Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Summer of Chaos

So, time to reminisce about the summer just past. Wow! It's amazing how life throws you curve balls.

The Plan. Heading out of last spring, I was anticipating a summer of general-ed requirements to speed me on my way towards graduation, a little programming work on the side, research on grad-school programs and lots of time for personal projects to be posted here. This was to go alongside taking care of my three daughters and generally being "summery." Cool. Good plan. A little ambitious, but doable.

The Reality. Business took a nose-dive. So much so that I had to go back behind the bar for the summer to keep things afloat. We pared down to a skeleton staff with me working 4 shifts a week slinging beers. That's just what needed doing.

Meanwhile, I did get some side work, technically an internship, though I'm not bothering to take the educational credit, just the CV listing. I spent some time learning Python, flexing my Debian admin skills and playing around with EWU's Living Laboratory project under Dr. Jeff Putnam. It was a fun project. I got pretty comfortable with Python, the basics of Postgresql, and Django. Also, I got to play with specifying and implementing the simplest of Domain Specific Languages to allow user-entered code to run on our server. That project is ongoing, though I've got precious little time for it now that school is back in. Hopefully, I'll get to extend (or create anew) that language for specifying graphs as well.

So, personal projects, grad-school research? All by the wayside. My plans to port my Projection Pursuit algorithm to Haskell got pushed back. A *ton* of reading (Computational Category Theory, A Transition to Advanced Mathematics, Goedel, Escher, Bach, etc.) postponed indefinitely. Grad school selection is only getting started now, and that is such a daunting task! Dr. Putnam suggests I find blogs I like, follow all of their blog links and assemble this graph of blogs and schools and then run a clustering algorithm looking for commonality and hope that helps me narrow down the choices. Hah! That would probably work really well, but given the time available, would take until long past the application deadlines. Plus, I have to prep for the GRE's in a week! Wah!

The Results. Well, what can I say? It is what it is, and I keep marching ahead. Things never go quite the way you expect, but in the end, they work out. I think. I'm getting that Projection Pursuit done. I'm keeping up with my studies. I'm gradually narrowing down the choices for grad-school applications. And somehow I'm still enjoying my family and keeping food on the table. Not bad :-)

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