Week ending 1/30/2022

Chrome Tabs : 70 → 93 (it’s been a tough week for tab control! :confused:)

Gmail Inbox : 35 → 46 Unread, 40 → 52 Total :weary:

:test_tube: My first full week of experimenting with a new Obsidian daily notes template to help prompt/remind me of regular things to do throughout the day. So far it’s helpful, but I don’t find it quite as comfortable for doing my regular logging practice, and often the “tasks items” just get sorted of pushed down the page as I add content at the top. Still working to find the balance. I also started a general, open-ended, hashtag-driven weekly question check-in. I’ll just tag things #question in my daily log at some point through the prior week, then once a week I look through them all, see which ones I can answer (or which are no longer relevant for some reason), add some notes, etc. where I can. It’s intentionally loose for now, I may get more in-depth with it over time, add tag organization, e.g. types or categories of questions, etc. But so far it has also been helpful.

:apple::computer: As I mentioned recently, I got a used Macbook Pro recently as a first foray into the world of Apple computing. I’ve been a Windows user for decades, but for various reasons I’m seriously contemplating a total changeover in the next few years. For now this is a good way to dip my toe in. It’s M1-based, so unsurprisingly it has been pretty impressive so far, with incredible battery life, and no real hiccups in performance, etc. It’s a 13", smaller than the typical laptop size I would normally get, but already that form factor is proving to be uniquely valuable. I one-armed it while waiting in line for pastries recently, and I got kind of a lot done when I’m normally just be listening to podcasts or something and waiting. As a person constantly looking for ways to make better use of my time (including making time for mindfulness and stillness!), this could be pretty great. Of course it’s not unique to a Mac, really, any 13", lightweight laptop would probably allow this, but this does especially well balancing that with high performance, etc.

:fast_forward: You’re now reading this on the self-hosted setup for my Discourse-based digital garden. Over the last week or so I tested and experimented, learned a lot through trial, error, and furious Google’ing, cursed and swore a little, but ultimately got Discourse running smoothly on a Digital Ocean instance, and was able to migrate my digital garden content over fairly painlessly. This along with also migrating The Productivists forum to Digital Ocean as well. Each are saving $10/mo on hosting costs, but more importantly we gain a lot of flexibility, allowing the use of any plugin we care to install and configure (previously we were limited to just a small set of plugins that Communiteq allowed on their lowest-level hosting plan). Ultimately this is the right way to evolve things, and I’m becoming a better Discourse admin in the process. New features won’t come immediately, but I do have medium-term plans to start using some more sophisticated plugins for layout and other functionality here.

:calling: I think I mentioned last week I broke my phone. I got a new one and thanks to Google account backup I was able to migrate most of my apps and their basic settings over. But I’m discovering more and more things that sadly weren’t moved over. Some of them I understand, even though it annoys me (like WhatsApp, due to encrypted messaging), but others are mysteriously frustrating, like how many Antennapod subscriptions, podcast listening status, etc. just didn’t migrate. Apparently you need to enable a 3rd party sync service to make this happen, which seems ridiculous to me. So I may still need to get access to my old phone to migrate a few last things over, which is kind of a bummer since it seems to mean a $100+ phone screen replacement, just to basically finish putting it out to pasture. I don’t need the phone other than a few little bits and bobs on it, yet I can’t quite get myself to just part with that stuff and start over. sigh

:movie_camera: I am working on finally organizing all my recorded caterpillar+butterfly footage taken over the past 2 years, in anticipation of working with someone I really admire in the world of nature videos. I don’t know how this will work out, how much of my footage will be usable, but it’s exciting even to have the possibility. So I spent part of this week going through my 300+ video clips, naming, and sorting them as best I can. Still a good bit more sorting to do, but I made a serious dent, and I’ve had some of these videos more than a year, so it’s nice to finally make progress. It helps a lot to have a good motivator like an exciting project. :grin:

:blush: Speaking of butterflies, a friend and I have been talking about collaborating on a children’s book about metamorphosis and the journey from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, and this week, we finally got started! She’ll write the words and handle the science, and I’ll contribute photos, editing, and perhaps some words as well. I have no lofty expectations of it being published, or even expectation of whether we’ll finish, it’s just nice to be working on something like this with a good friend. The collaborative process itself is going to be its own reward, as cheesy as that might sound. It was also just generally a nice week for socializing with friends, even though the vast majority of that was virtual.

:construction: My consulting work continues to evolve, slowly, but evolve nonetheless. This week I particularly noticed some of my communications habits and how they might tend to dominate a conversation that should really be much more collaborative and open. So I’m going to work to be more mindful of that, leave more space for dialog, and do my best to balance my often strong opinions (and the real feeling that I’m right! :smile:) with the perspectives and communications styles of others.

:tv: I finished the first season of Only Murders in the Building and overall I really enjoyed it. I actually felt like the last episode wasn’t quite as strong, a few clunky moments where the humor or the style didn’t quite land for me. But overall it was a fun ride of twists and turns, and I enjoyed many of the characters and the tensions between them. Looking forward to season 2!

:rose: I had my first first date in quite a while this week. Just a phone date, but it went really well, felt very natural and fun, and we have an in-person get-together shaping up for the following week. It’s been quite a while since I had any promising romantic possibilities, so it’s nice to get back to something in that realm. It’s not exactly as though sparks are flying, it’s just a good connection with an interesting person and could lead anywhere. But the possibility of it is the point, and possibility feels good. Up to now it’s mostly been months of low possibility turning into no possibility, repeatedly. :stuck_out_tongue: And I don’t say this as a sort of “poor me” (a phrase I’m sure I used recently in another one of these updates), it’s just the simple reality: dating is hard, online, in COVID times, perhaps even in general.

:truck: I’ve mentioned before my hopes and somewhat halting progress toward helping a YouTuber, Big Rig Travels, to improve their website and other things. I had a more satisfying victory this week, hearing him mention on a live stream that he wanted a gallery with a calendar view, and I was able to find and implement something to do just that, with a map view, in a pretty short time. It needs some customization if he’s going to really use it, and I have no idea if it will ever be used and seen by anyone else. It was just satisfying to actually be able to put together a solution as quickly and effectively as I have thought that I could, if given the opportunity. So hopefully this will lead to more chances to implement cool things and improve the experience for him and his viewers.

:muscle: More work on my home bar setup. I poly-coated some shelves and started installing this week. They’re a bit tricky because they’re “hanging” shelves, basically invisible supports, and making them actually stable is somewhat challenging. Also I didn’t have the right drill bit size. :roll_eyes: But I got a start, and if it works out, soon I’ll have a space for all my bitters, which have been taking up space in an area I have other plans for. So they’re something of a lynchpin for some subsequent changes, adding some hanging glass storage among them. Getting closer and closer!

:face_with_raised_eyebrow: I recently discovered that some things I had setup to remind myself of regularly just… weren’t reminding me. I’m still not quite sure why. But at least I discovered it, and I was able to make a big update to a couple of docs that I have previously used to track some long-term thinking around big life changes. It felt good to get back to it after more than a year, in the case of one of them, and hopefully my new reminders will keep it coming back for regular updates from now on. And maybe you should take a look through your systems/reminders/docs/etc. and see if there’s anything that fell off your radar? I recommend it!

:toilet: My grandfather bought me fancy bidet recently for the holidays. It’s not a gift I would have chosen but, hey, I’ll take it. I had a lower-cost, cold-water-only one before, and that was honestly fine, if a little abrupt. So I finally got the new one installed (various things delayed this longer than mere procrastination, hah), and it seems fine, but it turns out it uses quite a lot of energy, which is disappointing. It makes sense in retrospect, it has to heat the water internally (with electricity - 1400 watts of it!), since it doesn’t connect to the hot tap of the sink. But my house’s wiring is old and the bathroom has no dedicated circuit, so it makes the lights in my bathroom and my office flicker, and that’s frankly concerning. Not sure what I’m going to do about it. Anyone want a very lightly used, high-end bidet seat?