We have Achieved Overdrive

By: Danny Geisz | February 1, 2020

Project: #Life

What is up, my people? It’s truly been a phat minute since I last posted to XFA. Actually that’s not true. I wrote something on Tuesday. It’s been exactly four days since I last posted. That isn’t a phat minute at all.

Well, regardless, as the title suggests, my life is now in full overdrive. One consequence of this, as alluded to in the first paragraph, is the fact that once again, my perception of time is actively failing. This tends to happen during the academic semester, so it’s not that worrying.

Now then, I feel compelled to explain the nature of the overdriven-ocity of my life, and I shall now do so. There are really six main contributors to the maximum overdrive:

  1. I am currently in 20 academic units. This technically equates to 80 hours of work a week for school, but we both know that I cut academic corners to get that figure down a bit.
  2. I am in one graduate class, namely General Relativity. The homework is actually not required, and the entirety of the grade is based solely on a 10-15 page term paper due at the end of the semester. Ori Ganor is teaching the class, and he happens to be a manifestation of fundamental good, so I’m quite happy to be in the class. And, I mean, it’s general relativity. GR is basically of equal artistic and aesthetic value as the Mona Lisa with some greater barriers to entry. And if you yourself dabble at all in Physics, you will know that regardless of what Ori says, the homework is absolutely mandatory and the class would be a waste without it.
  3. I am (finally !!) getting paid to do research. I’m doing research with Barbara Jacak’s group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. Barbara’s group is doing research into Quark-Gluon Plasmas, which, for the unacquainted, is a system of super-hot bois bouncing off each other (By bois, I mean quarks, partons, and gluons, and by super-hot I mean 10 trillion degrees Fahrenheit). Now Barbara is basically the coolest cat in plasma physics, so that’s awesome. And this project is basically an excuse for me to finally learn how to work with Machine Learning, so it’s a win-win-win. I think I will probably make an entire XFA project devoted to my research this semester, so stay tuned for that! Yeet!
  4. While I’m probably supposed to be spending most of my time working on my classes or doing research, we both know all too well that I’m devoting almost all of my free time to Orchid. If you don’t know what Orchid is, I would humbly, yet extremely forcibly recommend you mosey on over to the “Projects” tab and take a look at Orchid. To give a quick overview, my plan is for Orchid to be the tool that fundamentally alters how people do math and theoretical physics. Anyway, building such a tool takes a tremendous amount of time. It is also the most difficult project I have ever undertaken from an organizational standpoint. That basically means I have a ton of decisions to make about how the software will work and it usually isn’t clear whether a decision I make is the best way to go. What that means is that I have to be incredibly disciplined creating and following a strict implementation plan for the project. But it’s going to be frikin’ neat when it actually works.
  5. I have my other XFA projects. The whole point of XFA was to keep me accountable to actually working on my various projects, so I generally feel inclined to work on these other peripheral projects.
  6. Relationships take time. Last semester, I was an Isolated Isabelle, and I learned (for the quadrillionth time) that I need good relationships in my life to be a healthy, productive, and non-depressed human being. As is such, I have been making a much more concerted effort to spend meaningful time with people this semester. I am remarkably happy to say that I have been more successful with this endeavor than at any point in college thus far. However, the semester has only really started revving up, so I have to be careful to continue this trend.

Funny story: when I started writing those bullet-points I thought I would only have three main contributors to maximum overdrive. Amazing how quickly three things turns into six things.

Now then, some quick notes about the above list. While 20 units is, I’m pretty sure, a fairly heavy course load, I’ve heard legends of some schmeags who have taken 40 (40!!) units in a single semester. I’m honestly not sure how that’s actually physically possible. All that is to say that I’m not trying to dump a weird flex on you unassuming readers by quoting my course load. Actually, that’s my only note. Next paragraph.

I’ve been wanting to write a couple short posts this week but I haven’t had time, so I think I’ll include the most important of them here.

This should fall under Project Supernatural, but whatever. Last Wednesday night I had a pretty deep conversation with one of my friends. Deep conversations are really just the sauce. Later that night, my baked-in Christian instincts kicked in and I almost thanked God for the conversation I had before I remembered that I’m not actually Christian right now. However, those of you who have read my posts for Project Supernatural will know that I’m making an effort to interact with the divine/unknown/transcendent/God/gods/flying spaghetti monster, because if that is possible it is something I would like to experience. This is a bit difficult to describe, but after I had fought down my instinct to mindlessly and guiltily thank the Christian God for the conversation I had, I concentrated my attention on the aspect of reality that is outside my comprehension and I thanked whatever superintelligence may exist outside of my perception for the conversation I had with my friend.

What happened next was even more difficult to describe. My normal baseline levels of stress and anxiety were siphoned out of my body, and the more I concentrated on this notion of the unknown, the more I began to feel some part of my being trying to pull away from my physical body. It was remarkably peaceful. The feeling was so intense that I actually became somewhat convinced that I was about to have a vision or some experience that would transport me away from my physical senses. Unfortunately, there was no vision this time. That would be quite neat. But it was a remarkably interesting experience.

I suppose as a parting thought, while the aspect of reality that we experience by means of our senses is an interesting and, in many ways, comfortable place for us to dwell, I would encourage you all to open yourselves to the possibilities associated with the unknown. If nothing else so that I can carefully log your experiences to aid in my own deductions. Au Revoir!