Teen Dispirit

> whois phaysis.com
Domain Name: PHAYSIS.COM
Created on: 14-Apr-00

My blog is now a teenager. It has earned its angst.

This Is His Story

For those not keeping notes, I dug through my old site archives from the “1998” version of The Farm (a self-centered extension of my 1997 project) and the 2000~2002 archives of Phaysis and found a handful of blog-ish posts that were worth sharing (if only for sake of record). These were written back in the day when everything on my site was hand-coded and manually uploaded. Good times. I’ve reposted just the text and a few images from those journal entries on this site; you can find them at the links below (I’m still considering revisiting the old hardcoded page designs and reposting them after updating for modern browsers). Enjoy the angst!

The Farm ’98: These were hosted in the 3MB of web space provided by my dialup ISP as part of my account. Not sure why I don’t have any archives from ’98 (maybe because I didn’t build any pages then), but once I set up Phaysis at the new host at the end of ’99, it’s no wonder The Farm effectively stopped that year.

Phaysis 2000~2002: these were from my early years at my first major hosting provider. Note the gap between late 2000 and early 2002, during which Phaysis functioned primarily as a postcard site featuring a changing series of images and a blurb about looking for web design work (check it out on the Wayback Machine). It took a while for me to post any actual content during the gap because I was knocking around too many failed ideas for site engines and withholding journal posts until something stuck. Was being journal-retentive. I should’ve kept going regardless (hindsight is 20/20, as they say).

My first non-hardcoded entry wasn’t until 2003-03-11 when I knuckled down and hacked up a Perl CGI script to dynamically serve journal entries from a database (the script project was called Sojournal). The rest is history.

Jetsom See

I’m antsy tonight. Feel like my legs are being held and my feet are sticking to the carpet. It’s like walking in waist-deep water. I want to do something. I want to create. I want to scream. And I’m slogged down by logic, expectations, frameworks, structures, plans, designs. Tired of all that. Tired of distractions. When I sit down to program, or write music, or think of something poetic, it’s like being in the wide part of the river where the eddy currents spin, swirl, toss me around like flotsam. I’m sorta moving forward, but not by my own propulsion. And not in a straight line.

I’ve been spending either not enough time or too much time working on my Ruby on Rails CMS for my site. Same old story, same old shit. My editor is open, I’m looking at code I’ve written, and then my mind wanders all over the place onto possibilities, what-ifs, things I need to incorporate, and then the vision I had at the outset becomes a blur of fragments, pieces, stained glass. Quixotic beams of sunlight reflected off the water.

Distractions. Flies in my eyes.

I’ve kinda taken a break from it; I feel like I need one, but I also feel this stupid compulsion that tells me that time not spent on writing the CMS is time wasted, because really all I have is time nowadays. What’s with that? Why do I feel guilty when I’m not working on it in my free time? Why did I railroad myself into one-dimensionality by forgoing all the other hobbies I had? Why am I pushing my plow into the hard earth without a mule, a whip, and a bag of seed? It’s going nowhere, and it’s in that state of being stuck that I can’t see the bigger picture. The clear vision is clouded. The inner sight is gone.

I was thinking this morning that I’d be a load more productive if I had a deadline, if I had a fixed point to work for. I’ve been screwing with this for far too long, and that’s because I only have myself to work for. I’m my own worst contractor and my own worst client. Self-imposition doesn’t seem to help, because I always shrug it off. It’s the same effect as trying to outsmart yourself by setting your alarm clock 10 minutes before real time: you sleep 10 minutes later because you remember what you did.

I need to plan this out in so much detail that the program almost writes itself. No, I need to write it as fast as possible so I can hold more of the pieces in my head. No. And now maybe you can see what goes on inside my head. Contrarian viewpoints, and I’m still stuck to the floor with a text editor and no working product. What the hell.

Too Much Life

Sometimes I just want to click off. Existential angst of late. I’ve had the desire to formulate some kind of journal entry, but as things are going, it takes too much work and energy to do so. I’ve had so much Life coming at me at once, there’s not enough energy or will to put the words together. Hence my usual silence. Seriously. Too much of Life.

Big fires to put out, little fires to put out. So scattered, all over the place, bunched up in little notes and to-do lists. So concerned with forgetting to do something that I write it down, make a note, and then I fail to remember. Sometimes I fail to actually attempt to do what’s on the list.

To-Do lists are the tool of the devil. Make a note of that.

I’m looking for another car. It’s that season again, and now that I commute 25+ miles a day my Mirage is failing sadly. The increased smoke is drawing attention, and there’s an aweful lot of cops on the road. Was looking at a Honda Civic: 2002, 130k miles, EX trim package with power everything and a sunroof, stickshift, 4-door. Everything I wanted in a car for $7,000. I didn’t move soon enough; the dealer jacked the price up another thousand. Fuck that. My search passively continues.

I am currently digesting the first season of Battlestar Gallactica (the remake). I wish I had been old enough to follow the plot of the original, but I was in 2nd grade; all I cared about was the kid and his creepy robot monkeydog. I will tell you this much about the new show: I am hooked. Damn you all to hell, I am hooked. This is the most I’ve ever seen Edward James Olmos speak, and he’s perfect for the part.

You should know what kinds of assholes I share my apartment complex with. Monday night, the jackasses downstairs decided to crank their music loud enough that my floor was vibrating. So, I did what any angry neighbor would do: I kicked the floor. Expectedly, they turned it down…and then proceeded to agressively slam their ceiling with whatever they had. I fully expected them to start fucking with me; I don’t care so much about breaking and entering now that Texas has the Castle Law, I’m worried about them doing something stupid to my car, to the plants in front of my apartment. People can be that trivial.

I hate apartments. Keep thinking about moving out.

Found out there’s a hiring freeze at my job which is expected to last a while. Even the permanent employees are required to burn off some of their vacation time over the holidays; mandatory closure as a cost-cutting measure. Last time I saw that was 2001, during the dotcom crash; I was contracting at Motorola and after the layoffs of unimportant staff, they had each department take one week off. Shortly afterwards, Motorola sold its Austin campuses to its spinoff company Freescale. I don’t see much logic in mandatory closure; I guess it saves energy and infrastructure costs and requires employees (most of them salary, mind you) to spend their vacation hours instead of acrue them. But you lose so much time during the ramp down and ramp up periods after the closure. How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot, 2.0.

Ruby On Rails made me her bitch tonight. She spanked my ass hard with an important lesson. I’ve had this mind-crushing problem with trying to build a test harness for one of my model classes. I set the record attribute, try to save, and my missing-attribute validation kicks in. I know I fucking set that attribute, so why’s it not passing validation? Here’s the lesson: ActiveRecord uses automatically-created accessor methods to set/get the values of a database record. What was I doing? I was trying to use an ActiveRecord instance as a hash with special powers. That’s wrong, wrong, wrong. When I go “person[:password] = ‘secretpass'”, I’m setting something in a hash somewhere that AR is not paying attention to. I’m really supposed to go: “person.password = ‘secretpass'”. What a dumbass. So two weeks of frustrated freetime were spent debugging an issue that was all my own fault.

– I should call my mother some time. It’s been a while.
– I need to take a shower before bed.
– I should go into work early tomorrow.
– I need to start using my bicycle more; I paid so much for it, and I’m so out of shape.
– I need to pick up some antacids.
– I have a dentist appointment next month.
– I now have 1.5Gigs of ram in my laptop. I can play games again, but I need to make space.
– I have so much more to do with my Rails project, it’s unreal.
– I need new shoes
– I should get a haircut some time soon
– I’ve got to put all this on my to-do list