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Weeknotes

Weeknotes #14

Looking back at the weeks since my last Weeknotes it is safe to say that at the least on this blog plenty of things have happened, even if that that might not be obvious on first sight.

So, maybe I’ll start with the blog

Blog

While I have found again interest in building the blog as my main social platform, I still struggle to publish anything meaningful. Then again, who cares.

What I care though is the design of this blog, and as such I have on average changed the theme of the blog a couple of times (over the span of two weeks or such) a day, but in the end went back to the default theme. If I would have already re-imported all posts from the past, I would be able to count how much I wrote that since I started blogging.

Obviously, I’m back to where-ever I left off. 🤦‍♂️ Not sure what to think about that.

Media/Reading

So, we’ve got HBO-Max and Prime during the last few weeks I watched the whole run of the Big Bang Theory. I watched it before of course, but then got stuck for whatever reason at the 8th (or so) season and as previously, it is huge fun though, great show.

As a new long-term project we (my son and I) started to watch Doctor Who again as well, but that will surely take some time get done.

At the same time I’m reading “The Eye of The World”. I will really have to finish that soon as the last book in the Expanse-Series will be out next week. But one thing at a time.

Work

For an upcoming project I started to work on the baritone saxophone which is huge fun, but other than than that things are running smoothly along. A few more concerts are coming up in the next weeks as well. Hopefully, with the corona-restrictions are getting tighter again, they will even take place.

Random

It seems that Obsidian is taking over all things that I do with text-/writing (writing this though in Gutenberg, somehow seems one-click-less) and it is working rather well for me. I’m not much (if at all) into all the Graph-/Backlink things but rather just use to organize my notes for work and planning stuff. Things I up to recently used my Bullet Journal for. Crazy, but it seem to fit rather nicely into my workflow plus it is available on all platforms that I’m using on a daily basis, which is a first I guess.

So, I guess that it is for now, and more in a couple of weeks.

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Weeknotes

Weeknotes #13

I missed the obviously best opportunity to publish the 13th edition of the Weeknotes on Halloween, but at least it is still in the ballpark.

Since my last Weeknotes had been months in the past, naturally a lot of things have happened and it would be out of the scope of one measly post to fill you up on all things. So, let’s just pretend the gap never happened and here’s what happened during the past few weeks.

Social

During the last few weeks I have re-activated my Micro.Blog blog with the idea of being less of an online hermit, and needless to say, it turns out that I don’t feel very social, granted Micro.blog is both blogging and social, but still.

I posted a few things here and there but that was about it.

I considered cross posting to say Mastodon as well but somehow it just feels like showing up someone else’s party and just hang out there.

On the other side I re-discovered interest into this blog and bizarrely have had no issues posting things here. I guess, this is more my party. Don’t know, but it just feels better.

And that brings me to the:

Blog

You might notice that I got a little wild with the design. That is, if the use of color is “wild”. I’m not yet done with this (will I ever) but so far I enjoy a bit more colour in here.

I have updated a few pages as well and eventually will update the /now page as well. Still it’s stuck in summer 🤣

Things watched

Historically I’m bad at watching TV, or movies in general but at least for the sake of Halloween watched the remake of “The Omen”. Not bad, but probably should have watched the original.

And talking about original. As I’m typing this, the extended edition of the exorcist is running in the background. Let’s see how that works out.

Things read

I had been reading quite a bit in the past and even managed to update the book-log. At the moment I’m reading:

  • Clive Barker: Mister B Gone
  • Stephen Fry: Troy
  • Anne Rice: Interview with the Vampire

So, I think this will do for now.

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Weeknotes

Weeknotes #12

It now little more that a year since the last post in this category. Is it time to stop calling them Weeknotes? Maybe not yet. Also the blog had been dormant as well for the last ten months and since I planned on “re-launching” the whole thing, I thought I might as well do so by continuing this series before the dormant-ness of this blog has an anniversary as well.

Needless to say since the last post many things worth mentioning have happened, but bringing them up right here and now seems unreasonable and would require me digging through my collections of journals and figuring it out in the first place.

So, the best place to start would be simply to pretend the hiatus never happened (a policy that I will from now on adhere to with all the content on the blog) and jump back right in. Let’s start with the blog.

Blog

Obviously the blog had been now, with this post, somewhat resurrected and moved back from Blot.im to WordPress. The move had nothing to do with Blot but rather with the dependency of Dropbox and mostly fact that the blog had become, due to its countless moves of platforms (I wonder who’s to blame for that) and my insistence that having a blog and micro-blogging thing on the same site is a great idea, such an unwieldy, at times weirdly formatted and bloated mess with missing images and what not, that it was annoying me.

I did what everyone would do in this situation and let the whole mess just sit and simmer there until a few months ago, when I thought it would be time to clean up the whole mess.

I decided to, this time, get rid of all the posts that are redundant by now, updated some, and most of all imported all the post by hand, to have more control what actually ends up here. This, considered that the whole thing had been been running in one form or the other since 2008, is a stupid amount of work, that I’m almost annoyed of having even started in the first place.

Chances are, that I missed (and will miss) great a deal of posts that I actually care for, but they might still make it here eventually.

By the time I type this, I am still missing entries the entries of the years 2011-16 (OMFG) but over time things will get there. It’s not that I’m in a hurry or that anyone is missing those entries.

And while I was already at it, I have found a theme that I don’t hate and slapped a landing page on it, which I was easily designed thanks to the Gutenberg editor. I start to wonder what it is possible once full-site editing is going to be available. Anyway…

I opted for the landing-page-approach in order to prevent myself from having to worry about updating the blog frequently and to turn more attention to the /pages and selected categories.

Work

Despite Corona and the occasional remote-work period things had been going on “mostly” normal during the last year. “Mostly” in fact means, that we managed to have two actual “LIVE” concerts (one in the beginning, and another at the end of year) but had a plethora of cancelled, moved and finally done streaming concerts. We were lucky of having a media department one floor in our school, who were able to help us, and could also use these for their own studies. It was a win/win without the 20 livestreams wouldn’t have been possible.

Now the regulations have been somewhat gotten less strict around here and we finally had the chance to have (a) concert in front of an audience! Which in fact, is really nice.

Also, not really related, but still. My somewhat dinosaur-age finally had some benefits and as of today (by the time of this writing at least) I have received my first Corona-shot. The next one will be in 3 months and I hope to have this post out by then.

What am I reading?

The last year had been not a good time for my reading habits and my reading time had decreased rather much over the time. I haven’t even updated my “Book Log” as much as I wanted to and most likely forgot to add books to it. I did quite a few re-reads during the year, and I think I might have read Good Omens at the least twice.

Currently though I’m reading V.E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows and Neil Gaiman’s 1602 and ever so often a story or two from the Neil Gaiman Reader. It is surely not as much as compared to the previous years, but the year is not done yet. This might still change and I might find my reading-mojo again.

So, I think this will be it for the time being. This post is already way too epic in proportions and I doubt anyone will have even made it up to this point, I congratulate you if you did. I have no idea how the blog will develop in the future and let’s see if then next “Weeknotes” will come out this year still.

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Weeknotes

Weeknotes 11

During the last week this blog had been rather silent, for the obvious reasons. I had, and still have, a hard time keeping politics out of this blog. I started this post a few times, and routinely ended up in a lengthy rant.

I lack the political background to make a profound statement about the situation, but all I can say is that I have been shocked and in a constant state of anger and outrage at the racism in the states. Plain horrible!

But now to something completely different before I manage to work myself up again…

My switch to Linux had been successful and have a blast using Ubuntu. I haven’t been using Linux for about 15 years or such and it’s fun using it again. So far, the best IT decision that I have done this year and I enjoy that I can learn new things.

Which brings me to…

Emacs

One of my ideas of switching to Linux (even though that has nothing to do with Linux in general, it’s more of a fresh start) was to also finalize a process that started many years ago and use as much plain-text files as possible and stick to Markdown and, what I have been looking at for a while, that is new to me: ORG-Mode.

Since the latter requires Emacs, I’m even closer to my idea of a minimal setup and can use only one app for all things related to task-management, writing and some of the other things one can use Emacs for (I understand that is everything but preparing coffee).

It’s a plan and a huge rabbit hole. Then again, I’m on summer-vacation.

Therefore, during the last week(s) I spent quite an amount of time with the built-in manual, watched tutorials, got used to (and forgot half of them again) the shortcuts and tried to get a grasp at how the app works and most importantly used it for as much as possible. I set up a bunch of .ORG files, capture-templates and checked out what I can do with the Agenda views and what not.

I barely have scratched the surface, but at least I have come so far that I can use it for the things that I need at the moment. Yet, I’m still tinkering.

I’m long time fan of avoiding the mouse as much as possible and the wealth of keyboard-shortcuts certainly comes to an advantage to me. Okay, when it comes to Emacs, this is still a huge overstatement. I routinely accidentally minimize the app or have to look up how to copy/paste, but I’m learning. Which is fun. Did I mention already that I’m on vacation?

From what I gather so far, ORG-Mode is nothing but amazing for task-management, then again my Bullet Journal had been very successful filling that need during the last year. Oh my…

I have Markdown-Mode and ORG-Journal set up, will have to have a look at Deft and look in awe at what one can do with ORG-ROAM (I blame Jack for that). There is a lot to explore, to tinker and to make the editor my own.

Blog

My Blot.im subscription had been renewed and I’m going into my third year (with breaks) running the blog here and am still happy with the service.

On the blog side there are a few things that I would like to add, but neither are crucial. For example I would like to add a feed-template for tags, and add a /USING and /FEED page. Also, I would like to give the site a minor face-lift, maybe.

My best guess (read: hope) is that by the time I have the next Weeknotes out, at least the pages are in place.

Things Watched

Well, I’m bad with watching things. The only thing that I have watched that comes to mind right now were a bunch of EMACS related tutorials and the Bugle’s live-stream a few weeks ago. Also during the day I watched John Oliver’s latest and brilliant episode in “Last Week Today” which I think was a very important one.

Read

I’m currently on a Cory Doctorow binge and recently (I already wrote about that) and am reading “Walkaway” at the moment, and have a few more books in the pipeline, but that might be another post.

So, let’s see what happens until the next Weeknotes is out.

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Weeknotes

Weeknotes No 10

During the weeks since my last weeks not much had happened, and mostly everything was, like for everyone else, one big Groundhog Day. That pretty much sums it up. The last week though saw our daughter’s birthday and two amazing cakes and was happy to have succesfully created an Ubuntu thumb-drive.

That I have then used to revive an old, partly broken and otherwise unusable MacBook with a fresh Ubuntu install. I felt like a superhero and it is running just nicely. While installing it on that old machine was but a test, it is though part of a larger attempt of simplifying my things and with it switching over to Linux. Something that I used to, about 16 years or so ago.

My main machine will be dual-booted any day now. I’ll keep you posted.

Work things

The lockdown up here has been mildly been lifted and schools have partly opened again, our school is though still closed and remote teaching went on as usual. Everyone got more and more used to it and by now it is pretty much routine. We all made it to the end and by next week the summer vacation is about to start.

After this Spring I think everyone, teachers and students alike, have deserved some rest.

Things watched

During the last 9-10 weeks I did not really watch much, at least not since my last update. I kind of stuck to my routine of preparing my lessons in the night and kept running Star Trek TNG in the background, but to be honest not much else.

Things read

I did however read quite a bit and finished my Sandman binge and continued with Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother series which made quite an impression on me. Also I continued with following Wil Wheaton’sRadio Free Burrito” podcast.

So, that being said, I’m separated my only one week from summer vacation and plan to learn more about Emacs (I have a post already in the pipeline, but is this thing amazing!) and get up Ubuntu running on my main machine as well.

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Weeknotes

Weeknotes #9

It’s “Corona Lockdown: Week 3” (I believe) and with it another week is done, suffice it to say, not much has changed. Here’s the gist.

Working from Home

This working from home, and hence sitting in front of the computer most of the day, has it consequences it seems. Good and bad.

First of all I try to optimize my setup and make things working as smooth as possible on my machine by learning more shortcuts. I guess the urge for a little rest from time to time revived my interest in blogging. These are positive things I guess.

I did however, during the “optimizing” part, started to reconsider plain-text task-management and read up on org-mode again. I should remind myself again that my Bullet Journal setup had worked flawlessly during the last year.

As for the technical parts, teaching via a video call did feel pretty normal from the beginning and after the last few weeks has gotten even more normal if that is a thing. I know many of my colleagues are using Zoom which I try to avoid as much as possible, but at least things are improving on Zoom’s part.

Things watched

I continue re-watching Star Trek the Next Generation, even though I’m not actively watching, but rather keep it running on a second display while burning the midnight oil to keep me company.

Listening and Reading

Since my “commute” is now defined as the distance between bedroom, kitchen and the kids’ room out of which I usually teach, there is not much time catch up with a significant amount podcasts or audiobooks. Since I have cancelled my subscription of the latter for a while, I focus at the moment on podcasts again and catch up with my extensive backlog.

I already wrote about it, but I enjoyed LeVar Burton’s reading of Max Gladstone’s A Kiss With Teeth, and plan to listen more of his show. As usual “The Bugle” is a fun show.

I’m still reading “The Kindly Ones” and my plans of finishing it last weekend were ruined by these three new arrangements that came up. Next weekend maybe.

I guess that it’s for now, and I doubt the next Weeknotes will be much different. I guess, we’ll see.

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Weeknotes

Weeknotes #8

Since the last instalment of this series again a few months have passed, but I took a bit of a distance from the blog and my computer and in hindsight this was a very beneficial thing. It was good getting a distance and re-thinking the whole thing a bit.

With the current situation being what it is (I briefly considered naming this post “Lockdown Week 2”) I am forced to sit in front of the screen, just like everyone else, much longer than I care for and I guess I need to have a distraction from time to time, which in return revived my interest in blogging.

But more on that soon.

The last two weeks, had been stressful, very busy, exciting and exhausting, a bit of a rollercoaster, but we’re trying to make the best of it.

Work

For now two weeks now I’m teaching from home (famously out of the kids room) and am running through all kinds of video-conferencing software. Zoom, a rather popular choice, has the best controls for sound, and so far had been consistently good, but not overwhelmingly so. The next, and my favourite because it works out of the box well, would be Google Duo. The latter is handy because it comes pre-installed on newer phones, hence quite a few of my students have access to it.

Of course our network here at home has to deal with about 3-4 running connections at the same time, hence things slow down on that end.

Especially interesting is the part with the “band-rehearsals” and we are at the looking at a solution to do remote-recordings. In any way, it is interesting but things still need to be ironed out a bit more.

Blog

One thing that I did to get a bit of a distraction from all of this, which happens to be also part of a much larger attempt to simplify things in general for me, is that I moved my blog back to Blot.im after a roughly 7 month run on WordPress.

There is nothing wrong with WP and I still like it, but it feels way too heavy for what I am using it, yet still somehow limiting.
During the import of my last 7 month worth of posts, a shout out to David from Blot.im for his help converting my posts, and during some minor editing I realized yet again how much more I enjoy working with a plain text blog.

For example simply changing some links in ALL my posts is merely a matter of a mass find and replace and is done within 30 seconds or such.

I will now check during the next few days if something major is amiss and then will delete my WP-blog for good. This back and forth of mine is plain annoying.

Reading

During the last few weeks I did not manage to read a lot, if at all, but when I do, I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman – Kindly Ones“. I’m still looking forward to get the final volume of Joe Hill’s “Locke and Key“, but libraries are closed now as well. So I guess that has to wait a bit more.

Handwriting

At some point during the last months I had some sort of breakthrough and all my work getting a better handwriting finally paid off, and my cursive is now much more going into the right direction. Still, I’m working on it everyday in my journal.

Things watched and listened

During the night, while editing some arrangements, I finished the season finale of Picard and in hindsight can say, that I enjoyed the series. It was nice “meeting” those characters again. I have never been much of a Trekkie, yet still watched it quite a lot, as I realized recently during a re-watch of the old seasons of TNG, as I was rather familiar with quite a few of those episodes.

I’m also catching up with my podcast-backlog and found the latest episode of The Bugle and Stephen Fry’s Seven Deadly Sins particular entertaining and interesting.

But I think that’s about it for now and stay safe out there.

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Weeknotes

Weeknotes #7

It is time for a long overdue edition of the Weeknotes. Life and my newly found extensive journaling habit have kept me from sitting down and actually writing the Weeknotes even though I had enjoyed writing them. Yes, all six of them 🙂

To keep things reasonably short I will limit myself to the last or so week.

Twenty Twenty Theme

On the blog the biggest change was of course my switch over to the new default theme Twenty Twenty this week. At some point in the past I decided to rather stick to the default themes, instead of obsessively try all available themes and tweak them to my needs, or to what I think my needs to be.

I have been adjusting this theme only a little bit (it is probably a record) and so far like it a lot and I finally managed to get in the features and design that I had been looking for with only minimal adjustments. All this had been possible thanks to Gutenberg and I’m rather satisfied and the possibilities of this setup.

There are still a few bugs in the theme which are out of my control to fix (the menu and search box on mobile and select browsers) and some inconsistencies that I have introduced myself and will fix over time. Here mostly the fonts on Android.

As far as I can tell, even though being at version 10 (?), Android still has no other native fonts than the Droid family, making the design looking less nice on Android, something that I don’t like. Via WordPress.com I therefore switched to the font Chaparral which is close enough to the theme’s native font and doesn’t require any extra adjustments in CSS. Something simple for a change.

Handwriting

One of the biggest changes for me this year, had been my re-found interest to write by hand.

Despite countless drawbacks, challenges and frustrations my handwriting is slowly improving. Even though I’m still not satisfied I am by now able to write rather long stretches of time without strain on hand or arm, and with a more or less consistent quality, even though “quality” is relative.

Writing by hand had a profound influence in my life and what I have learned during this time, I might put at some point into a separate post.

Reading

I have published the other day already the list of books that I read during the last weeks and currently I read mostly short-stories. Here I switch authors/themes depending on mood and therefore don’t “finish” that many books.

The books that I’m currently reading though are:

  • Neil Gaiman: Neverwhere (Re-Read)
  • The New Annotated Lovecraft
  • John Crowley: Novelties and Souvenirs
  • Richard Matheson: Nightmares at 20000 feet
  • Alan Moore: The Bojeffries Saga

Watched

I hardly watch anything anymore. That little time I have I tend to spent otherwise. Mostly reading or writing in one way or the other. ;Naturally I’m looking forward to the next and final Star Wars episode. Of course…

I guess that might be it for the moment. The next edition of these posts, will tell whether or not this turned out to be a one-off.

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Weeknotes

Weeknotes #6

The vacation time around here, brings it with that not so much is happening of course. One major thing would be my move back to WordPress. I have written about my reasoning behind it already, but so far I still think it was a good choice, especially since it seems that I can built the front-page that I have in mind now. Still needs some more work and some bug-fixing on the WordPress side.

Reading

Due to the lack of commute during the vacation, I don’t get that much audio-book reading done. During the last weeks I read the Terry Pratchett’s “The Colour of Magic“, Ray Bradbury’s “Zen in the art of Writing” and am currently reading Yuval Norah Harari’s “Homo Deus” and every evening Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman”. The latter is interesting since I haven’t seriously read any comic or graphic novel in a while.

Also, that just while I wrote this a post on Tor.com wrote about a possible series on Netflix of the Sandman novels which is certainly interesting. Let’s see what happens first: the series coming out or me having finished it.

Handwriting

I have a somewhat lengthy write-up coming up on my efforts to improve my handwriting, but one thing that I can say already, is that it is improving. But more in that post, which I, of course, write by hand. On a site-note I realize that writing by hand is surprisingly expensive if one wants to use nice tools as well. But that’s another story.

Movies watched

In terms of watched-movies this month, it is my summer vacation after all, was better than any of the previous ones. I have been mostly on a horror-movie binge at the moment watched four and a half movies so far. Spiderman- Homecoming, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, The Badabook (or such) and currently am somewhere in the middle of Justice League, but I don‘t think I will ever make it to the second half though.

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Weeknotes

Weeknotes #5

Truth to be told, vacation has started and there is not much going on in the first place, so I guess this will be rather short.

During the last few weeks I have continued working on improving my handwriting, and while I still don’t feel comfortable showing off something, it is at least improving.

I have located a few issues in my cursive, such as an inconsistent slant, (or better, as in the beginning, the utter lack thereof) and have focused on that for a while. Also the character sizes are not consistent either at all times. Suffice to say it is getting better.

Related to handwriting is also, that I have acquainted myself more with the usage and feel of the “Bullet Journal”. I’m totally getting the hang of it and I have set it up nicely already. It’s all in a simple style organized, not over the top with drawings or stuff, just text. I have some ideas how to make it work for me even better, but that still requires more testing still.

That being said, this is all much easier now that there is not much to do in the first place, the real test will come up in autumn when I’m back at work. So far though I’m having a mildly optimistic feeling about this.

Reading list – The Books

I already posted them but for the sake of summary:

  • Cal Newport: Digital Minimalism
  • James Clear: Atomic Habits
  • Adam Savage: Every Tool’s A Hammer
  • Jeffrey Konvitz: The Sentinel
  • Jeffrey Konvitz: The Guardian

During the evening I started:

  • Terry Pratchett: The Color Of Magic

So, I guess that’s about it for now.