The blog of DAVID KOUŘIL

Winter time change and sniffles [week Oct 31 – Nov 6]

The title sums it up. Last Sunday the time has changed, going back one hour. What that means is that it’s getting dark sooner and, in theory, the dawn is one hour earlier. But in practice the time of the year, when you go to work at dark and come home from work at dark, starts. That sucks. I know, complaining about weather is meaningless but still. I don’t like winter (to put it lightly).

I didn’t workout a lot this week because I didn’t feel perfectly healthy. I think I went of Monday and then on Saturday. But I have a new gym card for November and I plan on using it as much as I can. So far I’ve been going to the gym 3 times a week and I didn’t really have a workout plan. I just did what I felt like. I want to change that. Few weeks ago, I’ve seen a workout plan on reddit and I think I’m going to try that one out. I’ll see how it goes. I want to try going to the gym 6 times a week. I like it anyway, it always picks up my mood when I workout in the morning and I feel way more productive for the rest of the day. So that’s how I plan to fight this depression-inducing time of the year.

Master Thesis Status

  • # of pages: 19
  • word count: 4258 (I’m writing the thesis in TeX using TeXstudio so I counted it as instructed here, don’t know if it’s the right way, hope so)

I’ve been writing a lot more to my Master thesis. I’m understanding the story that I want to tell better and better and I think it’s going well so far. I’m still not even in half (I’m somewhere around 19 pages; 40 pages is the goal page count) but I feel like I’m getting there at a solid pace. I just hope some other responsibilities won’t accumulate which would slow down this pace.

I’m going to be in Mikulov on Thursday and Friday next week. We are going for a scientific meeting/socializing with the group from Brno and the group from Vienna. Hope it’s going to be nice.

Penny boarding in the park [week Oct 24 – Oct 30]

The picture is again from Saturday when me and Gabi went for a walk/ride on my pennyboard. I’m trying to enjoy the weather as much as I can. If it’s even just a little sunny outside we go for a walk. Soon it will be just cold and depressing winter here in Czech Republic. It wouldn’t be so bad if it snowed at least but I don’t think that we can expect that in November/December.

I wrote a few tasks for this week so let’s take a look at that first:

  • finish my SSAO implementation
    • Not completely done but I definitely pushed it further.
  • use it in both work and personal projects
    • I did integrate it in both frameworks, it’s just that it needs more tweaking.
  • write as much of my master thesis as I can
    • Nope. I didn’t write nearly as much as I would like to.
  • go to the gym 3 times
    • Yes! Did Monday, Wednesday, Saturday and a little workout at home on Sunday.
  • stretch: post at least 3 times on instagram (generative/procedural/interactive pieces done with Cinder)
    • Kinda. I did one prototype but I really liked it.

I spent a lot of time working from home and even though I feel like I work all the time, at the end of the week it just doesn’t feel like I did that much. I think I’m going to switch back to coming to the office. I am especially sad that I didn’t write much for my thesis. That’s why I’m starting a new part of the weekly blog post called “Master Thesis Status”:

Master Thesis Status

  • # of pages: 15 (a lot of it is just headline with blank page)
  • word count: 2393 (I’m writing the thesis in TeX using TeXstudio so I counted it as instructed here, don’t know if it’s the right way, hope so)

I met with a friend on Wednesday. I haven’t talked to her in a while so we caught up. I can think of maybe 3 people with whom I like to talk about motivation, inspiration and self-improvement and she’s one of them. I feel pretty motivated these days. I have a few ideas of what I think contribute to that. First, I really really find that exercising regularly helps a lot. I’m still not completely used to it as a habit; I still sometimes consider not going when I don’t feel like it and think that it’s just too much work to get into it and that it would just be struggle if I go to the gym. But I’m mostly good at persuading myself to go through with it and not once have I regretted it. It’s exactly the opposite, after the exercise I feel great and I’m more motivated to work on tasks and problems. My mind slowly learns that exercise actually makes my mood better. Also, it helps to go to the gym first thing in the morning. I usually get up, function on autopilot and before I’m completely awake I’m already in the gym. Second, the thought that in 3 months or so I can potentially be done with school forever is a huge motivation for me. It’s just two more months of writing the thesis and then one month of studying for the final exams and that’s it! I don’t really care about the degree, I just really want to finish this thing that I once started. There is a huge chance that I will be staying in academia so it’s not like I would be completely done with the university environment but at least I will have finished the basic portion of that. But I need to translate this motivation into actions.

One last though that I wanted to share. I’ve always struggled with the mid-day fatigue. I think programmers are really susceptible to it – I frequently get stuck on some problem that I don’t know how to solve and then it’s hard to keep at it for longer periods of time. You start to feel really tired and it’s like there is a curtain in front your eyes and it’s hard to even just read the code. Before, I would just try to push it and force myself to work even though that wouldn’t work most of the time. Now I found that it’s better to just get up and go outside. Go for a walk, buy something for a snack or go run some errands. Just get away from the computer and, even better, from the building. I now do this even when I’m at home and I feel tired and I’m thinking if I should take a nap. I go for a walk instead and that restores my energy level somehow with the benefit of not breaking my sleep schedule.

That’s the weekly blog post! Tasks for next week:

  • workout at least 3 times
  • go work to the office every day.

I don’t like this weather [week Oct 17 – Oct 23]

The title is a little misleading because of the picture under it. That’s NOT the weather I don’t like. This picture is from Saturday which was the only day where the sun came out in Brno. We went for a coffee and a walk outside. Got coffee from Kofi-Kofi and walked around in the park under Spilberk castle. It was nice.

Besides Saturday, the weather was awful the whole week. I really hate it – you don’t see the sun, the sky is grey all the time, you wake up and it feels like it’s 7pm and you’re supposed to go to sleep again. And for a few days it was also raining constantly. Hate it. Despite that, I had a pretty busy week. I went to gym only twice (I’ll be better next week, promise). Ivan, my supervisor from Vienna, came to Brno so we went out on Tuesday with him and the group. On Wednesday we sat down with him and Bara and talked about my Diploma thesis. Also on Wednesday, my sister Zuzana had her graduation ceremony. So me and Gabi went there with my parents, grandma and uncle. We also went for a lunch afterwards and I made a mistake of having a beer which totally killed my productivity for the rest of the day. Thursday and Friday was quite productive – I had lectures for my (last) course and I worked before and after that. I’m implementing SSAO for both my personal project and work project. I realized that I still have a lot to learn about shaders and graphics programming. I’m getting better but still…I suck.

I’m trying out a new time management thing – I plan my day beforehand, planning around the events that I need to attend and try to fill the gaps with “work blocks”. I aim for 1.5 hour work blocks and in these I’m trying to focus on one concrete things or task. I guess it could be called pomodoro technique (a little modified). My reason for doing it this way is that I don’t realize how little time I actually have. I feel like I have a whole day to work with but when I can do the work any time of the day I end up not accomplishing much. There is also another thing about this – I postpone starting stuff because I don’t want to be interrupted by something. So I don’t do anything unless I have a lot of time. But that’s completely wrong way of looking at it. Now when I know that I have work block in my calendar, I know when I will be working (and what I’ll be working on). One and a half hour is enough to make some progress. And another benefit is that when I see that my day has only 3 or 4 work blocks for example (because of other events) it makes me want to use that time well. Which helps me to focus on solving problems and tasks at hand without postponing them thinking I have the whole day for them.

That’s the week! Tasks for the next week:

  • finish my SSAO implementation
  • use it in both work and personal project
  • write as much of my master thesis as I can
  • go to the gym 3 times
  • stretch: post at least 3 times on instagram (generative/procedural/interactive pieces done with Cinder)

My home workspace [week Oct 10 – Oct 16]

I finally got my package! That means I got my ordered monitor that I wanted to use while I’m working at home. I have a 2013 Macbook Air and that’s what I’ve been using as my home computer for maybe two years. And I was getting a little tired of working this way. The problem isn’t the screen size but rather the head position that you need to keep while working for longer periods of time. So I ordered a monitor. You can see in the image what my table looks like now. I even put a board on the wall.

I feel like the week flew by very fast. I spent most of it working from home so maybe that’s why. I didn’t write a lot for my thesis but at least I submitted an official thesis title and description. I also picked up my new ID card, I finally have a one that is the same size as a credit card.

Lastly, I tried to make a first step in fixing one friendship. Seems like it didn’t accomplish anything but I’m still glad I tried. I’m trying to improve my approach to other people, be a little bit more open, sympathetic and forgiving. I don’t want to hold grudges. Instead I want to just focus on my projects, my relationship and just in general enjoy life as much as I can.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot – Gabi gave me a penny board for a birthday that is in like a month and a half. It’s super fun (but also kinda dangerous)!

Getting back into the routine [week Oct 3 – Oct 9]

Vacation is over so it’s time to get back into everything. We came back last week on Tuesday, Wednesday was public holiday and so I took it really slow and worked only a little on Thursday and Friday. However, on Friday there was a Researcher’s Night in Brno and I volunteered to be there and show some stuff in our lab to the visitors. It was harder than I thought! Talking almost constantly from 6pm to midnight is no fun.

Anyway, from this Monday I wanted to start functioning  in a routine that I kinda developed before the vacation. This mostly means that I started going to gym in the morning. So far I’m only going on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but eventually I would like to build it up to every weekday.

There are other things that I want to implement into my routine and some things that I need to implement. For example, I really need to start writing my Master thesis more intensely. I also have one last class that I need to attend and it seems like it’s not going to be something that I can neglect (the teacher tests if you know what he’s talking about every week). Those are two main things that I really need to start working on. Other activities are more pleasant for me because they are kind of my personal projects. I really hope that I can find some time in which I could do them. Those are: learning Python, learning German, learning C++ and Cinder (for creative, generative graphics programming).

Not much happened this week. On Wednesday, I went to my figure drawing class. It’s a course on our (Computer Science) university and I’ve had it last year as well. It’s pretty good to do something like this when I’ve been focusing mostly on programming in the last few months. I wanted to start drawing again, even considered buying better drawing tablet but I don’t have a whole lot of time for that. There’s just too many things that I would like to do or learn. And I need to prioritise better.

One thing that I did this week was that I ordered a monitor and an adapter to connect it to my Macbook Air. I really want to work even when I’m home but it’s just so impractical to do it on the small 13inch screen. The size probably wouldn’t be the biggest issues, what I feel is really bad is just the ergonomics of working on a laptop. I didn’t know which monitor to pick, there’s just so many. So I just went with one that I liked from the stores most popular ones. I will see what’s it like when it arrives. I could have had it on Wednesday but I didn’t change the address in my account to my new one so they send it to my parents house instead. I noticed that and had the package redirected. But then the next day the guy delivered only one of the two packages. So he had to take it back and promised I’m gonna get them both on Friday…well, that didn’t happen. On the web it looks like they should deliver it on Monday. I hope they do.

Vacation in Kefalonia, 2016

We went to Kefalonia, Greece for a vacation. I’m soon to be 25 and this was the first time flying and being to the sea for me. I’ve finished a deadline maybe a week before this vacation so it felt really good, like I earned all of it. And so I tried to enjoy it as much as I could. We had a car rented for the whole week so we pretty much traveled all over the island, exploring mostly beaches (but we went to Mount Ainos one day as well).

I really liked Kefalonia. It looks that I really lucked out on the first destination that I went to. I love how the nature on Kefalonia looks, everything was clean at the apartment we rented, there wasn’t a lot of people (because we went kinda off season), beaches were empty, weather was nice enough for the majority of time (it wasn’t the hottest but still warm enough to swim in the sea).

We tried some of Greek food although we mostly cooked for ourselves. From what we tried – tzatziki, baklava, moussaka, giouvetsi.

I had time to think about what I want to accomplish in the rest of the year and a little bit into next year. I tried to keep notes of my thoughts and plans. I used Notes app on my iphone for that. I’ve been doing this for a while – when I can’t sleep thinking about some plans or decisions, I just pull out my phone and start to put my thoughts in there. I haven’t gotten to actually going through these notes yet but I think I should do that soon and make concrete goals and plans.