Beards of Python

Member of the Python Community

It started off as a random joke for what I should spend my time at PyCon doing.

6:21:54 PM cbrumelle: you should do a photo essay entitled “the many beards of python”

Quite a few people really got into the idea and stopped by my makeshift photo setup.

Beards of Python.

If anybody has nicer ideas for how the pictures should be displayed let me know 🙂


I’ll be giving a talk at EuroDjangoCon in lovely Prague in early May. It’ll be about migrating a standard LAMP web site to App Engine.


Welcome to your new life in the cloud. Based on the experience of porting the now open source Jaiku microblogging service from a traditional set up to Google’s App Engine platform, this very technical talk will teach you how to live in a new world where RDBMS are a thing of the past.
This talk will cover porting your app, your data model and your brain. In porting your app it will cover getting you up and running on App Engine using the Google App Engine Helper for Django open source project. In porting your data model it will address various approaches and pitfalls to scalability on the App Engine datastore. In porting your brain it will cover living with hard request deadlines and without JOINs.

Should be a fun conference, and a great time of year to see Prague, would love to hear from anybody who will be around town 🙂

I Dream of the Perfect Desk

And maybe the perfect back, too, mine hurts a bit right now.

I sit at a computer for the majority of my life, nearly as often as a sleep, and I can’t help but think that maybe there is some combination of desk technology that could make that experience one that is efficient and comfortable, even healing.

I’ve always had this vision of a library, vaulted roofs, walls of books, distant windows, and a table ripe for a small banquet: big, maybe 5 meters by 2, rounded at the long ends, dark, solid wood, polished to a shine. I’d be the only there most of the time, stacks of books on the table, pushed far enough away to be just on the periphery of my vision, pieces of paper and notes, pens, scattered around. Anything I don’t want immediately next to me at any given moment can be pushed out of reach without any further thought, safe for later when I can process it without interruption.

A healing place, a place of relaxation. I haven’t really had much of one for a long time, I have a couple pieces of one, there is a couch in my house that is great for reading and napping on summer afternoons when the last light of the day peeks between the houses and drowns in warmth, but they are not places where I can create.

I often get tempted by various office furniture, mostly chairs from Herman-Miller, wondering if they can somehow bring whatever it is that I am seeking into my home. When stressed I often clean my surroundings to relax myself, I am attracted to finding the optimal solution to the puzzle of the things scattered around me. I enjoy having large reference books on the periphery of my vision because I feel like just having them there makes me more aware of their contents, I also enjoy a certain amount of emptiness, I do not like the feeling of possibly running out of space, I sometimes keep large amounts of whitespace at the bottom of files while I am working in them so that I do not feel like there is any sort of limit, in fact I’ve been doing that to this file as I’ve been writing.

Anyway, back to work.

Announcing BeerhugCamp

We’re gathering on a porch at 24th and Bartlett with 40’s this Saturday after dark to discuss the future of microsocializing.

If you are not yet familiar with the term, “microsocializing” refers to the habitual, and near ritualistic, activity of attending all free events related heavily to one’s own industry wherein the main goal is to “ping” the group of people who attend such events in order to keep alive the semblance of a friendship that can be used for mutual benefit when either participants social capital is called into question.

Come join, bring a 40. You’ll know when you see us.

Escalating Anti-Gentrification Sentiment in the Mission

The neighborhood I live in, the mission district, specifically the area between 18th and 24th streets, has lately been the target of various anti-gentrification statements, culminating for me today while a man shouted insults from his window at people walking out of Ritual Roasters Coffee (there is already anti-gentrification sidewalk stenciling outside the entrance).

It seems Google is one of the parties being blamed for it as more crudely made sidewalk stenciling at Guerrero and 24th makes clear, and in part I can see how it contributes by having a shuttle pickup in the neighborhood but in reality the pickup locations are chosen based on existing housing situations so it would appear to be more of a feedback loop.

Anyway, with things like the “Mission Yuppie Eradication Project” in the past and being bucketed with the “yuppies” I don’t look forward to a continuation of this trend into the realm of reckless destruction or violence. Sidewalk stenciling is something I fully support, though I must say I prefer those that are better made or more clever than the ones mentioned here, but angry shouting from windows is definitely a large step in the wrong direction.

Termie’s Talent Agency, Take 2

Lately the amount of people asking me for friends who code to work on their projects has been increasing so I think it is time to revive Termie’s Talent Agency, and add a little twist. Here’s the breakdown:

Developers, Designers

If you think that you could at some point in the future be interested in working on cool projects — and I’m not going to point you at stuff I think is stupid — shoot off an email to termietalent at gmail and please include the following:

  • whether you would like to travel or move, I hear about things in both Europe and the U.S.
  • what kinds of things you are actually enthusiastic about, if you code but are really into journalism I want to hear about; describe your dream job.
  • where I can dig up more info on you, like a blog or something
  • a recipe for one of your favorite dishes (i like food) or one of your favorite paragraphs from a book

Companies new!

If you are looking for great talent that will never hit a job board because they already have jobs and could find new ones every day — the kind that hate headhunters because they always represent horrible boring corporations — then send an email to termietalent at gmail and please include the following:

  • where you are located and if you need somebody to be located physical nearby
  • the size of the team our hero will be working with
  • a passionate description of your project that will instill a renewed sense of vitality and enthusiasm to any kindred spirit who reads it
  • a brief description (longer if you use illustrative metaphors) of what kind of hero you are looking for to fill out your squad
  • a recipe for one of your favorite dishes (i like food) or one of your favorite paragraphs from a book


None of this information will be posted anywhere, it is for my own private use as a matchmaker extraordinaire, but should from aught a spark take light ‘tween brave souls I shall send both parties an intro email.

And hey, if you’ve got other crazy ideas about arrangements send ’em in also, I’ve heard things like design for code barters (keeps the tax man away) and even dating requests.


I had a great time doing this before, but at some point the server that handled that email got moved and DNS was in somebody else’s hands and everything sort of fell apart.

Likewise, if you’ve sent stuff in before, please send it again to refresh my memory and so that I’ll have it on record.

Stealth Mode

Received an email today asking me to evaluate the feasibility of an idea, this was my response to it:

Subject: Re: Question


| In a nutshell, I would like to create something – like [XXX] – that is geared more towards the [XXX] community.

| Is that enough information?

Obviously not.

| I don’t want to go to in depth because it may be a “very” good idea and I would like to know I could trust the person – hearing the whole presentation – to not disqualify it to me and then go on to develop it for their own personal gain.

That is in almost all cases a very flawed path to follow. Ideas aren’t worth much of anything, I assure you somebody else has had your idea and most likely many other people, the fewer people you tell your idea to the more likely it is that you will build yourself into a hole without input, fail to see things from other perspectives, fail to find out that your idea has already been done before you waste the time trying to build it, and in almost all cases simply fail. “Stealth Mode” is a worn out and useless concept perpetuated by people who expect to get something for nothing, what makes things happen is (1) actually fleshing out the idea through constant interaction with other people more knowledgeable than yourself, giving you additional reasons and urgency to actually build it, and (2) actually building it. The difference between the successful and the unsuccessful entrepreneur often has much more to do with how well that person can actually organize the people around her into making their dreams a reality than about an idea.

Good luck.


Things I Won’t Do

Anybody who’s spent much time with me knows I’m neither the kind of guy to take no for an answer nor the kind to say something isn’t possible, rather I am the kind who feels like he can be great at everything and be everything to everyone. It’s a fault but I do well enough most of the time that I can skate by.

Today on the bus ride to work while finishing reading the play “Copenhagen” I came to the sudden realization that I would never make a significant contribution to mathematics. It wasn’t ever something I specifically strove for, nor anything I put any sort of commitment towards, but somewhere in the back of my mind I’m sure I hoped, as I do with an outrageous number of things, to wind up in a position where it would be possible and that by sheer force of character I could make it happen.

Even now, after tossing the thought around all day, I can’t quite bring myself to accept the word never in the paragraph above. It feels like a challenge. Even after deciding that I will not commit myself to the level of study and research it would take, even with the generally held statistic that most great contributions to mathematics happen by the time the contributor is 25, even after accepting the overall lunacy of the idea that I might be in some way qualified, never is still a tough pill to swallow.