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Monthly Archives: November 2010

I was massively productive today  §

and what that means in practice is:

  • That I spent over four hours on email
  • And the entirety of the last 10 hours staring straight ahead at a computer screen
  • Seeing my wife and daughter almost not at all
  • Despite their being just a few feet away

A very strange, late modern notion of "productivity" indeed.

I am quite sore from this.

Drupal, Evernote, and Blogs; Learning and Working  §

No, the evernote module isn't quite working. Or rather, it's pulling some things and not others, and the things that are being pulled are being made accessible to authenticated users but not to non-authenticated users, despite permissions settings. I don't know.

I'm starting not to care.

It feels as though the blogging thing is over. I used to do it because I liked having a web diary. I read the thing myself, referred to it the way any person refers to their journal of activity. But in recent years I've written in it less and less, and meanwhile now this kind of online personal textuality has become a definite signifier in its own right, one that's beginning to haunt me.

We'll see.

All throughout my childhood, at every educational level and in every setting for socialization, I was told that knowledge is the key to success, the key to achievement, the key to the fulfillment of life goals and personal desires.

Whatever it is you're after, the answer is to learn. In learning you will arrive at where you want to be, and so long as you feel you aren't there yet, it is because you haven't yet learned enough. There is more knowledge to be had, clearly. Study harder. Study hardest. Enroll. Read. Read again. Read another.

And so I do. Today I read. I buy more and more books and read through them. I read online. I read constantly, about a whole host of topics.

Troubling thing is, I find myself reading more and more books about productivity, about "how to get things done," and it begins to dawn on me that there is an unresolvable paradox here. One cannot get things done by reading about them; when one's deepest desire is to get things done, the key is no longer knowledge.

The key is action. One actually needs to put down the damnable book and do something other than reading. This is proving to be an incredibly difficult concept to pound into my unconscious mind, which continually seeks out new tools, new methods, new experts, new chapter and verse on how to act, how to make things happen, how to get things done, how to stop being so bogged down in knowing and start doing.

And on and on I keep reading.


Drupal + Evernote  §

Okay, so it’s looking like I finally got the Drupal<->Evernote integration working out okay, thanks to the Evernote module but also thanks to my stumbling across a ZIP file on the Evernote module’s author’s blog containing the necessary library elements to be installed to the Drupal tree on the host.

There’s a bunch of stuff I could play with in relation to this dyad—formatting of various kinds from bullet lists to colors, for example, to see if we could make it all work (it’s not clear to me just what the limits, imposed or inherent, of either are at this point), but I think for now I have better things to worry about.

The goal was to get Evernote chucking out blog entries as I switch away from Drupal and toward Evernote as my data storage system for all things in life, professional and personal. Making it pretty will come later.

For now, however, it’s off to Costco and then back home to grade and post for the rest of the day. Fulfilling my teacher obligations right now is pretty much taking all of the (tiny amount of) time left over after parent obligations.

Modern information technology tools  §

are so powerful that they turn every scholar, thinker, and intellectual into a secretary.

Like an episode of Parenthood  §

Ever since the building at 65 Fifth Avenue closed and our lives became happier and much more domestic, I've been trying—with very limited success—to work at home. Now Mirai is here, and she is the most beautiful thing in the universe, a thing that nonetheless requires rather a lot of attention, and as a result of the changing dynamics that this represents, "work at home" now becomes honestly and entirely "no work at home."

But of course since I have no other place(s) in life to be these days, "no work at home" quickly becomes "no work."

Between the needs of the baby and the needs of the rest of our little family and the easy access that I offer when I'm at the house (no matter whether I'm sequestered in a particular and separate room or not), there is simply no way, no chance, no how to get any work done within the framework of social norms, mores, and relationships that are the central structural pillars of my life.

Home is happy and home needs me and home is full of distractions and home owns me when I'm at home and these things are all the problem.

I am a thousand times less productive when I am at home. But of course, now that home holds so much value for me, I am fabulously miserable when I'm not at home, meaning that I'll likely increasingly be less productive when not at home.

Solution? I don't know. I think I need to find a way to set up a home office with boundaries that apply to it—hours during which I am (or am not) available, a door with a lock that is inviolable, etc. The problem is of course that we live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in Queens. Someday when we have a nice, large estate this sort of "office" or "study" as a separate room or area in the house where only dad goes might make some kind of sense, but right now?

My workstation is right next to the nursing center, which is right next to our bed. I can't roll up and down my desk because the rocking chair (a wonderful and necessary thing) is pressed right up against the back of my desk chair. The living room is not ideal because of course my PC is in the bedroom. I could move the PC to the living room, but this would require a furniture and lifestyle shakeup that would take a week's labor, likely a certain additional volume of dollars, and so on, and these things are really simply not possible when there's a new baby in the house and so many things need to get done. How can I take a week off right now to renovate/redecorate? There's not a piece of furniture in that room right now that could hold a monitor and a keyboard, much less the rest of the PC.

And of course all of the books, office supplies, and so on are in the bedroom. Moving all that stuff to the living room would indeed require a wholesale remodeling of the house, given how many books I have and need. And in the meantime I'd have to relearn my entire workflow, not a great thing to be doing mid-late semester as crunch time approaches.

Basically, I'm freaking panicking and just can't seem to be productive and now with a baby here I feel twice the pressure (if not four times, or eight times, or sixteen times the pressure), and a sort of paralysis is creeping in around the edges that's more frightening than anything I've encountered in my entire adult life.

This has to be fixed, but I don't know how to fix it.