Brian Gilham

Engineering leader, husband, and father

"8 weeks ago things here in Toronto started to shut down. And if they'd only shut down for a week or two, maybe we all could have gone back to what it was. But it's been two months. You're different than you were. We all are. We're hearing from more and more people that they don't want to go back to the old thing. It's not who they are any more."
Jonathan & Melissa Nightingale

"The best productivity hack is getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night. Second best is exercising 30-60 minutes each day. Both are obvious and overlooked, and yet make a more meaningful and immediate impact on the quality of your thinking than 99 percent of productivity tips."
James Clear

Welcome Back Blogging? →

The hobbyists (and one prominent pro — Seth Godin) profess that it’s the opposite that has the most positive impact on your life and mental health: short-form writing, and just getting your ideas out there. They’re correct.

Like everyone else, we’ve been trying to stay home as much as possible. My weekly grocery store run is the only exposure I have to how well my neighbours are adhering to physical distancing guidelines. And, I have to say, the cracks are starting to show.

Even two weeks ago, I could count on most people giving me, and each other, a wide berth. This week I was shocked at how many people invaded my personal space.

The fatigue has begun to set in and it worries me.

I’ve taken a crack at summing up the philosophy behind my blog and what you can expect reading it. The short version? I’m tired of fragmenting my online presence across various social networks. Everything will live here, going forward.

After weeks of fluctuating temperatures, it’s finally starting to feel like summer is arriving in Toronto. Spent a fantastic afternoon in the backyard reading, playing games, and relaxing.

I love stumbling across someone new online and discovering they have a /now page. It’s a great look into what someone cares about, spends their time on, and is thinking about. I had one on an older version of my site, but it was lost in the shuffle of a couple redesigns.

That’s now been rectified.

Work continues on my Sokoban clone, codenamed Apollo. The last few days have been spent doing a fair bit of codebase cleanup, implementing music and sound effects, and throwing together a quick win state.

Next up is figuring out how to best save state to disk, implementing a proper menu, and continuing to build out level layouts.

Why Restaurants Are So Fucked →

Mind-blowing breakdown from Joelle Parenteau. We’ve tried to support some of our favourite local spots over the last seven weeks. It’s shocking how razor-thin the margins are.

Lockdown Productivity: Spaceship You →

I really enjoyed CGP Grey’s latest video talking about staying sane, healthy, and productive during lockdown. Great analogy.

How Banksy Authenticates His Work →

Pretty ingenious.

That torn-in-half banknote though? Never mind signatures, embossing or wax seals. The Di Faced Tenner is doing all the authentication heavy lifting here.

As I wrap up my seventh week of physical distancing and working from home, I’ve found myself gravitating toward using the iPad more often. It’s the perfect form-factor for lounging on the couch reading books or noodling in Procreate.

Stay groovy.

Embracing Uncertainty →

Therefore, it has occurred to me that the problem is not the uncertainty. The problem is in working against the uncertainty. Of wishing and hoping and demanding that which is impossible to gain.

Implemented a quick test title screen, along with some general state management. “Apollo” is the project’s codename. I’m really enjoying the constraints of the retro, 1-bit vibe.

Starting to explore GUI for displaying level number, crates remaining, and move count. I enlarged the space available for each level, allowing a bit more variety.

SmileBASIC 4 for Nintendo Switch →

I started programming with QBasic back in elementary school, so I can appreciate this being available on the Nintendo Switch for today’s kids. Trying to write code directly on a handheld console sounds like a nightmare, though.

As my exploration into Lua and Love2D continues, I’ve been working on a small Sokoban clone.

I have a lot of the basics figured out. I can load in level data (created in Tiled), draw the grid, handle collisions, push crates around, and track win/loss state.

Next up is global state management, more of the GUI, and lots of other niceties.

What Social Distance Looks Like Across the World →

Filmmakers Jacob Jonas and Ivan Cash have created a short film, called A Social Distance, collecting clips from people in more than 30 countries.

In the self-submitted videos, people dance, play music, take us on a tour of their refrigerator, and introduce us to their pets. Edited together, these intimate moments create a synchronicity of humanity—a feeling of togetherness that’s difficult to conjure when you’re sequestered at home.

Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure →

Dr. Aisha S. Ahmad, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, shares some advice for adapting to long-term crisis:

Understand that this is a marathon. If you sprint at the beginning, you will vomit on your shoes by the end of the month. Emotionally prepare for this crisis to continue for 12 to 18 months, followed by a slow recovery. If it ends sooner, be pleasantly surprised. Right now, work toward establishing your serenity, productivity, and wellness under sustained disaster conditions.

None of us knows how long this crisis will last. We all want our troops to be home before Christmas.