Shoutout to the sweet elderly couple who mistook me for a bear on my lunch run (the lady shrieked) for the title of this post. I never thought this would be how I become a danger to my community, but here we are.
The two-weeks-old experiment of journaling daily in Day One has been going well. The biggest benefit so far is I feel less stressed about making posts like this one complete (and y’all will thankfully be spared the TMI). I keep the Day One entries mostly bullet-point and fact-based, which removes a lot of the pressure of Writing a Proper Journal Entry which means I actually write things down. Sometimes they start short, but then I start dumping unprocessed feelings and *blink* an hour’s gone and I have two thousand words down, whoops. Is this … journaling? 🤷♂️🦋
Anyway, I’m enjoying it so far. Not that I haven’t had proof of this already, but it tells me again that for a habit to stick I need it to be 1) easy to initiate and 2) low pressure. Speaking of habits…
⏰ Habit Tracking
OK I’m hooked. I get it now. I should’ve been doing this for many years. Loop Habit (Android) is amazing because it doesn’t guilt me with streaks and its UI just gets out of the way.
So far it’s gotten me to read a little bit before starting work in the morning, meditate more, and rotate LastPass passwords (mostly) daily.
Finished Harry and Meghan. Learned just how bonkers the relationship is between the British tabloids and the Royals. This show seems to have been review-bombed on IMDB, ’cause it’s way better than a 4.8/10.
Finished S1 of Formula 1. Despite the *ahem* formulaic structure, still enjoying the soapy drama of rich dudes obsessing over their go karts. Almost done with S2! Raced through this one. 🥁
3/4 eps into Meltdown. Recommendation from the Learning from Incidents newsletter. I loved Chernobyl, and this show also satisfies my morbid curiosity about nuclear disasters without subjecting me to the more graphic of their consequences (yet?). I don’t need that trauma. Speaking of trauma,
The Last of Us is out! I’ve been psyched for this, so psyched that I started keeping a thread on Masto with my random thoughts about the show as it comes out. “As it comes out”, not “as I watch it”, because you’re damn right I’m watching it at 9:01pm ET every Sunday. I’ve played the game a few times, so know all the major beats, but really enjoying the adaptation and the accompanying podcasts. Glad that C is along for this soulful sufferfest too.
The Climb. I “lost a little respect there” for Chris Sharma, the main host of the show, just as he uttered that phrase to a competitor who was just being safe and pragmatic and following the rules instead of living some unspoken pro climber ideal. I generally dislike the Survivor format, but did see myself in the mental struggles of some of the competitors (❤️ Tiffany + Maisa). It’s totally casual/recreational for me, but I’m too close to the sport to quit watching. Venga!
C and I spent the week between Christmas and New Year in Montreal with a day trip to Quebec City. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us over the years. It’s quiet, calm, and charming.
We got on the big Ferris wheel (La Grande Roue de Montreal)!
In Quebec we rode the sled behind Chateau Frontenac, which is always fun, but also tends to have a long wait (about an hour) at exactly the time we usually get there. C ended up catching a cold :(
We don’t have any goals for these trips other than just to rest. We wake up late and move at our own pace. I find this incredibly recharging, especially after a typically frantic end of year at work. To recover I just need a) a change of scenery, b) no plans or expectations, c) time.
I want to revisit and update them throughout the year, so they are going on their own separate page. Starting with a rough, incomplete list.
Journaling, Mood Tracking, Habits
After seeing them get mentioned in the Remotely Interesting newsletter, trying out Daylio and Day One. I have a private WordPress install that I’ve been using to journal, but it’s been inconsistent. Hoping the convenience and better ergonomics of these apps helps me stay on track.
I haven’t used habit-tracking apps in the past, preferring to just create recurring daily todo items. I don’t want to do most of my habits every single day, though, so I’m trying out Loop Habits, which is free, clean, and supports “X times a week or month” recurrences. I can now have a “practice guitar three times a week” goal and it doesn’t bug me every day.
Enjoying Orba 2. The Android app is really buggy, though, and doesn’t actually store loops, it seems. I was able to just use the voice recorder app to save my very first loop, but now WordPress isn’t letting me upload it. That’s probably for the best.
Can’t proceed with the piano course on Yousician because I need at least three octaves at level 2 and my minilab only has two. Gonna set that aside for now and just focus on guitar and the music theory Udemy course.
Got some new gear
Replaced my decade-old wired M500 mouse with a Logitech MX Master 3S to reduce the amount of wires on my desk. I’m noticing that the messiness has a tangibly negative impact on my ability to concentrate. I’m happy with the mouse! The wireless technology has gotten a lot better. Last time I tried a wireless mouse was probably a decade ago and it would literally stop working if someone was using a microwave nearby.
Replaced my aging Sony earbuds with Soundcore/Anker Life P3i. It’s a much cheaper pair, but I like the form factor and they fit better. I had to buy separate tips for the Sonys, and then needed to take them off before putting them in the case to charge (they wouldn’t fit otherwise).
both seasons of The White Lotus. Most entertained I’ve been by “a bunch of folks are on vacation” premise.
four episodes in S1 of Formula 1: Drive to Survive. C and I enjoy the manbaby drama while equally being horrified by these psychos.
started Harry and Meghan today. I don’t know anything about the royal family, but C recommended this, and I’m curious. Liking it so far!
Nothing. And instead of buying games from my wishlist that are on sale, I … deleted a bunch of games off my wishlist. I’m just gonna buy them at full price if I really want to play them. Perhaps this will encourage me to actually work through my backlog of unplayed games I bought during previous sales?
The workweek after the trip was a mess. Half of it was playing catch-up, and the other thrashing about trying to juggle twenty things, significantly moving forward none. I realize now that I started the week without a clear intention. It was just about “catching up” and “seeing where the different projects are”, which put me in a reactive state, open to all sorts of interruptions. I mostly helped others with their work. By the time the weekend rolled around I was feeling used up. Refilling my cup took all the effort, so this post didn’t happen.
I felt pretty awful Sunday night going into this last week. I knew I needed a reset of some kind. The trigger was a one-on-one meeting I had with my manager who, after I asked if the way that I help my team works for them, wisely redirected the question to me: “does it work for you?” I’m constantly deprioritizing my own projects in favour of those that I think others expect me to support. I’m getting better, but still struggle to know when to jump in to help and when to let folks find their own way.
I made a couple of small adjustments to my home brew Trello-based todo system so it always shows:
My top priorities. These are the big projects and fuzzy work that’s important but tempting to postpone.
Snacks. These are small items that aren’t critical. Having them in a list lets me both avoid them when I’m trying pick the next most pressing thing to do and also pick one up when I just need a quick win.
I’ve found it easier to stay focused last week. Even just enumerating my top priorities has helped me settle. Like, “phew, I have enough important work on my plate. I don’t need to do more.”
Will Larson’s recent post on Reminiscing—retreating to areas where one’s had impact in the past— serendipitously popped up in my feed. I’m constantly feeling that pull, especially when I feel I’m not being effective in the work that I actually should be doing.
Speaking of reminiscing, C told me about High School, a TV show based on the namesake years of Tegan and Sara. Tegan and Sara! This Business of Art and If It Was You have been mainstays on my minidisc and later Zen Micro players in university. More recently, Heartthrob accompanied C and I on road trips to Montreal.
Anyway, I binged the entire season, pausing to do pharmacy and food runs for C who’s fighting off a virus. Our dishwasher going on strike meant picking up its slack while listening to Crybaby on repeat. Having no plans this weekend resulted in The Great Devouring of two months of their incredible Substack and watching probably too many YouTube interview videos. No regrets.
Enjoying Andor. Despite the annoying main character I like the (slightly) more mature take on the Star Wars universe. The lack of Jedi woo-woo and the spy-thriller doublespeak between rebels who’ve infiltrated the empire makes for a show much more intriguing than the rescue-and-escort missions that are Obiwan and The Mandalorian.
Reworked my backups setup a couple of weeks back. I had Duplicati running on my Unraid NAS in the past, but it kept corrupting or not being able to finish backups. Replaced with Kopia + Healthchecks.io for monitoring.
Spent a bit more time than usual practicing guitar this week. Learning movable chords on Yousician, where you have to barre three strings with the ring finger, such as C and D. This has been pretty challenging as my ring finger doesn’t actually bend at the distal knuckle. I’ve got a long way to go to make these chords sound good, but progress is being made!
The Stoke™ is still high post-Red Rocks, so climbing indoors has actually been more fun than usual. I find I have a bit more confidence and can push myself just a bit further before giving up. Flashed a couple of 11a’s last weekend, which hasn’t happened in years!
Running has decreased, on the other hand. I don’t have any more goals for the rest of the season after doing the half-marathon recently, and my knee’s been bothering me a bit since then, so now it’s just about maintenance until springtime.