Category Archives: Random

Things that don’t fit my very narrow list of categories.

My 2014 Goals: Three Month Check

Let’s check how I’m doing with my 2014 goals.

Read More – I haven’t cracked open a single book on my list. That’s unfortunate but I’ve read several short stories and numerous long form pieces so I won’t beat myself up too much.

Accumulate Less, Eliminate More – This is a noble thing to have on my list but I knew I’d have trouble with it. As it turns out, I’ve accumulated more stuff! At least it was quality stuff (so far).

Write More – This is going better than I expected. I’ve created a workflow for journaling my day which begins with a morning weigh-in (for the next goal), includes a log of my eating habits, and ends with notes about the day. Looking back over the past 2 months, the daily entries grew from single sentences to several paragraphs which makes me happy.

Along with journaling, I’m trying to use writing as a way to work out my thoughts on a subject. When I start jotting down my thoughts, it feels like my brain has more room to explore further, similar to the capture process of GTD. Once the thoughts are somewhere permanent, the brain can wander around looking for other avenues to explore. I’m still fumbling around with this process but I can tell it’s a beneficial practice.

Lose Weight – The eternal struggle — for me at least. I spent the months between November and March in a whirlwind of progress and failure. In the past month I seem to have regained my focus and I’m on my way to success.

Think – As I said earlier, I’m using my writing as a thought exercise. These may not be ground shattering thoughts or discoveries but it helps me figure out who I am and what side I’m on. As long as I know where I stand, I’m happy.

My Goals For 2014

I’m trying something new this year: I’m setting a small list of goals. In the past I’ve written long lists that sounded great but weren’t possible to complete. This year I’m focusing on a simple list I know I can achieve. If I screw something up, I’ll acknowledge it, correct my behavior, and continue toward the goal.

  • Read More – I’ve been reading less lately but that hasn’t stopped me from buying books. Some are physical, some are digital but I haven’t read most of them. I have 8 partially read and 11 unread books on my list for 2014.

  • Accumulate Less, Eliminate More – I buy a lot of things I don’t need, it’s a character flaw likely caused by a childhood where I had very little. It’s difficult to stop buying things but it can be just as hard to decide what to do with the resulting clutter. I see a few trips to the Salvation Army in my future.

  • Write More – This is on everyone’s list and you’re tired of hearing it but I rarely write so this might be an easy victory. I plan to journal on a semi-regular basis and if I’m lucky, some of that will carry over to this site.

  • Lose Weight – This also seems cliche but I’ve lost 35 pounds in the last 6 months and I have more to go. I’ll continue my progress until the scale reads 199 (only ~25 pounds left). The holidays added a few pounds but that’s a minor setback.

  • Think – Yes, “think” as in spend more time in thought. I’ve noticed many areas in my life where taking time to assess a situation would have been in my favor. They say “think before you speak” and I’m a prime candidate.

These are what I want to focus on for 2014. I’ll revisit in 6 months and let you know how I’m doing.

Blizzard Announces Next World of Warcraft Expansion Pack

Yeah, I’m a World of Warcraft player, so what?

Today at Blizzcon, Blizzard announced the next expansion pack called Warlords of Draenor.

It looks like we’re headed back in time to Draenor or what existed before Outland. I’m one of the many who hate questing through Outland so I really hope this is a different experience.

There are a lot of great things coming in this expansion other than the new zones, things like new character models and a lot of changes to inventory handling have me pretty excited. Now if only Blizzard would update the Mobile Armory to stop asking for an authenticator code every time I try to do anything.

Changing Your Mind 101

If I have any regular readers, they’ll notice something is missing. I deleted the 4 posts in my series on task management.

I struggled with the idea of deleting something I published but I think it needed to be done. I started the series because I’m trying to find the best way to handle the tasks and projects in my life but after 3 or 4 rather weak posts, I realize I had it all wrong.

The only thing you need is a system you trust. That’s it.

Do pen and paper lists work for you? Awesome. Do you prefer your work in projects and manageable tasks? Do that.

The first mistake I made was thinking the GTD system — which makes a lot of sense to me — works for everyone. This just isn’t true. Some people work best from simple lists and some people plan their work months in advance. All you have to do is figure out what your brain prefers.

So I deleted my posts but it’s not a big loss, they were fluff anyway. Maybe I’ll dig a bit deeper into this subject later or maybe I won’t. Sometimes digging for a system is a form of procrastination and I’m trying to avoid that.

Here’s to getting work done.

Panic At The Pen Show

There are a few things I look forward to when summer draws to an end, they are as follows:

  1. The Renaissance Festival
  2. The Michigan Pen Show

I count myself lucky this year of 2013 as I managed to visit both. I can only count my fall as a success if I hit both milestones. Yay me!

Today was the first day of the Michigan Pen Show and since it’s right across the street from where I work, I made a beeline for The Met Hotel as soon as I could.

If you’re someone who has visited the D.C. or Atlanta pen show, I suspect the Michigan show might disappoint. It’s never a large show, never packed (at least when I’ve been there) and from what I can tell, nothing like the larger city shows. That’s not to say it’s lame, it’s quite the opposite!

When you stroll into the conference room, you’re greeted by the same folks you saw last year. I don’t know their names but I recognize their faces and the mood is always light. The entry stamp is a smiley face which matches my own face so that seems appropriate.

Into the next room I saunter, always starting on the right as that seems the only correct way to do this. Counter-clockwise might sound weird to you but my brain says this is the right direction. There are maybe 20 tables at most so it won’t take long unless you let your eyes wander and wander they will.

The majority of pens on these tables are vintage. I hate to say it but vintage just isn’t calling my name these days. Wait, I take that back, if I could find a broad Parker 51 or a flexy Sheaffer of some sort. No. No! I can’t spend that kind of money today so I must resign myself to just looking. Drooling?

I’m wearing a Detroit Dragway t-shirt and it seems to be getting some attention. The majority of the vendors are older gentlemen and several take the time to reminisce of drag racing in an era I can only dream about. I don’t bother telling them the only cars I’ve raced on the track came out of Japan, that might not go over so well.

I came here with the intent of finding a Namiki Falcon but I never actually see one. That’s probably for the best, I don’t have the clearance for that kind of spending. I spy plenty of Pelikans, Pilot VP, and other such exotic offerings but I don’t see a single Falcon. I meant to bring a couple Sailor 1911 M to try to trade but I didn’t, I guess I’m ok with that if there’s no Falcons to be seen.

I move along the tables, some have watches for sale, some have handmade pens, others have a wide assortment of pencils. I feel bad as I skim past the handmade pen tables but honestly, I rarely find them all that interesting. I nod sympathetically to the man or woman behind the table before sliding carefully to the next table. I like to think I’m slick but I’m probably not coming off as such.

I’ve made my way almost 3/4 of the way around the room when a nice gentleman starts reminiscing about attending the Detroit nationals sometime in the 1950’s. It’s fun to see something as simple as a t-shirt spark dormant memories in men who have doubled my time on this earth.

I continue on, I’ve had my eyes on the Anderson Pens table since I walked in. I think maybe I start counter-clockwise because they’re the 2nd to last table and I know I’ll be spending money there. Yeah that must be why, I’m definitely not neurotic or anything.

Their display is a mirror image of last year, plenty of ink, lots of Twsbi and Noodlers pens to chose from, and all manner of fountain pen friendly paper. I don’t know what to do, I didn’t come here with a plan but I feel compelled to buy something. My eye jumps to the Pilot Iroshizuku ink. I’ve been avoiding this particular ink for a very long time, it’s simply too expensive. But maybe today…

Panic sets in, I don’t remember what color I wanted to try. Surely it was kon-peki, right? Wait, was it? The color on the box looks too light, I must be remembering wrong. Flustered, I flip through the pages of their ink sample book but I can’t find kon-peki anywhere. I whip out my phone and consult JetPens to assure myself this is the ink I want. I step away from the inks, maybe there’s something else here I “need”.

It’s easy to skip past the pens — I really only care about the Falcon right now — but they have some notebooks I haven’t tried. What’s this, the new Field Notes Drink Local edition? I haven’t even received mine yet! Mine are in the mail so I relax and move on. They have 3 different sizes of Twsbi notebooks and I decide I need the large one. Need is such a funny word but I’ll use it here. There we have it, a large Twsbi notebook and some Pilot kon-peki, that’s all it will take to make my trip complete.

Then I notice the last table, it’s Brian Gray of Edison Pens. What are they doing here? This is maybe my 3rd or 4th Michigan Pen Show and I may not have been paying attention but I didn’t expect to see them here. He’s busy talking to another pen maker so I peruse the large number of pens on display and watch a video about his process.

I stand there for a few minutes but then I realize I don’t know this guy and he won’t know who I am, I’ll just be some weirdo who knows his name from the internet and that’s kind of weird so I walk back to the Anderson Pens table. I purchase my ink and notebook and head for the door before my wallet vomits any more money into eager hands. I really wanted one of the Twsbi notebooks with the Micarta pen tucked inside but I manage to get away before one jumped in my bag.

I burst out of the hotel into the crisp fall air and breathed a sigh of relief or perhaps it was a sigh of discontent. I didn’t have my Falcon and I know there’s at least one broad Parker 51 or flexy Sheaffer in the building behind me, all I had to do was turn around. I push forward toward my car, those treasures will have to wait for another day.