- Math relearning – I’ve released the first alpha version, which isn’t very interesting to use, but the documentation might be slightly less uninteresting to read. I’d love to say I’m going to jump into the math programming this week, but because of my other plans that’ll probably be delayed till December unless I can slip it in on the weekends.
- GTD – My main task on this is mapping my projects, which I’ve barely started but will continue this week, and in fact I’ll be able to combine it with another project I’ll describe later in this entry.
- Coffee – I’m still aiming to fix my sleeping patterns, but in the meantime I’ll be content to patch their effects, so I’ve decided to develop a coffee habit (okay, not really a habit, if I can help it), and I’ve been exploring the available ways to get coffee easily at work. The coffee from the vending machine in the kitchen is too weak and dirt-like, and the coffee from the Keurig machine on our floor is good but environmentally unfriendly, so to avoid resorting to it often, my next step is to investigate instant. At some point I’ll take Cory Doctorow’s advice and try cold brew, but I’m too lazy to make it on a regular basis. This is all very new to me because as a child I thought of coffee as a drink for grown-ups, and I never got around to growing up enough to start drinking it, and I still wouldn’t have except that a neighbor of my uncle’s offered us some when I visited a few years ago (Folgers French Vanilla Cappuccino, I think), but even after that I only drank it on rare social and distance driving occasions, but at this point in my life I don’t feel my identity is somehow wrapped up in not drinking coffee, hence this experiment.
- Less Than Zero – I’m a little over halfway done, and all I really have to say so far I said in this tweet thread.
- Peak – This is a book about skill development by Anders Ericsson, one of the leading researchers in expert performance, and I found it inspiring and motivating, even though the authors made it clear that expertise is a lot of hard work. That point will help me prioritize the skills I want to develop, since I’m more aware of how unrealistic it would be to try to develop too many of them to a high level. The book also helped me along in resolving a question I’ve had for many years, whether natural talent or hard work is more admirable, by arguing that raw talent only gets you ahead at lower levels of skill, which means that at higher levels the will to practice becomes all important.
- The Willpower Instinct – Since developing skill takes persistence, I’m delaying ‘Salem’s Lot to listen to this book by Kelly McGonigal, based on the course she teaches at Stanford. The book is as inspiring and motivating as Ericsson’s, but it reminds me of just how eager we all are to delude ourselves in every way possible, though it also points us to the ways out of this dark forest with many practical exercises, and I’m already seeing the effects just from casually following some of McGonigal’s advice.
- TV – I’m 2/3 through Marble Hornets, and not that I’m qualified as a critic, but that series is surprisingly good for something that’s obviously a very low budget amateur film, with effective suspense and more self-awareness than I expected. It’s written well enough that it’s even gotten me to shift my attitudes toward the characters over time. If I ever get around to it, I’d like to study it as an example of its genre (whatever that is–a found footage creepypasta ARG?).
- NaNoWriMo – I don’t have a novel to write, but I do have a lot of content to write for my website and maybe an offline project or two, material I’ve put off writing forever, so I’m going to piggyback off of this event to get a bunch of that done, if I can keep up. I’m going to prioritize original content that I can just write–stuff that’s already in my head and doesn’t take much research, including an article mapping my projects–and unless I run out of things to say, I’ll aim for the typical 50,000 words spread over the various articles, though possibly not all of it will end up online, as I mentioned. My NaNoWriMo profile is here, and I was pleased to find that they accommodate people who aren’t writing novels.
- Photography – Here’s an ominous Halloween crow for you.
A lot of people I know are doing NaNo. I’m not, because of my deadline this month. So best wishes to you for going for it!