Molding Goals for 2021 Starting Today

One of my greatest life challenges, as it may be for many others, is to find a balance beteen work and personal life. As we spend many days and hours in the grind, one of my goals is to find as happy medium between work and life. I strongly believe in a less busy lifestyle for many people, a stronger focus on self care, furthered education, environmental preservation, conservation, and maintaining a better tomorrow.

I started by making checklists for tasks using Microsoft To Do and the iOS Reminders app for structure and some sense of completion. I have numerous projects at work, and the constant pull of notifications, messages, emails, tickets, and reactive tasks to events during the workday create distraction and make it difficult to make any progress. So I’ve also started to block out focus time and silenced most notifications to increase productivity on the important tasks at hand.

Reminders app in macOS 11

I’m managing to mold my time into something more productive instead of reactive. Enabling myself to become more of a creative instead of the robot of the service industry. Days run together and life becomes a black hole of work, without any vision of progress or accomplishment. Now I’m using tools to reinforce myself in knowing that I am doing enough, and that I am working towards something better.

I’m reaching my 10th year in my career and the pandemic has been an eye opening experience into the world of academia and business. I’ve started to feel more talented and energized to accomplish new things. The problem is the roadblocks of wanting to do too many things at once and quickly becoming burnt out. I’ve started creating mental goals and have started to visualize accomplishments but quickly turn into systematic thought crashes and discouragement.

Creating documents that visualize and plan will help form a strategy and structure to accomplish these goals. This structured approach to career goals and peronal development should lead to intentional time management, a more strategic approach to completing projects, and a focus on accomplishing personal and work goals more efficiently and effectively. I can also look back on what I’ve started, how far I’ve progressed, and add notes on the goal. It’s not something I normally talk about but I was diagnosed with ADHD at a very young age. I’d like to think of this as focus hell as my brain is easily distracted by a new shiny interest, and what was in focus is lost in shadow memory.

My main goals for 2021 are to become more organized, create a plan to find a career that is more fulfilling with true growth in diversity, to polish my current skillset, learn at least 1 programming language, become a better baker, engingeering, and use resources to continue my education through SkillShare, Linkedin Learning, or Coursera.org. A lot of these goals go hand in hand so I can see spending time on Coursera for example would lead to blocking out time for studies, thus involving more planning and strategizing time and not spending a fortune on an educational experience.

Lo and behold December has arrived and I have a plan before the New Year begins. It feels warm to have set forth goals to accomplish and a plan that will hopefully grow and evolve as I’m able to tick those checkboxes on an ever growing list of things I want to build, create, and learn. Hopefully I won’t take on too much at once and remind myself that what I’m doing is enough for now and that there’s time and room for personal growth. Maybe we’ll plant something new next year too.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory – Photo by Sean K.

List of Video Games I Beat in 2020

Death Stranding

2020 has been a long year, and it’s not over. The PS5 is in circulation, and I have a PS5 controller in hand with no PS5 console in sight. Nevertheless, 2020 is the year of social distancing, social justice, and button mashing. Here’s an ongoing list of the games I’ve watched the credits roll on in 2020 so far.

  • Resident Evil 2 (Remake)
  • Resident Evil 3 (Remake)
  • Final Fantasy 7 (Remake)
  • Control (Platinum)
  • Ghost of Tsushima (Platinum)
  • Spider-Man
  • A Plague Tale: Innocence
  • Nioh 2
  • Journey To The Savage Planet
  • Far Cry 5
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Last of Us Part II
  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
  • The Outer Worlds
  • Tales of Zestiria
  • Death Stranding
  • Fallout 4
  • The Evil Within
  • Cat Quest
  • The Evil Within 2
  • Days Gone
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Ori and the Will of Wisps

The ASMR experience of playing Ghost of Tsushima.

I’ve challenged myself with playing Ghost of Tsushima blindfolded and enjoying the sounds of Tsushima island. I find myself listening to the flow of the wind, and the sounds of the instruments before I’ve alerted the Mongolian guards from walking directly into a captured village.

Not really using any kind of blindfold to play I’ve found that one of the best experiences in Ghost of Tsushima asides the pride in liberating the island of its captors was the orchestra of flutes, and the whistle of the winds as the wind direction changes to guide you to your next objective.

Days later the game came to an epic black screen of nothing just the ambience of the area that failed to load when I traveled. I was overcome by a tsunami of emotions as I stared at a blank screen and listened to the wind blow, and the leaves rustle. I tried closing out of the software and reloading, same thing. No response from any input, no menu, no hud, no footsteps, just the wind.

Progress

After trying this many times, I looked at my manual saves, one from 3 days ago and another from 9 days. I managed to overwrite the save from 3 days ago and was defeated when I loaded the save with only a few hours of play.

I tried reloading the auto save, no good. So I did some research, tried to flush system cache, then deleted the game completely and reinstalled it. Same problem. The save state was broken. After years of being a PS+ subscriber, my cloud saves saved the day. I was able to overwrite the corrupted data and go back about 10 minutes instead of multiple hours of playtime.

Praise the sun, thank you for the cloud.

Update: Make sure to cast your vote at The Game Awards for Ghost of Tsushima as it could be the GOTY.

Baking Bacon-Less Scones Twice

Vegan Baking 101

I’ve made scones many times, using expired baking powder causing lumps in the final product, and I’ve made scones while mixing my dry and wet ingredients before cutting in my butter, yielding nice flat biscuits. I’ve forgotten to add bacon and chill my dough. One could even say, occasionally, I make great scones.

Making mistakes is a part of the process, and becoming a better baker takes practice and becoming a bit more meticulous with following a recipe. Mixing something in the wrong order can be complete mayhem on the final product. Allowing your dough to rest or chill can also be a key component in the process of following a recipe.

Burned Scones Promptly Composted

The second attempt at the bacon-less scones was truly the best of the two batches. I mixed my dry and wet ingredients and then mixed in the butter with a pastry cutter. I humbly laughed throughout the process of cutting in butter and dough, (that you should probably never do) mixed in some chopped Herbivorous Butcher Pastrami, then shaped the dough into 6” disc and brushed them with about 2 T of water.

After the dough had chilled for an hour in the freezer it was time to bake. The product was tasty pastrami-infused biscuits instead of scones. I topped them with Myoko’s Garlic Parm Oat Butter while enjoying it with coffee in the morning.

Pastrami Scone-Biscuits

I’m enjoying JL Fields’ cookbook Baking for Beginners by muddying up recipes and having a good time. I’ll let you know the next time I make scones and they are the right consistency. 👨🏻‍🍳🧈

Tofu Scrambling Away from Labor

Cooking is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy combining spices to create delicious, memorable flavors. I used a recipe from lovingitvegan which is a “super eggy vegan tofu scramble.” The eggy flavor comes from black salt or kala namak, used in South Asia known for its sulfurous pungent smell, along with some other spices.

I chopped up a questionable onion and a fresh pepper then added them to a pan with garlic infused oil and minced garlic. After sautéing for a bit, I added some cracks of fresh pepper and sea salt. Then I cut up Feed Your Head Seitan Chorizo to add a spongey texture and added it to the pan to cook separately. I covered the pan for a bit to quickly cook the seitan, stirring occasionally.

I mixed the tofu scramble separately using a dough blender. Then, once I felt the seitan was cooked, I added the tofu scramble to the pan. The final product was some dope breakfast burritos with plenty of leftovers. -Happy Labor Day weekend everyone. I hope you get to have some fun. Wear a mask and wash your hands 💙