Even though I’ve now subscribed to Play.ht, it seems I’ve already exhausted my quota of words, so this week’s audio will sadly have to wait. In the meantime, if you use Chrome, try the Pericles extension.
After carefully considering my options, I decided this month’s project would be to develop some learning tech I’ve had in mind. I was going to work on a notes-to-flashcards converter I’d started a few years ago, but I convinced myself to examine a similar tool I’d found, LearnObit, and as a result I decided to put my own program on hold and try using that one for a while.
My other learning tech idea was a program to generate a dictionary of mnemonic substitute words, which I’d also started a few years ago, and I was all ready to get into that until I convinced myself to research whether anyone had created something similar. I found two papers on similar tools, TransPhoner and MEANS, though only TransPhoner had code available, so I decided to try using that to generate my dictionary, and I finished off the week trying to get TransPhoner to work. I’ll continue that for part of this week, and then depending on my success, I’ll decide where to take the project next.
I’m rather proud of myself for stopping to research existing work rather than barreling ahead with my own, time-consuming ideas.
Managing my time better has given me room in my schedule for extra projects, so I’m in the middle of revamping my task management system. I finished relistening to Getting Things Done by David Allen, and I’ve been cleaning up and reorganizing my projects in Nirvana, the GTD app I use.
This shutdown has gotten me back into cooking, since it seems easier and probably cheaper to stock up on ingredients than prepared meals, and I was getting bored with frozen dinners anyway. This week I spent way too much time researching books on what I call minimalist cooking—cooking that’s low on time, effort, and cost. Even though I get excited about cooking when I’m in one of these phases, I still don’t want to spend a lot of time on it when I have all these other projects going on. But I am looking forward to my kitchen adventures.
Thursday I had a video visit with my gastro doctor, which was a new experience. It was just to check in, which I’m supposed to do regularly on this medication, but I mentioned that my work-sponsored wellness screening had been delayed till September, so I’d have to wait several more months to find out if my cholesterol diet was working, and since he was ordering a blood test for me anyway, he threw in a lipid panel, which was very welcome. He also told me Remicade didn’t really put me at greater risk from COVID-19, and that made me feel better about leaving the apartment.
Saturday I ventured out into the scary world to have my blood test and do a few other errands, which included some grocery shopping. The store was busy, with moderate social distancing happening and most but not all the shoppers wearing masks. I wore the very nice one my mother made me. I was looking for a few things I didn’t usually buy, and combined with tediously following the one-way signs everywhere and trying to socially distance, it made my trip take about twice as long as it normally would. I think I’ll stick with Instacart, or else try some less crowded stores.
I finished a book on spirituality that had carried over from my Lent listening, Eric Kyle’s Sacred Systems, which surveys models of spiritual formation throughout Christian history. After that I listened to his book Spiritual Being and Becoming, which surveys models of human nature from both Christian history and secular theory, demonstrates how to create a synthesis from such models, and then demonstrates how to create a model-based ministry program with the example of a community-based peacemaking curriculum.
The two books are valuable surveys of historical theology and explorations of model thinking in the context of ministry, which is what drew me to this author. Applying these methods to non-technical fields that could benefit from them is one of my hopes for my conceptual modeling project.
Since I’ve been managing my time better, I felt some freedom to watch shows again during dinner, and since I sometimes feel nostalgic about the Marvel Netflix shows, I picked up where I left off, season 2 of Luke Cage.
Who knows? Maybe this means someday I’ll play another video game.