01 February 2011

First activity: The blog 1:06
I'm having a blast writing this blog post, which I think is really distinctive. I'll see how far I can take it.
Time allocation: The blog 4:33
Games night 4:17
Mundane activities 3:15
Watching a TV show 1:48
Checking out a replacement TV set 0:25
I should not have watched TV. God, I'm an idiot.
Notes: I watched one episode after another of Parks & Recreation, and after each one I briefly said "I should work on Angles & Circles now." or "I should go to bed now.", before deciding that it wouldn't hurt to watch another.
Performance review: Not a very strong start to the month.
Score: 6/10

02 February 2011

First activity: Reading a blog post 0:12
I'm not feeling my best today, and the internet connection in the house is down right now. So I'm not going to spend the day getting the MIDI keyboard working in Linux, as much as I'd like to. I think I should play some games. Tomorrow I'll deal with the keyboard, and after that I'll go back to A&C.
Time allocation: Hanging out with Moshe 8:25
Watching TV 2:22
Playing the game Bully 1:33
Mundane activities 1:25
Composing 1:05
Man, Parks & Recreation is a good show. One of these days, I should just take a whole day to catch up on all of it.
Notes: Most of the time with Moshe was in Metroid Prime. It's so good to have someone else enjoy playing Metroid Prime. We also tried to set up the MIDI keyboard on my parents' computer, because it has Windows and can therefore run the software that came with it. We gave up- the software that came with it is crap.
Performance review: Okay, let's summarize. I declared that I was going to play games (plural), then immediately proceeded to do something that was not a game, eventually playing a game but not for as long as watching the very same TV show I said I shouldn't have watched yesterday. A vast majority of the day was passive, and while I started with little ambition I somehow ended up with even less. I have to turn this streak around, and fast. Tomorrow needs to be meticulously planned, and Parks and Recreation is off limits for a week.
Score: 3/10

03 February 2011

First activity: Trying to use the MIDI keyboard in Linux 0:26
There are a lot of things I want to get done, but I don't know whether or not they can be finished in one day. So I'm going to pretend I don't care whether or not they get done, and just do as much as I can in this limited amount of time. I'll give four hours to the MIDI keyboard, four hours to the blog, and I'd like to write a letter, which should take an hour or so.
Time allocation: Trying to use the MIDI keyboard in Linux 4:22
Mundane activities 3:40
The blog 3:26
Comics 3:07
Writing e-mail 0:17
I didn't finish the blog post, and I gave up (for now) on using the MIDI keyboard with my current operating system. But that's fine. I'll continue tomorrow, from different angles.
Performance review: I'm unimpressed. The activities are fine, but nothing here is new or fresh and too much time was wasted. Tomorrow, repeating these activities won't be enough. I want to see some creativity.
Score: 7/10

04-05 February 2011

First activity (Fri.): SpaceChem 1:15
First activity (Sat.): Browsing the web aimlessly 0:53
I live on a computer, and there's a lot to get done here.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 4:16
Watching TV 3:58
Getting the MIDI keyboard working 2:20
SpaceChem 1:15
Watching the movie Dumbo with Dena 1:03
This isn't me. I had so many plans, and I didn't get around to any of them because I was too busy watching Parks and Recreation. I don't get carried away like this. I promise I'll be better tomorrow.
Performance review: The activities are largely repeated, with passivity and addiction being highlights. Saturday began by breaking character. There's no coherence to the narrative. All around, not great. There was a lot of potential here, and it didn't come through.
Score: 3/10

06 February 2011

First activity: Recording the Ruddigore variations 2:07
I'm not messing around today. I'm going to record things with my MIDI keyboard, I'm going to finish the blog post, I'm going to start the programming for Angles & Circles, and I'm going to learn to use the advanced rename function in Linux.
Time allocation: The blog 2:59
Mundane activities 2:51
Recording the Ruddigore variations 2:07
Learning to use PERL regular expressions to rename files 2:05
Comics 1:45
SpaceChem 1:09
Watching TV 0:44
I didn't have the energy to do everything I'd planned in one day, so I fell back on TV and comics. That's fine- I'll finish the rest tomorrow. I do think I can finish up the blog post in one more day, if I really take it seriously. Actually, the most frustrating daunting thing I encountered today was a level of SpaceChem, whose challenges are humbling me. I'll keep at it.
Notes: I caught up on Parks and Recreation. I organized some comics. Here are the songs I recorded:
Battle's Roar (jazz version)
The Happy Ghost Song
In Bygone Days (extended)
You'll get more out of it if you're familiar with Ruddigore.
Performance review: Nice progress, a reasonable amount of focus and follow-through, and thank god there's no more Parks and Recreation (except on a weekly basis). Angles & Circles absolutely needs to come out tomorrow and make a huge splash- it still hasn't made any appearance this month!
Score: 8/10

07 February 2011

First activity: SpaceChem 2:10
I have three major concerns. First, I think I know how to solve that level in SpaceChem. So I'll get that out of the way right at the start. Secondly, I need to start programming Angles & Circles, to get to the point where I can actually play through what I'm making. (So far I've been relying on guesswork to tell me how it'll feel.) And third, that blog post needs to be finished, because I'm losing all my readers and I didn't have that many to begin with.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 3:21
The blog 2:59
TV 2:43
A movie 2:15
SpaceChem 2:10
Angles and Circles 1:04
E-mail 0:46
Mission accomplished, I guess. Except that my SpaceChem solution was below-average in efficiency, the blog post doesn't quite hold together, and the programming didn't go anywhere. Plus, I've somehow managed to get pulled into yet another TV show. This is becoming too much of a routine.
Performance review: Yawn. These activities just keep repeating, day after day. And there's never one activity that's focused on for longer than four hours. (Here's a hint: it'd be really nice if that activity were A&C.)
Score: 6/10

08 February 2011

First activity: Reading blogs 0:50
I've been neglecting my reading, lately. I'm in the middle of two books, several interesting blogs, and a lot of comics. I've also been neglecting the games night database. Between the two, I think I've got a day.
Time allocation: Games night 4:56
Mundane activities 1:51
Data entry 1:45
Reading 1:40
Hanging out with Moshe 1:31
Comics 1:26
The days are too short.
Performance review: Unimaginative, but certainly an improvement.
Score: 8/10

09 February 2011

First activity: Looking for comics 0:09
I'm going to see a play tonight. The rest I'll take as it comes.
Time allocation: Going to see the play The Skin of our Teeth 6:50
Mundane activities 3:23
Hanging out with Moshe 2:05
Comics 1:19
TV 1:14
The Skin of our Teeth was a revelation. It is so unbelievably dense with ideas, I felt like I was only scratching the surface of understanding it. And don't get me wrong, that surface level was consistently entertaining. But as soon as the show was over, I wanted to see the whole thing again. It's a pity it's a play, rather than a movie.
Performance review: So I saw a good play. Great. That's no excuse for not doing anything interesting with the rest of the day. "This doesn't make sense, but maybe it'll work out anyway." is not a valid strategy!
Score: 4/10

10 February 2011

First activity: Wii Fit 0:37
I've grown complacent. I need to remind myself what I'm capable of. A medley of creativity: writing, composing, programming.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 3:48
Angles and Circles 3:36
Hanging out with Harel 2:11
Thinking about a story idea 1:42
Messing around with the MIDI keyboard 1:41
Wii Fit 0:37
I am so tired. I was supposed to go to sleep an hour ago, so that tomorrow shouldn't be another day like today where I'm falling on my face. I wanted to use the MIDI keyboard to write some music, but I couldn't figure out how so I just improvised duets on it and reaffirmed that whatever my skills as a composer, I am a terrible pianist. I meant to start writing a story, but I couldn't figure out how so I said I'd settle for an outline but I couldn't manage that either. But Angles & Circles- that was satisfying. I have the test program at the point where I can put in angles and circles and it's already satisfying just moving around them. This game is going to be amazing.
Performance review: I had a detailed plan, and then I kept pushing it off and changing it because I was too tired. The end result is something which seems really empty, except for the programming. If I'm ever this tired, I should go immediately back to bed. Still, the day almost holds together on account of weirdness.
Score: 7/10

11-12 February 2011

First activity (Fri.): Wii Fit 0:18
First activity (Sat.): Comics 0:47
Angles & Circles, TV, comics.
Time allocation: TV 5:23
Comics 3:33
Mundane activities 2:51
Practicing the Torah reading for Shabbat 0:40
Wii Fit 0:18
I've had no ambitions lately beyond watching TV and reading comics, and obviously that's a problem. Perfectly good pursuits get interrupted (and even prevented) by the nagging question of "What happens next?". So I changed my plans a bit. I finished the first season of Breaking Bad (the latest show I've gotten addicted to), I completed the next comics disc, and now I have absolutely no excuse for ever touching comics or TV episodes in the coming week. (By "the coming week" I include Saturday night.) Angles & Circles wasn't present today, but it's just a slight postponement: that will be my entire focus tomorrow, with nothing left to distract me.
Performance review: No matter how you spin it, this isn't a good day. I'm not sure what the best way is to handle addictive shows -should I let them sit in the back of my mind, or get them over with as quickly as possible, or entirely avoid them?- but it is never justifiable to have TV at the very top of the list. Never. If I want to watch a lot of TV, I need to start the day with many hours of something I can respect more, so that TV won't pass it.
Score: 0/10

13 February 2011

First activity: Angles & Circles 0:57
I'm going to start moving around in my creation, see how it feels, and move forward accordingly. Here's where the real experience starts.
Time allocation: Angles and Circles 5:40
Mundane activities 3:57
Reading a blog 2:24
Watching a movie 1:46
Bully 1:39
Wii Fit 0:41
A phone call 0:04
Angles & Circles is turning out to be a lot more work than I expected, both technically and artistically. The game will be a static image that you move through, so I thought it would be more straightforward than my other work. But I'm finding that this abstract world is too big to fit into the memory all at once, so I'm going to need to build a system where it's broken into parts that load seamlessly. And artistically, I've realized that to do justice to this world, I need to rely on certain movement-game principles that I didn't plan to establish for another few years. But I can say in this moment, with absolute certainty, that this is worth whatever it takes. I've gotten to the point where the beginning of the game (in an incomplete but respectable form) is playable. I've run along the curves and knocked into angles and felt lost and it's like I'm a little kid again. I have the chance, here, to make something incredible. I intend to make the most of it.
Notes: The blog was "Too Busy Thinking About My Comics", on which I stayed up way too late past my bedtime reading a fascinating analysis of the original and modern styles of storytelling in the Avengers comics. I watched the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and enjoyed it more than I expected to. Bully is a game I started playing a long time back and never got into. I found the combat difficult to grasp, to the point where it seemed like the game was a shallow action game. Now that I've gotten back into it and have simplified my approach to the combat, I see that it's an urban metalude through and through. I've been enjoying it, and it satisfies the requirements of the explorer character by virtue of having a lot of exploration in it.
Performance review: Mundane activities are a little high, and perhaps I should have gone to bed two or three hours earlier, but this is a fine day of the type I've been lacking lately. I'd recommend sticking to this character most of the time, because with such low scores so far this month it's not a good time for risky improvisations.
Score: 9/10

14 February 2011

First activity: Wii Fit 0:33
The next step is to build up a code framework and a routine that will allow me to move forward swiftly.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 4:12
Bully 2:18
Angles and Circles 2:14
Composing 2:02
Writing a letter 1:27
Wii Fit 0:33
I haven't been this depressed in a long time. It seems that it can't be done. Angles & Circles can't be done, not the way I designed it. Or at least, it can't be done in BlitzMax. Theoretically it might be possible in some language I don't know.
Performance review: Other than the wasted time this is very good.
Score: 7/10

15 February 2011

First activity: Angles and Circles 0:45
It can be done. It's tricky, but it can be done. I'll need to learn something called "multithreading", and I'm going to need to change the way I deal with the images. But I've done the math and it's doable.
Time allocation: Games night 5:20
Mundane activities 3:43
E-mail 2:34
Composing 1:16
Angles and Circles 1:13
Helping set up our new used TV 0:25
I'm regretting my resolution to not read comics or watch TV this week. Toward the end of the day I had lots of TV shows to watch, and lots of time to kill, and not enough energy to go do anything else, so I've just been sitting around doing nothing.
Notes: I continued a correspondence with Aviella, and tried to participate in a local Dungeons & Dragons game that proceeds via e-mail when they can't get together. This took a very long time because my limited Hebrew made reading the letters a slow process. I didn't actually get anything done in Angles & Circles, but I considered the problem and have arrived at what seems to be the most sensible solution. I still don't understand the details of how this will be done, but in broad strokes I'm convinced this is something I'm capable of.
Performance review: If I didn't have any energy, then to bed! I need an average of 8.5 from the rest of the month, so I expect the days to aim higher and I expect for every little decision like this to have more rational thought behind it. No complacency.
Score: 6/10

16 February 2011

First activity: Calling Moshe over 0:01
Some social contact will be nice.
Time allocation: Hanging out with Moshe 10:41
Comics 1:50
Composing 1:25
Mundane activities 0:53
It's great to have someone in my life who I can explore Tallon IV with.
Notes: We played Metroid Prime and Phoenix Wright.
Performance review: Well, it's different. Different is good. And clearly there's a strong focus. I'll give it an 8.
Score: 8/10

17 February 2011

First activity: Aimlessly browsing the web 1:29
I'm going to write the code to figure out which parts of the Angles & Circles map need to be loaded and discarded.
Time allocation: Angles and Circles 4:04
TV 3:05
Mundane activities 2:45
Composing 1:10
Comics 1:10
I don't know why I was so intimidated by this programming. It's just like a level of SpaceChem, really. I've finished solving one part of the puzzle -the algorithm for handling the parts of the map that will be loaded and discarded- and now I need to figure out the other half, which is multithreading, and then I can put it all together, fix the glitches and move on. There are only two major differences between SpaceChem and actual programming, from an experiential perspective:
  1. This is much more complicated.
  2. There's no assurance here that a solution is possible.
But that second distinction doesn't really hold, if I can keep up the rationality I held to today. I started out wanting to just hide in my routines, but the programming turned out to not be bad at all!
Performance review: The beginning is clumsy. A more appropriate beginning would have been SpaceChem, or the technical blog work I've been putting off. (Starting with the serious programming would not have been ideal, because I'd need to interrupt it for lunch.) I see the "no TV, no comics" thing has been thrown aside, which means there's a little bit of split-personality going on here. I don't want to encourage that sort of thinking, and end up with another "I vs. I"! Each day must have good characterization, and despite the significant accomplishments that's just not the case today.
Score: 6/10

18-19 February 2011

First activity (Fri.): E-mail 0:17
First activity (Sat.): Dinner 0:13
BlitzMax, TV, and (I believe) a D&D game later.
Time allocation: Dungeons & Dragons 5:57
Mundane activities 3:24
TV 3:05
E-mail 2:00
Notes: I needed to read through a lot of e-mail written in Hebrew to catch up to the game. I wasn't really ready when I played, didn't play well, and ended up having my character explode on his first session.
I didn't have the time for BlitzMax today.
Performance review: 3:24 of mundane activities says otherwise.
Score: 5/10

20 February 2011

First activity: Skimming through a blog post 0:12
Forget it, I've already pretty much lost the month. Let's just enjoy what's left.
Time allocation: TV 6:31
Mundane activities 3:21
Lilt Line 1:03
I could have enjoyed that more
Performance review: Sigh. What can I say? I knew exactly what was wrong with this day (TV should never be the focus) as I was planning it out, and I did it anyway. It's now impossible to win the month, but I'm going to keep going anyway to see if I can get the average to a slightly more respectable range. (It's currently 5.47/10.)
Score: 0/10

21 February 2011

First activity: SpaceChem 3:17
This month so far has presented a person who is lazy, passive and driven by routines. I do not like this person, and I know I can do better. So for my 23rd birthday, I'm going to prove that there's more a lot more going on in my life than a bunch of TV shows.
Time allocation: Learning multithreading in BlitzMax 4:27
SpaceChem 3:24
Mundane activities 1:29
Donkey Kong (Game Boy) 1:21
IM chat with Benjy 0:47
Wii Fit 0:27
It seems from the code like the test program I made should avoid crashing, and yet it's crashing anyway. Par for the course. Still, there's no denying I've made significant progress.
Performance review: A puzzle solver! Exactly what was needed at this stage in the game.
Score: 9/10

Note: I went to sleep very late on the 22nd and didn't review myself. I just realized (around 3:45 AM on March 1st) that it was missing, so I filled in what I had in my notes -times and a closing statement, and am reviewing it retroactively. I have unfortunately lost the opening statement I wrote, so I'm leaving that field blank. But I imagine what I wrote was something to the effect of having more data entry work in Jerusalem, and that I was looking forward to it.

22 February 2011

First activity: Getting ready 0:25
Time allocation: Work 9:59
Games night 4:57
TV 3:42
Mundane activities 1:19
This is fine. The work was good, I can unwind with TV, it's all good.
Performance review: High energy.
Score: 9/10

23 February 2011

First activity: Browsing the web aimlessly 2:08
Time allocation: TV 8:03
Mundane activities 3:18
Comics 2:04
Notes: I finished the second season of Breaking Bad, which it's fair to say I've gotten addicted to. I started Community, which it's likely I will get addicted to.
Performance review: Why am I still capable of having days that would have failed Level 1?!
Score: 0/10

24 February 2011

First activity: Wii Fit 0:49
It's become evident that I need to rethink my life. That's my main project for today. I'd also like to burn at least two more comics CDs, because I've got a lot of issues lying around.
Time allocation: Comics 4:58
Mundane activities 3:09
Planning for the blog 2:18
Proposing a character to play in Dungeons & Dragons, via e-mail 0:55
Wii Fit 0:49
TV 0:29
Reading 0:07
I've got the next few months of the blog (and by extension, my life) planned out in broad strokes. I think this will give me a new sense of momentum. I burned two comics discs -not quite ready for more than that, yet.
Performance review: Very good.
Score: 9/10

25-26 February 2011

First activity (Fri.): Better learning the rules for Clue: The Great Museum Caper 1:36
First activity (Sat.): Setting up the board for Clue: The Great Museum Caper 0:18
I've always wanted to play a few games with my family, and now finally I can. For my birthday, everyone's coming home for a few hours to play games with me, of my choosing. Believe it or not, my mother suggested it. In previous years I tried to arrange things like this with my family and it never worked, but now that my sisters live in Jerusalem they've got more of an incentive to play games in Beit Shemesh than they did when they lived here. (This doesn't make any sense to me, but Dena has assured me that it makes sense to her.) I've chosen board games, because I'm not aware of any good five-player videogames. The games are Clue: The Great Museum Caper, Shadows Over Camelot, and Robo Rally.
Time allocation: My family game night 3:59
Mundane activities 3:49
Watching TV, then discussing it online 2:54
Preparing for my family game night 1:54
Reading 0:41
Comics 0:35
My father was very competitive, and lost his temper at one point but only because he really was taking the games seriously. My mother was playing along, and when my father lost his temper she said "It's only a game!" but only because she couldn't quite wrap her mind around that game. She kept saying: "How does someone wake up in the morning and come up with something like this?", because these experiences were so radically different to anything she's done in her life. Dena was great. In each game she picked up the rules quickly and executed them well. With all her efforts aimed at socially-acceptable things like fashion and cooking and work, I tend to overlook her considerable capabilities. Miriam was bored before we even started, as always. But then she changed her mind, and decided that she might be able to get some fun out of it after all. These games stretched her far past her usual character, and she was often frustrated.
Notes: After watching the latest Fringe, I wrote a very long comment on a review site I frequent. One activity which is not counted (but in hindsight should have been) is writing a letter to Avri (who I borrowed two of the games from) letting him know how well the evening went. If you come back tomorrow, I hope I'll have a blog post about the games to show you.
Performance review: This is a milestone, following as it does years of somber "My family" posts. It also fits quite well into one of the seven formulas I've come up with for acceptable characterization.
Score: 10/10

27 February 2011

First activity: Getting ready for the day 1:06
Time allocation: More data entry work in Jerusalem 4:20
TV 4:07
The blog 4:02
Mundane activities 3:02
I finished the data entry work very quickly. The blog post serves its purpose.
Performance review: I really shouldn't have forgotten to write the opening statement. Still, from the focus I can tell that I had the intended opening statement in mind all day, so no harm done. This is a straightforward day, balancing getting things done simply with relaxing through TV episodes.
Score: 9/10

28 February 2011

First activity: Trying to download a video of the Academy Awards show 0:06
I'm going to figure out what the problem is with my game.
Time allocation: TV 10:11
Mundane activities 6:26
Notes: I caught up on Breaking Bad, and watched many episodes of Community. I did not do anything programming-related.
Performance review: I'm deeply ashamed. This person does not deserve to exist. I do not deserve to exist. It's no wonder the past few blog posts have sucked, when this is the person writing them!
Score: 0/10

February 2011

Average score: 5.79/10
The month in review: The focus of the month was watching TV. Seriously, only eight days did not have TV shows in them. That's kind of sad. There's very little in the way of accomplishments. I got the MIDI keyboard working, and then seemed to forget about its existence. Getting to move around in Angles & Circles gave a boost in my enthusiasm for the project, but that wore off quickly when I realized how much technical work there'd be before getting to work on the world properly. The explorer character I set up last month was absent here, and there really isn't anything interesting here to replace him. This is the sort of behavior I'd expect for the 1.0 version of me, and I'm very disappointed to see I'm still acting like this. But more than disappointment, I am resolved to not let this happen again. March will have a lot more planning, and a lot less addiction.
Verdict: TRY AGAIN