This Week I

Fell Down a Rabbit Hole

And read about an Earth-like planet that’s less than five light years away

Followed by how long it would take to travel one light year by shuttle: about 37,200 years.

Finally, my expedition ended with how many light years it is from Earth to Pluto: five light hours.

Thanks for the memories, Google.

Started a bullet journal

First, get over to bulletjournal.com and click on “watch the video.” After you watch the video, watch it a few more times. Then get a notebook and a pen (or pencil) and set up the journal the way Ryder Carrol, the creator of the system, does. If the system didn’t make sense before, it will once you set up the basic modules. Don’t spend too much time setting things up. Right now, speed is key when you use this method the first time.

I didn’t work quickly first, and that worked against me. Even though I initially watched the video before doing anything else, I ended up on a major Google expedition, coming across more than a few gorgeous, fancy, dressed up books. People are talented. People can draw and design some really beautiful stuff. I am not one of those people.

But I am a person who wants to be more organized and use her time efficiently.

So I went back to Carrol’s video — playing, pausing and setting up a composition notebook with the building blocks of the system: an index, future log, monthly log and daily log.

As I added info to the monthly log, I realized this aspect of the journal wasn’t going to work for me. I have lots of little appointments throughout the day and need to be on time to each one. I’m stuck with my Google Calendar for now but am exploring other ways I might be able to incorporate the monthly log back into the journal. This left me with the future log — which I immediately renamed Future Logs (because I like it, and it makes me feel like I live on a spaceship) — a monthly task list, daily logs and collections titled story ideas and places to pitch. A collection is a fancy way of titling a page and writing about whatever you need or want to. You number each page as you go. When you add a collection, you number the page, and add the page number and title to the index.

Carrol did a six month future log. Mine is 18 months long, and I love the big picture overview of my trial schedule. Initially, I worried about running out of space for enough daily logs for 18 months. But my day-to-day is full of court dates and long-term projects defined by my trial and writing schedule. The daily log, in my experience, blends long-term goals with day-to-day tasks. Because of this, I’m able to consistently make progress on bigger projects while managing the stuff that also eats up time every single day. I can actually see a future where my desk isn’t covered with 58 incoherent sticky notes containing information about tasks past and present.

I’ve spent years in search of the perfect planner, and every single on has always fallen short. Something that’s totally 100 percent analog may not be possible for me right now, but I think I’m almost there. And there’s something liberating about knowing that I don’t need a $65 planner or $28 leather-bound blank book to manage my day-to-day — that a flimsy composition book and whatever pen I have on hand will do the trick.

Trucks sit on a coffee table at Scenic Route Bakery in Des Moines, Iowa's East Village neighborhood.

This week I finished listening to

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Someone who doesn’t care if they get Tater Tots or turnip slurry is a person who has given up on life.

This novel  came close to making me feel the way American Gods did: like I could do anything. That everything was possible. The writing is brutal at times, but Anders manages to keep a sense of humor about the end of the world.

The story opens with Patricia and Laurence as kids who met in middle school. They part ways when they’re both basically exiled from their tween lives. Patricia and Laurence meet again in a San Francisco (and world) plagued by the ecological collapse. Ultimately, it’s up to Patricia and Laurence to either save the planet or bring about its destruction.

The apocalypse is the backdrop for a story about love, friendship and loyalty. Although, the ending wasn’t as satisfying as I hoped it would be, getting there was so much fun. The characters were real, and when the book ended, I missed my new friends.

I also found a list I’m dying to check off

100 Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels by Female Authors

I visited Des Moines, Iowa

And drank a latte at Scenic Route Bakery.

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This week I read about

Being a freelance writer and refusing to work for free

The 40th anniversary of NASA’s Viking Mission and why NASA still believes we might find life on Mars

A fascinating history of the linguistic origin of “about” in Canada

How the media tore down Clinton while building up Sanders and Trump

The Trump/Putin connection

Started reading

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Serialized in three parts in The New Yorker, where President John F. Kennedy read it in the summer of 1962, Silent Spring was published in August and became an instant best-seller and the most talked about book in decades. Utilizing her many sources in federal science and in private research, Carson spent over six years documenting her analysis that humans were misusing powerful, persistent, chemical pesticides before knowing the full extent of their potential harm to the whole biota.

Visited

Omaha and straddled the Nebraska-Iowa state line on the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

 

 

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A love letter about TerraGenesis

See those clouds in the screen grab? That’s the atmosphere at the half-way point on Mars. The goal is to terraform the place, making the red planet habitable for earthlings in this iPhone game by Alexander Winn. Throughout the game, your colony makes cultural and scientific breakthroughs, such as a musician composing a symphony. But the colony also suffers setbacks in the form of marsquakes and asteroids. As the decision maker, you have to deal with all of it.

Playing the game, I find myself making decisions that I hope will benefit the majority of people living in my little off-world settlement. But a lot of those choices come at a cost: corporations and lobbyists want to have a say in planetary policy, for example. Turns out I’m willing to give up quite a bit if it means I can build a new palladium mine to keep our ledgers in the black.

I love this game so much.