Fogbrain Battle Four: Friday Fisticuffs

Fogbrain Battle Four: Friday Fisticuffs

Here’s Friday’s log…a fairly productive, singularly-focused day that surprisingly also provided plenty of variety.


Rolled out of bed at 10AM, having gone to sleep at 330AM the night before. Answered some quick emails from my new CPA John about the year’s report, and started thinking about the dreaded expense reporting. I am looking at Expensify to see if it makes it easier, as it seems pretty cool. They’ve been in business now for over five years, and they have a nice website.

Today’s tasks are two: design a nice HTML report for Bill, and resume the coding work for the UCLA project for Sprint 3: Record and Playback. I am resigned to it, but I also seem to have found a kind of LIBERATION in that resignation. It’s going to be a lot of coding, and as I become used to this as a daily thing it isn’t so bad. It’s kind of nice. On the other hand, I have not worked on my website migration for almost a week, so that is going to start catching up with me soon.

It’s 11:15AM. The cats are fed. The new simplehuman trashcan looks and works great. I found a local trash pickup place that might be inexpensive, and I can have them take away my cat-destroyed couch and armchair. I also have a NEW VISION for the living room: I am going to turn it into a nice cafe, with little tables and chairs. With the old furniture gone, I can start putting in hardwood flooring by myself, which would be AWESOME.

Ok, off to Starbucks with me. I’m excited to try out the new web development workflow I put in place last night. Oh, I am also pleased to report that buying Microsoft Office 2011 (Home edition) has given me a much nicer version of Excel to use on the Mac. This means my transition from Windows is now complete; that workstation is now primarily a secondary development/game machine. TWEETING IT!

OBSERVATION: Energy levels are good this morning! Is it because I get to do something new? Or is it because I’m getting used to the pace I’m setting through uncertain terrain and adapting?

Updated Trello board with this week’s DONE.


I arrived at Starbucks, and settled in with my drink right at the crack of noon. Two immediate problems immediately arose: I had forgotten the notebook with all my design notes in it, and the Internet was out. I had already set up a fancy CSS preprocessing tool, Stylus, the night before so I was ready to work without the Internet. I also also thought to bring my iPad, which has a data plan and the ability to work as a WiFi hot spot. I had never used this feature before, and I was delighted to find that it could work in several ways: as a wifi hotspot, as a bluetooth network connection, or as a direct USB connection. It worked fairly well, even with the lousy 2 bars of signal.

Not wanting to go home after all this trouble, I decided to focus on just getting a skeleton HTML/CSS design working, based on the clients original sketch. I was not familiar with Stylus at all, but I had chosen it because it will process regular CSS syntax too. It was kind of wonderful. This is the Silver Age of Javascript!

I worked until 4:30PM, and sent what I had to the client to see if he thought he could use it. I haven’t yet gotten to the fun part, which is remixing and rethinking the elements. I’ll be doing that a bit over the weekend.

My mood remained positive, because I had learned a new tool and it had granted me new powers. As a reward I went to Christmas Tree Shops, just across the parking lot, to look for cheap tables. I ended up picking up cheap bags of pistachios for $6.99/lb, a moderately good deal. Then I went to Home Depot to look at hardware floor samples and prices. I have about 500 ft2 in my living room level (35×15, minus nooks and crannies), and the wood samples I was looking at were $4-$7 per square foot. Installation costs, if I were not to do it myself, would be $2 per square foot, so I’m looking at maybe $2000 to $4500 to refloor the living room. That doesn’t include molding and other flooring supplies either. It’s a big chunk of money, but it’s fun to think about. Converting my living room into a nice cafe-like environment, with outdoor deck seating, would make me happy because I could invite people over to work on cool stuff.

I also swung by Staples to see if they had any interesting folder storage, because I’m finding that I need to manage a collection of papers for each project now that I have taken-up drawing for them. I also just received my Wipebook, a dry-erase notebook that I’m hoping to try out next week, so that needs to go somewhere too on my bookshelf. There really isn’t a place for all this stuff.

It was getting close to 6PM, and I hadn’t really eaten all day except for a Chai Tea Latte, so I stopped by the local Chinese buffet and loaded up on selected items for takeout. At $9.99/lb, I can select the good stuff and be guaranteed a variety of foods; I think it is variety of food that I crave in my eating. And perhaps in all things, now that I think about it…

OBSERVATION: If I don’t have variety of experience in my day-to-day life, I get grouchy. I guess I do need to have something that I need to look forward to after all. The “living room cafe” is an example of that.

From 7:30PM onward, I settled into Weekend Goof-off Mode. I read through back issues of Javascript Weekly, a newsletter that collects the best and most intriguing bits of development news going on so I don’t have to flounder around looking for it. Cooper Press, the publishers of Javascript Weekly, also have a general programming newsletter called Status Code that clue me in on the thinking behind the code. Exciting! I watched some videos, and caught up on video gaming news regarding the flood of high-quality game engines available for practically up-front licensing cost. It’s an amazing time to be a programmer, and it made me feel a bit wistful about not spending more time doing it. On the other hand, do I know what I really want to be doing? I also checked up on Betabrand, a boutique clothing manufacturer in San Francisco that makes dress sweat pants out of French terrycloth, among other fascinating clothing items. Also, I was pleased to see that Hex has a new convertible laptop briefcase with an intriguing design. My current go-to bag is a Hex Sonic Backpack in beige canvas that I got for 50% off; I really like it, but accessing the internal pockets is a little cumbersome. This one would be a little smaller, and offer more usable pocket space while retaining the vertical brief / backpack style that I like. I just wish it came in a color other than black.

It’s 1:30AM now, so I’m going to go to sleep. Tomorrow I need to do some tax-related things, and also do a review of this week.