Week ending 10/24/2021

Chrome Tabs : 70 → 66

Gmail Inbox : 42 → 44 Unread, 48 → 50 Total

:desktop_computer: finally took the plunge and bought a ridiculously expensive new chair, a Steelcase Gesture. To be fair I had a rather expensive one before, an Herman-Miller Aeron, but it was bought used, which took about 50% off the price. Unfortunately I never really got along with the Aeron, I just prefer a more normal cushion seat, and also disliked the hard, plastic edges everywhere (not good for sitting in more unusual positions).

I hoped, as well, to find something that went a bit lower to the ground as I’m rather short at 5’5" and I felt like the Aeron seat was putting pressure on the bottoms of my thighs and contributing to some feet circulation issues at times (I also have a sit-stand desk so it’s not a constant issue). Anyway, by the measurements the Steelcase looked a bit lower, but in practice it’s not. I do find it more comfortable, but… for $1000 it’s a bit hard to feel excited about a modest improvement. I’ll keep it a week or two and see if there is any clear improvement in my overall comfort, circulation, etc.

:couch_and_lamp: I got a ton of feedback on Facebook about the sofa mockups I shared last week. Opinions were all over the map, but I think in general the consensus leaned toward the blue-green tones. I’ve now made a new set of photos with the actual color swatches of the ones I had simulated, so it’s time soon for a final decision… In case you’re wondering, yes, I pretty much do put this much work into most of my major purchases. :sweat_smile:

:thinking: One of the things I’ve been navigating over the past year or so is how much of my free time to commit to various projects, people, etc. I have a tendency to want to offer people tech help, from Big Rig Travels, to Anytype, to various little pastry popups (mostly just one person doing it all!), to the sofa company I’m getting my new bar couch from. And sometimes this can be very rewarding. But it can also be draining or simply unproductive. It’s especially important that I choose my longer-term projects and commitments carefully. Without taking on more work, I could have a lot of flexibility and time in my life to explore other things, like long-neglected hobbies or potential passions (gardening, drawing, even music), not to mention just enjoying time reading more books, taking more walks, etc.

So this week I had several potential projects and commitments to consider, and no decisions firmly made, but the process itself is interesting and, I think, rewarding. Looking closely at these kinds of things helps give me insight into what I really want, at least in some respects, as well as giving me valuable perspective on my tendencies to help/rescue even when it might not be ideal for either myself or even the person I want to help (good intentions aside).

:plate_with_cutlery: Before the pandemic, I used to eat out a fair bit, mostly alone, often at the bar of a restaurant, and it was one of my favorite things. In the past several years I’ve gotten rather good at socializing and meeting new people in that context, and often it was a really enjoyable experience. Mostly I didn’t meet people I stayed in touch with long-term, but just that feeling of making a random connection and having an interesting conversation is great. Of course it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that, but this past Monday I decided to chance it, partly on the understanding that restaurants in San Francisco were checking vaccination status at the door. Well, despite assurances at the door that they did, the never checked mine, so I don’t really trust that they did anyone else’s. That said I decided to stay, and ended up meeting a nice fellow sitting next to me, visiting from Denmark. He was an economist, which is a field of study and a profession I’ve always had both a fascination with and something of a skepticism toward at the same time. We had a fun conversation about places to visit while he was in town, and economics as well, and it felt good to be meeting people that way again, even as it felt a little risky…

:blush: Back when Bladerunner 2049 came out, I decided to re-watch the original, and found myself fairly surprised and somewhat disturbed by the rape scene in it. Back when I first watched it I would have called it just a “sex scene”, and I know there is a lot of debate and disagreement about what that scene meant, how appropriate it was, etc. But it felt pretty clear to me that it was not depicting a good and healthy interaction between the two characters. This was somewhat in the earlier days and the height of the #MeToo movement, and it felt important to reflect publicly on how my feelings on that scene (and even noticing it at all) had changed, so I wrote a lengthy post on Facebook then.

I’m a big fan of Facebook’s “memories” feature, and I actually feel it doesn’t remind me often enough, so I setup a tab with the memories page to come up every day so I can see if there is anything particularly interesting. Recently the post I had written about that scene came up, so I decided to read it and was pleasantly reminded that I can be a good writer sometimes. I know I willingly write here every week, but I consider it mostly functional, while this was meant to convey some important and challenging feelings, to mark my own growth as a person, while accepting some responsibility for past mistakes or oversights. And hey, I think I did a pretty good job! It’s rare that I look at something I’ve done and think “Yeah, that’s good, I’m proud of that”, so this was a nice reminder. Even in this moment it feels uncomfortable to acknowledge that pride, especially in the context of the topic I was writing about, but it seems important not to shy away from that…

:cocktail: I recently discovered that the “shakerato” coffee drink concept has started to be applied to aperitifs (Campari, mostly) and amari. Since I have a pretty large collection of both, I decided this could be a fun way to explore their various flavors and takes on the base concept in a new way. It’s rare that I drink a spirit on its own, actually. Mostly I do just to taste it, record some notes, and then maybe later if I need a reminder of its flavor for putting in a cocktail. So both for the exploration of flavor, and the interesting textural changes that occur, this was a great round of experimentation.

I’m still working my way through my collection, but so far Braulio (first pictured above), Heirloom Pineapple Amaro, and Branca Menta (all mentioned in that article linked above) did all stand out in some way. I’ve yet to find a more unusual amari that really measures up to those examples, but I’m hopeful somewhere in the 20 I have will be another winner. And more than anything I’m curious to try to figure out what it is in the Braulio that makes for that really impressive, egg white-like head of foam! It actually stuck around until the end of that drink, which I really did not expect.

:smiling_face_with_three_hearts: My mom recently started a pottery class, and it’s so nice to see her pursuing a creative endeavor again. She’s always been an artistically talented person, but it’s something she has not pursued much for notable portions of her life. Every time she returns to it though she is happier, and I always enjoy seeing what she comes up with, from paper making, to unique mobiles or vase arrangements made from gathered eucalyptus bark or other things that she gathers out in the world (flowers, broken pottery, who knows!). I think I got my attention to detail and appreciation of the little things in nature from her, and her various artistic pursuits tend to exemplify her own connection with this. I haven’t asked her for permission to share this, but I don’t think she’d mind, so here is one of her beautiful creations, made with pressed fennel flowers. She has only been doing classes for a few months, but I already really like what she’s making.

:arrows_counterclockwise: For some years, as a result of my coaching practice, I have run quarterly “reviews” where I try to make sure I am deliberately pursuing the things I want to be doing, reflect on the 3 months that has passed, and make plans for the next few. But for the past year or so I actually have not done them. I kept meaning to, but never made time for it. One of the things that happens and often leads to procrastination is getting stuck into one way of doing things, or setting rigid expectations of what “success” looks like, and that’s what happened in this case. But finally this past week I decided to just do an abbreviated version, going through all the same prompts, but not trying to dig too deeply, more going with what spontaneously arose in response. In some sense this is just as valid an approach, and in any case I was able to get through it and got some noticeable value out of it. It was a good reminder that something (worthwhile) that is accomplished is better than something procrastinated indefinitely, even if it may not be done as thoroughly or to the same high (theoretical) standard that had been preventing it from getting done.