My current obsession is to find a way to better archive and manage all the stuff I learn on account of having a sieve for brains. I’m using Evernote at the moment, and currently, my thoughts are gathered in the classical jotty-downy-text-et-drawings-links-misc flurry of notes in notebooks, not too different from their physical pendant. It’s ok, but I’m thinking of switching to Bear for beauty reasons (because you absolutely should make things beautiful) and maybe also because I secretly want to start fresh – I considered Obsidian and Notion, but they seemed like overkill for my purposes. I’ve also recently taken the long-time-coming leap to declutter and reboot my Zotero for the literature and citations part of it all – I am in love with the browser extension and I can’t believe I haven’t been using it all this time. For more chronological thoughts and notes, I use this blog. So much about the structural set-up.
The notes themselves are a whole art of their own. I’m still figuring out how best to take them. It’s getting better, but I still find myself facing the good old useless notes issue that effected the creation of this blog in the first place. The only notes I’m really happy with are my glossary, and those that are actually already loosely snippeted into overleaf projects = being written up purposefully. Sigh. I, once again, have forgotten my own principles of project-based teaching. Summarising + synthesising is not enough for what I do, it takes purposeful output to remember and for it to be in a useful form later on. I’m happy with the way I read and the notes on the side of the paper, but if I don’t immediately incorporate them in something I’m writing at the moment, the transferred version in a notebook is, to a certain extent, doomed.
Enter Sabine Harrer‘s introductory Twitter notes on whiteness in games. I found them after listening to a talk on the topic, and found the idea of “telling a friend” in an easy accessible manner a brilliant way of non-contextual notekeeping. I have since processed some Phd-unrelated content I’ve absorbed on the side in the format of fact-attack instagram stories, and I’m a believer now: the little bit of extra effort that goes into sorting it out and creating a message for an imaginary public makes me not just better at understanding what’s relevant and interesting, but (in contrast to my usual processing practice of verbally telling long-suffering friends and family all the details) also leaves me with a handy little presentation for the future, complete with links and references.
Speaking of which, this is also food for thought on another level: My eternal annoyance with online misinformation, especially harmful health advice from self-proclaimed gurus, ties into this loosely: I have to be careful to make sure I provide evidence, I state my own limitations and context, and invite criticism.
As I write these lines, I find myself eating shitty soft bread with rancid peanut butter and some half-priced sour cherry jam from the institute fridge.