The weirdly enduring appeal of Weird Al Yankovic

On the theme of music, I loved this overview of the life and times of Weird Al. As his name suggested, Weird Al’s comedy operated right at the hot spot of my childhood agonies: weirdness versus normalcy, insider versus outsider. What a Weird Al parody did was enact a tiny revolution. It took the whole glamorous architecture of American mainstream cool — Michael Jackson’s otherworldly moves, Madonna’s sexual taboos — and extracted all of the coolness. Into that void, Weird Al inserted the least cool person in the world: himself. And by proxy, all the rest of us weirdos,…

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Working on an iPad

I've returned to using an iPad after a period of about five years. I don’t have any kind of a full-fledged review, but I do have a collection of thoughts that have come to mind in my usage. The keyboard I went inexpensive on this purchase, grabbing the base model of the new iPad. That means the Magic Keyboard was not an option. Instead, I purchased a Smart Keyboard and a Pencil. While most people in my circles are raving about the Magic Keyboard, I’ll say I like the cheaper option. When I first took it out of…

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Do Journal from Baron Fig

When it comes to my pen & paper tools, I came to appreciate a blank canvas over the years. My preference is for a nice grid paper that lets me sketch out a layout that works for me. I’ve shared a few of these over the years. So when it comes time to get a new notebook, the Confidant from Baron Fig is usually my choice. I love the build quality and overall design of these notebooks. However, I have a slew of lesser quality notebooks, and I was determined at the start of the year to make use…

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Does Jesus really like me?

Switching gears here, I enjoyed this interview on the Crossway blog. They talk to Dane Ortlund, author of Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers. The post resonated with me because I’m the kind of person who needs constant reminders of God’s love and affection for his children. I’m the kind of Christian who finds it far too easy to envision God as a stern heavenly father who is constantly correcting his flock (guess what my parenting style is like as well), rather than the sacrificial provider and nurturer that he truly is.…

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The Roam cult

Well, that escalated quickly. I went from disinterested when I first heard about Roam from Drew Coffman, to mildly curious when I saw a lot of chatter about it, to pretty sold on the idea. I’ve been using it consistently for a little over two weeks and I can see it’s likely a better tool for creating a Zettelkasten than any other product I've explored. But one aspect that has caught my attention is the community using the tool. It reminds me a little of the hype of Slack in its early days, or more recently, the hype…

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Context to context

I've referred to Drew Coffman a lot recently. That's partly because we share similar interests, but it's also due to his use of Roam (he's writing a lot more). Anyway, he talks about Apple's iPad Pro Magic Keyboard in this post. Well, he refers to it, but spends most of his time talking about the original Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro. The original Smart Keyboard was not a folio case like what we have today, instead it covered only the front of the screen and hid the keyboard away behind a fold. This fold was, weirdly, amazing. You would…

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Roam: why I love it and how I use it

I continue to hear a lot of positive feedback about Roam Research. And although I'm hesitant to embrace new web apps that are VC funded, the number of people saying good things about this one has me intrigued (but it would have to be a life-changing tool to get me to invest my time and energy in a funded team that is not charging for their product). Here are a few related items: Roam: Why I Love It and How I Use It by Nat EliasonHow to Take Smart Notes: A Step-by-Step Guide also by NatWhat's to great about Roam…

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How much screen time?

The last two weeks have been odd, to say the least. I mean, for me, the day-to-day rhythm feels pretty close to normal. Staying at home for days in a row is something I'm used to. But in every other sense, things have changed. Rather than been annoyed or frustrated, I've tried to approach this entire situation as an opportunity to rest. That can be hard when you have young kids at home, but I am finding not having to drive people to various events fives nights a week has been peaceful. We've developed a daily routine that gets everyone…

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