striving toward a shared balance in format

When I was a child I was the secret keeper. Classmates would tell me things and I wouldn’t tell. Don’t ask me today what they said, I have no recollection. Maybe that’s why they told me?

But I don’t recall sharing a lot about me with them.

In College (11 years ago) I developed a small core of friends and we’d share lots of things about ourselves and our thoughts. Much of that is recorded in these journals.

At that time, the internet and its related possibilities entered my life and with a website, I could instantly share myself with the entire world.

I slowly dropped the journal writing and recording.

I never completely abandoned it and I’m slowly reinvesting my time and interest in it.

I don’t understand my desire to share with complete strangers as I do, but it is what it is. Paper is difficult to share cheaply on a large scale. Sharing by “Internet” has enabled me to forge new and wonderful friendships and relationships. I strive to find a balance of what I share and how I share it.

As I’ve written, I’ve begun to reduce my internet and computer time and reinvest in paper and pen. Overall, I’m trying to figure out what tools and methods work for me. Yet, today I feel the need to share how I’m sharing my stuff and some thoughts thereof:
… in no particular order …

  • I update here 3-4 times a week. I think it’s working for the most part. I’ll follow the schedule I’ve been doing for the past month or so: Mon=books; Wed=create; Thu=misc; Fri=Judaism.
  • I randomly add to my twitter account. I admit my fascination with this service/application/thing partially inspired today’s post. I don’t get why I keep updating it and checking it. (edited to add [thanks tamar] apparently here are my twitter stats. not sure how it’s useful, but there you go.)
  • I will figure out a way to balance my self-hosted photo gallery (currently out of date) and my flickr account.
  • I will figure out a way to balance my self-hosted library “catalogue” (woefully out of date) and reading list with shelfari (I haven’t really figured this one out), Good Reads (I’m actually copying my “reviews” here. I’d say this gets the most use, because I find the interface decent), Library Thing (I’m using this one currently only for books I own. I think. It doesn’t have much).
  • I still add projects to Ravelry though I’m trying not to play in the forums too much.
  • I will bow to my materialistic desires and update my wishlist and now that I can add items from any commerce site I worry about how long it will grow. *sigh* I’m really not that materialistic and there is little that I truly need (beyond more sleep and less caffeine)
  • I will try to find a balance and try not torture my 3 readers with my anguish as I try to figure it out.

In the coming weeks, I hope to revise my template and the layout here. It doesn’t quite do what I want and I’m growing tired of disliking it. Is there anything you particularly hate or like about things? Don’t worry, PG will have a role in it. Remember I’m not a “true” web designer but will tweak something to make me happy.

following my own advice

At first I wondered how to write today’s post. I planned to write on the contrast of “old penny to new penny”. For much of my life, anything that has a deadline (written projects, proposals, knitting), basically I’ve done everything except being born* under intense deadline and while procrastinating as much as I can. My husband does not quite understand procrastination. We’re both currently in school (part time) going for more alphabet soup to attach to our names. He often completes his assignments early so he can work on every and anything else. Last year, my first year in the program, I had considerable writing obligations but still left the bulk of the major projects to the last minute. In the spring term I ended up with very late nights (almost all nighters) and I’m too old for it. The recovery time was substantial, I didn’t enjoy it and the projects suffered as a result. I’ve been determined this term not to do that.

For the most part I have succeeded. One instructor asked for the weekly written assignments to be electronically submitted by noon the day of class or by paper in class (six hours later). I submitted every single assignment electronically by the deadline. Most were submitted by 11pm the evening before. The presentations for the final projects in this course began last week and continue on the last class this Tuesday evening. I actually volunteered to go first. My preparations for the presentation were a little procrastinated but I volunteered in order to complete as much work as I could so I could have some feedback and additional time to work on the paper for this course and the other one I’m taking.

I have spent much of Saturday evening finalizing the edits to the paper. It is due Tuesday. Thus, I have the bulk of it written and edited several days in advance. There is a second component to it which does need additional work, but the key pieces are in place. Early. This is strange.

Let me jump a bit to clarify the next bit of the story.

I haven’t written much here about what I do to pay the bills. I am a teacher by genetics, a geek and computer scientist by undergraduate major; a writer, musician, and cognitive scientist by fantasy (one of them is coming true). Attached to one hat I wear is a fancy title which in essence means that I need to be the expert and boss in every and anything dealing with technology. It is a field that has grown exponentially in the past five years, especially for the specific industry in which I work. I also have a very small “technology consulting company” which is still figuring out exactly what it (and I) want to do when we grow up, right now we’re focusing on teaching. Across various gigs I have done my fair share (over a decade’s worth at this point) of tech support.

What is one of the largest most important mantras to follow? (It’s also one I wrote about in this project!)

Backup. Backup. Backup. (aka Save. Save. Save.)

I recall hitting save and even closing Word (to write the file completely to disk) [it’s an evil program, but I needed to do things only it can do] several times during the evening.

As I pressed save in preperation to send my final edits to this draft to my editor (my wonderful husband), the program crashed.

Words which I do not wish to memorialise were uttered. I started at disbelieve at the crash screen. I was pissed, to say the least.

I stood, walked across the room and somewhat calmly asked my husband to copy any autosave files he could because I was going to go cry for a while.

He looked at me as if I were successfully speaking Czech and continued his coding (for fun, he’s going for an MBA. You can find some of his projects at his site).

I went into the bedroom and laid face-down on the bed stretching and wanting to both scream and cry. I have recently taken out books and DVDs on Pilates. I need to work on my strength and flexibility. After counting to 10 I went into the kitchen to do what most people would do in this situation, though possibly with a different substance.

Last night it saved several lives, of people and computers.

life saver

I poured myself a shot of Slivovitz. We’re not large drinkers in this house so my options were pretty limited (having used the last of the wine for havdalah). I probably would’ve poured a shot of pure wheat-gluten at that point, I did contemplate drinking from the bottle. I did some additional stretches at the counter, counted to 42 (the answer to everything), walked back to my desk and sat back down.

I copied (twice) all the auto-backup files Word created in the past 24 hours. I opened the one with the latest modification time and realized that 100% of my contextual changes were there, I was missing only a few formatting changes. I fixed those, saved it, and created about thirty backups.

This is not the first time I have lost a paper for me by not following simple mantras and common sense. This is one of the smallest papers I’ve lost and with the most potential recovery time. The worst was during undergrad. I was using a version control system and I blew away my master directory at 3am one morning. This, by contrast, was not a long document, about 4200 words, but I had made significant edits. Additionally, I believe this paper is laying the groundwork for my final masters thesis and my own business model. So it’s important. to loose those changes was the kick I both needed and dreaded. I expect some of you will begin to hear more of it in drips and drabs as I need advice and testing on parts of it. Right now it’s an ugly swatch and needs more refinement until I show anyone.

Ok. It’s December, how was your November? Did you do nanowrimo? I have a confession to make. I didn’t tell you the truth. I really did do it. I was scared I’d fail if I told anyone in advance. I didn’t. I came no where close to failing (I finished on Thursday, and yes there are trillions of backups). I think that this year I actually have a plot of sorts. I’m not sure how readable and interesting the plot is and no, you can’t see it now, but suffice it to say it involves journals, women, space [travel, new planets], and the environment.

I think overall I had a productive November. Few of my projects are disastrously far behind, among other things I launched a successful project for a client, I wrote over 50,000 words, and I didn’t loose much sleep for any of this.

* I was born about 3 months early, I guess since I didn’t procrastinate THAT I’ve spent the rest of my life catching up on the procrastination. ;)

tool check-in

I’m very happy to report that the glue stick is *still* holding. I haven’t spun that much since I put it on, but it seems to be holding quite well. I’m very pleased about this (obviously).

As for the brake band, I was told that the tensioning on this wheel was always quite tight so once the fabric broke (the next day) I haven’t really worried too much about it.

We finally have use of our DVR!! I don’t even want to say how much the part we needed cost. I’m a bit frustrated about it and figure that my husband justified the cost somehow. I do like being able to watch the shows I want to watch when I want to watch them (excluding when E takes control of the remote).

Do you use flickr? Are you looking for easier ways to upload your images and track what your friends and groups are uploading? Check out flickr services*.

*This link is provided for your information. By providing it I will not supply technical assistance unless you are closely related to me by blood, marriage, or prior written agreement. That said, I am very friendly, at worst I can say no…