Return from the Windy City

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There are some folks who fall in love with New York City the first time they visit–they decide that whatever it requires, they will find some way to move there and live their best life/work in publishing. I’ve never felt that way about New York: every time I’ve visited, I’ve found it to be overwhelming, and expensive, and cold. Instead, I think I feel those feelings (or the closest I’m ever going to get to them) about Chicago–every single time I’ve visited, I’ve been enchanted by it.

It is also overwhelming, expensive, and cold, but in a way that apparently speaks to me. Perhaps it’s just my love of deep dish pizza.

So, when I wound up with a few days of vacation time that I needed to burn, I flew out to Chicago for a combination family visit/tour of the city. It was ridiculously, stupidly, photoshopped-this-onto-a-postcard delightful (if you don’t believe me, check the photo above), and that’s even with it snowing on the first day. Continue reading

Poets and Mathematicians

“I stayed away from mathematics not so much because I knew it would be hard work as because of the amount of time I knew it would take, hours spent in a field where I was not a natural.”

— Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg is a poet, the author of my favorite poem. I’ve been thinking a lot about his quote this past week, which I’ve spent reading through the Zen Valedictorian articles over at Study Hacks. The articles are a better-expressed version of a life outlook that I’ve written about some on HackCollege, and which I espouse to anyone who will stand still in person: at some point, being the over-stressed, over-extended student in an attempt to be Tracy Flick will fail you. More importantly, even if it’s something that you can manage, at least for a little while, it’s still not an efficient use of your time. The students who stand out are the ones who become very good at something they enjoy. Colleges don’t tell their students that, though, and so you get the sort of student that the Zen Valedictorian articles are critiquing–over-worked and not particularly outstanding.

Continue reading