Do PhD Students Dream of Sheep S*****g All Over Their Dreams? Yes.

I wasn't planning on writing anything tonight, but the "fates" seems to be aligning to make this happen.  By fates aligning, I of course mean Netflix is currently out for one reason or another, and I've been trying to keep a bit quieter with my woodworking for my neighbors' sake.  First, some garden photos:

This is the bushiest one I've seen around and there are maybe 50 of these orange blooms on it right now with at least 30 more getting ready to open.  They don't last long though, only a couple of days at most.

Hell yes!  Succulent garden!  That viney one on the far right there got yanked out shortly after this photo by some jerk cat...

The volunteer California Poppies are poppin' off, and my new succulent garden is a GEM.  I love that thing.    

At the crux of this post is the fact that I've been having crazy and stressful dreams lately. The first one I chalked up to eating a really salty pizza right before bed, which typically causes insane but mostly nonsensical dreams that I remember for about ten minutes when I wake up but then forget.  The second took my by surprise last night despite a healthy early dinner, and a reasonable bedtime.

Now, I know listening to other people talk about their dreams can be excruciatingly boring so I'll limit any and all description to one sentence per dream:

Dream 1 (the pizza dream): I somehow ended up at a party with Guillermo del Toro and Alex Hirsch (creator of the wonderful TV show Gravity falls) who were both incredibly friendly and genuinely interested in me, and yet I spent the entire time terrified about and wondering when they were going to realize that I wasn't supposed to be there.

Dream 2: My dad and I were going to go out boating on a lake (don't ask, I have no idea...) in Alex Hirsch's catamaran yacht (again, don't ask...) he had given us for the day, and while I thought I knew what I was doing I quickly discovered I didn't.  As soon as I had the realization I didn't know what I was doing a huge storm blew in the whole lake turned into a whirlpool that sucked me down; I woke up as my Dad was trying to save me.  

(I know that dream 2 description is two and a half sentences.  Sue me.)

I don't want to beat it to death (besides, Netflix might be back up and I'm wasting time here!), but I think I'm terrifically stressed out about my qualifier that I turned in on Monday.  It seems appropriate the Neil Gaiman also tweeted a link to a Slate article about how "imposter syndrome" is a normal part of development for most people.  In that first dream I was just constantly waiting for someone to find out that I wasn't supposed to be there, and the second was the genuinely upsetting fallout from finally realizing that I didn't actually know what I was doing only to, *siiiiiggh*, be rescued by a parent.  Sheesh.  I mean, maaaybe I'm ascribing meaning where there isn't any, but it seems preeeeetty effing on-point.  

More-so, while it was recently suggested that I have a "man crush" on Alex Hirsch (which I will not even pretend to deny), I think it's more that I see him as what I hope to be in three years (30 years old and creative, original, successful, kinda weird, wears a lot of flannel, pretty good beard, etc... why? What do you look up to people for?) and I'm terrified that I WON'T get there.  Specifically I'll go down in major flames in the process.

I won't pretend that I fancy myself to be on par with the Alex Hirsches and Guillermo del Toroes of this world, but it just seemed important to put this all down tonight.  I probably won't go down in flames, but I think as much as I fear that, I also fear fading into mediocrity and obscurity.  Maybe it's a young-person thing, but I think we all kinda fear that.

Eh, I dunno guys.  I don't have any answers tonight.  Just more questions.  But hey, here's a bunch of code I wrote today that does adaptive filtering of raw CT data on the GPU to remove streak artifacts:

https://github.com/captnjohnny1618/CTBangBang/blob/develop/src/preprocessing.cu
https://github.com/captnjohnny1618/CTBangBang/blob/develop/include/preprocessing.cuh
https://github.com/captnjohnny1618/CTBangBang/blob/develop/include/preprocessing.h

Here's an example of what it does:

Left: unfiltered reconstruction. Middle: reconstruction with adaptive filtering. Right: difference image of left and middle showing all of the streak artifacts that have been removed.

On the left is the unfiltered (i.e. none of that code was used), middle is filtered (i.e. ALL of that code was used) and on the right is all of the streaky garbage that was removed from the image.

Doesn't have quite the same appeal as a beloved, wonderful, beautiful, amazing childrens' show, but it's kinda cool...  So here's a picture I drew of a badass girl giving the middle finger.  She doesn't have time for your shit, Alex Hirsch.  Your wonderful, flannel-clad, handsome shit.

One more where I tried to capture how apathetic I was feeling this morning at work.  Proportion quickly got away from me so I went with weird:

One step forward, two steps back... both in drawing and life.

Goodnight everyone!  Let's hope for slightly more calming dreams, or better yet, maybe a couple of nights without dreams.  I'm sick of following my dreams, I'm just gonna ask where they're going and hook up with 'em later.

<3,
John

P.S. Almost forgot: