Stevey’s BACK!

Oh my god, Steve is back, and on fire. That Old Marshmallow Maze Spell is fantastic, I think I found two or three sub stories that fit me. Not sure what the whole story was now. Just that it flowed, changed and fit the whole time.

I’m still feeling shaky, story in a story, with some meta story in the story story. Not sure how, but I just feel profoundly changed.


Seth posted about coincidence. Yesterday, we were debugging a problem (to be posted about later) I started to play with my phone, phone, and it turns out that the other four people in my cubicle all have the same phone.

The Nokia 3310. It’s just a all round great phone. The feature I like the most is it’s a single button click to cycle through the predictive text modes. Other phones seem to think you never want to swap, and thus hide the option in menus, very annoying.

The circle of Life

Warning: this is a personal blog entry, with no tech content other than name dropping Lisp.

Today has been an odd day. This morning my sister in law came over to look after our children (school holidays) with my niece. She is ~14 months, and just a cute little gem. Reminds me of my two children at that stage. Not that they are not gems, they just aren’t at the tiny and dependant, but still just starting to show free will. Mine now have a lot of free will. Once at work I looked at some pictures my mother had given me on a USB key. I had thought the pictures were of my sisters wedding, turned out to be my parents wedding and early family photos.

I had seen the real photos before, but when they are full screen, the detail is more obvious. The thing that struck me was how beautiful my parents were. I mean they still are, but they have always looked older, and I have no problem with how they look, and the fact I’ll look just the like them. The thing the overwhelmed me, was how they had looked before I knew them. It was how I’ve always seen myself, young. Besides that point I look so like my father, but it’s the idea, that we all have been young and we all age slowly.

Seeing photo’s of my brothers and sisters as small things, they were all easily identifiable. Seeing how my parents were glowing at their children, one of which was me, reminds me of how I feel when I look at my children.

I’d doing nearly anything for them. It’s then that you get your parents did do everything for you. You realize how much love your parents have always had for you.

When it felt like they were telling you off, they were just trying to warn you, or try to help you avoid making the painful life mistakes they made. But you can’t listen, or can’t understand where they are coming from. This dilemma I struggle with my children, how do I help them avoid pain? Because you never want them to suffer pain, but they don’t hear you intention.

Recently I have been learning a new paradigm of programming. LISP via Lisp In a Box, and once you get how lambda functions work, and why you they add power, how macros work, or how run time optimization via expression trees adds huge value (that bits from C# 3.0), you notice you are on the other side of the knowledge gap. Pre-jump people can tell you about the gap, but if you are not open to learning, you hear yada yada, and if your open but haven’t got it yet, you only know there is something you don’t know. But once you get it, you just get it. It makes sense.

When Matt and I were flying back from Montreal, on the Chicago -> L.A. flight we had some VERY loud late-teens. They talked on for 40+ minutes, about how their mother was a martyr for staying behind (it was just before Christmas) with the grandmother. Even though that is not what the mother individually wanted to do. The two late-teens, couldn’t get why mum, didn’t just do what she wanted. Just like they have been doing in their life up till that point. They didn’t understand that staying with grandmother, may feel like an honour compared to a chore.

While looking after your parents, may be trying and involve keeping people who are old and tired happy, it’s something I look forward to with pride. I look forward to repaying the effort my parents invested in me. Not out of a feeling of dept, but out of gratitude.

This was part of what the photo’s helped me get today. I feel happy to be on this side of the family gratitude gap.

Music in the Office – A deadly distractor? YES

Adam Cogan blogged about the problems of listening to music while working. Dr Neil replied it has it place.

I agree with both of their points, I wear headphones to help block the team noise when I am doing a known task. Mainly house music.

An issue Adam missed was:

People throwing objects to gain attention. I just had a lunch box crash into my desk, because my house music so was funky that my legs were jiggling ( E-Smoove – I Hear The Music off Nice ‘n’ Urlich 2) that my chair was squeaking. I had not noticed the paper and rubber bands so the projectiles had escalated. I was then told be thankful it was not a book!

It took about 5 minutes to calm down enough to even find out why I’d been attacked. 15 minutes later, I’m almost feeling calm, but not at the funky happy place I was. Now that productive time lost. All because of music.

Why documenting Feels Hard

Last night, I realised I wanted to write a blog post about why I’ve been posting so much recently. There are two reasons, FeedDemon is making it easy for me to read many feeds, and thus I think about stuff that I want to talk about. And I’m documenting what we should do. Aka design.

Now I know the value of documentation is fantastic, and it lets me off load thoughts, gather others input and refine the plan for what is coming. But what I find hard is the writing for three reasons.

  1. I am pretending to do something mentally, so I can review my thoughts, decisions and strategies. Then write all this goodness down. But pretending is not actually doing. So there is a feeling that it’s not real, in which case why do it. I know weird feedback loop.
  2. Then I start writing stuff, and I am dictating to myself what to write. The thinker part says some profound thought, the writer queues this and starts to interact with the typist, to get it written. The latter two are slowish, so the thinker
    1. waits
    2. races ahead (and this can inject false words or letters into the typing queue, and the output becomes confused, family members will recognise this outcome)
    3. goes off on tangents

    some times the typist gets stuck and has to consult the speller, then the whole process stalls. Dangerous place to find ones self.

  3. The last reason I dislike writing is I’m not sure: I’m writing the correct thing? The right target audience? Too little information? Too much? Then analyst paralysis over what to write kicks in.

So I read blogs, write blogs, check email, write emails, eat lunch, then in the afternoon, in a fit of guilt make myself do the task at hand. Then I feel pleased progress is been made, but ashamed I didn’t start earlier. Because it’s not really hard, once you got it down others can add value and you feel good that you have advanced the good fight. But that is not how it feels at the start of the process.

So with this all in mind, this morning I read Mark Lawrence’s Why do I hate documenting Application Architectures? and felt doo-ee-oh, so just had to write this. Which was easy because I was just talking to myself.