Much has changed in a few months.
I quit my job at Pandora.It was such a joy to work there. I felt valued both as an individual and as an engineer. I already miss playing foosball (my water-cooler activity) and working with my engineering team (so supportive and collaborative)!
I broke up with Madison. This was hard. I still have affection for her and treasure our shared experiences. We have different temperaments and core values, inhibiting a community-to-community connection. We were stretching ourselves to be with each other.
I've been sick three times in two months. This might just be bad luck, but it's reminding me that health is not automatic. I'm cooking more often with Ravi and monitoring my own body. (I remember asking my mother once what being "older" felt like. She said: "What hurts?" I couldn't think of anything. She replied, "Nowadays, there's always three things that hurt...")
Parsa talked recently about growing apart as a "mini-death"; when you can't recognize your friend anymore, it's like that old friend has died. Perhaps this happens all the time, and also to ourselves; as we age, we change, and at some point, we are completely unrecognizable to our past selves.
How do we find that old self? It may have rubbed off on friends of the past; talking to these old friends may unearth that old self. I am recovering my favorite parts of my past this way, searching for lost curiosity and intensity.
But this strategy won't work if you're lonely or transient. One of the best gifts I gave recently was a pad of paper and a couple of pens, to preserve thoughts and memories as one changes. Rereading and collating these journal entries can help you understand who you used to be.
I'm enjoying Mike Goldsmith's Very Short Introduction to Sound. If you're ever wondering about why something "sounds pleasing to you", send me a message!
Ironically, I'm playing more music since I've quit Pandora, especially Romantic-era piano. I've played this song the most. I'm imagining a new piano interface that better displays equal temperament (play any two notes, shift each note up on the piano, and the pitch ratio stays the same!) Perhaps a piano with no black keys, or keys on the periphery of a circle...
My friend Becca quipped recently that stability is like soil. "You can only plant a vegetable garden if you expect it to be here through spring! But you have to grow things in it!"
I worry a lot about picking my Plathian figs. I recently boarded a Southwest flight, and waited until the very last row to take my middle seat. I am extremely cautious of making assumptions about others or myself, because anger seems to originate from false certainty. Once you've "defined" yourself, it's easy to caricature your person. If you started life over again, who would you like to be?
I'm using my new life to ensure I do what brings me great joy. This means reading mathematics, attending seminars, laughing, playing music, and staying up late. I've been joking I have one year left to make sure I do the important things, too.
What would you do, if you had one year to live?
My favorite conversations seem to wander, like a depth-first search that keeps changing its target...
Some things I've liked recently:
* god pulls you aside (XKCD) What really matters in life?
* language is loose (XKCD) Understanding is malleable!
* soul union paradise (Dorris McComics)
* it's the journey, stupid (Webcomicname)
* don't forget to laugh! (Liz Climo)
* Best of the 2010s internet (href.cool) Required reading for new memers, nostalgia for the rest of us.
* Namaste's in the melting pot (NPR)Put some words to how I've been feeling about this.
* Kanye's gone too (NPR)
* This is America (Reuters)
* My favorite new phrase and maybe my favorite feeling
* NASA's favorite R2D2-like object has a sick new name
* crowdsourced K-12 teaching tips
* Amy Hoy's rant on software design (Twitter)I really like this format for brain-dumping on a topic.
* Accessible, useful statistics to change the world (Hans Rosling). Even the first two minutes are incredible.
* Dinosaur news (PBS/NOVA)
* Anthromorphizing my work (Henry Yuen)
* Limitations of science (NASA Space Sciences Lab)
* Graph Theory is not dead (Numberphile)
* You're a homo-what?! Topology is so cool!
* But what is dark matter, really? (Discover Magazine) Spoiler: We're not sure yet.
* How do you make corks, or socks?
* Quantum knots??!! (Ph.D Comics) Very cool concept, explained simply.
* FAQ on Quantum Computing (U Waterloo)
* Tips on Data Visualization (Geckoboard)
* Are you a quantum supremacist? (NYTimes) And I'm worried the name is not being let go..
* Know your Matplotlib, be its friend (PBPython)
* who's afraid of death? (Atlantic)
* giving doesn't have to be maximized (Giving Gladly)
* Mental models for the world (Wait But Why) I have loved his recent work, generating new mental frameworks to understand our reality.
* Environmental and non-vegan (nks.sh) More words for how I've been feeling.
* The unhappy physicist (Nautilus) These sorts of essays have helped me temper my unabashed excitement for research.
* How do you communicate good research? (Vox)
* Draw anything now! One of the coolest sites I've seen in a long time.
* Super Cassette is still good
* Cute title but my first serious time enjoying Sufjan
* Beautiful fireworks of Miyazaki fame
* A long time ago, Ravi's favorite song
* This double album is so good. It captures so many conflicting signals about my California upbringing.
* Nothing like a Danny Elfman song
Aside from a cough, I'm feeling so strong and alive today. I think it's because the sun is finally starting to show :-)