The ‘Tab Snooze’ Chrome extension makes my life better

Hi, my name is Em and I have a browser tab problem. If I don’t watch myself like a hawk I can have 20 or 30 of those suckers open at any one time. This is a bad thing. And my daughter laughs at me.

When I’m warming up for the day, or unwinding, I jump on Feedly and Reddit and Tumblr to explore the day’s latest in science and octopuses and climate change, and planner and books and Ao3, and and the next thing I know my Mac is wheezing and panting like I asked it to climb Ben Nevis. This presents a problem for my ADHD brain, because once I have all the websites open I can’t decide how to categorize them. Do I want to keep the whole page as reference in my Evernote exobrain? Do I want to record a future date to take action? Do I need to read that fic now, or should it wait? Do I want to forward that info to someone? And so I sit, paralyzed, not working. Not doing anything.

Tab Snooze solves this problem for me. I simply snooze a tab and voila, it vanishes, to be recalled tonight, or tomorrow, in the weekend, next month, or, indeed, any time I tell it to come back. And when it’s recalled, the delay has allowed me to now know what I want to do with it. A lot of the time I want to just close it and move on, but in the original moment I felt too stuck to make that decision. Tab Snooze lets me take action.

Such a simple thing, but wow, this makes my life better.

If information overload is also a problem for you, Tab Snooze for Chrome is free, and you can download it here.

Ticks

Related to my Morgellons interest, Aeon has a fabulous in-depth piece by Mary Beth Pfeiffer on the increasing impact of ticks and tick-borne illness in the crest of climate change.

Apparently, this is an excerpt from Pfeiffer’s book Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change which comes out later this month. There’s no Kindle edition listed presently: I hope the publisher adds one so I can check it out.

Trailer for upcoming documentary on drones

What techniques do you think we’ll develop to keep drones out of stadiums and other pricey sports events? Will there be bootleg Olympics broadcasters the way there used to be pirate radio stations? How do you run security checkpoints when you can simultaneously fly hundreds of twenty-dollar drones carrying dirty bomb material over the walls at an infinite number of weak points?

Book release: Taking His Omega Mate

Taking-His-Omega-Mate-MCaspianf500

I have a new M. Caspian book live on Amazon. You can read it on Kindle Unlimited, if you’re a member.

Alpha Quinn Peters has spent the last six years trying to prove he was better than the father who kicked him out at sixteen, and hiding from the memory of Theo, the omega he couldn’t protect. He never dreamed his past would catch up with him on a night out with a new business partner. Can Quinn finally take his happily ever after?
This work of fiction contains explicit sexual activities and scenes of sexual assault and humiliation. Also a happy ending.

This is a stand-alone novelette of 14,070 words, complete in itself, that also functions as a prequel to the novel I will release in May.

Huge thanks to Natasha Snow for the amazing cover, and to Jenni Lea of Proof Your Love for saving two thousand commas from the dungeon of my punctuation abuse.

 

Free planner download: undated weekly work plan

I needed a weekly work plan with a time tracker and, apparently, the downloads run for US $4.15 on Etsy. This seemed like a lot, so I made one. This is sized for B5 – a Leuchtturm Composition notebook –  but you can resize it using this website here if you want A5 or A4 or something else. It will also fit a regular Mead composition notebook, or a Decomposition notebook, but will leave you an extra half inch-ish space down one edge.

Free download is here: week focus B5

Or if you’re a writer, this one has a weekly word count tracker on it too: week focus B5 with word count

Screenshot 2018-03-20 20.36.31

Review: Neuroplanner by Kar Villard

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I joined the Kickstarter for this planner last year, but it turned out to not be a planner I wanted to use in 2018. It’s more of a productivity guide, as the weekly/monthly planning pages are interspersed with what is literally a small book on how to run your life and priorities. This would be a great planner for someone heading to college for the first time, or who hasn’t yet explored productivity, task management, and goal setting. Singaporean designer Kar Villard currently has a second edition running on Indiegogo, although with 3 days left to run this hasn’t yet gained enough traction to be funded.

cover

It’s an undated A5 planner – so the exact same size as a Hobonichi Cousin – with a Monday start for both weekly and monthly spreads. The planner has two ribbon bookmarks in coral and powder blue. The bookmark colors mean that 5 out of 5 male Kiwi tradies in my impromptu focus group would not be prepared to use it (because fragile masculinity and peer pressure, aka bullying). In addition, the advice sections talk about “dating too many men,” “the cute guy who always sits in the same spot in the cafe,” and the attraction of “his hair and the smell of a good aftershave,” so although the cover colors are gender-neutral the overall tone of the planner definitely seems aimed at humans identifying as women and who perform normative heterosexual femininity. The designer, Kar Villard, projects a normative female identity, and from the tone of the planner this seems like a personal project in which she is speaking to other humans just like her.

The navy or black cover is vinyl (aka “vegan leather”) and there’s a notch in the spine so you can slip a pen in and carry it without needing an external pen loop. There’s a soft elastic band on the back cover to hold the planner closed. This is looser than I prefer, but I guess that leaves a lot of room for your planner to bulk up with use. It’s about the same tension as a Moleskine, but the elastic is a nicer quality with a slightly plush texture.

The cover is debossed with the Neuroplanner logo and name. The planner is 2cm thick (3/4 of an inch). Overall it feels very nice in my hand and looks smart and efficient. This is definitely a planner you could use in a professional setting. The paper is cream, with dark grey printing. It feels smooth, like Rhodia/Clairefontaine. I’m not doing a pen test, sorry, as I will find a good home for this planner so I want to keep it unused.

The planner starts with a five-page guide and introduction.

instructions

Then there’s a two-page quick-view calendar running from October 2017 to March 2020.

year

Each month starts with a two-page spread for focus/goal setting/brainstorming, then there’s the monthly spread, which is followed by five weekly spreads.

goals

month

The month spreads only have 5 weeks, but there is enough dot grid below the layout to allow you to draw in an extra row for the 6th week on the couple of months that require it.

weekly

The weekly spread includes separate columns for Saturday and Sunday (which I consider essential). The days are divided into hourly appointments from 7am to 10pm, with a space at the top for a daily focus. The spread has room for a weekly mindset, three focus items, six home to-dos, and six work to-dos, as well as five habit trackers and an open dot grid area.

At the back of the planner are 13 pages of 5mm dot grid paper (6 sheets + one single side).

dot grid

Inside the back cover is a paper pocket with ribbon reinforcement on the gusset.

pocket

What makes this planner different is the productivity information. There are 48 double-page spreads on aspects of creating a productive life, incorporating handy tips from neuroscience (hence, the name of the planner).

instructions 4

instructions 2

instructions 3

These spreads cover: creating a vision, setting and achieving goals, how to form a routine and how to learn, dubunking productivity myths, nutrition, fitness, multitasking and planning, creativity, non-romantic relationships, romantic relationships, future planning, and neuroplasticity.

topics

While the productivity information is useful I really hate it being interspersed with the planner pages. So, you get monthly goals, the month spread, then an info spread, a week spread, an info spread, a week spread, an info spread, and then two final weeks – a total of four double-page info spreads per month. That takes up a lot of space. I’d much rather these pages were instead dot grid pages, and the planner came with a booklet of this productivity info, sized to slip inside the back pocket. I could paste plain paper over these info pages, but even if I use tomoe river paper that’s going to bulk up the planner a hell of a lot. It’s not like I didn’t know what I was getting when I backed the project. I liked the idea of the neuroscience. It’s just that in person I realize I don’t want to actually use this product the way the planning and the information are sliced together.

My least favorite part of the planner is the section on Romance, in which Villard says, “physical attraction . . . [is the] first thing that draws us to the other person.” For asexuals this is simply not true. We are definitely talking normative NT sexuality, here.

Other nitpicks: Villard also calls humans a “race” of animals, instead of a species (section 37). And in section 40, Offspring, Villard says, “When you start to have children . . . ” I would definitely have been more comfortable with the phrasing “If you decide to have children . . .”

Kar Villard is doing a whole lot of promotion and expansion of the Neuroplanner concept, including an online community called Think Tank, and a separate booklet of the productivity pages which she recently Kickstarted. If she produces the planner without so very much productivity info it would be more useful for most people, but then I’m not sure what the point of difference would be. The current campaign on Indiegogo is asking US$40 for the planner, and for that you do get access to the online community, but in all other respects, it’s pretty much identical to any other weekly A5 planner like the compact Passion Planner (US $25) or the Transcending Waves Planner (US$19.97), although those both offer 30 min appointment intervals instead of the more cumbersome hourly spots.

 

weekly
Neoruplanner weekly spread

 

 

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Transcending Waves weekly spread

 

 

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Compact Passion Planner weekly spread

 

So, yeah, overall this wasn’t the planner for me, but if the neuroscience tips sound useful and you’re new to organizing your life and/or time, then this might work great for you. If you are in NZ and want to try this planner I’m happy to send this one to you for free: just email me.

Help Kickstart a Morgellons documentary

Remember my post about Morgellons and alpha-gal? Filmmaker Pi Ware is heading a team who just started raising funds on Kickstarter to produce a documentary on Morgellons. The participants look interesting: a mix of both “it’s a kind of Lyme disease” and “it’s psychological.”

Although film projects can be dodgy to back, apparently they’ve, “filmed 80% of our footage already . . . We just need this funding to get us to the editorial finish line.”

The Kickstarter campaign finishes 3 March. I hope they make it. I’m intrigued to see what they come up with.