Not quite done, but I made good progress. I give myself about 2 1/2 more weeks and it should be done. 😉 Last week my excuse was that music preparation kind of took over my time, but this week I’ll need to find another one.
Last week I decided that if my lips were going to make it through playing the French horn for a run-through and two church services the upcoming Sunday, I’d need to intensify my practicing, so a couple of days I increased my practice time from a half hour to at least an hour, and I skipped Wednesday to recover. I also wrote some lower lines for the new songs that I could play if my lips got too tired, which helped last year.
On Black Friday I ordered a dining set I’ve had in mind for my living room for over a year. They delivered it last week, so once I’m at a good spot with my Christmas labels, I’ll put it together, and then I’ll Christmas decorate, if it’s not too close to my vacation to be worth it.
Even though my Christmas project from last month isn’t done, this week I’m still planning to start my life maintenance miscellany, especially focusing on the remaining tasks left over from the summer. Added to those is a delay on the next infusion of my ulcerative colitis med because the approval needs to be renewed and the insurance company likes to take its time, so I’ll probably make some calls to see what I can do about that, since I don’t want to spend my vacation in the bathroom.
I finished Kevin Aho’s Existentialism: An Introduction–wordy, but I did feel well introduced, and even though I consider my perspective to be generally existentialist already, I picked up on new key points that gave me lots of food for thought, such as the idea that we have a fundamental anxiety about death that we continually distract ourselves from (also a key feature of Ligotti); that we have no essential self but are always inventing it, unless we’re avoiding the responsibility and merely playing our societal roles; and that to do our fundamental duty to be authentic, we need to face and integrate our pain (also a key feature of Gurdjieff), though it wasn’t clear to me what we’re being authentic to if we have no essential self. I agree with Aho that even though the initial period of existentialism is long past, its perspective still has a lot to contribute.
I’m almost done with Irvine’s Stoicism book, and I’ve refilled my reading queue with a bunch more philosophy of life books. Next will be John O’Donahue’s Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom.
I took advantage of some Black Friday sales and bought a bunch of ebooks, mostly on programming, but also one on productivity called Pomodoro Technique Illustrated about a system where you use a timer to manage your work cycles–typically 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break, and a longer break every four work sessions. Pomodoro is a popular method in the Internet productivitysphere, and I tried it a while back without much conviction, but around Thanksgiving I felt the need for a productivity push both at work and at home, so the sale was timely. Last week I tried it using the PomoDone app, and it helped me stay much more focused at work. I didn’t really use it at home, but it at least got me thinking of my activities in terms of focused blocks of time. I’m still in the middle of the book, which I want to finish because his advice will help me refine my practice.
My conceptual modeling thoughts and binge buying of programming ebooks have brought software development back to the front of my mind, so I’ve added another side queue for books on programming. I’m starting with Living Documentation by Cyrille Martraire, because I’ll want a lot of documentation in my math student simulator, which I’m planning to return to in the next few months.
Saturday I bought Jeremy lunch at a local deli, partly because the weekend before was his birthday and we didn’t get together and partly because I found out that weekend that the restaurant was closing in a week. He’d never been there, so his first sandwich there was also his last, unless the restaurant reopens someday, and fortunately he enjoyed it. Coincidentally the day before I’d listened to William Irvine illustrating the Stoics’ negative visualization with the example of eating at a favorite restaurant that would soon be closing, and since the deli had recently become my weekend tradition, I wondered if I’d feel bittersweet about our lunch. It turned out the answer was no, I only felt slightly more reflective, so I guess I hadn’t formed that much of a bond with it, but it does seem to be a community hangout, so it’ll be a loss.