On Wednesday I watched two movies about the Vietnam War. I watched Apocalypse Now followed by Hearts of Darkness - the documentary about its production. Then I watched Full Metal Jacket. I loved both films and the documentary too. One thing that stuck with me was witnessing Francis Coppola’s insecurities at the time. Apocalypse Now was going to become recognized as one of the best films of all time, but he didn’t know that. He was riding the crest of the success of the first two Godfathers. He was financing the operation with his own money. The world was watching. But even during the last days of production, Copolla kept saying “I have no idea what I am doing.” He was afraid that he was creating something terrible. The documentary shows a great film maker at his highest point dealing with a bad case of Impostor Syndrome. I know I will rewatch Hearts of Darkness next time I feel the same way, just to see that even Francis Coppola went through the same thing.
Yesterday, the day after my Vietnam-movie-binge, I spent all day - from breakfast until I fell asleep - reading Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves. I went into the book knowing nothing about it and I am very glad I didn’t spoil anything.
These past two days have been unusual in that my routine is usually pretty fixed. I wake up, and go make myself breakfast, then I make some black tea and I drink it while reading on my kindle. Then I work out. I do 20 minutes on an elliptical machine. It’s good for my back and, more importantly, I actually do it. If I forced myself to do a little bit more then I don’t think I would have the willpower to move my lazy ass. Afterwards, I walk the dogs. There’s a park in front of the house so it’s really easy. Sometimes I walk the dogs instead of working out, but ideally I do both.
After I shower, it’s time to code. Getting started is the only hard part. My machine is connected to the Internet, which is filled with “services” that are designed to exploit the reward center of my brain. The first thing when I start the productive portion of my day is to fight the urge to open Twitter, YouTube, and these days, Fivethirtyeight. And of course, I am one click away from Steam.
But eventually I do get started and I get something done. I code until the end of the day when I play videogames and read.
I keep a log of everything I do every day. On August 31 my log will celebrate its 3rd birthday! So far the log has only been useful to win arguments with girlfriends and to get an high-level overview of where my time goes. Maybe it will actually prove useful in the future and maybe it won’t, but it is a lightweight habit.
I don’t know why I wrote about my routine! I just started writing to see where inspiration took me. This is part of my plan to start blogging regularly. I write a lot in my personal journal, but if I keep this up I may be switching to doing it in public.