Here’s what I want to show you first:

Ravel’s La Valse, prima part, after 26 days (or roughly 26 hours) of work.

It’s considerably more solid than it was just four days ago, which means that THE SYSTEM (ALSO) WORKS. ❤️

Here’s what I want to write about later:

One.

How I realized that if L (who occasionally admits that he likes listening to me practice) can’t tell what I’m trying to do re: problem-solving, then I’m also not sure of what I’m doing.

In other words: If I’m not clear on what problem I’m trying to solve and what technique I’m using to solve it, well… then I’m not clear on that, and I’m kinda wasting good practice time.

And asking myself “could L correctly identify what I’m trying to do right now?” is a good metric by which to gauge all of that.

Two.

How I adjusted my Daily Spreadsheet to accommodate a “dancing through the day” schedule while still maintaining the green/red, active/reactive, “magic/not-magic” binary OKAY THIS IS SO IN THE WEEDS THAT IT CANNOT POSSIBLY MAKE A GOOD BLOG POST

(UNLESS IT COULD SECRETLY MAKE A GREAT ONE)

Three.

Shakespeare and specificity, because I was going to write about it last week and ended up writing about creative peaks instead.

(The 1996 film adaptation of The Crucible would come into play too, because… well, one of the things L and I love to do together is read a play aloud and then watch, like, every available film and TV version [and some of the bootleg staged versions on YouTube] and then talk about which ones do the best job of connecting/communicating with the audience, HOW DID I END UP WITH THE EXACT RIGHT PERSON FOR ME, I AM THE LUCKIEST DOG IN THE WHOLE WORLD OF DOGS)

Four.

I was bipping around Twitter and Substack last night, I had a perfectly good book I had planned to read but there I was, checking and clicking and “just one more”-ing, and I suddenly thought to myself:

NICOLE.

STAY AWAY FROM SYSTEMS THAT ARE DESIGNED TO MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO LEAVE.

There are so many of these kinds of systems, btw, and they aren’t just internet-based. Some of these systems are, like, “modes of relationship.” Others are literally Doritos. Certain types of consumer spending, including our new subscription-based-EVERYTHING world, are also designed to keep you hooked — and then there’s CAPITALISM ITSELF, oh dear capitalism itself.

(Also, there are ways to use Twitter and Substack and etc. that make it easier for you do what you need to do and then leave, please review Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism and most of Jaron Lanier’s work, it’s just that you have to be ABSOLUTELY RESOLUTE about not accessing the parts of the system that are designed to keep you in thrall.)

(Also, this could very very very much turn into that process-based personal finance class I’ve been itching to teach, how can you earn, spend, save money without getting caught in sticky systems, etc. etc. etc.)

(Maybe the real thing here isn’t “stay away from systems that are designed to make it difficult to leave,” it’s “how to maintain agency within these kinds of systems”)

(oh, this is the magic/not-magic thing again)

(magic is being able to manipulate/manage the elements around you)

(not magic is letting the elements manipulate/manage you)

MY GOODNESS THIS WEEK’S “THOUGHTS FROM MY OFFICE” ARE PARTICULARLY THOUGHTY

ANYWAY

TELL ME WHICH ONES YOU WANT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT

AND I WILL GET TO WRITING

BECAUSE I LOVE IT WHEN I GET TO WRITE ❤️

Here’s where I got published this week:

Bankrate

What’s a good APR for a credit card?

Cards with an APR at or below the national average is ideal, but a good APR for you will depend on your credit score.

What is purchase APR?

When you take out a line of credit, your lender has the right to charge interest on any money you borrow. In the case of credit cards, this interest often comes in the form of purchase APR.

What does 0 percent APR mean?

Zero percent APR offers provide an attractive way to buy now and pay later or to get ahead and save on existing debt to improve your financial health.

Credit Cards Dot Com

Merrick Bank credit cards: Are they worth it?

If you want to build your credit, Merrick Bank may be able to help. Learn about the bank’s different card offerings and whether they’re a good fit for you.

11 thoughts on “Thoughts From My Office

    1. gosh, part of me wants to devote at least as much blog post time to personal finance as I do to piano practice

  1. Literally Doritos!

    (Not that I want you to write more about literally Doritos, I’m doing that thing where you repeat the bit that made you laugh out loud. )

  2. I’m curious to know how one “bips around” on substack. My own interaction model with substack is that I subscribe to a few (very few) writers whose messages show up in my email now and then and if one of those happens to look interesting I read it *in* my email, never actually visiting the site. (The one exception being Astral Codex Ten, for which I occasionally will click through to browse comments on a Hidden Open Thread, but even that seems like a finite, limited-time task, not at all resembling say, twitter doomscrolling)

    So when “bipping”, do you browse substack from the top page searching on a topic? Do you follow links from one essay to another in ever-nested loops (a common wikipedia failure mode)? Do you feel compelled to Read All The Things and/or Read All The Comments? Inquiring minds want to know!

    BTW, I am loving the way the piano sounds – you must have had it tuned. So followup semi-office-related question: what does piano-tuning look like in the Age of Covid? Does the current iteration of that task involve drop cloths? Hazmat suits? Antiseptic foggers?

    1. I haven’t subscribed to anyone on Substack yet. My model is “oh hey, someone linked to a Substack on Twitter, I should check it out” followed by “huh, that’s interesting, I should read some of the free archives,” and so on.

      Much less structured, and much more time-wasty. “Wow, there are a lot of archives, what if I read just one more essay…” and “wait, I remember that other Substack I was looking at last week, I wonder if they’ve written anything new…”

      Also, the piano is as tuned as it ever was, which is to say it hasn’t had its spring tuning yet. COVID tuning is what you would expect, everyone is masked and all the windows are open and we stay out of the room for a few hours after the tuner is finished (before sanitizing the piano).

Leave a Reply