Shiny Objects

Ever have trouble focusing on tasks. One right after another. I have a million ideas but i only seem to be able to come back to ideas that I’ve written down. So carrying a to do list booklet with me has helped…

But if we are being honest a habit is very hard to break and procrastinating by associating (selectively forgetting to do things) is easier and more addictive than writing good things down.

I started daily sketching habit at the start of the year and so far only one sketch has been late. So that is 175 days of habit built up. But you know if I were to miss tomorrow morning the next day becomes easier the miss… and then you find yourself two years down the road saying “Hey remember when I used to do that sketching thing?”


Distracted thinking


Not sure when this happened but there is an equation. When I’m doing A, I have to do B in order to stay on task. Not sure what I mean? Well here are two examples.

When i’m working on a  really complex programming or higher level problem i need to keep my hands busy to think. I make things. I twist wire; I build small models; I doodle. I have built wire trees, twisted small computer bugs out of Ethernet cords, and carved canoes out of balsa. I usually try to keep some sort of raw materials around my desk because who knows when I will need it.

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Office bonsai. Natural vs fabricated

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When I’m trying to write I need to have music on in the background or the background sounds and conversations take over what I’m trying to write about and the staccato beat of the typing seems all out of sorts. I don’t type in tune to the music or anything. I can’t even touch type, which for a former tech support / computer guy, and current web developer is sort of sad. But functional. Depending on the writing the music differs too. Research or professional paper? any music, creative writing and it needs to be something without words, or the words end up in the writing.

The final piece in the puzzle was Sketchnoting. when I am listening to a talk having the ability to sketch out what is happening instead of randomly doodling helps me listen. By making notes instead of marks and nonsense it helps me focus on what is happening around me.


I can’t be the only one here. Anyone else need to distract themselves to be productive?

Tiny shifts

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Snoopy knows what's up. #streetart #funky

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It is amazing how one big shift in your life ripples into areas you wouldn’t think. I just switched careers. From a tech support role to a design / development role. Honestly something I have been attempting to make happen for a while. I couldn’t be happier with a new set of challenges and problems to face down, but i didn’t think shifting where I walk to after i drive to Temple would change thing like my morning routine, or getting to bed earlier.

But for the first time in 11 + years I’m not on call, I didn’t have any idea how much energy and time I spent focused on support issues, even if there weren’t any after hours. I can now come home, and I’m home… Its a really novel concept.

So in the two weeks I’ve been at the new gig i built a LEGO set I’ve been pushing off I’ve been writing and drawing constantly and I’ve gotten more than 5 hours of sleep on 12 of the 14 days since. And I even opened up the blogging tools and started planning things out. Do I know if this new energy will last? Nope. Do I plan to ride out the wave, hell yes. Here’s to new challenges and new opportunities!

2014 Year in Review

Green-Recycle-Logo-Wallpaper-HDEveryone has their own form of year in review, whether spurned onwards by some sappy TV rewind, a fun Youtube mashup of memes we spent time on this year or a million other little things. It is normal to take stock and move forward.

IMAG0688Resolutions be damned, I again did the three word exercise but that would be getting ahead of myself. Last year I had Action Create and Finish. Summed up did I make the effort to keep moving, and work for what I wanted, did I work on creating and starting new things, and finally did I bring things on home? Did I complete the tasks that I started. No pass or fail grades here its a personal rundown of things I did well and things that still need work. Like balancing a spinning plate on a pole there are always adjustments to be made.

Overall this year was a success, I worked on keeping things fun with the family, the kids grew and became more awesome. But personally I actually did what i set out to do. My overarching goal for the year was getting healthier.

Over the course of the last year I lost and maintained almost 40 pounds off my original weight of 265 lbs. I’m hovering around 225 right now, and still shooting to go lower, healthy would be 180 – 200. I got off my ass and went to the gym, followed a workout program and was stronger and more fit that I have been in almost 15 years.

I made beautiful things and shared them. Some of them got traction others did not. And the best feeling of all I actually got paid to make beautiful things for friends both new and old. That is where I want to be in life.

I became a Cub Master with my son’s Cub Scout pack, still working my way through what that means, and how to make that work for the boys involved I want to make sure that the boys get what they need from scouting and leave all of the politics aside. Scouting should be fun!

Overall the family is happy and healthy and that is what matters! Lets do this thing 2015!

Tempest Fugit, Memento Mori


I love, and hate schedules. On the one hand setting aside time in the morning during / after coffee to write. Not write well, but just to get ideas on paper and thoughts out the door has been helping. But at the same time. Looking into the vanishing point of the future seeing things ordered and scheduled to an nth degree give me a bit of anxiety. That bundle of nerves tangled deep within my chest that tightens like a noose when i order more of my day.

I’d rather not count my food, yet I’m on weight watchers, points and all that. I’d rather not have to list every interaction in work yet I have to justify time with tickets in work. I’d rather not have to have a scheduled time to have coffee, yet here I sit laptop on a glass table and a mug of awesomeness next to me.  I would much rather float on the ebb and flow of a day. Yet I also have a fitbit which counts my every step during the day (currently averaging over 14,000!) The more I focus on the quantified self to more anxious I get. So I push those feelings deep down inside and convince myself that the schedule and the rigid timelines bring about good things. Like a disturbing memory you block away to remove the feeling in the pit of your stomach.


I would like to just float by, But I know that when I do that. Things get missed and time is frittered away. I hate wasting time. Hell just by refusing to sleep like a normal person i gain hours each day. I sleep about 4 or 5 hours a night, so I gain 3 over every person laying in bed for 8. By the end of the week I’ve lived an extra 21 hours. Every 8 days I live an extra day!

So do schedules and structure work for you? Or do you do your best work unfettered?

Small Goals

2013-03-06_16-39-19_187 I Started the year off flipping my usual script. Instead of making vague promises i made declarative statements. Instead of saying I was going to lose weight I focused on doing it the right way. My three words for 2014 are Action, Create and Finish. I started with my food, and signed up for weight watchers online.

During the course of any project there is that one second right before you get to getting that I find myself holding back. This doesn’t happen in work, its only during things i have a personal attachment to. I needed to push past that hesitation, and the results have been amazing.

Just past the halfway part of the year this is what was. 1380394_10101884069456583_78265536_n

I’m still 6’2″ ish, however Previously I weighed in at 265 pounds, a 40 – 42 inch waist and i felt sluggish all the time. My normal push was towards working out hard and then getting my diet under control was a non started i got hungry too quickly. So I focused on my food alone for 2 solid months and got good habits in place before I continued on. Then i hit the gym, easily. Low impact but concentrated effort. I increased steady weight training, and solid cardio with as few gimmicks and fads as possible.

This is what is!

Still the same height, however I’m 232 pounds, 36 inch waist… I haven’t worn 36 inch pants in over 10 years, actually since i was 19. And i’m still going. I want to get down to 200 roughly for my frame and my height. The chart says I should be 185, not sure if that would work for everything else but my next major goal is 220. For some reason I stored away fun t shirts and pants that i thought would never fit me again. Each month I tried on some of the old clothes and more and more of them have been fitting. Each time I get back into a new / old shirt i have a minor jump of joy. Its going to be a good summer.


Might not be an adonis yet… but I’m not a beach ball any longer either. Focus on getting healthy! I hadn’t worn this shirt without issue since 2004… I love this shirt.


My Three Words: 2014

After reading CC Chapman’s Amazing Things Will Happen I tried to do and follow the Three words last year. Rather than normal resolutions you list everything you want to do for the year, and try to distill them into three basic concepts that you can use to drive yourself for the year. Last year was the first year I tried it, and one of the first times I can actually say I followed through for the most part with a resolution, of sorts.

And rather than doing the same thing this year I decided to make so positive changes in the process, something that took me over a month to do last time. 3 Days isn’t so bad. So I give you my Three words… Sketchnote Style!

For me, spending the extra time to draw out the concepts helps fix them in my mind, and work my resolve into a frothy lather. Sketching always clears my head.

Here you go.


Action, Create, and Finish. Simple concepts that honestly represent a laundry list of things and tasks i need to do for the year. But rather than a resolution, the list is now a roadmap.




Action: make the first move, nothing happens without a catalyst. Basically get up off my duff and get… to getting. This stands in for giving myself the kick in the pants to move, and stop resting on past accomplishments and stories. Its time to make more of them.


Create: Nothing give me warm happy fuzzies on a professional level, and on a personal level other than making things, and moments happen. It means more art, sketching more, and making time for the important things like family night, and date nights.



Finish: Bring things to fruition, make the extra effort to wrap things up and finish as in finishing touches as well. As the elf from ARthur Christmas says… “There is always time for a bow” Spending the extra time to make things better, and shining them up for others to see. Not just rushing things out the door, ut a focus on quality. Quality meals, quality work, and quality time.

What says you to the sketchy ideas? Big things coming the year from Puzzle Piece Productions, The CaffiNation, Geek Cruft and Design is Brutal. To use a hockey metaphor I’m going to roll 4 lines!

So what are you three words?

Why is everything gone?

Not that people check here very often, but i decided to clean house and pull the directory containing the travelersmug from my server. Yeah I thought i had moved the site to a different server. And in my rush to fix things on another site i decided to clear a little room. Nice and easy right? nope i washed out some 8 years of images, luckily all the posts and everything all that comic gold and literary nonsense survived the deleteaclypse but sadly the accumulated images did not survive. A lesson learned in measure twice cut once. There is no undelete in UNIX people… NO Undelete.



But just like that everything is back after referring to backups. Last backup was a couple of months ago. But i would rather have to find and replace a couple months of work rather than everything since 2006, for this version of the site!

Looking Upwards

1-IMG_20130702_141316_451It really is all about focus. When you go about your day how do you see the world? Are you looking at the other cars on the road, are you checking out the other houses? I’ve been trying to recenter myself a bit and have been lifting my gaze skyward. Have you ever taken a second to make the dome of the sky the focal point for your vision, and realize that these massive fluffy white clouds are rolling past your house right now, and are rolling into another state, another city or another country before long? You are pretty tiny and there are bigger problems in the world. Lots of people are all looking at the same clouds. Every now and then we all get a bit down, and a little self centered. Take a step back raise your gaze and just consider the enormity of the sky. It sounds trite, it sounds a bit silly. But it works. Calms you down and lets you deal with the two screaming kids fighting over who took the last grape in the kitchen.

one of those things

Well_that_escalated_quicklyHave you ever stared at a menu for so long you just don’t know if you are hungry, or the choices aren’t that good? I’ve been dealing with a lot of friends looking for work. And roughly 50 – 75percent of the people i know who have a job are not educated in that field. Myself included. So when the time comes to change horses they don’t know how to do it. How do you stare at a job board and not get swallowed by the wave of overwhelming choices, none of which you know if you are qualified for?

It might be easier to hand your resume to someone and have them say… SO… A.) is this any good B.) Given this document; What do you think i can do. I guess that is where recruiters come in, doing a lot of the heavy work for you.. But either way the job boards seem to be lined with entry level jobs for sales, and 50 + listings there, and not much else. not sure if its just a sign of the times or if its people looking in the wrong place.

I wish all the best for those who are currently looking. I still don’t know what i want to do when i grow up 😉