It's been pretty hard to maintain a positive spirit and spin on things lately. Times are hard economically, my financial margins are narrow to non-existent and new jobs are hard to find. I've also been trying to contact some people at Northeastern to look into going to school there (mostly because it's so hard to find the time\energy for self-study at present) but the trail dead-ended. I've been unable to reach Olin Shivers (who seems pretty awesome [best acknowledgments ever], incidentally) so that's all inconclusive. Really, I'm looking to see how much work it would be to get accepted. I'm fairly enamored with their program and faculty and for one reason or another Boston sounds lovely.
I'm still hacking at SICP when I have the energy/time but it's been really hard lately. I believe that I'm on the right path because knowing more about programming is something I have wanted for a long time but it's hard to stay the course or to stay emotionally charged up about the course. Part of that is because, as the Emerging Philosophy posts suggest, the problems I'm really interested in solving are not Computer Science problems. They're social problems. The oft-heard first project suggestion for hackers to "scratch an itch" or "fill a need" falls flat for me. The computer does everything I want it to do. I'm not looking for it to do more.
I am making progress with SICP, I'm just behind schedule. I'm hung up on the last 4 problems (2.13-2.16) in Chapter 2.1 but I recently started plowing ahead on Chapter 2.2 to get some momentum again and am about a third of the way through it. If anyone has advice or feels like working through them with me feel free to contact me via blog, IM, e-mail, etc.