Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekly Summary # 29

A semi-productive week. Admittedly I am becoming quite tired of my routine and awful lonely, but for the immediate present there's not much I can do until I boost my savings up back to healthier levels, given the level of depletion caused by my brief unemployment. A lot of time was spent writing, my sleep difficulties are persisting, and I had trouble reading, so I didn't quite put into my days all that I could. Regardless, I did come across some last moment insights that will help alter and guide my practices next week.

The significant portion I spent writing is of concern to me given my culinary interests, but since my finances are preventing me from doing food experimentation as I desire I guess I shouldn't consider it wasted time, especially as it furthers my introspection and thinking skills. In conjunction with how late I've been rising from bed (due to continuing difficulties) my hours outside of work have been slightly limited, so my time dedications have been tipped too much in favor of writing. Though, I don't see this as an inherent problem with my priorities, but rather as a need to keep addressing my sleep troubles.

Most significantly, I've experimented briefly with changing up my study environments by reading in the park and on the patio, and to my pleasure I noticed my mind was refreshed, concentration was stronger, and my interest in reading was boosted. This is in opposition to the rest of my week, when I tried to do my reading in my room and was frequently distracted, probably by the monotony of the atmosphere. I notice that such distraction persisted in the past too, where I was spending great amounts of time in the same environment for my studies. The method of changing up location may be distracting to some, but I think concentration can be cultivated in a way to filter out the new surroundings and happenings, and in my own being it seems to already be at that state. I'll keep experimenting with this method and see where it takes me.

And now the list:

1.) Introspect once a day in my introspection journal: Finished, and I explained why in my Mind Over Mood book review. So far I do seem to becoming a more relaxed and better person, but at this point I'd rather sustain this writing habit only as I find I need to, rather than doing it everyday.

2.) Read a particular essay about surviving an economic collapse: Yes. Just to prepare for the worst case scenario. And again, I know it may be depressing to think about it, but it's very important, and there are ways to bear them.

3.) Read What Einstein Told His Barber: Done and finished. It touches on too general of subjects for me, so I mostly skimmed it. My New Year's Resolution of reading twenty books is becoming more and more difficult to complete, because I only count the books read cover to cover, and yet at the same time I'm relaxing my strict standards on how much of a material I read, lest valuable mental energy be wasted, so it seems at this point that I'll be perusing a lot more books than my original goal intended.

4.) Read Alinea: Pretty much just one section in so far, and it's impressive. Grant Achatz is one of the chefs I have at the top of my list in regards to my interests; him, and Homaro Cantu. They represent quite well what I want to do in the long-term of my profession.

But I'm also realizing how difficult it is for me to read cookbooks. Since I don't have the materials to recreate and experiment with the recipes, I'm experiencing great resistance to simply doing pure readings of recipes, so I'll either have to think of new strategies for reading or contemplate the role reading recipes plays in my life. 

5.) Read What Einstein Told His Cook 2: I'm about two chapters in, and it seems to be as every bit as excellent as the first book in the series. I love food science, and Robert L. Wolke not only appeals to my interest in this fashion, but is also a very entertaining writer. If you like food and science then I certainly recommend this author. I'm also considering buying these books for some note-taking.

6.) Write a book review for Mind Over Mood: Done.

7.) Watch those lectures on inflation neglected last week: Roughly. I watched the first one, skipped the Q & A of the second one, and skipped the third one entirely due to its redundancy. In hindsight, only the first one is worth linking to. It's important to know the factors involved in what could possibly bring out America's economic collapse, if we want to have a fighting chance of preventing it, or at least being successful activists against its causes regardless of what happens.

8.) Go to bed by at least midnight every night: Minus one night, done. It seems to be a respectable bedtime, though my late work shifts tend to make me want to recreate a little longer than I have time for given this limit. I'll try to keep it.

9.) Put orange safety glasses on after 10 PM (unless working): Done. It helps an awful lot. I've got to habituate it from here on out.

10.) Look up resources for improving my speech: Didn't do, but on second thought it may not be necessary. As of late I've been noticing very positive responses to me, to my way of speaking in particularly. Perhaps I'm just splitting hairs on whatever troubles I might be having, like pronouncing new words, and really shouldn't worry until I need to do formal speaking engagements.

* * * * *

Overall, an okay week, but there is still an inner-conflict within me that tells me I'm wasting my time and should be aspiring to more. Hefty self-improvement ventures have been greatly absent, there's no formal studying, and overall my life feels like I'm trapping myself in a cycle of simple work and play, though forgivable given current finances. My fear in this is that I might be neglecting my self-improvement and enrichment, thus retarding my growth, though on the other hand this could be paranoia. I anticipate hearing from a country club this week about what will be hopefully my second job, so that will likely be a routine scrambler.

My main concern is whether I should be making more effort towards identifying the realms of my life in order to balance things more comfortably. Sometimes when I choose a particular task, such as reading, I don't feel as if I "should" be doing it, and the resistance is not due to my being preoccupied with other planned activities. It just seems like some realms are more important, and that by choosing one over another constitutes unwise neglect. More thinking needs to be done.

For this week I hope to hear from the country club and start setting the gears in motion for them, and perhaps get to addressing my loneliness issue by getting in contact with those as culinarily serious as I (since my current work schedule practically prohibits me from utilizing my local Objectivist society), but in the meanwhile I will set up some elastic goals that can be accomplished whether or not the country club contacts me. Additionally, I'll continue working on my sleep issues and see if I can make myself get out of bed much sooner, preventing myself from laying around too much.

1.) Construct a list of locations available to read/study in and utilize a new location for each endeavor: There's tons of place less than a mile away that I can experiment seeing how fluctuating environments effects my reading, and I certainly won't be able to exhaust them within a week.

2.) Read What Einstein Told His Cook 2: Again another vague reading goal, but given my current situation and abilities I question how much I can really assign to myself, or whether changing up my environments will really enhance my efforts as I think they will. As specific as I can get I think is to strive for one chapter per session.

3.) Read Alinea: Given that I don't seem to be finding much value in purely reading recipes I will continue skimming this and anticipate being finishing it this weekly period. So far it looks like I may purchase it.

4.) Read The Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills: I don't intend to be thorough, but rather to see if it might be a worthy addition to my collection, as Mastering Knife Skills doesn't cover everything there is to know about knives and cutting.

5.) Watch three unseen episodes of The Twilight Zone: I have the whole series on DVD and have yet to complete it?! I should start striving to finish the job, to fully appreciate what a great work of art it is.

That's it for now. I'm so petered out by my recent writing that I can't think of anything else, though will surely add to this. Right now I want to work on maximizing my productive hours -- namely getting up earlier by stopping my drowsy laying in bed -- get back on track with my reading and writing, work at improving at my current job, and see how my country club position will affect my life, namely in education and social atmosphere. Also on my mind is how I can be a better cultural activist.

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