October 27, 2012
Finding The Gap

I've just started taking a course online on design via Coursera, and our first week challenge (due by Sunday... yep I kind of left that one off, go me) is to find 'gaps' - some place in our lives that there is a problem that can be solved by design (using design in a very loose sense - the course is a general principles/process type thing, so it's not necessarily an aesthetic-design thing). One of these is going to be the basis for the term project, and we have to have access to five other people who share the same 'gap' - the prof would prefer in-person access but I do not have five people I interact with on even a weekly basis in-person so YEP NO. So! This is a brainstorming post, mostly, and I would love people to chime in with a 'yes I'd like that too' if, well, they would.

-Marginalia (working title for the eReader quote db project, see previous post)
-Pantry tracker (what do I have? When did I buy it? Seemed popular idea-wise in #dw)
-FUCKING WIZARD LAYERS (I will probably not tackle this but it drives me up the wall)
-FUCKING LAYER EDITOR (...see above, though Fey has given me a possible solution)
-Something to introduce recipe variety on a basic level (I love whatthefuckshouldimakefordinner.com in principle but most of the recipes include things I don't have, and I hate shopping)
-work-out reminder/incentives?
-semi-flexible scheduler for practicing artsy stuff (there was a discussion on learning and routines in reddit, and about how it's far better to do something EVERY DAY than a few days a week or something)
-something organization something something (my house is a constant disaster. I don't even know where to start)
-a script/extension for me to annotate my buglist on Bugzilla (because I hate going 'okay, I think I have patches in for these four for review, and this one depends on another bug, and...' because it's not easily visualized)
-highlight reddit posts by subreddit they appear in (can you tell I like visual cues?)

October 16, 2012
The Eternal Quest for Employment

So I've been kind of down lately care of unemployment - it's the sort of situation that's bad enough normally, but I have the extra joy hanging over my head of knowing my current visa expires next summer and as it stands, I'm not in a position to get another one, because, you guessed it, lack of job experience.

I've spent the last two weeks or so contemplating doing freelance web design - started making a portfolio site, doing lots of reading on freelancing, etc. And I came to the conclusion tonight that I don't think I can. I'm a pretty good web designer. Over the broad category of anyone who's made a webpage, I think I can safely put myself in 'above average'. But I lack the talent for creativity and innovation necessary to be pro, to make enough to make a living off it. I don't know if that's something I could improve over time, or if it's just some quirk of luck that makes some people innovative and others not. But I don't really have the time to practice and find out.

And then I sat back and thought - you know what? I have a skill set already that I'm pretty damn good at by most measurements I've seen, which is hands-on betnchwork in molecular biology. I am a pro at this. Except, of course, for the part where nobody will pay me to do what I'm good at. And I know that some of this is the economy, and some of this is the deeply messed up way academia works these days, and some of this is just not knowing enough people (and having no idea how to meet more - seriously, where do biologists hang out?). But I think tomorrow I'm going to call a place or two to ask about volunteer work, and maybe I'll actually do that Masters program application.