update of random stuff


I haven’t been blogging enough. I thought I’d just throw random updates out there and see what resonates.

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Health & Wellness

Back in September we moved to a new office space that, from a sensory overload and anxiety perspective, has not been good for me. In that time, I’ve gained fifty pounds. I’ve been putting some effort recently into losing that weight. Starting from three hundred and twenty pounds, I’m down to three hundred and four in about a month. Not bad.

Quadcopters

I’m still having a lot of fun with these things. I’m on my second Syma X11, though. The first one had its battery die while it was above the tree tops, so it was all too happy to rest there. These things fly high and fast, but be aware that they don’t give you any real warning that they are getting ready to die. I’ve gotten a bunch of spare batteries and props for it, too. I also have one more coming in so I can have one at work and one at home.

I have a couple more toy quadcopters on the way from China.

The curiosity about hexacopters has been strong. I’ve ordered a JJRC H20 hexacopter to scratch that itch.

The Cheerson CX-10 looks super tiny, and it’s about half the price of the similarly tiny Estes Proto X.

Speaking of the Proto X, I’ve ordered some replacement parts to get mine flying straight again. I’m able to fly it, but it’s a bit squirrely because of the cheap bendy plastic on one of the little baskets that the motors sit inside of. A plastic tab has sort of bent out which allows the motor to sit crookedly, which in turn allows the prop to spin on an axis that is not perpendicular to the airframe. So the whole thing wants to pitch forwards and left, moreso than I can compensate for reasonably with trim settings.

Books

I recently finished Neil Gaiman’s “Trigger Warning“. While I’ve sort of lost my taste for science fiction, at least in long form, I’m not sure that what I was reading here was sci fi. Also, reading short stories was very satisfying. I had a sense of accomplishment every time I put down the book. And it ended on a particularly satisfying note. True to my normal pattern, I’m moving on from here to non-fiction.

The current reading project is “Sparks of Genius” which satisfies ever more of my ongoing curiosity about the nature of creativity in high-potential people. I’ve also got a personal ambition to make better use of the gifts I’ve been given in this department.

To that end…

Photography & Writing

I’ve more or less walked away from it, at least in the form which I’ve been practicing. While I think my later works were really something to be proud of, I didn’t like that I had to keep it relatively low profile to avoid making co-workers uncomfortable (since my work often featured the nude form). I’m not really happy about this. But I feel like spending more time exploring this outlet will only bring me suffering.

My real hope and ambition here is to gradually fill the creative void this leaves behind by writing more. I can write about a nude human being and people don’t get too upset. But if I put a picture of one on the Internet, people tend to lose their senses.

I’ve been sort of frustrated by the sense of feeling a lot of creative inspiration, especially around writing, but not having decent writing tools that I can carry with me. I used to carry a journal with a nice pen, but people got nosy and helped themselves to my writings, and I stopped. I’ve got a Macbook Air 11″ which is a fantastic writing tool, but not practical to carry everywhere. The mobile device (iPhone 6) is absolutely horrid, ergonomically speaking, to write with. I’ll have to do some more noodling on this. I really don’t want to start carrying a manpurse again, but it may come to that.

Eco Tourism

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I’ve taken a couple of mini vacations back to back recently. I spent a few days at the Bald Head Island Conservancy in August with my family and it was nothing short of magical. This was our second trip there (the first being in 2010) and I think it’s fair to say this one was an order of magnitude better for all of us. In part, it’s just because the kids were older and thus more engaged. We ended up seeing two loggerhead sea turtle nest excavations, one planned nest hatching (a “boil”), and a second boil that was completely unexpected. We probably saw over two hundred baby loggerhead sea turtles from these four nests over the weekend.

We also managed to find a rumored alligator, who was hiding directly under the observation deck that people searched fruitlessly from. Peeking down between the floor boards revealed two reptilian eyes in close proximity looking right back at us.

A hike through the maritime forest revealed another world to me that was downright inspiring. I know I need to come back to this place. I know I need to bring an array of creative tools with me, and just listen to what this place is telling me. There’s more to the story, and it can’t be observed while traveling with an impatient family group. I’ll have to do this one alone.

Coming home from Bald Head Island was difficult. Home took a few days to feel like home again. I felt like there was another entirely different life waiting for me in a place like Bald Head Island, a better life than what I could live in Raleigh. One where I was in better communion with the world around me, and which still had quiet places in which I could be alone and contemplate the nature of the Universe.

We also went to Hanging Rock State Park last weekend. This one was a mixed bag. The park itself is lovely. Some of the scenery is truly breathtaking. The rustic cabins, though, were a bit too rustic for this family. The smells were odd and unsettling, the appointments were cheap and insufficient. I think we all woke up the first morning feeling sore and ill-rested from the uncomfortable beds. The family took a vote, four out of five voted to finish the last hike and then go home a day early. If we go back here, we’ll look for accommodations outside of the park that are more comfortable. Just to be clear, spartan appointments are not necessarily a bad thing. But if we knew it was going to be this bad, we would have been more comfortable tent camping. On the plus side, I did get quite a good bit of reading done.

We talked about these experiences as a family, and compared them to last year’s vacation to Walt Disney World. My wife and I, as well as two of the three kids, overwhelmingly feel that eco tourism was way more fun than Disney. All three kids are science enthusiasts, but let’s just say one is better suited to lab work while the other two would be more comfortable doing field research.

Homelab

Honestly, I’ve not had much time to do anything here. Also, the heat from the servers in my home office is hard to vent out, and the electric bill is pretty bad. This may not have been my best idea.9:00

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