The Stuff of Life, September 2023 edition

Sometimes you’re sitting in a coffee shop, watching people walk by through the windows, and you think to yourself, “This is nice.” My friends I like to call these moments “the stuff of life,” which is a bit like that John Lennon lyric about how life is what happens when you’re making other plans. The big moments like wedding and new jobs matter, but it’s all the day-to-day smaller things that end up mattering much, much more. They’re built through routine rather than one-off gestures or moments. If your life is a house, the four walls are the big stuff like your friends, your job, and where you sleep. But ok, what are you going to put inside your house, metaphorically speaking? Here are some of “stuff of life” things that I’m experiencing lately.


At work, I had a really focused week, to the point of feeling “in the zone.” I’ve been tracking my time pretty closely, and rather than having 15 different tasks pinging at me all day, I got to spend most of the week on one task. Something I’m particularly good at, and is particularly important for the company. I’ve been putting my head up and realising that two hours have evaporated. Then I’ll take a little break, focus in again, and boop, three more hours gone. It’s felt good, but sometimes a bit unsettling as well. Grooves are good because they help you go fast. But depending how deep you go, the sunlight might not reach you.

Spring socialising

As the northern hemisphere plunges into autumn, things are starting to heat up here in the southern hemisphere. And completely coincidentally, my social calendar this weekend is busier than it’s been in ages. Last night, I hung out with a friend I haven’t seen in over a year. This afternoon I’ll be going to another friend’s birthday party. This evening I’m going to a costume showcase at my wife’s old school, where she’ll reconnect with some old friends.

Making friends is hard, and maintaining friendships as you get older is harder still. But I’ve been working at it over the years, and my efforts are slowly bearing fruit. It feels good, and I have high hopes for the trajectory here.


A friend moved to Japan and I’ve been eagerly following along. It’s very exciting to see someone make a big leap and try new things, and seeing updates of Japanese stuff of life has been a big highlight.


There’s this new video game called Starfield. If you know about No Man’s Sky, Fallout, or Skyrim, this game will feel familiar. Some have described it as No Man’s Sky as an RPG or Skyrim in space. This might be the first time I’ve really lost myself in a character, other than playing D&D. I like thinking about the mechanics of the game, and how the designers and creators made something feel so immersive to me. I infamously have trouble feeling truly immersed in games because I get bored and would rather go create something.

In this game, they’ve offered me enough things to create, so I’m more likely to stick around. I designed a spaceship from scratch, which took a long time and was very enjoyable. I’m starting to build a network of outposts that can communicate with each other. So maybe outpost #1 can mine materials x and y, then outpost #2 can mine materials a and b, then I can send all those materialist to one location to craft items and sell them for a profit. I love thinking about ops and process, and this scratches that itch.

The writing for the game is good, better than I’m used to. I’m finding myself committed to learning more about the plot, whereas I usually ignore the plot outright and go exploring. Sometimes I progress the story, sometimes I decide to pick a random planet to investigate. It all feels good. I’ve been enjoying my journey, and it’s been fun seeing my character come to life through all the little decisions I make day to day. Because it’s not about the character’s job, or the spaceship. It’s about all the little things in between.