I canceled my holiday in Amsterdam. My travel partner refused to get tested for COVID after being in a high-risk environment, and that was a dealbreaker for me.
I wouldn’t have mind traveling with someone with a high chance of having been exposed to the virus, provided that they were testing regularly. The combination of high exposure risk and no testing is unacceptable to me.
I’m not willing to compromise on my personal values. I felt that during this trip, I would have had to sacrifice my own needs for someone else to have a good time. Screw that.
I ended up not doing anything special with my time in Berlin. This holiday turned into a staycation (ugh that word), and that’s also valid.
Anyway, enough of that.
I finally subscribed to Bear, my favorite note-taking tool (and what I use for writing these weeknotes). At €16/year, it is a steal.
Bear is what I use to write notes and weeknotes, and then I’m Importing notes from Bear into Nanoc.
Now that I have a printer, my mind goes wild with ideas for what to do with it. I had the idea of writing and mailing physical letters to people I want to stay in touch with. But it seems like there would likely be quite a bit of overlap with my weeknotes.
Writing letters by hand is not an option, as my handwriting is legible pretty much only to me.
As an experiment, I wrote morning pages for most of the days this week. I found that they help me to clear out my mind and stop me from spiraling and over-analysing.
I’ve not been doing them super consistently because there’s a a lot of overlap with my weeknotes. The weeknotes I write have a similar purpose: writing down important and significant thoughts and insights. Quite a bit of what I write in the weeknotes draft doesn’t end up in the final version of the weeknotes; I collect and curate thoughts before publishing on Sunday morning.
As another experiment, I’ve been using voice memos when talking (longer) walks outside. My mind is never quiet, and it’s good to have another way to get something out of my head. (I considered carrying a notebook with me, though that isn’t as practical.)
One evening, I took about an hour of time to start drafting a new short story. This time, I’m writing it longhand, with the fountain pen I’ve neglected for so long. This approach slows me down, and prevents me from editing before I’m at the end of the first draft. Even with my shaky handwriting, it’s really nice to write longhand.
I am happy to have started using my fountain pen again. It writes so nicely. Regular, cheap ballpoint pens can be absolutely terrible writing tools. I did order more ink and finer nibs, because the medium fountain pen nib I’m using right now is a little too wide for my taste.
I also figured out that notebooks aren’t for me. I much prefer loose sheets of paper. A5 is great, and you can easily get them by cutting or tearing A4 pages (which are readily available anywhere) in half.
I find notebooks annoying for two reasons:
Empty notebooks are terrifying. What if I write something in there that doesn’t belong in this notebook specifically? What if it should’ve been written in a different notebook — a notebook with a different purpose?
Writing on the first couple of pages requires holding your hand (and pen) higher up in an awkward position. This is especially true for thicker notebooks: one of the notebooks I have is 2cm high.
Loose sheets of (A5) paper solve that issue. I’ll still need to figure out a decent way of grouping the paper sheets, but I imagine I can create my own binders from thick, colored paper easily. I’m feeling crafty!
On my walks through Berlin, along the canal and the river, I frequently bump into a pair of swans. They’re always together, never separate. So romantic. So cute. So beautiful. So elegant.
(And so dangerous.)
The battery of my Android phone continues to decline. I’ve had the thing for 4 – 5 years now. I’ve had the intention to replace it with an iPhone, and I think it’s soon going to be time for that.
I’ve also been wanting to get a good camera, and perhaps it makes sense to get the iPhone 14 Pro, whose built-in camera, I’ve heard, is quite good.
But oof, phones are expensive.
I’m still coming to terms with my awful time at my previous employer. It is the company that made me realize just how bad the tech industry can be. It goes deep.
First, there’s the ethical aspect. During onboarding, we were instructed to “hold the tension,” meaning that if you see something you are not OK with, hold the tension and don’t fight it. That should’ve been a red flag. It is why this former employer continues to host far-right, white supremacist content. They occasionally donates to minority groups to polish their public image. Look at how much we care about Black entrepreneurs! But in the end, it’s profit above anything else.
That wasn’t even the biggest reason why I had such a bad time. In the eleven months that I worked there, I achieved nothing noteworthy — nothing particular to put on my CV. The first two projects I worked on were scrapped before they reached completion. A waste of time.
Afterwards, a bunch of us assigned to a project that was so vague, it was more of an idea than anything else. There was no software development to do; there were no designs, no UI prototypes, not even a rough sketch of user flows. I unsuccessfully tried for weeks to find anything useful I could work on, and then got threatened with a PIP (performance improvement plan). Absurd.
You might think that not having anything to work on sounds nice, but in my case it led to burnout, and I bet my month-long RSI problems, during which I struggled to use my arms and hands, are a direct result of that.
YouTubers Sold Out To Skillshare. The Truth. I signed up to Skillshare and regretted it. This video is accurate.
Before you “quit your job and follow your passion” watch this (struthless): Much better and more relatable advice near the end of the video.
The ‘Enshittification’ of TikTok (Cory Doctorow)
The Seduction of Despair (John Green, vlogbothers): If you’re tempted by despair in These Trying Times, watch this.
Tooled (Ethan Marcotte)
Jeepers Frigging Cripes Crypto and NFTs are so stupid and dumb and bad and I can’t even. I’m out. Goodbye. Burn it down please. (Chris Coyier): It’s good to remind ourselves regularly how shit cryptocurrencies and NFTs still are.
what to talk about in 1:1s (Julia Evans): Good advice!