Let's Make Robots!

I hope it's a phase

Lately I can barely bring myself to look at the lab.

I don't know what the deal is, but the thrill of building and creating and programming is just gone the last month or so. At first I put it down to being unemployed and feeling some combination of unworthiness, low self esteem and poverty, but I should have known better-there are some very generous LMR members who have sent me gifts that overcome the resistance to spending money I didn't feel I had. I love these projects and learning the new programming IDEs but for some reason, I couldn't pull it together. Meanwhile, K-9 sits on the bench in the same state he sat in on Dr. Who's 50th Anniversary-a glorified SHR toy. I have a Zorak modded Penny walker on the shelf that I put the brain in then... Anyway, you get the picture and this is hardly the first time I've lamented the number of unfinished projects I've begun.

However, before it felt different. Before I at least felt like I wanted to do them someday. Now though, I don't know. Now I'm afraid that the pilot light is out. Like the workbench is a waste of space and resources and that I'll never have an interest in firing up any of the Linux SBCs again.

I'd hoped the feeling would go away when I started working again, that the basement was just too much of a musty-dungeon reminder of the fact that I wasn't a contributing member of the household or society but now I'm on the job again (and frankly loving it as much as any job I've ever done) and still, seeing that stupid lopsided office chair in front of the home workstation inspires in me nothing but the urge to take a nap. So I ordered a new office chair today (it was hurting my left leg, but again, not the point.)

There are artist makers on this site who never tire, who innovate and explore new models consistently and with joy, continuously. I have always considered making things-robots, gadgets, software, websites and visual art-the very core of my personality, but lately I dread the process aspect of any of it (while learning the wrote functionality of the new job has somehow filled me with excitement.) Like I said, I hope it's just a phase. I hope that I'm not "done." I've always believed that it would be worse to die having crossed of every line on your "bucket list" than to have a few left, because the former option would mean your imagination abandoned you too much sooner than your life did-but outside of making, what is there? If I don't have something I want to create am I even still a part of existence?

Have you ever gone through a phase like this? What brought you out of it?

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Interesting post and very good indeed. That are very true words, an I am also grateful to be part of this, OUR, amazing website. 

True is that people change, hobbies change but that is part of the circle of life. I am not sure how long I will be active here but I am never planning long ahead. So lets just say I am one of the guys who will stay here.

True is also that I do have not have unlimited time. Family, especially those l does and little monsters called daughters, takes time, the job, also do i have other hobbies which I try to combine with robotics. You know what I am talking about Max :-)

I also had a partial downtime but that is normal, sometimes it's just a bad concurrence of circumstances which messes up your time schedule and make you think it's a complete change in life. But that's not the case. Just do what you think it's right for you then you will do the right thing. If you need a timeout then it's perfect normal, later you will find back to your roots.If robotics if not in that list anymore then you will find another interesting way to spend your time :-)))

Max, I am sure we will see each other for quite some time here...I am not going away!


Lifestyle changes change you. They completely change the balance between the amount of energy time and money that you have available.

I also get this uneasy feeling when I look at my desk. As you can see it's full of crap in a half disassembled state. I can actually recognize the traces of about 5 projects in this picture alone:

One evening I just went in there and cleaned up the desk. It felt a lot better.

... seem to get in the building, hacking, printing and what ever else crazy stuff I do mood, somewhere around autumn after my birthday. This "mood"goes on and on until early summer I think. After that I'm usually into vacation mood and rarely do anything useful. It's deffinetly related to heat and the welcoming terraces and beer and summer.. love summer. Not sure if this is related to birthday or anything really, just that summer kinda drains out the energy outta me and I just don't get the urge to build stuff.

And yes with age the periods of "energy low" seem to get a bit longer. This is of course a function of available time vs energy and with my daughter growing it's getting harder and harder to get the time. Well I hope that in my fifties or sixties I'll get enough time and Gareth™ style energy and health and money to do this stuff all day long instead of dealing with age and crap :/

Max yeah life is a waveform and it does go up and down, LMR did loose some very active past members but most of them are still lurking here and there. Also LMR changed from a twenty or 50 member site to hell if I know how many, of which some are real active. I'd like to think I'm one of them but to be true to myself I'm not that active anymore. Job makes sure some of my building energy goes in it and daughter demands lots of it lately (10 hours spent on a Saturday building her a freaking papercraft dog ... :/ she wins everytime :/). 

So don't worry it will come back to ya when you feel like it and don't have the time ... no worryes there:) 


Was I that transparent in describing what I wished I had?


I hope it's ok if I pipe in with a way overshare.

This has been on my wall for years.

In the US we generally don't attribute our mood, defined is a stable emotion lasting longer more than an hour, to much of our behaviors.  This is devastating in regards to someone's health.  We usually attribute our actions to conscious choice, when really, our choices are often made by what we feel.  We'll even find ourselves saying, "I just don't feel like it," while we believe we are making a conscious decision.  

When I was twenty I was diagnosed with Bipolar  -- not that Katie Perry crap, but the actual mental disorder responsible for 1 in 4 of us offing ourselves.  One of the hardest parts to deal with is mood changes.  Due to the chemical imbalance we have, moods will come over us that lack specific antecedents, are inappropriate to the situation, and often last much longer than they should.  And personally, the worst symptom of Bipolar is clinical delusions.  They are these intense beliefs backed-up by feelings brought on by the disorder.  It's freaking weird.  Think of it is an emotional hallucination.

Ok, back to the paper on the wall.

As I began to study how to take care of myself I realized I was controlled by feelings brought on by my body not producing chemicals to balance these feelings.  And I'm a rebellious asshole that doesn't like being controlled by anything, especially a chemical imbalance.  After reading probably another hundrerd psychology journal article, I realized the key to being in control was flipping the feeling-thought connection.  Often, we have a stimulus that elicits a feeling, and that feeling in turn elicits a thought, which can elicit a behavior.  But the esoteric knowledge is this, the same mechanism can work in reverse

This is summed nicely in the old adage: Fake it 'til you make it.  You perform an action, which will create a thought, which elicits a feeling.  Sadly, this is freaking intense battle of willpower.

For me, it is also a battle of survival.  I like numbers. I realize when locking my front-door at night, statistically, the person who is most likely to kill me I can't lock out.  When the dark thoughts come, I wage the war of performing actions to elicit thoughts, in hopes to create a feeling of worth within myself that'll prevent me from harming my own body.  Please forgive the overshare.

The paper on the wall came about when I had delusions of writing a great novel.  I often had writers block and would be upset because I couldn't write some dribble that wasn't worth reading (it was a delusion of grandeur). I'd often give up and walk away from my desk saying, "Little muse, your bitchy today."  It was a short time later I applied the behavior-thought-feeling mechanism to my writing.  I put the saying, "Make your Muse your bitch!" on the wall to always remind me, "I can control my feelings--or they can control me."  And it makes me laugh. :)

Has this always worked for me? Hell no!  Stupid bitchy muse PMS'es some days.  Also, I'm friggin lazy beyond belief.  But I am still alive, so the principals of empirical thought forces me to admit the practice has some validity.

Sorry, I used your post as a personal white-page for verbal-processing my own crap.


A few bits I'd like to challenge.

  1. "There are artist makers on this site who never tire."  I don't believe this is true.  And if it was, I'd lump you into this catagory.  According to your LMR statistics: 19 Robots, 1 Components, and 21 Blogs since February 2012.  This doesn't include your infinite amount of encouraging and informative posts and replies.
  2. There are countless LMR'ians that as far as I can tell have disappeared.  I know you and Birdmun know this.  We look through past LMR posts at absolutely brilliant people who've moved on.  My guess is they've graduated or changed jobs.  But they may have simply spoken their word on robots and moved on.

Sir, I know you already know how much I respect your work.  Don't feel like your robo-block will last forever.  Take into considerations your recent life changes: Married and working.  Both are absolutely amazing.  But both carry eustress, which acts upon the body the same as distress.

You are a very talented person: ALABTU!

I'm embarrassed to say that I learned the thought-feeling connection by reading Ayn Rand. For a while, I loved her. I don't find myself admitting that as often anymore, but hey-credit where it's due.

More than a few LMRians have expressed concern that I might be exhibiting symptoms of MDD, and I can assure you that's not the case. I'm actually extremely happy lately (two weeks of feeling unusually good is about the opposite of the usual diagnostic criteria for depression ;-) It's just this one aspect of my life that seems to have so surprisingly changed in such a way that would represent such a waste of resources and such a fundamental shift in personality. Also, I'm really enjoying TV more (which I'm actually putting down to Hollywood getting its head out of its ass this year and making shows I want to watch instead of more reality TV, so maybe there's a little karmic give and take.)

One thing is for certain though:the responses I've received to this blog, both public and private, prove that LMR has put me in contact with some of the finest human beings in the world. Thank you all for your comraderie.

I'm sure I'll be a part of LMR for quite some time even if I should never flick on the Hakko again.

I was there only just recently. I do think it was a mix of self pity/worthlessness due to unemployement and spending too much time doing it constantly. It sort of turned into a chore where I had to make something in order to make a video. black impala  hit it on the head I reckon. Exposure to other hobbies keeps everything fresh. For me it was something completely different, sailling.

Been there done that. Its easy for me to get burnt when I have played robots for more than a decade. I now switch hobbies as to keep myself motivated. You have to figure out your interests and plan accordingly. I always keep a couple robots in the works as well as other hobby interests that way I always have a direction to go when I need a break.

Plus sometimes a project starts one way, then it gets evolved so that it gets finished. Everyone stops on some projects and knocks out others. Its all personal evolution.