Joe Woods

Published on 2021-04-30

April 2021

Hello!

Life

I suppose the biggest news should come first: I am partially inoculated against COVID-19! And my next vaccine appointment is coming up very soon. I am literally counting down the days.

We, as humans, mostly surround ourselves with like-minded people — this is why it's not surprising to me that all of my friends and colleagues seem to have the same mindset as me, which is a confusing mixture of "okay, this was a tragic time, but it was also a radical shake-up of how things used to be; I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm ready to go back to the world, but let's make it better this time."

For some reason, Daylight Saving Time hit me really hard this year, but in the process of trying to fix my sleep schedule again after this massive disruption, some biological process inside of me just decided that I need one less hour of sleep each night. It's not like I'm any more or less tired, I just sleep less now, which means I have an entire hour more each day to do some combination of relaxing and getting stuff done. This might explain why this article is a bit longer than usual! I'm not sure if this new sleep schedule is a permanent change or not, but I hope I can keep it going for as long as possible.

I've subscribed to The New York Times, almost entirely so I could do the crossword, which I now spend a surprising amount of time on every day. It turns out that I know a lot of people who also do the crossword, so it's nice to have yet one more thing to talk to them about… and M has started doing it too!

This also means that my RSS feeds have been absolutely flooded by the NY Times — I wrote a quick little thing about how I manage my RSS feeds from large publications.

I passed a 365 day streak on 750words this month, which I celebrated by, of course, writing a blog post about it.

This month, M and I spent some time transferring some plants that we germinated indoors, as well as doing a bit of new planting outside, too. The weather's getting quite nice, so I'm glad to be spending more time outdoors!

Another project M and I worked on together this month was to improve the lighting in our office. Well, maybe "improve" is the wrong word. Radically adjust, I should say. My regular perusal of Slickdeals via their RSS feed pointed out a really great sale on nearly 20 meters of LED strip lights, so I decided to make the impulse purchase to buy them without actually knowing where we were going to install them. We ended up lining two opposing walls in our office. LED lights can make a space feel either too much like a college dorm, or too commercial, but I think we'll end up using them kind of selectively, instead of leaving them on all day.

Music

Here's this month's installment of the playlist! I hope you enjoy it. Here's the article, and here's the playlist on Spotify:

Programming

I've been writing a great deal of code outside of work this month, which I'm very happy about! I hope I can keep this momentum up.

There are, of course, a few secret and semi-secret projects in the work. One Totally Top Secret project will hopefully wrap up in around a month or so, and I am absurdly excited about it. I am only putting this here so I can say "hey, remember that secret project I mentioned that I was very excited about?" in a future article.

One semi-but-not-so-secret project I'm working on is to help develop a new bot framework for JQBX. It's a very collaborative process; I've mostly written a bit of the plugin framework itself, but I've also found myself doing a lot of code review, which has been a fun change of pace.

I've also completely refactored my Discord bot platform and made it available on Github! My hope is that the API is intuitive and makes sense, so please feel free to use it, hack on it, and let me know what you think!

I have also discovered the perfect code style for writing JavaScript, which I shared with the world this month as well. (Note: this is clearly horrible satire, please do not actually do this.)

Finally, I continue to work on the automation of the things that keep my life on track. I've built tools to process my recurring task tracking, as well as more automatic handling of TODOs. I still feel like I haven't quite gotten this right, but as always, it's an iterative process.

Reading

Near the middle of this month, I finished up Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin. I thought it was pretty good. One recurring trope in the book is a constant nodding to the way that we do things now, as opposed to the thoughts and feelings of folks living during the rule of Henry II in what is now the Cambridge area. For the most part, I found these interesting. Maybe superhero films have spoiled me, but there were a few character choices that disappointed me here. All in all, it was a really interesting and fast-paced book.

Next, I re-read The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. There's just something about the Culture series that makes me immensely happy, and I'm sure I'll keep coming back to it for the rest of my life.

Finally, I've started 1876 by Gore Vidal. More to come when I finish it!

failbetter

This month, failbetter published "The Rope Bridge" by Susan Neville, and two poems by Melody Wilson, "Language Acquisition" and "Rooster Cogburn."

Some other stats

This month,

That's it! Thanks for reading. Feel free to get in touch with me any time at joewoods@fastmail.com.