Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekly Summary # 30

A day late, but here we are; next week I'll be sure to realign matters and post the next edition on Friday, unless there's another crash of course.

Anyhow, this has been a mixed week. Intense contemplation during last week made me very desirous of rest on my "weekend" (Sunday and Monday) after work, so I enjoyed indulging in reading at the park and watching a marathon of One Piece on Hulu. Overall, the most significant happening has been with my sensory enrichment experiment. Not only have I been doing my reading in various different locations, I've also been taking different walking routes to the park I go to, which has resulted in some surprising stimulation and thoughts about my character. In short, the experiment has proven to demonstrate a beneficial practice to me, and I'll comment on it briefly in this summary and dedicate an article to it next week.

Onto the list:

1.) Construct a list of locations available to read/study in and utilize a new location for each endeavor: I constructed that list and did utilize it, minus one occasion, and the results were surprisingly positive. I feel better and more satisfied, more stimulated, and more able to concentrate on my reading. I hardly expected this, but this methodology does in fact work in improving my concentration and well-being.

I originally wanted to try this because I noticed I became super fidgety trying to read in my room all the time, which was harming my thinking, productivity, ability to learn, and more. I remembered a post I read on Mark's Daily Apple on how studying in different environments can enrich one's learning (neither I nor Mark could find it unfortunately), and I particularly noticed that in my fidgeting I was constantly staring out the window, feeling as if I should be outside, so I made the connection and decided to mix up my reading locations. The fidgeting still continued to some extent in my being interested in the new environment I placed myself in, but still my intellect was benefited and I was able to get more absorbed into my reading. As a side experiment, I tried taking different walking routes to this one park I go to and found it had similar results. I'm definitely going to keep practicing this methodology in the future. I elaborate later in this weekly period what the benefits were.

2.) Read What Einstein Told His Cook 2: Yes, I did, but my rental from the library was due before I could finish it, so I've added it to my list of books to buy.

3.) Read Alinea: Forgot about it. I'll continue skimming it this week and reach a decision on whether or not I'd like to purchase it.

From what reading I have done, however, I have learned that, even as an aspiring culinary professional, I don't enjoy or benefit from reading cookbooks all that much. It's boring to go through recipe after recipe, forgoing a reading of theory and having no intention or means to recreate the recipe in the near future. I'd rather read a food science book, a spice history book; a book concentrated on one food, style, or cuisine; and so on. Reading recipe after recipe interests me very little, and through this boredom I'm learning more about what stimulates my culinary thoughts and what courses I should pursue. At the moment, I think I'd benefit much more from reading books on theory, such as sous vide cooking or different ways of handling protein, and in thinking creatively about a food or foods I'd do better to read recipes that contain or focus on them, rather than reading a bunch of different recipes with a bunch of different ingredients.

4.) Read The Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills: Forgot. I'll skim it this week, but my difficulty is that the one I've rented from the library is a very different edition than the one I saw in the bookstore (probably the one in the link also), the latter being why I decided to pick it up in the first place. I might do better to go back to that store and skim it there to reach a purchasing decision.

5.) Watch three unseen episodes of The Twilight Zone: Argh! I couldn't! To my dismay, my computer troubles persist in trying to play a DVD, where the audio becomes all choppy. I tried playing another movie and was surprised by this glitch, as I thought my software cleansing and other treatments had fixed the problems I experienced before. Apparently not, so I am still unable to play DVDs properly. I'm at a loss as how to get other programs to play DVDs as well, such as Quicktime and VLC, since I suspect the problem may be that Microsoft Media Center demands too much of the computer's resources, so I'm stuck for now.

* * * * *

Another thing I've learned this week is what more ideally constitute an ideal reading habit for my being. Out of paranoia of being without books I filled out a bunch of inter-library loan request sheets with the thought they might arrive way in the future at different times, but to my surprise they came fairly quickly and close together, so I ended up having nearly a dozen books at once, which was actually stressful. I felt pressured to try and plow through them before their due dates, many of them being non-renewable, which made me enjoy and derive less from their reading. Many have been returned, and what few I have left leaves me more at peace and interested. For my habits, I prefer to concentrate on as few books as possible, though have a few rented out at a time for variety, so I should place a strict limit on how many I'll allow myself to rent and request at one time, and content myself with my writing and other activities if I should run out.

This week I'd actually like to spend on rethinking and modifying my blogging habits, among other things. My urge to be an intellectual activist has been growing stronger and stronger, and part of that urge is how to write more effectively and attractively, and advertise for more readers. My activism has even been motivating to spontaneously promote my ideas in areas beyond the internet, such as asking for The Objective Standard at my nearest Barnes & Noble. Plus I think it's very likely I'm going to start my second job very soon, as they'd said they'll give me their definitive answer within the week, so I ought to be prepared. Otherwise, I can't think of any new self-improvement ventures other than maintaining my current habits and honing my current abilities, though I think I came across a major identification about the nature of self-improvement which will change my efforts significantly, which I'll write about later this period.

So here are my current plans:

1.) Construct an outline for a special piece: I've got another long article in my head, like my Dragon Ball Z one, which will probably take a brief while to complete.

2.) Write an article about the full benefits of my sensory enrichment experiment

3.) Write an article about that major identification I made about self-improvement

4.) Construct a blog post for Modern Paleo

5.) Look up nearby philosophy or culinary clubs; nearby colleges

6.) Finish skimming Alinea

7.) Study up on how to effectively find and use images in articles

8.) Finish skimming The Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills

That's it for now. I have this strange urge that tells me there's something else I should be doing, but I can't figure out what. Hopefully I'll figure that out this week.

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