Willa's Shortform

by Willa21st Dec 202038 comments
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Shortform #20 It's time to hunt down a job!

Today was marvelous :)

  1. I walked 2.18 miles indoors while on phone calls; I did 20 pushups and 100 situps at noon.
  2. I virtually co-worked for about 2 hours and made good progress towards writing my review of Gears-Level Models are Capital Investments.
  3. I began organizing and packing up in preparation for moving.

It was pointed out to me that I keep working on a bunch of different things but haven't yet started searching for jobs, despite that finding a good job will enable me to move to Seattle and do more fun things in life. Point noted and taken to heart!

Job hunting is now my highest priority, and I will be focusing on that exclusively while virtually co-working plus will do that while doing productive stuff by myself too. I will continue writing my three reviews (for the LW2019Review) during non-workday hours / in my spare time, but my workday hours will be focused on job hunting.

Good luck y'all :)

2021 Week 1 Review 1 Jan - 9 Jan

This week saw rapid mood changes, a descent into depression, and many actions taken to combat the aforementioned things. I'm happy to report that the actions I took ultimately led to a significant improvement in and stabilization of my mood, the removal of depression and ascent to a slightly higher happiness set point than the week before, and I've learned some good things.

Most significant thing noticed or learned this week: Living alone is really bad for me. Runner up: The power of co-working!

Once I realized (noticed) that living alone is really bad for me, I talked with family and they accepted my request to relocate from where I'm living now to go live with them. Now that I have a plan that's actively being worked towards for combating the "living alone is really bad for me" thing, I've been much more capable of dismissing isolation or loneliness feelings and my mood has improved significantly.

I noticed that co-working (only virtual so far) can "rescue" a day that's going poorly or make an already good day a great day, because I enjoy the social interaction + getting shit done. This upcoming week I have to pack and organize a lot, but I will schedule as much virtual co-working as I can so that I still get other things done that I care about accomplishing.

My focus this week: virtual co-working, every damn day or every other day at the very least Secondary focus: commit to 1 hour of physical activity per day, preferably outside

Things I failed at last week or didn't do very well at:

  1. I did not complete "Important but Ugh" task nor did I donate $50 to a political party I don't like as a "punishment".
    • I learned that making myself pay money if I don't do something is a surefire way to ensure that I don't do that thing, will also destroy my mood, kill my productivity, and generally make me have a very bad time. This technique works for others, and I'm happy I tried it, because now I know more about myself, but wow did it backfire horribly for me so I won't be trying it again.
  2. I didn't do much nonfiction reading, though I did have fun with reading fiction.
  3. I didn't job hunt at all.
    • I'm not upset about this, moving several states away and helping family sell this house precludes getting any sort of stable job, so I'll do some freelancing instead.

Things I did well last week or am happy about:

  1. Other than a short break for New Years, I've continued to write publicly each day, and that's fantastic!
  2. I noticed something that was making my life bad (living alone) and started immediately working to correct that thing (I'm moving a few states away to live with family).
  3. I managed to stay somewhat virtually social even while depressed and that helped! This was a triumph because in the past I would typically isolate when depressed, and that wasn't helpful, so being at least somewhat social was great!

Here's to a great next week! Amazingly, I have published this by my own deadline, what a great feeling :)

Be well!

Note: I listened to this progressive trance mix while writing, that mix has always served me well for helping me get things done.

Shortform #16 The power of co-working!

Today was an excellent day :) I woke up late, but immediately started virtually co-working with a friend and during that time we both completed a nice amount of tasks. Jumping from "I'm finally awake now" to virtual co-working helped me stay on track this day, it was very effective and helpful.

I scheduled the January and February Houston Rationalists' meetups, replied to some messages, tidied up, walked for 30 minutes, and later hungout with a friend around a campfire outside, twas nice!

Tomorrow I will post my 2021 Week 1 Review by 13:00. I will also setup co-working sessions for next week, quite looking forward to those! Seems like I'll be getting a lot more extra physical activity starting tomorrow because I must start prepping to move cross country and that takes a fair bit of organization, packing, etc. physical effort.

I did not listen to music while writing this shortform.

Be well!

As expected, today was less productive than yesterday thanks to holiday stuff and doing an unexpected amount of physical activity. And that's okay! Tomorrow may be similar, sans the unexpected physical activity stuff probably.

I read Zvi's COVID Update and oy vey. Thanks to Zvi for writing those updates, I've found them witty, insightful, helpful, and so on! This particular update earned those attributes too, but damn was the subject matter a bummer, if 2021 turns into another plague year that will suck...hopefully enough vaccines are distributed and that the vaccine for the current strain(s) of COVID has good efficacy with that new UK and South Africa COVID strain. Hopefully. That was really depressing news though, I had to modulate my emotions after reading that post because for a few minutes afterwards I was very bitter and short when interacting with family members. Thankfully, I noticed that and fixed that immediately upon noticing. Ah, how helpful practising noticing is!

I spent 2-3 hours today reading NeuroTribes, by Steve Silberman. Haven't finished the book yet, but am finding it quite good, quite impactful, and something I'll definitely want to reread so I can write a review of it. If anyone knows of a similar book for ADHD, I'd love to find out and read that book.

I originally planned to read for a bit outside and then workout, but was engrossed by NeuroTribes so one hour sitting outside reading it passed quickly. I was drawn back to reality by a phone call from a friend whom I talked with for a little over two and a half hours. While talking I mostly walked, but did take some time to do an upper body workout with weights and spent about 25 minutes doing HIIT with my jump rope. All in all, a fantastic amount of exercise compared to my baseline! I expect tomorrow I may only achieve my minimum of 30 minutes of outside physical activity, but I'm okay with that and am happy to continue getting that habit established. If I do more than 30 minutes, great, but it's great if I consistently do 30 minutes every day too, after a month or so I'll have established a nice exercise habit!

Today marks day 4 of daily shortform writing, tomorrow will mark day 5, and so on!

Recently, I read Alicorn's post, Ureshiku Naritai. It seems that they (using they because I don't know their preferred pronouns) were able to successfully increase their happiness set point by quite a bit through deliberate practice! This is exciting, I've added a thorough rereading of that post to my ToDo list and will take notes on what seemed like effective interventions / practices. Add in a bit of adjustment as needed to suit my personal idiosyncrasies, and I'll be on my way to practising happines set point increasing things! Looking forward to figuring all that out. Depression is awful and must be vanquished.

Now to sleep I go, for tomorrow will be an enjoyable holiday filled with festivities, and I'm quite looking forward to it. And then I'll surely nervously await results of a COVID test thereafter. Yare yare.

I liked reading this :)


What in particular stood out to you / did you like?

Shortform #25 Work Work Zug Zug

I enjoyed today!

  1. I practised more CS fundamentals via coding in Swift for about 5 hours and 30 minutes.
  2. I spent about 3 hours being virtually social, it was nice.
  3. I spent 1 hour doing chores and miscellaneous < 5 min tasks
  4. I logged my calories today, ~2226kcal
  5. I successfully used gtimelog to log my time for the day, but I found copy + pasting the whole log to the shortform onerous and not that valuable, so I'm only mentioning the time spent doing things congruent to stated goals.

Unfortunately, I did not exercise today. This marks two days in a row of either paltry or no exercise, tomorrow I will double down on exercise so I stay on track (exercising everyday >=30 minutes is one of my core goals).

I must admit, I hate calorie counting, but it's already significantly changing how I eat in a good way, so I'll put up with it because it's very effective.

I need to add another programming language to my daily coding practice each day, probably will be Python, and I'll focus mostly on algorithms and data structures when using it. I'm enjoying Swift and like it a lot better than Java or C# or C++ so I'll continue with it and probably move towards the Swift app development track with it. At some point I will do low level architecture stuff in assembly, and move on up to C from there, but...not yet. I think I want more general CS fundamentals + general coding experience before jumping into OS development-land.

This shortform took < 15 minutes to write, and I did not listen to music while writing it.

Be well!

Today was a lovely but very tiring day, I had a great day!

I continued reading Steve Silberman's NeuroTribes for a bit today, but otherwise didn't read much at all today because of all my time going elsewhere. Looking forward to settling in for a few hours of reading tomorrow though :)

My time spent exercising today was much lower than yesterday, but that's because most of my time was spent with family, plus I got roped in to help clean for a few hours (which counts as some physical activity, yay!). After cleaning for a few hours I stole 30 minutes to run out to the garage and exercise: unfortunately the grass in the yard and fields is too soggy + has standing water in spots so I couldn't run outside, had to run inside the garage. I cleared a small circuit for myself in the garage and walked + jogged a 14'10 mile while dodging obstacles (you know, the usual garage clutter kind of stuff), did 5 minutes of jump rope HIIT, and a few minutes of lifting miscellaneous weights. Looking forward to not having to sneak away to get my workout in tomorrow, that'll be a lot less stressful, and I'll be able to workout for longer, am expecting to do 60 minutes of exercise tomorrow.

I had a lovely time celebrating Christmas with my parents and eating lots and lots of excellent food over the day. Tomorrow they leave the state once more, and I'll be alone for about a month or so again. To prevent the kind of mood crashes and depression stuff that tend to come with isolation, I'm forcing myself to be extraordinarily (virtually) social, to continue with my exercise habits, to continue writing here and more, get good sleep, and so on. These things will help!

Today marks day 5 of daily shortform writing, tomorrow will mark day 6, and so on :)

I've scheduled the next Houston Rationalists virtual meetup, we will be meeting virtually on the 30th, full details here: https://www.lesswrong.com/events/3N6JGAtc28nhhsKFx/houston-rationalists-virtual-meetup-december-30

I forgot to include details about the LW/EA New Year's when I posted that meetup, but I'll make sure to spread word about the event and invite, looks like it'll be quite fun!

As part of my ongoing self improvement efforts, I think I'd really like to incorporate a weekly review habit into my life. Ben Kuhn's description of that: https://www.benkuhn.net/weekly/ is what prompted me to think about that once again, I've previously read about many other individuals' weekly review habits, and such a habit just seem like a really necessary and good habit for self improvement: an excellent tool / prosthetic nicely suited to actually make a human being reflect on their experiences and make changes in response. So, I'm happy I stumbled upon Ben's post on the LW Frontpage since it has served as an excellent memory trigger (I had forgotten that weekly reviews were a thing despite reading about them before. O memory, oh where did you go; on a side note, who else digs the vocative tense?).

I think a great task for my first weekly review will be to go back through my shortforms, ToDo lists, and other things I've written or produced this last week and make sure I've actually completed what I wanted to complete, make notes on what to do next, and so on. I'll be starting my first weekly review this Sunday (the 27th) probably in the morning.

Notice: I am putting together a group to do the Hammertime sequence: https://www.lesswrong.com/s/qRxTKm7DAftSuTGvj If you're interested, let me know!

I'm so looking forward to eating Christmas dinner leftovers for breakfast tomorrow, hecking yeah!

Shortform #10

Writing that weekly review yesterday challenged me motivationally, but I pushed through the ugh and wrote it anyways, I'm very happy about that, it was quite helpful to write.

Perhaps one of the most valuable products of writing that weekly review was that of noticing.

Reviewing my past week, the shortforms from that week, and other things focused my attention on things I would have otherwise missed, and thus helped me notice what I improved, what I completed, what I failed at, what was challenging, and so on. I'm deliberately incorporating more of that noticing practice in my shortforms going forward so that I will catch more important details and things that happened / that I did / that I didn't do, especially regarding all such things congruence with my stated short and long-term goals. This will translate into more detailed shortforms, since I need more data. But, I will over time increase the quality of the data I collect as well.

What did I do / accomplish today?

  1. Installed gtimelog, re-familiarized myself with how to use it (I used it previously at some point and liked it, must have forgotten to reinstall it after distro hopping at some point), and used it to help me record what I did today.
  2. I spent approximately 2 hours today writing direct messages to others, this was time well spent because all that social interaction stabilized and improved my mood, preventing me from slipping into depression (have I mentioned yet how long my happiness or just mood set point is? it's pretty gorram low). Plus I genuinely enjoyed talking with everyone I talked with, and am looking forward to spending more time tomorrow on direct messages.
  3. I completed 90% of "Effort required but is Fun / Rewarding" task (I mentioned this task in my weekly review), will complete the remaining 10% tomorrow.
  4. I did my laundry
  5. I facilitated and attended today's Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup and had a great time doing so!!! The meetup lasted for about 4 hours.
  6. I completed several <5 minute of effort tasks I'd been wanting to do.

What did I not do / fail at today?

  1. I did not exercise today, the flu symptoms are still significant and impairing. I do not feel bad about failing at this today, and consider the increased rest time and lack of exercise a prudent choice, actually.
  2. I did not job hunt today.
  3. I did not clock any time doing the "Important but Ugh" task I mentioned in my weekly review.

What did I notice today?

  1. The urges I get throughout the day to avoid working on ToDo items have decreased in strength over the past 10 days compared to their strength and intensity prior to daily shortform writing and other interventions. It feels like I'm slowly re-training my brain's reward system because I derive genuinely greater pleasure and satisfaction from doing things, especially congruent to my goals ToDo things than not doing them, so by consistently doing congruent to my goals things, I'm actually making myself want to do those things even more, more often. This is fantastic!
  2. There are a high amount of small-scale bug fixes or interventions I can apply to my life / do that would net an overall high reward and improvement in my life if done. I'll start doing those and also make a list of the ones that I have trouble doing immediately / ones that might take longer time + consistently to accomplish / induce positive changes.
  3. Knowing exactly what I did with my time, when, during each day is very valuable data that I want to collect more of.

What do I need to do tomorrow to compensate for stuff I didn't do today or earlier this week?

  1. Limit direct messaging / social interactions to <=1 hour prior to tomorrow evening so that I can do:
    • hours of "Important but Ugh" task and
    • hours of job hunting (in the evening I can rest easy and have fun with New Year's eve, but my "active time" during the day needs to be focused on the above two things)

Notes to self:

  • Several people I talked with are interested in virtual co-working and/or doing the Hammertime sequence. Reach out to them and start setting things up.
  • Write out customs + norms for Houston Rationalists meetups so that everyone has an explicit guide on the way we do things, so as to facilitate more enjoyable and deeper conversations for all attendees, smooth out social interaction challenges, provide prudent ways of handling noticing confusion or heavy emotions, and so on.
  • Amount of Firefox tabs are building up again, clean off the desk in the other room where my media computer is located so that when I send tabs to it I can follow my usual routine of reviewing and sorting and dealing with all the tabs sent to it.
  • Spend some time jotting down longer term goals that come to mind in one place. Don't worry about structure or style yet, just write them down.
  • Order groceries to be picked up on the 2nd or 3rd. Prepare for 4th wave of COVID and hunker down.
  • Prioritize responding to emails tomorrow since they are the direct messages that I've least attended to recently.
  • Lookup compatible ram for A's computer and send recommended product purchase to A.

I'm taking a few minutes now to write what comes to mind, reflect on my day, plan, organize, blah blah blah.

Today was a good and productive day!

I successfully avoided Hacker News, didn't doomscroll at all on any site, and completed >50% of things I listed in yesterday's shortform!

Didn't read much today outside of light LW post skimming and chugging through a book while sitting in the car and waiting (had to wait a few times for >5 minutes in the car today but that's why keeping a book in the car at all times comes in handy; note: I always shut the engine off if parking for >1 minute, at that point it becomes fuel inefficient to keep the car idling for any longer, plus is bad for the environment to idle the engine). I'd like to read more tomorrow, very uncertain if I will though, probably will be too busy with holiday things and tasks I've assigned myself.

I'm repeating the "spend 30 minutes outside in the sun" TODO item tomorrow, because I think that's just something fantastic to do each day, daily physical activity and sunlight exposure for vitamin D + improved mood are great for the body (well, at least during winter I know that 30 minutes of sunlight won't be skin damaging, I'll have to make adjustments and definitely wear sunscreen during the spring and summer) and thus the mind. If it rains I'll go into the garage and lift weights and/or get cardio done by jumping rope (a surprisingly intense cardio activity, especially if you can do double jumps). Repeating this task daily tracks well with my goals and also tracks well as a form of Rationalist Self-Improvement; with a few exceptions, I believe that engaging in regular physical activity and maintaining a good diet are necessary components of a good life, being the best version of oneself one can be, self improvement, improvement as a Rationalist, etc. etc. etc. And I don't do those things very well nor consistently enough yet, but I will overcome those two failure modes! (the two failure modes being: (1) not engaging in regular physical activity and (2) not maintaining a good diet consistently).

I've purposely increased my virtual social activities, frequency of communication with friends, and general communication frequency with others over the last two weeks and this has had a noticeably positive impact on my mood. I did this in response to oncoming feelings of depression, previously, I would feel such feelings and withdraw / isolate which now I think started a pretty vicious cycle of withdrawing leading to more depression and more depression leading to more withdrawing. By forcing myself to do the opposite this time I have experienced a much much much lighter series of depressed moods that have lasted far shorter this time around than during my last encounter with them.

Note to self: withdrawing when feeling the oncoming of depression leads to a vicious cycle of bad things and more depression; increasing socialness, communication, and general productive output when feeling the oncoming of depression leads to a virtuous cycle where the depression goes away faster and is much less intense while present. Isolation is bad, basically.

Protect and engender virtuous cycles, notice and break out of vicious cycles. Repeat. Win.

I ordered a bunch of books today! Looking forward to finishing The Magician's trilogy (Lev Grossman), reading books 16 and 17 of the Dresden Files (Jim Butcher), introducing myself to Daoism via 2 or 3 different books, and reading 2 books on writing. Books are a great Christmas present.

Today I received my copy of "A Map That Reflects the Territory" (curated essays from LW written during 2018 that were published as books; https://www.lesswrong.com/books) and all the books in that set are gorgeous! Looking forward to reading them throughout the rest of the holidays.

Books are great.

Shortform #29 Almost Back on the Wagon!

Today was an excellent day :) I did not stick to the schedule I put together, but writing it last night was helpful since I had it for reference today. I allowed myself to sleep in and that seems to have helped considerably in many ways.

  1. I logged my calories today, totaled ~2230kcal
  2. I was virtually social for >4 hours via phone calls
  3. I was up and active for the majority of the time I was on the phone, I spent >5 hours packing and organizing things today. (including but not limited to, boxing up all 375+ of my books!)
  4. I did not program today.
  5. I did not "formally" exercise, but did get decent activity in from the packing and organizing.

Turning on more lights than felt necessary and keeping them on was a great help today, after I move (tis soon) I want to buy EVEN BRIGHTER light bulbs than I already have (mine are around 600-850 lumen range) and get some 2000-3000 lumen bulbs to use as well. Artificial daylight is really nice, it turns out. I listened to mostly upbeat instrumental music, especially liquid drum & bass mixes, and that was excellent and felt helpful too.

Goals for tomorrow and proposed schedule:

  1. Proposed schedule
    • 10:30 to 14:30: practise Swift
    • Break
    • 15 to 17: virtual coworking, focus on resume writing & job app related things
    • 17 to 18: exercise
    • Break
    • 19 to 20: write daily shortform and weekly review
    • 20 to 22: messaging, be virtually social
    • 22 onward: freeeeeeeeeeedom
  2. I will practise coding
  3. I will purposefully exercise
  4. I will finish re-writing my resume in a way that is tailored for software engineering positions
  5. Have fun!

Unlike today, I've actually created calendar events for tomorrow's proposed schedule, this may help :)

Yesterday Scott resurfaced, and that was a pleasant surprise! I'm very happy that he's returned to blogging, and he left several wonderful messages in that post. Thanks for returning, I'm looking forward to reading those explorations! "So here goes. With malice towards none, with charity towards all, with firmness in the ṛta as reflective equilibrium gives us to see the ṛta, let us restart our mutual explorations, begin anew the joyful reduction of uncertainty wherever it may lead us."

May we all explore well :)

I listened to some super chilllllll but somehow still positive + upbeat feeling house music while writing this and while packing, it was great! I don't always like house music, but when I do, I really like it. There is no middleground for me with house music, for some reason. But that mix was good :)

Shortform #26 Oh wow, a marathon of posts! Also, mild ranting.

Today was good, but felt very split into three pieces. The morning, the trip into town, and the rest of the day: I did productive things for almost three hours in the morning, then drove into the nearby big city for my doctor's appointment, and several hours passed before I got home. The doctor's appointment was great! All good things, but when you have to drive for so long there and back, that does take quite a chunk out of the day. The rest of the day started around 15:30 and went nicely too :)

  1. I continued practising CS fundamentals via coding in Swift, total time: about 5 hours and 45 minutes
  2. I used the Notes app on macOS / iOS to track my time today mostly because I broke down the time spent doing each section / lesson in Swift to see what I spent more or less time on, and ended up not logging time on my desktop as a result.
    • I should try to install gtimelog on my laptop, might be possible if I compile it, but that may prove to be a big headache. I'll try it tomorrow and if it works I'll figure out how to sync the log file that app saves to between devices, probably by saving it to my Tresorit (I think all I'd have to do is symlink the file located on the cloud drive to a specific location on my desktop and another specific location on my laptop; ubuntu and macos may place these things in slightly different places /shrug)
    • Tresorit is my cloud provider, it is a reasonably private zero-knowledge and end-to-end encrypted cloud provider. Caveat: the company may be subject to Swiss privacy laws, which is nice...but unless you pony up for a very pricey business plan, if you are located in the US then your data will be stored on servers in Ireland via Microsoft Azure. I'm sure it's still very private and nice, but servers in that jurisdiction on that platform are much more susceptible to US finagling compared to on a FOSS platform located in Switzerland, Sweden, or Iceland. However, all metadata and private encryption keys are stored on your device, as opposed to their servers, so that seems reassuring. Definitely more private than Google Drive or most of the other borg cloud providers. Still...I'd like to find a cloud provider based out of and with servers located in either Sweden or Iceland with similar zero-knowledge and end-to-end encryption strategies. If anyone knows of such a provider, please let me know. You should care about your privacy.
  3. I consumed about 1700kcal today.

Unfortunately, I did not exercise today, for the second day in a row...to make up for that I purposely ran a good calorie deficit for the day.

Noticed: I get really really really focused and obsessed with coding when I practise for the day, to the exclusion of a lot of other things. Even with a big interruption to my day, I still did slightly more practice today than yesterday, and can see that trend growing. This is good, since I need the practice and want to skill up as quickly and thoroughly as possible for "I want a job" reasons (plus it's fun, I'm enjoying the practice a lot), but I still need to do other things with my day.


  1. Continue adjusting sleep schedule so that I wake up a bit earlier each day, having more morning time gives me more coding time.
  2. Either exercise first thing in the morning, or right after finishing coding for the day.
  3. Schedule 1 hour of just direct social messaging for every other day to be completed after coding time; I seem to either respond to all my inbox at once in one massive hours long binge, or not at all and continually forget about messages until suddenly realizing a few weeks later that I had a bunch of messages, oops. Using repeating calendar events for this might be a good approach because I currently don't handle this very well. Who knew not noticing the passing of time was an issue? sarcasm

Tech world has been abuzz lately, time to go binge Stratechery, it's been a few months. I did not listen to music while writing this shortform.

Live long and prosper, y'all.

Shortform #22 Packing, Organizing, and Preparing.

Today was a good day.

I spent most of it going through things, throwing away, organizing, sorting, and packing said things depending on what they were, and got a lot done in preparation for moving because of that. I'm looking forward to finishing up my resume tomorrow and getting feedback on it then finishing up my profile on the job sites I made an account on.

I've enjoyed watching the most recent season (part 3 IIRC) of Disenchantment as well, and apparently The Magicians has a new season too, exciting!

Happy Friday Y'all :)

Shortform #21 Functional strength training and job hunting, oh my.

I had a most excellent day :)

  1. I created accounts on job posting sites and started hunting.
  2. Joined a discord video call with two friends and we did 30 minutes of functional strength training together, I am now really sore, but am happy I worked out!
  3. I did virtual co-working for ~3 hours.

My resume is out of date and pretty bad, I'll fix it up tomorrow using RMarkdown and other nice R things so that my newly created resume will be up to date AND pretty / well styled. I'm meeting (virtually) with a friend on Saturday who runs career building and resume workshops and they have graciously agreed to review and give me feedback on the newly created resume. Thank you to them!

Once I have a new and up to date resume, I can add that to all the job sites I signed up at and finish making + polishing my profile on all of them.

I currently run my website on an AWS Lightsail instance with Wordpress as the CMS. I don't think that's working for me, and the website isn't paying rent design-wise, content-wise, nor financially (though it is really really really cheap to operate, so I'm not losing much). So, in addition to LW2019Review writing, I'm going to make time (that doesn't subtract from job hunting time) to redo my website and axe Wordpress as my CMS since I don't like it. Using a static-site generator and adding a little bit of custom stuff (I really like the functionality and design of Gwern's website so I will steal inspiration from there) will probably result in a much nicer looking, easier to manage, and more functional (for what I care about) site, so I'll do those things.

A weird side effect of job hunting today has been a really strong desire to code. Guess I'll be doing much more of that going forward.

Be well!

Shortform #11

Welcome to the new year! same as the old year As promised, I am resuming my daily shortforms :)

The last 4 or 5 days were simultaneously the worst and best days I've experienced in quite awhile.

Best: Hanging out with great friends on the 31st and 1st, this was fantastic, I had an amazing time. (yes, we all tested negative for COVID prior to deciding to hangout) | Having an emotional breakthrough realization

Worst: The descent into cripplingly bad depression from loneliness late on the 1st once I was alone again. Feeling shattered from isolation on the 2nd and 3rd. | Having an emotional breakthrough realization

Today was a better day, and I am acting on the emotional breakthrough realization I had, so things will be okay! Essentially, I previously could tolerate living alone, but something changed this year (hullo quarantine), and I can no longer tolerate that, so later this month I'm moving states to go live with family.

This meshes quite well with my goal of raising my happiness set point, because when living with others, even if there is drama my mood and general contentedness are noticeably better than when living alone. Furthermore, living with others seems to overall make me a more capable and productive person versus living alone. Now that I know these things about myself, I will arrange to live with others and try my best to not live alone again. The power of noticing!

Note: I'm aiming to move to Seattle sometime around May: if you're doing similarly, let's talk and see if we're compatible as roommates.

My goal this week is to:

  1. continue writing daily public shortforms
  2. go outside and exercise for at least 30 minutes per day (I have recovered from the flu, yay)
  3. spend an hour each day being virtually social, specifically: responding to messages
  4. generally try to keep recovering from the last few days and try to keep feeling better
  5. do more other stuff yet to be listed

I will be writing my 2021 Week 1 Review on Sunday the 10th, to be posted by 13:00 that day and it cannot count as that day's shortform.

I am not mentioning certain things in this shortform that I mentioned in previous shortforms or the weekly review, because I am not yet operating at full capacity, but I will get there soon :)

While writing today's shortform I listened to Caterina Barbieri's album, Patterns of Consciousness ; this is a great writing or thinking or being pensive kind of album. Spotify | YouTube

Good luck and be well!

Holidays are great, I'm extending my enjoyment of this one through the end of the weekend. Shortforms will return with #11 on Monday the 4th :)

Today marks day 7 of daily shortform writing, tomorrow will mark day 8, and so on :)

Yay for one week of daily shortform writing! Feels like a nice accomplishment, now I'm aiming for one month.

In an "ironic for 2020" turn of events, I did not contract COVID from the family Christmas gathering, no, that test came back negative thankfully. I contracted the plain ol' flu instead, and this is probably why I was so tired yesterday and why my ear has been hurting. Much of today was spent resting and the other half of it was spent at the doctor trying to get diagnosed and there was quite a long wait time. The time waiting was well spent because I am within the 48 hour window of onset of flu symptoms which means the antiviral tamiflu will shorten the duration and lessen the intensity of my flu experience, so I was prescribed that and another thing or two.

I did not exercise today, and probably won't exercise tomorrow other than a light walk outside at some point.

I'm focusing on resting and feeling better so I'm not sure how much of my ToDo I'll make myself do tomorrow, seems like something to "play by ear" so to say, but also literally in my case while fighting off the flu and the pain it's causing in my right ear. The only thing I'm going to ensure I make myself do is respond to lots of messages since I can do that from bed, and I want to respond to said messages.

If you're reading this and you've been feeling bad, or off, or avoiding taking care of something that's making your life worse, go take care of that thing and yourself. #Selfcare is necessary, very important, and just a good thing to do.

Gratitude of the day: Thanks to all the time spent waiting at the doctor's office, I got more reading of NeuroTribes done and reading that helped make the waiting time pass by quickly and enjoyably.

Much shorter update for today, since today was quite bifurcated. Morning to early afternoon were chaotic and all consuming until I dropped my parents off at the airport. Afterwards I was tired and settled down on the couch for a bit, but eventually got up, took the dogs to the field (the grass was less soggy today than yesterday), and walked for two miles. That's all the exercise I did though, and it was quite a leisurely walk, so I think today was my "rest" day. I'm happy I went walking outside, that was fun plus the dogs enjoyed it too!

I did some virtual communicating today during the afternoon and evening, and that was nice. I've been so tired all day though that everything I've done has felt very forced, so I'm going to bed early tonight with plans to sleep in tomorrow as needed.

Tomorrow I'm excited to really dig in and respond to a ton of messages, continue reading NeuroTribes, skim nominated posts in the 2019 LW Review, and conduct my first weekly review!

Today marks day 6 of daily shortform writing, tomorrow will mark day 7, and so on :)

Time to get some much needed rest!

Shortform #19 Meetups are great!

Today was an excellent day :)

  1. I spent about 4 hours on direct messaging and caught up on almost all my inboxes! The time per day required for giving timely responses to each person will now decrease thanks to being caught up. I enjoyed talking with everyone I talked with, and look forward to those continuing conversations :)
  2. I walked indoors for 2.3 miles, that was nice.
  3. I had a great time at today's Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup, it lasted about four hours and was quite fun! I have some good ideas for what to do at future meetups thanks to good discussions with attendees, we are resuming reading 1-3 articles from around the Rationalsphere and discussing them at each meetup. However, this time we will be writing a group-wide summary of each article and the main ideas contained in each one, this will be fun + help with discussion + help with understanding what we read.

I've had great success scheduling virtual co-working sessions, thank you to everyone who's been interested in that! I have multiple sessions scheduled through Saturday and beyond, and will start opening up group virtual co-working at dedicated times too in addition to the one on one sessions that I've been doing.

Tomorrow I will focus on writing. I will write my 2021 plans, goals, dreams, etc. and put them into coherent form so that I can publish a post on that, plus will finish writing my review of Gears-Level Models are Capital Investments.

Be well!

2020 Week 52 Review: 21 Dec - 28 Dec

I do best when I have a structure to work with as a scaffolding when dealing with life and everything that entails. The weekly review process will be one of several structures I'm purposely building into my life so that I can be a more focused and concentrated general intelligence entity: this has the great benefit of helping me align my actions with my goals, plus you know, helping me to actually identify and remember my goals explicitly.

Last week I completed 8 of my major weekly ToDo items and failed to complete 7 of the same. I am satisfied with this amount of accomplishment, it's a good start, specifically because I started something new with my life and completed the three things I found most important. Everything else was gravy :)

Those three most important goals that I accomplished were:

  1. Write publicly every single day.
  2. Escape vicious depressed mood cycles by forcing myself to be extraordinarily virtually social: I'm pleased to report that this intervention was successful!
  3. Go outside and exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. I did this until diagnosed with the flu on Sun the 27th. Since then the more prudent action has been to rest so I've stopped exercising for the moment.

I will continue prioritizing those three goals and so will pursue them again this week!

Things I failed to accomplish that I want to accomplish this week:

  1. I did not at all work on a task I'm calling "Important but Ugh" last week. This week I must clock-in 10 hours of work towards that task, or else I will be forced to donate $50 to a political party I don't like.
  2. I gave myself a task to do (let's call it: "Effort required but is Fun / Rewarding") and didn't complete it yet, I will complete it tomorrow Dec 30th or else I will be very annoyed with myself and will have let a few important people to me down.
  3. I did not do enough job hunting, this week I must clock-in 10 hours of work towards that task.

Additional ToDo for this week:

  • Participate in 2019 LW Review by reviewing nominated posts
  • Read Acéphale issue "Escape" and ensure to write a short summary and /or review of each entry and the issue as a whole.
  • Continue reading NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman
  • Build group for doing Hammertime sequence
  • Schedule virtual co-working sessions with friends for different types of work / tasks I need to complete.

Things I noticed while writing this weekly review.

  1. I want to prioritize raising my happiness set point, this seems like one of the most important / significant things that I can do for myself. The highest priority tasks I have for this week all contribute significantly to this goal.
  2. Stating publicly that I will do something is usually an effective motivator for me to do said thing, unless I overload my ToDo list too badly (and thus get overloaded myself) and/or don't add in additional incentive mechanisms to make me complete things I just really don't want to do but need to do, or things I want to do but have a lot of akrasia around doing.
  3. I liked Ben Kuhn's weekly review process / structure and modeled mine somewhat off of his, I will adjust as necessary going forward. I'd like to create a weekly review process that is more tailored for me, but for now it's good to have a template to start from.
    • put together list of my favorite essays / books / posts of life advice.
  4. It is greatly helpful to write a daily list of what I read that day with a short description or summary or review of said read thing. I will do this every day this week instead of inconsistently like last week.

Bugfixes: stopped using a small TV as my desktop's third monitor and replaced it with an ancient spare monitor I had. I lost some screen real estate but gained a nice quality of life improvement because I no longer have to run an xrandr BASH script every single gorram time I turn my computer on and / or wake it up from suspend (TVs are handled differently than computer monitors on Ubuntu and every time I turned the TV on or turned it off it'd mess up my display arrangement settings). Definitely an improvement and worth the loss of screen real estate, also makes my desk area look more "open" which feels nice.

Well! That is my first weekly review done!! I'm happy I wrote it, but wow did I have to fight off a lot of ugh fields and akrasia to finish it, but that makes completing it all the sweeter :)

My next weekly review will be posted by Sunday 3 January 2021 at 15:00 and will cover today the 29th through Saturday the 2nd.

Today is the only time I'm allowing my weekly review post to count as my daily shortform update (tis #9). This will not occur again in the future.

Well, daily shortform posts do get significantly more boring while sick, unfortunately :(

I've scaled back a lot of my activities and plans so that I can rest and get over the flu more quickly.

However! I have successfully overcome giving in to the temptation to fully go into a cocoon and not do anything, i.e. I have avoided totally isolating myself which is a habit I've routinely fallen into while sick in the past. My plan of being extraordinarily more (virtually) social to prevent the onset of depression is really paying off! I spent the majority of active hours today engaged in virtual social activities despite feeling the strongest recent feelings of "wanting to dive into a cocoon and isolate" for most of the day. I will continue fighting those feelings, even if it feels like I'm being excessively social while doing so. I like people, talking with people, doing activities with others, etc. are good things that I enjoy.

A day after I feel the flu symptoms lessen significantly, I will begin lightly exercising once more and will adjust as needed until I'm back at normal health + good levels of exercise.

Tomorrow my goal is to incorporate more intellectually productive activities into my day in addition to the social ones, so, looks like tomorrow I'll be doing my first weekly review + another thing or two.

Today is shortform daily writing #8.

I successfully completed December 22's goal of not reading Hacker News until today at 14:30. I have a few open goals that I haven't completed yet that I made in previous shortform entries, those will be reevaluated and reprioritized as necessary during tomorrow's weekly review.

The writing I'm doing here in shortforms is nothing novel nor groundbreaking, nor all that interesting most of the time. That's okay! I'm building myself a habit of daily public writing, and establishing that habit for myself is something I value immensely. I always have an eye towards quality, but if I prune my babble too much I'll never write publicly, so that's why these shortform posts are such a good first step for establishing such a habit: I don't have to prune my babble much, but the general high-quality nature of posting on LessWrong still infects my shortform section, making these posts better here than they would have been on Facebook. Additionally, instead of not really ever having post ideas outside of what feels like random chance inspiration, after a few days of writing here regularly and reading others' posts on the site each day, and cutting out doomscrolling and dopamine quick-fixes, I'm now generating a post idea or two a day or refining one I had thought of on a prior day. This is great!

A small note: upon returning to Hacker News today after almost a week's break from it, I only stayed for a few seconds despite seeing some interesting looking posts on the frontpage. I suspect that going there from time to time when I'm in genuine need of a novelty binge might be fine, but even Hacker News seems to be just a higher quality version of a social media dopamine-fix generator site. Sadness :(

I'm taking a few minutes now to write what comes to mind, reflect on my day, plan, organize, blah blah blah.

(1) Tomorrow I will record the amount of time I spend reading and what site I was on (or book / physical reference material if not on a computer / is offline but on a computer) using a stopwatch. I want to know how much time I spend reading what and where I read it.

(2) I am taking a temporary break from Hacker News, the next time I'm allowing myself to go there and mine for dopamine (I mean, search for novel and cool things) is Monday the 28th at 14:30.

(3) Observation: the Hammertime sequence looks very cool and quite helpful, I've noticed that I think about doing it from time to time but have never made the commitment. Does anyone want to group up and do the Hammertime sequence together? If so, let me know! I'll be asking around, doesn't seem like the kind of thing I'd get much traction with nor much benefit out of if I did it alone.

(4) I didn't read very much today outside of some doom scrolling. Tomorrow, I'll be reading the newly published issue, "Escape", of my friend's journal, you can find it here: https://thesacredconspiracy.com/journal/ ; I will be writing a summary and/or review for each entry in the issue and for the issue as a whole!

(5) TODO: (5a) Email and message the people I've been meaning to get back to or reach out to. Due on the 24th by noon. (5b) Complete the below mentioned task (re: edit comment and then post it on adamzerner's "Writing to think" post) by 16:00 tomorrow (the 23rd). (5c) Tomorrow: Spend 15 minutes looking for tech or political jobs in Seattle (or full remote). Spend an additional 15 minutes after that inspecting UW's graduate programs. (5d) Tomorrow: Go outside for 30 minutes, it doesn't matter too much what as long as I move / do some activity and get sunlight. (5e) Remind myself that todo lists are good, but don't write endless todo lists or else they become overwhelming and get ignored. Reminder will occur at noon. (5f) Schedule next Houston Rationalists meetup, choose either 29 or 30 Dec in the evening. Make sure to inform members about the LW/EA New Year's Ultra Party (https://www.facebook.com/events/678804856145168)

(6) LW Stuff: (6a) Over the next few days scan through the nominated posts (2019 Review) and select 5 of them. (6b) Read those selected 5 thoroughly and write thorough, good reviews of at least 3 of them. (6c) Finish doing that stuff and post those reviews on LW in the appropriate places by January 4. That way I have more time to write more reviews later if I want to! (6d) Reread everything here and take notes while doing so: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/6MEB6P5hNxrgmcpyP/before-rationality-a-snapshot (6e) After rereading that stuff, figure out what earlier snapshots I can recall but at the very least put together a snapshot of where I'm at currently then list "how I want to improve, where I want to go" and so on. I really like jospus321's idea of doing rationality snapshots, and want to participate in doing that. (6f) There is something else, but I can't remember it right now. It'll come back to me at some point.

(7) I found out about bagpipe jazz today and this has made me INCREDIBLY HAPPY. Go forth and listen to some bagpipe jazz, it's wonderful, Rufus Harley is great: https://open.spotify.com/album/4Sjo4mlzIJ8HHmJLq2hPZg?si=DaSW5kF8RwSuYF_wxeLr5g ; "Feeling Good" is probably my favorite song from that album so far, it's fantastic!

(8) Tomorrow's shortform is not allowed to make use of numbered nor bulleted lists nor strings of words formatted similarly to lists. Today was for lists and tomorrow isn't. I don't know why, but that's what I've decided.

This shortform took longer than a few minutes and is made out of lists for some reason, that's okay! I'm happy I took the time to write :)

Note to self, since I have the markdown editor activated, I can make my posts more nicely formatted by actually using markdown. Time to print out my favorite markdown cheatsheet: https://rstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/rmarkdown-cheatsheet.pdf

Writing is great for me, but I do way too little writing. I put my feelings about this into a small poem, here: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/vMNPQvFfgNmRWsJBi/intake-rumble-spew

Since shortform posts are, short and don't require high epistemic confidence and seem compatible with social media style posting, I will now write shortform posts regularly so that I get at least some writing done. This will help process the torrent of data and thoughts swirling around in my head like some chaotic vortex. It's hard to do anything with that vortex there, but writing helps quiet it and feels good, in particular, having written feels amazing even though the act of writing can be painful.

I think listing out a small selection of what I've read today will help with processing, maybe. I'm going to try it and see what happens!

Hacker News stuff: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25493804 - read the comment thread even though camera technology is not among my main or even tangential interests, not sure how much I value having read this.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25499361 - read the comment thread and the article. I value having read this, Apple and EVs (and the automotive industry generally) are contained within the set of things I find highly interested. Apple is a mystifying and infuriating company, but they do genuinely novel things and are legitimately their own huge niche within the computing industry, I find them worth studying. EVs are cool, and I want their to be more EVs.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25497772 - read the comment thread and skimmed the article. I value having read the commentary, it was okay. When I lived in the city I jaywalked ALL THE TIME and will probably continue to do so whenever I'm living in a city again, because on a non-busy street I don't think it makes time nor efficiency sense to walk a block or more just to cross at a crosswalk. Also, pedestrians should own the road, cars can shove off. I'm into cars and like them and think they are really cool machines, but the US really needs to change its transportation approaches and switch to walking / biking / bus / subway / rail / other public transit systems as the predominant transportation focuses instead of focusing as much as it does on cars. Living in a car dominated place is really frustrating, I like to walk and bike places but it's not safe to do that here. I miss the city.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25492880 - read the comment thread and read the article. I value having read both things, I love learning more about computing history + Apple stuff so reading both those things was fun and valuable to me. The discussion of Bay Area housing prices during the 80s and California living during the 80s was cool too.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25495334 - I enjoyed reading the comments here and found the perspectives shared within quite valuable and relatable. I'm way too into tech for my own good, I love the stuff, but got so burned out at my last job that I hated tech for a month or two after leaving it...am feeling better about things now though...but, I do have a lot of issues with the tech industry's culture, norms, etc. The tech industry feels like it's simultaneously as evil as the old oil and railroad barons of the US gilded age, but it also seems to represent so many utopic visions / promises, innovation, human improvement, and so on. I feel very conflicted about working in the tech industry. But, such is where my passions seem to be, and I won't ignore my passions. Besides, without great amounts of tech innovation we won't ever get to a world where death has been defeated, human augmentation is common and prudently done, and so on.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25495768 - Good! The US healthcare system feels like it took the worst from private enterprise and public enterprise and combined them into some Molochian nightmare. We should probably just copy Australia and start again from there for our healthcare system.

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/dLJv2CoRCgeC2mPgj/the-fallacy-of-gray - I liked this post, it illustrated something I feel strongly about: perfection may not be achievable but we can damn well try to make improvements and get as close to the asymptote of the limit of perfection as possible.

That seems like enough for now, I think I'll go actively message friends instead of reading more stuff for the moment, that seems more enjoyable. I enjoyed writing this shortform and will be doing this kind of thing again, it feels great that I wrote a bit about and processed some of the things I read today, it's nice!

Since shortform posts are, short and don't require high epistemic confidence and seem compatible with social media style posting, I will now write shortform posts regularly so that I get at least some writing done. This will help process the torrent of data and thoughts swirling around in my head like some chaotic vortex. It's hard to do anything with that vortex there, but writing helps quiet it and feels good, in particular, having written feels amazing even though the act of writing can be painful.

I can really relate to this. I too experience that vortex and find that writing helps with it, in addition to just helping me reason about things. I wrote about it in Writing to Think if you're interested.

Thanks for sharing that post as well as your experiences and struggles with writing! Down with the vortex, heh :( I'm glad writing helps you wrangle it down to something more manageable as well.

I agree with everything you said in your post about writing. I believe writing has such positive efficacy regarding thinking clarity, mental health improvement, expanding "smarts", and has power, and so on because it is a cognitive prosthetic. Writing is a tool our species developed that extends the capabilities of not only an individual's working memory, their total information storage capacity, their scope sensitivities, and more, but does the exact same things for entire civilizations, for our entire species as a whole.

Writing seems to be "a more communicative form of communication" (see below quote), a process which results in a product that explicitly separates the act of thinking with what was thought, leaving what was thought as an object in the world one can interact with and channel the act of thinking against. On repeat!

As more gets written, more acts of thinking are channeled against what's written and more products of thinking are generated. In a very real way, writing might be the most powerful recursive self and civilizational improvement tool that we humans have, given that it's the most communicative form of communication and allows for such separation between the act of thinking and the product of thought.

Much of what I think about writing comes from reading different products of though targeted at writing over the years such as Umberto Eco's "How to Write a Thesis", hundred of blog posts about writing, A.G. Sertillanges' "The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods", casual discussions with friends about writing, Cyril Connolly's "Enemies of Promise" (this book broke my ability to write for a semester in college, such was its power), and more. I should make an actual list of these influences!

More recently my thinking about writing, thinking, how things come into being, and so on are very heavily influenced by Cary Wolfe's "What is Posthumanism" (https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/what-is-posthumanism), from page 23 of which I'll pull a quote from and paste here, because I think it's very relevant to what we're all talking about here.

"In Luhmann as in Derrida, writing takes center stage as the paradigm of communication, but only because it exemplifies a deeper “trace” structure (the grammè of the program, as it were) of meaning— a paradigm whose essential logic is for Luhmann only intensified by the sorts of later technical developments, beginning with printing, in which we have already seen Derrida himself keenly interested in texts like Without Alibi and Archive Fever. In this light, the problem with “oral speech,” as Luhmann describes it, is that it threatens to collapse the difference between information and utterance, performatively subordi- nating information to utterance and presuming their simultaneity— “leaving literally no time for doubt,” as Luhmann puts it40—in precisely the manner analyzed in Derrida’s early critique of the subordination of writing to speaking. But if the value of language is that it is “the medium that increases the understandability of communication be- yond the sphere of perception” (160), then writing is its full realization. “Only writing,” Luhmann observes, “enforces the clear distinction between information and utterance,” and “only writing and printing suggest communicative processes that react, not to the unity of, but to the difference between utterance and information. . . . Writing and printing enforce an experience of the difference that constitutes com- munication: they are, in this precise sense, more communicative forms of communication” (162–63)."

I think the gist of that quote, if translated a bit into LW parlance and a bit more context added in from surrounding passages in the book, but not quoted directly here, is that:

(1) there are maps and then there is the territory

(2) maps are not the territory, they can only approximate it

Language and writing are maps of the territory, the "trace" or grammè are deeper non-language but extracted from written language "felt" or intuited maps of the territory that capture more of it than language and writing.

(3) language comprises different communication methods with oral speech, writing, the printed word, etc. as different examples focused on here in the quote.

(4) communicating involves both information and the transmission, or, utterance, of said information

(5) the difference between information and its utterance is often "collapsed on itself" or "lost" quickly via oral speech but writing is able to preserve that difference.

This is similar to what I said above about writing acting as a cognitive prosthetic because the process of writing your thoughts generates a product which is an object in the world representing thoughts you had thought, thus making said thoughts interactable by anyone who has access to that product. As more and more interactions with that product occur with others or oneself writing more thoughts about that product, more products are generated that represent improvements or refinements or additions, or differences, etc. of thought and come into being as objects in the world as well.

Thus, this is why I said above that writing is the most power recursive improvement tool we have as a species and why I think that Lumann at the end of the above quote said that writing and printing are more communicative forms of communication than oral speech or (implied) other types of language / communication mediums / methods.

I like this comment, and am happy that you linked your post in your comment because reading your post and thinking about writing prompted me to start writing this comment, and writing this comment led to all sorts of memories and remembrances about what I think / how I feel about writing, which led to me writing about that and digging up quotes from a book I really want to finish reading but have found impactful even with having read just a few chapters!

I will edit this comment for form and clarity, as well as so it makes a more cogent point, and then post the resulting product as a comment on your post.

Shortform #28 What's going on?

I woke up feeling fried, extra crispy, with no motivation and everything was grey, even the outdoors (the weather was literally a hazy drizzly grey all day, and not the good kind, was more of the bad swampy kind). What I noticed feeling yesterday and then throughout today correlate reasonably well with a depression episode trying to take root. I'd prefer for that not to happen, because those aren't fun, and I have things to do. Time for interventions! (to be detailed later in the post)

  1. I practised Swift for about 1 hour and 30 minutes today, up from yesterday at least.
  2. I did not exercise today.
  3. I did not log my calories today.
  4. I hosted today's Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup, thank you to all who came, it was fun!
  5. I applied to a really cool software engineering volunteer-work opportunity, I hope I get to join that team!

Interventions; I don't know for sure if what's been impacting me is an oncoming depression episode, but just in case I'll stage the usual interventions (it's fully possible that not exercising at all has caused my mood and happiness set point to plummet, but not exercising could also be comorbid with oncoming depression episode. brains are complicated; changing diet could be an impact too)

  1. Tomorrow I will operate under an actual schedule:
    • 9 to 13: practise Swift
    • 13 to 16: be virtually social and do messages, emails, etc.
    • 16 to 18: exercise and be generally up and about doing active stuff, this is a great time to sort and pack things in the garage, for example.
    • 18 to 20: shower, eat dinner, do a few things around the house
    • 20 onwards: Freedom!
  2. I will turn on more lights than I think necessary, and keep them on.
  3. I will play fast paced upbeat music and not listen to slow or sad music.
  4. I will focus on having fun and noticing through fresh eyes.
  5. All experiences and phenomena are temporary, this, whatever it may be, shall pass, and I will be okay!

Saturday will be somewhat similar to Friday, but a bit more relaxed, I'll detail that schedule in tomorrow's shortform. Sunday will be a rest day, no shortform that day, no expectations, nothing. Just fun, rest, and relaxation. I will write my weekly review Saturday night :)

Take care of yourselves, it's important to do that, you're important!

Note: I listened to a wonderful, upbeat, and smooth liquid drum & bass mix of Feint songs while writing this, go soak up those silvery beats and enjoy!

Shortform #27 A Day of Meandering

I don't think today was a bad day, I definitely enjoyed many parts of it, but I wasn't really a focused human being today. I didn't begin coding practice until 14:50, and I suspect that's part of why I was so less focused today. Instead of practising coding first thing after waking up like I had been doing, I instead read Hacker News, LessWrong, and elsewhere, finished a task that required some concentration, and had several interruptions. I was considerably grumpier today than usual as time passed too, which was odd.

I think my main noticed for the day is that I need to start my day with practising coding first thing, otherwise I may never really get on track for the day. Yesterday for example, I had a big interruption but made myself code for a few hours in the morning and managed to return to that and do well at it even after the big interruption.

  1. I ate about ~1815kcal today.
  2. I did not exercise today.
  3. I practised coding for about 1 solid hour.

Tomorrow I'll practise coding first thing in the morning, hopefully that'll help me be a focused human being for the rest of the day.

I wrote this shortform while listening to Zoe Keating's "One Cello x 16 EP, it's fantastic and you should listen to it especially if you enjoy cellos.

Good luck y'all,

Shortform #24 Reflecting and Doing

Today was a good day!

  1. I wrote and published my weekly review before my deadline!
  2. I talked with a friend on the phone for 2 hours and walked around the whole time, netting me 7555 steps for the whole day
  3. I practised CS fundamentals (including algorithms, mostly the wall follower i.e. right-hand-rule algorithm) via coding in Swift for 4 hours and 30 minutes.
  4. I found a calorie counting app and logged my calories for the day: ~2050kcal
  5. I used gtimelog to log my time for the day! (I didn't log literally everything, just the major parts of the day)
    • I wrote my weekly review, 1 hour, 10:37-11:37
    • found calorie counting app and ate breakfast, 52 minutes, 11:37-12:29
    • practised coding but also did other things for 45 minutes of the time, 5 hours 16 minutes, 12:29-17:45
    • ate dinner while watching the last few episodes of The Magicians Season 5, which were actually the last few episodes of the show, ever...since there's no season 6, and I'm salty about that because I love the show. Ended well though, I guess. Time: 2 hours 29 minutes, 17:45-20:14
    • talked with my friend on the phone and walked around while doing so, 2 hours 19 minutes, 20:14-22:33
    • did a few small things for 5 minutes or so and wrote this shortform, 30 minutes, 22:33-23:03

Best of luck to everyone this week :)

2021 Week 2 Review 10 Jan - 16 Jan: Co-Working FTW! Also...Stop Signalling, WTB Quantitative Data and Reasoning!

I recall enjoying last week, but wow did I endorse each day strongly in my shortforms. It is true that last week was substantially better than the week prior to it, and I don't recall nor have records of bad things or bad feels occurring last week, so I'll stand by my strong endorsements of the days last week.

Thus, what an excellent week!

Re, Stop signalling: "I spent most of it going through things, throwing away, organizing, sorting, and packing said things depending on what they were, and got a lot done in preparation for moving because of that. I'm looking forward to finishing up my resume tomorrow and getting feedback on it then finishing up my profile on the job sites I made an account on." (from 15 Jan shortform)

Without quantitative data backing up what was said above, I effectively signalled for that entire shortform and the truth of that day was obscured. Really I only did 2-3 hours (memory estimation, don't trust it much) of work and spent the rest of the day occupied with watching television shows or being social. It's okay to have a lazy day from time to time, but this wasn't a designated rest or "sabbath" day, plus, I obscured the truth by signalling (one could also say "employing rhetoric", potentially). I've done a bit of signalling in other posts throughout the shortforms, but this one was the worst yet.

Why I care so much about not signalling, being truthful, being quantitative: These shortforms are not just me howling into the void about my life, I'm trying to improve myself and my life! I write these shortforms so that I have data from each day to reflect on plus use in aiding memory / recall, am somewhat publicly accountable, and keep track of what my explicit goals are and how well I do at making progress to or achieving them. I need more data (and accurate data!) about my own life and actions so that I can become a more effective person! Signalling and obscuring the truth are antithetical to what I'm trying to do and who I want to be, so I'll stop that nonsense immediately. Any remaining signalling will be the kind of noise and signalling you either can't get rid of because we're tribal animals, us human beings, or will be based on truthful quantitative data and thus an endorsement of particular actions. In short, be truthful and quantitative or be square AND unhelpful to ones own self.

How I will be obtaining more (and more accurate) data about my actions and my life:

  1. I don't have an internal clock that's consciously accessible to me plus I rarely experience the feeling of time passing, and am notoriously bad at noticing how much time it takes me to do something, the passage of time itself, and timeliness.
    • Using gtimelog on my desktop lets me keep an accurate time log of what I do and how long it takes me to do. Downside: everything must be manually entered. Upside: it's really simple and easy to use, plus I've gotten good at both remembering to enter things and at using the software itself. Intervention: create twice daily repeating reminders on my phone that will say: "Did you do the time log? Go do the time log" and will occur in the early afternoon and late evening.
    • Wearing a watch helps me observe the time when I'm up and moving around, so I'll commit to wearing my watch more except on rest / sabbath days. My watch has stopwatch, timer, and alarm apps so I can use those to aid in time-related things as well. I'll check its app store to see if there's a decent time-log app as well.
    • I will experiment next week with setting alarms at different time intervals (e.g. I'll try setting a "hey check the time" alarm to go off once every 2 hours initially) to see if that helps me be more cognizant of both time passing plus the actions I'm taking or not taking during that time.
    • I will take some time this next week to search for time log apps that work with the platforms I use (Linux [primary], Firefox, macOS, and iOS mostly) and see what options are out there.
  2. I will use a notes app on my phone and carry around a notepad so that I can jot down whatever it is I'm working on or doing at any given moment.
  3. I'll find a calorie counting app and actually use the damn thing. I've always found doing this particularly tedious and annoying, but there's no getting around calorie counting if I want to be effective at accomplishing my weight loss goals.
  4. In addition to the above methods, I will be actively searching for more options that help with this endeavour and try to quantify even more parts of my life. Any suggestions?

Last week I started virtually co-working and did 3 or 4 sessions, for about 6 hours in total. I'm pushing for 10 hours of virtual co-working next week, time permitting (I am in the process of packing and getting read to move, so...things might become real chaotic real fast). I'll establish regularly scheduled sessions that repeat, should help with consistency over the long term.

My main goals for the week:

  1. Look for software dev /eng jobs, preferably fully remote
  2. Practise coding everyday, in particular, practise algorithms, architecture-building, and data structures.
  3. Pack and get ready for moving
  4. Get vaccinated
  5. Continue doing the several things I've been doing either since late December or have recently identified as good for me.
    • writing shortforms, weekly reviews, etc.
    • exercising daily; focus on strength training over cardio now, but still do some cardio
    • be virtually social each day
    • virtual co-working!
    • calorie counting
    • time logging

Here's to another great week! What are you working on and trying to accomplish?

I listened to Wlad Roerich's Background Mode 0.1 while writing this. It took me 60 minutes (1 hour) to write this weekly review and then publish it.

Be well!

Shortform #23 Extant

I enjoyed today, but it definitely wasn't a very productive day. I woke up late, then jumped in for an hour of virtual co-working and looked a resume templates / ideas + discussed resume and job site profile strategies. Afterwards I cleaned and organized the house for an hour and a half, followed by showering + getting ready. I drove into town for an early dinner outdoors with three friends then picked up my Dad from the airport, and have been relaxing since getting home.

I think the best thing to do is go to bed early and wake up tomorrow ready for a new day!

Yay it's the weekend!

Shortform #18 The downsides of procrastination, otherwise a great day.

Today was a mostly great day!

  1. I spent about 4 hours today engaged in virtually social activities, split relatively evenly between hanging out with friends versus structured social time (trans support group, game night, etc.)
  2. I spent about 2 hours skimming 2019 posts and selecting what to write reviews on, about 20 minutes of that time was actual review writing.
  3. I made cookies :)

Unfortunately, because I started the review process (skimming nominated 2019 posts, writing actual reviews) way too late in the LW 2019 Review project, I wasn't able to publish three reviews like I had originally hoped to do at the beginning of the 2019 Review project. I haven't even finished one review, and don't have time to finish that one before midnight.

Noticed: If you procrastinate on something important to you, you will miss out on that or submit whatever you wanted to produce, late...

This [procrastination] is something I've struggled with for years, and it frustrates me to no end. I'm publicly discussing my most recent failure due to procrastination (not writing and publishing three reviews for the LW 2019 Review project), because I want to keep better track of how often I do that, plus, it hurts to talk about it and fail publicly, which feels like a good thing. I.e., that feels like it'll reduce how much I procrastinate on the next project I publicly commit to.

The three posts I was going to review are:

  1. Gears-Level Models are Capital Investments
  2. The Power to Teach Concepts Better
  3. Literature Review: Distributed Teams

I know writing reviews for those posts past the deadline won't include them in the voting phase of the LW 2019 Review project, but I'd like to finish what I set out to do, so I'll be writing those reviews and publishing them this week. Additionally, those three posts are great, and I want to review them so that maybe others can gain more benefit from those posts.

I walked indoors for about 30 minutes today. I did not listen to music while writing this shortform.

Be well!

Shortform #17 An accomplished yet peaceful and nice Sunday.

Today was a great day!

  1. I walked 3 miles indoors (the weather here today was...the definition of bleargh).
  2. I had great phone call conversations with several friends :)
    • One call resulted in scheduling a virtual co-working session and another resulted in scheduling a virtual working-out session!
  3. I wrote my weekly review and published it by my deadline, FEELS GREAT (warning: loud and explicit).

What a great start to a brand new week :)

Also: if you enjoy ramen, try putting jalapeño guacamole sauce in it, it's so good. One might even say...sugoi You can also put that sauce on nachos or a lot of other things, is similarly great!

Noticed: Typing when it's really cold and your hands are cold is similar in discomfort to playing piano when it's cold and your hands are cold, except, playing piano will warm up your fingers much quicker and more thoroughly than typing will.

I continued listening to a really long Two Steps From Hell / Thomas Bergersen & Nick Phoenix mix while writing this.

Have a great week!

Shortform #14 and Shortform #15

#15 I have learned an important lesson!

If I stay up all night trying to be more productive because I wanted to get more things done and "make up for" a day where I didn't get quite what I wanted done...then whatever I stayed up for had better be damn important otherwise I've just wasted a lot of time and lowered my quality of life.

Staying up all night to be more productive for the sake of showing off (to myself and/or to others) that I had accomplished more things in one day is not a good enough reason to stay up all night, so I won't be doing that again for such a lame reason.

I woke up today at noon, having fallen asleep the previous day (the 7th) at 6pm (18:00) or so due to being way too tired. Today was pretty good all things considered! I had a good phone conversation with a friend, walked for about an hour, did some messaging, tidied up multiple things as part of my "Dedicate 1 hour of my time tomorrow to doing tasks that take <=5-10 minutes each." efforts, and had fun watching (The Great Pretender)[https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11680468/] on Netflix.

Given that I won't be staying up all night tonight nor recovering from a prior day where I had stayed up for way too long, I expect slightly better things from myself tomorrow :)

#14 I was frustrated about having such a lazy day on the 6th and wasn't feeling very tired after writing that day's shortform (#13) so I decided to stay up...and did. I drank a bunch of coffee around 2-3am to "seal the deal" and managed to stay awake until around 6pm in the evening of the 7th.

I will not state what I accomplished nor how much or how little I accomplished because I'm unhappy I decided to stay up all night just for the sake of productivity signalling in response to being frustrated by how my day on the 6th went. I won't be doing that again, it wasn't worth it, and it rarely is. Out of all the times I've stayed up all night in my life, only a few times felt like they were actually necessary and worth it, or were rewarding for some other reason. Most of the time staying up all night is a sign of bad execution or inaction with regards to accomplishing some specific goals or meeting certain deadlines, it shows that either a person is just not doing well or they are slacking too much. That has been the case for me, at least. So, no more unless absolutely necessary for survival! Sleep is too necessary to sacrifice for anything less than that.

Reflection: I want to achieve my goals, but I must do so with kindness towards myself and others. Staying up all night is usually unkind to myself, so I will only do so in extreme circumstances where doing so is necessary for survival. Additionally, if I notice myself being frustrated by a lack of progress towards goals, I need to take that seriously and reevaluate how my actions, habits, reactions to current events, and other "inputs" contributed to the buildup of that frustration plus led me to whatever situation I might be in during that moment. Then, take some deep breaths to release the frustration and follow through with better actions. Sometimes that means changing goals, oftentimes that means changing actions and building better habits. Plus, don't ever forget about selfcare!

Happy Friday Y'all :)

Note: I did not listen to music while writing this. Also, adding a sentence or few sentences to serve as a summary, abstract, or catchy title right after saying "Shortform #X" seems neat, I'll try that intentionally going forward, did it by accident this time.

Shortform #13

What a promising and good day, that ultimately turned out not as good as expected.

Other than doing ~2 hours of messaging to catch up on my inboxes, today has been quite the lazy day.

Oversleeping and then reacting to crazy political events can put quite a damper on being productive :(

Tomorrow I will do better!

This is the most boring shortform post you'll see from me in the near future, expect moar better for tomorrow :)

Good luck and be well!

This shortform was not written while listening to music, only the ambient hum and whooshing of my room fan occasionally interrupted by typing noises pervaded my local audible soundscape.

Shortform #12

Mmm, today was a nice relaxing and restorative kind of day. Definitely helped me with item #4 from yesterday's shortform, I feel energized and eager for doing lots of things tomorrow.

I didn't go outside and exercise, rather, I paced inside while on the phone with various people over the span of 3 hours or so, and that was nice, I enjoy walking while talking on the phone. My step count for the day is ~19,500, seems good enough.

My text, messenger, and email inboxes are overflowing, and I desperately need to deal with those inboxes tomorrow, so I shall. I'm looking forward to responding to all those messages and continuing all those conversations, tis good stuff!


  1. Order groceries
  2. Schedule Houston Rationalists meetups for this month
  3. Discuss virtual coworking schedules with the friends who've expressed interest thus far then create calendar events for the times we choose
  4. Make an inventory of my stuff, including bulk and moving difficulty ratings for each item; this inventory will be helpful since I'll be moving twice within the next 6 months and can get rid of stuff, know what's easy to move and what'll take more work, and so on. Note how often I use each thing and whether I'm particularly attached to it or not, with a bias towards getting rid of things and having to prove why I either want to or need to keep something.
  5. Dedicate 1 hour of my time tomorrow to doing tasks that take <=5-10 minutes each.
  6. Set a timer for 15 minutes sometime in the early afternoon and write whatever comes to mind in a notebook using a pen.

I did not listen to music while writing today's shortform. I'll be keeping track of the music or not metric going forward, as well as if music then what type of music.

Good luck and be well!

No shortform today. Go enjoy the holiday :) That's what I'm doing!