Our family reached the end of what I call “The Luge”. At the beginning of every school semester my family and I hike to the top of the metaphorical mountain, buckle ourselves into a bobsled, and yeet ourselves downhill on a wild and uncontrolled ride.
Wake up, make breakfast, feed the cat, get snacks, fill water bottles, make lunches, pack backpacks, drop-off at 7:30am, pickup sick kids, pick-up at 3:00pm, can I have a playdate, can I have a playdate, can I have a playdate, cheer, dance, baseball, dinner, can I have dessert, can I have dessert, can I have dessert, grandmas, grandpas, birthday parties, fundraisers, tennis tournaments, power outages, groceries, and the hundreds of other family logistics we field on a day-to-day basis.
Thankfully, we made it. Baseball is wrapped, the dance recital is danced, school is out, swim team is swimming, and the lazy summer days of too much device time have taken over. There were a couple stressful cross-fade weeks where summer started before the luge ride was over but thankfully that has passed. Speaking of stress…
My stress reduction journey
I have become acutely aware of stress in my life and its effects on my body. May was stressful work-wise with computers-falling-over and whatnot, but I hit a new personal level when I started feeling stress manifest in my chest.
Chest pain is worrisome for a person of my age and weight… which causes more stress. I dislike the (stressful) American healthcare system and not sure if I need to see a cardiologist (because my stressed heart) or a psychologist (because my stressed brain), but a quick weigh-in showed me I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been at ~260 pounds. Oof.
Learning you’re at your peak weight during a stress event doesn’t make you less stressed. In fact it makes it worse. I’ve been learning a lot about the Stress Response Cycle and how stress triggers cortisol which triggers fight-or-flight response which triggers fat storage… and so on. It’s a vicious cycle and my body seems to be superb at converting stress into fat. Looking at historical weight data, I saw a trend….
I’ve gained ~30 pounds since 2019 according to this patchy data set. One slow incline and one steep incline. Breaking those down…
- Did any stressful events happen between 2019-2021? Oh yeah, a global pandemic.
- Did any stressful events begin in June of 2022? Oh yeah, I started a startup.
That’s a helluva correlation for me when my diet and exercise have been consistent (if not improved). The weight gain is an obvious concern but will be a slow fix. The immediate need is to hijack the Stress Response Cycle and chill the fuck out so I can reduce stress, so that’s what I’ve been focusing on. The plan is: try meditation, take vitamins, take more breaks, do activities that relax me, and focus on getting a good night’s sleep. The plan seems to be working a bit and I’ve lost 5~7 pounds through stress aversion alone and I’m starting to layer in some more consistent exercise as well.
More stats, less charts
The breakdowns you break down about when I don’t post.
I’m trying to be careful about not piling intense exercise (HIIT, etc) that stresses out my body. I’ve done that before and I think I need something more mindful this time around.
- Meditation - focused breathing has been helpful, I am not sure it’s “my thing” though
- Taking more walks
- Wondr - My BlueCross plan offers a free subscription to a 15-week diet and health program.
The diet program is somewhat “eat less, fatty” wrapped in teeth whitened positivity, but there’s enough science in that I’m still interested. I’ll take it a week at a time, I’m open to any kind of shift.
My political/social justice non-fiction books are repeating their talking points, making the genre less enjoyable. Leaning into more fiction will probably be my escape hatch.
- The Adventure Zone: The Eleventh Hour - I think I said it about the last one, but this is my favorite story of the Balance arc, the one with time loops. I’m realizing TTRPGs in comic form are a bit frantic, but it’s still enjoyable and I look forward to finishing the series over a couple more years.
- The Creative Act - There are parts of this book I enjoyed immensely, the prototyping and iterating on something until it’s great parts. But the one facet I could not get past was the whole “creativity comes from the vibrations of the universe” new age mumbo-jumbo. I suppose hit-maker Rick Rubin knows better than I do, but I don’t believe that’s where creativity comes from. In evangelical circles it’s “Divine Inspiration” and ancient Greece had “the Muses”, I don’t buy that kind of mysticism anymore.
- I Swear: Politics Is Messier than My Minivan - I like Katie Porter, one of the sharpest most relatable representatives in Congress. The book is dripping in midwestern hokeyness, but I appreciate the level of candor and intelligence she brings to the national stage.
- Team Human - A liberal airing of grievances but this time with a technical bend. I think if I was younger and this was the first book of its kind I read I would have been more interested, but it hit me like a list of problems with no big takeaways on how to make technology more human-centered or humanistic.
- Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution - I’ve seen Elie Mystal on MSNBC and he was punchy and well spoken so I checked out his book. Wow. I don’t spend my days thinking the US Constitution is hot garbage, but Mystal’s perspective has reframed my thinking. I recommend this book if you want to question the American experiment, but I’d specifically recommend the audiobook because Mystal is a wonderful orator.
- Leviathan Wakes - A good old fashioned space opera.
A good month of blogging. I blasted out some old posts, some new tech posts, and even did four posts in one day.
- Using Arc Boosts to identify bots in Elk - Boosts are cool.
- The Hurdy-Gurdy software engineer - My favorite metaphor to date.
- Sometimes the job is an assembly line - A response to a great post by Robb Owen, highlighting the different kinds of work we do for websites.
- Getting started with View Transitions on multi-page apps - Top post, cool new tech so that’s somewhat expected, but what’s been the most cool is seeing people add view transitions to their sites.
- A guy telling peanut butter jokes for 12 minutes - Been watching a lot of comedy to relax and this is the biggest brained, weirdest premise set I’ve ever heard.
- Mini Post-a-thon
- Markdown images are an anti-pattern - John Gruber even agreed with this one.
- Boringness in Design Systems - This got views but no conversation.
- My double standards about JS framework compilers - A long-winded response about JS compilers.
- My behind the scenes of animation YouTube playlist - Sharing my treasure trove of inspiration.
- Lessons from Soviet Russia on deploying small nuclear generators - Okay, this is now my favorite metaphor to date.
As mentioned above, learning about stress and its impact on my body has been insightful.
Good blend of sci-fi and super hero movies. Yes, Fast & Furious is a super hero movie.
- Guardians of the Galaxy 3 - A great addition to the series. CGI animals making you cry tho.
- Fast X - Cars and explosions, what else could you want? Brie Larson? She’s there too.
- Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse - This was epic. Like truly epic. An epic scale. I loved it as much as the first movie.
- Silo - Gritty dystopian sci-fi. I’ll take it.
- Caleb Hammer - The algorithm surfaced this channel which is mix of Dave Ramsey and Gordon Ramsay. He brings people with crippling debt on his show and gives financial advice to help them budget and restructure their finances.
More characters added to the Shoptalk Podcastamatic Universe.
- Tswiftinator - A sentient AI sent back in time to blend two Intellectual Properties so that we will get DMCA’d.
- Bernie Standards - An elderly gentleman Senator upset about billionaires in web development.
- Davina George - A mean girl who hates “basic” colors gamuts.
- Macho Man Randy Standards - A strong man who has seen it all.
Gunpla: Dropped off Gunpla almost entirely but I think that’s busy-ness and stress and didn’t want to make a big mess. Backlog is at ~3 models right now. Gunpla is a relaxing linear process so I should probably get back into it.
- HG MSA-003 Nemo - Finished my Nemo! After I got hung up on stickers and painting, I was a little disenchanted but I love the final product. The weird blue and green color scheme make it stand out.
⌨️ Open source
After years of pouring blood, sweat, and tears, Eric Bailey stepped down as maintainer of the A11y Project. I’m filling in as interim maintainer again. Thanks to Eric for years of service.
👾 Video games and TTRPGs
Zelda! Zelda! Zelda!
- The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom - So happy to be bouncing around Hyrule again. The is so vast and huge it touches the limits of my imagination. I’m progressing but because I need to pick up every rock in the game to check for Koroks and my RSI flared up from holding the switch, it’s slow goings.
- Overwatch 2.0 - The community situation is in Overwatch is dire with the PvE cancellation, but I still farmed some skins. Need a new game tho.
- Warzone DMZ - Been getting into the looter shooter mode of Warzone with my friends Zach and Juan.
- [TTRPG] Bunkers & Badasses - Alex Riviere offered to lead the ShopTalk Discord thru a module of Bunkers & Badasses, a Borderlands-themed Dungeons & Dragons mod. It has a good self-deprecating sense of humor, game-based character classes, and a different (dare I say better?) combat system. It’s a clever system and I’m enjoying it.
Thus ends the retelling of the vibes.