It’s been an interesting few weeks, but then, it’s also been an interesting few months. On the other hand, I could probably continue that line of thought, until the time span was so broad there was nothing left to hold it relative to.
The last few years have been very rough, but also fortuitous. I actually got my degree in Physics and Neuroscience, with the idea that I would someday work in neuroprosthetics. (Note to misguided Grammar Nazis: the subjects are capitalized as proper nouns when they are also unique department names. You’re welcome.) Unfortunately I also graduated in 2006, the beginning of a very dark time, and have yet to hold a physics job of any kind. The closest I’ve gotten to neuroscience was a brief stint as a substitute teacher for some elementary school special needs classes.
I basically jumped, for lack of any option, right back into programming when I got out. This isn’t to say that I haven’t had quite a few jobs that were once thought to be meant for teenagers along the way. At least five pharmacies, a hardware store, a few groceries. I am in the woeful state of having a mother who has a complete detachment from the workforce that I am confronted with; a father who really helps but has limited understanding of how one gets published today, and the limitations placed on the amount of money that I can actually make; and a brother who is nought but treacherous.
To give you an idea of what I mean by “treacherous”, I worked for him for eight months after he begged me for help on a cloud computing company that he wanted to put together, deferring applying to grad school. My sister and mother had already taken the hint and ceased contact with him, I naïvely thought that perhaps I could reunite my family through further contact and arbitration. He provided a long list of people who were supposedly behind him on it. In eight months, I could get direct contact with none of those people. Additionally, I discovered that his software patent was entirely fabricated. At the end of those eight months, he “terminated” me, I never saw a dime of the promised pay.
I quietly took note of the extent of his evil, hung up the phone, and disowned him. In the mean time, I took the GREs and got within the uncertainty limit of a perfect score on the math section. I applied to MIT, and had everything going for me, until I discovered that during that time, during my work for this play-house company, along with a not-yet-mentioned struggle with neuropathy from a medication I was on, my debt with my student loans reached a critical point. I had defaulted. My school would no longer provide transcripts. The days got even darker.
Every darkness does have its dawn, if you’re willing to work and wait long enough. I hooked up with the wonderful Sparo Vigil, here in New Mexico, and grabbed a part time job working for Home Depot. It wasn’t a high point of my life, but it made me enough to get along, and even pay back a small part of my student loans. I continued to program, working for myself, and established a sequence of frameworks to make the job easier. My cumulative experience in education and software led me to game development, and my training in the scientific method showed me a path to creating an ideal environment, and sequence of products built in that environment, with a legitimate positive change brought about in the world.
This framework is together; it works beautifully. Today, I’m going to use it for the first time, and create a finished (if not market-worthy) product. It will lift me out of the bog that I am in. I have to admit, that’s a little frightening.
If things had continued to be low, and dirty, and hard, then at least I would have a response for it. I would have a plan for how to move forward, to keep my head above the water. My ideals have been set much higher than that, though. I left the Home Depot job some time ago, maybe a year; I have Sparo to thank for keeping me afloat while I worked on the framework and my writing. Things are about to be much better, and I’m not sure how to take that.
It’s not that every little detail is finished, it’s that I’m at version 1.0. I have a system by which I can rapidly go from idea to product, possibly in an afternoon (though early on, I imagine the exception will be the rule). The rest is going to be an extensive amount of linear algebra and differential geometry, digital signal processing techniques and their implementation, modernizing of my design patterns, and writing a bridge to the Steamworks API. After that, publishing, and marketing. Later on, probably expansion of the framework interface into other languages, like Python, Ruby, and Scala. I’m looking forward to all of these things.
I’m looking forward.
I had almost forgotten how thrilling that can be.