You are here

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I was unemployed from the period of December 2009 to July 2010 (or as I like to call it my summer vacation). I've been working or studying my entire life. It wasn't until the layoff that I had any real freedom to pursue my own interests and desires. Not wanting to waste this time I decided to keep busy. Sometimes it was work. Very hard, disciplined work. Sometimes it was challenging. But mostly it was fun. And always it was rewarding. I wanted to make this a time to be remembered and create a template for life when I landed a new job.

  • Fictional Works Read:
    • Faust by Goethe (the only book I couldn't finished)
    • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Music and Movies:
    • Replaced 20% of my pirated MP3s with physical media or deleting.
    • Watched over 250 DVDs.
    • Listened to over 1,000 hours of music.
  • Guitar:
    • Read an online book on music theory basics.
    • Learned 8 new scales and finger placements.
    • Learned how guitar amps, distortion, pickups, etc work.
    • Learned sheet music basics.
    • Learned to read guitar tabs off internet.
    • Learned a ton of left hand exercises.
  • Hacking:
    • Guitar Software:
      • Expanding software to support a basic metronome.
      • Added nested routines to support more sophisticated drills.
      • Added measure based routines.
      • Rewrite the GUI, improved the UI considerably.
      • Added a WIKI.
      • Added quite a few exercises for download.
    • Attended Maker Faire 2010.
  • Cooking:
    • Books Read:
      • On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee
      • Visual Food Encyclopedia
      • Nutrition for Dummies
      • Food Rules by Michael Pollan
    • Purchased 8 cookbooks and have improved my cooking skills quite a bit.
    • Tried 47 new foods: yogurt, fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, artichoke hearts, fontina cheese, spinach, goat cheese, avocado, leeks, soba noodles, zucchini, adobo, hominy, walnuts, eggplant, anchovy, arugula, kale, edamame, udon noodles, rice vinegar, wine vinegar, curry, couscous, parsnip, orzo, dried cranberries, okra, italian sausage, ground turkey (hella gross people), watercress, ground pork, tomatillo, mustard greens, escarole, artichoke, cauliflower, radicchio, endive, quinoa, wheat bulgar, fresh plum, apricot, cherries, strawberries and peach.
  • Travel:
    • Visit my mother for 4 days over the Thanksgiving holiday, my sister and my niece and nephew for 1 day over Thanksgiving holiday.
    • Visited family for 4 days over Christmas holiday.
    • Bought a complete set of snowboarding/snow gear (but not the snowboard!)
    • Went snowboarding in Tahoe 3 times.
    • Spent a day in Monterrey/Carmel visiting shops, ocean, docks, etc.
  • Art Exploration:
    • Tried stop motion animation.
    • Tried pencil drawing/sketching.
    • Tried watercolor paint.
    • Tried writing. I pretty much sucked at all of these.
    • Took a glass blowing class and that was super awesome.
  • Philosophy:
    • Books:
      • Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter
      • I Am A Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter
      • Power of Now (audiobook) by Eckhart Tolle
      • Practicing Power of Now (audiobook) by Eckhart Tolle
      • The Mind's "I" by Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter
      • How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
      • Power of Myth (audiobook) by Joseph Campbell
      • Art of Happiness (audiobook) by Dalai Lama
      • Emotional Machine by Marvin Minsky
      • Good Without God by Greg Epstein
      • Ethics (reader) by Peter Singer
      • Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett
      • Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond
      • Kant Political Writings by H.S. Reiss
      • The Philosophy of Schopenhauer by Brian Magee
    • Overcame my victim/poor me mentality.
  • Self:
    • Books:
      • Learn to Meditate by Jeffery Fontana
      • Forgiveness is a Choice by Robert Enright
    • Took the ZTPI test and learned quite a bit about myself.
    • Began meditating for 10 minutes at the end of each night to help me wind down.
  • Philanthropy:
    • Made donations to 7 charities.
  • Career:
    • Took 6 job seeking workshops.
    • Found a new job.
    • Completed a complete review of engineering fundamentals, physics, math and applications.
    • Books:
      • Transmaterials I by Blaine Brownwell
      • Transmaterials II by Blaine Brownwell
      • Microelectronic Circuits
      • Mastering Matlab 6
      • Schaum's Statistics
      • Control Systems Engineering by Nise
      • Jitter, Noise and Signal Integrity at High Speeds by Li
      • Analysis and Design of Analog Integrated Circuits by Gray
      • OpAmp Applications by Walter G. Jung
  • Health:
    • Sinus Surgery
    • Physical Therapy for my leg injury (unsuccessful but leg healed eventually by itself).
    • Injured my shoulder, repaired it myself.
    • Adopted FDA guidelines for nutrution: cut meat intake by 30-50%, doubled veges, more diversity.
    • Books:
      • Lore of Running by Timothy Noakes
      • Daniels Running Formula by Jack Daniels
      • Scrawny to Brawny by Mejia and Berardi
      • Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier
  • Misc:
    • Books:
      • Bobby Fisher Teaches Chess by Bobby Fisher
    • Got my ebay rating over 100.
    • Read the news for ~1hr every day.
    • Attended a chess club twice (boring).
    • Tried volunteering at a community garden but nobody showed up at the established time!
    • Visited a Humanist group (churchish thing), but it was weird and also boring.
    • Filed state and federal taxes.
    • Inventory of all my belongings and sold off stuff I don't use.
  • In Progress:
    • Hacking: Worked on a design project (no details yet).
    • Self: Writings on forgiveness, assumptions about self and others
    • Health: Physical Fitness goals
    • Cooking: Working my way through Martha Stewart's "Fresh Flavor Fast" (which is actually really good for noobs and has great recipes)
    • Literature: Reading Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson
    • Guitar: Building speed and skill on my guitar
    • Music and Movies: AFI Top 100 Films of all time, 50 Dystopian Movies of all time, Top Directors of all time, a horde of TV shows and lots of misc. movies and things, mostly Music DVDs and documentaries
    • Music and Movies: Deleting or replacing my pirate MP3s with physical media. 20% down, am working on next 20%. Buying lots of new music.

I didn't quite finish what I set out to do, but I got very far. There are still quite a few projects to complete. I didn't finish my project. I didn't play as much guitar as I wanted, because I have a somewhat obsessive attraction to the thing and I don't get anything else done. I wanted to complete more writing. I wanted to be in fantastic shape, but as it turns out I'm genetically lame (ha!) when it comes to athletics. I injure easily and progress comes slowly. But all in all, I'm satisfied. I lead a richer and fuller life because of it.

Tags: 

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <table> <tr> <td> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <pre> <dd> <img> <sub> <sup>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
4 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.