Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2008.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

2007: A year in review

Posted 1 January 2008

Los osos del fuego

I also refer to this as "The summer of Spanish". I blasted through my second year of Spanish at Northwestern in one summer, and as Rifka Cook said, it was like we were family. The class just meshed together, both in and out of the classroom, in a way that made my summer wonderful. We all played football, frisbee, and croquet often. We also ate together, visited Northwestern's Dearborn Observatory, explored the campus, and even went swimming! It was an amazing summer for me. ¡Vivan los osos!

My first roommate

It's funny: I never had a roommate while living in the dorms, but the very same moment I moved into an apartment, I contracted my first roommate. It was nice to have someone around, and our interactions evolved very quickly and have influenced my speech patterns even to this day. However, given the size of my apartment and the friction between our personalities, I can only describe that time as a crucible. What it forged was my distrust of that roommate. Also, the experience confirmed what I've been saying since 2003: I doubt that I would make a good roommate for anyone, and that there is a person who would be a good roommate for me.

Communication patterns

I've had a cell phone for roughly six months, and it has been wonderful. I can now call people for free after 7:00p! Given the frequency and duration of my calls, I pay about $1 per hour of conversation, which suits me just fine. I thoroughly enjoy having two- and three-hour conversations with family and friends without having to worry about my phone bill.

Meanwhile, my computer has not been connected to the internet for the same length of time. I don't get to blog as often as I'd like to, and having three years of history offline is disappointing, but it has been a productive time for me. Additionally, limited exposure to the internet, and to my feeds in particular, has changed some of my usage patterns. For example, I need a way to filter my feeds.

The mother of invention

Wouldn't it be useful to have a feed reader with a spam filter? I've seen no feed reader with this capability, so I've started to write one. What I've written so far is an unreleased library named Renquist. It still needs work, so I'll keep coding.

Answering a big question

2005 and 2006 were easily the best and worst years of my life to date (and that is not to say "respectively"; the four combinations of the cross product of the two couples are true, too). The first half of 2007 was troublesome, but I want to thank Aaron for being there for me. Thanks for giving of your time, Aaron.

My parents were absolutely right to push me far away from home, but only recently did my mom reveal their reasoning. She said "I was afraid that if you stayed in Oklahoma, you would breeze through college, get married, have a kid or two, and at age 30 you would suddenly wonder "Who am I?"". Well played, Mom.

I'm pleased to say that I've been plunged into what I can only call a mid-mid- life crisis which it seems no single year can span. Luckily, I'm about seven years ahead of the game, so I've got some time in which to answer the question thoroughly.

Lessons in parenting

I work at a toy store now. I am constantly taken aback by the parents who come into the store. Typically, the parents are disinterested in, and disengaged from, their unruly and undisciplined children. They'll spend $500 on a stroller so their four-year-old doesn't have to walk while nursing a pacifier (!), but they refuse to spend any time instructing the child. Witness, for instance, the mother whose child spit on her face when she said not to climb inside one of our display cabinets. She said "Lovely" to no one in particular and continued shopping.

Oh yes, and in addition to learning how not to raise a child, I can wrap presents now!

Looking forward

I expect to graduate with a math degree in 2008. What I'll do next, I don't know. I keep thinking I should leave the country, and often I think that teaching English in Japan would be a good thing, although more recently South Korea has entered my mind as well. Maybe I have a desire merely to visit the rest of the world. Time will tell.

God is in the details

I guarantee I've forgotten something, but if I think of anything of note, I'll update as necessary.

In closing

In 2007 I enjoyed a great summer, became more involved at Sheil, and had a taste of financial independence. I also endured much, like a stressful holiday work environment as I learned the ropes, injuries (thanks a lot for barefoot football, Terence -- I still can't bend my big toe), and of course, being unable to go to Chipotle all the time as I begin budgeting like an adult.

However, 2007 is done and over with. 2008 ftw!

Thank you all for reading this through. Good year to you.