A fairly uneventful week. This is good.
I made bread yesterday and had friends over. They consumed the bread and everybody was happy. (I wrote these two sentences on Friday in the hope that they would turn out to be correct. They were.)
There is something particularly cursed about notifications that makes them work just-not-well-enough on every laptop, at every job, with any type of software, ever. Notifications have been the bane of my existence for a long time; the first time writing about it in my weeknotes is in Weeknotes 2022 W34: Insomnia.
My work laptop stopped showing notifications for upcoming meetings. Some time after the meeting has started — half an hour or even hours later — it will happily show a notification, often long after the meeting is already over.
Has my computer become self-aware and is it now mocking me? I believe this to be the only reasonable explanation left at this point.
I do get notifications from Microsoft Teams for channels I genuinely do not care about (the “look at how many pushups I did today” workout channel is the main offender), and there is no way to mute them. This week I also found channels that I wasn’t aware of, with messages relevant to my job going back months. I’m genuinely clueless as to how this can have happened.
Communication is hard, and the tools seem to be getting in the way, despite what they promise.
I’ve been making very little progress with my writing recently. I start new stories and restart the draft of in-progress stories, but I’m not able to take anything close to the finishing line.
One aspect of writing that I want to get better at is writing dialogue. Good dialogue is hard! I picked up screenwriting software, Beat, with the idea that it would let me focus on writing dialogue first and foremost, but it turns out (to no-one’s surprise) that having screenwriting software does not magically grant you the ability to write good dialogue.
The Why Gifted Kids Are Actually Special Needs video by Healthy Gamer strongly resonated with me, and gave me new insight into my high school experience. The video is totally worth watching.
In the penultimate year of high school, I failed my exams so spectacularly that I had to retake the year. The head teacher advised me to stay clear of anything to do with mathematics and sciences, because I simply wasn’t capable, according to him. Having to retake a year is humiliating. Being put in a class where everyone is a year younger than you is an extra punishment, and you barely get to spend time with your existing friends anymore. As you can imagine, it fucking sucked.
For the longest time, I could not figure out why I had failed so hard. When I talked to a school-associated psychologist afterwards, they showed me a plot of all the scores of the intelligence test everyone took at the start of high school. That plot had a dot for me, clustered with two other dots, ahead of everyone else by a significant margin. This confused the psychologist as much as it confused me; they told me that I am clearly smart and that it therefore made no sense that I failed my exams so hard.
I’ve come to realise that the reason is that before that fateful year, I didn’t really put in much work into anything I did. Most of the stuff I did (and liked) I was naturally good at, and the stuff that I wasn’t naturally good at, I simply avoided. That worked up until a certain point; clearly in the penultimate year of high school that broke down hard.
The year after that (I think — my memory is vague), I started seeing a study coach on a weekly basis. How to learn and how to study did not come naturally to me. Having such a coach was extremely helpful, and transformed me from being The Embodiment Of Chaos to someone who’s pretty well organised.
But it’s only until I watched the video linked above that I realised that I never truly learnt how to put in the work to study and acquire skills. I’ve gotten better at it, but I still don’t think I’ve ever really put in genuine effort to get the skills to where I want them to be. This is a bit scary, because this makes my new endeavours risky. For example, for my acting classes, I know that I will need to put in a good amount of continued effort.
At least I think being aware of this shortcoming of mine is a good step in the right direction.
I had my first acting class (using the Chekhov method) earlier this week. That went well!
It’ll be interesting to figure out how well the Chekhov’s psycho-physical approach works for me. I’ve decided to give it my fullest for the full duration of the acting course, at least. A concern I have is that I can activate my imagination quite easily, which could mean that the Chekhov method for me would be not the most effective. In any case, that’s something to figure out after the course has finished.
One of the problems I have with acting classes is that I fail to visualise myself being good at it. This is absolutely a fixed-mindset-versus-growth-mindset situation again: my brain is telling that I cannot imagine being good at something, therefore it must be impossible. The irony is that despite having an abundance of imagination, I cannot imagine myself eventually being good at something I’m not good at right now already.
The Mysteries of myhouse.pk3 (Analysis) (DavidXNewton): Whoa! This is absolutely fascinating. You’ll also like part 2 and part 3.
Typeknitting (via Kottke): Should I get into knitting?