It’s Been a Year Since My Last Drink

As of yesterday (February 11, 2021), it’s been over a year since I last had a drink.

The reason for that is I have never been one to drink at home by myself. So during the pandemic with being home by myself and not visiting with friends, I haven’t had a reason for a drink.

I’m a wine person 95% of the time anyway and don’t open a bottle to drink it myself. I would prefer to open a nice bottle and share it with friends than drink it by myself. In my mind, wine is to be shared with friends with a meal or whatever.

Last Drink

So on February 11, 2020, I went to the DC wine and cheese group event. Where two good friends were putting on a tasting at the group, we all used to belong too.

There we had, I think it was four red wines and a dessert wine, two kinds of cheese, and crusty bread, all for $25 or was it $30.

It was nice to attend the event and see other’s I hadn’t seen in years.

Other Times Prior

Before that, the last few times I had a wine/drink was Christmas Eve dinner at a friend’s in 2019. Then at Thanksgiving at their place the month before.

Before that, it was, I think, the last week of September 2019, right before my car died at my buddy Tony’s house. Typically on Tuesday evenings, we would get together to hang out. Have some wine, cheese, and sometimes a meal if someone was in the mode to cook.

Possible Next Time

So at this point, I think I’m going to wait until I can safely get together with my wine friends.

Yes, I have wine friends.

Here’s to Celebrating a Good Friend

Where we celebrate the life of my buddy, Tony, who was one of those two friends giving the class. He passed away the week of Christmas 2020.

So here’s to all of us making it through the pandemic and then having a drink with friends when it’s safe for all of us to do so.

No More Car

In the fall of 2019, I had car issues that I decided not to spend the money to fix. For an 18-year-old Honda Civic with 170,000+ miles on it, I had paid between $700 and $1,200 per year to fix things that had broken/needed repair.

So I used the metro (commuter train), bus, and walking to get around the DC area. Being that I lived in a large metropolitan city, I figured it should be fairly easy to do.

Going Places Using Public Transportation

I even managed to attend NOVA Code and Coffee events, which is between 12 and 15 miles from my house without a car. It meant walking to the metro (commuter train). Then take a blue line train. Transfer to an orange line train at Roslyn until the second last stop. There I could either walk the mile to the venue or if I timed it right, grab a bus that got me within two or three blocks.

The nice thing about this event was there were many great places to grab lunch afterward with other attendees.

Another bonus of the event was an H Mart (Korean/international) grocery store was near there. So I could grab a few things that would fit in my backpack with my laptop, charger, etc., that I couldn’t get at my local stores.

Before the pandemic, on Friday nights, I would make sure to bring my laptop to work. So I could go directly to one coffee shop and catch up on e-mail and listen to live music. Afterward, I would go to another coffee shop that stayed open later to do more if I felt like it.

Every other Saturday, I would walk a half-mile to the Alexandria Code and Coffee event to hang out and work on my side project. Then take the bus a few blocks away from M. E. Swing Coffee Roasters to do some more work or e-mail/newsletters, etc. Between 2:30 PM and 2:40 PM, I would head out to take the 10B bus from Del Ray to Arlington to grab a late lunch.

Then walk a mile to Norhtsdie Social for a bit more work. Then down to Three Whistles for live music and a bit more work. There typically was a bunch of Twitter reading and other distractions during all this.

Finally, close to midnight, I would catch two trains to get home. So spent the whole day either walking, taking a bus or train on days like this.

Getting Around Before the Pandemic

So before the pandemic, I managed to get around by foot, bus, or metro.

Okay, there were two weekends where I rented a car. About three months apart to do some large grocery shopping. At places like Wegmans, Sam’s Club, etc., to stock up on more bulk items like toilet paper, Kleenex, paper towels, etc.

My sister made fun of me for having a 30 part of toilet paper and some other rolls at one point when she visited. I felt good when I still have close to 25 rolls left when everyone else was attempting to buy some at the pandemic’s start.

Plus, I would go on the two Sundays to a buddy’s place who lived in the country and raised pigs on the side. To get out to the city for a bit and get some fresh air.

Finally, Got Rid of the Car

After not being able to use the car, I sold my car to a friend’s friend in late August. Because they thought it would be cheaper to fix mine than theirs. Now I need to find out if that was the case.

I checked. It seems it cost more than I would have wanted to spend, and that didn’t include my friend’s labor. I probably would have bought an eight or ten-year-old car for about the same price.

In Conclusion

Getting to go out in the country is the one thing I miss without having a car.

Since the pandemic, I have not been more than I think a mile and a half or a little more from my house.

I don’t want to get on the metro, bus, etc., at this point.

Playing Around with Flexbox by Starting with Articles and CodePen’s from Others

About a week ago on January 13, 2019, I saw a tweet from Heydon Pickering  ( @heydonworks ) talking about how he was using Flexbox to switch directly between multiple and single column layouts but didn’t have time to read it at the time because I was at work.

Later that day I saw Jonathan Snook ( @snookca ) had tweeted about some tweaks he had made to Heydon’s CodePen example.

Here is Heydon’s “The Flexbox Holy Albatross” article which he didn’t want to use media queries or JavaScript, along with Jonathan’s article about Heydon’s “Understanding the Albatross” article. NOTE: I used media queries to change font sizes in my example.

Started to Play with Heydon’s Code

After reading through both articles, I started playing around with Heydon’s CodePen to see what would happen with only two blocks for my jfciii Ate Here restaurant list. After playing around for a bit, I grabbed the HTML and CSS I had messed with and copied it into Textmate to make one page using my template for jfciii Ate Here. At that point, I gathered a few restaurants from my list of place to eat in Washington, DC and replaced the blocks with real content to see what doing so would be like on the page.

Part of my picking certain restaurants was to gather ones with different lengths to content for the same row for a wide width screen (think desktop/laptop). At first, I started with two per restaurants to see what that looked like for desktop/laptop and different width between there and a narrow width for a phone.

To me, it seemed that having two items to a line/row seemed like it could be confusing when reading the content, But then I remembered that most of the time people would most likely checking for restaurants on their phones while they were out wandering a city or sitting with friends instead of a desktop or laptop.

Pushed My Code Example

After pushing the updates a few different times to my website, I asked a coworker what they thought about the two columns, and they thought maybe adding a bit of space between the two columns would make it easier to read.

I then spent some time working on my CSS to add a few REMs worth to the right of them which seemed to work. But then I had the problem of forgetting I had to only added it to the first item in the list for a widescreen device. I ended up using :nth-child(odd), so the extra padding was on the first item in the row. Next, I had to remove the extra padding when in a narrower view such as on my phone.

Then I decided to attempt to use three restaurants to a row for a few rows and then two for one, and one with only one restaurant to see how they all looked before updating my PHP code to generate a given amount to my application page.

When I did that, I then had to add a max-width to the restaurant content container, so it didn’t span the width of a row, so the reading experience was better for people because of the long line length.

So here is my experiment with a bit of flexbox for jfciii Ate Here and the current look of one restaurant at a time for the wider width.

Thanks, Guys

Thanks, again Heydon and Jonathan for your articles and examples to get me to play around with flexbox.

Further Reading and Video Watching

Now it’s off to spend time finishing up reading Rachel Andrew’s ( @rachelandrew ) book from A Book ApartThe New CSS Layout“. Then start reading Rachel and Jen Simmons ( @jensimmons ) other work and watching both of their amazing videos to understand CSS Grid better. See below for more of their work.

Rachel Andrew

Jen Simmons


Please leave a comment of which number of restaurants per row for wider screens you think works for ease of reading and compare against my current version of jfciii Ate Here.