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Trevor Stone's Journal
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Change of Plans 
22nd-Feb-2003 11:26 pm
tell tale heart

So I've had a couple long posts building in my head, but I didn't want to spend the hours needed to post them appropriately while my space key and 'b' key were broken. Now that mca hooked me up with a beautiful white (and functional!) Apple Pro Keyboard. So what's happened since that fateful January 23rd?

When I spilled, I thought quickly, positioned the keyboard to minimize the flow, and cleaned up the desk. I then found a page about how to take apart and fix an Apple Pro Keyboard. It was very helpful in the diasembly -- once I'd gotten the main shell off I had been pretty lost. It said that to recover from the soda damage, I should wash the circuit board with alcohol and use conductive paint to repair the circuit. The first try didn't work, and neither did the second or third. In fact, in trying to repair the spacebar and right Option key I managed to damage the 'b' and left Apple keys. The left was annoying because repeated right-Apple/v is more tendonitically stressful than the left-side, but it's not too bad. But the lack of a 'b' made me sound like a vampire all the time. I offer my sincere appologies to everyone-I-annoyed-with-excessive-hyphenation. It really is faster to hyphenate than to right-hand paste. And drag-and-dropping a 'b' every time it's needed (say, in a homework assignment or a piece of code) is really slow. It didn't take me too long to stop hitting the spacebar, and I spent enough time in this situation that it started polluting my mind. I'd sit down at the lab (or with the new keyboard) and try to paste a space character, and get slightly confused when it didn't appear. When I was talking to people, I'd also start mentally replacing the letter 'b' with 'v' in what I was about to say, and have to stop myself. Fortuately, my brain is still plastic enough to switch back with only a little hesitancy. I'd almost forgotten how fast I can type.

The experience has been interesting. I've uncovered some interesting bugs, like the fact that MS Word doesn't always let you paste a space. If, for instance, you're trying to paste a space at the end of a word, it often just ignores you. But if you type onelongconcatenatedword and go back and paste spaces in the appropriate places, it's just fine. I also learned that, with enough tries, you can crash Terminal by drag-and-dropping.

So what's this long post I was working on? A day or two before the spill, I'd picked up the paperwork I need to fill out to graduate from the Masters program. I had reviewed the sample curriculum, and thought it would be a matter of a quick signature. I took it back home and filled it out, and then had to take it to Hal Gabow, the BS/MS advisor, for approval. As I was running over the requirements I'd completed, I asked what classes were acceptable to count towards both degrees, holding a list of undergraduate courses I'd taken. I learned that I'd glazed over the two masters classes listed in the senior year (since the first four years of the schedule looks almost exactly like the one for undergrads) and had read the bit at the top as indicating that any two courses could count toward both. So it turns out I was two classes short of graduating in May. Poo.

I thought about possible solutions as I walked to and from McGuckin's. There was no way I could survive four classes this semester on top of being an RA and doing a Masters Comps and finishing an incomplete. Three classes last year almost killed me. I thought I might be able to continue my plans to move elsewhere and finish next semester through CATECS, the distance-learning program we have, where you get to watch the classes on video tape. It turns out that, for some reason, your last semester can't be through CATECS. Rar. So I'm stuck in town until at least December.

I enrolled in Object Oriented Design and Analysis, which is a class I really ought to take anyway, and I think this'll enhance my ability to excel in the work world. I can also put off my Masters Comps paper until next semester, so I can focus my efforts on finishing my incomplete. (Yeah, I'm a slacker on that, but I'm still building data on nonverbal communication. It's fun!) After further thought, this plan has some additional advantages:

  • I can get a job, starting this summer, and have money to fund this hairbrained tour of the country. This means I'll only be able to make a couple short trips (like to slyviolet's graduation), but it means I'll be even more hireable once I actually get out of here.
  • I get to learn more, which I always support. OOA&D is good, and hopefully I'll be able to find something neat to take next semester (like Network Security or something).
  • Maybe I'll take a second class, perhaps pass/fail. Philosophy of Mind or economics or something hoopy.
  • I'll have experience living on my own, so I can know what to look for when I take the next step.
  • I get another year to enjoy things I said "this could be my last" of. Another Colorado Pie Night, another Solstice Revels, another summer and semester with my circle.

There are, of course, downsides as well.

  • Next semester will be my 15th semester on the CU campus. I'll be an 18th grader. Most people shoot to graduate at the end of their 16th grade year. Of course, my friends who are pursuing an MS separately of a BS are taking two years (at least), so you could also look at it as coming out ahead by a semester and change.
  • I need to find a place to live in town.
  • I need to find a job. And if it's not a school-related job, that might tie me down here longer than just December. I definitely don't want to go into an interview and say "I can only stay for six or seven months." So plans of moving out of state may need to be postponed indefinitely.

Of course, at the rate we're going, the desert I've been lusting for may find its way to the Colorado front range. And maybe I'll be able to swing a university job that I can leave when I graduate.

Finding a place to live is the current bother on my mind. I went to the off-campus housing fair on Wednesday and got a bunch of fliers from landlords targeting students. First, I need to decide what housing situation I want. I'm leaning towards a studio or one bedroom, since I'm not real good friends with many people looking for a house. And since I'm able to be content in a single that's got as many square feet as about four twin mattresses, a studio would feel quite roomy :-) The biggest problem with the stuff I looked at is the lease timing -- almost all of them start in August. Which would mean I'd either have to sublease something or move back home for a few months. But if I move back home for a few months, there's kind of no point in following a 12-month lease and moving yet again in August when I don't (at this time) know what my plans are past December. So I could sub-lease the place I was moving to, but there's no good reason to move somewhere for mid-May through mid-August and then move again, having made firm housing plans in March that last through next August. Not that I want to live at home for the rest of the year, either. I need the experience of living on my own (cooking, dealing with bills, etc.) that I haven't had.

I think I'm going to look through normal Boulder housing channels, though. If I'm only going to have one class, there's no reason to try to be near campus or take advantage of some of the other student-targeted housing situations. And by pursuing this, I ought to be able to find some options where the lease starts in May. I should also try to see if any of my friends are questing for roommates, too. (If you know someone in the Boulder area in such a situation, lemme know.)

The negative points are annoyances, really. And the positives are pretty good. In a sense, it's good I didn't realize how much I had to do for this program, because I might have tried to do it in five years and overextended myself. (I could have pulled it off if I'd taken a grad course in Fall 2001 instead of Existentialism, but I'm rather glad I took that class.) Plus, being a loose, adaptable guy I didn't make any firm plans for this summer trip, or accept a job somewhere else or something. So I haven't had to backpeddle anything set in stone (just in Stone's head).

So that's my change of plans. I'll write some more things that have happened and post them in the next day (hopefully tonight).

Cheers, and look forward to more frequent (and easier to read) posts from your favorite Jesus impersonator.

22nd-Feb-2003 11:40 pm (UTC)
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