So Let it be Written, So Let it be Done!

October 25, 2010

And Life Keeps Moving

Filed under: blogging,grad school,kamakula,pittsburgh — kamakula @ 10:29 pm
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I’m still behind on my research work. Nothing new when it comes to that. Slow trudging work for now. I think like many other things, one of these days I’ll either go over an edge and suddenly things will feel like they are moving too fast. Or I’ll reach a dead end. Whichever way it happens, I that will be it for me.

I’ve improved my media system. With my usb enabled router running dd-wrt, I finally bit the bullet and got a 2TB drive. With a dual bay dock, I could potentially increase my storage by another 2TB. We’ll see what prices are like for black friday and Christmas. In the meantime, all of my existing media, apps, backups, and pictures can go there. And probably not even use more than 40% of the available space.

The xbox (running xbmc) is pretty awesome. . . but as more things are available in HD and when my projector finally dies, I will definitely want a HD solution. . and the ability to watch Hulu without needing my laptop. From what I’ve seen, roku is looking like an awesome solution. For just about $60 shipped, I can have a little box that will take care of all that. In fact, the roku box + my drive/dock combo and router all take up less space than the xbox uses now. So that’s another plus.

My cooking abilities just leveled up too. I’m getting better at making my faves. Time to start adding some more dishes to the usual repertoire. I’m also making steady progress on the debt front. . .though breaking my cars and having to fix those isn’t helping. . . But I guess that’s how you learn. And I suppose the more I do this, the more experience I get if I ever want to startup the hobby of flipping cars with major, but cheaply (in terms of parts, not time) fixable problems.

Speaking of hobbies, I haven’t worked on a robot or any programming project in a while. There is always the trinity competition and I’ve got a game to port to my newest platform of choice – Android. . . though I suppose I also want to do the iphone as well at some point. I tell myself that once things look good on the research front, I will devote more time to these. . .I guess we’ll see.

It is annoying just how obvious it feels right now that if I were working fulltime, I’d have the resources and free time to do so much of all of these things that are on hold or moving by so slowly. I suppose that should be motivation to make my current life choices worth it, or matter more than they feel like they do now.

October 2, 2010

This Doesn’t Have a Title

Filed under: grad school,kamakula — kamakula @ 2:17 pm
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Yes, that’s right. This post does not have a title. Though it’s not a gimmick or device of some sort. I just couldn’t think of one. When I try to pick out a string of words to use, I end up experiencing the swirl of thoughts and only grasp random words. My past experience with the mind storm (that’s what I’m calling it here) – which I know despite sounding like “brain storm”, actually refers to an inability to generate ideas in my case, has usually been on tests or working on a difficult project or problem. I try to think of a complete solution, but my mind is too chaotic and I can’t really see much in the storm.

It is a frustrating experience and the way out is to stop and just start doing what you already know. Don’t worry about figuring out now the complete sequence of steps from start to finish, just begin. We all know the basics, usually of whatever it is we are attempting to do. So rather than obsess over figuring out a complete solution, I just start the problem. Write down what I know, the basic calculations or information you’re supposed to extract. . . and as you do this, something magical happens. You’re making progress. Putting one foot in front of the other and in many cases you arrive at a solution.

So, rather than spend the next few hours trying to figure out a title, I’ll just write. The title can sort itself out on it’s own. I republished some posts that I’d previously unpublished for various reasons. The short summary is that my gf and I had broken up, gotten back together, and now have broken up again.

I had a thought as I was prepping a late breakfast that all of my relationships seem to have fallen apart at the beginning or end of a school year. Though further reflection indicates this is likely just coincidence without any meaningful significance since I’ve been in relationships that lasted through those periods in other years. I guess the real takeaway is that I’ve been spending too much of my life in school, and perhaps to not enter into serious relationships until after i’m done.

Speaking of which, as of 4pm yesterday, I finished my comprehensive exams. We’ll get the official pass/fail email in a week. Of the four exams, I feel extremely good about two, pretty good about the third, and no so great about the fourth. I suppose I’d expected to do the worst on that one, but I still feel bad about it. Regardless, I think I’m still going to pass since I didn’t totally screw it up and I did well on the others. The minimum grade to pass is a 3.25. Given that I expect A’s on the other three, the only way I’d not end up with an average of 3.25 or better is to have gotten an F on the fourth.

Failure. If I was working full-time and after 3.5 years of work had a screw up that got me fired, I could likely get another job. You take a loss, but only of a few weeks to a few months of your life and earnings. If I screw up here, I lose 3.5 years. All gone. Because while this has been a goal and dream of mine, and has had great positive impact and experiences for me, it is not a process I intend to repeat. There aren’t markets for failed PhD candidates. You go back to whatever you were doing before or the jobs you could get if you’d done the smart thing and left school with just a BS or MS.

This reminds me of a webcomic which I think it’s about time to do my yearly catch up. BS – bullshit, MS – more shit, PhD – piled higher and deeper. Jumping completely to a different topic, I still have the morning food aversion. It appears if I eat slowly and small amounts, it is manageable. I’m pretty sure it just takes a few months of making myself eat every morning to get rid of it. I just don’t really have strong enough motivation to do so. Yeah, I’ve got some body fat I’d like to lose and eating regular, small meals including one at breakfast time is a good way to help implement that and manage energy levels and hunger throughout the day. . .but I think I’ll stick to the current plan of just ignoring the need to eat.

Or maybe not. Because following my current plan hasn’t really been working out for me. At least not in the short term, that’s not how it feels now. But what can I do? I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve learned to trust decisions I’ve made until I have an overwhelming reason to change my mind. I can’t remember what my dad said, but the last time I visited my parents, he asked a question or made a comment about something I was doing. And I gave him a couple reasons – which were not good enough. . . – but on the drive back, I kept thinking about it and realized or remembered that there were other considerations when I’d initially made up my mind. Which then fully explained to me why I did what I did. This has probably been a very vague description of what was going on, but the point is that though I may feel now sticking to a path is stupid or not worth it and can’t think of good compelling reasons why I should continue, in fact I have already thought through all of these things and so I should trust myself, as crappy as things my seem right now.

So perhaps this is why this post doesn’t have a title – or why the title is appropriate. There hasn’t really been a coherent topic of discussion. Just like the process of grasping for the title, this has been me jumping from idea to idea, thought to thought. I guess food for thought – just how much of this post is a reflection of an underlying or subconscious intent and how much is just a product of going ahead and trusting the process of “just do it and things usually work out”.

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