George V. Reilly

40 Years of Programming

40 years ago this month, I sat down at a computer and wrote a program. (Or "pro­gram­me", as I spelled it then.) It was the first time I had ever used a computer. Very few people had used computers in 1982, in Ireland or elsewhere.

What was the program? No idea. Just a few lines of AppleSoft Basic. But it was enough to get me hooked and change my life.

I still get a hit when a little bit of code unlocks in my brain. It's quite addictive. There's always more to learn and to see.

I wrote more about this in 2012: 30 Years of Pro­gram­ming.

Weirdest Birthday Ever

When I said that Emma and I would be spending 2020 in Dublin, I could not possibly have an­tic­i­pat­ed what would be happening in Seattle while we were gone.

Today is my 55th birthday and it's the weirdest birthday ever, in what must be the weirdest week that most of us have lived through. (So far.)

COVID-19 is all that anyone can talk about: where it's spreading, how it's being handled, what comes next.

I started working from home on Tuesday, March 10th. Emma's general health and immune system are not good. My parents, who live nearby, are now both 80 years old and neither is in great health. It seemed prudent continue.

2018 ends

2018 was a mixed year for Emma and me.

At the start of the year, I was the principal engineer at MetaBrite. The year started out well initially, as we had moved to much larger offices at the end of 2017. In late January, a number of people were laid off, when it became apparent that the old business plan would no longer work. In late March, the company died abruptly when we lost our principal source of funding. I spent April looking for a job and received several offers.

I joined Stripe's Seattle office in June, where I work on the Edge team, which is "ensuring Stripe’s continued existence on the Internet". It's continue.

Stitches in my Finger

I've had stitches before, but never from a self-inflicted cut. Five stitches this morning from a bread knife slipping on a stale loaf that I was going to toast. I never did get that snack.

For­tu­nate­ly, it hasn't been painful. The stitches should come out in 7–9 days. Meanwhile, typing is awkward and slow.

My brother David when he was eight or nine nearly ruined his thumb with a chisel. He was using it to make a wooden sign for his cub scout troop. The chisel slipped and jammed into the back of his left thumb. He didn't sever the tendon and he got the full use of his thumb continue.

I Haz Shoes

I've been wearing a surgical boot since my heel surgery six weeks ago. The first month I spent getting around on a knee walker or crutches. For the last couple of weeks, I've been walking more and more, but always wearing the boot. The doctor told me today that I could start weaning myself off the boot, but not to rush it.

I wore shoes on my right foot tonight for the first time. I tried on a Doc Marten shoe but found it too stiff. It rubbed against the scar at the back of my heel. A pair of sneakers were more com­fort­able. I'll bring the right sneaker to continue.

Movember 2016

I've worn a beard since 1986, when I was 21. Only rarely have I been clean­shaven since then. Emma, who met me in 1997, has only seen me clean­shaven once before, about 15 years ago. I promptly regrew the beard that time.

I decided in October to fundraise for Movember. In truth, I was also curious to see what I looked like without my trademark beard. On Halloween night, I shaved everything off. Interim photos as I whittled down the beard can be seen below, as can some progress photos taken since then as I grew an over-the-top handlebar mustache.

I've let the rest of the beard start growing in after my heel operation a continue.

Knee Walker

I had heel surgery last week to remove a heel spur which was causing tendonitis and to repair the Achilles tendon. More on that some other time.

I rented a knee walker this morning from Eastside Leg Up. I love it! After barely getting around with crutches for a week, the scooter makes a huge difference. I can move around at normal walking pace now, instead of wearing myself out with the crutches.

In­ci­den­tal­ly, I found my first WebP image in the wild: the original of the image that's shown here. I used Im­ageMag­ick convert to make it into a JPEG.

More Blog Cleanup

Last weekend, I restored a number of posts that had appeared on the earlier dasBlog in­car­na­tion of this blog, but had never made it to the Acrylamid version.

I added about another 50 posts this weekend, taken from the Wayback Machine. I think that this is all the posts that are missing.

That required further fixup. I had to turn the HTML back into re­Struc­tured­Text, which I did by hand.

Some useful tips will follow in future posts.


The cen­ter­piece of our back yard is an aging Italian plum tree. We moved in to our house in late August 2000, right as the fruit was fully ripe. We didn't have a ladder and the former owners didn't have time to deal with the tree either, so most of the fruit that year ended up in the yard waste. I dragged one enormously heavy yard waste can up the back steps into the alley that year. I like to say that it weighed as much as I did, but it probably didn't.

We bought ladders and we've picked the fruit thereafter. The tree is old and no longer continue.

AIDS Walk 2016

AIDS decimated the gay community in the 1980s and early 1990s before effective treatments were developed, and AIDS and HIV continue to affect the LGBT community dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly. I personally have walked in the Seattle AIDS Walk every year since 1992.

Please sponsor me at­ly I am also the captain of the Freely Speaking Toast­mas­ters team and we'd love to have you join us.

Any money you donate or raise will support people in King County who are living with HIV or AIDS. It will help feed them, pay for medicine, and prevent further infections.

I've walked for 25 years to honor the living and the dead. I've known people who continue.

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