There is Life in This Old Blog

I am sitting at home waiting for a call from the auto shop telling me that my car is ready to be picked up. I am not a very happy camper about the way this repair has gone. I took my car in last Thursday and they still don’t have it fixed as of 12:30 on Tuesday. I don’t think I’ll be using these guys again. It may be more trouble taking the van to a shop in Huntsville but it will probably be a better experience over all.

I haven’t been writing much on this blog but I have been writing a minimum of 750 words a day on 750words for over a year now. I will start posting here again though. I just updated to WordPress 3.2. I like the auto-update feature. I got inspired to update when I was cleaning up my hosting site earlier today.

WordPress App on My iPad

I downloaded the WordPress iPad app and I’m trying it out with this post. It is about as easy as any iPad text app can be. I will probably prefer it to my Star Trek themed app. Let’s face it, writing on an iPad without an external keyboard is hunt and peck any way you slice it. If you’re dedicated enough, you could post to a blog using Morse code. It wouldn’t be much different than this.

I Can’t Seem to Break the Monthly Barrier

I just noticed that in the last post I made here I was talking about trying to post weekly. It’s been over a month and a half and I haven’t posted once. I need to figure out a process to include blogging in my daily routine. That is how Dave Winer does it and he invented blogging. Not like Al Gore invented the internet. More like the way Edison invented the light bulb. There were other people doing things that approximated blogging when Dave invented it but he put all the pieces together, named it and championed it. Thanks, Dave.

I am enjoying my experience with writing my morning pages on 750 Words and I have noticed lately that the quality of my writing has improved. I guess practice improves anything. I write my morning words as a stream-of-consciousness type of activity. I don’t try to break them up into paragraphs and I don’t worry about staying on topic. I hope that blogging will help me develop those other skills.

I keep getting notices that people are creating accounts on my blog. Are any of these accounts people that are reading the blog or are they all people promoting something (spammers)? If you are a real person reading this and you have a minute, drop me a line at my gmail acount. It’s jkelliemiller. I’m assuming you can figure out the address. After all, you are a human being, not a spam bot.

Rare Comment?

If I don’t start blogging more frequently I’ll have to change the name of my blog from Occasional Comment to Rare Comment.  I have established a habit of writing morning pages of at least 750 Words with the help of the web site of the same name. It should not take any great effort to post here at least once a week. After all, I don’t typically write more than a couple of hundred words in any one post.

I guess the major hold up is deciding what to say.  As a rule, I don’t want to write about anything here that is going to take more than a couple of hundred words to say. Many of the ideas that I have would take thousands of words to say and many hours to write. I intend to write about some of those ideas and maybe I’ll write about some of them here, but probably not any time soon. I have too many things on my plate as it is to try to take on another commitment right now. So for the short term, I’m going to try to post here once a week and keep it to two or three paragraphs per post. I know my reader(s?) will forgive me if I get a little long winded on occasion.

Time to Think About Some Goals

I forget who it was that taught me this little gem but in my experience, it has turned out to be true. If you want to insure that you accomplish things, write them down on a list. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you write them on paper with a pen or pencil or you type them into a computer. The relevant thing is that you’ve spent the time thinking about them and formulating them into words and as you write or type them, you are, in effect, programming your brain to accomplish them. I often don’t even bother to check the items off the list as I accomplish them. Just making the list is enough to focus my intent. I occasionally run across lists that I’ve made, either in old notebooks or in files in some obscure sub-directory of my Documents folder, and I’ll look at them and discover that I’ve accomplished most, if not all, of the items on the list.

So, I want to make some goals for myself. There are three categories of goals that I intend to attempt to capture today:

  • Health goals
  • Project goals
  • Financial goals

Let’s take Health goals first.

  • I want to lose at least 10 pouinds between the initial weigh in and the final weigh in of the “Scale Back Alabama” competition.
  • I want to get my daily fasting blood sugar down below 130 mg/dL.
  • I want to get my cholesterol panels all within ADA recommendations (that means boosting my HDL and getting my triglycerides down).
  • I want to stop spilling protein (that means mostly exercise, I think).
  • I want to get back on a schedule of daily exercise.
  • I want to quit reflexively eating everything on my plate.
  • Long term, I want to weigh less than 200 pounds.

Now some Project goals:

  • I want to maintain my habit of writing for at least 30 minutes a day (nominally between 10:00pm and 10:30pm).
  • I want to start posting to my blog, Occasional Comment (here) at least five times a week.
  • I want to finish the Radiosonde data analysis project for Bob.
  • I want to present at least once a quarter to the lunch and learn at work for a total of five times this year.
  • I want to write at least a science fiction short story and perhaps even a novel.
  • I want to finish the pilot of The Gentry.

And finally, some Financial goals:

  • I want to get completely out of debt.
  • I want to start a successful small consulting business to retire to.
  • I want to be able to save at least 20% of my income while paying all of my bills and having a comfortable lifestyle.
  • I want to have the money to get the house fixed up.
  • I want to be independently wealthy so long as it harms no one.

So there are my lists for now. I’m putting them out there. I’ll come back and check periodically to see how many items I’ve accomplished. I’ll probably write some more posts about them as events unfold.

Happy (belated) New Year!

So, here’s my first post of 2010. A new decade dawns. What will it bring? I hope a renewed commitment to blogging. I guess that’s a bit optimistic given my track record to date and considering it’s January 12th and I’m only now writing my first post of the year.

I’ve been working on a Ruby project the past week or so. It is basically a script to scrape data from pre-formatted text on a web page, cache it to a local database, then use it to generate animated plots to visualize how it changes over time. It sounds kind of pedestrian but is actually quite fun and is giving me an opportunity to build my Ruby skills on a task that I more or less understand instead of trying to build them while inventing something entirely new.

If I would just write for ten minutes a day to start with I would be in the habit in no time. Sigh!

Musings on Quo Vadis

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. With the current state of my bank account, thinking is a very inexpensive pastime. I’ve reached a point where I know quite a lot about myself, my profession and living in general. What I’m still trying to come to terms with is translating what I know into action. I’ve also had problems reconciling what I know with what I feel. My psychologist tells me that is because the limbic system takes much longer to achieve stability than the frontal cortex does. This means when you’re angry, you stay angry long after you’ve resolved the issues that made you angry in the first place. I suppose there was probably some kind of survival benefit of this at one time but it doesn’t seem to be nearly as useful in the modern world.

I am approaching a time when I can take early retirement from my job and draw a pension large enough to pay most of my bills. I’m too young, IMHO, to consider really retiring, as in quitting work and living the life of Riley. I don’t think I’ll ever really want to retire in that sense. Instead, I am considering what I want to do now that salary is not a major consideration. I have been thinking about what I enjoy doing most as well as what I can contribute to the world. I still haven’t achieved my initial goal of financial independence. I really don’t want to be rich. I just want to have enough money so that money is not hampering me from doing whatever it is I want to do. Perhaps that is at the core of why I am not financially independent yet :-).

Whatever I decide to do, I have this gut feeling that blogging is going to be part of it. Blogging is a way of getting your thoughts out where you can see them and doing it in a public forum helps keep you honest with yourself. I need to get in the habit of writing something here every day. It doesn’t have to be big, just regular.

Blog Post from ScribeFire

I download Firefox 3.5 today. While I browsed through the add-ons trying to replace the functionality of the add-ons that 3.5 made obsolete, I came across ScribeFire. It scratched an itch that I didn’t even know I had. Maybe this will help me start posting to my blog on a regular basis again.

What’s Up?

I went to the Huntsville, Alabama Hamfest on Saturday. I walked from around 10:00am until after 1:30pm. My feet were sore. I didn’t buy much. I bought an RCA Victor stuffed Dalmation for Riley and a bamboo cutting board for Pam. I bought me a little dual band (2m and 70cm) mag mount antenna with an SMA connector. It worked great. I got ready to go to work this morning and discovered that the main radiator had come loose and fallen off the antenna sometime since Saturday. I was angry and sad.

Also, this morning the sherrif was outside my neighbors house with a bull horn telling her to come out or call them on the phone and tell them her side of the story. Pam called later to say that she had come out of the house and gotten in the police car without handcuffs and of her own volition. We’re worried about her dog. We’ll call the sherrif’s office later and see if arrangements have been made.

I’m anxious about my trip to Huntington Beach this week. It’s not that I’m afraid of flying or anything. It’s just that flying to the west coast exhausts me. I have apnea and so I have to carry a CPAP machine with me. I can’t sleep without it so I  refuse to check it. I also have to carry a laptop to do my job while I’m there. The laptop the company provides me is a Dell M70 that weighs in at over 7 lbs. I am really excited about the training that is the reason that I’m going. I’m just dreading the travel process.

If any one is actually reading this, drop me an email. I am jkelliemiller at gmail dot com (you know the drill). I’d love to hear from you. Or comment here. Comments are moderated so it may take a little while for your comment to be approved. But I do read all the comments (even the spam).

A Pause to Reflect

So now I’ve got this really nice blank piece of paper in front of me. I’ve gotten myself into the habit of writing on it frequently. Where have all my ideas gone. I wrote them down somewhere. I guess I need to find that file or notebook or whatever.

I know what I’m interested in. Programming, video making – both vlogs and actual video production with scripts and editing and such, playing music, composing music, writing, building robots, ham radio, creating web sites, the list goes on and on.

I suppose I should write about those things and see what happens. I act so ADHD though. I flit from one thing to the next. I can’t do them all at once so I have a hard time sticking with anything for long enough at a stretch to accomplish anything to speak of.