Weeknote for 10/6/2019

Work

πŸ™‚

I’m out from under my piles of work for real, so now I have my evenings back. Will this translate to more progress on my stuff? Time will tell.

Conceptual modeling

πŸ™‚

This week starts the spoooky project month of October, and for this project I’m continuing my study of Visualization Analysis and Design by Tamara Munzner, which is appropriate because I still have a scary amount of it left to read. I also need to avoid getting lost in the details and focus on my main question for this study: In a modeling project, how can I match the object under study to a visual scheme, based on the conceptual frameworks implied in these schemes? On the side I’m looking into the more pictorial kinds of information graphics Munzner’s book doesn’t seem to cover, and the main search terms I’ve come across so far are graphic facilitation, technical illustration, and educational comics.

Experimental literature

πŸ™‚

I made a schedule for listening to the Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature (RCEL), and I should be able to finish it this week. After skimming through a lot of the essays earlier in the year, it’s interesting to see what they’re like when I hear the whole content. Some of them are more confusing than I’d hoped, such as the one on Tel Quel–and when I add summaries of the essays to my experimental literature list, I might start with those–but others are more thought provoking and relevant to me than I expected, like the one on postcolonial literature.

RCEL and the alchemy art book I also bought have put me in the mood for various surreal and philosophical topics, such as existentialism and esotericism, so now I have my reading list for the next couple of months, which you can see in that Goodreads link. Some of my choices are also fitting for Halloween, and if I’m diligent about listening, I can fit all the spooky ones into October.

Posted in Conceptual modeling, Experimental literature, Weeknotes, Work | 2 Comments

Weeknote for 9/29/2019

Conceptual modeling

πŸ™‚

On my infographic design project, I made decent progress on my Munzner reading, and I’ll continue that this week. I chose this book because it’s very organized and very broad, but I’m finding there are pictorial types of graphics I care about that it doesn’t cover, so I’ll need to supplement with resources on technical drawing and instructional diagrams. Also relevant are insights from graphic design and comic design, but I’ll have to put off some of that until later project months.

I finished Semantics by John Saeed, and it gave me a good sense of the range of topics and theories in the field and where I want to focus my attention for my various purposes. Pretty much the whole field ends up being relevant to me, because it’s closely related to both conceptual modeling and AI, and a key message I took away was that each camp within the field offers valuable tools, even if you don’t accept their approach as a complete explanation of meaning. If I were going to settle in one of these camps, at this point it’d be cognitive semantics, because for a while I’ve thought of meaning as being grounded in bodily perception and action and as being pervaded by analogy.

Experimental literature

πŸ™‚

I’ve decided to dip back into this topic from earlier in the year. I’ve learned my source for it, the Routledge Companion to Experimental Literature, has an ebook version, so that’s what I’m listening to now. It’ll be a while till I dedicate a month to updating my link list, but I may add a topic here and there if I feel like a break from my official projects. For now my goal is to hear the whole book so I’ll have a better sense of the context of each author and work.

Video

πŸ™‚

Sunday Jeremy and I finally went to see Spider-Man: Far from Home, which was actually an extended cut. I wasn’t expecting such a political theme, though I think it was subtle unless you’ve been paying attention to political commentary, at least on the left, but I found it very timely, very relevant to my epistemological interests, and even a little distressing. Also distressing was the uncertainty over the future of the Spider-Man movies, since Sony (in charge of Spider-Man) and Disney (in charge of Marvel Studios) had a contract dispute that meant Spider-Man was being pulled out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I saw an entertaining discussion of some creative ideas for bringing him back into the series, but later in the week it turned out no narrative cleverness will be needed, because Sony and Disney resolved things so he could stay in the MCU for a few more movies.

Posted in Conceptual modeling, Experimental literature, Movies, Weeknotes | 2 Comments

Weeknote 9/22/2019

Work

πŸ™„

I thought I was over my work hump, but I was mistaken, and the piles of ebooks are continuing for a few more weeks. I have ideas for making them more manageable in the future, partly by reworking my ebook production procedure and partly by reworking certain features of our ebook production tools. But I can’t really do that till I’m out from under these piles, so I’ll have to be patient. The workload does interfere a bit with my projects, but maybe I can use it as an opportunity to tighten up my time management.

Conceptual modeling

πŸ™‚ (for the Munzner book)

I listened to some Gestalt psychology articles, but they were only marginally helpful for my current project on infographic design, so I didn’t feel too bad that I didn’t get around to taking notes. I’ve moved on to the main event, working through large parts of Tamara Munzner’s Visualization Analysis and Design. Since work has been taking up project time and I haven’t been managing my time well anyway, I’m going to give myself another month on this project, because this one is important and I don’t want to wait several more months to have truly usable results.

Futurism

πŸ™‚

I found Dale Carrico, a critic of some of the futurists I follow, which makes me happy, because I learn a lot from watching opposing ideas clash. Here’s an index of his blog posts on ideas and figures in the “superlative futurology” camp. It’ll take me a while to get through all that, especially since he writes in such a dense, academic style, but if you want a peek at his views in a more conversational style, here’s a video of his interview on radio show The Zero Hour.

Music

😎

I’ve been looking for a new music genre to listen to, and I’ve landed on a mix of lo-fi chillhop and synthwave/chillwave. Lo-fi is very popular right now, especially this video, and here’s an interesting article on its history and future. Here’s a chillwave playlist on YouTube I’ve been listening to, and here’s another one on Spotify. Driving with chillwave makes me want to add colored lights to the inside of my car so I can feel like I’m living in the retrofuture (seriously!), and I might install something like these AUXITO LED strips (demo video), if it’s legal in Illinois, though really I’d want a setup that gives me multiple colors at once.

Posted in Conceptual modeling, Futurism, Music, Weeknotes, Work | Leave a comment

Weeknote for 9/15/2019

Car shopping

😎

At the beginning of last week, even though I’d bought a car the day before, in my mind there was still a question mark over it until my regular mechanic gave it his approval, so on Monday I brought it over, and he took a look and liked it as much as the mobile mechanic at the dealer, and so I felt settled and also pleased, because I like the car too. Compared to the ProtΓ©gΓ©, it looks nicer, the acceleration is better, and my old car had a whole host of issues that are suddenly “fixed” by having a new one: a broken AC, a loud and broken automatic lock, flakey automatic windows, flakey headlights, a stuck glove compartment door, a non-latching trunk, a back bumper hanging on by two screws, a very rusty underside, and a leaky brake line.

Dave Ramsey has a good summary of the car buying process I ended up using, so if you’re buying a used car, take a look at his plan, though the one thing I didn’t do was negotiate the price, and now that I’ve learned more about the rest of the process, maybe next time I’ll be ready to tackle that … in 20 years when I buy a car again, and in the meantime it’s gratifying that everyone is liking the car I ended up with, because it reaffirms to me that it’s worthwhile to make decisions carefully.

This concludes my summer of stress, and now all that’s left are a few loose ends, and after the past three months, I’ll gladly put up with those small nuisances.

AI

AI Field Map

πŸ™‚

I’ve posted my initial stab at the field map, which I’ll continue when I get to the Semantic Web project, probably next month. But it’s already been helpful, and my biggest takeaway is that there’s a name for the research area that interests me–cognitive architecture–and there are quite a few examples for me to look into.

Machine learning

πŸ™‚

I finished listening to MΓΌller and Guido’s book, but it’ll take me a while to take notes and try out the examples. I don’t have a schedule for it yet.

Conceptual modeling

πŸ™‚

This month’s project is the semantics of infographics, and this week I’ll start (a week late) with some notes on gestalt psychology to understand how people automatically interpret visual compositions.

Music

πŸ™‚

Our church bought a Yamaha MX88 keyboard, which frees us from using MainStage on the worship pastor’s computer while improving our voice selection over the old keyboard’s and, in my opinion, even over our patches in MainStage. I got to play our first performance with it on Sunday and had a nice time, though as with MainStage some of the voices are kind of finicky, with volume and attack responses I don’t understand yet.

Posted in AI, Car, Conceptual modeling, Weeknotes, Worship performing | 2 Comments

Weeknote for 9/8/2019

Car shopping

😎

Thanks to my friend Heather’s enthusiasm for CarMax, last week my plan was to look at a couple of cars there and time my visits to somewhat coincide so I could compare them, but after I was stuck waiting for one car to transfer from Indiana and I watched in dismay as the other disappeared from the listings, I realized I needed a nimbler strategy, so I decided to check the CarMax listings every day and pounce on any good options as soon as they appeared.

Thursday evening there was nothing that fit my criteria, but Friday morning a black 2016 Corolla with 30,000 miles showed up nearby (in terms of the model and color, pretty much the car I wanted way back in 2005 when I bought my ProtΓ©gΓ©, now that I think about it), so I set up a test drive for that afternoon, which passed my cursory Samarins-style inspection, and while they wouldn’t let me drive it to my usual mechanic for a real inspection, fortunately my research had uncovered YourMechanic, so I made an appointment for the next day to have someone from there come do an inspection at the dealer, because even at CarMax or any dealership that certifies its used vehicles, you should get an independent inspection in case the dealer’s technicians were cutting corners that day.

Saturday morning I made a trip to the bank to get a cashier’s check for the car, and then at CarMax the mechanic ended up being very late because his previous job went long, and while we awkwardly waited, my salesperson, who was very nice but still a salesperson, urged me to cancel the appointment and let the 7-day money-back guarantee and the 90-day warranty handle any issues the car might have, but with Heather’s encouragement over Facebook I resisted, because I wanted my peace of mind beforeΒ I handed over my money and because the mechanic was on his way, and once he got there I was glad I waited, both because I felt like I had an advocate against the sales pressure and because he concluded the car was good, which was the final step in my decision to buy the car.

My salesperson did her salesly job of pushing me to buy the MaxCare warranty, but I had already decided I didn’t want one for a Corolla, and after I said no to her several attempts, she gave up and finished the sales process, and then it was time for the paperwork guy, who tried to give me a title application for the wrong car (by mistake, since the other forms were right), and then I handed over the check, and then I had a car, except that it had to stay on the lot, because I had to take my rental back, where Heather and Jeremy and their son picked me up to go to dinner, and afterward they took me back to CarMax to finally drive home my car.

Podcasts

πŸ™‚

I caught up on my friend Adam’s entertaining and thought provoking podcast, Device and Virtue, which he hosts with his friend Chris. I recommend it if you care about how technology relates to culture and the church.

Conceptual modeling

πŸ™‚

This week starts the September project month, which will be some notes on data visualization, mostly centered around Tamara Munzner’s Visualization Analysis and Design. I’m especially interested in the semantics of diagrams, things like what it means that items are placed next to each other or that there’s an arrow between them. The topic of visualization is important because when I set up an information system, such as a method of conceptual modeling, the system is easier to design when I know what kinds of “buckets” the information will end up in–the ways the information will be represented and organized. Diagrams are one of the most helpful kinds of representation for me, and knowing how diagrams work will help me design them.

The reason I’ve been listening to podcasts lately is that I couldn’t decide what book to listen to next. But with so much conceptual modeling in my future, I decided it was time I got an overview of one of my main sources for fundamental conceptual frameworks, the field of semantics. So the book I settled on was the intro textbook Semantics by John Saeed.

AI

AI Field Map

😐

I got a decent amount done on this last week, but car shopping steamrolled the final two days, so even though we’re starting a new project month, I’m going to give myself a few more days on the field map.

Machine learning

πŸ™‚

I don’t think machine learning on its own will give us the kind of general AI we want (those of us who want such a thing), but I do think it’s part of the picture, and it’s a straightforward gateway into AI work, so it’s been in my plans. I’d been putting off learning machine learning until I was better prepared in some way, maybe till I’d learned statistics, but lately I’ve been thinking about freelance programming, especially since I was paying cash for this car and I wanted to rebuild my funds a little faster. Ariel Camus gives the good advice to find freelance projects that will help you learn, so I decided it’s time to wade into the ML water. I’m reading Introduction to Machine Learning with Python by Andreas MΓΌller and Sarah Guido, which works around all that math I don’t know, and later I’ll try out some ML projects.

Posted in AI, Car, Conceptual modeling, Podcasts, Weeknotes | 2 Comments

Weeknote for 9/1/2019

Life maintenance

Work

😐

Last week was swallowed up by work, my final push to get this big pile of ebooks done, and it left me little time for anything else. This week my workload and schedule should be back to normal.

Car shopping

😐

I was going to go to Carmax last week, but work crowded out my plans, so hopefully I can get a car or two transferred and look at them this week. Meanwhile I’m liking my rental Elantra, though I probably won’t buy one, since it didn’t come up in the lists of high ranking cars I consulted.

Money

πŸ™‚

I made some calls to help me piece together my medical billing puzzle, and I learned enough to feel okay about paying my mystery bill, though I still have steps after that to resolve the situation to my satisfaction. It’s actually pretty fun to get little revelations in each call and progressively learn how the system works.

AI Field Map

πŸ™‚

I didn’t get much further on this, but I did make some plans: (1) to focus only on the lists from Wikipedia for now; (2) to start with the list of AI projects, since it’s a bridge between researchers and topics; and (3) to cheat my project schedule by continuing this one as a learning example during my upcoming project to study Semantic Web technologies. For the rest of this project, I’ll create a basic set of entries from the AI projects list with a few standard properties for each one, which I’ll convert into something more formal when I get to the Semantic Web, which will probably be next month’s project, starting next week.

Video

😎

I continued my AI movie project with the 1927 silent film Metropolis, which felt iconic and mythic to me, and I liked it a lot more than I expected for both its surface aesthetic and its hidden depths. It was about society’s relationship to machines, and the AI occupied a fascinating and troubling blend of roles that reminds me that our relationship to AI will likely be very confused and will also highlight ways we relate to our fellow humans, such as the way we tend to use them as tools.

Podcasts

πŸ™‚

I caught up on Science and Futurism with Isaac Arthur, which I appreciate not only for his optimism but also for his book recommendations, where I can see the technologies and scenarios he talks about fleshed out in story form.

I’m still not sure what audiobooks I want to listen to next, so in the meantime I’m catching up on my friend Adam’s technology criticism podcast, Device and Virtue.

Posted in AI, Car, Fiction, Futurism, Money, Movies, Podcasts, Weeknotes, Work | 2 Comments

Weeknote for 8/25/2019

Car

Selling

πŸ˜”

Sunday, the day after I’d replaced my car battery, my brakes went bad, so I had my car towed to my mechanic, who was able to look at them Tuesday, and it seemed the cause was a leaky brake line. But the underside of my car was so rusty, it was going to be hard to fix without breaking something else, and my mechanic was feeling unsafe underneath it anyway, so we both agreed that it was finally time to call it quits on the ProtΓ©gΓ©. So I called a junkyard, and Saturday morning I said goodbye to my little car of 14 years.

Renting

😐

While my mechanic and I figured out what would become of my car, my coworker kindly gave me rides to and from work for a couple of days, and on Wednesday I picked up a rental, which I meant to be a compact car, but what they gave me was a Dodge Challenger, which was definitely not what I was looking for, but I was kind of in a hurry and didn’t know how particular I’d be, so I agreed to it.

It turned out to be a lot of extra stress driving a large, expensive, attention-getting car when I was used to being small and inconspicuous, so after dealing with it for a couple of days, including a long and agonizing day of car shopping, I switched it Friday evening for a Hyundai Elantra, and it was an immediate relief to drive something easy and comfortable again. I consider this rental the true purpose of the insurance payment for my totaled car, and it gives me some time to do my shopping right.

Shopping

πŸ™„

I’d done a fair amount of research in recent weeks, building on the last time I bought a car, but my first day of actual shopping was Friday, which I took off from work and spent dealing with a Toyota dealership, looking at a couple of Corollas. The one I was there to see had allegedly been sold the night before (though I think it’s true, based on its later disappearance from Edmunds), so the salesguy showed me a later model, which was mechanically fine, even according to my mechanic (once I convinced the dealer to let me take the car to him), but it had a very lived-in smell, possibly involving cigarettes, that I wasn’t confident could be removed, so with some back-and-forth I said no to that one and let them show me another one, which had a different smell that was less biological and more industrial, possibly more fadeable, but I still needed to show the car to my mechanic, which met more resistance from the salespeople but which I couldn’t do anyway by that point in the day, and I needed to go switch my rental car before the place closed, so I extracted myself from them and left.

I learned important things from this experience, such as that even a car dealer with a high customer rating will use manipulative tactics, that for me the stress of handling such people comes largely from the friction between resisting these tactics and doubting I’m resisting them the right way, that messaging friends in such circumstances is great moral support and can save you from regrettable decisions, and that I might have been the one with more actual power in that situation, since the dealer seemed to want my business more than I wanted their particular cars, so their power mostly derived from the tactics.

In any case, the experience was off-putting enough that I decided to take a break till at least Monday to return to normal life a bit and get some necessary things done (I never thought I’d be grateful to have laundry to do), then do some more research and planning, expand my search to include Civics, and maybe try Carmax to see if they’d be easier to work with.

Health

😐

My colonoscopy results came back saying they found inactive colitis and that it was in a smaller area than before, which I guess is good even though it still feels active.

Wednesday afternoon (right after picking up the Challenger) was taken up by my ulcerative colitis med infusion at the hospital.

Work

😐

While all that’s been happening, I’ve been cramming in a bunch of work to finalize a largish batch of ebooks. It actually gives me a nice excuse not to car shop 24/7 this week.

Podcasts

πŸ™‚

During all this tension and worry, I’ve been holding onto my lifelines to the world outside my problems, and one of them has been the hopeful, fantastical (yet scientific) world of Isaac Arthur, which I’m continuing to catch up on from the past year-and-a-half. I have about 10 hours of listening left.

AI field map

πŸ™‚

I managed to get a little done on the field map project, which is a list of the people, organizations, publications, projects, and events in AI research. There’s nothing ready to post, but I was pleased that I reworked my project planning stage so I could get it done in an hour rather than spreading it out over most of a week.

Posted in AI, Car, Futurism, Health, Podcasts, Weeknotes, Work | 2 Comments

Weeknote for 8/18/2019

Conceptual modeling

😎

It’s a week late, but I posted v0.2.0 of my essay. The first version was a record of my existing, haphazard method of analysis. This one is the beginnings of a more intentional method based on my reflections and cursory research over the past year. I expect my future research to basically follow the v0.2.0 outline.

AI field map

😐

I didn’t work on this except to find an app I might use for some of my results: myHistro, which lets you make timelines combined with maps. I’ll still be busy with life maintenance this week, but hopefully I can get somewhere with this project.

Futurism

😎

Tuesday my futurism group had a meeting about transhumanism. We weren’t at a video-watching venue, so we just talked, but beforehand in the event’s comments some of us shared some YouTube videos, and I made a playlist of those. After watching them I’ve moved Yuval Harari up on my reading list. This meeting came at a good time, because I’d been missing these topics, and having my attention turned back to them was like a refreshing breeze.

Fiction

πŸ™‚

I finished my coworker’s novel, The Means That Make Us Strangers, an intriguing angle on a coming-of-age story. It’s set in South Carolina during the 1960s civil rights movement, but the main character isn’t exactly from there. I rate it a thoughtful page turner!

This concludes my summer reading list of loosely related fiction and memoirs on the Middle East, the military, civil rights, and/or grief. It was different from my usual reading material and very worthwhile. I’m still deciding what books to listen to next.

Video

😎

I caught up on Dark, which I think of as the new Lost, and I recommend it if you like complicated, mind-bending shows (keeping in mind its TV-MA rating). Thankfully it’s been renewed for its third season, and so it’ll get to finish its story, unlike The OA, unless that one gets uncancelled, which it has a moral duty to be.

Now I’m taking a break from TV shows so I can spend more time on my projects. I’ll still continue my AI movie project.

Life maintenance

πŸ™‚

Thursday evening I had my colonoscopy prep, which was fine and gave me time to finish the conceptual modeling essay. Friday Jeremy drove me to my colonoscopy, and that was also fine. Truthfully I’m more interested in the experience of consciousness than in my colon, so for me colonoscopies are mostly about the anesthesia, and when it began kicking in, I counted the seconds to see how high I could remember getting, and I remember being surprised at reaching 100 when I expected a max of 5, though I can’t remember going through all the numbers to get there, so for all I know I’d lost the ability to count. After we left I have spotty memories of eating with Jeremy at Portillo’s and getting a movie from the library before somehow making it back to my apartment, and my mind didn’t feel normal till I woke up from a long nap.

πŸ™„

Saturday morning I was planning to catch up on some work at the office, but after my car had sat in its parking spot for over a day, the battery decided it’d had enough and my car wasn’t going anywhere. So after wringing my hands about the best way to proceed, I called AAA, and they came and replaced the battery. It was a little annoying to have to spend money on a car I was about to replace, but the auto insurance paid me for a total loss after my accident at the beginning of July, so I’m considering the battery to be part of that amount.

Podcasts

😎

The futurism meeting put me in the mood for Isaac Arthur, so while I decide on a new reading project, I’m catching up on episodes from his YouTube channel–though I’m listening to the podcast version–starting from February of 2018 with the episode on colonizing Alpha Centauri. His videos are having a similar effect to the productivity and freelancing videos I was watching earlier, keeping my mind on a hopeful future during a present that feels complicated and difficult.

Posted in AI, Car, Conceptual modeling, Fiction, Futurism, Health, Life maintenance, Podcasts, Social issues, TV, Weeknotes | Leave a comment

Weeknote for 8/11/2019

Life maintenance

πŸ™„

My life has been kind of crowded with life maintenance lately. I’m handling it okay, but it’s giving me less time for my projects and for sleep, and it’s been burdening me with extra worry. See the YouTube section below for something that’s been helping me cope.

At work my current batch of ebooks is more intense than usual, so I’ve had to work late a couple of times, and it’s cutting into some of my other activities. That’ll continue through this week.

Car shopping is on hold until after this crunch time at work, but I can say I’ll be looking mainly for a Honda Civic, Mazda 3, or Toyota Corolla. If I can find a hybrid in my price range, I’ll look at that too, probably a Toyota Camry or Prius. I’m planning to pay cash, so my savings will take a hit.

Medical billing is my main worry right now, because I don’t know how tame or wild my costs will end up being. I’m still figuring out my mysterious bill, and another issue has come up in the process, but I’ve recruited our benefit service provider to help me work it out. I’m expecting to make several more phone calls to various parties.

One thing I’m not worried about is my biannual colonoscopy for my ulcerative colitis on Friday. I’m basically a pro at those now. Thursday is prep day, but that’ll start after work.

πŸ™‚

A positive development last week was that I did some cooking. I’d been meaning to carefully plan out a rotation of meals I could cook once a week and take to work for lunch and then a second rotation for dinner, but I got impatient waiting to get around to all that planning, so I just jumped in with the first meal that came to mind. I made beef stew using my dad’s recipe, and it turned out extra delicious, if I do say so myself. I also got a late start and finished cooking at 1 a.m.–oops.

Conceptual modeling

😐

With life maintenance and naps taking up my time and with feeling procrastinatory over the amount of work writing takes, I didn’t get much writing done. So to keep this project from dragging on forever, I’m going to finish up my bullet points and post those. That’s good enough for me, because this essay is mainly a summary and research agenda for my own use.

AI field map

πŸ™‚

This week starts the project month of August, and my project this month is an AI field map, where I identify the important people, organizations, events, publications, and so on in the world of AI research. It’ll give me a better foundation for conversations about AI and a better idea of places I’d like to work. If I finish that early, I’ll get back to conceptual modeling research.

Social issues

πŸ™‚

I finished the excellent audiobook of While the World Watched, Carolyn Maull McKinstry’s memoirΒ of growing up in Birmingham in the middle of the civil rights movement of the 1960s (here’s an hour-long talk by her on the topic). I appreciated getting an overview of the important events and people of the time and a personal view of what life was like in Black communities, as well as McKinstry’s honest reactions to her circumstances throughout her life and her hopeful outlook. Despite some confusing chronology in a few places, I recommend the book, and I’m grateful she put her experiences and reflections into writing for us.

Video

Movies

πŸ™‚

I took an accidental break from my AI movie project because I wasn’t paying attention to my Netflix DVD queue, and I ended up starting what will eventually be some kind of ’80s sci fi project. The movie I watched was The Last Starfighter, which a YouTube video told me was an inspiration for today’s synthwave genre. The movie had less of a Tron-like, synthwave feel to me and more of a light Star Wars feel, largely because of the orchestral score, though I could tell it was trying to stand on its own rather than mimic other movies. Overall I liked it, but I felt it was actually too short and needed more starfighting.

YouTube

😎

In the background of my mindless tasks I’ve been binge listening to a couple of YouTube channels, and they’ve helped buoy me through this stressful time. What helps is hearing their advice for keeping life moving forward and seeing how these ideas have worked for them personally.

  • Thomas Frank, the Uploads playlist, which is everything on his channel. He mainly covers learning and productivity in a bite-size, down-to-earth, and friendly way. Even though I think about this stuff a lot already, I quickly picked up some good tips for managing my time and motivation for applying the principles I knew.
  • Traversy Media, the Developer Discussion playlist. His channel covers tutorials on a wide range of programming topics, mostly related to web development, but this playlist is about the personal and business side of life as a developer, especially as a freelancer. I’ve been looking at freelancing for some extra financial security and to gain experience in the programming topics I want to learn, and his videos make me feel that pushing into new areas of work is doable. I also appreciate his openness about the life challenges he’s faced.

Another channel I could binge along these lines is The Financial Diet, friendly and accessible advice on managing your money.

Posted in AI, Car, Conceptual modeling, Cooking, Health, Life maintenance, Money, Movies, Productivity, Programming, Social issues, Videos, Weeknotes, Work | 1 Comment

Weeknote for 8/4/2019

Conceptual modeling

😐

I’m mostly done with the outlining, so this week I’ll write the updated essay and hopefully post it by the end of the week, which is the end of this project month.

Life maintenance

😐

I took my car to the insurance’s auto body shop, which decided it was a total loss. The car still drives fine though, so I kept it for a lower payment from the insurance, and now I’m officially car shopping. It’s been 14 years since I’ve bought a car, and last time I did a lot of research, but this time I’m mostly relying on Consumer Reports. Their most useful info is behind a paywall, which usually I don’t like, but for buying a car it feels like a good investment.

Spirituality

πŸ€”

I listened to Hit Hard by Pat and Tammy McLeod, read by the authors, a memoir of coping with ambiguous loss in the form of their son’s brain damage from a football injury. Their story had considerably less poise and more conflict than Colors of Goodbye, so in that way it felt more relatable, and I found myself identifying with Tammy’s perspective and way of coping. But it’s still a hopeful and encouraging story, and it makes me feel a little more like maybe I too could adapt to a hard change like theirs.

Social issues

πŸ€”

My next audiobook is While the World Watched by Carolyn Maull McKinstry, a memoir of growing up in Birmingham during the civil rights movement of the ’60s. I’m hoping it’ll give me a window on that movement that will help me understand our society’s current struggles.

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After many years, the alarmism of the Internet has finally eroded my apathy about the environment. I’m not sure how panicked I should be, so I’m just wading into the material and letting the debates clarify things for me. Interesting people I’ve found so far are David Wallace-Wells with his book The Uninhabitable Earth, Jem Bendell with deep adaptation, Michael Shellenberger, and the people at the Climate Feedback website. With this on my mind, it’s odd seeing the mundane ways we spend our lives when this epic emergency is unfolding around us.

With the general life stress I was already feeling this summer, I question my reading choices over the past month or so, but oh well. I’ve been staying emotionally afloat.

Video

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Continuing my AI movie project, I watched Bicentennial Man. I think it’s extremely unlikely that an AI would spontaneously develop recognizable emotions and want to be human, so I don’t think it was great as an AI story. As an exploration of what it means to be human, I found it to be decently thoughtful, in a ’90s sort of way, and I liked the robot costumes, technology props, and set design. I have a new appreciation for Sam Neill, and it was nice to see Lynne Thigpen.

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