✱ I’ve always been a big fan of Michael J. Fox, specially because of the Back to The Future trilogy he starred. So it was only natural for me to want to watch Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie this week, a documentary released on Apple TV+, where he gets in front of the cameras to tell his story, show how his career was inevitably affected by Parkinson’s and how, despite of everything that’s happened to him, he’s kept incurably optimistic. “The trembling was a message.. from the future”, as he says during the movie, but it never kept him from keeping on moving. He was never still. If you’re also a fan and have the chance to watch it, just do it.

✱ I know this will sound pretty volatile, but I’ve decided to carry out some experiments with the free Obsidian Live Sync plug-in in order to substitute for Obsidian Sync, which I just cannot afford now. So far, so good: using a free IBM Cloudant database I’m being able to sync between my iPhone and my Windows desktop computer flawlessly. If everything turns out well for some more time, I’ll try to also integrate Amethyst to the workflow. Amethyst is an Obsidian-compatible Hugo theme that can be used to replace Obsidian Publish. Should all of this work together, I might Soon™ ditch my Dokuwiki in favor of this crazy bundle. Stay tuned.

✱ As I usually work from home, it’s not every day that I get to meet my colleagues and my friends. This week, though, many of us met in a place that was new to me — a mix of bar and sports practicing place, where one can practice beach tennis, not that I personally did it 😅. The thing is it was very nice to be able to spend a couple of hours chatting and doing small talk, unrelated to anything about work. I hope we repeat this more often.

✱ This week’s been really busy. Lots of things to do, and learning. Thus I didn’t have all the energy I’d like to and, besides two new quotes and an image about reading, I wasn’t able to finish and publish any of the drafted texts I have saved. But I hope to publish more as soon as I finish a couple more activities. After all, writing and publishing has been a real therapy for me.

✱ I was invited to moderate the presentation of a proof-of-concept involving virtual reality applied in a training solution, during a seminar on technology and innovation organized by the company I work for, next month. I was flattered for being considered, and, of course, accepted it. And yesterday I could watch an explanation about the project — and, yet more interesting, I was able to try the solution out, by using very cool AR/VR glasses, and it was awesome.

✱ Hours before publishing my weekly notes, that is, this very same Saturday morning, I had the chance to participate live in a very interesting PKM discussion hosted by Geffrey van der Bos, where he, Alex Qwxlea and me talked about Omnivore as a replacement for Readwise, as the latter can be very pricey depending on the region of the world where you live, Amethyst as a replacement for Obsidian Publish and many other things. I got Geffrey’s custom CSS callout style for highlights up and running and also got acquainted with the Obsidian File Chucker plug-in. In the end it was all very fun and productive.

✱ According to my pedometer app, I’ve walked 29.5km this week. It’s probably not much for people who are used to walking and running as a means of exercising, but it is a lot to me. Actually, I’ve gone above the 10,000 steps a day threshold twice and got so cheered up by it that decided to try it thrice. I shouldn’t have. Last Monday I ended up visiting my osteopath, so she could put my bones into their right place. It felt nice to stop feeling pain, but in exchange I’ve been properly scolded by her, who reminded me that I should go easier when exercising, specially because I’m not actually used to do it very often. But I’ll try again, this time only in a easier pace.

✱ After considering to purchase Obsidian Publish for some time this week, I’ve decided not to. It is probably cheap in American dollars at 8 bucks a month charged annually, but when converted to Brazilian Reais it becomes very expensive, in my opinion, at over 450 bucks. Too much to keep a digital garden — although I still think Obsidian is a wonderful tool and will keep using it locally and offline.

✱ Giving up on Obsidian Publish made me consider a “B plan”. Years ago I fiddled a little bit with DokuWiki trying to create a personal wiki. And now, by using notes I’ve created locally, I went back to the idea and published my personal wiki and digital garden. It is in Portuguese only and filled with gaps that I need to address, but at least it’s gaining shape. I hope to keep on working in it.

✱ I had the opportunity of going out and have lunch with a couple of good friends from work this week. It was very nice to spend a couple of hours talking to them and making only small talk. The food was very nice also. And in the end I was gifted with a very hard to find — at least in the region where I live — chocolate bar. It was a mixture of white chocolate and cashew nuts, pretty yummy 😋.

The rare (where I live) Talento chocolate bar

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood, on Pexels

I came across this text from Christopher Butler today, where he mentions some notes about the act of blogging that he took back in 2010. Parts of his text ringed with me, specially because he mentions the act of writing in a blog as “this experience of being able to express ourselves without any restriction” and the accompanying “awe and excitement of publishing on the web“.

It took me a long time to get back to blogging. In spite of having started to blog somewhere in 2007 or 2008 — that is, fifteen-ish years ago — I later completely walked out on it for many years, first trying to convince myself that it was because of lack of time, but then acknowledging it was because I had lost interest in it for many reasons, depression and anxiety included in the package. I had maintained a website with a blog and some other random stuff and cancelled my hosting plan (although I never cancelled the domain name, and that was good).

Sometime last year it occurred to me that something was missing in my life.

I’ve always liked to write and it’s been sometime now that I’ve been feeling better with myself. This something missing was it, it was to write. Maybe in a blog, maybe not. The thing is, during this same period I came to know about note taking and figured out that was something I’ve always done, just without knowing it had a name. So I came across very fine apps like Obsidian, Logseq and Tangent Notes, all of which I still use on a daily basis to register my thinking. As I wrote my notes locally, I started to consider the idea of writing in a digital garden, publishing some thoughts, but unorderly. I liked this idea. Then came omg.lol, a wonderful service that, among many features, offers image hosting and weblogs: that was enough to awake that feeling of wanting to blog again, so I created a blog there and it was just a matter of time until this blog here was reactivated.

Christopher Butler’s text reminded me of the therapeutic effects that a blog can bring. As he says, with a blog “I can share the part of me that is afraid of dying, the part of me that is ashamed by my own thoughts, jealous of someone else’s success, that loathes myself, that is afraid of being misunderstood; all of the fears and anxieties and little things that twist around in your gut; that if you’re sensitive and smart and insightful enough, you’re managing to deal with; you can exercise these in a different way“. That is, I can share mostly anything, and I guess the secret to keep such blogging therapy a success is to write, first and foremost, to myself, for the fun of it, for the joy of it.

Sitting and writing what’s on my mind, figuring out what thoughts I want to express and shaping such thoughts in a way that makes them readable and understandable to someone else in a blog post format is very nice. And if and when I feel there might be anything else, not suitable in a blog, there’s always the possibility of falling back on streams of thought, private journals and digital gardens. Anything counts, because all of these things, as blogging, are therapeutic as well.

The year is 1984. Michael Jordan, to me the greatest basketball player of all time, is still a rookie, having recently joined the Chicago Bulls as their third overall draft pick, still far from his total of 32,292 points scored in his NBA career.

Michael Jordan and his Air Jordans

Yesterday I watched Air, an Amazon Prime movie directed by Ben Affleck and released this week, showing us how Nike executives went after the Jordans to try to turn Michael into their basketball shoes division spokesperson. I had never heard about the movie — until some Brazilian NBA sportscasters talked about it and how it would be release on May, 12. With Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing as the opening tune and many more nice music in the soundtrack, I found the movie plot very interesting.

And Air is not a movie about Michael Jordan. I mean, it’s not his biography. Ben Affleck, by the way, opted for not showing Michael on screen, directly. The director did this out of deference to him, because no one would portray him up to his legend. So it is that actor Damian Delano Young, who plays Michael, barely speaks during the movie, appearing few minutes and always shown from behind. When Michael does appear, it’s through historical footage, that is, using videos from his own games.

Young Michael Jordan playing for the Bulls

So, it is actually a movie about Nike. I didn’t know Nike was the underdog in the basketball shoes industry, I guess much because I’ve always seen Nike as the giant it is nowadays. Back in 1984 it had a very little marketshare, behind Adidas and Converse, the two dominant powers in the market. And Air shows Sonny Vaccaro, a Nike executive working directly with Phil Knight, the company’s co-founder and CEO, pursuing to hire Michael Jordan as a means to flip the industry’s game board — what they get to do, by closing a historical partnership which resulted in the Air Jordan sneakers family.

Now, I’m not a movie critic or a sports expert. But I really enjoyed the movie. It was nice to see how Air Jordans were sneakers customized to Michael Jordan’s feet, maybe the first ones to be made specifically for an athlete — as the movie makes us understand. Until Nike’s move, the athletes signed with Adidas and Converse and used the shoes these companies provided them without custom features.

From a business perspective — and the movie was pure business, it was something fantastic and unprecedented at that time. Along with another unexpected decision, the one of not only offering Michael Jordan a yearly salary of 500,000 dollars, but giving him participation in the sales of the Air Jordans, something that started a new trend, where athletes started to profit from their partnerships with sports companies.

The Jordan brand is perhaps the sneaker market’s most valuable name. When the movie finished, it was possible to understand that Nike targeted earning $3 million dollars in four years. But that figure was far off what really happened — and only in the first year, the shoe was so popular it sold $126 millions. Today, the Air Jordan brand fetches Nike and Michael Jordan $3 million in revenue every 5 hours. That’s amazing, and that’s way the movie makes us understand the beginning of. So, if you have the chance, give the movie a try.

✱ As the result of a badly curated cold, I’ve caught some laryngitis, probably to ensure my week started well. Lots of sneezes and a chronic cough came along as a result. That’s why the doctor said I’ll need to stick to some medication for the next two weeks or so. At least I need no antibiotics this time.

✱ The week also started with feedback time, due to my yearly performance review. I’ve learned quite a lot about how my peers see me professionally and about my strengths and opportunities for improvement. In general, every feedback I received was exciting — and some parts of them made me get even emotional. It’s nice to be working for a company where your leadership cares for you and tries to show you possible paths. Energized with that 👊.

✱ The small, unexpected surprises are the best ones. Last January, when I signed up to become a Matter app patron, they asked me to indicate whether I wanted to receive custom swag from them, which I said I wanted, because I love what they’re doing (otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen to be their patron from the start). It so happens I completely forgot about it until March, when an email from them kindly asked me to confirm my shipping address. I confirmed and forgot about it again — living in Brazil, I know how difficult it is for devs to send swag overseas, what I totally understand. Until an email from FedEx I received Tuesday morning told me a package coming from Matter would be delivered that same day. And it made me very happy to receive a custom, black ceramic mug and some stickers, all of them with Matter’s motto, “Words are my matter”, which also happens to be the name of an essays book from the awesome Ursula K. Le Guin.

My custom Matter swag 😍

✱ For the second week in a row now I’m involved in a mentoring activity. I love being a mentor, because I love teaching as much as I love learning. In this specific activity I’m involved with right now, I’m trying to help a work mate with improving the overall quality of her presentation skills and, so I can do it, I’m using one of my favorite subjects, storytelling, combined with a couple of professional past experiences. And from her feedback so far, it’s going great, not to mention the amount of knowledge I’m also acquiring. There’s definitely life in mentoring.

✱ 📚📺 After finishing reading The Nurse last week, I’ve watched the Netflix TV series based on the book. I’ve taken some notes during my read and intend to post about the book sometime in the future, but I can honestly say the book completely beats the series off. Netflix presented the story in only 4 chapters of about 42 minutes each, and this turned the story into something very shallow and limited, not focusing on the true crime investigation covered by Kristian Corfixen’s book. A real shame.

✱ I just have to say how happy I am for Miami Heat. It’s fantastic to see Jimmy Butler and the team come to their Conference Finals again. That was a great way to finish Friday. There are still steps to climb, but I hope to see them repeat their 2006, 2012 and 2013 feats again. I’ll be rooting from as far as Brazil, but I know it counts! 🏀🏀🏀

✱ Talking basketball, I’ve watched AIR, the Amazon Prime 2023 vídeo which tells us a story based on true events, of how Sonny Vaccaro, a salesman for Nike led Phil Knight’s company in the search for that who is the greatest basketball player of NBA’s history: Michael Jordan. The movie was not the greatest, but it was still inspiring and demonstrative of business disruption. And no one could beat Viola Davis acting.

We are all human beings and, as such, emotional beings. Accepting this reality is important, just as much as knowing that a surge of emotions can definitely influence our decisions, acts, and statements. This week, while talking to a friend, he sent me this anonymous saying, which fit like a glove for when we’re feeling emotional. It goes like this:

"Never reply when you are angry. Never make a promise when you are happy. Never make a decision when you are sad."

Coincidentally, looking for information about the origins of the saying, I ended up coming across these 3 tips — dubbed the 3R’s for when you’re feeling emotional by the user who mentioned them in Reddit:

  1. Retreat. Take a step back from the situation, whether that’s physically leaving or mentally retreating.
  2. Rethink. Is there another way I could look at this situation? Are my emotions proportionate to the situation, or am I making a mountain out of a molehill? How does this situation look from the other/another person’s perspective?
  3. Respond. Reacting and responding are two different things. Reacting is much more automatic, and it’s when we let our emotions dictate our actions. Responding means that we’re being mindful of our words and actions moving forward.