What’s the Last Thing You’d Think Of?

Thinking from an airplane window
Airplane flights are good times to think

I have a fun mental exercise I like to run through called “what’s the last thing I’d ever think of.” It falls along the lines of the Zen Kōans (eg: “what is the sound of one hand clapping”), but find it helps me open my mind when I feel like I’m too deep in a project. It’s something I like to do when relaxing on the back porch, or sitting in an airplane like I’m doing now. It’s a fun activity to pass time that obviously can never be completed because you can always find something more obscure than your previous thought.

I used to try to think of the last thing I’d ever think of at the most intense times in school, so even during my high school graduation I tried to force myself to remember something totally far away (time and/or distance), like what the blender at home would be experiencing at that very moment, or little newts my sister and I used to find under rocks in my backyard in Virginia. Even though importantly seeming events are going on around me, or a problem I am thinking of is consuming my every thought, things like blenders at home and amphibians under rocks in back yards in Virginia still exist.  Maybe next time you’re stuck on a problem, try to broaden your thoughts to give your brain a chance to relax, then refocus itself on the problem from a different angle.

On Your Mark, Get Set…

So I’ve come to a strange point in my life where, maybe for the first and only time, I can be employed but can also openly say that I’m thinking of looking for a full time job away from the one that I’m at now.  I have put a lot of thought into this.  I have asked around to close friends, coworkers, mentors, and have even posted the question to the programmers.stackexchange.com website on whether or not I should stay with the company I have interned at for the past 3 years.  I have heard differing advice from as many people as I have asked.  A few say I should stay, a few say I should go, but all agree I should at least interview for other jobs if only just to keep my options open.

My name is Brian Esserlieu, a Computer Science undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego.  I am doing exceptionally well academically (with a 3.9 GPA), and professionally I have had internships in the mobile application, web and pc application areas since 2007.  After deciding to interview for other potential positions, I realized I would like to start a blog, if not only to collect all of my ideas and experiences with interviewing preparations, but also to try to share as much of it as I can with anyone who may be starting out fresh in the programming world.

I have never really had a personal blog to capture my own interests (besides the one I worked on for 9 weeks last winter for a digital communications class), but I hope it will be as interesting to read as it will be fun to write.