Monday, December 4, 2017

Quitters, Bluetooth Woes & Personal Kanban

Weekly Update 2017-49: Kathleen Edwards leaves us with a lovely album as she moves from music to coffee, the woes of a bad relationship with Bluetooth, and true inspiration from my friend's personal Kanban board.

Music: Kathleen Edwards
Not usually one for the Americana genre, this Ottawa-born folk singer caught my ear after reading a very interesting bit of entertainment news (another thing to which I don't usually subscribe). Edwards happened to strike up a relationship with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver fame after ending a five-year marriage with her former husband. She spent a number of months recording 2012's Voyageur at Vernon's studio in Wisconsin, only to break up after it was released. That doesn't take away from the strength of emotion that comes out of each song, though: some of loss, some of love, some of regret and joy. I think the sheer honesty is what draws me to it the most.

I especially like A Soft Place To Land, Mint and Change The Sheets.

This album is the newest musical release from Edwards yet it is almost six years old, as she has moved on from the musical life to open a coffee shop in Stittsville, Ontario (just outside of Ottawa). She named it Quitters Coffee, which I absolutely adore. Sometimes people change direction and it's okay to quit something if it's not right for you anymore. I think we've all experienced that at some point in our lives.

Kathleen Edwards sitting intensely on a table at her coffee shop Quitters Coffee.

Next time I'm in the Ottawa area, I'll definitely be checking out this coffee shop. Read more about Quitters Coffee in this Toronto Star article

I found a template for FriendCanoe emails but it has some issues with Outlook (no surprise there) so I'll be using it until I find something better. This week also marks seven weeks since I started my new job, which means I am more than halfway to health benefits and getting an eye exam. Ah, the things that make me excited as an adult are becoming really boring.

Well, here's a more fun thing - I attended the Christmas version of the Bunz flea this weekend and got some really amazing items:
  • A screenprinted bag and tea towel featuring my favourite moon (Earth's!)
  • Adventure Time Season 1 on DVD
  • a Jake plushie from the same show
  • two lovely handmade pins (one featuring an alpaca and the other a secret because it's a present for my sister)
  • ceramic T-Rex with a circular spot in its back for a candle
The ceramic T-Rex was a great trade because it originally belonged to a young boy (no older than eight years old?) who traded it to me for a pack of fat crayons that used to belong to my mother when she was a student. It was a really heartwarming moment.

Jake has also fit nicely into our home at the Noodle; he's already nestled comfortably into our Christmas tree.

This week, I'd like to wrap up all the gifts I've been collecting and dole them out. It seems a bit early in the season but this appears to be the weekend upon which gifts are exchanged between friends. And so it shall be!

I'd also like to find time to find a better email template, if such time exists on my calendar. I'll also be taking a first stab at a personal kanban board, probably on Thursday night. More on exactly what a kanban board is - found below in the Inspiration section.

Random Thought: Bluetooth Relationships
I have always had moderate trouble dealing with Bluetooth. I could never get my Bose Soundlink Mini to pair with my computer or phone without several attempts, turning things on and off, and even hard-resetting the speaker sometimes.

It was a big leap for me to buy Bluetooth earbuds, generally because I was really fed up with the cord of my headphones getting caught on things (especially TTC turnstiles and my scarf) and because I had a $90 Apple store gift card burning a hole in my pocket. And so I landed somehow on Beats Earbuds. After so much shit-talking of this brand (some of which out of my own mouth), they seemed like the best option at $180 or so (before gift card) and came with a lot of accessories to attempt to fit my weirdly-shaped ear canals.

And since buying them, it seems like my Bluetooth woes are somehow over. The Earbuds pair almost effortlessly with my phone and work computer, reconnecting in a matter of seconds, and it even somehow seems like my Soundlink Mini has fewer issues pairing with my phone and personal computer. I don't know how any of this happened, but it feels like my relationship with Bluetooth has gone from hatred to mutual respect and understanding. This is a really random thought but it feels as though my decision to change my outlook on Bluetooth with little or no solid reasoning behind it, was the catalyst to make Bluetooth finally work for me. This all to say, I wonder if Bluetooth can sense my emotions and respond, like a human-to-human relationship.

Inspiration: The Personal Kanban Board
If you work in the tech industry, you may be familiar with the Agile methodology. Its mantra is to work quickly and efficiently, estimate the resources that tasks will eat, prioritize tasks, and be willing to change direction when change is necessary (a similar theme to Kathleen Edwards' way of life, mentioned above).

One way of working with Agile is to manage a Kanban board, upon which you label, cost and categorize all your upcoming tasks or to-dos. Many of the methodologies in my workplace can certainly be applied to personal life (which I have mentioned before on this blog), though it never occurred to me to make a Kanban board for my personal goals and tasks. I had been a listmaker when I had a nice large whiteboard in my room, but I think the prioritization of tasks was what was missing in terms of inspiring a mentality for getting things done.

I am proud to have friends who are smarter than me, especially one of them who made his own kanban board in his apartment to keep track of personal life tasks.

A personal Kanban board taped up to my friend's closet door for easy daily access (and self-imposed guilt, I suppose).

Each post-it could be something as simple as "buy kitchen chairs" or as difficult as "find new mealprep recipes", depending on your point of view. The point is that you make a habit of moving post-its from the left side (backlog) through the middle (doing) and on to the right side (done) at a realistic, measured pace.

I don't think I have space for this sort of thing in my apartment, but I can definitely begin a digital one in Trello and I believe I will start that this week!

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