evolosophy/grad school As soon as I found a catchphrase, I placed it here.
All Posts
Next Steps
Publish: 2024-03-22 15:42:00
Categories: grad school

Right, so where are things at this point?

In the final months of last year I sent out a handful of applications to grad schools for the respective Data Science programs. Some I've heard back from some I haven't. Here's where things stand on that front:

  • CUNY - response pending
  • University of Washington - waitlisted
  • University of Michigan - accepted!
  • University of Texas - pending
  • New College of Florida - accepted!
  • Marysville University - accepted!
  • University of Minnesota - pending

It's a little premature, but here's kind of how I'm looking at things currently. My top choice is University of Minnesota. If I get accepted to that program (and I get funding secure (more to come)) then that's likely where I'm off to next. Minnesota appeals to me for three reasons. In order they are:

  1. Their Data Sciene program looks really good, and I think it would be a solid experience.
  2. Minneapolis supposedly has strong Portland vibes. I never fell in love with Seattle, but I did enjoy Portland (even admitting that they're fucking insane there too). Spending 2 years in Minneapolis would add to the adventure.
  3. They also have some really interesting work going on in their PhD program for Data Science. How likely is it that I'll take on a PhD program at 48 years old? Very, very unlikely. But sometimes you can create quite the fire if you happen to get the right spark... so why not go stand around some flammable shit, you know?

After Minnesota, the next two choices are Michigan and Marysville. Michigan is a good school with a good DS programs. Like Minnesota I think it'll be a good education and it's a very, very likely option. Marysville's appeal is a little more personal in nature, as it would allow me to spend a few years living near some great, great friends who have some kick ass kids who are insistent on growing up much faster than I can afford to visit.

Washington, whom has waitlisted me, has only one real appeal in that their program is 1.5 years long so I'd get out half a year quicker. There is a secondary benefit in that it's here and local and it wouldn't require moving or anything. But Seattle is a shithole (I will blog about this one day), and an expensive shithole at that. Staying here isn't a priority.

Who's left...

CUNY - sure, maybe. The big cool factor here is that I'd get to go "back" to New York. That's nice, but that's about it.

University of Texas - it's a purely online, self paced program. I applied here mainly to have an option to really get a little crazy with shit. There is a tiny, tiny, tiny chance that I may just say fuck it and spend a couple of years living outside the country while I work on this degree. I could go to Costa Rica, Thailand/Malaysia, Portugal or somewhere else. The digital nomad lifestyle I've always fantasized about. Again, it's not likely going to happen... but that's why this program is here.

New College of Florida. oof. OK, so this one is a bit of a heartbreak and, while it's not official, I' mpretty sure this will be a "no" from me. First, the bad - their program turns out not to be a "Masters of Science in Data Science", but rather an "Masters of Sciene in Applied Data Science". Now, to be frank, I don't really know exactly how much of a difference it makes, but I do know in other technical fields adding in some qualifier, like "Applied", often indicates that it's not quite the same degree. I mean, it's all bullshit to be sure, but that's what this is right? It's a game of bullshit so if I'm going to pay to play, I might as well get the shiniest piece of bullshit I can. So that's the bad... the good of NCF was the though to spending 2 years living beachside in Florida. I can't imagine ever moving to FL... but a couple of years might've been a nice break.

So that's the school update.

The other big piece I'm waiting to hear back from is the FAFSA. Over the last few years, I've spent A LOT of my personal savings. As of now, for me to afford grad school, I'd need to spend the rest of it as well as sell my stock portfolio. That would (more or less) pay for life, but I don't have the money for tuition itself at this point. So I need that FAFSA for this to work.


OK, that was my mindset a few weeks ago. To be really honest... I'm starting to think that, if I don't get the loans I need, I might do this anyway. "How?" you ask? Well, as dumb as it is, I've sincerly been considered taking the funds out of my retirement. I'll pay a heavy penalty, but let's be really really honest here. At this point, I've allowed myself to grind life to a complete fucking halt. If I'm going to jumpstart this motherfucker I have to just accept the cost I'll share more about this decision making, as well as why I'd be willing to do so, and what I expect and who know what else. But some other time. This post is getting long in the tooth

As of now - I've been accepted into several programs that I'd be happy to attend. I'm waiting to figure out funding. And hopefully, in the coming weeks... well... if you see some smoke rising in the western horizon, don't worry about it... I'm just starting to get cooking. 😉

10 👀
OK OK, it's just a facelift. But...
Publish: 2024-03-22 15:12:00
Categories: blogging

Sooo!!! I just (like JUST NOW!) updated the front page of this site. It's gone from a simple placeholder to a proper (albeit simple) front page that links to my two blogs (this one and the original one). Now, to be clear, neither of the links work and there are no blogs currently online. Yeah, this is purely cosmetic.

But it's work, and it's happening! And you know what, I will admit, just that simple update was enough to spark a bit of excitement. Shit's been stalled for so, soooo long.

No no, let me rephrase that:

I have chosen to allow shit to get stalled out.

But whatever the case, I don't know, it just felt good to get a little excited again and figured I'd commemorate the event with this a post. 🙂

So, as you might have guessed... I'm actually blogging long before having the website up and running. Since I'm writing the code myself, I figured I'd rather not wait for it to be ready. The blog software itself is actually designed to have the posts be written offline and then uploaded later, so it's actually working kind nicely.

Anyway enough techy shit. For now... a tiny "woohoo". 🙂

9 👀
Getting Personal
Publish: 2024-03-17 22:44:00
Categories: life

If you read my "Life 2.0" blog, I talked a little bit about separating the life events from my personal opinions. The idea being that I'm an asshole yet, by some miracle, I seem to have found some beautiful people in my life who probably shouldn'lt be subject to me at full throttle.

This time around... I think it's going to be tougher to separate it out, as I'm kind of moving forward from, well, ummm I'm kind of moving forward from a stop I guess. And if grad school is a one of first sincere steps of me getting my shit going again, and this blog is meant to share that experience, I think I have to get a little soft and mushy when it comes to setting up the foundation and background of our hero's story.

I don't plant to go into a full-on retrospective of the last few years, at least not on this blog, but I will share as much as I think the story needs.

So take this as my one and only warning to you... shit may get a bit messy. 🙂

But life is like that isn't it? A bit messy.

8 👀
Wait. Grad school? Really?? But, you're so... old...
Publish: 2024-03-15 01:02:00
Categories: grad school

OK, so... WTF, right? How the fuck am I considering grad school now? I'm in the 2nd half of my 40's, I'll be at the footsteps of my 50's by the time I finished grad school. I mean, really... WTF?

No, no, I get it... it's dumb as fuck. But you know what, so am I. 🙂 So that's OK.

Honestly though, let's check out the landscape.

Like I mentioned in that other post (fuck... I can't link to past posts yet...), after quitting Intel I spent another year doing EE work as a consultant, and then another 2(ish) years as an entrepeneur (HA!). All-in-all, I've been working within the electrical engineering world for 26 years now. Twenty, Six, Fucking, Years.

I think I'm ready for a change.

I'm honestly bored with most of EE work at this point. I may going into it more in some future post, but in the last little bit, I have been job hunting and I have been fortunate enough to get a few offers along the way. Unfortunately, pretty much everything I have been offered has been very uninteresting to me. A lot of shit I've already done a million times before.

I think, at a high level, the largest problem within the EE field is, at this point, I have too much experience for doing the basic shit again, but not enough of the right experience to have gotten myself into a position I should be at at this point in my life/career (HA!). If I had been more successful, and I was running something of substance by now, I'm sure I'd stick to the EE shit to the end. But as it is, I didn't get there, so I have one of two options really... keep at it, or move on. I'm happy to move on.

You may be asking, so why grad school? And why Data Science? And why now?

Maybe I should be asking, "Why the 3rd degree?!". Shiiiit. But OK... first off, why grad school. Honestly... I don't know of any better option at this point. I can go and get another EE job, like I said, I just haven't been feeling it. Unless something changes, that chapter is done.

Well, then what?

Well, then, I don't know.

I could find some other random job that just requires any sort of degree. My neighbor was a Computer Science dude who got sick of being one and instead became a manager at an ax-throwing place. No joke. So maybe I can do something like that right? I thought of it. Maybe that'll come next. 🙂 But for now, I think I still want to do something technical. But also, I think I still want tech-industry sized paychecks... I have a lot of catching up to do if I'm ever going to retire.

And wouldn't you know it, just as I'm trying to figure out what to do next... boom.... ChatGPT comes out. Have you used it? If you haven't, you should. That, and DALL-E. Or really, any other of the new "generative AI" models that have become so popular this past year. ChatGPT changed my views of AI, as it did for so many others. Before that class of AI (known as "Large Language Models") came out, most of what was happening with AI was pretty understandable, even to stupid shmucks likes me. Then the LLMs showed up and... honestly... it's like fucking magic! The jump from specific AI, like object detection, to LLMs blows my mind.

So, for the first time in a while, my curiousity is piqued.

+1 for Data Science.

Another thing that's changed in recent years, is the rise of remote work. I have several software friends who have taken on fully-remote jobs and according to them, it's the bee's knees. As an EE who's historically been focused on hardware, remote work isn't really an option as we usually need to be where the thing is being built. Software folks have an advantange there, and Data Science would be a purely software endeavor (most likely).

I like the idea of a remote jobs for several reasons: I want to be able to move around a bit which I could do with a remote job; and I want to be to find some place I like enough to stop moving around a bit and know I won't have to worry about whether the right jobs is co-located at the right place to live, you know? I also want a job that's enough of a high skillset that I still have the opportunity to leave the country on a work visa. I'll cover it in more depth in the future, but I think leaving the U.S. has become a much more likely option in recent years.

+1 for Data Science.

Finally, Data Science is still very much a tech job. And I'm counting on my extensive experience with computers, programming, networking and databases to pay big dividends. Even if I do start off entry-level (which I'm hoping to avoid) I think I could get to a comfortable spot without too much work.

+1 for Data Science.

So... I think that's where things sit for now. I've glossed over a lot of the personal shit, so we'll have to revisit this topic again pretty soon. We'll have to revisit quite a few things I'm sure. That's OK... we've got time.

Well, I think we do. Grad school still isn't definite yet I guess. I've got lots figure out still, I'll try and keep you posted along the way. 🙂

For now: grad school.

7 👀
Motherfucking Pi(e) Day
Publish: 2024-03-14 20:20:00
Categories: life

Well, happy pi day!!

How was yours? Wanna hear about mine (warning: you don't)? Well, sorry for the TMI, but that's how this one's gonna go. Why? Because my day started like most any other day. Woke up and shortly thereafter, found myself sitting on the toilet enjoying the morning pooping.

Once finished, in one ninja-like sweeping act of grace I stood up, pulled up my pajama bottoms, and rotated 165 degrees to reach for the handle to flush. In an equally graceful act my phone, snuggled safely in my pocket, took advantage of the opporunity and leapt straight into the toilet.

Into the toilet. Pre flush. Yes.

You know what I did? Without missing a beat a lunged in after it, grabbed it out, wrapped it in my hand towel (eww) and then immediately placed it in rice. The phone's not water resistant to beginwith, and the huge cracks in my screens won't make it better. The phone is almost for sure dead.

Mother. Fuck. Bitch.

I've been awake for like 15 minutes at this point.

Now, to be honest, I don't actually give a shit about pi day (BTW, if you're wondering, March 14th (3/14) is "pi day" since pi is 3.14). But we're in the time of year where the sunny days are just now coming back and today is a spectacularly beautiful one. I did think it would be fun to take a walk and maybe find out if some local bakery or something had some good pie specials.

That was before the poop phone.

So, I go online and spend a few hours reading up reviews and whatever to figure out what's a reasonable mid-level phone I can just go get at Best Buy. I don't wanna wait for an online order, it's not that important (my phone isn't super fancy anyway).

OK, got it figured out. There's a comparable phone and it's actually on sale. Shower. Get Dressed. Hop in the car to head to Best Buy.

As I begin to back out from my parking spot I realize one of my tires is flat. Not low. Not really low. Flat. Dead.




While this blows ass, the timing is actually a quite nice as it relates to the blog and the adventure ahead. I'll cover it in more detail in some future post, I'm sure, but the short & skinny is that I've spent the last 2+ years tearing through the bulk of my life savings as I've pursued my own entrepreneurial endeavors (this is is really giving me a lot of credit, but for now let's roll with it). As I'm looking to go another 2.5 years without working, and also paying for grad school along the way, money is going to become a critical resource.

Today's wonderful luck is going to cost me $600 or more between the phone and replacing two tires (I'm replacing both front tires). It's sucks and whatever, but I just paid it because what else am I going to do? Well... this sexy old man used to be a poor young boy, and I remember how to live on a budget and also how much fun it's not.

Days like today do make me question whether or not I have another one of these adventures in me.

I've got a job interview next week, and the job pays about 150% what my starting salary would be after I got the MS in Data Science. I'm almost for sure not going to take it, if offered, as I'm mostly commited to the grad school push at this point. But days like today... I don't know.

Some days I feel so young, and some days I feel so old. When I'm feeling young, two years sound like a snap of the fingers. When I'm feeling old, being almost 50 and starting a new career path.... oof.

Whatever happens one thing I do know: keep the fucking phone out of the toilet!

Happy Pi Day. 🙂

6 👀



one day. possibly.