2018: Day 60 the one where I went to a movie
Word count 139,398 + 3,015 or 142,413 of 1,000,000
Good sleep was highly illusive. It had nothing to do with my Casper king sized pillow. It was just one of those nights where people and animals in the house kept getting up. This writing session started before 6:00 AM and a few words are starting to fill up the page. Thanks in part to the 1976 Elektra Records album Warren Zevon by Warren Zevon. Those 11 songs are just streaming this morning, but that is ok. My Nespresso Expert machine is still making pretty good lungo pulls of espresso style beverage. Today I’m going to go and walk around the mall near us for a little bit and see a movie. Maybe my time would have been better spent coding or working on some type of Tensorflow project, but today is a day that will feature popcorn and a movie. Sometimes those distractions help me refocus and pick a direction. Since yesterday was day of decisions and the path is already clear. I’m going to focus on producing more research papers this year. That is the focus of 2018 outside of writing 1,000,000 words in the same year. They two goals are not mutually exclusive.
Words are words. They stack and count the same no matter what type of writing they comprise. That just means that at some point today some time needs to be devoted to sketching out the next great research paper within the artificial intelligence space. You can imagine that involves drawing a curve representing the possibility of technology and then figuring out where a great question meets that curve. Understanding the technology is going to be easier than figuring out what research question I want to answer in the form of a paper. Asking the right questions is going to be key to moving my research forward. Part of it may be striking out and writing a solid literature review of the current state of dataflow programming. My last false start of an academic paper was written about the use of automated data collection methods to create predictive analytic models of public sentiment. That paper was probably going to be a reasonable academic work and I might circle back to it at some point this year. Automated methods of sentiment analysis have always caught my attention. The paper just did not write itself. Alas that is how we got to this pivotal moment of decision.
A lot of work is being put into working with dataflows and figuring out how to manage all of the programming work surrounding that type of tasking. It really can be boiled down to a list of data tasks. Like a grocery store list, but strangely more complex and involved. Every item you purchase at the grocery store has an interesting journey and managing that supply chain really is like looking at an exceedingly complex flow of data. People have been building custom blockchain technology just to track food supply chains. Some of that is worth further inquiry and probably includes testable academic research questions. Those questions are the ones that I need to round up and move forward.
Topic 1: I went to a Dolby Cinema movie
For better or worse my prefered movie theater movie format is Dolby Cinema. Today I bought a ticket and went to see a film from the Marvel cinematic universe. It had a cameo from Stan Lee. The theater included about five people including me. Before leaving the house I had my 200 calories of Soylent. Obviously, I don’t really want to know how many calories of popcorn were consumed. I’m assuming it was a mind boggling number that was not a healthy part of my diet. I enjoyed the movie and made my way home. It seemed like a good idea to go and walk around the mall, but that did not really happen. A long time ago in a different town during a different millenium I walked around the mall. At the time my car also played cassette tapes. Looking back I now know that every cassette tape I purchased was fleeting from the moment I paid cash to buy it. Compact disc could last a long time. Assuming you treat them well and have a method to play them they could last way longer than the shelf life of cassette tapes.
I just made a couple quick eBay searches for brand new cassette tapes. Seriously, I have no idea why I end up searching eBay for such random things. Normally my eBay purchases include professionally graded George Brett cards and random Kansas City Royals and Chiefs autograph cards. Buying sports trading cards in bulk is something that I enjoy, but do not have the space for anymore. That means I’m limited to a manageable sized collection. The odds of me wanting to start up a cassette tape collection is very low. I remember having a nylon case with cassette tapes, but I have no memory of what happened to that thing. My best guess is that at some point after one of my first cars was sold it either got put in a garage or left in a car. I have no memory of doing anything with it and it is not something that I have seen this millennium.
Topic 2: The second writing session of the day
Today was a day of relaxation. I spent a couple hours working on the Salesforce Trailblazer badges. They have a ton of these badges and they are interesting little asides. So much training exists now online for free. You can learn so much with just an internet connection, time, and the motivation to learn. I’m not entirely sure working with Salesforce technology is in my future, but I like to earn badges. It is probably closely akin to how people play video games to relax. I complete only training courses to relax. That is probably the best explanation I have given for all of the training that I end up doing. Training courses are my video games. Wow —- I’m actually pretty proud of that last observation. That one really made sense. I’m guessing the rest of this blog post will fail to live up to that level of insight. Go figure. We will muddle through the next thousand words or so knowing that the bar has been set and it is only downhill from here.
This writing session is the second one of the day. That is a good start to getting back in the habit of producing 3,000 words per day. Making that happen with a 1,000 word opening session and a follow up 2,000 word session makes a lot of sense. February was not my best month of writing effort. That month came and went. Things just did not work out very well. It is amazing that January was right on track and then the track just fell apart and things did not go the right ways. I knew getting into a highly productive 3,000 word per day groove was going to require some changes to my writing habits and to my general writing ethic. That happened for a bit and I have not missed a single day. Maybe that milestone is something to celebrate. I’m keeping the pace at or above 1,000 words per day written within this blog and published. I write all sorts of stuff throughout the day that does not make it on the blog. This is a special set of writing that is meant to be published.
My fountain pen is curiously out of service. I’m going to need to get it up and running tomorrow to start taking notes and sketching out some sweet research paper ideas. The process is rather simple. Just like I would sketch out a book I start with a high level idea or notion. I take that argument and figure out how to make it within the first chapter and then supporting chapters take up space after the opening argument gets presented. It is like rungs on a ladder. Each sketch fills in a few more details and sub structures. That is how the book grows and ends up being a weighty tome of thoughts and observations. It pretty much appens one section at a time and one writing session at a time. Let’s face it my days of locking myself in a room and hammering out tens of thousands of words in one writing session are probably over. Getting that much uninterrupted time now seems impossible. It is actually pretty hard to imagine that time ever really existed in such blocks.
Some of my best writing efforts are single shot efforts. Right now we are running at a pace of single shot 3,000 word essays or that is what should be happening. For the most part my current writing routine is pure stream of consciousness with some signposting for different topics. I pick up a keyboard setup my Google Doc. That process takes about 60 seconds. After that I start writing one keystroke at a time from start to finish. That is my current writing method. I write from start to finish and for the most part none of this is edited. It is all just written as it happens in a couple different sessions per day. Some of it is good and thoughtful. Some of it i’m sure captures the limits of banality.
Topic 3: Rounding out the night
You may have noticed the thumbnail associated with today’s blog post. It is of Captain Pickles the dog. We have been trying to find a bed for Captain Pickles for some time. This weekend we went to the Cabela’s store to walk around. During our trip we noticed a dog kennel bed that said it was tough. It looked like ballistic nylon. We thought it would be the answer. It survived for about 30 minutes. It was turn into tiny pieces. The dog was thorough in destroying every little bit of the kennel bed. This was not the first time Captain Pickles has destroyed a bed. Apparently, that dog just doesn’t like to have a bed. That is what that thumbnail shows. It was taken right after the destruction. Tonight is one of those nights where I’m trying to round out my 3,000 words before going to bed. Just to be clear the window is closing on this blog post. Things are all scheduled to post at 22:00 hours and what is done will be online. My 24 hour buffer is completely gone at this point. I’m writing and publishing real time. Maybe tomorrow will be the day that I manage to catch back up by having a really good morning writing session followed up by a night of long form prose creation.
Right now my Bose Qc35 headphones are charging. I have the 1976 album Warren Zevon by Warren Zevon playing on the ASUS Chromebook Flip C101P speakers. They are nowhere near as capable as my Bose headphones, but the speakers are ok in a pinch. I have never really tried to listen to them before. Strangely enough sitting around and listening to the speakers on a Chromebook is not really a part of my routines. My audio listening tends to involve a car, my Bose Qc35, Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones, or my Audioengine A5+ speakers. That is pretty much the methods in which I listen to audio on a daily basis. Strangely enough I’m a big fan of Audioengine desktop speakers. They are great. I had looked at getting some Bose computer speakers, but they just did not seem like a good fit. My requirement for desktop speakers including being able to connect to my computer, be self-powered, and provide near reference audio quality for my vinyl records. I have a sound splitter on my desk that allows me to flip the speakes between multiple sound sources.
Last night I was only able to generate 2,000 words before 22:00 hours came and went. Tonight might just be the night that things get back on track. We will see how things go here between this sentence and the end of the blog post. You will be able to tell if things close out or if things fall short. It should be pretty obvious. This album has 11 songs and is only 38 minutes long. I’m going to need to pick something else to listen to tonight. Sometimes narrowing down the entire catalog of music online to a single album or song is a daunting task. Tonight it just seemed like a good night for a little Warren Zevon. I’ll check out the recommendation page here shortly and see where things end up going. I’m 100% sure that the next album played will not be on cassette tape.
Topic 4: I’m going to golf more this year
2018 is going to be the year where I end up playing more golf. Ok —– maybe this will be the year that I hit the driving range more often. My weight loss plan is in place thanks to drinking Soylent meal replacement drinks for breakfast and lunch. My weight is dropping at a pretty rapid clip. That should help me be in decent shape for a little driving range fun. My golf game has gotten worse in the last 5 years. I used to be able to sneak out to this little driving range in Colorado Springs and that really helped my overall game. We have a driving range not that far from the house. It is nice and pretty easy to get to, but for some reason that is not where I end up spending my time. I have become a Groupon golfer. Sometimes we get good deals on Groupon for a round of gold and a cart rental. I buy those and tend to golf at a course one time and move on. That is probably indicative of not finding a course that feels like home here in Denver. At some point, I’m sure that one of the courses will stand out.
Golfing more is really just a side effect of getting things under better control and having the time to engage in that type of activity. I do find the simple act of hitting my driver at the range relaxing. More often than not I put on a little eDouble band and smash a small bucket of balls one a time until it is time to go home. Thirty minutes or less is all I need to work through a small bucket of golf balls. Playing golf tends to be a lot larger of a time commitment and requires some planning to have that much free time. Yeah —- I just wrote two paragraphs about thinking about hitting golf balls. That is kind of funny or at least it should be. That is where my attention focused at that point in time. My thoughts are better focused these days vs. trying to write and listen to an audiobook. That did not work out very well throughout the month of February.
Right now the recommended music tab suggested that I listen to either Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan. That was not the direction things ended up going. I just had it play some random hard rock playlist and kept typing. This Chromebook did just throw a power warning at 3% power remaining. The best feature of this Chromebook is the USB Type-C charging. Not having to deal with proprietary charging cables is really pretty great. Both my Pixel 2 XL smartphone and this Chromebook use the same type of charging cable. I still have a ton of electronics that use other charging cables, but things seems to be moving the USB Type-C route. That is great news for my cable management. The only issue I have with this Chromebook is that I can feel the heat under my right hand as the device charges. That cannot possibly be a good sign for how the device is charging. The battery should not be getting this warm when charging, but the device seems to be ok overall. I did some quick searches for other folks complaining about that problem online and do not really see anything. Maybe it is just something that I am sensitive to based on my usage patterns. I probably spend more time typing on an ASUS C101P than 99% of users. Most folks spend a lot less time writing compared to my output levels.
Dr. Nels Lindahl
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs
P.S. Today was a pretty good start to the month of March. This is a month that opens a lot of doors to passionate topics. Most of those relate to basketball and the various tournaments that will be happening. That is good and it will provide a lot of fuel for writing longer posts. We will see what ends up happening, but my goal for the entire month of March is to keep my average word count well over 3,000 words per day. That should help me get back on track and maybe it will form a writing habit that keeps me on track throughout the rest of the year. It looks like things are going to round out tonight. That is good news and a great start to the month. We will see what happens tomorrow.
This journey is far from over. Writing one day a time and digging into the journey at an ever deeper clip is the right way to go about moving from day to day. Tomorrow my Bose Qc35 headphones will be fully charged. It feels like they need to be charged a couple times a month. That is pretty good at this point. They do not feature a USB Type-C plug. They just use a regular micro-usb port charging cable. I’m guessing it will be several years before all my devices are on the new standard. I’m hoping that the USB Type-C standard is the key player in the game for next few years. It might be the last standard before wireless charging takes over and chases away most cables.