06 October 2015

SF Fleet Week (and @CalHacks)

I'm not necessarily tired, but my attention span today (Monday) has been short (OOOOH LOOK SHINY THING!!!) er than it usually is, so getting things accomplished has been difficult. When my brain is in short attention span mode I try to focus on doing smaller tasks that get finished faster, which actually works quite well. This past weekend I was able to fix some bugs in one of my software projects, do some good user interface work, and in general be productive. Today not so much. Last night's lineup of dreams nightmares has a bit to do with that-- it took a good couple of hours and breakfast to get even somewhat dialed in.

I'm beginning my for-reals job search, albeit a little cautiously. I have a few copies of my resume out in the world now, and might have one or two first stage phone interviews in the next couple of weeks. I'm proceeding cautiously not out of fear, but because out of all of the resume, interviewing, and career advice that's available I'm sort of unique. Or maybe it just feels that way. No one ever makes infographics that show how to apply your resiliency in surviving living on the street to software engineering. As always, I have to look at a lot of things and listen to a lot of voices, picking and choosing the things that apply. I'm walking my own path, if nothing else, and hopefully it all adds up to convincing someone that I should be a part of the company they're hiring for. 

CalHacks is next weekend, so Thursday this week I'm headed first to Chicago-- I have an 0600 flight to San Francisco on Friday, and since I live in a place where the transportation network goes to sleep at 1900 (and since I don't own a car) I have to get to O'Hare the night before. This is both kind of a pain, and an opportunity to go exploring in Chicago a little bit since there are trains and they run late at night. I probably won't go anywhere all that exciting, maybe just somewhere for dinner that I've never been before. The 'it's a pain' part comes when I need to get some sleep, because I can't afford a hotel room. The bus transit center at O'Hare isn't the most comfortable place to spend a night, but it's not the worst either, and I'll be asleep on the plane before it leaves the ground.

Leaving so early means I'll get to San Francisco early, and then I'll have more time for exploring there. I don't have specific plans, although I'm trying to set up lunch or coffee with a couple of people I've met at hackathons. Last year before CalHacks I stumbled upon Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (which this year, happened already), so I need to find something new-- which didn't take long, the US Navy Blue Angels will be in town for SF Fleet Week. SCORE.

Intermission while I look for places to watch the Blue Angels on Google Maps. More intermission while I ask Google Maps how to get there on BART and Muni, and get from Pier n to the Downtown Berkeley BART station, and from there to Cal Memorial Stadium. This year I'm going to try to get it right and not end up at a liquor store in Oakland instead. :)


I'm aware even from so far away, of a sort of backlash coming from not just San Francisco, but Silicon Valley in general. It's pretty similar to the 1990's, when the commercial internet was a new thing. People then likened it to a gold rush, as everyone and their brother's dog was setting up a website and trying to get rich. Some of those people did, at least for a short time. I wasn't one of them. I worked for a dot com at the tail end of the madness that was the Dot Com Era, so I saw the carnage. It was ugly. There are a lot of people now trying the same thing-- drop everything, fly out to California, find a mattress to sleep on, fire up a start up, and get rich. I'm quite sure that there are plenty of people in Silicon Valley that are quite tired of kids from back East or the Midwest showing up expecting to be the next Zuck. 

Which puts me in an interesting position, because I'm moving to California next year. It's probable that I'll be working for one of the companies that one of these crazy kids starts up. 

There are a lot of reasons besides tech for me to want to move west, one of the main ones being that I need to be somewhere new. I've taken things as far as I can here, both academically and professionally. I'm looking for a job, yes, but I'm looking for a new school as well. I certainly could stay here, and take one class at a time, and it would take me six more semesters to graduate-- three years-- during which I'll be broke, cold, and unhappy. My love for Madison went away after sleeping on its streets. There's a lot that I really like about Madison, but it's painful to stay here (especially with the way the city continues to treat homeless people). Yes, this is the "greatest college football town in America", but when you don't drink and don't like loud crowds, that kind of thing doesn't matter much.

I'm going to end this rather abruptly. I'm awake later than I probably should be, I've been fighting off a headache for a while now, etc. etc. None of this answers anything, not really, but it's a start. It's also a reminder, to myself and to you, that I haven't given up. I could have, but I didn't.

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