Category Archives: Thoughts

Thank you. You are too kind

So. Here I sit. On the train. Typing on my traveltop; that’s my netbook, I call it that because I normally only use it when I am away on holiday. I am not on holiday today. Today I just wanted to write. I’ve been wanting to write for some time but just haven’t sat down to do it, until now.

There’s quite a lot I wanted to write about. One of the topics being my adequacy as a developer and the adequacy of myself in general. But… I mostly forgot what it was I wanted to say. I know when I originally thought it, it was stunningly profound.

Something else I wanted to write about was the duality of self, of my self. I read in Stephen King’s book, On Writing, that you should not use language that does not “fit” you. I believe I follow his advice in most cases when I write. What I’ve noticed that the words that “fit” when I write are different to the words that “fit” when I speak. I would never verbally use the word vocation but when writing, talking about my vocation feels natural. It’s interesting that my vocabulary should change depending on the medium of communication. Then again, the more I think about it, considering the little I’ve learned about brain function, it seems perfectly normal that your vocabulary should change when medium of communication changes.

I remember now what it was I wanted to say. I constantly battle with myself and my self, trying to figure out if I am good at what I do or just above average.

I have always thought of myself as being bad at things or at least not good enough. And when I do get complements, I frequently brush it off because “they don’t know what they are talking about as they are laymen” or if they do know what they are talking about, “they don’t have enough specific knowledge on the niche area of the subject that they are somehow misinformed” or even simply “just mistaken”. Take an example, being a developer, Dev Leads, Tech Leads, peers, even a few Technical Directors have told me that my skills are valuable. And the vast majority of every company I have worked for has asked me to come back and work for them again, stay on longer or asked me to come on full time. Some of those companies are even well known for having a really strict hiring policy. Somehow even after all that positive affirmation, I still don’t think I am worth my weight in salt (I wonder what I would do with 80kg [£69.34] of salt).

Anyway, I realised something the other day. I’ve always compared myself to people better than me. I’m not sure if all people do this, but with me, I only compare myself to people better than me, or at least people who I think are better than me or have a skill I want or am envious of. If someone isn’t better, they won’t feature on my personal scale of comparison. I am generalising but do you realise what that means? On my scale, I’m always worse than everyone else. If the scale was based on 1 – 10, I’m always a 1. How crazy is that shit?

I think it’s sad that this is how I choose to define myself. Now that I know about it, I think I can change this. I don’t know if this is normal. Is this normal? I don’t think it can good for the self-esteem. It does explain some aspects about myself though. For a start, it explains is how I am unable to accept a compliment: If in the past I received a complement, in my head I appreciated your kindness anyway and thanked you, almost always in an awkward way.

How do I fix this? How do you change a mindset? Is actively knowing about it and being aware enough?

Update: I saw this online today, looks like it’s a part of the human condition.

aBqoY

 

What about the rest of us?

Update: Facebook and other third party measurement firms reports are in conflict with previous statistics and indicate that overall Facebook numbers are still growing. Three of the firms’ figures do indicate a decrease in the Facebook user base for at least two non-consecutive months. Rightly so, some are saying there is not enough information to call it a trend.

I attempted to quit Facebook the other day. I say attempted because Facebook does not actually let you delete your account. I just deactivates it. Meaning the data is all there. So when you come back in it’s as though you have never left. It’s as though the digital you has just been asleep and everything has carried on around you.

That’s not actually what I wanted to talk about but let me continue down this way for a bit longer. There are both good things and bad things about being in a digital coma. The good thing is that because my account was only deactivated I still have the opportunity to get information I have on there. For instance I had a few appointments sitting in Facebook that I had not yet put in my Google calendar. I logged in to diarise these before deactivating again. Technically I would not have been at that much of a disadvantage if my account was actually deleted, I could have called/emailed the person and I’d have it again. Facebook however, does make it easier. The bad thing is that I feel as a person I’d be much better off from not having a Facebook account at all. To me being slightly less connected feels like a breath of fresh crisp mountain air.

WHY YOU HERE? YOU LEFT US! WHO NEED WHO NOW MUTHAFUCKA!?

 

The other thing to consider is I am by trade, a WEB developer. I develop applications for the WEB. With Facebook being such a large part of the web, is it really plausible that I cannot have a Facebook account. Is it professionally irresponsible? Is it my professional duty as someone who enjoys what he does to have a Facebook account – Arguably to give myself a better reflection of what is happening on the web?

And with Facebook trying to cement itself in every facet of the web, with the bulk of the current web having nearly 5 Like buttons per page, Facebook orientated commenting and also a lot of newer sites using Facebook connect instead of having native registration.

So with the last sentence in the last paragraph, I’m very nearly on the topic of what I want to say. I heard of a new social music experience Turntable.fm today. It’s description was quite compelling so naturally I wanted to try it out. The thing is, I had to sign up using Facebook. This being the other major reason I have been reactivating and deactivating Facebook since I left. The two services I wanted to look at both required an active Facebook account.

This is a worrying trend for me. Well, “worrying” is the wrong word, it doesn’t fit my lifestyle. I understand that everything is better with friends. I also understand that especially in the case of social software you want to tap into Facebook. Your software is social and it’s a pre-built network ready to go, you would have to have a good reason NOT to use Facebook. The thing is I am an introvert and I think right now I want to be a digital introvert now too. I want to be off Facebook, I don’t want everyone knowing my business. And now especially with people losing interest in Facebook, services like this should, if it makes sense, at least cater for my lifestyle too… what ever that may be, native sign up or twitter integration.

Just as an aside to me not being on Facebook, keep in mind if you see me on Facebook in a year or a months time and want to bring up this post to call me a hypocrite, here is my reply: “Fuck you. I do what I want”

I want some of that pie

Disclaimer: This post has not been checked for grammar or spelling as it’s now 3:00 am and I wish to publish this post AND go to sleep.

Here I sit. Doing nothing. I have so many things I want to do: The comic, My Expense Manager, My Game, My Own Custom Tshirts, My Toys, My Painting…  many others.

That is just scratching the surface of what I want to do. And somehow through all that, I am supposed to become a millionaire too. Looking at that list, I don’t think those things are capable of making me money let alone a millionaire. If they can make me money, I don’t think they will make much money.

The expense manager. I have a plan to monetise that but now where near “sit on my butt for the rest of my life” kind of money. My game… some money maybe… but maybe nothing for all my hard work… it’s a gamble. It will also be my first public game. I can make a success of the expense manager as I know the web I know how to make good websites. Games.. I’ve not done before… so who knows if it will be compelling. I think that is a terrible excuse though and giving me an easy out for failure. I won’t accept it.

Anyway that is not the point of this post. This post is me having a mid life crisis. Noticing that I am still poor and everyone else around me has a house, a company that is earning, is doing some form of investment, is just financially sensible or just seems to have a more richer (in both senses of the word), fuller and sustainable lifestyle. All this is happening while I sit here playing videogames and eating baked beans with sliced vienna sausages on toast. I eat that out of choice. I can easily sustainably afford better but I like it, so that is what I do. However, eating like a poor student is somehow making me feel like I am poor than probably I should. I guess you are what you eat is truer than I originally thought. Also, If I am being honest, I only play videogames some of the time… I play a considerable amount less than I used to. That does not matter though as I have filled that free time with watching TV series or movies.

Distractions, distractions. Distractions from making provisions for my future – earning money. Not even earning money at this point, potentially earning money, I am not working for a client who will pay me, the development is for myself. Once the development is complete, I still have to find my clients and THEN ONLY, maybe get paid.

Sitting here… distracting and procrastinating (Even this post is a form of procrastination) is not doing me any good. Especially since I pit myself against those who in my eyes who are already successful and in turn I model my success on their image. Or those who already have established businesses, who already have a piece of that pie. That pie, that pie that seems to be just outside my reach. No matter how hard I try as I move closer it moves away forever staying just within an inch of my reach.

Reach for the Pie - One of the worst puns... ever.

One thing I can admit to is, it’s all my fault but sometimes I have no idea if the steps I am taking to fix it are the right ones.

I also accept full blame for the terrible visual pun in the picture too.

Do you ever think the reality around you might not be the real one?

I do.

Not all the time, sometimes. It’s happened once or twice in public but private places. For example when I go to pee in the office toilet and it’s empty. While I am peeing away, I sometimes get a few seconds for my mind to wander*. If I happen to close my eyes  my mind sometimes stops on: “Am I really in the office? Am I maybe peeing in public on the side of a lamp post?”.

This usually only happens when I am really tired, but it did get me thinking. How do we know we really are here? How do we know we are, who we say we are? You get crazy homeless guys that believe themselves Jesus. Yet in reality they are just dirty, smelly, crazy homeless guys. This makes me think you might not actually know you’re insane if you are insane. If that is true, how do I, or you for that matter, REALLY know that you are not a crazy guy who believes he is someone else. How do I know I’m not a crazy guy who believes he is someone called Gerard Lucienne Petersen. How do I know that this blog not is just in my head, and me typing right now is not just me hitting the ground with a stick? It’s true that I may also draw a comic called Space Panda, but how do I know that it’s not drawn in my own shit?

If I am the only one that thinks this, my only consolation is that I am insane enough to know that I may be insane or at least have the capacity to be even more insane.

NOTES:

*I have never written the word “wander” down prior to this. I really enjoyed the experience


Learning Adobe Illustrator… or not

I have no idea what it is I am trying to do but I want to learn how to do it. It could be argued that my time would be used best if I was learning Java and Android. I am not sure where I got the idea that I have to be methodic and algorithmic OR creative and visual. I also have no idea when I got the idea that doing both would be counter productive and when I actually started believing these ridiculous ideas. I really do need to let go of such limiting notions.

For me to get a design for my fledgeling company, I got the idea that I didn’t want to spend money but I wanted it to look good and professional. So I figured I would do it myself. It would cost nothing and I would be directly responsible for the quality of the design. However I know that I am not a designer and even though my eye for detail has improved much I know people with a much better eye. So, if I did get a designer to do it, it would look more professional than I could ever get. See… this then gave me the fear to start the design process because I believed my design will never be as good as it should/could be. (It’s a shit reason not to do something, I know. Surely something is better than nothing)

Now that I listen to my thoughts, I think I don’t want to spend money because I fear that my business won’t work out and I am scared to start it so any I money I spend would then be a waste. I also think I don’t want to get a designer because I feel that I will be relinquishing some form of control. The other thing is that I fear I might get ripped off? Charged and exorbitant amount for my design.

Ok, I can’t think that way about failing. Failure in this case would be not even trying. So if you are going to start a business you need to jump in feet first. Jumping in feet first means that you are going to give it your all. If that’s the case you should have no fear of spending money on the design.

Losing control because you outsourced your design? You’re joking right? I think your real fear there is that it means that you will have to tell someone what you want to do and that means opening yourself up for criticism.

Getting ripped off? Maybe it’s valid, but I think that is just an excuse… another thing just to say no. To stop you. Sure it’s possible that you should have more confidence in your design ability. I think though that the mere fact that you don’t know the software means it’s gonna take you longer to do anything. As for the cost, you still need to spend time on the code, correct? Surely your time is better spent on that until your skills with the software are better?

Awesome, I didn’t even know I was blocked until I started writing this. Finding a block and resolving it. Success!

Hmmm this has removed almost all my reasons to learn illustrator. The last one I have left is space panda. I was meant to talk about how all tutorials I found for illustrator are all really complex. I struggled to find the really basic basic tutorials. Ones that assume Zero knowledge.

This one looked like a good start. I have not actually done it yet because I have been doing this post but it’s got pause-able video,  voice over and on the surface looks really easy. It’s drawing a heart, how hard could that be? I will let you know how it goes when I get around to it… which should be in London.

If a tree falls in the woods

You know that old western kōan, “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a noise?”

This question was circling my head for ages and as what tends to happen when a thought circles my head it gets distorted. It usually happens when I try to sleep. After unconsciously repeating the same line in your head over and over “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it does it make a noise?” it eventually becomes quite annoying. So after much tossing an turning and generally not being able to sleep, I attempted to get my head to quiet down by asking it: “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, DOES IT MATTER?”.

“Interesting!”, my head replied.

“Interesting!?”, I thought. That was not the response I had intended. Having blurted it out to get my head to shut up, I didn’t actually hear what I’d said. I repeated the question again to myself: “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it matter?”

I agreed with my head, “Interesting indeed”, and made the equivalent gesture of a nod that one would make when speaking in thoughts. We decided to work on trying to find an answer to the question.

After roughly 5 hours, we came to an answer we both thought satisfactory.

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it matter ?

The answer we came up with?

Yes, yes it does!