Week ending 2/20/2022

Chrome Tabs : 93 → 69

Gmail Inbox : 46 → 36 Unread, 52 → 43 Total

:red_car: I took a trip down to Fresno to visit some of my family this week. Since I also work for the family (real estate) business, it was in good part a work trip. Although the family has been doing real estate development for 40+ years, they have mostly used analog tools and worked with others to do things like laying out a parceling plan for a larger piece of property. This time I decided to try out Google My Maps, and it worked out better than I expected. It turns out it can actually measure rough area (acreage) of drawn polygons on the map, which is super helpful for this process! It was the first time I’ve been a part of an initial parceling planning process, but I do think using a digital map tool made it a lot easier and faster.

:framed_picture: I was excited to finally share my tidepool photo album last week, as I mentioned a couple times. But in the end the response was a bit lukewarm compared to some other photos I’ve shared recently. :man_shrugging: I think maybe I needed to cull some of the more similar shots (mostly the heron fishing :smile:). Oh well, it’s a small thing, and I’m still pleased with some of the shots I was able to get. :blush:

:muscle: I have a coaching session every 2 weeks, and in-between sessions I generally have some sort of “homework” to try to do. Often it’s simply to pay attention to and document my emotions or other experience in certain contexts, or to try to flesh out some area of consideration. For some reason I don’t engage with this process very much though, and it’s not even necessarily that there is a strong, overt dislike for it. Often times it just doesn’t come up or occur to me. I’ve set up various reminders, which work sometimes, but overall engagement remains low. No doubt there is some intrinsic, emotional resistance too, if not to every specific “assignment” then to the very idea of “homework” to some degree.

That said, these past couple of weeks I’ve had an interesting prompt: I was supposed to write notes on the actual experience and feelings around my strong distaste for certain activities in my real estate work. This is one of those things that can readily generate annoyance almost at-will, so it seemed like a rich source of possible insight, and indeed it has been! This has probably been my best period of spontaneously jumping into my homework task in recent memory. Frustrations come up as a regular part of my daily work, and they happened to connect nicely with a desire to document what was coming up, how I was feeling, etc. My next session is tomorrow and I’m quite curious to discuss all this.

:ear: I finished A Short History of Nearly Everything in audio book, rather quickly for me in fact (due in good part to changing phones and my podcast player, Antennapod, not migrating over my listening progress and subscriptions! :triumph:). I enjoyed it a good bit, but I did miss Bill Bryson’s narration, which I’ve really appreciated in some of his past author-read audio books. My big takeaways from the book itself are that science is messy, that the interactions of strong personalities played a big role in many past stories of scientific progress (I’d like to think less so today, but that may just be present-bias and/or wishful thinking), and that we have made incredibly rapid progress in the 20th and now 21st centuries (i.e. accelerating progress over time). It’s kind of mind-blowing how much critical understanding was developed from 1900-2000. Or even 1900-1950, for that matter.

:pensive: Well, it looks like a backpacking trip is not going to come together early this year. Perhaps I can revisit in the summer. Not only was no one really available to go, but I’ve been dealing with a hamstring injury for many months now, and while I think it is just finally healing, I certainly wouldn’t want to jeopardize that with too much unusual activity in the near future.

:vs: I did a bit of comparison this week between my favorite underdog work management tool Fibery and the more-or-less-current industry darling Notion. This was largely inspired by actually trying some collaboration in Notion (it’s still better for one-off collaboration docs than Fibery) and noticing some surprising performance issues. Fibery did win the comparison, but ultimately what I realized is just that Notion’s handling of dynamic resizing for animated GIFs is surprisingly bad. All the rest of the data on the page was not a problem at all, so Notion’s real, functional capability was actually working just fine, and a fair comparison omitting the couple of embedded animated GIFs shows them both about equal (in this specific context). I definitely want to do more such tests, but first I have a Fibery vs. ClickUp comparison to finish (coming soon!).

:eyeglasses: After over 2 years, I finally got my eyewear prescription updated again. Mainly I’m actually interested in trying to wear contacts, I’m tiring a bit of dealing with various issues with glasses (which I’ve now worn for almost 20 years I think!). Last time I tried contacts I just couldn’t comfortably get through a day with them in, but apparently there are some newer options which may be more comfortable, so let’s see…

:thinking: As a passionate optimizer, I frequently have ideas for how I’d want to improve common apps and other services. Productivity tools, task managers, Yelp-like business rating and search sites, etc. Dating apps are one of my greatest frustrations of late, so naturally I’ve had a lot of thoughts on how I think I might improve things. This has actually been going on for years, of course, and I have lengthy notes on it all, dating back at least 5 years.

:heavy_dollar_sign: Ultimately a lot of the problems seem to stem simply from the seeming source of so many modern problems: capitalism, the profit motive, and misaligned incentives. In a dating context this relationship is particularly perverse, however. Most dating apps have a recurring fee, so their simplest goal as a for-profit company is going to be to get you to pay them for as long as possible. This seems diametrically opposed to the simplest goal for most (or at least many) users: find a compatible match as quickly as possible and stop using the app. This seems more problematic than the situation with almost any other paid service I can think of, and even more than many free “you pay with your user data” services (e.g. Facebook).

As a result, lately I’ve begun thinking: what if you tried to run a dating app company as a non-profit? Would that solve many of these problems? Could it work? Unsurprisingly I’m not the only one thinking about it, and a really interesting Reddit discussion arose around this very subject:

There is now a not-insignificant (but probably not large) chance I will pursue this idea, at least a bit. So if anyone reading this would be interested in collaborating on it, or just offering their ideas/feedback/etc., let me know.

:handshake: Getting re-inspired to potentially dive into the dating app concept after thinking about it for years without action made me think about what may have changed for me here. While I don’t have any formalized or otherwise agreed-upon collaborative relationship with anyone around it yet, there is some potential in that regard, and I think that’s part of what is changing my perspective here. Just the idea of having someone to work with this on is making it seem a lot more appealing again. Unsurprising, but it’s easy to forget how helpful and motivating collaboration can be when I am often going at things alone. Just seeing many others sharing the same frustrations and wishing for a solution is helpful in itself.

:man_lifting_weights: Years ago I did a little basic research and decided I wanted to try to reach a target weight of 128lbs. I forget the exact justification, something about body fat percentage I think. Anyway, whether it’s a good, healthy goal or not, it has stuck in my mind, and recently I’ve been slowly losing weight with some moderate exercise and regular Intermittent Fasting. I’ve wanted to think a little more in-depth about just what it might take to get to a good weight-low, sort of a “looking fit maxima”. Of course one’s motivations for exercise, weight loss, etc. should not be solely about the perception of others, but I won’t deny that’s definitely a notable factor for me.

Anyway, I finally did some further consideration of this, and I think I can get to my goal with just 30-45 days of concerted effort. I could continue to go the slow route that I’m on now and hope I don’t plateau (as I have before, to some degree), but the reality is I don’t even know if it’s a good goal, if I’ll feel (and look) good when I get there, etc. So the idea of getting there faster and then deciding if it’s worth maintaining seems quite appealing at the moment. I’ve planned out a 45 day period a couple months from now to give it a shot (I have some other plans before then that would make it difficult to schedule sooner and be confident of success). Yes, I realize simplistic goals based purely on a number for weight are not ideal. Muscle weighs more than fat, yadda yadda. I’ll keep healthy through this process, and if it feels like it’s not the right direction to go in for whatever reason, I’ll definitely change the goal.

:cocktail: As a cocktail and general spirits enthusiast, but also conscious of my health, one of the things I want to keep track of is my overall alcohol intake, day-to-day, and averaged over time. There is no really good, science-based guidance for what is a healthy level, aside from maybe “none” (and depending on which studies you read, even that may be an incomplete or even incorrect view). I’ve tracked this in the past in a simple Google Keep notes doc, but that made it hard to analyze quickly and easily, so I moved to a spreadsheet some months ago (and migrated all my prior data). It’s easier to analyze now, but still non-trivial (at least for my mediocre spreadsheet formula skills). I’ve been trying to put together an automated way to get an average for the last year, 30 days, and 7 days, respectively, but I haven’t cracked it in a formula (I found several references for how, I just couldn’t get it working well on my data). So I finally just decided to update it manually, once a week. It’s a pretty small investment of time, and it will actually work. It’s working already. :smile:

Right now my 30 day average is 0.63 drinks per day, which is down from closer to 1/day (average, I don’t drink every night) due to various factors. Perhaps most notably I recently got pretty into making no-and-low-alcohol drinks. This feels like a great outlet to have to balance things out when necessary, while staying active in the satisfying and creative realm of drink creation!