Weekly Head Voices #229: Staycation PERMA-Station

Figure 1: A scene from a short but surprisingly balmy weekend in Betty’s Bay (In Winter, a large part of Betty’s remains permanently in the shadow of the mountain.)

Figure 1: A scene from a short but surprisingly balmy weekend in Betty’s Bay (In Winter, a large part of Betty’s remains permanently in the shadow of the mountain.)

This edition of the WHV looks back at the week from Monday July 19 to Sunday July 25, 2021, a week of untold wonders and intense enjoyment, a week deserving of the hallowed title of… STAYCATION!

Jokes aside, it was a perfectly enjoyable week of time off, most of it spent at home or close to it.

We spent time together, took care of hobby- and side-projects, and even had time to daydream and come up with some wacky ideas which should probably never see the light of day, but which one day just might.

Lazar Focus 1.3 released

On the evening of Tuesday, July 20, after a flurry of programming and testing, Lazar Focus 1.3 was released.

Noteworthy is its new ability to measure and give real-time feedback on your current focus, as an easy to interpret percentage.

The more you resist distractions, the higher the focus percentage.

When developing this feature, I ended up selecting a 5 minute rolling window, after I was initially planning a pomodoro length. Five minutes seem to be a sort of sweet spot in terms of seeing one’s distractions affect one’s score, but not having it immediately distroyed, so that there’s still time to recover.

I wanted to mention here the interesting disconnect between the programming I do for this completely disconnected hobby project in a language (Pascal-ish) that I don’t particularly prefer but don’t mind on the one hand, and my day job, for which I sometimes still get to program, on the other.

PERMA: The five building blocks of well-being

So yeah, there’s a pretty interesting disconnect…

Writing code for LF, in this case perhaps perhaps noteworthy the real-time focus tracking data-structure, namely a run-length encoded series of (no)focus time durations that automatically get truncated, lengthened and pruned as time progresses, was 100% fun and relaxation.

This is not the most tricky thing to implement, but the process of first cooking it up in my brain, and then later sitting down to implement it, and seeing it work, was just challenging enough to result in several periods of complete immersion in, or engagement with, the task.

In Martin Seligman’s book titled Flourish, which I’m slowly working through at the moment (he is a great and impactful psychologist, but perhaps not the world’s greatest story teller, sorry Prof Seligman), he explains that human well-being, or flourishing, consists of five building blocks, namely:

  1. Positive Emotion: gratitude, savouring the present, hope and optimism,
  2. Engagement: Lose oneself in a challenging (err) task,
  3. Relationships: Love and be loved by friends and family,
  4. Meaning: belonging to and serving some cause greater than oneself and
  5. Accomplishment: Pursuing achievement and mastery for its own sake.

My little LF programming exercise was exactly right for triggering a bit of item number 2, namely engagement.

I am happy that I could slip a little PERMA in here on the back of Lazar Focus, a little tool that is also proving useful in ways that I did not expect. ;) Although the book is not the easiest going, it makes some valuable points if you too are a fan of well-being.

Pfizer jab #1 IN DA POCKET

I really loves me some cutting edge science.

I know that the mRNA vaccines have been in development for decades now, but they still represent such an amazing technological flex.

How fantastic is it that some of our cleverest humans have designed and tested this vaccine that consists of usually unstable mRNA, to be injected into human cells where our the cellular machinery in our bodies will dutifully follow the mRNA instructions to frikking synthesise and display a piece of spike protein that looks enough like the COVID-19 spike protein so that our immune system will notice and immediately start creating antibodies, all without us actually getting infected.

As if that’s not enough, the introduced mRNA is broken down ASAP after synthesis.

HOT DAMN we live in the future and it’s pretty awesome up here!


I am also really happy with the super efficient walk-in vaccination procedure at the Town Hall here in Somerset West.

I would have been in and out in 30 minutes with Pfizer jab #1 had I not run into and started chatting with friends in the side-effect waiting area.

Kudos to the Western Cape for running this like the Star Trek medical bay.

Still friends, how strange are the days that we find ourselves in?