Janie’s Insanity Log: Saturday, November 8, 2014

Time: 7:45 am
Tea: Adagio 4 Seasons: Autumn
Current Music: Soundtrack to Revolutionary Girl Utena

Hello. Over the last month or so people ask me what I am going to do this weekend and I invariably say that I am trying to finish my book. I always get the same response: “Wait, you’re still working on that thing??”

Yes. I am still working on that thing.

I am tired of working on that thing. I want it out of my life and into the hands of people who will use it for its intended purpose of chaos and destruction.

Problem is that when I try to make myself sit down and write, I want to be anywhere other than in front of my computer. I start crawling the walls and try to gnaw my own arm off to escape.

So, I am going to the super counterintuitive thing of writing my thoughts down to avoid having to write my thoughts down. I am going to periodically write my mental state here over the next 48 hours or so so that I can share my psychological degradation with the rest of the world. Yay!

This will either be entertaining or it will be a disturbing, incoherent rambling mess. Or, if I am lucky, it will be both! Let’s see what happens.

Time: 7:55 am

I have realized that my chapter goals may have been overly ambitious. I have chosen three frameworks that could each justify their own book. This is a poor decision. I have removed one framework altogether and I am now figuring out how to adequately write the rest of the chapter.

I made the somewhat impulsive decision yesterday to go to CoocaConf Boston to spend some time with Chris working on the book. I started a job a few months ago where I can actually talk to another programmer about the issues I am having and it has increased my productivity tremendously.

One reason this has been taking so long is that life has gotten in the way. It’s been hard to say I am going to sit in front of my computer and write about something I am still figuring out when it has been nice and sunny outside and I would rather be doing other things. Having another person there to bounce ideas off of and who knows you are supposed to be working because they are in the same boat is an invaluable thing. We have been limping along this way out of necessity, but I really need to work with Chris in person, so I am sacrificing some of my royalties in order to make sure the project gets done the way I want it to be done.

Time: 8:00 am

Realized I am spending time I should not chatting on Twitter about what a cool idea this post is and all the awesome crap I am going to do with it. Gently directing my attention back to the task I have to do.

Time: 8:05 am

Reconnoitering the task at hand. I am trying to figure out the best way to proceed here. I have an idea about what I want to talk about and what project I want to complete by the end of the chapter. I know that some amount of the chapter is going to be structural stuff and the rest will be what Chris likes to call, “clicky-draggy” stuff of explaining how to set things up and show actual code.

I don’t want to work on coding the project by myself because I want to work with the person who has done a lot of the work on the code, which is why I am going to Boston. However, I don’t think I will get very much done if I don’t at least begin to explain some of the “clicky-draggy” stuff.

I found a project very similar to the one I want to explain by the end of the chapter. I am tentatively planning to throw code in the chapter that I will tag to remove when I replace it with the actual code I am creating for the project. This will give me a sense of how long this chapter will be. I will also have to account for screen shots that will be taken later when I get the project working.

I feel bad that I am having trouble doing a remote project by myself. I worked alone out of my house for a year and half while learning programming and I could self motivate for that. To be fair, I never completed a project that was released to the world when working by myself. Also, working with another person on code they primarily wrote is an entirely different skill set than just doing your own thing.

I am an inherently social person. I like talking to people about their code. I am not one of those solitary programmers who lives in the basement staring at a screen. If I don’t have anyone to talk to about things that interest me, I kind of wilt and get depressed. I had hoped to work more directly with Chris on the book, but we both had a lot of curve balls thrown at us and it is understandable why it wasn’t really possible to spend an hour a day chatting on Skype about the book. I am hoping that working on the project together in person will accelerate the process of getting the book done.

Time: 8:15 am

Oh! Student Council elevator song from Utena is playing!

Touga: If it cannot break out of its shell, the chick will die without ever being born.
Miki: We are the chick-
Juri: The world is our egg.
Nanami: If we don’t crack the world’s shell, we will die without ever truly being born.
Saionji: Smash the world’s shell.

Sounds about right. Probably shouldn’t be listening to mind fuck anime soundtracks. What else do I have? Neon Genesis Evangelion, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and Attack on Titan. This isn’t a promising development…

Time: 8:25 am
On second pot of tea. Already driving Chris insane with my pestering. Will leave the poor guy alone. It must be nice to be an introvert.

Time: 8:30 am

Holy crap! I actually started writing something for the chapter!

Time: 8:45 am

Went looking for sandals. Floor is gritty and covered with various pug debris. Resisting urge to procrastinate by trying to clean my office. I am looking forward to deep cleaning the living crap out of this room when I get done with this thing.

Time: 9:00 am
Current Music: Soundtrack to Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Succumbed to the temptation to clean when I went to refill my tea and saw lots of dirty dishes in the sink with a dishwasher full of clean dishes. Feel slightly better that the kitchen isn’t a complete mess. I should probably eat at some point in the future…

Time: 9:30 am
Current Music: Soundtrack to Attack on Titan

I figured out something I was confused about and didn’t understand about the framework, so I actually got some stuff written. Now I need to determine if this is something Chris explains earlier in the book.

Also ate the other half of my leftover crispy chicken sandwich and french fries from yesterday. I am sad that this is probably going to be the healthiest food I eat this weekend. I am keeping a food log of all the horrible things I am going to put in my body to punish myself for not getting this done sooner.

Time: 9:45 am

Got sidetracked by an argument with a friend of mine online about whether the TV show Scorpion is offensive and stereotypical to smart people. My friend is on the autism spectrum and is thrilled to see people like herself on TV. I am annoyed that it is assumed that if you are a smart person you must be completely socially inept. Wait, I am supposed to be writing now, aren’t I? *grumble*

(But seriously, if one piece of your dialog in the pilot is the main character telling the young white guy with glasses in the back of the room that he is a programmer and the guy asking, gee, how did you know, and the main guy saying lucky guess, guess what?? THAT IS A FUCKING OFFENSIVE STEREOTYPE!!!)

Time: 10:05 am

Having an existential thought about whether or not what I am writing is correct and if it isn’t, would anyone ever know? Wondering how many tech books I have read where the author was completely talking out of their ass and doesn’t know what they are doing only to figure out like years later that something they wrote was completely wrong. I guess it doesn’t matter because anything written about Apple tech is inherently ephemeral.

Time: 10:20 am

Got slightly derailed by a flare-up of my involuntary muscle twitching. Beginning to wonder if it might be an allergic reaction of some kind. This only happens when I am at home. When I travel to conferences or I am at work I rarely have any issues. I hope I am not allergic to my pugs. That would suck to the extreme.

Time: 10:45 am

The Husband returned from his outings. He brought me hacker food. He brought pizza, a case of Mountain Dew made with real sugar, and french silk pie. My digestive system is about ready to strike and walk off the job in protest. This will be fun.

Time: 11:45 am
Current Music: Soundtrack to The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Crap. I got pulled into conversations with people on Twitter. Chris seems to have gotten over my annoying him this morning and we are talking about Revolutionary Girl Utena. Also talking to people I need to connect with in Boston while I am there.

I am making progress on the book. I have written quite a lot so far. I have mentally broken thing up and I am putting the pieces together. I had to spend some time doing a little research, but I am able to find the answers I need fairly quickly and not falling down too many rabbit holes. Also not stressing myself out too badly or crawling the walls trying to escape. Plus, it’s almost noon and I haven’t thought about how long it is until I can open a bottle of wine, so yay to that.

Sadly, getting to the part of the book I am going to have to hack somewhat because it involves code I haven’t written yet. I want to write some of the glue code about the process even though I haven’t done it yet. Sigh.

Time: 12:00 pm
Tea: Adagio Raspberry Black Tea

On my third pot of caffeinated tea. I might want to consider switching to something herbal in a little while or else panic attacks will happen. I wonder if I switched to Mountain Dew if that would still result in panic attacks because caffeine is caffeine. Should run experiments on the pugs.

Time: 12:30 pm

As I am writing the chapter, I am realizing I might be approaching the project incorrectly by trying to describe doing it before creating it. I am taking a bunch of notes in the chapter to try to come up with a list of requirements for the project so I can start working on it when I am in town with Chris. Also need to look over the code better to figure out how to integrate this into what we have so far.

Also, figuring out that I am hungry. Grabbed a random pizza from the freezer and preheating the oven. Also took a can of Mountain Dew and threw it in the freezer to get it cold quickly. I am mentioning it so that when I inevitably forget to take it out of the freezer and it explodes there will be foreshadowing of that event.

Time: 1:30 pm

Managed to collaborate on a plan of action with Chris so we can make the most of our limited time in the same physical plane of existence.

I am creating a set of software requirements for my sample code. I am also looking over all of the code we have thus far to strategize about the best way to approach the code and the organization. I might just stub out some space in the book where I describe what is going to happen in each place.

Also made pizza and switched from tea to Mountain Dew (no, I didn’t forget the can in the freezer and we had no explosions.). Haven’t gotten super hyper yet. Give it some time.

Time: 2:15 pm

I am approaching the end of what I can do on this portion of things by myself. I am getting an idea about how I need to approach my project, which is what I will do for the remainder of my day. I am planning to tackle another part of the project tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to put together a software requirements package that will allow me to just sit down and code my project when I can collaborate with Chris and we can get this stupid thing done and shipped.

Time: 2:30 pm

Bah. Tired. Time for first bath. Normally I would read tech books in the bathtub, but I am trying to avoid contaminating my focus with any of my other hobbies. Will probably just read historical fiction book about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Pondering whether I want wine or not…

Time: 4:00 pm

Took my bath. Got really sleepy. Was really hoping that I could take a nap. No such luck. I really miss taking naps. I haven’t been able to have one in a while because when I go to lie down the involuntary twitching comes back and I can’t sleep.

Today has been a fairly productive day. I am trying to spend what energy I have left outlining the things I need to figure out to implement the first part of this project.

Going to navigate away from my desk. My arm and leg are jerking so much that I am afraid of falling off of my ball. I need to go to bed or somewhere that I am not going to fall over and hurt myself.

Tentatively going to call it a day unofficially. Going to get up tomorrow and continue on my odyssey of writing. See you then!