Tweeting Macbeth

I recently created a Twitter account (@SaysMacbeth) that tweets all of Macbeth’s lines from the eponymous play. It was a fun exploration that resulted in a number of scripts to automate the process, and a new domain (SaysMacbeth.com).

I’ll post the steps it took to create all of the parts, but for now you can follow the Twitter account. It sends a new tweet approximately 4 times a day and right now I have about 415 days worth of tweets piled up.

Back Down

4 days ago while moving boxes upstairs from the basement, I had a back twinge. Later that day the twinge turned to severe pain. By the next morning I couldn’t walk without significant pain.

I went to go see a physiotherapist yesterday and he confirmed that I have a disc problem, causing my sciatic nerve to be in serious pain. It hurts to sit, stand, lie down, walk, crawl or even think too hard.

I’ve had sciatic pain most of my life, but never this bad. It’s utterly crippling and every single thing I do is painful.

I hope my body can heal. This is brutal.

A Year Gone By

A year ago, my friend Derek Miller passed away from cancer after a 4-year fight that he documented on his site, penmachine.com.

His last post, which he entrusted to me, went viral (CBC, Daily Mail UK, Globe, MeFi, Brisbane Times, among many others) and was seen by millions of people around the world. I was unprepared for the enormous popularity of the post and spent the next 4 days in sheer panic as I searched for servers with ever-greater bandwidth to place his final words.

I was riding an emotional roller-coaster: dealing with the death of my friend, working hard with friends and colleagues to stabilize access to his blog, realizing that each new solution wasn’t enough to handle the load. I was devastated that his final words were being missed in the tiny window of opportunity offered by the attention-deficit online community that would soon move on to other things, but I was also elated that his words would be seen by people that might never have read his writings.

A year later, everything is back to normal on the site. I still have trouble reading his words, looking at his picture and listening to his music, but I do all of those things anyway. I’m the custodian of his site and I take pride in this task he bestowed on me – a bittersweet burden.

Derek shared a lot of interests, which is what brought us together almost 30 years ago. Yesterday I found some CDs that he shared with me many years ago and it reminded me of when we were younger, comparing music that we favoured. I was a strong Zeppelin, Floyd, Who and Beatles fan. He was a big fan of early Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson. I spent most of yesterday listening to two of our favourites, ending with Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”.

Thanks, Derek, for being my friend. I miss you.