It happens every year. The dog days of summer roll around, and instead of lazing around enjoying the tail end of my vacation, I find myself lying awake at night and snapping at my family during the day. I begin to realize how little I've gotten done, despite my best intentions at the start of the season. And the start of the hectic fall quarter, which seemed so very far away just a month ago, is now bearing down on me like a runaway freight train.
I originally titled this post "end of summer panic attack," but after a conversation with Gerald, I realized that his term--summer resolutions--was better. It's just like New Year's resolutions for most people, he pointed out. And it's true. As an academic, my year works differently than most people's do. For me, fall is like spring--new beginnings, fresh faces, a sense of promise and potential. And the beginning of summer is like New Year's--a chance to prepare for the year ahead in a relaxed and productive way. Ha. Ha ha. Hahahahahahaha. [maniacal laughter fades away down padded hallway...]
As summer comes to an end, the list of unfinished tasks becomes more and more depressing. The larger the pile of incomplete tasks, the less able I am to face them, and the further I burrow into escapism. (This year's location of choice to bury my head in the sand? Azeroth, natch.)
This year it's made worse by the fact that I've been invited (for the first time) to Tim O'Reilly's infamous Foo Camp gathering, where everyone is expected to give a talk or demo a project at some point during the weekend. I'd hoped to show off a prototype of PULP, but I've made diddly-squat progress this summer. I thought it would be easier to manage developers from afar, but it's not. I'm just not cut out for the whole distributed team approach--I need people close enough that I can see them, drop in on them, create a sense of connectedness. Yes, yes, I know...iChat AV, cell phones, shared calendars, blah blah blah. Just doesn't do it for me, at least not for building a team from scratch. So I'm stalled on this project, and am hoping to get somewhere with it this fall once the team is co-located here in Rochester.
My plan at the moment is to use some of the time on tomorrow's early (too early) morning flight to start pulling together enough of a prototype/demo (or at least some mocked up screens) that I can talk about the project in a meaningful way. The good news is that I've got a clear mental vision of what it's going to be, and how it's going to work. The bad news is that going from my head to the screen is still a laborious process. That means, also, that I'll be lugging my big-ass 17" MacBook Pro with me to Sebastopol, rather than the much lighter and easier to tote Vaio (which I bought specifically to make traveling easier, and which, unlike the MBP, has a PC Card slot to accommodate my Verizon broadband card). The Vaio is fine if I'm in information consumption mode, but if I'm going to be doing much creation, I really work much better in the familiar OS X environment.
I went out and bought some Zicam last night, because Lane has come down with a nasty cold, and I just know I'll wake up tomorrow with the same cold. So I'm starting the Zicam today, in hopes of staving off the otherwise inevitable. I can only imagine how much fun a cross-country flight followed by two nights of camping out would be while nursing a bad cold. :(
Okay, enough whining. I've still got a chance to pull my head out of the sand and get something done this week.