Average score:

Now forget
what you've learned.

We're going to start with just the worker and the addict. The worker will keep going until it seems like he could comfortably keep going indefinitely. (That's when I'll know he's actually internalized his rules.) Then we'll move on to the thinker, and then the explorer, and so on. One character at a time, given enough time to get it right. For this month, the rule that you may not repeat a low-scoring character does not apply.
First activities (Sun.): Practicing the ocarina in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 0:15
Exploring Kakariko Village more carefully 0:15
Participating in the Vintage Game Club's discussion of Ocarina of Time 0:15
Living in Hyrule 0:06
First activity (Mon.): More ocarina practice 0:37
How is it that after all these years, Ocarina of Time can keep surprising me? In the community playthrough, a bunch of people said that they got the heart container in Kakariko Village by flying. Now, I had absolutely no idea that was possible. I'd never even considered it. Later on in the game they just drop you at the spot with the heart container, and it's not immediately obvious that it's there but it doesn't take any skill to get it. Now I realize that there's a whole obstacle course right in the middle of the village, which I've never seen the point in, but which is there entirely to let more skilled players fly there manually. It's ridiculously awkward to get there - I've tried a few times, and haven't made it yet. But it's unquestionably doable, and it's obvious to me that the game was designed specifically to make it doable. If you're a really hardcore player, you do that as soon as you see the obstacle course, and don't need the easier method later. If you're not willing to push the controls to their limits, the game gives you another way. They took into account all the different kinds of players, and didn't care that some of the content wouldn't even be noticed by many players. Studying Ocarina of Time is like a master course in game design.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 6:15
Living in Hyrule 4:09
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 4:04
Gamer Mom 3:11
The Vintage Game Club's discussion of Ocarina of Time 2:16
Zelda music 1:55
Virtual ocarina practice 1:22
Notes: Kyler sent me some images for Gamer Mom, and I sent back notes. I wrote as a person, not an addict.
The more I study OoT, the more I'm in awe. A bunch of things that I used to think were flaws are actually there by design, and the game's better for them. And where I do see inadequacies, it just inspires me to want to create things myself. A game can be better than Ocarina of Time. But I'd need to put everything I had and then some into it, and have a whole big team made of individuals willing to do the same.
Performance review: Very good, and I'm happy to see the multiple first activities idea is working out.
First activity: Removing some unneeded code from the blog 1:17
Angles and Circles until 7:00 (around three hours), then clean my room until 7:45 (with a break at some point of no longer than 20 minutes for dinner). I'll unwind with game night, and I won't stay past midnight. As soon as I get home, I'll score, set my alarm for 9:15, and go to bed.

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Games night 4:37
Angles and Circles 2:04
The blog 1:17
Mundane activities 1:10
Cleaning 0:14
I reduced the file size of the blog slightly. I filled in a small area of Angles & Circles by copying from the paper as directly as I could. I cleaned my room.

I paused in the middle of the game work to take a short nap, and after dinner (which was a little under 20 minutes) I must confess I browsed the web for ten minutes before cleaning, though I did do the job afterward. It was a moment of weakness.
Performance review: The plan is good, and the deviations are minor. You have to take more care to stay in character, though.
First activity: Data entry work in Jerusalem 9:08
Oy. Massive tiredness, due to lack of sleep, due to extreme heat. It's a good thing work's at the last stop of the bus route. There's a sizeable amount of work, so I shouldn't be home until 7:30-ish. After a quick dinner, I will take a nap without delay. When I wake up, a full hour of Angles and Circles (no weaseling your way out of it!), then comics/tv and score.

I'm not good enough. But today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Data entry work 9:08
Mundane activities 2:28
TV 2:10
Comics 1:11
Angles and Circles 1:08
I did all the urgent work in an hour or maybe less. Then I entered the complete data for four patients, each one being somewhere around 80 pages. I'm still getting faster at it. I worked on a minor landmark in Angles & Circles, following the original sketch.
Notes: I watched the pilot of "Dexter". Interesting show.
Performance review: Pretty much the same story as yesterday: good work, but you have to stay in character. I should have stopped promptly at 3:00, and instead I've been up for an hour doing... what is it I've been doing, exactly? I think it was something on the web, but the details elude me. You should have more sense, really. Also, no exercise. You should care about such things. And even if you didn't, it's still a good idea.
Time allocation: Not much 29:59
Performance review: Oy. Well, it's not like I wasn't expecting this. Focus. Tomorrow, disconnect the computer from the internet. Then do stuff: a few hours on the game, practice your Hebrew, and start a comics post for me. What else... ah! Start writing out the notes for the musician - he'll appreciate that. I think that's plenty to fill a day with, don't you?
First activity: E-mail 0:05
I sent out the e-mail I needed to send, and then I disconnected my computer from the network. No distractions today.

4:00 - Angles and Circles.
5:00 - clean off the fan in my room (It's been blowing dust in my face.)
5:20 - Write sheet music.
7:00 - Check e-mail and disconnect again.
7:05 - Angles and Circles
9:15 - Write a blog post about Fear Itself #4
10:45 - Read comics
11:30 - Angles & Circles
1:20 - Practice Hebrew
3:00 - End day and score

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Angles and Circles 3:09
Mundane activities 1:55
The blog 1:43
Practicing Hebrew 1:42
Composing 1:23
Comics 0:48
Cleaning a fan 0:20
E-mail 0:13
Notes: I read a single Hebrew newspaper article. It took a while.
I added a large area to the right side of the game.
I wrote the first page of a blog post.
I practiced my Hebrew, which is not in good shape.
I cleaned the fan in my room.

Around midnight I found that I didn't have the energy to keep going. I rested for a half hour, then had a bunch of snacks and got back to work (with less time allocated to A&C). I lost around twenty minutes of productivity before deciding to pause the game.
Performance review: Wonderful, simply wonderful. This is the character we need, this exactly. From now on you're permanently disconnected from the network, because that seems to do the trick. But of course I also have to credit you for putting in so much energy. Speaking of which, I wonder if that exertion is why you seem to get tired in the middle of the day so much more often than the rest of us. If that's the case, perhaps you should eat more.
First activity (Mon.): The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 0:42
First activity (Tue.): Participating in the Vintage Game Club playthrough of Ocarina of Time 2:47
Yet another element of Ocarina of Time that I never knew before: your horse can leap over the huge chasm on the west, which means you can get to (and beat, as I learned just now) Gerudo Fortress as soon as you start Act 2. No Hookshot is necessary. Now, the really awesome part of this is that they wanted this to possible, even though there's zero indication of it. Normally if you're caught in Gerudo Fortress, they drop you in a prison that you escape via Hookshot. But if you get caught and you don't have the Hookshot, they drop you outside the whole Fortress instead. More of this game than I realized is designed to be playable in multiple ways.
Time allocation: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 6:03
The Vintage Game Club 3:46
Mundane activities 3:07
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess 2:19
The Legend of Zelda (second quest) 1:06
Notes: I quickly ended the day and started a new one when Moshe showed up.
Performance review: The day is fine; I just don't like how it ended. You could have had Moshe wait a few minutes.
First activity (Tue.): Hanging out with Moshe 3:39
First activity (Wed.): Reading and commenting on an acquaintance's blog 0:38
Time allocation: Mundane activities 5:48
Games night 5:41
D&D 4:11
Hanging out with Moshe 3:39
E-mail 2:38
Comics 1:08
The Vintage Game Club forum 0:57
Reading/commenting 0:38
Gamer Mom 0:27
Moshe needs entertainment, but doesn't know how to accept it. He always complains when confronted with anything that might be fun, and then he seems to enjoy parts of it in the middle but spends most of the time whining, and then in the end he complains either that there wasn't enough or that what there was wasn't good enough. I brought him to game night, which in retrospect was a mistake. He only stopped complaining when he was being childish in some other way. Then whenever he was confronted about his behavior, he either totally ignored us or blamed it on diagnoses (as though anyone cared what his excuse was). In the end I encouraged him to come again - I don't know what I was thinking. I was probably still stuck in a high from winning the last game, that's probably why I blurted that out. It's sad, because I want him to start being better. But until he starts listening, there's nothing I can do. I'll have to confront him about that, next time I see him.

I hung out with Harel, working on my new D&D character: Greenfuzz the half-orc. Afterward we sat around and chatted, but I was too tired to be very sociable. I should have gotten more sleep. Speaking of which, I'd better wrap this up. It's late and the worker has work tomorrow.
Notes: I watched the last two episodes of Game of Thrones with Moshe. I wrote a long e-mail to Aviella, and a long e-mail to the D&D group (counted in "D&D", not "e-mail"). Kyler's moving forward quickly with Gamer Mom, and I think we're ready to start the actual thing.
Performance review: With Moshe I think I dropped the ball a bit: I should have been more stern with him, because obviously just saying to his face what he was doing wrong (which I did, repeatedly) wasn't enough. I needed to actually show some anger, because he didn't learn anything and he desparately needs to for his own good. Harel, I think, could be a good friend. So there definitely was a missed opportunity there, somewhere. As for the D&D group and the community playthrough, I think I'm becoming a more valuable member of both. And I like that I can keep a friendship going with Aviella even though we never see each other. I've never done that before. So let's call it a slight win.
First activity (Thu.): Data entry 10:36
First activity (Fri.): Lunch 0:22
First activity (Sat.): undefined ?
I've just come back from a very long day at the office. They needed the data inputted now, but they didn't have the data yet, so I stuck around and did optional work while waiting for it to come. I feel sorry for the people who will have to check my work; it takes more than twice as long as it does for me to enter it.

I deserve some time to relax, so I'll give myself some time before I have to work.
11:30 - Angles and Circles
1:00 - blog.

The rest I can do what I like with.

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Data entry 10:36
Mundane activities 7:23
TV 5:25
The blog 2:15
Comics 1:53
Mowing the lawn 0:14
I'm sorry! I know, I messed up. Give me another chance.
Performance review: Oy. It's a terrible plan, not nearly precise enough. You should have written the opening statement during the morning commute, not back at the computer when you were falling on your face. And considering how messy the plan is, it's no surprise you didn't follow it. Look, if it takes all month to get your performance right, we'll take all month. But I'd like my turn already, so get it right.
First activity: Making up a new Jewish song 1:45
Time allocation: Music 7:36
Mundane activities 2:23
I composed a tune to two verses from Mishlei. It's not very good. It sounds like Abie Rotenberg, except that Abie Rotenberg's songs are elegant. This is simple, but not elegant. It doesn't help that as usual for Jewish music I'm working with lyrics that weren't written to be sung. American composers can get away with garbling the words until they're just a bunch of sounds you're attaching music to, because they only ever speak Hebrew in a garbled form. But in a Hebrew-speaking country you've got to pronounce it properly, so the music tends to get more awkward to fit the arbitrary distribution of accents. But apart from all that, my melody and chord progressions are just boring. I've been overusing the tritone chord jump - it used to sound awesome, but I used it here and it doesn't make any impression at all. It's become a habit to rely on that to give a jolt to the music, and it doesn't work anymore. But everything I'm doing with this song comes from habits. I didn't at any point think about what I was doing, I just did it easily. Every second there's something I'm repeating from other pieces. I should go back to common time - I've been hanging around by six eighths for way too long.

There are two questions surrounding this song. The first is whether it will grow on me. The second is how much I care. The only reason to do Jewish music is because it'll sell. And most of the Jewish music that sells isn't even trying to be any good. I suppose that's true of most music in general. So if I make any effort at all, I can make a CD that's better than the majority of the rest in all but production values. Is that good enough to sell? I don't know. I need to decide where I'm putting the balance here between churning out product and making art. Certainly I won't go all the way to the standing-up-for-integrity extreme, because I don't actually agree with any particular sect of Judaism's values. If I go with my own values, criticizing everyone and praising blogging and alternative forms of reality, there goes the marketability and hence the entire point of the exercise. I guess the balance I'd like here is to do half-asleep recitations of verses, but where the music doesn't entirely clash with the meaning and I find the music to be pretty.

I listened to Brahms' third symphony. Oh my God he was incredible. I know what Brahms sounds like -he has a style, and repeating mannerisms- so how is his work always able to surprise me? No, "surprise" isn't the right word. It is surprising, but it's more than that... it's got the intensity of a punch to the face, and you're thinking, where the heck did that come from and how did it seem like it was always there? I thought I knew where it was going, and this is so much cooler that now where I thought it was going seems laughable! What I learned is, I need to pay more attention to harmonic possibilities and stop phoning it in.
Notes: I also watched the 1953 musical The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, written by Dr. Seuss. It is every bit as imaginative as you'd expect, except for the songs and the ending.
Performance review: I'm not sure why you jumped in here -it's not your turn yet. I see we'll have a lot to work on. But for now, please let the worker finish up.
First activity: Going out to lunch with Miriam and my mother 1:42
1:00 - Angles & Circles (top right)
2:00 - lunch
2:25 - clean the computer room
2:55 - try to connect the old VCR to the TV
3:10 - connect to the network to download Breaking Bad; read comics
3:50 - Angles and Circles (far left)
6:55 - dinner
7:20 - check money situation
7:40 - disconnect from internet; practice Hebrew
9:00 - Watch TV
9:55 - Angles and Circles (right side)
11:30 - check e-mail (but not forum!)
11:35 - score.

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be a ten-pointer.
Time allocation: Mundane activities 4:37
Angles and Circles 2:36
TV 2:02
Lunch 1:42
Practicing my Hebrew 1:07
Comics 0:37
Buying new headphones and pens 0:34
Plugging in the VCR 0:25
Reviewing money-related stuff 0:13
Cleaning 0:10
I filled in a large section at the top left of Angles & Circles, then noticed an error and undid my work. I filled in another section at the top right that will stay.

My mother and my sister Miriam were going out to lunch and asked me to come along, so I rescheduled the day to take place two hours later than planned.

Miriam was using the computer when it was time to vacuum the computer room, so I connected the VCR first and cleaned afterward.

My parents were heading toward a shop where I could buy things I needed, so I pushed the later activities a bit farther and followed them.

Toward the end of the day I no longer had any energy left, so I watched more TV and browsed the web.
Performance review: Oh! And you were doing so well, even with all the revisions. There are three problems here, and two of them should already be burned into your head but apparently we need to go over them again.
  1. Keep your computer disconnected from the network! It's just a distraction and a waste of time.
  2. If you have no energy, go to bed. Don't second guess or think about it, just go to sleep. If upon awaking you still don't have it in you to complete the day, go back to bed. Sleep for twelve hours if necessary, but don't do anything else until you're capable of completing the day. This here is an incomplete day, and it's a shame because even after all the revisions there was still a lot of promise.
  3. You don't need to change your plans every time a social opportunity pops up. Lunch was a mistake, because the relationships with my mother and sister are very low-priority. I guess I don't expect you to understand that, but the person shouldn't have accepted control. What you can do is think of people with a little bit more resentment, since they are after all throwing off your plan. Be polite, but stick to the plan whenever you can.
Now, the problems all came out because the day was a little bit too ambitious. There are so many tasks, and so little downtime. In addition, you specifically didn't get as much sleep as usual to simulate data entry days. That was a very good idea, but I don't think we should repeat the exercise tomorrow. I think under the circumstances, this was a fine day. I will expect better later, though. This could have been a ten-pointer.
First activity: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess 3:57
It's a fast day today, and the worker refuses to play. So I guess I get to go early!
  • I want to get to the point in Twilight Princess where there's actually a tiny bit of freedom.
  • And while I'm doing Zelda, why not another dungeon in Ocarina of Time, still with only three hearts and no shield.
  • What else... I don't know, something new.
Time allocation: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess 3:57
Descent 1:21
Mundane activities 0:30
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box 0:23
Oy, I still have a headache. The fast was harder than usual, for some reason.

I don't understand how I ever liked Twilight Princess. Maybe later the quality of the dungeons will make up for all of this nonsense, but I've been playing for many hours and still there's not even the tiniest hint of freedom. I thought I'd sneak out of the second dungeon and head to the third, but then I realized that the item I needed to progress to the third dungeon wasn't in the second dungeon: it was unlocked as a part of the story after you complete that section, at which point you're teleported over to the place where you get the item, and instructed to head for the filler gameplay that leads to the third dungeon. Maybe my analyses of Ocarina of Time have made me pickier, but this game is terrible! It's like they're afraid of the player, because they know that any decision they let the player make may throw off the sequence of cutscenes. (I've been skipping the cutscenes; they're a flashy waste of time.) It's barely a Zelda game at all. In high school when we improvised duets, we were always supposed to not go too far away from the other musician, because otherwise they have nowhere to contribute and you're missing the whole point. Generally I listened, but we performed once for other people and because I was under pressure I planned what I was going to do beforehand, and when we played I just kept repeating what I'd planned and totally dominated the improvisation to the point where the other pianist, a girl named Tchelet, just sort of sat there and didn't do anything. I don't know if I apologized afterward. I should have apologized. Anyway, that's what Twilight Princess is like.

At the other extreme is Descent, from the early DOS days before 3D was simplified and streamlined and dumbed-down. I've never played before, though I remember from when I was small that once I saw the Feldmans playing it. Most of the time I was playing here, I was figuring out the controls. I kept adjusting them until eventually I settled on a system similar to dual analog sticks, where movement is with WASD and the camera is moved with the number pad. As was the way back then, the game drops you in and expects you to figure out how to play. There's no tutorial. So I'm figuring out how to play, and gradually becoming decent with unrestricted 3D movement through nothing more than my own stubbornness. The one thing that doesn't feel right is the moving up and down: I've mapped W and S to moving forward and backward, since that's what I expect from 3D games, and I feel like most of my fingers are being maxed out already. Right now the up/down movement is given to my pinkies, but neither one seems up to the task in the heat of a fight. Maybe Caps-Lock and shift, instead of Shift and Ctrl... well, I'll figure it out. For now, I'm doing okay with just four directions of panning, four directions of sliding, two directions of rotation and a bunch of attack buttons, and I'm enjoying exploring the 3D mazes that overload my sense of direction. This game would never be made by the Industry nowadays, because it actually challenges the player and isn't ashamed to do so. Nowadays people get excited for the mild twistiness of Portal, which is so heavily playtested and dulled-down that a monkey could play it through without stretching its mind much.
Performance review: A lot of progress. Now let's get back to the worker, because we haven't finished with him. I didn't realize it would take so long for each character, though it'll be easier if we ease off on the interruptions. Tomorrow let's have two or three short worker-days, to build up a habit quickly.
Notes: I didn't keep track of the day.
Performance review: Mory, Mory, Mory... what is wrong with you? There is no excuse for this kind of behavior. None at all.
First activity: Gamer Mom 1:19
2:25 - Dentist appointment
3:30 - Back to Gamer Mom, numbering all the nodes
6:00 - Study HTML5
7:00 - Make bed.
7:05 - Comics
8:00 - Score

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Gamer Mom 4:13
Studying HTML5 1:14
Comics 1:01
Mundane activities 0:47
Going to the dentist 0:42
Making the bed 0:16
I went through the script of Gamer Mom and numbered each node up to #189. I started learning to use the <canvas> tag, which I plan to make Gamer Mom with. It occurred to me as I was doing this that some people will just read through the code instead of playing the game through. But I don't know what I can do about that, so for now I'll ignore that thought.

The dentist appointment didn't take as long as I expected, so I had more time for Gamer Mom. But when I stopped I realized I hadn't made time for lunch. Between that and each following activity going a bit longer than planned, I ended an hour later than intended. But no activity was shortchanged, so I think I'm okay.
Performance review: Excellent. Good plan, good follow-through.
First activity (Thu.): Angles and Circles 2:13
First activity (Fri.): Gamer Mom 1:59
11:32 - Angles & Circles (left side)
1:45 - Practice Hebrew
3:00 - bed
12:15 PM - Gamer Mom
2:20 - TV
3:50 - Score

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Angles and Circles 2:13
Gamer Mom 1:59
Practicing Hebrew 1:16
TV 1:16
Mundane activities 0:34
I've almost completed the far left side of Angles and Circles. I should only need four or five more hours. After that all I have left is the bottom left, the bottom center, the bottom right, the center right, and the top right! And the hidden passageways, and the speed control, and then the actual images. There's a bit of work left. I continued numbering the Gamer Mom nodes (I've gotten up to 209), but then I noticed a few loose ends in the script. Didn't I deal with those back in January? Well, evidently I missed a few. Filling in those gaps is a lot more important than attaching numbers. I closed off four buttons, but there are three more and these might be trickier. This takes priority over everything else in my life - it needs to be done.

The only deviation from the schedule was going a bit late with Gamer Mom. I took that time out of TV.
Performance review: Excellent, once again. You've obviously gotten the hang of this. I think we can finally move on now.
First activity (Fri.): Chores 0:16
First activity (Sat.): Dungeon Master 0:49
First activity (Sun.): Angles and Circles 2:15
Gamer Mom until 7:26 (when Shabbat starts). Try to plug all the holes, but if you can't, don't worry about it. The addict can deal with it tomorrow.
Now, over Shabbat I need to look over Dungeon Master episode 3 and figure out what to do with it. I've arranged to work with Coren right after Shabbat (It ends at 8:24.), but I was operating on the assumption that there would be a Thinker before that. There hasn't been time, so I still have no idea what we're doing. Come to think of it, I should print out episode 3 right now, so that I can look it over. ...done. I'll also need to talk to Coren and confirm. If he can't do it, that time will be more Gamer Mom.
So from 8:24 to 10:30 we'll do Dungeon Master.
10:30 - Angles & Circles (left side)
1:00 - TV
2:35 - Comics
3:00 - Score.

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Gamer Mom 2:16
Angles and Circles 2:15
TV 1:39
Mundane activities 1:18
Dungeon Master 0:49
Comics 0:29
Notes: The Person took over for 1:55. I talked with Tamir for 47 minutes, and then went back home to resume my work on schedule. But just as I was about to start, there was a blackout. I played piano, and when Miriam and Gilad showed up I talked Gilad into playing with me on the guitar. We continued for some time after the blackout ended.
I co-wrote the third episode of Dungeon Master. I finished the left side of Angles and Circles, in first-draft form. I tied up the loose ends of Gamer Mom and continued the numbering.

I was able to have a nice conversation with Tamir because Coren and I finished the episode earlier than I'd anticipated. I wasn't able to work on Angles and Circles during the blackout, and after the blackout I watched TV with my parents because they were watching what I'd planned to watch anyway. I redid the schedule: after TV was comics, and then I went to sleep. When I woke up, I completed the day with the game work I'd scheduled.
Performance review: Unexpected events interfered, and after taking advantage of them I did everything I was going to do anyway, with a new schedule. That's a good day. Now please give me a turn.
First activity: Agreeing to participate in a short Asperger-related study 0:05
The worker has made excellent progress. It's gotten to the point that I know I'll always be able to trust him to pick up any loose ends I don't have time to continue myself. Also, he's good at certain repetitive tasks which I wouldn't want to handle myself. Now it's my turn, with a new ruleset I haven't used yet. I have no idea how long it will take to get as good at what I do as the worker is at what he does. Maybe a few days? A week? A month? The explorer is waiting for me to finish.
Time allocation: Reading 3:52
Going to see the last Harry Potter movie with my family 3:42
Mundane activities 1:31
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 0:56
Comics 0:38
Watching a video about the Minecraft Middle-Earth project 0:36
Trying to install a program to help Gilad learn English 0:28
The blog 0:12
Agreeing to participate in a study 0:05
What is the boundary between trying to get the best for yourself, and being evil?

We saw the final Harry Potter movie, and it was barely competent. The director and screenwriter are both second-rate and always have been. Their one success, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is only as great as it is because its director of photography, Bruno Delbonnel, was a genius. I should have known that without Delbonnel they couldn't make a movie worth watching. So why did I go with my family? Well, on some level I was irrationally hoping it would be good, since I'm a fan of the books. But mainly I went because it was an event. All four of us -myself, Dena, and my parents- watched the last movie in anticipation of this one. (I watched both the seventh and the sixth on Wednesday.) My father skimmed through the book to refresh his memory. We all arranged our schedules around this movie. It was exciting. But the film, as I alluded to, was not. In every moment it went for the easiest, least challenging possible way to present it. Constant corny gags are thrown in to "lighten the mood" so that it won't be as dark as it should be. The action scenes themselves are noisy and dull. Characters are introduced and discarded just because they were in the book. The climax is two guys shooting colors at each other. There's no imagination at all, in the whole stupid experience. It was watchable enough, and didn't aspire to anything beyond that.

After the movie I picked it apart, because that was the only topic of conversation we had and I guess I was trying to take an opportunity to socialize. My mother was hurt. "You mean you wouldn't call this a great movie?", she asked. And a bit later, to reassure herself: "Wasn't this a fun family outing?", to which I said "Mm." but probably should have said "No.". My father said, as though he were joking, that the next time they go to something they've been looking forward to for a long time, they should leave me at home. And Dena had nothing to say, but she hates my guts now. You don't criticize a movie you're supposed to like. You just don't.

After reading an impassioned rant against the status quo of superhero comics and the fans' blind acceptance of all its worst failings, I looked through a magazine that Dena likes ("Seventeen") to see if I could get an insight into the sorts of people who don't mind all of this. The entire magazine seemed to follow two principles religiously:
  1. Make teenaged girls feel better about themselves.
  2. Sell clothes.
At first, I thought: "Hey, there's something to that.", because I was expecting it to be more like "You're worthless, and you'll continue to be worthless until you buy expensive things and behave like a little prostitute.". But maybe it was actually something more subversive and positive: you trick people into buying it for the trashiness they're looking for, and then you tell them they're fine the way they really are so they can eventually lose the trashiness. But then I looked closer, and noticed that all references to men were as boyfriends that these girls are meant to keep on a very short leash. It had page after page of tips on how to keep your pet boy under your control, how to trick people into giving you things, how to manipulate social situations to your own advantage. And then I understood: some people think self-esteem can only be found within the system, and they never think to question it because they can't comprehend a world that isn't trying to lie and cheat and scheme.

So where's the line between popularity and evil? Because it seems to me that when a movie with as little going for it on any level as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is promoted as an unmissable event, someone somewhere has crossed the line. Why should I be an outcast for not following the script, and if I am then isn't there something wrong with pushing that script around? It's not my fault we wasted our money. Though I guess it is -I should have expected it wouldn't be good.

I shouldn't buy The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. There's no reason to expect it'll be good. None except that I desparately want the hype to be real for once. And why am I planning to get a 3DS, when I know perfectly well there won't be more than three good games for it? Why do I watch The Voice, with its judges who refuse to ever judge anyone? Well, of course it's so that I can do something with Dena. But why on Earth should I want that? Do I honestly believe that will lead to better things? Of course not, but I don't let that stop me. "Family" is just another marketing stunt. I need to avoid that trap. And what about Orthodox Judaism? Can I keep going along unthinkingly with a culture I have so many problems with, or does that just make me an accessory to evil?

I have no idea. I don't know what my next line is. Maybe that's a good thing.
Performance review: Evidently this is less of a stretch for me than the worker. It's good to be back, for the first time.
Notes: I didn't play the game properly. I wrapped up the majority of my involvement with the Vintage Game Club, participated in a scientific study that lasted an hour and a half, and watched a lot of TV, but none of it was documented properly and none of it was in character.
Performance review: This happened because we've been staying up too late. This may be hypocritical for me to say, given that I am writing these words at 4:36 in the morning. But it's true: 7 hours is just not enough sleep for me, and I can't play a character in that condition.
First activity: Numbering Gamer Mom 2:44
I'm starting late because I haven't been sleeping well. The Thinker's been staying up ridiculously late (until 5:30 or so) writing who-knows-what. I need my sleep. Anyway, there's a lot to do.

4:40 - Gamer Mom
6:30 - Studying HTML5 (with a break of no more than 15 minutes for dinner)
8:00 - Dungeon Master, episode 4
10:00 - Update Firefox
10:15 - Practice Hebrew
11:00 - Comics
2:00 - TV
2:45 - Score.

I'm not good enough, but today is going to be perfect.
Time allocation: Gamer Mom 3:06
Comics 2:40
Dungeon Master 1:38
Mundane activities 1:16
TV 0:39
Practicing Hebrew 0:29
Updating Firefox 0:21
Coren and I wrote the fourth episode of Dungeon Master. I reached node 393 in the Gamer Mom numbering. (My earlier rough estimate of 600 nodes in total still seems accurate.)

As I was numbering Gamer Mom, I noticed a mistake I'd made. It was my first priority to correct that mistake (and all the numbers after it) before Kyler reached that point in his drawing, to avoid confusion. For that reason I decided to spend the HTML5 time continuing the numbering.
Performance review: In the original schedule, comics were the longest activity and it wasn't specified that comics should be organized rather than read. That could have been a disaster, so it's actually lucky that the HTML5 studying needed to be postponed.
First activity: Reading about Fear Itself 0:14
It seems my self-confidence was premature. I can't just phone these performances in, I need to take them every bit as seriously as the Worker does.
Time allocation: Reading, writing about and organizing comics 6:20
Playing Phoenix Wright with Moshe 4:04
Mundane activities 2:04
Reading 1:50
An IM chat 0:42
Notes: I started another blog post about Fear Itself, and started editing Fear Itself together. (This is going to be a tough one!) I chatted a bit with Deirdra, though she didn't have much time to spare. I checked the Vintage Game Club periodically, but no one posted anything.
Having other people in my life so often amounts to waiting. The idea behind getting more people in my life, and having more active relationships with them, is to reduce that waiting time. If I'm waiting all day for someone to write about Ocarina of Time, I'm miserable. But if I'm waiting for that or a response to some watercooler post or an IM response or an e-mail or a friend to come over etc. etc., I can actually fill up the day without ever needing to feel alone. The risk is that I might do all that and still not have anyone to talk to, but it's best to not take the option of socializing off the table.
Performance review: Coherent, but not especially insightful.
First activity (Fri.): Playing Ocarina of Time with Tamir 3:43
First activity (Sat.): The Vintage Game Club 0:44
Time allocation: Playing Ocarina of Time with Tamir 3:43
Mundane activities 3:01
Cox and Box 1:33
The Vintage Game Club 0:44
E-mail 0:10
Organizing comics 0:06
I'm content.
Notes: Tamir woke me up a little bit earlier than usual, to play Ocarina of Time. We got the Goron's Ruby, among other adventures.

Rob Binder was gracious enough to offer me the role of Cox in Cox and Box, a curtain-raiser he's going to put before H.M.S. Pinafore because that famous Gilbert & Sullivan play is relatively short. The premise of Cox and Box, Wikipedia informs me, is that two men have been tricked into unknowingly renting the same room, one always out working during the day and one always out working during the night. Upon reading this delightful little setup, I immediately and excitedly agreed to the part. I then watched much of the play on YouTube, and read some of the script, in order to have a better idea of what I'd signed on for. I discovered that Sullivan's music was very fun, and I think its writer Francis Burnand was even funnier than Gilbert! With a good co-star and a lot of work, this could be an incredible experience.
Performance review: Friday was great. The time spent with Tamir was excellent, and then you got the part and studied for it, which was perfectly sensible. There wasn't enough tme before Shabbat at that point to organize comics, so you should have simply ended the day and started fresh on Saturday night. Now, there's nothing wrong with organizing comics. That's something that can be shared with other people. But the time just wasn't there. After Shabbat, since the day was still technically active, it may have seemed like a good idea to write a considered response to a private message at the Vintage Game Club. You know what, I'll even accept that it was a reasonable choice. But the day should have ended the second you pressed "Send", and it did not. That's going to cost you two points: one for missing the social opportunities of what you could have been doing in the time since then (e-mail, comics, blogging) rather than just browsing the web aimlessly, and one for exceeding the allowed mundane activities. I'm also going to have to take off a point for not exercising.