Getting better

I remember when I bought my first motorized bike, an early 1980’s Vespa PX125. I had to learn how to drive it an manually shift the gears on my own, and I spend a couple weeks driving it down the alleyway behind my apartment. I’d stall out at the end, kickstart it, and loop around the block. With enough practice, I learned how to stop stalling out, and I accelerated from a full stop without stalling. I didn’t realize that some neighbors were observing my progress, and they all clapped at my success. I was pretty embarrassed that I didn’t know how to drive this bike, but I shouldn’t have been. It’s okay to be a beginner at any stage of your life. If there’s something you want to do, the best advice I can give is to stick with it and try to enjoy that early phase of learning. There’s something thrilling about figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

I’m a beginner again on this electric skateboard. I’ve never been a successful skateboarder, but at 35, I’ve decided to learn. I’m fully embracing the “Embarrassing Skateboard Dad” look, and I’ve been tearing up the nearby basketball courts on this thing. I’m building up my confidence so I can ride this thing on actual streets, where I’ll use it to pick up Zavian from daycare (although, I’ll walk him home with the skateboard in tow). For now, I’m enjoying those moments where things click and I inch up my skills.

I also wrote this in bed

I spent a couple hours at the sauna after work today. It was a pleasant, refreshing experience. If you are a water baby or are born under a water sign, then I recommend an occasional shvitz, especially in the winter. 

I need to dig more into serverless architecture, but I keep getting sidetracked. Tomorrow will be the day I figure it all out.

I permanently attached the first leg to my porch desk. No longer are the legs exploding and disconnecting. They now support the weight of this old (half) door. I’ll you how on a future episode of “this old boring blog”.  I’m taking my time on this desk because of a frigid 10 days ahead. No sense in rushing to the finish this thing when it’s just too chilly to work outside.

I wrote this in bed

Today was a surprise snow day. An inch and a half of snow and the city shuts down the schools with its finger hovered over the panic button. It was all melted by midday, but I kinda get it. There are so many hills and windy roads here; it’s a nightmare to drive after dark without any snow on the street. I’ll give you a pass, Portland, because here’s the secret. As tough as Chicago fronts about its winters, a little (or a lotta) snow can have quite the same effect. Except there, the dirty snow patches stick around until March or April or May.

My So-Called Clarissa Explains Blossom

Monica and I were working up fan fiction that merged the universes of My So-Called Life, Clarissa Explains it All, and Blossom. By “working up fan fiction”, I mean working on just the above title. We were pretty beat after that.

I worked from New Seasons today, and it was a nice change of scenery. It also snowed a bit today, but the weather never dropped below the high thirties.

I’m printing some leg mounts for my porch desk. They’re pretty sturdy, and I’m hoping they’ll prevent another “table hardware explodes” situation like before.

Breakfast and then brunch

Today I couldn’t remember the name of one of the cats who lives across the street. I called him Toby, which was the name of the cat who lives in the apartment complex behind us. What were you thinking, brain?

This morning Monica, Zavian, and I had some scrambled eggs and then drove to Sellwood park. That park has the best swings in the city. After that, we went to lunch at Blossoming Lotus, but learned they only serve brunch on Sunday. So, we had a second breakfast where we swapped the eggs for scrambled tofu. It was fine, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I put a couple things on eBay, like my HTC Vive, and then we spent the evening messing around at the OMSI and at home. I wrapped up the night preparing for the week.

Building things is hard

I hit a small roadblock on building my porch table today. Basically what happened was all the legs broke off the table and some pieces shattered and I lost some of the other pieces.

A table is one of those things that a novice builder should craft without trouble. It’s just a table, after all, and not something complex like a spice rack. And yet, I’m struggling. Using that discarded door as the table top has proved to be challenging. The thing weighs a ton, and my middle school shop class aesthetic can only go so far.

Still, I’ll keep at it tomorrow, and I’m sure I’ll have a breakthrough. There has gotta be some simple solution to fix this.

Way past my bedtime

It was a usual, busy Friday today. After work, I took Zavian to the arcade to reward him for another week of good drop-offs. Hopefully we only have to do this for another week or two. After that, maybe he’ll forget how much he used to cry whenever Monica left him at preschool.

The neighborhood design firm discarded a door, and I grabbed it from their garbage. I’ve had the idea to make a small desk for our front porch. I’d like to work out there more, and a desk is the key to that. I’m currently 3d printing a jig to help me drill holes for the leg dowels. I hope to wrap this desk up this weekend. We’ll see whether or not I get to 3d printing a jig to perforate the top.

Eye Doctor

I made a spur of the moment visit to the eye doctor today to discuss my chronically dry eyes. He gave me a list of things to do to help, like taking a break on the computer every ten minutes to do some conscious blinking, using a warm compress four times a day, and positioning a humidifier near my computer. I think I may do him one better on that last one. I saw a discarded door today, and I wonder if I can turn it into a desk for my front porch. Then I could work outside in the damp winter months. It might be too chilly, but I’m make due. I’m already devising the layout.

Passed AWS Test

I drove to the standardized testing center this morning, and after one hour and 55 minutes of focus, I passed the test! I feel like a weight has been lifted, and I can return to my inconsequential evening projects. A couple things to note at these standardized testing centers: they won’t let you bring in tooth picks or amber computer glasses. Those are two of my crutches that I don’t think I’ve mentioned to you. They do supply the test takers with disposable ear plugs, and I briefly considered chewing on a fresh pair. At these testing centers, they are always observing the test takers via camera to ensure you’re not cheating. Keep that in mind when you pull the provided ear plugs from your ears and absentmindedly flake off any ear wax that’s carried onto the plugs.

On Chicago’s Winters

I was standing in warm shower this evening, about to make one of those no-win decisions to get out when it occurred to me: “it’s not actually -50 degrees here.” I don’t live in Chicago. I live in Portland. If the temperature does reach that incredible trough tomorrow, we will likely be 100 degrees warmer here. I know we’re missing out on the collective experience of living through such a miserable day as a Chicagoan, but I really don’t mind sitting this one out. 

The dark night of every Chicagoan soul takes place at a windswept bus stop or el platform each February. It is there, in absurd bundles that provide so little protection from the slicing gales, do they curse and wonder why they live in this city. When there’s a day where you physically can’t be outside to experience that feeling and it’s not even February yet, you know you’re in a particularly harsh, quintessentially Chicago winter.