Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Need A Dictation Machine

I keep planning on writing things down, truly expressing my thoughts in a rage of invective. And then I fall asleep or get done driving and when I actually approach pen and paper or keyboard and blog, I'll be damned if I can't put the thoughts together with the same vim and vigor. Which is why I need a dictation machine. It would certainly make this blog more interesting. And hopefully my own life more memorable. I mean, I'd certainly live more extreme if I knew I was going to have running commentary on everything I did. Hmm... How much does it cost to turn your own life into a reality TV show? Of course that doesn't necessarily have your own commentary running over it. Anyways, first step: dictation machine. Here's hoping on Santa Claus.

Thoughts On The New Year

I've got two main, and somewhat conflicting desires towards for the New Year, and the future in general. Be warned this next bit is mainly me psychoanalyzing myself.

Firstly, well, I'd like to be more successful. To be interested in what I'm doing and good at it. For a good share of my life that's generally been the default, but since coming to college I've gotten a bit off track there. I'm nearly (hopefully) graduated from Stanford and setting myself up to be a software engineer for the immediate future. I'm not sure I'm completely happy with this. Since coming to Stanford, well, I haven't programmed anything for fun like I did in high school. I'm not sure why that is, but it's certainly not a good sign considering I'm setting myself up to spend the next few years programming 40+ hours a week. Coding is something I've stopped being interested in for its own right, and just something I'm doing to get somewhere, and that doesn't make for a happy career.

Now, of course, I never expected to want to spend most of my life being a code monkey, but I didn't quite expect this. I know a lot of people at Stanford who enjoy working with code a lot more than I do, and quite frankly are better at than I am. And I don't like that. I don't want to set myself up for something I'm only passable in and have to force myself to do.

To be fair, I've always wanted to move beyond the programming and work at higher level stuff Of course, I have to master the lower level mechanics and put in that hard work, but I still feel off track. After the years at Stanford, well, there's not that much foundation level that I really get into anymore. Software, math, econ etc. What am I left with? A couple of sociology and philosophy classes?

I'm trying to figure out why this is. It could still be getting used to competing at the level I'm required to with the Stanford folk, that things just aren't that easy anymore. A fair bit of it could be the stress brought on by that. Then there's the chance that a good share of what's going through my head at the moment is mild depression related stuff. Of course I've already been diagnosed with that once and am a good bit better off than I was then. But beyond that, still need to find some project or goal for that drive bit. And then maybe the additional bits of better caring for the house, getting out of Palo Alto more often and not sleeping all day will come along.

Which brings me to the other half of my New Year's goals, that I should chill out and worry less. As my friends keep telling me, chill the fuck out. An example of me worrying excessively about something is the first half of this post. Also relating to the first half of the post are the mild depressive symptoms such as worrying about the world to the point of sleeping to avoid it, avoiding my email, etc. A lot of my friends say they don't imagine me stressing that much, but there's a lot I'd like to get rid of. Hmm... not near as much to write on this topic, I suppose it's fairly self-explanatory.

Well, there we go making some progress to having more concrete New Year's resolutions.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Err... Yes, It's Been Awhile

Finished with what is hopefully my final fall quarter at Stanford, I figured I'd return to writing some stuff.

Sadly, the hope that after working for a year and a half I would return to school with the discipline to sit down and work eight hours every day on my homework was a bit misplaced. I quickly returned to the old time stand-byes of violently oscillating sleep schedules, periods of binging of work followed by avoiding it and the like. This led to me crashing one class, getting a bit burnt out and having a few of those depression symptoms I thought I'd largely shaken. You'd think I'd learn to avoid that. Ah, well. Life continues. Now on vacation and trying to clean up after that. We'll see if I can avoid/postpone future problems of a similar sort through New Years resolutions. Ah, and goodbye to Kira, a girl who added a lot to the keeping me sane.

In the background of all that, of course, watching the interesting times we've been living in. Quite happy with Obama winning, though somewhat miffed at some of his cabinet appointments. Hopefully his going somewhat moderate is more a sign of his 'ruthless pragmatism' than a sign of the direction his presidency will go, but we'll see. Though with my political views, I suppose I'll never be perfectly happy with a President in America. I keep hoping for another Sixties style sea-change in American political culture. On the other hand, I wasn't alive in the Sixties and really have no experience what that was like. And I'd like to avoid the riots and assassinations.

Adding to that possibility of sea-change and interesting times is the economic collapse that's been going on. We'll see how that affects my ability to get a job in the next, but fortunately it doesn't look like the software industry will be too badly hit. Of course, I'm still not really sure what I want to be doing for money, but software engineering is certainly the default option. Good luck to my friends with English majors and the like. Anyways, with the world being overturned I'm generally in favor. The world needs a shake up. I'd like to avoid protectionism and agricultural subsidies and worse, but we'll see.

But all in all, that's the world I'm facing as I try to get out of college and move onto the next stage. Going to have to throw myself into the unknown sooner or later.