Near Real-Time Tracking

You can find out what I'm up to in near real-time via: Twitter (@sholden) or Facebook (sholden). I also recommend checking out my AztecMedia.net produced sites: Chvrches Fan Podcast (@chvrchespodcast), ThePodCraft Beer Show (@thepodcraft, @techguysteve); Tech News Radio (@technewsradio), Air Gapped Networks (@airgapnet), Jersey Boys Podcast, and Veteran Stories. [Updated: August 2, 2020]


Thoughts & Tips For February 2021

Red-blurThis photo is part of my Blurry collection.

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

January seemed to be on cruise-control here at our home.  All is good health-wise and no major COVID-19 impacts.  One super great blessing is that Christy's school where she teaches has been able to hold classes since September with no major issues.

Suite-dude

The attack on the Capital was horrific. It is shocking to me that so many in the Senate and the House are so supportive of the Cult of Trump. I'm not confident much will change with the impending Impeachment #2.

The kids are back in school, and we are back to juggling spaces, times for video calls, etc.  But we are getting pretty good at that!

LOOK FORWARD TO

Conrad is turning twenty-two this month and seems to be enjoying SDSU. He and a friend did a fun video recently called "The Shed" (YouTube)!

It looks like Christy and I are going to be headed back to The Oaks (our photos from our 1st trip) in April which should be a great retreat as we celebrate our 27th Wedding Anniversary.

I am going to be Dungeon Mastering (DMing) for my Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) group two little side adventures over the next month or so. One is an "epic" battle and another is going to be a "snatch-&-grab."

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

Here is a great visualization of the Pomodoro Technique for breaking up focused work into time slices that I've found to be pretty effective especially when working a big project:

The_pomodoro-technique

I also ran across this graphic on tips for camera settings that I've saved off in Google Keep for easy access:

Photo-Cheat-Sheet

This article -- "Comic-Con 2019: Former CIA agents explain 6 ways to conduct and evade surveillance" -- has some technology tips worth reading from a perspective of how to be more private and secure with your phones and devices.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. - Mary Engelbreit


The California Representatives That Supported Election Fraud Claims

Representatives-california-who-voted-against-2020-election-results

The above California House of Representative Members all voted on January 7, 2021 to challenge the legitimate election of Joe Biden as President of the United States of America. (ABC7) (NYT) (TheVerge)

By the end of the day on January 7, 2021 the U.S. Capital was attacked by terrorists in an attempted insurrection to keep Donald Trump in office.

Here is some references on them:


Thoughts & Tips For January 2021

Pine-needle-treeThis photo is part of my Nature Collection!

CURRENT HAPPENINGS

Over the past month we have been celebrating outdoors & socially distanced the Holidays, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. Best of all is that we continue to be blessed with a hedge of protection with regards to COVID-19 and health in general.

Christmas2020

Unfortunately I do have some bad news -- on Saturday morning (December 26) we found out our elderly black lab Kaley escaped our yard, and we have not been able to find her.  We are all very concerned and sad.  But we continue to hold out hope she will be found:

Screenshot 2021-01-01 at 1.08.46 PM

SUPER FUN ADVENT CRAFT BEER CALENDAR

Chris and Charlie -- the hosts of ThePodcraft Beer Show -- gave me this awesome customized Advent Calendar filled with twenty-four excellent craft beers:

Thepodcraft-advent-calendar

You can see photos, descriptions, and top 3 list here!

HOLIDAY SCAVENGER HUNT

The NAVWAR Enterprise had a fun virtual scavenger hunt for employees and their families over the weekend of December 18-20, 2020.  The family had a good time working on it.  We didn't finish in the Fastest Top 30, but we got everything done!

Scavenger-hunt

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

If you are looking for a great coffee mug, tea kettle, desk/garden creatures, or unique stickers/t-shirts/etc. then check out Skeletal Dropkick!  I am enjoying my new Bear Mug, and custom D&D stickers!  I also got an original custom drawing on my box! FUN!

Skeletal-dropkick

If you are doing "family" tech support for folks on multiple platforms, then check out the free Chrome Remote Desktop tool from Google.  It works cross platform, and also works on Chromebooks.  I personally use this nearly on a daily basis to get from my Chromebook to my Windows 10 PC for Windows-based activities.

This site puts some things in perspective on what has changed since you were born - https://neal.fun/life-stats/. It includes a lot of positive data, and not so much on data that might be controversial, but definitive worth trying out.

This great calendar visualization of 2021 continuous year from Kairos Cognition (a productivity consulting & consulting firm associated with David Allen's Getting Things Done) inspired me to create my own version in Google Docs which I published in PDF.  This is what mine looks like:

My-Continuous-Wall-Calendar-2021

In discussing this continuous year calendar on the GTD Connect forms, a fellow member shared his own horizontal version.  I copied it (PDF) and here is what it looks like:

My-Continuous-Wall-Calendar-2021-Horizontal

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” — George Carlin


2020 Christmas Advent Craft Beer Calendar

I got the following Christmas Advent Craft Beer Calendar from Chris & Charlie who host ThePodCraft Beer Show (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook):Beer-advent-calendarCraft Beer #1:

1

"Centre" (Imperial India Pale Ale (IPA)) [untapped] from Other Half 

Craft Beer #2:2

"Motueka Daydream" (Oak Cream New England-style IPA) [untapped] from Other Half

Craft Beer #3:

3

"Tropic Of Thunder" (Lager) [untapped] from Stone Brewing

Craft Beer #4:

4

"Yodale" (Coconut Lager) [untapped] from Creative Creature

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

Craft Beer #5:

5

"Lilikoi Sour" (Sour Ale) [untapped] from Harland Brewing

Craft Beer #6:

6

"Dort" (Dortmunder-style Lager) [untapped] from Modern Times

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

Craft Beer #7:

7

"Circle Of Hops" (San Diego Pale Ale) [untapped] from Burning Beard

Craft Beer #8:

8

"BCN Fog" (Double Dry Hopped Bi-Coastal Double IPA) [untapped] from Humble Sea

Craft Beer #9:

9

"Pseudo Sue" (Pale Ale) [untapped] from Toppling Goliath

Craft Beer #10:

10

"Tree Hugger" (Tart Ale with tropical dragon fruit, passion fruit, and coconut) [untapped] from Great Notion with Pure Project

Craft Beer #11:

11

"The Pupil" (IPA) [untapped] from Societe Brewing Company

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

Craft Beer #12:

12

"Autumn Gold" (Murky IPA) [untapped] from Pure Project

Craft Beer #13:

13

"Smacker's Mango Passionfruit" (Fruited Sour Ale) [untapped] from Creative Creature

Craft Beer #14:

14

"Covington" (American Pilsner) [untapped] from North Park Brewing Co.

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

Craft Beer #15:

15

"H-C (Hecto-Cooler)" (Fruited Imperial Sour Ale) [untapped] from Creative Creature

Craft Beer #16:

16

"Fingers Of Gold" (Murky IPA) [untapped] from Pure Project

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

Craft Beer #17:

17

"Where Vultures Fare" (German-Style Pilsner) [untapped] from Burning Beard

Craft Beer #18:

18

"Blueberry vs. Lime" (Sour Smoothie Ale) [untapped] from Creative Creature

Craft Beer #19:

19

"Bluemeboshi" (Imperial Sour Ale with salted plum & blueberries) [untapped] from Pure Project

Craft Beer #20:

20

"SuperFun!" (Double Dry Hopped Pale Ale) [untapped] from Other Half

Craft Beer #21:

21

"Reality Maze" (Imperial Stout with Coconut & Vanilla) [untapped] from Modern Times

Craft Beer #22:

22

"Passion Pool" (Gose Style Ale with passionfruit & sea salt) [untapped] from MKSD (Mikkeller San Diego)

Craft Beer #23:

23

"Strata Rocket" (Wet Hopped West Coast IPA) [untapped] from North Park Beer Co.

Craft Beer #24:

24

"Larry's Latest" (Sour Ale) [untapped] from Bell's Brewery

Customized glass from Glass To Mouth

My favorite top three beers from this year's advent calendar:

  1. "H-C (Hecto-Cooler)" (Fruited Imperial Sour Ale) [untapped] from Creative Creature
  2. "BCN Fog" (Double Dry Hopped Bi-Coastal Double IPA) [untapped] from Humble Sea
  3. "Motueka Daydream" (Oak Cream New England-style IPA) [untapped] from Other Half

Thoughts & Tips For December 2020

Wood-dec-2020This photo is part of my Wood Collection. It was taken at The Oaks! Also check out my Nature Collection!

CURRENT EVENTS

We continue to be blessed with a hedge of protection with regards to COVID-19 and health in general. We continue to be vigilant and focused with:

  • #wear_a_mask
  • #wash_your_hands
  • #social_distance
  • #stay_home_if_sick

We had a great socially distanced & 90% outside close family Thanksgiving. The only downside was not having lots of left overs.  I hope yours went well.  Onward into Christmas!

Related to the election, I am not surprised this is being dragged on.  Hard to have a dialog with people who don't want to listen, don't want to change, and see others as their mortal enemy.  We need more conversations and learning around common good like what is being offered here!

THESE ALL FEEL LIKE THEY ARE ON CRUISE CONTROL

  • The PodCraft Beer Show just published Episode #20.  So much fun!  See below for proof!
  • D&D with friends from high school continues to be a blast.  My Halfling Fighter just leveled up to 6th level!
  • I had one Getting Things Done (GTD) classes in November.  It was in-person with only 5 people which worked out better than expected.  One more planned for December (already full at 9 people).  I will more than likely offer at least one virtual and one in-person in January. - one virtual and one in-person. 
  • The LEVELS experiment I mentioned last month is done.  I didn't end up learning anything more than what I outlined in November
  • We recently treated the family to a "STAYCATION" in Pacific Beach. It was awesome:

Beach-nov-2020

BEST ADVENT CALENDAR EVER?

The hosts of ThePodcraft Beer Show -- Chris & Charlie -- gave me this awesome DIY customized Advent Calendar filled with what I can only imagine is great craft beer.  

Thepodcraft-advent-calendar

I plan to post a lot of images on social media.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

I am a big fan of a book by Gene Kim called "The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win" (Kindle, Audiobook) which prompted me recently to read "The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement" by Eliyahu Goldratt (Kindle, Audiobook, Paperback), and Gene's follow-on to "The Phoenix Project" called "The Unicorn Project: A Novel About Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data " (Kindle, Audiobook).  All three are excellent as they turn technical and process improvement efforts into real-world fictional stories that are engaging and insightful. If you are delivering technology capabilities, and haven't read these, then I highly recommend getting them in your queue. #continuously_learning or #going_nowhere

If you are looking for a Christmas Advent Devotional then check out our church's "God With Us" (PDF).

Once a year, right after Thanksgiving, I go through every email that is "SUBSCRIBED," and decide if I want to continue to SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE.  So far in 2020, UNSUBSCRIBE is winning!

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened." ― Sir Winston S. Churchill


Thoughts & Tips For November 2020

IMG_7341This photo is part of my Wood Collection.  Also check out  my Nature Collection!

CURRENT EVENTS

It is quite a blessing that we continue to be healthy on the COVD-19 front. We continue to be vigilant and focused: #wear_a_mask; #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, and #stay_home_if_sick. 

My candidate for President of the United States in 2020 continues to be Jo Jorgensen. Hopefully the Presidential election will not end up with a lot of legal battles, and the country can come together on whomever wins. We need to change the narrative about how to disagree agreeably, debating with facts & science, and stop the militarization of politics and public discord.

OTHER THINGS THAT ARE GOING WELL

  • The PodCraft Beer Show has had a lot of great craft beers recently. Fun times.
  • D&D game play continues and is super fun.
  • I had two Getting Things Done (GTD) classes in October - one virtual and one in-person.  They both went pretty well.  The virtual one still needs some debugging.

HEALTH EXPERIMENT

I've been doing a 28-day glucose test using LEVELS.  I learned about the offering via this podcast that Kevin Rose had with Josh Clemente -- "Why track your glucose levels?".  A couple of things I've learned with my intermittent fasting routine:

  • Fruit, juice, etc. (anything with sugar) shouldn't be in the first hour of my eight hour eating window.
  • Yoplait yogurt tastes great, but that is probably because of the sugar which nearly always spikes my glucose.
  • I can keep my glucose levels less "spikey" if I eat my normal fruit serving in two half-settings spread out over 15-20 minutes.
  • Looking more at labels of things trying to add food items with less sugar.
  • Walking or riding my bike after eating keeps my glucose levels more "flat."
  • IPAs, Pale Ales, Lagers, etc. don't seem to increase my glucose levels.  All the new stouts, fruit beers, and some sours with a lot of fruit that I've now trying because of ThePodCraft do "spike" my glucose levels.
  • Gin & tonics, & bourbon do not seem to increase my glucose levels.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

If you need to export your Google Keep notes, then here is how to get them out in individual HTML files => TIP!

Another good tip if you are using a Chromebook:

Good tip to share

Another good Chromebook tip is to make sure your Downloads directory in Chrome is not the Downloads directory on the local drive of the Chromebook.  I recommend switching it to a folder in Google Drive.  If you ever have to Powerwash your Chromebook back to factory reset, then you will more than likely not lose any data.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

"If we have 6 hours to cut a tree, the wise will use 4 hours to sharpen the axe." - Abraham Lincoln


Thoughts & Tips For October 2020

Wood-oct-2020This photo is part of my Wood Collection.  Also check out  my Nature Collection!

CURRENT EVENTS

We are AOK on the COVD-19 front.  We continue to be vigilant and focused: #wear_a_mask; #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, and #stay_home_if_sick.  

My candidate for President of the United States in 2020 continues to be Jo Jorgensen. I think she would have been great in the 1st debate (#letherspeak, #letherdebate), but that didn't happen.  I think the Presidential Debates need to move back to a non-partisan group like League of Women Voters as the Presidential Debate Commission is just run by the Republican & Democratic parties with no interest in real republican democracy and a free marketplace of ideas.

Theoaks1Christy and I had a wonderful opportunity to do a self-guided retreat with COVID-19 protections at The Oaks the last weekend in September. It was an amazing weekend -- where we were able to relax, connect, and grow. Here are some photos of the amazing facilities and grounds.  And here are some pictures of nature from around the area.  Highly recommended!  If you have any questions, then please let me know.

Theoaks2

I also managed to record the event bell on the last day.  There are two versions.  One with little changes from the original recording:

And another where I tried to clean up the audio a little bit:

OTHER THINGS THAT ARE GOING WELL

  • The PodCraft Beer Show continues to put out weekly shows.  It is a lot of fun.
  • Still playing D&D. It is also a lot of fun.
  • I taught a socially distanced -- with additional COVID-19 protections -- Getting Things Done (GTD) class at work in September.  It went pretty well.  Next up is a virtual GTD class in early October.  That is going to be a learning experience!

EXPERIMENTING WITH MEDITATION

I'm still enjoying my emerging meditation practice. I got a couple of emails about my meditation post from last month, and the benefits others have had with meditation. The Oak app that I have been using to help me build out my practice has three main functions  (HOME, COURSES, GROWTH):

Oak1

Under the HOME you will see (I use the Meditate > Unguided):

Oak3

And under COURSES you will see (at the time of this post) just one available course (but more are planned):

Oak2

If you press on GROWTH you will see your personal tracker on how you are doing by day.  I can see my current streak and my longest streak for Meditate > Unguided since this the only one I am using at this time.  It is pretty simple and well designed.  I recommend it if you are looking for something to experiment with.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

My favorite audio editing program is still the open-source application Audacity.  It works on Macs, Windows, and Linux.

The two days a week I am riding my bike with a stationary-trainer on our backyard porch, I am nearly always watching videos from this You Tube channel Indoor Cycling Videos. They are excellent!

For the last month or so, I have been trying to look at my Getting Things Done (GTD) Next Action lists and my Projects list as something doable in the next 7 days.  So far, I've seen more throughput in completing more projects and tasks.  Items that are outside of 7 days are moved to the Later list in Nirvana for my personal system, and a similar Next Actions (Later) list in Microsoft Outlook Tasks for my work system.  These Later lists are then reviewed using  a lens of -- "is this doable in a month" -- and if the answer is "No", then the item moves to Someday/Maybe.  This has definitely increased the number of "Someday/Maybe" items, but that has been manageable since I am reviewing them once a week during my Weekly Review.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

“Having resentment against someone is like drinking poison and thinking it will kill your enemy.” ― Nelson Mandela


Some Interest Craft Beer Links To Check Out From The Random Show

Screenshot 2020-09-05 at 11.21.18I was recently catching up on some podcasts, and this Random Show with Kevin Rose and Tim Ferris was very interesting.  I usually don't miss them when they happen.

This one got really interesting about half-way through when Kevin started talking about really good craft beers. In the area of COVID-19 he has been trying to drink more really good craft beers.  Over the last seven weeks my level of interest in craft beer in general as gone up because I've been helping Chris & Charlie with their The PodCraft Beer show.  In addition my palate has started to change from very IPA focused, to also enjoying a stout or a mild sour, and definitely fruit beers. Here are some of the links that Kevin mentioned that I studied after listening:

If you are interesting in learning more about craft beers, then check out this guide that Chris from ThePodCraft recommends.


Thoughts & Tips For September 2020

Paris-woodPhoto by Steve Holden. MORE LIKE THIS!

CURRENT EVENTS

No big change for us on the COVD-19 front.  We continue to be vigilant and focused: #wear_a_mask; #wash_your_hands, #social_distance, and #stay_home_if_sick.  The good news is that Christy's school as been able to go back to teaching kids in person with a host of safe guards which is a blessing and an answer to prayer.

Tour de France 2020. Who doesn't want to watch 4 to 5 hours nearly every day during September seeing some of the best athletes in the world do what most people would consider completely impossible? I am all in. I am watching via NBC Sports via YouTube TV.

Screenshot 2020-09-07 at 19.33.32

My candidate for President of the United States in 2020 is Jo Jorgensen (#letherspeak, #letherdebate). While I don't agree with everything she is advocating, she is in my humble opinion the best option for a President Of The United States who believes in and will fight for:

  • right to life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness
  • right to keep & bear arms
  • right to live where you choose & how you chose
  • right to privacy
  • right to worship how, when, & where you choose
  • right to be treated equally under the law

OTHER THINGS THAT ARE GOING WELL

  • The PodCraft Beer Show just had episode 7 and next week is episode 8. I have had some super spectacular craft beers that have blown my palette away.  As a craft beer fan I have actually realized how much I've missed by not paying attention to the special releases that many breweries do and I had no clue how amazing they are.
  • I am still playing D&D every week or so with friends from high school.  It is frankly one of the best unattended consequences of COVID-19 for me.
  • I am still loving my water-proof MP3 player -- AfterShokz Black Diamond Xtrainerz.
  • We were able to camp at San Elijo State Beach in August which was awesome ...

Beach-2020

EXPERIMENTING WITH MEDITATION

The book "10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found a Self-Help That Actually Works"
By: Dan Harris (#meditation) got me to do a little experiment over the last month since finishing the book. I've been doing five minutes of unguided meditation using the Apple iOS app Oak from Kevin Rose before I stretch in the morning.  Nothing bad has happened (Ha Ha!) I actually now think a little "mind exercise" is a good thing. My monkey mind is strong! More updates as time goes on.

Screenshot 2020-09-07 at 20.33.57

If you are interested in guided meditations, then the only examples I've had experience with are Mike Foster's Guided Meditations. The Oak app has them but I haven't used them before.

TECHNOLOGY, TIPS, & SUGGESTIONS

I have just started using this new Google Chrome browser feature for organizing tabs.  So far it is an awesome new feature.

This what I've been listening to on Audible (you can try Audible for free for 30-days and get two free books if you want). Over the last month:

I am currently doing all my Audible listening on my cell phone Samsung Galaxy S10+.

I also managed to finish a few Kindle books (I am currently using a Kindle Paperwhite for nearly all my reading):

One of my "newer" (I've heard in the past that this isn't a word, but I still use it all the time) favorite bands is Lo Moon.  They opened last year for several shows that the CHVRCHES did, and I'm super impressed with them.  I recently bought their album Lo Moon on Amazon so I could load the MP3s on my AfterShokz Black Diamond Xtrainerz  as I really wanted to listen to them while swimming.  Other specific albums I listen to frequently while swimming are: CHVRCHES (Bones of What You Believe, Every Open Eye, Love Is Dead) and Maggie Rogers (Heard It In A Past Life).  I will also drag a lot of 80s New Wave to a folder for 'random' mode listening.

Def Con (the yearly hacker conference I've been going to since #18) was completely virtual this year.  A ton of solid cybersecurity content is readily available if you are interested.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

"We are what we repeatedly do, therefore, excellence is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle