Archive for category Hobbies

One Thing Different Every Week

Do you ever feel like you’re living in auto-pilot mode, where every week and every day seems to be the same? Well, I was, and I wanted to do something about it.

About 4 months ago I decided I wanted to try doing at least one different thing every week. It could either be something I’ve never done, or something that has been a while since last time I’ve done it. It doesn’t have to be something huge, such as “visit the pyramids in Egypt” (even though that’d be awesome!); it just has to be something different than the normal.

In order to track that, I’ve created a simple note in Evernote titled “One thing different every week”. At the top of that note a keep track of things I may try at some point, and at the bottom I keep a log of the things I tried, formatted as “Week of Month day, year: brief description”. This log is extremely important, as it allows me to go back and realize that I did do interesting, out of the norm, things. skateboard

Here’s a partial list of some of the things I tried/did in the last few months:

  • Go a whole week without drinking any coke (or soda of any kind). Not only did I manage to do that, but I went full 10 days with it. I didn’t think that was possible.  🙂
  • Gave somebody a nice gift that she was wanting for some time, but I did it at a regular day (not birthday, xmas, or anything like that). You see, presents given on those dates aren’t really a “surprise”, as the person normally expects something. That’s boring.
  • Bought me a nice new acoustic guitar.
  • Went bowling, after several months since last time.
  • Started doing some web developers after several years, first with ASP.NET MVC, and then Ruby on Rails.
  • Took a few days off and went on a trip with the family.

See, it doesn’t have to be a life-changing experience; anything out of the ordinary boredom should do. I’m also trying out small things that push me a little (or sometimes a lot) out of my comfort zone. For instance, this week I’m going to try to wake up every day at 5am to study something (I *hate* waking up early, and for me waking up around 7:45am is already bad enough). Who knows, maybe waking up that early to study won’t work out well for me; if that’s the case, maybe I should try waking up at that same time, but doing something else, like going inline skating around the neighborhood, or working on my music, etc. 

skatesAlso, another thing I do is to try out some soft ware or site I haven’t used before, like a different browser, or a tool that’s a competitor to another tool I use, so I can make an educated decision on sticking with the tool I was using, or switching to the other one.

Need some more ideas? Here you go: have you ever tried inline skating (rollerblading)? Give that a shot; you might like it. Did you use to skateboard when you were younger? Well, why not try that again? You may not be able to do the same tricks, but it’ll probably still be a lot of fun. How do I know? Well, take a guess…  Smile

If you give that a shot, let me know whether it worked for you, and if you feel like sharing, let me know what kind of things you’ve tried out.

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Hallelujah! We’re done with the 2000-piece Jigsaw Puzzle

Holy Cow, that took us a while…  Smile

Several months ago, while at Barnes & Noble with the family, I’ve decided to pick up a big 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle (ok, it may not be that big to some people, but I’m sure I had never picked up one with more than 200 hundred pieces or so…). I figured that’d be something we’d enjoy engaging together. I’ve always appreciated the “old” Manhattan skyline, from watching so many episodes of Friends, so that’s the image I chose.

The first one or two months into this “project” went very smooth, but boy, the last several months after that dragged really bad. The main problem was that sky. Over 300 pieces of the puzzle probably go in there, and they all look pretty much the same! Fortunately, the wife was decided to finish that off, picked up the slack, and managed to pull it off.

Now I just need to get some puzzle glue, put it on a frame, and hang it on the wall.

I hear we may be picking up a 5000-piece one. I’ll try to make sure we don’t get one where there’s a large section with pieces that all look the same. Smile

 

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Click on the image below to see an Animated Gif!

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Dealing with the boredom of traveling

I’ve been traveling quite a lot this year. I always make sure to have enough to keep myself busy while waiting at airports or flying. Last Monday I flew to one of our clients in Eugene, OR, and found interesting what my actions were from living the house until getting to the client.

  • Drive from home to the airport (that’s a 25-minute drive): turned on my MP3 player and listened to Podcast (.NET Rocks).
  • Left the car at the economic parking, and took the shuttle to the airport (about a 15-minute ride, since it had to stop at two terminals before the one I was going to): kept listening to the podcast.
  • Went through security and direct to the boarding gate (another 10 minutes): still listening to the podcast.
  • Waiting at the boarding gate, boarding, and then waiting for the aircraft’s cabin to be closed (about 20 minutes): that was about time for the podcast to finish.
  • After the cabin was closed, all electronic devices must be turned off, so I picked up one of the books I’m currently reading, and read it for about 15 minutes until we were airborne. I’m really enjoying that book, by the way; I’ll have a full blog about it once I’m finished reading.
  • Once airborne, I turned on my laptop, and started working on a building a little "memory game" in VS 2008. I wanted to do this just to practice more TDD, OOD, VS 2008, C# 3.0, and all that fun stuff (plus, whenever I’m done with it, my daughter is going to have a new game to play on the computer).
  • After an hour my laptop’s battery was totally out, and I still had an hour on the plane. I picked up my PocketPC and started watching a movie (I watched 300 again…).
  • Eventually I had to turn off electronic devices when we were preparing for landing, so I put out my PocketPC, and picked up my book again, which I read until we were ready to get off the plane.
  • I had a connection in Salt Lake City, so I walked to the right boarding gate, sat there until the time when boarding started. During this time I was listening to another episode of .NET Rocks. I also took the time to plug my laptop to a power outlet and left it there recharging the battery.
  • Once onboard, I basically followed the same ritual: listen to Podcast until they say you have to turn electronic devices off, then read a book until we’re airborne, then use the computer until the battery runs out, then watch a movie on the PocketPC, then go back to reading book until we’re off the plane, and then listen to podcast on the way from the airport to the client’s office.

Summing up: I did some programming, learned something from reading and from listening to podcasts, and watched a movie. And on top of that, didn’t get too bored while traveling. Not too bad.  🙂

I’m typing this blog entry on the plane, flying back. I followed pretty much the same ritual on the way back, except that I watched a different movie (Stealth, a pretty lame movie, if you ask me). And while my laptop’s battery lasted, I’ve caught up on my emails and read some interesting blog posts.

As for the rest of the week, the whole days are pretty much occupied by working with our clients, and that’s usually pretty fun, since I’m always facing different challenges, so the days fly by.

On the evenings I usually do some work, but I try to watch a movie or two. You know, I need to tune out a little bit to make sure I’m as productive on the next day. For my next trips, I’ll have two new gadgets with me to keep me sane on the evenings:

  • Traveler Speedster Guitar: a great guitar that I can take with me when I’m traveling, since it’s small enough to carry it on the plane, but still big enough to feel like a regular guitar.

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I’m very excited about these two new toys. I hate being away from playing for weeks in a row, but now I’m going to be able to practice even when I’m on the road. I’m even considering taking these toys to the office every day and practice for 30 minutes on my lunch breaks. This will be fun!

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Trying to keep the sanity…

Just in case you don’t know, I keep another blog out there just to post about things that are not related to my life as a software developer. Here’s a link to that blog:

I just posted something related to my band, just in case you’re into music you might want to check it out.  🙂

I promise the next post on this blog is going to be technical.  😉

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