Last week didn’t feel packed, but you’d think so from the length of this post.
Sunday my friends Jeremy and Heather hosted a birthday party for me. They even made tacos. Tim and Linda joined us. We played some games I brought–Splendor, Magic Maze, and Isle of Skye. My only complaint is they didn’t eat enough of the dessert I brought. I was munching on it the rest of the week. Such a burden.
Leftovers from my birthday party. pic.twitter.com/kx08Dn4rtD
— Andy Culbertson (@thinkulum) March 21, 2018
I vote in primaries these days, but I’m not great at keeping up with the races, so I’m left scrambling at the last minute. I’ve found there are two ways to vote: (1) being tormented with indecision in the voting booth and (2) zipping through the list you wrote down beforehand. The second way feels much better. So Monday night I was up late researching candidates and propositions for the next day’s vote.
I was pleased that the main candidate I cared about won. The rest of this race should be interesting to watch.
The summary I posted the week before last reminded me I have a lot of work to do before I feel my beliefs are settled. It feels like too much to even begin working through right now. But I’m trying to keep working on the project through Lent, so this week I’ll post a list of potential sources to consult when I finally do dig in.
The analysis essay still takes up a lot of my thinking time. I’ve been capturing a lot of passing thoughts in my notes. The next update will be a list of potential sources for this project.
As I think about things I want to do, I find myself mentally regressing through chains of prerequisite projects till I end up at what I’m charitably calling gateways, projects that will make others possible or easier. When I’m in a grumpier mood, I call them bottlenecks, because I tend to procrastinate on them while being impatient for the projects they’ll enable. Last week I looked through my big list of current project ideas and tagged the gateways.
One of my gateways is researching grad schools. Once I find some likely candidates, I’ll be in a better position to plan some of the basic computer science learning I need to do, topics like computer architecture and operating systems. I’ll also be able to answer people when they ask me where I want to go for grad school.
So last week I picked up my research where I left off way back when. Unfortunately the couple of times I tried, my brain was running on fumes, so I didn’t get very far. But at least the wheels have started turning again.
Another bottl–uh, gateway–is my coding project generator. So I briefly looked through my next steps and noted the issues that were holding me back on them. Converting your problems to tasks in a list can make them remarkably easier to deal with. I’m expecting to work more on this project in the coming weeks.
Somehow I got through three movies last week.
The Cloverfield Paradox
The Cloverfield Paradox was a typical soft sf film where the explanations of what was going on didn’t really make sense, but other than that I liked it. My favorite part was recognizing that the weird things that happen on the station could’ve sprung from the imagination of my 9-year-old self. It’s nice finding creators who speak my language.
Good Will Hunting
I’ve resubscribed to the Netflix DVD service, and last week I was reminded you have to stay on top of managing your queue, because they won’t waste any time sending you whatever’s next. So last week to keep the queue flowing I watched the one they sent me, Good Will Hunting. I’d added it because of some articles I’d read about South Boston, which is where the characters are from. One of my online friends lives near there.
But also the movie was in the back of my mind because my Christian education professors back in undergraduate days would use it to illustrate something or other. I’d seen the “not your fault” scene at least once in class. So I was watching like a hawk to see how Robin Williams the therapist would make a connection with Matt Damon the troubled genius and get through to him. And I watched too closely, because I ended up contemplating life. But let’s be honest, I would do that anyway. I took away two questions: What counts as authentic experience? And how might I be avoiding it to protect myself from its risks?
The Scorch Trials
Jeremy and I are fans of the Maze Runner book series. We’d watched the first movie adaptation, and Jeremy wanted to watch The Death Cure, but we hadn’t seen The Scorch Trials yet. So we watched that one on Friday with plans to see The Death Cure the next day at a discount theater. We were very thrown off by the movie. In fact, it changed the premise of the books enough that the first movie didn’t really make sense. With that and the characters’ overreactions and a very cliché plot, we dropped the idea of seeing the third one.
In between movies, I returned to Star Trek: Discovery and got through episodes 5 and 6. The show definitely improved after the first episode or two.
A couple of weeks ago my employer’s co-founder died. She was about a week away from being 101. The other co-founder, her husband, died a few years before I started working there. Our chapel last week was going to be a birthday celebration, so they celebrated her life instead. The next morning was her funeral, which we were able to watch in the chapel via a livestream.
As usual, I appreciated people’s eulogies. They reminded me that generosity and hospitality were two of her hallmarks, which challenges me because those are areas I always feel could be improved in my life.
Getting my apartment ready for my siblings’ visit over Easter is progressing fairly steadily. I’m feeling pretty good about it, considering I usually put off that kind of housekeeping, to the point that I do practically none of it before my guests arrive.
The week before last, I put half of my new file cabinet together. I finished it late last week and set up my new and improved music filing system in the bottom drawer. What a relief. And getting that done cleared up a lot of space in that area of the apartment.
Finishing my new file cabinet and getting ready for the next day’s worship performance put me in an easy position to try out some recording from my MIDI keyboard. This is something I had in mind for my Surface several years ago when I bought it, but of course I hadn’t gotten around to it. So I plugged in the keyboard, fired up LMMS, and set about investigating how to get it to record. But it was late Saturday night, and I didn’t get very far. I’ll have more to report next week.