My method of organizing my life and goals by semesters might be on the verge of breaking down, but I can still review the goals I had for last semester (and it won’t stop me from making some goals for “next semester,” too). Anyway, I’ve done better, and I’ve done worse:
- Graduated. Rah.
- I didn’t quite manage perfect attendance, but I did make it to every Ling 106 lecture at least (even if Shannon claims I missed a lecture. Psh.).
- Titanium PowerBook G4, bought and on my lap as I type (though not entirely paid for…)
- Read: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Night Watch, and Cryptonomicon. After two semesters in a row with Lakoff, I’m going to have to defer on Moral Politics for awhile.
- Gamewise, I finished Metroid Fusion, and Kirby’s Nightmare in Dreamland. I’m about 2/3rds done with Super Mario Sunshine, still working on Golden Sun, half done with Yoshi’s Island, and have barely scratched the surface of Metroid Prime (in terms of where I am in the game, I have literally “barely scratched the surface”).
- Watched Cowboy Bebop in a few long sittings. Ow. Of course, that’s nothing compared to my brother, who watched all 26 episodes in one sitting overnight. Holy christ. Also watched most of the first two seasons of Ranma 1/2 again.
- The only feature I really added to Linkstew was the RSS feed — hopefully I’ll get around to the rest of it soon.
- Loose ends at work? Still loose.
- Still working on what I’ll be doing next fall. The options at this point seem to be finding a job here and staying in the bay area, moving to Seattle, or moving back to Bakersfield.
- I’ve only actually had a chance to go snowboarding once so far (thanks to drought of snow for awhile, then finals, then being in Bakersfield on vacation), but I’m going for two or three days this weekend, and from there I’ll only go more often.
So my review of the summer was late, but my goals for the fall are even later still. Hell, the fall semester is almost half over at this point. But I feel compelled to actually write up my goals for the fall, for completeness. Here goes.
- Graduate! Duh.
- Go to all of my classes in this, my last semester at Berkeley.
- Buy a new Titanium PowerBook G4, as soon as Apple releases an upgrade. The waiting is the hardest part.
- Book I want to read, in the order that I want to read them: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Pratchett’s new novel Night Watch, Cryptonomicon, Ender’s Game, and Moral Politics (though with Lakoff’s class this semester, I’m getting more than my fair dose of him). If I don’t get to all of them this semester, that’s still the queue and the order I plan to tackle it in.
- My game queue, which I certainly won’t get through all of this semester, but which I’ll list most of for completeness: Finish Super Mario Sunshine, finish Golden Sun, Metroid Prime, Metroid Fusion, Yoshi’s Island, Kingdom Hearts, Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, and Eternal Darkness.
- In addition to the TV shows I’ve been watching regularly (Buffy, Enterprise, Firefly, and Alias), I need to watch the Cowboy Bebop DVDs I’ve been borrowing for the last 9 months…
- I’ve got a list of features I want to add to Linkstew, which include an RSS feed, a recency bar (like the bar on the top of Fury, and “new to you” (also like fury). I’d also like to refine my categories, but that’s a really tedious job.
- I need to start tying up all of my loose ends at work, because I’ll be done there before I know it.
- Since I’ve figured out that I’m not going to grad school next fall (more on that later), I need to figure out where I’ll go and what I’ll do after Berkeley. I’ve got a few interesting options on the table, but I’m not ready to talk about them yet.
- And finally, go snowboarding as much as I can once Kirkwood opens. I’ve got my season pass… Do you?
Gah, I put this entry off back when I should have written it, because I was really busy with a combination of work and school and fun and games. And then I put it off longer and longer, and now I’ve forgotten a lot of the summer, and at this point all I can do is respond to my stated goals in the Summer 2002 Future post. So here it is:
- Whew, I read a lot in the first half of this summer, but I haven’t actually read anything since July 10th. It added up to something like 5000 pages in a little more than a month, but I forgot the exact number. Anyway, in no order, here are the books I read before July 10th: Microserfs, House of Leaves, Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, The Dark Side of the Sun, Smoke and Mirrors, Coraline, and, I’m very embarrassed to admit, five Star Wars novels that I got cheap used.
- As much as I read, though, I didn’t actually get around to reading Ender’s Game or Moral Politics: How Conservatives and Liberals Think like I wanted to.
- Game-wise, I only actually finished Jedi Outcast and ICO as planned, though I also played Pikmin. Everything else in my queue, including (most notably) Golden Sun and Eternal Darkness remain unplayed.
- In the second half of the summer, I ended up watching more TV in the evenings than I would have liked. In particular, I watched all of Babylon 5 on reruns, and seasons 1-4, 6 of Buffy. I also saw a few assorted episodes of season 5 Buffy, leaving the other 2/3 of season 5 for me to patiently watch on the painfully slow weekly rerun cycle. Stupid syndication.
- I don’t really know how to measure how successful I was at saying “hate” less, so I’m not not going to comment on it either way.
- I fixed what was broken with Linkstew.
- Uh, I didn’t study for the GRE, because I haven’t registered for it yet. And by that I mean I still haven’t done either. I should get on that.
- And overall, I think I was fairly less successful at work than I was hoping to be. In particular, LDAP kicked my ass.
This summer, I’m “merely” working one job. But I’ve got one new programmer starting a month for the next three months, which means that in addition to the onslaught of projects I’ve got to get done, I’ll also be constantly worrying about the new programmers and making sure that they’re up to speed and making progress on their projects. But, there’s no school to worry about, so when I go home at night, instead of worrying about homework, I’ll be able to do things I want to do. So, what do I want to get done this summer?
- Not only do I plan to do more reading this summer, but I’ve already read four books since I finished my last final a week ago. Anyway, books I plan to read this summer (including ones I’ve already read in the last week) include Microserfs, House of Leaves, Snow Crash, The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, Ender’s Game, Moral Politics: How Conservatives and Liberals Think by George Lakoff, and maybe the few non-Discworld Pratchett novels I just noticed that (for some reason) I have in my collection that I haven’t read yet.
- Games I hope to get around to playing, in the order I hope to play them: finish Jedi Outcast, finish ICO, finish Golden Sun, play Metal Gear Solid 2, finish Zelda Oracle of Ages, and play Eternal Darkness if time permits.
- Stop using the word “hate” so much. Whether I mean it, others don’t always know whether or not I mean it when I say “I hate you.”
- Fix whatever is wrong with Linkstew.
- Study for the GRE, which I’ll take in the fall. Register to take it, too.
- And a ton of projects to get done at work, besides.
My vacation plans:
- To Bakersfield/Isabella from June 7th through June 11th, and possibly longer, because I’ve got Jury Duty on the 10th. I figure I’ve gotten out of Jury Duty three times in the last two years, so I might as well stop by once to see what they want.
- To Isabella (mainly) from July 11th through July 15th, for jetskiing and other familial visiting.
- (maybe) To LA and Anaheim via Bakersfield from July 25th through July 29th for a couple of TMBG concerts. (Tentative plans)
And if I get all of that done, then it will have been a more than successful summer. And so far, I’m completely happy with the way the first week’s gone.
So as I expected, I was moderately busy having a life this semester, so a lot of what I had planned to do didn’t actually happen. But regardless, I feel like this semester was a success, and that’s what counts.
- I wanted to get two As and two Bs this semester, but I ended up taking Astronomy Pass/No Pass, making that goal impossible. I ended up with an A in CS162, a B+ in Linguistics, and a B- in Psychology, and that’ll do.
- I’ve done a lot of thinking about my plans for next year, and at the moment I’m planning on the fall of 2002 being my last semester at Berkeley, though I’ll stay in town through July of 2003. It’s vaguely possible that I might still decide to take a class or two in the spring, but that’s a $2000 decision. Beyond July of 2003 I can’t say with any certainty where I’ll be, because the answer depends on who accepts me for what after I apply to grad schools and apply for jobs next fall/spring.
- I decided that my time this summer would be better invested in doing just one job, so I applied to be a 61a or cs3 TA for the fall. Of course, that means I’m going to be trying to do approximately 139 things this fall, but in my head I’ll just imagine it’s the final boss fight of my Berkeley adventure.
- I’ve done some grad school research, and I have a vague idea of some programs I might want to apply to, but I still need to do much more research. One thing I realized this semester is that given the choice, I’m pretty certain that I’d rather do CogSci than CS.
- I feel much more organized than I did this time last semester. I’ve been mainly relying on keeping work notes in a notebook and the calendaring tool at work. I still could be doing a lot better, though.
- Ridiculously, the only reading I managed to do in my free time this semester was a book about Hawaiian Volcano Legends. I feel like such a failure. (later: Oh yeah, I completely forgot that I also read Neverwhere right at the beginning of the semester.) (later still: And oh yeah, I also read The Illustrated Man.)
- Not only did I not read, but the only video game playing I did all semester was getting 2/3rds of the way through Jedi Outcast. (later: Oh yeah, I forgot that I also played a lot of Escape Velocity Nova.)
- I haven’t made any final decisions, but I’ve been playing with the idea of using Moveable Type for that ever unmentionable third site… More as it develops.
- Not only did I not add any new features to the The Stew, but it’s gotten mysteriously slower in the meantime. Before I can even think about enhancing it, I need to make what’s already there more efficient and maintainable.
- My brother’s new computer is done, and once I finish playing Jedi Outcast, it’s all his. When I noticed just how seldom I used my desktop, I decided that it’d make sense for me to take all of my best parts and put them into one computer for him, leaving me with my faithful PowerBook.
- And finally, something that I did a lot of this semester that I neglected to put on my list back in January, was snowboarding. Whoosh. I wish it were December already.
This list is based partially on what I didn’t finish last semester, and partially on things that have come up in the mean time.
- I’m taking four classes, and I’d like to get As in at least two of them, and at least Bs in the rest of them.
- Apply for, and hopefully get accepted as a summer 61a TA.
- Plan for next year, and hopefully decide whether or I’ll take just one extra semester of classes or two.
- Do more grad school research.
- Organize my life, using some combination of the office tools (Corporate Time and “The Project Tool”) and my Palm Pilot and whatever else it takes. I can’t have a repeat of last semester on this front.
- Read House of Leaves, Snow Crash, Neverwhere, Ender’s Game, the fourth Harry Potter book (if it comes out in paper back, or I find someone to borrow it from), and anything else that crosses my path. I’ve got a hunch that I’ll be doing a lot more reading this semester…
- Games to play: ICO, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2, Devil May Cry, Pikmin, and finish Zelda Oracle of Seasons, Zelda Oracle of Ages, and Golden Sun. Haha, yeah right, like all of that will ever happen. I still need to at least play ICO, since I’m borrowing that. On the bright side, there aren’t many games coming out this semester that I’m particularly looking forward to. I also suspect I’ll be playing fewer games this semester than last, so thankfully there are no 50 hour RPGs on my list.
- Overhaul the third site, and play with my new ideas in The Stew.
- Finish building my brother’s computer.
So here’s the list I made before last semester started. Let’s see how I did.
- I didn’t read House of Leaves (because the person I was borrowing it from asked for it back before I got to it), but I did read The Last Hero, Ready, Okay!, Big Trouble, the first three Harry Potter books, and a few other books which are slipping my mind at the moment.
- Getting Bs in all of my classes counts as “stumbling through without failing” by my standards
- Gah, I still haven’t played Metal Gear Solid, let alone Metal Gear Solid 2… Though I think MGS and MGS2 are the very next items on my list. Didn’t get to Xenogears either, but Xenosaga is still a distance off.
- Games I did play included Final Fantasy X, Super Mario Advance, Mario Kart Advance, Advance Wars, Luigi’s Mansion, Rogue Leader, lots of Smash Brothers Melee, a fair amount of Wave Race Blue Storm, and a moderate amount of Super Monkey Ball.
- The release of the Gamecube didn’t disrupt things too much, though I could have been better prepared.
- Still no overhaul of that other site… sigh
- My desktop computer is a little more sensibly assembled now, though I still need to organize the remaining parts into that computer for my brother.
- I am now set to stay at Berkeley for at least one more semester, if not a whole extra year.
- My progress with finding a life outside of work ebbed and flowed, but in the end I’d say I’ve made progress.
- My room shelves are now much cleaner, thank you. And I even reorganized the placement of my bed and desk.
- I’ve got several new ideas for The Stew, but I’ve been busy and haven’t had a chance to implement anything.
Well, when I write out the list like that, last semester doesn’t look so bad. And yet, at the time, I felt like last semester was one of my worst ever. I suppose that’s just the past being colored by my present perspective…
This is pretty much a quick list off the top of my head, based on what I didn’t do this summer and what I know I want to do.
- Read House of Leaves, some Gaiman or another that I haven’t read, and Pratchett’s The Last Hero (assuming it gets released on schedule).
- Stumble through another semester without failing.
- Play Metal Gear Solid (I’m already half done with it) before Metal Gear Solid 2 comes out, play Xenogears before Xenosaga comes out, etc.
- Do my best to prepare for the release of the Gamecube on November 18th, by hopefully getting ahead in school before it’s too late.
- Actually overhaul that other site I work on.
- Actually consolidate my Desktop computers, and turn the remains into a PC for my brother.
- Meet with my advisor to make sure that I’ll be able to stay at Berkeley another year, and if I can’t stay an undergrad, make plans to take tests and apply to Grad School. Yes, this is as backwards as it sounds.
- Get a life outside of work.
- Dust the untouched corners of my apartment. Notably, the shelves in my room.
- Get new ideas for The Stew from CS 170 and 188, and possibly implement them.
Yeah, that’s more than I’ll be able to do, and I know it. I’m already performing triage in my head, and yes, the games are (well, not counting the Gamecube) are going to be the first to get the cut.
At the beginning of the summer, I laid out these goals. Let’s see how I met them:
- Yes, I finished Employees, and yes, we migrated everything to our new primary web server. Yahoo!
- Yes, I gave Linkstew a total overhaul.
- No, I didn’t do anything to that other site I work on. Boo. =(
- I finished Zelda 64, but I didn’t finish the other three games I planned to. Instead, I played a lot of Mario Party, flirted briefly with Star Wars Super Bombad Racing, played my Game Boy Advance and beat Castlevania: Circle of the Moon twice, and then played a lot of Gran Turismo 3 (review forthcoming).
- Not only did I read Science of Discworld, but I also read American Gods and the entire Sandman series. Reviews forthcoming.
- I didn’t really even think about doing anything to my desktop computers. They’re exactly as they were at the start of the summer.
- I gave my apartment a couple of pretty good cleanings, and threw away a lot of old junk as part of a bit of a purging.
- I got a TiVo, and actually ended up watching more Television than I really planned.
- And I really didn’t have much of a life at all outside of work and my roommate.
I finished another semester — my sixth at UC Berkeley. Now I’ve got another intermission before the final stretch of my undergraduate career. This summer, Here’s what I want to get done:
- For the love of god, Finish Employees (Work).
- Migrate everything to our new primary web server (Work).
- Clean up LinkStew’s code.
- Add features to that other site I work on. Notably, work on my user account scripts and incorporate them.
- Finish Zelda 64, Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, Zelda: Oracle of Ages, and Metal Gear Solid (1).
- Read Science of Discworld.
- Reduce my two Desktop PC’s into one, with best parts from each machine. Unfortunately, the remaining pieces aren’t going to be usable because there won’t be a working motherboard.
- Organize all of my stuff in my apartment. Haha yeah right, like that’ll ever happen… If I organize some subset of it, like all of my books, or my kitchen, I’ll be
Unfortunatley, I won’t be able to go to Anime Expo this summer, for the first time in four years. I have other obligations with work… Hey, it’ll save me a load of money, so it’ll be worth it. Now I just need to convince my co-workers that I don’t want to go to USENIX. I mean, I’d like to go, but I think my time could be better spent visiting Bakersfield and my money could be better
spent allocated to paying rent.
I’ll be working full time this summer, but I’ll also hopefully make it down to Bakersfield a couple of times to spend some time with my friends. It seems like an eternity since I’ve seen them. Of course, a lot’s happened since then… Deaths and midterms and finals and all that.
And in mid-July, I’ll have to finally figure out what classes I’ll be taking this fall. There are three classes I need to graduate, and two of them are only offered in the spring, leaving me three empty slots to fill for the fall. Unfortunately, if I wanted to take a reduced courseload, then I wouldn’t get to keep my scholarship, and since I’m getting actual money from my scholarship for the first time next fall, I’m not about to forfeit my scholarship. So I need 13 units… Well, I guess I could take Japanese 1b… it’s 5 units, and then I’d only need one other class. Too bad I forgot a lot of my Japanese. Ah, but this discussion is for later…
I’ve got two months before the excrement of August hit’s the air conditioning, and in those two months, I have only one commitment. Just work. No school, no second job, just work. This should be relaxing.
Back in January, I set some goals for things I’d like to get done during the semester. I’m just going to run down the list and report on how things went.
- I completed Chrono Cross, Vagrant Story, and Pokemon Silver, but I’m still plugging away on Zelda 64. In addition to those, though, I also finished Zone of Enders. My comments on all of those but one are still forthcoming.
- My attempts to reinstall my primary desktop was thwarted when my computer failed to boot off of my Debian CD-ROM, and since I couldn’t find a floppy to save my life, I gave up, since it still works.
- I own four computers. I went from having files scattered across all four of them to having files only on my Linux desktop and my Mac OS X laptop. I didn’t get very far with re-deploying my desktop machines, though, because I found out the hard way that the PS/2 ports on my Win2k machine no longer work. The machine doesn’t even have a booting operating system anymore.
- Instead of finishing Science of Discworld, I got distracted by Thief of Time.
- Well, I certainly worked on LinkStew this semester. The main thing I did was add old content, but I also created The Stew, where it’s possible to examine related entries. I also finally added the Image Galleries. The categories are working much better as well, now, and they’re much less visible. The code behind the site really needs to be overhauled now, though.
- I never even opened my php user account scripts in an editor, let alone thought about changing them…
- Same for the community game site.
- I caught up on one comic on the way to Tahoe, and since then I’ve been reading one other regularly… But online comics just don’t hold my attention these days. Thanks to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, I’ve been looking at the longer kind of comics again these days.
- Then, of course, there was this important point I neglected to work on…
One notable thing I did this semester that took time away from meeting other of my goals was reading Neil Gaiman’s entire Sandman collection… all 2000 pages of it. It’s an incredible set of stories about stories, and I’ll have more to say about it later as well… But it takes more than a few minutes to read.
Considering what else happened this semester, I’d say I fared reasonably on meeting my goals. If anything, I set too many goals, but when push came to shove (with one notable exception), I did the important things before I dealt with my moderately self-centered list of goals.
Gee willikers, a new millennium is well under way, and I’ve been caught with my pants down! So, I guess I should make some new Millennium resolutions. How about…
No, if I have a millennium to take care of them, then it’ll be too easy to procrastinate. Maybe I better stick to the tried and true Year Long variety. Nah, even those give me too much time to toy around.
Instead, let’s go with a smaller unit, but one which stands out in front of my eyes like a beacon: Semester Long Resolutions. And further, no silly resolutions, I’ll just make a list of things that I’d really like to get done this semester.
- Finish Chrono Cross, Vagrant Story, Zelda 64 and Pokemon Silver. Preferably in that order, but without a PlayStation, Zelda 64 is first on my list.
- Reinstall my primary desktop computer. It needs to be reinstalled because, though it works, it’s still Debian 2.0 upgraded to 2.1 upgraded to 2.2, with all the cruft that entails. I don’t know if I’ll stick with Debian or try out a BSD. I also need to evaluate how much I should attempt to converge my Win2k machine with this machine, and consider VMWare and upgraded pieces as a solution. Also consider a KVM switchbox.
- Clean up my files that are scattered across three linux machines, a solaris machine, a Mac OS 9 machine, a Mac OS X laptop, and a Windows 2000 machine. Damn that’s a mess. I need my own server located somewhere fast reletive to home (maybe at home… hahaha.. pardon the pun) that exports samba and appletalk, I think. That might be a lot to do in a semester, but maybe if I consolodated my desktops, I could use the parts for a server and put FreeBSD or somesuch on that for the experience. Hey, this is starting to sound like a plan.
- Read Science Of The Discworld.
- Hone LinkStew. This includes entering more old content, cleaning up the old content that already here, making the categories sane and useful, and maybe advertising it somewhere somehow.
- Revise my php user account scripts.
- Maybe work on that community oriented gaming site that I started years ago.
- Catch up on all those online comics I stopped reading 8 or 9 months ago. Why do I suspect a wget and a several hour drive to and from Tahoe is going to be my solution to this one?
Yeah, that’s a lot for a semester that also includes school, work and a life. Maybe if I just manage some of that I’ll be happy, then it’ll be summer. And I learned my lesson last summer and will not, under any circumstances, work two jobs again. Unless one of them is an internship, in which case, I won’t do much ResComp work anyway.