January 2005 Archives

Here’s a matrix comparing various text-based markup languages (like Markdown, Textile, etc.) I should really learn one of these and start using it.

Interesting weblog post from David Allen, talking about experiences with web-based organizational tools. I think we can probably expect to see some sort of subscription-based service from DavidCo in the not-too-distant future.


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A rather belated congratulations to Brig and Jason on the birth of Ronan.

One of the tags I follow on Flickr is whatsinyourbag. A recent photo features a Chrome Industries bag, which is great, because I was thinking I was the only person who carried one or something…

Starting to recover a bit more. Was able to shovel the inch or so of overnight snow out of the driveway, although it took a couple of rounds of work, with copious resting in between, before it was done. More reading, more TV watching. Fever broke sometime during the day, which was a big relief. Despite being fairly well caught up on sleep, still don’t have much energy reserves.

Still sick, but starting to come out of it a bit. Still spent most of the day sitting on my butt covered up in blankets, but was able to read part of the time, instead of staring at the idiot box.

Another day of being sick. Being sick starting to get more than a little bit old. From talking to TheWife, she too was still not having a very good time. The brain fog did ease up to the point where I could switch from watching bad action movies to watching old seasons of Buffy. Still not up to reading any mail.

Up at 7:30am. Still sick. TheWife and TheChild headed off to the airport; TheWife was feeling better but not 100%. I went back to bed.

Got the phone call in the afternoon, letting me know that they’d made it okay. TheWife was sounding considerably less chipper.

Woke up around 8am, to find that the crud had hit me full on. Fever, chills, snot everywhere. Sent off an email to work to let them know I wouldn’t be around, then crawled back into bed. TheChild was also running a fever, so it was drugs for her. Mostly a day of laying around and not that much activity for me. TheWife spent a good part of the day trying to get herself and TheChild packed for a trip to Chicago.

Woke up around 7am, feeling like I was coming down with something. Was more accurate than I realized. Bit of playing with TheChild before heading into work. Her “woof” sometimes changes into something that sounds quite a bit like “giga-woof”. (Clearly, this is a very large woof.)

Relatively normal work day. Lots of small face-to-face meetings for some reason, and consequently less productive work time. Got a call in the afternoon from TheWife. She’d had a lunch meeting in Delaware, and had taken sick on the way there. She soldiered on through the meeting, but now, on her way back home, she wasn’t sure she was up to watching TheChild in the evening. She was still going to fetch her from day care, but she wanted to be sure I was going to be there to meet them when they got home.

That pretty much stopped the remainder of my day in its tracks; I tidied up some loose threads and then headed for home. Made it there slightly before TheWife and TheChild arrived. Once they got home, TheWife headed for bed, and TheChild and I played for a bit. We had some dinner, and then I got TheChild ready for bed and got her to sleep.

Rest of the evening was very quiet — was starting to feel not that great myself. Bed at 10:30am.

Up at around 6am to start the work-week. Usual morning nonsense, culminating in a dreary commute. Either my washer fluid is staying frozen for a very long time, or I’m out; either way, I spent too much time looking at the road through streaks of crusted snow salt on the way into work.

Paid the expected price for my time off last week: the whole day mostly went to mail catchup and pinging people about things on my WaitingFor list. Did manage to get caught back up and slightly ahead of the game, at least in terms of knowing what I’m going to be doing tomorrow. (Meetings, it looks like. Lots and lots of meetings, where I will try to explain to people that what they think they want to do, they don’t actually want to do. Glee.)

Home around 9pm, with a bagful of Taco Bell, since I hadn’t yet had dinner. Just slid in under the wire on getting to say “good night” to TheChild (“woof”, she said in a I’m-not-really-tired-but-Mom-says-it’s-bedtime sort of voice), ate my take-out crap, watched some TV with TheWife (Buffy season 7 is shaping up to be quite the thing), and then collapsed into bed after a tiny bit more work on slapping the new email setup into shape.

Lights out around 11pm.

Up at 5:30am, despite having the day off work. Worked out, did most of my normal morning thing, then roused TheChild around 7:45am, and got her ready for her day. Dressed her, fed her, bundled her up, and headed out the door around 8:45am.

Dropped TheChild off at day care around 9:15am. Hung out in a nearby coffee shop, reading and enjoying a nice big latte, until about 10:30am. Apple store after that (didn’t see anything I couldn’t live without, but apparently the Minis were being put out until Saturday), lunch at Legal Seafood, and then back home. Did some work in the afternoon, gearing up for the big mail/emacs switch-over. Grabbed a brief 30 minute nap, then went to pick up TheChild.

Got back home and hung out with TheChild. Ordered a pizza for dinner, and then ate a goodly amount of it. Got TheChild ready for bed, and then read her stories until TheWife arrived back home. Let TheWife put her the rest of the day to sleep.

TV with TheWife after that, then a bit more work, then bed, around 12:30am.

Up at 8:45am, because TheWife was out getting bagels and TheChild decided it was time for her to get up. Got her dressed, and about the time we got downstairs, TheWife arrived back home. Family breakfast ensued. At one point during the festivities, I said something along the lines of “mumble bumble bastards!” — I don’t remember my exact words, just that they included an emphatic “bastards” towards the end. TheChild immediately said something along the lines of “basta!”, which earned me a rather disapproving look from TheWife. The dark side of our current language explosion adventure has presented itself, I think.

There was a play-date scheduled for the morning (the real reason for the bagel fetching — they were for the guests, not me), so after breakfast I beat a hasty retreat back up to my office. The plan was to work on the mail/emacs conversion, but there was a bit of mission creep, and I ended up mostly totally re-arranging the directory layout scheme in my home directory at the same time, as well as switching window managers and several other things that weren’t, strictly speaking, really directly associated with the goal. All in all, it worked out — mostly. I ended up not doing a weekly review, due to lack of time, but last week was a really strange week, and I didn’t do one at work either, so I think I’ll be okay just letting most things slide until next week. We shall see.

By the end of the evening, I’d gotten functionally back to where I was when I started, with some small gains to show for my trouble. All in all, not a complete waste of time, and hopefully it will begin to show bigger gains as time goes on.

Bed around 23:30.

Up around 9:30am, to about a half-inch of snow. Headed out pretty early and scoped that up, then headed to the grocery store to pick up a prescription and get some saline for TheChild’s nasty dried-out cracked nostrils. Store was madness. Waited in line for over half an hour, thinking the whole time about how easy it would be to steal the $2.50 bottle of saline spray. Eventually got checked out, grabbed coffee for myself and TheWife, and headed for home.

Rest of the day was pretty quiet: lots of work on the upcoming mail/emacs switch, punctuated with snow-shoveling and the occasional nap. All told, we ended up getting around 4 or 5 inches — not nearly the “blizzard” that we were led to expect, but a decent one-day for this area.

Bed around 12:30am.

This is very interesting from a cultural perspective: a Tennessee state Senator has acknowledged in a court case that he lives with and supports two women and their children (in separate houses), at the same time.

In the hearing, Ford said he lives some days with ex-wife Tamara Mitchell-Ford and the three children they had together. On others, he said, he stays with his longtime girlfriend, Connie Mathews, and their two children.

I think the poly term for that arrangement is “split triad”, for what it’s worth.

I am not a smug Lisp weenie, although I occasionally play a smug Emacs weenie on a mailing list or two. Truth to be told, I know just enough Lisp to do the occasional serious damage to my Emacs config files. Rectifying that has been on my TODO list for ages, but I’ve never gotten around to it, sadly enough.

In a recent Nerve interview, Douglas Coupland talks about his next book — a sequel to the excellent Microserfs:

My next novel is actually ninety-five percent done right now, but it’s a sequel to [1995’s] Microserfs. Now they work for Electronic Arts, the computer-game company.

I’m really looking forward to this one, especially with all the stuff about the work culture at EA in the news recently.

Up at 6:30am. Worked out, read some mail, tried to do a bit of work. Helped get TheChild ready, and then the whole family was out the door around 8:45am.

We dropped TheChild off at day care — a dry run for me, since I’d never done it before at this day care. Tomorrow I solo. Hung out at a coffee shop for a bit after that. Found out that our 11am closing was going to be delayed because the bank hadn’t got the paperwork completed.

Drove into Bethesda. Stopped at NIH to reboot a server that had crashed. Didn’t really need to get it back up, but since we were there and had the time to kill…

Into Bethesda proper next. Parked at the settlement attorneys’ office and walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch. During lunch, got the call confirming that we were on for 1pm. Finished up lunch and walked back to the offices. Signed a great number of papers. About a third of the way through, as the attorney was out of the room getting some things copied, I picked up his notary signature stamp to get a look at it, and noticed that it said “Commission expires 5 Jan 2005”. TheWife and I joked about this a bit, and when he came back in, I pointed it out to him — thinking it was probably no big deal, he’d grabbed the old stamp by mistake or something. No, it turned out he’d missed his renewal notice (due to a move) and his notary commission really was invalid! Lucky thing I caught that; otherwise I’m sure we’d by going back to sign more stuff…

Finished up with the paperwork around 2pm. Grabbed some more coffee, and headed for home. TheWife and I worked away in our respective offices for a couple of hours, then went back to retrieve TheChild from the day care (another dry run for me). We were back home for about 30 minutes before deciding to go out for dinner. We tried a new-to-us Italian joint up in Germantown. The appetizer was okay (‘eh’ calamari; good fried cheese), the salads and sides were ‘eh’ too, but the entrees were magnificent. I’m not sure how frequently we’ll go back, given the prices.

Home again after that. TheChild got a bath, I did a bit of work, and then after TheChild went to bed, TheWife and I watched some TV. Bed around 11pm, on account of needing to get up early tomorrow.

Up at 4:30am; woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. Figured I might as well check my mail if I was going to be up. Eventually wandered back to bed.

Got up again at 6:30am. Worked out, read some mail, went to work.

Made it into work around 10am, beating the snow by about a half an hour. Didn’t get too much done, really. Developer/systems meeting was unusually contentious for some reason.

Home around 7:10pm — traffic wasn’t that bad, despite the weather. Had some dinner, played with TheChild a bit. Watched a spot of TV with TheWife. Did some work on the giant emacs project.

Bed around midnight.

English needs a new word — German, I’m sure, has a nice long word for this already, but English is lacking. We need a word that means, “The feeling you get when someone else being a jackass sparks the self-realization that you have recently, completely avoidably and completely obliviously, been a huge asshole yourself”.

I’d use a word like that a fair amount, I bet.

Up at 6:30am. Read some email, worked out, Made my rather chilly way to work, arriving around 10am.

Sort of a grouchy bitchy day, but I ended up getting a lot done. Lunch with a friend in Bethesda; late night at the office. Still can’t get the campus wireless to work right. Ho hum.

Home around 9:30pm. Bit of TV with TheWife, bit of work. Bed at 11:00pm.

Really not the most exciting day ever.

Up at 6:45am. Decided that the hiatus from exercise had gone on long enough, so part of the morning was spent on the bike. Yay, soreness. Slowly spun up to speed after that.

Headed into work around 11am. Had some things to catch up on, and some work that I didn’t feel like doing with a bunch of other people around (specifically, tearing my keyboard apart and cleaning it up). Got most of what I went in for done, and lunch besides.

Arrived back home at around 5pm, bearing coffee. (TheWife had placed an emergency latte call earlier in the afternoon.) Put in some work on the emacs re-org before dinner.

After dinner, watched a spot of TV, then crawled up into the office and tried to work on a bit of this and some of that. Hung out in #43f and basked in the productivity.

Bed at 11:45pm.

Up at 9:15am. Got a few things done in the morning. Talked into shopping/lunch outing in the afternoon. Bought quad rule index cards in a variety of sizes. Far, far too excited about that.

Geeked out more on the great mail/emacs re-org project in the afternoon. Freeping creaturitis stage has been reached with that project, I fear. Also had TV time in the afternoon, while TheChild napped. This contributed to a general “off” feeling for the whole day.

Post-dinner, struggled with trying to do the home weekly review. Didn’t quite manage it. Ended up creating #43f in a paroxysm of procrastination. (That would be an excellent band/blog name, by the way.) We’re on irc.freenode.net; drop by sometime.

Bed at 12:45am.

Up at 10:30am. Pretty uneventful day, largely due to TheChild. She was having another bad teething day — feverish, cranky, generally unhappy, and in serious cuddle mode. TheWife and I pretty much took turns comforting her for most of the day; I missed a book group meeting because I didn’t want TheWife to have to deal with a cranky child on her own.

As the day wore on into evening, TheChild started to feel better; enough so that around 7pm, we ran out for a quick bite of dinner. Coffee afterwards, and then back home for a bit of TV and some more work on the mail migration project. Bed around 1am.

Up at 7:30am. Really getting back in to the increasing wakeup time pattern. Woke up to a sick and cranky child. Feverish, clingy, and generally unhappy. TheWife returned to bed to try to cuddle her back to sleep.

Into work around 10am. Had an uninspired day — good intentions, but kept getting sidetracked, and found it increasingly difficult to force myself back into a productive mode. Updates over the course of the day let me know that TheChild had eventually (after several more hours of sleep) returned to her normal self. The morning fever was chalked up to yet more two-year molar fun.

Met TheWife and TheChild for dinner in Bethesda after work, then returned to the office. I hadn’t finished the work weekly review yet, and I really didn’t want to break that habit so early in the new year. (Plus next week is super-short, and if I’d skipped this review, I’d have a real chance of entering February three weeks out of day and completely out of control.)

Home around 10:30pm. Watched a bit of TV with TheWife, then retired to my office to read comics and plot mail configuration updates. Bed around 1am.

13 Jan 2005

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Up at 7am. Starting to slip back into the pattern of the ever-increasing wake-up time, it seems. I’m sure that’ll get better next week, when I start up the exercise thing again.

Into work at 10am. Fairly typical day — spent a lot of it head-down, working on one thing or another. Came up for air periodically to slay email. Kind of ran out of time at the end of the day; wanted to finish something up and had to choose between that and going home for dinner. Picked the latter.

Home around 7:20pm. Actually missed dinner; TheChild was having a weird bit of crankiness. (And there was stuff involving the bad poop that I won’t get into.) So I ended up eating dinner by myself while TheWife got TheChild settled down for the night. Then we made some coffee, and watched some TV. After that, I was really hyper, and a bit random (and I can’t imagine why that would be), but I harnessed that to good purpose, flying through all the remaining email that I had to deal with, and finally reaching the holy grail, the completely empty email inbox. Although ‘inbox’ is a strange word, because I filter the hell out of my mail, which means I have about 300 “inboxes”, if by that you mean a folder that might catch new incoming mail. Whatever you call it, it’s all empty.

Still wasn’t ready to go to bed, so I started planning the next stage of my mail transformation plan. Right now I use a program to poll my various accounts, which dumps the mail through filters (spam and otherwise), and then writes it to disk on my main workstation. Eventually, I’d like to move all that mail collection to the secondary server, and have it dumping things to a local IMAP server, which can then be polled via a variety of mail readers. The IMAP server is set up and working; the next step is spending about a week dinking around with the configuration of my mail reader. (There’s more of a technical rationalization for it, but that’s pretty much what it boils down to: I’m an obsessive mail geek, and I’m going to geek out tweaking my uber-geeky mail reading program until it’s perfect.)

Bed around 1am. Laid there and listened to the pouring rain outside; still a bit twitchy. Can’t imagine why.

Kos has a very nice summary of the various facts about George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service during the Vietnam era — a useful review if you haven’t been paying ultra-close attention to that particular story.

I just completely emptied my home mail program. I’ve got nothing unread, nothing saved to reply to, nothing saved for later reading. Empty. Go me.

on python

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There’s been some discussion of Python at work recently; some people are trying to get our organization to standardize on it as a “scripting” language. (Rant about the term “scripting language” elided…) Walking to lunch one day, I mentioned that Dive Into Python was freely available on-line. The next day, walking to lunch, C. mentioned that he’d downloaded the book and read the first half or so the previous evening. He summed up his first deep exposure to Python as “It’s like they stole Lisp, and give it shitty syntax!” Which seemed both accurate, and worth sharing with a wider audience, so here we are.

It also led to me repeating Dan’s observation about SGML and XML, which led to speculation that perhaps Python was the subset of Lisp that was understandable by C++ programmers.

Up at 6:40am. yawn Morning seemed to really slip away from me, and I’ve got no idea why, where it went, or what I was doing for all that time.

A fairly foggy drive into work got me there around 10am. Had a moderately productive morning, but the weekly systems/developer pow-wow was murderous. Put in another couple hours afterwards, finishing up the things I’d started in the morning, and then finally staggered out around 6:30pm.

Home just after 7pm, in time for dinner, but feeling completely wiped. Had coffee after dinner — never a good idea — and watched some TV with TheWife. Post-TV, didn’t feel really tired (gosh, wonder why?), and so I caught up on some more mail. Pretty much everything I was saving to potentially reply to has either been archived or actually replied to. Now I’m down to about 75 mails in the READ-REVIEW folder — newsletters, mailing list summaries, stuff like that. If I can plow though that in the next couple of days, I can spend the weekend transitioning to the shiny new IMAP server I set up a couple of weekends ago. Hell, I might even have time to get my leafnode server back online! w00t

Wound down and went to bed around 12:30am.

Up at 6:15am, ready to take on the day. More fool me. Did the normal morning sorts of things. Also made a small dent in the home mail backlog, which has just been getting out of control lately. Need to press on and finish up with that; I’ve noticed that I’m a lot happier at work now that I have basically zero mail saved for later processing.

Into work at 10am. Today was a ‘busy beaver’ sort of day — lots of little things got mowed down in pretty short order. I have to say, the work I did in setting up the current incarnation of my workflow is starting to pay off. Since things were going well, and since I have a lot of things to do, I worked late.

Got home around 11pm, and basically flopped right into bed. Lights out around 11:30pm.

Up at 6:30am, and not too happy about it. With one thing and then another, didn’t make it into work until 9:45am. At least the traffic wasn’t bad today.

I suspect the theme for this week is going to be: “next week is only three days”. We’re all about the optimism, you see. Actually, it wasn’t that bad a day; it just wasn’t that great a day either.

Home around 7pm, right in time for dinner. Continued to dink around with the old laptop after that — the wireless worked okay in the installer, but I was having trouble figuring out which driver to use once I booted into the real thing. Gave up around 9:30pm and watched some TV. Post-TV, “just a little” dinking around with the laptop turned into an hour of futzing around. Eventually figured out that the problem was a slightly incorrect config file, which was preventing the proper driver from building. Fixed that, rebooted, and BAM, we were on the network.

Also in the “gettin’ shit to work” column, I was able to script a Flickr upload. Now I just need to tie it into the script that I use to download the pictures off the camera. And then…

Bed around midnight.

One of the things in my TODO queue is learning the GMail keybindings. I have a few mailing lists sub’d to my gmail.com address, and it would be nice to not have to grab the mouse to process stuff. To get the ball rolling on this, I clicked through to GMail’s “What are the keyboard shortcuts?” page, thinking I’d just dump that to the printer and leave near-to-hand.

Turns out the damn thing is six pages long, mainly due to silly table formatting. Now, before I spend the half-hour making my own one-page cheat sheet, I figured I’d call on the LazyWeb and see if anybody else had already done it. So, who has pointers for the lazy man on a Monday morning?

I may have discovered the perfect way to start a day. It involves about 10 hours of I-was-slightly-buzzed-therefore-slept-deeply sleep, a half-pot of coffee, an Internet radio station streaming hardcore trance, and the Sunday paper.

Rest of the day not quite perfect, but still pretty darn good. Continued to work on laptop reinstall. Finished with the office closet cleanout. Worked with TheWife to set up a common office supply area — which was the project that kicked off the office closet cleanup in the first place. Given that we’re both office supply crackheads. sorting through everything (and distinguishing ‘ours’ from ‘MINE!’) was no mean feat. And now that it’s done, we realize that we never really need to buy staples, paper clips, or pens ever again.

Relatively calm evening, although TheChild started to melt down just a wee bit — but it was right before her bedtime, so things mostly worked out. TheWife and I had our TV ration after that, and then dove right back into getting stuff done. She’s been working on cleaning out the basement (or portions of the basement), which means that sooner or later she’s going to finish, and I’m going to have to tackle my parts. sigh

Bed around 1am. Back to work tomorrow. Glee.

I really want to like Flickr. I like the idea, I like the tagging, I totally like the nice DHTML photo munging tools. What I don’t like is how poorly it fits into my photo work flow. Since none of their batch uploading tools runs under Linux, I’m faced with the choice of either uploading things one-by-one through a web interface (which is, frankly, asstacular), or copying everything over to the iBook just so I can use the batch uploader there. Neither of these fills me with joy.

Luckily, it seems Perl will, per usual, ride to the rescue. A recent Linux Gazette article discusses Flickr and Perl, and points to Flickr::Upload on CPAN. Now all I need to do is integrate that into the script that I use to download things off the camera, and we should be good to go…

(I dumped some new photos into my photostream tonight, by the way.)

As part of the Giant Office Closet Cleanup, I’m going through some old notebooks looking for items of interest before tossing them. Most of it is pure ephemera — seminar notes and other stuff from gradual school life. The last one I looked at, however, had a date in it that seemed worth preserving:

10.24.98 — Purchased MkLinux DR2.1 Reference release. Got to install on internal 500MB drive

That was kernel 2.0.something — and it’s probably worth mentioning that my notes indicate I screwed up the initial install after only a few minutes, to the point where I had to start over.

TheChild is working on expanding her vocabulary. For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been working on animal sounds — “what does a cow say?”, that sort of thing. (This all got started when D. visited and taught her that dogs say “woof”.) Tonight, TheEvilWife has taught her “what does daddy say?” The answer? ‘Geek’.

It’s pure evil, and I sleep next to it every night. Pity me.

I think this may be the coolest thing I saw all week: CameraMail

On the 22nd of December 2004, Kyle Van Horn taped a disposablecamera to a piece of black foamcore and inscribed upon it thefollowing message: “ATTENTION POSTAL WORKERS! Please help us with ourproject. As this camera travels across the country we want photos of all whom it encounters. Please take a photo before you pass it along. Thank you!” He then bordered it with attention-getting red tape and dropped it off at a post office in Baltimore, MD. A week later, it arrived at my home in Portland, OR with all 27 exposures taken. What follows in the extended entry is all 24 pictures that came out, in the order they were taken (3 of the 27 were blank.)

Via MeFi

Up at 8am, and right back into the office cleanup project. Had a couple of hours to myself, as TheWife and TheChild both decided to sleep in. Eventually they got up, and a while after that, we had lunch and/or breakfest, accordingly. TheWife had a number of afternoon errands to run, so TheChild and I ended up hanging out at home. In between playing, I worked on an old PII laptop I’d dug out, eventually getting it to work with a spare wireless PCMCIA card. As soon as I figure out what to do with it (tricky — zero battery life, not enough power to run X…), I’m sure the time spent building it will pay off.

TheWife rolled in around 4pm; I rolled out around 4:30pm, to the Metro station. Hit the ATM at NIH, and then continued on down to Dupont Circle, to the Brickseller, for DC-SAGE SIG-Beer. Had an enjoyable couple of geeky hours there, then staggered on back to the Metro. Arrived back home around 11pm; caught some TV with TheWife. Bed around 12:30am.

Up at 8am; morning stuff; into work at 10am. It ended up being an okay work day, but only because I figured out the answer to the problem that I’d been beating my head on all week. I also managed to do a weekly review, right on schedule. Yay me. Overall, this was a shite week, so it was nice to end on an up note.

After work, met TheWife and TheChild for dinner, followed by a visit to a book store (with coffee!). Home around 8pm, where miscellaneous dinking around in the office turned into cleaning out the office closet — something that was on the list to do, but certainly wasn’t a priority. Took a brief TV break around 10pm, but returned to the cleaning effort after that. By the time I started to wind down (around 1am), I’d made quite a mess.

messy office messy office

Up at 6:45am. Did the normal morning cha-cha, and threw in a half-hearted attempt to make some progress on the remaining ‘stuff’ that needs to be processed. That’s going to have to wait until the weekend to get finished, I fear. Off to work around 9am.

Work sort of got off on the wrong foot — I got grabbed to deal with a minor emergency as soon as I walked through the door, which threw me off stride a bit. I never did manage to get back on, and cranky pretty much the whole day as a result. (It didn’t help that I couldn’t seem to get any traction on the main thing that I had to do.) Ended up working late again, although it was partially to just avoid going home and being cranky there.

Finally arrived back home around 10pm. Read some mail, read a few comics, and then went to bed around 11:00pm.

Up at 6:30am. Normal morning stuff; nothing too exciting. “Nothing too exciting” was pretty much the theme for the day. Did a couple of work things from home, then headed off to a slow rainy commute.

Into work at 10am, give or take. Again, the key phrase: “nothing too exciting”.

Met TheWife, TheChild, and D for some Thai in Bethesda. Afterwards, TheWife and TheChild headed for home, and D. and I got some coffee before walking back to get my car at NIH. Arrived back home around 8pm. Hung out for a bit; general laptop-ness ensued. We opened D’s gifts to us (D having opened his gift from us some days ago.), and then I headed to bed early, figuring it might be interesting to see what it felt like to get more than 5 hours of sleep for a change.

Up at 6am. Probably ill-advised, given when I went to bed, but that’s when I woke up. Did the usual morning nonsense. Despite my best intentions, didn’t end up leaving the house until 9:15am or so. Mornings always seem to run away from me; I’m not sure if that’s because I’m just groggy and not focused enough, or if I’m trying to cram in too much stuff before going to work.

Ran through Office Despot on the way in, and picked up a labeler for work, the makings of a tickler file (also for work), and some miscellaneous stuff for home. I {heart} office supplies; they’re like crack, only they make you think you’re going to be more organized and productive.

Into work just before 10am. Spent the majority of the day processing mail items — I went from 132 outstanding items down to zero. Go me. Also had time to make a sweep over all the open tickets in the ticketing system; closed 5 or 6 and prodded a few others along. Only other item of note was the first Linux team meeting of the new year, which was pretty uneventful.

Ended up working late again, partially because of volume, and partially because I had to run out to Dulles to pick up D. Due to not paying attention, we missed the exit from the Toll Road back onto the Beltway, which resulted in seeing more of NoVa than was planned. Finally got home around 10:15pm. Chatted with D. and TheWife for a bit, peeked in at TheBaby — sleeping fitfully after an unhappy day of cutting molars — and spent another couple of hours catching up on home stuff and trying to organize some thoughts about some things I’ve finally realized about GTD and mail, based on this most recent trip through the “throw everything in a pile; process it one item at a time” gauntlet. Hopefully I can finalize that and post it shortly; hopefully it will make sense to somebody other than me.

Bed around 1am.

Staggered out of bed around 6:30am, and found that the install on the Ultra10 had completed. Celebrated by building a kernel while looking to see what showed up in the feed reader overnight. First attempts at getting the video drivers right were unsuccessful — we hates the nasty frame buffer, we does — and eventually I had to get ready to go to work.

It was a bit of an unusual morning for TheChild, as she started pre-school today. That means she’ll actually have to get up at a regular time. First morning of that new regimen seemed to go okay. I got reports at the various stages of the process — post-dropoff, post-pickup, etc. — and it sounds like she really enjoyed going. Hopefully being with a decent-sized group of peers (as opposed to a couple of other younger kids) will be interesting and stimulating for TheChild. Because she’s just starting out, the staff suggested a half-day, and that seems to have been a good idea: TheWife reports that she pretty much collapsed into a nap the second she got home.

I got into work around 10am, and spent the next 10 hours (roughly) doing the same sort of “gathering” stuff that I did all day Sunday. By the end of the day, I had most everything processed into my system, and I’d even managed to do a thing or two along the way. Now I just have to tackle the mail pile. Celebrated by buying a Moleskine notebook. Initial impression: it’s easy to see why office supply geeks and stationary nerds fetishize them.

Got back home around 10:30pm. Got the Ultra10 kernel mess straightened out, and kicked off the next stage of the install process — building some software to make the machine actually do something useful. Along the way, ordered some stuff from Thinkgeek to use up my penultimate gift certificate. Also had TheWife measure me for what I’m buying with my last gift certificate. Need to order that tomorrow. Also put some more “gathering” energy into the home system; that pile is almost gone. Yay.

As we were headed to bed (shortly after midnight), TheWife checked TheChild and found that she was running a mild fever — something that’s happened a couple of times in the past week. She’s also had the stinky poops and been generally sort of lethargic, so we’re thinking she’s cutting her two-year molars. We dosed her up with some acetaminophen, and TheWife starting giving her a bit of nursing comfort. Not being able to help out in that department, I just hit the sack — lights out around 12:30am.

It was easily 65 degrees here today, on the third of January. At this rate, TheChild is going to have a very interesting idea of what constitutes “normal” weather.

Rolled out of bed around 8am or 8:30am or something like that. The coffee is ghod’s gift, but it’s not helping the sleep schedule at all. In a strange twist, TheChild sacked out until almost 10:30am — she’s having some sort of growth spurt or cutting teeth or becoming a teenager or something.

Turned out that all the munging I did with the old install on the Ultra10 was for nothing, because the disk ended up crapping out (that’s been happening a lot around here). Slapped a spare disk in and started over from scratch. Dealing with the install stretched over the whole day and into the night; I finally kicked off the penultimate phase right before heading to bed.

The other thing that consumed the whole day was continuing to work on the GTD pile. One of the things I’ve discovered is that I really wasn’t dealing with “project” type items the way that I should be — with an objective, some planning, etc. I was also tending to stick “small” projects in as single tasks, which isn’t the Right Thing at all. I’m correcting that as I put everything back into the system, which means that my project count is headed way, way up. I also have a bad habit of sticking blue-sky sorts of things in as tasks, when they should really go on a someday/maybe list. Cleaning those out is actually reducing my individual task count, despite the project count jump. It’ll be curious to see what the whole thing ends up looking like once I’m done.

TheWife pushed one long-term project through to completion this weekend: she hung our stained glass windows (with a bit of assist from Yours Truly):

in the kitchen in the study

I’m quite excited to see how they look once we get a bit of sun through the windows behind them. Of course, it’s supposed to be cloudy for the next week, so that’ll have to wait for a bit.

Post-dinner (take-out pizza), TheChild got herded into bed a bit early, on account of her big day tomorrow (she’s starting at a new pre-school), and TheWife and I watched an episode of Homicide. We have been watching one or two or sometimes even three shows of an evening — once TheChild was sent to bed, we’d pretty much just couch out — but one of our joint resolutions is that we’d only watch one thing per evening, be it an episode of a show or a movie or whatever. That means it will take us a lot longer to get through our watching queue, but it also means we’ll have more time for projects, reading, listening to music, and maybe even exercise. We’ll see how it works out, I guess.

Post-television, I ploughed through a big pile of GTD things. I mostly abandoned trying to get it into electronic form, and concentrated on taking notes on projects and a few tasks for each, figuring I could do the data entry phase later. I also focused exclusively on the “home” half of the battle, figuring that I could deal with the “work” half at, well, work — where I return tomorrow. In light of that rather unfortunate reality, headed to bed relatively early — 12:30am — and tossed and turned for a bit before finally drifting off. Probably ought to quit having coffee at 9pm, despite how nice it is to curl up with a cup while watching some TV…

Technically, since it was before I went to bed, I’d count it as 31 Dec 2004, but it was pretty cool, so it bears mentioning: one of my resolutions last year was te quit caffeine — I was putting away way too much soda on a daily basis. I had my last Coke sometime in the afternoon of the 31st of December, 2003, and all though 2004 I didn’t have any caffeinated soda or coffee at all — not a drop. (I did keep eating chocolate, so I guess I was getting trace amounts that way. shrug) After the first couple of weeks, quitting wasn’t that bad; I never did have huge withdrawal symptoms — but despite that, as the days have been winding down towards the end of the year, I’ve really been looking forward to having some coffee again. TheWife was well aware of this — I’d been cursing her wanton coffee consumption for a week or more — so she programmed our coffee maker to start brewing a pot at 12:01am. Consequently, I started the new year with a cuppa, which laid down nicely on top of the thirty year old Laphroig I’d been sipping up to that point.

With my first cup of coffee in a year at midnight, it’s not much surprise that I had trouble getting to sleep when I went to bed around 1am. Eventually, I dropped off, and didn’t crawl out of bed until almost 11am. After getting my morning absolutions out of the way, the first order of business was to visit Office Despot and buy some twine, so that I could bundle up the 2004 magazines and store them in the basement. The whole family ended up going along, and after the shopping, we had a bit of lunch.

Once we got back home, it turned out to be family nap time, at least for an hour or so. Once everybody got back up, I headed into my office and started a’bundling on the magazine piles. That was followed by some miscellaneous mucking around in my office coughPlayStationcough, which lasted until dinner time.

After dinner, TheWife got TheChild down to sleep in short order, and then the two of us watched Jersey Girl — an okay flick, but below Kevin Smith’s usual level, I thought. We had enjoyed another pot of coffee during the movie, so afterwards I was ready to get some work done.

I’ve been mostly ignoring my todo lists for the last couple of weeks, because of the holiday, and I’ve also been thinking about making some major changes in the way I’m implementing GTD (things like splitting home and work into distinct sets of lists, rather than having them all together). Because of that, I spent several hours doing what amounted to the “gathering” phase that people go through when starting GTD. At the same time, I was trying to get an aging Ultra10 with a Gentoo install back on its feet — which long periods of waiting for things to run, leavened with micro-bursts of shell incantations. Finally, around 3:30am, the “gathering” wound down at about the same point that the Gentoo resuscitation hit a lengthy plateau of waiting. I saw my chance and headed for bed.

I had sort of intended for the diary system to be all, you know, fixed to start out the new year, but it looks like that’s a week or so off. In the meantime, I’m going to put entries up here, because if I know I’m supposed to be posting it somewhere, it’s much more likely to get written.

Google has a nice New Year graphic up tonight.

I’m lounging on the couch, iBook in lap, a glass of thirty-year-old Laphroaig close to hand. Homicide: Life on the Street season five is in the DVD player, and 2004 is staggering towards its finish.

My big resolution for 2004 was quitting caffeine. I was successful at that — and one of the things I’m looking forward to in 2005 is having a nice, big, warm cup of coffee. Another resolution was being better about updating my various web sites, and I was somewhat less successful at that. (I think that one is going on the list again for 2005…)

Other than that, 2005 is going to be The Year Of No New Projects. Instead of starting new things, I’m going to be focusing on finishing up the various things on my various lists — getting the diary working again, working on some web-based todo-tracking/GTD-ish sort of stuff, straightening out the hosting for my various domains. I’ve also got about a bookcase worth of stuff to read, so I’m also going to be making an effort to buy fewer books (perhaps renewing my acquaintance with our local library to boot).

So those are some of my resolutions for the coming year — what about you?