Tag Archives: review


2013 in review

It’s the end of one year, the begin­ning of another, the time of Christmas cards and fam­ily newslet­ters. I haven’t typ­i­cally been into either of those, but this has been a spe­cial year — in both good and bad ways. If, some­how, you arrived at a print copy of this blog post, you can find a bet­ter copy online, with click­able links and zoomable images, by going to http://nja.me/2013 in your web browser.

The biggest news, which is also the worst news, is that our lit­tle guy, Ebenezer, passed away the week­end before Christmas. That has put a damper on the hol­i­day spirit.


On a more pos­i­tive note, the end of the year marks 6 years of Kim and I in this now-105 year old house. We got it in November 2007 and moved in in December. There are con­stant small projects and repairs, and there have been a few big repairs.

We occa­sion­ally have a few mice around the prop­erty, likely due to the com­post pile at the back of the yard. Sometimes one ven­tures into the house. They rarely ven­ture indoors, but I’m reminded of the time I left a loaf of bread on the counter overnight. The next morn­ing, there was a very car­toon­ish mouse­hole bur­rowed from the back of the bread to the front. Whether indoors or out­doors, Norman (our indoor/outdoor tuxedo cat) does a pretty good job of find­ing them. This year, we had a brief encounter with attic rats. Cats couldn’t really help with that sit­u­a­tion. Fortunately, I man­aged to design and print some really nice look­ing vent cov­ers over the ingress points. I used traps to get the ones that were already indoors, then attempted to con­vert the left­over traps into toy cars (with very lit­tle suc­cess).

I’ve fixed cab­i­net doors, replaced the garbage dis­posal, pulled out an old dish­washer (though I let pro­fes­sion­als install the new one), put a lot of work into the gar­den, and count­less other things I’m prob­a­bly for­get­ting. I’ve learned pick­ling (of our home-grown cucum­bers) and dab­bled in cheese­mak­ing.

As I write this, Kim is in the other room, rear­rang­ing the cab­i­net con­tents and replac­ing the lesser-used spice rack jars (cajun pow­der? really?) with more rare but more com­monly (in this house­hold) used ones such as berberé and smoked paprika.

octocatOn the more tech­ni­cal front, as many folks know, I got a MakerBot 3D printer a few years back. A lot of what I do with it is down­load­ing and print­ing mod­els that other folks have shared, such as an iPhone stand, ghost fig­ures, or a dog skull. But I also design and share some of my own mod­els. Although the Octocat from July 2011 con­tin­ues to be my top-downloaded model, I’ve got­ten bet­ter at 3D mod­el­ing and have released a dozen new designs into the world over the past year. Also, I’ve made improve­ments in small-format stu­dio pho­tog­ra­phy, so that I can bet­ter por­tray those mod­els to the world. It turns out that there’s a huge dif­fer­ence between an unedited cellphone-camera pic­ture and one with a proper back­drop, light­ing, and a bit of photo-retouching.

This past year, I pub­lished an aver­age of one 3D model per month. About twice that never made it beyond pro­to­typ­ing or were oth­er­wise unwor­thy of pub­lish­ing. It wasn’t an even one model per month. The pub­lish­ing cycle saw some months with sev­eral releases and other months with none. Here is a visual sum­mary of those mod­els in no par­tic­u­lar order:

catfoodtoy-ovals-thick_preview_featured In January, I designed a cat food dis­pens­ing toy.
2013-12-25 13.42.02 This Christmas after­noon, I cre­ated a jin­gle bell cat toy.
scoop I designed this para­met­ric mea­sur­ing cup. Do you need just one mea­sur­ing cup with­out hav­ing to buy a whole set? How about an odd size like ⅔ cup? Or some­thing totally bizarre like 3.14 cups? Pick the vol­ume you need, and it com­putes the cor­rect dimen­sions and gives you a 3D file.
PotatoHead_preview_featured I cre­ated the con­cept of “Mr. Vegetable Head” and some basic parts to share, with the hope that folks more skilled in artis­tic 3D design would con­tribute bet­ter parts. (Nobody did.)
monogram_cube In a style inspired by the cover of the book “Gödel, Escher, Bach,” I designed a sys­tem to let you pick three let­ters, which are then syn­the­sized into a mono­gram cube that shows you each let­ter, based on the direc­tion you look at it.
yodo_pieces_preview_featured Based on some rough sketches given to me, I cre­ated these game tokens for a board game that some friends invented.
printed_box2_preview_featured Because I switched to a new blade brand that comes in card­board boxes instead of plas­tic, I cre­ated a box to safely dis­pose of used razor blades.
toppers_preview_featured Some of our cat med­i­cine came in badly designed bot­tles that are dif­fi­cult to open. I iter­ated through a few alter­na­tive designs until I arrived at a good ergonomic med­i­cine bot­tle top­per that was far eas­ier to open.
2013-10-13-14.34.47 When deal­ing with a rat prob­lem, I designed and printed some attic vent cov­ers.
ratracer-top I tried (and failed) to cre­ated a lit­tle car made from left­over rat traps.
ratracer-mousecar I then took the same con­cept and applied it to a smaller mouse trap car, with slightly less fail­ure.
image2 I cre­ated a slim mount­ing bracket for a pop­u­lar tiny micro­proces­sor board. Strangely enough, even though this has a highly spe­cial­ized pur­pose, it’s a close sec­ond behind the fun, silly, and absurd Octocat when count­ing the num­ber of down­loads.

I’ve writ­ten another year of puz­zles for Puzzled Pint. In case you don’t know, Puzzled Pint is a monthly puzzle-solving event here in Portland, but also simul­cast out to Seattle and London. (Think logic and word puz­zles, not jig­saw.) It is held at a new loca­tion every month. The night before, we post a puz­zle online that solves to a bar name. The night of the event itself, we dis­trib­ute pack­ets of 4–6 puz­zles each that folks can pon­der over, with a pint or cock­tail in hand. It’s a fun, intel­lec­tual monthly social hour.

I also designed a puz­zle box as part of a puz­zle hunt that the local com­mu­nity threw specif­i­cally for an audi­ence of one: Curtis, one of the found­ing mem­bers of the local puz­zle scene.

On the work front, I’ve been at Elemental for a lit­tle over three years. Since Portland’s city growth tends to pack inward ver­sus sprawl out­ward, my com­mute is a quick 20–30 minute bus ride. I aver­age about 5.5 hrs of walk­ing per day (28,000 steps). I don’t have per­fect dri­ving data for the cal­en­dar year, but I can say that between July 2012, when gas was $3.79, and July 2013 (when I next bought gaso­line, a year later, at $4.09), I drove 115 miles. Most of that was fun sum­mer­time top-down dri­ving in the warm sun.


walk­ing sta­tis­tics

This year, Elemental flew me to the C++Now con­fer­ence in beau­ti­ful Aspen. I have a patent appli­ca­tion sub­mit­ted, related to closed cap­tion­ing. It took a bit of back-and-forth with the lawyers. It’s entirely in the USPTO’s hands now. My under­stand­ing is that we’ll hear back from them in about three years, regard­less of whether it’s approved or declined. If declined, it may take another cou­ple of years of rework. Government effi­ciency at its best.

moo_sticker_roundKim’s busi­ness and full-time pas­sion, Sakkara Clothing & Costume, is doing well. 2013 was a great year. She’s look­ing for­ward to the next year, full of travel and design­ing new col­lec­tions.

Her vend­ing sched­ule gives us sev­eral mini-vacations each year. They’re not full-blown vaca­tions because she always has to work a cou­ple of days, but we always take some extra days to visit friends, go to muse­ums, explore the city we’re in, and to just have fun.

Although I’ve slowly built up con­fi­dence in the kitchen, Kim remains the more expe­ri­enced and ver­sa­tile between us. Occasionally, we have “make some­thing from noth­ing” nights, where we raid the back of the cab­i­nets to make deli­cious food from what is avail­able, like a chal­lenge. We have a run­ning joke about those nights. She keeps adding ingre­di­ents until it’s good. When I try the same, every ingre­di­ent I add makes “some­thing from noth­ing” worse. She can invent recipes on the fly. I require prac­tic­ing a base­line recipe a few times before I’m com­fort­able impro­vis­ing vari­a­tions. Me, make up a recipe from scratch? Forget about it.

That’s about it for 2013. Let’s hope every­one has an amaz­ing 2014!

Posted in: Dear Diary


Netninja: looking back on 2011

Happy 2012

2011 was the year of 3D.  No, not movies, silly glasses, and headaches.  It was the year of MakerBot, BlenderOpenSCAD, and Thingiverse.  In fact, it was the year I had to con­vert the term “maker­bot” from a tag to a full-fledged cat­e­gory here on the blog.  3D print­ing was a cen­tral con­cept, but orbit­ing it were the con­cepts of design, mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing, and mate­ri­als engi­neer­ing.

2011 was also a year of read­ing.  The 2011 com­mute leaves more time for read­ing and pod­casts than the pre­vi­ous com­mute.  I tried to mix it up 50/50 between fic­tion and non-fiction; I love to learn, but some­times I just need a good story.  The pub­lish­ing land­scape is chang­ing in much the same way the music land­scape did a few years back — well, maybe slightly dif­fer­ently due to lessons learned.  We’re see­ing more peo­ple pub­lish directly to the Kindle.  I find this excit­ing!

The last quar­ter of 2011, I started to get more into hob­by­ist elec­tri­cal engi­neer­ing focused around micro­proces­sors.  I’ve always had the pro­fes­sional skill, but haven’t always felt like tak­ing the time to also pur­sue this as a hobby.  Typically, there is a lot of design and redesign.  You either send off for cus­tom boards (with long spaces of time between iterations/bugfixes) or you do it your­self with tedious tech­niques like wire-wrapping, point-to-point sol­der­ing, or messy tech­niques involv­ing dan­ger­ous chem­i­cal sol­vents.  There is a lot of time spent in board bring-up.  Each micro­proces­sor tends to have dif­fer­ent quirks and dialects when it comes down to writ­ing firmware.  Many have com­pil­ers that work best (or only work at all) on things like Windows 2000.  I have dab­bled in the Arduino before, but 2011 felt like the year that it really started to hit crit­i­cal mass.  It is a pre-made board that has a slick devel­op­ment envi­ron­ment and, most impor­tantly, is fairly cheap ($30).  It is also mod­u­lar.  Much like Legos, you can snap on bits and pieces to give you added func­tion­al­ity — Ethernet, WiFi, audio, video, GPS, RFID, and so on.  The only “real” project I made was the Halloween/Christmas porch lights, though I have two other projects in var­i­ous states of not-yet-working and am still think­ing up new ideas.

Word Cloud

Many blogs post a year-end word cloud.  Here is my cloud for 2011.  It does a great job at reflect­ing the above top­ics.  I really like how the cen­tral theme ended up being “design some­thing.”


I pulled up some sta­tis­tics from the past year.  They go on to prove that Netninja is nei­ther a big nor small blog: no less than 100 vis­i­tors per day, but no more than about 400, with a total of 63K uniques.  The bounce rate and visit length can cer­tainly stand to have some improve­ment.

That big spike at the end of December rep­re­sents all of the peo­ple who pre­vi­ously had a Kindle and that got a new iPad for Christmas and wanted to know how to migrate their DRM-locked con­tent to iBooks.

Most of the incom­ing traf­fic were peo­ple search­ing for Kindle/iPad DRM infor­ma­tion, inex­plic­a­bly peo­ple look­ing for infor­ma­tion on the Cloverfield mon­ster (Really? That movie was so 2008!), folks look­ing for a Scrabble Cheat Sheet, and a vari­ety of Hipster PDA-related stuff.

The top browsers were Firefox (30%), Chrome (24%), Safari (24%), and Internet Explorer (16%).  The top oper­at­ing sys­tems were Windows (57%) and Mac (25%) fol­lowed by the iPad (6%), iPhone (5%), Linux (4%), and Android (1%).  Ouch.  Linux trails behind the iDe­vices.  But 2012 will be the year of the Linux Desktop!  I just know it!  2011 was sup­posed to be, pre­vi­ously 2010, pre­vi­ously 2009, pre­vi­ously 20XX, but 2012 will finally be the year, I tell you!

The Year Ahead

I hope that 2012 will be a good year of doc­u­ment­ing more and more projects.  Previously to 2011 most of the projects I’ve doc­u­mented here were strictly soft­ware.  That changed a bit last year, but I hope to con­tinue the trend into elec­tron­ics, 3D print­ing, car­pen­try, and any­thing else that could give peo­ple instruc­tional infor­ma­tion or inspi­ra­tion.

Posted in: Dear Diary MakerBot

One week with the iPad

Please bear with me as I type this review directly on the iPad — on Pages to be copied into WordPress — while reclin­ing on the sofa. Although I have used it in a num­ber of other ways, my intent right now is to get a good feel for using it in this par­tic­u­lar real-life sce­nario. (The result of this test should be toward the end of this report.)

First of all, let me get the obvi­ous out of the way. OMG! It doesn’t mul­ti­task! It’s just a giant iPod touch! The bezel is huge! There’s no key­board! What good is a machine in-between a phone and a lap­top? Netbooks are more use­ful! So these are the var­i­ous crit­i­cisms out there about the iPad — well, besides the dumb name. None of them really mat­ter to me. The size is just fine. In fact, in post-iPad times, my iPhone feels ludi­crously tiny — almost unus­ably so. The mul­ti­task­ing becomes less impor­tant when the inter­face is designed to only show one app at a time (with one excep­tion — I *really* miss not being able to run Pandora in the back­ground, bit I hear that will be fixed later this year). I find that I now only use my lap­top for cre­ative endeav­ors: pro­gram­ming, edit­ing graph­ics, typ­ing long-form text (except for just now), down­load­ing large files, reverse engi­neer­ing, net­work mon­i­tor­ing, and so on. The iPad cov­ers every­thing else now: access­ing Google reader, email, Twitter, con­trol­ling other machines (via SSH, VNC, and VPN), watch­ing video pod­casts (some­thing I never even did on other machines), web brows­ing, and so on.

Lots of peo­ple are ask­ing “what’s an iPad FOR?” With the iPhone, it was pretty obvi­ous: cell­phone, iPod, and Internet com­mu­ni­ca­tor. With the iPad, the answer is less clear. In fact, it’s almost akin to ask­ing what your lap­top or desk­top com­puter is for. My answer may be dif­fer­ent from yours, which may be dif­fer­ent from some­one else’s. My main (orig­i­nal) use-case for the iPad is as a Kindle replace­ment, with a few casual games, video, and audio thrown into the mix. Getting the Kindle last year, for me, was a huge game-changer. I greatly enjoy read­ing, but have never done as much as I wanted to because many of the books I want to read are huge (see also: Anathem). Carrying such books around has been too much of a pain, so I only got to read for short spells at home. The Kindle allowed me to carry such books around in my tiny satchel with­out a sec­ond thought about size and weight. My intent for the iPad was to be a bet­ter Kindle. You see, the Kindle is great for straight­for­ward lin­ear texts like nov­els, but any sort of skim­ming, brows­ing, or cross-referencing (e.g. tech­ni­cal doc­u­men­ta­tion) is not speedy enough to be use­ful on Amazon’s device. For more of my iPad vs. Kindle thoughts, see my pre­vi­ous arti­cle on the iPad, Kindle, and DRM.

I can hap­pily say that the iPad exceeds my expec­ta­tions as an ebook reader. My ini­tial worry was that the back­lit LCD screen, com­pared to the Kindle’s e-ink dis­play, would be too harsh on the eyes over long peri­ods of time. This turned out to not be the case. It is just fine, espe­cially when you adjust the screen con­trast (which is avail­able directly in the reader appli­ca­tion). Admittedly, I no longer have the nos­tal­gic “read­ing under the cov­ers with a flash­light” that I had with the Kindle’s screen, but I think I can live with that.

I find that I can prop it up in the kitchen and watch short video pod­casts while prep­ping din­ner. I never really did any­thing like that before and am glad to be doing it now. I have a big back­log of TED Talks videos that my com­puter has been col­lect­ing, but which I have just never got­ten around to watch­ing. The iPhone felt too small and the lap­top just did not feel like the right place — I kept want­ing to mul­ti­task and would stop pay­ing atten­tion to the video.

The games are great, Netflix stream­ing is amaz­ing, and I found I could (very awk­wardly) build up a spread­sheet a few nights ago for Kim’s com­pany. Building the spread­sheet was a lit­tle too awk­ward to be pro­duc­tive, but I can cer­tainly pic­ture a sce­nario (prob­a­bly not in my life, but in someone’s) in which a com­plex spread­sheet is imported and then spe­cific num­bers are plugged into it in the field. Writing long-form text really is quite com­fort­able, I now real­ize. The key­board in land­scape mode is just a tad smaller than most lap­top key­boards and (with the assist of auto-correction) I can touch-type pretty darn fast.

Now, the bad. The iPad does not feel like its own minia­ture stand-alone com­puter. It feels like it *should be* and is really try­ing hard to do so, but it really can­not be used with­out being fre­quently teth­ered to a desk­top or lap­top com­puter. I don’t mean teth­ered in the cool wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity way that you can tether a lap­top to a cell­phone to get wire­less Internet. Nor do I mean teth­er­ing in the way that you can pair wire­less head­phones to a com­puter or media player and walk around the room. I mean teth­er­ing in a bad way, as in the only use­ful way to get the files you have edited in and out of the iPad is to hook up the USB cable. Not only that, but before you can even use it, it has that famil­iar iPhone “con­nect to iTunes” graphic to acti­vate — so for­get being able to send one to Mom or Grandma as a replace­ment for a pri­mary com­puter. It needs a pri­mary com­puter to turn it on for the first time.

Getting files in and out of the iPad is awk­ward at best. Some apps do sync­ing “to the cloud” and sync against servers on the inter­net. For instance, Evernote and the Amazon Kindle app do this. This cer­tainly seems the eas­i­est route, but very few apps sup­port this kind of sync­ing because it typ­i­cally requires a big infra­struc­ture behind the scenes. Other apps require you to run a lit­tle server on your desk­top or lap­top. When you launch the iPad app, it sees the server and let’s you sync against it. For me, this works out extremely well. It allows me to sync against *any* local machine run­ning the server app. Examples of this include Comic Zeal, iAn­no­tate (a PDF reader), and 1Password. Many oth­ers require you to use an awk­ward fea­ture built into iTunes that lets you drag-and-drop files into and out of a nearly hid­den bit of the iTunes win­dow. They then trans­fer in and out of your iPad when you sync it to the com­puter. This requires you to use only the one machine you are sync­ing your iPad appli­ca­tions against to trans­fer files. You can use no other machine on the planet to copy files into and out of the iPad for appli­ca­tions that syn­chro­nize only via iTunes. This includes iBooks, Numbers, and Pages. iBooks is a lit­tle unique in that you can buy books from the iTunes store (how I imag­ine most peo­ple are fill­ing up their book­shelf), but there is no easy way to trans­fer in a per­son­ally cre­ated epub book or inde­pen­dently pur­chased one (e.g. from O’Reilly) with­out teth­er­ing to your main iTunes machine. Now, some files you can play the email game with. Mail.app will detect word pro­cess­ing doc­u­ments and spread­sheets and lets you import them into Pages and Numbers. Those two apps will even let you email doc­u­ments (under 10 megs in size), which I guess is a sort of export. It even sort of works, but feels more like the old-school “who has the lat­est ver­sion of this doc­u­ment?” game from back when LANs were rare and you kept around 20 ver­sions of the same doc­u­ment with names like report.doc, report2.doc, report2-latest.doc, report2-latest-newer.doc, report2-final.doc, report2-final2.doc, and report2-final-latest.doc. Things get out of hand if you don’t man­u­ally keep track of doc­u­ment revi­sions. This email scheme does not work at all with epub files. They just won’t open iBooks. There is no way to pur­chase a tech­ni­cal book directly from O’Reilly and down­load, email, or oth­er­wise get it into the iPad with­out sync­ing against your one-and-only iTunes.

Something tells me that in the full­ness of time, these wrin­kles will get ironed out by enter­pris­ing devel­op­ers and/or by Apple itself. Although I have used up some big para­graphs describ­ing them, and they are awk­ward when they appear, the truth is that these com­plaints arise very rarely. They are a minor blem­ish on an over­all expe­ri­ence that is absolutely fan­tas­tic. I started out in the “there is pos­i­tively no place for that thing in my life” camp when the iPad was first announced and, in recent weeks, migrated through “that’s kind of a cool idea” to “I use it all the time.” Is it the right device for you? I can’t answer that any more than I can say which lap­top or desk­top is best for you. That is a deci­sion you must make for your­self.

P.S. It looks like i can­not copy from Pages and paste into the WordPress iPad client. For some rea­son, I just can­not get the paste bub­ble to pop up. I can paste it just fine into the web-based edi­tor, though. It’s not as speedy as the native app, but also not as buggy.

Posted in: Dear Diary Gadgets

The year in review / the year ahead

MonkeyI was prompted by a meme in [info]The Bruce’s recent post (which was, in turn, inspired by another post, and so on, as memes are apt to do) to dig through my mail and find the old­est mes­sage. On my cur­rent machine (a MacBook Air whose home direc­tory had pre­vi­ously been a MacBook Pro, nee PowerBook G4, nee iMac G3, nee Debian Linux on a Toshiba busi­ness lap­top, nee Linux on var­i­ous franken­stein PCs) that was May 7, 2001. It is a ticket con­fir­ma­tion to Cirque Du Soleil’s “O” at the Bellagio dur­ing the DefCon of that year. That was amongst receipts and con­fir­ma­tions I felt, at the time, impor­tant enough to move over to the Mac. Previous to Apple’s Mail.app, I was using Pine and Unix mail direc­to­ries. I’m con­fi­dent I have those backed up on CD some­where. I’m also con­fi­dent that I’m too lazy to go back and look through those to find older mes­sages. In a related note, my first blog entry dates back to a lit­tle later that year: August 29th, 2001.

Looking back on the past year, there were plenty of high­lights to be happy about. Due to the econ­omy, the year was not as pros­per­ous and happy as pre­vi­ous years, so does not have as many things to high­light, but still has a few impor­tant items.

* New house! (Technically, we got it in late November of the pre­vi­ous year, but we were not really fully moved in until January or February, so it’s on the list) Also: mak­ing the jacuzzi func­tional
* Best Wife Ever. I’m always amazed at how dynamic and adap­tive she is, whether it’s her busi­ness, social cal­en­dar, inven­tive­ness in the kitchen and around the house, fear­less career changes, or just life in gen­eral. She has always been, and con­tin­ues to be, great.
* I still have a decent job at a decent com­pany with a good bal­ance between research and devel­op­ment of new prod­ucts and tech­nolo­gies ver­sus main­tain­ing old ones. This past year got even bet­ter because I got a cool new boss who acts as a good buffer between myself and the CEO.
* Yeay for friends and nights out beer­ing with them!
* Building up Kim’s busi­ness: get­ting bet­ter at pro­fes­sional photo retouch­ing, fix­ing up the web store, the newslet­ter pub­lish­ing, and all of that.
* Tearing down Kim’s busi­ness: on the one hand, it feels all to final, on the other, she’s fin­ish­ing her degree and will be bet­ter pre­pared to “reboot” her busi­ness, if that’s what she wants. Or to start an entirely dif­fer­ent com­pany with entirely dif­fer­ent pur­pose.
* Being part of the com­mu­nity, in the form of neigh­bor­hood asso­ci­a­tion (or as they some­times say, “NA”) meet­ings. Calling them “NA Meetings” always squiggs me out, as I’ve learned “NA” as ini­tials to an entirely dif­fer­ent sort of meet­ing.
* Norman, the semi-feral kitty we res­cued from the streets.

I don’t really make new years res­o­lu­tions. I gen­er­ally try to improve myself through­out the year, a lit­tle at a time, instead of attempt­ing a big trans­for­ma­tive change once a year. A few ways I have been try­ing to bet­ter myself and will con­tinue to do:

* I have increas­ingly been learn­ing that the enter­tain­ment value and net­work­ing pro­vided by local events is highly impor­tant. Everything these days seems like it points back to cre­at­ing and main­tain­ing local communities–from sus­tain­able “green” liv­ing to tech­ni­cal learn­ing, shar­ing, and cre­at­ing (so called “bar­camps.”) I’ve been to a few of the big­ger events (Ignite Portland), but have yet to go to any of the smaller ones like twee­t­ups and things at cube­space, beer-and-blog, and what­not. I have Portland Barcamp on my cal­en­dar and plan on attend­ing other smaller events as time per­mits.
* I started going to my Yoga For Stiffs class less and less fre­quently last year. This was partly due to money, partly falling out of a rou­tine, partly mov­ing fur­ther away and dri­ving less fre­quently. I’m not com­fort­able with a lot of bike rid­ing, espe­cially after dark, and bus trans­fers to class would have been a pain. I have been research­ing more advanced yoga and dif­fer­ing forms of exer­cise, like Tai Chi, that are eas­ier to get to. I’m ready to start tak­ing a few sam­ple classes, but if two new years of Yoga for Stiffs (hence the desire to try some­thing more advanced or dif­fer­ent) have taught me any­thing, it’s that the first few weeks of the new year are over­crowded in such classes and you are unable to get the atten­tion you deserve. I may wait until late January or early February to let things set­tle before start­ing up again.
* I have been clean­ing up and min­i­miz­ing the amount of phys­i­cal crud in my life and will con­tinue to do so. It’s amaz­ing how many use­less trin­kets, so-called time­sav­ing gad­gets, and maybe-I’ll-need-it-someday junk you can col­lect, never use, take up space that could be bet­ter uti­lized for things you actu­ally use, and even­tu­ally end up in land­fills. I’ve been seri­ously get­ting rid of use­less stuff I already have and mak­ing great efforts to pre­vent such kip­ple from even enter­ing the house in the first place. It’s an ongo­ing bat­tle, but after an ini­tial purge it takes very lit­tle active work, just a lit­tle ongo­ing thought.
* In the past few months, I’ve turned over a new leaf as far as style and looks go. My cloth­ing has got­ten less industrial-music, less punk-rock. My hair went from waist-length two-tone to nat­ural color to short. There is still more work to do this year with style and clothes and more self-discovery of what my new style really is.

So that’s the old year and the new year, wrapped as best as these sorts of things can be in a blog entry.

Posted in: Dear Diary