With the Grain

by potatowire .

Fixing myself, a little bit at a time.

Read this first

Phase 2

Well, I am back, for what I’ll call Phase 2. Last time I wrote and published every day. This time I will write every day but only publish sometimes. I want to work on each post longer.

I don’t know where to set expectations, so I’m not going to try. I’m not seeking a large audience. I’m not trying to make money. I’m not going to call myself a writer.

I’m just going to write.

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End State

I am no longer going to post here every day.

I was certain that I was back in after a period of doubt, and I was very moved by the thoughtful replies I received. I was certain, and then I changed my mind. I seem prone to this.

Much of the feedback I received referenced writing as a passion, and having a handle on the the “why” of it. Another one of my favorite people compared the discipline of daily writing to a fitness plan, which I think is very apt. These were the lenses through which I examined this decision.

Specifically, I considered the best possible end state. I’ve expressed a dream of being full-time writer before, but it was a nebulous hope. Today I pinned it down. What would I love about this ideal end state?

What would be so great about being a full-time writer? Being a best-selling author? Would it be the joy of the written word? Would it be joy of affecting many lives

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Weekends all go about the same way.

weekend prog.gif

I’m not ready to go back to work.


I have a lot to do tomorrow.

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Clearing the Queue

I had a little time this weekend to chip away at my various “consumption” queues. Saturday seems like a good day to share these with you, dear reader, so here is some of the video content I no longer have to “Watch Later.”

I enjoy hobby electronics, and a friend of mine sent me this video.

This open-source device may be of little interest to most of you, but it does an amazing array of different, but mostly-related tasks. The video production-value leaves a lot to be desired, but in a way, this is emblematic of the entire open source movement: powerful and often a bit ugly.

From here, the magic YouTube algorithms served me up this video.

In it, the circuit board for a midcentury-style lighted arrow is made from scratch and installed. I liked this video quite a lot.

I followed up these admittedly nerdy selections with some videos of brave people risking life and limb. The first

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Thank you everyone who sent me encouragement. I needed it. I truly appreciate all of you and will respond individually later. I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking around long term, but right now I’m going to watch a superhero movie or two.

Enjoy your weekend.

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I worry about this site. I spend an average of two hours a night writing, and I’m not sure why. I am more introspective now, for sure, and I think my writing is improving, but this two-hour block represents all of my available free time. I have some other projects I would like to begin, but I don’t know how to fit them into my schedule.

I could write less often, but I suspect that losing the pressure of posting daily would start the blog’s slow death. Instead of enduring a slow demise, maybe I should just end things decisively. Would that just be giving up?

Part of the problem is I don’t have an end state in mind. I worry about not finishing what I start, but what does finished look like in this case? Fame and fortune? I am anonymous, after all.

I have no idea how to properly track the number of readers here, but every indication is that it’s a very flat, and small number. So it’s

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I’ve had a very long day, and I can’t seem to make the words flow. Instead, I’d like to share two videos that may send you down a rabbit hole. There is a segment of the YouTube that is all people building stuff. A further subset of these videos isn’t so much about instruction as it is about appreciating the process. I find this category to be almost meditative, and very enjoyable.

First up is one of Adam Savage’s One Day Builds. If you only know him from Mythbusters, it won’t take much Googling to reveal a lot more to like. This video was just posted, and I only meant to watch a little of it. And then it was over.

I highly recommend his podcast too.

Next up is Jimmy DiResta. I’ve never been able to stop one of his videos after pressing play. This one is representative, but I like them all.

If you also try your hand at building, you should definitely watch his tips series.


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I wish I had more time. One of my pet peeves is the phrase “I don’t have time for that.” People say this all the time (pun intended), and they are almost always wrong.

“I think I am going to learn Spanish.”
“Ugh, I wish. I don’t have time for that”


“I read the Bible every day”
“Ugh, I wish. I don’t have time for that”


“I’ve got to start going to the gym again”
“Ugh, I wish. I don’t have time for that”


“Dad, do you want to play catch?”
“Ugh, I wish. I don’t have time for that”


“Please empty the Atlantic Ocean using only this thimble”
“Ugh, I wish. I don’t have time for that”


Time is a limited resource, and its value depends on how you spend it. Think about yesterday. How much time did you waste? Did you waste it on purpose?

What would you do if you suddenly gained complete control over your time? Would you go back to school? Change careers

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Picking Up

I think a good time to fix broken processes is after a period of disrupted routines. I was away from normal work all last week, so I came back to a full inbox. Since one of my weak areas is email triage, I decided to dedicate some time to fixing that today.

Without delving into minutia, I tweaked just two things. The first was my filing system. Similar to the GTD processing phase, I only did tasks requiring a couple of minutes and captured everything else. This isn’t new, in and of itself, but today I limited the capture to one of only three forms: archiving messages requiring neither action nor recall; filing messages requiring later recall but no action; adding to my task list and filing any messages requiring both action and later recall.

The second thing I did was mentally commit to empty my inbox. This may sound obvious, but I think it was the most important part of picking up the

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Since I’m traveling again today, I figured I would use Sunday as a quote day again. The problem is quotes are a pain in the neck.

If I am going to post something here, I want to be at least pretty sure who really said it and that it was an original idea. Instead, I seem to really like quotes with unclear or conflicting origins.

So, I quit. I will instead post quotes sporadically, and they will often be useless, like this one from Schmidt on New Girl:


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