“Week”notes and links 2021-08-19: Relaxing, Publishing, and Gradius

Black and white photo of a barn roof against a sky filled with clouds


These are not really week notes – just a stick in the sand to mark the passing of time. The last few weeks have been mainly holiday, including a lot of enjoyable time at the beach, seeing a bunch of supercars, and recovering from trudging around with a full backpack.

It’s also been quite therapeutic in some ways – it’s been the first time I’ve been able to get away from all the thoughts surrounding me, and just actually relax. I’ve been doing crazy things like reading and catching up on DVDs. And all the time, ideas and thoughts for getting on with life haven’t totally gone away, but been subsumed into the background, where my subconscious has been carving and coercing them into something more polished. That’s the theory, at least.

Before I went away, I was working on a trial energy assessment for a server at home. I’m working in a very rough, sketchy approach that ties in what I think of as ‘personal’ agile – have an idea, try something out, write it up, publish it, and then revise and repeat. The process is, for me, just as important as the outputs – I’m facing up to working in a new area where I feel somewhat "shaky", and so I’m pushing myself slightly to send what I have to a few other people, and start asking for feedback. It’s minor in terms of time, but a big hurdle in terms of confidence.

Anyway, I think I’m at a point where, having shared it with a couple of people, and knowing myself what I want to do next, I can start working a bit more openly (that’s the whole point of working out loud, right?). So in that vein (it’s not a launch announcement or anything), I’m working under the domain groundlake.org, and am putting together an initial energy assessment document here.

The main aims currently are:

  1. Get the main site to a point where I’m happy I can send it to people I know, and it describes what I want to be doing, along with basic contact details. (ie. "why you need and can trust me")
  2. Get my hands dirty working through a system assessment, to get used to the tools available, how to structure the information, how to balance writing things up with publishing it, and how to track what I’m doing
  3. Build up resources that I can re-use and draw on as I go

Currently I’m going really basic – everything is written in Markdown, and being styled with markdown-styles, and published using rsync. This approach isn’t the prettiest of course, but by decoupling the work from publishing, I can worry about presentation separately/later. I can also easily add and edit the base content across multiple devices, using syncthing which I use a lot now – handy if you’re taking readings and just have a phone to hand or don’t have internet access. I think that integration would be a lot trickier if I started out life with a Word Doc, or even a shared Google Doc.

On the downside, I do want to use tables to track actions and suggestions, which are inherently fairly ugly in a text document. I’m also generating the groundlake site in a single pass, which means the main site shares a theme with assessments, which will need to change very soon.

But yeah, I’m learning a lot and feel like I’m making progress, which is essential.

As mentioned, I’m able to get into a fair bit of content at the moment, and I’m largely enjoying:

  • Cracking on with Gormenghast – book 2 that is. It requires a decent bit of headspace, so has been on pause for a while, but it’s oh so worth it when you do get into it.
  • Catching up on recent magazines. Edge and Black and White Photography are my staples, but a recent Fortean Times had a brilliant article about Liberace’s UFO return.
  • Getting into Gradius Galaxies on the Gameboy Advance – 20 years old but still fun. I love shoot-em-ups for the process of practice and memorisation you need to put in, with attention and reflexes dashed on top. Learning a level feels like learning a form or kata in martial arts – go here next, apply this move, etc. After a bit of practice, the early levels become a form of zen, while the later levels lead you on through strange woods still.


OK, I think I have my wallabag > IFTTT > Dropbox > markdown > WordPress flow finally set up ok now, so long as IFTTT doesn’t flake out too much…