Feeling good about failure. Last week completed the first sprint of my project to algorithmically generate a dictionary of mnemonic substitutes to help in memorizing, a lot like the ones in this thread. My aim in this sprint was to create a basic first draft of the dictionary.
I didn’t finish the draft, but I feel strangely great about the project, maybe because I gave it a decent shot at the end and found out there was too much work left, yet I gained a lot of momentum over the week, it feels very doable, I can continue the project on the side, and I think I can get some good results, which makes me curious what exactly the generator will come up with. I’m also looking forward to later phases of the project in which I’ll add other types of substitutes.
Relearning math from the beginning with OpenStax. Unless the planning phase changes my mind, this month I am coming back to math! Many of my projects require math to get to the level I care about. Math was always my weakest subject in school, and for many years I’ve wanted to start over and learn it all properly.
I made a couple of attempts to do this, but I had trouble finding a method that felt both efficient and effective. Since then I’ve learned more about learning and about project management, and focusing on efficiency has led me to the textbooks published by OpenStax, a math curriculum that is both conceptual and relatively condensed.
I’m starting with prealgebra. When I get to the chapters that overlap with their other textbooks, I’ll try working with them in parallel so I don’t have to spend extra weeks on the same concepts. This week I’ll start on the first few chapters and see what my pace is like.
Mixed feelings about Keirsey’s temperaments. I listened to Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey, a blast from my past. Around the end of high school I got really into Myers-Briggs and annoyed everyone around me with it. Keirsey’s temperament system is a modification of it, and I tend to prefer his take.
This year I want to explore various themes around ethics and personal development, so personality is on the agenda again, and to help me understand certain interactions in my life, I decided to jump in with Keirsey, which of course I never completely read at the time.
Now that I have, I have mixed feelings about the book. It did give me food for thought and help me appreciate people more. But compared to my impressionable youth, these days I’m a little more critical, and I noticed he didn’t cite scientific studies, so I wondered what he based his ideas on.
An entertaining survey of modern software testing. I have some development time coming up at work, so I’m reading some more from my software development list. One topic that always trips me up is testing—I never know how to do a satisfying job of it, but after too much research, I’ve found some promising books.
Last week’s was a free one by Bill Laboon called A Friendly Introduction to Software Testing (PDF). His understated, goofy humor made me realize that testing can be fun, because you get to think up all kinds of ridiculous scenarios the software could find itself in.
Exploring new recipes. I’m making use of my new cookbooks, starting with Filipino Chicken Adobo from Good and Cheap and Caribbean Chicken Salad from Betty Crocker One-Dish Meals.
Folk music for cooking. Lately I’ve been accompanying my cooking with various kinds of folk music:
- “Pioneer” playlist – Sacred Harp, waulking songs, and traditional British folk by The Revels Chorus and others.
- The Dark Night Of The Soul Radio – British folk ballads by Loreena McKennitt, Hayley Westenra, Celtic Woman, and others.
- First And Last Waltz Radio – moody instrumental folk by Nickel Creek, Edgar Meyer, Béla Fleck, Mike Marshall, and others.
Out of the loop. Outside the bubble of my apartment, the pandemic is still going on and will continue for some time. I’ve fallen behind on tracking all the news on it, largely because there’s too much. I need a one-stop shop.