tree.

Last night, exactly 12 hours later, I heard another tree crack and fall. The larger tree that had been holding up the two must have been weakened by their weight over the course of the two weeks.

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Again, very lucky it fell away from my yard. Everything should be easy to clean up in the spring.

Spreadsheet Etiquette

Things I almost always do in a spreadsheet:

  • Freeze the header row.
  • Delete unused columns.
  • Double-click column widths so the content fits properly.

Things I sometimes do:

  • Delete unused rows.
  • Increase font size to at least 10.

What do you do in your spreadsheets?

A Single Shade of Blue

Duke and North Carolina meet again tonight, which is arguably the greatest rivalry in sports.

I became a Duke fan somewhere around the Fab Five of Michigan years and I’ve been a fan of the program ever since. Fitting that this year’s Duke team is led by four fabulous freshman, three of which are projected as top five picks in the NBA draft. We’ve never seen a talent like Zion Williamson.

There have been a lot of great Duke teams over the years, but this 2018-2019 version is becoming one of my favorites. They don’t shoot the three as well as previous teams, but defense is back in Durham. According to ESPN stats, they are 2nd in rebounds (to North Carolina), 1st in steals per turnover, 1st in steals per personal foul, and 1st in blocks. Last week I wrote about their epic 23 point comeback win, which was sparked by dominating defense. We haven’t seen any floor slaps yet this season, but tonight is the type of game where it could happen.

GO DUKE!

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are quickly becoming a favorite for breakfast. They are so easy to make. Mix a bunch of stuff together, seal it up, put it in the fridge for the night, and eat cold in the morning.

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I have a big box of instant oatmeal packets from Sam’s Club so that is what I’m using now, but I’ve read other oats can alter the flavor and texture a lot. Here’s the “recipe” I came up with.

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The beauty is you can mix whatever you want. There are a lot of “recipes” out there if you do Google searches as well.

Do you make overnight oats? What is your favorite way?