Work Journal

Work log day 2/30

AuthorMark MacKay

This morning I went out of bed with a sense of dread for work, which means I'm not enjoying the work I'm doing. I've been pondering the meaning of this, for there are multiple tensions inside which are pulling in different directions; and coming to no solid conclusion I write this down as to stabilize the tension. From experience, I've observed that inner conflict is a handicap to work, and the conflict can come from any source. At this time there is little else than work going on in my life, and so the source of conflict is easy to pinpoint.

As I work on the Bézier Game, I see that it's not as engaging as I thought it would be. It feels like a chore to complete stages. Perhaps it's the structure that I thought out, introducing concept by concept and building upon those concepts at--I must interrupt my train of thought. The purpose of becoming adept at using the pen tool is to be able to draw, if I restate the purpose of the game "A game to help you learn the pen tool" into "A game to help you learn how to draw vector images", perhaps the sense of chore is diminished, because the creative aspect of the game is highlighted.

Anything I commit to must not extend the length of this cycle, I can intuit a possible direction where these conditions are met, but I will need to invest the day in completing this. Yes, the inner conflict is diminished when I project this possibility. It will be worth exploring.

Conflict diminished, I'll think out loud about (yesterday's work log)[]. I did not enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing--No, actually I did not enjoy it at all. My idea in trying new things is that something new must be learned, and I learned from producing the videos, but the photos are simply not a source of learning. As it's technically illegal to take pictures in libraries, I snapped the pictures surreptitiously. Now, I care very little wether it's illegal or not, but there is a double concern in the fact that people did not consent to appear in my pictures, and that I cannot put the effort towards improving those pictures. So, from experience it felt clearly that this will bring nothing good should I persist in this task.

Well, I've tried to work, but nothing seems to be able to catch my attention. Some days this happens to me. I then meditate for a long while, and I try to come back to work. Sometimes it does the trick, other times it doesn't, and this time it didn't. The good thing about meditation is that it allows you to observe without judgement. Shrug of the shoulders: today I can't work. Perhaps tomorrow I'll be able to do so. I don't think any less of myself because of this.

I do find an inclination to keep on writing, as it seems to act as a kind of self-therapy, but I'm afraid that if I propose to myself any kind of work the interest will wane. So I'll just write notes on my latest reading: Goethe's Theory of Colors.

Notes on personality

It is useless to attempt to express the nature of a thing abstractedly. Effects we can perceive, and a complete history of those effects would, in fact, sufficiently define the nature of the thing itself. We should try in vain to describe a man's character, but let his acts be collected and an idea of the character will be presented to us.

--Goethe's Theory of Colors

I found Goethe's idea of describing a man's character by his actions thought provoking. Lately I've become interested in the measurement of personality traits, and I've become skeptical about the way research is done.

Personality testing is performed by asking participants to self-report agreement on a variety of statements, such as "I don't mind being the center of attention" (for extraversion) or "I make a mess of things" for conscientiousness. If you've answered one of these tests, a question that often arises is in what context?, because, unsurprisingly, we seem to behave differently depending on the situation. The subject is expected to balance the assessment, so, if he is neat at work but messy at home, then he'd score himself somewhere between two and four in a five point scale.

Many problems arise from self-assessment. Consider an undeniably conscientious student at height academic activity: he may leave clothes and dishes unwashed in order to squeeze more time for finals. The same conscientiousness which allows him to focus on what's important bites back in the form of guilt, he is keenly aware that he's a mess, so his self-assessment will be biased.

Or an example that I recently encountered: a subtly neurotic woman arrived to an event with 30 minutes to spare (or so she said), but couldn't find the exact location of the event. She walked around the venue asking everyone about the event, nobody knew about it (we were a small crowd). Finally, somebody attending the event who arrived late overheard her, and told her it was in the cafeteria. Both "conscientious" and unconscientious people arrived at the same time.

Furthermore, you've surely encountered the fact that exceptional people often make less of their talent, and people who lack talent make more of it. Some months ago I encountered an endearing lady who expressed guilt that she had attended a free impro session and liked it, but then she discovered she had a class just minutes away from her home instead of a 45 minute drive. She didn't want to "betray" the person who gave her the free class. This is an example of a person high on Agreeableness, and I pointed this out to her. "Oh, for sure I'm not an agreeable person, I disappoint people so much". She wouldn't care about the disappointment if she weren't agreeable!

All these problems of self-reporting personality are related to the ego. The ego, in the broadest terms, is the person who you think you are. To see your ego, you can describe yourself in three phrases, each phrase with an adjective and a noun. Example: I'm a caring father. I'm a diligent engineer. I'm an enthusiastic runner. We tend to protect this self image, so when a personality test says "I'm careful about not making mistakes at work" we tend to agree not based on factual premises but on the self-image we have created for ourselves. If we were truly honest with ourselves, we'd leave the test shaking, for very few are truly aware of the dissonance between the way they think and the way they act.

In Goethe's Theory of Colors the author proposes a series of experiments to verify his subjective observations about color. Here, I propose the same with personality: choose a person whom you know well, and first answer these questions for them. Then ask them to complete them themselves.

Note the difference between your assessment and your subjects own assessment. Note too, that nobody holds the upper hand in the objective assessment. You have a more objective perspective, but you also don't have access to the entire life of that person. It is not a matter of finding who is more accurate, it is a matter of finding if there is a substantial difference in the assessment.

Rate from 1 to 5 how much you agree on the following statements:

  1. I am the life of the party.
  2. I feel little concern for others.
  3. I am always prepared.
  4. I get stressed out easily.
  5. I have a rich vocabulary.
  6. I don't talk a lot.
  7. I am interested in people.
  8. I leave my belongings around.
  9. I am relaxed most of the time.
  10. I have difficulty understanding abstract ideas.
  11. I feel comfortable around people.
  12. I insult people.
  13. I pay attention to details.
  14. I worry about things.
  15. I have a vivid imagination.
  16. I keep in the background.
  17. I sympathize with others' feelings.
  18. I make a mess of things.
  19. I seldom feel blue.
  20. I am not interested in abstract ideas.
  21. I start conversations.
  22. I am not interested in other people's problems.
  23. I get chores done right away.
  24. I am easily disturbed.
  25. I have excellent ideas.
  26. I have little to say.
  27. I have a soft heart.
  28. I often forget to put things back in their proper place.
  29. I get upset easily.
  30. I do not have a good imagination.
  31. I talk to a lot of different people at parties.
  32. I am not really interested in others.
  33. I like order.
  34. I change my mood a lot.
  35. I am quick to understand things.
  36. I don't like to draw attention to myself.
  37. I take time out for others.
  38. I shirk my duties.
  39. I have frequent mood swings.
  40. I use difficult words.
  41. I don't mind being the center of attention.
  42. I feel others' emotions.
  43. I follow a schedule.
  44. I get irritated easily.
  45. I spend time reflecting on things.
  46. I am quiet around strangers.
  47. I make people feel at ease.
  48. I am exacting in my work.
  49. I often feel blue.
  50. I am full of ideas.

Well, that was written mostly stream-of-thought style with light editing. It's not worthy of publishing as an article, but it felt very reinvigorating to flow a pair of hours. I'll leave the workday here and hope to find a better disposition tomorrow.

Work Journal

Work log reboot

AuthorMark MacKay

When you stumble, it's best to quickly acknowledge it and persist with the task. The cause of my stumble is that my bike was stolen, and this disrupted my schedule for a couple of days. But, but an orphan bike has been finally found a place at home, so I may continue my explorations about urban Madrid while working publicly. The downtime has led me to reconsider how I engage in work, I shall write this down as a commitment to it.

I dislike the word "deadline", because it implies you're dead if you exceed the line. In practice, we simply drag the deadline a little further away, so that neither author nor project lose their lives in the creative process. In the past few years I've reframed the problem as one of cycles, there is a project which dictates a structure of work, and to change the structure of work one has to finish the project. A deadline is simply an estimation of how long the cycle will take. The delta that results should be improved with deliberate practice. It is also an antidote to perfectionism, because projects tend to expand to the time they have assigned to them, and if all the time is assigned to them, then the task will never end.

Another thing I'd like to change is the textual nature of my work logs. Text is my preferred method of communication, so I would very much prefer to describe a place rather than to photograph or draw it, for example. But this happens solely because I remain in my comfort zone, sharing the visual work is more painful (and thus more instructive) to me. This may (or may not) mean that I move my personal observations to a notebook, I will perceive this from experience.

There are a couple of other minor intentions, but these I will address in practice. Today is Sunday and I will do as I please, though I know some preparation needs to be addressed. Let us begin the day.

Work Journal

2018-08-06/07 Work log

AuthorMark MacKay

Monday and Tuesday rolled into a single work log. I did almost no computer work, yet I still felt busy and productive. This makes me inquire into the nature of work. What is work? Labour for a wage? If that were so, I haven't been working for a while.

When we look into the animal kingdom, we don't think about animals as "working" when they graze or hunt, but we do think of bees and ants working when they nurse their larva and collect their food. It seems work happens when there is an interdependent relation to the society you live in. In a hunter-gatherer tribe, some people would hunt, others would collect fruit, others would rear children, and then they would share the resources of their activity.

How does this map out to my situation? We had a guest over the weekend, he got very sick and though required no special attention, it still felt rude to simply leave him at home while I went out to do my "work". So I focused on house chores: preparing meals, cleaning up, repair work and such. The company we provided to each other was pleasant, and it felt intuitively right.

When I started writing work logs I knew a couple of these days would come up, and I wondered how they would be dealt with. Now it feels they should simply be passed over without much thought, but I wanted to write down the experience to extract the wisdom out of it. Activity in the benefit of one's "tribe" is always work.

Work Journal

2018-08-03 Work log

AuthorMark MacKay

I came down to the building block's gym to exercise a bit. Today I receive guests at the airbnb apartment at 21:15, this means I should be there at around 19:00 to prepare things for the guests. Also means I should be back home at 18:30 to pick up towels & bedding. I have a guest myself at home, a Mexican friend of my roommate, I'm not sure about his plans but I'll propose that he joins the work route if there's none. If this is the case, then I will work from libraries close to landmarks, otherwise I enjoyed the experience of exploring new workplaces.

What work needs to be done? The Bézier Game.

I don't think anything else needs to be planned. I'll continue my workout.

I went out with my Mexican guest to search for an ofo bike, but they all turned out to be "ghost" bikes. Apparently, thieves dispose of the GPS and throw them away to inaccessible locations. The day started late and was lost mostly due to this search, so no computer work was done.

Work session 1 (1h, 30min)

I received a Spaniard couple at the airbnb apartment. I had left my phone at home, so when I was done cleaning I set camp at the window to see if I could see them arrive. Since I had no means of knowing the time, from the window I asked some random person to give me the time. His body language seemed to reflect a "really?" attitude, it seems asking for the time has become passé. I left them two bags of ice in the freezer, Madrid's August heat is in full force and the apartment doesn't have AC.

Work Journal

2018-08-02 Work log

AuthorMark MacKay

Yesterday, feeling sick, I was able to get to bed early. In the morning I woke up quite refreshed, free of symptoms, and in a good mood. I began ruminating if it was true sickness or just a coincidence of symptoms, but then I thought it's the same: you are sick if you feel crappy, and I felt grateful for feeling good today. Still I chose to remain close to home in case if my state should deteriorate, so I came to Vallecas to check out a pair of study halls which are new to me.

I'm currently in a study hall in an employment office, it's modern and evidently underused. Vallecas is a working class district, on the way here I passed a park where all the picnic tables were occupied by people having a breakfast of beer, smokes and cards at 9am. No judgement arose from this observation which I found strange. I suspect that if I were on my way to a job which I didn't want to do I'd feel more judgemental.

Let's get to work.

Work session 1 (2h)

Project Arete work. Made a little experiment with some dom diff libraries instead of allowing d3.js to render everything. Didn't get too far. I wanted to use Brutal.js but it wasn't rendering. I just hate JS preprocessors so anything that implies JSX is out of the question. Brutal.js uses ES6 templates, so the fact that it didn't work was a bummer. Almost everything out there requires preprocessing.

I then went to a pool in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Madrid: Entrevías. To my Mexican eyes, it just seems a middle class neighborhood. The pool and gym facilities were top notch. The only difference I noticed were younger Spaniard parents, and senior people with tattoos. I had lunch and a nap, I didn't get into the pool because I'm not entirely positive that I'm not sick. I had seen a TV show about this neighborhood, it showed a lot of gypsies squatting apartments, drug addicts, and prostitutes, but I saw nothing of this. Surely there is a street where these kind of activities are commonplace, but it was the entire neighborhood painted in a negative light. If they made a balanced assessment they wouldn't have a TV show.

Work session 2 (2h)

I went to a library in Entrevías neighborhood, but it was closed for remodeling. I decided to go even further away, to Villa de Vallecas, which is a satellite town to Madrid. The library is old but serviceable. I worked on the Bézier Game, trying to scale the paths by their pathData instead of scaling them through the viewport. I searched through many js libraries, but all of them would be killing flies with cannonballs as they say in Spain. Then I remembered Method Draw inherited this code from SVG Edit, and I spent most of these two hours extracting all the necessary functions. Finally I got it to work! This is good. Time for a break, I'll head to the Villa de Vallecas market to get a bite, then I'll visit the second (more modern) library of Villa de Vallecas.

Work session 2 (30min)

The entire market was closed for vacations during August, so I grabbed some fruit from the fruit store. Then I came to Luis Martin Santos Library in Villa de Vallecas. It's an astounding space, I think this is why the other library was almost empty, it's just a few hundred meters away but decades ahead in quality. I begun working on integrating what I did a while ago into the actual game, I ran into some problems, but my mind has run out of gas. I'm simply too tired to focus. Ah, but as I write this I notice there are some things which I can do which don't require a sharp mind: I'll search through the noun project for good icons to import into the Bézier Game. Let's see... Nah, I'd need a coffee to get through this. Let's call it a day. I hope to come to this library some other day, it's a pleasant space.

As I was biking back home I went through a road where trees had been recently watered. I came down a hill, quite fast, and I saw that I had the red light. I pressed on my brakes hard, the bike skidded to the side and I flipped over with the momentum, sliding a couple of meters before coming to a stop. Everybody rushed to my help but I was in one piece, I picked myself up and put the bike on the sidewalk. The car behind me offered me a ride to the hospital, but it was just some scrapes and a bruised ego. I made a stop at another pool along the way, because I needed to wash off the mud (in the showers of course!) and regain composure. After the adrenaline wore off I felt the hit on my thigh, it may become a bruise but other than that I'm in one piece, thank god.

Work Journal

2018-08-01 Work log

AuthorMark MacKay

This morning I went to the gym and I felt weak, so I only had a light workout. I then came back home and dragged my feet to get out to do some work. Went to the bathroom like 4 times before noon. I went to the nearest study hall, and heat was blazing, but it felt particularly uncomfortable today. Then I had the most painful stomach ache I've felt in some time, so I came back home and it waned away after a couple of hours. Yesterday my body was aching all over. I think it might be gastroenteritis.

It's interesting to observe, because I made all sorts of reasons why I wasn't performing as I expected, but sickness hadn't crossed my mind at all (diarrhea is so common in Mexico that I don't really consider it a symptom, but I had forgotten I've been diarrhea free for a long time in Spain).

I suffer from the opposite of hypochondria, I observe symptoms and I attribute them to my state of mind or to circumstances. Is there a middle way? Any symptom you observe can come from your mental state ("I can't lift as much today because I didn't sleep well"), environmental circumstances ("Sure it's hot today"), or health ("I may be sick"). People in Spain seem to attribute everything to sickness, perhaps because of their excellent health coverage, while I tend to put off going to the doctor until it's very necessary. Nothing bad has come from this, except one time that I suffered Salmonella during an entire month because I thought it was a minor stomach upset that refused to go away.

Now that I think of it better, there is something bad that comes from this: the blame that one inflicts upon oneself for not performing to one's expectations. As I realized I was sick I felt much more accepting about my state, I wasn't being lazy or weak.

Workwise, I did end up dedicating around three hours of work to Project Arete. Not all that productive, but some territory was gained. I shall take it easy this week.

2018-07-31 Work log

AuthorMark MacKay

This time I begin the work log at the pool. I felt like I had been hit by a train this morning, the body aching all over because I overexercised yesterday. I'll give my body a break today, biking will be done at a leisurely pace, and I will engage in no form of endurance or strength training.

What needs to be accomplished today? Today I am not sure. I'll just dive into the codebase and see what happens.

Work session 1 (30 min)

I was able to resolve some further bugs. It seems I'm warming up to the codebase and it becomes more intuitive with use. A bug that took me considerable debugging effort involved removing the reliance on private properties (_) of an object. Things are learned by trial and error. I've kept the work session short because I will not be able to focus here for much longer. I'll move work to a library after stretching and dipping in the pool.

I came to Ana María Matute library in Carabanchel. I hadn't been here before, it's a nice modern library, but architecturally it's a disaster. It would seem that the intention was to have three entrances, but I infer that this would require more staff and only one entrance is open (the least convenient and hidden one). The other two entrances have prominent signs directing you to the open one. Too much signage is unequivocally a symptom of bad (or misused) architecture.

At this moment I have a nice view of Madrid in front of me. Perfect for work. Let's get down to business...

Work session 2 (1h 30 min)

Nice focused work. Just all around the place refactoring code. Hadn't had a flowing work session in a couple of days. Hope is restored.

I went to a different pool after the work session. At the entrance, I found former workmates from Cabify, and I joined them. We had a good time playing a card game that's called "liar", and the mechanics of the game involve a lot of lying, of course. The game intrigued me because it made me notice I have become accustomed to evade lying, and that threw off the other players because I'd only lie if I truly needed to, not as an element of strategy. Some years ago I decided to try out what would happen if I didn't lie, and when a difficult situation showed up I'd make an effort towards being honest. Now, I don't consider this moral high ground, from experience it felt very clearly that lying was the easy thing to do in the short term, but in the long term you carried an "honesty debt" which you had to keep track of. Honesty was a means of simplification.

But, in some situations lying was not only merited but necessary, and I'd lie noticing why I had done so, and I'd deal with the debt as soon as possible. An example: my mother asked if I had smoked pot, I responded "no" without hesitating. Why? I later reflected that if she dug more, I'd have to lie about the frequency. "Ah, if I smoked sporadically I'd be able to tell my mother the truth, so this is the correct direction".

In the end I lost a match not because I didn't lie, but because of my habit of honesty I didn't notice I had a winning hand and gave the match to my opponent in a very naive way. I see it as the moral dilemma of stealing an expensive life-saving medicine for somebody who will die if he doesn't have it, except you are so focused on the conundrum of stealing that you don't notice there's a box lying on the street.

We seem to lie a lot out of habit, and the cure to this is conscious honesty. But once the habit is uprooted, conscious honesty is a burden. If the Nazis ask you if you're hiding Jews, you lie. If a border agent asks how long are you staying, you lie. If you play a game of lying, you lie.

Work Journal

2018-07-30 Work log

AuthorMark MacKay

I am removing unnecessary structure from the work logs, so there's no prelude and afterword. I'm hoping to weave through narrative instead

Today I come again to the gym to exercise and plan the day. This morning, once more, I had a spontaneous work session of Project Arete:

Work session 1 (90min)

I completed one of the tasks for Arete that I had set out to finish yesterday. Project Arete can now go to the icebox, I hope. I will use it inbetween sets to see if what I did indeed resolves things for me.

I find it interesting that, no matter what I do, I can't work at home except when I'm working on Arete. Not only that, but I can't prevent myself from working on it. I may think "I want to be out of home at 10am" and then go down rabbit holes for hours on end.

It breaks the myth that I made for myself: "I can't work from home". So now I have to say "I can only work from home when working on a specific project". Perhaps here lies the answer: allow Arete to be done at home, and take it out of the work sessions because it happens spontaneously. Indeed! I'll stop thinking about it as work. If it were work, I wouldn't be able to do it at home.

Let's lift some weights now.

I think, now that I give myself permission to work on Project Arete from home and outside the worklogs (now, this sounds suspiciously like a side project) I can focus on where I was going with "real work" (if I were to express this in person I'd be very emphatic with the air quotes).

What needs to be done? I'll probably know after the next set.

Two active projects: Notebits Flow and Bézier Game. Notebits Flow is very close to being completed, but René is on vacations, so even if I complete it it will sit completed for an entire week. Better to come back to the Bézier Game.

Next exercise.

I remembered something I know from years of exercising: don't strength train every day. It's not that I will feel exhausted today, overtraining manifests when the body gives out, and in my case this happens after a week of daily training. I shall throw in calisthenics and cardio at the park. But will I be able to plan my day there? I don't see why not.

Next set

I'll begin the day at the pool. The first work session will have no intention except to understand and simplify. In this way I can stir the codebase once again, as it's oils and waters have settled separately.

Next set

What do I need? Last week I was carrying a huge load on the cargo rack and I progressively made it lighter. It is not a hassle to bike around, but it is a hassle to secure it and then unlatch it when I get to my destination. I can either use my laptop backpack and sacrifice cargo space, or attempt to use my hiking backpack, which is much larger.

Next exercise

I'm done at the gym. I'll take the hiking backpack simply as a matter of experience. I won't know if it's useful until I try using it.

So the hiking backpack is not compatible with the bike. I was hoping it was, because I wanted to do a combined hiking and biking trip in the near future, but the ergonomics of something that was designed for walking is very different from biking. I'll figure out how to combine biking + hiking later, at this time it's biking + working. The simple solution would be to purchase a larger backpack, but at this time the constraint is to do it with little or no money, so I'll figure out something else.

On my way to the pool I realized that I didn't bring my bathing suit, and I was almost glad, because this meant I didn't have to bike around with a hiking backpack latched on to me. So I came to the park and hung the hammock for a work session, with the intention of going back home to change the luggage.

Work session 2 (1h)

So I revisited the Bézier Game code, I fiddled around and then compared to the older version I had. I'm afraid I understand my older code better. This left me a bit deflated, one week of wasted effort? But continuing working on this direction would incur in sunken costs fallacy. What is more likely to get the product out of the door? The older code for sure. I will try not to fret on wasted time, the lessons that I learned in this incursion into paperjs are my reward.

After the work session I exercised a bit and wrote an opinion piece on the state of gender language policing. I'll let it simmer a bit before publishing, but it has already taken the topic off of my mind. When thoughts aren't carried away by meditation, creation usually does the trick. Now, let's get back home.

After getting home I fixed myself a quick lunch and had a short nap. In the nap I dreamed that I was meeting up with two of my friends from high school. I was wearing two hats, one was a panama hat and the other was a more feminine hat with flowers. I put both on and went to the meeting place. One of my friends called me as he couldn't find me, and I saw him go right by me, but he didn't recognize me because of the hat. He entered a building. As I was following him, my other friend came out of the building, looked at the hat, then looked at me strangely, and then asked for my computer. I opened my backpack to pull it out, but the laptop seemed stuck. My friend pulled hard and broke it.

Now I'll have a work session at the pool.

I fooled around, but I wouldn't call it a work session. I tried to simplify the code, to no avail. Frankly today I'm feeling hopeless, it's like climbing a mountain through another face, finding that the face that you were climbing was easier, and now I'm drudging the way back. I stretched in the sun, completed a lap underwater, and then came to the library closest to the pool, in hopes of having better luck in a setting more appropriate for focused work. Let us try.

Work session 3 (1h)

I warmed up to the codebase and fixed some things that had broken in my last foray trying to add segments to the Bézier Game. Not feeling as hopeless as I was feeling minutes ago. The library is closing, so I better get back home

Work Journal

2018-07-29 Work log

AuthorMark MacKay

Prelude to the day

I brought down my laptop to my building block gym to put on some music. As this is a hole, very few neighbors exercise here. In the half dozen times I've been here I've yet to encounter anybody else, even though changes in the arrangement of things reveal that there are some people who use it.

I decided to plan the day here because exercising clears the mind, and there's nobody here to think it's strange that there is a man writing on his laptop between sets. I intuitively know nobody really minds you if you don't interfere with their routine, not only at the gym but in the city at large, and the most disapproval I could get is a roll of the eyes. Just an observation pointing to the fact that I prevent myself from doing things because of my own perception of social approval.

It's time for the next set.

What needs to be accomplished today? It is Sunday. Yesterday I marked as rest day, and rest I got indeed. My body was quite sore from the physical activity of the week. Despite my leisurely schedule I still need at least one day of rest. So, last last week, my weekday begins on Sunday.

I have guests coming to the airbnb at 14:00. I'll need to be there at 12:00. It is 9:21 at this moment. I'll be done by 10:30, then I have one hour to shower and do some chores. Shall I take the bike? When I both hit the gym and bike to the apartment my body ends up exhausted and it makes it more difficult to work, so it will be better to simply take the metro there. I'll probably be back home at 3pm.

It's time for the next exercise.

I can come back home for lunch and then hit the library of Casa Encendida, which is open on Sundays, and if I end early enough I will hit the pool. Two work sessions today, in the first one (the airbnb) the tasks are very clear, no need to write them down. The second one, I almost feel hesitant to call out what I'm going to do, because in the recent past I've planned to work on the Bézier Game but I end up working on Project Arete.

Time for the next set.

Damn, deadlifts are always intense. I think the bursts working on Project Arete came from a need in the product. If the need is resolved, then it can become a dormant project once again so that I focus on the Bézier Game. In order for me to verify that the need is resolved, I need to become the user and work around the minefield that is the project at this early stage. This I will do, and I've already extended my prelude way beyond what any reader can possibly tolerate (ah, there it is again: a perception of social approval).

Next exercise

I used Project Arete between sets, having in mind that I wouldn't touch this next week, and there is still more work to do if I want to accomplish my intention of putting more attention to Notebits flow and the Bézier Game. So the second work session for today will be dedicated to Project Arete instead of the Bézier Game. I don't need to do much, so I'll have the rest of my sunday free.

Next exercise

I must question myself: what would be a good position where to leave Project Arete? Since I'm mostly prototyping, the UI for data entry involves writing JSON in sublime. It has become more unwieldy and error prone as the data grows. I already have some very basic inputs in place so that I don't have to dive into code every time I wish to use it. But these inputs are really the values for a widget in which you use the mouse, similar to how you use a color picker to represent three dimensions (red, green, and blue; or hue, saturation, and lightness).

In my usage, I've seen that inputting numeric values influences the way in which these values are picked. The color picker analogy is quite accurate: if I'm writing code I might pick #ccc for a gray, whereas if I used the color picker I would come up with a coldish or warmish gray because able to see what the visual result of the values I'm picking.

Next set

Another thing to take into account is the capacity to register these values more than once per day. As a user, this is perhaps more important to me than inputting values with a picker. So it seems that I have two tasks for Arete today:

  1. Allow to register values more than once per day.
  2. Implement a rudimentary visual picker for values.

Shouldn't be too complicated.

My gym session is going much slower with this technique. I think it's useful, but now that my next steps are clear, I'll finish my workout without touching the computer.

Work session 1 (1h)

I'm coming back from the airbnb apartment, I put the laundry on a 1h cycle, and I'll use this time to prepare lunch and pick up after myself, and write the work session of course.

The lovely French couple left the apartment better than they found it. All I needed to do was to put fresh bedding and replace supplies. When guests arrive I now estimate with a fair amount of certainty how clean they will leave the apartment, but some people just go out of their way in a good way. I've lost count of how many guests I have received, but averaging ten per month, I'd say 10% of people go beyond their duty and leave the place as clean or cleaner than they found it.

These outliers I'm unable to predict. This time it was a French couple, other were a family of Canarias (mother, grandmother and two children), the other were two ladies who came to Madrid for a course on a two week stay. I don't know why this happens, but people like this are the salt of this earth.

The guests who were supposed to arrive today didn't answer my messages, or show up at the apartment at the time they had indicated. I was left wondering what to do: should I have my computer I'd simply do a work session, but I left it at home expecting to to wrap things up over there. I left them a message to give me a call when they knew their arrival time. I'll need to remain mobile for the day.

Now I'll have lunch and then have my last work session of the day.

Work session 2 (1h)

Just as I was finishing lunch, the guests who hadn't arrived informed me they'd be there in 30 minutes, and I saw the message 20 minutes after the fact, so I told them I'd be late. When I arrived to the apartment, there was nobody there, and they hadn't answered my messages. I waited another hour until they finally showed up. Taxi strikes at the airport and a lack of internet had made it both difficult to communicate and thrown off the schedule. They were a surfer-type couple from Australia, vibe told me they'd leave the apartment a little below average in cleanness, I just write this here to verify that my intuitions are currently accurate.

So, being thrown off schedule I came back home to work at a leisurely pace. I didn't finish what I intended to, it turned out to be a more complex problem than I had thought, so I left it for the morning.


Hmmmm... interesting, I enjoyed the planning at the gym, but there is an aspect of life which is unpredictable and throws off any schedule. I see that the conclusions are still valid: I need to leave Project Arete in a useful state in order to advance the rest of the projects.