A Month of Reading My Mother’s Books

My Mom’s Books

For the past 10 years, my Mom has been writing books. Until November, I’d never read any of them, except for a rough draft of her first one about 10 years ago.

The reason I’d never read any is because I thought it would be weird. I imagined that it would be like watching a movie in which your good friend was an actor… where you couldn’t take the movie seriously because you know that the actor is really just your friend, and that he’s faking it. Similarly, I thought that knowing the author of a novel would prevent me from taking the story seriously. And I thought it would be especially awkward if my mother wrote in a style that was different from how she spoke.

Let me kill the suspense: [Read more...]

A Month of Getting Things Done (GTD)

My first GTD In-Basket

This mess was my first “in-basket” (refer to stage 1 below). It included everything in my physical environment that wasn’t exactly how it should be, where it should be, forever, as well as everything in my mind that I will/may need/want to deal with someday.

In October, I read and applied David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done“.

Getting Things Done (GTD) is a system for getting things done as efficiently as possible while maintaining a clear relaxed mind.

The book is divided into three sections. The first section (~80 pages) is mostly a waste of time. It consists of rambling theory that could easily be condensed into 8 pages or less without any loss of real content. The rest of the book (sections 2 & 3) explain how the GTD system actually works and how to apply it.

I won’t get into the details of how the GTD system works, but here are the basic stages: [Read more...]

A Month of Taking A Daily Video

A few months ago I watched Cesar Kuriyama’s TED talk about recording a one-second video every day.

For the month of September, I decided to do the same thing – except I recorded 3 seconds per day rather than 1 second. Here’s my September compilation:

For October I decided to continue with [Read more...]

A Month of Being Green

Food in Mason Jars

A few types of food that I now buy in a more environmentally friendly way (in bulk, in my own re-used containers). From left to right: Oats, Sliced Almonds, Chickpeas, Sunflower Seeds, Lentils, Quinoa, Sesame Seeds.

In August I decided to learn about the state of the world from an environmental perspective, and also learn what changes I could make myself to have less of an impact.

There are a ton of environmental issues, but I ended up focusing primarily on two of the major ones:

Climate Change:  We’re in a lot of trouble if we don’t change the trend.

Waste (specifically plastic):  The problem with plastic is that we produce a huge amount of it (just look down an aisle in any grocery store) and it never goes away. This month I learned that unlike glass & metal which can theoretically be recycled indefinitely, plastic usually either:

  • Doesn’t get recycled (a lot of the plastic that you put in your recycle bin simply takes a more expensive route to landfill because there’s no market for it), OR
  • Gets “downcycled” into other products like polyester which itself never breaks down and ends its life in landfill or the environment.

We’re producing a never-ending quantity of plastic on a finite earth, and poisoning the planet in the process.

To educate myself about these issues, [Read more...]

A Month of Learning Arabic

The word "Arabic" in Arabic

The word “Arabic” written in Arabic. Pronounced “al-arabiyya”.

There are 2 languages that I’d like to know how to speak, because I think they’re likely to be relevant in the future:

Mandarin: Because China is going to take over the world.
Arabic: Because of the conflicts between the Arab world & the West. [Read more...]