#Weeknotes S00 E03

Third week in a row, so I guess it’s a habit now! I’m wrapping up a year that I’d like to be done with now. Maybe not as badly as I wanted 2016 and 2017 done, but pretty close. Changes are afoot–I hope. Welcome to season 0, episode 3!

WORKFLOWS. This has been my third week modifying the way I use my personal devices to write and conduct my text- and tech-related business. Basically, Google Keep and Docs has allowed me to do my non-dayjob related stuff almost exclusively on my tablet while I’m moving on the fly. As light as my ThinkPad X1C is, my dayjob life flies too fast and leaves me so exhausted lately, enough to make it kind of useless to carry it around every second of every day. But for those moments where I, f’rinstance, have a little time while sitting in a cafe to to edit a draft or polish off a blog entry, this setup works just fine.

PROJECTS. Everything writing-related has stalled this week. No excuses but many reasons, including illness and exhaustion.

READING. I finished Cal Newport’s SO GOOD THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU a month and some change ago, and have been reflecting on it in the context of changes I need to make in my writing life and, more urgently, my dayjob life. I’m about find out if I’ve accumulated enough career capital to start making those changes.

I got to M. Rickert’s story “True Crime” in Issue 72 of NIGHTMARE MAGAZINE. I’m too biased at this point to be objective about her work after all the years I’ve been reading it!

This article’s a year old but somehow came across my transom recently: “From Machen to VanderMeer: The Weird Landscape as the Avatar of Evil”. It’s a nice overview that includes Margaret St. Clair, one of those writers I (re-) discovered before it was cool. I became acquainted with her work about 7 or 8 years ago when I sought out and read some of the Weird short stories that were adapted into episodes of ROD SERLING’S NIGHT GALLERY, namely St. Clair’s “Brenda.” Of course, this led me to pull out my old copy of her best of anthology and re-read “Child of Void.”

WATCHING. I’ve lost track of the things I’ve been mindlessly watching, but as I play catch-up with Series 11 of DOCTOR WHO, I finally have some thoughts. But I’m deliberately taking my time letting those thoughts fully cook before I share them. Like every series since 2005, it has its strengths and weaknesses. I just want to make sure I’m making my comments are as unfiltered by any of my graying middle-aged cismale biases as much as possible.

Who else is watching Hasan Minhaj’s PATRIOT ACT on Netflix? The title sequence itself is worth the price of admission, just for the look that Minhaj has on his face at the end of it. I can relate, my brown brother. I can relate.

IN THE WILD. Somehow, the idea of trying to dress up some underdeveloped bushes with holiday lights during a dreary upstate New York winter resonates with me…

#Weeknotes S00 E02

Hey, 2nd week in a row! I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I could pull it off. Again, the idea is to see if I can build a habit I can sustain next year. So far, so good. Welcome to season 0, episode 2.

This hasn’t been a good week for getting much done. I’ve been sick for most of it; I had to take 2 days off from the day job. I let myself spend hours at a time in bed, but I just had to keep working on the latest IWP MOOC, Stories of Place. Mostly the readings, though. Lots of stuff just filling my brain and churning away. Anyway, what else have I been up to?

NEW WORKFLOWS. Okay, I get why a lot of people throw caution about privacy to the wind and put all their writing in Google Docs. And with the Keep extension for Chrome, I can have my current projects offline on my laptop. It seems more reliable than I remember from even a couple of years ago. Now, I knew I’ve had this capability on my Android tablet. In fact, it’s come in handy by letting me work even on the bus commute to/from work.

PROJECTS. I added another page to the comic scripts. But I spent most of my writing time pushing through about 8 pages of edits on a short story. I’m reaching that point where I can see all the holes. But I can’t stress out about it until after I’ve finished this pass.

READING

  • The October and November issues of LOCUS. I’m way behind, and I figured I’d have to start catching up somewhere.
  • Still chipping away at DEAR AMERICA by Jose Antonio Vargas
  • On tap: the September 2018 issue of NIGHTMARE MAGAZINE, because I can never let a new story from M. Rickert go by without reading it.

THIS WEEK I LEARNED…

  • Jerry Springer’s old show is done but a new one rises from its ashes: JUDGE JERRY. Hey, at least Jerry’s got real legal experience, not to mention local government experience. Makes me wonder how he’s going to announce child support decisions, though.
  • The Lordstown GM plant is closing. I imagine that anyone with roots in Ohio understands the deeper meanings of that.
  • There was a talk by 2 Cornell emeritus professors on the history of American atheism that I might’ve attended if I’d been in town that particular weekend and known BookTV was going to be there filming it.

IN THE WILD. The perfect illustration of my day job lunchtimes…

Weeknotes – post-Thanksgiving edition

Going to try this weeknotes thing, at least on a trial basis, for the rest of 2018. Let’s just dive in and see how it goes. It’s longer than I wanted it to be, but despite the holiday it was a busy week last week.

NEW WORKFLOWS. Now’s about the time of year when I start playing with changes to various workflows, testing them before I bring them into the New Year. I do it to fight my tendency to cling to ways of working that have started to create more problems than were solved. And so for a month or two, I run short PDSA cycles. This year, it’s about how I sync my stuff.

Since I don’t pay for Dropbox I can’t really kvetch much about how their decision to stop supporting any Linux system not run on a clean ext4 drive (my Ubuntu partition on my ThinkPad is encrypted with ecryptfs, which is a no go now) has really fucked up my work. See, I’ve prided myself on being software and OS agnostic when it comes to my daily computing. Plain text files written with text editors, and synced to Dropbox. And if that text needs to go somewhere–Wordpress, an email, LibreOffice, whatever–copy/paste is my friend. But it offered me more or less the ultimate distraction free writing environment, or a platform where I could take quick notes.

This week, I’ve been running experiments to see how far I manage going all in on teh Googles–Keep and Docs, mostly–for writing and life management. And after that, I’m going to follow up on a recommendation to try the AWS Free Tier. In the meantime, though, it’s been going really well. I’ve been finding how it’s made me leverage my tablet more effectively, with the help of a portable Bluetooth keyboard. Of course, this new workflow slightly intensifies the pain of being without internet, but I’m really at no more risk than I was before.

PROJECTS. I migrated two projects in particular from my Dropbox folder into Google Drive: a comic script I’ve been tinkering with and a short story edit.

READING. Once again, a couple of books have managed to jump their place in my backlog queue.

  • DEAR AMERICA: NOTES FROM AN UNDOCUMENTED CITIZEN by Jose Antonio Vargas. I got about a quarter of the way through it when by chance I happened to notice an interview on BookTV’s AFTER WORDS the other night.
  • THE COLLECTED STORIES OF DIANE WILLIAMS. Yeah, I had no clue this was coming out. So much for my so-called friends who should’ve told me. C’mon now, you all know better!

VIEWING

  • CASTLEVANIA. I binged all of Season 2 on Netflix over a couple of days. I loves me some Warren Ellis.
  • THE ENDLESS (2017). I’m writing up a review. Loved it!
  • KIM’S CONVENIENCE. I have thoughts about this I need to write up, too!

IN THE WILD. I’m not sure how a mailbox ends up at a bus stop, but…