2022 01 23

Time for some review of the week.

I mostly chilled today and talked with friends which I think was a reasonable use of a Sunday, but I think in hindsight I would have been more deliberate about my time. I was good yesterday at starting running again and getting my bike fixed, but used that productivity as an excuse to take today unscheduled. The problem I run into when I don’t really schedule my days (even leisure) is that I can get a bit aimless and waste a fair amount of time just trying to figure out what I should be doing. This is generally bad as in these analysis paralysis moments I defer to time killing acts like browsing reddit or scrolling through my various messaging services. There’s definitely more things I could be deliberately spending my time on, and its ok if I play video games a lot on the weekend, I should just be deliberate about it and know that is how I want to be spending my time. So, goal for next weekend is to be more deliberate about how I spend it.

This past week of work was fairly productive aside from all the back to school socialization. I realize in hindsight that I spent too much time on friday trying to understand the workings of a tool that I am using. I think fundamentally my value of learning the basics really well is a good principle, but in practice I need to do some more triage and focus on the basics most closely related to my research. This part is reasonably close, but I may be learning more than I need to be about it and thus “wasting” my efforts. I am using waste in the sense of The Toyota Way. I do believe doing research relatively lean is good as it helps eliminate possible directions you could go on and keeps you focused the most value-adding components of your work. I’m not sure what a better system can be about doing this triage to figure out if some basic is worth spending time on. Perhaps I should be following another Toyota Way which is to ask repeated “why” until you get to the root of the problem. This may help me identify some of the basics that I should be strong about, so I can try that tomorrow.

I was good about documenting experiments, but I could be better about documenting my thoughts during the day. I talked about writing them in here, but I think its worthwhile to have a dedicated place for them. I think I’ll just have a separate overleaf file to put those thoughts in so that I don’t clutter the research document.

In Forza Horizon 5 I’m finally starting to get the hang of drifting while using my wheel and pedals. I’ve figured out that to control the wheel spinning itself you can modulate the gas. I don’t fully have this worked out, but basically gas down means hold the current wheel position, and then lifting the gas frees the wheel to move to the other position and you can put the gas down to slow its movement and stop it at a desired location. I’m now better able to control drift cars by learning this, but its still so much harder than using a controller!

I wanted to also do some flight lessons in Microsoft Flight Simulator, but didn’t get around to that. I got a new bush plane that has been great fun so far including when I stalled and crashed trying to land it in the crater of Haleakalā on Maui.

Ted Lasso continues to be one of the best and most unique emotional experiences on TV that I have ever seen, which really makes up for its trope-y cheesiness and extreme Apple product placement. I’ve been reminded this past week of how powerfully certain media that you consume can affect your mental state, so I’m trying to harness that and use it to keep me in the mental states that I want to be in.

Daily Listening Didn’t listen to much today. More vaporwave and some easy listening.

Daily Reading Read another chapter of Freedom’s Forge this morning and also a good chunk of The Lathe of Heaven last night. Freedom’s Forge has been helping me fill in the gaps in my historical knowledge about the development of the US in the early 20th century and of what the culture was like in places. This chapter focused on Henry Kaiser who’s name persists through the large healthcare organization Kaiser Permanente which he founded based on the suggestion of a Doctor he employed that he should provide health care to his workers to take better care of them and have them prefer working there. It was interesting reading about how he contracted to build many roads in the western US and how quickly they could do so. When the Hoover Dam project came about they had to team up with their competitors to be able to construct it as the government required a large payment for the submission of a bid to ensure the contractors knew what they were getting into. Astonishingly they made the Dam in a few years which seems like something like that could never happen nowadays despite the superior technology of our time. It’s not really clear to me why that is, but I don’t think this book is going to answer that question. Perhaps it was just easier and cheaper to hire many people as it was during the depression and there didn’t exits other jobs.