Quality of life - a brief tangent


find, zoom, enhance


This last month or so I've found myself benefitting from a handful of small, imperceptible changes I've made to my day to day. Most of these things are minute enough that, individually, they probably don't register on the life-change spectrometer. The biggest one was switching to a kneeling chair I picked up for $100 through craigslist while visiting Philly. I took it apart and lugged it back with me on my flight. When I hauled my prior work-throne, a shoddy ikea desk chair, to the curb with a sign saying 'free, works!', it was scooped up within seconds by a serendipitous neighbor that happened to be in the market for a chair. Anyway, the changes get smaller from there.


defining QoL


I guess the 'profound' thought I'm having is that most of the time when I see 'quality of life' being discussed, it's actually more of a 'change the life you have' situation and less a 'change the _quality_ of the life you have'. A dumb analogy:


A McDonalds cheeseburger is fine as-is, but I prefer to order it 'plain' and apply the ketchup myself. One, so I can control the ratio and two, because hot ketchup is gross. I would consider this a quality of life improvement. As opposed to say, shaving a bunch of black truffle over the cheeseburger and serving it with duck fat fries. Sure that's almost definitely going to be an improvement (at least if my understanding of truffles and duck fat is correct), but we're not really dealing with the same burger anymore.


I see things like college degrees, career switches, diet regimens, moves/relocations, and so on touted as quality of life improvements all the time. But these are all (potentially) _life-changing_ events. And no doubt, many of these pursuits can lead to something better - indeed, I'm the beneficiary of a few of them. But I think conversations about the above tend to minimize the value of the itty bitty things we can do each day.


ruby is nice


All of that is to say, I've been working on a little coding project for a bit and it's been a blast. I'm doing it in the ruby programming langauge, which I haven't really touched since the halcyon days of working with rails. It's been a blast because, apart from just working, I've found that every time I google for some bit of info, or syntax information, I'm pleasantly surprised by what I find. By way of example, this project has me dealing a lot with substrings. In ruby, I can

line = "### some text here that I want to render" line[3..-1] ==> "some text here that I want to render ///////////////////////////////////////////////// link_line = "=> gemini://dogbeach.club/blog my own personal gemlog" link_title = link_line.split(" ")[2..-1].join(" ") ==> "my own personal gemlog"

See that range notation? Now THAT'S quality of life! Rewritten in javascript, we'd have

let line = "### some text here that I want to render" line.substring(3, line.length - 1) ==> "some text here that I want to render" ///////////////////////////////////////////////// let link_line = "=> gemini://dogbeach.club/blog my own personal gemlog link_line.split(" ").slice(2, link_line.length - 1).join(" ") ==> "my own personal gemlog"

I think that's nice. Nothing earth shattering. Nothing that's going to change my tax bracket or alter my census responses. Just atiny grain of sand in the hourglass of my day (life?) that, when I flip the hourglass over, is all of a sudden fuller than I remembered. And maybe I'll spend that little bit of extra metaphorical (and also very real) time discovering some new quality of lif thing. Or maybe I'll spend that time watching cartoons. And in the end, isn't that what quality of life is all about?

Anyway, a brief list of my recent QoL adjustments


  • kneeling chair (mine allows for rocking, which has been a revelation)
  • using 'bat' instead of 'cat' (who doesn't love syntax highlighting)
  • getting my news from daily podcasts (as opposed to reddit, which often felt toxic and lacked fact-checking)
  • timing my pourover coffee routine (ok, this one might actually be life-changing)


  • back home plz