Me, Myself, and Colton

Leading to a rapid loss of interest since 2011

Don’t Break Your Children!

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There’s an article which has been going around Facebook lately. I finally got around to reading it. It’s titled “You just broke your child. Congratulations.” Even though I should be going to bed, I had to share it with you.

Here’s an excerpt:

Dads. Stop breaking your children. Please.

I feel a need to write this post after what I witnessed at Costco yesterday. Forgive me for another post written in desperation and anger. Please read all the way to the end. I know it’s long, but this is something that needs to be said. It’s something that needs to be heard. It’s something that needs to be shared.

As Noah and I stood in line to make a return, I watched as a little boy (he couldn’t have been older than six) looked up at his dad and asked very timidly if they could buy some ice cream when they were done. The father glared him down, and through clenched teeth, growled at the boy to “leave him alone and be quiet.” The boy quickly cowered to the wall where he stood motionless and hurt for some time.

The line slowly progressed and the child eventually shuffled back to his father as he quietly hummed a childish tune, seemingly having forgotten the anger his father had just shown. The father again turned and scolded the boy for making too much noise. The boy again shrunk back and cowered against the wall, wilted.

I was agitated. I was confused. How could this man not see what I see? How could this man not see what a beautiful spirit stood in his shadow? How could this man be so quick to stub out all happiness in his own boy? How could this man not cherish the only time he’ll ever have to be everything to this boy? To be the person that matters most to this boy?

Read the article. It’s potentially life-changing, whether you’re a dad now, or might be someday in the future. I feel like it’s changed my life, and I’m a long ways off from being a dad myself. Hopefully when that day comes, I can be the kind of dad he talks about in that post.

PS: Hopefully I remember (and have the motivation) to post on here more often. I have a lot harder time posting about life than about technology….. ;–) Stay tuned!

Another Beginning

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School starts again tomorrow. OK, well, I actually don’t have classes until Tuesday, but the semester officially starts.

It should be an interesting semester. I only have one in-person class, and 3 online courses. I’m getting a bunch of my general ed out of the way this semester, which is exciting. Sure, technical classes are more difficult, but since I’m interested in them, they’re not as bad for me.

Anyway, I’m going to try to blog, even in short spurts like this one, throughout this semester. We’ll see how I do!

Wish me luck!

New Habits

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I recently saved an article to Instapaper.

I finally got around to reading it today. And it’s really good! It’s all about creating habits rather than specific goals for change, and letting the change happen as a result of the habits. It talks about only focusing on a single habit at a time, and throwing yourself into it completely. It talks about enjoying it: enjoy the healthy foods that can be so good, like berries. Do exercise that you enjoy. Try to make one new habit per month: even if you only stick to half of those habits, you’ve made 6 new positive habits per year! Your life will change as a result.

So I’ve decided to make some habits. Here are some of them, in the order I plan to implement them. I don’t know if I’ll take a whole month for each, but I do know that, as my Dad says, if I wait to do them perfectly (plan a perfect exercise routine, perfect diet, etc), I’ll never do them.

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule with 8 hours per night.

This one is tough for me, and I’m not really sure why. I love to lay in my bed and watch TV shows, and then always regret it come morning when I have to get up early. I equate it to how it must feel to drink and then be hung over the next morning: it was fun, but was it worth it? My plan is to go to bed at 2130 every night, and wake up at 0530 every morning. If I’m sticking to the 2130 bedtime properly, then letting myself sleep in on the weekends is OK. Also, I can have some wiggle room on the weekends if I’m doing something social.

  1. Stop eating out

We didn’t eat out a lot when I was young. So when I had my own money, it was such a draw to eat out — the food it so delicious and it was such a novelty! But it’s a huge factor in how out of shape I am. It also is really hard on my finances. Two birds with one stone.

  1. Exercise three days per week

One of the most cliche resolutions out there. But I’ve got to do it. I’ve actually been doing this one for a couple of weeks now — only 20 minutes per exercise session, but it’s a start.

Wish me luck!

At Long Last…

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The semester from Hell is over. phew

OK, all things considered, this semester could have been worse. I had one really cool class, Computer Systems. (Though as is usually the case, because it was cool it was also quite difficult) I also had a very stupid writing class, and a probability and statistics class which wasn’t too bad. The thing that made this the semester from, well, down there, was my models of computation class.

This class should not have been that difficult. Computation theory is not something I struggle with very much. In fact, most of the semester, I taught myself the subject matter, and didn’t really get much out of lectures. The issue was that the professor, though knowledgeable and passionate about the subject, was not very adept at communicating the subject matter to the students. I think we’ve all had these types of professors. To make matters worse, he had decided to overhaul the class this semester to make it more programming-centric. When I heard this, I was ecstatic. Not only would it be more programming work than just on-paper work, but we were also going to be doing that programming in Python, which is my language of choice!

There was a problem, however. He had not written the year’s curriculum in advance over the summer. No, he taught the class from his lecture notes (which he wrote throughout the semester, and obviously didn’t have edited). He also wrote the assignments as he went. This resulted in a lot of errors and confusion. Assignments would be updated with fixes the day before they were due, which just made me want to procrastinate more than normal, because otherwise I’d have to redo the assignment anyways. Oh, and these changes would not always get mailed out to the class mailing list or even changed in the assignment PDF; rather, he would often just post the changes to a FAQ document, which we were supposed to check on a regular basis. So often we had to rely on word of mouth between students to catch changes before the due date came a went. It sucked! His notes were rambling and filled with jokes about the subject matter that really only he would get, which just made them confusing. Why couldn’t he have just taught out of a book????*

Then came the straw that broke the camel’s back. Actually, it was more like a bail of hay. Although his syllabus had said from the beginning of the semester that we would only have a final project and an exam in which we would analyze our final projects, he sent out an e-mail two weeks before the end of the semester: We were having a comprehensive final exam. I have to admit I had a small breakdown that night. I was pissed.

In any case, it’s all over. And I may even pull an A or A- in that class! Sorry for the venting post, but it had to be done.

Also, I’m going to blame the long period of silence this blog has been enduring on this last semester. Theoretically I’ll start posting periodically again. We’ll see. =)

* The linked book is the one I think he should have used — I bought it a couple of weeks ago, and it does such a better job than his notes did. I wish I had bought it the first day of class — would have been a lifesaver! I highly recommend it to anyone studying theory/models of computation.

Summer Is Coming to a Close

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OK, this blog post may be premature. But with school looming in just a few short weeks (1 day less than three weeks, to be exact), it sure feels like summer is coming to a close. Now I should maybe clarify: I do not care that summer as a season is coming to a close. It’s quite frankly too hot, and I much prefer fall, spring, or even, dare I say it, winter. But I’m definitely sad my break is ending. Why, you might ask? Well, even if you didn’t ask and don’t want to know, I’ll tell you. Feel free to post TL:DR and get the heck out. ;–)

The first and foremost reason I’m bummed school is starting is the homework. Sure, I’ve been working full time this summer, and as such have been “busy”….but it’s a different kind of busy. When I go home from work, work stays at work. However, school always comes home with me, in the form of homework. Some homework isn’t even too bad, and a few assignments can actually be pretty fun, but with one of my classes being a writing class, I have little hope for a good chunk of my homework. Ah well, life goes on.

The writing class I mentioned actually is the whole of the second reason I don’t want to go back to school: boring, stupid, ridiculous classes. I don’t deny that writing is an important skill, but the path to gaining that skill is a long, boring one. Ugh.

However, on the bright side (yes, there’s definitely a bright side), I’m also taking some classes about which I’m pretty excited! Computer Systems promises to be a very interesting class, despite its reputation as being a fairly difficult class. I’m also taking Engineering Probability and Statistics (which doesn’t sound half bad to me, but then again I’m weird), as well as Models of Computation (about which I’m pretty excited). All in all it’s shaping up to be a good semester, I think, especially since I feel I’ve recovered nicely from the burnout of last semester. One can only hope that feeling lasts. =)

In the meantime, we still have a fun family camping trip coming up this next weekend, and then I’ll have a week and a half of relative freedom remaining before school starts….I guess I need to go see when I can buy my new parking permit. And the list begins! =\


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What motivates us?

I’ve pondered that question a fair bit lately, as I’ve struggled to motivate myself to take on one project or another. On the one hand, it’s summer, and after four straight semesters of full classloads, I feel like I should have a break. At the same time, though, I like to feel like I’m doing something, plus I really enjoy programming. Here’s the problem, though: every time I try to pick up a new project, the motivation to work on it lasts a short while, and then I move on to my next “fad”.

My apparent attention deficit aside, once we start a large project, it’s difficult to keep at it, especially when the scope of such a project becomes apparent. I recently read a post by Nick O’Neill which addresses this difficulty, and a really insightful solution:

When you start an ambitious project you’re excited because of the journey that you’re embarking on. Months in, you’ll probably be cursing at yourself for taking on a project that’s so ambitious.

At those moments where you’re cursing yourself or feeling like you may have taken on something that’s too challenging, it’s helpful to have someone there to say ‘keep at it’! Whoever that may be, make sure you assign someone even if you don’t have a significant other to help you out. It could be one of your parents, a good friend, or anybody else.

Starting off with a long-term vision makes it way too easy to quit early on. Break up the project into chunks and then set reasonable goals. Eventually you’ll create your vision

I’m going to work on taking Mr. O’Neill’s advice, and getting others to help me keep my goals. You should too!

Have any insights into staying motivated? Please leave a comment below! =)

Bonfires and Algorithms

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I think the hardest part about blogging is finding subjects about which to write.

Once I get started on a subject, it’s pretty straightforward. I’m a pretty decent rambler. It’s actual the same with normal conversation — once we’re talking about something, I can carry on a conversation. However, once a given subject lags, I have a really hard time coming up with something new about which to talk. I think the biggest problem is that the things about which I am most passionate tend to bore (or at least I expect them to bore) other people — specifically, technology. That’s what my tech blog is for — I can geek out to my heart’s content without forcing anyone to stand there and force a smile. =)

All kidding self-deprecation aside, now that finals and school are over, my life is kind of boring, which is just the way I like it. It’s been so nice to just work, and then come home from work and really have nothing that I need to do. It’s great! This is really my first semester I’ve taken off since I started school after my mission, and it will be perfect, methinks.

Anyway, a couple of fun things that happened recently: first, last Saturday we had a bonfire over at my friend Shaline’s house. It was a blast, especially because we got so many people to come from our old River Park Ward. I miss that ward, ever since they did the YSA reorganization a few weeks ago. Our ward is so different — I’m sure it will be good, but I miss the dynamic we had before the reorganization, and it was sure fun to hang out with a lot of those people at the bonfire. We ate smores, talked, laughed, and had a blast! I’ve decided I’m going to have a host a couple of those myself this summer.

In other news, a book I ordered a couple of weeks ago came yesterday. Now, go easy on me, but yes, I ordered a 1200 page algorithms book for fun. I know, right? Even I recognize that that’s a little ridiculous, but I love computer science, and love to learn. I very much enjoyed my algorithms class last semester, but with all the homework from that and other classes, I wasn’t able to just learn for learning’s sake. That’s the problem with school — I just want to audit all my classes, not do all the work! (Obviously learning involves doing some work, or you’ll never remember any of the concepts, but still!) So between that book and my newfound love of the Python programming language, I should have plenty to keep me busy this summer.

Oh ya! Another cool thing is that my friend Andrew and I, for our Mobile Programming final project, started on a fully-featured chat client for iPhone/iPod. We plan to work more on it this summer, and eventually release it on the App Store! We’re excited about that, and I’ll give more details as we actually get closer to release.

Anyway, I think I’ve rambled enough for today. So, until tomorr….er, next week…, who knows? ;–)

Finals Are Finally Finished!

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The interesting thing is that that title is not true. But it’s still how I’m feeling — I’m finished with the final projects for both CS4962 (Mobile Programming) and CS3505 (Software Practice 2), as well as my algorithms (CS4150) final. With only Physics left, I might as well be done, ‘cause the stress is so much less! It’s glorious indeed.

But, since I’m not actually done with finals, I suppose I should get back to it, rather than sit here pretending I can write. Until next time….

The Show Must Go On!

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It’s road shows!!!

I’m waiting in the wings with the rest of the River Park Ward crew, waiting patiently for our turn to perform. Tonight are the South Jordan River Stake Road Shows!

Here’s the idea: each ward has 15 minutes to put on a show. We were given a theme, only a few weeks to prepare, and very little budget. It’s not meant to be a professional affair — it’s just good fun! The other twist is that we have to be mobile — we’re performing at 3 different locations this evening, and only have a few minutes to get between places and set up and tear down our props and so forth. Kind of fun. =) The people in our ward who wrote the script did a really good job, and…now we’re on, I’ll continue this later.

We’re done with all the performances now, and they went really well. The theme of the road show was “Put your shoulder to the ______”. Our implementation of that theme was “Put your shoulder to the Deal or No Deal”. Basically, we did “Deal or No Deal: Dating Edition”. Our male lead, Neal, was searching for his eternal companion (or “EC”), and each case he opened was another date. It didn’t stick to the Deal or No Deal rules almost at all, but was still very well written and pretty funny. Everything went off generally without a hitch. I think it turned out really well!

Oh, and if you’re wondering, no, I wasn’t in the cast. I was the soundboard guy, running all the sound effects. It actually was pretty fun!

Seems Pretty Accurate…

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I had to laugh a little. After I deleted the default post in the new WordPress installation that was to be my blog, this is what the site looked like:

(Sorry, but I actually lost this image in my blogging platform switch. Whoops!)

If you can’t read it, it says, “Not Found. Sorry, but you’re looking for something that isn’t here.” Seems pretty accurate.

It just kind of struck me as funny. Those of you who have known me for awhile know that I’ve started a couple of blogs in my time. None of them have stuck for very long. Maybe this one will, who knows? But still, I can’t help but laugh at the potential accuracy of that screenshot.

Anyway, welcome to my new blog. Here will (theoretically) go all the boring details of my boring life. I hope you enjoy. More to come.