A varied column covering whatever! Sorry this is so long & that I waited so long to post it. I have a potential remedy for that situation coming. I’d like to do slightly shorter, more focused Columns slightly more frequently.


Life’s been good. I’ve had a change at work that I’m optimistic about. The weather is good. We recently swam in the pool for the first time this year. My family been healthy lately. My medications seemingly have continued to keep my wonderful autoimmune disease at bay. For the first time in working memory I’ve made some new friends, which is hard to do once you hit parenthood. Also I caught a flattering reflection in my spoon. All’s well!


11 months ago I wrote about the completion of a long-running homeowner’s project in which I fixed our water feature. That project took 13 months to complete. It felt like the end of a marathon. It was definitely very difficult, but it isn’t the longest-running home improvement project I’ve ever done.


That picture was from a litte while ago. We are very quickly approaching the end of a shower renovation which has taken about 2 1/2 years. When you’re measuring your progress in terms of years, you know things aren’t great. It’s been a saga. I most definitely underappreciated how much work a down-to-the-studs shower remodel would take. We’ve spent 20+ hours over the past week just tiling. It’s still not done, but getting close.

Time to demo the rest of the master bath. Surely that part will be easy and fast. 😶

75 Hard

Melissa and I started a 75 Hard in June. 75 Hard is a challenge in which you adhere to the following rules every day:

  1. Work out for 45 minutes x2 per day, one of them being outdoors
  2. Follow a diet
  3. Abstain from alcohol
  4. Drink a gallon of water (plain water, ice optional)
  5. Read 10 pages of a non-fiction book (with your eyes, not your ears)
  6. Take a progress picture every day

The point of all of this is partly about physical fitness, but mostly about mental fitness. It’s about discipline. One day is not so bad, but 75 days in a row is the challenge. It’s a change in lifestyle. One that requires you to live outside your comfort zone daily.

We’re not being too dogmatic about it. We’re probably doing a “75 Hard Asterisk”. I’m not adhering to certain rules (I don’t care to take a progress photo every day, for example)… but I’m adding on other rules in the spirit of the challenge. Namely rules regarding my relationship with my phone.

Consumer Electronics Setup

I cover this topic pretty much every single year. It’s something I think about a lot.

For the past ~4 years I’ve had a setup that looked like: phone + iPad + desktop PC1

For the most part, I love this setup. It was chosen as the no-compromises setup. The iPad is the best at what iPads do. A desktop is the best at what desktops do. A phone is just required.

One thing that’s been bothering me lately, though, is how little my fancy desktop computer gets used, simply because I have to be where it is. I have wound up using this iPad like a computer more than I would like an iPad. This isn’t the ideal way to use it. Also because the iPad is big (to make it more computer-like), it’s also slightly less easy to use for traditional iPad stuff because it’s so big. It’s hard to one-hand for things like reading books on.

What I’m saying here, in short, is that if everything were to suddenly go kaput, I’d probably switch to a iPhone + MacBook Air + Regular-sized iPad Air setup. The normal person approach.


Every time I think I’ve done something neat, I’m reminded that I’m a small fish swimming in a giant ocean of impressive people. I think some of the stuff I’ve done is cool, don’t get me wrong - but there’s me then there’s actually impressive people. See the Top 5 for more impressive things, but here’s a brief summary of where I’m at nowadays with my various long-running projects.

This Blog

Works! You’re reading it now! I’ve settled in on a writing process that allows me write pretty easily (although publishing is still a bit of a task).

My Notes

These have really taken off as my main “what I write and put on the internet” thing. Recently I moved over Gillespedia.com to the official Obsidian Publish service, just to give them some money and simply my publishing process. As a side-effect, I accidentally got access to telemetry on the site’s performance/reach. Turns out people read it. Huh.

My Puzzle Boxes

Last year’s puzzle box was great. It was also the victim of massive scope creep & I wound up spending way more time than I meant to implementing all of the ideas I had during a frenzied period of ideas. This has left me with a puzzle box hangover that I’m only now starting to come out of. There will be a 2024 puzzle box, but right now it only exists on metaphorical paper.


My Personal Data Warehouse is still going fairly strong. It’s collecting automated data and I’m feeding it stuff manually every day. It’s the subject of a series of personal learning assignments I’ve made for myself to practice enterprise architecture.

Top 5: One-Person Efforts that have Impressed Me Lately

5. Tick Tock Escape Rooms

I’ve only been here a couple of times, but on boht occasions I’ve been impressed - and come to find out the room design, construction, and coding are pretty much the work of one guy - who’s even in the little scenario setup videos. Good stuff.

4. The Practice of Enterprise Architecture

This book was researched & written by one dude. It’s consistently recommended as one of the best depictions of enterprise architecture no matter where you look (provided your source is recent enough). It’s also surprisingly down-to-earth with its recommendations, which is a change of pace compared to most other EA resources.

3. Floor 796

This webpage was coded and actively being constructed by one guy. It’s a massive looping animation depicting the happenings on the 796th floor of a massive space station. It’s jam-packed with pop culture references, jokes, and interesting stuff to find. It’s amazing. Try finding Waldo2!

2. Animal Well

This is a new puzzler/Metroidvania video game that was developed by one guy over the course of 7 years. It has set the internet ablaze in order to solve some of the genuinely amazing puzzles that I never had a chance of solving. The game is fun, moody, and massively creative. Moreover, the creator also wrote the game engine from scratch. I’m blown away by this piece of work.

1. Our Lawn

When we moved into this house we adopted a pretty well-managed lawn. While I broke my back fixing the water feature once, Melissa has single-handedly transformed the entire lawn this year. Adding new multiple new garden beds, trellises, grow-bags, and most importantly filling them with plants of every variety.


Just need you to know I may be transcending my human dad form.

I strive you give you increasingly random sentences.
Also Fintel

Mars looks like the hottest planet because it’s red, but it’s actually the coldest planet on earth.
My 5 Year Old

  1.  Not including here: watch, AirPods, Oura ring. I have a lot of tech. Everyone has a lot, compared to not that long ago. 

  2. Seriously, Waldo is in there.