03 January 2011

I haven't read any comics in a few weeks. I need to catch up, and get back to my collection.
Time allocation: Comics 11:17
Mundane activities 1:50
TV 0:48
Notes: I mostly focused on organizing the X-Men comics.
This disc won't be ready for another few months, but I've done what I can with what I've got.
Performance review: There's very little wasted time, and clearly I knew what I wanted. Good day.
Score: 9/10

07-08 January 2011

Time to clear my head, and get back to Gamer Mom. Before the interruption, I was about to play a bit of World of Warcraft to get a sense of it. (It's necessary for finishing the Gamer Mom script.) I'll get back to that now without delay.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 7:26
Bit.Trip Fate 1:48
World of Warcraft (research for Gamer Mom) 1:44
Comics 1:37
TV 1:00
The blog 0:22
Reading 0:04
Notes: I wrote down the notes I need about World of Warcraft. There shouldn't be any need to go back. I passed a very difficult level of Bit.Trip Fate. I played a lot of Freecell and improvised a lot on the piano.
Please just let me go back! I was happy as an actor! Everything was so straightforward! I don't want to live like this!
Performance review: Oh my. I should have expected this. A month is a very long time to hold a character. I should have anticipated that moving on would be difficult. And if I had, what should I have done? Hm. I can't say for sure, since this is a new situation for me. But I imagine something much more structured would have been called for. A declaration of priorities, or a strict schedule. Clearly I wasn't strong enough to get into character so soon, and I needed to give myself rules to help me into place.
Score: 2/10

09 January 2011

Ruddigore? That's ancient history. I'm only interested in the here and now: finishing up my script, playing games, engaging in hobbies.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 3:32
Data entry 2:32
Eric the Unready 2:18
Gamer Mom 2:16
Reading 1:54
Bit.Trip Fate 0:28
Wii Fit 0:14
IM chat 0:14
The blog 0:10
Notes: I finished writing the script for Gamer Mom. I finished playing Eric the Unready. I finished playing Bit.Trip Fate.
I can't wait to get into the little technical details of bringing Gamer Mom to life. I think it's a good script.
Performance review: Now we're talking. Three major events, all in one day! And with the ongoing activities of data entry (of scores from game nights) and reading (the novel Otherland) on top of them, I get the sense that even with all this finality there's plenty left to do. This is exactly the attitude I'm going to need, moving forward.
Score: 10/10

10 January 2011

I don't know what I feel like doing today.
Time allocation: The blog 4:06
Going to a strange meeting in Jerusalem 3:51
Mundane activities 2:36
Comics 2:04
Lilt Line 0:55
TV 0:39
IM chat with Deirdra 0:30
Notes: My experience in Jerusalem was a bit too strange to summarize simply. It was a support group, though I didn't really know I was going to a support group because I preferred to assume it wasn't. But it was a support group, and I shouldn't have gone. I wrote about it as a conclusion to the previously open-ended post Multiplayer. I also made it clearer that Blogger does not represent the current home of the blog (to try to bring over some of those who are still going to the old pages), and I changed 60 links that were previously linking to Blogger. I started playing a new Wii game, Lilt Line, though I don't expect it will take me long to finish it.
The support group reminded me that I need to take my life into my own hands. The people there, they needed someone to tell them who they were and how they should act. I'm not like that. I'm my own master. Tomorrow, I compose music. On Wednesday, Hyrule. On Thursday, I write another blog post.
Performance review: Nice recovery from an aimless beginning. The support group story is a little bit pathetic, but I learned a thing or two in the process, which makes it a significant character-building event. I think what makes it work is the blog post. Without the writing (and the effort at greater independence from Blogger) the day wouldn't have as much personal meaning. This time allocation table is very different from yesterday's, which shows an impressive versatility. Keep up the good work!
Score: 10/10

11 January 2011

My song "Ode to your face" is stuck in my head. I'd like to write piano accompaniment for it.
Time allocation: Games night 4:22
Hanging out with Moshe 3:32
"Ode to your face" 3:00
Mundane activities 2:51
TV 1:11
Reading 0:11
I'll continue with the song later.
Notes: I tried to find a Linux-friendly program suitable for writing down the accompaniment for my song, and eventually gave up and picked up a pencil. I did end up writing down some of it, but not much. I introduced Moshe to the wonders of Tallon IV, and then we went to games night together and had lots of fun.
Performance review: It's a perfectly competent day by Level 2 standards, but this is Level 3. The opening and closing statements show that I was going for a clear musician character, and I just don't see that in the time allocation table. Cut out the TV, waste less time, and spend more time playing piano, and this would be a successful day regardless of the lack of concrete progress. But this character is simply not what I was aiming for.
Score: 4/10

12 January 2011

I just realized that there isn't a part I'd want to play in the next Gilbert & Sullivan play Binder's doing (H.M.S. Pinafore). And I'm not really interested in being in the kind of sanitized version of Carousel that'd be put on in Jerusalem. So the feeling I had for the past few weeks, of daily being with people who I trusted and respected, is gone for at least a year. Screw this world; I'm going to Hyrule.
Time allocation: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 8:12
Mundane activities 3:28
Reading 1:07
TV 0:44
Notes: I finished this playthrough of Ocarina of Time, which took many months because I was writing down detailed notes about the experience for later reference. I read a fantastic New Yorker article about Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Zelda), which I've bookmarked because it may inspire me again at some point in the future.
Huh. Ocarina of Time has a lot of uninspired game design in it. It's got two or three dungeons that probably should have been redesigned from the ground up, or else removed entirely. This doesn't mean that I don't love the game as much as I ever have, only that when I write my "book" on the subject of the game I'll need to seriously think about what they might have done had they had a few more years of development time to get it just right. Nothing's perfect, because everything needs to go through the real world at some point. I reread the introduction I wrote for the book, and it's so well-written I'm scared to continue writing for fear of not living up to the potential. I'm sure I'll get over it.
Performance review: The circumstances today mirror the circumstances in ninth grade, when I first played the game. I've just lost my friends, and I'm using Zelda as a game with activities diverse enough that it doesn't seem to matter. The difference this time is that tomorrow I'll be someone else, because I've just finished the game and don't feel immediately up to starting over. Those eight hours (by far the most time I've spent on Zelda in the past year) were extremely diverse in their activities: indulging in minigames, making progress, exploring, playing my variations on the Ruddigore music on the game's ocarina, playing variations of the game's music on my piano, searching through a text dump of the game to find support for an idea of mine, thinking about game design ideas.... This is a day I'll remember for a long time.
Score: 10/10

13 January 2011

The cast party is tonight. Goodbye, for real this time. But it does no good to dwell on that. Instead, I'm going to continue "I Am Not Myself Today". It's been a while without progress.
Time allocation: The cast party 5:35
Mundane activities 3:49
The blog 2:24
SpaceChem 2:02
Comics 1:34
Notes: I wrote a fifth post for "I Am Not Myself Today". I started playing a puzzle game called SpaceChem, which is quite good but runs like molasses on Linux. I read the latest issue of Amazing Spider-Man, which was awesome, and rearranged some of the comics I'm about to burn onto discs.
They didn't have a piano at the cast party, because I didn't bother to tell Paul to bring his electronic piano. So I wasn't really able to present my twisted Ruddigore variations like I wanted to. I played one (of the three) on a small keyboard without a pedal, and only because everyone was saying I should. But I'm not satisfied. I'll have to write all the notes on my computer so that I can send out a synthesized version of what it should have sounded like. That'll be at least a full day's work. I'm thinking Sunday.
Performance review: The central obsession here, of not feeling finished with Ruddigore, is barely concealed at all. A lot of time was wasted, and the blog post does not meet the quality level of the previous four adventure game posts. It seems half-hearted, which of course it was. The problem here is not in concept but approach. It's not enough to say what I want to get done, I need to make myself into a person who will naturally get it done. The story I'm seeing is of a person who's really just thinking about the cast party, but comes up with diversions to pass the time. The character I should have played was a person who's already moved on, and sees the cast party only as an epilogue. I'm aware that that wasn't a simple character. But that was the right way to play it.
Score: 7/10

14-15 January 2011

SpaceChem, music, data entry.
Time allocation: The third annual Cake Awareness Conference 5:41
Mundane activities 5:13
SpaceChem 1:11
Writing a letter 0:54
Comics 0:48
Dominoes 0:37
Data entry 0:23
Notes: Over Shabbat, I (and a few others) helped Tamir to construct a six-bit adding machine out of domino lines, which is to say a system of domino lines that can (following the rules of computer science) add two numbers between 0 and 63, and output the result in binary. He made the first bit, we imitated his work, and he made corrections. I returned after Shabbat to observe the result. Sadly, the calculator did not calculate properly. It was too complex to immediately know what went wrong, but the activation was captured on video, so hopefully Tamir can look over the footage and do better next time. While I was at the Feldmans, I found out about Rachel's "Cake Awareness Conference", which her friends come to to eat cake and hear lectures to raise awareness of the struggles of the modern cake. Harel agreed to drive me there. It was utterly insane, and lots of fun.
Opportunities arose. I took them. I'll care about music tomorrow.
Performance review: Why are there still days with five hours of mundane activities? With a reasonable amount of wasted time, this would be an 8.
Score: 4/10

16 January 2011

I'm going to work on the Ruddigore music today.
Time allocation: SpaceChem 4:46
My Ruddigore variations 4:03
Mundane activities 2:15
Writing E-mail 1:13
Looking into buying a MIDI keyboard 0:53
Lilt Line 0:50
As I've been approaching the Ruddigore music it simply isn't as satisfying as it should be. I'll try again when I have a MIDI keyboard.
Performance review: There are three music-related activities here, but ultimately this isn't a themed day because they're beaten by other activities. It's not surprising, under the circumstances, that I didn't find writing the music satisfying. I wasn't fully playing the part.
Score: 6/10

17 January 2011

I am a person who thrives on ideas. But lately, I've been focused a lot on specific goals and not enough on the thoughts behind them. So I don't care what I do today; it just needs to be built on clear ideas.
Time allocation: Reading 4:26
The blog 3:36
SpaceChem 2:15
Mundane activities 2:03
A phone call 0:35
An e-mail 0:33
Trying to get a simple thing done with an inept corporate bureaucracy 0:30
Playing The Perfect Color 0:24
Notes: I read more of Eli Ehrman's philosophy, and I read other philosophies on blogs I frequent (mainly Only a Game), and I read many of my own blog posts, and I read more of the novel Otherland. I began a new blog post. I continued playing SpaceChem, which is a truly wonderful puzzle game whose mercifully few excesses (distracting music, an attempt at storytelling) can be shut off with a mouse-click. In order to buy a MIDI keyboard I needed to know how much money I had in the bank, which launched me on a strange quest to be able to check my money's status from the internet. (Unbelievably, to sign up for the website you need to send a fax. We don't have a fax machine, so I brought it to the local branch. They said to call the Jerusalem office. The Jerusalem office said to go to the local branch.) I played The Perfect Color twice.
The most astonishing part of the day, in hindsight, is how nicely all the reading I did meshed together. The bits of Only a Game and Eli Ehrman's writings and Otherland that I read were all dealing in one way or another with the question of what connection can be found between stories and reality -a question I wrestled with myself as I tried on the blog to reconcile the current state of my life with the story I've been telling over the past six years. The rule-system games sharpened my mind with abstract ideas; the socializing reinforced my sense of where I stand relative to others; and somewhere in these quiet reflections a clear vision of the next blog post jumped into my head, where it has settled in comfortably.
Performance review: Bravo. A clear character, well-played.
Score: 10/10

18 January 2011

Wheeeee! I'm a bee! No, I'm the President of the United States of Nonazang! No, wait, I have a better idea!
Time allocation: Games night 5:12
E-mail 1:30
Comics 1:28
Mundane activities 1:24
Helping a former Ruddigore castmate with a computer file 0:55
The blog 0:52
SpaceChem 0:42
Data entry 0:30
Bit.Trip Runner 0:21
TV 0:21
Tetris 0:16
Reading 0:12
Writing down Ruddigore music 0:12
More! More! More!
Notes: The place I was going to buy the MIDI keyboard from didn't have it in stock. I may wait until they do, or I may try a different store. I haven't decided yet.
Performance review: That is a long list. It feels kind of random, except that many of the more common activities gravitated toward the top. (Fancy that.) I think the zaniness could have been pushed quite a bit farther, especially by throwing out the usual activities and doing things which were totally different.
Score: 8/10

19 January 2011

Moshe and I are going to go see Tron: Legacy.
Time allocation: Going to see a movie with Moshe 6:40
Mundane activities 3:48
The blog 3:17
Comics 1:24
TV 0:42
Ordering a MIDI keyboard 0:12
Notes: The movie was very good.
Performance review: I suppose this is eventful enough. Mundane activities are too high, though.
Score: 7/10

20 January 2011

January 20th. This is a joyous occasion!
Time allocation: The blog 8:54
Mundane activities 3:01
SpaceChem 2:22
Comics 0:53
Man, that was depressing to write. Time to move on.
Performance review: I have no idea what to make of the blog post. I'm certainly not proud of it. But the focus is tight. (The other activities are mentioned in the post.)
Score: 9/10

21-22 January 2011

New character. The only thing that matters is Angles & Circles.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 5:34
Picking out and learning to use a vector graphics program 4:05
TV 2:30
Comics 1:25
Notes: In order to draw Angles & Circles, I needed vector graphics software. After looking around I settled on Inkscape, and followed its tutorials.
I've familiarized myself enough with Inkscape that now I can get started.
Performance review: The angle is right, but too many distractions and not enough (read: no) planning. Recover tomorrow with a declaration of priorities for this character.
Score: 4/10

23 January 2011

I wander.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 3:47
Angles and Circles 2:28
The blog (just rereading, not anything new) 2:25
Exploring Endless Ocean 2:21
Watching the movie Citizen Kane 2:19
Walking around Beit Shemesh 0:39
Composing 0:15
Notes: A lot of time was spent improvising on the piano. The actual work on my planned exploration game Angles & Circles began, and it is evident that it will require a truly massive time commitment from me. I reread "Illinois", among other blog posts. I got stuck in the exploration game Endless Ocean a very long time ago. I got past the point I was stuck at and continued exploring. I discovered some nifty places. My real-world exploring was less eventful, because Beit Shemesh is a very boring place.
It's a start.
Performance review: Wow. Just, wow. This is a brand new set of activities, in clear declaration-of-priorities format, and it all makes sense. Lots of exploring, of course, including the blog (since I do think of it as a sort of exploration game when it's read). I don't tend to watch many movies, but the insertion of a movie I've never seen before (which was brilliant, by the way) into a declaration of priorities says that this is meant to be a fixture of the character. It doesn't exactly fit into a theme (aside from it stimulating the more visual side of my brain), but it'll be one of this character's little quirks. Another is the walking. The only problem I see here is classification, because isn't piano improvisation a kind of exploration as well? So it actually fits. I think for this character, we can accept piano as a good activity in any event, as long as it stays subordinate to exploration games (Angles & Circles being the most important of them). If improvisation had been counted as a valuable use of time today, I'd estimate mundane activities would be a little bit under 3:00. This is precisely the character I need right now.
Score: 10/10

24 January 2011

My main concern is replicating the pencil strokes on the computer.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 3:15
Movie(s) 3:13
Angles and Circles 2:42
Poking around in Linux's root directory 1:46
TV 1:14
Endless Ocean 1:07
Piano 0:47
I know I messed up with the TV. But by the end of the day I just felt so... drained. I even took a nap in the middle, and it wasn't enough. I just felt really depressed and lonely. This solitary exploration thing is hard. It's not that I'm doubting the character or anything, I'll just have to try harder.
Notes: I tried to watch the movie The Science of Sleep, but it's in English French and Spanish and I couldn't find a subtitle track that fit the copy of the movie I'd downloaded. (PAL/NTSC) I wasted an hour or so trying to find ways to synchronize the subtitles, before giving up and instead watching the movie The Fountain.
Performance review: Well, this isn't quite right. First off, there's a mostly-passive activity (regardless of the subtitle thing, and the intellectual nature of the second movie) at the top. I'm all in favor of movies as a way to build on the visual aspect of the character, but not when Angles & Circles isn't on top of it. But that's just criticizing the end result, when what I need to fix is the process. My plan was to spend a lot more time on Angles & Circles, the way I used to spend days on Ruddigore. But the plan was overly ambitious. I can't immediately be that person, I need to work my way into it over the course of at least a few weeks. My first few Ruddigore solo practices were just an hour or two, and once I was building on it in a lot of different directions and I was really invested, I was able to live in the creation process the way I was hoping for today. But it takes time to get to that level of intimacy with the work; no matter how I manage my day, it can't be forced all at once. That's the underlying problem, and the reason I was looking for comforts like TV and web browsing and other people. Let's let this character rest for a few days. Just an hour a day of Angles & Circles, and when I need to live inside that process I'll be ready with this character for whom that's sustainable.
Score: 6/10

25 January 2011

I had a whole big plan for today. A good one. But in the middle of the night I woke up following a particularly strange dream and suddenly realized (in the minute before I went back to sleep) that I was wrong: I do need this character, even if I don't really love Angles & Circles yet. Change of plans: I'm going to keep wandering.
Time allocation: The blog 5:01
Watching movies 3:41
Mundane activities 3:21
A new job 1:02
Angles and Circles 0:52
Revisiting some old songs of mine 0:38
I'll sleep here. It's a good place to be.
Notes: I started a new, exploration-focused blog post. (The five hours were mainly spent reflecting, and a half hour of it was done while walking around outside.) I watched Singin' in the Rain for the first time, and Toy Story 3 for the second. I had to fight Inkscape a bit, but only because I didn't understand what I was trying to do. I've figured it out now. I got a paying job to download computer files. There's no intelligence involved, though I'm hoping I can do it more efficiently than most. The deadline is a week from now, and it should take no more than ten hours total. It's a fine job.
Performance review: Interesting. The character seems to have a life of his own, exceeding his practical purpose. This is good.
Score: 9/10

26 January 2011

There's a major issue of Fantastic Four out today, where one of the characters is allegedly going to die. I expect the spoilers to be all over the web, so I need to read it now. (Thankfully, it's already on my computer.) But first I'd like to reread all of the writer (Jonathan Hickman)'s previous issues, because he's been building up this storyline really gradually and I want to see how it all works together.
Time allocation: Comics 5:47
Mundane activities 4:59
The job 3:19
Getting the money from the bank to repay my parents for the MIDI keyboard 0:27
TV 0:23
A phone call with my grandfather 0:18
I hate this job. I've very nearly maxed out on efficiency, but it doesn't matter- the system is just too slow to do the job on. The vast majority of the work is just waiting for the website to respond. I cannot abide waiting around. I wanted to work on Angles & Circles, but I have no energy left. If I can't get out of this job, or at least lessen the workload, the entire rest of the month will be ruined. I've already thrown out my plans for the next few days, because they can't work now.
Performance review: This is a really depressing story. If the job were rewarding, it could surpass the comics, it would be an interesting day, and I'd be close enough to completion of the job to move on to other things. But as the day stands, the day is entirely passive and has five hours of mundane activities. That is a low-scoring day, no matter how you slice it. I should not have agreed to this job, and now that I have I have to deal with the consequences. Incidentally, the average for the month is now precisely 7/10. The next few days are going to be extremely tricky, and it is recommended that no less than twenty minutes be used for planning out each day before it starts. (As always, planning time is not counted.)
Score: 1/10

27 January 2011

I'm getting out of this job. I'll finish up the section I'm doing, and then I'm moving on to other things. I just can't let money take over my life, I've got too much going on right now. I'm hoping to hang out with Moshe today. I'm also hoping to finish that devious SpaceChem level I'm stuck at. But the most important thing is the blog post. The blog post is awesome, and I'd like to have it done by the end of the month. (This might be unrealistic.)
Time allocation: The blog 4:20
Hanging out with Moshe (and composing!) 3:55
Mundane activities 3:19
SpaceChem 2:12
The job 1:12
Notes: I went to Moshe's house, mainly to help him with an arrangement he'd written for a musical theme I gave him. I finished the level in SpaceChem, and I finished up the section I was in in the job so that I wouldn't leave my employer in an awkward place now that I've quit.
Ah, that feels good. Everything's back in balance, now that I'm out. I'm doing wonderful things with the blog, I've got a really good friend, and I'm confident that the rest of the month will be awesome. On a side note, I can't get Moshe's music out of my head now. It was originally my composition, but he's done some really cool things with it that I wouldn't have thought of. In the first place the theme was a sort of gift for him, so it's gratifying to see how he's run with it.
Performance review: Nice recovery, and an interesting day.
Score: 9/10

28-29 January 2011

The days ahead will be very, very busy. I will be moving far, and accomplishing much. But today, I will simply wander around the worlds I can reach without leaving this room.
Time allocation: Going out to dinner with the family for Miriam's birthday 3:56
Mundane activities 2:31
Bully 0:50
Myst 0:43
Endless Ocean 0:30
Chibi Robo 0:20
A short film 0:19
The Legend of Zelda 0:16
Metroid Prime 0:16
Angles and Circles 0:11
I'm turning in early, to be up for tomorrow's data entry job in Jerusalem.
Notes: Total exploration: 2:55.
Performance review: It's a cute little mini-version of the character I've been playing, to fill up a particularly short day. There are two problems here. First, mundane activities is under 3 hours but that's not saying much for a day which in total is under 10 hours. Secondly (and connected to the first), Angles & Circles should not be on the bottom of the list. It's not respectable, and given how short most of the games were it would have been extremely easy to get it into the second-place slot. Still, it's a well-conceived tiny day.
Score: 8/10

30 January 2011

An entire day of data entry. With no sarcasm intended, this should be fun.
Time allocation: Going to an office, doing work. 11:00
TV 3:33
Mundane activities 2:47
Comics 1:51
Notes: The woman who I was doing data entry for a few years ago gave me a one-day job in her office, doing the same kind of work.
I had to mess with my sleep schedules for this, so I was at no point during the day completely awake. But I had enough energy to do the job well and enjoy it. The work was diverse enough to not get tedious, and I steadily got better at it from hour to hour. It's fun to pretend I'm a member of society, now and then.
Performance review: A fine one-off character. If he ever comes back, though, he'll need more distinctive subordinate activities. The character was turned off as soon as I stepped back in my house, and I think he could have sustained a whole day if he were less one-dimensional.
Score: 9/10

31 January 2011

Time allocation: The blog 4:20
Watching a movie 3:59
Mundane activities 2:53
Setting up my new MIDI keyboard 1:39
Recording a voice file 1:19
TV 1:07
Angles and Circles 1:05
The blog post is finally coming together. It's not close to being finished, though.
Notes: I watched "Gone With The Wind". I got my MIDI keyboard, but it might take a while to figure out how to use it on Linux. I was called about a job doing narration for a video clip, so I quickly started working out how to do narration and sent an audio file of myself. I very much doubt they'll want me, because they explicitly said they wanted someone with experience in this kind of work. But I gave it my best shot.
Performance review: I forgot to write an opening statement, which shows that the character is a little bit phoned in here. There's no exploring, which supposedly is this character's defining characteristic. And Angles & Circles is beat out by TV -there's no good reason for that to happen. It's a decent day, but it would behoove me to put a little bit more energy in.
Score: 7/10

January 2011

Average score: 7.22/10
The month in review: The month suffered from coming after Ruddigore, one of the best experiences of my life and a tough act to follow. At first I just jumped around a lot, trying to make each day distinct with some success. Before this routine could get old, I invented a new character which became the focus for the rest of the month, who in addition to watching movies and wandering around is working steadily on Angles & Circles. I can't say I was entirely successful in my goals from day to day, but the month as a whole is an excellent reflection of the version of me I proposed in "I Am...".
Verdict: LEVEL UP