Weeknote for 1/16/2022

Productivity

😎

I got through another chapter of the Org guide. Unless something unexpected happens, this week I should have more time for it. What crowded it out the past couple of weeks were my blog posts, which have dragged on through most of the week like in the bad old days, so I’m making adjustments to get them back on schedule.

Meanwhile I’m still jotting down copious notes on my scheduling extension. It’s satisfying to spell out the complexity I’ve suspected is lurking in the task management I feel I need.

I began learning about operations research, the math behind scheduling and other decision making. This is a subject I’ve wanted to look into for a while, and with its relevance to projects both at home and at work, it seemed like the right time. The only affordable overview book I could find was Schaum’s Outline of Operations Research, so I bought that, and right from the first chapter I feel it’s giving me a good foundation. My approach will be to read the explanatory opening section of each chapter and then dip into the worked examples for the especially relevant chapters.

Self-improvement

πŸ™‚

Wintering by Katherine May is a worthwhile, literary look at the ways people and nature cope with the difficult limbo periods of life. I became aware of this book a few weeks ago when my pastor quoted it in a sermon. I found the book very engaging but had mixed reactions to it. On the one hand, the writing was delightful, felt very British, and made me want to go read CS Lewis. The book had a lot to digest, with many unfamiliar insights on an uncommon topic. I enjoyed walking around actual winter landscapes with her words in my ears about the joys and trials of living with snow. And the reader, Rebecca Lee, was very good and fitting.

On the other hand, in spite of some organization around the winter months, the book felt scattered, so I’ll probably revisit it in text to give myself a better sense of the whole. And as pointed out by one reviewer, the author’s life circumstances did show through pretty strongly, so plenty of people would have work to do applying her realizations to their own lives. But in my view a certain amount of that comes with the self-help territory. Overall I recommend the book.

Fiction

😎

Text games and Wintering gave me the final nudge to get back into fantasy. I’d been inching closer over the past few months. Last week I spent an inordinate amount of time deciding where to start. I knew I wanted a genre fantasy, but did I want something more mythological like Tolkien, something more like a fairy tale, or something more Arthurian? And did I want to reread something old, continue a series I hadn’t finished, or start something new?

After I’d collected my long list of possibilities, one kept drawing my attention, and so I settled on a Tolkienesque series from my past, the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. It fits with my computer game inspiration, because that’s how I first encountered it, in the Sierra On-Line video game The Black Cauldron, created by Al Lowe based on the Disney movie.

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