Fuzzy-Headed Thought Capture Session 001-ALPHA-1

I’m feeling fuzzy headed. I will stream-of-consciousness my way through the MIND FOG and try to get to that first tentative step where I can actually do something constructive.

ARGH

It’s 7:30PM and I am inexplicably feeling wiped-out. I did go to the gym for about 30 minutes of age-appropriate high-intensity cardio, and I am not yet used to it. While I’m being careful about staying within safe limits while I ramp up my routine, I have not been so careful with what I have been eating. I had a 32-oz sugar-free sport drink (it was 69 cents, which is like 50% off the usual price) and then some chicken wings and potato wedges from the take-out section of the supermarket. When I got home, I ate dinner and then spent some time examining the new outside measuring vernier scale caliper (for measuring thickness of paper and card stocks) and did about 30 minutes of research into a web framework. I made a few notes and then thought I should work on my website. That’s when the mind fog took over.

Since writing doesn’t take much energy from me, I thought I would try to describe the mind fog to try to understand what it is. I am noticing, however, that the mere act of typing thoughts down is making me slightly more alert.

MIND FOG STREAM

  • Finding that fog is a kind of friction and it is a kind of thought obscurer. As I sit here, typing with my eyes closed as I scan my array of senses, I am observing my thoughts. I trigger a reaction by thinking of something I should do: fix the CSS on my website’s home page so it will display a “latest posts” blurb. I feel an irritation, a kind of scowling muscular twitch, isolated on the left side of my head, on the side. about level with my eyeball, located between the ear and the eye on the outside of my skull. It fades as I type up my observation.

  • I start to form another directive, and it’s actually hard to do so. The Resistance stops the thought from even forming into words. Wow. I’m aware of my nose, which is slightly stuffed up from allergies, and itchy. My eyes are itchy too. Both sides of my head are throbbing every so slightly, and kind of tension headache that is in my eyes and the sides of my head before the ears. I wonder briefly if it’s the wireless dual-band base station I have just swapped-in. I have noticed that when it’s on, I tend to have a headache. I could be imagining it, but I’m going to swap it out with the old one just to eliminate it as a factor.

  • That took a good 15 minutes of time wasting. Let’s try to form the work directive again. I feel a great lumpishness, a desire to sleep. A kind of tiredness a little deeper in my head, behind the eyes, like there are pockets of sleep. In general I have a headache. I’ve forgotten the directive already. I never formed it.

  • It occurs to me that I’m sitting here hoping that the directive forms on its own volition, summoned by willpower. Willpower is absent. Only desire and expectation for someone ELSE to set the tone of the evening is here. I will have to summon willpower explicitly.

  • Aaaaaaaaa.

  • Wooorrk. Must Wooooork. Aaaaaarrr.

  • Work on…uh, CSS! CSS for front page of website!

  • The CSS issss broken. I have to move the thought bubble from the left to the right. The css layout is wrong. There’s a tricky div nesting with relative and absolute positioning. How do I move it and not break everything else? I don’t really remember how the CSS that makes the speech bubble works either, so I have to review.

  • But hooow? Launch Dreamweaver. Find the page and the CSS file that goes with it. Argh, it’s in the theme folder for the developer theme. Losing focus. I hate hunting for files. But get over it. It’s not so bad. One foot in front of the other, y’know?

  • It’s not going to get any easier. Any hope for flow is a pipe dream, at this stage. I don’t even know why there’s so much drama over this simple thing, opening up a couple of files in Dreamweaver. SO MUCH DRAMA. Now that I’ve pointed it out, there’s a pause, like a naughty child waiting to see if he gets away with his misdeed.

  • NO.

  • initiate Dreamweaver open. click. A couple dozen clicks later (sheesh), I have the right files open after recalling where these files were located exactly. Instead of visualizing the steps before, which would have annoyed me, I just clicked on them once I had the application over. The irritation at digging for files remains, but it was controllable. So much drama over simple things. Why do I dislike it so?

  • Back to the mind fog. I have these files open and ready for modification. The whole of my head is expecting some kind of move that tells it what to do. I’m having trouble forming it. Fix the CSS. Argh. That means diagramming how it works right now. Irritating.

  • another irritation at wondering how I should do the breakdown. I need a piece of paper or something. Sublime Text is great for this kind of off-the-cuff noodling. As I can’t find a pencil or a piece of paper to write up. My tiredness is returning already and I feel like going to sleep early. But DISCIPLINE must be…enforced? Eyes itch from pollen. Need to put some eye drops in, but they can wait…

  • opening Sublime Text. Looking at header.php. Transcribing DIV structure and position cascade. Picking place to start…

<

p>As soon as I started to deconstruct the DIV structure, I picked up where I had left off from the other day. While working, I had an epiphany about where I could store the custom text that I wanted to show in the box, which was cool And now, the work is actually done. It’s 930 now. I started this at 730.

I’m surprised at HOW MUCH RESISTANCE there was. It’s gone now, having been vanquished by the pleasure of having gotten this one thing off my plate. The change is small, but essential; look at the home page and you’ll see a “latest posts” bubble in the upper right.

ANALYSIS

My brain, apparently, did not want to deal with the initial messy task of looking through HTML/CSS to refactor the positioning chain into something that would work. I have such a strong aesthetic dislike for HTML/CSS and Javascript that I think this overpowered the actual work. I wish I’d noted when I started to actually get into the flow…my guess it was about 5-10 minutes of mind fog, followed by 90 minutes of focused hacking. Astonishing.

I don’t understand where the mind fog came from. My mind is clear now…where did the fogginess go? Did carbohydrates somehow work their way out of my system? I don’t think that was it.

From what I recall, the moment of clarity came when I started writing thing down and solving the problem. I had the tools and process to debug and refine the solution. There were a few missteps, and for a moment I thought I had blown away the front page when I deleted a page, but I was able to restore it. There was always one more thing to try, and this chain of activity drew me into its own flow until the job was done. The moment I could assess the change, other changes became obvious. I have been hyper-concerned about implementing this change until now, and now it’s over and I feel better.

I think I had built up the unpleasantness of the task based on a few factors:

  • I really do think CSS is a terrible declaration language, so fundamentally broken in its conception. This makes me not want to deal with it. It also makes me think of all the stupid things I’m going to have to deal with to get it to work. I overestimate the amount of crap I have to deal with, and underestimate my efficiency in resolving it.
  • I had built this one little task up in my mind to be something tedious, one more tiny step in a long to-do list.

But I can’t account for the tremendous resistance. Fuzzy-headedness. Fogginess. Sleepiness. Headaches (now gone). Itchy eyes. I had become hyper-sensitive to every sensation in my body that could be construed as negative. In fact, if sit still and listen to my body, I actually still do have a headache. I can feel the tension in my temples. And my eyes are indeed still itchy. I can feel the soreness in my back and legs from the cardio earlier today. The resistance appears to have drawn from what was already there, but amplified the signal into my brain. My brain was desperately seeing a way out, and grasping at anything that could feed my tired brain an excuse to not do anything. “But I’m not feeling well!” whined the Resistance, pointing out a number of aches and strains around the body. But really, it was just my attitude against it, a long-standing resentment.

A lot of the things I’m stuck on have great big pools of resentment tied up with them. The e-commerce and international fulfillment quandry I’ve faced for years? I really resent how obtuse and stupid the whole process is, and how difficult it is to find good clear information. Likewise with programming IOS or Javascript-based Web Apps. The languages involved are ones I’m particularly not fond of (Objective C…yeesh) or consider to be toys. Learning languages? I despise most language materials for their lack of clarity and nuance in speech. The same goes for MOST learning materials. They fill me with anger and self-righteousness. I am feeling it right now. I get angry at soggy hamburger buns and tasteless fried chicken, the poor quality of tomatoes and the price of garlic powder. I am so not the Big Lebowski. Or maybe I am, filled with silent rage but unable to really act on it because that’s not my thing.

Well, this seething resentment also seems to feed The Resistance. So I think I will have to let it go. Instead, I can look at materials not as examples of failed communication, but as raw ore from which to construct my own learning guides. The raw sources are there; they just need massaging into something I can use or perhaps (as in the case of bland food) learn to correct.