I consider this my main project right now, defining a method for conceptual modeling. But I tend to waste a lot of time on things like social media, so I wasn’t spending as much time on it as I wanted. But the past couple of weeks I’ve been learning to redirect myself from mindless scrolling to productive work, and I’m making much better progress. It helps a lot that I can work on this project from my phone and that I don’t mind doing so. It lets me make use of a lot of random spare moments.
Here’s my plan: I’ll update a few key details of my essay this week and call it version 0.1 of the method. In about three weeks I’m hoping to have version 0.2 ready to post. For that I need to finish the book I’m examining now and put my earlier notes in order, then assemble it all into something comprehensible.
The book I’m studying is Demystifying Dissertation Writing by Peg Boyle Single. It’s just what I needed at this point, and I recommend it to anyone who has a big writing project to tackle, even if they’re not getting a doctorate. It’s both helping me get through this project and shaping the method the project is developing.
My budget is about 60% done. I should be able to finish this week, if I can pull myself away from modeling.
A friend of mine at church is moving out of the area with his family to live closer to work, so we had a going-away reception for them Sunday afternoon. It reminded me that our church knows how to conduct meaningful events. (The smile’s for that, not because my friend is leaving.) The good thing is they’re only moving about a half-hour away, so I can still see them from time to time.
Tim and I saw Solo: A Star Wars Story on Sunday. 4/5. The movie hasn’t done well, but I liked it fine. Despite not being directly about the Skywalkers and the Force (though the Empire made a strong appearance), it still felt like Star Wars to me. I concluded it’s because I think of Star Wars more as a setting than a plot. There are a lot of different stories to tell within it. The only thing that bothered me was that a certain character’s stated philosophy of life was directly contradicted by his earlier behavior, and he had no explanation.
Wingfeather Saga, Book 3: The Monster in the Hollows. 5/5. The author read this one and the next. He’s not as good as the British guy who read the first two, but his voices still drew me in and made me forget I was listening to a single reader. I enjoyed the story, as usual. Peterson is good at putting his characters in impossible situations. Even though I know there must be some escape, I still feel the tension. And he succeeded at moving along the series arc when I was sure he would run out of time. He’s good at surprises.
My current audiobook is The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker. It was a recommendation from a Gary Marcus talk, and Marcus is one of my favorite people right now because of our shared minority stance on AI. The book is very interesting and overlaps with Dehaene’s Consciousness and the Brain, which makes me believe everything Pinker’s book says. Okay, I do wonder about the idea of universal grammar based on these criticisms, but even so I think Pinker’s overall point stands–that the brain’s learning mechanisms aren’t completely general but are born prepared for language.
Well, after many years of procrastinating, I’ve started watching Breaking Bad, very slowly. I’m sure the show is meant to be about the main character’s descent into depravity and everything, but for me the two episodes I’ve seen are a tribute to knowledge. Walter White is a chemistry expert, he’s intent on doing things right, and ignoring him hurts. But yeah, maybe he could’ve picked a better line of work. He wasted no time trapping himself in a very difficult dilemma. I imagine this will happen a lot. Though moral dilemmas feel easier if you stamp out your conscience, just FYI.