Sharpening the Mind

I miss school. I didn’t think I would, but this week was the beginning of a new semester. One of my former classmates texted me on her way to classes that it wasn’t going to be the same without me. I sat there thinking about the classes I didn’t take, but would have liked to…

Job hunting is moving along, just slowly. I’m in the process for several, have applications in limbo for many more (and can I say how much I dislike the anonymous press-a-button sending off a resume, often without even a place to put a cover letter, much less a contact name for follow-up?), and a couple of job fairs lined up for the coming month. The job will come in time, I’m blessed to not need to rush into something.

In the meantime, life moves on. And since I was missing school so much, I picked up a couple of things to keep my mind sharp. I do my usual reading of science blogs and journals. I’ve picked up some books – one history, one on writing for biology – to get through. And I have a couple of apps on my phone which are helping me.

Duolingo, which I have praised on the blog before, is a great little language learning tool. It’s not for learning a language from scratch, but for review and reinforcement of lessons the easy to use interface and game-like interaction is perfect.  My Spanish was getting rustier, not that I’ve ever approached fluent, so I picked it back up at the beginning of the month and haven’t missed a day. I noted they are adding a ton of new languages (including ones you wouldn’t think of, like Klingon) since I first encountered the app.

Encode is a lightweight teaching tool if you want to learn how to code. I’m not very far in it – I keep playing with it at bedtime and falling asleep on it, which I will hasten to say is not the fault of the app, it’s me – but the step-by step lessons are easy to follow. This doesn’t have the playful feel of Duolingo, but that’s fine. You see a step, follow instructions, then do a step on your own. I have no idea if I’ll ever use what I’m learning, but I’ve thought for a while (and certainly since Bioinformatics) that I need to learn a bit more of the language of computers.

I’ve also signed up, yesterday, so I don’t know yet how it will be, to audit an online class about science and cooking. Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science looked really interesting, and even starting a week late I ought to be able to not only learn, but brush up on my chemistry calculations rather than letting them fade into the background. There are a ton of other classes, and if I wanted, I could take others, even pay for certificates that I had taken them. It’s worth keeping in mind if the job hunt stretches out longer.

Speaking of coding, my website is like a bird with a broken wing right now. I can’t upload images. Well, I can, I think, but I can’t see them. I’ve checked the path, they are uploading to the correct folder, but… I don’t know. I don’t really want to spend more time on hold waiting for someone to help me fix it. But on the other hand, I’ve about exhausted my google-fu of what might be the cause here. And it is entirely possible that it’s the new webhost and some security thing on their end (one of the suggestions I dredged from googling.) However, until it’s fixed, the images with posts will either be from the past library or embedded from my Flickr. Resources! I haz them!