John C. Kirk (johnckirk) wrote,
John C. Kirk

I had my (long overdue) flatwarming last night - thanks to all those who came (dynix, elvum, elyon, karne_k, rjw1, shuripentu, terpsichore1980, and a few people who don't have LJs). I think that 12 people is about the maximum "social capacity" for this flat, and it was a fun evening.

My boiler seems to have stopped working today, which is a bit annoying, but at least it was working last night, and I can use the fireplace/showers at the gym until it's repaired.

I've now finished my big push on the decorating - there are still some things left to do, but I'll space them out a bit more, so no more daily updates. And apparently I got masking tape and packing tape mixed up; oops!

Anyway, on a vaguely serious note, I have found this stuff quite helpful, both in terms of the actual decorating itself (the rooms look better) and the reporting side of it ("I have achieved X today"). I have a tendency to kick myself for not sorting a lot of this out sooner, but it's all a balancing act. For instance, I could have spent more time decorating over the last few months, but that would have left me even less time to spend on my Japanese. That's why I think that "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today" is an oversimplistic philosophy. So, self-recrimination doesn't really help - what matters is that I'm now doing something to improve the situation, and it does make me feel a lot happier if I can tick something off my "to do" list every day, even if it's relatively small (e.g. "taken bottles to recycling bank"). Unfortunately, "watched DVDs to clear them off my pending list" doesn't have that same benefit...

I often use the metaphor of "keeping plates spinning", but it occurs to me that this may not mean much to the younger members of my audience. Back when I was a kid, I used to watch "Record Breakers" after school - this was hosted by Roy Castle, and you'd get people in the studio or out on location who were aiming to break a world record; these tended to be the non-sporting variety, e.g. "I can clean 50 windows in under a minute". One popular record was to have loads of vertical poles (about 5 feet tall) in a grid pattern on the floor, and then have plates spinning on top of them. This meant that the person would put a plate on the first pole, start it spinning, then go on to the second/third poles, etc. However, the first plate would gradually start to lose momentum, and it wouldn't balance if it was spinning too slowly, so the person would need to dash back to it after a while and give it an extra spin. The objective was to be able to say "Here is a one second period when I'm not touching any of the plates, and X of them are currently spinning".

I often get that feeling at work, where I'll spend some time updating the website, then I need to review a bunch of quality control procedures, then do some programming, then plan the next server upgrade, then go back and tweak the website again. And there's a similar issue at home, where I'm alternating between various different activities. However, unlike the record attempts, this will eventually get easier. For instance, once all my painting is done, it will then stay done for the next 5 years or so. And once I've cleared my backlog of computer magazines, it won't be too hard to keep up with the new ones that arrive each month. So, I just need to keep chipping away at things, and eventually it will all come together.
Tags: decorating, plumbing

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