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Monthly review: April 2023

| monthly, review

Text from the sketch

We spent a lot of time playing Minecraft with A+, who was curious about both Java and Bedrock. I figured out how to export command books from Org Mode, so we can easily teleport around.

Matthew D. gave me an X230T and a Surface Book, since he moved on to other computers. How kind! Happy to get more use out of them. The X230T was a straightforward upgrade for my X220T, and the Surface is neat too. (Krita supports multitouch!)

I want to learn a lot about gardening this year. Many of our strawberries came back We started bitter melons, tomatoes, peppers, and lots of flowers in March, and the seedlings are coming along nicely. We also planted radishes, lettuce, beets, and carrots outside. We'll see how this goes!

Lots of playdates with A+'s friends, including biking around. She's getting better at figuring out what she wants to do with other people and what she wants to do by herself.

Other moments: dog encounters, tooth extraction, booster seat, lots of baking, bubbles in bubbles, ice cream, respect the timer

Blog posts



Category Previous month % This month % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Discretionary - Family 0.4 2.6 2.2 4.3 3.7
Sleep 32.9 34.9 2.0 56.8 3.4
Unpaid work 3.0 2.8 -0.2 4.5 -0.4
A- 44.4 44.2 -0.3 71.9 -0.4
Discretionary - Play 0.8 0.4 -0.4 0.6 -0.7
Discretionary - Productive 3.3 3.0 -0.4 4.8 -0.7
Personal 11.7 10.4 -1.3 16.9 -2.2
Business 3.5 1.9 -1.7 3.0 -2.8

Monthly review: August 2022

| monthly, review
  • Lots of little improvements because I've been getting some early morning coding time while waiting for A- to wake up.
  • Back to making visual book notes, thanks to the SuperNote
  • Lots of playing outside by ourselves or with others. A- sometimes feels jealous of others, but she'll get the hang of dealing with that feeling someday.

Blog posts and sketches


Category Previous month % This month % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 39.1 41.6 2.5 69.8 4.1
Discretionary - Productive 5.5 7.7 2.2 13.0 3.6
Sleep 36.5 38.1 1.5 64.0 2.6
Discretionary - Play 0.9 0.9 -0.0 1.5 -0.0
Discretionary - Social 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Unpaid work 4.1 3.0 -1.1 5.0 -1.9
Business 2.7 1.3 -1.4 2.2 -2.3
Discretionary - Family 3.2 1.8 -1.4 3.0 -2.4
Personal 7.9 5.7 -2.2 9.5 -3.8

Turning 39; life as a 38-year-old

| yearly, review

This might be the earliest I've written an annual review in years. Now that A- is becoming more independent, I've been slowly reclaiming time for myself. We'll see how it goes!

I feel like we grew so much this year. We've shifted to spending a lot more time outside, trying to slow down the progression of A-'s nearsightedness. It's been easy to do that with fine weather and plenty of playdates. A- enjoyed playing with dolls and tea parties with her friends at the playground. I'm happy to keep them well-stocked with chalk and flower petals for colourful potions and soups. We had a lot of flexibility thanks to her virtual kindergarten teacher, who was all right with us pretty much spending the whole day playing outside. A- continued to have fun reading and doing math, diving into graphic novels such as the Wings of Fire series and the comic guides of Beast Academy Level 2. She also enjoyed using math to explore entrepreneurship, setting up her first lemonade stand. (CoVID-safe: she sold bottled water and powdered juice packets.) She's also starting to get interested in typing and in writing cursive. (So fancy!)

We finally gave her the go-ahead to watch movies on weekends and other special occasions. Cinderella, Tangled, and Frozen have been her favourites. She loved the floor-length gown I sewed her. We've been memorizing song lyrics, and doing a lot of pretending. It's all good.

W- has taken over most of the cooking because we're usually out playing in the afternoon. A-'s interested in helping in the kitchen, so we do some of that together. She also enthusiastically helps with W-'s house projects. We're all picking up practical life skills. She's growing so much. I need to remember to keep challenging her!

While supporting this whirlwind of learning, I've been able to squeeze in a bit of consulting. I learned more about automating things with Python, and I also enjoyed being able to hand over my Javascript prototypes to other team members who could deal with things like meetings or fiddly CSS.

I also really appreciated working with a larger team of volunteers for last year's EmacsConf. We managed to get most of the videos captioned in time for broadcast, which was neat! I'd like to try that again this year. I see all sorts of inspiring posts in the process of compiling Emacs News each week, so I'm sure there'll be plenty to talk about at EmacsConf this year.

I've been working on few other tech improvements here and there. I upgraded my Lenovo ThinkPad X220T to 16GB of memory, so it feels a little snappier. I got a SuperNote A5X mostly for drawing on, and I love it. (In fact, I wrote this on the A5X.) I included A-'s interests in the typing website I made for her. It's nice to be able to make these little improvements.

For fun, we picked up cubing last October–even A-, who can often solve a 3x3 cube faster than I can. It's a compact way to exercise memory, spatial thinking, and fine motor skills, so I'm all for it. I average about a minute for a solve. If I practise, maybe I'll get to sub-45 seconds.

Drawing is lots of fun too. I've been really enjoying exploring thoughts and doodling stuff around me. Maybe I'll end up blogging more as well!

So yeah, all in all, a pretty good year.

Last year, I wrote that I wanted to:

  • support and document A-'s learning: This worked out really well. I reused the spreadsheet I made for junior kindergarten so that I could organize my journal observations according to the four frames used in Ontario's kindergarten program. Grade 1 will be more subject-oriented, and I look forward to figuring out how to keep following A-'s interests while organizing the observations in a way that would be helpful for the teachers.
  • plant more flowers: A- has loved being able to pick flowers pretty much every day for giving to us or making pretend soups. Dahlias, dianthus, marigolds, mums, poppies, alyssum, bachelor's buttons… so many to choose from!
  • read and draw: I've been able to draw during some of A-'s playdates and while waiting for her to wake up. Progress is being made.
  • keep my priorities straight: having a bit more me time makes it easier for me to focus on A- when she wants it to be her time.

Next year will probably be all about adapting to grade 1 and A-'s developing capabilities. We'll continue to focus on spending time outside, and we'll see how that goes.

Blog posts

Aside from emacs-news and weekly reviews:



Category 2020-2021 % 2021-2022 % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 31.9 35.7 3.8 59.9 6.4
Personal 5.6 7.3 1.7 12.3 2.9
Discretionary - Play 0.3 1.0 0.7 1.8 1.2
Business 1.8 2.2 0.4 3.7 0.7
Unpaid work 4.5 4.6 0.1 7.7 0.1
Discretionary - Family 0.4 0.5 0.1 0.8 0.1
Discretionary - Social 0.1 0.1 -0.0 0.1 -0.0
A- 45.1 42.3 -2.8 71.0 -4.8
Discretionary - Productive 10.3 6.4 -3.9 10.8 -6.6

Huh, that's interesting. We shifted to being outside more often, so I haven't been bribing A- with screentime in order to have some coding time (Discretionary - Productive time down). She's happy to read more independently now (A- time down), so I've been able to set a bedtime for myself and start settling down for sleep at a reasonable time (Sleep up), and I sometimes have breakfast by myself while waiting for her to finish reading (Personal - Routines up). From time to time, I can even do a bit of reading myself (Discretionary - Play up). W-'s handling almost all the cooking since we're out on playdates, but I've shifted more chore time towards picking up, cooking, and doing errands, so the time I spend on household stuff (Unpaid work) is still about the same. This year has felt pretty good.

It would be nice to have more time for working on personal projects, but I don't know how that would fit into our current rhythms. I don't want to stay up late, and A- doesn't want me to be on my laptop while waiting for her to wake up. So I'll probably focus on writing and drawing for a little while, since I can do that early in the morning. I just have to pick coding projects that pique her interest, like when I made a typing practice website based on her favourite books. Other things can wait.

Let's see what the next year brings!

Weekly review: Week ending January 7, 2022

| review, weekly
  • Emacs:
    • Woohoo! I got undercover, coverage, and buttercup working together for subed. I also changed subed to use the major-mode specifier for the generic methods.
    • I added the BBB questions for the Turbo Bindat talk, and I checked if I missed any other BBB chats.
    • Yay, Indium still worked! I could interactively debug my eleventy Javascript, which was a great help.
  • Other:
    • We made cat beds out of cardboard boxes, fabric, and foam.

Blog posts

Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 36.3 40.1 3.9 67.5 6.5
Discretionary - Play 0.0 0.7 0.7 1.1 1.1
Discretionary - Family 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.5
A- 40.2 40.3 0.1 67.6 0.1
Business 0.7 0.2 -0.6 0.3 -0.9
Discretionary - Productive 9.1 8.5 -0.6 14.2 -1.0
Personal 6.6 5.7 -0.9 9.6 -1.6
Unpaid work 7.1 4.3 -2.8 7.2 -4.7

Monthly review: December 2021

| monthly, review
  • I reencoded the EmacsConf videos and tagged some pages for additional work.
  • I experimented with using speech-to-text on my phone to quickly draft blog posts. That seems to be working out pretty well. I can even turn them into timestamped captions with aeneas.
  • It looks like I'm averaging a little less than a minute on the 3x3 Rubik's cube now (Ao5: 57.01), so I upgraded to a DaYan TengYun V2 M. Feels nice. I also learned the beginner's method on a Megaminx.
  • I updated compile-media to handle temporary files, and I changed subed-record to use it.
  • I changed subed.el to make it more generic.
  • I learned how to use Krita to animate.
  • Lots of gingerbread this month.
  • Lots of catching up on my backlog, too!

Blog posts



Category Previous month % This month % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
A- 32.3 38.3 6.0 66.4 10.1
Unpaid work 4.2 5.7 1.5 9.9 2.5
Business 1.0 1.6 0.6 2.7 1.0
Discretionary - Social 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2
Discretionary - Play 0.6 0.6 -0.1 1.0 -0.1
Discretionary - Family 0.2 0.0 -0.2 0.0 -0.3
Sleep 32.5 32.4 -0.2 56.1 -0.3
Personal 9.6 8.6 -1.0 14.8 -1.7
Discretionary - Productive 19.6 12.9 -6.7 22.3 -11.3

Weekly review: Week ending December 31, 2021

| review, weekly
  • I learned how to use Krita to make a simple animation.
  • I tried out Krita's recorder. I like that it can record the whole drawing at full resolution.
  • I ordered 16GB of memory for my laptop, since I'm likely to hang on to this one for at least another year.
  • I think I've finished the patch for adjusting subtitle overlaps.
  • I learned how to use xdescribe in Buttercup to disable lots of tests at once.
  • I added cropping to compile-media.

Blog posts


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Sleep 31.1 36.3 5.1 60.9 8.6
A- 37.6 40.2 2.6 67.5 4.3
Unpaid work 4.6 7.1 2.5 11.9 4.2
Discretionary - Family 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Discretionary - Social 0.5 0.0 -0.5 0.0 -0.8
Discretionary - Play 0.8 0.0 -0.8 0.0 -1.4
Business 3.3 0.7 -2.6 1.2 -4.3
Personal 9.5 6.6 -2.9 11.2 -4.8
Discretionary - Productive 12.6 9.1 -3.5 15.3 -5.8

Weekly review: Week ending December 24, 2021

| review, weekly
  • EmacsConf:
    • I uploaded the answer videos that actually compressed to smaller files.
    • I tagged some talks on the EmacsConf wiki.
  • Emacs:
    • I wrote some code to make it easier to write about sketches.
    • I updated compile-media to handle temporary files, and I changed subed-record to use it.
    • I tried lachesis for splitting text into subtitles, but I couldn't get it to make a model and the repository didn't have prebuilt models. I made a tiny minor mode that let me use my tablet stylus to split lines, which worked out really well. I tinkered with my workflow for generating videos.
    • I added other output formats to waveform so that I could get timestamps as seconds.
    • I wrote functions to insert a blog post URL or link.
  • Cubing:
    • It looks like I'm averaging a little less than a minute on the 3x3 Rubik's cube now (Ao5: 57.01), so I upgraded to a DaYan TengYun V2 M. Feels nice.
    • I learned how to solve a Megaminx. Now I can do the beginner's method mostly without a guide!
    • We built a LEGO Mindstorms robot that could solve a Rubik's cube by following the instructions on A- enjoyed racing against it.
  • Other:
    • I cleared some backlog and then declared email bankruptcy, which was actually pretty reasonable. If there was anything super-important, someone would have contacted me again. I'm getting better at not worrying about missing out.
    • I experimented with recording a screencast, but decided that the audio was too disorganized. Maybe when I have a way of easily shuffling things around…
    • I wrote a script to toggle recording with a keyboard shortcut.
    • I automated adding my IP address to the IP-based protection.

Blog posts

Look at that! Lots more writing!


Category The other week % Last week % Diff % h/wk Diff h/wk
Business 0.0 3.3 3.3 5.5 5.5
Discretionary - Social 0.0 0.5 0.5 0.8 0.8
Discretionary - Play 0.5 0.8 0.4 1.4 0.6
Discretionary - Productive 12.5 12.6 0.1 21.1 0.1
Discretionary - Family 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Sleep 31.4 31.1 -0.3 52.3 -0.5
Personal 9.9 9.5 -0.4 16.0 -0.6
Unpaid work 5.5 4.6 -0.9 7.7 -1.5
A- 40.2 37.6 -2.6 63.2 -4.4