Ben Borgers

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

January 19, 2022

👋 I’m trying the idea of morning pages, where I write three pages in the morning of whatever’s on my mind. It’s mostly for me, but I’m publishing them too because why not.

Good morning! I’m writing this from my twin XL bed at Tufts. It’s 7:06am, so the schedule I laid out a couple days ago is going swimmingly.

Returning to college

Last night I packed up all the stuff I had brought home for winter break, loaded it into the trunk and backseat of the car, and had my parents drive me back to my dorm.

There was this tinge of sadness that I felt as I was packing my things to go back to campus. I think that, the first time I was moving in at Tufts, we were caught up in the rush of trying to get me to college and moved in. This time, it’s less remarkable—so there’s space for seeing what’s happening.

In any case, move-in went really smoothly, so that cheered me up.

My dorm’s communal showers are so clean. It actually shocked me when I first went in. There’s no hair in the showers? Where did it all go? Mesmerizing. I can’t wait to get one (1) shower in the squeaky clean bathrooms this morning before they slowly return to how they were before.

A sparse first day of classes

Today’s officially the first day of classes at Tufts, but I realized last night that I don’t actually have any. My only class today was supposed to be 3pm Data Structures, but that lecture has been pre-recorded and will be uploaded today. Instead, I get a whole day to frolic (do other work).

It’s ended up this way, in part, because I dropped down to taking 4 classes instead of 5 this semester. Now my schedule looks incredibly light, especially given that I’m not taking any science classes with onerous lab sessions.

Backlogs tend to crop up

Have you noticed that backlogs tend to appear in any sort of app?

Email inboxes are a sort of backlog of emails that haven’t been dealt with. HEY, the email app I switched to a few days ago, has more backlogs: one for emails you haven’t seen yet, one for emails you haven’t replied to yet, and one for emails you generally haven’t dealt with yet.

But the creators of HEY would probably be miffed by that characterization. Because in some ways, they want less backlogs, not more. Your mail is sorted into categories: the Imbox (for important emails), the Feed (for newsletters), and the Paper Trail (for receipts and confirmation emails).

The Feed is very _anti-_backlog. It’s just a feed of newsletters, where the newest ones come in at the top and gradually push the other ones down. If you don’t read something in time, it’ll just drift further and further down the page — there’s no notion of marking something as read or unread to come back to it later. It’s very buddhist actually.

On the other hand, I actively fight what the Feed is trying to do: I use an app called Feedbin, which allows me to subscribe to blogs and receive their latest posts. I can also send interesting-looking posts into Feedbin, to remember to read them later.

I have 21 articles currently in there, and the oldest of which I saved there 4 or 5 months ago. I might never get to the bottom of that pile, so is even worth having them saved?

Similarly, will I ever get to the bottom of my YouTube Watch Later playlist? Or is the only way to declare backlog bankruptcy and to start over? I don’t know.

Maybe it makes sense for articles, but not for YouTube videos. I’ve been finding myself watching less and less YouTube, since I just don’t have the time or interest in it at college. There’s a bunch of interesting stuff in my subscription box, but if I’ll never get to watching much of it, it’s probably not worth having this backlog?

Actually yes — as I’m writing this, I’ve come to a decision. (Isn’t this great? “I told you so, writing clarifies thinking,” English teachers are yelling! And they’re right. I just don’t like them being right.) I’ll clear my YouTube Watch Later. Goodbye to six-month-old John Oliver episodes I’ll never watch.

Let me go do that now, give me a moment.

I’m back! Is there seriously no way to clear them all? I had to click the same two buttons 33 times.

In any case, thanks to you dear reader for helping me figure this out. I appreciate it.

What’s on the agenda for today?

As I said, no classes. I’ll get ready and head to my office until the late afternoon.

Here are the main things I want to do today:

  • [x] Get my first Covid test back on campus.
  • [x] Be a big adult and move my dentist’s appointment since it conflicts with something else.
  • [x] Watch the first (pre-recorded) Data Structures lecture.
  • [x] Do some freelance work for Buttondown.


It’s currently 7:53am. Writing this took me 47 minutes (including distractions and email/twitter breaks). I’d like that number to come down.