All about Fall 2005

Warning, this is my quarter synopsis post; it’s probably boring to everyone except me.

As I sit in front of my iBook tonight for all nighter #4 of Fall 2005, I can’t help but put my thoughts about this decidedly redonkulous quarter to pen (or rather, HTML).

I’ve worked harder this quarter than ever before in my life, and because I got to know each of my profs personally my grades are probably going to reflect that (for a change). I actually cared enough about my classes this time to actively try to get good grades. What a simple concept, no?

I must have spent more than 30 hours doing each of the three labs for the fantastic 516 Network Admin (my hardest technical class) and learned more about networking than anyone could care to know…and somehow, its interesting enough that I’m still willing to do more. I did all four optional bonus labs for that class too…funny how once you get on a roll, you can just put up with things and keep on trucking.

My work for 409 Website Design was really solid because I spent a ton of time on the projects…same goes for Interface Design. This quarter I decided to no longer put up with the typical “team issues,” and simply take a very proactive role in the teams myself…and in both WDI and ID I’m confident it paid off.

I got a car a week before college started (go go SXY-96E) and for the first time could make things very convenient both for myself and for others. I bought my own groceries, cooked my own meals (well, sometimes), bought and built my own furniture, managed every aspect of my time. This whole “real world” freedom thing actually worked out pretty well. Yay.

Then the icing on the cake happened: on a whim, I applied for and got a pretty sweet job offer that none of my friends who also applied got…and because of that I’m being flown across the country to work for 6 months starting this January. Even though I already met my IT co-op requirement this summer, nobody in my field would say no to this particular offer. I feel incredibly lucky to get it.

Then there’s the family side of things. Pretty early in the quarter I found out that my grandfather is dying. He’s currently at a very ripe old age (late 80s). I flew out to visit him, and while there was a subdued mood underlying the trip I felt really privileged to talk to someone who I formerly knew only as my last grandparent…but this time that changed. He is literally a primary source for over 150 years of rich and interesting history, and is perfectly happy to relate his experiences for hours. Upon this visit I found out that his grandfather, who he knew and remembered, had built the first railways in the 1850’s during the British Industrial Revolution. I never even thought to ask him questions like that until it hit me that he wouldn’t be around forever. Talk about one of those revelation moments…

I’m flying back to visit him again this weekend, and I understand his health is deteriorating at a faster rate. It’s sad to see him go, because he’s the last family connection I have to that generation. I hope he remembers me as a decent grandson, because he was certainly the coolest and most interesting grandad I ever knew.

Sigh. In 3 hours I will drink up another two cups of jaaaava and take my very challenging Economics final…which is unfortunately at the same time as my Interface Design final. I cleared things with weez…but I still feel guilty showing up late.

Now back to the grindstone to force feed more economics into my tired (but willing) brain….

The Corporate Life

So I’ve been working at my summer job. Similar to most reasonable people, I like telemarketing about as much as Marmite (that is to say, not very much at all). However, I do get to work on their website code, which is currently absolutely abysmal. Things like the same stylesheet declared twice or unused inline styles in every page is quite sloppy, so it’s been satisfying cleaning things out. The only irritating aspect of the job is the awful fonts and dated layout which I’m supposed to live with. I’m not allowed to change the page layout because it’s “been approved” by the high ups. Blech.

Of course this means I’m replacing all the yucky table code with CSS. Don’t tell anyone, they won’t notice I’ve been coding the layout because it will look exactly the same, but now pass W3 validation. I hope I can fudge that layout rule at least a little bit though, the navigation bar I made for the top is about 100x nicer than that awful splotchy Goosebumps font.

P.S. If you ever come across an opportunity to use a PCI video card with an already-installed AGP card, save yourself three hours of Googling and hand wringing. Set the PCI card to be the “Primary” in the BIOS and everything will just work. Kind of like a Mac.
[nerd quotient: fulfilled]

Almost finished…

Last week of spring quarter…and just like last year, the nicest days of the entire year are flying by in the final days.
Tried to get away from finals briefly by going to the gym for the first time in far too long. I tried to not overdo things, but (unsurprisingly) didn’t have much luck. I really want to use the swimming pool more before the year is over, I’ve hardly been to it. The gym is so much fun once you get into it. “Runner’s high” is totally cool, very relaxing.

I was on the way to German III in 75 degree weather, and remembering just how amazing summer vacation is hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s one of those few memories left for me that has that empowering, “whole summer at your command” appeal to it.
View from NRH down quad during Winter 2004
The same walk every morning can really get to you…

I’m still in the running for co-op applications for this summer…RITs deadline for credit is June 27th. Hopefully the hunt will improve once I have more time. I’d really like to (finally) learn Perl or work on some open source programs like WordPress, but co-ops come first.