09-04-09 - Bodies and Work

I've been super unproductive recently, and it's destroying my body. I've taken a lot of random bits of time off for dealing with various moving things (like meeting the fucking Brownstripe cable guy in the 8 AM - 5 PM appointment window) and even when I'm at work I feel like I'm not getting anything done. When I'm being nice and productive, I feel fine about taking time out to stretch and do PT and walk around and take care of myself, but when I'm not getting anything done, I feel like I need to force myself to keep sitting at the computer until I type some damn code.

Of course this is the exact opposite of what you should do to maximize utility - when you're in a good productive mode you should make the most of it and stay at the computer, and when you're not getting any work done anyway, you may as well get up from the machine and take care of your body.

I guess part of the problem is that I'm still stuck in the idea of the corporate "work day". I never used to think that way, but it was ground into me by overbearing producers in my past life in video games. The producers want you to get a certain amount done each day. If you're going slow, that means you have to work later, and conversely when you're productive and get everything done quick you can just leave (as long as the producers don't see you). Because they force you to stay sometimes when you don't want to, you have to compensate for that by leaving early whenever you can. Of course this is a horrible attitude, but it's beaten into you by the system. RAD has no real structured work schedule, and I believe it's much more natural for coders to work in a very spurty way. Coding at a high level is somewhat like an artistic endeavor, and many of us work best by spitting out a whole mess of work in a big flurry, and then taking perhaps a month with hardly any output at all. Of course in coding, nobody would believe that what you did in those two weeks of productive spurt was enough to justify taking it easy for a month, even if it was.

I'm extremely distracted by N. I can't stop thinking about her all day long at work, sudden memories pop into my head of our last time together, and fantasies and ideas and excitement about what we'll do next.

I went swimming today for the first time in quite a while. Every time I swim I think afterward : my god, that helps my back so much, I should do that more often. And then I don't. For one thing it takes so damn long because the pools are far away and you have to change and shower and everything. But it's also just really unpleasant, I hate chlorine and sharing lap lanes. If I lived somewhere with warm, clear, fresh water to swim in, I think I would be very happy. My body would be lithe and pain free, and a happy body is about all it takes. I sometimes have visions of me living somewhere hot and sunny with lots of fresh water streams and waterfalls to jump around in. I would just wear a speedo all the time and grow my hair long and get all tan and wear a shark tooth necklace like Manny Puig or something.

Fucking being on VS2005 / Visual Assist X has really slowed me down. Everything is so much harder, it fucking sucks balls at autocomplete. I feel like I'm walking through water. My mental flow is broken up all the time because I can't remember how to type a certain function name or keyword exactly and I have to go look for it. Back with VA.NET I could just jam, you go flow flow flow and the thoughts turn into code like magic. Now it's type, stop, type, stop, so awkward and jarring. It's hard for me to ever get any momentum. In fact I alt-tabbed over here to write this because once again I was in the middle of trying to write some line of code and fucking VAX failed to autocomplete for me and I had to go searching around to get the spelling right and it completely ruined my train of thought.

There was a point a few years ago, on Stranger at Oddworld, and also before that on Galaxy at home, when I felt like I basically had magical powers on the computer. I felt like code flowed perfectly and effortlessly from my finger tips, that I was some new kind of hybrid human whose brain had grown into the same patterns as C++; Homo Programicus. I could write good code faster than anyone in history ever had, and it came out bug free and fast and elegant the first time, everything was smooth and easy, thoughts became function. People around me were always complaining about the language or the compiler or whatever and it just perplexed me; I could never see their problems because code sprung forth from me like diarhea from tourists in India. That time is gone.

Feeling like your dreams will never come true crushes your soul. Feeling like you do the same thing every day crushes your soul. Feeling like you are putting great effort into something and it's not changing crushes your soul. Turning off your mind and shutting down your emotional response crushes your soul. Doing things that don't excite you and just faking it crushes your soul. Not saying what you think because the people you're with can't handle it crushes your soul. Having a routine of any kind, even if it's pleasant, makes you boring and bored. Doing only things that you're comfortable with and never feeling out of place or awkward or challenged makes you die inside. Without change something inside us sleeps and seldom awakens. N makes me excited to be alive. N makes me want to explore the world and see new things. N makes me feel like I can be myself and not be made to feel like a freak or have to apologize. N makes me feel a little bit out of control. When I'm with N I feel like anything is possible, we can go anywhere, do anything, and we seemingly do; I never know what's going to happen, and somehow it's me taking us off on adventures.

One of the wonderful exciting things about a new relationship is the uncertainty of each moment. For one thing just not knowing each other that well and learning new things, you keep getting new surprises. And each date there's a silent question in the air, not knowing where the night will go. On the first date that's the wonder in the air of whether you will kiss. Then you move onto the uncertainty of whether you will have sex. Then even after the first time you have sex it stays as a tense question on each date for a while, when you go out to dinner, or stay in for a movie, it's that much more exciting because you wonder "did she really mean come over and watch a movie or did she mean come over and watch a movie and fuck". Some people try to eliminate the unspoken tense question as quickly as possible by just talking about it or making it happen quickly. Those people are fools. (I've done that myself in the past, even in extreme ways; for example on first dates I've done the super early preemptive kiss to just get the tension out of the way from the end of the night). The mystery and tension is very enjoyable and should be savored, not rushed.

As the relationship progresses, that mystery and tension and uncertainty goes away, which is a damn shame. Girls who are really flighty and fickle are sort of exciting because they artificially create some of that tension - every time you take them out, even after dating for years, you don't know if they're going to get into a crazy mood and yell at our, or if they'll be all sweet and gropey. But that's just too annoying and immature to really be a substitute. Another idea is to just keep upping the ante. In order to have that tense silent energy, you have to both know that a question is in the air, but not talk about it directly. The question of "will she have sex with me" might be answered, but you can move onto another question like "will she let me stick it in her pooper" or "will she let me double team her with my friend" etc.

Of course the mystery isn't just about sex, it's not knowing the person completely so you don't know what new thing you might learn about them, what they might say about something; you're excited to find out all these new things. Most people are incredibly simple and static, so once you get to know them, you know what they think about everything and there's no more excitement or mystery to talk to them. I think of the old couples that literally tell each other what they think about things ( "you like this commercial" ). The solution to this is easier, you just have to keep learning and changing, getting new opinions and worldviews and experiences. Stay young.


Aaron said...

Where'd you swim? Marian uses the Y in Madison, which should be pretty close to you. Monthly for the Y is actually pretty reasonable compared to a proper 'gym', and I think they go a little light on the chlorine. I have that same dream about using 'extreme prejudice' to dispatch attackers. I think most guys do. Where do you think our foreign (and for that matter domestic) policy came from?

I think we need to write up little contracts for ourselves. I wish there was a facebook-like thing for that. Share your personal 'contract' with your friends, so you keep on it. Report progress. Your friends can see if you're slipping off and let you know. I've started putting my exercise into my fucking outlook calendar so I'll actually do it.

So weird. I still feel like a coding god with 2005 and VAX. I didn't even notice the (VA) difference in transition (of course VS2003->2005 was a travesty, everything 10x slower and they destroyed the quick macro. There's a ring in hell for the fuckers responsible for that thing. I pretty much use it with the defaults (and of course delete feacp.dll to kneecap intellisense so it's not fucking things up in the background).

I hear from my ex-ms sources that the next VS is supposed to be fast again. I'll believe it when I see it.

cbloom said...

I've been swimming at Bellevue at lunch time. It's a nice pool and pretty empty. I just joined the Y so we'll see how that goes, but the lap swim hours are a little bit annoying, the hours I would really like to swim (after work) are blocked out for other things.

I do find it helps a lot to use a calendar to mark down days you do the PT, swim, whatever. Back when I was in super fit shape I used a calendar to track everything, I would mark days I didn't sleep well or drank too much booze or overate. That way you can see very easily on the calendar when you are getting into a bad habit and nip it in the bud. Without a calendar you can feel like "oh yeah I did PT just the other day" when in reality you only did it once in the last 7 days and you need to do it again.

castano said...

For logging activities I like Nat's spreadsheet approach:


old rants