📚Noisy Deadlines

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."- Douglas Adams

Rideau Canal Skateway, Dows Lake, 2021 Rideau Canal Skateway @ Dows Lake

The Rideau Canal Skateway is known as the world’s largest skating rink. It's 7,8km long when the whole length is open. But there must be ideal winter weather conditions to allow it to open. Like constant negative temperatures for several days to create a sufficient thickness of water to freeze. It only opens a section when the ice is at least 30cm thick. Days with temperatures above zero with rain are a disaster for this huge outdoor rink. 2021 was one of the latest openings in the canal history. Maybe it was a combination of mild weather conditions and the pandemic restrictions.

But it opened!

There was 5km open this weekend and I checked it out. Because of COVID-19 all food stands, skate rentals and changing facilities were closed. But there were lots of benches thorough to let people change into their skates. We have to carry our own boots (no lockers there) so a backpack is definitely recommended. It was not busy since the City is strongly saying that only Ottawa residents should go to avoid crowds. It was easy to keep physical distancing. And masks are mandatory.

Skating under Flora Footbridge, that was built and opened in 2019 Skating under Flora Footbridge. First time!

Every time I go to the canal it's an intense experience. The cold, the ice cracks and bumps, the beautiful eerie scenery, the challenge. Ice skating is not natural to me so I still struggle. This time I tried skating 4 km. I consider it significant progress. Because I did skate 4 km one way + 3.5km back. It was a much better experience than last time. But I got exhausted! And what happens when you get tired ice skating? Your balance is gone. So I fell once, got up, kept going and stopped every now and then to rest. Up until the point I couldn't move anymore without totally loosing balance. My legs got wobbly because of the physical strain. I had to remove my skates and walk the rest of the way to the car. So, yeah, ice skating is intense! Not to mention I was sweating under my ski suit even though it was -15C with a real feel of -21C! ⛄

Getting some rest at the Rideau Canal Skateway, 2021 Getting some rest...

I still think ice skating is one of the hardest physical things I had to learn in my life. Heck, I'm still learning. I cannot do any fancy stuff, I can go forwards and I (awkwardly) stop. And that's it. I try to practice things like one foot glides and C-pushes. Maybe one day I'll be able to do cross-overs. The great thing about the Canal is that there is lots of space to practice! And I have fun!

Another aspect that makes me enjoy ice skating, with all its difficulties and struggles, is that it requires total focus. I can't be anywhere else. And balancing is subtle. Slight changes to the angles of the skates on the ice and the body's center of gravity can accelerate you, stop you or bring you to the floor. If feels like a crazy physics experiment.

With all the indoor rinks closed I'll probably be visiting the Canal every weekend, weather permitting. It's going to be an excellent practice.

#iceskating #learning #challenge #noisymusings #winter


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

What I read in January 2021

  1. Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries, #5) by Martha Wells, 346p: Such a delight to be back inside the mind of this cyborg. Sarcastic but righteous, Murderbot is a fantastic character and we get to experience its thought process all the time. Status updates, Simultaneous parallel dialogues with humans and AI's, Performance Reliability Ratings. And also, how not to like ART, the transport ship AI that loves talking to human teenagers?
  2. The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, 260p: Dystopian YA with Indigenous people protagonists in the area where today is Canada. It is a climate change dystopia focusing on this group of Indigenous people who are being hunted. After the climate change cataclysm people lost their ability to dream, but Indigenous people were still able to do it, so they are chased for it. It uses real world facts like the atrocities committed against the Indigenous population to basically remove children form their culture to make them assimilate the “Canadian” one (from around 1876 to 1970's). With this horrifying background and a devastated world the book is extremely emotional. It was a hard read at times with dark moments. But it is also hopeful showing the power of resilience and community.
  3. The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World by Jenn Granneman, 320p: Fun read. It is a very light read, a good introduction to the introvert temperament characteristics and how to cope with it.

#readinglist #books #reading


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

There is something calming about the act of reading for me. I think it has to do with my introvert temperament. It's the perfect quiet time activity. Hiking or swimming might be close second. You know when there's too much going on around you: work tasks, phone calls, appointments, meetings? After all this excitement I end up with a hangover. An introvert hangover. And the cure is almost always to dive deep into a book. Let the ideas of another mind mingle with mine. Imagine impossible worlds, crazy science, share emotions. Or understand an interesting theory. Know different points of view. Agree to disagree. This brings me peace. Inner peace. And I probably took 30+ years to understand this about myself.

But there is another more extrinsic reason. I'm not a native English speaker. Growing up in Brazil and being lucky enough to have a dad who was into computers put me in contact with the English language early on. I wanted to learn how to communicate with computers, what are those DOS commands? what do they mean? So my mom decided to put me in an English school for 6+ years old children to learn English. So that I could stop annoying her (and my dad) about English vocabulary all the time. (I must have been pretty annoying!)

After years studying English, taking all the courses I could up until the last “Advanced Conversation Module X” or whatever I wanted to keep learning. I did not have the resources to leave Brazil and truly immerse myself in an English speaking community. So I became the Brazilian who only listened to English speaking music (mainly rock & heavy metal), watched American or British movies and shows and only read books in English. That's how I kept my English practice on my own, with what I had available.

Reading was a huge part of this journey. By reading I was building up my vocabulary and having fun at the same time. I was consolidating grammatical rules and memorizing irregular verbs in my head. It was (still is) extremely beneficial to a non-native speaker.

The Internet was also useful. I remember playing MUDs and having the first contact with real English speaking people that were hundreds of kilometres away from me. Note: a MUD is a multi-user dungeon text-base real-time RPG. My favourite one was Realms of Despair (which surprisingly still has a website (!!).

Music and movies were important too, of course.

But books were always the best. So I keep reading.

Today I live in an English speaking place that I love. It was a dream come true, really. And sometimes I remember my first English lessons and how they shaped me. How it all started with me wanting to talk to computers.

#journal #noisymusings #reading


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I think I’m loosing my ability to read for long periods of time. By long I mean more than 20-30 minutes. I was really good at sitting down to read for a whole hour, without interruptions. I started to feel something was off last year, during the pandemic. That initial overload of anxiousness made me search for news. I’ve never been a news person. I can’t stand regular TV or cable TV. I abhor advertising, I think they are annoying and with the Internet they became even more normalized. Heck, most of Internet today is ad-based.

So for the past months I got back into the habit of checking news sites. Doing that once a week for half an hour is okay, I guess. But all the sites have this “addictive” social media component that triggers this need to check them ALL THE TIME.

I’ve been checking the news everyday now. I think I was okay during the holidays, but 2021 started with some dystopian things happening!! What the hell is going on??

I’ve already removed many sources of distraction from my life but there is this lingering effect that refuses to go away.

I feel like I’ve been unwillingly addicted to something, some weird urge to check endless feeds. An urge that never really goes away because everywhere we go, everywhere we look, the trigger is there. It’s hard to run away or to look away.

Read more...

Mud Lake - Jan 17, 2021

I saw smiley trees on my walk today :–) Cloudy day, -1°C, some accumulated snow from yesterday.

I'm loving these longer winter walks. Taking the time to observe the surroundings, breath in the cold air, watch squirrels and birds doing their thing.

It's not something I did a lot before the pandemic, because I would spent a lot of time inside a gym, resulting in not much time left for the outdoors. Also, the cold. This year has not been too cold so it's easier to get out. But I want to keep doing it, even when it gets colder (as it surely will!).

Mud Lake - Jan 17, 2021

#noisymusings #outdoors #hiking #winter


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

One more lockdown started today. There were a bunch of restrictions since Christmas but now it’s a “stay at home order” for at least 28 days. So I worked from home today and I always feel like I get more things done at home because there are less chances of people dropping into my office asking for things or just asking questions. It’s more relaxed at home and I am more in control of my time. But still there were a couple last minute requests that I had to handle so that quickly depleted my energy. Context switching is exhausting! Add 2 Zoom meetings on top of that and I’m done!

I stopped working almost an hour later than I’m used to when I go to the office. Gotta fix that!

#Journal #lockdown #work


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

My process to delete these social media accounts has a timeline. It was not overnight.

Delete Facebook - Jan 10, 2021

Being aware

I've been thinking about the attention economy and social media addiction since at least 2016.

I created my Facebook account in 2009. After Facebook introduced the bottomless scrolling newsfeed with companies advertising inside the platform, I started to get annoyed by it. But at the same time I developed an addiction to it. I remember that feeling of logging in to Facebook and scrolling for a couple hours only to realize it was a waste of time. But everybody I knew was (is) there: high school friends, friends I made at a training course in Sweden, family, co-workers, bloggers, etc. This was before the Cambridge Analytica scandal but I remember seeing those “personality polls” they used to get information. I don't think I ever clicked on those, but they were everywhere.

Trying to remove distractions but still using it

I decided to get rid of Facebook's feed by “unfollowing” everyone I knew. This was before there were plugins or extensions that could hide your entire timeline. Then I used plugins extensively to avoid the feed and all the ads. I was only interested in participating in some Groups that organized local meet-ups, for example. So I used tricks to only see the Groups when I logged in and avoided all the other distracting things on the page.

Long story short, all those strategies weren't getting to the core of the problem. I started to join more groups and I was still checking Facebook every day, several times a day.

Read more...

It was such a lovely day for a long walk today! Temperature at around -7C, moderate wind, blue skies. A walk of almost 10Km along the Ottawa River, starting at the Mud Lake up until the Andrew Haydon Park and back.

Mud Lake - Jan 09, 2021 Mud Lake

Andrew Haydon Park - Jan 09, 2021 Andrew Haydon Park

We saw people skating in the lake, playing hockey, skiing and doing this thing where you have a snowboard or skis and let a kite move you through the ice. It's exactly like kite surfing in water but in snow. I don't know if there is a specif name for this winter sport. It's the first time I saw people doing it. The only version I knew was the one in the summer (in the water). Sounds fun!

Ottawa River - People Kite Surfing in snow - Jan 09, 2021 Ottawa River – People “Kite Surfing” in snow

We spotted squirrels and birds. It was a sunny day, there wasn't too much snow which made walking super easy, no need for snowshoes.

Andrew Haydon Park - Jan 09, 2021

Selfie - Jan 09, 2021 in Andrew Haydon Park

#outdoors #hiking #winter


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Yes, tmo, I yearn for the “days of “Blogging Antiquity”, before ads, or sponsors, or commercialism overran the blogosphere.”.

I agree with Jet's Blog: blogging should not be advertising.. Such a great read on Blogging Antiquity!

And as Andreas pointed out: > Even if I don’t blog with a goal of making money or reach out to the masses, it is more fun doing it knowing at least someone could read it.

R.w.a is awesome !

I spent some time today backing up my former Wordpress blog. I had posts there from 2013. I took a disproportionate amount of time to find out where the export option was. I almost gave up. But it's done. I've been debating with myself if I should delete the account. I've done that before with Medium, after I tested it for while. But for some reason revisiting my first posts on Wordpress today made me nostalgic. I could not hit DELETE. Is that what you do when you move to a new blogging platform? Just delete the old one?

I've been having a similar dilemma about social media. I deactivated my Facebook account, but haven't deleted it. Same thing with Twitter, not actually using it, but it's still out there. The only reason my Facebook was NOT deleted is... family and friends that are far away still use it. It's sometimes their only online presence. So, what if one day I want to contact them? That's the only place these people exist in my references. I keep it for “someday/maybe”... food for thought..

#noisymusings #blogging #personal


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

Every year I sit down and reflect on the new year with the following topics:

  • IDEAS
  • NEW PERSPECTIVES
  • What would I like to change about myself?
  • What would I like to change about my lifestyle?
  • What would I like to change about the way I work?
  • What can I do to challenge myself?
  • Goals: What do I want to achieve this year?
  • Projects to continue working on this year
  • Books to Read

I also choose a word/topic focus for the year.

I don’t have big goals or big changes for 2021. I want to consolidate the discoveries I made in 2020. I learned a lot about myself last year. It was a good time to reflect about my habits and now I want to ENGAGE 🎬.

I want to build my Knowledge Database. I’ve been studying Zettelkasten for that. Engage more, do more. Spend less time setting up apps and changing methods. Stick with the established routines. Get into the flow. Make small adjustments only when and IF necessary. Continue to go out on long walks (something I started doing regularly in 2020). Spend less time on my phone. Be less distracted, (re)train my focus. Consume less information. Quality > Quantity.

Hoping the world is a better place in 2021!

Begin 2021

#noisymusings #goals


By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

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