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31 December 2012


Well, here I am again.  I have no excuses for my silence here of late, but for once I don't think I actually need any.  As those who know me can attest, I've been pretty darn busy over the last several months.

But busy as it's been, 2012 has been a great year for me, I think.  After a year of postbaccalaureate classes, I was admitted in March into the master's program at Pitt's Department of Computer Science beginning in August.  As a result, I'm living much closer to campus now than I was in the spring and summer, within walking distance (which I've been keen to take advantage of).  I've also made a lot of good new friends this year, while staying connected with some old ones.

My first semester of graduate study was about as tough as I was expecting, but a few situations out of my control made for a bit of a bumpier semester than I'd hoped for.  Overall, though, I handled the situations pretty well and am glad to be moving forward from the experience.

Moving into the new year, I was asked a couple of weeks ago to be a part-time instructor for the department, teaching a course on Microsoft Office in the spring semester; I teach my first lecture a week from today, which is crazy.  So it's been a bit of a working holiday this year, getting a syllabus and plans together... but it's been a fun one with family nonetheless.

I would write more, but I've obviously been quite busy.  It should therefore be no surprise that I'm writing this in the last few minutes of the year, as always.  (Years may go by, but some things never change.)

Onward into 2013!

Random tangent: We're still watching Carson Daly's show for the ball drop tonight, but a certain cousin's affinity for Taylor Swift requires us to shift to Ryan Seacrest's show for a few moments.  Happy to see that Seacrest has finally gotten on board with "twenty-twelve" and "twenty-thirteen".


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14 May 2012


Dearest Bloggy, despite my continual neglect, is seven years old today.  Per tradition, the annual bloggy cake has been baked and is now present for all to enjoy.

And now, also per tradition, the filler:

Today's been a somewhat eventful day, I guess.  A Monday this year, Bloggy's seventh birthday started out with the geekiness that was the UNIX timestamp hitting 1337000000 seconds since the epoch this morning at 08:53:20 EDT.  Then I went to work (which is another something I haven't really mentioned here (I should update this more often (so says he again, yet he never does (should I close all these parentheses now?)))) and attended the first day of my summer classes, before heading home.

Meanwhile, my cousin Laurel (if it even makes sense to refer to her with that link anymore) spent all day driving to Chicago where she starts her new job tomorrow after having graduated from Michigan State University back on 5 May.  Pretty cool!

I really don't have much of an excuse anymore.  I recently rejiggered my schedule specifically to allow myself more opportunities for non-directly-school-related things, since that is a large part of how I stay sane.  But for now, instead, you have to put up with this tripe which I put off to the last possible minute (literally) and hastily "finish" before midnight.

Watch this space.


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29 February 2012

Horological Reflections

It's Leap Day again!  I haven't really had crazy Leap Day traditions along the lines of those in last week's episode of 30 Rock (#609), but blogging is, I suppose, something that I do on days such as these.  I did wear a bit of yellow and blue, though, today, so no one would poke me in the eye or pull my hair.

I feel as though I spoke too soon four years ago when I said that "even though 29 days is still shorter than any other month, it just seems like February is unnecessarily 'hanging around'" during leap years.  I didn't feel that way today.  There are a couple potential reasons for this.

One is purely personal: I'm not quite ready for it to be March yet.  Quite frankly, I wasn't ready for February to start 29 days ago, either, and I doubt I'll be ready for April when it comes around.  With the unparalleled velocity my endeavors this year have brought (which I still need to mention here; it's getting a bit old), there is always something to be doing, and even if I'm not actually behind, I still feel like I am.  I'm sure most busy people know this feeling; it's quite familiar to me.

The other reason is mathematical: Usually, months have 30 or 31 days, so when you're calculating a date across a month boundary, you're basically doing modular arithmetic, mod 30 or 31.  You know, a week after the 26th is either the 2nd or the 3rd if there were 31 or 30 days, respectively, in the month just ending.  After a while, you get used to this.  February's the odd case, with 28 days usually, but working ahead to March is usually easy because it generally looks the same; since 28 is divisible by 7, all of March's days line up with February's in most years.

But 29 days in February is the exception to the exception, and being one short of a nice, round number is just harder to get around than being one over it.  Unless, of course, there's something else at play.  I don't know if it's voodoo symmetry or what, but Wednesday, being right in the middle of the work week, just seems like a natural place to put Leap Day, much more so than the Friday we had in 2008 or Sunday in 2004.  For some reason, I've not had any trouble figuring my dates mod 29.  All seems right with the world.  (Which is good, because that's sort of the point, aligning the calendar with the cosmos and such.)

As I mentioned on Twitter last night, today "completes the set" of Leap Days for me.  Since being born eight weeks before Leap Day 1988, which was a Monday, I've now been alive for seven Leap Days, one on each day of the week.  And I've never had a friend to whom I could actually wish a happy birthday on 29 February until today!  (Happy sixth birthday, Chris!  Facebook says we've known each other since November 2008, so this has been a long time coming.)

Leap Day is like a gift, in a way.  I mean, yes, it's just another day that would otherwise be called something else... but it's special, darn it!  It's a built-in prompt for horological reflection that reminds us to make each day special, and to make good use of the precious time we have.

It is thus that I must digress and mention my atomic shower clock.  Although I often take long showers intentionally to "clear my head," sometimes you need to be in and out; other times, you don't have to be quick, but still don't want to dawdle.  Sometimes, then, it's easy to go into the shower with one mindset and then, regardless, suddenly forget all about time continuing to pass by (at least until the water starts getting cold).

While this suction-based waterproof contraption wasn't terribly cheap, it has certainly paid for itself already in saved time (read, "not accidentally wasted time"), including a few minutes this morning. I think that's worthwhile.

And all in all, today was a good, productive day.  I'm determined to have a great many more in the 1460 days between now and the next intercalation.

But now, as I am running out of time, I leave you with Le Chat Noir, édition bissextile 2012:


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04 January 2012

Two Dozen

That's right: Two whole dozen years.  Appropriate enough for the year twenty-dozen, but that particular happenstance is more a function of mathematics than anything particularly cosmic.

Today went really well, actually, what with it being the first day back to classes (which I realize I still haven't written about).  My first class was actually quite engaging and I'm looking forward to the future lectures already.  My other class first meets tomorrow morning.

And although I don't necessarily hold the number 24 in quite as high regard as the number 23, it's already growing on me.  Embarking on a relatively new chapter of my life is leaving me with much the same "anything-can-happen feeling" I described last year, and I'm pleased to report that it's actually lasted all day!  I have a feeling it'll last for quite a while longer, too.

The only (minor) damper was that the local Arby's appears to have discontinued jalapeño poppers.  If you know me well, you know that this is a big deal.  But I had a birthday coupon for a free shake, so it was all good.  And besides, I got jalapeño coins on my burger at my birthday dinner at Red Robin, where I was joined by all sorts of friends and family from the area.

All in all, a good day.  And a great start to my twenty-fifth year on earth.  Soon enough, I'll be a member of the quarter-century club!


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01 January 2012


Time for another New Year's Day doodle to get me revved up for the year ahead: Twenty-dozen..., er, -twelve.  This one was done a bit simpler, since I had to do it in Photoshop on my father's computer (which crashed three times in the process of making this), but I feel it encapsulates the emotion (or "artistic vision") that I'm trying to convey.  Or something like that.

Last year, I'd said that the blank slate that 2011 held was both "refreshingly inspiring" and "paralyzingly daunting."  Well, I obviously got through it alright.  Now, for 2012, I've at least got some sort of plan... now I just have to execute it well in order to make this the best year it can possibly be.  Talk about potentially daunting!  But I'm up for the challenge!

Currently, I'm packing up my stuff to head back to Pittsburgh tomorrow morning for the new semester which begins on Wednesday 4 January.  Thankfully, I was able to get this done in between other tasks.  But it also means you'll have to wait a bit longer for "real" stuff.

Oh, well.  I think you'll be fine.


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