Right now I'm writing templating middleware for Boltzmann (a JS framework.) Three years ago around this time, I was writing something similar for Spife (another JS framework) while waiting in the Oakland airport for my flight back to Portland. I was entirely drained from another NPM all-hands experience, and I kept staring out the windows at planes landing and taxiing to gates. It was in the evening; everything outside was tinted lavender with orange highlights. I was excited to get back home, but so tired; sad to be leaving, hoping I had done good by my coworkers while I was out.
It's last year, around this time. I'm writing the first version of Boltzmann for Entropic while I'm in San Francisco for my two week (!!) onboarding at [$dayjob]. At this point I've been camping out at the dark, slightly-dingy hotel bar for about a week's worth of evenings, idly poking at my laptop. By the time I'm off work, I don't really have the motivation to make it much farther than "the hotel lobby."
The bartender is pouring excellent Manhattans, which is why I keep coming back, to be honest. By the end of next week, we'll be on good enough terms that he'll pour me the occasional free shot of whiskey. At this point in my life, I am shellshocked by how quickly and completely my NPM has changed character, and my ego is deeply bruised by the preceding months. It'll be almost half a year before I start to feel better. I keep typing. We're presenting Entropic in 3 weeks. I miss Krysten and my cats.
It's two years ago -- 2018. I'm in Seattle to give a talk about Spife at a local user conference in January or February. Our only engineering manager at NPM quit. For a few months I've played the part of project manager, engineering manager, and tech lead for the rewrite of the website. I am incredibly wound up and anxious. I worry a lot about letting my coworkers down. Sometimes this anxiety gets in the way of seeing how they're rising to the occasion; how they're supporting me. I'm on a managers call; I'm gutted by how badly I've let down one of my reports. This has been the winter of spam: attackers flooded pretty much public content-hosting site with SEO spam, and NPM was not spared. We didn't have the tools or processes to deal with it, so we're fighting a rear-guard action on nights and weekends.
A package that wasn't spam got deleted accidentally the weekend before, which caused a fire drill. Someone reporting to me had warned repeatedly -- weeks ahead of this -- that this was coming. Fuck. The manager's meeting wrapped up. I walked to the venue and talked about Spife, and about how it's building your own framework to address your problems is, in fact, good. Six months later someone else at the company came to power & Spife fell out of fashion. I was sidelined. After my talk, I saw a show.
It's today. I'm writing boltzmann template middleware. We're talking about rewriting the website at [$dayjob]. I'm fretting about taking my car for some maintenance tomorrow. Will people be wearing masks? Should I plan on staying there while they work on the car, or should I rent a car and get back home? It'll be the longest I've been out of the house in public since quarantine started.
I traveled a lot more than I thought I would over the last five years. The moments that stand out the most to me are the quiet ones, near the end of the trip, waiting at the airport to go back home. Feeling melancholic about leaving, but exhausted and happy to head home. I don't know if I miss traveling for work, but I'm definitely nostalgic for the feeling of coming home.
It's ten years ago. I'm at Johnny's Tavern in North Lawrence, Kansas. I've been working nights and weekends on a callback-based implementation of Django's template language, to integrate into a JS framework called Wilson. I've just finished writing the template loading integration. My friends -- largely more seasoned Python programmers -- nod along; they seem enthused, supportive, and gently skeptical. After the evening winds down and we say our goodbyes, I walk the few blocks home down Massachusetts street; the sky is slate blue and peach, the future is bright and full of possibility. There might be a future for me in this Node thing.