Daily Prompt: Hopeful

This is the first time I am writing using the Daily Prompt. Looking ahead to 2017, I am hopeful that the prompt will help me get into the habit of writing more often. I plan to write as much as possible, both online (publicly) and off (privately).

Yes, I have resolutions. I will not post them here. As we go into a new year, there are quite a few things that I am hopeful for:

  • I am hopeful for a new outlook and approach too my health and well being.
  • I am hopeful for moving into and establishing some roots in our new home (closing on Jan 16th!).
  • I am hopeful for the beginning of a new work project that will, if successful, have a very large, positive impact in how we utilize technology to run our programs.
There's a lot more that I am hopeful for, such as overall peace and prosperity. The well-being of friends and family. The overall success of any ventures that we all set out for.

Most of all, I’m hopeful for myself, my capabilities, my growth and education. Continuing on all of these fronts will ensure my success in everything else.

via Daily Prompt: Hopeful

A written, unpublished journal

“You want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you,” - Madeleine L’Engle
I have drifted so far from my (what used to be) every day writing that it's barely describable. Nah, it can be described. It's just that I'm so out of practice, and my writing is so bad, that I couldn't bring myself to actually describe it meaningfully.

My photography habit has fallen to a similar fate.

It’s too many distractions. Distractions that have crept into my life disguised as things that would improve my life. These things appear in the form of technology/devices, articles and news, and lifehacks.

Here’s the thing: I’m collapsing on information overload. In my attempts to simplify, I have become complicated. In my attempts to be more productive, I have become more distracted (you can over-hack your productivity). Minimalism only works if you stop adding things (tools, workflows, alternative approaches to) to it.

Writing… a written, unpublished journal. It begins there…

Read Celebrated Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary on BrainPickings.org.

Five things for the week

  1. There's a lot to do over the next 6 weeks. Moving is always a big deal but, this is really exciting. Especially looking forward to no longer being a renter again.
  2. I'm thinking of retooling my workflows for 2017. The big issue is that they are built to be very efficient for current tasks but, are not easily scaled if I take on new projects. I need one that is more pliable and fluid.
  3. The more I listen to David Bowie's "Blackstar" (album), the more I believe that it was the best album of 2016. Mitski's "Puberty 2" is a close second.
  4. I already know that 2017 will be the "year of health"... it just needs to happen. Needs to.
  5. I'm happy. Genuinely happy.

Five things for the week

  1. I've been carpooling to work for the past couple of weeks and, I have to admit, it's a far better experience than taking the train in. And, for the most part, it's faster. Now just need to figure out how we can make this work on a regular basis.
  2. Need to slow down, enjoy moments.
  3. David Bowie: Lazarus.
  4. Less is more, more is less.
  5. Starting to assess whether Flickir is still the best option for photo sharing (for me). I'm trying to remove the sentimentality (been a member since 2004) out of the evaluation of it all.

high hopes for 2017

2017 is the year! Er, it will be. At least, that’s the hope.

2017 is the year I will make it all the way through. I will proceed through the pain and the difficulty and the challenge and the mediocre and the…

I’ll love it. Hate it. Meh it.

Yes, 2017 is the year that I will complete a photo 365 project.

I think I have actually started a 365 project more than 365 times…

Let’s go Caps!

on rebuilding

You love the team. You love the coach. There is so much sentimentality built up in your fandom; history and memories cached in your brain (and heart) since you first became a fan. Your player, your idol. The one whose jersey you own, you wear on game day, you never wash…

The season where your team is supposed to win it all but comes up short.

Your player traded/retires/takes a lesser role. The coach moves on. Player and personnel moves start happening, none of them really making any sense to you. Panic. Identify is being traded away with the team.

Rebuilding… we trust in executives, those who know “the business” to build up another roster that will help us be better. Our team focus has changed. Our point of attack is younger and more athletic. Our strategies have changed to be faster, versatile, cheaper…

Painful. Everything is different. Scores are lower than you are used to. Plays aren’t executed with efficiency. The team chemistry isn’t there. The team record is horrible. The new coach keeps citing “we’re improving every day” and “we have a lot to learn from this loss” and “they’re progressing just as I had hoped for”. And you question the coach (and the management) because no! They’re not progressing. They’re not learning. They’re not winning like they used to. Painful.

So painful. You suffer through season after season. You watch others enjoy success. You are jealous. You even begin to resent your team even more. Perhaps you even consider switching fandom. So painful.

A few years later, you realize that you love the team. You love the coach. There is more sentimentality built up within your fandom.

Your player, your idol, the one whose jersey you own. You wear on game day. You never wash… now has a different jersey number.

Maybe there are more cycles of the above. Or maybe it happens right away but, you start seeing your team be successful again. And you find new, different things to love about them. And you build more memories and experience more joy from more perspectives. You love the game. You love the team.

You just hate the rebuilding process itself.


Note: this is an analogy for my professional career and current/recent events.

When your answer to “What toppings do you want on your nachos?” is “EVERYTHING!” @districttaco

Five things for the week

  1. Thursday was my two year work anniversary. Two years since I made the career choice that moved my wife and I from the west to the east coasts. I'll be reflecting on this a lot through this month.
  2. Needs more reflection (and perhaps a longer blog post): change... sometimes a collapse has to occur in order for the new to be built. That collapse is difficult. Extremely so. And not everyone survives it. Sometimes, even the builders themselves don't survive.
  3. I need to ground myself, again. Constant adjustment, actually. Just need to get my (wanted) routines running the way they should. Out of balance, out of whack.
  4. I can feel myself trying to "check out" for the remainder of the year but, obviously, this cannot happen. There is still so much that I need to complete both on the work and home fronts.
  5. Kate Tempest, "Ketamine for Breakfast".

46 degrees and windy but, still feels good to hit.

Yes, this (on writing)



Iggy on the loss of David Bowie...

Was the loss of David Bowie an especially difficult one? At first I didn’t process it. I thought, They must be talking about someone else. But then I got it. I went to a rehearsal, and when we ran through “China Girl,” there’s a guitar theme at the end of that, that was written by that person, with a guitar, with his hands. I can see the person, I can see the hands, I can see the guitar. And he’s not on this plane anymore. That came up several times that day.
From the NY Times article "Why Iggy Pop Traded In His Sports Car".

Five things for the week

  1. I wrote a blog post (for work) about .dll files. It was as exciting an experience as it sounds.
  2. Mid-week bottle of Pinot Noir (Wed) was much needed. Still need to work through some things but it helped take the edge off. Paradise Valley, Santa Barbara 2014.
  3. Another wine note: Friday night at the Westin (Princeton, NJ), as i was working late afternoon, Guest Services knocked on my door. I'm not sure why but, they delivered a bottle of cabernet, some chocolate, and a voucher for breakfast. Quite the nice surprise and, the wine definitely improved my evening.
  4. This whole "get healthy" thing is going to take a lot more work and focus than I originally thought.
  5. Onward...

How to Keep Working Productively While You're Under Extreme Stress

I've been thinking about this Fast Company article, "How to Keep Working Productively While You're Under Extreme Stress" for a while now. The two main points that stick with me?


This is also a good time to let go of perfectionism and accept "good enough," Clark says. When you’re good at and take pride in what you do, it can be tough to do the minimum acceptable job. Sometimes, that’s what’s necessary to free up time and energy you need for other things to prevent burnout, she says.


Extreme stress can affect decision making as well. Recent research from the University of Pittsburgh found that anxiety affects the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which regulates problem solving, impulse control, and emotion regulation.
I'm realizing that I'm trying to do too much, to soon, and too "perfect" which is extremely unsustainable. I'm building a department, quality and service standards, and setting up deliverables while I'm still just a one-person team. This is almost not to mention that I'm doing this on a global scale. I'm no longer working for just half a state.

Factor in school, family, friends… yeah…

Uphill and downhill UI

I liked this quote, by John Gruber, on UI:

An uphill UI feels like you’re fighting against the app; a downhill UI makes it feel like the app is helping you along.

Five things for the week

  1. I felt lost this whole week. A big reminder that I need to continually ground myself. Also a reminder that I need to work harder on defining purpose and direction .
  2. Get healthy... it's time to get serious about it.
  3. Local band, Priests, is putting out some good singles. I'm really looking forward to their January 2017 album release.
  4. Lets things, more... things.
  5. It's not agoraphobia but, I break out of my introverted comfort zone and get out more.

Note to self: enemies

They are enemies of a lot of things, not just creativity. This is really important for me to keep in mind as things progress over the next few years. Really important.

Five things for the week

  1. Tough week, last week. Even before Friday, I started to doubt why, what, how, and when of everything about my work. Really tough week. Still not recovered enough to want to go back (tomorrow) but, I will.
  2. I'm giving Asana and Instapaper another try. I remember loving the services but, for random (unrelated) reasons I started to drift away from them. Now, I've worked them back into my workflow and am finding that it's having an immediate (positive) impact.
  3. This Freakonomics episode, In Praise of Incrementalism, really spoke to me. I like being a "big picture" guy and, admittedly, have a hard time forcing myself to look at things in detailed increments. But, incrementalism is the key to seeing things through. I need to focus more on this.
  4. Focus on myself,
  5. Focus on my family.

On settling

This is why it's hard for me to settle, to accept low quality. This is why I lose faith and respect for those that do, especially when on the cusp of being able to achieve something really big. When you settle, things don't remain at the same level. Things deteriorate. You still have to put forth effort to maintain a stable level of quality. 

Whether internal or external, when someone on your team settles, they’re done putting forth any effort. You succeed and fail as a team, so if they settle, they force you to miss those other possibilities.

And so, this is where you have to make choices and take actions. This is what will separate you from most; you have to decide what your next step is. Do you remain part of the team that has settled? Or, do you move on and find yourself a team that still puts forth the effort?

Five things for the week

  1. More potential medical issues are beginning to appear. Nothing serious but, still enough to have me begin worrying. It goes with the (aging) territory, right?
  2. Apple's update to the MacBook pro has be both confused, turned off, yet intrigued. I still wonder where they are going in their overall product line direction. But, what they're coming out with is anything but appealing to me. Not worth the upgrade; my current (Mid-2014) MBP is the laptop sweet spot for me.
  3. Giving the Surface Pro another try (for work) but, I'm already seeing why I reverted back to a proper laptop. The docking and display issues are just too much for me to wrestle with. I need something that can dock a lot more seamlessly when I move from location to location. A big part of this is the screen/monitor resolution of where I'm docking to but, It's not enough for me to spend money to change those out.
  4. Get healthy.
  5. I'm completely hooked on Black Mirror. It's one of my favorite things on TV right now.

Fall morning

Five things for the week

  1. Sick... fever, cough, and overall stuffy for most of the week. Happened to be one of the busiest weeks of the year, too.
  2. Fun listening to The Notorious MSG albums. Love the satire.
  3. A new term begins tomorrow... I have to work on getting back into the swing of things after taking a term off. I admit, I enjoyed that time off but, at the same time, I am anxious to get back to school.
  4. Played a lot of "tourist" over the past week. And, had to fight off a bad cold, too. My body is screaming "slow down!" but, I'll never listen.
  5. Perhaps, it's time to listen. Get healthy.

Skyline Drive

Checking out Fall foliage