Exercise, more good work ethic and some BSD fun

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1) Walked to uni and back. I only have one class on Wednesday’s, at noon, so I can afford the extra time to walk down there and back, and save myself a few dollars on a tram ticket. As it turns out, the class was cancelled. D’oh. So, I rested for a few minutes, then walked back. 🙂

I’ve been very slack with exercise lately. While I do eat reasonably well, and don’t too often over-indulge myself as I used to in college, I have put on more weight than I’d like. And I’m no longer as fit as I used to be – I’ve been taking every excuse to jog, but I still can’t go more than a few hundred metres in one stretch. Pretty terrible. So it was good to actually get out and have a good walk. Plus it’s refreshing to be out of the house for a bit, even if it is alongside half a dozen lanes of noisy, smelly traffic.

2) Again, spent most of the day working on my ARC assignment for uni. Found a couple of key bugs – some silly, some design – which I’m happy to have fixed. I even think I’ve got on design flaw sorted out which dineroIV exhibits, although I didn’t give it the benefit of the doubt with another issue, and wasted a good hour or two of my time looking for a problem with it, rather than my own code. D’oh.

Same reasons as before – I really like it when I spend a lot of time doing work, and not feeling bad about it. I’m not really forcing myself at this point – I really like this assignment, and I’m interested in what the results will be. Always a plus.

3) Installed FreeBSD 5.4 on Damien’s old Celeron box. This was one of those tasks I could have put off for weeks, possibly forever. But now I’ve done it, and have learnt how to install FreeBSD. The installation was fairly painless… one senseless bug in the installer relating to disk partitioning, but that eventually vaporised on it’s own. Go figure.

I really want to play more with the traditional (i.e. non-MacOS) *nix’s, to get a feel for how to install and manage them. I’ve done plenty of Linux development, but very little system management. I’m happy now that it’s done – tomorrow I’ll try to get VLC or MPlayer running on it, and hook it up to the TV as well to see how that goes… FreeBSD doesn’t seem to graphically savvy – it doesn’t bother with any of that silly GUI stuff at all unless you explicitly startx, so… could be fun. 🙂

Admiration and hopeless creativity

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Things I’ve done well today:

1) I’m going to cheat to start of with and talk about something good I did last night. A friend’s mother suffered an aneurism several months ago, and was only released from hospital a few weeks ago. Only into a rehabilitation centre, though, not home. My friend has been spending what seems like every weekend – and probably some weekdays or nights – with her, keeping her company. If only I could say I’d been doing something like that – that’s truly a good deed. What I did do was finally tell my friend how much I admired her for what she was doing, how she was handling it. In her shoes I don’t think there are many people who could handle it as well as she is. I can only begin to imagine the stress the ordeal must be placing on her, and the rest of her family.

I’m not very good at complimenting people…. or saying anything positive, really. I’ve been making an effort to change that for quite some time now, but I think I must still sound facetious or condescending or fake or whatever… 🙁 Still, if practice makes perfect the trend at least is looking positive. 🙂

2) Silly little 3D cover art for my ARC assignment. The assignment was to build a fairly trivial cache simulator, and to analyse the results. An image for the cover art sprung into my head, of blocks sliding in and out of a “cache”… so I fired up good ol’ Bryce 5 and try to get my mental imagine into solid pixels. It took a while, but I’m reasonably happy with the result… couldn’t quite get the “glossy” appearance I wanted, but it’s nifty enough. Not worth spending too much time on.

I’m happy about this because I like to indulge my creative side where possible, but it rarely is these days, what with work and school and other commitments. I think it’s important to have a creative outlet now and again, to help maintain a mental balance.

3) Spent most of the evening working on ARC (i.e. homework). I’ve been getting a little slack lately with school work, so I’m happy with myself that I committed to it and did spent quite a bit of time on it. Of course, I had wanted to finish it tonight, but it turns out my simulator disagrees with dineroIV, for reasons I don’t yet know… gah. I suspect dineroIV is bjorked… the readme and other paraphernalia mention a lot of naughty hacks which seem like plausible contributors to the discrepancies I’m observing. I’ve certainly looked over my own code, without finding anything obvious.

Introduction

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I should explain this category before I go full hog into it. I’ve just read an article which looks in quite some detail at the “science of happiness” – in particular how modern psychology is adapting (or, failing) to look at happiness in a more methodical manner. Particularly in relation to “interventions” (treatments), which have traditionally been all about “tell me about your childhood, when did it all go wrong?” and stuff like that.

I know for myself that dwelling on negative events or emotions of course just creates more negativity – I think everyone can agree with that. I think the point of regressive psychoanalysis is to resolve outstanding issues. Perhaps some psychologists have lost sight of that. Thinking about negative events only has a positive outcome if you can resolve them, or have some sort of epiphany that imparts greater insight – perhaps the mere act of such epiphanies make us happier in their own right.

In any case, the underlying message is to focus on the positive, the future. One of the real stingers put forward by supporters of this “new psychology” is that humans are hard-wired to focus on negative stimuli, and to remember them for longer and with more emotional strength than positive ones. Something about hardship growing up… snow and lava and sabre-tooth tigers and all that. 😉

So, one “therapy” proposed is to keep a simple diary where you write down a few things (e.g. 3) each day that you think you [yourself] did well, and to reflect on why those things went well. Thus, I’m starting this. I’m traditionally pretty bad at keeping up little regimes like diaries and the like, so maybe this’ll peter out once the novelty wears off… still, I think I’m about over negativity at the moment, and could use a good change.