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Week of 2023-02-12

📷 Photography

I took a few pictures every morning this week. It was pretty cold all week long, and we spent more time moving than looking around, but one morning in particular was gorgeous. There was frost on everything as we entered the floodplain natural area. The sun began to peek through a little as we walked, and by the time we came back the same way ten minutes later, the frost was disappearing.

Frost on red rosehips  at dawn.

I'm beginning to think I need to just do a photo safari somewhere soon. There's always something to see in the neighborhood and on the familiar routes, but I could do for more people and motion and new things.

✏️ Writing

We published the quick start guide this week. It is satisfying to see it in the world. I wrote about it a little on my main blog:

My favorite writing during my time on LinuxToday, LinuxPlanet, and Practically Networked all involved writing howtos and little tutorials, and my biggest contribution to the Puppet docs was a getting started guide on Hiera. It took months to learn enough Puppet to learn enough Hiera to explain it credibly, and it was all fun.

I enjoy learning how something works then writing that down with an eye to helping other people along, and it turns out that’s a useful skill to have for everything from telling people what that button does when you click it to explaining and directing an organizational design change for a 200-person R&D organization.

When I get the "what's your super power" interview question, I don't mention writing enough.

I remember the first time I ever got 3,000 words into a piece of writing I started meaning to change everyone's mind, then abandoned not because everybody else was right (they still weren't) but because I was wrong.

At first I felt something like chagrin and frustration, but then I realized I'd actually learned a lot and was thinking about the problem in such a way that I could become right. And did. And wrote another 3,000 words about that and got to be victorious.

Once I got over some profound hangups about writing in college it became something I could do well both in terms of the quality of the writing, and in terms of the mental staying power it requires.

One of my philosophy professors had a finals system that involved getting three essay questions on Monday for which you could prepare for Friday's final. You could come and take the allotted two hours to write one essay by hand on the question of his choice in his classroom on Friday, or you could write all three that week and just hand him the one he asked for. I preferred to just write the three.

It's a fine line being a writer in a non-writing world, or working among people who don't value it. You can end up being That Guy if you don't watch it. But even if you never send a single essay-length email or write an epic RFC, the time spent writing about whatever the non-writers are going to force you to talk through or "write about" in a terse email thread and keeping it to yourself is valuable. You may not be That Guy for carpet-bombing everyone with words, but you can be That Guy for the much better distinction of having infuriatingly thought the goddamn problem through better than anyone else.

I'm glad writing is something I can "just do."

📚 Reading

I seem to have abandoned Shards of Earth. More books came in from the library and I got distracted. So I seem to be reading five things and nothing because each of them got a chapter or two.

🕹️ Gaming

I downloaded Quake for the PS4 on a whim. I remember when Quake came out partly because it was a "big" download for the time and my DSL installer insisted it was an excellent test of download speeds for that reason. But also because it seemed so smooth and polished and the graphics seemed so awesome.


But that caused me to wonder about the Doom remake, so I downloaded that thinking I'd play for a bit and set it aside.

I had a roommate at Fort Bragg who got super into Doom in its PS1 incarnation, and that got weird. He became insistent the game had "a message" that he was going to decipher because it contained "wisdom" of a kind he could not specify but was sure was there. That made it hard for me to really want to have much to do with Doom, because my strongest association with the game has nothing to do with the actual game -- just the weird, religious glow in my roommate's eyes as he talked about The Message and its Wisdom.

I have not picked up on any such thing, but I have put some hours into it.

One particular platforming sequence infuriated me so badly that I wouldn't put the controller down and walk away until I got it right. There have been a few progressive challenges like that along the way, and now I guess I'm just sort of into Doom because I am able to eventually get through whatever kills me 79 times first.

⚙️ Organization

What a disjointed, weird week. I want to write about my job search and general life organization in some sort of long-form "here's a way to do some things in Obsidian that could be a job search or could be anything" but I wasn't doing much of that this week.

I think it had to do with my health stuff, which continues to trend positively, but which caused some quiet part of me to say "you should take a breather, onboard this new situation, and get back in the game when it feels fully metabolized."

I also poked at a few Obsidian plugins to help with organizational stuff and came across two things:

  • One of them hadn't had a commit in 18 months. No number of YouTuber Obsidian influencers can convince me to use code that stale on a project moving that fast.
  • One of them had a note that said something like "These docs might be wrong because they were proactively updated for version 2.0 of this project, which is radically different from version 1.x.y," which "no thanks" right out of the gate, but also another codebase that hadn't been touched in a year.

I'm not going to complain. It's amateur open source from people who scratch an itch and move on -- maybe those two are passionate Evernote influencers by now -- but the projects I prize the most are the ones that do some curation of third-party content.

The difference between Drupal and Joomla back in the day, for instance, was the difference between knowing third-party content had been vetted and security tested or simply tossed on the sidewalk for anyone to eat. Joomla's lousy policies ended up keeping me up until two in the morning running down the source of a botnet on a client's sites.

So nothing new there.

🫥 How are you feeling?

Better this week than last. I moved to full doses of my medication this week after two weeks of gradual onboarding. That's meant my symptoms have improved some, and the relevant metrics are all moving into an acceptable zone.

That's balanced out a little by job search stuff. It is very quiet out there.

But overall ... feeling good.

February 17, 2023 12:06 PM