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## Back (again)

{: toc }

^ I wonder if the above generates a table of contents in the markdown.

### Sick (again)

It's deja-vu all over again. I fell back off the horse again for the same reason. It looks like I've had strep throat, on an off for the past 2 months. We're not 100% sure but our prevailing theory is that my girlfriend and I keep passing it back and forth to each other, which is how I still have it even after taking 10 days of antibotics. Now we're both on antibiotics so I feel confident that we're kicking this sickness for good this time.

### Getting back into things (again)

It's definitely tricky going from sick-mode (which is similar to relax-mode) to work mode, or vice-versa. Once in a mode, it's easy to maintain it, but the transitions are tricky, particularly when they are un-expected. Usually the transition goes smoother when you admit that you're transitioning.

For example, last night I stayed up to midnight, watched too much TV, had too much to eat for dinner, and had too much snack food after dinner. I woke up this morning feeling almost hung over. I was tired and everything hurt. Contrast this with how I go to bed when I'm in work mode: asleep before 11pm, eat a reasonable meal, none or a small dessert, 1 or 2 episodes of TV, maybe reading, definitely not a movie.

### Scattered thoughts

As happened last time I got sick, my thoughts seem to have scattered and I feel quite directionless. I feel like I've forgotten why I'm doing a Bret Victor deep dive, as compared with all of the other branches of the tree I could go down. 

#### Chat with Stefan

It was really helpful to chat with Stefan Lesser this morning for a few reasons:

1. He was very bright and optimistic, almost cheery. I got a very warm feeling from him. I wonder if it's related to him listening to my podcast because I get a similar feeling from Aidan.

2. We think in very similar ways. Talking to my girlfriend about these ideas is like pulling teeth because we don't speak the same languages. She speaks the artist langauge and I speak the programmer langauge. But Stefan and I can communicate very fluidly. More than that we agree on so many points. It's very validating. I imagine that's part of why working in a research lab, like PARC or Dyanmicland, is so inspiring. Shared vision. Fast communication.

#### Shower Note Session

I was overflowing with thoughts to such a degree, and I was cold to such a degree, that I decided to do one of my famous shower brainstorm sessions. This was definitely one of my more scattered ones:

![](/media/2017-12-13 12.45.20 (1).jpg)

There's almost too many thoughts and directions in all of those notes. While it was fun and energizing to write them, I am now intimidated by their quantity and scope and don't feel like engaging or proccessing them now. Content overflow is definitley one of my main themes of this project.

### Looking ahead

#### Things on the horizon:

* I have ~3 hours today, ~8 hours tomorrow, and ~3 hours Friday
* On Friday I go home to Florida for 3 weeks
* Jan 8 - 12 I will hopefully (just applied) be at [the 1-week Recurse Center program](
* Jan 19 - 26 I plan to visit Dynamicland in Oakland
* I have 2 years of runway before I need to get a job (living in NYC)

#### Thoughts on /plan v5

I felt much more centered after re-reading [my most recent plan](/plan) this
morning. My thoughts are:

##### 1. Justify cause/crusade framing

The cause/crusade framing feels so obvious to me, but definitely not to many others. I want to dig into these feelings a bit more. Think about why prinicpled, conscious, purposeful creation is "better" than simply doing stuff for money or more whimsical reasons.

##### 2. Still blocked on philosophy

How do I know that I'm still blocked here? Because I can't make decisions. I had a great call with Jaime Brandon yesterday. It was very easy for him to diagnose this problem in me because he's faced it himself, as well as seeing it at Eve. When you're too broad, when you don't have good priorities or boundaries, you agonize over each decision, and constantly want to walk up and down the tree. A good project can easily see what it is and what it is not, and doesn't spend much time thinking about paths it didn't take in the tree because *that is not what it is*. A thing in the world defines itself by the path it takes. What it is and what it is not. Staying up in prototype/research land is refusing to do that. Even within prototype/research land, I feel constant agony about what is the priority to research or prototype or communicate or build.

I feel my brain wanting to escape this proccess. I feel it looking for the easy out. Looking for a quick answer it can sub in here so we can get back to more structure, a more easily optimizable game. On the one hand, I applaud my brain for this strategy, because the less unknowns you're working with at one time, the better. Yet on the other hand, I feel like if I took an easy route such as getting a job at a company, I would immediately wish I was back here, working on my own philosophy, as opposed to actualizing someone else's, which I would constanatly be picking apart.

Thus, the appeal of the ultimate escape hatch on this procecss: go work for someone who's vision is so clearly better than anything I could come up with at the moment. The candidates for this position are few and far between: Alan Kay, Bret Victor, maybe someone at Bret's lab, maybe Paul Chiusano. We shall see what happens here when I visit Dnyamicland soon.

###### Constructing Meaning

I went deep into this rabbit hole in my shower brainstorm. I have defined a crusade as the most meaningful thing I can do. This is explicitly not the most good I can do from the Juan Benet / Elon Musk / Peter Singer perspective. Yet if this is the case, and it's truly subjective. Then I better be damn sure I know what is meaningful to me. That's why I started making a list of all of my positive memories that held meaning in my life. (It reminded me that my fustration with Looker was that I can't remember a single decision any one made because of a Looker report. In my experience, the tool was analytics for analytis sake.) 

Then I got into a hole where I realized that the difficult thing with children as customer is that their incentives are so perverse given the structure we place them in. For example part of why I hate tutoring is that either students are un-motivated or motivated for the wrong reasons (grades), or motivated to just get the end product to show off and thus just want me to program it. It's rare (but happens sometimes) to find a student in the right context: working because they enjoy making something and getting better at making things.

I'm also thinking about the condescending nature of this whole project, particularly the bait-and-switch part, where you sell a product that does X, but only because you have an ulterior motive Y. Sell electric sports cars to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. Part of me wants to just give it up and go wherever there's the most money. Stop trying to be so normative. Just let people tell you what it is they want and then deliver it. That's not to say that you should blindly listen to customers. It's that you should iterate with customers towards something they will pay a lot for because it solves a big problem for them. Put another way, Looker clearly is solving a massive problem for tens of thousands of people at thousands of companeis. It's truly software through empathy, as Lloyd talks about. Who am I to tell the world what's best for it? In other words, I better have a strong and well-thought-out philosophy for how to make thw world better if I am going to try my hand at shaping it through technology. Otherwise, I might as well just go where the market is because that's garunteed to make people better off (if you assume markets do that).

#### Priorities for Dec and Jan

##### 1) Life priorities

My main focus for my own health is the Alexander Technique. 

For my family, particularly in the context of the 3-weeks in Florida, the focus is making the most of the time, in the context of others. This means that I want to * strategize ahead of time* to set myself up for success, but *be content in the moment*, even if it feels like a waste of time. In other words, 1) don't see people just because they asked to see you, 2) go to bed early and wake up early, 3) phsyically seperate from others when trying to focus, 4) calendar sculpt. The main priority here is "peace in the home", which is a Jewish saying. This is not the time for arguments and figuring things out. It's a powder keg. This is the time for making nice. Reflect later. Figure things out later.

##### 2) Work priorities (12/13/17 - 1/8/18)

Calm, coherent, patient, doing less. The opposite of frenetic. That's my goal. Re-reading my /plan embued me with calm and happiness. Meditating, coming back to my journal to reflect. These are the things that add the structure I need in this purposefully unstructured time.

I can't see any reason to stop my Bret Victor deep dive given that I still have at least half a dozen links to go. I feel like I've lost steam on it, but that might just be a momentum thing. Could return when I get back into it. 

I don't want to start doing priority-calculus, seeing if there are other things to read that are slightly more efficient uses of my time.

However, I wonder if I should budget more time in my calendar for "deep thinking." I set aside a place in my Inbox (Google Inbox) for notes that I should proccess later. It's the "deep thinking" label. I feel like my time for thinking those thoughts has been crowded out by an urgency to finish the Bret deep dive.

Now that I mention it... while this next thought does go against my intention not to play priority-calculus... I have a lot of links in various places that could use some attention, including /links as well as the "foc research" label in my Inbox. At the very least I could clean this up a bit and figure out a home for them. 

Finally, there clearly are top-of-mind topics that I could keep in a prioritized list somewhere. Basically, the next version of /ideas. These are Blockly++, FRP Scratch/WoofJS, StreamSheets, CycleJS devtools, FRP research incl Reflex & Conol Elliot, essay about essays, better wiki tool, etc.

Ok, I need to go eat lunch now. With the remaining 2 hours in the day (given that I spent an hour on this journal entry), I will:

1. Get to inbox zero
2. Publish Joe Cohen interview

The plan for tomorrow is:

1. Deep thinking notes procecssing
2. Calendar sculpting for vacation time 
3. Bret Victor deep dive (unless I come up with anything better)
4. Plan friday
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stevekrouse committed Dec 13, 2017
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