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1 programming languages

1.1 [7/12] attain ClojureScript competency

Get to the point where I can make at least a site in ClojureScript that does some subset of the basic stuff one would expect from a modern web application.

1.1.1 DONE standardize cljs execution environment

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-24 Wed 11:04]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-24 Wed 10:56]

I've used PhantomJS in the past, so consider it here as my main ClojureScript. Seemed to be popular last time I checked, but that may no longer be true. Look into Emacs integration.

Done. Looks like the most popular are the browser, followed by nodejs. So, will stick with that. An alternative method to installing nodejs directly is nvm, which will manage multiple versions of nodejs. Skipping that for now until I need it. Setup:

  • Ensure rlwrap is on system.
  • yay -S community/nodejs
  • Optional: yay -S community/npm

1.1.2 DONE read ClojureScript Unraveled

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-24 Wed 15:58]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-24 Wed 01:35]

An online ClojureScript book. Looks a bit thin. Maybe just review the dev setup content and get tooling working in the process.

Done. Read most of this. There's some problems with this text, like example code that doesn't work. Didn't read all of it as a result. Will try to find another resource. Did learn a few things though.


  • You can create a cljs.core/PersistentQueue with (def pq #queue [1 2 3]). conj, peek, pop work against queues. Only works in cljs.
  • Use the #? reader conditional for language checking, and other stuff. Similar usage for splicing with #?@.

    #?(:clj  (Integer/parseInt v)
       :cljs (js/parseInt v))
  • Somehow I never knew you could do this, which is probably only useful in multimethods:

    (derive ::a ::b)
    (isa? ::a ::b) ; true
    (isa? ::b ::a) ; false
  • specify! is a cljs-only alternative to reify, which allows adding protocol implementations to existing JS types. specify is an immutable version.
  • JS types can be created the same way as Java objects in Clojure, with . semantics, and .- to access properties.
  • Create JS objects with js-obj with args being k/v pairs, or the #js tagged literal against a map. set! mutates. Conversions are handled with clj->js, js->clj, and into-array.
  • Volatiles are like atoms. They don't support validation and watching, but are slightly faster. Functions: volatile!, volatile?, vswap!, vreset!.

1.1.3 DONE devise Clojure CLI tools ClojureScript workflow

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-24 Wed 15:58]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-24 Wed 11:12]

Do a version of this minus Emacs integration. Emacs should work the same for lein or CLI, so will do that separate. This will also demonstrate how this actually works behind the scenes more.

Done. The build pipeline for this is still a little hazy. The setups here work, but are still a bit clunky. Some examples created in ~/src/cljs/clitest and ~/src/cljs/clibrowser. The latter implements an alternate watcher build script, detects source changes and recompiles automatically.


  • Looks like cljs projects require both the Clojure and ClojureScript JARs.
  • A file called build.clj is required. This calls build function in and lets you specify the main namespace, what input to compile, and where the output should go. Omitting the :target will default to the browser. For output, :output-to is the JS file of your application and :output-dir is all of its dependencies, I think.
  • Run the build with clojure build.clj.
  • Execute output with node main.js. For node, it looks like it creates a hashbag to env node, so you could also chmod u+x it and just run it directly.
  • A browser version of this would be the same, except there is no -main function. Then one would create an HTML file that references main.js. In my example project, the message is printed to the console.
  • See browser REPL example for an REPL tied to a running webapp in a browser. From the REPL prompt, one could run (js/alert "hi"), and an alert box will display in the browser. println calls at the REPL seem to go nowhere though.

May still want to take another pass at this if I use CLI tools for a cljs project, like adding figwheel integration.

1.1.4 DONE figure out Emacs+Leiningen ClojureScript tooling

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-24 Wed 16:58]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-24 Wed 16:18]

CIDER should support everything I need on the Emacs side. Perhaps configure projects with shadow-cljs. Look at lein-cljsbuild and see if it offers anything lein-figwheel doesn't.


Done. Looked at all of these, and some demo projects.

shadow-cljs: Basically a build tool for cljs. Requires an npm install. You create a shadow-cljs.edn file and call the shadow-cljs on it to compile, watch, or start REPLs. I like this better than writing this myself for CLI tools, but won't use it for now.

lein-cljsbuild seems fine, and is a basic lein-integrated build tool+REPL. It enables a :cljsbuild key in project.clj.

Figwheel Main is definitely what I want. It's a rewrite of lein-figwheel that supports Lein and CLI. Use the flappy-bird-demo-new project as a sample for setting up project.clj. From the command line, you can run lein figwheel to build/launch the project. A tutorial is available.

The CIDER workflow is only slightly different, with running M-x cider-jack-in-cljs or C-c C-x C-j s. Select sensible values for the various prompts and a REPL with live reloading will be activated. After this, all normal CIDER usage should work.

1.1.5 DONE review differences between ClojureScript and Clojure

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-24 Wed 22:40]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-24 Wed 17:02]

Review this official list, just to be sure I didn't miss anything important.

Done. A little overhead here, but not too bad.


  • Only integer and floating point number types that map to JS primitives are supported.
  • Characters are single character strings. No character literals, e.g. \f evaluates to "f".
  • load and load-file only work from the REPL.
  • If defining macros, do so in one namespace and use them in another with a :require-macros keyword on the ns macro.
  • This says that cljs uses JS regexes, but #"" syntax seems to work at the REPL. Something to keep in mind.
  • cljs nil is equivalent to JS's null and undefined.
  • To check keyword equivalence, use keyword-identical?, not identical?.
  • :require in ns macros doesn't support :refer or :all.
  • Globals are accessed through the js/ namespace.
  • Some libraries are already included in cljs, including clojure.set, clojure.string, cljs.pprint, cljs.spec, and cljs.test.

1.1.6 DONE read Reactive with ClojureScript Recipes: Functional Programming for the Web

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-25 Thu 23:23]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-24 Wed 22:50]

The most recent ClojureScript book, from 2017. Uses boot for tooling, so ignore anything in that area. This is a recipes book, so skim accordingly.

Quitting. Very trashy, even for a recipes book. I'd rather learn this stuff the hard way than read all of this, trying to extract the actually useful bits.


  • enable-console-print! will send print output to js/console.
  • There's some info in here about DOM manipulation that might be useful. Skipping in hopes I can use cljs libraries for this.

1.1.7 CNCL read Études for ClojureScript

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-25 Thu 23:25]

A 2015 book on ClojureScript with practice problems. There's another O'Reilly ClojureScript book, ClojureScript Up and Running, but that's even older than this one.

Canceled. I thought I had a copy of this, but turns out I don't. Now I'm out of cljs books, so looks like I'm going commando from now on.

1.1.8 TODO determine cljs lein project workflow

Still iffy right now on cljs project creation and management.



  • lein new figwheel proj-name. Apparently, you can install JS dependencies with npm install from the project directory.

1.1.9 TODO consider Reagent

A ClojureScript wrapper around React. Can use this to create components instead of Hiccup creating HTML. Manages state with a global atom, I think.

1.1.10 TODO consider re-frame

A cljs SPA framework, on top of React. See if this can be used in conjunction with Reagent.

Others describe this as being useful for larger scale apps or for larger teams. Recommendation for solo small projects is to use Reagent by itself.

1.1.11 TODO consider re-frisk

Some kind of ClojureScript UI library, related to re-frame.

1.1.12 TODO make a basic site

Use Reagent, re-frame, and re-frisk, probably. This experience will tell me to what degree do I want to consider webapps a platform for software, along with whether I'm missing some fundamental concepts for actually doing so.

1.2 [4/18] attain mid-level Haskell competency

Lesson plan for going from hobbiest Haskell programmer to being able to do most real world things. This focuses on the core language, ignoring libraries and practical application development.

Will get this started, then suspend effort for 4-6 months.

1.2.1 DONE survey modern Emacs/Haskell tooling

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-21 Sun 17:48]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-21 Sun 10:06]

I'm mildly tempted to get a less heavyweight Emacs setup for the language, which would also hopefully be less fragile. See what the options are right now.

Done, or at least done enough to get started.

Looks like this is true right now:

  • GHC: Use ghcup, which can install and update GHC, including managing multiple GHC versions.
  • Toolchain:
    • Stack still works and is usable. Some still use this. But, Cabal somehow managed to get a lot better. Cabal-hell is supposedly no more.
    • Use ghcup to install Cabal.
    • The version of Cabal to use is version 3.
    • Install all toolchain utilities (hoogle, brittany, summoner, etc.) via Cabal.
    • Nix is less necessary now as the tooling provides these benefits, mostly. cabal-install can be used in a Nix-like way (or in the old way if desired). The sandbox method is obsolete.
    • Do everything within Cabal projects, or at least try to. Stack might still be useful for building certain older projects/tools.
  • Emacs:
    • Intero development is mostly abandoned. I should deprecate this. Some say this works, but others claim bitrot. Dante is the same.
    • The Haskell community is switching to haskell-language-server, though it's still in a relatively rough state. Seems like it should have some staying power. Uses LSP.

1.2.2 DONE redo base Haskell dev stack

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-21 Sun 19:34]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-21 Sun 17:59]

Install GHC and Cabal 3, the proper way. Figure out how to do the standard project management tasks here, and the idioms for project isolation.

Some resources:

Done. This approach has the whole toolchain except ghcup installed user-specific. Note that this is almost certain to not work eventually. However, the general approach will hopefully remain valid for awhile. Using ghcup should standardize the approach across environments. It seems especially needed on Arch, since the dynamic linking its packages default to gets broken easily. Some people are working on a Cabal docs refactor right now, so I'll hold off on the full project management stuff until then.

Added this to workstation and laptop. VPS doesn't have enough space on /tmp for it, so skipping it there. I could symlink a directory there if I ever really need it.


  • Remove GHC if installed already: yay -R ghc ghc-libs
  • Install ghcup from AUR: yay -S ghcup-hs-bin
  • Ensure ghcup is latest version: ghcup upgrade
  • Add ~/.ghcup/bin to $PATH.
  • Install GHC with ghcup install. This will add versioned symlinks to ~/.ghcup/bin for things like ghci, ghc, and runhaskell.
  • Set the active version of GHC with something like ghcup set 8.8.3. Now un-versioned symlinks for ghc, ghci, etc. will be created. Note that this is the first chance for a warning of an upgraded version being available. Probably should update to that if the version difference is significant, but keep both around (use ghcup rm <version-number> otherwise). Then set that version to default.
  • Run ghci to test setup so far.
  • Install Cabal with ghcup install-cabal. This should give a version 3.x.x of cabal-install.
  • Add ~/.cabal/bin to $PATH.
  • Run cabal update to update Cabal, which will generate a ~/.cabal/config and update the package list.

As of right now, Cabal's new Nix-style commands have replaced the old ones:

  • cabal init: Create a project directory, and run this within it to initialize it as a Cabal project.
  • cabal build: Will install project-only dependencies, on a per-project basis.
  • ghc-pkg unregister should remove anything installed via cabal install.

1.2.3 DONE read latest version of How to learn Haskell (article)

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-06-21 Sun 22:06]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-06-21 Sun 21:51]

Consider reading this, which seems to be the standard advice in #haskell. Probably too remedial for me, but at least take a peek at its recommendations.

Done. Not the worst advice, since it just tells you to install Stack, but still out of date. Already had the course it recommends first on the schedule. Took a peek at the second and didn't like the projects, so will skip that.

1.2.4 DONE get Haskell running on Pi 4B

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-27 Fri 22:13]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-27 Fri 21:24]

Supposedly this is possible on any of the ARM 7 Pi boards (which doesn't include the Zero).

The steps taken are detailed on this GHC article, but in case that disappears: First install llvm-9, then run:

tar -xf ghc-8.10.1-armv7-deb9-linux.tar.gz
cd ghc-8.10.1
./configure CONF_CC_OPTS_STAGE2="-marm -march=armv7-a" CFLAGS="-marm -march=armv7-a"
sudo make install

Looks like this will work, but my current 4B uses a 16GB SD card, so it runs out of space. Once I get a new 4B for the electronics bench, I'll use one of the 32GB cards for this, which should have enough room. I don't actually plan to do any programming on the reloading bench computer anyway, so not worth redoing the install on a new card.

Note that this doesn't use the standard ghcup install used elsewhere. Maybe check back in a few years to see if that's supported.

1.2.5 TODO read Haskell Programming From First Principles

A 2016 book on everything in Learn You a Haskell for Great Good, but with extra detail. Sometimes criticized for its rigor at the expense of pragmatics. That sounds good to me though.

1.2.6 TODO redo Emacs Haskell config

While waiting for haskell-language-server to stabilize, do a super-lightweight combo of haskell-mode, ormolu, and flycheck-haskell. Deprecate intero.

1.2.7 TODO learn Cabal 3

Read most of the Cabal docs to make sure I can do everything. Skim the less commonly used stuff and just mentally note it for future reference. I could theoretically just start writing Haskell after this, using just plain haskell-mode.

1.2.8 TODO consider structured-haskell-mode

Called shm in ELPA. Like paredit, but for Haskell. AST-aware editing is generally faster once you overcome an overhead, though I'm not sure how true that is for Haskell. Looks like this has a stack build file now, but still requires an external executable. As a result, I'm deferring this until I really get into it.

1.2.9 TODO read What I Wish I Knew When Learning Haskell (essay)

A large compendium of all things Haskell. Supposedly good advice before going too far and repeating any mistakes.

Read: Repo:

1.2.10 TODO do course CIS 194: Introduction to Haskell

Maybe do this course and exercises, if I still feel like I need any remedial overview. If not, skip.

1.2.11 TODO reread the Haskell style guide

Already read this years ago, but read it again. Maybe check it yet again after I've got a decent amount of code.

1.2.12 TODO solve Ninety-Nine Haskell Problems list

One of the few problems lists available.

1.2.13 TODO read Thinking Functionally with Haskell

If I want a book with more exercises or in supplement to First Principles, read this. Might skip.

1.2.14 TODO read Haskell Wiki monad tutorials

Read all these monad tutorials, or at least until they get boring and redundant:

1.2.15 TODO read Programming in Haskell (2nd Ed.)

The most recent full-course Haskell book, updated in 2016. Also includes exercises. A good candidate for doing all of.

1.2.16 TODO read The Haskell Programmer's Guide to the IO Monad (paper)

A short paper just on the IO monad.

1.2.17 TODO read Real World Haskell

This was once the best Haskell book, but it's getting a little dated now. I might still read selected parts of it, however. It's supposedly still relevant in areas important to the Haskell practitioner. I probably will want to read this this up-to-date version.

1.2.18 TODO read The Haskell Road to Logic, Maths, and Programming

Might skip this one, unless I'm doing a generalist math reeducation at the same time as my Haskell mastery task. I might also use it as a source of practice problems, since most books don't have any.

1.3 INAC [/] research category theoretic libraries in Clojure

See which of cats and Fluokitten, if either, I prefer as a Clojure CT library. Currently I only use algo.generic in regular production code. Also determine to what extent going further in this direction makes sense in the language. I suspect going further than functors will result in fighting the language, but how much that is true is unknown.

1.3.1 INAC consider cats

Already used this a bit, but need to spend more time with it. If I recall correctly, it takes a record-based approach, with what are normally typeclasses being protocols.

1.3.2 INAC consider Fluokitten

Seems like a lesser amount of effort went into this than cats and is written by one guy, but it emphasizes being an idiomatic Clojure conversion of these concepts.

1.4 INAC [/] attain Haskell mastery

Go from good Haskell programmer to dreaming in it. Combines the practical and theoretical approaches. Needs additional sub-tasks.

1.4.1 INAC setup haskell-language-server

This is a merger, starting in 2020-01, of HIE and Ghcide. Deprecate Intero and replace it with this. By the time I get to using it seriously, this should hopefully have come together. Keep an eye on things though, since efforts like these seem to hit some kind of wall and go stagnant. I'm optimistic here.

Will wait until proper Emacs packaging is available at least. Hopefully by then, there won't be breaking changes.

1.4.2 INAC read Kleisli arrows of outrageous fortune (paper)

One of those algebraic structures that occasionally come up in Haskell libraries.

1.4.3 INAC read Algebra-Driven Design (in development)

An in-progress book on algebraic abstraction. I think mastering properly encoding a domain into algebraic structures and taking advantage of what that gives you is the key to effective use of Haskell in the real world. So, this text might be exactly what I'm looking for at the intermediate level. Keep an eye on this book's listing on Leanpub.

1.4.4 INAC read Thinking with Types: Type-Level Programming in Haskell

Aims to take a competent Haskell programmer to one that programs at the type level. Available on Leanpub here.

1.4.5 INAC read Applying Type-Level and Generic Programming in Haskell (lecture notes)

Quickly read this when I get around to learning this topic, perhaps as an outline on subtopics. These are notes from a 2018 class on the topic occasionally given by consulting firm Well-Typed.

1.4.6 INAC read Optics By Example: Functional lenses in Haskell

Lenses are a necessity in modern Haskell. Give this book a read if I get to intermediate level with the language and still find the concept not completely clear. Available in e-book form on Leanpub.

1.4.7 INAC read Haskell in Depth

An in-progress book that covers a lot of aspects of actually using Haskell in production.

1.4.8 INAC consider polysemy

An alternative (better?) model than MTL for effect handling. A competing effort is fused-effects, also worth at least eyeballing.

1.4.9 INAC consider LiquidHaskell

A type system extension that allows for extra compile-time checking. Looks pretty amazing. Look into this after getting to intermediate Haskell skill.


2 computer science

2.1 INAC [/] attain type theory mastery

I think my goals here are: advanced understanding of the concepts of type theory and understanding the links between type theory and various other subjects of interest. By the end, I'll be ready for approaching dependent types and possibly later homotopy type theory. The amount of tasks here might be overkill for my purposes, as I don't intend to write any type systems.

2.1.1 INAC read Type Theory and Formal Proof: An Introduction

Consider this as a introductory text to the topic. Sometimes comes recommended as a first stop, though this is rare compared to TAPL.

2.1.2 INAC setup opam

OCaml's package manager. Supports having multiple compiler versions. Read up on its idiomatic usage. Along with the OCaml package itself, just get this setup good enough to get some work done in and remove it all after completing work on TAPL (unless I somehow find permanent utility in keeping it around). Once done, I'll switch to one of the implementations in Haskell, or write one myself.

2.1.3 INAC setup tuareg

Seems to be the canonical OCaml mode for Emacs. Can be install via opam.

2.1.4 INAC find and read a quick OCaml tutorial

Learn basic OCaml ahead of time, so I can focus on topics in these later books. I know a bit of F#, so this should be rather easy. Will have to think about the best way to do this.

2.1.5 INAC read Types and Programming Languages

The famous text many have apparently used to attain a pragmatic level of expertise in type-theoretic models. Programming language type systems have a basis in the discipline of type theory, which this book gives a formal treatment of. Supposedly has aged well, with a downside being it uses OCaml as the implementation language. Some have done the problems here in Haskell, which I might consider. Online resources for the book are here.

Note that Philip Wadler recommends TAPL, followed by Proofs and Types, followed by ATAPL. Do the opam and tuareg yak shaving tasks before getting started.

2.1.6 INAC read Fun With Type Functions (paper)

A tutorial on type families.

2.1.7 INAC read Proofs and Types

A 1990 book by Girard. It looks like this ties together types with proof theory, λ-calculus, and logic. If so, that's just what's needed before moving on to ATAPL (as that expands the scope) and later dependent types.

2.1.8 INAC read Advanced Topics in Types and Programming Languages

A compendium of type theory papers, curated by Pierce. The point of the text is to explore the interactions of types as they influence various CS subfields. I'll probably give this a selected reading, given that I know some topics extend beyond my interest window. Includes a segue into dependent types.

2.1.9 INAC deprecate opam, tuareg, and OCaml environment

Once these other base type theory tasks are done, don't keep the OCaml stack around.

2.2 INAC [/] attain base competence in automated theorem provers

This task links in with other tasks related to type theory, Haskell, and various language theory books, and is conceptually related to proof theory and category theory. The main goal here is to attain Agda (or Coq or Isabelle) mastery to the point where I'm either using it to write code in instead of writing in normal programming languages like Haskell, or at least be capable of doing this for more complex problems.

The reason someone would want to do such a thing is that if you can prove your solution in Agda using various type systems like Hindley-Milner and GADT, where types are propositions, and your solution is correct in the formal system you can prove it in any universal proof system.

If doing any work in Coq, check out this book, supposedly the best Coq tutorial around:

2.2.1 INAC read Software Foundations

Ties together and introduces the topics: software verification, proof assistants, functional programming, reasoning about the properties of programs, and using type systems for program guarantees. Depending on how this goes, I may read one or more other Coq books after or interspersed with this, or switch to Agda. This is broken into 4 smaller books, will re-assess once I see how Logical Foundations goes. Need to do some environment setup first before starting. I've done some of this already and it's a great book.


2.3 INAC [/] refresh λ-calculus and combinatory logic knowledge

I did a dive on this for research in preparation for a presentation. A few larger efforts later, my current master plan has me coming back around to it, where I'll do some gap-filling and link it to subsequent topics.

2.3.1 INAC read Lambda-Calculus and Combinators, An Introduction

This was recommended as a suitable introductory text for the λ-calculus and includes Schönfinkel's combinatory logic. Replacing An Introduction to Lambda Calculus for Computer Scientists with this one (which I didn't like after reading a couple chapters). Another option is An Introduction to Functional Programming Through Lambda Calculus.

2.3.2 INAC read To Mock a Mockingbird

An introduction to first class functions and construction to composition of combinatory logic combinators. These fundamentals are generally useful and could be a good introduction to various PLT topics. Have an e-book copy.

2.3.3 INAC read The Lambda Calculus

An extremely dense tome on the λ-calculus written by Barendregt himself. By the time I get to this, I'll know if it's worth the massive effort.

2.4 INAC [2/4] do selected topics in compsci fundamentals reeducation

I've already done this a few times, and originally planned to always keep revisiting this from another angle. This one mainly focuses on algorithms and computability.

2.4.1 CNCL read The Annotated Turing

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:31]

A Charles Petzold book that works through Turing's 1936 paper On computable numbers, with an application to the Entscheidungsproblem.

Canceled in The Great Task Cleanup of 2020.

2.4.2 CNCL read Introduction to Algorithms

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-06 Sat 23:32]

The most used algorithms book (particularly at the gradschool level). I should definitely know everything herein cold, at least in outline form. Have the 3rd edition in PDF form and the 2nd edition in print.

Canceled in The Great Task Cleanup of 2020. A selected reading of this might be worth reconsidering later, depending on how higher priority goals go in the future. I'm mainly skipping this because of how most algorithm books assume imperative implementation. So, thinking about problems this way might actually be harmful in some cases.

2.4.3 INAC read Introduction to the Theory of Computation (3rd Ed.)

A book that supposedly reviews the fundamental theorems of computer science. This is a highly recommended book among Haskell programmers. Covers languages, automata, context-free grammars, computability, and complexity. Note that there's another book of the same title. The one I'm targeting is written by Sipser in 2012.

2.4.4 INAC read Practical Foundations for Programming Languages (2nd Ed.)

A book similar to TAPL, but updated in 2016 and not having full overlap. Written by Harper, CMU professor and author of the Existential Type blog. Judging from its increased terseness, I'm queuing it afterwards. Answers to the exercises are here. Need to buy a copy.

2.5 INAC [/] master dependent type theory

Still thinking about what this will look like. I do generally prefer Agda > Coq, but since I have to learn Coq anyway for Software Foundations, might as well just stick with that. Apparently Proof General integrates with it nicely these days now too.

2.5.1 INAC read Dependent Types at Work (paper)

An introduction to dependent types in FP using Agda.

2.5.2 INAC read Why Dependent Types Matter (paper)

A formal methods paper describing the rationale behind Epigram. Probably won't get much out of this until some more preliminary formal methods studying is complete.

2.5.3 INAC read The Little Typer

An introduction to dependent types. Look into this a little more closely before deciding to read.

2.5.4 INAC read A Tutorial Implementation of a Dependently Typed Lambda Calculus

An implementation of dependent types for Haskell, I think. Might be a good example of extending a type system in this direction.

2.5.5 INAC read Intuitionistic Type Theory (paper)

I think this is a 1984 paper of collected Per Martin-Löf notes, introducing the topic. By the time I get to this, I should already know dependent type theory, so should have some context on how much effort to expend on this extension of it. Might break ITT out into its own task if so.

2.5.6 INAC read Type Theory and Functional Programming

After ITT came out, this book describes how it can be used in practice.

2.5.7 INAC read Programming in Martin-Löf's Type Theory

Same as coverage as Type Theory and Functional Programming, but different in style.

3 mathematics

3.1 [0/6] do category theory reeducation

I've completed a high level pass on this in the form of study necessary to give a presentation on it. I now have better context for what a realistic self-driven course in the subject looks like. My goals are to be familiar enough with it to use as a general thought/communication tool and, as it intersects with my profession, to internalize the algebraic structures that can be used to model and design programs.

3.1.1 STRT read Conceptual Mathematics: A First Introduction to Categories (2nd Ed.)

  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-05-26 Tue 13:09]

Apparently one of the best category theory introductory books. Possibly a good choice for me since I've not done much work on this topic for over a year, minus using the programming language analogues.

3.1.2 TODO do course MATH198: Category Theory and Functional Programming

Consider doing this course as a review and assistance in keeping the focus on FP.

3.1.3 TODO read the Category Theory wikibook

Another option for comprehensive review with an eye towards FP.

3.1.4 TODO read Category Theory in Context

Looks comprehensive on the content I care about, and a good full details survey of the important subtopics. Probably will skip doing exercises to not get too bogged down.

3.1.5 TODO read Category Theory for the Sciences

Another supposedly great intro text. I don't feel comfortable with just one, so even in the best case, I'll give this one a try as well.

3.1.6 TODO read Applied Category Theory

An alternative to a supplementary full course reaffirming of the field. Glanced at my hard copy some and it seems good at that, plus unlike most texts, grounds concepts in application to models of systems. A great approach for functional programmers, who mostly are doing exactly that.

3.2 INAC [/] attain abstract algebra semi-mastery

I've mostly picked this up by osmosis and directed study of sub-topics so far. Like with discrete mathematics, a comprehensive survey may prove useful to those pulling and unifying ideas from the various grouped disciplines.

3.2.1 INAC read Contemporary Abstract Algebra (8th Ed.)

Highly recommended as an ideal self-education text on this subject, supposedly optimal for self-study. I'll read this book first, then reevaluate whether to queue any texts on specific sub-topics, particularly group theory. I also have the solution sets for the problems here.

3.2.2 INAC read A Book of Abstract Algebra (2nd Ed.)

Supposedly a tour of the field, retaining rigor. Includes exercises. May be good for companion text.

3.3 INAC [/] attain category theory mastery

There's two classes of CT texts, with one being extremely dense. A lot of that content is opaque to the uninitiated. This is an attempt to elevate and internalize CT knowledge to the point where such is digestible. Plan here needs some work, but partly is composed of comprehensive review (as I predict a gap between this and the previous foray into it) and a selected topics focus on concepts within.

3.3.1 INAC read Category Theory for Programmers

An online book, where chapters are posted in a blog. I've read a few of these and am unsure about the presentation, but will give it a try. Will use the EPUB version for light reading on the e-reader. Some examples are supposedly in C++, which I'll skip/skim.

3.3.2 INAC read A Taste of Category Theory for Computer Scientists (paper)

A lengthy 1988 paper by Benjamin Pierce. Only available in image PDF form, but could be useful as groundwork for Category Theory for Computer Science. Just read this without doing the exercises.

3.3.3 INAC read Category Theory for Computer Science

Based on my self-study plan for category theory, I should be super comfortable with the topic by the time I'm ready to read this extremely dense text. The goal is closing the gap from the abstract to application within CS, though if this book isn't useful in that regard I may bypass it and just go to the PLT application of the theory. There are multiple books with the same CT/CS focus, and this seems the most promising. Contains both exercises and solutions.

3.4 INAC [/] do logic/proof theory reeducation

I should know all the main logic systems cold and be able to solve proofs in them in my sleep. I do kinda know this stuff, I just need to exercise those neural pathways and do a gaps check. If I feel like detouring for a couple months, I can integrate it into my CS/math (re-)education plan prior to doing abstract algebra.

3.4.1 INAC read How to Prove It: A Structured Approach

A college-level introduction to proof reading and writing. The goal here is to internalize thinking of the type required for solving proofs. If this ends up being inadequate, I can supplement this effort with Book of Proof (2nd Ed.) which also looks good.

3.4.2 INAC read Introduction to Logic (2nd Ed.)

This is a often-recommended self-study text on the subject, by Gensler. If I do read this book, I'll see about skipping the use of LogiCola, which is an application designed for use with the book. Since I've already taken classes on this subject and this is just for refresher purposes, I might just read it without doing exercises.

3.5 INAC do graph theory reeducation

One of the most useful form of discrete mathematics I've made use of at work. Graph theory is still generally useful in life and often pops up in strange places in functional programming, like the applicability of graph algorithms to complex data structures or collections of them, despite them not necessarily being graph-based. Need to think about this some more to formulate an approach that doesn't waste any time though. Ideal would be a functional perspective of the topic.

3.6 INAC read Concrete Mathematics: A Foundation for Computer Science

The most recommended math book for computer scientists. From what I've read of it previously, it seems to be a good sampling of things I've often encountered and occasionally wished I had a thoroughly solid grasp of. It is, however, mostly in the number-crunching realm, which is probably of limited utility for me. As a result, I'll defer this and come back around to it after I've reached my goals in pure math. Consider doing all the exercises in Maxima, which I'll need to redo the Emacs setup for.

4 software engineering

4.1 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.

4.2 STRT learn Malli

  • 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.

4.3 [1/8] consider Clojure web libraries

The most common form of real world Clojure application is an application that serves rich Web front ends. When I last reviewed the topic here, there was just Ring and Compojure. This is a boring topic and while that still works fine, a few nights spent surveying current best practices is probably not a bad use of time.

4.3.1 CNCL consider Peridot

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2020-06-12 Fri 09:31]

Full Ring testing with sequences of calls. Good for, say, testing a login sequence. Watch the first lightning talk here:

Canceled. I know this exists now, so will reconsider should the need arise.

4.3.2 TODO read Web Development with Clojure (2nd Ed.)

Since this book is from 2016, if I do read this it might be prudent to sanity check everything from it online afterwards. Maybe skip it altogether or read it very selectively. 3rd Ed. is in the works, so maybe hold off on this until then.

4.3.3 TODO consider duct

An application framework for Clojure. Seems to include all of the features and best practices I'm interested in.

Maybe also:

4.3.4 TODO consider Pedestal

Give this a look. Some claim it's more lightweight than Ring+Compojure.

4.3.5 TODO consider Luminus

The most recommended Clojure web framework. Can also create a new project with lein new luminus +re-frame. Has some of the same criticism that Rails does though, in that it does everything for you. If things don't fit into the template, you end up without recourse.

4.3.6 TODO consider clojurice

A full stack web app setup in Clojure. Makes all the main architectural decisions. Worth looking at to compare against my best practices.

4.3.7 TODO consider reitit

A routing library, often used in combination with integrant/duck.

4.3.8 TODO consider alternative Clojure web frameworks

Give a super fast pass over all the remaining libraries available in the "Web Frameworks" category on The Clojure Toolbox.

4.4 TODO learn GraphQL

An alternative to REST. At least get comfortable with language concepts, enough to determine whether I want to use it on various projects. Maybe check out GraphiQL, which is a GraphQL live editor/browser plugin, or something like that. Lacinia, is a GraphQL library by Walmart Labs.

4.5 TODO consider clojure-lanterna

A Clojure wrapper around Lanterna, a Java terminal library. Give this a look and maybe try a quick test project to see if I want to use this in projects. Having an ncurses-esque option that doesn't suck would open up a lot of possibilities.

4.6 TODO consider brick

A terminal interface library for Haskell. Haskell capability here would be a good option for many project ideas. Haskell on terminal applications is also free from a lot of the conceptual impedance of n-tier architecture.

4.7 TODO consider transit-clj

Might want to use this to propagate types between front and back ends on an n-tier application that encodes data in JSON. Supposedly, this parsing is super fast (significantly more so than EDN). I don't think there's a need for it at the moment, but it's worth being aware of.

4.8 TODO consider inlein

A Clojure scripting solution that can pull in dependencies, listed within the script file itself.

4.9 TODO consider Joker

An SCI, linter, and formatter. Might be better than clj-kondo, which is a static code analyzer.

4.10 INAC consider core.unify

A unification library. Might be useful for times when a full LP environment is too heavyweight. An example might be creating a rules system.

Maybe refresh knowledge on unification first:

4.11 INAC consider clojail

Check this out for embedded REPLs.

4.12 INAC [/] consider Haskell web development

Clojure is the ideal FP solution for such things due to issues related to data vs. the network boundary. However, without some capability here, Haskell gets a lot less useful. Do another pass for resources before starting.

4.12.1 INAC read Developing Web Apps with Haskell and Yesod (2nd Ed.)

Attended a lecture on this and found this library at least technically interesting. Another Haskell web framework, Servant, is also popular now. Compare the two before investing a lot of time in Yesod.

4.12.2 INAC read Practical Web Development With Haskell

A 2018 book. Supposedly covers all the essentials.

4.12.3 INAC consider IHP

Another Haskell web framework. This one seems interesting since it solves a lot of the rather impenetrable infrastructure needed to get the features it supports working. Supposedly this is in usable state and has been for some time.

4.13 INAC [/] research modern indie game development technologies

The main goal here is checking out the Clojure game engine libraries and seeing if there's a best option that covers some of my project ideas. Do a survey of available options before starting any of these, since this changes some over the years. Will also consider some supporting non-Clojure based game dev tools.

4.13.1 INAC consider Overtone

An audio engine in Clojure, wherein you write source and have audio generated programmatically. Could be a plausible alternative to externally generating audio files for games. Supposedly, this allows one to trade programming skill for musical skill.

4.13.2 INAC consider clojure2d

A small library for live 2D image manipulation, popular in "live coding" demos. Will just give it a quick try.

4.13.3 INAC consider advenjure

Has potential for implementing IF-style game ideas.

4.13.4 INAC consider zaffre

A library for drawing characters (sprites they might mean) to a screen.

4.13.5 INAC consider fn(fx)

A functional wrapper around Java FX. Use this for Clojure desktop application development. Deprecate all use of seesaw. Rewrite commercial-angler-clj in fn-fx. Consider using the garden library for CSS generation.

Alternatively: (and cljfx/css)

Here's a blog article on the subject:

4.13.6 INAC consider BitWig

Maybe look into this for normal audio creation. Ardour is another alternative. Both run on Linux.

4.13.7 INAC consider Krita

An open-source, free graphics program, seemingly great for drawing. Just give it a look.

4.13.8 INAC consider Unity engine for Clojure

Check out the free version of Unity to see how much work it is to use. Unity has become super popular lately, especially with indie games. Just get some context for the engine, then check out Arcadia, which integrates Clojure and Unity.

4.14 INAC read Purely Functional Data Structures

Creating data structures in a typed FPL is something I do, but implementing their internals can benefit from some of the accumulated knowledge on the subject. This is the primary text that supposedly addresses that. This is a popular book for language designers, but some criticism I've heard there is that these data structures expose a bit too much complexity and sometimes are lacking in performance.

5 electronic engineering

5.1 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.

5.2 [18/18] build electronics workbench

5.2.1 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.

5.2.2 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.

5.2.3 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.

5.2.4 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.

5.2.5 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.

5.2.6 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.

5.2.7 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.

5.2.8 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.

5.2.9 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.

5.2.10 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.

5.2.11 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.

5.2.12 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.

5.2.13 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.

5.2.14 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.

5.2.15 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.

5.2.16 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.

5.2.17 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.

5.2.18 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.

5.3 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.

5.4 [3/8] 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.

5.4.1 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.

5.4.2 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.

5.4.3 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.

5.4.4 STRT read Building Your Own Electronics Lab

  • 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 the whole thing.

5.4.5 TODO read Practical Electronics for Inventors

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

5.4.6 TODO read Getting Started in Electronics

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

5.4.7 TODO read Electronics for Beginners

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.

5.4.8 TODO read All About Circuits

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.

5.5 [1/6] learn basic EE hands-on skills

5.5.1 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.

5.5.2 STRT do Pi kit tutorials

  • 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 all 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.

5.5.3 TODO do Arduino kit tutorials

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.

5.5.4 TODO read wiring tutorial

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

5.5.5 TODO practice soldering with a DIY kit

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.

5.5.6 TODO consider free circuit simulators

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.

5.6 TODO consider pigpio

A timing lib for Pi GPIO. Python binding available.

5.7 [/] start programming in Clojure on Pi

5.7.1 TODO read existing Pi+Clojure resources

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.


5.7.2 TODO consider clj-gpio

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:

5.7.3 TODO consider linux.gpio.clj

More recent than clj-gpio.

5.7.4 TODO recreate some earlier labs in Clojure

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

5.8 INAC [/] 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.

5.8.1 TODO read Introduction to Electronics

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

5.8.2 TODO read Microelectronic Circuits

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

5.8.3 TODO read The Art of Electronics

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.

6 work

6.1 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.

6.2 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.

6.3 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.

6.4 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.

6.5 TODO do high-level refresher on ML topics

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.

7 technology/software

7.1 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.

7.2 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.

7.3 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.

7.4 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.

7.5 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

7.6 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.

7.7 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.

7.8 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.

7.9 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.

7.10 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.

7.11 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.

7.12 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.

7.13 [3/3] build wearable computer

7.13.1 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.

7.13.2 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.

7.13.3 CNCL get PiSugar 2 Pro

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-04-23 Fri 21:15]

Runs about $50.

7.14 [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.

7.14.1 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.

7.14.2 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.

7.14.3 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.

7.14.4 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.

7.14.5 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.

7.14.6 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.

7.14.7 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:

7.14.8 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:

7.14.9 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.

7.14.10 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.

7.14.11 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.

7.14.12 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.

7.14.13 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.

7.14.14 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.

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.

7.14.15 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.

7.15 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.


7.16 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.

7.17 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.

7.18 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.

7.19 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.

7.20 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.

7.21 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 su
    echo 'kernel.unprivileged_userns_clone=1' > /etc/sysctl.d/00-local-userns.conf
    service procps restart
    curl -s | apt-key add - \
      echo "deb [arch=amd64] bionic main" >> \
    apt update
    apt install brave-browser brave-keyring
  • 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.

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.

7.22 [4/6] switch to ZSA Moonlander

7.22.1 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.

7.22.2 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.

7.22.3 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.

7.22.4 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.

7.22.5 STRT setup layers

  • 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.

7.22.6 TODO practice typing

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

7.23 [1/6] get into 3D printing

7.23.1 DONE consider FreeCAD

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2020-11-20 Fri 08:18]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2020-11-20 Fri 07:48]

Try out this CAD program to see how difficult it is to make 3D models of stuff. This is for 3D printing, but can also use it for CAD work if I go that route later.

Looks like this can import/export STL files, so should be good for my needs. To import, open a new document, then use the File|Import menu item. Supported by Linux. I'll hold off on getting decent with this until I get the printer, just in case something about my plan changes.


For converting STL into proper models:

7.23.2 TODO get Prusa MINI

Of the available printers, this one seems the most ideal currently. Print area almost as large as the MK3s for half the price, open source software, and high quality output.

Putting this off for a bit to work on other things.

7.23.3 TODO build work table

Maybe build a sturdy table for the 3D printer. Perhaps add a shelf on the bottom for switching out items, like if I want to add a laser engraver later. Make sure this is big enough for anything I'd want to put on it. Could also include an arm for mounting filament.

7.23.4 TODO try some functional prints

This solder roll holder might be a good test:

7.23.5 TODO consider Fusion 360

Supposedly way better than FreeCAD. Use this for model generation, then send to PrusaSlicer, I guess.

7.23.6 TODO learn chosen CAD software

Either FreeCAD, Fusion 360, or something else. Decide, and invest many days into getting capable.

7.23.7 TODO get threading tap set

Useful for all kinds of situations where plastic meets metal bolt. Get a handle too.

7.24 STRT add mountable USB hub to desk

  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-30 Sat 22:43]

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. Cost was $18. Also grabbed a spare DP and HDMI cable to keep my likely future office refactoring options open.

2021-10-30: Ordered.

7.25 TODO deprecate Debian VM

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.

7.26 TODO switch back to xmonad on workstation

After using i3 for awhile, I do think xmonad is better overall. Probably will stick with i3 for the laptop, due to the convenience of switching wireless networks. On the workstation, try making a more customized config for this, perhaps with xmobar, trayer, and xsession. Holding off on this for now until I figure out what computers are going where though. If I put the workstation in the office, I may reconsider doing this.

7.27 TODO consider git-annex

An solution for distributed repositories of data files too large for normal git. Might want to use this for all file storage.

7.28 TODO convert server site to single page

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.

7.29 TODO read Quantum Computing for Computer Scientists

Read some or all of this book to get a better understanding of the subject, which currently is only surface-level. This book looks like a good choice for me, being intended to be accessible by the CS-literate.

7.30 INAC convert playlists to EMMS

Haven't really touched these much in the past 10 years due to only having a junk soundbar on Windows. Move my MP3 collection over to Linux and convert the foobar2000 playlists to EMMS ones. Might want to finish my personal data consolidation first to make this easier. Before doing any real work, try just converting them outright by exporting to .m3u and calling emms-insert-m3u-playlist. emms-insert-playlist-directory might also do most of the work for me.

Not entirely sure I want Emacs to be my media player though, so might survey the various CLI players are before perma-switching.

7.31 INAC consider paru

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.

7.32 INAC [/] tune web site

Do these things once the main site is redone and I have some finalized content for it. SEO is one scummy industry, and if you ignore the spam part of it, you can do it yourself quite easily.

7.32.1 INAC research sitemaps

Sitemaps is a protocol used to inform search engines about the resources available on a site. Look into whether or not it's worth making one of these.

7.32.2 INAC remake robots.txt

Already have one of these, but should add stuff to exclude, like various script files.

7.32.3 INAC consider registering on Dmoz

Add site here, maybe. Google uses Dmoz to factor in its rank. Go to, and click "Suggest URL". Will need to submit it under some kind of software company category though.

7.33 INAC [/] do 2022 Emacs yak-shave

Every year, the hair grows back. This is (currently) a collection of mostly non-critical stuff. Might pull some of these into 2021, time permitting.

7.33.1 INAC integrate forge

Closes the gap on repo functionality, at least for forge-compatible ones (GitHub and GitLab). I think Bitbucket either doesn't work or only partially does.

7.33.2 INAC consider Org deadline feature

Might be able to use this for my scheduled tasks, like appointments. There's also the addon org-recur, which can be used for recurring tasks.

7.33.3 INAC consider mu4e

I like mutt, but mu seems the most popular email client among Emacs users currently. Seems to handle threads and remotely-defined folders better. Would also be nice to keep another thing completely inside Emacs, instead of an external app shelling out to emacsclient. Also has fast and powerful search features. Will have to look into config for this, and make sure it's split from my main init if it includes any PII.

7.33.4 INAC convert internal package init to use-package

Probably won't for most of these, but a few with extensive config might benefit.

7.33.5 INAC consider pen.el

An interface to semantic language models. Could be useful for work.

7.34 INAC [/] consolidate personal data (retry)

Rethink how I want to approach this, given the current home network and computing infrastructure. Might hold off until I build my next workstation, then have the NVMe drive for the system and an SSD for storage.

7.34.1 INAC consider backup drive options

I do have a 256GB USB drive which I might use for this. I may want to hold off until I get my next NUC, and get one of the taller models with room for a secondary SSD. I could put everything there and skip the more awkward solutions.

7.34.2 INAC crontab rsync scripts

Setup a schedule to the backup volume I plan to get for these purposes.

7.35 INAC consider Pi-hole

Maybe set this up on a physical device or use a docker image.

7.36 INAC [/] more seriously consider NixOS

If this lives up to the hype, I can see this being a contender for my primary OS. I've set Nix up on a netbook before, but didn't spend enough time with it to give it a fair chance.

Maybe wait until the Pi 4B is supported:

7.36.1 INAC survey current NixOS viability

Last I spent time on this many years ago, it was looking like it would be pretty popular but was rather clunky. Get a feel for what NixOS is up to in $CURRENT_YEAR and whether it plateaued or declined. If it looks dying, I'll probably spend the time on something else.

7.36.2 INAC read A Gentle Introduction to the Nix Family (essay)

Read this page to get a good feel for what the experience is like.

7.36.3 INAC read NixOS Manual

Read at least most of this before/while giving NixOS another try.

7.36.4 INAC setup a NixOS VM

Get an install up and running with the minimal ISO. Try to duplicate my main dev stacks and UI preferences.

7.37 INAC consider EOMA68 (in development)

A card-sized computing unit that can go into various shells, like a laptop or desktop. Those platforms can be mostly 3D printed. Currently being crowdfunded. Check back on this in 2022 or 2023 to see if this works out.

8 projects

8.1 [5/6] participate in getting l1j-en to client 3.63

8.1.1 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.

8.1.2 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.

8.1.3 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

8.1.4 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.

8.1.5 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.

8.1.6 STRT fix any bugs blocking public PS use

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.

8.2 STRT create pantheon of gods

  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2017-04-17 Mon 23:37]

Think of a hierarchy (or maybe a non-hierarchical assemblage) of gods. This should be a completely original conception of what gods should represent. Historically, humans have created gods to represent things on a spectrum from the easily fathomable (natural phenomenon, animistic elements, ancestral lineage) to the mildly esoteric (simplistic, abstract concepts like virtues, vices, and other anthropomorphous qualities). Maybe create a page on the site for these when done.

Properties of my conception of a pantheon:

  • Properties of gods are based upon much higher-level abstractions.
  • There exists deep, n-ary connections between gods that goes beyond dichotomous polar-opposites.
  • The conceptual space they occupy is all-encompassing, in some large-scale manner, while also ignoring human-scale concerns.
  • They should also have symbolic expressions and appropriate names, preferably multiple of both.
  • Each has an intelligible, reified description, but also a true, maximally-esoteric description.
  • The pantheon has a canonical visualization in some obscure geometric or abstract polytope.

An example with 3 ternary subgroups:

  • god X: Equivalence, implication?
  • god Y: Composition and convergence. Cellular automata. Conceptually, influence and environment. The comonad.
  • god Z (Tensor): Path, direction, progression, state transition?
  • god P: Binding, conceptually of names, physically of constraint of movement, range, spectrum. The monad.
  • god Q: Boundary, spatial and conceptual. Surface. Knowing of things. Finitude. Shape. The group/category.
  • god R: Structure and structure-preserving transformation. The F-coalgebra.
  • god A: Indifference, both of nature and conscious entities. The nature of the universe. The machine.
  • god B: Cause and consequence. Determinism. Futility. Inevitability.
  • god C: Stochastic processes/systems, statelessness. Complexity, in reality. The Markov chain.

On the surface, sets are \(\{\{X, Y, Z\}, \{P, Q, R\}, \{A, B, C\}\}\), but also there is a deeper set definition of \(\{\{X, P, A\}, \{Y, Q, B\}, \{Z, R, C\}\}\).

Also pondering the idea of a unification entity, ostensibly representing some more fundamental abstraction of reality. The other gods would not then be discrete entities themselves, but rather eigenvalues of this entity when some structural transformation is applied. Alternatively, no central entity could exist, but the gods themselves could be eigenvalues of each other.

Names: Vok/Zvok, Mga, Attemyr, Horoz, Xolot/Xotl, Letaji.

Some ideas:

  • Maybe create a repo for this. Later I can add some Agda code once I get the math solidified.
  • Gods can be represented by type signatures and/or function definitions, with increasing complexity being increasingly accurate depictions of the God. Similar to the notarikon concept.

8.3 TODO write Lineage farm bot

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.

8.4 TODO rewrite game Commercial Angler

This could be a good sample project to do GUI programming in Clojure.

  • Rewrite in Clojure using seesaw or play-clj.
  • Consider using a deployable database for game data, like SQLite.
  • Add saving and custom characters.

I started this, but maybe start over using fn-fx. Also consider using EDN to store the data instead of CSV files. That would preclude the need for complex schema code.

8.5 TODO write game Suburban Lawn

Probably write this in Clojure. See for design doc.

Only spend a week or two making this, but actually try to make this game entertaining to play.

8.6 TODO write game Clock Watcher

A simple 2D game with the same visual style of the NES game Wall Street Kid, where you're a forgotten employee. Basically, a video game version of this story:

Played in real time, the player has to endure 8 hours of pretending to be busy whenever the boss walks by (by alt-tabbing back to Excel), waiting for 5PM (a clock is visible to stare at), and putzing around with his computer to kill time. Status bar should show: Name, date, age, net worth.

Could be a good CLJS game.

8.7 TODO write game Trans-Neptunian Hermit

A space simulator taking place in Trans-Neptunian space, on and around Eris, Makemake, Haumea, Sedna, and the smaller objects in the Oort cloud and such.

This could either be a more serious and scientifically accurate resource management game, or possibly a more casual incremental game. Right now I just like the setting.

8.8 TODO write game Celebrity Stalker

An IF game.

8.9 TODO write game Departure Lounge

A nursing home RPG or IF game. Probably good for a quick game, in which case the goal could be escape to the outside.

8.10 TODO write game The End is Near

A pre-apocalyptic concept game. The player starts as a normal suburbanite and at a randomized time in the future, the end of the world comes. Check the news and talk to NPCs to get a feel for what kind apocalypse is approaching and prepare accordingly. The goal is to prepare enough beforehand to survive, managing resources, property, etc. Game end judges your preparations based upon against the actual scenario (represented by a data structure) and scores you accordingly, with some text describing how your character fares. Can be done either as a console or web-based app.

A possible idea I had for this was that the cataclysm could be one of many dozens (with clues that improve the statistical odds of a particular event happening). The player could spend time collecting clues to get better odds on the event type, or just dedicate energy to preparing.

8.11 INAC consider web app ideas

Nothing too original here, but might be good practice for HAppS or Ring/Compojure. Keep accumulating ideas here and pick out the best ones later.

  • Something to auto-generate RSS-feeds from web-journal posts. Alternatively, something that aggregates post markup from a datasource into various presentation outlets (main listing, permalink listing, and RSS).
  • Some manner of comment-validator that tests the following captcha idea: A captcha, for example, could start with an alpha/beta/eta-reduction answer and build up λ expression complexity around it, then ask the user to reduce the expression and enter the answer before posts are accepted. Think of some other composable mathematical expressions along these lines, then randomly select an algorithm and generate a problem.
  • Auto-page creation based on a directory hierarchy. Every directory and sub-directory will be checked for the existence of a home.edn file. If found, a page will be generated based on the template file with the content markup inserted into it. If not found, it will just list directory contents if the server supports directory browsing. When a page is created, the sub-directories and any other EDN files will be listed on a navigation bar. These will go to auto-generated pages as well. The navigation will always include a top-level and possibly an up-one-level link. Looks like a project called "werc" already does something similar to this, written in rc shell.
  • Something to generate various system stats dynamically, so I don't have to paste this stuff in again when hardware or software gets updated.

8.12 INAC consider miscellaneous practice projects

Some ideas for a few practice projects of the ~3 day effort range. Break these into individual tasks if I choose to do any. Will keep this list going until I run out of ideas for awhile, then review.

  • An analog-style clock using vector graphics.
  • A parallel Sieve of Eratosthenes.
  • Use Delauney triangulation to convert a collection of circles into a graph.
  • Rewrite my l33t-speak converter (which I think I lost the source for) in elisp. This would make a superior converter than M-x studlify-region. Call this l33tify-region. I could also make one for dewdspeak (dewdify-region).
  • A market data research program that uses Pearson's correlation coefficient to detect related and inverse-related ETFs. This could actually be quite useful, since if one of these coefficients gets significantly out of line, it might be a promising trade to buy into a likely gap close.
  • A price prediction modeler using Weka. Locate a target equity that I want to predict the price of, and conjecture upon influencing/correlated equities.
  • Utility to find the polygon representing the convex hull of a set of points in 2D. Maybe also do in 3D. This is a solved problem, so do it in some esoteric language.

8.13 INAC [/] write game MV Rockzap

Still a long ways off from actually beginning to implement this, but current thoughts are to do this in Clojure, using some currently unknown combination of graphics libraries.

No one has yet seriously attempted to write a game anywhere nearly this involved in Clojure, so chance of failure is pretty high. But, not getting a finished product is fine by me too. If I'm confident I can get the major technical infrastructure in place, I'll start.

8.13.1 INAC read up on ShipBuilder

Just watch a video or something. Has a full collection of ship components.

8.14 INAC [/] write RPG in Emacs

Provided I get around to getting good with elisp, a good practice project might be to make a RPG in Emacs, which seems to not currently exist. Threading, display, and possibly macro-exploitation might be things to think about. Could look into how some of the simple games handle some of these issues. May want to consider transient, the interaction menu used by magit. May need one or more subprocesses to do non-blocking async (C-h f start-process).

8.14.1 INAC read An Introduction to Programming in Emacs Lisp (3rd Ed.)

Available at C-h i d m Emacs Lisp. I don't really have any big ideas for my own modes in Emacs (except my game idea), so reading this isn't any emergency. However, even if I never do any serious elisp development, this will help some in debugging existing code and customizing. Seems to have been updated in 2009, so might be a little dated on the current direction of the language. I may wait until the next version comes out.

8.15 INAC write game Detroit in Ruins

A light/medium-complexity RPG game taking place in modern Detroit. Perhaps done in the MMORPG style (but still single player). Battle respawning monsters like raccoons, bears, feral dogs, inner city blacks, UAW members, squatter art students, social workers, prostitutes, arsonists, and community organizers. Collect gold, food stamps, syringes, scrap metal, copper wire, etc.

This idea isn't worth going all out on. So just use a pre-built isometric engine. I like this idea, but not sure I want to invest the effort for a game not very original in mechanics.

8.16 INAC write game Freedom Club

A life-simulator where the player plays as Theodore Kaczynksi in his shack in Montana. Mostly intentionally boring, but will have activities like:

  • Working on your manifesto.
  • A mail-bomb construction mini-goal.
  • Creating night soil from excrement.
  • Using a single shot .22 rifle to shoot rabbits, turtles, etc.
  • Raising turnips.
  • Managing supplies.
  • Getting water from a nearby stream.
  • Tons of hidden Easter eggs scattered around the game.
  • A user-filled or auto-filled diary.
  • Chasing away raccoons or other animals that try to steal your food.
  • Receiving a monthly check in the mail from your brother.
  • Encountering urban glampers.

Game world will be bounded on all sides by industrial parks and suburban housing, but should include enough wilderness to spend hours roaming in.

See this interview, which mentions some of his daily activities.

8.17 INAC write game Turnip Farm

A farming sim, mostly involving raising turnips. Just a concept for a setting currently.

8.18 INAC write λ-calculus library in Clojure

Make a library that includes all the standard λ-calculus features, particularly λ reduction. I looked around to see if this was already a solved problem, and some guy did a very lacking version of this here.

8.19 INAC write game The Affairs of Men

Create a more formal design document in Org for this game and collect all of the various ideas I've accumulated there. Clean up/finish the preview page and concept art graphics.

Currently, I'm not too worried about coming up with a realistic plan for actually getting this project off the ground, since every time I've started writing code, I've just ended up tossing it a year later. So, the main goal now is to finish my self-directed languages study. At that point, I'm sure I'll have more permanent ideas about how to approach this problem.

I'm also not sure if a single person is capable of building a game of this magnitude, due to the art assets required. That's a concern that would have to be addressed before putting any more design work into it.

8.20 INAC write unnamed 2D Elite-clone, refactored

Concept in progress. See notes for Endless Sky.

8.21 INAC write GovSim

A multi-agent system that simulates different economic models. Will have to be detailed enough to simulate at least the majority of factors involved in centralized economy management and be back-testable to some precision. Should have end user configuration options for tweaking assumptions (like agent irrationality). Not sure if this is possible, but would be incredibly awesome if so. If it is, it's likely a huge effort that would require a lot of contributors.

There's an existing commercial product something like this, written in Scala. Maybe do some market research first.

8.22 INAC write game Chore Simulator

Make the most dreadful grind of a generic fantasy MMORPG ever. Only do this if I have assets and an isometric game architecture already in place. Will work on the idea some to see if I can fill out the details of how it will be an epic burden in every way. Might be a good idea for an intentional shovelware game.

8.23 INAC write book Bacha

Complete this book. Repo setup in BitBucket. Some content is done, but will restart this, if I decide to do it at all. I think I'm not entirely happy with how the outline and current content is playing out.

9 novels

9.1 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).

9.2 [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.

9.2.1 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.

9.2.2 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.

9.2.3 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.

9.3 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.

9.4 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.

9.5 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.

9.6 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.

9.7 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.

9.8 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.

9.9 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.

9.10 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.

9.11 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.

9.12 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.

9.13 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.

9.14 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.

9.15 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.

9.16 [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.

9.16.1 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.

9.16.2 CNCL read Raven Stratagem

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-03-11 Thu 20:47]

9.16.3 CNCL read Revenant Gun

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-03-11 Thu 20:47]

9.17 [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).

9.17.1 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.

9.17.2 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.

9.17.3 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.

9.17.4 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.

9.18 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.

9.19 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.

9.20 [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.

9.20.1 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.

9.20.2 DONE read Dune Messiah

Also excellent and filled with what's best about this series: intense, multi-layered conversations.

9.20.3 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.

9.20.4 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.

9.20.5 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.

9.20.6 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.

9.21 [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.

9.21.1 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.

9.21.2 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.

9.21.3 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.

9.21.4 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.

9.21.5 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.

9.21.6 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.

9.21.7 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.

9.21.8 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.

9.21.9 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.

9.21.10 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.

9.21.11 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.

9.21.12 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.

9.21.13 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.

9.21.14 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.

9.22 [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.

9.22.1 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.

9.22.2 CNCL read SpecOps

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-05-15 Sat 11:33]

9.22.3 CNCL read Paradise

  • State "CNCL" from "TODO" [2021-05-15 Sat 11:33]

9.23 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.

9.24 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.

9.25 [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.

9.25.1 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.

9.25.2 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.

9.25.3 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.

9.25.4 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.

9.25.5 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.

9.25.6 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.

9.25.7 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.

9.26 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.

9.27 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.

9.28 [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.

9.28.1 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.

9.28.2 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.

9.28.3 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.

9.28.4 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.

9.28.5 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.

9.28.6 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.

9.29 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).

9.30 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.

9.31 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.

9.32 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.

9.33 [2/2] read Children of Time series

A two-novel scifi series bringing together multiple topics, including AI.

9.33.1 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.

9.33.2 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.

9.34 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.

9.35 [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.

9.35.1 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.

9.35.2 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.

9.35.3 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.

9.36 STRT read Stranger in a Strange Land

  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-10-27 Wed 09:19]

Some call this Heinlein's best work.

9.37 TODO read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Another Heinlein novel I never got around to reading.

9.38 TODO read Union Earth Privateers Omnibus

This is a compendium of a 3 story scifi series of the same name. Supposedly at least decent.

9.39 TODO read Interface

A Stephenson collab about (then) near-future semi-dystopian tech integration.

9.40 [/] read Worlds of Chthon series

A scifi series begun by Piers Anthony (composing the Aton series), with the final two novels written by Charles Platt. Anthony is mainly a science fantasy author, so bail if these are in that genre. Need to find copies of the last two.

9.40.1 TODO read Chthon

9.40.2 TODO read Phthor

9.40.3 TODO read Plasm

9.40.4 TODO read Soma

9.41 [/] read Berserker series

Had intended to read this long ago, but then forgot about it. A long scifi series about mutinous self-replicating machines. Might be the first treatment of hostile von Neumann probes in fiction. Being so massive, try out the first 1-3 entries before committing. There's a few aspects about it that make me wary. Not including The Bad Machines (the 12th entry), since it's a crossover novelette with The Humanoids series.

9.41.1 TODO read Berserker

9.41.2 TODO read Brother Assassin

9.41.3 TODO read Berserker's Planet

9.41.4 TODO read Berserker Man

9.41.5 TODO read The Ultimate Enemy

9.41.6 TODO read Berserker Wars

A collection of short stories, like the first entry. Check these before reading, since there's some overlap.

9.41.7 TODO read Berserker Throne

9.41.8 TODO read Berserker Blue Death

9.41.9 TODO read Berserker Base

9.41.10 TODO read Berserker Attack

9.41.11 TODO read Berserker Lies

9.41.12 TODO read Berserker Kill

9.41.13 TODO read Berserker Fury

9.41.14 TODO read Shiva in Steel

9.41.15 TODO read Berserker's Star

9.41.16 TODO read Berserker Prime

9.41.17 TODO read Rogue Berserker

9.42 TODO read Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials

An experimental novel of what I guess I'll call Abstract-Lovecraftian. Might be nonsensical, but will give it a try.

9.43 [/] read Mission of Gravity series

An older hard scifi novel about a highly oblate planet with a few other books continuing the series. Note that the second may only be tangentially related.

9.43.1 TODO read Mission of Gravity

9.43.2 TODO read Close to Critical

9.43.3 TODO read Star Light

9.43.4 TODO read Lecture Demonstration

9.44 TODO read Dichronauts

Another Greg Egan novel about a world where there are 2 spatial dimensions and 2 time dimensions. Explanation of the physics of this world are here. This is from 2020, well after the start of Egan's period of seemingly being unable to write mind-expanding stories. So, keep an eye out for warning signs of this being the same. Won't risk reading all of it if it seems like it's going to be more reams of boring nothing.

9.45 TODO read Cryptonomicon

Read some of this previously, but give it another try and attempt to finish it. Supposedly the best of Stephenson's novels.

9.46 TODO read SSN

A 1996 standalone Clancy novel about a US/China conflict over the Spratly Islands, making it still sorta relevant today. Refresh my geographic knowledge by reading the Spratly Islands Wikipedia article first.

9.47 TODO read The Children of the Sky

The last in the series including A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky. The setting for this one doesn't sound that great though, but the other novels were at least readable, so I'll give it a chance.

9.48 [/] read Seafort Saga

A 1994-2001 naval scifi series by David Feintuch. Looks like another C.S. Forester scifi port.

9.48.1 TODO read Midshipman's Hope

9.48.2 TODO read Challenger's Hope

9.48.3 TODO read Prisoner's Hope

9.48.4 TODO read Fisherman's Hope

9.48.5 TODO read Voices of Hope

9.48.6 TODO read Patriarch's Hope

9.48.7 TODO read Children of Hope

9.49 [/] read Desolation Road series

A series about terraforming Mars and the only content produced by Ian McDonald that looks worth reading.

9.49.1 TODO read Desolation Road

9.49.2 TODO read Ares Express

9.50 TODO read Great North Road

A large standalone Hamilton scifi novel, combining several genres like mystery and detective. Doesn't seem to have any obvious selling points, but is generally claimed to be worth the effort, so will give it a try.

9.51 [/] read The Night's Dawn trilogy

A very large scifi trilogy by Hamilton. Looks like a lot of work went into the world-building, but nothing compelling about it noticed so far. Will give it a chance.

9.51.1 TODO read The Reality Dysfunction

9.51.2 TODO read The Neutronium Alchemist

9.51.3 TODO read The Naked God

9.52 [/] read Anghazi series

A hard scifi series starting with an interstellar survey ship and maybe venturing into other topics. Check if series is done before starting.

9.52.1 TODO read Casimir Bridge

9.52.2 TODO read Pathogen Protocol

9.53 [/] read Aloysius Pendergast series

A series of semi-scifi thrillers. Occasionally claimed to be good, but I'm skeptical. Maybe give the first entry, Relic, a try to find out. Full series listing is here. Just queuing up the first 3 for now.

9.53.1 TODO read Relic

9.53.2 TODO read Reliquary

9.53.3 TODO read The Cabinet of Curiosities

9.54 TODO read Artemis

Was going to give this a pass due to the plot summary being about a conspiracy to control a city on the Moon. I'll give it a chance since Weir's most recent novel is so well done though.

9.55 INAC [/] 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.

9.55.1 TODO read A.I. Destroyer

9.55.2 TODO read The A.I. Gene

9.55.3 TODO read A.I. Assault

9.55.4 TODO read A.I. Battle Station

9.55.5 TODO read A.I. Battle Fleet

9.55.6 TODO read A.I. Void Ship

9.55.7 TODO read A.I. Rescue

9.55.8 TODO read A.I. Armada

9.56 INAC read Maelstrom

Another Peter Watts novel, and follow-up to Starfish, I think. Available online. There's also now a 2-part 3rd entry to this series too, collectively called βehemoth.

9.57 INAC read Gravity's Rainbow

Supposedly Thomas Pynchon's magnum opus. I'm mainly interested in its experimental narrative style that is said to include detailed, specialized knowledge. "Experimental" in writing usually means crap though, so I'll bail quickly if that's what this is.

9.58 INAC read The Crooked Hinge

Another Carr locked-room mystery novel and entry 8 in the Gideon Fell series.

9.59 INAC read Beggars in Spain

A speculative look at the results of applied Objectivism. I'm purposely remaining in ignorance of any conclusions drawn here, so it could be complete ass. Objectivist fiction can occasionally be quite good, but most of it (particularly the criticism, which often misinterprets it) is very awful. If this turns out to be the latter, I'll bail quickly.

9.60 INAC read Crime and Punishment

Supposedly the best Dostoevsky novel and one possibly one of the greatest ever.

9.61 INAC read Ideal

A posthumously-published novel by Ayn Rand. Only recently released in 2015.

9.62 INAC [/] read Prelude to Dune series

The first of the expanded series, written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson between 1999-2001. This is a prequel series, set just a few decades before the events of Dune. Reading these will determine whether or not I can stomach the expanded series at all. If these suck, I'm not going to be wasting the months it'll take to read the rest.

9.62.1 INAC read House Atreides

9.62.2 INAC read House Harkonnen

9.62.3 INAC read House Corrino

9.63 INAC [/] read Legends of Dune series

The second of the expanded series, written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson between 2002-2004. Another prequel series, but set 10000 years before the events of Dune. May give this a try even if I bail on the Prelude to Dune series, or just read this first.

9.63.1 INAC read The Butlerian Jihad

9.63.2 INAC read The Machine Crusade

9.63.3 INAC read The Battle of Corrin

9.64 INAC [/] read Dune sequel series

This is another expanded series, but one I'm considering separate for my own reasons. Written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson between 2006-2007. These follow the events of the core series and try to tie up loose ends based on Frank Herbert's notes for the direction of the series.

9.64.1 INAC read Hunters of Dune

9.64.2 INAC read Sandworms of Dune

9.65 INAC [/] read Heroes of Dune series

Another expanded series, written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson between 2008-2009. Set between the events of Dune and Dune Messiah, and also between House Corrino and Dune.

9.65.1 INAC read Paul of Dune

9.65.2 INAC read The Winds of Dune

9.66 INAC [/] read Great Schools of Dune series

The currently latest of the expanded series, written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson between 2012-2016. Set 80-100 years after The Battle of Corrin.

9.66.1 INAC read Sisterhood of Dune

9.66.2 INAC read Mentats of Dune

9.66.3 INAC read Navigators of Dune

9.67 INAC [/] read The Expanse series (in development)

Might be good. Only know about the setting so far, which looks reasonable. Not finished, so wait until it's done. Might be too mass appeal targeted, evidenced by a TV show conversion. Also is in the space opera genre. Need to find copies of the novellas and short stories (though I may skip these).

Here's a best guess on a good sequence, ordered by chronological release:

9.67.1 INAC read Leviathan Wakes

9.67.2 INAC read The Butcher of Anderson Station (short story)

9.67.3 INAC read Caliban's War

9.67.4 INAC read Gods of Risk (novella)

9.67.5 INAC read Drive (short story)

9.67.6 INAC read Abaddon's Gate

9.67.7 INAC read The Churn (prequel novella)

9.67.8 INAC read Cibola Burn

9.67.9 INAC read Nemesis Games

9.67.10 INAC read The Vital Abyss (novella)

9.67.11 INAC read Babylon's Ashes

9.67.12 INAC read Strange Dogs (novella)

9.67.13 INAC read Persepolis Rising

9.67.14 INAC read Tiamat's Wrath

9.67.15 INAC read Untitled 9th novel (out 2021-10)

Check here to confirm completion.

9.68 INAC [/] read The Second Formic War trilogy (in development)

A followup trilogy, currently in the works. Maybe check back in a few years to see if it's done.

9.68.1 INAC read The Swarm

9.68.2 INAC read The Hive

9.68.3 INAC read The Queens

9.69 INAC read The War Against the Chtorr series (in development)

A 6-part series, with 4 currently completed. Maybe give it a try when done.

9.70 INAC [/] read Iron Gold trilogy (in development)

The sequel trilogy to Red Rising. Wait until complete.

9.70.1 INAC read Iron Gold

9.70.2 INAC read Dark Age

9.70.3 INAC read Unnamed sequel trilogy 3rd book

9.71 INAC [/] read Unification War trilogy (in development)

The 3rd (and probably final) trilogy in the Black Fleet series. Check back maybe in late 2021 to see if this is done.

9.71.1 read Battleground

9.71.2 read unnamed 2nd book

9.71.3 read unnamed 3rd book

9.72 INAC [/] read Ark Royal series (in development)

A naval scifi series that I think is still in development. Check back here in a year or two to see if there's new entries (last one was released 2019-10):

9.73 INAC [/] read Frontlines series (in development)

A military scifi series. Might be too much about ground combat, but will give it a chance since it's supposedly hard scifi. Probably still in progress, so check back in 2022 or so. If this reads well, check out the author's The Palladium Wars series, which started in 2019.

9.73.1 TODO read Terms of Enlistment

9.73.2 TODO read Lucky Thirteen

9.73.3 TODO read Measures of Absolution

9.73.4 TODO read Lines of Departure

9.73.5 TODO read Angles of Attack

9.73.6 TODO read Chains of Command

9.73.7 TODO read Fields of Fire

9.73.8 TODO read Points of Impact

9.73.9 TODO read Orders of Battle

9.74 INAC read USS Hamilton series (in development)

Another naval military scifi series, currently (as of 2021) only 3 entries in.

9.75 INAC read Blood on the Stars series (in development)

Yet another naval military scifi series. This one is 17 books in as of 2021. Check back in a few years to see if it's finished. 17 entries in 5 years seems pretty excessive though, and quality might be lacking.

9.76 INAC read The Lost Fleet: Outlands series (in development)

Started in 2021, this is another follow-on series to The Lost Fleet series.

10 games

10.1 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.

10.2 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).

10.3 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.

10.4 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.

10.5 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.

10.6 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).

10.7 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.

10.8 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.
  • 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.

10.9 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.

10.10 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.

10.11 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.

10.12 STRT play Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition

  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2019-07-21 Sun 23:34]

Got on GOG sale as gift.

10.13 STRT play Underrail: Expedition

  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2019-10-23 Wed 09:32]

An expansion to the base game that adds a side story line and some new progression. Grabbed on release for $7.

Created a pure psi build first, which is definitely an interesting class, but not quite my thing. Decided to switch to a chemical/energy pistol build, which ended up being more interesting. However, that run became bugged, so restarted with a chemical/energy pistol + temporal manipulation build on hard difficulty.

This is a pretty big expansion, worthy of extra cost. The main downside is the content itself is often a bit too straight-forward, lacking some of the more clever solutions often present in the main campaign.


  • Unless this gets patched, be sure to always do the expansion area all at once so I don't end up with a blocked game again.
  • To meet Azif, be sure not to mention the general clue about the murder victim being bad at his job during the Meet Lenox quest.

I collected high end crafting materials for a crafting psi build, if I want to do another run at some point. This would also allow for interacting with the monolith/pillars. However, I'll definitely take a break for a few years to play other stuff and in case another expansion comes out.

10.14 TODO play Brogue Community Edition

A popular and more recent full-featured roguelike. For this game, 1.7.5 is conjectured to be the final official version. As such, the CE continues development while staying conservative about changes. This is a much simpler game than Nethack, so might not spend much time on it or keep it around. It also requires X to play.

10.15 TODO briefly try Path of Exile

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.

10.16 TODO play Wizardry 8

Decided to skip 7 and go straight to 8. Grabbed on sale for $2.49.


  • Hit Control+Alt when entering names to enable typing if not working.

10.17 TODO play Children of a Dead Earth

A super-realistic space combat sim. Only available on Steam, unfortunately, but grabbed on 90% sale for $2.49.

10.18 TODO play Elite for Emacs

An elite clone, inside Emacs. Looks like saving might not be implemented though, so maybe run it in a container.

10.19 TODO play The Magpie Takes the Train

A follow-up to the previous game, Alias. That was a full IF game, but this is a single room puzzle IF. Supposedly still good though.

10.20 TODO replay X3: Terran Conflict + Albion Prelude

Revisit this and restart my pacifist run. I'm still a bit unenthusiastic about the X-series due to X:R, but I'll give this game another chance. I do somewhat suspect that I may have outgrown the series altogether though.



  • Install game from Steam.
  • Run the game from Steam once to do initial setup. This will also allow checking graphics settings (leave these default, and if performance is an issue later, decrease AA to 2x). Also setup the controller.
  • Install X3:AP bonus pack Read bonus pack README PDF.
  • Install 3.2 non-Steam .exe.
  • Install plugin manager. Deselect Auto Updater.
  • Manually install PSCO1 Cockpit Mod 1.33AP. I have these as and 14.dat.
  • Install Universal Best Buys/Sells Locator into plugin manager.
  • Install Universe Explorers. Requires AP Libraries. Install both into plugin manager. Also requires Community Plugin Configuration mod, which is already installed by default in the plugin manager.
  • Manually install transparent sidebar mod. Create a dds folder in the root game directory and copy the dds file into it.
  • Extract the MK3 Optimization mod and run the extraction exe against the addons directory.
  • Install (as an archive) Reduced Enemy Missiles mod. This reduces missiles to the X:R rate instead of the missile spam in AP.
  • Try no floating icons mod. This didn't work for AP, last I checked though. Maybe modify this mod myself? Some guy had a solution here:
  • In regedit, modify the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Egosoft\X3AP\GameStarts value to ffff.
  • Set FOV to 80 for a 16:10 monitor. This is a reduction and ideally the FOV would be 100 or so, but this does get rid of the stretching.
  • Adjust in-game keybindings. Copy over old config for this.
  • Mods to consider later:
    • Anarkis Defense System, if I start using carriers.
    • ANCC Scramble, to scramble fighters.
    • Docking Lockup Fix, if the docking bug shows itself.
    • Terran Conflict plots 2.2a. Only do this after doing the AP plots, if I ever do them at all.

Also add X3: Farnham's Legacy, a community-made addon completed in 2021. Free and available here:

10.21 TODO play Rimworld: Royalty

A- bought this expansion, so might as well give it a run.

10.22 TODO play Factorio

Bought directly on their site, since it requires an account and serial registration there even if buying on GOG. Did some of the tutorials, but haven't actually started playing yet.

10.23 INAC play Dangerous Waters + RA 1.41

Probably one of the most involved sims ever made. Once I can spare several days to read the manual, I'll give this a try. Also read at least the Wikipedia articles on all weapons and platforms in the game.

The Reinforce Alert mod brings in a ton of new platforms, missions, and improves graphics all around.


  • Update to 1.04.
  • Might want to flag the binary with -wantVSync. Try without it first.
  • Install RA 1.41.

10.24 INAC consider Orbiter 2016

I've played this over a decade ago, but didn't give it the time it deserved. Will give it another try since I'm into realistic space sims and orbital mechanics.

10.25 INAC play Silent Hunter 4

Will play missions to get used to the game, then eventually try to complete a 100% realism career until getting awarded the desk job. SH5 has also been out since 2010 and is now DRM-free. So, I might instead get that if I don't get to SH4 anytime soon.

10.26 INAC consider Arx Fatalis

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.

10.27 INAC consider Phantom Doctrine (purchase)

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).

10.28 INAC play Disco Elysium (purchase)

Looks good. Been interested in the idea of a non-combat focused isometric RPG for awhile now. Will wait to see if there's expansions first though. Also need to do a wokeness check on it before buying.

10.29 INAC consider Pathfinder: Kingmaker (purchase)

A BG-esque RPG based on the Pathfinder ruleset. A good chance I'll skip, since Pathfinder always struck me as a bit too direct of a ripoff of D&D 3.5 and recently they've gone full SJW. Also has season passes and a lot of bugs.

10.30 INAC consider X4: Foundations (purchase)

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.

10.31 INAC play Cold Waters (purchase)

A new sub-sim. Give this one until at least 2020 if they add some features hinted at, like the ability to play as Soviet units. Before purchasing, check on whether updates are going to GOG like they are to Steam.

10.32 INAC play Objects in Space (purchase)

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).

10.33 INAC consider Ultimate Admiral: Dreadnoughts (in development)

Looks good, but wait until release or well afterwards.

10.34 INAC consider Alliance Space Guard (in development)

A hardcore space sim, similar to Rogue System in design goals. Looks great so far, but wait until actually done before buying.

10.35 INAC play Baldur's Gate 3 (in development)

In early access as of 2020-11. Looks suitably complex. No release date scheduled yet.

10.36 INAC consider Starsector (in development)

Looks like a promising 2D top-down space sim. Combat and nav happen on different maps and fleets can be built and controlled.

11 general topics

11.1 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.

11.2 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.

11.3 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.

11.4 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.

11.5 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.

11.6 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.

11.7 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.

11.8 [2/7] learn basic lojban

Not sure if I want to bother being able to speak this, but writing/reading it would be nice. I'll know whether to keep going once I get into it. Do a survey of resources before starting, as these are old.

11.8.1 DONE learn basic pronunciation

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-09 Wed 23:21]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-09 Wed 13:26]

Would rather do this first, so while reading the books, I'm properly sounding out the words mentally and don't have to unlearn any incorrect pronunciation later. This might be one of the few situations where watching videos would be useful. Watch enough of these to get the general hang of it, but don't worry much about grammar rules.

Got it, at least for now. Did learn a little grammar along the way too, at least enough to compose statement bridi.

11.8.2 DONE check lojban addons for Emacs

  • State "DONE" from "STRT" [2021-06-13 Sun 10:32]
  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-12 Sat 22:31]

Had 2 of these enabled back in 2007 or so, but give it a current scan to see what the capabilities are now.

No progress in this area, just the same two addons in the same state. Neither are in ELPA too, so will just turn off flyspell when writing lojban.

11.8.3 STRT read What Is Lojban?

  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-06-13 Sun 10:32]

An introductory text to learning the language. Will at least read this and make a determination on whether to stick with it.

11.8.4 TODO do online lojban lessons

11.8.5 TODO read The Complete Lojban Language

A complete description of the language. Available free as EPUB.

11.8.6 TODO chat in lojban on IRC

See if there's regular activity in #lojban and #jbosnu. Will wait until I have the vocabulary down before doing this, since it'll be frustrating in real time without that.

11.8.7 TODO write short story in lojban

Use one of my less promising short story ideas and see if I can get it in the language. Might do some more if this works out.

11.9 TODO read Physics of Space War

A 2020 whitepaper on space warfare by the Center for Space Policy and Strategy.

11.10 TODO read Leviathan

The 17th century book by Hobbes, taking the position of defense of civilization and civilized man. I consider this part of the great debate (originally between Hobbes and Rousseau) between the natural order and civilization, which has branched out into a multi-dimensional discourse.

11.11 [/] improve writing skill

11.11.1 TODO read The Deluxe Transitive Vampire

A grammar book on proper English usage. Will give this a read to ensure I'm not making any mistakes, and just to remind myself of the various categories of grammatical structure. Some of these, I've forgotten due to never thinking about it.

11.11.2 TODO find book on writing

Find a text on narrative crafting or some other higher order concept. There's a lot of junk out there in this category, so might take a dedicated effort. Perhaps there are established, good authors out there who have written about this. A little wary of doing this, since I don't want to impose any structural rigidity. Will ponder this before proceeding.

11.12 TODO read On Thermonuclear War

Having read about a third of this already, this seems worth reading for more than just entertainment value, despite being published in 1960. The book is infamous for its emotionally-detached analysis of data-driven projections of the results of nuclear war. Will save this as the next hardcopy read.

11.13 INAC [/] research naval warfare

11.13.1 INAC Naval Warfare, 1815-1914

A medium-length book covering the transition period from wooden sailing ships to modern steel. Focuses on the technology advances of the time and their implications on naval strategy/tactics. The reason I'm interested in this, apart from my affinity to surface warfare, is developing a mental model for the strategy/technology relationship in naval warfare. This should help formulate a realistic space combat model should I ever get to working on my related game ideas.

11.13.2 INAC The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783

I like naval history, though mainly starting at the Russo-Japanese war era. Despite being very old, this is still considered a classic and relevant to naval strategists to this day.

11.13.3 INAC Multinational Maritime Tactical Instructions and Procedures

An unclassified version of the maritime volume of Allied Tactical Publication 1. Used for international maritime exercises like RIMPAC.

11.13.4 INAC Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-First Century (2nd Ed.)

If this is lacking, switch to reading Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat (2nd Ed.), which I now have a copy of.

11.14 INAC read Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (2nd Ed.)

I'd like to give all of Objectivism one final comprehensive study, then maybe write a critique of it. But, I haven't been able to find a PDF of this yet. I'll give it one more look, then give up on this one.

11.15 INAC read Being No One: The Self-Model Theory of Subjectivity

This is supposedly empirically-based (though still a philosophical model), opposed to the mainly nonsense self theory talk in pseudo-intellectual academia. I'll give self-stuff one final chance with this book, and if it's garbage, forget about it forever. I may even do so if it's great, since these theories are pretty pointless anyway, and my biology based operating theory is actually useful. This is a massive book, far beyond my tepid interest in the subject, so I may do a selected reading.

11.16 INAC [/] learn basic astrodynamics

I'll need some knowledge here at least in order to make a realistic space sim. Don't need to know everything though, so can do a selected topics study.

11.16.1 INAC read Fundamentals of Astrodynamics

Have a hard copy. Seems like a good intro, from what I've read.

11.16.2 INAC read Space Dynamics

Have a hard copy. Same content as Fundamentals of Astrodynamics, and worth reading if I still feel weak on it. This is an older book and supposedly not as good, however.

11.17 INAC learn basic Latin

Work through or maybe just skim Wheelock's Latin. I've learned a little Latin since scheduling this task, and I'm not sure I like how messy the language is. May cancel this. Instead of natural languages, learn Lojban first.

Plenty of Latin texts to practice on here:

11.18 INAC learn basic orbital mechanics (intro)

Get an outline understanding of this in order to properly play Rogue System. This is a sub-field of astrodynamics, which is on my list as something I want to properly learn thoroughly, so doing this has another side benefit.


Also watched a NASA educational film on the topic (which actually helped quite a bit). Note that orbital mechanics and astrodynamics are essentially the same thing. "Space dynamics", of which I have a book titled this, is a label used prior to the establishment of the field.

12 home improvement/maintenance

12.1 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.


12.2 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.

12.3 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.

12.4 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.


12.5 [2/2] do 2021 driveway maintenance

12.5.1 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.

12.5.2 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.

12.6 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.

12.7 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.

12.8 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.

12.9 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.

12.10 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.

12.11 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.

12.12 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.

12.13 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.

12.14 [4/4] refactor kitchen/dining room furniture

12.14.1 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.

12.14.2 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.

12.14.3 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.

12.14.4 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.

12.15 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.

12.16 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.

12.17 [25/28] do 2021 garden

12.17.1 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.

12.17.2 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.

12.17.3 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.

12.17.4 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.

12.17.5 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.

12.17.6 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.

12.17.7 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.

12.17.8 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.

12.17.9 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.

12.17.10 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.

12.17.11 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.

12.17.12 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.

12.17.13 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.

12.17.14 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.

12.17.15 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.

12.17.16 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.

12.17.17 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.

12.17.18 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.

12.17.19 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.

12.17.20 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.

12.17.21 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.


12.17.22 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.

12.17.23 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.

12.17.24 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.

12.17.25 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.

12.17.26 INAC collect trellises

After first frost. There's a few volunteer potatoes around the tomatoes. Grab those after this too.

12.17.27 INAC bury most debris

This year, try burying most of the debris right after first frost. Might save on burning as much stuff.

12.17.28 INAC expand garden/redo fencing

Call local excavation company and see if they'll expand the small garden, re-level both gardens, and redo the fencing. Also get a load of gravel while at it. If I don't get to this by mid-February, postpone until 2022.

2020-02-28: Nearest one only does new construction now, it seems. However, he did give me a contact for someone who might do that. Might give that a try, otherwise, will do it myself when I have the free time.

2021-03-10: Called the local fencing guy, Allied Fence & Decks. He said he'd send a quote, but never did, so giving up on him.

12.18 [6/11] do 2021 wood stove tasks

12.18.1 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.

12.18.2 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.

12.18.3 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.

12.18.4 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.

12.18.5 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.

12.18.6 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.

12.18.7 STRT clean wood stove

  • 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.

12.18.8 TODO cut more logs

Try to get one or both of the chainsaws working well enough to get through a few cords.

12.18.9 TODO fix rust spots on roof around flue

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. Should look fine despite the color difference, I think.

12.18.10 TODO repaint wood stove

Forgot to do this in summer 2019. 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 paint. Do this after cleaning. If there's left-over paint, use it on the burn barrel.

Decided to wait until I see post-cleaning performance of the stove. If it runs pretty good after the cleaning, I'll go ahead and do this, otherwise I'll plan to replace it. If replacing, then there's no point in doing all this hard work.

12.18.11 TODO reattach trim to wood shed wall

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.

12.19 [3/10] do 2021 minor repairs

12.19.1 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.

12.19.2 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.

12.19.3 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.

12.19.4 TODO fix 2 moulding spots in kitchen

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.

12.19.5 TODO tidy up basement cable management

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.

12.19.6 TODO fix cuts in vinyl flooring

Get the Cal-Flor Multi-Surface repair kit and use on the kitchen floor. There's at least 3 cuts.

2021-04-15: Received kit. Can do this whenever now.

12.19.7 TODO patch up basement ceiling

Get some 4 mil black plastic sheeting from Walmart and use this to cover the removed sections. While at it, address the corner near the stairs. Utility closet also needs fixed up.

12.19.8 TODO replace caulking (round 3)

There's still some lower-priority areas that could use new caulk. Will need a fresh tube of it to complete this. Might save this as a winter job.

  • [ ] Redo the entire area around the SE bathtub.
  • [ ] Redo inside of the SW shower door.
  • [ ] Redo around basement bathtub.

12.19.9 TODO fix culvert cover

This was broken by the gravel dump truck running over it. Checked this out and while the cover is indeed broken, so is the vertical culvert (possibly a catch basin). I'll replace both of these at once, but will get around to that later, since it'll require digging it all up. Measure first. I think Jolins has these parts.

12.19.10 TODO remove ceiling fan from porch

Disassemble this, can off the wires, and cut and board to plug the hole.

12.20 [5/7] do 2021 cleaning

12.20.1 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.

12.20.2 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.

12.20.3 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.


12.20.4 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.

12.20.5 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.

12.20.6 TODO dismantle smaller tree stand

This one's pretty junky, and broken anyway, so might as well tear it down and let the tree heal up. This is also poorly built and nailed directly into the tree, so would want to remove it either way.

12.20.7 TODO pressure wash screens

I hosed these previously, but the pressure washing could get them even cleaner.

12.21 [3/7] do 2021 lawnmower maintenance

12.21.1 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.

12.21.2 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.

12.21.3 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.

12.21.4 INAC sharpen push mower blades (end of season)

12.21.5 INAC remove mow deck and clean

Eyeball blades to see if a swap is needed. Check tension on blade nuts.

12.21.6 INAC pressure wash tractor

12.21.7 INAC add grease to mow deck PTO zerk

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.

12.22 STRT construct inside frame around basement door

  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-07-29 Thu 18:25]

Current thinking is to just get boards, cut a few 45° angles, 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.

12.23 STRT clear pine trees

  • 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.

12.24 STRT get grain mill

  • 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.

12.25 TODO fix various plumbing issues

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.

12.26 TODO convert duck house to cat house

Since the duck I built this for got eaten by eagles, it no longer serves any purpose in the chicken run. Remove it from there and maybe replace the roof with a wood one. Consider adding a floor or assemble a cardboard box for the same purpose. Put this in the wood shed and see if the outside cats would like to sleep in it. Then I can get rid of their old sleeping box once I clear the wood out from on top of it.

12.27 TODO get windows serviced

Collect all window work to be done and get a windows contractor out to do everything. At least replace garage window, get broken tabs fixed, seal basement window, install missing screens, and fix all damaged window seals.

Do this in late spring or summer 2021. Window World in Winchester also sells Therma Tru front doors. Might be inclined to replace our doors and/or seal up the trim around it.

Master list of window work needed:

  • Replace garage window.
  • South basement window very occasionally leaks and can't be confidently opened/closed (not critical).
  • Replace east master bedroom window seal.
  • Fix/replace right dining area window broken tilt tab/clip (right).
  • Replace southern attic window screen.
  • Replace 2 missing screens on large kitchen windows.
  • Replace missing screen on eastern window of SE bathroom.
  • See if can replace commonly opened window screens with 4900 mesh size.
  • Fix leaky basement door.

2021-04-02: Looks like this place only does window replacements. Will just get the two windows (garage and basement) addressed then. They will replace doors too, but won't do anything about that right now. A sales guy will call back and give a quote. Need to measure both windows in the meantime. Once he calls back, I might ask about replacing the framing around the basement window too, since its slightly water damaged.

Measurements from the outside are 29"x62.25" (basement) and 39"x58.5" (garage).

2021-04-10: Looks like they forgot to call back. Back to TODO status.

12.28 TODO build welding/table saw bench

Had an idea to build a combined workbench that had a welding table on one side and space for my table saw on the other. The bench would be on casters. Considering having the local carpenter do this, since it's a more precision build than I might be capable of currently. Having the bench will make building various things like this much easier in the future. Will come up with a general design and see what he thinks about it.

12.29 TODO install electric heat element

Do this in Fall 2021. This will make heating in the house significantly less insecure, as a wood stove failure wouldn't leave us unheated. Could even use this in the evening and switch to heat pump in the day during part of the year, then still use the wood stove but only during the coldest 2-3 months. I'll probably call the HVAC guy and discuss the subject. I think what he suggested is to have it integrated as a backup heat source for when the heat pump would otherwise run inefficiently. I need to get the heat pump serviced anyway (mainly to ensure the refrigerant is topped off).

Electric resistance heating is by far the most expensive and eventually I'll want to deprecate the external wood stove since it won't last forever. Still debating on whether I want to replace it with a new one for its service life or switch to a more conventional heating system. Fuel oil is the cheapest, but makes us dependent upon another resource (though arguably one less inconvenient than wood). Propane is more common here, but since we don't use it for the stove, it's of less utility. Oil and propane both have suppliers in the area.

12.30 TODO get short 1" pipe section

For future removal of the submersible pump from the well, get a ~6-12" section of 1" pipe with both ends threaded. This will only cost a few dollars and save any hassle in 15 years when it needs to be replaced again. This is due to the mount for the adapter being at a slight angle towards the house, making screwing in the T-handle difficult. Maybe also get a connector piece since it'll need a female end on the part where the T-handle goes into.

While buying pipe, get a ~2' one of 2" or so for use with wrenches and breaker bars.

12.31 TODO build monitor stand

Replace the computer case I'm using as a monitor stand with one I build myself from wood. Already bought the project board for it. Could either build this exactly the size of the monitor's stand or wide enough for the keyboard to go under. Also bought some 1" poplar square dowels I might use for this.

Might hold off on this in case I get a different desk for this location.

12.32 TODO build struts for new dinette table

Get some 1.5" black screw. Cut boards to length, route a section from each to clear the leg attachment brackets, stain/finish, then affix to table. This should hopefully take out any remaining wobble.

12.33 TODO replace kitchen outlet covers

Since the appliances and fixtures are stainless, getting covers to match this might look good.

12.34 TODO consider CNC router

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.

12.35 INAC replace deck lattice

First take some measurements to ensure correct sizing. Get new lattice panels and bracing boards, pull existing lattice, cut new pieces to same size as old ones, apply deck finish to new lattice and boards, pressure wash support posts, apply finish to posts, install new lattice and boards. Might need trailer for hauling all stuff. Might do this one section at a time. Take pictures of existing mounting system for reference just in case. This is a reasonably large job and will want to set aside multiple days for it.

Need at least:

  • 8 lattice sections.
  • 6 3/4x6 boards.
  • 14 5/8x5/4 8' appearance boards.

The 3/4x6 boards aren't currently in stock at the nearby Lowes, so keep an eye out for those or grab elsewhere when available. Ideally them matching the thickness of the 5/8 thin appearance boards would be better, or the other way around.

12.36 INAC refinish burn barrel

If I have spare wood stove paint, use it on this. Sand off all rust and old paint first.

12.37 INAC replace missing garage lights

Not necessary, but might as well populate the missing 2 lights. These are 2-pin ones and measure 48"x1.25", I think.

12.38 INAC install key holder

Centralize key storage by mounting the key holder we already have on the wall somewhere. This should either go in the foyer or next to the front door.

12.39 INAC refinish boat

Replace the wood deck. For painting, decide whether to completely redo it, just do the bottom hull and inside, or nothing at all.


  • [ ] Remove wood deck:
  • [ ] Replace wood deck 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.
  • [ ] Consider replacing chair:
  • [ ] Order some Duralux aluminum boat paint that acts as both primer and paint. Available from Home Depot, but need to have delivered.
  • [ ] Repaint aluminum hull. Sand until metal is shiny. Scruff it with a medium pad (maybe just use some steel wool). Apply a layer of epoxy primer then a single stage or base/clear coat of poly enamel.

12.40 INAC get upstairs rooms repainted

At least do living room, kitchen, and foyer. Need to determine color choice.

12.41 INAC [/] build welding setup

Will go stick. Motivation is to build frames, joints, and tool holders; fix things currently impossible to fix; and skills development. Have multiple project ideas. Should be able to keep complete setup under $1000.

12.41.1 INAC get selected welder

Considering the Miller Thunderbolt 160 and Hobart Stickmate 160i. Both are made in China, and seem to be the same design. The Hobart is -$150, but the Miller probably has better resale value.

12.41.2 INAC get welding table

Considering the Miller welding table. It's kinda expensive for a China-made table though. Will think about it for a few months, or maybe just wait until steel prices go back to normal.

This could double as a precision pistol shooting table for use at arbitrary distances and other random tasks. Might grab one of these early for general non-welding use. Could also build one myself, shaped with an armrest extension, but that'd be difficult without heavier metal cutting tools.

12.41.3 INAC get welding protective gear

Need helmet and gloves at least. Try on a few helmets for fit at a store before buying.

12.41.4 INAC get welding tools

Will want some or all of:

  • Chipping hammer.
  • Wire brush.
  • Stick canister (maybe).
  • Wire disc for the angle grinder (maybe).
  • Clamps, or get ones with table. Maybe get a multi-angle magnetic one too.

12.41.5 INAC get supplies

Get at least one good all-around stick, like 6013. Also get some general purpose building material, at least enough for building frames.

12.41.6 INAC consider metal cutting bandsaw

Get a lower-end table-mount one of these, or something similar.

12.41.7 INAC get 240V outlet installed

There's already one of these out in the garage, but it's near the breaker box. Get one near the welding area. Can use 120V in the meantime. Will hold off on this until I get a bench setup, since if I go portable, that might not be an issue.

12.42 INAC install kitchen backsplash

This will protect the wall from splashes and is a cheap way to increase perceived value (I think). Easy to install. Leaning towards this one:

Also get some kind of trim strip for this, so it doesn't just end.

Decided to do this after repainting the kitchen, so this is a ways out.

12.43 INAC get water filter media replaced

This needs to be done every 10 or so years, depending on usage. Since it's never been done, probably should do it in 2022, which will be 10. Involves removing the tank and dumping, so a bit labor intensive and probably will run many hundreds of dollars. Unit model is E-1500.

12.44 INAC rebuild raised beds

Idea for better-constructed raised beds: For each, get 8x 8' 2x8 boards. Mitre these with 45° angles. Paint these with deck finish or use composite deck boards (e.g. Trex). Cut 4x 24" pieces of aluminum angle iron and for each board attachment point, drill two holes. Stack these during drilling to save measurement time. Attach boards with deck screws. Fill with more dirt from higher side of garden or some loamy soil harvested from some spot around the property (like the forest bed). Since this is 2' high, 6' posts should allow for 4' fencing with just a little overhang on top.

Alternative idea: Do the same as above for boards. Then for each bed, get 8x 8' 2x2 pressure treated posts. Cut 4 to 7' and screw boards to 8x8' frame with 6" protruding on the bottom. Then mitre the other 4 and make a top frame from those. Affix 4' fencing above the board line in discrete 8' segments, wired-attached with notches in the posts. Cut off excess post height on top. I think I like this option better for raised beds that need fencing.

This would make for a raised bed that would probably last 30+ years. Holding off on this for now since it would mean redoing the strawberry patch and being okay with having to restart it. Could do this if the soil starts looking a bit depleted there. For the other raised bed, could do this any time and might do so once lumber prices go back down. Might be a good winter project.

Related ideas:

  • Could conjoin the two beds, to save on materials. The path between the beds doesn't do anything since they have to be fenced in. Downsides are that I'd have to commit to doing both at the same time and might get some spillover with certain plants.
  • Could add a hinged door the frame option, but this would increase material costs by a good bit and would need to be smaller than the side it's on, limiting dumping material in here from the Mule bed.
  • A 8" high version of this could replace the current flower bed on the north side of the house. Would make it easier to raise things like ginger, onions, and radishes.

13 stuff

13.1 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.

13.2 [8/8] refactor fishing setup

13.2.1 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.

13.2.2 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.

13.2.3 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.

13.2.4 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.

13.2.5 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.

13.2.6 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.

13.2.7 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.

13.2.8 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.

13.3 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.


13.4 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.

13.5 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.

13.6 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.

13.7 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.

13.8 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.

13.9 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.

13.10 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.

13.11 [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.

13.11.1 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.

13.11.2 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.

13.11.3 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.

13.11.4 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.

13.11.5 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.

13.11.6 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.

13.11.7 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.

13.11.8 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.

13.11.9 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.

13.11.10 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.

13.11.11 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.

13.11.12 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.

13.12 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.

13.13 [3/3] do 2021 vehicle maintenance

13.13.1 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.

13.13.2 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.


13.13.3 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.

13.14 [17/23] do 2021 firearms collection refactor

13.14.1 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.

13.14.2 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.

13.14.3 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.

13.14.4 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.

13.14.5 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.

13.14.6 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.

13.14.7 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.

13.14.8 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.

13.14.9 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.

13.14.10 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 though, 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.

13.14.11 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.

13.14.12 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.

13.14.13 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.

13.14.14 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.

13.14.15 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.

13.14.16 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.

13.14.17 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.

13.14.18 BLCK consider custom falling block

  • 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.

13.14.19 TODO re-sight in Jackson Squirrel

Redo the sight-in process. Look through ammo collection and zero it for whatever I have most of for now, assuming it groups. Will wait until after RFE to do this.

13.14.20 TODO sight in FF3 on AR

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.

13.14.21 TODO sight in Contender 300 BLK scope

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.

13.14.22 TODO consign some milsurps (round 4)

Consign the C96. Decided to split this off into a round 4 since it has to go overnight air anyway. Will need to find FFL that will ship pistols before doing this. So far, I'm not aware of any around here that will do this. Might have to use my previous FFL from VA, or call the various FFLs in the panhandle area. Currently, the VA one's charging an extra $45 per transfer, so will wait until the buying spree ends. I don't think that'll have much effect on the price of a C96 either way.

13.14.23 TODO order Cooper Model 51

Place an order for a Model 21 or 51 in 300 BLK with 18" barrel, threaded w/ cap, Neidner steel butt plate, standard sling studs, blued Talley bases, 30mm quick release Talley rings, and 13.75" LOP. Then one of these combos:

  • 51 Custom Classic: Quarter rib w/ sight, and jeweled bolt. Kahles K16i SM1. MSRP: 4175 (base) + (100 + 220 + 190 + 35 + 145 = 690) (common options) + (950 + 175) (combo options) + 2000 (scope) = $7990.
  • 21 Classic: Fluted barrel. Leupold VX-5HD 2-10x42mm. Skip the quick release rings here for -$20. MSRP: 3025 + 670 + 185 + 900 = $4780.
  • 51 Classic: Quarter rib w/ sight. Leupold VX-6HD 1-6x24mm. MSRP: 3025 + 690 + 950 + 1400 = $6065.

Some items to inquire about when ordering:

  • Custom barrel length.
  • Default LOP and whether that'd change with steel butt plate.
  • Type of quarter rib sights and whether bases block them or scope will hit.
  • Inquire about default twist rate (custom costs extra). 1-7 or 1-8 would be fine.
  • Have them set trigger to 2lb.
  • Push feed? 3 lug? 700-style bolt? Disassembly?
  • Need thread pitch 5/8x24.
  • Maybe get extra mag for 51.
  • 51 doesn't list 300 BLK currently. Still available?

Maybe do this in late 2021. Review everything a few times before committing and decide on which build.


  • If I get the Kahles, lens covers are available at Area 419.
  • For Leupold LPVO, get the version on OP or Amazon that includes the covers.

13.15 [4/6] 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.

13.15.1 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.

13.15.2 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.

13.15.3 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.

13.15.4 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.

13.15.5 TODO test chronograph (again)

This works, but didn't get a reading last time and was focused on sight-in. Try just sending a few different types of rounds through it.

13.15.6 TODO test .30 Herrett barrel

Create 2 min charge, 130gr rounds and test them in the irons barrell. Look for signs of headspace issues. I'll also order some new brass for this if I decide to keep the chambering. Might get some 150gr spire points if so.

Side note: The .30 Herrett cartridge is a perfectly balanced, viable hunting round for a 10" Contender and has a lot of flexibility in load development. My one and only gripe is probably the fact that it headspaces off the shoulder despite being a rimmed cartridge. Supersonic 300 BLK would be a clear winner, were that not rimless. I figure I need some handloading practice with it to make a clear determination on its future in the lineup. One possibility if I decide not to keep it is to get a custom, threaded .218 Bee barrel, swap the scope on that, put the MatchDot back on the 300 BLK, and sell both .30 Herrett barrels.

13.16 [6/7] sell/get rid of stuff

13.16.1 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.

13.16.2 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.

13.16.3 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.

13.16.4 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.

13.16.5 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.

13.16.6 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.

13.16.7 TODO sell scope base .30 Herrett barrel

Will think about this a bit, but pretty sure I'd rather part with it. I'll keep the irons one and if I end up wanting to use the chambering a lot, I'll get a custom barrel with threading. This one being unthreaded (and having a fixed front sight making threading more troublesome) makes it of limited utility.

Remove my bank account from the payments system when this is done, unless I also want to sell the other one too by this time. Selling both could fund a .218 Bee custom barrel, which would be more useful. Will have to think about this a bit, since I'll probably want to include the brass and dies with the scope base barrel.

13.17 STRT get a few miscellaneous tools

  • 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.
  • [ ] 3-ton floor jack.
  • [ ] 2 3-ton jack stands.
  • [ ] 2x wheel chocks.
  • [ ] Manual post driver.

13.18 TODO stockpile polo shirts

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.

13.19 TODO filter work shirts

Go through all my work shirts and toss all the worn ones. Depending on how many are left after this, I may replace with a few plain white or gray shirts.

13.20 INAC get extra pair of work boots

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 just get the brown ones if they don't stock any by winter. Also considering getting a pair of non-duck boots just for lawn mowing, since mud isn't a problem when doing that and the many miles walked wears out the softer duck boot treads.

13.21 INAC consider security camera setup

Currently thinking about the Wyze outdoor cameras, with one in front and one in back. These supposedly can save to SD card. Need to do more research before buying anything though and think about where exactly I would mount them. Mostly doing this to track wild animal patterns around the house, so not a high priority.

14 personal improvement/maintenance

14.1 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.

14.2 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.

14.3 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.

14.4 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.

14.5 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.

14.6 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.

14.7 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.

14.8 STRT get to optimal weight

  • State "STRT" from "STRT" [2021-02-28 Sun 15:49]

Food plan: Prioritize self-produced veggies, followed by Soylent for lunch when garden isn't producing. Otherwise skip. Dinners should be vegetable-centric, or at least have vegetable sides.

I already get enough of exercise, so this plan just is limiting caloric intake. Starting new plan as of 2021-02-28.

The plan:

  • Eat a normal dinner, but try to limit sugar/carb intake.
  • If I eat out for lunch, skip dinner.
  • No snacking.
  • Continue tracking weight on Gnuplot file.

14.9 STRT improve posture

  • State "STRT" from "TODO" [2021-02-09 Tue 08:27]

Time to go no-slouch. Apart from the obvious, I suspect improving posture would have a lot of additional side benefits. This plan is to simply force myself to only sit ergonomically correct whenever using the computer and to consciously always walk fully upright. Will also add squats to weight lifting regimen. Will try this for 3-4 months and reevaluate. Might also grab an office stool to force compliance.

14.10 STRT get refractive lens exchange

  • 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.

14.11 TODO quit using e-cigarettes

No longer needed since I work from home. Might as well quit this and save the cash and inconvenience. Since quitting a stimulant usually results in weight gain, switch to 1 meal/day for at least a couple months before the cutoff day. Might do this in Fall 2021 since will be eating garden lunches until then.

14.12 TODO change HSA deduction

Accumulated way more cash than needed here. Turn it down to a $200/mo or so.