Public Posts on MindSay
MindSay was a popular blogging site around 2003 - 2006. MindSay is preparing to relaunch itself this year, in 2016.
MindSay's mission is to enable the writer within ourselves.
Our community is not currently accepting new members, but check back soon. Wubalubadubdub!
I’m in a bizarre situation that probably doesn’t happen to most people: I’m moving literally right next door.
I currently live in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom trailer that was clearly built in the 70s with its garden bathtub (never knew that was the name of it until I lived here) the size of a small country. I am moving into a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom trailer about 10 feet from here that must have been built in the 90s with its “hip” carpet style and that weird ceiling that’s splotted (that I never thought I’d see in a trailer), you know, where bits drip down.
The trailers are the exact same size, but the layout of it yields so much more space, and, most importantly, so much more storage space via cupboards (my bathrooms have no cupboards). The cost is a significantly smaller closet space, but the closets in this one are merely wide, not really deep or in any way useful to me, so that’s not so much a cost as it is a shrug.
And for gaining all this extra room, I’m only paying $30 more per month. Good deal. Also the yard improves (I actually have grass!!) and I won’t be parking under a tree so my car won’t get disgusting in a day.
I’ve already begun moving as of Wednesday, June 29, and my landlord basically is giving me a whole week to get all my crap out. This is a pretty generous offer since most people are wanting your hide out as soon as possible, and there are a few other things going on that allow me to have a week. If I sit down and work at it, I’d be moved out in two days with how little stuff I have (technically I could do it in one, but not in the current heat index and humidity percentage).
So far I went ahead and did the ultra heavy and irritating crap. I got the treadmill out, some chairs that aren’t heavy or irritating (but were in the way of the next item), and the washer and dryer, and then some of my media and media storage thingies.
As it were, I’m the only person I know who can move a washing machine entirely alone (I’ve done it twice now). This means lowering it down some stairs, lateral movement, and then lifting it up some stairs. It’s broken enough underneath (nothing important) that trying to shimmy or slide it along is impossible unless I want to completely destroy the flooring or get about 30 pounds of dirt caught in it (hint: I don’t).
But just because I can doesn’t mean I want to. I got that piece of garbage over there and in its spot (thank GOD the laundry part is literally right when you walk in the back door, and the back door is facing my current trailer’s front door), and I got it during the hottest part of the day. I was completely exhausted and visibly weakened when I just collapsed on the patio’s stairs to rest. Got some water, got that dryer (which is nothing; about fifty pounds in pure bulk and size), and then more irritation: connecting everything.
Now, connecting a washer is nothing so nothing to say there. But that dryer. The lint tube, specifically. It was not in a good position relative to the dryer itself—the dryer’s out port is in the dead center, but the lint chute was off on a side with a pre-attached tube that wasn’t very long.
I spent about 30 minutes connecting it. The dryer now looks stupid because it can’t be pushed in all the way or else it’ll block/smash/destroy the tube. And of course I had to be back there squished between the two machines (which fit just perfectly in width), and I spent 30 minutes because the tube kept detaching itself, and blah blah blah, holy crap, I’m glad that’s over with.
I decided that that little bit was enough for the day. I hadn’t eaten anything all day, had little water, and I was dizzy. I got some food with my friend, helped her clean out her car, moved one table over while she continues cleaning her car, helped her vacuum it out (she lives with me and is going to be moving her stuff out Friday to a different location, and the car cleaning is to impress her father who will be showing up to help with the move), came home, we had a talk about this or that, and then I passed out.
I slept for about 4-5 hours because I suffer from a, what I call, “completionist” mentality. Once I start something, I don’t like breaking though I’ll take one, but I need to finish it. Anything; big project, minor chore, whatever. That’s why I’m awake and documenting this nonsense (because that’s what you do with “journals” or “logs”).
Anyway, my goal for today is to get MOST of my “too many small items” out of here. Clothes, more media, books, electronics. Things that aren’t too big but will require a million trips as I carry one box from here to there and dump everything on the new living room floor and repeat.
I want to ultimately only still have my TV, couch, and bed remaining by the end of the day. We’ll see.
So why a trailer? Especially an old one? I’ve lived in apartments many times in my life, and I hate sharing walls with neighbors. I broke contract with my last apartment some years ago because my upstairs neighbors were “middle men” to drug dealers and thus had no real responsibilities, inevitably leading to them being up all night (while I was a grad student) and asleep all day. I could have chosen to rent a house, but those are more expensive in the long run than a trailer. Plus, something about the format of the trailer is appealing to me.
…Though its age is definitely showing...
It seems really unfair that
- this is the best our relationship has ever been
- this is the best our house has ever looked
- this is the most financially stable we’ve both been so far
- even our sex is a lot better
and we’re going to end this. It just doesn’t seem fair but I am torn between two schools of thought here. One, where I cannot hold on to anything good and maybe I don’t deserve to; and two, where isn’t it best for it to end on a high note rather than a low? Aren’t I thankful that I don’t have to be sad and miserable every day of my life, coming home to a loveless marriage?
We’ve never really had any problems or issues throughout our entire relationship, save for maybe 3 occasions. And I believe that one those occasions the underlying issue was always that I could not commit. Now, I am loyal as shit— but actually committing scares me. Yes, I can be with you every day and love the shit out of you but don’t ask me to make promises I'm not sure I can keep. He always saw me in his future and I could never be 100% sure I was there. Now, he finally doesn’t see me in his future and it’s no longer an issue. I have committed to the end of this relationship— albeit it’s only a few months. But I think the one issue that sometimes held our relationship back is gone and now it’s the best relationship I could hope for, given my situation, honestly.
So I tried Bumble, which is a dating app in the vein of tinder, except that women have to message men first. But I wasn’t feeling it. I could figure out how to initiate conversation with nothing to go off of. And it was chock full of douchebag/fuckboy looking dudes. So I reactivated my OKCupid. Got like 20 messages within a few hours but nobody interested me. It’s ridic that I can be like “I AM SUCH A HUGE FEMINIST OMG” and still get gross messages. So I looked at some matches and then messaged this guy who I had a 92% match with who seemed cool. He messaged me back immediately and we ended up talking for like 3 hours. We traded egg puns for a good 10 minutes. When he said goodnight he gave me his number. So I’m going to text him tomorrow and we’ll see. I like him so far. I’ll probably go out with him if there aren’t any huge red flags.
Alyssa met this girl on OKCupid who lives in Lubbock. She came down on Saturday and they went on their first date and really hit it off. I’m so fucking thrilled because Lyss has been seeing this straight married woman and it’s been. Not good. Anyway she is coming to town tomorrow and they invited me out to dinner with them! I’m so excited to meet her and potentially have another female friend in Lubbock. And I’m SO FUCKING HAPPY that Lyss is dating a woman who is GAY and OUT.
Still really mad at H and that whole scenario. I might end up passive aggressively texting him something shitty in the not so distant future.
Edit: Also I am having a very difficult time finishing A Clash of Kings because it makes me think of Henry so much. He should not be allowed to ruin GoT for me
My entire “programming life,” coding has been a difficult thing for me. I remember my first introduction to it. I took a course called “C Programming” that was a lower level computer science course, designed for people who wanted to program but were not going to be majoring in computer science. We had options of C, Java, or FORTRAN at the time. I was fortunate that my then best friend took it with me because, well, I had no clue what was going on.
I passed that class with the lowest B I could muster with my friend letting me cheat off her on tests. That was in 2006. I would spend the next 7-8 years convinced that I was the one who had no idea how to program.
I picked C because out of the the 3 options (the real computer science majors were learning C++), C was most useful. I was an engineering major, and I had a co-op with the Army Corps of Engineers, and their entire everything was run on C.
Sometime in 2007 and 2008, I took a senior math level course called Numerical Analysis (I and II). This course was, effectively, “doing math on the computer.” I got better at programming here in the sense that I understood loops, iterations, and recursions, but I still didn’t have any clue how to properly implement functions or classes or structures (which is hilarious because, as an eventually-changed-my-major-to-mathematics, “functions” as a concept were familiar to me. I just had no clue how to implement them in C). And of course I coded every algorithm in C since it was the only language I knew.
I felt I understood mathematics from a programming standpoint, but I was wrong. The idea of “assignment” and “pointing” were as of yet entirely unknown to me, and they would not be revealed until I learned Python years later.
In 2010, I went to a new university, and I retook Numerical Analysis because, frankly, they were stupid. I was being taught by someone who knew the material less than I did (aside from getting marginally better at programming, the actual COURSE—the analysis, mathematics, logic, etc.--was very much well understood by me), and so I was bored. I was in it to fulfill some dumb requirement per my major.
I got out of there in 2011 during a very severe weather incident.
When I came back to my alma mater, there wasn’t really any programming to do. Not formally. Not wanting my abilities to be lessened, I requested a Directed Individual Studies with my favorite professor, who also liked me, and I entered the world of image processing. Specifically noisy image denoising.
Now I was doing some very serious programming via very serious mathematics. When my code worked for one image but not for another, I finally knew just how little I understood about programming. All the mathematical logic in the world wouldn’t help me step through the syntax of C, one of the most demanding syntax formats I’ve ever had the displeasure of working with.
I sat down, opened my old numerical analysis textbook, and proceeded to code every single algorithm in it in the hopes that it would help me fix at least my scripting issues with my denoising project, and, fortunately, it did. At least mostly. My code still wouldn’t work for certain images, and to this day I know not why, but it was enough that for when it DID work, my professor was pleased. She knew I understood the material and was just having issues with the implementation of it. She gave me an A because I at least demonstrated a very strong grasp of the ugly, terrible language that is “mathematical image processing.” And that itself is a feat to celebrate (and it is, now that I’m wiser).
Well, years go by. I get my Masters degree, I go teach, and finally, last Spring in 2015, I come back to school. I had an idea to study logistics, restarting my entire academic career for a new degree and new career prospects, and I knew there was some programming that needed to be learned in such a field. I needed two things in my belt:
1) working with Microsoft Excel, and
2) being able to program CORRECTLY
I’d forgotten much of my C outside of what I could do with my mathematics (so searching through files, string operations, etc. were lost, and I needed these). I signed up for a new course: Visual Basic Programming.
It was here I realized that I didn’t have a problem with programming, per se; rather, when I first took C, I was still in that undergraduate mentality of “Hey I did great in high school, so I should be able to just cruise by and pick everything up now. And if I can’t, I’ll blame the instructor for being poor.”
Now that I was back in school on my own money instead of scholarships and stipends, and thus was much more serious about learning, I was picking up the material very well. I still didn’t quite understand how to implement functions, but I better understood the logic behind them, and I even learned a thing or two about structures and classes.
Visual Basic programming was absolutely the best thing I’d ever done, and I don’t regret one minute taking such a course, even though it was clearly designed to teach fundamental “basics” that nobody would really implement at that level, nor did it teach how to implement them on a higher level. A very typical beginner’s programming course.
The summer of 2015 and fall, even, I moved to the PhD program in Industrial & Systems Engineering, and I was brought into my current field of research: wireless network optimization, wherein I seek to build a network in an optimal way such that it is robust against any particular attacks (like jamming) as well as operating under constraints (like a budget or with only so much power, the latter being a very common issue with military “ad hoc” networks).
I was immediately put on a project with optimally placing jammers so as to minimize the total signal in a single-hop wireless network array (think a normal network where you, a user, connect and get online. Your computer, your phone; the most common wireless network for the normal person).
My goal? Convert signal strengths into distances and estimate users’ locations via a process called trilateration (literally a reverse of triangulation). If I know your distance to A and your distance to B, I can draw circles with A, B as the centers, and a radius equal to your distance, and figure out where the two circles touch, thus representing your position, knowing the locations of A and B.
A fun little task for my part of the project. I started with Visual Basic, but I was quickly made to realize something—nobody USES Visual Basic in the real world.
Everyone here is using Python. I would later realize Python is the best language at some things and the most frustrating at other things. So while I had a working script from Visual Basic, Python was where I needed to learn. Not just for now, but for the future.
I got myself on this “Automate the Boring Stuff with Python,” a free ebook I recommend to anyone and everyone, and went at it.
Fast forward to last March, just a few months ago. I knew some Python, now, but I was still quite scared of programming. I was enrolled in a Nonlinear Programming course, basically a smaller but more focused version of Numerical Analysis, and it was cakewalk. I was also working on a “botnet” project, where I had to examine raw data and determine if any connections were malicious bots or not using what’s called “machine learning algorithms.”
Regardless of how those two went (excellently, I might clarify), I got so used to smashing my head into a wall trying to learn how to do this or that with Python that, here I am now.
I am incorporating so many different things with Python, from building graphs to visualizing data to machine learning to using the command line that I am no longer afraid of programming.
There are still some things I don’t fully grasp, and some of them basic, like counting all the occurrences of a certain letter in a given sentence or whatever (in fact, most of what I don’t know involves strings), but the point is that I’m unafraid, where I had always been before. Programming is a hard thing, but it’s only a thing. I may not grasp yet how to do this or that, but I know if I need to, I can piece it together.
For beginners out there, stay away from C or C++. Do something in Python or Visual Basic; the format of these languages is so beginner friendly you can just DO while trying to still learn and absorb the why/how it works. For people like me, this is of paramount importance—we need to be doing while learning; we can’t be told why/how and then try and figure out how to do later. These two languages really help cross that bridge.
But better still are those neat programming exercises literally designed for children to teach children how to program. Often made up languages specifically for teaching a child how to program, these, most importantly, help someone understand programmatic LOGIC and why something works the way it does (many of them give you the ability to see what happens when you don’t indent, telling you why it doesn’t work and what the computer thinks, all while you’re doing it! Much better instead of trying to figure it out yourself with a real language/compiler via debugging).
By Michael Biesecker and Stephen Braun
7 hrs ago
WASHINGTON — An additional 165 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton's time at the State Department surfaced Monday, including nearly three dozen that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee failed to hand over last year that were sent through her private server.
The latest emails were released under court order by the State Department to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch. The batch includes 34 new emails Clinton exchanged through her private account with her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. The aide, who also had a private email account on Clinton's home server, later gave her copies to the government.
The emails were not among the 55,000 pages of work-related messages that Clinton turned over to the agency in response to public records lawsuits seeking copies of her official correspondence. They include a March 2009 message where the then-secretary of state discusses how her official records would be kept.
"I have just realized I have no idea how my papers are treated at State," Clinton wrote to Abedin and a second aide. "Who manages both my personal and official files? ... I think we need to get on this asap to be sure we know and design the system we want."
In a blistering audit released last month, the State Department's inspector general concluded Clinton and her team ignored clear internal guidance that her email setup violated federal records-keeping standards and could have left sensitive material vulnerable to hackers.
The audit also cited a then-unreleased copy of a November 2010 email Clinton sent Abedin in which the secretary discussed using a government email account, expressing concern that she didn't want "any risk of the personal being accessible."
Clinton never used a government account that was set up for her, instead continuing to rely on her private server until leaving office in 2013. Though Clinton's work-related emails were government records, she didn't turn over copies until more than 30 lawsuits were filed, including one by The Associated Press.
Before providing her correspondence, Clinton and her lawyers withheld and subsequently deleted tens of thousands of messages that she claimed were personal, such as emails about her daughter's wedding plans, family vacations, yoga routines and condolence notes.
With the new release Monday, more than 50 work-related emails sent or received by Clinton have since surfaced that were not among those she provided.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon did not immediately respond Monday to a message seeking comment. Last week, Fallon told AP that Clinton had provided "all potentially work-related emails" that were still in her possession when she received the 2014 request from the State Department.
"Secretary Clinton had some emails with Huma that Huma did not have, and Huma had some emails with Secretary Clinton that Secretary Clinton did not have,"
Fallon said. Fallon declined to say whether Clinton deleted any work-related emails before they were reviewed by her legal team.
Dozens of the emails sent or received by Clinton through her private server were later determined to contain classified material. The FBI has been investigating for months whether Clinton's use of the private email server imperiled government secrets. Agents recently interviewed several of Clinton's top aides, including Abedin.
As part of the probe, Clinton turned over the hard drive from her email server to the FBI. It had been wiped clean, and Clinton has said she did not keep copies of the emails she choose to withhold.
In a report released Monday by Democrats on the House select panel probing the 2012 attacks on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, Republican congressional investigators asked questions about Clinton's use of the private email server in interviews with her close aides.
Abedin told interviewers that she was aware of Clinton's heavy use of private emails from the start and that Clinton continued a practice that she had developed as a U.S. senator for New York and as a 2008 presidential candidate. "It was a natural progression from what she was doing previously, and she continued to do so."
Asked repeatedly who serviced Clinton's private server in the basement of her New York home, Abedin identified Justin Cooper, a technology staffer at that time for former President Bill Clinton, and Bryan Pagliano, a State Department technology official who is cooperating with an FBI investigation of Clinton's private server under an immunity deal with prosecutors. Abedin was hazy about Pagliano's role at the agency and his private work overseeing Clinton's server in New York.
Pagliano, who previously worked for Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination and declined to answer the committee's questions. In a sworn deposition last week, Pagliano also refused to answer questions posed by lawyers from Judicial Watch, including who paid for the system and who else at the State Department used email accounts on it. Pagliano also would not answer whether he discussed setting up a home server with Clinton prior to her tenure as secretary of state, according to a transcript.
Other State Department officials told congressional investigators that Clinton never responded to internal offers to set her up with an official State account and an agency computer. Patrick Kennedy, the undersecretary for management at the State Department, said Clinton did "not know how to use a computer to do email. So it was never set up."*
Yep, good old Lying, Cheating Billary…
Anyone dumb enough to vote for her…
Well, let’s just leave it at, they should have their head examined!
So a little bit about my history with weight. As a kid I pretty much always ate well, wasn’t too picky with much, although I had a particular dislike of most fruits. I regret the fact that my parents didn’t do more to try and push them on me, but whatever. I was never an obese child, though I was always a bit uhhh “hefty” I suppose. Definitely larger than the other kids, both as far as height and weight, though again, not obese or out of control or anything. At some point, my pediatrician told my parents that “maybe he should cut back on the seconds at dinner”, which I think is a fairly telling statement. Not seriously overweight, but more than I should have been.
Around middle school or so I guess I hit a bit of a growth spurt. I still wasn’t exactly thin or anything, but my height caught up to my weight a bit, which was good. It was at this point in life that my mother trotted out that awful awful rationalization that, I personally feel, had a large effect on my life and habits: “Oh, you’re a growing boy, you can eat whatever you want!”
And maybe that was true at the time. Youth, growth, puberty, high metabolism, all that goodness. When she said that, I took it to heart, because I liked to eat, man. Always have, always will.
This is the point where bad habits are cemented.
High school comes along, and I’m still a somewhat manageable weight I suppose. I’m not sure of an exact number, but probably teetering on the higher end of the healthy BMI range. It’s in high school that I develop some truly harmful obsessive compulsive habits, although they didn’t quite manifest in my eating habits. Much…
Now it’s at this point that I have to say… My parents, whom I will give all the credit in the world, I believe they did an absolutely fantastic job in raising me, but I don’t think they instilled in me the healthiest attitudes regarding eating and weight. A lot of what we ate was unhealthy frozen dinners. I know that I can’t complain too much because hey, who wants to come home from work and put a ton of effort into cooking a meal? But it is what it is.
My mother though, I truly feel gave me some mixed messages. I remember at one point I was practicing a speech for a public speaking class in front of them. She pointed out how visible my gut was in my shirt. That’s a particularly egregious example, but comments of that sort were somewhat common. Asking if I was at such amount of weight yet, stuff like that.
Yet my mother almost NEVER encouraged me to diet, to exercise much, to really do much to lose any weight. It was, as I said, frozen dinners. It was her making cookies on the regular. It was, when I was tempted to eat something I know I didn’t need, her saying “OH JUST EAT IT!” As for exercise, I would walk in the neighborhood. There were some steep hills, but it’s still just walking. Not exactly intense cardio or anything.
This is the attitude I grew up with. The attitude of “OH WE TRY BUT FOOD IS JUST SO GOOD!” And this attitude followed me into college and into the workforce. I was a bit over 210 at my highest (at a height of 5’11’’). Because whatever, right? At least I wasn’t THAT fat!
Eventually I discovered the need to start improving myself, putting myself in less comfortable situations, and gaining confidence. As part of this, it eventually became obvious that I needed to lose some damn weight.
And I did! I lost 30lbs and bottomed out around 180 pounds. At a point it was like “OK, I lost a significant amount of weight and I’d like to lose more, but hey, I’ll get back to it soon!”
Soon hasn’t come yet. It’s been over a year. Yes, I’ve kept off most of the weight (I’ve crept towards the high 180s at points), but the same damn habits have continued to manifest themselves, and prevented myself from losing any more.
Admittedly, part of it is the fact that I’m still at home, and although the cookies and baked goods are less common, it’s still the save frozen crap for dinner. It’s still mom telling me that it’s OK, just eat it. After all, you lost a bunch of weight, you deserve it!
Moving out is an option, yes, but it’s not what I feel is best for my life goals at this time. (Yes I’m a shitbag millennial still living at home well into his twenties, you don’t know me so fuck right off) So while the crappy stuff might inevitably be around for a while, I can perhaps make a list of statements, mantras perhaps, that would help to reinforce the ideals that I need to keep going instead of stagnate as I have been. Statements such as:
-Just because I’ve lost a significant amount of weight doesn’t mean that I couldn’t/shouldn’t lose more
-Just because people might say that I don’t need to lose any weight doesn’t mean I shouldn’t lost more
-Just because unhealthy food is there doesn’t mean I have to eat it. Furthermore, even if I do eat unhealthy food, I don’t need to eat an excess amount of it just because it’s there
-I should be able to make my own food instead of always having my parents make it for me
-I shouldn’t allow others to try and shame me for eating healthy or eating an amount of food that they feel isn’t enough
-Unhealthy food should not be viewed as a reward for losing weight/eating healthily for any period of time
-Liking to eat should not be a significant part of my personality
-Healthy foods are not “weird” no matter what others may say
-150 calories worth of vegetables goes a lot farther than 150 calories of chocolate
-No food can possibly taste as good as being fit feels
-And above all else, I DO NOT HAVE TO BE A “BIG GUY”