Brought about partly by the high cost of fuel, and a lack of desire to keep paying insurance money for a vehicle I almost never drive, I have decided to sell my car by the end of the year. The Behemoth.. has been an interesting vehicle. It's been very good to me recently, is large and comfortable, and is convenient to have, but I've grown increasingly happy with using the bus. I believe I can expect to get about $4k for the Behemoth, considering the two moderate-sized dents that my parents put in the rear at some point. That's not bad, and would actually take me that much closer to a Segway (my internal jury is still out on Segways) or to a house. If I do sell it, I'll be aiming for December -- I need to make a trip to Columbus for Outland reopening, and also a trip to Cleveland to get a last carful of my stuff before my mom moves.
I've come to the realisation/understanding that the part of my group that I'm not involved with is doing some research that meets many of the vague intutitions I had on the form of really promising cognitive modeling research (I was too busy to look into it before, and normally am pretty dismissive of most cognitive models for making the wrong assumptions, or either being too formless to really say anything or too rigid to adapt to new data). I could imagine doing a PhD in my current group and feeling that it's good research that's contributing to the field in a meaningful way. It feels strange to have this be the case for so long, and my having just finally realised it. I'd just need to relearn LISP and dig in... if I can get the time.
When I was younger, I assumed that, and many people told me this should happen if I go for a PhD in anything, my interests would naturally narrow down to a tight focus on something academic. This has not happened, and it probably never will happen. I have a LOT of academic interests, and I don't see that changing. However, I now think that it would be a pity not to live a full academic lifestyle due to a lack of that narrowing. The point is, while my interests are incredibly broad, and the number of things I might happily specialise in are legion, the contribution towards and respect for being involved in any discipline I might apply myself towards should be mine. I am pretty sure that I am suited to being an academe (the alternative of managing a country isn't really open), and the specifics of topic are up to me. I could be happy remaining as I am, as a non-PhD academe, but going for a doctorate would be quite cool.
Damian Conway's Perl Best Practices came out in July, but I haven't yet seen it on stores. The sample chapter looks good -- the ideas are a mix of things I do already and more provocative things that I could see being helpful that I might do. It's on my Amazon Wishlist.
A friend pointed me at Amazon.com's musical instrument section. It's time to pick an instrument and get a specific one.