Weeknote for 3/22/2020



I had the notion that Josh Kaufman’s book The First 20 Hours would help me plan my projects, since many of them are about learning new skills, so I listened to that early in the week with the idea that I could wrap up my learning system setup with a plan for future practice based on Kaufman’s method.

Unfortunately I only got as far as taking notes on Kaufman’s method and didn’t get around to applying it to the learning system setup, but I can keep working on that as long as it doesn’t slow down this month’s project too much.

Still, the book was helpful, and so far my main takeaway is that, for the sake of time, I should keep my learning projects simple and stick with the programs others have created rather than trying to do my usual deep dive with original thinking and abundant rabbit trails.



Thinking about how to learn and write faster brought me back to the idea of Zettelkasten, and reading more about that online led me to the book How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought You Think by Lion Kimbro, which is an intriguing title, so I listened to it to see what it could add to my existing practice.

The first thing I gained was a reinforcement of the notion that I could throw my half-formed products online just to get them done and available, since that’s the way he wrote that book, and even though the result is messy, it’s quirkily conversational enough to stay interesting.

The main things I don’t do that he reminded me of are to maintain an overall map of my notes and to review them regularly and to generally see them as a more integrated body of work than I typically do.

Life maintenance


This COVID-19 situation has been surreal, rapidly developing, and very uncertain, and my church and employer have been following the lead of our governmental leaders in making their decisions. The guideline for the max size of a gathering has gone from 250 to 50 to 10, restaurants and bars in Illinois were ordered to close, and finally on Friday the governor placed the state under a shelter-in-place order, so we can’t leave home except for grocery shopping and other essential purposes.

On Monday my company encouraged everyone who could to work from home, so that’s what I’ve been doing, except for Wednesday when the water was off in my apartment building for plumbing repairs, and our church’s Sunday services have been reduced to a skeleton crew. Friday it seemed the plumbing work had given my bathroom water a strange taste and had enriched my kitchen water with sediment, so after lunch I took a trip to Target for a faucet filter and some other things, and I felt better about my water, though it revealed a peril of working from home–home issues can come up and distract you from work.

Since I’ll be seeing a lot more of my apartment for a while, I’m going to try to squeeze in a housekeeping side project of organizing and cleaning.



Because of the unfolding COVID-19 situation, my church encouraged us to stay home on Sunday and watch the service’s livestream, so since it wasn’t my week to play on the worship team, that’s what I did, and even though I was watching at home alone, knowing the service was happening live and that others were watching and commenting, I felt surprisingly connected to the community. The church leaders recommended that we stay engaged, so I sang along with the songs and even continued my practice of sketchnoting the sermon.

Saturday I finished listening to The Word of Promise, the NKJV dramatized audio Bible. I’ll write my thoughts in a separate post (for real this time!).



Last weekend I was in the mood for a movie and settled on Coraline. This review contains spoilers.

I liked the movie pretty well, but it also reminded me of the trouble I have connecting with Neil Gaiman’s stories. I know they’re supposed to be good, and I can sort of appreciate them, but somehow his grammar of fantasy doesn’t quite fit with mine.

One more concrete problem I have is that his characters automatically know the magical rules of their world, even if they’ve just stumbled upon them, and I am very sure a real person would horribly fail at intuiting such rules. The only way I can reconcile myself to this type of storytelling is to wrap up the characters’ improbable knowledge in the conventions of some genre. Some descriptions of the story call Coraline a fable, and I think that would take care of it.

One misconception I had at the beginning is that this story would dovetail with my recent, mnemonics-fueled musings about adding an imaginative layer to the everyday world. Early in the movie Coraline seems to gaze speculatively at her new home’s drab surroundings and heads down the path away from the house, talking to a cat she meets on the way. I mistook this for having an imagination, but it turns out, as I see it, half of Coraline’s problem is that she’s locked onto whatever she sees in front of her (her harried parents and annoying neighbor boy, the lack of fun things to do), and then over the course of the story her vision is forced to expand.

This entry was posted in Learning, Life maintenance, Movies, Research, Spirituality, Weeknotes. Bookmark the permalink.

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