Another overly long update for you.
Sunday I went back to the Lutheran church. Last time I got there late, didn’t get an order of service, and spent the whole time lost and confused. But otherwise the atmosphere was right, so I wanted to try again. This time I got there way early, got an order, and even had time to figure out which variation they seemed to be following in the Divine Service book (#1 was closest).
I felt much more present this time, and I think this will be my default old-style liturgical church. (My contemporary liturgical church is the one my brother and I attend on Easter.) I do have one more church to visit though. I tacked it on because I decided to give the Methodists a chance. Also it turns out I know their music minister.
Monday I completed the next step in the setup of my grocery shopping system: noting which items I could get cheaply at Aldi. I also needed to buy that week’s groceries, so with all that going on between two stores, my shopping trip took about three hours.
The next step will be to sort the items in my lists according to the stores’ layouts. That way I can zip through and pick things up without hunting for them. Then my shopping will take minutes instead of hours.
There are a couple of recurring items I have to get from other stores I rarely visit. I decided that instead of making special trips, I’d order those in bulk from Amazon. So now I have several months of coffee and breath mints sitting in the cabinet over my desk at work.
Between the shopping system and my newly clean apartment, my life is feeling a lot more organized. I still have a lot of stuff to sort through in my closet, but I think the next housekeeping task will be to finish switching my computer backup system from Jungle Disk to the much cheaper CloudBerry.
Tuesday my futurism group met and talked about robots. I had a lot to say this time. Our intro question was what we’d want a robot for. My answer was that there’s not much I’d want current robots for, but once they got more sophisticated and if there weren’t annoying business practices attached, I’d absolutely want a self-driving car, and I’d want another robot to do my housekeeping.
But more than that, if robots had respectable AI capabilities, I’d want one as a friend. Basically I want Data from Star Trek to be real. It’s actually one of my main personal motivations for wanting to work in AI.
But as I told the group, it seems unfair to the AI to restrict it to being my friend. It could do much bigger things, so I’d probably want to free it to do them. As long as it was friendly.
I’ve decided to rename my analysis project. It will henceforth be called modeling. Analysis only covers a part of the process I’m describing, and I think modeling does a better job of capturing it.
It seems like most of the rest of the week I spent dealing with my anxiety about that project. I was beginning to feel it was too big. A lot of my projects are kind of big, but somehow this one was different. The feeling stuck around for a few days, coming and going until I’d taken care of the most immediate sources of anxiety.
One source was that a few more potential resources had come to my attention, and making decisions about buying books sometimes makes me tense. It was worse this time because finding these books increased my sense that, the way I conceive of it, modeling is a truly vast topic. But I noticed I felt better after I ordered the books from this batch that I felt would be the most useful.
The other source of anxiety was the large hodgepodge of notes I’d written. I knew they’d be easier to think about if I grouped them into topics, and I had some in mind that would be helpful. I felt better after I’d moved most of them into place.
The next step is to ponder these key topics some more and come up with a new version of my procedure. I’m hoping to have an update to post to the wiki in a week or two.
I need to do some programming for my modeling project, which reminds me that I have a bottleneck when it comes to programming: my coding project generator. So I’m back to working on that.
I finished On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, the first book in Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga for children. I rate it 5/5. I plan to listen to the rest of the series. I mean it does follow a lot of the tropes of the other epic fantasies I’ve read, so it wasn’t startlingly unique. But when I think about reading Christian fiction by authors I don’t know, I get ready to cringe, and in Peterson’s case there was no need for cringing.
I did find it provocative though, which is a much better effect. For one thing, I don’t know what the author’s influences are, but the whole story I felt like Charlotte Mason was peeking out of the bushes. I get the impression Peterson’s the kind of parent who homeschools his kids on the Trivium. I’m ambivalent on the idea of classical education, and I found myself inwardly debating the story and the people it reminded me of who teach their kids Latin. Although I will admit some of these sound like pretty good reasons.
Now I’m listening to Becoming Dallas Willard, the recent bio by Gary Moon. I’d barely started by the end of the week, but already the foreword and opening pages had highlighted the reason I was looking forward to it. It’s one thing for someone like Willard to write about how personal transformation is supposed to work. It’s another to see, in some detail, how it happened in the life of an actual person.