Daily Thoughts 111: Walking

Author's SelfieThis morning I enjoyed a nice walk with Zombies, Run! keeping me company. It reminded me of the importance of just getting outside and moving. It’s really easy to slip into the “I don’t have time” trap. Recently, I’ve done that more than I’d like. Some days I do need to prioritize other things (like sleep), but I find I stick to something when I don’t give myself an option, when I remove willpower from the equation. Our brains get tired of making decisions. Removing the choice has proven effective for me in the past. For a long stretch, I walked every morning because I didn’t leave myself a choice. There was just no option. Get up, go out and walk. The more barriers eliminated, the better. Wear the clothes you plan to walk in to bed so you can get up, put on shoes (unless walking barefoot), and head out decision free.

Stepping Up

Screenshot of FitBit dashboardWith all of that in mind, I’m want to aim for a challenging goal (challenging for me).

10,000 steps every day

I’ve done that successfully for periods of time. Now, I’m going to emphasize it a bit more. My strategy for meeting this goal is to get out and walk first thing. I have a few ideas to help me meet the goal.

  • No excuses, no decisions. Walk first thing after getting up.
  • No computer until over 5,000 steps.
  • Make a plan for handling unusual days and put it on the calendar, set an alarm, whatever it takes.
  • No going to bed until I have in 10,000 steps.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a post about writing with chronic health problems. It’s worth checking out.

The best exercise for you is the one you’ll actually do. The one you look forward to. The one you enjoy.

That is key. Like Kris, I enjoy walking. I may work up to running. I might not. Sometimes I turn on the zombie chases and run a bit. We’ll see. Regardless, I’m going to stick to the 10,000 steps goal. Miss a day? I’m not going to beat myself up, I’ll just start again. I like streaks and find them motivational. Like posting to this blog each day.

Multitude of Projects

I have no shortage of projects to work on.

via GIPHY
Once I finish my MLIS classes, I’ll have more opportunities to pursue some of my other plans. I’m going to keep working on my writing challenge and the sketch challenge. Until I have more flexibility in my day, I may not get much more than that done. With only about 6 weeks left in the semester, the end is fast approaching!

I have some fundamental objectives to work on this year. I want to improve my illustration, design, coding, and writing skills. All of those will play roles in my massive reboot. I’m planning to do more with a number of projects around my creations.

Attitude Shift

Back in 2009, when I first attended the master class for writers on the Oregon coast, my goal was clear: get off the day job and write full time. Things change! My focus shifted as I rededicated my attention to my career in libraries. That shift helped relieved the pressure I put on my writing. Now I’m creating what I want simply because I want to! Any writer (even those writing full time) needs to write first for themselves, but it’s hard to do when you put the pressure of supporting yourself and your family on your writing.

With this attitude shift and the reboot project, I plan to release new editions, new titles, and other projects with a different focus. I want to get my books, stories, etc., into as many hands as possible. I want to share widely and keep the price of items low. I’m not focusing on the greatest profit. It’d be great to break even at this point! Regardless, I think time spent on creative efforts is worthwhile.

 

Daily Thoughts 109: I’m late! I’m late!

Author's selfieMy squirrel mind thought it was hibernation season rather than spring and convinced me to stay in bed long after it was time to actually get up. In turn, that led to rushing around this morning to head off to work. It was very much the sense of “I’m late! I’m late!” as I fixed lunch, a mixed fruit smoothie to drink on the way, and some toast. I don’t tend to eat out often. I made some tea when I got to work.

I prefer to have my mornings last longer. Hopefully, tomorrow will go more according to plan. Between my late start, working late at the library, and then focusing on my studies, I didn’t tackle my challenges either!

I do have a late start tomorrow, so that may help!

Daily Thoughts 108: Hanging Out

Author's selfieOne of my favorite things in this world is the simple hammock. I have a couple variations from Hammock Sky—the large Brazilian hammock and a chair version. Both make me happy. I also have a Hennessy hammock, which is a great camping hammock. One of my fond childhood memories is spending time in a net hammock hung between two trees on a warm sunny day, reading a book, and enjoying a piece of Easter chocolate. I remember the sense of peace and satisfaction in that moment.

I’m spending time this morning hanging out in the hammock while reading for class.

Challenges

No challenge work today. I’m not feeling too well this evening.

Daily Thoughts 107: Artificial Emotions, Florence Foster Jenkins

Author's selfieI didn’t get into bed until almost midnight last night. As a result, I didn’t wake up until almost 8 AM. Typical duration for me, I usually get between 7-8 hours of sleep, just shifted.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Self-portrait sketchI tackled a daily sketch again today. I want to make sure I’m getting in drawing time as often as possible. I spent time working on a self-portrait sketch.

Last night we watched Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant.

I didn’t know anything about the story before watching the movie. From the little bit that I did read, it’s clear that details were altered for the film. One of the things that struck me about the story was her love of music, and desire to create. Even though she isn’t good, she is supported by those around her. There is value and courage in creating art. The quote used in the film captures this.

People may say I couldn’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.

I like that. I think it’s great.

Artificial Emotions

As we talk about artificial intelligence, I think we also need a better understanding of emotions and emotional intelligence. Here’s one discussion of this idea.

It is an interesting question. Emotions are present in all sorts of lifeforms, not just people. Data had the right idea.

Carnage

Available now via BBC iPlayer (not in the US), wish I could see it!

 

Daily Thoughts 106: Artificial Intelligence and Xenophobia

My son disrupted my sleep last night. He woke, scared by the wind blowing outside, at 3 AM. Although he tried to go back to sleep, that didn’t work so we were both up by 3:30 AM. On top of that, I’d gone to bed late. I dozed while he played and then later I was able to go back to sleep for a couple hours since I’d taken the day off.

Artificial Intelligence and Xenophobia

I enjoyed this short film, Rise. I hadn’t seen it before. It’s an extremely common take on the development of artificial intelligence and our fear of the other. At its heart, such stories are stories of xenophobia. Even of our children, who may adopt ways that are different than our own, extended to these artificial creations.

I have several audiobooks on my list to listen to that focus on the topic of artificial intelligence.

In reading more this semester about globalization, we see this same concern in regards to migration. Even though a strong argument exists for freer migration, we have politicians and others demonizing immigrants and wanting to make it harder for people to move—violating a basic human right of movement. In the US we’re seeing a further rise in this anti-immigration view with aggressive increases in restrictions and deportations. These policies cost the economy, violate human rights, and directly impact people’s lives. As an American, I’m able to freely move among the states. If I decide I want to relocate to Oregon, no problem. Maine? Fine. It doesn’t matter. I can move freely, seek other opportunities without restriction. It’s strange that people who enjoy that sort of freedom of movement would seek to restrict others. Of course, xenophobia plays a significant role in these responses to the ‘other’ and science fiction mirrors that with such stories.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Baby sketchFor today’s sketch challenge I decided to tackle a person. It’s a challenge getting people right! We’re so tuned to seeing people that getting it wrong is both obvious and not at the same time. Something might not look right, but until you have the skills developed to know how to correct it, it isn’t always obvious. There are observation skills to develop, certainly. In any case, as I’ve said. It doesn’t have to be good. I enjoy each drawing!

Daily Thoughts 105: President Against Libraries

Author's selfie Today was another day of prioritizing sleep. In part because I woke up in the night and had trouble getting back to sleep. By the time I did get up, there wasn’t much time left in my morning before heading off to the library. Tackling my daily challenges had to wait and I ended up not making time for my writing. I’ll try again tomorrow!

Daily Sketch Challenge

Landscape SketchAs I’ve said before, it doesn’t have to be good.  I just keep having fun. I keep trying different things. None of this is anything that I’m worrying about. When I get done with this semester I plan to do additional drawing and painting outside of the daily challenge—eventually building up to creating new original cover art for all of the 20+ books in the reboot!

President Against Libraries

Next up on the block to be eliminated: Institute of Museum and Library Services. The American Library Association issued a statement.

The range of services provided to millions of Americans through LSTA grants is matched only by the creativity of the libraries that receive them: veterans transitioning to civilian life, small businesses seeking to expand their business online, summer reading programs, resources for blind and hearing-impaired patrons, resume writing and job skills workshops and computer coding courses to teach youth 21st century job skills.

The mission of the Institute of Museum and Library Services “is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. We provide leadership through research, policy development, and grant making.”

 

Daily Thoughts 104: Fiona, Warcraft, and Writing

Author's selfieThis morning I prioritized walking. It was a terrific morning for it. The moon was out and bright enough that I almost didn’t need my headlight (this was just before 5 AM). I did end up running out of time to do much else this morning.

That’s fine, it just means taking care of things this evening instead. I started with my daily sketch challenge.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Sketch of baby hippo FionaI enjoy drawing animals. They’re interesting and fun to draw. I enjoy drawing people too, but when I watched the latest video with Fiona, the baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo, I had to make her the subject of today’s sketch! I’d liked to have had more time to work on it but there wasn’t time if I was going to have time to write too.

Warcraft

After spending time on my sketch, I spent a little time playing World of WarCraft with my son watching. He wants me to get to the Darkmoon Fair next month with a new character, so I’m working on that when I take breaks.

Daily Writing Challenge

I continued working on my story The Order today. No clear idea what I’m doing with this, exactly. It’s not a science fiction story. It’s a mainstream story with a non-gendered character. In the video you’ll see that I’m cycling through the story at points, going back up to earlier parts tweaking and working on the story before continuing.

The Secret Scripture

This looks good, sad, and interesting. I think I’d like to read the book first.

Daily Thoughts 103: Recording Writing Challenge

Author's selfieI prioritized sleeping again this morning, which meant that I didn’t have time to go take my walk. That’s a trade-off, sleep or walk? My default answer is to walk, but when I really need to get more sleep I try to listen to my body.

Daily Writing Challenge

Screenshot of Write!Along with sketching, I’ve been working on a writing challenge with a bit less success. I decided to go ahead and record the writing session, much as I’ve done with the sketching and see how that went. I’m using Write! for this story. It’s a distraction-free text editor that I’m trying out. It has a number of features I like, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Sketch of PoppyI had about 15 minutes this morning to work on my daily sketch. I picked one of our dogs as the subject today. This is Poppy. I used a reference photo from when she was much younger. She’s 17 years old now!

Daily Thoughts 102: Newt Scratchmander

Author's selfieToday my focus has been mostly on my classes. I have several assignments due today. Since I worked yesterday, I have today off. It’s important to have a balance between work and everything else.

I spent the first part of the morning (after my walk and sketching) working on a Scratch game, Demystifying Dewey. It’s a simple Dewey-based matching game with a simple gameplay mechanic. Different badges are awarded at the end, based on the player’s score.

Screenshot of the Dewey Scratch game

I spent more time than necessary on the assignment. I created custom animations and sounds. As my first attempt at using Scratch, I think it went okay! I would have loved to have this sort of thing when I was a kid.

Daily Sketch Challenge

Newt sketchI spent more time on the sketch this morning. Rather than listening to music, I put in my earbuds and listened to the end of Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I enjoyed the series. I have too many books in progress right now, so it’s good to get one more done!

I’m calling this guy Newt Scratchmander.