Week ending 7/4/2021

Chrome Tabs : 74 → 85

Gmail Inbox : 65 → 66 Unread, 70 → 73 Total

For many years now, most of every day of my life has been dominated by time on a computer. It’s not as though I can’t do without it, it’s just that so many of my interests are anchored here in some way. Fortunately I tend to take at least a few trips a year, some short, some long, where I take a partial or even total break from it. 2020 was something of an exception, but in 2019 I was traveling for more than 6 weeks, along with day trips to swim, etc. all of which had little or no significant computer time involved. Still, my day-to-day life is largely computer-focused, and I think this has negative consequences for both my physical and mental health, and perhaps arguably on the health of some of my relationships at times as well (I know it was an issue in at least one prior romantic partnership).

It’s difficult to make a radical change in this area, both because it has been almost life-long at this point (my family were early adopters of computers), and because many of my interests lie here. Still, it feels important to explore, challenge, and experiment with all of this. It has been on my mind for years without real change, but it seems like something I really need to commit to soon. So hopefully I’ll have more to say on that in future updates.

One of those computer-focused projects is the creation of a home bar-oriented YouTube channel, which I’ve been thinking about since the start of the pandemic, but haven’t done much with yet. I have a lot of ideas for content, but no real experience with videography, much less being a YouTube’er. But in the interest of moving my ambition a step forward, I finally created my “Home Bar Heroes” YouTube account (after researching and considering other names, nothing quite stuck as well :man_shrugging:) along with some very basic branding/identity for it. It’s a step! Now to actually create some content. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Another hobby that involves some serious computer time is photography. As I mentioned recently, my processing and organizing tool of choice has been Lightroom for many years now, but somehow as my computers have gotten faster, it has not gotten much faster to use. One feature I was excited about, but which has remained slow, cumbersome, and inaccurate, is the face recognition, and I mention it because it may have become the straw that broke the camel’s back this past week.

Long story short I got fed up and started testing Lightroom alternatives that include face recognition. ACDSee is the first I’ve put through its paces, and it’s not a clear win yet. It’s faster in some ways, and the face recognition appears to work noticeably better in terms of accuracy, but the overall system is still surprisingly slow in some respects, and I’m either not used to how it works, or perhaps in part it is organized in an unintuitive way (I’m willing to grant some user error here). I’ll give it more time in the hopes that I get used to how it does things and that it actually makes sense how it is setup. But what I really want is just Lightroom that actually works better. :roll_eyes:

Another approach would be to totally separate the need for face recognition from the overall photo organizing and editing tools. I’m looking at ImageRanger as one possible option for that approach, along with a number of cloud services and NAS management interfaces that include face recognition. These would have the advantage of making some of my photo library more accessible when I’m away from home, which would be a nice side benefit, so I’m definitely considering it seriously, despite the likely addition of another monthly fee.

I finished watching The Good Place. Overall I really enjoyed it, though in retrospect I realize I didn’t totally buy Eleanor and Chidi’s romance. I think, though, that there is a somewhat heightened expectation of on-screen romance, whereas if I think of real-life couples I actually experience, often they are much more subdued or even disconnected seeming (at times), so the connection is not always obvious there either. More importantly, the last episode really got me thinking of existential matters, which I hadn’t expected. It was a bit challenging, but not in a bad way. It did feel like the ending was a bit of a hard turn from some previous episodes/seasons, but certainly in keeping with the overall theme of moral exploration on the show.

I’ve decided to accept a 3 month contract working with a software team on a product I’m excited about. I’ll be working in a dual role, focusing day-to-day on support and community maintenance, while also evaluating the overall systems and processes of the company to hopefully make some recommendations for improving their efficiency, effectiveness of communications, etc. The latter is the kind of work I really enjoy, although I’m pretty good at support and community as well (that’s basically what I did for 10 years at Planetside Software). :grin:

A friend of mine asked me to put together a few cocktails for his 40th birthday party, and I’m excited to have a new inspiration for recipe creation. Usually I’m just almost randomly picking ingredients to experiment with when I want to make a cocktail, and having a more concrete context and goal can actually be beneficial to creativity sometimes. He’s a huge fan of the movie “Say Anything” and they briefly mention a drink in it called the “Purple Passion”, so that’s the first thing I’m tackling. Here’s a work in progress, cachaca, passion fruit, tangerine, allspice, and chocolate, inspired by a drink from Matthew Biancaniello of “Eat Your Drink” out of LA.

And finally, I had so much good social time this past week! I met up with friends on 3 separate days, sometimes multiple different friends in a given day, and it was great. There were brunches and dinners, walks, outdoor movies, and more. The return of real social time is great, but also still quite new, and there are lingering feelings of uncertainty or even anxiety at times, even with close friends! It’s interesting to be aware of and to navigate, and isn’t really a serious impediment to connecting with people, more just a momentary experience I’m noticing. Anyway, overall it’s been great, and I’m so grateful to have so many friends here, and for us all to be vaccinated and reasonably safe to intermingle. Here are a few random photos from the week’s outings.