May 30, 2013
And so, time passed. Birthday was somewhat underwhelming, but so it goes. 46 isn't one of the biggies. The main event presentwise was just a promissory note, of a somewhat alarming kind; I may or may not say more about that if it ever actualises.
In the meantime, I have bought myself a guitar, of all things. It's a Yamaha Pacifica 112V in natural wood satin, paired with a THR10 amp; purists might sniff, but it really is a thing of beauty. I will probably never be able to do much more than wring a few tortured notes out of it, but as midlife crisis purchases go it's at least less likely to result in serious injury or death than that other fortysomething perennial, the motorbike. In any case, I'd like to make clear that there is no crisis. All manner of things are well.
Even work is looking fine at the moment. My CoMPLEX fellowship comes to an end in a month or so, but seems likely to finish on an upswing, with (gasp!) something actually having been achieved; the inevitable mopping up interlude will follow, to shepherd said something into print, which may or may not manage to happily coexist with whatever career move follows. There's a prospect for that as well, which hearkens back to the start of my PhD. More as and when. (Of course, even this passing mention will have jinxed it, so...)
Behind me as I type this, there are men planting up the balcony with junglage. This follows weeks of carpentry to make homes for the plants. It's an in-progress shambles right now, but already looking very pretty. (Let's hope everyone else in the building doesn't make us take it down again.) Pictures will follow, probably.
And now, as the seven dwarfs might have it: Hi Ho!
May 17, 2013
May 1, 2013
Just as a general note to self: there is pretty much no point at all in asking the internet for help with actually difficult questions. There are plenty of sites where it is possible to do so, and some are really very good, for what they're good for. But the strength of Stack Overflow and its assorted less famous brethren is in providing a venue for asking questions to which many people know the answer. It's not quite "the wisdom of crowds" -- we all know crowds are almost definitively unwise -- but it is at least a kind of commonisation of knowledge, as those who know a little pass it on to those who know less. There is an underlying economy of scale, having so many possible donors that some of them will usually deign to answer your lowly question in return for a few reputation tokens.
When it comes to things that very few people understand, however, the system falls down. Even if those people were willing to help -- and they often are -- the odds of them encountering your question at the right moment, out there on the storm-toss'd waves of cyberspace, are minuscule. You're basically on your own with the literature. So face it and knuckle down.
Occasionally I forget this, but it only leads to wasting time.
I guess we could say this is why universities exist. Well, one of the reasons. Not that they're exactly perfect when it comes to the free flow of wisdom, but there is some benefit to having lots of smart people stationed together and at least theoretically within reach.