Sketching a blog post

Used a couple of Sharpie twin tips and my Baron Fig Mastermind pad to prototype my latest post for the Brain Traffic blog. Normally when I use pen and paper in my writing workflow it’s very messy and haphazard — notes jotted in random places, maybe a partial mind map, maybe a bullet point of outlines. This time I pushed myself to be very deliberate. It only took a few minutes longer than my usual approach but ended up being much more useful.

It was fairly easy to translate it back into an outline, though I ended up restructuring things a bit. The funny thing is I think this sheet does a better job of explaining the main ideas than the post does. Sometimes sentences are overkill. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Markdown in Ulysses share sheet

Was delighted to find that Markdown formatting even works when sending things to Ulysses from other applications. Perhaps this is common for iPad apps but it was the first time I’ve noticed it. Many of my posts start from the camera roll. It’s great to be able to do some quick formatting and position the image relative to the rest of the text, send it right into Ulysses, and never even leave Photos. Very cool.

Tiny habits with Streaks

I tried Streaks (what an awful name) a while back but it didn’t stick, I think because I picked overly-ambitious things to track. The gang was talking about it recently on Do By Friday and I gave it another spin. It’s clicking this time.

This is my current mix:

I’ve been try to pick habits that are accessible throughout the day without having to plan for them. I can just pop Streaks open, pick something, and do it with either just my body, or with my phone or iPad. Playing piano is the trickiest one but there’s a mobile flashcard thing in the Simply Piano app I’ll use in a pinch.

For me the primary advantage is less about building any particular habit as it is about grounding my days in something positive and regular. It’s too easy to just go home from work and start working again all night, or to veg out to Netflix until I fall asleep. A day where I accomplish all or most of these things (and my health stuff on the other screen like taking my vitamins and getting my steps) is a pretty good day, regardless of what else happens.

Sometimes words are best

I like when designers solve problems with words in a straightforward and simple way.

I nearly opened the wrong end of this carton of heavy cream. But then I saw the all-caps instructions to OPEN OTHER END. So I did.

Not hard to imagine a designer using an illustration (which you’d probably decrypt right after screwing it up), or trying to redesign the carton so that the user is inclined to open the correct end. Or to design a new package where opening either end works. But you know what? This gets the job done, cheaply and simply.

Franz Ferdinand and Priests at First Avenue

Hit this show a few weeks back. So glad I got to go. Franz Ferdinand was a bucket list band. Just as fun and dance-y as I expected. They have a hell of a catalog. You think you’ve heard all the hits and then they go right into another one.

Franz Ferdinand knows how to work their stage lighting.
Franz Ferdinand knows how to work their stage lighting.

The opener, Priests, had some interesting things going on, and room to grow. I can’t imagine it’s an easy gig on your first night opening for Franz Ferdinand in front of a sold out First Avenue Mainroom crowd.

Priests opening for Franz Ferdinand. Foreground: the guy who sells beer from a box he carries on his head.
Priests opening for Franz Ferdinand. Foreground: the guy who sells beer from a box he carries on his head.