Dismal Times

Agile Web Development with Rails, Third Edition covered Rails two. It was Prepared exclusively for daniel ott, and it says so in the footer of every page. Daniel and Ott in all lower case, because that’s how I felt I ought’a fill out forms from my early aughts on the Internet. Weighing in at 748 pages, or 8.9MB, it remains at /Users/danott/Dropbox/Books/Rails.pdf, unchanged since November 25, 2008 at 7:48pm, when it was generated by The Pragmatic Programmers.

I purchased TextMate the same day. Both purchases motivated by the day’s earlier success. I sold a client on developing a custom Rails application instead of doubling down on WordPress. Confidence to sell this idea was endowed hours earlier by the original Ruby on Rails demo. Now my abilities needed to grow to match my ambition.

I stopped by the Kroger to pick up a few groceries. Cashews and apple juice. This had never been a go to snack. But something inside me was craving this very specific combination of salty and sweet.

The apple juice was procured from an empty aisle. A lone soul joined me in the second aisle. I didn’t catch his name tag. He didn’t ask for mine, or if I needed any assistance. He simply looked up from stocking the non-cashew nuts adjacent to my gaze.

“Dismal times”


“Nobody shops at the grocery anymore. Everybody wants fast food. And the women, the women are too lazy to cook, so they send their men out here to do all the shopping.”


“Dismal times”

He said some pretty gnarly stuff about our freshly elected president Obama, too. His hand truck and his mind sufficiently lightened, he offered one last nod of disappointment, and went on his way to take stock of other things.

I must have stayed up until 3am writing rails generate, reading when I got stuck, sipping apple juice, and munchin’ cashews. I haven’t paired apple juice and cashews since. But sitting at my computer, writing in monospace, I can still taste it. A craving grows.

That’s just a fun story about the night that my career trajectory changed forever.

Published: 2020-11-05

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