A lot of my internet friends seem to really be struggling at the moment and the issues and the root causes seem similar. - they feel overwhelmed - they feel like they aren’t doing enough - they feel lost and direction less - they feel guilty for not doing more - they feel everyone else is doing much better than they are - they feel they need to be consistent in their output (or they will fail) - they feel they are imposters and shouldn’t be doing what they are - they feel everyone is negative these days - they feel they are hearing the same things again and again - they feel hurt by critiques they have received (recently or in the past)

I wish there was an easy answer but I can tell you that you’re not alone, others feel these things too and it does get better.

(and I’d like to suggest that productivity books/podcasts often make those feelings worse.)


noun [si-nek-duh-kee] Rhetoric.

a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general for the special, as in ten sail for ten ships or a Croesus for a rich man.


Similar to a Metonymy.

A Pièce De Résistance Is Never Easy

As I concluded the Isaacson biography of Da Vinci he referred to the Mona Lisa as “Da Vinci’s pièce de résistance”. A term many are familiar with, but one I had never considered. The words are literally a piece of resistance.

This term – synonymous with the greatest work created by a group or the highlight of someone’s work – highlights the struggle that is present in creating.

Great work requires struggle and perseverance.

This sees very present in Da Vinci’s work. He left so much unfinished, yet Mona Lisa is one of his few finished products.

If Da Vinci hadn’t persevered, he wouldn’t have created his pièce de résistance.

P.s. If a french speaker would like to correct my translation, I appreciate that but I think the point is still valid.

Disagreeing is fine, just remember to be kind. (this is a reminder to myself)

Don't Meet Your Heroes - Austin Kleon

It bears repeating: Miserable human beings who you wouldn’t want to spend a second with in real life are capable of making something great that is beautiful or useful to you. That is, in fact, the whole point of art. (It’s currently an unfashionable belief, but it’s true.)

Whatever you love about a writer or an artist’s work, that really is the best of what they have to offer you. You don’t want the whole human, trust me. You really want that thing they offered up to you: The art.

Austin Kleon - Assume Away

I’m a big believer of bringing sketchnoting to education…but sometimes I see things that make me wonder a) where’s the educational value of this b) where’s the Sketchnoting in this? C) both Sometimes…it’s just drawing stuff

The pen I ordered to replace the one I broke has got lost on its way… :S Japan Post come to my rescue!!

I don't need a shareable task list, I need communication 

One of the key distinguishing features of Todoist compared to other task management applications, is the ability to share tasks with another user. When my wife and I got engaged we started using Todoists shared lists to help share duties and organize the tasks we needed to do for our wedding and beyond. 

However a year and a half ago I switched to using Things 3 which doesn’t have a shared task list. You might have thought that this would have caused a problem in either using two task management applications or worse. My wife assigned me a task which I then didn’t see as I wasn’t using Todoist. But this wasn’t the case as we had stopped using the shared tasks.

We had switched to having a weekly meeting where we discussed what was coming up and what we needed to do. This communication made sharing a list unnecessary.

Looking to technology, when we should look to ourselves 

Often, we look for technological solutions to solve people problems. Sometimes these people problems can’t be solved with a simple conversation, but more often our technology solutions are merely trying to replace good communication and personal skills (and often fail for the same reason). 

Want an example? 

At a one language school I worked at, we had to fill in a register with a record of work in a Google spreadsheet. Some staff filled in theirs immediately after classes with clear records. Others would regularly not fill in their record, and when they did, it was as if they were speaking a different language. 

The doc was supposed to make it possible to be filled in from anywhere at any time to help those who found it difficult to complete at work. But it didn’t help. It was the same people who didn’t fill it in at home, who didn’t fill it in at work. 

But technology can open new doors

On the other hand, I’ve used Google docs for students to share questions and answers to their homework before the next class. This collaboration couldn’t have been done without some form of technology (other classes of students have used WhatsApp and Facebook groups). 

Sometimes, technology can solve or ease our problems, but often there is a simpler solution resting with us. 

Spent the evening practicing some gothic style lettering with a pilot parallel (found a cool, lose alphabet to emulate) and then moved on to brush lettering with my pentel brush pen. Grace is on my mind.





a figure of speech that consists of the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related, or of which it is a part, as “scepter” for “sovereignty,” or “the bottle” for “strong drink,” or “count heads (or noses)” for “count people.”


My colleague and I discovered this word today and I think it makes for a wonderful word of the day.

We humans are really good at overcomplicating our lives aren’t we.

Now and Then Feb 2019

I created a group in Ulysses called “Now”, it has all my now page updates and “Now and then” blog posts. I’ve managed to keep about 4 months worth of updates now and it’s starting to provide and interesting log that I can look back on and observe.

Last month: January 2019

January started at my in-laws in Lublin, Poland after spending Christmas in the UK. The rest of the month mainly centred around surviving the cold in Krakow and finding solutions to staying entertained while staying in doors.

I achieved many of the things I hoped for the month with finally finishing reading “Atomic Habits” and starting three new books in three different formats. I also finished a course I was working on and started to wonder about what I should do next.

I started a new writing experiment in Adversaria, I was thinking of rebranding iPad Guild to Adversaria so I could write about a few more general things, but I kept putting it off. Eventually I decided to just give it a try with a couple of post ideas I had. The main reason I wanted to change direction was to open up more options for writing. Writing about the iPad (only) felt too limiting and I found myself more interested in the intersection between digital and analogue tools. I had some minor success first from writing about podcast free commutes and then when Patrick Rhone linked to one of my posts on my attitude towards fancy notebooks (they are made to be ruined).

The podcast free commutes turned into a real theme. I had felt increasingly dissatisfied with my tech news focused podcast list and decided to ban podcasts during commenting (for some more thinking time). This had the side effect of making me much more selective over what I listened to as I had less time to listen. In the end, I haven’t really unsubscribed from many podcasts (yet) but it’s only a matter of time. There are shows which I haven’t listened to in two weeks, and they will be first against the wall.

p.s. the hobonichi is proving to be a great notebook and has been joined by a Leuchttrum 1917 in my notebook stack.

This Month: February 2019

I suspect this theme of reducing the noise of too many inputs will continue as well as my writing for Adversaria. It feels like a fun new writing experiment and is encouraging me to focus on a different style of writing which is more story focused. I’ve also signed up for a calligraphy class this month which starts next Wednesday. It’s copperplate style which is one I have never done so that should be an interesting challenge. Calligraphy classes are the sort of thing which makes time fly for me as I get into a state of flow. I really find them to be a meditative sort of experience.

Finally, I now have a content plan for my business goals this year and I need to start implementing it. That should help a bit but I need to make sure it doesn’t take too much focus compared to spending time with people.

I’m also working on my yearly goals of - learn and play 3 jazz standards at an open mic night - keep and play with a journal ([hobonichi]) - spend less time on devices and more time with people, doing things - start taking more photos again

It’s funny how Apple blocked Facebook’s apps, and the Facebook business couldn’t function properly. But if Facebook removed their apps from Apple devices, most other businesses would function better.

I came into work to not the best situation so it’s a rough start to the day. I guess this means it’s a chance to turn things around today and finish better than it began…I thing I need more coffee to help.

Dual Wielding Microns Like Darth Maul

I can still remember the moment when Darth Maul ignited the second blade of his lightsaber. George Lucas had wisely hidden the second blade for maul’s first fight so the second fight, when we already knew Maul was dangerous, is a real level up.

While I might not have a single lightsaber blade (yet) I have been dual wilding micro pens recently with a micro 0.3 and 0.8.

These two pens were part of a set of five that I bought going from 0.05 to 0.8. I’ve used many of these pens at different times (although the 0.05 immediately broke when I first reapplied the lid) but for some reason, I seem to have gravitated to these two as my everyday carry pens.

Nestled within my Nock Spaleo Kickstarter case with a Field Notes notebook, they provide a handy portable set for jotting notes down, adding to my Hobonichi or, importantly, sketchnoting.

The 0.8 works brilliantly for header sections with its extra width and boldness. Doubling up the lines works well for titles too. It also suits icons. On the other hand, the 0.3 can provide fine text, lines for connecting ideas and small checkboxes. But the real magic is when they combine.

  • the 0.8 can provide the outline while the 0.3 adds the details,
  • the 0.8 can form the bulk of my letters while the 0.3 adds serifs,
  • the 0.3 can make the checkbox and the 0.8 can resolutely mark them complete.

I don’t need to bring a second micron along, in fact, I could use any old pen. But this set up works well for many different situations and I enjoy them.

Before Every Facebook Crisis...

Facebook: We’re helping the world, we’ve made some mistakes in the past but you can trust us.

(a new crisis breaks)

Facebook: We never meant to overstep the line, we realise now that some people might not agree with what we did so we’ve stepped back. We’ll never violate your trust like that again.

(Meanwhile, actions are taking place for the next scandal)

Funny, I’ve always thought that the wizard only became admirable after he stepped out from behind the curtain. In the scene that follows, he admits that he isn’t all-powerful and all-knowing, and that he has nothing to give his visitors that they didn’t already have. The Scarecrow always had a brain, the Lion had courage, the Tin Man had a heart, Dorothy knew the way home. And the Facebook user had friends. - All This Newfound Cynicism Is Going to Hamper Big Tech : Wired