President’s Day

I took the day off today to spend it with Zavian and Monica. In the morning, we took Monica to get new eyeglasses while Zavian and I explored an independent pet shop. We listened to some live kid’s music, grabbed some bagels, and then hit up the Mt. Scott playground. The afternoon was similar, but punctuated by Zavian throwing a fit when we tried to convince him to go outside with us to run some errands. It happens to the best of us.

I spent the evening trying to catch up on some work, so I made no progress on the linguistic project. I’ll come back to that tomorrow.

I sold my HTC vive on eBay, and I boxed that up today. It will be replaced by some new tech in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, the onerous setup of that system is what’s kept me from playing it more. I got my money’s worth as I dipped my toes into the potential of VR.

Push Through The Awkwardness

Making new friends as an adult is always intimidating. How do you make connections after you’ve already established yourself and you life? One aspect of moving to Portland a year and a half back is that we’ve lost almost all of the friends we had in Chicago. For me, that’s not a big deal. I’ve never had a ton of friends, and I’m fine with that because I have a lot of fun making things. For Monica, it’s been harder because her friend base was much larger in Chicago.

We’ve both had two recent situations where a potential new friend has come into our life. For me, I met a fellow dad at Zavian’s school, and stumbled through the dance of making a play date. For Monica, it was a friend of a friend is making the same transition to Portland from Chicago. Even if these friendships don’t pan it, this and every attempt at one is worthwhile.

Arcade Blokus Friday

I’m still taking Zavian to the arcade for every week preschool drop-offs without any fussing. I need to find an exit strategy on this plan. I’m getting tired of going to the arcade each week when the true purpose of these trips is to earn enough tickets to win the same knockoff lego car. Well at least he’s not crying whenever Monica leaves him in the morning.

Not a super productive day at work, but I researched a lot on the my current task at hand.

Monica and I have been playing a couple rounds of Blokus each night. It’s a solid game, and she really has taken to it much more than I expected. It’s a good exercise for spacial reasoning, especially if you don’t use those skills regularly.

Porch Desk Complete

I had a frustrating and unproductive work day. I was overlooked on a few things and too wrapped up in a misunderstanding on something else. 

A handmade scrapwood desk in a basement

The good news is I finished my porch desk later on this evening. It has a perforated laptop spot and I’m excited to break it out when the temperatures climb into the upper 40s, low 50s. It’s not perfect, but I did it. All of the wood involved was scavenged. 

I’m realizing that distractions like browsing the internet are both a time suck and a brain drain. I only have so much brain power to use each day, and spending it on random YouTube videos and useless tangent web pages is the last thing I need to do. Tomorrow I will make a change. I will begin the path towards taming my brain. 

Done with ITB

Ok, I just finished Into the breach. Fully finished, uninstalled and forgotten. I love that game. It’s turn-based, time-unlimited strategy is really a thinking man’s game. As a thinking man, it fit me to a T. Now that I fully beat it (on the hardest difficulty across all four islands), I’m ready to hang up my hat. I was surprised to learn that beating the four islands actually makes the final boss easier. Your mechs are so overpowered at that point that you can really tear it up. 

I’m currently printing what I hope will be the final jig for my porch table. It will guide the perforation pattern I want to apply to the top. Fingers crossed that it works and I don’t mess up my perfectly good table. 

Another failed project

I spent a lot of today working on 3D modeling two different clothing security tags. I had planned on casting these in cement and turning them into pins. Unfortunately, the shapes of these tags are not especially iconic, and Monica couldn’t really recognize what they are. Also, the second one I modeled has much more of an organic shape that I couldn’t really nail with my limited Fusion 360 skills. Oh, well. At least I’ll save myself the time of casting them. I think the idea is good—concrete fashion pins—but I need another, more recognizable subject. 


I didn’t write my journal entry yesterday. I gave myself a pass because I had some minor surgery to remove a skin growth from my inner leg. It started to get irritated last summer when I picked up on some more strenuous biking. I had that skin tag since I was a kid, but I won’t miss it.

I have an idea for some buttons that I’d like to make. After some success using 3D printed jigs for my porch desk, I’d like to do some concrete molds as well. I watched a few YouTube videos where they used 3D printed molds for the concrete itself, rather than casting a print in silicone. I’d like to give that a try. 

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.