Transcendental Bloviation

Politics, Space, Japan

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Uberman On-Ramp Day ... uh ....

What happened? Good question. I don't quite understand it myself.

The end of a long stretch of smooth sailing at the ryokan, with a large party leaving after 9 days, forcing errands and interruptions as we went into guest turn-over tasks, certainly contributed to losing momentum. Lesson: when you see turbulence coming up, brace yourself.

Outages on my PC and finally some kind of service changeover at blogger.com soured me on blogging for a while. Lesson: learn to handle frustration better.

A sharp reduction in caffeine withdrawal symptoms, and taking up swimming and meditation, seemed to release a torrent of energy, one that got blown on renewal of bad habits -- arguing on mailing lists (a very bad, very old habit) not least among them. Worse: I stopped swimming and mediating, even drank a full-caf cappucino on one day, with new withdrawal symptoms the next day. Lesson: the coming of good things can have unintended negative consequences. You won't become a better person overnight. Two steps forward, one step back. Smaller, tentative steps work better.

And these bad habits interfered with continuing adopted habits, and with the adoption of new habits. Lesson: guard areas of progress like a hawk, don't add too many life innovations at once.

Finally, all this happened during a rough spot on my Not-So-Secret Software Project. (Specifically, trying to bolt bakari ["just", "only", "approximately/about"] into the grammar of the Japanese parser. As with English "just/only", where you can have "Only John is going to the party," "John is only going to the party", and they mean two different things, bakari forms very freely, requiring augmenting a lot of grammar rules.) My response was to stop working on this project, even though at any given time, plenty of tasks sit on my project to-do list, most of them easy. Today I made progress, by simply noting that many of the test examples for bakari already involved forward references to grammar that I hadn't coded yet; and decided to put the examples and related vocabulary in the regression-testing database, solve the easier problems, and defer the harder ones. Lesson: be gentle on yourself as you're going through an adjustment, keep going where you can.

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