Brian Hoch

Just a guy trying to love my family and serve my God. I like coffee, JavaScript and good books.

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It’s Nice to Read Again

The past couple of years I have had increasingly less time in the evenings. At my old job I would often have to work in the evenings just to stay afloat, as there was simply too much work for one person.

Since I’ve started my new job, however, even with all of the new things I have to learn I’ve found that I have more time in the evening to relax and recharge. And one of the things I’ve been doing with that time is reading more. Reading for pleasure, I mean, not just work related reading.

I love reading because it takes me out of myself for a little while. It allows me to shift my focus from the immediate stressors that weigh on me. I have no illusion that this is escapist, but it is, nevertheless, exceptionally rejuvenating. And who doesn’t need an escape now and again? I think it’s healthy to escape, to not focus on yourself and your troubles for a little while, it lends perspective.


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Mobile Culture

There is a fantastic scene at the start of the movie Warm Bodies where the protagonist, a zombie named Z, reminisces about what life must have been like before the zombie apocalypse. It must have been wonderful, he thinks as he walks through an airport terminal teaming with the senseless undead, to be able to talk to each other and have a real, meaningful, human connection with someone else. As he thinks this the scene shifts to a time before the outbreak and the terminal is full of living people, each focussed entirely on the tablet or phone they hold.

The Problem

I remember watching the movie and thinking what a poignant commentary it is on our modern, mobile device driven culture and lifestyle. We’re now more connected to each other than ever before, but we achieve this connectedness by isolating ourselves from those around us. We are at a terrible in between time where technology...

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Déjà Vu

I only feel déjà vu with negative experiences, almost never positive.

Our first three children came after completely complication-free pregnancies. Not once in those pregnancies did I get a feeling of déjà vu. Why? Because there’s nothing that sticks in the mind when everything goes as it should. But when something goes wrong the mind latches onto it.

We’re now on our sixth pregnancy. Our fourth child, Andrew Paul, was stillborn. After Andrew we had a miscarriage. With this pregnancy I feel déjà vu many times a day. There were so many events that led up to Andrew’s death that I can’t go for very long without having memories forced to the surface.

And in the latest ultrasound there were several uncomfortable similarities to our last ultrasound with Andrew. The baby looks beautiful and very healthy. But it’s still very worrying.

All we can do is pray for God to protect him, and trust...

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Tweeting Despair

Yesterday I watched a man live-tweet the death of his six-year-old daughter. It was horrific. Not because he was tweeting it, he was crying out in pain. It was horrific to watch it unfold.

She had cancer and he knew it was coming. He held her as she lay unconscious fighting for the last bits of life she had left. She was my daughter’s age. She died on her birthday.

I can’t stop thinking about it.

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On Monday Apple pleasantly surprised me. They introduced a new language to replace Objective-C1. Objective-C has been Apple’s programming language for years. The language itself is already into it’s 30s2 and it’s beginning to show its age. Modern features get tacked on, but it’s still a language that was designed before the original Macintosh was released!

I started thinking about the possibility of Apple getting a new language after listening to John Siracusa talk about it on episode 14 of Hypercritical3. John has been talking about the need for a new language for years. I was personally hoping that Apple would adopt the MacRuby4 project.

From what I’ve seen so far, though, I’m really excited for Swift. I’m sure it will have it’s issues and ugly bits, every language does. But so far I’m really liking what I’m seeing.

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Drinking from the Firehose

I recently changed jobs. I went from being a web administrator in the medical field, working with SharePoint and ASP.Net to deploying and configuring software on Unix 1 servers for a shipping logistics company. By my wife’s description (“He works with computers”) my job hasn’t changed much. In actuality, the only consistent thing between the two jobs is “He works with computers.”

It’s been intimidating to make such a big change. In some ways I feel almost like I’m starting over, learning all new systems. Fortunately, I’ve been playing with Unix for fun for almost 15 years, so I’m not starting from scratch. But at the start I had a few meetings where the only words I understood were the conjunctions 2. It felt like drinking from a firehose.

My “strategy” (if you can call it that) for learning everything I need to is based on how I’ve watched my children acquire language. This is the...

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This episode of The Weekly Briefly is fantastic! Shawn Blanc interviews Patrick Rhone.

I need to just keep up momentum. Even if my posts aren’t masterpieces. I can’t improve something I’m not practicing.

As I listen it seems like every paragraph speaks to exactly how I feel when I try to write. I know it’s an hour listen, but I really recommend listening to it. It’s so worth it!

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My Misdirection in “Personal Development”

The Bible and a cup of teaI’ve been so worried about content production vs. consumption this year. It’s been stressful to look at the minuscule amount of content that I personally create, outside of work. “How am I supposed to develop myself into a better person if I don’t have this cathartic outlet?” I’d ask myself. But, I never really stopped to consider that the thing that is the most important is they type of content I consume, not create. And it’s not been enough Scripture.

The key to developing myself personally in the ways I want is not introspection through content creation. That’s just navel-gazing. It’s learning to emulate and trust Jesus more, and more deeply. How? Brought consumption of a Scripture. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4 ESV. As my grandfather has said, “You cannot be profoundly influenced by that which you do not know.”

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Let’s Talk About Les Misérables

Grace as a Destructive Force

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved Les Mis. My parents saw it when I was young and bought the recording. I’m not sure when I first heard the music, but that was my first exposure to Les Misérables. As I’ve grown older I’ve sought out more tellings of the story. I’ve seen multiple movies (musical and not) listened to and watched different performances of the music (live and recorded), and a year or two ago I finished the unabridged, albeit translated book by Victor Hugo himself. It is a work of art.

And like all art there’s always more to be enjoyed. But I want to just focus on one point, Valjean and his foil Javert. A foil relationship is where an antagonist is crafted in such a way that his traits highlight specific traits of the protagonist. In this instance (especially in the musical version) I think the foil is actually set up to highlight a...

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