reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Month: December 2008 (Page 1 of 3)

The Dilemmas of a Day Off

It’s the start of a wide-open day off where I have nothing previously planned, and as usual my mind is racing a bit with a completely infeasible number of ideas for things I might do. Picture the bits of debris whirling around in the Wizard of Oz twister; it feels a bit like that.

You might think a bit of simple rest and relaxation would be high on the list, and in a very real sense it is (I might even get myself to sit long enough to watch a movie), but in general I need something for my noggin to engage with. Creative projects of various kinds, and even simple “getting my life un-cluttered so I can feel relaxed and focus the next time I sit down to a creative project” projects are things I always wish I had more time for, and they come to mind on those rare occasions when the time actually becomes available.

The danger with a day like today is always that I’ll try to do a bit of several things here and there, and then wonder in the end, as I usually end up doing, what I actually did or where the day went. So today I’m thinking I’ll try to avoid the possibly inevitable, and start the day by prioritizing and choosing one or maybe a very few things to try to do or accomplish.

This would be the time when I fire up Things on my Mac or iPhone, and try to skim the cream off my To Do list. (Brief product endorsement here: I love Things, and rely on it as the place where I dump all the miscellaneous “I should maybe…” thoughts that would otherwise clutter and worry my overactive mind. I’ve become a big fan of “ubiquitous capture”, for the stuff that’s worth capturing at least.)

Thoughts for today: catch up on my blog/news reading (I’m days behind, and I miss it!), do some of the blog writing I’ve been wanting to get to (lots of ideas saved up, but never the time), go through our pictures from this weekend’s Big Sur / Pacific Grove / Monterey trip and post some, work on finishing one of the 2-3 books I tend to be in the middle of reading at any given time (right now it’s “An Innocent at Polebrook” and “Atlas Shrugged”, and I’m looking to start a book on getting a pilot’s license that I got for Christmas), organize the virtual mess of project files on the home computer that I never tend to since I spend my days in front of the work computer, do the same for my paper files (not so much the boring bills-and-receipts stuff, but the project folders where I’ve collected ideas and notes over the years), work on the office redecorating project we started a couple months ago (the walls are bare, and pictures need hanging), get a voltmeter so I can figure out whether the cordless drill needs a new battery or a new charger, and then get what the drill needs so I can run the wires for the surround speakers under the house to the back of the living room, fire up GarageBand for a little guitar or keyboard practice, etc. And those are just the things I’d like to do for fun. I’ve also got our baby shower to help plan, and probably a variety of other things that need doing around the house.

Of course, all this “meta” stuff of taking the time to blog about what I might do is taking time away from, well, what I might do… The hope is that sitting and taking a moment to reflect on the possibilities before launching right into anything might help me to make better decisions about how I’ll spend my day. Whether this pans out remains to be seen, but I’m feeling good about it so far. Pause to take a look around from 30,000 ft. before committing to a destination — yeah, that’s it. If nothing else, I will have written at least one blog post today, and even if it’s devoid of interesting content that somehow still feels good.

Happy vacation, to those who are on one! — May you have a much easier time simply enjoying it than I do!

Three Weeks of Being a Twit

Hard to believe it’s been nearly three weeks already since I started using Twitter (my first Twitter post is here)! I think I was pretty well hooked by Day 2, and now I don’t care to imagine life without Twitter.

Being able to read and post tweets on the go from my iPhone is what has really made it work, as life offers plenty of opportunities for a quick, 120-character-or-less note that aren’t conducive time-wise to writing substantial blog posts (which the entry method on the iPhone isn’t really well suited for anyway). I definitely engage with the “Twittersphere” much more via iPhone than via a web browser on the desktop/laptop. So far I’ve been using “Twitterific”, and it’s been great, though I’ve noticed there are a few other highly-rated iPhone Twitter clients that are probably worth a look. Twitterific’s ability to post pictures, current location coordinates (approximate in my case, since I have a first-gen iPhone), and URLs from Safari are very nifty, and have been lots of fun to use so far.

In terms of the Twitter community/experience, it’s been very interesting to see the variety of ways in which others use Twitter, and to start to figure out how I want to use it. The founding idea of posting occasional quick notes about “what you’re doing now” is appealing, and to some limited extent I’ve been sticking to that so far. Others have taken their use beyond that starting point, using Twitter more to chat with other users (or “Twits”, if you prefer), or as a short-form blog of sorts. Some individuals’ feeds consist mainly of links to news articles, and there are also news organizations such as the WSJ, CNN, and BBC that offer their headlines and story links in Twitter form. I followed Instapundit via Twitter for a short while, but found that my previous habit of reading RSS/Atom feeds via NetNewsWire works much better for keeping up with Glenn’s stream and other blogs/news feeds. There have been other Twitter-isms to discover such as “#tcot”, the search hashtag for Top Conservatives on Twitter. I haven’t yet figured out whether or how deeply I want to participate in that, but the #tcot list has already helped me find a number of interesting users to follow. So far, I’ve mainly been inclined to follow people with similar interests who post more everyday “what I’m up to” tweets, or a combination of that and pointers to interesting news and such. I get a good dose of news and editorials already via the blogs and sites I follow, and find what I really enjoy in Twitter is the opportunity to see what others like me do or find interesting in their day-to-day lives. There are plenty of other potential uses inherent in the Twitter format though, and maybe I will find myself making more use of them as time goes by.

Meanwhile: You can continue to find me here at, as well as on Twitter at See you all out there!

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