Welcome!

Greetings! I’m Ben, and this is my blog. Below you’ll find my recent posts, wherein I dump my thoughtpieces on politics, technology, interactive media, and philosophy; random idea-branchings off of my currently-running projects and struggles therein; and commentary on my progress towards becoming a better programmer, a more organized and conscientious human being, and a stronger, more powerful, and more productive and engaging person.

I’ve been working in JavaScript to test its capabilities (as well as my own in the process) and to see if I can build a decent engine using only front-end code and builtin HTML5 functionality. I’m currently studying web frameworks (NodeJS, MongoDB, ReactJS, etc.) to develop my skills towards the ‘full-stack JavaScript developer’ level.

If you’d like to receive updates when I post new content,  I would highly recommend the Feedly app, as it has a very handy browser plugin that links well with WordPress’s RSS feed.

 

20180709 Next Steps for the Project

The camera problem has been bugging me, so I’m going to attack it. I figure that the engine should collect the buckets that the camera can see, render those to the texture, and skip checking the camera bounds/refreshing the bucket list (lol) if the camera hasn’t moved. This could lead to an interesting implementation where there are multiple windows rendering multiple parts of the world (security cameras?). Something to think about, at least.

Setting this part of the program up will help develop some things: adding and removing buckets and their contents from the render pool; making the render pool a dynamic array instead of a horrific linked list (allowing subtraction); checking for camera motion; checking for updates to the buckets themselves. By the looks of it, I’ll have to add the ‘hot’ attribute to buckets to know whether I’ll need to update the render pool to reflect the buckets’ contents. The entities within will be referred to by their pointers, so the values could change without hurting anything; when entities shift between buckets, though, the bucket entries would need to be updated. How would we get around the issue of updating the render pool for all buckets when one bucket changes? Hmm. Something to think about.

20180705 Thoughts on my Engine

I’ve been doing a sort of bird’s eye view of the code I’ve written for my 2D engine project using SDL2. So far, a lot of ‘test’ material is still in place, so I’ve been sort of scraping at the edges and preparing to flesh out the major portions that will eventually blossom into a more solid backbone for the engine.

Currently, rendering and buffer swapping works, but it’s directly referencing the entirety of my spatial map code to get ALL entities rather than referencing the camera object to see what entities it should portray within the displayed area of the world. I did just create the camera object, but I’m having some difficulty conceptualizing where it should live – the graphics portion of the engine? The scene portion within the graphics portion? Hmm. Tough to say.

I haven’t even begun implementing entity AI or anything of that sort yet; I’d like to get the camera and the world working before that point. I’d also like to build in restrictions for camera motion as soon as things move beyond a certain limit outside of empty buckets in the spatial map; i.e., stop the camera motion towards areas that are just infinitely empty.

I was tempted to attempt a list of features I’d like to include, but that’s way, way premature. Instead, I’ll focus on chipping away at the project one obstacle at a time.

20180613 Chronicle

The weather is cloudy and a bit drizzly, but still warm with a cool breeze. Walking out on the grounds is not unpleasant, and the diffuse light gives ample opportunity for very pretty flower photographs.

On my mind today: GMS2 and its potential for my plans to create the ultimate simulation… if only I could negotiate with it to play nice. We shall see.

I did a pretty wimpy workout this morning, but I still did one. I really, really need to pick up more eggs when I go down to the valley tomorrow. Absolute necessity. They make for easy, fast, protein-laden breakfasts that really start my day off well. I might just get two crates…

20180611 Chronicle

Sunshine and breezes! It’s a lovely day today – I’m going to have to make a point of breaking my camera out.

I had a mixed weekend. Dishes were done, but I didn’t do any shopping or mowing. I’ll have to mow tonight and will absolutely need to do a workout tomorrow morning.

20180604 Chronicle

Rain yesterday, rain today. It’s cool and pleasant, but also a bit humid. I’m suspicious that the impending resurgence of the mosquito hordes is right around the corner.

Commencement parties happened yesterday, so the Seminary staff are given some leave today as ‘no one has any work to do’. I’m still going to go in after lunch though, as there are people I’m meeting with (and there are a few projects I absolutely need to work on).

Anyway, my goals for this morning: a) pick things up and put things down to exhaustion. b) Flesh out a post about the aesthetic and practical value of the specifics of my game (engine?) idea. c) Maybe clean some dishes or sort some laundry (or both)?

Thought of the day: “It is not good for the man to be alone.”

20180601 Procrastination and Maps

I know I’m supposed to be starting a workout, but I wanted to jot down some thoughts really quick. I only recently breezed across an article covering Google’s release of its Maps API for development, including functional calls that could be used to develop AR apps similar to Pokemon Go. I have yet to take a deep look at the spec to brainstorm what could be possible (and they seemed to waste a lot of time explaining that they could use their maps api for city fast building shape and placement for in game cities, but that was sort of a red herring for the really cool stuff imo), but… overall it sounds promising.

I should pick things up and put things down. Enough procrastination. Perhaps more thoughts later.

20180601 Chronicle

It’s the first day of June. I kept my bedroom closed to prevent cats from waking me up in the middle of the night with impending beard rubs, and ended up getting woken up at around quarter after 3 in the morning to scratching and fretting at the door. And, predictably, I couldn’t go back to sleep afterwards. Lovely. Today is going to be fun. On the positive side, I can leave early due to my extensive work requirements this weekend.

It’s overcast but warm and humid. It feels like a jungle. I’m guzzling my second cup of coffee post-breakfast (six softly scrambled eggs), and thinking about how ineffective today’s workout is going to be because of the fatigue backscatter of lost sleep that plagues my consciousness. I’m stalling by setting up my personal laptop (recently optimized after eliminating Avira, the hdd hog) and convincing myself that writing this post is a good excuse not to lift heavy things right away. However, the clock has passed the 7:00am and even the nice keys and convenience of a speedier laptop shouldn’t tempt me away from ripping up my muscles a bit. Finishing my coffee first would probably be prudent though…

20180531 – Chronicle

It’s the last day in May and I’m cultivating my sense of dismay that time continues to pass too swiftly. I have so much to do and I feel like I have no time. And yet I have so little aversion to wasting it.

This morning’s routine: wake up, eat a nice large breakfast, put on the iLeague Starseries group stage tournament (this morning: NRG v. Hellraisers – NRG wins 2-0) and do all the dishes from the past week, including the dishes for the two racks of ribs and the failed gravy (and guest visits).

The sky is overcast and it’s cool and breezy and pleasant with occasional winks from the sun. I took the recycling can out today, forgetting that Memorial Day would mean that the trash people won’t pick it up until tomorrow. My weather app wasn’t updating properly this morning though, so I couldn’t check to see if rain would mean soggy cardboard to greet the recycling truck when they come tomorrow morning. Time will have to tell, and perhaps I’ll have to drag the can to the porch in the meantime.

I still ache from yesterday’s workout. ‘Twas a good one. I think my resting heart rate is lowering, which is great. I need to grind more and work through this and work out more consistently. I think that after 3 weeks of doing MWF upper body, I’ll start doing Tue-Thu-Sat leg days. Big muscle groups are important, and I never concentrated on them much. It’d be good to keep all the muscles in rotation. It just means that all my chores will have to be shoved to the end of the day when I get home. So it goes.

Later: more interactive development thoughts. I really need to start fleshing out specifics on an engine I should begin to work on, and what the engine’s requirements will be for testing purposes.

20180530-02 Thoughts

The difficult conglomeration of ideas I keep bumping my head into run thusly:

  • Good interactive media emulates the pattern of ‘massive simulated systems’ interacting with other ‘massive simulated systems’ manipulated by players to produce effects on the colliding edges of the simulations that produce unique stories the players can appreciate and manipulate – with the idea that the situations created would be unique and emergent enough to transcend the purposes of the design itself. There are a few examples of this idea being implemented in separate contexts:

    • SimCity in a general way. It uses economic forces and incentives to simulate population density, growth, decay, etc. based on economic environmental factors such as taxation, prevalence of viable employment opportunities, abundance of local amenities (healthcare, education, law enforcement), and the attraction of tailored gardens. You can create a poverty stricken, crime-ridden, pollution-heavy suburb and then wreck it with tornadoes and earthquakes and aliens. Or you can try to balance all the spinning plates and grow the population as high and as happy as you can.
    • Dwarf Fortress, obviously, but this isn’t as well-represented because the majority of the simulation happens in the generation without player interaction and it almost feels as if the world is only directing itself in action towards the player rather than with itself (so the world feels a bit static until you touch it). Maybe I have that wrong and the clocks tick all over the world while you play, but that seemed to be my impression.
    • Many triple-A games attempt this with generic physics simulations – i.e., allowing the players to perform strange feats simply through the imperfections and quirks in their systems (see: bunnyhopping in CS:GO or the speed boost hacks in Ocarina of Time). Minecraft has a lot of these too, allowing players to make computers or automatic melon farms.
    • A lot of Paradox Interactive games play with war and politics on an extremely macro scale in this way, but it’s turn-based, deliberate, and, to me, a bit stale-feeling. I want to interact in a way that is real-time, skill- rather than strategy-based, and specific rather than representative and general.
    • Prison Architect has a lot of interesting simulated dynamics with the prisoners and the general prison ‘state’ – i.e., high turmoil, lockdown mode, etc., and the emotional states of the prisoners govern a lot of how their behaviors play out.
  • The contexts in which these methods are used are preposterously limited (i.e., extremely generic economics in the case of SimCity and its clones, widely representative politics and economics in Paradox games, and universally implemented physics engines that all have similar annoying and immersion-breaking quirks and failings). There needs to be more variety. I want to try to brainstorm some ideas on the types of variety:

    • The Sims had a lot of strengths in what it was obviously reaching for: in-depth representational interpersonal and inter-personality simulation on the specific individual scale. Ultimately, yes, an interactive dollhouse, but also a sort of proving ground for concepts related to the simulation of human personalities and their interactions with one another. Granted, it barely got beyond the point of need-satisfaction and rote like/dislike clashes between Sims (despite all of the added ‘traits’, the simulation remains largely the same – and stale), but the original idea was an interesting first step into the arena of baseline personality traits informing a central character’s decision matrix to create whole individuals that interact with each other and affect each other.
    • I need to study how politics play out in Paradox games in more detail, but, inevitably, it will largely be a product of the combined forces of a few individual leaders in their respective countries (I’m mistakenly cribbing calculation on this idea from my knowledge of Civilization, but Paradox games – Hearts of Iron IV in particular – have far more potential for political complexity what with the larger internal hierarchies in each political domain (demesne?)).
    • Individual, multi-dimensional simulation (that also finds compromises between inconsistencies or contradictions) would be a worthy goal: which dimensions to use, though, and how to establish a dynamic environment for interesting behaviors to play out in? Interactivity in a largely dynamic environment would obviously make small waves that would effect things; am I trying to set up a sort of Westworld situation? (I.e., standard storylines play out, but player interaction can throw them widely off course?)

More brainstorms later…

20180530-01 Chronicle

May 30th already? Sigh.

If I’m going to attempt to make this a daily thing, I think I’ll add more day-to-day details to make this a true chronicle to look back on and remember the specifics of my current experience. It’s weird how my thought process always lingers on the current moment while delving into the potentials of the future, but never thinking of either of those contexts’ inevitable velocity into history. It would be good to remind myself of this.

Nic’s visiting today with his family, which will be a blessing. It’s been far too long since we last met. The weather is cool and the sun is out. The flowers are blooming and everything is green and growing. Summer is about to break out, and it’s shocking to me how fast things are moving. I remind myself of how fast winter will be upon us once again.

This morning was a success: good breakfast, good cup of coffee, good workout. My muscles are sore in all the right ways. I still haven’t come up with solutions to the dilemmas I thought up yesterday, but I shall ruminate on them today. In fact, let’s work on some of them for the next posting.

Journal Entry 20180529

This may sound like a strange thing, but I find myself stuck in a creative rut. Since being left to live alone in my house (my brother has moved south to Philadelphia), I’ve drastically reorganized my life. I’ve cleaned the house, I’ve set a schedule of chores for myself (that I’ve mostly kept to), I’ve begun concentrating on exercise and a healthier sleep schedule, and I’ve been noticeable losing weight. However, I’m finding that there’s a disappointing gap in my own productivity related to my creative aspirations (both in fiction and in programming) despite the positive impact elsewhere. This hurts me, because I think of my creative development as of the highest importance (and the most gratifying aspect of my personal abilities), so stagnation in this way casts a bad light on the rest of my achievements.

I’ve been spending some time generating more ideas – on the level of broad, question-begging, overly-complex ideas that are impractical to immediately begin implementing. I haven’t been writing them down or doing more elaboration on them than the surface level, finding-my-first-principles level of probing into their possibility as paths worth pursuing. It’s time I started doing both of those things.

Right now, I’m becoming more trapped in thoughts concerning which technologies I should use rather than thinking about what project I want to tackle (or which aspect of a larger project I should tackle first). This type of thinking is obviously premature, and it truly reveals my creatively productive paralysis.

** IDEA: I should write more about my thoughts in this vein. Whether or not it is in itself a creative output, at least I’ll be able to lay out and productively analyze my own thoughts on how I could become productively creative in a way that is gratifying and efficient.

OK, so, that being said, I’ll start working on some thoughts to write down.

The Job Hunt Begins

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.”

-Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

I have officially submitted my notice to the monastery, informing them that I plan on leaving after saving up some funds for my inevitable self displacement. It’s time to look for warmer climates, a place to create softer wares, and a church that is less filled with attendees of the masculine (monastic or seminarian) variety.

My long list of potential new living regions included, in no particular order:


– Buffalo, NY

Pros:
– I know it – perhaps too well.
– Aaron’s there! (My brother – number three in the line of succession).
– Many friends I’ve had for years are there.
– The housing is CHEAP, especially if I find roommates with people I know.

Cons:
– Winter and snow.
– The parish is nice, but relatively empty of people my age (ahem; feminine people my age).
– The software industry is flooded with degree-clutching prospects to compete with (even though UB and Buff State are horrible places to learn how to program).
– It’s still in New York, which is horrible for my brand of politics.
– It’s Buffalo, and Buffalo is kind of crummy. Kind of? Sometimes violent, mostly dirty and miserable, and with very few redeeming factors.
– Although cheap, you get what you pay for in the housing (and caretaking).
– Far away from everyone in the family but Aaron.


– Albany, NY

Pros:
– Relatively close to home, in case I forget anything or want to visit the monastery.
– Relatively close to people I know (including some old friends).
– Good amount of job prospects.
– Great, flourishing parish with lots of old Orthodox friends.

Cons:
– Winter. And snow.
– Far from MOST people I know and love.
– The housing is a bit on the expensive side.
– Politics.


– Philadelphia, PA

Pros:
– Close to all kinds of family!
– Lots of jobs!
– Nowhere near as much snow!
– Lots of cool historic things to see and do! (Franklin Institute! Yeah!)
– Decent parish, but is within reasonable travelling distance of several other parishes as well (Manayunk to Howell: 1h24m, assuming a quiet Sunday morning).
– Pennsylvania has some of the best politics in the region! Plus, it’s swing state.
– Pennsylvania is awesome! (happy moodlet added because writer thinks of Pennsylvania memories of old with fondness!)

Cons:
– I’m… I’m having trouble thinking of any, except maybe that there are places in Philly that aren’t safe. But I could just as easily live outside the city!
– There’s a LOT of people around the area, making claustrophobia a real deal potentially. But there are parks too, I’m sure. Safe parks though? I could always take shelter in the Academy of Natural Sciences…


Some new prospects (that I’ll be adding to):


– Boston, MA

Pros:
– Boston is a wonderful historic city! Like Philadelphia in that way, but more… tealess.
– I’m sure there are plenty of jobs out there – and Aunt Barb wanted to hook me up with opportunities!
– I’m not completely familiar with the parish, but I know of it (and know of some of the people that frequent it – but mostly by virtue of knowing everyone that comes through the monastery).
– It’s an easy (but long) train ride to most known cities.

Cons:
– Still rather far away from the rest of the family.
– Weather is… variable, or so I’ve heard. It’s on the coast, a ‘dollop of hills in a spoon of marshes’ (Neal Stephenson, ‘Quicksilver’), and a bit frightening to think about in the case of a Nor’easter.
– I know next to no one there!


Also potentials for the list, but not fully fleshed out yet:

– Dallas, TX (or any major city in TX, really)
– San Francisco, CA
– Herkimer, NY (lol!)

Some things to think about. In the meantime, it’s time to a) get to work (hard!) on my new website (the one that will REALLY showcase all my talents), get some time learning MongoDB and NodeJS and ReactJS more thoroughly (enough to get cool things to happen on a website). I could probably do that by finishing the Udemy course. I should get on that!

Cheers for now.

20170901

Yeah, yeah – there seems to be a pattern of ‘post that you haven’t posted in a while and then promptly produce an even longer gap between posts’.

Well, I’m posting now, darnit.

I’ve been listening to a couple of new podcasts, one of which is ‘Impact Theory’ hosted by Thomas Bilyeu. He’s an ex-screenwriter/director who now co-owns Quest Nutrition (the ones that make Quest protein bars). Impact Theory is a program that interviews highly successful entrepreneurs in an attempt to break down what strategies they used in order to change their own lives and become not only more productive, but exponentially more productive over time. The discussions most often cite scientific research into motivational strategies, planning strategies, as well as daily habits and habit-breaking strategies that these ridiculously productive people use in order to become superpowers and achieve their dreams (and more).

Anyway, I wanted to write a little piece to remind myself of one interesting lesson from Eric Barker’s interview. Enjoy!

Wishing and dreaming are critical, but they’re like alcohol: they feel good in the moment, but by themselves, they’re not practical.

Once you have a dream, the next step is to think about the outcome of that dream, the FINAL outcome, with plenty of specific details. I.e., this is what I want to be, this is what I want to do, in as much detail as is realistic. Think of it as if you’re imagining a scene of yourself in the future – what are you doing every day in this dream, what does your environment look like, what do you look like, and what kind of people are around you? What does your daily work look like? What kind of person would you be in order to be doing the work you would be doing and living this lifestyle?

After that’s as clear as you can make it, only then think about the obstacles that are keeping you from immediately becoming that person. Obviously, they aren’t all visible at the moment, so identifying the most immediate and obvious obstacles is practical. Specifically identifying the obstacles allows you to set up a clear and defined plan to spend time every day improving yourself and chipping away at those obstacles until they’re no longer in your way.

The plan should be simple, basic, and should have the following characteristics:
a) The activity of carrying out the plan should be directly reflective of the dream or wish you had. This allows you to spend time testing whether the joy in that dream is realistic. If the dream acted in reality doesn’t bring you joy, then that allows you to quit it and iterate faster to a dream and outcome that work for you without hesitation or regret.
b) The plan should mimic a lesser version of the outcome that you envisioned earlier as well to make sure that you can shape yourself into a person that lives that lifestyle you imagined. This might sound too similar to the above point, but the introspection is different: above, you want to consider the excitement and spark involved in fulfilling the dream or wish. Here, you want to consider the satisfaction in the change in environment, change in lifestyle, and change in your day-to-day activities and mindset that would require you to accommodate your plan. Above, you test the satisfaction of the dream, and here, you test the satisfaction of the reality.
c) The plan should directly attack the obstacles at their core, because behind those obstacles are more obstacles that you want to get to. This one is complicated, as many obstacles can be a mix of the specific and the abstract. For example: ‘I’m pretty lazy’, ‘My writing skills need improvement’, and ‘I’m easily distracted from my current activity’. All of these obstacles can be translated into a plan to spend a set amount of time every day in a distraction free environment writing in a way that would help you grow into your outcome-self. Daily activities like this can not only kill many birds with one stone, but also set you up to form habits that change your moment-to-moment mindset throughout the day.

Wish. Outcome. Obstacle. Plan.

The likelihood is that the obstacles will start out being tough to conquer, and perhaps you’ll accidentally skip some smaller obstacles that will trip you up while you’re trying to break down loftier ones. This is fine – worked into the planning stage (and plan execution stage) is something of vital importance: assessment of progress and reflection on the process itself. This activity not only helps you stay in the right mindset, but will also give you an idea whether or not your plans are working and whether you should consider changing your plans to battle different obstacles.

Do the wish and outcome energize you enough to iterate through such planning stages and finding ways to overcome the obstacle? If so, then failed plans are nothing to worry about – you can always reform your plan and fit it to overcome your obstacles.

Base the choice between ‘grit’ and ‘quit’ on how much your dreams and specific outcomes excite you and energize you towards activity.

Eric Barker interview:

Mel Robbins on the 5 Second Rule (and, more importantly, there’s a link to the Million Dollar Morning routine she hints at in the description of the video):

20170611

Today was one of the most productive days I’ve ever had, I think. I woke up, went to church, came home, and then proceeded to clean the dishes, straighten up the kitchen, mow the lawn, wash and hang the laundry, make supper, put away the leftovers, and ponder what I want to do with the rest of my week.

First plan: be at least half as productive as I’ve been today. That would make for an awesome week! Anywho, manual labor gave me enough thinking time to realize that I need more thinking time before I can hop straight back into programming (which is fine, because there’s still a lot of housework to do after work this week). BenjaminMarquardt.com is not even close to being 100% (in fact, it’s really only a facade over a completely fake establishment) but that’s OK because it’s still in the building phase. I don’t need it to be practically functional for some time.

On Friday morning, I started the day by getting my heart rate up to the optimum range (55-85% of maximum, according to some heart organization) for 30 minutes. The entire rest of the day my mood was pretty amazing. My goal is to try to do that every day this week without stressing myself out too much. Good feels make for good days! And also make for reinforced behaviors that help future development.

I’ve started using a quirky little gamified habit former app called Habitica. I’ve yet to progress for any length into the game, but it looks interesting and part of my inspiration for doing the things I’ve set out for myself in the app is to see what happens when my character gets more powerful. I guess that’s a good enough sign that the app’s premise is solid.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be posting more often now that the good feels train is here. Here’s to some good exercise tomorrow morning, and a productive day!

20170523 01

Of course – I post about needing to post more often, and then I neglect posting for an even longer period of time.

A few things I’ve noticed I need to clean up in my habits: I seem to have a lot of trouble sitting down and reflecting and reviewing my performance and success at the end of the week, when I presumably have large amounts of free time. One of the goals I’ve listed that would be worthwhile pursuing reflects my wish to become a bit more financially responsible and reflective, and thus be able to save more money. Reflecting on the things I could learn… it’s something I need to learn in and of itself.

More tonight, I think.

20170512 01

Oh, darn. I’ve got to go back and paste in check marks!

For those that might not be aware, the check mark is a bit of a crazy thing to track down if you’re looking to make them yourself. They’re kind of buried in the Unicode ocean that exists beyond keyboard labels, ASCII-codes, etc., unless you’re willing to work in Wingdings or perform Internet wizardry to jimmy out.

I’m curious as to whether this will work, but whatever, here goes:

In order to write it, you’ve got to use in-line CSS styling with an inert HTML tag (since you don’t want your platform – *cough* WordPress */cough* – to cramp your style with its style after the fact). So I use this:

<inert style=”font-family: Wingdings;”>ü</inert>

Apparently, the ‘inert’ tag is pretty much ignored. The Wingdings font has the check mark character within a reachable range (of ASCII numerics, at least), so styling in this way allows you to get a nice visible checkmark without copy pasting from other places or the like.

I do have a pregame plan that I’ll be posting later, but for now… I’ve got to post my checkmarks from yesterday!

20170511 01

Happy Thursday! Today I can happily report that I’m suffering from drowsiness and lethargy and afternoon drifting due to another horrible night’s sleep (I actually remember waking up on my back a few times). Time to break out my awkward fanny-pack-and-tennis-ball trick for staying on my side while sleeping.

Anywho, I just wanted to announce my intention to get exactly two things done this afternoon after work: I want to finish the dishes, and I want to walk on the treadmill for long enough to surpass a daily step count of 10k. Stretch goals: maybe install an OS on my new Raspberry Pi 3? Maybe work a bit on my JavaScript projects (as I AM listing them on this website…)? Maybe get some *gasp* other housework done?

Looks like I’ll need to hunt for a good video to listen to to keep me going.

  • Dishes ü
  • 10k steps
  • Install OS on RP3
  • Get some programming done
  • Get some other housework done

20170510 02

Well, I knocked off all the things on my list (mostly, in some respect). I didn’t spend hardly any time on the computer, but I did spend a lot of time doing things. Partly, perhaps, because I was listening to a live-recorded interview with Jordan Peterson, but I think there was more to it (an idea I’m working on): getting into warrior mode.

I look around myself and I think of my environment as target-dense; what can I take a swing at? But then I fall into a habitual mode where I sit on my wide hind parts, and then that little voice in the back of my head says, “There are more things to take a swing at.” And the thought is gamified, it’s a provocation, it’s a challenge. “Can you do chore X? Yes. Really? Obviously. I don’t believe you. Prove it. Fine. I will. It’s sitting there waiting to be done. Get to it.” And then I’m off.

Part of it wasn’t thinking about productivity vs. unproductivity; it was more like pondering what spending time doing activity x was actually, consciously doing for my own improvement. And was it actually fun enough to justify it? Because fun and productive should go hand in hand. Practice and challenge and fun should include practical improvement. And in some way, a lot of the stuff I did today was like practice. It was productive. It may not have been fun the whole time, but it’s more like knocking down goals was fun and I was able to watch Youtube at the same time.

Edit: Tomorrow’s a one-month anniversary for the new iteration of my blog! Yay!

20170510 01

Little late for the pregame self-hype, but so it goes.

I found a strange moment at lunch today when I was trying to picture/conceptualize differences in mindsets or mental environments of driven people and generally unmotivated or unfocused people. Obviously I align with the unfocused/unmotivated side of things (except as regards things that I really, really enjoy). Anyway, the specific context was my thought process addressing how much and what sort of things I felt I should be eating at lunch, given my goals and future. I told myself to limit what I consumed, and I did. Funny how that works.

Anyway, the conclusion I came to was that I need to pick up the sword and battle the foes threatening my future more often. The foes are ever-present and malevolent in intention. To name but a few: my own neglect, passivity, and temptation to continue through life in ‘cruise control’ or autopilot; the subjective experience of tiredness, self-pity, and the notion that I deserve to be lax; and, even more dangerous, the insidious thought that stasis would be better than expending effort.

The last foe is especially insidious, because it’s a double lie: 1. expending directed effort is always better than stasis. 2. There’s no such thing as stasis; only regression. The body was not meant to be inactive and at rest; it’s made to move and act and do, and without these it drives itself into premature expiration.

Things I want to get cracking on tonight after work:

  • Dishes. ü (sort of – made a big dent)
  • Drag the trash out, break down some boxes.ü (still need to drag, but that’s ok)
  • Jog 2 miles.ü/2 – Jogged one mile.
  • Rip some muscles on the hanging rings.ü
  • Get started on the Raspberry Pi 3 work.ü

That should suffice for my sufficiently short evening.

 

EDIT: Oh hey, I could make this into a to-do list with some light modification.

 

20170509 02

Pregame, postgame. Pregame, postgame.

Pretty successful postgame, all things considered. Reasons to be happy about today:

  1. I woke up early enough to have breakfast, drink coffee, get ready, and feed the cats; I also managed to get Jesse out of bed so he could use the car to get more cat food! Great success.
  2. I remembered to listen to morning prayers two days running (working up to reading them in the morning; but this will suffice for now). Next step: listen to evening prayers at some point (i.e., figure out how to get to start bed prep at a reasonable time).
  3. Managed to do quite a bit of programming after work, including learning templates in C++ and helping the student in fixing his broken program.
  4. I spent almost half an hour doing random things around the house that really did need doing (and that I had been stupidly neglecting). Laundry things, trash things, cat things, dishes things. Not very much time spent, but I got a good amount done and it felt good!
  5. Had a salad for supper. Nothing fancy.
  6. I’m tired enough to go to bed at a reasonable time!

Reasons to be sad about today:

  1. LESS than half an hour? Meh.
  2. Things are still a bit of a mess.
  3. There are less than motivating things all around me, and I’m having difficulty ignoring them.

Reasons to be scared:

  1. I had around 258 visits and 69 unique visitors to my website today. 90% of them were from Russia and China (mostly Russia). Time to beef up the old security.

Here’s to a good night’s sleep and a productive day tomorrow!