Update for 6/18/2017

  • Code console – It doesn’t do anything yet, but I’ve posted the initial code for my first project generator. I’m working out how to do behavior-driven development on it with Mocha. I’m also investigating how to set up literate programming with Pweave (switching from pyweb, which I was using for the Math Student Simulator ) so I can include that in the generator at some point.
  • Beliefs report – I started on the theology proper section, but it wasn’t ready to be posted, and then I decided to change my approach, so maybe this week I can post something.
  • Books
    • The Long War – I finished this one after dragging my feet for a few weeks. I was hoping the pace of the plot would pick up after all the exposition of the first book, but it was as slow and disjointed as before, and the title was barely relevant, so I’m starting to agree with this review of the first book (h/t Michael). I’ll probably finish the series someday in case the story ends up going somewhere specific, but I’ll wait a while.
    • The Fear Index – I’m in the mood to think about AI these days, so I’ve decided to explore AI-related fiction more purposefully, and I’m starting with this one that my brother told me about a while back, which so far is a thriller about an investing firm. As a side note, I’ve also been listening to a few podcasts on AI and related topics, such as the O’Reilly Data Show Podcast, which had a recent episode on financial trading.
Posted in AI, Beliefs report, Books, Code console, Podcasts, Updates | 1 Comment

Update for 6/11/2017

  • Code console – I’ve learned the basics of Yeoman and associated tools, so this week I’ll try making a generator or two for my most common project types, and post them on GitHub. Whenever that’s done, I’ll post any relevant updates to my coding guide, and then I’ll take a break to deal with some other projects, such as doing some website maintenance and cleaning up my apartment.
  • Beliefs report – I’ve posted an update with more on the prolegomena and a large part of the bibliology section. (Really I posted it Monday of this week, but let’s lie to ourselves and say that counts as the tail end of last week.) It’ll be interesting to see how this essay evolves, and I could see it getting me back into my religious areas of interest and spawning several research projects. I’ve already spent some quality time in the library looking at philosophy of religion books.
  • Health – I had my Remicade infusion on Thursday, which now takes about an hour longer because of the increased dose, but I take the whole afternoon off for these sessions anyway, and I secretly like going to the hospital for them, so I don’t mind. Now I have to schedule my colonoscopy, hopefully without interfering with my dentist appointment on Wednesday, and then maybe I can be done with medical events for a while.
  • Media
    • Movies – One happy side effect of rescheduling my colonoscopy is that I could go see Wonder Woman Tuesday night with my geek meetup. It didn’t quite have the magic for me that the Lynda Carter show from my childhood does, but I still loved it, partly because I’ve been waiting for a live-action Wonder Woman film for many years, and partly because there were many things to love about it. Before I went, I saw this tweet about viewers crying during the fight scenes, so I wondered how I’d react to them, and to my surprise a sudden sob did escape during No Man’s Land, but it was for different reasons than the article gave. The article from the tweet, which I read later, was about a sort of pent-up feminist energy, which I guessed while watching and which I could distantly appreciate, but my reaction was more about her striking defensive role in that scene, which for me felt somehow both vulnerable and aggressively protective, completely drawing the attack but without being overcome by it, like a messianic mother bear.
    • TV – Tim and I have started watching Foyle’s War. We got through the first episode Sunday night, and we had fun speculating about the mystery and commenting on British culture. I tried to pay attention to a long-term topic of mine, which is what makes an interesting revelation in this kind of story. The answer to this episode’s mystery went in a different direction than I was hoping, but it was still interesting and surprising.
Posted in Beliefs report, Code console, Health, Meetups, Movies, TV, Updates | 7 Comments

Update for 6/4/2017

Well that was a lot of procrastinating for such a short update. I’m sure I have some excuse, but I can’t think of it right now.

  • Code console – I’ve been looking for programming project skeleton generators written by other people so I don’t have to write one myself, and last week I got through my long first pass of looking through the likely options, and then I cut my second pass short by just picking a popular one in JavaScript called Yeoman, which can be used for projects in any language. So this week I’m figuring out how to use it, and then I’ll try making some generators that fit my upcoming projects. My exploration took me through some current web development tools, and after being away from that field for so long it was interesting to get an idea of what’s happening in it.
  • Beliefs report – I wrote a decent amount, but it wasn’t quite in a postable state, so I’ll probably update it this week.
  • Health – Remicade hasn’t been helping much, so my doctor doubled my dose, which was on the low end, but the insurance had to go back and forth with the nurses to approve it, which still wasn’t done by the end of the week, so I had to cancel the infusion that was scheduled for Thursday so that could get settled.
  • Video games – I’ve been sneaking in some Minecraft lately, working on my project of selecting about 18 biomes and building homes that match them. Right now I’m building up my central base.
Posted in Beliefs report, Code console, Health, Updates, Video games | 2 Comments

Update for 5/28/2017

  • Productivity – Working on projects during dinner turned out to be the best idea I’ve had in a while. I worked on them many more hours than I have been, mostly on the code console. I’ll keep this schedule until it stops working.
  • Code console – Despite all the work last week, I’m still not ready to post anything, because the cookiecutter templates I’ve found have given me a lot of software development tools to explore, but also I’ve found that cookiecutter isn’t completely suited for what I want to do, which is to reuse template content selectively for different kinds of projects, so I’ve been planning another approach. I was thinking of coding my own wrapper around cookiecutter for the extra functionality, but in the meantime I’ve discovered static site generators, and now I’m thinking I’ll just use one of them, if I can find one that doesn’t insist on generating HTML, since they’re really designed to create websites rather than software project skeletons.
  • Beliefs report – I’ve posted the seed, and I’ll keep adding to it in the coming weeks.
  • Diet – I’ve been eating through the food I have before I start more seriously on my lowish-carb, highish-unsaturated-fat diet, which will take some planning, but I can already tell I’ll have to stop being lazy and get back to cooking, since most frozen meals don’t fit that diet, but it’ll be the simplest, quickest cooking I can come up with. I’m also not going to be extremely strict about the diet like I was last year, since this experiment is about eating in a semi-normal way that I can keep up long term.
  • Social life – Saturday I went over to Jeremy and Heather’s place for board games with some other friends, and we ate some yummy tacos they made and played the game I bought a few weeks ago, Isle of Skye, and then Race for the Galaxy, which you can play online.
Posted in Beliefs report, Board games, Code console, Cooking, Diet, Productivity, Social life, Updates | 4 Comments

Update for 5/21/2017

I’m experimenting with leaving out the Project/Life/Site Update headings, since it all kind of blends together in my mind into a series of life events, and sometimes for narrative purposes I want to mix the more stand-alone life events in with the more project-like life events.

  • Code console – I started working on creating cookiecutter templates for my projects and immediately got sidetracked by examining how other cookiecutters had been set up in case I needed to incorporate their ideas, and I didn’t get far enough to post anything yet, so I’ll keep working on it this week.
  • Beliefs report – I’ll post my first few thoughts this week, and I’ll add to it here and there.
  • AI – AI has been taking up more of my thoughts over the past few months, and in the past few days I’ve felt like listening to discussions of the subject, but I’ve felt a little frustrated that I don’t have a solid mental picture of the field as a whole, an overall context to put specific topics into, so I’m doing what I should’ve done a long time ago and watching videos from some intro AI courses–MIT’s and UBC’s (Mackworth and Poole), UBC because the professors are the authors of the AI textbook I have that seems to fit the way I think about the subject. In addition to overviewing AI, these lectures are giving me a decent sense of what technical classes are like, which feels challenging but motivating. I’ll probably start some articles on the wiki soon to collect links and my thoughts on AI, and I’m even feeling motivated to research grad programs again.
  • Productivity – These AI videos have reminded me that when I go back to school, I’ll have to spend a lot more time on homework than I currently spend on my projects, and I might as well start practicing now. I’ve also been motivated by this profile of the serious-minded and hardworking Robert Mueller (and James Comey, but I mostly care about Mueller). So this week I’m going to try working on projects while I eat dinner rather than watching TV.
  • Socializing
    • Movies – Tuesday night I went with my geek meetup to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. As with most movies I see, I don’t know if it was good, but I liked it, especially their animation of baby Groot, which seemed authentically childlike to me. Also relevant: this gallery of Mandelbulb art, some of which makes an appearance.
    • Board games – Saturday I went over to a coworker’s house with two other guests for his somewhat spontaneous game night. We played a three-hour game of Deus, and despite coming in last I had a good time.
  • Diet – I had my annual wellness screening (mostly a blood test) at work last week, and my lipids came back only slightly bad, while my weight’s been slowly climbing back up, so in the next couple of weeks I want to start a combined low-carb TLC diet that I’ve had in mind for a while.
Posted in AI, Beliefs report, Blood tests, Board games, Code console, Diet, Movies, Productivity, Updates | 1 Comment

Update for 5/14/2017

Project updates

  • Media
    • Comics – Thanks to an all-nighter on Sunday, I’ve posted the reading guide. It was supposed to be a quick project, but it lasted a week longer than intended, so I wanted to get it off my plate so I could get back to higher priority projects, even though I already know of improvements I want to make. But it was helpful to write, and hopefully it’ll help other people who want to get into comics. Right now my own comic reading plans consist of reading through the DC crisis events.
    • Books – I finished listening to Hardwired, which had most of the cyberpunk tropes I was looking for but wasn’t the mindless adventure story I was expecting. It was well written and had some depth, so I might read the rest of the series. But for now I’ve gone back to Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s Long Earth series, which I’ve missed.
  • Code console – Now that the comic reading guide is posted, I can get back to programming, and my next step is to create the cookiecutter templates I’ll use to create my future projects, so that’ll be this week’s main project.
  • Beliefs report – This week I also want to get back to writing this, an update on my religious beliefs.
  • Photography – I’ve been waiting for the trees to fill out again after winter, and that has happened, so I’m back out taking pictures, but this time I’m taking 3D panoramas with my Cardboard Camera app, such as this (pan with the right and left arrow keys or your finger if you’re viewing in a web browser instead of the app). I like taking these panoramas because I do almost feel like I’m there when I look at them in the viewer, especially with the audio recording that goes along with them (when you view them in the app), but they also have flaws, such as noticeable seams and the ghosts of moving objects, which makes me want to find a way to justify buying a (cheap) 360-degree camera so I can make videos like this one, which you can pan around in with your mouse or finger if you don’t have a VR viewer.
Posted in Beliefs report, Books, Code console, Comics, Photography, Project updates | 2 Comments

Update for 5/7/2017

Project updates

  • Media
    • Podcasts – My library checkout of the Hardwired audiobook expired, and I took the opportunity to take a break from it, since I was in more of a mystery mood, and I listened to the podcast S-Town, an investigative journalism piece by Brian Reed from This American Life. It fascinated me from the very beginning, both the people involved and the storytelling, and it ended up being moving and thought provoking too.
    • Books – I’m about halfway done with Hardwired, and I’ve checked it out again and hope to finish it this week, after which I’ll finish Yancey’s Prayer.
    • TV – I’m pushing myself through Arrow and The Flash, and I’ve reached the end of the first season they share, which turned out much more interesting and exciting than I expected. Recently I learned that Supergirl crosses over with them, and that show started with The Flash‘s second season, which I’m about to start, so I’m adding that one to my lineup this week, which is a little annoying because it’ll slow down my catch-up even more, but I did like the Supergirl pilot episode and planned to watch the rest. Then in the season after this one, I’m sure I’ll be adding Legends of Tomorrow.
    • Comics
  • Public coding guide – I’ve been told I didn’t celebrate the completion of this phase of the guide enough, so I’ll say I’m relieved to get all that writing done, but really the phase isn’t complete until I’ve written and linked the code that relates to it, since the code will show how I’m specifically implementing these topics, so I’m working on that part next. I’ll also be relieved once that’s done, but I think the guide will feel so rough and incomplete that I still won’t be ready to celebrate yet, though I might start asking knowledgeable programmers for feedback.
  • Nostalgia box – I feel like my life has settled down enough that I can spend a little more time on this. My next steps are to finish looking through April’s folder, open May’s, and catch up on the new folder contents for the past few months, which will take some serious thought about how to simplify my ideas so I can get each one done in a few hours.
  • Beliefs report – This has been on the back burner, but Sunday I had a conversation with my pastor (probably the first we’ve had) in which he asked if I was in a small group, to which I replied that I used to be but wasn’t now, and he recommended it and told me who to talk to if I wanted to join. I like small groups in principle, but I’m hesitant for a few reasons, and one of them is the doubt and lack of clarity that plague everything religious I think about doing, and it reminded me again of my beliefs report project, so that’s moving back up the priority list.
Posted in Beliefs report, Books, Comics, Nostalgia box, Podcasts, Public coding guide, TV | 6 Comments

Update for 4/30/2017

Life updates

  • Chapel – Last week I forgot to mention that at work the week before, our chapel speaker was Kim PhĂșc, the “napalm girl” from the famous Vietnam War photo, and she was funny and inspiring, especially her story of meeting John Plummer, who claimed to have ordered the attack, though Wikipedia and some Googling tell me there are problems with this story, so I’m curious to see what ends up in her memoir, Fire Road, which comes out later this year.
  • Board games – Saturday was International Tabletop Day, and I celebrated it with my friend Tim by visiting my friendly local game store and buying Isle of Skye, which we had time to set up and (re)learn but not play, so that’ll happen later.

Project updates

  • Public coding guide – I’ll post the configuration and logging sections this week (spoiler: I did), and that’ll finish this phase of guide writing.
  • Code console – After the coding guide, I’ll start making my cookiecutter templates, which will hopefully only take a week or two and not a month.
  • Car – I’ll probably buy a car sometime in the next couple of months, so I’ll start researching the process to remind myself, since it’s been 12 years.
  • Nostalgia box – On Sunday I opened April’s folder, a series of comics called Sillyman that I drew when I was 9. I read about half of the main series, and I’ll get to the rest soon.
  • Comics – This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day yet again, and sometime before then I’m going to try to post to the wiki a guide to reading comics. I’ll post a link on the blog when that’s done.
Posted in Board games, Car, Chapel, Code console, Comics, Life updates, Nostalgia box, Project updates, Public coding guide | 2 Comments

Update for 4/23/2017

Project updates

  • Public coding guide – I posted my documentation updates, and the only thing left for this phase of writing is a couple of sections on configuration and logging, after which I’ll make the boilerplate code that corresponds to the things I’ve written so far, and then I’ll get back to my regular programming projects.
  • Nostalgia box – I didn’t get around to opening April’s folder, so I’ll do that this week.
  • TV – I finished Iron Fist, and my feelings about it are mixed. Danny’s changing circumstances were interesting, and I’m curious to see where the story goes next, but Danny himself still seems like an overpowered child to me, though he grew a bit towards the end, while Ward ended up being one of my favorite characters, and the Hand is currently my favorite villain organization, mostly because I’m not familiar with them from the comics, so they’re still a mystery to me.

Life updates

  • Meetups – Saturday I went with some people from my geek meetup to C2E2, a pop culture convention in Chicago (posts from my experience, including a really short video where I can just barely be seen), and while it was draining enough that I didn’t enjoy every minute, I’m glad I went, and I hope to go to more of them. I went to a couple of panels (all the livestream recordings)–an interview with Frank Miller and Stan Lee and a discussion by a couple of big YouTube channels, Comicstorian and ComicsExplained–but mostly I shoved my way through the very dense crowd on the show floor, looking at all the merchandise and cosplay (a gallery showing a small fraction), but I think of this convention as a trial run, and now I know how such events go and how I can be more prepared for them as a somewhat casual fan. Conventions are basically marketing and sales events, so I wanted to participate and buy stuff, but my cautious buying habits and the additional mental burden of dealing with a crowd conflicted with that goal, and I only bought a trade paperback of the Infinity Gauntlet series, but that kicks off my Marvel collection, so I’m considering it good. After the convention we had a delicious dinner at a Cuban restaurant, where we tried beef empanadas, yucca fries, and a soda called malta that tasted like molasses (maybe because it contained molasses).
  • Death – Sunday I learned that the day before, a Wheaton College student was killed in an accident at a track meet, struck by a hammer during the hammer throw. Reading an article about his life reminds me of a sad and sobering thought I always have when I hear about deaths at the college–that having a promising future on earth doesn’t guarantee it will come to pass.
Posted in Comics, Conventions, Death, Life updates, Meetups, Nostalgia box, Project updates, Public coding guide, TV | Leave a comment

Update for 4/16/2017

Life updates

  • Life maintenance – Last week was mostly spent catching up on life from the week before–grocery shopping, laundering, library book returning, and napping.
  • Easter – Easter was good.
    • Friday – I had Good Friday off work, as usual, and I picked up my brother from the airport, had we had lunch at a Greek diner and went to our usual TaizĂ© service, during which I caught up on a little sleep. Afterwards were frozen Chinese dinners at home, accompanied by my long and rambling summary of the plot of Arrow to explain the episode we were trying to watch, and then I dropped Michael off at another Good Friday service and spent the time watching streams because I was slightly too tired and lazy to do anything productive.
    • Saturday – In the morning we slept in and took a slightly long walk before kidnapping Jeremy for a very long lunch at Potbelly, after which was a short stop at Target and then dinner accompanied by the rest of our rather eventful Arrow episode. Then it was time to drop Michael off at another long church service, which gave me a chance to finish my taxes, which I did with a bit of help from Michael when he got back.
    • Sunday – Easter morning I was in a good mood, I’m sure helped by having my taxes done but also by the energy of the service and by visiting a church I like after a long absence, and I found the homily unusually moving and helpful. After church we hung out at Starbucks until it was time for lunch with some friends of mine from church, where I continued my tradition of overstuffing myself with food when the food is Indian, made by Indians, and eaten in their home. When we arrived and met the other friends they’d invited, it turned out one of them lives in my apartment building a few doors down from me, so maybe we’ll run into each other again sometime in her last few weeks here. After a fairly wide-ranging lunchtime conversation from which I took the location of an Indian grocery store and some Indian movie recommendations, I drove Michael back to the airport and then had dinner with Tim and finished the movie we’d been watching.
  • Meetups – On Saturday I’m fulfilling my long-held goal of attending a pop culture convention, heading to Chicago for C2E2 with people from my geek meetup.

Project updates

  • Public coding guide – I wrote some more but didn’t post any updates, which I’ll try to do this week.
  • Nostalgia box – Either this week or next week I’ll open April’s folder, probably this week to give ideas from this month’s content a chance to mix creatively with things I see at the convention.
  • Movies – The movie Tim and I finished was Ip Man 3, part of a series about Bruce Lee’s martial arts teacher. This one had plenty of combat, but it was really about his relationship with his wife, and I thought its treatment of that theme was interesting and compelling.
Posted in Holidays, Life maintenance, Life updates, Meetups, Movies, Nostalgia box, Project updates, Public coding guide, Social life | 1 Comment