As Blaugust 2023 comes to and end, now is a good time to look back on what I did (and didn't) accomplish, and why.
So, first and foremost, I didn't even come close to a post a day. I don't think I've even hit a post a week. I'm not really surprised. Blogging hasn't been "my thing". I often find myself lacking full, articulated thoughts to publish. I have lots of ideas, lots of 1/2 written posts kicking around. But very few things "ready to publish".
I did get my site, and toolchain, setup. I did write a few things. Nothing I think is spectacular. But also not nothing. I've been "getting back on the bike", as it were. Finding my voice, working with the tools, learning how to structure ideas into something somewhat readable.
I did introduce myself.
I did write about a habit/ritual, and what it means to me.
I did reflect on a moment, as it happened.
I did try to put myself out there, if only a little.
And, I did lay the foundation to keep trying.
As our friend Bel has pointed out, its more important now than ever before to own your own presence online. Have a place that's yours. How you do that, and what that means to you might differ wildly from how I do it, and what that means to be, and that's OK.
I had a lot of things happen in August that made my endeavor of starting this even more of a challenge than it would have been otherwise. Maybe I'll share some of them in an upcoming post.
But, until then, thanks for trying this with me. Good luck, and, as always,
See you out there.
Hello friends. Today I'm going to talk about tarot, and the different parts of my relationship with it. First, lets do some stage-setting. I'm an atheist and a skeptic. So, for me, tarot isn't about divination, fortune telling, prophecy, getting messages from the universe or anything like that. That being said, unless your beliefs are hurting someone, you do you. I'm just laying the groundwork for what it means in my life, and how I interact with it.
I can really break my tarot relationship up into a three different parts (plus a bonus deck listing):
I'll talk about each one in a little more depth in a moment. But first, an interlude on how I got into tarot in the first palce. I'd been vaguely interested for a while, largely informed by pop culture, and a more-than-comfortable helping of "recovering Christian" skepticism for anything even vaguely connected to the spiritual/metaphysical/magical/religous. I don't remember all of the surrounding conversation, but for Christmas, one of my friends gifted me my first deck, The Lost Forest. The artwork is beautifuly simple, the card quality is very impressive, but its just slightly too big to be truly comfortable (I find this to be true of a lot of decks, making the shuffling portion awkward). The theming is centered around nature, and the suits are elements. The guide with it was extremely simplistic, really letting me focus of vibes rather than get down into the weeds on meanings.
Overall it was a wonderful introduction to tarot, and a good foundation on which to build out my practices. But, enough of the interlude. On to my breakdown (for now, without the slow pounding bass) of what tarot does mean to me.
As inclusion, title, and position of this section, as well already talking some about it might imply, the artwork on the cards is a big draw for me.
There are a lot of choices out there for tarot decks. So, to get me to plunk down my hard earned money on one, it has to either fit part of my vibe almost perfectly, have a super compelling theme, or some other niche gimick to catch my eye.
Most of the decks I have lean either "highly thematic" or "dark and twisted". I also tend towards minimalistic artworks. Limited color pallets, simple designs, things that manage convey their meaning very simply.
I have a set of vibes that resonate with me. I try to be introspective about them, but at the end of the day, what calls to me calls to me.
So, with all these pretty cards lying around, what do I do with them? That's really a two-part thing
Daily Practice / Meditation
I've incorporated tarot as a part of my daily meditation/mindfulness practice. Both the simple act of shuffling a deck, which can be very soothing on its own, and then drawing a card to reflect on. I pick a deck based on my mood, shuffle it until I feel like I am done shuffling, draw a card, look at it, read up on its meanings, and then sit and reflect on how that might be relevant in my own life. I find this a good tool to keep me from getting stuck in the same mental paths. Adding an input to the process to force new and different analysis. Its a nice thing I do for myself, it helps me remain mentally flexible, and reminds me of the value of fresh prespective.
Sometimes, outside of my daily practice, I find myself mentally "suck" on something. I go over it again and again, come to the same unsatisfactory conclusion, and then start over. When I recognize this, I sometimes use a tarot deck to help break me out of the loop. The ideas behind this are mostly the same, but its more of a "break/fix" than it is "daily maintenance". Sometimes, I'll even look up a multicard spread that can help me fully articulate the issue, compartmentalize the different bits of it, and consider them each in a new light.
BONUS Deck List
Hey, why not throw in a list of the decks I've got on the shelf right now, huh?
- Lost Forest
- Lost Hollow
- Tarot of the Abyss
- The Buddah Tarot
- Sugar Skull
- Dungeons and Dragons
- Supernatural (the TV show)
- Tarot Del Torro
- Mystic Mondays
- Neon Moon
- Classic Ryder Waite
- Gilded Tarot
- Tarot of the Divine
- Spirits (podcast), this deck is being published in parts and is incomplete at this time.
- Yggdrasill Oracle deck (not tarot, but everything else in this post still applies)
Editors Note: The picture at the top is of my "Death" tattoo. Its an amazing art peice that I get to carry with me every day
I mentioned in passing in my introduction, I'm an ADHD'er. I was diagnosed in my mid 30's and I've been engaging in therapy, meditation, medication, excercise, and connecting with the community at large since then to find more/new ways to manage my symptoms, understand myself, and to just feel less isolated.
For anyone not familiar, one of the most generally effective medication families for ADHD are stimulants. Usually, strongly regulated ones (at least here in the US). That makes the overall process of getting them extremely challenging for someone with a below average amount of executive function. You can only ever get a 30 day supply. You can only get a new one filled 1-3 days before you run out. You have to call your physician's office (or, if you're lucky enough to have an online portal, engage that way) to specifically request another fill. And all along the way, you have to prove that you're not seeking these for abusive/recreational use. Over and over again.
If all that weren't bad enough, there's a recent (and possibly worsening?) shortage of these medications, often causing people to need alternatives to their already working medications when they aren't avaliable. And, because the US Helth Insurance system is a prime example of the Capitalist Hellscape we call home, insurance providers are also reducing / removing coverage.
Which is where our tale really comes together. A little over a week ago, I got a letter from my health insurance provider that they were reducing coverage on my currently perscribed medication to "keep my premuiums down" (bullshit, its to keep profits up). They helpfully provided a list of "acceptable alternatives" I could select to reduce my monthly costs. Now, my monthly costs weren't astronomical, but they were already higher than I thought they ought to be for a medication required to function "normally" (there's a lot to unpack there, and I'm not going to do that right now) in a society that is (I believe unintentionally) actively hostile to people with divergent processing patterns. So, I decided that rather than have them increase by an unknown (at least to me) amount, I'd forward that list of medications to my Primary Care Provider and discuss the options with him.
A few days later, right as I was about to hit my "I need another monthly fill" date, I heard back, and my PCP sent in a script for one of the suggested alternatives. Shockingly, this medication actually feels like it works better than the one I had been on, costs less, and insurance isn't going to fuck me over on it in the next few months.
So, as the title of the post says, its shaping up to be a good change, for shit reasons. And while I am pleased with the change, I am still livd that it was driven by profits.
I don't really have any good conclusions here, so I guess I'll just say
See you out there.
In modern "always on, soundbytes, 30s news cycle" culture, too many lines of text are spilled writing about "celebrity" deaths by what a loss they are. This isn't going to be that. I don't even know, or particularly care, if Bram was considered a celebrity, even in the circles where he would have been super relevant. I didn't know the man. All I can say on his passing is that I wish his family peace.
What I can talk about is the tool he created, its ubiuquity, and its impact on generations of system admins and developers (myself very much included). For decacdes after its release, Vim was one of, it not the, defato text editor installed on Unix-like systems. Millions of lines of text, if not more, have been written about its virtues. A decades long flame war about weather it, or Emacs, is the supreior tool, has also raged.
Vim is strange. It doesn't behave like any other tool I've used (except ones based, at least conceptually, on it). It operates in an array of modes, each for a different kind of task. The biggest mental hurdle to overcome in undrstanding this is the idea that "creating text and editing text are fundamentally different operations". I won't lie, its definately strage at first. Its weird, it seems esoteric, possibly even arcane. And, honestly, despite how much I love it, I am often hesitant to reccomend it for "new" users. But, I've been using it, almost daily, since somewhere around 2002. I've already scaled the learning cliff, and am now reaping the rewards. Not curve, cliff. Its not "better" (or "worse") than other toos, but it is "better for me".
So, while I never knew Bram, he's impacted my daily life significantly.
For anyone out there that's used Vim, NeoVim, or any of their other derritives, please join in a
:q! to pay respects.
See you out there.
Hi friends. Today I want to talk about how I built this site. Its going to be ~a bit~ fairly technical and down in the weeds. So if that's not your jam, maybe dip out and check back in another day.
Ok, for those still around, for my own records, and for anyone who might find this, I wanted to actually document what tools are powering this site. Its not the first one I've built with the stack, and its unlikely to be the last. Since this is a bit of a journey, lets break it down in to a few parts. Why, What, and How.
So, first, the why. What drives my selection of tools? Mostly, a combination of "thigs I already know how to use", "things that need very little maintenance", and "things that interest me / I can hack on as desired".
As an ADHDer, I have a lot of interests. Usually, its an intense interest for a small amount of time, fades, and if I'm lucky circles back. Those facts about me really feed all three of the big drivers. Knowing how to use the tools means I can jump right into what I'm doing, and spend less time figuring out how to do it. That helps both get to the point and also keep from me getting distracted. Things that need little to no ongoing maintenance means that when I inevitably move on to something else, thigs thing just sitting here isn't going to bit-rot and langusih. And, the tools being interesting (and, something I can modify as I see fit), means that I can stay engaged longer, get more out of them, and generally be more satisfied with the results.
All of that led me to choosing a to power this project, and many others. These are tools where you write in somthing very close to plain text (in my case, its markdown), and its "complied" into HTML, all the links are built, all the bits and bobs are made, and the prettyness added. But, no database or application servers needed. Just HTML files (+ JS and CSS files as needed) that get dumped onto any old webserver.
From there, I looked for one that was based on tools I am already familiar with (this allows me to get in an "tinker", which I am ever so fond of). That landed me on Nikola. Its python based, has a good community, is fairly simple (for me, at least) to get up and going, is easily extensible (I've written a few custom plugins over the years, as well as custom short-codes, and other things) and customizable to my liking.
And finally, the workflow. Once the site was setup, following their Getting Started Guide, creating new posts is as simple as writing a markdown file, running a build command to preview it, and a deploy command to push it up to my existing webserver.
As for actual file editing, I've been bought into Vim for close to 20 years now. I don't think its explicitly better than any other tool for the job. But it is the one I know and have spent the most time with. Recently, that includes moving to a modernized fork called NeoVim, coupled with a wrapper called SpaceVim. This gets me an editor that's as powerful as most modern IDE's, while at its core still a tool that's older than I am.
I'm not suggesting that any of this is reasonable for general audiences. But, it leans heavily into my existings tools, skills, and habits. That reduces the friction enough that I can actually make a go of this blogging thing, again.
Well, I guess that's it. A short overview of my tools, and how I landed on them. I hope someone found this at least a little interesting.
See you out there.
Hi, I'm Lyle. Online I mostly go by x1101. But that's a name and story for another time.
Some basics about me:
- Later 30's
- Worked in IT Systems/Infrastructure for nigh two decades
- Husband / Father
- Coffee Enthusiast
- Regular at Orange Theory Fitness
- neurospicy (ADHD)
and I'm sure a slew of other things that don't fit into a badly run-on sentence.
I've been on-again/off-again on various social platforms for most of the last two decades, but haven't really landed and kept a blog in all that time. This time I've been influenced by a good friend Belghast, and the wonderful blogging festival Blaugust, to give it another go.
I'll likely be blogging about whatever I'm getting up to. Video Games, Books, Table Top Games, Horror Movies, possibly an ongoing retrospective on my recent Disney visit (I've actually got this one structured out, and started, but I hadn't had anywhere to put it until now.), coffee, fitness, maybe some technical things. As I said, whatever strikes my fancy at the time.
See you out there.