End of year projects

Week 46 of The Lindahl Letter came out on Friday and this weekend I started really deeply working on the posts for the rest of the year. The posts for the rest of the year have enough of a draft completed that they could go out right now and things would be ok… things would not be epic or even really acceptable at this point, but the foundation exists and that is a start. My weekend writing efforts have to be kicked up a notch here going forward. It looks like I may need to start working on a presentation for 2022 as well. I’m going to follow up on that one and figure out exactly how many minutes of coverage will be required.

Pushing along forward

My level of writing productivity is still falling below the previous high water mark for the year. That is disappointing, but hopefully things will turn around today. Right now I’m sitting at 6 of 15 Substack posts locked in and 9 of 15 in partial progress. Most of that writing output occurred during two really productive writing sessions. Now that I look back on those glorious writing sessions I should have ridden them to more success. When you have that writing flow going you have to use to the fullest advantage possible. Working in small sections with dips and drabs is one way to go about it, but it is far better to ride the wave of productivity.

Some Saturday thoughts

Ok — I’m ready to admit that the thought of buying GameStop ($GME) stock occurred to me this week. Rationality kicked in and prevented me from buying, but the fear of missing out on such a wild ride was very real. It seemed like people were doing wild things and it was difficult not to keep checking to see what was happening. The swings were spectacular, but not tied to anything related to the actual operations of the business. That is what kept me out of the whole adventure. Something macro related is definitely going on beyond just a few stocks being impacted. It will be interesting (if not scary) to see what happens in the next few months.

My productivity this week has been on an upward swing. I planned out the next 12 weeks of Substack posts. That meant putting together a list of topics that would receive weekly coverage. The target on each one of those is a Friday publication date generally before bedtime.[1] Yesterday, I set up and published my first submission to the Substack platform. It was somewhat exciting at the time. I timed the content to release both here on the weblog and on the Substack platform at the exact same time. This content here is archived and will presumably continue to exist for years. I have no idea what will happen to Substack in 5 years. I have a proven history of outlasting platforms over the last 20 years. That seems to be a fact of digital life. Some things that seemed like they would be around forever 20 years ago are long since gone. Some of them were really great and failed… some of them were just eaten by other things along the way. 

[1] https://nelslindahl.substack.com/

Moments of extreme questioning

We all face those moments of extreme questioning. Those moments happen from time to time in the day to day grind of life and sometimes they can be really useful. When I look back on the last 10 days or so of my writing output it is categorically bad (unredeemable dribble). Unfortunately, that makes it not very useful prose. To that end you will notice a gap in my publishing of thoughts. This year I have been rethinking the grand effort of blogging. My thoughts have centered on the potential creation of more personal content. It might be easier to really dig in and write some tighter observational based prose, but that feels disjointed to my natural stream of consciousness style of writing. For better or worse, I tend to sit down and write about the things that catch my attention in the moment. Inherently that means at the moment a spark of creativity hits I need to sit down and put words to paper or the window of creation will be missed. 

That last paragraph was droning on and on and a new one had to be started. That is where we are right now at the start of the second paragraph of writing for the day that is wholesale about the stoppage of the first passage of writing. That first passage centered on questioning and this passage focuses on something more definitive in nature. It centers on the moment of focus. It is the moment between continuation and idea generation. It is not a moment of working along the way from the start to the finish. It is so much more in terms of awareness of the moment and the nature of things at this specific part of the journey. To that end I’m aware and ready to do something, but that something has not been really brought into focus yet as a decision has not exactly been made to do that next thing. Within that context perhaps it is easier to just sustain the status quo and procrastinate. Obviously writing during the moment of intellectual procrastination seems like a dicey proposition. To both be creating and moving along the path to advance the journey and engaging in the irreverent act of procrastination based prose creation seems inherently questionable. That is probably the case. It is probably the exact question that needs to be answered. It is the question that helps move along the path or generally questions the path. 

Right now I’m sitting at my keyboard writing in front of my Corsair Air 740 cube shaped computer case. It’s sitting on top of an aluminum briefcase. That seems like a good second career for a briefcase that is no longer needed for any traveling or caring related purpose. My writing skills are now awake and I’m sitting in the middle of a stream of consciousness that is being translated from internal monologue to keyboard driven input. Each stroke of the keyboard is just a part of the process of thinking, wondering, and questioning. Really this post could at this moment of time go in a wide variety of directions. That open promise is perhaps the most redeeming part of the process. It really makes directing the energy of the moment toward something positive a key part of being in the moment.      

Just moving along slowly

This block of time right now this morning is purely my time for the next 20 minutes. I could spend that time doing anything. Instead of selecting to do something useful I’m surfing YouTube and starting to think about the day. Really the only outcome of that 20 minutes is that I have decided to clean off my whiteboard. All right hold on just a second — the whiteboard is now completely clean. I’m going to need to order a new bottle of Expo whiteboard cleaning at some point. My previous bottle was either empty and thrown away or lost forever. This might also be the year that my collection of whiteboard markers are refreshed. They last a long time at my rate of usage.

Catching up on my writing

Apparently, I’m now mostly a weekend blogger and writer for that matter. Eek — those are painful words to even write down this morning. Last night I was thinking about AI/ML in decision systems for a couple of hours. That is where my thoughts were focused. Sometimes the ideation phase needs to happen instead of writing, but in the past I would have sat down and captured my brainstorming, ideation, or just thinking out loud phases in writing or drawing. For some reason that is not really happening anymore and it cannot be blamed on 2020 as it is clearly 2021. Instead of spending the time right now writing and focusing I found myself watching the news and cleaning my monitor. It is much easier to just focus on those things than to try to collect my thoughts and engage in meaningful writing. Writing used to be a vital part of my daily routine. It was the core focus of my daily activities. Gradually that vital part of my daily efforts washed into the background. It is much easier not to spend time deeply thinking about things. Throughout 2021, I’m going to focus more on reading and rereading the books in my collection. Reading will be my main focus instead of consuming the endless stream of disjointed video based content that exists.

Topic: My 500 words on 1/6/2021

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 was one of the darkest days for American democracy in a long time. Most American’s watched this on television and really only learned about it after it happened. It was something that was on in the background as a routine part of government that quickly caught my attention for all the wrong reasons. Even right now it is surreal to sit down and try to write about what happened in a meaningful way. Only time will temper the emotion of the moment enough to really capture what happened. What happened was simply something impossible becoming very real. It happened with a very connected audience driven by live streaming, posts on social media, and worldwide television broadcasts. 

Even seasoned journalists were taken back with the brazen nature of what happened. At the heart of democracy is the twisting intertwined relationship between political parties and the peaceful transfer of power. The act of peacefully transferring power is what stacks up a history of continuity within a democracy. Longevity for that political system is built on transitions. A healthy and vibrant democracy should see the political winds move from party to party. In my view, that means people are making choices and the general administration of government is informed by a variety of viewpoints. That idea is important to cherish and to consider in the context of what happened.

A constitutional process prescribed by the founding documents of this nation was occurring at the capitol building. A darkness descended over and occupied the capital for a five hour whirlwind of displaced democracy. Voting holds the keys to unlocking the power of democracy. Overrunning the cornerstone of democracy in a whirlwind of disgraceful shared images worldwide will stand out for a generation as a watershed moment of a nation’s agony. Photographs of the democratic process resuming and completing on capitol hill won’t ring out in the same for years to come. A dark moment will cast a shadow on democracy and people will remember the nation’s capitol in a different way. Inside that changed memory is the power that darkness has on democtric institutions. 

Topic: Grinding Gears 3

Using the Google Play Music application was so easy. I had bought the new Rabea Massaad album “Grinding Gears Vol. 3” on Bandcamp and had to upload the files to YouTube Music using some strange interface. I could not figure out how to just buy the album on YouTube Music like I could before. I really do try to buy albums in either physical formats like vinyl or digitally if necessary to support artists who make music that I enjoy.

Topic: On weekend writing

Right now it seems like maybe my thoughts are going to be generally collected during the week and a larger post might happen on the weekend instead of daily entries into this functional journal. That seems to be an odd change in my writing behavior, but it seems to be a behavior that is consistent with the reduction of productivity that has been occurring.

Oh that intention

Every day I sit down with the intention to write something deeply meaningful. Most of the time that intention is well meaning and I really do believe it is going to happen, but disappointment eventually sets in as the spark of creativity is fickle. Part of academic writing is about having the right framework and working thoughts into that style and form factor. Generally speaking after coming up with the idea and starting the process putting those articles together is not as much about chasing the spark of creativity as it is doing the hard part of the workflow. For me editing, finalizing, and refining the project always seems to be the hardest part of the whole endeavor. 

My workflow basically consists of sitting down and writing as much prose as I can possibly produce in one shot and then editing it down into pieces and parts. This is not the best method to produce academic content. It really is a rather terrible method to produce academic content. Most of the time my academic efforts are better served by grabbing some paper and working on an outline of what needs to be communicated. That allows me to slowly fill in that outline with blocks of content and work toward a finished product that can be edited and refined. This year is the year that I will block off 1 hour of my time every evening to work on something academic related. 

This Sunday started out with episode 34 of Sunday with Ola on YouTube playing in the background. Maybe a year ago I started considering buying a Solar branded guitar in poplar burst matte finish with an evertune bridge.[1] The Solar guitars do look pretty interesting and I do at some point want to have one guitar with an evertune bridge.  However, the bolt on roasted maple neck Solar guitars look pretty good. Maybe at some point one of them will have the maple matte finish.

After that episode finished, I watched Rhett Shull talk about being burned out creatively during a decently long rant for what it was on YouTube.[2] One of the things that I used to do some time ago was pick up any topic and write about it to the point of exhaustion. For example, this morning I started to think about the nature of defense within the game of basketball. Years ago this functional journal would have seen page after page of my thoughts on basketball defense. Right now I just did not start rocking and rolling that writing exercise. I can see it within the forwarding looking vision of my headspace, but it is not translating into a writing project. Something happened that separated me from the potential of that writing effort. That something is what I’m curious about. The title of this post is “Oh that intention” and that is the crux of what I’m curious about when it comes to why some things get done and some very obvious things do not get finished. 

[1] https://www.solar-guitars.com/product/s1-6et-ltd-poplar-burst-matte/
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viRqgh8T-Bk