Monday, March 06, 2017

Mostly Up, Some Down

This week has been a rollercoaster ride emotionally with school. I just finished the 4th project of 8 for my computer vision course, all about calibrated and un-calibrated stereo vision matrices. Fun stuff. I also got back a terrible grade from the other class, pretty sure that I have to get straight A’s the rest of the semester to get a B. I feel responsible, and between the problem of too many people in the class and the course instructor shooting down my plea to grade the part that we forgot, I almost quit.

I really need to talk to people about if this whole master’s is worth it for my career. Or would I be better off writing and living more?

I have been writing, not as much as I should nor in a great place (read: procrastination.) I have been working on the novel that I wrote 50k words for NaNoWriMo in 2015, mostly going through my wife’s comments and trying to make it read a bit better. The nice thing about waiting so long is that I can really have a critical eye. Nothing is spared. It feels far enough separated that I can be a bit ruthless with the story and the editing.

However, I read somewhere yesterday that a self-supporting, self-publishing author is writing and releasing a book a month. Craziness. I recently read a self-published book that had potential but it mostly felt awkward, and I am pretty sure that it took far longer. But I did pay for it, so I guess… I would like to write enough that I am able to actually release books, although I really want to release quality only. Probably means I will need to hire a real editor for a final pass on the NaNoWriMo book, which looks like it is pretty expensive.

At the moment this writing thing is a side-quest, mostly just to distract me, something like writing this blog. I practice, probably less than I should as with everything, and then I spend money to lose money. Just like writing this blog. Everything is vanity, dust blowing in the wind.

A few months ago I made sure to filter my analytics a bit better to take out the fake traffic, 333 two months before, 33 two months after. It is pretty bad. I think my main problem is that I don’t even have a small audience, and on top of that I am really bad at publishing posts on a regular basis. I do have another Phyton episode, but I am also rethinking how that is going to go.

To segue: working for the Lab of Ornithology is still really awesome. It has its issues, and I still have quite a bit to learn, but it is awesome how much people like birds. I will try to write a bit on the travails of learning Solr.

Even more awesome is how much my wife is into birding as well. We went down to the park by the lake this morning just to walk around and bird. In 25 degree, 40 mph winds. It’s not just that she loves me, which I definitely don’t discount, but that she is as interested in birding as I am. That make three activities that we can share, birding, fencing, and archery. There are actually more like hiking and more, but I just think it is awesome that my best friend is my wife and we can go out and do things together.

In many other ways we differ: I do not like seeing movies more than once in a rather long period of time. Same goes for TV shows. Is it my need for new things? Maybe, though I have started to read a few books that I have read before as I try to see how some of my favorite authors write, not just reading for the story. I digress.

Back to birds, it is so weird to be so interested in counting birds. There is something to be said for this obsession though, something about how different birds are. Not just from us, but from one another. Think about how many different mammals you see. For me in the last month: Coyote, Deer, Fox (or was that the month before), dead skunk, a martin perhaps, and stray cats. Six species, nothing particularly special. Compare that to March 1st of this year, just one day and less than an hour of birding: 21 species. If I add March 2nd I think I will be up to nearly 30 species. The diversity is huge, just go take a look at the bird photo search at And they are everywhere, maybe not in great numbers or sometimes very mono-species, but there is a good chance of seeing at least one bird soon.

Of course we also signed up for a Field Ornithology Course. When I am crazy and can’t get my homework done in a timely manner, what’s better than adding yet another obligation? Hopefully I live to write about it all.

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