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status report

“Eric,” I hear you asking. “What the heck you been up to lately?” Well, the past few weeks have been busy ones for me.

Several days a week I’m working at my Yaletown start-up. We’re gearing up for our public beta at the end of the year, trying to hire a few good people, and generally actin’ all high-energy, high-focus. It’s a very stimulating environment — writing code, working with smart people on a project I actually believe in… And hey, I get paid to do it. Mostly in options, mind you, which I requested when we discussed compensation. As far as I’m concerned, my financial needs are pretty modest and already easily met, so I’ll take the fantasy of one day having lots of money over the reality of having a bit more money any day. Also, for a project I believe in, I can find money to be oddly demotivational. It’s too easy when things aren’t going well to do the math and start to think “I’m only getting X dollars an hour! What the hell do I need X dollars for?

The rest of the week I divide between school — I’m scheduled to do my PhD thesis proposal on Efficient Active Learning for Graphics and Animation next July — and a school-related programming side-project I won’t say much more about except that it’s unpaid, uncredited, time-consuming, doesn’t involve machine learning (any more), and has generally felt a bit Sisyphean.

In my copious free time, I’ve been researching, planning and preparing for my Southeast Asia trip. Only three weeks now! And I still need a new backpack, a visa for Vietnam, dental work, new glasses… This is a pretty big deal for me. As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to go to that part of the world. It will also be my first trip to the developing, non-English-speaking world. I mean, I won’t be straying too far from the regular backpacker trail, but at heart I’m just a simple lower-middle-class Saskatchewan boy who didn’t set foot outside of the prairies — or even board an airplane — until I was in my twenties, and it all seems pretty goddamned adventurous and exotic to me.