I Wouldn’t it be nice to write something every day in 2019? I have that hope but I’m learning to temper my expectations. Instead of setting myself that goal, I’ll just indicate my intention to write when I can. And when I forget to write for months on end but decide to come back to my blog, I’ll pat myself on my back and say: “Congratulations, Self. Carry on.”
I like watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, which, I think, is a repacking of The Great British Bake Off. I’m not a baker myself and though I love to eat baked goods, I haven’t seen baking as an essential skill for me to develop. But I’m inspired to re-examine that assumption, but instead of learning the riches of British baking, I’m inclined to try a recipe for something I love from dim sum: Hong Kong Egg Tarts – The Woks of Life. But wait — aren’t egg tarts derived from some European dessert? According to Egg tart – Wikipedia:
The English custard tart and the Portuguese pastel de nata are European forerunners of the Chinese egg tart, which displays characteristics of both. Before egg tart was introduced to Hong Kong, it is reported that it was first found in 1920s Guangzhou. Taking reference from the recipes of fruit tarts, the chefs in Guangzhou turned it into egg tarts by filling egg custards in the middle instead, a similar way to make simmered eggs with milk (燉蛋). However, as butter was very costly at that time, it was difficult for the chefs to make puff pastry for the tarts. Therefore, they may have used lard instead.
I didn’t know what was deeply true until I told a story that would bring unexpected tears to my eyes. What I learned: tell more stories so that I can know more truth.
In the morning, when I’m in a deep flow state, the rest of the world recedes to the background (save for brilliant warming sunshine), as my mind moves happily from step to step towards clear goals. Last night, with computer on my lap and Netflix in the distance, I could barely string together the steps needed to instantiate a Docker image. Unable to recognize the state that I call “Mind like quicksand”, I pushed on. I finally had the wisdom to call it quits on my computational work and devote my energies to Netflix. Fifteen minutes later, I was gently snoring — or so my Sweetie tells me.
I’ve spent decades of my life attending religious gatherings, but I hadn’t understood the beauty of coming together as a community on a Friday evening (every Friday evening) over a large community meal — until Laura and I and some others from All Souls Parish were welcomed at Congregation Beth El in Berkeley last night.
After taking a much needed nap this afternoon, I was grateful that I ended up honoring a commitment I had made earlier in the day to venture out, to do something new, to show a kindness to strangers. I could easily have fallen back on the excuse of being too tired. And sometimes I am actually too tired to do new things. Instead, I was rewarded by the warmth of new friends.
One of the reasons I have favored CNN’s State of the Union (SOTU) (with Jake Tapper) from among the “Big Five” Sunday morning talk shows is the ready availability of transcripts. Even though I often gobble down an episode as a podcast played at 2x normal speed, I have aspired to return to a closer study of the arguments from the morning; transcripts would clearly help in such a study.
I’m glad to report that I have been wrong in believing in that CNN was alone in providing transcripts. In fact, all the other four Sunday talk shows also have them:
In reading What does it mean that God speaks in a still small voice?, I came across references to Bible verses that previewed the text when you hover over the link:
Intriguing. How can I do the same? I followed the instructions at Convert Bible References into Links | Faithlife Reftagger – Faithlife and installed
- Faithlife Reftagger | WordPress.org
- RefTagger Toggle | WordPress.org and its dependency CMB2 | WordPress.org
Voilà. Here’s the obligatory John 3:16.
I rather enjoy Facebook. Perhaps too much, thus leading me to act against my own interests by trading away my privacy to a voracious entity whose CEO had a long history of not respecting our privacy. I’ve not yet left FB but have taken little steps to pare back its place in my life. For example, I deleted the FB and Messenger apps on my devices and use FB through the web browser on my laptop and phones now. Baby steps for sure. Those apps are notorious for sucking up lots of data into Facebook from right under my fingers.
Maybe an upside to cutting back on Facebook is returning more earnestly to blogging: both writing and reading them. It’s been a while since I regularly used a RSS/feed reader to track the news; it’s telling how much I have abandoned reading my feeds to Twitter and Facebook instead. But I took a tiny step in the other direction a couple of weeks ago by installing ViennaRSS/vienna-rss: Vienna is a free and open-source RSS/Atom newsreader for macOS.
I petered out at the end of November writing entries for MyBizWriMo. I’m happy with what I did manage to write and would like to pick up where I left off. Next week, as a new volunteer for Ashby Village, I will be working with other tech volunteers to figure out how to help our members with smart speakers (such as Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant. (Ashby Village is “a nonprofit organization that connects members with each other and with the resources we need to remain active, independent and successful”.) I’m studying the two devices this week and will report back on what I learn.