Logbook + Scratchpad


I've noticed that, while writing here, I tend to write for long stretches of time on a single topic rather than mixing topics up. This may be a consequence of my focus on a specific project, book, or thought, which gives me many ideas to ponder, research further, or just take notes of.


It is true: the more I am focused and consumed by something, the more I want to do – and not only of that thing. Actions begets action, inaction makes it more difficult.


I know, I should not care. I should also know that they probably have their place. But I am really, really annoyed when I read “cheap” book blurbs with sentences such as:

n million copies sold worldwide!” “I've enjoyed it”, “Miss it at your own risk”, “Brilliant” (Someone famous for a reason or another) “This book will change your life.”

No, I am not buying it because many others bought it. I'm not buying it because some famous person said a couple words about it. I'm not buying it for some feel-good promise. Damn it.

#thoughts #books

The book I've been reading in the last couple days asks one question many times and in different ways: Why are some people so pedantic with the language (and enjoy that)? After all, once you have conveyed the meaning of what you want to say, isn't form just a useless burden? In the case of punctuation, shouldn't we just get rid of most (if not all) of it and only keep the words? Wouldn't it make things better?

Personally, I think this fixation (which I share too, up to a point) stems from the need of order and clarity some people have. Punctuation has been introduced to make written text clearer for readers and actors, and slowly it has acquired grammatical meaning too. Why should we get rid of something that has slowly developed to make communication less ambiguous, just because people cannot be bothered to learn it properly?

#language #grammar #thoughts

I've heard or read this quote in various forms in the past, but lately it has stuck with me. My personal interpretation is not just to make something happen instead of waiting for it to happen, but also to have the courage to stop something from happening instead of hoping for it not to happen. One can see the latter as a special case of the former, but for me the two have different emotions attached, and probably different frames of mind.


“This item costs 5.99 £/€/$, but if you buy three there is a 30% discount.” “No, thanks. One is enough.” “Do you have the loyalty card? It's free.” “No, and I am not interested in one.” “But you could have a 15% discount!” “No, thanks.” “Would you like the receipt to be emailed to you?” “No, thanks.” “But you could get discounts for future purchases!” “No, thanks. Goodbye.”

Every. Damn. Time.

#thoughts #rants

We are always, constantly being marketed to. Low-level, emotion-appealing, childish, uninteresting ads are competing for our attention everywhere and all the time. And not just online, but offline too.

I know, this is nothing new, but I am not talking about the fact itself. How does this make you feel? For me it's a mix of “Everyone is desperately looking for attention and money” and “We haven't come that far as a species, after all”.

#thoughts #rants

I feel like my decision-making process sometimes follows the trajectory of a Lorenz system (well, at least in its most popular “butterfly” parameterization). I start by circling around a decision, then I slowly diverge onto another decision, circle around there for a while, and then back, without “collapsing” onto any of the two.

I wonder how common this is.


I have an odd guilty pleasure: the so-called “self-help” books. I know that, more often than not, they are just commercial operations, but I like reading them for multiple reasons: to decode the distinctive style of an author, to understand what kind of writing and what topics capture the audience and sell, and sometimes even to pick up some good ideas.

Self-improvement is something that I've always been trying to practice, and no, I do not expect to turn my life around with a self-help book. Nevertheless, I always like picking up chances to reflect, and these books give me a lot of material to think about, even though such material is trite or generic. Sometimes, just a change of perspective can work wonders.

#thoughts #books

I have a young friend who dreams of becoming a novelist, but who never seems to be able to complete his work. According to him, his job keeps him too busy, and he can never find enough time to write novels, and that's why he can't complete work and enter it for writing awards. But is that the real reason? No! It's actually that he wants to leave the possibility of “I can do it if I try” open, by not committing to anything. He doesn't want to expose his work to criticism, and he certainly doesn't want to face the reality that he might produce an inferior piece of writing and face rejection. He wants to live inside that realm of possibilities, where he can say that he could do it if he only had the time, or that he could write if he just had the proper environment, and that he really does have the talent for it. In another five or ten years, he will probably start using another excuses like “I'm not young anymore” or “I've got a family to think about now”.

This is a quote from The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi. The part on the “realm of possibilities” strikes particularly close: in this realm, you can be as great as you think you are for as long as you want – there is no effort to spend in making plans, and no chance of failing.