make better_mistakes

New Year in Guangzhou


I am on the flight to Beijing, after having moved out of my apartment and stored boxes with family and friends. Last night was a late one, drinking cheap wine on a friend’s futon with my partner at two in the morning, letting the cheap wine soak our systems which were already coursing with caffeine from nine in the evening coffees.

This feels risky. Every part of my body says the safe bet would have been to stay in Seattle, find a job, any job, and work that for a couple of years till something better comes along. Something better isn’t coming along. Maybe I just wasn’t looking hard enough, but it looked doubtful that satisfying work was coming my way, no matter how hard I chose to look.

I did make one good stab towards my goals this week, despite the madness of moving. I finished my application to Hungry Academy, an apprenticeship program sponsored by Living Social with instruction by Jumpstart Lab. I posted my application video and a code sample. The video was ok, I did several eight minute takes and the last one felt good enough. The code sample I chose was a pull request wherein I had altered some of Brandon Mathis’ code from the Octopress Pullquote plugin. There are very few alterations to the code, but it is the simplest solution that works, and this choice of project will hopefully demonstrate that I am capable of reading other’s code and adapting it. Also, able to contribute usefully to existing projects.

I really hope I get in, though the time commitment the program requires, along with it being DC-based might force my partner and myself to live apart for five months.

I reflected on last week’s goals and what worked and what didn’t I recognize that the thing that I need to focus on isn’t chapters or pages read (though these may end up as good metrics) but instead I should begin to focus on hours spent studying. I think that next week I will attempt to read Rails In Action for 12 hours. Which means I’ll need to read for two hours and twenty four minutes each day. I believe this is a completely achievable goal.

The other part to making this work is recording a metric other than time to see if I can improve. Though not all pages are equal, I’m going to track my page count, so that in the future I can improve my pages read per hour or day.

On the Ground in Guangzhou, Day Two

We arrived in Guangzhou late at night, 10:20 PM China time. We subtract sixteen hours to figure out the time in the States. it was 5:20 AM back home in Seattle. We are exhausted from running through the Beijing airport after one of our bags disappeared. Both my partner and I had small meltdowns in the airport, and she barely slept on the plane. My brother and his wife pick us up from the airport and we cross into the new year while riding the Subway from the airport closer to their apartment.

Yesterday was a shopping day, including a long and exhausting trip to IKEA. We’re crashing in the extra room in my brother’s flat until we can furnish the apartment we’ll be staying at in the building above my brother’s brewery.

I think that acclimating through the jet lag and minor culture shock is going to leave me low energy, and it’s already Monday evening. I’m going to set a realistic goal of eight hours of reading this week, two hours each day Tuesday through Friday. I’ll set aside time and space away from my family to make this happen and hopefully also be able to check in at the end of the week.