Brian Gilham

Engineering leader, husband, and father

If you’ve been following me for a few years, you might remember when I wrote the Monday Mailer — an email newsletter about productivity, side projects, and feelings. I’m really proud of some of those articles. Some of them make me cringe. Regardless, you can now find the archives here.

This article, from The Atlantic, is a few years old and most certainly out of date. But it’s worth sharing for this line alone:

In a high-school science-fair experiment in 1964, a 17-year-old stayed awake for 11 days. Since then, standards for science-fair safety have changed.


Cyberman smoking behind the scenes on the set of ‘Doctor Who’ in 1968

I deeply enjoyed reading this oral history of Mad Max: Fury Road. I still remember walking out of the theatre, five years ago, feeling a bit shellshocked at what I’d seen. A classic.

With my wife and I expecting our first child in roughly four weeks, the latest episode of Science Vs, discussing the risks for pregnant women and newborns, felt timely and reassuring.

A reminder from Drew DeVault that we are complicit in our employer’s deeds:

[…] if you’re a programmer already working at $company and you’re looking for a change, you’re better off than 99% of your non-technical friends. In tech, hardly anyone is “trapped” at a bad job; or at least we don’t have a good excuse for not trying for something better.


Ultimately, however, our decision to switch was driven by our difficulty in hiring new talent for $UNREMARKABLE_LANGUAGE, despite it being taught in dozens of universities across the United States. Our blog posts on $PRACTICAL_OPEN_SOURCE_FRAMEWORK seemed to get fewer upvotes when posted on Reddit as well, cementing our conviction that our technology stack was now legacy code.

This made me chuckle more than a few times. Spot on.

As our 60th day of physical distancing begins, I can’t help but be grateful for the feeling of temporal affluence — a surplus of time and space that wasn’t there, previously. Or didn’t feel like it was, anyway. Forced reflection on how we spend our time, our priorities, and the kind of life we want to build going forward.

Despite the flurries yesterday, some plants in the backyard have started to bloom. With any luck we’ll have warmer temperatures start to stick around soon.

8 weeks ago things here in Toronto started to shut down. And if they’d only shut down for a week or two, maybe we all could have gone back to what it was. But it’s been two months. You’re different than you were. We all are. We’re hearing from more and more people that they don’t want to go back to the old thing. It’s not who they are any more.

Jonathan & Melissa Nightingale