Oct 25
2010

A month gone

It’s a little startling to notice that a month has gone since my last entry here and I haven’t made any real progress on my quest to become the programmer I could have been a decade ago. Naturally this less than thrilling progress assessment leads to introspection. Here are some of why I haven’t done any programming:

I’ve been spending time studying Chinese in the mornings — I don’t want to solve this… not now. Due to the massive Taiwan/Beijing regional differences, I’m learning more words faster than ever before and I’m actually getting to where I can almost write normally in simplified. Getting used to reading it was a pain, but writing is a joy.

I’ve been working out 3 afternoons a week — Taking at least some care of myself is important. I’ve started taking an iPod to get some learning done while I’m at it, though.

I’ve been trying to teach myself to draw. It was flash games that drew me to it, and it’s also a really cool life skill I’m determined to have eventually. It’s really slow going, though and maybe I should put it on the back burner until I’m actually making money from something (my last few projects have died down).

It’s hard to program in this little Beijing hutong hostel where I’m living. There’s no desk in my room and it’s cold enough in the courtyard that I have to wear gloves and type slowly. I could move. I’m planning on it actually, but most landlordspeople in Beijing really want to rip off non-Chinese. As a result, it’s a long complicated bargaining process that often ends in me walking away from a bad deal. I’ve found a good-enough place, but the guy living there won’t be out for another month or two.

Random other stuff keeps drawing my attention away. For example, I’ve started learning Swedish. I’m not sure why, but I felt supremely motivated to give it a wing a couple of days ago. This will probably pass within a week, but then it will be Chinese ktv or dancing or some other thing thing I’ve long been drawn to. Those kinds of things are great for the social life, but they don’t exactly lead to prosperity. The world, especially the modern world, rewards specialization and I have to concentrate my efforts to some extent… somehow.

Related thoughts:
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2008/12/rapid-improvement/
http://www.paulgraham.com/wisdom.html

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