Week ending 8/1/2021

Chrome Tabs : 69 → 71

Gmail Inbox : 57 → 58 Unread, 64 → 62 Total

New experiment: I don’t love the bullet points I was trying out for the last couple weeks, and they don’t work all the time (e.g. sometimes I want to write more and they start to get awkward). So I’m going to write “paragraphs”, but make them as short or as long as I want. Also, emoji as “drop caps”? We’ll see how this one goes. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

👷‍♂️ I’ve had a really, really long-term project in mind (and slowly in progress) for… well, more than a year now, maybe 2. It all started when I moved the bar in my living room to a different location, then I got a custom shelf unit built, which allowed me to (mostly) move my bottles off some Crate & Barrel shelves I’ve used for years, and once I could clear those off fully, the plan has been to get a couch and finally have a better seating space in the bar area… But it has taken me months and months to finish clearing off those old shelves!

Current bar location on the right, and the shelf I had built for my bottles to the left:

Finally I came up with a plan last week, and I actually accomplished it! Mostly what remained was glassware and bitters bottles. I’ve put the glassware in a built-in cabinet that wasn’t fully utilized (possibly to stay, possibly will move elsewhere when I can put my mind to it), and moved the bottles into a built-in cabinet that I filled with cheap, free-standing wine rack units from Target. Then I got wine glass rails to hang glasses from the top-side of my “passthrough” (bottom side of the shelves, I’ll add a picture so maybe you can see what I mean). The bitters are all just shoved into the passthrough space for now, which has to be temporary, but at least it allowed me to finally have those shelves cleared, which is a huge step. Next I just need to post them to Craig’s List and hopefully sell them, and then get in touch with the couch company and get the couch of my dreams. :grin:

Temporary bitters storage in the “passthrough”, below the cabinet with all my glasses:

Once I get all this cleaned up and hopefully decorated a bit, I’ll try to add some “finished” pictures that will hopefully look a bit nicer. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

:rose: I had a few dates with someone recently, which was notable since I hadn’t dated the whole pandemic. She and I mutually decided last week to steer more toward friendship, which was good because we both felt similarly, but also an important reminder (from her, to me) that it’s fine to text about this stuff. I think I’m a little “old fashioned” in that I like to discuss relationship questions in-person, even if it’s really early like this. But I realized that this is needlessly limiting and may in some cases even create the sense of awkwardness I’m trying to avoid by talking to people directly.

Speaking of dating, this is a bit of an uncomfortable confession for me, but I’m pretty negligent when it comes to online dating. I’m on multiple platforms, two of which show me when people “like” me, and yet… I have had a huge backlog of likes to go through, for months if not years. Women of the Internet (that’s most of them around here, I imagine): I am sorry! So last week I finally went through all 250 or so (yes, really) of my OK Cupid matches. :grimacing: Narrowed it down to about 50 I’m reasonably interested in (dang, that’s actually kind of a lot still! which is good), and now I need to start actually messaging people. To be clear, I have done a bit of messaging on OKC, even if I have not fully cleaned out my likes in a while, and I do respond to people who express interest in me with messages (if the interest is shared). I’ve just been pretty passive about it. But it’s really not serving me to do so, obviously… Next up: 50+ Hinge matches. :roll_eyes:

:rocket::tv: I finished season 1 of The Expanse, which I’d seen before but have been re-watching so I can get further than I did before. I really enjoyed it in the past, and dang, yeah it’s a really good show. Just really well made, compelling, mostly interesting characters. Just started on Season 2, and I think I dropped-off somewhere in here, so I’m looking forward to new episodes soon, and finding out more of what happens with it all!

:blush::pray: I got an incredibly nice comment from someone about my writing on Twitter, which was really unexpected and wonderful. Very validating. So I decided to pay it forward and came up with a list of some of my favorite follows on Twitter and what I like about them, then I tweeted the whole list. It all felt really good, both the giving and the receiving of appreciation, and it also let me know that interesting people are reading! I may not be getting as much feedback as I’d like yet, but I’ll keep writing, knowing that there is some interest (I’d probably still write even if there wasn’t, that’s what you’re supposed to do right? :wink:).

:red_car::warning: My Prius’ hybrid battery started to die, so I am getting it replaced (with a used one, if you’re curious). But it started me thinking about getting a “new” car, which is something I’ve intended to do sooner or later for quite some time. What’s different is I’m actually looking at new cars, something I kind of thought I’d never do. The reason is that I’m wanting to get some better off-road capabilities into my life, but I’m hoping to not compromise on fuel economy too much. I’ve really gotten used to that 40+MPG in the Prius! And the thing is the depreciation in this category doesn’t seem to be much.

I’ve got Subaru wagons on my short list (Outback, Forester), but am also looking at the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. And they all seem to retain their value pretty darn well! Anything you can get for less than $20k generally has some solid miles on it, and while I’m sure I can get 250k out of a Subaru (if well taken care of, even more), the starting point for a lot of the $15k options is around 150k miles! At that rate it starts to make more sense to buy new even though it’s 2x the cost because you get about the same miles per dollar, plus new features (some of which are actually useful), and it turns out that newer models also have better fuel economy! This is especially true with the RAV4 hybrid, which before about 2018/19 had pretty disappointing fuel economy. The 2021 model looks pretty solid though.

So… I never thought I’d buy new, all that stuff about it instantly depreciating when you drive it off the lot for one thing, but then I’m not buying a car to sell it, I’m buying it to use it. And in this situation it seems to be the case that not that much value is lost driving it off the lot anyway. I’m also thinking about financing it, even though I’ve never had a loan of any kind besides credit cards (which in itself might affect my chances of getting a good rate :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:). From what I figure, if I can get a 4% rate, then invest the majority of what I would have spent up-front on the car, I can earn 8-10%+ on it in the meantime and actually come out ahead vs. buying in cash.

:thinking: I do also want to acknowledge that all of this comes from a place of tremendous privilege. I don’t have real clarity about how or whether that knowledge should affect my decision, and I also don’t see it as a zero sum game (either buy a new car for myself, or support some worthy cause, etc.). But I do want to keep awareness of the advantages I have, to not take them for granted, and to try to share the things I can share (wealth as opposed to gender or skin color, I mean). Please feel free to comment if you have thoughts on this!

:sparkles: As part of my work with Anytype, I’ve been looking into some kind of ticket management system, as well as ways to better collect feedback from a variety of sources. I had previously used Zendesk (not my choice at the time) and frankly I kind of hated it. I found it super clunky, with surprisingly poor UI/UX for how popular it is. I’ve actually disliked it as a customer for some time now, but always assumed it must be great from the company’s perspective, so I was surprised to discover how bad it was. This was a year or two ago, maybe it’s gotten better. But anyway, this time I decided to try Hubspot, largely because it recently got integration with one of my favorite underdog “no code” apps Fibery. Well, it turns out Hubspot is actually great! I was seriously impressed with its smoothness, thoughtfulness, and overall UI/UX. It’s not perfect, of course, but for what it does and the complexity and breadth of what it allows people to do, it’s impressive. So then I tweeted about it and it became probably my most liked tweet of all time thanks to the Hubspot marketing halo. :laughing:

:camera: As a photographer I have generally been most interested in landscapes, wildlife, and macro as subjects. Over the years I think I’ve actually taken some pretty great photos of people, but it’s never been something I pursued, nor honestly felt that comfortable doing often times. But ever since I got the A7 III I’ve felt a little more inclined to dip my toes into getting candid people photos, and maybe even some portraits. Lately I’ve also been more cognizant of how nice it can be to have someone documenting special (or just simply enjoyable) events, as long as everyone is comfortable with it of course. And I’ve also started to feel a resonance with the idea of being the “documenter” at social gatherings, the “keeper of memory” to some degree (my feelings about memories, nostalgia, etc. deserve a whole topic of their own…). So at a friend’s recent backyard party, even though I didn’t know most of the guests, I easily got people’s buy-in, and I think I got some pretty great shots of folks and their kids, laughing, playing, etc. And then… I left my camera at their house when I headed home. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: So I won’t know for sure how good any of them are until I pick it up tomorrow, but I’m hopeful and curious.

:bug: Last but not least, I’ve had some new caterpillars for a week or two, and although I’ve captured a lot of great footage and photos of various generations over the past 2 years of doing this, there are still some things I feel like I could capture better. One of those things is shedding from one instar to another. This week I think I got a pretty good capture. This is unedited for now, so it’s quite long, but do skip forward, it looks pretty great in 4k (although this is digitally zoomed in-camera, so not quite as good as it could be).

Trying something else new here. I had a few directly related follow-ups to some of the above, which I might normally include in a future journal update, or just not mention here. But perhaps they belong here…

I got my car back, all fixed up, and I’m glad to not be taking Lyfts around anymore, especially as the Delta variant continues its rise. I found out from the mechanic that my ambitions of buying a car are probably mistimed though. Apparently there is a big bubble in the used market right now due to overall shortages and high demand, and even new cars are often unavailable until 6-12 months out due to similar factors, combined with the worldwide chip shortage, etc. So the prices I’m seeing now for used options probably aren’t representative of what they could/should be (if I wait a year, for example), and for new, even if the prices seem reasonable, it’s likely that I wouldn’t actually be able to buy at that rate, or at least would have to wait up to a year for delivery. So that’s interesting. My car’s replacement battery should last a number of years, so I’m not in a rush, and I’ll probably keep an eye on the market but wait and see for a year or so…

Last week I really enjoyed my demo of Hubspot, and I continue to think that it’s pretty damn well designed given its scope. That said, I want to also give a shoutout to Crisp, which is much more focused on the live chat and helpdesk space (which Hubspot covers similarly well *along with many other things like marketing, CRM, etc.). I found the Crisp onboarding to be almost as cool and quick as Hubspot, and the UI/UX to also be quite good, it’s just a less broadly capable tool in many respects, e.g. its form builder is extremely simple by comparison to Hubspot, contact management is simpler, etc.

That said, the reason I’m looking closely at it is it’s the only live chat “omnichannel” tool I’ve found that actually supports Discord, which is increasingly being used by small-medium software teams for community and user feedback. So far any feedback in a Discord server has had to be manually managed as far as helpdesk functions, managing response times, agents, etc., and creating tickets, feature requests, etc. Crisp is the first tool I’ve seen that could actually help automate and connect some of that stuff into existing helpdesk processes, feedback management, etc. I’m now advocating to get Crisp integrated into Fibery for exactly that purpose (if you’re a Fibery or Crisp user, go vote on that!).