OK, well I signed up for another running course. It’s a speed course – something I need. It’s for doing your best – that is, it’s a personal record (PR) 5K/10K course.
Archive for February, 2005
I’ve got to keep myself busy. I move between being active and involved, and then being bored and withdrawn. I find that I’m externally driven and I’ve got to put myself into situations where someone else pushes me. I have to make the decision to put myself into the situation, but once there I like someone else to make demands of me. I seem to respond to this. So I’m probably going to take another course. Probably another running course or maybe a drafting course, or a welding course. I dunno, but I gotta do something. I need to keep myself busy.
Well back a post or two in Postcreative Depression I was talking about having to stop programming and start writing a System Design document. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but after a while I got into it. So last Friday I finished it. It was based upon a template consisting of 32 chapters, for example, Requirements, Design Overview and Objectives, Performance, NLS (National Language Support), etc. The biggest section deals with the design of the External Interface. Since this is the development of an Application Programming Interface (API) written for the Java environment, the entire API had to be documented – each and every class and method. To do this I created source code for all of the Java classes and methods, then added documentation comments, and used the javadoc command to generate HTML documentation which was imbedded in the External Interface chapter. I’ve gotten really good at creating a Microsoft Word document which is composed of many imbedded files which themselves are imbedded further. When done the document was 279 pages. Next our sponsors, development, and test teams have to review it. So the ball is in their court. Now I have to develop a work break down spreadsheet, that is, a detailed accounting of all the tasks that need to be done and how long each will take.
Yesterday was another Friday night out, but no dinner date, this one was different. We saw “Little Shop of Horrors” downtown. We have season’s tickets to the local Broadway musical series in Austin. We’ve done this for the past few years. It’s our anniversary treat to each other each year. This year there are four: Jesus Christ Superstar, the one yesterday, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and The Producers. Yesterday Kathy had committed to work on Friday when she is typically off. So she was late in getting off work and we didn’t get togther until 7 PM. With the play at 8 PM a nice sit-down dinner was out. [Note to Kathy: don’t ever commit to working on Friday when there’s a show] So we hussled through the McD’s drive-through and I drove to Bass Concert Hall while she passed me my burger and fed me fries. This brought back memories. One Thanksgiving while we were dating Kathy came from college for a visit. I was working as an intern and living in a small cabin in the country on the outskirts of Poughkeepsie, NY. We made fruit cocktail, cooked a tiny turkey, and had our own mini-Thanksgiving. Sometime during that day my brother, sister-in-law and parents, who were visiting them, phoned from Virginia where he was teaching at University of Virginia. Somehow that call got me to thinking and the next day we got in my car and drove to Virginia to surprise and see them. Along the way Kathy fed me turkey leftovers as I drove south in my old beat-up turquiose 63 Chevy listening to Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman on my 8-track. We both clearly remember so fondly that time driving and sharing together that we mentioned it yesterday night as we held hands walking into see the musical.
I have been so excited programming at work that I got up and went to work early. Now if you know me I wake up early anyway so I got up even earlier – now that’s saying something. Well I got to work and started right in programming. I was focused. At about 1:30 PM having taken 22 1/2 hours over the past four days it was done. It was working. It was organized. It was slick. I was feeling the internal joy of attacking this challenge, surmounting the obstacle, and achieving this self-set goal. I posted the results in our code repository. Afterwards I felt relieved but somewhat sad. I no longer had that tingle. My next job was to do system design documentation and had nothing to do with this programming. I consider it more drudge and less creative. The adrenaline was gone. So by 5 PM I was totally exhausted. My brain didn’t want to work anymore. I walked slowly down the walk to my car and went home. I was feeling postcreative depression.
Last week I figured that I should write some Java code to invoke a C API using the Java Native Interface (JNI). I plan on using it for testing. I find that although I can think about what needs to be done I have to actually do the programming and feel my way through what really needs to be done. Some people can work everything out in their heads, but I’m more of a hands-on guy. I think of it as mental clay where you add and manipulate the code until it’s just the way you want it, that is, organized, clean, neat, and precise. Well after five hours on Saturday it was really coming together and I was quite happy with the design and implementation. I would have worked longer, but Kathy and I had a party to go to. On Sunday afternoon I was so psyched that I went in for another five hours, and made more good progress. After dinner I thought about going back to work, but by that time I was tired and my head was all fuzz. I find that I’m a morning person, so today I went in early. I worked on it all day and nearly got it all working. Now that it’s starting to work and I’m really happy with it I want to show someone. However everyone at work is busy and they probably wouldn’t appreciate what I did unless they look inside and I doubt they’ll do that. So regardless I know what I did was peachy keen, but it’ll probably never be appreciated. Such is the life of a creative person who works in a medium that doesn’t have any physical reality. I just can’t put it on a wall or pedestal for others to enjoy.
Each Friday Kathy and I go out to dinner together. We typically select a different restaurant to try. Sometimes we return to one we’ve already been to, but most of the times we try a new one. Last week we were going to go downtown to Katz’s Deli, but we were both tired so we went back to the nearby Ka-Prow Pan-Asian restaurant. However, tonight I got home a bit early so we drove downtown and had dinner at Katz’s. Their slogan is “Katz’s never closes” although we’ve never verified this. We sat and talked about what has happened over the past week, what our children are doing, and what our plans for the weekend will be. We finished with us sharing a piece of cheesecake. Now we’re home and doing our own things, and I’m thinking about where we’ll go for next Friday’s dinner.