My productivity finally picked up and gained some momentum last week. As a result my apartment is looking a lot tidier, even though some of that is just that I’ve moved things out of sight. I’ll organize them at a later stage in the process.
My parents generously offered to buy me a new winter coat, because that’s the kind of people they are. I was going to say no, but the more I thought about it, the more that seemed like a mistake. So I’ve ordered the updated version of the coat I already have, and I’ve offered to split the cost with them however they want.
The coding project generator is still feeling like a bottleneck for my future coding projects, even though I have a basically working version. So I’m going to try to get back to this one, if I can manage to make time for it.
Last week I started jotting some thoughts on my typical method of analyzing things. This week I’ll post a reworked version on the wiki as the seed of a (much) longer article.
Like I mentioned last week, these thinking projects are my most important right now, and I see this analysis essay as the most important of those. I don’t think many people will understand that, because it seems not many people have the systematizing impulse. But this project is my attempt to resolve a major shortcoming and paradox of my life.
On the one hand, I feel that analysis is my most significant potential contribution to the world and one of my most powerful tools for my own living. On the other hand, I’ve been so distracted most of my life that I’ve fit all my actual analysis into my spare moments or random, incidental projects. So I’ve barely done any that has any lasting value. I also feel that my method has significant gaps and that I apply it inconsistently. And in its half-articulated form, it isn’t very teachable. Still, when I do use these techniques, even in their truncated form, I get a lot of mileage out of them.
If I had my principles and practices laid out in one place, I could apply my method more purposefully and regularly, and I could pass it on to others who could make use of it. And I have a lot of topics in mind to analyze, so writing out my method feels like another bottleneck I’d like to eliminate as soon as possible. Honestly I think I would’ve achieved a lot more in my life if I hadn’t waited so long to work this stuff out.
I finished listening to the recorded part of Unsong, an online novel about the invasion of tangible Kabbalistic magic into everyday society. The audio is very well done but also very incomplete, and its release schedule is very irregular. So instead of waiting on the audio I’ll probably just read the rest of it … sometime. I do love it though. It’s like a cross between a couple of my favorites, Charles Stross’s Laundry Files and Ted Chiang’s “Hell Is the Absence of God.” It’s also really funny.
Unsong got me wondering about other online fiction, since it’s apparently not just bad fanfiction out there. I found a few places to find more: the TV Tropes pages for Web Original Fiction and Web Serial Novels and the list of sources at t4nky’s site.
My hold on the The Stand came up again, so I finished the last few hours. It was good, but I was kind of disappointed with the climax. I would rather have had a more constructive solution. But I can see good reasons for choosing the one he did.
The next in my Dark Tower project is “The Mist,” which I’ll hopefully get to in a few weeks when the CDs are back at the library. After that is the first actual Dark Tower book.
After The Stand I decided to stop procrastinating and start Red Mars. Judging by the first couple of hours, I’d say the past year or so of futurism and politics have prepared me to engage with the topics it explores, both social and scientific. I like it so far. My Mars globe from Christmas is helping me with the geography. I made it portable by taking pictures of it with my phone–eight around the equator and then one of each pole.
After 18 years at the company, my boss’s boss has left to take an opportunity at one of our suppliers. He got a heartfelt send-off at our last team meeting. We gave him the department’s service award and read him appreciative messages as our “nominations” for the award. They were the kinds of messages I like listening to, living eulogies that give me character traits to learn from.
For my current ebook work I’m waiting on other people. So this week, after months of getting other tasks out of the way, I’m beginning my evil software development plans. Evil because if they succeed, I’ll be making substantial changes to our ebook production tools and maybe even to our development processes. And the way we do things, I don’t need approval or permission. My poor, poor coworker. He does have an idea it’s coming though.