Procrastination is a friend of mine

So, instead of working on Rogue Code, I have been thinking about Don’t look back. I even started mocking the app up using Pencil Project. Here is a screen dump of the log-in page, first draft.

Log in page

I will post more screens tomorrow, if I have time. And yes, I did run today. Thank you for asking! 3 KM on the streets in the dappled evening light, weaving between cherry blossoms and  pizza delivery vans. It was a good day.

Don’t look back!



So, I ran today (2.5 KM). And, as I ran, I started thinking about a simple little game that might make me run more. You start this game a short distance away from a horde of brain hungry zombies. These zombies are walking (well, shambling) towards you. It does not matter where you go, or what you do, the zombies keep on shuffling towards you. Their pace is pretty random, and often quite slow, but it is inexorable.  If the zombies catch up with you, you die. Your only hope is to run, and keep on running. Just don’t look back.

How does the game actually work? Here is how I imagine it:

  • DLB is a web application.
  • A user creates an account, adding a few basic details (user name, email address etc.)
  • Then the user needs to configure the daily movement of the zombie pack.
  • To do this, the user types in the minimum shambling distance a zombie pack can move in one day (e.g. 1 KM) and the maximum shambling distance the pack can move in one day (e.g. 4 KM).
  • When that step is complete, the user is assigned a virtual runner who is placed 10 KM away from a virtual zombie horde. We can use a nice diagram or chart to illustrate the distance between the two parties.
  • At 12:00:01 AM the following day, the zombie horde advances towards the runner. The distance they move forward in kilometres is some random number occurring between the minimum and maximum values set during configuration. For example, with a minimum threshold of 1 KM and a maximum threshold of 4 KM, the amount the horde travels per day will be 1-4 KM.
  • When the user runs or walks in real life, they log into the web app and enter the distance they have travelled. For example, I ran 2.5 KM today, so I would log into DLB and enter 2.5 KM. My virtual runner would move forward by this amount instantaneously.
  • Every day that a runner is alive, he/she is earning points. The number of points earned per day is equal to minimum shambling distance * maximum shambling distance. For example, with a minimum threshold of 1 KM and a maximum threshold of 4 KM, I would score 4 points per day.
  • If a zombie horde ever catches up with a runner, their game is over. All points are lost.
  • Each week, a user must increase either their minimum shambling distance or maximum shambling distance by 1 KM. This makes eventual capture by the zombies very likely.
  • So, there is a ‘push your luck’ element to the game. It’s about knowing when you are about to get caught by the zombies, and ‘cashing out’ before it happens. When you cash out, you get to keep your points.

More on this idea soon.

I have facets!

So, this is an OT post and will be tagged accordingly, but I wanted to talk a little bit about running. I have, at various times in the last 10 years, flirted with the idea of becoming a runner. I have done a few Parkruns. I have entered a few middle distance road races. I even ran some of them (entering a race is much easier than actually training for it). I was briefly a member of a running club, and I ran around the streets with other crazy, dayglo people. I bought decent shoes. I tried out various headphones, playlists, routes, tracking software, watches. I did long runs, fartlek (yes, I know it is a funny word), interval training, cross training. I had physio for sore knees. I have my gait scrutinised by tooth sucking coaches. I got a little better at it, then, inevitably, I gave up.

And this is the unpleasant truth about me. I am, at heart, a dabbler. I try things on for size. I get really excited about them, I bore my friends and family with them, I read blogs and watch instructional videos, I engage. Then, at some unspecified point, I am distracted. My head is turned. And I move on.

I was thinking about this recently. I was in a church in Cracow, listening to a classical concert performed by a 5 piece ensemble. The lead violinist was superb, actually flawless. The last piece they played was ‘Winter’, by Vivaldi. The fancy name is Concerto No.4 in F-Minor RV 297. There is a really tricky bit towards the end of the third movement which is so fast, almost helter-skelter. And she nailed it! Every single note! It could not have been more precise!  And I thought about all the practice and dedication and sacrifice that she must have offered up to that moment. And I felt ashamed that I had no equal of it in my life.

I am not going to start learning the violin. I know that is beyond me. It’s not about that. I just want to nurture some sort of disciple in my life. Start something that runs to completion. Stick at something. The way I see it, my natural inclinations point me towards two things – writing code and running. Well, I write code every day at work, and I have an ongoing project in that area which helps me move forward. So, I think I should launch a running project that helps me in the same way. I came up with an idea for this on the way home from Poland. It is a very simple running game called ‘don’t look back!‘. More details to follow.  By the way, I ran 2 KM today, and it felt like progress.