Slowly grinding away on a Monday

This weekend we got a lot more snow than I expected to see for March. Maybe it’s a little cliché to write about the weather, but we need the water so that part is good. This morning I was looking at Nespresso machines again. When my Nespresso Expert machine gave up the ghost I replaced it with a Essenza Mini. It is a very compact espresso maker, but it only makes two different options for output. Some of the newer machines do all sorts of interesting things. I do have a separate Nespresso milk frother, but I do not use it very often. Typically, I drink two shots of espresso or a lungo pull. Going to the larger lungo style is normally an indicator that my supply of pods is getting low. That used to be a much bigger problem before stores like Target started to carry the pods. Well instead of staying on the path to writing glorious prose this happened. It was a divergence from focusing on my research trajectory for sure.

A very slow Sunday

Rain is falling in Denver. My allergies are out of control, but we will keep on moving along.

Like thirty minutes passed since that first sentence sprang into existence. I’m not entirely sure what happened this morning, but the flow or prose seems to be broken. Maybe this is a case of writer’s break vs. writer’s block. It is also possible that maybe it took just a little bit for the two shots of Nespresso to kick in and begin to fuel the day.

Sunday writing and donuts

Yesterday during the course of looking around the WordPress/Jetpack settings, I switched out some of the ordering on my WordPress widgets. Now on the right side of the page the recent posts are showing up at the top even on the home page. That is a new change in direction given the previous deprotization of weblog posts on 2/19/2021. Now I’m about to hit a new 10 day WordPress publishing streak of weblog posts. That little bit of content had to wait until after donuts were procured. I was going to set the featured image to a quality close up shot of my donuts, but one of them is now gone forever. A solution to this problem became apparent. I grabbed a different donut from the box for a brief photography session using the Night Sight feature on my Google Pixel 5 smartphone. Two photos were taken and one was much better than the other in terms of where the image focus selection centered. The Twitter thread feature will probably grab that donut image and feature it. 

During my review of all the settings on WordPress and Jetpack I learned a little bit more about weblogs, but for the most part nothing had really changed. Part of getting back into the swing of daily weblog posting is about being curious and thinking about things in a deeper way. Part of that process involves digging into things that are just a part of my daily journey. Sometimes you just have to look at things a little bit differently and that little change in perspective can help make that happen. My thoughts at the moment are a little more reserved for some reason. I’m really taking a tactical approach to writing at the moment. In the last twenty minutes or so I have written about writing, weblog settings, donuts, and perspective and the day has not even really started. That is not a bad start to the day, but it still feels like something better is on the horizon. I’m hunting for the perfect possible future and these two paragraphs are not emblematic of that. 

Both of the donuts are now gone; they were consumed with near reckless abandon. Two shots of espresso were slowly followed by a cup of coffee. This should be the moment when words flow onto the screen. Instead my thoughts are wondering from the task at hand to where I could buy Dune (Arrakis/Rakis) spice coffee mixes. I found a few recipes to make my own, but no professionally packaged mixes for my future cups of coffee. Maybe with the new movie coming out at some point they will make an officially licensed spice mix for coffee. I’m not sure they could compel me to buy an instant coffee mix, but something that was added to coffee from a shaker would be welcomed. That is oddly specific, but that is how it goes in terms of my thoughts on the subject at the moment. Maybe in an hour or so I’ll try to write something with a higher intellectual density.

Today is a coffee day

Today was for sure a coffee day vs. espresso. That happens sometimes, but it is not always apparent at the start. Starting off a coffee day with two shots of espresso is inherently problematic. A coffee day should start off a little bit slower and be a little more sustained. My big plan for this more sustained morning of sipping coffee will be to work out of the Google Colab environment on some GPT-2 efforts. Digging into the natural language processing space is where my focus is at today. Taking that course of action might mean that this weblog post is going to be a little bit on the shorter side, but it is entirely possible that the effort will help spark some inspired prose. 

I have a working example setup that uses the OpenAI GPT-2 model. That is not novel or all that interesting. People have been doing that for months. I’m messing around with the code in the Colaboratory (Colab) environment. The benefit of that course of action is that the code is stored in a Jupyter notebook and is hosted by Colab. Working with other people in an environment that is very easy to replicate remains important to me going forward. Right now I’m working on digging into a method to take my writing corpus and store it in a basic text file online. That prevents people from having to scrape this weblog to get all the content. Working with the data from the export to clean it up for use as a GPT-2 model is taking a little bit of time, but it is a good learning experience. Getting that file setup and making it easily fetchable will allow me to update a version of a Jupyter notebook to train the GPT-2 model on that corpus. 

That is what I’m working on at the moment.

My thoughts are resting

Today might be one of those days where I’m going to have to sit down and write again during another session. Right now the thoughts that should be arriving and being presented on the screen must still be resting. Even after two shots of Nespresso the string of thoughts that should be occurring is nowhere to be found. Here in a little bit I’ll give it another go and see if the writing session will start with a more natural rhythm and output. 

Interrupted. School.

Getting that coffee ready

This post is only partly about coffee. It really is about my struggle with office chair mats.

Today started with a wonderful cup of coffee. Instead of sporting two shots of espresso this morning it seemed like coffee is the way to go. In a little bit today before the start of the two NFL playoff games, I’m going to need to buy a new office chair mat for my home office CEO chair. Earlier this week the last floor mat sort of splintered and had to be put in the garbage. Since living in this house this will the 3rd floor mat for my office chain in the last 5 years. That seems a little bit out of control in terms of floor mat sustainability. Using my Scandanaviang Designs Wau office chair on the carpet is strange. It takes a lot of effort to move around. My guess is that this type of rolling around is probably not good for the carpet. My plan is to visit Costco first and then Staples as a backup route to finding a new office chair mat.

This morning I’m watching the week 1 course content for the Coursera “Crash Course on Python” series the Google team recently released. It seemed like a good idea to just jump in and do the courses to change things up a little bit in my regular routine.

As part of that course I just went out and looked at some fun documentation:


Think Python

I downloaded the “Think Python: How to Think Like a Computer Scientist” book in PDF format (Downey, 2012).

I’m now done with week 1 of the “Crash Course on Python” Coursera course in the “Google IT Automation with Python” specialization.

Coffee after black Friday

This is a recording of my blog from November 30, 2019

Every single day I open a blank word processing document and start writing. That is my method of creating content. For the most part, that means at the start of the day I boot up either my desktop computer or Chromebook and start writing (working). OK —- this might be a good way to start generating prose, but it is generally a bad way to write a novel or work on an academic paper. Just to be fair, it is probably important to call out that first thing in the morning or right before falling asleep i’m probably not working on anything academic. Things that happen right at the start or the end or the end of the day tend to be more reflective and less academic in nature. Seriously, I have to be in the right frame of mind to produce quality academic articles and that is generally something that happens after a lot of coffee. 

As a sales event, black Friday has come and gone. We drove around a little bit on the way to brunch during the early hours on Friday. In northern Denver we did not see very many people out and about cruising shops for early morning deals. Freezing fog and cold weather were abundant during the early house of the day. Shoppers roaming the streets were not as plentiful. I’m actually wondering if maybe the official start of the holiday spending season was not all that strong of an event.

20190930 Thoughts

This functional journey blog is going back to its roots for a bit. Mostly throughout this week the theme will be notes until it is time to go back to the 99 entries that are briefly on hold. I’m going to try to capture a few notes throughout the day to help kickstart the writing process. Sometimes writing is the best way to kickstart more writing. So here we go. Enjoy the banality of pleasantly everyday activities.

My Nespresso machine produced two wonderful shots of Starbucks espresso this morning. Things are starting to come into focus this morning.

Breakfast included 400 calories of Soylent Mocha powder mixed with water.

After breakfast was over, it seemed like a good idea to fill my 48oz Nalgene water bottle. Drinking that bottle of water one glass at a time will take a few hours and probably run into lunch.

Trying out a new Nespresso pod

Yesterday, I did manage to acquire a few Starbucks espresso pods for my Nespresso Expert machine from Target. A very nice store associate grabbed them from the back of the store for me. They had not been put out on the coffee aisle at the store I visited. About 40 pods came home with me for some scientific research on the effectiveness of caffeine on my day. (Spoiler Alert!) The Starbucks espresso pods were familiar, but not exactly like the Verismo machine version. Keep in mind that I drank the Verismo machine pods on a daily basis for over a year. That flavor profile was a very important part of my day. Imagine every day as the world started to come into focus the first thing that really caught your attention was a fantastic shot of espresso. Ok — you are right it was two shots of espresso. Both were fantastic, but a little bit different. My Nespresso Expert machine is filled with water from a Brita water filter and I clean the machine fairly often. Maybe my expectations of the pure joy of Starbucks espresso got in the way. It was very good, but maybe 70% of what I expected it to be. That remaining 30% of lost joy could easily be a deal breaker. I’m going to keep running this taste test and see what happens after the 40 pods are gone.

Getting going a bit slowly today

Earlier today I watched a video about Lofoten, Norway. It seems like a really nice place. Flights from Denver to Norway are not as expensive as I thought, but the 10+ hour flight time does remind me that it is pretty far away. A quick search of Google Maps indicated that the distance was over 4,500 miles. All of that research happened after two shots of espresso from my Nespresso Expert machine. It appears that a quick trip to Target might allow me to buy some espresso roast Starbucks Nespresso pods to use in that Nespresso Expert machine. For those of you who have been reading this functional journal for some time you might remember that for some reason Starbucks espresso pods are my favorite. I used a Starbucks Verismo machine for years to kick off my mornings. Now it seems that with a different machine I will be able to return to the ways of the past and enjoy some Starbucks espresso pods. I’m sure you will get to hear more about that this journey soon.