Text Based Charts with Mermaid.JS


Mermaid.JS – https://mermaid-js.github.io/

Mermaid is a charting a diagram and charting tool that I’ve been using on projects this year. It’s effectively a Markdown add-in library which means it generates diagrams based on simple text files. This has been very powerful for me because I often get tripped up in the context-switching that it takes to document a back-end system: building out API calls in Visual Studio or Postman, reviewing responses against sample data, making adjustments to the call, then writing up the details, etc. With Mermaid I also don’t have to remember how to build out specific sections and can instead focus on a simpler grammar – instead of dragging around little lines and arrows I can rapidly type out a chart as I’m working.

Continue reading “Text Based Charts with Mermaid.JS”


Does this concept behind this editorial cartoon seem familiar?

Martin Luther King, Jr. is known today for his marches and sit-ins. There are some popular images being shared on social media recently that proclaim he brought about change using peaceful methods. Did you know many people in his day didn’t have that view of him? Challenging the status quo seems to always lead to trouble, as this anti-MLK cartoon by Charles Brooks in the 1960’s shows. In fact, a 1966 Gallup poll showed that only 1/3 of the respondents nationally had a positive view of the civil rights leader.

Continue reading “Non-violent”


I think about these signs at the grocery store a lot, because if you didn’t know a Red Delicious is better fresh you’re going to get pretty frustrated when you toss it in a baked dish. That doesn’t mean it’s worse than a Golden Delicious, or that one is lesser than the other, they’re just different.

Each variety has purposes that it is best suited for.

The reason why it sticks with me, of course, is that it’s important to know what sort of apple you are. Quit trying to make apple crisp with yourself if you’d be better off in a smoothie or fruit salad, right?

1 Corinthians 12:12-31


A big protest march went down both lanes of the road around the corner from us at close to midnight on Wednesday. There’s a lot of talk about what’s been happening in Tosa but as best as I can understand it 3 people are dead, and a lot of people don’t feel like their concerns are being heard.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the days since.

Cars and bikes blocking the road can really get you wondering if everything is ok and if things are safe.

But I only had to wonder for a few minutes. The people protesting were saying that people are being killed and that things aren’t safe.

A protest may interrupt a moment or two. But the deaths being protested? That’s an entire life that’s been interrupted.

Genesis 4:10

Independent, Together

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”


It’s hard to do difficult things by yourself. Writing a document may have been straightforward enough but the signers of the Declaration of Independence knew that they would be forever linked by the consequences of their actions. By standing together with people who were dedicated to the same cause, they would be much more stronger than going it alone.

It’s a good principle to keep in mind hundreds of years later as we celebrate the anniversary of American independence: When you have difficult things going on in your life, no matter how small, are you inviting others to stand with you?

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

The “5 Whys”​ and Current Events

If you stop asking why too soon, you’ll miss the root cause.

Protesters overtaking and burning the Minneapolis Police’s 3rd Precinct. Photo by Hungryogrephotos
In my industry we have a diagnostic tool called the “5 Whys”. It’s taken from Toyota because software developers like to pretend we’re in manufacturing.

The idea is that many problems have more than a single cause. If you treat the most obvious reason but miss the underlying system that led to the situation in question, everything’s going to break all over again.

A classic example would be a car not starting. Keep asking “why” until you get to the main cause.

Continue reading “The “5 Whys”​ and Current Events”


On the one hand, close to 103,000 Americans have died from a pandemic and people who thought a temporary closure of physical locations was excessive got their demonstration in with no problem. And then Wisconsin justices met remotely to decide that the temporary closure shouldn’t stand.

Many of us could explain why that happened, why it’s only right that we have freedom. Hang on to that for a minute.

On the other hand a man was murdered in Minnesota, we all had the opportunity to see it happen, and the killer wasn’t arrested during peaceful protests. He was, however, arrested after a riot and a police station burned down. 3 other associated people remain, as I understand it, without charges.

Many of us could explain why that happened, why there is a process and this is the fastest a Minneapolis officer has ever been arrested. Hang on to that for a minute.

Hang on to those explanations because people display their priorities with their day-to-day actions. The end doesn’t always justify the means but it does show the choices we made along the way.

Continue reading “Priorities”