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The Hero of Time

The Hero of Time breaks the curse on the Great Deku Tree... by focusing and improving his life

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Flourishing my newly acquired Kokiri Sword and Deku Shield, I can't help the smug grin that forms as I approach Mido for the second time. His bravado assaults me with insults but, nevertheless, he moves aside. We both know he no longer has reason to block my path. Glad to see the back of his self-important posterior I follow my new fairy, Navi, as she leads the way. We leave the village to heed the call of the Deku Tree.

 

A swagger starts in my short stride as my head fills with grand visions of our new adventure, finally free of the settlement's confines...

 

"Watch out!" cries Navi, as a fierce plant bursts from the ground.

 

A clumsy swing, born as much from shock as intent, somehow manages to sever the Withered Deku Baba. Unchecked momentum causes me to topple into the mud as the briefly threatening petals follow the woody stalk to the ground. Mido can't be the real guard, after all. It must be this freakish creature. Congratulating myself on this guardian's defeat, I wipe the mud from my tunic. Ignoring the way my heart tries to free itself from my rib-cage, I continue upon my journey.

 

I'm enjoying the way the sun plays on the long grass, allowing my nerves to settle, as Navi shouts a warning once more. Another intimidating bloom. This time, however, my feet move quickly to find balance. My swing is sure and easily slices through its target. However, it starts to dawn on me that this is no carefree undertaking. The sword in my hand, its reach now seeming short and inadequate, is no trophy --- its keen edge, glinting in the sunlight, is my only hope to best those who threaten. The wooden shield, which now feels fragile in my tightening grip, is no prized possession --- it's my only defence against attack. The chilling breeze does nothing to calm my apprehension as it carries the sickening decay of nature corrupted.

 

I look around for Navi, to tell her that we should turn back, to tell her that I'm the wrong boy for this grave task, but she's already flown far ahead. I haven't known her long but I recognize her impatience. Her attention is onward and her silence conveys urgency and concern. I run to catch up as she rounds a corner.

 

I almost trip over myself once more as the colossal tree comes into view. My mouth hangs open as my eyes move higher and higher to find its topmost branches... but as I come to my senses, Navi is already announcing her return. I want to tell her to wait --- that the Deku Tree must have made a mistake --- but he's already making his introductions. Dragging my feet as I approach, wishing I could hide this child's sword and small shield, I listen as he describes the evil that advances through the land, the curse that has been placed upon him... and as he asks me to break that spell.

 

Navi flies towards the tree's entrance, evidently anticipating my acceptance... but I hesitate. Standing at my full height of only a few feet, surely the Great Deku Tree will appreciate the scale of his error. He must see the infantile weapons, now hanging loose in my hands, and, finally, realize that I am just a boy from the forest. Yet, his demeanour does not change. Navi has stopped and turned in my direction, but waits with no less palpable expectation. Don't they realize I'm just The Boy Without a Fairy, taunted endlessly for having no magical companion..?

 

...except that now I do have a fairy... and she is waiting for me to take on this quest. If she believes the Great Deku Tree has made the right choice... why should I not?

 

Taking a deep breath, pulling the shield in front of me, my eyes are fixed upon the dark entrance as I tell the Deku Tree that I accept his challenge. Holding my sword at the ready, I advance towards the danger as Navi, darting inside, leaves a sparkling vortex. I am no longer The Boy Without a Fairy; no longer sleeping late to postpone the day; no longer finding a quiet corner to avoid the ridicule. As I step into the cursed shadows of my first dungeon, I start upon my journey to become The Hero of Time...

 

All of the characters mentioned above are owned by Nintendo.

 

^^ Minor spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time ^^

 

About me

 

Despite the above, I am not a boy but a man in his 40s. A man who works from home and wants to see if his dream of becoming an author might just become reality; a man who wants to find a way to increase his inadequate income; a man who doesn't want the deteriorating health that comes a desk-job; a man who wants to see if his dream of becoming a game-developer might just become a reality (is there any Earthly reason I should not succeed at both this and becoming an author?)

 

Epic quests

 

  1. Become a published author (not just one story or book) (I haven't published any yet)
  2. Increase my income to a comfortable amount
  3. Reach level 7 on the NF Diet and stay there
  4. Make a 3D game that people would want to play

 

Challenge quests

 

  1. Write one Flash Fiction story per week of the Challenge
  2. Identify a repetitive work task and automate
  3. Get my wife's and my BMI to the ideal level, make sure that the Waistline app data has the carbs for all the food we eat, and start counting carbs

  4. Check studies into cholesterol (in relation to health risks) on both sides of the argument

  5. Put together the best computer I can from parts I've recently been donated

 

Notes

 

This is my second challenge. You can find my Level 1 challenge in Kokiri Forest.

 

In my Level 1 challenge I completed a short story, that had been languishing for years, and submitted it to a couple of on-line competitions. This is the first time I've attempted to have my creative writing published and I want to continue that momentum. In this challenge I want to write stories in a much shorter space of time, in part to convince myself that I can. My current plan is to leave submitting these stories until the next challenge but this could be revised. I'm going to link to any useful resources I find during this process for any other aspiring authors out there.

 

Automating work tasks enables me to spend more time creating (technical) products that can generate more revenue.

 

With diet and exercise, I have actually dropped below my ideal BMI (despite the fact that I still have a bit of a belly). I'm now in the rather awkward position of trying to put on a bit of weight while my wife is trying to lose some. We are currently using the Waistline Android app to count calories. I want to move on to using it only to count carbs. However, there are some foods I've added manually and I need to check that I've filled in the carb details for all of them. Somewhere in here we also need to cut out pasta (we're working our way through the last pasta in the house).

 

My wife is worried about cholesterol from the NF diet, especially as she's had a stent fitted in the past. I'm pretty good at research (although I'm not a doctor) so I want to find the best available information on the matter.

 

Both CQ3 and CQ4 are part of EQ3.

 

A friend has recently given me parts (cases, motherboards, processors, graphics cards, RAM...) from three computers that he's since upgraded. Two of them were pretty powerful. If I want to do any serious game development I'll need the power that these parts can provide. My job in this challenge will be to find the combination that's most suitable and put them in the same package. There's a bit of a thrill to this given that I haven't done it in ten years.

 

In Kokiri Forest I completed a running quest as part of a half-marathon Epic Quest. However, having completed the Challenge Planning Worksheet for this challenge, that EQ did't quite make it here. I do plan to keep improving my running performance (it will feature in my Interval Training tonight) and that may well find its way into a future Challenge.

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I'm going to break down these quests into weekly targets, again. It proved useful last time.

 

Week 1:

  1. Write the first story
  2. Identify repetitive work task, start planning the automation
  3. Review the Waistline food data for missing carb info, make a concerted effort to eat the remaining pasta
  4. Identify (hopefully good quality) cholesterol studies on both sides of the argument
  5. Fully identify all the parts I have (i.e. some are hidden under heatsinks) and decide the best combination for the new machine Add NVME support to the chosen motherboard's BIOS, if possible; order NVME SSD drive; research and order best value PCIe/M.2 adapter

Week 2:

  1. Write the second story
  2. Implement and test at least part of the automation
  3. Add all missing carb info to my existing Waistline app data, review our BMIs
  4. Read the studies that indicate high cholesterol increases risk of heart attack and stroke, make plenty of notes
  5. Build the new machine, with a basic OS install

Week 3:

  1. Write the third story
  2. Put at least part of the automation live and test it again
  3. If our BMIs are on target, start counting carbs instead of calories
  4. Read the studies that indicate cholesterol levels have no effect on the risk of heart attack and stroke, making notes
  5. Complete software installation (it takes a while to get things just how I want)

Week 4:

  1. Write the fourth story
  2. Implement and test next selected part of the automation, or find a way to enhance the live automation
  3. Make bug-reports to the Waistline app for ways in which usability for carb counting can be improved (for instance, when you add a recipe, the total calories and fat are shown but not carbs)
  4. Write analysis of both groups of study and the validity of each
  5. Overclock the CPU as far as I can, testing stability Boot from the NVME drive

Week 5:

  1. Write the fifth story
  2. Bug fix the new automation or select candidates for the next round of automation
  3. Check our BMIs to see how the switch to carb-only counting may have affected them
  4. Give my analysis and conclusions to my wife, discuss
  5. Overclock the GPU as far as I can, testing stability

Notes

 

One thing I learnt on Level 1 was that having a plan like this is useful. I also learnt that there can be a great deal of value in breaking from, and revising, the plan.

 

If anyone can point me in the direction of good cholesterol-related studies that would be incredibly helpful.

Edited by The Hero of Time
Changed a target to reflect updated plan
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1 hour ago, Quirky Quinn said:

Hey, nice to see you here!  I hope this challenge goes as well as the first one!

 

Hey, Quinn. It's good to see a familiar face.

 

And thanks, I'm still surprised by how well the first challenge went. It looks as if you have a solid foundation on which to build and I wish the same for you.

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Week 1, day 1 summary - Oct 28th

 

Target 1: write the first story

 

Between the previous challenge and this, I completed a ten-day, email-based course called How to Craft a Killer Short Story. Yesterday (day 1) I reviewed the contents of that course in relation to my idea for the first of these five stories. The course encourages you to think about what message you're trying to convey so I made some notes along those lines and expanded on those ideas. I think that was a useful exercise to give more depth to the idea.

 

Today I'll either spend a little more time planning the plot or I'll start actually writing the story. It could be argued that one shouldn't spend too much time on a plot for a 500-word story. Then again, precisely because there's so little space to spend on the plot, it may be worth the effort to tighten it down as much as possible.

 

Target 2: identify repetitive work task, start planning the automation

 

When I've thought about it in the past, the prime candidate has been invoicing. I still think this is the best candidate. I have even started work on invoice automation in the past. I'll dig out the code either today or tomorrow.

 

Target 3: review the Waistline food data for missing carb info, make a concerted effort to eat the remaining pasta

 

We didn't eat any pasta yesterday---this was mainly a timing issue. I didn't review any of the Waistline food data---tbh, this is because I forgot all about it.

 

Target 4: identify (hopefully good quality) cholesterol studies on both sides of the argument

 

I didn't do anything on this. However, we have been watching some Youtube videos (by doctors) that support the position that there is little correlation between high (LDL) cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke. Youtube videos have value in presenting information in an easy-to-understand manner. However, they may over-simplify and I'd like to examine the medical studies themselves.

 

Target 5: fully identify all the computer parts I have been given (i.e. some are hidden under heatsinks) and decide the best combination for the new machine

 

I made good progress with this on Friday and over the weekend. As a result, I have both identified pretty much everything and decided on the best component combination (subject to the overclocking potential of some of the RAM).

 

I have now realized there is the possibility to buy an inexpensive (DRAM-less) NVME SSD drive and use that to boot from and hold the OS (and other performance-critical files). The chosen motherboard doesn't have NVME support with the stock BIOS. There is the possibility I may be able to add some NVME BIOS modules myself (following some on-line instructions). However, failing that, I could use a small USB flash drive as a stage-1 bootloader which then passes control to the NVME drive for the rest of the boot process. This could delay next week's OS installation target while I await delivery of the NVME drive.

 

This week's Target 5, therefore, will be renamed: add NVME support to the chosen motherboard's BIOS, if possible; order NVME SSD drive; research and order best value PCIe/M.2 adapter.

 

Other thoughts

 

I've been thinking about this and I'm kind of annoyed with myself for not having a fitness target. However, these are the targets that came from completing the worksheet so maybe I should trust the process. I'm certainly not slowing down on that front and I would probably hit any fitness targets that were set here.

 

I do seem to have given myself quite a lot to do and I'm starting to wonder whether I'll be able to accomplish all this.

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Week 1, day 2 summary - Oct 29th

 

Target 1: write the first story

 

Yesterday I spent a bit of time on a plot outline. I have to ask myself whether I'm procrastinating about actually writing the story or whether I'm doing valuable preparation. Perhaps both. I do recognize a level of perfectionism and I have to keep reminding myself of Harriet's advice:

 

Quote

Don't write like every story is the final word on your innate talent.

 

I intend to start writing down the actual story today and...

 

Quote

Write like every hour you spend increases your skills.

 

Target 2: identify repetitive work task, start planning the automation

 

I didn't dig out the old invoice automation code. I'll do it today.

  

Target 3: review the Waistline food data for missing carb info, make a concerted effort to eat the remaining pasta

  

We did eat some of the remaining pasta (I can't quite believe there's so much pasta in the house; at this rate we'll be eating it for another week).

 

I didn't review the food data. I had planned to do that between other tasks but I've realized I'm just going to have to devote some time and sit down with it... probably with a spreadsheet open.

  

Target 4: identify (hopefully good quality) cholesterol studies on both sides of the argument

 

I started to list some of these. I also realized that I have a friend on the Atkins diet who's a retired doctor---he could be a valuable source of information. I have another friend who is genetically predisposed to high cholesterol and controls it with heavy duty medication (and exercise)---he is a software engineer but well versed in the field.

 

Target 5: add NVME support to the chosen motherboard's BIOS, if possible; order NVME SSD drive; research and order best value PCIe/M.2 adapter

 

I added NVME support to the latest version of the BIOS and flashed it---this will remain untested until I can get an NVME drive connected. I ordered an NVME drive---in fact, it arrived this morning (amazingly quick delivery). I put an offer in on a PCIe/M.2 adapter that I found on ebay and that looks promising---I haven't heard anything back yet.

 

I've asked myself whether I'm making so much progress on this target because it's so enjoyable. That may be a part of it but, then, it's also where my expertise lies.

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Great progress on all your goals. I like the quote about writing as if every hour was time spent increasing your skills- that thought can be applied to all sorts of skills as well as writing, and it is a good thing for me to remember

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Week 1, day 3 summary - Oct 30th

  

Target 1: write the first story

 

I've realized that plotting is just as important for Flash Fiction as it is for usual short stories---you just have less room into which to cram the plot. I did get a bit of the story down on paper... but then realized that the motivation for my protagonist being in this particular location was rather vague. Research ensued and I now have a pretty realistic reason---I like what I came up with. A good portion of this will likely end up as "overwriting"---IOW, it won't be mentioned in the actual story but it gives me a cohesive world in which to place the character. I've been mulling things overnight and I've realized there are (at least) two more aspects of the story that are a little too vague; I'll tackle those today and get some more down on paper. I'm hoping that I'll learn from this lesson and recognize plot points that are too vague when it comes to writing future stories.

 

For anyone out there writing, or planning to write, a novel (I plan to) I stumbled across the Snowflake Method of plotting. Really worth a look.

 

Target 2: identify repetitive work task, start planning the automation

 

I dug out the half-finished invoice-automation code. Note to self: it was in infrastructure/erp/scratchpad.

 

It proved to be pretty difficult and time-consuming to find (I have a lot of half-finished code). My usual reaction, here, would be to get frustrated and give up. However, on this occasion, I decided I would let The Hero of Time decide what to do (kind of like asking what the best version of me would do). Anyway, he stayed focused and eventually found the code (and remembered to make a note of the location). I don't want to go full-blown split-personality but I might let him do more in the future.

  

Target 3: review the Waistline food data for missing carb info, make a concerted effort to eat the remaining pasta

  

We ate some more pasta. We have a packet of some weird-looking stuff called "Soy Bean Spaghetti" and that's it.

 

I didn't review any of the food data. I am really going to have to make some time to do that.

  

Target 4: identify (hopefully good quality) cholesterol studies on both sides of the argument

 

I didn't do anything on this. I realized part way through the day that there wasn't going to be time and just had to accept it.

 

Target 5: add NVME support to the chosen motherboard's BIOS, if possible; order NVME SSD drive; research and order best value PCIe/M.2 adapter

 

My offer on the PCIe/M.2 adapter wasn't accepted so I just bought it at the "Buy it now" price. Delivery is expected next Wednesday.

 

Other stuff

 

I'm continuing to make progress with my fitness. Note that, when I talk about 'running' here, I'm talking about jogging on the spot in front of the television while playing Wii Fit.

 

On Tuesday I ran for ten minutes, then sprinted for about three, then ran for ten again (I didn't stop running at any point). That's from a place, less than two months ago, where I could barely run for three. I'm working up towards having my whole Interval Training routine consist of running at a relaxed pace interspersed with sprinting. There was some disappointment on the weekend when I went to buy some outdoor running shoes from Aldi... only to discover they weren't worth even the low price being asked.

 

I'm finally getting close to a point where I'll be looking for ways to make lunges more challenging. I saw a video of Steve turning while doing lunges, which is supposed to make them more difficult. Another option is to hold dumbbells. I'm thinking about getting some ankle weights; but they'd have to be easy to put on and remove because I'd only be using them for jackknifes.

 

My step-daughter and grandkids will be visiting this weekend. Apart from the general stress (she's the single most awkward person ever to walk the planet) it's going to make it difficult to stick to the diet.

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7 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

Great progress on all your goals...

 

Thank you, Elastigirl.

 

7 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

I like the quote about writing as if every hour was time spent increasing your skills- that thought can be applied to all sorts of skills as well as writing, and it is a good thing for me to remember

 

Full credit to @Harriet. It is a great quote and was instrumental in helping me to overcome my fear, in the last challenge, and submit my story to competitions.

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2 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

Full credit to @Harriet. It is a great quote and was instrumental in helping me to overcome my fear, in the last challenge, and submit my story to competitions.

 

I am summoned! Great to see you're continuing writing. P.S. lunges with dumbbells are terrible but great. So useful.

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3 hours ago, Harriet said:

 

I am summoned! Great to see you're continuing writing.

 

I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your wisdom.

 

3 hours ago, Harriet said:

P.S. lunges with dumbbells are terrible but great. So useful.

 

That gives me a good idea of what to expect. I'll start off with the turning and work up to the dumbbell lunges once I've got that down.

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Week 1, day 4 summary - Oct 31st

  

Target 1: write the first story

 

I clarified those plot points and then got most of the story down on paper. I've left plenty of annotations regarding things that should be improved, but I feel much better to have got that down. It's also about 100 words longer than I want (I'm aiming for <500 words) and there's more to add. Today I plan to get the rest of the story down, tackle those annotations, and trim off the excess fat.

 

I'm starting to realize that my approach to writing is too tentative. I'm always second-guessing my method and what aspect I should be tackling at any given moment. This realization came because I failed to defeat Meta Ridley in Metroid Prime last night and, subsequently, watched some Youtube videos in order to work out where I was going wrong. You've guessed it---I was being too tentative. I spent all my time at the opposite end of the arena to him, which makes aiming more difficult and weapons take longer to reach him, worrying about his next attack on me rather than pressing home my own. I need to be close-in, attacking all the time, and not give him time to regroup. I'll be trying those tactics next time. When it came to writing, I had a tentative approach to the plotting, second-guessing myself, asking myself if I was just procrastinating. I've realized now that I should have gone all-in, plotting thoroughly and with the knowledge it was an important task. I need to stop second-guessing myself and have full commitment to the current task---if there's a better way of doing it, or a better order in which to do things, I'll work that out for next time.

 

Target 2: identify repetitive work task, start planning the automation

 

I didn't do anything on this. I'll dig out the notes and plans I made when I tackled the invoice automation last time and that's probably all I need to do in order to meet this target.

  

Target 3: review the Waistline food data for missing carb info, make a concerted effort to eat the remaining pasta

  

I did start reviewing the food data. I would say I got about half way through.

 

We had some of the weird soya pasta stuff. It tasted almost, but not quite, entirely unlike pasta. (<-- for the Douglas Adams fans)

  

Target 4: identify (hopefully good quality) cholesterol studies on both sides of the argument

 

I didn't do anything on this. I'm likely to have some time in front of the computer this weekend so I'm planning to fit some of this quest in. I'm also starting to realize that I may have to learn a bit about how to identify good quality studies.

  

Target 5: add NVME support to the chosen motherboard's BIOS, if possible; order NVME SSD drive; research and order best value PCIe/M.2 adapter

 

I'm just waiting impatiently for the adapter to arrive. Unfortunately, repeated reloads of the parcel tracking web page doesn't make it travel any faster. I may assemble some more of the components this weekend and start work on overclocking.

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Week 1, day 5 summary - Nov 1st

  

Target 1: write the first story

 

I got the rest of the story down, started to tackle the TODO notes, and started to trim the word-count. However, I didn't finish this on Friday. I did use the time I had at the computer over the weekend to get the story to a point where it was under 500 words, and I was willing to print it out and let my wife read. She said that she liked it better than the last one, which kinda hurts my pride---the previous story was in my head for about two years whereas I wrote this story in about a week.

 

The idea for this story came from following a process I learnt during a quick 5-day email course. I mentioned at the time that I didn't think the ideas I generated were very original. However, I quite like the way this one developed during the process of writing, so I'm not quite so worried about that any more.

 

Things I've learnt from writing this story: re-draughting takes longer than getting the story down in the first place; plotting and planning beforehand are important---this needs to be done in detail and with real commitment.

 

Things I would have liked to have done better: I would have liked my protagonist to have his own voice---instead, he sounds a lot like me; there's no real twist in the story and that's to its detriment.

 

In other news, I defeated Meta Ridley by being less tentative and more aggressive. I also defeated the final boss over the course of two evenings, so that's Metroid Prime completed. On to Call of Duty: Black Ops II, tonight.

 

Target 2: identify repetitive work task, start planning the automation

 

I couldn't find any notes I made from when I attempted the invoice automation last time so, instead, I wrote down the scope I think this needs to cover for it to go live.

  

Target 3: review the Waistline food data for missing carb info, make a concerted effort to eat the remaining pasta

  

I didn't do anything on food data. It's proving more difficult than I expected to set aside the time. We ate some more of the soya pasta; I reckon we've got one or two meals of it left.

  

Target 4: identify (hopefully good quality) cholesterol studies on both sides of the argument

 

I didn't do anything on this on Friday. However, over the weekend I was able to find a couple of good lists and I'll be using those. Also, I'm starting to think that reading analyses of these studies will lead me to further studies---I need to be open to that.

  

Target 5: add NVME support to the chosen motherboard's BIOS, if possible; order NVME SSD drive; research and order best value PCIe/M.2 adapter

 

This target had already been met. I didn't do anything to do with overclocking over the weekend because I was concentrating on finishing the story.

 

Whole week summary

 

It didn't go as well as I'd hoped. Two of my targets were met only because I was rescued by having time at the computer over the weekend. That's not going to happen very often. Apart from building the computer, everything is taking more effort than I forecast. I need to be more focused, more intentional, stop second-guessing the task on which I'm working, and stop getting distracted by the computer build when it's ahead of schedule.

 

I did get 10XPs for finishing the story. All these tasks are improving my life. I just have to do better. This week I may employ the use of time-boxes to see if I can get more done.

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Week 2, day 1 summary - Nov 4th

  

I tried using time-boxes (one hour each). I knew that, with other work that needed to be done, I wouldn't be able to do five so I planned three. In the end, there were so many interruptions, I only managed to do two. I think the time-boxes increased my productivity on those tasks but, still, it's disappointing only to manage two.

 

We have a friend coming 'round this evening. That's going to mean even more interruptions to my day today, because things need to be prepared. However, it's a good opportunity to talk to him about cholesterol (he's the retired doctor).

 

Target 1: write the second story

 

I had a time-box for this and started plotting out the story. I approached this with much more focus and energy than with the last one. As a result, my original idea for the plot has kinda been turned on its head. In the original idea, we would celebrate our protagonist for doing the right thing. With the new idea, we lament the fact that he doesn't. The message behind the story is still the same, however. It felt productive but there are still a lot of details to tie down.

  

Target 2: Implement and test at least part of the automation

 

This was the other time-box. I tested the existing code, made notes, and found something that needed to be fixed (it doesn't currently handle the situation where a customer gets a non-standard price for a product). Also, I found the code I'd started for the next feature. Again, I think this was helped a lot by having the time-box.

  

Target 3: Add all missing carb info to my existing Waistline app data, review our BMIs

  

There was no time-box for this.

  

Target 4: Read the studies that indicate high cholesterol increases risk of heart attack and stroke, make plenty of notes

 

This was the target that had the third time-box but, ultimately, I ran out of time to tackle.

  

Target 5: Build the new machine, with a basic OS install

 

I'm still waiting for the NVME adapter to arrive so I didn't do anything on this (there was no time-box).

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1 hour ago, The Hero of Time said:

Week 2, day 1 summary - Nov 4th

  

I tried using time-boxes (one hour each). I knew that, with other work that needed to be done, I wouldn't be able to do five so I planned three. In the end, there were so many interruptions, I only managed to do two. I think the time-boxes increased my productivity on those tasks but, still, it's disappointing only to manage two.

 

We have a friend coming 'round this evening. That's going to mean even more interruptions to my day today, because things need to be prepared. However, it's a good opportunity to talk to him about cholesterol (he's the retired doctor).

 

Target 1: write the second story

 

I had a time-box for this and started plotting out the story. I approached this with much more focus and energy than with the last one. As a result, my original idea for the plot has kinda been turned on its head. In the original idea, we would celebrate our protagonist for doing the right thing. With the new idea, we lament the fact that he doesn't. The message behind the story is still the same, however. It felt productive but there are still a lot of details to tie down.

  

Target 2: Implement and test at least part of the automation

 

This was the other time-box. I tested the existing code, made notes, and found something that needed to be fixed (it doesn't currently handle the situation where a customer gets a non-standard price for a product). Also, I found the code I'd started for the next feature. Again, I think this was helped a lot by having the time-box.

  

Target 3: Add all missing carb info to my existing Waistline app data, review our BMIs

  

There was no time-box for this.

  

Target 4: Read the studies that indicate high cholesterol increases risk of heart attack and stroke, make plenty of notes

 

This was the target that had the third time-box but, ultimately, I ran out of time to tackle.

  

Target 5: Build the new machine, with a basic OS install

 

I'm still waiting for the NVME adapter to arrive so I didn't do anything on this (there was no time-box).

 

Writing a story a week is impressive, I know they're short but I think, for me, that would make it harder!  So much to cram into 500 words.. I can barely write an email in 500 words!  And generating that many ideas also sounds tought - are they linked at all or completely independant of each other?

 

Time boxes sound like a good idea - I've started doing something similar at work but I could add this to my spare time for sure, It might help stop the mindless TV binges in the evening!

 

Great work on your goals, all seem to be coming along nicely!

 

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22 hours ago, Quirky Quinn said:

Writing a story a week is impressive, I know they're short but I think, for me, that would make it harder!  So much to cram into 500 words.. I can barely write an email in 500 words!  And generating that many ideas also sounds tought - are they linked at all or completely independant of each other?

 

It has proved to be quite tough. The first week's story was 900 words long when I got it all down. It took at least as long again to trim the excess. What amazes me is that it still makes sense to readers (my wife and friend) after I've removed so much clarifying detail.

 

I have five story ideas but they're based on three characters---each story only has one protagonist but two of the characters have two stories each. I did a crash-course, called Endless Story Ideas, towards the end of the previous challenge and had twenty six story ideas by the end. They all had one of those three protagonists. It's a pretty effective process.

 

22 hours ago, Quirky Quinn said:

  Time boxes sound like a good idea - I've started doing something similar at work but I could add this to my spare time for sure, It might help stop the mindless TV binges in the evening! 

 

They help a lot with focus. A problem I have is that, no matter what I'm working on, I always feel as if I should be working on something else. It's a weird guilt thing where I always feel as if I'm working on the wrong thing. If I do start working on the second task, I then start feeling as if I really should be working on the first task. The time-boxes help a lot with that.

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Week 2, day 2 summary - Nov 5th

 

Thankfully, there was no gunpowder or treason. Surprisingly few fireworks, too. The only plotting was for my story.

 

Even though I'd expected interruptions, I planned four time-boxes. In the end I managed to do three---I'm starting to see a pattern here.

 

I'm planning four time-boxes for today:

  1. story
  2. automation
  3. carb info
  4. cholesterol

 

Target 1: write the second story

 

I carried on with the plotting and with greater conviction than last week. This has had an interesting effect and the plot now looks drastically different than the original idea. The protagonist was going to be a teenaged boy and now he's an old man. The plot is also much darker than anything I've ever written before. At the start this was my least favourite of the five ideas, but now I'm quite excited about it. I still haven't quite tied down all the details, though.

 

I asked our visitor to read last week's story and he said it was good. He did ask for clarification on a technical phrase I used but I'm not sure I have room to explain it in the story---I'm hoping people will be willing to look it up.

  

Target 2: Implement and test at least part of the automation

 

I added the feature for it to handle non-standard prices. I started refactoring to make the code more flexible, in preparation for adding the next features.

  

Target 3: Add all missing carb info to my existing Waistline app data, review our BMIs

  

There was no time-box for this. 

  

Target 4: Read the studies that indicate high cholesterol increases risk of heart attack and stroke, make plenty of notes

 

I started reading the infamous Seven Countries study and making notes... or, at least, I think I was reading the study. It's pretty difficult to track down the full text and it's possible I'm just reading a summary.

 

I talked to my retired doctor friend and he pretty much repeated the keto-science viewpoint on  cholesterol. It is useful to know that someone with a medical background subscribes to this view.

  

Target 5: Build the new machine, with a basic OS install

 

There was a time-box for this but it got cut because of lack of time.

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Week 2, day 3 summary - Nov 6th

  

I managed to break the pattern and do all four planned time-boxes. These were:

  1. story
  2. automation
  3. carb info 
  4. cholesterol

I'm planning the same four time-boxes for today

 

Target 1: write the second story

 

I was plotting the story again. I set out with the intention of clarifying vague areas and got most of that done.

 

It's funny how things work out. The key to unlocking the plot turned out to be in the choice of jewellery. Before that point, the antagonist was vague and their motivation was unclear. When I decided what a particular jewellery was going to be, suddenly the antagonist's identity became clear, their motivation was revealed... lots of plot details fell into place.

 

There are a few more things that need to be clarified. I plan to do that today; then, hopefully, I can actually start writing. I don't like the fact that it's got so late in the week before I've got to this point.

  

Target 2: Implement and test at least part of the automation

 

I concentrated on refactoring the code to make it more flexible, make it more Functional, and ready it for adding features.

  

Target 3: Add all missing carb info to my existing Waistline app data, review our BMIs

  

I added a chunk of missing carb info to the data on my phone. I can't say for sure how far through I got but it felt like I did a decent amount.

  

Target 4: Read the studies that indicate high cholesterol increases risk of heart attack and stroke, make plenty of notes

 

I tracked down a Seven Countries Study document that was twenty times the length of the one I was reading yesterday---it looks as if this one may be the actual study. I wish the raw data was downloadable in a spreadsheet form---that would give far more value to the study and open up the possibility of real verification.

 

It looks as if I'll probably have to change the scope of this quest. Reading these studies is a bigger endeavour than I appreciated.  

  

Target 5: Build the new machine, with a basic OS install

 

The adapter still hasn't arrived. In fact, the tracking information suggests it hasn't even been posted. It looks as I'm going to have to ask for a refund and order from someone else. This is extremely frustrating because it's wasted so much of this quest's time.

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Week 2, day 4 summary - Nov 7th

  

I managed to do four time-boxes. The NVME adapter arrived so I swapped the carb data time-box for a computer-build time-box.

 

Target 1: write the second story

 

I nailed down the remaining details of the plot and started the writing of the story. I like the dark atmosphere of this one. I find it unlikely that I'll be able to finish it and trim the word count today, however.

  

Target 2: Implement and test at least part of the automation

  

There was more refactoring and I started adding the ability to handle multiple customers in the same pass. I hit a CSRF-related bug that I haven't fixed yet.

  

Target 3: Add all missing carb info to my existing Waistline app data, review our BMIs

  

I worked on the computer build rather than this time-box. The carb info is, in fact, less urgent because I don't expect my wife to reach her target BMI for at least two more weeks. We weigh ourselves tonight so we'll get a better idea then.

 

We had a bit of a set-back with the pasta---we discovered some packets of noodles. It's remarkable how long this stuff keeps. We could throw it away but I really don't like wasting things we've bought.

 

Does anyone know of some low-carb-friendly snacks? I need to be eating more than my wife but I want to do so without making her jealous of my meals. If the snacks are high in protein that would be a bonus.

  

Target 4: Read the studies that indicate high cholesterol increases risk of heart attack and stroke, make plenty of notes

 

I read some more of the Seven Countries study. This is going to take a while. I've also realized it wouldn't meet my criteria for high quality (given that it's a Cohort study) but I'm going to make an exception, given that it kicked off the whole Lipid Hypothesis.

  

Target 5: Build the new machine, with a basic OS install

 

The adapter arrived shortly after I wrote, yesterday, that I may have to get a refund and order a replacement. I don't know for sure whether they expedited the delivery as a result of a message I sent them the previous day, or whether Royal Mail's tracking system is just completely pointless (it still says the seller hasn't posted it). As a result, I did this instead of the carb info.

 

I managed to get the NVME drive and graphics card in there. I booted a basic OS from a thumb to check that things were working the way they should and they seemed fine. I plan to start the actual OS install tonight.

 

I discovered just how out of date I am. That a graphics card would need its own power is a new idea to me and I had to do a bit of reading to make sure I used the right connectors.

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Week 2, day 5 summary - Nov 8th

  

I did four time-boxes: story, automation, cholesterol, and computer-build.

 

Target 1: write the second story

 

I got most of the story down on paper. However, as predicted, I didn't have time to finish it or start trimming the word-count. Nor did I have the time at the computer over the weekend---I was able to do a few minutes here and there, using my phone, but nothing significant.

  

Target 2: Implement and test at least part of the automation

  

The bug I found turned out not to be CSRF-related but, rather, session-related. I still havent' fixed it but at least I'm getting closer.

  

Target 3: Add all missing carb info to my existing Waistline app data, review our BMIs

  

I didn't work on this. We did throw out some spaghetti that was past its best but there are still noodles that need to be consumed.

 

Friday was weighing day. My wife lost some weight and is making good progress towards her ideal BMI---I still reckon it's going to take her at least two weeks to get there. Unfortunately, I also lost weight which means I've slipped further below my ideal BMI.

  

Target 4: Read the studies that indicate high cholesterol increases risk of heart attack and stroke, make plenty of notes

  

I read some more of the Seven Countries study. I think I'll be lucky if I can finish this by the end of this challenge.

  

Target 5: Build the new machine, with a basic OS install

 

I installed the OS to the NVME drive. However, it wouldn't boot from that drive. I plan to do some investigation, and possibly repeat the installation, tonight.

 

Whole week summary

 

I'm rather frustrated that I didn't finish the story. I'm asking myself what this means.

 

Have I given myself too much to do?

 

Did I just not focus enough?

 

If I let myself off the hook will the deadlines become meaningless?

 

I think the story writing is the highest priority quests. For that reason, this next week, I plan to double the length of the story-writing time-boxes in an attempt to catch up. I do worry this could result in me just taking twice as many hours to accomplish the same amount. This also means that something else is going to have to give and will probably result in at least one of the other quests not being completed.

 

In addition, this next week is starting to look quite busy with other tasks that need my attention so, tbh, I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed.

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7 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

I think the story writing is the highest priority quests. For that reason, this next week, I plan to double the length of the story-writing time-boxes in an attempt to catch up. I do worry this could result in me just taking twice as many hours to accomplish the same amount. This also means that something else is going to have to give and will probably result in at least one of the other quests not being completed.

 

Looks like you are really learning a lot about time management

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22 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

 

I'm rather frustrated that I didn't finish the story. I'm asking myself what this means.

 

Have I given myself too much to do?

 

Did I just not focus enough?

 

If I let myself off the hook will the deadlines become meaningless?

 

I think the story writing is the highest priority quests. For that reason, this next week, I plan to double the length of the story-writing time-boxes in an attempt to catch up. I do worry this could result in me just taking twice as many hours to accomplish the same amount. This also means that something else is going to have to give and will probably result in at least one of the other quests not being completed.

 

In addition, this next week is starting to look quite busy with other tasks that need my attention so, tbh, I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed.

 

 

I wouldn't get too worked up about not finishing!  And I like the fact that you've realised that that is your priority, you can adjust your other tasks accordingly.  These are all things you're chosing to do, if you decide you want to do one more than another then I think thats ok.  

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