the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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December Mojo Check

Well, since I didn't manage to do any other blogging in November, I might as well do this one so that it happens, right?

Physical Health

  1. Exercise 3 times weekly

    We've been holed up in a remote part of the AG campus for the last month to focus on getting some awesome stuff done before Christmas. It's about a quarter mile walk to the main building, which means any time we need to run back over there, we're looking at a minimum half mile walk; rather than annoying, I find this invigorating.

    I'm also considering walking in next weekend's "Running of the Santas", but I may just show up with the camera to take pictures instead.

  2. Weight: 175 pounds

    Stalled at 185. Still. Meh. At least it's not going the other way.

    On the plus side, I've noticed that I'm a little trimmer around the middle, which is kind of a nice surprise.

  3. Floss daily

    Mostly back on track, but disrupted by the past week of bad fever and cold.

  4. Fix my sleep cycle

    Better. Not perfect. In bed before 1 AM most nights, and sometimes even by midnight. Up until 2 (or beyond) at least once a week, though. And yes, the shift off of daylight savings really threw me.

Mental Health: Professional, Nerd, and Hobby Goals

  1. Speak at PyCon -- done!

  2. Catch up on photo uploads

    Still haven't uploaded the summer vacation photos, but I'm keeping tabs on rating and reviewing things, and I just posted a set that I shot last night at Westlake City Hall that was a ton of fun.

  3. Restart From Python Import Podcast

    Still no joy here. Everyone's busy.

  4. Figure out what my job is -- done.

    And actively working with my boss to continue to grow and refine the position I'm in. This is good.

  5. Read Clean Code -- done!

  6. Read at least one book per month

    I think I'm giving up on this at this point.

  7. Blog twice monthly

    Nope, not quite. I've got some thoughts brewing, but really have to make sure I prioritize my time. Blogging takes a back seat to the urgent work things and CodeMash talk prep that must happen.

Social

  1. Attend Clepy six times

    I don't even think there was a meeting in November for me to miss. Kind of sad about that, actually.

  2. Monthly game night

    Finished multiplayer Portal 2. Woohoo!

    The lunchtime Dungeons and Dragons group continues; we seem to have settled into a good, once-a-week rhythm that keeps us all hungry for more.

  3. Monthly photo walk

    Didn't manage to get a real walk on the schedule (again, sigh), but did a nighttime shoot at the German school's St. Martin's lantern parade, as well as some extensive shooting at Lego Kids Fest, as well as St. Nicholas' visit to the German school on Saturday, so I'm feeling photographically fulfilled. I miss the companionship and the distance of the walk, though.

Financial/Capital

  1. New camera body -- done.

  2. Fireplace

    Nope. Not in 2011. Other priorities.

  3. Computers

    Nope. Old junky ones still sitting around.

  4. Mailbox -- done.

  5. Mattress -- done.

  6. Budget -- almost there.

    On the plus side, we're in striking distance of paying off our home equity debt, last year's washer/dryer purchase is almost done, and Liz's iMac is almost paid for, so good things are about to happen on the cash flow front.

I feel kind of lame for not being able to hit the "twice a month" blogging target, but that's how it goes, I guess, when priorities have to shift for the holidays. I'm half tempted to post our end-of-year letter, but that feels a little bit like cheating.

The mojo? I guess it's all right. I didn't nail everything, but I did get good progress, and good results, on a lot of things. I've spoken before a crowd of over 1400 people. I've launched a personal project. I'm gaming socially. I'm growing as a photographer as well as a professional software wrangler. I've lost some weight. I've made my home a better place. I've made my dentist complain about being bored by my checkups. I've pushed to actually read a few things that I otherwise would have never gotten to. I'm loving my job. And I've got some things to keep working on--heck, I wouldn't want to get bored either, right?

All in all, I don't think that's too shabby.

So--as 2011 winds down--how's your mojo doing?

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November Mojo Check

IMG_0766

Getting this one in early to make sure it happens...

Physical Health

  1. Exercise 3 times weekly

    Finding it too easy to get caught up in work and skipping the daily walk break. Still finding more motivation to stay up late reading, surfing, writing, coding, or gaming than in waking up and running on the elliptical. Meh.

  2. Weight: 175 pounds

    Stalled at 185. Still. Meh.

  3. Floss daily

    Alas, my eight-month winning streak has been broken, thanks to my laziness in the face of needing to open the annoying packaging on a new bottle of mouth wash. It turns out that mise en place is critical to success!

  4. Fix my sleep cycle

    Better. Not perfect. In bed before 1 AM most nights, and sometimes even by midnight. Up until 2 (or beyond) at least once a week, though. And any time the kiddo is up in the night, it seems to throw me off for the next few days.

    Of course we just shifted off of Daylight Savings Time, and that never does good things to me, so... Bleah.

Mental Health: Professional, Nerd, and Hobby Goals

  1. Speak at PyCon -- done!

  2. Catch up on photo uploads

    Finished uploading photos from last November's Disney Cruise. Finally got around to uploading photos of the Jim Gill and Cathy Miller gig that I shot over the summer. I've reviewed the first couple thousand shots from our summer vacations, so I'm starting to make progress climbing out of this hole.

  3. Restart From Python Import Podcast

    For giggles, I submitted the idea of recording an episode live before an audience at PyCon 2012. We'll see what happens.

    Everyone involved seems to be too busy/have other things that are more pressing/more interesting. I suppose this is probably true for me too, or else we'd have a whole bunch more episodes this year than we do.

  4. Figure out what my job is -- done.

  5. Read Clean Code -- done!

  6. Read at least one book per month

    I owe Doug Hellmann a review of his book. It's no excuse, but I've managed to put a couple more chapters down, so I think I may review it without having read the whole thing; I normally don't like to do that, but the book's format lends itself to that.

    Hopefully once I get unjammed on the review this will move a little more. I think the biggest problem here is that I have enough creativity-based things that need doing (photography, blogging, presentation prep, coding projects, etc.) that I don't have a lot of cycles left over for consuming content. I guess what I'm really looking for here is the right balance.

  7. Blog twice monthly

    Back on track. For now.

Social

  1. Attend Clepy six times

    Technically impossible for calendary year 2011 as I've only attended twice this year... But that's twice more than I had been attending, so that's something. Hopefully November's meeting will be exciting enough to draw me away from the glorious adventures of work.

  2. Monthly game night

    Yeah, scheduling grown-ups totally sucks. When did it get so hard to Do Stuff With People?

    I am going to count the tabletop RPG group for this goal, though. The camaraderie is there, the fun is there, and the feel and sound of dice being rolled is so very, very full of win. We're playing through the venerable classic, The Keep on the Borderlands, adapting it slightly to fit the first edition AD&D rules. And it's freaking awesome.

    I did get a video game night in a couple weeks ago... I finally got around to getting a mic stand, so we can now combine guitar and vocals on Rock Band (harder than it sounds, but totally awesome). And we're almost at the end of the multiplayer section of Portal 2 (which is just tremendously fun).

  3. Monthly photo walk

    Didn't photowalk in October, but instead shot photos for the German school's fall fundraiser, so I'm giving myself a pass here.

    Nobody tweeted at me and @codeshaman about getting a walk on the calendar, so I'm going to level some blame at you, too, Internet. I'm not mad... Just disappointed.

Financial/Capital

  1. New camera body -- done.

  2. Fireplace

    Still deferring. But it may be time to move it off the back-burner.

  3. Computers

    I should just obliterate the things and then there won't be a need to stress about getting them wiped in time for any particular deadline. Clearly... no progress yet.

  4. Mailbox -- done.

  5. Mattress -- done.

  6. Budget -- almost there.

It seems like there's a lot of "meh" in mojo-land this month; a lot of items have stalled, and the backsliding on the health things bothers me.

On the other hand, some kind of switch inside the kiddo seems to have flipped, and now she's going through a major "I love hanging out with Daddy" phase that I'm thoroughly enjoying. She's really into having me share "Daddy music" with her, and ever since she tagged along on the Guitar Center trip to pick up that mic stand, she's been excited about wanting to learn to play the guitar. Of course, it helps that the Mini Squier comes in pink.

I've not heard back on my PyCon talk proposals, but I did have one of my CodeMash talks accepted, so I'll be spending the next two months prepping (and stressing out about) that. And in theory I'm on the hook to make some label art for Rassilon's Emphatic Spittle... What did I say last month about overcommitment?

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October Mojo Check

Wow, I totally missed my September check-in. I blame a combination of being really busy with prepping the kiddo's birthday party, being really busy with work, sick off and on with the infamous Cleveland Death Cold of 2011, and making the mistake that "these are really easy and fast to write, I'll do one tomorrow night."

Physical Health

  1. Exercise 3 times weekly

    Getting back into the daily walk habit again. Feels good. But need to hit the elliptical one of these mornings.

  2. Weight: 175 pounds

    Stalled at 185. Still. Meh.

  3. Floss daily

    Still on my unbroken winning streak from March. Yay.

  4. Fix my sleep cycle

    Better. Not perfect. In bed before 1 AM most nights, and sometimes even by midnight. Up until 2 (or beyond) at least once a week, though.

Mental Health: Professional, Nerd, and Hobby Goals

  1. Speak at PyCon -- done!

  2. Catch up on photo uploads

    Finally started uploading photos from last November's Disney Cruise. This has been my big logjam for a while, so hopefully getting it unblocked will help. Of course, I still have a couple thousand unreviewed photos from vacations this summer, but for now I'll pretend those don't exist if you won't say anything.

  3. Restart From Python Import Podcast

    As stated on our Twitter account, our five-point plan kind of sucks. Nothing happening here thanks to life. Which is sad, because there's a lot of great stuff going on in the Python world.

    Based on my experience of recording an interview with Lococast, and the (IMO) surprisingly good quality of the audio, maybe Skype is the way to go for getting the group "together" even when we can't get a venue together.

    For giggles, I submitted the idea of recording an episode live before an audience at PyCon 2012. We'll see what happens.

  4. Figure out what my job is

    At this point, done. Check. Yay.

  5. Read Clean Code -- done!

  6. Read at least one book per month

    I owe Doug Hellmann a review of his book. I'm making progress, but it's unfortunately taken a back seat to everything else that's competing for my evenings and weekends.

  7. Blog twice monthly

    Kind of blew that in September. Seems like I'm getting back on track now, though.

Social

  1. Attend Clepy six times

    Went to the September meeting, so now I'm two-for-nine. October's was canceled, and since 2011 doesn't have many months left, meeting this goal is now impossible. C'est la vie, I suppose.

  2. Monthly game night

    I somewhat accidentally caused the formation of a tabletop RPG group at work this month. We're playing old-school AD&D (first edition, baby!) over lunch. So far it's pretty great, and should only get better as we get into the rhythm of the game. It's not exactly what I had intended "monthly game night" to be, but it may turn out to be a reasonable substitute.

  3. Monthly photo walk

    Gave myself a pass in September due to my photography duties at the kiddo's birthday party, but I really, really need to get something on the schedule for October. Somebody, please tweet at me and @codeshaman and yell at us about it.

Financial/Capital

  1. New camera body

    Done. Still happy.

  2. Fireplace

    Nada. Deferring even thinking about this for now.

  3. Computers

    Need to figure out when our next "Old Computer Round-Up" is so that I can put a deadline on wiping the old machines that need to leave.

  4. Mailbox

    Done.

  5. Mattress

    Found a really good sale around Labor Day, and now we have a new mattress! Yay!

  6. Budget

    Have put together a rough budget and discussed it with Liz. Still need to get some numbers from her so that we can have better clarity. But it's progress, at long last, and I feel vaguely like an adult.

I won't lie to you, Marge, the mojo has been in kind of a funk lately. I'm really hoping I can get it back on track soon.

On the plus side, I've barely touched Turntable.fm over the past month, and being sick for a week gave me an interesting opportunity to marathon every Tom Baker episode of Doctor Who that Netflix is streaming, as well as to experiment with facial hair (shaved after two weeks due to the itch factor). And given the reality of our upcoming Hack Day coming ever closer, I've finally found the motivation to start building the web apps to help run it that I've been wanting for years, and am making some good progress in only a couple of nights. So there's that.

I also submitted four talks to CodeMash and two talks to PyCon, which I think demonstrates that if there's one thing I really excel at, it's overcommitment. Live and learn, right?

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August Mojo Check

Destination Unknown

Late again due to lots of distractions (vacation, computer maintenance, too much time on Turntable.fm). Let's see where I'm at...

Physical Health

  1. Exercise 3 times weekly

    Mixed results, though now that I'm back from vacation, and the worst of the heat/humidity seems to be done, and Chris is done with triathlon training (congrats on completing it, by the way), I'm getting the walk breaks in again. Also, did some silly back-yard soccer while on vacation; lots of fun even though it reminded me exactly how out of shape I am.

  2. Weight: 175 pounds

    Stalled at 185. Meh.

  3. Floss daily

    Still on my unbroken winning streak from March. Yay.

  4. Fix my sleep cycle

    Thanks to our vacation in Canada, where my AT&T data plan is no good, and the house we rented had no internet, I've somewhat rebooted my sleep cycle. Going cold turkey from Turntable was painful for the first couple of nights, I'll admit... Now to see if I can keep to something reasonable.

Mental Health: Professional, Nerd, and Hobby Goals

  1. Speak at PyCon -- done!

  2. Catch up on photo uploads

    I've got all the underwater photos from last fall's cruise fixed up with GPS data and corrected dates, so I can move forward on that stuff at some point. Of course now I've got about 4000 photos from our July and August vacation weeks that I haven't even rated, let alone processed and uploaded, so I'm more behind here than ever.

  3. Restart From Python Import Podcast

    As stated on our Twitter account, our five-point plan kind of sucks. Nothing happening here thanks to life. Which is sad, because there's a lot of great stuff going on in the Python world.

  4. Figure out what my job is

    At this point, done. Check. Yay.

  5. Read Clean Code -- done!

    If you haven't, you should. Then read it again.

  6. Read at least one book per month

    I owe Doug Hellmann a review of his book. But at least I've started it!

    I used vacation as an excuse to dive into some things that I've been wanting to read for a while; in the past week or so, I've read Cory Doctorow's Little Brother and Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now as well as Tom Scalzi's Old Man's War. All were excellent. Reading three books in a week also felt really, really good--I don't think I've been able to read anything at that pace since the mid-90s.

    This puts me somewhere around five-and-a-bit out of twelve, so there's still work to do here. And I should work on pacing so that it's not all binge-reading.

  7. Blog twice monthly

    Probably on target, if I can get around to writing the handful of posts that I've been putting off for the past couple of weeks.

Social

  1. Attend Clepy six times

    The August meeting was while I was out of town, so... Still one for eight.

  2. Monthly game night

    Nope. Totally not happening lately. Life. Busy. Yeah.

  3. Monthly photo walk

    I'm giving myself a pass on this since I shot about 20 gigs of photos while on vacation. But Chris and I should get something on the schedule.

Financial/Capital

  1. New camera body

    Done. Still happy.

  2. Fireplace

    Nada. Deferring even thinking about this for now.

  3. Computers

    Need to figure out when our next "Old Computer Round-Up" is so that I can put a deadline on wiping the old machines that need to leave.

  4. Mailbox

    Done.

  5. Mattress

    Nada. Hopefully sometime this summer. We'll see.

  6. Budget

    Still no progress. I need to figure out how this can be a priority for both of us instead of something we eternally put off.

Progress on the sleep and reading fronts kind of caught me by surprise, but it's nice, and I'll take it. If I can get past computer maintenance and photo backlog and overcoming the Turntable addiction...

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July Mojo Check

I'm late with this, which clearly can't mean good things for my overall progress. Let's see, here...

Physical Health

  1. Exercise 3 times weekly

    My motivation for participating in the walking challenge at work has totally cratered. First, when the official competition part started, all of our data got nuked. Then the weather has gone straight to hell; the humidity is tolerable in our offices, but there are significant parts of my walking route (through the warehouse) that aren't climate controlled, so they're downright swampy. And when I'm being good about getting all my steps in, I find that I'm not delivering enough on my work tasks. On top of all of that, the damn pedometer likes nothing more than to fall off at every opportunity. So. Yeah. Totally slacking. I haven't worn the pedometer in weeks, and I'm genuinely happier without being shackled to it.

  2. Weight: 175 pounds

    Stalled at 185.

  3. Floss daily

    Still on my unbroken winning streak from March. Yay.

  4. Fix my sleep cycle

    A complete disaster since I discovered Turntable. More on this later. On the plus side, I got awesomed by Neil Gaiman.

Mental Health: Professional, Nerd, and Hobby Goals

  1. Speak at PyCon -- done!

  2. Catch up on photo uploads

    Looks like I'm still missing some scans from the underwater photos, so this has stalled again, but I've at least got most of the underwater stuff fixed up with correct dates and GPS locations. Ever closer to getting somewhere...

  3. Restart From Python Import Podcast

    This is getting to be an embarrassing goal. Of course, I could always try to blame Chris's so-called "five point plan" that was alluded to on our last episode. Really, life is happening to everyone involved, and hard.

  4. Figure out what my job is

    At this point, done. Check. Yay.

  5. Read Clean Code -- done!

    If you haven't, you should. Then read it again.

  6. Read at least one book per month

    I owe Doug Hellmann a review of his book. I'm still intimidated by its sheer heft.

  7. Blog twice monthly

    On target. Whee.

Social

  1. Attend Clepy six times

    Doing poorly here. My June attendance fell through at the last minute, and it wasn't clear whether there would be a July meeting until after I'd gotten locked into other plans. So... One. Hmm.

  2. Monthly game night

    Did some Portal and Rock Band over July 4th, so that counts a little bit, but I'd still really like to get this back to what I'd wanted to do in the first place--an established, regular, non-videogame evening.

  3. Monthly photo walk

    I got two walks in during June--a day at the zoo with my family and a walk around Medina Town Square with Chris (post forthcoming).

Financial/Capital

  1. New camera body

    Done. Still happy.

  2. Fireplace

    Nada. Deferring even thinking about this for now.

  3. Computers

    Need to figure out when our next "Old Computer Round-Up" is so that I can put a deadline on wiping the old machines that need to leave.

  4. Mailbox

    Done.

  5. Mattress

    Nada. Hopefully sometime this summer. We'll see.

  6. Budget

    Still no progress. I need to figure out how this can be a priority for both of us instead of something we eternally put off.

So. Not as much progress as I would have liked to see by this point in the year. Work, family, life... Just getting through from day to day and week to week is eating all my focus. Argh.

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June Mojo Check

It's hard to believe how fast the months are flying by this year. I swear it was only March the other day...

Physical Health

  1. Exercise 3 times weekly

    Our workplace has started a walking challenge using Walker Tracker, which has netted us all free pedometers. So now I get great feedback about how (badly) I'm doing day to day. But it helps get me moving at least a little bit, which helps. The weather's been too awful to walk outside much during the day, so it's probably time to add the stairs that I keep putting off.

  2. Weight: 175 pounds

    Moving slower on this than I want to, but I'm now regularly at 185 instead of 186, so I'll claim some progress there. It feels like a good benchmark, psychologically. More than ten down, only ten to go!

  3. Floss daily

    My winning streak paid dividends this week at my dental checkup. It's still unbroken since March, so I'm pretty happy about this.

  4. Fix my sleep cycle

    This is still a mess. Maybe time to start a separate "winning streak" calendar for sleep.

Mental Health: Professional, Nerd, and Hobby Goals

  1. Speak at PyCon -- done!

  2. Catch up on photo uploads

    I'm current on everything except Disney Cruise stuff from last fall; the blocker there seems to be fixing the dates and locations in the scans that I ended up needing to do to fix problems with the initial film processing. I've at least created a smart album to help winnow down the upload selections, so maybe that'll all start to happen soon.

  3. Restart From Python Import Podcast

    No recording in April or May, and nothing yet scheduled for June. This seems to be falling apart as we all have more pressing or interesting distractions. Meh.

  4. Figure out what my job is

    I think I more or less have this covered, at least for now. Whew!

  5. Read Clean Code -- done!

    If you haven't, you should.

  6. Read at least one book per month

    I just finished The Making of the Empire Strikes Back today. It was long, but thoroughly excellent. But I should probably find something lighter or faster to read so that I can start catching up. I'm excited to dig into Doug Hellmann's The Python Standard Library by Example, but at over 1200 pages, I don't think it qualifies as anything close to "light"--heck, the THUMP it makes when I set it on my desk is downright intimidating!

  7. Blog twice monthly

    This no longer seems to be an issue; it's interesting to see how much it's become dominated by the photography posts over the past couple of months. Not sure that's a bad thing, just... different.

Social

  1. Attend Clepy six times

    Finally made it to a meeting last month; but I haven't heard what the plan is for June, so who knows if I'll go tomorrow or not.

  2. Monthly game night

    Hasn't happened in the sense I was planning on, but I did spend an evening with friends playing Rock Band and Portal 2, so at least I've done something social and gamey.

  3. Monthly photo walk

    Almost derailed, but managed to get on track at the very end of may with a walk around Ohio City. I got in an additional walk last weekend at the zoo with my family, and Chris and I are scheduled to go shooting next weekend, so I'm feeling pretty good on this front.

Financial/Capital

  1. New camera body

    After lots of waffling, I splurged on a Canon 60D and an upgrade to my walkabout lens--replacing my five-year-old, non-stabilized Tamron 18-200 with Canon's 18-200 IS lens. The stabilization is a huge win, allowing an extra couple of stops of flexibility, and the lens seems to be a lot sharper than its predecessor, so I'm really pleased. Overall I'm loving everything about the 60D, and am pleasantly surprised by how much I'm enjoying shooting some limited amounts of video with it.

  2. Fireplace

    Nada. Deferring even thinking about this for now.

  3. Computers

    Need to figure out when our next "Old Computer Round-Up" is so that I can put a deadline on wiping the old machines that need to leave.

  4. Mailbox

    The replacement is in and rock-solid. My house-based self-image is now doing a lot better.

  5. Mattress

    Nada. Hopefully sometime this summer. We'll see.

  6. Budget

    Zilch, but Liz is done with her big exam, and we've talked about needing to do this, so I think we have a good chance of sorting this out soon.

Minor progress overall, with a few breakthroughs, but I need to figure out if I'm really motivated to make the podcast happen or not; I'm getting tired of flogging the "hey, let's record" message and getting nowhere with it.

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Cinco de Mojo

Another month has passed since my last check-in, so let's see how I'm doing...

Physical Health

  1. Exercise 3 times weekly

    The daily walk break has become pretty irregular over the past couple of weeks as Chris's work stress level has ratcheted up. We need to add stairs to the walk (or outdoors now that the weather is occasionally decent). But I also need to start doing something independent as well if I'm really going to do this for real.

  2. Weight: 175 pounds

    Stalled around 186, largely due to the poor results above.

  3. Floss daily

    I'm on a winning streak since March; I think I've got this one licked. Vigilance, of course, is key.

  4. Fix my sleep cycle

    I still seem to stay up until I hit the wall (and sometimes even beyond), but where that wall is seems to be in a bit of flux. Disappointed by my lack of change here.

Mental Health: Professional, Nerd, and Hobby Goals

  1. Speak at PyCon -- done!

  2. Catch up on photo uploads

    Slowly making some progress here. The next big obstacle is the backlog of Disney cruise photos.

  3. Restart From Python Import Podcast

    We failed to record in April, so we need to schedule something this month. Need to. Need, need, need to.

  4. Figure out what my job is

    This seems to actually be happening, albeit in a somewhat organic and not always planned way--but that's probably okay since it's working out well enough.

  5. Read Clean Code

    Turns out there was less of this left to finish than I thought there was. Done! I can't recommend it enough--I can already tell that it's one of those "formative experiences" that will shape my approach to programming for the rest of my life. If I had a time machine, I'd send this back to the me of 1995 and save myself a lot of hard lessons.

  6. Read at least one book per month

    I need to double down on The Making of the Empire Strikes Back and then find some lighter/faster reading that I can catch up with. And maybe play Dragon Age a little less.

  7. Blog twice monthly

    Five posts in April. This is a new record for the resurrected blog (discounting the daily posts from last November's Disney cruise). Woot.

  8. Launch at least one personal code project

    Done! Of course, I've racked up at least three other things that I want to start, as well as having a number of features that I want to add to How Old Is My Kid. Frankly, I'm ready for a Thunderbolt port in the back of my head so that I can just dream all these other things into existence without them having to come out of my fingers.

Social

  1. Attend Clepy six times

    Total fail so far--three missed opportunities. I'm totally going next week, though, and I did attend the first of the Cleveland Mobile Monday meetups in April...

  2. Monthly game night

    Total scheduling fail continues. Amid Liz's travel schedule and all the other things going on, this just isn't getting prioritized. Maybe in May...?

  3. Monthly photo walk

    Kind of back on track. Chris and I got in a good [three-mile walk in downtown Cleveland(/2011/04/24/april-photo-walk-downtown-cleveland/) last month. Hopefully we can make something happen in May.

Financial/Capital

  1. Car

    I got 46.2 mpg on my drive home tonight. Loving the TDI. Still, I really dislike having a car payment again.

  2. New camera body

    Keeping my eyes out for any sales as we get close to Memorial Day or Father's Day--I'm thinking about a Canon T2i or T3i, but might be convinced to do something else... I like the 7D but in fairness to my wife (and random strangers who I might have to hand the camera to and say "take our picture, please!") I feel like the automatic/cheater modes are really useful (or at least polite).

  3. Fireplace

    No progress. Probably won't be any until Autumn.

  4. Computers

    Nope, still haven't wiped the old computers. Missed our "Old Computer Round-Up". Sigh.

  5. Mailbox

    The wind and weather over the past couple weeks have pretty much killed the old mailbox. The good news is that a replacement is lined up and will be properly, professionally installed soon--maybe even tomorrow if the weather holds up long enough!

  6. Mattress

    No progress. Sigh.

  7. Budget

    No progress. Probably won't be any until after Liz's exam in June. Sigh.

Doing okay, I suppose, and starting to crack a couple of the long-standing issues like the mailbox, but I'd like to be doing better. Harrumph.

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April is the Cruellest Mojo

It's hard to believe it's already been another month since my last check-in on my plans to take 2011 by storm!

Physical Health

  1. Exercise 3 times weekly

    Chris and I continue the daily walk breaks (more often than not), and we've added a semi-regular third person to the group, which helps motivate me to walk when Chris has to bail. It's April, so I think it's time to add stairs (and then try not to get too lost in the unfamiliar parts of the building).

  2. Weight: 175 pounds

    After ignoring the scale for a month, I hit 186. It's not jaw-droppingly amazing progress, but it's lower than last month, and it's not like I've really upped the exercise or altered my calorie intake, so I'll take any progress as a win. And it means I'm down almost ten pounds since I started trying to turn this around, so that's not terrible either.

  3. Floss daily

    Now that I've got a winning streak going, I'm doing quite well here. The timely visibility seems to once again be doing the trick, and printing up a full-year calendar breezed me through the March/April barrier without a hitch.

  4. Fix my sleep cycle

    Dragon Age 2 has thrown me for a bit of a loop here, but I've actually gone to bed at midnight for the past couple of days, so maybe there's hope.

Mental Health: Professional, Nerd, and Hobby Goals

  1. Speak at PyCon

    Done! I won't mention this again until I either feel a need to reminisce or panic about submitting another talk for next year.

  2. Catch up on photo uploads

    Starting to un-stall again now that PyCon and Mass Effect are behind me; I finally uploaded photos from our awesome day at Cedar Point back in October, so now I'm only five months behind instead of six.

  3. Restart From Python Import Podcast

    We managed to crank out a new episode in March, so we may be settling into a bi-monthly cadence (unless a scheduling miracle occurs in the next week or so).

  4. Figure out what my job is

    Yeah, I'll get back to you on that.

  5. Read Clean Code

    I stalled out here because I've been trying to get some work done during the kiddo's ballet class time. And The Making of The Empire Strikes Back has absorbed my other reading time. I'm so close, though, I must push through!

  6. Read at least one book per month

    Hah. No. Though I'm making serious headway on The Making of The Empire Strikes Back (a gigantic book with hundreds of oversized pages stuffed with minuscule type), so there's hope that I'll finish that at some point.

  7. Blog twice monthly

    Four posts in March, now up to two in April, and I've got two already prepared that I just need to publish (when the time feels right). Doing well here.

  8. Launch at least one personal code project

    Done! I was delighted to be able to introduce How Old Is My Kid? live on stage at the PyCon lightning talks. I'm still trying to process the applause of 1400 people. (I can tell you this--it feels good.)

Social

  1. Attend Clepy six times

    I'm going to use the excuse that since there was no March meeting, I can't feel too bad about not attending in March. Hopefully I'll be able to make it on Monday... (Fingers crossed!)

  2. Monthly game night

    Post-PyCon scheduling has been insane, but I at least got in one really good Rock Band night once Liz got back from France. Her upcoming trip to Hungary will probably put a damper on any further progress in April.

  3. Monthly photo walk

    More scheduling difficulties due to PyCon, travel, illness, life... But we've got something on the calendar for April, so things are looking up here.

Financial/Capital

  1. Car

    Making car payments, like a bawse! On the plus side, I'm getting such good mileage out of the TDI engine that I'm only fueling up about once a month so far.

  2. New camera body

    Yeah, still not happening.

  3. Fireplace

    No progress.

  4. Computers

    Still need to wipe the old computers before the city's "Old Computer Round-Up" comes along.

  5. Mailbox

    Now that the seasons are getting serious about shifting, it's time to get serious about fixing this. Probably won't happen until Liz is back from Hungary.

  6. Mattress

    No progress; recent back troubles may be making this into a more urgent priority though. Sigh.

  7. Budget

    No progress, and fundamentally off the table until Liz's travel and study schedule calms down a bit.

So, a couple of major things checked off the list, progress on most things, and at least a little sense of timeline (or at least of how long I'm going to procrastinate) on the others. All in all, not bad.

How's your 2011 going?

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Get on a Winning Streak

There are things I want to do, that I need to do, that I should do, but that are so very, very easy to postpone. Oh, I'm so tired, I'll just floss tomorrow. Oh, I don't feel like working out today, I'll start up again next week. Before I know it, months have passed and I have to deal with the fallout from my continuing procrastination.

The best way I've found to combat this is to change the rules of the game. I put up a calendar in a place that I'm going to have no choice but to see every day, and every day that I do what I ought to, I put a mark on the calendar. Now the game isn't about "omg floss or die", it's about making the largest unbroken run of marks on the calendar that I can. The longer the streak, the better--and the more pressure there is to not break the streak.

The first time I tried this, I printed out a blank month from Google Calendar and taped it up to the wall by my bathroom sink. It worked great until the end of the month--at which point I started procrastinating about printing the next month's calendar. Oh, it just takes a minute, I'll deal with it tomorrow. So this time, I've made myself a one-page calendar for the whole year, so I have no excuse as March flips over into April--I can just keep on building an epic winning streak.

So here's my advice:

  1. Keep it simple--your criteria for success on any given day should be straightforward and easy to achieve. "I flossed today."
  2. Put it somewhere visible--you should not be able to evade a daily confrontation with how you're doing. After just a few days in a row, this will be something you're excited to see.
  3. Keep a pen or marker nearby and don't let it get out of range--if you don't mark your wins, you won't have the visual reinforcement.
  4. Have lots of extra calendar available--you don't want your streak to die just because it's a new month.

You can download my 2011 one-page calendar and start your winning streak today.

What are you waiting for?

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March Mojo Madness

It's been a little over a month since I publicly declared my intent to accomplish some things in 2011, and I figure I'm slightly overdue for a checkup to see how my mojo's doing.

Physical Health

  1. Exercise 3 times weekly

    Chris and I have established a daily walk break, which we are mostly being good about sticking to, though less so as work pressures and schedules ebb and flow. But we're walking more often than not, so that's a start, and we'll be adding stairs soon. I need to make time for something more strenuous, though--at the very least so I'll have something more to report on Heia Heia.

  2. Weight: 175 pounds

    I'm under 190 again (woohoo!), thanks largely to the daily walks. Now to make sure I keep heading the right direction.

  3. Floss daily

    Not doing as well as I'd like, but I printed up a one-page, full-year calendar that I can mark every day to build and visually reinforce a "winning streak" that I will be innately motivated not to break. It's posted right next to my sink, so I see it at the right times. Where this approach failed me in the past was that I'd printed just a single month and quickly lost the winning streak motivation when I failed to get a replacement month printed and posted; switching to the full year should, I hope, correct this.

  4. Fix my sleep cycle

    Improving, but still not perfect. I'm rarely up until 3 any more, and even the 0200 bedtimes are increasingly infrequent. I'm still going past 1 AM more than I'd like, though.

Mental Health: Professional, Nerd, and Hobby Goals

  1. Speak at PyCon

    I'm in the process of fine-tuning my talk now, and in less than a week this goal will be behind me (woot!). I won't lie to you, Marge, I'm still going to be pretty stressed about it for the next couple of days.

  2. Catch up on photo uploads

    Stalled out due to work schedule, conference schedule, personal life, and PyCon prep. And Mass Effect. Meh.

  3. Restart From Python Import Podcast

    We recorded and released a new episode in January! Unfortunately due to scheduling and technical difficulties, our February session failed to happen, and we probably won't be recording until after PyCon. I hope, though, that this will give us a chance to compare and contrast our PyCon and CodeMash experiences. From there we can hopefully settle into either a bi-monthly or monthly cadence that has some predictability to it.

  4. Figure out what my job is

    Working on it a little bit. In my "copious spare time".

  5. Read Clean Code

    It's been living in my daughter's ballet bag so that I can read a chapter or two every week. I'm into the "Code Smells and Heuristics" chapter, so I feel good overall here.

  6. Read at least one book per month

    Between Clean Code and The Making of The Empire Strikes Back, I'm doing pretty good at making progress on books and modeling reading behaviors for my daughter, but I'm not doing so great on finishing things. Hopefully when I'm spending less of my evenings refactoring wiki documentation or tinkering on slides in Keynote I will have the mental energy to do better at this.

  7. Blog twice monthly

    Thrice in January, twice in February, and here's 50% of my self-imposed obligation for March. Check!

  8. Launch at least one personal code project

    I've got my smaller project in pretty good, nearly launchable state. My plan is to do some final spiffing up and then use the PyCon lightning talks to formally announce it to the world. Exciting!

    Chris and I continue to have high-level discussion about the larger project, which now has a private repository on Github, as well as a manifesto to describe its goals.

Social

  1. Attend Clepy six times

    Scheduling continues to be a problem. I'm naught for two here.

  2. Monthly game night

    Have done a little bit of Rock Band but no non-videogame night yet. Admittedly I've been holding off until after PyCon so that I could attempt to focus on that.

  3. Monthly photo walk

    Scheduling difficulties prevented this from working out in February; hopefully I can get something on the calendar for post-PyCon.

Financial/Capital

  1. Car

    I suddenly found myself in the market for a new car in late January, when on a routine inspection, we discovered that my Jetta had three bent tires, a bent tie rod, and various other multi-hundred-dollar issues. All told, it would have basically been a respectable down payment worth of fixes. So, I traded it in and got a 2011 Golf TDI. It's a little tricky to find stations with diesel fuel, but I'm loving the mileage--I'm routinely getting close to 40 mpg in the city, and my best commute averaged just over 44 mpg.

    As a result, though, a lot of my other goals here have been derailed.

  2. New camera body

    Yeah, just bought a car. Not happening for a few months at least.

  3. Fireplace

    No progress.

  4. Computers

    Replaced Liz's laptop with a shiny new iMac about a week before all the car stuff hit. When it rains, it pours... I still need to wipe the old computers.

  5. Mailbox

    Really looking bad now, thanks to all the great winter weather (and consequent plowing) we've had this year. No progress yet, other than a profound sense that we have to do something once spring comes.

  6. Mattress

    No progress.

  7. Budget

    No progress. Going to need to now that I've added a car payment to the mix. After PyCon (yeah, that's the ticket).

I'm not completely satisfied with myself, but I'm encouraged to see some progress on a lot of fronts. In light of my work and conference schedule and my wife's MW travel schedule, I'm pretty happy that anything is happening at all. I think the public retrospective has been helpful too, so I plan to keep this up for a while and see how things go.

Now the question is, how's your mojo doing?

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