The book that has had the greatest impact on my educational journey is The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education by Grace Llewellyn. An opinionated title to be sure, and it is an opinionated book. I was first introduced to this book by one of my most beloved high school teachers, Steve Miranda. He gave the first chapter to us as a reading in a class entitled Literature and Philosophy. The section we read is an allegory about education that illustrates the author’s view of what our educational system does to the minds of the young. It is heartbreaking.
My understanding of the concept of personal power - or as I now call it “gumption” - comes in large part from Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In that book, there is a section where he discusses the “gumption traps that [he has] known.” There, he describes many of his thoughts about the idea of gumption. The best way to understand gumption would be to go read Pirsig’s book. Failing that, let me offer a few select passages.
I have a story about myself and education. That story goes like this. I hate school. No, I mean I HATE it. I always have. The proof is that one time when I was in preschool, I noticed that every morning I put clothes on right before I was taken to school. So, I reasoned, if I didn’t put clothes on, I couldn’t go to school! This clever plan backfired unfortunately when my mother in frustration packed me into the car buck naked and drove me anyways.
So. I am a Fairhaven student. I’m also a Computer Science major. These are two discrete descriptions of my academic life. Both are integral parts of the story that I have been creating my whole life. But in isolation, they imply very disparate things about me.
This is a short followup to my first post about experimenting with the Lego EV3’s and leJOS. Shortly after I wrote that post, I went on the Clojure IRC channel and talked to Phil Hagelberg and some other helpful folks about my issues. They steered me away from attempting to install Leiningen on the EV3 itself, which was a relief since I think that way lay madness. Instead, they suggested that I have a small launcher program that would just setup a REPL. Then I could run my robot-controlling Clojure code from there.
I’ve had the opportunity in the last couple weeks to start playing with a Lego Mindstorms EV3. Since this hardware is such a new release though, most of the normal contenders in the robot programming scene (namely, RobotC) haven’t had time to update their offerings to work with it.
Enter LeJOS. Apparently the maintainer of the LeJOS project got early access to the developer documentation and other necessary infos, so he’s been able to develop a setup for allowing people to program their EV3 using Java.
It’s weird, but I feel like I’ve been peer pressured into starting this blog. Not that anyone has ever said “Geoff, you really need to start a blog.” It just seems like the thing to do. More importantly, it seems like you’re less legitimate as a programmer if you DON’T have a blog. Particularly a blog where you write about cool programming/tech things that you’ve discovered or figured out.
But here’s the thing. I’m still learning much more than I’m figuring out on my own. So I decided I would write about the one subject that I am actually exploring on my own - seasoning cast iron cookware.