Go with a smile!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Another year is almost over. This has been an interesting year. I had called 2008 the end of long roads, and 2009 a new beginning. This year? In some ways it’s special, and in other ways it’s ordinary.

Computer Science

I was always going to do grad school. When I graduated, around that time I had a dream. I dreamt that I was starting school again the next year. I supposed that I always saw myself in grad school.

This is a year that’s crucial to my plans. Somewhere in the middle of 2008, I decided that I was going to do grad school. Sometimes I’m wondering why I didn’t do all these things one year ago. I’m guessing that I was giving myself a lot of time to study. Maybe I really needed all that time to study computer science. Or maybe I didn’t. I don’t know. Now that I’ve learnt all the stuff I learnt, I’m wondering if I took too much time. I’m also wondering – spending 1.5 years to do a marathon – if that was too much time.

I'm also thinking about whether I spent too much time on computer science because I think maybe I should have done more coding as well.

The main thing was the computer science subject GRE. That basically asks you a lot of stuff that you may or may not know if you have a computer science bachelor. What I know is maybe 1/3 of that. There was a lot of trotting around with heavy books on weekends, spending 2 hrs going through shit boring stuff. I put up with that for a long time.

Well, going through the marathon was another one of those experiences – you just kept on going, you didn’t know how much was enough. And when you come to the end, you know.

Some people I knew were trying to get back into PhD programs. Some succeeded, some didn’t. I’ll start a master’s first, and if I like it, a PhD will be next. This is what people who have done PhDs (some of whom distinctly underwhelmed by the experience) have told me.

There was a lot of thinking about what college really means. Thinking about what an IT career really means. What a research career really means. Some talking to people. Some reading about other peoples’ experiences of postgrad life. Some reading up on the subject matter of the intended field of study. Maybe not enough reading up on real papers? A lot of twisting your hands and wondering if people are going to write letters. Wondering whether exams are going to turn out alright.

As of now, I’ve been accepted into 1 school. The applications for 4 other schools are already ready to submit. I’m 90% there. By March I will know about the results.


Things came to a head this year. I’m sorry to say that I should have been more attentive to her. All those afternoons that I spent studying / reading instead of being there for her – I could have spent some of that time trying to get her fit. Not one of my prouder moments.

She was in and out of the hospital a few times. If she had been keeping herself fit, this would most likely not have happened. As it were, she’s rotting away. This is not entirely my fault, because I’m only her grandson, and there is another generation between her and me.

It was very depressing at one point. Only 6 years ago, she was still doing housework. Only 3 years ago, she was reasonably OK, just a little unsteady on her feet. This year, it was scary to watch her eat, knowing that some of it would inevitably be thrown back up. There was the constant pain and discomfort. But thankfully things are much better this year.

It’s very ugly when people criticise their parents. I see people slag off their parents on Facebook, even when they’re living under the same roof as them. It’s not pretty. But I’m sure that their parents deserve it. Well at least I believe that most of the time there is truth to the complaints.

Still, one good thing this year is that I’m winding down the war I’ve had with my mother for way too long. What originally started with my intention to kick her in the ass so that she can wake up her idea has tragically spun out of control. Now we are moving towards normalcy.

I started this year thinking that maybe I would play in a band as a hobby. Turns out that the outlay in time would be tremendous. At one point, I was thinking, I have a schedule for my computer science stuff, but not for my music. I couldn’t let the music sidetrack my computer science stuff.

On the other hand, I went back to cash converters. I bought bagfuls of CDs. I hadn’t bought CDs for such a long time. There was so much to discover, that I had missed out on. There was a remarkable variety to be had for less than $10 a piece. Very often, 2nd hand CDs are cheaper than legal downloads. And better, unless you don’t want to have extra clutter around the house. Can you believe – I must have bought hundreds of CDs this year.

Then there were some that I intended to just rip and sell off. I probably sold about 50? I’ll set a deadline, and if by then I haven’t gotten rid of those, I’ll just sell then back to the 2nd hand dealers.

Ever since graduation, reading has been a great hobby of mine. I had to do a great amount of reading in school. It was work for me. I didn’t get used to it. I liked knowledge. I liked thinking, but I didn’t like reading, at first. Something like you like having a sexy body but you don’t like going to a gym.

But this “I like reading whatever book comes into my hand” is far too indulgent and I managed to cut down on it.

There were 3 diversions. I suppose they led to nowhere, but interesting nevertheless. Cat Woman, Remedial training and the World Cup. Well, a 1st time winner has won the world cup, and that has traditionally been a good omen for me.

I have taken my eye off the ball a few times. Bummer about that one.

Not an excellent year, not a terrible year either. What it amounts to is that I have come to the age where – if you’re not going forward, you’re just going backwards. I said before that in 1990 and 2000 I was given a taste of what the future would be like. Now – things are busier, a little less care free. I feel a little more tired.



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