Weekly Update (21w07)

Valentine's Day, snowstorm driving, and publishing progress.

Valentine’s Day

Each of these updates tells the story of one week, ending on each Saturday.

The first thing I did on Valentine’s Day, then, was to write last week’s update and send it out to a host of family and friends! Here’s Mattea, brimming with joy as she reads my inspiring account of how incompetent banks cost me 28% of my Bitcoin:

That wasn’t the end to the romance, however.

10 days before, Mattea showed me that her favorite puzzle design website had a new set of patterns for spring—but went to get her favorite, it was already out of stock! So I got a different one by the same designer, and stashed it in an obscure drawer.

Somehow, after she saw how fast it went out of stock (and I kept talking about “hypothetically, if I had gotten you something”), she became “95% sure” that I didn’t get her anything for the holiday. (She was right that I missed her favorite, of course, but didn’t imagine I’d get a different one instead.)

Imagine the surprise, then, when I whisked it out to do after we made eggs for lunch!

That still wasn’t the end to the romance, however!

We decided to celebrate properly by baking a cake—planning ahead, I had bought all the ingredients we needed ahead of time!—only to discover that I hadn’t, in fact, bought all the ingredients we needed ahead of time. Unsalted butter (for the buttercream frosting) and vanilla extract (for that and the cake) were the missing culprits, so we dashed off to the grocery store to get them.

Only as we finished up the cake itself did we realize we didn’t have an electric mixer! Winging it, we decided to take shifts whipping warm butter aggressively with a fork for 10 minutes, which seemed to work fine.

It turned out amazing; we didn’t have any cake pans, so we lined some cast-iron skillets with butter instead. This was a great innovation: it introduced a crispy brown buttery shell around the outside of each finished part of the cake, pushing the 5-butter-stick recipe yet more firmly into the “really horrible for you but WOW does it taste amazing” category (which is where, of course, proper cakes belong).

(We didn't get any pictures, for some reason. I don’t think we ate it that fast..? 😊)

Driving in a snowstorm

Last weekend played host to a historic snowstorm, throughout the entire United States. The power grid in Texas buckled. My family in Seattle had a foot of snow.

So, naturally, four geniuses here at Edyfi decided to go on a road trip to Arizona!

They rented a car (“pretty cheap” right now, for some reason 🤔) and headed south on Friday afternoon. Their plan? To spend two nights camping (yes, outside, in a tent) at Zion National Park in southern Utah, then swing down to the Grand Canyon for the last day before coming all the way back to Salt Lake City on Tuesday.

Apparently, it turned out fine; they only came close to dying “once or twice.” (You can’t just hang out in the left lane of a two-way highway—who knew?!) So, before I knew it, it was my job (as driver of the only car left at Edyfi (Will left early this weekend)) to pick them up from downtown SLC in the middle of the night on Tuesday.

As I pulled out of the driveway, the snow picked up. By the time I hit the highway, it was a flurry. After driving past two crashes within a single mile, I decided to slow down and start creeping along at 20 under the speed limit.

Eventually, I pulled into the parking lot of the rental car shop… 35 minutes after I’d arranged to be there. I was quite surprised, then, to not see any other cars around! They had texted a few minutes back, though—they were just cleaning up their car a few blocks away, and came around in short order.

I started writing about this wanting to paint a dramatic story arc; it was almost all falling action from my perspective, though, having missed the climax by a day or two. We got home safe—after stopping by WinCo for vegan ice cream—and everything turned out great. Sometimes it’s good for things to end safely, without an adventure.

(Sometime I’ll tell the story of the first road trip out of Edyfi, in which Mattea & Davide & I ended up sleeping in the car, 20 miles east of Highway 101 in Northern California…)

Not to talk about publishing more than I have to again, but…

(sorry, it’s probably getting really old, isn’t it)

…I’ve been making a lot of progress. Allegedly, I’m even making some money!

This essay will go out on time in about an hour and fifteen minutes, marking the continuation of two themes:

  1. For 11 days in a row, I’ll have published exactly what I said I would, according to my new schedule!

  2. I’ll have procrastinated a ton on it, and manage to squeak it out to completion at the last minute.

In the last week, I’ve stayed up until 3 AM three separate times, finishing up things that will be published that very day at noon. This is good and bad: good, because I finish; and bad, because I have only hours or minutes to spare (each 3-AM-night has had a busy workday after it, so I can’t just write an hour beforehand like now) and don’t get very much sleep.

So, I instituted yet another rule for myself: gotta be in bed by midnight, and gotta be awake by 8. Three days down so far; we’ll see if it lasts until the next update! (Some may be familiar with my (and Mattea’s) sleep-at-8-wake-at-4 routine from the last few months; we decided to pause that early on in Utah because so many social things happen between 8 PM and midnight.)

(I wrote about this tendency to procrastinate-but-finish in a recent essay!)

Now, the important part: people are caring about my stuff! (Sort of.) The first part of an exponential is always really shallow, so I don’t expect much; still, it’s exhilarating to think of how many eyes and ears and brains my words have touched over the week.

  • Twitter: 5.9k impressions (!!), 44 likes, +?? followers [??%] to 84

  • Blog: 131 views on new posts, +6 emails [50%] to 18

  • YouTube: 54 views, 4.4 hours watched, +2 subscribers (9%) to 24

  • Podcast: ??? (the website crashed and I’m writing this last-minute; shucks)

I’m going to post these statistics at the bottom of each weekly update, even without wordy context around them, just to have a record of my growth rates in the future. I’ll keep ranking them in descending order of “overall impressiveness,” which is obviously subjective (but also, subjectively, obvious).

Interesting tidbit: everyone reading this is family or friend to the best of my knowledge, but my blogging software says that someone has actually started paying me? Not sure, because their email doesn’t show up in any list (nor has the money appeared).