Beetle & Byte

Library Savings

Image of Wichita Public Library receipt showing savings.

The Wichita Public Library has a simple and clever type of positive reinforcement. When you checkout a book from the library, the receipt shows you how much you saved by using the library instead of buying the book. They also show your lifetime savings.

At the beginning of this year, I pledged to not buy anymore books and instead either read the ones I’d accumulated or else checkout others from the library. It was a bit of a bumpy start to change habits and adapt to loan periods and hold times for books, but now I’ve hit my groove. I do everything electronically. I use Libby to connect to my local library‘s catalog and once a book is available, I send it to my Kindle. I’ve read much more this year than in the several years preceding. It’s a super convenient and rewarding system, though a tally of my lifetime savings would be fun too!

via Open Culture | Image by The Wichita Eagle

Sagrada Familia

Photo by Angela Compagnone on Unsplash

One hundred thirty seven years after construction began, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, received its first building permit. Construction began in 1882 and completion is targeted for 2026, the centennial anniversary of the death of the architect, Antoni Gaudí.

While, I’ve long felt the fatigue of visiting European churches, I did use good judgment last year to check out the Sagrada Familia. It was bizarre and surreal and absolutely stunning. There were two things I loved in particular.

First, the design – everything from the architecture to the stain glass to the 23 foot tall, bronze doors – were contributions not only from Gaudi but many generations of designers since his death.

Second – the light. The way the light pours through the stain glass and hits the curves, lines, and shapes of the building’s interior is true magic.

Photo by Angela Compagnone on Unsplash

More Work

Austin Kleon‘s response to the question, “Do you ever feel like no matter how much work you do, you can or should be doing more?

Yeah, always. If you get into that productivity trap, there’s always going to be more work to do, you know?

Like, you can always make more. I think that’s why I’m a time-based worker. I try to go at my work like a banker. I just have hours. I show up to the office and whatever gets done gets done.

And I’ve always been a time-based worker. You know, like, ‘did I sit here for 3 hours and try?’ I don’t have a word count when I sit down to write. It’s all about sitting down and trying to make something happen in that time period — and letting those hours stack up.

Austin Kleon

If I’m anything, I’m a list maker. No matter how many times I’ve tried to break the habit, it seems to be permanently ingrained in me. Two of my goals this year were, a) to not define my success by the number of checkmarks on my to do list, and b) to not define my failure by the number (or lack of) checkmarks on my to do list. I’ve made no headway in addressing either goal. I’ve probably only exacerbated both.

Today, though, I changed my to do list (I use kanban boards with Trello). Instead of assigning myself a list of tasks for a given day. I commit to a period of time for a certain type of task, like chores. For that period of time, I work on my chores until the time has lapsed. This way, I’m always accomplishing the goal of doing my chores but not defining my success or failure by how many I get done. I make the investment and do what I can. I continue the investment the next day and the day after. It’s a minor shift but somehow releases me of a certain heaviness. I’ll keep with it for a while and see how it goes. Fingers-crossed it’s a happy middle ground between list making and meaningful productivity.

Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden

One of my favorite things to see when traveling are botanical gardens, arboretums, or anything of the variety. They tend to be a quiet and uncrowded and filled with wonderful folia. By far, the best one I’ve been to was just recently at the Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden near Hilo on the Island of Hawai’i. It was nothing short of spectacular. You’re in a literal rainforest that just happens to be maintained by people. There were hundreds of plant species thriving – so many of which I struggle to keep alive potted in the far-from-tropical Seattle climate. It was humid and a steep incline but entirely worth the time. I’ll be dreaming about it for years to come.

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Paper Fauna

Artist, Tina Kraus (@faltmanufaktur), makes stunning insects and plants from intricately folding delicate crepe paper. She then embellishes them with colorful paints and pastels.

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A Week of Links

She may not be on the twenty dollar bill anytime soon, but at least more will learn Harriet Tubman’s story in film.

Intrigued by the 72-room home and study of photographer, Jay Maisel.

Cannot imagine any other ending to When Harry Met Sally.

Habits of lucky people.

Fascinating look at how hand-turned bowls are made.

I am now the proud and giddy owner of both the cat and dog matchbox sets.

How the work day of Americans has changed over the last 15 years.

A precisely quirky and delightful home.

A Japanese train filled with limbs of the Thousand-Armed Kannon.

Pinterest has introduced well-being features for users who seem stressed.

Stranger Things Dopplegangers

Mind blown! The resemblance is uncanny between the Stranger Things characters, Steve and Dustin, and the real world David Harbour and Patton Oswalt.

Stranger Things is the scariest thing I watch these days (a clear lightweight) and it’s totally worth the occasional involuntary squeak.