Thursday February 1st

Little Girl, Are you Lost?

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.


  • I’m actually spending some time over the next four days, just sailing with three friends. It should be pretty fun, and it’s a welcome break from LA. I hope we see whales.
  • This week, I interviewed with one company, got rejected by two (one of which is schizo because they simultaneously recruited me and rejected me; one time, they even tried to recruit me via a bitcoin recruiting site lol), made a friend (a VP of one who didn’t have anything to offer me at the moment but wanted to keep in touch with me), turned down a bootcamp (I honestly only applied to two and got into both (then said no), and they’re both considered “top”; whatever that means; one was intriguing because there is a lecturer who likes FP and has a mathematics background, and the other because of their focus in Python and being located in the Bay Area) and started drafting up my Personal statement for Grad school.
  • I’m actually over the moon to be working on Academics; a place where I can see fruition to actual work I put in. Real life hasn’t really felt that way for me at all, by comparison (I guess it isn’t). Mostly, I’ve felt like I have a lot of unrecognized potential (graduated top of my class in college), but I haven’t quite had my day yet. My mentor from JPL told me once, “you’ll have your day”, and I do believe this.


  • It reminded me of a discussion I had with a particular gentleman at POPL who had sent in a paper for review, and the committee told him that his paper was “polemic”. He asked me what you would do in that situation. The natural response is to respond in anger, because the word has negative connotations. However, he said what you do is take out he dictionary, and look up the word. It actually ties in more with the sentiment “controversial”. You can’t necessarily dictate in which direction things will go, but you can respond with reason.
  • I thought about the fact that I would be a bit of an oddity if I were to be accepted; I took a breath to look around at POPL and realized that there was not a person there (besides perhaps, Ron, with his dreadlocks and poignant points on Galois Theory) who looked like me. And indeed, for an after-conference survey, they did ask us “how can we improve so that more people like you want to attend (they didn’t specifically ask me, but asked about my demographic)?” Ah, that question.
  • The truth is, I don’t know, as much as I don’t know quite why I’m fascinated by all of this, or how I quite ended up here. I do know that I have an immense passion for languages and for proofs, for learning about category theory and type theory, and functional programming in general, and that I care about correctness. And I know I don’t care about Frameworks, libraries, or JavaScript.
  • The fact that there isn’t anyone I’ve really met who happens to look like me, or that I’m asked again and again if there are “more people who are like me” is something that is in the back of my mind, and only pops up from time to time. I don’t have the answers to those questions. For me, personally, it’s been a tough route, where I’ve had to prove myself every step of the way, and haven’t really had any magical breaks or doors opened…except this. A tiny door that is ajar. I’ve had to drink a potion to shrink myself to fit.
  • In college, I was the only person who looked like I did on the rowing team. In most of my classes, this was typically the same. But I did it because it was what I was interested in. While people who did look like me stuck together, puzzled by me, I made an effort anyways to just be myself and to try accept it for what it is. I remember at one point, a friend told me that the only thing that was “Caribbean” about me was the characters that were in common in the word and my name. But alas, no demographic is homogenous, and thank goodness for that.

So what are you saying?

  • I’m saying that I’m excited for the future, but I also need these four days to take a break. The great thing about sailing is the peace of mind, and the realization that the world is bigger than you think when you’re on land. You’re pretty much at the mercy of the ocean.
  • So, I guess we’ll see.

Also been working on

  • This week, I did some work on learning about compilers (I got to NFAs and DFAs and can successfully trace my way through the logic for determining state and grammars and language). I’ve been told for this class I’m taking, Concepts of Programming Languages (a first for my school! I’m excited and heard we’re doing a compiler!), will cover a bit of this and the history of programming languages.
  • I also started reading through a draft given to me from someone at POPL. It involved some SKI calculus, so I stopped for a bit to learn a bit of that. So far, so good.
  • I am on my second project in the Udacity Nanodegree (to be finished next week)
  • I bought “Foundations of Mathematical Logic” by Curry. Yes, I will work through this book with a pencil and a highlighter.
  • I have some time before getting into Julia again :D

So, that’s about it

  • And Bon Voyage, wherever life takes you, as well! :D
Written on February 1, 2018