Friday, June 05, 2020

now, why did I order this?

One of the great perks of my job are the books I can call research: crime novels!

If I read a review in Publishers Weekly about an upcoming book, and I don't recognize the publisher's name, I'll dig deeper. That often involves ordering several books.

Sometimes the book I want hasn't been published yet, but with pre-order that problem is solved.

Often I forget why I ordered something and weeks later it turns up in the mail and I am, to put it kindly, befuddled.

So, I started cutting out the reviews and keeping them.
Which created an untidy pile o'paper that I could not tolerate.

Then, just this week, the light dawned. Angels sang. There might have been a chuckle from on high about how dunderously slow I am to figure things out.

I realized if I clipped the review to the pub date on my Almighty Date Book, it would solve both the problem of untidy, and the problem of my dunderheaded memory flop.

Oh boy am I pleased with myself.

(now let's see if it works!)

What clever fix have you come up with to solve a small, nagging problem?
I love hearing these tips and tricks, mostly cause I steal them for my own nefarious purposes.


TS Rosenberg said...

I just wrote up a list of things to check I have before venturing into the outside world, and taped it on the front door. Keys, wallet, phone are standard; face mask, hand sanitiser, and anti-bac wipes are part of the new normal.

I also use my date book as an auxiliary memory bank. For instance, if I sign up for a free one-month subscription, I make a note in three and a half weeks that I need to cancel it before they charge my credit card.

Alyssa R said...

I like to draw, but I also like to keep my drawings private. So my favorite place to draw is in my room, and I often end up drawing before I've even gotten up.
But, I got tired of having to actually get out of bed and walk three steps to grab my art supplies. Then I figured out there's a small gap between the headboard and the mattress--about the right size for some paper, a book to put it on, and my pencils! Now all I need to do is reach back there, pull them out, and...figure out what to draw.

Kitty said...

My mother was frugal. She collected the paper strips people threw away after trimming something they had photocopied at the local library. She used them to jot down things she didn't want to forget. Grocery lists, birthday/holiday/sympathy cards she needed to buy, doctor's appt., a recipe she saw somewhere. She had the tiniest penmanship, so the skinny strips of paper worked well for her. She called them her narrow-minded notes, and she kept them in her wallet. I found several in her wallet after she passed away.

french sojourn said...

Rats! I guess me sending misc. Crime Novels will have to stop. Just have to think of a new way to torment "That Certain Shark".

Stay safe, stay well, and be strong.

Katja said...

All I wanna know: did the chuckle from on high come from someone who used to call you Thumbs? For whom you were always too slow at opening and serving those tuna cans?

I hope it was them! :)

AJ Blythe said...

I edit on paper but even though I'll print 2 ms pages to a page, that's still a lot of paper to recycle (my printer can't double side). So I found a way to reuse.

I cut the pages into quarters. Then stack them into piles, smear the short side with craft glue and hold tight with bulldog clips. When it dries I have notebooks.

Katja said...

And Kitty, I love the sound of your mother's character. <3

MegEbba said...

My kids (10, 11.5, 13) love getting "real mail" which means my stamps keep getting used and I purchased "boring" stamps for myself (flowers) and purchased "exciting" stamps for them (Hot Wheels) and they can divvy up the exciting stamps and when they're gone, they're gone, no more stamps til next month. Slight increase in the household line item, but happy older relatives who are getting snail mail from the kids, and happy kids because they are getting letters back, and my son started a stamp collection. (silver Covid lining!)

RKeelan said...

I write in Microsoft Word, and sometimes I want to compare two drafts to one another. MS Word has a way of doing this—comparing two documents and making the difference between them appear as tracked changes—but it's a surprisingly awkward sequence of steps.

So I wrote a program that let's me do it with three mouse clicks, right from File Explorer.

If you'll excuse me linking to my own Twitter account, this is what it looks like.

(Sadly, I'm not sure it will work on a Mac.)

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

We have a two acre paddock for the Proud Spirit animals who aren't turned out with the horses - they are on nearly 200 acres. Each species in the paddock has an area for eating where the other species won't bother them. We recently welcomed three goats. But the pigs and donkeys wouldn't leave them alone. Solution! A very large hay ring designed for cattle set in front of a stall. The little goats can fit through the slatted openings, but the donkeys and pigs can not. A peaceful place to rest and eat.

Off topic, for anyone who dreams about coloring outside the lines - We writers often discuss word count. We are advised to heed the guidelines in the genre we write. But every now and then someone breaks the rules and succeeds. REPRODUCTION, a love story by Ian Williams was just released. 550 pages. Onward...!

MaggieJ said...

I'm not a morning person and it's easy for me to forget something that needs doing first thing the next day. Now I email myself a reminder, even for something so ordinary as "Pay bills!" or "Take chicken out of freezer." Since checking my inbox is the first thing I do in the morning, it reminds me about things I might otherwise forget until well into the day.

Not only that, but if for some reason it doesn't get done that day, I can simply reply to it to bring it up top and unread.

I have no idea if this is clever or something other people do routinely, but it works for me. Also works sending reminders from the workplace to your home computer.

Janet Reid said...

MegEbbaLove your Blogger profile.
Also, if you'll email your mailing address to me, I have some stamps for your kids.

(I hope you're in the US, they're US stamps)

Craig F said...

I don't know if it is natural thing or if I somehow trained myself, but doing something three times moves it from short term memory into a longer whatever place.

If I write something down (or type) something three times a bigger glop of memory comes out when it is accessed.

Back to hand grinding the tile grout of the pool. I would much rather buy an expensive tool to do it, but the gaps are all different and expensive tools are single minded.


Android Astronomer said...

When I submit short fiction to a market, I make a copy of the file and append the market's name. So I'll have:

RobotBleeds.odt (Original File)

This not only keeps track of which markets I've submitted to, but it also keeps track of which revisions I've sent to which markets, which can be a problem since I usually revise before submitting a rejected piece to a new market.

(And yes, I use .odt natively.)

S.D.King said...

I may buy some Prevagen (if I can remember), then I might remember what the question was...something about books?

Beth Carpenter said...

These are some wonderful ideas. Kitty, I would have liked your mother. Mine rinsed out Ziploc bags to reuse. MegEbba, I am beyond impressed that you’ve got your kids writing real letters. Other than required thank-you notes, I could never get mine to do it. Melanie, so glad the goats have their private area.

It seems obvious, but I began using Google calendar to schedule things I need to do and automatically generate e-mail notifications. For instance, if I write a flash for a contest on Friday, I’ll schedule a reminder on Saturday morning to post it once the contest opens, and when I open my e-mail, there’s the reminder where I can’t lose it. This doesn’t work well when I’m low on shampoo, though, because by the time I get out of the shower and to my computer, I’ve forgotten.

RosannaM said...

Just the other day I was hanging two equal sized pictures that I wanted to hang vertically. Not wanting to bother with levels and measuring tapes, I used my cookie cooling rack for placement. Once the first nail was in place, I hung the rack on it and was able to determine where the next picture's nail would go by counting the little squares. It worked and only took a second.

Cyn said...

I had purchased a small size litter box as a temporary one until I found a large one of the right type and color. Once I found the larger one, I was left with a barely used small litter box. I cleaned it and stashed it aside.

I love to garden but I don't have an outside potting bench or place to pot up plants, so I used the small litter box on the kitchen counter to do the job. It actually worked really well. When not in use, it holds the small collection of gardening tools I have.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Back when I was still reading more (and my library was still doing interlibrary loan), I would occasionally come into work to find an available hold and think "okay now what was this???" Though probably the more funny instance, when I was on my forensic anthropology kick, was my coworker pulling Never Suck a Dead Man's Hand by Dana Kollmann out of the delivery bag, looking at it, and just shaking her head and saying "Jen......." in a mixture of shock and defeated amusement (she hadn't even scanned it yet! It might not have been for me! [it was for me.])

I unfortunately have nothing to add to the tips and tricks discussion...organizational shortcuts are just not in my chaotic wheelhouse. Though yesterday while walking the puppy, another dog owner was advancing on us down the block from the sidewalk. So, I had the pup [heeled on my left] pivot right with me, sit and wait while I checked for traffic, cross the street, and then pivot right so we could continue on our way. When we reached parallel with the other dog owner, she called "How do you get her to do that??" in admiration and perhaps also desperation. And boy, I've been there. My answer is treats and repetition. More repetition than you think it'll take. Higher value treats than just milkbones; I'm talking little bits of cut-up cheese off the big block, diced hot dogs, leftover chicken breast...because Ulrike wants to be paid. And then once a behavior is learned and reinforced and repeated, you can fade the treats. She doesn't get something for EVERY "sit", but she does once in awhile. The random rewards scheme is what keeps people sitting at the slot machines, after all!

Adele said...

Like many others - Email - I use it as I would a paper notepad. I can have just one or many messages going, each one a different subject. I can leave them open all day for additions. Email autosaves. I can send the message and put it in its own mailbox, or archive it or flag it. If I want to add to the sent message I just forward it to myself and reduce the quote level.

I know there are dedicated note-taking programs, but I couldn't find one that fit my note-taking needs as well as a nice flexible email program.

Michael Seese said...

There's a Google app called "Keep Notes." It's basic, but works very well. For example, it allows you to create categories -- such as finance, writing, household -- and then add checkbox items. When you're done with the item, you check it off.

The beauty is, it will sync across your devices. So it can be on your phone and on your tablet. If you think of something, and all you have handy is your phone you can jot it down there, and it will appear on the tablet.

Brenda said...

MegEbba The last two months have brought a renaissance of letter writing to our family as well. I’m told that my three year old granddaughter carried my last missive for days, until it was a sticky sweaty mess. She loved it.

I am the queen of chaos. Alas, I have no tips to offer.

MA Hudson said...

Most useful tip I've got is for getting teabags from the mug to the bin without dripping. Once the tea is brewed enough, raise the bag out of the liquid and rest the bottom side of the bag against the top inside off the mug, then shift it so the other side of the bag is rested against the mug, and then once again. One, two, three, in a triangle shape around the top of the mug, and then boom - no drips! (This is way more complicated to explain than to do.) As a 6 cup-a-day tea drinker, this tip changed my life.

Brigid said...

Hmm, finances have been a series of small nagging problems. Now we divide our bills into Fixed (eg rent) and Variable (eg groceries), with a checking account for each. Paychecks are deposited into Variable Checking, and an easily-calculated amount goes into Fixed Checking every paycheck. The Fixed bills can then be set to autopay without worry, and if we deposit an extra 10% into Fixed Checking we slowly but surely get ahead on our bills. We track expenses with YNAB.

I'm mastering doing less. What can go unfolded? (Pajamas, which live in a tidy little bin under my nightstand. Kid clothes, in bins they can reach to put away their own clothes. Cloth diapers, kitchen rags, as much as possible.) What can the dishwasher handle without rinsing? How can we keep all parts of a task within arm's reach of where it is performed? All parts of my morning coffee ritual live in one basket, even the spoon.