January 4th, 2020


Community Building Tip: Plant a Tree

For my current set of tips, I'm using the list "101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City."

7. Plant a tree. Shade, serenity, sustainability—trees add so much to the urban landscape and ask so little. Many cities give away free trees, have planting services, or require tree planting permits, so check your local rules before you start digging.

I will add, you are almost always free to plant on your own property, but in town it is advisable to identify any buried infrastructure first.  Rural areas have most of that stuff along the roads, so it's easier to learn the few bits of your property to avoid digging in.  Most locales have a number/email where you can ask someone to come flag all the stuff so you don't hit it.

Attracting Birds with Plants



I fed the birds today.  The weather is chilly, wet, and raw.

Earlier this morning I saw a woodpecker on the old suet feeder.  This is the first suet activity I've seen since I hung the new upside-down feeder and then moved the old one near it.  So height is not a barrier.  (I'm short and branch spacing is a limitation.)  It occurred to me that the new feeder has a tiny hole punched in one corner of the roof.  If they don't figure out the new feeder by the time the old one empties, I can run another string through that corner and tilt the horizontal feeder to the vertical position.  Once the woodpeckers are using it, I can simply lower the angle gradually until it is horizontal.  \o/ 

Serial Poetry Collections

I'm in the process of updating serial poetry collections that will be available for K-fans.  So far I have completed:

Path of the Paladins Vol. 2 (74 pages; 12,496 words)
This one has 8 new poems from 2019, largely thanks to [personal profile] satsuma who often sponsors poems in this series.  The paladins work to restore their world.

Monster House (196 pages; 33,949 words)
This only has a couple new poems from 2019.  It's one of my oldest series, dating back to the housing crisis of 2008, the year the Fishbowl became a paying project.

Frankenstein's Family (412 pages; 88,445 words)
There are 4 new poems here from 2019, including the climax of the hunter plotline.

An Army of One: The Autistic Secession in Space (370 pages; 71,573 words)
Here you'll find 3 new poems from 2019, touching on neurodiversity and sex/gender variations.

Arts and Crafts America (41 pages; 5,716 words)
New this year with 15 poems so far is a series about a more creative and constructive America.  

Fiorenza the Wisewoman (192 pages; 40,113 words)
This series has 2 new poems from 2019, featuring an Italian herbalist.

The Steamsmith (172 pages; 36,744 words)
There are 3 new poems from 2019, including some big family news.

The Moon Door (103 pages; 19,241 words)
There is only 1 new poem from 2019, but this is the first time I'm offering this collection about a women's chronic pain group treating their problems with lycanthropy.

Clay of Life (46 pages; 8,458 words)
There is only 1 new poem from 2019, but this is the first time I'm offering this collection of Jewish fantasy.

A Conflagration of Dragons (58 pages; 11,017 words)
There is only 1 new poem from 2019, but this is the first time I'm offering this collection in a world overrun by dragons.

Hart's Farm (119 pages, 25,869 words)
There are 3 new poems from 2019, and this is the first time I'm offering this collection of Swedish historic fantasy about a free-love commune.

One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis (121 pages, 21,481 words)
There are 3 new poems from 2019, and this is the first time I'm offering this collection about how the God of Evil becomes the God of Drunks.

P.I.E. (94 pages, 20.287 words)
There is only 1 new poem from 2019, but this is the first time I'm offering this collection about a paranormal investigator who uses a wheelchair.

Not all the series pages are up-to-date on the websites, but they can give you an idea of what's in each series. 

EDIT 1/20/20: I have finished going through the series and these are all the ones that will be offered as year-end perks for 2019.

Goal Planner

Did you make a list of New Year's resolutions, goals, habits, themes, or the like?  Panda Planner can help you keep those plans on track.  It's a daybook designed not for appointments (although you can use it for that too) but for personal growth and productivity.  \o/

About Multitasking

There are tons of articles for and against multitasking.  This one is against

The thing is, most of them miss the point.  A majority of what people call multitasking isn't actually that.  It's task-switching, which is a different thing.  Choosing how to manage workload effectively requires a variety of skills.

* Tasks requiring high concentration benefit from large blocks of uninterrupted time.  The only thing they typically mix well with is long-running tasks that require only intermittent attention.  I can write and do laundry or cook in the crockpot at the same time, because it benefits me to get up and stretch occasionally so my butt does not weld itself to the seat.  I cannot write with someone pestering me to do something every 5-10 minutes, but people in my life generally know not to do this, on pain of me biting their head off somewhere around the third interruption.

* Tasks that are incompatible but supportive are well worth alternating if that improves productivity.  I cannot read and write at the same time. But when I feel like crap, I can grind out an entire article by writing a paragraph and then reading a page of something pleasant, whereas I cannot write straight through in that condition.  I have done this and sold the results and gotten compliments on it.  I do something similar in taking breaks between segments of a larger project, which works in a much wider range of circumstances.  This is task-switching done right, to recharge.

* Tasks with flexible priority may be compatible.  Stay-at-home parents are pretty much always doing childcare plus something else.  If the child starts crying while you are loading the sink, you focus more on the child; if sink begins to overflow, you go shut off the water.  There's an element of task-switching involved, but mostly what you're doing is juggling the priorities between two ongoing projects, simply shifting different amounts of attention and hands between them.

* Tasks that require different types  of attention or body parts may be fully stackable and even support each other.  Yardwork = exercise.  Reviewing a high-energy music album is actually easier if I am attempting to do housework while it plays, because then I can gauge its effect on my productivity level.  This is the truest type of multitasking, and it works great, but it has limited applications because there are not a lot of common combinations, especially in modern life.

Know your tasks, your time, your energy, and yourself.  Pay attention to what works and what doesn't.  Articles are useful, but they are rarely complete.

Be Kind to Your Coworkers

It makes you a better person and makes your workplace a better environment.  Maybe it will catch on.  Here are some ways you can help people at work

However, if your workplace and/or coworkers are abusive, you don't have to be nice to them, and would be well advised to leave if at all possible.  The above advice is for situations that are relatively sane and decent, or close enough that you have the energy to push them in that direction.

Wake Up and Plant Trees

This alarm clock app motivates people to wake up on time and avoid the snooze button by rewarding them with real trees planted.  This kind of reward program could work nicely for other charities.

I confess this would've been tempting for the half of high school I had to drag my unhappy ass out of bed at 5 AM.  I wouldn't have felt any better,  but it would have been nice to get some compensatory joys.

Bullet Journals

Here are some ideas for bullet journals.  Most of these are meant to be done on paper, and they work well for visual thinkers. 

However, the same idea works in blogging as a list post.  These are often quick and easy to write, making bullet posts popular.  Read some tips on writing a good list. and some list post ideas.

Either way, this is a very useful tool if one of your goals for 2020 is to use your Dreamwidth blog more often.