Today I deconstructed some more old furniture. It was in worse condition than I realized. I also used a hand plane that was in pretty bad shape to plane off the rotting layers off of some otherwise good boards. Found some boards that had become ant nests… and generally cleaned up a bunch of scrap wood lying around.
I want to get an inventory of what all is here so I can avoid buying any unnecessary wood. Wood is expensive. It also requires a place to store it, and at the moment anyway I don’t have particularly good wood storage. Looking again at some of the things lying around, I realized there are some huge boards being used as a shelf that I intend to get rid of eventually anyway. I will be keeping those in mind.
The saw horses and clamps were wonderful! I could stabilize pieces I was working on with the circular saw, meaning I could actually cut some pretty small pieces. I am already seeing though how useful a tablesaw would be and also how much space you need for clearance of the pieces you’re running through it.
I had some unused bricks in a stack. I had an ugly little corner baring itself to the neighborhood. So I took care of both problems.
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One of the perks of open source software is that upgrades are as free as the originals, and the software is constantly getting better. The recent version of catfish, a graphical file search utility and gnome-activity-journal are tool extremely useful tools that have been made possible because of major improvements in the zeitgeist framework.
Catfish used to basically just be a graphical front-end to the “find” and “locate” command line utilities, but because of the way it was set-up it made actually finding files difficult unless you knew how both of those utilities worked. In recent versions these pieces have been either put in the background, or done away with (I don’t know which), presenting the user with a simple search box that will actually successfully find files being searched for. The results can be displayed either as a simple list, or with thumbnail previews too. In general the layout improvements are very good in my opinion.
Gnome-activity-journal is basically a glorified recent files list. It shows you what you’ve been working on and when. It works, works well, and looks decent.
Together (or apart for that matter), these tools make finding your files easier than ever. Props to the developers.
There are only beginnings, no endings save the final end and even that is a new beginning for others. We set goals for ourselves to complete, but everyday we start them anew, maybe from a different starting place, maybe the same. Completion of a goal opens us to our next step, our next phase, or our next project.
I’ve finally reached the end of a major goal, completing a 200 hour yoga teacher training, to find that it really only marks the beginning of my journey as a yogi. I have some new tools to work with, and now I have to use them to make many new beginnings from here on out:
Implementing what I learned in my daily practice,
Learning verbal cues in Japanese,
Practicing leading others in Japanese,
I think it all goes back to the iterative cycle of business, which is life. And one of the most important things I took from the teacher training was the Niyama called Santosha, the moral observence of contentment. I have to be content in this fact of life. I think I am, and when I’m not, I know where I need to begin my exercises.
For the first time I think, I am in a period of my life where there is no outer authority to whom I have to report. No teachers to submit work to, no employers to work for, no clients to serve. I am at the moment anyway, working only for myself and that is immensely freeing, and at the same time remarkably difficult.
In the past month I’ve accomplished quite a lot, and at the same time one of the things that I wanted to do most during this period, I’m finding the most difficult. That is writing my novel. I have successfully written everyday since I’ve been here, but often what I write is unsatisfactory, and it is almost always less than I feel I should be able.
I am undoubtedly encountering what Steven Pressfield, in his wonderful book, The War of Art, calls Resistance. I’m probably going to re-read that book, as it was one of the most inspirational works I’ve ever read and helped me to chase this dream of writing in the first place.
As of August 1st my work as an ALT in Japan will end. And with it’s ending comes a great period of transition for me personally. I will shift my teaching focus to private lessons outside of the school environment. I will spend my mornings writing so that when I return to Japan I can attempt to publish several books. Lastly, for 21 days between October and November I will also go through an intensive yoga teacher training.
When I return I will be attempting to live several dreams I’ve had. It may take some time before I can make them viable, but I’m taking steps towards doing so. I won’t waste this period of opportunity!