From the fabled and foreboding desk of Paul:

Frankly, I’m a bit shocked that it’s already July.  I mean, how the hell has half a year gone by already?  I know I lost a week to the ‘Vid back in February, and then recovery – by the way, that whole brain fog thing is very real – and then the craziness that was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, but geez.  It’s that time of year where we start looking at our PTO balances and ask how we’re going to make that last.  I cannot be the only one, right?  Honestly, though, I’ve already worked a full shift today, and although I dig my work, I really don’t want to dwell on it anymore today.

That brings me to the topic for this month.  An interesting theme was brought to my attention by the team: How do I nerd?  Whereas I don’t want to bogart that idea specifically, I’m going to broaden that to “What the hell do I do for downtime, some of which likely involves nerding?” 
The answer is quite a lot.  As a neurospicy soul, I have a ton of interests, some of which rent more of the timeshare that is my brain than others.  

Obviously, music is right up there. There are few the days where my head doesn’t already have a soundtrack going, whether it’s a new piece we’re working on, a piece I’m revisiting from one of my old notebooks, or a new piece I’ve just heard and found interesting and of course have to analyse.  I’ve got a whole rabbit-holed network of channels and creators who go into things like “what makes this arrangement so catchy?” or my favorite “what inspired this song?”

Another thing I enjoy is going to sound odd, but it’s my brain, and I like it this way, and it’ll remain that way until you pry my slide-rule from my cold hands:  I’m big on data, like the whole statistics/math/logic/query/coding/optimisation, if there’s a data point behind it and a new way to get at it, YEAH.

Building, so much building.  And yes, that includes LEGO and assorted bricky things.  Yes, I still have a box full of the LEGO I had as a kid. No, I cannot go to a mall where there is a LEGO store and not go in and look at every single kit there.  Yes, I subscribe to a handful of newsletters, blogs, and groups on the subject.  I also enjoy puzzles, models, R/C craft, and rocketry, some of which to the same degree as LEGO, given the time and inspiration. Also, DIY & woodworking, with the added bonus of designing things.  Someone at home says they want a hutch of bookshelves to go atop their desk, and it’s off to the races.  Get the measurements, dig out the grid paper and drafting tools, get plan/concept approval, procure materials, build it.  (I’ll see if we can get a picture of the finished product up sometime.)

Finally, and I’m sure this will come as zero shock to anyone who has met me: Gaming.  Pen & paper, dice, card, board, and especially electronic.  Pong, Bally, Intellivision, C64, Atari, D&D in the original red box with orange dice and a black crayon, NES, MS-DOS, Battletech/Mechwarrior, Cyberpunk, SNES, PS, N64, PS2, Xbox… right up to current gen.  Huge HALO nerd, lately I dabble in streaming with a team in Division 2, and then there’s the recently released Diablo IV, which I understand someone adjacent to us has already started a clan for.  As part of the gaming and streaming, I also volunteer as an Xbox Ambassador, with a focus on making online gaming way less toxic and more inclusive. I’ve always felt that gaming is another thing that can bring us all closer together, something many were happy to discover during the pandemic. I’ve had some amazing experiences with gamers across the globe and other Ambassadors, especially with regards to the latest industry advances to improve Accessibility for all gamers!

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