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April 29th, 2002


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09:06 pm - Ah, there's the rub
Its the last week of classes.

It looks pretty certain I'll be working for seth. Uncertain is for how long, and on what. Long enough, and I want to be useful is all the commitments I've made. Because at this point, all I know is that I really would like to be useful and to be doing something of value.



I apologize to those few who actually care what's going on in my life. Its all in my head, see, and very little of the next few months is uncertain anymore. And its not that if I commit it to paper it won't happen -- far worse. It is that while everything is in my head I may be optimistic. I may be in denial. Once reported, it may as well be true, and there are certainly a good number of things that I am in denial about. I can't count them, obviously. I just don't want to see the truth and risk "is that it"?

It is hard to be a tortured artist when everything goes pretty well. It is hard to construct useful political commentary when the existing system works. And so one must become frustrated with one's lack of frustration. In a closed feedback loop can madness truly becomes trivial, as all things become trivial.

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:effjay
Date:April 30th, 2002 07:06 am (UTC)
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Final exam today. Wish me luck.
[User Picture]
From:daemonv
Date:April 30th, 2002 05:15 pm (UTC)
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The gods of Examination shine eternal upon the blessed sheep and those who worry them.
[User Picture]
From:effjay
Date:April 30th, 2002 08:35 pm (UTC)
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The gods say, "Baaaaah!"
From:maryneedssleep
Date:April 30th, 2002 10:05 am (UTC)
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Working for Seth will almost definitely be valuable, to you and to science... and you have plenty of uncertainty following that.

I felt like my 5 years at CMU were coming to an awfully anticlimactic close, but I keep thinking of what you told me:
Buckminster Fuller did nothing of consequence before age 35, a person's first couple jobs are mostly irrelevant, there's a great deal more time to become useful... made me feel better anyway. :-)

Or am I missing your point?
[User Picture]
From:daemonv
Date:April 30th, 2002 05:21 pm (UTC)
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I'm not concerned with the impact to science, or my career. Not completely. But it feels good to accomplish things, and the easiest route to that is to accomplish specific things for other people -- because its hard to appropriately appreciate yourself and your own accomplishments. But yes, RBF does serve as a valuable model.

No. The point had little to do with those uncertainties. I've surrounded myself with sufficient paranoias and parachuttes that I was never concerned about day-to-day survival.

The uncertainties are those that, for example, block me from committing to car or dog, because both cause longterm restrictions -- they generally increase the costs of saying fuck it. And other, more personal impacts of my decision to stay in Pittsburgh. You are likely facing a very similar situation.
From:ex_trurl
Date:April 30th, 2002 04:40 pm (UTC)
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In the short term working for Seth is probably a very good deal, assuming he pays you anything like he paid me.

In the long term it is unclear how much sense it makes. Working for Seth would potentially be a way to sneak into a doctoral program. Your continued employment by Seth is solely based upon his ability to provide funding, so it is possible that the project will fold at some point and you will find yourself unemployed. Seth however seems fairly capable in seeking out funding. Still, while it may be a good job, I do not think there is much room for advancement. I would talk with him about where you see yourself going with this.

See. I told you that you were in denial.
[User Picture]
From:daemonv
Date:April 30th, 2002 05:29 pm (UTC)

Short term

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As I told lange today -- if I'm still staff with seth in three years, I want him to wander out of Mellon and kick my ass. This move is definately short term.

I may be on a fast track to an interesting degree (ie, maybe as short as 24 units). If that's true, that may encourage me to remain at CMU for a bit. And yes, if I can sneak into a doctoral program... well, as we are well aware, I'll need all the help I can get.

But no. I don't know what or where, but this is not a lifer situation. I've basically agreed to commit to the life of a project -- unspecified -- because I wasn't sure whether I was interested in a summer or 12 months. The implication is that I will probably go find a 12 month lease, because that will make me feel better. But I'm not buying a house yet.

And yes. You told me so. Bucy has been telling me I've been in denial for months as well. It is more complicated than all that, but I don't really want to get into it. As always, it was not as clear as it may seem.
From:ex_trurl
Date:April 30th, 2002 07:42 pm (UTC)

Re: Short term

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Shouldn't Donovan be saying something similar? I mean Dave is cool, but is that really want he wants for his career?

But do you really want a masters degree in computational biology? Where do you see yourself going with it?

Yes, I am well aware of how complicated life can be. Take our discussion last night. Or maybe that just shows how stupid *I* can be.
[User Picture]
From:daemonv
Date:April 30th, 2002 07:55 pm (UTC)

Re: Short term

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Donovan's response was that the implications of my statement (that he'd still be here in 3 years) had merited an ass kicking now. Fortunately, he was hungry and we were waiting for crack at the truck, and once he had his fix he was more concerned with showing off the new gimp 1.3 screenshots and the latest anime stuff he's been getting.

I dunno. It certainly might help get a {bio|chem}informatics job. As I understand the page - and I have yet to talk to murphy and see how much he still likes me - the units required would be classes I'd be interested in anyway. Its more diverse resume fodder - a PhD in CS does not completely eclipse it. I think this may be the century of bio, like they keep saying. And there may be some interesting problems of the sort I like...

And yes, you have had glimpses of how crazy it can be. It is even weirder when your naive and romantic notions are finally worn thing and backfire.
From:ex_trurl
Date:April 30th, 2002 08:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Short term

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Heh. Yeah, it sounds like I will be hitting the trucks in Philly. So how does GIMP 1.3 look anyway? Will it finally be realistic to consider it in comparison to Photoshop? Anyway, if Donovan is happy with where he is at now, I guess there is something to be said for it. Still one should not lose sight of the future.



Yes, I often wonder whether I would have been better off sticking to biology, because it is going to be much bigger than computing soon. Penn has bioinformatics courses, so maybe I should look into that.



Sometimes I wonder whether it would be worthwhile to have a drug to turn off all those irrational thoughts. But it is what makes us human, rather than automata. Of course that raises the question of whether we should really want to be human. Until then, following our hearts seems reasonable.

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