This is the way I’ve always tried to approach writing, teaching, or speaking on stage: not as an expert, but as a fellow student. I’m trying to learn in the open. I’m letting others look over my shoulder while I figure things out.

I love this. Too often when I say anything on the internet, I feel like if it’s at all technical I have to be an expert who is never wrong. I want to be more okay with sharing what I’m thinking and learning and not being afraid to be wrong.

Wonderful piece by Ben Shewry about being a chef and a dad.

The minimum wage is one of those things that sounds great in theory and always gets people excited, but has a lot of problems. J.D. Bentley covers some of these issues, including fewer jobs for unskilled workers, fewer opportunities for development, and a climate the pushes more jobs under the table and into the hands of illegal immigrants.

Soylent is being talked about more and more, particularly in the tech world. The New York Times wrote about engineers who are ditching lunch so they can get more work in…

Boom times in Silicon Valley call for hard work, and hard work — at least in technology land — means that coders, engineers and venture capitalists are turning to liquid meals with names like Schmoylent, Soylent, Schmilk and People Chow. The protein-packed products that come in powder form are inexpensive and quick and easy to make — just shake with water, or in the case of Schmilk, milk. While athletes and dieters have been drinking their dinner for years, Silicon Valley’s workers are now increasingly chugging their meals, too, so they can more quickly get back to their computer work.

This is just the kind of ridiculous attitude about something that comes from Silicon Valley. Hustle. Grind. Drink lunch at your desk so you can keep on working. Give me a break.

I find soylent incredibly interesting, but not so I can spend more time at my desk working. Something more like this:

The best meals to replace with Soylent are the meals you aren’t excited about. I’m talking about boring sandwiches, generic lunches near the office, hasty breakfasts, or even “I just need to eat something” dinners. Those aren’t fun eating experiences. They don’t bring delight to your life. They probably cost more than they should, waste time, and are often unhealthy. If you are on a diet, these are the meals where you are likely to cheat and then regret it.

I often don’t eat breakfast or I eat crap for lunch because I don’t have the time, energy, or materials to make something proper and decent for me. I see Soylent as a good solution to that. It’s an easily made and balanced meal to replace all that junk.

I also like that I don’t have to worry about the conditions soylent ingredients were raised in. Unlike the bacon and eggs I had for breakfast or the burger I’m having for lunch, the ingredients to soylent don’t require massive slaughterhouses.

I don’t want to stop eating food I enjoy. I can still go out to dinner with family and friends. Or I can have the occasional bacon and eggs in the morning. I just want to replace some of the crap I waste time on with something healthier and easy to make. I think Soylent provides that.

At the beginning of this year I worked on my own personal manifesto, a sort guide for how I live my life and what I prioritize. Now that we’re halfway through the year, I wanted to take a look back at it and see what I’m doing well and where I could do better.

Relationships with family

With the Charleston on the way, my relationship with Lauren is better than ever, and we’re working hard to prepare for the challenge ahead.

I could definitely do better with my family. I’m not good about picking up the phone and calling my siblings (or anyone for that matter). If I don’t have a specific reason to call, I usually don’t. I’d really like to change that.

Responsible use of goods and resources

I’ve definitely been able to make some strides here. Having a decent waste & recycling company is a big reason why. I don’t even put the trash out every week because it frequently has one or no bags in it. That said, I would still like to find ways to waste less through composting and buying fewer unrecyclable products.

I’ve recently adjusted how I take showers. I generally keep them on the luke warm to cool side. I never turn the handle more than halfway. Not only does it use less energy heating water, but I don’t feel the need to just stand in the shower so I take shorter, more efficient showers. I’ve also switched to using a homemade toothpaste so hopefully I’m creating a little less waste there.

I’ve been working hard to reduce the amount of stuff in our home, but I’ve got a long way to go there. I’m slowly tossing or giving away things that I don’t need. But I’m still clinging to a large number of old Eagles jerseys…

Care of my body

This has largely been a failure this year. I’ve gotten very little exercise. I’ve not played much basketball or tennis like I wanted to. I’m trying to pay attention to what I eat, but I’ve mostly been passive. I tend to rely on Lauren to plan healthy meals, which she does very well. The good news is she usually does the grocery trips, so I’m not able to pick up a bunch of junk food. I don’t drink much soda anymore. I haven’t been to the doctor, which I desperately need to do.

It’s not all bad news. Things are on the uptick with my fitness. I got back to scheduling my days (which is absolutely crucial to my productivity, more on that soon). And I’ve run every single day this week. I’m keeping my goals simple, but consistent. I want to run one mile every single day for a month. It’s quick and (mostly) easy, but it’s building a habit that should help me stay consistent. One of the things I’m looking at doing is using Soylent to replace some of the times in the week where I would eat crappy meals, or no meal at all.

Serve & Participate in Community

Almost nothing but failure. There are only a couple of small positives I can think of. I went to a local monthly Cocoa Heads meetup, but unfortunately I’ve missed the two since that one. I’ve also started following the RSS feed for the Knoxville City Council minutes. It’s small, but it helps me keep a little bit up to date on what’s going on in the city.

The good news is Lauren and I have found a church we really enjoy, but we need to get plugged into the community there. We have plenty of friends in Knoxville, many that we love, but we don’t really feel like we have a community. That’s something we want to work on.

Use electronics responsibly

I’m not even sure what to say on this one. I don’t think I sussed it out well enough to properly evaluate myself. My rule of no electronics after 10 PM has not been a success. I’ve barely even thought about it. I’m going to work on making that an actual part of my day. I have a feeling it will be a little easier once Charleston comes.

Relationship with God

I think I’ve done a pretty crummy job here. I haven’t done anything to serve God in the community. I haven’t been regularly praying (other than at meals) or reading the bible. I haven’t talked about God with other communities outside of church.

I think now that I’m back to intentionally scheduling my day, I’ll get in the habit of scheduling some time for God. Some prayer and bible reading time every day would be good. I also have been thinking about getting back to having a physical bible. If anyone has any recommendations they would be appreciated.

So that’s where I am. If I can find some time soon, I might try to refine my manifesto and put the full version on the internet. What’s the point of having a guiding document if you can’t be held accountable? As I mentioned earlier, I’m doing more intentional planning of my daily work. I’d like to write about exactly what that looks like.