Sabbatical Update, Week 4: Beginnings of tzk

3 minute read

A relatively quiet week. It was rainy almost the whole week, so I spent most of it inside reading and hacking on the Zettelkasten stuff.

If you're currently on Control-Alt-Backspace, you can read this post on Soren's Zettelkasten.


  • On my blog, Free Speech: A Credo, a brief essay I put together some weeks ago and wanted to distribute to a wider audience.


Nothing finished this week. Working on The Human Stain, The Sunflower, and Adventures of Ideas. More on these later.

Lifetime reading progress: 1/2 books for August. I intend to finish The Human Stain before the end of the month, which is on this list, thus filling out spot #2.

Tasks and projects completed

  • On my Zettelkasten edition, which I've code-named tzk (pronounced tuh-ZEEK, /tə-ziːk/, initialism for “TiddlyZettelKasten”):
    • I finished the four items (fixing glitches, creating a build process, producing documentation on Zetteling with the edition, and compiling a list of further tasks) that I planned last week.
    • I was somewhat disappointed in my progress, though – this is proving to be a larger project than I anticipated. The to-do list is longer than when I started (though also more tractable now).
    • I spent several full days of last week rewriting the build system in Python, which was the major holdup. The system is ten times faster and significantly more flexible now, and it will be much easier for anyone who picks it up to figure out and customize, so it was definitely the right choice.
  • Almost all the way through collecting and processing all my stuff and to-do items. Even on sabbatical, I have a lot of things to do…but hopefully I'll be able to decide which ones are most important now that I can see all of them.
  • Opened my Technology Time Capsule, a sealed box where I keep representative pieces and photos of old tech and predictions for the next few years, and found some new items to add. I look at it every five years, and was supposed to do it last year but got thrown off by the pandemic.
  • Finally got the speaker system in my car fixed; it's been intermittently getting in a state where it buzzes and makes awful sounds for a while.
  • Reorganized my computer files and properly filed a bunch of junk that I'd been dumping in a big folder over the past year or so.

Miscellaneous thoughts and anecdotes

  • Eight years ago today, I boxed up most of my stuff and got on a train from Chicago to St. Paul for college. A lot has happened since then! Here's me on my last day of high school:
  • After weeks of severe drought, we got 5 inches of rain in Owatonna last week. Hoping it didn't all run off – the report for this week isn't out yet. Meanwhile, wishing those in the path of Hurricane Ida the best. Maybe they can capture some of their extra water and send it up here.

Looking ahead

I'm going to be gone this Labor Day weekend visiting family, so I only have four full work days this week. During those:

  • Get the first edition of tzk in a publishable state. (I'm leaving out actually publishing it since that is actually pretty fiddly and I might prefer to finish that next week.) It won't be perfect, but that's OK. Ideally a few people will try it out and can point out my mistakes; this is supposed to be an early-alpha version in need of customization by individual users, not a plug-and-play tool, anyway (and it probably won't be to that stage for several years, since I'm still trying to figure out how this Zettelkasten thing works best in the first place).
  • Finish writing my blog post for today – it's drafted but not formatted or finished yet.
  • Finish the “Leave Federated,” “Summer Cleaning,” and “Camping Review” projects in my to-do system – these each only have a couple tasks left and are pulling on my attention.

This is an ambitious set of objectives for four days, so we'll see how it goes.