Tunes for this post: My set at Seacompression, Seattle’s biggest Burning Man party of the year, this past Saturday night:

So, one of my goals with coming back for the fall, working part time, etc was to spend as much time as possible just enjoying my city, my community, the sunshine, and all those good, active and fun things while it was possible – recharging my stores a bit after expending so much energy through my time away – and I feel like I’ve been pretty successful with that. A side effect of that is the lack of bloggage – I think I am alright with that though, so I will continue mostly posting when I have something to post and stop apologizing for it :).

The highlights:


I got to help build the coolest art car ever with some of my closest friends from Philly, and then direct it around the desert, DJ on it, and generally put it to good use for the enjoyment of all. I think I am piecing together that I really do derive orders of magnitude more enjoyment and sociability to fun/party things where I feel some ownership of a part of it. That was my main takeaway from the burn this year, I think. That and some healthy reinforcement about my capability for independence [compare to: notes on loneliness from earlier in the summer].


Spent a lot of time hanging around town with some really amazing Seattle people

…And got to DJ my favorite burner party here in Seattle for the first time since I started coming to it in 2010 – which had been a significant goal of mine in all that time, so I was suuuper happy and grateful! Still looking for some photo evidence but the link to my recorded set is in italics at the top of this post…

I expect (and hope) that October will be a month when I start to shift away from strictly fun focus, and move towards setting more productivity goals as we move into the winter (“project time” as I have been jokingly referring to it to some non-PNWers lately). Hopefully music and art will be a part of that – I still have not done anything with music production in the last 5 months, which is sort of a bummer, and there’s this shark car that needs some work. But my main focus right now is on income- and global-impact- related goals. The job I picked up at the end of the summer has been about what I expected – cool people, fun tools, but negligible impact on the big picture. BUT I am supporting myself working ~20-25 hours / week and THAT is every bit as gratifying and healthy as I hoped it would be. I want EVERYONE to be able to do this, and I think that attacking other economic problems from this angle could get us a long way. I really want to make some contribution in this direction in the future, although it is a ways away.

Even more exciting, I picked up another project that I think is going to be a lot more fun (healthcare data, measured in petabytes), starting this week. The best part – completely remote, and my boss agreed to pay me on goals met rather than hours worked. In other words, while I am planning to be around Seattle for a while yet, this effectively achieves the “Liberate yourself” phase of 4 Hour Work Week, the book I mentioned a couple months ago which has helped guide some of my thinking. On one hand, this could be HARD – I am not always a great self-motivator and have to be thoughtful about my stimuli, and my last major experiment in working remotely (writing python for research over one summer in college) was a bit of a disaster from that standpoint. But, I am hoping that I’ve learned a lot in the last 7 year and this will be much more interesting, so it won’t be a problem again. If it is – at least I’ll know, and can work on it. And, really all I had to do was ask for it. Everyone doing interesting contract work should really be asking for this (the goal-based part, I mean)!!

The experience with this kind of work will be reward enough, even if there are some missteps along the way, but I also want to make progress on at least one major side project in the next 4-5 months. So, I am going to state this publicly as a goal now, because as Adam Houghton wisely pointed out to me a few days ago, public embarrassment when you fail to meet your stated goals is a great motivator to meet your goals :). I have a goal to make some income off of something that I have equity in, and that makes life better for some people, by the end of February. Ideally, in the energy/environmental space. If I am working on something big like my dad’s greenhouse work, I’m okay with clear line-of-sight and schedule for income by end of Feb. I have been brainstorming and sending him resources this week, based largely on all the stuff I had time to read and think about over the last four months. So, that is kind of awesome.

So, that’s what’s going on with me. Anyone have recommendations for books/articles on hitting a schedule and motivating yourself while working totally remotely? Anyone with a sweet portfolio interested in doing some CAD work for sweat equity later this winter?


P.S. I feel like I am spending a lot of time just talking about myself and less reflecting or sharing things of general value.. and this will get tougher if I continue reading and blogging less while focusing on projects/etc in the next months. Is it still sufficiently enjoyable/valuable to read stuff like the above? If not, any thoughts or suggestions (or specific topics) on how to produce more valuable content for you, the reader, in the context of my experience and this little life experiment I am doing? Don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings 😉 Thanks!