Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Sep 21 2004

Sunday, fall arrived like a hammer blow. I woke up to a 70-degree house and that nip in the air that can only be found in fall. Spring can be cold, but it’s a gentle kind of cold. Sunday morning hinted of falling leaves and leather jackets.

Sunday was pretty much perfect. I woke up at noon, which negated my morning but left me completely rested, so I figured that was a net plus. I then drove to my parents’ and gave them their birthday presents—Dad’s birthday was last week and Mom’s was that day—and a plate of gingersnap cookies. We sat in the side garden I planted and simply enjoyed its lush elegance, now overflowing with plants that Mom planted. We then drove to Clyde’s for a lovely dinner on the brick sidewalk, next to a sparse Oktoberfest tent from which emanated the sounds of a band playing everything from Edelweiss to Bad Bad Leroy Brown.

We then walked around to the movie theater to discover they their showing of Hero had started nine minutes previously. After a moment’s deliberation, we decided to go for it, and slipped into our seats just as the final preview was ending. Huzzah!

Hero was brilliant. It’s in the same visual and stylistic vein as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, though of course the story and the spine were completely different. Hero is about larger aspects of courage and dedication to an ideal, while Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon focuses on aspects of maturity.

Hero is certainly a gorgeous film, filled with imagery that is clearly meant to be simply visually beautiful. I was tickled to see that CT, HD has spawned this new style of Hong Kong film: epic, bold, and beautiful.

(I was also tickled to see Donnie Yen, a personal favorite Hong Kong actor of mine.)

Then I returned home, to run stress tests on the Syllable file system and climb wearily into bed. A good day.

I slept late Monday morning, which is common for me. After stopping by Starbuck’s to check my e-mail (which is a good example of why nobody can predict the future—imagine ten years ago predicting the trend of ubiquitous wireless internet access in coffee shops), I went to work and began using a time log.

The time log is a sheet of paper on which I note what I’m doing throughout my day. It’s inspired by one of the articles at dexterity.com. The idea is to measure your time at work, to see what you’re spending your time on. I began doing this last Thursday, and was shocked to discover that I was only spending 35 to 45 minutes a day actually working. The rest of the time was escaping out the valves of co-worker chats, e-mail, snack breaks, etc.

As I began keeping my time log on Monday, I discovered it was motivating me to think about what I was doing. I was much more conscious of my time. As a result, I spent three and a half hours actually working on Monday, about a six-fold increase. Excellent. I would like to eventually more than double that, of course, but it’s an excellent start.

Monday night I went to a writer’s group that meets once a month at a local Barnes & Noble. We critiqued two stories, and I handed out excerpts from the VR story (which I do intend to start posting again, now that I’m a little more used to the foibles of the new server) for critique. I’ll be very interested to hear people’s thoughts next month.

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