Just stuff about me…
After reading a friends recap of 2012 I was inspired to do the same, so here I am lying in bed at 4am making a list of what happened to me in the year of meh:
- At the end of last year I moved into a new house with 3 friends from school. After living at Weerona for 2 years and then with a bunch of guys from College it was actually a bit weird to be living with these guys again. It was definitely nice but also definitely a change of pace (and political/social correctness). Instead of the dirty, shabby ‘house’ from last year I moved into a lovely solid (see insulated) house near the Botanical Gardens and while it was less crazy fun than the last few years it had one feature I’d been missing: it’s ‘nice’.
- Over the Uni summer break I started working at BRG full-time which was definitely a new thing for me; I’d worked more than full-time on farms during the summer, but working full-time in an office (with air con!) was way different, probably especially because I was still in Wollongong with all my mates, but not able to spend all day screwing around at home and the beach.
- The highlight of my year was the 10th of March when I went to Future, my first music festival. We bought tickets pretty late so had to splurge on VIP passes which is the best ‘mistake’ we’ve ever made. For the extra $50 we completely avoided the queue of thousands of people and walked straight into Randwick Racecourse and once we found the stage we were looking for, went into one of the special fenced off VIP areas with seats, a VIP bar and most importantly a VIP only toilet block. I missed out on seeing a couple of people that would have been fun (notably Swedish House Mafia and Fatboy Slim) but had a great day seeing Skrillex at the main stage, then spending the rest of the day in the VIP pavilion (with another better bar!) watching Flux Pavillion, Zane Lowe, Knife Party and my favourite, Porter Robinson.
- I went back to Uni for one session in 2012 to finish off the major that I started uni with but wasn’t super keen on: Multimedia and Game Development. This was a mistake. Because of how much I didn’t like the subjects (Game Development and Computer Graphics) I didn’t put much effort into them at all and by the time I decided to withdraw it was far too late leaving me with a couple of very nasty F’s at the bottom of my transcript. Thankfully the class that I took for fun that session (Server Technology) brought me my first HD to even things out a little. So without the major that I stayed an extra session to get I graduated in July 2012 with a Bachelor of Computer Science majoring in Digital Systems Security (and if you look in the Hay newspaper, I graduated with High Distinction which sounds pretty fancy even if it isn’t a real thing).
- Onto a strong negative: losing my job and not having anything set up for me to move onto. For about 16 months starting in January 2011 I worked for a small finance company in Wollongong where I was thrown into the deep end on IT Support, in-house development and Server/Network Administration. After floundering around for a little while I found my way and started getting more proficient in a bunch of technologies I’d never used before and found myself pretty comfortable in the position (perhaps too comfortable!). Because of this, and the vague (I can see that now) promise that I was welcome to stay for as long as I wanted, I only applied for a couple of Graduate Programs starting 2013. Of course around the time that all of the programs closed (which is really early in the year!) I found that this promise wasn’t quite as strong as it had seemed. The guy I had replaced when I initially started the job had come back a few months earlier and had decided he was comfortable taking up both positions again so I found myself being made redundant for the first time at the ripe age of 21. I understand their position and there is no hard feelings (I learned a LOT during my time there and was treated quite well throughout it), no company wants to pay two people for a job that one of them can do alone, but it definitely left me on my arse with no strong plan as to what I was going to do next year.
- After Graduation I didn’t have much to do except look for a job, whether temporary or permanent, while waiting to see how the grad programs I did apply for came along. After being on the approved tutors list for over a year I approached a teacher about tutoring one of his classes and I got the job quickly finding myself a “Casual Academic” for the Faculty of Informatics and earning a boatload of money to go with it; pity each session only goes for 13 weeks! It was definitely a new experience not only getting up in front of a class of about 40 people, but being paid to do it with the expectation of learning them some. I tutored ‘CSCI110: Introduction to W3 Technologies’ so had a pretty broad group of students from Artists to 3rd year Computer Scientists, but most of the class was made up of 1st year Compsci kids. It was a pretty good gig once I stopped myself stressing about being good enough, the only real hassle was weeding out the students who were making a real effort on their assignments and those who were trying to cheat me with hard-coded ‘dynamic’ sites or doctored screenshots.
- Tutoring also gave me plenty of time to follow up on the two grad programs I had applied for. I spent a day in Sydney and most of a week in Canberra going through the process of applying for a public service grad program making it from a pool of 1800 initial applicants into the top 160 but unfortunately (after loads of waiting) I found that I was unsuccessful in my application. Bugger. One day after finishing up one of the 110 labs I got a call from the other place I’d applied, the place I’d pretty much given up on it had been so long: Google. I was super excited being contacted by them and had a few phone calls confirming details and talking about positions I was eligible for. Unfortunately I didn’t make it into Google either, being put out after the phone interview; apparently Google is a pretty popular company and it was a pretty competitive race getting into the one open position. Ah well.
- I got a little stressed out at this point. Where am I going to work? Am I going to waste another whole year waiting while I apply for grad programs next year? Do I have to leave Wollongong? For where, Sydney? I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing so once I finally got myself together I started applying for other jobs in the Wollongong area. By now my job at the Uni was over and I was bleeding money fast. I had a few family friends help me with my resume and talk to contacts they had, but not a lot came out of it. After a long application process, an induction and an even longer wait I started working at Woolies. Definitely not the job that the $30,000 piece of paper getting dusty in my bedroom convinced me I’d be getting, but a job! Since October I’ve been working about 4 nights a week doing Nightfill at Woolies and surprise, but I really like it! It’s really messing with my sleep schedule and it isn’t a get-rich-quick sort of job, but it’s pretty easy, has virtually no stress and I like hanging out with a different group of people for a few nights a week. Apparently a change really is as good as a holiday? At least I’m paying rent pretty easily again!
- In the last few days I’ve applied, been interviewed for and successfully gotten a job in the Wollongong City Council IT Helpdesk. In the coming months they’re rolling out Windows 7 and Office 2010 so my Level 1 & 2 IT Support job is going to be a bunch of little nightmares, but it’s full-time and the pay is pretty good so I’m sustainable. I’m not bothered if I’m a little overqualified at this stage, it’s a stable job while I look for something with a better future, and maybe apply for 2 or more grad programs for next year
- My family are arriving tomorrow afternoon for Christmas in Wollongong! It’s my first time ‘hosting’ Christmas and while it’s going to be a pretty low-key affair and Mum will be helping with a lot of the cooking it’s a pretty exciting milestone and should definitely be fun. Plus, Christmas at the beach, yes please!
- After 3.5 years in Wollongong, finally climbing Mount Keira!
- Being referred to by a young girl at work as “the man”. She picked some cardboard up off the floor, put it in my trolley and ran to her mum and yelled “I helped the man!”, blew my mind that it’s sort of appropriate. I feel old and not my age at the same time!
- Going to the ENGAGEMENT PARTY(!!!) of some friends at school. Back to not feeling my actual age, that shit is scary!
- Getting a 3-day pass to PAX AUS!
- Graduating from University.
- Finally dropping my self-imposed ban on reddit…there has been a lot of reddit.
- No Fast Food February and October; I’m hardly in awesome shape, but I’m in a much better place than I was earlier in the year.
I’ve definitely left a lot of stuff out, but that was my 2012. It wasn’t a great year, but it wasn’t too bad either; I had some strong highs and lows. I’m trying to stay positive about it and using it as a starting point for how I’m going to go for it next year with my full-time job, hitting the gym, PAX AUS in July and much more. Finishing this off with a strong feeling I had last night when I was looking over my twitter for anything to add to this:
“When I read over my tweets, I feel like a douchebag”
I’ve tried so many different things to fix up my sleep schedule; I’ve tried staying up for 40 hours and sleeping at a ‘normal’ time the next night, I’ve tried forcing myself to bed early, I’ve tried getting up at 7am even if it means I only get 3 hours sleep that night, but it never works.
Sometimes it works for a little while, but I always start staying up later and later as I get interested in something or doing an assignment. I’m not sure if it’s necessarily a bad thing, I seem to get things done for the most part, and I’m always at my most productive later on in the evening and night, I just sometimes get a weird feeling that if I got onto a good cycle with a good amount of sleep I’d all of a sudden feel amazing in a way I didn’t even know I felt bad. I don’t know.
For now I guess I’ll go back to my 5-6 hour nights.
So I am sort of ‘borrowing’ this idea from @nathcarruthers, although I know this sort of idea has been out there for a really long time. Anyway, for the month of February (so now!), I’ll be skipping out on fast food, with these basic restrictions:
- The obvious – places like Maccas, KFC, Hungry Jacks, Dominos, etc.
- The slightly less obvious – places like Subway, any mall food outlet, gourmet pizzas like Crust
- Eating at (real) restaurants is okay, as is getting take-away from them, as long as it isn’t in plastic containers! (So somewhere like Outback Steakhouse is on the cards, albeit expensive!)
- Free lunch on Friday – work gets take-out for us for lunch on Friday. As long as it isn’t too bad (so something like Indian would be fine), it’s okay. Otherwise I go home and have sadface-sandwhich time.
- Boost! – Boost is a mall food outlet so…as long as I’m only getting a juice every now and then I’m okay.
So yeah, that’s basically it. Nothing too special, just something I’m going to do. Putting it out there just helps with definition and motivation! I had my last Maccas last night while working late, so that should hopefully hold me over for at least another month!
So in a pretty introspective mood last night I started to write (ramble) about a couple of different things, going to have a post called ‘Life’ that summed up pretty much everything at the moment. It was too long and didn’t really make sense, so I’m just going to cut bits and pieces out of it and post those for the next few weeks. Sort of just a recap of a bit more than the last year.
At the start of the year I found a really cool website turntable.fm that lets people join rooms based on genre’s and types on music where there are 5 DJ’s (anyone from the community can be a DJ) who take turns choosing songs which the crowd then rates. It was a great place to find new music and it was really fun to have a room of people like your song, but then of course all countries outside of the U.S were banned. I went back recently using a VPN and saw that it was still great (and that I was apparently an ‘Original Gangster’ from way back when it was in closed beta), although some rooms had just become a bit of a Levels fest. After finding some really cool music and artists on turntable, I was turned onto Hype Machine by a mate which has been fairly fun (and managed to ruin music for me! If a song has any empty space my mind now says “you really could fit another song in there…”) and I’ve found a fair bit of music that I like.
As well as the single-track stuff I’ve always had a few artists and albums I’ve really gotten into in the last year or so. Of course there was the usual MOS Sessions and Annuals that I used to be so into, and moving in with @nathcarruthers I became a fan of deadmau5 who dropped 4×4=12, and Skrillex (who’s new album is pretty much ‘meh’) amongst a few others. At the very start of the year I found Kanye’s new album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” and have to say that, regardless of how up himself the guy is (that is part of the fun after all), it is an amazing album and definitely the best thing he’s ever done.
The best musical discovery of 2011 however, would have to be Childish Gambino. Real name Donald Glover, he’s much better known for his character Troy on Community, and probably less known for being a writer on 30 Rock. The thing I like about most of his music is that it’s just a fresh take on rap (that I listen to anyway) and he is just so clever! So many lines in his songs just leave me with a big grin on my face. A couple of my favourites would be Break, Freaks and Geeks and Heartbeat but the new album Camp is altogether pretty great. And there I go…getting a bit rambly already (even though I’ve missed some stuff out). I’m a bit tired, but time to move on! Leaving music off with one thing; the story at the end of Camp.
I’m currently sitting in my bed in the ‘emergency short stay’ ward at the Wollongong hospital. I’ve been here for over 12 hours now and have a couple to go so yes, I am bored enough to (attempt to) post a photo of the drip that will hopefully be sending me home.
So apparently I haven’t even posted here in 3 months, not that I’ve really noticed that much of the time go by, everything has just sort of started to blur. I understand why, there have been a few changes going on over the last few months as well. Firstly, I’ve moved up to the ever so feared 3rd year at uni.It’s not all that bad, but there’s just a level of commitment expected that I never used to have to give them. That and project. CSCI321 is a compulsory subject in Computer Science, generally taken in 3rd year (which is normally the last), it doesn’t introduce any more content, rather draws from everything we’ve already learned (plus a bit more) and asks us to do something most of us have never done before; form a group and over the course of the next 8 months, create a real, useful program. My group has decided to create a carpooling program, you can find out more about it and follow it’s development at www.carpoolprovider.com (in particular the blogs).
Another thing that has brought a pretty hectic change to my life is my new job as an IT Administrator and Programmer at a local financial group. This job has affected me in many ways, both good and bad, stealing almost all of my free time, but giving me the cash to not only survive, but to enjoy any free time I manage to wrangle up. From the first day I was dropped into the deep end, being asked to manage a system of 5 servers (4 linux, 1 windows) with an array of programs I’d never used or never heard of with only a fairly brief overview of the whole setup and a root password. Regardless, about 2 or 3 months later I’ve got a decent grasp on the system and am making some changes to one of our two in-house programs. I’d have to say that the last few months at work have taught me things that I’d never have learned during my 3 years at uni and while I’m certainly no master, my tab-fu has become much stronger, as has my knowledge of so many important sysadmin things like apache, bash, openvpn, nagios, dirvish, exchange, postgresql and hell even java! Even as I’ve settled in though they keep bringing problems to me that fit into a few categories:
a) Easy solved. Just a simple code change, a reset or showing them what to do.
b) User Error. I’ve always heard it in jokes and in comics but seriously, a lot of people really just have no idea what they’re doing. I guess they can’t help that sometimes, but some of the problems have been pretty weak. (I also don’t want to even think about how bad some of their passwords are).
c) I have no idea. None. Whatsoever. Either I don’t know how to do this but I’ll get on figuring it out or just plain old “Uh…yeah, I’ll try and do that”. Some of the stuff really just doesn’t make any sense.
I was talking to a friend on IRC last night and he said something that seems really true and exciting and daunting at the same time:
[23:05] <TimmyRt> Haha, as my power grows I only realise how little I know :p
[23:05] <~TSeeker> and that’s good
[23:06] <~TSeeker> we are *always* noobs
At the same time as work is really filling up all my spare time, it is giving me the money that I need to be fully self-sufficient. I’d never really believed it when people told me before, but living completely off my own back kind of feels good, especially when there is some money left over for gadgets! I’ve managed to buy myself a couple of cool little gadgets, some that I’ve wanted for a very very long time, but that’s for another post.
The other new part of life that takes up so much of my time now is just that; life. Now that I’ve moved out of college and into a house with 3 of my mates (and kitty), there are so many little things that just add up to fill in my entire day. Make breakfast, clean up after breakfast, go shopping, make lunch, clean up after lunch, do my laundry, hang my clothes out, make dinner, do the dishes, clean the house, watch tv…although more often than not it turns into skip breakfast, buy lunch, eat dinner, leave dishes for a few days and then do a LOT of them. I don’t know, there just isn’t enough time in the day.
At the same time, living in a house is great. Apart from all the little issues like “Who’s turn it is to clean up!?” and “Who used the last of the toiler paper!?” it’s really great having your own little slice of the world that you can do what you want in and with (within reason) without the full might of…the head of college coming down on you. It’s fun just to live the day by your own schedule which is made difficult by uni and work, but yeah…fun stuff.
So yeah, I’m currently writing this while lying on my queen-sized bed using one of my brand new gadgets (teaser!) listening to my next door neighbour pull up in his ute (I’m already over real-life neighbours) thinking about how I never really have any time to get anything done, but at the same time I’ve managed to sit here and type this, after a long day of doing not much at all. I guess some of it comes down to a bit of time management, but I think another important thing is too, that I need some time to do nothing, just to chill out and do nothing but what I want to do, which I think at the moment is to sit down with a beer, play with some code and maybe fire up a game or two using my new headset.
So after losing my old lg phone I finally found an excuse to upgrade myself to a smart phone. After a but of looking around and a load of persuasion from my friends I styled on the Galaxy S. Really enjoying it at the moment, its doing everything I expected and more. For example, this post had been written entirely on my phone using Swype in under 5 minutes. Might post a couple of pictures and more about it later but I just wanted to test my new wordpress app. Loving it.