Day 111 The one where Denver got snow in April and some research questions

Denver snow in April

2018: Day 111 The one where Denver got snow in April and some research questions

Dear Reader,

Today involved some thoughts about how to replace the Facebook feed with a search engine. You could pretty much just great widget that ingested links and created a custom news and updates feed that would function very much like the Facebook feed. You could create the widget to run as a plugin to Chrome or the browser. It would just ingest links to think you liked. They would have to be categorized based on where you liked the source of the content. If you wanted to see links to similar content, then that would be different than wanted to see all content from a specific source. All you have to do is compile the feed just like a search engine would crawl the web in a way that is specifically tailored to the end user. That would be pretty easy to setup and it probably does exist in some form. My version would inherently be better, but that does not negate the existence of other micro targeting streams.

Sure I had some extra time to think about things today. For some inexplicable reason here in late April it is snowing in Denver, Colorado. Nothing is really sticking to the roads and I wore a sweet Margaretville shirt and some jeans. It was snowing pretty hard, but that was not enough to drive the temperate down to the point where a coat or jacket was going to be required. Sometimes a day of snow in April can create a stay at home weekend moment for research and reflection. Maybe today is one of those days. I wrote a few words earlier in the day. Right now my thoughts are pretty much focused on installing EndNote on my primary Windows 10 computer tomorrow. I’m not entirely sure what options exist for using EndNote on my Chromebook. I started spending some time looking for options to make academic research possible on this Chromebook. To make that happen and avoid having to switch over to my Windows 10 computer will require figuring out how to manage citations and references on this Chromebook.

One of the things that I want to introduce into my daily blogging regime is a reference to the academic article of the day. That is party of my read an article a day plan for the rest of the year. A few quick and dangerous Google searches lead me down the path to getting an account with Mendeley. I got an account setup and started the download on the Mendeley application for Google Play. The software installed, but I’m not entire sure how it is going to help me manage citations and references on my Chromebook. Ok —- it looks like I need the Mendeley Web Importer plugin for Google Chrome. That should allow me to save articles that I stumble across online. I’m not entirely clear on how that turns them into citations, but I guess tonight is a night for learning about this process.

For some reason I ended up switching over to a product called zotero. It was really pretty easy to setup and attempt to use. You can see a reference that I imported a tonight below using Google Chrome on my Chromebook. It was pretty easy. The application had to be linked to the blog and I had to generate a shortcode to make the citation appear. That part of the whole thing I do no like. The short codes and display will pretty much require the plugin and the content to be available and working for the posts to live on and be ok for viewing years from now.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs

References:

Day 110 The one with a long flight back to Denver

Screenshot of Colab in flight

2018: Day 110 The one with a long flight back to Denver

Dear Reader,

This flight apparently has 3 hours and 18 minutes remaining. I’m not exactly sure if I can manage to write for 3 straight hours, but I’m going to give it a shot and see what happens. My Warren Zevon Radio station on Pandora is booted up in offline mode. We will see if Pandora as a company has tempted me to pay for their subscription service. Right now that 30 day trial is moving along and I have used the offline mode a few times including during a set of very long car rides this week. My Pixel 2 XL smartphone was paired to the car Bluetooth and Pandora just went about playing without chewing up my bandwidth. That seemed like a good use case for the service in offline mode. I’m not sure it will end up replacing my subscription to satellite radio in my car, but it could potentially replace the music portion.

My thoughts at the moment are pretty scattered. I’m ready for the weekend and a few moments of slower paced interactions with the world. Most of my efforts to study and confront the opioid crisis were focused on research and statistical modeling. A ton of research exists out in the wild about opioids. I’m starting to sketch out a book that can capture everything that I know and what tracks of research have promise. Some of that research effort is related to writing that article. I found a format template that seemed reasonable and a target publication platform has been targeted. The steps toward converting idea into reality are all going to have to fit in the next 30 days. I have time-boxed and limited my efforts on this paper to a very targeted window. That seems like the best way to approach things. A lot of the writing process will involve pulling together all the sourcing and reference articles necessary to bridge method and practice in a way that is very informed by the literature.

During the flight it looks like i can connect back out to my Colab instance of Tensorflow and work on a little bit of the magic during the flight. Maybe that means that I will write until I run out of words and then engage in a little bit of coding from about 30,004 feet in the air. That really is the beauty of being able to access a machine learning platform from a Google Chrome browser tab. All of that hardware and software is ready to go and it is even accessible during my flight. I got distracted and switched over to chewing through a guide called, “Overview of Colaboratory Features.” I’m connected to my Colab instance and running some items from the guide right now. Technology is capable of some surprising and amazing things. Deep learning on an airplane just brought me a little bit of joy mixed with a whole lot of amusement.

I’m out on Google Scholar right now reading articles from a search for “opioid prior authorization.” That type of open ended search is really just about going back to basics during this flight and casting a really wide net to see what I can learn and pull into my knowledge base for my literature review. During my analysis and paper writing efforts I have also started to sketch out a paper related to the methodologies deployed within published opioid crisis research. I’m thinking about a cross-sectional analysis of the methods at play and what which ones maybe are not getting a ton of usage by researches. I think that might be a good little methodology related side project.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Orlando, Florida
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs

Day 109 The one with some hesitation and not enough time

A photo of a salad

2018: Day 109 The one with some hesitation and not enough time

Dear Reader,

Today things just did not get going fast enough. Right now it is 2226 hours on the East coast and I’m just sitting down to hammer out a few words. I’m going to try to write here for like 15 minutes before going to sleep. All day things just felt like I did not have enough time to get things done. That happens. It is a weird feeling. Maybe it is the kind of feeling that slows you down and compounds the problem. Tomorrow should be a really interesting day. I’m really starting to dig into some new methodology questions related to deep learning models. Picking the right model is a really important part of conducting good research. The other day it had seemed liked a good idea to build a setup for conducting focus groups and targeted surveys. I’m not sure why setting up that type of business pulled in so much of my time and energy. It was one of those things where I pretty much sketched out the entire model and had things set up in my mind.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Orlando, Florida
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs

Day 108 the one where I had some snacks and thought about writing articles

2018: Day 108 the one where I had some snacks and thought about writing articles

Dear Reader,

The post for today is going to be on the shorter side. At the moment, I just do not have enough time and energy to produce a 3,000 word oppus devoted to writing academic papers. I’m really focused on my academic output. That is for sure. The last couple days have been devoted to thinking and writing. Most of that effort has been focused around writing an article titled, “Using Tensorflow to evaluate persistence at both edges and nodes within opioid prior authorization requests.” A lot of my time and effort this year are going to be devoted to figuring out ways to advance the currently available methods and models for fighting the opioid epidemic. Modifying deep learning models to help tackle the opioid crisis seems like a great way to spend my time. I realized this week that my writing efforts need to get more focused on both methods and the application of those methods. A ton of new research and models for breaking down very complex datasets exist. Some of those methods are really useful and interesting. Adapting those models has been occupying my focus.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Orlando, Florida
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs

Day 106 the one with a flight over Disney World

2018: Day 106 the one with a flight over Disney World

Dear Reader,

This flight is about to take off. It is going to be a long flight. The flight plan is to go directly from Denver to Orlando. If you remember your basic geography lessons of North America that is a pretty good hop, skip, and a jump across about half the United States. One of the more liberating things I have done in a some time is remove the word count from the top of the blog posts. Is that akin to admitting defeat. It probably really is akin to admitting defeat. Writing 1,000,000 words in the same year is totally possible. Writing 1,000,000 words on the blog in the same year might be a little bit more challenging than I had previously considered. By challenging I mean it is really hard and very time consuming. During the flight I’m going to be listening to the album Grinding Gears by Rabea Massaad. It is an extended play release that first came to my attention on YouTube and using the links at the bottom of that post I went out to Google Play Music and purchased the album in a digital form. It did not appear to be for sale in vinyl at this time. That pretty much meant digital was the way it was going to be for now.

The album contains 9 tracks and a has a release date during 2018. The entire thing is instrumental and does not include any audio clips or sampling of any kind. That makes it pretty ideal to write to in my humble opinion. After this album completed, then I’m going to queue up my Pandora application to run in offline mode. I still have some time left on my 30 day trial that includes 4 stations in offline mode. One of those stations happens to be my perennial favorite Warren Zevon Radio Pandora internet radio station. I’m pretty sure that is going to get some usage on this flight. For better or worse the next 3 hours of my time will be spent in this seat thinking and pondering life, the universe, and everything in between those two ideas. I’m sure somewhere in the middle of that I’ll spend just a few moments wondering about the intersection of technology and modernity.

We are about to take off on this journey. Things are moving along here. A certain amount of speed is just starting to build up and before you know it that speed on the ground will generate enough lift to send us along our way to Orlando, Florida. I’m wondering if when I finally get to my hotel a livestream might be possible tonight. I know it is technically possible, but the amount of energy required to host a livestream is sometimes more than is available. Today could end up being one of those days. Traveling this far sometimes takes it out of me. We will see how things end up. I brought my running shoes today could be the day that a little 10 kilometer run happens. Alternatively, it is also very possible that I will end up walking on a treadmill at the hotel. Getting outside and just running for the sake of running is not something that I have done in years. It has been a long time. Peppercorn the dog used to go on pretty long walks with me all over Colorado Springs. That was fun and exciting, but it has not happened in a long time. One of the best parts about a really long walk is just how much time you have to think as you take one more step along the journey.

Procrastination almost occurred a few moments ago. I tried to access the United private screening inflight entertainment options. All I managed to do was stare at a wonderful, “Additional software required,” message in the middle of the page. That is apparently not going to happen on this flight. It is probably a better option for me to sit and write during the flight. Sitting back and watching some type of nonsense on my Chromebook is probably not the best use of my time. Given that I’m not always the best decider of what my time should be spend on you can imagine that is a true declaration of intent. This flight is weirdly over lunch time and that is probably why I have been looking at the snack options. They have one with cheese and one with nuts apparently. The flight does appear to have a ton of turbulence today. I’m starting to think either flights these days are more and more turbulent or my tolerance for turbulence is decreasing. It could be possible that both arguments are in fact true.

On that series of Google searches just cost me like 10 minutes. It is amazing that I can sit here and surf the internet at 35,002 feet or 10,668 meters. Having access to wireless internet at this speed and height is rather amazing to begin with. I had meant to take a photograph of the airplane before everybody boarded, but that did not happen. Maybe I’ll be able to get a good photograph after we land. Right now the blog post has a theme and is loaded and scheduled, but no photograph has been added for the thumbnail just yet. Today we are going to fly over Disney World or near it or something. The captain of the airplane keeps talking about it. The folks up in the first class cabin got a real thorough briefing on the matter. I was sort of listening and handling a couple phone calls at the same time. I know that listening to two calls at the same time with one in each ear is not the best way to go about things. Most of the time when I am traveling people do not notice the duel calls unless I have to hold both phones at the same time and that makes it pretty obvious.

Somebody I’m sure somewhere has posted photographs making fun of my efforts to listen to multiple calls on the internet. That has to have happened by now. Ok —- I have set up a new challenge for myself in the next 30 days. Some of my current research on artificial intelligence is going to need to get collassed into a paper. I’m hoping to publish that paper on arXiv. That is going to require some effort. They have that platform gated with an endorsement requirement. I’m going to have to send somebody and email with the subject, “arXiv endorsement request from Nels Lindahl.” That is probably the harder part of the challenge here. Writing the actual paper is just going to be a matter of time and a small amount of effort. Figuring out how to get an endorsement is going to require a little bit more time and effort.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Orlando, Florida
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs

Day 105 the one where my Parker pen leaked

My Parker pen leaked

2018: Day 105 the one where my Parker pen leaked

Dear Reader,

It was bound to happen. Given enough flights and travel around. One of my pens was bound to lead all over the place in my bag. My primary writing instruments during my travels include two Parker IM rollerball pens. The one in question was my first real pen. It was and I guess still is a Parker IM Gun Metal Rollerball pen sporting a parker branded ink medium insert. Along the way up or down from the friendly skies the pen ink insert lost containment and ink gushed everywhere in the pen cap and the pen body. It took me about 5 minutes with some Clorox branded wipes to clean up the pen and get it ready to return to service. You might be wondering if I just cleaned up the pen inserted a new medium blue ink refill and put it right back in my bad… that answer to that one is of course that is what happened.

My traveling writing instruments are rollerball pens. I have two Parker branded IM rollerball pens that travel with me everywhere. My collection of fountain pens does not really travel with me. That seems like a dangerous way to go about things. I’m a huge fan of using fountain pens and I have really enjoyed the ones that I have, but traveling with them just does not seem like a good idea. I know that people blog about and talk about traveling with fountain pens. I know it happens. People do it all the time. It works out for them. I tried it one time about a year ago and it worked out well enough, but it was not something that I kept doing after that one trip to Texas. Part of the fun of learning to use and operate fountain pen is the connection to the past the the performance of the whole thing. Writing with a fountain pen just feels different.

Usually the folks over at WordPress have built out a new theme for the year by now. I’m looking all over for the 2018 theme and I do not see it loaded or anywhere for download. Maybe they are gearing up for the new world blogging order that is Guttenberg editor for WordPress. I gave it a shot and messed with it for a couple of hours. The best part of writing with a fountain pen is really just the reality that the pen works the same today as it has for almost 200 years. It does not need a theme the words are the words and as long as you can read them they have value and meaning. Well some of them have more value or meaning than other sets of words. Some of scribblings are just that and have no real value other than amusing me on a personal level. Some of them just help me remember things. I’m going back to the whole idea notebook or at least a new form of that in the idea storage application that is Google Keep.

One of the things I want to start doing on a more regular basis is trying to capture my best ideas and keep a good running list. At the moment these blog posts are mostly just a stream of conscious based on whatever happens when I sit down and elect to hammer at the keyboard. You pretty much get the content in real time as it happens and is built out. That is not without merit, but things would probably benefit from a little bit more planning and organization. Counting on the spark of inspiration to be an eternal flame may not be the best strategy for an entire year of writing. It has worked out well enough for the last 105 days, but it may not work for the next 260 days.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs

Day 104 the one where I ponder subscription services

Blue apron carrots

2018: Day 104 the one where I ponder subscription services

Dear Reader,

Ok —- thinking about subscription services might not be the most interesting topic for a blog post. It is one of those things that I have been working on for a couple months. One of the things I have been focused on doing this year is reducing my monthly subscription costs. Part of that is really focusing in on avoiding paying for things that I just do not use. That might seem like a very obvious statement and it probably should be. Somehow a few things had snuck into my world and were ongoing subscriptions on a monthly basis that were not really used. Getting those removed and or cancelled was a major priority. It really does help reduce costing. The other major thing that I did was cancel all my Amazon related interactions. Every purchase that I am going to make is going to be based on a local first framework.

Writing 3,000 words about subscription based services is not very likely to happen. Based on my mood at the moment maybe an ode to the fantastic nature of Margaritaville hawaiian shirts might be enough to drive a 3,000 word post. I spent a few minutes looking at options to buy American made Hawaiian shirts. A few of them exist. The direction I had been pursuing was buying Margaritaville shirts on eBay from folks who already had them. Effectively making purchases from individual people vs. the actual company by focusing on a secondary market. That might not have been the best strategy, but it worked out well enough. My collection is now about 8 shirts strong. These shirts can be washed on the delicate cycle and they just dry on a hanger. That method of washing and drying works out well enough for me. Switching out to wear hawaiian shirts for the summary was really a decision that has been made without any real backing or any decent reasoning. It just sort of happened and I’m electing to go with it.

One of the services that I would find a hard time shaking relates to these new delivery meal services. Sometimes they can be pretty great. It is a subscription, but it is something I would need to buy anyway. Food is one of those things that is not going away any time time soon. Learning how to cook vegetarian meals was a lot easier with a meal service providing the instructions and all the ingredients. Some of of those meals were even really tasty. A few of them I would try to make again on my own. Maybe that is a type of subscription that does not conform to the general theme of my blog post today.

Tonight I’m swapping around live concerts on Coachella stages 1 to 3 on YouTube and swapping back to my Warren Zevon Radio station on Pandora when none of the 2018 line concerts appealed to me. That last sentence was really long and labored. Maybe it should have been chunked up a bunch into some better prose. I probably should have just started out by thanking T-Mobile for sharing all these live concert performances on YouTube. I could have then transitioned into how interesting it is to watch these live performances. We live in some amazing times. I’m mostly just listening to some of the concerts. What pulled me into the whole thing was the opportunity to check out Greta Van Fleet. They did a decent job. I had never seen them perform before. I was expecting to see a vintage rock concert and that is pretty much what happened.

Wow did I just get distracted for like 20 minutes down a search engine rabbit hole. That time should have been spent writing and producing something useful. I just read a bunch about resumes and how they are changing. My resume is like 2 years out of date and has not been updated in any meaningful way. The worst part of that is that my curriculum vitae has not been updated either. That is just not acceptable and is a direct manifestation of my lack of writing academic articles in the last year. Without question that failure rests firmly on my shoulders and it should not have happened. Maybe the problem was directly related to not having enough time or not picking the kind of topics that inspire enough passion to really just write themselves. As a root cause analysis a ton of why related questions will lead back to the same general theme. I stopped attending and signing up for conferences. Getting ready for a conference and the need to have papers to make that happen probably drove most of my academic writing. This last year I did not try to attend any conferences and therefore did not try to take any papers to any conferences.

What makes that even worse this year is that the ASPA conference was in Denver, Colorado. All i would have had to do is get in my car for that one and drive downtown. I suppose it would be pretty easy to find a bunch of conferences that are hosted in denver late this year or next year and write papers for those conferences. Like a solution looking for a problem that would work well enough. It could not be any worse than what I did throughout the last year. That sounds like a reasonable path forward. I’m not going to start Googling Denver conferences 2018 or 2019 just yet I still have a bunch of words left to write tonight. That seems like it could be one of those online rabbit holes that goes pretty deep. It might be worth the price of the journey, but it is going to be a very interesting journey.

The thumbnail from today was from a meal that I prepared last night. Those are some epicly awesome carrots that were part of a side salad for the main dish. It seemed like a pretty decent photography. Food photographs are not really the foundation of my blog posting system, but for tonight that is how it is going to happen tonight. Maybe I will figure out how to take a more creative photograph tomorrow. That could happen. It will probably happen now that it is something that I’m electing to focus on for tomorrow.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs

Day 103 the one where my Chromebook got stickers

My Chromebook with stickers

2018: Day 103 the one where my Chromebook got stickers

Dear Reader,

Yesterday was the day the word count fell off my blog posts for the first time in a long time. Maybe it was long overdue. Work counts do not maketh the post. They don’t really communicate anything ability quality. They communicate a weight in terms of volume, but that is really not the measure that counts in the end. Having the most words in the end does not win you any type of prize. Well it does not earn you any prize that I am aware of at this time. Maybe it is a contest and having the most words does set a record. Most records are not an indicator of quality. That is where my head is at this moment. Sure that might help explain things or it could just lead to more confusion.

Earlier today I cleaned off the top of my Chromebook which is something that happens on a regular basis. The entire device get cleaned in what you might call a white glove treatment. Outside of the screen it pretty much gets cleaned with some fairly abrasive cleaning solutions. The whole thing is aluminium. Today for some reason it seemed like a good idea to drop two stickers on my Chromebook. You may already know from the thumbnail today that my Chromebook now sports a Heatonist sticker and a Soylent sticker. My latest shipment of Soylent showed up with a fairly nice sticker. Tonight was the night that I put both stickers on my Chromebook. Over the years I have not really put stickers on my laptops. That has not really been something that I felt the need to do or thought was a very good idea. All that changed tonight. Maybe it was the moment that I got on the laptop sticker bandwagon.

I guess that means that putting on my headphones and zoning out the world to write some code is in my future. Strangely enough coding on this Chromebook feels pretty possible these days. You can go out to https://colab.research.google.com that is the Colab set of Jupyter notebooks by Research at Google. You can just hop on it and get going it appears right now the system is pretty open. It is an amazing portal for coding. All you need is an internet connection and a browser to get to coding. Hardware does not really limit you. A connection to the internet does, but that is a lot easier to solve than getting access to expensive hardware. That one website really does democratize access to artificial intelligence development software like Tensorflow. Those folks on the access side of the digital divide can take advantage of a world of possibilities. Without access to the internet and a computer this method of writing software breaks down.

It has been some time since I went back through all the materials and looked at the guides. Maybe I have spent more time buying hot sauce recently. Those folks over at the Heatonist do a great job of sharing hot sauce with the world. Some of them have been really good and some of them are questionable. That is pretty much the nature of the hot sauce game and it pretty much describes what you should expect when you dive into the deep end of exceedingly spicy food. Some of those hot sauces contain millions of Scoville units. Seriously, if you do not have any appreciation for that last statement imagine the kind of heat that invokes a serious and near instantaneous physical reaction. Some of those sauces are seriously hot. They are not really something that I would consume on a daily basis, but I appreciate them on a deeper level today than a year ago.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Broomfield, Colorado
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs

Day 102 the one with a late night flight from Chicago

empty airline seats

2018: Day 102 the one with a late night flight from Chicago

Dear Reader,

Well here I am again sitting on an airline flight waiting for take off. Before everybody boarded i snapped the thumbnail for the blog post today. My thoughts right now are focused on traveling and writing some words related to traveling. Sure that might be an overvisted them, but at the moment that is all that is being conjured up. Last night I spent some time trying to figure out a topic that could help drive a massive 5,000 word post. This flight is like two hours long and I really wanted to just hammer at the keyboard the entire time and listen to some Pandora in the offline mode. I’m hoping that at some point doing the trip my offline stations replenish themselves. Last time I ended up listening to most of what it had for two stations. That is my best guess about the process. It did stop playing the first station after about an hour and it moved over to a different station. Maybe that is just something that it does and how it works, but given that it was the first time I had used the application in offline mode it was a learning moment.

Maybe all of this writing and working toward creating posts is really about learning. Some of it has to be about learning the rest is just a demonstration of persistence. I’m not entirely sure this effort is helping me become a better writer. Over the course of the last 100 posts my best guess is that my writing has really just stayed about the same level of quality. My thoughts about things have changed a little bit. Somewhere along the way my writing efforts are starting to focus in on delivering better stories. I’m starting to think about the overall theme of the essay that is being written. Maybe that is the topic for today. It is a topic about focusing in and thinking about picking a direction and sticking with it. That is probably a valid lesson to think about. Imagination is one of the most powerful forces in the universe today. That spark of creativity has the potential stored up in it to change the world and maybe just maybe make a dent in the universe. That turn of phrase has a certain meaning to a certain group of folks. For me it really does seem to be something to aspire to achieving.

It seems like everybody has pretty much boarded the airplane. Folks took an awful long time loading on the airplane today. For better or worse that is something that caught my attention. The things that catch my attention these days seem to be getting more and more unrelated to things that are important. That is probably something that I need to work on and resolve. My attention should only be focused on important and impactful things. Maybe that is easier to write about than to actually achieve. The more energy I expand on driving things forward the more likely it is for something to catch my attention and create a distraction. These seats are really close together in the back of this airplane. My knees are pretty much touching the seat in front of me and my Chromebook screen is for sure touching the seat in front of me.

My Warren Zevon Radio station is really great fight now in offline mode. I’m thinking about switching over to, “Shout: The very best of Tears for Fears album,” but I’m not feeling that is completely necessary. It does seem like it might be prudent today. Ok —- I’m going to switch over and listen to the first few tracks during tack off. This little bit is really the only part of the flight that still bothers me every time. I need to figure out how to fall asleep at the start flights again. That used to work out pretty well. For some reason that ability now escapes me. That is probably related to the two shots of espresso that I just had. Strangely enough I just managed to fall asleep for a few minutes. Maybe it was sitting down and relaxing for just a second. Take off out of Chicago is a little bit bump today. Turbulence abounds here at the start of the flight.

Right now I’m rocking out to some Tears for Fears and getting ready to make a real push to write some prose. I happen to have in my pocket right now a piece of pumpkin bread. It was actually the last piece of pumpkin bread that they had at the Starbucks. I had wanted to get one of those front cabin seats today. Somehow during the course of getting on this flight I ended up assigned to this aisle seat toward the back of the flight. I’m glad to be on my way home and that is much better than sitting around at a the terminal all day. Chicago is fun and all, but I’m ready for a few days of not traveling. The terminal has popcorn which is pretty good. The regular popcorn is pretty darn good when it is freshly popped. They sell some mix of cheese and caramel popcorn, but I’m more interested in the regular old popcorn.

Maybe not picking a really good topic has slowed me down. Or maybe I’m just hungry and need a snack. At the moment the words are not flowing. The flight tracker says that 1 hour and 42 minutes are left on this flight. That should be enough time to knock out another 3,000 words or maybe even a few more if things go well. Getting to that level of productivity will probably require picking a topic and going with it for the rest of the flight. For some reason that is just not happening. I’m stuck in a weird place between writer’s block and productivity. Things are going and I’m writing here at a slow pace and most of that writing is about writing. Something will have to give here shortly. Yesterday I hammered out 10 topics that should have been at the center of my writing efforts. One of the problems with writing every day is that sometimes my focus can slip a little bit and I’m not interested in covering the topics that are on my list of things to cover.

This morning I did manage to setup and complete a live stream using the stream from the browser feature of YouTube Creator Studio in Chrome. Next time I’m thinking of just using my Pixel 2 XL smartphone instead. The camera is much better, but it does have to be propped up to run that way. I had thought maybe using the Chromebook would be the way to go, but the video quality was just not inspiring me to want to continue using that method. Maybe my preferences have just made 1080p HD video obsolete. Technology changes and our expectations of it keep getting higher and higher. I guess that is just an example of that happening in real time right now in the midst of this paragraph.

This seat is better than the last one in terms of cushioning. On the last flight I got justled around a little bit and felt bruised for a couple of days. Maybe that is just a sign of getting older or maybe this airline should invest in just a little bit better seats. This reminds me of why the last time around I upgraded my flights to a nicer seat. They are selling a ton of these inflight meals this go around. People seem to be really excited about sandwiches. They gave me a package of pretzel twists. They are kind of appealing at the moment. I must be super hungry. The airport in Denver normally has some pizza or at least something vegetarian. Traveling is really hard on my diet these days. I have been trying to eat mostly vegan and vegetarian as a fall back. That is hard enough, but when I’m on the go and hungry it gets easier and easier to order some french fries. That is a fall back position that brings me joy, but is not entirely the best option for me in the long term.

We are cruising along here in a stream of consciousness without any real topic just moving from paragraph to paragraph. That is one way to go about this whole writing thing. It is a type of offload and think about things sessions that happens sometimes. I’m hoping at some point the switch flips and my interests turn to dealing with the far depths of philosophy or at least toward a little bit of exploration about the life, the universe, and well everything. Sure that might not happen. We are already 1,500 words into the night and that is yet to happen. Maybe I just needed to clear my mind and get passed the first few pages of thoughts to get ready to write something meaningful. It is also possible that tonight is one of those nights where this whole blog post may be one epic and amusing false start. I’m sure something useful will show up here eventually.

The beverage cart is every so slowly coming this way. I have my 10 ounce Nalgene bottle filled with water, but at the moment all I can think about is getting some type of soda. Pretzel twists and soda are pretty much on the menu right now. I’m sure soon after that my one piece of pumpkin bread will be next. Those pretzel twists did not last very long. They are now gone and I’m done writing about them for the night. Tomorrow will probably be a day devoted to returning to my diet of Soylent. Ok —- that pumpkin bread did not last long either. My snacking for the flight is now complete. That should be enough to power me along the journey for the next hour and six minutes. We will see just how many words I can write in the next hour. The door is up to some really interesting possibilities.

Sometimes just having the door open and your sights set on finding a perfect possible future is not enough to make it happen. This is one of those times that my intentions are better than my actions. Earlier today a thought struck me about how imagination is a more powerful force than the rise and fall of waves in the ocean, but it is less consistent. Maybe that is where things needs to shift today. A little bit of consistency might just help push things along toward my goal of writing 1,000,000 words this year. Each day has to be devoted to writing an essay or a short story. My efforts to pen short stories have been a little bit questionable. It seems that I am super out of practice. It has not been like riding a bike. The number of false starts has been increasing. Maybe the reasons for that should be a lot more clear. They are not really all that clear. For the most part the key to good writing is finding the intersection of that spark of imagination and the motivating power of passion. A solid mix of imagination and passion can go a long way toward producing something meaningful.

Dr. Nels Lindahl
Chicago, Illinois
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs