Fogbrain Battle Three: Thursday Throwdown

Fogbrain Battle Three: Thursday Throwdown

Here’s Thursday log of the battle to discover WHO OR WHAT is coordinating Fogbrain’s ongoing campaign to derail my productivity.


I woke up after 8 hours of sleep right around 10AM, so that was good. STILL DEHYDRATED, though, even after drinking all that water yesterday. I may have overestimated the amount of water in the big mug I drink from…just remeasured it, and it comfortably holds 16oz of liquid, not 20oz. Oops.

Consumer Distraction I then got distracted by an ongoing household concern: the lack of a good kitchen trash can. I have wanted to get a nice simplehuman trashcan for a while, but WHICH ONE? I spent quite a bit of time researching the options, maybe more time than I should have. I have a 20% off coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond that I’m planning on using, and it expires soon. Eep. My office chair is also starting to disintegrate, each of its supporting elastic bands dying one-by-one. Three of them are gone, and I’m essentially sitting on a metal support bar. It’s not as uncomfortable as it sounds, but I am saving up for a nice chair. Steelcase has a sale twice a year, so I’m hoping to get a Leap V2 in dark green next time it rolls around. I’m also keeping an eye on Madison Seating, which sells used chairs at a considerable discount under their own warranty. I’m holding out though for the platinum base…shallow, I know!

It’s now 1145. My head has felt clear up to now, but as my thoughts turn to getting back into the code I feel the resistance rising within me. I have been cooped up in the house for over 24 hours now, and I’m starting to feel antsy. But I will try the 15-minute ritual…I’ll work for 15 minutes getting into the root of the code from yesterday, and if I don’t feel like working after that I’ll do something else.

Let me also apply the mental ritual (the “clearing the mind”). I’m writing down first what I think I need to do next, so I can let that thought float in should the mind clearing work. I was able to recall three things that will orient me in the right place: visualfactory, renderer, and threefactory. These are some code modules I’m in the midst of writing/rewriting on my holy quest to “complete the loop” of getting a well-behaved, extensible, modular codebase ready for the next phase.

5 minutes elapse…

Interesting. I closed my eyes and tried to quiet my thoughts, which didn’t really work. I became aware of a number of sensations that were bothering me, so as how uncomfortable this chair actually is; I’ve just been suppressing it. There are various twinges and crackles in my joints, and a spasm in my right arm that I hadn’t noticed before. It is cold. I also became aware that my mind was racing, or wanted to race, in certain ways. These were more like autonomous anxieties that were pinging for attention. I found that I couldn’t really tell any of these thoughts to go away just by willing it, but I choose to not react to them while still observing them. I gave them permission to express, but without a reaction from me they then faded. A kind of timeless sensation was the result. I will have to try this again later.

It’s almost noon. Time for 15 minutes of diving into the code for today. I would like to get this bit of code closed and put away, then head out to Starbucks at around 1 or 2PM to work on another project that is due Friday.


It’s 1:30PM, and I got a chunk of cleanup work done in my code. However, I’m facing the next chunk of uncertainty, which is to loop all this stuff together in some fashion. I was feeling tense, so I tried the quieting of my thoughts as I lay in a sun beam. The problem with quieting thoughts in a sun beam is that it works really well to put you to sleep. Next time, I will do it while sitting.

Anyway, I want to get this chunk done, then I will take a break by doing some errands down in the shopping district. It’s now 2:30PM. Setting timer to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Suppressing urge to check email and Facebook.

It’s now 5:30PM, and I spent more time than I had thought before taking a break. Once getting going, it’s hard to stop. Incremental progress made, having had to detour and write a new position tracking module so I could test the code locally using the same mechanism being used by a motion tracking camera. TEDIOUS. But now I can theoretically move onto assigning pieces.

630PM I headed out to buy the garbage can and Excel for Mac. Got some McNuggets, but discovered that McDonald’s has discontinued their “Hot Mustard Sauce”, which is the entire reason that Chicken McNuggets are any good. Disgruntled.

Back at 7:45PM. Need to switch gears and work on something else. I did dishes, set up the new garbage can and marveled at how well it worked. Less gratifying was the realization that it made the rest of my kitchen look terrible by comparison! At 9:00PM I put a live video podcast on in the background (Lean into Art Podcast #99 about crowdfunding on Patreon, where patrons can fund their favorite creators). While this was playing, I set up a new web development project for which I’m going to use a bunch of new tools, theoretically making this project much faster to work on. Once I understood how it worked and got it to behave, I committed it to source control under Git, and pushed a copy of it up to Bitbucket, then wrote some instructions. I just finished fiddling with everything at 3:30AM…doh!


Today was a pretty productive day, although it was a long one that saw little “exciting” progress. I’m finding that my attitude is shifting in an unexpected way too as each day grinds onward: I’m getting used to the idea that the hard work is going to take a lot of time, and it’s just the way it is. Before I didn’t really want to believe it, being the impatient sort that I am, but the documenting of these experiences over the past few days has made me quite aware of just how slow this kind of progress can be. It’s like my brain was throwing a hissy fit while it was being dragged to work by its parents Reason and Aspiration. It sulked and sulked until it realized that it wasn’t going to get to go home any time soon. Then, begrudgingly, it started to do some work because the alternative was boredom, and it ended up that the experience isn’t as bad as the brain thought it would be.

A little farfetched, perhaps, but it’s how I feel about my shift in attitude. The New Normal is intense development work, at least this week. Fogbrain might be more about attitude than I previously imagined.


  1. Ron 6 years ago

    I hate to put more ideas on you, but you should consider writing a novel. Maybe it is because I don’t know you in “real life”. Your blog reads like fiction sometimes. This post definitely. It brings to mind William Gibson’s last few books.

    Anyway I have the same problems. I frame it as a continuity issue. Sometimes I review some of the previous days work to get back into the flow of things, but reviewing my own work is boring and emotionally I’m always disappointed. The review can backfire and put me in a state of research mode. Looking for some way to fix or reafirm what I am doing.

  2. Author
    Dave Seah 6 years ago

    Ron: Thanks for suggesting that. I had been thinking that the details of what I was working on would be boring to people, but didn’t take the time to edit it out. It’s interesting to think that it might be fun for people to read. I loved Gibson’s last few books, starting with Pattern Recognition and on through the last one. I have a book crush on Kayce Pollard :-)

    Regarding affirmation and review…yes, I find reviewing my own work boring as well. It’s only when it’s an experiment, and therefore experimental data, that the work is worth reviewing. Perhaps going into research mode isn’t a backfire so much as it is a reward…

    I’ve been thinking that spending all this time in review might seem like a lot of overhead, and it is. But it amuses me and keeps me moving forward. Perhaps accepting that is part of it?