Keep being awesome

December 21, 2016

2016 is about to be over. It’s become a meme on twitter to say that this year has been a dumpster fire. Too many great people died. Too much awfulness.

2016 was a pretty significant year in my life. It started with back pain, which I didn’t take as an omen at the time but now it feels oddly appropriate. I have suffered from back pain since I was a teenager, but this year marked the first time that I got a diagnosis. The doctor told me that I have a bunch of hernias in my spine and I need to exercise and lose weight. He sent me to physical therapy for a month.

Irving was my physical therapist. He was a fun guy who read books instead of watching TV. He had terrible taste though. I visited him 5 days a week for a month. I felt like Neo in The Matrix, when they tell him his muscles hurt because he has never used them before. Irving worked at a very fancy private hospital that is close to my house. There was usually a lot of people there, people with disabilities or who had survived bad accidents. And me, a fat bastard who was there because he sat in front of a computer screen or three for most of his waking life. They say my hernias are mostly caused by a genetic accident, but that my lifestyle did not help at all.

Irving got to hear the whole story about my interviews with Intel. I was exited to travel to Portland and interview with a guy named Chip who works at Intel. I’m sure he finds the jokes hilarious. They work on firmware for the Xeon Phi and it looked fun. They told me if I wanted a job and I said “Yes!”. Then I came back to Mexico and told my family and friends that I was moving to Portland. I celebrated with friends and even started packing.

It wasn’t long before Chip told me that they wouldn’t be able to give me the job because Visa.

Every family reunion and every time I catch up with old friends, they tell me “I thought you were in the US”. I couldn’t blame them if they think I’m a bullshitter.

Also, I was taking unreasonable amounts of anxiety medication, but it wasn’t helping anymore, and I started to get depressed.

It was about this time that Casey of Handmade Hero fame contacted me on twitter and asked when they could switch to Milton for the stream. It was hard to sleep that night because I was a huge fan of Casey’s ever since I started listening to the Jeff and Casey Show.

So Casey started to use Milton on stream and it felt great and terrifying at the same time. And I had anxiety and I was seeing a therapist who was an idiot who made me feel like an addict that would take years to recover and be a functional human being. So I did the smart thing and stopped seeing that hack. I went to see another therapist. My mom drove me because I couldn’t drive there myself anymore.

She (my therapist) is awesome. It took almost six months but I am free from anxiety medication now. I actually started this blog the day I said holy shit I feel fine again.

I love working on Milton but I give it away for free and I would like a job that pays. I interviewed at Google but my brain farted and I fucked up the phone screen. It’s kind of funny because I did really well on my internships. I sent out my resume to a bunch of other places but got very few responses.

When I found out about Codeplay I got really excited. I would love to work on debuggers (they work on other stuff too). I told them that if I were to create a company it would be a debugger company. I interviewed with them twice. They seem like an awesome place full of friendly and smart people.

It wasn’t long before they contacted me and said that I am great but they couldn’t give me an offer because Visa.

This was about a month after Handmade Con. Handmade Con was important to me this year because I didn’t think I would be able to go. Back when I couldn’t get out of my house I was afraid because I could not imagine being able to go to Seattle and talk to people. For many months I thought I might have to skip it.

But something happened which I had not anticipated. I got better. I started exercising and autistically eating two poached eggs every morning. I walked my dogs (almost) every day and I wrote a lot of code. I even started a blog.

I made a bunch of friends online. I should log-in to IRC more often. I have been exchanging emails with Apoorva for more than a year.

Handmade Con was awesome. People knew who I was and I had a table with a banner that said Milton that I made everyone sign. I had coffee with people from IRC and I explained how Milton works with a pen and paper. And they were listening to me!

I sat at a table with Jon Blow and got to ask a couple questions. I sat at another table with Casey and listened to him talk about his game. I got drunk on White Russians with CaptainKraft. Then I went to my hotel room and had my first drunken coding session. I stayed up late making Milton work on my macbook to have something to show at my table. I ended up not actually being at my table nor showing my demo to anyone, but still. I got lost in Seattle with Miblo. Then I got lost on my own and accidentally visited the Space Needle at midnight.

I took a month-long vacation from Milton. I have written a couple of JPEG encoders before (well, it’s just one but I wrote a version that runs on the GPU) but I still felt like I knew nothing about compression. So I started reading papers about compression and writing small programs. I also wrote some game code to see if I could design games, but it seems like I want to really get into compression.

And I totally forgot. I finally got my college diploma this year. I almost can’t believe it’s over. I had “dropped out” of college a couple times. I hate school. But I did it! I finally finished.

I started working at a friend’s startup, AirTM, wrangling more Java code than I ever want to see again. I got to work at an office with people that are excited about what they are doing. I had to leave because it seems like I’m going somewhere else to work on something that is a little lower level. We’ll see.

It’s been a difficult, long and important year. This next year I want to write more code, read more books, write more music. I want to consume less negativity online, read less crap, watch more good movies and see more friends. I just want to keep being awesome. :)