#440 - Life, Projects, and Water Bottles

7 minute read

This isn’t about consumer tech. Except for the parts where it is.

Catching Up on Life

Vacation Brain

Been doing lots of your typical American summertime vacation things lately.

South Dakota.

The Lake of the Ozarks.

Las Vegas.

Every single one of those trips we have friends to thank for. Vacations are good. Friendship is even better.


On Monday we did a movie date double-feature - the full Barbenheimer. I went in expecting to enjoy Barbie, but appreciate Oppenheimer. I walked out both enjoying and appreciating Barbie, but only really appreciating Oppenheimer - and not quite to the extent that I was hoping. I get that Christopher Nolan was making a movie about Oppenheimer the man, not Oppenheimer the creator of the atomic bomb… but still it surprised me how little the movie cared about the actual bomb. It was more about the relationships Oppenheimer had with the people around him, which I guess I should have expected and shouldn’t have been disappointed by, but I can’t help it. I was a bit let down.

Meanwhile, Barbie, which is a movie that should be terrible, was really surprisingly great. It was well written, very funny, and managed to do a good job of making you feel things. It’s crazy to me, but I’d 100% watch Barbie again - but I’m not sure I’ll ever make time for a second round of Oppenheimer.

In short:

  • Barbie - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/21
  • Oppenheimer - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Water Bottle Analysis 2023

Thanks to my new brother-in-law, I bought a new water bottle I definitely needed for sure 100% definitely. It’s a very new and exciting entry into the pantheon of water bottles I’ve collected with varying characteristics. I got jealous of Melissa’s Stanley cup (which are super popular around here) and had to get my own new shiny object.

Water Bottle Lineup

Brand Hydro Flask Hydro Flask Ice Shaker Nalgene (???) Hydro Flask
Capacity (oz) 64 40 36 32 29 24
Cup holder fit
Weight (g) 777 493 603 171 460 391

The Ice Shaker has been my favorite lately. It’s a bit heavy, but absolutely perfect for daily usage. If I were going on a trip I might still default to the 24oz Hydro Flask, or the Nalgene for a hike… but pretty much every other bottle up there has limited utility at this point. Since I got my newest water conveyance vessel I’ve easily kept my >100oz/day Streak going.

Not included above, literally a dozen other water bottles I’ve owned in the past 20 years that I’ve not held onto… nor the 3+ other Nalgenes I own.

I like water bottles. It’s a good idea to splurge a little bit on things that reinforce good behaviors.

Life with Exercise.

The worst injury I’ve sustained in over 20 years happened silently. I didn’t even know about it until the next day. It was two months ago now that the digging and concrete messed up my back and neck.

Only two weeks ago did I feel able to start trying to properly workout again. I’ve been trying to do a nice balance of things, a little weekly 3-2-1:

  • 3 days with weightlifting
  • 2 days with cardio
  • 1 day of mobility work

I’ve been successful with that these past two weeks. Going to keep those streaks alive as long as I can, again shout out to Streaks. I like using a streak-per-workout-type setup because it gets 6 workouts in per week, but also allows for multiple types of workouts to be done on the same day.

Life with exercise is so, so much better than life without. I sleep easier. I can manage anxiety. I am capable of being happy while simply sitting on a chair doing nothing. While the actual process of exercise is something you have to learn to like2, the time in-between is so easy to fall in love with.

Catching Up on Projects


I’m still enjoying working on my Personal Data Warehouse a few hours a week. I’ve set a new goal to have the project done this quarter (by 2023-10-01). So Column # will, if I’m successful, be followed up on around the start of October. Get excited to skip over that one.

Notion → Obsidian Notes Transition

For reasons I mentioned in my previous Column, I recently finished switching my body of 1096 personal permanent “atomic notes” from Notion to Obsidian. I’ve essentially settled into Obsidian at this point. It’s not perfect, but neither was Notion (for this use case). I’ve written 72 new notes in the past 19 days since I switched. So that’s a good sign.

I like Obsidian better as a host for my notes. For everything else, Notion is still king. Speaking of which…

Notion Productivity Stack

Last week I wasted ~3 days messing with my personal productivity stack. I toyed briefly with moving parts of it out of Notion. That wasn’t going to be easier, so then I set to tinkering inside of Notion’s toolbox. Long story short, I wound up (essentially) making a giant circle coming back to basically where I started. I won’t go into it here, maybe later. I should revisit Column #385 sometime.

Get in to Win

I haven’t touched my in-development puzzle box in a few months now. I’m still 100% doing it. It’s just been put on the back-burner in the name of ‘fewer arrows, more wood’ here recently. I’m also thinking about transitioning the website and the name of the project from Get in to Win to Aaron’s Puzzles. It’s not catchy, but neither was get in to win.

Top 5: Lessons My Brain Refuses to Learn

5. Solved problems don’t need new solutions

I’m a problem-solving hammer. Sometimes nails I’ve driven in have worked themselves loose. More often than not, though, they don’t. This doesn’t stop me from hammering them in again. I solve the problem again, only to realize I’ve created a minor variation of a thing I’d done before.

See: “Notion Productivity Stack” from above.

See also: Water bottle analysis from above, and Column #373.

4. Make smoothies. They’re good.

Smoothies are a treat. They are also a good way to sneak in veggies and vitamins and protein powders. Every time I remember to make one I enjoy it. Then I forget about the existence of the smoothie as a concept for weeks.

3. Presence

Being here. Right here right now. It’s so “easy”, right?

Are you aware of your surroundings? What can you hear? What can you see, beyond this text? What can you feel?

I’ve definitely gone entire days before not having really just stopped to smell the roses. I don’t recall having smelled a single thing today, actually. Sad.

2. Just do a little bit, very consistently

I don’t like transitions. I am very good at sticking with one task, one activity for a very long time. This, though, isn’t the best way to do, well, a lot of things. Instead I tend to get stuck working on one particular thing, or doing one particular thing, until my neck has a bulging disc. By the time I come back up for air switching between projects, I’ve completely forgotten where I was.

James Clear (and David Allen, in a different way) would tell you that the best way to a LOT is by doing just a little very, very consistently.

1. Cuticles

Messing with them is causing 100% of the problem you’re trying to fix when you mess with them. Marla.


Why does that say “Chicken socks”?  My 4 Year old, about a container of Chicken Stock

That building says “Open 24 horses!”  My 4 Year old, learning to read is fun

  1.  Why is there no unicode character for a half-star? 

  2. I’m still working on learning to like running. Thus far I’ve graduated from “this is the worst” to merely “this sucks”. So that’s positive progress.