Weekly Recap - 8/26/2023

    Another back to school week, this time my daughter going back for her 3rd year of college. My son and I are home for two weeks on our own. The house is very quiet during the day when I’m here by myself and he’s at school all day.

    For the last four years my family as been going to the Tchaikovsky Spectacular concert at Ravinia. This year it happened to be on my daughter’s 20th birthday so it was a fun evening out.


    This year the cannons they shoot off during the end of the 1812 Overture were back with the addition of a balloon drop. Last year they were silenced in respect to the community and the people who lost their lives in the July 4th mass shooting that happened in Highland Park.

    The funny motto this year from the conductor was “We came for the cannons and stayed for the Tchaikovsky”. People really love the show and this year they turned out in droves. It was a packed house!. There is a couple there that has been going for 39 years in a row that we have seen every year. Hard to miss them, they have a sign!

    I wrote last week about my social media use. That has turned out to be a bit of a problem this week. Finding out that it’s very easy to get carried away and spend far too much time. It has affected almost everything else I did this week. That is an area of concern and something I need to address ASAP.

    I’m still experimenting with some new tools this month to try and find some local-only, privacy-friendly replacement for other tools I’m using right now. I’m planning on writing up some posts about that in the near future as mentioned last week.

    I went back to Fastmail this week after a short (1 week maybe?) time away. The intent was to save $50 a year and use a combination of Gmail, iCloud, ProtonMail/SimpleLogin, and the Thunderbird email client as a replacement. That would have worked but still left me wanting over a solution that has all of the features those services provide in one package. So I contacted support and had them restore my account. It took a couple of days but I consolidated all of my email back in Fastmail, got my contacts in shape, and am back in business.

    What I wrote

    Unfortunately a repeat of last week: not much this week other than micro posts. A couple of reasons for that, mostly my usage of social media.

    What I read

    Nothing of note this week. Read quite a bit but it felt a lot more like snacking than getting a good meal and nothing was memorable enough to write about here.

    Weekly Recap - 8/19/2023

    Busy week behind me. It was back-to-school week here and my son started his Senior year of high school. As I wrote it was bittersweet. I’m proud of him, a bit sad even now that he’ll be leaving for college next summer, and amazed at how fast the time has gone by since his first day of Kindergarten . As always, also amazed at how fast the summer has flown by. Halloween candy is out in the stores and pumpkin spice is making its comeback already. Rumor has it that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is even making its return next week.

    The folks at Field Notes released a beautiful new set of notebooks called “Foiled Again” for their Fall offering and I couldn’t resist buying the quarterly subscription for a year because I really wanted the red set that came with the notebooks. I love their notebooks but they’re so beautifully crafted I never want to write in the things. Given that I now will be getting 4 shipments I might want to get over that 😂

    I haven’t written about it yet but I started up an experiment to try out some new tools. I’m a tinkerer and love to fiddle with new applications and ways of working. I also feel guilty when I do thinking that I should just settle down and get work done and stop with the fiddling. This experiment is an excuse to try some new things, learn some tools I already paid for, and see if they’re helpful.

    I’ve got a couple of updates on my social media use:

    • I rejoined X/Twitter during the week. I even paid for a month of Blue to experiment with it. I do not intend to keep paying but they’ve added some nice things since I tried Blue before and I want to try again. I think the people I told that I rejoined Twitter think I’m nuts. Maybe I am nuts. My intent though was to stay out of the outrage machine. Lots of bad things being said about Twitter in the tech press and by many on other websites, rightfully so. The simple truth however is it’s still the best place for news and updates for things I’m interested in. Until Threads has hashtags and search that works it is not a replacement for Twitter. Mastodon won’t be a replacement either for other reasons.
    • I am using Mastodon/social.lol again quite a bit. Yes, Mastodon won’t be a replacement for Twitter anytime soon, if ever, but there is a nice community over at social.lol that is worth engaging with. There is a lot of cross-over with the micro.blog community and a very similar ethos. I’m enjoying the time I’m spending there.

    One thing I am finding though is that I really need to police my social media use. I am the type of person that has a tendency to overdo it and spend way too much time scrolling. By the end of this week I found that it was affecting my mental state and it was time to take a break so I did that this weekend.

    My wife and I went to a concert today at Bennett Gordon Hall at Ravinia in Highland Park. It’s interesting seeing musicians trained in one genre (in this case classical/opera) sing in a totally different genre (jazz standards). The show was fun and some of the performers really knocked it out of the park (pun intended as Ravinia is literally a park). The ones that were good know that a performance isn’t just about singing, it’s about presence on stage. Some of them had that in spades. Great fun to watch!

    What I wrote

    Not much this week other than micro posts. I’ve got a few things I’m planning on writing, including about the experiment that I mentioned above.

    What I read

    A lot this week as I’m trying to catch up with my reading in Readwise Reader. One piece that I had in the backlog that gave me pause to think a bit was Return of the Lazy Billionaire from CJ Chilvers. Interesting piece and I don’t agree with his framing of the idea of a “second brain” as discussed in Building a Second Brain from Tiago Forte. I’ll be writing more about this later.

    Weekly Recap - 8/12/2023

    This week I got back to blogging (yet again 😳) on micro.blog and started getting all the bits and bobs going:

    1. My Now page
    2. My omg.lol profile and now page got updated
    3. Started tying together my various social media stuff

    I’ve got a lot of work to do but at the very least I’ve got a list of stuff I need to do. Starting to tackle the About page is next. Some theme tweaking is also in order. One thing I find odd is that nobody I follow on micro.blog who actually uses micro.blog as the blogging platform seems to use a header image on their site and none of the themes I’ve seen support that. I need to fix that; I love header images.

    What I wrote

    • Back to old habits

      About starting over and why I am back in a relationship with Ulysses.

    • Saturdays are for…?

      I’m tweaking how I view the week and work vs. personal time. This is about Saturday.

    What I read

    Spent a bunch of time reading blogs from Anna Havron and Derek Sivers.

    • Part of what gave me a bit of hope in starting up this blog again was Anna’s post about being a person online, specifically this passage:

      Recently, I came across an online conversation where a blogger wondered what he was even doing online; wondered if it mattered that he posted observations about his life, and took photos of his neighborhood.

      Why did he bother?

      Was he providing any value?

      Did his web presence matter?


      Yes, it does. It matters to me, because I enjoy reading what he writes and posts; it gives me a glimpse into a different life.

      I see great value in sites that post personal observations. They do what novels do: they help us grow in empathy and imagination. They help us to see one another as full human beings rather than objects, roles, or labels.

      Reading this was immensely helpful. Please read the rest of that piece. It has some very good thinking and guidelines about being a good person online.

      Also this piece, Warning Lights, about the importance of creating a personal framework for your life. I will be spending more time studying this and thinking about it.

    • I suspect many in the blogging community know who Derek Sivers is. I’ve read his stuff in the past but was intrigued about reading more about the Now page, how he uses his About page, and what the difference is after deciding to start this blog up again. Derek has done a lot in his life and has a very interesting perspective on things. Particularly interesting to me was his writing on how he approaches learning new things. Read his About page and you’ll probably find it as motivational as I did!