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[icon] Alex R.
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Subject:migrated!
Time:12:22 am
Hi! I've moved over to dreamwidth. I think you probably should too, at this point.

http://alexr-rwx.dreamwidth.org/
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Subject:maybe too real too fast
Time:10:49 pm
I got an email from a student at IU, recently. I'd met him briefly while I was at Indiana; he'd just started his PhD, but then we moved out to California. He'd been turned down from a Google internship, and wanted to know if I could see his interview feedback to help him figure out what went wrong in the interview.

I can't see his interview feedback. But I *can* harsh on him unnecessarily about IU and professors there and dying academic labs, such as the one that I came from and the one in which I suspect he's currently toiling away the best years of his life...

Here's what I wrote. I think these questions should be posed to early-stage grad students at middling state universities, broadly.

Hey $NAME,

Even if I'd referred you, I still couldn't see the interview feedback! It's really super secret.

Oh man, time flies. Your fourth year already!

How's it going with $PROFESSOR? His lab didn't seem all that active when I was around, but maybe things are picking up?

Really sorry -- this is about to get more real than you might have expected. I don't really know your situation or what your current research interests are like, but in retrospect I think I probably should have switched advisors to somebody with a healthier lab, back in my 3rd or 4th year. I should have asked myself "OK, is $MYADVISOR teaching you things? Are his other students graduating in a reasonable time? Are they publishing in good venues? Do they work together and hang out? Is he teaching you how to be an academic in the current environment? Is he paying you to do research that will help you graduate? ..."

... and at least when I was around, $MYADVISOR's group didn't have good answers for any of those questions. In fact, nobody in computational linguistics or in knowledge-based AI had good answers for any of those. $MYADVISOR's students seemed like they were getting strung along for years, never publishing in any good venues and then never graduating. They just burned out eventually and faded away. $MYADVISOR never had any grants to pay me, and he never seemed to try very hard to get grants to pay me. I put up with it at the time, because I'm apparently not very smart, but you'll note that I still haven't graduated.

So I hope the situation's improved with $PROFESSOR -- maybe he's publishing a lot and you're on those papers! But you seem to be doing a lot of
TAing. You should ask yourself if this situation is OK, and if it's going to help you get where you want to go.

There *are* labs at IU where they're doing good work, getting money, publishing all over the place. Fil Menczer's group, who I worked for briefly, because I needed to get paid and $MYADVISOR had no money, seemed/seems like one of the healthiest and happiest at IU. I'm sure there are other good ones.

Ha, yeaaahhhh. That was pretty real.

On a more cheerful note, hooray for your upcoming wedding :D Best wishes!


Cross-posted from [personal profile] alexr_rwx

Original post here: http://alexr-rwx.dreamwidth.org/6262.html
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Subject:one upside
Time:11:37 pm
... is that now we've got some pretty good moral clarity going. We know what we have to do.

I think we got this. I think we're not doomed. Not because this isn't a bad situation, but because we're realizing how bad it is and we can take corrective actions.

I love all of you <3

The world has changed quite a lot, and in many ways I think for the better. We don't have to go back -- we can push things forward!

Take care of yourselves! Talk to me; I'd appreciate it <3

Cross-posted from [personal profile] alexr_rwx

Original post here: http://alexr-rwx.dreamwidth.org/5973.html
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Subject:thirty-four
Time:09:58 pm
Birthday! :D

I got so many really nice wishes, including from lots of friends I don't hear from all that often. <3 for everybody.

My mom came to visit! She and Anthony are here for about a week, so that's great.

I spent a lot of the day kind of freaking out at work, though, and I got some kind of ill that I don't really understand. Maybe stress-related, or maybe I ate something wrong.

I've been in a little bit of a freakout mode for kind of a while, and I need to take better care of myself. But I'm working on it.

This year, I wanna be healthy, in all the various ways that a person might be healthy. Work in progress.

(since last time I wrote, Lindsey and I did the ICFP Contest again! code here: https://github.com/lkuper/icfp2016 )

(also I cycled up to the city with my coworkers, two weekends ago. because we're beastly \m/ )

Cross-posted from [personal profile] alexr_rwx

Original post here: http://alexr-rwx.dreamwidth.org/5462.html
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Subject:a different competition
Time:09:35 pm
Evening run along Evelyn, Sunnyvale/Mountain View area. I stop at a light, because, y'know, Law-Abiding Citizen. There's a couple on big, comfortable cruiser bicycles.

He says to her, "oh, see if you can catch that guy!"

I grin. My inner engine revs. There is absolutely nothing better than outrunning a cyclist.

I glance over. They're looking at their phones.

Oh.

Cross-posted from [personal profile] alexr_rwx

Original post here: http://alexr-rwx.dreamwidth.org/5132.html
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Subject:take care! (taking care of myself)
Time:10:10 pm
Some things that help me feel a lot better:

- Playing Rock Band, both on my own and with Lindsey! Leveling up at drumming. I used to do a lot of this, but we fell off for some reason...

- I'd better git gud at drumming, because I seem to have gotten volunteered to play drums for the not-church band...

We've been going to Sunday Assembly, this thing that's basically church, but secular. Not, like, explicitly atheist, but pretty much church-for-atheists. Not sure if you knew this about me, but I used to really enjoy church; I *like* getting together with people to sing songs and hear an interesting talk. It's just that I figured out I didn't believe in god, y'know? But I used to be really involved with church, back when I believed; some of my best high school memories were running sound and occasionally drumming or playing horns for the band at rock 'n' roll church. Mom was in the band; they were *great*. Like legitimately really great music.

Anyway, we've been going to this Not Church for a year or so, and the music has been gradually improving with the Not Church rock 'n' roll band. But the current drummer is moving out of the country, and nobody else stepped up, so Lindsey seems to have volunteered me...

- We've been doing some yoga. This is *really* good for me, and it's good to have a thing we can do together. And I'm easing back into running.

I've been a little bit hurt; my tendons haven't been in great shape. I've been slightly injured off and on for a while now. Gotta run gently and gradually ramp up, so it's sustainable.

... so this is all things that I've done, at one time or another, but haven't been doing recently.

Important to remind myself: these are things that are good for me. Invest in doing them.

Cross-posted from [personal profile] alexr_rwx

Original post here: http://alexr-rwx.dreamwidth.org/5049.html
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Time:12:41 am
Maaaan. Everything seems dumb and hopeless recently.

I need to get some *wins* somewhere. I need to take better care of myself. I feel lonely a lot, and like I'm not making progress on anything useful.

It's not totally obvious what I've got to *contribute*, either.

...

I did have a really nice visit with my dad recently, over the 4th weekend. We cycled from the house to Google and looked around and ate lunch. We visited with his siblings, who were visiting to see our relatives who live up in wine country. (their uncle and aunt; he's my grandmother's little brother) ... it was nice to see the family.

...

I need to feel like I'm making progress. I feel like I'm kind of spinning my wheels, and I get freaked out about living and working here, often.

The Bay Area makes me freak the hell out. I feel terrible about it, but I often can't make myself go up to the city. SF is really stressful, getting to SF is really stressful, *being* in SF is really stressful, being invited to things and then laming out is really stressful. It's dumb as hell and I hate this about myself. I should just person up and fuckin' go to the city. (nb: I am more than happy to go to the city if it's to see your artistic performance or whatever, or for your party, if you're important to me.)

... I wish I didn't have to live here. The whole situation seems immoral; there's no water here, there are eight zillion people who want to live here, traffic is ludicrous, the public transit is mediocre. At least in the South Bay it's not like I took somebody's rent-controlled apartment, and I can usually ride my bike to get around.

Also Martin has, just today, gotten on a plane to Spain. Lauryn will leave soon too :-\

... I miss everybody.

... I started reading SuperBetter recently; I should get back into that. I think it was pretty helpful.

Cross-posted from [personal profile] alexr_rwx

Original post here: http://alexr-rwx.dreamwidth.org/4859.html
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Time:12:02 am
I haven't been super emotionally healthy, recently, but I'm working on it.

I had a pretty bad bout of feeling *awful* last week, especially while Lindsey was out of town. Everything felt hopeless, I felt like I couldn't get anything done that I cared about. I felt dumb and annoying, and I was furious that anybody was anywhere near me, or saying words, or making other sounds. Something like misophonia, to the extent that that's a thing. And I was embarrassed about like my entire existence.

:-(

Part of it was that I was really frustrated about work, felt like I wasn't making any progress or learning things fast enough, frustrated about my PhD, frustrated about not running much recently (my connective tissue's been acting up a bit recently, so I haven't been running)...

I need to take better care of myself. These are all fixable things; I could stretch better and do more strength training. I need to spend more time on my PhD so it doesn't seem so intractable and eventually gets done. I could find somewhere more quiet to work in the office. You only get one you.

Cross-posted from [personal profile] alexr_rwx

Original post here: http://alexr-rwx.dreamwidth.org/4397.html
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Subject:some contrasts
Time:10:26 pm
Today, my sister had her second child, Fiona Renee! She came a little bit early, just a couple of weeks. Apparently mother and daughter are doing well. I've got a great picture of her first daughter, Penelope, looking at Fiona. Socute :3

Meanwhile, I was up in Sacramento, playing some video games at a comic convention. Hrm.

Cross-posted from [personal profile] alexr_rwx

Original post here: http://alexr-rwx.dreamwidth.org/4217.html
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Subject:really beautiful day
Time:12:31 am
Some days, maaaaan.

Some days, it's Take Your Children To Work Day, and they need *somebody* to be the big green Android mascot and dance around and play with the kids and do silly things for photo ops. THIS JOB. THIS JOB MAKES USE OF BASICALLY EVERYTHING I'VE EVER LEARNED TO DO; HOW DID THIS HAPPEN.

Some days, you're working on software that meaningfully impacts millions of people's lives, and you're doing a thing that involves writing a bunch of code but it might make things dramatically better (and at the very least it's causing a nice refactoring).

Some days, at the end of the work day you get to hang out with a bunch of people from your company who *love* playing fighting games, and you strike up super-interesting conversations with a guy who helped develop Skullgirls and knows about a zillion different fairly esoteric games, and shares your love for the weird back-catalog of gaming and wants to help bring less-common games to the meetup. And you find out that the new guy at the meetup this week is also a Tekken enthusiast, and you play a long mirror-match set. (his name is Mo and he's got a pretty mean Jun!)

Tomorrow: off to Seattle to visit with Lisa and JD, then fight at Northwest Majors! \m/

Cross-posted from [personal profile] alexr_rwx

Original post here: http://alexr-rwx.dreamwidth.org/4071.html
comments: Leave a comment

[icon] Alex R.
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