Weekly review: Week ending August 28, 2015

Hypothesis: Time slept is positively correlated with feelings of accomplishment, instead of being negatively correlated as I might expect. When I think I’ve done a lot, I’m often surprised to find I slept quite a fair bit, too. (Conversely: when I’m surprised by how much the review tells me I’ve done, oddly, I’m usually also surprised by how average my sleep has been.)

Well, this week was a special case: more physical activity than usual, thanks to tiling, and lots of social interaction as well. So yeah, more sleep makes total sense.

Hmm. A fun way to test this hypothesis is to do the sorts of things that make me feel accomplished and awesome, and sleep as I need or want to. It’s not a rigorous test, but it’s hard to see a downside to this plan. =) Maybe they’re not really correlated at all, and it’s just my brain trying to see patterns.

2015-09-03a Week ending 2015-08-28 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (11.3h – 6%)
    • Earn (9.9h – 87% of Business)
      • Prepare invoice
      • Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (1.4h – 12% of Business)
      • Drawing (1.4h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (19.0h – 11%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (15.3h – 9%)
    • Emacs (4.6h – 2% of all)
    • Writing (0.0h)
  • Discretionary – Play (20.2h – 12%)
  • Personal routines (28.2h – 16%)
  • Unpaid work (5.0h – 2%)
  • Sleep (69.0h – 41% – average of 9.9 per day)

Making things around the house

After what felt like a couple of months of brain fog, I’m slowly starting to feel more like myself again.

We finished two major house TODOs: basement tiling and bathtub reglazing. W- spent a long time grinding the uneven basement into some semblance of plane. He wanted to keep the slope for drainage, so self-leveling cement wasn’t a good fit for us. Anyway, once that was sorted out, I helped W- tile the laundry area and bathroom in the basement. Between Youtube and various DIY/contractor forums, we figured out what to do with our floor. It feels really nice and solid now, and we’ve been able to move the laundry machines in. W- also painted and reinstalled the fixtures in the basement bathroom, and we managed to pull everything together a day before the deadline set by our bathtub reglazing appointment. The contractors for that one needed to block off the upstairs bathroom for two days, so it was good that we managed to get the backup bathroom online!

Anyway, it’s been great being able to do laundry at home again. We’d been taking must-wash items to a nearby laundromat, but the rest of the lower-priority things had been piling up. Not only did I go through quite a few loads, I was able to finally pre-wash the fabric I’d bought for some sewing experiments. Once I set up the sewing machine and serger on my desk downstairs, I got to work on converting a thrifted bedsheet into a long drawstring skirt, and on making various small necessities with the cotton flannelette that I’d bought a few weeks ago.

In other news, the recent Emacs Conf was tons of fun. I’ve downloaded the Twitch videos and will start splitting them up into individual presentations. If the on-site organizers figure out a good way to send me the backup videos they took, I’ll splice in some of those shots to help set the stage and compensate for technical difficulties.

We still have a bit more to do downstairs, such as figuring out how to transition between cut-slightly-too-short carpet on an uneven floor and the much more even tile. The carpet’s higher than the tile, and it looks like most carpet-to-tile transitions assume the opposite. The carpet doesn’t seem quite long enough to stretch, either. Ah well. It’s held down by duct tape at the moment, which is classic in its own way.

Once the basement and the bathroom are sorted out, we’ll finally get to clear out the stuff that we’d temporarily moved into the living room. It’ll be nice to let that space breathe again.

I’m also looking forward to organizing my fabric stash and turning some of them into projects. I’d like to pick up some more fabric for projects, too. I still find sewing frustrating from time to time – especially when I try to go faster than I can – but I feel it slowly becoming something enjoyable in its own right. I like exploring the patterns and textures. I love making simple, ordinary things, since that means I get to enjoy a little extra infusion of memory and satisfaction in my everyday life.

In terms of tech, I’m glad I’ve been able to continue consulting throughout this. I find programming easy to do when it’s more like a conversation with other people, figuring out what they want and adapting the tools to them. When I’m fuzzy-brained, it’s difficult to come up with something on my own. I look forward to dusting off my Emacs configuration and exploring the neat ideas I picked up from the conference, though, and writing more blog posts about what I find.

I’m also looking forward to blogging more often, and to moving my weekly review back to the weekends instead of letting it creep to the following Friday. =) I’m sure that as I get back into various interests, I’ll be overflowing with notes to write and share. Someday I might even respond to the e-mails languishing in my inbox.

So that’s what life has been like for the past couple of weeks or so. Onward!

Weekly review: Week ending August 21, 2015

Hardly any writing or drawing this week (beyond my now-usual daily notes). I still feel good about the week, though. I got lots of things done despite extra bleahness. W- has been helping me work on that part. =)

More consulting this week, since my clients asked me to help train a promising intern. I think he would be a great successor. Mwahaha.

2015-08-27b Week ending 2015-08-21 -- index card #journal #weekly output

Blog posts

Sketches

Focus areas and time review

  • Business (20.3h – 12%)
    • Earn (15.5h – 76% of Business)
      • Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (2.2h – 10% of Business)
      • Drawing (2.2h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (2.6h – 12% of Business)
  • Relationships (11.5h – 6%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (9.0h – 5%)
    • Emacs (0.0h – 0% of all)
    • Plan tile floor
    • Writing (0.5h)
  • Discretionary – Play (32.7h – 19%)
  • Personal routines (23.8h – 14%)
  • Unpaid work (5.5h – 3%)
  • Sleep (65.3h – 38% – average of 9.3 per day)

Weekly review: Week ending August 14, 2015

My birthday was last week. I had fun reviewing the past year. So much has happened, and I’ve learned a lot: new skills, deeper interests, and so on. Yay!

I’ve been dealing with a lot of bleahs. W- has taken over cooking and has been wonderfully supportive. With any luck, I should be out of this phase soon.

Still have a hard time with focused thinking, but fortunately, the programming I do for my consulting clients isn’t blocked like that. When I find it difficult to write, I fill my mind with reading instead. I’ve been going through a lot of nonfiction books and science fiction novels from the library, and I’ve started picking up Latin again.

I’ve been playing around with doodling a bit more. It’s fun sketching a few random curves and seeing where my imagination goes, or gradually shaping a drawing into something that resonates with me.

W- and I finished True Vault Hunter Mode (TVHM) in Borderlands 2, hooray! Now we’re going through side missions and occasionally farming loot. I often join him for a few hours of gaming in the evening. Good for in-jokes and shared experiences.

Next week: small steps…

2015-08-19a Week ending 2015-08-14 -- index card #journal #weekly

output

Blog posts

Sketches

Link round-up

  • Business (9.9h – 5%)
    • Earn (4.4h – 44% of Business)
      • Earn: E1: 1-2 days of consulting
    • Build (5.5h – 55% of Business)
      • Drawing (5.5h)
      • Paperwork (0.0h)
    • Connect (0.0h – 0% of Business)
  • Relationships (9.0h – 5%)
  • Discretionary – Productive (8.6h – 5%)
    • Emacs (1.7h – 0% of all)
    • Writing (2.1h)
  • Discretionary – Play (42.6h – 25%)
  • Personal routines (28.7h – 17%)
  • Unpaid work (1.0h – 0%)
  • Sleep (68.1h – 40% – average of 9.7 per day)

August 2015 Emacs Hangout

Thanks to Philip Stark for hosting this one!

Text chat:

Paul Harper 2:08 PM Evan’s Links: http://www.misshula.org/category/tutorials.html Dart Throwing Chimp: https://dartthrowingchimp.wordpress.com/
Philip Stark 2:15 PM https://www.vagrantup.com/ http://stevelosh.com/blog/2012/10/the-homely-mutt/
Paul Harper 2:19 PM mu4e: http://www.macs.hw.ac.uk/~rs46/posts/2014-01-13-mu4e-email-client.html Zawinski’s Law “Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.” Law of Software Envelopment, Jamie Zawinski. Mutt with Org-Mode: https://upsilon.cc/~zack/blog/posts/2010/02/integrating_Mutt_with_Org-mode/
me 2:23 PM Maybe http://emacswiki.org/emacs/MultipleSMTPAccounts ?
Magnus Henoch 2:24 PM I mashed some of those together into this monster: link (github.com)
Mond Beton 2:25 PM org mode is new
Rogelio Zarate 2:26 PM Just started with emacs
Paul Harper 2:27 PM Emacs and Vim started in 1976 link (slate.com)
me 2:28 PM Was it this Err, link (sachachua.com)
http://endlessparentheses.com/ ?
Paul Harper 2:41 PM Not sure if this might help. Setting up Emacs key mappings on Windows Outlook link (blogs.adobe.com)
me 2:42 PM http://emacsblog.org/2007/05/10/emacs-key-bindings-in-windows/ suggests XKeymacs, but I don’t know if it will work with recent versions of Windows. http://www.cam.hi-ho.ne.jp/oishi/indexen.html
Mond Beton 2:44 PM thank you
Rogelio Zarate 2:48 PM Too many opinions on how to do things, example keybing on emacs/os x
me 2:50 PM link (emacs.stackexchange.com) may be helpful if you want it to reuse an existing Emacs if possible
Daniel Gopar 2:58 PM https://github.com/gopar/.emacs.d/blob/master/init.el#L442
Paul Harper 2:59 PM Something for beginners like me. A course in research tools which includes some clear videos on using Emacs. Kurt Schwehr put the course on YouTube (linked in note) and the course is in org mode. The Course itself is GIS focused. You can download the whole thing with Mercurial. Instructions on the page. I found it very helpful when I started. http://vislab-ccom.unh.edu/~schwehr/rt/
Philip Stark 3:02 PM What’s GIS?
me 3:03 PM Phil: Hmm, something like http://emacs.stackexchange.com/questions/608/evil-map-keybindings-the-vim-way using tags?
Philip Stark 3:05 PM https://www.gnu.org/software/global/
Philip Stark 3:07 PM http://elpa.gnu.org/packages/ggtags.html
Daniel Gopar 3:09 PM so im learning elisp. Does elisp have any ways of creating private/public variables? or is everything exposed once you run the require command on the file?
Philip Stark 3:09 PM https://github.com/skeeto/skewer-mode
Rogelio Zarate 3:14 PM How do you handle projects, like in Sublime, do you use Projectile or Perspective?
Philip Stark 3:14 PM http://exercism.io/
me 3:16 PM https://github.com/losingkeys/4clojure.el and http://endlessparentheses.com/be-a-4clojure-hero-with-emacs.html
Philip Stark 3:18 PM https://www.bestpractical.com/rt/
Rogelio Zarate 3:19 PM Keeping just one list sounds like the correct approach. Great tip.
me 3:19 PM link (saintaardvarkthecarpeted.com)
Paul Harper 3:21 PM Notmuch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK5rOT6k8rw
me 3:29 PM Want to get notified about upcoming hangouts? You can sign up for notifications at http://eepurl.com/bbi-Ir

Life as a 31-year-old

I used to host get-togethers as a way of thanking friends, catching up with folks, and seeing what interesting conversations come out of mixing people together. I was always stressed out right up to when people started arriving and mingling, though. It turns out that it’s totally all right to celebrate one’s birthday however you want. For W- and me, quiet days at home win out over noisy celebrations. =) Besides, I’m still in hermit mode these days.

I like looking back at the past year. I’m always surprised by the things that managed to fit in a single year. Was that memory really that recent? Has it really been that long since that other memory? Here are a few of those highlights for me:

2015-08-11b Life as a 31-year-old -- index card #review #yearly

  • Business
    • Helping my client through a major upgrade
    • Enjoying an intense and wonderful sprint of prototyping for a high-profile event
    • Having fun at an internal hackathon
    • Improving my skills: Javascript, SQL (SQL Server and PostgreSQL), Tableau
    • Filing quick method HST on my own
    • Managing my own health plan
  • Connecting
    • Hacklab’s move from Kensington Market to Queen Street West – kitting out the kitchen so that it’s a pleasure to cook in, and spending hours cooking at open houses
    • Spending more time at Hacklab
    • Talking about talking
    • Becoming closer to friends and talking about deeper topics
    • Figuring out the space I need, too
  • Hobbies and interests
    • Picking up sewing again
    • Combining sewing with laser cutting, whee: post
    • Reading lots of science fiction
    • Reflecting on philosophy, leisure, applying Stoicism, and so on
    • Digging into coding and visualizations, especially for my future self
    • Helping the Emacs community through hangouts and posts
  • Family and life
    • Working on projects around the house and other things
    • Reaching personal milestones (10 years in Canada, among other things)
    • Becoming a Canadian citizen (no longer worrying about getting stuck on the wrong side of a border!)
    • Making my peace with fuzzy brain and other things

There’s been a lot of wrapping things up this year, closing long-running open loops. It feels good to reap the benefits of things planned and started by long-ago selves. I wonder what I can prepare for my future self. I think philosophy and reading will be handy, and maybe the skills and tools I build. Who knows, maybe sewing will be useful too. We’ll see!

Last year, I wrote that when I do my “Life as a 31-year-old” review, I’d like to be able to say that:

  • I have excellent health-related habits: I enjoyed the biking while it lasted. For now, this is temporarily limited to walking. Oh well!
  • Our home life is wonderful: So much for yummy food, but yay for projects, decluttering, simple lives, great relationships, and so on.
  • I helped my consulting client make successful transitions: Yup!
  • I’ve broadened my business a little bit more. I’ve made it smaller, actually, but I’m happy with the outcome and with my reasons for doing so.

Here are some other differences:

  • Compared to 30-year-old me, I’ve been both a lot more social (November to April or so) and a lot less social (these past few months). Hermit mode is surprisingly comfortable.
  • I’ve dialed consulting back to one day a week, although I’ve also worked more intensely when needed. My current life is very relaxed and laid-back.
  • Enough of a stock market downturn to make it onto my radar. Still not panicking, though, which is a good sign. Seems to be recovering. I’m in it for the long haul, anyway.
  • I really like this practice of drawing digital index cards to record my day and build up thoughts. They’re more granular and manageable than the 8.5×11″ sheets I used to draw.
  • I used to draw with more colours. I’ve been mostly black-and-white these days, but I think I’ll get back to colours when I start feeling more playful about thinking.
  • I learned how to play first-person shooter games. They’re actually quite fun. W- and I have been playing Borderlands 2.
  • I’m more comfortable with fuzziness and uncertainty and experimentation (yay philosophy), which could be good for growing older and taking on more challenges. Life so far is already enough, and anything more than this is a bonus. I wonder: what’s beyond getting things done?
  • I’ve gotten to the point of being able to wear something I made every day, if I want to. I don’t always do so, but I like having the option. It was surprisingly easy and a good opportunity to geek out more. =)

A snapshot of everyday life, so that I can remember what it was like at this time:

I’m home most of the time, although sometimes I go for a walk to the supermarket or the library. It’s a little frustrating feeling fuzzy or bleah, but at the same time, it’s good philosophy practice. It’s hard to write, but if I keep collecting fragments of thoughts, I know they’ll add up. Voluntary discomfort, momentary annoyances, and all that. With any luck, I’ll probably shift out of hermit mode sometime over the next few weeks. In the meantime, W- and I play Borderlands 2 in the evening. It’s fun coordinating our attacks and swapping loot.

The blueberries and the strawberries in our garden have been extra-yummy this summer. Yay! The drip irrigation system that W- and I put in has been paying off, too. The garden’s a lot more lively now than it was last year.

I have no idea what next year will be like, but I look forward to handling it with equanimity.

If you’re curious, here are some other yearly reviews I’ve written (both birthday-related and calendar-related). It’s fun having an archive. =)