Split Once More – Fully Sick

I’m going to give separating the more techy-businessy content from my blog another try. I hear good things about Medium and my employer is going to start a tech-blog on it as well, so this seems as good a time as any to plunge into the depths.

My Medium profile can be found at:ย https://medium.com/@jerryjvl (no posts yet)

And my “publication” is atย https://medium.com/zeroes-and-ones-all-the-way-down (also no posts yet), and will hopefully move into a sub-domain here soon.

I’m feeling half-fine-half-unsettled-half-bored today. The reason I have found time to set up Medium and write this post is my semi-mystery illness.

As I was driving to my scheduled massage yesterday afternoon, I developed a stomach ache. I didn’t think more of it than I might have had too much of the candy from the new bowl I got gifted at work. A good massage is sufficiently painful that I didn’t notice the pain get worse.

Pins and needles and other sharp things in the abdomen are not fun. Abbey quickly drove me to the doctor as a precautionary measure, and as I was sitting in the waiting room the pain mostly subsided again. The doctor didn’t find anything, but did note I had a temperature and suggested flu. It felt like flu by then.

Home again, sweating on the lounge, extra painkillers before bed.

Then I woke up this morning, all flu-symptoms gone again, but the pain in my abdomen back, albeit less severe. Through the day I’ve had two milder recurrences of the pain, and the best guess currently is that I ate something that didn’t agree with me.

Not what I anticipated for my Friday, and it’ll screw with my weekend too.

But maybe I’ll get some more writing done?

Day 299 – Greatness: A Guide

67 – Anon’s 100 tips to greatness

4. Get a library card.

I suspect there is more to it than that exactly.
I have spent a good 5 minutes staring at my screen trying to figure out what the angle on this one is.

Maybe this is like a secret handshake. I get the library card, and as they hand it over they say something in a significant tone; “The Croissants Were Hot This Morning”, and then I’m expected to say “I Always Douse Them In Monkey Faeces”, and they show me into the back room where they keep the Real Books that nobody else ever gets to see.

Or maybe it is really just meant as an encouragement to just read more.
But that’d be lame for a list like this.

10. Drink your coffee black.

I will never be great.
Also, this is on the list twice, so I may actually be forever un-great now.

A coffee without frothed milk in it is just not really a proper beverage. And I now have to raise serious doubts about the sanity of the person or persons that assembled this list. How could… you know it just… just no.


12. Read more, especially things you disagree with.

Well, the budget is coming up, so I’m kinda golden on that one for the next few weeks. Although I had kinda hoped to interpret it as a piece of comedy performance art for the sake of my sanity.

Luckily there is an endless supply of blogs that write nothing but things I disagree with.

I do take the point that I probably should read a few more of them though.
For a while at least.

16. Find things that inspire you and pursue them, even if there’s no money in it.

This blog is it for now. I know I have had moments of struggle to keep motivated, although there is something soothing about forcing myself to write something every day.

A few of the most inspired days were the ones where I really had no idea what I was going to do. I have 66 chances of forced greatness left, and then I’ll have to be all growed-up and find my muse and motivation outside my self-imposed constraint for the past 10 months.

22. Learn a new language.

I think I may honour this one by learning a fictitious language to help with item 53 below.

44. Get a deck of Oblique Strategies cards. Use them.

I had come across Oblique Strategies once before. Buying a deck of real cards seems a bit archaic, so I might see if there is an app for my phone. There is a website that doles out a “card” on demand.

The idea is that if you’re stuck behind writers block, or lack for inspiration that you pull out a card at random and apply the strategy presented to find a new way out. Or perhaps it can also be used to add a twist when you aren’t actually blocked in some way.

It’s an interesting idea I’ll explore later.

48. Learn to enjoy hunger.

Ah, the trick to losing weight.
Push through the fear and discomfort of my body telling me that it wants food.

I’ve mastered this one.

But I often ignore it as well.
When I’m in Melbourne it’s hard not to enjoy the food on offer. When we have Wednesdays With Friends it is hard not to just keep eating the cheese and dips in front of me. Some days were just not meant for dieting.

49. Make everything either shorter, or longer, than it needs to be.

Shorter is my stretch goal.

53. Get a tattoo. Don’t worry about regret.

Working on it.
I am working on an idea in Qenya written in Tengwar, but I’ll first have to learn the language and then adjust the execution to the available vocabulary. It’s comfortably resting in the back of my head until the right phrase presents itself. No rush.

59. Walk more.

Yes, I should get back in that.
I let it slide a bit.

69. Say no to projects you don’t care about.

That’s all good-and-well, but it doesn’t help me whittle down the endless list of projects that I *do* care about. The logical thing would be to make a ranked list, but I’m worried that as soon as I rank all the ideas and inevitably start work on the highest ranked project that the siren call of the rest will distract me and pull me away.

Is there a solution for that?

81. Dress like a cooler version of yourself.

Even cooler? Impossible!
(I’m going to do some research, because this is now another Project I Care About)

83. Add “adventurer” to your Twitter bio. Then, become one.


87. Actually write on your blog. Nobody cares if it’s hard.



I eat blogging for breakfast.

I cannot believe it’s been almost 10 months already though. It is a surreal thought that tomorrow I will have 300 days and 300+ posts behind me. I think I should start planning a party for 365.

92. Learn how to speak in public.

This has been on my list for a while. I’m going to have to work out a topic and context. I always thought that at some point I’d try to speak at a tech conference somewhere. And that’s still an option, but I wonder if it might actually end up being something completely unexpected that kicks this off for real.

Or maybe I should just go on and do it.

Day 296 – Am I Winning Yet?

70 – Top 100 Australian Blogs Index

Sadly, my blog wasn’t anywhere to be found on the ranking list.

The fact the linked list was compiled in 2007 before this blog existed in its current form is an irrelevant detail. This kind of blogging ripples backwards in time and alters the past without altering the present. (I hope?)

Seriously though… I am still not sure whether the goal of this exercise is to end up on a list somewhere or not.

First and foremost I started my 365 challenge to get in a regular habit of writing to improve its quality. I haven’t looked back yet to see if I’m making progress, so I am going to declare that “yes, I have”. If needs be, I’ll go back to the earlier posts and make them worse so that reality conforms to my opinion. And you’ll never be able to tell… because maybe I already did it before I posted this. Nobody remembers 295 posts verbatim.

I think I might want to make this blog “successful” in some form.
I think I’ll need a more specific focus for my writing.
I think I’ll need to wait till I’m not trying to write every single day.

The most natural choices would be to write about either programming or managing. But those are very well-served segments and I’m not sure I would have as much success as more established bloggers.

I could go straight into NaNoWriMo mode and try fiction. That could be entertaining. From zero to novel. It’d have to be a journey starting at ineptitude which has potential. But I’m not sure how confident I feel that the result would be worth the time to an audience.

I could also try to do something with the video-production-cooking points in my list of goals. The visual medium is inherently more captivating. But maybe I need to get more interesting first ๐Ÿ˜‰

I can feel the shape of something floating in my brain, but it’s like it is out-of-focus blurry and amorphous. It feels like something worth doing, but I cannot put my finger on the details of it. It feels like it has something to do with what I’ve written today, either directly or tangentially. Have you ever felt like your thoughts are almost-but-not-quite perfectly resonating with a great idea. Like that.


Out there.

In my brain.

I need a mirror, a flashlight and a set of tweezers. STAT.

Day 266 – 100 Secret Tips that Could Kill You if you Read This Post!

100 – 100 Free Blog Tips and Blog Help Every Blogger Should Read

Today I is learning. Better blogging, here I come! I’m a mere 100 tips away from rolling in my very own pile of blogging-money. Wish me luck!

3. Choose a narrow topic and stay focused on your niche

Am I narrow enough?
If not I can work a little harder at the gym.
Maybe I can focus on just a part of my personality instead if all of myself and my life is too broad. I could dedicate the next 99 posts to just my sense of self-worth.

19. Edit the images on your blog to make them more unique and visually appealing


Put A Bird On It!
Put A Bird On It!


24. Learn the most important unwritten rules of blogging

Clearly this section is not going to be any help with that.

31. Write great blog post titles that people want to click


…okay, but I’m not sure if that’d be considered false advertising.

41. Follow a blog posting schedule that will help you reach your goals



73. Use keywords in your blog posts to get more search traffic

Let’s check out what has gotten caught in the stats-lint-trap over the past year.

Jerryjvl the flying squirrel loves Surfers Paradise by night. The Gold Coast of Australia is the best place at night to check your weight in the morning versus the evening. (ed: Something about tidal forces, maybe?)

Signs of stupid people include inability to talk without flapping your arms around, wouldn’t you agree “the day of the doctor”? I often have dream arguments like that with sally louise hately (how did people find my blog trying to find a pole-dancer!?).

Today was almost a disaster day with gmail things going into spam that are not spam as xkcd has explained. Often the problems will continue without michel’s patisserie. Or otherwise a female armour problem.

I cannot say that I’ve got fitbit flex mildew in the band, but then I wash mine regularly, despite my spotify test account that I set up with non-transitive dice.

Proto ice-cream, jaymes diaz, reflection performance, qnap chromecast, squaffins, games.

Also: viagra*.

So, there!

92. Decide if selling merchandise on your blog is a good fit for you

I really don’t think t-shirts with my face would sell.

*not an actual search term that found my blog, but here’s to hoping!

Day 118 – I Have A Dream…

But first,… I Have A Problem

My blog contains too many topics, and the number of people interested in the intersection of all of them is probably close to 1.

In reality I probably should split the content across several blogs; one for programming, one for management, one for photography, one for crazy ideas, one for my everyday what-I-had-for-lunch… and so on.

But I don’t really relish the thought of trying to maintain a dozen blogs. Living online is already hard enough, trying to keep up-to-date on my Facebook, my Twitter, my Tumblr, and-so-on. I don’t want even more places, I want fewer places.

I don’t know if the solution I really want exists.

I tried to construct it with a custom install of WordPress on my own hosting. I had sub-domains for topics, which half-worked. I had a Social plugin by MailChimp that integrated the comment system with Facebook comments and Twitter responses. It was partially-awesome. But it wasn’t totally awesome in the way I had hoped.

I want a single blogging interface that can populate a dozen-or-so sub-blogs segregated by topic, with maybe one URL for the whole hog for family and close friends that might actually be interested.

I want it to two-way-integrate with all my social accounts, so that I don’t have to go to a half-a-dozen accounts to keep up to date with everyone that may only be on one or the other of them.

Surely something like that must exist somewhere?

Don’t tell me in this day-and-age that I actually have to invent this?!

And, about The Rules

I am afraid I am going to bore myself to death trying to write about the most interesting thing every day. So at the 1/3 mark (when I hit post 122), I will relax the requirement that says it always has to be the most interesting thing from the last 24 hours.

I will keep writing every day.
It’ll just be whatever I most feel like writing about at the time.

Day 64 – Celebrating Two Months

I am now about two months into my 365 day journey. It hasn’t been as hard as I had feared, but on the other hand, I do think I need to make a slight adjustment to the unspoken part of the rules.

Rather than write boring posts on the days that nothing much interesting happens that I can share with the world, I’ll instead be trying for one really good photo to put up. When I have to take special steps to get the picture I put up, I might write a paragraph about that, but otherwise it’ll just be a picture… and the unwritten understanding will be that the most interesting thing that happened to me that day was the taking of the picture ๐Ÿ˜‰

I don’t think I will be needing to do that too often, but it’ll save me some agonizing over topics, only to be followed by more agonizing over poor quality by my own standards.

Anyway, on to the topic for today.

The Making Of...
The Making Of…

About a month ago, Peter kindly made good on his bet against me making the one month mark with a very nice bottle of wine from South Africa. Today I made good on my counter that after another month of him reading and commenting, he’d get the display box back with something else inside. He didn’t seem as pleased to have the box back as I had anticipated…

And so I did.

And apparently the cookies even turned out edible. By the time I headed home, three had disappeared. I don’t know if Sarah reads any posts, but if she stumbles across this one: there were 13 cookies there before Peter had any.
Just so you know.

I guess it’s safe now to dig into the further batches at home. (Pro tip: when possible, always get someone else to eat your wares before you try them yourself)

I’m sure there are other regular readers, and if you care to, you can let me know who you are and I’ll do my best to get something appropriately rewarding your way as well.

One more month till the quarter-way mark.

Day 34 – Drinking and Betting…

I arrived to work to a slightly fuller desk than the one I left before the weekend. Obscuring the clear access to my keyboard; the bottle you can see in the header to this post. Peter had kindly left me my prize for the first 30 days of blogging as per the bet he made on my first 365 post.

This looks like a very nice bottle of red from South Africa where Peter lived for a while before living in the Netherlands for a while. He has many entertaining stories about his time in either of these places, and he really should start his own blog to retell them… although I won’t insist on a daily posting schedule ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Note with The Bottle (in Afrikaans)
The Note with The Bottle (in Afrikaans)

He also left me a note in South African with a challenge to try to decipher it. Luckily when sounding out the words in my mind it isn’t sufficiently different from Dutch to stump me… and where the words are completely foreign I could get by with an educated guess or two.

Hi Jerry,

Baie geluk aan die eerste maand van blog boodskappe. Dit is baie indrukwekkend, en ek hoop jy die skryf van die blog vir die volgende elf maande verdere geniet. Ek hes eers gedink wyn uit die “Leeuwen Estate” meer geskikt sal wees, dan het ek dedink ‘n Italiaanse wyn sou meer gepas wees, maar uiteindelik het ek besluit om Suid-Afrikaanse wyn te koop.

Nou, sal ek dit vir jou in Nederlands vertaal? ๐Ÿ˜‰


Peter congratulates me on my first month of blogging, and comments on how impressive keeping up the schedule has been and that he hopes I’ll keep it up for the next 11 months. He was originally going to get a “Leeuwen Estate” wine from Australia due to my last name. Then he considered an Italian wine based on some grief I gave him in an online presentation. But in the end he settled on a South African wine. And I’m glad he did, because I’m sure the wine will be a joy when I get to it next Wednesday, but the note has already been a treasure.

Now, as for the box it came in… I’m hanging on to that for another 28 days, because once I make it past another month I think his dedicated reading of my blog is worthy of a surprise in return.

Something a little different though…

…he’ll see ๐Ÿ˜‰