Thank you all

Recently a new boombox friend Kathryn Duggan wrote an article about me citing this was the 10th and final year of the boombox guy.  After that article was written a few of my friends started showing me posts from random people where they were sad this was my last year; some of which was very heartfelt.  Then people on the street stopped me and told me thank you and congratulations.  It was a little jarring, but it was nice to hear from so many supportive people.  In response to this I wrote the following on my Facebook account:

“The out pouring of posts, some very emotional, about this being my 10th and final year as boombox guy has been humbling. It is true that I am finishing up my PhD, but the song is not over yet. I will be around until the fall. I have no idea what the future holds, and you never know maybe I will end up being here for years to come. One thing I know for sure is I will always be your boombox guy, because the spirit of the boombox will always live on. Everyone of you has that spirit. The side of you that stops caring about what others think, and can fearlessly walk to your own song. The part of you that can pause, forgot about your troubles for a moment, and make another person smile. The piece of you that chooses neither right nor wrong, but chooses what is awesome. I expressed these by hoisting a boombox on to my shoulder, and carrying it around week after week for years. I encourage all of you to express that part of yourself in your own way. That is the spirit of the boombox, and that will live on forever. BD>”

I don’t think I understood the gravity of all of this coming to a close, but on that day it really hit me.  It comforts me to know that despite some of the bad that I have made a small positive change in some people’s lives.  This is why the spirit that I have displayed with this persona will always be alive, and I will always proudly be the boombox guy of UofSC.

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April Fools 2014!

I’ve always been a fan of pulling pranks on April Fools day, and I definitely have incorporated that nature into boombox’ing throughout the years.  Here’s a list of pranks I have pulled as boombox guy

2004

Played the entire Short Baby album, Basscapdes: The Misadventures of Short Baby in the Land of Knockbottom, and dressed as the stupidest gangsta rappers.  I wore super baggy sweat pants, rubber ducky boxers, and a gold painted chain and rubber ducky necklace.  Elliot wore ratty jeans, a dew rag, and a white beater with a huge mustard stain on the front.  Also if you don’t know what Short Baby is… Just wait you will.

basscapades

2005

Played the audio from the The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer (The Russel Crowe Show) episode of South Park.  “Makin’ Movies, Makin’ Songs, And fightin’ ’round the world! OY!”

2006

Walked around with nothing playing.

2007

It was Sunday so I took a break, but made sure to tell anyone I encountered that I had quit since it was my last year as an undergrad.

2008

Nothing but Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give you Up.  In the end, I had no idea if the prank was on me or everyone else.

Also this was in the Daily Gamecock April 1, 2008

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2009

Played the audio book form of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations.   Pip, your life sucks and you definitely made my life suck in middle school, and in 2009.

great-expectations-pictures

2010

Listened to nothing but recordings from shortwave numbers stations.

2011

Nothing but Rebecca Black’s Friday.  Once again I didn’t know who the prank was on.

2012

Recorded everything backwards and attempted to walk backwards all day.  This failed miserably.

2013

Played the audio book of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.  It was an educational experience.

Stephen Hawking - A Brief History of Time

2014

Tiny Boombox!  Just a small boombox.

ipod-boombox-small

 

 

 

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Happy St Pats! And More!

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As tradition I once again walked around the crowded streets of five points with the boombox during St. Pats.  I had a great time despite being a little sick.  Also I will have a long update coming very soon… As in tomorrow.  Stay tuned to check out my newest game!

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Exciting Updates!

I didn’t get around to posting my weekly post yesterday, but don’t fret because I am going to be updating the layout of this blog along with posting some really cool stuff.  Stay tuned!Image

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A rant about being a PhD student and advice

Friends, permit me to be pessimistic for a moment. As most of you know I’m working crazy hours trying to finish the PhD, and do the other things I do. Also some of you know that last year I did my dissertation proposal (one of the first steps in the completion of the degree), and it was an absolute disaster. One project in particular not only caused me to push back my proposal from around March 2013 to July 2013, but it also was the focal point of disagreement and confusion in the proposal. That project was the 3D Genome viewer. If you want to read more about it I posted it in my 2013 post mortem

As a result I took that project out of my dissertation and shifted my focus to other projects that are a part of my degree.  However, my adviser continues to push me to work on his pet project that has nothing to do with my graduation.  Honestly this has become more like a job, and I have to work on my actual dissertation work on the side.  I’m being funded to do this project, but this project does not contribute anything.  You may be thinking that this should add some more publications to my name, but I’m sitting here now reading through the comments and they are echoing my concerns.  The purpose of this project is unclear, and the results could take up to 10 years for them to gel.

In the abstract, introduction and conclusion the authors over-represent the importance of their work; a naive reading of the manuscript would suggest this work is going to cause a revolution in molecular biology. In reality, currently available experimental evidence simply does not allow accurate 3D genome models to be calculated. Thus, the only kind of 3D models that can currently be shown in a system such as theirs are highly speculative ones…  I am optimistic that such advances will eventually happen – my guess is that it could take 10 years or more before we have 3D models worth the attention of most molecular biologists.

By working on this project, it has caused me to work, sometimes, 10 to 12 hour days and not have a break on the weekend.  Consequently, it has also caused me to become incredibly behind in the work I need to finish my degree.  Yet why do I continue to work on it?  Because my adviser told me to.  He holds all the cards, and I have to do his bidding or else I won’t be able to finish.  I’m at a cross road right now where either I continue to work on this, make him happy, but continue to get more and more behind.  On the other hand, I could refuse to work on the project lose my funding and have to find money else where, which could also put me behind.  Either way I’m hosed.

Anyone who wants to go for a PhD or has just started a PhD learn from these lessons so you don’t end up like me.

  1. Find an adviser who is the expert in ONE subject.  Mine is actually a very accomplished bioinformatics professor whose studies are in gene order.  He also does games on the side.  What does this mean?  I have plenty of leverage to do what I want, but I also have to be the expert and not him.  I have to be the one to forge ahead and find out everything about the subject.  I have to be the one finding conferences, learning how to write for them, and publish to them.  I end up doing twice the work than others because I have to both find, learn, and effectively become the expert on everything.
  2. Prepare a head of time if you know they are going on sabbatical.  I didn’t do that and I paid for it.  He was out of the country for months on end, so I had to be the one running the lab.  To be honest I did it poorly, because I was not prepared for that responsibility.  Just know that if they don’t have to be around, then they won’t be around.
  3. Make sure they know what they are talking about and are the expert on the subject.  I have worked on two major projects that ended up failing, and also a bunch of smaller projects that did not work.  In my dissertation I have an appendix that I like to call, “The trail of tears”, as it catalogs all of the failed projects and why.  Everyone had a major flaw that I noted early on that ended up being the failing point, because I ended up having more insight than they did.  Either way I had to work on them until I sufficiently convinced them that the idea was bad from the start and/or was not possible to accomplish now.
  4. Along with knowing what they are talking about, make sure that every project you work on has a clear plan and focus.  If they continue to ask you to pick up a rock and the only feedback to you is, “Oh that’s the wrong rock try again”, you will have many sleepless nights redoing  work.
  5. Keep records on income, and stay on them when it comes to funding.  I know this seems a little odd, but after examining funds last year compared to other years, I learned that I was not being paid as much as I could have been.  Also in 2012, I hit some very hard times owing many credit card bills, because of having to pay for trips, equipment, and other stuff that was never paid back to me.  Make sure they keep there word or otherwise you’ll continue to get screwed out of time and money.

I know this has been mostly a scathing rant against my adviser, but he has provided me with many opportunities, and benefits.  He’s definitely put up with a lot of my nonsense, and inconsistencies, and he has also provided insight I would have never gotten any other way.  However, I want to graduate.  I want to move forward with my life.  Right now all I feel like is instead of being supportive, he’s holding me back with these pet projects.

/rant

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Programming Anguish

Programming Anguish

The nightmarish hellscape of coding a game in c# that uses libraries written in c++ whose data is marshaled in shared memory by code written in C.

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Happy Valentines Day 2014!

Happy Valentines Day 2014!

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