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The Chronicles of Jack [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Run-Up to The Treehouse [Jun. 9th, 2009|12:10 am]
Read: Sabriel, Lirael, Dune Messiah, Bone 3.

Major life update, where to begin...

Been doing a lot of networking on facebook, and had the bright idea to talk to some of the summer schools down in Vancouver because I could start working there right when the high school year ended. However, every place I found had had their employment application deadlines just a week or so before I'd found their website; how frustrating. There was a start-up school built for general interest called Vanterra Education that I put some work into wooing. I made a few course syllabi as samples of what I could teach but after a the first few e-mails they just stopped contacting me.

I'm a Microsoft Certified Application Specialist in Word 2007, which is from an exam I took also solely for the inpressive sound of it. The book and practice took less than 15 hours because I've been using word processors for more than half of my life, but now I have a paper and title that says I'm good at it. Yay for me.

General Motors is officially in bankrupt status. No surprise there. Analysts on CNN Money have claimed that GM will come out of bankruptcy in 3-4 months. I am Jack's pragmatic doubt.

This semester has been kind to me for the most part in that its given me time to work on projects, even if a lot of them have seemed to be or turned out to be meaningless. Most of them have been focused on future employment as opposed to creative endeavors. Writing block results. I have an essay on modular education brewing inside, and just today I found some notes on possible stories as well. Also, there's a decent start to a campaign under the GURPS system and using worlds derived from Jeremy's multiverse idea, and its been sitting on my hard drive waiting to be played. I also wrote a letter defending the BC-STV system which failed when a massive flux of misinformed and poorly informed people voted No to the system after being undecided just days before the poll.

I got SMAC up and running and a lot of the basic player interactions done and programmed, but then lost interest because I was ultimately not doing that project for me. I should know better, but at least I learned some PHP. Taking those video lessons here was a great help. It also gave me an idea for a format for a summer project I'm working on called mathforgoats.com. I've already bought the domain name, and sometime soon I'll put a couple of pilot videos on there of math for interest lessons. The lessons were loosely based on what I'd prepared for Vanterra, so I'll be bringing that material to life without their help, so hah!

About a month ago, Jamie and I went to Vancouver to scout out for places; the plan was that I would look for a job there (I'd been networking since late January in order to secure position, but had no luck with the purely online approach) when I moved, and go to SFU and take computer science classes and tutor to fill any employment gap that was still there by September.

It turns out that a pre-olympic recession is one of the worst possible times to move to a major city. Either people don't understand what constitutes an apartment, or they just outright lie in the listings in order to gather more interest. We went to a couple of basement suites expecting apartments; one was just weird and the other seemed illegal for lack of its basic amenities like windows and electrical panels and such. All the places we looked at were between 900 and 1250 per month, if that gives you an idea of what people will charge down there right now.

A lot of places were run down and overpriced, or had some other major deal-breaking quirk and I'd not gotten a job there yet which a lot of potential landlords were leery about (no place without a job, no job without a place?). Also, when you're anything more than walking distance from the skytrains, the bus system is better than Kelowna but not phenomenally so. Also, the system was already straining 7-8 months before the olympics. I'd expected more with the major leftist policitical shift in the municipal level a while back, but they hadn't got around to that sort of infrastructure yet. I'm coloring it a lot it retrospect and unfair rationalization, but it was a disappointing trip.

We're not moving to Vancouver after all. It's too hard, and not worth it as long as we can visit regularly.

Then things got crazy busy.

A lot of the things I was going to Vancouver for, I tried to replace with things here. I think I managed to fill most of them.

I was planning to go to graduate school at SFU after studying computer science there part time for a while (16 months undergrad) and then starting an MSc in Computer Science with some statistical aspects. After the Vancouver trip, I talked to some people at UBCO and now I'm starting graduate level classes and Interdisciplinary Grad Student in Applied Statisitcs in September (0 months undergrad). So I could be finished grad classes and be working on my thesis by the time I would have started my MSc at SFU, assuming I'd have gotten in.

I was planning on meeting up and collaborating with a board game development group in Vancouver whom were some friends of a friend of mine and starting on some projects that would actually get off of the ground. Two weeks after I got back I found Cosmic Logic on Facebook and have been talking with them since. They do video games and already have some major projects that I can be a part of.

I was planning on doing some work as a summer school teacher or something else in education that didn't require me to have a BEd, such jobs are sparse and possible sketchy and downright impossible to get without speaking fluent Punjabi or Korean in Vancouver. This makes 17 months of looking around for employment that used a BSc, but didn't need anything higher, so far the offers have been Westside Tutor, Kelowna Auction World, and a whole lot of not-quites, mostly coming from the financial sector before the meltdown. I'm sick to death of the skill gap and that's why I'm going back.

The summer school work is being replaced with Math For Goats, which I think has a solid business model and won't cost much to start up.

Finally, I was planning to live with just Jamie. That's been accomplished by our move in the last two weeks all the way across the street from our old place. This new place is about the size of our old place with better amenities and one less person to crowd the place up.

This is the Treehouse that I've been running up to. You see, we're on the third floor, and we have two huge windows and a little balcony that open out a wall of leaves. Also, the creek is right below us so we can eat breakfast and watch the ducks. I was tempted to toss a bit of egg from my nomlette down to a duck, but something about cannibalism stopped me. Yesterday we even saw a beaver hanging around in the creek being the slow lazy muncher that large herbivore rodents can afford to be.

It's a pretty awesome place, and I'm looking forward to spending a lot more time in it.

So yeah, here's the TL:DR. Not moving to Vancouver, starting grad school in Kelowna, made a lot of good connections, awesome new place.
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Midnight Linguistics [Dec. 15th, 2008|01:45 am]
[Tags|, ]
[mood |geekyscholarly]

Reading: The Year's Best SF 13; Logic, Linguistics, and Computation Volume I
Playing: World of Goo, Learning Japanese RPG, Zack and Wiki
Finished: Okami... in 35 hours and 5 minutes.

Input muchly appreciated on the following.

This is a list of all the adjectives (words that describe things, add -ly to most of them to get adverbs which describe actions) that appear in the 1000 most common words in english (according to about.com )

I'm trying to boil them down to 10-15 baskets of common meaning like hot/cold, good/bad, big/small. Right now I have them in six baskets of general themes, and I could use another perspective on it. What would be some good sub-themes to split these into? Are there too many hybrid words which fit into more than one basket? Should I have organized these differently? Am I missing a key basket of themes? Do I need to look at the top 2000 or 5000 adjectives instead?

What do you think of these? What does it say about us? (The frequency rank is next to each word)

Semantic BasketsCollapse )
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What to do, part 2. [Nov. 30th, 2008|01:47 pm]
So I've been looking a lot at data mining and a little at artificial intelligence lately as possible career fields. This would involve going to graduate school, but at least it would be with a specific purpose in mind instead of "meh, I'll just take more school for the hell of it.".

I'll need to take some computer science and some statistics, but I haven't looked much into which school in Vancouver to take the classes I need at, or if I can just self-direct or exam-challenge my way through the brunt of it.

Algorithms class has been really interesting this semester and I'd like to pursue it further, even if only for interest.

On a shorter note, I have a lot of potential projects for the next six months and I'm trying to see what I can get done and how.

Finish that letter about two parallel lines. (4-6 hours, deadline Feb 1)
Chapters 3-6 of my Malorky Journals novella. (200-400 hours, end of 2009)
Study guide for Business Statistics. (20-25 hours, deadline Jan 15)

Recap of Chem 12, Phys 12. (deadline Feb)
Fluid Engineering (eventually)
SAS, SPSS, LaTeX, Excel (end of 2009)
Beginner's Japanese (end of 2009)

Digging Platformer RPG.
Youtube pratice problems for physics and calculus.
JC and Jack argument podcast.
Homebrew expansion to Enemy Chocolatier.
Printable miniature terrain?

So many choices, what to do, what to do...
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What to do, what to do. [Nov. 30th, 2008|11:41 am]
Recently Read: The Numerati, Beyond AI, xXxHolic 1-4, Tsubasa 1-3, Dune, is that it during all this time?
Playing: Okami, World of Warcraft

Recap of last year, cut for repeating what's been said in previous posts.Collapse )
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Birthday and Christmas Wish List [Nov. 20th, 2008|12:14 am]
I encourage you all to do the same.

Subscription to Wired
An acre of rainforest to be saved on my behalf.
!MTG: Shards of Alara
Carassone: Tower
!World of Goo
Comfy Slippers
Pajama Pants
The Watchmen
The Tales of Beedle the Bard
WoW: Burning Crusade (no, not WoLT, I don't need it yet)
Metriod Prime 2
Any book by Charles Stross except for Accelerando
Any book by Mark Z. Danielewski except for House of Leaves
Forward the Foundation, by Isaac Asimov
Tsubasa 4
First year Japanese textbook
A fez or other clever hat
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(no subject) [Sep. 8th, 2008|11:16 am]
I'll have a new computer in about a month and then I'll start posting more.

I expect that in my two months of near-absense that the internet will have morphed into an entirely different and more horrible and inane place than what I remember.

How's Digg lately guys?

Also, I will be purging anyone who can vote but chooses not to in the upcoming Canadian and American elections from my livejournal list. If the ballot box won't be hearing your voice, then why should I?

I don't care who you vote for, spoil your ballot for all I care, just go to your nearest public building and put a little slip of paper in a little box to assert your importance.
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Of Endings. [Aug. 5th, 2008|11:55 pm]
I should probably end my hiatus on LJ. I'd rather me journaling to my own side, but frankly this is more convenient and if I want people to read it I'll put it here. I've been posting mostly to hitmenforhire.com lately, but that's really only for techy topics and I can go a little overboard on that sometimes... mostly at the cost of creative expression.

I'm ending my floundering job search. I go back to Westside Tutor in two weeks, back to UBCO as a part-time student and a tutor in four weeks, and I work at an Auto Auction on Saturdays. It won't give me time to cram for the 2nd Actuarial Exam (Financial Math) until Decemeber, but I don't really care. My goal is two exams by the end of March, and through the CSC I have a lot of the background material already, so it shouldn't be too hard.

My new career direction is towards actuarial sciences. The bank teller thing didn't pan out, I kept getting rejected and I overgeeked the bank interviews. One career counsellor told me not to mention my intention of getting a master's degree when asked about my next five years... but that's a very core part of what makes me me: intellectual ambition. If I'm leaving that out of job interviews, then am I presenting myself truthfully? Is the job the right fit for me then?

I've been going to a career place called CBD Network, and it's been great. I met with a lot of people with financial backgrounds that had no agenda to get me to apply to places, and I got a good sense of how sales oriented the entire industry is. I don't want to get into sales unless it quickly leads to something more analytical, but appearantly it doesn't.

So to hell with climbing career ladders, I'm going to go straight for the actuarial and analytical jobs! I found a forum called actuarialoutpost.com that has a compilation of how to get a job as an actuary, as written by the actuaries on the forum that have hired people before. It seems to break a lot of the more general career rules. For start: it really is what you know instead of who you know for these jobs. They don't care about referrals, only what you did in school/how many professional exams have you done.

But this is all well documented stuff, here's somethign a little less... sterile.

I've been working on the Malorky Journals rewrite again, and I'm having a hard time choosing the ending. There's a good resolution I have in mind, but it'll make the completed story longer than I had originally intended. Maybe I should just go with that ending and take longer to write it rather than sacrifice the path this story wants to go.

Travelling makes me want to travel. Funny that. I'm in PG right now, visiting my parents and my mom's sisters. We just came back from a camping/rafting trip which sounds exciting but was more of a mellow get-back-to-where-there-are-still-trees cool. It's been a long time since I've seen water that distinctly whitish blue, and the first time I've gotten to pootle around in it. We were in a sightseeing raft just at the foot of mount robson. It's odd to the think of the river we were on as the Fraser River, because it looked more like a very large creek. I guess it pick up a lot of water between the Rockies and PG.

I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it weren't for the migraine I had most of the time there. Yeah, migraines aren't fun. Does anyone here know a lot about headaches? I have stress/anxiety problems, but I've been making a point of slacking off lately. I read a lot on the greyhound up here, but enough to warrant a killer headache two days later? I had sleeping trouble on the bus, but this was nuts, all I wanted to do was sleep for two days as it I'd had a concussion or something, but I'm pretty sure I didn't hit my head on anything. Besides, I was still thinking and talking at full speed before my head hurt, and I know from high school gym what a concussion feels like to me, and this probably wasn't it.

Hmm.. it's gone now, and this post is reaching my attention span so I'll stop.
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New Rules for being happy. [May. 25th, 2008|08:03 pm]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]

Reading: Accelerando
Open to suggestions for things to play.
CSC: 12 of 23 modules done. Taking a break to review.

New rule: Go outside a lot more, ESPECIALLY when it's sunny. It was sunny today, and I spent less than an hour outside. I spent most of the day feeling kind of ho-hum, and most of yesterday the same because I was studying and writing so much without rewarding myself.

So new rule, if it's sunny and nothing's pressing, go outside. The online course and the project stuff can wait.

On that note, I've been busy:

Carless City Design 3

These creatures may or may not be a regular thing for a while, it's more of a creative exercise for me. Prompts are welcome as always.

As for the carless city design, I have a part 4 in mind but I'm going to go through some of the other stuff on my list first because I need to do some research for part 4 first.

Getting hyped for AE, my possible (likely?) new job in July, and for soundstage64 getting off the ground.

But where do I go from here?
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4 1/2 day weekend [May. 20th, 2008|12:50 pm]
Just read: Witches Abroad. Reading: The Ringworld Throne.
Finished: Super Mario Galaxy
CSC: 8 of 23 modules done, going to book 1st exam soon.

This weekend I finished two modules, read 1/3 of a book, finished SM Galaxy, and made a basic framework for Open Chess in Game Maker. Not too shabby.

I have another creature (plant, actually) done, I call it Spore Lichen:

Does anyone out there have an account with http://www.wowio.com ? It's an e-book site that offers books for free, but each book is sponsored so that the author gets paid anyway. The problem is that the copyright issues have only been worked out in the States, so only people there can be members. There's a couple books I'd like to read from their collection though, could anyone help me out?

Also, don't forget about http://www.care2.com and http://www.thehungersite.com . I see a lot of people on facebook with greenbook and garden applications, but keep in mind that Care2 and The Hunger Site are still a lot more effective on a per-day basis. Doing both the facebook and the daily click thing doesn't hurt either.
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So much to do [May. 13th, 2008|11:02 am]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Reading: Witches Abroad
4 of 23 CSC Modules done.

There are so many options of what to do in a day that it's almost paralyzing. Usually, when I'm between tasks there are two options: Do homework or avoid homework. Now the options are more like this: read a book, read a manga, work on the CSC, work on the URA Paper, learn the guitar, learn the keyboar, go for a walk, play with game maker, work on other game projects, play the mass of old games on the computer, play WoW on the computer, play console games, bother the degu, bother Jamie... you get the idea.

Not having a TV really helps, because there's no default activity that can be maintained for long. Even doing nothing on the computer means running out of webcomics or viable quests eventually.

The first creature prompt was for a Koalaphant. Here it is:

I'm gladly accepting more. If I don't get one for a while I'll write the tentaclephant (Squiderm?) that Jeremy wanted, even though that was just an example I gave.

So this weekend, I read about 250 pages and 1 manga. I also did 4 modules of the Canadian Securities Course, which is somewhere between 1 and 2 university courses in size. It has two exams and uses an entire 600 page textbook, so let's call it two courses. That's 1/3 of a course in a weekend.

As an added bonus, there were baby duckies to be seen (11 of them!), and a surprize check for $300 from my parents for my glasses and eye exam a while ago.

If you've been reading a lot of internet news, you may have noticed more and more stores like this one from CNN Money interview people that have given up driving to work and are taking the train/bus, and are talking about how much money they're saving. In fact, this is the second story in as many days on CNN Money about people not driving. go figure.

It's working.
It's actually working! Gas prices are driving people out of their cars! ^___^
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