Content tagged Dad
Quick (but serious) pop quiz, Compare and contrast these two quotes. They may be my two favorites. Tell me what they make you think in terms of their different approach to the benefits and drawbacks of the advance of human knowledge. I think the dichotomy between them pretty neatly encapsulates my scattered thoughts and feelings about human progress.
Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. - Alfred North Whitehead
We are living now, not in the delicious intoxication induced by the early successes of science, but in a rather grisly morning-after, when it has become apparent that what triumphant science has done hitherto is to improve the means for achieving unimproved or actually deteriorated ends. - Aldous Huxley
I'm mostly enjoying my summer courses, particularly Data Structures. It's given me an excuse to relearn pointers and learn how to actually use gcc/g++ and makefiles. I'm still a long way from being any good or knowing what the hell I'm doing though. C'est la vie. The Sixteenth Edition of the Haskell Communities and Activities report is out, in PDF and HTML. I was mostly excited to see a progress report on the Glasgow Haskell Compiler which is some top notch technology if ever there was any. Just look at the stuff they're working on! I've been poking around the Computer Language Benchmarks game recently, too. Gotta love SBCL and GHC.
There are a few pieces of software I'm anticipating a release of. Here they are with links to the blockers for each: Firefox 3.5 because I live in it, Chromium's (Google Chrome) Linux Beta and Songbird which I don't really use but track with some interest. I'm also looking forward to a new Pitivi release (which should happen today, actually) and GHC 6.12 but that's months out still. Emacs 23 should also be fun because emacs releases are so punctuated but it's a pain to find a release schedule anywhere or even a list of blockers! GEEZ! Outside of software, I'm really looking forward to Peter Seibel's book Coders at Work which appears to be reaching it's endgame.
Speaking of Emacs I've been spending a bit more time in that incredible editor trying to become more proficient and found the Emacs-Fu blog to help immensely. There was also a guide to using the extension that ships with Mercurial that I found pretty helpful in getting off the ground quickly. I'll wrap this up by posting three songs I enjoyed listening to this morning.
|Max Richter - Horizon Variations|
|Found at skreemr.com|
|Andrew Bird - Anonanimal|
|Found at skreemr.com|
|School Of Seven Bells - Iamundernodisguise|
|Found at skreemr.com|
Thursday, May 21, 6 - 8pm:
Visitation at HM Patterson's (Spring Hill facility) Atlanta GA
Friday, Mary 22, 10am:
Funeral Service at All Saint's Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA
Friday, May 22, immediately following the service:
Graveside service at Arlington Cemetery (Sandy Springs)
Friday, May 22, immediately following Graveside service:
My aunt and uncle, Sandy and Spencer Wiedemann, have graciously offered to open their home to those who would like to gather.
Their address is 340 Cameron Ridge Dr, Atlanta, GA 30328.
I had just gotten on a train to Arts Center to get on a bus to school.
I know I'll have more to say about him later, I'm not sure I'll find much to say about his passing. It's pretty hard to analyze or make sense of. There are really only two places to approach it from, an objective and detached place that can't signify the importance of the event as it's just the course of life or an emotional, irrational place which can't grant it importance enough.
Last but certainly not least, Dad has moved into the dining room and is now getting around via a wheelchair. I don't get the impression that the cancer is beginning to win and he can walk a little but odds are good he'll never be back to full mobility. Pray for him if you can and if you're interested in tracking his progress Mom is keeping a journal here.
Just because I need it, here's some Sigur Ros:
|Sigur Ros - Svefn-G-Englar|
|Found at skreemr.com|
Today was not the easiest day. It wasn't terrible either. The news was decidedly mixed. And it's not about Dad though if you're wondering he's doing well. He's undergone chemo and lost most of his hair but he's generally upbeat and energetic.
Two things have been wearing on me today and the first is work-related. Since January 11th I've been working full time at TVS. The news was that I finally got the paperwork for my benefits package today. It's nice having benefits. Benefits are good. All the same, this meant I could start doing budgeting and working out my finances.
Finances are some scary shit. If I didn't know better I'd swear I'd die without a sizable chunk of money a year. For now I'm still staying with my parents until summer (at their behest more than mine) and I'll find a place to live then.
I really am making enough to be okay. It's just that there's not a lot on the margins. I don't want a whole bunch of stuff. I just don't want to worry about suddenly needing money for any reason.
Anyway, the other struggle has been that of the triangle. I'm getting behind on my schoolwork and hoping to catch up by/over the weekend. And I was pretty distressed because I spent like 4 hours obsessing over exercise 1.12 in SICP.
The problem is to write a procedure that computes the elements of Pascal's Triangle.
That shouldn't be a big deal, you know? But I obsessed over it. And now I've got a silly over-engineered solution that I'm more fond of than I should be. It's an interesting problem though. Hopefully I've learned something from it.
Mine still isn't quite working and I know there is a simpler way to do it. I cracked after a while and read about how one might solve it but I didn't peek at any code. Still, I'm stuck on doing it my way. I'm such a bastard. Anyway, it's coming together and I expect it'll be done by the end of the hour. It'll be in the week 2 recap for sure.
Long story short I realized what I've gotten myself into today. And it's still where I want to be. It's just that I think it's going to take more work and time than I might have been able to understand.
I'll be in Montana from the 2nd to the 11th, so I've got that coming up. I'll be in Bozeman if you're wondering. It'll be nice to get away for a bit...even if it is for a family reunion with people I haven't seen in a good while, my biological Dad's side of the family. For those who don't know, Mom divorced and the all too awesome feller suffering from Lung Cancer is (technically) my Step-Dad.
I need to draft up a schedule for the new year to figure out how I'm getting my studies done. And whose lectures and course materials I'll be following as I have a choice in some cases. More on that soon. There's also been a ton of great nerd discussion floating around the blogosphere of late, some of which I'll try to comment on in the next couple of days. In the meantime, here's a trivial nugget of thought.
I watched Lecture 1A of the classic MIT Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs series tonight and something struck me, mostly because Sussman brought the idea to the forefront with clarity at some point. He said something fairly fundamental that borders on self-evident when Computer Science is viewed introspectively but I hadn't formerly considered. In essence, Computer Science is about how to knowledge and process rather than declarative knowledge or fact. Thus, a programming languages job is to serve as a description of process and provide tools towards that end.
The part of this that I hadn't formerly considered is that this is why we bother, or even focus, on learning new programming languages and methods of abstraction rather than focusing on writing specific programs. Sure, many schools recommend a course in Compiler, Operating System, or Programming Language Design and there are plenty of blog posts detailing such undertakings in an effort to enhance skill and knowledge in the field but nothing is so popular or so emphasized as learning new languages. Regularly and of different paradigms and abstractions, if possible. There's something to think on in greater depth here about why that is that I haven't seen eloquently written about by Yegge, Graham, Braithwaite, Atwood, or anyone else. Perhaps if I can capture what it is, I'll write about it. In the meantime, it's just a thought.
Dad: Dad's starting on chemo, I believe, next weekend. What he has isn't curable but it's also impossible to state how long it will take to kill him. It could take as little as a year but it could take as much as a decade. As we know more I'll try to keep you all filled in and in all likelihood Mom, Dad, or both of them will set up a blog for the express purpose of keeping everyone up to date. I'll post here when that happens.
School: I've got one more exam next Monday which I was supposed to take this Tuesday at noon but for some reason thought was on Wednesday. After that I'm done with school for a year. I've been self-educating with lots of nerd (math + programming) stuff lately and will be doing much more in the year to come after relaxing a bit over Xmas break. My amazon.com wishlist made in my Xmas list post a week or two back is, in essence, my syllabus. I'll be posting notes, discoveries, and more here as I go.
Work: Two big things have happened on the work front. One, the Joomla-based intranet that I've been working on for the past two months or so went live today. It's in production and 300 people are using it. That's pretty cool. I built that. Two, I spotted a 2008 Help Desk schedule that has me working from January 11th through the end of 2008. I haven't been officially told that I'm hired but if I'm not they need to revise their schedule. I'm sure more details are forthcoming. :-)
That's it for now. Have any thoughts on that? What have you been up to?
Note: Nerd articles and rants to return soon.
I can say this: I don't have any regrets about not knowing him or spending time with him. It's been 16 or so awesome years. Hopefully there will be many more but I wouldn't change a thing about what's come so far. And that's one thing I can be very, very happy about.
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