I realized that the date on which I created Nanoc, a tool I built for creating web sites, is closer to the invention of the World Wide Web (in 1993) than to today. This is wild.
I found a café in Berlin where they serve genuinely good croissants. Proper, flaky, buttery, puffy, moist croissants. Mmmm, moist croissants. [Reword this; moist is gross — Ed.]
I’ve tweaked the site design a little: I have ever so slightly decreased the line height, which I think gives the text a bit more of a uniform color.
For managing my ebook library, I’m now using Calibre. It’s a good tool, but the UI/UX is quite off-putting. Still, it is the best there is. I found it especially useful for stripping out ugly, hardcoded fonts from ebooks when uploading to my ebook reader.
Should it be spelled ebook or e-book? I suppose what will happen to email will happen here as well, and so I’m using the spelling ebook (no hyphen) because that is what people will end up using it in the long term. I’m ahead of the curve!
Also, I now have an auto-generated epub of the short stories I wrote. I’m using the gepub Ruby library for it, which integrates nicely with Nanoc. I suspect that Nanoc will serve me well until the day I die.
I’d like to be more bored. That sounds like a weird thing to say, but hear me out.
Society demand that we spend meaningfully the time we have. But that really translates to “don’t be idle.” Being busy is good, somehow.
But it is in the moments where I have nothing to do that I become, ironically, the most productive, the most insightful, the most creative. After finishing all the to-dos for the day (ideally as early as possible), I get to do whatever I want. It used to be the case that as soon as I have any sense of boredom, I would rush to put something on the TV or fire up a computer game. Now, I might go for a walk or just sit around and wait until my mind takes me to an interesting place.
In the past, I think I’ve confused boredom for being low on energy. These are not the same. I’ve come to think of boredom as a state of mind that can be beneficial.
Maybe “boredom” is not quite the right word. Mental downtime, perhaps? I wrote on the topic of boredom before (Weeknotes 2023 W01: Boredom and Weeknotes 2023 W08: Boredom II), but I used the word in a different way there.
Relatedly, something I’d like to do more is hang out with people with no purpose other than to just be around each other, with nothing planned, embracing the positivity of boredom. This is a skill that society has lost, or maybe we’ve grown out of in our transition from children to adults.
I’ve been consistent in taking daily walks for a few months now, and it’s been a very positive experience. Taking a walk is taking a break, and breaks are essential for a healthy mind.
I no longer carry a phone with me on walks. I used bring a phone so that I could write down (or record as voice memos) thoughts that I felt were important, but these days I prefer to be disconnected, and be in the moment. If the thoughts are important, they’ll come back later anyway.
I don’t plan out my walks, but I see where the path leads me.
A few days ago I went out in the rain (in my rain gear). Taking a walk through the rain when nobody else is out and about is fantastic. Especially without a phone, it is a grounding experience, being in the here and now.
More rain news: I checked the rain map before heading to a drop-in acting class yesterday, and figured I would be able to make it to the location before the big storm (scary purple on the map) hit.
I did not make it in time.
I ended up drenched to my underwear, with even water sloshing around in my shoes (they’re still drying as I write this). I spent a few hours soaked and I hope I’ll not fall sick because of it.
That’s enough rain news. There will be no further rain news.
Earlier this week I got the strong feeling that I have too much stuff and started wondering about how to reduce what I have to a more essential set of things. I started with books.
I got two giant boxes and put in all the books that I no longer need and want. That ended up being roughly 40% of the books I have. Those are the books that I haven’t read and likely never will, and books I have read but don’t plan on re-reading anytime soon. It also includes books that have lost their relevance to me.
Here they are:
If there are any books you’d like to have, let me know! You’ll have to come pick them up in Berlin though — I’m not shipping anything. A few books are reserved for friends, but the rest I’ll likely put in a Zu Verschenken (to give) box on the street on a sunny day in a location with lots of passers-by.
I’m a bit hesitant to put so much stuff in a Zu Verschenken box on the street because this collection of books is quite a reflection of my own interests, and so it feels very personal. Though I suppose that I’ve moved on and this collection of books no longer reflects the current me — I wouldn’t be getting rid of them otherwise, after all.
I used to think that what I wanted in life, by the time I retire, is to have my own house with bookshelves stacked to the ceiling. A library is a reflection of one’s personality, I thought, and a mostly-empty library just felt wrong. I think I felt that a well-stocked library showcases my interests, values, and experience.
It’s hard to tell what I exactly thought back then; now I would much rather have just the bare essential collection of books. There are a handful of books that I absolutely want to keep because I have an emotional attachment to them or because they’ll keep on being useful.
The e-book reader has been a game changer for me. Books are bulky and heavy, and the ability to carry with me a giant-yet-curated library on something that fits in my pocket is amazing. I have been reading more, not less.
Going through my collection of books made me wonder what else I could get rid of and not miss.
For instance, I still have a collection of CDs (and DVDs to a lesser extent), without even having any device to play them. I have an emotional connection to most of them, but it’s really about the music, not about their physical form. They take up space and right now function only as decoration. What’s the point?
I’ll probably go through my collection of clothes at some point soon, too. My wardrobe is overflowing but there is a large collection of stuff I don’t wear anymore.
My collection of boardgames has gone unused for years. The pandemic made it hard to play with others, but even in this mostly-post-pandemic context, I haven’t felt the urge to play in a long time.
I feel that my possessions are pinning me down.
I watched La La Land and it’s great. I’m working my way through Ryan Gosling movies now I suppose.
Special Ops: Lioness is middling. It’s generic. I forgot I was even watching it.
My Apple TV+ trial expired and I’m now accidentally paying for it. I’m disappointed in Apple for stooping so low and using dark patterns . Oh well. I guess I am paying Apple TV+ now. What should I watch?