The weeknotes have been, well, weekly since George Floyd was murdered. As that sunk in it took a lot of focus away from this restarting writing and sharing and put it to reading, supporting, and talking to others. I was utterly gutted, mostly because I felt like I looked away and had been feeling things had improved over the decades. But, I was somewhat blind to much of the issues I grew up in a Sesame Street world where everybody gets along and learns about each other, their background, and the wonders they bring to this world.
Much of this disappeared for me after high school as I ran an errand with a friend who I had just met in one of my courses. We went to get a couple tires from his car and went into a tire store in Stockton, California. There were people in there working and my friend and I were the only two customers in the store, but nobody was stopping to help. I finally said across the counter, “excuse me…” and it was like throwing a match on gasoline as the n-word started flying and one of the guys grabbed a tire iron and slammed it against the side of one of the large metal shelves and walked off. I just wanted to leave as it seemed like it was going to be more than nasty words thrown around. My friend said, “No, it is fine”. I really had trouble comprehending that. A couple minutes later a big sheepish guy walked up to the other side of the counter and apologized quietly and asked my friend what he needed. Tire sizes were shared and a couple minutes of walking away from counter and away from where the commotion had come from. When he returned he said they didn’t have that size, but they would have it in stock in a week. We left checking all around us in the mid-afternoon light.
This was the mid 1980s and the anti-apartheid movement and awareness was in full swing. Joining causes, writing letters, and going to concerts with an awareness focus was common. Our church was housing the Anglican Bishop of Namibia and some of his Deacons around this time. I enjoyed talking with two of the Deacons that were staying with my parents and I. They talked about the South African soldiers beating parishioners and the priests to drag them out of their church. They had dents on their upper arms where bones had been broken and one of them a good dent in his head from the butt of a gun. I said I would really like to come and help, but I felt my skin was the wrong color to do any good. They stopped and grew more calm and looked at me in the eyes. One gently took my wrist and turned it over and pointed to the veins and said, “You know the blood in your veins is the same color as the blood in our veins. We are all the same color on the inside. What really matters is what is in your heart.” That really stuck with me, as did their stories. I didn’t go to Namibia, but I did read everything I could about Africa after that.
In the late 80s I took my last semester of undergrad in Oxford and spent time in Lyon, France, and traveling a little. I read a lot of the broadsheet papers and Namibia was in the news in English papers as well as other African countries. But, one of the things that stood out was how people of color were treated around Oxford and France. It was quite different from than in the US. That difference stood out. Talking with other Americans of color whom I knew or got into conversations with on coaches or trains, I brought up the question of what they found. The difference in their perception was things were much more open and equal (this is far from everywhere in Europe), but the differences then was a sense of freedom to be who they were, more so than they felt in the United States.
When I finally got back to the US so I could go through graduation (I could have stayed and rowed in Oxford and travelled with the college boat I had an offer to stay for Trinity term and row with and I could have stayed and travelled with my friend in Lyon). When I left the US in the prior December to head to Europe I was expecting to have culture shock in Europe, but I didn’t experience much and I deeply enjoyed it. It was an amazing experience. Returning to the US I had massive culture shock, which I wasn’t expecting and it shook me. My perception of life and lives of others, the news, the size of cars (as well as needing a car to get around), and the lack of fresh produce and fresh bread within an easy walk. But, watching news on tv the racial tone of the news was something I had completely not seen before I left. It was really clear watching news of a conflict in Virginia Beach between young (mostly black) beach goers and police and CNN (in 1988) was framing those of color as the problem. It was something I hadn’t seen or noticed until being away and returning.
Somewhere over that summer I stumbled onto an interview and focus on James Baldwin and he was echoing a lot of what I was seeing and feeling as a difference between Europe and the US. On a trip to Berkeley I went to one of my favorite bookstores and picked up a couple paperbacks of Baldwin’s works and started reading. Having somebody else writing about things I was seeing and feeling, which I didn’t think I knew others around me I could talk about was comforting. Baldwin also wrote about other issues I didn’t have experience with, but it opened my eyes to things others dealt with. What I got with Baldwin was an understanding of America, Europe, personal freedom, equality, and living in one’s own skin. I no longer remember the essays nor which books (I still have them, but I picked up one or two more that I didn’t put time into and memories of them ran together).
As Black Live Matter marches and protests were fully under way I found I was thinking of Baldwin a lot. I picked up Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.’s Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its urgent lessons for our own and have been reading it slowly. Reading bits and letting it sink in. It has been good.
The Year of Covid–19 it has been difficult to keep up with friends around my son’s basketball, which feel a lot like a home and family. My son is missing his team and coaches and the common goal of the team.
The next weeknotes I will fill in some of the past few weeks of other things I’ve been reading, watching, listing to, and more. There have been some good sparks that have me excited, entertained, and exploring again.
Marked as :: Personal :: Weeknote :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Week Note 6 - 9 August 2020 ]
This started (and was on time for) the week before Memorial Day for release that weekend, but it didn’t ship. The life diversion beasts seam to have come in the way.
This was the first week that furlough Friday came into effect, so have essentially an “4 day week of 8 hour days”, as if workdays are that short. So I’ve gone from a week of: Monday followed by three Tuesdays and then a Friday; to Monday followed by two Tuesdays and a Friday (on a calendar stated Thursday), which this being now a 4 day weekend a 3 Saturday and one Sunday (on a calendar stated Monday) weekend. The shortened week turned into a week with some of the longest days I’ve had for a while with a 14 hour day Monday, a 12 of Tuesday (the real Tuesday, or the first of them if thinking in Covid week time) that I initially thought was 9 hours, 10 hour Wednesday (second Tuesday, for those playing in Covid time at home), and 9 hour Thursday (well Friday in Covid adjusted time, or as others call them all, “Blursday”).
I’ve been trying to sort out if I was going to work a bit on the long weekend, start digging back on reading, tackle some of my long put off personal tech such as converting this website back to https or some other digging into updating some of my productivity practices.
Since this a double week edition (edition? Heh, well I just hit the “post” button (or whatever I’ve clicked since 2001 when I rebuilt this)).
This second week had me baffled with what day it was and the hyper rhythm of the week prior was mired in a sludge of timing being off. But, on the work front a lot of positive movement happened, which was really good. We are about a third of the way through what I’m working on and the next chunk over the next few months will be one of the more challenging from the perspective of pulling it all together. Getting the next piece right and worked through the foundations properly will set up whether it has long term success.
A lot of the work is talking the complicated and complex and making it more simple to understand and using that as a foundation to bring more people along, but also get the tough decisions understood and in front of the right people with their understanding to bring their expertise and needed framing from their domain. The downside (always) of making things more simple is having people believe it is that simple, but not grasping the complications and complexity under that need attending to properly.
On the personal side this week had me utterly stumped and hurt with injustice of George Floyd’s death. These hurt. They hurt deep down to the fabric of the core that stems for basic humanity. During the week I pushed it aside, but this weekend as work wound down on Friday it really sunk in.
Students are failing AP tests because the College Board can’t handle iPhone photos is an example of an organization failing to do the basic tests and fixing problems, but then failing more with their response.
Microsoft’s New Fluid Office Document Is Google Docs on Steroids is something I’m keeping an eye on.
A New York Times piece about what is on bookshelves behind people as they are interviewed on tv. It is about one book, “The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York” by Robert Caro. The piece is really good and dives into why it is behind so many people and the meta value of it in view.
Another piece in the New York Times pulled me in, Brooklyn, Before It Was a Global Brand: Walk Its History. It is a wonderful pieces (on the long side for some) that gives the history and and background of common areas. The last year or so I’ve been going up to Brooklyn to work and been really fascinated by it and this fills in some of the background I’ve been hoping to track down one day. One of my friends has done that for me, when I’ve caught up with him in Brooklyn across the years.
A few weeks ago I was in a discussion with folks in one of the back channels about the economics of the new food delivery services. I repeatedly hear from shop owners and restauranteurs that they often are losing money on each delivery. I brought this up, partly because I hadn’t had / found the time to dig into what this means. But one of the folks in the group shared this gem by Rajan Roy in Margins, Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage. This hit on target on so many different levels and now I’m wanting to dig even deeper.
Along the lines of the above, the Washington Post picked up on this in their piece Restaurants are barely surviving. Delivery apps will kill them..
I my “to read” stack got another addition with [Stephen P. Anderson and Karl Fast’s book Figure It Out: Getting from Information to Understanding)[https://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/figure-it-out/] ariving. Two favorite people and minds I miss and haven’t run across in person for far too long. This is a book I’ve been waiting on for quite sometime. From my perspective this may be the conversations I’ve been missing with them.
About a decade or more ago I was talking with a friend about a book of his that was coming out that had a quote / quip or two of mine in it and saying I was really looking forward to his book. His comment to me about his book was, “This book isn’t for you, as you know everything in it already. But, I would hope it is worthy of you blessing and sharing with others.” This brought clarity to many books I have, as they are about the conversations and deep dives with many of the authors over the years. But, a good chunk of the books I pick-up are to dig deeper and push at the edges of the domains I read in and work to understand so to find unknown areas to dig.
I stumbled into a custom Tidal playlist that was triggered by Danny Wilson’s “Mary’s Prayer” and includes Prefab Sprout, The Style Council, Propaganda, Haircut 100, Wang Chung, Blue Nile and so much more. The night I listened to this was a quite rainy evening and I had the balcony doors open and could hear the occasional car sloshing by and it took me right back to the mid to late 80s in England and France listening to this music on walkman or radio over sloshing car noises. So many memories tied up into all of this, it was wonderful.
The Verge podcast seems to be running interview podcasts along with their weekly Vergecast. This week was Nilay Patel’s interview / chat with Stewart Butterfield on The Vergecast. Stewart is one of those people I miss talking with and interacting with. Stewart doesn’t approach things like most others, but there are similarities with a handful of others I also miss that we all regularly interacted, but we each went our own directions and got absorbed there.
Leading up to the long weekend there really wasn’t much play as the work front had sets of issues that needed sorting and digging. The long weekend didn’t provide as much play as I thought it may (nor as much reading) but a bit of MLB the Show and Death Stranding was played on Monday.
I’m deeply realizing I need to get outside more for walks, hikes, and perhaps finally get my bike out of storage.
The past month or two I’ve been trying to sort out the value of Roam, which many productivity types around YouTube and blogs have been discussing and raving about, but it negatively hits some of my must have for note taking and organization. Roam is outline focussed, but can go long, but to keep track of nested hierarchy it has grey dashed lines to show / hint at the nested layers, but I find it quite distracting. My favorite outlining tool is OmniGroup’s OmniGraffle which handles this far more elegantly and keeps the focus. The other is its export offering which lacks OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language). Yep, an outlining tool that doesn’t use OPML as an import nor export offering is utterly bizarre. There are many insanely good reasons to use OPML for outlines and a means to transfer or integrate with workflows, but the top one for me is keeping the nested hierarchies. Roam currently is an island that doesn’t interconnect well with other productivity services and doesn’t work well in outline centric or tangential workflows. Roam’s biggest advantage is the internal linking
I have somewhat similar feeling for similar reasons for Notion, which I use a little bit, but keep from working in it heavily due to import, exports, and integrations.
Marked as :: Books :: Productivity :: Weeknote :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Week Note 5 - 24 May & 31 May 2020 ]
Another really busy work week where I set work aside for a few hours then back at it, which means reading and other things were down a bit. It is the last full (5 day) work week (not that work stops at 8 hours or 5 days) until September. Deeply fortunate and grateful for the work and challenges on that front, which are things I find deeply fun and get my brain lighting up. I’ve been joking that I’ve been trying to sort out 6 day work week with 3 day weekends or 7 days workweek and 4 day weekend.
Where I am in Maryland, the county is still shut, which I’m mostly fine with. Quick trips to the store aren’t going to change from the hour to 90 minutes back to 15 to 25 treks they were. I am looking forward to getting back to my favorite bookstores and having a couple favorite restaurants open back up in some form.
Some pre-ordered books and books ordered a while back from local bookstores arrived this week. I’m trying to sort out what follows Agency as my fiction read, but likely going to be finishing Charlie Stross’ Empire Games. I know have Chris Pavone’s The Paris Diversion at hand, which likely could be a good romp of a read.
The long awaited Steven Johnson Enemy of All Mankind arrived and I haven’t had even a preliminary scan of it yet. Robert Reich’s The Common Good also arrived after a good wait. I’m thinking extra weekend day (if I use it that way in coming weeks) could be good to get some reading done.
Early in the week I stumbled onto Coast Modern on Amazon Prime, which is about modern design on the Pacific Coast. Some of the architecture reminded me of homes around Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles that intrigued me when I was a kid. The modern and cutting edge design had shifted into some of the more mainstream vernacular by the time I was a kid and evoked a lot of memories and had me realize some of the seeds for domestic design that feels “normal to me”.
I rented Little Women and finally watched it this weekend. I was really impressed with most everything about the production. I had never read Little Women, nor seen it on screen or stage before. But, a lot of friends have long used the characters as short hand when discussing others. The characters now have resonance, but also set in a really wonderfully filmed movie.
This weekend we finally watched Prince George’s County: In the Water on Showtime on Showtime and have been waiting for this for months. There is a lot of lore and solid history with PG County basketball. Walking into a lot of the gyms and rec centers the trophies and familiar names are impressive, but so is the coaching and the level of play. If you want to know if you can ball as a teen on up, that is a good place to learn that and learn to play well in and against a broad array of styles of offenses and defenses.
Yet another Postlight gem! One of the few must listens each week for me is Track Changes with Paul Ford and Rich Ziade, I though last week I missed and it drifted into this week. tk!
It was great to have Exponents pop-up in my podcast feeds this week and be a good listen for a Friday evening wind down and dinner prep.
My morning routine has been shifted a bit as with the Covid lockdowns my coffee walk in the morning hasn’t been something I can do, before the work day starts. The coffee places are now back open for pick-up, but starting too late to get my work day going. I have been going with Ceremony, which is my favorite brew at home option, particularly Thesis. I’ve picked up beans on sale and a local grocery is back stocking it again, so I’m not doing the delivery route.
I’ve been sticking with my breakfast, which started a couple years ago as heuevos verde, with corn tortilla, black bean refried, then then brown garlic and add fresh spinach and a pinch of salt to cook down, then top with sunny side up covered eggs, and top with salsa verde. That morphed into making my own black bean smash. To now it is a black beans cooked in a Canadian bacon (loin, not reconstituted pork bits), garlic, mushrooms (shiitake or brown button), fresh garlic, and grate in fresh turmeric. Then add some large spoonfuls of canned (not drained and unsalted) black beans to cook down and put in a bowl. Then sunny side up covered runny egg on top. In about 10 minutes it is great comfort that with coffee will get me into afternoon just fine.
My usual routine was get up, check late night messages and email, grab coffee and eat, and map out the day while colleagues are driving to work. Now they don’t have a commute and that planning time on paper or in an app has drifted to the winds a bit.
My scratch paper sort of has some framing and occasionally I get to my journal to map a FGL for the day: Something to Focus on; Something Grateful for; and something to Let go of. Then right out a few things that need to get done. Then check it a few times a day. This week I realized I’m only getting to that once a week at best these days.
The days and weeks shift focus and priority, but longer work goals remain, as well as some of the longer priorities that will take effort over a long stretch to make a lot of things run much more smoothly.
One of the great things about working in tech and optimizing toolsets and patterns, is things change rapidly. What was a really good practice 12 months back is now depricated, or a more secure or computationally efficient way is now the norm. Staying up with this tools, shifts in tools, vendors adding new functionality or tool, and vendors going out of business or selling to another company is all a large task in and of it self (but also part of the fun), but also part of the big challenge.
Marked as :: Books :: Food :: Movies :: Podcast :: Productivity :: Television :: Weeknote :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Week Note 4 - 17 May 2020 ]
This week had a lot of focus on work matters and the weekend has too (a bit, and will more when I post this).
The big score this week was toilet paper, as the last time I picked up the usual purchase was 3 to 4 weeks ago and it was down the the two roll panic. Instacart claimed there was stock, but never could deliver on that promise. Friday late afternoon, it seemed there was stock at a local market finally, so headed over and found not only toilet paper, but decent paper towels. Now keeping a better eye on stock now that I have the usual purchase.
The Monocle Weekend Edition (a weekend version of the weekday newsletter Monocle Minute) is one of the things that they have rejiggered in the past few months and I’m finding I really have been enjoying on Saturday and Sunday mornings. They also post to their site for easy making use / reuse of the content.
I ran across a really brief (not so informative) article on the mutations and different strains Covid–19 has been taking, but it linked to this really good mapping / data visualization of Genomic epidemiology of novel coronavirus - Global subsampling by Nextstrain.
A nice piece of research that came through the electronic transoms was Emily Webber’s research with Robin Dunbar on social group size and impacts different scales have. Emily discusses the work in Social group sizes, Dunbar’s number and implications for communities of practice. This mostly echos social scaling shifts in dynamics and what functionality is viable at various scales. If you do work with start-ups to large enterprise and switch between them you can pretty accurately guess the scale of the company by the problems and pains they are having, but also the deviation between groups in a large organization. This call out of this research is around the maximal size for groups functioning in a democratic manner (where all input is valued and there really isn’t an overseer or leader type role) and that size is roughly around 40. The slotting around 40 is about 5 to 10 people higher than I see small companies struggle with bumping into the next growth scale. Most companies will stay around 25 to 35 as above that there are a lot of pains and new roles needed. If those shifts are made (usually 5 to 10 functional roles to support the organization) and things can scale somewhat well to around 60 to 75, but the organization has shifted and changed and no longer as tight. The shift up also draws into consideration is there enough work to scale to that size larger size. I love research along these lines as it anchors a lot of what is seen and highly predictable for company size, group sizing, team size, and then the tools and practices to work at those scales well.
Lastly, in the reading section I finally finished reading William Gibson’s Agency this weekend. Starting in on 300 to 500 page fiction often takes 3 to 5 days or it is done over a couple months or more. This one fell into the three month window as work shifts, changes to personal life practices shifted, and the story seemed to interweave with what was going on with our pandemic state of things. I really liked it and now want to go back and finish its predecessor, The Peripheral. When I started Agency I was reading two other novels with time travel concepts that were very similar, and Agency using a different concept allowed for me to keep it straight.
This weeks not a who lot was watched due to trying to focus on the work front. But, I did fall into watching many Charlie Berens YouTube videos of his comedy sketches, including the Manitowoc Minute. “Keep ‘er movin’”.
I’be been testing headphones and going back through music and finding some sounds utterly amazing and other music types really aren’t great. I have a couple of weeks to sort out what I may do.
Still trying to fully sort out Notes search problem, but it has improved a little.
I keep running across Roam, as web-based outline / bulleted list note taking tool that
Marked as :: Books :: Weeknote :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Week Note 3 - 10 May 2020 ]
This week, like many in the life and times of Covid–19 pandemic, was a week of three Tuesday’s bookended by a Monday (a day I try to get back into the swing of things (unless it is filled with meetings)) and Friday. Tuesdays are often when I did into the meat of things I’m trying to get things accomplished for the week. But, while I’m used to working remote (15 years mostly working that way) coordinating with a corporation just gone through a large merger, is a bit more unusual (not bad, just needing different adaptions). I also am finding I really miss my monthly week with the team in Connecticut and time in Brooklyn to work though ideas in person. I’m also craving large workspaces with a lot of walls and whiteboards.
This week flew by yet again (not a good thing when feeling there is a lot that needs to be done) and trying to use weekend time to decompress, think, recalibrate, and meditate on solutions.
Also finding the simple errands that were a 30 minute walk shop and return or drive for a 45 minute shop and return are now 60 to 90+ minutes. Much standing and waiting in 6 foot apart lines, mask in the up and locked positions, to get into stores. Trying to get get tasks done while waiting in line, like clearing email, reading favorite daily items, organizing things for the week note, editing notes (downside is Dropbox breaking sync’ed folders makes this (and a whole lot of other things) impossible (reminds me I need to fix this when not standing in line to get eggs and fruit, but at a home).
I added Play to my template as that fills in for watching, and is often my decompression, as well as discovery mode, which out of guilt of “play” from childhood I don’t often embrace.
Matt Mullenweg posted his Distributed Work’s Five Levels of Autonomy, which is quite good.
As part of this week’s 99 Percent - The Smell of Concrete After Rain as part of remembrance of Michael Sorkin (which was really good) it surfaced Sorkin’s Two Hundred Fifty Things an Architect Should Know, which I’m really enjoying.
My books to finish or read more from last week didn’t get touched much this week, but may today. It was a busy week.
I did find a good piece in Vanity Fair about Regan being shot from a young CNN’s perspective and how that was the start of a viable cable news medium, in their piece “Shots Fired. Hilton Hotel”: How CNN’s Raw, Unfolding Reagan Coverage Heralded the Nonstop News Cycle.
The NY Times piece, In Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine, an Oxford Group Leaps Ahead offered some good insights on structure, innovations, and challenges for a vaccine in a timely manner.
Monocle’s May edition and the 2019 The Entrepreneurs edition my time between time reading this week. Stepping away from online news and having Monocle is my guilty pleasure that doesn’t come with notification and alerts popping up (but the pages don’t offer the time with you touch the top of the page, no matter how long or hard you press).
I really liked this NY Times piece - This Florida Student Was Accepted at All 8 Ivy League Schools, which is an all too rare “Florida man” type story.
Jim Kalbach’s The Job’s to be Done Playbook arrived this week in physical form (digi version did this a bit before, but I hadn’t had time to get to it) and I did a quick skim and read the early bits. I am really looking forward to this.
JTBD has played a common role in a lot of my focus over the last 10 to 12+ years. Enterprise work environments make a lot more sense when trying to understand problems and gaps through using the JTBD lens and framing solutions is so much easier as well. I’ve never been a full convert, but use it here and there (mostly because JTBD isn’t a full frame for understanding, but is good paired with other insight tools and methods, it by doesn’t get one far, but it opens paths for insights). Or I should say I wasn’t a full convert, as a little over a year ago I paired to do an internal work shop on work patterns, different social scales of work, tool types teams need for work, and the different tools at different scales and what type of interactions and work can be done at those scales to help set clarity for what the problems are, what are the gaps, where are tools types missing, where are wrong tools to the need being used and making utter messes (the same sort of enterprise workshop I’ve done for 10 to 15 years) using my social / complexity lenses. But, this workshop I paid with an internal designer lead who brought deep JTBD background and created a survey that mixed JTBD and a few of the complexity lenses around how teams work and interacting and working at different social scales. The outcome was insanely good that provided solid insight for what is needed, where there are issues and problems that decision makers needed to see openly and clearly to take the correct steps.
A good friend and occasional colleague has long pushed the pairing of JTBD and the complexity lenses, particularly to use as a survey and entry to capturing and showing gaps and needs. I’m a huge fan of Kalbach’s work, writing, and insights.
So, yes. I’m really looking forward to this book to putty in some of the gaps I may have.
This week was mostly a YouTube week, other than starting in on the Michael Jordan biography series running on ESPN.
I stumbled onto Explaining the Pandemic to My Past Self by Julie Nolke, which was utterly brilliant and funny. That had me checking out her other offerings.
But, YouTube being YouTube watching Nolke’s pieces I was recommended Charlie Berens’ IKEA Husbands and down a rabbit hole created by Charlie Berens I went for my distractions. I love IKEA and needing to get there once lockdown lifts to finish something I started in early March with Billy (Billy is my buddy, but so is donating) and 12 years on an Ektorp, may just be a bit too long.
On the podcast front two friends I don’t get to run into nor talk to enough in recent years (one I haven’t talked to in quite a while) started a new podcast Finding Our Way, which is Jesse James Garrett and Peter Merholz talking about design, user experience, and leadership. I stumbled into this late in the week and listened on Saturday and I’m now looking forward to every session. I’m really happy they have a real website for it with a transcript, which seems like it should be the basic for a podcast these days, but oddly it isn’t (also for newsletters to have a real web home the kludgy Webmonkey hack, isn’t done well enough to really count).
I stumbled back into Prince’s New Power Generation, One Night Alone… The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over! after a couple weeks not listening and found it is as magical as always.
This was a week of putting off grocery runs, as trying to work through some of what I have. But, also my usually stores have been out of what I’ve normally been seeking. There is a local egg farmer that a local store carries that have amazing yolks (the color of the shell doesn’t mean anything, but the color of the yolk tells you a lot). But, Saturday was restock day and things were in stock (even found brown rice) and good lentils (I have some asafoetida hing powder I’ve been wanting to put to good use). I also found one of the brands of gluten free flour as well as pancake mix I like, so things are good-ish.
I did make a fresh garlic and anchovy paste as a base for a quick lunch spaghetti (corn and brown rice pasta) with pea pasta bowl with Parmesan and butter / olive oil light sauce. I may want to come back to this one again. Using good jarred (pink) anchovies that aren’t overly pungent seems to be essential.
I’ve been playing MLB The Show as my post work decompression for about 90 minutes each day (one thing I like and appreciate with sports is building teams and I’m playing franchise mode with this year’s Pittsburgh Pirates and did some gutting of the team (not quite intentionally) but building on contact (hits) and speed, which in current MLB is undervalued so inexpensive. I’m also focussing on decent starting pitching that can get through 5 to 7 innings, then use a series of pitchers to get through the remainder of the game pitching an inning each. The salary budget is in the $60 to $75 million range for players and I spent heavily on coaching. It is working, as I’m a week from the All Star break and 6 games up in first place.
I took advantage of a 50% off sale and picked up Death Stranding, which is a bit dark (something I normally stay away from), but the graphics, story, and AR interfaces are good. I normally keep to sports games (or sims) to time constrain play (or help reduce over play - playing a far longer stretch than intended as I did with Sim City on my birthday in an empty house in 1993 and wondering why the sun was coming up).
This weeks productivity insights and practices took a backseat to frustrations with my daytime lack of good tools for productivity, particularly when One Note decides it won’t include anything in search from 2020. My brain dumps and notes live there and lacking basic organization, refinding, and productivity tools on Windows side (particularly that run locally) that there are on the Mac side of the world, I’ve been down that road battling.
I sort of treat OneNote as I do DevonThink as my catch all and lean on search heavily and organize later approach, which is a model that works really well with good to great search (something DevonThing is aces with, but OneNote is just okay with as its search is a blunt approach and not finesse approach).
Marked as :: Books :: Entertainment :: Food :: Games :: Productivity :: Weeknote :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Week Note 2 - 3 May 2020 ]
This is my first weeknote, which by the name I am committing to posting weekly. I’m not sure how this will work as aiming for daily writing to set a habit is far more anchoring something in place that a something new with a weekly cadence.
I’ve long been a fan of friend’s and acquaintances weeknotes as it is a way to keep up with what they are reading, watching, listening to, writing, and thinking. I deeply appreciate other’s sharing their interests and likes and after many years planning to do similar I am finally doing this. I am also doing this for my own consumption and tracking.
I have a template setup with general categories / headings in TextExpander and each week I’m planning on opening a new markdown file in iA Writer and filling it in as I go. The starter headings are: Read; Watched; Listened; Food; and Productivity. This is largely what I care about from others, but also things I’m continually tracking down. I regularly tuck things into my Pinboard and tag links of interest with “linkfodder” and podcasts with “podfodder”, but also things I think I may want to write-up and have more of a fleshed out response to as “blogfodder” (those rarely actually get done, mostly due to being busy).
This first weeknote I’m catching up on the past few weeks a bit.
I’m still trying to get through the last few chapters of William Gibson’s Agency, which I have been deeply enjoying (for quite some time, as it arrived when it came out and I started in then, but work and other life slowed progress). I always have a few books going at once and Violet Moller’s The Map of Knowledge has been a wonderful slow read full of thinking and reworking some back history on knowledge and understandings I have that were set in place in undergrad when studying at Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Oxford (now changed a bit since Middlebury took over, not a bad thing, just different) and the shift of pockets of knowledge and learning from the Middle East / Arabian / Northeast Africa areas and some of that shift to Europe after Constantinople fell in the Spring of 1453.
Supporting my favorite local bookstore, Politics and Prose I ordered Humo Ludens by Johan Huizinga for delivery. I have just tucked into that, which I have in a few readers and collected contributions to the value of play in understanding work as well as the world around us. Having the full text (only 213 pages) I can finally read as a whole rather than a gutting or selected reading approach.
Being a fan of Kenya Hara’s work and writing (Designing Design is a favorite of mine) I picked up a sale copy of Designing Japan and the preface and first few pages really has me looking forward with some quiet time with the book.
Last weekend, on recommendation of a colleague (and has been mentioned in other’s weeknotes as well) I watched Devs that was on Hulu / FX. I nearly gave up on it as it is a bit dark and gruesome, but stuck with it and it has turned into a show I’m thinking somewhat deeply about a week later. The inclusion of theoretical physics / science got me really hooked. Sorting out what character was the focal view from wasn’t clear for quite a few episodes, but understanding that helped frame sorting through some of the ambiguities. But, it also had me digging out framing resources on a few of the theoretical physics I’ve never fully anchored in my head, and don’t really have folks I’m talking to regularly to talk through thing around this.
The late summer and fall of 2018 when I was digging for work / projects I started in on the corpus of Bon Appetit on YouTube (along with a few other channels). During this time of lockdown and remote work, this crew of cooks / chefs has been highly entertaining with what they are sharing.
I’ll address podcasts in later weeknotes, but I’m consuming them at a slower rate than I was prior to covid lockdown (mostly due to my morning listening I’m spending some of that time trying to pull focus on what I need to so that day for work and focus has been a bit more fragile).
Music, well music to help focus to get work done has been something I’ve been working to get sorted as my usual go to playlists haven’t really been doing the trick.
I have cut back my use of Apple Music streaming listening as a few months back I picked up a discounted set of months from Tidal and the Master quality with MQA decoding (or partial decoding) has been a real find and source of enjoyment for headphone or in ear monitors (IEMs). I’m still on trial with Amazon’s Music HD (which their Ultra HD, is similar, but not quite the quality of Tidal yet can still hear details of well recorded playing and hear the room) and trying to sort what I may do between the two services.
This past week I found Hans Zimmer’s soundtracks have been good fodder for focus listening that, for me, can fade into the background a bit yet still drive energy and focus for work forward. The “Interstellar”, “Inception”, and “Batman Begins” soundtracks had multiple plays on days without many meetings to work through some explainers I’m working on to shorten getting to understanding with people we’re trying to onboard into a complicated system nested in a world of complexities.
Spring foods (or one’s that really have me loving spring) are fading as spring onions (not green onions) were no longer in the farm fresh section of the grocery store. I am on my last bundle of them and using the last of them in Canadian bacon, garlic, shitake mushroom, spring onion, asparagus, and feta omelettes is planned. Also putting them in the black bean, Canadian bacon, mushroom, garlic, fresh grated tumeric breakfast bowl with soft fried eggs during the week may finish them before they go bad.
Over the last year or two I stumbled onto Ali Abdaal particularly Ali’s YouTube Channel and he covers a lot of productivity tools and focus. Ali shares his study techniques he picked up studying for medical exams at University of Cambridge where he studied and now for medical exams as a junior doctor near Cambridge. Ali share a lot of how to study insights and deep dives, which are mostly applied practical organization and productivity practices
Through Ali’s work I re-stumbled upon Tiago Forte and his work, which many of my long time practices (when I am in them deeply) are quite similar. A project / product I was helping about 10 years ago was trying to bring Tiago on to it as well and I started looking into his work and what he was sharing.
Well, this wraps a first weeknote. Let’s see if it there is one next week.
Be well. Stay safe. Peace be with you.
Marked as :: Books :: Food :: Personal :: Productivity :: Weeknote :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Weeknote # 1 - 26 April 2020 ]
I keep thinking I’m going to get back in the habit of writing here regularly, but something eats the time and attention I think I have set aside for writing (be it daily or every few days - daily is better for me as it sets a habit in place for me better then in a non-daily cadence).
I’m alive and well, which is good in these times. It is something people keep asking and I’ve rather sucked at responding to many direct queries, mostly because of time and attention / focus. My health is good (knock wood). Work is going and quite busy and bordering on hectic with many projects running concurrently and too many needed tabs open all with the same favicon (really people, this shouldn’t be a thing still in 2020, it should have been fixed in the early 2000s and was fixed and long past time to go back to that).
I’m back using an RSS reader somewhat regularly now that NetNewswire is a re-built from scratch thing again. One of the things I’m back really enjoying are the weekly updates from people I know (and miss conversations with). Finding what they are reading, working on, thinking about, eating, watching, etc. is something that quite often surfaces things I may have interest in. One of the things I’m continually lacking of late is good conversations that can go deep on many of the subjects I’m digging in and around. Between podcasts and personal blogs (quite often it is the weekly update) these sort of suffice or have become one-sided (as far as the party at the other end is concerned) conversations.
Marked as :: Personal :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Still Going ]
This past year has been an utter rush of good deep planning and strategy work, helping frame DevOps for potential use for digital developers and engineers for a large company. It is part of a longer path, but from mid-December last year to now it has been pretty much heads down of early stage planning, product selection, mapping transitions, and planning next stages and transitions that will follow. Other than a 3 day weekend here and there, I really haven’t had a break more than 3 days in this stretch.
I am so utterly grateful for this amazing opportunity to work and solve wonderfully complicated and complex problem sets. But, I may be even more utterly grateful and appreciative for a four day weekend for Thanksgiving. I haven’t need a break like this in a long stretch.
This Was a Slight Change of Known Plans
Last year as this started it was one of many long stretches of scrambling for work and projects, as the underlying market has been shifting a lot since the market crash in 2008 and the wild shifts that have followed. This project surface this time last year and was a scramble to see how quickly I could get in and starting to work on it. I had initially thought this was a 6 to 8 week project, but it has been so much more and has opened incredible doors of opportunity and older doors from long connections to pull things forward to current. Many things I started working on in the mid–2000s took a long time to gestate, but now is a really nice confluence of the rivers of thought and technical need converging.
This year I have lost track of some folks, but also reconnected with people who also were pushing the edges so many years ago. Now hoping to keep this trip going and pushing foundations and boundaries out and into place.
Marked as :: Personal :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Thankful for a Slight Break ]
Time passes and sometimes is wizzes. Of late it has been whizzing and I haven’t had time to visit here and leave a note for others, nor myself.
One of the things I realized when I search Google for something and end up here at my own site is this site needs some updating. I haven’t done a big change to much of anything since 2005 or so when I turned off comments. But, much of the code I wrote that runs all of the site is still the same or similar to when I turned it this blogging capability and then tweaked the UI about 9 months later in 2000.
One of the needs is I have a previous and next, but that is based on months and as you see I haven’t posted in months. I also need to paginate the categories pages as some of them are rather large (well in yesterday’s standards, but in today’s standards of using frameworks that are built poorly and widely used a Hullo World page can be a meg or more and say and show nothing). Along with fixing pagination I really would like to just show intros of posts on category pages so they are a bit easier to scan. It is also long past time to lose the .php extension on the pages. Also, I need to get https running again and for the whole site. Lastly, I need to update the underlying database and bring the scripting language up to something more current as much of the code is 18 years or more and still runs, even through I’ve updated PHP quite a few times.
Me? Currently I am well and quite busy on the work front with is a terrific change and pulling a lot of what I have done over the years into one focus, which is an absolute blast.
Marked as :: Personal :: v/d Wal Net Site Development :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Unritualistic Update ]
August in the Washington, DC area is commonly hot and humid (you know, temperatures in the 90s Fahrenheit and 120 percent humidity), the sort of weather that takes your breath away as you step outside. When I moved to the DC area in 1993 for grad school I loathed August with the oppressive heat and afternoon thunderstorms that become mini monsoons.
Some 25 years later, I’ve come to peace with August. I oddly enjoy the clinging heat. August drives nearly everyone who lives in the DC area out. They flee to the shore, see relatives in slightly cooler climes, travel to far off lands, or become stationary moving only to their front porch and not much farther. This change in population density and movement means treks in morning commutes can become magical as you make the 6.3 mile drive in 20 minutes by making every traffic light and for some stretches you are the only vehicle you see moving on the street.
Sure there are tourists who flock to tourist destinations and dawdle looking at the sights or stop with no warning to look at a map. Or, they just stand and have a conversation that consumes the full width of a sidewalk trying to figure out where Billy went (or some other child they didn’t pay attention to that has wandered off) or what type of food or museum will be next, which nobody agrees with. These tourist’s stalemate conversations are mini examples of what happens in Congress, but since Congress is out of session these micro moments are street-side examples of in-action in action of today’s Congress while Congress members are back in their districts, which these people left so to see Washington, DC and their Congress member in in-action.
What is most magical about August is running errands at your pace and leisurely shopping trips. The packed Little Red Hen on Saturday morning has you as the only person in line (okay, there is no line and you can just walk up to the counter and order, but not mentioning the word “line” could leave people confused, as it apparently is part of the “experience”). You can quickly grab a leisurely coffee and walk a few doors up to Politics & Prose to look around as the only customer walking around looking at the what is on offer.
The drive home is at a leisurely pace (this needs to be self-enforced as the usual traffic isn’t there, which usually helps pace you at a non-speed camera inducing speed) is enjoyable. There aren’t people driving with their head in the backseat trying to calm children, or trying to incite them to over achieve at their soccer practice they are running late to.
The August abandonment of the DC burbs means not going away is sublimely enjoyable. But, keep in mind it is only three to four weeks of this tranquility before the 20 minute sauntering commute in the morning returns to its usual hour of halting frustration. The quiet idyllic wandering in book store aisles will return to bumping and constantly being in somebody’s way or someone in yours as you peruse the shelves as if shopping inside a pinball machine.
Ah, August, you have become far too short over the years.