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I’m an Agilist, a former software engineer, a gamer, an improviser, a podcaster emeritus, and a wine lover. Learn more.

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Paul Tevis

Entries in things i am doing (115)


Friday Roundup for 27 July 2012

My weekly check in of where I’m at.

 Body and Mind

Getting back into the running routine slowly is helping me focus on making time for it, without having to worry so much about pushing myself physically. That’s turning out to be a good combination, as trying to improve on both fronts simultaneously often doesn’t work for me. Next week kicks up to five days a week, so I’m hoping to carry my momentum through.

Sadly, this week hasn’t been as good for me on the “getting eight hours of sleep” front, but I have been doing a much better job of being aware of my mental energy and managing my expectations appropriately. 

 Friends and Family

Between Adam and Diana’s going-away party, Pint Night, both Dying Kingdoms and SCA fighter practices, and crashing Gwen’s knitting circle last night, it’s been pretty social week for me. Replace the going-away party with a trip to LA for a DK tabletop game and add a weekend of board gaming, and this coming week looks much the same.


Last Saturday’s Spontaneous Broadway show at the VIC was one of the most satisfying improv experiences I’ve ever been a part of. This weekend is a Dying Kingdoms tabletop game that’s at a critical point in the current story arc, so that’s been occupying a lot of my mind. Not much else has gotten done, though I did push out another Paulcast episode. I’ve got another fiction recording that I really should take care of on Sunday, so that should tide me over.


Things I’ve read:
*  What To Make of Finnegan’s Wake?
* I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar
* Castrating Daniel Tosh
* Rituals, Mechanisms, Habits, and Traditions To Ensure An Uncluttered Home
* Maximizing Shareholder Value: The Dumbest Idea in the World
* New Programming Jargon

Podcast episodes:
* Resilience Strategies For a Volatile World
* The Power of the Introvert In Your Office
* Purple Reign

The soundtrack of the week:
* Buena Vista Social Club, Buena Vista Social Club
* Original Broadway Cast, Camelot
* Octarium, Octarium


This week’s book club was on the latter half of C++ Coding Standards, which started to get a little arcane even for me. Carol and Ryan summed up much of it as “if you’re tempted to be clever in this way, don’t.” It did point out which areas of the language are still unclear to us, and where we need to spend a little more study. We also spent a little time each day TDDing the Bowling Game, which really paid off today when we refactored the heck out of it at the end. Deliberate practice is your friend.

 The Weekend

Wine tasting and Olympics opening ceremony tonight, DK game tomorrow, and fighter practice on Sunday. 

That’s my week and weekend. Yours?


Friday Roundup for 20 July 2012

Judd has done these Friday posts for a while, and now I’m giving it a try.

 Body and Mind

My running plans were derailed this spring my some pain in my knee. It turned out to be nothing serious — tightness in my IT Band that I’ve been able to treat with some quality time on a foam roller — but it kept me away from my routine long enough that I’ve basically needed to start over. I’m on a schedule right now that’s a mixture of running and walking, but the key part is that it’s exactly the same time commitment for the first six weeks. This was week two of remembering that I need to carve out time to stay active, and thus far it’s going well. I’m also getting more sleep and cutting back on some of my plans, which is doing wonders for my stress level.

 Friends and Family

I had a great time visiting my parents, sister, and nephew over Fourth of July. Last weekend were two weddings. This week had several serendipitous encounters with friends. Tonight is a going-away party for two friends who are (unfortunately for us, but good for them) moving to Portland next week. It’s a whole kaleidoscope of human experience.


Gwen and I have been swapping hobbies: She’s teaching me to knit, and I’m helping her get starting playing Dying Kingdoms with me. Those two have consumed most of my time. Instant Karma is on hiatus this month (one the members being a central figure in one of last weekend’s weddings), and I’ve been trying to make to the VIC more often. Speaking of which: I’m on stage tomorrow.


I’ve been soaking up the backlog of podcasts and articles that have been stacking up recently.

Things I’ve read:
* The Quotable Darryl Sutter, 2012
* The Best Strategy For Reducing Stress
* Just Another Princess Movie
* Backsliding Can Help You Fine Tune Your Routines
* How To Become Creative — The Short Honest Truth
* How Leaders Become Self Aware

The soundtrack of the week:
* Beastie Boys, The Mix-Up
* Sting, Into The Labyrinth


Ryan, Carol, and I have been doing two things at work that I’m excited about: a bi-weekly book club and daily code katas. The latter has really been helping us explore the nuances of TDD and get it in our fingers and heads. I’m also quite looking forward to the Coaching Agile Teams course that I’ll be attending in mid-September.

 The Weekend

Party tonight, VIC show tomorrow, VIC workshop and DK fighter practice on Sunday. Hoping to squeeze in some Tour de France watching and maybe an ad hoc beer tasting, but we’ll see.

That’s my week and weekend. Yours?


Following My Own Advice

One of the things it says on the back of my business card is “Let yourself fail.” I did a fantastic job of that today.

Gwen has been teaching me how to knit, which I’m enjoying. Unlike sewing, it’s a purely additive craft, which means that if I make a mistake, I can just unravel it to undo it. I seem to have figured out both knit stiches and purl stitches on their own rows, so today I made my first attempt at alternating between them within the same row. In the process, I made a fairly simple mistake with somewhat remarkable consequences. Gwen’s comment upon seeing it was, “What did you do?”

While I was doing it, I could tell something wasn’t right. But, knowing that it was easy to undo, I finished the pair of rows I was working on, rather than bailing out in the middle. That meant I had a nice big sample of mistakes to get feedback on. Tonight, Gwen confirmed what I thought was wrong, so when I get a chance I’ll back up through those two rows and try it again.

Gwen keeps telling me that when something unexpected happens while I’m knitting that I should’t panic. I think the amazing tangle I showed her might have convinced her that I’m in no danger of doing so.


It Lives

It’s possible that over the last six months or so you’ve heard me mumbling (or Tweeting) about a new podcast project I’ve been working on. Even if you haven’t, The Paulcast is now live (and on iTunes).


Every Day is New Year's Day

I’m going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
Gonna pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I’ll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I’ll get up and do it again
Say it again

Jackson Browne, “The Pretender”

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. Last year I linked to Scott Berkun’s article on why we’re so bad at keeping them and how to make better ones. This year, I noticed Alistair Cockburn’s Post-hoc New Year’s resolutions, and I thought it was fabulous. And I find it strange that we often wait for a special occasion, like the changing of the numbers on the calendar, to try to make change in our lives, when we have the opportunity to do it whenever we want.

So I’m not making any New Year’s resolutions. Sure, I’ve got things I want to accomplish in 2012. The way I’m going to get there, though, is by making Today’s resolutions, and This Week’s resolutions. I don’t live my life a year at a time, so I don’t like trying to make resolutions at that scale. I’m going to pick the things that I need to do now, and do those every day until I need to do something different. When will that happen? Maybe a year, maybe less; I’ll know when I get there.

I understand the symbolism of New Year’s resolutions, and I understand the importance of symbolic resolutions to help inspire you. More important, though, are resolutions that help you do the hard work, day after day, that get you to your goal. And those can happen any day of the week.

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