Trip to the Past, and Tasty Food

I’ve been feeling a bit hopeless lately, so this exercise should help.

I’ve been stuck in Factorio. Normally I wouldn’t note the games I’ve been putting hours on, but it has been a venue to interact with other people. But, more than that, it’s been good practice at turning larger tasks easier to execute and plan projects. It’s easy for me to look at a large task and freeze because I want to plan it all, so it is very important for me to practice this skill.

On the weekend, a friend asked for help. She needed someone who had some technical expertise when it comes to web and mobile applications. At least, someone from the area who knew at least something. Now, I don’t know much about mobile development, but it is within my realm of interest. So I gave her a hand, responding to her questions and providing some insight, even if it could be boiled down to the subject matter being beyond our respective fields of expertise.

When it comes to social networks, I did get around posting a little bit more. I did mention before that I wasn’t too excited about the photos that I have selected to put on Instagram, and that certainly has been reflected in the lack of posting. Per friend request, though, I did go through some of the old photos that I have taken. It was nice to go through some of those memories.

A few years ago, for example, I took a small trip with some colleagues from work to Passadiços de Sistelo, in the northern parts of Portugal. I was also reminded of that time I wandered to the Roca Madrid Gallery, which still amuses me to this day as it was much more enjoyable than other visits I’ve done. Never expected to find myself there, and yet I don’t think I will forget.

It also provided some perspective. If you head across the river, on foot through Luis I bridge, from Jardim do Morro, to São Bento’s train station, years ago you would have found the mural pictured below.

Mural on the side of a building. It is just left of the where the metro goes underground, when looking towards São Bento’s train station from the Luis I bridge. Mural seems to be by Frederico Draw

Sadly, as the years have passed, it has decayed and it is but a former shell of how it used to look. While the city has been bustling with life (though certainly fueled by tourism more than locals), I can’t help but feel saddened by what remains forgotten on the less traveled paths. And overall, it didn’t take much pre-pandemic to find places that were in need of upkeep.

And, finally, during the week my mom and I tried a recipe for fluffy pancakes. A friend had recommended them to me, and after showing it to mom she wanted to try them. She had said that she felt like we had been eating pretty much the same, so this was a great opportunity to change.

They came out rather well!

A picture of the first attempt at making the pancakes. They are served with butter and maple syrup.


A Messy End to a Decent Week

Sunday wasn’t a good day. Some family matters that are going to be a torn in the side for some time. I am bothered by it, since these things were foreseeable, but there isn’t much else that can be done. I wish I could say I’m going to focus on other matters. With things like this, however… It dominates the mind and makes it hard to even remember the other things.

Last week I helped my friend from Spain with some university things. I’m hopeful that now that he’s wrapping up exam season he’ll go back to a decent rhythm instead of the stressful sprint he falls into during the end of semester.

I started a small project about Cryptograms as prompted by a friend’s suggestion. It’s been a great way to learn a little bit of Vue.js and tailwindcss, as most of the difficulty is in learning how the framework works instead of figuring out what I want to accomplish. Hopefully I will find the drive to pour a few more hours into it. It’s only missing the behavior to make guesses, and then loading random text from a source.

On other interesting tidbits, I found out that there is an app for contributing to OpenStreetMap. StreetComplete is an app that let’s you respond to questions about what’s around, such as whether a road has a sidewalk, or roof types, and son on. Since I’d love to rely on tools that aren’t bound to a single corporate for-profit entity, I figured it was a simple way to contribute to one. Besides, it is a great excuse to walk for a while. It’s been a long time staying primarily at home, so I’m sure I could use the movement.

I’m also quite happy that I’m now used to sharing things with people in general. I do need to get better with sharing things to people who aren’t just on my immediate circle, but looking back one year or two, it has been a definite improvement. Furthermore, it means that I have more reasons to talk to people!

Overall, while it has been a little bit quiet, I’m still feeling alright about how I’m doing with things. No picture, however, since I haven’t been sharing much over on Instagram, nor taking any.

Of Burgers and Switches

This past week was a bit of a wash, to be honest. Around Wednesday and Thursday I felt like my emotions turned off for a bit. But by Friday I seemed to be fine. It was a weird funk, to be quite honest. If circumstances were different, perhaps it would have been a fine time to spend some time in nature.

Taken in theHunter: Call of the Wild on December 17, 2020. A picture of clouds bathed in the red light of the sunset, above a small island in the distance.

Earlier in the week I ate a Duo Bacon Cheddar at home. It’s nice to, every now and then, to eat out even if it is at home. It is a small treat, and it’s one day no one has to cook. And I had been craving the hamburger, so it was really nice to get to eat it. Now I’m regretting I didn’t take a picture, however. The only downside is having to drive to the drive-through, since no one seems to deliver here, but hey. We stayed inside the car, masks on, made a contactless payment, and drove back.

Good things did happen this week though, beyond caving to a craving. So: when I was young, a neighbor used to play a point and click adventure game. For a while now, we both wanted to know which game that was. She wanted to play it, since she had found it fun at the time. I wanted to be able to put a name to the scenes I remembered from the game. I was talking to a friend about it, as we were talking about old games, and he finally gave me the answer. Turns out that I was remembering scenes from Broken Sword 2.

I figured it wouldn’t hurt to indulge in a bit of nostalgia, so I started playing through the first game of that series on discord with him watching and back-seating along. It’s been fun, even if I can only play the game for about two hours before having to take a break. The drawn art style holds up rather well, even if it means I get to play in a small window. And, on the bright side, I learned I find cryptograms fun. It’s a little bit of a taste of the cryptography, a field I doubt I’ll have to time to explore in life.

On Friday I got to make a small change in my network setup at home. I replaced the wireless extender that our Internet Service Provider gave us for one of our own, since it should be cheaper in the long run (the money we save from not renting the device should be paid back within 2 years). Because of my particular set up, however, it did mean I finally had an excuse to add a network switch. I now have the space to plug in five Raspberry Pi’s (or similar) through wired connection! So, hopefully when I work on my plans requiring more of those, I will get around plugging them in.

The network switch on its temporary residence. It’s on top of my PC case, until it’s wall mounted on a better position. Three of its ports are in use.

I also tried, unsuccessfully, to get either WineHQ or a proper Windows XP machine working. I suffered a myriad of issues and, in the end, I gave up. The game I wanted to play works on Windows 10 without many issues, and not wanting to unplug my wheel just wasn’t worth the effort I had already put in. On the bright side, I’m replaying Need for Speed Underground 2.

I’m running out of photos to post on Instagram. I have 12 left, and I admit that I’m not feeling many of them. They are alright, of course, and a few of them I’m even proud of. It’s just that I don’t particularly want to share any of them. Alas. On the bright side, I did talk to a friend about what I’d like to do with it, so I do think I will be more intentional about how I use it.

I do admit I am disappointed in myself for this week. I know I’m not supposed to be necessarily pushing myself to do more, since that’s a recipe to completely derail myself. However, I feel like looking back on what I did this week there really isn’t much that I did throughout that I am happy about or want to note. Most of it was concentrated at the end of the week, except for the burger we bought and ate.

Food, Photos, Helping Others, New Job

Lately, it’s been tough to sit down and write.

On the 20th I started a new job. I admit I’m not feeling too enthusiastic about it, but I could use the paycheck. More importantly, however, is that it is teaching me so much more about myself than I ever expected. Perhaps the most important lesson is that I want my time in this earth to be spent doing something that I find fulfilling, and not just interesting enough to work at. Sadly, I’m not there yet. I will have to figure out how to find the energy to do what I love, without falling into the pitfall of trying to fill the entire day to make the most of it.

But, hey. I found the time to sit down, so here are the things I can say I’ve done these past two weeks:

While I’ve posted less to Instagram, I still did get some new photos up. I think part of the reason I’m not excited about uploading things is because I’m just not that excited about the photos that I have ready. Perhaps, the best thing I could do is upload those so they aren’t lost to time, and get on with actually posting the ones I want. Like the one below!

Black smoke coming out of a chimney during a particularly cloudy day. The smoke fades, becoming indistinguishable from the clouds behind it. I quite like this photograph.

I also baked Petit Gâteau as an impromptu dessert. They came out rather well! I’m glad I feel confident enough to decide to bake them without feeling like it’s a huge deal. Then again, I do consider most of the recipes I have to be not that complicated.

Moving away from my creative side, I started writing a piece about an ex-friend. It’s tough, because I yearn for that which never came to be. Alas, their behavior was not acceptable, so all I can do is grieve it. It’ll take some time, if it ever becomes worthy of being shared. All in all, though, it’s something I need to write about.

I picked up The 99% Invisible City to read, after having it in my possession for a while. I think I’m now in the headspace to read it, even if it’s only a few pages at a time. Last I read is about the air vents for metros and other subterranean infrastructure, a problem I was vaguely aware of existed, but entirely oblivious to how it was solved.

Finally, I’m proud I’ve been helping people around me. Of note is that a friend was having issues with noise, since everyone is spending more time at home. I recommended him some noise cancelling headphones, and he’s been loving them ever since they arrived. I also did help him a bit with university work – at least, with what little I remember. Though sometimes, more than remembering, it’s all about being fresh and awake!

I’m hoping that this coming week I get to set up some network things at home, since we should replace the WiFi extender from our ISP with our own. I also need to sit down and figure out what I actually want to do with some of my socials. We’ll see. Life is tough, as it turns out.