weekly transmission

Mnemonics / Dr Mario

If you asked me what I've been up to lately, I'd tell you straight up the honest answer: I've been cleaning my room. It feels like this is all I do lately but it's ok because I love my room, even though it drives me crazy. I have a lot of projects part-assembled, pieces of nascent projects, toys, jums, scraps of paper. Sometimes it's too much, I feel like I can't get started, and I go and play Dr Mario on the couch. Sometimes I just jump into my room and roll around in great ideas like Scrooge McDuck. It's great.

The mechanic of Dr Mario is that you have a huge mess and there's more garbage slowly raining down on you, and you stack the new garbage on the old mess and when four or more similarly-colored garbage/mess items are colinear in a resting state, the timeline freezes for a split second, and the items disappear, or become transmuted into points. When the game is going fast this brief hiccup is very valuable in giving you time to collect your thoughts-- regularly accomplishing small tasks is a good way to avoid burnout. When the original mess is clear, regardless of how much new garbage is onscreen, the level ends, and an evil virus appears onscreen to say congratulations.


It's fun, and I can feel myself getting better at it, which is gratifying. The main way to get better is to remain calm during panicky moments, which is a magnificent skill to cultivate. Also it presents a workable dynamic for cleaning a room, or at least a framework for dopamine release-- I get a drip when I group like items.

A big part of my mess is "materials with potential" (bricolage problems), and I find that Dr Mario provides an interesting classification system for "what is my relationship to this possible piece of a possible project"-- is this the original mess I was trying to clear, or is this just some garbage that fell on me? This doesn't substantially change the workflow-- fallen garbage that rests on original mess still needs to be cleared to get to the important stuff, and it's to your advantage to clear often, if only to put your mind at ease. But it's nice to think that only the good stuff really matters, and if you get to the last of the good stuff and there's still shit everywhere, you don't have to worry about it. You're absolved from care.

In the interest of grouping like objects and clearing them, here's a cull from the archives. It's a pattern I have enough of that it seems like a collection, I'm posting it here and now I've done something with it! The connection to Dr Mario is... uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh............ creating useful structures even if they are stupid or temporary. 🙂

Mnemonic Devices

Periodically over the past couple years on Twitter I put out a call for mnemonic devices. If you had trouble remembering something, I would come up with a way to tie it together in memory. Most of these were made on the fly and by request, I can only hope they helped the person who asked. Some of these I made up for me (which one is Bill Paxton, which one is Bill Pullman). It's fun making these! If you need a mnemonic device for something you're having a hard time remembering, please leave a comment in the guestbook. I would love to keep adding to this list.