Thursday, November 28, 2019
Friday, November 15, 2019
Monday, November 11, 2019
(Your author, coming at you with all the powers he gained after being bitten by a radioactive page-a-day Far Side calendar in middle school.)
I've been thinking on and off about calendars since about 2015. That was a busy year. I needed to juggle two big projects: one usually on alternate Sundays, one roughly every 10 days, all year long, these alongside all the other normal activities constituting everyday life (food, work, family, art, uprising, etc.), and it was difficult to do such juggling. What worked for me that year was to: print out Bram Moolenaar's fold-and-stand-up desk calendar and
- Circle my alternating-Sunday deadlines in red
- Circle the every-10-day deadlines in green
- Put it on my desk where I could see it
(Bram's yearly calendar. I recently discovered that this is pretty much the output of the Unix utility ncal with the -w flag! Unix can be pretty cool.)
It worked well for me! Obviously, this is not a tool that accepts a great deal of information, but for helping visualize a cadence of more or less regularly occurring events, it served effectively.
Over the next few years, unfortunately, the events to coordinate got less regular, less predictable, and probably more numerous. Bram Moolenaar's calendar stopped helping me organize things. That's whenDavid Malki stepped up. He has several long, interesting posts on calendars, and the high-end calendar he makes he is a beautiful, funny, and probably useful object. But what really fired my soul was his devastatingly simple "continuous calendar" idea1, just a year's worth of boxes organized by month, fitting on six pages of printer paper.
(Malki's simple calendar.)
One reason for my soul's resonance with this object is context: at my work, a very common activity to to grab a blank piece of butcher paper, sketch out a grid representing a month or so, and calendar out some events in / for / of / constituting a campaign. This simple template of Malki's saved the drawing-and-adding-dates steps, and I used it a few times in different campaigns to help visualize timelines, deadlines, and possible conflicts. It worked well.
What didn't work well was trying to use the template to help organize my life. I had a couple problems with what he had made:
- Squares too small to add significant information (70 squares on one 8.5x11 piece of paper is a lot)
- Shading to indicate a month makes it hard to to write on with, say, a black ballpoint pen, or a Sharpie®|Pen., or whatever
- I really hated having Saturday and Sunday at the end of the week: this was confusing because it meant that this calendar didn't match any other calendar I'd look at ever
So eventually I decided to stop being frustrated with a tool that didn't work for me. I decided to try to brew my own. I wanted bigger squares, I wanted weeks to start with Sundays, and I didn't want any shading. The best way to attain bigger squares seemed to be to move from portrait to landscape. I really liked Malki's insight about making the months flow into each other, so I kept that layout. I made a couple three-month templates and tested them, and they seemed to work the way I want them to work.
(My calendar looks like this. I like to mark it up with bill due-dates in red, and other notable things in black.)
If you would like to see if this tool will serve your purposes, you can download it and print it out and play with it. (Right now it runs from October 2019 through February 2021, so I recommend judicious use of the "print selected pages" function so as to save our mother the Earth from additional abuse.) If you find that you like using this tool, why not send David Malki a couple bucks: it was all his idea anyway! If you find that this tool doesn't work well for you, why not spend a little time figuring out why not, thinking about what you need, and go try to make something that will help you?
1 What's hilarious is that Malki uses a different term, not "continuous calendar":
progressive calendarEvidently, he IS the only one to use the term. Since I use a different term, perhaps I ... invented the idea? (No, no clearly I didn't.) Anyway, this is a long digression prompted by my inability to remember what words he actually used.
By that, I mean a calendar that doesn’t have any breaks between months. I think I invented the term? By that, I mean “nobody else has ever used this term.”
(Your author's ambitions when it comes to calendars.)
(Bonus Venture Brothers content re: calendars.)
Monday, November 04, 2019
Pen 15 Club: Just (Broke) the Tip: All Good Things (& All Other Things) Will Come to an End -- OR -- Rest in Peace, Zebra
I have been happy with my Zebra ballpoint for a while now. The ink is okay, a bit blobby on some paper, and it's maybe a little too heavy for seriously extended writing sessions, but it's a solid pen. Maybe too solid, I discovered tonight, doing some precinct walking in San Francisco.
(Pictured: a so sadly fucked friend, one who served not long but stoutly and well, before a moment of (my) failure cost it any chance of future success.)
Struggling up a hill, marking up the sheet of turf I'd been cut, I dropped the Zebra. I guess it landed more or less point-down, because the tip broke clean off, probably due to the stainless steel's shaft's weight. (The shaft and tip are steel, each screwing onto the black plastic grip. It's frustrating, when you buy something with a lot of metal parts in part assuming it will last longer and be less disposable than an all-plastic something, and then find that it is no more durable; annoying to have a single drop reduce a tool to no more than spare parts. ((My thinking right now is that I'll keep it around in case I need for kit-bashing or whatever. Probably that's just a rationalization for having trouble with the idea of loss.))) It's maybe worth noting that this is the second time a night of politics work has cost me a Zebra. I'm not certain what this could mean.
Nor am I certain what comes next. I sorta feel like blue ink is better for me than black: but all my Zebra refills are black, and Zebra blue gets worse reviews than either Zebra black or, importantly, than Bic Crystal; blue. But I'm burnt out on the Bic Crystal right now (been using it too much at work) and I just don't have any other ballpoint ideas. Or any other ideas.
Saturday, November 02, 2019
Yet while Terminator: Dark Fate manages to have a dark tone it still isn't as bleak as the ones directed by Cameron. Take the good guys for example. In Terminator: Dark Fate, the Mexican family is squeaky clean, functioning as one big happy loving whole with jobs, passions, bright futures. But T2 opens with John Connor stuck in a foster home life with no love (Xander Berkeley is great as TODD), and his mother is incarcerated without hope of parole.