Tag Archive: mental block

blenderSome people ‘fire’ months, years, etc… I was very close to firing a whole lot more after a very bad week.

In a period of 6 days, my very expensive King Size Bed that we saved a lot for had the frame crack and the mattress drop. As a result, my spouse and I have been sleeping separated. She on the side of the bed that is okay with an equally expensive mattress that helps her back that was injured permanently by a careless 19 yr old driver. I on the other hand have been relegated to my office to sleep on a bed I got when I moved out to the West Coast to pursue being a software developer. About $200 from Ikea, 13 years old, survived the trip back to Pennsylvania… But it’s too soft for my dear spouse. This was strike one.

Monday, I did a very grueling presentation for work on a project I’d taken on myself. The presentation went okay, but there were chinks in it. Worn out, I came home and got hit with the flu. 102 temperature and the whole “useless as all hell” misery. I didn’t have enough energy to sit up most of the time. Water and the occasional saltine (so much for GF). This took me down for two days where I really needed to be fixing the chinks in my presentation. Make that strike two.

Today, my company and I parted company. I’m not going to go into a lot of details. There’s no need to. It was a good job, but the fit simply wasn’t right. I don’t know if I could have or would have changed enough to make it a good fit. These changes never come at a good time. It is what it is. The team/group will do what they will and I will do what I will. It just so happens that it will now be on two separate paths. But we can switch sports and call that the hat trick for the week.

So, I do what I always do at this point… Update my resume and contemplate semi-finished pieces of code projects that hit some stumbling block or another. Or at least I contemplate  contemplating it while avoiding all responsibility on my first night free by reading too much internet. (My random 80’s mix in the background has just started Rickrolling me)

One of the famous people I subscribe to on Twitter (I like to refer to this as Schizofreindia) is Producer/Writer Jane Espenson (@JaneEspenson). Apart from being a linchpin in the Buffy family, she’s also the creator of Warehouse 13, and she’s been a writer, executive producer, or contributing producer on everything from Once upon a Time, Torchwood, Dollhouse, to Tru Calling, Firefly and Angel. She is greatly respected in her arena.

A few weeks ago, I noticed she posts to twitter an occasional “writing sprint.” I’d love to blog more (and maybe I will now) but at the time, I think I noticed it in the evening as it was winding down. A writing sprint is basically an hour devoted to total focus writing on one project. It seemed like (given the chance) it would be at least motivation to try. Sadly, I just filed it away and didn’t think much of it.

Tonight, I am sitting in the living room contemplating what waste of time I will stay up too late watching on the telly. And then I see it:

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 10.26.02 PMNot “writing”… Any Project. I contemplated my latest block in a software project. I could go into very droll technical details but it is simply defined as “Multi-Threaded CoreData” Either of these terms can strike fear into even advanced Apple Coder Types, and here I was trying out how to get both at the same time. And honestly, I really wasn’t good at CoreData as it was without adding in the monster of trying to drag it kicking and screaming into the world of being Multi-Threaded; which I can guarantee you… It doesn’t want to be.

But, hey. I had a project, a goal, and at least an hour for bruising my head on the keyboard some more. Why not?

Why not indeed. At 50 minutes in; it worked. I didn’t simply make it work. But I understood why it worked, how it worked, and that I could make it work again. I also wrestled down a nice little steaming pile of other Apple coding technologies that I’d pretty much avoided.

In the world of coding there is a very important step. It’s called Source Control. What this is, is carefully storing your changes on a server so that you can see your work, roll back your work if you do something truly bone-headed, and have a secure way to share work with others. The act of saving your work is called checking-in. And sure enough, I hit the Check in and pushed to my save server and looked at the clock. 9:59.

I’m the type of coder (nay artist) who when I finally defeat something I will jump up, punch the air, shout “YEAH!”, etc.  (Did I mention… maybe not the best fit for my old job)

I had no choice. I had to revel in my schizofriendia just once.Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 10.37.53 PM

You see “Schizofriendia” to define a term is not the act of following someone famous. It is the concept of writing to someone famous with (for example) nearly 100,000 followers and being the slightest deluded that your comment isn’t just fodder for the internet vacuum. I guess this instance wasn’t Schizofriendia. Because I wasn’t writing it for her, I was writing it for anyone else who might be following her tonight also trying to find their own motivation to succeed.

In a week of what one could call major failures. In a week where one could easily discard all motivation and just slide down a whole. One success can keep a dimming light burning.

One success can do that…

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 10.45.07 PM

But an added word of encouragement that was unexpected can light a new path in ways it has never glowed before.

Nothing gets fired, it just finds a new course and path. A better fit

Classic Maxell Print Ad

The Maxell Wind Blown Guy

When I made Tosocnet, it was to give me a place to talk about a topic I felt I had the ability to talk about at length. This unfortunately ran into the two walls of not wanting to talk about a really great idea in the field that was fueled by EVERYTHING I saw; and further was fueled by wanting to talk about non-field items that just wouldn’t fit.

So I made this blog. And I was freed from those two walls.

Yeah, be careful what you wish for. With absolute power comes absolution. Once a cliché three times a socket wrench.

Basically, I looked at myself and said, “Okay, write something.” I stared back and chuckled much like Goofy™. I have a friend who can basically start talking and run for an hour or more. She can move from topic to topic and you really just sit there like the old Maxell print advertisement (See above picture). She’s wonderful, but you can get lost looking for an on ramp to the conversation. The reason I bring her up is that the one thing that drives her nuts is to look at her and say, “Pick a topic to talk about.” She goes blank.

The Zen story of the Centipede asked how she coordinates her legs so that she doesn’t trip and then next moment she can no longer move.

I find that I write when I have something to write about. I find I don’t write when I motivate myself to write. Lately, life has been too busy (and for a man who’s unemployed, that takes some effort). But honestly it’s been for lack of motivation to write on a topic. I watched the winter Olympics with a heavy focus on skating. I’m not going to write about how the Russian Men’s Silver Medalist needs to learn what being a gracious competitor is. I’m not going to write about the fear that Mao Asada may not be alive in a year if her country goes after her. I’m not going to write about how cool Shaun White is. (Though he really is)

There’s always politics. Yeah… not so much.

See, when I write about a topic; I rip it to shreds. I really don’t have the patience or the energy to actually pick apart what’s going wrong in government. I really don’t have the knowledge or experience either, but that fact doesn’t really stop most people who post on the topic.

So, I feel that if I have topics to write on, I’ll write more often. I’m actually going to be taking the questions I get on Formspring and dumping the answers here instead. I figure… my words… my space… err should I “™” that last bit?

That’s all for now. As a clever 16 yr old twitter user from my neighborhood posted this past week, “Hello ‘2 hrs past my bedtime’ we really need to stop meeting like this.”