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Earn this
A review of Saving Private Ryan
My review of Saving Private Ryan, 20 years after its release.
In the weeks leading up to March 11, 2020, news about the novel coronavirus – which started as a trickle – had grown into a torrent.
Our Man in Center Field
The end of the season for the 2018 Cleveland Indians came far too quickly, but for those of us who watched the team all summer, we’d have been lying to ourselves if we said we expected a far different outcome. Sure, we thought, maybe the Indians would pull together some magic against the Astros and win a game or two, or maybe even steal the series. But it was tough to imagine that Indians team, with its leaky bullpen and inconsistent offense, getting past not only the Astros but the Yankees or Red Sox as well, not to mention whoever came out of the National League.
Hello, world
The Fargate/Terraform tutorial I wish I had
Here’s how to use Terraform to create a Fargate ECS service in AWS from scratch.
Louvre, version 1.1
How Section 411 went serverless (mostly)
A little over two years ago, I launched Section 411. In a post that made the launch official, I formally introduced the site, writing about the new name and some of the technology that powered it. I wrote that unlike its predecessor, Section 411 was built using a static site generator (Hugo) instead of relying on something to render the pages in real time. I also wrote about Louvre, an image manager and processor I built that could dynamically serve images to a CDN, solving what’s typically a pain point for static site generators.
Wait for it
Previewing the 2019 Cleveland Indians
On September 30th of last year, the 2018 Cleveland Indians wrapped up their regular season. It never really felt like the 2018 Indians hit their stride. The bullpen was historically horrific, the offense was inconsistent and the team never reeled off a long, galvanizing winning streak like they had during the past two seasons. Still, the Tribe had cruised to their third straight division title. The AL Central, which consists of three rebuilding teams (the Tigers, White Sox and Royals), one underachieving team (the Twins), and the Indians, never really stood a chance.
Just you wait
A review of Hamilton
Greenville, South Carolina is one of mine and my wife’s favorite cities to visit. We love strolling up and down the shady streets of the downtown area, looking in the boutique shops or sampling some coffee or gelato. Even more enticing is Falls Park on the Reedy, a gorgeous park situated around the Reedy River at the site of a natural waterfall. A striking pedestrian bridge soars over the park, offering picturesque views of the waterfall and allowing access to the park from either side of the river.
Of commits and containers
Using a Dockerfile to embed revision information in your Go application
Guillaume Bolduc, Unsplash When I’m debugging an issue with an application, one of the first questions I ask is what version of the application I’m looking at. If different versions of my app are deployed in multiple environments, it’s always worth checking to make sure the environment I’m looking at is running the code I think it is. There are a few ways of accomplishing this. Sometimes you can SSH into your server and run git log -1, but if your application is running in a container that’s not always available.
Life comes at you fast
It’s been a while since the last time I’ve written.
All in
A preview of the 2017 Cleveland Indians
After coming within a run of winning their first World Series in 68 years last season, it would have been understandable if the Indians’ front office mostly stood pat. Despite all that went wrong – Michael Brantley was effectively out for the season, two starting pitchers went down injured before the playoffs, and Indians’ catchers as a whole slashed an abysmal .185/.244/.320 for the season – the 2016 Indians were on the brink.
One for the ages
Revisiting Game 7 of the 2016 World Series
It’s an unseasonably warm November night in Cleveland, Ohio. Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs, is into its second calendar day. The Indians and Cubs are the two most cursed franchises in baseball: the winner of this game sheds their curse forever; the loser adds another painful chapter. This game earned its place in history before the first pitch was even thrown, not only because of the teams involved and their baggage but because the way the Series had unfolded so far.
Of movies and music, v2.0
My top ten favorite movie scores
Back in 2015, I wrote a piece called “Of movies and music: My top ten favorite movie scores of all time”. As the title promised, I listed my favorite movie scores, but more than that I tried to share why I like movie scores so much. For me it started way back in 2002. I was watching the special features on one of the Back to the Future DVDs. Back to the Future was one of the movies my sister Katie and I could agree on to watch, so by that time I had seen the movie more than twenty times.
Save the dream
The best movies of 2016
I didn’t see a ton of movies in theaters this year. At the beginning of 2016 it seemed like there was at least one new release every weekend that I was interested in seeing. But as the reviews rolled out in the week leading up to most releases, my enthusiasm waned and I ended up choosing to do something else that weekend. I was surprised to find that the box office has actually fared a little better in 2016 than 2015, so maybe my apathy wasn’t shared by everyone.
The Manhattan Project
As the summer of 2016 began, I started work on a project I ambitiously codenamed The Manhattan Project. A tongue-in-cheek nod to the real Manhattan Project of World War II, I felt like my project was similarly ambitious, despite the stakes for mine being far lower. After a few months, my Manhattan Project got its real name: Section 411. It’s pronounced “section four eleven” – as opposed to “section four one one”, for a reason I’ll explain below – and it’s where I’ll be doing my writing for the foreseeable future.
Running the Towpath
I woke up at 5 AM on October 9, and hit snooze once before realizing there was no way I was falling back asleep. I’d counted on some nerves. But as my parents, sister and I drove from my childhood home in Perry to the starting line in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, I was able to stay calm and collected, telling myself I had a job to do but that I knew how to do it.
Ballpark Reviews
Let's glow
A review of Spirit Communications Park
Three months before I moved to Columbia, I was finishing up my senior year of college and had a full-time job offer at the company I had been interning at for the past couple years in downtown Cleveland. At the time I was ready to be done with college, to be sure, but I was also perfectly happy to stay in Cleveland. Most of my college friends were staying around the area after graduation, and I was looking forward to moving to one of the up-and-coming neighborhoods near downtown.
Wait till this year
A preview of the 2016 Cleveland Indians
If you were to analyze the 2015 Cleveland Indians season, you might as well divide the season into two parts: one part between Opening Day and June 13, 2015, and the second from June 14 through the end of the season. June 14 was the day Francisco Lindor made his Major League debut, and it’s stunning how different a team the Indians were after he made his debut. The biggest change was the defense, which bottomed out in May but got steadily better throughout the year as documented by this Grantland piece.
To the moon
The best movies of 2015
Inside Out, Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios. 2015 was a year of widely anticipated movies and sequels. But whether it was the Hunger Games saga wrapping up, Mad Max getting a long-awaited sequel, or even Avengers: Age of Ultron, nothing could match the excitement and the hype for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And while some of the sequels were good (and some were even great), most of my favorite movies this year were originals.
You are my witnesses
Lynsey Addario, The New York Times This past September I had a chance to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, one of the Smithsonian museums near the National Mall in Washington, DC. From the subject matter you can pretty much guess it’s not going to be a particularly light trip, but it’s an intense, moving experience for all who visit, and I’m sure even more so for people who are more directly affected by the Holocaust than me.
One step ahead
A review of Steve Jobs
“Steve Jobs”, Universal Pictures Steve Jobs has had a bit of a troubled history. Soon after releasing the universally acclaimed The Social Network, Sony clearly thought it had a good thing going and immediately hired Aaron Sorkin to write another movie about another mercurial Silicon Valley founder. The timing was right: Steve Jobs had never been more famous, had never been more prolific, and it seemed like the entire US population used at least one device that he invented.
Once more, into the cold
A review of Bridge of Spies
“Bridge of Spies”, DreamWorks Studios I’ve had Bridge of Spies on my radar since late 2012. Shortly after watching Lincoln, I checked Steven Spielberg’s IMDb page to see what he was working on next, which listed as his next project was “Untitled Cold War Thriller”. I was sold immediately: any movie directed by Spielberg, particularly the historical movies he’s taken to doing these last few years, has a really good chance of being good, and the Cold War is one of my favorite periods of history.
Once more, with feeling
A preview of the 2015 Cleveland Indians
Going into the 2015 season, the bad news for the Cleveland Indians is that the renovations to their 21-year old ballpark might not be complete by the home opener. It was a historically cold winter in northeast Ohio, and despite the conservative planning and scheduling and the best efforts of the construction crews, the renovations to Progressive Field fell a little behind and it might end up being too much ground to make up this late in the offseason.
Ten days in Bhutan
In December 2014 I had the opportunity to visit the kingdom of Bhutan: a Himalayan nation that is remote, rugged and wonderful.
If it bleeds, it leads
The best movies of 2014
Interstellar, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures Happy New Year! It’s now 2015, but before we get too far into the new year it’s worth looking back at 2014, which was another great year for movies. It was another year of sequels and sequels to the sequels (Expendables 3, The Hobbit Part 3, Transformers 4, Captain America: The Winter Soldier), but it was also a year showcasing directors at the top of their craft (Gone Girl’s David Fincher and Interstellar’s Christopher Nolan).
A life fully lived
Last August, the world was stunned and horrified when it learned that actor and comedian Robin Williams had committed suicide. Any death is sad, and any celebrity death brings some amount of news coverage, but this one seemed to bring even more than usual because of the suddenness and shocking nature of his death. Regular programming was interrupted for breaking news and wall-to-wall coverage stretched into the next morning.
The unexpected first half of the 2014 Cleveland Indians
The Indians opened the unofficial second half of their season last night with a comeback 9-3 win over the Tigers. The Indians started the second half at 47-47, and despite the fact that 47-47 is only .500 and only good enough for third place, I think I’m mostly relieved, if not pleasantly surprised, at what the Indians have managed to make of their season so far. The Tribe aren’t out of it by any means, and if they’re able to reverse some of the problems they’ve had in the first half, we’ll be well on our way to another October run.
The dawn
Photo credit: On this day four years ago, I wrote a post in the aftermath of The Decision. I recalled how bizarre the whole experience was, and how unfun it was to see your team and your city excoriated on national TV. I wrote that I liked Dan Gilbert’s letter, even if it was a little childish, because the people of Cleveland needed someone speaking for them that night.
Something to build on
A preview of the 2014 Cleveland Indians
This past Christmas, my parents gave me a board game called Ticket to Ride. The game begins with you choosing up to three route cards, which become your mission for the rest of the game: it becomes your job to build a network of railroads across the United States that fulfill each of your route cards. You can only build track between certain cities, and your opponents may be competing for similar sections of the same route.
The godfather of dystopia
I just finished reading We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin. I could try to sound impressive and say that I read the novel because I enjoyed (is enjoyed the right word for a dystopian novel?) Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, and because most literary critics contend that both novels are influenced by We, it was almost my responsibility to check it out for myself. But I’ll be honest: I’ve always wanted to read a novel written by someone named Yevgeny.
"Beautiful, don't you think?"
The best movies of 2013
2013 was another great year for movies. We had the long-awaited sequel to the 2009 reboot of Star Trek, the beginning of Phase 2 of the Marvel universe, two movies featuring a terrorist attack on the White House, and seemingly at least 30 movies featuring a futuristic dystopian US government in which nothing is what it seems. I didn’t get to the theater to see every movie I wanted to see, but nevertheless, here are the best five movies I saw this year.
A problem of scope
A review of Man of Steel
The Man of Steel vs. the US Army. There’s a taxes joke in here somewhere. The genius behind the Back to the Future trilogy wasn’t the nuanced way it dealt with time travel. It wasn’t the casting, it wasn’t the writing, it wasn’t even the music (although the music didn’t hurt, but that’s a topic for another blog post). The genius behind Back to the Future started with a simple idea: what would it be like to see your parents as they were in high school?
Like a carpenter who makes stairs
The rise and fall of The Office
The Office hasn’t been as good the last couple seasons, but its prolonged run has undeniably changed television. The cynics among us would probably say The Office was over as soon as Michael Scott shed his microphone, uttered a final, muted “that’s what she said” and boarded a flight to Colorado and left Dunder Mifflin for good. They might say that although we didn’t know it at the time, The Office needed Michael Scott.
Some skin in the game
A preview of the 2013 Cleveland Indians
Opening Day 2009, after a much more subdued offseason. This offseason was a lot more interesting. The Cleveland Indians, to say the least, had an atypical offseason. During most offseasons, Indians fans gaze wistfully and briefly through the toy store windows at high priced free agents who are being wooed by richer teams, before coming back to reality and settling for secondhand free agents who are longshots at best.
The Great Emancipator
I finally saw Lincoln tonight. It’s been in theaters for more than two full months and I’ve wanted to see it since it came out, but work, the holidays and other movies kept coming up and I kept putting it off. But finally, tonight, I saw it, and it was worth the wait. And even though the movie is two months old and most people are done talking about it, I haven’t written in a while and it seems pretty relevant in this climate of political divide and identity crisis. Fair warning: I’ll be writing about a movie you may not have seen. While the plot isn’t much of a mystery, you might prefer to be surprised by the director’s and actors’ interpretations. If that describes you, read with caution.
In defense of Chris Perez
Day 1 of the Lake Erie Baseball Odyssey
Progressive Field on May 17, 2012, where the Indians hosted the Mariners and a controversy began. Over the weekend starting May 17, 2012, I went to three different baseball games in three different cities featuring six different teams. There’s a story with all of them, and since my trip took me around the perimeter of Lake Erie, I made the three posts a series called the Lake Erie Baseball Odyssey.
Living the dream
Why Parks and Recreation is TV’s Best Show
Parks and Recreation, NBC/Universal On April 9, 2009, after an episode of The Office, what was billed by the press as a spin-off show called Parks and Recreation launched. Parks and Recreation didn’t start as humbly as The Office, which was in the middle of its best arc of its fifth season, and one of the best arcs in the entire show. Earlier that year, The Office was featured by NBC after the Super Bowl, and was really as strong as it had ever been.
10 years gone
A retrospective of September 11, 2001
Ten years after the September 11 attacks, I wrote about some of what I remembered about that day, the days after, and the years since.
The 600 club
Last night, Jim Thome clubbed his 600th career home run into the bullpen at Comerica Park. As he rounded first base, the man who has almost 100 more home runs with the Indians than any other Indian, the man who is tied for the all-time lead in walk off home runs, the owner of the 17th- and 34th-best career OPS and OBP, respectively, and the man with the eighth most home runs in baseball history, Jim Thome simply pumped his fist in the air and ran around the bases.
This post was originally written as a guest post for RyboMedia on October 15, 2009. Thanks to Rybo for letting me post this! Hope you all found it enjoyable and informative. We ran into a problem at work last week that was, at the same time, a nightmare and exactly the kind of problem you want to have. The culprit was our latest Big Prize Giveaways promotion, and the problem was that our app had metaphorically gone from 0-60 in about two seconds, and it experienced the same thing your neck feels when it accelerates that fast: whiplash.