The Rise and Fall of a Project

As of late, I have been extremely busy. That may sound rather surprising, considering that most of the “as of late” were holidays, supposedly a time of sloth and couch. But these holidays have been different. These holidays, I was a witness to the rise and fall of a project.

It all started back in February, at one of the career events that took place at my Uni. There, I met Cosmin, one of the CS students from the same year and we got to talk about grouping together and start working on some project. Few days later, we met for the first time and decided to do a game. Following few hours of debates about the nature of the game and the different things we will need to do, we started to work on it. Full time. Actually, more than that.
I clearly remember the thrill of devising every little detail of a completely new world we were about to create. My girlfriend had her share of my newly discovered pastime too, seeing me glued to the screen from early morning until.. well, early morning. The amount of things I have learned trying to convert our initial ideas into code and mesh and logic is probably responsible for many things. Back pain. Respect for games developing folks. And distortion of time perception. Mainly that. When the holidays ended and it was time to go to Uni after three weeks, it felt like I started studying new semester. Gone were the days when actional vacuum made the days gallop past me straight to the oblivion. It was great. Tiresome, but great. I felt like I was fully using my time and potential. Finally.
With the reduction of “free” time that was the start of Uni, the works on the project started to slowly die off. Assignments and lectures began to cut off from our time and the previously maintained tempo was a thing of the past. There was also the Three Thing Game (a 24 hour, University-based Game Jam) in which I and Cosmin (and two other guys, but I will talk about that later) took part and which completely stopped the development for over a week. After participation in the game jam, we decided not to continue with the game any more. One of the reasons is that another project appeared, which both of us seem to see as the more viable one. Another reason is the relatively close end of the semester and the unreality of us finishing the project before it.

And so our short-lived project died. It wasn’t an abrupt death. It felt almost natural. And it was followed by birth of another project. Well, Project is dead, Long Live the Project.
And no, I don’t feel sad at all. Not one of those long hours spent researching and creating the game that will never be, seems to me like a waste of time. It was great stuff. I need to update this post with some pictures and the like. It will probably be horrible. But I love it.

What I Saw in the Dust – Part February

February started out rather swiftly and after few days I have been riding the University tracks again. Although for the results from my exams I had to wait until the end of it, some of the rewards came a little sooner (yes, I am talking about the cheese from the photo). Now, for those of you who did not see that it is a cheese – or for those who did see it is a cheese, but thought it is a very strange one – I will write few words of explanation. What you see there is a 3D printed cheese, of which, according to its creator, Rob Miles, there are not many pieces in the world. The green one is for code from one of my courseworks – a C# console game called Space Cheese Miner, with which I have some plans for the future and I will definitely share it in a gitHub repo later. The white – and bigger, although I don’t know why – one is for a little piece of name generating code improvement from one of my labs. I will share that code too and update this post later. Anyway, if you ever need to generate some Russian names, don’t look any further, I am your guy. It is always nice to be rewarded and it is always nice if the reward is tangible in some way, so, yeah, February was nice². Well, almost.3D Printed Cheese under a Lamp

As it happens, February was also the month of breaking. First, my laptop broke, one week later my smartphone. My heart is fine, though. Anyway, as a result of all that, I had to resort to writing the code in library and not playing mobile games. Well, library is great and free time too, so it was not so bad. And as a bonus, I am writing this post from a new laptop. HP Pavillion AK-085-NA. It looks really good and, more importantly, works really good too and I could not be more happier. Well, I could. Not having to pay for it would be quite nice for a start, but so far it has been worth the money. And that brings me to another thing. I have actually bought it as a refurbished product on e-Bay. Since it was my first time buying refurbished electronics, I have been quite apprehensive of the whole idea, but I did some research on the seller and everything seemed fine and I have basically gotten 100+ pounds discount on a brand new laptop. It even has a one year warranty.Not bad for a refurbished thing. If you want to try it, but are not sure, I would advise you to.  As for the smartphone, I had to wait for that one a little bit longer and it is sort of part of another story, so I will leave that one for future. Laptop image

What I Saw in the Dust – Part January

Last time, I promised to share some of the things I saw, visiting this blog after few months, looking back at all that happened and some of what did not. I am not sure what the general consensus on the matter of ‘looking back’ is in the psychological community,  I don’t even know if there is any general consensus at all in psychological community, but it doesn’t matter. If this is to be the map of me, I’d rather have no holes in it.

Time and again, I find myself puzzled at the simplicity of (my) life.
I clearly remember the veil of excitement and mystery in which the ideas of ‘adult life’ were covered whenever my younger me began to think about it. I have been living this adult life for two years now, first working, then studying, and the veil is inevitably gone. It is easy. Almost painfully so.  Somehow, the all important question of survival became a laughing-stock. Thousands of millions (or thousands³ if you will) years of evolution and it’s done. It has actually become harder to die than to survive. At least in the western world that I happen to be a part of.

But I digress. The point is, there is not much to do. January came and January went, leaving behind but a hint of it ever existing. The biggest challenge that I face – and one that I, paradoxically, fail at – is to find a challenge. As a result of all this, the part of my brain that stores the memories of the past months has a tag saying ‘may have been a dream’ attached to it. Sure, there have been some little excitements, like exams and visits and trips and all that.. But at the end of the day (and at it’s beginning and at it’s centre), my life can be summed up as a never ending flow of tick-tocks with no real substance to it. Having said all that, I enjoy it. It has certain softness to it, certain tenderness. And at times, I feel like living in an egg, waiting for a sign to start knocking my way out of here. Some evolutionary remnant I suppose.

the logo of the freeCodeCamp project

Out of need for stimulation I started to revise my skills in Web Development, deciding to go with the freeCodeCamp option, which, although mainly targeting the never-coded-before audience, has been rather good and if you feel like interacting with Web more than just a user, it is definitely a place to go. It is divided into two parts, one of which is the interactive textbook style and the other is ‘here’s a project, do it’.

While I caught myself snoozing off few times, doing the textbook part (but mainly because I knew the content, not because it was written uninterestingly) the project one has been quite challenging and had the ‘make something from scratch’ attitude, which is indispensable in learning how to code. There is also the possibility of doing only the project making part (and maybe a little of theory) in order to get the certificate (yes, there is one) so if you want to do just the fun coding part, you can do that too. My CodeCamping unfortunately stopped after exams, partly because of some travelling I did, partly because of my laptop breaking down. But more about the laptop later.

Now to the travelling part. It probably sounds much more exciting than it was, basically I moved around England a little bit and reaffirmed my belief that the best part of England are…

picture of a squirrel
Aren’t they?

The Dust that Gathers

Visiting this site after what could be called a long long time, I could not help but think of a book in a library. Not some modern, immaculate library full of seemingly fashionista librarians and regular people. No, the library in my mind was old. Forgotten. An island floating between worlds, almost. Where pale-skinned, ghost-like outcasts gather to silently turn the pages of stories older than the world itself. Because only in such libraries, the dust speaks as much as the books it lies on. And only in such libraries, you can take a book, inhale the earthy air of that underground world, then slowly let it brush alongside the cover, just to see the thousands and thousands of sparks dancing all around you for an instant. And if you are really, really lucky, amongst all the flickering reflections you may begin to see the stories that the dust tells.

I have been lucky. The dust I blew off this blog was kind enough to share its secrets. Some of them I will surely forget again. Others, I am going to keep for myself. And the rest.. I will tell you the rest soon. Meanwhile, may your dust fall on wonderful things, dear reader.

— I just realized the twofold meaning of the title. The dust that is being gathered and The dust that gathers stories. Usually, it is the language upon which we build the imagery. It’s nice to see it working sort of vice-versa too. —

About the Stories I Am Made Of

I was lucky enough a child to be surrounded by books. 

There was a great deal of books that amused me. There were those that grew with me and those that did not, becoming distant beacons in the maze of my memory. There were books that made me think and laugh and cry. I returned to them as one returns to an old friend. When the walls the solitary child I was built started crumbling, they offered advice and a place to hide.
Few of them left me unchanged.

But there are different kinds of change.

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You Put Together Two Things

“You put together two things that have not been put together before. And the world is changed. People may not notice at the time, but that doesn’t matter. The world has been changed nonetheless.”

Julian Barnes, Levels of Life

I planned to write something else entirely today. I am happy I didn’t.

Even though the memory of my childhood is somehow distorted, ever since I remember, the possibility of interconnectedness of the universe has fascinated me. Invisible strings attached to every piece of the physical manifestation of meaning. And our lives, just one big tug of war among all the influences we are unaware of.

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The Red the Life Fades Into

A fountain of blood gushed from cat’s head, barely two metres in front of me today. Considering how fast she died, her dying was painfully slow. First came the car, then agony, then death. And while the car and the death felt like and instant, every second it took the red veil to cover the feline brain seemed to be a tick-tock on the clock of eternity.

Afterwards, I wondered when exactly did the cat stop being cat. Was the line between the cat and the corpse the collision of two rigid bodies? Or was it the first tear of blood that sprayed the road? Was the cat, the meaning of the form of life the word bears, shaken out of that poor, furry body in the series of spasms and convulsions that followed? Or did it all happen long before, when the smallest of points exploded in the middle of we-still-don’t-know-what, leaving this orderly chaos behind, determining the path of each and every particle right from the start?

Schrödinger had his cat. She died or did not die and the thing was, he did not know until he had a look.
I have my cat. She died, I had my look and I still don’t know.

And so I just wonder at the red the life fades into.