Matt Marshall

43 Posts with Tag life (All tags)

06 Jul 2018, 19:02

Just been informed that my laptop order will be delayed as the chassis won't be delivered to the manufactrer until ~20th Jul.

Current laptop currently requires blood sacrifices to charge properly. I feel that I'm about to take a break from digital media at home :-P

life laptop tools delays

15 Aug 2018, 12:24

Benefits of doing my thesis and #chi2019 paper from home:

  • Wide array of tea options
  • Less distractions, nicer environment than the lab
  • Chippy around the corner

Drawbacks:

  • also the chippy. I buy way too much chippy.

food life phd chi2019 writing

16 Aug 2016, 20:39

Feature Creep, and Doing.

I have always had a problem with the dreaded Feature Creep. Not only with software development, but in life generally. I take a lot of pleasure in the doing of something, and when I stumble across something that I feel I may enjoy doing I get incredibly excited at the prospect of its doing. If that made sense :-/

I experienced this quite early on in my strength training journey -- attempting to integrate a full Calisthenics system with a Power Lifting one. When I finally dropped my Power Lifts to focus on Calisthenics, instead of relishing the extra time and simplicity I instantly started trying to do various different forms of calisthenics training (my foundation was always Convict Conditioning, but I was attempting to Grease the Groove on quite a lot of things too, and was rushing the addition of extra exercise progressions).

I've most recently experienced this with Brimstone, my little indie blog project. I've only recently gotten around to actually fixing the main feed, and integrating everything together. Mainly, features creep in and keep me awake via RSS feeds (it's getting shinier back here, btw). The same can be said with my PhD. People keep trying to introduce 'features', or aspects of the research. For the most part I welcome it, and their interest in it is exciting (if pressuring). But there's only so much I can do.

The most dangerous feature creep I've experienced is that which I indicated right at the start of this post. The doing features of my life. I take a real, carnal, pleasure in doing things, taking things in, and being part of things. Throughout high school and 6th Form (college) I was involved in a local theatre group. When I got a job making pizzas, I found it difficult to manage acting alongside 6th Form, the job, and a new girlfriend (oh myyy). So acting was dropped. I managed to get by in 6th Form without too much feature creep. My Open-Sourceness became more pronounced, so I suppose that was one thing I was doing, but otherwise I was pretty simple. I watched a lot of TV shows.

When I came to Uni, the acting came back in and I am ashamed to say that I let some good friends (and splendid talent) down by dropping out in the most heinous way possibe: ceasing to show up. I was busy being a Computer Science student, an active Satanist, a fledgling executive member of Rocksoc, and I had a new girlfriend (this one was a model! ohhh errr). I also still had my job slinging pizzas (in a different shop), and my social life was abuzz with clubbing and friends. Also now I had to cook for myself!

Years later, things are looking tamer; but I worry about feature creep still. The things I like to do keep growing. Every time I enjoy cooking something, especially if it takes effort, I long for a ritual of doing it daily or weekly. My Strength Training is so ingrained in me now that I can't help but do it -- but it remains something that I do so it affects my day significantly. I enjoy doing maintenance on clothes and boots. I enjoy doing reading, and writing. I enjoy doing development, especially adding new features to software. I've recently took up a light practice of making, which is absolutely rife with doing things -- lots of things! Also carving, if there ever was something that was doing; carving is it. Since developing an interest in Politcal Economy, and being awakened as a Feminist (or ally) I've being doing those things. Oh, and after a nice long spell of being out of the habit of doing being a Satanist; I'm being enticed back in by a new and sexy UK community.

I don't know what to make of all this. Juxtaposing the desire to experience rich variety against the desire to not feel bad for not doing something is becoming tougher every day. Is it wrong to love drowning in it?

calisthenics diary development reflections brimstone life

27 Aug 2018, 20:01

After spending years on a media diet of grand-scale TV shows and serialised MCU-style episodic-films, it's really really nice to watch a self-contained story which is artfully crafted. As a result I've found myself getting into cinematography and story-structure more and more.

I hope Netflix and the MCU won't be the death of cinema.

life cinema movies cinematography mcu marvel netflix episodic movies

30 Aug 2018, 22:23

Ok so I've just watched Snowpiercer for the first time ever and I'm convinced that it's a masterpiece that conveyed a message in two hours that latter parts of The Matrix Trilogy failed to convey in two films. Even based itself in Class Warfare.

life class cinema movies revolution

03 Sep 2018, 09:16

My resolution for this coming Equinox is to remember the restorative effects of my "foundational rituals" (stuff that makes me, me). I've been feeling thoroughly crappy lately and stuff like my Strength Training has suffered, and haven't been up to performing them much leading to feeling crappier.

I managed to start breaking out of this cycle last week through heavy focus on exercise (my bedrock) and I've never felt this good in a while. Still a ways to go, but upwards.

calisthenics life strength training feels sad rituals cycles restoration

10 Sep 2018, 11:02

Benefits of drinking around a litre of tea and a litre water in the mornings: super hydrated, feel great, healthy kidneys.

Drawbacks: needing the loo constantly between 1030 and 1400 :-/

life tea water

10 Sep 2018, 13:40

"Belly Full of Veg" is an accurate description of my current state, driving goals, and potentially what I'd name my Hybrid Black Metal-Gabber EP if I ever miraculously learned to do music.

life vegetables lunch

12 Sep 2018, 10:23

This morning the machine gods decided to brick my phone :-/ Looks like a hardware fault, w/o a way of restoring it. More than a tad crappy.

Last Modified: 12 Sep 2018, 10:30

life phones technology

22 Sep 2018, 10:25

Me: "Oh no my potted oak tree is shedding its leaves it must be getting ill I am a terrible plant person"

Also me, outside: "Oooh all the leaves are falling I love this time of year aren't trees clever shedding leaves like that"

life plants trees silly

29 Sep 2018, 08:34

A good 60-80% of my ebook library (via Calibre) seems to have become corrupted magically :-/ Using it as an opportunity to pare down my digital clutter and sort out what I'll actually want to replace from my backups vs what I can forget about

life ebooks digital backups

02 Oct 2018, 21:53

The upstairs students are gorram psychically attuned to annoy me. I exercise on Thursday mornings for years and they party on Wednesday nights robbing me of sleep. "No problem, I'll train on Wednesday mornings". They've shifted their partying to Tuesday nights.

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME

life sleep students flats

06 Oct 2018, 07:20

I usually spend the first hour of my Saturdays reading some Stoicism. The advice on dealing with insults from supposed friends always strikes me because I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who never offer backhanded compliments or genuinely mock me.

This wasn't always the case, obviously. But I enjoy the little family I've curated.

life Stoicism friends family

09 Oct 2018, 09:02

Gratitude List Autumn 2018

Every three months or so I do a gratitude list in order to try and cultivate gratitude, stem my desire for novelty, and seek tranquility by training myself to want what I already have. I usually write these in a notebook, but I am of the web and thought it would be cute to publish it as a blog post that I update every day.

  • A is for Autumn. Crisp outside, the right levels of light, and a favourite season of mine
  • B is for Bees. I hope we can save them, as they give us honey and mead.
  • C is for Chickpeas. Delicious, nutritious, and straight from the Earth
  • D is for Dogs. They are all good boys, and I'm glad we evolved together.
  • E is for Eggs. For me, they're pretty much the perfect food
  • F is for Fruit. Ensuring I get nutrients along with my sweet fix
  • G is for Games, as ways of bringing play into my life
  • H is for Houseplants. Givers of oxygen, calmers of my mind.
  • I is for International Worker Cooperation. The solution to global capitalism.
  • J is for Jars. Allowing me to reuse them and store things in style.
  • K is for Kin. Through experience, I am glad of my friends and kin for making possible all I have achieved.
  • L is for LineageOS. You help me run a phone free from Google.
  • M is for Mentors. Teaching and guiding me.
  • N is for Novels. One of my favourite mediums for stories.
  • O is for Oranges and their variants. Always delicious and about as sweet as I'll go.
  • P is for (my) Pull-up bar. Temple and teacher, it forges me anew constantly.
  • Q is for Quiet, and for the ability to find moments of it everyday.
  • R is for (the) Red Flag. The People's Flag. The Workers' Flag. Uniting us in struggle.
  • S is for Stories. The building block of society, I adore stories of all kind.
  • T is for Tea. Like a blankie for your insides, it solves all problems.
  • U is for Unity. Together we may move mountains.
  • V is for Vegetables. Like, they're literally free food from the ground.
  • W is for Water Bottles. Specifically the steel ones; helping me stay hydrated without waste.
  • X is a tough one. Not much I know begins with X. I guess I'm thankful for X-Rays in Medicine. I'm thankful that I'm well but if I ever get sick, I'm sure they'll help.
  • Y is for (my) yacht. A gorgeous little thing that I hope to give proper attention to soon.
  • Z is for Zotero. You're open source, flexible with me, and do your job well.

Last Modified: 03 Nov 2018, 10:21

life reflection minimalism Stoicism gratitude lists

09 Oct 2018, 18:16

Dear Seneca, Marcus, etc. I have learned a lot from you. You have brought me tranquillity and joy.

But I bet you never had to deal with students who have a proper sound system

life Stoicism noise

17 Oct 2018, 19:20

I hate London. Every time I'm here something goes wrong. It's smelly, the tubes are overcrowded and constantly break, and everything is an hour away from everything else.

Just had to walk 3.5 miles to my accommodation because tube failure and no buses available

life london travel

19 Oct 2018, 08:31

This fortnight had been super intense with traveling for work, spent way more time in London than I'm comfortable with. I am looking forward to a massive plate of vegetables and a snooze when I get back

life work london travel

31 Oct 2018, 08:08

So this morning I

  • Woke up 0530, trained outside in the park
  • Wrote some thesis before 0800 along with lots of tea
  • bought my reader-owned paper from a consumer-owned local coop.
  • Cleaned my bike ahead of cycling to work for my Worker coop remote-working job.

I have become very irritating on paper :-P

life work phd cooperatives

06 Nov 2018, 16:01

I never thought my bar for a "good week" at work would be so low as "not having to be in London" but here we are :-p

(PS I love my job but this month has been mega intense and London is crap)

life work london travel

10 Nov 2018, 10:25

Goodbye Twitter

"When it comes to the overwhelm; the easiest way to solve that is to turn it off. Really just turn it off" - Patrick Rhone in Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things

Since around a month ago on the 5th of October I've had myself locked out of Twitter. I achieved this by ensuring that two-factor authentication was turned on, and by asking my friend S to change my password (I actually did the same for her). This way I couldn't log in because I didn't know the password, and if she proved untrustworthy she couldn't log in without access to my phone or email.

I thought my motivations for this were pretty straightforward; less distractions. I'd developed a bit of a Twitter 'twitch', and endlessly scrolling the site or flicking between it and Mastodon was dramatically affecting how much I'd been able to achieve in recent months. I did the same thing when I staged my withdrawal of Facebook I didn't think it was too much of an issue; since I don't have any social media apps on my phone, I can't receive the summons of notifications. Turns out it had permeated my life in a few other ways.

My desire for input and entertainment have decreased

I thought I had a pretty good handle on curating my input. I only subscribe to a few YouTube channels and Podcasts at a time, which I've arrived at from years of striving to understand the form and topics of media that I like to consume. What I hadn't quite landed on was the connection between Twitter / microblogging's rapid-fire, consumable, format and its ability to increase my overall desire for just… input. It's like how my stomach expands whenever I often have too-large portions. The pace and overall serving size of reading Twitter or other microblogging sites just increases my appetite for mindlessly consuming more entertainment.

Really, that's what concerns me the most. I do believe that humans deserve to have a good time, and relish the playfulness that comes with our existence on this planet. Not everything has to be work. I just think that there exists a semantic difference between enjoyment of a playful activity and entertainment. As a phenomenologist at heart, I think that there just might be a difference between an activity being entertaining and the phenomena of entertainment. One is an attribute, that tells us and others that this activity, work, or interaction holds our attention and brings something into our lives. One is its own phenomena; that says we've extrapolated the attribute of being entertaining into its own noun and created this Thing which we seek out instead of thinking about the material thing that we're actually doing or watching or reading. For me, entertainment amounts to what I do in order to distract myself from what matters. I'm fine with something being entertaining, or sitting there being entertained while doing or experiencing something, but I'm very cautious about something that exists almost purely in my mind to distract me or hold my attention. This is not to say that Twitter or Mastodon are products of pure entertainment; they're very valuable communications tools. For me, the phenomena was that they were entertainment and they served that purpose of distraction.

I'm not sure about you, but I don't want to turn around in a few years, reflect on what I did with my time and come up with the answer of "Oh, I consumed entertainment".

Quietness is my new favourite thing

Linked to the above, I spend a lot more of my time in quiet these days. Previously I used to consume podcasts in the evening, and have a selection of YouTube channells I would enjoy checking up on. I still do, but now my actual hunger for these things has decreased significantly. I don't feel the urge to consume content as I get the opportunity these days, and while I definitely still enjoy listening to podcasts about various topics or watching YouTube videos or reading satire on the web; these things have fallen into a "natural" rhythm rather than being a relatively constant demand or hunger in my mind.

Since locking myself out of Twitter, I've not logged into Mastodon either (sorry fediverse! You're still my favourite), only visited YouTube once a day and usually to retrieve some specific information (usually around propagating a plant cutting), and barely read any web articles during the work day. It's almost like what happened when I started fasting in the mornings, and my body just started telling me what its actual needs and desires were rather than the holding pattern firing constantly.

I've still got a way to go with curating my input and determining what I'm doing purely to entertain myself rather than fulfill myself. But I'm a lot happier in the quiet now.

I think I'm done with reading Twitter

I… I don't think I'll go back. One thing Twitter was useful for was keeping up with world events because of the trending hashtag system. I'm pretty sure I can find a workaround for that somewhere. I will maintain my Twitter account but treat it as a bot (I may actually rename it to Marshallbot) which just posts my content from Brimstone.

I was using the direct messaging feature in Twitter somewhat at the end, so I think I'll use the api to wire them into Brimstone's inbox (which I promise I will finish at some point!) and outbox so that people can actually get in touch with me if they need to.

Anyway, catch you later Twitter. Maybe. Probably not.

Last Modified: 10 Nov 2018, 10:50

life habits twitter web internet social media entertainment tranquility

09 Dec 2018, 21:09

I own less than 200 items. They all fit into a 1/3 wardrobe. My bedroom is pretty much just empty space. Yet I have managed to lose my smartphone somewhere in my flat. In do-not-disturb mode.

life phone silly-matt

12 Sep 2017, 09:04

Essentialism

Last night I just finished a book on 'Essentialism'. I came across it throughout my travels on the net, as it came up in comments sections of a lot of Minimalism stuff I've been reading. Essentialism basically sells itself as the work-life balance counterpart to Minimalism. That is, where Minimalism is concerned with the cognitive and emotional drain caused by physical clutter; Essentialism is concerned with the job or todo list clutter that permeates your work, and can creep into your personal life. The basic mantras of Essentialism are: "Do one thing, well"; and, perhaps more pertinently "If you don't priotise your life, someone else will".

To be honest, there was nothing particularly groundbreaking in the book for me. I've done a lot of reading around lifestyle and happiness things and they all basically boil down to one thing, which is balancing hedonistic pleasure with purposeful and mindful activities. Essentialism did reinforce my personal work practice of not half-arseing two things but whole-arseing one thing, and why it's a lot more productive to work this way in both employed labour and personal activities. The only thing which stood out to me really was the explanation of the word Priority and its place in everyday parlance.

According to the book (and I didn't check its sources yet; though it did list them), the word Priority entered the English language in the 16th century and means literally "the thing that comes first". Pretty straightforward. The interesting thing is that it didn't have a plural form until the turn of the 20th century, when the Industrial Revolution had propelled modern Capitalism to grand heights. I realised then that I've only ever really heard people ask me what my "Priorities" are, never the one thing that's most important to me. So I guess I want to talk about that.

I could list the things most important to me, and they'd sound a lot like the list everyone else would give: enough money so that I can not worry about a roof and food, plus a little extra for treats now and then; the flexibility to make sure that I can enjoy my training regularly; keeping good company, both romantic, sexual, and friendly; access to good food and water.

They're all way too generic really, but I think they all boil down to one simple theme which I will be taking up as my single priority from now on: Strength. All of the above listed things make me a stronger human being in some way shape or form; they provide means to strengthen my body, mind, and emotional core (spirit?). I guess that means I could theoretically fit everything into that mould, but what I really want is to start asking myself "How does this make me stronger?" for everything I do. It'll help me discern what play-time is required for recharging batteries and stimulating creativity vs what is a habit formed by addiction (ie Netflix). It'll make me reflect on how and when I 'treat' myself to snack food, when actually I need to balance the emotional gratification with the nutrients my body needs to thrive.

Anyway, it was nice to know that other people have the practice of shutting out the clutter, and it reinforced my fortitude for continuing to do so.

life reflection essentialism priority clutter simplicity