02 May 2011

First activity: Going to a local play commemorating the Holocaust 1:42
Last month was so-so. This month will not be.
Time allocation: Dungeon Master 3:41
Mundane activities 3:04
Comics 1:46
Watching a local play 1:42
The blog 1:40
Reading 1:29
Game of Thrones 1:28
To present a cohesive character in isolated pieces, the direction needs to be strong. It will not do to let each character go off in his own direction: each character must have a clearly-defined role within the larger story.

Here, in a nutshell, is how the month will play out. One by one, characters will introduce themselves and their pet projects. These are acts of creation which will take place not because they must, but because we genuinely want to make them. The characters will alternate, and pass their projects off to the worker and the addict, who will continue the work. The person will be inserted if and when unhappiness sets in, to improve my mood and get us back to our interests without missing a beat.

Here is what each character intends to do this month:
  • The thinker (That's me.) will collaborate with Coren on the YouTube series Dungeon Master, and direct the blog away from its preconceptions about structure. Today I came up with some rough ideas for making the blog feel less linear, and Coren and I wrote the script for Dungeon Master's first five-minute episode (of a planned fifteen).
  • The gamer is eager to analyze The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for his new project, "Living in Hyrule". This is something he has been planning for a very long time.
  • The explorer is excited to continue designing Angles & Circles, because it keeps presenting new opportunities and feelings beyond its original conception.
  • The musician is curious to see where his choral composition will go.
  • The programmer plans to program a rename function for use in comics, and is ready to be called upon by the thinker to sort out whatever technical challenges the blog's new format (whatever that is) will present. If Kyler sends any Gamer Mom artwork, he will of course prioritize that game's development.
Those five characters are responsible for generating bursts of creativity. Once multiple projects have been introduced for the month, the worker will keep them all going even as new projects get added. If any of the five "seed characters" thinks his projects are being neglected, he may call the addict to support his creation free of distractions.
Notes: The play's script was good, but one of the actors gave an over-the-top performance that killed whatever drama it should have had.
Performance review: A serious amount of thought went into this plan.
Score: 10/10

03 May 2011

First activity: Wii Fit 0:33
My aims for the day:
  • Playing the first three minutes of Ocarina of Time
  • Playing the first few minutes of The Legend of Zelda
  • Playing the first few minutes of Twilight Princess
  • Playing the first few minutes of A Link to the Past
  • Writing the first chapter of Living in Hyrule
Time allocation: The Zelda series (and "Living in Hyrule") 4:51
Games night 3:23
Mundane activities 2:55
Fluidity 0:58
Wii Fit 0:33
Fluidity is a platformer where you play as water. Very fun. A Link to the Past is a more ambitious game than I tend to give it credit for, though I don't care for the plot at all and find it too linear. At games night we played 7 Wonders, which is basically a solitaire game except that occasionally you have some contact with the players sitting immediately next to you. It was entertaining, but I'm not sure I like the idea of a multiplayer game that's so antisocial. And now I must get to bed, because my plans have been somewhat derailed by finding out about data-entry work at the last minute. That is to say, I need to get to bed because I need to be up early. The derailed plans are why I'm still awake now even though I should have been in bed an hour ago. There's just so much to do.
Performance review: I've written three paragraphs of Living in Hyrule. Considering how many things I need to set up here, that's not bad. But still, if I'd had a few more hours I would have gotten much farther. Not a huge amount of progress, then.
Score: 5/10

04-05 May 2011

First activity (Wed.): Data entry 7:24
First activity (Thu.): Browsing the web 0:23
I'm going to try to take a nap now, because I only got around 4 hours of sleep last night. (It's not easy to break a sleep schedule temporarily! ) I don't know whether I'll be able to sleep, and if so for how long, so I can't plan for specific times. Instead, I'll set exactly how long I'll be spending on each activity. As soon as I wake up, I'll work on the blog for 1 hour and 35 minutes. I will specifically be focusing on establishing my own presence, to not be drowned out by the more colorful personalities. Then I'll watch TV for 5 hours and 25 minutes. That will be followed by 3 hours of Living In Hyrule, interrupted in the middle if it's already 3:00 and continued the next day. Another 1 hour and 40 minutes for the blog, precisely 2 hours of comics, 15 minutes in order to get into the mindset of the explorer (who's up next), and score.

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Data entry 7:24
TV 5:04
Mundane activities 5:02
The blog 3:17
"Living in Hyrule" 3:13
Comics 3:00
Composing 0:08
I made some decent money. I wrote a blog post, and got farther with the first chapter of Living in Hyrule. I burned another comics disc.

There were a lot of mistakes and losses of control. First off, I said two hours of comics. Not three. Second, what's with all the web access? How many times do I need to repeat myself: the web is off-limits to the worker unless there is a practical need for it! After napping for two hours, I felt rested enough that I couldn't fall asleep at 3:00. Instead of working on Living in Hyrule like I'd decided, I browsed the web for an hour and then read comics. When I woke up, instead of starting with LiH I wasted time and only noticed what I was doing after 23 minutes, too late to declare a different first activity. At the end of the day, I wasted time on the piano instead of getting ready for the explorer and scoring. I have no excuse for most of these: I wasn't good enough.
Performance review: The plan is good. Ten points for that. But I didn't follow the plan closely enough. If I'd kept my focus, I would have been done four hours ago and ready to move on.
Score: 6/10

05-06 May 2011

First activity (Thu.): Watching the movie "Ed Wood" 2:35
First activity (Fri.): Playing piano 0:04
What goes at the top of Angles & Circles?
Time allocation: Angles and Circles 3:06
Watching a movie 2:35
Mundane activities 2:29
Comics 1:07
Piano 0:04
The angles are on the right side, and the circles are on the left side, and the angles really want to get to the left even though there's really not much there. It's more like they're these agents of chaos who just need to spread out and make the world messy. And the circles are perfect and stoic and they just sit there while the angles rush past. So what's going on at the top is that the angles are all moving together in the same direction, but as they get into tighter areas they start going in every which way and lose all their organization and are just knocking into each other and making progress difficult. And then when you get past there, it's just a big enclosed area that the angles have gotten into, and there's no rhyme or reason to any of it. It is really ugly, because that's the nature of angles once they get to where they're going.

I've been adding in secret passageways all over again, and I have no clue how this is going to be programmed but thankfully that's not my problem. It's just so much fun to scribble secret passageways all over the place! It's like doodling on pieces of paper back in school. And some of these areas are things that people will just zoom past without thinking about it, but then later they'll find the passage from the other side and suddenly they'll know that part of the world better, you know? I love secrets because when you find one that little piece of the world becomes yours.

Have I mentioned I love working on this thing?
Performance review: I'm not sure I understand what that closing statement was about, but it's pretty clear the day was a success. Mundane activities are more than a quarter of the day, because the first half of the day was slow, but I got more enthusiasm when I brought in Angles & Circles.
Score: 9/10

07 May 2011

First activity: The blog 0:55
I have a note here saying to fix sd. sd is the shell script that I use to enter my opening statements into the terminal. (It stands for "start day".) I'm supposed to be able to easily consult this opening statement throughout the day, before it's automatically transferred to UltraEdit for the performance review. That all works, except for the "easily" part. When I look at the opening statement I see the HTML tags as text instead of as HTML. That's what needs to be fixed. I'm thinking I'll have the shell script make a copy of the file, which has a little bit of HTML code added so it's clear to the desktop widget that it's a web page rather than a text file.

That shouldn't be difficult at all. Thankfully, there are a bunch of other challenges I can deal with today, including some blog stuff and working out the numbers and details of my D&D character.
Time allocation: Professor Layton and the Curious Village 2:38
Mundane activities 1:31
"sd" 1:30
Working on my D&D character 1:09
The blog 0:55
Once I started thinking about how the opening statement would be displayed on my desktop, I got a bit carried away. The initial task was a simple one, complicated by a stupid mistake of mine that I took a while to catch. But then I found that with the way my desktop was set up, it wasn't adequately presented to be readable during the day. And the other elements of the desktop were hard to move around without changing the design of my desktop because my control over the widgets' colors are limited and that effects readability. So I moved everything around to their ideal positions, and adjusted the new version of sd to output an HTML file that would look good in its new location. At some point I want to make the script more sophisticated, to list the rules for each character as I decide to play them.
Notes: I got together with Harel because I thought I needed to finish my D&D character sheet by a game tomorrow. But it turns out there is no game tomorrow, and Harel will be available all day tomorrow anyway so there was no need to bother him (and his wife) at night. It was a mistake. Professor Layton gave me some really devious puzzles, including one that I gave up on after a while of thinking about it. It turned out the puzzle did make sense, but that sense was based on a visual detail that I would likely never have noticed.
Performance review: Well, there's a lack of social sense, but that goes with the character. The shell script didn't challenge me much, but I'd say the DS game did.
Score: 7/10

08-09 May 2011

First activity (Sun.): TV 1:14
First activity (Mon.): TV 1:48
I'm going to meet up with Harel now and take as long as it takes to finish my Dungeons & Dragons character sheet. (I'll have the thinker work out how to play her tomorrow.)
Immediately after that, I'll finish and publish the first chapter of Living in Hyrule. Again, I don't know exactly how long it'll take.
Getting more specific: 2:30 of Angles and Circles.
Then comics and TV for the rest of the day.

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Living In Hyrule 6:57
TV 6:55
Mundane activities 4:22
Dungeons & Dragons 1:11
Comics 0:36
A phone call 0:17
Well, I got the chapter up. It took way longer than I thought (I needed to rewrite most of what I had.), and in the end I ran into technical problems that I'm not capable of handling, but it's up. And on its own page (as opposed to the blog), it looks fine. Harel and I finished the character sheet for Len, my Dungeons & Dragons character.

Because the Zelda thing took so much longer than I estimated, I was burnt out by the end of it and just wanted to watch TV. So I did, and then I kept watching, and didn't get to anything else.
Performance review: Well, live and learn. The times need to be very specific. No open-endedness. With D&D it was fine because that actually didn't take very long. But LiH and TV were open-ended, and they got out of control. That's unacceptable: I'm the worker, not the addict. So with the dangerously vague planning, I think the plan only merits a potential 7/10. And then I got far off the plan, so let's call it a four.
Score: 4/10

09 May 2011

First activity: Reading 2:10
We're still making our little baby steps, it seems. The month's plan is ambitious, but all of us are making mistakes because we just don't know better yet. We've started passing notes to each other, but it's still hard to compartmentalize thoughts. It's hard to see something another character might want to do and say "Oh, I bet he'd like that." rather than "I'd like that!". You know, we've been living an entire life as one person, and now suddenly we're separated and I don't know deep down yet where I end and someone else begins. This is a matter of practice.
Time allocation: Reading 2:49
D&D planning 2:40
Mundane activities 1:18
Playing a recent Christine Love game 0:51
Watching videos on the Escapist gaming site 0:21
My Dungeons & Dragon character, which hopefully I will be playing with tomorrow evening, is a 23-year-old woman named Len. For years she's been the leader of a tightly-knit group of fighters, but there's been a falling-out between them and now she finds herself on her own. Or she might as well be on her own, because she's joined a team that's constantly bickering and isn't very impressive compared to who she's used to working with. Her entire sense of purpose in life came from her old team, and now that she's separated from them she's lost and confused. She can't make up her mind whether she's too good for these people, or not good enough for them to tolerate her existence, or if this is exactly the team she deserves for her weaknesses. This will be a fun character to play.
Performance review: Interesting. I like the way it ties in with what I've been going through, emotionally. It's always easiest to act when you can find a way in.
Score: 8/10

10-11 May 2011

First activity (Tue.): E-mail 0:06
First activity (Wed.): D&D e-mail 1:55
I'm going out with my family for Independence Day. No idea what we'll be doing. Later there's a D&D game. Gotta run now.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 8:18
D&D 7:08
A family outing 6:54
Comics 3:06
Playing the recent Christine Love game 2:54
TV 2:50
E-mail 0:59
My D&D character is awesome. Not just the statistics, but the whole story and character arc she's on, which got much more intense in this session. Tomorrow, the blog.
Performance review: I don't even know which character this is supposed to be, so it comes down to the question of whether I think this adds something to the month. And yeah, it does: the role-playing was very creative. Otherwise, a waste of 48 hours. I give one point for the D&D, and then take that point away for mundanity that went slightly over the limit.
Score: 0/10

12 May 2011

First activity: The blog 0:52
Time allocation: The blog 7:41
E-mail 1:38
Mundane activities 0:34
If I can pull off what I'm planning, this blog will finally become the coherent world that I've always wanted it to be. I've worked it out in broad strokes - it is doable. But it's going to take many programmer days. The idea, in a nutshell, is to stop trying to fit all ideas into the same blog format. Some ideas just aren't that complicated, but are still worth writing. So there will be different kinds of posts for different kinds of thoughts, with their own structures. In order to do this right, I'd need to set up a whole publishing system on the server's side. But I don't know anything about that kind of publishing. So the question that needs to be answered before moving on is whether what I'm proposing is possible and practical with nothing but iFrames, Javascript, UltraEdit and ingenuity. I suspect the answer is yes. My god this is going to be awesome.
Notes: I kept thinking about the blog even as I ate, to keep mundane activities down.
Performance review: Very nice focus. I just wish I could see some results, but I guess I'll have to be patient. I'm taking off a point for the lack of an opening statement.
Score: 6/10

12-14 May 2011

First activity (Thu.): Watching the movie "Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench" 1:37
First activity (Fri.): Piano 0:06
First activity (Sat.): Watching Kenneth Branagh's movie "The Magic Flute"
Creativity is a kind of hard work. Those who are unwilling to do hard work can never be particularly creative.
Time allocation: Music 15:08
Mundane activities 2:36
I started the day trying to continue my Eshet Chayil choral piece. But it was too lyrical to work. The rhythm of this poem is entirely random and clumsy, and the more I tried to fit the words the more unhappy I was with the tune. So I started over, with a floatier kind of new-age sound. I'm simply not skilled enough at classical composition to write an Eshet Chayil, but I might be able to handle a more modern version.

Then I started playing with my MIDI keyboard and the voices I've downloaded, experimenting with harmonies of different instruments. I did an arrangement of my variation on Zelda's Lullaby (with flute, strings, piano and pan flute) which I think is fantastic, and two other improvisations which have great aesthetics but don't go in directions I'm happy with. (One was based on the Dark World theme from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with strings and a viola solo, and the other was based on the "work in progress" with strings and a music box.) I'll have to put all three on the blog. I find that improvising along with myself gets very messy very quickly, and I'm starting to wonder if I was never as good at piano duets as I thought. I have a tendency to get lost and repeat some banal phrase over and over to get out. I also have a sort of stop-start-stop-start way of improvising, where I keep finding that I have nothing to say. I think it'll work better if I can keep two voices going for an entire piece, as I did with Zelda's Lullaby. But that is so tremendously difficult.
Performance review: May I say first of all, bravo on the improvisations. It's amateurish, but it's a kind of amateurish we've never done before, and that's awesome. Also, I know the Dark World thing isn't well-constructed, but I really like the way the tremolo strings sound as a constant bass. It's an interesting sound.
Score: 9/10

15 May 2011

First activity: Watching the latest episode of Doctor Who 0:52
Angles & Circles (focusing on the bottom of the world) until 8:30.
From 8:30 to 10:45, CSS work for the blog.
Until midnight, figure out what I'm going to do with my recent musical experiments and if I want to I'll make another one. This does not continue even one minute past midnight!
Comics for one hour.
TV (including "Parks and Recreation", "Community", "Doctor Who Confidential" and "At The Movies", but nothing else) which will not go past 3:30.
At 3:30 sharp, I score the day. And then bed without delay.

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Angles and Circles 3:39
TV 3:08
Mundane activities 2:33
The blog 2:24
Music 1:10
Comics 0:49
I fixed up one of the Zelda variations. I started recording another one, using an electric guitar voice this time (I know, not my usual style.), but I couldn't find any instruments that weren't either overpowered by the guitar, or obnoxious. (I'm looking at you, accordion.) I have not yet tried every instrument I've downloaded on this theme, so there's more experimentation to be done.

I designed the nine category buttons for the top of my blog. I expect to introduce them gradually. But before I do, I'll need to find a way to make it fit a 1024x768 resolution. I'm using too much space for the interface. I'm going to need to be clever here if I hope to maintain readability without getting the blog cluttered. A job for the programmer, perhaps.

I drew the bottom of Angles & Circles similarly to how I'd planned it. It didn't work, so I erased that and started again with a different approach. It still didn't work, so I tried yet another approach. This third approach did not work. There is a specific feeling which needs to be conveyed here, which I lack the poetry to describe right now, and I have no idea how to get there. After my three failures, I switched to another part of the game's bottom, and made some small progress with the time I had left.

Due to the frustration, I was unable to immediately proceed with A&C after the second attempt. I therefore watched one TV show (Community), had dinner, played piano for a few minutes (not listed) and got back to the game. I replanned the schedule, shifting activities forward. That time I wasted ate into the comics as well as A&C, but I was done by 3:30 as planned.
Performance review: I'm not sure it was a good idea being so stubborn about the game. The explorer is better suited to deal with such a problem. Still, the stubborn approach is part of the appeal of the worker. Lots of determination, and no more understanding than is necessary.
Score: 8/10

16 May 2011

First activity:
I did good work yesterday, but it was all left open-ended. I barely started on A&C. Likewise with the CSS and improv. And I still have a huge list of TV shows to watch. More of the same, then.

I'll start with Wii Fit. The idea was to play it every day, off the schedule, but that hasn't been happening. So Wii Fit until 2:30.
Then lunch.
At 2:50, I'll get back to my Zelda variations. I'll stop at 5:30 regardless of how much I've finished.
Blog work until 10:35, with a break of no longer than 20 minutes for dinner. I'll publish whatever music I have to publish, and continue the CSS work.
Angles and Circles until 11:20.
TV. There's a lot to watch; in fact I might need another worker some time this week to get through it all. I stop by 3:30 AM no matter what. If I'm in the middle of an episode, I stop in the middle. I'll continue in a few days, so don't worry about it.

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: The blog 4:43
TV 3:46
Music 2:37
Mundane activities 2:34
Angles and Circles 0:13
Wii Fit 0:09
I finished a musical arrangement, and posted all three on the blog. I fixed the blog's category buttons so they'll fit on a 1024x768 resolution. I made a tiny amount of progress on A&C.
Performance review: Good plan, problematic implementation. I got too addicted to my music, and the game suffered. The worker shouldn't second-guess the plan, ever. That's my job.
Score: 7/10

17 May 2011

First activity: E-mail 1:55
I'm going to play a bunch of WiiWare games.
Time allocation: Games night 4:42
Liight 2:47
E-mail 1:55
Fluidity 1:48
Mundane activities 0:56
You, Me and the Cubes 0:19
Liight is a good premise for a puzzle game. You have red, blue and green lights, and you need to place them and aim them so that colored circles all get the kind of (combined) light that their color represents. Since I play around with computer colors a lot, this is probably more intuitive for me than for the average gamer. The difficulty curve is so gradual that each level has one new idea in it, and as soon as you recognize this painfully simple new idea (on top of what you know already) you solve the puzzle. I played through a bunch of the levels in order, and got really frustrated because there simply wasn't any challenge. So I went back to the main menu, where there were four categories: easy, medium, hard and expert. Each of these difficulty levels began with five unlocked puzzles, presumably so that you can jump to the next puzzle if you get stuck. I tried a medium one, and it was still way too easy, so I switched to hard. Finally there was a mild challenge. Each puzzle took me a few minutes to figure out. I finished five of these, and was kicked back to the main menu. Why? Because apparently those five puzzles weren't really unlocked yet, they were just there to whet your appetite or something like that. Until you play every single puzzle in order from the first easy one all the way to there, you can't unlock the sixth hard level and beyond. What stupid design! I'll keep playing, because those hard levels were fun and the expert levels seem to actually present a significant challenge, but the developers seem to hate me. Why are they forcing me to play the toddlers' version of the game, after I've proven that I can handle the tougher stuff?

Fluidity is similarly locked off, but I don't mind because it's fun right from the start. It's a platformer where you play as a puddle of water. And yes, at first that is exactly as awkward as it sounds. You have to keep worrying about not losing individual drops of water! (Maybe I should be less obsessive about trying to keep my size.) But the first power-up you get is the ability to form a ball, which you can use in moderation (because if you hold the button too long, you explode) to keep all your droplets together. Later in the game, you can turn to ice, which is hard to control for different reasons. I think the ice is a lot more fun than the water, personally. It's challenging to slide around, but it never ceases to be entertaining. I expect there will eventually be a gas form as well. It's a very good game, with lots of creativity and lots of little moments that make me smile.

You, Me and the Cubes just sucks. It boggles the mind how anyone thought the premise was a strong enough idea to make a whole game out of it. You shoot little people onto abstract cubes, they try to stand straight, and the goal is to not tip the cube over. Every level is unlocked right from the start, but I jumped to a level in the middle and it didn't seem to have any more point to it.

All three games make excellent use of the Wii's motion controls.
Notes: The games are downloadable Wii programs.
Performance review: Two power-ups in Fluidity, around half of all the levels in Liight- it seems I haven't forgotten how to be a gamer, even though I'm out of practice.
Score: 9/10

18-19 May 2011

First activity (Wed.): Liight 0:55
First activity (Thu.): Returning to the Adventure Gamers forum 0:05
Time allocation: Mundane activities 8:28
Reading and collecting comics 5:48
Wandering around my old internet hangouts 5:30
Listening to podcasts about comics 4:49
Liight 0:55
The blog 0:48
TV 0:17
I didn't write an opening statement because I'd run out of momentum. A month built on creativity needs regular injections of new ideas; with everything out on the table already, my enthusiasm was drained. I extended this aimless day in order to turn it into a meditation on the aimlessness of modernity. I left my IM client on all day (No bites.), I posted on some blogs and sat around waiting for responses, I generally acted the way I always did five years ago. Thank god I'm not that person anymore!

My whole life used to be aimless. Isn't that a strange thought? I spent all my life waiting for things on the internet. Waiting for feedback, waiting for arguments, waiting for updates, waiting for new games, waiting for TV shows. My life has sped up, and in parallel the movements of the rest of the world seems not to matter as much. I don't read game reviews, or rush to get the new releases. Heck, I can't remember when the last time I legally bought a game was. All those people who I used to see day in, day out at the Adventure Gamers forum -- they're still there. They keep waiting for the next post, and as soon as that post comes it's the most important thing in the world to respond to it as soon as humanly possible.

Maybe it's a good thing I don't have comments sections everywhere on the blog. And maybe I should go further. Maybe I should stop paying so much attention to the pageviews. If someone comes, great. If not, no problem. I'll do the best job I can do, and the rest of the world isn't my concern. Maybe I shouldn't respond to e-mails immediately, even when it's a time-sensitive thing. Other people can wait a few days. I've got my own life now.

And there should never be a lack of momentum. I didn't follow the rule to always plan ahead. I didn't know where I'd be going tomorrow. But when you're not constantly looking for engagement from the outside, you need to be interesting yourself. I need to keep moving, and if I ever feel restless I've already messed up.

Yes, I acknowledge that I messed up. But with my focus back on myself where it belongs, I'm always going to know when I've messed up and I'll always be quick to correct. Tomorrow (and Saturday night) is the worker. Sunday is the explorer. Monday through Wednesday, I'll be addicted to the blog. (These ideas about the internet and waiting will make for a good interactive post.) On Thursday, I'll work. On Friday the 27th I'll be the musician. That leaves just three days left. One of them should be continuing a project or two, and the others should be just off-the-wall bizarre. I don't even care at this point whether I win the month, I just want to get as much out of this month as humanly possible. I never want to be Mory 1.0 again. He's a depressing character.
Performance review: Nice save. This does seem like a very useful thought, so normally I'd give a full 10 points. But I need to take two points off for the mundanity, and another one for watching a TV show I don't care about. (How I Met Your Mother. And after this episode, I never want to see it ever again.)
Score: 7/10

20-21 May 2011

First activity (Fri.): Comics 1:11
First activity (Sat.): TV 0:59
I'll keep the plan simple, because there's not a lot of time in the day. 4:20 of A&C, and up to 4 hours of TV. Then there's the question of whether there will be a D&D game, which prevents me from setting clearer start and end times. If there is a session, that'll take all the rest of the day (and likely eat into the TV-watching as well). If not, add three hours after Shabbat of CSS work.

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 6:19
TV 5:00
Comics 1:22
Going out to the Lag Ba'omer bonfire 0:25
I burned a comics disc.
Notes: There were some other activities, such as composing, which I didn't allocate time to properly.
Performance review: From start to finish, a disaster. Let's run through the list:
  1. The plan is too vague. Plans need to be minute by minute, not "and at some point maybe I'll get around to doing some of that".
  2. The plan is not ambitious enough. It was constructed around the amount of TV I wanted to watch, instead of how many things I needed to get done.
  3. I started the day with TV and comics, when I should have started by working. Entertainment is just how you relax at the end, it's not the substance of the day.
  4. Over Shabbat I did not get enough sleep, and was on the verge of collapsing the entire day. My first priority after Shabbat therefore needed to be taking a nap. Instead I ignored the problem.
  5. I did not even start working on Angles and Circles, let alone do 4:20 of it. I also was obligated to do three hours for the blog, since there was no D&D game.
  6. I browsed the web a lot. That is not acceptable activity!
  7. Mundane activity is almost half the day, and TV is at the top. This day was a hideous mess no matter how you look at it.
Score: 0/10

22 May 2010

First activity: Reading news 1:19
I had my own project planned, but I see from yesterday that the other personalities need me more. They don't seem to remember certain obvious things about how they're supposed to behave. My plan is to rewrite the shell script that starts the day, to give brief instructions to whichever character was chosen.
Time allocation: Professor Layton and the Curious Village 5:53
Mundane activities 1:56
Programming 1:27
News 1:19
A kippah 0:59
Liight 0:47
Notes: I completed Professor Layton. I reached the "expert" levels in Liight. My mother would like to make me a new kippah as a project to fill her free time with (since she doesn't know how to not be productive ever), so I went with her to a shop to pick out colors and then drew a grid of my internet avatar for her to follow.
I rewrote the shell script. Now the initial argument is the character rather than the opening statement, so that it can display some text before and after the opening statement to get me in the right frame of mind for whoever I'm playing. In terms of planning and programming, it was very simple. But I can't exactly "debug", because I'll only know if there are problems with the way it's worded over time. I was going to make a blog post out of the new script, but when I realized how close I was to the end of Professor Layton I finished that off instead.
Performance review: These puzzle games should be keeping my mind sharp. I'll need my wits to deal with tomorrow. I'm taking off a point for web browsing again.
Score: 8/10

23-25 May 2011

First activity (Mon.): Designing the index 1:18
First activity (Tue.): Fixing the index 0:21
First activity (Wed.): Redoing the post-title arrows 2:39
I said I'd live on my blog. "A person who lived on his blog", that's how this section began a year ago. The personality liberation of The Rules has allowed me to do that, to include every aspect of myself here while maintaining the character of the blog thus far. There are five projects to work on in the short term, each one coming from a different part of my personality:
  1. The design and system that will allow these new kinds of posts to thrive.
  2. A summary of what the sixth season of Doctor Who has accomplished thus far.
  3. An interactive meditation on the addictive qualities of the internet.
  4. A Javascript port of the shell script I use to start the day.
  5. The next chapter of "Living in Hyrule".
And of course there's plenty I've got planned beyond that but with these five things I've already got more than enough to fill a day. Today I live on the blog, because the blog has gotten big enough to live in!
Time allocation: Mundane activities 14:24
The new index 13:03
"start day" 6:06
"Living in Hyrule", chapter 2 5:19
The post-title arrows 2:39
The Doctor Who post 0:14
This has been long, but satisfying. I do love this blog, and I want to see it become the most awesome version of myself possible. But there's still so much to do. I haven't even started on the new performance review format (other than making room for it, and designing it on paper), I've barely touched the Doctor Who post, and I haven't started at all on the interactive story. I could keep going on this for a few days more, but I'll give the floor to someone else.
Notes: The total time for the "day" is 41:45. Much of the "mundane activities" revolved around the news of Netanyahu's speech to congress, which would count as a valid activity on most days but not today because I don't have any post planned on the topic.
Performance review: Very good.
Score: 10/10

26-29 May 2011

First activity (Thu.): Watching and thinking about Game of Thrones 2:40
First activity (Fri.): Discussing comic books 0:21
First activity (Sat.): Reading a comic book 0:13
First activity (Sun.): Considering Doctor Who 1:09
Yesterday was the first time I extended an addict for three full days. My subject was the blog, because there's just so much to do with it. In a sense this realization interrupts the month, because I was aiming to achieve a wide range of creative pursuits, and this makes the month necessarily more focused. But the two most pressing blog projects -a Doctor Who post and the performance review format- will actually allow me to diversify my creative efforts (in the context of the blog) in the future, because both contribute to getting away from the one-size-fits-all approach the blog has had since last year. I started out with guidelines to what blog posts deserve to exist: they needed to exceed the norm in length, scope and/or ambition, or I wouldn't even consider writing them. With the multiple personalities, I'm trying to shift the blog into a place more like where it started six years ago, where it lets all the different aspects of my personality coexist comfortably.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 10:58
Reading and discussing comics 10:13
The blog 7:03
Doctor Who 6:06
Game of Thrones 2:40
Fluidity 1:51
Thinking about a story idea 0:29
I got into a long discussion (Blogger's deleted the first few posts of it, from a little while back.) with a blogger who's been pushing for comics to have a clear emotional content in every scene. He calls this idea "Pop", by which I assume he means "good pop art". Now, exactly how this attitude meshes with him liking All-Star Superman, I have no idea. But it led to him very much disliking "The Mighty Thor #1", which is not a good story but could possibly be effective setup for one. (The story is going to be six issues long, as is the standard these days.) I argued for the merits of the current comic book status quo, because I'm a lot happier with where they stand today than he is (being from an older generation of comics readers who feel it was better in their day), and he immediately saw our respective philosophies as contradictory. But actually, what he's pushing for in comics is exactly what I'm always telling Moshe he should do in his prose: make sure that every scene has a point to it. Not necessarily a literal message, but some sort of reason for that scene to exist. The Mighty Thor #1 doesn't make it at all clear why its scenes need to be there, and so we both were in agreement that it's not a good comic.

But he was acting as though those who praised and recommended the book were misleading their readers, while I felt that those who trust Matt Fraction's writing were right to recommend this empty issue. And this made me realize a key part of the entertainment experience, for me: faith. Game of Thrones is fantastic not so much for what happens from moment to moment (because until the past few episodes, not much was happening), but for the promise of where it seems to be going. I see how tightly constructed the scripts are, and I have faith in the writers -based on that effort they've put in- that every single scene is setting up something better, even if it's not apparent this episode or even this season. And with Doctor Who, much of my enjoyment of this season has revolved around trying (and failing, as it now turns out) to figure out where it's going. I have faith in Stephen Moffat that even the weaker standalone episodes are all part of a grand plan which will reveal itself. So I'm willing to sit through episodes like the pirate episode earlier this season, in order to get to where he's taking us. And when I saw the first episode of the season, which made no sense at all yet, I was blown away by it where this blogger might have been frustrated.

Faith and patience, those are the attitudes of a modern fan toward his entertainment.
Notes: I wrote a blog post, though it's not formatted correctly yet. The subject of the post is the comic "Secret Avengers #13".
Performance review: Interesting thoughts, but I'm not convinced they needed a forty hour day.
Score: 6/10

30 May 2011

First activity: The blog 4:49
I'd like to start next month with the new performance review format, instead of continuing the same way and then having to transfer the whole thing in the middle. But at this moment, the performance review format only exists as a sketch on a piece of paper. This may be the most complicated thing I've ever done on the blog, in both CSS work and Javascript. Plus, I'll need to write an UltraEdit script to automate the updating process. And a slight tweak to the "sd" shell script, I think, in coordination with the UltraEdit changes. In principle, I know how this is going to work. But I'm having a hard time holding it all in my head at once.

If I finish this today (and that's a big if), then I've got the challenge of formatting my latest blog post. That'll be very similar to what I've done with Living In Hyrule. I do not intend to publish the post today.

And if I finish even that, my final challenge will be to modify this month's performance review post to accomodate the end-of-the-month meeting.
Time allocation: The blog 8:19
Mundane activities 2:11
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box 1:00
D&D e-mails 0:32
Done! The CSS looks awesome, the Javascript functions function, the UltraEdit automation (making use of a change in the shell script) is bug-free. That was quite enough for one day (so the comic review will wait). I'm ready and eager to switch over to the new system, which is like the old system but cooler.
Notes: I started the second Professor Layton game.
Performance review: It's interesting, how we've all become so obsessed with the blog. Definitely something for the thinker to think about. Myself, I think this was an excellent day with many challenges of many different kinds. I have earned my sleep.
Score: 10/10

31 May 2011

First activity: Listening to, and attempting to mimic, Cockney accents 0:55
I wonder what it is about Cockney accents that sound so weird.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 7:54
The blog 1:50
Accents 1:41
Watching the movie Megamind 1:39
Fluidity 1:36
Exploring the web 1:23
Rewatching Game of Thrones 0:54
Piano 0:43
I went looking for an archive of the old Zelda forums, but there isn't one. I bet all those posts I wrote are sitting on a hard drive somewhere in the Nintendo of America offices. I found all sorts of other things, like "online journals" which haven't been updated in ten years but are still online. There was one which looked like decent CSS work, but was done with tags and the like. Then I watched the movie Megamind, which is like Superman except from the villain's perspective and it's pretty surprising what happens in act 2. I really liked that, because I've always sympathized with supervillains. They completely changed the personality of Jimmy Olsen, though. I guess this way works too. In Fluidity it turns out the cloud isn't so boring after all, once you get to the big open areas with obstacles and things to blow around with gusts of wind. I found this wheel that wouldn't turn, and I didn't have the blowing ability yet so I turned back into water and just kept jumping at the wheel over and over until it turned. Each time I jumped, it turned just the tiniest bit, but after like five minutes of it it turned enough for there to open up a tiny crack to spill through. Awesome.
Notes: For the blog, I drew a vector graphic and decided on some colors. I did not succeed in producing a decent Cockney accent.
Performance review: Fun, and bizarre. The explorer has lots of character. But eight hours of mundanity, really? That's just ridiculous. There must have been something I was doing during that time that's worthy of note!
Score: 6/10

The average score for the month is 6.75/10. Commentary on the month will be done during the self-meeting.