Weekly Head Voices #86: Beardy.

You could have set your watch by the appearance of this weekly blog post! Enjoy it while you can.

Here’s a random photo from my week:

I finally figured out what planking is.

I finally figured out what planking is.

Note-taking and todo system chaos (NERD WARNING).

My email-note-taking-todo-system is again slowly morphing into something strange and unknown. I once called using Trello for task management “the time management connoisseur equivalent of lying in the gutter with a cheap bottle of wine in a brown paper bag”.

Well either I was just plain wrong, or I’m lying in that gutter again and I just don’t realize it.

Because I became very frustrated with all the task systems that I tried (and committed to) because all of them (including the one I designed together with big G) insist on presenting all of my tasks in neat little project-grouped or deadline-ordered lists, whilst my brain is a chaotic spread-out network that wishes to see everything at the same time, preferably spread out and very visual, I’m back to using a giant Trello board (that 2560×1440 monitor is very slowly earning its keep).

It’s perhaps better than it sounds: When I process mail on my phone or in my Emacs, I forward the ones that need action to a secret Trello address which turns said mail into a Trello card in the “incoming” list of my tasks board, including all email attachments and images. Sometimes I’m naughty, and I reply to the sender summarising the list of actions I will attempt to undertake, and then Bcc that reply to Trello.

On that Trello board I have lists for reminding me of the important projects I have to remember to work on, and then lists for ASAP, This week, Later (scheduled) and Someday / ideas. I also have lists called Done (week WEEKNUM) into which I can move cards once I’ve taken care of them. After a few weeks, I archive the whole done list of a particular week for posterity. It also doesn’t hurt that the Trello Android app is quite beautiful.

On the notes front, I’m currently very much in love with Emacs org-mode, as you might have guessed from last week’s WHV. What I did not mention then, is that I now also have a date-stamped .org jourrnal for each project that I’m working on. From each general daily .org journal I link to the various project journal .org files for that day. Based on these daily / project-based log files, I can generate high-quality LaTeX reports, technical blog posts and even presentations, if only I can remember the exact sequence of 17 emacs keyboard shortcuts to do so. As mentioned previously, I use deft-turbo to navigate my notes database.

I still dream of an even more graphical and non-linear way of doing all of this.

Musings on beards (REAL MEN WARNING).

Besides being the sign of a true man, the internet says that the beard was “seen as the defining characteristic of the philosopher; philosophers had to have beards, and anyone with a beard was assumed to be a philosopher”. Based on extensive research, I can assure you that this is still the case.

On a slightly more serious note, I might be getting slightly beard-rospective, because my hairy face-friend might really have to disappear soon. I’m going to have to do my part in an academic committee or two, and I’m going to have to cross borders into the EU. The former might not be such an issue, but my current slightly middle-eastern look might not be the best option in terms of the latter.

In any case, before I reluctantly join the shaven masses, I would like to share with you two realizations from the perspective of a weirdly bearded man.

In my town, there are no hipsters. There probably will never be. That, plus the fact that I deviate significantly from the text-book hipster look, means I get recognized everywhere I go. I think this is partly due to appearing different from most other people I would normally be pigeon-holed with. Subtly complementary to this is the fact that my face has become a kind of a graphical icon of itself: If you were to take a photo of it, and you were to scale it down to 32×32 pixels, you’d probably still be able to recognize it. The upshot of this is that even when I’ve visited a restaurant or café only once, the next time, weeks afterwards, I am treated like a long-time regular. That’s pretty cool.

More important than this, is the fact that people now experience difficulty applying their pigeon-holing mechanism. Around these parts, there is far too much assumed piece-wise homogeneity. In other words, people are used to believing that they are able to stereotype you after one look. I have now experienced that when I have contact with locals, their little stereotyping sensors start smoking a little bit and then fizzle out. There is usually a short moment of panic, but then we start afresh, which is nice.

While (1<2).

I would like to leave you with this track from deadmau5’s latest album. I’m doing this, because it’s an extremely surprising album. You should definitely listen to the whole work, but this track should serve as an example of the while (1<2) surprise.