April 23rd, 2003


the end of stress

I've been stressed, probably about my thesis. I think my subconscious isn't taking last week's news as well as I thought. But it was starting to show through. I got totally stressed out about my task of catering today's lunch for our reading group, and it took much effort to avoid doing what I usually do when I'm anxious -- nothing. And I mean, everything worked out fine, my friend Rob gave me a lift to the Thai place, and we were able to get everything to the office in time. But it seemed to me like so many things could go wrong...

I also chatted with Rob about my current project, and he thought it was interesting. That's always good to hear; I think I really need to keep in mind that I'm working on a project that most people think is worthwhile, and even if it's not quite thesis material at this point, doing useful research is always good. But still, I was stressed and completely unfocused. My brain was either working too slowly (before coffee) or too quickly, darting around and having no ability to focus. I would write a couple of lines of ML, then lose my train of thought, stare blankly, and distract myself with the Internet.

I finally decided to head home around six, my thoughts all jumbled. Unfortunately, I had to ride my motorcycle and yet again exemplify why I hate personal transit. I was sitting at a light, waiting to turn left, and once the light turned green, I went... completely ignoring the cars that meant to go straight. Fortunately, they slowed down enough to let me through and nothing untoward happened, but it easily could have been worse. It sucks that a simple thinko, so likely after you're tired and heading home from work, can get yourself and others seriously hurt. I forced myself to concentrate a bit more the rest of the way home...

Finally, at home I had some respite. I took a break to watch "The Daily Show" and "Buffy," and then I set up the GrooveSalad channel from SomaFM (found through, of all things, my friendsfriends page). It was pretty chill and relaxing, so I got to calm myself down a bit, chat with a couple of friends over IM, and finish my ML program. It works! It's so satisfying to have some code you write actually do something you want. It's probably why I got into programming in the first place.

So I'm feeling much better now. I rewarded myself by making some spaghetti and having a couple of glasses of wine. Soon it will be time for bed. And in a couple of days, I'll be in Amsterdam already! I just have to remember to leave all my stress on this continent...

a way out

Well, once again, I'm being recruited by everyone's favourite company. I was chatting with a friend of mine yesterday who just started work there, and he's really happy. He said it feels like grad school, only with more money. Really, from all I hear, it seems like they still party like's it's 1999 -- pretty impressive in this age of tech industry gloom.

Unfortunately, just like last year, I have to tell them no. Right now it's time to focus on my research at Berkeley (though don't I always say that?). But it's nice to know that I have a place to go if I ever decide to give up on this grad school thing, leave the stress of quals and committees and everything else behind, and just exit with my MS. Hmm... now that I think about it, maybe that's not such a good thing.

Alright, back to work. (At least I'm being productive today...)
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