23 Jun 2016

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

This year's self-improvement goal was to get back into blogging regularly. Part of that goal was just to get back into writing regularly; the other part was specifically to publish more regularly.

I've done fairly well on the first half, actually. I'd hoped to do better, but then all year I've had to deal with spoon-draining circumstances, so I've probably done about as well as I can without sacrificing my health. One of my other self-improvement goals has been to take my health seriously, to listen to my body rather than pushing it beyond its limits. I'm on-track for improving at both of these, I just need to stop beating myself up over it.

For the second half, the publishing bit, that I've done poorly. I'd like to blame the spoon vortex here too, but really I think the biggest problem is my perfectionism. Perfectionism greatly amplifies the problem of lacking spoons: both the editing itself, as well as the emotional fallout of missing the mark or of having taken the entire day to hit it, both of these cost spoons. The real aim behind my goal to publish regularly wasn't to have more words to my name, but rather to “get out there” more, to be more productive in-and-of-itself rather than to have more products. So I've started thinking: the real target for this self-improvement goal should not be publishing regularly, but rather should be (working to) overcome perfectionism.

If perfectionism is a problem of fear, then the thing I must address is that fear. So how to do it? One of the suggestions in that article is to let yourself fail. Not to lower your unreasonable standards (the party-line for what to do), but rather to allow yourself to not meet those standards. One of my standards is to be thought provoking, and hence to focus overmuch on essays. To try and break free from this, I'm thinking to start posting summaries of my daily dissertation progress. A nanowrimo sort of thing, though without the focus on word-count per se. I've read a few articles suggesting one should start their day by summarizing the previous day's progress, but I've never tried it. So here goes nothing :)

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

Lots of yak shaving to work around issues with iuthesis-alt.cls. One in particular is that that class overrides \title to do gross stuff with the raw value you give it, but that gross stuff is necessary style for the final pdf. The big problem here is that that gross stuff means you can't use \@title anywhere else like for setting the pdftitle. Originally I was using my entitlement.sty package to get my hands on the raw input to \title; but there's a bug where entitlement.sty also overrides that macro rather than hooking it properly. Changing it to hook properly has proved surprisingly difficult, so I just inlined the relevant parts. Still ran into issues because AMSmath's \uppercasenonmath (used by iuthesis-alt.cls) doesn't evaluate things far enough. Managed to fix it with judicious use of \expandafter.

Another yak shaving issue is that the final pdf must be double spaced (okay fine) but certain chunks need to be single spaced. I've been using setspace.sty to switch the line spread as appropriate, but kept running into issues where there'd be way too much spacing whenever switching the line spread. Finally dug into the source of setspace.sty to see how it works, and managed to find out where the extra spacing was coming from. Things look much better now.

In non-yakshaving work, I wrote up the section on strong normalization of type reduction. This is the easiest of the proofs, but at least I got some content written! Also, I think I did a better job of motivating why this proof matters than in my qual paper.

June 2017

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