What excites you?

Here’s an interesting story (“sickly” would be more appropriate, but that’s not “interesting”). It was a balmy Friday night. The weather had been finicky of late (she’s been listening to Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold”), alternating between dry heat and cold rain. Even my kitchen floor tiles couldn’t handle it (they blew up like 2 tectonic plates colliding into each other. It’s not pretty…).

Oh yeah, balmy night. So I was sitting at my computer desk working on my new project. But I’ve been pushing myself just a tad too much. And what with the weather and all, my body decided to give me a little warning: a running nose or blocked nose, depending on its mood (my body probably listened to “Hot N Cold” too…).

Being the persistent little bugger I am, I decided to at least come up with a design for my project (It’s a training course, so it’s a design cover for the ebooklets). Man that took forever. Designer I am not… At that point, I was feeling a bit feverish. I was either sniffling or trying to breathe or sneezing (my record was 5 sneezes consecutively without pause).

I finished the design and was ready to call it a night, but I was like “No, I want to do more!”. My brain apparently doesn’t talk to my body. So I opened up an ebook on copywriting by Naomi Dunford from IttyBiz (It’s named Copywriting For People Who Categorically Do Not Want To Be Copywriters When They Grow Up. I think that pretty much sums it up. It’s good by the way).

At that point, my body decided on a running nose and blocked nose at the same time for me. The running nose wasn’t much of a problem, since if you breathe through that nostril, the mucus dries up quickly. My left nostril was blocked though. So I turned to the expedient method of tilting my head to the right while reading the copywriting ebook (yeah, I’m hardcore). Eventually the left nostril would clear (through gravity or whatnot. I’m no doctor…). That allowed me to read while breathing through the right nostril, and allow the left nostril to slowly clear, but it gave me one heck of a neckache because I had to tilt it slightly backwards too so that nasal innards don’t drip down on my nice keyboard.

Finally, I decided to really call it a night and went to bed. It was what you’d expect. I got a fever, a cold and a cough. My back was sore and I tremble uncontrollably.

Saturday came but I didn’t notice it. I was too busy sleeping (my cat still wins me in the sleeping department though).

So in between bouts of lucidity and delirium, there were only 2 things I thought about: trying to breathe and my project. One side effect is that I learnt to focus on my breathing (forced meditation?). So what’s my project? It’s a training course for programmers to decipher an Excel file enough to come up with code to generate that Excel file.

There are numerous resources online teaching you how to do this or that with either straightforward XML-styled version or with the Open XML SDK version. However, they don’t tell you why or when you should do it. It’s like teaching programmers how to do for loops or lambda expressions without explaining why they would ever need to write a for loop or use lambda expressions.

So while I’m lying in bed, trying desperately to breathe properly (through one nostril or ideally two), I’m so excited about my project that even when sick I’m still thinking about it. Of course, I couldn’t do much (I could only think of explaining the various colouring options that Excel has). This is where the Chinese proverb comes in “The mind is willing, but the body can’t” (or some such).

It’s Sunday. It hurts to get up. It hurts to even think about getting up. Food tastes weird. Even plain water tastes weird. What gets me through the day is something that excites me.

Whatever it is that gets you jumping out of bed, hang on to it. *sniff* (I advise against getting sick if you can possibly help it).