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Sun 24 Apr 2011 by mskala Tags used: , , , , , , ,

Here are a few notes on the current state of my life.

As I'd hoped, my work productivity has improved a lot now that I'm out of the back-and-forth between Waterloo and Toronto; and simply now that I'm out of Waterloo. I liked some of the people there, but I really hated the place. Winnipeg has its frustrations, especially in winter, and I do miss Toronto; but I'm glad to be well away from Waterloo.

At this point I'm co-author on one paper accepted to ICALP, one submitted to MOL, and two being readied for submission to CCCG. It's unlikely that I will be attending ICALP in Zürich myself; other co-authors are going to present the paper. Chances are very high that at least one of the CCCG papers will be accepted, which would mean I'd get a trip to Toronto. MOL is a wild card. It was scheduled to be in Tokyo in September; then very few people submitted papers because they were worried about travelling to a NUCLEAR DISASTER ZONE (which Tokyo wouldn't have been, but that was apparently what potential submitters were worried about) so the organizers changed the location to Nara. I suspect their submission rate will still be depressed by travel worries, and that may work in my favour for getting the paper accepted. Then if it does get accepted, I'll probably end up attending because the other co-author can't, and then I have to figure out where the money comes from and juggle the trip to Japan in early September for work against a tentatively-planned non-work trip to Japan in late September. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

I will be teaching COMP 3170 next term. Lectures start May 3. As of this writing, that link goes to the Web page for the term just ended. Hey, do you think maybe I should update it for the new term before lectures start?

My novel Shining Path is currently at the query stage, which means I'm sending out letters and samples to literary agents. At such time as one or more agents want to represent it and I choose one, then it'll be my agent's job to sell it to a publisher. Then once a publisher has bought it, I get a pittance and my agent gets a percentage of that, and if we're all lucky, about a year and a half after that point, the book is actually available to readers.

The time between finishing a book and its actual availability is traditionally the time for writing the next book, so that there's always one in the pipeline. Something similar is true about academic papers, except that academic papers get published faster - which is saying a mouthful. I do have a pretty good idea of what would go into the next novel. However, I have a simple goal for Shining Path and I figure it'll have been worth my effort to write Shining Path if and only if that goal is achieved. I'm hesitant to put too much work into a second novel until I know whether writing novels is a worthwhile activity for me.

I'm up to 53 Grade Two kanji in Tsukurimashou now; that is one third of the 160 on the list. I think I may do some kind of interim release when I make it to 80, because it's looking like it will take me a long time to finish the Grade Twos and there's other new stuff to show off, including fancy "proof" graphics done with Tikz. A lot of these new kanji are hard; I don't know how those seven-year-olds manage.

One critical thing about Tsukurimashou is that there's a win for me, namely my own improved knowledge of the Japanese writing system, whether anyone else ever uses it or not. Of course I wish people would use and talk about it, but even if they don't, I still have a reason to complete the project. The same cannot be said about writing novels: those must have readers to be worth doing. That's one reason my spare time is going to Tsukurimashou now rather more than to a possible Shining Path sequel.

On this Web site: today I deleted some more old stuff that was no longer attracting non-spam traffic. Some of it was still under the old code, and that was easy; for entries on the new (PivotX) code I went down the list and looked carefully at the entries that hadn't received any comments. That was kind of disappointing, because those turned out to quite often have been the entries on which I really wanted comments; but that's all the more support for my theory that posting on a personal Web site isn't really all that good a way to be in touch with the people I'd like to be in touch with. Several such entries got deleted; others remain for the moment. I haven't yet, but I'm thinking of deleting Bonobo Conspiracy or turning it into some kind of archive. It now looks like I won't be updating it again in any serious way, and it's a potential target. Some time soon, probably later today, I intend to add an ad space in the left-hand navigation; initially it will plug Chessudoku, but the real reason for it is to give me a convenient place to put an ad for Shining Path in the future when that's available.


Steven R. Baker
Instead of deleting old posts, why not just have comments expire? That's what Mark Pilgrim does at http://diveintomark.org/ and I like it. Steven R. Baker - 2011-04-24 16:40
Postings are a cost and comments are a benefit; so how will removing comments without removing postings improve matters? I can only assume that Pilgrim is trying to solve a very different problem. Matt - 2011-04-24 17:20
Oh cool, so these query letters you're sending out, you're trying to get someone like Stan Grossman from Little Miss Sunshine? ghap - 2011-04-24 21:25
I haven't seen the movie, but based on a quick net search, I think that wold be a "no." Matt - 2011-04-24 21:41
I know you hated Waterloo due to unfulfilled goals. Why did you hate Waterloo the place? Steve - 2011-04-25 14:02
I don't quite understand the distinction you're making... didn't you just answer your own question?

Neither the institution of the University of Waterloo, nor the city of Kitchener-Waterloo (its culture and infrastructure) made good on the promises on the basis of which I decided to go there. In particular, neither provided an environment in which my unique abilities were sought and treated as valuable. There were some good people in both the University and the larger community, but they weren't able to do enough to overcome the generally poisoned environment. Matt - 2011-04-25 14:13
Since you used the term "the place" I thought there might have been something about the physical location you hated. Something that other people have a high likelyhood of experiencing (such as aesthetics, smell, crime, disposition of strangers, etc). This is in contrast to reasons that are highly variable given a person's specific experiences (hate that road because it's where a car ran over my dog.) Steve - 2011-04-26 14:20
I don't know how likely it is that others would have similar experiences to mine. I know I'm not the only person who wants the things I want, and I'd expect anyone else who does want those things, to have as much trouble finding them in Waterloo as I did. I've heard complaints about Waterloo similar to mine from other people. However, I'm also aware that many people don't want the same things I want. Matt - 2011-04-26 14:30
One point I want to make very clear is that it *is* Waterloo's fault that I didn't achieve my goals there. Not random chance without culpability. Matt - 2011-04-27 11:52

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