What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#49)

Amazing “paintings” can be made in code on a web browser: Check out Pure CSS Lace. See how they’re made here.

Running in the rain is a good habit: I’m trying to apply this in other areas of my life.

This was so funny I was actually crying: Dear Guy Who Just Made My Burrito:. I guess this came out a long while ago but I must have missed it. So good.

Bonus laugh: Google Launches ‘The Google’ For Older Adults

Tips for reducing distraction: I was trying grayscale on my phone to see what it does for improving my attention but switched it back after half a day simply due to the fact that my phone is my only camera. However, I have removed all icons from my home screen and am a fan of using search for launching apps instead of the icon.

Here are some other helpful tips to take control from Humane Tech (be sure to check out the apps/services recommended at the bottom of the page).

Quote I loved:

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Reminds me of the Tim O’reilly and the mantra of creating more value than you capture. Good stuff.

A useful guide to understanding the impeachment saga. Even though I didn’t really need this it’s pretty great and I kind of want to be somewhat informed on the topic. Now where is the equivalent for Brexit?

An exercise for discovering the cause of stress and emotions: I had heard about the work of Byron Katie before, but was recently reacquainted and read more about the four questions practice:

Next time you are upset at something or someone, think about why and try asking these four questions:

Is it true?
How can I know it’s absolutely true?
How do I react when I believe that thought?
Who would I be without that thought?

Distilling many of my aspirations as a parent, and an attempt to be gentle with myself as I inevitably don’t live up to them much of the time.

Finally, a thoughtful tool if ever in doubt from Seth Godin: A year from now…

Will today’s emergency even be remembered? Will that thing you’re particularly anxious about have been hardly worth the time you put into it?

Better question: What could you do today that would matter a year from now?


Are you the type of parent who:

  • Thinks hard about what kind of food is going into your kids body?
  • Tries to include art and music education in your child’s daily education?
  • Takes your kids traveling intentionally to get them away from the comforts they are used to and to see something new?
  • Tries to encourage reading as a fundamental lifelong habit?
  • Attempts to leave some space in your childs schedule so that they might be bored and eventually realize it’s impossible if they really think about it?
  • Stops what you are doing to listen to your child when they are talking and truly hear them?
  • Would rather include your child in the dinner conversation and not have them sit somewhere else?

Parenting is hard.

I wish I was this type of parent all the time but I fail often. A friend recently told me that because I’m the type of parent that does one of these things, my kids are going to be ok. What a compliment.

Even if you don’t do the above, but maybe aspire to, your kids are going to be alright. Kids are smarter and more resilient than we give them credit for and, as for the things you are saying? They are hearing you even though it may not seem like it.

We all do the opposite sometimes and beat ourselves up over it.


Instead, think about the type of parent you are, or want to be, and give yourself a break.

Then start again.

This parenting stuff is hard.

Moving to Scotland

Running in the rain

As an avid runner, I do lots of running in the rain, wind, sleet and frost. In Scotland this is doubly-so. I run no matter if I’m feeling tired, have a headache or am relaxed and ready. On nicer days I tend to see plenty of people on the trail, and on the more brutal days, almost no one. I love those days.

What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#48)

Book excerpt I loved:

“One other way I keep healthy is by taking a nap. I really nap a lot. Usually I get sleepy right after lunch, plop down on the sofa, and doze off. Thirty minutes later I come wide awake. As soon as I wake up, my body isn’t sluggish and my mind is totally clear. This is what they call in southern Europe a siesta. I think I learned this custom when I lived in Italy, but maybe I’m misremembering, since I’ve always loved taking naps. Anyway, I’m the type of person who, once he gets sleepy, can fall sound asleep anywhere. Definitely a good talent to have if you want to stay healthy, but the problem is I sometimes fall fast asleep in situations where I shouldn’t.”

Haruki Murakami and Philip Gabriel, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Love this graphic and wrote about it here: A debug mindset.

from a Julia Evans tweet

A great tool for learning (to type!): Many may think me strange for wanting to learn to touch-type properly, but so much of my work and interest relies on typing words on a screen it’s crazy that I can’t (like most) and I’ve decided that’s no going to cut it any longer. I’ve been doing 30-60 mins a day for just under two weeks now and it’s pretty amazing. It seemed super daunting and undoable at first but it’s been a remarkable experiment.

What Is Touch Typing?

Touch typing is the ability to use muscle memory to find keys fast, without using the sense of sight, and with all the available fingers, just like piano players do. It significantly improves typing speed and eliminates errors. Touch typing simply makes you more productive and it is a skill worth learning. However, many people engage in the bad habit of ‘hunt-and-peck’ typing, even those seasoned professionals with years and decades of computer experience. It is easy to understand, though, as touch typing requires dedicated practice to learn it well.

Quote I was thinking about:

We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.

Carlos Castaneda

On that note, I also wrote about a refreshing change.

Article I enjoyed: The misconception fo the wild. Cool to learn about the shift of focus for the forestry service and how they view the public’s relationship to the land.

The people of the Forest Service do this work not just because of a spiritual connection with nature, but because our world is burning. To begin to confront the impending end of the natural world, we have to redefine our relationship with land — and understand that it does not only exist for our own needs.

Longreads has great excerpts for this one. Worth a read.

Check out what we’re up to now.

Moving to Scotland Work

A refreshing change

As part of our recent move to Scotland, I resigned from Microsoft after 13 years of being at the company and I recently started new work as a support engineer (aka Happiness Engineer) with a company called Automattic, a company that’s so different it’s hard to see a resemblance past the fact that they are both “tech companies”. I didn’t leave for any single grievance with my prior employer, it was for my own reasons. That’s mostly true.