Chad Moore

Hello, friends. This is a test.

2019 Week 07, Weeknotes #02

  • Making good some good choices after last weeks rumpus. Looking forward to getting back into the running habit. I’m signing up for the Casco Brewery 5k.
  • Improv 201 started this week and its great to jump into the deeper aspects of performance.
  • The mastermind group with Bob is a great success for both of us. I’m appreciating the regular cadence and support from Bob.
  • I’m looking to do more experience design work, so this week I thought up of a MacOS app that will help me solve my own problems. I’ve been designing it this past week. I have a friend who may be able to commit to the development. I’ll know more on that this coming week. The app needs a visual design pass, and that I am ill equipped for. So I may solicit some others to help with that.

Threat Level Orange

“… to access funds to build a wall that wouldn’t solve a crisis that doesn’t actually exist in the first place.”

Thank you, Dave Pell, for stating this so clearly.

Putting all my eggs in two baskets

It’s been a crazy week. I’m still getting back into the swing of things. This week has taught me to further focus on the things that make me happy and engaged. And to put all my eggs in my family and health baskets.

It’s odd that I’ve had a blog for so long and never really talked about myself that much. Maybe that will change now. I had a medical emergency that is now resolved, but was pretty scary for a while there. Deep vein thrombosis is when a blood clot makes it’s way into a major artery. Those are the highways to the heart and lungs, so it’s pretty dangerous.

I spent the better part of a week laying flat and worrying. What would my family do without me? Those kinds of things. Pretty terrible stuff to have on the top and back of the mind.

I’m out of the woods and getting back to normal. I’m taking this as a wake up call to get me health in order.

It feels good to write this. I guess the best part of all this was I was able to read about a couple topics I’m interested in. And I came up with a great joke.

If I were a Cardiologist who played trombone in a jazz band, I’d insist that the band name was Deep Vein Trombonesis

Maybe I shouldn’t work on my stand-up set while dealing with medical issues. Lol.

Improv 201, Class 01

The focus of 101 was an overall introduction and the laying of the groundwork of the three rules of Improv via game play.

  1. Yes and” - no matter what your partner(s) say, you have to take it as truth (yes) and also build upon it (and).
  2. Make your partner look good” - this really is about giving them something to work with. Don’t put them in a theoretical corner.
  3. Don’t ask questions” - asking your partner a question puts a limit on what they can say, in the moment. It isn’t giving them much to work with and can devolve into yes and no. I suppose this is a subset of #2. But I need to give this its own line item to help clarify it in my head. I ask too many questions in scene.

The games of short form Improv have a structure, focus on being in the moment of the scene, and have humor.

The focus of 201 is on the performance. We learned a handy device, the CROWE:

  • Character (naming people, accents, other idiosyncrasies help define the characters)
  • Relationship (Who/what are these Characters to each other)
  • Objective (What does each Character want?)
  • Where (What’s the setting (Time, and/or place))
  • Emotion (How are the Characters feeling?)

Remembering to do all this in the moment of the scene is difficult and challenging. It’s fun, but hard work.

It’s just day one, but I can relate the Relationship and Objective, and Emotion aspects of the CROWE to my previous work as an animator. Using the character’s poses, motion, position on screen, and other techniques can inform the audience of each characters status in relation to each other. Same is true for Improv, as far as I can tell.

Transferring status in scene is where the narrative really takes shape, both in Animation and Improv. I’m looking forward to getting better at that.

A suspicion I have about going deeper into the performance of scenes is something I’ve heard Improv actors call “finding the game” in a scene. This is, as far as I can tell, a callback to something that happened earlier in the scene. A hand gesture, a spoken line, an action, etc. Usually funniest if able to be done seamlessly and three times. I think the short games of 101 and Short form in general will add to this.

I’m just learning the 201 performance aspects, but can make the connection to the callbacks in standup and sketch comedy I’ve seen so often. Maybe all that is what 301 is all about. I’ll let you know when I get there.

I came across the interesting Hook MacOS app (I think from someone here on micro.blog). It’s like a central location for all the items scattered across files (local/cloud), urls, emails, etc that one would need for a project. Anything else out there like this? DevonTHINK? ???

At least partially related to your interests @macgenie ? Portland, guinea pigs, neural networks, superheros, and metal bands

Off to the first class of Improv 201 tonight!

Intention:

an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.

This week I’ve been trying to o things with more intention. More planning, and focus. It’s been working pretty well.

I removed tweetdeck, signed out of channels in the slack app and removed some other distracting apps. I’d find myself on these on occasion and falling into the scrolling forever trap.

Now I have to intentionally go to these places in the browser, if I want to see what’s happening.

I’ll miss out on being among the first to know of all the new stuff, important or not. That’s exactly the point. I can catch up when I need to. To control my time and space more.

I hope this isn’t where we are heading with Augmented Reality.

2019 Week 05, Weeknotes #01

From somewhere on Micro.blog I came across a link to Alice Bartlett’s Weeknotes. Looks like it’s a weekly post of what she was thinking and experiencing over the past week. Looks like it’s a thing a bunch of people are doing on their own blogs too, and it looks like it fits in with whatever the hell it is I am doing here.

So, this is my first Weeknote. A bunch of stuff that happened last week:

  • I went to Boston for work on Thursday, and got to spend all day doing great work with a couple people at Mad*Pow that I wished I worked more often with.
  • I’m helping some friends kick off a new project, and they’re getting some good traction. I’ve been doing some web work, and providing some advice. It’s been fun. Once they’re ready to talk I’ll put up a link.
  • At Rigging Dojo I’m helping to build a system for people looking to hire Technical Artists. We get a lot of people asking us for to help them find freelancers, contractors and full time employees. We love playing matchmaker, but want to make the process a little more automated. More on that next week.
  • I’m watching Killing Eve, and I think it’s pretty great. The performances are fantastic.
  • I finished my (late) annual listen to the Gentleman Bastard Sequence on AudioBook. That’s my favorite fantasy series, hands-down, and the narrator is excellent. Can’t wait for book four, hopefully this year.
  • I hate the name Mastermind group, but I like the concept. I just started one this week with a very good friend. We’re just starting out and want to use the time to focus on our goals and hold each other accountable to them. He and I can talk for hours, as we’ve known each other since kindergarten, so we’ll need to use an agenda to keep us on-point and not talking about hockey or whatever.
  • I was pretty consistent with my Bullet Journaling efforts. I’m happy about this, and the weekly recap here is pulled from a lot of the notes in the notebook.
  • I didn’t do a lot of the work I wanted to do from the Napkin Academy, but made a little progress this week. The goals there are to “solve problems with pictures”. This kind of sketching really appeals to my Experience Design and Agile Scrum Master/Coach interests. My goal is to be 50% through the lessons by the next week.
  • I’m tinkering with this story I am writing, and was having issues trying to do too much with the protagonist and antagonist. I couldn’t figure out who’s story it was. Both have arcs, and there’s a central physical object that drives the story. Last night I thought of a solution. It’s neither of their stories, really. It’s the story of that physical object. It has a level of awareness and certainly has a goal. I’m rethinking it with that idea. I need to have my first draft next week for the Mastermind group I noted above.
  • I deleted my Facebook account a while ago, and am considering starting a newsletter to post the kind of things people usually post there. Like family stuff, which I don’t really post too much of on this site. I believe Jean MacDonald calls hers a “friendsletter”. I like that.
  • I signed up for Improv 201, and can’t wait to get to practicing and learning more.
  • I just found this app called Slowly that looks like a way to find and write to pen pals. Interesting.

Yes, and I just signed up for the 201 level Improv class!

I found out that the Jeff bridges “Dude” promo is for a commercial to be aired on the Superbowl. For some reason I keep thinking of the short film Rejected.

Fuzzy

It’s the weekend, 1 evening and 2 full days of no Microsoft Office products. 🤪

I have magnets implanted in my hands. This is fascinating!

Been using FlyCut on the Mac for a couple years. I’m hearing good things about Pastebot and it’s filtering, so I’m giving that a test drive over the next week or so.

Things change, and I couldn’t have said it better. How to be honorable. Thank you, Seth Godin.

My 12 year old son doesn’t realize what the message behind a video he recently sent me really is. And we need to have a conversation about all the reasons why this is terrible.

This video he sent is about chicken tenders (still a favorite food of his) that he found really funny. It’s a poem about someone professing love for tenders.

It’s illustrated/animated and stars pepe the frog. In one scene the character is literally wearing a SS uniform. I am disgusted about this and terrified of what other propaganda he is seeing online. I am thankful that I’ll use this shitty thing as a catalyst to have a conversation about what is important in life.

Any other Gentleman Bastard Sequence fans here? It’s my favorite series, and the first book just got optioned for film by a production company. I hope they do a tv series on HBO/Amazon/whomever. There’s so much story to tell.

Crooked Warden, please let them do this production justice.

twitter.com/scottlync…

Overheard (at a Design Agency):

Design used to be all magic and photoshop, now it’s bullshit and Sketch.

FLAP

I’ve been thinking of an appropriate format for my personal weekly retrospective. That’s a meeting I have with myself on Sunday or Early Monday mornings to review the previous week.

My new plan, which I’ll enact this coming Sunday is to use a FLAP chart. Here’s a brief and good overview of the concept.

At work, I tend to like this technique for groups when time is short. Usually a full retrospective has more time, details, and ritual. The FLAP system is good for getting to the point quickly, if time is short. Since it’s just me on this “project” I’ll try the FLAP system to see how it goes.

I’ve purposely limited myself to three goals this week, as anything more than that is untenable for me. Three is the magic number. After the retro, I’ll know if the three goal planning and my overall process is sound.

My initial thought was to write this down in my notebook under my weekly tracker but there’s not enough room. Next I thought of a dedicated “spread” in the notebook, but iteration is key for this activity. So I’m either going to use a whiteboard and stickies / dry erase or a sheet of paper and a sharpie. First messy and quick iterations, then reflection to turn the results into learnings and goals for next week.

The more tech I use the more I realize a pen and paper or dry erase and a whiteboard are fantastic tools to problem solve. Dan Roam, author of Back of the Napkin says he’s teaching people to “Solve any Problem with a Simple Picture”. That’s really resonating with me recently.

My colleague James runs the Sustainable UX conference. If you’re interested in climate change and how designers can make a positive impact, check this out.

The Inputs and Outputs of Stuff

Minimalism is different for each person, I think. I’m not a single person living out of a backpack and coding my way across exotic locales. Many people think that’s what minimalism is. Maybe that’s what it is for you, but that’s not it for me. That’s not what this post is about.

I recently attended a funeral. Naturally it makes one think of their own mortality. The following day, I was ruminating on my commute to work about what would happen if I was no longer among the living.

I was thinking tactically. My family would have to clean up some of my physical objects. The Stuff in the basement, my closet, etc.

Maybe there’s a grieving and healing process that happens when you are responsible for taking care of a departed loved ones stuff. I’m lucky to not have had that happen yet.

I was imagining my family having to open boxes and otherwise examine the stuff we have. Some of it cherished, and worthy of keeping. Much of it not. Things like the old computers, and other electronic devices. Old toys from when my kids were younger, long forgotten. None of that stuff is useful to us at this point. Maybe someone else will value it. Why do we keep these things? I don’t want to fill up landfills any more than I have to, but these things take up physical and mental space.

I’m learning to control inputs and outputs of “stuff”.

Inputs

The primary goal is to stop in incoming flow of stuff.

Stop buying things I don’t need

There’s a great rule of thumb that I’ve been working with. Once I have the impulse to purchase something new, I stop myself and see if I want it tomorrow or two weeks from now. That time delayed is based on price. A new 3$ pen (tomorrow) versus a new iPad for example (wait a week at least).

I’m also tracking my spending in my notebook this month. Seeing the data does reinforce the habit, in my experience.

Figure out a way to keep junk mail from even entering the house

We don’t have a rigid routine on checking mail in our house. Whomever grabs it brings it in, and lays it in a particular place. The adults in the house sort it frequently and dump more than half of it into the recycle bin. What a waste of paper.

I don’t know how to get off the mailing lists, so I’d like to do that sorting before it comes into the house to completely remove that input.

I’ll have to take on the mail retrieval and sorting or teach my kids to do so. I like the later option. Teach my kids good habits while they’re still young.

This way it’s never in the house to begin with.

Outputs

What do I do with all this stuff?

Keep, donate, trash

The technique we use is to open a drawer, closet or room, clear it out and place everything into three piles.

  • Keep - we want these things
  • Donate - someone else could use this
  • Trash - these things can be removed as they’re unusable

But I’m looking for another technique as this one is flawed. Many things that wind up in the donate pile need further sorting. General donation or passed on to a specific friend/family member as hand-me-downs. So it’s possible that we end up with multiple “sub-piles”.

Same is true for the trash pile. The sub piles being Shred, Recycle or Trash.

All these layers cause mental overload and makes the task of reducing more stressful. This should be a joyous thing. We’re helping ourselves and perhaps others.

I’d like to commit to a “One Sunday a month jam”. To go through a room or closet and eventually the sleeping giant, the basement.

But first I need to think more of the processes of inputs and outputs. Perhaps a sweep through the space and only look for trash, in its sub piles. Deal with that, then go back through the same space, this time looking for the items to Donate. A more iterative process. An Agile Sparking of Joy?

Food Order Expansion

I have to order food for small to large sized groups a lot at work. Clients visiting for meetings, that kind of thing. I write an email to a certain person each time, and it’s basically the same format, but with variations (number of people, allergies, preferences, office location, etc).

So I had to do this again today, and thought that there’s a better way than hand typing the same (basic) thing over again. I thought about saving the text into a separate file, and opening that, copying to the email client, and adjusting the specifics. That’s better but not great.

Expanding my mind

I was playing around with textExpander last week to get textExpander to make me a markdown formated link to the website I am on, so that I could blog about it, and make some notes. Hit me up if that’s gibberish to you. Markdown is pretty versatile once you get used to it. Anyway.

I had some help from @joshsullivan and @verso (thanks!). Turns out TextExpander can launch an AppleScript or JavaScript. Pretty great stuff. So, for this food ordering automation business, I thought about using something like that.

It’s easier than that

Turns out that there are some forms you can create in an expansion. Let me explain a bit…

  1. I type ;foodorder anywhere on my Mac (works on PC too)
  2. TextExpander opens a form in a new window
  3. I adjust the variations like the number of people, specific allergies and preferences and hit ‘OK’
  4. TextExpander writes the form results into the text

So I’m opening a new email, and doing those steps above. Then I edit the content, if needed, address the email appropriately and hit send.

Here’s the form:

What’s the big deal

So this saves me a couple minutes over the course of the month, it’s not that big of a deal. But it takes the minutia out of the work, and lets me get back to the harder problems faster. That’s priceless, imho.