I love going through old notebooks. There's a wonderfully cleansing feeling to it, a way of revisiting the past so you can let it go and move on with it. I'm working through my entire stack of backlogged notebooks (3 down, 5 to go). Expect a flurry of posts today as those come out.

From this summer in Boston:

  • "Dreamt I was an electrical component. Dreamt of impedance mismatch." (from the "this no longer makes sense to me out of context" department)
  • "Do not build semantics into the... game! Instead, tubify it." (What?)
  • "I can't read lips because of the @!#_; mike." (notes from a Wikimania speech)

From my notebook in the Philippines, a short collection of moments.

  • the bus swerving repeatedly into opposing traffic, passing five cars, then slamming back into the right lane inches before a certain-death collision with a bus coming in the opposite direction doing Exactly The Same Thing (it was the best cardiovascular workout I've ever gotten from public transportation)
  • a roadside kiosk named SHINNY BUBBLES VIDEOKE [sic]
  • raking rice to dry on the driveway, on basketball courts, on the roadside... carpets of tiny brown grains everywhere, dogs and small children occasionally running across them (now I know why people wash their rice).
  • goats and chicken grazing in a barbed-wire-fenced yard next to a shed of men welding together bright orange hand mixers for cement.
  • a billboard for PLACENTA beauty-care product (yes, it contains real placenta). Same billboard being used as a clothes hanger for the shanties built around it; there's something incongruous about the beaming face of a white-skinned, larger-than-life model surrounded by flapping faded clothes on cheap plastic hangers.
  • tall, white-tufted fields of grass with white cattle roaming placidly within them.
  • "vulcanising shops" advertised by tires nailed to the doorway with white-painted letters around their rim.
  • a mesh hammock hung underneath the undercarriage of a truck parked by the side of the road, with a barefoot, long-legged man snoozing in it, head barely clearing the rear axle by a few inches.
  • a little shrine to the Virgin Mary carefully shielded by a ragged umbrella that used to advertise hot dogs

This isn't a bad way to spend an Easter afternoon, actually. I might not get that Trac plugin started, but I've found that deliberate procrastination is my friend - when I "decide" to do something (which isn't actually under some deadline I have to meet), I usually end up not-doing it, but doing something even better/cooler (in my eyes). So the original activity becomes a bar of "productivity" over which whatever actual action replaces it has to climb.