I honestly didn’t know that this was missing from my life, Korean-style egg sandwich with cheese and jam. Whhhaaaatt? It really works. Sunday mornings got transformed a little.

Story Exploder

This is now becoming a bit of a tradition on this site. During the month of November I will take my hand at a little bit of short fiction that I make up on a daily basis. This breaks every rule I have for writing. Not knowing what the story is ultimately about and where it is heading is both scary and foreign to me - which is why I insist on doing it. It puts my brain in a mode that I am not used to. It stretches it.

This year was exceptionally hard for me. I came close to giving up a few times around the half way mark which I think is the hardest part of the story. The first 10 instalments are about building the world, the middle 10 instalments are about giving the characters something to do. The last 10 instalments are about bringing it all together.

The prompts are interesting for me in that they help get things kicked off at the start. Even though they are a single word in 50 they do play an important role. When I know where the story is meant to be heading is when I drop them. This year I used them all the way up to day 25 (shows how completely lost I felt this year).

The final story (and title) will be published next week after I have had a few days to let it all sink in. I can get the editing machete to the whole body of text, fine tuning and pruning it into something more coherent. What’s currently published on the site is the first draft. We all know that mostly these are…raw.

Plan is now to go back to writing about randomness that I have actually missed this last month and a half.

30 of 30
As I stared outside I wondered how many others had made the switch back. Was I alone in the world? The communicator remained silent for what seemed like forever. I tried to add to the silence. I tried again and again. Then after trying for what seemed like an eternity, ever so faintly, apprehensively even, I heard the words, ‘Hello. World?’

29 of 30
I switched back. Silence. Inside the alert module was not exploding around me, the communications were not responding. Outside was even more disconcerting. Rather than the regular barrage I was greeted with a soft glow from the horizon. For the first time in centuries a human being could see the sun rising.

Yesterday we put up the Christmas tree. Yasmine tells me to get a smaller tree. So that is what I tried to do. I even convinced myself that this was the case throughout the trip carrying the thing back to the house. Turns out the tree is pretty much the exact same size as last year.

Aside: Last year I remember I had to stop multiple times along the journey. Not so much this year, didn’t actually stop at all . Was it because I have lost weight this year and therefore the same tasks seem much easier?

28 of 30
Humanity had reached its zenith and had succeeded in destroying itself. We couldn’t talk, plead or engineer ourselves out of the situation. In these moments our imagination and creativity did not count for much. As the most destructive species on the planet it was hardly a surprise that our final act would be unto ourselves.

27 of 30

At first the plan looked to be working. For a brief moment in time, humanity had the better of it deepest darkest impulses, our most vile desires, our struggle with the worst we had to offer was being conquered. Our joy was short lived and in what seemed like an instant, we were overwhelmed.

This years short story has been an interesting exercise of something not quiet going my way, until I remembered what made last year’s attempt work for me. This year I was focusing on the individual 50 word instalments. Last year I was writing the story in one big file. I would go back and modify, tweak, edit. With four more instalments to go, I went back and did a number of heavy edits to the story.

I don’t ever intend to participate in Nanowrimo, however this single-1500-word-story-per-year exercises a writing muscle I don’t typically get to use very often. While the process can be frustrating at times (I still have no idea how the story is going to end on Monday), coming up with the actual story, building on it and trying to stick the landing is worth trying once a year.

26 of 30
What we also noticed was that after someone did manage to return from the Spectrum, this came with an extended period of tranquility. By sending everyone into the Spectrum at once the hope was that this would overwhelm the system and allow as many to return as possible.

25 of 30 / Call
Generations were lost in our pursuit of finding a way to stopping a our own subconscious from killing us off in the real world. The numbers kept going down and nothing was working. We eventually stumbled on a possible solution. We would answer the call, en masse.

24 of 30 / Provision
To discover the thing that hunts you is also a part of you was existential crisis. We doubted everything that humanity stood for. Why were we trying to kill ourselves? More importantly how could we stop?

23 of 30 / Capture
An idea can be forgotten, remembered, captured, buried but never destroyed. We realised that the frequency invaders were nothing more than manifestations of our own subconscious. All this time we had been in battle with ourselves. Or at least part of ourselves.

22 of 30
We had sent multiple skyminders into the Spectrum before. What made this time different was the stakes and the scale. This move was putting all of human existence on the line. Based on a simple hypothesis. I was sent in first.

Issue 039 of my newsletter In Abeyance is out, The Shinkansen. This is one of those topics that practically wrote itself. I could have easily written two or three times as much. An incredibly rich topic and one I hope to expand upon in the future.

21 of 30 / Winter
‘We are deep in humanity’s longest and maybe last winter. We’ve been here before, maybe a thousand times over. I’ve lost count. We have sacrificed nearly everything we have. This is my account of our very last attack and how we survived.’

Productivity Methods

Since I read Digital Minimalism earlier this year, I have been on a bit of a journey into more purposeful productivity methods, which can be attributed to a couple of reasons - the work itself and the place of work.

I have been listening to Cal Newport talk about Time Blocking for months now, but not really been able to implement it because there was another piece of the puzzle that was not available to me, the configure part of his method. This week I was finally able to find the solution to the configure section of things.

He would alway suggest using Trello and I did honestly try a couple of times. Turns out the man is very smart but his blind spot is Trello (we all have one). This overtly complicated software with fiddly (and silly) options, themes, templates, bloat. Just terrible advice really.

Enter Basecamp and TeamTime.

Two apps that work together to complete the configure circle. While it may seem limited at first, the free Basecamp Tier is incredibly versatile, because you can have an infinite amount of individually named todo lists.

Basecamp gives you three ‘projects’. I would offer you to think of these as contexts instead. I have three contexts:

  1. Personal
  2. Internal
  3. External

Within each context I then have multiple projects, each with its own todo list. What is great about the Todo lists for Basecamp is that each todo list can have a general discussion attached to it, each item can have a general discussion attached to it. I can add files if I want, but I tend not to (usually adding links to files instead).

Under personal I have also added categories such as housework, to get a general feel for how much time I actually spend on household tasks. Eventually I will also add how much time I spend on walking, reading and writing.

At work the external context gets the most action, however increasingly more time is spent elsewhere. I needed an ever more accurate way of tracking the plethora of channels so that I don’t context switch and keep that to a minimum. I think I finally found it as long as the free tiers remain.

20 of 30 / Fade
While she had faded from existence, her presences would be known in this place. The best way to disrupt any frequency is to create the right circumstances that lead to interference. Luciana didn’t loose any time getting to work. Even though she didn’t understand the why, she was a soldier and a good soldier always follows orders.

19 of 30 / Possible
The Spectrum was a hard concept for humans to conceive of such a place, like infinity. It did not resemble the physical. Here linear thought was not possible and your very existence was a very different experience. You became your thoughts, wrapped in your ideas. Endlessly.

18 of 30 / Dependence
‘Always remember that you have nothing to fear. Your dependence has been untethered. A million souls. All of what is left of humanity is behind you in these moments.’ The Admiral passed Luciana a golden glass filled to the top. Luciana stood on the edge of forever and at once ceased to exist in both the real and subconscious human worlds.

In case you missed this, but iA announced they are releasing a new app

Companies, like us, that are working on a brand new app, will think about founding another corporation to avoid the one million threshold and lose out on integrating the two apps together. User experience suffers as a result.

Then in this conversation, over at capiche.fm, Oliver Reichenstein confirms that they have been working on this for years and it goes into beta in a month — super excited about that. Then he confirmed that they are going to be releasing that physical product mentioned for their 10th birthday. Good day for us iA fanboys.

17 of 30 / Train
Luciana peered at the glasses of golden liquid. ‘Time. What we need is time. We are sending you into the heartland of the Frequencies. Your mission is simple, unleash chaos. There is just one thing, once the train has left the station, there is no turning back. The trip is one way.’

30 day photo challenge complete (only showing 27 here). Will be good to post in colour again.

16 of 30 / Memory
‘Your memory might be young, Lieutenant Luciana, but your actions mask the fact that you are the most prolific skyminder we have ever had. Humanity is tired Luciana. Over the decades we have tried to break free of the endless cycle.’ The Admiral paused and looked intently at Luciana.

It’s been 2 weeks of writing my story in roughly 50 word chunks. This is part of the Micro.blog November challenge. I decided last year to combine this challenge and NaNoWriMo into one, which yielded a short story called The Mark. What I liked about the exercise is that it had very low stakes and expectations. Sometimes it’s all about the journey and not the destination.

15 of 30 / Far
‘The decision to put the fate of humanity in the hands of our children was not taken lightly. It was universally agreed that although far from ideal, this situation would be accepted as a temporary one. Weeks turned to months, then years, then decades. We have been fighting the Frequency Invaders across generations with no clear way out. Until now.’

14 of 30
‘At first we had no line of defence for what was happening to us. You have to know what you are up against before you can counter attack. It didn’t take us long to realise that one particular demographic was immune, children that had not yet turned to adults.’

13 of 30 / Guess
‘You just had your fourteenth birthday is that not right?’ asked the old lady. ‘I did…Admiral’ replied Luciana. ‘Well then, I guess you are clear to join me for a drink.’ The Admiral paused, let a small smile escape her and proceeded to pour a rich golden liquid into the two glasses. ‘It’s time you understood your role in this world soldier.’

12 of 30 / Wear
On the table was a decanter and two large wine glasses. Luciana took her seat at the table. ‘15 years old’, began the old lady ‘is that the average life expectancy of a skyminder. Do you know why?’ Luciana did not attempt a guess. ‘Because those that wear the uniform fail to understand the significance of the subconscious.’

11 of 30 / Say
The eyes belonged to an old lady who was looking down with focused intention. She wore a sharp two piece navy blue skirt and jacket. The only tell that she was military was a sharp silver pin under her left shoulder. ‘Sorry about the abrupt interuption, we have much to get through.’ Luciana slowly managed to get to her feet, before she could say anything they were both inside a large empty tent with a round table and two chairs in the center.

10 of 30 / Elderly
This was not normal. In the puzzling you were the hunter. Nothing was meant to land an attack. Yet here she found herself lying on the floor, the wind completely knocked out of her. She turned over onto her back and looked straight up. Staring down at her were a pair of elderly eyes.

My coffee has been weak sauce for about 2 weeks now. I chalked this up to the coffee beans themselves. Nope. Turns out my handground setting was on 8 (coarse) when it usually is at 3. Incredible how fiddly a simple cup of coffee can be. In other news, my other fiddly piece of coffee gear from Kickstarter doesn’t arrive until May/June of next year which is a major bummer.

Actually excited for the announcements later on today from Apple. It’s been a little over a year without a MacBook (the first time in over a decade). At the time I didn’t buy a replacement because of the keyboard issue. Then they announced that Apple silicon was coming this year, so I decided to hold out a little bit longer.

Speaking to my guy in the know he rightly predicted that a November ‘present’ would be coming. 16” and 13” MacBook Pro first, followed by the Air. His other prediction was that the new lineup will be slightly cheaper than the current lineup of MacBooks.

9 of 30 / Force
The puzzling was distinct in that you were always doing the chasing. This was a direct contrast to the realities of being a skyminder. This mental construct also served as a training ground, to help you anticipate how a chaser moves, thinks and reacts. Luciana was bounding through a city made of infinitely routes across seemingly infinite levels. In an instant she found herself knocked to the ground by an impossible force.

Issue 038 of my newsletter In Abeyance is out. This one covers one of my favourite architectural and art movements, the Art Nouveau.

8 of 30 / Bind
Luciana’s subconscious switched back without missing a beat. Here she was running at the speed of thought. Here she was not under attack. Here there was nothing to bind her. Here she was not in constant danger. Here she was not a crucial link in the world’s defence. Here she was allowed to smile.

Wonderful bike ride across Copenhagen this morning. Sun was shining. Temperature was like Goldilock’s porridge (not too cold, not too warm). Lots of awesome black and white photos coming to wrap up my month of posting photos.

7 of 30 / Inflate
The human subconscious needs to be fed challenges. It is what keeps the brain from imploding in on itself. The puzzling was created to offer just the right level of engagement. A near infinite maze of challenges to explore and discover. The levels of complexity continuously inflate as more time is spent wandering the conjured worlds. Some skyminders have spent their entire lives between these two states of being.