I’ve decided to start keeping a diary again.
I’m 46-years-old and working from home for a US-based startup. My kids are 11 and 8, and doing well at school. My wife works from home once or twice a week, which allows us to have lunch together.
It’s nice, but I want more. I want to be creative, and do good work.
I also want to generate a passive income.
I have a few project ideas kicking around:
- Jack and I are working on a password manager “for your mum”.
- Jack, Rob and I still occasionally post to our “Link a Day” Slack channel.
- I’ve started toying around with SDL2 and vanilla C again.
Yes, C. It’s quite refreshing, and I think decades of experience with higher-level languages means the C code I write nowadays has matured without me knowing about it.
Anyway, I plan to resurrect the HackTile project. Hopefully this diary will help me keep track of that. But I get easily distracted from side projects.
I’ll be trying to apply the principles of “deep work”. I’ll schedule daily blocks of time to work on one of the aforementioned projects, and I’ll track my progress by writing it down here. I want to keep at it for at least 100 days, like I did with the 7-minute workout. That’ll help to make it a habit.
But I’m still recovering from a severe head cold. It’s a beautiful Autumn day, and we had a lunch of banh-mi-tet at the park in East Perth, but back home now with the kids (looking after Lilian, Lachlan and Yoshi because their parents are at the footy).
Future posts will be shorter. I just want to capture the essence of each day.
Watching S02E01 of Legion. Amazing sound design.
Refactoring some of the HackTile code. Pretty easy to get things up and running with SDL2, and I have a basic CA working (Conway, of course). Updating 50k cells at 50Hz minimum. I remember why C is so much fun!
Still unwell. Made lamb rogan josh for dinner… the kids can handle curry these days. First time making Indian for the whole family though. Eliza had Quiz Club after school. Jack played the trumpet during a music incursion.
Deep work is paying off. Scheduled each hour of the day. Doesn’t take much effort to do, and I found I could focus and commit to a particular task more easily. May it continue!
Scheduled the day again. Realised I can break it into 4 blocks:
- 7am - 9am: Shallow work (active 1 hour)
- 9am - 3pm: Deep work (active 4 hours)
- 3pm - 9pm: Shallow work (active 2 hours)
- 9pm - 11pm: Deep work (active 2 hours)
By shallow work, I mean things that would take me a few weeks to train somebody else to do. By deep work, I mean things that require intense concentration, and which leverage the domain knowledge and engineering skills that I’ve built up over the last three decades. By active, I mean sitting at my desk doing real work, and not just pretending to be busy. In breaks I can still passively work, by answering emails and things like that, but I may be doing that on my phone while I’m distracted with something else.
This makes sense to me. It’s hard to do more than six hours of active, deep work in a single day. It can be mentally exhausting. Most “knowledge workers” in a traditional open-plan office would struggle to achieve half of that. But that’s where the value is.
I like that rough schedule. It gives me time to work my main job, and time to make progress on hobby projects.
Speaking of which, didn’t work on HackTile at all today, even though I’d planned to. Got delayed reading The Queen of Sorcery to Eliza and cleaning up the kitchen, then listened to two episodes of The West Wing Weekly. It was too late after all that to begin working on something.
Kids had their flu shot today. Picked up Eliza from string orchestra practice early. Jack being very silly (annoyingly so) all afternoon. He’s developed a habit of lying for fun. Must change that. Dzung made pork ribs for dinner. I’m doing OK; still 75% health after recovering from this cold.
Jack headed off to a whole-day excursion to SciTech. Eliza in early for Japanese before school begins. Me doing some shallow work in my PJs while Dzung drives them in.
Have a work meeting scheduled for late tonight, and had trouble this morning getting motivated to work my regular job (due to politics mostly, we focus on trivialities which don’t serve to push us towards our goal). So, in penance for skipping out on HackTile yesterday, I spent some time working on it during the day. Some progress made; refactored so that the engine creates and destroys entities in the game, which the game renders. Achieved 55fps with 65536 entities running Conway’s Life. A screenshot tomorrow, perhaps.
Lunch at a Hawkers place for Laksa, after watching Adam Liaw make a fantastic version of that dish on YouTube last night.
Health much the same as yesterday. Cleaned up garden. Salmon dish for dinner.
Busy day at work… knocked off a few major tasks, and followed up after a late-night meeting yesterday with a development team in Chicago.
Battening down the hatches this afternoon in preparation for an overnight storm. Winter is coming…
HackTile progress. Added vsync to the render loop, and changed the update function of the engine to allow the CA to update just 10 times per second (before that, after implementing empty space instead of requiring entities everywhere, it got up to 160 updates per second). Next on the list is to scroll and zoom the viewport.
Eliza had Cindy K over after school to do some baking. Jack had an asthma attack at school after doing cross-country training. And I headed off to the doctor’s to get some steroids to fight my own asthma (a side-effect of the cold).
Electrician over to fix the power points in Eliza’s room. Dzung very busy at work; she had a late brunch with April and Mary and then working all day. I made leftover curry with roti and rice for dinner. Calling it a night early… plan to veg and get some rest.
Very tired today. Slept little partly because I broke my own rules and stayed up far too late last night (watching The West Wing, listening to The West Wing Weekly, then listening to music, drinking whiskey, reading), and partly because I couldn’t stop coughing once I’d gone to bed.
Storm overnight. Heavy rain and strong winds. Feels like winter! Lots of shopping today for Eliza’s birthday lunch tomorrow. Wrapped her presents and made a photo collage of her last 11 birthdays, and the day she was born.
Implemented a camera system for HackTile, allowing me to pan and zoom around the playfield using the XBox controller. Pretty neat. Oh, I promised a screenshot:
Yup, it’s still only Conway’s Life. The red lines show the border between the 4k texture that represents the entire world. It’s being tiled because the camera is zoomed way, way out (until each 16x16 pixel entity occupies only a single pixel on screen). We can zoom way, way in, too, up to 128 times:
Mum and Dad over for Friday night dinner. Finlay for a sleepover. Watched Wallace and Gromit with popcorn after a stodgy meal of shepherd’s pie, potato gratin, lasagna and apple tart. Heaven.
Eliza’s 12th birthday. Kids up early. Presents and breakfast, then took the kids to Garden City. Jack had a haircut, Eliza bought herself a Pokemon game. Back to prepare lunch; roast lamb with all the trimmings for 17 of us (both sides of the family). Played the C64 and the SNES with my brothers. Afternoon spent cleaning up and making lamb and barley soup for dinner. Played Letter Tycoon with the kids before they went to bed. Far too tired to work on HackTile; will watch an episode of The West Wing and crash.
Dzung off to the HBF Fun Run, I took the kids to a karate make-up class. Got the times wrong, so Jack joined Eliza’s lesson. They trained pretty hard today, the instructor wanted them to break through the wall where the mind wants to give up but the body can keep going. Jack did great, but said he felt “noise-ious” when he came to get a drink of water. Eliza’s friends (Cindy x 2 and Zophia) over to go to birthday lunch at Ruocco’s in Fremantle. Then off for a shopping spree at Garden City, and back home for cake and afternoon tea.
Did some work on HackTile; started to implement a debug UI, and continued work on getting the camera hooked up to controller and mouse controls. Once that’s wrapped I’ll be moving on to adding extra entity states for spawning and destroying, and will then give these entities some textures and animations :)
Wintery day. Took Jack in early so he could do school banking, then off for grocery shopping before returning home to work. Productive; ended the current sprint, released to production and started the next. Always feels good.
Some work with the HackTile camera system, to the point where both camera and entities needed to be refactored out into their own files. Always tending the garden; need to minimise dependencies and make things neat and tidy. Need an entity manager to deal with the various entity pools (creating, busy, destroying, free), and need to support multiple cameras. This is mundane, humdrum but necessary, and will continue for a day or two.
Leftovers for dinner: lasagna and shepherd’s pie, with fresh salad and steamed corn on the cob. Jack a bit sleep deprived… being silly and squawky. Eliza in a bubble of happiness, still riding high after her birthday weekend.
Finished the day with Dzung watching Legion, then washing dishes while listening to The West Wing Weekly. Still coughing like crazy after this cold.
Eliza’s Furby woke up in the middle of the night, talking loudly in the top of her wardrobe at 3am. Crazy! I woke up feeling nauseous. Not sure why.
A little work on HackTile, continuing the refactoring work.
Eliza gave a talk on shark culling at school. She made a great powerpoint and practiced her speech. Proud of her for busting through her nerves and speaking loudly and confidently in front of her class and teacher.
Pub lunch with Wil. Talk of Amigas and Twin Peaks, naturally. Dinner at Clancy’s in Freo with Lily and the entire family.
Productive day at work. No HackTile action (think I’m putting things off because big refactorings are boooring). Thinking about getting a new TV.
Well, I’ve really fallen off the wagon right here. Didn’t write this until the next day. Had a busy day of work, then looked after the kids while Dzung was out at company drinks. We picked up F&C from Tankk and watched YouTube videos. I had a beer. After putting the kids to bed and reading to Eliza, I was the one who was tanked, so I had an early night. Plan to make up for that “tomorrow”.
Well, well, well. Haven’t been feeling well. Wrote a Rakefile to make writing diary entries more efficient. Full, productive day at work. Jack had his friend Eli over afyer school, but ended up throwing a tantrum. Punishment is a total screen ban over the WA Day long weekend. Made tortillas for dinner. Delicious with a G&T. Kids to bed and Dzung and I watched a few episodes of Endeavour, the Inpector Morse prequel with all the pretty girls. Well, I half-watched while finishing Mr. Mercedes. And, yet again, no Hacktile!
Sleep-in and a leisurely outdoors breakfast in the brilliant sunshine. Still feeling bad. Jack reading Calvin and Hobbes, which he discovered in my bookshelf, while looking for something to do other than playing on screens.
Usual Saturday chores of clothes washing and taking the kids to karate. Faith and Yoshiya were there; had a long chat with Faith about their recent trip to Japan and her promotion at the ATO. Grabbed sushi, seafood chowder and crusty baguette for lunch on the way home, and relaxed afterwards on the daybed, reading Finders Keepers (I finished Mr. Mercedes this morning).
Philae over at 6pm to babysit the kids; Dzung and I went to Long Chim for dinner and then watched “Behind the Barricade” at the Concert Hall. Home to bed. Zero progress on HackTile.
Beautiful morning. Eliza off to tennis training. Jack and I reading over a lazy breakfast, then searched for (and found) Dzung’s lost Kindle. Picked up Lilian and Eliza and headed to Dim Sum for family “brunch”. Beautiful sunny day eating outside at 8 On The Point. Went back to Van and Kiet’s and walked the kids over to the new adventure playground near the stadium, where they spent a happy hour building a cubby house.
Back home for a rest, then dropped the kids to Finlay’s for a sleepover. Dzung and I out to meet up with Annie and Elaine for a dinner at Garum, Guy Grossi’s new Perth restaurant. I thought the food was great, although not all of us agreed; there was a general mood of dissatisfaction with everything, which put somewhat of a damper on the evening. Ended with a brandy and a few more chapters, and, as you may have guessed, no HackTile.
Sleep in. Dzung off to pick up kids from their sleepover, then I took Jack grocery shopping after a late breakfast of scrambled eggs and strong coffee. After lunch (Dzung made ramen) we went shopping for a new desk for Dzung’s office (no purchase yet), then back home for a long session of Letter Tycoon (cold and rainy day, so indoor boardgames are perfect). Dinner of leftover tortillas and soup, followed by a session of Kirby Star Allies. Kids to bed, and Dzung and I finished the night by watching “I, Tonya”. What a lazy WA Day!
Back to the grind after the long weekend. Cold and rainy. Dropped kids to school and did some grocery shopping at Garbo, then back home for a productive morning of work before a brief call with Will and a steak lunch with Wil. More work in the afternoon, then made bangers and mash and watched an episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events before putting the kids to bed.
And, partly due to a chat with Wil after lunch, I got my mojo back and did some HackTile work. Not much, but enough to get my head back around it and make some progress. The last part of the refactoring is writing the entity manager; I hope to do that over the next few days to get things back up-and-running.
May need to visit Boffins to get a good C99 reference.
Busy day at work; got a lot done, and also managed to get the HackTile refactor finished to the point where everything is running once again. Nice to have abstracted out an entity manager, a camera manager and an input handler, improved object state and lifetime management, and cleaned up a lot of the code. Still much more to do, but progress being made!
Plan to finish the day with a bit more work on my day job, and then perhaps watch a movie or play some games tonight. Dzung is going to be cooking spaghetti and meatballs, but I must admit I’m still pretty full from the curry laksa we ate for lunch.
Long, productive day at work, finishing the last of the work before the end of the current sprint, and culminating in a late conference call to New York. So no HackTile, apart from a few ideas about how to improve the camera system to deal with multiple cameras and arbitrary aspect ratios.
Made “bashy pork”, aka Japanese port katsu curry, for dinner. Proud to learn that Eliza is in the top 50 maths students, of around 350 in total. She’s really made a great start to high school.
Gardeners came today, and I returned a misdelivered package of cat food to our next-door neighbours. Amazing what you can buy online these days. Dzung out with April and Mary for lunch; I had onion soup and cheese on toast while watching The West Wing. Zelda book was delivered, which Jack loved. He wet his pants during class assembly rehearsal today; first time in ages.
Ended the day watching the second half of “Game Night” which Dzung and I started last night.
Busy all day at work. Rushed out in the morning to buy a birthday present for Eli; Pokemon pack reduced from $80 to $30. Girl at the games store thought I was there for Magic cards (there’s just been a new release).
Heads-down all day working. Quick break at lunch for meatball pasta and wine with The West Wing, then back to the grind. No time for HackTile—picked up Jack from Eli’s party (Eliza and I met Dzung walking home from the train station on the way), then back to a warm house to recover with a cognac and order Thai delivery for dinner, which was delicious with a beer. Then snuggled on the floor under a blanket with the kids to watch Black Panther. Made popcorn. After the kids had been put to bed Dzung and I had a cuppa and played Letter Tycoon. She won on points. Ended the night reading in bed. A real family Friday.
Dzung’s course was cancelled, so she took the kids to karate. I took the opportunity to do some HackTile work. Began by implementing multiple cameras, making sure to handle different aspect ratios, and to remove hardwiring of the texture size for rendering the game. Working well!
Next I introduced entity states for spawning and unspawning, and rendered these with a different colour. This requires the engine updates to synchronise with entity creation and deletion, so I introduced a new opcode allowing the engine to synchronise entities each time it updates. Also worked rather well!
The next step will be to update controls to allow the cameras to be manipulated, and to implement a nice debug manager to allow different parts of the engine to display debugging information on-screen, such as camera location, entity counts and frame rate.
Dzung making shaking beef for dinner. I also managed some time with The West Wing Weekly and Breath of the Wild; in the latter I’ve been running through as many shrines as possible, now that I’ve switched my playstyle from open-ended exploration to completing the main quests. Crazy I know (the game’s been out for well over a year), but I’m in no rush.
Rainy day, so Eliza’s tennis lesson was cancelled. I made pancakes and we had a long, lazy breakfast instead. Then picked up Lilian from tutoring and dropped her and Jack over at Van and Kiet’s. On the way she told me about her desire to buy a bass guitar, and her mum’s long list of conditions (including teaching Joshua violin, doing her homework downstairs, doing her chores, eating Chinese food without complaining and so on).
Received a food delivery from “You Plate It” which Eliza will be cooking for our dinner tomorrow, and on Thursday. Included a ridiculous amount of fruit.
Dzung, Eliza and I went to the St. Petersberg Ballet production of Swan Lake, with principal performers from the Bolshoi Ballet. Amazing show. Afterwards we stayed in the city for drinks and snacks, then returned to Van’s for dinner. Amazed to see Lilian with a bass guitar! She’d actually gone and bought it while we were at the ballet.
Van cooked oxtail soup for the first time with excellent results. Van and Kim had gone to see the Dockers. Had a chat with Kim; she’s doing really well, and has just received her registration as a professional architect. Played with Joshua and had dessert, then home for the bedtime routine. Too tired for any further work on HackTile this weekend. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
Dzung dropped Eliza in to school, I took Jack in a bit early for school banking. Got a bit of HackTile work done first thing; laid the foundations for a debug manager and improved the multiple camera system, converting it from floating-point to integer arithmetic. Very happy with performance.
My modded UPB-X800 arrived, so I set it up during my lunch break and confirmed that my US BluRay discs worked (they did). Now all I need is a great TV!
Busy at work. Finished the current sprint, deployed to production and started planning the next round of work.
Picked up Jack and took him shopping, then got Eliza. Homework and piano practise, and then Eliza cooked dinner: lupin-crusted salmon fillets on a bed of miso and mirin sweet potato smash with mustard greens fried in garlic and ginger. Took over an hour to prepare, and that was with my assistance chopping and cleaning and so forth, but she had so much fun and was deservedly proud of the results.
Early-morning meeting with Mark. Kids off to school, and I then settled down to watch Trump meet Kim in Singapore, and the Sony E3 live stream. Started a new sprint and made good progress. Lunch with Wil; artichoke soup and ham and cheese toasted sandwich. Picked up the kids and off to Freo for Eva’s birthday dinner at Grill’d. A bit of HackTile upon returning; working on debug mode. Got fonts implemented and used this to draw camera information, and work-in-progress on a larger debug menu. First try getting fonts in was a bit buggy though.
Finished the night watching the Nintendo E3 live stream. Busy day!
Woke up very tired, after staying up late to watch Nintendo at E3. In fact, Dzung and I both overslept, so it was a mad rush to get the kids to school on time, and I missed a scheduled work meeting.
Worked throughout the day getting four new customers set up, but hit a roadblock with some third-party services, so switched to some HackTile work. Finished implementing the debug menu, and then added a feature to allow the palette to be swapped, hard-wiring 9 of the best sixteen-colour palettes I could find. Hooked these up to the input system, adding inputs to allow the update rate of the engine to be modified too, in addition to a pause mode.
Dzung out at the movies tonight, so I made pizza with the kids, and we watched some E3 videos on YouTube. Very cold, so have the heat on, and have taken to wearing Jack’s Harry Potter beanie. Will end the night sipping on a cuppa while watching The West Wing, waiting for Dzung to come home. Don’t want another late one.
Gorgeous day. Set up the daybed again. Dzung took the kids to school while I got to work, coffee in hand. Busy setting up some new organizations. Break for a late morning bike ride around the river in the glorious weather, then lunched on oxtail soup outside in the sunshine.
Eliza cooked beef cheesburger sliders with sweet potato fries and aoli for dinner. Was very tasty! She did a good job peeling five sweet potatoes, then chopping them up with the sharp Japanese knife.
Bit of work on HackTile after dinner. Multiple game controllers working to control multiple cameras, switch palettes, adjust update rate and so on. This thing is starting to take shape!
Next thing will be to replace flat colours with animating sprites. That’ll probably take me a while. Once that’s done some refactoring and optimisation will be called for (especially for the debug font, which badly impacts the frame rate, as can be seen in the screenshot).
Work in the morning, then off to watch Jack’s class assembly. He dressed as a ninja and spoke confidently in front of the school. Dropped Dzung at the office and worked through lunch, then into the city for a couple of interviews before meeting Matthew for a beer at Nowhereman. Then into Leederville for a six-pack of Guinness and pizza. Jack (my friend, not my son) joined us, and we chatted for hours. Showed them both HackTile. No work on it today but planning for what to do next. Home before 11pm, Dzung and the kids had roast lamb with my parents.
Beautiful but chilly morning, Up early to do the laundry and have breakfast, then showered and to karate with the kids. Back home via the fish shop, lunch was seafood chowder with crusty baguette and some sushi on the side. Shopping after lunch for roast lamb tomorrow, and ingredients for stuffed tomatoes, which Dzung made for dinner. Delicious. Took the kids for a bike ride down to deep water point after hanging out the washing and listening to podcasts. Ate some fruit while watching the river. Saw Jumanji after dinner and demolished a box of Tee Vee Snacks. Feeling tired and run down, will have an early-ish night.
Refactored the input handler in HackTile. Feels much better now; controllers are managed properly and can be queried from anywhere. Nice. Will add mouse control for spawning entities over the next day or two, and will make the camera movement smoother and more precise.
We all had a bit of a sleep in. Late breakfast with the kids, then busy preparing roast lamb, potatoes, carrots, beans, brussel sprouts, salad, gravy and so on. Meat was a bit overcooked but delicious all the same. Ba raided our kafir lime tree for the restaurant as usual. Quickly packed up then over to Elaine’s for Mahjong with Josh, Annie and Mitzi. I worked on HackTile while Jack played Zelda and Dzung and Eliza played Mayjong with the others. Got mouse drawing working, and Eliza had a ball trying it out!
Amazing how much fun things are when you can interact. Had dinner at a nearby Thai place, before taking the kids home, leaving Dzung to play with the others. Jack and Eliza mucked around with HackTile a bit once we were home, then it was off to bed. And I’m exhausted, so an early night with “End of Watch” for me.
Grey Monday morning. Jack complaining of a sore tummy. Slow day at work struggling with Android builds and getting new apps set up on TestFlight. Picked up the kids and Jack made MaPu ToFu for dinner. Eliza got hit in the head with a basketball at school but took it stoicly. Later she cried when I read her the final chapters of The Queen of Sorcery.
Reimplemented the debug font for HackTile, using a caching library. Debug rendering now incredibly quick, exceeding 300fps when vsync is disabled, event when maxing out the engine. And implemented the beginnings of the sprite manager, to the point where drawing squares of flat colour has been replaced with blitting images from a sprite sheet. Still lots of more work to do there, and I feel that the next step will be implementing a basic sprite editor.
Watched an episode of The West Wing at lunch. Plan to watch another before bed, as Dzung is working and I’m not ready to hit the hay.
Very busy day at work struggling with builds. Not fun. Day was grey and miserable. Jack’s lap-a-thon cancelled due to weather. Dzung made sweet and sour fish for dinner, to use up leftover coriander and spring onion. Delicious.
Switched to a new font for debugging, and made sure the font colour changes with the palette. And got sprites rendering from the hard-wired pixels into a texture buffer to update with the palette too. Need to get alpha working next, then on to a basic sprite editor so I don’t need to design these in hex digits.
Will end the night with a bit of Zelda, cheese and brandy. Time to celebrate.
Bit of a meh kind of day. Eli came over early, as his mum and dad both needed to be in the office early. He and Jack are obsessed with minerals. They examined Jack’s rock collection enthusiastically, and were fascinated when I set up the digital microscope for them to use. After school, Jack made “Brentwood Geologist” membership cards for himself, Eli and Josh, which I helped him print and laminate. Great to see them obsessing over something!
Watched the lap-a-thon in the afternoon, which Dzung volunteered at. Made bolognaise for dinner. Sat on the sofa and watched three episodes of Seinfeld after dinner. Don’t know why, it was just part of the overall meh-ness of the day. I think it started when I woke up bright and early for this morning’s team meeting and nobody showed up. Also the comedown after the intense work setting up new customers.
Did some HackTile work; got alpha blending working for sprites. Really has a big performance hit; barely hitting 100fps when maxing things out now. But it’s necessary, as I want to have multiple layers. Spent some time thinking about the sprite editor, sketching out some UI designs based on SEUCK. I think I need to stew on this for a few days before coding anything up. I want to keep the editor simple, so making it opinionated is key. One way of doing this is to impose tight constraints on flexibility; limiting the exact number of entities and how they can be used, for example.
Another busy day at work. Lots of HackTile design, but no programming. Plan to introduce two states; a game state and an editor state, and toggle quickly between them. The editor will have a fixed layout, with the entity and rules editors implemented as pop-up dialogues. That gives me something to start with; refactoring to support multiple states will take a bit of work, and the editor layout can then be implemented with placeholder content, and I can then start fleshing out just the entity editor. Should work fine. Still need to stew on it for another day or two before I roll up my sleeves and start implementation.
Dzung made leftover curry for dinner, I cooked some lamb cutlets to pad it out. She’s feeling sick, and there’s still a bit of meh-ness around. Forgot to put the bins out last night; another symptom of our general malaise at the moment. I’m going to watch an episode of The West Wing and call it a night.
Morning meeting. Light day at work. Went shopping at lunch time to pick up groceries and beer, and to get the new Mario tennis game. A bit of HackTile in the afternoon; refactoring to add two game modes that can be toggled between, and starting to build out controls for the UI. This work will take a while.
Finlay over for a sleepover. I made tortillas. Everyone watching Hotel Transylvania 2 while I read End of Watch. Will have an early night.
Up early to buy brioche burger buns from Garden City before they sell out. Then back to get the kids breakfast and take them to karate. Dzung took Eliza to buy a viola while Jack had his lesson. Home via garbo again, this time to pick up lunch for the kids and to get premium hamburger meat. Kids got dressed and we went in to Supanova. Finlay had the time of his life!
Dropped Fin at mum and dad’s in the late afternoon. Stayed for a cuppa and a some rocky road. Then in to Hayashi for a wonderful dinner (superior beef, vegetable tempura, sous vide salmon, clam miso soup, rice, beer, lotus chips). Back home to make lamb and barley soup for tomorrow, using leftovers from last week’s roast. Finished reading Queen of Sorcery to Eliza, and miffed to find that the series has been pulled from the Kindle Store. Wrote an email to PRH UK to ask for an explanation.
Did a little bit of HackTile work; added an overlay renderer and used it to add a transparent background to debug displays. Need to soldier on and get this UI built out over the next week!
Busy day. Finished making the lamb and barley soup that I started last night, and went to the shops to grab salad, cheese and frozen chips. Then prepared soup, hamburgers, chips and salad for Dzung’s side of the family. Beautiful sunny day, so we sat outside to eat. Ma had two lamb sliders, and Ba ate several bowls of soup, and asked for some more to take home for dinner. Success!
Lilian, Lachlan and Joshua played their violins for us afterwards. Then packed up and went to pick up Mum and Dad to take them to the Civic Centre in Cottesloe where we watched Eliza and Jack’s piano concert. They played with confidence. Very proud of our kids. Finished the day at Barchetta, watching the sun set over the ocean. Ordered pizza and a share plate, and wine and beer.
Did a little bit of work on HackTile but nothing much. Need to find time during the week, as I’m pretty tired now and will make it an early one.
Up early. Made breakfast and lunch for the kids. Beautiful morning, so walked Jack in once Dzung was back from dropping off Eliza. Regular day at work. Took a break mid-morning to ride two laps around the river and soak in the nice weather. Reheated some soup for lunch, Dzung and I read our books outside in the sunshine. Then walked in to school to get Jack, picking up a few groceries on the way home. He got his report today; Bs in Maths and Japanese, but Cs for everything else. We’ll need to work on improving those grades!
Picked up Eliza after quiz club. She complained of a headache. Kids good, Jack did some homework and some reading. He tries hard. Eliza did hers. I managed to squeeze in some HackTile work; got a PanelManager implemented, with a few placeholder panels rendering where the editor UI will be. Should be able to flesh them out over the next few days.
Made grilled pork steaks with roasted sweet potatoes in a lemon butter sauce, garnished with parsely and red onion for dinner. Eliza helped. Delicious! Put both kids to bed, reading to them both (I downloaded an illegal PDF of Magician’s Gambit, since they pulled it from the Kindle store). Dzung cleaned up, so with nothing left to do I’m having an early night reading in bed. I’m enjoying this cruisy approach to hobby projects, chipping a little off each day rather than burning the candle at both ends.
Up early. Did some work. Made breakfast and lunch. Took kids to school. Back home to bacon and eggs and some reading before working some more and going for a mid-morning ride around the river. Afternoon business call, then picked up the kids and off to swimming lessons. Then into the city for a pubby dinner at Butcher’s Arms and a look at the light installation in the city.
“C in a Nutshell” arrived today, and I did some refactoring of code based on the C11 standard as a result. Expect to refactor some more tomorrow, and continue on the editing UI. Feel like I’m entering another rut. Sigh.
Well, not in a rut after all. Early morning meeting at work, then needed to work on getting the builds of all apps in order. While waiting for the builds to finish, I read my new C book and finished the refactoring work, and then mocked out the layout for the entity viewer and sprite editor.
The idea is that the red bar on the right will contain controls for selecting one of 32 entities, and for showing dialog boxes for editing various aspects of the simulation. The blue dialog on the left will show up to eight animations for the currently selected entity; idle, four directional animations, spawn and unspawn, and a special emote animation. The green dialog on the right will allow the currently selected animation to be edited. Each animation has up to three frames, each consisting of a 16x16 bitmap.
That’s the idea, anyway. We’ll see how it pans out.
This morning Dzung and I went to the school, in the drizzling rain, to watch Jack run cross-country. About half the boys try their hardest. Jack gets distracted, and decides to walk and muck around with his friends. Frustrating!
Tonight Eliza and I made lamb, pea and mint pasta. It was nice and filling, and tasty too, but not as good as the other dishes we’ve made. Watched some MasterChef after dinner, then read “Magician’s Gambit” to Eliza. She had a bit of a tummy upset. Then a bit more work before cleaning up while listening to The West Wing Weekly before heading to bed.
Very busy at work. Eliza off sick. Managed to get some HackTile time; got the sprite editor to a state where I can draw pixels, but there was a funny bug, because I forgot to disable drawing to the world at the same time. I’ll need to set an active flag on the cameras too, similar to what I’ve done with the UI panels. So much more to do.
Meeting with Jack’s teacher. We will work hard getting him to improve his concentration and his ability to work unsupervised. Eliza’s report came through; she got eight As and has been promoted into the advanced maths track. Good girl!
Made shaking beef for dinner. Will relax before bed with The West Wing, wine and cheese. Oh, and I ordered the new TV. Should be delivered soon.
Very busy at work. Beautiful clear day, but so very cold, so didn’t go for a bike ride. Fixed the multiple drawing bug from yesterday, and improved the functionality of the sprite editor. The sprite data is now modified too, meaning palette changes work, and it’s possible to select the drawing colour. Coming together, but still lots to do. Dinner over at mum and dad’s house. All feeling a bit tired, so will call it a night. Might play a game before bed.
Dzung took the kids to karate, so I spent the morning doing some work. Brunch was Korean BBQ at Van’s place, and we overate, so had to move our dinner booking from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. Dropped the kids at Mum and Dad’s, then worked on HackTile while Dzung took a nap.
Sprite editor taking shape. Created default sprites, and working towards having sprites selectable in the entity viewer. Also need to make entities selectable in the right-hand sidebar, and allow the sprite editor to be shown and hidden through menu items. Also need to support animation and serialization. Then this will be good enough to allow me to move on to the map editor and the rule editor. Exciting times.
Off to Kuzu for dinner, but time to kill before then, so will celebrate with a G&T and some gaming.
Finlay’s seventh birthday. Kids at mum and dad’s, so Dzung and I were mooching around in our PJs when Eliza’s English teacher arrived to deliver the book she needs to read for the holidays. Embarrassed! Off to Imperial Court for Dim Sum. They had a large function there, but we were lucky to get a table for thirteen in the back room without waiting too long. Lazy afternoon at home, ended up playing Zelda:BotW with Jack for an hour or so after a simple Sunday dinner of leftover soup and toasted cheesey bread.
Lots of work on HackTile. Entity editor layout updated, and sprite selection working properly to allow editing of any sprite, with a keyboard command to show and hide the editor, and the ability to select any entity for editing and for drawing into the map. Need to sort out camera controls next, so I can pimp out the map editor a bit more, and will also need to address animations.
Unfortunately I’ve had a re-think about how to assign sprites to entities, so I’ll need to re-do my default sprites and a bunch of code. This happened because I think movement animations will need to be three frames. So it’ll be:
- 8 entities with 16 sprites (12 for movement, 2 for spawn, 2 for unspawn)
- 8 entitries with 8 sprites (4 for movement, 2 each for spawn and unspawn)
- 8 entities with 5 sprites (1 default sprite and the spawn/unspawn ones)
- 8 entities with just 1 sprite
This still leaves me with the 16 reserved sprites I need for UI things.
First day of the school holidays. Cold and rainy. Did some activities with the kids; filmed Eliza doing her piano levels and helped Jack with his reading, but overall a busy day at work fixing the Android builds. Break at lunch to go shopping for holiday supplies, and to grab pies for lunch. Did some reading of the “Bullshit Jobs” book, which I agree with wholeheartedly. Dzung home to make soup and grilled pork with rice for dinner. Watched an episode of “Back in time for Dinner” with the kids while eating apricot yoghurt for dessert. It was the 1970s episode, and brought back a lot of childhood memories.
Kids to bed and then some HackTile work. Refactored the camera system to make zooming a lot more sane. Works well, although there is a limit to how far you can zoom out (to do with overflowing integers). Added keyboard controls to zoom in and out. Will need to refine this after returning from Nannup so I can move on to finishing the map editor. Will have lots to think about while bushwalking.
Worked in the morning but no time for HackTile. Dzung had to go in to the office to demo her project, so I organised the kids and got things packed up. Nice drive down to Nannup. No rain to speak of; we were lucky to miss the stormy weather. Great to be back amongst the big trees. Arrived and settled in, then over to visit Nagis, Ali and Nora (and Hora the dog, of course). Then back to our chalet to cook lamb cutlets and pasta for dinner. I’m doing dry July so missed the red wine. Played a bit of Resistance after eating, then ended the night in the hot tub. Glad to have a roaring log fire to keep us warm after getting out of the water!
Slept great. Strong coffee and raisin toast for breakfast. Headed into Bridgetown for lunch. Whole place has been decorated with ornaments woven from white wool to make it look like a winter wonderland for Christmas in July. And amazed to find the puzzletown exhibition, featuring countless jigsaw puzzles, including the smallest and largest in the world. Fantastic lunch at the Barking Cow cafe. Had planned to go bushwalking but the weather set in so we grabbed groceries and filled up with petrol before driving back to the chalet to light the fire. Dzung and the kids made a start on the jigsaw puzzle they bought while I read, then over to Nagis and Ali’s for a dinner of fish, wild rice, veges and salad. Kids did a hilarious magic show performance. Walked home in the cold dark night to a guttering fire that I resurrected before ending the evening in the hot tub. Electric blankets set to max. Love relaxing and spending time away from screens, would love to live like this and work on HackTile when inclined, with lots of bushwalking to think.
Last full day. Kids were freezing cold overnight. Made bacon burgers for breakfast and had an easy morning. Dzung walked the dog with the kids and went to say hello to the alpacas while I chopped wood. Drove into Nannup to get pies and pasties for lunch, then went for a walk along the Blackwood River. Back home to light the fire and hop into the spa. Roasted some vegetables for dinner and cooked the lasagna. Played a few rounds of Resistance then had an early night with electric blankets on for everybody. Almost finished reading “The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle”.
Kids slept in until eight thirty. Breakfasted, then packed up and cleaned up, and visited our friends to say goodbye. Kids wrote in the guestbook, after discovering their guestbook entry from 2016 the other day. Left a bit later than planned, and I was a bit stressed out, as I’d arranged to have the TV delivered at one o’clock and I was clearly not going to make it. Needn’t have worried though, after arriving home and putting everything away the delivery driver called to say he was coming around. Perfect timing, really. Spent the afternoon catching up on work and setting up the TV. Dzung took the kids shopping and to the library, so Jack could get some more books for his reading challenge. Will have can chua for dinner, and will then most likely watch a movie on our new sixty-five inch idiot box.
Strong coffee and crumpet breakfast once the washing was on, happily flicking through new issues of The Guardian and New Scientist. Then off to karate with the kids, picking up seafood chowder and crusty baguette for lunch on the way home. Lazy afternoon, then dropped the kids to mum and dads. Picked up Annie for dinner at Tiny’s. We ordered far too much. Then to the jazz festival to see the Perth Jazz Collective at His Majesty’s. Back home to watch Endeavour with a cuppa.
Slept in, then a breakfast of scrambled eggs with leftover toasted baguatte outside in the winter sunshine. Picked up the kids; they didn’t want to leave as they’d made new friends and were playing out the front. To Van’s for spaghetti vongole. Returned home for a rest; I had a bad sinus headache that risked developing into a migraine, so lights out and listening to The West Wing Weekly with a strong coffee. A light dinner of leftover Cahn Chua, then watched an episode of Back in Time for Dinner. Must get back on to the HackTile bandwagon!
Took the kids to Garden City in the morning to get some hotdog buns, then back home to work. Eliza had some friends over for the day; Cindy and Zophia and Cindy’s little sister. They baked cakes and ate hotdogs for lunch. They had a great time together, and were inclusive of Jack. No fighting or breaking anything; they were all well behaved and cleaned up after themselves. Proud of them all! I managed to work a full, busy day.
Picked up Dzung from the station and drove to visit Daz to celebrate his 44th. Sat outside by the fire. Jack had a ball playing table tennis, and Eliza sat happily with Archie on the sofa near the fire. Chicken and pizza and sausage rolls for dinner, then chocolate cake and tea. Caught up with Cam’s dad, and Dad told us about a game he played with his grandfather as a kid, where you throw a ring tied to a string towards a hook in the wall. Searched for it on the phone; turns out it’s an old pub game called “ring the bull” or something. Will try to set it up for Christmas.
Home late and put the kids to bed. Tired, and no desire to start work on HackTile. I did spend a bit of time today going through what I plan to do next, and running it to test a few things, so there’s that at least.
Sigh. Didn’t write a diary entry yesterday. And instead of going to bed at a reasonable time, I surfed Reddit for a couple of hours. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things after taking a break, but I must do it. Watched a talk by Jonathon Blow on YouTube about getting over a lack of enthusiasm, but it didn’t help.
Kids were away too; Eliza went swimming with a friend, and Jack went to the movies with Mum and Finlay. Dzung’s desk was delivered, so I spent a good part of the day setting that up instead, which was physically exhausting. And I cleaned the house a bit. Then there were some urgent tasks with my day job, and a looming deadling at the end of the month that I’ll need to work extra hours to hit.
Made steaks and mashed potato with green beans for dinner. Delicious. Usual bedtime routine. Eliza very tired after her big day.
Beautiful day. Took kids to the carwash for breakfast. Getting the car properly cleaned is always cathartic. Tidied up the garden too, and got the kids to finish tidying the house after all the housework I did yesterday. Finished a few big tasks at work, and had a long chat with Will that turned out well. Need to spend the rest of my week on design work, to scope out tasks for the next two weeks, but that seems doable. Will take the kids swimming, and then make lasagna and salad for dinner. And, I promise, will do some HackTile too.
And so I did! Happy to break the hoodoo. Just some simple work on the map editor; fixing a bug with entity zero not working because of some assumptions made in the rules of Conway’s life, and implemented a preview when drawing entities in the map, to be consistent with how sprite drawing works.
Great to be back on the bandwagon. Need to focus now on getting sprite animations working correctly, and then it will be on to serialisation followed by the rules editor. To put meat on the bones, so to speak.
Dzung took the kids to Scitech to spend some time with their cousins. I worked scoping out the new payments feature for my day job. Enough work to keep me busy for the next fortnight, working towards an end-of-the-month deadline.
Eva and Finlay arrived for a sleepover in the late afternoon. Made lamb cutlets, pasta and salad. Civilised dinner around the dining table while telling jokes, then watched “Early Man” with popcorn. I cleaned up and made the beds while the girls played Letter Tycoon. Eva will be sleeping in my office, so I’m working upstairs for a change. Boys asleep.
Have been thinking about life in general. Want to improve my level of fitness, lose some weight, contribute more to society (I scheduled myself to donate blood again, triggered by Callan’s platelets scare), build stuff of value (an old trope of mine, but relevant now that I’m almost finished reading the excellent “Bullshit Jobs” book… working for a salary should only be the journeyman stage between apprentice and master), improve my diet (will restrict myself to three drinks per week once dry July is up) and so on. Lots of life stuff swirling around in my mind today.
HackTile-wise, I’ve decided to focus on serialisation and forget about generating default sprites, which is just a timewaste. Once serialisation is working I’ll be able to load sprites, so the default set could be designed by hand. Will do some work on that tonight, but it will take a bit of time to finish. Once it’s done animation will be unblocked. Happy days.
Took the kids to Riley’s for breakfast, then to Garbo where I bought “Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker” and the Ultra HD version of “Bladerunner 2049”. Back home late morning and was busy at work for the rest of the day. Kids played games until Eva and Finlay were picked up after lunch.
Squeezed in some HackTile in the late afternoon. Optimised palette swaps, implemented serialisation for sprites, and removed all the code for creating default sprites. Worked great, but will have to revisit at some point when I support an architecture with a different endianess. So animation is now on the agenda. Looking forward to it!
Mum and Dad over to watch “Battle of the Sexes” on the new TV. Had some Thai delivered for dinner. Mum made dessert. Put the kids to bed, and ending the night watching an episode of “Endeavour” with Dzung and a cuppa. Noice.
Regular Saturday. Lazy breakfast, clothes washing and karate. Rushed home via Garbo to pick up groceries for lunch, then kids off to piano while I cleaned my office and tried “MoonQuest”. Shopping in the afternoon with Dzung, buying things for dinner and tomorrow’s hotpot. Have decided to pause Dry July to be able to drink with our guests. But one day a month is pretty good, right?
Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, then an episode of BiTfD before playing a few levels of Kirby with the kids. Got some more HackTile done, too.
Now that serialisation is working, I updated the entity editor to allow individual animation frames to be selected. Next will be to draw then animating, and to make it easy to preview animations by moving the controller. Drew some nicer sprites to aid in this work. And, after that, rules!
Jack back to North Shore! We hope it’ll give him some discipline at school and that his grades will improve by the end of the year. Island Market for brunch; tried to limit what I ate. Then preparing steamboat once back home. Faith and Yoshiya loved playing the Vive, and I celebrated the halfway point of the increasingly inappropriately named “dry july” by sharing two bottles of red. Late night for the kids, and I couldn’t face cleaning up straight away, so watched “The Shining” first. Ended up still awake at 2:30am. No HackTile.
Very hungover. Should have stuck to my guns and avoided the drink. Slow morning as a result. Needed to finish cleaning too. Mum took the kids in the middle of the day, so after a hot shower I worked from late morning to early evening, and continued after dinner. Now to bed at ten o’clock with no HackTile done, but at least I managed a full work day.
Very busy all day at work. Made good progress. Did North Shore homework with Jack. Eliza has a sore throat, worsening since yesterday. Dzung will take her to the Doctor tomorrow. Made steak, gravy, mash, beans and carrots for dinner. Dessert of custard and apple cake. HackTile for a bit; got animations working, and got the map serialising. Good enough for now; will switch to rules, and come back to animations once we need different states for movement and the like.
Very sore today after overdoing it yesterday with three repeats of the seven-minute workout. Can barely lift my arms. Work very busy; Dzung and I made an effort to go out to Hayashi for lunch. Frozen lasagna for dinner though.
No HackTile work, but put together an animation to post to Twitter.
Have been playing around with the editor, thinking about rules.
Super busy at work. Got heaps done, but exhausted by the end of it. Fish for dinner. Eliza not feeling well and upset after a visit to the allergy doctor and finding out she cannot select drama in year 8, as she’s already a music student. Must find something she can do outside of school. Jack doing well with his maths and reading. Dzung working hard. I can’t slog on with HackTile tonight; I played around a bit but coding rules still feels premature; need to steep a bit longer and show it to Danny and Wil tomorrow. Will chill out with the TV before bed instead.
Danny Goodman! Hours of reminiscing on the sofa in the sunshine. Wil visited too. Great to catch up. Like no time had passed. Then busy at work, and off to mum and dad’s for a lamb roast. Very tired, to bed with a book while it rains.
Kids to karate with Dzung. I did some housework. French onion soup and cheese on toast for lunch. Very tired in the afternoon; napped while listening to podcasts. Think I have a mild form of Eliza’s virus. Dzung made Ramen for dinner, and then she went to sleep early; I watched some game design videos on YouTube while crashing on the sofa. No HackTile at all. Waste of a day, really.
Jack to NorthShore. Eliza and I teamed up to play “Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker”. Then to Van’s for lunch; Ba made steak and vegetables. Did some shopping in the afternoon, and made vegetable soup in the Thermomix for dinner. Still early, so Eliza cajoled us into playing Munchkin. She won, of course, but there was no backstabbing (so it was really just a race to the finish). Watched a few episodes of “Handmaid’s Tale” with Dzung once the kids were asleep. Again with the lack of HackTile.
Got some chores done once kids were at school. Lots of work-related chatter. Did three or four hours over the weekend so took it easy. Feeling less sore today, so did three circuits of the 7-minute workout while listening to a podcast. Eggs, toast and coffee for lunch while watching an episode of The West Wing (now that I’ve caught up on the podcasts I need to watch a few episodes again).
Thinking about rules. Lots of thought experiments, like having magnets that repell a ball. What happens when a ball-magnet pair face each other with a gap in-between? There are three possibilities.
- One ball wins, which blocks the other ball from moving. This isn’t ideal, because it breaks the assumption that all rules are processed in parallel. Why would one win?
- Neither ball wins (we detect there is a conflict, which causes both rules to fail). This isn’t ideal, because there’s an obvious gap for the balls to move into.
- Both rules succeed, and the two balls begin moving towards each other. But then both rules are reverted (because of the conflict) and they move back to their original position.
I like this last solution, as it yields the intuitively correct behaviour; the balls will wobble back-and-forth. The magnets have an obvious and consistent effect on the world, and the world rule of one entity per cell is visually not violated. It implies rules having multiple states, and the engine updating between rule transitions. Things like sound effects could be triggered by the rule beginning to execute, by the rule succeeding, or by the rule being rolled back. That should give a lot of expressiveness to the engine.
Another thought experiment is an NPC that has four rules, each telling it to move in a different direction. In this case, only one rule can succeed, as they are all attempting to move the entity. Essentially the movement command requires exclusive access to the resource. It’s fairest to select one rule to win at random, meaning NPCs will get random (brownian) movement for free. Nice.
Apart from movement, there aren’t too many commands that require exclusive access to a resource. Really just movement and mutating a register.
Final thought experiment is back to the magnet-ball rule, where the balls are adjacent, with another rule that adjacent balls de-spawn (in a fiery explosion), with magnets strategically positioned to push the balls apart. What should happen here?
- The rule to explode the balls beats the rule to move the balls, and so they explode.
- The rule to move the balls beats the rule to explode the balls. and so they move.
- Both rules fire, so the balls explode while they’re moving.
Again, this last case seems intuitively correct. The rule to explode the ball simply de-spawns both balls (which plays an explosion animation), and triggers an explosion sound effect. The rules to move the balls still fires, but the entity engine can handle moving an entity while it’s de-spawning, so there’s no conflict to rollback.
All of this comes naturally when we think of the 3x3 grid as providing context to decide if a rule should fire, and the rule itself then issuing a series of commands (such as move entity and so on), rather than the rule mutating the 3x3 grid (which is what the user may see when editing rules, but not what the engine works with when executing rules).
Anyway, that’s a bit of a thesis. Hopefully things will solidify somewhat over the next day or two so I can begin coding this up.
Jack had school photos today. I cooked bolognaise for dinner. Full from overeating! Dzung and Jack watched Australian Ninja Warrior. Eliza practising her viola. Just a regular Monday night.
Long, busy day. Heaps to do at work. Skipped lunch with Wil, and cancelled meeting with Will tomorrow. Eliza off early due to parent-teacher meetings; she had a ball visiting her old primary school with her friends. Walked home with both kids, just like old times (sob).
Dzung out for Chang’s birthday, after rushing home to meet with Eliza’s maths teacher. She’s a great mum. I took the kids to the shops to buy ingredients for Eliza to make tomorrow night’s dinner. Then picked up a huge feast of fish and chips, which we ate while watching the beginning of “Spiderman: Homecoming”.
Still working into the evening. Will watch an episode of Handmaid soon, then crash. No time to even think about HackTile.
No HackTile. Extremely busy at work. Frantic. Dzung not feeling very well. Massive downpour at school pick-up time, trying to contact Eliza to tell her to stay undercover at the school, but that only ended up delaying me in traffic while she walked to the usual meeting spot in the park and got soaked. She cooked dinner, following a recipe from “You Plate It”, using ingredients we bought ourselves. Finished the night watching a couple of episodes of “Handmaid’s Tale”.
Very busy at work, but blindsided by a design coming out of nowhere, with it’s own user stories, in no way following the documented spec. Worked furiously all day, from 7:30 to 17:00, with nary a break. Exhausted, cooked the salmon dish for the kids while Dzung took them to piano lessons. Philae arrived after dinner to mind the kids while Dzung and I went to “The White Album Concert”. Third time we’ve been; other shows were in 2009 and 2014. Absolutely fantastic. Home at 23:00 to crash on the sofa and watch the last episode of “Sense 8”. Too tired to finish it, I crawled to bed. Obviously no HackTile.
Easy morning. Decided I’d take my foot off the accelerator at work until design and requirements sort themselves out. Don’t want to rework any of the backend. Planned an easy day of fixing a few issues and getting some chores done: banking, cleaning, shopping and a blood donation. But they cajoled me to donate platelets instead of blood—I was reticent to do so due to my bad experience last year—but they were very kind and careful and it all went well. One of the young nurses flirted with me, saying my arms were lovely and warm and that I would “be a girl’s best friend on a cold night”. Flattering but awkward; this all in front of a room of other donors. Didn’t know what to say. Ended up taking a large chunk out of my day. Even worse, returned home dead tired, a combination I think of deciding to work less intensely and the loss of blood. Mooching around in the afternoon; mum and dad over with shepherd’s pie for dinner. Yum. Too worn out in the evening to code; vegged out in front of the TV before having an early night.
No HackTile. Kids to karate with Dzung. I read “Kavalier and Clay” for a while, after finishing chores, and then got to work unblocking the drain in my bathroom. That worked, so checked other drains, and Jack’s needed some love too. Worked on that, but accidentally pressed down the plug so it couldn’t be removed. Ended up working for an hour, had to take everything apart and reassemble, then repeat when my first attempt leaked. Next time I’ll call a guy.
Out in the afternoon shopping for stools. Found a couple we like; Hudson’s mum was the salesperson and let us bring them home to try out. They’re not high enough. Cooked dinner with Dzung; pork ribs, beans, coleslaw. Then played some VR together before putting the kids to bed. Ended the night watching “John Wick 2” with Dzung, an abysmal film.
Up early to help Jack finish his North Shore homework, which we neglected yesterday. Then Dzung took him in, and Eliza went to tennis. I did some housework, then breakfasted while reading, and took delivery of the “You Plate It” box for the coming week. Then some gardening out the back. Off to Van and Kiet’s for lunch of vietnamese pancakes. Would have been perfect with a beer, but still doing dry July.
Home in the afternoon to help Eliza clean up her room. Then read some more in the sunshine before playing a bit of Elite Dangerous, as the VR was still set up. Made dinner for the kids (leftovers of potato and leek soup, shepherd’s pie and steamed brocolli with vinegar rice) before playing a round of “Takenoko” before bed. Read to Eliza, then watched “The Lobster” with Dzung.
Walked Jack to school early for school banking. He showed me a map that he had drawn with Eli and Josh for their Geology Club. It was a quite detailed map of the school playground with measurements and everything, along with a description of the digging conditions in the sand pit. Funny!
Returned the stools, then a work meeting and semi-busy day. Mark talking about the new directory product again; got the creative juices flowing. Did three repeats of the seven-minute workout. Watched Handmaid’s Tale at lunch. Walked Jack home from school, then to the shops to stock up on some Japanese items. Bought small eggplants to have another attempt at grilled eggplant for tomorrow night. After shopping we picked up Eliza from quiz club.
Home to help Eliza cook the oven backed panko-and-parmesan crusted fish and potato wedges. Turned out great, and enough food for us all to have seconds, and save enough for lunch for all of us tomorrow. Value! Put the kids to bed, then watched an episode of The West Wing. Nada HackTile.
Busy day at work. Picked up Jack in the middle of the day to visit the immunologist. Needed to talk about Eliza, but they won’t give you a follow-up appointment unless you bring a kid along. Found him digging in the playground with Eli and Josh. Appointment was good, happy to have a realistic action plan for anaphylaxis, and not a knee-jerk of giving the epi-pen the moment Eliza mentions a lump in her throat.
Picked up Jack after school and went shopping, then collected Eliza after orchestra. Made mapu tofu for dinner, and second attempt at Japanese-style grilled eggplant. Burned it this time. Hoping for third time lucky tomorrow.
Kids to bed, and I watched a couple of episodes of Handmaid’s Tale before retiring. No HackTile.
Busy day at work. Early morning meeting, and heads down all morning. Dzung and I to Kitchen Inn for lunch (after trying somewhere else that ended up being closed only on Wednesdays). They got my order wrong, so I only ate half of the plate. Working all afternoon, then cooked dinner with Eliza; steak, cous-cous, baby carrots. Turned out quite nicely.
Kids to bed, finished “Magician’s Gambit”. Then watched a couple of episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale” before sleep. Stormy outside, worried about the bins. Jack had earlier spotted a crow making a mess of our neighbour’s bin, which we tidied up, but it’s the wind that worries me.
Blindsided. Spent yesterday scoping out urgent work that needed to be finished for the customer by Sunday, ready to work on it today and tomorrow. But had another very long meeting today to cancel that, and return to previous work, which I’d put on hold, to modify requirements that were written months ago, which requires existing implementation to be changed. And this piece of work is now super-urgent. This wiped me out; the lack of sleep overnight didn’t help. Spent the day in a daze, thinking about life and career and the things I want to be working on. Just fixed bugs and did some work that was blocking a few things, but otherwise dropped out mentally.
Lack of sleep because it was super windy overnight. Hail at 2am. Worried about the bins on the kerbside. Kept getting out of bed to check on them. At 6am I went outside in the dark to find the lid of one of the bins was open, and the bag that was on top had disappeared! It was full of foam that had been used to pack the desk that Dzung bought a while ago, which I’m gradually disposing of, so it would have been very light. Walked up and down the street but couldn’t see it anywhere. Terrible way to start the day.
Spent the evening in a depressed funk. Watched the last of Handmaid’s Tale, which didn’t help. Need to start on a skunkworks project to show my boss how we could be doing things differently, and need to get back to HackTile!
Casual day. Rainy morning. Did some shopping while kids at school. Good progress at work. Made lamb cutlets and pasta for dinner (mum and dad didn’t get the kids due to poor weather). Glass of wine with Dzung to break the drought of dry July. Watched “The War on Waste” with Eliza after dinner. Quiet night, very tired.
Dzung has to work so I took the kids to karate, and stopped by Garbo on the way home to grab some pies for lunch. Crystal dropped Eli over and I took the kids into the Earth Sciences Museum at UWA where they had a great time looking at minerals and chatting to the lady there to help identify the rocks they’ve been digging up in the school playground.
Back home via mum and dad’s for an afternoon tea of banana bread and crackers. Made Malaysian curry with potatoes, carrots and pork for dinner, along with grilled eggplant and roti. Curry too spicy for the kids, but delicious with a beer. Kids to bed and I cleaned up, then watched “The Death of Stalin” with Dzung.
Dzung took Jack to North Shore, and Eliza to tennis. I got the washing on, then Brendan and Finlay over for a cuppa with some banana bread they’d made. Chatted for a while—Fin is doing great at footy and Brendan is working with The Wall Street Journal—then they took the old TV and DVR. Quick shower and Dzung back home to pick me up to go to Van and Kiet’s for oxtail soup. Lingered after lunch chatting while the kids played. Home via Mt. Lawley to pick up a box from Get Chunky to take to dinner.
Brief rest to hang out the washing and pack for the walk over to Faith and Yoshiya’s house. With ten minutes to leave, I called the kids to get ready, only to find Eliza and Jack had started to tidy up Jack’s room, meaning they’d taken all the junk from all drawers and surfaces and piled them on his bed. I barked at them to hop in the shower and hurriedly tidied things, then got ready myself. We left a little bit late. Great evening; Yoshiya made about eight courses of Tapas, which we ate with beer and sherry, then chatted while sipping whisky afterwards, leaving the kids to play. Walked home about nine thirty or so, and tried to get the kids straight to bed with varying levels of success. Dzung crashed out; I stayed up in a half-drunken stupor and watched a few interesting shows before finally calling it a night at half twelve.
Very tired. Got the kids to school, then drove to take the car for a service (and to have the recalled airbag replaced), but they lost the booking, so rescheduled for Thursday instead. Pity, I had looked forward to the long walk home; I need time to think about work and projects and life and stuff. So, once home, I packed my bag and headed out the door, rambling down through the streets towards Bullcreek, which I followed around to the other side of the river, walking slowly, deep in thought, wending back up First Avenue towards Eliza’s school, then back home via the traffic bridge. Covered over seven kilometres in ninety minutes. Feet very sore. Quick shower, then eggs and toast and strong coffee while watching The West Wing.
Worked through the afternoon, then picked up Jack. A girl asked me for money for food as I walked past the chemist. She looked zonked out, and was possibly homeless. I literally was carrying nothing, so I apologised. As I walked away, and older guy (who turned out to be her father) started yelling abuse at me. I stopped and turned towards him, and he stormed towards me, saying I insulted his daughter and did I want to fight and screaming to me to fuck off. I was dumbfounded, standing on the pavement between the butcher’s and the cafe, and tried reasoning with him. No point. He walked away, and I noticed that all of the shopkeepers had come to their doors with looks of concern on their faces. A lady on a bicycle asked me what had happened, and suggested that I should call the council’s security team. She said she’d give me the number. We were both on our phones when the guy started screaming and coming towards us, asking whether we were calling the police. He was extremely angry. The bicycle lady had told me earlier not to bother trying to reason with “them”, but I was feeling very sorry for their plight, and although the guy was being very aggressive and loud I realised that I didn’t feel afraid for my safety. Again, I calmly explained that I was on my way to pick up my son from school, and that lots of young kids would soon be walking home along this path, and he seemed to accept that I was being genuine. He then held out his hand and apologised, saying I was a good bloke. We shook hands and went our seperate ways.
Later, walking back with Jack, the police arrived. One of the shopkeepers had called them, no doubt. But, by that time, daddy and daughter had disappeared.
Picked up Eliza, then home for a rest. We all had a late night last night, and we all had short fuses. I got annoyed when Jack wouldn’t do as I asked, and Eliza didn’t answer straight away when I called her, to the point where both kids were crying in frustration. Bad mojo. But we started to cook dinner together, and Dzung arrived home, and we ate and everything was well again. Kids had an early night, I read to Eliza. And will now retire myself; too worn out to consider HackTile, or to do anything else, but I am keen to finally get back on the wagon and continue this project; the walk decided that for me.
Kids off to school. I worked on a bunch of disconnected issues and bugs. Feeling down; the usual thing. Did three repetitions of the seven minute workout, and ate a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich while watching The West Wing for lunch. Did some laundry. Walked Jack home from school, then did some groceries at the IGA before collecting Eliza. Pretty run-of-the-mill day, all up. Leftover oxtail soup for dinner. Watched a few more episodes of The West Wing with Dzung once the kids were asleep.
To the school for Jack’s Naidoc Week assembly. First time the junior choir were singing with their new shirts on. He was shy. Mid-morning the school called to say he was feeling sick. Dzung picked him up, and he perked up after a dose of Panadol. Leftover curry and roti for lunch, yum! Eliza’s graphics tablet arrived. Dzung took kids to piano but returned after Jack vomited all over himself in the car. Cleaned that up, then finished the workday. Sigh. Made sweet and sour fish for dinner. I did the laundry, crumbed and cooked the fish, cleaned, let Dzung finish preparing the dish, ate, cleaned up, put Eliza to bed. Finished the night washing dishes while listening to “The West Wing Weekly” before watching the Smash Brothers Nintendo Direct.
Jack home sick. Eliza made slow cooked osso bucco for dinner, prepared and in oven at brekky. Drove Eliza and Zophia to school, then took the car in for a service. Walked home via Garbo, somehow managing not to get rained on. Took an hour. Listened to an episode of The West Wing Weekly on the way. Home to work, but Eliza’s school called to say she’s sick! Dzung out for birthday lunch with Mary and April, they luckily went to get Eliza and ran her home. Curry for lunch while looking after two sick kids. Checked bank, realized I haven’t been paid. Nothing going well today! Caught a Shofer to pick up the car, then home for dinner. Need to get my mojo back… haven’t worked on HackTile for weeks!
Bank issue resolved. Problem was on the US side. Strange that they would stuff up a recurring transfer, but what can you do? Kids home sick, and mum and dad cancelled their sleepover tonight (don’t want them to catch it). So I decided not to join Dzung to see Julius Caesar tonight. Hard to work with the kids at home, so I focused just on bugs. Got really annoyed with the crappy tech I’m using. Why am I spending my life doing this? Cathartic to read back through old books to remind myself where I’ve come from and how things might be different. Seriously thinking about striking out on my own, but income would be an issue (evidenced by my pay being delayed; we really need the money).
Ate olives and drank a beer in the late afternoon. First drink since Faith and Yoshiya’s house on Sunday. Abstinence isn’t much of a challenge, it turns out. Surprising, since I’ve been in a bit of a slump, but Dzung and I have teamed up to keep each other honest. Played around with HackTile a bit. It’s pretty good.
Made pasta for the kids with the leftover sauce from the osso bucco, and watched “The Girl Who Leaped Through Time”.
Took the kids to karate, then Wendy’s hot dogs for lunch, and dropped them over mum and dad’s for a sleepover. Picked up Annie and had dinner at Brika, then met up with Dave and watched Jesse Gordon perform at The Ellington.
Picked up the kids from their sleepover. Dim sum for lunch, then mooched around Northbridge in the sunny weather and let the kids have a few games at Timezone. Walked to Deep Water Point in the afternoon and had tea and scones at the new Dome Cafe there. Cooked Japanese eggplant for Dzung, and watched The Shape of Water once the kids were asleep.
Dzung’s birthday! Up early to give cards and take Eliza and then Jack to school. Worked for a bit then lunch at Must. Chacuterie board with duck rilette, pork hock, pate and so on, roast chicken, angelhair crab pasta, wine and cheese. Mooched around Mt. Lawley, bought flowers, then bought a new set of headphones. Picked up Jack and Eliza, then teppanyaki at Nishi. Eliza loved it, Jack was initially scared, but came around by the end. Fantastic food and lots of fun. Feeling very tired, will call it an early night after cleaning up kitchen.
Took Eliza in to school early for her athletics carnival, then dropped Jack in. Slow but productive day at work. Did three reps of the workout. West Wing at lunch. Picked up Jack and got annoyed with him always answering back and not doing his homework and piano after school. So frustrated I slammed the door to the office, which gave him a fright. It all ended in tears. I apologised and let him know I don’t have to work after getting him from school, and that I can sit with him and help. This eventually cheered him up. Finished homework and played piano together, then did some tidying and started making dinner (afyer picking up Eliza). Kids had baths, Eliza finished off dinner and we ate, then watched a few YouTube videos and played Kirby Star Allies. Kids to bed, then Dzung home from her night out with the girls to celebrate her birthday.
Regular day at work. Dzung out in the evening so the kids and I got F&C for dinner, after taking Jack swimming. Ended the night watching Akira. Ages since I’ve seen it. So bleak! Amazed to see that the plot circles around the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo! Prescient!
Busy day at work. Took the phones in to get batteries replaced. Eliza very upset after school, having problems with her friends, cried in the bathroom for half of her science class, asked Dzung not to pick up her friends as she usually would. Terrible to see her so upset, and hard to know how to deal with it, apart from listening and cuddling.
Jack’s “One Big Voice”. Very exited; packed him a bag with ham and cheese sandwich, banana, pringles, oreos and cheese and crackers. Eliza did fine at school today. I did three reps of the workout and worked focused all day. Mum and dad over, then to Simple Italian before the show. Caught up with Sonny in the audience. Show was good but hard to see the kids. Jack tired and cranky afterwards… it was a long day for him!