On The Benefits of Snails at The Workplace

This is mostly about small land snails (like Helicidae) and work in the (home) office.

– Motivation to eat healthy snacks: they love fruit and vegetables, but only need a little piece at a time, so sharing an apple or a carrot with them is nice, plus you can watch and sometimes even hear them nibble away at their portion
– Hydration: snails need their liquid, so when you give them some fresh water, you can get yourself a glass of it, too (or just give them a few drops from your water bottle every now and then, if it’s clean)
Rubber duck debugging, but with living, breathing, moving creatures!
– Reminder to slow down once in a while: watch them move around and take some breaths; it’s also very meditative to pay close attention to the way their muscles ripple when moving, how they use their mouths, and especially in younger snails you may be able to see their heart beat!
– Living search puzzle: take your eyes away from the screen every now and then and try to find all the snails in their latest hiding spots
– Reason to take regular walks and pay attention to nature: go find them a nice little branch with lichen, a few crunchy leaves, some dandelion …
– Creative outlet: decorate their terrarium with natural elements, maybe display some art (by taping it to the outside), make it a little diorama …
– Cheap, quiet, and no allergic reactions: great alternative to dogs! (And other than cats, they won’t sit on your keyboard – unless you forget to close the lid.)
– Great conversation starter
– You can give them funny names that remind you of things you enjoy
– Their cute little faces can lift your mood :)

This has been my lunch break while watching the snails in the box on my desk at home.

New Blog About Anne McCaffrey’s Stories

I started a secondary blog / website to collect all my thoughts on Anne McCaffrey’s stories, because my distributed rambling on that topic on other platforms was getting a bit out of hand.
Go visit unicornandpegasus.wordpress.com for more on that.
It’s named after the short story collection I’m currently reading, called “Get off the Unicorn”, and the Pegasus trilogy (“To Ride Pegasus”, “Pegasus in Flight”, “Pegasus in Space”) which sparked my interest in her work.

It’s a pretty niche subject, especially since I haven’t read her more famous Dragonriders novels yet, opting for the weirder stuff instead which nobody in my social circle knows.

The blog is still under construction of course as I started it today after lunch on my phone without any planning.

A Case Against Pretty Bullet Journals

Not poetry but something I’ve wanted to write about for a while. If you enjoy bullet journalling, keep doing that; if not, maybe read on.

When bullet journalling became a trend, I felt wary. The pictures and videos were so pretty, so perfect. So much effort of drawing perfect boxes, practising handwritten names of months and days to perfection, so much pressure to make the lists of potential failures presentable for keeping them all year.
Nice handwriting is a noble art, a beneficial practise in patience, but it can be daunting for the less talented (or patient).

I had a long, hard, and honest look both at the whole concept and at my life, then went by the trusty rule I learned from a Stargate story (which in itself is probably telling) long ago: What do I have, what do I need?

I have a lot of different and unpredictable categories of things I want to keep track of, a brain that is way faster than my hands, and rather mediocre handwriting talents that clash with my sense for aesthetics. I already have a normal agenda in nice paper for scheduling appointments and events, which I want to keep as a separate entity.

I need something simple that doesn’t need a lot of time and effort to prepare, something flexible, and something that doesn’t involve lugging around pages upon ugly pages of poorly shaped words and unfinished tasks. I need something that doesn’t require opening a file or book but rather something out in the open. Something that comes without artistic pressure.

From that it became clear the best way to avoid dread of imperfection is — at least for me — to simply forgo the idea of a pretty tracking journal altogether and use lists which get thrown out once their job is done.

After some experimentation it’s currently still a rather mixed system of loose pieces of paper and a spiral notepad, but the notepad is slowly winning for private lists. If I have a list for the following day, I simply flip the notepad to that page and put it on my bedside cabinet or on my desk. There are lists with creative ideas, lists with things I want to reorganise in the flat, lists of gift ideas, lists of tasks I want to get done within a specific month, lists of things to try/learn …

… and when I’m done with an item, I draw a bold, ugly line through it. Or two lines or three, if I’m particularly glad the thing is over and done. It’s a very satisfying action, as is tearing out a list and scrunching it up into a ball once most or even all items have been taken care off. Some things get carried over to new lists or become irrelevant. Some things don’t get done and the record of such a failure will be shredded and pulped and become new paper in the near future, instead of living on as an eye-sore amidst watercolour flowers for months to come.

I never imaged I’d grow up to be a list person, but it’s growing on me.
There’s something liberating in knowing all the things to do and try and think of are in a safe place outside my brain while they don’t have to adhere to a predetermined format. Sitting down once a day or every few days to put ideas into categories has become a habit and in the end it saves time, without any need for special art supplies or ambition towards picture perfect planning.

Taste of Tea

I can never pour myself fully
into a cup that doesn’t fit,
a mismatched floral set of
what time can hold
and the space left
below the cracks

so I end up on saucer and tablecloth,
sputtered from chipped teapot spout
and only in spoonfuls you’ll find me
at the bottom of the cup,
just enough for half a taste.

Neural Underground

Riding the neural subway
to the final station and beyond
disappearing into uncertainty of night,
dissolving in the neon lattice
flashes of light, of dark, of green
illumination passing by,
crossing the way,
following the tracks
— neon, neon and flashing darkness
signals underground
endless possibilities of thought,
riding, riding the synaptic surges
lost between sleep and strawberry taste.