This Year’s Garden

I meant to post when I planted but did not because, “reasons.” More specifically, a lack of motivation to do so. It’s not exactly anything impressive anyway, but that isn’t really supposed to matter anyway. My 2024 gardening is underway, and if it’s anything like the past several years, it will not be very fruitful.

At our old house, we had a pretty decent garden. I built a nice tiered raised bed pyramid thing, we grew plenty of peppers and tomatoes and the plants were super large and full. We had so many tomatoes we made a ton of salsa and I think I still have hot peppers frozen somewhere, though I doubt they are any good years later now.

The new house has been, not so successful. We get a lot more backyard animals here, and generally speaking, they eat all the fruits and vegetables. We have tried a few things to discourage it from keeping them up high on the back deck, to rubber snakes and other things.

I am trying again this year. I moved all of the plants (everything is is pots or buckets) down to the lower deck area, the pots still have the useless rubber snakes. I put my wind chimes down there as well, I am hoping the noise deters the animals a bit. In the past, we could not really use this lower area because we had our dog outside down there fairly often and she would get into things. She passed away a few years ago (like 20 years old, we thought she was immortal). So the lower area is available.

Anyway, also for deterrent, I have planted a bunch of garlic in the bottoms of all the pots, and a few mint plants in small pots nearby. Both are supposed to deter animals due to the smell, or so I hear.

As for what, it’s nothing super fancy, a tomato plant, a cherry tomato plant, a green pepper plant, a poblano pepper plant. I also have some oregano and basil. I also had a cilantro plant but something has already come along and snatched it up completely. Most of the plants I picked up from a sale at the local college agriculture building. They did not have any mint there though so I picked those up at the Kroger. They were conveniently on sale in the vegetable department later the same day I had gone to the college sale.

I also had my leftover plants from last year. Sadly, none of those had made it. We took them inside for the winter but they don’t seem to be coming back at all. Something took and ate my oregano and basil from last year anyway. I also had a Lemon and a Lime tree I had bought on clearance at the end of the summer last year. Both just seem to be dead sticks still.

I don’t have enough plants to make any huge batches of salsa or anything, but hopefully I can start getting some vegetables to eat occasionally.

Journaling in Public and Journaling in Private

Over the years, I’ve used a lot of different methods for writing. Pen and paper way in the past. Microsoft Word for a while, because, that’s what Word is for right? Windows Live Writer was a good one for a while, though it’s been discontinued, there is an open-source iteration called Open Live Writer. Sometimes I’ll just write right in the WordPress editor. I was writing into OneNote for a while.

These days I’m much more into controlling my data, well, I’ve kind of always been into that, but lately, it’s about formats. I am constantly trying to reorganize my files into the best format for the long term, and more recently, I compiled all my writing together into one blob in a folder called “Journal”. Well, some of it is just under “Writing”, but things like, well, this post, off-the-cuff, free flow of thought random writing about nothing, are in the Journal folder. A lot of it came from some old blog archives and WordPress exports. I wrote a little Python Script that would spit out a series of Markdown files with appropriate file names from a WordPress XML file a while back.

It’s not perfect, it converts some of the most obvious syntax changes, but others are just, left as HTML code. The spirit of the writing is there, and that’s what matters. Plus, I don’t use a ton of fancy formatting, so those leftovers are not that common. During this time I also comb through and collected and sorted all my reviews and other writings from over the years. These are the things that don’t go in “Journal”. A lot of them I reposted to in a cleaned-up format, which took a while, especially when gathering up the images again. Some stuff like my shitty lame fan-fics from the early 2000s and other little stories aren’t currently posted anywhere.

After getting it all organized, I reworked my flow around the new system. Which is probably the best one yet. Everything is sorted by year, the files have my usual, YYYY.MM.DD – Description format I use all over for file naming. I have an additional folder called WIP, for “Work In Progress” writing. Vague ideas that have not been fleshed out, sometimes they are just empty files with a description to remind myself “I wanted to write about that.”

Step one is to come into this WIP folder, and create a new Markdown file with a name, sometimes a date, or a vague date like YYYY.MM.

Markdown is the format of choice here. It allows for some formatting, which makes it more useful than a text file. But it also it’s just raw data, like a text file. No proprietary formatting, no funny characters, no extra hidden returns and paragraphs and line breaks or code. The most formatting I do is bolding headings and italicizing titles when appropriate.

Once written, I can easily copy and paste it into WordPress and throw in a few images if needed.

I also have started using Joplin for notes, and more secure private writing. It’s something I started last year, I think. Joplin is just a note-taking app that uses Markdown as its base. I keep a lot of what I used to use One Note for, though I still also use One Note. It’s nice because it syncs through One Drive, so I can access it across devices, but it’s all encrypted. Joplin contains ideas, lists, and journals made on the go, or sometimes just, on the toilet, where a phone is more handy.

The lists are pretty basic. I have lists of log-ins for various games, especially games where I have more than one account. There are lists of media to look into, sorted by type, music, books, movies, tv shows, video games, etc.

The journal part is just like any other journaling, but a bit more… we’ll say personal. Dumb dream notes, venting of frustrations, and some WIP blogs here and there. I keep anything I don’t really care about anyone else ever reading in the Journal folder, I keep things I might care about people reading in Joplin. Occasionally I clean out some of the regular Journal writing into my folder system, just to keep the Joplin list cleaner.

The real key to all of this is two things. It’s all in a simple clear format, Markdown. It’s also all backed up, in this case, through the NAS, through One Drive. Since it’s all small text files now, it also means I don’t care about just syncing this One Drive folder to everything. I converted quite a few .doc files and the space savings were pretty substantial, especially since it’s all just basic text that doesn’t need everything that Word has. The backup is the most important part though.

Weekly Wrap Up (11.19.2023 to 11.25.2023)

Oh look, I fell into the “Trap of Not”. I am pretty sure I mentioned it before. It’s just a little phrase I think about sometimes when I want to do something but I just, do not. Specifically, in this case, writing and blogging. Like these little Saturday write-ups, I wanted to at least keep up with them, but I ended up, well, not. I also feel stupid jealous of people who blog and write regularly right now.

Look at Cynni’s Blog here, she writes daily. Long detailed posts, daily, with her dog and her little neat cartoon images spiced in. I’m jealous of that. My excuse is often that I don’t have the time, but the reality is, I kind of DO have the time. I just keep falling into Not. Another one that I’d love to be more like with Lameazoid is The Figure in Question. Not so much daily reviews, just more a long daily catalog of “here is this figure and this is why I like it.”

A while back I picked up this massive ball of blogs from a Hacker News posts. I’m still, still going through them, months later. There are so many that seem to have died for one reason or another. I mean, writing regularly, or even semi-regularly I suppose, is not for everyone. The process of going through them is slow, but there has been a fun accidental mechanism in my RSS reader that has helped. Basically, the feeds never update all at once. I get maybe 10-15 new ones showing up daily, but I think it’s timing out otherwise. So I skim through the ones that do show up and see if any of them are interesting, if not, I dump them. If they are interesting I throw them in a new category to better look at later, or if they have an obvious theme, I categorize them accordingly, since it’s Hacker News, it’s MOSTLY “Personal Blogs – Tech Enthusiasts”.

It’s also weird how some of these people organize their blog titles. Some people give useful information, and some just have these weird one-word titles that feel completely meaningless. Some of these blogs seemed completely themed around some extremely obscure tech topic (I usually drop these). You can tell when someone started a blog because they picked up some goofy random new coding language. Most of these I find, are also dead blogs. I guess they got tired of the topic or didn’t find an audience or something.

I always tell myself I don’t care about having an audience, and I keep plugging away at it anyway. For decades now. It’s a little crazy maybe. And I just write whatever comes to mind. I’ve been sitting here for an hour or two, having eaten my breakfast, done some daily quests in Sky, and browsed my RSS reader. Everyone else in the house is still asleep except the cats, so it’s nice and quiet. Anyway, I tell myself I don’t care about an audience, but also I don’t understand why everything seems to go nowhere.

Which brings up some of my activities this week. Working a bit to better understand the whole Search Engine Search Console thing. I set up a plug-in to give both blogs a mobile theme because I know Google complains about that. It’s boring and ugly, it gets the job done, I guess. I also have no idea why some of the issues listed are simply, “Page discovered but not indexed”. Like, ok, that’s on you, why are you not indexing them? No other explanations were given. I’ve also found it wants to index pages for individual images and such.

Which is another thing I should do. I need to flip through the gallery adding alt text to images. For accessibility. I am all for accessibility, but honestly, most of the images, don’t super matter or are meaningless if you can’t see them. Sorry people with bad or no sight, it sucks I am sure, but me describing a random concert photo, is not going to help you get the feeling of the photo. Most other images amount to something basic, “Python Logo”, “XXXXX Album cover.” You are not missing anything not seeing it. I think there is actually a way to get screen readers to ignore those images. A picture is worth a thousand words, and those thousand words already exist in the Blog Post the picture is in. There is one blog I read in my RSS reader with a dude who is absolutely obsessed with alt text. Like, it’s literally probably something he should see a shrink or something over because when I write obsessed, I mean OBSESSED. If I were a person who needed alt texts, I would be upset with how wordy and insanely long this dude makes his alt texts.

Other fun this week, it is, of course, Thanksgiving. We went to my parent’s house and had a very basic turkey, potatoes, corn, and green beans, style Thanksgiving dinner. My brother and his family were busy. It was enjoyable.

Side note, I typo-ed the word green. Are you OK there Spell Check? The obvious word is not there at all.

I’ve decided to dump the whole “What I Got” part of these. I might do the toys and games stuff on Lameazoid if I ever started regularly posting there again, but I did want to throw in that I bought some more memory for my gaming PC. It came with 16GB, which is decent, but I’ve been doing some AI stuff and I may move my Video Editing to that PC from my old PC, so I added another 32GB of RAM. Total of 48 now, which is probably a bit excessive. Nothing fancy, I was looking at fancy but realized that it wouldn’t do any good because it’s just going to clock down to match the speeds of the current 16GB, which was plenty fast enough already.

Weekly Wrap-Up (08.27.2023 to 09.02.2023)

Ok, I wrote this later and back-dated it, because I was going to not, but I need to not get back into the trap of “not”.

Look at me, slacking already, no posts since the end of Blaugust. Not even the Friday music album post, PS, I have missed several of those.

I am at the time of the year when I realize I have a ton of vacation days left to use up, so I took Friday off. I may take a lot of Fridays off. I have enough days to take one off each week for the rest of the year, and some of those weeks already have holidays in them. We don’t really take trips or go anywhere so I generally just, don’t take days off. Plus a few years ago I was really saving them because my wife had had a stroke and some heart issues came from that, so she was supposed to maybe have heart surgery. I kept saving for that, so I got extra bad about not taking a vacation. The doctor decided not to do the surgery, for now, because it would be too risky, but I am still bad about not taking vacation and we still don’t really travel.

It worked out, she had a garage sale, so I could help with that some.

Saturday the weather was decent enough that I could comfortably run the power washer my parents let us borrow to strip the back concrete off. It’s been a few years, it’s filthy, and it needs doing occasionally. It took something like 4 hours of pretty continuous spraying. Tina did the garage sale again while I was out back.

Which reminds me of something else. So occasionally we get these Iced Strawberry Lemonades from Sonic, especially since they are half-price in the mid-afternoon. I decided to mix it up and get a Limeade. I am pretty sure I don’t really like lime, I am pretty down on super bitter things like lime and vinegar. The drink was… Ok, except it was a bit bubbly I think, which I was not expecting. It also, had bits of stuff in it, which is really gross for a drink. I assumed bits of lime, it was actually bits of strawberry. I tried to transfer things to a glass but well, I wanted the ice, so I could not simply, strain the strawberry out.

The reminder part is, that part of my motivation was to see how I would like the lime because I have this lime tree that I bought a while back on super clearance. It has not produced any fruit but I transferred it to a larger, nicer, pot. But like, I have no idea what I am going to do with the limes. The stores don’t seem to be able to give them away either, I have noticed they sell for super cheap, so it’s not like I could sell them or give them away.

Anyway, I also have a Lemon tree, which will be useful, because I like lemons, for the most part.

I didn’t get anything new this week, I slacked and missed Band Camp Friday, but I was broke anyway because I pre-ordered some vinyl. I may have mentioned that last week. CHVRCHES has a 10th-anniversary Bones release. There was a really lovely looking special edition of 1989 (Taylor’s Version) I went for (because 1989 is the best Taylor Swift album) and I came across a super nice looking 10th-anniversary edition of the Tron Legacy Soundtrack. That Tron album is probably my favorite soundtrack and it’s also probably a top ten album.

Not that spending a lot is a goal, but I have been increasing cash-strapped for a while now on my “personal spending”. Like years, awhile. It probably does not seem like it to some folks, I do spend a fair amount, but I also heavily deal shop. I have a set budget though, out of each paycheck, that goes into a separate account for my personal spending. This also includes buying gas for my car and any time I want to eat lunch out, which isn’t super often. I cut it back a few years ago though from what it had been, and in the past few years, everything became 25-50% more expensive.

Also, shipping for vinyl is always killer. It requires a large box which is pricey to ship.

Anyway, our contract was up this year at work so when it was renewed we got a bit of a bump as usual, and I am getting on-call pay starting soon. My wife already said I can have the on-call pay for my budget, which will probably amount to an extra $250/ month after taxes etc.

Which will be nice. Primarily because I actually would like to subscribe and support more. Like I recently subscribed to TWIT premium. I want to pick up Thurrott Premium. But there are other things like Patreons and such that I kind of want to sub to, even briefly, to support some things I enjoy, and having that bump will probably help put me over the edge to do some of that.

Weekly Wrap-Up (08.20.2023 to 08.26.2023)

Not a lot going on this week honestly, it’s been kind of blazing hot which really makes some things difficult to do. Go Climat Crisis. I did start on a new project. Well, continued one I sort of started on. I have way too many bookmarks, enough that navigating them later is not useful. They are well sorted, but I need to make them more useful. I came across the concept of a “digital garden” recently. It seems to be just a fancy term for “personal wiki”. Anyway, I’ve started building a sort of personal wiki of bookmarks and resources, though it’s just lists of sorted links in markdown files, that I’ll eventually post out to Github for public use.

I may also do the Wiki thing as well, for other bits of information I want to keep, though most of that is already in One Note.

I just have been pretty down lately and not really motivated for much.

On a gaming note, the Aurora Concert is back for the next week or so in Sky: Children of the Light, it’s pretty neat, but there are also just, videos of it on Youtube.

I didn’t buy anything new this week either, like I said, boring week. Ok, technically I did pre-order a few things, but I don’t really consider pre-orders buying until they come in, because I often end up canceling them later.

I didn’t listen to much new music either, though I did start building a sort of “monster playlist to shuffle” in Apple Music. We’ll see what comes of that in the long term.