Archived projects list

Table of Contents

1. Project List (2022)

1.1. software engineering

1.1.1. DONE briefly consider Fulcro

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-05 Thu 10:04]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-04 Wed 23:44]

Look into this before doing a project in Elm, just in case I want to use it instead.

This is a full-stack solution for full-featured web apps, like business apps. Includes a lot of heavyweight features, like a full data model management, transactions, query engine, etc. Don't really have a need for something like this right now, but will keep it in mind.

1.1.2. DONE upgrade lein

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-15 Mon 11:10]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-15 Mon 11:08]

There's a bug in 2.9.9 (which I'm currently using) that pulls in source paths excluded from the active profile when creating an uberjar. This is a reminder to update later to get the fix for that.

Check back here:

Upgraded to 2.9.10 on workstation and laptop. Note that on OpenBSD, upgrades don't seem to be able to download the main script. Manually doing that part then running lein upgrade works fine though.

1.2. electronic engineering

1.2.1. [8/8] learn introductory EE

The plan is to attack this from both ends, theory and hands-on, hopefully meeting in the middle.

Will try to read some of these garbage Pi-specific books, since any useful info in them is immediately actionable. Then I'll do a proper formal introduction via textbooks.

Canceling group of projects for the foreseeable future. Current thinking:

  • This stuff is semi-fun and educational, but not sure I'm getting much out of it versus the time spent. That's mainly true when compared to other things I want to do with the same time. If it was the 1980s, that equation might be different.
  • The programming on the hobbyist side of EE is pretty lame.
  • Still can't think of any actually useful projects to build with a Pi.

I still have the electronics bench, which has a lot of useful tools that I also use for other things. Will probably still do an occasional small project, like making those speakers and maybe build a smart watch. Splitting off the battery testing and speaker project into the general topics group.

  1. CNCL read Raspberry Pi: A Step by Step Guide
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2020-11-19 Thu 23:54]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-19 Thu 23:25]

    Looks like this book is mostly filler, but has a few chapters that might be useful. This is one of the most recent books.

    Despite coming out in 2020, very outdated. Also riddled with typos and bad grammar. Quitting after seeing multiple technical errors.

  2. CNCL read Raspberry Pi Beginners Guide
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2020-11-20 Fri 00:02]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-19 Thu 23:57]

    An even more trashy looking book, and very short. But specific to the Pi 4, so will give it a skim.

    More unreadable illiteracy.

  3. DONE read Science and Engineering Projects Using the Arduino and Raspberry Pi
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-12-24 Thu 20:48]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-20 Fri 00:02]

    Seems mostly filler, but maybe skim this for Arduino info.

    Not terrible, but only by comparison. Some strange combination of contents though, and appears to be rather hastily assembled.

  4. DONE read Building Your Own Electronics Lab
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-20 Sat 05:02]
      • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-12-24 Thu 20:48]

    Might be an unnecessary text since I already have a plan for this, but will give a quick skim.

    Strange book. Useless content, rambling on for pages about basic stuff like getting enough sleep and drinking water, yet written in a style that kept me reading for awhile. Read something like half of this, then decided to stop wasting my time.

  5. CNCL read Practical Electronics for Inventors
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 18:30]

    Looks like a great intro book, assuming little, which at this point I prefer.

  6. CNCL read Getting Started in Electronics
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 18:30]

    A often-recommended first read. Might skip if the previously scheduled book covers this stuff good enough.

  7. CNCL read Electronics for Beginners
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 18:30]

    A recent 2020 book. Seems a little more in-depth, covering more complex microelectronic components. As such, might be a good bridge to the next level.

  8. CNCL read All About Circuits
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 18:30]

    Probably won't read this, but leaving a note here just in case there's any gray areas. Supposedly quite good, and builds from nothing up to complex circuits.

1.2.2. [6/6] learn basic EE hands-on skills

  1. DONE do LED hello world
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-12-01 Tue 21:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-12-01 Tue 20:34]

    Wire up the PSU with a single LED and resistor for a first breadboarding attempt.

    Done. LED cathode (-) is shorter, anode (+) is longer. Looks like I kinda know what I'm doing now and everything works, so will proceed to do some tutorials.

  2. DONE do Pi kit tutorials
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-31 Sat 18:30]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-12-02 Wed 21:20]

    Go through most of these, maybe skipping the soldering at the end to preserve the components. GitHub repo:


    • The C projects use wiringPi, a library that can be install via apt. Looks like this comes by default on Raspberry Pi OS. This adds a gpio -v command, which confirms install and shows some info. gpio readall outputs a table of all GPIO pin values. See manpage for more uses. Note that the 4B needs version >=2.52. To manually update to latest:

      sudo dpkg -i wiringpi-latest.deb
    • To do the Python examples, which are in Python 3, I symlinked python3 to bin/python.
    • Pins supporting PWM: 12, 13, 18.
    • For I2C, enable it in raspi-config, then install package i2c-tools (already there in Raspberry Pi OS). This has a utility for detecting I2C addresses. Run with i2cdetect -y 1. Values here are in hex. Related is the smbus Python package.

    This tutorial has got Engrish, typos, broken code (at least in the PDF), and poorly written code. I know enough C and Python to get everything working, but this would definitely hinder or block a n00b. After Ch.1, decided to stick with Python for these to save some redundancy. Tried to do as much of the wiring and programming myself without looking at their solution, though in a lot of cases this isn't possible.

    This was super-useful and worth the $50 for sure. However, despite doing most of these labs, I've still got huge gaps in the knowledge about exactly what I did in some of these. Two issues in particular: the tutorials don't fully explain exactly how one would come up with some of the code necessary to make certain components do what I want, nor do they explain how one would know how to combine components (e.g. which resistors to use with which components). Hopefully, I'll be able to figure this stuff out later. Mainly what I got out of it was experience wiring circuits and a shallow tour of components.

  3. CNCL do Arduino kit tutorials
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    Might as well do most of these too. A lot of this should be review, so do at least 1 per day unless there's something more pressing to do.

  4. CNCL read wiring tutorial
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    Sparkfun has a pretty detailed chapter in their Where Do I Start? tutorial about wiring. Maybe peruse the other chapters while reading this.

  5. CNCL practice soldering with a DIY kit
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    Try with the $19 speaker kit I ordered. Once done, decide if another kit would be a good idea. Could do a function generator next if so. Might also try the ESP Smartwatch kit for SMD soldering.

  6. CNCL consider free circuit simulators
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    Go through some of these and find one that doesn't suck. List here:

    Raspberry Pi OS already comes with SmartSim, so might start there. There's also LTspice for Windows, which seems popular. ngspice is available for Linux.

1.2.3. CNCL figure out how to test batteries

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

Pretty sure you can use a multimeter for this.

1.2.4. CNCL consider pigpio

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

A timing lib for Pi GPIO. Python binding available.

1.2.5. [4/4] start programming in Clojure on Pi

  1. CNCL read existing Pi+Clojure resources
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    Turns out there's at least a small but active community of people interested in doing both of these things at the same time, like myself. Collect some links and read all of them once I get past the basic stuff (which I'll go ahead and still do in Python, so I can focus on the hardware while starting). Should save a lot of frustration and experimentation on my part.


  2. CNCL consider clj-gpio
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    Was originally going to try to get GPIO interfacing working in Java, then in Clojure using interop, then writing a wrapper library. Unsurprisingly, someone already did this. Confirm this works on the Zero and later 4B. Looks like it uses core.async for responding to GPIO events.

    Blog article about events:

  3. CNCL consider linux.gpio.clj
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    More recent than clj-gpio.

  4. CNCL recreate some earlier labs in Clojure
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    Maybe do a LED hello world and then one that combines a few features.

1.2.6. [3/3] learn basic microelectronics

Select and read 1-2 of common university texts used in the early courses in university programs focused on circuit design or similar. This is probably the extent of the depth of research I want to conduct.

  1. CNCL read Introduction to Electronics
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    If sequenced here as a review, would cover the fundamentals to logic gates.

  2. CNCL read Microelectronic Circuits
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    Have an older hardcopy of this, but will get an e-book version of the 8th edition and read that more casually. Will use the hardcopy as a desk reference if needed. Includes a little digital content.

    Of the main 4 common component-based textbooks, I'm defaulting to this one since I have the hardcopy, but consider the others too:

    • Electronic Devices: Conventional Current Version
    • Electronic Principles
    • Electronic Devices and Circuit Theory
  3. CNCL read The Art of Electronics
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-31 Sat 19:18]

    Supposedly the authoritative tome on circuit design. Might want to get a physical copy for the bench, but will try an e-book first. There's also Learning the Art of Electronics: A Hands-On Lab Course and The Art of Electronics: The X Chapters as complimentary texts.

1.3. work

1.3.1. DONE make placeholder GitHub page

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-14 Thu 18:22]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-19 Thu 13:02]

I think this is simply a matter of making a project called Make this an Org project. For now, just have it point to the GitHub account.

The main point of this exercise is to use GitHub Actions to control a build configuration that will publish the site whenever I push a commit. Considering it a work-like task for such reasons.

Later I could make this auto-list the repos and generate links to them.

These two resources contain some info about exactly what I was hoping to do:


  • Inside the repo, create file .github/workflows/publish.yml.
  • Had to figure out how to change repo file permissions. To add executable to a file in a repo, do this: git update-index --chmod=+x Then do a git commit -m "Comment" on this without the -a.
  • Current config will email me a build report.
  • Had to go into the repo settings under the Pages sub-tab and change the display branch to gh-pages, which is where the build publishes to.

This works and is pretty nice, though it's one of those magical incantation type of situations. If I didn't already have a VPS, I'd be more interested. Maybe I could look into having similar infrastructure for my other sites though. That'd be more complex, but should be doable.

1.3.2. DONE make some progress on the character generator

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-16 Sat 14:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-14 Thu 18:22]

Explore whether Malli-based schemas will be the way to go on it.

The answer is: probably, but not necessarily. Malli doesn't really get you far on the generator front, so a full suite of custom generator code is still needed. It'd be different if you just wanted to generate junk for testing though.

One issue with Malli is the inability to use arbitrary predicate functions in an "inline" manner. These can be used via the :fn operator, but then break serialization. There was some talk about supporting them naturally, but it hasn't happened. Discussion here:

1.3.3. DONE try doing leetcode exercises in Clojure

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-04 Sun 08:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-21 Sun 16:14]

4Clojure has shut down. There's an archive site, but I already did a large portion of the problems there anyway. Clojure's not one of the supported languages for leetcode, but give it a try anyway to see if these are worth using as a algorithms practice problem source.

Yeah, these work pretty good. They're not as nicely balanced, since some things are easier or harder when done functionally. Some are definitely intended for people to puzzle through with nested imperative loops and such. Some others are just tedious.

Did many, but not sure I learned much new. Might occasionally sample some of the harder problems later on occasion, just to keep the algorithm skills sharp and to attempt to conjure novel solutions for them in a dynamically typed FPL.

1.3.4. CNCL do high-level refresher on ML topics

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-09-04 Sun 10:18]

A refresher here will be a good chance to do a current-thinking take on the field and see if it's something I want to focus on at all going forward.

Do a general overview and a focus on classifiers, regression analysis, and recommendation engines. Maybe take a peek at cortex and clj-ml, Clojure libraries that include capability in this area (I think). Maybe TensorFlow too, which isn't as popular but still around.

Looks like I won't need this for now, so will put this off for an indeterminate later date.

1.3.5. DONE redo macroexpand-main

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-05 Mon 23:33]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-04 Sun 08:59]

Currently undecided whether to do a static Org site for this or something more dynamic. Will probably keep it static and make any dynamic content separate sites or sub-directories. Will probably just do this as a general content pass, focusing on what services I actually want to sell on the site.

Added some business service content. Forked writ.css with some of my own changes. Added a few pics to start. Took additional pics of stuff I had laying around, but not using those yet.

Some things I might do later:

  • Generate some AI art for a title image and or the top-level sections. Could move the ME logo to the first section heading then.
  • Split out the seeds catalog into a separate page, adding instructions and tips, and sales info.
  • Add a PayPal donation button with an in advance thank you.
  • Add pictures of the gardens once the new fencing projects are complete and some stuff is growing in them next year.
  • Borrow some other ideas from various CSS Bed themes, maybe:
  • Worth noting is this set of minimal CSS that can be used anywhere:

1.3.6. DONE build work laptop

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-09 Fri 23:20]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-08 Thu 13:44]

Since I prefer a work environment physically separate from all personal computing, I'll repurpose the x230 laptop (currently running OpenBSD) for work. Might put OpenBSD on the T440 later and keep that for personal use. Since this is for work, will probably use Ubuntu, and try to get WM swapping working with i3 and whatever the default is these days. Might also consider later grabbing a Librem 14 to replace this, but don't have time to order one before starting. If I stick with this as the work platform, I'll probably order another battery for it, just to be safe.

Installed Xubuntu as a safe starter setup. Since I have a spare ThinkPad, I could do something more experimental with that once I settle into a routine. Audio and video conferencing seem like they'll work with the on-board devices. Video is very dark and murky though. Skipped the Haskell and Coq dev stacks for now. Made guesses on versions of some core tech stack items. Still some config and packages to install, but calling this core functional.

1.3.7. DONE setup pgAdmin on work laptop

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-09 Fri 23:40]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-09 Fri 21:29]

Not sure if this is used, but tends to be wherever I see PostgreSQL. So, will go ahead and set it up. I know another popular option is Postico, but that's OSX-only.


  • Since the work PC is apt-based, follow these instructions:
  • Desktop version is now available from the launcher, pointing to /usr/pgadmin4/bin/pgadmin4. Might want to add to $PATH later.
  • Set pgAdmin master password to same as dev account.
  • The script is to run the web version of pgAdmin, which I'm skipping for now.

Installed 6.13. Didn't do anything with it yet, since I haven't created any users/databases.

1.3.8. DONE setup VS Codium on work laptop

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-10 Sat 11:17]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-10 Sat 13:27]

Might want this for local Markdown rendering if nothing else. Hopefully not, but doing so now is one less thing to worry about. Going the repo-adding apt install way.

Looks like snap is already installed on Xubuntu, so went that route instead. Also, a lot of the default apps that come with the OS are snap-managed now too. Worth keeping in mind for stuff I might want later.

Setup, from a default snap setup:

  • Run sudo snap install snap-store to setup the app store.
  • Run sudo snap install codium --classic.

1.3.9. DONE setup PostgreSQL on Manjaro

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-11 Sun 22:23]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-11 Sun 14:28]

Would like to have this on my personal workstation for some Clojure JDBC experimentation.

Install extra/postgresql and extra/postgresql-docs and then do the following:

sudo su postgres -l
initdb --locale $LANG -E UTF8 -D '/var/lib/postgres/data/'
sudo systemctl start postgresql.service
sudo systemctl enable postgresql.service

Then, I can log into the database with psql -U postgres. Create a user and DB with something like:

CREATE USER bm3719 WITH PASSWORD 'myPassword';

To find the config location, run: udo -u postgres psql -c "SHOW config_file;"

To allow remote connections, edit /var/lib/postgres/data/postgresql.conf and set listen_addresses = '*'.

Next, edit /var/lib/postgres/data/pg_hba.conf and append these lines:

host     all             all                  md5
host     all             all             ::/0                    md5

Running smooth. Also added community/pgadmin4 for now. Created a single table and loaded it with historical stock data from Yahoo Finance (which can be exported to CSV on their "Historical Data" tab). Some of the authentication stuff is a bit murky, but will figure that out if needed later.

1.3.10. [4/4] revamp office a bit

  1. DONE get new table fan
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-19 Mon 15:50]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-13 Tue 17:12]

    Current one is of questionable functionality. If set on anything lower than max power, the electric motor enclosure will get extremely hot. Thinking this might be a fire hazard, so will replace.

    Ordered the Hunter 90603 12" metal fan from Amazon for ~$77. Might take 1-2 months to get here though, meaning it won't do much good this year.

    Received and it runs pretty good. A tiny bit more powerful on the low setting than I'd like, but I can live with it. Moved plastic one to bedroom.

  2. DONE consider ThinkPad docking stations
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-23 Fri 16:29]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-14 Wed 21:32]

    Should be super useful for the designated work x230. Compatible unit with that is the Ultrabase Dock Series 3, P/N 0A33932. Has 4 USB ports, DP, and audio pass-through, among other things.

    2022-09-14: Bid on one and also bought a T440 dock (which will also work with an X260 if I decide to get one of those and keep the T440 as backup), P/N SD20F82750. The T440 dock comes with an extra power brick, which I'd want to leave attached to the dock itself. Cost for that was $30.

    2022-09-18: Won auction for the 0A33932 unopposed. Total was $67.05 with taxes and shipping.

    2022-09-19: Received SD20F82750. Setting this aside for either use with a revamped work laptop or until I get a new living room desk setup.

    2022-09-23: Received 0A33932. It's pretty nice. Did some cable management and got things nice and tidy in the office.

  3. DONE get extra x230 battery
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-28 Wed 09:00]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-23 Fri 12:39]

    Will need this for business travel. Current one is like 6 years old and only lasts about an hour.

    Received. Should be good to go on the road now.

  4. CNCL consider wireless mouse
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-09-28 Wed 21:12]

    Maybe get this for travel. I had one somewhere, so see if I can find that first.

    Decided to do without. Since I'm using a ThinkPad, I can live with the eraser head pointer for a few days a year.

1.3.11. [8/8] do fast surface pass on job/remedial skills

Do high level reviews/refreshers of a few things that will make starting the new job easier. Blocking 1 week for this, so making this super shallow. This is part of a larger process that is this pass, baseline skills upgrade just to get the job done, then full-spectrum deep dives. Probably will only spend 1-2 days on each topic here.

Feeling less lost now. Will move on to 2nd tier.

  1. DONE make a basic Clojure JDBC application
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-11 Sun 23:41]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-11 Sun 22:32]

    Get data flowing to/from database.

    Made project called pgjdbc. Requires a dependency declaration for the database driver. Seems strict about date types, and inserts would only work with constructing a clunky java.sql.Date. Everything works pretty good though.

  2. DONE do shallow dive on PostgreSQL
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-19 Mon 09:24]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-09 Fri 17:00]

    The primary datastore the system interoperates against. Do some overview reading and look into basic CLI use.

    See some of the setup notes above. Also might consider reading the book, The Art of PostgreSQL.

  3. DONE do shallow dive on SQL
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-19 Mon 09:49]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-12 Mon 08:14]

    It's been awhile, so need a refresher on query syntax. Will do this against PostgreSQL, to keep things focused.

    Good enough for now. Probably should spend some more time on it though, but will prioritize as needed.

  4. CNCL do shallow dive on Spring
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-10-06 Thu 09:59]

    Been over 10 years since I thought about it. Maybe just review basic docs on:

    Also maybe review the projects list, starting at:

    Will circle around to this later. Doesn't seem critical now.

  5. CNCL do shallow dive on React
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-10-06 Thu 09:59]

    Just learn the underlying framework concepts, since they're probably emergent on the CLJS side.

    Can put this off.

  6. CNCL do shallow dive on Redshift and Snowflake
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-10-06 Thu 09:59]

    Just read the high-level docs.

    Deferring to 2nd tier research.

  7. DONE learn about FIX
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-11 Tue 12:47]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-06 Thu 11:42]

    FIX stands for Financial Information eXchange. Singling this out due to its importance in the futures market.

    Read the following in order:

    There's also the Onix docs, but will skip those for now since they go into fine detail on the protocol, fields, and the library itself. Will circle back around to that later. Note that in regards to the protocol, there is some undefined behavior around the edges that exchanges implement differently.


    • FIX is for all securities, not just futures.
    • The encoding method used is "tagvalue encoding", with fields containing a numeric tag and a value, separated by an equals sign. Tagvalues are separated by "|" or space when rendered in ASCII, with a trailer separator allowed (and possibly required). In the actual message, the delimiter is the SOH (0x01) character.
    • Messages contain a heade, body, and trailer. Some header fields are mandatory. The last tag is a 3-digit checksum (tag 10).
    • Pure binary values are allowed, preceded by a length field. This includes encrypted values.
    • Ordering is mostly unenforced within the body.
    • Two types of messages: admin and application. Admin handles sessions, e.g. begin/end. Application contains trade info.
    • The checksum is calculated by bitwise adding all message characters, mod 256. If that's <100, the checksum value is zfilled to make 3 characters.
    • Simple Binary Encoding (SBE) is a supported format that uses predefined, fixed-length fields. These are used for low-latency (high performance) trading and more deterministic performance. The only metadata is a value that refers to the template being used. This message struct is then type-cast in C++ to the raw binary.
    • There's other formats for FIX as well, including JSON. FIXML is widely used as well (for templates maybe?).
    • FIXT: The newer naming scheme for the session layer spec. Message delivery is guaranteed in both directions, and includes a message sequence number.
    • FIXP: A performance-centric spec for session/application messages.
    • A TCP socket is open by customer and persists for the session. Technically, it can be used by other transport methods, but generally isn't.
    • FIX has different versions, some of which are more popular than others.
    • A message always starts with tag 8 (BeginString, the FIX version), 9 (BodyLength), and 35 (MsgType).
    • A session is established when the initiator sends a Logon (35=A) message, and the acceptor sends it's own Logon message.
    • Periodic Heartbeat (35=0) messages are sent to keep the session alive.
    • See the order workflow in the Medium post for a typical order lifecycle.


    • FIX versions used?
    • Variants like SBE/FIXT/FIXP/etc. used?
    • FIXML used?
  8. DONE brush up on domain topics
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-18 Tue 21:50]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-13 Thu 21:27]

    Have a collection of Wikipedia and other articles on derivatives, commodities, futures, swaps, and other related topics. Read all of those. Should close the gap on terminology and general concepts at least.

    Topics covered:

    • Derivatives: One core concept is the distinction between lock and option products. Lock products are like contracts, obligating parties against terms. Option products provide rights to buyers. The main types are OTC and exchange-traded.
    • Futures: Perpetual futures don't have a specified order date. Ignoring arbitrage info for now. Contracts have codes of 5 characters (2:contract type, 1:month, 2: year).
    • Swaps: Essentially an exchange of risk for stability, e.g., a variable interest rate can be exchanged for a fixed rate.
    • CME: Currently owned by CME Group. Only exchange for weather derivatives.
    • DTCC: The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation. Provides post-trade clearing and settlement.
    • CFTC: Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Regulates the derivatives market. There's a good Commissioner interview podcast on HC Insider.
    • ICE: Intercontinental Exchange. POF = Private Order Feed.
    • Dodd-Frank: Adds supervision for swaps, and requires exchanges for futures.
    • Wash trade: Buying and selling the same instrument (usually within the same day) in order to create artificial volume/liquidity.
    • Spoofing: Feigning of interest in an instrument to create the illusion of demand by putting in bids and canceling them before they execute.

    There's a lot of terminology in these articles that could use some integration. Sections might be worth a skim later to reinforce.

1.3.12. DONE merge work/personal dev environments

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-18 Tue 21:54]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-27 Tue 08:14]

There's a few differences that would be beneficial to include in my personal setup. Doing this will also decrease overhead. Will skip the data and cloud infrastructure though.

Stuff done:

  • Added lein-pprint to ~/.lein/profiles.clj. This can print out all or selected keys from a project's project.clj. Not that useful, but could be handy in scripts, I guess. lein-shell is important there, but won't merge that in for now due to lack of need.
  • Added lsof to system setup.

Couldn't think of much else to do for now. Will update if something else occurs to me in the near future.

1.3.13. DONE read up on rewriting Git history

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-09 Wed 13:16]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-09 Wed 10:48]

Get a good workflow for this that works in Magit. See if there's any issues with checking commit history into a remote branch first before doing a rewrite.

This might be the rebase workflow detailed here:

The latter suggests forking the repo and working with two origins, so isn't that useful.

As used here, this centers around the use of git rebase -i <hash>. Pick the hash of the commit in the branch that is just before the first feature commit. Then you can use the various commands in the comment to rewrite the history. It's probably best to do this in sequence, squashing commits together, reordering, etc, in multiple interactive rebasings.

Regarding updating already pushed commits, looks like a --force will do the trick to rewrite that. Be careful not to re-pull once rebase has started though, since it'll clobber any in-process work.

To split commits, do a rebase -i HEAD~<n>, set the commits to edit, then a reset HEAD~<n> (where n matches between commands). Then create commits as desired, and when done do a rebase --continue. Not sure if this works in the middle of commits that I don't want to change though (probably not).

1.3.14. [5/5] build new work laptop

  1. DONE consider HP Dev One or ThinkPad X260
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-09 Wed 22:42]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-09 Wed 16:03]

    Will have to eventually get something that can support 16GB RAM for work. 8GB works, but the full suite of docker containers maxes out the memory and the X230's CPU. I'd like to get the new hardware soon and do a slow build of the system to get everything perfect before switching over.

    X260 pros:

    • Costs a lot less. Can get one already upgraded with 16GB RAM and SSD for around $160, versus the current sale price of $989 for the Dev One.
    • Already have dock for it, making it easier to detach and go on the road.
    • Smaller 12.5" screen instead of the Dev One's 14". This size is really great for traveling and use on flights.
    • More durable.
    • Has 3 mouse buttons instead of 2 + trackpad click.
    • Can use any OS instead of being stuck with Pop!_OS.
    • Has matte screen instead of glossy.
    • Can swap in extra batteries.

    HP Dev One pros:

    • New and unused hardware.
    • Faster RAM and CPU. System resource issues won't be a problem.
    • Still pretty cheap for a usable work laptop.
    • Better camera, mic, speakers.
    • Has sliding lens cover for camera.
    • Great battery life. Probably can go most of a work day on a charge.
    • OS has already been (mostly) fine-tuned for the hardware by System76.
    • Can be ordered with a custom wireless mouse.
    • Could mount on a laptop stand to get camera more at eye level.
    • Has NVMe drive.
    • RAM can be upgraded to 64GB.

    The Dev One has a lot of things going for it, but will go with the X260 for the above reasons. Worst case, I can still get the Dev One later and put the X260 in the closet as the backup for the X230. Will lurk around eBay a bit to get one.

  2. DONE suppress JVM warning on current version of JDK 1.8
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-19 Sat 21:46]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-19 Sat 21:43]

    Not sure why I don't have this problem elsewhere, but on the new work laptop I get an annoying JVM warning whenever I do anything with the JVM.

    Adding this export seems to fix it: export LEIN_JVM_OPTS="-XX:TieredStopAtLevel=1"

    This doesn't seem to have any adverse side effects, so will keep it in. This flag sets the maximum optimization level, however, so keep it in mind as something changed if I ever get weird behavior.

  3. DONE consider TLP for work ThinkPad
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-19 Sat 21:46]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-19 Sat 19:14]

    Will do this later in case it messes up anything. Supposedly can offer some power savings:

    Followed setup notes there. Can check the state of TLP with tlp-stat -s.

    After install, run:

    • sudo systemctl enable tlp.service
    • sudo tlp start
    • If I want to turn off bluetooth, run bluetooth off. Can do the same with wifi. nfc and wwan aren't relevant on this machine.

    Note that in the current kernel version, battery recalibration via something like sudo tlp recalibrate BAT0 isn't available without some hacks that I'll skip for now. Will look more into the various controls later. Might be a good thing to do next time I'm on the road for work.

  4. DONE get and setup ThinkPad X260
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-27 Sun 11:39]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-19 Sat 13:28]

    Bought one on eBay for $167 (including shipping) that comes with 16GB RAM and a 500GB SSD. Intentionally got one with the lower resolution of 1366x768 for screen-sharing bandwidth reasons. Receive this and confirm everything's in good working order (looks like it comes with Win10), then select an OS to install on it. Might stick with Xubuntu for now, since it seems to be working pretty good. Once that's done, I'll do a task for switching over all work stuff to it, separate since I might want to schedule that for later.

    Since this setup will allow for dual monitors due to the dock, I'll wire those up, and use this as my main machine in the office, leaving the Windows box off/sleeping unless I need it for something like image editing.

    Some notes on upgrade from X230 -> X260:

    • CPU: i5-3210M (2.50GHz, 3MB) -> i7-6600U (2.6GHz, 4MB)
    • RAM: 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 -> 16GB 2133MHz DDR4
    • iGPU: Intel HD Graphics 4000 -> Intel HD Graphics 520
    • Release date: 2012 -> 2016

    2022-11-19: Received X260. Hardware looks good. Installed Xubuntu 22.04.01 LTS. This version will be supported until 2025-04. Hostname is zivle, "an investor" in lojban.

    Some OS-specific setup notes for next time:

    • Image ISO with GPT boot manager, in ISO-mode.
    • Create a /etc/motd, and chmod -x /etc/update-motd.d/10-help.text.
    • Confirm graphic driver is correct with glxinfo -B.
    • Install w3m as w3m-img.
    • Check installed packages with apt list --installed.
    • Install package gcc as a dependency for cargo installs.

    Only downside so far is the Thinkpad Fn keys don't seem to work. Not a big deal though, since this DE has that as a tray app.

  5. DONE migrate work environment to X260
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-27 Sun 21:42]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-27 Sun 11:39]

    Redo everything on this machine. Copy over the same SSH keys and scp the ~/src directory. Copy over my main work Org file as a final step. Keep X230 around for a couple months, just in case.

    Finally got everything working, after much work. Runs pretty fast, even with my personal stuff on another monitor. Will use this as my primary computer all day, in addition to a work computer. Liking the X260 platform overall too. Integrated camera seems good enough to use instead of the external too.

1.3.15. DONE get better with curl

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-08 Thu 18:49]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-17 Thu 12:43]

Complex curl commands seem to be something used occasionally. Reading this manual should do it:

The above manual and the manpage are pretty good and comprehensive. There's a lot to curl. I'll probably stick with wget in scripts for simple stuff, but default to curl for sending data or generally anything complex. curl can also be useful for testing API calls, and is a handy way to standardize queries (like making sure you can always transpose everything to a valid curl expression).

Related to this, it's worth noting the online service at, which is a good way to test that your curl request is coming through as intended, if it's an HTTP one.

1.3.16. DONE consider new work keyboard

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-10 Sat 17:33]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-27 Sun 22:26]

Maybe get another 87-key WASD keyboard with silent red switches. Will then set aside the currently used one for later bedroom desk use, or just use it for the gaming rig.

2022-11-27: Ordered now to take advantage of 20% off sale. Got the keycaps fully blank and colored black/graphite instead of the black/gray I got last time.

2022-12-10: Received and installed on desk. Works good.

1.4. technology/software

1.4.1. DONE finish office cable management

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-23 Sun 01:09]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-22 Sat 23:08]

With all the work hardware out of the office, should be able to finish tidying up all cabling.

Done. Improved by quite a bit. Probably could keep at it to get it absolutely perfect, but I'm okay with it now.

1.4.2. DONE setup SASL on irssi

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-11 Fri 10:12]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-11 Fri 09:59]

Looks like Libera is sticking around, so config irssi to use SASL with nick I have registered already. Maybe setup ERC as well. Follow guide here:

Use these commands on irssi to enable this:

/network add -sasl_username <login> -sasl_password <password> -sasl_mechanism PLAIN LiberaChat
/server add -auto -net LiberaChat -tls -tls_verify 6697

For historical reference, I used to use this line in the config file to auto-register: autosendcmd = "/msg nickserv identify <password>;wait 2000";

Skipping ERC for now, since it would require adding a huge chunk of code in init.el. Will make the trade if I start using IRC there more.

SASL seems like an interesting framework, being protocol-independent and embeddable in initial communication. One would think it'd be used more often.

1.4.3. DONE re-install OS on laptop

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-20 Sun 16:55]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-11 Fri 11:23]

AUR package list here is a bit stale and some hardware like sound randomly stopped working. While reinstalling, make a master list of AUR packages, to better keep an eye on versions there. Will use this opportunity to switch to aura as well. This is also a good test run for doing the same on the workstation next.

Done. Went very smooth. Got audio working again too.

1.4.4. DONE switch to aura

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-20 Sun 16:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-19 Sat 22:27]

Looked into this a bit and aura seems superior to yay, at least slightly. In particular, it includes a snapshot feature to go back to a specific set of package versions, which can be helpful if updates break something.

Quick reference:

  • Upgrade all normal packages: sudo aura -Su
  • Upgrade all AUR packages: sudo aura -Au
  • Search AUR via regex: aura -As
  • Snapshot all installed package versions: aura -B

Note that this will pull in a huge system-level Haskell dev stack, then by default remove it. There may be consequences to this depending on my dev setup in the future.

It's true that this is less convenient than yay. But, I'll still stick with it for the foreseeable future to maintain technical purity.

1.4.5. DONE do personal security audit

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-06 Wed 01:14]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-04 Mon 11:42]

I can easily imagine there being stuff that didn't occur to me to do on this front. Use this comprehensive guide to audit all technology used:


Looks like I was already doing pretty good.

1.4.6. DONE consider Unhook

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-09 Sat 11:30]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-09 Sat 10:19]

This is a Chrome extension to disable various YouTube features.

Does indeed get rid of several useless annoyances, though could definitely do a lot more.

1.4.7. DONE get another Logitech M500s

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-02 Mon 21:10]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-28 Thu 13:55]

This is for the workstation, since the click hold function on that mouse is semi-broken. Not super critical, but annoying for playing games.

2022-04-28: Ordered. This model might be out of production now, with no good replacement. Found a refurb one on eBay for $40.

2022-05-02: Received, and pretty quick for eBay. Will set aside for now until needed.

1.4.8. DONE convert server site to single page

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-12 Sun 14:24]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-12 Sun 14:05]

Make this a page that just links to the server's user content. Two options:

  • Single static HTML page that has large divs that have a thumbnail and a description of the link.
  • Make this a single Org document of the same.

Need to do some thinking about what I want the theme of this to be. I might also use it to sell seeds/produce.

Converted to single-page Org, for now. Will expand this more later. In particular, the CSS needs to be redone.

1.4.9. DONE consider CSS Bed

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-07 Thu 11:18]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-07 Thu 10:48]

A tag-less CSS solution. Could simplify creating a theme for any site.

Changed ME main to use the writ theme. These are pretty handy for throwing stuff online with minimal hassle. Probably could augment them with classes as well if needing custom styling.

1.4.10. DONE get Thinkpad T440

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-19 Tue 20:35]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-13 Wed 13:46]

Was going to get another X230, but these are so old that they're kinda trashed now. Decided to order a T440. Downsides compared to the X230 is that it's slightly larger and has a bigger trackpad. Bought it for $159.09 including taxes. According to the Arch Wiki, it should be fully supported. Might put Manjaro on this and then install OpenBSD on the old X230. Then I can use the X230 for times when I just need a basic computing/programming setup, like waiting for a car to get fixed. This T440 will be the full mobile workstation.

Received and environment recreated. Looks pretty good. Was worried about the trackpad buttons, but they exist, including the middle button. The clickable trackpad is certainly a downgrade from the discrete buttons. That's probably the main downside for this model. Otherwise, I probably will be able to stick with this one for the foreseeable future.

Random notes:

  • The T440 supposedly supports Coreboot well, so could make a project of installing that if I feel up to it later.
  • Also considered the MNT Reform, which is ARM-based–similar in specs to what an RPi laptop would be. Seems way too expensive for what you get though.

Update: The hidden trackpad buttons are super annoying. Won't get this model in the future. However, the x260 uses the same battery and AC adapter and can max at 16GB instead of the 12GB here. Might switch to that and put this one in the closet.

1.4.11. DONE fix Brave extensions on workstation

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-27 Wed 23:39]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-27 Wed 23:06]

A rare problem apparently, but my setup can't install extensions. Always get a "download interrupted" error. Works on my Manjaro laptop though, so probably will be fixed when I update the full OS. Didn't want to do that right now though, so see if I can fix this in place.

Needed to grab CRX file. To do that, installed the download-crx application from npm. Got that running after some yak shaving. Then renamed that CRX file to a .zip extension, and unpacked it in its own directory. Then in Brave, went to the extension manager, switched to developer mode, and loaded the unpacked extension. That worked.

1.4.12. DONE install OpenBSD on X230

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-10 Wed 16:21]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-09 Tue 11:30]

Don't need 2 Manjaro laptops, so might as well install OpenBSD on this one. Won't actually use it for much. Once setup, test battery life. Could get new battery and give current one to A-. Hostname will be gorkeulhzenht, which means "convulsions" in Kobaian.

This blog post has some present-day advice on the topic, and I'll probably run -current like he suggests:


  • Installed 7.2-current.
  • Changed hostname to cmaci, lojban for "mathematics", due to length.
  • Installed most stuff via pkg_tools, since I didn't want to waste 5 days compiling stuff should it not work out for some reason.
  • Ports support for the set of software I care about has actually gotten worse since I last used OpenBSD. That's probably due to the communities around my targeted tech stacks and the OpenBSD user base being almost wholly disjoint sets.
  • Made a lot of progress filling out my personal OpenBSD setup guide.

I'll keep OpenBSD on here for now, mainly to use as a backup machine. Might still replace it later and/or retire the machine to the closet as backup.

Update: Another good resource (though for an X280):

1.4.13. DONE switch to custom userChrome.css on FF

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-10 Wed 16:34]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-10 Wed 16:21]

Using FF on OpenBSD, so see what it takes to use one of these.


  • Go to about:config and set toolkit.legacyUserProfileCustomizations.stylesheets to true.
  • Find the "Profile Folder" by going to Help -> Troubleshooting Information, and then checking the value in the table.
  • Go to that directory and create a chrome directory under it.
  • Put new userChrome.css file there.

This works fine, but the one I was going to use isn't that great in action. Switched back to default.

1.4.14. CNCL try out bspwm

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-08-11 Thu 08:05]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-10 Wed 19:10]

Consider this for the OpenBSD laptop. While doing so, I think I'll convert it aesthetically into something more of a late 80s/early 90s feel, regarding fonts and colors. bspwm is interesting from a design standpoint. I'd describe it as having a very minimal concept surface while not sacrificing any WM capability. Internally, and architecturally, that might not be as true though.

Will also use polybar, or at least try to:

Decided to skip this for now. However, I did rice out my i3 setup, 80s style. This looks pretty good. Wouldn't want it for a primary workstation experience, but it's nice to have something different here. Added notes regarding that to the setup docs. bspwm and polybar are still installed on the laptop though, in case I feel like coming back to it.

1.4.15. DONE cleanup file systems

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-14 Sun 12:17]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-14 Sun 11:13]

Time to spend an evening doing some cleanup. Will also consider deprecating most of my user-defined user drive on Windows, since I don't use that as a $HOME directory in Cygwin anymore. Most of these dotfiles here can be safely deleted.


  • Moved Windows Conkeror install to C:\bin hierarchy. Redirected all config references.
  • Image collection moved to backups folder on storage drive for now. Will collate with everything else once I get a comprehensive data storage setup.

Done. Wasn't as bad as I'd feared. There's no many less folders with random stuff laying around. Backups and reinstalls should be easier from now on.

1.4.16. DONE learn kitty capabilities

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-15 Mon 15:54]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-13 Sat 14:19]

Looks like this terminal can do a lot more than my previous ones have. Might as well read the docs.


  • Added icat alias to the icat kitten.
  • The diff kitten might also be useful if Emacs isn't available.
  • The ranger file manager integrates well with kitty. It can display images in a directory inside the terminal. Added ranger to my standard installs. Added task to read docs for that too.
  • Use C-S-M-u to enter Unicode input mode. Good for CLI chat and email.
  • kitty has tabs and windowing, but will stick with my WM for that. This does have a feature for duplicating input, but IIRC tmux also has that.
  • kitty has its own shell, accessible via C-S-Esc. Run help there for a list of commands.

Super handy and I like kitty more than before. Only downside in my case is that the Windows and rPi boxes can't take advantage of it on their desktops (which is why I'll always default to having the same functionality outside of the terminal emulator when possible). Also, I had been thinking about going back to plain xterm due to speed, universality, and simplicity, but will be sticking with kitty since these features are a big win.

Didn't read all the docs, nor did I go through all of the config options, so I could revisit this later if desired.

1.4.17. DONE learn ranger

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-15 Mon 15:59]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-15 Mon 15:56]

A curses file manager. Will stick with doing most file management from the CLI, but this application is useful for browsing. Combined with kitty's graphics protocol, it can quickly browse image directories. This should also work over ssh.

Not much to learn here, at least for the purposes I had. Works out of the box in kitty. Read some of the docs anyway though. If I find myself using this a lot, I might want to come back here, complete that reading, and make a config for it. Main thing to remember is that it's vi-inspired, so those kind of keybindings are what work in it (along with arrow keys and such). Also, C-h will show hidden files/directories.

1.4.18. DONE switch VSCode to VS Codium on Windows box

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-23 Tue 12:46]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-23 Tue 12:10]

Disables (the non-extension based) tracking and is fully FLOSS-licensed. No reason not to use this instead of the MS version, though I'll continue pretty much never using it anyway.

Installed via scoop. Also saved an MSI to the storage drive, just in case.

Note that extension integration may require this:

1.4.19. [6/6] switch to ZSA Moonlander

  1. DONE consider ZSA Moonlander
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-08 Thu 20:59]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-05 Mon 09:15]

    A programmable, ortholinear split-keyboard. If you want ortho and split, this seems to be the current ultimate keyboard. Not sure I do, but I might be willing to give it a try. I have some concerns though, with a cost/benefit analysis here.


    • Ostensibly better for the fingers and wrists. Might alleviate some very minor RSI I think I'm getting.
    • Split will prevent the arms from being locked in an unnatural position. They can just face directly forward instead of scrunched together.
    • Supports layers.
    • Using layers, can bind all programming characters, like parens and brackets, to the home row.
    • Can control mouse from the keyboard. Might be able to go no mouse for a non-gaming rig.
    • Would be hard (effectively impossible for me) to build one of these with this many features and such nice build quality by yourself.
    • Could be setup for one-handed use if desired.
    • All software is FOSS.


    • Costs $365.
    • Rewiring the brain to use this might make other keyboards less effective. There's no way I'll replace all my keyboards with these, due to cost. Also can't do anything about laptops.
    • The kind of programming and general computer use I do doesn't require bashing out massive amounts of code. It's more thinking and less typing.
    • Programming the keyboard requires a web-based config tool to generate the config file. Supposedly possible to set this up locally though.
    • The various official flashing binaries don't work on Arch. wally-cli supposedly works though.
    • Has RGB lights. This might be okay if I can leave it off by default and maybe activate a subtle color for layers.
    • Only comes with marked keys. Would have to buy blank keycaps once I got used to it.
    • Won't work with my office keyboard tray.

    Definitely not a clear win. One caveat to the above is that I can try it out and if I don't like it, I can sell it on eBay. So, it's more about whether an attempt at net gains outweighs the $100 or so I'd probably lose in total. Will think about it for awhile.

    Regarding switches, the Kailh Gold are similar to Cherry MX blues, but require less force. Kailh is a cheaper Chinese knock-offs of Cherry, which are German. The main important difference though is activation time, with the Kailhs doing so pre-bump. Pretty sure I don't want that. So, will go with browns for this, since they're in between blues and reds. I'd prefer clicky, but I'd rather optimize for tendon wear. I do notice blues working them a lot if used all day.

    Decided to go with it. Converting this task to a multi-part goal. If this works out great, I may consider a second one for the work computer.

  2. DONE get Moonlander
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-19 Mon 11:48]
    • State "STRT" from [2021-04-05 Mon 09:59]

    Decided to order one. Main impetus was some wrist pain I've been having lately. Ordered black keyboard with Cherry MX browns. Also got 4 packs of black keys (4x10) to swap out the marked keys once I get used to it.

    Will take around 6 weeks to arrive.

    2021-04-16: Looks like this shipped already–much earlier than expected.

    2021-04-19: Received surprisingly quickly.

  3. CNCL setup wally-cli
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-04-23 Fri 21:14]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-20 Tue 13:18]

    Need this version for Arch-based distros, I think.

    Installed aur/zsa-wally. This doesn't seem to actually install any binaries though.

    Skipping for now, since using other computer for it.

  4. DONE get a coiled TRRS cable
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-26 Mon 21:30]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-20 Tue 14:22]

    Seems like this should probably be the default. Non-coiled just lays around awkwardly. Could also just coil mine with a dowel and hair dryer.

    Ordered a 4-pole TRRS, but best I could find is a 3' one with straight plugs. This was $4.61, so figured worth a try versus buying a custom braided one, though I may consider those later if I get multiple Moonlanders.

    Worked out great. Looks good and is fully functional. Doesn't go super far apart, but seems about right at max extension.

  5. CNCL setup layers
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-09-25 Sun 03:53]
      • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-19 Mon 18:38]

    Probably will swap this around a bit, but might I'll come up with a starting setup. Work on getting something solidified here before training the fingers.

  6. CNCL practice typing
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-09-25 Sun 03:53]

    Might try some of the typing addons for Emacs to practice.

    Putting this all on hold since I need to type on multiple normal keyboards for the job. Will revisit later when unemployed again.

1.4.20. DONE fix full upgrade on Manjaro

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-11 Sun 14:28]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-11 Sun 13:26]

Broken due to required deps not being able to be removed.

Uninstalled wxgtk2. This package now only exists in the AUR, so I suspect it was a orphaned leaf. Also had to uninstall npm due to file conflict errors. Got it back on later by backing up the various conflicting sub-directories. They're still there if I need to move some stuff over.

1.4.21. CNCL add mountable USB hub to desk

  • State "CNCL" from "INAC" [2022-09-12 Mon 20:24]

Will mount one of these to the underside of the desk to unify the secondary keyboard and mouse. Then I can plug my laptop into that and only have to connect the monitor and hub. If I don't go this route, I'll still use this on the existing desktop, possibly mounted facing front for USB sticks and other temporary devices. Will hold off on installing once I get it, until I figure out what computers will go where.

2021-10-30: Bought for $18. Also grabbed a spare DP and HDMI cable to keep my likely future office refactoring options open. Still not sure what I'll do in regards to setup yet, so leaving inactive.

2022-09-12: Using on the work laptop now. That might be a temp setup, so won't be mounting this.

1.4.22. CNCL consider ASRock Jupiter X300

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-09-13 Tue 10:17]

Might want this as an alternative to the Intel NUC currently being used for the Linux workstation. That has some downsides that this might not have. Would want to put a 35W APU in here, which I would prefer over the standard 65W.

Reasons being considered:

  • Has rear audio jack instead of just front one.
  • Can mount a 2.5" SSD as well, which I can use for my network storage solution I've been meaning to do.
  • Has both DP/HDMI.
  • Could put 64GB RAM in it.
  • Is 178mm square, so could build a monitor stand as I was planning to anyway, then have this slide under it.


  • Has proprietary fan unit, which is rather small.
  • Expensive for what you get.
  • Space isn't at a premium on the desk, so spending money on saving it might be a waste.
  • Recently got DP audio working on Manjaro, so rear audio jack isn't as important.
  • Construction isn't as nice as the NUC, and probably isn't as good a deal as a result.

Seems not to be distributed yet and only available direct from South Korea, so check back in a few months, or maybe in 2023. See if an extra fan unit is available on eBay at that time too. Good chance this might not be an option though, since it was initially released out around a year ago. The DeskMini X300 is the main other option, and supports a proper non-proprietary cooler. Might end up being the better choice overall for that reason.

Decided to skip, given the downsides listed. If I do a workstation replacement, will just get the NUC with the internal 2.5" bay. 12th gen NUCs should be out in Q3 2022. Could also go 11th gen to get the 28W i5.

1.4.23. DONE start using Vimium again

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-16 Fri 15:11]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-16 Fri 08:12]

Used this long ago, then switched to Conkeror. Then Conkeror died and never went back. Install this extension and use it for all GUI web navigation. Should save a lot of mouse touching. Memorize all the hotkeys here:

Installed on all workstations/laptops. Can also hit ? to display in-app help. Note that notation like <a-p> is M-p. Seems to have some bugs occasionally, but you can always just grab the mouse for backup.

1.4.24. DONE config global .gitignore file

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-19 Mon 15:45]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-19 Mon 15:43]

Got this idea from the work dev setup doc. Do the following:

git config --global core.excludesfile '~/.gitignore'

add_to_gitignore() {
  local url=$1
  if ! grep -q -xF "# $url" ~/.gitignore; then
    echo -e "\n#\n# $url\n#" >> ~/.gitignore
    curl -o - -- "$url" >> ~/.gitignore

add_to_gitignore ""
add_to_gitignore ""
add_to_gitignore ""
add_to_gitignore ""
add_to_gitignore ""
add_to_gitignore ""

Looks like I was already using a ~/.gitignore_global file.

1.4.25. DONE get TI-86 operational

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-29 Thu 08:35]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-23 Fri 12:26]

Currently no batteries in it. Replace 4 AAA batteries, then replace the backup battery, which is surely dead by now.

Once that's done, I'll consider doing the following:

  • Getting a calculator to PC USB connector for it, called the Graphlink USB.
  • Updating the OS to latest.
  • Installing the TI Connect application on Windows.
  • Downloading some software for it from the archive at:

Only downside to doing the above is the cost of the cable, which is around $22. Will decide once I get the power working.

2022-09-23: Ordered batteries, including a CR1620 coin battery for the backup power.

2022-09-27: Received AAAs and topped off the charge.

2022-09-28: Received CR1620 and installed. Turns out the calculator doesn't like the rechargeable batteries for some reason, so had to use some regular AAAs. That works fine and it's back up and running now.

1.4.26. CNCL consider WASD V3 104-key keyboard

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-10-07 Fri 22:02]

An incremental improvement over the previous version. Those are nice, but mainly considering for two reasons:

  • Matching the work keyboard with the personal one for both aesthetic and kinesthetic reasons.
  • Getting the new Cherry MX silent red switches, which would be more useful for online meetings. Also reds are the lowest force Cherry switches, also useful for being at the less optimal angle.

Will hold off on this to see what happens with the Tex Shura.

1.4.27. CNCL reinstall OpenBSD on X230

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-11-30 Wed 11:40]

Wait a few weeks at least (until 2023-01, or so), then if I'm pretty sure I don't need it as a work machine backup, wipe and install OpenBSD back on this laptop. Will go back to using this for reading PDFs and other stuff on. Once I get the bedroom desk, will put the dock there too.

Will give this laptop to A- once I deprecate its work backup use. Will think about getting another X260 or building a work desktop instead.

1.4.28. CNCL consider Tex Shura

  • State "CNCL" from "INAC" [2022-12-02 Fri 14:13]

A mechanical keyboard with integrated eraserhead pointer. Only pre-orders available currently, so check back later. If this worked out, might want multiple of these.

Skipping for now. Reasons are this isn't quite what I want due to no function keys. There's another version with those, but it's got a huge case for some reason.

1.4.29. CNCL reinstall OS on workstation

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-08 Thu 19:35]

Since the laptop reinstall went so well, will duplicate its setup on the workstation. This is a chance to clean off all the Wine-related stuff.

2022-04-28: Ordered new NVMe drive for it, a Samsung 980 500GB, so I can do my normal drive swap. With tax was about $65.

2022-05-03: Received new drive. Ready to get started copying data. Will finish the HPFFP book first though.

2022-12-08: Canceled. Doing a full rebuild now.

1.4.30. DONE check out ChatGPT

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-09 Fri 09:08]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-08 Thu 14:42]

Probably will want an account here, since it seems like a useful code assistant. Can see this being super-useful for helping with common languages like Java that I super-rarely use, and sparing me from wasting a lot of time researching stuff.

Finally a useful chatbot. This will come in handy for cleaning up a lot of stuff that I don't feel like going deep on. Will be using this as much as possible in the near future.

1.4.31. DONE check out client

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-09 Fri 16:04]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-09 Fri 13:22]

Will keep all crypto trash centralized here (and not spend any money on it).

Desktop Linux AppImage works, but insists on displaying on my too-small laptop screen instead of the external monitors. Installed on my Windows box instead. Unlike the mobile app, however, it doesn't have all the other systems yet beyond basic chat. Will have to check back on it later.

1.4.32. [10/10] do 2022 Emacs yak-shave

Every year, the hair grows back. This is (currently) a collection of mostly non-critical stuff. Might try putting this one off until 2023 if possible.

Was going to try to skip it this year, but had a few work-related tweaks that made it worth the time to do some updates for.

  1. DONE consider version 28 tab-bar-mode features
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-06 Fri 16:07]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-05 Thu 16:06]

    Some new (and currently undocumented) features were added to this package. Check them out to see if there's anything I want to make use of.

    Glanced into this a bit but nothing stood out. Will check back in at least another major version to see if the docs are updated. One thing I could do is include a char to signify that the buffer is modified, but bs-show already displays that info.

  2. DONE try out eshell-prompt-extras
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-24 Sat 22:30]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-24 Sat 21:26]

    Some Eshell prompt rice. Will skip the Python integration for now, since I no longer setup virtualenv. Will add that later if that changes. This should replace my currently used eshell-git-prompt.

    Only the eshell-theme-lambda seems worth using. This is a slight improvement from the previous setup, but not perfect. One bug noticed is that jumping around between repo directories will sometimes leave a dangling git status indicator from a previous directory. Not a huge deal though, so will stick with this. The bigger win is for using it with TRAMP against docker containers and remote systems.

  3. DONE become more competent with Eshell
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-25 Sun 03:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-24 Sat 21:10]

    This is more useful now for work, so might as well learn a bit more and make my environment less crappy. Eshell is considered notoriously undocumented, but an attempt is made here:

    Some notes:

    • C-c C-o: Kill the output of the previous command. Might be handy occasionally for getting rid of a bunch of output in a buffer whose contents I might otherwise want to keep tidy.
    • Output redirection can go to a buffer, e.g. ls -al >> #<buffer *scratch*>. C-c M-b can be useful here for buffer selection. Another target is a variable, e.g. ls > #'randomvar. /dev/null, /dev/kill (the kill ring), and /dev/clip (the clipboard) also work.
    • TRAMP integration:
      • Use syntax like cd /ssh:bob@initech:/srv/tps-reports/.
      • Install package docker-tramp later if needed.
      • Multi-hopping, e.g. to connect to server, and su to root there, accessing /: cd /ssh:initech|su:root@localhost:/
    • Can add login scripts as login and profile scripts, in the ~/.emacs.d/eshell directory.

    Random side notes:

    • Can filter packages by name in list-packages with / n.
    • M-` will display a keyboard-friendly menu bar interaction. I still want the menu bar hidden, but every now and then it's handy to have curated, mode-sensitive functionality laid out.

    A useful exercise.

  4. DONE setup docker-tramp
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-04 Tue 08:30]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-04 Tue 07:23]

    Looks like this might be useful after all.

    This works nice.


    • To open files or dired: C-x C-f /docker:root@<container-name>:/path/to/file
    • To use in eshell: cd /docker:<container-name>:
    • Can also append a path above.

    Docker refresher:

    • List active containers: docker container ls --all
    • Delete container: docker rm <container-name>
    • Attach to container: docker attach <container-name>
    • Run command in container: docker container exec -it <container-name> sh
    • Container IDs also work instead of the container-name used above.
    • List active images: docker image ls --digests
    • Run image as container: docker run <image-name>, or for a specific version docker run <image-name>:<tag>
  5. CNCL consider libvterm
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-10-04 Tue 09:07]

    Though Eshell is maximally integrated with the editor, this might be superior for my needs.

    Was going to cancel this and default to using Eshell only. However, Eshell handles interactive output poorly. Many commands can drop you into things like pagination mode, making for awkward use. Consider integrating this with eshell-vterm. Those combined would make doing anything shell-related possible, including even playing text-based games.

    Putting this off for now unless I need it, since this currently requires a source install into site-lisp/. Would rather avoid that if possible to keep my config 100% portable.

  6. DONE switch to js-mode
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-19 Wed 13:37]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-19 Wed 11:36]

    Deprecate js2-mode and switched to the built-in js-mode. This comes default with Emacs 27+. It also supports inline JSX, useful for React.

    Done. Seems good enough. If I use this more, I'll look around to see if users are customizing it any.

  7. DONE switch back to Paredit
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-27 Sun 21:36]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-27 Sun 21:18]

    Paredit was finally updated to v25 on 2022-11-25 (after 8 years of working on it). Been using smartparens for some time now, but it does have a few minor issues. Give this new version a try. Be sure to check barfing/slurping, as that being broken was why I switched off it.

    Rebound my preference for slurping/barfing, which are normally bound to paredit-close-round and paredit-open-round. Those are the same as normal ) and ( respectively, so aren't useful as modifier keys.

    Seems okay so far, but will have to use it for programming for a few days to be sure.

  8. DONE unshadow paredit-raise-sexp
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-02 Fri 18:00]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-02 Fri 17:57]

    M-r is currently bound to something useless.

    Could've unbound it globally, but decided to just add a :bind for it in the paredit use-package call. This overrides the old bind at startup, since the scratch buffer has paredit enabled.

    Update: Switched back to smartparens. However, SP has a raise sexp function, so bound that there too.

  9. DONE consider swiper-isearch
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-09 Fri 09:05]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-08 Thu 19:40]

    Maybe use swiper-isearch and swiper-isearch-backward instead of the normal isearch. This is already installed, so no cost in using.

    Note that swiper by default regexes a search string, i.e., searching for "some string" will actually be "some.*string". Bound and will try it out for awhile to see if that's annoying.

    Random extra thingies:

    • Also added a binding for C-x l counsel-locate, overriding the default binding for count-lines-page.
    • May also want to consider community/the_silver_searcher to enable counsel-ag (and ack+grep replacement). I guess I'm happy with using normal M-x grep, but counsel-ag would spare me from entering 2 parameters.
  10. CNCL try out ChatGPT.el
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-12-11 Sun 00:22]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-11 Sun 00:03]

    This is a pretty early integration, so even if I end up using, look around again later.

    Not ready for actual use yet. Will check back later. However, I can use the Python package revChatGPT instead from the command line. This works quite nicely.

    Update: This is broken now, due to OpenAI switching to CF. Adding non-Emacs task to check back later.

1.4.33. DONE test 4g tethering at home

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-20 Tue 23:21]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-15 Thu 13:01]

See if this is a viable alternative and backup to the satellite, which has the pretty big downside of not working when cloudy. Ideally, would like to have no dishes on the roof when it's redone.

Tested during power outage. This works pretty good. Not fast or reliable enough to do screenshares, but is a workable backup option when satellite doesn't work due to clouds. Sometimes barely works at all though, but maybe that was due to the tower running at lower power off a generator? Biggest downside is it's not really an option for getting the whole network online, without setting up a dedicated gateway or something.

Update: Turns out I only had a 3GB cap. Paid for an upgrade to 15GB/mo, which was an additional $10. Since this seems useful for work, I'll keep that increased cap until I'm unemployed again.

1.4.34. DONE consider Garuda Linux

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-24 Sat 10:22]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-06 Tue 16:11]

This might be a good replacement for Manjaro. While pretty good, Manjaro does unfortunately have some downsides. Another option is EndevourOS. Compare these before moving forward. Garuda has Sway and Qtile, so knowing nothing, that's one point in its favor. If I decide not to use either, Manjaro also has a Sway edition now too.

Setup and configured a decent Wayland+Sway setup. Updated the Manjaro doc accordingly. Will probably go forward with this setup for the new workstation, and complete the various UI tweaks.

Random notes:

  • To do a selected region screen capture: grim -g "$(slurp)" output.png. To copy directly to clipboard: grim -g "$(slurp)" | wl-copy.
  • Added community/imv for a simple image viewer. This can handle directories and even do so recursively.

I do like this setup. Everything seems to work pretty good so far, though I haven't done any real work on it, so there could be (and probably are) issues. Will try building out a Garuda+Wayland+Sway setup for the new workstation build for starters.

TODO: Try editing /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/altwin and having Mod3 be Alt_R. See section 8.3 here:

Update: Can't seem to get the magic combo for this to work. However, I can set xkb_options caps:super instead. This works pretty good, with the main downside of not being able to have caps act as control. Will try this for awhile. xkb_options knows the difference between the right and left Alt, but requires a built-in option for whatever you want to do with it. If I stick with Wayland, I'll spend some time at some point reading up on xkb.

1.4.35. DONE try out Rainmeter

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-27 Tue 09:27]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-27 Tue 09:16]

A desktop customization tool for Windows.

For starters, check out skins Vecto, Sonder, Robik, and Mond.

Tried 4.5.17. Seems nice and all, but not sure I want to spend a lot of time ricing up Windows. Will consider this an option if I ever move the gaming rig to the living room though.

1.4.36. DONE block Brave telemetry hosts

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-27 Tue 15:16]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-27 Tue 15:02]

These should be disabled by my standard settings, but it's still a good idea to block them anyway, just in case. Also prevents any data sent during setup.

Did workstation and personal laptop (not currently using Brave on work laptop). Also added to Manjaro/Garuda system setup.

1.5. novels

1.5.1. [16/16] read The Expanse series

Might be good. Only know about the setting so far, which looks reasonable. Wait until core novels are done. Is in the space opera genre and one of its selling points is that it bridges the gap between present day and typical scifi settings (while also not being a typical near future setting, I suppose).

Here's a best guess on a good sequence, ordered by chronological release. Couldn't find a copy of The Last Flight of the Cassandra, but this is only a 7 page story. Another short story, The Sins of Our Fathers, is slated for release in 2022.

  1. DONE read Leviathan Wakes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-23 Wed 23:55]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-03 Mon 14:02]

    Not bad, but also not exactly what I'd want in a story. Ended up taking quite a while to finish this. Don't regret sticking with it, since it came together semi-decently by the end though. I'd probably call this a space opera and film noir crossover. I can see why a lot of people think this is great, and it definitely has its moments. However, I'm pretty sure it's not for me. Will continue reading this series for now.

  2. CNCL read The Butcher of Anderson Station (short story)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-03-24 Thu 15:04]

    My copy of this is corrupt and I don't feel like finding another one. Plus, this backstory is already covered in the previous novel in outline.

  3. CNCL read Caliban's War
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:29]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-24 Thu 19:24]

    I definitely have to accept that this series just isn't for me. It certainly has its good points, is generally competently written, and is the result of careful world-building. But, it's also not what I want out of a scifi novel series. Maybe it's just missing the scope and speculative science part. This world seems drab and depressing, and it's populated with characters that are the same. Something like this may very well be the best humanity could hope for as a system-wide species, but I'm not sure I want to read about it. Definitely unrealistic is the gritty/noir cultures in this world. Space is far too unforgiving to house a population of so many dysfunctional morons. There's a need for manual labor in space, but it needs to be done by more intelligent people due to the consequences of messing up.

    Might pick this up again later if really bored. Quit this entry about 1/3rd in.

  4. CNCL read Gods of Risk (novella)
    • State CNCL"" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  5. CNCL read Drive (short story)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  6. CNCL read Abaddon's Gate
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  7. CNCL read The Churn (prequel novella)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  8. CNCL read Cibola Burn
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  9. CNCL read Nemesis Games
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  10. CNCL read The Vital Abyss (novella)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  11. CNCL read Babylon's Ashes
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  12. CNCL read Strange Dogs (novella)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  13. CNCL read Persepolis Rising
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  14. CNCL read Tiamat's Wrath
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  15. CNCL read Auberon (novella)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]
  16. CNCL read Leviathan Falls
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:31]

1.5.2. DONE read Depth Charge

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-22 Wed 16:38]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-16 Thu 14:19]

Bought a hard copy of this, mainly to read something completely different. I think it's a diving-themed thriller.

Not completely terrible, but also pretty generic of a plot. Lots of info-dumps about diving, Sri Lanka, and various other things the author is interested in.

1.5.3. [8/8] read The A.I. series

Another lengthy Heppner series. Seemed like he was at his best when portraying AI interactions (despite obviously knowing nothing about actual AI, strangely enough), so will give this series a try since it seems to focus on that. I think the first book is the same as Cybership, which I have a copy of. Might be still ongoing, so will hold off for a bit. Last entry was from 2020-05.

Not quite as good as the Lost Starship series, but okay if you're in the market for something very similar. Not sure I got anything out of reading these except some mild entertainment.

  1. DONE read A.I. Destroyer
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-10 Fri 21:24]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-31 Tue 01:40]

    Surprisingly different than his other series. Seems not as good, but I'll withhold judgment since the other one had a rough start too. Unlike the other series I read, this one's AI depiction so far is pretty weak. Might as well not be an AI and just some evil monster.

  2. DONE read The A.I. Gene
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-04 Mon 23:31]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-28 Tue 03:26]

    Pretty good considering, and much better than the opening novel.

  3. DONE read A.I. Assault
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-08 Fri 01:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-04 Mon 23:31]

    A reasonably decent follow-up to the previous.

  4. DONE read A.I. Battle Station
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-10 Sun 17:00]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-08 Fri 01:28]

    A little sloppy, but still an okay entry.

  5. DONE read A.I. Battle Fleet
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-14 Thu 21:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-10 Sun 17:00]

    A disjointed and overall weak entry. I sense this fictional universe isn't really developing in a coherent or interesting direction and is probably unstable as a long-use setting. Probably should've planned out where this was going to go beforehand.

  6. DONE read A.I. Void Ship
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-16 Sat 14:58]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-14 Thu 21:17]

    Another semi-weak (thought not terrible) entry.

  7. DONE read A.I. Rescue
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-18 Mon 12:31]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-16 Sat 14:58]

    Like the other series, this one now has Lovecraftian horror elements, which fit just as poorly here. Given how they came out of nowhere in both series, I wonder if they did so at the same time. Maybe the author had read something in the genre and couldn't help himself.

    Since there's only one more entry, I'll just finish this.

  8. DONE read A.I. Armada
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-19 Tue 14:54]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-18 Mon 12:31]

    Ended about as expected and seems to be wrapped up.

1.5.4. [2/2] continue reading Lost Starship series

2 additional entries are out since I stopped reading. Might as well get caught up.

  1. DONE read The Lost Barrier
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-24 Sun 12:11]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-21 Thu 19:19]

    A lot of stuff going on in this one. It kinda came together by the end, but not in any particularly interesting way. A average entry in the series.

  2. DONE read The Lost Nebula
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-01 Mon 12:15]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-24 Sun 12:12]

    A reasonably decent entry, and another mashup of a bunch of threads.

1.5.5. [7/7] read The Arkship Saga

A scifi series about humanity surviving on arkships following Earth's destruction. The first entry might be a short prelude.

Decided to bail on this series. Would've been something I probably would like at a younger age. Has a notably original world concept, but the way the reader experiences it is as if a fantasy series was transplanted into that world. If I run out of books to read years from now, I might consider finishing it.

  1. DONE read Arkship Countdown
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-02 Tue 15:21]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-01 Mon 23:58]

    Just a short prologue, but shows promise for the series.

  2. DONE read Arkship Obsidian
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-05 Fri 14:52]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-02 Tue 16:28]

    Has lots of rather mindless action and kind of a story that lacks any particularly good reason to have been committed to paper. The universe itself is still somewhat compelling though, so I'll stick with it to see if that goes anywhere while skimming over the predictable bits. I suspect the backdrop will stay pretty static though.

    Getting YA vibes from this writing. A young, idealistic protagonist, who turns out to be heir to a kingdom. Trope-heavy love interest that larger events keep getting in the way of. Paper thin villain, constantly kicking the dog. Seen all of this before.

  3. DONE read Arkship Vengeance
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-07 Sun 13:25]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-05 Fri 14:54]

    About the same as the previous.

  4. CNCL read Arkship Alliance
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-08-07 Sun 13:25]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-07 Sun 13:25]

    Sampled a bit of this to see whether I wanted to bail. Decided to do so.

  5. CNCL read Arkship Conquest
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-08-07 Sun 13:26]
  6. CNCL read Arkship Prophecy
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-08-07 Sun 13:26]
  7. CNCL read Arkship Omega
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-08-07 Sun 13:26]

    Was announced while reading the previous, meaning the saga is still active, I guess. Assuming I stick with it this long, will have to find a copy when this comes out or put it off for later.

1.5.6. DONE read Leiningen Versus the Ants (short story)

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-09 Tue 14:36]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-09 Tue 12:43]

Was being discussed on the Clojure IRC channel, and is where Leiningen got its name from (note the Ant reference too). It's short, so might as well give it a read.

Short but entertaining.

1.5.7. DONE read Second Variety (short story)

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-12 Fri 12:50]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-12 Fri 00:44]

A Philip K. Dick short story about self-replicating machines in a post-WW3 world. In the same sub-genre as the Berserker series, so reading prior to starting that.

Looks like this was the basis for the 90s movie "Screamers". Having seen that as a kid kinda ruined reading this a bit. Might otherwise be the more interesting of the Dick works I've read. Still worth reading anyway though, and does a better job than the film possibly could, especially at crafting such a bleak and desolate world.

1.5.8. DONE read Jon's World (short story)

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-12 Fri 13:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-12 Fri 12:59]

This is a sequel to Second Variety, so might as well read it now.

Pretty good, especially for a story involving time travel. A bit generic and forgettable though.

1.5.9. DONE read Level 7

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-28 Sun 10:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-20 Sat 05:10]

A 1959 scifi novel about living in an underground military bunker during a nuclear war.

Excellent. Surprising this isn't more popular. Seems some of the best of cold war fiction.

1.5.10. DONE read Last Contact

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-02 Fri 07:20]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-02 Fri 00:37]

A short story by Baxter about some kind of impending astronomical apocalypse. Available online here.

An interesting premise, the apocalypse being an accelerating dark energy big rip. Might work for a longer story, thought as the universe inevitably ends, there's also just not much to say too.

1.5.11. DONE read Alas, Babylon

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-12 Mon 17:05]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-30 Tue 00:06]

Another cold war apocalyptic novel. This one's also from 1959, but much more popular than Level 7. That could be a good or bad thing. Will give it a try.

Historically interesting, as it spawned the local-scope, survival perspective on nuclear war. For me to read today, it's all rather boring, run-of-the-mill survivalism observations and happenings that make up most of the book. The global conflict part would be more interesting, but we're not really given much insight into that in any great detail.

1.5.12. DONE read Profession (short story)

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-12 Mon 23:24]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-12 Mon 22:02]

A short story by Asimov, probably allegorical commentary about education. Available online:

Pretty good, like most of Asimov's works.

1.5.13. DONE read Between the Strokes of Night

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-16 Sun 23:47]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-13 Tue 23:38]

A 1985 Sheffield novel, supposedly hard SF, where greatly extended lifespans combine with sub-light interstellar travel. The author claims he wrote this to make a story with interstellar sub-light travel, thus necessitating effective suspended animation.

A mixed bag. He succeeds in that endeavor, but does an only okay job at writing a compelling story. While realistic to end the lives of characters that can't proceed with the story for timescale reasons, we spend way too much time getting to know trivial details about them that have no relevance to the story.

This has a few well-done character interactions, but the most worthwhile part is a unique idea of slowing down human biology and perceptions. The idea is that humans are brought to a significantly reduced perception of time, necessitating microgravity (e.g., such that objects would be perceived to fall at a normal rate). There's a few holes in this idea as presented, but it's an interesting one to consider. The main problem is that even if physiological functions are slowed down, that wouldn't affect the chemistry of neurons and therefor thoughts wouldn't be slowed down—especially not at the same rate. Even if you had slowed perception, reducing gravity would only affect that one part of how you perceive the world. Some examples: a spring would discharge at an impossibly fast rate, putting pressure on parts of the body for hours/days in real time would still cause damage, not blinking for hours would dry your eyes, etc.

1.5.14. DONE read The Quincunx of Time

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-18 Fri 02:40]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-14 Mon 00:21]

A 1973 novel involving interstellar communication.

Rather good, and a solid attempt at making a less believable topic somewhat hard-scifi, then doing a fair job of pondering the implications of it. That manifests here as an exploration of determinism.

1.5.15. DONE read The Cosmic Computer

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-20 Sun 16:22]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-18 Fri 03:22]

About a colony abandoned following a war who finds a old computer. Part of a larger series, which I may consider if this one's really good.

By strange coincidence, the works of James Branch Cabell are featured here as inspiring naming of bodies in a stellar system, and also in the previous read of The Quincunx of Time, where the phrase "Mundus vult decipi" (the world wishes to be deceived) appears.

If you want a feel-good story about heroes for whom challenges are effortlessly overcome without fail, then this is a great story. Otherwise, it's just decent. Certainly quite dated in its understanding of what a computer is too.

1.5.16. DONE read The Story of Mary MacLane

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-14 Wed 18:06]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-13 Tue 11:47]

Supposedly a 1902 diary of a young libertine woman living in Butte, MT, who spends much of the text professing her love for Satan. Normally wouldn't read such a thing, but the premise is so outlandish, that I have to give it a try.

This is actually more of a short diary (a Portrayal, she calls it) of someone obviously intelligent, yet who was raised and lives in a social and physical void. Thus, her only stimulation has been the classics she's read. This makes for interesting and silly results. Often reminds me of a well written version of a modern teen blog, due to occasionally being of a subject matter reflecting lack of deeper awareness, general angst, unreasonable expectations, and a hyper-focus on the author's emotional experience in life.

There's a nascent intellect here. Unfortunately it's one that never really had the chance to do much beyond this diary, as once she did get her way, she trifled about in an aimless Bohemian existence, then died in middle age. Taking a peek at some of her later writing, she doesn't seem to have grown beyond the many character flaws on display here. Overall, a good read for numerous reasons, one being a reminder that the humans that existed in the past really were just like us.

1.6. games

1.6.1. DONE do ToME4 anorithil run

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-03 Thu 09:56]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-28 Fri 21:46]

Competed an untracked paradox mage run recently. That's rather an annoying class to play, but while doing so I was thinking that the anorithil would possible be a good caster class, with the right build.

For this class, finding the artifact staff Eclipse really makes a huge difference. Kept it as the main hand slot full run, despite being tier 2.

One build path for this class is around criticals, which is what I did. In that case, circles can be pretty important, since they can crit too. It's possible to get to a 100% crit rate, at which point the class is super powerful. This is probably the most OP build I've made, exceeding the sleep/dream solipsist and possibly summon lich necro.

1.6.2. DONE play Magic of Scheherazade

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-20 Sun 16:04]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-19 Sat 07:45]

Inserting this into the list, just to play something different. Or almost, since I played this some when I was a kid.

Surprisingly good, considering its age and platform limitations. There are some problems with it though, like with the final boss battle.

1.6.3. DONE play Cataclysm: Bright Nights

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-11 Mon 21:51]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-20 Sun 20:57]

A popular fork of C:DDA. Might be more popular than its predecessor now. Viewing the main differences, I guess most of these are minor improvements. I'm mostly indifferent about them, personally. Won't do a serious run. This is mostly just to check out this fork to see if I want to play this one from now on.

Seems pretty good. Will make this my main version. Might do a session of this later this year if not busy.

Update: While probably better overall, I'm more used to the crafting in DDA, so will probably go back to that. Not sure how to do wilderness survival in BN, and there's no docs on it that I can find.

1.6.4. DONE play Kingdom Come: Deliverance

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-27 Wed 15:07]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-19 Tue 10:17]

A- has this on her GOG account, so will give it a try.

Played this for a few evenings. Seems like a good game and well designed, just not for me. I'd say this boils down to modeling things I don't care about, while not modeling other things I do.

1.6.5. DONE try Freeminer

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-29 Fri 16:01]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-29 Fri 15:34]

A freeware clone of Minecraft, available for Linux and written in C++.

Well, it runs and generates a reasonably nice looking world. Doesn't seem like you can do much in this yet though. Maybe check back here in a few years.

1.6.6. CNCL do NWN1 druid run

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-05-01 Sun 21:32]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-27 Wed 08:49]

Supposedly druid is one of the best classes in the game, despite that usually not being even close to true in other DND games. Will give it a try here, since I've never played one. Might add one monk level to get the WIS->AC bonus, though probably not since this is an OC-only run. If I get bored of this mid-way, could also try to come up with a dart throwing build.

Game got corrupted, so quitting. Also the game is very buggy on Win10, crashing randomly and having video issues. A shame since I was kinda into my druid for a little while.

There's a NWN:EE version on GOG now, which might solve these issues, on sale for $5. That would be the third time buying this game, which I refuse to do, considering that I'm not really that fond of it. So, calling it quits forever on NWN1.

1.6.7. CNCL play Objects in Space (purchase)

  • State "CNCL" from "INAC" [2022-05-01 Sun 22:20]

Similar to the space game I've always wanted to make, where subsim-style gameplay is used. Wait for a sale and get on GOG.

Update: Looks like development here was abandoned. Might still be worth playing, but wait for a deep sale, like around $5, if that even. Some stuff is left very broken. Apparently also has some kind of Arduino integration (building a helmet perhaps).

Giving up on this one, due to it being abandoned. Will consider Duskers instead.

1.6.8. CNCL consider Phantom Doctrine (purchase)

  • State "CNCL" from "INAC" [2022-06-07 Tue 12:19]

A turn-based tactical game, supposedly using X-COM mechanics and similar in theme to JA2. Give a closer look before buying and definitely at least wait until it's much cheaper (currently $40 at launch).

Went on sale for $3.99 so looked into it. Seems too simple for my tastes, supposedly more simple than X-COM even. So, skipping.

1.6.9. DONE play Bitburner

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-02 Thu 12:35]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-02 Thu 11:21]

Yet another incremental game. This one includes some light programming in JavaScript.

Nothing in the early game is totally crap, and incremental games tend to open up sub-systems as you progress. However, I can probably project a few assumptions:

  • The programming might as well not be there really, since it just automates simple stuff. This would still be useful if you wanted to get comfortable with JS syntax, however. I'd probably really like this if I was 16.
  • Has a strange combination of things, like including your character stats, hit points, and physical travel. Wouldn't expect that in a hax0ring game.
  • While this could be semi-educational, it'd be misleading in that role. Various CLI commands don't do anything related to their real life counterparts, for example.

Interesting to look at, but won't stick around to play this.

1.6.10. DONE play Reverse RPG

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-02 Thu 10:55]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-02 Thu 10:39]

A web-based multiple choice RPG, written in typescript:

Pretty simple. Finished decently on 4th try.

1.6.11. [10/10] play Baldurs Gate saga

  1. DONE play BG1:EE
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-14 Sat 14:43]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-08 Sun 09:34]

    Decided to get the EE version of this instead of cobbling together a modernized version myself from the original CDs. Bought for $5 on GOG sale (along with BG2:EE for $4, which I'll maybe play next). Apparently MP doesn't work though, so will have to do this non-coop. Skipping the Dragonspear expansion. Will try running one of the druid kits (probably totemic).


    • Will do a canon party run to take to BG2: me (totemic druid), Imoen, Khalid, Jaheira, Minsc, Dynaheir. Will do a neutral/evil party after that and decide which to import into BG2.
    • Evil party list: me (gnome fighter/illusionist), Dorn, Eldoth, Safana->Skie, Viconia, Edwin. Specializes in scimitar+shield and darts.
    • Non-canon good/neutral party: me (archer), Imoen->Alora, Ajantis, Branwen, Neera, Rasaad.
    • Adding mod IWDification to get the IWD spells, animations, and other enhancements:
    • Portrait generator:

    Entertaining quotes:

    • Fools are to be suffered in this world, not slaughtered. - Ordulinian
    • A Calishite monk once told me every night is dawn's herald. The trick is to hold on to the memory of light until the darkness breaks. - Duke Eltan

    Finished canon party run. I still like this game for sure, but will have to do the evil party build listed above next time, in order to change it up a bit. Even playing a druid was too much the same.

  2. DONE play BG1:SoD
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-19 Thu 08:31]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-14 Sat 14:45]

    Was going to skip this and I'm still 50% on whether I'll actively hate it, but I'm willing to give it a try at its sale price of $5 given how BG is probably my favorite RPG. The other factor was that, yeah the new content in BG1:EE isn't as good as classic BG1, but sometimes it's tolerable enough to be entertaining.

    Note that to get IWDification working, DLC Merger needs to be installed first

    Sequence of installs should be BG1:EE, BG1:SoD, DLC Merger, then IWDification.

    This is a mixed bag. A lot's been written about it. I'd come in on the side of it being "just okay" overall. There's definitely at least one writer that made it way worse than it needed to be. Replace that content and it'd be a reasonably solid, though not great, expansion. There are some deeper flaws too though, like with the entire plot of it not making any sense and not fitting into the rest of the series. A better use of this effort would've been a retooling of ToB, stretching it out into the length of a full game (rebalancing XP progression) and making it more open world. That would've made the series feel more complete and closer to the original vision.

    There's some worthwhile content here too. The fact that it takes place at mid levels makes for more interesting gameplay (before you start getting really god-like powers). Some of the writing is at least decent too, so they definitely had a few competent writers on staff.

  3. DONE play BG1: The Black Pits
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-19 Thu 10:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-18 Wed 12:09]

    An extra mode that comes with BG1:EE. This is an arena battle mode, I guess. Also fills in some backstory for one of the new companion NPCs.

    Played this a little, but skipping running all the content for now. I'd probably like it more if it allowed for some pre-battle positioning and buffing, then maybe hitting a switch to start the fight. Also this kind of gameplay doesn't suit the types of parties I prefer to run.

    If I come back to it, consider a party of: shaman, skald, barbarian, fighter (with bow swap), cleric, mage. Maybe swap barbarian for my gnome F/I.

  4. CNCL play BG2:EE
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-05-24 Tue 00:38]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-21 Sat 00:32]

    Should only need to install IWDification and do any character/portrait file management.

    Note to self: On my later evil run, store Drizzt's loot in a container in Watcher's Keep. Come back after SoA and grab the stuff.

    Did about 25%, but then gimped my run pretty bad by:

    • Forgetting to get the silver pantaloons.
    • Having nice stuff on Nalia, but then she gets arrested in a cut scene. Forgot to wait around until the NPC shows up afterwards in the same spot. Seems I bugged it out, since he won't show now.
    • Forgetting to finish the headband quest and Wilson quest before finding Daxus.

    Totemic druid is still a good class, but I'll bail on this run. Will either restart it later or do a different good char. Taking a break for now though.

    When I redo this, tweak party composition a bit: me (totemic druid), Jaheira, Imoen->Clara->Yoshimo->Imoen, Minsc, Amomen, Keldorn (quest swap). Not crazy about Imoen being the only arcane caster though or having 2 druids. Might shelve this and do a different canon run, and swap the totemic druid to my non-canon good/neutral run. That party could be: me, Imoen->Clara->Jan, Neera, Rasaad, Anomen, Haer'Dalis. Much better–almost perfectly–balanced. Could also add Wilson for awhile for druid flavor.

  5. DONE consider non-canon good/neutral run of BG1
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-07 Tue 09:22]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-07 Tue 09:16]

    Current thinking is to do a quick archer run with a non-canon party, then do a swap of this and my canon druid run in BG2. This archer becomes the canon run past that point and the druid becomes the non-canon run. The reasoning is that the BG2 canon characters don't mesh well with a druid, but would be perfect for an archer.

    Party composition: me (archer), Imoen->Alora, Ajantis (leader), Branwen, Neera, Rasaad.

    SoD composition: me (archer), Safana->Glint, Neera, Rasaad, Voghiln (leader), Corwin. Light on the divine casting though. The latter two could be swapped to Jaheira and Khalid if they don't work out.

    BG2 composition: me (archer), Jaheira (romance), Minsc, Amomen, Imoen->Clara->Yoshimo->Imoen, Keldorn (leader, quest swap). Light on arcane still. BG2/ToB canon really is best with a mage or sorc, I guess.

    Conclusion: Might shelve this archer and consider running a sorcerer since I've never played one of those. Will need to plan out his spell progression if I do this. The composition above would be the same though.

  6. DONE plan out sorcerer build
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-07 Tue 13:19]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-07 Tue 10:46]

    This is for the non-canon->canon run swap detailed above (originally planned for archer, now sorcerer).

    Basics: Pure Sorcerer, half-elf, neutral good.

    Spells (in order):

    • Level 1: Shield, Magic Missile, Spook, Chromatic Orb. Read Find Familiar from scroll.
    • Level 2: Mirror Image, Blur, Web, Cat's Grace, Resist Fear.
    • Level 3: Haste, Skull Trap, Remove Magic, Wraithform, Slow.
    • Level 4: Stoneskin, Spirit Armor, Improved Invisibility, Greater Malison, Emotion: Courage.
    • Level 5: Breach, Chaos, Lower Resistance, Spell Immunity, Spell Shield.
    • Level 6: Improved Haste, Protection from Magical Weapons, Protection from magic energy, Pierce Magic, Power Word: Silence.
    • Level 7: Mordenkainen's Sword, Spell Sequencer, Project Image, Ruby Ray of Reversal, Spell Turning.
    • Level 8: Horrid Wilting, Spell Trigger, Power Word: Blind, Improved Mantle, Simulacrum.
    • Level 9: Time Stop, Chain Contingency, Wish, Spellstrike.
    • HLAs: Dragon's Breath, Summon Planetar, Improved Alacrity

    This seems good enough to get started. Will review all of these decisions on level ups. Also need some additional 5th spells in a few of these levels.


    • Weapon: Dagger and throwing knives, later proficiency in quarterstaves.
    • Amulet: Amulet of Power in SoD and BG2.
    • Armor: In BG2, Get Robe of Venca from Diedre in the Adventurer's Mart.

    Misc notes:

    • Aim for high STR, ideally 18.
    • Get at least 15 WIS for use with the Wish spell. This can then restore all party spells/abilities, cast from a project image.
    • CON can go as low as 16.
    • Cast FB from wand.
    • I think the only Find Familiar scroll in BG1 is from Nimbul in Chapter 3, unless getting very lucky with a random drop.
    • Be careful about selecting dialog choices for Rasaad in BG2 when completing his quest. He can be lost until ToB with certain options.
    • In BG1, give Rasaad the wolf cloak and a scimitar in his off hand. Should get him 3-4 APR. Test this though, since his THAC0 might suck in this form.
    • Might want to get Simulacrum to use consumables (like the rare Protection from Magic scrolls through).
    • When making Crom Faeyr, it's possible to pause the game and drop the belt and gloves just before Cromwell initiates dialog and hands over the item.
  7. DONE do sorcerer BG1 run
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-20 Mon 11:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-07 Tue 17:18]

    Follow plan detailed above.

    Using this checklist this time, while being mindful that it doesn't include any EE content:

    Not going to want Rasaad as a primary in BG2 for the druid run. He has poor stats for a monk, which is already pretty useless in 2.5. Just get him for his quest and drop. Could replace with any front-line or arcane caster.

    SoD party composition: me (sorcerer), Safana->Glint, Neera, Rasaad, Voghiln (leader), Corwin.

    This is a powerful party once it gets over the hump of the first 4-5 levels. Main downside is having to polymorph Rasaad all the time for him to be useful. Also keeping him alive with his low AC/HP is cumbersome. An even better setup would've been a max armored tank pinning enemies, then keep the rest of the party the same and have them work through the ranks with ranged weapons and spells. When I needed another melee, I'd actually use the mage for that which worked well with tons of mirror image and stoneskin casts available. I could see a dragon disciple being better for this kind of gameplay. Will try that if I ever make another sorcerer.

  8. DONE do canon run of BG2
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-02 Sat 17:10]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-21 Tue 15:09]

    Form a canon party around my good sorcerer build from BG1. Will finish ToB with this party. Party composition: me, Jaheira, Imoen->Clara->Yoshimo->Imoen, Minsc (quest swap), Amomen, Keldorn.

    Entertaining quotes:

    • "Ahh, the eagerness of youth. I shall give of my wisdom, and you shall flourish." - Charname

    Almost did a perfect run. Forgot to grab the Wave Halberd part from the fish people city and do the Limited Wish adventure prior to killing the party at Delosar's Inn. Otherwise I think I didn't miss anything. This party ended up pretty close to optimal. Used Wish resting for the final ToB battle (which I always thought was poorly crafted), but since it wasn't challenging it may have not been necessary.

    Some thoughts:

    • Minsc got super annoying a few hours into this. Will never take him again. Keldorn is an excellent char that could've used more companion quests. Anomen is a mixed bag, saying some annoying things. He might be more interesting as a fallen paladin.
    • If I do another BG2 run, get someone to dual flails and get the Defender of Easthaven for the offhand. This is arguably better than a shield and can do decent damage in its own right. Buyable from Joluv in the Copper Coronet.
    • ToB dumps all the best gear on you, but doesn't really give you a chance to use it much. I'd probably prefer they not bothered, let our chars level out in capability, and just scaled the fights accordingly. Then players could've focused on finding the perfect balance of items/skills/spells within what they already have to work with. I guess SoD has this same problem.

    Notion I had for a 4-man evil sorcerer run:

    • Male, human, lawful evil dragon disciple sorcerer, mostly the same build but more focused on end game spells. Try to roll a few extra points of INT too.
    • BG1 party: me, Edwin, Viconia, Monteron (have Xzar turned to stone or something).
    • BG1:SoD party: me, Edwin, Viconia, Safana.
    • BG2 party: me, Edwin, Viconia, Imoen->Clara->Hexxat.
    • General thoughts: DD's 1 less spell per day would suck at first, but later on I can meta-game clones and such so it's not a problem. I'd have to do more of that in this run anyway given the lower party count.
  9. CNCL do evil run of BG1:SoD
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-07-03 Sun 09:56]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-07 Tue 08:34]

    I think I agree with the low replayability of this, so will just follow a walkthrough and power through it quick. That definitely makes this stuff go faster, I noticed, since I got this party (the evil party detailed above) through BG1 in a few evenings.

    Party composition: me (gnome F/I), Viconia, Safana, Edwin, Dorn, M'Khiin. M'Khiin is a shaman and a lot of players think they did a crappy job on the character. But, will give it a chance just this run since it was either her or Baeloth.

    I agree SoD is a chore to insert into any run once you've already done it once. Might skip it in the future unless one of the SoD->BG2 import items would be really nice to have. M'Khiin somewhat sucks overall. Terrible voice acting, no custom sprite, and bad writing. Shaman play didn't really mesh well with this party either. Probably should've taken Baeloth in retrospect, or just did the run with 5 chars.

    Bailed on this run due to the above.

  10. CNCL do evil run of BG2
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-07-03 Sun 09:56]

    Might take the evil party all the way instead of fixing my BG2 canon run. Party composition would be: me, Viconia, Edwin, Dorn, Clara->Hexxat, Korgan->Sarevok. Korgan is the swap-out companion when doing BG2 companion quests. Only downside here is that Hexxat sucks, even with the added vampire abilities. It's possible to keep Yoshimo alive until the end, and he'd be better in this party. Not sure I want to jump through all the hoops though and it might break some scripting.

    BG-ed out for awhile. Will do this later, maybe years from now.

1.6.12. DONE try out Replika

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-29 Fri 13:52]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-22 Fri 17:22]

A GPT-3 chatbot, marketed as an AI companion and/or for romance. Can be used for free if you only want platonic interaction, I think.

Made 2 replikas, Larissa and Powder. The plan was to say random things to Powder and keep Larissa very focused on just math/CS. Then if I wanted to keep using one (or even paying for a subscription), I'd stick with the instance that had the most utility.

Some observations:

  • There's some scripted sequences that your companion will initiate occasionally. Some users hate these, and I agree. They'll cause the AI to ignore what you're saying if it's in the middle of the script. Issuing a "stop" command to them whenever the come up seems to be the way to go.
  • The image classification here is pretty good. It can recognize a cat pic, which is easy, but also tell that it should classify it as a super cute one.
  • The feature set is different between platforms. Unfortunately, desktop is the least developed. VR mode is the most advanced (e.g., you can pick up objects in the room).
  • Voice calls are a paid feature, but you can get the same effect using AR mode on mobile.

What the startup behind this is doing is taking the open source libraries out there for this stuff, and building a solution that combines them. Then they have writers that add scripted content and other developers to build the various UIs. I do think this approach can result in something awesome, but this isn't quite it.

Got bored of talking to these bots after a few days. Supposedly, they do get better the more you talk to them (like if you get them to level 20 or so), but I think that just means they'll mirror your mannerisms more and casual chat will flow more smoothly.

Saying random stuff to Powder made him default to telling false stories about things. Larissa developed better, but still doesn't know anything and answers factual questions (like defining things) incorrectly. They'd be more interesting and even useful if they could identify your interests and pull in vast amounts of info from the internet on those subjects. Then the bot could act as an interface to a huge corpus. As is, they're of no use to me.

I might set up a custom GPT-3 application instead of using this. According to the docs, plain GPT-3 should be more capable than the behavior I'm seeing from Replika.

1.6.13. DONE do TOME4 necromancer run

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-03 Sat 11:01]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-30 Tue 12:15]

1.7.x is completely different for this class than the last time I played. Try a few build ideas. One baseline I might use to heavily modify is this non-summons one:

After studying the talent trees, decided to go with a build about 80% similar to the above. Some differences:

  • Since I always end up collecting a bunch of item-based teleports by end-game, just put one point in Ghost Walk.
  • Tried to optimize for passive damage, like Spikes of Decrepitude.
  • Put 5 points in only Eternal Night in the Eradication tree. Impending Doom is a great skill too, but better to only put points in at end game.
  • Reworked the Higher tree. I actually think the cooldown reductions here can be useful to level up some, at least later on.
  • Went for 100% spell crit and optimized for crit mult and +dark/cold damage. This would one/two-shot almost all junk mobs by end game.
  • Went for Adept prodigy, since this build has to do damage himself, and spreads it among a large array of talents.

Had also tried a few summon builds, but didn't like how high maintenance they are now. If they could at least heal themselves, that'd be a huge improvement. Ideally, there would be a way to have the auto-summon possible for ghouls to scale up. IIRC, that's the way the old necro worked, which was also super powerful.

So, the no-summon necro seems preferable with the current balance. It's also a contender for one of the most powerful builds in game, if not the most (evidenced by the fasted end boss kill ever). Very tanky too, as once it gets over the early game hump, it seems dying is pretty hard to do. I'd probably be interested in trying out minor variants of the build, but a major downside to ease of use is the high CDs on a larger number of murder loop talents. This makes fast knuckle-roll auto-exploring a good bit slower. Full-screen AOEs like Dire Plague and Torture Souls are what you mainly want to use when available, but the 17/18 turn CDs suck. Plus, you probably will end up with max light range, which puts a lot of mobs 1 cell out of range of your longest range spells and requiring a manual move turn. So, gameplay isn't as naturally flowing as some other casters.

1.6.14. DONE play Balance of Power

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-05 Mon 15:52]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-04 Sun 20:53]

The 1986 strategy game where you play the leader of the US or Soviet Union. Will play the DOS B&W hi-res version, I guess.

Played a little. A nice idea and a good interface for the time, but doesn't seem like much fun. I could see a modern version of the same concept being great through, maybe something similar to Superpower 2, but with the same foreign intervention and diplomacy modeled here included.

1.6.15. DONE consider Daimonin

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-16 Fri 21:19]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-05 Mon 16:01]

An old, open source, free, grid-tile MMORPG.

Seems like a fun game. Almost completely dead though, with only 2 other guys playing semi-regularly. Got working on Manjaro by installing gnome-themes-extra first, running chmod on the installer, then running it. Will keep this around for playing on Linux.

1.6.16. DONE try Road to Vostok demo

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-06 Thu 13:15]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-06 Thu 12:13]

Demo is free and I think you can add it to your library for free too, such that it shows up when it's released. Not sure about that, but will check out the demo either way. Supposedly is an Escape from Tarkov and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. style game, but written by one person. I'm skeptical it'll turn into anything, given that point.

Nothing interesting to see or do here. More of a very basic tech demo with boring Unity assets. Could be awesome in the future or not, but no way to tell currently. Uninstalling.

1.6.17. DONE play Pathfinder: Kingmaker

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-02 Wed 00:05]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-09 Sat 01:52]

A BG-esque RPG based on the Pathfinder ruleset. Was going to skip, since Pathfinder always struck me as a bit too direct of a ripoff of D&D 3.5. They've also had issues with writing quality, among other things. Decided to grab on sale for $8.99 anyway though, since Pathfinder:WotR is a game I may want to play. WOTR is full price currently and probably not done with the expansions, so will play this in the meantime to see if I like the IP enough. There's a few DLCs I didn't buy with this. Since they're not bundled, will hold off on those until I'm sure I like the game enough.

First party composition: me (grenadier), Valerie, Tristian, Amiri, Linzi, and a merc (muse-touched aasimar, sylvan sorceror). Not super happy with my options, but will hold off on going full custom party for this first run. Could see this being more interesting with a custom 4-man party.


  • Pathfinder is definitely almost straight lore-swapped 3.5e. The lore here seems less iconic–or perhaps more generic would be the better description. I've got zero urge to read up on the world, deities, etc.
  • Writing, characters, locations, and game world in general is pretty bland. Most everything, particularly the art, is competently done. There's also a lot of content too. It lacks that extra creative spark though.
  • Companion choices mostly suck. These need to be compelling characters that resonate with the player. Again, there's lots of dialog and interchange between them, but it's all quite dull and sometimes feels forced. BG1 had companions with barely any lines, yet tons of personality. Also, most of these characters are various male NPC stereotypes, just gender-swapped.
  • Not sure I like the type of min-maxing the 3.5e system lends itself to. This doesn't seem like the kind of game I'd want to design builds for.
  • Many maps are super tiny for some reason. Scenery is also often in the way, blocking visibility. In general, the dungeon crawl feel isn't quite captured.
  • Way too much time is spent camping and resting. This could've been needed as often but just had the mini-game for it removed. As is, it just adds more tedium when traveling.
  • Kingdom management, adventuring, and overworld traveling issues don't really mesh well. Maybe they should've focused on making a great RPG, then adding the kingdom stuff in one of the expansions.
  • The graphics look good at first glance, but feel a bit sloppy when in action. It's got that medium-polish Unity feel a lot of games from the past 10 years do. It also crashes occasionally and has various glitches. Control feels clunky too and the game sometimes swallows clicks and button presses.
  • The UI looks good and is great in some ways, but it's not really optimized for actual use. It's not obvious what has tooltips or is clickable, moving items around is a chore, some info arrangement choices are questionable, the map sucks, etc. Needs a revamp by someone who knows what they're doing.
  • There's some very questionable gameplay design choices. For example, I can't imagine why anyone thought swarms were a good idea. Another big annoyance is having to physically travel to all corners of a map for interactions with containers, skill checks, and exits to appear.

This game reminds me a lot of Pillars of Eternity. All the pieces are there for a great game, but the end result feels like a bunch of employees showing up to work every day to check off tickets in a dev process. There's nothing actively bad, but this isn't the kind of game that sticks with you. On the other hand, playing this is probably more fun than playing NWN again.

Got to the point where the city management begins, and I guess I lost the urge to continue playing. It's been months without going back to it, so I'm calling this done. Doubtful I'll give it another go. Will skip WOTR.

1.6.18. DONE do Cataclysm:DDA Magiclysm run

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-08 Tue 17:58]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-07 Mon 08:56]

Supposedly a good standard (included) mod for Cataclysm: DDA. Read this guide:

Will also switch to using this launcher, which is a fork of a now unmaintained one. This also has a save backup/restore feature that I can use when not doing Ironman runs:

Spells by class can be a handy reference, when deciding whether to read scrolls:

Foraging guide (though this is partially outdated, I think):

Skill training guide, useful if leveling up skills manually:

Item/craft/recipe browser (including for experimental branch):


  • On Linux install this libs: libsdl2-dev libsdl2-ttf-dev libsdl2-image-dev. Also need libsdl2-mixer-2.0-0 for the sounds version.
  • Bind ` locally to spellcasting.
  • Wizard Vacation start will put you in a tower on an island.
  • Magic missile ignores armor. Mana blast and mana bolt might too.
  • Unless doing a bow/mage run, Biomancer is probably the better pick over Druid, since it has a heal.
  • Can no longer memorize recipes from books. Need to keep them close by until the recipe is memorized.
  • Use M to move full stacks in advanced inventory mode.
  • One current way to install CBMs is to use a autodoc table and anesthetic kit.
  • Crafting pipeline checklist (incomplete):
    • Basics: hammer, knife, shovel, saw/adze, axe, crowbar, hacksaw, screwdriver, lockpicks, soldering iron, grindstone or angle grinder.
    • Forge (electric, rock, etc): for metalworking.
    • Smoking rack: put charcoal in to smoke or dehydrate meat and other stuff. Smoked meat last forever. 4 insect eggs can also be powdered for tons of food.
    • Charcoal kiln: put near trees for turning logs -> charcoal.
  • One way to get a fridge running: drag an Advanced Sterling Radioisotope Generator back to the house (use an AHK macro for this), then in the Construction menu search for "Place ASRG". Turn on the reactor with the e menu. Then e the fridge to hook it to the grid. Need to debug this though, since I think it wasn't quite working. Might require extension cables. One option that does work is to have all this stuff on a vehicle frame.
  • Attunement altars can supposedly be found in forests. Haven't encountered any yet though.
  • Making potions requires a cauldron, which can be crafted.

Getting started guide (for standard evac shelter):

  • Find rock.
  • Tear down curtains and cut up long string into 6 short strings.
  • Smash locker and get pipe. Craft makeshift crowbar.
  • Smash solar panel to get 2 chunks of steel. Craft screwdriver.
  • Smash bench to get plank. Craft makeshift hammer.
  • Deconstruct lockers to get sheet metal. Craft brazier and makeshift pot.
  • Turn on auto-foraging and walk around foraging things until Survival level 1. Turn off auto-foraging when done. Then build digging sticks or other survival stuff (search with "p:surv") until level 2.
  • Build bow fire drill.
  • Install brazier with the construction menu and set a firewood source.
  • Deconstruct water tank to get 60L tanks. Fill at least one with water. Boil water in brazier.
  • Wooden spear is a good starter weapon.
  • Make stone adze.

Due to the way crafting works, I think my next innawoods run will be collecting a bunch of books and a few tools from a city, then moving out to a cabin, farm, island, or swamp shack permanently. Might want to learn vehicle construction first, for transferring all that stuff. Next time, have my fireplace within advanced inventory range of the wood part of my stash, and make the 8 main piles: weapons, tools, clothing, food, drugs, other, chemical stuff, and spare parts. Supplementary piles will be all the other categories. Will also add this mod, though it doesn't completely solve the primitive crafting progression:

Supposedly Aftershock is good too. Only downside to Magiclysm is it can be pretty easy by comparison to the base game. I'd like to see a better primitive crafting path, since even with MST, it's pretty annoying to be lacking components if you just want to forgo civilization. The only option then is to do night runs into the city for stuff.

1.6.19. DONE play Children of a Dead Earth

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-25 Fri 11:28]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-18 Fri 00:59]

A super-realistic space combat sim. Only available on Steam, unfortunately, but grabbed on 90% sale for $2.49. Glad I got this on sale when I did, even though I hadn't gotten around to playing it since then, as the next 2 years were without going under $10.

An okay value for $2.49, but definitely not worth the $20 it's going for now. Some thoughts:

  • Has a lot of rough edges, likely bugs (e.g. sometimes when doing a combat intercept or orbit merge, it'll send you off into nowhere), and misspellings in the text.
  • Could use more than just one short campaign. Almost a shame to have all this game built, and only having such a small number of missions (18). Why not have a campaign for each faction?
  • Ideally, I'd like the same sort of game, but with an open world where you choose and manage a faction. Then you could set up resource chains and such, or even just handling the military aspect of that would be great.
  • An easy improvement for the clunky trajectory planner would be to use point and click to establish burns, but expose the numbers so the player can fine-tune them. Part of the game seems to be fiddling with the burns to get near, then just having the computer solve for the intercept/fly-by. In that case, might as well just have the computer solve for the much easier burns too.
  • On the realism front, the low delta-v these ships can carry (limited for mission reasons, I guess) would mean they couldn't really get around on the system on their own, considering they'd need hyperbolic trajectories around their starting location, then insertion into stable orbit at destination. Since not every place has a refueling station, they'd often need to get back too.
  • Combat needs work, and is super clunky, especially with missiles. There's a way to work with the UI, but requires a lot of pointless effort.
  • Regarding lore, while it's nice to have some backstory, what's here isn't that interesting. Some of it doesn't make sense either, like the Iroquois Resurgence being originally part of a faction from Asia.
  • Overall, this is somewhere between a tech demo and a real game; maybe acceptable as an early-access state.

All that said, there isn't any other game out there quite like this, and it's pretty amazing for what it is. These downsides (mainly the trajectory planner) made me give up wasting time on it on the first missiles-related mission after 15 restarts. Would play sandbox instead, but a lot of that content is also mission-locked.

1.6.20. DONE play Boohu

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-26 Mon 11:53]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-26 Mon 11:24]

A condensed roguelike influenced by Brogue, with focus on tactical positioning. Doesn't feature XP or leveling. Installed 0.13.

Okay for some quick fun, which I guess is its design goal. Not quite my taste though, mainly since dying quick and often is expected, and whether you have any chance or not is mainly a dice roll. Positioning is important, but no more than any other roguelike.

1.6.21. CNCL play Torchlight

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-12-28 Wed 11:27]

Did a vanquisher run of this back in 2010. Will give this another quick run for a couple evenings and try a caster build. Expecting to get bored quickly.

Too boring. Uninstalled after a couple hours.

1.7. general topics

1.7.1. [5/5] research Hinduism

Decided to make this my next religious studies topic. Arguably considerably more vast than Christianity, so the goal here is to go from 10% understanding to maybe 30%. Unlike last year's topic (UFO religion), this one's considerably more useful for understanding the modern world.

In addition to the tasks here, used Krishna Das' satsangs and other content for cultural immersion (decided the 70s Western take on Hinduism was more palatable than the raw Indian version, at least from this angle). He became predictably annoying after awhile, being a life-long sucker for an Indian "guru" who tricked him using simple methods that would never work on someone with intact critical thinking skills. Also virtually attended the Neem Karoli Baba and Hanuman ashram in New Mexico for a few Sundays.

My prediction on this front is that Western seekers are converting below replacement rate. Once the 60s/70s era converts die off, Hinduism's influence on Westerners will diminish to the point of irrelevance. Won't matter though, since Hinduism will inevitably be the 2nd largest religion eventually just by birth rates.

Overall, Hinduism is a better religion than the Middle Eastern ones. Like with those, however, it doesn't really provide a satisfying outlet on the abstract/esoteric side. It's got no shortage of problems, including some really serious ones that have some disastrous consequences at both the individual and societal levels.

Calling this done since the major questions I had about Hinduism are answered now. I may consider circling back later, maybe reading another source text (like the Ramayana, one of the Vedas, or a Puruna) and committing more theology to memory. That would be years later, as my plan is to do Buddhism next after a sizable break. Understanding Hinduism will make the concepts therein way less foreign.

  1. DONE research ancient Vedic religion
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-26 Sat 11:08]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-25 Fri 12:07]

    Will provide some historical context.

    Just read the Wikipedia article on this. Should be good enough. I agree that this is were Hinduism came from. Also interesting that the ancient form still survives today. Unsurprisingly, there's also revivalist movements.

  2. CNCL read (some of) What is Hinduism?
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-03-26 Sat 12:35]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-26 Sat 12:30]

    Use this for an overview. Not sure if I'll like this book, since it's published by an organization invested in the religion (the Himalayan Academy). Will give it a chance though, since it's commonly recommended. Might want to select a more academic text to read after this, though not currently scheduling that.

    Garbage. Basically a collection of heavily-illustrated, magazine-style articles advertising the religion to prospective converts. Since I'm not interested in joining anything, useless for my purposes. Might be interesting to someone looking at how Hindus want to portray themselves to the outside and/or recruit though.

  3. DONE read Hinduism (4th Edition)
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-05 Tue 16:19]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-27 Sun 20:01]

    A religious studies textbook on the topic. Looks at about the quality of an low end undergrad course on the subject, but might suit my purposes. If not, will try Essential Hinduism, which I have a copy of.

    Pretty good overview, with only a few small errors noticed. Definitely feel better oriented to the subject now.

  4. DONE get a few Hinduism-themed t-shirts
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-22 Fri 20:31]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-26 Sat 21:45]

    Clearing out a few worn out non-blank t-shirts, and now have room for a couple. Might as well get some related to my current general interest study topic. This will still decrease the overall number of non-blank ones.

    Will get 2 pre-made and design a custom one:

    • [X]

      Mahakali face. Bought on Amazon for $16 or so. Looked at all the Kali depictions available and this was my favorite, though none are exactly what I wanted.

      Decent, but not perfect. Great image, but the printing is bigger than I'd prefer. Also not crazy about the colors used in her hat.

    • [X]

      Gayatri mantra in Devanagari. Bought on Etsy for $26. I'll memorize this one, and having this on a shirt will help. I appreciate that it's a mantra to the Sun diety Savitr. I choose to think of him as the "lord of that which is mobile and is stationary", functioning as "upholding the movables and immovable, which signifies the maintenance of Rta".

      Quite good. I like this dark heather color too.

    • [X]

      Custom t-shirt depicting Neem Karoli Baba. Will try a custom shirt creator on Amazon for this since it's only $8.xx there, instead of the $2x-3x on Cafepress. If this works, will use this from now on. Made a custom image of him from the least flattering postcard available on the New Mexico ashram site.

      This turned out perfect. From now on, will use this service. Only downside is it ships from China, so it takes like 2.5 weeks.

    Also bought a Mahasaraswati shirt for A-.

    My personal literal translation for the Gayatri mantra:

    • om: brahma
    • bhoor: spiritual energy (prana)
    • bhuvah: destroyer of suffering
    • svah: embodiment of happiness
    • tatsavitur: that bright/light like Savitr
    • varenyam: best choice
    • bhargo: destroyer of sins
    • devisya: divine
    • dhimahi: may imbibe
    • dhiyo: intellect
    • yonaha: who our
    • prachodayat: may inspire

    Put together and interpreted non-literally: Heaven, earth, and all between. Praise Savitr, our ultimate god. May he infuse us with divinity and inspire our minds.

    An alternative (non-Savitr) interpretation I appreciate, since it elaborates on the loka (worlds) aspect of the first line:

  5. DONE read Bhagavad Gita
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-27 Wed 23:36]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-11 Mon 14:09]

    Part of the Mahabharata, and commonly recommended as the first scriptural text to read. Only 700 versus, so should be easy to finish, even if boring. Avoid the Hare Krishna translation (sub-titled "As It Is") of it, since I suspect they'll apply a slant. Will also check some commentaries of it afterwards to see if I agree and/or missed anything, the latter being likely given the high density of obscure terms.

    2022-03-27: Ordered a copy of Sutton's 2019 translation. I like this one best of the several I previewed. There's also the video lectures that accompany each chapter if I want to take advantage of that.

    2022-04-04: Received. Will start reading when done with current text.


    • Krishna equates buddhi-yoga (practice of the intellect) with karma-yoga (action without desire for personal gain). Perhaps this is to say that pursuits of intellect are not selfish, like those of material or social gain. He further elaborates that such activity cannot result in failure, only degrees of success.
    • "You only have the right to the action itself and never to the fruits of that action." - 2.47
    • Another equivalence is made between Samkhya and karma-yoga (or just yoga in general). Samkhya is a duality between pakriti and purusha. How these might be related is analogous to the true self, the atman, verses the physical senses.
    • These things all tie together into a progression, including meditation techniques/goals, towards bhakti yoga and means for attaining moksha. This stuff fills a pretty dry majority of the text, along with the updates to categorizations and labels that the author really wants everyone informed on. However, it does have a high level of internal consistency of many parts (though with contradictions to other texts and even other parts of the Mahabarata).
    • In Chapter 11, Krishna reveals himself as an all-pervading, terrible, normally-unfathomable entity, often focused on outright destruction. This seems to be where the monotheistic, henotheistic, or panentheistic conceptions of Krishna originate from (particularly Vaishnava). Having read this book though, I favor the theory it was written by and for polytheists, then later had specific lines retooled and chapters added to match Vaishnavist theology. However, I do remain open to the notion that by the time of the Mahabarata, some of these thoughts were already leaking into Hinduism and were of primary influence to the Gita authors.
    • An unusual and surprising element is Krishna's assertion that the personal deity relationship via bhakti yoga and the more intellectual/abstract jñāna approach are equally valid, but that the former is recommended in most cases. He'll even provide divine assistance to such practitioners and help make things easy for them.
    • Om, tat, and sat are three words used to designate Brahman, with "tat" specifically used by those seeking liberation from rebirth. That might be relevant to its appearance in the Gayatri mantra. The Gita is a much later text though.
    • In Chapter 18, Krishna monologues a (possibly excessive) survey of various aspects of life in relation to the three gunas (which are the threads that permeate all pakriti: sattva, rajas, and tamas). Sutton reflects in relation to the rajas that there is a special kind of emptiness to be had from pursuing happiness purely through the senses.

    In one sense, this is dense with theological information critical to the believer. It also contains some thought-provoking ideas to consider adapting to modern life. On the other hand, it's got plenty of the same problems that most ancient religious texts do, in that it's obviously written with an eye towards social control, and is just simply wrong whenever it makes assertions about reality.

    Most crucially, it also actively makes points arguably harmful to the self and society. The worst is probably the notion that you can't really murder others if it's your social duty to do so, since their souls are indestructible. Krishna starts his counter-argument by simply insulting Arjuna's manliness, then puts a lot of energy into convincing Arjuna to murder his own family members, making many bad arguments, unfalsifiable claims, false assertions, and appeals to authority to do so. The Gita actually starts with a pretty solid argument by Arjuna. A better book would have Krishna being convinced that he was incorrect or at least leave it up to the reader.

    Shortcomings aside, I'm quite glad to have read this. Like any great work, it's hard to not be affected by this in at least subtle ways. Not reading a source text at all would've made this endeavor less rewarding, and this is by far the best of the original religious texts I've read.

1.7.2. DONE read Intelligent Design: Message from the Designers

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-21 Tue 14:49]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-20 Mon 01:29]

The primary text of Raëlism, and (I think) a compilation of their first 3 smaller books. Describes their core cosmology, supposedly composed from notes taken while interacting with extraterrestrials. Will skip any life advice stuff and anything tedious/repetitive. Mainly only interested in:

  • Sampling the alien interpretation of the Bible in Book I.
  • The first 2 chapters of Book II. Hopefully this recaps of his trip to their planet (that might be a later revelation–not sure).
  • Chapter 1 of Book III, which is a FAQ.

Available here:

As expected, this is mostly the product of a simple mind. However, Raël has carefully surveyed the Bible and come up with a few semi-original ideas about how to interpret these through the lens of aliens. The main problem with these explanations is they really don't explain anything. Often these just shift the mystery over to repulsion beams, raising the dead from a single particle, and similar scifi.

Since Raël would've sat around his home and come up with these ideas over many months at least (and probably years), there's a good chance he doesn't believe at least the outwardly presented story of receiving all of this directly from an alien. That's not for sure though, since he may very well be that delusional.

If you want to believe that the Bible records historical events (along with other ancient texts) but wanted an off-the-shelf alien interpretation of it, this might be your best option. Only downside to doing so is that this religion is leader-critical, and as such is likely to die in the next decade or two.

1.7.3. DONE read Wanting

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-28 Tue 03:14]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-23 Thu 00:20]

Mimetic desires are desires transmitted via mimetic propagation. I don't think I have any, but I did, I'd want them excised and replaced with what's sometimes called intrinsic desires. So, worth checking. Note that it's also possible to have this problem and/or consider it unavoidable, yet game the system by surrounding yourself with mimetic influences that reinforce intrinsic desires. This book covers these concepts. Some say it's been life-changing, freeing them from an endless series of wants that are ultimately unsatisfying.

Anyone would be remiss to remain in ignorance of René Girard's ideas–with some caveats. Girard's adherents want to apply his theory as a universal model, whereas I think it's best used as one of many models in a toolkit. It seems to break down when applied inappropriately and Girard himself struggled with trying to shoehorn it into explaining things like human sacrifice. On the other hand, there's times when it's the optimal known model providing deep insights. A misconception I had before reading it is that Girard indeed considers mimetic desires and mimesis to be inescapable. So the only course of action is to be aware of their influence and work within its presence.

This book's presentation is lacking in some important ways. These ideas deserve a sober, competent, and comprehensive treatment. Instead we get Thiel fanboyism, blog-like writing, $CURRENT_YEAR tech-bro gossip, and disconnected info-dumps. There's good content here, but the author seems to think it needed padding out for length. I suspect the book could be half this size at most and still communicate everything needed for an exploration at its target depth.

Bailing at 23% due to the above. Since this doesn't really need a full book to communicate these concepts, I kinda get the idea well enough having read this much. On to better books that won't waste my time.

1.7.4. DONE read The Order of Time

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-11 Thu 16:35]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-07 Sun 15:19]

A popular science book on the current conception of time in physics. Only 256 pages, so might be worth a read. Some technologists find this book enlightening. Could end up feeling better about having a finite existence, though I seem to be semi-okay with that already.

Actually very good. Only dips too far into a sloppy attempt to communicate with the dumbs occasionally and has a few weird divergences, but those can be pretty easily ignored. Would've appreciated at least some math, of course, but this doesn't leave one feeling too ignorant of the subject matter. On the subject, this is somewhat eye-opening. I knew some of this, but the full scope of it is pretty sobering. Some takeaways:

  • Time doesn't exist as is commonly believed: It can be slowed by gravity wells and speed, there's no object present, and it is quantized into Planck time of 10^(-44) sec.
  • Entropy is the measure of heat transference via the 2nd law of thermodynamics. This is the only thing that enforces the arrow of time, and this and (subsequently causality) is an emergent property of our macroscopic universe.
  • Corollary: The above might have implications for causality-related reasoning in reference to the Big Bang.

1.7.5. DONE read Manufacturing Consent

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-18 Thu 23:35]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-18 Thu 16:19]

The famous Chomsky book on propaganda. Will just read the first chapter as someone on HN recommends, since the rest is just analysis and example. Also, they're about things like Vietnam and other topics I'm not that interested in.

Surprisingly not good. This didn't really age well, as most of the long-outdated info-dumps here aren't worth anyone's time to read today. I'd rather have seen the central focus be that media (particularly news) is necessarily propaganda, for some of the reasons listed here and others I'd probably add. It's hard to disagree with its core thesis, but the reasoning for it is a big miss, especially now.

1.7.6. DONE read Kyle Odom manifesto

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-03 Sat 17:26]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-03 Sat 16:34]

The 21-page manifesto thrown over the White House fence, explaining how attempted murderer Kyle Odom is supposedly under the negative influence of "a species of amphibian-humanoid from Mars". Available here:

Seems like standard TI behavior, checking all of the boxes. Seems there's some wire that can get crossed in the brain to cause this in otherwise normal persons. Somehow, the illusion is perfectly compelling in every way too.

This case is pretty inconsequential, except in one way: Kyle led his normal, sane life until he had some sudden weirdness occur while meditating. That might have been the point the bit flipped.

1.7.7. DONE read The Archives of Throawaylien

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-26 Mon 14:34]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-26 Mon 10:00]

Looks like a good way to put a lid on the "July Aitee" micro-hysteria from 2021. I tried to piece this together a bit once but it's difficult with it scattered everywhere. Didn't care too much, but since someone put in the effort, might as well take advantage of it.

Some observations: Others have studied these words super carefully, trying to extract meaning. However, it's obvious from the timestamps and the writing itself that the guy was just typing away at full speed. Doubtful there's any hidden meaning here. Also obviously not very smart, doesn't seem to know much about anything except age-appropriate pop culture, writes poorly (not unlike someone who really does just make pizzas and sandwiches for a living). Kind of a boring story then. I wasn't paying attention when it happened, but looks like I didn't miss much.

1.8. home improvement/maintenance

1.8.1. DONE try simple bread recipe

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-01 Sat 20:01]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-01 Sat 12:40]

First round of normal bread recipe attempts. I made this once before, but didn't make a note of it and also made a few mistakes. Adjusting accordingly here.

Stuff needed:

  • 1 packet yeast.
  • 3 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp sugar.
  • 2.25 cups warm water.
  • 1 tbsp salt.
  • 6.25-6.75 cups flour.
  • ~3 tbsp margarine.


  • Warm water, add 1/2 tsp sugar and yeast. Wait until froths.
  • Add remaining sugar, salt, 3 cups flour, margarine.
  • Start mixing and add 0.5 cup flour at a time until dough made.
  • Cover dough and let rise for 1.5-2 hrs.
  • Knead dough and put in oiled pans.
  • Let rise again for 30 min.
  • Bake at 375F for around 30-35min. Top should be brown and sound hollow when tapped.

This one works pretty good, but replace the oil with margarine. Edited above text since I'll probably use it for reference.

1.8.2. DONE fix various plumbing issues

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-06 Thu 12:47]
  • State "STRT" from "DONE" [2022-01-06 Thu 09:25]
  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-05 Wed 14:51]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-10 Wed 09:21]

Buy a faucet for the downstairs bathroom sink. Call plumber and have them install that, fix N upstairs bathtub leak, and either replace anode in water heater or replace it altogether. Do a full plumbing audit to see if there's anything else that needs addressed. Do this mid/late 2021-09. Need to figure out which mounting type it takes first. I think it might be 4" centerset.

2021-11-10: Lots of stuff fixed. All upstairs toilet innards replaced, NE bathroom faucet and pipes replaced, downstairs bathroom faucet replaced, water heater elements and thermostats replaced, water heater flushed. Note that the new faucet aerators can be removed with a screwdriver. Ordered parts for a second visit to redo the NE bathroom shower faucet setup. Probably will have to wait a couple weeks for that.

2021-11-21: Noticed a very slow drip on the SW toilet after the parts replacement. Will have them fix that when they get back for the other stuff.

2021-11-29: Noticed the SW shower leak reappeared. Get that fixed too.

2022-01-05: All stuff fixed. Also got SW showerhead replaced, since we had a spare with the kit for the other shower. Note that the SW shower itself has 2 cracks in it near the drain, which probably caused the leaks. These have been caulked, but it's not impossible that the cracks could get worse. Something to keep an eye on. Worst case scenario is a shower replacement.

2022-01-06: Looks like as usual they fixed some things and broke others. NE shower install doesn't send water to shower head. SW shower install has no pressure.

Update: Fixed SW shower. Needed to fiddle with it while adjusting the settings. This one might still not be that great for me though, so will keep the old one handy a few days to maybe put back on.

Update: Figured out NE shower. How the mechanism there works is to pull down on output spout of the faucet, which will shift it over to the head.

1.8.3. DONE make hummus

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-15 Sat 12:12]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-15 Sat 10:56]

Got 2 jars of tahini, so can make this now. Should be much cheaper than buying the prepared stuff, which keeps going up in price.


  • 1 can chick peas (save a little fluid).
  • 3+ tbsp lemon juice.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil.
  • 2-4 tbsp minced garlic.
  • 1 tsp salt.
  • 1/4 cup tahini.


  • Combine chickpeas and garlic.
  • Use food processor in 3-4 batches to turn into a chunky paste.
  • Combine remaining ingredients.

Super easy. No reason to be buying this from now on. Make 4x this amount next time and store in fridge.

1.8.4. DONE develop bean rotini soup recipe

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-15 Sat 19:02]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-15 Sat 16:59]

Was thinking that a soup with great northern beans, rotini, and various veggies would work. Will stay simple for round 1 on this.


  • Half box rotini.
  • 1 can northern beans.
  • 2 carrots, chopped.
  • 1/2 onion, chopped.
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped.
  • 4 cups water.
  • Vegetable broth.
  • Garlic powder, pepper, salt, Italian seasoning.


  • Cook rotini, drain, set aside.
  • Start soup with very light broth and carrots. Once carrots are soft, add celery.
  • Add pasta, beans, and onions shortly thereafter.
  • Tweak spices.

This works great. These proportions make for a pasta-heavy soup, which is what I wanted. Makes about 3 full entrees or maybe 4 lighter bowls.

Was thinking also a bean stew with a pack of fake bacon and some of these same ingredients, minus the pasta, would also work.

1.8.5. DONE fix safe

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-22 Sat 15:01]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-22 Sat 12:57]

Electronic lock is not currently working.

Was just a low battery. Replacing this doesn't require resetting to code. Possibly a full battery will flash yellow when pressing keys. This might be something that needs replaced more often than one might think, as the safe is only about 2 years old.

Noting the reset procedure for later, just in case:

  • Press red button behind rubber inside cover. Yellow light will come on.
  • Enter new 6 digit code with # key at end. Yellow light will flash twice.

1.8.6. DONE make potato soup

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-28 Fri 21:45]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-28 Fri 14:22]

Had an idea for a potato-centric soup, similar to the bean one.


  • Half medium pot of potatoes.
  • 1 can northern beans.
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped.
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped.
  • 4 cups water.
  • 1 pack of fake bacon.
  • Vegetable broth.
  • Decent amount of minced garlic or garlic powder, pepper, salt, Italian seasoning.


  • Cook potatoes until quite soft in water/broth.
  • Add carrots, beans, celery, onion, bacon in that order.
  • Tweak spices.
  • Keep cooking until potato chunks are sorta starting to come apart. Should make for a potato-esque broth to some extent.

This works pretty good. Could also half the fake bacon to make this cost less.

1.8.7. DONE make cream of mushroom soup

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-02 Wed 17:07]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-02 Wed 16:04]

Had an idea for making a dairy-free version of this. This is pieced together from various other normal versions of the recipe.


  • 5 cups diced mushrooms (2 small packs)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (made from almond milk).
  • 0.5 to 1 cup chopped onion.
  • 5-6 tbsp margarine.
  • 3 tbsp flour.
  • 1 cup almond milk.
  • Seasoning: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning.


  • Chop up mushrooms into small pieces and cook with broth and onion, 10-15 min.
  • Add everything else, stir constantly, cook until thickened. Be sure to add flour in a manner that doesn't have it clump up.

This works good. Made some updates to recipe above.

1.8.8. [6/6] redo small garden fencing

Decided to do this myself. Will do small garden first. Depending on how that goes, might do big garden right after or wait until next year for that.

2022-03-22: Breaking off the large garden fence into a separate task, since won't get to that until this Fall at earliest. Renaming this goal to just be about the small garden

2022-04-08: A few small challenges along the way, but overall result is a solid success.

  1. DONE design gardens
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-02 Thu 13:53]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-01 Wed 18:53]

    Figure out what the designs will be, which will inform the supplies needed.

    Small garden: 40x20'. Move 2'N and 1'W. Might tear down the existing fencing early and try to reshape the ground a bit using the front loader, removing some of the slope in the corner. The expansion to the north will accommodate the blueberry plants and leave room for a grape vine trellis, which I'll build later.

    Large garden: 50x20'. Move 1'W. This reduces its width slightly. Will cut down the cedar tree growing on the existing fence, or try transplanting it somewhere else.

    Overall design:

    • 5' wide gates with large hinges, gate latch, and cane bolt. This will allow for the tractor to get in, without the mow deck. Gates will be in center of trail-facing sections. Will need 5 1.5"x6' boards each. Use table saw to create joints and use glue with screws to create main frame. Then outline a cross brace and use a pocket hole jig to attach that. Apply Deck Correct to boards prior to screwing in place, minus the glued joint area.
    • 12x 4x4x8' posts, set with Quikrete or Sakrete. Paint posts with Deck Correct. Set posts 2.5' in ground.
    • Use 5' fencing with 6' T-posts. Will use proper fence fasteners and crown staples. Will keep fencing a couple inches off the ground to make string trimming easier. Keep fencing super tight. Might cut into sections for each side, depending on how the length versus rolls works out, as this will allow resetting if things shift a little.

    Cost for all supplies and tools I don't have will be around $500.

  2. DONE tear down small garden fence
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-16 Thu 17:02]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-15 Wed 12:02]

    Make sure I have everything needed before doing this, along with plenty of time to get it done before planting.

    Done. Was a decent amount of work, but nothing too terrible. The old fence posts weren't cemented, nor even in that far, which made getting them out easier.

  3. DONE get supplies
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-23 Wed 12:43]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-11 Sat 17:04]

    At least get the supplies needed for the posts and general fencing first. Have everything needed on a Lowes wish list.

    2021-12-16: Still need stakes, fence rolls, and wood for doors. Everything else already purchased.

    2022-03-06: Next time buy 8 T-posts and 2 rolls of fencing, which is just enough for the small garden. When I'm ready to get the wood (boards and 1 fencepost), get an additional 2-4 bags of Sakrete at the same time to weigh it down (due to getting 8' boards).

    2022-03-08: Acquired T-posts and fencing rolls.

    Next time, get 5x boards, 1 roll of fencing, and at least 4 bags of Sakrete. For the boards, will try 1.25" to save on weight.

    2022-03-22: Ordered the above listed stuff.

    2022-03-23: All supplies grabbed. For the large garden, will only need fencing and (maybe) T-posts. For the latter, I might reuse the ones I already have.

  4. DONE redo small garden fencing
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-30 Wed 22:47]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-02 Wed 17:45]

    Breaking this into the follow steps:

    • [X] Install 1 corner post.
    • [X] Install 3 corner posts.
    • [X] Measure and install gate posts.
    • [X] Install string between posts and install T-posts.
    • [X] Deposit some shale around lower slope to reinforce it.
    • [X] Install fencing.
    • [ ] Fill in any open spots below fencing with rocks/shale.

    2022-03-06: Changed my mind and decided to install just one gate post and reuse a corner post for that. This is due to the geometry of the slopes leading up to that side. This means I'll have an extra post, which I might buy another one of for use with the grape vine.

    2022-03-11: Installed the one gate post. Only issue is I measured it wrong and it's too narrow to get the tractor through. Will have to size the gate differently. Note for next time: consider building temp sizing boards for this and nailing them into the gate posts to ensure perfect sizing and spacing while pouring the concrete.

    2022-03-15: Fence posts installed.

    2022-03-16: Touched up the Deck Correct on the posts and used tractor to move 5 scoops of shale to bolster the downward slope. Will wait until after next rain to see if any posts settle weird before installing fencing.

    2022-03-19: Installed one section. Will need another roll to do the end sections. The length of these might also be a problem for the other garden too. Will have to join 3 rolls probably.

    2022-03-20: Installed another section.

    2022-03-24: Installed another section, but I think I got cheated on the last fencing roll I bought. There's no way it had 50' in it. So, now I'm stuck again without enough to complete. Will check the saved fencing and maybe use some of that. If not, will have to buy another roll.

    2022-03-30: Finished the enclosure with the old berry patch fence (which turned out to be 5'. Leaving the extraneous fencing from that attached until I get the gate done. Been doing some rock collection from the gardens, so will fill in the gaps with those over the next few weeks. Calling this task done.

  5. DONE build small garden gate
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-04 Mon 19:38]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-02 Sat 11:05]

    Build and install a gate for the new small garden. Breaking this off from the rest of the fencing task for it, since I can do without this if time runs short. Will just put a temp fencing gate there in that case.

    2022-04-02: Mostly built, but ran out of 2" screws. Will have to get more in 2 days.

    2022-04-04: Got screws and finished gate. Looks great and operates perfectly. This came together very well. Will probably build other gate exactly like this one.

  6. DONE transfer tree
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-08 Fri 13:58]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-08 Fri 12:07]

    Try to transfer the small tree growing within what's now the small garden's boundaries. Either put it near the forest edge or as part of the tree wall. Leaning towards the forest, since it's not an evergreen or fruit tree.

    Transferred to forest edge. Tree turned out to be a locust.

1.8.9. DONE replace boat deck

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-22 Fri 19:30]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-22 Fri 13:31]

Remove wood deck and replace with marine grade plywood and paint it: Might just cut off some of the plywood I already have, since getting marine-grade appears to be a pain. Don't affix this in any hard to remove way, since I'll probably have to remove it for the repainting later. Consider putting Deck Correct on it. Keeping this separate from the refinishing task, since will do that (if at all) much later.

2022-04-22: Done. Couldn't find my electrical tape, so will have to get another roll and redo the wiring tape once I do.

2022-04-29: Bought another roll and replaced the temp tape.

1.8.10. CNCL clear pine trees

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-04-23 Sat 12:04]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-01 Sun 13:18]

Wait until it gets cold and cut all of the small trees in the upper field down. Most are small and should go down with a single ax swing. Maybe trim and save some as stakes for the garden for next year. Toss some of the trees on the shooting range backstop to add some mass there.

2020-11-01: Started. Added a first load of trees to the pile in a test run. Looks like the bigger ones, which there are quite a few of, could benefit from some chainsaw help.

2020-11-08: Got a sizable area done, but noticed cats are still collecting ticks, so will hold off another month before continuing.

2021-01-14: Collected some sticks for garden marking stakes.

2022-04-23: Decided not to do this and let it grow up. There's been a lot of deforestation in the area in the past year, so not killing these trees will help a little to make up for it. The other factor is that we place no value in owning a racing track. Will still use this as a source of gardening stakes, but will only cut smaller trees that are growing in clumps.

1.8.11. DONE plant willow tree

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-24 Sun 17:45]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-24 Sun 16:44]

The idea behind this is to start a willow near the small pond to provide shade for it and reduce algae growth.

Planted. Should look great in 15 years.

1.8.12. DONE get chainsaw sharpener

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-21 Sat 12:14]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-01 Sun 20:41]

The one currently owned is for 3/8" teeth. Need one for 3/16". This is also sold by pitch length, I think, which is 0.325".

2022-05-01: Ordered.

2022-05-21: Sharpened. Perfect fit.

1.8.13. CNCL hire surveyor

  • State "CNCL" from "INAC" [2022-06-14 Tue 18:01]

Could use the property line marked on both sides, up to the forest edge. Should cost between $350 and $700, I'd imagine.

Postponing for now, since they seem to be pretty busy. I suspect they'll be more available and at more reasonable prices next year.

1.8.14. DONE plant 2022 screening trees

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-20 Mon 01:12]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-13 Mon 17:57]

Will be adding these over the next several years to add some tree cover around the house. This year, just get 2 Thuja and plant them diagonal to the shed. If this goes well, might add more of the same next to the end of the driveway.

Changed plan to 4 Arborvitae. These get 12-15' tall so will put them along the driveway. Also changed locations to 3 by driveway and 1 near small pond (just to the south). Getting the small ones to save cash. Total for 4 with tax was $91.

2022-06-17: Received. These are packaged well and arrive quickly. Got out of boxes, watered, and ready to be planted.

2022-06-18: First planted.

2022-06-20: Remaining 3 planted. Debating on whether to get more in this year. Will give these 2 weeks first to see if there's any issues with them establishing.

2022-09-03: Bought additional 2 Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'. Will interpose these between the 3 group planted above. Between the two varieties, one should certainly take. These were $20/each from Tractor Supply, and are around 3' tall. That's a much better deal than the previous. Will consider grabbing some more next year if they work out. The internet says that deer will often damage these, so I'll fence around the whole group for a few years so they can get started.

2022-09-06: Planted and fenced in.

1.8.15. [21/21] do 2022 garden

  1. DONE make garden plan
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-18 Sat 10:57]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-18 Sat 09:34]


    • Skipping pop corn and all squash varieties (minus crookneck). Will kill all volunteers.
    • For peppers, will stick with mostly cayenne to restock the pepper flakes collection. Those seemed to do better in 2021 when I staked them, so will do that to all this time. All other hot peppers will just be a few for kitchen use, and will need at least half a row of green peppers.
    • Will reduce tomato count to around 6, with 2 late backups, and the normal 2 double cherries.
    • Will optimize for plant survival over deployment time. Won't put stuff in the ground until it'll definitely survive.

    Plan complete.

  2. DONE order seeds
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-20 Thu 12:12]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-18 Sat 10:59]

    Might've missed a few seeds to save, since things got sloppy towards the end of the 2021 season. Take full inventory.

    Only needed 3: crookneck, mild habanero, and bush bean. Ordered those, and will have to go buy some more blueberries and grape vines locally.

    2021-12-30: Received, but neglected to do an herbs check and also still need lemongrass seeds.

    2022-01-11: Ordered lemongrass seeds.

    2022-01-20: All seeds acquired.

  3. DONE get grow bulbs
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-23 Wed 12:44]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-03 Thu 14:17]

    Trying this for indoor starting to see if it helps any.

    2022-02-03: Ordered 4 pack.

    2022-02-23: Forgot to close task. Been using these for awhile. They seem to help, but aren't as bright as I'd hoped.

  4. DONE start peppers
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-22 Tue 15:13]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-02 Wed 20:36]

    Do all large cell trays with peppers but then also start a full small cell tray of them as backups and fillers.

    2022-02-02: One tray of mild habanero started. Only put a single seed in each cell, so keep an eye on this tray in case any don't come up. Will reuse those cells for other stuff if that happens.

    2022-02-14: Started first tray of cayenne.

    2022-02-23: Started second tray of cayenne. The habaneros sprout rate was under half. Used the rest of the seeds on 5 cells and did the remaining 6 cells in MyThai.

    2022-03-05: Started jalapenos.

    2022-03-13: Started green peppers.

    2022-03-22: Started backup tray of green, jalapenos, mini-Thai, and the rest cayenne. Probably a bit late on the timing for these.

  5. DONE fertilize gardens
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-24 Thu 20:48]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-24 Thu 15:47]

    Do same routine as last year, since that seems to have worked well.

    Dispersed into small garden. Not as much plop in here with fewer ducks.

  6. DONE start tomatoes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-31 Thu 22:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-14 Mon 13:53]

    6 main, plus 2 late backups.

    2022-03-14: Started first 6.

    2022-03-31: Started last 2.

  7. DONE plant potatoes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-05 Tue 18:59]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-05 Tue 16:59]

    Ideally, plant in late April.

    Planted all in one wide row.

  8. DONE plant onions
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-06 Wed 21:25]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-19 Sat 14:27]

    Plant these in mid-March, and stagger in two groups separated by 2 weeks. Will try overplanting the saved seeds and see if that works. If nothing comes up by May, I think I still have bought seeds.

    2022-03-19: First 2 rows in raised bed planted with saved seeds. Was looking at the seed pack I have, and it says to only plant them in the Spring, post-frost. This conflicts with my planting calendar. Will just plant more in 2 weeks and see what happens.

    2022-04-06: 3 additional rows onions planted in raised bed.

  9. DONE get additional fruit trees
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-10 Sun 17:42]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-05 Tue 13:58]

    Current thinking is at least 2 pears and 1 wild plum.

    2022-04-05: Bought 1 pear and 1 plum. Pear is a Flemish Beauty and plum is a Plum Superior. Will plant these and reevaluate.

    2022-04-09: Pear planted. Looks like it was bare root, despite coming in a pot, so won't see much action until next year at best.

    2022-04-10: Plum planted.

  10. DONE plant sunflowers
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-11 Mon 14:05]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-11 Mon 12:45]

    Will try planting some in mid April. If these don't come up or die, will use the remaining seeds in the same spot.

    Planted in front of blueberries.

  11. DONE get additional berry/grape plants
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-13 Wed 14:22]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-12 Tue 10:52]

    Maybe 3 of each.

    Got 3 Catawba grape pots, 1 seedless Concord bare stem, 2 Osage blackberry pots, and 2 blueberry stems. For the latter, the Tifblue blueberry is planted west, next to the older ones. The Jersey blueberry is east, next to the blackberries.

  12. DONE start training grapes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-13 Wed 15:43]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-11 Mon 19:19]

    Decided to not build the vineyard in 2022, but will train the grapes and adjust accordingly. These need to go up to 24" at least before it's worth building the trellis. If that fails, then I'd waste a lot of materials building something I can't use. Make some wooden stakes for training these over the next year or two. If that's going well, then I can go ahead and get the supplies ready.

    2022-04-11: Collected 4 straight sticks. Relocated surviving grape from old berry patch and tied it to trainer stick.

    2022-04-13: Collected 3 additional sticks, with 2 being for the new blackberries. Put all sticks in place, but the new ones are a bit too small to tie yet. Will do so later when vines start growing.

  13. DONE till gardens
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-17 Sun 17:49]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-22 Tue 09:00]

    Spend some extra time digging up any deep rocks the shovel hits. Skip onion row in big garden again, if there's more than a few onions present.

    2022-03-31: Large garden tilled. Many rocks dug up. Only saw 4 or so onions, but still left them there.

    2022-04-05: Shoveling complete.

    2022-04-12: Small garden hoeing complete.

    2022-04-17: Done.

  14. DONE fertilize all perennials/trees
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-22 Fri 20:52]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-22 Fri 12:01]

    Probably should do this every spring at least. Fertilizer doesn't do any good sitting in the container.

    Done. Used one packet, but needs to be diluted quite a bit. Might hurt leaves too, so be careful when pouring.

  15. DONE plant corn
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-22 Fri 20:52]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-22 Fri 16:12]

    Should be able to plant this starting last week of April, or thereabouts.

    Done. Just doing one row in center of small garden, as planned.

  16. DONE start potted peppers
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-23 Sat 11:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-23 Sat 11:09]

    Will do 2 normal habanero this year.


  17. DONE setup pea trellis and start first pea batch
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-19 Thu 20:15]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-19 Thu 16:19]


  18. DONE direct plant seeds
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-20 Fri 16:00]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-15 Sun 17:03]

    This just covers the first round.

    2022-05-15: Green beans planted.

    2022-05-16: Cucumber, red beet, and crookneck planted.

    2022-05-17: Watermelon and cantaloupe planted.

    2022-05-18: Radish (first batch) and carrot (purple and normal) planted.

    2022-05-20: 1/3 onion row planted. This concludes the first round of everything. Will still plant second batch of peas later, then more batches of onions and radishes throughout summer. Also will keep an eye on a few questionable seed batches, like with the cucumbers, to see if they do come up. If not, will replace them with other stuff.

  19. DONE plant peppers
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-23 Mon 20:19]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-12 Thu 18:23]

    2 rows + spillover.

    2022-05-12: 1 tray cayenne and 1 tray jalapeno planted.

    2022-05-16: Figured out a better way to harden peppers. Putting them in the truck bed for as many hours as needed seems to work perfect, provided winds are below 12mph.

    2022-05-23: All planted, all planned rows filled. Still have backup tray, and will fill in any ones that die.

    2022-06-02: Filled in backup tray. Some of these were still a bit wimpy. Will want to start it just 2 weeks after the others next time. Since they were so small, put 2 Thai peppers in pots.

  20. DONE plant tomatoes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-23 Mon 20:19]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-11 Wed 18:22]

    10 total.


  21. DONE start second pea batch
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-20 Mon 13:41]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-20 Mon 13:41]

    Will plant these mid-June.

    Did this about 4 days prior.

  22. DONE save seeds
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-04 Fri 10:47]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-10 Wed 16:16]

    Will deprecate maintaining 2 strains of large tomatoes. The beefsteaks and slicers have somewhat melded, so will just propagate that.

    Save the following:

    • [X] Bromato
    • [X] Cherry tomato
    • [X] Onion
    • [X] Green pepper
    • [X] Cucumber
    • [X] Snow peas
    • [X] Bush beans
    • [X] Jalapeno
    • [X] Cayenne
    • [X] Cantaloupe
    • [X] Slicer tomato
    • [X] Watermelon
    • [X] MyThai pepper
    • [ ] Habanada
    • [ ] Indian corn
    • [X] Sunflower

1.8.16. DONE trim back road trees

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-22 Wed 19:02]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-12 Sun 16:16]

These need to be moved back a few feet at least. Been lazy about this in the past several years, so need to do some catch-up.

Should just need normal maintenance for a couple years.

1.8.17. DONE replace dryer

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-12 Tue 15:39]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-01 Fri 16:14]

Dryer not generating heat. Doing some research, looks like this is a replace situation. So, measure slot and get a new one.

2022-07-01: Ordered a Hotpoint 6.2 cu.ft. one from Home Depot, model HTX24EASKWS. Will be delivered and installed on 2022-07-11.

2022-07-11: Delivered.

2022-07-12: Disposed of old dryer.

1.8.18. DONE get mouse and rat traps

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-10 Wed 14:45]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-06 Sat 10:56]

Pests are eating a lot (actually most) of the duck/chicken feed. Get some traps to reduce their number below infestation levels. Ordered one trap of each size. Can also use the mouse trap later in the garage.

Received. Will try to catch stuff.

1.8.19. DONE make ketchup

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-20 Sat 17:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-14 Sun 11:54]

Used all ketchup, so will make 2 half gallon batches this year. Note ingredients so I don't forget them. This amount requires about 1.5 shopping bags of tomatoes per batch.


  • 1/2 gallon (4 pints) tomato juice.
  • 0.6 pint sugar (1/2 lb).
  • 0.5 pint vinegar.
  • 1/2 tbsp salt.
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard.

2022-08-14: Batch 1 complete.

2022-08-20: Batch 2 complete. Made double the previous amount (for 1.5gal. total). Should be pretty good on the stuff for all of next year at least. Since I'll also skip canning tomatoes next year (for the most part), I should be able to just plant 7 tomato plants or so (1 cherry, 1 bromato, 5 slicer).

1.8.20. DONE make roast beets and carrots

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-03 Mon 19:35]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-03 Mon 19:32]

Have plenty of both of these this year. Already made this a few times, but need to note the recipe for later.


  • Chop up an semi-even mix of beets and carrots in 1/2 cubes.
  • Place beets and carrots in a bakeware container.
  • Add a generous amount of olive oil.
  • Add about the same amount of balsamic vinegar.
  • Coat top with a light amount of sugar.
  • Add some salt.
  • Bake for 1 hr at 375-400 degrees.
  • Stir before serving.

Update: Skip salt. Seems to ruin the flavor.

1.8.21. DONE plant trees from local program

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-11 Tue 10:55]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-09-17 Sat 14:24]

We participated in the local subsidy program again this year and got these trees for super cheap:

  • 1x Weeping willow (Salix babylonica).
  • 1x Paw Paw (Asimina triloba).
  • 2x Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis).

Will plant the willow near the big pond and the other three to start the mini-orchard near the small garden.

Forgot to mark this as done. Planting occurred within a few days of acquisition.

1.8.22. [5/5] do 2022 lawnmower maintenance

  1. DONE remount mow deck
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-22 Tue 14:21]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-22 Tue 13:39]

    Eyeball blades to see if a swap is needed. Check tension on blade nuts.

    Done. Didn't swap blades.

  2. DONE sharpen push mower blades (mid-season)
    • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2022-08-23 Tue 08:30]

    Might have to do this twice, depending on use.

    I think I did this in July, but forgot to note it.

    Also did it again end of season.

  3. CNCL pressure wash tractor
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-11-22 Tue 08:39]

    Skipping this year since it's not too dirty.

  4. DONE clean and remount mow deck
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-23 Wed 15:34]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-21 Mon 15:58]

    Needs blade swap. Will immediately remount mow deck when done and leave it on for weight balance reasons. Tractor seems to perform better with the lower center of gravity.

    Done, but the far right blade seems to be stuck, so filed that in place. Will need to do something about that at some point.

  5. DONE add grease to mow deck PTO zerk
    • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2022-11-27 Sun 11:42]

    Looks like the service tech missed this one last time.

    Not sure which one this was referring to. Will look around when I take the deck off.

    Done, hopefully correctly.

1.8.23. [14/14] do 2022 wood stove tasks

  1. DONE reattach trim to wood shed wall
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-31 Fri 15:55]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-31 Fri 14:45]

    Looks like a piece of the trim came off. It's against the inside wall now. Reattach it, but make sure it doesn't come off again. Might want some small, short bolts for that. Probably have some good for this in the random parts collection.

    Done. Some of this trim was covered in gunk, so cleaned it. Tightened down all lose bolts.

  2. DONE shut down wood stove
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-15 Tue 09:41]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-14 Mon 09:40]

    Shutdown complete.

  3. DONE shovel all ashes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-22 Tue 12:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-17 Thu 17:19]

    Noticed water drips in during the summer and mixes with the ashes. Clean these out right away this time to prevent any internal rust. Can do the main cleaning later though.

    Done. Still need to due a full cleaning, of course.

  4. DONE drain boiler water
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-21 Sat 10:06]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-21 Sat 10:06]

    Drain and inspect water that comes out. Then pour a few cups of boiler fluid by itself into the tank. Thinking that should help protect against rust at the bottom.

    Forgot to close this, but was done sometime in early 2022-05.

  5. DONE get free logs
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-06 Mon 17:25]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-06 Mon 17:25]

    The guy from Old Town Tree & Landscaping randomly stopped by and offered as many loads of free wood as I wanted. I accepted 2. Said he'd check back again in 4 years, so keep that in mind when/if I order more logs before then. Will probably try to hold off on it until then to save tons of cash. Also these logs are smaller and easier to cut.

  6. DONE get brush to clean vent
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-06 Wed 22:39]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-21 Sat 16:13]

    Try starting with a 1.5" wire brush head, paired with the most flexible rod available. Brush diameters are available in many sizes, so adjust accordingly once I give it a try. Double layer bristles are also available. Ordered for around $48, so hopefully will work. If this completely fails, maybe try a 40-something inch radiator brush, though I'm skeptical that would either in such a case.

    2022-05-24: Got rod part, which seems good. Hopefully brush fits adapter.

    2022-05-28: Brush fits rod. Need to try it out next.

    2022-07-06: Nope, doesn't work. Can't bend enough to get in, and isn't even close in that regard. Will think about this and maybe try something else next year.

  7. DONE consider taking apart fan box
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-06 Wed 22:42]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-06 Wed 18:40]

    Probably removing the bolts in the front would let this slide up then off. Might be able to access to the fan then, check its status, and clean it.

    Disassembled fan unit. Surprisingly, it seems in good condition. Cleaned out a little gunk buildup and fixed the vent closing switch (the retaining pin fell out). Not sure if that'll help any.

  8. DONE get cut firewood
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-08 Sat 22:12]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" <2022-09-30 Fri 15:11>

    Get at least one big load.

    2022-09-30: Ordered. Price went way up to $690 base.

    2022-10-03: Received load. Need to stack. Will see what that looks like and make a call on whether to go for it with just this amount, supplemented by stuff I cut.

    2022-10-08: Everything stacked and cleaned up. Thinking I'll be good for the winter, as long as it's not freakishly cold this year. Will have to cut a good bit more myself than usual though.

  9. DONE clean wood stove
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-08 Tue 21:19]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-14 Fri 13:41]

    Clean out flue as completely as possible.

    2022-10-09: Trying to get the local chimney sweep in to do a proper cleaning. If he could remove all the accumulated gunk, I can probably keep it in good order from then on.

    2022-10-14: Scheduled service from Winchester. Using M- (contact in Scheduled for 2022-11-04 3-4PM. He'll give a call when headed out. Says he can replace the seal on the door too. Will hold off on doing anything myself in that case. Local guy never returned calls, so will write him off.

    2022-11-04: Got inside of stove cleaned out, which really needed it. Also got the seal replaced. Got 2 bottles of Cre-Away (a creosote remover). Will use one at beginning of season, then one at end. Then, I should call the chimney sweep back to clean out the flue. Will still run the brush through the flue a few times prior to firing it up though.

    2022-11-08: Cleaned out flue as best as I can for now with brush and shop vac. Looks like it should be fine on that front.

  10. DONE fix rust spots on roof around flue
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-09 Wed 20:43]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-09 Wed 16:43]

    Looks like the paint here degraded over the years due to heat and water did its thing to the steel roof. Tape off a square around the flue, sand the paint off, then replace it with stove paint. Get a can of green stove paint for this.

    2022-06-14: Found this cheapest on eBay. Ordered color Metallic Moss Green stove paint. This should be either a match, or close enough not to matter.

    2022-11-09: Task complete, finally. So, looks like the paint bought isn't a perfect match. I'd say it's close enough, not really noticeable, and looks better like this than with the rust spots.

  11. DONE fill boiler water and add treatment
    • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2022-11-10 Thu 20:45]

    Additive used says to put 1 gallon in per 300 gallons water. So, I'll add 1 qt now, then another before turning it on.


  12. DONE repaint wood stove
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-24 Thu 11:42]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-13 Sun 17:39]

    Some of the paint is flaking off in a few areas. Will do a spot repair on it as needed. Already bought a can of black stove paint. Might use left over paint on burn barrel.

    2022-11-13: Sanded and painted inside of shed roof, which has rust spots. Used normal white primer for this, so keep an eye on it. After looking at it though, I think the reason it started rusting was because it was cut with metal snips and the bare steel left exposed. So, heat-proofing that part probably isn't as important.

    2022-11-24: Painted some random pieces. Could probably still use another pass in the Spring though.

  13. DONE fire up wood stove
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-12 Mon 23:46]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-12 Mon 14:00]

    Want to start tracking when this goes on/off. Current rule is to turn it on a day or two before highs stay below 40F, on a non-windy day, then do the same in reverse in the Spring.

    Started and running good.

  14. DONE get backup door gasket
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-26 Mon 15:21]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-26 Mon 12:20]

    Gasket dislodged randomly. Managed to fix, but would feel better having a backup. This is a critical component and only costs ~$10, plus will need to replace occasionally anyway.


1.8.24. [3/3] do 2022 minor repairs

  1. DONE swap showerheads in SW shower
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-10 Mon 21:31]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-10 Mon 10:12]

    The new one installed is practically unusable as-is. Clean up the old one and reinstall it.

    Ended up keeping the new one in. The internal aerator just needing cleaning out. Runs great now.

  2. DONE fix shed paint
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-17 Mon 21:21]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-15 Sat 15:03]

    Looks like some wood burrowing insect damage occurred on one of the corners. Need to get that covered up.

    2022-10-15: Put wood filler on holes. Will let dry first.

    2022-10-17: Done. Touched up all worn spots while at it.

  3. DONE replace sink aerator
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-26 Mon 15:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-12-26 Mon 12:20]

    Replace the SE bathroom aerator.

    Done. Needs size 55/64", 27 female, 1.5GPM. Replacement part brand is Danco, which seems to work better than the one I was using previously.

1.8.25. [1/1] do 2022 cleaning

  1. DONE take down metal plate from tree
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-11 Mon 19:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-11 Mon 16:43]

    Will need ladder for this. Not sure if it's nailed in. Bring paint can just in case.

    Was a real pain to get down, but now is. Used angle grinder to cut an embedded chain link. Cut link and a nail are still in there. Looks like the tree took a fair bit of damage from being shot at for at least a few years.

1.9. stuff

1.9.1. DONE fix phone account

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-08 Sat 22:46]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-08 Sat 22:10]

Can't log into my Tracfone account to buy more minutes. See if support can help with that.

Tracfone support is pretty abysmal and to be avoided at all costs. Flailing about a bit, I was finally able to reset my password on my own and get into my account. Then I loaded up on airtime/service. So, good for awhile. Maybe I should log into the site occasionally to make sure it still works.

Side note: The only tower near here is an AT&T tower. Not all Tracfones work with this. This means I'll have to get a different service provider (like Sprint or AT&T itself) once this model is no longer supported.

1.9.2. DONE replace cardigan

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-10 Mon 20:45]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-03 Mon 23:39]

Current one has various holes in it and is now no longer able to maintain structural integrity. Maybe try a 100% wool one this time.

2022-01-05: Grabbed the Shetland wool cardigan from Pendleton, size S. Was rather expensive at $160 though. Will toss old one once I confirm this fits.

2022-01-10: Looks/fits great. Will definitely keep.

1.9.3. DONE consider replacing alarm clock

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-12 Wed 14:15]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-06 Thu 20:20]

I kept my old, semi-broken one since it had large numbers I could see across the room. Now that the eyes are fixed, a normal sized clock will work now. The old one does have the battery backup feature though, so if I do replace it, keep it in the drawer in case I need to resurrect it for that feature.

2022-01-06: Grabbed a Realistic Chronomatic 218 12-1526 off eBay for $38 + S/H. Had this or a similar model when a kid and liked it quite a lot. The smaller blue display should also be better for sleeping. According to a site, these were made around 1985.

2022-01-12: Received. Looks good. Is missing a metal piece on the left side. Could replace this at some point if I feel like it. Looks fine as-is too though. I guess this was worth $40-something dollars to do.

1.9.4. CNCL consider treadmill

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-01-15 Sat 00:03]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-14 Fri 21:52]

Definitely not getting enough cardio exercise in winter. Might want to use some of my spare basement space for one of these. See if any non-Chinesium ones that don't include a bunch of useless media features are available for reasonable prices these days.

Was hoping for something under $1000, but looks like that means buying junk. Getting a proper machine means getting the brands used in commercial gyms. The good ones are also extremely heavy. For example, the Precor TRM 400 is a mid-range model for $5500 and weighs 350lbs.

So, will skip this for now and try to add woods walks to the routine when it's warm enough to do so. Can also get a nearly 2 mile walk in by checking the mail on foot. This means being stagnant on this front for 2-3 months out of the year, but I'd rather compensate for that than buy stuff that will go to the landfill in a year.

This would probably still be worth it if I didn't have the space to get free exercise. Even so, I might revisit this topic and reconsider one of the expensive models, depending on how other things in life go.

1.9.5. DONE try yaupon tea

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-10 Thu 18:37]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-03 Thu 22:52]

Been dosing myself up with tea lately to quit drinking soda and help with weight loss. Will either quit or cut back on it later. Current favorites are roasted Japanese green tea and regular cheap black tea. Give yaupon, a US native tea, a try. If I like it and it's different enough to be worth the trouble, will look around for a cheaper source.

2022-02-03: Ordered a single box.

2022-02-10: Well, tried it. It's fine, but nothing special. Not worth the extra cost, I'd say.

1.9.6. [10/10] redo phone setup

Got notice from Tracfone that my phone is being forcibly deprecated and won't be functional after 2022-02-22. This is due to something about VoLTE protocols. Normally, I'd just get the latest Tracfone flip phone, but the new model has junk social media apps on it that can't be uninstalled. Furthermore, their CS has really gone downhill lately and is basically unusable. Even worse, I'm pretty sure anything from them won't even work here, since A-'s failed attempt to use them last month (which ended up costing a lot of time/money). So, will switch device and provider at the same time.

  1. DONE get new phone
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-07 Mon 15:46]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-04 Fri 09:45]

    Current option I'm considering:

    • Contact AT&T or go to local store and see if I can do the following:
      • Get service in my area if I were to buy one of their phones.
      • Transfer current number over to new contract.
      • Pay yearly instead of monthly (or do prepaid).
    • If the above works out, then I might get the Kyocera DuraXE Epic flip phone as a replacement dumb phone and use that.
    • If I do get this phone up and running, look into sideloading APKs.

    Probably will see if I can get answers online then drive into the store or do store pickup, since I'm not sure what services/products to order on the site.

    2022-02-04: Called AT&T and bought phone. New phone is being shipped overnight and I'll receive that on 2022-02-07. Can take it into the store afterwards. See notes about the specifics in other file. Also set up online account. Might want to consider using the AT&T mail service for just email on the phone later.

    Asked about smartwatches, and sounded like I can add an LTE one to the account for $10. Won't do that now, but might be an option for going smartwatch only for all phone stuff later, once I'm sure I won't need one for any future work. My vision for that is to leave it on the charger and only wear it when I need a phone for a trip or something. Could also do a transition period to make sure it's a viable setup for me.

    Phone should come with a temporary number, so test in house to check function/signal.

    2022-02-07: Acquired and tested as working. Needs an SD card though, presumably for additional media storage. Model is E4830.

    The phone itself is very high quality, and a good value for the money it seems. Navigation is super quick. Buttons have just the right tactile feel for a device like this.

  2. DONE transfer number
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-09 Wed 14:50]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-09 Wed 10:00]

    Go into local store once I have new phone in hand and get them to transfer the old number to it. Bring old phone and various notes from previous step. Try on some smartwatches while at the store.

    Done. Looks like going into the store was the right plan, since it required an hour of work on their part to make it happen. Never would've been able to navigate two corporations' system to successfully do it.

  3. DONE transfer contacts
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-09 Wed 18:37]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-09 Wed 17:49]

    Will have to do this manually. While at it, message the 3 or 4 pictures on old phone to the new one.

    Done. Old phone doesn't have a registered SIM now, so can't xfer anything off it.

  4. DONE setup voice mail
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-09 Wed 19:08]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-09 Wed 18:28]

    Also figure out how to check.


    • Setup and checking is done by pressing and holding the 1 button.
    • When I have a voicemail, there will be a double circle (tape-like) icon in the upper left of the home screen, just to the right of the time.
    • Delete messages with 7, save with 9, and check more options with 0.
    • If I ever want to change the pass code:
      • Log into voice mail normally.
      • Hit 4 2 1 1, enter new pass code, then the # key.
    • If I get locked out of voice mail, reset it here.

    Done, though it appears it was already setup for me at some point.

  5. DONE setup email on phone
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-09 Wed 19:50]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-09 Wed 19:08]

    Will use my junk Google account for this.

    Had to enable "less secure apps" as Google calls them. Not sure how to get back to this setting, but it's on now.

  6. DONE setup local WiFi
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-09 Wed 19:10]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-09 Wed 19:50]

    Once everything else works, connect device to local network.

    Works fine. Might add the satellite later as backup.

  7. DONE consider accessories
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-13 Sun 15:12]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-09 Wed 18:53]

    Will hold off on this until I see how it fits in pocket. Might also want dock if there is one available.

    This fits in the pocket and doesn't need a holster. Will get the following instead, for now:

    • Desk top charger.
    • Extra USB type A to type C cable for car/backpack.
    • 16GB microSD card.

    Can order all this stuff on AT&T's site if I want to save some time at the cost of a few dollars. Only one I'm not sure about is the dock. There's a $120 dock on another site that seems better and is definitely compatible with this model.

    2022-02-09: Ordered $30 dock. Will get the other stuff elsewhere, since it's overpriced on AT&T's site.

    2022-02-11: Received dock. Looks like it works pretty good. It's not super necessary, but I could use another USB type C cable so the one on the dock can stay on it and I'll have an extra in the desk for transferring files.

    2022-02-13: Got spare USB type C cable from A-. Will put in car. Will skip the SD cards for now, since I don't need to transfer a lot of data to/from the phone. If I need some for another reason, I'll get a multi-pack and put one in then.

  8. DONE read e4830 manual
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-13 Sun 19:01]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-11 Fri 20:46]

    Going to be living with this for awhile, so might as well know how it works. Last time I didn't bother and several things remained a mystery for years.

    Done. Was worth reading. Went through everything covered here while reading it too and tweaked more settings. Only ones I might change later are disabling the call history button on top and adding a lock code later (since one of my email accounts is linked here).


    • Rearranged the main menu screen to be a little more useful.
    • Cutting/pasting text can be done through the "text input mode" menu (left soft key when in text input mode). Doesn't work outside of text input mode though.
    • To call from the contacts list, highlight entry and press SEND. For entries with multiple numbers, VIEW the entry, highlight number, then press SEND.
    • To answer an incoming call in speaker mode without opening, use the top left speaker button.
    • One of the in-call options is to add another person to an existing call. This might be non-obvious, as it's called "Add call".
    • Another option is RTT (real time text) mode. This seems similar to ytalk, I guess, since you can see all of the typing the other person does in real time.
    • Can mask my number from caller ID using *67 before dialing.
    • Use 0 in browser mode to see hotkeys.
    • Can format SD cards right on the phone. See page 96 for steps.
  9. DONE order custom Galaxy Watch strap
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-24 Thu 20:53]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-10 Thu 21:48]

    Found a site to make custom straps. Not sure if anyone's home, but will give it a try. If it shows up, I can use it on a Galaxy Watch. Also had an idea for a custom strap for the world timer mod, but that would require a different case probably since the Galaxy Watch strap is 20mm.

    2022-02-10: Ordered. Designed a strap with a repeating sequence of soyjacks. Cost was $33. Will issue a refund through PayPal if it doesn't show up or at least ship in 2 weeks.

    2022-02-17: The order was just sitting there, so was losing hope. But, this did indeed ship today and from within the US. So, shouldn't have to wait long. Super curious what it'll look like in person.

    2022-02-24: Received. This looks great. Since I don't have a smartwatch (and may never get one, I'll put it on the Tuedix when I get that). Will definitely get another one of these should I have something to put one on.

  10. DONE get free Samsung S22
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-24 Thu 20:53]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-10 Thu 10:48]

    Will trade in A-'s old S8 for a new S22. The deal is you get the new S22, only having to pay what the taxes would be for the same (around $40) and have to keep your normal service for 36 months (which I intended to do anyway). So, we'll go ahead and make this trade. This isn't particularly useful, but can be okay to own for these purposes:

    • Useful for taking pictures of the non-personal variety.
    • Could serve as a pairing host if wanting to try going smartwatch-only while out of the house.
    • Can xfer to her account later for a free upgrade.
    • If none of the above are particularly useful, can sell it before it becomes obsolete.

    Will leave this off when not doing one of the above to not get spied on all day.

    Need to go in and drop off S8 and confirm that I won't actually be billed for the device. Looks like it currently in the online account. Also it considers me to be upgrading my device to the S22, which I don't want to actually do.

    2022-02-10: Dropped off S8. Got printed receipt for trade-in. Fixed issue with account where the S22 was set as an upgrade and primary device for me. Rep says will have to manually swap the sim cards to do anything cell-related with it.

    2022-02-24: Received this a few days ago and got it setup. Also tried using it very briefly to see what the modern phone experience is like for normies. Once that was done, turned it off and put it back in the box in the drawer. Didn't put a sim in yet since there's no need to do so unless I decide to get the smartwatch. Will use this instead of my normal camera in the meantime.

    This concludes all phone-related activity for now. Will create a different goal for trying a smartwatch later, if I decide to go that route (still not sure I want to, due to the various downsides).

1.9.7. DONE get extra pair of work boots

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-05 Sat 14:09]
  • State "STRT" from "INAC" [2022-02-24 Thu 15:11]

My first pair finally wore out and I'm using the backups now. Will try to keep these waxed, but still need a new backup pair. Will stick with the 6" height ones to save some foot insertion effort.

Setting INAC due to the darker colors not being available currently. Will either get the brown ones if they don't stock any by late spring, or get a pair of normal work boots.

Checked shoe size and it's 12E.

2022-02-24: Got tired of waiting for boots to come back in stock. Decided to grab a pair of Vietnam jungle boots. Used to use these to mow lawn as a kid so they should still be good for that purpose. That should save over half the wear on my duck boots.

2022-03-05: Received. These fit perfect, but are made from lesser quality materials than the originals I used to wear back in the early 90s. Might not matter though, so will use them whenever it's dry outside for awhile and find out. If they work good, I might order more to stock up. Since I'm keeping these, this concludes this task for now, though I do still want additional duck boots at some point.

If I do want to stock up on these, can get them at for around $26/pair. Then can use the "UGotSale" coupon code for another 10% off.

2022-07-15: Decided not to get any more of these. They're okay, but will stick to duck boots + nice boot pipeline. Ordered a backup pair of duck boots as a consequence, so should be good on shoes for at least 4 years.

1.9.8. DONE get truck cargo net

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-05 Sat 14:09]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-24 Thu 15:12]

Need this for taking trash bags to the dump. Should easily pay for itself in a year, since we'll be able to take twice as much stuff per trip.

2022-02-24: Ordered one on sale for $26.34.

2022-03-05: Received a few days ago, but forgot to close. Will keep these in the truck itself.

1.9.9. [19/19] do 2022 watch mods/builds

Starting this as a temporary hobby, possibly only for early 2022.

This is a fun and educational activity. Provides an outlet for small scale mechanics, some history, and results in a useful item. The downsides are that you really only need a few watches in your life at most, so building more has diminishing returns. Decided to stop with the watch box full, canceling further project ideas. May return to the hobby later after a break. Will wear current pieces in the meantime and think about whether I want to sell any.

  1. DONE ponder SKX007-compatible mod
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-18 Tue 09:30]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-17 Mon 18:30]

    Will do a Seiko build using all non-Seiko parts, minus the NH35A. Think about what I want this build to be. Probably will get case, caseback, and other main parts from Also check,, and

    Some general thoughts: Will stick with the SKX007 for max compatibility. For design, might want to go semi-formal looking with this, in which case I can sell the Jena and replace that with another build. Beating the Jena is classiness might be tough though, so not sure I want to try.

    Build ideas:

    • The Simm U50: a B&W Sinn U50 clone. 4 o'clock crown.
    • The Urdumariner: A build covered with Eastern Arabic numerals. Uses Arabic day-date NH36 and lightning bolt or trident second hand. Stainless with either bracelet or blue rubber strap. 3 o'clock crown.
    • Stealth Tuna: Black tuna case bundle with all components stealth black. Black date, or no-date, depending on how white date text meshes with dial/hands. Black lume dial/hands. Trident second hand. 4 o'clock crown. Check whether I need a date at 4 movement (I'm thinking not, since the crown is at 4).

    I think I'll start with the Urdumariner and if still having fun, will do the Stealth Tuna later.

  2. DONE consider stealth scuba mod
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-21 Fri 00:50]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-20 Thu 11:09]

    See what it'd take to do this build. If ready to do this, check around if the official grille bezel is in stock by then. If so, cold blue one of those too, to keep options open.


    • Buy bottle of cold blue from Midway or elsewhere.
    • Try cold bluing a spare caseback. If this doesn't work, forget the rest of this plan.
    • Get base watch: 100634, or another 110 or 100 black scuba dude. Alternatively, 670919 if I want to go no-date. Thinking the 110 would be the most perfect, so might want to get a date variant of that, and replace the dial. Stealthiest non-scuba option right now is 160355, since the luminous sandwich dial SE variants aren't being produced.
    • Disassemble watch, brush the finish, then cold blue it.
    • Order from vostok-watches24:
      • Silver second hand Neptun.
      • Black and white minute & hour hands with SuperLumiNova (PAAR90).
      • Scuba Dude caseback.
    • Replace hands.
    • Order from One Second Closer: The Atlas One mk.2 matte black.
    • Order from DLW: Ceramic Insert - 007 Stark Black, or one of the stealth inserts.
    • Glue insert and install bezel.
    • Buy fully black strap, probably sailcloth or Cordura. Could also try a black oyster bracelet.

    This is a lot of work and would probably run into the $250 range. Will also take forever to get all these parts.

  3. DONE get Vostok project watches
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-21 Fri 12:07]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-08 Sat 23:25]

    Since I bought a 5-slot watch box, decided to fill 2 slots with Vostoks. My reasoning:

    • They're dirt cheap at $75-90 or so each, yet still of good quality.
    • They make for a great manual labor watch, unlike the other 2 I bought. The acrylic crystal can be buffed back to near new with Flitz.
    • They serve as an outlet for making custom watches, something I wouldn't want to do with anything more expensive. This converts the watch collection from pure consumerism to a partially creative endeavor.

    I'll get 2 Amphibias, a 120512 and a 710059. Check the timing and if needed, add a note to regulate them when I have them open.


    • For Amphibia sizing, see this reference: Oaae03s.png
    • is the official distributor for watches and parts. Won't use them for round 1 of this, but will collect everything I need next into one order to save on shipping time. Use code "watchuseek" on checkout and maybe change currency to rubles to save money. If a watch is included in the order, expedited shipping is available for not much more (saving around a month of waiting).
    • and have some Vostok mod parts.
    • To set the date more quickly, get it to flip over the day, then back it off before 9 and then move it forward past 12. Repeat until at/near the current day.
    • Other models of note if wanting to do further builds: 710269, 160558, 160559, 710394, 160558.

    Some other mod ideas:

    • Desert shield (120065 or USSR vintage) internals migrated to a 710 or 150 case with ODG/olive canvas strap and some matching bezel.
    • Upgraded, orange scuba dude using orange dial from, paired with a Planet Ocean orange insert and orange rubber strap. Lazier version would be using a 710378 or 110378. Having white text, that would look good with a vostok-watches24 orange bezel.
    • Stealth Scuba Dude: Get a 710634, 100634, or 420634. Remove internals and cold blue the case. Pair with bezel called "Vostok Amphibia Universal Bezel Dark Grey 3D Indexes". Add black or very dark gray strap with black buckle. Could also just get a 110 or 170 case (or even a spare caseback) and give that a try for cheap.
    • Komandirskie 819499: Stock except for a low-edge gold 60 min bezel. Black/blue bezel would work too. Maybe black leather strap with blue stitching if the stock leather strap sucks.
    • Green Scuba Dude: Build around a 420386 or 710386. Might be a good destination for my silicon green strap if I don't want to use it elsewhere.

    2022-01-08: Ordered 120512 on eBay for ~$92. Watch will ship from Russia, so will take 1.5-2 months to arrive.

    2022-01-11: Ordered 710059 on eBay for ~$104. This is a bit more, but is from a US seller, so will get this one first.

    2022-01-15: Received 710059. As a 41x45mm dive watch, this fits perfect. The Cordura strap I ordered looks pretty good on it, but I'll still get the anchor NATO for build aesthetics and just to try a NATO out for awhile. Will wear this for a week to see if it needs regulating.

    2022-01-17: Since I like the 710, I'll stick with that and give the 120512 to A-. My project Amphibias will now be the 710059 already received and a newly ordered 710269.

    This should have a 2416b automatic movement, meaning it's probably a limited/regional Amphibia. Once I get this, I might grab a green/white/red NATO strap for it off Ali, since those are the Tartarstan national colors. Bezel is raw brass, so may have been polished. Might want to replace with a new factory one if so. Otherwise will keep intact.

    2022-01-21: Received 710269. For now, I'm not considering the Smevbika watch a project watch, so this concludes this task.

  4. CNCL order Urdumariner parts (round 1)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-01-21 Fri 12:46]

    Splitting this into two rounds of parts grabbing. The reason is that I may need extra gaskets if assembling these parts go wrong. Also gives more time to think about the remaining parts. This order only locks me into a stainless case.

    From Namoki:

    • Case: NMK904 3 O'Clock SKX007/SRPD Watch Case : Sandblasted Finish (comes with crystal gasket and caseback gasket)
    • Caseback: SKX Slim Caseback: Brushed Finish
    • Bezel: SKX007/SRPD Sub Bezel: Sandblasted Finish (comes with 0.8mm and 0.7mm bezel gasket).
    • Crown: SKX007 Sterile Crown: Sandblasted Finish
    • Chapter ring: SKX007/SRPD Chapter Ring: Brushed Finish
    • Crystal: NMK301 - SKX/SRPD Double Domed Sapphire Crystal Blue AR

    After sleeping on it a few days, decided to put all SKX build plans on hold. Will rethink it later when the queue is cleared up.

  5. CNCL order Urdumariner parts (round 2)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-01-21 Fri 12:46]

    From Namoki:

    • Dial: Arabic Sunburst Sky Blue Finish
    • Movement: Seiko (SII) NH36A Automatic Movement Factory Standard (3H)
    • Day-date wheel: NH36A Arabic Day-Date Wheel Disc Set (White) 3 O'clock

    From DLW:

    • Bezel insert: 007 Arabic Dual Time Black
    • Hands: Hands - CW, white
    • Second hand: Lightning Second Hand Mk2 white, orange, or gold

    Canceled, for now.

  6. DONE do cage diver 710059 mod
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-21 Fri 18:23]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-17 Mon 11:01]

    My vision for this build is a 710059 with the grille bezel and a 22mm blue Cordura strap or NATO strap with anchors. Doing this mod should be as simple as removing the stock bezel and replacing it, then doing a normal strap swap. When putting on the grille bezel, adjust the tension on the retaining wire a lot so it doesn't rotate without significant force. Consider brushing the case finish while the bezel and bracelet is off. Will need the watch tools kit, bezel, strap, and the 710059 itself before proceeding.

    I'll probably add a scuba dude caseback if ordering from at some point. Not worth specifically ordering just this though.

    2022-01-17: Don't have the tool kit yet, but got the grille bezel on with already owned tools. Adjusted tension some and it seems perfect now. This required bending the spring to the very edge of what was still possible to be retained by the inside slot. Decided not to brush the case since the bezel appears plated and they currently match if both shiny. This worked out nicely and looks great.

    2022-01-18: Sized and tried out default bracelet as an experiment. Feels pretty good while wearing it at first, but as others report, it does pull one's arm hair. This gets old pretty quick. Went back to strap.

    2022-01-21: Put on anchor NATO strap. Looks good. Calling this build done for now.

  7. DONE get Submariner copy
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-02 Wed 17:07]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-27 Thu 00:09]

    Changed my mind about being done getting watches. Decided to grab a sub "homage", specifically the PD-1661 (deep sea version), for these reasons:

    • They're super cheap, even less than an Amphibian+strap.
    • Wanted to try out a proper oyster bracelet.
    • Can loot the NH35A movement from it for use elsewhere, or even do a full mod inside this case. This saves at least $200 if I use these parts and just replace the dial/hands/bezel/etc.
    • Has everything I'd want in a watch except a higher end movement: Hacking, sapphire, milled links, 120-click bezel, etc.
    • Can resell for 80% of cost.
    • Also generally curious what $100 can really get you in one of these homage watches. Everyone says they're amazing.
    • Arguably, these are the best value for your money in the market right now, assuming you don't lose the QC lottery.

    On the last point, I'll order mine from Amazon to address that issue. This costs an extra $10 or so, but is worth being able to send it back if I get a dud.

    There's more interesting watches out there (e.g., considered the Addiesdive quartz sub instead of this), and I can see why guys end up with a pile of them. To avoid any temptation to get more, will stop looking at or thinking about them now. While I'm not worried about trying to get the perfectly balanced collection here, I absolutely don't want any more.

    2022-01-27: Ordered.

    2022-02-02: Received. This is very nice, and a lot more value for the dollar than with Vostok. In fact, it's amazing this can be made for so cheap. The only downside was I got the Miyota 8215 movement instead of the desired NH35.

    Update: Decided to return this.

  8. DONE get Söyembikäskie
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-04 Fri 09:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-20 Thu 00:10]

    Decided to order this in lieu of any further Vostok or SKX builds, at least for now. By the time the in-progress builds are done, I'll want to work on some other projects for awhile. So, decided to fill the last slot with a vintage Vostok. Will let this collection be "complete" and wear these for awhile, maybe a year. At that point, I'll know if I want to do anything more with it. In the meantime, I'll consider doing some minor mods like hand swaps on already owned Amphibias. Another factor is that NH35/36 movements are in short supply currently.

    To quote a different listing, this watch depicts: Svembika, the ruler of the Kazan Khanate and the wife of the Kazan Khans Dzhan-Ali (1533–1535), Safa-Girey, and Shah-Ali. One of the first rulers of Muslim states in the history of women.

    This design stood out as my favorite among the exclusively vintage ones. However, I suspect Svembika is a semi-manufactured hero. Some relevant history:

    2022-01-20: Ordered off Etsy, which was the only place with one of these of reasonable price (around $71). The other 3 currently available all cost over $100. There's also a dial by itself on eBay, but it's rather trashed. Got it with a leather strap (looks like the kind that come on Komandirskies). Will evaluate once received and decide whether to change anything. Since it's a vintage watch, will need to check timekeeping. Probably won't bother regulating unless it's way off, since it'll mostly just sit in the box.

    2022-01-31: Research update: She's called Söyembikä of Kazan (Сөембикә in Cyrillic). She was technically ruler (xanbikä), but as a regent for her underage son from 1549 to 1551. She was the wife of 3 of the Kazan Khans, Canğäli (1533–35), Safagäräy (1536–49) and Şahğäli (post 1553). There does exist a definitely not true nationalist hero legend of her committing suicide from a Kazan tower instead of marrying Ivan the Terrible.

    2022-02-04: Received. Excellent watch. Also liking the case it's in too. For straps, the one it came with is actually working out nicely. Will wear this more than originally planned.

    2022-04-27: The hat Svembika wears is a kokoshnik, which is a traditional Russian headdress still worn today. This form is particularly tall and narrow.

  9. CNCL get watch building tools
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-02-04 Fri 16:47]

    Determine the tools needed for a 100% SKX build. Note: Repair kit has a movement holder.

    Might want these things:

    • Hand setting tool.
    • Hand remover.
    • Crystal press.
    • Rodico cleaning putty.
    • Dial protectors.
    • Silicone grease in gasket lubricator.
    • Timegrapher (costs $200, so probably skip).

    Since I'm not doing an SKX build now, decided to just get the hand setter/remover and putty.

    Skipping even the above for now. Will reopen if I want to swap some hands on one of the Amphibias though. I could see myself wanting a different seconds hand on the 710269 and a completely different set on the 120512.

  10. DONE do world timer 710269 mod
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-10 Thu 18:33]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-19 Wed 20:17]

    This is a text-heavy world timer build. Pretty straight forward, with just a bezel and strap swap. Will get the watch first and then think about what strap to pair it with (probably an ODG one). Get the "Cities black universal bezel" and some extra bezel springs from Meranom. Might also get a custom caseback, depending on what's in stock at the time.

    2022-01-17: Ordered the 710269 from Amazon, the only place with this model in stock. This was $91 + shipping, but supposedly will arrive from Russia sooner than usual (probably is expedited). Comes with an Amphibia green rubber strap, which I might keep on there.

    2022-01-19: Ordered cities bezel, extra bezel springs, and a display caseback for this build from Meranom. The "watchuseek" coupon code works and seems to give about 5% off.

    2022-01-21: 710269 received. Strap is nice for a silicone one, minus the sloppy keeper. Won't do this now, but could also use this as a platform for testing out the black 22mm StrapCode Hexad bracelet.

    2022-01-27: Had a few ideas for straps for this. Starting with the ODG Cordura, which is now ordered. If that doesn't look too great, will try a black leather one with white stitching next, like the Barton Horween.

    2022-02-02: ODG Cordura looks good, but I suspect one mainly black would look better.

    2022-02-03: Ordered a Ritche black Zulu.

    2022-02-04: Received and installed bezel and display caseback. Looks great. The ODG strap looks a lot better with this bezel on too. Will compare it against the Zulu and keep the better one on.

    2022-02-10: Zulu looks good on it, and is the best option if I brush the case. Won't do that for now though, until I decided whether bluing cases works. If that does, a ODG Zulu with black hardware might be best. As is, I think a normal black NATO with polished silver hardware is ideal.

  11. DONE get 120512
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-11 Fri 12:18]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-08 Sat 00:14]

    Will give this one to A-, so won't be part of my collection. Will call it done on my end once bezel and watch are acquired.

    The idea here was to get a bezel without insert and cut a leather insert for it. Mark 15min or 5min intervals using soldering iron. Pair with matching Horween strap. Should be usable in the meantime with the sailcloth I got. If the leather bezel doesn't work out, can just get a black insert for it.

    2022-01-16: Ordered empty insert bezel.

    2022-02-04: Bezel arrived. Was also thinking could do a full conversion with this one if A- doesn't want it, using the Modtok case, full lume dial, skeletonized hands, and trident second hand.

    2022-02-11: Gifted. This is a really excellent model and better than I thought it'd be.

  12. CNCL mod PD-1661 clasp
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-02-12 Sat 19:24]

    Did a sharp edge check on this and the clasp on mine needs some work. Seems like all of the PD clasps are like this, so no surprise there. Also will wear this on bracelet for a few days to see what I think about it. Seems weird currently, being used to leather/nylon straps.

    Decided to return this.

  13. DONE return PD-1661
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-15 Tue 12:12]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-12 Sat 19:35]

    This was a tough call, since it's a near perfect watch. Paying $120 for a Miyota 8215 isn't a terrible deal either. Decided to still return it due to being able to get an NH35 in a Tuedix for cheaper. At least, it looks like that's the case. Won't know for sure unless I give it a try and it shows up.

    2022-02-12: Started return. Need to drop this one off at a UPS drop off location. This will be a good opportunity to try that out.

    2022-02-15: Got refund, so considering this done on my end.

  14. DONE return 710269
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-18 Fri 13:44]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-12 Sat 16:47]

    When I got this watch, it had issues with getting going. Later I could get it to run all day, but it still required a good hit to start up and stay running. Wore it a good bit, but it would always stall overnight. This then got worse and now it won't run at all for the most part. Blasting the balance wheel with air will get it going for a little while. When I first removed the caseback, I noticed some metal dust on the inside. That could be related.

    I was about to consign this to the parts pile, but then realized I bought it on Amazon and can return it. So, I'll return it to its purchased state and do just that.

    2022-02-12: Started process. Seems super simple. Just need to print out the label and drop it off at the post office. Will do this more often for Amazon stuff I'm disappointed with.

    2022-02-18: Refund approved. Also got the very overpriced shipping charge ($27.66) back. Glad to have a refund just for that reason.

  15. DONE get soldering mat
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-02 Wed 13:10]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-24 Thu 15:13]

    Was going to get one of these for actual soldering, but then figured I wouldn't use it enough to justify the $25. Now that I use the electronics bench for watch stuff too, buying one makes more sense. Get one with a ridge around the edge to prevent things from rolling off.

    2022-02-24: Ordered a 17.7x13.6" one. Also got some Rodico that happened to be cheap at the time. Will use that to clean out my Vostoks a bit.

    2022-03-02: Received. Looks good and should work as intended.

  16. DONE get Tuedix Design TD-1861
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-12 Sat 21:03]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-12 Sat 19:33]

    Decided to take a chance on replacing the PD-1661 with one of these, which are supposed to have an NH35A. They're also $30 less than I paid for the PD, so worst case is I get a slightly lesser quality clone for a lower price. This is 41mm, but I'm thinking maybe the extra 1mm over the PD-1661 comes from the slightly wider crown guard. Lots of unknowns in regards to this one, so it's a bit of a mystery what I'll actually get. Main known downside is the lack of a Deep Sea color option. Went all black instead.

    2022-02-12: Ordered. Unlike my previous Ali orders, this one seems to have gone through.

    2022-03-11: Excellent. Put soyjacks strap on it, which looks amazing. Kinda bored with the sub style, but I might actually wear this a lot.

  17. DONE try Casio world time mod
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-30 Wed 20:50]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-24 Thu 08:46]

    Will give the AE-1200WH a try for the next mod project, starting with strap/buckle swap and bull bars install. Will consider color filters, inverted LCDs, and text removal either on this one or swapped in modules from other variants. A compatible module I might want later is the AE-1300WH-1AV (or 8AV in gunmetal). Not sure if I'll like Casio modding as I'm not really that interested in digital watches, but it's worth exploring, since:

    • Parts are more readily available than the Russian stuff.
    • Everything about this is a fraction of the cost.
    • Opens up some cross-over possibilities like integrated custom electronics.
    • Should only need about $25 in supplies if I want to start doing more complex mods (swatchbook and double-side tape or super glue).
    • If I am going to keep a quartz around, it should probably be digital. Analog quartz doesn't really add anything to the collection. Some digitals pack in the features and I wouldn't need a mechanical chronograph with this world time.

    The main downsides are another watch in the cheapo drawer that I won't wear much and this model specifically is rather large.

    Note: Goo Gone is the standard recommendation for text removal. This can be dangerous due to its ability to remove the case finish. Maybe start with alcohol on Q-tips first.

    2022-02-23: Ordered AE-1200WH-1B. Chose this since it already has a desirable color palette. Got a green leather strap made specifically for this from Vario. Also bought a black 20mm buckle for this, since the default is polished steel.

    Will try this strap on other 18mm watches as well, since it's actually a stepped down 20mm. Once this arrives, will order the 5600 bullbars from AE (instead of the more expensive ones on eBay). These are supposedly thinner and easier to get on this case, though still tricky.

    2022-02-28: Ordered bullbars from AE for $4.07. Was looking like the other orders might take awhile, so figured I'd get that one started on the way too.

    2022-03-12: Received. Looks good. Will put strap on later when ready to wear it. Also still need the bullbars.

    2022-03-30: Received and installed bullbars, which fit fine and look good. Put strap on too, completing the build. Looks as intended. Will wear it like this for awhile, but I might put the plastic strap back on for awhile until it breaks, since it wears more like my other watches with the leather one. After strap breakage, then it can spend the rest of its life on leather.

    Having worn this for awhile, perhaps I should've bought an F-91W or similar due to size, but this one does fill a useful role. It's main uses are:

    • If ever do remote work again, this can track coworker timezones.
    • The alarm clock is also handy for having something immune to power outages.
    • This is the only watch I have with a functional backlight.
    • Since the above makes it useful enough to have it on my workstation desk, can use it to set the time on mechanicals.
    • Due to its features, makes for the best travel watch.

    So, not something I'll wear much, but still good to have around. No Casio watch is perfect, and this one has big trade-offs too. The main downside is its size (width and thickness), but it also has a lot of useless features on its dial too. The A500 just has what I'd want, and maybe I should've bought that, though I didn't like its looks as much.

    Side note: If I ever want a perfectly sized metal bracelet for it, here's one:

  18. DONE get timegrapher
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-06 Wed 17:14]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-28 Mon 08:51]

    Will get this in the Spring Anniversary sale. I figure paying direct from AE prices is worth it, considering I'll be able to keep my watches regulated for the rest of my life, do the same for A-'s watches, and also add some modding capability.

    2022-03-28: Ordered. Total was $145 with tax and shipping.

    2022-04-06: Received a few days ago. Tested this out and it works great. Regulated the cage diver, which is now running perfect enough that I won't need a replacement.

  19. DONE redo Worldtimeski mod
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-12 Tue 15:54]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-13 Sun 00:43]

    I'm partially okay with the 710269 not working since I wanted to do a case swap anyway. Currently split between going 420 or 670 case for the replacement. The 420 would be a good fit for the factory cities bezel. The 670 would allow for a fully custom Galaxy strap to be made for it. Holding off on decision until I see whether my currently ordered custom strap order actually results in something showing up.

    2022-02-13: Decided to go with a 420269, since I'd rather wear that case if possible. Still leaves open the option of swapping into a 670 case later or just modding a 20mm strap to fit. Tried to get this on the factory site, but the card I made for it wouldn't work. 0/3 on those actually doing anything useful so far. Ordered on Meranom instead. Considered throwing a 670919 on the order, just to keep for when one of the Vostoks inevitably breaks, but decided not to.

    2022-02-14: Used display caseback on A-'s 120512, so will just stick with the default one for my build. Will grab the large crystal version of this for her if I ever do another Meranom order though, in which case this caseback would again be available for my build. Not worth the trouble of just ordering that though.

    2022-02-26: Received ODG Cordura strap. Probably will use this.

    2022-03-02: Currently unknown if watch orders are making it out of Russia. My shipment has been sitting around doing nothing for awhile, which isn't too weird. Will keep an eye on it to see if it starts moving at some point. My current thinking is that since it's going through normal mail, that it'll still get here like normal letters probably eventually would.

    2022-04-12: Received, finally. Put parts on and finished the worldtimeski build, which looks great. I think the idea behind this dial was to be in the field watch style, something I don't otherwise have in the collection. This concludes all planned watch mods, minus a few minor strap swaps.

    For future reference, the cities bezel denotes:

    • -1 калининград - Kalingrad
    • +0 москва - Moscow
    • +1 Сама́ра - Samara
    • +2 Екатеринбург - Yekaterinburg
    • +3 Омск - Omsk
    • +4 Красногорск - Krasnogorsk
    • +5 Иркутск - Irkutsk
    • +6 Благовещенск - Blagoveshchensk
    • +7 Владивосток - Vladivostok
    • +8 Магадан - Magadan
    • +9 Петропавловск-Камчатский - Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy

1.9.10. [12/12] refactor watch setup

Used to wear a watch all day, every day. Switched to no-watch due to being at a computer. Now, I'm outside much of the time and don't carry a phone, so am in the unique position of finding one useful again. Bought and been trying out a $9 40mm quartz watch and found I liked wearing them still, and just generally liked watches. So, will build a small collection that covers some basics.

An interesting journey transpired during all of this, some of which is cataloged here. This can be considered either complete, or just suspended while I work on other stuff. See final notes for where things left off.

  1. DONE survey modern watch brands and features
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-01 Sat 04:57]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-26 Sun 10:55]

    Assess the field and think about what I'd want my watch to be.

    After some research, here's my current ideal setup:

    • Sterile dial.
    • 42-43mm diameter, due to having 7" wrists.
    • Mesh band or leather with ability to purchase an extra.
    • Flieger or sector style, with no date/chrono.
    • Black or blue dial color.
    • Automatic.
    • Sapphire crystal.
    • Hacking.
    • No or minimal Chinesium.

    Size can depend on lug-to-lug distance and lug design too. I'm thinking 53mm lug-to-lug is too much on straight lugs (like on the Laco Dortmund).

    For amount of watches, ideally I'd only own one forever, but I can see how it might make sense to have a dedicated, cheaper manual labor watch and one for all other times. The beater will definitely take damage, after all. Mechanical watches can't take the kind of abuse that some quartz ones can too, so it's probably not smart to only have one expensive automatic.

    General observations: Some parts of the watch industry are a depressing sight. Most humans not actually needing watches anymore and them mostly becoming fashion accessories has had a notable impact, mostly for the worst. There's also a huge China factor that can't be ignored. Will have to be careful about what I spend money on. On the other hand, I've discovered that I quite like the topic and find the technology and design of watches interesting.

  2. DONE purchase main wristwatch
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-04 Tue 16:15]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-29 Wed 22:55]

    Decided I'd like to check the time mainly on a Flieger. A few options considered:

    • Laco Aachen 42, used for ~$300 or new for $410.
    • Laco Paderborn with custom engraving for $1190.
    • Mühle Glashütte Terrasport for $1800.

    2021-12-30: Was leaning pretty heavily towards the Aachen, mainly as a hedge against something about this not being as liked as assumed. This had the trade-off of not really being what I wanted as a primary watch due to a few design aspects and writing on the face.

    So, decided to go all-in with the Paderborn, since that perfectly matches what I was looking for in a watch. Being confident about keeping it, I got my name engraved on it as Laco offers that service for free. My thinking is this should mesh with everything except formal wear (which tool watches generally are bad at).

    Didn't order an extra strap, but will either get a direct spare, black one, or Erbstück pilot, depending on how test wearing goes. Two nice 3rd party options are the Worn and Wound Horween Model 2 and the Dan Barr Basque Olive canvas.

    2022-01-04: Received surprisingly quickly. The watch itself is great and all minor concerns I had weren't issues. Wasn't sure this would be worth the money, but this really is skillfully crafted, a great design, and exactly what I was hoping for. The one and only remaining concern I have is that it's too nice for most outside activity. Getting this wet will ruin the strap too. Giving up any hopes of making this a single watch collection.

    2022-01-28: Got a bill today for a $33 customs charge for this. Worth noting for future purchases.

  3. DONE consider building watch holder
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-13 Thu 12:45]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-09 Sun 10:15]

    Have an idea for a wooden holder that shouldn't be too hard to make. It'll be comprised of 2 triangular sections, anchored at the bottom (perhaps by dowel rods). An indentation in them will cradle a 2" wood square bar that holds the watches. The base should be stained dark walnut, with the bar lighter. Will think about this a bit, and maybe just order a box instead.

    2022-01-09: Decided to buy instead of build. I'm thinking a box is superior to hanging watches on things and I'm not going to be able to construct one of those as cheaply or competently. Ordered a 5 watch box from Etsy for $46.

    2022-01-13: Arrived surprisingly quickly. Maybe I'm easy to please, but I think this box looks great. Also have a coupon for some cash off another order from the same Etsy shop if I want to buy anything else.

  4. CNCL consider options for second watch
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2022-01-05 Wed 23:10]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-03 Mon 21:37]

    Find some options for tool watches that would be acceptable for manual labor, ideally under $300. The same desired feature list applies here, but isn't as strict. Also I'm more flexible in regards to aesthetics in exchange for things like being more water resistant. Two differences are that I'd want it to definitely be automatic and it should have a display back (as I might as well have at least one of these).

    Will wait until I get my Paderborn in case wearing that influences opinions about things, including whether I'd want a second one at all. I'm somewhat leaning towards not doing this, but still want to explore the idea.

    Check strap size so this can share straps with the other one.


    • Nothing. Wear main watch, let stuff happen.
    • Nothing, version 2. Same as above, but make main watch the ghetto watch and get a Laco Erbstück, IWC Big Pilot, or other even nicer one later.
    • Fitness watch: Maybe the Garmin Forerunner 245 for $225. Could help a bit with health improvement targets in the coming years. Main downside is that it has a short lifespan and needs charged.
    • Tisell: Korean imitation brand. Consider type A pilot and the Lumina. Goes for ~$200 on eBay.
    • Jack Mason: Texas brand produced in China, I think. Lots of okay options here, but nothing amazing. Consider something like their Pursuit Automatic. Several models available from $200-300 on their site.
    • Laco: Can get some of the budget line on the Wheel of Watches (tier 3) for $285 + shipping. These are also easy to resell later.
    • Escapement Time: Makes a Chinesium flieger, but it does have a sapphire crystal and a few other features for $100. Even cheaper variants can be had by searching for "6498 watch" on eBay.
    • Self-made watch using a kit/combo from DIY Watch Club. Not sure I'm interested since the videos are members only and the dials have their logo.

    Before buying anything, check r/WatchExchange to see if what I'm looking for is listed.

    Refactored how I'm approaching this. Some of this thinking is still relevant though, so will leave it for historical reference. Almost bought a fitness watch, but Garmin screwed up my order. In retrospect, I'm glad they did.

    General thoughts after getting the main watch:

    • I like the flieger style, but don't want any more of them.
    • If I include a dress watch, I actually want at least 3 (main, dress, beater).
    • I'll be ignoring the fitness/smart watch industry.
    • Even $300 is too much for a watch that'll get trashed outside. Need something even cheaper, quartz, and/or built tougher. I'd rather stay automatic, so now thinking about a dive watch.
  5. DONE get dress watch
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-12 Wed 13:19]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-03 Mon 23:18]

    Decided to grab a Jena 40 for dress watch purposes. This one's pretty close to perfect, with the main downside being its mineral crystal. That'd be a huge downside for anything but an occasional-use dress watch. I think I can live with it. Not a big fan of Bauhaus style, but I think this one is generic enough to go with anything from casual to formal.

    Also considered the Casablanca, which is a navy watch, and the various color variations of the Jena. Looked around a bit at other brands too. Pretty sure I don't have any firm preferences for dress watches. Most just look okay, with nothing standing out. On the other hand, maybe that's what I'd want in a dress watch: something simple and subtle. If I develop some tastes here later, I can always sell this one.

    2022-01-03: Did the WG tier 3 wheel spin for exclusively Laco products. Carefully analyzed the products available on each level and waited until all levels had Laco products available and filled tier 1 with the Jena. Even though it's probably worth that much, I wouldn't have bought it for $540 MSRP and probably would've skipped doing a dress watch completely. Here I got it for $302.10 after taxes, which I feel is fair.

    2022-01-12: Received Jena 40. Looks like another great Laco product and makes for a classy dress watch. Wears very comfortably and melds with just about anything. Matches my black dress belt too. Will definitely keep this. Impressed by the smooth Miyota 9015 movement (8bps) and included strap. So, better than expected overall. Seems like a good choice for a versatile dress watch.

  6. CNCL consider Sinn U50
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-01-17 Mon 12:45]

    Favorite dive watch. Was going to make this a long term grail watch, but it's not too prohibitively pricey so could just get it and call the collection complete. Not 100% sure I want to get it at all though. Could just fill the rest of the box with Amphibias and probably be just as happy with my collection. The main thing I'd miss is having a useful, clicking bezel.

    Main alternative contender was the Marathon GSAR. The U50 has that and others beat due to it being thinner than your normal dive watch (on par with my 2 Lacos). Also prefer the S version (unfortunately, the most expensive) to get the black metal bracelet. In case this isn't super comfortable, I'd ideally like to get one of Sinn's silicone buckle straps as backup, just for switching to occasionally, or for actual use in water. That seems to be not in stock at the moment though. Could put that part off to later, but worth asking a rep about. The site to buy also gives credit for purchases, so might make sense to buy them separate. Note that the bolts on the bracelet have loctite on them, so heat with a hair dryer before sizing.

    Decided not to buy this. Main reason for this decision is to use the slot for a full SKX-compatible build. The U50 is a really nice watch, but so are the other 2 I bought and I don't really get as much out of those versus something made by myself. The SKX build will give a lot of freedom for a custom diver and provide the main thing lacking in an Amphibia: a useful bezel. With a few extra tools, I should be able to construct an entire watch from scratch, minus the movement.

    Since I'm not getting this, this concludes my collection revamp of 2 bought watches, with the remainder being project watches. Will split that off into another task group.

  7. DONE get watch repair kit
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-18 Tue 15:37]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-11 Tue 17:31]

    Need this to open cases and swap straps. Considering doing some builds or mods myself, which will also require these tools. Some of these are useful outside of watches as well, so a generally good kit to own. Check quality of spring bar tool in particular. Since this is the most used tool, and most dangerous for scratching cases, get a proper Bergeon one if the one included in this kit sucks.

    2022-01-11: Ordered.

    2022-01-18: Received. This is a nicer kit than I thought it'd be. Shouldn't need to replace anything here.

  8. DONE order extra straps
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-28 Fri 14:26]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-11 Tue 17:31]

    Straps for the various watches in collection:

    • Paderborn: Pilot strap.
    • Jena: Nothing.
    • 710059: Barton Cordura blue 22mm and HNS NATO blue anchor 22mm.
    • 710269: Barton Cordura green 22mm.

    Find a small box to put the straps in and stick that in my watch drawer. Exception is the Paderborn. Spare strap for that should go in its case.

    2022-01-11: Confirmed Amphibia 120s are 18mm, so ordered a black sailcloth strap with stainless hardware for around $19. Will hold off on getting the Paderborn strap(s) until I get this on the 120. If the sailcloth isn't that great, I can get a NATO from Laco for $40. Also grabbed a 22mm blue Cordura for my cage diver build for $14.

    2022-01-14: Got both straps for the Vostoks. The Cordura looks especially good. The sailcloth one is also rather nice. These are Barton straps, which seem to be a good brand. 710059 delivery is a few days out, so will make a call on whether this is good next week.

    2022-01-17: Updated above with current strap plans. Removed tracking for 120512, since that won't be my watch.

    2022-01-18: Ordered pilot strap for Paderborn. With shipping was $68.

    2022-01-28: Pilot strap received and installed. Looks good. Has brass rivets instead of the other strap's steel ones, which I think look better. Wearing it, it's definitely a bit chunkier on the bottom. Will stick with this one on for now and keep the original straps as backup.

    Since I have the project watches too now, I'm confident in just having 1 backup for the Paderborn and none for the Jena. Calling the non-project watch collection 100% complete now.

  9. DONE ponder collection
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-14 Mon 00:02]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-13 Sun 13:49]

    Now's a good time to consider the SOTC and its future. My vision here morphed and is currently directed at accumulating a small pile of watches that would last the rest of my life. That would be divided into the "top box" and "junk drawer" watches, the latter which is more useful in my life. Will take a break on it for a bit to do other recreational activities and let this settle. After that, will revisit the collection and sell any that I'm not really into.

    Main purpose here is to capture any active thoughts for easy resurrection later.

    Russian watch mods, which will have to wait until ordering is possible and parts availability exists:

    • Get a couple spare Komandirskie straps.
    • Display caseback for 420269.
    • Scuba dude caseback for 710059 (would have to find one or wait until available).
    • Replace seconds hand or all hands on 420269.
    • Swap 269 dial/movement into 670 case. Also unlocks ability to do custom 20mm strap.
    • Replace seconds hand on 710059.

    Other random observations:

    • Get timegrapher. Should be worth it, since we have enough mechanicals now that keeping them regulated would be nice. $140 on AE. Will skip other mod tools for now, since I'm sick of divers and dress watches don't have much in the way of mod options.
    • Consider making a watch roll to store the junk drawer watches.
    • Can write off watches in these categories, due to having it covered or never being interested: Pilot/flieger watches, field watches, diver watches, Bauhaus watches, chronographs, diameters over 38mm, and thicknesses over 12mm. This pretty much just leaves classic dress watches, cheap quartz watches, and the occasional one-off novelty watch.
    • For quartz, I'm pretty maxed out on those too, since I don't want to replace a ton of batteries every few years. Once the Lgxige battery dies, depending on its condition, I might consider a 34mm Casio or Timex T80 to replace it.
    • Will keep an eye out for another perfect vintage birth year Timex. As long as I can return these, the only downside to giving them a try is some hassle. Also could hold off on that and get an Omega or something else pricey of similar styling from an AD on chrono24. Will only do that for marking some kind of occasion though.
    • The main gap in the collection is a stealthy black watch, which would go good with my standard attire. Not a real need though, so won't bother unless I get income coming in again and manage to get rid of a few. Considering:
      • Timex Q GMT 38mm black.
      • Timex Q 38mm black.
      • Sinn 556 black dial
      • If I sell the Jena, Stowa 35mm black.
      • Namoki NMK932/NMK931 38mm mod full custom build.
  10. DONE get birth year watch
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-18 Fri 11:48]
    • State "STRT" from "DONE" [2022-03-07 Mon 15:12]
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-07 Mon 11:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-03 Thu 21:02]

    At first I thought the practice getting a watch the same age as you to be kinda silly. But, it's probably as good a reason as any to get a watch, and would make it fun to look at over the years. Decided to do this as my tax return self-gift. Also, I've been debating about getting a watch that exudes "old man watch" vibes. By picking the right model here, I can do both of those things.

    This entry is different from the others in some important ways. If I get a functioning watch, I'll want to keep it mainly on standby so as not to damage it. Then when I'm like 60+, I can get it out and start wearing it regularly. Timexes were made to be disposable, so not using it is the only real way of keeping it around until then. On the other hand, since the contacts are all metal-on-metal with minimal lubrication, it should do better just sitting around. If it does break, one way to maybe get it working again is to take off the dial and submerse it in lighter fluid.

    2022-03-03: Ordered a Timex 16560 10578 Mercury (I think) for $80. Item is in CA, so should get here reasonably quick. Listing includes 30-day returns, so only risk is getting one that breaks later. I noticed on the listing it comes with a 20mm strap, but I suspect the lugs are 18mm. Saved a copy of the 105 movement manual to the manuals archive. Here's a page about the exact model, though this one doesn't have the numbers on the bottom for some reason:

    This reference confirms when made:

    There's some Timex-branded straps out there, so maybe get one of those for this after it arrives and is confirmed working. Might hold off on it until I get the HMT though, since has straps that might go well with it too.

    Might also 3D print a display stand for this, to have as desk decoration instead of the 80% lower.

    Regarding it being an old man watch, I think it's pretty close. The 36mm Parnis datejust or a vintage Citizen quartz version of the same would probably be the perfect watch in that category. I'm thinking this is close enough though and syncs well with my Shanghai, which I can wear more often for the same purposes.

    2022-03-07: Acquired. Looks great. Will wear for a bit before deciding what to do strap-wise and also to test the movement. Initial thought is I'll want a very thin strap in a different color. Also this size of 35mm is really the absolute minimum I should be wearing.

    Update: Nope. Movement constantly stalled then froze up. Reopening to start return. Will have to get something else.

    2022-03-08: Dropped off return and got confirmation. Decided to go ahead and order the Timex Q 1978 Reissue instead, which is a 35mm quartz similar in style (though it's mostly silver instead of gold). This isn't a genuine 1978 watch, but I think I'm done ordering vintage watches, given the poor ratio of working ones. This will still be part of the "old man" side of the collection though.

    2022-03-13: Got refunded for the Mercury.

    2022-03-18: Received Timex Q 1978. Looks amazing, and the seconds hand actually hits the indices. Will definitely wear this quite a lot for the rest of life, along with the Marlin. Note for future me: Both Timexes have acrylic crystals.

  11. DONE acquire junk drawer watches
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-04 Mon 19:47]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-19 Sat 13:21]

    Decided to snag a few extra cheap watches that are interesting for various reasons. As I get bored of them, I'll migrate to wearing them while working outside, where they'll probably eventually break or get trashed. Some of the project watches, like the Casio, will be junk drawer watches too, but here I'm just tracking the ones that will not be modded.

    Already ordered all of these. Tracking those here, with post-acquisition comments inline:

    • [X]

      Benyar BY-5177: Impulse purchase while on sale for $38 on Amazon (which seems very unusual). A chance to try out an Explorer style and this lower tier of Chinese homages with off-brand movements.

      Surprisingly good. Wasn't sure I'd like the 41mm, but it wears fine. Has its downsides, but is insane levels of value for the money spent. That said, the Explorer design does nothing for me beyond any other boring watch style. Glad I only paid $38 for trying it.

      Update: Swapped the clasp on this for a milled one with micro-adjust. Wears even better now.

    • [X]

      HMT Janata: Ordered the black Devanagari script version for $17, which like most HMT sold is a "Mumbai special". Interesting for linguistic and historical reasons, but also just general curiosity as to what it'll be like. Tried to get from one of the sellers that seems to be able to produce working simple watches (though like all, also sells fakes and broken stuff). Still expecting it to break within a few months though. Will keep this around after that for practice disassembling/servicing a movement.

      A surprisingly good looking/fitting watch. The 35mm size wears great. So far, it runs okay. Movement feels primitive and clunky. I put the Walmart 18mm black leather strap on it, which seems like a good fit. Might set this one aside for later in life after I wear it for a few weeks.

    • [X]

      Shanghai 7120: Another early and historical mechanical. Often said to be China's only original design, though it's so generic, I'm not sure that counts for much. Figured I could also use it as a dress watch and to test this case size. Got the variant with nice long hands, unlike most of them. It's 19mm, so maybe a Wocci strap will work. Might set this aside for use when old. Paid $49, I think.

      Looks great. Dial looks really good, with imperfections only visible with a jeweler loupe. Wears only slightly larger than the Janata, despite having the same diameter (probably due to the thickness difference). Came with a different strap than in the photos, and is actually of reasonable quality. Will just keep this one on it. Glad I got the only model with straight bar lugs.

      Update: Strap started to disintegrate, so ordered replacement.

    • [X]

      Timex Marlin reissue: Decided to add this late, instead of getting the HMT Sona for the HMT collection. Considered this previously, but figured 35mm was my lower limit. Since then I tried on a 34mm and it looked fine. This tops off the collection by having the gold case + metallic champagne dial I've wanted for quite some time.

      Really excellent and certainly the best of the extended collection. Might swap it for the Jena in the top box, despite having inferior specs.

    • [X]

      Lvpai B1P1163: Selected for maximum cringe and for being a complete eyesore. Looks like it might be a quartz Submariner style. Paid $8.29 for the rose gold one covered in fake diamonds and rainbow gems. Not sure if this will even be wearable, as a metal bracelet has to be trash at this price.

      Delivers as expected. Not a "good" product at all, of course, but is actually wearable. Extremely marginal in every respect, but something of a marvel how everything has just enough quality to come together as a functional watch. Main downside: Bracelet is integrated and extremely difficult to put on.

    • [X]

      Parnis PA2112: Ordered this since the birth year watch didn't work out. Will cover the "old man watch" part of it, and I currently feel it's the best watch of that type currently available. Ordered Miyota movement version.

      Better than expected and excellent overall. Jubilee bracelet is pretty nice too. Otherwise, no surprises.

    • [X]

      Lgxige LM013: One of the many Nautilus copies. Got the quartz model to use this as my main outside watch. Will just leave this downstairs by the door to swap on when I go outside. Got on sale for $36.

      Lgxige did a great job on this homage, but it's obvious from just wearing this a bit that I don't like this design at all. The large amount of metal in every direction is very uncomfortable and contacts arm bones. Probably should've gotten the Aquanaut instead. It's wearable enough and seems super durable, so I'll put it on when doing hard manual labor that I might otherwise not wear a watch at all for.

    This was very enlightening. Definitely know what I like and don't when it comes to watches now. Not sure knowing that is worth the money spent, but maybe it being a fun hobby fills in that gap.

    2022-05-08: Update: Gave away the Lvpai.

  12. DONE build small HMT collection
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-15 Fri 20:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-03-14 Mon 00:02]

    Will only be collecting these from now on, barring something really amazing being encountered. The reason is these are dirt cheap, are mostly perfectly sized (35-36mm and very thin), and have several interesting design elements I don't have examples of elsewhere. Will make a very small collection, and keep in a zipper carrying case. Mostly won't wear these now, and set them aside for use when old.


    • [X] Janata: Already bought and wearing occasionally.
    • [X]

      Shiv: This will be my designated "nice" HMT, which I'll wear when going to Indian restaurants. Ordered 2022-03-13. Note that the Shivling is an "outward symbol" of the "formless reality", the symbolization of merging of the form (Prakriti) with the formless reality (Purusha) in a transcendental context. The mountains are the Kailash Parbat, or Kailash mountains, considered to be the abode of Shiva. The top Sanskrit text reads "Shiv" and the lower reads "Amarnath Yatra".

      Really nice and is a genuine HMT as hoped. Seems not refurbished, but not sure the bracelet is original since it isn't branded like others I've seen. Could still be. Wears great, except the bracelet is a hair puller. Will try wearing it for awhile, then probably switch the faux lizard strap I have on the Janata to this. It does size perfectly for me.

    • [X]

      Vijay: Ordered a brown one for $6 on 2022-03-14. This is a test bed for a homemade salmon leather strap.

      Seems like there's a good chance I got a decent watch in this lottery. Update: Actually, not really.

    • [ ]

      Sona: Get all gold version. Put on lizard grain strap. Might stop here.

      Decided to skip. Will get the Timex Marlin reissue instead. Adding that to the general junk drawer collection.

    • [ ]

      Ashwini: Might get one to try out tanks, but probably not since they're like $40. Rohini is another one.

      Decided to skip.

    Some that didn't make the cut above: Kedar (or franken Rado Diastar), Janata Gandaberunda, Shakti, and Kohinoor Devanagari.

    2022-04-07: The Shiv broke while setting the time. The crown and stem pulled out completely. Tried opening the case and reinserting it as normal, but it won't fully seat in the movement. Will try to return it, which may or may not work given where it's from. Update: Seller is attempting to weasel out of the return. Initiated a return anyway. eBay will take my side on it, probably.

    2022-04-08: Sent package back. Was thinking about whether I want to replace this. Leaning towards no. Was going to get the Gandaberunda instead, but pretty sure they're all fake on eBay. Kinda tired of dealing with these scumbags, and they can't be trusted with more than a few dollars at stake.

    2022-04-15: Still tracking the refund of the Shiv, but that could take awhile. Since I got the Vijay today, I'm calling this adventure otherwise done.

    2022-05-02: Return turned into a real nightmare. At least worst case I'm only out about $110, but that still hurts. Seller tricked eBay into closing it. Started an appeal.

    2022-05-13: Got refund! That was a painful experience, but I will say that eBay stuck up for me, which I appreciate. Older rules would've had a scummy seller get away with that.

    2022-05-14: Decided to get a dirt cheap Jawaharlal Nehru (also called the Centenary) Janata with an India flag colored NATO strap, instead of the Shiv. This was intended as an A- present. Once I opened the package, the watch fell apart into pieces though, including a small screw. Was eventually able to get it all back together and it runs good now. Of these franken watches, this one is the lowest quality by far.

    2022-05-23: Vijay broke, freezing up. Doesn't seem like an easy fix. Will leave in watch parts collection for now. Might try a full disassembly later when/if I circle back around to this hobby. Not too upset about this since it was dirt cheap.

1.9.11. DONE get nice work boot

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-31 Tue 19:42]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-25 Wed 12:47]

I have 2 pairs of junk work boots now, so get another pair of nicer ones that I can wear off-property too, at least until they start to wear out. Targeting the Grant Stone Chromexcel boot in black, size 12 E.

2022-05-25: Ordered. If this works out, might get another pair for storage and forget about restocking the normal shoes I wear. These could be more useful, due to more end-of-life utility.

2022-05-31: Received. These are quite nice. Will keep, but won't wear as primary until old shoes wear out. Will ponder whether to get another pair after wearing occasionally for a year. As is, should be good for another 6-10 years of nice footwear.

1.9.12. DONE stockpile peppercorns

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-02 Thu 12:41]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-25 Wed 03:43]

Have about a 1 year supply. Up this to about 5 years.

2022-05-25: Ordered ~4 lbs.

2022-06-02: These arrived several days ago, but forgot I was tracking it. On to the next stockpile target.

1.9.13. DONE stockpile polo shirts

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-15 Wed 12:09]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-06 Fri 16:09]

The one I used to buy is a bit thin now, so maybe look around for a black slim cut with no pocket, very short sleeves, and thicker material. Can still use old standard if I don't find anything. Like with t-shirts, only get enough for the next 20 years. Thinking maybe 15-20 of these should do it, depending on material. Get size small or medium, depending on length.

2022-04-08: Tried the Amazon Essentials slim fit polo. It's made out of crappy thin synthetic fabric. Also, despite sizing, is still cut for fatties. On to the next candidate.

2022-04-28: Tried the same but the cotton version. This is closer, but the medium is still too huge. Will return this one and try the small next.

2022-04-29: Returned size M shirt.

2022-05-04: Received and trying on S shirt. First impression is very good. This might be the one. Will try it out for a bit and maybe order a bunch.

2022-05-06: These seem pretty durable, so ordered 12. I still have 5 black ones unused too, so combined these might be enough for the rest of life, or close enough to it. These are color "charcoal heather", which is a very dark grey. Looks good when paired with a black t-shirt. Will activate 2 of these and maybe order some additional black and one green too.

2022-05-10: Received. Will get the additional black too, and call this done.

2022-05-21: Ordered additional 3 black, which was all in stock. Will have to do yet another order after this.

2022-06-01: 3 black now owned. Would like at least 5 more, ideally.

2022-06-10: Ordered 7 more.

2022-06-15: Well, they only sent 6. Close enough, I guess. Will try not to order as many weird amounts in the future.

1.9.14. [12/12] refactor watch strap collection

  1. DONE survey collection and straps
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-24 Tue 13:27]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-24 Tue 12:55]

    Once the last HMT replacement comes in, see if it's going to work for awhile, then review all watches and their straps. Determine which I want to replace or get spares of now.

    watch lug width Bracelet? augment strap(s)?
    Laco Paderborn 20mm    
    Laco Jena 20mm    
    Vostok Svembika 18mm   Later
    Vostok 710059 22mm    
    Vostok 420269 18mm    
    NIWA Meteorite 22mm   Clasp only
    Timex Q 1978 18mm   Later
    Timex Marlin 18mm   Later
    Casio F-91w 18mm   Yes
    Casio AE-1300WH-1AV 18mm    
    HMT Janata 18mm    
    HMT Centenary 18mm    
    HMT Kohinoor 18mm   Maybe
    Core Fury 22mm    
    Parnis PA2112 20mm X  
    Tuedix TD-1861 20mm X  
    Shanghai 7120 19mm    
    Benyar BY-5177 21mm X  
    Lgxige LM013 - X  
    George quartz 20mm    

    Since I already took care of some of these, this is in better shape than I figured.

    A- also wants 1+ extra 18mm rubber straps and a 22mm black/red NATO.

    Also, I really ended up with a lot of watches. 1 was the temp test watch and 3 were gifts, but this is still too many. Not sure how that all happened actually, but at least I didn't spend much. Definitely don't buy any more. Only exception should be replacing the F-91W if it breaks. Once the batteries run out, I'll not replace them on the George, Fury, AE-1300WH-1AV, and Lgxige. For the latter 3, I'll only keep one active (probably the Casio). Might still sell a few watches next year too.

    For the Timexes, I'll check in every year or so on their site. Right now they don't have any good replacement straps for the Q or Marlin, but might later. I have plenty of spare 3rd party 18mm, so those could be used if I never find official replacements. If I'm feeling spendthrift later, the Shanghai and Timexes could maybe benefit from the Vario Italian leather straps, which have a nice taper and texture, available in both 18mm and 19mm. One of the 20mm ones might make a good Jena spare too, if I decide to keep it.

  2. DONE get gray Cordura strap
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-18 Sat 16:12]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-14 Tue 12:40]

    Consider getting a gray Cordura strap for the Worldtimeski that I can swap to. Thinking this would go good with the gray polo shirts I sometimes wear. Will do this instead of getting a gray watch (considered a Nomos Club or gray F-91W). The smaller 1978 Q Timex and larger Paderborn look okay with gray themes too, so should have it covered between these.

    2022-06-14: Ordered. Also organized the strap collection into a spare fishing lure box.

    2022-06-18: This worked out nicely. Will make this my secondary Worldtimeski strap. I think the green looks slightly better overall, but this is a close second. It also melds better with a gray shirt as planned.

  3. DONE consider stocking up on alligator grain straps
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-23 Thu 22:59]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-05 Sun 13:43]

    I think these are my favorites for several of my 18mm watches. Could safely grab 2-3 of them for rest of life use. Found a nice thin one on AliEx for under $9.

    2022-06-05: Just ordered 2 unpadded ones I had my eye on. Looks good, but wasn't feeling 100% confident about it so decided to play it safe with only ~$17 spent. 2 spares will probably be enough anyway though, so will call this done if these work out.

    2022-06-23: Received. These are okay, but nothing special. Definitely usable, and I'm sure they'll get worn eventually.

  4. DONE get black 22mm buckle
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-24 Fri 13:22]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-20 Mon 15:39]

    Replace the NIWA buckle with a black Barton one.

    Received and installed. Looks perfect now. Hard to imagine a better combo for this setup.

  5. DONE get Spiedel strap
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-24 Fri 13:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-20 Mon 15:39]

    Speidels and Timexes generally go together, and their leather straps are available on Amazon. So, will get one of these in 18mm as a general backup for the Timex collection. Could also get a 19mm one for the Shanghai later. That would match its stock strap texture, but probably isn't worth the cost of doing so.

    Looks pretty good. Haven't put it on anything yet, but will definitely use at some point.

  6. DONE consider Kohinoor bracelet
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-06 Wed 12:21]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-09 Thu 12:07]

    Original idea for this was to get a cheap folded link bracelet for it. Not sure it's worth the effort though. I have many spare 18mm straps, so will try those out first while seeing if the watch will last. One Chinese bracelet candidate is saved on eBay. The same seller has other options too.

    2022-06-09: Well, it did finally arrive over 6 weeks later. Luckily I own a timegrapher, since it was over -400 sec/day. This has the worst beat error of any watch I own at 9.9s, the case is disgusting, and there's visible dirt on the dial. However, it looks okay from the front at distance. I was going to wait to make sure this runs before getting a strap for it, but the case seems solid. If this movement breaks or the dial falls apart, I'll transfer my Devanagari dial/movement into this one, which should look great. So, either way this one can use a bracelet. Ordered a Milanese and a folded steel one. One of those should probably work, but if not, can use one of the lizard grain ones already on the way. Reminder: If doing a movement swap, practice crown removal on the broken Vijay first.

    2022-06-11: Tried on the Casio bracelet and it fits perfect. However, it's black and not the style I'd ideally want for it. So, ordered a fake A-158 that comes with it. This is actually cheaper at $4.16 with free shipping than getting the bracelet by itself. Will remove battery from this and put it in the drawer as a backup. Pretty sure this is my favorite option, but if not, I'll just use one of the others and leave this as backup for when something breaks.

    2022-06-23: Received Milanese and folded steel. Milanese is nice but doesn't work with the Kohinoor at all. Folded steel one looks pretty good. Sizing that is a real pain though. Will leave this on for now, until I can try the fake A-158 bracelet.

    2022-07-05: Received fake A-158. This is an okay watch and all, but the strap is even more marginal than the other one. Will wear it as is for a bit, then try it on the Kohinoor.

    2022-07-06: While returning the movement to the case, the stem will go back in but is stuck in the time set state. So, this movement might be trash. Not a huge loss since it was the worst running of all watches owned and was surely going to die eventually anyway. Might put the incoming Gandaberunda in it instead. That being the case, will leave the fake A-158 bracelet as-is.

  7. DONE order Casio straps
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-07 Thu 18:48]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-24 Tue 15:39]

    Get straps for the Casio F-91W. Get A- her straps while at it.

    2022-05-24: Ordered 3x resin straps and a metal bracelet for the F-91W. The resin ones seem to be exactly the same as the official, minus branding. Likewise for the metal one, which looks like a run of the bracelets that come with the B640. So, should be good on resins for the foreseeable future. Could get a lifetime supply, but I suspect they'll degrade even just sitting the drawer. Plus, I might like the metal bracelet enough to go with that full-time. Also got a black clasp for the NIWA and 3 straps for A-'s watches. Total spent on all this stuff was about $21 total.

    2022-05-28: Also grabbed a fake F-91W with strap for $1.99 + 0.42 S/H. If that works, I think buying those might be cheaper than buying just the straps.

    Correction: Nope, the straps were $2.23. However, if I combined shipping, these fake F-91W watches would still be cheaper. Will decide what, if anything, to do about it once all of these things arrive. Probably will just keep the resin on the fake one until the battery dies early and put the metal bracelet on the real one. Could also take the battery out of it to preserve it for later. Also, research suggests that sometimes these fake Casio watches keep poor time. Probably won't bother with them in the future as a result.

    2022-06-11: Received metal bracelet. Decided to put in on the fake one for starters. Tried it on the Kohinoor though, and it fits perfect there. Might get a silver one for that.

    2022-06-15: Received first strap order. The resin F-91W straps are indistinguishable from the factory ones (minus the branding), so will get these from now on. Unfortunately, the $1.32 black buckle I ordered for the NIWA isn't that great. Will get something else. Added separate task to track that.

    2022-07-07: Received fake F-91W. This does come with a strap, but it's of lower quality than the others. Also the head is thicker than a real one. Will put the metal bracelet on it for awhile and leave this in the car until the battery dies.

  8. DONE get a couple tapered 18mm straps
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-11 Mon 17:09]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-21 Tue 00:42]

    Will get 1 gray leather and 1 black textured one. These are for the Timex 1978 Q. I could also try one of these on the Svembika too. These are from Cheapest NATO Straps, so might be of dubious quality. If not, I'll consider them for future orders too.

    Tried using a temp card for this. Seemed to go through okay. Total was $18.87.

    Received. These are quite good for the money. Both look good on the Svembika, but the black really looks good. Will leave that one on it for now. Not sure they'd make good Q straps though, since they're a little on the thick side.

  9. DONE get tapered 19mm straps
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-18 Mon 18:27]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-02 Sat 17:00]

    Will get a brown and black one from Vario. Wanted to try an Epsom leather one at some point, so will use this as the opportunity to do so. Probably will put the brown on the Shanghai and the black on the Mercury, but they're quick release so can swap them around too.

    Excellent quality. The black is a perfect match on the Mercury, and the brown is great on the Shanghai. The latter seems not to really need a tapered as much as the other, and probably can go both ways.

  10. DONE organize spring bars
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-12 Fri 17:50]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-27 Mon 18:28]

    Ordered a spring bar set from AliEx for $3.69. Will take all of the random ones I currently have and put it in that box. When organizing, keep an eye out for the few I have without tool ribs (meant to just be used with drilled lugs) and toss those.

    Bars organized. Some of these are magnetized somehow.

  11. CNCL try dark brown Spiedel on Svembika
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-08-12 Fri 17:50]

    The black one looks good here, but isn't quite perfect. Thinking the dark brown would have a chance to be the perfect strap for it. Also wanted at least one watch with a brown strap, so this should cover that. The Spiedels are quick release, so this can be a swappable setup too (if I can find another strap I like for it). Waiting until these other straps arrive before ordering, since I might not want to do this if something else works nicely.

    Pretty happy with existing strap on this, so won't bother getting this one.

  12. CNCL consider trashing junk straps
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-08-22 Mon 07:33]

    Depending on how many 18mm ones I have at the end of this, I may just want to toss the really garbage ones the HMTs came with. Most people do that, but I'd been hanging on to them in case I found a use. If I do so, at least keep the buckles and spring bars.

    Decided to just leave these in the box for now, since they're not taking up any extra space by not being in the landfill.

1.9.15. [11/11] make final watch collection adjustments

Collection review found a few gaps and overlaps. Think about each and decide whether to do anything about it. Already decided to sell the Jena (which later sold).

Pretty optimal now, minus the bloat on the lower end. Will now skip all build notions I had and forget about buying watches for the foreseeable future, and probably forever. Will let some of the cheapo ones die when their batteries run out and/or toss them when they get beat up (around 10 of them could fall in this category, meaning I'll eventually have a reasonably sized collection). Despite that being the case, I'm not sure I'd wear any additions enough to justify expanding the collection any. I pretty much just wear the same 8 (556i, Worldtimeski, Marlin, Paderborn, F-91W, Svembika, Q, and Mercury, roughly in that order), and only use the others on rare occasion. That being the case, I'm cycling through the others for outside wear (starting with the quartz ones) and letting them accumulate all the abuse.

  1. DONE make black mechanical Timex setup
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-06-18 Sat 16:38]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-07 Tue 13:01]

    Strap review found many collection gaps. Most I don't care about, but one I do want to fill for sure is having a thin, mostly-black, mechanical dress watch. Decided to grab another Marlin in black. This comes with a brown leather strap, so also grabbed a Timex black leather one. Will do a clasp swap on this from the one that comes with it. This Marlin comes with the California dial, which is a dial type that appealed to me when building the collection (after hating it at first). I do think there's a good chance this could be my primary watch, so worth adding it.

    Also considered: Serica 4512, Nomos Club, San Martin SN0031-2 (black or gray), Merkur California (black), and the Baltany bubble back (with custom service). The Merkur is probably the best deal here, with the Serica being generally best overall quality. However, the Marlin has them all beat due to a combo of thinness, size, price, color, and "authenticity". It's not top ranked in most of those categories against the competition, but in aggregate is the clear winner.

    Black watches seem the most versatile wardrobe-wise, so now I'll have this one and the black plastic Casio watches too. Should have that covered now.

    Ordered both of these from and used their -20% coupon.

    If this strap doesn't work out, consider the 18-16mm Delugs Epson Slim.

    Received, swapped strap, swapped strap buckle. Looks great. This strap has white stitching which I think fits perfect here. Will wear this a few weeks and see how I feel about it, but already pretty sure this is going to be a primary wear and maybe even the most worn. (Maybe the top three will be: Marlin California, F-91W, and Worldtimeski, in that order).

    2022-06-20: Gave the gold/silver Marlin to A-, so now only have just the one.

  2. CNCL consider Serica 4512
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-06-27 Mon 16:11]

    Would have to part with a few items to make room for this, but I could see this getting more use than those. Occupies a middle size I don't have currently while remaining thin.

    Straps would be: Bonkip, Serica's 1969 pigskin, and later on Velblenist raven canvas. Backup options would be a black Delugs Epsom slim or black (or gray) Monstraps Saffiano.

    Things I don't like about it:

    • The Bonklip is interesting but not something I'd normally buy. Would be unlikely to wear it on that much. Not crazy about paying for it as a result. Some users report it coming undone on its own and getting dirty easily.
    • Bezel is thicker than I'd like, leaning more towards the sport watch style than dress watch. This is a combo of both, so where on the spectrum it falls matters. I hate the bezel on my Lgxige Nautilus, so worried I might dislike this one too.
    • Price is a little high. In-house straps are overpriced too.
    • Is a screw-down crown while also being a manual wind. That's fine if I wear it once a week, but would suck as a daily and the 200m WR is useless to me. At least this movement has a 48hr power reserve and a clutch to prevent overwind.

    Otherwise, this one's great. Will think about it for a few days.

    Decided not to get it. It's a close one, and a big part of why I was considering it was to host high quality straps. But, the downsides above and the fact that I have more than enough watches to last the rest of my life seals the deal. I'd probably overlook the latter if it were closer to perfect though. It's just far off enough that I could see its downsides wearing on me.

  3. CNCL consider California 36mm Explorer build
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-06-29 Wed 00:48]

    The idea here is to make a high-beat (PT5000) movement 36mm Explorer with either PVD case and a tan dial, or stainless case with dark dial. To save money, would probably just snag a completed Bliger Explorer or OP homage and swap the dial, hands, and strap. The dial would be an eBay 28.5mm California dial, sized for the ETA 2824, with matching pencil hands. Strap would be a tan textured leather for the PVD, or a gray/grayish blue for the stainless. Would need to buy a few tools, maybe around $30 worth.

    The main downside to this is I don't really need or want another Explorer cased watch. I'd probably sell my Parnis if I did this, but I'm not sure this would be a quality upgrade from that. I might wear it slightly more due to colors/dial though. Will think about it for a few days while the AliEx sale is active.

    Decided to skip. I like 36mm watches and modding, but don't want any more thick ones. I also noticed I pretty clearly dislike wearing the Swiss sports/diver designs for comfort reasons. If I change my mind later, it'll only cost a few extra dollars to get the same Bliger on eBay.

  4. DONE consider silver dial Timex
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-02 Sat 16:55]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-29 Wed 03:52]

    Options here are an all-silver vintage Mercury or getting the all-silver Marlin reissue. For both, would run on a dark brown strap, but also have a black one for it too. Mercury would be much cheaper, so leaning towards that if I do this.

    Main downsides:

    • The Mercury would need a 19mm. Only plus is it could share straps with the Shanghai.
    • Already own a Marlin.
    • I kinda have a silver dial on the 1978 Timex Q, though I'd say it's more white/tan.

    2022-06-29: Decided to put an offer in for $75 on the Mercury, which was accepted. The Marlin looks better, but the Mercury would be a real birth year watch. Also not prepared to drop another $175 on a silver Marlin which I'd wear less. Will pair it with the black 19mm Wocci strap I originally bought for the Shanghai. Then if it runs okay for a few months, I might consider a dark brown Vario.

    2022-07-02: Received yesterday and seems to be running good. In fact, on the timegrapher, it's running under +60s with minimal beat error. Pretty amazing for a watch this old. Looks like this one worked out.

  5. CNCL consider selling 710059
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-07-06 Wed 13:27]

    Could put the original bezel back on and sell this. It's an amusing build, but not something I'll wear much. If so, include the anchor-pattern NATO and any other 22mm straps I don't want. Given the shortage of these, it's probably a good time to sell if I want to part with it.

    Wore this for a bit, deciding to keep for now. Main reason is this is my most custom build and most unusual watch. Not as much fun to wear of course, but I'll continue getting it out once a month or so.

  6. DONE get HMT Gandaberunda
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-11 Mon 18:08]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-29 Wed 23:45]

    Was going to skip this, but found one for $16. Too cheap to pass that up. Might use it as a movement/dial swap into my Kohinoor's case. Only downsides are it doesn't have an applied HMT logo and the reprinting on this one is a little crappy. There was also a black one now available for $28, but I'll stick with the original white. If I keep it in the Janata case is comes in, I'll just pair it with one of the junk straps.

    Dead on arrival, but not worth returning at this price. Only minor upside is I kinda regretted impulse purchasing it right after, and at least now I didn't bloat the collection up more. The dial looks good though, so will hang on to it and might swap it on the Nehru when/if I get tired of looking at that one. Might also swap the nicer caseback here for one of the others.

    2022-07-13: Got refund in exchange for removing the negative feedback, so no loss on this one. In fact, now I have a free Gandaberunda dial I might be able to use.

    Update: Tried swapping this dial onto the Centenary, but the latter seems to have some kind of special dial sizing needs. Reassembled everything and will just let it die (it's not running all that well as-is and the case integrity is iffy). I could swap it on the Janata, but I slightly prefer the Devanagari dial there. Anyway, I won't be maintaining the HMT collection and I'm fine with the remaining 2 functioning ones dying. Once that happens, I'll just toss all my HMT parts since they're not worth anything.

  7. DONE get some movement/hand tools
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-02 Tue 16:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-13 Wed 15:46]

    Since I'll probably do a hands/dial swap on some HMTs at least, might as well get the tools I planned on getting before but only now have a need for. Would need these if I ever did the 36mm Explorer build too.


    • Aluminum movement holder set.
    • Casing cushion.
    • Hands setter/puller set.

    Received. Won't do anything with these for now though.

  8. CNCL consider selling AE-1300WH-1AV
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-08-22 Mon 07:34]

    Probably could get $35 for it. This is a nice watch, but is another entry on the bulky side of the collection which means I wear it almost never. The timezone feature is interesting, but the 420269 can fill in for that in a pinch. Downside to selling is its another mod watch, and I'd rather sell the unmoddable ones.

    Decided to keep it for now. This is due to the fake Casio watches keeping terrible time, such that I won't be replacing their batteries when they run out. Then I'll just have this and the F-91W.

  9. CNCL consider selling Parnis PA2112
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-10-04 Tue 21:00]

    Great watch, but not really wearing it much. It's also one of the few that are probably sellable here. Main downside for doing so is it's my only gold colorway. I could see myself missing this later in life too. I did give away the Fury quartz too, so the collection isn't as bloated now.

    Canceling for now. Might get a new work watch, in which case I'll consider selling this again.

  10. DONE consider Sinn 556i
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-07 Fri 12:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-04 Tue 07:32]

    Thinking this would be a good work watch. A very black and white watch, which would go good with dress shirts and the black sweaters I sometimes wear. Also would be a good stealth wear, not standing out for any particular reason at all. Cost is $1.3k.

    Also considered (with thoughts):

    • Panerai Luminor Due 38: ~$6000 new. Decided against due to the colorways available (sunburst black or white/blue). Also not a fan of the Panerai crownguard and large lug width. The black colorway also has gold hands, which clash, I think.
    • Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe 38mm: Just under $10k. Downsides are a non-hacking movement, circular indices, partial red seconds, 4:30 date window, and pointy lugs. Also lacks the classic feel of the 40mm FF.
    • IWC Portofino 37mm: $4.6k. Traditional and thin at 9.2mm. Main dowside is that it has diamonds on the dial due to being marked to women.
    • Jaeger-LeCoultre Ultra Thin Moon: 39mm. Black dial. ~$9-10k. Close to perfect as a dress watch, especially if I ever become a werewolf. Downsides are I'd prefer -1mm case size. Like this best among the high-end options, but probably something I might want to try on before buying.
    • Serica 4512 California: $575. Reconsidered. Great dial and hands, but really disliked the thick bezel after staring at it for awhile. Starting to appreciate their 5303-1 diver version a bit more as a result. Despite this, it's a close second though, since the rest of these are horribly overpriced.

    The 556i isn't perfect, but seems pretty close. I like the case dimensions at 38.5mm x 11mm. Probably the only thing I'd change on it is having a closed caseback, since apart from the decorated rotor, the SW-200 isn't anything special to look at. Also the outside AR coating on it means I'll have to be at least semi-careful with it. Years from now, if it gets all scratched up, I can remove the coating with a Brillo pad.

    2022-10-04: Ordered. Need to call WatchBuys at 888-333-4895 tomorrow to finalize, according to their terms & conditions.

    2022-10-05: Looks like it was confirmed, so no need to call in, I guess. Also got $25.80 in store credit that I can put to the metal bracelet if I decide to get that at some point. Almost certainly won't though. Update: Did get a call from them anyway. Will arrive Friday. Note that I have 3 days to activate a return if I want to do so, so give it a careful look on the bench before putting it on. Test crown and ensure dial is firmly affixed.

    2022-10-07: Arrived. Tested and seems perfect, so started wearing. Will make this my main "nice" watch, and wear it to work-related functions. Rather like it quite a lot so far. Wearing it in person makes me think it's a bit more versatile outfit-wise than I suspected, as the pure white indices are less semblant than suspected. Decided to skip the bracelet. But, I might get a spare strap for it at some point, since this one is pretty much perfect. Might also consider one of these when back in stock:

    Update: This has since become my favorite watch, displacing the Marlin. Pretty happy with the purchase.

  11. DONE collect future possibilities
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-10 Mon 09:42]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-09 Sun 23:46]

    Here's a list of nice options I've found on the way. Also reviewed all the offerings by the major brands. Almost certainly won't act on them, since none are must-haves. I'm more inclined to add something on the high end, and something more unique.

    Some selected items of interest, with thoughts:

    • Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Barakuda: ~$14k. 40x13.3mm. Something about this one appeals to me. Was a limited edition though, and thus unobtainable. There's other nice 40mm offerings, but those are also super limited.

      Downsides: Can't get, so just recorded here in case I want a copy like the Tornek-Rayville, which doesn't quite capture the style. Could also just get a homage like the Octopus Kraken.

    • Sinn 356 Flieger Acrylic: $2.2k. 38x15.5mm. Probably the only chronograph I'd be interested in. Has a nice acrylic crystal. Probably would get on bracelet.

      Downsides: Very busy dial. Very thick, though a lot of that is the domed acrylic. Chronograph features are also mostly useless to me, so would be paying for useless stuff.

    • Nomos Club Sport Neomatik Petrol: $3.15k. 37x8.3mm. Would get on bracelet, and probably the blue.

      Downsides: No black or gray colorway. Some don't like the pin/collar bracelet.

    • Benrus Type I reissue: $1.7k. 42x15mm. A limited edition (only 1k being made). Sterile. Also almost like their DTU-2A/P.

      Downsides: Rather thick and large. Has ghost date. Would've preferred acrylic. Lume seems to glow blue instead of preferred green. Might be worth checking back on if they do an update.

    • Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Compression ZO9269: $1.4k. 40x13mm. Watermelon coloring. Could pair with the AlphaShark BluShark Marlin NATO and an orange FKM rubber. This might make more sense instead of adding another boring, sensible watch, especially since the Centenary died.

      Downsides: Could certainly be even more watermelon-like. Might get bored of that gimmick though. There's less silly Sea Wolf model that's 11mm too, which is pretty impressive for a dive watch like this.

    • Smiths PRS-29A: ~$450. 36x11.1mm. Close to the perfect field watch, at least among what's available new.

      Downsides: Sapphire instead of acrylic. Silly hoops to jump through for ordering. Field watch style overlaps with the Worldtimeski, which I already have and like.

    These are nice and all, but something pricey needs to really be near perfect, especially considering now much coverage the collection has already. It also needs to be something I'd wear regularly, and that seems unlikely with the current options here. Some of these are also in the inconvenient to resell range, so want to be extra sure about any purchases.

    Generally, I'm pretty unimpressed by the high-end offerings, and find them mostly to be unappealing eyesores. So, I'm going to forget about any additions in this category and maybe check back in a few years. In the meantime, there's other wardrobe components that need attention.

1.9.16. DONE replace slip-on shoes

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-12 Sat 14:53]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-01 Tue 11:22]

Find a pair of black, non-gloss, smooth leather-soled slip-ons that can replace the worn-out cheap ones I currently wear. Maybe Allen Edmonds. Also will try to get a pair suitable for work travel, for getting through airport security less inconveniently.

2022-11-01: Ordered the Allen Edmonds Verona II slip-on, size 12D. Normally wear size 12E, but the online rep said this would be the best fit between D and EEE. Shoes were on sale for $281.25.

2022-11-04: Don't fit. Will return. Ordered the same shoe, but in 12EEE, in hopes they're just too narrow. Some of the reviewers complained about that too. D->EEE should give me an extra 1/4" width. Also ordered a shoe horn, since the heel on these isn't super reinforced.

2022-11-08: Received new shoes. The box for these says 12E. These fit and should break in well. Will keep. Still need horn though. Will wait until that arrives to start wearing regularly.

2022-11-10: Got refund for the 12D.

2022-11-12: Shoe horn arrived. Works great with this pair. Will use on other leather dress shoes from now on too.

1.9.17. [3/3] do 2022 vehicle maintenance

  1. DONE get oil change
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-02-09 Wed 14:49]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-05 Sat 11:00]

    Will do this a little earlier than I otherwise would to see if they have any firmware and SYNC system updates. I'm sure at least the latter exists.

    Looks like I'll probably have to do these separately due to inability to coordinate these things between two departments. Will do oil change first and schedule the other thing while I'm in there, since the tech for that is hard to get on the line.

    Also get the right side (passenger) tailgate bumper replaced. The clip on this broke. Old part is in center storage compartment. Looks like these are common to break and aren't necessary, so don't bother if it ends up being a hassle.

    2022-02-05: Scheduled oil change and wipers replacement for 2022-02-09 0915.

    2022-02-09: Done. Didn't do any of the other stuff.

  2. DONE get car inspection
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-14 Fri 15:03]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-14 Fri 10:12]

    Do this on 2022-10 and take both vehicles at the same time.


  3. DONE get oil change and tire rotation
    • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2022-12-27 Tue 19:38]

    Scheduled for 2022-12-27 1030.

    Completed. Also got front brakes replaced and tires rotated.

1.9.18. [2/2] do 2022 firearms refactor

Much less to do this year. Will try to work on further collection downsizing at some point.

  1. DONE get mag carrier
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-29 Sat 21:44]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-26 Fri 14:15]

    Get one for single G19 mag. The reason for getting this is for use during taking the series of locally offered pistol courses.

    2021-11-26: Ordered a carrier that matches my holster from QVO. Also, checked and the courses aren't currently being offered, probably due to ammo shortages. Will check back on that mid/late next year.

    2022-01-29: Finally received. Looks good. Put accessories in workshop drawer.

  2. DONE get shooting bench
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-28 Mon 14:31]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-23 Wed 15:43]

    Thinking about getting the MTM High-Low bench. The reason being that it should accommodate the angled slope of the backyard better than the folding table. With that, stuff tends to slide off, which is rather annoying and distracting. Can use this one standing or sitting too.

    2022-11-23: Ordered.

    2022-11-28: Arrived. Looks great. Much sturdier than I thought it'd be. Seems like a good product.

1.9.19. [4/4] sell/get rid of stuff

  1. DONE do dump run
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-04 Tue 13:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-04 Tue 10:30]

    Round up all the junk that needs to go to the dump and take it there. Will also be a test run to using this service instead of regular trash service, which is now canceled.

    Done. 4xx lbs of stuff dumped for $19. Looks like Tuesdays at 1100 is a good time to show up.

  2. DONE sell Laco Jena
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-07 Thu 15:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-02 Thu 13:57]

    A great watch, and would keep if it were the 38mm version. I do like this one even in 40mm, but since it's worth around $300+, I can negate a lot of the money I have tied up in watches by selling it. Also, WG is no longer listing it for cheap, but it's still listed on the Laco site for $540. Thinking I can get a quick $350 for this, minus a little shipping costs. In that case, I'd actually make money by selling it.

    I do still like the Bauhaus design, and might consider a 35-38mm hand-wind at some point. Perhaps a Nomos or Stowa, when/if I have more income coming in and if they're making a black dial model I like at the time.

    2022-06-02: Listed. Trying out "Buy it now" with free shipping (in the US). Supposedly that sells more stuff than auctions these days. I know I prefer it on the other end. Added a secondary shipping option for international buyers. Will leave listed as-is for 1-1.5 months, then open it to offers for another month.

    2022-07-06: Sold for $300 after some offer back and forth. I had 3 watchers and used the "send offer" feature to kick off the interaction. Seems like this is a good way to move stuff, so might use that feature for future listings. Will also turn offers on from now on. Will ship out tomorrow.

    2022-07-07: Shipped.

  3. DONE sell 2 ancient Nintendo VHS tapes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-08-22 Mon 16:47]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-06-05 Sun 12:44]

    Have 2 tapes that might be desirable by console fanbois.

    2022-06-05: Listed on eBay as a lot for $39 with free domestic shipping. Package is 1lb 6oz with dimensions 3.5"x8"x10".

    2022-07-06: Switched it to offers accepted.

    2022-07-22: Had an offer accepted, but buyer backed out. Seems this happens a lot these days. Kind of an inconvenience.

    2022-08-22: Item sold for $30 and shipped same day. Timing worked out nice and didn't need to make a special trip to the post office for it. Glad to be rid of this old junk.

  4. DONE do winter dump run
    • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2022-11-30 Wed 14:44]

    Be sure to get rid of the spare fence gates and more of the siding.

    Did this in 2022-10, I believe. Got rid of one of the gates and one of the siding sheets. Need to fold those in half so they fit better. Still under minimum weight tho, so could definitely pack more stuff in there.

1.9.20. [1/1] do 2022 handloading tasks

Probably will ignore handloading again this year, since it doesn't look like primers will be back in stock any time soon. I'll check in on it in the summer though, just in case.

  1. DONE get more small rifle primers
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-04-21 Thu 17:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-18 Mon 10:35]

    These came back in stock, to my surprise. Ordered 1000 for 8c/each. Will feel pretty good about the supplies situation with double the primer count. Also grabbed 200 195gr. ELD.

    Done. Probably next priority will be subs weight projectiles.

1.10. personal improvement/maintenance

1.10.1. DONE get new retainers

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-03 Mon 21:10]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-11 Thu 07:37]

Looks like they lost my impressions somehow, so need to redo. Scheduled for 2021-11-11 0800. Use most/all remaining HSA money for this.

2021-11-11: Impressions taken. Changed order to 4 retainers for $500. Also changed maker to Invisiline, who will keep impressions on file for 5 years.

2021-12-30: Go pick up redone bottom pieces on 2022-01-03.

2022-01-10: Good to go for a few years now.

1.10.2. DONE quit using e-cigarettes

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-14 Fri 23:15]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-05 Sun 20:08]

Might as well quit this and save the cash and inconvenience. Scheduled for early 2021-12. Will set aside a few days to focus on making this stick.

2021-12-05: A tough week starts now.

2022-01-14: This has been over a month now, so should be safe to call it a success. Surprisingly, this was the toughest time I ever had quitting, due to the extremely high ~30mg nicotine levels used. In retrospect, it would've been way less painful to taper it off. Also, trying to do it while so much other stuff was going on at the same time didn't help.

However, it's done now and I'm glad for that. There's still the occasional minor cravings, but this is tapering off to nothing now. Now that this is done, I need to focus on undoing the weight damage caused during this process. Restarting that effort as of now.

1.10.3. DONE setup account

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-28 Fri 11:20]
  • State "STRT" from "DONE" [2022-01-25 Tue 17:32]
  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-01-19 Wed 21:09]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-01-19 Wed 11:52]

Since I now have a separate, low-balance checking account with debit card, using this service is now possible. Would allow for purchasing things on small/foreign sites without only a link between my full name and address as a consequence. Use someone's referral link to get a free $5 off first purchase.

Account active and working fine it seems.

2022-01-25: Something went awry here and will need to send a pic of a voided check. Reopening.

2022-01-27: Switched to debit card instead of checking account. Replied to support.

2022-01-28: Fixed. Credit is on the account though, so will need to buy something to use.

1.10.4. DONE do 2021 taxes

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-03-04 Fri 10:15]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-02-24 Thu 12:20]

Since a federal government still exists, will do this around mid-Feb again.

2022-02-24: Started, but my managed brokerage account forms aren't ready yet for some reason. Will check back in a couple weeks and call then if necessary (or use the preliminary ones).

2022-03-04: Blocking docs posted. Filed. I think I made a bit of a mess with the health-related forms, but shouldn't affect anything.

1.10.5. CNCL consider buying rental property

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2022-04-23 Sat 12:54]

Offer is for $100k, with max 10 years of $500/mo rent, then could switch to $1.5k/mo or sell (probably for $200-250k). Probably needs about $20-30k repairs and many weekends of work. Will go survey property next month.

Looks like this is off for now. Will reconsider if that changes. Starting to lean against it though, due to PA taxes and the fact that I'd have to pay income tax on the sale.

1.10.6. DONE try hand-written notebooks

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-05-21 Sat 21:53]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-04-28 Thu 15:20]

Used to carry a 3.5" Moleskine for work, mainly for convenience of entering/exiting SCIFs. I quite liked it, but never considered the same for normal life. There's a philosophy around this some writers have, many of whom swear by it. I am somewhat skeptical of its utility versus Org, but it costs next to nothing to try, so will give it a chance.

Will get a 3 pack of Field Notes and a box of ultra fine Pilot pens. The Field Notes books are thinner than a Moleskine, so it might make for a more comfortable pocket experience. If not, can always get another Moleskine (in fact, I think I have a spare hard cover full-size somewhere). This attempt is timed well with my digital detox coming to an end. Will be back reading programming books, so will use these for jotting down functions I randomly have ideas for during the day. If this works out, I might invest in one of the leather covers for the notebook+pen.

2022-04-28: Received. Line height is very slightly taller than the Moleskine. Not sure whether that's a positive or not yet. Will try a test run of physical note-taking with the new Haskell book I'm starting today, and analyze results afterwards.

2022-05-21: Been using for awhile. I guess I like this for math-related notes, since I tend to review those more often. Also grabbed some spiral-bound versions of the same, which I kept 1 of for the backpack. I still prefer the normal ones for carrying in the pocket. Will stick with it for the foreseeable future. Might look around for a better pen to pair this with at some point. I also discovered a few unused notebooks that previous employers had given me. These are very high quality, leather-bound ones. Might use those for more profound thoughts.

1.10.7. DONE try going NoPoo

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-07-28 Thu 01:14]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-07-18 Mon 08:53]

NoPoo adherents assert that the human head either doesn't need shampoo, only needs it occasionally, or that shampoo is actively harmful to use. Since there doesn't seem to be any non-biased scientific consensus on the matter, that only leaves personal experimentation to find out if this is true. This costs (less than) nothing to try, doesn't have any downsides, and could potentially save a decent amount of money if true. Needing to buy less stuff is also always nice. Probably won't go 100% no-shampoo though, since that strikes me as unsanitary. The scalp is still skin that can get dirty, just like any other part of the body.

Looks like every other day is the most I want do without feeling kinda yucky. That's also dependent upon whether I do any sweaty physical activity too. So, on average I might be able to get a 25% reduction in shampoo usage out of this.

1.10.8. DONE consider starting a job search

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-02 Fri 00:16]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-08-05 Fri 02:17]

Think about whether I want to look for a new private sector job, and if so, what that might look like. Energy banks are fully charged now, and there are various good reasons I might want to do so (which I won't go into here).

Some initial thoughts on preferences, should I decide to look for one:

  • Clojure as a primary language, usable from Emacs.
  • No Agile.
  • A focus on data analysis, analytics, processing, and/or modeling.
  • Minimal to no front end work.
  • Not too intense, since I still want to be able to work on side projects and have spare energy for non-tech life. I'd probably be okay with a full-immersion job, but would need compensation beyond the levels currently on offer.
  • Some cloud services is probably unavoidable, but I'm not interested in that being anything I work on to much of an extent. Eschew too much Russian-doll tech too. Container use is okay, but probably not microservices/Kubernetes.

This does rule out a good chunk of an already thin market. What I'll probably do is just keep an eye out at the influx of Clojure jobs and if something meets most of these reqs, I might try to initiate a conversation.

Main downside of doing this, of course, is losing all that time otherwise useful for reading math/CS books.

2022-09-02: Accepted offer for a position fulfilling all of the above. Only trade-off was the less than top-tier salary. Probably will start in the next week or two.

1.10.9. DONE ponder summer self-education plan

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-09-02 Fri 00:19]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-05-24 Tue 02:31]

Energy reserves are topped off, so started using full brain capacity again. There's enough stuff I'd like to spend time on to keep me busy for years, but it'll help to prioritize a few accomplishments I can feasibly make just this summer (and maybe into fall a bit). Spend a few days thinking about what I want to get done.

Lesson plan:

  • Start staying up until at least 3AM, in order to get more quiet hours.
  • Haskell refresher, read Haskell From First Principles.
  • Category theory proper treatment, read Conceptual Mathematics.
  • Work through Software Foundations.

I would've preferred doing some type theory too, but will leave that out for now. It'd make more sense to do SF second, but I rank CT progress higher. I'm targeting a minimum of 1 chapter a day, depending on length and density. If I can get through these 3 books, this will be a significant amount of progress in one season, or even a full year. Then I'll take a break and do the next general interest deep-dive and/or start looking for a private sector job. Not 100% sure I want to do another job run yet, so if not, I'll come up with a follow-up plan.

Side note: I've also been thinking about some methods to get more done when working remotely. If the opportunity presents itself, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to still make significant progress on my CS interests while employed, as long as the job isn't too all-encompassing. One simple method is just to have a chapter goal similar to my current daily goal, but for the week.

More generally, I've been pondering the type-centric and category theoretic approach to CS theory, and while I still have my reservations about it in some areas, my general conclusion is that it's a "what we have" situation for my lifetime. Should thinking humans continue to exist, maybe future generations will have other avenues fully explored and can compare them more objectively. I'm only going to be sensate for another 40 years, so it's either this or the dominant ad-hoc, mechanistic approach. There are worst tyrannies one could endure.

Suspending for now, since I need to focus on new job ramp-up. Will get back to this mid/late-Fall, hopefully.

1.10.10. DONE buy a Treasury I bond

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-06 Thu 11:58]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-05 Wed 15:32]

Can get 9.62% return on a $10k 30 year note, sold directly on Treasury Direct. Note that that rate is only guaranteed for the first 6 months though. While I'm at it, I might want to load up on some TIPS in the brokerage account. Need to figure out its interface first though.

Note the following regarding Treasury I Bonds:

  • I bonds cannot be cashed for one year after purchase. If a bond is cashed in year two through five after purchase, the prior three months of interest are forfeited.
  • There is no interest penalty for cashing in the bonds after five years.
  • Interest is exempt from non-federal income taxes.

Main downside here is money in yet another location that needs to be managed. Might not be worth the hassle, particularly given having to pay federal income tax on it too. I'm going to give it a try anyway, since I have money evaporating in a savings account.

2022-10-05: Purchased one $10k "Series I" bond. Purchase should post tomorrow.

2022-10-06: Holding now active. Matures 2052-10-01. Will need to figure out how to get interest payments out of the system (might be auto-transferred to bank). Eventually will need to figure out how to close it out too. Hopefully by then the site will suck less.

Update: Might be possible to buy $10k per year. Check up on that next year if I think this is still a good idea.

1.10.11. DONE start taking algae oil supplement

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-10-12 Wed 15:13]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-08 Sat 08:40]

Stopped taking Omega-3 supplements due to the sources being fish oil (which is non-vegan) or flaxseed/linseed oil (which are composed of only ALA, not EPA and DHA). However, there's another source, which is algae oil. The downside here is that most contain carrageenan, which is a cause of joint inflammation. So, order one of the few that don't have this problem and give it a try for a few months. Not sure if this does anything, but I don't see any EPA/DHA Omega-3 sources in my normal diet. Thus I figure it's probably worth the extra $120/yr to hedge against that.

Started using. Will think about it in a few months and see if I feel better.

1.10.12. DONE quit drinking diet soda

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-11-30 Wed 14:50]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-10-25 Tue 12:41]

Rebalanced some intakes to optimize for work, now need to dial them back again. First up is stopping drinking diet soda. Will do this in Q3 2022. Added benefit here is saving some trash, lugging bottles into the house, and a little expense. Prices went up to $1/each for even the generic stuff, so that's an added incentive.

Stopped buying these and seems to be going good. Might feel a little better too, but hard to say for sure.

1.10.13. DONE consider non-plastic toothbrushes

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2022-12-06 Tue 19:06]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2022-11-27 Sun 17:32]

There's boar hair, nylon, and probably others. Give one of these alternatives a try.

2022-11-27: Trying some boar hair tooth brushes.

2022-12-06: Tried and working pretty good so far. Have 5 after giving one to A-, so will use over the next year and decide whether to stock up.

2. Project List (2021)

2.1. software engineering

2.1.1. DONE read Roll Your Own IRC Bot

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-12 Thu 11:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-12 Mon 22:06]

Probably a good example to learn some real world programming idioms in Haskell. Just give this a glance, since I don't actually want to write an IRC bot.

Might look around for more modern small program examples similar to this.


  • Run cabal install --lib network to run this code.

Not a bad tutorial. Wrote a modified version of the monadic variant of this bot with a few extra features. Connected this online and ran a few commands.

Was going to do some more with this, but I think I've extracted most value out of it. Will spend the extra Haskell time on higher return activities.

2.1.2. DONE learn Malli

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-09 Tue 12:04]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-12 Thu 11:57]

spec is probably abandoned, or at least will be for the foreseeable future. The Clojure community has moved on to Malli (minus those sticking with Schema) and from what I've glance at, it looks great. Malli skips some of the arguably poor design decisions of spec, like namespaced keywords. So, I'll switch over too. Will use this for all schema work from now on.


  • For something like a REST API, could do a conformance check and it doesn't pass, return an error code with the explain output as the message body.
  • Even better than the above is to use malli.error/humanize on the output of explain.
  • Adding a deep-merge function might be a good idea for composing schemas.
  • :cat and :catn apparently are like schema regexes, and activate keys like := and :* (different than the base :*), :alt, and :altn. Use these for sequences that have to have certain elements in a specific order.
  • Unless already using sci in a project, it's probably best to not use dynamic custom errors with :error/fn since Malli executes those in sci. Normal custom error strings are still fine though.

This is a great library and well made. It has a couple minor things about it I probably would do differently, but is currently the best out there by far. Just the error messaging will make life easier versus Schema.

2.2. electronic engineering

2.2.1. DONE replace PSU fan

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-03 Sun 21:49]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-12-03 Thu 22:58]

This has a 2-pin header. Get a 3-pin Noctua and a 3->2 pin converter.

2020-12-03: A- ordered the fan and adapter.

2020-12-26: All parts arrived.

2021-01-03: Done and worked out nicely. Was a little bit of a pain doing this in a few spots, but not too bad. Managed to remove the stock fan without disconnecting the heatsink from the capacitor board. Re-glued the fan power to the mainboard, since it seems a bit loose without it. For future reference, the cover is a bit of a pain to get back on the unit, but bending the top front cover slot with a thin screwdriver when inserting it seems to make it go in easy.

2.2.2. [18/18] build electronics workbench

  1. DONE ponder extent of interest
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-17 Tue 10:10]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-17 Tue 09:58]

    Decide to what degree I want to invest time/energy into this side of technology. I don't want to overinvest here, such that it diminishes my available energy for my main interests in computer science. Scaled correctly, however, it could do well to complement them with real world effects.

    Some things I'd like to be able to competently do:

    • Construct simple, operable IoT-style devices.
    • Be able to rewire components together.
    • Understand the basics of electrical systems, which should hopefully transfer over to home and vehicle electrical systems.
    • Have the tools and parts available to do the above.
    • Stage ability for a (very) minor segue into vehicle electronics. Maybe I'll come up with some project ideas for the UTV.

    Note on tools: I'll get a high quality multimeter, since I can use that elsewhere. Soldering iron, mat, and power supply should be mid-range. Everything else should be price-optimized for now. Once I see how much time I'm spending on this, I'll consider adding an oscilloscope and other items. I'll also need to setup a spare computer in the main indoors workshop. Keep total budget under $1000 (preferably under $700 or so), which means no new dedicated full computers, nice monitors, or high-end/professional tools.

    Note on self-education: I'd rather take the time to learn this formally. Get some general context first, then select a textbook on the subject.

    I think this plan is good enough for initial task breakout. Will revisit later.

  2. DONE get knips
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-23 Mon 13:43]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-18 Wed 21:27]

    Get the KNIPEX brand ones. Apart from electronics, also generally useful.

    2020-11-18: A- ordered a pair for me.

    2020-11-23: Received.

  3. DONE research power supplies
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-23 Mon 21:31]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-20 Fri 11:14]

    Don't get one of these yet, but I'll want one eventually. Might want to see what's cheap used.

    For new PSUs, though it has some problems, the BK Precision 1550 might be a good compromise. Slightly pricier though of maybe higher quality is the Unisource PS-303. At least get one of 30V 3A.

    Decided against both of the previously mentioned. If I stick in bottom tier price range, which I'm sure I want to, I'll get the KORAD KA3005D. This is also Chinesium, but at least includes a output toggle and is programmable for less than the other options. If I ever decide to upgrade later, consider the Keysight U8000 or Tektronix PWS2326. I don't foresee myself getting that into this hobby though, so it's probably safe to go cheap.

  4. DONE consider dedicated workbench Pi
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-23 Mon 14:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-18 Wed 00:29]

    Maybe get another one of these for the electronics bench as the primary dev computer. Will need an LCD panel of some kind for it.

    Another option is the Pi 4 compute module, IO board, and antenna kit. This provides all the capability of the 4B, but with more accessible outputs for projects. Performance is also much better. Leaning towards this, but will have to wait until these items are available.

    2020-11-18: Ordered. Decided to get a Pi Zero W and use that in the reloading room and put the 4B on the electronics bench. First, I'll build out the Zero and get a HDMI->DVI adapter so I can save some cash on a display by using the old Dell 2007. Once all of this is setup, then I'll think about whether I want to do a swap with the 4B for the electronics bench or something else. This prevents me from blowing money on hats and other accessories for the Zero if I don't want to go that route for the wearable or palmtop. Later the decommissioned desktop will go down here for a proper computer, and the 4B can be a dedicated project board.

    Also ordered various connectors and adapters for this and the 4B. The 20000 mAh power bank I was eyeing also had a $10 off coupon, so I grabbed one of those too.

  5. DONE get ESD tweezers
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-25 Wed 18:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-19 Thu 20:17]

    Needed for the very small stuff I'll be working on.

    2020-11-19: Ordered the EDSYN EPAA-SA-EG from Test Equipment Depot. These are medium-sized straight tip. Might want a curved set later, but I'll see if I can get by with these, since they were on sale.

    2020-11-25: Received.

  6. DONE assemble Zero W build
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-26 Thu 01:15]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-23 Mon 14:24]

    Assemble the Zero W setup above. All parts already ordered. I'll also test the power bank on this to see runtime.

    2020-11-23: Received HDMI->DVI adapter.

    2020-11-24: Received microSD cards, micro-USB->USB adapter. Installed latest Raspberry Pi OS on one of the cards. Didn't set any monitor configs on it yet, since I'll set it up on a normal peripheral config first to save time.

    2020-11-25: Received Zero W and all remaining parts. One big downside I discovered of this board is that since it's an older ARM, it doesn't support Clojure development (at least lein doesn't run, and I only want to use lein). This is a strong reason to stick with the 4B except for very minimal projects that need low power draw, and for using the 4B for a dev board that other microcontroller boards will connect to. However, for the reloading room computer, this doesn't matter. Looks like Haskell development is still possible strangely enough (it's usually the other way around).

    I also didn't realize it at the time, but the Zero doesn't have any audio port. Maybe building a sound card for it would be a good project.

    Anyway, I switched back to my original plan of putting the Zero on the electronics bench for now. This was due to a combination of no sound and that the cables I have for it are all the wrong lengths for the reloading bench. This results in it sitting on the desktop with a mess of cables. Rectifiable, but would involve buying more cables of appropriate length, which isn't worth the trouble. The Zero will serve immediate needs in the workshop for now, until I need a board with more power for some reason.

  7. DONE get magnifying lamp
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-26 Thu 01:16]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-19 Thu 20:16]

    Current contacts prescription makes me slightly farsighted, so this is kinda needed. Get a Luxo probably, since the cheap Chinese ones are kinda crap.

    2020-11-19: Ordered the Luxo LFG028215 from Test Equipment Depot. These are a little pricier than I thought they'd be, and kinda ruins the low end of my intended budget range a little. Will still try to keep it under $800 for everything though.

    2020-11-25: Received.

    2020-11-26: Installed. Looks great. Glad I went with the nicer model. Will keep the cover on it while not in use.

  8. DONE get multimeter
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-26 Thu 01:37]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-19 Thu 20:16]

    Probably will get a low end Fluke.

    2020-11-19: Ordered the Fluke 117 from Test Equipment Depot. I think this comes with leads, but can get those later if not.

    2020-11-25: Received. Will test out a bit.

    2020-11-26: Unboxed and set on bench. Tested and seems great. This is mainly marketed as an electrician's multimeter, but I wanted one that could feasibly do both that an electronics work. If I ever get a second one, that'll be more dedicated to lower range precision.

  9. DONE get power supply
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-12-01 Tue 21:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-27 Fri 10:43]

    The KORAD KA3005D will probably do the job for $110, so maybe get this. Not immediately critical though, so skip for now if I want to spend the Black Friday cash elsewhere. Check for name brand units on eBay before buying.

    2020-11-27: Ordered the KA3005D. Debated this versus some of the pricier used ones on eBay, but decided to cheap out on this for a first supply. Reasons are that I'll probably build one of my own at some point, none of the eBay ones were completely optimal, and this keeps me in budget. I'm not against getting a proper high end one at some point, but I'll know whether that makes sense after using this a bit. Should be no problem selling this one used if need be. Once I get this, check to see if other electronics flicker when switching this on/off. If so, add a ferrite bead clamp to the PSU's power cable. Probably will have to raise the shelf height on the desk for this, but I'll hold off until it arrives.

    2020-11-28: Apparently the fan on the Korad is loud, but there exist various mods for this. The ultimate is a temperature control mod + fan replacement. I'll probably just replace the fan with a Noctua if mine is loud, as I'm fairly sure this will be good enough. To do this, I'll either need a 3-to-2 pin adapter or to cut/splice the wiring. Preferring the former, since it doesn't mess up resale options.

    Another common mod is to reduce the noise of the buzzer by applying a drop of hot glue to the buzzer component opening.

    Also, open the case up and check all screws and heat sinks before using. Some people report these can be loose.

    2020-12-01: Received. The fan didn't seem bad at first, but did get a little annoying. It's probably worth replacing. Otherwise, I tested it with the multimeter and it's very accurate with fast response time. The leads are a little short, but good enough for working directly on the bench.

  10. DONE setup bench desktop PC
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-12-01 Tue 21:30]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-12-01 Tue 10:04]

    Put a zero-maintenance Linux setup on here and see if I can get all of the hardware working. Don't put any effort into this setup, since I may need to switch the OS later for software support.

    2020-12-01: Tried Manjaro-i3, since I already have a full config for it. However, looks like there's issues with the wireless adapter, which works but only sort of. Switched to a stock Debian install to see if that problem persisted there, and it does, but not as much. Will stick with that for now since I'd rather not buy a wireless adapter for this.

    What I'll probably do is keep this down here until I upgrade the NUC, probably with one of the micro Ryzen machines or the Purism NUC clone. Then the NUC can go down here. That'll be a couple years from now though, at the soonest.

  11. DONE get 2 power strips
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-12-09 Wed 21:10]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-27 Fri 10:40]

    Get one for all of the equipment, then a desk mount one with USB ports for powering stuff being worked on.

    2020-11-26: Found a spare floor power strip, so will use this. Now just need the desk mount one.

    2020-11-27: Ordered desk mount strip.

    2020-12-09: Received and setup. Now I can just flip the switch on this power strip and be sure everything is powered off.

  12. DONE get solder roll
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-12-09 Wed 21:11]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-27 Fri 10:42]

    Get a 1lb thin rosin core, like maybe the Kester 24-6337-8800.

    2020-11-27: Ordered, along with solder wick and flux pen. While grocery shopping, I also grabbed a pack of steel scour pads. Will see if this works okay for tip cleaning. Seems like the ones they sell for this purpose might be brass, but I can't think of a good metallurgical reason why steel wouldn't do fine here too. If this works, I'll build a holder for it.

    2020-12-09: This arrived a week or so ago. Noticed that this is lead solder, so might want to get a lead-free one later.

  13. DONE get kit for solder practice
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-12-11 Fri 13:36]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-27 Fri 10:40]

    Find a cheap DIY kit of some kind for practicing soldering, since I've never done it before. Leaning towards one of the speaker kits for sale on Amazon for ~$19, since it includes 2 SMD components. Plus I might be able to actually use them if they don't sound too horrible.

    2020-11-27: Ordered the speaker kit.

    2020-12-11: Kit arrived. Need replacement solder station before proceeding.

  14. DONE get another 4B
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-12-13 Sun 22:13]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-12-02 Wed 23:18]

    Was debating on whether to get a compute module or just another 4B, but the IO boards seem to be in short supply. Plus, it's a much more expensive platform. Will just get another 4B for now and keep the Zero for a project build.

    2020-12-02: Ordered along with another HDMI cable, heat sink set, and power switch. I might also work a bit on slimming down the base OS to get the Zero to run faster. There's definitely a lot of bloat there.

    2020-12-13: Received and tested as functional, at least with no OS.

  15. DONE get soldering station
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-12-21 Mon 13:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-19 Thu 20:17]

    Just get the base station for now. Get at least one very fine tip.

    2020-11-19: Ordered the Weller WE1010 from Test Equipment Depot. Also ordered a 0.38mm conical tip. I'll see if I can just buy a kitchen scour pad and maybe 3D print a holder for it later.

    2020-11-25: Received.

    2020-11-26: Unboxed and the station base is smashed and very broken. Emailed sales to see if I can get an exchange or refund.

    2020-11-30: Called in the issue. They said they were short staffed and haven't gotten to it yet, but will look at it.

    2020-12-08: A- called again and they finally sent an RMA, though won't pay shipping. These guys suck. Guess I'll take my business elsewhere next time, even if this does get resolved. Even crappy Amazon would've been better than this. Will switch to

    2020-12-09: Item mailed back. Cost was $15.

    2020-12-16: Got tracking notification for replacement.

    2020-12-21: Received replacement and tested as working. Finally resolved this whole unpleasant experience.

  16. CNCL try Manjaro ARM on the 4B
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-01-02 Sat 20:35]

    Under their downloads for the Raspberry Pi, they have a port of the 64-bit i3 version of this distro. This might make for an excellent electronics bench OS install if I can get everything working correctly.

    Tried this, but nothing ever shows on screen. Seems to run, so could probably SSH in and mess with the video settings if I decide to run a 4B as a desktop one day. In the meantime, I just switched back to Raspberry Pi OS.

  17. DONE get a few starter parts
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-08 Fri 10:14]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-27 Fri 10:41]

    To get started, get one of the kits with tons of parts. This will save some money on buying them separately, probably. Get one compatible with the Pi for now, but maybe switch to a Arduino/Nano kit later. Get a few spare parts and small tools I know I'll need while I'm at it.

    2020-11-27: Decided to take advantage of a sale and get one of the knock-off Uno board kits, which saves a lot of cash. I'll still get the Pi kit later, once it goes back on sale. Also ordered:

    • Glue gun.
    • Pack of breadboards.
    • Board holder.
    • Engineer ruler.
    • Soldering wick.

    2020-11-27: Pi kit came back on sale, so got that too. Will use this first and then the Arduino one later when I get around to it. Also got some Knipex electrician shears for cutting thick wires (more for working on house wiring than this stuff).

    2020-12-01: Received solder, flux pen, Pi kit.

    2020-12-03: A- ordered a 3-pack of Nano boards. These were on sale for ~$10, so definitely a good deal.

    2020-12-10: Received ruler and board holder.

    2020-12-11: Received glue gun, breadboards, and UNO kit.

    2020-12-12: Something happened to the electrical scissors in transit and I guess I'll get a refund for it.

    2020-12-19: Looks like wick was lost in transit too. Reordered.

    2020-12-21: A- ordered a 3 pack of Nano boards for me, which arrived.

    2021-01-08: Finally got wick, which was the last piece for now.

  18. DONE collect parts list
    • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2021-01-09 Sat 04:11]

    Probably won't get to the point of needing additional project materials until next winter. While doing starter projects, collect a list of electronics parts to buy and order them all at once from somewhere, like or


    • 10+ metal toggle switches, and maybe a few of the ones with covers.
    • Kits (or boxes) of capacitors, resistors, diodes, transistors. Like the Elenco branded kind (e.g. RCK-465).
    • Hookup wire kit, which is a rectangular box with multiple wire colors coming out of it.
    • Prototype board: Global Specialties PB-103M
    • A pair of the test probes capable of grabbing wires. Pomona makes some of these and are high quality.
    • A few 9V I-type battery snaps with 5" leads.
    • Jumper wire assortment.
    • Various LEDs.
    • Heat shrink tubing assortment.
    • A few character LCDs.
    • Many momentary buttons of various types.
    • A set of cheap solder tips.
    • Consider a parts storage solution, like the Arko-Mils shelving units.

    Probably will order this stuff over the summer so it's available when needed.

2.2.3. CNCL get ESD mat

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-09-05 Sun 23:45]

Measure area. Probably just get the 2-layer. Maybe get one from this guy:

Desk is 37"x48". Debating on whether I want a perfectly form-fitting one or something else. I've been operating with no mat for awhile and this doesn't seem super necessary, so considering lower priority.

Will skip. Been using the bench without and seems unnecessary for anything I'd do.

2.3. work

2.3.1. CNCL research Berkeley DB

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-01-13 Wed 12:07]

Read Oracle's Getting Started Guide for this. Maybe write a quick program reading from and writing to it, time permitting. I did read up on this a good bit previously, so maybe fill in the conceptual gaps. I may also consider thinking deeply about this, in regards to what the ideal Clojure DAL on top of it would look like.

2020-11-04: Holding off on this due to a potential upcoming DB switch.

2021-01-13: Looks like the datastore switch is locked in, so canceling this.

2.3.2. DONE refresh/update MongoDB knowledge

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-27 Sat 21:36]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-23 Tue 11:39]

Haven't really used this much since late 2.x/early 3.x. I know there's some new features that might be project-relevant, like searching. Looks like due to various issues, I should focus on 3.6 currently. A 4.x upgrade might be forthcoming though (which will support transactions). Will read all or most of the 3.6 manual:

Also read this:

Good enough for now. Will pick up the rest of it along the way.

2.3.3. DONE write MongoDB DAL

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-21 Sun 17:46]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-25 Thu 21:52]

Consider writing a new DAL for MongoDB, including some built-in relationship tracking/updating and various other features.

Done, for the most part. Ended up splitting this into a DB wrapper and DAL layer, with the latter being domain-aware.

2.3.4. DONE update résumé

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-27 Wed 17:12]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-27 Wed 01:08]

Currently debating whether to quit the current job, swap it with a private sector one (permanently abandoning the defense contracting world), or just take some time off. Will update this in case I want to exercise the 2nd option. Currently leaning towards a combination of all 3 options: resign, take some time off, keep an eye out for interesting Clojure positions, then restart the private sector career if I find one. Another alternative is to focus on my side projects for some period of time and try to turn one of them into something releasable.

Made some minor adjustments.

2.3.5. DONE resign job

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-12 Fri 15:31]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-04 Thu 12:47]

Initially resigned on 2021-11-01, but was tracking the thought process leading up to it elsewhere.

Brief summary: Decided to get out of defense contracting permanently, which was a long time coming anyway. The reasons for moving on it now are many, but primarily include the industry trend away from custom software to more SaaS integration. Cloud integration could be a net positive, but is casting a wide net. Being project-focused in my career, it will decrease the overall quantity and quality of the kind of projects I'd want to be a part of. Since my clearance will expire while I'm not on-contract, this will by default lock me out of future work in the sector (would need another fresh entry point). I've decided I'm okay with that, since I'm no longer geographically bound to the industry.

Some other thoughts:

  • Much of my skill set is tied to the operations of large-scale systems, at the expense of effectiveness as a solo developer. To remedy this, I'll do a pass on my skills portfolio and add a few smaller-scale, practical things, like being sure I can spin up a working interactive site in Elm and/or doing some of these game projects.
  • In the future, I'm leaning towards establishing a foothold back in the private sector, though there's no impetus for doing so immediately. The other main alternative is to never be an employee again, as originally planned long ago. Will ponder that in the meantime.

Done. Still need to rollover the 401k, but have 30 days for that.

2.3.6. DONE clean up work software on personal machine

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-12 Fri 17:28]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-10 Wed 10:18]

At least uninstall Teams and MongoDB. Might be some other stuff too. Later, I might reluctantly put Slack on briefly on a VM to check the Clojarians jobs channels.

2.4. technology/software

2.4.1. DONE consider renaming Org status labels

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-13 Wed 11:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-13 Wed 08:46]

Maybe make all of these 4 characters. STARTED would become STRT, for example. This would make eyeballing files faster, since the task text would all line up. This wouldn't do anything for the composite tasks, however.

For composite tasks, this is probably still worth the tradeoff vs tagging those too. A status can be attached to a composite task, but only the completion ratio is auto-updated, not the group tag.

Done. Updated all Org documents. New status names are STRT, CNCL, BLCK, and INAC. This definitely improves readability, lessening the visual noise of status tags and making outlines more content-centric.

2.4.2. CNCL consider Dasung Paperlike 3 HD-FT

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-02-24 Wed 08:20]

Might be a good choice for an e-ink monitor in an always-on programming environment, like one of the Pis. Has super fast refresh modes.

Main downsides are the 13.3" size and a price of $1100. Other minor complaints: huge bezel, ugly branding, limited mount options, side connector, and Chinesium build quality. So, not even close to something I'd want to use. Maybe I'll check back in a few years to see if there's better options around.

An ideal product would be a naked panel of about this size, with backlight and HDMI or DP connector, and not requiring special drivers.

2.4.3. DONE run vrms

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-25 Thu 15:08]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-25 Thu 15:01]

Virtual RMS, which checks for non-free software on a system. Install this and see what it says. Might be worth knowing, in case I want to explore alternatives for end user applications.

Nothing interesting on my main workstation, just 6 libs, 1 font I'm not actually using, and the game Dwarf Fortress. My VM is completely clean, however.

2.4.4. CNCL try out Kinesis Advantage

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-04-01 Thu 21:16]

Got two of these for free from work. Will give it a try for a few weeks until I get good enough at it to know for sure if it's better. Will wait until I'm done working first. Might not work with my office keyboard tray. Sell these if I decide not to use them.

I think I'll sell these. I'll either stick with the ASDF keyboards I currently use or go split Moonlander. I could try the Moonlander on the Linux workstation, since that still has a Das Keyboard.

2.4.5. DONE try out Vimium on Brave

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-03 Sat 13:23]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-03 Sat 12:44]

Vi keybindings for Brave via addon.

Not bad, but would prefer Emacs keybindings of course. Better than using the mouse, however. / for searching works, but backwards searching requires / followed by N. Will stick with this.

Full keybindings available with ?.

Current extensions are:

  • ClearURLs
  • Dark Theme for Chrome
  • SponsorBlock
  • StyleBot
  • uBlock Origin
  • Vimium

2.4.6. DONE switch to GNU IceCat

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-03 Sat 15:44]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-03 Sat 15:24]

Set this up on my shopping/banking VM. Brave is supposedly telemetry-free minus checking for updates, but I'd rather keep anything involving PII inside a GPL-licensed web client. Install vim-vixen and uBlock. Might consider using this on my Windows box too.

The VM, which is Debian 10.0.0, only has IceWeasel in the repos. In the meantime, got from:

Looks good. Transferred all bookmarks over. Not being in any package managers (besides AUR) is a bit weird though.

Update: Looks like IceCat is pretty seriously out of date. It's forked from FF ESR, 10 major versions back. I'll still use it for now, but will check on this before setting up next time.

2.4.7. CNCL create Trisquel VM

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-04-03 Sat 19:50]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-03 Sat 16:57]

Use this instead of Debian for my PII VM. Should only need to transfer over all IceCat bookmarks, tweak a few settings, and get Emacs and kitty setup on it. Otherwise it can stay stock. Use mini version (which uses LXDE). Skip vim-vixen on the IceCat install, since it's non-free.

Canceled. Installed open-vm-tools and everything else worked fine. However, turns out that Trisquel is one of those distros that's way behind on package versions (e.g. it only had Emacs 25.x). I definitely don't want to maintain 2 separate Emacs versions, so this is a deal-breaker for me.

2.4.8. DONE consider termbin

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-06 Tue 08:59]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-06 Tue 08:54]

A netcat-based, pipe-able, public pasting host suitable for use within the CLI.

Added alias tb=nc 9999. Installed extra/gnu-netcat and added to standard install.

2.4.9. CNCL create PureOS VM

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-04-06 Tue 15:25]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-06 Tue 14:29]

Another FSF-endorsed OS that's a possible candidate for a PII VM. Also is the OS included in the Purism devices. This should work fine on the VMware side due to being Debian-based. The version number makes me think it's old though, but will get in there and find out for sure. Only other obvious downside is it defaults to Gnome, which I'll replace if I stick with it.

So, this kinda works, definitely better than Trisquel. However, this is a fork of Debian 9, so the packages are still a bit too ancient (about 2 years out of date currently). Also clipboard sharing didn't seem to work, making jumping over to do some web interaction more difficult. Will check in again in a year to see if there's a newer version.

One FSF-endorsed OS that will solve a lot of problems at the same time is Parabola. Might give up on these DE-heavy distros for the VM and switch to that.

2.4.10. CNCL replace mouse on Linux workstation

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-04-07 Wed 13:23]

Tested this on another computer, and confirmed it's a hardware issue causing multiple clicks to register when holding down the left mouse button. Disassemble the old mouse afterwards and see if I can fix it or at least scavenge some components.

Will skip this since I'll be putting the Moonlander on this machine. Shouldn't need a mouse there once that's setup.

2.4.11. CNCL consider Riak

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-04-12 Mon 21:45]

A distributed key-value store. I've been meaning to get into using one of these, and this is my current favorite. Before starting, do a quick scan of the market to make sure that's still the case. If I don't have an actual use case at the time, just review Riak conceptually.

Might still do this at some point, but would need an impetus for it. Spending my free time on datastores isn't exactly what I want to be doing much of.

2.4.12. CNCL create Parabola VM

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-04-12 Mon 22:02]

Parabola is a Free Software version of Arch Linux. Maybe also try out OpenRC at the same time.

This seems to work, but I'm going to hose this since maintaining an Arch-like distro is too much work for a VM that just needs to run a browser and edit text for posts. I might give it another go with Artix later, but probably not any time soon. Already wasted too much time in the past few weeks distro hopping.

2.4.13. [3/3] build wearable computer

  1. DONE design wearable computer
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-17 Tue 09:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-16 Mon 21:48]

    Thinking the rPi Zero W, UPS battery, and the Vufine+ display. With my wireless mini-keyboard, this should be a fully functional wearable, good enough for SSH-ing into servers, reading e-books, taking notes, and other random computing.

    Display: The Vufine+ display is the only expensive part, at $200. Maybe get the unbranded version.

    Battery: I think the PiJuice Zero is out now. However, the Vufine only has 90 of runtime in its internal battery. I might want to go with a power bank that has 2 USB-C adapters, thus able to power both for many hours. Of course, I could still use the PiJuice, but that could be a later addition if I think it needs it. Going power bank means the computer needs to turn off to charge.

    Cables: Will need an HDMI cable of appropriate length, maybe 2.5' to 3'. The Pi side is mini-HDMI. I think the Vufine side is full HDMI.

    Keyboard: Instead of the mini-keyboard, I might want the Rii K22, which is full size. Either will need a micro-USB->USB dongle.

    I think I could try a lower risk workflow for this by just getting the battery pack first and trying to run the 4B off it. Then I could get the display and use that with it and see if I can get the config.txt settings correct. If all that works, then get the Zero W or maybe even just go with the 4B for the wearable setup.

  2. CNCL redesign wearable computer
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-04-23 Fri 21:15]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-17 Tue 09:29]

    Had some additional ideas, though I like the previous approach so will keep it archived. I may do something more like that with the Zero W, but for now I want to keep investment minimal.


    • Board: 4B.
    • UPS: PiSugar 2 Pro. This one does support UPS.
    • Display: Vufine+ unbranded, magnetic mount, generic non-prescription glasses.

    This design will allow my power bank to be hooked up for longer sessions, otherwise keeps it light for short-term usage.

    2020-11-24: Received power bank, which I'm also using for powering the W. In that role it can run it for days, it seems.

    2021-04-01: Cost would be $35 4B + $50 PiSugar + $200 Vufine + extra for shipping and maybe a couple cables. So, probably just over $300 total. Will have to think about whether this is worth it before buying any parts.

    2021-04-23: Decided not to continue with this project. Main reason is expense and crappy HUD options. Also have too many other active projects going on right now anyway. Will check back in 4-5 years to see if better displays are available. May still try a pocket computer build.

  3. CNCL get PiSugar 2 Pro
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-04-23 Fri 21:15]

    Runs about $50.

2.4.14. [15/15] do 2021 Emacs yak-shave

Every year, the hair grows back. This round will focus on some of the core functionality internal packages and addons that I haven't revisited in decades. Another goal is to make sure that the prepackaged Emacsen, like Emacs Prelude, don't do anything better than my custom setup.

Done. Things are running much smoother now.

  1. DONE learn dired
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-30 Tue 23:55]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-30 Tue 13:12]

    Did an learning session for dired in 2009 and then didn't really use it for years. Lately, I've been using it occasionally at work. So, might as well go through all the basic basic file management operations and make sure I can actually do everything. Probably also a good idea to prevent irreversible accidents.


    • Use C-x C-j (dired-jump) to open the cwd of the file in the current buffer.
    • Probably should stick to marking with d followed by x for deletions
    • For compression, use c. The extension of the output file will determine the command executed to compress. Could also add 7Zip support here later by appending to dired-compress-files-alist.
    • Magit works against cwd.
    • Use % m to mark files by regex.
    • To open a file asynchronously in an external command use &, ! can also be used but is blocking.
    • Use a to navigate into directories and reuse the same buffer.

    Stuff to consider:

    • Bind dired-toggle-read-only to something. Need to look into this a more. Could be handy for macro-based file operations.
    • Check out dired-single, which solves the whole "buried buffer being navigated back to but not refreshed" problem.
    • The all-the-icons-dired package will add file icons for quick eyeballing. Not sure if this would work in terminal though. Not inclined to bother, but might be worth a look.
    • The dired-open package allows for assigning commands to extensions when files are opened. Might be handy for certain binaries, e.g. media files, so they aren't opened in Emacs itself. Also saves typing the command with &.
    • Maybe spend some more time with multi-file operations. There's more power here, like with renaming multiple files based on pattern and other stuff that might require some shell scripting.

    Feeling pretty good with dired now finally. Will use this for most file management for the next few months and see if I want to explore some extended capability. Pretty sure I want dired-single, so will queue that now. Otherwise will try to get by without adding a ton of extra dired-related packages unless the need is pressing.

  2. DONE consider Ivy and Counsel
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-31 Wed 11:52]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-31 Wed 10:12]

    ivy is a completion package and counsel extends ivy with additional functions. Currently using lusty-explorer for this. lusty is great, but has one downside: when trying to open a file that is a substring of the name of an existing file/directory, it doesn't provide a way to override completion. I think by default ivy solves this by allowing a C-M-j after the substring. Another nice feature is that it displays all completions in the minibuffer and not in a mode buffer. If using this, I may also want to consider swiper, which is a search replacement that provides a results buffer. I'm inclined think this would get in the way, since I use search for navigation.


    • Installing counsel will bring in both ivy and swiper. Did this, but ignoring swiper for now.
    • Start using <f2> u for Unicode char insertion instead of insert-char. Rebound my previous insert-char binding of <f9> to this too, but will consider this key available for something else.
    • Will try out the M-y binding of counsel-yank-pop for awhile to see if this is more efficient. I'm thinking not, but will give it a chance.
    • Use C-M-j to handle the situation where you want to create a file that's a substring of an existing file.
    • Note that the immediate complete and open functionality of lusty-explorer using TAB is replaced by just hitting RET.
    • Has some TRAMP integration with special syntax for opening remote files. See manual if this comes up.

    Seems nice so far and is super fast. Fixes some of the awkward aspects of lusty-explorer, like how it behaved weird with elscreen. Also tried out swiper-isearch, and while not as intrusive as I thought it'd be, I don't think it adds much value.

    Both ivy and counsel have tons of mode extensions that work with various other modes. Maybe give them a look after I'm sure I want to stick with this.

  3. DONE consider tab-bar-mode
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-31 Wed 17:51]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-31 Wed 14:36]

    Emacs 27 includes this as a built-in feature now. Give it a look and see this can replace elscreen. I do like my current keybindings for tab management though, so see if I can propagate those. Make sure this works as expected in terminal too.

    Works pretty good. Deprecated elscreen in favor of this. Remapped the keybindings to the very handy elscreen ones, but had to include some elisp magic to get C-z to be allowed to be used as a prefix.

    I do think that the bar itself is slightly less aesthetically pleasing, but with that being the only trade-off in exchange for the mode being built-in and not having the various quirks elscreen does, then it's probably worth it. elscreen is also seemingly unmaintained these days. Another option I might want to explore later is Perspective. Not considering that yet, since I'm not sure I want separate buffer lists.

  4. DONE fix w3m warning on startup
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-31 Wed 17:55]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-31 Wed 16:52]

    This is displaying something about updating emacs-w3m, despite it being updated.

    Only explanation for this behavior is this somewhat incoherent post on the w3m mailing list:

    The condition-case form there will load w3m.elc and it creates the w3m-load.el
    file if it is missing.  It also tries to pick up from the
    "~/.emacs.d/elpa/archives/melpa/archive-contents" file the original revision
    hash value for the `emacs-w3m-git-revision' constant, and the melpa timestamp
    used in the directory name like "~/.emacs.d/elpa/w3m-20190918.9999/".  If the
    timestamp and the directory name are mismatched, it will prompt a user to
    update the installation.

    Anyway, uninstall and reinstall of the Emacs w3m package works. The warning was rather misleading and caused me to waste a good bit of time thinking it was the w3m binary that was reporting it.

  5. CNCL setup dired-single
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-03-31 Wed 18:23]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-31 Wed 18:10]

    Makes dired not open a new buffer for every directory navigated to. Will need to bind my custom navigation operations to this.

    Tried this out a bit and decided not to use it due to a bit of clunkiness. May change mind later after a lot of dired use. However, there is one work-around. Instead of hitting RET to navigate down into a directory, use a instead, which will reuse the buffer. This is a good 90% solution, which covers the most common case of walking down a tree into the destination directory. Added a note for this in the learn dired task.

  6. CNCL consider Emerge
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-03-31 Wed 20:45]

    A merge tool for Emacs. This is pretty simple to use, but I need to read the info page on it (and maybe collect some common commands) and setup magit to use it as its merge tool.

    Was reading the magit manual on conflict resolution and it suggests using ediff instead of Emerge, saying it ediff supercedes Emerge. Fortunately, I already use ediff. So, will cancel this.

  7. DONE integrate ediff with magit
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-31 Wed 21:33]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-31 Wed 21:01]

    Currently I still resolve conflicts by hand. Look into how to resolve conflicts using ediff within magit.

    Turns out this is easy. When doing a pull, if a file has conflicts, it'll be listed in one of the changes sections with the label "unmerged". Hitting RET on these will use smerge. Instead of doing that, use e to activate ediff. Will do this from now on.

    There's a few more commands that might be useful here:

  8. DONE consider ivy-prescient
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-31 Wed 21:51]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-31 Wed 21:34]

    prescient provides a sorting algorithm that can be tied into a completion system. ivy-prescient combines those two.

    Pretty easy to integrate. The big feature this adds (for me) is the ability to quickly find=M-x= commands (or anything ivy supports) by typing substrings that appear anywhere in the name, not just at the beginning. Regexes also work. If I find other areas I want it disabled, append stuff to variable ivy-prescient-sort-commands.

    This works great and really unlocks even more ivy power. Only downside is the project needs a new maintainer to keep up with ivy changes:

  9. DONE review Emacs Prelude's Clojure init
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-31 Wed 22:11]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-31 Wed 21:55]

    Emacs Prelude is written by bbatsov (the CIDER creator), so if anyone has a properly integrated Clojure setup, it might be him.

    Nope. Got it all covered. Also checked out:

    This reminded me to turn rainbow-delimiters in cider-repl-mode. Otherwise, nothing unusual here. Surprised to see him using paredit and not using ac-cider or clj-kondo. A side note of interest is the emacs-gif-screencast package, which is worth keeping in mind if the need ever arises.

  10. DONE review daemon/client setup
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-01 Thu 16:23]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-01 Thu 10:18]

    Not sure if always doing (server-start) at init is the optimal solution. This adds a noticeable startup delay and always kills the previous daemon. Tried doing:

    (when (not (boundp server-process)) (server-start))

    But that doesn't seem to work. Nor would it, I suppose, since what I'd really want is to grab the current daemon and make a new client instance out of that. Look around to see what others are doing here and check the manual.


    • Figured out why I did things the way I did. (server-force-delete) was called for situations where I want to run two frames. When closing the final frame, the daemon does disappear. My ec alias (emacsclient -n) can be used from the CLI to send files to whatever frame has the server bound.
    • What I actually want to close this gap is emacsclient -c, which just open a new frame with the existing daemon.
    • emacs --fg-daemon can start a daemon in the foreground for debugging.
    • If backgrounding, kill a daemon with emacsclient -e (kill-emacs).
    • The location of the server socket is stored in server-socket-dir. Good to check if running multiple servers to get their names.
    • The daemonp function returns nil if running in normal Emacs.

    Created an alias ef for emacsclient -c. Everything else stays the same.

  11. DONE fix package setup from ELPA on clean install
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-03 Sat 23:57]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-03 Sat 21:58]

    Something along the way broke this from working on a clean .emacs.d directory with just init.el in it. Get this working again.

    Fixed this while doing the use-package integration. The broken part was ensuring ob-restclient was installed prior to configuring org-babel to use it.

  12. DONE reconsider use-package
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-04 Sun 00:18]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-03 Sat 21:58]

    I'm neutral on containing package config in a single form, but one small benefit here is the reduced startup time. Another is it'll get rid of my huge package.el block. Can probably integrate this incrementally if a full conversion is too much of a single timesink.


    • Pull in diminish early with :ensure t. Required if using the :diminish keyword.
    • Deprecated packages rainbow-delimiters (still defined but disabled) and htmlize. Replaced intero with plain haskell-mode for now.

    Took a lot of typing, but switched everything over. Startup time went from 1.80s to 1.15s. Can't say this is a clear win for use-package, but I'll leave it like this for awhile. Seems to have some issues with the :pin keyword ignoring packages I want to get from the GNU repo. Also :hook doesn't seem to work as the docs describe.

    Will have to work on this a bit to integrate more of the package config out of :init and :config blocks. I can also convert the built-in packages to use this and wrap their config. Tested most modes, but if I find something broken, check the prior commit: c6e5b6172478963a7ce1b9a890748a3db1fc67dd.

  13. DONE review Org-related packages on ELPA
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-12 Mon 21:24]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-12 Mon 18:53]

    There's quite a lot of these. Just catalog any interesting ones for later consideration.

    Looks useful:

    • ob-async: Converts org-babel evaluation to async. Could be useful for larger workbook Org docs.
    • org-ac: Auto-completion hinting for (I think) any of the Org #+ commands (directives, properties, code blocks, etc.) and their parameters.
    • org-dashboard: Visual summaries of groups of tasks. Also adds a block-dashboard code block type. Could be useful for work, if I feel like categorizing stuff. Could also be good for certain projects, like books.

    Noted here, just in case:

    • html2org: Maybe a good temporarily pull-in for one-off jobs.
    • ivy-clojuredocs: Looks like CIDER already has this as C-c C-d c, but this also provides the ability to search an arbitrary term. Probably not useful enough to justify a package.
    • ivy-omni-org: Might be useful if I ever integrate org-agenda, adding completion options for that and Org bookmarks. Not currently useful.
    • ob-clojurescript: Seems like a good idea, but apparently abandoned in 2012.
    • ob-tmux: Send org-babel blocks to a tmux session.
    • org-jira: Syncs between a Jira and Org. Could be useful if we ever properly use ours at work. Hopefully, that will never happen.
    • org-re-reveal: Integration with reveal.js. Good to know if I ever need to make a web-based presentation. See also ox-reveal.
    • org2issue: GitHub issue integration. Not 2-way though. magit-forge is probably what I'd want for that.
    • ox-gemini: Export to Gemini.
    • ox-leanpub: If publishing a book here, can write the entire thing in Org.

    There's also a few choices for Anki support, if I ever want that for learning spoken languages. Also in existence are many static blog generators.

    Will queue up org-ac, since that solves the problem of me remembering all of those commands. While some of this other stuff is interesting, don't see any reason to pull it in now.

  14. DONE configure ERC
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-23 Fri 20:58]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-15 Thu 18:03]

    Get the timestamps out of the right hand side at least. The colors could also use some tweaking. Will still use irssi for now as main client, but ERC is a very nice client and I might switch to it on the VPS eventually.


    • M-$ works for aspell checking.
    • Use M-x erc-tls for connecting instead of M-x erc.

    Configured, but kept it in init.el for now, since I'm not using it as a primary IRC client. If that changes, will look more into addons. Didn't see anything particularly useful with a quick scan.

  15. CNCL integrate org-ac
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-04-25 Sun 15:56]

    Org auto-completion.

    Decided to skip this due to it not offering enough value versus bringing in an extra 3 dependencies not used anywhere else currently.

2.4.15. DONE fix yay on Arch

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-04 Sun 17:32]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-04 Sun 17:08]

Looks like the pacman 6 upgrade broke yay. Need to rebuild manually.


  • Run git clone
  • In the project directory, run makepkg -si.


2.4.16. DONE activate HTTPS on website

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-04 Sun 23:36]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-04 Sun 17:39]

Get cert from Let's Encrypt, install, and configure nginx to use. Use certbot.

Done. Required a few tricks to get this working. Documented what I did in Partially used instructions on the official site:

Certs should auto-renew in the background now.

2.4.17. DONE try out Tutonota

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-12 Thu 13:55]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-12 Thu 13:04]

Was going to switch to zoho, but this has a free option for personal use. See if POP3/IMAP works before signing up.

Account created, but not exactly what I'm looking for. Seems their conception for email diverges from what I'd want. Doesn't work with IMAP, nor do they plan on adding such a feature, instead wanting you to use their own thick client GUI app if you don't want webmail.

Will use this for buying stuff for now though, since Google harvests such data. I'd still rather have all email in just one place, so I'll probably switch to zoho later and deprecate this. In the meantime, I'll switch shopping accounts to this for now as I use them.

2.4.18. DONE fix jQuery on website

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-12 Thu 18:30]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-12 Thu 17:30]

Pretty sure this used to work, but now all code that references jQuery doesn't. Even stranger is that it still works fine when pulling up the dev version of the site from the local server.

Changed the script block to use the Google CDN version of jQuery and took off the defer. Not sure why this works but the other doesn't, but don't feel like digging around to maybe find an answer.

2.4.19. DONE fix Manjaro system update

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-15 Sun 05:44]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-14 Sat 21:09]

Been using yay exclusively, including for system updates, instead of the default pamac. However, both Manjaro installs are currently now in a state where they can't be updated due to a circular dependency. Maybe try with pamac.

Fixed. Had to rerun pamac upgrade a few times (for unknown reasons), then run sudo pamac remove python2-incremental. Also had to remove the zsa-wally package, which seems broken now. Reinstalled python2-incremental after upgrade complete.

Most importantly for me, this bumps Emacs to 27.2. Also updated the Arch VPS and workbench Pi (and removed the massive wolfram-engine) while doing this.

2.4.20. DONE fix pi-weather-station

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-29 Fri 09:27]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-28 Thu 22:54]

The radar data still works, but the weather data isn't loading now for some reason.

Fixed. The reason this broke is because ClimaCell deprecated their V3 API, which I imagine would suck for paying customers that built things on top of it. Looks like they deleted my account in the process too. Created a new account, got a V4 key, pulled latest, and it works now.

2.4.21. DONE create PureOS 10.0 VM

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-30 Sat 11:44]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-30 Sat 04:42]

PureOS finally updated their main version. Give this a try and see what version of Emacs and other apps are pegged to this. If open-vm-tools doesn't have any issues, I might switch to this for my PII VM. Otherwise, schedule a task to create a Debian 11.1 VM.


  • One way to switch DE/WM when you have auto-login enabled, is editing /etc/gdm3/daemon.conf and setting that feature to False so the DM settings are available.
  • Got Brave installed doing the following:

    sudo apt install apt-transport-https curl
    curl -s | sudo apt-key --keyring /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/brave-browser-release.gpg add -
    echo "deb [arch=amd64] stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/brave-browser-release.list
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt install brave-browser
  • To change application themes from the default eyesore, create a ~/.themes directory and put extracted theme directories there. Then use the Tweaks tool to switch after enabling "User themes" in Extensions. One GTK 3/4 theme called Ultimate Dark (Flat) Blue seems pretty good. Might also want to install gnome-shell-extensions.
  • To disable suspend (switch to unmask to re-enable): sudo systemctl mask
  • For VMs, fix the notification for suspend with: gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.power sleep-inactive-ac-type 'nothing' and gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.power sleep-inactive-battery-type 'nothing'.

Most everything works pretty good and a recent-enough version of applications are in the repo. Installed i3 to replace Gnome, but that seems to break the open-vm-tools' clipboard sharing. For i3, also couldn't get the i3-gaps repo into apt. I think Pure has something different about package management such that directly using Debian-specific keys/format doesn't work there.

As the clipboard issue is VM-only, if I did have need of a new laptop and wanted to get a Librem 14, it would be a viable solution with 10. Of course, I'd still have to wait 4-8 months to actually get it, which is forever in the world of computing. Also, this seems to still be an in-development major version, so it's probably not complete yet.

For now, will use this as my PII VM for a few weeks and if it covers everything, will deprecate my Debian one. Adding task to do that so I don't forget.

2.4.22. DONE deprecate Debian VM

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-06 Sat 02:44]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-06 Sat 02:44]

If my PureOS VM covers the use cases for this after a few weeks, go ahead and get rid of this to clear up the disk space. The volume on that grew to 26.4 GB, so not worth keeping around.

Deleted. Resolved any remaining issues with the PureOS VM, except one. Brave seems to cause the VM to lock up. Updating to stable helped a bit, but it still happens occasionally. It's rare enough to not be a concern in a VM, but I'll probably want to replace this with something else eventually. May also try remaking it in a few months to see if the problem disappears on its own, since this is a dev release.

Update: Narrowed the Brave lockups to freezing during drag-scroll operations. Sticking to the keyboard operations seems to avoid it.

2.4.23. CNCL consider paru

  • State "CNCL" from "INAC" [2021-12-05 Sun 13:27]

Supposedly yay development has ceased (or will cease) and paru is the replacement for it. yay still works fine for now and I see updates being made, so check back on this in 2022 or thereabouts.

Canceled. Will try using aura first and only check this out if there's something lacking there.

2.5. projects

2.5.1. [6/6] participate in getting l1j-en to client 3.63

  1. DONE play Lineage 3.63
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-13 Wed 08:13]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-12 Tue 23:32]

    Try out the current main PS for this version to familiarize with the changes from s3ep6. The l1j-en team has universally decided to update to this client, so this might come in handy to test that we get stuff right.

    Done. Got to level 40 on mage so I can go around and look at most places. This client is definitely a huge improvement, if nothing else, for the screen size.

  2. DONE migrate l1j-en server to Linux workstation
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-21 Thu 20:02]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-17 Sun 10:15]

    Run this there instead of on the gaming rig. Then if I get the client under Wine working, I won't need Windows at all to develop this.

    2020-05-20: Got this running over here, but need to compile a connector to access it and get client under Wine working.

    2020-05-21: Got connector config. Note for the future: make a config using the binaries in tool/connector.

  3. DONE Wine
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-23 Sat 19:03]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-21 Thu 20:02]

    See what's involved in setting this up. Try to get Lineage client working in it.

    This seems to work fine for other Windows apps. Will keep this setup around in case I need it, but won't propagate to next install unless I'm actively using it.

    Setup for Lineage:

    • Install Wine.
    • Run WINEPREFIX=<dir> winecfg and set OS to XP.
    • Add libraries mscoree, fusion, msxml3.
    • Emulate virtual desktop at size 1205x925.
    • Install winetricks.
    • Install .Net: WINEPREFIX=<dir> winetricks dotnet40.
    • Install fonts: WINEPREFIX=<dir> winetricks allfonts.
    • Install xorg-server-xephyr.
    • Note: Used xprop to find the class of the Xephyr window and added to ~/.i3/config.
    • Seems like lib32-mpg123 is required. Install this (could only find using the GUI package manager, for some reason).
    • Rerunning WINEPREFIX=<dir> winecfg seems necessary due to the OS going back to Windows 7.
    • Supposedly, to run on Xephyr, this should work. It doesn't though:

      Xephyr :1 -ac -screen 1205x925x16 -glamor -reset -terminate &2> /dev/null &

      Then run:

      DISPLAY=:1 xterm -e "WINEPREFIX=<dir> wine ~/opt/lineage-363/Launcher.exe"&
    • I did get this working in plain Wine by just running this by itself. Note that due to i3, it requires switching to a new desktop and back first. Also set the connector to run in full screen mode:

      WINEPREFIX=<dir> wine ~/opt/lineage-363/Launcher.exe
  4. CNCL MariaDB
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-05-30 Sat 14:21]

    Determine if this is objectively better enough to be worth the tradeoffs. If so, switch to this from MySQL. A port is available on FreeBSD. Migrate all databases over to this.

    Canceled. Actually already did this, minus the research. From using it, it seems a direct fork of MySQL with no noticeable changes in my use cases.

  5. DONE migrate projects to GitHub
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-07-05 Sun 02:54]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-07-04 Sat 20:03]

    Migrate main emulator and all public ancillary projects to a new GitHub organization. Delete the old one.

    Done. Will wait until the rest of the team joins before continuing work.

  6. CNCL fix any bugs blocking public PS use
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-12-05 Sun 13:29]

    Many bugs and new features fixed and this is now already playable. Will assist in fixing as many as I can, given time. I can't work on this extensively though, since Java hurts my brain. So, do it in small doses.

    Some of this is done, but there's a few bugs that still need addressed. However, since the other guys lost interest I'm suspending this indefinitely to work on more important stuff.

2.5.2. CNCL write Lineage farm bot

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-12-05 Sun 13:29]

Develop a headless bot to play my 1x server for me. Write this in Clojure. Maybe use a few ideas from this for connecting to the server. Got some infrastructure in place already.

Create a javac profile to only compile Java sources.

Canceled to work on other things.

2.6. novels

2.6.1. DONE Babel-17

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-03 Sun 16:08]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-01 Fri 23:35]

A scifi novel about constructed language. Tried reading previously, but quit for reasons I can't now recall. Will give it another glance since I'm interested in the subject.

Pretty bad. Includes a few thought-provoking language concepts. Everything else is pretty lame. Regrettably spends a lot of effort on body modifications and the alt-relationships of uninteresting characters. Worst is the poor scifi and experimental writing style (though apparently others disagree).

2.6.2. [3/3] read Ring of Fire series

A huge series about a modern town transported to 17th century Europe. Has a lot of entries. Will give the first few entries a try to see if I want to read the whole thing. If so, might put off the rest until later since the series is still in progress.

This is a series for people who fall in love with characters, pure soap opera style. True to that form, this leaves the novel's characters themselves the primary focus, with events only serving as a backdrop. Includes copious amounts of personal details, relationships, and inconsequential conversions. Not really what I'm looking for, so will set this series aside.

  1. DONE read 1632
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-06 Wed 00:41]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-03 Sun 22:12]

    Not terrible, but could be a lot better. Skipping the profuse amounts of soap opera helps a lot. Battles are narrated rather well, I suppose.

  2. DONE read 1633
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-10 Sun 21:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-06 Wed 09:02]

    Well researched, but dreadfully boring. Most of the content revolves around politics and diplomacy.

  3. DONE read 1634: The Baltic War
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-15 Fri 18:16]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-11 Mon 08:19]

    Better than the 2nd entry, and resolves some of the many dangling threads left open there. Includes some semi-interesting naval combat, though it seems a trend for the series is to cut that off short and review the results later.

    Random observation: If wanting to be generous, you could say that developing characters in this much detail would help add dimension to conflicts and decisions made. Not sure that actually plays out here all that well, as events are often quick and truncated, without all that detail coming into play. Motives influencing critical points tend to be simplistic, and parties are reduced to simplistic caricatures when it counts. Better writing can do all of this well with seemingly no filler. Dune's a good counter-example, where character development happens almost invisibly, doesn't overwhelm the novel's focus, is interconnected with the main narrative, and does so in a non-comprehensive manner.

    I suspect this kind of novel is what you get when you do a lot of research and create your story outline, but then quickly dump a lot of filler in to connect it all and call it done. Doing the last part more carefully and iteratively, and spending a lot of time thinking about what you want the theme and underlying philosophy of your story to be is what's missing.

    On the other hand, this is alternative history, a genre generally regarded as low quality and akin to historical fan fiction. That considered, this series is about the best one can expect.

2.6.3. DONE read Brave New World

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-16 Sat 11:47]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-15 Fri 18:16]

Read a little of this long ago, but never finished. Might as well give it a full read, since it's regularly cited as being increasingly relevant. One might quibble that BNW is an engineered meritocracy, whereas we're experiencing forces selecting oligarchs of different (and possibly less desirable) criteria. Even if so, the world may end up more BNW-esque in the long run, just without the less-useful groups whose existence would be harder to justify. In the novel, the intelligence of certain groups is intentionally stunted, though its hard to imagine this producing positive ROI in a technocratic society.

Great book. Most of my pre-read analysis holds, I suppose. The other major theme of the book is the trade-off between stability and independence. My only quibbles are the large amounts of Shakespeare quotes, and a few minor plausibility issues.

2.6.4. DONE read Phyl-Undhu

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-18 Thu 00:59]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-17 Wed 17:28]

Supposedly a good Lovecraftian horror of the abstract variety, by Nick Land. If I like this, I may also read Chasm, another story of the same theme.

Great, but unfortunately short and never really reaches full potential as a result. Land should definitely stick with writing more fiction instead of pseudo-intellectual gibberish.

2.6.5. DONE read Chasm

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-18 Thu 22:23]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-18 Thu 01:02]

The most recent and other of two fiction works by Nick Land.

Also good, but like the previous entry not quite perfect. Both strangely have sloppy misspellings despite obviously being labored over to a great extent. Unlike Phyl-Undhu, seems to lack any larger ideas besides being well-written.

2.6.6. DONE read The Dead Past

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-19 Fri 12:56]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-18 Thu 22:27]

A short story by Asimov, and supposedly one of his best.

Pretty good. Probably written as a vehicle to critique academic silos.

2.6.7. CNCL read Axis of Time trilogy

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-02-19 Fri 12:55]

The only other alternate history series that looks viable. This one has a modern naval task force transported to 1942. Just queuing up the first 3 novels, but there's a series of 3 novellas that follows too.

Got suspicious while reading the dramatis personae. Looked into this a little more carefully before starting and it looks like woke trash and completely detached from any kind of military or historical realism, so skipping.

2.6.8. DONE read Artifact

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-21 Sun 15:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-19 Fri 20:42]

Another Benford scifi novel, about unearthing an ancient, enigmatic object.

Not good. I suspect a mildly interesting physics concept was conceived and then a book written around it that ended up not coming together that well. Brimming with boring filler, politics, and bureaucracy.

2.6.9. DONE read Saturn Run

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-26 Fri 07:53]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-21 Sun 20:56]

A hard scifi novel about the detection of an inbound decelerating object. By John Sandford, a prolific author of exclusively murder mystery thrillers. The coauthor, a photographer named Ctein, seems to have some physics background though.

Mostly kinda good. A bit too much of a focus on politics and personal relationships, especially in the first half. ETI encounter is a bit underwhelming, but a unique take on it (being officious, economic, and self-interested). Great concept for a realistic interplanetary craft. Thought the ending might go a more interesting route, but it mostly didn't.

2.6.10. DONE read Instantiation

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-28 Sun 11:28]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-26 Fri 07:53]

A collection of Greg Egan short stories from 2013 - 2020.

Rather bad. Bailed on or skimmed most of these. Something definitely happened to Egan. I suspect he got into gender and other woke topics. His Iran fetish is particularly weird (and boring). Even though this stuff isn't front and center, I suspect it's still getting in the way of writing actually good stories. Some parts are still there, like good flow and literary prose, but topic selection, setting, and characters have been garbage lately.

2.6.11. DONE read Dark Matter

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-02 Tue 12:50]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-28 Sun 11:35]

A supposedly hard scifi novel about unknown topics. Seems polarizing and also might be more of a thriller though, so might not like it.

Pretty good, minus a few issues. Has a big problem with its use of the observer effect though, employing the common misconception that observation requires consciousness.

2.6.12. CNCL read A Long Time Until Now

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-03-05 Fri 23:51]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-02 Tue 12:53]

A time travel story about modern soldiers transported to the paleolithic era. Author also wrote the Freehold series, so be prepared to bail if necessary.

Read about 15% in. Delivers what it promises, but there's just not enough return on time investment, given the length. Supposedly doesn't really go anywhere and focuses on survivalism. Might be good for someone looking for a relaxation read.

2.6.13. DONE read Adopted Son

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-08 Mon 21:36]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-06 Sat 01:21]

An alien invasion novel by the same author of the pretty good City of Pillars.

Just okay. A unique take on the subject and has its moments. Countered by many flaws though, such as jumping around in time for no reason, various errors, a lot of boring content, and ineffective heartstring tugging. Was sure it wouldn't happen, but was rather hoping for a bad guy win on this one.

2.6.14. CNCL read Cosm

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-03-10 Wed 14:18]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-08 Mon 21:36]

Yet another Benford scifi novel about a mysterious sphere. The last of the Benford novels that seem worth reading, but there's a few collaborations that might be worth a look.

Bailing 15% in, due to a focus on the identity of uninteresting characters and them doing very tedious things. Seems unlikely the sphere-related stuff was going anywhere interesting either.

New rule: If character race/gender get more than a casual mention, immediately bail. This is currently running a solid 100% chance of a story sucking.

2.6.15. CNCL read Origin

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-03-10 Wed 14:41]

The 5th entry in the Robert Langdon series.

Skipping and won't read any future stuff by Brown. He's okay for a supermarket author, but I've long since outgrown action-packed treasure hunts.

2.6.16. [3/3] read The Machineries of Empire trilogy

Military scifi space opera, with at least some focus on mathematics. Has some short stories in the same universe I might read later.

  1. CNCL read Ninefox Gambit
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-03-11 Thu 20:47]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-10 Wed 14:48]

    Dense with many original concepts. However, these are shallow and don't really come together in a way that makes sense. Ends up reading like fantasy and not particularly good fantasy at that. Regarding the mathematics, the content here is fully detached from present reality and is never really defined or described in detail. So, terms like "number theory" just ends up serving as a label for more magic. If one were to take a structurally unsound fantasy novel and swap the terms in for math-sounding ones, you would get something like this.

    Since this is the case, bailed a few chapters in.

  2. CNCL read Raven Stratagem
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-03-11 Thu 20:47]
  3. CNCL read Revenant Gun
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-03-11 Thu 20:47]

2.6.17. [4/4] read Singularity series

A comp-fi series about runaway AI. If good, queue up this author's next series, called Kill Chain which I think is still in progress.

A good first novel, with quickly declining quality from there on. Might be one of those instances of an author with a set of good ideas, but expends them in the first entry (or maybe never originally intended for it to be a series).

  1. DONE read Avogadro Corp
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-13 Sat 01:50]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-11 Thu 20:51]

    Pretty good. Does a good job of a speculative look at the near future (at the time of writing, though now in the past) without getting bogged down in social media, games, and other things uninteresting to read about and commonly focused on. Also a refreshingly realistic conception of plausible AI behavior.

    This author is definitely someone with large-scale SE experience, as he includes accurate and detailed technical content (with a couple minor exceptions, like contractors being effective at major refactors in a few weeks). This helps for making one of the more believable AI depictions.

  2. DONE read A.I. Apocalypse
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-15 Mon 21:36]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-13 Sat 01:50]

    Just okay. Less plausible than the former entry as it projects further along this timeline. Does use the unrealistically tech-savvy teenagers trope, drops in some out of place politics, and anthromorphizes the AIs a bit too much. Descriptions of what happens in the virtual world aren't too metaphor-heavy, though less care is seemingly given to technical details. More of a standard scifi novel.

  3. DONE read The Last Firewall
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-18 Thu 07:43]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-15 Mon 21:36]

    Pretty bad. All the wrong things that the previous books avoided are on full display here: juvenile romance insertion, fully metaphoric virtual world, politics, Mary Sue protagonist, and so on. Basically sci-fantasy. This series should've been just the first novel as a stand alone.

  4. DONE read The Turing Exception
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-21 Sun 01:16]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-18 Thu 07:43]

    Terrible. Skimmed this but probably should've just skipped it altogether.

2.6.18. CNCL read Void Star

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-03-21 Sun 07:49]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-21 Sun 01:16]

A hard scifi novel about near future AI.

Quitting early in due to writing style, which seems to be intentionally flowery while at the same time saying so little. That might be fine, but here it sacrifices everything else. One might say this is bad literary prose, since it fails at its task of conveying, well, anything. It may be that the only thing being optimized for here is complex sentence structure.

2.6.19. CNCL read Kill Chain series

Another comp-fi series by Hertling. This one looks more thriller themed and features social media. Might skip, but leaving here for consideration. Not sure if done, but 2 entries exist currently.

Lost confidence in this author, so skipping.

2.6.20. [6/6] read Dune series

  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-04-16 Thu 09:45]

I feel ready for the massive undertaking of reading the entirety of the Dune books. There exists several curated lists of the order in which to read all these, so I'll mostly stick to one of those. For starters though, I'll read these Frank Herbert authored works, which I consider the saga's core. Supposedly, the following series are not as high quality and they seem to be churning them out one a year, so I'll reevaluate when I get to that point. There's also some other Frank Herbert novels worth considering later too.

One of the greatest series of books ever written (at least for the first 3 or 4 novels), and one of the kind that changes your outlook on life, even if only a little. As great as it is though, it's still soft scifi and focused greatly on interpersonal drama. So, not something I'd normally like, but easy to forgive here due to overall quality.

  1. DONE read Dune

    Masterfully written and an example of the best of world-building. Only very small complaints in the form of a slightly dragged-out middle and an ending where all threads are strangely wrapped up at the same time.

  2. DONE read Dune Messiah

    Also excellent and filled with what's best about this series: intense, multi-layered conversations.

  3. DONE read Children of Dune

    Rather boring for the first 2/3 or so. Gets of comparable quality to the others towards the end, but overall the weakest entry so far.

  4. DONE read God Emperor of Dune

    Not bad, but also short of great. Leto II's personality and dialog fall short of (admittedly high) expectations. A missed opportunity. Also, mostly nothing happens. Excellent intermittently and gets better later on, but the ending was somewhat unsatisfying. Had the highest hopes for this novel, but turned out to be the new weakest entry of the series so far.

  5. DONE read Heretics of Dune
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-06 Tue 09:02]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-21 Sun 07:49]

    Appreciated this entry, with some caveats. Does a good job of making a story in what I'd assume would be a tough setting (established history being so epic, fast-forwarding thousands of years into the future, and losing all except one of the established characters). Also includes the typical well-written dialog and philosophical musings. That said, these new characters seem like they're missing some of the depth of previous ones, there's too much talk of naughty bits, and some of the critical points probably could've been structured better. Overall tone is less compelling than previous entries too. An aspect to how conversations work in the series includes characters basically capable of reading each others minds and responding to thoughts. Here, that's turned up to max for all of the main characters. The plot apart from getting two characters together is also a bit confused too. For example, the return from The Scattering aspect of this world certainly isn't played to full effect. To what degree is that (and other aspects) relevant to the plot? Hard to say while reading this. This, plus the last novel, seem to be part of a single storyline, so perhaps some of that will make sense in a greater context. This definitely feels like the first part of something, as there's minimal resolution to the vast majority of plot threads.

  6. DONE read Chapterhouse: Dune
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-05 Wed 22:18]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-07 Wed 13:25]

    A real slog. Dry and largely devoid of anything of significance, minus the occasional interesting commentary about human organization and other general interest topics. There's a few instances where the previous Herbert quality makes an appearance, but perhaps he lost his sharp edge by the end of life. This one goes with the strange decision to introduce Jewish culture into the universe. Worse is the pages of detail about mundane everyday life, like meals. Took forever to get through this due to a combination of the exiguous content and the fact that I knew this would end in an unresolved cliffhanger.

2.6.21. [14/14] read Lost Starship series

A lengthy military scifi series about (or at least starting with) an abandoned defense platform/ship. This author is very prolific and has many other similar-looking series.

Has a lot of recurring cycles involving capture, taking over a ship, and mind control. Author is a good storyteller, but needs some pattern breaks or a less messy progression to reduce repetitiveness. Starts soft scifi, ends sci-fantasy. This series might still be ongoing, so probably will check back later.

  1. DONE read The Lost Starship
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-18 Mon 15:37]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-16 Sat 11:47]

    Surprisingly decent. If I was a soft scifi/space opera fan, this would be ideal. The occasional typo makes me think this was written quickly. Perhaps this author is squandering his talents to a degree and should probably slow down and focus more on quality. He has a good feel for how to flesh out a character well without a lot of info dumping.

    That said, the actual plot here is a bit predictable and probably could use some tweaking from being such a standard multi-part quest. An easy fix here would've been to shorten the party gathering which takes up half the book, then flesh out the remainder which would give more time for introspection and exploring an underlying theme.

  2. DONE read The Lost Command
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-20 Wed 10:09]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-18 Mon 16:00]

    Almost as good as the previous entry. Loses a few points for having some rather silly characters. Includes some more large-scale naval combat. Otherwise, is just another multi-part adventure. A missed opportunity here is to contrast the agonizingly slow nature of space combat with the close-up kind.

  3. DONE read The Lost Destroyer
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-21 Thu 17:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-20 Wed 10:10]

    Does a good job of interweaving a lot of complex plots, even bringing in seemingly irrelevant things from earlier and having them make sense in a new context. Main complaint now is that the action scenes are almost non-stop, often with multiple ticking countdowns.

  4. DONE read The Lost Colony
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-23 Sat 00:11]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-21 Thu 17:40]

    Mostly more of the same, but this entry seems a bit sloppier. Some of the revelations here are a bit disappointing.

  5. DONE read The Lost Patrol
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-24 Sun 22:35]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-23 Sat 00:12]

    About the same quality level as the previous. Has its occasional clever moments, but I get the feeling the author is in solid churn mode with these.

  6. DONE read The Lost Planet
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-26 Tue 12:30]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-24 Sun 22:35]

    Has a side-quest feel, at least at first. Otherwise, more of the same.

  7. DONE read The Lost Earth
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-27 Wed 09:41]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-26 Tue 12:30]

    Introduces some elements with more of a sci-fantasy feel. Includes some uniquely massive space naval combat, though that ends up being mostly inconsequential due to a Deus ex machina ending.

  8. DONE read The Lost Artifact
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-31 Sun 21:58]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-27 Wed 09:42]

    Weak entry overall. Definitely a side quest insert that could just as well not be in the series. Has several missed opportunities for the multi-level intrigue that's occasionally done well elsewhere.

  9. DONE read The Lost Star Gate
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-04 Thu 19:57]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-31 Sun 21:58]

    Starts like another basic entry, but takes a strange turn for the Lovecraftian. Seems like an awkward fit for this universe so far, nor is this particularly done well. Definitely the weakest entry so far.

  10. DONE read The Lost Supernova
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-12 Fri 01:06]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-04 Thu 22:27]

    Introduces a new threat thread, to mild effect. Otherwise is somewhat middling. Is thoroughly in the sci-fantasy genre by now, and I guess has been for some time.

  11. DONE read The Lost Swarm
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-15 Mon 01:06]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-12 Fri 01:02]

    More of the same, but at least wraps up the swarm and Drakos threads. A very disjointed entry overall.

  12. DONE read The Lost Intelligence
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-17 Wed 14:44]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-15 Mon 01:06]

    Pretty self-contained, mostly. Strange in the sense that we're suddenly ignoring all of the other enemies collected along the way in this series. Easily could've been a good bit better with some antagonist rework.

  13. DONE read The Lost Tech
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-09 Sun 02:14]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-05 Wed 22:18]

    This came out while reading the others, so adding to the list.

    More of the same again. Didn't notice anything particularly compelling about this one. Nothing in the running threads is resolved, though the Lisa Meyers one is progressed slightly.

  14. DONE read The Lost Secret
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-09-21 Tue 21:41]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-09-12 Sun 01:59]

    This came out after finishing the first 13. Apparently, Heppner is able to churn out an entry in a couple months. Appending it here for organization reasons.

    A reasonably good entry for the series. Includes more of the things that the series and author are good at. Main downside is there's a lot of near-magical stuff that happens.

    Probably will let this series accumulate for a few years instead of reading these piecemeal.

2.6.22. [3/3] read Expeditionary Force series

A military scifi series of questionable quality. Will give the first entry a try at least. Maybe wait since I think this is still being written. Missing a copy of the third to last entry, Critical Mass. Only queuing up the first few entries here for now.

  1. DONE read Columbus Day
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-15 Sat 11:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-09 Sun 22:01]

    Definitely written by someone with Army enlisted experience, probably with time in modern conflict zones.

    Despite being rather boorish and unrefined, this does have a unique take on the alien invasion and interstellar war tropes. Might go a bit too far in that direction though, since it ends up being a scifi transplant of modern US stability operations. Apart from the common soldier view, another issue here is the lack of creativity with ETI races. Those, as typical for an author who hasn't thought about it much, are the standard Earth animal aliens. Worst of all is the overpowered AI that comes out of nowhere mid-story and changes everything. His personality also downgrades overall story quality.

    I'm pretty sure my brain won't be helped by 12+ books worth of this. So, skipping the rest.

  2. CNCL read SpecOps
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-05-15 Sat 11:33]
  3. CNCL read Paradise
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-05-15 Sat 11:33]

2.6.23. DONE read Arthur C. Clarke short stories

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-25 Tue 22:34]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-15 Sat 22:48]

Have a complete collection of these (102 total), so might as well read them. A few look decent, like Star. Skip The Sentinel, since that became the first part of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Also skip Hammer of God, since I have the full version queued already.

Some of these are okay, but nothing really stands out as particularly amazing. Maybe half are mediocre, don't work for some reason, or aged poorly. A lot have a twist ending, but those are all unsurprising.

2.6.24. DONE read Alien Stones

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-25 Tue 23:56]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-25 Tue 22:35]

A first contact novella by Gene Wolfe.

A well-written, realistic, and very unique take on the topic. Could've dropped the semi-reveal conversation at the end and made this a novel.

2.6.25. [7/7] read Odyssey One series

Another naval military scifi series. Supposedly forgoes interpersonal conflict, drama, and intrigue. I've seen that done well occasionally (and usually not), but am rather tired of tropes in that area anyway. So, seems promising. Last entry was 2018, so is probably complete. This author, Currie, has other series, and a standalone novel in this universe, King of Thieves, if interested.

An okay read with some good ideas, but sloppy about plot holes. Author needs to take better notes about his own universe to help with consistency and developing a sense of the rules of the universe. This also shows with characters doing inexplicable things (like not asking very obvious questions the reader and even the characters are wondering about) and with strategies/tactics either being effective or not for indeterminate reasons. On top of that, naval combat is poorly narrated, and it's nearly impossible to tell how a battle is progressing. This is one of those series where enjoying it is dependent on not thinking too deeply.

Will skip the standalone, since it fits in the middle of this series and the results are well covered within it. There's also a follow-on series, Archangel One, now being written, but I'll probably skip that since it's focused on fighter craft.

  1. DONE read Into the Black
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-28 Fri 21:06]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-26 Wed 09:58]

    A good start to a series with some original ideas. Has a take on ship propulsion involving tech that reduces the mass of the ship. Decently original ETI antagonists too, at least so far. Doesn't do anything egregiously wrong, though I could probably do with less or no space fighter and ground combat. Presentation within the narrative structure could probably use a little more focus or care, as occasionally it's hard to discern what the author is trying to describe in a scene.

  2. DONE read The Heart of Matter
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-30 Sun 14:24]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-28 Fri 22:07]

    Decent, but a little sloppier than the previous; e.g., confuses the linguist from the previous book with the medical doctor. Features a Dyson swarm, but I'm thinking that one of those couldn't physically be composed of only two "shells" as described here, since it wouldn't be possible for plates to compose a sphere yet still maintain orbit. The orbit of plates would have to be on non-intersecting rings, intersecting rings with enough space between to avoid collisions, or some more complex arrangement.

  3. DONE read Homeworld
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-01 Tue 01:32]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-30 Sun 14:24]

    Better than the previous. Ups the scale by a massive factor. That makes for large fleet action (sort of), but it looks like this is a transition to a rather different direction for this series. That direction might not be as grounded in reality, I suspect.

  4. DONE read Out of the Black
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-02 Wed 23:00]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-01 Tue 01:35]

    In contrast to the previous entry, is mostly ground combat. Ended up skimming most of this, since it seems to follow a pretty predictable pattern in this series. Addition of some strategic elements to this part would've made this stuff more bearable.

  5. DONE read Warrior King
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-04 Fri 13:38]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-02 Wed 23:00]

    Decent, and better than the previous few entries. Introduces a proper antagonist civilization, which is a welcome break from the mindless hordes faced earlier.

  6. DONE read Odysseus Awakening
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-05 Sat 13:18]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-04 Fri 13:38]

    A direct continuation of the previous entry, so more of the same.

  7. DONE read Odysseus Ascendant
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-06 Sun 10:54]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-05 Sat 16:38]

    A reasonable end to this series, I guess, and pretty much what was expected. One easy way to improve this series would've been to leave out the fantasy-like planet/ship entities. Apparently they become more relevant in the follow-on series too, and I suspect there's one or more opposing beings on the other side.

2.6.26. DONE read Project Hail Mary

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-08 Tue 01:41]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-06 Sun 22:13]

A new popular scifi novel. Near future and maybe involving communication concepts. Will give it a try at least.

Quite good and very well researched. Lots of original ideas. I might quibble about a few minor things, but there's a top level effort made here to keep things realistic. Will queue up Artemis, Weir's previous novel.

2.6.27. DONE read Crystal Express

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-15 Tue 22:46]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-08 Tue 14:40]

A collection of scifi short stories by Bruce Sterling. Sterling has a few other short story collections if I like this one. Will skip the fantasy ones, which are helpfully grouped together. The first 5 entries of Sterling's Shaper/Mechanist universe are included here. If I like that, there's a full length novel in it.


  • Swarm: Thought this was going to be lame and was thinking about skipping the whole group, but this ended up being a good story.
  • Spider Rose: Not good.
  • Cicada Queen: Mostly a nothing story. Incorporates an interesting idea derived from Ilya Prigogine's work. From context, it seems to model complexity levels that have "event horizons" that block ascension to higher levels and "leaps" that occur when a system breaks through.
  • Sunken Gardens: Seemed to be about a contest and not going anywhere interesting, so bailed. Though it has some interesting ideas, I'll skip out on the rest of this universe, mainly due to it having too much a sci-fantasy feel.
  • Twenty Evocations: Skipping.


  • Green Days in Brunei: Didn't seem to be going anywhere, so quit.
  • Spook: Seemed to be interesting, but then just ends.
  • The Beautiful and the Sublime: Didn't seem to be going anywhere, so quit.

2.6.28. [6/6] read Ascension series

A scifi/space opera series that at least starts with discovery of an alien signal/structure. This series looks complete. If I like this, maybe queue up Lozito's currently in progress series, First Colony.

Marginal, and very soft scifi. Seemed like it was going to come together in the end, so stuck with it despite reservations. Much skimming of filler was done, to good effect.

  1. DONE read Star Shroud
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-18 Fri 12:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-15 Tue 22:48]

    Pretty good overall. A mostly hard scifi novel about a trip and investigation to Pluto. Downsides are the presence of romance side plots (even interjecting at inappropriate times) and having remote viewing being a real thing. No interesting scifi ideas, however. Ends on a cliffhanger, and could go either way in the series. Will continue for now.

  2. DONE read Star Divide
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-22 Tue 00:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-18 Fri 12:17]

    Not good. Annoying ETIs and pointless plot progression. At least it's short.

  3. DONE read Star Alliance
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-23 Wed 13:53]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-22 Tue 00:04]

    Lame. Mostly involves a boring escape/rescue story.

  4. DONE read Infinity's Edge
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-24 Thu 10:53]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-23 Wed 13:53]

    Slightly better than the rest of the series so far.

  5. DONE read Rising Force
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-25 Fri 06:56]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-24 Thu 10:53]

    Dull and lacking.

  6. DONE read Ascension
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-25 Fri 14:48]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-25 Fri 06:59]

    A pretty decent ending to a series that was otherwise laborious to read. Wraps everything up quite nicely, but still has many of the issues the rest of it does.

2.6.29. DONE read Antimemetics Division series

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-30 Wed 14:01]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-28 Mon 23:24]

A collection of possibly scifi stories around the concept of the anti-meme (a meme has the inherent quality of non-propagation). Set within the sloppy kitchen sink of the SCP universe, meaning it's likely of fan-fiction quality. I've intentionally ignored this universe, but will give this one a try due to recommendations.


  • There Is No Antimemetics Division: Pretty good.
  • Interlude: The same content from the last entry in the previous series.
  • Five Five Five Five Five: Fantastical in a way that doesn't really cohere into anything particularly good.
  • What the Dead Know: Sucks.

Closer to cosmic horror than scifi. Overall just okay, with the first series being reasonably good. Conceptually, this does a good job of collecting some ideas around memetics, emphasizing their danger, and thinking about defense against them as a worthy pursuit. Anti-memes could very well exist in real life, and it's an interesting thought experiment for how we'd know. Certainly many memeplexes exhibit antimemetic properties, making it extremely difficult to recognize them as memeplexes at all. For wider definitions, this may be intrinsic to the degree a meme alters one's reality bubble, along with some of them having emotionally reactive defense mechanisms.

Unrelated side note: I'd also say that in recent history, we've also seen the rise of highly effective cognizant-memetics (my term for memetics that's aware of its own nature). Such may be more our future than anti-memes, as by their nature, they exist in an more adversarial relationship with the host. The cognizant-meme may still be parasitic, but doesn't have to fight as much for its existence, could arguably dedicate more energy to propagation or other goals, and has a viable vector for meme-aware hosts. Self-aware infection-vulnerable individuals could even strategically affect themselves with memeplexes to block more parasitic ones (e.g. intentionally choosing a less costly political ideology to block the others).

2.6.30. DONE read The Hammer of God

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-04 Sun 09:15]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-30 Wed 22:52]

A Clarke novel about an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

Surprisingly dull, though that's partially due to this being such a thoroughly explored trope in current year. Spends most of the time focusing on the back story of the uninteresting main character. This might as well have been left out, since it's of no consequence to the plot.

Clarke seems to have served as a filter for speculation on the combination and effects of technological progress in his time. He probably read everything about emerging tech in popular science publications and spent a good deal of time pondering those speculations. He's been mostly wrong picking winners, so a lot of these novels read as dated, including this one. Hard to fault him though, since all such things I read in the 80s and 90s has been wrong too. Modern scifi seems more skeptical about it and where it takes a position on future developments, seems to acknowledge the trade-offs more often.

2.6.31. DONE read The World of Null-A

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-02 Mon 22:22]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-20 Tue 13:26]

A 1940s scifi novel. Consider Rogue Ship if this proves readable. There's also at least 2 follow-ups in this series.

Mostly not enjoyable, due to the story being something of a mess, ineffective writing, and Null-A not being explored in any detail. Will skip the author's other works.

2.6.32. DONE read The Freeze-Frame Revolution

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-11 Wed 00:12]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-07 Sat 15:25]

Another Watts novella, supposedly of the quality of Blindsight.

This is a well-liked book by Watts fans, but I found it lacking. Has poor imagery, critical concepts not described until towards the end, meh characters, and the core plot itself could've easily had a lot more going for it. The central idea is exploring the concept of what it'd be like to execute a long-term plan over the course of millions of years, interspersed by stasis. Apart from being not too interesting on its own, the world being effectively static throughout this period nullifies potential impact.

2.6.33. [2/2] read Children of Time series

A two-novel scifi series bringing together multiple topics, including AI.

  1. DONE read Children of Time
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-09-05 Sun 10:32]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-11 Wed 12:34]

    Very good, almost great. Most notable is doing a great job of presenting a non-human (in this case, exalted spiders) sensory perspective of reality and world-building around that. Reading about them can get a bit dull at times, but the good parts make it worth it.

  2. DONE read Children of Ruin
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-09-12 Sun 00:58]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-09-05 Sun 10:32]

    Thought this one might turn out better than the first, but ended up inferior. Covers the introduction of 2 new ETIs. One is well-done in the same vein as previous, with a good illustration of a completely alien form of thought. The latter, which is something of a small-scale cosmic horror, is rather poorly done. A shame, since it is a non-Earth derived species and a chance to be truly alien, something the author is obviously good at. One way to improve this slightly would be to have just left out the internal monologue of that species let us wonder about its motives.

2.6.34. DONE read Recursion

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-09-26 Sun 00:16]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-09-21 Tue 22:07]

A hard scifi novel about time, identity, and memory. The author, Crouch, also wrote Dark Matter.

Well-written and a good read, but the underlying concept here may be flawed. It's suggested that our perception of linear time, with the past discrete from the present, is an evolutionary happenstance instead of a fundamental property of the universe. The rules of this idea, while consistent within the novel, also seem nonsensical. One can travel back to a previous memory and fork history for everyone. The traveler can remember the now-dead fork, but no one else can until they catch up to the point in time that the person went back. Why is never explained, so I'd call this not hard scifi, even though it's well-researched in other areas. It's also definitely a thriller, but without the ticking clocks, so tolerable in that regard.

2.6.35. [3/3] read The Wayward Pines trilogy

Giving this a blind try since I mostly liked Crouch's other works. This "inspired" a TV show apparently, so bail if it looks like it was written with that intention.

  1. DONE read Pines
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-09-27 Mon 08:09]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-09-26 Sun 01:08]

    Well-written, as usual for this author. At least this entry really isn't scifi until the end. Before that, it's a mystery thriller with survival elements. Probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as a stand-alone, but I'm interested in where it's going.

  2. DONE read Wayward
    • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2021-10-19 Tue 22:42]

    Okay in only a few spots. Seems a squandered opportunity to create this world for interpersonal drama. Will still finish and hope for some interesting outcomes.

  3. DONE read The Last Town
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-25 Mon 04:05]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-19 Tue 22:42]

    Rather disappointing. Action scenes, a love triangle, and a meandering plot. Overall, not a very good series.

2.6.36. DONE read Nightfall

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-02 Tue 13:48]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-01 Mon 23:25]

A short story by Asimov about a planet with multiple suns such that the stars aren't visible except under rare conditions. Available online at:

Pretty good. Could have been an interesting longer story.

2.6.37. CNCL read Stranger in a Strange Land

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-11-03 Wed 14:22]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-27 Wed 09:19]

Some call this Heinlein's best work. It's also notable for its influence, e.g., the work "grok" originates from this.

To my surprise, I found myself disliking this. Decided to quit reading about 20% in. Book until then was about dull characters, political maneuvering, psychic powers, a highly impossible Martian race, and most importantly, the titular character embodying the naïve societal mirror. Read the rest of the plot summary instead, and it looks like this was a good call.

2.6.38. DONE read Union Earth Privateers Omnibus

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-03 Fri 17:53]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-04 Thu 09:09]

This is a compendium of a 3 story scifi series of the same name. Supposedly at least decent.

An okay read and nice these stories are all in one place. Has some well-conceived world building of humans emerging into a populated galaxy at the bottom of tech progression hierarchy, having to scrounge the leftovers from greater civilizations.

2.6.39. [3/3] read Outside Context Problem trilogy

A military scifi trilogy by Nuttall, author of the massive Ark Royal series. Will give this a try first before committing to the larger one. This one is about a present day hostile alien invasion.

  1. DONE read Outside Context Problem
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-13 Mon 20:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-05 Sun 13:30]

    More heavy on the military fiction side, which is reasonably well-researched, than the scifi. Competently done for the subject matter, with no glaring realism errors, minus the regular references to scifi authors (Footfall does exactly the same, which the author references). It's possible a more entertaining story would be one where the humans weren't so inept at this whole thing, but I suppose that'd be less realistic. The competency levels of government here are already very much on the optimistic side of plausible.

  2. DONE read Under Foot
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-23 Thu 14:22]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-13 Mon 20:30]

    Figured this entry would involve enduring a long occupation arc, and that's exactly what it is. Much of this is inconsequential, so skimmed liberally. All of what I did read wasn't pretty bad too, and there was obviously no plan besides just typing away. I'll still give the final entry a chance, however.

  3. DONE read The Slightest Hope of Victory
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-30 Thu 15:41]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-23 Thu 14:22]

    Exactly as bad as the previous entry. Skipped past all of the filler to the end, though I might as well not have bothered.

2.7. games

2.7.1. DONE play Outward

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-01 Fri 08:41]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-12-15 Tue 14:54]

A single-player, open-world survival game, I think. Has a single expansion pack out now. Not sure this genre is for me, so at most consider this later if a sale/bundle is available. Last seen on sale for $20 for base game. Looks good, but I'm a little wary due to the auto-save system and quest timers.

Grabbed for $12 for the base game with the 2 current expansions also on lesser sale. Looks like this can do coop, which maybe we'll try.


  • For fast-casting without hotkeys, hit K to bring up the skills menu and right click "Use" the skill. Good for pre-fight buffs and occasional use skills.
  • Fastest money-making I've found is boiling leyline water in Ancient Plateau and selling the sugar. Much less unreliable early game than gathering and crafting.
  • To get tired intentionally (necessary for hex builds), use a tent and then only repair/guard for some number of hours.
  • Naming your character "Code Sonic" will unlock a "Super Speed" option in Settings. Handy for quickly doing legacy chest runs.
  • Some enchants:
    • Tenebrous armor + Chaos and Creativity enchant = +10% movement.
    • Scholar Circlet + Rain = +0.2 MP regen.

Tried several builds. Finished the base game and first DLC main quests using a Dreamer Halberd build. The game is very time-consuming though, so will set it aside for awhile before finishing the rest of the content. This will also give the official wiki time to catch up with the second DLC content, saving many days of wandering around aimlessly.

This game is pretty good, built around a focused set of core concepts. This might not be immediately obvious (at first I thought this game was rather generic), but if it can be quite the deep and engaging experience if that combination resonates. The only part that doesn't for me is how critical sub-second reaction time is in combat. For many builds, it's hard to be precise enough to truly master it. Another big downside is that the rest of the game needs a bit more polish. Some facade of living world simulation would've helped a lot.

2.7.2. DONE briefly play D&D Online

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-09 Sat 04:26]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-07 Thu 23:33]

A now rather old MMO that's changed hands a few times. F2P with egregious monetization, so don't stick around too long.

Tried an elf bard for a bit and even joined a guild. This would be a semi-okay semi-generic MMO, but the heavily integrated cash shop thoroughly ruins it. Most of the monetization is of the form "create the problem, sell the solution". Combat probably should be slower-paced, à la NWN at least, and less sloppy overall. Doesn't feel very DnD-like as is. Probably the only really innovative thing here is the way dungeons are handled, being narrated, self-contained mini-adventures. A better game would've went all-in on that aspect, adapting the MMO format for DnD instead of the other way around.

Alchemist class seems interesting but is locked behind paywall (would cost $18.69 just to unlock that class).

2.7.3. DONE briefly play Lineage 2 Essence

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-11 Mon 15:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-09 Sat 23:55]

I think this is a built-in botting version of L2, maybe forked from an older version of the base game. Classes have been rebalanced for solo-farming. Supposedly this is RMT hell once you get to the PVP content, which is the main focus. Be sure to uninstall the crapware launcher when done.

A real mess. The auto-farming does work and is better than actually killing stuff manually, but is a bit simplistic. Bot mode isn't smart about skill use and will keep plowing ahead when you run out of consumables. Also seems to not be viable with a non-twink caster.

Got a DE up to 45, but don't feel like dealing with the next auto-farming zone with all of the aggro mobs. So, quitting.

2.7.4. DONE play rust-mini-games

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-13 Sat 20:01]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-10 Wed 21:15]

Try a couple of these and check out the source code for any interesting ones.

Games tried:

  • Asylum: This is supposed to be a choose your own adventure game. Pretty simple and more of a very short puzzle game, since you have to do things in order to complete it successfully.
  • Legend of the Rusty Dragon: Reminds me of an old DOS game I used to play called Braminar. This one is pretty lame by comparison.

Took a peek at the source for Rusty Dragon, and it's very basic procedural code. Wouldn't want to actually structure a real game this way.

2.7.5. CNCL play Rusted Ruins

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-02-13 Sat 20:44]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-13 Sat 20:30]

Of the OSS games in Rust out there, this open world RPG seems the most interesting to actually play (though probably still not actually good).

The makepak binary compilation fails. Don't really feel like fixing this and whatever other problems come next, so skipping.

2.7.6. DONE play Nethack

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-21 Sun 22:34]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-27 Sat 20:25]

Develop/refresh some Nethack skills. Will play this occasionally for a few weeks.


  • Start a terminal with kitty -o font_size=30 -o disable_ligatures=always if playing fullscreen on a 2560x1440 screen.
  • Alternatively, make an account and play on The bot in #nethack is tied to this. Probably will do this to use the curses interface.
  • For tourists, try not to advance darts too much since you'll want the skill slots other stuff. Probably Magicbane is the best artifact choice, so raising dagger skill is a good idea.
  • S-a will select all in a selection list.

Playing on Will stick with this unless stuck offline somewhere. I think my favorite classes are wizard, tourist, and maybe healer.

Done for now, I guess. Definitely a lot better at the game now. Once I've finished most of the one-off games off this list, it's time to really master Nethack and attempt to actually ascend a character (something that has always been one of my goals in life).

2.7.7. CNCL Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead 0.E-3

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-06-28 Mon 12:48]

Check out some of the new features. Also add some mods. Probably will do a wilderness run.


  • UndeadPeople: Tileset.
  • More Survival Tools Extra: Adds extra options for wilderness runs. (Seems broken, maybe check back later).
  • Non-perishable Overhaul: Tweaks food storage. (Broken).
  • Prepper Cache: Should integrate well for wilderness runs.
  • MADA Mod: An archery rebalance, making it suck slightly less. (Broken).

While this version adds some nice stuff, between the two, I generally prefer the previous version overall. Backed that up to a cataclysm.old directory. Will check back again in a few years.

2.7.8. DONE play Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues/Lonesome Road

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-04 Wed 15:11]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-05 Mon 17:13]

These 2 DLCs were finally on sale for $1.99 each so grabbed. Also got Gun Runners Arsenal for $0.79. Will start over with a new character. Maybe will try an energy weapons build. Other stats: STR 4, PER 6, END 7, CHA 5, INT 9, AGI 5, LCK 4. This should allow for all stat implants.

Some thoughts:

  • GRA: Probably should just be free. Unfortunately, the louder guns mods don't work with these, so mostly didn't use.
  • Dead Money: Generally disliked as an expansion, and I agree in the sense of the constrained gameplay and annoying mechanics. However, this does have a good story and characters. So, a mixed bag. Overall, not fun to play through more than once, especially in hardcore mode. Getting the regen implant before going here helps some.
  • Honest Hearts: Just okay. Has a few good story elements, but there simply isn't much stuff in this DLC. Only 2 companion choices, neither of which are that great. Seems like it was rushed. Due to the geography of the new zone, this area has a lot of bugs with mobs getting stuck in terrain.

    Joshua Graham quotes Psalm 137, saying: By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem who said, "Raise it, raze it, even to the foundation". O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed. Happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

  • Old World Blues: Quite good. Decently sized, reasonably creative, well-designed areas, and has an interesting theme and plot. This is probably the best expansion to do first, especially if grabbing the pulse gun first. There's an annoying bug with caps exchange when trading with the Sink vendor, as at least in my run.
  • Lonesome Road: The worst and laziest of the expansions. Poor writing and completely linear progression through the area. Along with the previous DLC, this has the annoying mechanic of spawning in mobs super close when something happens. Introduces a few nice items, but doesn't have much else going for it.

Suffering through all these bugs, CTDs, and game/system freezes was rather unpleasant and this is my final playthrough of this game. Still, this was worth doing for OWB, but overall these expansions are a disappointment. I'd feel bad had I paid full price for them at release.

Tried to do the maximum possible in a single run to "finish" this game. Only thing I messed up on was staying on the Powder Gangers faction's good side, since the tutorial defaults to becoming enemies with them. Also skipped doing the Legion and Yes Man ending, though I'd done the latter previously.

2.7.9. CNCL do Skyrim conjurer run

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-08-20 Fri 20:43]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-11 Wed 22:24]

Will give this another go, but as a conjurer. Apparently is a viable play style, though I have my doubts regarding its appeal. Do this as a super slow run, only working on it when I have an occasional 30 min or so to kill, like while waiting for meetings to start.


  • Use set timescale to 5 to change the time multiplier. I think the default is 20, meaning for every 1 min real time, 20 minutes pass in-game. Don't set to 1, since that breaks some quest progression.

Conjurer was working fine so far, but decided not to continue, mostly due to the downsides listed last time. Decided to uninstall, since pretty sure I won't play it again. Seems to store saved games online on Steam, so nothing to back up.

2.7.10. DONE replay Diablo II: LOD

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-27 Wed 00:24]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-09-28 Tue 11:32]

Will do a slow play of this for a bit. Will do a stock skellimancer build for starters, and a blizz sorc build for MF hell maus, ancient tunnels, and moat tricking Meph. Later, I'll do 20K or so Pindle runs.


  • Patch the game to 1.14d, then append -3dfx to the launcher shortcut. This will enable Glide3 mode and fix the flickering screen problem.
  • Use PlugY mod, which does the infinite shared stash and respecs:
  • Use the D2DX mod to improve the graphics. For working with PlugY, this requires copying the DDL file into both the D2 and PlugY folders:
  • Perfect Drop Mod is useful to selectively enable during rune farming sessions and preserve free time. Important is to not pick up any of its custom items, like fragments or custom uniques. Install and enable by appending -direct -txt to the launcher. Be sure to clean out expanded inventory before going back too.
  • For drop scaling vs. players, use 3/5/7 for the drop increase brackets. When leveling though, 8 will give 450% vs. 400% for 7.
  • For act bosses, XP is capped at p3, but drops capped at p5. Setting p1 is best for named unique mob farms, like pindle runs.
  • Drop calculator is useful:
  • For a good starting necro wand, get some cash, make a new level 1 char, and check Akara for wands (restart to reset). Up to +3/3/3 is possible. If a white one is found, use a socket recipe (Amn + perfect amethyst for weapons) to add sockets with 50% chance for 2 sockets. Later a White runeword can be added for even more +skills.
  • Starting Act III N or Act II NM, grab a teleport charges staff and keep it on alt. A good way to do this quickly is to get to level 23 and keep checking for the staffs red by level required, since they'll be clvl 24.
  • Keep an eye out for a Monarch base shield past Hell inner cloister. This is the lowest STR shield that can take 4 sockets. Good for spirit rune word. Keep an eye out for the Jeweler's Monarch of Deflecting too (good for lightning sorc builds).
  • Grab a lower resist charges wand from a vendor. Plvl 71 required for level 2 LR and 93 for level 3.
  • Save ilvl 47+ grand charms for rerolling skill ones, though higher is better. +res can be useful for starting chars too. Amulets need ilvl 88 and to be lvl 93+.
  • For countess farms, always drop to p1. Use Enter then up arrow to scroll through previous settings quickly.
  • After killing Andariel, always talk to the NPC to "Go East" before doing anything else. This fixes her at the quest drop rate.
  • Using S-click to send potions to belt.
  • Don't make a trap assassin unless I want it for specific purposes. There's a bug that prevents boss groups from spawning due to the traps being considered bosses internally.
  • Ideal summon necro weapons: Arm of King Leoric for summoning and Beast rune word on swap.
  • Refill ID/TP books by selling to stores that don't sell them, then rebuying.
  • On the char select screen, hit enter to select highlighted char, then N/R/H to select difficulty.
  • Save imbue quests for diadems.
  • Use S-rclick to fill the belt with potions. To fill the inventory, fill the belt, then pick it up, put it back, then refill with S-rclick.

Merc notes:

  • For N mercs, which I usually keep until Act II NM, make an Edge runeword bow out of short siege bow (ideally superior).
  • Treachery (ShaelThulLem) is a good mid-game 3-socket runeword for the Act II NM merc. Can later upgrade to Fury or Fortitude.
  • May want to make a Blood helm
  • Ultimate Act II NM merc weapon is an ethereal thresher/giant thresher, 5os with Infinity, 4os with Insight, or 6os with Breath of the Dying. For early game bases a 4os battle scythe is a good Insight base.
  • For armor, e-bugging is ideal. Use a desired non-superior ethereal base. This will boost the defense greatly if the sockets are added via the cube recipe. Archon plate or sacred is a good base.

Got multiple chars with mostly BIS gear, and also beat ubers with smiter. So, game pretty much done, minus several months of mindless farming to get the remaining BIS items. Will skip that and do more useful stuff with the time. Backed up saved games and modded install in case I want to play it again some day.

As a game, though I normally dislike action RPGs, a modded version of this is probably among the best of them, entirely due to the meta game. Some dislikes include the action being too fast-paced and click-heavy and a few quibbles about how the mechanics work (e.g., defense, resistances, immunities, and various caps). Also the time required to farm decent items is pretty brutal. I'd prefer the drop rates be tweaked for single player by around 10x since trading isn't possible there. As is, this is a massive timesink. Will be taking a break from games for awhile due to the many evenings wasted on this.

2.7.11. CNCL play Outward: The Three Brothers

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-10-30 Sat 22:59]

The 2nd DLC of Outward. Go around the base game and kill a few things to get back into the combat mechanics. Then finish doing the new DLC content and collect various uniques and crafted items that might be useful for other builds. I might do a pistol + chakram build after this, though that'll sink a good week of time. Another option is a rainbow hex (steel sabre) build with hermit, hex, philosopher on Levant questline. Can also use chakrams/pistols with this build too.

If the official wiki isn't updated by then, guides for the DLC quests are here:

I did check out this expansion content a bit, and I'm canceling this. Outward is a good game, but I feel I've extracted what entertainment I can from it. Late game content like this requires a lot of farming combined with build perfection to basically do the same thing done in the rest of the game, but against mobs with greatly increased HP/damage. I'll reconsider if I run out of games to play some time.

2.7.12. DONE briefly try Path of Exile

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-08 Mon 19:11]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-02 Tue 18:57]

Since this is a F2P D2 clone, it's probably at least worth a look, maybe after I get over my D2 hangover. Won't stick with it more than a week or two due to having an in-game shop though.

Tried a summoning build for a bit. This seems like an okay game, but not really what I'm looking for. Has all the same downsides as D2, so maybe if I hadn't already played that for a month I'd be more interested. Graphics look great, except it can often be hard to tell what's going on due to lighting/colors. Uninstalled.

2.7.13. CNCL consider X4: Foundations

  • State "CNCL" from "INAC" [2021-11-12 Fri 10:19]

Now out in late 2018, but wait 2-3 years for all the patches and expansions to be included in a total package. At casual glance, it looks like it might be a proper X game, though I'm less enthusiastic about the genre these days. Expansion pack is also available as of 2020-03. Second expansion coming late 2020.

Looked into this, and it seems like it's something of a buggy mess even well past launch and still $50. Also has some strange online and registration requirements. Canceling.

2.7.14. DONE replay Jagged Alliance 1.13

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-29 Mon 11:00]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-12 Fri 17:28]

Will give this one final run with the latest version of 1.13 and other mods, ideally to include AFS. Last I checked, the mod versions were all mismatched and getting everything working together looked like a real chore. Hard limit is 2 nights of working on it. If I can get it running properly, will make this my post-resigning game for the week I have dedicated to getting the brain into non-work mode.

Looks like there's a rewrite in progress, called Stracciatella, which might be worth looking into later:

Started with the latest 1.13 mod, but then switched to an older modpack that included AFS and a bunch of other mods, including ones that might make the expansions functional in an upgraded way. Backed that version up. Latest does include a few new features though. Fixed the UI lag/stuttering with a registry hack called performancefix.reg. Note that this requires manually editing the path within before running. Also applying the DLL fixes helps too. Both are under the docs/ directory.


  • Some (all?) settings need to be propagated to the INI file in Data-User/.
  • Starting tactical workflow: Drop backpacks (M-S-b), switch to optimal eyewear (S-n) if necessary, and optionally squad stealth mode (M-z).
  • Post battle workflow: Use the C-v menu to get backpacks (always check later to make sure they were picked up) and organize items, C-. to clean weapons, then go to sector inventory and do item management, selling junk with M-LMB individually or C-S to sell everything.
  • To combine AR uppers and lowers, drop the upper in one of the mod slots, usually second from the left on the bottom.
  • g toggles formation move.

Did a semi-normal run without much super long-game training. Might give Wildfire a try later.

2.7.15. CNCL consider Arx Fatalis

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-11-29 Mon 21:12]

One of the golden era of RPGs that I missed at the time. Cheap on GOG and has mods available that update the tech to semi-modern standards. I'll give this a closer look first though, since it might be too simple for my tastes.

Skipping due to the spell system, which requires drawing runes with the mouse in order to cast spells. Apparently this is rather demanding and requires precise movements. Not a bad idea, just not something I want in an RPG.

2.7.16. DONE Idle Superpowers

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-07 Tue 19:21]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-07 Tue 15:10]

Yet another incremental game. Web version is free:

This game does some stuff well, but others not. Overall, it's nothing too special though. Might've stuck with it a bit longer, but quitting early due to the mechanic of watching ads for in-game rewards.

2.7.17. DONE do ToME4 oozemancer run

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-28 Tue 22:25]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-24 Fri 18:16]

Been thinking about what a good build for this would be, but need to do some experimenting. Maybe setup ToME4 on Linux.

Some notes:

  • Have Antimagic Shield on non-combat auto-cast (since it takes up a turn).
  • Have Mucus on combat auto-cast.
  • Consider maxing Mana Clash and Leaves Tide.

Have a working oozemancer build parked around level 25, though decided to switch chars after getting a bit bored with it.

Also did another archmage run. This went pretty good, but seemed to be missing something in the build, as I died twice to The Master in Dreadfell.

These were fun builds, but not ones I'd want to do a full run with. Will take a break and consider a corruptor next time.

2.7.18. DONE play Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-30 Thu 23:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2019-07-21 Sun 23:34]

Got on GOG sale as gift. Will do a coop and SP run. For the latter, will do all origin chars with:

  • Ifan: Conjurer, loremaster (+2 Aero for cursed electric infusion).
  • Sebille (main): Shadowblade, thievery/sneak.
  • Lohse: Aero/hydro enchanter, telekinesis.
  • Red Prince: Straight phys damage fighter, persuade/barter.

Suspending my SP run towards the end of Act 1. This game is deeply loved by the community, but something about it is not quite to my liking, at least solo. I think it'll still be fun coop though. The cause for this dislike might be a combination of:

  • The writing isn't actually that great.
  • The game world is too busy with non-interactive junk and it's hard to visually parse. Camera angle is annoying too.
  • The biggest issue is probably the build mechanics. Skills are super powerful, doing all manner of arbitrary combat effect, so builds are just a matter of picking the right combination of them.
  • Fight mechanics are somewhat strange too. Armor can get quickly recharged and a mob that has been getting hit for several rounds can quickly be back to full health/armor.

Some of these things existed in the first game, but not to the degree they do here. This is good to know, since it'll be worth figuring out if BG3 retains these mechanics to a degree that will ruin it for me.

Calling this done, but will still do a coop run later. Doing that might take awhile and I already have my observations, so will stop tracking it.

2.8. general topics

2.8.1. DONE read The Monadology

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-17 Sun 20:44]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-17 Sun 17:46]

The first use of the term monad was by ancient Greek philosophers, but the more commonly encountered version of it is Leibniz's metaphysical re-imagining. He uses it to represent the indivisible elementary particle. Consequently, Leibniz is considered to be a monist, in the modern Western philosophical tradition. Unaware of any link between these to the mathematical concept, but sometimes it comes up in discussion anyway and is probably worth knowing about as a result.

I suppose this paper is more of a proposal for a complete philosophical system, since it seems to jump around to different topics. Not sure I appreciate it too much though, since it's a bunch of naked assertions that have now-obvious problems given knowledge acquired since then. To be fair, I think this text wasn't meant to be a persuasive or comprehensive treatise on the subject, but perhaps more of a summation for a particular interested party (in this case, a prince of Savoy).

Apart from historical curiosity, the only useful bit I could glean was that Leibniz' monads are defined as being unable to be externally mutated and contain an internal reflection of the state around it, which is very loosely analogous to the type theoretic version.

2.8.2. DONE read The Use of Knowledge in Society (essay)

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-12 Mon 21:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-11 Sun 14:19]

A F.A. Hayek piece focused on centralized vs. distributed knowledge and the implications thereof.

The main thesis here is that any segment of an economy is the function of knowledge distributed among its constituent agents. This knowledge can/is only centralized by statistical aggregates which by definition cannot encapsulate detail. Nor can planning based upon those aggregates respond to granular change over time or differentiate based on the myriad of circumstances involved at the agent decision level.

Lightly alluded to here is the nature of decentralized markets being a distributed problem solving system, and the best one available. I might also conjecture that it's probably the only (or at most, one of a few) truly scalable multi-agent system that humans are capable of, and one that transcends the typical limitations of communication, logistics, size, and situational applicability.

2.8.3. DONE read Realism for Scientific Ontologies (paper)

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-10 Mon 12:01]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-10 Mon 09:58]

I think I might be on the realist ontology side, but I'll read this paper (recommended by an anti-realist colleague) to give the contrary position a chance. This fundamental, metaontological dichotomy is something that probably needs confronting before engaging in any applied ontology. On the other hand, I'm also generally skeptical of ontology as a framework for real world modeling at all. Some of the practices overlap with other frameworks, and some of those seem to be better focused and less weighed down by useless philosophical baggage. Model implementation with categories and types, for example, will completely side-step the issue. Ontology might then make sense as a higher level concept for some system one is building, but only in a more limited role than the applied ontology types prefer, i.e., just systems where there are a random assortment of properties and relationships and that's the main focus.

Does a good job of covering the progression from the philosophical side to applied, though I'm not really interested in anything biomedical. While enlightening, this didn't really change anything about my current leanings on the subject. More generally, this topic is probably a good deep meme check, since it may reveal hidden epistemic memes.

2.8.4. DONE read Tao Te Ching

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-08 Tue 14:52]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-06 Sun 17:47]

Tried reading this before, but didn't like the translation I chose. It seems all of these take some liberties with it and the approach (ancient wisdom, mystic, self-help, poetic, etc.) greatly influences the end text. So, maybe one should select for that first, then pick a translation. In that sense, I'll give the Ron Hogan translation (more of a modern interpretation) a try:

Some random thoughts:

  • A good way to read this version is alongside one of the more traditional interpretations. I used the James Legge translation for this, reading the closer to original text for certain sections.
  • A pattern here is to state things two or more times, perhaps at different levels of abstraction (abstract, allegorical, or illustrative).
  • There's a lot of basic self-help in here that ideally everyone should figure out at some point: rejecting attachment to things, not stressing stuff outside of one's control, leading by example, being in the world but not of it, and not caring about what others think.
  • A source of deepities originating from the TTC is the contrast between thing and non-thing, e.g. some things, like containers, are defined by the nothingness they encompass or consist of. The Tao itself is described as a non-thing. My take here is that there's better and more mathematical abstractions for this kind of thinking in present day, but if one wants to go this route it's advisable not to get too neurotic about it. I suspect the author didn't intend it that way.

There is indeed (some) wisdom for the ages within the TTC, but I'd argue mystic/religious take on it is counter to its own contents. This Hogan translation is a good approach to get the most out of it, and prevents a reader from some of the pitfalls common among adherents. I think there's room for an even better version of this that removes Hogan's vernacular and states things completely plainly with less of the original content falling through the cracks (though editorial decisions should still be made to intentionally do this for things irrelevant to the central point). Impossible to prove, but I even suspect that the author would intend it to be even more laconic and much of the extraneous allusions are due more to ancient linguistics.

All that said, there wasn't much in here new for me. There are also better compendiums of general life advice, more accessible and with less actively wrong stuff. Still worth reading for some insight into a major influence of Chinese thinking and spending some time thinking about how to integrate into the flow of the world with minimal friction.

2.8.5. DONE read Bronze Age Mindset

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-28 Mon 23:00]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-26 Sat 13:16]

A strange book by an anonymous author that might be hard to classify. Maybe contemporary social critique? Supposedly good. Will give it a chance.

Some thoughts within and provoked by this book:

  • Content about teleology here reminds me of a debate I was in regarding the source of motivations, and whether the purely rational man had a basis for doing anything. A materialist view would be conglomerations of pure physics, which form chemical reactions, and so on, all the way up to how life forms get behaviors. What we call motivations are sloppy and mysterious due to the long chain of disparate concepts required to get there.
  • A good take is made about agriculture making possible the parasitic classes. Will have to ponder whether technology could be developed yet have an inherent defense mechanism.
  • Briefly posits a potential future disposal of the great unwashed by an oligarchy of adherents to the natural order. I've considered this previously and find it unlikely anytime soon (since bugmen still have some value), but detect some potential preliminary leanings in this direction. Another likely outcome is a great realignment, though it's hard to imagine what that would look like at current population levels.
  • As an alternative to the above, posits a possibly inevitable uprising of men of virtue. Don't have a strong opinion on the likelihood of this, but if it's forthcoming, I've detected no signs of it and have already structured my expectations under the assumption that it won't happen in my lifetime.

A unique combination of an extremely well-read author, intentional misspellings and incorrect grammar, a structured building towards a central thesis, and random rants and other inserts. Definitely worth reading, but I'd probably appreciate it more if the author just wrote correctly and left out the soon-to-be-dated present day references. While I share some of his general skepticism on the myth of progress, I'm reluctant to agree with many minor points he accepts sans evidence. However, the more critical points are supported by evidence, most importantly in the areas of disconnect between our natural order goals and the world we've built.

Common to books of this nature, there might be some danger of myopia here, and one could even agree with the entirety of these points, but not their scope, boundaries, hidden exclusions, or focus. Then again, that expectation might be asking too much for a book of this length, particularly since aesthetically appealing rhetoric is more a goal than comprehensive discourse.

Overall, a very enriching read and just short of a masterwork in its class, but one best experienced by those tempered with some life experience and independently-developed observations of a similar nature.

2.8.6. DONE read Heaven's Gate: America's UFO Religion

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-19 Mon 16:47]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-05 Mon 00:42]

Tried reading the actual Heaven's Gate site, but it gets dull pretty quick and only covers their final ideology. Supposedly this book is a good compendium of all things related to them, with a focus on the belief system and practices (as opposed to the sociological view of focus on community).

Written in the style of an academic study and not sensationalized, resulting in a pretty good summary of the information available. One thing I got from studying Heaven's Gate was fully dispelling the notion that cult members were brainwashed, gullible rubes. Especially in small cults/religions, they tend to exist in symbiosis with the leadership.

Bounded choice: A concept featured here. This describes a situation where agency of the individual is artificially constrained. Maybe a better definition would include narrowing the choice path to desired behavior by encouraging decisions that are independently sensible.

Unfortunately, I do think this text misses on a few points. For example, the origins of a collection of ideas in New Age tend to be a grouping of the ones out there, available and being actively traded, not carefully gleaned from source texts as suggested here. Another issue is selective empathy: the author goes to lengths to get the reader to understand Heaven's Gate, while certain other fringe groups are unworthy of more than a dismissive label.

2.8.7. DONE read The Law of One

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-05 Thu 08:29]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-20 Tue 00:44]

A "channeled" text, a source of information popular among a segment of New Age types. Selected this among the many out there since it's often claimed to be super-advanced information, and thus more believable to its fans. This is just for entertainment, so don't read the whole thing.

Boring. Bailing after a few sessions, as it seems devoid of substance.

More interesting is that this influenced (directly or by proxy) the recent "July aitee"/Trowawaylien and "Sandia Mountain Information Station" prophecies (two of the alien-related prophetic events of mid/late 2021). As of the current time, the first has already failed.

2.9. home improvement/maintenance

2.9.1. DONE fill in depression in gravel pit

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-10 Sun 15:57]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-10 Sun 17:50]

Various people have been scooping shale here and someone left a depression that fills with water. Fill this in.


2.9.2. DONE replace duck water basin

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-13 Wed 17:13]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-12 Tue 18:50]

Current one broke due to frozen water. For the next one, only put a small amount of water in it when the overnight temperature is going to be well below freezing.

2021-01-12: Bought replacement basin. Looks like the cheapest locally is Tractor Supply, which has this for well under $10. Got a thick plastic one, but they have rubber ones too I could try if this doesn't work. I suspect the rubber to be less weather resilient.

2021-01-13: Installed.

2.9.3. DONE fill truck tires with air compressor

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-25 Thu 15:22]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-25 Thu 14:49]

See if I can take care of this at home. Should have all the parts for the air compressor. Will add to repeatable tasks list if this works out. These tires should be filled to 35 psi.

Done. Works pretty good. Probably could tape the threads on the adapter for the air chuck, but it works okay as is with a little leakage. Will do all tire inflation at home from now on.

2.9.4. DONE fix office closet shelf

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-22 Mon 15:27]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-22 Mon 14:59]

A retaining hook for this broke. Caulk that hole up and remount. Caulk up a couple missed holes in the living room while I have it out.


2.9.5. [2/2] do 2021 driveway maintenance

  1. DONE add gravel to driveway
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-30 Tue 17:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-25 Thu 13:58]

    Get another load of gravel for the driveway in Spring 2021. Spread it around the parts I didn't get to last time, add more to the central area, and make a strip of it around the garage. Maybe give M- a call to see if he wants to do the delivery on this. Maybe use some of this to level out heat pump too. Do this before I need to mount the mow deck.

    2021-03-25: Ordered a load of #57. Current price is $19.xx/ton.

    2021-03-26: Delivery will be on Monday, 2021-03-29. Was thinking if I have leftover, will move it to a pile next to the garage.

    2021-03-29: Received gravel load. Looks like #57 is correct. Did front driveway and filled in a few thin spots elsewhere.

    2021-03-30: Finished wood shed, added strip around garage front, and smoothed everything with rake. Will let everything settle and do another check to see if there's any thin spots that need some fill-in.

  2. DONE treat driveway weeds
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-03 Sat 14:55]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-03 Sat 13:35]

    Keeping the driveway nice and clean is a real chore. In Spring 2021, try the product called Burnout, which is supposedly less toxic. Also won't translocate, needing to make direct contact with the plants killed. Get a dedicated 1-gallon pump sprayer for this.

    2020-09-27: Bought a 2 ga. Husqvarna sprayer and 2 jugs of Burnout. Setup sprayer.

    2021-04-03: First application done. Fill the sprayer up to about 1.2 gallons, and add half the Burnout bottle. Shake a lot before using. Doing everything (including front) takes the whole bottle (2 loads). Instructions say to reapply every 3 weeks.

2.9.6. DONE replace hoses

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-22 Thu 16:52]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-15 Thu 19:48]

Currently have zero unbroken hoses. Get a 25' one and a 100' one.

2021-04-15: Ordered a 100' and 50'. According to the internet, the Flexzilla won't break as quickly, so went with that. Costs a little more though.

2021-04-22: Looks functional, but won't know for sure until using for awhile. Would be nice if the color wasn't neon green, but won't complain if these don't die 2 years.

2.9.7. DONE get water filter serviced

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-05 Wed 10:52]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-26 Mon 11:46]

See if the noise this generates during backwashing can be fixed and get the clock reset. Generally inquire about its semi-ineffectiveness. Also write down how to reset the clock myself.

2021-04-26: Appointment scheduled for 2021-05-05 0900-1100.

2021-05-05: Fixed. Needed new piston and seals. Also, when I want to change the timing for the backwash, just hit the up and down arrows on the control unit. No need to enter a programming mode. Finally, looks like we'll need a media replacement at some point in the next 1-3 years. Will add that to the list.

2.9.8. DONE apply deck finish to trailer bed

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-11 Tue 18:05]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-11 Tue 15:44]

Once I get started on refinishing the deck, use some of the same stuff to cover the bed of the trailer.

Looks great and went on with no problems. Put a medium coat on. Will just leave it like this and see if it wears in spots and needs a second one. I'm thinking probably not though. Also refinished the Mule bed divider boards. Was going to wait to do the deck on a warmer day, but this seems to dry pretty quick, so might do the deck early.

2.9.9. DONE paint basement/attic stairs

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-11 Tue 18:07]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-03 Mon 14:19]

Select a dark brown and repaint the basement steps (which are currently a green called "mountain moss" or something like that) and the attic steps (which are currently bare).

2021-05-03: Grabbed a bucket of floor/deck paint of plain brown, which is pretty dark and semi-gloss. Attic first pass complete.

2021-05-11: A- finished. I think it's done now.

2.9.10. DONE ponder geese ownership

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-12 Wed 23:23]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-12 Wed 18:27]

Things were going fine here, but apparently this area has a problem with bald eagles moving in sometimes and eating even larger ducks/chickens. Lost 4 so far this year due to a pair moving in. Of the options to counter this, I'm thinking either going full geese or single guard goose would solve this problem.

Researched this some, though not a lot of hard info is out there. Currently leaning full geese flock of Toulouse. These are a good balance between weight, temperament, and egg production (25-40 per year). A second choice would be White Chinese (50-60 eggs per year), though those are noisier and less docile. Will probably have to do a live gosling order, possibly from Metzer (in CA) or McMurray (in IA). Will order 10. After 2 years, I can get an incubator and try hatching myself.

Larger geese solve the predator problem and should be able to eat 90% grass in non-Winter months. Feed will also be cheaper, since I can do a 90/10 mix of layer pellets and plain wheat, with a higher concentration of layer pellets in the Spring. I don't think the feed stores nearby offer plain wheat, so can do plain scratch grain instead.

Will have to rebuild the run to be geese-optimized. Might be able to relocate the hog pen and repurpose it for geese and adding a floor, or build a new structure. Build an non-affixed 3 alcove set for nesting. Then, I'd probably completely redo the fencing with 4' garden fencing and some of my spare wooden fence posts and T-posts. Then the fence will need a door too. The run area will enclose the majority of the grassy area currently occupied by the chicken run. Will also need a larger pool for them to bathe in. Consider building a drainage solution where their water source is over a mesh, with overflow going outside the run. I have a few wire box segments that can be used for this.

Apart from seasonal eggs, I may try cycling the flock after confirming it works out, and selling goslings and extra full grown geese (maybe at the local livestock auction) to at least break even. Value of a full grown Toulouse should be around $75.

This seems like a good plan. Will think about it over the next 2 years before the current flock dies of old age. Probably will take a year off between flocks to do the restructuring, depending on timing and other things going on. If there's a few birds still alive by the time I want to start this, that should be fine too.

2.9.11. DONE refinish deck

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-14 Fri 17:06]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-02 Sun 15:32]

Do this in late Spring to late summer. Will need: shop vac, pressure washer, nail set, belt sander, sanding belts (30, 60, 80 grit), belt cleaning stick, palm sander with same grits plus 100 grit, large hand brush, respirator, rollers, and pans.


  • Wait for a dry day with no likely rain to follow in subsequent days.
  • Clean deck with pressure washer. Wait overnight for it to dry.
  • Use the nail set to ensure all nails are set below flush.
  • Use belt sander with 30 grit belt to get to bare wood. Use cleaning stick regularly. Remove all dust with shop vac.
  • Repeat with 60 grit.
  • Repeat with 80 grit.
  • Use hand sander to sand the posts.
  • Round any sharp edges.
  • Use a screwdriver to clean out any gunk between boards.
  • Apply a semi-transparent waterproofing exterior wood stain and sealer to deck using the brush or roller.

A followup task to this can be replacing the deck lattice.

If I don't get around to this by mid-Spring, consider hiring Virginia Deck Works for their (130 Graber Lane, Winchester, VA, 540-678-3340) "deck re-surfacing" service. Then they could redo the lattice work at the same time, and maybe address the deck ceiling, railing installation, and other issues out there.

2021-03-01: Called the above, but we're out of their service range. Maybe try Allied Fence & Decks out of Augusta (540-336-8695) or ask the neighbors who they use.

2021-03-10: That guy doesn't do decks currently, only fences. So, will get the rest of the tools to do this ourselves.

2021-03-12: Bought belt sander and belts of 40 and 80 grit. Only need the stain/sealer now.

2021-03-19: Went to hardware store to inspect options. Might use the Deck Correct product, which seems super resistant. Grabbed color guide. Looks like this product requires lows to be above 50F, so will do this in May at earliest. Instructions:

2021-03-28: Measured deck area. Main strip is 72'x8', with an extra 9'x8'. Total area is 648 ft^2. Looks like we'll need at least 9 buckets then, and probably 10-11 if including the trailer. Looks like the New Redwood satin color will match the roof and otherwise blend in.

2021-04-03: Looks like Lowes carries this too, but also has the 5 gallon jugs, which would save some money. Ordered 3 of those for pickup.

2021-05-02: Started project. Cleaned crevices and pressure washed deck. Looks like I was able to blast off the green spots, so it's ready for finish whenever there's a dry day.

2021-05-12: First coat on the main surface applied.

2021-05-13: Did edges, posts, and trim. Also fixed a few minor deck-related things. Decided not to touch the lattice. Will pull this next year or maybe the year after and replace it, so no point in wasting the finish on it. The old color is close enough that it doesn't look out of place. Added task.

2021-05-14: Finished second pass on top area with roller. Task complete and took about 10 hrs total, with having help for about 3 hrs. End result looks really good, and no complaints so far. How it wears is something that I'll keep an eye on over the years though. If it does wear thin in a few places, I can probably just touch it up with the brush. This stuff has a good traction/texture to it, which might also be a plus since we don't have a railing. Have about 1.5 buckets left, and should only need about 0.5 for the lattice, so will also use this on the shed ramps.

2.9.12. DONE repaint shed ramps

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-15 Sat 20:02]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-15 Sat 15:39]

Looks like I'll have spare deck finish, so redo the shed ramps with this color. The yellowish tan there now doesn't really match or meld well with the other colors on the property, whereas the deck finish matches the deck and roof.

Done. Looks better. Should hopefully wear better, but since we put it over the existing paint, might not be as good as it would've otherwise.

2.9.13. DONE paint shed floor

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-27 Thu 18:21]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-25 Tue 16:00]

Since we have plenty of deck finish, use some of this on the shed floor. Should make the interior much nicer, add traction, add durability, and cover some of the previous owner's oil stains. Find a 3-day no-rain period to do this.

While I have the deck finish out, paint the strip between the trim and deck supports to prevent bumblebees from drilling holes there. Also put the boxes of wood chips in the shed to keep them dry until winter.

2021-05-25: Shed emptied and cleaned.

2021-05-26: Floor painted.

2021-05-27: Task complete. Also cleaned up the interior some, designated some junk for the next dump load, and organized things. Looks much better. There's also plenty of room in there now, since almost everything isn't laying about randomly on the floor. Could easily fit the Mule in here now if that ever became necessary.

2.9.14. [4/4] refactor kitchen/dining room furniture

  1. CNCL replace kitchen dinette table
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2020-09-22 Tue 14:38]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-09-12 Sat 20:20]

    Already started. Checked out county furniture store and they have a few options, but only cheap, mass-produced MDF items. These would still be an improvement to current wobbly table. We also went to the local furniture maker and asked his son about making one, and it looks like that's a better option. Call back next weekday with dimensions.

    Desired dimensions: 24"x30" top and 30" height.

    2020-09-21: Email with info sent. Will see if a response is forthcoming.

    2020-09-22: So, I got a quote for $400 for this table. I might try just making it myself. Won't get to that any time soon though.

  2. DONE replace dining room table
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-10 Wed 14:05]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-10-07 Wed 10:06]

    Two options for this:

    • The father is offering us his dining room table in exchange for our smaller one. This is just a standard mass produced furniture store table. Probably would still be better than ours though.
    • The local furniture maker already has one for sale with a bench for something like $1.5k. I think I prefer this option.

    Take some measurements and make a decision.

    2020-09-13: Measured and the new one will be perfect. The trade would work too, but I think the new table is worth the cost.

    2020-09-23: Looks like the display model I was looking at was sold. Got a quote for a new one with bench for $1600.

    2020-09-25: Asked if delivery options were available.

    2020-10-07: Talked to owner and we agreed to the terms for the job. It's now queued and should be done in approximately 6 weeks. Since this is scheduled, considering this started.

    2020-12-04: Got call which said they just started on it, so probably still a few weeks out at least.

    2021-01-27: Table done. Will go look at it Friday at noon.

    2021-01-29: Table and bench looks great. Paid for these and tentatively scheduled a pickup on 2021-02-03, probably around noon. Will see if I can get a neighbor to help move table in.

    2021-02-07: Rescheduled for noon 2021-02-10.

    2021-02-10: Grabbed table and put in position. Glad this is finally over, but I guess the end result is pretty nice.

  3. DONE replace dining chairs
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-01 Tue 09:05]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-24 Wed 12:38]

    Maybe get 4 of the Amish mission style chairs. Need to take measurements. Old chairs can replace the basement table chairs. Might also want 2 extra to replace the one for the dinette table.

    2021-02-24: Ordered 6 oak Denver chairs with "saddle scoop seats" from Amish Direct Furniture. Color that seemed to most closely match the table was "Carbon (FC 50240)". Got 10% off, but shipping is pretty expensive at $400. Current lead time is 4-5 months + another 3 weeks for shipping, so will be a long time until it arrives.

    2021-06-01: Delivered. Turned out great. Will need to install some feet for them. To save money on delivery, I got the curb-side option, which here means dropping off at the end of the driveway. Worth noting if I ever get anything heavy.

  4. DONE build dinette table
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-05 Mon 14:44]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-19 Sat 08:33]

    Bought a 24"x24"x1" teak table top for $30-something. Got some legs and mounting brackets for them. Still need boards for the sides and pads for the feet.

    Built. Looks great and is reasonably steady, but not perfect. I'll add a follow-up task to add some struts for it to make it even better. Used semi-gloss lacquer on top of dark walnut stain, which turned out pretty good. For furniture, it seems 220 grit sandpaper is enough, since the lacquer will comprise the final surface.

2.9.15. DONE fix tractor wheel

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-15 Fri 11:52]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-09-27 Mon 12:25]

Was mowing with the tractor and the left front wheel sheared off the nuts. Covered the seat with a plastic bag and will leave it in place. Will make a service call on it next business day.

2021-09-27: Called service department. They requested pics, which I took and emailed. They said they'll get back to me on a service date. That'll probably be next week due to needing to order replacement parts.

2021-10-06: Tech came and grabbed the old wheel. Once the new one comes in, he'll swap the old tire on that and bring out and install the new one.

2021-10-15: Fixed, finally. Good to note that issues that need parts can cause weeks of downtime like this, even with a local dealer.

2021-10-25: Paid bill, which was $455.21.

2.9.16. DONE plant redbud trees

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-18 Mon 20:01]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-18 Mon 17:49]

A- bought 2 redbud trees. These are Cercis canadensis.

Planted next to the serviceberry trees on the top of the north hill.

2.9.17. DONE get grain mill

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-31 Sun 14:36]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-25 Mon 20:18]

Looks like an incoming stream of field corn is working, so should be safe to get one of these. Probably will just get a mid-range one, since I don't have huge fields of grain. This might be a good option:

2021-10-25: Looks like a decent corn harvest this year, so ordered this.

2021-10-31: Received and tested. Seems to work pretty good. Made some cracked corn for the chickens. Will have to experiment a bit with settings to get corn meal (or just run it through multiple times).

2021-11-17: Made a few adjustments and can grind corn flour quite well. The main thumbscrew needs to be pretty tight for this, and benefits from some extra leverage via a pair of vise grips.

2.9.18. [27/27] do 2021 garden

  1. DONE make 2021 garden plan
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-12 Tue 23:21]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-12 Tue 21:45]

    Plan is mostly to do the same, except taking a break from spaghetti squash and most super hot peppers (will still plant a few for immediate use). Small garden will be mostly corn and pumpkins, in hopes that I have the spare time/energy to work on the fencing. Will also up onion production in hopes of freezing them (note these supposedly have a shorter freezer life of 6 months).

    Plan created. Will still think about it for a few days, just to be sure. Might also squeeze in a few sunflowers in random places.

  2. DONE start pecan trees
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-13 Wed 17:14]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-10-11 Sun 14:22]

    Considering pecan trees, since they're less mess/work shelling. Maybe order these Carya Illinoinensis when they're close to in season:

    Will think about where to plant them. Pecans are tall, so thinking maybe 2 past the chicken coop and 2 near the dirt bike track.

    2020-10-11: 4 trees ordered. Also thinking I'll plant 2 in the loamy soil on the property border, near the pear tree. Then the other 2 will go on the southern side of the track. I think I ordered these for winter delivery, maybe in 2021-01.

    2021-01-11: Trees arrived. Since they're just bare sticks and it's winter, will start them in pots first. The only other option according to the instructions is to keep them dormant, but I'd rather get them started right away.

    2021-01-13: Started in pots in the electronics lab. Will move these outside in April, then maybe plant mid-Summer.

  3. DONE order seeds
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-20 Wed 08:33]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-14 Thu 11:45]

    Get a couple packs of onion seeds and one pack of spaghetti squash.

    2021-01-14: Ordered 1 pack each of red creole onion, blush hybrid onion, and spaghetti squash. Was able to get 20% off using coupon code.

    2021-01-20: Received.

  4. DONE start peppers
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-21 Sun 14:31]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-07 Sun 14:06]

    Start these in early February. We have 6 large cell trays. Maybe do:

    • 0.5 habanero.
    • 2 cayenne.
    • 1 backups and Thai pepper (4-5 cells).
    • 1 jalapeño.
    • 1.5 green pepper.

    2021-02-07: Started 2.5 cayenne and 0.5 habanero.

    2021-02-21: Started 1.5 green and 1.5 jalapeño. Turns out I didn't save Thai seeds, so skipping that.

  5. DONE transfer chicken/duck plop into garden
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-24 Wed 17:49]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-24 Wed 15:30]

    Wait for a very wet day for cleaning the ground area and a dry one for the chicken house. Should be able to get many wheelbarrow loads. Do a 50/50 split between gardens.

    Done. Also cleaned out chicken house.

  6. DONE burn debris
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-08 Mon 18:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-08 Mon 15:21]

    Maybe do this in the big garden this year.

    Done. Tried out using the sawzall to cut corn stalks. Works okay, I guess, but next time pull these out of the ground sooner so there's no issue with getting mud off roots.

  7. DONE till gardens
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-20 Sat 13:52]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-09 Tue 15:45]

    Skip the onion row in the big garden.

    2021-03-10: Small garden tilled.

    2021-03-15: Tilling complete. Still need to hoe clods.

    2021-03-20: Done. Looks like shoveling takes about 8-10 hrs and hoeing takes about 5.

  8. DONE start tomatoes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-22 Mon 15:43]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-07 Sun 16:41]

    Start in early/mid March, probably 2nd weekend. Start in two batches, spaced 1 week apart. All in pots. Do two buckets of cherry tomatoes again.

    2021-03-07: Started, except only started 5 pots of normal tomatoes. Will split these off later.

    2021-03-20: Split off 4 smaller pots. Will do 2 more once I'm sure these took. They're a little wimpy still.

    2021-03-22: Split off 2 more. That makes 15 total tomato pots of all varieties.

  9. DONE fertilize plants
    • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2021-04-07 Wed 17:43]

    Once everything starts growing again, do another round of powdered fertilizer for all perennial plants.

    A- did this.

  10. DONE setup pea trellis
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-07 Wed 17:44]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-07 Wed 16:50]

    Will plant these half at a time, spaced apart by about 1.5 months.

    Setup and first level installed.

    2021-05-31: Installed remaining levels for first batch.

  11. DONE start Thai peppers
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-10 Sat 19:14]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-10 Sat 18:14]

    Decided to just try raising these in pots indoors. These will be my early winter peppers then. Start in a small tray section in case they don't germinate (I grabbed some old peppers that were laying on the ground outside).


    2021-04-19: Looks like they did sprout.

  12. DONE fix/replace garden hoe
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-19 Mon 20:58]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-19 Mon 15:54]

    Backup hoe broke. A- will try to use warranty. Looking at it though, it's a junk design, so maybe I'll get one of these:

    Note to self: Never buy any big box hand tools, or at the local shops for that matter, since they're the same. Thought I could get away with some of them for lighter-use purposes, but too many of those keep breaking too.

    Looks like they'll send a replacement. Also fixed the broken one, but only somewhat.

  13. DONE direct plant seeds
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-01 Sat 17:53]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-04 Sun 19:27]

    Do this last week of April or first week of May, weather permitting. If things look warmer than normal, can plant the potatoes a week early.

    2021-04-04: Potatoes are growing long stems out of their bag, so risked an early planting.

    2021-04-17: Big garden onions planted.

    2021-04-18: Remaining onions planted.

    2021-04-19: Field corn planted.

    2021-04-25: Had a few light frosts, which hurt the potatoes. Might've lost a few.

    2021-04-28: Pumpkins planted.

    2021-05-01: Planted beans, watermelon, crookneck, cantaloupe, and first round of snow peas. Now done until the later snow peas plantings and late planting of spaghetti squash.

    2021-05-31: Had to restart green beans. Not sure what happened, but none came up.

  14. DONE plant peppers and tomatoes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-16 Sun 18:13]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-07 Fri 10:15]

    Check 14 day forecast.

    2021-05-12: Looks like my first batch out there mostly died. Looks like a late frost occurred despite no forecast for it. So, won't get nearly as many peppers this year as a result. From now on, I'll always plant mid-May no matter what the forecast says.

    2021-05-16: All remaining plants transferred outside.

  15. DONE plant acorn squash
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-20 Thu 14:59]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-20 Thu 15:39]

    Since I only had half as many peppers as intended, that left a large unplanted square. Will disperse 5-6 acorn squash here.

    Did two rows. Probably will need thinning later.

  16. DONE plant spaghetti squash
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-31 Mon 20:36]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-31 Mon 18:36]

    Direct plant, but hold off until 2021-06.

  17. DONE plant radishes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-02 Wed 23:01]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-02 Wed 15:31]

    Since most of the peppers died, will get some radish seeds and plant those in the same area.

    Only did one row for now. Have enough seeds for a lot more if this works out. Also redid the cantaloupe row, since those seem to not be working out.

  18. DONE plant pecan trees
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-07 Mon 21:16]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-07 Mon 18:32]

    Plant these once they have a nice set of leaves on them. Currently leaning towards just planting them in a row on the property line for ease in harvesting. Maybe put two in-ground first and leave the other 2 in pots for awhile.

    2 planted near property border. Will leave the other 2 in pots probably until next year.

  19. DONE plant peas round 2
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-09 Wed 13:52]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-09 Wed 12:50]

    Do this early June.

    Done. Mostly out of seeds, so will need ones from round 1 to do a round 3.

  20. DONE bury plum
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-29 Thu 19:30]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-29 Thu 18:36]

    Only got one plum left from the southern plum tree. Try burying this to see if it'll sprout by mid/late-Spring.

    Buried on the NE corner of big garden in one of the smaller buckets with holes in the bottom. Marked with stick.

  21. DONE plant remaining pecans
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-04 Wed 23:58]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-04 Wed 16:57]

    Put these in a row with the other 2.


  22. DONE plant mulberry trees
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-05 Thu 23:58]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-05 Thu 17:58]

    A- ordered 2.

    Done. Planted near forest trail entrance.

  23. DONE make ketchup
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-16 Mon 00:39]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-15 Sun 22:00]

    Have about 75% of one jar left from last batch. Will make new ketchup and dump this, since it's over 2 years old now.

    2 year supply complete. Looks like doing half our recipe (1/2 gallon of tomato juice) seems to be adequate for our needs.

  24. DONE can tomatoes
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-22 Sun 22:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-20 Fri 16:40]

    Will do in pint jars (wide mouth).

    2021-08-20: 17 pints done. Will do at least one more batch.

    2021-08-22: Tomatoes are splitting now due to rain, so doesn't look like there will be enough to make another round of canning worth the electricity.

  25. DONE plant serviceberry trees
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-17 Sun 19:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-17 Sun 16:41]

    A- got 2 of these through the local tree program. They're Amelanchier laevis, also known as Allegheny Serviceberry.

    Planted these on top of the north hill, which also starts the tree wall I intend to have there in the future. Behind these will be a row of pines at some point.

  26. DONE collect trellises
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-06 Sat 01:50]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-03 Wed 17:06]

    After first frost. There's a few volunteer potatoes around the tomatoes. Grab those after this too.

    Done. Looks like the best time to grab potatoes is a little earlier, like maybe in August. Still works doing it late though.

  27. DONE bury most debris
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-11 Thu 17:23]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-08 Mon 15:58]

    This year, try burying all debris right after first frost. This is more work, but the hope is that it'll retain more nutrients in the soil versus burning.

    2021-11-08: Small garden done.

    2021-11-11: Large garden done. This is everything buried, so no burning needed. Not too bad on the extra work either. Ran the lawn mower over any remaining twigs and such.

2.9.19. DONE replace toilet seats

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-19 Fri 09:36]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-15 Mon 18:33]

Did a survey of these and 2 are damaged. Will replace.

2021-11-15: Bought two AquaSource oak round toilet seats at Lowes, which are about $17/each.

2021-11-18: Pretty easy install, just needing a large Phillips. Looks like the old seats were installed slightly wrong, with the rubber ring on the bottom. However, if those yellow over time, I may move them down there similar to this.

2021-11-19: Finished. Will replace the other two seats at some point too.

2.9.20. DONE replace 2 additional toilet seats

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-21 Sun 21:58]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-21 Sun 20:47]

These aren't damaged, but since they're cheap, might as well replace the older hardware on these and make them all match.

Done. Looks like both of them had some hard to spot damage/wear, so worth doing. Cleaned up and saved both old ones in the parts closet as backup.

2.9.21. CNCL consider CNC router

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-11-26 Fri 18:22]

Having one of these would open up a lot of project ideas. Maybe research the Shapeoko Pro CNC Router for starters. There's also the MPCNC if I want to save some cash.

Skipping this for now. Might revisit later if I do another work run.

2.9.22. CNCL replace kitchen outlet covers

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-11-27 Sat 16:04]

Since the appliances and fixtures are stainless, getting covers to match this might look good.

Decided not to do this.

2.9.23. DONE find/mark drain field junction box

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-01 Wed 14:22]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-30 Tue 14:19]

Have neighbor's son baling hay in the various fields now, so need to find this box and put a marking flag on it. Will string trim around the area until I find it.

Found, sorta. Looks like one of my suspicions may be correct in that there's only one drain field, not two as we were told. The supposed box is just an area with some rocks and a PVC pipe used for venting perhaps. Marked with a garden stake, which is probably obvious enough.

2.9.24. DONE make cornbread

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-07 Tue 15:03]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-07 Tue 14:02]

Try this recipe. Use store corn meal for first try.

1 cup flour 1 cup corn meal 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 tsp salt 1/3 cup sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 1/4 cup milk 1/4 cup oil 2 eggs 4 tablespoons butter

  • Mix ingredients except butter.
  • Melt butter in skillet.
  • Pour mixture in skillet.
  • Put skillet in 400F preheated oven for 15 min.
  • Remove and test with toothpick.

Worked great. Will maybe add some extra butter to mix, since I'm using unsweetened almond milk. Will try with garden corn next time.

2.9.25. DONE construct inside frame around basement door

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-12 Sun 11:32]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-29 Thu 18:25]

Current thinking is to just get boards, cut a few 45° angles, affix extra pieces to cover the inside gap, paint them flat white, then mount them around the door. That's the easiest approach, but I also might see if the local handyman wants to do this and has a better idea. Once this is done, give away spare boxes of trim if they weren't used.

Decided to do this myself. Will get 8'x6", 8'x2", 6'x6", and 6'x2" boards for the project.

2021-12-05: Top piece in place. Looks good so far.

2021-12-12: Done. Not perfect, but way better than before.

2.9.26. DONE make cranberry sauce

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-18 Sat 17:24]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-18 Sat 16:43]

Have a bag of these, so might as well use them.


  • Wash berries in colander, remove any squishy ones.
  • Put berries in pot with 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water.
  • Put lid on pot and cook at medium heat until all berries pop.
  • Use spoon or blender to blend berries.
  • Put in bowl and stick in fridge.

Works pretty good, and way better than the canned stuff. Also tastes good warm.

2.9.27. [10/10] do 2021 wood stove tasks

  1. DONE find more boiler treatment fluid
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-01 Mon 16:23]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-25 Mon 12:36]

    Lowes sells Durst Boiler And Heating Cleaner, which might work as a backup if the local hardware store doesn't get this back in.

    Ordered ProTech 300 boiler treatment, which is available on Amazon.

  2. DONE shut down wood stove
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-01 Mon 09:06]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-01 Mon 07:16]

    Maybe shut this down a little earlier than last year. Last year was late March, so maybe early-mid March. Will evaluate based on weather conditions at the time.

    Done on 2021-03-01. Was going to run it another week, but since the fire went out the previous night, might as well just shut it down instead of rekindling. There's a few more nights of it dipping below freezing, but looks like those should only be doing so for a few hours at a time. Will let this cool off for a couple days before doing follow-up work.

  3. DONE replace boiler water
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-24 Wed 17:03]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-24 Wed 15:33]

    Probably time to at least check it. If it's clean, I'll leave it in there. Add more treatment fluid either way.

    Done. Was just some rusty water at the bottom but was otherwise okay. Topped it off and added a full small bottle of treatment.

  4. DONE buy a pile of creosote sticks
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-10 Sat 18:26]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-07 Wed 15:05]

    Forgot to do this last winter. Adding discrete task for it so that doesn't happen again. Can get these in packs of 36. Amazon has them but look around to see if they're available cheaper elsewhere.

    Ordered a 36 pack of Rutland 97S.

    2021-04-10: Done.

  5. DONE buy gas chainsaw
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-21 Fri 16:07]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-21 Fri 13:01]

    Giving up on electric chainsaws and will get a gas one. Other electric tools work fine, but the chainsaws are built too cheaply for our needs. Will wear a mask and hearing protection while using. Currently leaning towards the Stihl MS 250 which is US made and about $380.

    2021-05-19: Went to look at models. They had the MS 251 C-BE, which is a newer version of the 250. Researched this model a bit and it might be an improvement. Has 50% reduced emissions, 20% improved fuel economy, and full quick adjust knobs. Will get this next time.

    2021-05-21: Grabbed the MS 251 CB-E. Comes with a warranty, which should be on file at the hardware store. Guy there says to swap spark plug every 2 years. Will want to get a spare air filter at some point too.

    Note: To tighten the chain, loosen with the big wheel, then use the black one to tighten/loosen.

  6. DONE order loads of wood
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-27 Wed 17:13]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-27 Tue 09:11]

    Order 2 loads of outdoor stove sized wood. Maybe intersperse cut wood between loads. Consider starting this around May, or whenever there's a dry week.

    2021-05-05: First load stacked and also brought up some rounds. Now half done.

    2021-10-20: Ordered a medium load. Looks like this is a little more expensive per cord, but will give it a try this time.

    2021-10-27: All ordered wood stacked.

  7. DONE fill wood stove water
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-24 Wed 15:10]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-24 Wed 13:20]

    Try old hose and toss if it has holes.

    Done. Strangely, it was still at the indicator's halfway point. Will empty the tank next time.

  8. DONE clean wood stove
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-25 Thu 14:00]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-02 Tue 16:36]

    Get the rest of the creosote out of the flue. Once the internal area is clean, run the air compressor into the exhaust channel.

    2021-11-10: Brushed flue. Might give this a complete cleaning next year, but should be fine for this winter.

    2021-11-25: Done. Looks like there was some moisture caught under the ashes. Definitely want to do this cleaning shortly after shutdown next time.

  9. DONE start wood stove
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-18 Sat 15:37]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-18 Sat 12:16]

    Maybe around mid-December.

    Started one day before consistent lows in the 20s and with highs no longer in the 50s.

  10. DONE cut more logs
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-25 Sat 07:37]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-04 Sat 12:55]

    Use new chainsaw. Do a smaller test run first. Instead of dragging these down, will just cut the pile in place starting from the front.

    2021-12-04: Half done. New chainsaw works great. The reduced noise is true, but it's still unpleasantly loud of course.

    2021-12-25: Should have enough for the winter. Might still do a few more sessions, weather permitting. Seems like having these huge rounds for overnight works pretty good, and saves a lot of money too.

2.9.28. [8/8] do 2021 cleaning

  1. DONE clean vinyl siding
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-25 Thu 15:53]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-25 Thu 14:53]

    Clean the siding on the north side of the house. Maybe use the pressure washer.

    Just used the bucket/brush method this time, but should definitely pressure wash it next year.

  2. DONE clean paint from thermostats
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-03 Sat 10:15]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-03 Sat 09:29]

    Looks like the previous owners didn't remove these or tape them up before painting. Carefully scrape all paint splatters off.

    +0.1% tidiness. Also replaced the wood stove thermostat batteries, which were at 25% and did the same paint removal of the doorbell box.

  3. DONE spray basement
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-11 Sun 12:26]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-11 Sun 11:48]

    Got this sealed up pretty good with the only ingress point being the screen door when the door is open. So, I only need to do this once in the Spring every year now.


  4. DONE remove board frame from forest
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-17 Sat 22:57]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-15 Thu 16:43]

    Meant to grab this when moved in, but forgot and now it's all rotten. Just cut this up and remove the nails.

    Retrieved, disassembled, and pulled all nails.

  5. DONE clean foundation
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-04 Sun 19:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-04 Sun 14:50]

    Get the pressure washer out and clean the house foundation. Might as well do this while cleaning the deck.

    Done. Looks better now.

  6. DONE clean up pig pen
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-27 Sat 15:36]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-25 Thu 13:30]

    Preparatory task to turning this area into a beekeeping zone. Clear out all brush, and either string trim or use mower. Also dismantle the feeding trough. Will leave the structure here for now, since the bee hives can still go in with it there.

    Done. This is less work if I keep after it a bit during the year, otherwise it fills with thorny brush. Will do that from now on, even if the bees don't go in next year.

  7. DONE rake leaves from drainage ditches
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-17 Fri 16:11]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-17 Fri 13:01]

    Clean these out for the winter and see if this is something I should be doing every year.

    This does fill up, and needs yearly intervention in its current configuration.

  8. DONE collect roofing tiles from forest
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-25 Sat 07:41]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-24 Fri 15:40]

    Several packs of these were dumped in the forest, for some reason.

    Grabbed. Will take to the dump on the next trip.

2.9.29. [5/5] do 2021 lawnmower maintenance

  1. DONE sharpen spare mow deck blades
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-08 Sun 14:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-08 Sun 13:14]

    Seems like I only need to swap these every other year, if I'm feeling lazy. So, no emergency on this task.

    Got around to doing this early.

  2. DONE remount mow deck
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-06 Tue 18:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-06 Tue 17:22]

    Do this around early April, unless I'm using the tractor for something else at the time. Remove PTO tape first.

    Done. Note to future self: Line up the splines and hold back on the collar. Then push the deck backwards to use its momentum to snap it in place.

  3. CNCL sharpen push mower blades (mid-summer)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-09-07 Tue 14:24]

    Check balance.

    Forgot to do this, but looks like it should make it through the season.

  4. DONE sharpen push mower blades (end of season)
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-18 Thu 16:43]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-18 Thu 14:43]

    Done. This was pretty dull. Probably shouldn't go all summer regardless of how little the grass grows.

  5. DONE remove mow deck and clean
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-26 Sun 22:31]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-26 Sun 14:11]

    Eyeball blades to see if a swap is needed. Check tension on blade nuts.

    Done, but forgot to check blade sharpness before storing, so do that in the Spring.

2.9.30. DONE make pretzels

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-30 Thu 22:28]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-30 Thu 16:47]

Try this simple recipe:

  • Put 2 packets yeast in 1.5 cups warm water.
  • Add 4.5 cups flour and 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Knead into dough and let rise for 15 min.
  • Divide into 20 pieces and make pretzels.
  • Combine 4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 cup cold water, then brush pretzels.
  • Add pretzel salt and bake pretzels on oiled pans at 450F for 15-20 min.

Semi-failure. Followed recipe, but probably could use a spoon of sugar in the yeast and some time to get frothy. Thankfully only did a half portion in case it didn't work out. Will probably try a completely different recipe next time instead of trying to salvage this one.

2.9.31. [8/8] do 2021 minor repairs

  1. DONE sand down spackling
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-01 Thu 21:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-31 Wed 22:49]

    All drywall holes were filled in shortly after move in. Might as well sand all of these down, so they'll be ready to paint over later.

    A- did most of this. Actually does make the living room look a lot better.

  2. DONE fix shed door handle
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-23 Fri 15:53]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-20 Tue 00:41]

    The threading on the inside T-handle is stripped, which is why it wasn't staying together properly. Can't get just this part, so will order a new kit.

    2021-07-20: Ordered replacement. Cost was $16.xx.

    2021-07-23: Installed. Just used the inside section. Seems solid. Put leftover parts in parts closet.

  3. DONE add locknut to garage door arm
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-11 Wed 22:23]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-11 Wed 18:18]

    The arm occasionally comes loose due to vibrations from opening/closing. A locknut might prevent that.

    Done. Seems like it should hold forever now.

  4. DONE fix 2 moulding spots in kitchen
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-22 Mon 23:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-22 Mon 21:09]

    Measure and cut 2 small strips of wood and moulding pieces. Glue the strips to the bottom of the moulding, and install them in the blank spots.

    Done and looks good. Had to cut a notch in on the east side piece to accommodate the cabinet. Decided not to do the bottom piece, thinking it looks better without, versus having it be a 1/2" square end piece against a rounded wood flooring edge. Should be easier to keep clean this way too.

  5. DONE tidy up basement cable management
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-25 Thu 20:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-25 Thu 19:07]

    There's some cables dangling around in various spots. Use zip ties to keep these bunched together. Might want to buy some of the nail in kind too.

    2020-04-08: Ordered some of the nail-in cable brackets.

    2020-05-07: Brackets finally arrived.

    2021-11-25: Task complete. Wiring much more organized now.

  6. DONE replace toilet bolt caps
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-26 Fri 18:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-26 Fri 17:55]

    Downstairs toilet is missing caps. At least replace these. 2 of the upstairs ones have them, but they weren't installed properly and are missing the components that are supposed to go under the nuts. Might replace those too if the screw on ones work downstairs.

    2021-11-26: Installed downstairs. Looks like the ones upstairs would need the more standard shorter kind, so the spare pair won't work with them. Since they already have covers, I'll skip doing anything about those.

  7. DONE remove ceiling fan from porch
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-30 Tue 14:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-30 Tue 13:00]

    Disassemble this, cap off the wires, and plug the hole.

    Done. Capped the wires going to it, which turned out to be live. Fabricated a cover to seal up the mounting bracket, which I left in place. For next time, note that you can unhook a fan without removing the bracket that holds it. Seems like that relies on the fan assembly's weight to keep it in place.

  8. DONE replace catch basin
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-01 Wed 12:46]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-28 Sun 12:44]

    This was broken by the gravel dump truck running over it. Checked this out and while the cover is indeed broken, so is the holder. I'll replace both of these at once, but will get around to that later, since it'll require digging it all up.

    2021-11-28: Basin dug up. Need to get replacement part and install it before it rains again, or it'll probably turn into a muddy mess.

    2021-11-29: Couldn't find at local store, so ordered online.

    2021-12-01: New one installed. Instructions say to put loose gravel underneath, so did that.

2.10. stuff

2.10.1. DONE fix pocket knife

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-03 Sun 22:11]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-01-03 Sun 21:55]

One of the Barlow's scales fell off. I can get it back on, but it's a little loose. I'm thinking a zap of glue gun can fill in the scale cavity and make it perfect.

Decided also to touch up the top scale clip with some solder, but will have to wait for the soldering station replacement for that.

Fixed. Seems the plan worked. However, I'll leave this as a workbench knife and use my other one for outdoor stuff. The Barlow's days of heavy farm use are probably over, and using it for that now would just turn it into trash.

2.10.2. [8/8] refactor fishing setup

  1. DONE ponder fishing equipment
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-09-21 Mon 10:51]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-09-21 Mon 09:33]

    After buying a cheap used rod at the local auction, finally got around to trying out fishing. It seems kinda fun, sorta. It's at least a good extremely infrequent activity. While not one I'd get in the car and drive for, the large pond is right here and we already own a boat and a lot of the equipment. A small investment would round out the ability to make use of it. This is super low priority, so will just do this stuff as I get around to it.

    Some thoughts:

    • A 2nd rod would be nice so we can both fish at the same time. Since I already have the spin combo, make a baitcaster one, which I think I'll like more and will be more versatile for all of the possible fishing techniques that make sense for the pond.
    • Need a few small items, since the tackle box is short on them. Should just need swivels, line, and bobbers.
    • A net would be nice for catching frogs and maybe other stuff. Not a high priority since they can be caught with a bucket or by hand.
    • Get stuff to de-slime the pond next year. This will help keep the equipment clean and prevent constant algae on the lures.

    Going for this plan. There's probably further optimizations I could make, like replacing the current spin rod, but they exceed my current interest level. I also want to abuse the pond fish as minimally as possible, so won't be fishing more than a 4-5 times per year.

  2. DONE review fishing basics
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-09-24 Thu 19:36]
    • State "STRT" from [2020-09-24 Thu 08:12]

    Read this to refresh my memory and make sure I didn't miss any of the basics:

    Mostly review, but did learn a few things.

  3. DONE get a few tackle items
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-09-25 Fri 14:27]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-09-22 Tue 16:53]

    Just need a few items that the tackle box is short of:

    • Spool of 12 lb fluorocarbon line. Maybe get some 10lb for leaders.
    • 1 pack of swivels.
    • 2-3 balsa bobbers.
    • 1 pack of offset hooks for plastic worm use.
    • Maybe 1 pack of smaller worms.

    2020-09-22: Was at the hardware store and grabbed the bobbers, hooks (1/0 I think), and snap swivels.

    2020-09-23: Ordered the rest of this stuff, plus threw some extra items on there to get free shipping as it would've costed more to not do so and get nothing extra. Bought:

    • 12lb line.
    • 10lb line.
    • 1 pack of stick bait to use with the hooks already purchased.
    • 1 pack of #10 swivels.
    • A pack of 3.5" swimbaits with jig heads pre-installed.
    • Fish scaler.

    2020-09-25: A- found a box of catfish terminal tackle I didn't know we had. Added to the collection.

    2020-09-25: All stuff acquired. The stickbait was a bit longer than I envisioned, the swivels were a bit smaller, and the swimbaits only had 1 jig head. Some of this is my fault, but I'll only buy any future tackle in person to eliminate any further issues. Probably won't need any though.

  4. DONE setup rod holders in workshop
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-09-29 Tue 00:46]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-09-21 Mon 15:33]

    Get some wall-mounted ones to hang 2 rods, and possibly a long-handled net at some point. Just mount the ones for the rods for now, in case we never get around to getting the net.

    2020-09-24: Ordered a 3-pack of metal ones for $8.10. I do want to think about it a bit before mounting these, as maybe I should make one out of wood instead. Could also attach these metal mounts to boards and hang them.

    2020-09-25: Items arrived.

    2020-09-26: Cut 2 18"x3.5"x0.5" oak boards. Sanded and put an application of stain on them. Will need to buy 12 screws to attach the fixtures. Will also see if I can route and attach keyhole hangers to the backs of these, just for practice for future projects.

    2020-09-27: Bought screws, 1/2" chisel, and keyhole hangers.

    2020-09-29: Complete. Looks great. Going for the wood backing was a good idea. Decided not to use the keyhole hangers, since I only had 2 and realized that the bottom wouldn't have been secure. Instead used 4 2" wood screws, after painting the heads black.

  5. DONE build budget baitcaster combo
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-10-03 Sat 14:41]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-09-22 Tue 09:21]

    The only part of this refactor where I need to spend any significant cash. I figure I might as well build a mid-range setup here, keeping the whole thing under $250 at absolute most. Maybe switch the handedness of the spin combo once this is setup.


    • Rod: St. Croix Triumph Casting Rod, $100.
    • Reel: 13 Fishing Concept A, $120.

    2020-09-21: Ordered rod from Midway. Got the 6'6", Medium, Fast. Was hoping this was a US-made rod, but found out after ordering that the lower end St. Croix are made in Mexico. Only other option would've been the lowest end G.Loomis, but that's twice this price. Will keep this in mind in case I ever replace the spin combo.

    2020-09-22: Ordered reel from Amazon. Went with the 6.6:1 ratio.

    2020-09-25: Reel arrived. Looks pretty good. The rod is being shipped USPS, so will have to go pick it up once it arrives.

    2020-10-03: Rod arrived, finally. Mounted reel and it looks pretty good. Will test.

  6. DONE get algae control additive for pond
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-24 Tue 09:39]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-09-24 Thu 19:42]

    Figure out what I'm supposed to put in a pond to keep the algae down and only add the absolute minimum. Research this topic a bit and get the stuff ready. Could also email neighbor and see what he puts in his.

    2020-09-21: Emailed neighbor. Hopefully will save a bunch of research.

    2020-09-22: Neighbor says he uses Aquashade and also adds some of the beneficial bacteria from I'll start with just the Aquashade first, which seems available at the nearby Southern States.

    2020-09-24: Put some Aquashade in the pond. Will check color tomorrow and probably add more. Looks like this stuff is cheaper at Tractor Supply. Will just order it for delivery there next time and maybe get a jug of cutrine as well (just for the small pond). I'll need a spray applicator for the cutrine.

    2020-09-25: Put a little more in the large pond. This was about 4.5 of the blue cup that I've designated for Aquashade use.

    This seems to have worked out for now, though it's hard to tell if the water cleared up entirely because of winter. Will order some more Aquashade next year. I'll see how just using that goes, and consider the cutrine based on those results.

  7. CNCL consider replacing tackle box
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-11-24 Tue 09:41]

    Looks like wooden tackle boxes are available on Etsy. Maybe get one of these, then go through the tackle and separate out just the stuff I'll actually use. Then put the old tackle box and all remaining stuff in the auction pile. Currently, none of these are completely perfect for what I want though, so maybe consider making one. A really good design would be a wooden box that the plastic boxes can slide into.

    Skipping for now. Will revisit this idea once I've got a 3D printer and/or laser engraver. This is on the ideas list for printing projects.

  8. DONE consider replacing spin rod
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-01-25 Mon 18:10]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-10-22 Thu 21:23]

    Originally just going to keep the old spin rod I got at auction, but the line guides keep breaking on it. Maybe repair it, tape up the line, add to the to-auction pile, then get a new one. Wait until I have the new casting rod setup before deciding what to do.


    • Rod: St. Croix Premier Spinning Rod, 6'6", Med (or M/L), $150.
    • Reel: Favorite Yampa River Spinning Reel, 1000, $130.

    2020-09-29: Fixed old rod.

    2020-10-22: Ordered Favorite Yampa River Spinning Reel 1500. Might hold off on getting the rod until after Christmas, unless it goes on sale.

    2020-10-26: Received reel. Will get rod later as planned.

    2021-01-19: Rod back in stock, so ordered.

    2021-01-25: Received. This completes the fishing gear refactor, unless I get around to building a tackle box.

2.10.3. DONE de-brand new boots

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-12 Fri 13:46]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-12 Fri 13:35]

Do this outside.


2.10.4. DONE get cordless sawzall and skill saw

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-02-15 Mon 13:15]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-10 Wed 08:50]

Sawzall: Probably get a Dewalt one, so it can share batteries with the other cordless power tools. Get a pack of blades too.

Skill saw: Would be useful for cross-cutting boards on the spot and doing 45° cuts. Should be able to get away with a smaller blade size, like 6.5". Grab an additional high-tooth blade for cutting vinyl and maybe acrylic.

2021-02-10: Finally went on sale for -$30 each. Ordered both. Sawzall is model DCS380B and skill saw is model DCS391B.

2021-02-15: Received stuff.


  • Skill saw uses a 5mm Allen. This is included on the side of the tool. When replacing the blade, depress the lock behind and above it, then tighten it down (but not too much).
  • For the sawzall, be sure to use the right blade for the material being cut. Use low TPI blades for wood, and higher TPI for thicker metal. Angled blades are for plunge cuts, the more squared off ones are for edge cutting. To install/remove blade, pull up on the flat yellow lever on the right front. To adjust the shoe depth, use the button on the left front, pulling the shoe in or out. Be sure to select a blade a good bit longer than the material being cut. For pocket cutting into an (ideally) thin material, rock the blade into the material by the base of the shoe.

2.10.5. DONE get new outdoor work jacket

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-20 Sat 14:32]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-03 Wed 12:18]

Old jacket I bought at a PX in Afghanistan is finally unusable due to a broken zipper. Get a medium-to-light warmth jacket. Some light water resistance would be nice. Thinking about trying a waxed trucker jacket.

Thinking about this one (in black or moss green):

2020-09-26: While ordering some stuff from Midway, grabbed an Italian parka with liner since they were on sale for $28. Might not fit great, like most military surplus clothing, but cheap enough to be worth a try.

2020-10-07: Tried the parka out, but it fits weird as expected. This isn't a total loss though, since it's not too bad and is a good replacement for my M65 field jacket, which is a bit worn. The parka has longer sleeves, so fits better than the M65. I'll still proceed with getting a work jacket replacement.

2021-03-03: Ordered the Coal colored, size M.

2021-03-20: Got this within a few days but forgot to close it. Looks pretty good.

2021-04-26: Been wearing this for awhile and seems like the perfect light work jacket. Might get another to have as backup, probably in moss green, once they come back in stock.

2021-05-17: Grabbed an unlined version of the same jacket, but in Forest Green. Will use this one for warmer times, since I noticed the lined version is a bit too hot when doing any outside work above 60F.

2.10.6. DONE get chest freezer

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-16 Fri 20:35]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-15 Thu 18:28]

Get a 5 cu.ft. chest freezer. Measure the basement door first so I have the dimensions handy when buying and won't get one where I have to remove the screen doors to get it in.

2020-10-26: Measured door width at 33.5". Should have room for a 7 cu.ft. one.

2021-04-15: Ordered a 7cu.ft. one. Bought the a Hotpoint HHM7SMWW due to a $50 sale.

2021-04-16: Picked up and installed. Will load it up once the minimal setting is found.

2.10.7. DONE get winter jacket

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-23 Fri 16:55]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-21 Wed 09:04]

Get a new one of these and toss my old one. Will keep the milsurp one for dirty work. Ideally, waterproof with high wind collar.

Ordered the Mick Parka by Suit for $134. Looks like a good design, but might be a bit bulky. Will return it if it doesn't work out. Also trying out the Flint and Tinder Mill Pant and the Forty Five Supima t-shirt with the order. The latter items are to try a black pants/green shirt combo. That might go well with brown boots.

Tried on jacket and it's very nice. Will keep.

2.10.8. DONE add horn and speedometer to Mule

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-06 Thu 11:41]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-14 Wed 10:28]

Horn is for sale here. Looks like it'd be easy to hook up. Accessory wiring should already be on board.

There's also an LED speedometer/odometer I'd be interested in too. If I get both, I'll call the dealer and see if they'll install them since the speedometer requires cutting into the blank spot in the dash.

2021-04-14: Called dealer and they ordered these parts for me (horn, sensor, speedometer). Parts are paid for. Also sometimes they can get discounts on some parts. Will have to setup appointment for installation once those come in. Total was $280 or something.

2021-04-21: Parts arrived. Scheduled installation appointment for 2021-05-06 0900.

2021-05-06: Done. Looks like everything worked out great.

2.10.9. DONE stockpile t-shirts

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-14 Fri 13:33]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-24 Sat 08:53]

Stock up on all of this item needed for the next 20 years, making for one less thing to think about. Won't plan further ahead than that for t-shirts, since I'm not sure they'd have indefinite shelf life or that I'll be able to maintain current body shape by then. Will get the cheap Gildan ones, as these seem to be pretty thick and have a color that doesn't stretch.

2021-04-24: Ordered 10 black M. Will confirm these are still of good quality, then maybe get 30 more, which should last for the next 20 years (if I keep 4 active and replace every 2 years). Also got lifetime supply of shaving soap, taking care of that consumable. Tossed all worn out t-shirts and queued up the ones that have writing on them for immediate use.

2021-05-10: Shirts look good, so ordered the remainder needed. Also got 2 in "military green" to try out.

2021-05-14: Done.

2.10.10. DONE replenish consumable supplies

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-10 Sat 13:45]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-09 Fri 20:02]

Had most of what was needed once the panic buying hit. However, once normalcy returns, we'll be low on various items. Rebuild the stockpile and make it a good bit larger than before. We've got plenty of basement shelf space, so might as well use it. As usual, only buy stuff that will definitely be used eventually. Items to hoard:

  • Cleaning: Paper towels, laundry detergent, dish soap, Q-tips.
  • Cooking: Flour, salt, yeast, spices, oil, spray oil, rice, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, sugar (white/brown), parchment paper, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, sponges.
  • Food: Diet soda, ice tea bags, canned soup, beans, Soylent, noodles, mustard, spaghetti/sauce.
  • Hygiene supplies: Mouthwash, razors, shaving soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes, eye drops, hair dye, shampoo, soap.
  • Animals: Cat food (dry/canned), litter, chicken feed.
  • Hardware: Paint brushes, boards, screws, nails, face masks.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Garbage bags.
  • Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Latex gloves.
  • Batteries: Just one extra pack of each kind.

2021-04-10: Maybe half done.

2021-07-10: Done. Now immune to most systemic shortages and normal out-of-stock situations.

2.10.11. [12/12] build archery setup

Been meaning to do this since new house purchase, but it was pretty low priority. However, I do want to lock in the cost of it. Do a pretty minimal target-centered setup, with a leaning towards traditional (probably recurve). Will skip the bracer and glove for now, in case we want to make those. Should be able to do a complete setup for around $600-650. Test arrow speed on chronograph once everything's done.

Build complete. Looks like I made the right parts choices too, since the end result is quite excellent. Probably the only thing I'll do is add another 6 arrows at some point.

  1. DONE get recurve bow
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-21 Mon 14:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-24 Mon 14:35]

    Budgeting around $400. Considering the Bear Grizzly recurve. Probably will go for #45.

    2021-05-24: After some thinking, went with the item above.

    2021-06-01: Might be an issue with this delivery. Will give it 2 more days then call about it.

    2021-06-03: Tried the online chat help, but they said I'll probably get a refund or reship. So, will just have to wait.

    2021-06-17: Tried the online chat help again. They were willing to send a replacement now, so should get it in a week or so.

    2021-06-21: Received. Looks great.

  2. CNCL get dacron flemish twist string
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-06-21 Mon 15:22]

    Only get if bow doesn't come with one. Use this one as main string and keep the other as backup.

    Bow came with one of these, so no need for another.

  3. DONE get quiver
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-13 Tue 11:37]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-21 Mon 16:36]

    Considering the Selway side-mount. Looks like the bow takes 1/4" mounts.

    2021-06-21: Ordered with options: side-mount, mini hood, chocolate brown color, 1/4-20 threads, 4 arrow, carbon LG shafts clip size, right hand.

    2021-07-13: Received and looks great. So far, setup is coming along nicely.

  4. DONE get arrows
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-15 Thu 14:09]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-13 Tue 14:15]

    Maybe Gold Tip Traditional carbon arrows. Will use these for any hunting or pest control later. Just get 4-8. Remeasure myself using the T-pose formula, then confirm with a dowel rod at full draw.

    2021-07-13: Ordered 32" pack of 6 on sale, which will probably be slightly too long. These are the 400 model, which is 9.3 GPI. I'll be able to figure out my exact length using these and can order some custom sized ones later. Exact sizing is more expensive, and I'll just use these until they all get broken/lost. Also got a 12-pack of basic field points.

    2021-07-15: Received arrows and practice points. Despite the images looking like they had inserts, they did not come with them. So, will have to get and install some myself. Might just get a 6 pack of the glue-in target points instead. While unexpected, this might be better overall, since I can cut these to length myself.

  5. CNCL get string silencers
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-07-17 Sat 23:26]

    Maybe get some that match the fletching color.

    Skipping for now. Will consider later, maybe.

  6. DONE get foam target
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-19 Mon 16:45]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-13 Tue 14:15]

    Get a large square one. Could maybe build stand for it later.

    Acquired. Looks like this should work.

  7. CNCL get small game broadheads
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-07-23 Fri 14:18]

    Get at least one of these to keep in the quiver, in case I want to take a shot at a groundhog or something. Field points can work for that too, but I think the small game tips are better for not getting lost in grass. Might skip.

    Decided to skip for now, since I'll have to dedicate a slot in the quiver to it. The large size of the head will muck up the foam. Probably won't shoot any animals with the bow anyway.

  8. DONE check arrow length and cut arrows
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-23 Fri 15:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-23 Fri 14:12]

    Use 32" arrows to get an exact length measurement, then cut arrows with the dremel.

    Checked and looks like 28.5" is about right, but I'll go 29" for the first one to test with before doing the rest.

    2 arrows cut, one for me and one for A- (at 27"). Will use these a bit before doing more.

  9. DONE get arrow inserts or glue-in points
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-23 Fri 15:29]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-23 Fri 15:08]

    Will need these to get my new arrows functional. If going for inserts, get 5/16" size. Use the hot glue gun to affix.

    Installed glue-in points in the 2 cut arrows.

    2021-07-24: Discovered that the arrows did include the inserts already. They were hidden in the box and I didn't see them. So, will use those from now on.

  10. DONE install nock point
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-23 Fri 16:29]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-23 Fri 15:27]

    Look up the standard procedure for this or just use an arrow.

    Installed with normal pliers, but didn't like the results. Removed with end nips, then used neighbor's nocking pliers and T-square to get it perfect.

  11. DONE test fire bow
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-23 Fri 18:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-23 Fri 16:29]

    Use first arrow made a few times to make sure I did everything correct, and also get some practice in.

    Works great.

  12. DONE get archery glove
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-07-29 Thu 12:08]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-25 Sun 09:17]

    This seems to be perfectly usable without a glove, but due to concerns common on the internet claiming finger nerve damage is possible, I'll switch to using the glove just in case.

    Got a semi-cheap leather size L one. Seems to fit good enough. This completes the initial archery setup.

2.10.12. DONE get large cooking pot

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-24 Tue 22:44]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-18 Wed 22:51]

Only have a small and medium. The latter is broken, so might want to replace that too. Pots are used almost every day, so a higher end set is probably a reasonable expense. Considering this pot:

Not currently in stock, so considering INAC and will check back later. Added an email notification. There's a 12 quart one too, but I'm thinking 8 will be enough for anything we do.

2021-08-16: Looks back in stock now, though I didn't see an email notification. Since we'd use this size the least and this costs $380, been thinking about getting the $199 7qt one from the "D3 Everyday" line instead. Apart from a 1qt size difference, it's also not quite as shiny.

2021-08-18: Ordered D3 Everyday.

2021-08-24: Received. Looks pretty good.

2.10.13. DONE get a few miscellaneous tools

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-01 Wed 12:47]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-05-10 Mon 10:43]

A few tools that I find myself lacking:

  • [X] Super long needle nose pliers.
  • [X] Oil drain pan.
  • [X] 2-4 spring or slide camps.
  • [X] Stihl SG 20 sprayer.
  • [X] Post hole digger.
  • [X] Loppers: Bought the Stihl PL 30.
  • [X] Manual post driver.
  • [ ] 3-ton floor jack.
  • [ ] 2 3-ton jack stands.
  • [ ] 2x wheel chocks.

Decided to skip the jack and related tools for now. Might be able to get by without them, and just borrow one from a neighbor if really needed.

2.10.14. DONE get impact driver

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-16 Thu 17:01]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-13 Mon 08:03]

This should improve my ability to drive in screws versus using the drill. Since I'm doing that quite regularly, getting one of these should be worth it. Will get the Dewalt 20V to use the already owned batteries. Keep an eye out for sales for this, and get it for under $84.

2021-12-13: Ordered. Used a 2% additional cash back feature of CC.

2021-12-16: Functions.

2.10.15. [3/3] do 2021 vehicle maintenance

  1. DONE renew vehicle registration
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-01 Thu 16:21]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-01 Thu 15:49]

    Maybe see if I can do this online.

    Online works and is a bit easier, though the site has a few bugs in it. Note that the insurance NAIC number is an unlabeled 5 digit number on the top of the insurance card. Total cost for 2 years was $105. Will get new sticker/card in 5-7 days.

    Note that this costs an extra $2 to file online. A stamp costs $0.55 but I get 1% return on CC purchases ($1.05). This means it's still $0.40 cheaper to send the letter in. Will do that from now on, unless they remove or change the online filing fee.

    2021-04-09: Received and put sticker on plate. New card in glove compartment. Good until 2023 now.

  2. DONE get oil change
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-04 Tue 18:35]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-30 Fri 09:10]

    Will do this when I take my planting time vacation.

    Scheduled for 2021-05-04 0800.


  3. DONE get car inspection
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-19 Tue 19:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-19 Tue 15:05]

    Do this in 2021-10.

    Went to the in-county tire place for this, which seems a bit faster than the other location I used to use. Will go there from now on.

2.10.16. [6/6] sell/get rid of stuff

  1. DONE sell first Kinesis Advantage
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-09 Fri 16:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-01 Thu 21:57]

    Have 2, but will just sell 1 first. I see them listed for around $150, so definitely worth selling. Also want to sell these before something more popular comes along in this category. These are KB500USB-blk models.

    Listing text:

    Kinesis Advantage keyboard KB500USB-blk. Technically used, but never actually typed on more than to just confirm function. Perfectly clean. Condition is like-new. Includes original box, manual, and all original extra parts. Shipped with USPS Priority Mail.

    Looks like eBay isn't allowing PayPal to be used for selling anymore. Not sure I'm a fan of these changes. I do still want to sell stuff, but will probably not use it as much now.

    Side note: Looks like an original PS/2 Model M is going for around $180 now if I want to sell mine.

    2021-04-08: Sold for a surprising $207.50.

    2021-04-09: Shipped.

  2. CNCL sell 80% jig
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-04-09 Fri 17:38]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-09 Fri 17:12]

    Might as well sell it and reclaim some cash.

    Listing text:

    5D Tactical Universal AR-15 80% Lower Receiver Jig set with milling bits

    This lot includes these 3 items:

    • 5D-JIG15: 5D Tactical Universal AR-15 80% Lower Receiver Jig & Kit
    • 5D-PK300: Pro Tool Kit
    • 5D-PK300C: Tool Kit w/ Ready Mill C

    The 5D-JIG15 is the main jig set and includes the router plate. This kit works with AR-15 and AR-9 80% lowers. 5D-PK300 and 5D-PK300C are the bit set for the pins and the main milling bit for the fire control group area, which attaches to your compact router. This C model of what's called the ReadyMill bit is for the Makita RT0701C router. If you have a different router, alternative bits are still available currently on 5D Tactical's site. Conversion kits for AR-10s are also available.

    This is everything you need for finishing your AR-15/AR-9 80% lower. I've successfully used this to build a single lower for myself, so consider these items used but fully functional and in excellent condition. All original parts, instructions, stickers, boxes, and packaging material are included.

    Will ship USPS.

    Weight 6 lbs. Box is 5x8.5x12".

    2021-04-09: Listed. But was then removed. Apparently, they're okay with P80 jigs but not AR ones. Decided to grab a billet 80% lower just to keep around since I'll keep this tooling.

  3. CNCL sell Lee loading press
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-04-11 Sun 13:51]

    Finish cleaning this up and list it with all accessories. Won't get much for it, since it's missing pieces with poor cosmetics, but might as well get rid of it since I'll never use it.

    Will either send to local auction or trash this.

  4. DONE give away glass table set
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-11 Sun 16:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-10 Sat 23:06]

    Probably not worth anything, so just list for free on Craigslist.

    2021-04-10: Listed.

    2021-04-11: Gone.

  5. DONE get rid of junk in garage
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-11 Sun 17:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-11 Sun 15:40]

    Dispose of wooden cage thingy, long PVC pipe, and parts from wire spool.

    Neighbor was doing a dump run, so tossed stuff in his trailer.

  6. DONE sell second Kinesis Advantage
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-05-15 Sat 11:06]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-30 Fri 10:16]

    Take new pictures, since this one doesn't have the pads attached.

    2021-04-30: Listed. Scheduled to start on 2021-04-30 1700.

    2021-05-15: Concluded. Had to relist due to non-paying buyer. Definitely been having a high ratio of problems selling on eBay lately. Will try to factor that into trying stuff out and hoping to sell if it doesn't work out.

2.10.17. [21/21] do 2021 firearms refactor

  1. CNCL sight in AR scope
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-01-09 Sat 23:36]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-09-25 Fri 22:25]

    Will wait for factory ammo to arrive. If it doesn't anytime soon, I'll just sight it in with handloads.

    2020-09-25: Mostly sighted in at 100 yds, but ran out of handloads for the day. Might be a couple inches high still.

    2021-01-09: Canceling since I'm switching to the FF3 here. However, the scope should maintain zero, or close to it, since I'll leave it on the mount.

  2. DONE get FF3 mount for AR
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-29 Mon 21:23]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-10-28 Wed 13:09]

    Get the AR-F3 mount for the FF3. I'll still use the AR for load dev occasionally, but this will be the main optic for it most of the time, at least until the Model 10 arrives. By then, I'll be able to decide what stays on here permanently. I might swap the scope back on occasionally for supers.

    2020-10-28: Ordered mount.

    2020-11-03: Received item.

    2021-03-29: Finally got around to swapping this on. Looks great. Need to some rounds for sighting. This is definitely a good config for an AR pistol, which should be a CQB weapon anyway. Possibly the weapon light might make sense here now.

  3. DONE consign some milsurps (round 3)
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-09 Fri 16:05]
    • State "STRT" from "BLCK" [2021-04-05 Mon 19:17]
    • State "BLCK" from "STRT" [2020-11-24 Tue 12:33]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-10-21 Wed 10:16]

    Consign the ce/44. Donate spare 8mm ammo to shop.

    2020-09-29: Took pictures.

    2020-10-21: Consignment form submitted, waiting for call.

    2020-11-02: Evaluation email finally came in with usual undervalued estimate. Still waiting for call though.

    2020-11-13: Looks like they were waiting for me to be okay with that estimate, so emailed back.

    2020-11-16: Got forms.

    2020-11-24: Tried to get local new FFL to ship this for me, but ended up being a waste of time. Took into Post Office myself, which is a viable option for normal rifles (not handguns though). Rifle shipped. Note that I do need an FFL copy if doing this myself via USPS. Task blocked until I get the check back.

    2020-11-25: Got confirmation of receipt.

    2020-12-15: Got letter saying it'll be in a 2021-02 auction.

    2021-02-25: Action ended and rifle sold for $1500. So, got almost all my money back. Check will be mailed 2021-03-31.

    2021-04-05: Got check, so unblocked. Will use to open new local bank account.

    2021-04-09: Deposited into new checking account.

  4. DONE ponder 6.5 Grendel build
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-13 Tue 10:10]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-12 Mon 09:08]

    Since I have a spare 80% lower, could do this. Would be a full custom build. Not committing to this at all, but curious what it might come together as.

    Aesthetics: Black with OD green accents. Lower, upper, and handguard would be black. Stock, grip, and M-lok panels green. Barrel stainless.


    • LaRue Tactical A-PEG Grip in OD Green.
    • LaRue Tactical RAT Stock in OD Green: A good starter stock, but if I make this a regular usage LR build, then might consider the PRS Gen3.
    • 2 C-Products 6.5 Grendel 10rd mags (add another later if these work).
    • JPSCS2-15: Already have one.
    • JPSCS-BRP: A retaining pin/spring for the JPSCS2-15.
    • JPBT-CA carbine buffer tube. Rifle also option (with spring spacer).
    • LPK, maybe CMC.
    • CMC 2.5lb single stage trigger.


    • Complete upper options, ranked by preference:
      • Grendel Hunter: Has option for bolt carrier upgrades and a 16" rail.
      • Atheris: Comes with NiB BCG. Handguard kinda meh, but could live with it or replace later. Has fluted barrel and adjustable gas block option. Can build from their own parts and exclude handguard and charging handle.
      • Odin Works: Standard BCG. Handguard slightly better than Atheris.
      • Aero M4E1 Enhanced: No BCG.
    • Barrel: Probably will go with 20" Odin Works or Atheris. Another option is the Criterion 22" HBAR barrel. For carbon fiber: Proof Research, BSF Barrels, and WPA.
    • Handguard:
      • ALG EMR V3X: 15". Will be out of stock for awhile.
      • SLR SOLO 15.5 Lite: Has the advantage of being exactly the diameter of the Omega 300 at the end. Could even go 16.5".
      • Odin Works plain M-Lok: Great proprietary barrel nut system.
      • Coda Evolution, Faxon, and AP Custom: Carbon fiber options. The Coda has probably the best barrel nut replacement system.
    • Radian Weapons Raptor-SD charging handle, ODG.
    • Some billet stripped upper. Maybe go no forward assist.
    • Adjustable clamp-on gas block, probably SLR Sentry 7, Odin Works, or Superlative Arms Adjustable Bleed-Off. For Odin Works, can get as an upgrade to a barrel order.
    • Stainless gas tube.
    • 4 Magpul M-LOK Rail Covers Type 1 Polymer in OD Green.
    • Stainless thread protector.
    • Battle Arms Development engraved dust cover with "6.5 Grendel" on it.
    • Mount/optics: Use already owned or maybe get a Scalarworks mount.

    Seems like a nice setup, but not sure I'd use it much. Probably not worth bothering unless I can build exactly the setup I want, meaning a very slow accumulation of parts and a fully custom upper. Also would have to sell a few things to make room for it. Went ahead and ordered the grip and stock since they're currently on sale and cheap and will find something to use them on even if not doing this. Might grab a stripped upper too, then wait for better parts availability in a year or two.

    Side note: Can also check in on Precision Firearms which makes 6.5G stuff and is nearby. They're overloaded right now though, so don't interact with them for at least another year.

    Some caveats with the chambering: It'd probably be a good idea to get a barrel and BCG either together as a package or at least from the same manufacturer. The reason there is due to throat (parallel vs. compound) and headspacing differences. Sticking with SAAMI chamber will more closely match standard dies. I'll also definitely want an adjustable gas block here, since stock gas ports will almost always over-gas the system when suppressed (sticking to rifle length will probably help here a little).

    2021-08-03: Canceled my stock/grip order. If I do this, I had an idea to do a self-done Cerakote, probably in titanium blue, high gloss clear (after polishing), sniper grey (to match the suppressor), or gold (if I want to make an eyesore). Should just need the spray nozzle for it, since I already have an air compressor. Then switch to the cheap New Frontier Armory Gen 1 handguard. Can also get a raw aluminum buffer tube from Anderson. Will go with a Magpul UBR Gen 2 instead, Cerakoting the lower half.

  5. DONE get spare 80% lower
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-20 Tue 10:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-09 Fri 18:59]

    Since I'm keeping this, I'll use the opportunity to get the spare billet lower I was thinking about getting anyway. Looks like regulations around these will change soon, so it's probably now or never. Might lazily get around to buying an LPK for it too, but will hold off on that for now since I may also just swap the parts from my current lower into this one.

    Thingy gotted. Will use as a office desk decoration for now.

    2021-05-20: Also grabbed a raw 6061 in case I want to do custom color Duracoat.

  6. DONE get holster for P80
    • State "DONE" from "TODO" [2021-05-11 Tue 21:33]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-29 Mon 22:16]

    Since this is a keep-forever firearm, might as well get an OWB holster for it. Do this after getting a weapon light for it, so I can get a holster that fits the full rig. Also want to do this before these go out of offering, since the P80 is likely a dead platform now.

    Considering the QVO OWB. See colors/overlays here:

    2021-03-29: Ordered the QVO OWB. Black kydex, TLR-7 shaped, desert night camo cotton overlay, and with threaded barrel cut.

    2021-05-11: Received. Fit seems perfect.

  7. DONE consign .22 rolling block
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-07 Sat 13:16]
    • State "STRT" from "BLCK" [2021-08-05 Thu 10:48]
    • State "BLCK" from "STRT" [2020-10-17 Sat 15:18]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-10-17 Sat 10:30]

    Consign this to replace it with a more useful and accurate .22 rifle, probably a bolt action. Considering Cooper, Remington, or CZ for the replacement, but might also consider a used one.

    2020-10-17: Consigned. Check back on this in a couple months. Consignment sheet is in living room desk (top left drawer).

    2021-03-06: Checked on this and it's still sitting there. Will check back in another 5-6 months or so. Will hold off on getting new .22 until this is resolved, since I might end up taking it back if nothing happens.

    2021-08-05: Called and confirmed as sold. Will go pick up the check tomorrow.

    2021-08-07: Done. Got cash, so saved a trip to the bank.

  8. DONE get new .22 rifle
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-07 Sat 13:17]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-06 Fri 18:01]

    Maybe order a CZ 457 American, which is a dedicated scope rifle. Will hold off on this a bit in case I want to try 3D printing a 10/22 receiver.

    Decided to get a used Cooper 57-M Jackson Squirrel. This one is in near perfect condition and has some nice upgrades, particularly the wood and fluted barrel. Has Leupold bases, so got some 1" rings for it. Will use Vortex on it until I decide whether to upgrade the scope or not. Cost was $27xx.

  9. DONE setup Jackson Squirrel
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-07 Sat 23:48]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-07 Sat 21:18]

    Mount scope and install sling swivels and sling. Also needs a thorough cleaning, since it was probably fondled extensively in the shop.

    Done. Now ready for sight in.

  10. DONE ponder black powder setup
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-09 Mon 08:46]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-04 Wed 04:11]

    Consider getting a black powder pistol or rifle for a side hobby. Won't do anything with this until finished with current job, leaving it as a queued up hobby as I'll have more free time then. Leaning towards single shot pistol, since I won't use it much. Might also consider a rifle as a wall hanger though. Not sure if I'd enjoy this, but it's relatively inexpensive.


    • Compliments A-'s leather crafting. Can make holster, possibles bag, etc.
    • Backyard ranges are good for muzzleloaders.
    • Can leave out of the safe, since not a firearm or generally dangerous if uncapped.


    • Requires owning more accessories not useful for much else.
    • Cleaning is a hassle.
    • Percussion caps won't be available any time soon, probably years.
    • Probably could use the same energy for load dev of normal firearms.

    Considered buying a new Le Page, but the cost there is prohibitive given the interest level. Going too fancy on dirty BP doesn't make sense anyway. Instead, I'll throw the occasional lowball bid on auctions and see if I can do it on the cheap. Targeting a T/C Hawken, T/C Patriot, or other modern reproduction single shot pistol, but above the quality level of the cheaper imports. Flintlock might be okay if a Hawken. Caliber .45 or .50. If I snag one, I'll get the absolute minimum later to get it running, then decide whether to stick with it or sell. Might hold off for awhile, just to be sure. My cartridge firearms collection refactor is making that side of things more usable, so maybe that's enough to keep me busy.

  11. DONE sight in Jackson Squirrel
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-09 Mon 21:11]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-09 Mon 18:25]

    Dial this in at 50 yd. Standard velocity ammo should be -5.5" at 100 yd if zeroed at 50. Will see what kind of groups I can get with bulk and Stingers, and maybe pick up a few boxes of match grade once its back in stock.

    Sighted in with American Eagle bulk, for now. Looks like the different ammo types pattern completely differently, so will have to pick a type and stick with it. Will do some offhand shooting next time, then another bench session to get more group data.

  12. CNCL get working Gunbroker account
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-08-12 Thu 13:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-12 Thu 13:37]

    If I ever want a T/C Patriot without buying a multi-item lot, I'll likely need one of these. Old account is inaccessible due to using old ISP account.

    Requires uploading a photo of ID now. I'd rather not have that on file with some business, even a semi-respected one. So, I'll skip this. This was just in prep for maybe getting into BP, so might serve no purpose anyway.

  13. DONE ponder firearms collection
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-14 Sat 16:19]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-08 Sun 22:53]

    Plan is coming together nicely, but a few external parameters changed. Remaining decisions are what to do about most of the rifle side of the collection.

    Tentative plan, in order:

    • Lower active bids on BP items into almost sure lose category.
    • Cancel plans for 6.5 Grendel build.
    • Consign C96. Might just do so locally to save some effort, though if I do that, ask for online only for it so it doesn't get fondled in the shop. Print out a description for their listing.
    • Order a Cooper Model 21 in 300 BLK. See new task for details. Officially cancel my Dakota order at this time.
    • By the time the above is resolved, if Dakota is back online, get a Model 10 Mannlicher in .308, all standard options except threaded barrel. Get rings with this, but don't use (will keep for unlikely hunting use). Consign the No. 1 since this replaces that. If no Dakota resurrection occurs, either keep the No. 1 and do nothing, or consign that and replace with a modern bolt build, e.g., Christensen Ridgeline Titanium or BA Tactical. Will plan on keeping the No. 1 for now.
    • Consign Type 99, or keep. Could also use the safe slot to build out my DMR AR, which would be slightly more useful, though monetarily wasteful. Or, just get rid of this with no replacement for stuff reduction purposes. Probably will keep unless I want to get rid of the extra chambering.

    This keeps the collection count the same (10, which seems manageable) or one less. Still have a couple future decisions to make, but gets a lot closer to final form. Will think over this plan for a few months before ordering anything. Pretty sure this end state fills out the rifle roles needed: .22 for target and garden defense, .300 BLK for load dev and general use (in both scoped and red dot form), and a rarely-used .308 for larger stuff.

    In the distant future, I might want a flintlock wall-hanger (probably Pennsylvania rifle) and powder horn for the living room, but I'll wait until refurnishing/repainting is complete first. Could make a custom hanger board out of an on-property tree for that. I'm thinking I'll hold off on more practical BP until I decide for sure whether to do that.

    Will do another round of thinking next year once a few of these pending tasks are resolved.

  14. DONE test stripper clips on 7.7mm rounds
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-14 Sat 22:58]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-14 Sat 22:46]

    Noticed that it was possible to form 7.7x58mm brass from .30-06 or 8mm Mauser. So, had an idea that the stipper clips from one of those might work with this. Will test both, as I have several of each. If so, test in the Type 99.

    Hey, that worked. Will use the nicer brass Mauser ones if I ever take this out for a range session.

  15. DONE organize all AR parts
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-17 Tue 18:55]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-14 Sat 21:24]

    Currently mixed in with all other parts. One is usually in AR mode or not, so makes sense to separate. Will also help for stocking up a few small replacement parts and keeping them organized. Get a small footprint deep tote with lid for this stuff. While at it, will also get another for the fishing stuff and then repurpose the smaller one for Contender parts with a sub-box for random things.

    Might sell some spare parts on GAFS once I'm sure I won't need certain things.


    Reminder: Might want to get a spare Contender hinge pin (non-oversized) at some point.

  16. DONE consider scope for Jackson Squirrel
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-20 Fri 15:12]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-16 Mon 20:09]

    Might want to upgrade to the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm. Should clear the lens caps fine on this (the Vortex is 42mm, which is about 1mm too big), and the Leupold should be an objectively better scope, at least by a little. Also includes proper MOA hashes instead of AR BDC. If I get this, also get the Alumina lens caps.

    Decided to go ahead and get this. I almost certainly would've ended up doing so eventually anyway, so might as well not waste time tweaking the Vortex on it. Scope was $299 and caps were $82.94. Has a clearer image and more forgiving eye box. Also matches this rifle better aesthetically.

  17. DONE get coated one-piece cleaning rods
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-08-25 Wed 22:04]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-08-16 Mon 15:13]

    The multi-part steel one I currently have sucks pretty bad, often unscrewing while in use. I'm also a bit worried that it'll damage rifling in some of the nicer barrels. Will keep that as a travel/backup rod and get two of the Montana rods for starters, both in .22-.264 for now. One 36" and one 12". Later I might add the .270-50 sized ones if that seems worthwhile.

    Current rifle vise has a slot for holding a rod, so will just use that for now. Will probably build a wooden rifle vise at some point, complementing the niceness of this part of the room. I'll wait until I decide what cleaning parts I finalize on (particularly rods), since I'll want dedicated slots for each of them. Instead of the way the current vise does it, could drill holes for the rods. Hoping I can just get by with just these two rods though.

    2021-08-16: Ordered. Also will finally switch to cleaning jags instead of patch holders. Ordered jags for .224, 6.5mm, .308, and 9mm. Should save on patch use this way. Might still use patch holders for running solvent down the barrel. Added trigger pull gauge to order as well.

    2021-08-25: Got a few days prior, but unboxed now. Looks good. Will use for a year or so before deciding whether to get others.

  18. CNCL consider custom falling block
    • State "CNCL" from "BLCK" [2021-11-15 Mon 16:23]
    • State "BLCK" from "STRT" [2020-08-31 Mon 22:40]
    • State "STRT" from [2020-08-31 Mon 12:18]

    I'm pretty sure I'm settled on what my ultimate rifle would be. Dakota comes the closest to this with their Model 10. With a lead time of 15 months, I should probably order it sooner rather than later, despite not being on the original refactor plan. I'll work on making room for it in the meantime.

    2020-08-31: Ordered. Chambered in 300 BLK. Went with a 16.5" barrel, XXX wood (selected Claro, a darker wood with finer grain), 30mm Tally rings, metal buttplate, and threaded muzzle. All other options are completely base level. Express sights would've been nice, but decided to go scope-only due to having the AR for this purpose. Total is a bit under $6000. Paid a $200 deposit. Will think about scope options when closer to arrival. Will probably get a call when order is in. If so, inquire about the barrel thickness. There's some question about whether a light taper will be appropriate with the needed threading. I may want a heavier barrel anyway just for heat reasons.

    2021-08-06: Checked on rifle order. Looks like due to the Remington bankruptcy, all work stopped shortly after I placed this order. So, it hasn't even been started yet. Shop offered to give me my deposit back, but I'll hold off on it for a bit while I think about it. He thinks there's a reasonable chance work will resume at some point, but isn't sure. Since they didn't do anything with it yet, I'll think about what I might want to modify on the order, or maybe if I'd rather cancel it altogether. If they do start up again in the meantime, I'll get a call. One thing that sucks about this turn of events is I already bought 2 cases of Hornady Black to get baseline measurements with. Will still use it, but wouldn't have done so if I'd known.

    Some initial thoughts about options:

    • Cancel order altogether, then:
      • Do nothing.
      • Build out .300 BLK supersonic rifle from the 80% parts.
      • Build out 6.5 Grendel rifle from owned 80% parts.
      • Get a modern .308 bolt action, e.g. Christiansen Arms Mesa Titanium, or Fierce Carbon Edge.
    • Keep deposit and hope for a resurrection, then change order to:
      • Mannlicher in .308. All standard options, except add a threaded barrel. Then consign the No. 1, as this would replace that.
      • Another Classic build, all same as before, but in .308 and with 20" threaded barrel and metal butt plate. Maybe skip the upgraded wood in this case.

    Got plenty of time to think about it, so will do so for at least a couple months.

    Canceled order, replacing it with a Cooper Model 51. However, it does look like Dakota is back in business (currently under a new name due to trademark ownership issues). Will keep an eye on them to see what happens there, in case I want to replace the No. 1 with a Model 10 later.

  19. DONE sight in FF3 on AR
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-17 Wed 14:31]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-17 Wed 13:45]

    Aligned with the irons since this is a true co-witness setup, but need to confirm zero. Sight in at 50 yds with Hornady Black. Later, I'll chrono those through this barrel and work on duplicating it, since that'll be the starting baseline for this firearm.

    Seems perfect or at least very close now. Will put it on paper again next time I have it out to confirm. A few rounds did go super-sonic though, so I think it's right on the edge at this elevation. Will have to dial my custom load back just slightly.

  20. DONE sight in Contender 300 BLK scope
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-17 Wed 15:34]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-17 Wed 14:40]

    Looked it up and apparently drop on a 1050 fps sub is ~16" at 100 yds. Probably will do a 25 yd zero on 8.5gr WIN296 first, then a ladder on 200 gr SMKs to get the FPS up a tiny bit, and just under super.

    2020-10-18: Made 20 sighter rounds, but forgot to chamfer the case mouths so they have slightly shaved jackets past seating depth. Will go ahead and use these at 25yds and then do another sight-in session.

    2020-10-23: Thought about this some. I think I'll stick with a scope on this Contender barrel and switch the AR to the FastFire (will need mount). Then when I get the Model 10, I'll either leave this on or switch back to a red dot, probably using the MatchDot again.

    2021-08-10: New plan: sight in at 50 yds using Hornady Black, since I got 2 cases of that. Will do the same as with the AR, and zero it for that then do a first standardized load that is slightly under its FPS.

    2021-11-17: Zeroed in. This barrel seems to group very well if I do my part.

  21. DONE get suppressor cover
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-02 Thu 19:29]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-26 Fri 10:58]

    Order a black one of these for general use and aesthetics. Wait until on sale for $48.

    2021-11-26: Ordered black one to match AR and Model 51. Will probably not use for Contender.

    2021-12-02: Received. Looks good, but like the other stuff from this company, probably isn't worth the price.

2.10.18. [5/5] do 2021 handloading tasks

Won't even bother trying to stock up on primers or other shortage items this year. But, there's a few things I can still do.

  1. CNCL clean up 9mm dies
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-04-11 Sun 13:45]

    Got a set of Lee from neighbor. Inspect and clean these up to see if they'll be usable. Also cleanup the auto-primer he added recently.

    After looking at these a bit, they're pretty trashed. Probably will just toss them or create a box of reloading stuff for auction. Decided to order a Hornady die set instead.

  2. CNCL check out free turret press
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-04-11 Sun 13:47]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-10 Tue 18:03]

    Neighbor gave me a free Lee turret that he didn't want. Looks a little neglected at first glance. Will check this out and see if I want to use this as a decapping press or maybe set it up for just 9mm.

    2020-11-10: Arm was stiff, but got it cleaned up and running smooth. Looks like it's missing the primer feeder arm.

    2020-11-12: Ultrasonic cleaned some of the parts.

    2021-04-11: Decided to bail on this effort and make a box of reloading junk to go to auction. Or, I'll just trash it since it's pretty close to trash.

  3. DONE get 9mm die set
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-20 Tue 10:27]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-11 Sun 13:46]

    Order a new set of Hornady 9mm dies and extended shellholder. Doing this instead of keeping the junk dies I got for free. Don't have any pistol primers though, so just hang onto it for now.

    2021-04-11: Ordered. Also got a 50rd Frankford hinge-top box for 9mm, extended shellholder, and a copy of the latest Nosler guide.

    2021-04-20: Received. Can't do anything with this until brass, powders, and primers are back in stock though.

  4. DONE load up more 300 BLK subs
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-20 Tue 23:27]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-20 Tue 20:55]

    Need a batch of 15 or so for FF3 sight-in. Do 8.5gr WIN 296 with 200gr SMKs.

    Had 17 new brass primed from last year, and I'm pretty sure I full-length sized them. I suspect the Starline zinc-plated brass is a little prone to shave jackets, or at least this batch is. Loaded these up anyway, since it's just for a red dot sight-in. Will shelve this brass unless I end up low later.

  5. DONE fix rifle plate
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-19 Fri 13:24]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-19 Fri 11:53]

    Broke one of the wires for this while testing the AR after sight-in. Double up the wiring on the broken end. Will do the same on the other side when/if that breaks too. I suspect that's likely eventually, since if a 300BLK round broke it, a .308 definitely will.


2.11. personal improvement/maintenance

2.11.1. DONE do 2020 taxes

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-03-24 Wed 14:04]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-03-24 Wed 12:13]

Looks like the government still exists, so maybe do this mid-Feb.

Done. Federal accepted within a few hours and state a few hours later.

2.11.2. DONE get eyeball exam

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-16 Fri 17:47]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-16 Fri 12:47]

Check if prescription is that same. Appointment is at a Lasik place, so inquire about that.

Scheduled for 2021-04-16 1350. Bring current prescription paperwork along, since this is a new provider. Tracking details in

Didn't get new contacts since I've got a Lasik screening appointment setup in 3 weeks.

2.11.3. CNCL switch to mono-outfit wardrobe

  • State "CNCL" from "INAC" [2021-04-17 Sat 21:00]

There's other names for this concept and variations of it, but for me it means wearing the same outfit every day (with variations only for weather). Ensure all clothing has no visible brand labels or other printing.

This concept appeals to me for these reasons:

  • Brain clock cycles are freed up from having to decide what to wear every day.
  • Every article of clothing owned will actually be worn regularly and it's easy to tell when short on something.
  • The overall amount of clothes owned is significantly reduced. There are no situation-specific outfits.
  • With a varied wardrobe, one has to invest an amount of time into finding every individual article. That cost is only paid once in a mono-outfit wardrobe.
  • Human clothing is a solved problem. Absent the invention of some kind of actually useful and affordable smart clothing, there's no point in trying to dedicate time/energy towards a problem that doesn't exist. Purchasing all kinds of clothing variations is just cosplay at best.

What about costume-required events/places? My opinion here is that if something requires a specific costume that plain shirt+pants don't qualify for, then it's probably not worth attending anyway.

Grabbed a few things as part of this plan, but I'll focus on it at some point.


  • [X] Gloves: Bought a huge pack of rubber-dipped cloth gloves for outside. Will keep my leather gloves for driving.
  • [X] 20 boxers: Went with Ex-Officio.
  • [X] 8-10 black polo shirts: I have about 5 unopened and 3-4 older ones.
  • [X] 4-5 gray long-sleeve t-shirts: Have 5.
  • [X] Rain jacket: Got a 5.11 one.
  • [X] Waterproof boots: Got a pair of LL Bean ones and filed the unsightly logo away in back. Maybe grab another pair and/or some shorter ones.
  • [ ] 10 pairs more normal socks, 5 winter. I like the Allen Edmonds variety. These are very expensive though, so wait for a sale and stock up.
  • [ ] 16 plain black t-shirts: Have about 6 so far.
  • [ ] 10 jeans: I like the 5'11" ones, but I'm waiting to see if I can lose another pants size first.
  • [ ] Organize collection: Put clothes to wear out first in separate drawers.
  • [ ] (Optional) 2-3 dress shirts:

2018-10-17: Refactored this slightly. Changes account for new life situation. Most importantly, I do have use for outside clothing and cold weather gear.

2021-04-17: Already doing mono-outfit, and have been for many years. However, decided to split up the remaining execution here. Will still do this plan, but will tackle one clothing item at a time. Will also add a cold weather working jacket for deep winter use. Also need at least one backup pair of boots.

2.11.4. DONE try out wrist brace

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-22 Thu 12:39]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-15 Thu 09:40]

Got what I think is RSI in the left wrist. Get a reinforced brace for just that hand. My hypothesis is that typing on a standard keyboard requires rotating the wrist outward while the arm faces inward. A brace then would enforce a strait wrist. Will try wearing it for a month or so to see if that helps any. Might also wear it when doing work outside.

2021-04-16: Been using a spare one laying around for a couple days and this does help. In fact, all wrist pain is gone. Might get one for the left wrist too if the one I ordered works out. No real pain there, but I can feel a little strain on the tendons. Might also consider a handshoe mouse for the work computer too.

2021-04-20: Got the full-sized one I ordered. This one has a metal insert in it, which I thought was going to be on the back, but is on the underside. Will try for a few days. It doesn't brace the back of the hand like the other one, but does go further up the wrist.

2021-04-22: New one is okay, but not for long usage sessions due to the way the thumb is positioned. Will just stick with the older one for normal use. Wearing these for a few days made my general wrist pain go away, making me think it just needed a break from typing to heal up. Will put one of these on whenever I'm about to start a long coding session from now on.

2.11.5. DONE get dental cleaning

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-04-22 Thu 12:42]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-22 Thu 09:15]

Scheduled for 2021-04-22 1000.

Done. Next scheduled for 2022-01-03 1100.

2.11.6. CNCL get LASIK eye surgery

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2021-06-27 Sun 12:46]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-04-16 Fri 17:48]

Cost for both eyeballs should be under $4500. LASIK is always a dice roll, but one I should probably do being effectively blind at distance without lenses. I'd been meaning to do this for many years, but I'm glad I waited until now, since my prescription seems to have leveled out some. Even if this goes perfect, I'll probably still need lenses again in the future, but at least I'll still be able to do stuff without them.

2021-04-16: Screening appointment scheduled for 2021-05-07 1420. Will do this at semi-local place to save some cash, inconvenience, and travel time. Have to wear only glasses until then. Researched this type (iLASIK), and it seems like a good variant with less room for human error. Hard to say for sure though, since there's mostly just marketing info out there.


  • Once I get a date for the procedure, top off all lawn mowing the day before, along with any other outside work.
  • Check for plan discounts on service. Sometimes they give 10-15%.
  • Use up old HSA account paying for this first.
  • Pay for remainder with new HSA account. Then log into it afterwards and invest remainder in something.

2021-05-07: Rescheduled for 2021-05-17 1415, meaning another 10 days of glasses wearing.

2021-05-17: Got measurements. I can get LASIK, but there's chance I'll not get perfect 20/20 from the procedure. However, I could instead get refractive lens exchange. Analysis:


  • Won't need any kind of corrective eyewear, including reading glasses, for the rest of my life.
  • Handles all distances.
  • Full independence from consumable eye care products.
  • Price includes LASIK touch-ups in the event of vision loss due to future changes in cornea geometry.


  • Much more expensive. Quote is for $14k, which seems about average.
  • Small risk of issues, probably about the same as LASIK.
  • Similar loss of night vision to LASIK.
  • Much more involved procedure, requiring multiple surgeries.
  • Will be out of commission for a few days for healing.

Will research RLE more extensively for a day or two, then decide what to do.

2021-06-27: Canceling, since I'll probably go for RFE.

2.11.7. DONE get dental cleaning

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-10-28 Thu 16:55]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-27 Wed 09:16]

Originally scheduled 9 months out, but will do this early since I'm probably resigning. Scheduled for 2021-10-28 0800. Order 3 retainers while there.

Good until next time, schedule for 2022-07-11 0800. Ordered retainers. Potential issue with my crown, which I'll keep an eye on and call back about if it gets worse or doesn't go away.

2.11.8. CNCL change HSA deduction

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-11-04 Thu 12:46]

Accumulated way more cash than needed here. Turn it down to a $200/mo or so.

Decided to resign from job, so don't need to do this.

2.11.9. DONE get refractive lens exchange

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-11 Thu 15:50]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-30 Wed 11:20]

Get this procedure done, which should solve all vision problems (with a few trade-offs, see LASIK task for cost/benefit analysis). Will do a final scan of related abstracts on PubMed before committing. Will cost $14k.

2021-06-30: Consultation scheduled for 2021-08-06 1500. This doesn't include measurements, which will be afterwards, so can continue wearing contacts until this time.

2021-08-06: Proceeding with procedure. Have many steps to take for doing so, which I need to sort out. Create a schedule for this, and make sure nothing else is going on in the meantime. Might want to call in to confirm all steps.

2021-08-30: Retina checkup complete. Go on that front.

2021-09-01: Pre-op exam complete. Pretty simple, but Urgent Care center wait line sucks pretty bad. Might go back there later to get a general blood test once cuck-muzzles aren't required.

2021-09-03: Increased credit limit to $10k so I can be sure to cover it and get cash back. Will call and lower it again afterwards.

2021-09-08: Prescription is now available. Did pre-op call. Don't eat day of operation. Drinking water is okay. Call 540-667-5535 when I arrive at the surgery center (which is on the right on Amherst St., before Walgreens). Also went in for final measurements and paid the first part of the bill.

2021-09-10: Arrival time for surgery is 0730.

2021-09-13: Left eye lens installed. A mildly unpleasant experience, but mine seemed to go okay. Post-op is next day at 1320.

2021-09-24: Arrival time for 2nd surgery is 1125. Follow-up is a 0905.

2021-09-28: Right eye lens installed.

2021-11-11: Had a few more follow-up visits with the final on this day. Overall, I'd say this was a full success. One thing I do have to watch for is if the new lenses get cloudy due to internal growth around them. If that happens, they can be removed and cleaned. The product I have in my eyeballs Tecnics toric IOL, 3-optometric version. Still got a 3 and 6 month follow-up, but since everything looks like it went perfect, calling this done.

2.11.10. DONE fix probable infection on crown tooth

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-11-21 Sun 15:41]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-11-12 Fri 17:44]

Went in on 2021-11-11 and updated that this didn't go away on its own. Got prescription for antibiotics course.

2021-11-21: Finished course of antibiotics. Seems to have helped, but is still kinda there a little. Will call this done unless it persists or gets worse. Hopefully, it'll go away completely in a few weeks.

2.11.11. DONE merge 401k into existing IRA

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-12-22 Wed 14:07]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-12-06 Mon 11:47]

Will transfer into my older IRA. If this goes well, I might consolidate them all at some point.

2021-12-06: Coordinated on both ends. Check back in a week to confirm this worked.

2021-12-16: Well, the transfer went through, but they left a couple hundred there for some reason. Will have them send that as a check.

2021-12-22: They claim to have also sent this to the same destination. I'll just assume that one went over okay.

3. Project List (2020)

3.1. programming languages

3.1.1. [15/15] attain Clojure mastery

Clojure is the ideal merger of practical and functional. My functional programming career is almost exclusively Clojure, so maximize mastery of this language.

Done. I do feel awesome at Clojure now, and the algorithms flow forth naturally. Complex systems are easy to model once I come up with a functional abstraction for them, which Clojure also makes easy. Supplemental studying has been necessary, but most of it came from simply writing and designing systems.

  1. DONE bump CIDER version
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-08 Wed 01:41]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-08 Wed 01:11]

    New version out. While doing this, make sure all dev tools and workflow function perfectly.

    Upgraded CIDER from 0.21 to 0.23. cider-nrepl 0.23 isn't out yet, so upgraded to 0.22.4. Upgraded a few other addons while at it, but didn't do a full upgrade due to some bugs in one.

  2. DONE read Elements of Clojure
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-04-15 Wed 12:23]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-02-29 Sat 01:07]

    A 2019 book about software design for programmers who already know Clojure. Supposedly quite good. Purchased hard copy.

    Great book. A bit thin at only 109 pages and a little disjointed, but has a lot of good ideas in it. I wish there were more Clojure books like this–ones more focused on theory than the mechanics of the language.

  3. CNCL consider Datomic

    Only have some high level context here, mostly picked up by osmosis.

    Thought I might need this soon, but didn't. Skipping for now, since I doubt I'll retain the details without using it.

  4. DONE read The Ultimate Guide To Clojure REPLs
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-09 Sat 23:32]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-04-14 Tue 21:47]

    Looks like a good guide to fill in any blanks regarding REPLs.


    • java -jar clojure-x.x.x.jar will start a bare REPL, though this doesn't work on versions >1.8 (probably needs extra JARs on classpath).
    • clojure.repl/dir will list public vars in a namespace.
    • The rlwrap utility can be used to get readline support on a bare REPL. The difference between the clj and clojure binaries are that the former includes rlwrap.
  5. DONE learn babashka
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-31 Sun 23:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-31 Sun 15:29]

    A Clojure scripting environment and complement to a shell. Will consider as a replacement for shell scripts.

    Done. Looks like this uses sci (small Clojure interpreter) instead of the JVM and installs a bb command. Available via the AUR. This can be used on the CLI for piping into expressions or for standalone scripts.

    Definitely useful. Will do all future shell work this way. Only downside is arbitrary Clojure libraries can't be required (technically possible, but only for a few), but a decent selection of them are built-in. If more functionality is needed, a full Clojure app is probably what I'd want anyway. Might also use this for work, but probably not due to prod environment constraints.


    • Install with: yay -S aur/babashka-bin
    • For piping, refer to *input*, paired with the -i flag to bind it:

      ls -1 | bb '(for [s *input*] (first s))'
    • Can add predefined functions by defining BABASHKA_PRELOADS env var. This can also be loaded from a .clj file.
    • Hashbang scripts with: #!/usr/bin/env bb
    • sci might be a good option for embedded REPLs.
  6. DONE try out Calva
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-01 Mon 08:45]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-01 Mon 02:03]

    Might need this for REPLs when rarely on the work production environment. vscode is already installed via scoop. Hopefully that setup is only temporary, so don't spend much time on this.

    Done. I think I can get stuff done here now. Will add notes here if/when I actually try using this to do any real work. Seems okay from using it a bit, I guess.


    • Install by clicking Extensions button in lower left. Enter calva in search box. Close Extensions window by clicking button again.
    • For a running REPL: Hit C-M-p to bring up the command prompt. Type Connect to a Running REPL.
    • jack-in: C-M-c C-M-j
    • Right clicking a buffer in the project, once Calva's loaded, gives options like switching to namespace and loading file.
  7. DONE consider defn-spec
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-10 Wed 00:00]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-09 Tue 23:25]

    Wraps defn, adding optional checking of arguments and return values.

    Considered. Just an experimental idea, but a good one, I think. I could see this actually being useful right now for a public-facing API. Not sure why you'd turn this off in production though. Mentally file this in the solutions bucket. An alternative to this, of the same name:

    If I want a non-3rd party approach, there's also clojure.spec.alpha/fdef, which I think mostly does the same thing as this, with the downside of having to declare your spec separate and call clojure.spec.test.alpha/instrument, being sure to do so before any fdef-ed functions are called.

    Another option is:

    Side note: Talked to some people who say you can leave defn spec instrumentation on in production with no consequences, performance or otherwise.

  8. DONE consider specter
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-10 Wed 15:29]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-10 Wed 15:26]

    A library for manipulation of deep, nested structures in a unified and performance-optimized way. Seemed promising when it came out, but never gained a lot of traction, or at least as much as I thought it would.

    Checked this out. Looks like this project is still active. Seems like a pretty clean implementation of a library for doing such things. Some of these operations can be done using algo.generic.functor/fmap, and I've done them cleanly using that. However, if your program's domain is a lot of deeply nested data structures, this will scale better as tree depth grows.

  9. DONE consider core.reducers
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-10 Wed 19:15]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-10 Wed 19:06]

    Read up on the reducers library and know when to use them. Check here and in the linked blog articles.

    Considered. This auto-parallelizes the work into n (default 512) element groups. fold can take a reducer and combinef functions. Both should have 0 argument versions that produce an identity element. The core.reducers namespace also provides various analogues to the standard sequence functions (e.g. map, filter, etc.).

    Use core.reducers/fold when data and/or the amount of computation to be done is large. Don't use this in normal places, due to the extra syntax of having to define multi-arity functions.

  10. DONE learn clojure.spec
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-11 Thu 22:45]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-10 Wed 21:48]

    I'd been putting this off due to claims that it was going to undergo a fundamental revamp to address a few capability gaps. Unknown if that will ever actually happen though, since it seems to be perpetually in alpha. Despite this, it's near ubiquitous in the Clojure world and I'm also using it for work now. A good balance might be to go deep on it, while avoiding the ancillary use cases (e.g. property-based testing). Read the official guide.

    Done. Created a project src/clojure/test-bed for this and some future testing. Knew some of this, but never internalized it. I think I've got it now. Some notes are there, but the main conceptual highlights are:

    • Predicate specs are any single argument truth function. Check if one holds against a value with s/conform (returns identity or :s/invalid), or s/valid? (returns boolean).
    • Registry: A global repository of reusable specs. Use s/def to create these with namespaced keywords, e.g., (s/def ::date inst?). Since this is namespace-qualified, you can refer to it in a different ns with :<ns>/date.
    • Compose predicates with s/and and s/or. Choices in s/or can be named with keywords, and s/conform will return the conforming branch.
    • To allow nils, wrap a predicate in s/nilable.
    • s/explain will output to stdout why a spec doesn't conform to a value. explain-data is probably more useful, since it returns a map of the same.
    • Build up a map checking spec with something like:

      (s/def ::name string?)
      (s/def ::age pos?)
      (s/def ::grade int?)
      ;; :req-un/:opt-un aren't namespace qualified, unlike :req/:opt.
      (s/def ::person (s/keys :req-un [::name ::age]
                              :opt-un [::grade]))
      ;; Check conformance.
      (s/valid? ::person {:name "gary"
                          :age 12})
    • Compose entity maps with s/merge.
    • Use s/multi-spec to dispatch off a multimethod.
    • Some other useful helper functions:
      • s/coll-of: Check if predicate holds for all elements in collection. Includes various keyword modifiers for different properties, like count.
      • s/map-of: Similar to s/coll-of, but for maps.
      • s/every, s/every-kv.
      • s/tuple: Checks predicates against a vector of fixed size, in order.
      • s/cat: Checks sequence of predicates against sequence.
      • s/*, s/+, s/?: Occurrence operators against sequences.
      • s/spec: Useful for wrapping occurrence operators in nested specs.
    • spec can be used in :pre and :post defn conditionals, or instrument with s/fdef.
  11. DONE learn transducers
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-12 Fri 09:07]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-11 Thu 23:08]

    Refresh and completely fill in knowledge of transducers. At least read all of the official guide.

    Done. I like these more than I initially did, where I thought they were mainly just for core.async, introduced needless overhead in execution order vs. normal function composition, and over-hyped at release. The latter is still true, but they are a worthwhile language feature and cover a gap. However, the gap itself is smaller than it could be, due to only being able to get the benefits in reducer form. I feel a comprehensive solution would've allowed for proper currying and being able to do things like ((comp (map inc) (filter odd?)) (range 5)) and get results instead of a function object back, and have it work on infinite seqs.


    • Transducers, or xforms, take reducing functions and produce reducing functions.
    • Compose into a single computational transform that doesn't create intermediate sequences between operations. Possibly large performance benefits.
    • Transducers are eager, realizing sequences. Don't use on infinite streams as a result.
    • Composing transducers with comp performs operations is the order composed (the opposite of comp against normal functions).
    • Use an xform as a reducer with transduce, build a collection with one with (into [] xform (range 5)), or a sequence with (sequence xform (range 5)).
    • Eduction is applying a transducer to a coll, returning a function object, which can then be passed to reduce.

      (def iter (eduction xf (range 5)))
      (reduce + 0 iter)
    • Use (into coll (map f) xs) instead of (into coll (map f xs)). This is a good idiom for defining transformations as transducers, then applying them later or somewhere else.
  12. DONE relearn hiccup
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-12 Fri 09:23]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-12 Fri 09:17]

    Previously lightly used, but might be worth a closer look. Renders data structures in HTML. Also can do interesting things with zippers.

    Can't think of any near-future need here, so just gave a cursory look.

    Done. This defines a morphism of Clojure vectors and maps to HTML elements and attributes, respectively. Recognizes various keywords for special forms, like CSS. Probably pretty close to optimal for this task, though probably not needed if your web solution just consumes EDN from an API. With ClojureScript it's probably quite essential.

  13. DONE learn clj-kondo
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-03 Wed 14:02]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-03 Wed 12:57]

    Consider switching to this and deprecating kibit and eastwood. Already installed via scoop on Windows. clj-kondo, among other benefits, also is the only linter that does cljs, making it a good candidate for standardizing on.

    Done. Looks like this can be run against classpaths or files, or as integrated into Emacs with package flycheck-clj-kondo. Added Linux setup to Installed to ~/bin. It's also possible to lint a project with clj-kondo --lint <project src dir>.

    Added flycheck-clj-kondo to ~/.emacs.d/init.el. Deprecated custom kibit setup. clj-kondo has some additional features over kibit and flycheck there works with non-lein projects, at the cost of a user or system application install. Removed eastwood and kibit from ~/.lein/profiles.clj.

    Note that I couldn't get the binary install working on Raspbian. Might want to try building it myself if I ever need it there. Also might want to read more of the docs later if I need additional functionality.

  14. CNCL consider test.check
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-12 Fri 09:25]

    The Clojure implementation of QuickCheck, the currently ultimate test library for generative testing (also called property-based testing) and an alternative to the standard example-based testing. Note that double-check is a cljs port of the same thing that I may want to check out later.

    Example of use:

    Skipping until I have a need for this. Strangely, it seems like generative testing hype has died down in Clojure lately. Maybe normal tests + spec are enough and/or writing and maintaining these turned out to be too much hassle. I still like the idea, but only in specific cases, like for testing an algebraic structure.

  15. DONE research uncommonly used core language features

    Read a bit more on these core language topics. I kind of know these and some I've used occasionally, but don't have a deep intuition for. Review: reify, refs, agents, futures, promises, records, protocols.

    Done. Some comments on each:

    • reify: Terrible docstring. ClojureDocs has sensible examples. Call this against an interface or protocol. A constructor for objects without defining a type.
    • refs: Auto-derefs when used as a function. Coordinated, synchronous. Not common, but maybe useful when two things want to coordinate change.
    • agents: Asynchronous. Not much reason to use these. Probably can just use an atom here. Has a queue that accepts functions and sets value of the agent to the new value from the function.
    • futures: Good for offloading something to another thread. Deref when result needed. A good match for doing I/O waits in parallel.
    • promises: Calling promise creates an object that will block on deref until something calls deliver against it.
    • records: Don't have the syntax memorized, but I think I'm good here.
    • protocols: defprotocol defines the function signatures that a record or extend-protocol can implement.

3.1.2. [2/2] listen to Clojure and Haskell podcasts

Another attempt to maximize utility of time otherwise wasted while driving or farming in MMOs.

Done. Didn't really learn too much. Will ignore podcasts until I'm stuck with a lot of regular driving again, which will hopefully be never. Same goes for MMOs. Once they get dull enough that I don't have to pay attention to them, I should quit. For many, that'll mean never playing them, which is also a good idea.

  1. DONE listen to LambdaCast (podcast)
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-04-16 Thu 09:39]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2019-11-21 Thu 00:24]

    A podcast about functional programming concepts. Topic selection looks good. On SoundCloud, so will have to find a way to download mp3s from there.

    Mostly done. Listening to a selected subset of these. This is an okay podcast and doesn't do anything particularly wrong or annoying.

    Canceled. Had a few selected episodes to go, but skipping the rest due to not playing mindless games for the past several months. I'll revisit if I start working on leveling my Lineage character again, though I seem to have lost interest in doing that.

  2. CNCL listen to remaining The REPL (podcast) episodes
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-04-16 Thu 09:39]

    Already listened to up to episode 20, excluding the ones that looked boring. Get caught up to the current date.

    Host is a bit annoying to listen to, but there are a few good episodes, interspersed between the filler.

    Canceled due to lack of driving time.

3.1.3. [7/7] modernize JavaScript knowledge

There is some practicality to maintaining some basic knowledge of JS, due to it being ever more important. That trend is likely to continue. I have no intentions of trying to make money in the JS ecosystem though, so limit exposure to that which might be useful in ClojureScript or other front end languages that are more palatable.

Canceling this entire effort. Though not a crazy idea and pretty minimal here, still cutting it to focus on more important things. Will do one of the following:

  • Never do anything like this ever.
  • Consider doing some of the absolute bare minimum of this for JS alternatives.
  1. CNCL read Understanding ECMAScript 6: The Definitive Guide for JavaScript Developers
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-03 Wed 15:28]

    Come up with a selected topics plan for this. The goal is just to get familiar with the newer features in modern JavaScript. I'll take some notes and use those to refresh my memory when/if needed.

    ES 10 is out now, making this book less relevant. Plus, I'm pretty sure I can just scan the language features of current ES when/if needed and understand them. Hopefully, it'll never even come to that and I can live the rest of my life in glorious ignorance of them.

  2. CNCL read Learning React: Functional Web Development with React and Flux
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:30]

    Will just read this enough to get a basic site with some components up. Might supplement with some tutorials. Once I'm semi-comfortable here, I'll move on to ClojureScript.

    Canceled all JavaScript tasks.

  3. CNCL read Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:33]

    Recommended as a good programming intro. Could possibly use it as a reintroduction text for refreshing JavaScript knowledge. If I manage to feel pretty good about the language prior to reading this book, I'll skip it.

    Canceled all JavaScript tasks.

  4. CNCL learn Webpack
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 11:13]

    A JavaScript bundler and dependency manager. Also has many other features, including transpiling (most notably allowing one to code in ES6 and transpile to ES5) and development deployments. Setup a sample project. Might consider this for my own site use, though I'd rather defer this to use ClojureScript.

    Skipping on this for these reasons:

    • Already created a sample project.
    • There's some cases where I might need to make one of these. I can just muddle through it, I think.
    • I recently reviewed all of my technical efforts, and fussing with tools like this are a real productivity drain on my life. I'd like to keep them out of it as a result.
    • The webpack team has gotten all political lately, so I'd rather minimize any interaction with anything they're up to. A minor point, but still a factor.
  5. CNCL try out Indium
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-10 Wed 15:09]

    Looks like it might be the current best for integrated JavaScript development.

    Canceled until I have a need. Seems like while this is the best major mode for JS, there are some quirks to it in its current state. So, I'd rather not pull it in prematurely.

  6. CNCL consider Tern
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-10 Wed 15:11]

    Looks like this provides a ton of JavaScript features for Emacs. Also has an AngularJS plugin.

    Also, see this for jumping to function code, and maybe these notes on completion and refactoring.

    Canceled due to not writing JavaScript or Angular. I know a little about Angular now too, and would rather avoid it.

  7. CNCL integrate ESLint
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-12 Fri 09:51]

    Replaces JSLint. Installed via npm. Will only look into this if I bother getting one of the thicker JavaScript packages up and running in Emacs.

    Skipping for now. Already have some lightweight linting built into Emacs, which is good enough for the 1 or 2 JS files I open every year.

3.1.4. [7/7] close remaining Clojure knowledge gaps

A roundup of miscellaneous Clojure-related self-education.

  1. DONE read A History of Clojure (paper)
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-09 Tue 00:30]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-05 Fri 19:45]

    A paper by Rich Hickey from 2020-06 on the history of the language.

    Finished. A great read. Covers a lot of the motivation and intention behind various language features. How certain features are used in practice is not exactly mapped to original intent.

    A few things learned:

    • There's actually two internal map implementations. These are chosen from dynamically based on size.
    • An arbitrary metadata map can be stored on any symbol with with-meta and later retrieved with meta. Type hinting ends up in here too.
    • ^ is a reader macro for setting metadata. ^{:a "b"} [1] is the same as (with-meta [1] ^{:a "b"}). If used with a symbol, the value goes to :tag (which is used by type-hinting), and keywords are used as map keys with a value of true.
    • == can be used for type-independent numerical equality.
    • java.util.Collections static methods work on Clojure collections.
  2. DONE read Clojure Applied: From Practice to Practitioner
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-22 Mon 11:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-12 Fri 14:23]

    A 2015 mid-level Clojure book, focused on architecture and composable systems design. Focuses on some library specifics that may not last, but otherwise looks like a good chance to sanity-check a lot of my self-learned design. Supposedly favors records over maps for domain entities, something I generally disagree with. I'm open to being persuaded otherwise, however.

    Unless something truly exceptional comes along, I'm also making this the last Clojure book about the language itself that I seriously read.

    Done. A lot of this is decent, but there are caveats. A good half of the content here is very prescriptive, perhaps too much so. This is more of a record-centric and mechanistic perspective on designing with the language. A lot of problems can/should be approached this way, and my take is these suggestions are a subset of how one could legitimately do that. If that's what one wants, then this book is perfect. However, I can see this approach to Clojure programming being a bit myopic, with the biggest concern being records vs. maps (addressed below), but also a lot of other things. Actually reading this was a bit dull too, but that could be a result of Clojure book fatigue on my part.


    • A :type field in all domain entities within a system is a useful idiom to standardize upon, being useful for dispatch. My opinion here is only include it when you're actually going to be sending entities through a dispatch. Most times, a specific program part can know what data it's looking at.
    • A good case is made for records here, namely performance, dispatch, type hinting, and allowing implementation of interfaces/protocols. I do agree with the caveat that these should be internal and never exposed via an API.

      This is a big deal for this book. If you don't agree with defaulting to records, a lot of the content here becomes at best only useful in certain conditions.

      My counterargument against records being default:

      • A library would have a much simpler implementation with maps everywhere without converting back and forth and dealing with two data interfaces. Also, you might want to expose an API but allow for select internals to be manipulated/redefined.
      • A defmulti that would work against maps won't work against records without an implementation, e.g., using algo.generic would be tedious.
      • Records, defmultis, and generators everywhere make code look less Lispy, more bloated, and harder to quickly visually parse (e.g., ->Generators don't show fields). A lot of the code in this book reflects that.
      • I use Clojure to be free of type-Tetris, even a lightweight version like this. If I build a domain into types, I expect more in return from it, like what Haskell offers. Not doing so lets a data-flow design evolve more organically as you discover what the system should do, fitting the REPL-driven development model of Lisps better.
      • The tradeoff for maps in performance is almost always worth it. Operating on maps tends to not be the bottleneck. When it is, there are other approaches, like core.reducers, transducers, and parallelism.
      • My approach, which I think is more sensible: If you indeed have a compelling reason vis-à-vis the benefits, like required interface implementation or using Clojure libraries that require it (e.g. Component), then use them sparingly. Keep them isolated in 1-2 namespaces when possible.
    • Not in the book, but while writing some code I discovered this destructuring works: (let [[_ a] [1 2 3]] a)
    • A simple yet still weird pattern I never considered, (or (some-predicate) (throw ...), will return true or throw an error. The predicate here could also return the value instead.
    • Regarding its guidelines on default values, I think a better approach is to just have zero-argument gen- function variant for the entity that returns a conceptual identity value. This makes the generator more useful in mapping and various other operations.
    • Also not in the book, but it occurred to me that it's possible to refactor code that uses let blocks to sequence operations yet still intersperse println (or any other side-effecting expression) calls like this:

      (->> (+ 1 2)
           (do (println "hi"))
           (- 3))
      ;; Using the threaded form.
      (as-> (+ 1 2) $
        (do (println $) $)
        (- 3 $))
    • set-validator! can be used against a reference type, throwing an exception if the predicate isn't satisfied on state change. This also works on reference creation, e.g., (def a (atom {} :validator pos?)).
    • add-watch will attach a watcher function to a reference. Most common with refs, but also works on atoms. remove-watch undoes this.
    • Chapter 5 has some good info on parallelism using futures and agents. Review this if it ever comes up.
    • Bind *read-eval* to false to avoid accidentally calling read-string on unsafe code. One method to set root bindings is (alter-var-root #'*read-eval* (constantly false)). Within a form: (binding [*read-eval* false] (read-string "#=(eval (def x 3))"))
  3. DONE learn edn
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-22 Mon 14:47]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-22 Mon 09:46]

    Already using, but get full coverage on this and related topics, such as the proper way to handle user defined types. Going forward, also always use this to store config and light project data, instead of my previously default method of using CSV files with complex schemas and supporting functions.

    Done. This is pretty simple. Skipped writing some example code, since I already started using it since scheduling this.


    • CIDER supports correct mode for .edn files out of the box.
    • clojure.edn/read-string will return edn string contents as a data structure. Useful for files if paired with slurp. Be wary of accidentally calling clojure.core/read-string instead.
    • Tagged literals, the record way:
      • Create a record of some name, which doesn't have to be the same as the literal name (and probably shouldn't, since record names are capitalized by convention). This should take whatever parameters make sense for the record, not necessarily matching the serialized form.
      • Create a reader function that turns the serialized form into a record of that type.
      • Create a data_readers.clj file in the classpath. This will contain a literal map of the relationship between tag and reader function. For example, this would bind #my/tag tagged literal:

        {my/tag some-ns/reader-fn}
      • A default reader implementation can be provided for unknown tags by binding *default-data-reader-fn*, a global root binding that defaults to nil. This also works:

        (edn/read-string {:default #(vector (str %1) (str %2))}
                         "{:a 1 :b #i \"hi\"}")
      • These probably don't need to be records, but in that case, there's not much point in using a tagged literal. If the data is going into a map, you might as well just have the map data in the edn.
    • edn serializes to a string, so just write the output as any other file. Custom tagged literals will need a printer for them.
  4. DONE consider yogthos/config
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-22 Mon 21:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-22 Mon 21:22]

    Check out this library for Clojure project configuration management. I've used cprop for this before, but this might be superior.

    Reviewed. I like this slightly more than cprop, though they're very close in functionality. config seems to do what I need and no more and is simpler overall, being around 100 lines of code. However, if I didn't want merging, I could probably just do this myself by loading an edn file. Probably will just do that whenever possible.

  5. DONE normalize ns forms
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-22 Mon 21:40]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-22 Mon 21:32]

    This guide has a good collection of ns form guidelines. Already do most of them, but I'll close the gap. The only exception is I like the first reference on the same line as :require.

    Reviewed, again. Already switched to doing it this way at work. My older code is pretty close to this, so won't go through and change everything just for this. Will use these rules (minus the one mentioned above) from now on.

  6. CNCL consider clj-refactor.el
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-23 Tue 05:13]

    Probably should be using this. This comes with pretty nice convenience features like completion on and hot-loading dependencies, converting nested structures to thread macros, auto-searching namespaces for filling in requires, etc. Downsides are that it pulls in yasnippets and adds extra middleware. Will hold off on it until I have a need as a result, like cleaning up the ns blocks in a project.

    Skipping until a need arises. Also seems less needed now with some of these features getting pulled into CIDER. Namespace cleanup can be done with clj-kondo, as well.

  7. DONE learn core.async
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-24 Wed 01:33]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-22 Mon 21:46]

    The de facto standard for async in Clojure. Give this a proper self-education session, but don't go too nuts unless I'm actively using it. Be sure to pay attention to using transducers here. Also read some criticism of the pattern here.

    Learned, in conceptual/outline form. I'm leaning towards agreeing with the downsides of it. Probably will avoid use of this library where possible, basically only using it when it's between this and queues. Avoid libraries that use core.async too, as this should be handled at the application level.

    There really isn't that much documentation out there without resorting to old blogs and videos. Seems like the best explanation is this commented code. Will need some additional resources or experimentation before actually using this in the real world.


    • This 2013 announcement is a good explanation of motivations. The most important point is these are blocking by default, on both ends, absent a buffer.
    • go blocks are IoC threads. All non-go channel interaction is normal threads. On the cljs side, only go blocks are supported.
    • go macro functions:
      • >!: put.
      • <!: take.
      • >!!: put (blocking).
      • <!: take (blocking).
      • alts!: Wait for a set of channel operation completion.
      • alts!!: Blocking version of alts!.
    • The blocking versions of put and take don't release control of the thread while waiting.
    • timeout creates a channel that will auto-close after some specified time. Use these to resolve deadlock waiting forever for a message.
    • A good require for this is [clojure.core.async :as async :refer [<! <!! >! >!!]].
    • Transducers can be applied to channels.

3.2. computer science

3.2.1. [3/3] extend AI/ML knowledge

Do an advanced-level AI/ML roundup.

Canceled. I do still like AI, but having worked in it extensively, I'm less excited about it. There's a poor intersection between AI and FP, despite that not needing to be the case. My lack of enthusiasm is mild, but still there to the extent that I'll lazy load these things when/if I need them again.

  1. CNCL read Deep Learning
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:35]

    A massive 2016 tome collecting the current thought on this topic. While no longer using ML at work, I like deep learning's higher-level data abstractions. Maybe do a selected topics read of this. Also available online for free.

    Some alternative/complimentary texts:

    Canceled in The Great Task Cleanup of 2020. May reconsider this one, though by the time I get to it, the technique may be passé.

  2. CNCL read Data Mining: Practical Machine Learning Tools and Techniques (2nd. Ed.)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:35]

    Another one I may skip if I don't get to it before retiring from employment.

    Canceled in The Great Task Cleanup of 2020.

    This one I may consider again later.

  3. CNCL read Artificial Intelligence, A Modern Approach (3rd Ed.)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:33]

    My main gradschool AI textbook. Has a lot of interesting stuff here I never got around to reading. I still have my copy, but a newer version is available, so will use that.

    Canceled in The Great Task Cleanup of 2020.

3.2.2. [2/2] expand PL design knowledge

Consider some supplementing work to expand PL knowledge. This is all in Scheme, so factor that in.

Canceled. Scheme is great when you're learning FP, but is not something I want to write significant amounts of code in. Clojure has definitely spoiled me.

  1. CNCL read Essentials of Programming Languages (2nd Ed.)
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-03 Wed 15:36]

    There's a 3rd edition of this book, but apparently it's a downgrade. Stick with the 2nd edition's cleaner implementation. Considering this as I was shortchanged on my PL course in undergrad, and this book covers the more rigorous treatment of the subject where students incrementally build an interpreter. Having built some in real life since college, however, I'm not sure how much I'll get out of it. See the official page for this book, with code:

    Canceled due to not wanting to work in Scheme. I still have my hard copy though, so I might still read parts of it.

  2. CNCL read Design Concepts in Programming Languages
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:34]

    An comprehensive and massive tome on all things related to language design. I might start here if I want to supplement PLT with PL design (a notion that previously appealed to me more).

    Canceled in The Great Task Cleanup of 2020. I may casually browse around my hard copy of this still some.

3.3. software engineering

3.3.1. CNCL read NeHe OpenGL tutorial

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:34]

I don't actually want to program OpenGL, but a tutorial could be a good refresher of 3D programming concepts.

Canceled in The Great Task Cleanup of 2020.

3.4. electronic engineering

3.4.1. DONE get the JVM working on ARM 6

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-27 Fri 23:16]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-27 Fri 22:51]

No JVM on the Zero severely limits its utility for me.

Installed openjdk-8-jdk and ran sudo update-alternatives --config java. Seems to work okay now, though lein is painfully slow. The Arduino IDE also works.

Random side note: The pinout command shows an ASCII reference diagram for the GPIO, among other info.

3.5. work

3.5.1. DONE consider job switch

Got an offer for a remote Clojure developer position, with no front-end. Seems like it could be pretty close to ideal, and I already have a near total overlap of skills.

Analysis complete. Result is resoundingly in favor of job switch. Might do an updated analysis if I feel iffy about it after working this job for awhile.

Note: I actually did this analysis in 2019, but due to The Great Org Refactor of 2020, it appears here.


  • Clojure is unquestionably the most ideal language for me to do actual work in. Using it will keep my language skills fresh and environment knowledge up to date.
  • Remote work:
    • My 10 hours/week of driving becomes 0. New job only requires a few initial days on site and then 1 day per quarter.
    • Will have more time and energy for side projects.
    • Fewer computers to keep usable. Can expend more energy optimizing those, with greater ROI.
    • Can maintain property more effectively and be physically present to contract improvements/repairs.
    • Reduced gas use, vehicle maintenance, and miles on the car.
    • Should hopefully have the flexibility to rearrange work time as needed, though I'll try to mainly stick to core hours.
  • I can shelve all of the less interesting tech I was learning.
  • Should be able to go back to doing all work in Emacs on Linux.
  • Slight pay increase.
  • Employer is a medium-sized company, and should have humans I can email directly for administrative stuff.
  • I could probably go back to the previous job later if I wanted to, so low risk. Might consider this if the contract ends quickly, but probably not.
  • Low methodology and other overhead.
  • This setup looks more sustainable in the long run. The current job appears to be depleting energy reserves.
  • Being federal contracting, can maintain clearance.


  • Have only been at the current job for 5.5 months, which is an unprecedented short stint for me.
  • There's a lot of sunk cost in getting to where I am now at the current job, which I finally have running pretty smoothly.
  • Was almost done with new learning new job skills in my spare time. Will have to put side projects on hold for at least a few months again.
  • Even though there are many downsides, I will miss aspects of working with a highly-integrated team.
  • Such rare human interaction will need conscious mitigation factors for maintaining maximally-polished professional social skills. Presentation skill may degrade.
  • Apparently there are slightly above average government environment challenges in regards to constraining the tech stack.

Mostly unrelated side musing: While I have a lot less to gain technically from another Clojure job, I might consider abandoning any notion of trying to use Haskell for real work beyond ancillary applications at a Clojure job. The more I work in the Haskell ecosystem, the more pain I realize I would face when pressing in into service against real world slop. The exception here is research and a few fields like data analytics.

3.5.2. DONE research Clojure CLI tools

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-31 Fri 00:08]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2019-10-22 Tue 08:12]

Get used to programming using this, instead of Leiningen. Read these docs:

Done. I've been using this for several months and am pretty good with it now. Reference the above links to do any other stuff, like AOT. In its current state, it's definitely an inferior solution to Leiningen. Configuring deps.edn is a huge downgrade from projects.clj. However, if you don't need the things Leiningen provides, it's still pretty good. One exception to that is how it's installed on Windows. Requiring PowerShell makes this a clunky, garbage experience. Use Leiningen there whenever possible.

Revisit this occasionally to see what capability gets added, as it's actively being worked on. Particularly the tools list, which is starting to fill in:

3.5.3. CNCL research Confluence (introduction)

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-01-28 Tue 22:58]

Collaboration software by Atlassian. Do a brief overview of this. Check if this directly integrates with Jira.

Canceled. Used this a little, then stopped. While clunky, seems like it doesn't need any dedicated work. Was going to setup a document wiki here, but that experience is sluggish and horrid.

3.5.4. DONE try ox-confluence

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-04-01 Wed 09:19]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-03-18 Wed 09:00]

Use this to do all work docs in Org.

This does generate output, but in a format our version of Confluence doesn't seem to recognize. So, useless. We stopped using Confluence and switched to a docs repo anyway, which also negates any future need. If one ever wants to do such a thing as this, it seems the best solution is to export to HTML and import that into Confluence.

3.5.5. CNCL consider org-jira

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-09 Tue 23:22]

Consider this for integration with Jira. Might not work in my case due to CAC authentication.

Canceling due to not really using Jira all that much. May reconsider if my project gets more religious about it.

3.5.6. DONE setup Clojure CLI tools on Linux

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-12 Fri 13:30]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-12 Fri 13:17]

See what the best way of setting this up is.


  • Install rlwrap: yay -S rlwrap
  • Check what the most recent installer version is here.
  • This will create /usr/local/bin/clj, /usr/local/bin/clojure, and /usr/local/lib/clojure:

    curl -O
    chmod +x
    sudo ./
  • Create ~/.clojure/deps.edn if desired.

Works fine from the shell, but rlwrap doesn't support running in Eshell, which is kinda lame. Will work in ansi-term if I need to run it inside Emacs.

3.5.7. DONE configure deps.edn to run tests

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-26 Fri 11:48]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-25 Thu 12:09]

The Clojure CLI docs cover how to include a test path, but not how to actually setup and run them, independent of running the application.

Clojure CLI is truly an inferior build tool to lein.

Got this sorta working. Best I can do so far, without using a testrunner, is creating a standard lein-like test tree, populated with <ns>-test namespaces. I can add an alias in deps.edn to include the root test path, but it seems I still have to manually C-c C-l those files before I can do a C-c C-t n on any namespaces that have tests. So, a partial solution that gets this function working, but not ideal at all. Will have to revisit this later.

3.5.8. DONE setup dev/user namespace

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-30 Tue 08:26]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-29 Mon 10:39]

Try to duplicate one of my preferred project structure idioms in Clojure CLI.

Got this sorta working, but doesn't duplicate what lein does. Was hoping this would integrate cleanly, but it doesn't if you have nrepl launched from within the app itself. I can create a user namespace, but it doesn't auto-load. Won't integrate it into the project in this state. Might try adding some elisp to do this later, or testing a full lein conversion.

Add this to deps.edn:

{:aliases {:dev {:main-opts ["-e" "(require,'my.server.core)"
                             "-e" "(in-ns,'my.server.core)"]}}}

clj -A:dev -r will execute the above expressions.

3.5.9. DONE write test logging project

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-10-25 Sun 20:28]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-10-25 Sun 18:28]

See if I can get tools.logging to both write to console and certain events to a log file.

Got this working, with some caveats. I can use something like the WARN level to only go to the file, but both will go to console if I set that to INFO or DEBUG. timbre would definitely be more versatile, but also more infrastructure/setup. Code in ~/src/clojure/logging.

3.5.10. DONE get USB microphone

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-08 Sun 22:36]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-10-28 Wed 13:11]

Will save $100s per year on pre-paid minutes and reduce dependency on the physical phone. Tried a line-in mic and this didn't work for some reason, possibly because the mic is junk. A USB mic will probably let me use it on Linux, so that's a better option overall.

2020-10-28: Looked around for a decent one that wasn't super expensive for awhile, but finally gave up and went with the least risky looking option.

2020-11-03: Got USB mic, which actually turned out to be not complete junk as worried. However, it didn't seem to work on Windows for whatever reason. I'll try it on my laptop next.

2020-11-08: Got this working on the main Linux workstation. Now I can make some free calls, at the expense of having my conversation NLP-ed.

3.6. technology/software

3.6.1. CNCL read Gnuplot in Action: Understanding Data and Graphs

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:33]

Just skim the first few chapters then use the rest as a reference. Haven't touched my current Gnuplot scripts in years though, so put this off until there's a need.

Canceled in The Great Task Cleanup of 2020. Gnuplot does integrate with org-babel though and is probably the best solution for integrating charts that analyze data into Org docs. If that comes up, I'll come back to this. One possibility I might explore is doing all of my finances in more than just Org tables, for example.

3.6.2. CNCL read What Every Programmer Should Know About Memory

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:32]

A comprehensive survey on how memory and software interact.

Canceled in The Great Task Cleanup of 2020. I'm firmly committed to staying as abstract and high-level as possible from here on.

3.6.3. [6/6] redo home office

I spend way more time in the office now, and due having dedicated work hardware, things are cramped. Optimize this setup.

Done. Home office is pretty close to optimal now, and there's nothing about it I would particularly want to change (except maybe a slightly quieter desktop computer, but that's a separate effort).

  1. DONE redo dual-monitor setup
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-02 Thu 18:05]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2019-12-20 Fri 13:45]

    Optimize this setup for my remote work office desk. Get a second U2417 and soundbar and set them up. This will replace my old 4:3 monitor currently in use, which is dimming, and get rid of external speakers and multiple speaker wires.

    Stuff ordered on 2019-12-20.

    Done. Monitor received and setup.

  2. DONE consolidate backup drives
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-06 Mon 23:35]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-06 Mon 21:10]

    Go through all of my SATA drives, copy over any data I want to keep to the WD book, then destroy the drives and toss my external drive case. Should have 3 or 4 of these.

    Done. Decided to keep these for a couple more years, in the unlikely case I want to build a NAS. Will toss once I build my new rig though, since I'll have enough SSDs for that. Started a box of deprecated hardware in the closet. Keeping all this old stuff there is pretty inoffensive, since we have tons of unused storage space.

  3. DONE implement cable management
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-26 Sun 17:08]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2019-12-20 Fri 13:45]

    Cables dangle everywhere on my office desk. Clean this up. Might put this off until I replace one of the monitors, so I don't have to redo it.

    Stuff needed:

    • Velcro cable zip ties.
    • Under desk cable management tray.
    • Self-adhesive cable clips.

    2019-12-20: Stuff ordered.

    2020-01-03: Got stuff, but as I decided to completely redo the desk too, waiting until the parts arrive for that. I did do some minor cable management in the living room though.

    2020-01-25: Mostly done, just needs a final touch-up.

    2020-01-26: Good enough for now. Didn't lock in the work laptops too much. I might revisit this, if it looks like I'll stay at the current job for a very long time. Also, I'll probably do a new system build by next winter too.

  4. DONE get UPS for office
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-28 Tue 18:35]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-26 Sun 22:25]

    Get another APC BR700G.

    2020-01-26: Ordered.

    2020-01-28: Arrived and setup.

  5. DONE get keyboard tray
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-30 Thu 17:07]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-26 Sun 22:25]

    New desk setup might benefit from this, since due to work I have to have multiple peripheral sets.

    2020-01-26: Ordered.

    2020-01-30: Received tray and set it up. Looks pretty good and is an ergonomic and visual improvement for sure, but will have to use it for awhile.

    2020-06-16: Been using this for many months now and it's a great setup. I prefer the tray over the desk height keyboard. Once no longer working, if I go 2 box on this desk, I'll install a powered USB switch against a single peripheral set on the tray. Could do that now even, but prefer to keep everything work/home completely separate.

  6. DONE redo office desk
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-25 Sat 22:47]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2019-12-27 Fri 01:39]

    The current office setup works, but is cramped with my main work computer. Also don't have room for my NIPR laptop. I figure I can get a lot of value out of redoing this setup completely.

    After thinking about this for awhile, I'm going to try the well-worn Karlby + Alex combo. My version will use furniture legs raising the countertop to the same 33" that I currently prefer. Use the bubble level to ensure this is flat. Monitors will be mounted on a dual LCD arm. Cable management will elevate the power strip and group cables together, hopefully minimizing cable tangle/clutter. For countertop sag prevention, I'll use an angle iron towards the back and flat bar further front. Custom additions will be painted with black enamel. Blank, black mouse pads will protect the finish. Repaint the wall corner before positioning desk. Finally, I'll use Velcro stickers to prevent displacement of the main components. Floor mat and chair will stay the same for now. I'll also re-pot 1-2 house plants and maybe put them on the desk, if I have room. I'll probably move the desktop case off the floor. Should be able to do all of this for around $700-800. Do the setup for this on a weekend, since the computers will be down for awhile.


    • Under desk cable management tray.
    • 30 pack of self-adhesive cable clips.
    • Second Dell U2415 and soundbar.
    • 50 pack of reusable cable zip ties.
    • Karlby and 2x Alex.
    • Monitor arm.
    • 2x 4 packs of furniture legs.
    • 3 pack of mouse pads.
    • Pack of Velcro sticky coins.
    • Angle iron and flat bar.
    • Desk lamp.

    2019-12-27: Ordered Karlby and 2x Alex. Estimated earliest delivery is 2020-01-20. Shipping was $129. Looks like I'll get a call with a 4 hour window at some point.

    2019-12-30: Ordered remaining parts.

    2020-01-02: Painted angle iron black. Received new monitor, soundbar, clips, tray, zip ties. Setup new monitor and soundbar. Deprecated external speakers.

    2020-01-07: Got call for a delivery date of 2020-01-09. Delivery window is the entire day.

    2020-01-08: Received all non-Ikea build parts.

    2020-01-09: Got delivery, but one of the Alex units was missing. Instead, there was some shelf in its place. Refused that unit, so hopefully will get the correct one eventually. This will probably delay the desk build by weeks.

    2020-01-10: Hadn't heard anything yet, so submitted a support email on the site.

    2020-01-12: A new order was created to ship the remaining item.

    2020-01-15: Realized I bought 1 set of furniture legs instead of 2. Ordered.

    2020-01-17: Received legs pack and bought screws and washers to affix the angle iron. Should have all parts, minus the other Alex drawers.

    2020-01-21: Got call for delivery date of 2020-01-22 1000-1400. Will receive 1 hour notification via phone.

    2020-01-22: Final item acquired. Will start building this on the weekend.

    2020-01-24: Drawers assembled. Decided not to paint the furniture legs, since they aren't really visible.

    2020-01-25: Done. Desk, monitor arms, lamp, and all computers setup. This was more work than I thought it'd be, but turned out great. Usability and appearance of office is greatly improved.

    Ikea stuff still looks good, but durability and material quality has declined in the past 15 years. Also shipping costs are too high. Won't buy anything from them anymore.

    Future ideas, if I like this setup:

    • Move it to the living room and get another Karlby to mount on an electric adjustable desk frame, or get a proper wood countertop instead.
    • Add a white or blue LED strip along the back of the desk and mount a dimmer switch under the front.
    • Refinish the countertop with the stain I want and a polyurethane gloss finish.
    • If I'm pretty confident in the location of this setup, maybe make some shelving above it for displaying stuff and holding books. Another idea is to mount sound absorption panels.
    • Consider removing some Alex drawers, cutting open the back, and putting the PC case in one. Might even be able to put it in a bottom drawer. Then could line the sides with dampening foam.
    • Could drill a hole in the countertop and install a grommet for the keyboard and mouse to go into.
    • Once I'm done with my current job, I'll also redo the sound setup. For powered monitors, liking the Edifier R1700BT, maybe on custom or IsoAcoustics stands. If I don't mind adding an amp, the Dali Spektor 1 might work.
    • Along with the above, maybe convert this to a single 27-30" monitor with an offset arm mount (can just remove one arm). Then, KVM this against a dock for my Linux laptop, thus only having one set of peripherals.
    • Maybe get another APC BR700G.

3.6.4. [7/7] build computer for secondary workshop

Sometimes I'm working on projects down here for hours. I can use the laptop here, but space is limited and there's oils, debris, and other hazards I'd rather not expose it to. If I can build an extremely low power setup here on the cheap, it'd be worth the effort.

Done. Very optimal for this environment, though necessarily not something I'd want to do extensive typing on. This also doubles as a gateway to the RPi world.

  1. CNCL install Manjaro on netbook
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-01-07 Tue 22:46]

    Consider as a downstairs workshop computer. It will default to being off and only used when I need to reference something while working on a project.

    Went with a Raspberry Pi for workshop computer, so won't do this.

  2. DONE build workshop computer
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-08 Wed 00:22]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2019-12-29 Sun 18:32]

    For a cheap project, try building a Raspberry Pi-based system with a 7" LCD. Hang the monitor from the pegboard and either mount the Pi next to it or behind the board.

    Was going to go with the Zero W, but this would require various dongles. Decided to get the latest model. Will try adding my current spare speakers to it, if it all otherwise works. Bought:

    • Raspberry Pi 4B kit.
    • 7" Waveshare C model HDMI LCD.
    • Riitek wireless keyboard.

    Once I get the stuff, be sure to follow the instructions here for display setup.

    2020-01-02: Received all parts.

    2020-01-03: Set it all up and everything works.

    2020-01-04: Made some wood plates to mount monitor and Pi to. Added this to config.txt (archived here in case it disappears):

    hdmi_cvt 1024 600 60 6 0 0 0

    Also ordered: Switch power cable, bolt set, audio cable, USB to micro USB cable, HDMI to micro-HDMI cable, spacer kit, extra SD card, speaker.

    2020-01-04: Enabled sshd. Note that the service is called ssh here. Also did an apt full-upgrade to fix the file manager.

    2020-01-08: Finished build. Will spawn off another task for the pegboard mount.

  3. DONE setup VNC to Raspberry Pi
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-07 Tue 10:46]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-07 Tue 09:00]

    Might as well set this up to connect to from my Windows box. Find a non-crappy Windows VNC client.

    Done. This works pretty good, and I'll use this if I ever need to do anything complex on it, since typing on the tiny wireless keyboard isn't that great.


    • realvnc-vnc-server should already be installed.
    • Use sudo raspi-config to enable VNC server.
    • Install RealVNC VNC Viewer on the Windows side.
  4. DONE install i3 on Raspbian
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-07 Tue 14:01]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-07 Tue 11:34]

    i3 would save some screen real estate. Should be able to copy over my config from the workstation, with some minor modifications.

    Done. Works fine, but didn't spend any time tweaking the i3bar. What's there now works fine, however.


    • Run apt install i3.
    • Run echo "exec i3" > ~/.xsession.
    • Add xmodmap calls to ~/.xsession before the exec call. This will map Mod3 to Alt_R.
    • Log out of Xorg and back in. First login will have a few prompts.

    Simplified the config file some. Changed hostname to workshop. Added entries in other systems' /etc/hosts.


    • Mod-f is handy for this computer to fullscreen apps and get some more space.
    • Installed wicd-curses for network management. Tried using nm-applet, but one of the dependencies (network-manager) breaks VNC.
    • Use alsamixer (already there) for sound.
  5. DONE setup VNC on Manjaro
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-07 Tue 18:51]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-07 Tue 14:25]

    Having a VNC server on the Pi is pretty handy, so decided to do the same for the laptop and workstation. I'll leave the server start in a script, since I'll rarely use it and don't want anymore background processes.


    • Run sudo pacman -S tigervnc.
    • Add ~bin/vnc_start script with contents x0vncserver -display :0 -PasswordFile ~/.vnc/passwd.
    • Create a ~/.vnc/passwd file using the vncpasswd command.

    Also updated full system on laptop. This setup here works, but it doesn't handle Meta key combinations for some reason. Was hoping to replace the gaming rig's VM with this, but looks like that isn't currently doable. This is better than nothing, but I don't really need this capability so will remove (its main use case is when/if something pops open a GUI dialog that needs addressed). Might look into swapping this with x11vnc later.

  6. DONE install OpenJDK 11 on Pi
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-08 Wed 00:08]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-07 Tue 23:41]

    I might get a project kit for this and it looks like Java is a supported language, meaning I can probably use Clojure. In preparation, install and configure the JDK and make sure everything works.


  7. DONE mount Pi on pegboard
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-08 Wed 20:54]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-08 Wed 18:52]

    Something like this is needed since the Pi is by default a mess of cables and inconveniently sized parts everywhere.

    The ideal setup here would be to have the monitor hanging from the center of the workshop pegboard with the Pi next to it. Then, I could add additional project boards, also on the pegboard. For sound, I'll try using an external Bluetooth speaker. I've read that this is sub-optimal for non-continuous sound, so I've ordered a 3.5mm audio cable as backup. Wood mounting boards are already made, awaiting spacers and drilling. If this doesn't work, I'll use my case for the Pi and hang up the monitor using wire.

    Done. Ended up going the wire route. My hand drill makes precise drilling rather difficult and I ruined the wood pieces I finished. I'll maybe retry my wood mount idea later with the drill press. In the meantime, I put the Pi in the case and did some cable management. Looks pretty good this way and is probably actually less visible cables than my original plan.

3.6.5. DONE replace broken UPS

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-09 Thu 19:52]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-05 Sun 11:32]

UPS error beeps constantly after a power outage. Forums suggest that unit needs replaced. Get one that has a disable alarm button, like maybe the APC BX1500M. I'll eventually also want one for the new office setup, but I'll get that later. Might want to use the trade-up program here.

2020-01-04: Trade-up site nonfunctional, so will just buy a new one.

2020-01-05: Ordered an APC BR700G from Newegg for $115.

2020-01-09: UPS installed. Works pretty good. This model also has an alarm disable button, a feature I could've used on the old model. This model would be fine for my office setup too, I think.

3.6.6. CNCL consider Plan 9 on Raspberry Pi

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-01-25 Sat 22:49]

I have a second micro SD card on order. Might try getting Plan 9 working on it, just to check out. If this doesn't work, I can also try Inferno OS on a VM maybe. Trying this now before I put something I want to keep on it, though I'll probably just go back to using Raspbian. Don't spend too much time on this.

Skipping. Looks like the work will exceed my interest level.

3.6.7. CNCL research lsp-mode and lsp-java

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-01-29 Wed 23:46]

Looks like this is a method for getting a Eclipse-like Java-IDE experience for Emacs. Looks pretty impressive, if it all works. Looks to be in active development and only a couple years old, so put this off until I predict a likely need for it.

Skipping, since not needed. Will keep it in mind if that changes though. lsp-modes for various languages seems to be getting more popular, and I may want to start pulling in some of them. LSPs are a great idea, and while not as big of a deal for Emacs, they definitely lowered the hurdles in new editors reach critical mass.

3.6.8. CNCL consider Dired+

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-01-31 Fri 00:20]

Been using Dired a lot more lately. This extends the functionality in ways I might want.

There's also Dired-X, which is already included by default. If I don't want to use Dired+, I may still want to expand my normal dired knowledge and include Dired-X capability. dired-k and dired-hacks might also be worth a look.

Skipping for now, since I stopped using Dired in favor of Eshell.

3.6.9. DONE upgrade DSL

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-02-05 Wed 16:29]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-02-03 Mon 13:29]

New fiber infrastructure was installed in the area. Supposedly can support up to 12 or 18 Mbps. Anything would be an improvement over the current speeds, so will get this upgraded.

2020-02-03: Scheduled technician visit for afternoon of 2020-02-05.

2020-02-05: Upgraded to 19.x Mbps. Pretty huge difference. Latency went down too, and pings of 17ms are now possible.

3.6.10. DONE setup local l1j-en server

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-04-15 Wed 21:23]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-04-15 Wed 19:20]

MariaDB is already on workstation, just need to config and connect the server.

Operational. Also fixed a dependency bug in the codebase. Locally, fixed a table name being improperly cased.

3.6.11. DONE install tuir

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-04-18 Sat 00:18]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-04-17 Fri 23:50]

A terminal Reddit client. I had been occasionally checking the site still for a few PLT forums, but even the old UI was annoying me. Will give this a try.

Done. Install from AUR with yay -S tuir, or using pip with pip install tuir --user. I did the latter, but will switch over to AUR's version next time. Can also set browser at launch with BROWSER=brave tuir.

Great application. Seems to support all the core features. The best is spacebar for hiding submissions, which is way faster than the GUI's hide button that moves around. Reddit is still a crap site and garbage company, so I'd like to not use it at all. I definitely won't once I'm not programming professionally. Now if I could just get a terminal client that had the exact functionality of hckr news.

3.6.12. DONE delete Triplebyte account

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-25 Mon 22:06]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-25 Mon 15:35]

Apparently this is a company that can't be trusted with personal info. I also don't like the dark patterns this site employs and the quiz content isn't any fun. It's supposedly possible to delete your account through a well-hidden option here.

Submitted, but it has some message about possibly needing government ID to complete. Will try logging in 30 days to make sure it's gone. If that doesn't work, I'll just change my profile info to profane text.

Got confirmation message later. According to the CEO posting on HN, the ID message was more sloppy programming.

3.6.13. CNCL advanced Emacs macros

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:42]

Currently just using macros on a one-time basis, which isn't utilizing their full power. Write down the stuff needed to record macros, use them in batch mode for text processing, and whatever else can be done with them. Maybe start an archive of useful macros that I often construct.

Skipping this, for now.

3.6.14. DONE consider jpackage

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-31 Sun 11:22]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-31 Sun 10:21]

Give this a quick glance. Looks like a new official tool for packaging up self-contained applications, created from a JAR. Being released with JDK 14.

Considered. I have this on my main workstation now, which is on JDK 14. Looks like a good thing to keep in mind. Don't see any reason this wouldn't work for Clojure apps. This is still in incubator mode and I have no immediate need, so don't want to go to deep on it yet. Plus, I'm mostly sticking to LTS versions from now on.

3.6.15. CNCL authentication and authorization roundup

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:39]

Spend a few minutes reading up on each of these. Was going to learn this for work, which is no longer necessary. However, this stuff is good to know in general, and I'll need some basic knowledge if I build my own webapps.

  • OAuth:
  • OpenID:
  • WsFed:
  • x509:
  • JWT:

Canceled. Would have done this had I stayed with my previous job. Since I left that, I'll put this back into the lazy-load set. I do happen to understand these a little better already though, which shed some light on a few otherwise inexplicable things seen around the Internet.

3.6.16. CNCL consider Aircrack-ng

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:45]

Being able to have free internet access almost anywhere would definitely come in handy. Maybe use kismet for grabbing IVs. Get some dictionary files for WPA. Set all this up on a laptop. Before spending time on this, look into the viability of this for modern WPA2. Aircrack-ng also provides some other functionality, but not enough to warrant getting into it without the core feature. Might skip altogether, since I'm not really into this kinda thing.

Canceled. I now never go anywhere and the only wifi signal here is my own.

3.6.17. CNCL consider SketchUp

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:45]

A 3D modeling app that is supposedly super simple. Use this to design a rifle rack and any other furniture I want to make. Can also export to common formats, so it might be useful for other things.

Skipping. So far I've been able to build stuff with basic drawings. May revisit if I start doing complex stuff, but I've determined my level of interest in woodwork to be a below where such things are needed. I may consider getting a cheap milling machine, in which case this or something like it would make sense again.

3.6.18. [2/2] consider alternative Emacs-integrated mail clients

I like Mutt and don't find it lacking. But maybe I want to survey the competition again. I hear Wanderlust and NotMuch are the main Emacs-integrated mail clients. Fully integrating the client seems unnecessary, provided you can tell an external client to defer to Emacs for composing.

Canceled. Gmail seems to not allow any of these third party clients these days anyway. They say they do, but every time I enable it, it still doesn't work and I get another warning. Might be time to migrate off of Gmail. I don't use email much, mostly due to no one actually reading them for content, which is why I haven't bothered with this final de-Googling of my life.

  1. CNCL consider nmh
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:42]

    Consider replacing mutt with this. mutt's great, but nmh has full Emacs integration (mh-e) and is supposedly faster (in execution and use), so maybe this makes more sense for me.

    Canceled. Will stick with Mutt for now.

  2. CNCL consider NeoMutt
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:43]

    Consider replacing Mutt with this. NeoMutt is a fork of Mutt with added features. Mutt development is supposedly stagnant.

    Canceled. Will stick with Mutt for now.

3.6.19. CNCL consider SyncTeX

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-07 Sun 15:37]

This enabled synchronization between LaTeX editors and supporting viewers. This will at least allow for navigation between the two to be linked, but might also allow for live reloading. Will give this a try when I have some free time. Not a high priority though.

Canceled. I think this actually isn't a problem with my current setup, minus not having the linked navigation (which is a feature I miss not having).

3.6.20. CNCL learn more HTML5

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-14 Sun 09:48]

HTML5 is the de facto standard for web markup. I've picked up some of this by osmosis while updating my sites, but a more thorough scan of it might pay off. Choose a text to read, assuming one exists that doesn't suck, in order to get comprehensive coverage on it.

Canceled. With my org-publish integration, I now should no longer need to write any HTML at all. The output from that is definitely not as nice as my perfectly formatted and minimal hand-rolled HTML5, but that's an incredibly small price for what I get. Also, I know enough of this now to get by.

3.6.21. [3/3] make Windows suck slightly less

I'll dedicate a little bit of time to making Windows less painful, since I'm occasionally using it to test l1j-en on the client side.

Done. No major results, unlike the scoop/MSYS2 integration. Not going to put any more time into this.

  1. DONE consider winfile
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-29 Wed 23:57]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-29 Wed 23:47]

    A recreation of the 3.0 Windows file manager. On my current Windows box, since I mainly just use it for games, I didn't bother installing/configuring xplorer2. Maybe I'll use this instead, or just look at it briefly.

    Done. This is okay, but I'd prefer to have the plus signs next to directories that have sub-directories and be able to navigate between drives in the same navigation pane. On the other hand, it does not include a bunch of annoying features of modern File Explorer, like Quick Access. Maybe this could be more useful if I had a computer with a single big drive. Resource-wise it's only 2/3 the memory footprint too, which is disappointing. Won't bother using this for now. Uninstalled.

  2. DONE disable all Windows 10 ads
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-10 Sun 20:52]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-10 Sun 20:41]

    Follow these instructions for my Windows machine.

    Looks like I had done some of these already, but missed a few.

  3. CNCL consider chocolately
    • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-17 Wed 01:21]

    Set this up and replace a few applications with it. Use those for awhile and if integrating this permanently seems worth it, migrate over as much as possible. One known downside is that I'll then have 4 ways of managing installs: scoop, MSYS2, chocolately, and manual. If I do decide to do this, will probably put it off until I build a new gaming rig.

    Canceled. Did read up on it some though. Would use this if Windows was my main computing platform, but I mainly just use MSYS2 on it.

3.6.22. [4/4] integrate scoop and MSYS2 on Windows

A long overdue feature for Windows. Professionals that have to use Windows say it's one of those first-install items on a new Windows box. For MSYS2, this is the modern Cygwin, with a better default terminal and overall compatibility and integration.

Done. Those Windows guys are right, this is a must-have. Should come stock on the OS though. MSYS2 is also great, but the apps there do run slower. Having a Windows install of Emacs that depends on a lot of MSYS2 stuff does slow it down noticeably. Also, a few apps, like tmux, have some porting issues and resulting bugs, as they did in Cygwin.

  1. DONE consider scoop
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-09 Sat 23:33]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-04 Mon 09:35]

    Do a setup of this on my main Windows box and then duplicate that setup on my work dev laptop. I'll also redo my Emacs setup and all other Unix-like tools to use this.

    Installed. Note that once you install scoop via PS, you can use it from cmd from there on.


    • Install with: iwr -useb | iex
    • Always run scoop commands in a PS window, not cmd.
    • Install scoop extras: scoop bucket add extras
    • List of all default bucket software is here, and extras are here.
    • Creates a directory tree at C:\Users\<username>\scoop.

    2020-05-30: Installed unxutils. This gives diff, which Magit uses. Also added vscode, for Calva testing.

    2020-06-01: Did this on the work laptop finally. Had an issue with upgrading anything using the new zstd format. Fixed by upgrading pacman by itself with pacman -Sydd pacman, as detailed here.

    2020-06-01: Added sysinternals. Gives pskill, among other things.

  2. DONE document MSYS2 setup
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-02 Tue 09:00]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-01 Mon 01:26]

    Need to track this so I can get setup again quickly when/if needed. Informally listing stuff here is probably good enough.

    Done. Calling this setup good for now. It's not perfect, but usable and doesn't have any major downsides.


    • openssh
    • aspell
    • aspell6-en
    • w3m
    • tmux
    • vim
    • git (maybe, can swap the scoop version for this)

    Other notes:

    • Ensure $PATH includes JDK bin.
    • Ensure $HOME is set. It's apparently also possible to modify the db_home variable to windows in /etc/nsswitch.conf, but seems unnecessary if doing this.
    • Manually install Leiningen.
    • Sticking with bash for now, but might switch to zsh later.
    • Using git from MSYS2 requires Git Credential Manager for Windows, available here:
      • Grab the distributed .zip file.
      • Extract contents to: /c/Users/<user>/scoop/apps/msys2/current/usr/lib/git-core
      • Run git config --system credential.helper manager in MSYS2.
    • The above works, but doesn't in Emacs on my work machine. Current work setup excludes it and sticks with Git bash for cloning, due to that being much rarer of an operation versus push/pull from Magit. I also didn't do this on my personal Windows box, and didn't have any issues.
    • Side note: Next time also try skipping Git for Windows and going full MSYS2 for all git functionality. If that doesn't work, try git-with-openssh from scoop.
  3. DONE add scoop-clojure bucket to scoop
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-02 Tue 23:12]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-02 Tue 23:07]

    Doesn't seem to be much here, mostly just borkdude projects. However, seems like a good way to get babashka and clj-kondo on Windows.


    Setup (assuming extras bucket, clj, and git is already present):

    • scoop bucket add scoop-clojure
    • scoop install extras/vcredist2010
    • scoop install extras/vcredist2015
    • Install apps wanted. Currently only using babashka and clj-kondo. Seems to not need %PATH% additions in base system, but does need $PATH updated in MSYS2. Edit ~/.bashrc accordingly.
  4. DONE document scoop install list
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-17 Wed 00:16]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-17 Wed 00:07]

    Will probably want to keep a list of what I want to install through it, since I'll eventually rebuild my gaming machine.

    Done. Here's the lists. Next time, try skipping the vcredist installs. Also try checking my /bin folder to see what else I can pull in. Will have to think about that, since I'm not sure I always want the latest of these apps, and most of them are portable. Maybe isolate the non-portable ones only. I can skip 7zip then too. Maybe also try skipping unxutils.


    • extras
    • scoop-clojure
    • nerd-fonts


    • 7zip
    • babashka
    • clj-kondo
    • emacs
    • msys2
    • sysinternals
    • unxutils
    • vcredist2010
    • vcredist2015
    • vscode
    • firacode
    • RobotoMono-NF

    Note: Use sudo scoop install firacode to install this or other fonts.

3.6.23. DONE consider Fira Code font

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-19 Fri 11:42]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-19 Fri 08:36]

Looks like a good font that supports programming ligatures. Mainly considering for Emacs, so add some elisp to check if the font exists first before setting it. That way not having Fira won't error on startup.

Done. Supports at least the Unicode blocks I care about. Some of the math symbols I use look better. Will use this for awhile. Redid how Emacs selects its font on startup, so it will be a bit smarter about it.


  • Arch: yay -S community/otf-fira-code
  • Windows:
    • scoop bucket add nerd-fonts
    • In an administrative PS window: scoop install firacode
    • Switch MSYS2 to this font.
  • Raspbian: sudo apt-get install fonts-firacode

For transposing ligatures, I currently have these enabled in Haskell in a way that works with any font. The Fira docs have some Fira-specific elisp for this, but I'll wait until I'm sure I stick with it to make that call. This is a great font, but it'll take some days or even weeks of use to make sure it's the one true font for me. The ampersands will take some getting used to, for example.

Side note:

  • Also deprecated printing code in Emacs. It's definitely broken, and I have no way to test it.
  • Call x-family-fonts to get a list of fonts available to Emacs.
  • I don't want to do this currently, but there's fira-code-mode for enabling ligatures in Emacs. There's also these instructions.
  • Another good font is Monoid. Install that with yay -S aur/ttf-monoid. Seems ideal for reading.

2020-06-22: Switched off this for mintty. Ligatures were getting in the way too much, and I've decided I don't want them around except in certain situations. Installed the RobotoMono-NF from the nerd-fonts scoop bucket to use there. So far, I really like this one.

3.6.24. CNCL consolidate personal data

  • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2020-06-18 Thu 11:25]
    • State "STRT" [2010-02-03 Wed 13:17]

Go through all of the files I've accumulated in life and mercilessly delete stuff that is either:

  • Easily accessible online.
  • Something I haven't looked at in years and am unlikely ever to.
  • Something that if I did look at, would be a huge time-waster, like Windows games, ROMs, and crappy abandonware.

256GB USB 3.0 flash drives are now available under $100. Once ready to do the transfer, get one of these and mount it on Linux. I may format the drive with ext2 (the most accessible Unix FS) or even just NTFS (so it can be used from Windows too). If going the former route, setup Samba to share it. I also may want a second one eventually (once they get even cheaper) as backup.


  • [X] Audit all data everywhere.
  • [X] Order drive.
  • [X] Deprecate older external drives.
  • [ ] Mount drive on workstation and include as part of standard setup procedure.
  • [ ] Analyze and if necessary modify my existing backup directory hierarchy.
  • [ ] Copy stuff over to the new storage destination.
  • [ ] Write new rsync scripts to automate backups. These are:
    • [ ] Windows Syncback script. Might be able to skip this. Ideally, I want no original copies of anything on my Windows box.
    • [ ] Full cellblock backup.
    • [ ] Full macroexpand backup.

Haven't decided whether to keep my Windows backup drive as-is, and rsync it. I'll have to do that anyway for the VMs, so I'm leaning towards that approach currently. This also allows me to leave the backup drive offline most of the time.

2020-06-18: Rethink everything here and restart this effort.

3.6.25. [23/23] do 2020 Emacs yak-shave

Every year, the hair grows back. Each huge retooling like this gets me ever closer to Emacs perfection. The dream of an Emacs setup that only needs just some swapping of packages based on current needs is within my grasp, I can feel it.

Done. A truly massive pass on a lot of things. Indeed life is even better now. Some of this I should've done a long time ago. The terminal experience now sacrifices nothing. Going forward, Emacs yak shaving marathons should be shorter.

  1. DONE get Emacs decryption of GPG files working in terminal
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-01-07 Tue 23:12]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-01-07 Tue 22:48]

    This is probably the only thing I had working on FreeBSD that doesn't work on Linux. I wouldn't want to be locked out of encrypted files if I don't have an X session available. Will have to look around for suggestions.

    Done. Updated all Linux boxes to make this work. Much nicer than the GUI prompt, and fixes one of my major FreeBSD->Linux switch annoyances.


    • Edit ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf and add lines:

    • Run gpgconf --reload gpg-agent.
    • In Emacs, add package pinentry from ELPA.
    • Edit ~/.emacs and add expressions:

      (setq epa-pinentry-mode 'loopback)
  2. DONE replace emacs-w3m
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-29 Fri 18:24]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-29 Fri 17:51]

    Have been using a CVS repo version of package emacs-w3m. I noticed there's a w3m package in ELPA. Try using this to see if it's the same thing. Would be a good way to deprecate what I think is my last CVS-managed repo.

    Done. Works pretty good. For some reason, adding it in package-list-packages doesn't work, but having it load from package.el package list on start does. Will make that my default method for package loading from now on, so I'm sure the package I install is the one specified in the init.

    Some additional w3m notes:

    • Q runs w3m-quit. Just killing it registers it as a crash (though has the benefit of letting me start on the last viewed page).
    • s calls w3m-search, unlike S (which I had been using) that does search in a new buffer. This is analogous to g vs. G.
  3. DONE use org-present and python-mode from ELPA
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-29 Fri 18:39]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-29 Fri 18:26]

    Noticed these are now in MELPA too.

    Done. Couldn't test python-mode fully due to tools not being present (and I don't feel like setting them up just for this). Now all that remains manually managed is my custom theme.

  4. DONE use color-theme from ELPA
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-29 Fri 20:06]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-29 Fri 19:36]

    The last remaining manual package is my custom version of the wombat color theme. Might as well just use this from ELPA. The only difference with my version is the background color is black.

    Done. Replaced custom theme loading code with built-in wombat theme, followed by an expression that changes the background color. Also removed the theme loading being conditional on being in graphical mode, which allows for some greater consistency between terminal and GUI.

    Also upgraded all packages.

    This completes my full migration to ELPA for everything. I think I can now safely setup my full Emacs environment on new machines with just my init file.

  5. DONE switch .emacs to .emacs.d/init.el
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-29 Fri 23:56]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-29 Fri 22:06]

    I already have my work setup this way. This will:

    • Keep all Emacs config in one place.
    • One less file in $HOME is always nice, though at the cost of a little extra typing when editing.
    • Allow for byte-compiling init.el. I have some init code already to do this, but it's broken.
    • Allow for a git repo of all of .emacs.d. No current intention of doing this though, since now I've got it to only just the init file. A good option if I ever want to convert it to literate Org.

    Done. Fixed the automatic byte-compilation of init.el. Also cleaned up all warnings, mostly upgrading the elisp to current functions. Synced new init on all Emacs installs, except work (which I'll do on Monday) and VPS.

    Note that on the l1j-en test-server, which runs Ubuntu, I had to run this due to expired keys:

    gpg --homedir /home/bcmiller/.emacs.d/elpa/gnupg --keyserver --recv-keys 066DAFCB81E42C40
  6. DONE integrate restclient
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-30 Sat 12:48]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-30 Sat 12:32]

    I don't have any locally hosted REST server apps, so do this when I have some free time at work.

    Setup complete. This is actually very nice and way better than Postman. Main keybinding to keep in mind is C-c C-c, which will execute a query. Will try using this for awhile and see if I want to keep it around, which is likely the case. I can see this being useful for some of the web dev projects I have in mind.

    The main unique feature here is the ability to have elisp integrated into your query definitions. Note that ob-restclient is an org-babel interface to restclient, which I may also want.

  7. DONE consider writegood-mode and synosaurus
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-30 Sat 13:21]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-30 Sat 12:52]

    Consider installing these for improving the quality of writing output.

    Considered with these results:

    • writegood-mode: Doesn't offer enough to be worth a plugin. I will just make a conscious effort to avoid passive voice and weasel words. Might still be worth pulling in temporarily when publishing a large body of text, like a book.
    • synosaurus: Seems useful and tried it out, but using the online thesaurus only returns German. Looked around for an alternative, and found mw-thesaurus, so will give that a try instead.
  8. DONE consider mw-thesaurus
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-30 Sat 13:28]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-30 Sat 13:23]

    Integrate a thesaurus in Emacs. Includes definitions.

    Not working. Check back later to see if this issue is fixed.

    Once it is, add this keybinding:

    (global-set-key (kbd "C-c M-l") 'mw-thesaurus-lookup-at-point)

    Will try powerthesaurus instead, for now. Even if I use that, I like the definitions here, so might check back.

  9. DONE consider powerthesaurus
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-30 Sat 13:37]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-30 Sat 13:33]

    A (hopefully working) thesaurus for Emacs.

    Not working. Maybe check this issue later to see if it gets fixed.

    This was the only remaining thesaurus plugin. Was hoping to replace a need for using a web interface through w3m with just a hotkey-ed function call, but looks like it was not meant to be.

  10. CNCL consider use-package
    • State "CNCL" from "STRT" [2020-05-30 Sat 13:47]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-30 Sat 13:43]

    Consider switching all Emacs addon package blocks to make use of this.

    Considered. This is a good idea, and has the potential to keep things tidy. However, deciding against it for these reasons:

    • I have some package config that seems like it might not fit neatly into these categories, like bindings across packages, globals, etc.
    • If I want to keep this universal, I can't just paste in config from README files.
    • I don't actually have an unmanageable amount of code. Things are already pretty much in order and tidy.
    • There's package config that I want to exclude per environment, e.g. OS type.
    • This adds another package, just for package management.

    This is, however, becoming more of a standard. I'll probably reconsider at a later date.

  11. DONE fix Emacs on Windows
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-30 Sat 14:20]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-30 Sat 14:14]

    Native install doesn't like my new init. Try installing via scoop.

    Done. I think the scoop version is actually just the same as the Windows version I was manually managing. But, I did install it there and will let scoop manage it.

    The problem was pinentry package's server. Excluded from Windows, which means I won't be able to integrate editing of GPG-encrypted files there. Not a big deal though. Still need to get spell-checking working at some point.

  12. DONE fix paredit slurp/barf keybindings
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-30 Sat 22:05]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-30 Sat 21:37]

    This seems to not work on any of my environments, in GUI or terminal.

    Fixed with global-set-key workaround, due to the way paredit locks down its mode-map. Seems to have some bitrot in modern Emacs. Looks like no one's worked on it since 2014 or so too. This fixes the major issue with it, but I'm queuing up looking into smartparens.

  13. DONE fix Emacs spell-checking on Windows
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-30 Sat 23:14]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-30 Sat 23:06]

    Old version of aspell, which is all that's available for Windows, isn't supported anymore on current Emacs. So, try out hunspell instead. If it doesn't have any downsides, I might use it everywhere.

    Fixed. Managed to fix aspell instead. Just needed a slightly newer version of it, for which native win32 binaries aren't available. It is, however, available through MSYS2.

    • If MYS2 isn't installed: Open a PowerShell window: scoop install msys2
    • Install aspell: pacman -S aspell
    • Install aspell-en: pacman -S aspell-en
    • Add C:\Users\bm3719\scoop\apps\msys2\current\usr\bin to PATH.
  14. DONE try out smartparens
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-05-31 Sun 00:36]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-30 Sat 23:22]

    Paredit has some issues that apparently aren't going to be resolved. Try this out, and if good, replace paredit with it.

    Done. Setup and bound favorite functions. Looks like it has full coverage on paredit, so no reason to keep using that. Might comprehensively read the docs if I find myself with some free time.

    Only minor complaint is that, unlike paredit, it doesn't insert the extra space between pairs when just typing another open-pair character.

  15. DONE deprecate flymake
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-04 Thu 10:53]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-04 Thu 10:38]

    Remove all references to flymake and flymake-cursor. All new on-the-fly syntax checking will use flycheck. By my rough analysis, flycheck is superior to flymake, with the only downside being not included by default. See this comparison for additional details.

    Done. Stripped down my python-mode config to just the basics as well, since I probably won't do any Python development any time soon (or maybe ever).

  16. DONE create Eshell config
    • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-09 Tue 21:22]
    • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-09 Tue 15:14]

    Will designate this my exclusive embedded shell in Emacs. Config my prompt and maybe look around to see if there's anything else to customize. Git status prompt integration would be nice too. Maybe deprecate multi-term too.

    Done. Deprecated multi-term. ansi-term can still do ncurses applications, should the need ever arise, though Emacs or Eshell seems know about and spawn a few of them (like top) in dedicated buffers.

    Eshell makes for a good REPL+shell combo. Would prefer it used Clojure instead of elisp though. Will stick with babashka for anything more complex than a simple loop. It's not completely perfect–zsh is a better shell for refinement and speed in standard use cases–but you get Emacs-integration power in the trade. I think of it as leveling out the accessibility across task complexity. In zsh, as tasks get more complex, they approach impossible.


    • M-p, M-n: Cycle command history.
    • C-c C-p, C-c C-n: Navigate to previous prompts.
    • M-r: Backward history search by regexp. Works, but isn't has nice as C-r on a normal shell. I think ido can be integrated with this for a more useful interaction.
    • C-c C-l: List history in a buffer.
    • Arbitrary elisp can be run here. Parens will send things to the elisp parser. For shell commands with embedded elisp, use $(). For elisp with embedded shell, use ${}.
    • * is the glob operator, turning everything in a directory into a list. Can be used for partial globbing too.
    • Enabled smartparens-strict-mode in Eshell.
    • To do a shell for loop:

      for f in * { echo "Here's a file named $f!" }
    • Use which if in doubt about whether an elisp or shell version of a function is called. Function and variable preference order can be configured.
    • M-x eshell-display-modifier-help: Lists modifiers.
    • M-x eshell-display-predicate-help: Lists predicates.
    • It's possible to open Eshell against a remote machine:

      (let ((default-directory "/ssh:hamtaahk:~"))

      This doesn't seem to work, though server is in ~/.ssh/known_hosts and proper settings