📚Noisy Deadlines

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

What I read in June 2019

1) Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3) by Martha Wells * Another adventure with the anti-social murder bot. It is full of action inside enclosed spaces and lots of hearing other people's feeds. An enjoyable read, as always.

2) The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne, #1) by Myke Cole * This was a dark-grim book! Darker than I expected. The horror is raw and gory. It's a harsh world with a religious fanatic Order, tyranny and dominated people. I was expecting lighter moments throughout the story but I would definitely consider it dark fantasy. Not really my cup of tea.

3) Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, Amelia Nagoski * I loved the idea of “ending the stress cycle” and learning the differences between the stressors and the stress itself. Exercise (aka moving our bodies) is one of the best ways to discharge and close the stress cycle. With this book I realized how and why exercise is essential to my well-being. I always knew but I've never linked it directly to the stress cycle.

4) Saga, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist) * There's no way you can't love the characters. It's just mindbogglingly full of creativity, emotion and authenticity. I read volumes 1 & 2 for a Bookclub meeting, which was awesome! I will continue reading the series for sure.

6) OneNote: OneNote User Guide to Getting Things Done: Setup OneNote for GTD in 5 Easy Steps by Jack Echo * This one helped me review some of he keys points on how to use Onenote. I've been using Evernote for more than 10 years now and I decided to move to Onenote. I like the flexibility, the “white canvas” space that Onenote offers. I learned some useful keyboard shortcuts and hidden option with this book.

#readinglist #books

I started reading Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig and it is full of good stuff like this:

“I sometimes feel like my head is a computer with too many windows open. Too much clutter on the desktop. There is a metaphorical spinning rainbow wheel inside me. Disabling me. And if only I could find a way to switch off some of the frames, if only I could drag some of the clutter into the trash, then I would be fine. But which frame would I choose, when they all seem so essential? How can I stop my mind being overloaded when the world is overloaded? We can think about anything. And so it makes sense that we end up thinking about everything. We might have to, sometimes, be brave enough to switch the screens off in order to switch ourselves back on. To disconnect in order to reconnect.” ― Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet

via @goodreads

#books #quote #overload #reconnect

I do yoga mostly everyday.

It's part of my morning routine because I think it's a great way to wake my body up with a combination of stretching and strengthening. It's a great way to train focus and breathing. I love it because I can do it anywhere! No need for shoes or equipment. I only need some space and a mat. Well, even a mat is not mandatory. I can do standing poses series if I happen to be somewhere where I can't lay down on the floor.

Last year I started using an app called Down Dog for my yoga sessions at home. It was perfect for what I wanted: choose a duration and a style and just go with it without too much thought. Without the talk. Just a series that I could follow. And with variety and difficulty levels. I can do a relaxing slow session or an intense Vinyasa flow. It can be as short or as long as I want.

Along with meditation, Yoga is my sanity check. The thing that I do to ground myself. Adjust perspective. And be ready to face my day. It can also be the thing to calm my mind after a stressing day. Moving and breathing.

Remember to breath.

Yoga headstand

Photo by rishikesh yogpeeth on Unsplash

#yoga

Books I read in April 2019

  1. Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells, 158p
    • Another adventure with the anti-social murder bot. It is full of action inside enclosed spaces and lots of hearing other people's feeds. An enjoyable read, as always.
  2. Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff, 256p

    • I heard about this book on Sam Harris' “Making Sense” podcast. The topic interested me so I picked this one up. I did not love it. It was okay to a certain point but then I felt that the chapters were getting a little bit repetitive.
  3. Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan, 649p

    • This one was fun and comforting. Also it was my first time listening to a fiction book. It has the old Dungeons & Dragons feeling: cool characters, adventures and lots of talk about swords. It is not a dark fantasy and at some points the story is predictable because it contains some classic fantasy tropes: good vs evil, chaotic-neutral thieves, elves and dwarves, a really old and powerful mage, a prophecy. But that doesn't spoil it. A good book to read under a blanket.

Plans for March 2019:

  1. The Armored Saint (The Sacred Throne #1) by Myke Cole
  2. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, Amelia Nagoski
  3. Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made by Jason Schreier

#readinglist #books #reading

Yeah, I think I'm just gonna skip Spring this year...

... said The Weather in Ottawa.

Snow in Spring

P.S.: I am not complaining.

Books I read March 2019

  1. Bitten (Otherworld #1) by Kelley Armstrong, 436p.

    • I did not like this book. Maybe it just wasn't for me. When you get into the details of being a werewolf, the pain, the tearing of clothing and the wild hunger, it just puts me off. Maybe I don't like shapeshifters at all.
  2. The Fated Sky (Lady Astronaut #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal, 384p.

    • This book is way more action packed than the first one. It feels more sci-fy-ish with a great deal of ordinary human life details. And that makes the story and the characters feel alive. Diversity, racism and human rights discussions are intertwined with the story. There is even a Brazilian astronaut that curses in Portuguese. Anyway, highly recommended as an entertaining and exciting soft sci-fi read!
  3. The Lady Astronaut of Mars (Lady Astronaut #4.5) by Mary Robinette Kowal, 31p.

    • A short story about older Elma and Nathaniel living in Mars. It happens 30 years after Elma joined the expedition to Mars. It's sad and hopeful at the same time. Will Elma go on another space travel exploration or will she stay and watch her husband die? I read it in one sitting.
  4. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, 414p.

    • An evolutionary perspective with science mixing up with anthropology, politics, culture, religion, biology, economics, history. It's a fascinating read and it made me think about many things and change my world view. It gives us a higher perspective on how we got here and leaves an open question as to why we are here.
  5. Blameless (Parasol Protectorate #3) by Gail Carriger, 355p.

    • A fun read, as always. But something about werewolves started to bother me. And all the fictional “aether” and “soul” content theories that governs this world. It's extremely well built but my suspension of disbelief was not so strong while I was reading this book. Overall it's a great steampunk fantasy, with lots of Victorian humor!

Reading plans for April:

  • Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff
  • Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3) by Martha Wells
  • Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries, #4) by Martha Wells

#readinglist #books #reading

In these days of misinformation, fake news and click baits it's good to have some initiatives to teach us how to navigate this messy digital information ocean (or hell...).

And Crash Course – Navigating Digital Information is an excellent way to learn about media literacy. The host is John Green, also known as the author of the novel “The fault in our stars” who, along with his brother, Hank Green, has this more than 10-years-old YouTube channel (Vlogbrothers).

Navigating Digital Information is a 10-episode series that was developed in partnership with the Poynter Institute Media Wise project based on research form the Stanford History Education Group.

The series covers topics like: – Lateral reading and fact checking – How to use Wikipedia (and how it is awesome!) – How to evaluate photos and videos – How to read charts and graphics (and how to be critical about them!) – How to know who to trust online.

I highly recommend this series to everyone that uses the Internet, no matter the age.

#crashcourse #digitalinformation #medialiteracy #internet

Me ice skating at the Canal - Dows Lake

I've reached the end of my Beginners Level 2 ice skating course. ☃

The thing about learning how to ice skate as an adult is that the learning process is painfully slow. And I say “painfully” in the literal sense of the word. It involves learning how to fall and how to get up on ice. It is challenging! Specially for me who had zero experience on the ice.

Last winter I took the Level 1 course (Intro to Ice) which taught me how to fall, how to get up and how to stand up on ice skates. I could barely glide forward. I would usually fall a few moments after I entered the rink. I could take little steps forward and I was terrified most of the time. I can say it was one of the most challenging things I've done in my adult life!

But now, 18 hours of ice skating later and feeling more confident, I feel way less afraid. There is a point in the learning process where you stop struggling with the laws of physics on having no friction under your feet, and start to actually just glide. But you gotta keep your balance. And that takes a lot of brain and muscle power!

Until now, while I'm skating forward, there is that awkwardness and wobbly body movements that denotes a beginner ice skater. But I feel completely satisfied with my progression! It was hard work!

So now I can say I find ice skating relaxing even when I'm struggling with it. It's a weird combination. It's one of those activities that requires mindfulness. Full focus. Concentration. And I think that is what makes it so rewarding in the end. It combines difficulty with fun.

These are the techniques I want to improve: stopping, one foot glide, backwards C-pushes (also known as “half-bubbles” and T-pushes.

And I can't wait to take the next course! I am ready for more! While I wait, I will continue going to the ice rink on weekends to practice until they are available to the public (you know, summer is coming).

#iceskating #learning #challenge

Thoughts on Mr. Robot

I just watched episode 7 of Mr. Robot (Season 2) the other day.

Yeah. I know, it's old but I'm catching up [so, spoilers ahead].

I just loved this episode so much that I kept thinking about it for a few days. I would say Mr. Robot is not usually my type of show. It's dramatic. I usually like something with more action.

But the show has such a unique tone that it makes drama seem good to me. I mean, it's about hacking the world and questioning the status quo of everything. And I like that. It's techno-thriller, and it's really good at that.

The thing is that the main character, Elliot, is really complex. He is hacker and cyber-security engineer with anxiety and social disorders.

I was stunned when I found out in Season 1 that his father was actually dead and that all the conversations he was having were inside his head. It has that Fight Club feeling to it. After I knew his father was dead and that all along he was having this hallucinatory delusion, I started remembering the scenes and realizing that, yes, his father was not interacting with the other characters, only with Elliot.

So, what I mean here is that I like the way the series plays with scenes and situations. It's a puzzle. It has hidden meaning. It has layers.

Episode 7 of Season 2 was mind blowing to me because since the beginning I knew Elliot was trapped somewhere. And something felt wrong. He had a routine, starting in a small room with a bed and a desk, he would eat with the same guy at a cafeteria, then sat down to watch people play basketball, then went to a religious assistance group and finally back to his room to write in his journal and sleep. Sometimes other characters would go visit and talk to him, but he never left the “house”. It was weird. He couldn't use a computer. I even thought about searching an explanation on the Internet. I was afraid I might be missing something.

And then, episode 7 comes to explain it all!

He was not “off the grid”. He was in prison!

Because he murdered a guy [I assumed, so far, by the hints presented]! And he completely deleted this from his memory. It's like he's been in a trauma for a long time. And all that we see is a re-imagination of his situation. His room is in reality a prison cell, his new colleagues are prisoners, just like him, and they were the ones playing basketball everyday. But the way the explanation came, with only images and Elliot breaking the fourth wall was really amazing to me. It was well done.

But overall I think the series is excellent because of the odd camera angles, the colors, the juxtaposition of sound and silence, the very-near-future-techno feel and the ironic villains with obvious names (Evil Corp is the name of the mega corporation that owns almost everything).

#mr.robot #tvseries

Books read in February 2019

  1. Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi, 208p [Audio]

    • Do you remember the last time you stopped to look into nothingness? And just let your mind wander? Like real mental downtime? Why do we behave as addicts filling every idle moment of our day with newsfeed/social media checking? This book gives excellent food for thought specially about mobile phone use. It's not radical, the author is by no means a ludite. It just encourages moderation.
  2. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport, 302p

    • A very good read in times of overwhelming social media feeds. The idea is to unplug and do more creative fun things. Some ideas were not new to me but it brings lots of examples of how to address bad habits related to the digital world. It's definitely eye opening and give us a method on how to become digital minimalists. Less is more.
  3. Changeless (Parasol Protectorate #2) by Gail Carriger, 401p

    • Steampunk. tea drinking, werewolves, vampires and airship travel. Yay!
  4. The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal, 432p

    • Such a great read! Science, space, math, feminism, astronauts, engineers, jetplanes, rockets!

Reading plans for March:

  • Finish reading Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
  • The Fated Sky (Lady Astronaut #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • The Lady Astronaut of Mars (Lady Astronaut #4.5) [Novelette]
  • Blameless (Parasol Protectorate #3) by Gail Carriger

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