Category Archives: the blog

When I travel, I like to get into a city a day early and just spend few hours walking around.

I’m scheduled to get in to Las Vegas Sunday around noon, and given the expected temperatures — 110 degrees-plus! — I thought I might not be able to do that.

But many of the casinos have connections to each other, and Google Maps has maps of the interiors of the casinos. So I can do this!

Should be a fun game — see how far I can get without going outside.

Apple Watch faces and complications

I use multiple Apple Watch faces for different times of day, all of them based on the Modular face. Each of the faces has different complications for different needs.

  • My sleep face includes the alarm complication, Drafts for those midnight ideas I never actually have, Wunderground, sunrise/sunset and phases of the moon because why not?

  • Exercise, which includes Drafts, the Workouts app, Overcast, and Wunderground.

  • The face I use most of the time has the day/date complication, Drafts, Wunderground, and the timer. I use the timer a surprising amount during the day. When I’m traveling for business I add the calendar complication to that face so I can see appointments.

If you’re an Apple Watch user, which Faces and complications do you use?

I walked Minnie first thing in the morning today because it was supposed to get wicked hot. I have mixed feelings about that. I like my routine but I also like varying it up. I like being done with exercise first thing in the morning, but I also like the break in my day later in the day. I like getting the blood moving first thing in the morning but I come back wicked hungry.

At about 10:30 am, just as I was getting settled in to work, the power went out. I had only had one cup of tea before it went out so I was in a panic. Fortunately I remembered Starbucks is a thing, and it had power too. So I got some coffee.

When the power went out I was just settling in for my morning news and email sweep, so I just did that on my phone until the power came back on an hour later.

What else happened today? Oh, yes, I forwarded an email to several women co-workers that turned out to have a reference to sodomy not once but TWICE. It was this one Honest to goodness, I’m so used to how potty-mouthed the Internet is that I don’t even notice that kind of thing anymore. Ironically, the essay — and it’s a good one, which is why I forwarded it it — is about women in the workplace who become one of the guys and undermine themselves and other women.

And how is your day?

According to my journal I have stayed at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara seven times since March 2014, with a couple of additional stays in hotels within walking distance. The reason has always been the same: Conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

I think I’ve eaten at the Bourbon Steak & Pub and Restaurant three times. It’s a good thing I like that place a lot because it is the only good restaurant near the Hyatt.

One of the executives I interviewed made it into a who’s on first joke: “Where are you eating?” “The good restaurant near the convention center.” “Which one?” “The good restaurant near the convention center.”

The hotel itself has two restaurants. Or three, depending on how you count them. They’re fine, but unremarkable. I miss a good diner in walking distance.

I eat healthy at home but when I’m traveling I’ve got a stick of butter in one hand and a popsicle made of sugar and lard in the other.

Those of us who love cottage cheese will never explain ourselves to those who associate cottage cheese with self-denying weight-loss diets.

Our neighbor is a classic car buff.

Skipping exercise

I skipped exercise today. I’ve been exercising for nine years now, and this is only the second time I’ve skipped a day when I was home and healthy. I was working late and didn’t wrap up until 5:30 pm and that would have meant I’d be back from walking 7:30 pm and THEN dinner, and that’s too late.

I felt — and feel — a little guilty. But I’m reminding myself this is how normal people do. Five days of exercise, two days off. That’s perfectly fine. Not that I plan to make this a regular thing!

The other day I skipped exercise? That was less than a month ago. A friend who I never get to see was in town on business and it looked like he wouldn’t be able to get away and then suddenly he was available. I got an email from him saying he had 90 minutes to spare and was I available for lunch? I just walked out the door and got in the car to see him. As a frequent business traveler myself I know you have to move heaven and Earth to get social time on a trip, and I was grateful for it. By the time I got back it was too late to exercise, and I was happy with the outcome.

On a political diet

A couple of days ago I decided to stop reading political news unless it is decisive. Unless somebody actually does something. If it is just analysis and opinion, or if the news is just that Trump said something stupid, I’d skip it.

I finally implemented that rule this morning and golly I feel great, much less stressed, and I’ve gotten a lot more done.

I didn’t stick to the rule 100%. I slipped and read half of two articles in the morning. I don’t even remember what they were about. Oh, yeah, one of them was something about how Trump’s NATO speech surprised his security advisors. This afternoon I read and shared one or two more.

I don’t mean to minimize the danger of Trump’s incompetence, evil and stupidity. It’s just that my reading the news obsessively, and flooding my social media feeds with it, isn’t going to fix the problem.

On the other hand, my reducing my stress, and freeing up my time helps me. And I hopefully will devote some of that newly freed time to political activism, which might help the world in a microscopic, incremental way.

The good news is we get a reprieve for today from bathroom renovation. Our construction firm doesn’t observe Memorial Day, and were supposed to be here working, but they are not

The bad news is the reason: Julie has contracted my cold, and it’s hitting her much harder than it hit me. And the cold did not hit me lightly; I was down for about three days. A week later I’m still only back to about 98%, not 100%. I still have a bit of a cough, and I need a little more sleep than usual.

The lesser bad news is that a day off work is a day’s delay of getting this rotten process finished, and a day longer without having a shower in the house. Possibly longer than a day — one of the key guys leaves tomorrow for 10 days(?) in Texas. There’s some work that possibly only he could do and that he was scheduled to do today.

Trump’s foreign policy doctrine: America stands shoulder to shoulder with dictatorships in Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, and turns its back on the free peoples of Europe.

This alone makes Trump despicable.

About Seth Rich

Which is harder to believe?

  • Seth Rich was killed in a street crime. Maybe it was a robbery gone bad, maybe he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If it was an attempted robbery, maybe the thieves left his wallet and other valuables because they got spooked and ran. Or maybe they left the stuff because they were morons.

  • Seth Rich was killed in a political assassination performed by masterminds who made it look like a street crime, and did it so brilliantly that it was only discovered now. And yet these same ninja assassins forgot to take his wallet — a mistake that nobody who’d ever watched more than one episode of “Law & Order” would make.

(I mean, this is a cliche on every cop show: Cops are looking over a body at a crime scene. “Maybe it was a robbery?” “Nope, he’s still got his wallet and watch on him.”)

I learn my Mom was OG. And I learn what OG is

CO-WORKER: “I need more coffee.”
ME: “It’s too late in the day for me.”
ME: “Though my Mom used to drink coffee all day and into the night. She had a nice cup of coffee just before turning in to go to bed.”
CO-WORKER: “You’re Mom was OG.”
ME: “OG? What’s that?”
CO-WORKER: “Original Gangsta.”

Now I’m boggling at the thought of Ethel Wagner, nee Ethel Markowitz, a nice Jewish lady born 1928 in Brooklyn, as a gangsta.

I’m feeling much better now, though not well. I slept 10 hours yesterday and about 13 hours today. Minnie woke me up mid-nap to drop a dog toy next to my head and make mouth sounds next to my ear.

I don’t know about this Nyquil. The sleep is delicious, black, and dreamless, but I suspect much of my dullness and lethargy today may have been the Nyquil rather than actual illness. But will I be able to sleep tonight without it? Julie suggests taking one instead of two.

Precarious

We have a cat bed precariously balanced on the edge of a chest-of-drawers, and Sammy decided to climb in anyway.

Returning to Things

Just for the heck of it, in anticipation of Cultured Code launching a new version of the Things app – finally! – this coming Thursday – I fired up Things for the first time in a while. I imported my OmniFocus tasks using Cultured Code’s auto-importer script.

And I like it.

I like being able to use tags to quickly set aside a couple of tasks to do right away. Particularly useful in the late afternoon, when I say to myself, ok, I know I had these 8 items starred for today but what am I really going to get done?

I like the way items with a start date automatically show up in the Today view on that date – but they’re in a separate place, so I can decide whether I really want to start them that day, or kick them down the street a bit.

I like the way Things, unlike OmniFocus, doesn’t care whether I use Projects and Areas of Focus.

Hot beverages I drink

Tea: Lately I’m favoring PG Tips. I never drink tea out, always at home.

I use the bags twice. Second brewing has nearly no caffeine, suitable for drinking anytime day or night.

Coffee: But never when I’m home, always out. Starbucks and Peets are preferred. Conference coffee is dreadful, and requires white stuff (soy milk if I can get it, nonfat, whole, or half-and-half if not) and Splenda.

Rooibos herb tea: Not often, but I drink it when I’m out of second-brewing teabags but still want something hot and decaf. Ditto decaf coffee when I’m on the road.

When I drink hot beverages: Year round, until the temperature hits the high 90s, when I switch to iced tea for caffeine, and water at other times.

I need my caffeine dose to get going in the morning, and to get it I’ll drink a Diet Coke or Diet Dr Pepper if necessary, if I need to be on the move as soon as I get out of bed and don’t see a time in the early morning when I’ll be able to sit with a hot beverage. I know this is barbaric of me and yet I do it without shame or remorse.

The coffee at San Diego Airport is surprisingly good, and significantly mitigates the annoyance of travel.

That moment when you change “unpack” on your todo list to “pack,” because you missed your opportunity to unpack.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, the southerners who supported slavery were convinced they were morally right. They sincerely believed that slavery was a positive institution, good for whites and the enslaved blacks, and that people who opposed slavery were morally depraved fools and villains.

Overhearing conversations in the 20th Century vs. 21st Century

20th Century: You walk in on a conversation between two people, not realizing they’re talking about a soap opera. “She was pregnant and in a coma. And then her husband started cheating on her. With her sister. And then she woke up from the coma. And she had amnesia. And her husband fell in love with her again and she fell in love with him but she thought he was her sister’s boyfriend, and…. ”

21st Century: You walk in on a conversation between two people, not realizing they’re talking about a video game: “They dropped me off on a battlefield without any training and said they didn’t expect me to live…. ”

I figured it out around when they started talking about alien zombie artificial intelligences.

‪Woman on line ahead of me at the boarding gate was bound for Baltimore. Problem for her: This plane is going to Las Vegas. ‬

‪I’m pretty sure. ‬