Day 100 the one with a flight to Chicago and some reflections

2018: Day 100 the one with a flight to Chicago and some reflections
Word count 190,717 + 3,091 or 193,808 of 1,000,000

Dear Reader,

Taking stock at where things are requires a little bit of reflection. It is hard to fathom that day number 100 has come and mostly gone at this point. This flight is about to take off on time to Chicago. I’m not entirely sure how to explain everything that has happened in words. Throughout the last 100 days I have been sprinting toward a lofty goal of writing 1,000,000 words this year. Things have fallen behind pace and I’m only at 190,717 this year. For those of you who are pretty good at math you have already determined that a little more than 1,900 words per day is a far cry from the target of 3,000 words per day. All hope is not lost and that is why today the day of reflection and planning is so important. The flight time will be 1 hour and 59 minutes today. That should be enough time to really think about everything that has happened in the last 100 days.

Basically if you were reading from start to finish my year so far would be a short novel. It might not be the most compelling novel you ever read, but it would be what it is. Nothing about that is going to change at the moment. The past has happened and we can learn from it, but it is for better or worse what it is. I’m not a huge fan of alternative history. For me the way it was just stays the way it was for better or worse. I guess that is not very imaginative. Maybe I should challenge that someday. Today is not the day for that type of challenge. Right now I’m listening to an offline Pandora station. For this flight I elected to accept a 30 day free trial of Pandora and that included 4 offline stations. Right now I’m listening to my Warren Zevon Radio Pandora station on an airplane for the first time. It took about 10 minutes for it to shift over to the upgraded Pandora and download songs. Right now it seems like it is working just fine. Zevon is playing and the flight is about to take off. This will be my first flight in a long time without the best of Tears for Fears playing during take off. Right now some Jackson Browne is playing. That will have to do for now. I’m trying to adapt to new things.

Sure it would probably have been a better idea to sketch out my thoughts and some general themes from the last 100 days. That horse has left the barn and is wandering around now in the world of stream of consciousness. These thoughts and reflections will pretty much be written as they arrive and that is probably for the best. None of it will be sugar coated. I do not have the time to soften the prose and wordsmith it back under control. Right now all i have the time to do is write and push things forward. I’m really hoping that this flight has wireless internet. Last time I was on a flight I got to thinking about how internet works for folks that are sailing the world. That was a deep dark rabbit hole that sucked up a ton of time with no real value. It was neat to learn about and it provided me some entertainment, but none of that helped push my writing forward.

First, I need to acknowledge that writing 3,000 words per day is pretty hard. I need to provide some context to that one. The only words that count for this big year are the ones written and published online. That means that all of my other work product does not factor into the equation. You might be surprised to learn that probably means that the bulk of my writing is not being counted. I’m not going to revert or change the way words are being counted. This is how things are going to be for the rest of this year and that is just the way it needs to be. I generally have the spark to write. That is enough to get me going and to deliver some words on a daily basis. My inquisitive mind is geared toward exploring things. Getting to 3,000 words per day takes more than just being inquisitive and motivated. What I have learned is that the theme matters. It matters each day. That sets the state for what is going to happen. The days where things were hitting the target and the writing was solid are days where the theme and the essay of the day were meaningful and sparked passion.

Days where things just jumped from topic to topic like a reporter sharing the weather the spark was not present and getting to 3,000 words was more about motivation and drive vs. actual reactive. Grinding out the words white name of the game. You can see a lot of those types of posts in the first 30 days. Things after that point sort of slipped down into a different mode. The flight is apparently running about 10 minutes early. That is good. The pilot does expert a little bit of turbulence and that is unfortunate. Flying into Chicago it is sort of expected I guess. The first class passengers are all getting warm towels right now. I’m back a few rows and sitting in a middle seat. Those of you probably know that I’m just trying not to learn into either of the people that are sitting next to me and i’m hoping they dont breathe on me.

Second, it seems like doing things and getting technology was a driver for topics in the first 100 days. My blog and YouTube channel art not really about reviewing things. That is not how I go about things. Sure I elect to share my purchases and I think that is important to help provide real and extremely unbiased reviews of products. Nothing I do with products is sponsored. The fact I bothered to purchase it reveals something about my research and decision making process. Sure my thoughts on things are probably not as refined as a full on professional reviewer or critic. The opinions are my own and they might help others or they might not. Maybe the point of this topic is a little bit about reflecting on why doing things or buying things dominated my writing. I’m fully capable of writing and theory and working in the realm of the theoretical. I could even delve into the world of producing fiction and take things beyond the limits of conventional prose.

Maybe it is easier to write about what you know and what is happened. That is probably why a lot of my autobiographical prose over the last 100 days focused in on the things that I did and the technology that I purchased. I will admit that perhaps maybe just maybe my focus on getting a new computer got a little bit out of control. Ok —- it got way out of control and that is one of those things that happened. It was real. My thoughts and consideration got overly focused on getting part after to part until the new computer was built. That happens from time to time and it happened for sure in the last 100 days. My other purchase of a new router was really more a function of the other one not working properly anymore.

My writing throughout the rest of the year has to move past the initial thoughts on what I’m doing or what I’m buying. Each blog post needs to go from being commentary to being an essay. That means that the quality of the prose has to increase and the base analysis has to go deeper in terms of consideration and coverage. I need to go beyond the argument that visiting a Colorado state park was fun. Just the basic facts about it are only the first level of analysis. My efforts have to go deeper and provide some level of insight they have to move beyond being descriptive and move toward providing some assessment of quality. Sure that might seem very self serving and it probably is at some level. Making the observation that writing better prose is a good idea is not very controversial. Perhaps it is better to simply explain that to hit 3,000 words within an essay things have to go deeper. A surface level analysis will just not get deep enough to generate the content necessary to have a 1,000,000 word year.

Third, the whole cryptocurrency bubble got wilder in the last 100 days. Things were going pretty good at the start of this whole cryptocurrency adventure 100 days ago. The value of a bitcoin was higher and selling hashing power was a lot more lucrative. I plan on writing up all my finding and reporting back on my 100 day cryptocurrency challenge within the context a separate post. This analysis here and now is really more about what it meant to try and write about it and cover the technology during the last 100 days. Things were really exciting I got the Nicehash mining software setup. That was an adventure to learn and understand. My order of 2 new graphics cards happened. One of them was not structurally sound and fan blade parts went all over the inside of my computer. That was a scary moment. I literally thought a ton of hardware was about to become very worthless. It was a scary moment.

For better or worse after getting the Nicehash miner setup the only thing I really did was monitor the temperature of the graphics cards and try to keep the system from restarting. The care and feeding of a cryptocurrency mining rig is really not all that intense after the setup and burn in phases are complete. My return on investment model was to recoup the cost of one NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card. That happened and then unhappened. The value of bitcoin actually dropped so much that I went from probably being profitable to probably losing a little money on the graphics card. Was learning enough to offset the cost. Probably in my case that is very true. I got enough entertainment out of the whole thing to count it as a win and move on. The next phase of that whole challenge will come when I have to figure out how to pay taxes on the 2% of a bitcoin. That experience will probably generate a separate blog post.

Sometimes the best way to really learn about a technology is to jump in and try to use it to better understand the whole process. That is how I approached things during this adventure. I tried to share the learnings and to help give you and understanding of what exactly went into the cryptocurrency mining process. When bitcoin mania really happened and the value of the coin went up to around $20,000 everybody was talking about it and people were digging into how to profit from it. You probably know by know that I feel the underlying technology of blockchain is useful and will be interesting in the future. I am not sold on the wide variety of cryptocurrency that sprung up and is being mined today. Some of them are interesting. I do not consider it a category of investment. For me it still falls under the category of entertainment. Warren Buffett provided a clear warning that investing your life saving in cryptocurrency is probably not the best idea. You may not value the opinions of Warren Buffett, but in general the oracle of Omaha has some good insights and has been pretty successful over the last few decades. To wrap that one up it is possible that the cryptocurrency boom will become a cautionary tale in business textbooks.

Fourth, the first 200,000 words really just opened the door to a world of writing. My plan to dig into the intersection of technology and modernity is still very real. Finding ways to take a journey toward writing about the nature of quality takes time and maybe the next 800,000 words this year will help breakdown the barriers between understanding those things and just musing about them on a daily basis. That is really where the hard work has to occur along this journey. Sure I could engage in a series of lofty chautauquas about the metaphysics of quality, but that would not ring true. It would not help explain what will happen at the intersection of technology and modernity. It would not really question and dig into technology or modernity. Sure some of my essays are going to center on other things. The journey toward understanding and explaining quality will have some detours. That is without question in my mind. Maybe this post thinking about the last 100 days and trying to figure out the roadblocks or barriers that would prevent me from getting to 1,000,000 words this year is just a detour.

Perhaps my intent is to frame up this post as an on ramp to a better method where I can fail faster and dig into harder topics in new and unexpected ways. Taking each day as an opportunity to strive forward toward the goal of improving things might be a starting point. It might open the door to thinking about how everyday technology improves. We know more about the world around us every day. We learn more and we are sure collecting a lot of data about the world the around us. Our sense of modernity might be changing as well. Understanding the world around us is being changed by how we think about the world around us. Maybe things are not physically changing, but our evaluation of thing and understanding of things has changed. Technology is also rapidly changing how we physically interact with the world. So i guess that coin has at least two sides and one of them is truly in flux.

Breaking all of this down to the context of an on ramp might be the right way to go. We will have a lot of time to write about the journey and the process that journey takes throughout the next 800,000 words. Maybe that helps explain things or maybe it just made things a little bit harder to understand. One thing for sure is that I’m still listening to my offline Pandora stations. The first one has stopped and the second one is now playing. I took a screenshot of how many hours have been spent listening to each of my top 4 stations. Just for context the Pandora application says that I have spent 201 hours listening to the music of Warren Zevon. That seems to be pretty low, but that is what the application said. I wonder if that number only includes the amount of time that channel has been played on my Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone. That would make more sense. It will take some time tonight to produce enough words within this blog post to help make up for yesterday. That post fell short and no real excuses exist for that lackluster effort. It happened and I want to apologize for it, but maybe the failure was accepted failure and an apology would be disingenuous.

This flight still has about an hour left and I’m just 500 words away from the 3,000 word goal for the day. That might be a recipe for doing a little bit of catch up today. We will see how that goes. After this flight lands, I still have a lot of driving to do to get to where the day will end. Maybe now is a good time to start to warm up my reflections on the first 100 days of this whole big year of writing. Overall, writing every day is a good thing to do. It is a good plan to try to push myself to write more and better pose. It may not have been the best idea to set the target at 1,000,000 words. That writing target might have been a little bit aggressive. It was probably more than aggressive it probably could be described as unreasonable. Jim Collins advocated setting BHAGs or big hairy audacious goals. That probably falls into that camp. Next time I see Jim Collins I’ll make a point to ask if it was a valid BHAG or just an unreasonable goal.

I’m going to keep writing and we will see how close to the overall goal this writing project ends up. It will be a big year in terms of writing, but it may not be the banner year with the ultimate banner of 1,000,000 words. That is a reality that I’m willing to accept at the moment. I can for sure hit the goal, but that would involve dropping a lot of other balls to make it happen. The better solution is to figure out ways to write better prose faster. Sure that might sound like a nifty turn of phrase, but it is probably an idea that is possible to execute. Even reducing down to writing about things that inspire passion will help move things forward toward the goal. The thumbnail for today is of my newly built computer handing out on top of an aluminum briefcase. It is a pretty cleanly built computer setup. I have had some vibrational noise out of the top of the case. I’m working on a way to remove that noise maybe with some rubber spacers or something. Right now that computer is powered off and not mining cryptocurrency. 100 days seemed like a pretty good run. I’ll reevaluate this weekend what currency to mine or what to do with my computer builds.

My final thoughts on getting to 100 days of straight blog posts and writing about 200,000 words in the process are pretty simple. The journey was valuable and i learned a lot about my writing skills and my ability to sustain prose generation on a day to day basis. I also realized that contributing to the livestream is still an important thing to do and to facilitate. Spending time every day digging into artificial intelligence and talking about that journey is important. Maybe it is not as important as the writing journey toward producing 1,000,000 words in the same year, but it is going to take up time and it is going to be a part of my journey going forward.

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

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