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Fry Another Day

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Trapper Zoid


Over it this particular little spot in the Bizarro Hemisphere where the seasons are upside down it's been constantly hot for the last fortnight. The maximum temperatures every day have been in the 30 to 40 degree Celsius range, and the night temperatures are still in the mildly warm range. As my air conditioning system consists of a window and a fan I've been feeling the heat in recent days. It isn't too bad (you get used to it), but I do tend to get drowsy in the middle of the day. I'm thinking about rescheduling all my no-brainer task to the midday period and getting my thinking done in the morning and night. Or maybe have regular siestas!

Sorry about the missed entry last week - too many things to do, not enough progress to talk about. Sorry again that this journal entry will be on the long side and picture free. I'll make it up to you by putting something fun at the end, I promise.

Personal Development

Lately I've been spending a lot of time on general planning - not just for Ice Slider or my new game library project but on everything in general. While I've spent a bit of time on the specific projects I've devoted most of my effort on general personal improvement - my main goal for January. The best way to improve my productivity is to shed off a bunch of bad habits and try to rewrite my own programming to make myself more effective.

It's taken me a bit longer than I'd initially thought; January is well mature now. But it's hard to change to a more organised frame of mind if you have to use your original inorganised mindset to make the switch! Plus given I went into a slump in the second half of 2006, combined with my general high restistance to organisational methods I suppose it's expected (I once scored a perfect zero out of twenty for organisation ability on a career psych test; the psychologist remarked it was the first she'd ever seen).

I've started reading "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey, and I've been spending a lot of time reading through the articles on Steve Pavilna's Personal Development website (formely runner of Dexterity Software, which he seems to have closed these days). After reading through some of these I've tried to go to the fundamentals and figure out exactly what my life purpose is. You might need to skim through a few of the articles over at the website to understand the context of what "purpose" is in this context.

According to both Covey and Pavlina, purpose is central to finding the right balance for your life, and after reading through their explanations I agree. It's something that subconsciously I find I'm questioning in my own choices, especially with the question of what I should do in life. Should I aim to stay in academia, or move back into games full-time. Or perhaps neither? Or maybe both in some sort of balance? I decided to brainstorm my purpose for a while to see what I really felt.

However, I found it very hard to separate out my preconceived notions about what I've always thought I should do from what deep down I beleive is my purpose. I've been hooked on being involved in games for decades, and given I'm nearing the end of my postgrad degree I'm also attached to academia. I can't seem to help noticing that my attempts to define a purpose tend to swing back to encompass both these areas. Is it just because I'm suited to these areas, or am I just retrofitting my present actions to what I think on the surface of my mind should be the answer? It's a difficult question to answer. I've spent a long time thinking about purpose - way longer than Steve Pavlina suggested in his "20 minute" exercise - and haven't yet experienced the "surge of emotion" he wrote signified finding the right answer. Of course, the heat fatigue doesn't help get in the right frame of mind for any emotions other than dog-tiredness [grin].

I also notice that most of the personal mottos or purposes that other people discover speak of stereotypical noble themes - self sacrfice, serving others, integrity etc., and I can't help wonder if they truly mean that or if they too are led to what we on the surface feel the answer should be, rather than what it actually is. Or it could just be I'm only a neophyte in personal development, and I haven't yet reached the stage where I can accurately guage my proper purpose?

Either way, I think it's best to stick with the best attempt at a purpose I've come up with and then regularly ponder the question to see if I can come up with anything better. My draft purpose is more about my own personal development - to develop the three areas of personal mastery; mind (thought and logic), body (general fitness and capability for action) and heart (dreams and passion), to combine and complement these three into a cohesive whole, and to help other achieve the same. Needs a lot of work to make it a more punchier motto before I can make it the basis of my own line of self-help books, but it's a start.

I've now moved onto a new book I've bought - David Allens' "How to Get Things Done", all about how you can organise yourself to become more productive. I figure if I can get the productivity side of things working well then the more advanced areas of personal development such as purpose might resolve themselves. Plus I really need to get my effectiveness sorted out ASAP while it's still early in 2007 and I'm relatively energised by the summer sun; that way I can keep things churning along nicely and not get a repeat of the slump of last year.

The Obligitory Fun Bit

This week has seen two GameDev competitions wrap up - the final scores for 4E5 (congratulations Drillan for Mop of Destiny, as well as everyone who entered!), and capn_midnight's three hours ASCII game comp. I find the competitions to be one of the best parts of the GameDev experiences, and am musing about setting one up myself some time later this year.

But until then, I'll restart and semi-formalise something I used to have in my journal; the Totally Pointless Competition!

Totally Pointless Competition #1
What picture do I use as the desktop wallpaper for my home Windows XP computer?

Rules of the Competition
  1. Only open to those who have registered accounts at GameDev (no Anonymous Posters, sorry).
  2. Try to only answer once. If you answer more than once, I'll take your final answer as the one you want to keep.
  3. Describe the picture in 20 words or less.
  4. The first person to correctly guess what the picture is of will win the prize (unless they invalidate their guess with another try, in which case they get a "way to go, knucklehead" response. In the extremely unlikely event that no-one can guess correctly what the picture is exactly within the word limit, the prize will go to the closest guess as determined by the judge (i.e. me).
  5. The judge's decision is final. The judge also reserves the right to add as many new rules as he sees fit, whether to clarify unforseen issues with the competition or merely out of boredom

The Fabulous Prizes...
The winner of the competition will receive the following fabulous prizes:
  1. A complimentary congratulatory comment on their awesome achievement by yours truly.
  2. The everlasting adolation and respect of your peers (valid for as long as they read the complimentalary congratulatory comment).
  3. Your name listed as competition winner at the top of my journal until the completion of the next Totally Pointless Competition, as well as a link to your own journal if you are a fellow GDNet Journalteer.

And that's it!
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Original post by Prinz Eugn
Is it something to do with a game?

I think it's a more amusing challenge if I don't provide any hints whatsoever [grin].

Well, maybe just one: the wallpaper is "suitable for all ages", so I won't risk bannanation by posting it here in a few days time.

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I see a landscape of a vast forest of knowledge.

In other news.. :)

I read "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" a few months ago! Great book. That Covey guy is a real motivator, expecially to see in video.

I'm pretty much embattled in my own little war among myself. For a long time I always thought I wanted to be a programmer. I tinkered with visual basic back when I was 15, but I never got too deep into programming. I graduated early from high school and jumped into the Marines for 4 years. Now i'm out of the Marines and in college. To make a long story short, I'm now in a position where I don't think I'd make a good fit as a good programmer in the industry. So, now i'm forced to keep it as a hobby while I try to figure out what exactly I want to do with life... *sigh* I'd love to be a programmer, but it's going to have to come later when I feel confident in my ability to do it. Ugh, so now what I do? Be a designer? Break into the industry as a lowbie tester and try to move up the ranks after i've proven myself to the company? Try to get a entry level software programming position being hopefull that I can pass the interview tests? Wha? I'm a highly motivated and very dedicated individual, but I feel lost as hell as to what my purpose really is here.

More recently, after spending time in the Marines, I began to fall in love with the academic world. It was never pressured upon me to do well in school, so I never really felt like I learned what I should have learned. Now I'm at a point where I just don't want to stop reading about new things, though I can hardly keep the things that I do read in my memory. I even recently thought that it would be a great idea if I would worked in the software industry and come back to my university to teach in games development. I really love the environment.

Anyway, I understand (partly) what you're going through. Like my mom's always told me, 'Take it one day at a time'. Ha, easier said then done.

I'll stop rambling. :)

Take care

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After going to Steve "be like me" Pavlina's site and seeing his "Through no extra effort of my own I intend to make a million dollars appear in my pants by next Thursday" Windows wallpaper, I was tempted to change my vote.

But I hope you have more taste than that. That silly "blab it and grab it" theology reminds me of a woman who cut my hair a buncha years ago. She kept telling me that she was buying a new house, and one day she found the house she wanted. She didn't have the money, but she did claim in Jesus' name that the house would be hers, so the house would end up being hers (so sayeth her pastor, undoubtedly). And to work towards that end, she called up one of those credit-repair services so she could try to get negative credit info removed from her records.

I tried to point out that knowingly claiming that accurate credit info is inaccurate to a credit bureau (which is what most credit-repair services do) is a crime, but she was undeterred. Jesus told her she'd have the house, and a little minor crime along the way was a minor price to pay.

But I digress.

If you have a chance, check out the books "Die Broke" and "Live Rich" (both by the same author) for a healthy attitude towards work and employment. IMHO, the author goes a little overboard regarding non-ownership (especially WRT car-leasing, which is a far worse deal than getting a reliable car and keeping it for ten years), but it's worthwhile all the same.

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Original post by johnhattan
After going to Steve "be like me" Pavlina's site and seeing his "Through no extra effort of my own I intend to make a million dollars appear in my pants by next Thursday" Windows wallpaper, I was tempted to change my vote.

[grin] You're actually very close to the reason why I decided to go with the wallpaper question. Doubly close, because I also don't hold much weight with the "if I think it, it will come" hypothesis of the nature reality. I'm also not that interested in becoming a millionaire - I'm a grad student, lots o' money isn't much of a motivator for me [smile]

I find the idea interesting, as if you really can shape reality through your thoughts then it is true that a natural skeptic could not see it. There are several fatal flaws with the idea that make it totally unfeasible to me: if visualising your ideal goal is the only thing that shapes reality, then what stops me wishing for unrealistic things such as superpowers or to be crowned King of America? Secondly, there are a bunch of people who already believe very strange things that have never come true (the end of the world, alien conspiricies, etc.). The idea that merely wishing for your dreams to come true is all that is required just seems way too far-fetched.

What I think can make a difference is the power of positive thinking and goal setting. If you set yourself a feasible goal and repeat it to yourself, then you will start consciously (and maybe subconsciously) altering your behaviour to acheive said goal. So if your goal is to become rich, you will be more open to money making opportunities and more likely to take risks that could lead to greater wealth.

Thus as I'm going through this reorganisational process I'm planning on changing my dusty old wallpaper that I've had plastered on my ancient monitor for many a year to something a bit more inspirational, not for some passive magical experiment to get rich but as a motivation tool to get me more active at achieving my goals. I've traditionally been fairly negative about life, the universe and everything, so having visual reminders to keep positive and to stay focused are useful as I'm trying a new outlook on life.

So yep, you've been right on the money [smile].

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