vast expanse, stars born,
galaxies like sand, and us
pale blue perfection

Haiku

I’m adding a new category on my site for haiku. Most of these will be quick micro-posts, but others may be longer. I have an idea for an interactive haiku but I’m not positive how that will work since my posts are published in Markdown. It should be a fun mini-project!

To my chagrin, I tend towards rule-following, so most of my haiku will follow the 5-7-5 format. I would like to experiment outside of those lines from time to time.

Here are some haiku I’ve been workshopping in my pocket journal:

whatever you do
must matter so you enjoy
whatever you do

I will be faithful
all of my days are for you
no one else will do

flowers dance in wind
clouds amble along slowly
people collect likes

quite peculiar
is the love of a small child
pure, strong, undeserved

oh you fool! live more!
think often of your deathbed
it is near, not far

look how far I ran
so far to be same old me
right where I began

Been feeling resistance to posting on here. So this is me doing something small (“literally anything”) to get moving again Do literally anything

Coffee and journals were made for each other. ☕ 🖋️

A brown leather journal with a black pen clipped on, a Chemex pour-over and a coffee mug sit atop a brown wooden table.

Spotted this during date night. A good omen?

A book titled Born to Blog sits turned outward on a bookshelf in front of other books.

“What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”

- Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek

This is a big reason that I’ve been off of social media. The main thing I miss is keeping up with life updates from friends and family. Someone should build an AI that watches my social feeds and sends me a summarized weekly email of my friends' and family’s updates.

I added a new option for subscribing to new posts on my Subscribe page. Now you can choose between subscribing only to long-form Articles or subscribing to all posts.

This one gave me chills at the end. A wonderful piece by Henrik Karlsson. The third chair

Tear It All Down

My website looked quite different at its beginning. I thought starting a blog would be a good opportunity to play around with new technology, so I decided to teach myself SvelteKit and build my site with it. It was very exciting: I would build in SvelteKit, write all my posts as standalone markdown files, and deploy on Vercel. As I started building and exploring what other people had done to get inspiration, I came across a concept called the IndieWeb. I felt aligned with the values of this web community, so I wanted to build my site to be part of it. Suddenly, my to-do list was expanding rapidly to include all sorts of IndieWeb specs and principles. Would markdown files be enough to do everything I wanted to do? Perhaps I would need to set up a database using something like Supabase

The more I added to my to-do list for the site, the more I began to dread working on it. This was supposed to be fun, what happened?

I lost my Why. What I really wanted was to start writing. To have a place to share myself and to figure out how to do that. That was my Why. But I wasn’t clear on that. I thought this site would be a good place to write and be a fun coding project. Mixing those was a mistake for me. I became so consumed with perfecting the design and functionality that I had no time to think about writing.

So what to do? I had this thing that I built, that I actually quite liked, but it was taking me further from my Why rather than toward it.

I decided to tear it all down.

I threw everything away and started from a blank slate. How could I just write? How could I stay connected to my Why? A blogging platform, duh! Other people have already solved the problem of creating a website whose primary purpose is publishing writing. In fact, Manton over at Micro.blog solved that problem and built his solution on the IndieWeb principles I admire, so that was the clear choice for me. I took everything I had written and migrated it over to Micro.blog, abandoning my SvelteKit project.

After the migration, everything felt better. I had space to write, space to bring forth my Why. I still couldn’t keep myself from customizing themes and plugins to make the site my own, but a little bit of play is okay as long as it leaves my Why undisturbed.

Why had this not been obvious in the beginning? Well for one, I didn’t even know about Micro.blog or the IndieWeb when I started out. But more importantly, my thinking had been clouded by an unclear Why and a fear of judgment, which I’ve come to realize are connected. My fear was something like, “This is supposed to be a web software guy and he didn’t build his own site from scratch? He must not really know his stuff.”

That’s a silly fear. Who cares? Have you seen all the intelligent people working in the web space that host their sites on a platform? They’re everywhere! And yet, I could not come to that realization until I was really clear on my Why.

I share all of this to implore you to evaluate your Why. Do you have the right Why? Are you clear on it? Is what you’re doing moving you in the right direction? If not, it’s very possible that you can make minor course corrections to get you back on track. You should try that first. But if you’ve gotten far away from your Why, don’t be afraid to tear it all down. It’s okay to start at zero. The sunk cost has already sunk, so don’t drown yourself trying to save it.

Tearing it all down is not the fastest way to do a thing, but it may be the way to do the right thing.


Here are some screenshots of what the site looked like before. I had a v1 for my homepage, which was ripped off from this YouTube video: Build & Deploy a Modern Web Portfolio w. SvelteKit & TailwindCSS (youtube.com). That felt fake and not like my own, so I started to simplify it into a v2 before deciding to tear it all down.

v1 homepage

A homepage including an intro section with a profile photo of Jake, an about section, a section highlighting the three latest posts, and a now section highlighting what Jake is up to now.

v2 homepage

A simplified version of the homepage showing a profile of Jake with a blurb of text and the most recent posts.

Articles page

A page listing links to each long-form article title and a short description of each.

Articles page - light mode

The articles page describe above, but in light mode.

Article page

The page for a single article. The article displayed is titled Reflections on Fatherhood.

Connect page

A page to share Jake's email and LinkedIn so people could reach out to him.

Tags/Categories Page

This page shows a not implemented screen, stating 'You found an easter egg! Tags have not been implemented yet. Check back soon!'. At the bottom, there is a button that says Get me out of Here!

I’ve had a Now page for a bit now, but just had my site added to nownownow.com. Pretty neat that Derek curates this all himself. He seems like a kind and down-to-earth guy over email, which tracks with what I picked up from his site.

I’m getting excited for this moon landing! Coverage has started: www.space.com/intuitive…

A Piece of My Self

A blog post is not just a piece of writing to me. It is a piece of my self, and these pieces track the process of my becoming. Sometimes I forget and I get lost, so these pieces and connections help to bring me back to who I am and who I aspired to be.

- Winnie Lim, in P&B: Winnie Lim

I appreciate this reframing of a blog post as a “piece of my self”. As I set out in the early stages of my blog, this captures quite well what I aspire for it to be. Each post is one tiny piece of me, a snapshot in time of one aspect of my self I thought worth sharing. Brought together as a whole, they tell a scattered story of my wanderings.

Some posts will be technical, some funny, some vulnerable, and some excited, because these are all pieces of my self. I look forward to looking back on years-old posts, and reminiscing where I was on my path at a given time. I already enjoy doing this with personal journal entries, but I have a sense that there will be a unique quality to reflecting on the progression of my blog.

I am also eager for serendipitous moments when someone encounters one of these pieces of my self, and is so compelled by it that they take time to discuss it with me. Positive or negative, if someone is engaging with one of these pieces of my self then it must have struck a chord, and I think that is a decent signal that I am approximating Truth, which is one of my ultimate aims of this blog. To be truth-seeking in my self and truth-seeking in my interests.

I already felt this a bit with my recent post on My Obsidian Daily Note Template. I was astounded by how quickly people were adopting parts of it or all of it. As I published it I thought, “Is this too ‘in the weeds’? Did I waste my time going into all this detail?”. But there were people out there, quite a few, looking for someone to guide them through these particular weeds. It is a wonderful feeling to create a point of connection. Something you and another can both behold and say, “This resonates”.

So this, too, is one piece among others. If it resonates, I would love to hear from you.

Blog posts written by hand from prison, sent via snail mail, and scanned onto the web betweenthebars.org

Tajín Clásico is a new staple in our kitchen. I’m putting it on everything. 🍋🌶️

My wife and I put together this little Atlantis so my little Saturn V has a buddy on the shelf now 🚀

Sheet metal model of the Atlantis Space Shuttle sitting on a shelf.

I shared my article about my Obsidian Daily Note template on Reddit in the ObsidianMD community and got a really positive response. I was surprised how quickly people were already trying to incorporate changes into their workflow and had questions for me (I had never posted on Reddit before)! I even had one person (@amerpie) reach out individually to let me know the template had helped him, and came to find out he was a fellow resident of Micro.blog! The web is an awesome and positive place when you know where to look!

Just added a Uses page to my blog! I linked to it from my About page but didn’t put it in the main nav. I hope to keep this relatively up-to-date, I’ll check in on it when I update my Now page roughly quarterly.

Little Saturn V on display in my office. Let me tell you these mini Legos were a PAIN to put together!

Six inch tall Lego model of a Saturn five rocket blasting off of a launch pad.

Now 2024-02-17

My 7mo daughter is starting to push herself around the house backward. I’m having fun chasing her around as she unknowingly slides herself under chairs.

I am gearing up to launch the NASA Cause Analysis Tool in late March. The product is looking really good! I’ll be able to share more about it when it shows up on our public-facing Mishap Investigation page.

I’ve been re-organizing and adding to this site as I learn more about all the options I have with Micro.blog. I’ve also been trying to write more. I’m still working on finding a good balance with that.

There’s a big wave of babies about to be born among my friends, so I’m looking forward to helping out and getting to meet all of my daughter’s new buddies!

I’ve been trying out the recommended_routine - bodyweightfitness (reddit.com) for exercise. I got my equipment installed, now I just need to use it consistently. I am really liking the emphasis on stretching and flexibility. I feel great after these workouts.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Wizard of Oz Museum. The interactive experience room was pretty neat! Although I have to say I liked the Van Gogh experience and James Webb images a lot more than the actual Wizard of Oz experience 🤫