It's A Great Time To Be Alive

... when you're a tycho.

I've not been blogging very much. There were even two weeks where I totally forgot to post anything to the blog. I'm not sure if there's been a hiatus of that length at any other point in the last three years. Strange, but not bad. I've been writing--not as much as I'd like, but enough--but nothing has really managed to filter through to the blog. Seems, then, like a good time for a general "what the hell have you been up to and what are you working on post?"

I've been plugging away on the novel project for a while I'm in the home stretch: two and a half chapters to write. I know I can write a chapter in a couple of weeks if I put my mind to it, and have a good weekend day to do nothing other than sit around and write. I've discovered some things about the story that have made it much easier and clear for me to write. A character that I thought was the main is a horrible point-of-view character, I have a more clear idea of what I've been trying to get after the entire story, I've started to really like the project again. The problem now, is just finding time to finish it.

I moved nearly two months ago: it was a good thing indeed. I'm closer to friends and activities that I find fulfilling. Although I'm not in the heart of my city, I have a train pass and am a block away from a train station that will get me into the city pretty much whenever I want. Train passes are a fantastic innovation, and my only real complaint (on this note) is that for varied historical reasons Tran service in America is woefully pathetic. But it's great to be in a place where public transit is a viable option for most commuting.

I've recently started dating someone, which is a terribly atypical experience for me given how independent and quirky I am in "default mode." Nifty though, and utterly unintended: but there's something delightful about the whole deal. Who am I to argue?

And by "recently started" I mean almost three months ago. Right.

I got a new phone. After a long time with a Blackberry Bold, I took an upgrade and got the new Blackberry Torch. I had been strongly pondering an Android phone, but the one I wanted most (HTC EVO) is on a network that I'd like to avoid, and the other offerings seem lackluster. Blackberries have never (rarely?) been exciting, but they have worked, and there are some features that make sense to me (massively configurable ring/tone behavior, central messages feed that all applications can create entries in.) Having said that, I'm not wild about being on a closed platform, though I think we shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking that from the user's perspective that Android is an open platform.

With a web browser that is basically mobile Safari, and applications to do the major things I need to do (IM, email, calendar, GPS, web browsing, address book, twitter, alarm clock, ebook reading, emergency ssh,) and a device that is build wonderfully, I couldn't be happier. I wish there was a better solution for writing/note taking/outlining for the Blackberry, but these things happen.

It's probably a symptom of the commute as much as anything but I've had a hard time figuring out how to write on the train. I did ok for a while, and then I've had a horrible time with it for the past few weeks. The new plan is to do a little reboot of my organizational system and to switch back to using the laptop as my only computer.

The first part, the organizational reboot, is important because I'm not used to thinking about my available time as existing in the "shape" that it currently exists. If I've learned one thin in the past couple of years, its that staying organized and on top of ones personal project is almost entirely dependent upon being able to successfully break apart big projects into "doable" pieces that you can tackle in the time you have. That sounds easy, but it's pretty hard to know what your project will require and what your near-future is going to hold enough to be able to get everything to line up. Sometimes it requires little reboots.

The second, much more technological remedy, is mostly that while the separation between my work system (and tasks) and my personal system (and tasks) has been nice, in practice it doesn't work that well. The context switch between the train and the office is too hard, and not being able to just unplug and shut down, means that the start up/shut down costs for the context switches are simply too high and I'm the one who feels the impact. So re-merging my systems seems to be the way to win this game, at least for the moment.

I think I'm going to ultimately invest in a hot spare laptop that's mostly identical to my current laptop to reduce some of the anxiety regarding the "what happens if my machine croaks," worry. Which is always a fear.

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