Career Plans

At IAAPA I thought a lot about what I'm good at and what I want to do. In fact this whole project this semester has made me think hard about that. I've always thought I was clear on what I wanted, just not very specific. Now I think specificity is required and I never knew to begin with. All this cutting edge interactive stuff, I think I've been distracted from my original purpose. Sure it's interesting, this stuff I've been doing since I joined Stage3. If you think about it though, maybe I've been led astray. That seemed to be the case when I went to MIT and realized that it wasn't for me, that I took a big leap in that direction. But even back here, I'm starting to remember when I was in High School and a freshman here and when I knew that the technology I wanted to master was for putting on a show. And that's what I'm thinking about now. Show control might be what I'm interested in. I mean, sure I'd like things to be interactive, but maybe I should be a little more conservative. The kind of stuff I've been known for might be special to me. I can make people's crazy ideas work. Sort of. But all these things aren't solid enough to be used for real or taken seriously. I can't take them seriously. Sometimes I don't think I'm any good, but maybe I'm just working on things that aren't ready to be any good. If I'm not willing to develope them in an academic setting maybe I should back off. I want to make real shows. I want to design and manage and program and not always be afraid of the frailty of my work. I want to do something solid. I think I'm realizing all this a little late to really do anything to turn around my portfolio and get myself where I want to be.
Keywords:Jobs | Worries
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Good Day

Today was the most excellent day and yesterday was great too. Today I received a phone call from someone at Walt Disney Imagineering to set up a phone interview for an internship position. If you know me you know how excited that would make me. It is only the #1 place I'd want to work. And with all that has happened and how competetive it is to begin with the get a job there I'm very happy to even get to interview. This is just a first round, but I'm still very nervous.

I often express my worries about finding an internship position. I really need to find one this summer because I need this experience I haven't had before. Unfortunately I don't feel that I am very good at the whole job search and interview process. Not being able to well answer the basic question, "What do you want to be doing in a few years?" doesn't exactly set me up for success. I know that I'm really good at a lot of things. It isn't that I don't feel qualified to do any sort of job I'd be interested in, it is just that I don't feel that I'm qualified to get the jobs. I don't think I look that good on paper. I haven't had any internships before, I don't have any major accolades, I'm not an expert at any one thing except maybe learning to solve just about any problem put in front of me. A problem solver is what I am, but how do I sell that?

I had another interview with an amazing company yesterday. Yesterday two guys from 4orty 2wo Entertainment came to the ETC. In standard ETC fashion they gave a talk, took a tour of the project demos, and then interview students who signed up for slots.

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Keywords:Jobs | TV | Worries
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Personal Stuff

There's some question as to whether I should write journal entries that are so personal, like the one right before this (which may or may not be there, I keeping going back and forth on whether it should be public or private). My website is a very public forum and there is no telling who might read it. I try to keep things vague and benign so that there's no room for true damage. One of the worries is that someone who might be a potential employer might find this website, and there is no need for them to be reading my most personal feeling. Does that give someone an upper hand on me? My goal is to get these things out though. There are people, my friends who I want to see this stuff. The reason I have a journal is to save me saying the same thing to several people at different times, and to save myself from telling it to people who might not actually care. If they come here and read it, then they must care. The way I see it, I hope that someone whom it might not be appropriate to read such things about me won't, and I don't make it so explicit that it would be bad if they did.
Keywords:Website Projects | Worries
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Fashion Simulator

I've always been a jeans and t-shirt guy. That's how I know how to dress. For something fancy I've got a suit, but anywhere in the middle I'm very uncomfortable. More and more recently I've realized that I'd like to dress better, at least sometimes. At least I should have a decent wardrobe that I should never stress over an otherwise fun event because I'm not sure what I have to wear that would be appropriate.

It finally came to a head over Thanksgiving. I had to go to my high school reunion. It was at a club, not a place I'd normally go. I didn't know what to wear for clubbing but I desperately wanted to prove that I wasn't the same uncool geek I was in high school. My mom and I went out and got a few things that made me feel great that night. I know it might not be cool to go shopping with my mom, but I just can't do it myself. After that great start (particularly the shoes) I decide this was a good time to solve this problem once and for all.

Over winter break I was going to go shopping for more close but it didn't happen while I was home, which meant I had to go by myself back in Pittsburgh. I needed some nicer things for visiting companies in California on the ETC west coast field trip. Shopping for clothes by myself is hard. Even with trying on clothes I'm not sure whether it really looks good or not or whether I will wear it. Many previous trips clothes shopping have ended up in items that sit in my closet unworn because I changed my mind after I got them home. I think I did a little bit better this time, but then I had a new idea.

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Keywords:Website Projects | Worries
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This titles had a two-fold meaning: literal and figurative. Today, after Visual Story, Jesse held a juggling workshop at the ETC and taught all the first years how to juggle. I thought it was impossible for me to learn, but I am starting to getting. I was very surprised that in a hour and a half I could consistantly throw and catch 3 balls. I have started working on the forth throw (4th throw is the first ball again, still only 3 balls). Once I get that I think continuous juggling will be the next step (since 4 returns me to the initial position) and won't be too hard.

It seems ironic that the ETC would want to teach me to juggle since it is also what they require me to do with all the work I have. In fact I'm not sure which is harder and which is easier. I've been ok keeping up with my 3 classes so far (although I'm worried about where improv and particularly visual story is going). The tough part is TAing BVW, being on an ETC, and balancing the rest of my life.

BVW has been going ok. The struggle for me is to manage all the VR equipment. This are kind of crappy and I don't have a lot of time to invest the hard work to make stuff good. Also I don't really have the tools and equipment at the ETC. At Stage3 at least everything was there and semi organized (or at least in a small space). In addition, I'm supposed to prepare the AIBO and I'm not sure what I should be doing.

On Animateering, the project I was assigned, we only recently decided what we wanted to do. We have a quarter presentation due in a week (has it really been a quarter of the semester?).

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Keywords:ETC | Busyness | Worries
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Anxiety Nightmares

Last night had to be the worse night of sleep I've ever gotten, that I can remember (in a puddle when camping might have been close). I blame it on the demos I had to give today and tomorrow. Normally when you say "my demo gave me nightmares," that means that you had an upsetting dream about the demo. Not so in this case. I told people that my research project is a nightmare for me when I'm awake. However, I think the anxiety of having to stand up and show a project that I think is crap for three hours on two consecutive days turned anything I dreamt into a nightmare that woke me up just in time to realize how bad it was. I can remember waking up many times this morning. That's pretty typical when I have somewhere to be that I'm worried about being late to, but each time I woke up some new disturbing image was in my brain.

What could haunt you so, Ben? ShadowPlay is the project I'm working on for research. It is an interface for non-programmers to build interactive characters that react to shadow. I don't know if I really believe that it has potential. Even if it does, it is certainly very far from that. Worst of all, I feel I should have more done that I do, but I don't even know what to do next.

Things actually ended up turning out ok, because when I finally did wake up and get into the lab, I had a realization and was able to add the one feature I had wanted to add for today but was unable to figure out how to before. All in all, the demos went pretty well. Maybe because the people today weren't sponsors they didn't care that my stuff was kind of cool, but not useful. A couple people really liked it and wanted my contact info. Even though I probably won't be around to care, it was nice to know someone was listening to what I was saying and actually cared.

Tomorrow more the same. After that I just have to finish my two projects (easier said than done) and then I'm free. So close I can feel it. I can't wait.
Keywords:Worries | Media Lab | Dreams
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About half a week late, but this is something I was thinking about. I have always hated rollercoasters. Mostly I was just scared of them; the hate comes from people trying to convince me there's something wrong with that. "There's nothing to be scared of" is not accurate. Maybe most people are afraid of thrill rides based on how it looks or some abstract notion of danger. What I am afraid of is feeling that dropping feeling in my stomache. I would call it painful, although different than normal pain. Even turbulance on airplanes gets to me. I know I don't like that feeling, and I know it will happen, based on rollercoasters I have ridden, making my fear of it totally justifiable. Who can say why I feel the way I do. I could blame my parents for being timid and instilling that to me when I was little, but I don't know if that is the truth.

The thing is, if I didn't want to go on at least a little bit, I wouldn't feel so bad declining. I suppose I might feel like a wimp anyways, but I don't feel this way about free falls or log flumes which I know that I don't like. Those rides are solely based on drops. Many rollercoasters have flips, corkscrews, curves, and speed, which are all thrills I do enjoy, because they don't involve that dropping feeling. Even the downward side of very tall loops don't feel that way, for some reason. With a lot of these coasters, if I can just make it past the first drop I'll have fun. This last trip, I was convinced to go on both Dueling Dragons (Ice & Fire) and the Hulk coaster.

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Keywords:Worries | Girls
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One of the main concerns I have right now is trying to find housing in Pittsburgh for next year. Looking is tough because I don't know what I can afford or if there is any chance I'll have a car. This will all depend on if Randy gives me a job after the summer.

My ideal place would be a nice apartment near campus, not too expensive, and living with a close friend, preferably an AEPi. It looks like that won't happen. Living with Toon would be too far and not quite nice as I'd want, although he would be cool to live with. Steve would also make a good roommate if we could find a place. However, the places I saw over carnival were too expensive. Steve is probably moving in with Toon which means I can't, and I don't have Steve to help me find a cheaper place. I might have considered moving back into the house but only briefly and certainly not if Steve won't be there.

My remaining options are to live with Adam on Beeler St., find a 1br place, or find an ETC roommate. The house on Beeler is a perfect location at a decent price. I haven't seen pictures yet but I bet it will be nice enough. The downside is that while Adam is someone I'm friendly with, I'm not sure what my roommates there will be like to live with. I'm worried it won't feel like my place. I really wanted a place to consider mine and to fill with my furniture. I think it may be the best option, but I just wish there were something perfect. Maybe it will all work out.
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New at MIT

I just moved into my new room at MIT on Sunday. I'm excited but at the same time worried. I can't wait for things to really get started so that I have work to do. I think I'll be doing some neat things and at least it will give me something to do. This week is a tough one for me. I'm starting over. As an undergrad you have a plethora of "temporary friends", people you can hang out with if you aren't comfortable in social situations on your own, until you meet your real friends. Roomates, people down the hall, RA's, OC, and more. That's not the case now. It's hard for me to meet people. I can usually find something to say, I have all sorts of stories for any situations, but my friends have made fun of me for that, so I hesitate instead of saying what I want to. And if it's some welcome speech or something I can probably say hi to someone around me, but I've never been good in real social situations, especially when I'm by myself.

So far I've gotten my room mostly set up, I still have some more unpacking to do, I've done some errands for things I've needed, I've done a little exploring, I hung out with a friend of mine that works in Cambridge, and I went on grad student campus tour. I know it will get easier and I'm looking forward to that. More later I guess.
Keywords:MIT | Worries | Orientation
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Games but no fun

Well, more than seven days have gone by since watching The Ring and I'm still alive so I think I'm safe.

I got my projector back on Thursday. The projector is still broken. They didn't fix either problem. I'm sort of pissed that they didn't call me or anything even though they couldn't find the brightness issue. But I can't believe they weren't able to see the problem with the VGA cable. You'd think it is simple enough that they'd just replace it anyway for the purpose of customer care. Promixa, where the customer is always wrong. That's a sort of inside joke and a whole nother story. Anyways, now they are going to send me a new cable, no questions asked. They are also going to pay to bring the projector back in, and if the newly reworded problem description isn't good enough, they are going to call me so that I don't get a broken one back again. If they can't see the problem I'll demand a new one. I'm not getting this back unless they see the problem and are sure it is fixed. I'm just sort up upset at this whole deal. I'm missing my whole summer with it. If it gets back and works, though, it will be worth it. That's the way it was with my DVD player, when I finally got it working, I've not had a problem with it.

Also, I got the video game I ordered. It wasn't really as bad a game as I remembered it. I kind of liked it. I played almost nonstop for the past four days and beat it this morning. Problem is that I wasn't going to work. Now I have to go to work tonight and do all the things I was supposed to do this week.

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Keywords:Anecdotes | Quirks | Girls | Worries
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Thought Repository » Worries