2018: Day 24 the one where I realize every day of the journey is about the effort being put into it

a layered photo of fish

2018: Day 24 the one where I realize every day of the journey is about the effort being put into it
Word count 60,037 + 3,021 or 63,058 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

That post from yesterday was waiting for a postscript to be written this morning. For some reason that just did not happen today. No morning writing session occurred. That ended up putting me over 60,000 words for the year, but short of my 3,000 word goal. Maybe I need to set a daily reminder to start writing at 5:30 AM each day. Rounding out those first 1,000 words for the day is very important. Seriously, sitting down to write 3,000 words in one good shot has not been my best recipe for success. We will see what happens it is well after 7:00 PM and the first few words have started to flow. Maybe I need to remove all distractions and just really focus in and write for the next hour.

I had hoped to write 100,000 words this month. It would have been awesome to start this mad dash to 1,000,000 words with a 100,000 word month. January could have been that month. It has plenty of days at 31. Writing at a pace of 3,000 words per day every day for 31 days would have equaled out to 93,000 words. Hitting that goal would have let me just 7,000 words short of 100,000 words. That would have been pretty fantastic. It would have been epic. That is probably not going to happen at this point. The words are coming along nicely. We have gotten out of the gates and are marching down the path. Every day so far this year has included a legitimate writing effort.

Every day of the journey is about the effort being put into it. Something about that last sentence does ring true. A lot of things are about the effort we put into them. Maybe it is the rhythm of my typing today or the myriad of distractions, but my thoughts are not flowing the way they should be. People keep talking to me. It is possible that just now a really epic thought has been lost to the ages. I’m going to try to recover. Writing like a pro means working through distractions. Obviously, I have been struggling to write like a professional tonight. Some things we can influence. Some things are not ever going to be influenced. My thoughts were starting to coalesce around understanding the things you can influence by putting time into them. It is those investments that deserve more consideration.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about my 4 years of undergraduate education, 1 year pursuing a graduate degree, 5 years of doctoral studies, and 3 years of postdoctoral education. During the course of all those years I could have put a lot more time and energy into my education. That is something that as a reflective practitioner I am willing to admit. The same student in year 13 of that journey would have a completely different point of view than the one who started the journey. That might be something that has started to make sense to me due to a little bit of perspective. I’m fast approaching a decade since earning a doctorate of philosophy. I left that lower case on purpose. This discussion is not about formality or trying to line up all of my formal educational accolades. We can do that later. This series of thoughts is about trying to convey the point that putting in more time and effort throughout that journey would have benefited me in some meaningful ways.

Having the opportunity to sit down with the student who started classes at the University of Kansas so many years ago while impossible would have been impactful. Sure right now I could spend the next 2,000 words writing an open letter to my past self on the first day of college to help other people benefit from my experiences. That sounds like a decent thing to do, but today may not be the day for that type of effort. My writing efforts are a little bit lackluster today. That type of impactful letter deserves to be written on a day when I am at the height of my powers. Sure you might be thinking as a professional writer I should just dig deep and make it happen. My reserver of writing powers is not that useful. I’m going to go ahead and add this topic to my list. It has been added to the top of the list.

Topic 1: Being positive

Every moment we focus in on what is next. In that moment of decision we can elect to be positive. I make an active choice on a daily basis to focus on being positive. Being positive can be contagious. That is the best case scenario. Earlier I started to get into a real writing rhythm. You can almost feel it in the way you are typing. It feels good to type in that purposeful way. You know that you are making some progress, but it is more or less about the prose and everything else just sort of fades away. That is what writing with a true single minded purpose is all about. My efforts toward writing are about having a positive impact on the world around me and ultimately on the academy itself.

That is a topic that we have not really dealt with this year. We all stand on the shoulders of giants in terms of our knowledge. Everything we believe to be true. All of the things that we accept as knowledge. Are built on a foundation of shared learning that is sometimes summed up as the academy. My operational definition for it is the collective knowledge we keep as a society is created and stored within the academy. In some ways that sums up the purpose of our institutions of higher education. In other ways it just describes a library. Either way it is a concept that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. Contributing to our overall collection of knowledge as a society is a decent and acceptable goal.

Yeah I snuck that into a passage about being positive. Maybe that is what I need to do to move forward. Everyday we strive to improve things. To make things better. That in and over itself is a lofty and somewhat daunting goal. Some folks may not accept that presimse. They may not accept the premise that things could and should be better. As we move toward the inevitable intersection of technology and modernity we face certain choices as a society. That is something that we have to figure out how to deal with as the very social fabric that binds us together is tested in new and unexpected ways. The things that have happened in the last 100 years would be hard to comprehend at the start of the last century. Technology has started to rapidly change society. That is something that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. I even hosted a podcast about it some years ago. Maybe that is something that could end up on YouTube at some point.

Topic 2: I’m still using the NiceHash Miner

Very early in the morning tomorrow or very late night the NiceHash crew will make a transfer to my wallet. This will be the 5th transfer of BTC to my NiceHash wallet. Oddly enough it seems to take two transfers worth of BTC for me to hit the threshold for a free transfer from my NiceHash wallet to the Coinbase exchange. My Coinbase portfolio now features 0.0047 BTC. That is just a fraction of a bitcoin. I’m still using the NiceHash Miner v2.0.1.8 software on my Windows 10 computer. Sure I spend about 15 minutes per day daydreaming about building out another computer. Should that time be spent making an investment in something that matters. Probably. Yeah —- I guess they should be spent in a better manner. That may not happen any time soon. I’m thinking that my current plan of mining cryptocurrency for 100 days is interesting. You might remember that 100 days from Monday, January 1, 2018 is Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Maybe that will be the day that I finally sell off all of this BTC that has been mined. Maybe with some luck. Maybe with a lot of luck bitcoin will climb back up to record highs. That seems pretty unlikely. I keep watching it rebound a little bit and then fall back to around $10,000.00 in value.

I had actually considered grabbing the old computer case from the basement and booting up my Lian Li cube computer to engage in some mining. My first real computer build included an AMD Athlon 64 processor. That board and chip are sitting in my Lian Li cube in my office right now. That computer was parted out and built at some point between 2003 and 2004. That seems like so long ago, but at the same time those memories seem so vivid. I have had several computers in between my current Storm Stryker i7 build and that first computer. I am not entirely sure why it has survived all these years. It could be the overall size and weight of the computer that makes it to big to reasonably dispose of without a lot of effort. It does house my HD DVD drive and that could come in handy at some point. Maybe at some point this week I will boot it up and see if it still runs well enough.

Topic 3: Rounding out the night

I thought tonight will include a lot more writing. Perhaps getting such a late start made the task of sprinting to 3,000 words unrealistic. Engaging in multiple writing sessions per day is the only way to sustain this level of productivity.

Topic 4: Today’s thumbnail

This weekend I spent some time at the Denver Downtown Aquarium. During that visit a number of photographs were snapped using my Pixel 2 XL camera. You are probably aware that the Pixel 2 XL has an outstanding camera. One of the photos that was taking is attached to this post at a thumbnail. It is a photograph of an aquarium exhibit with a reflection from the whole room. Those type of reflection photographs are always some of my favorites. I enjoy them, but you probably would not be surprised to find out they are almost always a happy accident. Sometimes you just notice the picture looks good and you go with it. That is what happened within this picture. It does not really have anything to do with the blog post today. I just liked it and added it to the post. You can probably expect at least a few more aquarium related thumbnails. I have already uploaded them to the blog media section. That means they are just one click away from you being able to enjoy them. I’m pretty well convinced that the whole thumbnail thing is going to devolve into a series of pictures of Peppercorn the dog sleeping. They will be cute and that should work out out, but it is devoid of any real creatively.

Topic 5: I fell asleep…

Dealing with what turned out to be a kiddo with an ear infection was slowing everything down. I was working toward writing 3,000 words. Things were moving right along. My morning writing session was decent enough. It happened. That is good enough for me to start getting a solid routine going. Getting to the point of having a routine is important. I felt like last night things were starting to come together. Maybe we were starting to get into something meaningful or at least interesting. Sometimes at the end of the day you are just writing and locked into the process of getting works down on paper or in this case the screen and everything just stops. I must have set down my ASUS Chromebook Flip C101P and went to sleep. It probably literally happened in one very tired movement. My sleep threshold is really low and from the time the Chromebook was closed and sitting on the floor I’m guessing sleep occured within about 60 seconds. I could probably match up the time stamp on the Google Doc to the sleep time stamp on my Fitbit sleep tracker. That would work out well enough. It might be a ridiculous use of technology, but hey why not use data to answer data related questions.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado
Written on my Storm Stryker custom build PC and my ASUS Flip Chromebook C101P using Google Docs

P.S. I’m just working to figure out how to move things forward. Today ended up a little bit short. That means you are in for a treat. This will be a 1,000 word or so postscript. That means the level of insight and analysis for the post game writing session should be nearing legendary proportions. Part of the process of writing 3,000 words per day is about reflection. It is about taking the time to think about the things that are going on and the things that are going to happen. Yesterday, it seemed like a good idea to start cleaning up my office. Some of that might be driven by my need to add another computer to my office. That pretty much meant that the dog bed had to move over under the whiteboard. Neither of the dogs seems to mind at all. They are happy enough that the back half of my office is completely clean.

Cleaning up my office is a major challenge on an ongoing basis. Things got super cluttered this year. One of the best parts of doing a daily YouTube live stream was that drove me to keep my office clean. Well it drove me to keep the parts of my office that were in the livestream camera feed clean. Today I’m really only writing and mining cryptocurrency. Neither of those things requires my office to be picked up. Getting my office back to a good cleaned up state is just about removing clutter from my life and being organized. Focusing on being organized is a good thing to think about and to focus on achieving.

I just cracked open a 100 calorie pack of Emerald dry roasted almonds. That snack might just help power me through closing out this blog post for the day. Keeping at the 3,000 word benchmark is an important part of being able to hit the goal. Each day a layer of the onion has to be peeled back and I have to dig deeper and deeper to keep writing. That is probably one of the better parts of the process. Writing at this pace is about digging deeper into things and writing at a higher level. Some of that means being willing to write in a near autobiographical manner. Some of it means that my writing style has to become a little bit more personal. You may have noticed my overall writing style has been evolving day to day and week to week. I’m sure by the end of the year my first block of 100,000 words will be different than my last block of 100,000 words. Writing 1,000,000 words in the same year is going to change the way I write.

One of the things that I have noticed is related to the format of my writing blog posts. My format of vignette, topics, and a postscript has been working. We are on day 24 of the writing journey and it seems to be working. Most my previous blog posts are 100% freeform. Writing within this canned format is probably the only way to really move things forward. You may have noticed that every post really does start out with the “Dear reader” opening. That has been included to note that each day I’m writing to an audience vs. writing just for my own purposes.

Maybe today I should have locked in and spent some time writing about artificial intelligence. That would have been a good thing to do. Maybe it would have been good to lock into writing or working on some type of academic paper. That would have been easy enough. Picking the right topic would have helped push it forward. Writing an academic paper that is not based on a topic will probably work out poorly and end up in failure.

I thought maybe it would be good to conclude this blog post with a few notes about how happy having copy and paste working again has made me. Being able to paste from Google Docs directly into my blog post without having all the paragraph formatting breaking down is fantastic. It has really made me realize just how annoying it was to have to format line by line and check each post after it published to make sure the formatting was not broken. This has improved my writing quality of life by about 10%. That is a completely arbitrary number that I just made up. It is possible that being able to cut and paste was worth more than 10%. Maybe the point here is that it brought joy to my world. That is good and that has helped us get close to the 3,000 word mark for the day and that is good. This postscript got a little out of control. That happens. I will try to get back on track tomorrow and keep my postscript writing projects under control. They probably should be spanning into the 1,000 word range. That is a pure recipe for disaster.

Upcoming 2018 Writing Topics:

— Write an open letter for students on the first day of college
— Some thoughts on my sports trading card collection
— A complete ranking of the hot sauces that I have tried
— A post about my top ten favorite science fiction television shows
— Recap of all the video camera equipment I have owned
— All the promise and failures of my first Sony camcorder
— That one with a roadtrip to Florida
— Applied AI: A use case based exploration
— My ode to minor league hockey
— Progress within general AI vs. specialized use cases
— My review of the ASUS C101P Chromebook
— On leadership and the modern workplace
— The best way to archive digital content

Feel free to leave topic suggestions in the comment section.