It’s been more than a month!! I haven’t been posting, but my life has completely changed in these busy 4-5 weeks. So let’s get to it. I miss writing!
So my year started on the 28th of December. My weeks start on Monday so I couldn’t possibly start my year on Friday the 1st. I started tracking lot of activities, even water and food consumption, but I quickly let go of those early on. Happens almost every year. It’s easier to track those when we have the time. But when we’re busy rushing around it’s just not feasible.
In terms of coding, I took a little step back from building in my first few days to take an object oriented programming course with Deborah Kurata at Pluralsight. What a fantastic course! Not only the contents are great and helped me to fill some gaps in my knowledge, but I also loved her teaching style. The explanations were crystal clear. Can’t recommend it enough for beginners.
After that I went down a little rabbit hole. I wanted to create a super simple app to serve as a “first” in a “build your first c# app” in minutes kind of tutorial. I found out that the easiest way to achieve this without some complex scaffolding is with Razor Pages. It’s indeed easy to get it running with the intimately related c# class behind it. But to create anything minimally presentable I had to dive into Razor Pages tutorials and it turns out to be way more complex.
I tried to create a little quiz that a beginner could show to their friends, something that I think it’s really important in someone’s learning path. But that involves having questions in a simple data service, then rendering the questions in a dropdown list, then validating the users answers against the correct answers in the database and then updating the page accordingly. The expectation of having it done quickly turned into a frustration. I didn’t want to be doing any of that. Every day I spent on it meant one less day spent in the thing I like the most: Angular. Essentialism, Pablo, don’t forget! But of course it’s easier said than done. Sunk cost fallacy is a powerful mental trap and it took me a few days to get rid of Razor.
Proper Computer Science
In the first few weeks I went down another little rabbit hole. I started watching a lecture at Berkeley University. SICP: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. Again it started very well but I started going into a functional programming pathway that I understand is super important for a programmer to have and considering the following events that I’ll explain soon I didn’t have the time to continue.
My idea is to go over some books from this super interesting article on how to study computer science by yourself: It’s an article that provides a lifetime of learning and the books are thick tomes with advanced computer science and mathematics. Of course my brain wants me to devour all of them. So I started it. I picked the functional programming course because it was recommended as a great foundation by many.
The course is tightly coupled with the book of the same name and I started listening to the lectures and doing some of the exercises. Fascinating stuff. It was great to get in touch with heavy Maths again. I put the whole thing aside for a minute but I’m definitely getting back to it at some point.
My interest in diving deeper into computer science was fuelled in part by my first book of the year: “Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman”, a fascinating read about one of the most important American professors of all time. He’s famous for having participated in the team that produced the atomic bomb. The book is a series of tales narrated by himself. Imagine taking a sneak peek into a brilliant scientist’s mind. That’s what it provides. The anecdotes aren’t only about science, but range from his school days, nerdy advice to approach women and interesting takes in many aspects of life.
Then I jumped into Andre Agassi’s “Open”. Also narrated by himself, it’s impossible not to get fired up and motivated during this read. I’m not a tennis aficionado, but have watched my fair share of games, specially during my betting years, and learned to appreciate the nature of the game. His accounts of his early years are unforgettable. He says he hates tennis because of how much his dad made him practice. “If you hit a million balls a year you’ll be the best in the world”, his dad would say. The man built a tennis court and a ball-spitting machine in his court yard with his bare hands. What’s my excuse? It’s particularly impressive to have a couple of behemoths like Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Agassi, Becker, Sampras at the top for so many years in a such a competitive sport. These people have to be studied.
Right now I’m reading (listening) to Steve Job’s biography. Endlessly fascinating but I’ll talk about it when it’s over.
End Then Everything Changed
It’s interesting where life takes us and how it does it. A little more than two weeks ago my landlord said she wanted me to leave. She has helped me in the last 6 months undercharging me and I’m super appreciative of it but she wanted to make proper money out of her spare room and I totally understood her request.
So I started searching for a place and stumbled across a room online and went to see it. It was above what I had initially wanted to pay but why not have a look. It’s a great room in a big house in a complex in Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast. At first the house looked messy because there are renovations going on and the owner is clearly not a minimalist. Too many objects. But who cares? The room seemed cosy, there’s a nice swimming pool in the complex. So why not? It seems right now it was a fantastic decision, even though it’s very expensive. First because I hate decision fatigue. I could have spent weeks in inspections trying to find the right place but I’m not into that. So I just said in 10 minutes: Where do I sign?
Well it turns out one of my housemates is an Uber Eats driver and when I moved in we started talking about it. I decided to give it a try and applied for an account and after sending all the documents I was approved within six days. I started driving on the next day and after three days I made an average of 100$ a day (approx. 21$/h) . Plus it’s fun!! I get to see the city, see what people’s lives and homes are like, I can drive while listening to great music and podcasts/audio books in the aircon, seeing beautiful landscapes and architecture and don’t even have to deal with shitty people!!
It’s definitely not a fantastic pay but considering my current circumstance it’s absolutely perfect. It’s flexible work. I can work at any hours from 7am to 12am (and in weekends probably even during the night), which means I can keep teaching. Also, I’ll post later about my plan of going into a Computer Science course, which means I’ll need some serious cash. And driving an Uber provides the money just at the right time. I won’t go crazy driving 12hs a day but I can even do that If needed. I think the max I could make a day would be 300$ in a 12h shift. Not bad at all.
So that’s where I stand right now. New place in a new city, new job, enough money coming in to make plans. My coding time has been affected by the lack of a consistent routine (I’ll publish all my carefully tracked times in the next few posts), but I feel like January was about building the foundations. In February I’ll be able to have a routine that I’m used to. When moving homes, even knowing where things are is hard, which affects the flow of things.
So my goals for February: To make 100$ a day with Uber; To finalise my current coding project; To apply for University studies.
From what I researched I’ll have to do an english + maths bridging course at the University of Sunshine Coast before getting into actual Uni but I’m extremely motivated regardless. I’ve never been so well-equiped for studying and I want to smash it when I’m back to it.
What a big post!
Back soon, I hope.