Thoughts This Week - May 9th

Dwayne Harris   ·   About 1,681 words

It’s been a slow week for me when it comes to writing. Mostly because I’ve been focusing on some client work, but also I think I’m just slightly overwhelmed trying to get all my shit together lately.

At some point when I was adding to the website homepage, I decided to put some pressure on myself to write regularly by putting how long it’s been since my last post right at the top of the list of articles. It’s been a constant reminder this week that I have not been getting my shit together.

Website screenshot with 'Latest: 1 week ago' underlined.
A reminder right there on the home page.

So partially to make sure that text never says anything more than 1 week (and mostly just because I think it’s a good idea), I decided I’ll try doing weekly posts where I write about some of my thoughts during the week.


Taxes

I keep seeing people talking about finishing their taxes by next week. I usually wait until the last possible moment to do mine every year (sometimes literally the day before it’s due), but I actually got it done it last month.

Normally taxes are due on April 15th, but it was extended this year. But I think I heard at some point that the extension doesn’t apply to companies or people with LLCs, so I made sure to do it by April 15th just to be safe. So for once I get to see people talking about getting their taxes done in time and not feel the anxiety of another big thing on the todo list.

Speaking of taxes, this is the first time I’ve done taxes while being self employed and while owning an LLC. I was nervous enough about it that I figured I would go to an actual accountant instead of using TurboTax like I do every year. But then I figured I would start it in TurboTax and see what the process looks like and then I just ended up finishing it. It really wasn’t that bad.

Shout out to my Mom for talking through some of it with me. ❤️ She retired from the IRS a while back and told me about some memories of having to work with people with LLCs.


Client Work

I’m doing some work for an agency that designs and builds websites for clients. Their usual stack is CraftCMS running headless, using GraphQL and a React frontend. I’ve been using it for one of their clients and it’s actually really nice to build with.


Israel - Palestine

With all the (still ongoing) news of the Israel-Gaza conflict this week, I felt like I really should read up on the history of the region. It’s amazing how much we can passively take in about a thing (over decades) and still not really know enough about it.

It feels like I’ve been on Wikipedia the whole week, reading most of each of these:

It felt like there was a point on every single one of these articles where I went “wait a minute, what? why?” and opened another link in a new tab.

It feels like you end up hearing and reading about world events but these things don’t really stick until you’re truly trying to figure out why something happened the way it did or why people were motivated to do a certain thing. And once you’re really trying to get to the why, it’s easy ending up with 27 tabs open and the feeling that things are still even more complicated than you know.

All that being said, none of the searching for why should leave you without the ability make a moral judgement on what’s happening and the resolve to fight in solidarity with what’s right. The violence against Palestinian people by the IDF is horrifying. I’ve been encouraged by reading some of the thoughts of both Palestinian and Jewish people (both inside and outside of Israel) who agree that the IDF’s actions are inexcusable.


Digital Gardening

I got a message from someone about the website this week. They mentioned liking what I’ve done so far and wanting to do more digital gardening, saying:

For me, a digital garden has a dual purpose, to be an expansion of ones mind, but also to be a personal statement of ones skill and aptitude.

I really like the way that sounds. I heard the term digital gardening before, but I never really thought about it enough to look into it. After the message, I spent some time reading what people were saying about it (Maggie Appleton, Joel Hooks, Amy Hoy). My quick summary:

Blogging, but with an emphasis on non-chronological and unfinished thoughts/posts that are linked (and back-linked) together into more of a map than a basic stream or feed. Digital gardening is about displaying and tending to your thoughts instead of just publishing finished articles or writing tweets in a timeline.

When it comes to personal notes, I really liked what Obsidian was trying to do. It’s less about digital gardening specifically, and more about the idea of keeping notes that you link between and map together like a knowledge base instead of just flat files. I think there’s a plugin that lets you export any of your Obsidian vaults to a static website that you can deploy somewhere.

For web based digital gardening tools/services, there are a couple of popular apps, one called TiddlyWiki (I will always laugh when I see that name), which I’ve seen a few sites using already.

This stuff really got me thinking about my notes and writing. I don’t write down a lot of my random ass thoughts, and I’m constantly thinking about writing more of them as blog posts, but writing all your incomplete thoughts as articles is really not sustainable at all.

I’ve been thinking about maybe doing 1 of 2 things around the concept:

  • A digital garden section of this website, focusing on the presentation and more interesting custom things I could do with it in this platform. I already have a Notes system I built here, and I could definitely redesign it to act a little more like Obsidian, but also be (mostly) public.
  • A public app/service that focuses more on the social, shared knowledge mapping/gardening part of this. Considering how much I already dislike the uniform attention-optimized feed most social networks have settled on, the chance to work on a service/network that focuses on people growing interesting thoughts together over time sounds very interesting to me right now.

COVID-19 Vaccination

As of Thurs next week, I’ll be fully (including the two week wait after the second shot) vaccinated! And Summer just arrived here in NYC. Lots of people around here are talking about going out a lot and doing the whole wild sexy summer thing.

I’m happy a lot of people are feeling ready to celebrate things getting better (and yes, I am definitely ready to enjoy this city and actually be able to grab a drink with people again), but I’m not feeling all that optimistic about things right now. I just know this story isn’t over yet.


Resident Evil Village

My partner Monique bought it last week and just beat it. She was into it! Maybe not as much as the Resident Evil 2 remake, but more than the others she’s played. I watched some of her playthrough, and we’ve watched a few Youtubers play here and there, so I feel like it was a part of my life this week.

It looks like a game I would really like (although I think I like Resident Evil more in third person than first person), but I’ve seen enough now that I probably won’t end up playing it myself. But speaking of Resident Evil games I like, I’ll rank my favorites and where this probably would end up:

  1. Resident Evil 2 (2019)
  2. Resident Evil (2015/1996)
  3. Resident Evil Village
  4. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999)
  5. Resident Evil - Code: Veronica
  6. Resident Evil 2 (1998)
  7. Resident Evil 4
  8. Resident Evil Zero
  9. Resident Evil 5
  10. Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil (1996) was the first game I ever played on the Playstation and I think the first 3D game I ever played. It’s always gonna be high on my list of favorite games.

I think Code: Veronica is ranked above the original RE 2 mostly because of Dreamcast nostalgia. I remember just being really happy about gaming during pretty much the entire Dreamcast era.

Resident Evil 7 isn’t on the list because I just really do not like first person jump scares. I just never got into the game. I think I would have liked it if I got past all that so I don’t know how to rank it.

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