The Dann Chronicles: October 🎂

My new digital brain, ghoulish chocolate, scammy NFTs, my fav kitchen app, and murder movie magic

October 2021

Hey all,

It's time to pop open the bottle of champagne you've been saving: this email marks the one year anniversary of my newsletter! 🎉

That's a good reason to drink champagne, right?

When I started sending these newsletters a year ago, I didn't really know what the response would be. Especially since a decent number of you only know me from my either my old website or my in-person Skillshare class from nearly a decade ago. The content I was creating and sharing under that umbrella is completely different than what I'm doing now.

But I brought you along for the ride anyway. I did this for a couple reasons:

  1. I follow people that have "pivoted" the content they produce, and I've personally found it super interesting. I thought others might feel the same way about my newsletter.

  2. Anyone that is not interested can easily unsubscribe and never hear from me again.

I've lost a few subscribers, but I'm amazed at how many people stuck around (assuming you're not just too lazy to click unsubscribe). It's also been great to hear from several of you. It warms my heart when people click the like button or reply and say hello.

One of the most surprising things I found from starting this newsletter is simply how fulfilling it is for me, personally. Who'd have thought that spending a couple hours a month to share a mass email could be so rewarding?

A toast: Here's to another year of monthly newsletters. And beyond.


🕸️ Connected thoughts

It's been a journey finding a solid note-taking app. I'm fairly decent at taking notes, but have long struggled with using those notes once they're captured. The true value of taking notes is being able to synthesize multiple thoughts in order to create new ideas.

A little over a year ago, I moved all my existing notes to a free beta version of Roam Research. It's served me well (and remained free, despite new accounts costing an obscene amount of money) but this month I made the switch to a different note-taking application: Obsidian.

I had evaluated Obsidian back when I first joined Roam Research, and decided to pass. But oh man has it come a long way since then. I've styled my workspace off Nick Milo's LYT Kit (short for Linking Your Thinking). It's beautiful.

Roam Research and Obsidian live in the same world: enabling thought through the power of bi-directional note linking. But where Obsidian takes the lead is in its flexibility and freedom. Not only is it completely free, but all your notes live as Markdown files that you can keep in a directory of your choosing. There's no proprietary formatting or other form of vendor lock-in. It's the ultimate tool for both taking and using notes.

🍫 Ghoulish delights

Eric Barone, better known as ConcernedApe, has blessed the world with the announcement of his new game: Haunted Chocolatier.

ConcernedApe is the otherworldly developer of the beloved game Stardew Valley, of which I've sunk many hours across multiple play throughs. I don't use the word "otherworldly" sparingly, either. He's a solo developer that created every aspect of the game: from story to artwork to music to code. Haunted Chocolatier is yet another herculean solo task.

During the development of Stardew Valley, Eric built hype by keeping a development blog, chronicling his progress as the game took shape. For fans of the game, it's a unique peek inside the creative process.

He seems to be following the same hype model with Haunted Chocolatier, with the first post detailing the current status of the new game.

We probably won't see a finished product for a year or two (maybe more!) but I sure as hell will be following along.

🚮 NFTs are (mostly) garbage

I do not own any NFTs (except for the ones I've minted of my own face). In fact, I think most of it is a racket. But notice I said "most."

This is where I think it's important to separate technology from its implementation. Currently, people are using NFT technology to mass-produce randomly-generated images to sell at insane prices. That's dumb.

But really, NFTs are not the art itself, but a Certificate of Authority with extra features.

I think there's real potential here to help creatives actually make money from their work online, in the same way that Patreon allows people to monetize their output. It all comes down to "unlocking a frozen asset," so to speak.

NFTs really clicked for me after reading these tweets from Ser Shokunin. If you're still flummoxed by the entire concept, it's a great starting point to dive in.

🍳 Earn those chops

Like many others, Avi and I decided to up our cooking game during the pandemic. As we grew our list of favorite recipes, I wanted to find a good place to store everything. I tried a bunch of different recipe managers, from websites to apps, but I only found a whole lot of garbage. Then I decided to bite the bullet and purchase Paprika Recipe Manager.

At first glance, doesn't look much different than the other apps. But Paprika is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. It does everything I want a recipe manager to do, and syncs across all my devices.

This is not an ad. I just really like the app, use it a lot, and wanted to share.

🔪 Reservations at Dorsia

The movie American Psycho caused quite a stir when it was first released. It was also poorly received. It took time for audiences to really understand the rich comedy and satire and start appreciating the movie.

I recently stumbled upon the oral history of American Psycho. My biggest takeaway: thank goodness they went with relative-newcomer Christian Bale instead of fresh-off-the-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio.

End note

If you've enjoyed this, I'd love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up.

I'll be sending out these emails once per month, and I'm happy you're along for the ride. I'm trying to make it one of the best things that arrives in your inbox each month, so thoughts and feedback are always appreciated. You can just reply to this email.

Also, if you find anything interesting, send it my way.

Thanks for reading. Until next time,