# Saturday, June 12, 2021

C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe told the story of Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan Pevensie and their adventures in the world of Narnia. Prince Caspian tells of their second visit to this magical land.

A year after returning home from Narnia, the children are waiting for a train when they are suddenly whisked to a strange land. They realize they are back in Narnia, but the area is unfamiliar to them. They come upon the ruins of a castle and eventually conclude that they are at their old home and that many years have passed since they lived there. Due to the time differences between the Narnian world and our world, it is now over a thousand years since their last visit.

Narnia has fallen on hard times: the holy and benevolent lion Aslan has not been seen in centuries, the false king Miraz has ascended the throne through treachery, and talking animals and trees are nowhere to be found. Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the throne, has used Susan's horn - originally a gift from Aslan and now an ancient artifact - to summon the Pevensies back to Narnia. Together, they attempt to restore goodness to the world.

Once again, Lewis takes the reader into a world that is both magical and believable. This is a story of a world that has fallen from righteousness into wickedness. It is an attempt at redemption for the land, its rulers, and its people. Knowing Lewis's Christian roots, we can assume he was thinking of the rise and fall and rise of God's chosen people in the Old Testament when he wrote this book.

It is an enjoyable story, and it introduces the fearless talking mouse Reepicheep, who is one of my favourite characters in these Chronicles.

Saturday, June 12, 2021 9:17:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Thursday, June 10, 2021

GCast 110:

Renaming Projects and Folders in a Visual Studio Solution

Renaming projects, files, classes, and namespaces is a risky thing that affects anything that references or depends on those objects. The refactoring tools in Visual Studio can help, but only so far.

In this video, I will walk through renaming projects and folders in one of my Visual Studio solutions.

Thursday, June 10, 2021 9:51:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, June 7, 2021

Episode 664

Sasha Rosenbaum on Growth Mindset

There are two types of mindsets: Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset. Fixed Mindset says that each of us is born with a level of intelligence and talent and that we cannot change this level. Grow Mindset says that we have the ability to increase these things through actions and effort. Sasha Rosenbaum explains how we can improve our lives by adopting a Growth Mindset. Many of these ideas came from Carol Dweck's book "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success".

Links:
https://amzn.to/33p4wix
https://www.sasharosenbaum.com

Monday, June 7, 2021 9:12:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, June 6, 2021

6/6
Today I am grateful for a kayaking architecture tour on the Chicago River yesterday.

6/5
Today I am grateful for dinner with friends last night.

6/4
Today I am grateful for a ride to the bike shop after I had a flat tire 10 miles from home yesterday.

6/3
Today I am grateful for the friendship of good people.

6/2
Today I am grateful for online courses.

6/1
Today I am grateful to visit 3 northwest Chicago parks yesterday for the first time: Jefferson Park, Portage Park, and Hanson Park

5/31
Today I am grateful to all the men and women who gave their lives in defense of my country.

5/30
Today I am grateful to attend the end-of-season party of the Lincoln Park Ski Club last night.

5/29
Today I am grateful to see Vance Kelly at Rosa's Lounge last night.

5/28
Today I am grateful for an unexpected gift from Tobiah

5/27
Today I am grateful for a clean bill of health from my dermatologist.

5/26
Today I am grateful for online grocery shopping.

5/25
Today I am grateful for my new refrigerator/freezer.

5/24
Today I am grateful to randomly cross paths with Paul in downtown Chicago yesterday.

5/23
Today I am grateful to see Heartfield in concert last night at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn.

5/22
Today I am grateful for a beer tasting party last night.

5/21
Today I am grateful to hear some flattering words from a manager.

5/20
Today I am grateful for lunch with KL yesterday.

5/19
Today I am grateful for sad songs.

5/18
Today I am grateful for public parks.

5/17
Today I am grateful I have the ability to stay in touch via my phone.

5/16
Today I am grateful for great pizza.

5/15
Today I am grateful to see The Kinsey Report in concert last night.

5/14
Today I am grateful to present at the Cloud Lunch and Learn Marathon last night.

5/13
Today I am grateful for new shelves in my closet, so I no longer keep my sweatshirts in a cardboard box.

5/12
Today I am grateful to find my lost AirPod yesterday after searching along a mile of city streets and sidewalks.

5/11
Today I am grateful for excellent public art in the city.

5/10
Today I am grateful to complete and file my taxes.

5/9
Today I am grateful to see jazz singer Kurt Elling in concert last night at the City Winery.

5/8
Today I am grateful for new pillow cases.

5/6
Today I am grateful for another group ride last night around and under downtown Chicago.

5/5
Today I am grateful for my love of music.

5/4
Today I am grateful to my personal trainer, who kicks my butt 2-3 times a week.

5/3
Today I am grateful for the small light in my shower, so I don't blind myself when I walk into my bathroom in the dark.

Sunday, June 6, 2021 1:55:59 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, June 5, 2021

C.S. Lewis continues the legends of his magical world of Narnia with his 1954 novel The Horse and his Boy.

Although this was the fifth novel written and published in the series, it takes place near the end of the events of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and features appearances by a few of the characters therein.

Young Shasta knew he was different than the other boys growing up in Calormen. He was resigned to his life until he overheard his guardian planning to sell him into slavery to a nobleman. When Shasta met the nobleman's horse Bree, he was startled to learn that Bree could talk. The horse was a captured beast from the land of Narnia, where many animals have the gift of speech. Together, the pair set out to escape to Narnia. Along the way, they met Aravis, a young aristocrat, who was also fleeing Calormen with a talking horse. The four travelers set out together, facing adventures and dangers in their exodus.

Lewis paints the Calormenes as evil or shallow and the Narnians as good, but the characters are not all black and white. The heroes have flaws that make them more real: Bree is far too vain for his own good and Aravis is a spoiled brat at the beginning of the story.

The only weakness in this book is the convenient wrap-up at the end in which everything is explained too quickly and with too many coincidences.

Despite this small drawback, this is an enjoyable book that fits in well with the Narnia saga.

Saturday, June 5, 2021 9:34:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 31, 2021

Episode 663

Jeff Wilcox on Open Source and Microsoft

Jeff Wilcox is a Program Manager in Microsoft's Open Source Program Office (OSPO). He discusses open source software and Microsoft's evolution in using and contributing to it. He provides guidance for using, creating, and contributing to Open Source software and discusses some of the licensing and legal issues.

Monday, May 31, 2021 9:48:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is the story that introduced the world of Narnia to our world. On its surface C.S. Lewis's 1950 novel is a children's fantasy story; but it is so much more.

It is the story of the four Pevensie children - Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, who accidentally stumbled upon Narnia, while staying at the home of elderly Professor Kirk.

Lucy was the first to venture into the old wardrobe and discover that it was a portal to another world - a magical world in which animals can talk; but this was also a dangerous world ruled by the evil White Witch, who had cast a spell on the land, ensuring that it was "always winter, but never Christmas".

Lucy returned to tell her siblings about her adventure, but she was met with skepticism. Edmund followed her through the wardrobe and discovered the truth, but he was weak and spiteful and was easily seduced by the White Queen's magic and promise of enchanted sweets. They returned later with their older siblings and learned that the lion Aslan was returning to Narnia after an absence of centuries. Aslan was held in great reverence by the Narnians and was destined to confront the White Queen and challenge her reign.

Lewis combines several different cultures in his narrative. He drew inspiration for his characters from the mythologies of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Norsemen, and other cultures and from the stories of Hans Christian Andersen. Even Father Christmas makes an appearance at one point. But the story also has many influences from Lewis's Christian faith. It is an allegory of Jesus Christ's sacrifice and resurrection to redeem the sins of others. Lewis does a remarkable job of suggesting Biblical stories without repeating or imitating those stories.

"The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" is a classic story that combines adventure, magic, family, action, religion, betrayal, forgiveness, and redemption in a very short space.

I never read this book as a child. I was in my 40s when I first experienced Narnia. Two decades later, I find it is still magical.

Sunday, May 30, 2021 9:47:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Magician's Nephew was not the first book that C.S. Lewis wrote for his classic Chronicles of Narnia; but its story is first chronologically, and it often appears first in omnibus editions of the Chronicles. So, as I set out to re-read the series for the first time in 20 years, I elected to begin with this volume.

The story takes place prior to Lewis's iconic The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. A generation passes on Earth between the two novels; but a thousand years separate the two books in Narnia.

This book is the story of Digory and Polly, two children who find themselves transported to another world, tricked there by Diggory’s evil Uncle Andrew - a amateur magician of mediocre skill and dubious morals. When the children return to London, an evil witch queen from the other world follows them intent on ruling the Earth. The children work to drive the witch out of their world.

In this book, we learn answers to questions raised in later books: how Narnia came to be, why some of the animals can talk, how the White Queen came to Narnia and why she was kept from power for so long, why there is a lamp post in the middle of the woods, and why Professor Kirke was unsurprised when he learned that his wardrobe was a portal to another world.

Lewis was fond of including Christianity in his book and this story echoes many of the themes of the Book of Genesis, including representations of God, the Devil, the Creation of the universe, the first man and woman, and even a fruit tree.

You may choose to read the series in chronological order or in publication order (this was #6 of 7 written) or you may read them in any random order you wish. The Magician's Nephew is a delightful story on its own, but even more so for those familiar with the other Narnia books.

Saturday, May 29, 2021 9:26:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, May 24, 2021

Episode 662

Ovetta Sampson on Mindful and Ethical AI

Ovetta Sampson teaches a class on Ethical Artificial Intelligence. She discusses how biased or invalid input can cause invalid and/or biased AI models. She discusses ways of being mindful of these potential problems when building these models to minimize these issues.

Links:
https://youtu.be/QgHD7hXj30c
https://www.womentech.net/speaker/Sasha/Rosenbaum/52447

Monday, May 24, 2021 9:59:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, May 22, 2021

When Tom Joad came home after four years in prison, his house was empty, and his family was gone. Nearly all the families in the area were gone - driven away by the drought and by poor soil management and by the bank that took their homes.

Tom found his family at the home of his uncle. With no prospects in Oklahoma, they decided to head to California, lured by a handbill's promise of plentiful jobs. The handbill lied. They expected California to be the promised land; but it is a land of broken promises.

John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath follows the Joad family across the country to California, where they face unemployment, poverty, and a system designed to keep them down.

The Joads and others like them feel helpless. They are starving and have no source of income, other than an oligarchical system of large farms that reduce wages to poverty levels. They try organizing and they are labeled Communists and beaten by police. They try helping one another, but the authorities harass them and burn their camp. They are angry but have nowhere to direct their anger. Just as the faceless bank foreclosed on their homes in Oklahoma, the faceless farms control their lives in California. There is no person to whom they can appeal or at whom they can lash out.

Steinbeck's writing is straightforward, but beautiful. He paints a very real picture of the world in which he Joads live and travel. He makes us care about an entire class of people - the working poor in this case - and about the individual characters in his story, including:

  • Pa Joad, the family patriarch, who cedes leadership to his wife.
  • Ma Joad, whose strength holds the family together.
  • Jim Casey, the ex-preacher, who has lost his faith; but finds a purpose in life after he is arrested for someone else's crime.
  • Tom Joad, who struggles to control his anger because he knows the consequences for himself and his family.

Steinbeck makes one feel the pain of oppression without ever getting preachy. Even the former preacher Casy manages to deliver his message without preaching. The endurance and resilience of the Joads and their repeated frustrations with the system makes the author's points for him. The Biblical parallels are clear, as the Joad’s exodus mirrors the trials of the one led by Moses.

This is one of the great American novels. It is a bleak story of life during the Great Depression - a story of man's inhumanity to man and of man's kindness and resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. Sometimes the oppressed turn on one another; but more often they face greed with dignity. It is a moving story of community and family; it is a story of hope and disappointment and despair. It is a warning of concentrated power. It is a classic.

Saturday, May 22, 2021 9:15:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)