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Tree talkin' and train tracks (Learning Things: April 24, 2023)

Chris Amandier
3 min read
White tree branches with grainy pink shading and a mint green background.

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I wish I could say that I made a ton of progress on all of my goals this week, unlike last time. But that'd be a lie. I was a bit under the weather this week and moved very, very slowly, so it's kinda a wonder I got anything done at all.

I did have a nice weekend, though. My friend Abby (from the Lunatics Radio Hour podcast) and I ventured out to Maple Grove Cemetery and Forest Park, two places in Queens that I've been meaning to go to for years. We got to see some cool 19th century graves and then hiked along an abandoned train track in the park, which was a very pleasant way to end a week of spinning my wheels.

Anyway, here's what I've been up to:

Paranormal research

This week, I prepped the scripts for the next two podcast episodes, which are going to be about ghost hunting and nostalgia, some subjects I've been thinking through in my blog posts lately.

I didn't get much reading done (still working my way through Operation Trojan Horse), mostly because a novel I had on hold at the library (A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, which is a great horror/fantasy novel set at a magical school) came in so I dropped everything and read that. (I'd been waiting for weeks and have a bad track record of forgetting to read library books unless I start them right away.) I'm trying to hold off on reading the rest of the trilogy so I can balance it with some non-fiction reading. We'll see.

I did listen to some great paranormal podcasts, though!

I'm trying to catch up on some episodes of The Nonsense Bazaar; I've been having weird synchronicities with the podcast, where I encounter something that I know nothing about, wish I knew more about it, and then, later on, I realize that Nonsense Bazaar had done an episode on the subject a month or so before I needed the information.

So . . . I should really do myself a favor and try to stay up to date on their episodes. Also, it's just a delight to listen to. (The issue is just that I subscribe to over 100 podcasts, so I fall behind on my listening sometimes.) Some especially interesting Nonsense Bazaar episodes that I listened to this week were on the subject of missing time and time slips, the Kybalion, and amnesia.

I also listened to an awesome interview with Morgan Daimler on Tracing Owls where they talked about how AI writing could change and homogenize folklore, and also generally about folklore has shifted over time. It's a great episode; just listen to it.

DIY paranormal gear

I'm waiting for the PCB for the biodata sonification device, so no movement there.

Last week, I said that maybe I could play around with that spirit box code and try to get it to work. I didn't do that, but who knows: maybe I will this week?

Art and paranormal investigation

This week, I did the exact same automatic drawing setup that I tried last time and was happy with the results.

I sat beneath the magnolia tree and asked the tree to communicate with me. This time, it sent my hand in a bunch of round spirals. While I couldn't see the sketchbook while I was drawing, I had strong sense that it was having me draw seeds, and afterwards, a look at the paper confirmed it. One of them even has a little tendril coming out of it, like a sprout.

I think the tree was trying to give me a message about spring and new growth. I'd imagine that the tree is thinking a lot about seeds and the lifecycle of trees.

I looked up when magnolia trees seed, because I was curious whether that's something that happens around this time of year. Saucer magnolia seeds appear in the spring and summer, should be planted in the fall, and germinate the following spring. So it's germination time.

Also, while I was drawing, a cute tuxedo cat came by. We sat each other at the same time and both jumped. It looked at me warily and then walked around back into the garden. Maybe I'll see it again next time!


Again, it's been another week of me getting very little done, though I did realize some additional things I needed to fix in the plot structure of the queer solarpunk fantasy romance novel I'm writing, so . . . not zero progress, but not very much, either.


Alright, that's what I've got for this week. I hope that the combination of the eclipse and shift into the Mercury retrograde didn't throw you too much last week! (Though pretty much everyone I know seems to have had a rough week last week, so I suppose that's good company, at least.)

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