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Rooks Ahead

I just came in from doing battle with this winter’s first bottom-of-the-driveway glacier. Chop with the ice breaker, shovel the fragments, go inside to regain feeling in my fingers, repeat. This is the time of year when I sometimes feel like I am mostly just lacing and unlacing boots.

❄️ Jason Kottke’s secret to enjoying a long winter was well-timed for me this week:

I decided that because I live in Vermont, there is nothing I can do about it being winter, so it was unhelpful for me to be upset about it. I stopped complaining about it getting cold and dark, I stopped dreading the arrival of snow. I told myself that I just wasn’t going to feel like I felt in the summer and that’s ok — winter is a time for different feelings.

The extra stay-at-home days with the kids, from school closures and sick-days, are easier to reconcile myself too. When I’m already taking the day off, it’s easier to shake the feeling that I should be doing something else. But winter also makes everyday logistics take longer: the time dealing with snow removal, traffic jams, and bulky outerwear adds up fast.

I can panic about the lost time or, Kottke-style, think of winter as the season of catching up on podcasts in the car — among other things.

🔈 This past week, that’s mean the You’re Wrong About… podcast, where Sarah Marshall and Michael Hobbes revisit major news stories to investigate what the popular narratives got wrong. I have never been so glad that I ignore cable news. I recommend starting with the two-part series on Tonya Harding.

♟️ My son described something as “bishop next to me” instead of diagonal. I’m imagining a whole spatial vocabulary on this theme.


📖 Finished up Adventures of a Computational Explorer. In the chapter on Stephen Wolfram’s personal productivity infrastructure, I learned that he carries some kind of bespoke hardware specifically to force projectors into the precise screen resolution he wants.


Most of us just accept the jankiness of technology as a fact of life. I admire the resolve to understand the problem at a deep enough level to produce a reliable workaround.

🎮 We’re playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild again. This fish man is named Trello. I think he’s mad about the number of quests we have concurrently in-progress.


📖 Continuing to work my way through Metaphors We Live By:

The reason we have focused so much on metaphor is that it unites reason and imagination. Reason, at the very least, involves categorization, entailment, and inference. Imagination, in one of its many aspects, involves seeing one kind of thing in terms of another kind of thing—what we have called metaphorical thought. Metaphor is thus imaginative rationality.


✏️ I started a fresh Doane Paper utility notebook (pictured above). The hand-drawn lettering they use in their promotional material has inspired me to tinker with my own stylized headings in my notes. Focusing on the vertical strokes seems to make the biggest difference in legibility and consistency, I think.

By the way, replies are always welcome! Stay warm and let me know if you have any good recommendations.