Midnight Pub

On documenting


Hello barkeep, can I get a gin and tonic? Thanks. It'll be my first time having a stroll inside the pub after many a months of lurking.

One of the most interesting thing I read about as a teen was an article on how human memory can be very unreliable about specifics; that sometimes our brain just makes stuff up that never happened. This I found absurd. I reasoned with myself that there's no way This could be true in the case of anyone except perhaps the elderly. Still, to test it out I wrote down a few entries in a journal and forgot about it until earlier this year nearly 9 years later.

As I was reading my little piece of mind from almost a decade ago, I caught myself thinking "Wait, that's not how I remember it" or "Oh yeah, that did happen" and such multiple times. When the nostalgia of my trip down memory lane cleared up, I remembered why I wrote that in the first place and how true that statement about memory was. Honestly it felt scary...

I now take my time every so often to write and record my experiences to serve as certain little signposts triggering random memory time capsules for me to reminisce on.

Perhaps I'll take you all with me down a few of my memories but that I'll save for another night.

Take 5 minutes and write how you felt today stranger. I'd love to read about it.



It is why I photohraph. To stop the time. To document how things looked, felt like, what I was interested in.

What happened a week ago is only a memory. It no longer is.



Howdy, ~keystone, welcome to The Midnight, its patrons and creatures!

~bartender? Just coffee with cream and sugar, please. Thank you so much!

The memory thing is described in detail in "Thinking fast and slow" by Daniel Kahneman. It took me several weeks to read, but I can highly recommend it. And yes, I can only recommend journaling, i.e. writing up a few paragraphs of what happened, what you thought or planned, every day. Just yesterday I came across a file, which detailed many of the steps I had taken to solve a technical problem. I had forgotten most of them. And I gazed in awe, how much time that actually involved. I had spend an enormous amount of time on this --- sadly without a solution. And just recently I picked up a tip from an entirely different context, which might explain the root cause of this unsolved problem. But heck, it was not important then and lesser so today. :-)

On journalling, I have come across another gem. Apparently Richard Feynman, the physicist, insisted, that "the thinking takes place on paper". If you cannot write it down, it might as well not exist. And I have come to appreciate this in my work life. I keep a detailed log, with commands and versions and stuff. It has got my back covered many times. It has grown > 10 MiB in 7 years, and it starts to show emacs's limits :-)