Learning and Other Curves

I have turned my 365 earnings and my birthday present from my parents into an Adobe CS6 Master Suite. I am now the proud owner of All-Things-Adobe to further my creative future. Now I just need to learn how to use it all.

The installer barfed icons for 16 new products onto my Windows 8 Start screen.
They all range from complex to nigh-on-incomprehensible.
I need some training.

I had hoped to start learning today, but the day got away from me a bit. I had to get up early to make my 7:30am massage, which was both nice and horrible at the same time.

Then my day got both better and weirder at the gym. Apparently it was the third anniversary of the gym and there was an 80s Aerobics theme on. Meaning all the staff/instructors and many of the guests had dressed up in various short-shorts, lycra, and garish bright colours.

It wasn’t entirely an unpleasant sight.

I do think I let it go to my head, or out of it. I worked harder than I normally do, and now my legs don’t feel my own. I hope I have enough reserves for Yoga, because Thursday Yoga didn’t turn out so well… they had forgotten to substitute a sick instructor so they improvised at the last moment with someone who wasn’t quite up to the task.

By the time I finished my Saturday ritual with some reading at Michel’s I was already 7 hours into my day. And I’ve frittered away another 3 hours since with the Internet. I better get going with some real work and chores now, or I’ll feel horribly guilty tomorrow.

Birthday and Future Plans

I have had an unusually quiet birthday weekend this year. A close gathering on the Wednesday before the weekend at my favourite restaurant with a ridiculous sense of portions was the main focus. And yesterday on the day itself most everyone was unavailable for a variety of reasons.

There’ll be a proper un-birthday party at some unspecified later time when the house is in better shape for hosting and the weather is more hospitable to such an event. I still have to properly celebrate making it through 365 days of blogging as well after all.

My Presents will universally be similarly late because I yet had to choose them.

My parents transferred money, which included a birthday gift as well as one Euro for every day I blogged. I feel like that money should go to support future creative endeavours. Which is where my first wish comes in.

A first wish… Adobe products.

I have spoken about Premiere Pro before I think when I was considering video production as a possibility for something else to do. As it turns out, Adobe have gone completely SAAS. That doesn’t literally mean “insane”, but close enough. To use Adobe products you now have to pay a monthly fee for their software-as-a-service offering tied to the cloud.

I had a look at the options, and $10 a month gets me just one of their products. I really want Lightroom for photography, and Premiere Pro for video as well as After Effects at least I think… and possibly Photoshop. This requirement pushes me straight into the top-tier of their service offerings at $50 a month. And I don’t get to own the software for that.

So, I’ve looked into Adobe CS6, which was the last version they sold outright. It might not have the very latest features, but I think that version would sufficiently future-proof me for all my imminent needs without recurring payments.

A second wish… coffee.

I have to do some research into coffee machines next, because our mocha pot is not… in good shape. And for all these creative endeavours that I am planning I am going to need coffee to keep going. Although possibly decaf? I’m not sure how that balances out.

I’m considering something with pods that are sold locally because although these are expensive, they are also the laziest option. I’m very lazy about my coffee.

A third wish… Kindle.

And this wish will have to wait longer than the others, because the Paperwhite 3 has not been released yet. Any month now apparently. Rumours range from thinner, through higher resolution up to actually waterproof.

I can imagine so many uses *coughWet’n’Wildcough* for a waterproof Kindle.

Or maybe I could spend the evening reading in the shower.
With the light off.
The possibilities are endless.

A fourth wish… more time.

Okay, traditionally the last wish is supposed to be a wish for more wishes, but mostly I want more time. I have so many ideas and so little time for their execution.

I have started some creative writing; no idea where that is going to land exactly.
I want to start designing the layout for the kitchen to have ready-made plans once the bathroom is done.
I want to get out for photography more as the weather gets better again.

I also have several work-related projects that need some attention.
Continuous Improvement is such a drain on my personal life…
It’s gotta start saving time soon, right?

I may need to plan a holiday longer than a long weekend. Two days here or there are just not giving me enough room to get ahead. I think October/November will be my next longer break.

Enough rambling.
Time to do some more.

Long Service Leave – Alas, not yet

Why are long weekends never quite long enough?

I thought a four-day weekend would be more refreshing than it proved to be. I guess what it points to is that I need to have a longer break sometime.

Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to have the two extra days, but I guess the problem with short breaks is that they get swallowed by the backlog of chores that was still waiting for me.

On the up-side, I did read a bit more (oh how I want Amazon to release the new Paperwhite already so I can upgrade!), and I had some awesome Gelato in Kings Cross (Gelato Messina… worth a try if you’re near them), and I slept in a bit as well.

My next management goal at work is to coördinate with my fellow managers on a 2IC to develop enough that we can all start taking some more significant leave without leaving anyone in the lurch. Oh. And communications… that’s the two themes for 2014/15. As well as broader cross-skilling, three! Three themes for 2014/15.

(I have watched too much Monty Python… wish I could have gone to one of their theatre shows *sigh*)

Squirrel!

Yesterday was officially the first day without a post in a year. I have spent the last two days figuring out what I want to do next. I want to keep blogging about creative pursuits as well as more academic ones, but putting all of that together on a single blog makes it harder for readers to relate.

There’s a new blog for the more academic posts at Cogito Ergo Sciurus!, there’s a post there hinting at the title. Which means that this blog is dedicated to the more creative parts of my life from now on.

At the same time I have rationalised the categories I use on both blogs so that if you want to follow an even narrower sub-section of my posts there should now be a feed to suit your needs.

Day 366 – o.O – The Best

But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Internet a little boy and his Laptop will always be writing.” – A.A. Milne

There have been many highlights throughout the past blogging-year…

Done

For 9 of my 11 trips to Melbourne for work, I stayed at my favourite hotel with the odd rooms with multiple sets of internal stairs. The Grand Melbourne, pictured on Day 57 – The Oddest Hotel. My candy-bar supply at work has gone from mere “bribery” on Day 14 – Blatant Bribery, to what was recently described as “obscene”.

A seemingly insignificant post-gym-post about a tasty treat with an odd name on Day 139 – Squaffins and Stuff continues to generate search traffic to this day. I am the proud fifth Google search link for the word “Squaffins”, which is frankly not a real word, and I should feel ashamed rather than bemused.

I went to a pole-dance exhibition piece on Day 83 – Pole Position; I made some suggestions for improvements, but sadly the next exhibition was on 5th July and I was otherwise engaged, so I couldn’t check if any were taken up. I got to see Dan Savage in the flesh, and but for sold-out stock would have gotten his signature in a copy of his latest book on Day 109 – Dan Savage @ FoDI at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.

I went to Wet’n’Wild more times than I can count (or should admit to) including on Day 170 – Dinner and a Show, and I will be back next season for more of the same. Although I might try to not repeat my Lobster experience on Day 180 – Adventures of Lobster-Boy if I can help it.

I had a great day in the city exploring my favourite book store and buying my first comics on Day 235 – Kinokuniya; I need more, better comics next. And I need to get back to that awesome food-court some more.

We bought a Canon 6D and spent a lot of time photographing things. I need to do more of that, but some proud examples were shot on Day 32 – Missed It by That Much and on Day 323 – Perspective. I also had an early run-in with some unwilling subjects on Day 39 – Not Always Welcome, which led me to get a clearer understanding of the relevant Australian law.

For Christmas I made my usual Ice Cream Delights, including many give-away batches. I made an awful lot of custard on Day 158 – Frozen Delights. This year though, I took on an additional challenge… I had never built a gingerbread house before. I started from a Gingerbread Inspiration, I did some initial trial-baking on Day 143 – Baking Trial to make sure I had a recipe with structural integrity. Then a mad rush to construct the house on Day 150 – Ginger Base Structure and finish the final product just-in-time on Day 151 – Penalty Rates.

I also wrote about feminism-related topics a few times throughout the year; it’s not my front-and-centre topic, but it’s something we all should pay some attention to. My bookmarked links had accumulated a lot of bad stuff, leading to Link Triage – On Sexism. I encountered a few questionable 100-lists towards the end of my challenge, including on Day 279 – Results May Startle You, and I couldn’t stay silent about #yesallwomen on Day 354 – #(Yes/Not) All (Women/Men).

I was wildly successful at one of my new years’ resolutions that I set on Day 172 – Simplify, well, two really… Simplify and 3200×1800. I started a general technology sell-buy-overhaul on Day 231 – Simplify: Technology, resulting in a QNAP on Day 246 – Timeline with further upgrades to it on Day 248 – Upgrades and Installs followed by a Chromecast from the US on Day 253 – Chromecast Rocks. It still rocks. And despite starting ripping on Day 263 – Entertainment Stacks, I am still not quite done digitizing my media library. Getting very close though; 9 movies and 28 seasons of TV on BluRay left now.

To Do

I also blogged about lots and lots of things I wanted to do, but haven’t yet. I created a list of 100 things I want to strive for on Day 305 – What Are Your 100 Things?, some of which I wrote about more specifically.

I had a weight goal on Day 26 – Weight, long before that list existed. I’ve been working on my flexibility working towards a full forward-fold, which I blogged on Day 353 – Forward Fold. Photography has also featured heavily earlier in the challenge, although there are still many Places to go Photographing left.

More staggering is the number of things I have mentioned that I haven’t even started yet. Bring on the slack-list!

I was going to make business cards, Just Because, on Day 4 – My Name Is…, several inventive ice-cream flavours on Day 214 – Winners, read more novels on Day 282 – Novel, watch more cult sci-fi movies on Day 295 – Not Quite Real, work on my presentation skills on Day 307 – How-To: Be Presentable, plan out a tattoo on Day 344 – Ink, and designing a board game from the ground up on Day 351 – I Want To Play A Game.

No Dice So Far.

Then there are the bigger renovation plans, that involve replacing the carpets with wooden floors on Day 88 – Matching the Drapes, finally finishing the bathroom renovations I mentioned on Day 149 – A Room’s Missing, some general party-compatibility renovations on Day 316 – Party Reno, and a kitchen overhaul on Day 315 – Who Needs a Kitchen Anyway?.

Which leads straight into an experiment with YouTube, camera gear, and cooking in a new kitchen. I first thought there might be something fun to do with kitchen antics on Day 134 – Isn’t It Ironic?. I want to get the camera gear/software together I mentioned on Day 349 – Go PRO, and I might even want to get the best cookbook in the world on Day 306 – Now We’re Cooking and on Day 345 – Cooking with Gas.

I also have come across a pair of software ideas I want to pursue. In light of the social networking landscape on Day 167 – Identity, and my own personal needs on Day 325 – My Fragmented Self, there must be enough ideas there for a creative solution that combines a diary, blogging and to-do in one neat package. And there is the little side-project on date ideas on Day 362 – But, What to Do?; if nobody gets there before I do, I might as well make All The Money myself.

And more than one post has been about travel. Awesome destinations on Day 124 – Surreal to Visit, exceptional hotels on Day 294 – Comparative Hotelling, small Australian towns on Day 309 – Little Places, and wineries not-yet-enjoyed on Day 317 – Wine-Me-Up.

As well as a completely original list-of-100 on Day 328 – My 100 Places.

I have put all my to-dos on a new page: My 100+ Things.

The Future of Blogging

I’m not going to stop writing.

I need somewhere to blog about technology and software… like my Floating Point One-Pager, and development standards on Day 72 – Personal Development. I haven’t had time to do hands-on technical for a while now, and I’ve only had time to skim the surface on so many topics over the past year. There is a lot more to be written on Day 281 – Nature of Programming, or the magic tricks pulled on Day 335 – Surprise and Wonder.

I need somewhere to blog about putting some more maths and science into management, because I think there are many quick-and-dirty tools that could help make more informed decisions. For example, how to estimate the impact of bringing on contractors when in-house resources are tapped out on Day 51 – Fractional Resource Plan, or how A faster than B, and B faster than C, doesn’t always mean A faster than C when it comes to programmers on Day 133 – Surprising Jobs and Dice. Or how a simple under-valued tool like OneNote can make life so much easier on Day 320 – Ode To OneNote.

And on a more personal front, I need somewhere to blog life as an adventurer. I am following the advice on Day 299 – Greatness: A Guide, I am treating life like a game on Day 278 – Life: A Game Review, and I have already prepared my character on Day 358 – Roll An Adventurer.

And A Scare

For years, the most read post on my blog had been slowly accumulating views; “On Reflection Performance in .NET” a programming post with careful benchmark stats that seems to draw regular visits.

Then… Bronte got sick.

And in the space of a week, he managed to blow all my other posts out of the water with his tear-jerker “Memories of Bronte“. Bastard.
(He’s still doing fine by the way).

But First…

I don’t know what the frequency of my posts is going to look like from this point on. I’d like to keep blogging often. But I also want to take it easy for a little bit.

I’m not going away though. That’s for sure.

It has been too much fun.

Day 365 – Ready For A Celebration

1 – Sydney’s 100 best bars

Hey,… glad you could make it!

Would you like me to pour you a drink?

Oh, mine’s a Long Island Iced Tea.
I know, not very refined, but a great way to get drunk.

Gin and Tonic?
Okay, I might join you in one of those.

Ah, time for my speech… help yourself… *vague wave in the direction of the bar*
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Day 363 – Memorable Ending

3 – The Best 100 Closing Lines from Books

I must admit; I was hopeful for this link, and sadly disappointed.

The problem with closing lines out of context is that they lose the build-up before them that imbue them with most of their meaning. I’m sure all these closing lines are lovely and amazing when read directly after the book they belong to, but in isolation most of them didn’t do anything for me.
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