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Feels so long…

I’ve been pretty busy and stressed trying to balance life shit, so I started neglecting blogging. But I’m back! Need to be back!

Been noticing the need to keep publishing and letting the world give feedback. Then it’s up to me what to do with that feedback.

So, inspiration piece to other readers – get back up on that horse! You’re not done yet! You just took a break. But break time is over!!! Get back to it! ISYMFS!

Quick catch-up:

  • I’ve become a huge C.T. Fletcher fan
  • Missed a few days of working out (or being active in some regard) here and there. But overall, I’m still doing well with staying active everyday. 🙌🏾
  • Eating habits can be 💩. When stress piles on, so do the bad food decisions. And one cookie easily turns into 3-4. One thing I’ve learned and still practicing is enjoying everything in moderation. Example, the other day the fam went to Bill’s Cafe (amazing breakfast place btw) and I had a hankering for pancakes, but didn’t want to stuff myself with only carbs. Ended up with a happy medium of a veggie omelette with one pancake. May not work for all, but helps me! At least for now. Time will tell if there are long term benefits or deficits. Plus, I should prob track calories to be sure… 🤔

Anyways, that’s that! Happy living and hope this positively influences you! ✌🏾

Dreaming vs. Doing

I think I’m hitting that age where I recognize the work I’m suggesting is a lot harder to accomplish than I like to say it is. Maybe that’s what "x years of experience" is really about – knowing what can be done vs what you want to be done.

It’s a new, hard paradigm to come to grips with because it’s acknowledging some of my dreams may have to die in order to dedicate resources to actually doing work for another. The good is learning new skills and building up character while treading through the battlefields.

I’ll have to see as time passes if it’s more of a battle between dreaming and doing, or if I’m overthinking or missing something. Either way, right now, the designer in me is in one corner, while the dev is in another. Ding! Ding Ding Ding! Let’s get ready to RUUUUMMMBLLE!

Ayahausca!

Again, I’m talking about drugs (older posts – one and two). This time, no real insights. Was just shocked and pleased to hear Ayahausca and other hallucinogenic substances mentioned in The Righteous Mind. Which, by the way, is becoming one of my new favorite books. Highly recommend for all.

Anyways, again, drugs came back up as a topic of changing behaviors and it’s outcomes.

Lesson Learned for Voice Design

Having worked on a few multimodal apps (able to use speech, touch, and other modalities of input), I’ve learned a thing or two and want to speak on one idea that’s popped up.

Try modular design for voice behaviors
This one is tough, but I just started thinking maybe I can take a play from Brad Frost’s Atomic Design playbook – modularity. The most recent app I’ve worked on is relatively simple. Yet and still, we found problems we weren’t expecting and clear communication was one of them. In our case, we had a few recurring themes pop up about "How will voice handle this?" and "How will voice handle that?". Sometimes they were valuable points, sometimes they were redundant questions. But the problem I noticed wasn’t in the people asking, but in the definition of the system and the lacking documentation.

There was documentation available for case-by-case basis of "How does voice react on this screen?", but it could create instances of inconsistency that may not be found until it’s too late. So, my next project, I’m going to see if the principles of Atomic Design can be transposed on to voice/speech design and track lessons learned on that. I recognize voice should operate as Random Access Navigation, so this will definitely add to the complexity. But hey, this is why I love what I do!

Another example of drugs to “free your mind”

The other day, I shared my feelings on Drugs and Inhibitions. Now, FastCo released a piece on "successful" entrepreneurs using drugs to elevate to the next level.

https://www.fastcompany.com/3068799/why-this-psychedelic-drug-is-drawing-entrepreneurs-to-peru

There’s so many different ways to read into this:

  • What are the long term effects of this?
  • Do these people still feel able and connected with other aspects of life (family, hobbies, etc)?
  • How addictive is ayahuasca?
  • Nothing is perfect, so what are the downsides or compromises you have to make with this?

I’m neither for nor against it, just observing habits in my true nerd form.

One of my new favorite apps

2017 has been a challenging, but great year thus far. And it’s been challenging in positive ways – places of growth. I’m working out daily, more mindful and kind to myself, plus doing my best to "stay in the now" as Eckhart Tolle advises.

One thing that has become a huge benefit is the ThinkUp app for affirmations. To anyone who doubts the power of affirmations, I argue that corporations spend billions to plant ideas into our minds subconsciously. So, why not take 5 minutes out of your day to reinforce your positive views and goals.

But, I’m not here to convince you on using affirmations. If it sounds like mumbo jumbo, this app is not for you. But, if you want to add positivity to your life, ThinkUp is a great tool to keep in your arsenal.

We all (I assume) battle the gremlins and voices in our heads that we’re not good enough and other negative self-talk. Even worse, advertising pushes that same agenda (you’re not rich/strong/sexy enough to be happy) and these messages sink in. ThinkUp is a great counter to the barrage of negativity. It’s not the perfect fix for everything, but it’s a great app to have.

Note, I’m not a doctor nor suggesting medical advice. Please see a doctor or seek a hotline if you need mental health help.

ThinkUp makes you select a list of inspiring messages you want to hear – either suggested or using your words. The genius in the app is that you record the messages and at least once daily for a few, you hear your affirmations played back over soft music. Because it’s your voice saying the affirmations, it’s easier to believe. Rather than hearing someone random or a computer TTS system rattling them off.

Lastly, the interface is sleek, pleasing to the eyes and simple to navigate.

I highly suggest checking this app out. I’ve bought the lifetime membership version and glad I did.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.think.up

Hope it benefits you as well! Drop your thoughts in the comments if you’ve used this app or anything similar. Would love to hear what a year plus of affirmations would do for you.

Darebee 30 Days of HIIT review

So, dedicated the last month or so to "30 days of HIIT" from my love, Darebee.

Was very cardio, but I prefer weightlifting. So I’m switching to Ironborn (http://darebee.com/programs/ironborn-program.html) mixed with some calisthenics – resistance and cardio.

HIIT is good for cardio, but doesn’t do much for strength. You also have to be disciplined enough to push yourself. Some days, I was great; some days, I’d have to remind myself halfway through that I need to push and do the exercises like it was only 15 seconds. It would also be good to know which days are intended as recovery days vs "Go HAM!" days. Sometimes, I found myself confused if I was doing workouts incorrectly or if it was a chill day. Not meant to be a knock against the program, but an area of improvement I noticed.

The results for me are not reliable because I ate bullshit way too often through the month. But, March is here and I’ll switch it up for some wiser choices.

A good, not-so-good day

Last night, found out that instead of getting a tax refund, we owe the Govt a good chunk a change. "Yay!" said no one in my house. Panic set in at first and I was temporarily paralyzed in thought. But, fuck it. Make a plan, figure out what went wrong and keep it moving.

So, now, going to find a tax advisor, find ways to bring things down and set up a repayment plan.

But, the good, we were approved for a home we’ve been hoping to rent. This means we’ll get our dog back and have space at home for a yard and basic wants.

Probably the funniest feelings I had in a while. Typically days are good, bad, or meh. I can’t even recall a day that yo-yo’d between good and bad.

Guess that’s adulting.

Drugs and Inhibitions

All my life, I’ve heard "Drugs are bad, mmm’kay?". Maybe the South Park geniuses wrote that satirical line to stick and for the next generation to question what’s so bad about them.

First, I’ve used marijuana recreationally three times and alcohol pretty often. Considering caffeine (tea and coffee), that’s almost everyday now. But, from my experience with marijuana, I have not enjoyed that euphoria others get lol. Sad to say, but I don’t think drugs are for me since I identify as a Control Freak. Regardless, I do question their abilities and the social constructs we’ve created around them.

Some of my drinking experiences allowed me to tap into thoughts I don’t know if I ever would’ve mustered the courage to even think of – like rapping some lyrics or cracking a joke. Having those experiences and hearing the experiences of others, there’s obviously some value there for creative thinking. You get to quiet that loud, ignorant, and unbearable inner critic.

But on the downside, drugs make us lose other inhibitions like manners. I remember in college waking up from a drunken stupor and my friend telling me he saved my dumbass from getting into a fight with the boyfriend of the girl who’s ass I slapped smh. Regrettable times.

So the question I’ve been pondering, can we decrease these inhibitions and still keep a mind of respect and manners? But sometimes respect and manners are the inhibitors to our creativity.

I posed the question to my therapist and he mentioned microdosing (http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_569525afe4b09dbb4bac9db8). In no way was he suggesting I try it, he just mentioned it as "tempting to live without following ‘the rules’ we define for ourselves." I’m interested in lighter, natural, I recreational drugs (Shrooms), but also not because I don’t like drugs lol.

It’s a funny and confusing twist. Would love to hear what others do and think to battle inhibitions, especially without the use of substances. Oh, also if you’re battling perfectionism particularly.

That’s all for now! Peace, love and pookie dooks(line for my fellow Moana fans lol)!

The toughest critic

Haters, haters, haters, haters.I don’t even have em, that’s what’s crazy.
Yet and still, home is where the hate is.

Ready to share my thoughts and ideas
Then I hear the critic asking
"Who you think you is?"

Can’t even form a freaking sentence
Without him applying the negative pressure.
Praying and meditating for ways out this prison.

Clawing out little by little like Shawshank
I see the warden every time I pass the mirror.
My time in this hell, my toughest critic is the one to thank.