She'd gone to school for years to study library science. He didn't see how it could be so complicated. It seemed like a hoax.
J.D. Daniels, "Letter from Devils Tower," The Correspondence
She'd gone to school for years to study library science. He didn't see how it could be so complicated. It seemed like a hoax.
J.D. Daniels, "Letter from Devils Tower," The Correspondence
Well, that was interesting.
I logged in to Liz’s account to back up her home directory to my Lacie portable drive.
While there, I thought, “Let’s see if Time Machine will back up to the Time Capsule from here.”
Apparently, it did. Although it reported the copying stopped with an error, it was a different error than the one I’ve been seeing in my account. But the backup was marked as complete and verified.
So – we have a Time Machine backup! Getting one was a top priority, though I thought it would happen on the new external drive first.
(I bought an external drive yesterday but have not unboxed and plugged it in yet. Life. Don’t talk to me about Life.)
The lesson here may be that my account has too much cruft, both on disk and in RAM, that hinders an effective TM backup. My account is due for a scrub-up: deleting unused apps and Library subfolders, mainly. But it’s total guesswork whether this would do any good; magical thinking, more like.
Tonight, I purchased a two-year subscription to Backblaze and installed it. It’s got a more Mac-like UI than Crashplan did and started immediately. I like its default settings so far. It is backing up files as I type.
To be continued!
I had a full-sized wired aluminum Mac keyboard for years. I used it with the MacBook and later with the iMac.
After the 2015 break-in, the police came and did that thing that reassures homeowners but that rarely yields usable results: dusting for fingerprints.
That left me with a Mac keyboard that not only had a few letters (notably the "N" key) wearing off, but that sported coal-dust looking smudges over half the surface.
I got a Bluetooth Magic Keyboard with the new iMac after the burglary. It was OK but I never really got comfy with it. Its connection to the Mac would drop suddenly, or it would have trouble connecting on startup. I also thought the smaller size made typing feel cramped.
So I continued using the smudged, fading full-size keyboard. Which, because it was wired, took up one of the USB slots on the back of my new iMac.
For whatever reason, change is in the air. I heard Merlin Mann talk -- was it on Mac Power Users? -- about using a Bluetooth keyboard that with the touch of a button let him type on his MacBook, his iPad, or his iPhone. I finally tired of seeing this smudgy, fading keyboard. And I realized that I really envied the backlit keyboards; I tend to like having reduced light in my office in the evenings, and a backlit keyboard would make night-time writing and keying much more comfortable.
I went with the Wirecutter's recommendation of the Logitech K811 and it has so far proved an excellent purchase. I had thought about getting a Matias aluminum keyboard with backlighting, but decided to go with the cheaper option first; if I didn't like it, then I could justify spending more money for a demonstrably better keyboard.
Some notes on the K811:
I will keep the Magic Keyboard as a backup keyboard in case the K811 goes south for some reason. But for daily use on the iMac and occasional use on the iPad, the K811 has proven its worth.
Here's my plan, such as it is:
I'm using Joe Kissell's Backing Up Your Mac ebook as a guide for planning and thinking through the local backups.
At the start of Awareness, Anthony deMello shares the secret divulged by all mystics of all faiths,
[A]ll is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.
I started writing a little list of various troubles – not great ones, but small ones – afflicting me at the moment:
If deMello is right – and let’s assume he is – then all is well.
My job, my computer, my office, my finances, my health – they are my nightmare. They are real and cause anxiety only as long as I am in the dream.
But don’t they call out to me? Don’t I have these serious feelings to let me know that action must be taken?
Maybe. I find myself saying “We’ll see” a lot more lately.
Sometimes the best thing to do in an emergency, is nothing. My external drive is flaking probably because of something I tried without knowing what would happen.
First – particularly when we’re dealing with the physical world – do no harm. Don’t make things worse by taking unnecessary, thoughtless, fearful reactive action. If what looks to be a problem is just a nightmare, I could be making things worse.
One of my coaches, Mary Schiller, posted a video emphasizing one of her basic points: don’t take your thinking seriously. Don’t take your feelings personally. Our experience of life is bigger than our little thoughts, bigger than our overwhelming feelings.
Don’t get stuck there.
As deMello says later in that passage,
Waking up is unpleasant. It’s irritating to be woken up…Even the best psychologist will tell you that, that people don’t really want to be cured. What they want is relief; a cure is painful.
So how am I dealing with these – let’s call them “situations”?
I am copying the files that can be copied from my external drive to my iMac. I will go to work tomorrow. I will put a few things away to keep my office tidy.
When I don’t engage with the nightmare and fret about how awful it is, ideas come to me in the quiet. I try them out. I get more ideas.
I wake up a little before going back to sleep.
Durham NC got about 8-11 inches of snow today. Here’s a shot from our backyard (taken by Liz) this afternoon and from our front porch this evening.
After I renewed my Crashplan subscription last August, they announced, bless their hearts, they were leaving the consumer space to focus on business-only plans.
The Crashplan folks have generally been derided and criticized for that, but let’s count our blessings.
Crashplan had a functional, unlovely interface; still, it also sported a few features that other vendors did not have and it was rock-sl. So, moving to a new vendor will involve trade-offs.
My use cases for online backup are few: back up all my key documents (mainly my Documents and Photos folders), always be on in the background to upload new or changed files, and easy download or restoration of files.
Crashplan has worked in the background for the past 5 or so years. Once I set it up, I left it alone and never touched it again. I only really ever needed to recover files using Crashplan one time. But that one time was the Black Swan, the big event no one is expecting that has outsized consequences.
That event was the 2015 burglary of our house where the bad guys stole my MacBook and my wife’s laptop, among other small items.
Yes, I had a Time Machine backup … but we now had no Mac devices of any kind in the house.
I bought a Chromebook and was able to log in through Crashplan’s web interface to download and find information we needed. We were also able to download a zip file of specific files from my wife’s account to her Windows work laptop so she had her most-needed files at her fingertips.
When I bought an iMac as the new home computer, I installed Crashplan immediately and it is running to this day. I’ve never had to open it for any reason.
Based on my use pattern, this is a service I will interact with very little once I have set it up. If I need something right away, then I’ll have Time Machine (if I ever get the blamed Time Capsule working again) or a bootable backup. But I feel more comfortable knowing that, in the case of another Black Swan, I have a safety net.
Liz and I have an informal tradition of going to a local bakery/deli place for
breakfast when there’s a federal holiday. It featured coffee urns in the center of the dining area where patrons could refill their cups.
As the bakery is across the street from Duke's East Campus, I'm sure people camped out at a table all day with free wi-fi for the price of a single bottomless cup of coffee.
The place just reopened after a few weeks of renovation. On ordering, we discovered that the “bottomless” cup of coffee was gone. Coffees are now refilled by the counter staff -- and refills are $1.
The coffee instantly tasted less good.
I can't say I blame the establishment for the policy change. Were I in their business, I'd probably do the same thing.
Nevertheless, we’re now looking for a new breakfast joint.
The key tool for me will be a weight-tracking chart made with pen and graph paper.
The chart format is described in the 1975 book Total Fitness in 30 Minutes a Week by Laurence E. Morehouse and Leonard Gross (long out of print). I first heard of this book through Mark Forster’s article.
The goal of the chart is to help you track losing a pound a week. This is a sustainable and non-superhuman rate of loss that should, we hope, prevent feelings of deprivation and will-power stuggles.
Here’s how Morehouse presents the graph in his book:
That line determines your weight control program. My graph runs from 1/13 to 2/20, about 5 weeks. Every day I weigh myself, my weight will be above, below, or on the control line. For fractions of a pound, round up or down to the nearest half-pound.
Morehouse describes the protocol:
Morehouse makes the point that your daily weight will of course fluctuate for any number of reasons; some we can control, some we cannot. But for the purposes of this exercise, treat the weight as true and adjust accordingly. As Morehouse says,
We pay attention to the scale, particularly since it’s such a good source of motivation, but we don’t take it too seriously.
If you’re above the line for several days in a row, then it ain’t the weather; do what you need to do to bring your weight below the line. But if you’re below the line, hooray! Take advantage of the fluctuation.
Keep tracking your weight in this way till you reach your target weight. In my case I’d like to be 195 lbs. So, if all goes well, I’ll get there sometime in mid-May.
There are spreadsheets out there (the Hacker’s Diet being one) that track one’s weight daily and smoothe out the fluctuations. And any app store is lousy with weight trackers.
So why use pen and paper? For one thing, I like looking at the chart and seeing how long this will take. It reminds me that sustainable weight loss is a slow process – slower than I’d like, frankly. But whenever I’ve tried to lose faster than this, I would rebound to some degree.
Making the chart involves me in the process and updating it every morning is also more active than simply typing my weight into an app. When I record the weight and note its position relative to the control line, I immediately begin planning my day’s eating and activities.
What do I do when I’m over the line? When I figure it out myself, I will post it here!
James Cary, writer of numerous UK radio and TV sitcoms and of the excellent Sitcom Geek blog and of the Kindle ebook Writing That Sitcom, is also a co-host with writer Dave Cohen of the Sitcom Geeks podcast. The man is about sitcoms.
Their podcast has just posted a two-part interview with the brilliant Graham Linehan, of Father Ted and IT Crowd fame. It’s now queued in Overcast on my iPhone and I can’t wait to listen.
I have paid for Herbalife, Diet Center (where I had to weigh in weekly and eat at least one large salad and one large apple a day), protein shakes, meal-replacement shakes, olive oil to do the Shangri-La Diet, lots of chicken breasts and veg for the South Beach Diet, lots of chicken, beans, and eggs for the Slow-Carb Diet, lots of potatoes for the Potato Hack, and a nutrition consultant, who is the only one who did me any real good – I lost 17 lbs. under her tutelage.
I have always been a fat kid and a plump adult. At one point in my 20s, I joined a gym and weighed in at about 250 lbs. I’m 6’3", so some people were kind enough to say I carried it well, but still…I knew I could look and feel better.
At my lowest, I weighed 195 lbs., but I was so stressed out by the seeming chaos of my life at the time that I could not enjoy it.
I have purchased and read over my adult life maybe 25–40 books and ebooks on diet and eating.
There is always a new twist on old thinking, new takes on old food, and new perspectives on the bizarre problem of a fat society in a starving world. I am convinced now, based on the current science and thinking, that exercise is good for the body and the metabolism, but eating is what controls your weight.
There is a great little formula I picked up from somewhere on the ’Net:
For the last several years, I’ve settled on a few basics:
I sustained a weight of 203 lbs for most of 2017, till we travelled for two weeks through Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, PEI, and Grand Pre. We ate out for most of our meals, like you do.
I weighed 207 lbs when we returned in July and I could never get below that. With the gorgings of the holiday season just past – plus all the foodstuffs given to us and to each other as gifts – my weight has not gone below 210 lbs.
In the next post, I’ll lay out my current plan.
I went to the Y and aerobics classes in the ’80s, used the weight machines with my gym memberships in the ’90s, bought a NordicTrack, went to yoga classes, bought my own set of dumbbells, bought a dozen exercise tapes and DVDs, and I don’t know what all.
Since about 2007 or so, I settled on using kettlebells as my primary resistance and cardio fitness tool. After sustaining a shoulder injury using them in a group class setting, I now meet with a trainer every couple of months so she can correct my form and write out custom routines. While I like classes for some things, I prefer one-on-one coaching with the kettlebells – it’s too easy to hurt myself otherwise.
I had a pretty good kbell routine last fall, but a cold and then a cough that wouldn’t go away stopped me. One of my rules is to not work out when my body is fighting illness.
My method for starting or restarting a new routine is to take it slow. The goal for my current routine is to do 5 sets of exercises with a 35 lb. kettlebell. So tonight I did 2 sets with a 25 lb. bell. Next time I’ll do 3, and so on. When I’ve done a week or two of 5 full sets with 25 lbs. using excellent form, then I’ll start the 35 lb. bell with 1 or 2 sets and work my way up again.
After a six-week layoff, re-establishing the habit and routine of exercise is more important to me than hitting a weight or rep target. Planning which evenings I’ll exercise (I prefer exercising at home after work), setting up the space, doing my warm-ups – getting back into the rhythm of all of that is crucial.
Along with this vigorous exercise, I need to go back to walking more regularly (my FitBit daily goal is 10,000 steps, which I hardly ever hit in winter) and adding some sprints once or twice a week.
I also want to get back to a regular yoga routine. I sit so much during my days while the kettlebell work shortens the muscles. So stretching those muscles and realigning my posture 2–3 times a week is important as I enter my late 50s.
On my iMac, I’ve used the Chrome browser for many many years. This was an artifact of my using a Chromebook immediately after the 2015 break-in; it served as my primary computer for quite a while. Even after I got this here iMac, Chrome remained my preferred browser since I used it on both platforms.
Over that time, I’ve tricked out Chrome with just the extensions I want and I’ve gotten used to how it works.
With the arrival of the iPad Pro, I decided to give Safari on macOS another try. I believe in shaking up my routines now and then, and I wanted to see if using Safari made a difference.
I liked the Handoff of bookmarks between the macOS and iOS, and using Safari on the iPad is a great experience for me. I may try the Chrome iOS browser but feel no great need to do so.
However, Safari and I did not hit it off on the iMac. I was able to roughly reproduce my Speedial setup using Safari bookmark folders, but it felt clumsy to me. I did not notice that Safari was any faster than Chrome.
But what I really missed were the extensions and customizations. I am very used to the bookmarklets lining my Chrome toolbar to email a link to myself, run a site search, add a bookmark to Pinboard, and many other things. I could not reproduce this easily in Safari.
But the killer extension for me on Chrome is Video Speed Controller. Since videos now rule the web, and I tend now to do my at-home tech training via video rather than reading, I like the control of speeding up, slowing down, and skipping through a video with simple keystrokes. Not just on YouTube, either, most any HTML5 video.
I could not reproduce this functionality in Safari. And I did not see the sense in running Safari for everything except video when video is ubiquitous.
So I’ve gone back to Chrome on the iMac and feel much more comfortable. Thus endeth the experiment.
The course was titled “Make A 5-Minute Documentary in 7 Weeks” but it was almost seven months before I uploaded my Teacher documentary to YouTube.
Here are some notes on the experience.
The People’s Channel
The class was held at The People’s Channel in Chapel Hill, where we learned the basics of using a Panasonic AC90 camera, recording video and sound, using an extra microphone, unpacking and packing the tripod, and so on. The class fee included an Individual Membership to TPC for a year, allowing us to check out the camera and use TPC’s iMacs for video editing.
All TPC asked in return was 1) don’t break anything and 2) the privilege of showing the documentary you made using their equipment. They include many of these short films about people and the community in their program rotations alongside their longer-form programming.
Shooting the Video
I shot all the footage in a single weekend. J. Michael Pope, the subject of the documentary, happened to be performing at a church that Sunday with one of his students. He also arranged lessons in his studio with four of his students that I filmed almost in their entirety. Plus, we did a 30-minute interview.
By the end of that weekend, I had about 8 hours of video. This is where it’s easy to intimidate yourself. How was I going to create a 5-minute video out of all that footage? Where do I even start?
Local video artist and potter Jason Abide taught the class and passed along some good tips.
Final Cut Pro X
Shooting footage is easy; editing it into a product is hard. For the 7-week class, fully 5 weeks were spent coming to grips with Final Cut Pro, a struggle that lasted for months.
Despite Jason’s advice to keep it simple and just cut, “simple” and “Final Cut Pro” do not go together.
The trouble here was that, in addition to figuring out what we wanted to say with our movies, we also struggled with learning the basics of how to make Final Cut Pro X do anything. We could see in our minds’ eye what we wanted the finished product to look like, but FCPX did not make it easy for us to realize them.
Aside from the overwhelmingly busy interface, there’s also the FCPX nomenclature. I still do not know the difference between libraries, events, and projects and those are basic concepts in FCPX.
My Sad Sad Story, Boo-Hoo
I could possibly have bought FCPX for my iMac, but I did not want to pay $300 for an application I did not expect to use again.
This meant using the iMacs at TPC.
Trouble #1: they were only open till 7pm a few nights of the week, and I work first-shift. I could have rearranged my schedule but the work upheavals that drove me to take the class also compelled me to stay close to the office.
Trouble #2: the only other time TPC was open was Saturday from 10am–2pm. So I had a four-hour window once a week during which I would have to relearn how to use FCPX, reacquaint myself with my footage, and try to make some sort of visible progress.
Trouble #3: Sometimes TPC would be closed on Saturday! After the second time this happened, I sent myself an automated reminder every Friday to call TPC and check their Saturday schedule. This saved me wasted trips a couple of times.
So my hands-on time with the footage was limited and there would be some occasions, such as when we went on vacation, where I’d be gone for weeks at a time. Whatever momentum I’d built up would be long gone. Hence the months needed for editing.
I did not start drinking coffee till my mid to late 20s at my first job. My bad nightowl habits, along with the early days of David Letterman’s late night show, meant I was usually sleepy the next day.
My doctor recommended drinking one cup of coffee in the morning and one after lunch to wake me up. “Treat it like a drug,” he said. “Not as a beverage or a dessert.”
That advice lasted for a little while, bless him. It was not long before coffee became my go-to drink of choice.
Herbal teas I never quite got the hang of; too fruity, most of them. And Earl Grey and the other black teas were not that tasty to me, either.
But coffee, that usually hit the spot. Except at night. I could drink decaf in the evening, sure, but even so – I was always a little suspicious that it had a little caffeine in it.
Several years ago, I read some blogger trying to wean himself off caffeine. He touted a product called Teeccino, an "herbal coffee" beverage he was using a coffee-substitute.
The local Whole Foods carried it and I tried it. It has since become one of my favorite hot evening beverages, along with peppermint or ginger teas (my tastes have expanded, thank you).
Teeccino is made from a blend of chicory, dates, figs, etc. and is totally herbal without caffeine. What I like about Teeccino is that it’s thicker and more flavorful than the usual herbal teas; you brew it, rather like you brew a cup of coffee. I rotate among my preferred favors of Hazelnut, Mocha, and Java. With a splash of half-and-half and a bit of sugar, a cup of Teeccino strikes a very comforting note for me, especially in these dark winter months.
The only trouble with Teeccino is that it’s finely ground, and our tea ball’s mesh did not keep the grounds out of the drink. I’d tried using a gold filter cone, which worked OK but only OK; the water took a while to seep through and the cone was a mess to clean out.
What has taken my Teeccino experience to the next level is a wonderful Christmas gift from Liz: a Finum brewing basket.
The basket sits in the cup, the cover keeps the beverage hot as it steeps, hardly any grounds or sludge seep out into the cup, and cleanup is a breeze.
Teeccino and the Finum brewing basket: Highly Recommended.
Sorry for the horrible "diarizing" in the title, but the word fits for now.
In addition to this blog, on which I'm aiming to make a daily post of some kind, I'm also recording the days in the fifth year of a 5-year diary (many, many gaps of white space in previous years), and am playing with the 1-Second Everyday video app on my iPhone.
Each medium contains a different message, as it were. The blog is the stuff I clean up and show to people, the diary holds some minutiae of the day (weather, errands done, people met, movies seen), and the video app records a blink of visual time. Two days ago, I shot a second of our still fully lit and decorated Christmas tree from my chair in the living room. Today, I shot a second of the bare tree lying on our snowy curb.
Each medium forces me to think a bit differently about what is worth remembering. They are all, in some way, about paying attention. I wonder what I will see.
In the world's neverending quest to quantify, there is the concept of the "four-quadrant movie." I'm sure there are demographic breakdowns like this for any industry, and this may serve as a simple heuristic for making quck decisions, but geez -- isn't it also a Procrustean bed?
Liz and I recently saw Darkest Hour and The Shape of Water. Neither of which I think would appeal much to quadrants 1 and 2 (men and women under 25 years old). There is no quadrant for "popcorn-worthy movie," which seems to be the basis of our movie-going decisions.
Quietly beautiful portraits of women against a backdrop of mazes, flowers, and William Morris-inspired wallpaper patterns. This kind of work thrills me -- that it's by a self-taught artist, that it's something I've never seen before. [UK Guardian]
<img src="http://tempblogfood.files.wordpress.com/2019/08/375f0-sofia.jpg" alt="" />
I have tried various technological or mental gizmos over the years to help me fall and stay asleep: white noise machines, small fans, mantras, working my way through the alphabet naming flowers or birds or superheroes, or tensing and relaxing my body from the feet up.
A few months back, I tried something different and I now tend to fall asleep and get back to sleep more quickly.
It's not a new idea by any means: I listen to music through my Bluetooth headset as I go to sleep. If I wake in the night, I simply put the music back on and away I doze.
Two keys that make this work for me: the music and the hardware.
What came first was the music. I don't know why music works for me; it could be that the music distracts the busy analytical part of my mind enough so the sleepy part can shut everything down.
In my iTunes music library, I created a playlist folder called "Zleep" (it sorts to the bottom) and in it, I have playlists for the following:
And that's it. When I go to bed, I pick whichever playlist stands out and crawl under the covers. If I get up in the night, I'll simply start playing it again.
The other key to making this work for me is my LG HBS-730 Bluetooth headset. I've had these for so long the button locations are in my muscle memory.
I use a bit of black tape to cover up the blinking blue light. Whenever I wake in the night and want to hear the music again, I simply press the Play button and the active playlist starts right up.
I like this "collar" style of headset for sleeping. It does not obstruct my head movement and does not get in my way. I sleep on my side, so it's easy to magnetically dock an earbud when I'm sleeping on that side.
My sleeping problems seem to be 90 percent licked. The waking-up-and-not-raring-to-go-in-the-morning problem is still there, but these things take time.
I just finished boiling about 5 lbs. of red potatoes, eyes and blemishes removed but much of the skin intact.
They're now sitting in two good-sized containers in the fridge. I'll carry one of them to work tomorrow and those cold potatoes, with a bit of salt, are all I'll eat till suppertime, when I eat a normal meal with my wife.
That style of cold-potato eating is called PBD -- or "Potatoes by Day" -- as found in Tim Steele's book The Potato Hack. The book is quite well-written, with a dip into an 1880's article on the efficacy of potato diets, the history of potatoes, the science of potatoes, and recipes.
The actual Potato Hack is eating only cold or reheated potatoes for 3 days straight. Some people can lose from a quarter to a half pound a day on this regimen.
I've tried the hack twice and could only make it a day and half before I caved. Despite cutting the experiment short, I lost 3 pounds on the first hack, so I will testify to its weight-loss effect. Unfortunately, I was also swept away by incredible hunger pangs and thoughts of food distracted me for hours.
For whatever reason, I find the PBD variation easier to deal with. In communication with Steele on his web site, he suggested I vary up the potatoes for different times of day or meals. So cold boiled potatoes for lunch, perhaps, with maybe baked potatoes or baked russet wedges alongside mashed Yukon golds for supper. I've not tried that but it's a good idea.
The goal of the hack is not to eat only potatoes for ever and ever, though there's a guy who kept a video diary on YouTube where he ate only spuds for an entire year. Yikes. The goal is simply to "reset" your digestive system, give it a break from the standard American diet, and then go on with your life. The way I use the PBD hack is to establish a stable eating habit during the early part of the week, when my will power is strongest and when I can leverage the power of routine. Even if I don't lose any weight, I can easily maintain where I am.
One of the first things people ask me when I talk about the hack is, "I thought potatoes were high on the glycemic index and the starch turns to sugar in your body."
That was my belief too. But Steele makes the point in his book that, while cooked potatoes do indeed act like that, cooled potatoes do not. The cooked starch cools to become "resistant starch" -- basically fiber -- and so one should not experience a glycemic spike from the cooked then cooled potatoes. Reheating cooled potatoes can reduce some of the resistant starch, but when they're cooled again more resistant starch is created.
Steele goes into quite a lot of detail on resistant starch and its favorable properties in supporting better gut health. I was impressed by his research and presentation of the scientific literature.
MAS made several points that swayed me to try it. One was that potatoes are noted for their high satiety -- you will "feel full" faster with potatoes.
One of MAS's more compelling arguments is that eating plain cold boiled potatoes severs the flavor reward connection in our brains. One of the reasons we mindlessly eat more than we need to is because we crave a variety of flavors and textures. By eating unexciting cold potatoes, you're taking in calories, feeling full, but not reinforcing the flavor-reward connection. You'll likely stop eating sooner when the body feels sated rather than eating to discomfort or regret.
One of the key ideas I picked up from Tim Ferris' slow-carb diet (SCD) was that we already eat the same few dishes anyway, week in and week out. When I did the SCD, I ate the same lunch at work Mon-Thu of microwaved lentils, veg, and poached chicken breasts or thighs, with some apple cider vinegar and Tabasco splashed on. For months. I appreciated not having to think about what I'd do for lunch that day. My wife really dislikes eating the same meal more than twice in a row, but for whatever reason, I have no problem with it.
So taking my cold boiled potatoes to work tomorrow suits me just fine. I will not go hungry but I'll also consume far fewer calories than I would on a normal eating day. It's simplicity itself, and a hack I still find interesting and fun to do.
See my previous post on the Doomsday Calendar to comprehend all.
I quit adopting New Year's Resolutions some years ago. But I liked the idea of an official "fresh start" of some kind. A Google search for alternatives led me to find Christine Kane's Word of the Year scheme.
If coachspeak makes your skin crawl, then let your eyes glide over "intention" and "upleveling." Instead, simply consider the idea that an aspirational or inspirational word could help you more than a list of rules and regulations.
Christine includes a PDF (you need to provide an email address to get the PDF) of questions and fill-in-the-blank items intended to help you think through what you want from the year and also, just as important, what you tend to avoid.
She includes a list of sample words (Yes, No, Prayerfulness, Risk, Pioneer) and some good provoking questions to help you think about why this or that word may be a good match for you in the coming year (i.e., "How do you already embody this word? How do you not embody it? List 5 habits that would help you embody the word fully.")
I have found, for myself, that the word should scare me a little bit. It's a word that makes me want to, in Christine's words, "run in the other direction." That for me is a sign that a part of myself needs some loving attention. The word becomes a teacher or perhaps a lighthouse, guiding me rather than pushing me.
During a particularly challenging work year, I chose the word "Leader," a word and concept that absolutely terrified me. It's not part of my self-image at all, particularly in the workplace. I'm not sure I became the leader I thought I needed to be that year, but it encouraged me to live up to that word, in the ways I thought best. I'm sure I carry some attitudes from that year into my work today.
Christine suggests placing a reminder of the word in your path every day. Let it work on you, don't force it to work on you.
I use a FollowupThen biweekly email with questions and prompts to remind me of my word and think about whether it continues to be useful to me.
My word this year is rather a plain one: TRUST. Trust what? Myself and my intuitions, mostly. I tend to look outward for "expert advice" for lots of things -- for too many things possibly -- instead of just trusting my own experience and my own wisdom. Look inside this year, rather than out.
Trust that I will get the answer I need when I need it. Trust that I will always have the resources to meet whatever challenge it is I may face, and that I will be OK if I don't.
I could have maybe chosen the word "Relax," since that seems to be my ultimate goal. But it isn't. The goal is something bigger, the person I want to be is someone bigger.
Happy New Year.
Backups via Time Machine to our 2TB Time Capsule have not gone smoothly the last several months, with the backup always stopping with an unexplained error.
After reviewing this 2010 page from Joe Kissell on troubleshooting Time Capsule problems, I tried Disk Utility and then finally opted for a complete erase of the drive and a fresh Time Machine backup. The dialog UI has changed, of course, and it took a bit of spelunking to find the Erase command in the Airport Utility.
The fresh backup copying seems to be going OK so far, and I'm hoping this brings an end to these intermittent failures.
Update, 2018-01-01: This did not help; still getting the error. May try another erase and then a hard reset of the Time Capsule. More later.
Liz wanted to return one of the gifts I'd purchased for her from her Amazon wishlist. She tries to only flag items covered by Prime and that are "Fulfilled by Amazon"; if we have to return an item, then those are indicators of free UPS shipping back to Amazon.
But the item we wanted to return today was showing that I'd be paying almost half the purchase price of the item for return shipping -- for a Prime item Fulfilled by Amazon. Huh.
A few quick searches uncovered an interesting workaround: engage in a Live Chat with Amazon Support. I gave the guy my order number, the specific item name, and said I needed to return it. He immediately created a return slip for me and said there would be no shipping charge. In a few minutes, I got an email with the return shipping label. Later this afternoon, I got an email from Amazon confirming the full amount of my refund.
So: if you're not getting the full refund for a return, try starting a Live Chat with Amazon Support, and see if that works for you.
Instead of driving 13 or more hours from Durham, NC, to Lakeland, FL, for Christmas, we decided this year to fly.
We got to the airport last Friday, Dec. 22, about 2.5 hours early because we're like that. The Allegiant flight was delayed about 2.5 hours. When a plane arrived, it was of a different configuration than the previous plane (or something) so that our pre-printed boarding passes could not be used. The Allegiant staff used every computer they had, even laptops, to look up every passenger individually to manually check us in, as was done in days of yore.
We arrived at the Sanford airport, picked up our rental car, and arrived in Lakeland at about the same time as if we'd driven down. Tired, but not exhausted. I'd still say waiting in an airport 5 hours for a flight is still better than driving for 13.
On our return flight today, the circumstances flipped. We drove from Lakeland to Orlando and were stopped cold by sludgy traffic along the accursed I-4. The traffic never stopped but it didn't get better till a few miles before our exit to the 417 toll road that skirts Orlando (I would pay anything to avoid Orlando forever).
By the time we filled the rental car with gas (had to go to two service stations), turned it in, tromped to the terminal, sped through a pretty light TSA line (invest in TSA Pre, seriously), and found our gate, Allegiant announced that boarding had started for our flight. The check-in went so quickly that the full plane sat on the tarmac for 20 minutes waiting for the official departure time. The flight was quick, the FastPark shuttle drove up just as we walked to the curb, and we were home within the hour.
The whole experience whipped by so quickly, I couldn't process what was happening. It was uncanny how dissimilar the two days were.