the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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228/365: Ceiling Fan

228/365: Ceiling Fan

Spent the day feeling really, genuinely rotten, just lying in bed and waiting for the fever to break. I had brief ambitions of getting caught up on posting photos, but doing anything more than emailing work to let them know I wouldn't make it was as much computer activity as I could manage. Instead I spent the day lapsing in and out of long naps, staring at the ceiling fan in those fleeting moments of wakefulness before sleep took hold again.

But, 228 days into this project, there was no way I was going to let something as dumb as a cold keep me from getting a shot for the day.

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107/365: Complete

107/365: Complete

After what seems like an eternity of choking down gigantic horse pills, I finally finished my full course of antibiotics a couple days ago and shot this in celebration.

(For those keeping score at home, I had a fever and cold that turned into a sinus infection, ear infection, vertigo, bronchitis, and conjunctivitis in both eyes. Yes, it was really fun.)

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91/365: Vertigo

91/365: Vertigo

Friday's fever gave way and I was hopeful for a speedy recovery when Saturday brought my body's inner war to my inner ear, and vertigo set in. I spent most of the day wedged into a living room couch in an attempt to convince my brain that I wasn't about to fall off onto the floor as the world twisted and spun around me.

It is not exactly how I'd planned to spend the day.

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Get on a Winning Streak in 2012

Want to build a winning streak? Already on one that you don't want to see disrupted by the holidays, or--an even lamer excuse--broken by running out of calendar?

Never fear! I've whipped up a convenient one page 2012 calendar, and I'm publishing it early to make sure you've got plenty of time to get it into place.

Not sure what this is about? No problem--check out my original post. The short version is that having a highly visible calendar that I can check gives me a daily jolt to do do what I need to do to establish better habits. I transform the game from being about putting off what I know I need to do and focus it on building the longest winning streak I can.

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.
  5. Don't freak out if a long streak gets broken; now you have a new high score to try to beat!

You can download my 2012 one-page calendar and start your winning streak today.

What are you waiting for?

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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

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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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