Sunday June 27nd


I currently am working on my TODOs

  • I took the time to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple years and although it was fun and I got to play with her awesome Mario-character-named cat, I ended up having to play catch-up on my work in the evenining and for all of today. I think I had an hour of rest in between tasks once, but other than that, I’m plugging through.
  • Some of these tasks have definitive deadlines, so I really need to get them done, and pass along others that can wait just a bit longer.
  • And yes, I know I have to get back to a couple people. I’m so sorry! I promise I will by the end of this week!

I got a new keyboard!

  • I’m enjoying it; it arrived today! At this point, I have a Windows Machine, a Mac, a Chromebook and a Linux machine (running Ubuntu 18.04), but this one is for the Mac because I was really getting pissed off at their keyboards. You know, that seems to be something they care nothing about improving, and it’s pretty terrible. But I digress.
  • My favourite keyboard is the one used for my Linux machine. They keys are beautiful and springy. It’s like a nice mattress or something.


  • This week I have quite a few things going on. I have the Galois Summer school. I have my internship. I have my MSR work to do, which I am working on this evening. This one is definitely code-based, so maybe when it’s done, I can do a high-level overview and show some chunks of code on the blog (after all, unlike my internship, it’s open-source work). But right now, I’m just writing tests because we’re doing some TDD stuff, and trying to get stuff to work. I’m using VSCode apparently, which I don’t have a lot of experience using; I used to think that VSCode was that thing you didn’t want to mistake for Visual Studio when you were writing C++, because in class we used Visual Studio for C++ programming. I also remember that Visual Studio was huge and I used to pray to the memory gods on my machine that I had enough space to install it!
  • I’m also continuing to work on research with my advisor, working on some of the assignments the Fb people gave us to do, and working on my ZK project (my mentor and I met this week and I have a library to start working from, as well as a couple papers).
  • Oh, and I’m judging a contest this week, too! So in short, this week is a lot of prep work, but the week itself isn’t so bad.
  • Yeah, and I really need to catch up this week on the ICLR work. A lot of juggling, but we’re making progress, and it’s an exciting programme! I hope it can help a lot of people! That’s my biggest hope. I see some of these programmes that exist now and I often wished I knew about them when I was working and going to school, you know? It would have made so much of a difference! Or even just the mentorship and knowing that it was possible for me to do research and attend grad school. I always remember that my first response, when Ranjit said during POPL that I would be a great fit, was to say “I don’t have the money for that, and I am not taking out student loans, sorry!”. I thought he was just talking from a point of privilege, even though he had been so kind to me and I’m super grateful for that! His next words were “no no no; look around you; 70 percent of the people here are on a student stipend”, and he explained how it worked. And that was super appealing to me. Something clicked and I said “okay, this makes sense; let’s do it!”. I mean, maybe you might still say “this sounds like a scam” (hahahaha; oh you bet part of “working me” was thinking that lol. I wondered when the MLM stuff was going to come out! I had been to a lot of classes at that point so I had a VERY good nose for “teachers” who really just saw you as a means to make money. This is particularly the case in the concept art world. That particular industry is saturated with artists, and it’s contract work except for a very few top, well-connected individuals, so many individuals make extra money by offering classes, and they charge a lot of money for it (I’m talking about $545 minimum per class all the way up to $1500 (and they still sell out and have a wait list; one school in particular sells out every semester and you have to put in a downpayment or pay in full up front!), and they sell you the expectation that all you need is their classes to become one, too (they don’t mention that they’re struggling and the work is scarce because an Art Director can decide they don’t need any concept artist for the project, or that they tend to hire from a few, very inbred art schools!). I remember years ago telling a friend “they’re all teaching. This business model is a scam, and it makes no sense; the field is oversaturated and the price to income ratio is kind of garbage (and I have a good nose for BS in general so at one point I even got into fights with “teachers” in that world, called them trash and walked out lol. I figured out years later that what I was drawn to was the creative, inventive part of the process, and boy did those kids copy my ideas!), but again, I digress)), but the option and access to the information should STILL be available, and I’d still argue that right now it isn’t, and that’s tragic. If any of a couple things hadn’t worked out (eg. I hadn’t been chosen as a student volunteer (even though I was going to night school and working at the time), Ranjit hadn’t been the student volunteer Professor at POPL, POPL hadn’t happened to have been in Los Angeles that year, my work didn’t allow me to attend), I might not be where I am today. Think about that. Because I’m into the whole NASA space stuff, I think about multiverses a lot, and what that means in terms of randomness and opportunity. And how that ties into something like access to opportunity. But going back to my week…
  • MSR was nice enough to invite us to some stuff, too, so I think we’re starting that this week? Also, I’m attending a workshop at the Alan Turing Institute that I’m really looking forward to attending. I’m sorry if reading this is making you tired :(

Long weekend upcoming

  • I have been gifted a long weekend! Hooray! Okay, most of us are. But these are like secret rooms or magic flutes in Super Mario 3 that allow you to skip levels and time warp! They give me a bit more time to do things, and a bit of time to plan carefully if I set them up just right. There are a handful of things that I could really use the long weekend to do, and yes, I have scheduled them already. I really need this long weekend.
  • On the other hand, I did have an awesome time with my friend! All of her cats are named after a character from Super Mario, and she is super smart and plays a bunch of instruments and was teaching me some chess, and then heading off to D & D. I’m so thankful for her, although she says that it’s apparently really difficult to get me out of my place to do anything lol. Pretty much; yep. Unless it starts with a “T”, ends wih a “d” and rhymes with “blini pad” and is an island lol. I’ll take a flight to that.
  • We don’t have a mandate to wear masks, so I was a bit shocked that pretty much everyone isn’t wearing masks anymore here. We went out for boba, and I got a soursop flavoured smoothie, because it’s a thing that we have a lot of back home but isn’t really prevalent here. Also, I surprised my friend by telling her I could name about 20 different mangos. She responded “wait; there is more than one kind of mango?”. Oho ho. Yes there are gajillions; they are like types of people, or cats. Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but yeah…we grew up with lots of kinds.
  • Okay, I’m going to stop rambling, but I’ll probably try to post a bit about the coding open source stuff, the summer school and stuff like that (I think the MSR social stuff might be NDA though; sorry!) when I can, if I don’t get steamrolled by this week!

That’s it!

Written on June 27, 2021