What I've been up to every week

Nov 23rd - Nov 29th

  • I don’t have much to update on this week; I feel like I haven’t done much that’s interesting
  • I have discovered a wonderful singer called Laufey and she’s just brilliant
  • Barre chords on the ukulele are getting slightly easier, but still struggling with barre chords on the first fret. My index finger and thumb start cramping pretty quickly, and so does my forearm. It’s a sign I’m not strong enough!
  • I’m still reading the same really long books:
  • We have watched a Spanish TV series that was phenomenal; it’s about a group of riot policemen and the aftermath of an eviction gone awry. It feels more like a documentary than fiction, especially in its first episode, and all the actors do an incredible job. Highly recommend!
  • We have also watched Hitchcock Dial M for Murder, which was also really good

Nov 15th - Nov 22nd

  • Our previous neighbour gifted us with her old stationary bike (thanks, Alexandra!), which is one of those folding ones. It’s quite basic, but I have started creating a habit around that. The trick (for me) is to watch a TV show only while I cycle – that generates the incentive to continue cycling for longer and to be eager to get back to it the next day.
  • I’ve been playing a few new songs on the ukulele and working a bit on barre chords, but still finding them really hard! Yesterday I took a tour down memory lane and started playing songs I used to listen to when I was a teenager.
  • I haven’t finished any new books this week as I’m reading three really long ones:
  • This weekend we re-watched Chazelle’s Whiplash, which still mesmerizes and terrifies me in equal measure, and we watched Niagara, a 1953 suspense movie starring Marilyn Monroe (although, really, she’s not the protagonist).
  • We finished one of the best TV shows I have ever watched: Catch and Halt Fire. What a marvelous discovery, and what a shame it’s so underrated! If you have a chance, please go see it; I suspect you’ll be amazed.
  • A couple of interesting articles I read this week:
    • James Clear discusses how you can (not) change someone else’s beliefs with facts, because as soon as you start criticizing their ideas they will put all their energy into proving you wrong. It’s more effective (and kinder) to spend time developing and explaining your ideas than investing energy in proving others wrong. Also interesting is the point he makes about how you don’t want to discuss bad ideas, not even in order to criticize them, as that will just give them continuity. You want bad ideas to die, and they won’t die if you keep bringing them up.
    • Shane Parrish writes about how complexity does not disappear, but rather moves across systems. The simpler something looks on the outside, the more complex it has to be on the inside. Very interesting from the point of view of software design.

Nov 9th - Nov 15th

  • This week has also been quite good; I have started a new project at work I’m really excited about!
  • I have learned a new song on the ukulele, Taylor Swift’s Lover . I had to learn the song by heart first so that I could then sing along while playing. Some of the transitions are still tricky to do quickly enough, but I’m getting there!
  • Yesterday we watched It happened one night by Frank Capra, a 1934 film about a millionaire’s daughter who decides to escape and the journalist she meets along the way. It’s a screwball comedy.
  • I have finished reading I’ve been meaning to tell you, David Chariandy’s letter to his thirteen-year-old daughter. He mostly discusses his experiences with racism as a black man in modern Canada.
  • I’m also reading Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile. It’s going to take me a long while to finish it, but so far I’m really enjoying it and it’s making me re-consider a lot of my ideas and views.
  • Two interesting articles I’ve come across this week are The spiral of silence and Make Design System right.
  • As a bonus, there’s this article by Tim Urban (Wait but why) on family trees and ancestry. I don’t know how to describe this, but it’s interesting, funny and humbling.
  • We have also been playing Wilmot’s Warehouse, which is a really fun puzzle game involving a little squared character and warehouse where you have to organise a series of items that keep being added to it. It’s very interesting as an information architecture exercise, and also kind of peaceful as you get breaks during which you can reorganise items at your own pace. Very fun to play with someone else as well!
  • I wrote a short think piece (my first, kind of) about how sometimes we believe we are in the right and are tempted to think that those with a different opinion are therefore wrong. The more I listen to other people having different opinions, the more I think there is more value in trying to understand those who think differently than listening to those who agree with you. I know it’s hard, but it’s also doable.

Nov 2nd - Nov 8th

  • This week has been really good, especially since we were on a staycation. We didn’t do much, but we slept a lot, read a lot and watched many movies.
  • I’m still playing the ukulele, and have been learning to play Camila Cabello’s Havana, but the strumming is really hard to get right, at least for a newbie like me!
  • Among the movies we have watched, it’s worth highlighting The Endless Trench by Jon Garaño, Aitor Arregi and Jose Mari Goenaga, a film about a man who hides in his own house for 30 years after the end of the Spanish Civil War, and Amadeus by Miloš Forman, a brilliant study on envy loosely based on the friendship between Mozart and Salieri.
  • In terms of reading, I have finished Persuasion by Jane Austen and also written a blog post about why everyone should read (at least) one novel by her.

Oct 26th - Nov 1st

  • My mental health is still playing havoc with my life, so it’s a bit harder to focus on productivity and learning. Next week I’m on holiday (at home holidays) so I’ll hopefully be reading a lot more, especially since we’re going back into lockdown mid-week.
  • I’m still playing the ukulele on the daily, and doing it for longer stretches of time now that my finger tips don’t hurt as much. I’m learning new strumming patterns, too! Still struggling to sing along to my strumming though.
  • This weekend we have watched Slumdog Millionaire which I’d never seen before, and it was really good! Really enjoyed that one. We also watched Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987) which was not my cup of tea, yet interesting all the same.
  • I finished reading Content Design by Sarah Richards, which was ok but could have been better (I also spotted a few typos and grammatical mistakes that really bothered me given the subject of the book), and I also finished To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. It has taken me two months to finish this relatively short book, and it has been a struggle I sadly do not wish upon anyone else. I’ve read a few Virginia Woolf’s books throughout the years and they’d been enjoyable on the whole, but this was a no-go for me.

Oct 19th - Oct 25th

  • This week has been a bit of a weird one mental health-wise, but I managed to stick to my ukulele practice and continue building those calluses!
  • I’ve been thinking a bit more about the kind of content I consume online as well as in book format, and I’m making a conscious decision to be more mindful about that and choose more wisely.
  • I’ve been playing Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze
  • This week I finished reading Yeonmi Park’s In order to live and also Holes by Louis Sachar, which I’ve been reading alongside my students (I’m teaching English to some family members!)
  • We watched Whisper of the Heart (1995) by Yoshifumi Kondō, a Japanese animated film about a teenage girl trying to figure out what she wants to do (professionally) in the future and falling in love with a teenage boy on the same journey. We also watched a documentary on silent film director Buster Keaton titled The Great Buster. Buster Keaton may be one of the few silent film directors I actually don’t find boring (that may change as I grow more used to watching classic and silent movies, but it also may not).

Oct 12th - Oct 18th

  • This week I stumbled upon Yeonmi Park’s Youtube channel and I binged half of her channel, watched a few interviews with her and got her book from the library. I only knew the basics about the North Korean regime, but learning more about that has opened up my eyes to other things as well that go beyond the politics of one country and can apply to a myriad of things both personal and political.
  • I have started playing the ukulele with regularity. At the moment I have to keep it to 10 mins a day because my finger tips really hurt - I have no previous experience with string instruments.
  • I’m continuing to journal daily, and have found a list of daily questions and daily writing prompts to get the ball rolling.
  • We have started watching Ramon Gener’s This is Opera and we have also watched Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai (1947), which I didn’t like, and Lulu Wang’s comedy The Farewell about a Chinese family dealing with the elderly grandmother’s diagnosis of cancer, which I enjoyed very much.
  • I finished reading The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, which tells the story of two fair-skinned black twins in the 60s and how one of them abandons the other in order to live her life passing as a white woman. I found the premise of the book very interesting and would recommend it.

Oct 5th - Oct 11th

  • I’ve been feeling quite organized this week!
  • Started on the habit of exercising (even if very lightly) every day of the week. As a result, I feel better in my body and my core is getting stronger (although that might be more of a psychological thing than a reality)
  • I looked into Information Architecture and read a whole book about the topic titled Everyday Information Architecture by Lisa Maria Martin
  • This week we have started watching Catch and Halt Fire, which is an underrated show we’d never heard of before
  • I fell asleep watching One flew over the cuckoo’s nest (1975), so will have to watch that again when I’m feeling more… awake. We also watched the new adaptation of Emma, Jane Austen’s 1816 novel about a young, rich and beautiful girl playing Cupido. I read the novel years ago and was familiar with the plot, but my partner got lost several times and eventually lost all interest in the story.

Sep 28th - Oct 4th

  • This week I have learned a lot about habit building
  • I finished reading Atomic Habits yesterday and it’s had a great impact on me as I have started implementing some charges in my life
  • I have started doing some light exercising -just a few push ups, crunches, squats-every day, even if it’s only 5 minutes
  • I have started writing a bit of creative writing every morning and journaling for self-discovery
  • I have started doing some yoga poses every morning before breakfast
  • I have finished reading Atomic Habits and We have always lived in the castle, and I enjoyed both of them very much ⭐
  • I have watched Insomnia by Christopher Nolan.

Sep 21st - Sep 27th

  • This week I started reading Atomic Habits and putting some of the advice in there into practice.
  • I’ve also been working on Poplar’s new site navigation, taking into account both the pages we currently have as well as the ones that will come.
  • This week I watched Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife, a 1938 romantic comedy by Ernst Lubitsch. It was quite good. I also watched Close Encounters of the Third Kind by Spielberg (1977). That was also quite good, but sadly not great in my opinion. I wouldn’t recommend either of them.
  • I also finished three books, none of which I will remember in a few months, but here we go: The Grace Year, by Kim Liggett (Young Adult Fiction), The Photograph, by Penelope Lively (Fiction, 2004) and Pillow Thoughts (Poetry)
  • I also finished watching Jane Goodall’s Masterclass on conservationism The Story of Film by Mark Cousins. Neither of them memorable.