Aspiring writer. Trying to use this space to create more space in my head.
1,912 words
https://monkeymind.page

I have readers!

I knew from the beginning that Listed had a guestbook, but I never really gave it any thought. I don't think I ever scrolled down far enough on the settings to see that there were actually guestbook entries. I guess someone is reading this after all! ;)

**So... to my legions of fans; first of all, thank you for reading and second, I hope to not bore you too much with my drivel.

And with that in mind, on to the drivel.

Yesterday was the first day I left my house in over a month. I had to pick up a prescription and the pharmacy wasn't going to hold it any longer. Since I was going out, I took the opportunity to support a local restaurant and pick up dinner. It was the first take out/dining out type thing since I locked myself in. It was fantastic! I couldn't stop smiling all evening. Something that a few weeks ago was ordinary and done without much thought was now one of the most glorious things. When this is over it's going to be a while before I take dining out for granted again. It wasn't even that spectacular of a meal. It was a burrito from a local Mexican place. It was slathered in cheese sauce and just left a happy feeling in my stomach. We had been avoiding going out because we live in a location with several older people who would be prime candidates to succumb to COVID-19 and I don't want to do anything to make them ill. My wife and I did a lot of research about the safety of getting takeout before we went and took every precaution. I know it was still a risk but I was relieved to see everyone at the restaurant wearing masks and gloves so I know they were taking precautions too.

Wherever you are and whatever your circustances, I hope you are faring will through all of this and I wish you good health (both physical and mental).

Thinking about Standard Notes

Recently someone on Slack posted a question about using Standard Notes for a Zettelkasten. I didn't know what that was and of course the name was intriguing so I had to google. Many, many hours and days later, I am still doing research but at this point have probably installed every Zettelkasten/markdown app there is and tried it out. To add to that, I didn't really know what markdown was either other than a bunch of extended editors in SN that I tried but didn't want to take the time to figure out what they were doing or why, that is until I started this whole Zettelkasten investigation. Within just a few hours though I had uninstalled all other editors from SN and now only have the advanced markdown as well as the task list and 2FA editors. Now that I see the power of markdown, I'm planning on using it everywhere.

After trying all of those apps, I think I have settled on the program Zettlr which seems like a very robust and mature app. Where I'm struggling is that I think I like it more than Standard Notes for a lot of reasons.

  1. It has spellcheck!! Seems like such a basic feature to be missing from SN. I didn't realize how much over time I've come to rely on it until I didn't have it anymore.
  2. More contrast between different markdown tags. I've been trying to play with themes in SN to accomplish something similar and I'm still working on it. Like I said in a previous post, I'm new to CSS and have a lot to learn.
  3. Links between pages and within pages. Even though as of now I'm not doing a Zettelkasten I've already started to make use of the links and it's just such a nice fit for me and really helps my workflow.
  4. This one is both a pro and a con, but one of the design goals was that files created by Zettlr should not be dependent on the app, meaning I could take those files, even with links, and substitute any other markdown editor and be able to keep going. I say that it is also a con because where everything is encrypted "out of the box" with SN, Zettlr just stores files on the drive and so I would need to come up with a scheme to encrypt them. This isn't a big deal, but Zettlr seems to have a bug where it can't delete files from anything other than normal drives, i.e. specialized encrypted software drives don't delete properly. Not a deal breaker but definitely a nuisance.
  5. Virtual directories that allow me to add and order files in any sequence. This is a feature I've liked for some time about another app I've used - Scrivener, and something I will make use of often.
  6. The ability to create projects, which is a feature that allows you to group folders and subfolders together to be aggregated together on export making them one long text. This means I could easily take on a large scale writing project and get it to a mostly finished product within the app. The same would be difficult to do on SN.

So the only real con is the lack of native encryption. To that end I think I'm going to start using Zettlr for most of my day to day things and a large writing project I plan on undertaking. I will continue to use Standard Notes for publishing here and for all personal/journal type things that I want to be sure remain private. I won't lie, I really hope that one day Standard Notes can become my go-to app again. I love the idea behind it, I love the COMMUNITY behind it, and I want to stay close to it and keep rooting that it will become a defacto standard for everyone.

So, I Renamed my Listed Page...

As mentioned previously, I do the whole Zen thing and I think part of the reason I haven't been writing here is because I felt like I had to write more Zen-like stuff because I had given this page a Zen-like theme. After some reflection I realized I just wanted a place to dump things out of my brain that were coming up in the hopes that putting them out here will put them to rest in my mind. For me it is especially important to put some things out publicly so I can let the worry and paranoia about having my thoughts "out there" come up and flow through giving me a chance to realize the truth, which is that most of the world couldn't care less what I have to say. I know I'm not putting my name on here so although it's public, it's anonymous. Baby steps. Nonetheless, posting here is still a cause of anxiety. Hopefully one day I'll get over it and put my full name, email, and hell who knows maybe even my phone number.

With all that in mind I edited my listed page. I added some spiffy colors and am still working on some other changes. I've been doing software development professionally for 20 years now, mostly in the .NET world. CSS is new to me and it's like a whole world is opening up.

And finally... I don't think anyone is reading this anyway so I probably shouldn't be too concerned. ;)

Next

Random thought for today, mainly because I realize my hopes of writing to listed every day have fallen quite flat, so I'll kick another one off with this:

What is it that people mean when they say "next Saturday?" To me, that has always meant the next Saturday, so if today is Wednesday the 5th it would mean Saturday the 8th. Recently I've encountered (more than) one person who assumed that saying "next Saturday" meant the following Saturday, i.e the 12th. That seems awfully confusing to me. If I meant the 12th, I would at the very least say "the Saturday after next." I will always use "next <whatever day>" to mean the next and upcoming "whatever day"

And while I'm at it, for crying out loud people... ALWAYS use the Oxford Comma! :)

Coming to the path

It may be obvious from looking around here but I am a Zen practitioner. Have been for a long time. I played around with it starting around my junior year of college. Wasn't that serious about it until my first 7 day silent retreat, or sesshin in December 2006. The experience of that sesshin changed my life forever and solidified my commitment to Zen practice. I wish I could convey in words what was so profound about it, but it can't be said in words. It's like trying to describe to someone what an orange tastes like; it will never come close to the real experience.

Fast forward 13 years and I am still on the path living at a Zen monestary. Recently during a program at the center, discussion came up about what brought us to the path of Zen. This question set off a powerful chain reaction of thoughts about things that had happened to me to push me in this direction. I decided that I should write out in a page or two my path to Zen. This decision is in fact what finalized my choice to buy the extended version of SN. I paid for my subscription, got all set up to start writing and decided to begin with the very beginning, my earliest memories. As soon as I started really thinking about my early childhood, my writing exercise took a sharp left turn. It was as if something overflowed out of me. I wrote feverishly for a long time about my father. Memory after memory, all significant and important that I get down, came pouring out. I finished writing about him and immediately started in on my mother and then other important people and events in my life.

Fast forward another two months and the tag I created in SN called "Coming to Zen" to tell my story of finding practice has a lot of entires in it. I don't think any of them even mention Zen. I've strayed so far from the original purpose that my mind has already repurposed the term "Coming to Zen" in SN to being my memoir. No doubt these stories and memories laid the path for my Zen practice so it's not really wrong, it's just that the intent has drifted from focusing on how these events relate to Zen to documenting things that were significant in my life; things that made me, me. But if I ever have a reason to write a real memoir, one I would intend for people to read, and assuming there would be an audience who would care to read it, I will feel compelled to call it "Coming to Zen".

First post

I bought the SN extended package and when I did I almost immediately registered for listed. That was three months ago. Every time I open SN I think about posting to listed but haven't found the courage to do it. So here's the first one. This may not seem like a very exciting post, but if you're reading this, know it took a tremendous effort. Let's hope it gets easier from here. You'll know one way or the other depending on if this is the only post here.