Santa Barbara

Sheesh. I never write any more. I don't know if that's good or bad, since it sometimes seems I only write when I'm in a bad mood. But I've had plenty of thoughts in the past weeks, so maybe I'll just get to it and write them down.

I work for UCSB now, specifically for the Alexandria Digital Library Project. This is one of those sprawling university research projects that I've always read about but never participated in--it's fun to see the workings of smart people inside large bureaucracies, insulating the underlings from the politicking of funding and stuff.

I get to be a software engineer again, which is hugely motivating and fun. I have to mastermind the implementation of an XML-over-HTTP protocol--except that the HTTP part may just be the first step. Apparently we're subcontracting for UMass (all of 15 minutes from my parents), and when I finally bother talking to them in a month or so when I have some working code, they're going to want me to work with stupid acronyms like SOAP, WSDL, RDF, and UDDI. Note that just because I know what these things stand for (well, kind of) doesn't mean I know what they do, or that I'm really excited about working with them. I'll work with them because I have to, with the added motivation that more people in the future will pay me for it.

Did I mention I'm in Santa Barbara? I was here last week, too--I camped at the El Refugio campground, which was okay. This week I'm house/dog-sitting for my boss, which is also okay...something about Santa Barbara wants to deny me sleep. Last week I would wake up long before 7 or 8; this week I'm trying to catch up by going to bed early, and I wake up at 0400 and can't sleep for an hour, then wake up for good at 0700 or so.

I'm all good to go home. I don't like Southern California. It's pretty around here, but it's not home, and probably couldn't be.

I will say that UCSB has, besides an aesthetically pleasing student body, these really cool bicycle speedways, one lane in either direction, with pedestrian crosswalks and everything. Everyone bikes around here--some buildings have hundreds of bikes parked outside. It's insane.