Week of 2023-01-20

📷 Photography

Most of my photography energy went to workflow stuff. I finished up the minimum useful version of imgup, a little Sinatra app that lets me upload images to my SmugMug account, then grab little snippets ready to be pasted into a blog post or whatever.

It's part of a bigger thing I'm trying to do around my photo workflows in general, consolidating around SmugMug as my sort of presentational home, then take advantage of all the affordances it offers, with a little layer of automation to make things less clicky and make for fewer stops along the way from capture to edit to publish to share.

More on this below.

A woman in a long puffy coat carries a child and waits for the traffic to pass. In the background is a building with a sign reading

✏️ Writing

Most of my writing this week is invisible to the outside world.

Early in the year I established a practice of writing about how I do things that are important to me. Whenever I think about a big change that will require a new tool or new way of doing things I pull out my notes from last time and review, then usually start with a prompt like "what problem are you trying to solve?"

This week I did some writing about my journaling practice, my web presence, and my RSS practices.


Since my last day at Puppet I've been keeping a small daily journal in DayOne. I don't usually put much: Just the highlights and maybe a general impression. I try to include an image of some kind. It has been a little perfunctory and detached. I found myself going back and adding days so I could keep a streak going. I didn't like how that felt.

I also revived my Daily Pages practice. That's just a simple lookahead thing:

  • What do you want to get done today?
  • What's making you happy?
  • What's making you nervous?
  • How could you have improved today.

That has the disadvantage of sort of mixing up a few goals: An opportunity for introspection with a more straightforward "what the hell needs to happen today" kind of thing.

So long and short I'm just going to make my daily page a todo thing and my daily journal something more introspective. One is amenable to handling tasks in my Obsidian kanban boards, one is better suited for entering things in Day One as a normal journal.

📚 Reading

I finally finished Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora this week. I think I'll just repeat about it what I said when I was closing in on the home stretch:

 It’s like KSR woke up one morning and said “someone needs to warn the future about generation ships, but if they’re posed as engineering nightmares it’ll only make people try harder. I know. I’ll write a novel and let the people who care about ethics and stuff have something to chew on, AND break down for them how these things would be engineering nightmares.”

I don't read enough science fiction anymore to make broad generalizations about how modern hard-ish SF handles the idea of generation ships, so maybe there's more skepticism about them these days. Certainly we have stuff like Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children Of Time that don't make them sound like clean utopias with matching jumpsuits.

Anyhow, I liked it a lot. Would recommend. Parts of it are haunting.

⚙️ Organization

You know, what's the routine look like?

I added a weekly look-ahead to my daily pages routine. Sunday night is for sitting down with the calendar and a list of standing items:

  • Searching job listings
  • Applying for jobs
  • A major household project
  • Structured writing time
  • Reviewing finances

I make sure I understand how my social calendar will line up with the prosaic stuff I have to get done so I can make sure I'm picking the times that are most likely to help me succeed when I schedule the time to do those things.

... and I pick the big objective for the week: The thing I most want to make some progress on. I try to keep it strategically valuable, but last week I had a major household thing to do that I knew I simply did not want to touch, so I made that the big objective.

It feels very structured, but I've been thinking a lot about how time moves and feels during this current period of unemployment. It would be very easy to just put things off and stay absorbed in stuff I just enjoy doing. With a little bit of structured time -- in the end we're talking about maybe 20 hours out of the week, I know I'm keeping things up that need to be kept up, making progress on things that matter, and keeping what I described to my counselor as "a fundamental level of tension" in the system.

No so much that I'm stressed out or trying to recreate work conditions, but enough to know I can look back on the week and say "you kept everything up."

🫥 How are you feeling?

You know, pretty good?

I had an interesting moment this week when I was filling out my daily page and got to the "what are you most happy about prompt" and found myself writing "I'm me."

By which I meant that in the middle of a pretty uncertain time with a lot of variables, I like how I'm handling that, and I like how I am gradually recovering a feeling of personal fun -- a sense of unselfconscious play -- I had lost touch with.

Usually I write things like "finances solid," or "stuff is getting done" or whatever. I never really say things like "I'm okay." Felt pretty good.