My second digital declutter officially ends tomorrow. There's a lot to unpack from this latest declutter, but that will come in time. This post is to address some changes I'm making going forward.
First — I'm tentatively setting this journal back to Public. This means my posts will once again show up on the read.write.as feed. But...
Second — I'm no longer going to check the read.write.as feed. So, if you respond to a post of mine with a post that shows up on the feed, I have no way of knowing about it. For any questions, comments or concerns, I highly suggest leaving me a message or sending me an email. There's also some more ways of reaching me listed in my Contact page.
It is unfortunate, since I was one of those who happily participated in conversations over the read.write.as feed. But for now, I'm choosing to prioritize my mental health over it. I'm doing this for my own sanity.
Found myself playing XCOM 2 and ended up frustrated once again. I very nearly got my whole squad wiped out in a “Retaliation” mission. The Muton enemy was so strong. It was able to consistently hit my soldiers who were in good cover and those who were on the rooftops with regular cover. Initially, I had it disoriented, which made it ineffective in combat. But I didn't have enough Flash-bang grenades to keep it disoriented until I could take it out.
I tried a new tactic of falling back into an overwatch position during firefights. The intent here was to avoid getting shot, while at the same time, giving my soldiers a free shot at approaching enemies. It works well against regular enemies. But it didn't work at all against the Muton.
I did learn one good tactic for a “Retaliation” mission that involves saving civilians. That is to make sure that the soldier approaching the civilians has a shotgun or a sword. And that the squad's sniper, has good line of sight to the civilian being approached. This is so that in the event that the civilian turns out to be a Faceless enemy, the sniper can shoot it, taking a good chunk of hp in the process. While the soldier who approached it, can finish it off with a shotgun or sword.
This is what my typical lineup looked like, during a game in the 2022-2023 Master League season.
Had an amazing game against FC Barcelona.
Due to the way they were defending, I couldn't keep the ball in the center of the field. Once I pass the ball to my AMF, he would have just a few seconds before he is dispossessed. It's just not enough time to build up an attack. So, I tried a different way of attacking. I went from sending short passes into the center of the field, to lobbing through balls over their defenders.
I noticed that Goios times his runs perfectly. But even after a perfectly timed pass, Goios is just not fast enough to get to the ball before the defender clears it away. This happened 2-3 times before I realized, it is not going to work with Goios. That's because Goios only has a Speed rating of 70.
So, at the 55 minute mark, I decided to take Goios out and brought in K. Gameiro — one of my more promising strikers. The important thing to note here is that Gameiro has a Speed rating of 90. That makes him the fastest player on my team.
Before we get to the new set of rules, here are some notes on the additions and changes I've made for this new version.
I'm allowing the use of Facebook Messenger
This is the main app that my friends and I use to communicate with each other. I don't see a need to cut myself off from my friends this time around.
I'm allowing the use of Safari and Feedly
One of my goals in this second digital declutter is to catch up on my readings of articles and blog posts. I have so many open tabs of articles and posts I want to read in Safari right now, it is not even funny. So, I'm allowing the use of Safari this time around to help me get through all those tabs. That also means catching up on my unread items in Feedly.
Not allowing Micro.blog and Sunlit apps
I signed up for a Micro.blog account just last month. Great service. I love what they are doing for blogging and personal websites. I use the official Micro.blog app and the accompanying Sunlit app on my phone. However, I will not be using those apps during this digital declutter to see what effect they have on me.
Meanwhile, my email inboxes have been getting unwieldy. The number of unread posts on my Feedly account keeps on growing. I have not been reading books as much as I used to. I have not been learning new skills. I'm starting to get exhausted because I feel like I'm in a race to do lots of stuff, even if nobody is asking me to do them.
Recent posts I've read have made me question whether this is the best use of my time and my reader's time. I've started to wonder whether I've been producing something of value for myself and my readers. I wonder if maybe I'm just going through the motions. Like trying to look productive, even though I'm not. If that's the case, then I'm just wasting everyone's time, mine included.
I know I just recently wrote a music log post. And I don't usually do them in quick succession. Not to mention, I don't usually write posts on Sundays. But ever since I heard a wonderful rendition of Dan Schutte's “You Are Near” in the televised Mass I was watching, I have been wanting to do a Sunday Music Log post. What was holding me back, was finding a similar rendition of the song that I could share online. I couldn't find one, so I sort of gave up on the idea.
Then in today's Mass, Dave and Lauren Moore, the couple who sings in the televised Sunday Masses that I watch, sang a beautiful rendition of “I Am The Bread Of Life”. Once again I was filled with this urge to write a Sunday Music Log post. I went on to the Catholic Diocese of Dallas website to find a way to contact the diocese. I wanted to ask them if they have recorded videos of the songs that Dave and Lauren Moore sang in Mass. It turns out, the diocese has a YouTube channel where they uploaded recordings of the televised Masses I've been watching. Within those videos are the exact rendition of the songs that I watched, and now want to share.
So, first up is this beautiful rendition of Dan Schutte's “You Are Near”. The song starts at around the 48:22 mark.
This song brings back good memories. Memories of me as a kid singing it in Mass at school. Memories of me playing the guitar, while our group of altar servers sang this song in Mass. It's such a beautiful song with beautiful lyrics, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Where can I run from your love?
If I climb to the heavens you are there
If I fly to the sunrise
Or sail beyond the sea
Still I’d find you there
O Lord, I know you are near
Standing always at my side
You guard me from the foe
And you lead me in ways everlasting
Walking is increasingly mediated by technological gadgets worn on wrists or gripped in hands. We spend an increasing amount of time ‘screening’ the world – taking in most of life through a contracted frame that captures objects of immediate interest. To live with eyes on the screen is to be attached, stuck in the frame, taking in what is presented to us and re-presented to us again. But representation – even in fine-grained pixilation – is not experience. To experience is to perceive. When we look at a screen, we might see something, but we don’t perceive. To live life through representations is to live passively, to receive rather than to experience.
I am so grateful that I discovered the IndieWeb. Owning my content and posting my thoughts on my own site instead of a silo like Twitter gives me real freedom. I can decide how my thoughts are displayed (I like to make them available to everyone without advertising), I can edit them and they stay available for as long as I want.
It's a rather gloomy Friday. But I welcome the cooler temperatures, if only to get away from the Texas summer heat. Time for another music log then. Today's music log features rock covers of some popular hits.
Note that I'm trying something new in this music log. In addition to the embedded YouTube videos, I also added song links. This gives readers more options to listen or even purchase a song. They are not affiliate links. I do not get paid whatsoever if you decide to click on one of those links. I just thought of adding them to support the artists.
First up is “Mirrors” by Our Last Night. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the band Our Last Night makes some of the best rock covers I've heard. This is no exception. This a great rock cover of Justin Timberlake's hit song “Mirrors”.
It was a particular joy for me to visit the sites associated with St. Ignatius of Loyola on a recent film trip. But the most moving locale was a little church in Manresa built around the cave where the young Ignatius spent about nine months preparing himself spiritually for his life’s work. What he learned at Manresa is that our attachments to various created goods—money, power, pleasure, and honor—stand in the way of our responding to God’s will for us.
~ Bishop Barron
A really good homily that talks about the practice of “Agere Contra”, which means “To act against”. I believe that you can apply “Agere Contra” to most things in life. You don't have to be religious to practice it. For instance, I can see the practice of “Agere Contra” being very effective against social media and smartphone addiction.
This experiment is all about trying to reduce my smartphone usage at home with the use of an Apple Watch. Yes, I know it sounds ironic — trying to reduce usage of one gadget, with the use of another gadget. But let me try to explain where I'm coming from.
One of the best things about working from home, is being able to eat with my kids at the dinner table. When I'm working from home though, I'm always worried about time that I spend away from my desk. What if my boss wants me to join a call? What if I was supposed to join a meeting? This is why I've resorted to carrying my phone around whenever I'm eating with my kids, or helping Coney out with Baby Caleb.
Carrying my phone around the house has renewed my itch to use it. Like when I'm at the dinner table, or by the bathroom door while potty training Davin, or when I'm carrying Baby Caleb around to give Coney a breather. It's all too easy to just pull it out and fire up the Feedly, Micro.blog or DuckDuckGo app. As you can see, it is not ideal to have my phone with me around the house. Also, how I am supposed to tell Davin to not bring his iPad to the dinner table, when I'm always bringing my phone around for lunch?