geekery, drawing and then some


Books to read

I recently ordered an e-reader and because it did cost quite a bit more than a book I decided to challenge myself by first reading enough free books to compensate for its price. By free I really mean free, either public domain books or free as decided by the author. This means I’ve decided on reading a lot of classics I’ve either read as a kid (in Dutch) or ‘always wanted to read’.

I discovered GoodReads and created a list of books to read. I planned on having 42 books on there — we all know 42 is the only correct number — and ended up with 44. I’ll leave the extra two on, so I can skip a book or two because they suck.

Check out my readinglist: my before-buying-ebooks shelf: Tanja's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (before-buying-ebooks shelf)

Also, I created a reading list page with links to books I’ve read and books I want to read. I spent the day geeking out and tweaking Goodreads-wordpress-plugins so I can have my shelves show up nicely.

Very excited, it got shipped today and should arrive tomorrow. Snow might interfere so keeping my fingers crossed!

Meet Semli

Semli .

She lives in the forest in a house between the roots of a big old tree. She likes feathers and playing.

Her father likes fishing and cooking, her mother builds things. Mostly furniture.

Creating subtasks in OmniFocus on iPhone

And now, for some total geekery!

I don’t know if this always existed or if this feature appeared during some update. However, you can create subtask in OmniFocus on your iPhone. I didn’t know this at first and it frustrated me that I couldn’t, and then I figured it out.

imgDepending on how you start out, you have to do different things. For this example I’ll start in the ‘Projects’ list and in my ‘health’ folder. I have no current projects there.
imgTap the plus in the lower right corner and create a new project if you need to.

imgFor my example, I’ll create a project called ‘Make medical file’ (which I did, recently)

Tap on your newly created project (you might already have a project you want to change / add things in, if so, go there through the main screen and then ‘projects’, and skip all these previous steps ;) )

imgI have no actions yet, so I create one by taping the plus on the lower right side.

imgI want to start by making a list of my current medication, so I make an action of that.

Fill in the desired values, I’ve left most empty because I just want to make an example.

By going to the project list from the mainscreen you prevent things from disappearing on you, plus, you actually want to edit the project, so going through the project-list makes more sense.

imgI create a few more actions. To make my medication list I need to check my pill bottles for the exact name and dosage. I add these actions to the list.

The last two actions need to become subtask of ‘Make list of medication’ so I tap ‘Check bottle of pills #2’


And now, the magic happens!

Tap on that folder-icon on the bottomright.

imgYou get a screen with the actions in your project, select your main task (‘Make list of medications’)

Repeat for all the tasks you need as subtasks.

imgYou have subtasks.

The no-experiment

I’ve not felt well lately, very tired and stressed. Part of this comes from having a lot of appointments scheduled. A big part of it however comes from wanting to do to much. I don’t want to do extraordinary stuff — although for my condition it would qualify as such. I want to do stuff other people consider normal.

  • Walk the dog for an extra long time.
  • Buying groceries.
  • Hanging out with friends.
  • Visit family.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Randomly hop into the car with TG and go for a nice beach-walk.

All of these things require planning on my side, which also sucks up precious energy.

A couple of days ago I read Michael Nobbs’ new book Sustainable Creativity in which he discusses the importance of learning how to say ‘no’. For some areas I know when to say ‘no’: I can easily say it when I don’t want to do something, or I don’t have the time, or I have other plans. But at those times when I don’t have plans yet, I really want to do it and think I have the energy, I won’t say no. And this backfires. I rarely do have that much energy, and end up canceling many things. This does not make me happy.

Tonight I watched the movie ‘Yes-man‘ and it gave me an idea. What if I say ‘no’ instead? I have things planned (and one not-yet-planned-but-sorta) and won’t _pre_cancel them. I will not make new plans however, excluding the ones where I go to the hospital (or other medical stuff) or where people come to my house (less tiring).

This may sound a little drastic, but I gave it some thought and it seems like a cool experiment. Worst case, I’ll feel bad the day after for saying ‘no’ and then I’ll have learned I said ‘no’ to something that matters to me. In a way, this will force me to re-evaluate things that matter to me most, and these may or may not include the things I think matter the most.

It will also, hopefully, give me some practice in saying ‘no’ when I do think I have lots of energy (but actually don’t and I end up wasting all of my reserves).

I have no idea about how long I want to do this, considering a month or perhaps until New Year

Making my own medical file

Because of the crazy amount of medical data I have and have to deal with I decided I needed my own medical files. Not in the least because it seems to impress doctors when you slap your file on their desk and make it clear you know exactly what happened and what medication you take and what side-effects they cause.

To make my medical file, I used Scrivener, MultiMarkdown and eventually LaTeX.

First, I started out with a structure that made sense:

  1. Conditions (my various illnesses)
  2. Medication 2.1. current medication 2.1.1. prescribed 2.1.2. unprescribed 2.2. historic medication 2.2.1. prescribed 2.2.2. unprescribed
  3. Medical contacts 3.1. doctors 3.2. hospitals 3.3. pharmacy 3.4. insurance
  4. Surgeries
  5. Log
  6. Diagnostics

Then, for each of the these parts I made a folder in Scrivener and put files in it for each section or subsection. In ‘Log’ and ‘Diagnostics’ I put a folder for each year, and a file for each incident.

Using MultiMarkdown I could easily make the tables for my blood-tests in ‘Diagnostics’, and refer to different sections of the document. I put it all in Scrivener because that way I can keep important files in my Research folder and easily refer to those.

With the new ‘Folder Sync’ feature in Scrivener 2.0 I can easily sync all the files to a folder and transfer that to my EEE1. I can either bring the EEE along with visits or a printed copy (or both, because with the EEE I can easily add new info to any of the files on the spot — saves me a lot of writing it down and then typing it in later).

Because MultiMarkdown easily converts to PDF (through LaTeX) I have a fancy printable file with a coversheet, an index, my name and the date printed on each page, and a table of contents. All of this automatically, no fiddling with layout and such required after the initial set-up.

It took me quite some time and energy to make this file, but I feel really good about it. I have a better idea of what we have tried already and when I visited who and when my last blood-tests were (need to get that vit. D checked again).

It also showed me I have roughly one hospital visit every two weeks (average for the last five years). Wow!

  1. In case you wonder, I created an encrypted container with a crazy long password for the medical info so no-one can accidentally see it or access it should I lose my EEE. 

Having a bloody week


I’ve done a drawing over at InkBlobChronicles every day for roughly two weeks now and for almost two weeks before that I did one almost every day. I guess the habit slowly forms. One of the drawings resulted in me changing my twitter icon, because I really like how the drawing on the side turned out (a self-portrait with new hat).

Yesterday Nano hurt herself again during our walk, and she started bleeding from her paw. Today I went into the hospital and had some blood taken. This week has already turned into a bloody week. Wonder what else will happen in the next few days…

Total sucker for art supplies

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Other people suffer from enjoy it too, right? An abundance of art supplies? I could do without of course, but I so very much like them….

I got a few more Faber Castell Pitt Artist pens. I like them a lot. I think I need a lighter brown though. Not sure yet, have to try all of these out first, hehe.

In other news, I made a new little website over at http://inkblobchronicles.com (and a matching twitter-account on ( @inkblobs). I will post my dailies there mostly. Some still here, but I like to have a dedicated space for those dailes. I will keep the site as low-text as possible.

Daily: 2010.09.18+19

Daily: 2010.09.18+19

I very much enjoy doing these dailies, they keep me drawing. I’ve also managed to set up a system to make scanning a lot easier. My beast (a nickname I gave my laser-printer / scanner combo) can email scans so I have it set up to send the image to my emailprogram, which then extracts the attachment.

This weekend we took it easy. It rained a lot and I felt very tired — these two share a clear link — so I spent a lot of time on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket sipping tea and watching a lot of MacGyver.

Nano didn’t seem to mind.

She did, however, mind the attack of little stickyweed balls. They got between her toes and in her mouth. It took a bit of work getting them all off. We did eventually managed to free ourselves from them and will avoid that area for a while.

You know, just in case they lie there in the bushes. Hiding. Waiting. Planning. Ready to attack…

Daily: 2010.09.17


I drew this daily in my pocket moleskine sketchbook and feel a little torn. I like the pre-printed dates in the planner, which works as an extra stimulant to draw every day. On the other hand, my colours bleed / shine through a lot which causes a few annoyances on my side. And on one side I can get over that, like how I get over the pre-printed lines. On the other side, I just like it more when it doesn’t show that much.

The added benefit of using an 80-page pocket sketchbook: it fills up much faster which works as a great motivator too. One of these days I will actually fill up an entire sketchbook ;)

So, for now, I think I’ll switch to the sketchbook. As my friend said, I can always change my mind again.

Dailies: 2010.09.12+13+14+15

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After the sofa day came a grape day, on which I ate a lot of grapes and messed up the colouring of my drawing. I suddenly turned brown!

It had nothing to do with the grapes, I just messed up the drawing.

On tuesday my veggie-box arrived with fresh new veggies! It always feels like a little surprise-package. On Wednesday I did my grocery-shopping at the mall and treated myself to a few stickers and some decorative tape, aaah. It looks so shiny and pretty.