I have just had one of those moments in which writing about the reasons I’m having trouble writing the thing I’m trying to write just made the thing I’m trying to write become far more clear. As in previous such instances (c.f. the opening of the authorship chapter in Planned Obsolescence), the problem being explored in the piece of writing and the problem of doing the writing are pretty intimately intertwined. Someday I would love to remember that before my anxieties about why this thing is so hard to write become quite so pronounced.

I logged in to Skype for a conference call yesterday afternoon and immediately received a message letting me know that it was the birthday of someone with whom I’ve collaborated on a few projects.

Don’t get me wrong — I have actually come to like Birthday Facebook, both the notifications and the resulting pile-on of greetings, which seem to me the best purpose that the network has come to serve. But Birthday Skype feels a bit more intrusive somehow, something like your kitchen telephone reminding you that it might be nice if you called your Great Aunt Helen every once in a while.

I did send a quick message of the “wow, weird, but HBD!” variety. I did not, however, send the Skype-minutes-gift-card that was on offer. (Sorry, collaborator.)

For many years, I lived with a diet Coke addiction. It wasn’t bad in terms of quantity, but it was serious in its regularity: it was hard for me to go a day without one. The cravings that resulted were intense.

I’ve been all but diet Coke free for nearly two and a half years now. Over that period I’ve drunk a bit of diet Coke twice (and a bit of Coke Zero once) and was astonished by the degree to which it tasted like antifreeze. That did in my cravings pretty much entirely — and yet this afternoon I find myself longing for an ice-cold carbonated caffeinated beverage. Neither iced tea nor iced coffee will do.

I find myself weirdly saddened today that the thing that was diet Coke no longer exists for me, even though I’m so much better off without it.

I’m contemplating a new writing project, and as I often do in the early stages of such projects, I’m beginning by thinking about the surfaces on which I’m going to do that writing, and the surfaces on which that writing will eventually appear. That sent me off this morning into a bit of tinkering here, which resulted in a whole new theme. Something about this theme feels more conducive to the work I’m hoping to do in the coming months.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether the prettied-up surface will result in any more actual posting than there has been of late, but a girl can dream.

This is a post designed to see if I’ve managed to unbreak my RSS feed, such that Google Reader and other modes of subscribing to this blog will once again update. Cross your fingers for me.

[UPDATE, 3.20 pm: So it appears that my regular RSS feed is hung up on something, but I’m not sure what; the XML appears fine, and the feed validates. If you’re subscribed to that feed and haven’t received any updates since January 2, you may want to switch your subscription to the Atom feed, which readers seem to accept just fine. I’ll keep poking at the RSS and see if I can get that problem solved, in the meantime.]

A quick note: I had the opportunity to attend the Apple Education event today on behalf of ProfHacker, where I posted my reflections a bit later in the day.

And a bit after that, I appeared on Tech News Today, talking more about the ways that iBooks 2, the iBook Author application, and the other things announced today might (and might not) affect education.

It’s been a whirlwind. Thank goodness I have a quiet weekend planned.