Weekly review: Week ending January 13, 2008

This week was a week for catching up with coworkers. Aaron Kim got back from his vacation and took off again for another trip spreading the good news about IBM and Web 2.0 in London. Fortunately, I caught him at 120 Bloor on Monday. I also chatted with Bernie Michalik about writing (apparently, I say “Good stuff” just about every post on our team blog, The Orange Chair). And I welcomed Jen Nolan back from mat leave by treating her to lunch and thanking her for the career advice she gave me last year. =) Good times.

I’ve also made a lot of progress on the wiki that I’m building for a financial services company. I’m proud of the way it’s shaping up: a guide for internal consultants, a guide for community core team members, and a guide for other employees using these social media tools (blogs, wikis, forums). I like the way that it’s not just about how to use these tools – click this, type in that – but also how people can use the tools together to do what they want to do.

I joined another IBMer for an interview with a reporter from a major business magazine who was writing an article on these “water-cooler technologies”. I’m thrilled every time I get an opportunity to tell people about some of the cool stuff we’re doingbeing. And last Friday, another person got in touch with me to ask permission to quote me in the annual report of a project I love. Wow! There’s something powerful about being vocal about appreciation.

On the personal side, I went to the dentist and had a lot of fun
chatting with the person who scrubbed my teeth. =) It turns out that
my wisdom teeth will probably need to be removed, as they’re growing
all funny. In other news, the glasses that I ordered from
Zenni Optical have left Hong Kong and
should be on their way to Canada.

More progress on the book. I’ve started on the chapter on taking notes, and I have about 3000 words so far. My target is 12,000 words, or about 35 pages. I plan to finish it by January 31, according to my original schedule. I’m averaging about 1000 words a day, but I should find a way to resist the temptations of Lego Star Wars DS. It’ll be easier to write when J-’s distracted by other things! I have 9 writing days, if I alternate writing with editing and other things I need to do. This is doable. Fun, even. =)

(See, I’m getting the hang of this! Next step: graphs…)

W- and J- are doing fine. W-’s been cooking up a storm, and he’s now baking some egg tarts. (Home-made egg tarts! I’m so spoiled.) I made up for a little of it by exercising earlier, but I really need to keep it up, considering how fun food is around here…

I was glad to have had the opportunity to talk to one of my best friends when she was feeling really really homesick. She’s studying at Purdue right now, and she really misses home. Her advisor is open to her working from the Philippines, and I hope everything works out with her department.

It was fun chatting with my parents, too. W-, J-, and I are planning
to fly to the Philippines for two weeks this March, and we’re starting
to plan what to see. I hope we’re not too late to book flights to
Boracay!

Oh, and I’ve overcontributed to my RRSP, but I haven’t gone over the lifetime limit yet (whew!). Now I have to figure out the best non-registered way to save for my retirement so that I can gradually push my retirement age further and further back. (I should put together some kind of spreadsheet that calculates this for me…) I suppose I _could_ find a financial advisor, but he or she would have to be able to tell me stuff that I haven’t read in the dozens of books I’ve read on personal finance. Good stuff, mind you, not things like “Go into daytrading” or “Pick this high-MER loaded mutual fund that’ll give me plenty of commissions.” Oh, and a financial advisor who’s used
to dealing with people who aren’t panicking about debt, and who are interested in planning long-term.

Or maybe I should just learn to do everything myself, because financial planning is, after all, a lifelong skill. My books are all nicely balanced, although I had to create a slide deck to remind
myself exactly how my budgeting system works. That’s _probably_ a sign that it can be simplified further. It seems to work. I just have to trust it. Actually, the next step would be to use invariants (thank you, Problem Solving and Methods of Proof, and numerous other computer science and math courses!) to _prove_ that it’s correct. I will explain this in another post. =)

So that’s where I am in terms of work, health, book, family and friends, and money. There are lots of other stories to tell, but this is just a quick overview of where I am.

Next week: More wiki work. It would be great if I could find other people to contribute to it, as I get lots of great ideas by bouncing them off others. I also need to start on my US visa paperwork for a
conference I want to attend in April, and I need to do some more work
on my permanent residency application (applying for clearances
everywhere I’ve ever lived, and following up on employment
confirmation with my old department).

Life is good.

Random Emacs symbol: w3m-add-local-hook – Function: Add to the buffer-local value of HOOK the function FUNCTION.