My 2024 Resolution - Read Less Books

I read 44 last year, and that was with a month off during June for travel.

I finished my second book of 2024 this afternoon, Pax by Tom Holland. Another history book that was very interesting, but it's questionable how much of what I learned I'll actually retain. The tale of Sporus, most definitely… I'd hoped that having actually visited Rome now might help me feel more connected to the past when reading about it, but it did not really. So much changes during the lives of these people - including their names - that immersion two millennia later was always going to be a whimsy.

Reading less books should ideally reduce these feelings of over-consumption and disconnection. This will mean I enjoy the books I do read more, and maybe listen to the kind of song numbers this year that I did back in 2008.


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The woman with the fake tan stepped into my office, sat across from my desk and lit a cigarette.
At least, she would, sometime in the next 20 minutes. Smelling the future has advantages, but precision isn’t one of them.


Books

The day after I posted last week's entry about reading less books, I took the lift down to the city streets at lunch with the intent to stay in the shade and stretch my legs. I didn't have anywhere specific to go, and the urge crossed my mind to walk to the city library and look at the books. Those withdrawals came a lot quicker than I expected. I didn't go to the library. I walked on the north and east sides of streets and listened to music instead of audiobooks.

The next day I was at home and it was the perfect lunchtime for sitting outside eating a giant salad and listening to an audiobook. Well perfect is an exaggeration, it was 34 degrees outside and I had to put my bowl in the freezer while I chopped up my lunch so that when I finished preparing it and took it outside the lettuce wouldn't wilt before I finished eating.

My original plan was to read two books each month. But, around that walk nearly to the library I decided that starting February's books a week before February would be okay, as that would still be finishing it in February. February was a lot more than a week away on the twelfth of January, but I started a new book anyway. I promised myself I would only consume this book at the same time I consumed salads on sunny days. With the recent heat wave, this has been every day.

This morning when I was out walking before work I saw this chalked on the sidewalk...

Homesick

This month I am celebrating my ten year anniversary of being a home owner.
I know that a lot of people might envy me, but a lot of people also didn't have to spend twenty minutes of their evening today searching for a replacement pre-filter sponge for the pump of their backyard water feature either.
And even that doesn't compare to the actual time and cognitive energy that I have dedicated to my home insurer since the roof of the gym was flooded back in November. (That was not related to the pump or my water feature).
I wish there was some compromise between travelling around the world and staying in cool places every night without worrying about maintenance and rates, and always having a safe place to hang up canvases and for Nash to chill.
My first instinct is a houseboat, but I strongly doubt that would involve less insurance, maintenance and flooding issues...


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Sides

Amazon royalties for copies of my books sold between 2018 and 2023: $6.10

Return from 3 months of ad revenue from a dumb programming project: $250.84

Return from $104 worth of tickets in the $150M Powerball: $97.40

What I Did At Work Today, 2024

It's 2024 and my job today was to create a custom skill for a cognitive search indexer. The custom skill was to be invoked after the out-of-the-box skills were used to read text and images, convert them into a single file, split it into smaller chunks, and then detect keywords. The problem was that the keywords it extracted were not very business relevant. So, I built a tiny Node JS function app configured with an array of keywords to detect, deployed it to Azure (well, VS Code deployed it to Azure, I just clicked a button).

I then updated my skillset to pass the chunks to this API to detect matches. ChatGPT wrote the Regexes for me, but I was the one that told it what ones to write, and then the one who tested it and found that it had assumed I wanted to look ahead to the end of the chunk even though I clearly said exclude only the next word. But perhaps I'm the idiot because I didn't create an agent grid and have one model executing predefined test cases. There's only so many hours in a day...

I felt motivated to do this today. Partly because it would be a nice change from SvelteKit/TypeScript/Pocketbase/Tailwind development which I did on the weekend, partly because it was cool. Mostly because I had a 4pm meeting to demo it already scheduled.

I did get the indexing working with the new custom field/skillset. It felt good writing that odata query and seeing the filter bring back records with the matching keywords. Alas the demo did not happen because key people were on holiday.

Hopefully the way this is going we will all be on holiday soon. But perhaps I am looking ahead too far.