A Year Of... interesting things

February Report

I have a bad habit of getting distracted with rabbit holes. I see one and I feel a compulsion to go down it. Sometimes it’s like starting with a Wikipedia article and many hours later I’m down only half of the starting page but I have read 100 other pages linked from it. Other times, it takes the shape of falling in love with a technical solution when a half-assed manual approached could have produced much of the same results and often much shorter time. February was the later.

In trying to make progress on research topic, I went down the road of trying to automate it. Scrape down a certain site, parse the results, extract the information using a Python scripts and store various metrics into a database so that I can build my data analysis on top of structured data.

The compulsion came from not being able to access an inelegant solution an so I spent a good deal of time trying to write not just useful code, but beautiful code too, and trying to learn and practice new concepts while doing so. While I have made good progress, I still don’t have a solution that allows me to proceed to the next step: data analysis and trying to determine, perhaps mathematically, a good niche.

Not all was wasted in February.

I have read several stories in a larger category as one of the recommendations I picked up was to read works in a potential category in order to become familiar with the conventions of the genre. It was eye opening and illuminating and I was happy that the books I read on reading have helped me better understand structure, characters, and settings.

I read only one “technical” book: Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. I enjoyed it and captured many great quotes and lessons from it. I think my favorite and the most relevant to my endeavors:

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.

So what did you think about this post? Liked it? Hated it? Thought it was stupid? Thought I was stupid? Deemed it to be informative? Found mistakes or misinformation? Want to lavish excessive praise or cast fiery insults? Contact me and have at it.